Join me in my adventures with knitting, crochet, sewing and thrifting with a bit of day to day life thrown in too!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Making Handmade Gifts

In the run up to Christmas there are many people who choose to make a few of the gifts they will give.
My latest handmade gift was a scarf I knitted a family friend's birthday.  The Chinook Scarf.

A very good scarf to make for a gift I think, especially for a beginner knitter like me.  It's relatively quick to knit up, and looks a little more refined with it's shawl-esque look and lace edging. 

It's a very good pattern for a beginner wishing to learn a couple of new skills.  It's has increasing and decreasing, the i-cord along one edge and the lace along the other.  It's an excellent pattern for that first step into lace knitting, with just the edging being lace, it's gives a taster without being overly daunting. 

 It's overall a very good pattern for moving beyond a beginner with the bulk of the knitting still being the standard stocking stitch it feels do-able, but the lace and i-cord edging stops it getting too boring and repetitive.  As it's worked sideways it's very simple to calculate yarn quantity.  Simply increase until end of first ball then decrease with second.

Pattern : Chinook Scarf (Ravelry, free)
Needles : 4.5mm
Yarn : Wendy Sorrento DK 50g (45% cotton 55% acrylic)
Colourway : 2416 Clover
Cost : 2 skeins @ £1.69 each (on sale) = £3.38

This was my first attempt at blocking too.  I had no real idea of what I was doing but it seemed to work out and opened up the lace edging well.  The narrow end sections still curled but not sure why.  Think it may have simply been the stocking stitching.  I don't think better blocking would have improved it.  Maybe I'm wrong.

Whenever I make a gift I have a wobble of confidence.  Is it good enough?  Will they like it?  Does it look like I made it?  I mean the last one in the sense of badly made, like a child made it.  If a child has made it though, it's all good, it's a sure fire winner with the rellies.  If I've made it, I want it to look professional, almost shop bought.  It still needs to have the essence of handmade, so they can see I put a crap load of hours and effort into it, but on the other hand it needs to look good enough that it could have been bought.  

Plus, I always have to suppress an urge to explain the gift.  Explain to the giftee my whole thought process behind said gift.  Plus exactly how long it actually took to make it.  Because running parallel with the doubt is also the pride of having actually made something, and in my case having actually completed it.  I want to put a label on said item laying out the exact number of man hours that has gone into making it,  including finding the right pattern, understanding said pattern, choosing the right colours, fabric, yarn etc.  The frogging or seam ripping, the frustration and sometimes literally the blood, sweat and tears that can often go along with some projects.  I want them to appreciate it, love it, but most of all I simply want them to use it.  That's the highest compliment I can get.

At the end of the day, a gift is a gift, and whether it's bought or made your not always going to get it right I guess.  But if they, at least, don't appreciate the time and effort gone into it, then make sure they get bubble bath next time.

Peace Out X

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

One A Day Update - Week 9

First I want to share my latest treats.  I had a lovely postie day yesterday.

Something to view, something to make, something to drink.  What could be better?  I have already started a project from the new book as you can see.  It's about time I started a few Christmas presents, and this book is full of potential pressies. 

Anyway, another week, another update.  Is it just me or are these posts starting to feel a little repetitive?  How many photos can I take of the same blanket but just a little bit longer?  I suppose that's my fault for choosing 2 big, long term projects.  To be honest I'm getting a bit bored of them now.  I'm starting to struggle with having to ripple every day.  Luckily, then, the end is in sight.  Well, for the ripple at least.

Taking this photo was more than a little precarious, perched on top of the high sleeper ladder.  With a guest cameo from Floppy Bunny.

Just a bit longer, and then the border.  I want it roughly the same size as a single duvet, but have yet to measure it off against one to see what needs to be done to make it so.  It's needs to be wider for sure, which the border will have to accomplish.

Name: Bella Bee Ripple Blanket
Pattern: Ripple Pattern from Compendium of Crochet Techniques by Jan Eaton
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK
Colours: Grape, Pale rose, Meadow, Cream

Join us over at Gingerbread Girl to view all the projects in progress.

Friday, 11 November 2011


It's that time of year to get wrapped up in some serious comfort knits!  This is a knit I actually finished back in August, but has now come into it's own.

The GAP-tastic Cowl

This pattern was super quick and super easy.  It's comfy and cosy and a super big soft hug for your neck.  It's absolutely ideal for a Christmas present. 

Raverly Project Page
Pattern: GAP-tastic Cowl
Yarn: Stylecraft Special Chunky
Colour: Parchment 1218
Needles : 9mm circulars
Quantity: 2 x 100g
Cost: £1.76 per 100g x 2 = £3.52
Bought at Knit And Sew

It's a super dull colour I know but at least it'll go with everything.  As soon as I saw it I thought of my sister, so this was actually a bit of a practice run for a possible birthday present (her birthday is right after Christmas) but I'm now very pleased to have my own.  It's just been through a normal 40 degree wash and has come out how it went in.  If I decide to make this again I may go down a needle size, as my tension is a little on the loose side, to make the pattern a touch more compact.  All in all I'm extremely pleased.

So get wrapped up warm and have a super weekend.

Peace Out X

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

One A Day Update - Week 8

Hi all.  I've had a good week, finishing off a knitted gift (which I will share this week), and a lovely weekend celebrating Bonfire night with Bella Bee.  We managed to see the local big firework display for free and in the comfort and warmth of the car by parking in nearby street.  Plus it stopped Bella Bee getting too uncomfortable, as she doesn't like loud noises for a prolonged length of time.  We also attended a private display with family on Sunday.  Bella Bee had a whale of a time running round with her cousins and family friends.  I hardly saw her all evening.  She didn't even seem to mind the fireworks with friends to distract her.

So onto the project update.  This week is the turn of the Summer Garden Granny Blanket.  I discovered last week that I had done one too many blocks while catching up so I've only done one block since the last update 2 weeks ago.  I have since roughly estimated how many blocks I will need to complete the blanket and I think I should have kept to the one block a week and had the extra as a bonus if I'm ever to finish this monster.  I thought I was realistic when starting this project and doing only only square a day was fully expecting not to have a finished blanket to use until next winter.  That, I have since realised, may be unrealistic.

Laying the blocks on the bed this morning and wanting a blanket roughly the same size as the King size quilt I have on the bed I estimated 8 blocks across by 12 blocks down.  That equals a massive 96 blocks.  Ouch.  At 52 weeks in a year, that would take nearly 2 years!  Ha ha ha!  I'm starting to struggle with the long term aspects of these blanket projects as it is.  Maybe I could fit in 2 blocks a week?  Realistically not sure that is feasible as I always have other smaller projects on the go too and completing the one block a week often seems to elude me.

It will be positively gorgeous if I ever finish it though!

Project details
Name : Summer Garden Granny Blanket
Pattern : Summer Garden Granny Square from Lucy at Attic24
Yarn : Stylecraft Special DK
Colours : Grape, Pale Rose, Lemon, Meadow, Cream

Hope your all getting on well with your own projects, and I hope to try and get round you all for a little peek this week through Gingerbread Girl.

Peace Out X

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

One A Day Update - Week 7 - Take 2 - Eurgh

Take 2.

Bloody computers. 

Don't even want to do the sodding post now.  It was a great post.  An ideal mix of witty, informative, ripply homely goodness.

So now I will sulk.

Here are some photos.

Blah blah blah.

Project details:

Name : Bella Bee Ripple Blanket
Pattern : Neat Ripple Pattern (ish) by Lucy of Attic24
Yarn : Stylecraft Special DK
Colours : Grape, Pale Rose, Meadow and Cream
Size : Single bed size
Measurements : approx 38"/97cm width from a base chain of 183 (12x15)+3

Go over and check out all the other lovely, none sulking One A Day project people at Gingerbread Girl.

Right, now to find something to release this frustration out on.

Peace Out X

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

One A Day Update

Hope you are all well.  Bella Bee is on Half Term this week and it's lovely to have her at home, but it's sometimes a bit tricky to keep her entertained.  Luckily her gymnastics and swimming classes are still on this week.  So I'm fitting in this post while she's at gymnastics.  Plus her Dad is off work this week and took her to the cinema this morning to watch the new Tintin film and scoff lots of sweets.  Hopefully the gymnastics will work off all the sugar!

So, this week is the turn of the Summer Garden Granny Blanket.  I've got a fair few projects on the go at the moment that need finishing for birthday gifts.  One is already grossly over due and another extremely imminent.  So, as a consequence, the blanket didn't see much attention until the last couple of days.  I cracked on and managed to get back up to date with it, minus some sewing of ends in - bleugh.  I've now also joined them into blocks of 6.  From now on I will be producing one of these completed blocks a week.

They have the same colour combinations in each, as this is the maximum number with the three colours I'm now using for the flowers, and each block is set out in same pattern ensuring even distribution when they are all eventually joined together.

It's good to see them in the completed blocks.  It makes it feel more on the way to becoming a blanket and will give a better idea of how far along I am when laid out.  I even braved a laying out upon the bed it will eventually be used for, but very quickly took them back off again before my brain could do too much calculation.  Yes, this is definitely a long term project!

Project details:
Summer Garden Granny Blanket
Pattern : Summer Garden Granny Square
Size : King size
Yarn : Stylecraft Special DK
Colours : Grape, Pale Rose, Lemon, Meadow, Cream

Feel free to drop by Gingerbread Girl and check out the projects.

Hope you all have a productive week.

Peace Out X

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Thrifty Thursday

Today I've got a little stack of genuinely retro loveliness to show you.  I must say I spent a delightful hour or so flicking though the following yellowing pages.

This little bundle of magazine pull outs came to me courtesy of my sister-in-law.  She had retrieved a larger bundle from freecycle, sorted through them, took the patterns she wanted, then passed them on to me.  Said bundle is a collection of toy patterns from various women's magazines.  A quick flick through doesn't reveal specifics dates but I would say they look like they are from the 70's. 

The majority of the patterns are for dolls.  Jean Greenhowe features quite heavily as a designer.  There are other various stuffed animals, knitted toys, costume dolls, hot water bottle, puppets and a few other things. 

Some patterns are simply drawn on a small grid with a measurement for the enlargement grid.  And some, like below, are to actual size, which is my favourite kind!  My favourite pattern is probably the Desert Island Dolls, which features Deborah and Daniel, the Tourists and Delilah, the South Sea Maiden.  Delilah has definitely been added to 'the list' especially after reading her little write up... 'Delilah, the delectable maiden from the South Seas, is a very small temptress indeed.  She's girded by a mini-sarong, with gaily coloured felt flowers in her hair and a vivid necklace of wooden beads'

The language used is a little dated and completely politically incorrect, but delightful all the same.  And the adverts!  A true glimpse into the past is not the same without the adverts.

And all this for free!  You can't beat that!

Peace Out x

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

One A Day Update

Some might have noticed I didn't post last week.  I had gotten behind.  I had a nephew's birthday looming and had to abandon current projects for birthday projects.  I'll share the fruits of my labour (up till 3am one night!) soon.  Plus I find that as I'm doing two large projects, the progress doesn't feel as quick as smaller ones and as a result it seems that my photos seem to be very similar from week to week.  So, as I've managed to catch up with the Ripple Blanket, but not yet with the Summer Garden Blanket, from now on I will alternate the blankets each week. 

The Ripple Blanket is now much more substantial, and it's lovely to work on it in the cooler evenings with it across my lap, helping to keep me warm while I try to prolong turning the heating on.

I have now come to the end of my first balls of yarn.  I have completed 17 rows (2 rows per colour stripe) per ball.  I'm thinking I will need another ball and a half to get the required length.  I also need to start thinking about the type of border I want. 

Project details
Name: Bella Bee Ripple Blanket
Pattern: Neat Ripple Pattern (ish)
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK
Colours: Grape, Pale Rose, Meadow and Cream

I hope next week to have much more progress to show you on the Summer Garden Blanket.

Pop along to Gingerbread Girl and check out the other projects.

Peace Out X

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thrifty Thursday

I've been thinking a lot about space and storage lately.  About how I'm currently using space and if it could be improved.  I re-evaluated a large computer desk that is no longer put to use since opting for a laptop over a desk top computer many moons ago.  It was housing a printer and a few other computer relating paraphernalia but for the size and volume of space it was consuming it was most definitely not the best use of the space it was occupying.  It's in the middle room where I try to contain Bella Bee's toys etc.  We chose a coffee table the week before for the same room with the idea of providing her with somewhere she can draw, colour, stick, and anything else her creative mind desires (well, within reason).  I wanted to accompany this with a storage solution to house all such crafting paraphernalia, so it was all in the same place and easily accessible, in the hopes of encouraging much craftiness (she is ever so creative, if I do say so myself).  A dresser seemed ideal.  Storage underneath, shelving on top to house and display her (genius like) creations.  I've kept an eye out and made regular trips to the local second hand furniture shops.  Last week I finally found it, a beauty and ideal for my needs.  As soon as I clapped eyes on it I knew it was The One.  Found in the Furniture Recycling Centre, for the absolute steal of £50 (plus £6 for delivery) was this gorgeous pine dresser.

Bargain. Get in.

Now for the obligatory bunting.

Hope you all manage to find some most excellent thrifty finds.

Peace Out x

Thursday, 6 October 2011

The Experimental Experiment

I made a big decision 3 months back which I'm only just beginning to feel the effects of.  I stopped paying my TV lisence and it has now run out.  I decided that I would like to try life without the constant stream of available programmes.  I've grown up with TV and it's been a constant in my life.  Anti TV people say it zombifies you and deadens the mind, and to be perfectly honest I agree, but this is exactly the effect I look for and why I enjoy watching it.  You see I have a very busy mind and watching TV helps me to 'zone out' and think of nothing.  Which for me is blissful.  I'm normally doing something else whilst watching, be it knitting, crochet, computering and even ironing.  However, I found I that I had got into the habit of sitting down in the morning, switching on the set, then looking up a couple of hours later and wondering where my day had gone.  Some of you may be thinking "why go to the extreme of cancelling, why doesn't she just not turn on the TV in the first place?", which I grant you is an excellent point.  However, I have zero will power.  Absolutely none.  And habit is a strong thing.  So the executive decision was made.  Fear not for my sanity though, or my child (who could do with watching less too anyway), all is not lost.  I have access to the BBC i player through my Wii.  Which has a suprising amount of programmes available, including just about everything on CBBC.  Plus I'll probably be renting a couple more films from the library to cover my evenings.  It's my time during the day that I am hoping to spend more proactively.  So far so good this week.  I've watched a few programmes that I'm catching up with past episodes, so this should wean me off and stop the shakes!  Do you all have a staple TV diet?

In yarn related news, I finally received a delightfully squishy package this week.  I've been waiting ever so patiently.  I had to pre-order a few colours and so was prepared for the 2-3 weeks wait as indicated on the website, but after passing into the forth week my patience abruptly stopped and I had to make a chase up call.  I was informed that they had all but two of the colours, but these could take another couple of weeks to arrive.  When enquiring why this was I was told they come from Germany and were on pre-order. Why they didn't come through with the other colours and why they don't say on the website it can actually take 6 weeks to arrive I don't know.  Instead I was pacified with the colours that were ready being posted that day and the others sent on when they arrive.  I would much rather people be honest and up front about things.  I may be being too hard but I guess next time I'll be using a different website when I want that yarn again. 

The yarn I bought is Rico Creative Cotton.  The colours are gorgeous and are just what I need to inject some brights into my prefered muted tones.  There are many projects I have in mind for these colourful little bundles of cotton that the acrylic I usually use just don't seem right to use.

Plus I couldn't resist a sneaky luxury buy too.  I got a ball of Noro Sekku.  It's a lace weight and I'm hoping I should be able to make a small shawl with just the one ball.  I justified it by wanting to start to experience knitting with different types of yarn.  A lace pattern for a shawl will also be a challenge.  And one, no doubt, I'm sure to learn from!  Anybody got any good patterns in mind?

Peace Out x

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

One A Day Update

Hi all One A Day-ers.  Welcome to my update.  I've had a busy week and busier weekend and I'm only just recovering.  Recovering is a word I would like to use in conjunction with a wild weekend, or something similarly fun, alas no, instead I am recovering from a huge dose of cleaning.  Carpet cleaning none less.  I have been meaning to get this particular beauty of a task done for quite awhile now, so with a child away and a sunny weekend on the cards, unfortunately it was an ideal time to get it done!  It was not fun, and it was jolly hard work, and I am sick of the smell of wet carpet, but the carpets are now clean, (the upholstery, however, is not, and a complaint to a certain carpet cleaning company is being made later), and woe betide anyone who dirties them, they will feel my wrath!

I also find myself in the middle of painting the kitchen.  Which is stressful.  For two reasons.  The kitchen is in complete chaos.  I am a complete perfectionist.  The two are profoundly linked.  I think this is something which makes me unique, or perhaps some would say 'special'.  I won't go into deeper psychological reasoning for fear of alienation.  My current painting dilemma, which is tearing my soul in two, is when cutting in, do I go out of the lines on the wood work of doorway/window to cover the magnolia from the previous paint job, or do I stick to the lines?  I'm painting the kitchen white, so it shows.  No answer is correct by the way.  Yes, I am a bit wrong.

But, I've managed to keep up with the One A Day progress.  Although I did the weeks worth of squares last night and this morning, and I've not sewn the ends in for the last two weeks, which I'm now regretting.  The ripple I do every evening, so todays stripe is not done. 

And so to the pictures.

Summer Garden Granny Blanket

Minus the squares I don't like

And the Bella Bee Ripple Blanket

Project details

Summer Garden Granny Blanket

Pattern: Summer Garden Granny Square (ish) from Attic24
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK
Colours: Cream, Meadow, Lemon, Pale Rose, Grape
I still hope to add a couple more colours, however this has been postponed for now until more funds become available.

Bella Bee Ripple Blanket

Pattern: Neat Ripple Pattern (ish) from Attic24
Yarn: Stylecraft Special DK
Colours: Grape, Pale Rose, Meadow, Cream

Will do my best to pop by and have a nosey at the rest of you taking part in the One A Day Project over at Gingerbread Girl.

Peace Out x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

One A Day Update

Hello lovelies, I hope you've all had a productive week and your all getting on well with your projects.  I'll be coming to have a nosey later on.  I want to say a big thank you for all your lovely and encouraging comments so far.  I've not really got any like minded friends, so it's nice to be part of this online community to gee me along. 

I'm still making steady progress and have managed to get the seven blocks and stripes done on both blankets despite feeling a bit rough after catching the obligatory September School Cold that Bella Bee kindly bought home from school.  Lets get straight to the money shots.

The Bella Bee Ripple Blanket

A gorgeous sea of ripples.

And the Summer Garden Granny Blanket

Now, I must dash, I'm currently inhabiting an anti house that requires an inhuman amount of work to make it an actual house again. 

Feel free to check out the other projects at Gingerbread Girl.

Peace Out x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

One A Day Update - Week 2

This is week two for the Summer Garden Granny Square Blanket, and week one for the Bella Bee Ripple Blanket.  Steady progress has been made on both.  I had a little catching up to do with the squares so haven't got round to sewing in the ends on the last few.  I feel I still need to work on the colours a bit more on this blanket.  I'm not happy with some of the combinations, and I'm going to stop using the Lavender, it just doesn't seem to be 'gelling' with the others.  The colour palette is a bit too limited.  I'd like a few extra colours to play with so will be looking at getting a few more this week and see how they work out.  Once I'm happy with the colour combinations I can start sewing blocks of squares together so it's not such a big daunting job at the end.  At least with the slow growth it gives me time to work on the colours so I'll be truely happy with it when it's finished.

The ripple though, Oh My, I'm in love!  I'm skippingly happy with it.  I have yet to do today's row as I did initially include yellow, but wasn't satisfied with the result so I ripped it back and it set me back a couple of rows. 

I'm glad I've got both blankets on the go.  The ripple will provide a quicker result and keep me satisfied while I plug away at the other.  And only doing one a day still gives me time to do a little knitting occasionally, because I still need to knit!

I'm off to get rippling.

Please check out the other projects at Gingerbread Girl.

Peace Out x

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

One A Day Update

Just a brief post to give my update for the One A Day project.  Not the largest of impacts, but I've literally stuck to the one a day since my initial 4 practice squares. I've not yet worked out how many squares I'm going to need for a king size blanket and to be honest I don't think I want to right now.  But being realistic, I don't think I'll be able to use this blanket until next winter!

I'm loving the colour palette I'm using, especially the green!  It's definitely my favourite.  I'm still experimenting with all the different colour combinations and I'm looking at adding a few extra colours.  I had originally picked the majority of the colours for a ripple blanket I plan to make for my daughter for Christmas.  So knowing I need to make a start on that soon if it's going to be anywhere near ready in time I have decided to add it to the One A Day too.  So here's the beginnings of a blanket that will be able to be used this year! 

The pattern I've used is from this Jan Eaton book.  I presume it is very similar to the one Lucy from Attic24 used as inspiration to form her own from this book.  It has the three trebles in between the increases and decreases instead of the four in Lucy's pattern.  I don't think the Jan Eaton one is on Ravelry so I may just put it under the Attic24 pattern anyway.

And finally a thank you for all the lovely comments and compliments on my first One A Day post.  Will make a concerted effort to visit as many of you and your lovely projects this week.

Peace out x

Friday, 9 September 2011

Finally Finished!

I've had these little beauts waiting to be finished off for far too long.  I made my crochet debut in about January and these were pretty much the first things I started to make.  I seem to remember them actually being finished and my wearing them on the school run and being ever so proud and hoping people would notice them, comment on them and me being able to proudly tell them 'I made them myself don't you know' and them being amazed, inspired and simply agog at my creative wonderfullness, well, because I sure was.  Well it didn't quite work out that way, I think what actually happened was after a distinct lack of notice I shoved them under my playground companions noses, forcing them to notice them, whilst informing them I'd made them, which was followed by some polite comments.  But I did receive the best compliment from Bella Bee with a request for a pair of her own, which were dutily made.  Afterwards, for some reason, which at the moment escapes me as to why, my pair were dismantled, and had remained so since.  Well it was jolly time this was remedied.

And so Ta-Dah...

And in background a sneaky peak at my latest knitty project!

Today I sat myself down and made myself finish them.  As many will recognise, they are the Striped Wristlets Pattern from the ever so clever Lucy.  I am very pleased they are Finally Finished.  Again.  Lets hope this time they don't mysteriously disassemble themselves again!  And so on to the next long unfinished crochet project.

Peace Out x

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

One A Day, A Day Late!

Back to it!  Bella Bee went back to school today.  She was supposed to go back Monday, which I found out Sunday after thinking for 6 weeks she was back on Wednesday!  Panic!  Then Sunday night there was a bit a bleughing and that put paid to any thought of school for a couple of extra days, making her start day Wednesday after all.  I missed not having her around today, but it's also nice as it frees me up a little.  So here I am, back on the blogging train. 

Being as organised as ever and even though Bella Bee went back to school a couple of days later than expected I was too busy ironing uniform and sorting school things to blog last night.  I've decided to join the One A Day CAL/KAL hosted by Gingerbread Girl and Crochet with Raymond over at Ravelry.  So here is my project, just a day late!  I'd been thinking about wanting a large blanket for my bed and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to break such a large project into small manageable chunks.  I've decided to make a Summer Garden Granny Square Blanket.  I've got my colours just about sorted and I spent yesterday making up a few squares to test out slight variations of the pattern to fit my preferences.  So here are my first few squares.

As most of you are probably well aware, the light is absolutely awful for photos at the moment, but it gives you a general idea.  I remade the squares I'd practiced with so they were all uniformally made (yes I am a perfectionist).  The third one across came out ever so slightly bigger than the others for some reason, so I may have to redo that one (yes, I am a perfectionist to the nth degree).  I think I've decided to sew them together rather than join as you go as it is a neater finish and will hopefully not seem as big a job if I join in fours or in rows.  My favourite colour combination so far is this one.

Plan on starting a ripple blanket for Bella Bee in these same colours soon.

Have a fair few more makes completed, so will be back soon to show you those.

Peace out x

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Cast Adrift

I feel like Peter Pan, I'm missing my shadow.  I've had an appendage removed and have phantom limb syndrome.  My sole purpose for the last six years has disappeared.  I feel lost and lonely.  I wander around the house not quite sure of what I'm supposed to be doing.    Bella Bee has gone on holiday with her Dad.  To Italy.  For 12 days.  I well up just thinking about it.  12 WHOLE days.  What do I do without my little mini me?  She stays at her dads' for weekends regularly and I appreciate the break.  She's even stayed there for a week a couple of times, but I'd still see her every couple of days.  Never for this long, and never in a whole different country.  I feel happy and excited for her getting to have her first 'proper' holiday.  Her first ride on a plane.  A lot of exciting adventures and experiences in a foreign country.  But she's doing it all without me and that makes me feel incredibly sad.  So while waiting for my daily evening calls from my little Italian bambino, which I treasure so much, but for her are an inconvenience, keeping her from important play, I try not to mope, I try to keep busy, doing something productive.  Trying to appreciate this child free time I've been given, making the most of it. 

So lets move on, to a Ta-dah.  I've finally finished my first circular needles knit.  The Honey Cowl pattern from Ravelry.

This took a little longer than I would of liked to knit up.  It's basically taken 3 weeks.  It was my only project on the go, I wasn't intensively knitting but I was doing it every day.  I had a couple of false starts and the finishing off took a couple of attempts.  So that added time, plus as a beginner I'm not the speediest of knitters.  I made a few mistakes, but I guess it's all part of the learning curve.  The perfectionist in me isn't completely satisfied, but I'm getting better at making allowances for being a beginner (for now).  It is a very easy pattern to knit, and ideal for a first circular project.  Over all I'm happy.

How hard is it to take pictures of yourself!  Trying to do that AND smiling? Out of the question!  And please ignore the decor.  It's horrendous.  Maybe picking up a paintbrush during this free time wouldn't go amiss!

I would have liked it a little looser when it's doubled over, but it keeps it nice and snug and very warm.  The colour is a little murky, but it'll be a good autumn shade, and as I got it in a sale there weren't many options.

Yarn used: Sirdar Click (30% wool) in Fern. 
Cost: On sale for £1.49 (50g) with just over 2 balls used is approx £3.50 total.

I already have another cowl cast on.  A different pattern.  It seems to be a much quicker knit as I'm already half way through.  I'm still not happy with the join in the first round though, it's too obviously the join to me.  I tried adding an extra stitch then knitting that and slipping the next over it, but I didn't like that one.  For this one I simply kept it tight when joining, but the first stitch has made, in my eyes, an obvious loop in the bottom ring.  Ideally I'd like it not to be noticeable at all.  Am I being too picky?  Is this possible?  Any tips or links to a good tutorial?

I'm going to tackle DPNs next and make a pair of fingerless gloves to match next.

With all this free time I'm sure it won't be as long to my next post as it was to this one.

Peace out x

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

I Need To Knit. Now!

I was watching TV Saturday night and had a sudden realisation, I want to knit, and I want to knit now!  (Very rock and roll!)  I didn't want to do just any type of knitting, but knitting in the round using circular needles.  I'm a beginner and haven't tackled anything like that, but suddenly I was ready, and had to do it right that minute.  What a very new and surprising sensation!  I certainly wasn't expecting that.  Only trouble was I had no circular needles.  It's 7pm on a Saturday night, but in our 24 hour society I didn't think that would be a problem.  Shops are often open till late, especially the bigger stores that you'd find in the retail parks.  So I thought.  Evidently not.  I came home disappointed.  I just needed to find something else to do till they opened on the Sunday.  I very half heartily started a lovely striped cushion cover with some Cotton DK I already had.  I was just biding my time though. 

Sunday came and I had the loveliest morning.  As it was a gorgeous sunny morning, instead of running straight to the yarn shop, I wandered round the local car boot first, and picked up some fantastic bargains, mainly clothes and books for Bella Bee, but managed to pick up that great bag in the last post.  Then on the way home I casually sauntered (practically ran) into the local large chain craft store.  I know, I know, and I usually avoid the massively overpriced, mass produced, charmless chain horror, but it was Sunday, it's local, I had the knitting itches and there was a sale on.  Humph.  So, I grabbed much wanted needles, and browsed yarn on sale, and grabbed a couple of bargains.  A bargain is bargain after all, no matter where it comes from.  I'm half way through and hope to finish quicker than I know I will.
About quarter of the way through here

So hopefully a FO coming here soon.  And for a bit of colour, if I get a wiggle on and do the very final finishing touches to the below, I should have another even sooner than that.

Peace out x

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Thrifty Thursday

I was on my way out last Sunday morning on an urgent knitting related quest (more details on next post).  It was a glorious sunny morning so I decided to detour to the Car Boot Sale.  I frequent charity shops on a regular basis, but have slowly found myself being priced out.  See this post by Kat Got The Cream and several by A Thrifty Mrs who both write about it much more eloquently.  It's a subject close to my thrifty heart at the moment.  The Charity Shop love is definitely slipping.  I will still be enjoying my regular jaunts round the charity shop circuit, but maybe with a slightly heavier and cynical heart.  I need to find a charity shop alternative and it seems Car Boot Sales may be it.  I do go to CBS, but not on a regular basis.  They have not been part of my habits, so i often simply forget.  Plus they have (in my eyes) a couple of downfalls.  They are very weather dependant, and in Britain that can rule out quite a few days.  They are harder work, people don't often lay out or hang up the clothes, and often just have a big pile or various boxes full of clothes, and as much as I enjoy routing around stuff, I have to be very much in the mood for it.  But having been on Sunday, it's shown me that I should put in the effort on a more regular basis, especially if Charity Shops are going to be taken off the cards as general thrift supplier.  I picked up several items of winter clothing for BellaBee including Joules and Animal items, which are both a BIG love of mine, for a grand 50p each, plus a pile of Oxford Reading Tree books, perfect for summer reading, for £1.  Of course I didn't neglect myself, and found a flamingo print bag, which I wouldn't have thought would be to my taste, but I love it and it's a perfect knitting bag, and has already proudly accompanied me and my latest knitting project on several park visits.

So, as a whole, the CBS was a winner and has encouraged me to make them one of my habits in the future.  We don't need no charity shop!