A quick message for my Secret Pal

Dear Pal – just to let you know that hotmail is being over enthusiastic with junk mail at the mo – I’ve changed my settings, but if you don’t hear from me within a couple of days when you mail me, leave a comment here or mail me at my ntl email address. It’s the same as the hotmail one except you replace hotmail.com with ntlworld.com. My questionnaire is done though 😀 Let me know if you can’t find it, but it should be listed in recent posts even if it isn’t on this page.
That is the end of this public service announcement.
In other news, I’m moving on with the shrug, and have nearly finished the first sleeve. It’s not going to be a turtleneck though, so I’m going to play around and experiment. This will be the first time I have made a pattern up, but lets face it, shrugs are a good place to start because they don’t take much work to design for a really basic version. And this will be veeeeryyyy basic 🙂 I’m thinking that I’ll cast off a quarter of the stitches when I get to the arm pit, then change the ribbing to that I’m knitting 3 rows and purling 3 to making it stretch the right way across the back. It might look rubbish though, so I’ll have to be willing to rip back… I’ll let you know 🙂

Bloomin' marvellous

That appalling pun indicates that I have a finished object at last – woohoo! Bloom from Rowan 36. I was out on the raz last night, and while I didn’t drink enough to get very drunk and feel ill this morning, I was in bed about 3am and up and about by about 7.30am, so I am a tad rough and fragile today! No pics in action, but there are pics…
Bloom.JPG
I used mostly Rowan yarns for it. Felted Tweed in Dragon (a dark grey green) for the body of the tank, and 3 balls of Kid Silk Haze and one of Jaeger Mohair Art for the blooms on the shoulder. Felted Tweed is lovely to work with – really smooth on the needles, soft on the hands, and slubby enough to be of interest without messing up gauge and the run of the fabric. It has just the right amount of give for a top like this too. Lovely stuff to use.
Bloomcloseup.JPG
This pic isn’t really fully accurate for the colours – I think the first pic is closer. The Jaeger is a cream colour, kind of a nutty cream rather than vanilla and I used that for yarn B. The KSH used were 589 Majestic (the lilac for yarn D), 584 Villain (a dark reddish chocolate brown for yarn C), and 588 Drab (an olive green for yarn E – its from the ones for the lace cami from Weekend Knitting). The Jaeger was quite nice to use, but not as nice as the KSH. I’ve used it a little on the lace cami from Weekend Knitting, but this time it was doubled over, and obviously not in a lace pattern, and it was lovely to use. Very soft, and doesn’t shed any fibres, or doesn’t seem to. I’d love to make a little top out of it knit straight or something, but buying more stash and patterns to match it is not an option right now (remember I promised myself!)
It took almost as long to do the crochet as to knit it – I started crocheting yesterday and it’s taken me to the middle of the afternoon to finish. I still have pins and needles in my finger and thumb from gripping the hook too tightly on the bit with the size number raised on the handle (my own stupid fault admittedly) 🙁 I also had the same problem that a lot of people have had with the pattern – the shoulders were massive! I should have taken a before pic with me wearing it yesterday to check the sizing, as they were flopping all over the place. I used the same method as them – sewing a seam on my machine to where I needed it, trimming the excess knitting off, and doing a zigzag stitch to stop it unravelling. It adds bulk a little to the seam, but looks much better on that it did before! I’ve no idea how you’d fix the short row shaping for it, but I’d certainly add less stitches at the casting on for the arms, as I cut off over an inch each side of the seam at the worst bit, and a little less than an inch overall at best.
In general though, I’m pleased with it. Next things I want to finish are the shrug and the second sock. I bought a shrug (just a cheap material one) to wear last night and decided it was a rather good thing and that I looked ok in it, so I’m happy to get moving on the knitted one, and am already thinking about designing a simple stocking stitch one for myself with some of the stash.
Anyway, if anyone has any ideas for using almost full odd balls of Kid Silk Haze let me know – I know there is a glove pattern using one ball, and that I could probably make up a little stripy scarf or something, but I feel I might be able to give it more justice than that. It’s so nice I want to make it happy and wear it close to the skin instead of as an ornament like on Bloom. Oh, and btw I’ll be swapping from Movable Type to another blog provider although the web address will be the same. MT have changed their licence since I signed up, so DB has found me another one that is actually more usable and is easier to play with, so once I’m happy with its set up, I’ll switch over.

Secret Pal 5 Questionnaire

Ok, here are my answers to the secret pal questions.
1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I’m a bit of one, but because of living in the UK, I don’t get to see any US yarns, so wouldn’t be opposed to any at all. I do prefer something with natural fibres in it.
2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I don’t spin, but I do crochet a bit. I’m in the middle of a crochet scarf from Rowan 36, but it is sitting and waiting till Autumn…
3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Not really, although I am asthmatic, so smoke is a bad thing, as are some cheaper perfumes. It leads to expensive tastes, but my bathroom shelf looks nice with the Chanel on it 😀 I also have a wheat intolerance (which I’ve only just discovered, so I’m trying to work out what I can and can’t eat).
4. How long have you been knitting?
I learnt when I was about 8 or 9 and knitted blanked for My Little Ponys 🙂 Then I stopped for ages, and only rediscovered it last Autumn.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I do – just look me up under bryonyramsden at hotmail dot com.
6. What’s your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love vanilla, raspberry and melon. I’ve also been known to like a nice coffee candle 🙂
7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
A little. I’m trying to avoid for the most part to lose weight, but I am really partial to Green and Blacks and Dairy Milk. Only if it is around the house tho!
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I like sewing clothes from patterns and gardening. The gardening is a bit lazy thanks to my studies, but I love raising chili plants if only for the colours and the variety. The sewing is a bit sporadic, but I love the idea of making something no one else haves 😀
9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
The pc can play mp3s, and I also have an mp3 player (one for cds and one for mp3s themselves). I have quite a broad taste: some jazz (blue note stuff and some Louis Armstrong), some classical (Satie and Rachmaninov, but I also like Philip Glass and Michael Nyman), some indie (the Vines, Stereolab, the killers, Franz Ferdinand), some dance (Chemical Brothers, Fatboyslim), and some good old girly singer action (Kylie, Fiona Apple, Kathryn Williams).
10. What’s your favorite color? Or–do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can’t stand?
I love soft natural neutral tones. I have a really strong tendancy to wear black a lot, so when I knit I seem to be drawn towards colours more, which I feel weird doing but there you go. I suppose the best way to describe this is to say what I have in my stash – taupe, black, jade green, light yellow leaf green, dark mauvey purple, light lavender lilac, dark tweedy grey green, olive green. The lounge is done in a lovely almond white, with navy sofa and armchair, while the bedroom is done in soft light blues (with a nice creamy laminate on the floor). Never realised how many greens I had in my collection 😀
I despise neon colours. Be warned…
11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I have one long term boyfriend, no pets, no kids (too young and fond of my money for that!). We do feed the birds in the garden though, and try and encourage some of the rarer species to feed as the UK is losing a lot of bird breeds 🙁
12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
Bloody hell! Just to get through it and have no regrets. A long reliable loving relationship, lots of frienships, and not have hurt anyone. No use for this quiz essentially…
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I usually buy Rowan stuff, as, again I’m limited as to what I can get or afford. I have tried Noro – lovely effects but not that great to knit with, sometimes worth it for the projects. I also use Sirdar when the purse strings are tight. Oh and I have two hanks of Colinette Point 5 that I love using so far.
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Eyelash yarn, even though I’ve bought it in the past, but that was just to experiment. It depends on the eyelash yarn tho – I like the fur ones, but not the neon ones with bits of string in them and stuff. I also hate knitting with pure acrylics, although again this depends – I knitted that cushion cover in Wow, and that’s an acrylic chunky velvety type thing, but I had that jumper I frogged in black acrylic chunky because the garment felt like plastic 🙁
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Having too many projects! Erm, I’m into tank tops at the mo (see bloom from Rowan 36 for the type I mean). Otherwise I don’t have any grand passions. Just lots of wants from Rowan patterns.
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I’m not sure again (sorry!). I definitely prefer garments, but I’d like to make a throw for the bed or the lounge when it gets chilly (there is a gorgeous one in Knits for the Home made in Point 5, that is simple but effective). I get bored by too much stocking stitch, but if I like the finished item enough then I’ll put the effort in. On the other hand, I don’t want anything knit up with stripes or lots of colours, unless its a bag (this is easier, saying what I don’t like!) or a scarf. Anything really fussy is bad, because I have a big bust, and lots of pattern on that is not good (says she who is knitting Lucky from SNBN!).
17. What are you knitting right now?
Ok, I have a list on the blog, but for now:
Bloom (rowan 36)
Lucky (snbn)
Lace cami (weekend knitting)
Point 5 herringbone scarf
shrug (scarf style)
A sock from Opal
A rug from oddments (see Erika Knight’s New Knits)
18. What do you think about ponchos?
Rubbish 🙂 I hate them – they look ok on some people, but in a year or two, those same people will be veeery embarrassed 😀 And they certainly don’t look good at all on me!
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I don’t mind. Either is good if it does the job and doens’t snag.
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Same again, although bamboo is more comfortable for me. Usually depends on the yarn I’m using.
21. Are you a sock knitter?
The one I’m knitting now is the second of my first pair. I’m not sure yet how many I’ll make, but I like looking at the finished one 🙂
22. How did you learn to knit?
My mum taught me 🙂 Many moons ago, and I decided that making big holes in the said pony blanket was rather clever of me 😀 She knitted all the time, hand and machine, so I really wanted to learn.
23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Oooooh, that’s a tough one… I think it would be my socks, which have been on the needles since before Christmas. At the moment its a bit unfair to judge me by that seeing as I’ve been studying rather than knitting! The others are recent enough to have been set back by the coursework, but the socks are just plain laziness/procrastinating in order to give the other projects priority!
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I like Family Guy and the Simpsons and Futurama (I bought DB the wind up Bender :D), the Mr Men (Mr Messy is the best!), Ranma and Totoro, and Rex the Runt. I think at the mo, Totoro is my fave.
25. What is your favorite holiday?
I’ve not been on holiday much, so I think the one and only hol I had with db would be that – the trip to Prague. Such a stunning place, and so welcoming – it felt like home as soon as I got there. Good beer too 😀
26. Is there anything that you collect?
I’m trying not to collect anything, as I want to get rid of clutter in the house a bit more. I think I’m just a yarn collector at the moment…
27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I’m a member of Rowan, so I get their magazines automatically, but I also buy the uk magazines Simply Knitting and Knitting magazine. I’ve a copy of winter Vogue Knitting, and the first 2 issues of Knit1.
28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
See my wish list on amazon for that. Its much easier! Although I haven’t added on there yet that I’d like any of the harmony knitting stitch guides. I’d like to learn more about how lace stitches and the like work so that, once I get used to using the Ann Budd pattern books, I can start designing my own stuff 🙂

Whhheeeee!

Yay! Happy birthday to me 😀 I’m not modest…
Had a v nice day, after it started a bit blah. Lots of my gifts are still in the post (or on Amazon’s shelves still), so I wasn’t really expecting much really, but my friends have excelled themselves, as have my work mates 🙂 Bless them. Lots of funky stuff, including the latest Stereolab album (a rarities one with 3 discs and one dvd, which is fab) from DB with some mystery gifts to come, The Master and Margarita (a book I’ve wanted for ages), some Green and Black 70% choccy from my brother. Lots of luxury goods from everyone else 🙂 Hoorah! Looking forward to spending some vouchers at the garden centre and Space NK (mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Space NK). Yay!
Have just had a yummy meal cooked by the lovely DB, and am now lounging with a glass of red thinking about my expanding but happy stomach…
Anyway, I also think it is about time to post my Secret Pal answers 🙂 I’ll do it in a separate post so that it is easy to find. V exciting 😀

Blimey

I can’t believe it. I finally made it through and have just submitted my last assignment of the year. I’m done until next year when I conduct my research. 3 and a bit months of total relaxation (providing I don’t have to redo any essays!). Lovely 🙂 I always panic until I get my email confirmation of the assignment being received, and pages being printed and the like (distance learning courses still carry all the fears of not making submission deadlines and all that), so I think I’ll still be in a state of agitation till next week, but for now, all I can do is sit back and wait for them to arrive 🙂
And clean the house while I’m not in work.
And wait around for DBs mp3 player to be delivered.
And… Knit 😀 Yay! Although my hands ache a bit from all the typing up on the laptop, so I might need a rest from it. I always feel at a loss for a little while once I finish studying, because the urgency has suddenly disappeared. Even though there are always loads of things that I like doing that I have to put aside while I study, I forget what they all are as soon as I’ve clicked on that little send button. My mind just goes blank for a few days, and I struggle a bit to direct myself. Then it just suddenly clicks. And come September I’ll be struggling to get back into studying again.
But for now, I’ll just luxuriate. Start learning Japanese again. I won’t retain it once I start studying again, but I enjoy it. Knit all those projects up that are sitting in the box. Use up the stash. Start running again. Read the books that are piling up on the shelves borrowed from friends, and then read all the ones that I bought too, or have been given as gifts. Dust off the PS2 and nurse it back into use (poor little PS2 🙁 Much neglected as of late).
That should keep me going for a while 🙂

I feel like such a slacker

But there are only so many information seeking behaviour research papers you can read through after work. I might make a Gantt chart instead to chart my research pattern for next year. Yuck. What on earth am I doing?!
Still no knitting. Can’t wait to be able to stop at home and study and get some decent work done. Did I just say that?
I think a couple of episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and a glass of white wine will help for now…
Oh, btw, no US yarn for me, but I’m not disappointed – it means I save money and stash space! Bit of a shame, but nevermind!
Although does anyone know whether a Visa debit card works in the same way as the credit card? I don’t know whether my new card would work on overseas sites… Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Yummy.

Cross your fingers

Well, I may have got one essay submitted, but now I have to submit my research proposal on Friday, and this week is not going to be easy… Still found time to go for a walk in some woods today though. We’ve never been through them before, which is shocking considering how long we’ve been living around here. Lovely scenery, broken up occassionally by a road passing through to remind you that you can’t really get lost and all is well. Although sometimes I like the potential to get lost.
Anyway, apart from crossing your fingers for me finishing on time with a half decent peace of work, keep them crossed that a friend has managed to do me a good deed – he’s in Vegas for a conference, comes back tomorrow night, and he said he’d try and pick up some nice US yarn for me 😀 I’m not holding my breath tho. I asked for the actual yarn for the leaf jumper, and/or some Lion Brand Microspun, seeing as 1) everyone seems to like using it and 2) there is a lovely Teva pattern in Knit1 done on the bias that I’d like to try. It is a very simple piece – 2 oblongs of bias knitting with some edging added later, but the effect is rather nice, and hides any nasty wobbly bits. I could probably try it with something else and use some maths, but I’d like the chance to use Lion Brand anyway. I chose these because I knew I could do fine without them (I nearly asked for the stuff to make the princess cut cardi in Loop-d-loop, but changed my mind in case of being disappointed), so it won’t be a great loss if he can’t get them, BUT it would be rather tops if he did. And I’d make arrangements for him and his bird to get lovely things too – no good deed should go unrewarded.

:D

Yay! I did lots of work today, so finally, after much complaining (sorry guys!), I am knitting againg tonight. I would have liked to have something to wear ready for a night out tomorrow, but no such luck (unless I knitted instead of studying all day tomorrow, but I don’t think that would be a good idea…). So I’m now plodding away on the second side of Bloom (thanks Jen :D) with the aim of finishing it in the next couple of weeks – I think that’s a fair spec considering that once I finish my coursework I will once again become a knitting fiend.
I’m still lusting over the leaf lace jumper in Loop-d-Loop, but I told my mum I’d give her some of the Como, so I’ll let her take what she wants. I might drop hints that the yellow-green is mine though, and hope she doesn’t like the colour 😀 If I use that colour, I won’t want the 4 balls of cream anyway, and I think she’d probably like that colour more anyway.
I’ve also started trying to find substitutes for the yarns in the other patterns. The more I look at it, the more the princess seam cardi appeals to me, but for some reason I feel like it is wrong. Maybe it is just the tweed yarn they used for the pattern, or maybe it is the strange styling of the model (although those high heels she is wearing are extremely droolsome), but even though I like the pattern, there is something that repels me from it at the same time… Which puts me off spending money on lots of yarn for it when I feel a bit funny about the pic. Hmmmm. It will take some thought (a good thing considering how much stash I have right now :D).

I want to knit!

Gah!!! I need to knit! Only a week and 2 days to go before I finish for the year on my course work, but I really need to make something! To calm myself down a bit, here is a list of stuff that I want to finish before I start any other projects. Whether I work that way is another question, but that’s the theory 😀
1) The shrug from scarf style. I’m using Kid Classic, love the way it knits up, but I think I might play with the pattern a little. Having thought about it, I don’t see myself in a shrug with a roll neck at the moment, but I reckon, now that I’ve knit about 12 inches of the first sleeve, I should play with it rather than frog it.
2) Bloom from Rowan 36. I need tank tops. They are good things. Bloom is a good tank top. One side, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is completed, and I’m about to start the second side (well, actually, I have one row done, but that doesn’t count for much really!). I have the mohair for the flower on it too, but I have no idea whether I’ll do the flower very well…
3) Lace cami from Weekend Knitting (by Melanie Falick). Yummy cami, yummy yarn, yummy needles (addi turbos), but mix it all together and you get slippy yarn on slippy needles with a simple lace pattern that hates slippy stuff. It is going slowly. This will take time to finish. A loooong time. 🙁
4) Herringbone Scarf in Colinette Point 5. My ‘I lost a scarf on the train and need a replacement in the yarn I’ve been craving for months and months’ project. The one I pick up when I get bored of the others, because the weather doesn’t demand it to be finished too soon.
5) Lucky lace wrap cardi from Stitch and Bitch Nation. The project I want to finish soon because if I don’t it might go out of fashion. But I don’t have time to work on it, and would rather finish the tank first for the sake of clearing something off my list and giving me more focus.
6) Oddments rug, using a pattern from New Knits by Erika Knight. All you do is knit up a double knit tube in the odd balls you have left over to the size you need. This is my ‘I really have to get rid of some of the crap left over in my stash box before I spend anymore money on stuff which I’ve already screwed up anyway’ project.
From the top of my head, that is all the projects on needles. That doesn’t include the pile of projects I have in mind for yarn I bought. Or the ones that I want to make, but can’t afford the yarn for them yet. Gaahhh!
At least I’ve had a diversion for a little while from work anyway 😉