Nice things

Well, I’ve moaned enough the past few weeks, and I still have plenty of reason to moan, but I won’t 🙂
I’ve forgotten to clarify what Secret Pal is for Little Stace – sorry petal! Secret Pal is just lovely! The new release lives here, so if you want to sign up, make it quick! Basically, you are assigned someone to buy/make gifts for. These can be anything you like, but the person you are getting them for posts the answers to a lengthy questionnaire on their blog so that you know what kind of stuff they like. As the name suggests, you keep a secret who you are until the end of the gift period – about 3 months normally. While you do this for your pal, someone else does the same for you 🙂 It is very exciting, and if you get someone good like I have done, they get it spot on each time, and it is fab! I hope my pal likes the stuff I got her 🙂 Anyway, you should go for a cardi or something, but maybe make one in chunky yarn for your first one – you could have it done in a week that way 😀 Or you could make one of those shrugs made from a square or t-shape to build your confidence up a bit. There is also a fab way of making jumpers just from 4 squares – one for the front, one for the back and two for the sleeves, so that you don’t worry about shaping. Go for it!
Next, many thanks to the lovely Sylvie for her nice comment on my bolero. I’m still letting it rest at the mo – too many things to get done for birthday gifts etc, but saying nice things means that I’m more likely to go back to it 🙂 And I don’t mind if any of you want to say ‘Bry, you look rubbish in it’ 😉 That’s why I asked!
Anyway, I made a small purchase today. Thanks to my lovely Pal’s stitchmarkers, I’ve worked out how to make some, so I bought some findings today and some beads to make some with, and will play with them tonight. I tried knitting with wire yesterday, and failed miserably, but a friend has done so with fabbooo results, so I’m going to beg lessons from her. And persuade her to blog her results too hopefully!
I also bought a rather nice bardot style jumper today from Sainsburys for not much cash. This is good for two reasons. The first is that it is nice 🙂 The second is that I can use the raglan shaping to work out how to measure and calculate my design… Woot! Because it is a really broad neckline, I can work out how big I need it to be when I cast on for the top down raglan idea, and just increase a la OSW in order to get the shoulders and sleeves I need (theoretically!). I’m going to play with some yarn without a project first and see if it works, and then find some lovely (cheap) stuff to make the full garment – I don’t have enough stuff to do that at the mo from any of my spare bits and pieces. Yay! Exciting!

Quick fixes, a damp squib and a surprise

Ok, so here is the damp squib first. This is the Vogue Knitting Lace Trim Bolero, not yet pressed, and without trim. I’m really not sure what I think of it. I know it will be a good inch longer when I make the trim, but is it too baggy and boxy for me? I know I’m not very svelt exactly, but I have tried boleros on before and looked ok, so I’m not sure what it is about this one that is missing the target… And please note, the pic is taken from a slight angle, so looks a bit odd. And the mirror needs cleaning (but I have evidence to show that I am on that already!).
Damp Squib
I can’t believe I posted that pic. Yuck. 🙂
Ok, so here is the much nicer image of a quick fix 😀 This is Eowyn, from Rowan 39. Dead easy, and super quick. It is made of Kid Classic doubled up, so I’ve used the left over stuff from Fern. The only problem I have with this is that the pic shows a thumb hole (or a really bad mistake) at the non-lacey side of the warmer, but the pattern doesn’t include one, and I can see this looking lovely both ways on. It would be pretty easy to add a thumb hole, but because of the desire to just get something done quickly, I just did what I was told 🙂 The first pic is better for the colour, and length, but the second is better for the detail. You can’t really see the lace cuff very well, but it is very pretty. And a bugger to photograph while wearing it.
Glove goes on
Glove comes off

Sorry – couldn’t resist that Simpsons reference then 🙂
Finally the surprise. I may have mentioned couple of weeks ago that I was expecting a parcel from my friend, and went to collect one thinking it was hers, only to get my secret pal one. Well, it never appeared, and my friend was rather cheesed off to say the least. Today, I was cleaning up a little in preparation for my mum and gran possibly visiting tomorrow. I took the rubbish out to the bin in the garden, and saw that DB had left the last bag on top of the bin instead of putting it inside, so I took it off, getting covered in stale rainwater, lifted the lid on the bin, and saw something. On top of a pile of bin bags sitting in rainwater at the bottom, there was a brown paper mess. Dry, but ripped, with a big white plastic bag coming out of it. Guess what it was 😉 The binmen come on Thursday, so it must have arrived after that to be on top of the bags and not in the dustcart, but we haven’t had anything put through the door to say it has been left there, and it was posted two weeks last Thursday. Either way, the postie has been rather slack to say the least. But it is here, and still, I hope, fully intact 😀
So here is what it looked like when I opened the bin.

And here is the lovely wooly goodness inside!

There is one hank of Colinette Point 5 in yummy greens and yellows and little minty blue, one hank of aran weight in Tartan Green from Coldharbour Mill in Devon (a working wool museum Sue visited), and one hank of what looks to be some DK yarn in a lovely turquoisy greeny blue. YUM. I also suspect that Sue has been talking to my Secret Pal. Given that they posted the parcels at nearly the same time (although of course that might be to do with the major stress and stroppy knickers I was wearing at the time), and have selected colours go perfectly together, even if they aren’t the same weight, they are either very sneaky, or I am extremely lucky and have pals who know what I like and when 😀 I have visions of knitting the DK and aran yarns together as one, and using them with the SP bulky yarn. Don’t know what I’d make with them, but they go too well together to miss out on that serendipity 🙂 Yay! As for the Point 5, I was eyeing up a hat and stuff in the fall release of either FCEK or VK (can’t remember which, but I think it was the former), but didn’t know if I’d have enough left over from the herrinbone scarf. Now I can make up lovely things 😀 Yay!
So in summary, life sometimes sucks, but friends and SPs are always there to work their magic, and remind you that they are there while things are bab. Thank goodness for your timing, and your general fabness. Cheers guys 🙂

A scrappy day

A couple of things: Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora is lovely. Secondly, Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora is lovely. Sometimes a little bit splitty, but otherwise gorgeous. Yum.
I’ll be posting a pic later – I’ve finished the main bit of the bolero, and am feeling distinctly non-excited about it, so I need some opinions before I start on the lace (if I start it!). But right now I need something quick and satisfying, so I’m thinking about knitting a bracelet, or making one of the armwarmers from the latest Rowan mag… Mmmmm 🙂

Designing for dummies

Ok, so it didn’t take long to encounter a problem. I’ve been using a mix of Ann Budd pattern guides and the DB/Interweave pattern to try and make something more appropriate in terms of my gauge and the right fit, and because I am also a dummy (I did try designing from scratch using my gauge but I had no idea what to do with the collar section). The main body is quite easy – I want to keep it plain, so I’m shaping appropriately to my measurements. However, I want to make bell sleeves instead of the ribbed ones, but I want to retain the collar shaping. These both mean that I have to use some maths and my brain. I need to work out how to fit the collar to my gauge, and because I have no other pattern to refer to, DB is my guide – I figured a basic scoop/slash neck fit and picking up stitches, but that is a bit complicated without something to show me how. The bell sleeves are the same – I have nothing to base these on, so I need to work out whether I could just cast on a few stitches more than a basic sleeve and then decrease the extra , but where would I decrease up to? Would I cast on enough to decrease to where my elbow is, and only decrease to the normal size you’d increase to by that point, then start increasing again? That sounds about right, but how big do I want this sleeve at the cuff? Hmmmm. And I thought this would be quite easy… Ha! That showed me already! 🙂


Eureka! I was in Sainsburys today, noseying amongst the new clothes they have in, when I found a very lovely jumper with a big collar (see a theme here?). I tried it on, thinking I could justify buying it because of my gauge disappointment. The yarn, yet again, was nasty itchy sheddy stuff – my black trousers were covered in the nasty white fluff, so I chose not to buy. But still, it looked quite nice… So I had a nosey at the construction. DEAD EASY! A basic sweater, with bell sleeves, one inch of shoulder and drop shoulder (I think that’s the name, but I’ll need to check with our Ann) sleeves. All I need to do is look at a scoop neck collar shaping. The shoulder/sleeve fit means that it gives the maximum width for the collar in the body, while leaving scope to shape for the bust and waist to make it nicely fitted, plus it will be miles easier for me to design it myself and learn from mistakes (as there will inevitably be!)…
Today I came home to the fall editions of Vogue Knitting and Family Circle Easy Knitting. There is one pattern in each that I’ve fallen in love with. In FCEK, I’m in love with (what a surprise) the purple mohair wrap cardi, and in VK, the lovely cardi knitted in Debbie Bliss Astrakahn. The former will knit up in the Jaeger Mohair Art that has been sitting in my stash for AGES. The latter I would have to buy for. There is a seller on Ebay who has some, but can I really justify this purchase when I have a corner of stash? Should I be good and wait till I have used some stuff up, or take the chance for a small discount (about 10 quid, seeing as not many people stock this online in the UK yet)? I kind of already know the answer to this one! I should be sensible and good and not get too excited over it, and wait till I’ve made a few things. And who knows, by then I might be able to knit up a smaller size (she says, touching wood hopefully).
Otherwise, thanks to Jax for reminding me that I’m superior to the lazy people on the bus, when I sit and stink next to them 😀 Woot!
Anyway, it is far too chilly here tonight, so I’m going to knock up a plan for the big collar sweater, and work out measurements for MY gauge, and not stupid Debbie Bliss’ and her stupid bad shaping 😉 And probably start knitting it cos I’m far to of the moment today…


Well, today I gave my OSW its first outing, and the response overall was quite good. Two things tho. Firstly, I don’t think shrugs are as popular here as in the US. Secondly I don’t think men understand them as much 🙂 When I asked DB whether he thought it looked silly, he did the old ‘do you think it looks silly?’ come back. I was not dettered, but still he avoided answering properly, so that means he does think it looks silly 🙂 But let him. My female friends like it, and one is interested in me making her one.
Also, does anyone reading here run? I’ve been going running with friends I work with once we have finished and then catching the bus home afterwards, as no-one lives down my neck of the woods, and I don’t drive. Normally I get to the stop a bit later and the bus I catch is quite quiet, so I get to sit away from people, and avoid stinking them up (there are no wash facilities at work to clean up, and the buses aren’t timed well, so I have to leave asap once we are done). Today I encountered an almost full bus, and felt terribly smelly. Someone near me sprayed perfume… That confirms I think that I was stinky! Which is natural considering I’d run/walked 2 miles and done a warm up/cool down within 30 mins. Not bad I think 😀 Well on the way to matching my best of 30min 5k pace, and even improving it. When I got home tho, DB didn’t seem to think I stank too much. Should I give a monkey about smelling up the bus? I was still in my running gear, so it was pretty obvious that that was the reason, rather than pretty work clothes on nasty sweaty person with BO…
Also, for some reason, I have this really strong need to design something, but I haven’t a clue what it is that I want to design, or how I do anything to calculate it. Stupid brain. It could be a last minute panic seeing as I got a letter today saying that I can re-enrol for my course from the end of next week. That spells doom for knitting.
Finally, a word of warning. The MP3 player DB bought me for Christmas lost its lock button about a month ago. I emailed Creative Labs, and never received anything but autoresponses :/ When I looked up the number to phone them this weekend, I saw that they are closed at weekends, and only have the phone line open 9.30 till 6 during the week, which would mean using my mobile phone to call them on my lunch hour and sit in a queue to talk to them. DB emailed Amazon on Saturday morning to explain the situation (he bought it from them), and they mailed back within a couple of hours to say they’d posted a new one, and could we return mine within 30 days 😀 Good old Amazon! Poopy Creative Labs, making it as hard as possible to get in contact with them.
Anyway, I have itchy fingers…

Got Gauge?

Apparently I haven’t. I was messing around last night, swatching up for a revised version of Simply Marilyn, which still relies on the directions for the garment quite a bit, and simply could not match the gauge. This is fate telling me to just give up on it. Or not 🙂 So now I have three options. The first is to invent my own large collared jumper to match my gauge. The problem with that is that I have no idea how to shape at the top of the garment for this, so I would still need to borrow DB’s guidelines and use some maths (not good). But at least I could make something designed to fit and flatter my shape (I’d put more decreases in at the waist, and keep between half an inch and an inch of ease). The second option is to use good old Ann Budd to make a comfort jumper (that’s both physically and psychologically) – a big sloppy one with a big ribbed turtle neck. The third is to find another DB pattern. A kilo and a half is a bit too much to make a bunch of accessories, and I can’t stand the thought of flogging it. A copy of Noro Knits by Jane Ellinson arrived yesterday, so I’m tempted to have a go at Carraway but making it in all DB instead of DB and Iro (which is far too itchy to wear as a proper garment). The top is fitted, and doesn’t quite go up to my bust size, but when I looked through the pattern, the whole thing is done in really easy and obvious maths (v good for me!), but I could probably just use Ann Budd to make it anyway! Here is a pic – please give me your opinions on this one – would I look awful in it?
Lovely jumper
I value your opinions, so chuck them at me!
Finally, thank you for the lovely comments too 🙂

Gifty goodness and a finished object

I have received another fabby package from my wonderful Secret Pal (who I think is teasing me, but more on that later…)! Here are some yummy pics.
First up here is a pic of everything in the package. I have lots of goodies 😀
Secret pal goodness
There is yarn – a lovely handspun 100% wool natural fibre bundle of goodness. The colour is a jadey tealy colour, and I have 420 yards of it! 😀 Mmmmmmmmmmmm.
Yarny loveliness
Hope you can see the colour properly, as it is a lovely strong bright one, that doesn’t quite come out on the first pic, so I shifted over to the window sill to get better light.
This is a fabulous set of stitch markers, handmade by my pal, with I for increase and D for decrease on them 😀 What’s more, the hoops to put on the needle are of a decent size, in stark contrast to the ones you can buy here. I’d love to make stuff like this – pal, when you reveal yourself, you need to teach me 😉
Stitch markers of yay
She also included some very tasty Japanese sweets (Meiji brand for those in the know 🙂 ), and some Japanese notions – Clover sewing needles with a little case, some ends for converting double pointed needles into single pointed (although I can see it being handy when I’m knitting something in the round that nearly fills the needles and stopping the stitches coming off the end), and last but not least, a fabby ceramic sugar keeper, which will be going straight in the biscuit tin to keep the crackers and Ryvita crunchy 🙂
Thank you secret pal! I love my package, and can’t wait to thank you properly! And you are very cheeky for posting the first one from the US, but this one from Cumbria and Dumfries… Ahhhh! I actually only noticed because my friend has sent me a parcel (which as yet hasn’t turned up 🙁 more than a week after it was posted), and actually thought it was from her when I saw the UK stamps. 🙂 When I find out who you are, you better have some good pics on your blog of your trip, whichever side of the water it was on 😉
Ok, next up, and also secret pal related, here is a pic of my first of many One Skein Wonders 🙂 I was, as you know, going to make full length sleeves, but ended up getting too impatient, and just lengthening them a bit. I’m not sure whether I should have made a size down, but this goes nicely over my heavier t-shirts as well as the skinnier ones. The pic is terrible because of the angle it is taken at, but you get the idea 😀
One Skein Wonder
This was soooo easy to knit up – even the ribbing at the end was quicker than I expected. A week of very sluggish knitting is pretty good for this I think 🙂 I’ve bought some Debbie Bliss Cotton Angora yarn to make another as a gift, because it is the perfect gifty knit! Thanks for getting me the pattern Pal 🙂
I’ve been getting on with the bolero, and have seamed the first sleeve in to check the fit while I’m in the middle of the second sleeve, and now I’m not sure what I think of it. It’s ok, just not that exciting. Admittedly I tried it on with my scruffy too big cords on and the same t-shirt as in the above pic, which is hardly girly bolero wear. And I also know that the edging will add another inch of length. I’ve tried on boleros before and thought they were ok on me, so launched into this project with that in mind, and the fit looks right – a little big like many people have found, but fine in general (a size smaller wouldn’t have worked at all). I might take a pic later to ask everyone on Craftster what they think. Or should I finish the final sleeve and see how it looks before the edging is made? Hmmmm. Not sure… I’m feeling very rotund today, so I probably hate everything on me right now! I’ll do something else for the rest of the day and leave it aside to rethink it later.

Shruggy yum yum

Hoorah! I’ve almost done with my first One Skein Wonder (trust me, there will be many). I’ve been making it in the Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Aran I bought ages ago and almost made Tempting with. I’m planning on doing long sleeves on it because of the impending nasty weather. I can’t believe how coarse it feels next to Cashmerino, but when I bought it it was the softest thing I’d ever felt! Am trying to decide whether to do the sleeves flat or in the round – I hate seaming, but it always seems to take longer in the round, and the garment gets all twisted. If I do it flat I can work out where to seam up to easier, rather than adding to the ready made one and maybe making it look funny in the arm pit. So I’ve just managed to convince myself to stick to flat knitting, carry on with the larger needle, and do normal ribbing at the cuff. 🙂 Woohoo!