Friday, 24 September 2010

A big, green, lacy finished object

It's not perfect, there are knitting errors, the cast off was too tight and there are wonky bits BUT it's big, it's green, it's lacy and I FINISHED IT!

Excuse the photos that were taken in the shower room at work in my lunch hour! I shall endeavour to get better pictures of it in use whilst holidaying in Rhodes next week.

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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Pink it's my new obsession

OK so pink is NOT an "obsession" but if you looked at my WIPs right now you'd think it was! I have two pink things in progress and a pink thing just waiting for finishing (which I can't show as it's top-secret Pheonix Knitting Forums swap knitting) so it really does feel like there is a lot of pink in my life. I really need to break it up a bit!

This is a work in progress I've already blogged about previously but no progress has really been made, I am however now ready to take it on and progress, it will be joining me on my holidays next week and I expect to have a lot more scarf to show you on my return! It's a lace scarf for my MiL for Christmas, it's what she asked for though admitedly not the colour she asked for…I just hope she likes it! She wanted red and I thought this yarn was red when I looked on the website but when it arrived I really liked the shade of pink and I know my MiL wears pink and looks good in pink as well.

Peacock Tail and Leaf Scarf in YarnAddict Merino Plus in Pimms

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Also in progress, as usual, socks! Less usually these are not socks for me (I'm rather selfish with my sock knitting!) they are for my friend at work's daughter (adult daughter so sadly not tiny, quick socks!). She asked me ages ago if I'd knit some socks for her and I foolishly said yes. She's not a knitter, she doesn't understand the time or work involved in sock knitting BUT I'm a soft touch. I said yes but I will not be saying yes to anyone else and this is the only pair she's getting. If she wants more I'll happily teach her how to knit them! I am rather loving the yarn, it's soft and lovely and I know the colours will be a big hit.

Plain old stockinette socks in Trekking XXL Pink Vanilla

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Also whilst it's not pink it is still a work in progress though only just (to be honest I just wanted to do a "la la la look what I finished knitting") my green shawl, all knit and cast off and ready to be blocked when I get home from work tonight.

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I am having something of a dilemma now. The dark nights are drawing in, the sun is taking longer to rise in the morning and my opportunities to take pictures in natural light are greatly reduced. I managed these pictures this morning before work but it was only just light enough and it was rather a dull, greyish light. I'm trying to think about what I'm going to do about this over the winter. I don't want to use a flash, the one on my camera is good but the pictures aren't as nice as those in natural light. I think the only real answer is taking all my pictures at the weekend and saving them for multiple blog posts during the week. I can do that I suppose, I just like more frequent progress pictures. Oh well…my other option would be taking projects to work and doing the pictures outside at lunchtime but I'm not so keen on that idea. I suppose weekend pictures it is.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Stash loving

Firstly thank you for all the lovely comments about my new socks, they were worn at the weekend and are very comfortable, warm and a lovely fit. On the subject of matching socks, it’s not really something I strive for anywhere. The way I see it is if I want a pair of identical, matching socks I can buy them. I am happy enough if I get a match but I don’t go through my yarn until I get them both to start at exactly the same point.

In green shawl-y news I am finally on the edging chart and have only 7 rows and the cast off to go, I’m going to do it and I am absolutely delighted with that fact. It means I’ll have another FO Friday this week and also means I’ll get to try out the new addition to my knitting toolbox, details to come in a future post.

As for the rest of my weekend, the bits when I wasn’t furiously knitting my shawl! I have been having a little love in with some of the yarn in my stash and thinking about the “perfect project” for these yarns, if such a thing can exist. Now I love all of my stashed yarn, I wouldn’t have it if I didn’t love it but there are some stash yarns that are just extra special, especially beautiful, absolutely wonderful and precious and I really want to do something fabulous with them.

The first is this one:

Fyberspates Scrumptious lace, 45% silk 55% merino in Volcanic Flames

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Oh my it’s gorgeous. The colours are so rich, the yarn so soft with a wonderful sheen. Also the colours are just so ME. Green is of course my most favouritest colour in the WORLD however the colours that suit me the best are all shades of blues, greens and browns which this yarn has interspersed with sections of a deep, rich purple. It’s just stunning. The reason I am so enamoured with this yarn though is that I didn’t choose it for myself. For my birthday Mr NM bought me a subscription to The Knitter magazine and this little bundle of loveliness was the free gift. I have no idea what to do with it, not a clue. It is so perfect and I don’t want to ruin it with any project that isn’t just right. The only thing I am certain of is that before I do knit with it I’ll be getting some wood tips for my Knitpro interchangeables because my current lace has silk but that’s 30% and my oh my it’s slippy on my usually preferred metal needles.

The second group of loveliness is yarn from one of my favourite dyers Laughing Yaffle.

Laughing Yaffle sock in Stormy Weather, Spring Fling and Daffodil

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As you can see more greens! I admit I did buy these for socks and had plans to knit some Spring Forward socks with the “Spring Fling” yarn but now I’m looking at these beautiful colours and thinking do I really want them hidden in my shoes? I imagine myself as far more chic and sophisticated than I really am and have visions of me dressed all in black with these scrumptious yarns knit up into little shawlettes worn casually around my neck to add a splash of colour. A good plan for them don’t you think?

The only problem with going through my stash like this is it makes me itch for stash expansion, more lovely yarn for me me me! I will be good though as my stash expansion is pre-planned to occur at the end of October, I think I can hold it together until then.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Look at that, it's FO Friday!

A quick note before today’s post. My bafflement at the thought of Mr NM sewing for me was not because he’s a man (I know men can sew, my great-grandfather was a master tailor!), it was more because his hands shake so much his dad calls him “Steady Hand Eddie” and he can hardly butter a slice of bread because of his lack of dexterity! I do intend to borrow my mum’s sewing machine when we return from our holiday and set him to work.

On to my post…

The circle socks are finally finished! They were only taking so long because they were on the bus/shoved in my bag random, mindless knitting. The pattern is actually very easy to follow and quick to knit. The yarn is one of Kaffe Fassett’s Regia Design Line colourways called Exotic Zany. It’s a self striping but every few stripes there is a little wavy line, very funky. The only issue is where the waves of colour fell on the foot has they didn’t line up into the waves properly in places. I still like the way it looks though.

The cuff

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An eye of partridge heel, very pretty and extra sturdy…I’ll be using this heel type next time I knit with a handpainted yarn as I think it would work very well.

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The toes all grafted and ready to wear. I’ll admit I’m still not very good at kitchener stitch and it often looks a bit wobbly but as long as the toes stay closed up I’m not too bothered!

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Finally a full on shot of the socks, they almost match but not quite, I’m not too fussy about perfectly matching socks anyway though these would probably be a closer match in plain stockinette, the nature of the circles pattern means that as I started about a metre earlier in the colour repeat on one than the other it really makes a difference to the leg, the feet are more matchy.

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I wanted to wear them this morning but alas they had not quite dried properly so will have to get their wearing debut tomorrow instead.

I've already cast on my next pair of socks but sadly they are not for me...oh well, they're for someone with smaller feet than me so I shall try to whip through them as quickly as possible!

Monday, 13 September 2010

My husband claims he can sew

I am pretty desperate to cast on some new projects just so I can take more pictures with my new (to me) camera! I will not though. I only have maybe 30 or so more rounds to knit on my second circle sock and I'll be done and will have an FO to photograph.

A charming moment from my morning, you'll have to picture me holding up my rather smashing project bag purchased on Etsy.

Me: I wish I could sew and make myself some more pretty project bags like this
Mr. Northernmonkey: I can sew, I can sew like that
Me: You can sew? Really?
Mr. Northernmonkey: I used that stitch on my pencil case at school, I can use a sewing machine, you just choose the stitch you want
Me: Yes but look, it's lined beautifully as well and it's such a lovely project bag
Mr. Northernmonkey: Yep, I can sew like that
Me: I'm going to borrow my mum's sewing machine, you can make me some project bags
Mr. Northernmonkey: Erm…

I do believe he had sewing lessons in school and made a pencil case (he went to a better school than me, we had to hand-sew a carrier bag holder and even then the teachers were clearly nervous about giving us pointy needles!) but I don't know whether he could sew me a project bag like the one I was admiring this morning. Perhaps he can though and I shouldn't underestimate him, maybe I will borrow my mum's sewing machine and see what he can do with it!

Sunday, 12 September 2010

I'm ready for my close up

A new friend came into my life at the weekend, we spent a lot of time together as you are about to see.

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My camera mysteriously disappeared when we returned from our holiday to Carmarthenshire in July, admittedly I actually found it last week but my father in law had offered us a barely used digital camera he no longer wanted for a bargainous £30 and as it's a much better camera than the one I had both lost and found we accepted the offer.

I think I may well be in love with it! I know it's only a compact digital camera, nothing fancy but OH MY the quality of pictures it takes vastly outstrip those my other camera was capable. It also has a flash of a quality able to get a picture in dark situations where my other camera failed spectacularly. The colours are also so much more vibrant. I am happy with my new friend.

The only issue we have now is my poor photography skills!

Our weekend was spent in North Wales under very upsetting circumstances. Mr Northernmonkey's maternal grandfather had died and we were there for the funeral. It went as well as these things can, I was told that the service was lovely but as it was conducted entirely in Welsh and my Welsh doesn't stretch beyond offering a cuppa, saying thank you and saying good morning/afternoon/night I was a bit lost. Mr Northernmonkey performed admirably as a pall bearer and I am immensely proud of him.

The weekend involved many, many, many, many "panads" (a cuppa)

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A seemingly endless stream of scones occasionally interspersed with slices of bara brith (a rather delicious sort of Welsh tea bread)

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The funeral was on Friday so on Saturday the in-laws took us and Mr Northernmonkey's Nain (Nana) out to Caenarfon for lunch. Caernarfon is a lovely place, if you ever get the opportunity I would recommend a visit. There are boats, these are privately owned ones but you can hire some or take a trip around the Menai Strait.

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There are shops selling beautiful things, I had previously seen this gorgeous jug over at Attic24 and it was just as charming in reality, I was also delighted by the little button covered, cow shaped, milk jug! Sadly I don't get paid until Wendesday so had to pass these lovely things by.

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There are narrow streets filled with beautiful old buildings, many are painted in pretty pastels. I had a picture of those but as it had Mr Northernmonkey with his parents I decided not to post it, I'm not sure they'd want a guest appearance on the blog!

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Another picture of the charming little marina area, we ate near here.

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We will definitely be making another trip to Caenarfon next time we're visiting family, hopefully next time I'll have some money and will make some pretty little purchases. I'd also rather like to sample some of the terribly exciting looking local ice-cream, yum yum!

I did fit in some knitting whilst we were away. I continue to work on my shawl and try not to panic that I'm going on holiday in two weeks and want to take it with me. I've said before that I'm not the fastest knitter and now I'm on my 5th pattern repeat it's taking around 10 minutes to knit across and about the same to purl back as I'm trying to make sure I don't purl the yarnovers together with my knit stitches and such. I will get it done though, I am determined!

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I do think this pattern is especially lovely, particularly as it was in one of my knitting magazines. I am also LOVING the Violet Green laceweight.

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I was especially charmed by this little stitch, sitting amongst the otherwise rather muted green (which no camera appears capable of picking up but believe me, the name of this colourway "Gooseberry" is very appropriate) is this one little stitch of vibrant blue/green. A little inconsistency in the yarn I've yet to find any repeat of, just enough for one little stitch to stand out from the rest. I love it.


I made some good progress on my never ending circle socks. This sock has been on going since July (I started the first one in early June finishing it in mid-July) I've just had so many other, more interesting knits to work on. I do love them though and am delighted that finally the heel is turned and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the promise of a different pair of socks to knit!

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One advantage my new camera has over the old one is a remarkably effective (in my opinion and compared to previous cameras I have had) Macro function. My old camera allegedly had one but it always ended up a blurry mess when I tried. This camera, oh yes it works. Close up shots of yarny goodness and little stitches on 2.5mm needles...lovely! I do love a good close-up, particularly when it involves knitting.

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A functioning Macro mode also allows me to give a sneak preview of my top-secret knitting project. Top secret as it's for a surprise knitting swap and whilst I don't know that my swap partner has been reading my blog I don't want them to see their gift before it comes through the post. I did want to show off the soft, fuzzy stitches though. Mmm snuggly and knit on needles larger than 4mm, a refreshing change for me!

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Finally the hats continue, I finished a few more at the weekend and hope to get at least 20 or possibly more (depending on shawl progress) in the next two weeks reading to post before we go away. Please note the bright green hat at the bottom left of this picture, you can't see here but I did COLOURWORK and I mean colourwork that isn't stripes, me, oh yes I did! Oh my. Pretty unbelievable as I have rather a colourwork phobia. OK so it's just alternating green and pink stitches but it's a start and my ability to pull that off without it becoming a bunched up mess gave me some faith I may successfully knit some of the colourwork mittens that I so covet.

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I have plenty of scraps to keep working with to make more hats, if I could finish off all this yarn that would be rather spiffing I'd say.

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Now there is soup to be made, a shawl to be knit and recorded weekend TV to be's to the coming week being happier than the last.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Someone else's crafting

There is nothing like the generosity of other knitters/crocheters/crafters. I recently signed up for two swaps on the Pheonix Knitting Forums and the first of these two arrived today (well technically it arrived on Friday but I was at work and only managed to get to the post office to collect it today!)

The theme of the swap was “seaside” and my swap partner did a great job of working with that theme.

This is the parcel all wrapped in pretty paper.


Inside was some rather tasty looking seashell chocolates, a little pot of foam shrimps (the little pot sadly broke in transit but I intend to get my glue gun out and attempt repair), a washcloth with a lighthouse on it, a crocheted bag and some beautiful handmade stitch markers with mermaids on.


The pretty crocheted bag, the yarn is a lovely shade of my favouritest colour AND it is a really close colour match for my lace shawl so I will be using this at the same time.


The incredibly clever lighthouse washcloth, again in my most favourite of favourite colours.


A closer look at the handmade stitch markers, the silver charms are so detailed. These are a very welcome addition to my notions case as I was running out of stitch markers whilst making my shawl and need one between each pattern repeat to prevent me from messing up (or at least to try to!)


Such lovely gifts, I am so pleased with them and so grateful for the generosity of the lovely lady who gave her time to make these, put together the parcel and send it out to me.

In other news the mini hat knitting is making great progress, the one on the bottom left is striped but it’s quite dark yarn and the difference in colours doesn’t show well in the picture. All but the top middle one (which is scraps of squeaking acrylic DK) are made from leftover sock yarn.


I must make sure that in between all this mini-hat knitting I do actually finish my shawl!

Monday, 6 September 2010

If you want to get ahead get a hat!

As a sock knitter with feet in the medium size range (a UK6/EU39) who does not knit socks with particularly long cuffs (usually in the 60 rounds plus ribbing region) I generally find myself with leftover sock yarn. Even the socks I knit for my large footed husband had some leftovers, not as much as a pair for me would have but certainly some. These little ends of sock yarn are then wound into balls and shoved (rather unceremoniously) into a ziplock bag which gets thrown in with the rest of my sock stash. I have knit 12 pairs of socks now (well one is almost a pair, I have leftovers from the ball used to knit the first sock!) as well as knitting other things using sock yarn so I have quite a little stash of leftovers.


Now I know a lot of people use these leftovers to knit sock yarn blankets and that's a great way of using them up. A lovely blanket made of soft, brightly coloured sock yarn does appeal to me, absolutely. Knitting a blanket in 4ply from leftovers as and when I get them does not appeal to me. I do love the process of knitting but I'll not lie, I also love the results. I want something to show for my work and with a sock yarn blanket there's a LOT of work before there's any show. I don't see myself ever really getting anywhere with one.

Instead I have another use for my little odds and ends of sock yarn, a use I'd say is just as valid and is a lot quicker than attempting to knit it all into a blanket. I am instead working on little hats to go on smoothie bottles for Innocent's Big Knit 2010. I started yesterday evening whilst watching TV and have already knit three hats and started a fourth. They are a prefect way to use up scraps of yarn and my odds and ends of self-striping sock yarn makes stripey hats with no added effort from me! In November these hats (and many thousands of others) will be put on the tops of bottles of Innocent Smoothies and 25p from each bottle sold will go to Age UK. You can read about the fundraising here.


Some people make very extravagent hats in all sorts of shapes with characters on top and such. Whilst I may make a few that are a bit fancier (like the beret type one here) I will mostly be knitting the plain hats then making some sort of tassles or bobbles to go on top as this means I have time to make more of them.


I am continuing my work on my green shawl and on my top secret swap gift but both of these require a lot of attention from me so the hats will fill in as perfect no attention required TV knitting AND they can help make some money for charity, a winner all round I'd say. I hope to make at least £5 worth of hats but really would like to aim for £10 worth of hats. I shall keep up to date with my progress.

In sad and non-knitting news Mr.Lambanana's grandfather died last Friday and we'll be travelling for the funeral later this week so it's possible (though not definite) that there wont be any more blogging until next week.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.

Not much of a post this week's WIP Wednesday. I had a job interview this morning which didn't go very well so I'm feeling pretty grumpy and down about that.

The green shawl continues…


My other WIP is top secret for a swap partner on Pheonix Knitting Forums so I can't show you!
I'll aim for a better post at the weekend.