Friday, 24 December 2010

Last present in the nick of time!

Woo hoo. I finished knitting my last Christmas present about an hour ago. It is now wrapped and under the tree. These socks are for my gran and match her shawl. I found a leaf, lace pattern in the book Country Weekend Socks by Madeline Weston. I love the pattern but didn't like the heal turn. I don't think it is sturdy enough to withstand time. The reducing of the sock once the heal is turned actually starts with pattern panel at the front before reducing as you normally would. It just felt a little strange. I also prefer charts rather than long hand knitting patterns. Not that it was difficult to follow. The instructions were simple and well laid out. It's just what I am used to.

I am going to go now and enjoy my Christmas. I will leave you with the return of the huge robin. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and that Santa is good to you.

Monday, 20 December 2010

One more down and one to go!

I finished another Christmas present. These socks are for my mum and are now wrapped along with her other gifts and under the tree. The yarn I used was Regia Jazz Color by Erica Knight. I didn't notice it was by Erica Knight until I had already began knitting with it. It didn't surprise me though as it reminds me of a lot of colours Knight uses in her patterns. I actually picked this yarn up for someone else only to discover that this person was allergic to wool. Not to worry, my mum will love these colours even if it isn't red. Once again I decided to go for the basic sock pattern. Like last time I thought it would show off the colour striping better and I think I was right.

I now only have one more gift to knit. Everything else is wrapped and ready. I have four days to knit my gran a pair of socks to go with her shawl. I found a pattern that matches and I just hope I have enough time in which to do it. I might have to get something else in just in case it doesn't happen.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Fingerless Mitts

I decided to knit my first pair of fingerless mitts as an extra for my sister. I have been meaning to knit her a pair of these for years but somehow always wind up knitting socks (it's an addiction). This year she will get both. The yarn has been sitting amongst my stash since I first started knitting socks. I thought it was about time I used that too. It's a sock yarn and is by Violet Green. It's called Equinox and is 75% Merino. Initially I was going to use a pattern I found on the Purl Bee. It's a simple enough pattern which I thought was ideal for my first pair.

In the end though what I really wanted to do was knit a pair with cables. I was sure I had a pattern that would fit somewhere but was too lazy to hunt it out. So I adapted the Purl Bee pattern to fit with what I wanted. As it's an adaptation of a pattern already free I am posting my version of it. Feel free to use it (or to let me know if there are any mistakes). What I do recommend is that you maybe use a double knit rather than sock yarn. These will fit my sister (and my mum who modelled them) as they have small hands. If I was knitting them for a friend or for myself I would definitely use DK for comfort.

Materials used - sock yarn
Needle size - 3mm

Cast on 60 stitches and divide evenly over three needles. Use a stitch marker to mark the start of the row if required. Work in rounds.

Row 1 - Knit 4, purl 2. Repeat until end.
Repeat until five round have been completed.
Row 6 - Place two stitches on to a cable needle and bring forward. Knit the next two stitches on the DPN, knit the two stitches on the cable needle, purl 2. Repeat until the end of round.
Row 7 - Knit 4, purl 2. Repeat until end.
Repeat until 10 rounds in total have been completed. These ten rounds will form the pattern.

Repeat last 10 rounds until you have done a total of 8 sets of the pattern.

Next row - turn, knit 2, purl four. Repeat until end of the row.
Next row - turn knit 4, purl two. Repeat until end of the row.
Repeat until five rows have been completed in total.
Next row - Turn, Same as Row 6.
Next Row - turn, knit 2 purl four. Repeat until end of row.
Repeat until full set of pattern is completed (10 rows in total

Next round - Do not turn, instead rejoin round (this will have given you the thumb hole). knit 4, purl 2. Repeat until the end.
Continue until a further two sets of the pattern have been completed.

In total the pattern will have been produced 11 times.

Cast off.

Repeat again for the second mitt.

Edit - The yarn I used was 100g and I still have quite a lot left. You could definitely get another pair out of it.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Crazy Stripe!

Another present down. Once again these socks are for my sister. I was going to put them in with her Christmas but have decided that they will be part of her birthday. Her birthday is the week before Christmas (some people are just so inconsiderate in having birthdays right before Christmas). Once again the yarn I used was Lorna Laces and the colour way is called Crazy stripe. I decided to do a basic sock as I was curious as to how this one would knit up. Glad I did as I think the striping would drown out any pattern. I love the effect of the pink and blue together and think my sister will like them. If you haven't used Lorna Laces before I highly recommend it. It's such a lovely yarn to knit with. It doesn't split, it comes in lots of colour shades and, more importantly, it's machine washable. If you do decide to try it you will need to buy two hanks as one hank is only 60g which isn't enough for a pair of socks.

I also decided to list these cotton baby socks on my folksy page. I was saving them and planning to do others for a craft fair but in the end didn't have time. Decided it was best just to have them on folksy as who knows when the next craft fair will be.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Snow Was Good For Something!

If you haven't heard me rant over the last two days then you won't understand just how much I hate the snow. It does look pretty but only for five minutes. It's cold, wet, made me miss out on seeing my friends and I can't walk in it. When I try to walk in it I look like I shouldn't be allowed out without supervision. I have been told that no one looks good walking in the snow but I beg to differ. I have been overtaken not just by children but by the elderly. Having said that there was one good thing about it. As I wasn't going to venture outside unless I had to I managed to finish another Christmas present.

These socks are for my sister. This is the yarn I mentioned in a previous post. I bought it months ago back when it was spring and yarn called Daffodil made sense. I love Lorna Laces though and love the colours. The pattern is from a book called "Knit Socks" by Betsy Lee McCarthy and the pattern is called "Peaks 'n' Valleys". It's a simple two row repeat which doesn't take much concentration. I love the effect using the self-striping yarn.

The book is one of two I treated myself to about a month ago. The layout is very different to most sock books. Each patter gives you two choices to follow. There is always a choice for women's socks but the second choice can be men's socks or children's. In some cases it's just a choice between two different yarns. Each step is broken down more than in most books. For that reason I think it could be a great book for a beginner. It also has a wide range of pattern choice from lace, to cable to colour work. Some of the books I have probably have patterns in it that appeal to me more but there are still enough in there to make it worth while. I would look out for socks being too tight though. Despite casting on more stitches than I would normally these socks seem a little tight. If I was knitting them for myself I would move up a needle size. As these are the only pair I have knitted from this book I can't possibly comment on the rest. It's something to look out for though.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

My First Lace Shawl!

I have had on my bookshelf "Victorian Lace" by Jane Sowerby for a few years now. It has been much admired but always gently placed back on the shelf with wistful thinking. Until this year that is. One of my new years resolutions was to try a lace shawl. I decided my gran would be the perfect recipient for such a gift and that Christmas was a big enough time frame. The weekend away with my knitting group was a perfect setting to try something new (i.e. surrounded by experts to call on should I need help) and so gave me the excuse to put this book to use and fulfil my new years resolution. I have done lace before but lace socks is nowhere near the same as a lace shawl.

I actually enjoyed it. I like the repetitive nature of the lace pattern and the outcome at the end. I think I also made the right choice in using sock yarn (4ply) rather than lace weight. That said I did have other things in between which meant that this was left aside for a long time. Christmas seemed so far away. This weekend I picked it up again and managed to finish not only the centre piece but also the border and the surprise crochet edging.

I have a nasty habit of getting half way through a pattern and then deciding as soon as I don't take something in I can't do it. This was the case with the edging. I was sure when I got to it I couldn't do it and was contemplating finishing without it. In the end (and possible because it was for my gran) I forced myself to read the how to part at the back and learned how to do a crochet cast on which was the only thing stopping me. Turns out it was easier than I thought. I was ready to celebrate the fact that I was finished and then I read that I had to do some crochet (hence the crochet surprise). I only learned to crochet this year so again I was sure I couldn't do it and again I forced myself to read it properly and give it a go. So after a day of blocking I have my only new years resolution complete. I have finished my first lace shawl and I have learned to do something new in the process. Lets just hope my gran will like it (in the photograph my mum was coerced into posing with it).

I highly recommend the book itself. It has so many beautiful patterns in it with a whole how to section at the back. It has more instructions on different ways to cast on than I knew existed. If I had the time (or the talent) I would knit every single one of the shawls within. I also think that a few of them could be easily modified to throws if shawls aren't your thing.

I have only three pieces of advice if you decide to get this book and use it. Firstly if you have never tried lace before then take a chart and maybe knit something small such as a scarf. It should get you used to following charts as well as knitting with lace. Also, use a thicker yarn such as 4 ply. You can still get that lace effect by using larger needles. Lastly, blocking does make a difference. Before I blocked I couldn't see the lace in the centre piece and the border was nothing more than a curled up edge.

I have plans for more lace but not until after Christmas. Until then I will have to make do with lace socks.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

One Christmas present down!

I was working on Christmas decorations for my Folksy store. Then I realised I might not be giving myself enough time to finish Christmas presents. So it was back to the knitting. I finally managed to finish my first one. This pair of socks is for my dad. Once again I used neutral colours as he isn't fond of bright socks. I love the way the yarn stripes up and am actually a little jealous that I didn't use it for myself. Unfortunately the tag for the yarn has long since gone and I didn't think to take a note of it (a tip to everyone - keep a hold of the tags from your yarn as not only does it give you washing instructions it helps when someone else asks what it is). I always promise myself I will hold onto them but they always end up in the bin.

As well as being the first Christmas present finished (he will get other things, promise) it was also the first time I used my knit pro DPNs. They really do make a difference. It's so smooth and your knitting just seems to flow with them. I highly recommend them.

I am working on more Christmas presents and yes also more socks. I am currently knitting a pair for my sister. The yarn is Lorna Laces and I am loving the colours. They are actually spring colours. I did buy it in the spring but have only now got round to using it. It actually works out well as I hate the winter and this seems to brighten up the day a little.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

So Pretty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This beautiful card is the creation of my friend Dawn of 3 Sneezes and a Magpie. It's so lovely and it was made just for me. It's a thank you card from herself and another friend, Donna, for teaching them socks. It even came in it's own little box! I can't believe the detail that has gone into it. Going to have to find a place to display it. As much as I am tempted to keep it in it's box so it doesn't get damaged I also think it would be a shame to hide it away. Thank you Dawn!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Square throw finally finished

I finished knitting this throw last week. I just needed to block it before I could photograph it. Even after blocking the edges are curling slightly. I know why it's doing that though. I cast off at an increase row when I should have done it the previous row or the next one. It didn't occur to me until I realised that blocking wasn't working as it should. Not to worry it still turned out and hopefully mum will still like it. She has a square table in her room that she has been trying to get a table clothe for. I am going to suggest she uses this as it's the right shape and it's thin enough since it's knitted using sock yarn.

I had plans for more of these square barn throws but I think I will be bored doing it again. Two is enough. I am not bored with blankets and throws in general though. I have more projects in mind for the future. For now though it's back to Christmas projects. I am almost finished the bulk of a shawl for my gran. I will start the border this week. Plus everyone can expect socks for their Christmas.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Sock lesson anyone?

A completed sock by one of my friends! To be fair this isn't her first sock, just her first toe-up sock. Still I am just pleased that I was actually able to pass something on. I have tutored before and helped out before but mostly to beginners. It's a bit different when those you are teaching are already experienced knitters. They can knit so you know that if they don't get it it's down to your teaching skills and not their ability. The next challenge would be to teach a complete beginner cuff down. Or maybe to teach a non knitter to knit. Anyone want a knitting lesson?

I should probably point out that my friends toe-up sock is so neat (a lot neater than the first toe-up sock I did). She is indeed a talented knitter. Her first cuff down sock was also tidier than my first attempt.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

I will finish it!

Remember this blanket I knitted for little sis a while back? I am working on another one for my mum (the red one that was meant for a friend who then changed her room - mum has now claimed it). I am determined to get it finished some time soon which is why I have had nothing to blog about the last few weeks. Fingers crossed I will have it finished this week. It already has 120 more stitches than the one pictured. Once done I can move on to more Craft fair prep (I might have the opportunity to take part in some local ones) and Christmas presents.

Tonight though I am off to see little sis for a craft night. The blanket is staying at home!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Knitting Class

Last night I had a knitting class only this time it was me taking it. A friend asked me to show her how to knit baby socks and another friend joined in after I let her know I would be doing this. I have taught knitting before but one friend I was teaching from scratch and it was a simple scarf. The other was a beginner knitter and I really only helped her out (again with scarves) when she needed it. So I was a little nervous. Especially since both friends are already knitters. I am a firm believer that if someone can't learn it is the fault of the teaching method rather than the individual. I just hoped I was able to explain things clearly.

I think I managed it. They didn't seem confused which I see as a good sign. Also by the end of the night they had finished to toe of the sock and knitted the first round of the foot.

I was really impressed with the results. You do not want to see the toes of the first set of socks I knitted. Theirs are so neat. The top image belongs to my friend Donna who learned to knit cuff down socks from a friend. She completed her second pair of those last night. The second pair belongs to Dawn who only learned to knit on the round two weeks ago and has never knitted socks before.

Next week I move on to part two which will involve knitting the heel. As it's the same as the toe I am sure I can it talk through how to do it. Hopefully I will have two little socks to show knitted by my two friends.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A little bit jealous.

I have been working on a few ideas for the next craft fair or just to sell on my folksy site. I have had the idea of making embroidered bookmarks for a while now but only just tried it out this week. This little girl did not come out the way I was hoping. I was hoping for cute and sweet. Instead I got creepy. She reminds me a little bit too much of the little girl from Doctor Who episodes Human Nature and Family of Blood. Maybe I just watch too much TV as Clare from I drew the stars has said she wants this one. I have plans for other designs though, less creepy ones.
I also got a couple of baby sock sets finished. I started the mint and white ones during the craft fair. Both sets are made from cotton.

This pair though is my favourite. I hadn't intended to put these colours together but after messing about with my yarn I decided to try it. I now wish I had enough of this yarn to knit a pair for myself. Sadly I think the burgundy is a discontinued shade.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Crafty Critters Craft Fair.

Today was craft fair day. I am actually exhausted right now. It's amazing how sitting about can tire you out, lol. I took some of the photo's for the crafty critters page as a favour to the organiser. I was planning on bringing the camera along with me anyway and offered. Just as well since poor Lynne was run off her feet. Does mean that I can share a photo of some of us setting up.

After a week of rushing to get things done I had quite a leisurely morning. Not like me to be organised but it meant that I could turn the little design I made to use as my business card logo into a little table sign.
This was everything I had to offer. I have spent most of the week panicking that I wouldn't have enough despite sharing a table. Turns out I had nothing to worry about although there were plenty of people who's tables were bulging (and from them I got some ideas for getting the most out of table space for next time).

This last week I have been mainly working on space invaders cards. I have to be honest that this probably appeals to my inner geek more than anything else. I love space invaders. I have it for the DS as well as an app on my ipad. I did try out a white and purple one too but unfortunately the purple was too pale and you could barely see it against the white. The red and white is my favourite colour combination for this one.

My mum's favourite card is one that I finished off at the last minute. A reindeer card with Christmas bobbles hanging from his antlers. I designed and knitted the main design a while back. As I wanted some non Christmas cards too I decided to leave it for a fair nearer Christmas. However, having a wee bit more time than I thought I would I finished it off to see what people thought of it.

The fair itself was a little quiet. Nothing to do with advertising. It's just been a lovely week weather wise in Glasgow and today was proving to be the same. Most people would rather spend the few sunny days we have outside. I still managed to sell a few things though and I did have a lot of fun. I got to see a lot of friends and ex work colleagues. I also loved seeing the other vendors. There were lots of jewellery and cards. A friend of mine is an artist and she had a table selling her work. She does children's illustrations which are beautiful. They remind me of Oliver Jeffers. I love his work and I think I will definitely be buying something from her table next time. You can find her blog here Another ex colleague works under the name Cushion & Cake which is exactly what it says on the tin. The most amazing looking cupcakes (I was strong and didn't eat any) and lovely stitched cushions. You can find her store here

Despite how quiet it was we collected just over £200 pounds. I think that's quite good considering. There will be another soon and I have plans for a wider range. So watch this space.

As I said I was sharing a table. I shared with my friend Helen who is also a knitter but is also the most amazing scrapbooker. She is the one who gave me the idea for my friends Wedding album. She made these beautiful cards. She is hoping to soon start selling baby albums. They are honestly the loveliest albums you have ever seen. You wouldn't get anything like it from the store. I am hoping that next time she will bring along her sample album and so that she can get some bookings. The next one is nearer Christmas which will be the ideal time for people buying gifts.

Now that it is over I am actually feeling a little at a loss. I have many projects I should be working on but feel that I should be working on goodies for the craft fair. I guess that's just what happens after spending the last few weeks doing nothing else apart from work.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Craft Fair Day Has Arrived

Yep, it's craft fair day and after many early mornings and knitting nights I am organised. All I have to do now is price everything which is easy enough. Didn't think I would get to this stage if I am honest. I ALWAYS leave things to the last minute so that it's a mad dash. My friends wedding album was done the day before too. I have always been that way. I was exactly the same at university. Then again at work I left my actual presentation writing to the day before which of course added to the nerves of having to do one. Will I ever learn? Probably not.

So I have for sale my sock key rings and some cards. That's what I have been working on for the last two weeks. I have also packaged up the pin cushions I made since they are just sitting there on folksy and a matching needle book (only one of those). My pride and joy though is still the one thing that is free. My business cards. My sister is such a talented lady!

I am looking forward to this fair anyway. I know a few of the vendors and I can't wait to see what they do. My friend is sharing my table and I have already seen samples of her amazing cards. The organiser is a jewellery maker. We have an artist who does the loveliest illustrations and there is a cushion makers. I can't wait to see the vendors I don't know too. There has been quite a bit of advertising for this so it should go well. Plus it is for charity.

There is another in November so (assuming I manage to get a table) I plan to have the baby socks I was unable to get finished for this one. Also some embroidered book bags I designed for my knitting groups challenge.

If anyone is free today we will be at the Shawlands Kirk, 5 Moss Side Road, Glasgow from 11am - 4pm. Entry is £1 (going to a cat re-homing charity) and kids get in free. There will also be face-painting and a tombola. It should be good fun!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Baby Socks For Sale

I knitted these baby socks a few weeks back using Rowan Cotton yarn. I intended to knit lots of sets like this to sell at the craft fair this Saturday. I didn't give myself enough time though and I didn't want to just have one set of these. So I have posted them for sale on my folksy store.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

I'm Still Here!

I am still around and still crafting away but I have been busy preparing for a craft fair that takes place this Saturday. That and I have been working. This work malarky is getting in the way of my craft time.

I was though, able to design my own business cards this weekend. Once I did all the stitching my lovely sister did the rest. I love them and will have them with me on Saturday. Speaking of, had better get busy.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Bridal Shower!

One of my best friends is getting married in October. She has been swithering over whether or not to have a hen night for months now. I think maybe she doesn't like the attention but her mum eventually talked her into having one (which is about a month away) and a bridal shower (which is today). I have never been to a bridal shower before so as soon as she gave me the info I immediately googled bridal shower (yes, I am one of those who goes to google when I don't know something). Hen nights are more popular here in the UK than bridal showers but having both is actually a fantastic idea. It means that her gran and wee old aunts can help celebrate too.

My problem though was coming up with a gift in two weeks. She has been living in her flat for 8 years now and I had no clue as to what to get them. Then I remembered that a friend of mine makes baby scrapbook albums for baby showers (they are the cutest, most amazing things you have ever seen). I decided to make a wedding one for my friend. The point being all she has to do is add her photo's. Now my scrapbook skills are pretty mediocre at best. All these intricate pages you see I can't do. I am too symmetrical when I do layouts. I can't help it. I have tried not to be but it seems I need balance.

I decided with the wedding album simple was best. Her colours are cream, gold and black with a touch of red. Basically she is getting married in Vegas and has these colours in mind as a Vegas theme for her reception when she comes back. I decided to use that (I did try to get some (Vegas like motifs but they hardly screamed out wedding). I decided to split the album into three parts and colour coordinated them accordingly. Wedding - cream pages, Honeymoon - gold pages, Reception - black. I then used cream, gold and black ribbon to thread through the pages (something I am never doing again). The cream and gold bows are also something that can be found on ever page. I used the same gold pen she used for her invitations (luckily I was there when she picked it out so knew which one to get) to label each page.

It turned out better than I thought it would given my lack of scrapbook talents. I just hope both herself and her husband to be like it. I apologise for the poor photo's but I have also never been good at photographing scrapbook pages. Maybe it's a sign!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Knit Camp: Girasole with Jared Flood

My second and last class at the KnitCamp in Stirling was with Jared Flood of BrooklynTweed fame. If you remember I knitted a tweed baby blanket and this was designed by Jared Flood. To say I was geeking out about going to that class would be putting it mildly. I was also very nervous. I suppose it might be hard for non knitters to understand but it was a but like being taught by an idol. Still I was excited too. Jared was very nice and immediately went into teaching mode. You can see what he was teaching us to knit in the photo above. We learned that it the name is actually pronounced with a soft g and is actually Italian for Sunflower.

I actually learned a lot in this class. I learned the best way of casting on when knitting circular shawls. I learned better ways of doing some of the stitches, little tricks that give your knitting a neater look. I also learned some hints and tips about chart reading. I actually taught myself to move beyond knit and purl through using charts. This was back in the day when I only knitted scarves. There were some in the class who found using charts difficult. People like my mum who have been knitting for years and so learned to knit with the pattern written out. It can be difficult to move to charts after that (much like myself finding it difficult to follow crochet patterns as I am used to knitting instructions). So Jared gave some hints as to why specific symbols were used and I learned quite a bit from it.

It was a fun class and the other women were lovely and once again from all over the world. One lady sitting next to me had been in the fair isle class I took on Tuesday and we both exclaimed over the Portuguese knitters. She also told me about some of the other classes she had taken which sounded like a lot of fun. Then Nancy Bush was pointed out to me and once again I geeked out. Nancy Bush designs lots of things but she is famous amongst sock knitters. I have a few of her books and have knitted a number of patterns by her. She is one of few knitwear designers whose books I would specifically go out of my way to get (normally I go by my interests at the time rather than who wrote it).

This is what I managed to get done in the time I was there. Unfortunately, time seemed to fly past. I very much enjoyed knitting lace on such thick yarn. We weren't given enough of the yarn to finish the project (Jared himself thought we would be given enough yarn) so I will probably not finish this. I have yarn there that I do have enough of to start again and complete it. Once I have a few projects out of the way this is going straight back on the pins.

I also couldn't not take some photo's of the Stirling university grounds. How lovely does it look? I think I studied in the wrong university!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Craft Fair

A friend of mine does a lot of craft fairs. She doesn't want to pay the large amounts some organisations charge for a table. She had tried it and she is usually lucky to break even (not including the cost of supplies). So being the super organiser that she is she has decided to organise one of her own. She still charges for the tables (although not quite as much) but the money left after hall hire goes to charity. There is also a £1 entry charge but that also goes to charity. The first one is on Saturday 4th September and I have agreed to take part. So I am working my ass off at the moment trying to get enough things done for then.

The photograph above is a sample of the cards I plan on selling. I decided to use what I learned at my class on Tuesday. All my own design mind you. I will also be selling my sock key rings and with luck baby sock sets. Only one stall is left empty and since the shout out for those only started yesterday I think we will have a full hall of crafty vendors. So if you are in Shawlands that day come along to the Kirk church hall between 11.00am and 4pm and give me a wave.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Knit Camp: Introduction to Fair Isle

I have been looking forward to knit camp for ages and can't believe that it's finally here and I have already had one class (mind you I did only sign up for two). Yesterday I had a class with Liz Lovick who was teaching an introduction to Fair Isle. I had so much fun in that class and I learned loads. We got given the yarn we needed and the pattern and went from there. Whilst we knitted away we got a wee talk on the history of Fair Isle and the Island. I love this sort of thing and found it very interesting. Although I now want to visit all of the Scottish Islands. We got to see lots of lovely photo's of examples from over the years and told ways of telling which islands the pieces came from.

You can see my work space and my neighbours work space here (a lovely American lady).

Also got to see lots of different ways of knitting amongst the class itself. This lady and her friends are from Portugal and they wrap the yarn round their necks. We also had more ladies from America, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and various parts of England and Scotland.

An example of another lady's work. Liz deliberately gave out a mix of colours and light and dark yarn as our first one so that we could see the differences in colour combinations. It really was amazing the change just by alternating back ground colours.

A friend was brought in to show us how a lot of people on fair isle knit. They used three needles on the round. The one they are knitting onto is held against a belt. This prevents too much movement in the wrist which can cause health problems later on. You can also see the vest she is wearing which was designed by herself. Most knitters on the islands design their own.

You can't really see it here but the needle she is knitting onto is leaning against the leather belt. The way she is holding the yarn is just one of many ways of doing it.

Last but not least this is what I managed to get done. I am actually amazed that I did that. I had this image of having complicated ways of twisting the yarn at the back but it wasn't like that at all. We even got a bit of advice on colour choices and designing our own. I am looking forward to actually spending some time practising and experimenting.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Ickle Bed Bug!

I finished another project from Knitting Mochimochi today. This little bite-free bed bug was a request from my sister (one of many after she had a flick through the book). He took no time at all to knit. I used basic double knit which was left over from another project. These little critters are a great way of using up left over yarn. The feet and antennae were a little fiddly. Mainly because you are knitting so few stitches on the round. Worth it though. I Might be a little reluctant to let him go.

Posted this on twitter and my friend immediately requested one. I then showed him to my mum who also put in a request. So I am on my way to starting a swarm of bed bugs. Just as well they are the cute, friendly kind.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Plucky Mushrooms!

Meet plucky mushrooms Hermes and Herman. I knitted this very quickly yesterday. The design is by Mochimochi of Mochimochi land. I got it from the book Knitting Mochimochi by Anna Hrachovec. The pattern was very easy to follow and I took about an hour to knit it. It calls for fingering yarn so I just used up some of my left over sock yarn. Mine differs slightly in that the eye are on the opposite side (purely accidental on my part) and they are also blue (just using what I had). I gave this one to my sister (who also named them) but I am definitely going to knit another for myself.

If you like cute, weird and wonderful then you will love this book. Just check out the others blog (linked above) to get a taste of what you might find there. The photographs in the book are fantastic and the instructions are so simple and easy to follow. I have a list of other things in the book that I plan on knitting in the future. My sister has already mentioned she wants a bed bug and slippers. Whilst my mum has hinted at the grouchy couch. Me, I want the skyscrapers. Other than my sock knitting books I would have to say this is one of my favourites. I just hope the author brings out one with all her tiny patterns.