Friday, 25 October 2013

Mood Blanket - first update!

I thought I would post my first update of my mood blanket. After four days of picking colours according to mood I am quite liking the way it's turning out. That initial chain stitch is a little tight though. A friend has told me over and over again to always do the foundation chain using a larger hook and then switch to the right size. I always forget. Well, in future I will remember. I have thought about taking it out again but after four days of colours I really don't want to do that.

My darker colours for darker moods also arrived. Again, I quite like them so it will be hard to choose one for a bad mood. Will just have to wait and see what colour I feel like using when that happens. That blue at the front is a little too bright for bad moods anyways.

Speaking of, I have worried that when it comes to picking my colour I will be swayed by matching with the previous days colour. Or I will develop a pattern. I don't do random very well. However, so far I have been proud of myself. For example, I chose blue on the third day. I was a little reluctant because I didn't think it would match the teal from the day before. I went with it anyway because it fitted my mood and as luck would have it they did go well together.

So here are my moods so far;

Day 1 - Hot pink, excited, tired and lots of laughs
Day 2 - Teal (my favourite colour out of the bunch), feeling productive, fun with knitting group friends, touched by a gift and wine!
Day 3 - Electric blue - very tired, sad at the end of GBBO, satisfied at the end of a good book, excited over a new project
Day 4 - purple - mood started out terrible, felt stressed and very tired, unmotivated, this changed after clarification in class and time with friends.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Look, Looky, I Got Hooky!

I apologise! My mother was watching "Hook" the other day and for some strange reason this one line always ends up stuck in my head. Felt apt here though.

So yesterday I raved about the lovely Lisa's beautiful hand dyed yarn. I also mentioned that she custom makes the most beautiful crochet hooks. I have been coveting one for a long time and it was going to be my post-Christmas treat to myself. Also yesterday, I offered to knit Lisa a pair of socks. All she had to do was pick out the yarn. So last night at knitting group she brings along the yarn and some crochet hooks. As a thank you I got to pick out one.

Now, I like knitting socks. It's therapeutic and I would have happily have done it for nothing in return (it's nice to be nice). However, I couldn't say no. It didn't even cross my mind to say no and this little toadstool hook stood out among the others for me. I love woodland designs and next to owls I love toadstools.

Look! It even matches the necklace my sister gave me for my birthday. I was wearing this last night which, to me, is a sign.

Can't resist a wee close up there. Look at the detail underneath the toadstool.

Not only did I get a beautiful hook but I get to knit with this! This beautiful colourway is aptly named Rainbow Bright. It doesn't matter that the socks aren't for me. I get to knit with the loveliest yarn! I can't wait to see it knitted up. Lisa picked it because of it's bright colours and she hasn't seen it knitted yet, only in crochet projects. If this hook and this yarn doesn't encourage you to pay a visit to For the Love of Yarn, I don't know what will!

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Yarn Yumminess!

A lovely lady from my knitting group has her own crafting business. She makes crochet hooks and she hand-dyes yarn. The crochet hooks are amazing and I will get my mitts on one of those one day. Her yarn I had to try straight away. Especially when I saw her lemon berry sock yarn. Purple and yellow isn't everyones ideal combination but to me it just somehow works. Plus I knew instantly that my sister would love it. Never mind that sparkle that it has running through it to make it extra special. 

When I got the yarn I was actually in a crafting rut. I had a few projects on the go (some of which had deadlines) but no motivation. I couldn't settle on anything. I knew I should be working on those projects rather than starting a new one but I had no will power. I lasted a week and then I began a pair of socks for my sister. I decided on a plain pattern as I didn't want the natural striping from the yarn to be washed out. Or for it to look like that the two are fighting each other (I have made that mistake before).

I have never been so sad at finishing a project. This was just so lovely to knit with. It felt lovely going through your hands. It's a little hard to describe but most knitters (or crochet people) will know what I mean. It just felt amazing to knit with. I loved the end result too. The white flashes through the colours just set it off.

I dare anyone to go try Lisa's hand-dyed yarn and then tell me they don't love it. I guarantee it won't happen. Her business is called For the Love of Yarn and she can be found on facebook where she does most of her selling. She is in the process of opening her online store. As soon as that happens I will post a link. This is also the same lady who is admin for the crochet group I mentioned in the last post.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

National Baking Week!

It's national baking week and I got in there just on time as today is the last day. Okay, the national baking week was really a fluke. I was baking banana bread anyway before those bananas became too ripe even for baking. It's national something all the time and despite updates of these things on twitter and facebook I lose track. I think it was national knitting week too. Although, no knitting got done last week. My crafting time was spent sewing a gift for someone (still working on it).

So ages ago I tried adding walnuts to my banana loaf which I was told was a success. Not having eaten it myself I couldn't say for sure but it was quickly devoured (always a good sign). Since then I have been wanting to try making it with sultanas. Time has not been my friend and this is me just getting round to it. All I did was add half a bag to the original recipe and hoped for the best.

I made not one but two! It's been a productive day. One is going off to my sister who loves my banana bread. The other is staying here. My dad is always upset when he is told to keep his hands off the baking. Therefore it was easier to make two than to listen to the whining or watch the petted lip. So far it has the dad seal of approval but we'll have to see what everyone else thinks.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Crochet Along

A lovely lady from my knitting group is a co-administrator for a yarn love facebook page. Most of the members are crochet fans but there are a few knitters in there too. Well, she came up with the idea of doing a crochet along. I am a sucker for group projects like this and was intrigued. The idea is to crochet a mood lapghan or scarf. You crochet two rows each day and the colour you choose on each day should represent your mood. This starts on Monday and lasts for a month.

The point of it is really for everyone to do something together and see how everyone has interpreted the project. This is one of the aspects of these things that I love. It's also a way of stash busting. Which is perfect for most people. However, remember all those cotton cushions I made? Well that was my stash busting and I used it all. As I am a student and don't work my funds are limited and so I tend to only buy yarn when I need it. I have some leftover sock yarn but I am already stash busting that as I go and there wouldn't be enough for a lapghan. Therefore, I had no choice really but to buy some yarn if I wanted to join in.

I was strict with myself and decided to only to spend a certain amount. I found this beautiful cotton over at Black Sheep Wools and I couldn't resist. Plus it was on offer so I picked out an extra colour. AND they are offering free P&P until Sunday night. It was like it was meant to be. I have always wanted to to a bright colourful blanket with cotton. I realise it was meant to be a mood blanket though and tried to pick out a darker colour. Sadly, the darker colour has turned out to be my favourite of the bunch. I swear it was more grey than teal in the photo.

I promise to post regular updates on how I am getting on. Can't wait for this. Oh, and if you want to join the group it's called For The Love of Yarnigans and everyone on there is lovely!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Sock Club - Book Review

I normally like to try at least one pattern from a book before I review it. In this case I have felt the need to try several patterns before I got to the review. In fact I am in the middle of another one although it's turned into a UFO as I have to finish a few other things. It might be Christmas before this review was posted if I waited until that pair of socks got finished. I think the reason I have felt the need to try more is that each of the patterns are actually designed by different people. The authors are really the editors who compiled the patterns. Although, I know that Charlene Schurch is a sock designer in her own right as I am pretty sure I have another of her books on my shelf. The theme of the collection is there in the title. Each of the patterns were at one time sent out as part of a sock club.

The types of patterns range greatly from intricate lace to colour work to cables. I don't know if you can see it in the above picture but there is also one pattern with beads. The difficulty level ranges from intermediate to expert. It doesn't contain a basic sock pattern although some are more simple than others. So if you haven't knitted socks before I maybe wouldn't recommend the book until you have.

Having said that, this book contains the mosaic sock pattern that I fell in love with. It is one of the more difficult designs. Yet a friend of min who hadn't knitted socks before managed it with just a little guidance. So if you are determined enough and have someone to help you with the technical parts I would say go for it.

I have just one little bug bear about the book and it's really about the layout of the pattern itself. I like a pattern to be systematic. That's just me and the kind of person I am. Start off with the cast on, then the cuff and so on. You can't really get lost with that. These patterns all start with the design of the sock itself and then the cast on and the cuff. In some cases it's even more mixed up than that. The mosaic pattern was particularly mixed with no real logical order. It made making mistakes very easy and made teaching the pattern difficult. My two friends who were learning to make them also found this frustrating but they had me to keep them right as I had knitted them twice already and was used to it.

Other than that it's a great books. Not a lot of designs in it compared to some I think, However, there is a pattern in there to suit every taste. For most of the patterns I would recommend a solid sock yarn but there are some that need a variegated yarn.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Pretty Balloons!

I have a book review planned. Okay, so most of it is still in my head but I will plan it out properly. The problem with these things is that quite often once I have finished a project I want to move on to the next. Even if I haven't blogged about it yet.

Anyway, I bought some pretty fabric. One thing you should know about me is that I am not a fabric hoarder. I tend to only buy as I need and that's not that often. However, I saw this fat quarter set in Hobbycraft and I couldn't walk by it. It also contained some cute animal prints. It was the hot air balloons that caught my eye. There seem to be a lot of items around just now featuring them (don't worry I still love the camper vans too). So I now have this pretty fabric that I don't want to cut but want to use at the same time. I understand that this is a problem that most fabric lovers have. My question is what should I make with it? Any ideas? Keep in mind that my skills are rather basic in this field.