Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Mood Blanket Update 5

I took the above picture of the blanket for an instagram tag. We were to post what we were working on at that moment. I had just finished today's colour. While this photo doesn't show the extent of the blanket I prefer it to the one below.

Truth is I am not a fan of it. I love the challenge of it and the idea behind it but I am not really happy with the way it looks. My mum is happy with this mind you as she has now claimed it. Her favourite question at the moment is asking how her blanket is coming on. I told my sister at the weekend that I wasn't liking it and she wasn't surprised. Said basically it had to do with my OCDness and need for order. She put it a lot nicer than that but it pretty much sums it up. I need my stripes to be in an order, not random. Which would defeat the purpose.

It is getting bigger though and if I can get one more double stripe out of each colour I will be happy with the length.

Day 28 - pale blue - enough of Sunday hating. Spent some time playing with my new toy (iPad air - was a gift).

Day 29 - purple - feeling very productive. Got a lot more prep work done for my report and a good chunk of my management essay done

Day 30. - teal - happy day. Knitting group day is always a happy day.

Day 31 - mid green - got a little work done but also working on my boot cuffs which happen to be green

Day 32 - mid blue - happy day. Got the internet to work on iPad in uni which meant I could go to the quite zone to work (as apposed to the quiet computer lab where people pay no attention to the fact that they should be quiet, grrr). Lots of reading done and lots of feedback about third essay.

Day 33 - burgundy - warm and cosy day. Got my third essay planned and started. It was horrible outside but I was inside baking (more banana loafs).

Day 34 - bright pink - sister day. It really should have been blue mind you as it was also Doctor Who day.

Day 35 - white - still trying to stay away from the Sunday hating. Bit of a meh day mind you. Should maybe have just used grey.

Day 36 - dark blue - so cold outside and it was foggy. Would have used white again but had used it the day before. The dark blue can be for the ice which nearly caused me to fall on my backside on the way into uni. Also, I got to finish a book I was reading for fun and it only took me two days rather than the two weeks that has become the norm of late.

Day 37 - yellow - fairly happy. Working away on uni work when I really want to craft (this is a break) but I do get to go to knitting group later.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Joint Effort!

So last week I knitted a sock. That's right, not socks but a sock. A friend of mine from my knitting group asked me to do the partner to a sock she had already knitted. It had been a few years since she knitted that first sock and she was no longer sure how to do it. If you didn't know already I love knitting socks and was happy to do this for her.

I had planned to use this as a way to post some tips about how to knit ensure your socks match. However, I was so intent on ensuring these socks match that the first and only photo I took was this one. Which isn't very helpful. I was so intent on making sure they matched that I plain forgot.

Making them match when you are knitting the pair yourself is easy enough with a little concentrating. Knitting the partner to another persons work is a little trickier. For a start the yarn used is variegated. Normally I wouldn't care about starting in the same point in the colourway of the yarn as I like to see the different ways this type of yarn could knit up. This wasn't for me though. That was the easy part though. The hard part was making my tension match. I knit the same way I write. I put a lot of pressure on the needles and my knitting is tighter as a result. My friend is a more relaxed knitter and her tension is perfect!. So I had to loosen up to make it match. That took a lot of concentrating as I don't generally have to think while knitting socks.

The heel was also different. I think it's called a short row heel. I usually do this type on toe up socks and I haven't done those in a few years. Truth be told it was nice to do something that I hadn't done in a while.

It has been a long time since the basic sock has been a challenge and it made for a nice change. It has made me realise I need to try new things with socks which is why I am going to try more colour work next year. Next year I am also teaching a larger group of people than I normally teach. So that will also be a challenge. I'll also use that to blog some hints and tips that I've picked up myself. I will try to remember to take more photo's next time.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Return of Soluble Canvas

This was the free gift with Cross Stitcher a couple of issues ago. I was looking forward to it because I do like a Christmas decoration. If there is one thing you should know about me it's that I am one of those very annoying people who LOVES Christmas. I love the atmosphere and the run up. My Christmas spirit usually kicks in after Guy Fawks night which makes me one of those people you love to hate. Unless of course you happen to be the same. I try not to push it on other people though until it's almost December and occasionally I manage all the way until it is actually December. I tell you this because if you don't want to strangle me maybe it's best to avoid me.

That though has nothing really to do with this post other than to explain why I was looking forward to this issue. I like a Christmas decoration and I like the non-traditional. I know doves are traditional but it wasn't the usual Christmas tree or Santa. I also liked the fact that it was another opportunity to make a decoration with a hoop frame. This meant the glue gun was coming out and I love my glue gun. Even though I don't get to use it often it is my favourite crafting toy.

So, as I said, I was looking forward to it. However I opened up the packet and found that it contained the dreaded soluble canvas. If you remember my post on the squinty owl this canvas did not work well for me. My experiences with it have been less than positive. So I was dismayed to find it in this pack. I remember seeing another crafter on instagram saying that she felt a little insulted that the magazine felt that it was necassary. I understood that feeling and decided since the fabric was some kind of evenweave that I wasn't going to use it. I have used evenweave before and I love using it. It turns out that it wasn't just a case of skipping a hole as you create a stitch. Doing that the stitches were still far too small and it was going to look untidy.

I then resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to use this canvas or replace the fabric with my own. So i pinned the canvas to the fabric and got started. I was pleasantly surprised. The canvas didn't change shape as much as it had with the owl. I didn't feel that I had done anything different. I was still using the antibacterial gel to keep my hands from oiling up. That didn't work last time but it did this time and I wonder if the difference was the fabric itself. Perhaps the heaviness of the felt was what contributed to the warping. Then when I left it to soak it came away completely the first time. Again I think that the contributing factor here was the fabric itself.

I was happy with the end result and I now have a sweet little Christmas decoration which has been up on my wall since then. I did warn you that I was one of those annoying types. Now, I am not saying that I have fallen in love with soluble canvas. Perhaps though, I will feel a little less dread when I come across a project that requires its use.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Mood Blanket Update 4

So today is supposed to be the last day of working on the mood blankets. However, due to popular demand the lovely Lisa who organised it has extended the deadline. It has been extended to the end of the month. That's another two weeks so fingers crossed the blanket is long enough. I might run out of yarn by then and I really don't want to buy more for it so another reason for me to hope that I am finished by then.

Day 23 - dark blue - not feeling very motivated with course work. Had to force myself to get some work done.

Day 24 - mid green - still not feeling very motivated. However, happy over having started a new project. Plus a good start to Christmas shopping.

Day 25 - white - tired but working away on new knitting project which always makes me happy. Needed a light colour to waken me up

Day 26 - yellow - feeling happy. productive day at uni. Got lots of good guidance for an assignment that's new to me. Plus I came home to a shiny new toy that I was given as a present. Proud owner of an iPad Air.

Day 27 - pale pink - happy. sister day which always makes me happy. We went for a drink and had some lunch. Then spent the evening watching classic Who while having some wine.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Wear the Rainbow!

Remember the scrummy yarn that Lisa gave me to knit her socks? It was one of her own hand dyed yarns and was aptly titled Rainbow Bright. Well, I finished them and I have to say I am a little sad and happy at the same time. Sad because, as I mentioned with the first time I tried Lisa's yarn, it was so lovely to knit with I didn't want it to end. Happy because look at the pretty! I think it's safe to say that these socks are unique.

I loved the way the colours of the yarn striped together and created a spiral pattern. It brings together the strangest combination of colours which somehow work. Like green and reddish-pink, yellow and purple. I can't help but wonder how Lisa managed to get the colours onto the yarn like that. I have seen pictures of her yarn drying but it must be difficult to get so many colours onto the one yarn. The mind boggles.

 My favourite part of the sock though is the heel. You can truly see the rainbow there. I could stare at it all day. The toes also ended up like this but a little bit more subtle than this. If you look closely in this photo you can also see the sparkle that runs through the yarn. Yep, that's right, this yarn has everything. It's soft, full of rainbow goodness and has a sparkle.

I said my favourite part was the heel. Really it was handing the socks over to Lisa. I have never seen anyone so excited about receiving them in my life (and I've had a lot of positive responses in the past). She did a dance around the room and jumped on top of a chair so that everyone could see them.

The result of this has been is that I have been asked by a few people to teach socks again. I now have a list of about five people. That will keep me out of trouble in the new year.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Mood Blanket Update 3

I finally got round to the book review for two reasons. First of all it's a beautiful book and deserves to be raved about. Secondly I didn't want this blog to be over taken by the mood blanket. Having said that I didn't realise it had been over a week since I had posted a proper update. So when you get to my list of moods it might seem a little long. There are also only 6 days left to the crochet along. I have enough of each colour to do at least one more round (13 colours) and to be honest this is no where near long enough. I will just keep going until the yarn runs out. In all honesty though, while I am enjoying the project, I'm not really liking the colours together.

Day 14 - grey - I really do hate Sundays. Spent the day doing some work and thinking about having to get up early in the morning.

Day 15 - burgundy - Blackest of moods. If I had bright red to match my anger or black I would have used it. Burgundy was the closest I had to red. A lovely fellow student decided to be not so lovely in regards to a group project.

Day 16 - Teal - needed some cheering up after the day before (still seething) and so used my favourite colour.

Day 17 - white - picked to match the colour of the sky. Plus I really wanted to use one of the new colours I had picked up.

Day 18 - mid blue - fairly good mood. Given a lecture to help us with an assessment we were all struggling with. Had one of those 'eureka' moments.

Day 19 - yellow - a response about day 15 put me in a very good mood. Plus with the horrible weather we have been having I needed something bright.

Day 20 - bright pink - The best of moods. A day of having lunch with my cousin and then dinner with my three beautiful nieces. As loud as they can be they would put a smile on anyones face.

Day 21 - green - feeling delicate thanks to wine the previous day. However, did get to snuggle up and watch Coraline with my nieces in the morning.

Day 22 - grey - not in a bad mood or anything but I think the wine drinking over the weekend caught up with me. Could barely keep my eyes open.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Storyland Cross Stitch by What Delilah Did - Book Review

I am an avid reader and LOVE a fairy tale. I go through phases of reading certain genres and at one point I was obsessed with books that put a new spin on fairy tales. Which is why when I saw this bandied about on instagram (instagram has a lot to answer for) I knew I needed this book. Although to be honest I was sold on it from the rave reviews from other stitchers.

It's a lovely book. Although it's a paperback it has a dust jacket so you can take that off when you are working on projects. The projects inside are all inspired by fairy tales and stories. It also has a rarity for craft books and that's a wee kit for you to make one of the smaller projects.

Since I do love frogs (all goes back to my love of Muppet's) I had to stitch the frog prince. I managed to do this in a couple of days between other things. This was my first time using a hoop to frame a project. I'll not show you the back because my first attempt at this wasn't the neatest. However, I do like the effect and I had a lot of fun using the glue gun.

The projects go from novice to expert and there are both small and large. These cute buttons are among the small. As much as I love buttons I have never really been that bothered with making my own. I might have to try my hand at these though as I love the delicate feel to them as well as the natural colours.

There are a number of cushions in there and this is one of them. I quite like it. Not sure if I will make it though.

I will put this on my to do list. I do like a crown. This project is among the more difficult. Which is not that difficult as it only uses the one colour much like most of the projects in the book.

These hoop framed projects are my favourite though. Which is why I chose the frog prince for the fabric and thread that came with the book. I think that once all of my Christmas projects are done and I can relax for a minute with uni I will stitch the leaves. Although I also want to stitch that tree.

As I said it's a lovely book. The tones are all very natural as you can see from the images. The photographs in the book are lovely and it would encourage almost anyone to want to make one of these projects. The brightest colour is probably the fox which features on the front cover. I do like the natural tones despite my usual attraction to brights.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

I Was Bad!

Yeah, I went back for the yellow and white. The last few days my mood blanket has been all dark colours. There is a reason for that which will be explained in my next update. However, I went for a walk today and decided to pick up some yarn I needed for a Christmas project. I couldn't walk away without these colours. My mood blanket is calling out for something light. What is lighter than white and yellow? Although, when I got home the yellow seemed a little darker than I had been picturing it since Saturday.

For the Christmas project I am making some mug cosies for friends. My uni friends and I don't usually do Christmas gifts but a couple of them mentioned they wanted to this year. They are going along the nursing root (well, we are working towards our nursing degrees). I decided to make them something and my friend Lisa suggested these. A fab idea so long as I can manage it.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Mood Blanket Update 2.

I've still to do todays mood stripe but it's early yet. Otherwise you are looking at two weeks worth of moods. Doesn't look to bleak does it? I have to say that I am enjoying taking part in this. I am loving seeing everyone's projects as they go too. Colour is a wonderful thing. You have experts (or are they experts?) who will tell you what each colour means and what moods they depict. That doesn't change the fact that colour can mean different things to different people.

I ended with day four last time so I have a fair few moods to catch you up on. I had meant to post this sooner but I spent some time with my sister this week and I got to see a friend I hadn't seen in years (see day 13 for the colour on that one).

I also saw that a local shop had these yarns too. They didn't have as many colours as the online store but they did have two that I don't have - yellow and white. I wasn't so bothered with the white but it took will power I didn't know I had to walk away without the yellow. It was so lovely and bright.

Day 5 - green - feeling guilty over not doing the work I had planned to do.

Day 6 - pale pink - day spent with sister is always a good day. Plus pink is her colour.

Day 7 - burgundy - I hate Sundays although I did get to spend some of it with my sister

Day 8 - dark blue - headache from early afternoon to bed time.

Day 9 - pale blue - good mood - productive day and then there was the knitting group

Day 10 - Medium blue - spent studying a subject I don't enjoy. On the other side I also got some crafting done.

Day 11 - mid green - Halloween!!!

Day 12 - pale pink - another day with sister. Lovely lunch and a chilled day.

Day 13 - purple - a good day as I got to see my lovely friend. I chose that colour specifically because she was wearing a similar colour.