Friday, 28 February 2014

Sneak Peeks!

I started placement this week which is why this is my first post and there was no pinterest post. I had intended on posting at the end of last week but time got away from me. Basically, I just want to let you all know that I haven't disappeared. It's been difficult to update now that I am no longer at uni and my laptop is still not working. I need to resign myself to the fact that it's never going to work again. Thankfully it works enough for me to get all my stuff off it. Plus, good news, I have a shiny new laptop which I will hopefully set up tonight.

Not sure I would have been able to update anyway. My placement is amazing but busy. I also have a couple of hours of travel to get there. That all combined, I just want to crawl into bed when I get home. There has been no crafting. Instead I have been managing to read a little. I have a few days off though and I plan to get some crafting done in between studying.

The first plan is to finish a pair of socks. That's the first sneak peek. I think they will be done this weekend and when I post about them it will also include a giveaway. So look out for that.

Knowing that I was going to be tired after shifts I wanted something simple to work on. I had some lovely Rowan yarn that I have been dying to use. It was originally going to be used to make something for my sisters bedroom. However, it's handwash only. My sister will happily accept handwash only socks but not throws or blankets. So it's now for me. Frustratingly I had thought I had bought more of the yarn than I did. I have used up the pink and so will have to buy more of each colour if I want to be able to use it as a decent sized throw or lapghan.

So, I started another throw. This time definitely for my sister. The yarn is just an acrylic (yarn snobs beware) so it can be washed at high temperatures. She wanted something to brighten up her living room and so I offered to do this for her. Really she is doing this as a favour for me as I now have something that I can work on without thinking about it. Yes, it's another solid granny. I really haven't gotten enough of those yet.

Yarn snobs come back! I decided to have a go at colourwork. If I kept putting it off I would never get round to it. This yarn is the loveliest yarn I have ever knitted socks with (not counting Lisa's yarn mind you). It's regia but it's angora. So lovely and soft. Not sure how my colourwork is turning out but who cares. It feels nice. It also takes a lot of concentration to follow the chart. So I will only be doing this a little bit at a time.

So that's what I've been up to. I will soon have an update on my sock class which finished last week. I also hope to return to pinteterest posts as of next week. I may not have many finishes over the next two months but I will still be around.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Pins I Love - Mittens

Since it was snowing last week and very stormy in lots of places both in the UK and outside I thought having a mittens post would be apt. I love mittens, especially those with colour work. The closest I have came to this is fingerless mitts and it was all in one colour. So I don't think that counts.As always click on the images for the links. I should also warn you that the last image contains bad language.

I love daisies and so these immediately caught my eye. I think it's a combination of the daisies and the blue. It stands out against the white and blue is my favourite colour.  Sadly, I'm not sure how you get a hold of the pattern. I've linked it to the ravelry page of the original designer, Eva-Lotta Staffas, It looks like it might be from a Norwegian book. I wouldn't normally share it in that case but these are too pretty not to.

For those who don't know me I am a self confessed geek. I immediately fell in love with these Doctor Who gloves. Any self-respecting Doctor Who fan would (unless of course you are terrified of the Weeping Angels). This pattern was designed by Therese Sharp and is available on her etsy store, Geekyness Galore. Worth checking out if you are a geek like me.

How cute are these owls? I love an owl and added with the blue it's instant love. I love the look of the yarn too. Looks almost like a cotton to me (I don't recognise the brand). These are available for purchase on ravelry and were designed by Barbara Gregory. Oh, and the pattern even has a cute title - Horatio and Oren.

Well, fingerless mitts were going to have to make an appearance in here somehow. This is a beautiful star pattern and I think the possibilities are endless with all those variegated yarns out there. Better yet, this pattern is available of ravelry and is free. They were designed by Sybil R. I can see myself knitting these at the end of the year.

Okay, so these mittens aren't for the faint hearted. I wouldn't wear them round to your grans (well, maybe my gran, I think she would love them). They amused me though as there are some days when the weather can only be described as such. Am I right? These are available for purchase on ravelry and were designed by the appropriately titled, Drunk Girl Designs.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Things I learned from Knitting by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee - book review!

I have no finishes this week. To be honest, with exams and placement pending my finishes are going to be few and far between. I do have posts planned though and this is one of the first non-finish, non-pinterest post.

It's a review of a knitting book without any knitting in it. Loads of you will have heard of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. She is famous for her words of wisdom from her blog Yarn Harlot. She also has many knitting related books but this is the only one I have (will rectify that eventually). Even more to my shame I have never visited her blog until now and this book has been in my possession since it was first published until 2008.

I love a craft book that you can just sit and read and went through a phase of them back then. This one though seemed to have slipped the net. It's a little book with 44 things that Stephanie learned from knitting over the years. It sounds like a huge number but the longest is maybe a couple of pages long with many only a paragraph. You could probably read the book in a couple of hours. Or you could pick it up when your latest project is annoying you. Or maybe you are between projects. Regardless, it's a funny little book with lots of truisms in there.

There are so many things that I think most knitters can relate to. One was about the generosity of other knitters. They will go out of their way to help you find that pattern you have been hunting for or that brand of yarn. It's so very true. I know this from my knitting group. A new member will come along who needs help and someone will gladly take them under their wing even though it might mean time away from their own project. They put their project plans on hold to join in charity knits and they pass on patterns and yarns too.

There are even hints and tips in there to help you out. For example, don't learn the hard way when it comes to taking shortcuts. Always measure and use your instinct. If you think it's going to be too short it probably will be. Swatches were mentioned in there too. I however, am very guilty of not doing that. I never have. I have knitted that many pairs of socks I usually can go on instinct alone.

So if you fancy a wee read at something light but still knitting related then pick this up or even check out her blog. A friend of mine asked (jokingly) if there was one on crochet. I do honestly think though that everything in there is translatable.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Pins I Love - Crochet Valentines!

 I had a completely different post planned for today (still a pinterest post). Then I remembered that it is Valentines day this week (blurgh). Whilst I have never been one to celebrate it (even when I had an other half) I do like some of the crafts involved. I think us spinsters should claim back the heart. Anyway, it just so happens that all the heart related pins of late have been crochet hence another crochet themed post.

This first one is called the sunburst granny hearts. I quite like these and think they would make fab bunting. A lady called jacquie of Bunny Mummy posted a free tutorial on how to make them. I like the look of her blog and think I will investigate further later. Meanwhile just click on the image and it will take you straight to the tutorial. I should warn you that it's in US terms so if you are from the UK (like me) you will have to translate the stitches.

More heart bunting. I quite like the use of different stitches in this. Plus the edging gives them a delicate vintage feel. This is another free tutorial this time by Yarn Pumpkin designs. You can also find her on ravelry. Again this is in US terms but if you get the UK it's easy to translate. Just write it out again in a notebook.

Not a free crochet design this time. This is a set of washcloths from HoneyBeeAffairs. A lot of people seem to be making washcloths from crochet. This set though I think could be used as coasters. The friend I gave a shout out to in a post last week was making heart coasters for Valentines day. Not quite like these but it did give me the idea that these could also be used that way.

 This one is probably my favourite. It's another take on the solid granny. The facebook group I join in on (for the Love of Yarnigans) is having another crochet along. The charity one is ongoing but they are also doing heart bunting. This was one of the patterns put forward. Another free tutorial this time by loopsan. Plus, they also translate the pattern into UK terms for you. So no need to do it yourself. Not sure if it's the colours I love about it or the solid granny pattern. Maybe a combination of both. I was tempted to join in for this pattern alone. However, I came to the conclusion I can only fit so many things in at once. Maybe next year.

Not a free pattern but still a pattern you can purchase to do yourself. This one is by Zoom Yummy. Worth checking out as she seems to have a number of great patterns there. I like the stitch pattern on these which attracted me to them in the first place. Not sure what you would do with them though. I am a practical gal and think most things should have a purpose. Perhaps these could be used as a pincushion?

Apologies to those who don't like Valentines day although I still say us singles should claim back the hearts. Next week I will post the one I had originally planned.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Socks All For Me!

Lots of sock news today. Mainly I have now three finished pairs of socks which are mine, all mine. I also have some exciting sock news which I will announce at the end of this post.

These are my first finished pair of the year. They are knitted up using Regia sock yarn. I knitted this as a hitchhiker scarf a while back (which was also for me) and I loved the result. I love the socks even more. It's the colours. They are just so lovely and bright! I did make a tiny error. Well, a big one. You will maybe notice that they look rather large. This is because I knitted them on 2.75mm needles. I normally do as I am a tight knitter and so need the bigger size for tension. Now if I was using the 2.5mm I would just add some extra stitches. Which I also did. Not to worry. Slightly bigger just means comfier.

The first pair I knitted alongside friends I was teaching to knit. I also used images from the first sock to create images for my hand out. This second pair I used to photograph a different technique to create the to. Basically, no grafting. You might recognise the yarn as the lovely hand-dyed yarn that my friend Lisa created. My favourite colour is blue and I love the added sparkle. I can't wait to wear them but at the same time they are just too pretty.

These last pair I actually started on a whim. A friend was giving away some Sirdar Crofter in double knit. You can knit socks in double knit but they are mainly cable socks. I picked out this one. I decided to do them on a smaller size needle. Mainly because I didn't have the size indicated and I was too impatient to wait. I did them in a larger size to make up for it and it worked out perfectly. Not often that happens. The yarn was so lovely to knit with. I know I have used it before but I love it. Plus, I do love a cable and these wiggles are super cosy. The only downside is that I am not overly fond of the yellow stripe. I can live with it though.

The pattern itself is once again from The Big Book of Socks by Kathleen Taylor. The pattern is called Wiggle Worm socks. The design is repeated over 8 rows and was fairly simple to follow. I liked the fact that the pattern of the cables continued down the heel of the socks. Don't think I have done something like that before.

Last but not least my news. The lovely people from Black Sheep Wools were looking for bloggers. I volunteered and they have asked me to review this lovely yarn. It's by Regia and is called Highland Tweed. I have never used tweed before although I have always wanted to. So I am very excited about it. More exciting than that is that they gave me two. Once I review the yarn I will be giving the second away to a lucky reader. So look out for that!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Shout Out to a Friend! Stitching a Rainbow.

I am taking a break from my studies to post this (before I go mad). I thought it was about time that I did a shout out post dedicated to one of my many talented friends. Aren't I lucky?I mention the lovely Lisa quite a lot and her beautiful yarns and crochet hooks. This time it's Magdalena's turn. I've known her for about 5 years now and there is nothing this lady can't do in the land of crafts. Doesn't matter if she is trying something for the first time.

Last year she started up her own crafting business called Stitching a Rainbow which is apt for all the lovely colours she uses. She started off with baby quilts which she still does and takes commissions for. Recently she has been taking part in craft fairs and has been expanding her market. I do recommend going to see her beautiful quilts though. She has a facebook page and a blog.

The most recent addition is her stitched notebook covers. As soon as I saw these I had to have one. I love Babushka dolls and so there was really no chance at all that I wouldn't be purchasing one. I absolutely love it. I even love the way it was packaged and it's only today that I have opened it up. I just have to decide what I am going to use it for.

On the night I purchased my notebook she also brought these along. I love both but the bird one with the rainbow edging is particularly stunning. Another friend purchased this one as a gift and has since ordered another. Myself and another person have been blamed for her picking up this fabric (we enabled her). I am quite happy to take the blame for that because look how pretty!

The following week she brought a huge pile of finished covers. I took a photo of some of my favourites. The rainbow one I particularly love. I also like the changes she made to the one with the birds. She also added a range of smaller notebooks which I also love. My mother purchased one of those as they are perfect for putting in your handbag.

Last but not least is the little labels she has stitched inside. To me this just sets them off. How long are you giving me until I buy another one? If you are in the Paisley area pop by and say hello to Magda. She will be there along with lots of other stalls. You can check out the facebook page for the market for details.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pins I Love - In Honour of the Rug!

I meant to post this yesterday but I left my USB at home which meant relying on my iPad. Sadly, as much as I love it, it doesn't do everything I want it to do. Anyway, forgetting computer problems, this weeks Pins I Love is an ode to the rug. Mainly because I am still so very proud of mine. Most of these are either patterns or rugs that you can purchase from etsy. Only one is a direct link to a tutorial. As usual though just click on the images and it will take you to the talented people responsible for these creations.

First of all is this beautiful rug.  Sadly, the pattern is actually no longer available. I've just realised that. I would normally replace it with something else. However, this pattern is to pretty not to share. I love the vibrant use of colour. Orange isn't normally a colour I would choose in a project but it really works well here. I'm not sure but it does look like it is made from t-shirt yarn. The seller is listed as ATERGcrochet and I have linked to her shop since I can't link to this rug.

This is the only post that comes with a tutorial (sorry). Also it's in spanish but as it's a google blog I'm sure most of you will have translate, the computer I am using lacks that at the moment. I love the subtle use of  colour in this. What I really love about it though is the shape. It's definitely original and there are lots of possible combinations if you play about with the hexagons.

This rug is for sale rather than as a pattern and it's by seller lacasadecoto. It looks to be quite large and the neutral colours mean that it would fit in with most colour schemes. It's the neutral colours that appeal to me although I think working with so much grey would drive me nuts. Worth it if this is the end result though.

I'm not going to lie. This is by far my favourite! It's the owl theme.  I love owls in a big way and I would want this in my room never mind a childs. You will notice that this is by the same seller who created the first one. I think you could probably tell by the central design and the use of colour even if the seller name wasn't on the image. This pattern is for sale so you could make it yourself.

I am afraid these rugs are also no longer available. What makes them different, other than the chevron pattern, is the way they are made. The strands of t-shirt yarn are platted and then stitched together. I personally think this would be rather time consuming but look at the end result. These were created by Green at Heart Rugs. Like the first image I have linked direct to the seller. Go and have a look as she has lots of fabulous rugs for sale created in this way. It's worth going to see for the colours alone.