Thursday, 29 May 2014

Love a Stripe!

After the dullness of a sock that should not have been dull you would think I would have been bored to tears by a basic sock. I am nothing if not fickle because I love it. As soon as I finished my poor gran's socks I cast on these. These are for my dad for Father's day. I really don't have a lot spare time to get them done but I don't think that will be a problem. I am loving my addition of stripes and as a result they are knitting up quickly even if they are man size. I am easily wooed by a stripe. I am thinking there will be a stripe pinterest post soon.
 Some of you know my mum and that she always has something on the pins. Her recent knitted item is this owl for me. I did not look through my mum's magazines and then hold this pattern in front of her until she agreed to knit it. Not at all. I also did not nag her and nag her and nag her. If she says otherwise she is telling porkies. This little pillow is actually meant to be a pyjama case. It knitted up too small for that and so my mum decided to lightly stuff it instead. I think he looks better as a pillow to be honest.

While shopping of yarn for my dad's socks I also picked up this pattern for a crochet throw. Cause I can follow crochet patterns now. Actually I would probably have picked it up anyway. It's just so pretty. I love the twirly stitching. DMC have brought out a range of cotton yarns (known for their cotton threads) and this is one of the patterns that have been brought out with it. I am not a huge fan of the colours but I would just substitute them. The back of the pattern contains a shade chart for the yarns which makes it easier to substitute. I have promised myself that I WILL make this for me.

I also picked up my very first quilting magazine. I bought it for the little hexies. I have saw people on instagram making these little hexies between other projects. I thought it would be a simple one for me to try. It's more complicated than I thought though. Most of the magazine is filled with lots of pretty images but it's all beyond my limited skills. Something for when I have more time to concentrate I think (whenever that will be).

I have also found a handy list tool. I love a list. I love post its. I love my academic diary filled with  lists and post its and I love my crafty filo fax. So of course I am going to love an app that combines the lot. So I have uploaded Evernote. I realise this has been around for a while and I am the last to hear about it. I have never been one to keep up to date with these things but man do I geek out with them when I do catch up. So as you can see from my few notebooks I have a fair mix of crafting, books and nursing. I have no doubt that will expand. There isn't much on there yet but I have been adding snapshots of inspirations from magazines, ideas for my blog and notes on the yarns and socks I am knitting. The downside is that you can't access them if you don't have the internet. So it's fine if I am at uni or at home or at my sisters. Not so fine anywhere else as my phone is rubbish and slow so I don't use the internet on it. This will change when I FINALLY upgrade.

One last thing before I go. This is an update on Callum's mission. He has breached his second target and it's going well. The auction for lots of crafting goodies is tomorrow at 8pm (that's UK time). So please check out For the Love of Yarn to bid for something. All the money is going to Cancer Reasearch UK. There are some crochet hooks that the kids designed on there too. As I mentioned before I am donating socks which I will make once placement is finished. There are loads of other fab things though. Sadly I am on night shift and so won't be able to bid. Gutted as there is a beautiful shawl and some lovely yarn on that list.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Death by Sock!

For the first time ever I contemplated not starting a second sock. I never get one sock syndrome. Occasionally I might not enjoy knitting socks but finishing a pair is incentive enough to keep going. I was so bored with this pair I wanted to toss it out the window and never see it again. Which would have been a shame as these are for my gran's birthday and I really couldn't afford the time to start again. Plus it is nice sock yarn. It would be a shame to waste it. Even if it is boring the pants off me.

There is actually no reason why I should be bored by it. I normally love a lace pattern. While it isn't a difficult pattern it's certainly more complex than the socks I have finished (and enjoyed knitting) of late.

Mind you, the pattern was difficult to see until you put the sock on (as modelled by my lovely Mother with the tiny feet). It's from The Sock Club by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott. The pattern itself is called Rainbow over Lahaina by Adrienne Fong. It works over four rounds which is fairly easy to remember so no need to constantly refer back to the book. I did have to up the needle size from 2.25mm to 2.75mm. I started with the smaller needles but I could tell straight away that it was going to be too small for the yarn. Even then I feel that the sock is a little neat at the ankle and my gran has quite slim feet. My mum is the same and she managed to get them on so it worked out okay in the end. If you are knitting it for an average person I would recommend going up a sock size.

The pattern did have one of my pet peeves and that's making the heel more complicated than it needs to be. I've lost count of the number of times I have forgot to follow the pattern and just did the heel the way I normally do. I wish I had done that with this. If I had the pattern would still have worked out and I would have been left feeling slightly less frustrated. It came down to dividing the stitches and after three attempts I still got it wrong. Of course the fact that I wasn't enjoying knitting them (which was all down to me) would have contributed to that.

Now that they are finished though I am pleased with the way they turned out and I think my gran will like them. The yarn I used was zauberball again by Schoppel. This one is called flowers. Which is funny because friends at my knitting group commented that they reminded them of flowers (hence the garden photograph). It isn't as thick as the crazy zauberball and it does have variances in thickness throughout. It can also get a little fluffy. If you can cope with all that it is a lovely yarn to knit with and does make for lovely socks. I did try to make both socks match. Unlike last time it's my fault. I should have started further on in the pink when casting on the second sock. I don't think it matters though.

If you are thinking of knitting this pattern please don't be put off by me. I was clearly in a mood when knitting these socks.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Pins I Love - Buttons!

I was actually going to start by asking who doesn't love a button. Then I remembered that fear of buttons is an actual thing. So apologies if this post is rendering you catatonic. I on the other hand LOVE buttons. I have a box full of them and I will pick up buttons even if I don't need them. I have very fond memories of scouring through my mum's button tin when I was little. My sister and I would pick out our favourites while my mum was probably gritting her teeth at the noise we were making.

Long gone are the days where a button has a purely functional use. It can make a garment pretty or it can be made to accessories. The above image is what I am talking about. This button necklace was cleverly crafted by a craftster user (Macgirl-K). I tried to see if she had a website. She does but it's about her photography rather than her crafting. So if you want to see more about this necklace just click on the image.

There are different ways of using buttons to create a cute bracelet. Myself, my sister and my friend Clare have all went through phases of making them. My sister has probably been the most versatile whereas Clare and I strung them onto elastic. I actually still have some. Anyway, this one above takes a little bit more skill than my method. Plus it will clink as you walk. I love a clinky bracelet. This one was created by etsy seller Mrs Gibson. While this particular colourway is not longer for sale she has quite a few others for you to look at.
I think these flip flops should win a prize for being the most unique in button use. I have to confess that I am not a flip flop wearer. I hate anything between my toes. I also probably wouldn't choose black but I still think they are fab. I could actually see my sister wearing these. Unlike me she is a flip flop fiend. The tutorial (linked to the image) has you stitching the buttons onto ribbon and then attaching this to the flip flop. I bet though that a glue gun would secure them nicely.

I have also seen them used to make cards or wall art. Another friend of mine won a jar of buttons at our knitting group. She made some fab cards with them. This person (Jodi Wiley) has used them to make tree wall art. I love the different looks of each of them. The link above takes you to a blog post she created detailing how she got started on this. However, she has also created a tutorial on how you can do this for yourself.

 This is something else I have done. I created a button letter for my sister. I did get the idea from pinterest so can't take creative credit. What I didn't do was use a canvas like this. It would have made life so much easier. I hand stitched each of the buttons onto some cross stitch fabric and then framed it. This one was done by etsy seller Letter Perfect Designs. She has quite a few for sale and she takes custom orders. If I was to do this again I think I would use a canvas rather than hand stitch them all on. I do like the bright colours in this one (as well as the letter K of course).

This is from pinterest but no website. I thought I would show this off as this was actually made by my friend (Norma of the Wee Crafty House). She took the sensible rout and used a glue gun. She placed them on those letters you get from craft shops that are meant for decoupatch. I think I might actually like this better than the canvas and can see myself creating these for my own wee crafty space (when I get it). Norma has made these specifically for craft fairs.

If anyone has any other button ideas I would love to see them. I am a button glutton. I have a board on my pinterest page dedicated solely to buttony goodness and these images show only a small fraction of what buttons can be used for.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Restoring Faith

Taking some time out from crafting posts to tell you about my friends little boy. He is five years old and he is the sweetest little boy I have ever met. She has occasionally brought him along to our knitting group and he goes round everyone to see what they are working on and asks very polite questions about the projects. Just when you think he couldn't get any sweeter he did.

He is taking part in a race with his school. When he got home he said to his mum that he wanted to help raise pennies for charity so that sick people wouldn't be sick anymore. It would bring a tear to a glass eye. So Lisa has set up a Just Giving page for him and he is now raising money for Cancer Research UK. He is doing very well and his target has already had to be upped because he passed it.

If any of you have any spare pennies please go over to his Just Giving page and donate. It doesn't have to be a lot. This little boy is just happy when someone has heard his message.

His mum is the business owner of For the Love of Yarn and she is holding an auction on Friday 23rd May at 8pm to help raise money. So she is looking for crafty related donations from anyone. I have donated a pair of socks. I actually won't be able to knit them until my placement is over in 15 weeks but she was okay with that (especially since she plans to place a bid on them). So if you fancy donating something or want to check out the auction itself head on over there.

This wasn't my only reason for posting about this. In a world where all you hear about is that bad things that happen I thought it was nice to hear about a very selfless little boy. It makes you think that maybe everything will be okay after all.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Pins I Love - Travel Journals

At the moment I am obsessed with the idea of going travelling. Possibly because I am nearing the end of my course and once I start working I will actually be able to think about holidays.  Also because friends are planning theirs and it's been a good few years since I have been anywhere. To really tease myself I have been reading travel books (well I've read two in the last few weeks). And if that wasn't enough I have been pinning away to my travel journal board. So it seemed apt that this weeks Pinterest post should be from that board.

I've got a little mix here. The first few are the kind of journal I would LOVE to do but I am resigned to the fact that I will never be able to do it. Despite what my sister says I can't draw. It doesn't stop me from buying a moleskin book every now and then and some pens then giving up on it.

Anyway, moving away from me. This first one is by someone called Kolby (at lease that's the name on his flickr account. He is clearly an avid traveller and photographer. His albums are truly something to marvel over. He clearly loves nature and it shows in both his photography and his travel journal. The image above will take you directly to the above journal. However, do go check out the rest of his albums and his blog The Hike Guy.

I have to say that I don't normally like to link to flickr. I tend to avoid posting about pins that do here. That's generally because I prefer to link to tutorials but it's a little more difficult to do that with travel journals. Hence me breaking from the norm here.

This next one is by Michela. Michela's albums are all travel journals dedicated to one city. Since I can only read English I obviously get nothing from the text. Who cares though because you don't need it with the beautiful sketches. I love the detail in them. All of the pages are like this. A good mix of sketching and handwriting. Definitely a journal to be admired.  She has a blog too.

This third one is just as detailed in the sketches as the second. However, they are definitely more visual. Most have very little text or none at all. They are by someone called Ales Motyl and all of his albums (again on flickr) are dedicated to his art. This person is an artist and illustrator and has his own website dedicated to his work.

Starting to move away from the artist travel journals and more towards the scrapbooking kind. I can do scrapbooking. This time this is from the blog of Dispatch from LA. If you visit the blog you will see that this person does sketch, paint and is a photographer too. She has a whole host of journals which you can check out there. The travel journal here seems to be a mix of scrapbooking and sketching while being heavy on the writing. For someone like myself this is almost perfect as I would be able to write down my memories with some mementos.

Last but not least a travel journal I think that I could do. What I like about this one is that it is such a handy size. You could fit it in your pocket or back as you travel around. Of course the size limits you a bit but I still like it. This is by blog Vol 25. This person also blogs about her art and photography. However, this little journal appealed to me because you didn't need the ability to draw. If you click on the link on the image it will take you to the page which shows how this little journal was made.

So there you go. If you are interested I actually have made no travelling plans as yet as I have other priorities. I have a money pot to start saving and a dream of getting a campervan and driving round Europe. I know that's a pipe dream for several reasons;

a. I have to start working as soon as I finish and who would employ someone that's about to jaunt round Europe.
b. I have no campervan not am I likely to as they aren't being made any more
c. I can't drive.
d. I have no sense of direction and would likely be lost forever.

Until then I will continue to tease myself with books and pinterest. I'm good to myself like that.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Last Guilt Free Lazy Day.

This is my officially the last day I can be lazy without any sort of guilt creeping in for the next three months. I would be lying if I said that I hadn't been lazy for the last two weeks. Since I have a hard slog ahead between now and (hopefully) qualifying as a registered nurse I'm not going to feel bad about it. This afternoon I lazily drank some green tea and flicked through some magazine my mum's friend passed on. I enjoyed the peace and quiet although didn't get much inspiration from the mags.

I haven't been too lazy craft wise although I have no finishes to show for it. I ordered some more yarn for the second baby shower project. I am waiting on it to arrive. I had to order it as hobbycraft no longer stock it. They do however, stock a new range. The Women's Institute have brought out their own yarns which seem to be exclusive to Hobbycraft. On the plus side they are made here in the UK. I confess I have a fascination with the WI. They have a reputation for being filled with crafty women so of course it appeals to me. Not that I have read that much into it. It has been a distant fascination. Anyway, the yarn is a good price and there are quite a few varieties. I picked up a couple of the 4ply to put away for Christmas socks.

I realise that Christmas is still a long way in the future and should not even be mentioned. As this pair of socks is for my Gran's Christmas and they are taking me forever it's better to be prepared. Having said that I am loving knitting these. It doesn't look to tidy there but I have tried it on and it looks perfect (for a colour work beginner). The answer would seem to be blocking.

As a result I am having second sock syndrome with my Gran's birthday socks. I am convinced that they hate me. The pattern is boring and it's not really looking much like the photo in the book (until you put your hand in and then it has a mild resemblance). Everyone else seems to love them though. I took them to the knitting group and they were much admired. The fact that I was muttering over the ridiculous instruction on dividing stitches for the heel was ignored. I can say the first sock is done and the cuff of the second has been started. These are meant to be my knitting group project and already I am thinking of what I can take with me instead.

At home it's still project baby shower. I am pleased to say that one is almost completed and the other started. I need yarn reinforcements (hopefully this week) to get on with it. It's quite a nice project to work on despite all the ends that needed threading. The above to 2.5 episodes of Star Trek and 1.5 glasses of wine. And that's all you are getting out of me until it's handed over.

I did also spot some washi tape reduced in price which I couldn't walk away from. I need to get back to my filofax. It's feeling a little unloved the last few months. Oh, and giant paperclips. Can't say no to a giant paperclip.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Pins I Love - Baby Makes

Before I start I should point out that I am feeling in no way maternal. Nor is this a hint. I chose baby makes this week because I the secret projects I have been working on are for two friends who are expecting. It felt apt to be putting forward some ideas for anyone who has expecting friends. I should also point out that my secret projects are not hidden in this list. So I am spoiling nothing. I could actually have had a post containing nothing but baby knits my mum has done. She is constantly knitting baby things for people in her work. Every time she says that she is going to say no and knit something for herself she caves. This has been going on for over a year now and this time she is adamant.

Anyway, I digress and posting pics of my mums knits would defeat the purpose of my pinterest post. Plus all of these patterns are free (mostly from ravelry). The first one I picked for its stripes. I love stripes. I also can't knit cardigans or jumpers which makes me appreciate this sort of thing all the more. I personally wouldn't knit the leggings but that's just me. It is a pattern by Hanne Pjedsted and can be found on ravelry. As always just click on the image to get the link.

I love this little jacket. It looks so elven and appeals to my not so inner geek. I just thin this would look fab on any baby. Boy or Girl. I also love the cables. Like a stripe I am a sucker for a cable. This is a pattern by Jujube & Lolo and can be found on their blog. Sadly this blog hasn't been updated in a few years (as is the way with blogs). I have linked the blog too though in case you are interested.

Another cardigan and this one a relatively simple design. It has a spring like theme to it which is why I like it. It's the little buttons which set it off. I also like the plain knitting. It highlight that simple can be a good thing. This is another free pattern found on a blog. This one is called Anacapa Knits. This one is still up and running.

 Baby Converse! Much cheaper to crochet this than to buy them. Especially since babies outgrow everything so quickly! Another advantage is that these can be made to match any outfit. You have unlimited colour options. I have actually knitted something similar. I got the pattern from a knitting magazine and made them for a few baby showers. It doesn't have the little logo but it is very converse like (in my humble opinion). This is a free ravelry download.

Lastly a blanket. I usually always knit baby blankets. It's safer that way. I will get it finished and I don't need to worry about it fitting. This one is of course crochet. It's also reversible which is the appeal to me. I am not entirely sure about that green but you could do almost any colour combination. This is another ravelry download. I have a feeling that it will use US terms but it would be easy enough to get that translated.

So with that in mind here are some of my tips for making things for new mums or for baby showers.

1. Don't make the first size. Not if you want the baby to get use out of it.

2. Find out if mum is wanting to know the sex of the baby and is willing to pass it on. Most of the items I've picked out are gender neutral. These patterns are sometimes hard to come by mind you. If you know what the baby will be it makes it a little easier to personalise your gifts.

3. Find out what colours the parents like. Believe it or not there are some people out there who do not like baby colours. I am one of them. A friend of mine who has had a few babies also isn't a huge fan. Primary colours are good as are unusual combinations.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Lazy Week.

One week off so far and only one lovely day. Which is typical. I did get to spend it in the garden and I cast on a new pair of socks. This yarn has been sitting in my stash for so long I actually forgot I had it. I vaguely remember starting some socks with it when I first got it but it didn't quite show off the pattern. I've chosen a simple lace pattern for it this time. I am knitting it up for my gran whose birthday isn't too far away. The yarn is another zauberball which I like. However, I'm not sure about the pattern I've chosen. I'm sticking with it though as with this particular yarn there is only so many times you can get away with taking it back.

As well as sitting out in my mum's lovely garden I also managed to get myself to my knitting group. First time in a few months. It was nice to catch up with everyone and see what projects are being worked on. If you are interested in seeing our group blog you will find it under Glasgow Fort Stitch N Bitch. I've still to update it mind you so you will only see Helen's posts over the last few weeks who kindly took it over.

There are a few baby showers coming up and I have been working on projects for that. I can't show it though as the recipients might see it. So instead here is some coffee and cake because there has been a lot of coffee and cake.

There has also been library visits where I spotted a yarny book corner. Next to a small shelf of books there are knitted blankets and pillows. Two things I love the most. Yarny goodness and books. Everyone should have a reading nook and blankets to cosy up with.

Other than that I have been very lazy. Mainly curled up reading, sleeping or watching DVDs. I had a few bits and bobs I planned to do and none of it got done. Including some some changes to this blog. I have a few days left though. It will get done.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Story of the Fraternal Socks.

The socks using the unwanted Easter yarn are now finished. I have been alternating between hating the colour stripes and loving it. I'm still not sure and every time I see them in a different light they change. I do think my sister will love them though and at the end of the day that's what's important. I confess that I do like the spiral pattern on them. I think they highlight the colours.

You will notice that they don't match. I tried and tried to get them to match. I had unwound just about the rest of the ball of yarn before I came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to happen. For a start this very dark orange only appears once in the whole ball. There are other minor differences too which basically make having matching socks impossible. Not something that has bothered me in the past. In fact I have often quite like fraternal socks. It seems though my need for order has journeyed into the sock world. I'm not sure I am happy with that. Maybe I need to stop matching my socks altogether.

Moving away from that and to the yarn itself. I have knitted with Zauberball by Schoppel before and have loved it. I enjoy the colour changes. This is the first time I have used crazy zauberball. You will notice that two colours are twined together though most of the ball. You would think this would cause the yarn to split but it doesn't. It means it's slightly sturdier than the rest of the zauberball range. It's less fluffy and lovely to knit with. I highly recommend it. Plus if you like more subtle colour changes that the tropical fish they do those too.