Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Christmas Advent Socks

Over Christmas I had two yarn advent calendars. The second was by Bluebell Yarns. I could have added these yarns to the blanket I was making with the other advent calendar. However, this yarn had a completely different texture to it. It felt a little tougher and so I decided to use them for scrap socks. Each new yarn would be added to the socks as I opened them so that I wouldn't know the outcome until that last yarn is opened. I managed to make two pairs from them. One for myself and one for my sister.

Mine came first. Only a few of these colours I would actually pick out for myself. It forced me to experiment with colour and I actually quite like them. The colours are muted enough that they don't really clash with each other.

My favourite pair is actually my sister's. I love the colours that came out for her. The mustard is my least favourite colour. However, it adds pop to the socks and is one of my favourite things about this pair.

This is also a good way of using up scrap sock yarns. I highly recommend it. The downside is all the ends you have to sew in. Part of the joy of knitting socks is that there are so few. However, you have two ends with every change of colour. This is what took me so long to pull them out of my WIP back to finish. Persevere though as it is wort it.

The last parcel produced 50g of this lovely green yarn. I plan to get some cream sock yarn and use them together. And yes, for another pair of socks. I'll finish some more projects before I do that though.

I would definitely get another yarn advent calendar. It's a lot of fun. I have actually signed up for one for this year although it's a little different from last years and starts 16th Decemember rather than the 1st. You'll have to wait for that one though.

Friday, 7 July 2017

My stash June/July

A bit of a cross over for this post. One item is from July and it arrived this week. First of all I signed up for an exclusive with Owl About Yarn. She did a special set based on Wonder Woman. With it I got two hanks of Wonder Woman inspired sock yarn (sparkly sock yarn), a gorgeous Wonder Woman project bag which has a little hook with matching stitch markers, some post its (love me some post its, badges and a cute sticker. Although I haven't been to see the film yet I love Wonder Woman. I used to watch it when I was little. I had a pair of sunglasses that I wore while watching it and I was convinced that this turned me into my idol. Therefore I could not pass this by.

This months Little Box of Crochet is very cute and very summer inspired. It contains everything you need to crochet a little phone cover and keyring. It has a little rose motif which I love and will be a challenge for me to do as I have never done anything like that before. My mum would have loved it so I need to make an attempt. It also came with a cute rose stitch marker and a strawberry shopper bag.

I received two of my West Knits KAL parcels since my last post. June's was a yarn by Qing Fibre. It's beautifully soft and is a little thicker than some sock yarns. I can't wait to knit with it. It came with a cute little needle guide.

July's parcel arrived today. I have yet to download the ravelry pattern but I love the yarn. These colours make a nice contrast. The yarn is by Undercover Otter and again is super soft. It came with these badges and patch. I have just one more parcel to receive and I look forward to discovering another new yarn. I will get round to knitting with it.

I also received by parcels from the lovely Lisa of For the Love of Yarn. She is busy preparing for shows and still found the time to send out her club parcels. I am loving this months speckle yarn. Beautiful colours. It came with a sparkly wax melt which gives me all the excuse I need to bring out my candle burner.

I won't be showing off the blanket club yarns. I want to catch up and give it a post of it's own. However, here are this months mini skein club yarns. I love these colours. I think they would make a lovely pair of summer socks.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Christmas Stocking Blanket!

Last week I hunted out my WIP bag. I had a few projects in there that needed very little to complete and it has been bothering. Although not enough to do anything about until now. One of them is this lap blanket. All I actually needed to do was sew in the ends which I finally did. Actually didn't take long at all. I just hate sewing in ends. Most boring part of any craft.

This blanket was actually started at Christmas. You might remember that I purchased two yarn advent calendars. One of those was by For the Love of Yarn. Lisa provided a shawl pattern but I quite fancied the idea of a small blanket. Perfect for over the lap while working on a project.

I love the fact that I didn't know what the next colour was going to be. Despite my lack of will power I was actually very good and didn't open them in advance. Not like me at all. As I wanted to make the blanket slightly bigger I used leftover sock yarn. I chose a slightly thicker sock yarn for the edging to give it a nice drape and used my favourite fan pattern.

It's sitting in my living room for now but I might eventually move it to my little book nook. Can't wait for next years calendar.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Spiral Socks!

I promised my sister that I would knit her some socks for when she stays over at mine. I pulled out all of my sock yarn (of which there is far more than I thought) and got her to pick out the yarn. In the end she couldn't decide between two so I said I would knit both and she could pick which she wanted for home and which she wanted at mine. In my head she had picked yarn from the same dyers and I thought it would be a good idea to use a pattern to compare them. First pair of socks done and then I realised the yarn was from different dyers.

The first pair is yarn by For the Love of Yarn and is a merino tencel blend. It makes for a silky soft yarn. The pattern I used is one that I have knitted up many times before. It's the purl spiral socks from Big Book of Socks. I was working on them between essay writing so an easy pattern was perfect. Having said that I kind of wish that I had just done the basic sock pattern as I feel that the spiral pattern takes away from the striping of the yarn. Lorraine likes them though and that's the main thing.

I do like the heel of the socks. I did the short row heel which this pattern recommends. It creates a lovely stripe so that you can see how the yarn is supposed to look. I think the yarn is too busy for the pattern.

The second yarn is by Mothy and the Squid and is called Luna Moth. It's a merino nylon blend and makes for a sturdier sock.  The stripe of this yarn is better for the spiral pattern. I think that's because of the larger stripes of green. I love the little splashes of yellow.

I did cast on the socks at the same point and yet it still didn't quite work out the same. I either did the cuff a row shorter in one sock or the yellow and purple stripe was a little longer. Either way, one heel is purple and the other is green. Lorraine likes them like that though and it does make them look a little unique so I am far for disappointed.

As much as I want to cast on another pair of socks I have held back. Today I got out my bag filled with WIP and I am determined to get at least a few of them finished before I start anything new.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Father's Day Socks 2017

After a 5 month break from sock knitting (I think the longest period I have went without knitting socks since I first learned) I need excuses to knit some. The first was a pair for my sister just because I thought she would like the yarn. With Father's Day on Sunday I had another excuse.

Now my dad is quite boring when it comes to knitted socks. The very first pair I knitted for him was in a rather heavy black yarn. He loved them. Unfortunately I did not love knitting them and swore blind that I would never knit black socks again. Don't worry, I am sticking to my guns although my dad has been less than enthused at every pair of socks since.

I think he will like these ones though and I actually wish they were for me. They have this same thickness as his very first pair and the same texture. It's the colours I love. Still subdued and subtle but a lovely blend of greens into golds. I am so glad that I used the basic sock pattern to show off the colour changes.

It even worked out with the heel turn. Normally the colour change between the leg and the gusset looks unnatural or odd unless using a short row heel. This worked out perfectly and I was able to ensure both socks matched.

The yarn came with my fibreshare box. It's by Debbie Bliss and is a Rialto luxury sock. The yarn is a wool blend which explains the soft but tough texture to it. It is very similar to a yarn I used a few times back in 2012 called Regia Hand-dyed Effect. It's a little stronger but like the regia it breaks if pulled on too often. The Regia used to drive me up the wall because it happened all the time and I stopped buying it as a result. This yarn only did that to me twice. The first before I started and the second after I had finished the last sock. Luckily I had just enough left on the needle to weave in. It would be interesting to see what other colour options there are in this range.

I have another pair of socks on the pins but I want to compare it to another pair that I will start after so it will be a while before you see it. Next week I plan to show where I am at with my blanket club blanket.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Hearts Baby Blanket

Just a quick post to show you that I have actually finished a WIP. A good friend of mine became a proud aunt. She has been through a lot and it was nice to see her so excited about something. She dotes on her new little nephew and I wanted to make something for him. He is not so new now (maybe 5 months old) as I took so long to finish this. Thankfully it is so big that he will still get good use out of it.

I used WI DK yarn which I have used for this pattern before. It has that cotton feel to it although it's acrylic. Lovely and soft. I picked out green and white as I thought it would be spring like (It was winter when I started this).

This will be the fourth time I have used this pattern. I barely glanced at it as a result. I think next time I will have to try something new. I think part of what took me so long wasn't just because I was so buys but because I was bored with it. Hopefully my friends sister will like it though. All the details of this pattern are on the post I did of the first of these blankets back in 2014.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Fibreshare 2017

Finally, I am sharing my fibreshare goodies with you. Fibreshare happens a few times a year. I took part at the start of 2016 for the first time and it seemed apt that I would join in the first one for 2017. I think once a year is a good number for me.

This year I was linked up with two people like me. They don't have a yarny business they just love yarn. Neither of them have blogs so I have no links for you (other than the fibreshare website).  A lovely lady called Sarah sent me the most amazing parcel. First of all it came in this fantastic box. Once I have emptied it out of all its yarn I will have to think of something nice to put in it. Too pretty not to use again.

Sarah really stuck to all my likes. First of all there is a pretty blue yarn from my lovely friend Lisa of For the Love of Yarn. There is a yarn in there that looks like cake sprinkles which I don't know the brand but it does knit up lovely. You've already seen the socks I made with it for my sister. The green is a Debbie Bliss sock yarn which are on the pins for my dad for Father's Day. I love the deep purple of the Ring a Rosie yarn. I have yet to decide whether to knit up socks with it using a pattern from one of my books for myself or for my sister. The Socks Yeah by Coop Knits. It is gorgeous. I don't think the photo does it justice. I am thinking of designing a pattern especially for it.

I also got a lot of non-yarn goodies. A beautiful unicorn crochet hook by For the Love of Yarn, a fab project bag by Coop Knits, Knitpro DPNs, a little pouch with stitch markers, cute scissors, little cotton labels, an enamel pin, hand cream, soap and body butter, oh and of course tea. I love it all! Sarah was very generous and I have already been working my way through this.

I got to send a package to another lovely lady called Lindsay. It was so fun making up a parcel for her. The detail she put into her profile made it easy. Plus we had a lot in common. I sent her a little more yarn than I had originally planned as I sent the parcel later than planned and I wanted to thank her for her patience. I noticed she had been knitting with a lot of greens of late and so I made sure there was some of that in there as well as some of her other favourite colours. I made sure to include some of my favourite indie dyers. I sent her yarn from For the Love of YarnOwl About Yarn, Mothy & the Squid, Sara's Texture crafts (who is sadly no longer selling) and Rainbow Cloud.

I also sent some non-yarn goodies based on her likes. Thankfully she was pleased with her parcel even if it did arrive just before the deadline. 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

My stash in May

I haven't disappeared again. Work, a chest infection and then my mum's anniversary have all kept me away. I've had some time off work and I have spent the vast majority of it with my sister which has been nice. I even brushed the dust off the old hook and got some crafting done. Although it's extra shifts tonight and tomorrow I consider myself officially back and I thought I need to get posting too.

I had planned to share my fibreshare goodies (both received and sent) but since my postman has been at my door almost every day the last week I felt that it was only fair that I guiltily share the goodies I have treated myself too.

I wanted to start with this beautiful box from Little Box of Crochet. I know one or two of my crafting friends follow Amanda and her team on instagram . So you will have been following Amanda and her beautiful daughter Jenny's story. Sadly Jenny passed away almost two weeks ago and all our thoughts have been with Amanda. This box is in memory of Jenny and it contains a kit for a gorgeous mandala. I never thought that I would want to make one of these but Jenny's mandala is a lovely design and I already know where it's going once I finish it. It comes with a lovely little mandala stitch marker and a stamp. I know you can't see them but it seemed apt that my case of tulips be used to hold up the booklet as I wanted you to see the title. Apt because we all sent Jenny crochet flowers at her request.

Stephen West of WestKnits has quickly become one of my favourite designers. I love his use of texture and colour. He seems uninhibited when using both in his designs which is very refreshing. It encourages you to be the same (although I still think I am a little conservative with my colour choices). I am currently working on a shawl as part of a knitalong and I have bravely used colours that I wouldn't normally use apart from in socks for my sister (who is just as uninhibited when it comes to colour). I since signed up to do another knit along. You receive four patterns and four parcels of yarns to knit these patterns. I don't think I am aloud to say to much about the pattern as yet but I can show you my parcel. I love the yarn. It's exactly my colours. The yarn is by Garn stories and is lovely. I can't wait to knit with it. I also love the little notebook and project bag which came with it. The next parcel is on it's way and I haven't started this yet. I promised myself I would finish some projects before I start anything new but my project list is getting bigger and bigger.

If that wasn't enough I signed up for another knit along. This time a mystery shawl. In other words we won't know the finished piece until we complete it. The pattern is by Joji Knits and you can find her patterns on ravelry. Felt Fusions is a indie hand dyer that I follow on instagram and etsy. She was doing a yarn set especially for the shawl. You could pick your own colours. I asked for teal and for felt fusion to pick the rest based on that. I couldn't have been happier with the colours she picked out for me. They are beautiful and the yarn is so soft. This is going to be one beautiful shawl.

This wouldn't be a stash post without including the lovely Lisa of For the Love of Yarn. I joined one of Lisa's new clubs called speckle yarn club. It's all there in the description but you get a surprise colourway of speckled yarn. I signed up for 100g of sock yarn and I have loved it so far. The first months colourway I plan on contributing to my westknits shawl so that it is all knitted up with yarn from the same dyer. This second one is my favourite. My colours again. I love the beautiful blues. These will become a pair of socks for myself (sorry it won't become the shawl you kindly included Lisa). I do like the shawl and I love the little flower button. If you fancy signing up you still can as it's still available on her etsy page.

The latest themed club Lisa did was magical mysteries. I received beautiful yarn which I know my sister will want as socks. It's called Mermaids wish. I love the little stitch marker, button and magnet. I love my hook with the unicorn poop on top. And as for the rainbow drops, my sister and I loved these when we were little. Takes me back. The next box is Game of Thrones which you can sign up for here. While I read most of the books I have yet to work my way through the TV series (I got to episode 2 back when it first came out) so I am pleased to say there is finally one that I won't be signing up for. Sorry Lisa!

Lastly I thought I would show you this months mini skeins also from Lisa. The purple might go towards my sisters blanket. The yellow might go towards my WestKnits shawl. More beautiful colours Lisa.

Lisa will notice that I haven't shown the box from the blanket club. That's because I have caught up with all the previous months and want to post it separately. It's working out beautifully and this months colours will be a lovely edition.

You will notice that I haven't posted much about the giveaway which I was supposed to announce today. It got very little response. So I can give it to one of the three people who commented (comment again if you are interested) or I can send it to my old knitting group to be used for one of their charity projects or put out on swap night.

Monday, 8 May 2017

One pair of socks

 You would think that with all that time away I would have at least something to show for it. Alas no. All my WIPs remain WIPs with very little added to them. Oh and one more to the pile. A few weeks ago I decided to brush the dust off my sock needles. I've been itching to knit some socks but couldn't justify it. I should really finish something. Well, that will power disappeared after I received my fibreshare parcel and I knitted up these socks for my sister. Just the basic sock pattern as I wanted to knit them quickly and to show off the yarn.

I'm afraid that the yarn didn't come with a label so I have no idea who it's by. I just know it's pretty and nice to knit with. I liked the colours too. Was nice to knit with something pretty and pink. There were a lot of goodies in that fibreshare box which I am dying to show you. Plan for that on Friday. It was supposed to be today but I was so pleased I had actually finished something.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Bullet Journaling

This is one of those posts which I promised you before I took a hiatis. Bullet Journaling or BuJo (I suggest you don't use the second term in a google search. I came across this method of organising via pinterest but I didn't actually try it until I saw how creative you could be with it. That was about October last year. The initial idea of bullet journaling was begun by Ryder Carroll and it's grown arms and legs from there. It was actually from watching his videos on his website which got me into it in the first place. It may look a little different from what you have seen around. It's the most basic which is what I love about it. It can be as basic or as creative as you want it to be.

So here are the basic tools. All you really need is a notebook and a pen. I've also added in a ruler. This is all I use for my work BuJo. I combine it with my studies since it's work related and I find it quite useful. The notebook above is actually my pharmacology study book. My work BuJo is a little worse for wear and covered in post its. It's well used.

The official notebook is the Leuchtturm 1917 which is a grid notebook designed by the BuJo founder. These are extremely popular however, they might be hard to get/or expensive to order in to the UK .I happened across these ones in Ryeman's last week. I picked them up to put away for work and the cost about the same as a moleskine which is my usual go to notebook. This process can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be. I know of people who spend a fortune on pens, stickers, stencils and washi tapes. I advice you start with a notebook you like and go from there.

I don't go all out for buying all the extras. The above is what I use for my personal BuJo. A square papered notebook from paperchase. My favourite pen, my favourite colour of ink pen, a ruler and arrowed washi tape. That's it.

This is actually my second notebook. My first was unlined paper and I didn't like working with it so I recently changed to squared. This first one allowed me to learn what I like and what I don't like so it wasn't a complete waste which is how I have managed to simplify it. I started with an index as recommended. This is quite good when you are looking for notes which I use quite a bit (especially in my work one).

At the start of each month I create the above. I mainly use it to keep a note of my shifts. I list some goals for the month which I do add to as the month goes on (and don't always complete but that's okay). I then have a wee section to list anything that might be coming up the following month as a reminder.

Each week I then create a grid of what's coming up and what my goals are. A lot of people would stop there but I then  do a daily spread too which gives more room to add things as the week goes on.

I quite like it too because I used to be (many moons ago) a journaler and this gives the space to jot a few notes about the week. That's a relatively new thing that I've been doing. There are people out there that completely illustrate their spread but those little leafs are about as illustrative as it gets. I add that little touch of colour and that lifts it out the page. I like the simplicity of it.

Collections are another part of Bullet Journaling. In my work Bujo it takes the form of scribbled notes from training days, lists of things I want to look up, etc. In my personal it's mainly lists. My to read pile is one example. This list I travelled from another notebook. Then it was over two pages and when I moved it to this one I left out the books I've read. I just add to it as I buy a new book.

I also have my 'read' list and a washi arrow at the bottom to indicate that it will spread onto the next page.

My WIP page. I put some yarn stickers on there but I don't actually like it. Lesson learned that I just like the basics. I also have a page to track savings, flat decorating ideas, holiday planning, etc.

There are a few tutorial sites that are good which I will link for you here and on my craft tutorial page. Here is what I have learned about BuJo.

1. Go with what works with you and play about until you find out what that is
2. Don't worry if you walk away from it and then go back to it. It's not like a planner where you will end up with endless blank pages.
3. Do a week at a time so that you don't end up with lots of blank pages
4. Use the suggested key. It does actually work and stops list guilt (the guilt of not completing your tasks).
5. If you really don't like a page you are working on then just seal it away with some washi tape or stick something in there to cover it.
 6. Have fun.

First of all I recommend the tutorial by the creator which I linked at the top of the page. It's very basic as he originally intended and shows you that it can be as simple as you like. Boho Berry was the next tutorial I stumbled across. She is quite artistic with hers and she goes all out for collecting supplies. She also has a lot of random collections that aren't to my personal taste. Having said that I still enjoyed her videos. Tiny Ray of Sunshine is another very similar to Boho Berry but more to the practical side. If you want to see some of the more arty pages (and it won't put you off yours) head over to pinterest where there are lots of examples.

Monday, 1 May 2017

I'm Back Giveaway

Yes, I am back. One course is finished and the other will be finishing in three months. In three months I will be study free. Now that's a lie. I'm always studying and my work BF and I have given ourselves extra study by coming up with a new project. All work related and nursey which will probably be boring (and a little sad given that we have done this too ourselves and are excited about it) so I won't share.

However, I have missed my creative outlet. I have tried to live precariously through my avid Instagram watching (stalking). I have had no finishes. I have had little very time to create. What time I did I have I unwisely used to start new projects. I need to get this under control. Oh, and let's not even mention the fact that my sock yarn stash has probably doubled in size since last we spoke.

I am so excited to be back but I am reducing my blogging posts from 3 to 2 per week. I have no exciting plans either. Other than to get back into it. Although, if you like Bullet Journals or want to get into them then you'll like my post on Thursday.

In the meantime I have a cheeky giveaway. I say cheeky because in the last few months I have changed the colour scheme of my living room. The red has gone (what very little of it there was). I struggled to find the shades of blue I liked with the red without having the place look like it was attacked by a British flag or a certain foodball team. It also made the room darker than I wanted. Therefore I am giving away the yarn I was using to make a blanket. If you are a fan of stylecraft I have two white, two aqua and one crimson going. All you need to do is comment below and I will draw the winner on the 1st June. If you are on Instagram you can alternative leave a comment there.

Lastly, here is what I was using it for, in case you need inspiration of what to do or not to do.