Sunday, 29 April 2012

Year of Projects Week 43

My Pudsey Park hoodie is coming along really well this week. I've finished all the bits, stitched the shoulders and I've nearly done the hood. I should get that finished tonight, then all I need to do is seam it and knit the button band. I laid it all out together to see how it looked.
It actually looks like it's going to fit, which is exciting. My only problem is that I have no idea how to block it, as the yarn is 80% acrylic, 20% wool. Will it work to just soak it a bit then lay it out to shape or should I steam it? What do you think?

3KCBWday7 - Crafting Balance

I know that this post is meant to be a balance between knitting and crochet, but as I said yesterday, I don't crochet. My big crafting loves are knitting and sewing, with an emphasis on counted cross stitch.

I will admit that I do far more knitting than sewing, mainly because I can watch TV and knit, whereas I can't watch anything and cross stitch. I find stitching takes a lot more attention and brain power to complete, and when I'm tired on an evening, I don't want to be concentrating hard on something.

I would like to cross stitch (and embroider) more. I have a lot of unfinished projects and unstarted kits in cross stitch that I want to get cracking on, plus an embroidery piece for my gran that I know will take several years to complete, but will be so worth it when it's done.

I need to have a free day that I can sit down with a good audiobook and work on my sewing though, and that's not looking likely any time soon. I have noticed that I tend to sew a lot more on holiday. I regularly buy the cross stitch kits that the National Trust produce when I visit an area, or from a local craft shop of a local landmark, and get these finished whilst I'm actually in the place I bought it.

I do find sewing relaxing, but I'm very slow and therefore don't see much progress. I've only finished one big piece, and I'm very proud of it
I think I might need to get the sewing out again, I've got the bug!

Saturday, 28 April 2012

3KCBWday6 - Improving Your Skillset

I'm pretty proud of my knitting skillset to be honest. I can:

Knit lace
Knit garments (which fit)
Double knit
Knit socks

Look, the hoodie fits! Plus, this is a really cute picture...

I can also:
Cross stitch
Machine sew
Spin (in a fashion)

But there are still things I want to learn to do.

Colourwork - I love the look of fair isle, and I really want to try it. I think I'm going to start with some fair isle mittens, or maybe socks
Spinning - I just need to get more skilled at this. I have some fibre and my spindle, I just need to sit down for a weekend and have a go
Crochet - I have some hooks and some yarn, I just haven't got round to trying it yet. I love crochet ripple blankets and amigurumi
Quilting - I love quilts, this will be tried soon
Sewing clothes - how cool would it be to be able to tailor your clothes to fit you perfectly?

My major problem with expanding my skillset is not a lack of motivation, but a lack of time. I can sit down and knit in front of the TV on an evening after placement, but learning something new takes time to be set aside to do it, as well as brainpower to get it done! There really needs to be more than 24 hours in a day...

Friday, 27 April 2012

3KCBWday5 - Something a bit different

I am so proud of my entry for today! This is definitely something different for me, since I haven't done any drawing since GCSE art, and I'd forgotten how much I missed it.

I drew each of the pictures in this Gif, then put them together to illustrate what my hands look like when I'm knitting. What do you think?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

3KCBWday4 - A Knitter For All Seasons

To be honest, this post probably doesn't apply to me, as everything you have heard about British summers is true. British seasonal weather is:

Spring - Rain
Summer - Rain
Autumn - Rain
Winter - Rain

We probably get one week of sun and one week of snow in the year, and these do not tend to fall in summer or winter, but at random whenever the sky feels like it.

So is it any surprise that most of my knits are relatively warm and snuggly, but not too thick and heavy. Oh, and are not made from yarn that might felt when worn in the rain

Every item of clothing I have made is there (excluding preemie clothes) and there is nothing light and airy among them. I tend to make preemie clothes that are snuggly and warm as well. Though I do want to branch out into lace knitting, there's something inherently comforting about warm, soft knitwear that you just can't beat.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

3KCBWday3 - Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero

I actually had a lot of problems with this one (quelle surprise). I had a think through all the people that have inspired me to knit, and came up with a few.

First off is my Gran, who taught me to knit when I was a little girl. Although she didn't encourage me to take up the craft properly at that time, she gave me the tools to be able to pick it up again easily when I decided to start again. And of course, she gave me all her needles as well as my Great-gran's when she realised I was serious about it. Since she no longer knits any more. I still have the first project I ever made, with her guidance
I think that's pretty good for a six year old!

Then there are the nameless people who retaught me to knit at 15 at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitch Show. I don't know who they are, but they gave me and my friends free yarn and needles, and gave up their time to encourage us to learn and lend us enthusiasm about the craft.

Another person who was instrumental in causing me to take up the needles was

Confessions of a Yarn Addict
Peppermint Mocha Mama
A Stash Addicts Ramblings... 
Master of a Thousand Things 
Misadventures in Craft
Hazel's Crochet

There are many other wonderful blogs out there, and this is just a small selection of my favourite, or this post would just become a massive blog roll. I just wanted to show my appreciation for all the blogs I read and the wonderful people who write them and are so inspiring and helpful.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

3KCBWday2 - Photography Challenge

As people probably know, I am not the greatest photographer in the world. I was planning to take a yarny picture, but time and inspiration were against me, plus I can't hope to compete with some of the amazing photographs I've seen so far, so instead I am posting up my favourite picture of all the ones I have taken. It's not yarny at all, but I hope you won't hold that against me!

This is definitely a picture that looks better enlarged, so please click to embiggen!

I love the look on the birds face as he looks at the camera and prepares to take flight

I realised I did have a suitable yarny picture. It's not going to win any prizes but it is very cute
He's so long suffering! The yarn stayed around his ears until I removed it to knit with, he was happy just being stroked. I think he suits his knitted accessory

Monday, 23 April 2012

3KCBWday1 - Colour Lovers

I've  decided to participate in the 3rd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and the topic for the first post is colour. This has inspired me to take stock of my colour choices in life, and examine what I like and what I don't, colour wise.

When looking at my wardrobe and clothes choices, these are the major colours present. I wear a lot of black jeans and black t-shirts (usually band t-shirts), with the odd pink, grey or white t-shirt or hoodie.

Unless I'm wearing my uni colours which are:
Apart from this, there are a few colours which are very rarely seen in my clothes:
There is a similar picture with my yarn stash and projects:

And my pinterest boards show a similar theme:
So it's obvious that I'm not a rainbow girl. I love colours, but only those taken from the second half of the colour wheel. The thing that got me thinking is, why, if I love colour, do I wear so much black and grey, and why do blue and purple feature so heavily in my choice of yarns, but so little in my clothing? I do have a purple t-shirt, and a blue t-shirt and cardigan, but the majority are black or pink if I'm feeling bright.

I think I need to branch out and experiment with colours. I love the way that pink, purple and blue interact and compliment each other, being similar colours and yet so different and distinct. And I love pairing bright colours with black in a way which highlights both but causes the bright colour to stand out.

Plus I don't think I could ever bring myself to use orange yarn...

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Year of Projects Week 42

The boy's scarf is finally finished!
The vital statistics: It is 7 foot 4 long and 9.5 inches wide, containing approximately 82,280 stitches (yes I was geeky enough to work it out). It uses nearly 1.5 km of yarn and has taken 2 years and 3 months to finish. And I am so proud of it! When we went out for a meal on the evening of Connor's birthday, I had 6 ends to weave in. I was so close. I got it all finished the next morning though, and he didn't mind it being a bit late.
A close up of the design at each end. I think this turned out really well. The only annoying thing, which couldn't be helped, is that obviously the stitches are the opposite way round on one end compared to the other, though it's not that noticeable. I was worried about the change in colour half way through the scarf, where there is obvious striping thanks to the same dye lots being different colours. However, it's not noticeable when the scarf is worn because it sits on the side of the neck, which is the main thing.

It is like working a 1.5 foot wide scarf in 1x1 rib, so it takes forever, especially as you also have to juggle 2 balls of yarn. And I'm totally nuts because I'm already planning my next one, though it is for me so will be much shorter! And it seems like Connor likes it (I think calling him the boy is confusing. He's my boyfriend and I call him that in real life, but I think it's much harder to get a clear meaning across on my blog, so I'm going to stick with his name.)

Taken yesterday in one of the breaks in the torrential rain. He refused to smile properly though, since he knew the picture was going on the blog. The pattern for the scarf will hopefully be out next week sometime, if anyone is mad enough to try it!

Since I finished this, I picked up my Central Park Hoodie again. When I left it, it only had a back and half a left front, but since Thursday it has gained a right and left front, and half a sleeve
I've nicknamed this my Pudsey Park Hoodie, as it's nowhere near posh enough to be Central Park, since the yarn is 80% acrylic and 20% wool, and very cheap. But I like it a lot, just like I enjoy being in Pudsey Park (the park in my hometown) though no one could ever call it posh.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Birthday boy

I was so close to finishing the boy's scarf, but so far. When we left to go for dinner last night, I had 6 ends left to weave in, which I did this morning. The boy then decided he needed to wear it in bed this morning, since it was finally finished!

He had a good birthday, getting to indulge his gamer geek side with a blackberry playbook and a copy of skyrim from me and a snazzy new gamer mouse for his computer from my Dad. He also got some digital scales (which I have already borrowed to weigh yarn), and a le creuset casserole dish from my family.

We went for a lovely meal at a French restaurant in town and had Lidl champagne (very cheap, but actually very nice!)

The house is now covered in sparkly 21st birthday confetti, which I will admit I went a bit overboard with... It's all over the bed and the floors throughout the house.

I'm just happy he had a good day!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Year of Projects Week 41

I know that this post is late, but I have a good excuse. I was on call yesterday for what sound have been a 12 hour shift (8-8), but ended up being more like 10. I was on my feet all day, and I was so exhausted when I got home that I sat on the sofa and didn't move until I went to bed. I'm lucky the boy spoils me, he made a delicious tea and got me everything I wanted so I didn't have to get up

But update on the Scarf of Doom
It is now 6 feet long, which means that if I want it to be finished by the boy's birthday, I have 2 nights to knit an entire foot in length. I might be mad, but I'm going to try. I just think it'll be a really nice 21st birthday present. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Plastic Surgery Week

Yesterday was one of the most exciting days I have had since I started placement. I actually got to get involved in surgery and do some really interesting things. It was burns surgery, and I got to excise the skin for the skin graft and then mesh it. I also got to cauterise some blood vessels using the electric cauterising implement. Finally I got to glue the graft after it had been placed on. Of course, I was watched very carefully by the surgeon, and she did the major things (which could actually go wrong), but it was amazing to get involved and feel like I was doing something.

I also got to really help in surgery at other points this week. I got to do some suturing (stitches) of a wound, and also hold retractors to make things easier for the surgeon to operate. I actually felt useful in surgery, and the operating team commented that it was unusual for students to actually help out, rather than get in the way.

I've really enjoyed my week in plastic surgery, and I'm really grateful to the patients and doctors who allowed me to be involved and hands on in my training.

After my rant earlier this week, I also decided it was time to do something about my lack of work. I needed something to make it more interesting, so I went out and bought these:
They're really good, and so much more interesting than just reading a book. I can recommend them to anybody who is interested in how their body works. They start from absolute basics, so you do not need to have any prior knowledge to use them, and they work you through all processes or body systems step by step. They drawings are excellent and it is really easy to follow which areas you need to colour. They also really seem to help my learning by forcing me to focus on and think about what I am doing, and therefore focus on the reasons why something is a certain colour, and what is happening in each illustration. I have already worked through several pages, and I'm actually enjoying working, which encourages me to do more.
They're very thick books, a couple of hundred pages each, and very detailed, meaning you get an excellent in depth knowledge of the body from them, rather than just an overview. Obviously they do not tackle disease, only the normal state, but the knowledge of normal is very important, as it is only through understand what is normal in the body that you can understand what goes wrong in disease.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

So much to do...

... so little time.

The amount of work I have to do for this placement has really only just hit me now that I realise we have our exams in exactly 10 weeks today. It's so hard to keep on top of spending time on the wards learning the skills it takes to be a good doctor and spending time with the books learning the knowledge. I get back from placement and I'm exhausted, all I want to do is sit and knit, not pick up my books and start studying. I need to learn some good study skills, as this is unlike anything I've ever done before. They do say it's a sink or swim year, and I hope I can stay afloat.

In better news, I got my dissertation mark back and I got a first (yippee) along with some lovely comments from my examiner. I'm so proud of myself, as it's one of the hardest things I've ever done, and I came out with a better mark than I even imagined I would.

I think I need to accept that I will have no life for the next 3 years or so, and then I should be able to get through =P

Plus, I'm missing the time to read and comment on people's blogs, so don't think I've forgotten you, I will catch up as soon as I can!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Year of Projects Week 36 - 40

Since I've finished all my gifts and my Sooper Secrit Swap project, I've been getting back to the boy's Scarf of Doom. I didn't bother to measure it, but it's getting there slowly but surely. I'm aiming to have it finished by the boy's birthday, which is the 18th April. That might be a bit ambitious, but wish me luck with it!

I did get a good bit of knitting time this weekend, as I went to see my parents for 4 days. I had an amazing weekend, I got to see a few friends I haven't seen for a while, went out for a nice meal to celebrate my Mum's birthday belatedly and the boy's birthday early. It was quite clear that even the car didn't want the holiday to end, as I got five minutes away from the house on the way home, and my windscreen wiper broke so we had to turn round and head back again. Luckily the car parts shop was open, so my Dad managed to bob out and get a replacement.

There was an amazing surprise waiting for me when I got home
One of my Mum's friends was having a clear out of the books she had for her degree. She gave me first refusal on the ones I wanted, and some of them are amazing! I've given a donation to her charity of choice in exchange for the books, and I can't wait to sit down and have a proper read.

Friday, 6 April 2012

FO Friday - Who?

It was my Mum's birthday yesterday, and since I was coming home for the Easter weekend, i decided to knit he a little present. Shes been complaining for ages about having a very boring hat for dog walking in the winter, and if you remember, I managed to accidentally buy some very nice, but purple, Debbie Bliss Realto Aran yarn when I was attempting to buy navy.

I decided to make the Who? hat. Since my yarn was aran weight and the pattern calls for worsted, I knitted the child size, and it came out perfectly sized. And it was very much appreciated as the yarn is soft and lucious as well as being very warm, perfect for a hat.

Mum seems to like it. It's lovely being home, I had a couple of friends over today for the afternoon, and we had an indoor picnic with Pimms (very British) and it was great to catch up with people I haven't seen in ages. Then my Mum and I went to Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker (the ballet) which was fantastic. The costumes were gorgeous and the dancing was amazing (not that I know much about ballet). 

For more FOs check out Tami's Amis

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Forge World Open Day

We decided to spend the day today at the Forge World open day at Warhammer World. If you know anything about Warhammer, then you know that Warhammer world is the place where all the designers and sculptors  are based, and it just happens to be 5 minutes down the road from my house.

It was great to be able to see the design process of the models and be able to chat to the designers about how the make their decisions and attempt to make things look realistic and in keeping with the look of the universe.

There were also some amazing dioramas, and I took a few pictures of my favourites.
 An giant model amongst the little ones

 Gross, but very cool

I love that little guy, he looks just like a darlek crossed with a tank.

Of course, there was some amazing painting
And the boy had to buy one of each of the special event models, so he's very happy with that!