Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 20 to 22

I'm really not doing well at updating here!

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If you remember last time I posted, I had been working on my Shetland fleece. I've now carded a good chunk more and also spun a full skein of yarn. It's 91g of DK weight, 169 yards, and has an identical grist to my sample, which I was really pleased with, as it means my spinning is consistent enough to spin a jumper's worth of yarn from this fleece. The only problem might be yardage, but I'm doing to see what I get when I've finished spinning it all, and hopefully it will be enough.

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I also have an update to the yarn that I stripped of colour last week. As you can see, I tried to strip the colour from a few skeins, but only one worked.The others became slightly lighter, but not enough to be usable. Also, the yarn became quite rough and brittle, which will be fine for my quilt, but I wouldn't suggest doing this for yarn destined for clothing. I then overdyed the one that worked using Wilton's Icing Dyes. I did a bit of experimenting, first trying to paint stripes on in Royal Blue and Sky Blue, which just led to a large amount of blue dye water all over my kitchen, and I think I would need more of  paste to do this.

So after a bit of mopping so I didn't dye my entire kitchen blue, I rubbed the Royal Blue dye paste directly on to the yarn in a random fashion, wrapped it in cling film and microwaved it. This worked to an extent, but the yarn was still majoritively grey, and the blue dye had not been completely heat set, so I overdyed it in a pot on the stove with Sky Blue. I was hoping for a slightly lighter colour than I got, to show the colour variations better, but I'm happy with this yarn, and I can definitely use it now, which is a plus.

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There's also been a few knitting finishes. I finished the minion hat that I was making last week. I ended up merging two patterns and modifying them both. I used the knitting pattern from one hat with the eye from a different hat which was entirely crochet

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This was made for a friend, and a mutual friend and I threw her a full minion themed birthday, so this was made to match the cake we made (she baked, it's coffee and walnut, and I tasted, then we both decorated. Plus we made a cake for the minion cake, so we wouldn't have to cut into the minion straight away).

This project (the hat and the cake) involved transporting 4 bags of cake baking equipment and an entire bag of yarn to our rented flat, as we were on placement about 2 hours away during the week, baking and crafting like mad, and then transporting the cake, the hat and all the supplies back with us without breaking anything, so it was a real labour of love! I think it was appreciated though.

The other big finish was the design for my waterfall cowl, which I am so happy with. It's really soft and snuggly and I'm still in love with the stitch pattern

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I think that it is the perfect length, because it wraps warmly around the neck, but also can be left to hang loose without being too long. It's also reversible:

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In case you can't tell, I'm really proud of this pattern, which is currently being test knit, and should hopefully be released pretty soon. I also taught myself to photoshop because I could not get a colour correct picture of this greeny-blue, and I think the photos came out pretty well as well. It's definitely a useful skill to have.

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And last but not least, what I'm actually working on at the moment. As this is the first update in December, I think I need a hexipuff update, I'm up to 74 puffs which is pretty good. I'm now frantically Christmas knitting, and as Connor has been bugging me for a pair of socks for ages, I'm making him some

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Size 10 men's socks on 2.5mm needles! And only in stockinette too! I must really love him...

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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 15 to 19

So I know I have been away for a very long time, life got really busy and I have been on a placement that involves staying away from home during the week, and I've only just got myself settled in really.

This is going to be a picture heavy post, because even though I've not been at home, the knitting hasn't stopped, it's just getting moved about. I've been working on my Shetland fleece, it's all been washed, and I've carded a good chunk, as well as spinning up and knitting a few samples

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I was playing around with both 2ply and 3ply of different single thickness, and knitting them up to see the finished product, and I have to say, I wasn't expecting the striping that I got. It must be because each of the rollags I originally carded had a different combination of colours in it, so after knitting these, I decided to split the wool by colour as well as softness to get a more even coloured yarn, because I'm not a big fan of the stripes.

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I've also been working on my crochet skills, and made another couple of characters from the book Creepy Cute Crochet as a gift for my friend. I'm getting a bit better at reading my crochet now, and I also learnt a few new skills like crocheting through the back loop, and crocheting on a tiny hook with embroidery thread. They're still not perfect by any means, the girl's head is bigger than the guy's, even though they're from the same pattern, and her headband looks nothing like the one in the pattern! Also, my embroidery leaves something to be desired, as I could not get the girls face to look right.

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And onto WIPs. The Blue Beekeeper's Quilt is going well. Puffs are the perfect portable project for when I'm away, so I've been making quite a few, and I'm now up to 70 puffs. There are a few colours that don't seem to fit, and I'm not sure if they'll make it into the finished blanket, but we will see... I might overdye some of them

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And talking of overdying, I have been playing with stripping colour out of yarn to then overdye. I had a load of black yarn from a job lot on ebay, which I was pretty sure I would never use, and some pre-dye dye remover, so I decided to give it a go. I ended up only using about half of this yarn, because I had to use the dye remover twice to get any result at all. And boy did it smell bad!

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Out of 5 skeins (between 30 and 50g each), I only managed to strip any dye out of one. And it came out a tangled mess, because you constantly have to stir the yarn .

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But after detangling, it looks like it is overdyable. I have to say though, it's made the yarn feel a a bit brittle, and I can't say it was a perfect success. Nothing ventured, nothing gained though I probably won't do this again.

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I have had a few problems with startitis as well recently. I've been wanting to design this cowl for a while, and I recently blocked some shawls for a lady on Ravelry, and she sent me this yarn in return, and let me say, the picture really does not do it justice. It's Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply, and I am in love with this yarn. It's a much more turquoise colour, and it has a beautiful sheen and drap because of the silk content, and it's so soft!

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I've also started a minion hat, as a silly gift for a friend's birthday. Another friend is making her a minion cake, so I thought that this would go along with that perfectly.

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And finally, these are the socks I was working on last time I posted. After turning the heel, I realised they were much too small, and so I had to frog back to the cuff, and start again on bigger needles. They're in time out for a bit, as I can't really face reknitting them at the moment.

So there you have it, a whistle-stop tour of my last month of crafting!

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Sunday, 6 October 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 14

I apologise for not getting to everyone's posts last week, it has been a very busy week in terms of real life, which you can read all about later, but I will try to visit them at some point this week.

But in terms of knitting, I started a new pair of socks, which I think will be a birthday gift to my best friend. The pattern is Hopsox and I hand dyed the yarn using Wiltons Icing dyes earlier in the year. I was hoping for a semi-solid, and I think it worked really well

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The pattern is interesting because the cables are ribbed, and there is no chart! Also, the stitch pattern is written on a different page to the leg instructions, and is not just repeated across the leg of the sock. It's pretty easy once you have got through a bit of the pattern, because it's simple to remember, but it did confuse me for a while.

I also got some modelled pictures of my Speleology socks

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So, real life. I'm currently having to decide where abouts in the country I want to be for the next two years, which involves an awful lot of research and trying to decide what my priorities are for work. I have to visit every separate deanery's website, find the relevant information, synthesise it into a document that means I can compare it with other deaneries, and look at the jobs available in that area. It's a lot of work, and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed! In addition, Connor is currently also job hunting, which means that he's trying to find jobs in areas he's interested in (or really any job), but with him being unemployed, it's taken a toll on our finances.

And finally, I spent today packing since I have to move to a small town about 3 hours away for placement, and I will be commuting up there at the end of each weekend, and travelling back home for teaching on a Friday. It's very difficult to know what is best to take if I'm only there for weekdays, and I need bedding and food etc. So, it's been a busy week, and I have a feeling next week will be just as busy! Hopefully we can get it all sorted out soon though!

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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 13

Wow, look at this, a post on Sunday for once!

I think the main thing this week is that the Speleology socks have been finished!

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I'm actually not too sure about them. It's nothing to do with the pattern, they fit really well, the best of any cabled socks I have made, as the leg has more stitches than the foot, which is perfect for fitting around the calf and ankle. However, I was using the pattern to learn to cable without a cable needle, which means that the tension isn't great throughout the entire sock, and is really bad at the start of the first sock. Also, I had real problems with the yarn twisting, partly I think because I bought it in a destash and it came in a ball rather that a hank or centre pull skein. It meant I had to stop every couple of rows to let it untwist, and I think it has contributed to my funny tension.

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I also spent today making two preemie hats as a quick and easy project, because I'm not feeling too well. I love the fluffy pink yarn in the second one, I think baby hats are the perfect use for novelty yarn, as it's really soft. These used up every scrap of all three yarns, which is perfect!

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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 12

This week has been all about working on Speleology. There isn't much to say about it that hasn't already been said really!

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I've done pretty well so far, but I did have 7 hours of train knitting to work on it, because I went to visit my best friend this weekend, and the already long train journey was delayed by an hour. At least it was sunny on the station, but my pattern nearly blew away!

It was a really good weekend. I'm thinking of moving up to her city next year, so we went to look at the hospital and to every yarn shop in the city (6 I think). I didn't buy anything, but not due to lack of things to buy.

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Yes, we were being stupid, but she loved Cthulhu. He is now on her bookshelf with Sidney the Dugong in a top hat and Arnold the owl cushion (she gets all the stupid things that I make...). There were some nice pictures but apparently the only one I have is us messing around with duckface.

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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Paid Pattern: Drip Drip Drop Socks

Drip Drip Drop Socks 

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These socks were designed to mimic droplets of falling water, and are knitted with an unusual stitch pattern that leads to a block of stitches that are twice as high, wide and thick as the ordinary stitches, and so form a circular droplet shape. The pattern itself is a simple toe up sock with a short row heel, and uses only a combination of modified knit and purl stitches. Please make sure to read the special instructions carefully before starting, as they explain the stitches used in the pattern. 

This pattern is very stretchy, so although three sizes are given, depending on the desired ease, you can choose to go down a size for close fitting socks, or up a size for soft loose socks. The number of stitches around the foot are less than normal in this pattern due to the double wrapped stitches being twice as wide as normal stitches. 

The patten is written for 5 DPNs but can be easily adapted to magic loop or 2 circulars. The stitch pattern is given as both written instructions and charted. 

If there are any problems or queries about the pattern, please do not hesitate to contact me 

Small = 15 - 20cm (6 - 7.5 in) foot circumference,  
Medium = 20 - 25cm (7.5 - 9.5 in) foot circumference,  
Large = 25 - 30cm (9.5 – 11.5 in) foot circumference 

Suggested yarn: I Knit or Dye Horses. 
Yarn details: 4ply/sock weight, 100g skein. 
Gauge: 17.5 st x 24 rows in 2 inches in stockinette stitch. The gauge across the stitch pattern is variable. 
Needles: 2.5mm (US 1.5) or size required to get gauge. 
Items made from this pattern can be sold, but please credit me with the design. 

Cost: £2.50 
These can be purchased on Ravelry here or alternatively click the button below to check out with paypal

Third Year of Projects Week 11

Well, this is a bit late this week! In my defence, I had an eleven hour trauma on call shift on Sunday, then did ten hours on Monday, so on Tuesday, all I wanted to do was sleep.

The most exciting thing that I have done knitting wise is release the pattern for my Drip Drip Drop Socks.

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I am really proud of these socks. They were knitted as part of my year of projects, but I couldn't share pictures as I submitted them to a magazine. Although the magazine didn't want them, I decided to self publish on Ravelry, and they're my first pay pattern. I had to figure out the stitch pattern from scratch, to get them to look the way that I imagined them in my head, and they came out perfectly. Plus the pattern is really stretchy, so they fit perfectly, and the yarn is really soft and comfy.

I've also been knitting preemie items again.

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Finally my Speleology socks are progressing slowly, the heel is turned and I'm about half way down the foot. I'm trying to press on with them, but I have to say, my attention is wandering. I'm not great at sticking to cabled socks, and I was hoping that cabling without a cable needle would make it easier. I do like them though, so I will persevere and get them done!

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No pictures, but I've also finished washing my Shetland fleece, and have ended up with just over 600g of fleece to card and spin. Hopefully enough to make a jumper, if I can keep my spinning consistent.

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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 10

Wow, double figures already, not bad!

It's been a really busy week again, which has meant that not much knitting has been done. I didn't do much at all at the start of the week, but this weekend I've been working on my latest pair of socks, in between cleaning the entire house. It's amazing how much more relaxed I feel now that it's all clean and tidy!

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The pattern is Speleology from Knitcircus, an e-magazine which I won in a giveaway last year. I'm using Woolhunter Working Sock, in the colourway Ice Maiden and I'm loving the way that the two colours spiral round the sock. I am a bit concerned, because the pattern said to use 2mm needles, and I decided to knit size small with 2.5mm. This meant casting on 66 stitches, which is perfect for me, but I didn't realise that the stitch count increased after the ribbing up to 72. I'm hoping they won't be too big, but if they are, I'm sure I can find a home for them with my best friend! I'm using this pattern to learn to cable without a cable needle, so the cables aren't always perfectly neat, but my gauge is improving as I go, and hopefully they'll all even out in blocking.

Since I finished cleaning up, I also started to work with my fleece. I've split it into 10 bags by area of sheep and coarseness, and I'm starting to wash it. I can only do this because Connor is away visiting his parents, as sheep fleece is really bad for his asthma. Each bag weighs between 65 and 100g, so hopefully it is well separated and I won't need to do much moving around of fibre before carding.

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In case you're wondering, Connor is feeling much better, though he still has some memory loss, and has tests later this week to figure out what the cause was, fingers crossed it all goes ok!

I've been on call for trauma this week, so I've seen lots of fractures and complex injuries. I seem to have done a lot of holding of limbs, though I was complimented on my stitching in theatre on Thursday! I think it's all the fibre crafts I do, it's very good for hand eye coordination and detail work.

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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Third Year of Projects Week 9

So this is a late update due to a very busy weekend (but more on that later).

I have finished spinning my Juno Angora/Tussah, and it is beautiful. It's really soft and silky, as I was saying before, and I only lost 3g due to the felting in the end, which I don't think is bad. I'm also pretty proud of how well I judged the singles, the mini skein was Andean plied to use up the rest, and it's only 2g, and only used 8 yards of singles, so they were pretty close in length.

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This pictures gives you a better idea of the colours, though my camera hates blue-greens. It reminds me of the sea, it's got that sort of colour spectrum.

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I've also made a little project, my first ever crochet project. Meet Cthulhu, a present for my best friend

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In future, please remind me that a small and complicated toy with lots of little parts is not a good first crochet project! There are a fair few mistakes, but I don't think you can really see them. I had most problems with the wings, as they came out completely different, and I ended up making two right wings so that they would match.

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Also, since it's the first of the month, a hexipuff update! I have 47 puffs now, and I'm making about 12 a month, which isn't bad.

So onto the reason this post is late. I spent the weekend in London! Since I was at King's Cross on September 1st, there was somewhere I had to visit:

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The queue for official pictures was over an hour long, so I didn't bother to wait, but that is Platform 9 3/4.

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We got a great deal on the hotel, which is very posh! This is the grand staircase, and the entire place is decorated like this. It was a weekend of exhibitions, comedy shows, boat trips and a bit of shopping. I went to Loop Knitting in Islington, and decided to give in to the pull of the Wollmeise. I've heard so much about it that I had to try it!

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This picture shows the colours better. It's Poison Nr.5, and I didn't realise that it is a 150g skein, so I should get 2 pairs of socks from it!

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And then when I got home, there was drama, as Connor managed to hit himself on the head (we're not sure how), and has some memory loss. So I spent all of Sunday night in A&E, but he was discharged late on Monday with outpatient follow up, so hopefully there won't be any lasting problems. It was a bit scary for a while though...

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