Friday, September 30, 2016

All the pretty..

I need a yarn diet. Since deciding to learn to knit my own clothes I have jumped in the deep end and bought a ton of yarn this month. It makes me guilty. The thing is most of it really is to make gifts for other people or clothes for myself so I've not been randomly buying things I love (although the temptation is very real). Everything has a destiny and a lot needs to be done before Christmas or Birthdays so I know it won't sit around wallowing in stash. But look at the pretty things!

Araucania is one of the few yarns I have used before and I loved it so I snapped two skeins of this up on Ebay from someone destashing. The Fyberspates yarn is new to me but I love it already before I've even knitted with it. It's just my sort of colours with no "fluffiness" so stitch definition should be great. Some combination of these are destined for the Stephen West Mystery KAL. I'm keen to learn new techniques and from looking through his other patterns it seems like there will be a lot of that plus the idea of knitting something unknown is kinda fun. It starts on the 7th October so not long to wait for the first clue!

The Noro was in my LYS on sale. I don't know if I'll like knitting with it but I love the texture in the ball. I plan on using it to make a scarf or shawl for myself but it's not at the top of the queue. It'll have to wait for some WIP's to be finished. The Royd Moor Yarns I got off the internet so didn't see it in person before buying it. It's quite woolly so I'm not yet sure what it wants to be. When I bought it I was thinking scarf but I'm pretty wool sensitive on my neck so it's not going to work for that. I'll keep it until another idea occurs to me, It's lovely colours.

Last but not least I splurged on some fabulous Wool Kitchen yarns. The hand dyed colours are so amazing I could just buy them all but I bought "Ziggy" which is destined to be knitted into something for Christmas and "Ground Control" I intend to keep for myself. I'm thinking it might make an amazing winter hat. Speaking of winter hats I'm going to start a cute little hat for The Kid. I'm planning on making a Clayoquot Toque for him as learning stranded knitting is one of my knitting goals and I thought this should be an easy-ish way to start. Plus he really needs some winter hats!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WIP Wednesday

I seem to be having a productive day today. I've finished painting the back door this morning, done a load of washing, made a batch of tomato sauce, and now I'm fitting in a blog post. Wow. I'll probably need to go and have a nap in a minute.

So I've discovered more than three knitting projects on the go is too many for me. The BlasterKAL has now started which means I have four on the needles and I just can't spread my time between them all. I don't know how other people manage. In order to make life easier I've decided my Tea with Jam and Bread Jumper is going on hold until I get the Blaster Cardigan finished, so I haven't done much more on it since I last showed it.

It's actually a bit more mustard coloured than this picture.

My big project at the moment is my Blaster Cardigan which is actually growing quite quickly so it may be weeks not months to complete it. I'm just on the upper front sections. It's all very new to me so I'm sort of holding my breath every time I do a new section but I'm learning so many techniques it's a very fun knit. The yarn is turning into a nice fabric but it is quite splitty and so far I've started two balls both of which have had joins after about a row of knitting which was annoying. I've learnt to pull lots out of the ball before I start a row to check for knots.

I'm also still knitting the blue and orange Emily's Favorite Socks. I've just finished the first one and I think I'll put them on hold until I finish off the first Super Secret Christmas project I have on my needles. There's something coming up next month I really want to cast on as well *cough*westknitsmkal*cough* so I want/need to finish some things before then so I can give it the attention it will need. I'm just impatiently waiting for some yarn I ordered to arrive so I can play around with swatches.

My Ravelry queue has seems to have also grown massively this week despite me casting on more things. You'd think it would go down right? I keep seeing cool stuff I'd like to make for other people and I'm itching to MAKE ALL THE THINGS for myself. I guess I'll eventually run out of steam so I should just make the most of the enthusiasm while it's here!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Stick 'em with the pointy end.

One draw back of not knitting more advanced items before is I have none of the needles I need to make anything. Over this summer I've spent a fortune on knitting needles and my collection has tripled. All I had really knitted previously were scarves so I had very few needles useful for the things I now want to make.

I had discovered my favourite needles after a bit of trial and error were metal circulars. The wood and bamboo I tried were a bit too grippy of the yarn and didn't feel nice in my hands. My needles of choice previously were KnitPro Nova. They're lovely to use and the cables are flexible with a smooth join at the needle.  However they are nickel coated and after a bad reaction to nickel in some cheap jewellery last year I decided not to buy needles with it. That discounted my previous second choice of Addi needles so I had a look around at reviews for suggestions.

I've tried KnitPro Zing which are quite pocket friendly and I'm using them to make my jumper but I probably wouldn't buy more. The feel in my hands is ok but the deal breaker is the cable join which isn't all that smooth and often catches on my tight knitting. My new favourite is Hiya Hiya. They're not the easiest to get in the UK and a bit more than I'd spend in an ideal world but I'm trying to get over that by thinking of them as an investment. They're available in sharps but as I know my knitting style by now I know this would just end in sore fingers so I got the normal tips which are still suitably pointed. They're lovely and smooth so stitches glide over the needles and the cable is flexible enough to keep it out of my way, easy enough to use magic loop and the join is smooth. Plus they are stainless steel so no potential allergy issues and it makes them nice and light. I know interchangeable ones would have been an option and in an ideal world I would have just bought a set but they're too much to spend all at once so I'll just keep adding to my collection a bit at a time as I need them. Of course now that raises the new issue of needing storage for them all...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My knitting addiction and the Blaster KAL

I have become a knitting addict. I don't know how but since deciding I need to learn to do more challenging things and actually make garments I now can't stop myself. Part of this I know is because my wardrobe is particularly bare and I really want to have some warm clothes for winter. It's a bit of a long story so feel free to skip ahead but I've not felt properly well for quite a long time and after having my son it got worse. On top of this instead of losing the small amount of weight I gained during pregnancy I started piling on more. Weird I thought but I just got on with things as you do. It wasn't until my son's impending third birthday when I felt so utterly awful ALL the time that I decided I had to find out what it was. 

Anyway.. skip to the end... turns out I'm Gluten and Dairy intolerant. I decided to try cutting back on them to see if it helped and as soon as I did I started to feel better. Six months later I've pretty much cut them out and I've also been dropping a ton of weight over spring and summer until I think I'm about pre-pregnancy weight again. The end result of this long and winding tale is I literally have nothing to wear. The clothes I do have don't really fit, most have been given to the charity shop as they were literally falling off me. I am looking at only owning a solitary jumper that my mum knit me just about the time I got pregnant which I can now fit back into.

I already have a jumper on the needles but I've also decided I need a lighter cardigan for autumn so I'm going to cast on the new Blaster pattern by Andi Satterlund as it's a perfect little cardi and she's having a knit along so there will be other people to ask for advice if I get stuck. I'm doing it in this cotton/merino mix yarn from Drops which is also new to me so I don't know what it'll be like but I've picked a lovely yellow colour. I'm having a bit of a yellow thing at the minute. 

I have had to buy yet another pair of needles though as when I swatched the yarn I actually need a smaller pair than I expected. I usually have to go up a size but this time it seems the 3.75mm might be about right so I can't get any further until they arrive. Fingers crossed they will be right. If anyone else wants to join in the knit along there is a group already set up on Ravelry for Andi Satterlund fans called Untangling Knots and there is a thread already running for talking about it, It's running from the 15th September until November 1st so hopefully it'll be enough time for even me to finish it. Watch this space.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

WIP Wednesday

Hello! Right I have a cup of tea and The Kid is watching Mr Tumble so time for a round-up. I think I still have the same projects going this week. I have got further with them but nothing's finished. However I've also been dreaming about other lovely things I'd like to make and the list is now getting quite long so I really need to put some time into getting things finished (or learn to knit faster).

My blue Emily's Favorite Socks have grown and I'm now on the gusset. It's the first time I've tried using more than one colour and it's not the neatest sock but I like them anyway. Plus the pattern is really well written. I will totally make these again although I have discovered I find knitting plain socks REALLY boring. It's a bit of a chore to pick them up and work on them but it's good practice at how to add in colour which I've never done before. Oh and the Summer Socks KAL ends on the 15th so I'm not sure these will be finished before then as I'm only on the first one. Realistically I think it's just not going to happen. Getting this finished and another knit in a week is pushing it which is a shame as it would have been good to get it done before then.

However because I'm not enjoying knitting them much I'm itching to cast on some more socks. I bought this Superba Circus yarn at the weekend and I've found a great pattern I want to try so I think I might just do it as well. CAST ON ALL THE THINGS! This will probably be a Christmas present though (yes I'm already thinking I need to get making as I'm so slow) so it can officially be Secret Project One.

My Tea with Jam and Bread Jumper has been re-started after messing up the short rows. I found a tutorial with a different way of doing them which I found much easier to follow. It's still not perfect as some of the tension is a bit wonky and I've stupidly jogged one of the shoulder increase seams along a stitch right near the neck but I decided it doesn't bother me enough pull it back to change it. I have the right number of stitches and that's good enough for me.

I still haven't finished my shirt I started repairing last week either which I really should have. I've got a bit of RSI in my hand from knitting socks at the minute so instead of knitting I picked up the shirt last night and managed to get the bottom hem finished as neatly as I can with the tiny amount of spare fabric I had. I just need to fix a botched repair job on the back someone has done and I'm going to change the buttons for something else although I haven't decided what yet.

That's pretty much it for now. I've been doing a bit of upcycling of furniture, planning and organising but I think I'll save that for another post. Happy making!

Saturday, September 03, 2016

A good week.

Urgh what a miserable day. It has done nothing but rain since I got up and I'm supposed to be going to a thing outdoors this afternoon only all I really want to do is sit in the cosy warm and knit. *sigh*

Anyway.. it's been a good week. It's been short because of the Bank Holiday, the weather has been largely good and I've been feeling well. I've become slightly obsessed with vlogs this week. It started with Sockmatician. I'd seen some of his beautiful knitting on Instagram and ended up following links to his You Tube channel. Then he mentioned Inside Number 23 and so I found and watched that and I love her channel. Sewing, knitting AND random geekness so that one was a keeper. Then last night I stayed up watching Dairyland Knits who is adorable. So if anyone else has any good suggestions I might like let me know.

As well as that I've splurged on yarn. I ordered some more for the jumper I've just started so I now have enough to crack on with that (and I got smaller needles which I needed). I also may have ordered some amazing yarn from The Wool Kitchen last night. It is beautiful hand dyed sock yarn which I justified as necessary as I'm going to use it to make Christmas presents. All in all a good week. I now need to go wade through puddles in a muddy field. Fun..