Christmas knits

After the RESOUNDING success of the football scarf I knitted last autumn, the recipient promptly declared that it was the best thing since sliced bread, and that he simply HAD to have another one, in his team’s away colours. Of course.


Cascade 220 on 4.5mm circular needles in stocking stitch

But that wasn’t the whole story. Oh no.

The thing is, this was a Christmas gift. And I messed up.

I started it in early December, feeling very organised (seriously), and I knitted about three quarters of it, before I realised I had knitted the stripes too long and wouldn’t have enough yarn to complete the stripe pattern. So came December 23rd, when I ripped the whole thing out and started again. And then followed 35640 stitches in 49 hours.* But damn it, it was ready for Christmas morning and that’s what mattered. Never mind the fact my hands were misshapen claws and everything looked green by the time I finished, it was met with rapturous delight and both scarves have been in heavy rotation ever since.

Another Christmas knit was a scarf for my nephew – much less hassle!


Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky on 6mm needles in Brioche Stitch

I knit the majority of this on a return Eurostar journey to Brussels – it was so nice to knit. Whilst the football scarf wasn’t a difficult pattern, I certainly made it complicated for myself, so this Brioche pattern (on a rather smaller scale!) was a breeze. Credit goes to the wonderfully clear directions at The Purl Bee. I’m not even sure if my nephew is quite down with wearing scarves, but I don’t even mind because it was a pleasure to knit and what’s more, I used up yarn that has honestly been in my stash for at least the last 7 years…!

* I’m not even kidding, I actually worked it out…

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2013

Happy New Year!

2013’s been a funny one. In the respect that, bar graduation and a couple of other (very special) things, it really wasn’t very memorable. And that makes me a bit sad. (It’s also made writing this post rather difficult which is why it’s so late…)


1. knitting-4, 2. Red Grape Margarita, 3. Hand stencilled!, 4. A little light dissertation reading…, 5. Stars – 30.03.2013, 6. Grey Cable Mittens, 7. c, 8. Chunky scarf, 9. Full moon

I’ve done OK with 2013’s resolutions:

  • I graduated! I finished with a 2.1 and started a Masters degree 😀
  • Whilst I didn’t blog once a month, I managed 8 posts – 3 more than 2012…
  • I’ve just finished book #48
  • I reached sale #20 just before Christmas! Quite a surprise to have achieved this one!

My 2014 goals are…

  • Graduate (again) Halfway there…
  • Be employed (This is, embarrassingly, the most terrifyingly difficult goal by far)
  • Read 60 books on the list
  • Do more good deeds

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knitknitknit

I love this time of year. It’s dark by 4.30pm, the weather is obnoxious and my feet are perma-cold – and yet it’s still my favourite time of year. Not least because I get motivated to knit again!

My first big project of the winter was this *ahem* football-inspired scarf. Definitely not for me… But it was lovely to knit. It was so simple I even managed to do a fair amount of it in lectures 😀 It was knit in the round so it’s lovely and thick, and has a bit of an old-school feel to it. Most importantly, the recipient LOVES it 😀

Next was a Cerus Scarf-inspired scarf, using up lots of ends of yarn that’ve been lingering around all summer. Very satisfying, that. What is NOT satisfying, what I truly hate about knitting, however, is this –

The fact this only sat in this sorry state for a couple of days is something I am quite proud of – I could easily have left this languishing in a corner all winter, such is my hatred of sewing in ends. Alas, it is finished!

It’s not as thick and squishy as I had hoped (maybe I’ve been ruined by the glorious pillowyness of the football scarf…) even though I cast on more stitches and used bigger needles than suggested, but it’ll certainly keep me warm before I need to bring out the big (scarf) guns.

Currently on the needles are some chunky mittens, which are growing nice and quickly even though I’m making the pattern up as I go along (that always makes me very nervous…)

Last but not least, I’ve updated my Etsy shop, with more items to follow shortly!

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7 Years (and 1 day…)

I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I’ve even looked at WordPress. And as it happens, apparently yesterday marked 7 years since I joined WordPress. 7 years and 165 posts. Terrible.

I do cringe when I see my first posts (please tell me I’m not alone in that…) but then I remind myself how much I’ve learned since I first started – about taking pictures, about knitting and sewing, and about my abilities in general.


From this…


… To this


This…


… To this (hand stencilled, fully lined and interfaced – it’s even got fancy zip ends!)


Oh jeez…


Bit prouder of this one…

I’m sure in another 7 years I’ll be cringeing again, but that’s for Future Smurf to worry about. In the meantime, I shall keep on learning.

x





Aaaand breathe…

All that stress was totally worth it: I now officially have a Bachelor’s degree 😀 And I now (semi) officially have a place on a Master’s degree in September 😀 Phew!

Anyway, now I’m excited and much less stressed (ha!) I can get back to crafting and blogging! (HA!)


First ever cushion cover – can’t quite believe I’ve NEVER made one before…

I’ve recently developed a thing for organic and Fairtrade fabrics. Fairtrade products make so much sense to me, but I’d never appreciated the range of available products that are traded fairly. One thing I’d never thought of before is Fairtrade cotton. Some of the facts and figures about cotton production are depressing to say the least, so going Fairtrade seems like an obvious answer. I found this linen-like cotton produced by a small co-operative in Kerala, India, and just love the simplicity of it.


Not bad for a first-ever invisible zip…!

I recently discovered a huge tub full of zips that I’ve evidently had for about 8 years (I wish I was kidding), and want to (need to, MUST) use them up. So of course, zip pouches! The text has a long, convoluted story*, and I’m not sure if it’s a bit TOO ironic, but I thought it was witty. Anyway, any ideas what else I can do with 50 zips that are all different colours and lengths…?

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*Doing research for my dissertation on Surrealism, I came across this painting by René Magritte. ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ means ‘This is not a pipe’. It stuck in my mind and I though it would be amusing to print “this is not a pencil case/pouch” on what is evidently just that. Told you I had a weird sense of humour.



Procrastination Season

It’s that time of year again.

Exams in the next month. Dissertation deadline in six weeks. Then final exams. AND THEN THE REAL WORLD apparently. So of course I’ve found lots of things to do that don’t involve libraries and remembering 29 different tenses in two different languages and research and panicking about life, the universe and everything and so on and so forth…

Some (long overdue) t-shirt surgery, for starters

Band t-shirts are very precious to me. Not least because they tend to be stupidly overpriced. More importantly, they’re normally mementos from special gigs or merch for my favourite bands; but they VERY rarely come in sizes small enough to fit me nicely. However, I FINALLY plucked up the courage to take a pair of scissors to a couple that have been lurking in the back of my wardrobe, using a fitted t-shirt as a template, and now I can actually wear them without being swamped by fabric!

I’ve also discovered…

… Guilt free baking!

OK, so maybe not guilt free, but certainly less naughty (in my mind). As they are made with ground almonds and no processed sugar, they are lower-carb than your average choc chip cookie, and although they are less sweet, the lovely delicate nutty flavour makes up for it.

150g almond flour
3 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g chocolate chips
A splash of water

Mix together. Form into balls and flatten to around 1cm thick. Bake at 150ºC for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Makes between 15-20, depending of course on how big you make them.

Aaand the jar itself is a neat little segway into my final picture…


WASHIIIIIIIIIII!

My mum told me about washi tape. So I bought her a lot of tape. And then I bought myself a lot of tape too. A LOT. And although there are a bajillion brilliant ideas on Pinterest for using it, I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL. It’s too pretty to use. I just like to look at it.

I have also been knitting, crocheting, and planning my life (ish) but that’s for next time.

x



Etsy!

I knew it. I knitted one hat and now I can’t stop.


Aqua/Grey Superwash Beret


Olive/Grey Superwash Beret


Red/White Hearts Superwash Beret

Can you tell that I’ve had exams recently…? And that I’ve been avoiding having to read all this…?


Just a little light dissertation reading…! (~15 books there…)

All available on Etsy. Speaking of Etsy, my friend Paris has been crocheting Red Noses in support of Red Nose Day on 15th March. £2.50 from the sale of each Red Nose will go to Comic Relief – a fantastic cause!

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Practical knitting

This past month has been all about quick, practical knitting.


Chunky Moss Stitch Scarf

First was this ridiculously chunky scarf. I had about two days to do this before the “Snowpocalypse” arrived (about 4 inches of snow, but in Britain, it may as well have been 40) and ready I was. I’ve had some Mystery Yarn in my stash for years – I’m guessing aran/chunky acrylic, and a LOT of it. Anyway, I wanted the chunkiest yarn I had to knit up as quickly as possible, and this fit the bill. Job done.


Protip; it’s really hard to photograph the back of your own head

Next was this Super Simple Beret knit in the same yarn. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have the energy or mental acuity to do anything with any sort of pattern. I just needed something that didn’t keep falling off my head (the ribbing on my Star-Crossed Slouchy Beret had become very sorry-looking) and that I could make up as I went along. Again, fits the bill; job done.

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January

My first FOs of the year!

First, was another Ishbel – intended as a favour, then a Christmas gift, and finally it ended up being a late Christmas gift…


Could have saved myself a lot of aggro if I’d used lifelines from the off…

Second was a Cerus Scarf – also intended originally as a favour, before ending up a very belated Christmas gift. Whoops.


Funny how one can balls up such a simple pattern so much…!

Apparently the country is going to come to a standstill because we’re due a couple of centimetres of snow this weekend. I sell knitwear and I’ve found myself without a scarf to my name. Wut. I’m back to commuting on Monday so I’d better have a rummage in my stash and get knitting pronto.

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