Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fireworks for Finished Objects!

Not really! I'm very lucky to have great scenery on my drive to and from my knitting group. Some people may not agree with me, especially when I say that I have to drive through Birkenhead's Dock area but it really does have lovely urban scenery and I've seen some fantastic sunsets over the docks on my way to knitting on many an occasion.
And in addition to this there is the views over the River Mersey to Liverpool which really has a great waterfront. And on Tuesday night as I was coming home from knitting I had an extra special treat. I got myself front row seats (well standing room) at a Birthday celebration. If you weren't aware the City of Liverpool is 800 years old and really celebrated '800 day' in style with one of the largest fireworks displays on the river in years. And boy was it spectacular - they even had fireworks that burst open to say '800' which I am seriously impressed with!

It also gave me a chance to test my cameras 'firework' setting and try and capture the atmosphere.

You can't really tell but the orange blur to the lower left is actually the Liver Building home to Liverpool's famous Liver Birds. It sounded like they were bombing Liverpool with all the blasts and bangs and combined with all the smoke and searchlights they had it almost felt like having gone back in time and watching a wartime air raid. Anyway, I thought I'd share this little bit of local news with you all as it really was a fun night out!

Back to the knitting I've a flurry of knitting to share with you and, sit yourself down, some more FO's. Recent ones. And another half done WIP. Yes, there has been some concentrated knitting time (OK - due to being full of cold but it's still results!)

Exhibit A - Angora Fetchings. Based on the pattern from Knitty, I used some Louisa Harding Kimono Angora and 3.75mm dpns and lenghtened them to make skinny hand versions as a (belated) birthday present for my brothers girlfriend. They've gone down well and I did promise her some mittens last Winter so at least they'll be in time for this year! She's bunny mad as well hence the angora yarn which is insanely light and fluffy. These were knitted from one 25g ball and I've got a load of left overs!

Exhibit B - Finally I've gotten round to completing my Devon Holiday socks which was a silly UFO having only about 1" to knit up before casting off for the toe. Needless to say these took next to no time to whip off the needles and near enough straight on the feet! The pattern was from 'Sensational Knitted Socks' and if I ever find where I've put the book I'll tell you exactly what pattern it was. Yarn is as usual some Colinette 4ply wool from the Mill shop sale room. You can see slight colour variations - on the right foot the toe area is a little redder than the rest and on the left the cuff is redder. I realised what was happening and switched back to another section of yarn so I could end up with mostly matching socks.

So far they're lovely and snug and cosy and was a simple lace pattern to do, even if the colours in the yarn don't really show this up much!

No sooner had I grafted the toe of these, stitches were rapidly cast on for Monkey which started zooming along, so much so that I've already finished one sock and am halfway down the next leg! Must say it's a great pattern and I'm glad to be finally knitting them and am probably the last person globally to be knitting them. I can see myself knitting more of these and I'm really pleased with how the yarn is knitting up as well. This is some of my holiday yarn namely some Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch which feels lovely and woolly and has lovely soft colour changes which don't seem to distract from the pattern. This photo is pretty accurate colour wise except just before the heel flap on the leg.

You can also see my latest lucky acquisition - my very own set of 'Tony Toes' sock blockers! I'm trying to persuade Mum's DH that he could start earning a bit of pocket money making these sock blockers to sell and have decided that he should brand them 'Tony Toes' but I'm not sure if he's convinced yet! But bless him they are great and have been a godsend recently as my DH accidentally washed a pair of my 100% wool socks. In the Washing Machine. Softly felted socks anyone? Thank goodness I can still get my foot in them and they are on the blockers being stretched. I just seem to have lost a bit of length in the leg (of the socks - not me!) and somehow managed to get a hole in them in the lace section. Thankfully I've plenty of that yarn left so I'll darn the hole and it needs be I'll knit another pair - why though does this have to happen to your favorite pair?!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Of Gables and Socks.

Well I've only just realised that I've a Finished Object that has been waiting to be shown to you all for about two months now. I'd finished 'GreenGables' in time for WoolFest and just wanted to get a good photo for you. Well I think we'd still be waiting for that so you'll have to make do with a not so good photo instead!

It's not brilliant I'm afraid as I took this myself in the mirror. And I'm not that tall really - I'm stood on a box so that you could see all of the top! I love the pattern even if I did mess up the lace pattern as I kept forgetting which row I was on of a simple 4 row repeat - so mindless I didn't even think enough for it and only realised when I'd cast off! I don't mind as I love it so much and I'll definitely be doing this again - hopefully accurately next time!

I've been thinking of WoolFest lately after listening to the latest BritKnitCast and it reminded me that I'd filmed on of the sock knitting machines which were just brilliantly clever machines so I thought I'd leave you with this little film whilst I try and finish some more WIP's! Enjoy!!

I should also add that I've been nominated for a Schmoozer award by Mum.

Which to quote from her blog is:

Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection. Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogsphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship".

So in return I nominate the following:

Sarah who always has a kind word;
Badger who always seems to have a friendly word to say;
Carrie-Anne even if she is away house-sitting she still manages to comment and keep up with the outside world;
Piglottie who again always seems to have a friendly word to say;
and finally Jo another one who never seems to fail to reply to comments.

It has been very hard narrowing the nominees down again as there are so many people out there who are so friendly and generous with their time on-line and always seem ready to encourage and support and offer words of friendship. I really do cherish the camaraderie within blogland and thank you all for your support and comments and will try my best to return the favour!

Friday, August 17, 2007

As Requested...

Well, as I said in my last post I've been responsible for the Wool Department in work the last few weeks and have had large deliveries to put away. Normally the official Wool Lady does this but she's on holiday which means I'm left in charge - ooh er!!

I arrived today armed with my camera to get some photos as requested only to find there had been 5 more huge bags of wool delivered and there were 3 more still to be unpacked. As if that wasn't enough work to contemplate the boss decided we should move all the DK weight yarns to the same area. And of course by 'we' I really mean 'me'!! I didn't escape the wool all day I was that busy shifting things. I don't know if the orders were doubled up or not but there were insane mountains of cheap acrylic DK - still a big seller with our little old charity knitters - most of which were doubled up. I did enjoy myself once I'd figured out where everything should go and was bemused when the Sirdar rep arrived and as I had armfuls of wool at the time dealt with me! Thankfully nothing more complicated than a new shade book and new posters to display but exciting none the less! Naturally the old shade book is sat here with me to peruse before being passed on to my knitting group to study.
So here's the finished result of anothers day hard labour in the wool dept!

From L to R - Click Chunky, Blur, something from Wendy with alpaca in it,
Wendy Fusion and Peru Naturals (that actually smells woolly!!)

The DK Aisle! - including the new Click DK and Twillies Freedom Spirit
and leading to the rainbow of acrylic DK!

I also hinted in the last post that I might at long last have an FO to share with you and so I have - can you tell what it is yet?!

For those in the know it's obviously another of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jackets in its 'before' mode. And here it is 'after'!

The girls had fun at my knitting night trying to figure how it all came together after I finished casting off and were all suitably impressed with the cleverness of the pattern. Obviously I haven't sewn the buttons on yet but Emily has worn it and does like it. DH is trying to train her to say 'Surprise' whilst wearing it and so it's of course known as the Surprise Jacket to little Emily as well!

I love the pattern! I really really do! This only used 144g (weighed on the kitchen scales!) of leftover DK acrylic that was in the stash - not my favorite but with messy Emily a god send really and simple to wash. I was even tempted with the thought of making a rainbow one - all I need is a decent blue and orange and I think I know where I can get those from! But first I want one for myself! And then Emily really needs a Tomten Jacket and another of EZ's fantastic patterns - do you know, I loved the patterns before knitting them. But now having actually knitted one up I'm even more in love with them all - EZ was truly a genius with her patterns and I want to knit more of them!! I can see an obsession coming on!!

Right, I'm going to try and find the buttons for this and try to crack on with finishing something else namely my Devon socks - only inches to go!!

Edited to add: The girls in work though I was mad taking pictures of the wool but one of them has decided that this is what happens when you start knitting with four needles!

Monday, August 13, 2007

And the award goes to...

Well I'm really touched to have been awarded this:

even if it was by my own Mum. Thanks for all your support as well!
And now comes the hard part in both narrowing down who to nominate and finding those who haven't already had this award! So the names out of the shiny gold envelope (drum roll please) are as follows:

hpny knits for all her lovely inspiring photographs and projects.

Christina for managing to knit all those socks with 2 small children!

Crafty Drama Queen for all her talented creations and because she loves green as well (only joking!)

Queen of the Froggers again for all her lovely creations although I've a feeling she may have been nominated already.

I will add this though that it was very hard to narrow the choices down to just four as there are so many blogs out there that are inspirational in both their content and the talent shown and there is such a great and supportive community here in blogland that everyone really deserves this award.

I will post again soon with some knitting content but for now I feel I ought to leave you with a list of current WIP's that make me think I should rename this blog 'The Butterfly Knitter' as I'm flitting from project to project right now with the attention span of a butterfly. Definitely a severe case of Cast-on Fever and Finish-itis although I may have something finished soon!
  • EZ's baby surprise - actually a toddler surprise adapted from the Adult surprise directions so it'll fit Emily better, virtually finished so watch this space;
  • Lacey Summer Shrug - abandoned when the dodgy weather arrived and not touched since;
  • Lacey Waves Jumper (from Lace Style) - back completed and put aside when the warm weather was on it's way in favour of the above;
  • Devon Holiday Sock number 2 - not much more of the foot to knit, not sure why I haven't just picked it up and finished the darned thing;
  • Lace shawl (Japanese Waves or something from KnitSpot) - 1 repeat down, forgot where I put the instructions and 'tidied' the knitting away and forgot about it, poor thing - needs good light and brains.

My handspun yarn from my WoolFest giant merino/silk batt is all done now and so I'm itching to start that soon with a different pattern to the planned one as I don't think I'll have quite enough yardage and don't really want to tempt fate. I'll revisit that pattern with more handspun when I know I'll definitely have enough to finish it.

I was almost sad enough to photograph the shelves of wool in work that I've been playing with lately. It's such a hardship but on my days in I'm being asked to take charge of the wool department and had the hugest wool delivery to put away on Friday and it was all new wools. Well it took all day to find space on the shelves and arrange them to my satisfaction (in colour groups with preference to the colours I liked!) and I was so pleased with the results I was very tempted to photograph it as a FO to show you all here but then I think that would have been a bit sad!! And then the next day I had to put out all the new patterns that had come in the same delivery and I was very pleased with myself that as I was looking at them all my first reactions were - 'I have the yarn for that' or 'I can spin yarn for that' rather than 'I'll need to buy that yarn now!'. Still we have lovely colours of Twillies Freedom Spirit and Sirdar's Peru Naturals that will be screaming at me for a while now - must remember to try and get some Twillies patterns in after hearing Dreamcatchers reviews of the new book - not just for me of course!!