14
May
12

IT’S BEEN A LONG TIME…

I’m back again…just. Full of good intensions and feeling inspired, but it might not last long…lets see! :)

I am going to try and sell some of my creations, so will be featuring them on here with links to where they can be purchased. Watch this space!!

07
Nov
09

An experiment…

…well two actually. The first experiment was trying out a new yarn, New to me at any rate. I thought I’d give some microfibre a try. Called ‘Smooth DK’ and made by King Cole, it promised to be soft and I had seen some colours that suited a project I had in mind. So I bought some, and yes, it is soft and very nice to work with. Not quite what I expected, but I think that is more me than a fault with the product. I don’t know if I am the only one who has thought about this, but I wonder if others hae also concluded that DK nowadays is more akin to 4ply. Or to put it another way, 25 years ago, I am sure I remember double knitting being thicker than it is these days. Frequently I pick something up thinking it will be 4ply, only to find that it is Double Knitting. Perhaps it is me, suffering memory loss, but I have to say that given the quantity of knitting I did throughout the time my children were growing up, you’d think I’d have remembered. It would be interesting to find out if gauges have changed. Needle sizing changed, just to confuse everyone, or rather the needles stayed the same but were described differently, now in mm which is mercifully much easier to understand when reading patterns from across the pond.

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I’ve started to use King Cole Yarns more often in recent months and like them. I love the feel of this one, and the nice stitch definition.

The other experimental part of this tale, is the pattern I was working on. I decided to try and do a woven design, just for the fun of it, and I was really pleased with the way it turned out, although I have to say that I think I should have done another ribbon or two each way to make the weave tighter, but you live and learn through such experiences. This was the result, a little fragranced pillow  (lavender scented) made with the King Cole Smoothie. It’s a bit of a fiddle, but I really like the result so will undoubtedly do it again in the future.

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05
Nov
09

Splash of colour.

A few days ago I finished a project that was really enjoyable. I decided to make a cat blanket, using scraps of yarn left over from other projects. The result was amazing. A rainbow of colours. Are cats colourblind, I wonder?  If that is the case, it may be a blessing, otherwise they might be dazzled.

I made approximately 100 little 2.5 x 2.5 granny squares, with a well known pattern (I see it all over Ravelry and other crochet sites), and double crocheted them together. The yarn I used was one of my favourites, Patons Sorbet. I think I have mentioned it before. It’s a cotton blend, aran weight (worsted weight for those who are in the States and Canada), and its good for things like bags or something that needs to be fairly thickish  or rugged, like a bathmat. So should be good for a pet blanket :)

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I enjoyed making this so much, that I am now making something similar, though not for a cat. It’s so easy to pick up, do a few squares and put down again and makes my 50,000 stitch target for NaKnitMo, a breeze, (at least I think it will). I’m so proud of the girls who are doing this challenge, (actually, I think there is a male in there someone as well), but the totals some are racking up every day are incredible. For the rest of us, it’s just a chance to pick up unfinished projects and get them finished, make presents ready for christmas, and generally have a lot of fun. It’s surprising how quickly the stitch totals increase and several people have upped their targets already. I don’t think I will be doing that yet. I am managing to keep up with this blog for the NaBloPoMo, but haven’t done much for NaNoWriMo. I have been planning my plot, but not writing the book! Ah well, tomorrows another day.

04
Nov
09

Dangerous pursuits

Well, I’ve heard about people sustaining injuries after accidently sitting on knitting needles, but yesterday I surprised myself by knitting a splinter into my skin. I had just started a new project and had tested out a pair of metal needles; didn’t work. Plastic needles; didn’t work, so decided that my wooden needles would probably be just right. I’d only done half a dozen stitches when I nearly shot through the roof in pain. I had a small splinter completely wedged into the skin of the index finger of my left hand. With a bit of help from a sterilised sewing needle and lots of patience, I managed to get the wretched thing out, rubbed some anticeptic cream on and changed knitting needles…again

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The offending knitting needles (above left, and centre of right picture)were a pair of cheap bamboo needles. I got them free with a magazine, and I have to say, that cheap they may be, but they are normally lovely to work with. They had quickly become one of my favourite pairs of needles. Not any more, or at least, not until I have got my partner to sand them down and smooth them and generally make them safe to play with. I’d sand them down myself if I could find out where he hides the sandpaper! Anyway, I began knitting again this time with a pair of very beautiful wooden needles, made of a japanese wood… However, the yarn still didn’t like the needles, or vice versa, and finally I went back to a second pair  of plastic needles, slightly larger than the first pair, and now we are speeding along!

All of which just goes to show, two things, mainly. 1) needles are out to get you, and 2), it can be trial and error to find the best pair for the job in hand…well that what I have concluded from the experience. The yarn I am using is Wendy Rembrandt, DK which is a wool blend (46% wool) boucle, and wonderfully soft.

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The finger is bearing up well today…so we’ll just put it all down to experience:)

03
Nov
09

High on catnip!

My lucky cats! They think it’s christmas already. I have made some catnip toys, with a view to making some more for christmas presents and swaps. of course the protypes have to be trialed, and thats where my cats score. I made two mice toys first, just plain brown in colour, nothing fancy. One of my cats played with one of them all afternoon, despite being nine years old. The toy is holding up well, given the viscious kicking, clawing and biting it’s been subjected to. The yarn was Patons Sorbet, which is aran weight, although many class it as chunky.

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These two mice are the same but I varied the strings, doing a straight cgain for one, and a bouncy coli for the other. I don’t think one works any better than the other, but the bouncy one is quite good if the mouse is hung somewhere and the cat bats at it. Probably more interesting for the cat.

Having achieved a modicum of success with mice, I then decided to have a go at fish. These were not so successful, in that I should have stuck to the stronger cotton. I swapped over to a double knitting cotton, but its not really as strong or firm, so future toys will all be made in the aran cotton.However, you can mess around to your hearts content with colour and design, so it will be fun to do some more at a later date. The fish were made yesterday so qualify for the count in NanKnitMo, a meagre 1500 stitches, but they all count!

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02
Nov
09

quackers…

That is probably what I’ll be after a month of frenzied writing, knitting and crocheting.

My first day produced 1117 stitches for NaKnitMo, no words for NaNoWriMo, and a blog entry. Room for improvement methinks!

Yesterday I decided to make a prototype duck toy. After lots of frogging, this is what I produced.

P1190039ed   Now, I think he is recognisable as a duck, but he has many faults, poor soul. The crochet isn’t tight enough and reveals his stuffing.  His beak, though the idea worked well, is too big and the shape needs refining. His head is too big, his feet need less stuffing, and are not joined in the right place, or at least so that they are pointing the right way. Poor Duck! But, I’ll work on his brother today and see if I can improve the design. I didn’t like the cotton I was using for his beak, so that needs changing as well.

However, I might make a start on something else first, we’ll see. Depends how the whim takes me!

 

 

 

Duck 1

01
Nov
09

Big day November 1st

November 1st means NaNoWriMo for me. A month to write a 50,000 word novello. This inevitably cuts down on craft time. Last year I failed dismally, only accomplishing 23,000 words or thereabouts. This year…well this year, given that I am also attempting 50,000 stitches in the NaKnitMo challenge in Ravelry, and also a blog post a day for NaBloPoMo, who knows? It might mean failure again, or, looking on the bright side, it might be a challenge I can meet. Mind, I’m moderating one of the Scarf Travels groups on Ravelry and co-administrating the NaKnitMo group there too. So I am going to be extra busy. 

I gave due consideration to this heavy commitment, and decided that homemade Christmas cards were probably not a viable proposition this year. I had planned to do them when I returned from my holidays, but never quite got around to the task, so it is unlikely that they will get done this year. It might be good to use up some of the commercial ones which are taking up much needed space in one of the bedroom cupboards.

The main reason I failed the NanoWriMo challenge lasy year was because I couldn’t settle to writing, when I knew I could be knitting or creating a beautiful crochet objet d’art. Those fibres just kept calling, and I have a horrible suspicion that the same might just happen this year. Its not the counting of stitches which is the hook, it’s just the knitting and crochet. I have to have my daily fix, and once I start, I cannot stop. I have said that about writing in the past, so there is a glimmer of hope for my inner muse.

At least I know what I will be writing about. I have ressurrected my childrens’ novel from two, possibly three years ago now, and having read it again, feel the time is right to progress the story a little, and explore possibilities. So that is what I will be working on.

Meanwhile, in order to keep the blog posts daily, I will be writing about my stitch counting projects. I’m trying to keep projects fairly small so there will be at least one every day or every two days) and on the days when there is nothing new, I have a stock of things I haven’t presented yet, simply because I have been lazy and not blogged for months on end. This blog posting challenge is an effort to get me posting regularly again, and perhaps to help with the writing of the novel if my mojo deserts me temporarily.

So, I’ll leave this blog entry with a photo of my work from the last two days. Christmas ornament arigurumi, made for two partners in a Swap-bot swap. I hope they like them. 

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okeeffe8.jpg Cat mad, but love dogs too! Purple fanatic but... More about me, here!
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