Thursday, December 06, 2007

Maybe it's time for a new hobby ...

I've joined the shoulder seams of Earnshaw - it's not a dress! In fact it fits just how I wanted it to. And I finished the sleeves and seamed one! And - because knitty karma is just not that nice to me - the sleeves look utterly stupid. I mean really really weird - I have points at my forearms. *le sigh*

So I have a plan. Why, by the way, must I always have to think of a plan? Why can't it work first time? Why!? Anyhoo, I digress... the plan is; to seam up the sides of the jumper, pick up the sleeves stitches and knit down the way. That way I can keep an eye on the sleeves in case they decide to form peaks.

Also knitting in the round is a must for garter stitch I have discovered. Mattress stitch on stocking stitch is a beautiful piece of magic, a miracle really. Mattress stitch on garter stitch edges looks like my cat had a go at knitting.

To remind me that it's not all bad, and sometimes good things can happen to good knitters; my finished replacement scarf with pockets. Lovely and cosy! I washed the Noro Silk Garden then soaked it in conditioner to soften it up - seems to have worked quite well. Cashmere it ain't, but it's still soft enough to wear next to the skin.

Oh well - suppose I better stop procrastinating and start frogging.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The 2nd day of Christmas

Not much knitting to report - Earnshaw is halfway up the 2nd sleeve now - the end is in sight.

The boy has been promising a cool advent calender as I don't take caffeine - which means chocolate. An advent calender with no chocolate is a dull affair indeed ... until ... in the shape of a Christmas tree; 24 Christmas scratchcards!! How totally cool is that!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

WIPs, WIPs, wherever I turn...

Even though Pinwheel is still in the naughty corner, it has at least meant that I've been forced to look elsewhere for knitty gratification. I'm aware that with approximately 15 projects on the needles at the moment, I cannot possibly justify casting on something new. Even if I did, the WIPs would be crying away in the [usually ignored] guilt corner of my brain and ruin said newly cast on project.

So I've knuckled down and got on with it - the blocking project photographed is a Noro Silk Garden scarf - folded in half to block, as there is nowhere big enough to stretch it out full. It's two colourways striped every two rows. It was knit lengthways because at the time I thought this would be more gratifying as there would be less rows ... that each row took an eon to finish was something that dawned on me later.

This scarf is to replace a threadworn big grey scarf my granny bought me a few years back - I always wear it at work to keep me toasty and it has two big pockets. So I made this scarf with two pockets also. The grey scarf has been worn so much that it is full of holes and I'm going to have to say my goodbyes to it soon.

I pushed the needles into the carpet with this funky thimble I got from Tokyo - makes the job much easier!

Earnshaw has also been making progress - look: a back, an almost complete front, and an almost complete sleeve! [Yes, it is abundantly clear to me that this a knitted dress ... I'm ignoring it so please don't mention that I'm flogging a dead horse, or I may cry]

Earnshaw is more of an endurance feat than an enjoyable hobby at the moment. Ella at my knitting meet was reminding me how I was the same with Central Park Hoodie - convinced that it's never growing, measuring it every row, and generally whinging to all that will listen that I'm bored of it.

I don't know how this happens. I mean really. I find a new project, get hyper-excited about it, look halfheartedly in my stash, then buy some yarn [I wanted some shiny new yarn really]. I can't possibly wait for it come standard delivery, so pay a fortune for express shipping.

It arrives and sits for a bit, while I work up the motivation to gauge. Then I realise I don't have the right size needles, so I have to send away for them too. I gauge, then wait until the weekend to wash and block the squares. While waiting for the squares to dry, a little of the excitement of the project wilts.

Then it's cast on time and excitement all over again! I'll do this every lunch, teatime, every evening and all weekend and it'll be done in no time.

By the time I'm halfway up the back I'm getting restless. I can see what the yarn looks like knit up, I know how the pattern works, I'm looking for a new challenge. Maybe I'll just cast on a wee hat - that'll break up the monotony. Before I know it, there's 15 projects on the needles, and all of them bore me.

Fortunately I'm feeling the love for Earnshaw again ... for now anyway ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Ever since the Pinwheel fiasco of late [still in the naughty corner] all my WIPs are taking on a 'blah' feeling. When this is combined with Christmas knitting which cannot be mentioned there was little left to blog about really.

My iPod cosy knitted a couple of years ago [with Bernat Handicrafter Cotton] has finally worn from overuse. Sure I could have frogged it and re-knit - but I felt it was time for a new design. And more importantly, time to get an FO out there just to make myself feel the knitty love once more.

Ta-da! A lovely snug cosy made from the remnants of the technicolour sock: Schoeller + Stahl Limbo Colour DK sock yarn in colourway 2539 Rainbow. It's so autumnal and the iPod cosy looks much better made from a finer yarn and smaller [3mm] needles.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Glasgow City Nights

So it didn't turn out exactly how I planned, but I think this yarn was fated to have another colourway name; Glasgow City Nights. It reminds me of autumn, fireworks, dark evenings and orange city lights against red sandstone tenements.

Speaking of fireworks; thank you to the 3 moronic twats who felt it would be just hilarious to light a rocket directly outside our house at 3.30 am. I was unable to get asleep again for quite some time, so busy was my brain furiously penning letters to MSPs. We found the rocket this morning next to the car - I was all for submitting it to Toryglen polis for fingerprinting ...

With thanks to the boy for putting up with me and driving me around Glasgow during the 20 minutes of perfect 'evening sky' for some good blog pics.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Partial triumphs....

I've been away from blogging land for abit - partially because the Ravelry forums are sucking away my life [in particular the pinny thread] and partially because I'm not having an awful lot of success on the fibre front of late.

Finally Pinwheel has been allowed off the naughty step and is currently blocking [looking to be about 5cm to small in the diameter which I think is totally fixable]. I have taken something good out of this debacle however; I have learned that once I have swatched I should go up 0.5mm needle size to get correct gauge for the 'real' knitting. Clearly I tense up a bit on the waste of time that gauge squares always feel like.

[Even though I'm planning on making a big project memory style blanket out of all the squares.]

A Christmas knitting gift [photographed in extreme close-up so as not to give the game away - the intended recipient is a reader] went a bit awry when I realised at the final hurdle that I had cast on the wrong number of stitches. The wrong number of stitches! I can't believe I failed at such an easy level! And then! - not to notice throughout another shaping aspect of the knitting because I ignored such lines as "you should have x number of stitches remaining, etc, etc" because it didn't even occur to me that I might not have the right number of stitches. *Le sigh* Knitty karma has swiped me once again.

I have cast on again ...

Good news - the yarn room is clean and organised - I'm very happy about this. Notice the extra empty pamphlet boxes to accomodate future knitting magazine purchases - I am thinking ahead.

I thought I'd play with my new Ashford dyes this weekend too. Notice my lovely new dyepot - she is pretty isn't she? So the kitchen was clingfilmed, then newspapered...

And the dyeing began. I wanted to create 'Kingfisher' as I saw one this year with the boy and apparently it's quite rare to see one, but I saw it right when I began birdwatching. I wanted the blue to be a Cerulean blue since this was the name of our hotel in Tokyo. The blue was spot on I think.

I used superwash sock yarn so that it was a total fudge it wouldn't matter as it'd be pretty much hidden anyway.

Then on Sunday I added the Kingsfisher orange - the perfect shade! This is where I should have stopped. Blue, orange and white - these are the colours of a Kingfisher.

But for some reason I decided it needed a brown for the muddy banks, and that was where it went a bit blugh. It turned out more purple brown than an orangey brown and doesn't look great. Unfortunately as it's quite a dark shade it's pretty much unfixable - unless anyone knows better? I'll probably just leave it though as my knitting karma seems to be set for October...

The final colours - I'm going to wait for it to dry then ball it up and see if it knits up nicely - I think it will as it's primarily the Cerulean Blue. Oh well, off to carry on with mystery Christmas shopping. Promise I won't leave it so long next time!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gauge Rage

Thought I'd get into the spirit of autumn and walk around Kelvingrove park taking pretty tree shots ... I was trying to re-find the things I love about Glasgow as it all seems a bit 'meh' after Japan. Various shots were ruined by the rubbish lying everywhere *sigh* so I went off to find the resident Heron at the pond ... instead I found a family of rats.

... and a fibre-stealing squirrel. I was on way to Knit n Stitch as well, so I was stacked with yarn.

In the spirit of the changing season I decided to sort out my craft room. Above is the clean bit. Then I ran out of shelf space and a trip to IKEA was needed ... and so below is what remains to be sorted. Despite appearances there is an order to the chaos.

And I got to the sleeve section of the Pinwheel Sweater - yay! Until ...

It's too [expletive] small!! I could cry. I really could. I mean I gauged the arse of this I swear! I bought 3 sets of sodding Addi circular needles ... IN THREE LENGTHS. I washed every single swatch. I was good right? I did what I supposed to?!! And I got bitten.

So I'm torn between washing and blocking what I have - just to see if it miraculously grows by 10 cms in diameter. Or frogging it and facing the fact that all my passion and love for this may wilt.

It's not the best time of the month for this to happen ... the following is the exact words the boy used when I expressed a desire to frog this quickly, like removing a plaster - before the shock wears off and I start to weep at months of wasted knitting;

"Maybe you should wait a bit? You're all hormonal at the moment and not thinking straight"

He maintains that he 'didn't mean it like that'.... He is currently residing in the dog house.

What should I do? Washing and blocking is a waste of time right? I just have to face this don't I?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A bit of culture...

Well we're back in rainy Glasgow, and I think I'm sufficiently recovered from jetlag enough to be able to operate a PC, string a sentence together and complete my Japan blogging. Just in case you thought we'd spent our entire time playing in yarn shops, arcades and eating - a bit of culture was also had.

These pics are from the Meiji shrine and surrounding Yoyogi Park. The top pic is a big pond full of koi karp, terrapins and massive dragonflies. We had our lunch there - it was very peaceful and relaxing. The above picture was the dwarfing entrance to the shrine. We walked around the gardens and had lunch but we never visited the shrine itself. [It was a Saturday so fairly busy and really humid hot, so we were looking for a bit of peace from the crowds.]

This was me walking in the park - I used my umbrella to shade myself from the sun, but on this occasion it was up despite being in the shade ... due to the massive spiders that lurked.

This was just at the entrance to the park, where all the funky Harajuku kids hung out [you can see me in the right of the picture imploring the boy to hurry as I was wilting under the heat - I have no idea how these kids managed under all their outfits] It was weird really - all these kids were decked out in their cool clothes in a corner while tourists surrounded them taking films and photos.

Back inside the shrine area - barrels of sake donated to the shrine, and below - one of the lights along the way.

The above and below pictures were of Osaka castle [at the top of a hill in the park - extreme heat!] On the walk through the park to get to the castle we saw something of a trademark of Japanese parks - blue homeless tents everywhere in the trees [we assume - it wasn't like there was a sign, but it was pretty obvious] - very neat, with proper toilets and showers built in the centre of the blue tents.

The boy took up the '300 Yen to dress up like a samurai' on the 3rd floor - gathered quite a crowd of smiling [or laughing - who knows] Japanese tourists.

It wasn't really a castle so much as a 'castle shell' with an air-conditioned inside all done up like a museum - I really really appreciated it though, and bought a Hello Kitty at Osaka Castle face cloth from the gift shop. Doused in water, the face cloth was a huge relief in the heat, and so I joined the ranks of Japanese walking around with wet clothes dabbing their faces - great idea!

The above pic and two below were back in Tokyo - Asakusa, where we visited the Senso-ji, a Buddhist temple. This was a total tourist place - even the connecting Ueno station had an English sign stating the cost to Asakusa [they must have got fed up of tourists queuing up to ask] but still totally amazing.

The five storey pagoda is supposed to hold some of the ashes of Buddha. We went into the shrine itself and hung respectfully at the back watching people purchase bits of paper from drawers and either tie them to specially-made rungs or take them away with them. We were a bit unsure of what was going on really, but there were people clearly coming for spirituality in the midst of all the tourists and gift shops.

Afterwards we went for some yummy tempura lunch around the corner, and found the paper shop just outside the entrance - bought some stunning woodblock prints and Japanese paper.

Above: the boy had heard that there was a gojira [Godzilla] statue somewhere around Ginza so off we traipsed to look for it. I have to say: a anti-climax indeed...

And below: a samurai sword shop at Asakusa - the boy got this great picture while I was in buying a Hello Kitty Senjo-ji face cloth [my Osaka one needed a wash by this point]

On our final day we were just walking around Shibuya getting some last minute gifts and all the main streets were closed for some kind of festival. Lots of men clad in traditional clothes - drummers [amazing - you could feel it in your heart- and they were so so fast!], and people carrying golden shrine-type things about. We still have no idea what was going on, but it was definately a big deal whatever it was.

The picture above was the drummers - you can barely see the one on the left he's going so fast.

... and finally - we stored all our photos on flickr [click here] if you want to see more :)

We had an amazing time in Japan - I can't believe that I was worried. It's not always an easy holiday what with the weather and language barriers - but it's an fantastic place, and we'll be going back without a doubt.