Sunday, 27 January 2013

Roller-coaster rides are NOT always fun!

I'm a fan of roller-coasters. I love the adrenaline rush, the wind in your hair, that feeling of your stomach rushing towards your throat! However, the roller-coaster of life sometimes leaves me cold.

This week has been nothing short of traumatic. My parents are currently on holiday. All was well until a text from my Dad threw my life into turmoil. My mum was sick. So sick they'd been put off their cruise and she was in a hospital on an island just off the coast of Mexico. I had 2 days of pure hell while she was sedated and ventilated.

All things in my life were put on hold while I juggled worry, panic and the difficulties of a 6 hour time difference.

Things have improved greatly over the week and she's now out of hospital and should hopefully be heading home soon.

Curve balls thrown by life have given me the opportunity to learn too. I've discovered that I can't walk and chew gum! I can't switch off my brain like I always thought I could. I've always turned to my crafting for solace before. But knitting wasn't an option. Lace and stress are not comfortable bed-mates. Spinning, however, offers the ability to occupy the hands in a soothing motion while the brain mulls over the day's happenings.


The list has grown. My itchy cast-on fingers are still not done.

Age of Brass and Steam has received no attention this week. It's my lunchtime knit at work, and I've worked through each day. Not through volume of work, but the desire not to think and get upset!
Evenstar has been worked on and I'm now about a third of the way up the second chart. I have, however, found my first boo-boo. I have some errant yarn over's and I'm sorry, but they're now a design feature as I'm not ripping back to correct it. I haven't put in lifelines thus far, and after tinking back the first round of chart 2 I discovered that my yarn isn't a fan of being overworked. So it stays as is.
Wingspan saw a bit of action and I think I've worked another triangle since last week.
I cast on Poetic Inspira. I'm hooked. It's going to be a thing of beauty! I usually avoid colour work like the plague as I find it tricky to get the tension right, but in the round I'm doing ok. I'm using Rico Designs Superba Poems and it's a joy. I've not used a fingering weight single ply before, and I had concerns about its strength, but it's fine. It's a bit thick and thin in places, but it's knitting up into a beautiful fabric and I'm really happy with it. I spent lots of time perusing the thousand-odd Inspira projects on Ravelry. I found a beautiful example made by knitsandpots. The pattern originally calls for one decrease about half way up. But I liked the way knitsandpots had hers getting narrower towards the neck. She used FeralKnitter's template of 3 decreases. I decided this was the way forward and decided to do the same. Some serious maths was involved as I'm a lot bigger than these ladies, so I've cast on significantly more stitches. Knitsandpots recommended an app called "knit evenly" it is a work of genius! It works out how to evenly space increases or decreases within a row or round. Wonderful!


I started Aunty Diane's SAL this week, but then I saw the Ravelry thread and realised we aren't supposed to start until the beginning of February so I've stopped again! Oops! I hope she'll forgive me.

Next weeks' goals

Next week is going to be flexible. I'm hoping that Mum and Dad will arrive at some point and I'll travel down to visit. I need to go and give her piece of my mind! Frightening us all like that! So, I just would like to get work done on each project. If I can get the one of the shawls nearly finished I'll be happy.
Oh and then there's Mel's KAL! MSkiKnits from the Single Handed Knits podcast has a mystery sweater KAL starting and I've. Bought the pattern. It calls for a worsted weight yarn and I don't have any in stash, so I guess I'll have to go shopping! Ah well! It also means that by next time we speak, I'll have ANOTHER work in progress! Oops!

So, until next time, have fun guys!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Epic plying

I was just about to go to bed, when I realised I hadn't spoken to you all!! Eeek!

So this week brought snow. The weathermen forecast disaster. Yes, the snow has come down in buckets, but it's winter! That's what can happen! You'd think we'd be better able to cope! As it stands, Cumbria has gotten off lightly on the whole, especially where I am. My son is disgusted! He got a groovy new sledge earlier in the year and he's having to watch the rest of the country having fun in the snow and he's got next to nothing! Me? I'm glad of one less chance of an A&E visit!

I have FO's. Get me!? I've finally finished my blanket, and not a minute too soon. The weather turned nasty and I snuggled down under it. My second FO is spinning. I spent every free second (and a few that should have been spent on housework) on the epic ply-a-thon on Sunday. In the end I have 975 yds of a lace weight 2 ply and an odd few yards of an N-ply. I always like to finish any extras on a bobbin by practising my Navaho ply. I'm not confident enough with it yet to do a whole 4oz, but practise makes perfect, yes?

WIP-wise I've got 3 pieces I've actively worked on this week. The Age of Brass and Steam is my work project and hasn't really had much love this week - it's been busy! Lots of IT changes to bring in.
I finally sucked it up and corrected that row on the Evenstar. I'm happily working my way up chart 2 and I'm loving it. I'm enjoying following the progress of the guys in the group too. It's encouraging to be involved with people on the same journey. The lack of pressure from a deadline is helping the enjoyment too I think. We aren't racing, we're all having fun..... Unless we aren't having fun because we've made a mistake, or can't understand the pattern! But other than that, we're having fun!
The stunning sparkle duck yarn has been cast on. It's going to be a wingspan shawl. It's been in my library for ages and its giving me the mindless, my brain is all laced out, knit that I need to have. The colours are stunning, the black and super saturated violet are right up my street! I've tried to take a photo for this post, but the lighting is sucking the life out of the yarn, so I'll take it outside tomorrow and have another go. I'm using slightly smaller needles than the pattern calls for. Mainly because my 3.5mm tips are in use on my advent scarf. I could have just put end caps on the cable, but that would lead to the scarf languishing unloved for ages. Now, I want my needles back and I'll put some effort into working on it!

The urge to cast on continues and following my re-discovery of stash, I decided to cast on an Inspra cowl. I fell head over heels in love with the steam punk version. I had exactly the yarn in stash for the job- Rico designs Superba Poems. Snag was I didn't quite have the yardage, do I had to get a couple more balls! Oops! But it will wind up with a net DECREASE in stash in the end! Honest!

So plans for the week ahead - organising the Diddy League team for the swimming club looms! I'm thinking happy thoughts. That's all I'm saying about that!

Spinning - Diane from Knitsbulls podcast is thinking of starting a SAL. She want you to spin at least 4oz of a 2 ply, but you have to ply 2 colour ways that you'd not normally put together. Well for me, I've only ever spun and plied the same braid of fibre so I'm way out of my comfort zone before I've even started! I had a look through stash (gulp!) and I've come up with 2 fibres from longdrawjames. Both are a BLF/soy mix. One is "tree frog" and is greens and pinks and the other is "Everest" and is shades of blue and grey. The Everest was on offer, because he said is went a bit awry. Turns out that it's a bit felted so I've done a lot of pre-drafting in preparation. I'm going for whatever weight the fibre wants to be. I don't think it's going to be super thin, but we'll see

Knitting - Evenstar needs love this week. Age of brass and steam will get as much love as my workload permits - I'm expecting this knit to last a while! Wingspan? Well that depends on how much Evenstar makes my brain hurt! And then there's Inspra! Mmmmmmm I want it! So that will probably end up at least cast on. Colour work is usually something I avoid, but this pattern is stunning and unless I make it for me, I'll not get one! And then there's the advent shawl. I need to get it off the needles so I can have the tips back. I'd like to get a day done each week. I'm on day 13 or -4 I think, so over half way.

It getting late, so I'll sign off and speak again next week!
Have fun!

Monday, 14 January 2013

High days and holidays

I had hoped for many crafty things this past week. I had the week off on my own while the boys in my life were at school. My cunning plan was to make significant progress on my Evenstar, to get my hat design started, to finish my log cabin blanket and to clear off the Damson fibre from Whenu.

I can inform you all that none of the above happened!

I did manage to make a great in-road into the blanket. I'm going to do 3 more rounds and then an edging, then I'm going to call it done. I started chart 2 on the Evenstar at about 11pm one night this week. I can recommend NOT doing that! As I got to the last repeat on the first round of the chart and discovered I'd made a mistake right at the beginning! Doh! So I've mostly been ignoring it as I have to rip back the row, and have another go! I really can't face that right now, so I'm knitting Evenstar vicariously through the group!

Saturday night saw me needing to cast on all the things! I cast on an "Age of Brass and Steam" kerchief, caked a skein of sock yarn to cast on a shawl, at which point I lost the ability to decide and spent hours scouring Ravelry!

My greatest achievement this week was getting the majority of my stash up on Ravelry. In doing this I've discovered that storing your yarn on supermarket carrier bags is not a good idea! My baby wool stash was in one such bag and is now covered in confetti-like dry, crispy bits of plastic where the bag has degraded over time. Eek! That was a mess I can tell you! It looked like it had snowed on my bed! But now it's safely vac packed in one of those space saving bags. It also means I can see what's there. Sadly it also means HE can see what's there! Oops!

Ben has been pestering for a pair of fingerless mittens, so I finally managed to whip a pair up. I used a free Ravelry pattern as a template, but heavily modified it to fit a 9 year old. I was so chuffed when he went to school proudly sporting them today! He really isn't a fan of having his photo taken. Can you tell!?

My huge amounts of me time didn't really materialise what with catching up with housework and what not, but I did get some knitting and spinning done.

My goals for this week are to get the blanket finished (please!!!!) to correct the Evenstar and even get some progress. I want to cast a shawl for the beautiful Sparkle Duck yarn I caked. I also have the overwhelming desire to cast on a cardigan! So we'll see!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Happy New Year!

The first week of 2013 has been a funny kind of week.

I fully expected work to be quiet, after all, no one in Penrith could possibly need a prescription after the madness that was the week leading up to Christmas! How wrong can a girl be!? I took my knitting to work as normal, and didn't manage to do a stitch!

New Year means resolutions.  I don't make them - I always break them within days! I set goals these days. My goals for 2013 are:
  • Lose 5 stone in weight! (gulp!)
  • To design and publish patterns
  • To spin a laceweight yarn and knit a shawl out of it
I'm dieting and exercising in an attempt to sort goal 1 out. It's a daunting task, but I've done it before, and I know I can do it again. My mind is focused on smaller less scary mini targets, so we'll see how that goes.

Ideas for patterns are shwooshing around my head. My first pattern is written and is now posted on Ravelry as we speak! I'm so excited! Someone has even bought it! Snag is, I'm now having kittens hoping that she likes it!  Busy work days can generate ideas in themselves! I found a lovely elderly lady heading for one of the Doctors' surgeries where I work.  She was wearing a great chunky knitted hat. Inspiration hit me, and I wanted to jot the pattern down before I forgot.  I didn't have paper, so I asked the poor woman if I could take a photo of her hat! So now the inspiration is with me while I design my version of it! It's going to be called The Lakes Hat, because that's the name of the Doctors's surgery I found the inspiration in!

Spinning has finally returned to my life! Whenu, my wheel, is happily back creating yarn. Christmas brought me gift vouchers for an online spinning supplies shop. I very nearly blew the lot on more fibre.  My finger was hovering over the buy button when I thought "NO!!!!" I have so much fibre from last year that I still haven't spun up. So I'm aiming to spin a significant chunk of it up before Woolfest this June. That's a mere 6 months away! I'd better get a wiggle on!

This week I have a week off work, the partner and the son are both back at school, so I have the week to myself.  Once I've got my chores out of the way, I'd love to spend time working on my projects. I'd like to get a significant chunk of the Evenstar shawl chart 2 completed, I'd like to get started on The Lakes Hat pattern, and I'd like to finish (or very nearly finish) my log cabin blanket! Oh, and just to stop me getting bored, I need to clear the Damson marino/silk blend off my wheel so that the next project can start!

Hope everyone has a productive week! Until next time -
Ellen x

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

And we're off!

Good morning and Happy New Year!

Here's wishing those of us knitting the Evenstar a successful KAL!

I wish everyone out there a happy, prosperous and fulfilling 2013!

Happy crafting,

Ellen x