Sunday, 21 September 2014

I Can't Think of a Good Title, So This Will Have To Do!!

Good morning good people 

How the devil are you?

It's a beautiful day in Cumbria. The sun is shining and the sky is a gorgeous blue. I look out of my window and I can see fog burning off the Eden Valley below me. The birds are singing their hearts out and I feel all is well. 

Last week when I wrote to you I had just been signed off work. I felt posistive that some rest would sort it out and all would be well. 

How wrong I was. 

On Sunday I decided to cheer myself up and dye my hair. I was so careful washing the dye out. Taking extra care with my back. I felt chuffed with the colour and leaned forward to wrap a towel around my hair and BANG!!!! Something went. Big time. 

I stood there and didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was so ridiculous. 

The consequence of this was that I spent the week trying to recover from the excruciating back pain I caused on Sunday rather than the just plain bad back pain I had on Thursday. This means that when I went back to work on Friday I actually had more pain than when I went off the week before. 

"Nuts" thought Ellen. 

I've given up on the painkillers as they make me sick before I can take enough to help with the pain. 

So essentially I'm no further forward. But the physiotherapist and doctors agree it's not sciatic so I don't qualify for a scan. Basically I'm none the wiser and neither are they. 

So I get on with it. There are folk out there worse off than me. Enough about the back then. 

But thank you for your well wishes over the past few days, they were greatly appreciated. 

Feeling the Love - 

You'd think that a week off work would mean I have lots of progress to show you today. Bless your heart 😉

The consequences of taking the painkillers was a very fuzzy brain which was unable to focus on anything for a decent amount of time. 

I had it in my head that I wanted to finish Hapa. I'm making the largest size and my erratic counting of garter rows means that my shaw is likely to turn out somewhat larger than Mel planned. I have plenty of yardage so I've no worries about running out of yarn. 

I kept slogging away at it and I'm very close to the end. I've got the last couple of stripes to do before the split. I think that I may have gartered myself out. I was struggling with the fact that there were just too many stitches on my cable. I've swapped to a 150cm cable now and it's less crushed and I'm hoping that by next week it should be done. Fingers crossed 

Monday  was the cast on for my "Knitstostaysane Sock Club".  I may be a little obsessed with my new sock!  I'm using Opal sock yarn, a yarn with blues and pinks from the Little Prince range. 😍 and I'm knitting my Scalloped Tulip Socks - a free pattern on Ravelry 
I'm sorry but I may have spammed Instagram a little with progress pictures!! 

What can I say?! It's pretty!! 

The only other project to see any action this week is my 'I Dream of the Sea' shawl. What you see here is my second attempt. I started using 3.25mm needles as instructed in the pattern, knit until the beading was supposed to start and pinned it out. 

I'm using recycled yarn from a commercial sweater and I'd put it at a cobweb weight. Consequently the sitches looked too wispy, too pulled out of shape when I pinned the work out. I asked the girls in the Evenstar Ravelry group for their opinion and in the end I ripped back and started again with 3mm needles. I'm much happier now. 

You probably won't see this project often, only when I reach milestones. I've no plans for finishing it any time soon. I don't want it to become a chore. It's far too much work to get sick of it and let it hibernate. 

On the Horizon - 

I'm hoping to finish Hapa this week. 

I'll definitely finish one sock. It would be great to finish the pair, but honestly it's unlikely 

I'll work some rows on the In Dreams shawl 

I really need to cast on another sample and re-write my new shawl pattern. 

Have a great week guys 

Ellen x 

Saturday, 13 September 2014

A New Slice of Crazy Pie

Good morning folks

For the first time in 12 years I have been signed off work. I'm gutted! My back has been bothering me for ages now, and finally I've given in to peer pressure and gone to the doctor. She gave me some pain killers and told be to go home for a week.

So, here I am, lying on my bed a little bit puddled but feeling better.

Let me catch you all up on the last couple of weeks.

Ben's start at new school has gone well. He's happy as a sand boy and doing great. He's loving his new school, all the new subjects he is taking and is thriving. I'm still having kittens each day, but he's taken the whole thing in his stride and seems frankly confused by my worry! That's the way to be though, yes?

Last weekend was our local Village Show in Askham. For the first time ever I decided to enter. I put 4 entries into the Handicrafts section and one into the Photography section. Matthew entered too. He put in a turned box he'd made.

Considering it was our first time out, we did rather well!

Matthew got a first for his box, and I got 3 firsts and 2 seconds. I'm really chuffed.  I'm delighted for Matthew, he always sees the faults in his work. No one else can see these faults, but he's never totally happy. It was lovely to be able to prove to him that his work is great! Someone completely neutral thought his handiwork was excellent.

I'm already planning next year's entries. My sensible brain tells me that  there is little point seeing as how I've no idea what the categories will be next year, but my competitive brain says "Get crafting!"

In other news, tomorrow Sunday 14th September is the next grand cast on in the Evenstar KAL group on Ravelry. We're all casting on In Dreams by Susan Pandorf. Feel free to join us in a huge slice of crazy pie! I've completed the swatch ready for tomorrow and I'm really happy with the bead and yarn combination. When the beads arrived I was worried about how blue they were. But when they're threaded on the yarn they look great. I can't wait to cast on. 

Feeling the love -

Another slice of crazy pie was started on Monday this week. A friend tagged me in a photo on facebook.

It seemed that I just had to 'knit' this for her husband. After I finished ranting about the differences between crochet and knitting I found the pattern and mailed it to her (it's free on Rav, so don't panic about copyright infringement!).

However, the more I thought of it, the less I could resist the gravitational pull of that lump of crochet! (That's no planet!!!) Before I knew it I had some sock wool and a hook in my hand and a Death Star was under construction!! The simplicity of the pattern was ideal seeing as how the pain radiating down my legs was quite distracting and I just couldn't concentrate on my other projects!

I finished it on Friday. I don't think it looks too much like one of those Pinterest fails you see, but I think I'll need some lighter grey yarn for the stitch details next time. It was fun to make and Ben quickly decided it was his! I have, however, discovered that lots of folk need crocheted Death Stars in their lives so I now have a waiting list for them! Saints preserve us!!!

The enforced inactivity has made me think long and hard about my WIP list. I really need to clear the decks somewhat so I also finished Ben's socks. I had been hovering around the heel turn for ages and seeing as how he wanted them to be ankle socks, they were so close to being done it was silly to leave them any longer. Besides which, the rate Ben's growing at the moment, he'd be out of them before he got to wear them!!
It's an awful photo, sorry, but to be honest I just couldn't be faffed! How bad is that? My artistic mojo seems to be being squished by painkillers. Harrumph. 

The next WIP on my hit list is a project I haven't even told you about!! It's a great pattern by my good friend MSkiKnits. This woman's talent knows no bounds. I love this shawl. It's called Hapa and it's a lovely blend of two yarns. The colours are combined in a way completely new to me, so there's no carrying yarn up the sides of the piece, no floats, and no ends to weave in. Joy of Joys!!

I'm using  2 hand spun yarns that I spun ages ago. They are by no means perfect - thick and thin, over and underspun, erratically plied. They really don't have much going for them! Someone once said you should use your hand spun quickly, or else as you get better you won't want to use it because you'll only see it's faults.
How right that person was! As I'm using these yarns I'm seeing nothing but their flaws; but despite this, I love how they're knitting up. The crispy, overspun areas seem to be softened in the fabric; the thick and thin areas add character to the rustic garter stitch pattern. I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

What amuses me no end is the fact that despite me being a reasonably accomplished knitter, I still can't accurately count garter stitch rows!!! I kid you not! I actually had to watch a YouTube video! Any how, after that confession, I'd say that I'm probably about a quarter of my way through the knit. I think it'll become my mindless knitting. The soothing regularity of the garter stitch may become my salvation in the weeks and months to come as my other lace projects progress.

I have also worked on the Sunray Shawl. I've been faffing around with needles for ages. I had been using brass finished Addi needles. I love my Addi's but I was finding the brass finish too 'grippy. I like my lace stitches to slip over the needles. I was also finding that the 100cm cable was just too short now that I'm over 600 stitches in the round. I decided to go back to my Knit Pro interchangeables. Now, I now the wooden tips are more grippy than the brass, but I have a 150cm cable for them and I thought that some of my problems stemmed from the fact my stitches where becoming crossed over as they were crushed on the cable. I transfered the stitches over on a rest row and then tried to knit the next pattern row. Disaster!!! the Knit Pro interchangeables are just rubbish for lace! The join where the needle tip meets the cable can best be described as a canyon where lace stitches fall in never to be seen again! I'm now slogging my way through this round and waiting for a new needle to arrive in the post - another Addi but this time with a 150cm cable and nickle finished tips. I'm hoping that this will solve my problem.

When I decided I needed a longer cabled needle, I of course went shopping. I do like to spend my money locally whenever possible, but my LYS owner (bless her cotton socks) doesn't like knitting on circular needles so she doesn't stock many and those she does stock are Pony (bleugh!!!) so the internet was the way forward.  I usually shop at either Deramores or LoveKnitting, but neither had what I was looking for. I searched Addi on Google and came up with WOW!!! All the Addi needles you could every desire are there! I was very restrained and just got the one I needed, not the umpteen I wanted!!
So now, with some good luck and a following wind, I should be able to make good progress.

On the horizon -

The big deal is, of course, the In Dreams cast on tomorrow. There is no time pressures in this KAL, so I'll probably just keep you posted with my progress as and when I reach milestones.

I have come to a decision - I have lots of sock yarn..... I know!!! Shocker!!!!

It sits in a large supermarket shopping bag. Mostly I've no idea what I want to do with it. I bought it because I liked the colour, or the feel or (coughs) the smell!

Well, I've made a decision. I've made my own sock club. This is nothing new, I've read about it or heard about it on other blogs. I pulled out 12 random skeins of yarn. Placed them in bags marked 1-12 and used a random number generator to decide the order 'they arrive'.

The first yarn I'm using is Opal in the Little Prince series. It's a blend of blues and pinks and it's just lovely. The great thing about pulling out all my yarn is that I've found things I'd forgotten I had!
The other thing I decided to do for my sock yarn club is to knit patterned socks. I've been knitting mindless vanilla socks for ages. I love the portability of the vanilla sock, but I think I'm falling into a rut with them.

So my sock yarn club works as follows - I will use the yarn in order that my random number generator dictated. I will search Ravelry for pattern ideas based on what others have made with the yarn. I will commit to using at least one club yarn a month. I will NOT buy sock yarn until I've used up these 12 skeins

This way I've got a year to knit 12 pairs of socks and use 12 skeins of yarn which would otherwise be languishing in my stash. I'll probably have the odd pair of vanilla socks on the needles too over the coming months - sometimes vanilla is the only way forward after all!

I'm really hoping I can get the last of the Jewel Bug fibre off my wheel in the next week. It's been languishing there far too long.

So, until next week.

Have a good one

Ellen x