Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Years Resolutions

It's the end of another year. Again, I'm looking back wondering where all the time went. And quite what I did with it all...

This time last year, I wrote a post detailing my goals for the year.

I had signed up for the 11 Shawls in 2011 challenge on Ravelry. Sadly, whilst I did complete the challenge (with all the knitting done by September), this challenge seems to have done the opposite of what it was supposed to. Now, when I go looking for a shawl pattern to knit, I cannot find one that I want to knit anymore. Well, not lace shawls anyhow - there are a couple of solid shawls I'd like to get done, but I'm not finding lace knitting as awesome as I did last year. Maybe it's a good thing to get the bug out of me. Eventually, though everything was knit and blocked by September, I didn't post them on Rav until last week, which is how little I cared about actually finishing the challenge. Not surprisingly, I have not signed up for the next one.

Secondly, I promised to blog at least twice a month. Technically, I did not manage this as I only blogged once in September, however with a total of 51 blog posts - almost one per week - I definitely reached my goal of blogging more. I would like to keep this up in the New Year, as well as keeping up with my Twitter.

The last goal from last year was to lose weight. I lost some, I gained some, in the end I think I'm leaving this year a little lighter than I went into last year, but this is also something I need to keep up.

This year, I have a few goals, not many of which are crafty, but I shall mention them anyway.

My first goal is to get my black belt. I'm not sure how realistic it is, but I do know I will need to put a lot of work in.

My second goal is to take the idea in my head and put it down on paper and see if I can make it into some kind of pattern that people would like to knit.

My last goal is to try and do more interesting stuff in my life. I'm not quite sure what that will look like yet, but I'm hoping I'll know it when it appears.

Whatever you are doing, I wish you the very happiest of New Year's and I hope that the one coming brings you all you could wish for (I wish for Wollmeise...).

Friday, 23 December 2011

Crisis in Confidence

I think I should just give up on this knitting lark. I am clearly no good at it. Case in point; my Pomatomus socks.

I was so excited at the thought that I would get these done this week. For one thing this will be the second pair of socks I have managed to knit both of this year! (I am not fast when it comes to socks). For another thing, I really enjoyed this pattern. Something about the way that the yarn transformed into this springy, bouncy, lovely textured garment was so appealing to me. I've had this yarn sat around for a while (it's Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in a colourway called Echo, though I have no idea what colour it is. When I first bought it I thought it was grey, then realised it was too brown to be grey. But it's not quite right for mushroom either. I think we've decided to call it 'taupe' since taupe just seems to be universal for 'some kind of brown that we can't quite figure out what kind') I cast on for another pair of socks, but really wasn't feeling it. But I came across it this year and decided it needed to be Pomatomus. And it needed to be Pomatomus RIGHT NOW. Except, as usually happens, it became one Pomatomus RIGHT NOW and the other one took a bit longer (I got distr...SQUIRREL).

So this week rolls around and I'm on holiday and with my family so I can't do holiday knitting while the person I'm knitting for is still up, so I pick back up my second sock and finish it in record time (for me).


See the problem yet? Maybe not. I know I didn't.

I finished the sock on Tuesday evening and sewed in the ends on both socks. I decided to wear them yesterday. I'd already tried on the one I made first, so I knew it would fit and had made sure to knit to second to exactly the same number of pattern repeats etc.

But wait, what's this?

See it now?

See how one sock is a dramatically different size from the other? Desperate, I checked the pattern repeats, thinking if I had just missed one out, maybe I could tink back - I have plenty of yarn left, but to no avail. The pattern repeats are the same, it's my gauge that is off.

And how off is it possible for gauge to get?

I have one sock that comes up to normal sock height above my ankle, and one that comes halfway up my calf.

The moral of this story is:
Knit socks two a time in the future!

For FO's that worked a lot better than mine, see Tami's Amis.

And lastly, I would like to wish those that celebrate a very Happy Christmas Eve Eve. I hope that this season brings you joy and peace and everything you could wish for.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Today I am EPIC and WIN

This past week has been particularly stressful. It started last Saturday when I went on the first day of a two weekend course to train to become a Regional Judge in Gymnastics. I was brimming with confidence bearing in mind my sweeping victory on my Club Judge course when I finished with a 96% distinction. Turns out, pride comes before a fall (who knew?) and I ended up being completely thrown by what we had to learn. The extra theory alone was daunting, but when it came to the practical side (judging video clips of routines) I absolutely could not do it. I was not coming up with the correct score at all.

To make matters worse, I hadn't quite thought things through when I signed up for this course and hadn't worked out how close it was to the final submission date for my photography coursework for the OU course I've been taking online. Truth be told, I had completely fallen behind with the course and didn't have anything ready to go.

So, with my judging exam on Sunday (today) and my coursework due in my 12pm on Monday (tomorrow), I have not stopped working all week.

Today I passed my judging exam. I won't know the score for a couple of months (I think probably quite a bit lower than my club judging), but I passed.

Today I submitted my photography coursework twelve hours before the deadline. Here are a few of the photo's I've put in:

Today, for good measure, I also did my laundry.

Now to sit down with a glass of wine methinks.

P.S. Now if only I could finish my Christmas knitting as well...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The countdown begins...

I think my life has been consumed by Christmas knitting. And Christmas making stuff (I'm brewing some homemade mead for my brother's Christmas present. I hope it's going well - it's bubbling away merrily, but there seems to be something settling on the bottom).

However, at the start of this month I did cast on for a sweater. My first one in ages. And this time I am determined to make it fit! And wear it! So I decided to go for the Effortless Cardigan by Hannah Fettig (I am nothing if not hopeful), figuring that as an open cardigan, it would be less both if it didn't fit perfectly than, say, a pullover.

At the start of this week, I finished the main body:

And so far - touch wood - it mostly seems to be ok, fit-wise. I say 'mostly ok' because it is an open cardigan and at the moment it's not draping properly. I'm fairly sure this is because it doesn't have the weight from the edging and hasn't yet been blocked - this yarn (Araucania Nature Wool Solids) definitely softens up on blocking, so I'm still holding out hope this will work out (and not turn out like my February Lady Sweater which, upon blocking, went from being a good length just below where my trousers sit, to being somewhere around my knees!)

I'm even being a good girl and, as the yarn is semi-solid kettle dyed, alternating skeins. The colour is looking good and varied as a result, which I'm pleased about. I'm also Russian Joining as I'm lazy and don't like weaving in the ends.

I will just give you one sneak peek look at some Christmas knitting and you can try and guess what it is (and if it'll be done in time!):

I'll give you a clue - it's not a mini-sock or a mini-glove (or a mini anything, really).

In other exciting news, I have gone and joined that Twitter thing. You can find me on it here, and so far I seem to be better at it than I have been at blogging lately! It would be nice to know some more people on there though as so far I am following 47 people and have 12 people following me, which seems a little sad in Twitter terms, where most people seem to be in touch with thousands!

Also, there are more WIPs this Wednesday on Tami's Amis.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Dear Brain,

Please learn to communicate better internally.

I appreciate that the past two days have been very boring for you. I appreciate we have not done much together as a collective lately, but there is a good reason for that.

What you seem to have missed, Brain, is that Body is not feeling well. Body has a cold and Body needs to rest. As such, Body (and I for that) would really love to get some sleep. Neither Body, nor I, are particularly impressed with your chatting all night long and keeping us all up. I know you're bored and as soon as Body is feeling up to it, we'll do some fun stuff. I promise.

But in the meantime, please just be quiet and let us sleep.



Monday, 31 October 2011

Golden Brown

Today has been the first day that it has really felt like autumn. I've been quite disappointed with the season so far - the weather has been strange and so the trees haven't known what to do and so have not yet displayed their amazing colours or dropped many leaves. One of my absolute favourite things to do during the aumtumn is walk down the road stomping through the crispy leaves.

I've been craving this season for some reason this year, more so than previously. It's my favourite time of year, particularly the colours and, of course, the knitwear.

I can tell I've been looking forward to this season because of the colours I've been choosing to knit with. Or rather, the colour.

It started while I was looking for the perfect DK or heavier weight yarn to use to make a Caireen shawl for the Three Countries Shawl KAL group on Ravelry. I couldn't find the brown I was looking for in the UK, but I did find the perfect colour in a fingering weight. So I got that instead and then ordered some of a similar golden brown from Sanguine Gryphon in the Traveller base which is DK. The Caireen is now off the needles, the fingering weight will, I think, become gloves to match.

Then, I decided to join in with another KAL in the APlayfulDay podcast group on Rav which is a sweater KAL. I've decided to knit Hannah Fettig's Effortless Cardigan and managed to find a site selling Araucania Nature Solid on sale. To be fair, I thought it was a mossy green I had ordered. When it arrived, it wasn't green at all. It was entirely brown. And lovely. So was the definitely brown yarn that I had ordered to knit a Koolhaas hat with. That one is also off the needles - it was a crazy quick knit that was done in three days!

Incidently, to prepare for the sweater KAL, I have made a swatch. For the first time ever (it made me fall in love with the yarn even more).

Then, while in London, I stopped at Loop. There I came across the most beautiful shade of madelinetosh tosh sock called William Morris. It is (you guessed it) a deep and luxurious brown with accents of blue. That one is asking to be socks at the moment.

To counter all of this brown, I have also cast on (finally) for my second Pomatomus sock (the first has only been waiting for three or four months for a friend) which is not brown. It's taupe.

P.S. There would have been photos to go with this post, but sadly the downside to autumn (especially the day after the clocks go back) is that there is no light when I'm actually at home to take photos. I will try and get some over the weekend.

P.P.S. the other downside to autumn is that my nose has decided to get all blocked up today. I'm off for an early night I think.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Three Oaks, Two Fingers

Not in that way. In the 'I've finished two fingers and have two and the thumb to go' way. I would never put two fingers up to these gloves, because I cannot express how much I love these gloves in words. So here it is in pictures:

It fits beautiful, looks way more complicated than it actually is, the yarn is just gorgeous and I think will wear quite well, and, even though I've knitted it on DPNs (the pattern is written for magic loop, but I'm not a fan), I'm really keen to start on the next one! So happy I picked this pattern.

For more WIPS, see Tami's Amis.