Saturday, February 24, 2007

Thank you Hello Nelly!

Yesterday I got a fabulous package from my Knitty SP8, Hello Nelly. It had lots and lots of yummy stuff in it! Here are some photos for you to drool over.
Firstly, when I opened the package sweeties fell out everywhere! Awesome. A car full of sweets, what could be better? Little mini fruity sweets and Hershey's Kisses Peanut Butter flavour. I've said it before and I'll say it again, chocolate + peanut butter = heaven. Now my American Sweetie Jar (full of the spoils of overseas swaps, and one of my favourite posessions!) is full again.

And as for the Kinder Happy Hippos, this is what I thought of them.

There was also a great card (very me) and a cute-but-ugly keyring.

The piece de resistance was a Fleece Artist Thrum Mittens Kit. Basically a big hank of wool, with added fibre to make your own, colour co-ordinated thrum mittens. And what a beautiful colour. Fleece artist call it 'moss', but I'd say more 'gooseberry'. And, it's Blue Faced Leicester. I've never felt this type of wool before, but it is gorgeous. So soft. I've always been in two minds about thrummed mittens, although I did like Sherry's. However, the yarn has a pattern for Thrummed socks, which actually sounds amazing. So I'm going to do that.

Thank you SP, whoever you are. Spot on, gold star for you!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Funny Story (I'm not really this popular!)

I had three valentines today. Bizarrely, from three people with the same handwriting...........

The first, was from James (my favourite card, in the middle). I won't tell you what it said, but it was sweet. He's away this week, by the way, but so is sarah's husband and Karen's BF so us girls are good tonight, with a DVD.

The second was from touring car driver Jason Plato, whom I (bizarrely) have a massive crush on. It said "I insist you dump your Boyfriend and come with your horse to live with me in Monaco. I will drive you to the casino every night in my company Seat. Love Jason Plato" Wow. What a surprise.

The third was from movie star, Josh Hartnett. Again, I'm stunned. It said "Come to live with me in LA, you can bring your horse if you must. I'm only good when people write lines for me, so that's all I got. Love Josh Hartnett"

Out of all those J's who shall I possibly choose? It's a toughie!! :)

Speaking of cards, I've just listed some new horsey ones on etsy!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Best Present Ever

Sorry I've not been around posting much, I've been really busy making stock for my etsy shop. Once I start I can't stop! My sewing machine and I are beginning to love eachother. These are snippets of my recent creations......

They're parts of little laundry bags. I don't think they're everyone's cup of tea, but I love the way they've turned out. I'm trying to find some sort of crafting identity, and find out what sells on etsy and what doesn't. So excuse me if the shop looks a bit of a mish mash! And yes, Amanda, in naming my shop, I was inspired by a certain song (and I love Dick van Dyke!!! Well, who doesn't?).

Speaking of which, just before christmas, I was oggling a pair of pinking shears in John Lewis. I know, small things excite. Anyway, I decided I couldn't justify £25 on a pair of scissors (£25 - I know!!). Randomly, last time we went to James' mothers' she said she had two pairs of pinking shears and would I like one? How great is that?? And believe me, they're brilliant. Best present ever. I love how you end up with great ribbons of zig zaggy fabric. Told you. It doesn't take much!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

We're back!

And what a great time we had. Unfortunately there was no snow, but there was a good covering already when we got there, that slowly melted during the few days we were there. Sod's Law, it's snowing right now there, and we're about to get some here tonight! We didn't do much, ate, drank (Karen's favourite red was 12Euro for 6 bottles!!), read, slept, explored, pretty much. Sarah knitted quite a bit, but somehow I wasn't in the mood. We did however, find some great knitting magazines in le supermarche. Now to dig out my dictionary! Now for some photos, sorry if you're on dial-up! (there is a knitting story at the bottom too!)
Since there is only a small fridge at the house, we had to improvise......

This will well and truly become our iconic photo of the trip! If only my legs (far right!) where that long in real life!

Duncan is soooo lucky this wasn't aimed at me!! He was our designated driver, and was thrilled to be driving a new renault mini MPV. Until he put it in a snow drift! We were half way up Puy Mary, one of the tallest mountains around, when we pulled over to the right (luckily away from the sheer drop!) to avoid an oncoming car and the car dropped into a snow covered ditch. Funnily enough, he was trying to avoid a ditch we could see! So, we all got out to push, and promtly sunk about a foot into the snow! The driver and his wife got out of the car we had being trying to avoid and helped too. And, crisis overted! Although we spent the rest of the day with wet socks, and the road we had been trying to get to was closed anyway! Happy, happy days! :)

We saw this house whilst out and about, and I want to live here!

Since they don't have to do it every day, lighting the (amazingly large) fire is still a novelty!!

James still won't agree that he looks like a burglar in his 'suspicious' hat!

So, we found some knitting magazines in the supermarket, with absolutley stunning cabled patterns. All charted, so that's helpful. However, on the continent they tend to write the patterns in prose, rather than line by line statements as we do here. I was trying to explain this to James, and say that this was going to make it more difficult to translate. That instead of writing

row 1: K,

row2: P,

row 3; K,

row 4: P1 P2Tog P to last 3 stitches P2tog P1, etc for example,

they would write in prose as follows, continue in stocking stitch for 4 rows whilst decreasing at each end of the final row blah blah etc. He thought this was really funny and said, what could they add some adventure in there too? Like, "She knitted, whilst the terrorists crash through the window, and as gun fire blazed she decreased at each end of the row". I of course, thought this was hilarious and woke the whole house. Guess you just had to be there :)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Au Reviour, a Mardi!

So we're off here later this morning, with Sarah and Duncan, Karen ad Rich. My aunt's place in Aurillac in central France. It's beautiful and hopefully covered in snow. We know that is below freezing! The boys are hoping to ski, but I'm really not sure.....

We're back on Tuesday, hopefully well rested. We have lots of books, knitting and playing cards. There's no telly. We're so looking forward to it. Lets just hope Ryanair are on the ball today.......

See you on Tuesday!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sun Ray Shawl and Guerilla Warfare Chic

On Tuesday night I finished my Sun Ray Shawl. And, I love it. I'm going to give a bit of a review of the yarn and the pattern, and compare it to my Little Icarus.

(yes, that is Nell with newly short hair - the less said the better, but it's growing on me!)
Yarn: Noro Lily, 4 hanks, 560m in total 70% cotton, 30% silk
Needles, Bogstandard Pony circulars, 80cm, 3.75mm
Time taken to Knit: 10 days

I fell in love with this pattern as soon as I saw it. I already had the yarn, which I bought in the States, and it was earmarked for a second scarf/shawl, like my version of Icarus. I just needed to find a pattern, something a bit more involved than Icarus, which only has rows of eyelets for the main body of the shawl. The pictures that are online with the pattern, are nice, but they have it knitted in a funny yellow (presumably to follow the name of the shawl), which doesn't do it justice, I don't think. I was attracted to the stitch pattern, I love the way the stitches change direction and flow along the shawl. I think it is more wave like than sun rays.

To knit, this is a great pattern, very easy and I couldn't put it down. All that is involved is SSK, yo and K2Tog. No purling 6 million stitches together or anything fiddly like that. It is a 20 row repeat, so it requires a bit of concentration but once you get going, it become obvious which stitches go where. The pattern was originally designed for a chunkier yarn, on bigger needles, to produce a much larger shawl. I am tempted to do it again following the pattern, to make a lap blanket/throw type thing. The pattern calls for 5 or six repeats of the main chart, I did six, which was where I ran out of yarn. Another modification I did was to leave out the garter stitch edging, before the picot cast off. The pattern directs six knit rows before casting off. I like the smoothness of the stocking stitch so the garter stitch edge didn't really follow for me. Instead I continued in stocking stitch for 2 rows, then cast off. As a result, the edge does curl slightly. I like the picots a lot, very simple, although time consuming and the look is effective. There is no cast on edge, which is a clever touch, the designer obviously thought carefully about it. You cast on three stitches, with a crochet cast on, knit 18 rows, then knit these 3, pick up and knit 9 along the selvedge, then pick up and knit your cast on rows. Hey presto, no cast on edge. Sounds complicated, but when I had it in my hands it was easy.

The yarn is just yummy, the colour is closest to this picture (sorry a bit out of focus!) a really true, strong jade. I think the yarn is discontinued, it seems to only be on sale at a few places and is cheap (bag some if you can!!!). The stitch definition is great, being cotton, and the silk gives it a wonderful sheen, which is what I was looking for. It is woven, not plied (please someone correct my lingo if it's wrong!) so doesn't split at all. It blocks wonderfully too. I quickly washed it in woolite and warm water, then squeezed it out in a towel, which seemed to 'flatten' the stitches a bit - in a good way. I pinned it out over night, and it seems to have worked well. The curl at the cast off edge is a bit annoying, but worth it for missing the garter stitch.

As a scarf, this is no way as cuddly as Icarus, the yarns are just polar opposites. But, this has better stitch definition, so the stitch pattern is more of a proper feature. I just love it.

My colleague, the lovely Richie, said how lovely it was, and that I had the Guerilla Warfare Chic look going on. I take this as a great compliment, as he's trendy and cool. And loves blogs, so I'll have to tell him he features on one today!

And, lastly, thasnk so much for your amazingly generous comments on my last post - my etsy shop is up (keep checking back as I increase my stock!).