Liz Corke Knit Design

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February 29, 2012

Wednesday has come quickly this week. I have a four day week this week, so this is only my second day of work. I did do a Year of Projects update yesterday, but I’ve managed to get quite a bit done on two of my projects so I have something for you to see. On Tuesdays we’re playing D&D with some of my husband’s friends over skype – so this works out to around four hours of knitting time with small interruptions when it’s my turn!

I didn’t do anything on my Slate Scarf last night, but you can see what I got done while I was away on yesterday’s YoP post here. Henslowe is getting along at a good rate, and I’ve got quite a few more rows done. The lighting in the photo is dodgy, sorry, but you can see where I’ve got 34 loops down the side. I’m on 42 loops on that side now, and I hope to have the body of the shawl done by the weekend. At the moment I think it looks a little small, but I’m sure once the border is on and I block it it’ll probably stretch out quite a bit. At the moment I’d guess it’s about shoulder width on me – although I don’t have it here so I can’t test.

The Garter Ruffles Scarf grew quite a lot last night. I’m using a locking stitch marker now, and you can see I’ve put it over the last increase stitch. It’s making my life much easier since I can easily see where I did my last increase, I’m not loosing track of whether I should be doing one or not. There’s just a hint of ruffling in it just now. I think it’s because it’s gorgeously drapy silk that the ruffles aren’t showing so well, but the pattern suggests doing a crochet chain along the edge of the short rows to tighten things up if the ruffles don’t show well, and I think that shuold solve any problems with it. I’ve put aside about 6g of yarn for the crochet chain later – the pattern reccommended 5g, but I like to be on the safe side. I love working on this scarf – the silk feels heavenly when it’s sliding through my fingers!

Don’t forget to check out Tami’s to see everyone else’s WIP!

February 28, 2012

I’ve got horribly behind with my blogs and blogging again! While I was in London I had data turned off on my phone to save the battery, and now I have 245 blogs to read! I was so busy getting packed on Wednesday night too, so I didn’t have time to write my FO Friday post in advance either. But London was fantastic, although really hot! I spent most of my time going around in just a tank top and carrying Magrathea around with me. Magrathea was perfect. Nice and warm if we were walking in the shadows a lot. My feet have just about recovered now from all the walking we did! The shows were fantastic, all of them, although especially Les Mis which I’ve been dying to see for years, and The Mousetrap was a lot of fun. I did better than my friends and managed to guess one character’s secret, although none of us guessed the murderer!

I managed to get some knitting done on the way down on the train – and I wasn’t the only one knitting either. On the way back though the train was really busy and it was a bit aof a squeeze so I didn’t try. I got a good bit done on the Slate Scarf. This pattern is great for easy knitting without too much concentration, although I’m finding the yarn a little bit splittty which is annoying. My new needles did arrive in time, so I restarted this one on Wednesday before I packed it, and I like it better now, 5.5mm was just a bit too loose.

The Garter Ruffles Scarf actually defeated me! You do an increase every second row, and I could never remember which row I was on, which was pretty awkward! I’m going to be using a removeable marker now so I can put it over the increase stitch and hopefully remember where I’ve got too. I like this pattern, and the yarn, being a silk/alpaca blend, feels fantastic! I’m enjoying working on this one so I’m hoping to get a lot more done soon. The silk does seem quite loose though, so I think I’m definitely going to have to use a crochet chain when I’m finished to help the ruffles stand out nicely, but I like the way the chain looks anyway.

I should really have written this post yesterday, but here’s the reason I didn’t. I was having too much fun knitting Henslowe! I’m up to 40 loops on on side now which is about 79 or 80 rows. When I get to 50 rows, I’ll count the other side. I need 52 loops on each side so I can pick up 104 loops to start the border. I discovered this weekend that one of my friends knits! Although she mostly sticks to stockinette stitch scarves, I showed her the other things I had with me, like my cowl and my phone sock, and showed her Ravelry so hopefully she’ll get hooked *laughs*. She’s put me under strict instructions to have Henslowe ready for the next time I see her, which should be the end of March, so I need to get on with this one.

That’s about it for my progress this week, so here’s my list again:

The Revised List

Scarves and Shawls

Amigurumi

Other Things

February 22, 2012
Its Wednesday and I’m sitting here trying to contain my excitement for my holiday tomorrow. As of right now, I’m not ready at all – half my clothes are still drying, nothing is packed, Magrathea is back on the blocking mats and I haven’t written my FO Friday post for you either. Tonight will be very busy, and I’m trying to think if there’s anything I need to buy before I go home tonight – like a second tube of toothpaste – I can’t take the one from home or what would my husband use while I’m gone? I ordered a new set of 5mm needle tips yesterday too. I already have a pair of nova metal ones, and the ones on the way are wooden Symfony ones. I ordered them yesterday and got the dispatch notice so hopefully they’ll come today since I went for first class delivery. I really hope they’ll come in time, since I could really use them – three of the projects in this post use or want 5mm needles and I only have one set!

First up is Henslowe. I think this is probably going to turn out to be the most complicated shawl I’ve done so far. At the moment it’s pretty easy, just yo, knit and kfb, but later on I’m going to bind off the top and pick up the yarn overs around the outside. I’m going to have to learn to do a suspended bind off for that bit. Then there’s some lace which doesn’t seem to hard as such – just a lot of yarn overs so missing one is a probablitity more than a possibility! And to finish off I knit on a border sideways which I’ve never done before. Hopefully if I just keep each step one at a time, and try not to overthink what’s coming next it sholdn’t be too hard. The pattern is very well written so I’m sure I’ll get through it eventually.

Next is a gift. Marie of the Underground Crafter gave we this idea a few weeks ago. We always get my mother in law’s two dogs presents at Christmas, and because we haven’t visted yet, they haven’t had them! In fact, we hadn’t bought the dog’s presents yet. George isn’t really into playing so he always gets treats from us and we didn’t want them sitting around for ages and we’d normally buy Daisy a toy at the same time. This year though I’m making her a toy. She loves soft toys and squeaky ones, but although she has loads of animal ones, I don’t think she actually has a ball, so I’m making her one. I’m using the out of yarn pattern, but using bulky yarn to make it bigger. both dogs are Shih tzus so this should turn out a good size fore her to carry around happily.

Next are two projects I cast on specifically to take to London with me, so there’s not too much done on them this week – hopefully next week will be a different story, because I have two long train journeys coming up! First of these is the Garter Ruffles Scarf. The yarn for this one is gorgeous. It’s Debbie Bliss Andes, which is a silk/alpaca blend, and it’s so amazingly soft. My husband got me the yarn for Christmas. The ruffles are formed with short rows so it should have enough to keep me interested, without being too complicated, and there’s no techniques I’ll need to look up since I already know all the stitches I need.

The second is my Slate Scarf. The pattern is Cream of Spinich, and it’s a really nice fairly simple pattern. I really like the texture the passed over stitches give. The pattern is really easy to memorise and hopefully shouldn’t cause me any problems. At the moment, since my 5mm needles were taken already, I cast on with 5.5 mm needles,but I actually feel it’s a little too loose, so I’m going to rip it out and hopefully start again with 5 mm needles or maybe try 4.5 mm needles if the others don’t come in time.

I also need to make up a list of things for my travel knitting “kit”. I’ve memorised the patterns, but I also have the pdf’s downloaded on my phone if I need them. I’ll need a crochet hook – just in case I drop any stitches. I’m going to swap the stitch marker on my garter ruffles shawl, because I really like the five I have like that, so I’ll swap for one I won’t worry about losing. I’ll have to go through my knitting bag later and see what else I might need!

Check out Tami’s to see everyone else’s WIPs!

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February 20, 2012

Another week has been and gone already, and I imagine this week will pass even faster for me! I have three days at work, then a four day trip to London, which I’ve already mentioned quite a few times, and I’m really excited about! We’re going to see a few shows – Les Misérables on Thursday which I’ve wanted to see ever since I learnt to play the music on the piano about ten (or more!) years ago, Friday is Blood Brothers, and Saturday is Mousetrap – Agatha Christies play. I’m not sure what else we’re going to do, there’ll be two of us on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday another friend is joining us. The two girls I’m going with were my bridesmaids, and we don’t see each other too much these days, since I’m in Aberdeen and they are near Leeds, so I’m really excited about the trip.

I’m taking the train down and back which is a 7 hour trip each way, so I’ve cast on a couple of projects, and I’ll be getting a new book and an audiobook for the trip. And that brings me to what I’ve been knitting this week! First up is my finshed Magrathea. I really love this shawl! It’s so warm with the wool cotton mix and the yarn is so soft. It feels fantastic. The pattern was good and easy to follow, although I did occasionally have problems with missing yarn overs. Blocking didn’t go 100% as I intended. Most of it went well, but the second half of the border hasn’t held the points I tried to put in, so I think I’ll try reblocking the border tonight, and hopefully it’ll come out nicely second time. I’m planning to take Magrathea down to London with me, so I want to give it plenty of time to dry out before I go.

I’ve also been working away at Henslowe. I have ripped everything out once, because I realised I’d missed a yarn over back at the start. The yarn over’s are really important as you pick them up to make the border, so making sure I don’t miss any is important, and I’d hate to get to the end of the body, then realise the second row had a missing loop! The yarn is gorgeous. I love the way the colours are working up together, and with no pooling too. It feels really nice – soft but springy, although I imagine blocking will rduce the springyness a little.

I also cast on a couple of new projects, and come to the realisation I really need a second pair of 5mm needle tips! The first is the garter ruffles scarf. I’m making this one with Debbie Bliss Andes, which was the second yarn gift from my husband for Christmas! It feels gorgeous and I’m really looking forward to wearing this one. The pattern is pretty simple, it has a short repeat with short rows and an increase, so it should be perfect for the train. I wanted to make sure I was happy with the projects I’m taking with me, so I cast them on early. The second is a scarf with Patons Smoothie DK. I had planned to do Branching Out with this yarn, but I was having trouble getting the cast on right. It needs to be loose because you increase quite a lot of stitches at the start of the lace repeat, before decreasing again, but I kept casting on too tight and it wouldn’t stretch nicely. So instead I’m making Cream of Spinich. I really like this pattern. it’s got a nice simple repeat, and I love the texture of the passed over stitches. No photos of this one I’m afraid, I started it after I’d done the photo’s of the others.

Last but definitely not least is my crochet hairpin lace blanket. I finished another strip on Friday and got it all joined up. I like how it’s going so far, but I’m about to have my first real colour change. I think the colours will look ok together but only time will tell. The next colour is Sunshine. I’ve decided the blanket will probably find a home on our sofa, but I’m still going to make it big enough for a double bed, because that will give me more options later on – I wouldn’t want to end up wishing I’d made it bigger a year or two down the line!

The Revised List

Scarves and Shawls

Amigurumi

Other Things

February 17, 2012
It’s funny how time moves, sometimes it plods along at a normal rate, othertimes it flies by and you wonder what happened to all those plans you had, and sometimes it drags and seems to be taking forever to get anywhere! But one way or another, we always get to Friday and this week I’m ready to unveil Magrathea to you!

My new blocking mats arrived on Wednesday, a whole day earlier than expected, and for once they left the parcel with neighbours, which was good, since otherwise we have quite a walk to get it, and it’s an awkwardly sized parcel! The mats are wonderful. They lock together very nicely and easily, and they’re perfect for sticking pins into. My yoga mat was so thin I had to use at least three towels underneath to give the pins some grip, as the floor was far too hard for sticking pins in. Blocking Magrathea went pretty well, although the straight edge hasn’t spiked as much as I had hoped, so I might give the edge a second go. I really love Magrathea though!

The pattern was pretty easy, and I did eventually manage to memorise the lace border repeats. I don’t really why it took me so long – it was only eight rows, and four of them were purl/knit rows. The yarn is gorgeous. It is Rowan Amy Butler Belle Organic Aran, which is a wool/cotton mix. My husband got me two skiens for Christmas, and I got another two skiens (same colourway, luckily) in the sales to finish it off. I used about two and two thirds for the main body of the shawl, and almost the whole of the fourth skien for the lace border on the edge. All in all, I’m glad I stopped when I did, otherwise I might not have had enough yarn to finish! I forgot to measure it before I blocked it, but the size now is 175 cm x 33 cm at the widest point. It’s a great size for wrapping and it can either be worn as a scarf or a shawl, which gives me really nice flexibility.
The pattern was really good, and well written and wasn’t confusing at all. I also learnt Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off, which is a really nice bind off and I’d definitely use it again. The yarn is beautifully soft and really warm too. Hopefully I’ll get plenty of oppertunities to use it this spring and summer, and I’ll be taking it down to London with me next week.
From Tursday to Sunday next week I’m going to be in London with a couple of my best friends, having a great time and leaving my poor husband behind, so I’ll have loads to tell you when I get back. I do have some crafty plans for this week though, so I’ll be scheduling a post to go out next Friday, remember to come back and see me! Also if you visit regularly you might have noticed my blog has moved. I decided I prefered blogger to tumblr, so I’ve moved my blog over. Let me know what you think to the new design!

Don’t forget to check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!

February 16, 2012

Blog home that is! Although I quite like tumblr, I’ve been playing around with blogger, and I really prefer the blogger interface. It’s much easier to like up tags for example, and the dashboard is a lot nicer than the one on tumblr. I also had a lot of fun playing around with the templates on blogger, which are much easier to customise than the tumblr ones. There’s also other advantages, like not needing to enter my Name/url to comment on other peoples blogs.

I’ve copied all of my blog posts over, although I know I’ve missed a couple. If you notice any mistakes, like missing titles, please let me know! My new blog address is http://yarnberry.blogspot.com/ Please come and join me over there and let me know what you think! Don’t forget to update your bookmarks/RSS Feeds!

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February 15, 2012

Well Wednesday is here and I have a new project to show you! I finally finished off the lace edge for Magrathea and it’s ready to be blocked! I have some new blocking mats – the interlocking ones on the way, but I don’t think they’ll come before tomorrow, or Friday, and I really want to get Magrathea blocked so I’ll probably  get out spare towels and my yoga mat and use them tonight. My yoga mat is too thin to hold the pins so I have to put a couple of towels under it, which is why I decided to get some new mats – plus my yoga mat isn’t wide enough for big shawls. The bind off edge of Magrathea is going to take a bit of blocking to give it the same nice spikey edge as the other side. I’m really excited to see this one done, and I’m planning to take it down to London with me next week. Here’s a photo of the nearly finished lace for you.

I let my hairpin lace blanket fall by the wayside a little last week, because I was so keen to get on with Magrathea this week. But I picked it back up yesterday, and I’m currently on 250 loops on my third strip. It should be finished and joined up by the weekend if everything goes to plan.

And last night I cast on something new! I’m finally getting to use my stash addict yarn and it is gorgeous! I love the colours and the way they sit together, and the Blue faced leciester yarn is lovely and soft. I’m never used BFL before, and I really like it. I’ve cast on for Henslowe. It looks beautiful in the photos and hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard. It will be the first crescent shaped shawl I’ve done and so far it’s going well. I’m using 3.5 mm needles which are tiny! the only in my right hand is fine, but holding the one in my left feels a little awkward.  I think it’s partly the change from 5mm to 3.5mm and I’m sure I’ll get used to it soon.

Check out Tami’s for more WIP Wednesdays!

February 13, 2012

Here we are at another Monday, and another whole week till the weekend! It was sort of light on my way to work this morning, so it’s starting to feel like spring is actually on the way at last! I’m looking forward to warmer days soon. I’ve been pretty busy this week. We’ve got a new TV – a flat screen at last, instead of our old huge bulky one – so we rearranged the living room to give us more space now we can have the TV wall mounted. It’s opened the room out a lot and makes it feel a lot bigger.

This weekend the Hairpin lace has fallen behind a little, because I’ve got swept away with Magrathea! Magrathea is nearly done! I used around two and a half skiens of yarn to make the body, which was 17 repeats long. Then I joined the fourth skien right befor starting the lace border. I didn’t want to have to join a new skien during the lace, so I thought this way would be best – which didn’t work out because I found a large ugly knot and had to cut it out, but I managed to get the join in the middle of one of the diamonds, so it shouldn’t show too badly. I’ve only got a few more rows left to go, so hopefully it’ll be done by the end of the week and I’ll get it blocked.
The blanket has been going along fine, although it was very ignored yesterday, after I’d started working on the border of my scarf! I have the colours all planned out, so I know which strips I’m doing when. The third strip is underway and I quite like the colours so far, although the pink is very hard to photograph well! The true test will come after this strip, when I move into other colours, and start to get a feel for how the colours will look together. I chose this colour scheme by putting all of the colours into a colour wheel, then taking every third colour , round and round in circles. I have 19 colours, so using every third number let it go round nicely, moving the pattern over one colour every time I went round.

The most exciting thing about being nearly done with Magrathea, is that I can start thinking about what to cast on next! I’m off to London a week on Thursday. I’m going there and back by train, which is a seven hour journey each way! That’s 14 hours of knitting time, with no distractions! I’m going to treat myself to a new audio book for the trip, and I’ll work on a Garter Ruffles Scarf on the trip! I’ll be making it with the Debbie Bliss Andes yarn my husband gave me for Christmas – it’s replacing the two options I had in my list before, because it’ll make better use of the yarn. It should be uncomplicated enough not to give me any problems – important when I don’t know if I’ll be able to get internet access on the train – but the short rows will hopefully keep it interesting. As for the next week or so, I should be good and work on my Childhood Memories shawl, but it’s another crochet piece, and I’d really like to have some knitting on the go, along with the blanket which is crochet. I’ve also been longing to do something with my Stash Addict yarn for ages! the blues and greys are gorgeous, and some of my favourite colours. So, I’m going to give in to temptation and cast on for Henslowe.

The Revised List

Scarves and Shawls

Amigurumi

Other Things

February 10, 2012

Well, it’s Friday at last, and this week it couldn’t come fast enough! I’m normally at work by ten to eight (and finish at four) so I’m really looking forward to having a lie in tomorrow! I’ve got really behind on my blog reading this week – sorry everyone – hopefully I’ll be able to catch up tonight/tomorrow!
My FO this Friday is a nice little quick pattern. It’s a really neat little ball, that I think could make a great little baby toy. One of my friends is having a baby this summer, and I think some of these in a selection of bright colours would make great safe little toys. Especially if I could get rattles, squeakers and crinkly noise things into some of them. I don’t think I stuffed this one quite well enough. It felt really full before I closed it, but afterwards I thought it felt a little empty. It was a really nice fast little pattern, and I learnt and practiced quite a few techniques, like picking up stitches – I admit to resorting to my crochet hook a couple of times to pick up stitches! – and I learnt how to do kitchener stitch to graft the last end together. It was a really neat seam and I really like it.
I think while I’m working on big projects, I’m also going to keep looking for small quick projects that will teach me or let me practice new techniques that I don’t use often as a way of broadening my horizons and increasing my skills I’m sure by the end of the year I’ll hae learnt a fair bit.
Check out Tami’s for more Fo Fridays!

February 8, 2012

Well this week, I haven’t got too much done. I had a disasterous time with my second New Era glove, which you can read about here. They’ve been banished to the bookshelves for a while, until I can face frogging them – they could be there till autumn! I did manage to finish the hairpin lace strip I was working on last week, as well as a second one, but I haven’t started the third strip yet. I planned out a few different ideas for a blanket and you can see more about the blanket here. My husband chose the pattern he likes best – it’s the middle one on the left in this image, so I’ll be starting that tonight. You can see in the photo, that I’ve joined the first two blanket strips together – they are really easy to join, so I’m going to keep joining as I go. So far I think I need 32 strips, but if I’m joining as I go I can either stop early, or put in some more colours.
Last night I picked up Magrathea again. I’m really glad to be working on it again, and I’m going to resist casting on any large projects till I’ve got it done – everyone needs some instant gratification every now and then! I frogged back to where I’d missed a yarn over the last time, and I’ve done another repeat or so since then. I’d forgotten how soft the yarn I’m using is! It’s gorgeous and I’m loving working on it again. I’m being very careful now, and counting the lace every time I finish a row now, to make sure I’m up to the right place. I need to always have an even number of stitches, either 24, 26 or 28. As long as I can keep that right, everything else should follow on nicely.
I’m already starting to think about this years Christmas presents. For the girls/women I want to try and do as many handmade things as I can – and for the guys too, although they’re a lot harder! I have plans to try a lot of new things this year, like making soap, and I’ll definitely be blogging about them all. So this year I want to start early. I always put a small toy in the boxes I make up for friends and sisters (have a look here). Last year I made knit bunnies for everyone. This year I want to make something else cute! There’s a lot of cute patterns on ravelry like bunny nuggets, chubby chirps, owl puffs and monster chunks. Loads of things that would be prefect for using up the scraps of blanket yarn I’m sure I’ll have, and be cute and cheerful little gifts. So on weeks when I know I’m not going to have anything else finished, and I need a little instant gratification knitting, I’ll be testing out these patterns with scrap yarn in my stash! This week I’m going to make an out of yarn ball. One of my friends is having a baby this summer, and I think some of these in loads of colours would make great little baby toys!
Check out Tami’s to see what everyone else is working on!