Liz Corke Knit Design

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April 9, 2012

Easter is almost over now, but while most people are relaxing on their bank holiday, I back at work again. Bank holidays don’t happen in our office! I hope everyone had a good Easter, we went down to my parents yesterday and had a good time, and saw my baby (aged 21) brother too. I also got quite a lot of knitting done so all in all it was a good day.

I’ve been busily working away at three things this week and I feel like I’ve got much more done this time. First up is the Rocketship Shawl. I’ve been doing about two rows a day this week and I’m finally past all the bobbles. I really hated doing them! The last four rows are pretty plain and shoud be fairly easy going and then I’ll be on to doing the short rows and that should be much easier and more fun. Once I’ve worked out how the short rows work that is. There’s a formula to repeat for each row, adding more stitches each time to make the curved shape so I’m just going to wait and work it out when I get there and I can see what I’m really doing.

Next up is the Garter Ruffles Scarf. This one is coming along nicely and I’m really happy with it. I’m just about to add another ball of yarn so I’m now two thirds of the way through. I just have one ball of yarn to go, then because the silk and alpaca is so drapey I’m going to do a crochet chain along the edge of the ruffles to give them a little more support and help them stand out.

Last up is my jumper. I ripped out the sleeve I had done and now I’m making the sleeve up in 3×1 rib. I’m a lot happier with how it’s going now. The fabric feels left stiff and softer and I love the stretch in it. I just need a few more inches before I start adding in stripes of the cream and black. I haven’t decided how I’m going to do that yet. I think I’ll just work it out as I go! I also haven’t decided how I’m going to finish off the sleeves. Right now I’m thinking of making them three quarter length, and finishing with a couple of inches of 2×2 rib. I really like working on this one. It doesn’t really take any concentration and I can read while I do it. As long as I can keep on at a good speed, I might have a new jumper by next winter!

My Year of Projects Lists

To Do/In Progress


Garter Ruffles Scarf – In Progress
Hairpin Lace Blanket – In Progress
Rocketship Shawl – In Progress
Tubey – In Progress
Pin Cushion – In Progress
Blisco – Freedom Sincere
Usoa Shawl – Drops Fabel
Momijigari
Mezquita Shawl – Got Yarn
2 x HPKCHC Homework
Face Cloths – Drops Paris
Calorimetry – Have yarn
Needle Book – Trying out entrelac (leftovers of blanket yarn)
Scissor Case

Finished Things

Tote Bag – Finished
Windschief Hat – Finished
Snowbaby Hat – Finished
Skaði Fingerless Gloves – Finished
Lacey Crochet Scarf – Finished
Iris Crocheted Shawl – Finished
Shawl Collared Cowl – Finished
Urban Shells – Finished
Elise Shawl – Finished
Betula  Ring – Finished
Magrathea – Finished
Knit Bunnies x 7 – Finished
Realistic Octopus – Finished
Henslowe – Finished
HPKCHC March – Finished

April 6, 2012

Easter is almost here at last! I haven’t got an easter egg yet – the one I really want is the new Eton Mess one from Thornton’s but it’s £15! So I’m hoping they’ll go on sale next week, lol. I’m still at work today, although most of the country is on holiday. We get our bank holidays as part of our annual leave entitlement so I prefer to save them for other times. Most of my office seems to feel the same way though so at least it’s still fairly busy here.

Another FO Friday has rolled around but I’m working on so many big projects this year that I feel like I never finish anything knitted anymore! It’s apparently been about three weeks since I finished Henslowe and nothing else is close to being finished. I have made something this week though – a drawstring project bag. I’m pretty happy with it and it was ridiculously easy. I normally keep my projects in plastic food bags when I’m travelling or just dropped into my knitting bag, but I wanted to be a bit more organised, plus it’s really easy to make a hole in the plastic bags, and trying to squeeze the air out before I seal them is annoying *laughs*

This was super simple to make. This is the fourth fat quarter that came in the pack I used for my needle case. I hadn’t used it at all, so I figured this would be a good way to use it. I just folded the top over to make the space for the cord and seamed that, them seamed the sides together, decided how deep I wanted it seamed the bottom, cut off the spare material at the bottom and turned it the right way around. All in all it probably took me about half an hour. It’s good to make something quick and easy sometimes! I also think my seams are getting straighter so I’ll have to keep practicing.

I’m definately going to make some more of these. For future ones, I think I might line them and put a pocket in for a crochet hook or spare needles if it needs two needle sizes or spare stitchmarkers and things along those lines. My husband also suggested making a see through pocket on the outside so I can put a label in to see what in each bag, which seems like a pretty good idea to me! I was also thinking these would make bretty good bags for the girls gifts for Christmas because I love giving them packaging they can reuse. First though I’ll have to get some more fabric! Check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!

March 19, 2012

Another week on and Henslowe is finished! A glass of wine and my faourite new shows for the week were clearly what I needed to motivate me and I got the whole second half of the edging done in one go. I have to confess that I wasn’t completely happy with it when I finished because it still felt really small. I forgot to measure it before blocking though so I’m not sure how small it actually was. When I blocked it though, I got it to stretch out to 51″ wide, which is the exact length as the pattern states.

I’m really happy with the way it sits, although like other people have commented I do find theres a tight line around the body where the yarn overs are. If I make another Henslowe I’ll definitely do double yarn overs when I’m working on that part. I love the lacey border on the shawl, I think it’s fantastic and the yarn is gorgeous!

So having finished Hensloew I get to start something new! I’ve actually started two new projects this weekend and I’m going to be starting a third since we’re going on a tip and I want to have things to take with me. First up is my pin cushion. I’m adapting the Peyote Pincushion pattern to make it bigger and seamless. I really like this pattern, and I have the cutest butterfly button to go with it. I started in the yarn left over from my shawl, but it was going to be absolutely tiny in fingering yarn, so I’m using some of the left over yarn from Magrathea instead. I used a crochet cast on as a provisional cast on to try it out, and I followed the instructions for the base from the pattern. I’ve just picked up the provisional cast on again to start knitting the other half. I think I’m going to do some increases before I get into the pattern, because I think I’d like it to be a little bit wider. This should be a pretty fast knit and might even be done by Friday.

The next thing I cast on (barely) is Tubey. This will be my very first sweater, so hopefully everything will go smoothly. I’ve tinkered with this pattern a little too. Instead of knitting across the back first and then joining in the round for the first sleeve, before picking up the provisional cast on to do the second sleeve, I’m starting with the second sleeve and then I’ll knit across the back. I’m doing it this way because I want to make sure the sleeve fits and is a comfortable size before I’ve knit too much and have to frog back to the start to increase how many stitches I cast on. So far the pattern doesn’t look too hard, and I haven’t found anything that confuses me, so fingers crossed it will all go smoothly.

I’m also going to cast on the Usoa Shawl this week. I’m not looking forward to casting on for this shawl I have to confess. I have to cast on 216 stitches! There’s going to be a lot of counting and re-counting stitches for me I think. I’m really looking forward to this shawl though. It’s knit across from the top down, and the lace is knitted on at the same time, so each row will be faster than the one before. I’m making this one from my Drops Fable, that I bought last year for a different scarf that I ended up not liking, so hopefully things will go better this way. I was crocheting with it before so hopefully I’ll prefer it knitted. I’ve also come to the conclusion that there’s an awful lot of blue in my stash, so my aim is to branch out a little and buy myself more colours!

Here’s the up to date list:

My Year of Projects Lists

To Do/In Progress
Slate Scarf – In progress
Garter Ruffles Scarf – In Progress
Hairpin Lace Blanket – In Progress
Tubey – In Progress
Pin Cushion – In Progress
Blisco – Freedom Sincere
Usoa Shawl – Drops Fabel
Clematis – Fyberspates
Momijigari
Mezquita Shawl
3 x HPKCHC Homework
Face Clothes – Drops Paris
Calorimetry – Have yarn
Needle Book – Trying out entrelac (leftovers of blanket yarn)
Scissor Case

Finished Things

Tote Bag – Finished
Windschief Hat – Finished
Snowbaby Hat – Finished
Skaði Fingerless Gloves – Finished
Lacey Crochet Scarf – Finished
Iris Crocheted Shawl – Finished
Shawl Collared Cowl – Finished
Urban Shells – Finished
Elise Shawl – Finished
Betula  Ring – Finished
Magrathea – Finished
Knit Bunnies x 7 – Finished
Realistic Octopus – Finished
Henslowe – Finished

March 9, 2012

Here we are again at Friday. Today is a very busy day for me. It’s my mum’s birthday, so after work we’re getting the train down to see them, and going out for dinnerthen staying the night. I’m looking forward to it. We’re going to a really nice little resturant just outside one of the villages locally, and at least one of my brother’s will be there. There’s also something nice for me coming in the post today. My husband bought me a Kindle! I’ve loved the idea of a kindle for a while, but I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to get one. I have a lot of books, but I haven’t been reading so much recently (since I started knitting!) but we got a little extra spending money recently and my husband decided he was going to get me one. So this weekends plans once we get home revolve around making a kindle cover – I couldn’t buy one of course! I’m going to be making an argyle sweater for it, although I’m going to have to tweak the pattern a bit since I have DK yarn not worsted. I’m also going to have to learn to read and knit at the same time!

On to the FO! This week I have a yarn bowl and the real star is my husband as he did most of the work for me. A few weeks ago I made a prototype yarn bowl and in the process discovered I have an allergy to Fimo which left my hands irritated and itchy for three or four days. So I made the mold for the bowl, the shape for the slit and glazed it and my husband did all the work actually making the bowl for me with the uncooked Fimo. Luckily cooked Fimo causes me no problems! We used Fimo Effects for the bowl in white marble, I think. The biggest challenge I had with the bowl was sitting quietly and letting him do the Fimo part in the way he thought was best and not interfering!

I love this bowl a lot. We made it on Saturday and since Sunday it’s been following me all over the house! I always liked the look of yarn bowls, but I didn’t realise how much difference it would really make to my knitting. It’s fantastic. My balled skiens are no longer jumping off desk (or sofa, or bed) and running away from me and the yarn flows so smoothly through the slit. I think I’ll have to turn all my skiens into balls just to give me more excuses to use it.

That’s it for me today – hopefully by next week Henslowe will be finished, but this weekend I won’t get to spend as much time on it as normal, because my Kindle cover must be ready by Monday so it can come to work with me! I’ve started working on the edging for Henlsowe now, knitting it on sideways, and it’s going really smoothly. I only started it last night and I’m already nearly a quarter of the way round. If you liked my shawl pin last week, I put a tutorial up for it yesterday and we took loads of progress pictures of the Fimo bowl last week, so I’ll be doing a tutorial for that this week too. Don’t forget to check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!

March 7, 2012

Well it’s Wednesday and I’ve been getting a lot done, but I’ve only really been working on Henslowe for the past week – it’s nearly finished and it’s getting exciting! I find that the closer I get to finishing something, the more I practice “project monogomy” *laughs*. The garter stitch body is finished, and the lace section is practically done – I just have 2 rows of garter stitch to finish off the fourth Roman stripe, then 4 more rows of garter stitch and then I’ll be on to the edging. The edging is knit on sideways which will be another first for me.

I love how the pattern has gone so far – the pattern is really well written and easy to read. Each part is really easy to memorise too, and the only challenge so far has been making sure I don’t forget a yarn over. Only one thing is bothering me just now, and that is the width of the shawl. It is currently 33″ wide and while it goes around my shoulders it doesn’t meet in the middle yet. I do have six more rows to do, plus casting on another 7 stitches for the sideways edging, so I’m sure it will a good bit grow a bit wider. And then of course blocking will also help. My biggest worry about it is that I think my bind off might be a little bit tight. I think if I did it again I would use Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off, I think.

Tonight, before I get back to work on Henslowe, I’m going to make a new shawl pin, like the one I showed you on Friday, taking loads of photos for a tutorial that will hopefully go up tomorrow. Don’t forget to check out what everyone else is working on over on Tami’s!

March 2, 2012

I completely failed at prewriting and scheduling this post last week! I could really do with being more organised *laughs*. By the time I’d ripped out my Slate Scarf and cast on again with my 5mm needles instead of 5.5mm ones, decided I couldn’t work out which row I was on for my Garter Ruffles Scarf and ripped it out and started again, thrown clothes in a suitcase, check repeatedly that I had my tickets, and anything else I might need, it was time for bed! And then I slept in half an hour later than I’d meant to in the morning and there was no time for anything else – organisation isn’t really my strong point! I have two things to show you today.

First up is a second Out of Yarn ball. I made this one with bulky yarn and my 5m needles to get a really tight sturdy fabric. I also stuffed it a lot more than I did the first one, and it’s made it a really nice round shape. The other is a little bit more cube like I think. Lastly I put in a squeaker and stitched it up. This ball is destined for one of my Mother-in-law’s two Shih Tzu’s. She loves soft squeaky toys, and we get her one every Christmas, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a ball yet. Hopefully Daisy will love it, and I’ll try and get some pictures of her with it when we go and see them at the end of the month. The yarn I used for this was Patons Trentino Chunky and I hate the yarn! It was actually the first yarn I ever bought and crocheted with. I think part of the reason I dislike it is that I’ve only ever used it for amigurumi and now this ball – both of which needed to be knitted/crocheted pretty tight so the stuffing doesn’t show, with much smaller needles/hooks than recommended. I also find it pretty rought to work with. But for this project it’s pretty much perfect. It’s a 90% acrylic/10% wool blend, so washing it shouldn’t be a problem, and it should stand up pretty well against chewing.

Next up isn’t made of yarn at all, but it is very helpful none the less. When I decided to take Magrathea to London with me, I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be like (it was boiling! I spent most of the time in vest tops and carrying Magrathea and my thinnest cardi around) and I wans’t sure if I’d want a shawl or a scarf more. I decided if I did wear it as a shawl I’d want a pin or brooch to hold it in place, but I didn’t want to make another flower for this one, like I did for my Elise shawl, so I  made a shawl pin instead. I used some thick copper wire I’ve had kicking around in my jewellery making supplies for ages, and a wire bending jig I’ve had for a few years (I love having loads of craft tools around!). The wire was really soft but hammering it lightly on the back firmed it up really nicely and it worked perfectly! I’m afraid this is the best photo I’ve managed to take – the shine makes photographing it really tricky. If you’re interested in a tutorial for making one, let me know and I’ll take some photos and make one up – it’s really easy to do, and really effective. If you don’t have a jig for bending the wire, you could probably improvise with some nails in a piece of wood.

Check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!

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 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 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!