Liz Corke Knit Design

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October 10, 2012

It’s freezing here this week. I’m planning my winter knitting – new gloves (maybe fingerless for me) and hats for me and my husband. I’m going to have a look at cowl patterns too.

My shawl is causing me a few problems – I seem to make exactly the same mistakes every few rows which is just careless! My cosy tunic is going well though. I’m about halfway through the lace portion of the tunic. I have no idea how the fit is going though. I think once I’m done the lace I’m going to put it on a lifeline and block it. While my blocked gauge is just about perfect for the pattern, my knitted gauge is a good few stitches smaller, so there’s no use in trying it on like this.

This is my Year of Projects update again, as well as WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along with Tami and Ginny!

October 3, 2012

I decided to combine my Year of Projects, WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along posts this week. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my designs that I can’t show you, so I decided to wait till I could be more interesting! I’m hoping for a special package in the post today. I have a set of KnitPro Interchangeable needles, which I really love using but they’re nickle plated and don’t react well with my skin. I don’t have a serious allergy – I’ve heard of some people that get itchy or numb hands and arms from their needles – but my needles do tarnish very quickly and feel sticky so I end up polishing them every day or two. I’ve ordered myself a Chiagoo 4mm fixed circular to try out. They’re stainless steel so shouldn’t cause me any problems, but I’ll let you know all about it when it gets here!

Steve still isn’t finished, but I’ve cast on something new. I’m knitting my monsters with 3.5mm needles and dk yarn at a very tight guage so that the stuffing doesn’t poke through and my shawl with 4mm needles and fingering weight yarn, so I’ve cast on something to give my hands a break. I’ve started my second lacey tunic in aran yarn. With the last one I went around and picked up the cast on stitches and added a moss stitch border which I really like, so this time I added the moss stitch border from the start. I also used a new (to me) cast on called the “Old Norwegian”. It’s a variant on the long tail cast on and I really like how it looks. I went up a couple of needle sizes for the cast on and it feels nice and stable yet stretchy.

I haven’t been reading much this week, but I did get a new book last week. It’s Cast On, Bind Off by Leslie Ann Bestor. I really love this book. The spiral binding is perfect for a craft book and saves you needing to prop it open, and the photos that guide you through the steps and really clear and easy to follow. This is, of course, where I learnt about the Old Norwegian cast on.

As always check out Tami’s and Ginny’s for more WIP Wednesdays and Yarn Alongs.

August 22, 2012

My husband and I have just started jogging in an effort to get fit. I can’t say I’m enjoying it yet, but it’s not too bad. We have a nature reserve right behind our house at the edge of the city, and we startled a deer last night who bounced across the path, then stared at us from under a tree. I did know that we had deer around, as last winter one crossed the road on our street in front of me on my way to work, but it is a bit surreal seeing them so close to the city!

Quincey has made progress although he looks even more like a sock now, or possibly mittens with no thumb. The first time I closed him up at the top, I discovered that I’d dropped a stitch while doing the three needle bind off (which I do with a crochet hook. I actually do pretty much all my bind offs with a crochet hook because I find it easier!). There were also ladders between the two k2tog stitches where the needles met, so I ripped back the last five rows and changed the second k2tog to a ssk which helped a lot. I did still have a tiny ladder between the stitches but it was really easy to close up with the tail left when I bound off (successfully and without any dropped stitches). You can’t see it in the photo, but when I bound off I’d just reached the green stripe again. I got nearly two whole pattern repeats in to his body. I cast on the first of his legs after I took the photos. I might try and get matching legs or I might just see what happens. I haven’t decided yet. I also need to decide whether I’m giving him to my friend for her baby so I can decide whether he can have saftey eyes, or needs baby safe ones.

And speaking of my friend’s baby (who is a boy and named Finn), the yarn for his little jumper arrived yesterday and I’ve started swatching. I’m using Rowan Handknit Cotton. I quite like working with cotton and this way I know that it’ll be safe in the washing machine and shouldn’t cause any allergy problems. I’m always a bit nervous about making things for other people because I’m not sure how sensitive they are to wool, and I want things to be easy to care for. So far my swatch is looking too small. I’m getting 24 stitches in 4 inches instead of 20. I’m going to make it a bit bigger, then I’ll try with a 5mm needle for a bit and see how I like that. Then I’ll wash it and hope it grows a bit and I can use the 4.5mm needle after all! I can never get guage on anything! I’m going to be making Young Einstein in the 6 month size, because I’m not sure how big he is, and I’d rather leave growing room, than have it fit him for a week and then grow out of it. I’m making it with the wide collar, but not the hood. There’s so many customising options for this jumper that I haven’t decided on any others yet!

My reading currently is Ghosts of Ascalon. It’s a fantasy book and is a prequel to the Guild Wars 2 game which is about to come out. My husband is very excited about the game, and constantly giving my countdowns to when we can play (Saturday), a little like a kid on the run up to Christmas! I’m really enjoying it so far. The book launches you straight into the middle of an adventure, which I love because it lets you get to grips with the characters and the story straight away, rather than having a slow build up to the point where something happens. I’m only on chapter nine and I don’t think I’ll finish it before Saturday, but I’m prepared to give it a go!

As always check out Tami’s and Ginny’s for more WIP Wednesdays and Yarn Alongs.

April 18, 2012

Wednesdays are always a hopefully day for me, especially after lunch – half the week is gone and we’re closer to next weekend than the last one! I seem to have a much smaller collection of WIPs just now, because I finished my Rocketship Shawl last night. It’s huge and I love it. I’m blocking it when I get home tonight, although I’m not quite sure where I’m going to put it. I’m going to block this one gently, just enough to open out the lace nicely because I don’t really want it growing much bigger.

Tubey is causing me some problems, although it isn’t the patterns fault at all. I just think that the arm might be a bit tight around my shoulder, so I think the best thing to geo would be to add on another four or eight stitches for an extra rib or two. It’s definitely better to do that rather than have a whole finished jumper that I can’t wear because it doesn’t fit properly. I’m not going to rip out this sleeve yet though, I’m just going to cast on with another skien and that way I can compare the two sleeves and see what I think.

My Happy Lavender Scarf has finally come back out of hibernation. The pattern is called Favourite Scarf Ever but my project is named for the yarn I’m using Wendy Happy in Lavender because I haven’t decided if this will be my favourite ever scarf, lol. I really love this pattern for easy knitting but I do make an alarming number of mistakes when I’m not paying attention. Progress has actually gone backwards since Monday because I forgot the last yarn over and had to rip back a couple of rows.

The ball of yarn in the top photo is destined to becoming a Mezquita Shawl, and I’ll be casting that on as soon as I get home tonight. It’s a birthday present for one of my friends, and her birthday is in September so I’m giving myself plenty of time to get this one done! It’s a 368 stitch cast on though so I’m going to have to get plenty of stitch markers ready to help me count!

I finished Elantris on Sunday and I loved it. It was a bit predictable but I still loved the story and really liked all the characters. I have a couple more books by the same author (Brandon Sanderson) I plan to read next but first I’m indulging in a little more medieval murder. The Harper’s Quine is a little different to the ones I normally read – instead of being set in Oxford or Cambridge it’s set in Glasgow. There’s some Scots and a little Gaelic mixed in which I quite like because you can “hear” the way the character’s speak, although I am Scottish and used to the way the accents sound. I’m not sure it would work for everyone. This is the first book I’ve read by the author and I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Check out Tami’s and Ginny’s for more WIP Wednesdays and Yarn Alongs.

April 4, 2012

I have been busy this week and I’m pretty pleased with everything I’ve managed to get done. The weather was really strange yesterday – within ten minutes we’d go from gorgeous sunshine to strong winds and snow and then back to sunshine and it was bitterly cold. It seems to be much more normal for the time of year today though. It’s sunny and about as warm as it can be with the wind coming straight off the North Sea at the start of April.

First up is the Rocketship Shawl. I alternately love and hate this shawl! The yarn is fantastic though. It’s Fybrespate’s Scrumptious 4 ply which is somewhere between a sport and fingering weight, a 50/50 merino/silk blend, and the colour is fantastic but really hard to photograph well. The colourway is teal, and the colour shifts from dark blue to a blue-green. Currently I’m having issues with the knit to purl texture changes, and I’m really not enjoying doing the bobbles because they slow me down. I did come up with a solution to my knit/purl changes that I talked about yesterday and I only have two more rows with bobbles and the second row has half the bobbles the other row have, so I shall persevere. I did give this one a mini timeout yesterday though because I was feeling cross!

The Garter Ruffles Shawl is going on perfectly. I love this scarf a lot. We had our D&D night with my husbands friends last night and it’s the perfect project for something like that as the pattern is so simple and I can pick it up and put it down really easily at any point when it’s my turn. The yarn is so soft too, it just feels fantastic. I also reached the halfway point last night and started the decreases. I’m pretty excited about this one. Every fourth row it will get shorter and faster now. I probably won’t work on this one this week until next Tuesday, although I think I’ll take it to my parents on Sunday on the off chance that I have time to work on something – plus I like to show my mum what I’m working on!

Tubey has been restarted. I ripped everything out on Monday and decided to start again. I wasn’t really sure about the sleeves before, but now I have a plan that I’m happy with. The pattern has sleeves that are just plain tubes that flare out at the end. While I like the look of bell sleeves, I really don’t like wearing them. They just aren’t comfortable to me, so I’ve changed the sleeves to 3×1 ribbing to match the body and I’ll put some decreases in later to keep them tight. I’m also considering just making 3/4 length sleeves but I’ll worry about that when I get there. I’m leaving the bit across the back between the sleeves as plain stockinette.

I’ve just started a new book on my Kindle. I’m only 5 chapters in so far, but I’m enjoying it. I have to say that I really like it when Kindle books get the same cover as the real books, it just seems nicer! I’m reading Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. So far I’m really enjoying the book. We’ve met the three main characters and already I have a really good feel for them. Raoden was the prince of Arelon, but he’s been affected by the Shaod which has turned him in to an Elantrian. Elantrians used to be like gods, with magic and immortallity but now it is a curse and a kind of living death – injuries don’t feel and the pain is everlasting, so he is locked away in Elantris and forgotten by his people. Sarene is a princess of Teon. She was engaged to Raoden and has arrived in Arelon to discover she is his widow. She seems to have been trained as a diplomat but her new father, the King on her first meeting tells her to “go knit or whatever it is that women do”. I have a feeling she will have quite an impact on the court and I’m pretty sure some how she will find out what has happened to Raoden and between them they will try to find a cure. Hrathen is a high priest from Fjorden sent to convert the country of Arelon to his religion and take it over. I’m about to start his second chapter so I haven’t seen as much of him yet as I have of the other two. It’s going to be interesting to see how the story develops.

Don’t forget to check out Tami’s and Ginny’s and see what everyone else is upto this week!

March 28, 2012

I’m a bit behind this week because we were away on holiday, so this is a bumper post for Year of Projects, WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along! We had a great time over the weekend, although it was really busy, and we spent a lot of time travelling around to see people. I did manage to get some knitting done in the car on a couple of days though and got quite a lot done on Monday when we finally had a relaxing day! I’ve also been reading a fair bit, and I got side tracked into reading Spindle’s End. I’ll need to go back to Murder at Mansfield Park soon, but I wanted some easy reading for the car when it was too dark to knit.

So I’m going to start with Tubey. I haven’t really done very much to this at all this week. It’s been way too hot to think about knitting sweaters! But I’ve also been considering changing to 5mm needles. I’m not sure if the fabric feels too thick or not. So my plan is to find my 4.5mm needle swatch, make up a 5mm needle swatch, possibly both in the round, rather than flat swatches, and wash them, then make a decision. If it stays this hot though, I might swap to working on Blisco, since I’ll be making that in DK cotton, rather than Aran acrylic. Only problem is both sets of my 5mm needles have the next two projects on them!

Next up is the Garter Ruffles Scarf, this one has been on the go for ages. This is a great pattern for knitting while talking! There’s nothing too complicated at all and all I need to keep track of is where to put the short rows and the kfb. I did make one mistake and put the short rows at the wrong side! I didn’t notice for quite a while and I really don’t want to rip back. It’s not too noticeable so I’m not going to take it out. I love the yarn, it’s so soft. I’m just over a third of the way through so far, so I need to keep working on it when I need some downtime.

Last up is the Rocketship Shawl. It was supposed to be the Usoa Shawl next but Tubey is on my 4.5mm needles! I changed what I was doing with this yarn. The yarn was originally going to be a Clematis Shawl but I wasn’t sure I wanted something so big, and starting at the bottom and going up to so many stitches was a bit off putting. So I started this one. I really love how it’s turning out so far. I started with 319 stitches so each row is pretty long, but I’m already nearly halfway through the lace pattern and then I’ll be on to short rows to shape the body of the shawl. I knitted most of this one on the seven hour drive back up from Manchester yesterday.

Spindle’s End is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It’s set in the same world (as far as I can tell) as Pegasus and Beauty which I also read recently and Deerskin which is another book I have by the same author, Robin McKinley. The stories are all set in different kingdoms. The land where this one is set is saturated in magic, and the fairies are normal people who have some control over it, although they tend to be female. There are also magicians in the kingdom who study and try to force control over the magic and tend to be male. I’ve so far got to the point when Rosie is 20 years old, and the curse is due to kill her on her 21st birthday. She still doesn’t know she is the princess and I’m only halfway through the book, so I’m quite excited to see what’s coming next!

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
Rocketship Shawl – In Progress
Tubey – In Progress
Pin Cushion – In Progress
Blisco – Freedom Sincere
Usoa Shawl – Drops Fabel
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 21, 2012

Another Wednesday has whipped around really quickly! I don’t know where the time’s gone, but it’s spring already. I’ve been busily working away and reading lots over the last week. I’m finished Pegasus, Beauty and a lot of short stories, as well as the more than 20 samples I have still to read. Henslowe is finished and blocked and I’ve got new projects on the go. So lets get started shall we?

First up is Tubey. So far there isn’t much to see. I’ve got a few inches done on the first sleeve and I like how it’s going so far. I plan on making a few changes to the pattern. I don’t like baggy sleeves so after I’ve got past the elbow I’m going to start working 3×1 rib so hopefully it’ll be nice and tight and not look odd. I only have three colours for my sweater, red, cream and black, and I haven’t quite worked out how I’m going to do the stipes yet. I think I’m going to do several stripes of varying thickness in the cream and one thicker stripe of black. I’m pretty sure this sweater will take a while to do, but it’s nice easy knitting, and once I’ve got the sleeves and back done and the body started it should be just a lot of 3×1 rib. I’ve also started reading and knitting at the same time on the sleeve, and I’m finding it pretty easy so far. The Kindle definitely helps because I don’t have to try and prop pages open or turn the page.

Next up is a needle case for my interchangable needles. I’ve been meaning to make one of these for ages, and since I couldn’t find any knitting patterns I liked, and inspired by getting my sewing machine out last week I decided to sew one. I’m not using a pattern for this one either, but I was inspired by these ones made by madbird. Since they’d be coming all the way from America and take at least 6 weeks to get here, I couldn’t wait that long! I shoud get this finished tonight, and I’m pleased to say I’ve found how to change my sewing mackine to do straight stitch, although I couldn’t work out which foot I was supposed to use for the zipper.

This week I’m reading Murder at Mansfield Park. So far I’m having trouble getting into the book. I spotted it last week when it was one of the daily deals. It’s based on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, but a lot of the characters have been changed around. For example, Edmund is Mrs Norris’s stepson and is intended to marry Fanny. William is now the Bertram’s second son, although he’s been sent off to see just the same. The Prices have both been killed off and Fanny, now an only child, is a heiress. Fanny is also now the oldest and acts more like Maria in the original. Mary Crawford has had a complete personality reversal and Rushworth actually seems to have some brains. Henry Crawford is of course still there, but is now a lawyer and a professional “improver” and is at Mansfield Park to landscape it and Julia Bertram is now acting more like the original Fanny Price and is looked down on by her Aunt Norris. At the moment I’m mostly trying to get my head around the new roles and relationships between all the characters and wondering which of them will be the victim of the coming murder. I’m only on Chapter 5 so far, so hopefully it will pick up soon.

Don’t forget to check out Tami’s for more WIP Wednesdays and Ginny’s for more Yarn Alongs!