26 October 2011

Too many WIPs?

Can you ever truly ever have too many WIPs?  I tell myself no so I don't feel guilty about starting two new things in recent weeks. 
I'm feeling extremely different about knitting than I was a couple of weeks ago when I shared my frustration about this scarf.  
I've made some progress but it's super slow going.  I don't enjoy working on it so I only knit maybe 3 or 4 rows at a time.  I think many commenters were correct in their opinion that this yarn is not friendly, especially for a beginner.  This one is going to be in semi-hibernation for a while.

I got some new toys, and really wanted to try them out, so I cast on a new project.  And to my surprise, I don't hate knitting!  How nice are bamboo needles?  Very nice!!  The set I bought, although cheap, are smooth, lightweight and just pleasant to use.  Who knew??  Because they were so cheap I'm slightly paranoid that the tubes will fall off though.  
Pick up sticks anyone?
My new knitting project is Different Lines in some el-cheapo wool that I picked up from Spotties.  Probably not as el-cheapo as it could have been... but you know that feeling when you are desperate to start a new project and need the yarn now now now and don't have the patience to wait for much more reasonably priced and better quality yarn in the post?  That's how I felt on Sunday. 

I'm about 6 rows away from changing colour.  Then I need to learn W&T!  I must admit, I am really enjoying learning a new skill. Garter stitch is so nice too - I'm amazed at how springy it is!

I am heavily inspired by this version, however mine will be a combo of two shades of grey and red instead of pink (Spotties did not have an acceptable shade of pink).  Here's my plan. 

That's right, check out my awesome MS Paint skillz.
My circulars are only 60cm long.  Do you think they will be long enough? 

And of course, crochet!  Nevermind crochet, you are my first love!  I started a new crochet project recently too... an actual garment!  I thought it was time for a challenge (because 3036 beads wasn't challenging enough!).  I'm making a Stepping Stones Cardigan.  It's worked top down in what is called a 'spiked single crochet' stitch.  I quite like the pattern, even though it's going to be a very dense cardigan, and it may end up with power shoulders.  I'm using some 8ply cotton from bendigo woollen mills

I'm still listening to Skulduggery Pleasant.  (You can still get the ebook of the first installment for free here!) I'm on book 5 now, Mortal Coil.  The last two books have droned on a bit, and there's just not enough Skulduggery in them, which is disappointing.  A couple of high points include when Fletcher meets Valkyrie's dad (I'm a big Desmond fan) and when she has her heart removed and is using Necormancy while dead.  Whoa. 
How is it magic?  In a magicky way.
One humungous disappointment with the audio book is that Harper Collins did the ol' switcheroo and changed the narrator!  Rupert Degas read books 1-4 and he was brilliant.  Although now that I'm 95% of the way through the book I barely can tell, and I think Brian Bowles (cant even find him on the internet!) does a great job mimicking Degas, however, sometimes Skulduggery sounds like Sean Connery!  And on more than one occasion he reads with the wrong voice, so, for example, Sanguine has Shudder's voice!  WTF!!  Degas is far far superior in so many ways.  Degas IS Skulduggery.  *sigh*

As an aside, I LURVE how the Irish pronounce "idiot' - eejit.  LOL

Anyway, Tami's Amis for more WIPs and Yarn Along at Small Things for some more grown up books :)

21 October 2011

FO! 3036

Wow.  It's over.  What a marathon.  Final bead count.... drum roll please.....

Seriously, I did a double take after I added it all up...
My very technical 'back of an envelope' method of calculating.

The remaining beads at the bottom.
 Stats: Ravelled here.

Yarn:  Circulo Yarns - Clea, which I won in a blog comp over at Punto RevesThank you Natalia!!

Unblocked measured 143cm (~56") x 62cm (~24") (130cm (~51") x 52cm (~20") before the edging)

Wet blocked to ~178cm (70") x ~89cm (35") as instructed in the pattern.

I blocked this by soaking for about an hour first in warm water with a bit of detergent, then rinsing well in warm water, rolling up in a towel to absorb the extra water and finally stretching the hell out of it and pinning it to some cardboard covered with towels.

Many beads gave their lives in the blocking of this shawl.
Before blocking, scrooched up.
Last time I demonstrated my blocking prowess, a couple of eagle eyed commenters spied my ninja turtle towel I use for blocking, despite the fact that it was wrong side up.  Here it is in all its glory!  
The Kitten approves of this highly valuable retro artefact.
Other fun facts:
This took me 62 days to make, most of it done during my commute to and from work.  That's about 15m (~ 50') and about 50 beads a day!!  Row 7 of the border was probably the most painful, I added a beat to every sc, dc and tr. 

"Design Feature"  (read: mistake....)

I'm pretty annoyed at myself as I made a similar mistake that I did last time.  The spine was straight thist ime, but for some reason, when it came time to make the border, I didn't have the right amount of shells and 5-ch spaces.  The edging is made up of a large motif and a small motif, and because the number of pattern repeats wasn't right, I had to fudge it to get the motifs to work.  It's not noticeable, just annoying.  There was no way I was going to frog and re-do those beads because if it!

Anyways, I love my shawl, and I think I'm addicted to crocheting lace (just trying to settle on a pattern for the leftover yarn from the wedding shawl... leaning towards the South Bay Shawlette)

And now onto the pretty pictures!

Before and after!

Trying to casually look at the river while my sister takes photos, hoping no one from work also on their lunch break sees me and judges my impromptu photo shoot.
Thanks for stopping by.  Check out more FOs at Tami's Amis!

14 October 2011


How awesome is Ravelry?  It's all been said before, but I still can't get over the way you can check out a pattern, and easily navigate to the different yarns people have used, and the way you can search other raveller's yarn stashes as well! 

Now that I'm a knitter, a whole new (and extensive), side of Ravelry has opened up to me... knitting patterns!

Here are some things I'm thinking about making, once I finish off my current project.  I'm a super beginner though, so not sure if any of these are appropriate.

The Thinking of you scarf.  I was half thinking of using my zauberball, but I think this must be done in red.  I might just try this in my favourite acrylic, as I'm still learning.  I hadn't seen this scarf before Tink showed hers off, and totally fell in love!  She has also said some encouraging words making me think that I could do it!
Again, thinking of uses for my zauberball, I'm considering Stripe Study or Different Lines.  I keep seeing these patterns done over and over, and they always look so effective (like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one and this one).  I think they're just garter stitch too?  I think I can manage that.  I also have some Teksrena Knitting Yarn in rainbow, which would loook super cool with grey, white or black lines breaking up the colour.

via here and here
I also love the Textured Shawl Recipe.  It seems pretty simple, and I would learn a few new stitches in the process I'm sure.  Not sure what yarn to use though.
Decisions decisions!  I'll wait until my new set of 14 circular knitting needles arrives.  Hopefully they suit the job at hand! 

Do you ever feel anxious because there's so much you want to do, and you know you can do it, but you just don't have the time?  Now I've made my little list I feel a bit better.  But when will I get the time to do it? 

12 October 2011

Shameless...(and WIP)

Is it shameless to promote something you love? Maybe, maybe not. 

A few of my posts of late have been about Skulduggery Pleasant.  I friggin' love that skeleton.  I'm proud to say that I've even roped a good friend of mine into listening to the audio books.  She's become so obsessed in fact that she is listening to it while at work.  At work people!  So if you haven't already, seriously, find this book and read it now now NOW NOW NOW!

The Golden God (ie author Derek Landy) has just posted about a new competition called "Friend Get Friend".  I'm not exactly sure if I am doing this correctly.  Mr Landy tells me to post a 'status update' including the cover and THIS LINK.  It's worth a look - the first book - the first entire book - available in ebook format for download!  GO GO GO GO GO!

So my friends, here is my slightly shameless competition entry *embarassed grin*
Click for freebies!!!
The comp is to celebrate the re-release of the first book with a shiny new cover by Tom Percival.  OMG SP and VC in colour!  Very cool. 

I'm still making my way through the audio books... Am about 20 minutes off finishing book 3, then onward and upward to book 4!  Can't wait for the train trip home tonight!  (Sorry Mr Landy sir, I just cannot listen to it at work, I am far too responsible)

"You're still upset about that time I made you explode, aren't you? I can tell."
Fact:  there is an episode of Doctor Who called 'The Faceless Ones'.  [fangirl spiel ends here]

Want more books?  Pop on over to Small Things for this week's Yarn Allong!!

And just so I can participate in Tami's Amis WIP Wednesday, a hasty blackberry picture of my WIP:

FIVE ROWS TO GO!!  The next time you see this sucker will be on an FO Friday!  Probably not this Friday though :( 

I'm in the middle of a bit of a crisis though... I'm nearly out of beads!  A good friend of mine, my crochet padawan, thinks she has some in the same colour.  We have set up a meet for a bead delivery tomorrow, it's very elaborate, a specific time and place has been arranged. 

On the subject of learning to crochet, my friend sent me this email, which I thought was hilarious.  Now why didn't Neo download master crochet skills? 

Thanks for stopping by!!

10 October 2011

Nice things and clever people.

Happy Monday!  Yes, happy Monday!  Why not?  Start the week positve and maybe it will be alright...

Some recent favourite internet finds...

We just got Star Wars on Blu-Ray and watched them all over a weekend.  It was a good weekend.  Now I have a bit of star wars brain.
One of my favorite lines in the whole series (via)

Too cool R2D2 Helmet
And now some other crafty bits and bobs... 

Sarahndipities refashioned a gypsy skirt into a flattering dress!
Bloops invader's birthday (via Rav)
Feature wall using paint chips (via)
Amigurimi tea set pattern by DeliciousCrochet (via)
Found a new awesome blog to browse/procrastinate with - Super Punch!! 
Sign for a karate studio (via)
I generally think I am too old to wear character tees... but I couldn't resist this during the $10 tshirt sale (which is still on btw) at Threadless.
This is not my time machine (via)

05 October 2011

WIP! More beads


Current bead count:  dunno, lost count/A LOT

I'm getting a bit addicted to my dahlia at the moment, as I can see the end in sight.  I only have a couple of inches of the body left to go before I get to the edging!  The EPIC NINE ROW EDGING that is.

I think the beads are just subtle enough, though I've been adding a lot of them.  I'm a bit worried that I may run out actually.

Every time I post this project for WIP Wednesday, I get at least one comment about how someone is afraid to try beading.  I would just like to say that this is my first go with beads using the dental floss method.  And while it is fiddly, it's really not that hard. I can even do it on the train, and that's saying something.  I find wrapping the dental floss around my left wrist (I am right handed) and poking the end down my sleeve with the pointy bit dangling out is a good method to keep everything in place.  Let me know if that doesn't make any sense.
beeeeaaddddsssss (read it like a zombie, it's funny)
 And the real reason I'm posting this project this week?  To share this picture of The Kitten with you ^_^

I've also made a little progress on my knitting of last week, but didn't take a picture.  Here is a close up from last week for your adminration.  I've really only made 2 more repeats of the pattern, leaving about 15 to go. 
Thanks to everyone for leaving such encouraging and constructive comments last week, after I revealed my frustration with my first proper knitting project.  I can see now the yarn is probably not the best choice for a beginner knitter, but I'm going to persevere just because I don't know what else I should knit right now, and because I am making progress, albeit slowly.

And I have a mini story to tell... I dropped a stitch!  It was infuriating!  I thought I was being very clever and knitting in the car on the drive home from Sassafras, and we went over a bump and the stitch was gone!  Instead of throwing my knitting out the window, which was my first impulse, I took a breath, finished off the row and put the knitting away.  When I got home I googled about what to do about this dilemma, watched this video, and managed to pick the stitch up!!  You can't even tell I dropped it now.  I felt like a knitting wizard!

I still like crochet much better than knitting, though I would love to become a master knitter only because knitting can produce much more varied and versatile results.  I'm just so impatient and don't want to waste my time faffing about with garter garter garter stitch... I want a to make something spectacular!


I'm now listening to audio book two of the Skulduggery Pleasant series.  I've read it before, but there is so much I honestly can't remember, it's like experiencing it for the first time again.  In short:  Lovin' it.  I walk the long way to work just so I can listen to it some more. 
Skulduggery:  "I'm probably your hero."
Before I end this post, I thought this was the approrpriate place to share a cool link for the sci-fi or fantasy connoisseurs out there. Check this flowchart out.  It's very fun.  I have only read about 20 books listed though :(.  There are a couple of Terry Pratchett books listed, so you know it must be a reliable source ;).

Thanks for stopping by, and do remember to check out more WIPs at Tami's Amis and the Yarn Along at Small Things.

02 October 2011

You *haven't* been to Sassafras?!?

... is what a colleague recently said to me, in a tone that suggested I had committed some kind of mortal sin.
The BF and I were due for a holiday anyway, and I had a little spare cash, so I booked a night in Sassafras.

It was lovely!  So green, so lush.  We got rained on all day the first day, but a bit of sun poked through the clouds on the second day.

A lovely view of farms and trees through the mist.
Lots of pretty flowers in bloom.

Not a flower, but  Chinese Cedars are so hot right now.
The BEST place was Tea Leaves, a store which sells about 300 varieties of tea and boasts of the most extensive range of teapots!
No bulls please :)
They had this one, which I thought was the coolest:

A nice surprise was finding a wool store!  I bought myself some goodies!
Yes, calm down, I am now the owner of a Zauberball!!!
But it was quite touristy.  Lots of gift shops full of rubbish.  Like this:
Giant cherries anyone?  (I apologise for offending you if you have one of these in your house)
I'm fairly certain Sassafras has the highest density of tea rooms per square kilometre in the world.  And we didn't have scones anywhere!  So I promptly made myself some when we got home, using my favourite easy recipe.
Mine looked just as tasty! (via)
A bit sad I didn't go to Miss Marples or the Tesselaar Tulip Festival, but my least favourite thing about holidays are tourists, even when I am one, so it was probably for the best!!