Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Wonderwool Wales!

Finally! The post you've all been waiting for... let me tell you about Wonderwool Wales!

KnitCave, Curlyminx and I left my house at 8:30am. We arrived at Wonderwool around 11am, which is pretty good time me thinks! On the journey we saw many fields of sheep, which got us very excited, and we started to build an imaginary small holding in Wales together... I think my house was called Gusset. Heh.

Anyway, we arrived, and there was people, and yarn, and fibre, and sheep, and sensory overload!

This was actually taken at the end of the day, after I realised I hadn't taken any pictures. Shiny stuff though!

This was a very nice seating area where we had some lunch. And also where the Sheep Walk took place.

So thats the area that we walked in on, and if I'd taken a picture looking behind me you would've seen the Ravelry Interactive Area. I bought a Ravelry badge there :D So now if I'm out and about at fibre related adventures you can find out who I am! HURRAH!

Um, so yeah, we went there first, and KnitCave put some stuff in the Interactive Area, and we bumped into some guild members, and stood around talking about socks. Then we finally got shopping!

And yes, I bought stuff at the first stall we went to. How could I not buy this though:

Its black and shiny fibre to spin into sock yarn! 100g for... £4! Yes, I got two. But its oh so me!

And then we walked around a bit and saw The Bothered Owl, Fyberspates, and Felt Studio UK, where I came over a little funny and realised all I'd eaten that day was 2 rice cakes at 7am and it was now midday. We went to eat our lunch, and I got asked to take part in the sheep walk, modelling a shawl for AmberMoggie in the Interactive Area where they raising money for the Air Ambulance. I can strut my stuff on the catwalk ;)

I have no pictures of this, I'm hoping someone out there somewhere has some of me... Anyone?

KnitCave went to help out on the Interactive Area (they were doing wet felting, playing with drumcarders, hackles and had various spinning wheels to try out). CurlyMinx and I went to do some more shopping...

I didn't buy anything else. Until we got to LaalBear's booth...

Again... they are so me! They are merino, alpaca, trilobal nylon and something else thats sparkly. Mmm pretty things.

And then I was tempted by an IST Turkish Spindle in... Snakewood. I know... Snakewood. That must be the most awesome of all woods. Its so... Slytherin :D

But I did buy a supported spindle from MandaCrafts. I got goosebumps when I held it, so it definitely needed to come home with me :D Happy.

The fluff... thats from my next purchase at Sara's Texture Crafts. She was making little mini batts, and mine is merino, BFL, sparkles and cotton. The sparkles aren't catching into the twist very well though :(

And then we found KnitCave again, and went to look at sheep.

Awwww look at the cute ickle sheep!

And some more...

And this one! Who was trying to eat its own fleese from a bag... Awww!

I wanted to buy some fleece. And hey, if its already washed... thats just a bonus!

So this bag of Shetland, black in colour :D, was £2. I wasn't sure how much was in there, and I got KnitCave to check it to make sure it was good quality. She assured me it was, so I bought it. When I got it home I weighed the bag, and its about 180g. For £2. Wish I'd bought more now...

And then we sat around for a little while, before heading home around 6ish. We sang our way home (very badly - especially to "I belive in a thing called love" by The Darkness... we couldn't hit the high notes :P), and I got back to mine at 8:30ish, where TechGeek was being a beautiful man and cooking me chips.

Love that man.

So, here is a picture of all my haul from the day:

I spent less than my budget too :D

Bring on next year!

xxx Elle xxx

Monday, 18 April 2011

Pairs #22 and #23

I wil blog about Wonderwool soon, I promise... but in the mean time, you can hear me tell you allll about it over at Miss Elle Knits ;)

So, with that in mind, let me show you pairs #22 and 23 for the 26 Pair Plunge (I thought #23 was #22 when I was knitting it!).

There is #22, the pattern is Faceted Rib from the Little Box of Socks. The yarn is Regia Cross-Over Color (I really want to put a "u" in there), and its one of the softest Regias I have ever used!

The pattern used slipped stitches to make the rib, which is why I did a plain foot. Slipped stitches on one side of a sock = foot that becomes curled up. I made a pair of slipped stitch socks before, and I wanted to put bells on the toes! Thats how much they curl!

And now, for pair #23... please forgive the pictures, blogger is having one of its moments where it turns them all around...
I couldn't even get a decent picture myself... we finally have sun here in the UK, and it bleaches all the colours! Anyway, the pattern is Gothic Spire by Cookie A, in her new book Knit. Sock. Love.

I did a medium leg, the wrapped stitches (which make the flower) really pull the whole thing in. But I did a small foot, reducing from 72 stitches to 62 stitches (42 stitch heel flap, decrease gussett to 62 stitches - 30 for pattern, 32 for bottom). They fit really well, and I will be wearing them out today!

In other news... I have a new local yarn store! YAY! Jumble Jelly opened its doors last Thursday, and whilst its only stocked with basics right now, with lots of empty space... it will soon be full of stuff that local people want (sock yarn! sock yarn!). The owners are absolutely lovely, I went to the first knit and natter on Friday (10am till midday), and will be going again today (Tuesday, same times). They have a wishlist of things that you would like to see in the store, classes you want to take (finishing techniques, spinning, dyeing... you tell them!), and anything else you can think of.

When I was there on Friday, they had a delivery from the Natural Dye Studio, and I was allowed to help open the box and squish all the lovelies that came out :D I may also have some Sirdar Eco Wool DK in a dark grey on order...

This could become dangerous...

xxx Elle xxx

Monday, 11 April 2011

Pair #21, Harry Shawl, and the Sock Queen...

So yeah. Been a while since I posted (I was all blogged out from blog week!).

Anyway, I finished pair #21 of the 26 Pair Plunge. Here they are:
The pattern is Escalator Socks, and the yarn is Regia. This was a really fun pattern to knit. It was well written, good charts, and I really enjoyed it. Here, have a close up of the pattern:

And, guess what else I finished? Well.. kinda finished anyway...
Thats my Harry Shawl! YAY! The knitting is done, it just needs blocking. Which I'm being lazy about. I don't know why I'm being lazy since I've got blocking wires now...

And let me just show you this:

Do you see?! I'm the Sock Queen of Slytherin! YAY! Go me!

xxx Elle xxx

PS: I am knitting myself a pair of socks right now, honest!

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Veil... She is complete!

Because of the funness that was the Second Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week (2KCBW - see previous 7 entries haha!), I was unable to show the beauty of the finally finished Veil of Isis.

It all started back in January, with just a handful of items:

And a close up of the gauge swatch:
Now, looking at the gauage swatch I thought the size of the needles was good (2.5mm - the pattern calls for 2.25mm needles). We will revisit this idea later...

I plugged along, knitting away like anything. She was the only project I took with me when TechGeek and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary at Centre Parcs. She got a lot of work done then, she came out of that 50% completed.

Oh the joy of unblocked lace! Just looks like a huge... well... a huge grey blob. And thats what she was right then.

I got closer and closer to finishing, I had almost completed the 7th repeat (pattern called for 5, but I wanted my Isis to be BIG!), when I weighed the remaining yarn and...

Yeah, I wasn't going to have enough to knit the border. Bum.

I sat for about a day, staring at the border chart, trying to see a way to reduce it so I could keep that last repeat. It wasn't going to happen, the flow from the pattern into the border was seamless, flawless, I couldn't mess around with it.

Which left the only other option.

Ripping out 30 rounds... each one over 1000 stitches.

And guess who had been so cocky she hadn't used a lifeline?

Yeah, that'd be me.

So, after Shrek and Shrek 2 had played, Isis had been ripped back, stitches picked up and the first round of border worked.

It took a week to finish, but finished she finally was.

Blocking wires make easy work of blocking lace these days! Thank you my lovely gorgeous TechGeek!

But, I wasn't happy. Remember the gauge swatch? Well, it appears that the pattern designer must be a very loose knitter. Using 2.25mm needles, she'd created a shawl that had drape, was open and lacey, and bigger than mine, only using 5 pattern repeats. I'd used 2.5mm needles, I'm not a tight knitter, I generally get gauge spot on, and I'd used 6 pattern repeats. I'd even used a merino/bamboo (from The Thylacine) blend so it would grow with blocking!

Still, she's finished. She keeps me warm.

And she's all mine! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

xxx Elle xxx

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Day seven: 3rd April. Your knitting and crochet time. 2KCBWDAY7

Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.

Oh I'm so sad that this is the last day of blog week! I've found some lovely new blogs to follow, and I've loved reading peoples posts this week. So thank you everyone for such an enjoyable time and thank you also for the lovely comments I've had :)

Currently, I don't have a favourite place for crafting. Since we are undergoing extensive house renovations, the lounge has been in 3 different places. When we first moved in, it was the lounge. Then it was the back bedroom (hopefully soon to be my craft room!), then back to the lounge. Now its the front bedroom. Tomorrow the new lounge gets its floor tiled, so maybe next weekend we'll be able to move back in :D

Anyway, what I usually do whilst crafting. Whether its knitting or spinning, there is generally some noise in the background. I could be listening to podcasts, in particular I listen to Brass Needles (knitting + scifi = win!), KnitCents (knitting and saving money, we like even if its American, it does crossover), Knitmore Girls (mother & daughter podcasting about their crafting life), The Savvy Girls (funny, clever, makes me laugh like Lime & Violet used to, but much cleaner!), Yarngasm (love her voice), and Yarnspinners Tales (all about spinning, teaches me stuff!).

I could of course, just be listening to music. If I am then its usually my whole music library on shuffle and repeat, so I will get lots of Disturbed, Ozzy Osbourne, HIM, Bowling for Soup, interspersed with Jake Coco, Disney movie soundtracks, Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (1,2,3 and Millenium), and all the chill out music I had when I was learning complimentary and holistic therapies.

Before TechGeek blew up our media PC *shakes head*, I could stick on the TV and watch episodes of whatever we had copied from DVDs. Now I'm stuck with watching the actual DVDs, not as fun when you have to get up and change them all the time. Add to that frustration that 90% of the DVDs are still packed away in boxes in a cupboard... Oh, and the only place in the house that has a TV aerial plug is the lounge!

I craft anytime I'm awake. So now that its warmer I take something simple to "work" (I'm a volunteer at a charity), and have been able to knit at the train station again. I even crocheted some small granny squares during a fundraising meeting a couple of weeks ago.

Oh! Oh! I forgot! I drop spindle in the kitchen/dining room! If I'm cooking, I prepare everything right a the beginning. Otherwise I forget something (its happened, prepped the veg and forgotten to start cooking pasta - damn fibro and its short term memory loss!). And its best if I stay near the kitchen timer to check it. So I keep my drop spindle with some luscious baby camel fibre in the kitchen for these times. It doesn't get much done, but at least its happening right?!

So this has become long and rambly, so I leave you with a picture of the new lounge. The bumpy bit is where the original wall was, so you can see how much floor area we've gained!

xxx Elle xxx

PS: Today I have been alive for 10,000 days. I feel this achievement should be celebrated! Cookies for all!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Day six: 2nd April. Something to aspire to. 2KCBWDAY6

Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant? Is there a skill or project that makes your mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft? Maybe the skill or pattern is one that you don’t even personally want to make but can stand back and admire those that do. Maybe it is something you think you will never be bothered to actually make but can admire the result of those that have.

"If you're looking for a standard to which you can aspire then baby, look at me!" - Janet Majors (Shock Treatment)

First of all, I want to learn to knit Continental Style. For no other reason than because I can. Its a skill, I want to learn it. Plus I hear its a good thing to learn for the next skill I want to learn.

Colourwork. I want to knit Fair Isle. I want to knit the Toxic Socks from Knit Picks, because lets face it, I'm still pretty Goth at heart :P But they are very cool, and they are socks, and it will involve learning a new skill.

Entrelac. Again, as a pair of socks. Socks are fab for learning stuff on right? They are so small!

As for socks, I want to learn different construction techniques. I've done cuff-down (my personal preferance), toe-up, heel flap with gussett, short-row heel. I've done different types of heel flaps, and two different short-row heels. I learnt to Kitchener stitch from socks, and stretchy ways to cast off (I prefer the EZ sewn bind off).

But I want to take my socks further. I want to knit them starting with the heel, like the Hat-Heel Socks from Knitty. Learn how to do an after thought heel, supposed to be good for keeping self-striping yarn in its place. Maybe, if you were to twist my arm, Sideways Socks, although personally I don't like the way they look!

And of course, there is my spinning. I want to improve my spinning. I want to spin laceweight, I want to spin thicker than a DK weight. I want to try all different fibres, I want to spin my Qiviut!
Mmm Qiviut!

You know what I aspire to most of all though?

To still be doing this in 5, 10, 20, 30 years. To still be having fun. To still be learning different things.

To still be a knitter and a spinner!

xxx Elle xxx

Friday, 1 April 2011

Day Five: 1st April. And now for something completely different. 2KCBwDAY5

This is an experimental blogging day to try and push your creativity in blogging to the same level that you perhaps push your creativity in the items you create.

"Oh the life of a sock... what hardships we must endure!" exclaimed Sliding Leaves #1.

"Indeed #1, we have been worn so many times, its a wonder we still look good. After all, we were knit without a slipped stitch heel to increase our wearability," replied Sliding Leaves #2.

"But you were knit in Laughing Yaffle sock yarn! You should be good for a couple of years of wear, that stuff is strong. We should know, we were knit in September 2009, and we still look amazingly well," said Fox Faces in unison.

"Well, you're not her favourite socks! Either of you! We are!" said Miss Marple, looking smug.

"Pffft, as if! Her favourite socks are the ones on her feet right now, they show off her Slytherin side. Can't you see that?!" replied Sliding Leaves, pointing with her toe to Snakes On A Sock on Miss Elle's feet.
"No, no, no! You're forgetting a pair she made in July 2009, with the yarn TechGeek bought her back from Purl Soho in New York. She knit them in Koigu Perium Merino, and that's when she discovered her sock yarn must have nylon in. Oh those poor Sweethearts, they've been waiting to be darned for so long," said Fox Faces.
"Oh of course, how silly of me!" said Miss Marple sadly. "I do hope Sweethearts will be fixed soon, they are so pretty."

"What was the last pair of socks that Miss Elle knit for herself?" asked Sliding Leaves. "It's been a while hasn't it?"

The socks in the drawer pondered for a while, and then one pair piped up:

"It was us! In January!"
 "Of course, BFF! You are such a pretty colour, and yet another Laughing Yaffle yarn. You'll last forever like us," winked Fox Faces.

"But hasn't Miss Elle been knitting socks lately? Where are they all?!" cried Sliding Leaves.

"Ah, one thing you should know about Miss Elle... the majority of what she knits becomes presents to those who are Knit-Worthy," said Fox Faces all knowingly. "Just look at the pile over there waiting to go to her family!"

"Ooooooo!" said all the socks.

"Do you think... maybe... that the next pair should be for Miss Elle?" asked Dragonfly, rather timidly.
"Most definitely, inject a bit more life into this drawer!" chorused all the socks.

xxx Elle xxx

PS: I suppose I better get knitting on some socks for myself if the 20 pairs I do own are feeling lonely :P


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