Saturday, 28 May 2011

WWKIP Day

As many of you may know, in June there is an event called World Wide Knit In Public Day.

Its a fabulous day where knitters, crocheters and even spinners get together, go and sit in a park/beach/coffee shop/wherever really, and craft away in public.

Its hoped that it will counter those rumours that knitting is for old ladies, something that should be talked about in hushed tones, and kept behind closed doors. Yes, even with the revival in knitting in us younger people, there are many who still feel that way.

So here in Bradford-On-Avon, Jumble Jelly (our awesome new yarn/fabric/haberdashery store) have organised our first Knit In Public Day to be held on June 11th, 11am till 3pm, in Westbury Gardens (thats by the tourist information centre, literally a minute walk from the train station).

Should you wish to join us, PLEASE COME ALONG!!!! We all love to meet new knitters/crocheters/spinners, bring along a run, folding chair, your crafty bits, and some snacks, and we'll have a wonderful time together. I'm hoping to bring along my spinning wheel :D

And should it rain, I'm sure Jumble Jelly won't mind us crashing their shop ;)

xxx Elle xxx

Monday, 23 May 2011

Oh lookie here!

Thanks for the messages of support on the last blog post. I love you all!

Anyway, I promised pretty things for yesterday, and it didn't happen. I didn't sleep very well on Saturday night (as you can imagine, I'm the kind of person that things go round and round in my head).

So yeah, here, take a look at this lot:

Thats the rest of my UK Sock Knitter's A-Z KAL socks. Yarn matched to patterns, and all in alphabetical order.

Anal? Me? Well... if I am... I learnt it from TechGeek!

And look at this yummy lot:

Thats the rest of my sock yarn! At the top from the left we have unknown skein of sock yarn (but I do know it has nylon in!), followed by 1 skein of KnitCave's cotton socks, 2 skeins of KnitCave's Cavern, and 3 skeins of Laughing Yaffle sock, 1 skein of Laughing Yaffle self striping, 1 skein of Laughing Yaffle Fledgling sock (thats the one with alpaca in, yum!), and 1 skein of opps from Laughing Yaffle (colours not quite right).

The middle row from the left is 4 balls of Regia, 2 balls of Opal Harry Potter, 1 unkown skein (but has nylon), and 1 skein of Black Cat Fibres sparkley stuff.

And then at the bottom we have errr... Cygnet? Not sure what its called but its holly green and dove grey to become a pair of colourwork Slytherin socks :D

Look at how pretty it all is in its new home:

The sock yarn is on the left, on the right we have various fingering weight yarns at the bottom (those without nylon), moving up to my handspun yarns, and then just random other bits and pieces that I have laying around.

But ooo... yum:

Who knew I had so much fibery goodness?! I've only been spinning for a year! Eeep!

So thats all the fibre on the left (obviously), then all my needles and notions and such, the prizes for the UK Sock Knitter's A-Z KAL, and Jack Skellington. Those last two are going to eventually hold my knitting/crochet books, and Jack will find somewhere new to live.

If you listened to the last podcast episode, this is all the yarn I was squishing whilst recording :D I was going to record this weekend, but I was so... grrr... that I thought I'd say something I might later regret. So I didn't. Good Miss Elle!

xxx Elle xxx

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Hum...

I'm a little worried about how this will be perceived by people, but hey, I need to get it off my chest, its fiber related, and I'm still trying to process the whole thing in my mind.

I have been attending the Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers on the 3rd Saturday of the month for the past 4 months I think. I've turned up, paid the visitors fee of £3, sat to one side with my friends and spun my little heart out.

And thats all I do there. I have taken my own food and drink, and only used the toilets once.

I do not partake in any of the workshops that are offered at the same time, or listened to any of the talks. I haven't tried to book on to a weaving course, or anything like that.

I have just sat, spun and talked to people.

Well, ok, I've taught a few people how to navajo ply at the same time as spinning a single on a drop spindle. I have provided information to other people. I'm sure I've heard some advice or information, but unless I hear or read things over and over, I don't remember it. Heck, I still don't even know what all the parts of my spinning wheel are called.

So why have some people called attention to the fact that I turn up and am not a member? Why are they now insisting I pay a yearly fee to join the guild when I make no use of it and will not be able to make use of it?

Here are the reasons why becoming a member is not for me:
  1. The guild is in the middle of nowhere. You need a car to be able to get there. I do not have a car, and I am unlikely to get a car at any point in the near future. 
  2. I actually can't afford it. I've been unemployed for 16 months now, 10 of which I have been unable to claim any form of benefit. ANY. I have no money coming into my account on a regular basis. No money at all.
  3. I'm not interested in doing classes. I'm doing fine teaching myself at home from the internet. I learnt to navajo ply from youtube. I haven't even read a book about spinning. 
  4. I'm not at all interested in displaying my finished objects in an exhibition once a year. Sure I'm proud of what I make, but I don't want people I don't know touching my stuff. 
  5. There was nothing ever said that I couldn't be a visitor until today. If that is the case, then on the first visit people should be made aware that if they want to continue to come they MUST become a member. I was never told this, and would not have come back so many times.
So those are my reasons, I think they are very valid for not becoming a member. Its like going to a gym and not becoming a member because you know you only want to use the swimming pool once a month, and theres no point becoming a member that entitles you to use all the weights and heavy gym equipment which you have no interest in. And no-one would tell you that can you only use the swimming pool if you become a gym member (I know there are membership only gyms, but they are for the serious gym people, I've been to gyms where I didn't have to be a member to just use the pool). Ok, another analogy... its like being told I can't read Simply Knitting magazine by buying the magazine in a shop, I have to take out a yearly subscription. The first issue, sure, you can get that in the shop, but after that the shop won't sell to you. But I don't want the whole year of magazines, I only want a few of them because next month doesn't have any patterns I'm interested in, but maybe the month after that I will want it. You see?

I don't want this to seem like a post where I am bad mouthing the guild. I'm not at all. The people there are lovely, and they have tried to find a work around so I can continue to go. But it still requires me to become a member, and pay a fee I can't afford to go to a place I can't get to apart from once a month when my friend can take me where I would still have to pay £2 to attend that meeting. Especially if I am having a bad fibro day and I can't attend, I would be out of pocket then.

There are no spinning groups in my area that I know of. Even if there were I would still need a car to get there as I can't carry my wheel. She's too heavy for me to carry over a distance. I wouldn't even be able to walk into town with her to go to Jumble Jelly. I'd have to ask TechGeek to carry her for me, which isn't what he wants to be doing with his time.

And so thats my piece said. You can't insist someone become a member of something that they are not going to be making use of. Thats my rambling over. Tomorrow I will show you some pretty things so we can all cheer up and be happy.

xxx Elle xxx

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Finished!

Oh yes my lovelies, I have finished. But what, what have I finished? Well... lets see shall we!

Here we have pair #25. I wanted them to be for KnitCave, but nooo, these socks had other ideas. They wanted to fit my feet instead. And I'm wearing them right now. This is KnitCave Cavern sock yarn, that we dyed together back in January. Remember that? Yeah, that was fun. The pattern is called Cadence, and it was the Sock Knitter's Annonymous March Mystery pattern. I was going to do it in March, and then life said noooo, do it in April instead! So I did. The photo above is a really good representation of the colour of the yarn, unlike the close up of the leg pattern:

Mmm washed out fun times.

OOo and what do we have here?! Oh yes, yes, round of applause please... this is pair #26! Of 26 pairs! YAY! I finished the 26 Pair Plunge in a year, following my own challenge of every sock being for an adult, and no vanilla or plain rib! WOOHOO! Look at me go.

*ahem* Sorry, I'm chanelling TechGeek's arrogance there a little.

Anyway, that pattern is I Heart Bees, and if you listen to my podcast (Miss Elle Knits dontcha know!), you'll already know that I did not like the way this pattern was written. Why tell me after I've already knit the ribbed cuff that on the leg you knit inside out? Surely you would want to tell me that the pattern is knit inside out right at the beginning to save me from having to turn my work around? Lets just say that I didn't turn my work inside out, and my socks came out fine. Better than fine. They are brilliant. And the yarn, its Regia World Circus, and its lush to work with. Soft, and yum, and the colours work so well together, none of that in your face clashing that some Regia yarns have going on!

And the close up of the pattern. It makes a honeycomb. Mmm honey. I miss eating honey.

So yeah, I will do a review of my 26 Pair Plunge soon, but for now, I shall leave you with this:

A gothic Snitch. Go Slythern!

xxx Elle xxx

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A whole year





Yup. We've been here a year now. Can you believe it? We're still in shock! Anyway. Thats what the house looked like when we moved in. It doesn't even look like that from the front anymore.

Woohoo! The garage is still undergoing conversion, but look! Shiny window! So lets take a look at the back of the house.
Thats the back of the garage (with the white door), and the side of the house.

Now its a shiny lounge extension, and look at the double doors! That used to be a single door with a window attached to it.


And that was the jungle of a garden. Ivy and shrubs everywhere. I've tried, and its looking better, we just need more plants now. And look:

There's a shed! And raised beds growing things! Its so much more us now.

Internally, I think the house has really changed.

*shudder* Yes, that was the bathroom. I can't believe we tried to get clean in that bath. It was hideous!

Ah, yes, thats so much better now! Mmm, shiny, clean, pretty.

Oh, the kitchen...
I don't have many pictures of the kitchen, because it was just so nasty. Behind where I am standing to take the picture was a wall. Behind the wall was an open planned dining/living room. The living room looked like this:
Pink walls. Yurk.

Lets see what it looks like now:
Now thats a stunning kitchen! Showroom quality I would say ;)

The dining room at the end of the kitchen. There was no archway here into the living room, we put that in to mirror the arch that needed to be in the kitchen from knocking the wall down.

I don't have a completely up to date picture of the living room, but heres one of it almost complete:
The flooring is the same as the kitchen/diner. We have moved in there now, there is a sofa either side of the pillar with the TV on Ikea units opposite (basically where all the plugs are!). There will be a rug on the floor when we finally find one big enough (Ikea stopped selling the one we wanted about a month after we found it!).

So all thats left is to finish the garage conversion, fit out the smaller downstairs toilet (the sink and heated towel rail are in already, just need a toilet!), new carpets for upstairs, sort out the front garden with raised beds... and then we can sit back and enjoy the house a little more!

xxx Elle xxx

PS: If I haven't said it before, I love living here so much! The neighbours are so lovely, the area is quiet, and yesterday I saw a field mouse in the garden! YAY nature!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Pair #24, some handspun, and some OWLs

That is pair #24. Hedgerow would be the pattern, and yet again, another pair of man socks in black Regia! I really liked this pattern, it went quickly. I had hoped to do Herringbone Rib from Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn, but the pattern just didn't show up. Oh, this is also my H sock for the UK Sock Knitter's A-Z KAL.

And here is a close up of the pattern. Its nice and stretchy!
I have finished some handspun! YAY! I love spinning. If it wasn't so windy today I'd be outside with my wheel, finishing up some My Heart Exposed Humbug BFL I've got going. But what I have finished went from looking like this:
(Photo from The Thylacine's website - this is shetland fibre in colourway My Island Home).

And I spun it up into singles, and then navajo plied it into this:
Got good long colour runs! And pretty decent yardage too for 200g... I have 730 yards! Weeee! Wonder how much that would have been just as a 2 ply? Well, its fingering weight anyway, and its balanced as the skein doesn't curl back on itself. Happy!

For anyone who listens to the Miss Elle Knits Podcast (and if you don't, you so should coz I'm utterly adorable and not at all arrogant :P), or you know me in real life... you'll know I love Harry Potter and take part in the Harry Potter Knit/Crochet House Cup over on Ravelry. And well, we have our own OWLs. Which I submitted my proposals to do two yesterday, and they've both been approved! YAY!

So first up, is my Muggle Studies OWL. In this OWL I should be crafting an adult sized garment to blend in with the Muggles (those are the non-magic folks). I'll finally be knitting the B-Side Cardigan. Here are my supplies and my gauge swatch:

Up next is the History of Magic OWL. I chose the option to craft 3 items to represent 3 characters from the HP books. I also chose a theme of Women Who Fought At The Battle of Hogwarts. My first is Minerva McGonogall:
Thats my handspun from above, going to be a Clapotis. The colours reflect McGonogall's Scottish ancestry.

Second is Molly Weasley:
Thats also my handspun from a while back, The Thylace alpaca/merino blend in Walkabout. The pattern is A Beginner's Triangle, from the book A Gathering of Lace. The colours here represent the red hair of the Weasley family.

And finally, we have Bellatrix. She's a saucy little minx.
This is the Knitting Goddess merino/tencel laceweight left over from knitting the Featherweight Cardigan (my first OWL in Arithmancy), and the pattern is Galathea, a delightful little shawl/scarf. I think the colour here really brings out the evil in Bellatrix.

And so, thats what I'll mostly be knitting on for the next 3 months! Plus some socks of course, got to hand those in for classes. YAY!

xxx Elle xxx

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