Monday, 11 June 2012

Two years

Two years (nearly) have flown past since I last posted here.  The Lady Eleanor is now 2 years and 9 months, chatting up a storm and getting cuter every day.  The Boy is 14 and heading towards the scary world of GCSEs.  I am now self-employed (no more bosses, corporate life or working in offices, yay!) and my hair is pink.  Mr Perfect is still perfect.  The Stash is bigger than ever.

I am also the proud owner of a new netbook/laptop, bought back in March so that I could work anywhere in the house instead of being tied to the Library (the posh name we gave to our front room because it's filled with books).  The freedom this gives means I can blog more frequently: or so I thought.  I meant to pick this blog back up as soon as this pretty little blue 'pooter came into my life, but I just... never got round to it.  Better late than never!

So, what's on the hook/needles now?  I've just finished SusannaIC's lovely Thaw pattern (Rav link), it's not blocked yet hence no photo to share, but it has had its first outing when my parents took us out for a meal a couple of days ago.  I made it using Sparkle Sock yarn from a new-to-me Etsy dyer called Lamington Lass, in a colourway named "Ɯberwald".  Black and red and gold sparkles - and boy, does it sparkle!  The pattern was written especially for hand painted yarns, the kind that look so beautiful in the skein but are difficult to show off nicely in a FO.  This pattern works brilliantly for those yarns, and as I have quite a few of them I have no doubt there will be more of these shawlettes in my future.

Currently I have been bitten by the crochet bug, and have 3 shawls on the hook.  The first is Elise, which I am making with King Cole Galaxy in purple.  It's a really lovely 'proper' purple with lots of sparkly sequins in it which Ellie loves and wants to stroke!  The other 2 are 'A-Longs' with the Crochet Shoulder Wrappers group on Rav, a CAL (Crochet-A-Long, a free pattern) of the Juliana Wrap which I'm making in Silkwood 4ply, colourway 'Gentian' and a JAL (Join-A-Long, a paid-for pattern) of Recuardos de Infancia (Memories of Childhood) which I'm making in the Natural Dye Studio's Precious Lace (see blog entry below - my word, have I really had this yarn for two years?).  As  I want to do both the CAL and JAL again in July, in the run up to the Ravelympics, I'm really trying to get at least 2 of these shawls finished by the end of the month.

I won't go into the list of WIPs, it would take all day!  But poor Perdita is still missing an arm (and some hair and a dress and a little Emo doll of her very own).  Perhaps I'll enter her for WIPs Wrestling again.

Reading: currently none
Music: Classic FM
Game: still waiting for Rayman Origins to arrive
Worked on today: Recuardos de Infancia
Billable hours: none yet, about an hour later today

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

WIP Round

My poor unloved blog. I really must try to keep up a bit better than this.

OK, so I guess we can call the Winter Ravelympics a slightly less epic fail than the summer games of 2008... As usual, the world got in the way and I finished a whole 4 (yes, four) snowflakes for the marathon rather than the 30 I had planned. Early injury forced me to retire - I did 3 in a day and my wrist was killing me so much I had to stop. Looking back on it now, I think I was using a too-fine hook. Next go around I'll use a 1.5 or 1.25mm hook with the Ancora instead of the 1mm. I still have a bazillion snowflakes in my queue, and I still want a bunch to hang in the bay window for Christmas, so I'll restart the marathon sometime in the autumn.

Ellie's bonnet did indeed get finished, and it did indeed look utterly exquisite.

She's a fair bit bigger than that now (she was 4 months in this pic and is 9 months now), the bonnet still fits and looks even better. I'll have to take another pic.

Recent news is that I have a yearning for lace, crocheted or knitted. So much so that I dropped £16.50 for a 100g, 1000m skein of this luscious, gorgeous, utterly beautiful 'Precious' silk laceweight from The Natural Dye Studio, colour 'Twilight' bought from Get Knitted. Now as we know I am not that good or fast a knitter, and I am terrible at finishing things. This yarn is TOO BEAUTIFUL to be left in a stash, or shoved as a half-finished project in the back of the wardrobe. And it's far too delicate to be frogged more than once or twice. So with that in mind, I went a-Raveling to find the best shawl pattern for this glorious yarn. Ravelry, as always, came up trumps with the Frozen Leaves Shawl, which is supposed to be reasonably easy as knitted lace goes and suitable for a beginner.

But I don't want to start this just yet. I have so many WIPs to finish, and I have so little lace experience, that I'm going to make casting on for Frozen Leaves my reward for a) finishing some things that have been languishing a while and b) successfully finishing a few smaller lace projects. Ravelry has provided some small lace patterns so b) is covered by 4-ply lace bookmarks and scarves and the odd shawl or two (or twenty) but a) is going to be a bit harder to manage.

I need to finish the Jellyfish and Elephant for Ellie, the Elephant only needs sewing together which is why I'm procrastinating - I hate sewing bits together. Although I finished the Calorimetry in 24 hours, the crochet Mille Fiori scarf to go with it is still only just over halfway done. Raspberry Tasha has been languishing in the sitting room knitting bag for months now and I want to be able to snuggle up in it when the evenings start to get cooler again. Loop-di-loop Scarf/Shawl/Wrap thing was started just before Ellie was born, frogged and started again because I didn't like the way the yarn was pooling with the original stitch count and is still waiting to be finished. As there is a skein and a half of Manos Silk Blend still to be knit, that one may take some time... Another Manos Shawl is part-way through being crocheted and I want that for the French evening we're going to on Saturday. Perdita X Nitt, poor thing, is still in need of an arm and some clothes (and perhaps a bit more hair) and her very own Little Emo to keep her company. I can't find the black yarn I used for her, and of course none of my other black acrylic DK matches. And the one and only bit of lace I've ever done, a lacey cowl knit in the round in Crystal Palace Kid Merino in "Strawberries and Limes" with lovely pink beads here and there isn't even on my Ravelry Projects page and I can't find the damn pattern. Sean the Sheep was going to be my new Ravatar once he was completed, he's still in bits. Plus I have a bad case of Second Sock Syndrome - my current sock is in Regia Stretch, Crazy Colours (lovely bright orange, green, yellow,pink and blue stripes) but I have at least 3 single socks waiting for pairs. And then there's that bag of alpaca in the corner that was supposed to be a zippy jacket for Jase by now. And the big Warm Fuzzies blankie, not had a stitch put in it for over a year. And several projects that are still just string... And. And. And.

So, in order to be 'allowed' (wrong word really, there is no Knitting Police after all) to cast on for this potentially glorious silk shawl, I have decided I have to finish at least the following:

An Ellie-phant for Ellie-boo (crochet but just needs sewing together)
Funky Jellyfish (knit)
Manos Lace Shawl (crochet)
Mille Colori Mille Fiori scarf (crochet)
Perdita X Nitt (crochet)
Strawberry Cowl (knit, in the round, with beads)

And make (and finish) these:

Lace Waves Bookmark
Lace Bookmark (direct .pdf link)
Fern Lace Bookmark
Crest of the Wave Scarf (direct .pdf link)
River Wrap (called "Lacy Wrap here)

Overcommitted? Moi? We'll see how I get on. Jellyfish and Manos shawl, here I come...

Friday, 12 February 2010

Go, Team GB!

I was looking at my beautiful, exquisite daughter the other day and had a sudden yearning to crochet a lace bonnet to frame that gorgeous little face. Cue much scrabbling around for appropriate yarn and patterns. The first pattern I fell in love with used #100 thread (eek!) and I didn't have any, so more scrabbling around followed. I eventually found (via Ravelry, natch) a gorgeous little set from a Japanese site. Of course the instructions are in Japanese, but the charts are clear enough. Now, I'd not done crochet from a chart before (or, indeed, any thread crochet that doesn't involve beads) and thinking that it would be easier to learn to read charts than to read Japanese I dug out my old Crochet Monthly mags and set to learning. No problem. A couple of skeins of white 4 ply cotton was discovered in the bottom of my stash, add a 3mm hook and I was off! It's nearly done, pics to follow.

All this to explain my entry for the Ravelympics this year. While hooking away, I was regretting not having any fine thread so I could finally learn that beautiful lacey crochet my grandmother was so very good at. There are so many pretty doilies and other things out there, and I WANT some! Finding some extraordinarily cheap thread online at Abakhan, I ordered a box of 10 Anchor Ancora 12, a box of 10 Anchor 25 and a box of 10 Anchor 100 (which is scarily thin thread indeed) and started queueing things to make with it on Ravelry. I ended up with 139 different snowflakes.

Not having anything planned for Ravelympics, and having an epic fail in 2008 when I ended up deleting every project I had listed for it (hopelessly overcomitted and finished nothing at all) I had a brainwave... Make as many snowflakes as I can during the event, rather than committing to a big project or several and failing miserably. I must be able to do at least one a day, right? So, to make things more interesting (and keep me going) I have committed to at least 30, which is 2 per day with a couple of days off.

So, the rules (which apply only to me). All snowflakes to be different. All to be crocheted using Ancora 12 and a 1mm hook. Start and finish at least one while watching the opening ceremony (which will have to be red-buttoned rather than live as I can't justify staying up from 4am til 6am and wouldn't be able to see the thread at that hour anyway). Finish at least 30 flakes in order to be able to declare the event a win. Each flake has its own page in my projects, plus I have an overall project called 'Snowflake Marathon' to keep track of them all.

Game on.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Hello 2010!

So we're a week into the new year and new decade, and things have changed a LOT since I last posted. Since my last post, I've gained and lost a job (no, it wasn't the job of my dreams after all), lost twins to a miscarriage at 12 weeks and gained a beautiful, incredible daughter who was born last September. Mr Perfect has had his own challenges to face, and is dealing with those particular demons brilliantly. We are still so, so in love, and it just gets better. The Boy is doing better than he was - I think the stress and pain I had been experiencing for 2008 followed by a tiring pregnancy had left him a little bit lost. He's always been very sensitive to how I feel, and when I'm stressed or down he plays up. We had an unexpected and tragic family loss in October which has left us all reeling and counting our blessings. Two days after this was my grandmother's 90th birthday, the celebrations for which have been put on hold until the family recovers.

As nearly all of my creativity for the past couple of years has been focussed on babies, and the creating and losing and eventually creating and birthing thereof, I haven't been as arty as I would have liked. But 2010 will be different, and so I now dedicate this blog to my beautiful daughter, known as The Lady Eleanor of Boux (or Ellie-boo for short). It's going to be a blog hopefully filled with art, crafty stuff, family life and maybe the odd recipe.

To begin with, I am currently in the middle of creating a craft room out of a narrow utility room off the kitchen. For the last two years this room has been filled with boxes of art stuff, magazines and general detritus that had nowhere else to go after I moved in 2007. Slowly but surely it's becoming a proper 'studio' - windowless and not wide enough to swing a mouse, much less a cat, but MINE! So, onward, ever onward.... off to get rid of another box of tut!

Monday, 28 July 2008

Go Team GB!

So I'm still not doing very well keeping this thing updated... And so much to blog about too!

First off, for the first time in a long time things are looking up. I had an interview last week for a job I really wanted, didn't hold out much hope of getting it but it really was my dream job. Tuesday, the day after the interview, I was offered the position... Thrilled is not the word! Starting on September 1st as well, which means I get to spend the summer with Mr Perfect while The Boy is visiting my parents.

Just before this, we paid another visit to Heath's with a whole bunch of stitch markers for knitters and crocheters - 14 sets of 5 knitting markers, 6 sets of 5 luxury knitting markers (made with pearls and crystal and gemstones) and 6 sets of 3 crochet markers. Mr P had printed off some professional looking cards which I'd tied the sets to with ribbon, and they all looked beautiful:

Each set was different, and all the knitting markers had one that was slightly longer than the other four, so the knitter can use it for the end of the round, or the centre of the lace, or whatever s/he wants. Heath seemed pretty pleased with them, and now has a gorgeous display of them right on the counter! We'll see how well they sell...

On the same trip, a little skein of Manos del Uruguay 6610 (Autumn colours) found its way into my stash *teehee* and we celebrated the success of the stitch markers with a couple of pints in Beeston while watching the Boothill Toetappers (scroll down a bit) who had me toe-tapping along. A very very lovely day all round really.

Last entry's gorgeous Lana Grossa yarn is becoming socks:

(it's very difficult to take photographs of one's own feet). I just love the whole tweedy stripiness thing going on with this yarn, and want at least two balls of every colour available. This second sock is going to have to grow fast because I have a ton of stuff needing to be finished before Ravelympics starts!

And oh, dear, I think I may have fallen down and I can't get up... I have signed up for 9 (yes NINE!) projects to be cast on during the opening ceremony and finished before the flame goes out 17 days later. Plus one entry for WIPs Wrestling (fortunately she only needs an arm... and a dress, and more hair, and a little emo amigurumi dollie of her very own). For Team GB we have entries for GiftKnits Pentathlon (4 washcloths), Baby Dressage/Hat Dash/Cable Steeple Chase (hat and jacket combo for M&R's baby due in September) and Balance Beads/Cowl Jump/Laceweight Long Jump (Ice Queen cowl). For Team Ankh-Morpork Knitters' Guild we have WIPs Wrestling (the aforementioned doll, named Perdita X Nitt after a Terry Pratchett character from the book Maskerade) and Amigurumi 'n' Toys Toss / the fifth GiftKnits Pentathlon entry (ChimuChinu's lovely amigurumi monkey, who I will try to make look something like The Librarian from the Discworld novels). For Team Rubberneckers in the Sock Put event there will be a pair of Rubbernecking Socks (actually, plain socks to my own recipe) made using this yarn:

from Angels & Elephants eBay shop, Brinsu 4ply sock yarn, colour 'Zennor'. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous stuff. A few more of their sock yarns ended up in my stash (I had an accident with a debit card):

That's Autumn Leaves (shetland), Blue Moon (Brinsu), Raspberry Ripple (shetland) and Seaspray (shetland). Aren't they pretty? They're going to have to stay in stash for the time being though, but I promise to take them out and pet them every so often...

*ahem* back to the Ravelympics. Finally, for Team Hopelessly Overcommitted (9 projects? In 17 days? I'd say that's overcommitted, even for me. I'm not that fast a knitter) I am entered into the Bag 'n' Tote Backstroke and Felted Freestyle with a purple felted bag kit I bought a while ago from Knitting4Fun.

Nine projects plus one WIP, covering twelve events, 17 days to do it all in.

I am officially insane.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Yarn Fumes

It's been a week or so, and I'm not doing very well at keeping up with this new blog. I'll try to do better.

Our trip to Heath's was put off until yesterday, but oh what a beautiful time we had. I think Mr Perfect must have been overcome by yarn fumes, because not only did he buy 13 balls of this:

for his Zip Up 'Biker Boy' Jacket (from Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch) he also allowed me to have three balls of this:

and a ball each of these:

The Kid Merino (Crystal Palace Yarns, colourway 'Painted Iris') is going to become Kiri (link is on the left hand side at the top of the page) I hope, and the sock yarns will become... socks. Eventually. Once I've finished Dad's socks, frogged The Boy's stripey socks to make them longer in the foot and made Mr Perfect's socks, plus made a pair of blue socks for Mum from the Regia Stretch I got from ebay.

Mr Perfect wasn't the only one suffering from Yarn Fumes though - as we were about to leave the store (Mr Perfect requesting that he not be told the final price of all this lovely yarn, lest he have a heart attack) I spotted this:

Merino Roving in gorgeous candyfloss colours. Having a bit of a yen to learn to spin (and noting that I had just enough cash to pay for it) I plonked it on the counter and had a bit of a chat about spinning with the chap (who may have been Heath, who knows?) - who then slid it into a brown paper bag (see, we know these yarn store chaps know they're selling addictive substances when they package their product in plain brown wrappers) and let me have it for nothing. Well, we had just spent the best part of £100 in there, but all the same, what a lovely thing to do. Of course, he knows I'll get addicted to spinning now and be in there every week picking up my fix. Next stop, how to make your own spindle sites. I wonder if The Boy will miss that Lego wheel?

The yarn we went for in the first place, the rather innocuous looking beige stuff in the first picture, is Adriafil Lana Naturale Inca - which Ravelry has for some reason as a DK. It is definitely aran, however, is 50% Wool and 50% Alpaca and is utterly gorgeous to work with. So soft and warm and snuggly. I cast on almost as soon as we got home - only to find that the suggested needles were waaaaayyyy to small to get the needed gauge. I'd cast on the sleeve as a swatch though, so not too much harm done. Got out some bigger needles and tried again. Still 1 extra stitch per inch. Frogged it again, and am now using needles vastly bigger than those suggested (5mm and 5.5mm instead of 3.5mm and 4mm). God only knows how the designer got gauge with her recommended size, unless she knits Continentally. Swatching Is Your Friend.

Half the sleeve is done, and although I told Mr Perfect I couldn't guarantee I'd finish it this year (all that stocking stitch, yawn) it's growing so fast and feels so beautiful I can't wait to schnuggle him while he's wearing it. I'm also fresh from the success that is the Truly Tasha's shawl, which I finished early in the week after only working on it for three weeks or so. Give me a few weeks and I'll see what I can do...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Getting better

We've had a particulary shitty year so far, and as I am not one to just sit around and bemoan everything that's gone wrong (well, not for long anyway) I've decided to start a new blog. I'd rather celebrate some good stuff and end up feeling better than whinge about the bad stuff and end up at the bottom of a bottle or the top of a high building...

So, to that end, here is the all-new Dizzy Knits blog. Hi, I am Dizzy, I live in the East Midlands and I knit and crochet and bead and embroider and do practically anything really that involves fibre and thread. I am 38 (how the devil did that happen?), married to Mr Perfect and have one gorgeous 10-year-old son, known as The Boy. On Ravelry I am TheBeadyHooker. The point and purpose of this blog is to add extra 'stuff' to my Ravelry Notebook, a diary of WIPs and UFOs and new stash arrivals and so on, including any non-yarn-related creative stuff (there isn't much of that at the moment, I am definitely going through a yarn addiction just now) and life stuff.

Recently I acquired this:

Ridiculously cheap on ebay. Homespun lambswool, somewhere around a chunky in weight, seven 60-odd metre skeins of it. It had been spun 'in the grease' so some googling ensued to find out how to get rid of the lanolin and bits of straw and so on. I dumped it all in a very hot bath with some carpet shampoo, *let it soak for a bit, swished it gently, watched the water turn yellow, drained the bath and filled it again with plain hot water and repeated from * a half-dozen times or so, which seems to have got rid of most of the stickiness. I am currently winding it into one long skein, joining the ends with the 'wet and twist' method as I go. Then I'll dye it with food colouring and probably knit a shawl out of it. Even still slightly sticky and scratchy with straw bits, it's gorgeous. It's unevenly spun, unevenly plied (perhaps by a beginner, but I've never done any spinning so what do I know?) and it is FABULOUS.

Currently on the needles and close to completion is my Truly Tasha's Shawl, done in beautiful purpley/magenta Silkwood hand-dyed wool yarn. I originally bought this yarn as 4ply for socks, but when it arrived it was more of a DK weight so I mentioned this on my next order. The store owner emailed me and said she was sorry, she'd take it back if I didn't have a use for it and refund my money (me? return yarn? especially beautiful, real wool, purple yarn? Never in a million years), or she had two last skeins in that colourway I could have at cost if I wanted them. I nearly bit her hand off, and then had three skeins of this beautiful purple yarn I didn't know what to do with... While searching Ravelry for a lace shawl pattern for a different yarn I found the wonderful Nancy Bush and her site and fell in love. I'd been feeling chilly since coming back from our holiday on the Isle of Wight, cast on immediately and warmed up just knitting it (certain colours have that effect on me.) It's nearly done, the top edge border is complete and all I have to do now is the sides.

Also on the needles (languishing while I finish my Magenta Tasha) is the fourth sock for Dad's birthday. The first sock was frogged for being too big, the second for being too small, the third is just right and now I'm trying to get the fourth to match it. I'm using a black and charcoal space-dyed sock yarn, and beginning to really hate the colour, it's so drab. This one stays in my handbag and gives me something to do while sitting in waiting rooms or in the car. I really want to get it finished so I can cast on with this:

eventually this will become a pair of socks for Mr Perfect. It's not a great pic, but there's actually some pink in this brown colourway (soft, baby pink at that) and he chose it himself. Can't wait to find out how it knits up, it feels gorgous. And if Mr Perfect won't wear the socks because of the pink, I'll have 'em instead. Win-win.

And then there's Perdita X Nitt, my gothy version of this amigurumi doll, who is currently armless, and a cute little jacket for a friend's baby due in September.

I received a few extra stash acquisitions yesterday:

The softest kid mohair DK imaginable. I'd never heard of the ggh brand before (it's german) and I'm guessing that nobody else in the UK has either because I got all seven 25g, 138 metre balls of it for the grand sum of £10.50. Unbelievable.

This is Lister Cachet, an acrylic/wool blend, in shades of orange, coral, yellow and purple. A bit brighter in real life than the pic shows, and slightly itchier than I was hoping for, but the 360g I have should make a Column of Leaves set of scarf, hat and mitts. Lovely bright warming colours to make our drab British winters a bit more bearable.

And finally, we have 6 balls of Regia Stretch in pale blues. I'm a bit miffed with the seller actually, who posted one pic of one ball and didn't say they were all the same, just said they were 'multi coloured'. I was hoping for different colourways, but what the heck - I like blue, my mum (a rambler) likes blue, so there will be blue socks in my future, and blue socks for Christmas (mum, don't read that bit).

Mr Perfect has rather fallen in love with a zip-up jacket from Son of Stitch and Bitch, so we may be going to Heath's at the weekend to get the yarn for it. So much for my poverty-induced yarn diet then ;-) Heath's might have to wait another week though - The Boy has 11+ practice on Saturday and the exam centre is 16 miles or so in the wrong direction. I am suffering from Heath deprivation (the Manos is to die for) so it will be soon. Mmmm Crystal Palace Kid Merino in Strawberries & Limes, you will be mine!