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!