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!