29 April 2012

Blue sky, I can see blue sky

The sound track to this weekend has been rain, rain, lots of rain.  But as I type I can finally see some blue.  Typical, not enough of Sunday left to do anything; you watch the sun will be out in time for work tomorrow.

This weekend - those that read my blog regularly will know that we have 3 birthday's in 8 days in April, so it has become a bit of a tradition to go out for cocktails and dinner on one of the weekends.  This year we have had 2 milestone birthdays - Peter being 60 and Rachel being 30.  So we plumped to go last night as it was Rachels' day.  Saturday started with breakfast at Bill's in Cambridge with Rachel  and Stuart, which was very enjoyable.  It was then back home to finish off Rachel's birthday cake before Rufus and Co turned up - carrot cake hearts with vanilla butter cream frosting, peanut M&M's for the initials and name

I wish you could have seen the little man's face when he walked into the garden room and saw his John Deere, unfortunately I had left the camera in the house - stupid I know.  Anyway to say he was excited would be an understatement.

We had a good evening out - cocktails in Las Iguanas - this is new to Cambridge so we thought we would give it a go, we normally go to Browns - followed by dinner at Efes - the only thing that spoilt the evening was the fact that we all got soaked walking between venues and back to the car.  With Beck's being 26 week pregnant we had a driver this year - handy.

Even Aunty Rachel got in on the act - morning after - and yes its still raining

and still raining.............  can you spot the cheeky squirrels they didn't seem to mind the rain - it rained so much I had to do this. Got the back of my top finished and cast on the front.

then finally at 3:30 it stopped raining and we got this, better late than never

I hope you enjoyed all the posts from Knitting & Crochet Blog Week - I have so many posts to catch up on as I've been otherwise engaged this weekend.  I will give you a run down on the stats and point you in the way of some new blogs I found over the course of the week.  Its good fun, but I really wouldn't want to do it every week!

Day 7 - Crafting Balance

Are you a knitter or a crocheter, or are you a bit of both? If you are monogamous in your yarn-based crafting, is it because you do not enjoy the other craft or have you simply never given yourself the push to learn it? Is it because the items that you best enjoy crafting are more suited to the needles or the hook? Do you plan on ever trying to take up and fully learn the other craft? If you are equally comfortable knitting as you are crocheting, how do you balance both crafts? Do you always have projects of each on the go, or do you go through periods of favouring one over the other? How did you come to learn and love your craft(s)?

I'm a knitter - once a knitter always a knitter.  As I said on yesterday's post, crochet is something I need and will master.  But for know knitting fulfils me.

I was taught to knit by my mother while at primary school, we also did basic knitting in school, and at an after-school girls group.  I only ever knitted squares and simple scarfs.  As the years went by other things took over and I lost interest.  Can you believe it!   It was my husband's Granny that got me back into knitting.  He had asked her to make him a hat for work and she said "no, you have a wife get her to knit you one".  So I sat down with her and by the end of the afternoon I was half way through my first hat, and the rest as they say is history. 

This is the last post for Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2012 - I have enjoyed writing, reading and commenting.  Thanks should go to Eskimimi for organising this event again.  I hope that those of you that have visited my blog will pop back from time to time to see what I am up to.  I certainly have visited some brilliant blogs and plan to increase my reading list.  Just need to make more time in my day to catch up on everyone.

28 April 2012

Day 6 - Improving your skillset

How far down the road to learning your craft do you believe yourself to be? Are you comfortable with what you know or are you always striving to learn new skills and add to your knowledge base? Take a look at a few knitting or crochet books and have a look at some of the skills mentioned in the patterns. Can you start your amigurumi pieces with a magic circle, have you ever tried double knitting, how's your intarsia? If you are feeling brave, make a list of some of the skills which you have not yet tried but would like to have a go at, and perhaps even set yourself a deadline of when you'd like to have tried them by.

First a confession - I realised I don't own any knitting books other than a fairly basic one which I was given years ago.  I have lots of pattern books, some Harmony Stitch Guides, but not anything really helpful.  I tend to rely on the internet or Ravelry if I need to know something.  Maybe I should put a good book on my Christmas/Birthday list - suggestions would be welcomed.

I'm more than happy with my general knitting thus far.  I cable, fairisle, simple lace, some intarsia, though I prefer stranding if I can get away with it. I think my work is acceptable, others might not.

When checking out double knitting - I assumed we were talking ply!! I realised I had actually done some of this in the head construction of this little fellow, nothing to onerous there, so may give something else a try.

Steeking - Oh my goodness, NO, I could not bring myself to take the scissors to something I'd just knitted, really can't see the point.

I would like to do some more lacework. I'm sure I set myself this task last year. I did complete a Travelling Woman Shawl, which turned out ok, though maybe should have been blocked better.  I have bought myself some proper blocking wires now, so at least I can do any new project justice.  I have looked through Ravelry, found and added to my library some possibles.

One of my goals last year was to knit socks.  Well I did, just a small pair, they turned out sort of alright

I cast on these back in January but lost interest, so I guess that socks should go back on the agenda

Felting - not tried yet other than to put my daughter's jumper in a too hot wash!!! We did make use of it though

Spinning - plan to try this later in the year when we have a workshop at my knitting group so watch this space.

Loom knitting - I have a set of these and also a rectangular one.  Had a little play but nothing serious, so something else to try out.

Weaving - I have a small weaving frame - again played with it a bit but nothing produced yet.  I bought it in the local charity shop, it came from Ikea originally so imagine it was possibly for children.  Can't be that difficult to master then!

and then there is Crochet - I have a real blind spot with this. I have been shown a few times, I get it, then if I don't keep at it, forget.  Several ladies in my knitting group crochet so when I have nothing better to do I will try and crack it once and for all.

So no deadline for any of this.  What with working, knitting, gardening, blogging, there's hardly any time for housework/shopping/cooking, let alone anything new, though saying that I have just started patchwork....... I need to retire

27 April 2012

Birthday wishes all round

Yesterday my eldest was 32. On Saturday the youngest will be 30. I find it hard to believe that my girls are so grown up, where did the years go?

Happy Birthday to you both. 

Looking forward to our night out on Saturday!

This photo was taken in Vegas in 2004 - they are still as silly!!

Day 5 - Something a Bit Different

Just a hint the words are all links

K - Knitting Groups

N - Needles

I - Intarsia

T - Tension

T - Threads

E - Eco-Friendly

R - Rows

S - Stitches

L - Lace-weight

O - Organic

V - Venues

E - Equipment

Y - Yarns

A - Abbreviations

R - Ravelry

N - Notions

S - Stash

26 April 2012

Day 4 - A Knitter for All Seasons

As spring is in the air in the northern hemisphere and those in the southern hemisphere start setting their sights for the arrival of winter, a lot of crocheters and knitters find that their crafting changes along with their wardrobe. Have a look through your finished projects and explain the seasonality of your craft to your readers. Do you make warm woollens the whole year through in preparation for the colder months, or do you live somewhere that never feels the chill and so invest your time in beautiful homewares and delicate lace items. How does your local seasonal weather affect your craft?

The weather in the UK necessitates a cardigan or cover-up most of the year. I would estimate that 10 out of the 12 months of the year is for general knitting.  With the other months taken up for something lighter.

Currently on my needles is a short sleeved top by Sublime - Morocco which I am knitting in cotton kapok.  I normally don't wear handknits in the summer but felt the need for a change this year.  I do knit cotton hats for my grandson, and little girly tops for friends babies, but not much else is summer weight yarns

I would say that the majority of my knitting is more autumn/winter based.  I love making blankets and throws for the home, these I can just pickup and do at any time.  I also knit lots of hats and scarves.

I do find that my knitting tails off anyway over the summer months as my time is taken up in my garden - some shots of the garden over the last few years

 Plus IF, the weather is hot, there is nothing worse than sweaty palms and yarn!

Hope that you are all enjoying Blog week, so many posts to read so little time.  Thanks for all the great comments thus far

25 April 2012

Not forgetting WIP Wednesday

With all the excitement of Blog Week, and trying to read/comment on all the posts, which is hard as blogger is blocked at work (-;  I nearly forgot WIP Wednesday.

I have a couple of WIP's - the first is my Morocco top, which I picked up last night, decided it was fair to cold and miserable for a summer top so.............

as my new Simply Knitting magazine was sat there, I leafed through and found a subscriber only blanket, knitted in different squares.  I have some very rough shetland wool in my stash, which I decided would do if mixed with something softer.  As I have bags of stuff from the charity which is unidentified I am teaming these up.  The blanket will do for picnics or in the garden, something  for me to pick up and knit when I feel like it.  SK are sharing the square patterns over the next 2 issues so this will be an ongoing project.

Day 3 - Craft Your Perfect Day

Today I am using the wildcard -

My fantasy day would start at a yarn producer, where we would be given a guided tour of all the processes - maybe somewhere like this, with the possibility to try out some of the yarns, maybe some free samples - well a girl can dream, this is a fantasy. 

I would then follow this with a special lunch with likeminded friends, an opportunity to catch up and discuss our latest projects and purchases, whilst enjoying a glass or two of wine

A little retail therapy would be next on the agenda, a trip to a really good yarn shop or somewhere new to me. I would have no restraints on my purse, so the purchases would be endless.

Time for home with the chance to put my feet up with a cup of tea, a comfy chair and of course some knitting, whilst hubby cooks the dinner

24 April 2012

Day 2 - The Photography Challenge Day

The Teddy Bears Picnic

Planning the route - there may be a little drinking involved

 Preparing the snacks

 Checking the equipment

 Transportation - well you didn't expect them to walk did you!


The Three Hungry Bears where bought to you by Laura Long - free pattern in Simply Knitting
The Zig and Zag Blanket by Debbie Orr - free pattern on Ravelry

The Five Pub Challenge - Sunday 13th May for info Over Day Care Centre


Info for Day 3 - Your Knitting or Crochet Hero

Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures.
I don't fancy this one so I plan to use the wildcard - Craft Your Perfect Day

Plan your fantasy day with your craft, It might just take up one hour of your day or be the entire focus of the day, but tell your readers where you'd love to craft, whether you'd craft alone or with friends, knitting or crocheting something simple or spending a day learning new skills.

23 April 2012

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2012 - Day One - Colour Lovers

Welcome to 2012's Knitting & Crochet Blog week,  I hope that I can keep up with everything that will be going on. There will be 100's of posts to read, it may take a while.

Day 1 - Colour Lovers -
Colour is one of our greatest expressions of ourselves when we choose to knit or crochet, so how do you choose what colours you buy and crochet or knit with. Have a look through your stash and see if there is a predominance of one colour. Do the same with your finished projects - do they match? Do you love a rainbow of bright hues, or more subdued tones. How much attention do you pay to the original colour that a garment is knit in when you see a pattern? Tell readers about your love or confusion over colour.

Well folks here is my stash, as you can see there is a fairly good mix of colours, but the red and blue spectrums seem to be the largest.  I knit alot for babies and children so this seems to be the reason for that.

If knitting for myself I tend to go fairly safe, usually dark or neutral. Rarely do I knit the same colour as the pattern though saying that my last project was fairly close to the pattern.  I wish I could be more adventurous in colours for me.

I like to adapt patterns for children to make them individual, adding a stripe or a bit of colour work just to make them a bit different. 

If you look through my projects My project page, you will see that my knitting goes in colour phases too. 

I hope I have done justice to Day One's topic.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone else does with it.

This is the topic for Day 2 - Photography Challenge Day!

Today challenges you to be creative with your photography, and get yourself in with the chance to win the photography prize. Taking interesting photographs in this instance isn't about flashy cameras or a great deal of technical know-how, it's about setting up a story or scene in a photograph and capturing something imaginative. Your photograph(s) should feature something related to your craft, so that might be either a knitted or crocheted item, yarn, or one of your craft tools. One example of setting a scene would be to photograph a girl in a knitted red cape walking through the woodlands with a basket of goodies, as in the Red Riding Hood tale, or you might photograph a knitted gnome hiding among the flowers in your garden. Photo editing is permitted for competition photos. Here are a few examples of my own photographs to illustrate an imaginative use of photography, but you can do much better than these...

22 April 2012

Boys and their toys

For the last 2 months Peter has been stalking Ebay in the hopes of buying a John Deere tractor unit for Rufus.  This afternoon we have just done a 120 mile round trip to Aylesbury to pick this up.

This is the little Ford tractor which we were given that Rufus still can't pedal yet!!

So who do you think is going to have all the fun.

Yes folks he was 60 on Friday !!!!

I have no idea where this is going to live