Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oooh... Pretty Lace

I'm still in the land of the living after spending the weekend at Candleston doing Shards. While the event was great as always, I think the weather did for me. As the forecasts predicted, it started raining overnight on Saturday and continued into Sunday. While it did let up a bit as the day wore on, the temperature also dropped and the wind picked up. All of which meant that I froze and as anyone who knows me could tell you, I really do not cope well with being cold.

Naturally I was back at work yesterday, where I found my long anticipated books waiting for me in the Telephone Exchange. Facing a backlog of work - and mad traffic queues having delayed my arrival - I resisted opening the multiple packages until the end of the day. When I did, I quickly flipped through the first two, images from which were driven from my mind by the contents of Victorian Lace Today.

Of this book, all I can say is wow!!!! Talk about eye candy... I flicked through and I can't say there is a single project in there that I didn't like. Several got a flicker of interest to the point I stared at the patterns - which I can't actually understand, but hey, give me time and I *will*. Each piece is beautifully photographed in historical settings and the author writes a bit about the original publisher which makes it interesting reading... Ultimately though, wow!

So... I guess I need to give lace knitting a try.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Books, books, books...

Half of my eagerly awaited book order turned up yesterday. I spent last week monitoring Amazon's stock and came to the conclusion that the other half was holding up the delivery, so I cancelled. I promptly re-ordered those books from their Marketplace sellers, so hopefully they'll show up in the next day or so.

One gripe with the Amazon Marketplace sellers is that they don't seem to combine postage, so rather than offering you savings on multiple purchases, they send each book out individually packaged. This adds to the price of the books, is an unnecessary increase on packaging and can mean that books ordered at the same time turn up at different times. Still, I have my fingers crossed they show up today otherwise they'll sit in the Exchange until Tuesday.

Last night, I skimmed through Crocheted Hats and spotted a couple that looked fun. Dave quickly homed in on a crocheted helmet which he says looks quirky and would make good kit.

I also took the 200 Crochet Blocks book to Knit-Wits, so that the ladies there could browse it. Two observations about this book... Firstly it uses British stitch descriptions, something only obvious when checking the stitch tutorial at the back of the book. This is the first time I've ever seen a book which does so, as most use American stitch names which are nearly identical but describe something entirely different. Hence when I make something from this book, I'm going to have to remember this!

The second observation is that the author is counting changes in colour towards her count of 200 Chrochet Blocks. Now to me, that is plain cheating as a change in colour scheme is not a change in design, sorry.. That all said, it did look interesting and useful and I'll be taking a second look after the weekend.

The other two books which showed up were both full of quick projects using one skein of yarn (One Skein and One Skein Wonders)... I flicked through and while I was taken with the projects, I think they're stretching the definition of One Skein on most of them! Projects which require over 1000m of yarn to complete and are knit with two threads, do not fall into what I'd normally think of as one skein!

Friday, May 18, 2007

An odd week

It's been an odd week for me and not terribly productive, either at home or at work. Family matters have taken precedence and I've driven an awful lot of miles, in a mad but very necessary round trip to Bodmin for a funeral. Suffice it to say, I'm feeling very tired and drained, waking this morning all thick headed on the tail end of a dream about the shed exploding and torrential rain...

(Dave tells me I must have suppressed anxiety about the shed blowing up. Our neighbour has a distressing tendency to build huge fires in her garden in close proximity to it, pouring petrol on and then going indoors to watch TV whilst it burns unmonitored. More than once, I've prompted Dave into getting the hose pipe out and dowsing down our fence and shed...)

With all the driving and visiting, I haven't really had much time to myself this week, with what little time I have had being dedicated to writing rather than anything else. With the first Strangehaven event in a few weeks, I'm beginning to feel the pressure. We have a ref meeting this weekend, so hopefully once that's done I'll be in a calmer state of mind.

I did take some cotton and a crochet hook down to Cornwall with me, making a start on a plum coloured 'Sweetpea Shawl' from The Happy Hooker. No idea how it's going to turn out, but it seems to be working up OK and Charlie approves. I had a few problems understanding the instructions (I'm terrible with patterns) but fortunately, the pattern is charted so I managed to interpret it in the end.

More soon, when I'm less tired, my brain is working properly and I don't have a huge backlog of work...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Book List

I'm feeling a tad frustrated at the moment as last week I gave into a momentary weakness and ordered several books from Amazon. What can I say, I had an unspent gift voucher - if such is an applicable term for an online bookstore - and I've been eyeing up several craft books of late.

A week on and the projected delivery date is set for the 21st of the month, so I'm still waiting and will be for at least another week. This is not good. Once I have decided to purchase a book, I like to get my grubby little mits on it as soon as possible. Part of me is itching to cancel the order and buy the books via Amazon's 'New and Used' marketplace, but since the only reason I bought direct from Amazon was those gift tokens it kind of defeats the purpose.

The titles I ordered were all knitting or crochet pattern books, i.e.
I'm particulary keen to get my hands on the lace book as it sounds very good...

I do now however have one of these, having ordered it from Cotton Patch who have always been very helpful in the past. I anticipate a weekend filled with cutting things out!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Knitting Meme

I don't normally indulge in meme's but since I've been tagged by Jane and I have a minute to spare...

1. What is your favourite cast-on?

Um... I normally do one which uses my thumb and sort of twists the yarn in a figure of eight to form the stitches, but I've no idea what it's called.

2. What is your favourite stitch?

I have recently decided that double moss stitch is very pretty.

3. What are your favourite needles?

My inexperience in the realm of knitting is not to be underestimated, but having tried metal, plastic and bamboo needles, I've got to say the bamboo ones are my favourite so far. They are so much lighter than the metal ones, but nowhere near so bendy as the plastic so I get the best of both worlds.

4. What is your favourite project?


5. What is your least favourite project?


I really do need to learn to make something else methinks...

6. What is your favourite cast-off?

Erm... I only know one. I've heard rumours of others but haven't learnt them as of yet.

7. What are your favourite yarns?

I'm not really a yarn knowledgeable person I'm afraid, being fairly new to this knitting lark. I do like natural fibres - and prefer them when sewing - but don't really have any strong preferences as of yet when it comes to knitting.

8. What are your least favourite yarns?

Anything with eyelashes in the 'novelty' yarn style. Horrible experiences trying to crochet the stuff has scarred me for life.

9. What are your favourite colours?

Colour? Did someone say colour? Yes please!

I like strong colours, but particularly favour nature tones, so earthy browns, reds, plum, greens, blues, yellows, orange and anything in between.

My theory is that there is nothing wrong with any colour itself, it's what you do with it and how you combine the colours that will determine whether it works or not. So learn to think in shades, warmth, tone and contrast rather than just colour.

10. What are your least favourite colours?

I'm not really much of a pastel person.

Some pastels work (pink for example) but others just look too washed out. However, set a pale pastel against a strong, bold colour and you can bring it to life, so I'm not really dead set against them either.