Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And by way of an addendum

Yesterday, Blogger seemed to be having issues with photographs so I ended up cutting my post short. Today, with the miracles of modern technology in full swing I proudly present a manly scarf...

This was simple enough to make up and is crocheted DC (or SC if reading American) in the backloop throughout. I kept going until it was six inches wide and then added a simple fringe, giving the results shown. Dave likes it (he is not the intended recipient) so I'm taking that as a good sign. Not the most exciting thing to crochet though, so I don't intend to make another one of these in a hurry.

On the subject of Dave, take a look at this...

It's a sandwich board (if you can call a non-blow-overable-flexi-board a sandwich board) from outside Andy and Heather's shop up in Ripley. It's the only photo I took on Saturday (I know, I should love the Orks more) and I'm posting it to point out the logo, which was designed by Dave. It's called an ambigram or an inversion and reads the same upside down as right way up - pretty nifty huh?

And on a crochet related subject, while I was in Ripley, Frizbe and I headed off to her house (leaving the boys to play) where I took her through the rudiments of crochet. She pretty much got it too, just needs some practice and to relax a little while holding her hook. Time will tell I guess as to whether I've corrupted her sufficiently... Time and whether she starts hiding yarn around the house!

(As always, click on the images to see bigger versions)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Something in the air...

Monday morning rolled around again (as they're in the habit of doing) and today my body clock is all over the place due to the end of British Summer Time. As the clocks go back and the dark nights are heralded in by fireworks, so we are officially ushered into winter. I'm not the only one finding the changed time difficult to adjust to; both cats were convinced today must be a 'Saturday' and were very disgruntled to realise I had to go to work.

The weekend was a good one, if busy, tiring and expensive as I made some serious inroads into my Christmas shopping.

Saturday saw us driving up to Ripley, where Andy and Frizbe have just opened their new comics and games shop 'Chimera'. Naturally, I picked up a few presents while I was there, while Dave and Richard (who were equipped with Orks and Eldar respectively) settled down to do battle for supremacy of the table top. I forgot to take any pictures (Dave was upset by this, he said I should have photographed his Orks) until after the shop was closed but there are photographs here for anyone who wishes to see.

Sunday, we drove to the Warwick Exhibition Centre for the Living History Fayre. This one isn't as busy as Anne Laverick's Re-enactors Market but had a good range of stalls, so naturally I bought yet more Christmas presents.

I also bought myself two more lucets... I shouldn't have, not really but in my defence sometimes I have a braid on the prongs and I'd like to start another, so... I need more than one lucet. Don't I?

I did however, bravely walk away from spun (undyed) silk... And wool... And linen. And I didn't buy so much as a single meter of fabric, all of which means there is hope for me yet.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend round up

The weekend is nearly over and it seems to have been a busy one. The focus for yesterday was Christmas shopping for our huge clan. We tend to drive down to Devon and Cornwall a week or so before the big event itself and do the grand tour, which has the positive benefit of allowing us to have a quiet relaxing Christmas with just the two of us. The downside is that we have to be super organised, with all pressies bought and wrapped long before the holidays themselves.

With this duly in mind, I dragged Dave into Coventry where we made a good start on my extensive list and scoped out several shops for intended purchases.

This year of course, I intend to suppliment my bought purchases with hand made items fresh off my own needles or hooks, but nonetheless, I returned several hours later laden down with bags which don't really seem to amount to very much at all.

While I was wandering around town, I stuck my head into Waterstones to browse their pitiful selection of craft books, where I spotted this. I promptly bought it, probably because I was overcome with shock that there was something on the shelves that interested me!

Back home, arms several inches longer and Dave reluctantly kitted out in new slippers, I set about blocking the lace scarf I've just finished. And here it is...

This is knitted up from the Razor Shell Lace Scarf pattern, taken from One Skein Wonders. The yarn is Paton's Studio Mohair which was very soft and pleasant to work, once I'd stopped making so many mistakes and was no longer trying to rip it out every few days. The pattern is actually quite easy and knits up relatively quickly, but took me a while to do because of my novice status when it comes to lace stitches. All in all, I'm happy with the results and may make another one at some point.

Finally, some gratuitous cat pictures.

This time of year is end of season for us campers and so it is time to properly air the tents and put them away. Dave was initially amused and then put out to discover he had a helper in the struggle to defeat the green monstrousity...

In the end, he had to clap his hands loudly and bang things in a noisy fashion to chase Charlie off, otherwise we may have ended up with holes as the daft animal tried to kill the canvas.

(Click on the images above to see bigger versions...)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Tis the season to be knitting...

I do believe it's Friday at last, although this week seems to have practically flown by! I was straight back to work on Monday morning after a great Strangehaven event and it now seems to be ages ago, not just a few days. For those who are interested, some pictures have gone up from the September event and last weekend.

Winter seems to have arrived in Coventry, with the mild weather of last week replaced with a distinctive chill. The heating was switched on a couple of days ago and even the cats are starting to favour indoors. Missy is of course hanging on in there as a stalwart fan of outdoors, no matter how cold or wet she gets, but even she is showing signs of weakening.

My birthday came and went... And that was about it really. No big celebration or eat out this year and due to the postal strikes, no cards (other than a few hand delivered ones - thanks guys, you know who you are) so it didn't even really feel like my birthday. Instead I went to work, collected the cats, had a long soak in tub and did some crochet.

I started on a new crochet scarf because I've finally finished the lace one I was working on. No completed photo's yet because I want to have a go at blocking it this weekend, however I took it along to Coventry Knit-Wits on Wednesday where it was subjected to some professional fondling, along with 'ooohs' and 'aaaahs' so I think it came out OK.

The new crochet scarf however isn't quite so attractive or likely to draw appreciative noises. It is a simple DC in the back loop job, with row after boring row slowly building up to a band of yucky green with blue and orange flecks.

Manly is how I'm describing it and Dave quite likes it. He says it's non-offensive and yes, he'd wear it, which is how I guage these things. An intended Christmas present, it is going quite well and is now approaching two inches wide, so hopefully I'll get it done soon before I get so bored I can't pick it up any more.

In the meantime, as this scarf isn't really captivating me I've finished another two washcloths, started a third and started this...

Another experiment and destined for Christmas, this is left over yarn from the Spike Stitch Scarf and some novelty yarns passed in my direction by Steelbreeze at our last destash night. Pretty is how I'm describing this one and combined with a nice DK yarn the novelty fur is behaving itself. I may even buy some more!

(As always click on the images to see bigger versions)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Today I am feeling old

Or rather today is my birthday, not that we're really doing anything to celebrate. I spent the weekend running a LRP event and having had to come into work this morning, my intentions for tonight involve a long soak in the tub and possibly a takeaway (by way of a birthday treat).

The weekend was a good one and (in my view at least) a great end to the events I've written this year. Three Days to Yesterday was as the name suggests (I hope) a bit odd and we had high fantasy meets sci-fi as aliens dropped by to help save the world...

I'm the one in the middle, looking decidely green and waving my scanning wand at the camera. Don't we look impressive?

This one was a test of endurance for me as I spent many hours under that mask and sporting a nice healthy green tan on the bits of me that would show. Green face paint it seems is tenacious stuff which likes to hang around and resist all efforts to remove it, but I'm happy to report I'm almost free of the stuff now... Except for my fingernails which are stubbornly retaining a nice shade of green today.

Suffice it to say that much fun was had by all. The plot went down well with the players who were remarkably on the ball throughout. I was very impressed at how well we (as the aforementioned aliens) managed to communicate with broken english consisting of less than 100 words, hissing, clicking and mime! The players seemed to have fun and hung around going over little moments they particularly liked long after timeout and debrief, which is always a good sign. So as far as I'm concerned it was a good end to this year's Strangehaven campaign and very happy with how it went.

I've got just one more LRP event left this year now and then roll on next year.

(As always click on images to see a larger version)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm on Ravelry at last!

I arrived at late to work yesterday after the usual grueling visit with my physio and a nightmare parking situation at work (there are many reasons why I hate this time of year) to find my long awaited Ravelry invite sitting in my mailbox. It cheered me up no end, the only downside being that I had to wait a while before accepting it.

Needless to say, yesterday's lunch hour was spent poking around the site, discovering how to upload an avatar, exploring the forums, joining a couple of groups and adding a few things to my project list. The fact that I managed to get all that done in such a short time shows just how intuitive the site is to use.

I've not had much time to look at the site but what I have seen I like. In particular, I like the pattern to project integration, which allows me to see examples of the pattern I'm either considering or I'm currently working on, knitted up by other members. Since I substitute yarns other than those listed in the patterns, that could be very helpful.

My one gripe has to be Flickr (which is horribly primitive compared to PhotoBucket or PicasaWeb) which has been integrated in as the preferred photo host, but it looks like there are plans afoot to allow other photo hosts in the future so I can live with it... Besides, in the intervening time perhaps Flickr will grow on me?

Generally though, a big thumbs up and hurrah!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Oooh, shinies...

As an addendum to my last post and of possible interest to me at least, I've just popped across to Artesano's website to check out the details on the Alpaca wool I bought on Saturday. Naturally, I browsed around their site a bit and wandered into the section on Britanny needles...

It seems they have a special offer on where if send them 10 ball bands, they'll send you a set of Britanny needles or a crochet hook of your choice. Is this a valid excuse to buy more yarn I wonder?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A new yarn shop opened today

Today I headed off to Warwick where Jo from the Coventry knitting group (Knitwits) opened her new yarn and crafts shop or The Crafty Cottage.

And of course, here is the proud new shop owner, Jo herself...

I dragged poor Dave along, where he tolerantly drank coffee and talked decor before hurrying off to visit Warwick's shops, leaving me alone with wool. I'm not entirely sure this was a good strategy on his part, but perhaps he's preparing his defence for when Andy and Heather open their new shop in a few weeks or so!

I met up with the usual suspects from the knitting group, ate cake, drank tea, discussed Bob Marley and spent a long time browsing the many yarns on offer...

I think I was a bit overwhelmed with such a wide choice of very nice yarns and I carefully steered myself away from the Seasilk (a sort of silk and seaweed derived mix which was very pretty and soft to boot) and numerous other luxury end yarns, before settling on some blue/grey Alpaca.

I'm intending to turn it into a scarf - of course - but one for me, rather than for anyone else, which will be a first.

I also picked up some more cotton to feed my ongoing addiction to washcloths.

Otherwise, I behaved... Honest. Of course, I may well have to go back that way sometime...

In other news, today is Saturday and I've survived the first week of term! Hurrah!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Warning - washcloths are highly addictive!

Last night, it being a Wednesday I made an effort to get out of work close to on time so I could head out to Coventry's Knit-Wit's group. It seemed I was being thwarted in my efforts to get out the door last night as I was popular on the telephone. First it was my bank, phoning from Plymouth to tell me I have too much money. Yes, apparently I have not been spending enough of late and obviously I need to buy more fabric, yarn and habberdashery...

Engaging as it was to hear another Plymouthian accent and to have the lady on the phone tell me all about the latest gossip from the city of my birth (this girl was very chatty and nice, so telling her to go away was difficult in the extreme) I eventually managed to hang up some twenty minutes later.

Two minutes after I hung up the car dealership where I bought my car called to ask... "Do you still have your Focus?"... Followed by "Do you want a new one?"... My terse reply of "Not right now." was met with a cheery "That's alright. Bye for now." before the salesman hung up. I suppose I should be grateful that he didn't give me the hard sell!

Eventually I escaped to Liquid having warned Dave that I may be back in half an hour. Last night was the Machine Knitting Workshop, which was being hosted at one of our member's flat so I was expecting a low turnout at our usual venue. My plan was to drop by, order one drink and if no one else had shown up by 7:30 or so, I'd go home again.

Anyhow in I rolled to find one other knitter in the corner reading a pattern book and sipping a Coke, having arrived with pretty much the same idea. As it was, it was fortunate that we had both turned up as a new member turned up who we did our best to welcome and reassure that there were normally more of us. Hopefully she'll be back next week when she'll be able to meet every one else.

Last night I was working on yet another washcloth...

And with only two ladies for company, it was suggested that possibly I'm addicted to knitting the things since I do have quite a few now...

Pictured are three finished, but yet to be blocked cotton washcloths along with two unfinished ones lacking their crochet borders. This is my current favourite 'no thinking required' item to knit and I think one of the reasons I like them so much is because of how quickly they make up. I can whip one of these up in a few nights which is quite a pleasant change to the average scarf which I'll labour over for four weeks or so.

This is my current scarf, the fabled scalloped shell lace mohair one that I've ripped out at least four times now and is finally reaching a reasonable size.

I know it doesn't look particularly lacey but it has holes in it, intentional holes at that... And increases and decreases which change the direction of the stitches giving them a textured look as well as creating that wavy edge. I'm pleased with the way it is finally coming together now that I've finally settled down into the pattern and making some headway.

In related news, having had a near disaster this morning with coffee I can also attest to the amazing water (or coffee) repelling qualities of mohair. Liquid splashed onto the ball just sits there allowing it to be dabbed off the surface with a minimum of fuss and no residue left at all. Result!

(As always, click on the images to see bigger versions.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Some all important updates

Let's start with a Ravelry update where I see I've crept up to 4920th on the list for an account... Which means I may get my invite in about a week and a half... By the fact that I'm checking my place in the list on a daily basis, I suspect I'm getting impatient to take a look.

I also ordered and received my first ever order from Angel Yarns, breaking down and buying yarns at full price.

Normally, I'm what I'd call a bargain bin knitter. That is, I vist yarn stores or Hobbycraft and look for whatever is end of line, picking up all sorts of bargains such as the cotton which went into the plum coloured sweetpea shawl, where I paid just 99p per 50g. Normally, this is a fine way to boost my stash without breaking the bank, but the downside is that you have to rely on what is left unsold and can't always find exactly what you're after.

Now just recently, I've started to flirt with lace knitting with my efforts so far having mixed results. I've decided that I need to scale back and take baby steps with simpler patterns and possibly using well behaved yarn rather than 'sticky' mohair. Which is why I bought some of Tess Dawson's own range of 4ply Merino, which I can report is very soft and pretty. Dave liked the little packet of Lovehearts tucked into the packaging which he said were very tasty but could have been bigger.

In other news, last weekend was a Shards event which saw me camping at Candleston in South Wales where it was cold of the brain sapping variety. We also had rain, although not too bad and when it came it was actually quite welcome (to me at least) as it raised the temperature slightly. It was also the last Shards event, ever - not counting the Bloodlines event in November or Strangehaven in two weeks, since they're sub campaigns really.

Not to worry though, the campaign hasn't stopped it's just been renamed to reflect the fact that there are no longer any shards as such, since they were all long ago fused into a single world. So next year, I'll be playing Ascendancy... Once I've digested the dates, compared them to my diary, talked to work and booked the cattery.

Those who are interested, take a look at the website which has been pulled together mostly by Richard. My bit was the forums, which I've spent the past few weeks wrestling with.