Friday, 25 May 2012

Nympheas (2)

What with finishing off the rainbow stripey blanket and the orange Charade socks and then starting a new 'marmite' pair of socks, Nympheas has taken a bit of a back seat this week.  I have, however, now completed four pattern repeats in the pink NDS Angel yarn:

I'm happy to say that I'm enjoying knitting this.  Eskimimi's patterns always have a clear layout so the instructions and charts are easy to follow.  I haven't weighed the yarn to see how much I've got left, so I've no idea how many repeats I'll get out of this skein of yarn.

Nympheas isn't the only lace project I've got on the needles.  I started Rock Island on 27 March and this is how far I've got with the edging......

Not very good is it.  It's laceweight yarn on 4mm needles and the edging is 71 repeats.  71!!   With patterning on every row!!!  This means I can't concentrate on it for very long and, in actual fact, I haven't knitted a single stitch of it for at least a fortnight.

My 'problem' is that I simply have too much yarn and too many projects I want to make and, and, and, well, many of you are in the same boat I'm sure.

Before my Friday Dedham knitting group this morning, I popped into the village Co-Op store and saw that they still had copies of this magazine .  It's not one I've bought before (I rarely buy magazines, to be honest), but someone had a copy of it last week, I had a flick through and thought I'd get my own copy this week if they still had one in the shop (in fact, they had several) as it's got some nice designs in it.  Whether I'll make any of them, I have no idea.

Hoping everyone has a nice weekend in this sunshiney weather we're currently enjoying. 

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Charade Socks FO

Phew!  Finished!

Over the past year I've found myself wanting to make new socks - not least because they're much more comfortable to wear than shop-bought ones - but when it comes to actually getting on and knitting them, it's a different matter and each pair is taking me ages to complete.

I cast off a pair of Charade socks yesterday though.  The yarn's Schoppel Wolle Admiral Ombre in an orange variegated colour.  As per usual, I took the stitch pattern from the sock, but made them toe-up using my own variation of a heel turn.  I did try and get some photos of how I do my heel turn on toe-up socks, but they were taken before I'd bought the New Camera and aren't clear enough.  I'm thinking of doing a photo step-by-step using some plain acrylic DK and 4mm needles as I think that might be easier to see.

I just took this shot outside (one some plain lining paper) on the front step as I think it shows off the yarn colours best.  It's funny how yarn can knit up differently than you thought it would, don't you think?  With this, I thought it would be more heathered, but you can see stripes of different oranges, and the fabric has more of an overall burnt orange look than the zingier 'fruity' orange I thought it would be.  I still like them though.

The pattern's very easy to do.  A simple herringbone-type rib, two rows, every other one of which is just plain knit.  I did modify the pattern ever so slightly.  The pattern's a 4-stitch one and is written as (k2, rib2)  repeat, but I did it as (k1, rib 2, k1) repeat so that the pattern was centred on the stitches of each needle.

This is close-up of the stitch pattern:

The weather's much more summer-like this week, so Jess and I have been enjoying our walks in the morning.  Today, we were out for about an hour (with a couple of stops to chat to people we know) and I took her past the local primary school, down to the river, along the river path that runs behind the Fiveways supermarket, then back, along the road and up the lanes on our housing development.  After her breakfast and a big drink of water, she's spent most of the time since we've been back having a snooze!  Jess has also been very much enjoying that the wheat in the field behind us has grown a lot in the last few weeks and has been rushing about in it at every opportunity:

As you can see, even though we live in a rural part of the country, I keep her on her lead when we're out and about.  Although there's a field behind us, it gets quite busy with other dog-walkers as well as people walking to and from the train station or the shops and as she's 2 1/2, she's still quite a young dog and gets distracted quite easily (she wanted to take off after a rabbit she spotted the other evening).

I'll be back soon.  I cast on some new socks yesterday and despite what I said earlier about socks taking me ages at the moment, these are knitting up very fast.... let's hope the momentum keeps going!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Vintage Vertical Stripe Blanket.....

..... and a new camera to photograph it.

I went up to the big Tesco on the outskirts of Ipswich on Thursday to have a look at cameras. 

There was a good selection (but not the same as the ones in the Tesco Direct catalogue) and they also had a shelf of reduced cameras and SatNavs, so I had a look on that too and spotted this Nikon (in red) so picked it up and had a look.  Then I had a look at some of the other ones, compared details and held onto the Nikon. 

I couldn't really put it back because it seemed rather bargainous.  It had an original shelf price of £99.  It was on the reduced shelf because it's an ex-display model, so the price had been reduced to £80.  I had £24 in Tesco vouchers, so doubled up £20 to make a total of £44.  10% staff discount meant another £8 off, so I was now down to £28 money to pay.  I then handed the very nice lady who was serving me a 'spend £40, get £6 off' voucher, which took me down to £22 (I wasn't sure if that could be used on electricals or if it was groceries only).  I opened my purse to get out my payment card and saw another piece of white till-type paper, took it out and unfolded it and it was another 'spend £40, get £6 off' voucher.  The lady and I weren't sure if the till would accept two vouchers, but she scanned it and it took off another £6. 

The total amount of money I handed over?  £16.  That's right - my new, 16 mega-pixel, 7x optical zoom Nikon camera cost me £16 in real money.  That's what I call a bargain. 

I've got to read through the instruction manual (which is on a CD) now  to find out how to work it properly.  I did take some photos yesterday, which were fine for Ravelry, but were too big for the Phoenix forum, so I ended up re-saving the photos from Ravelry in a smaller file size and uploading those to Phoenix.

So, without further ado, here are some photos of DD1's 33-colour stripey blanket (pattern - Vintage Vertical Stripe by Bella Dia).

Stretched out on my 4' 6" bed (DD1 has regular-sized single bed) and the border:

One pattern repeat:
Folded into four:

All rolled up (because I was playing with the camera and liked the way this one came out!):

When I walked down to the train station to collect DD1, I took my New Camera to try it out and see what the photos were like.

A neighbour's iris - in her front garden:

Some daisies:
Ducks at the pond by the station:
I'm very pleased with my bargainous purchase.  Now I've just got to find out what all the settings do.....

I've got this weekend off work, so while DD1 and hubby watch the football this evening I think I'll cast on my Nympheas Mark II.  I'll let you see how it's going in a few days.

Have a lovely weekend :)

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Nympheas (1)

I mentioned the other day that I'd started a Nympheas scarf (isn't Mimi's  photography great, by the way?) but wasn't happy with it.  This is the cause of the discontent:

Can you see how the yarn's pooling?  I think it will continue with the diagonal striping and blobbing if I was to carry on as is.  Changing needle size or adding or subtracting a pattern repeat might help as well, but I like the size as the pattern's written.  Usually I don't mind pooling, especially in socks, but I'm not liking it in this scarf, so I'm going to frog it and start again.

Which yarn to use though?  I brought down three possible skeins:

From left to right:

Natural Dye Studio Angel 4ply/Sock/Sport.  100g, 360m.  70% Baby Alpaca, 10% Cashmere, 20% Silk.

The Bear Necessities TBN sock yarn.  100g, approx 345m.  70% British Blue Faced Leicester, 30% Nylon.

Natural Dye Studio Unicorn.  100g, 400m.  70% Baby Llama, 20% Cashmere, 10% Silk (from memory - it was a 'mystery' fibre yarn).

The pink NDS is solid.  I think the Bear Necessities will stripe (and I think I'd prefer to make it into socks).  I'm fairly certain the NDS Unicorn will pool, much like the pink/mauve/green has (that's also Unicorn), so I'm going to go for the solid pink as a. the fibre content is more suited to a scarf than socks and b. I haven't got a pink scarf.

I've got one last round of double crochet and then a round of crab stitch to do on DD1's stripey blanket, a few ends to weave in and then it'll be finished.  After that I'll wind the pink yarn into a ball and cast on Nympheas for a second time.  My St Brigid is in hibernation at the moment as I'm not in a cabling mood and I can only work on the Rock Island shawl for short amounts of time as it's patterned on every row and after a couple of pattern repeats I start to make mistakes.

Before all that happens though, I'm off shopping.  For a new camera.  I've been saving up my Tesco clubcard vouchers with the intention of putting them towards a new camera and the Clubcard summer exchange includes cameras.  I also got a 'spend £40 get a discount of £6' voucher when I did some shopping last week.  In fact, I've got two of those - one expires 20 May, the other 27 May.  About the clubcard exchange, you don't have to have a £5 voucher to double it up to £10 - you can combine smaller denomination vouchers (i.e. £2.50, £1.50 and two 50p ones etc) into £5 groups and double those - something I didn't know until yesterday!  I've got £24 total of vouchers, so can double £20 worth to give me a total of £44, add on the £6 to make £50 of vouchers and then include my 10% staff discount and I can get a decent-enough camera for £4-£14 hard cash, which is what I call a bargain.

I'll let you know which camera I decide to buy.  I think I'm going to go to the big Tesco in Ipswich as that seems to have a better electrical department than the Colchester one - fortunately, we live halfway between the two towns.

It's nice to be going out to buy something just for me.  I'm trying to watch the pennies at the moment and save everything I can as DD1 will need a new clarinet next year if she's to continue her music studies (and she's rather good at it) which isn't going to be cheap.

I shall catch up again soon :)

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

It's been a while

Over two weeks since my last blog entry.

After Blogging Week (which I did enjoy),  I felt a bit blogged out, to be honest.  There also hasn't been much to blog about.  My crafting WIPs haven't really been worth talking about.  The Charade socks I'm knitting have been languishing in my crafting basket and I've still got the leg of the second one to finish.  My spinning wheel has been gathering dust in the corner of the lounge while I've been reading up (a lot) on spinning from rolags rather than braids of fibre.   I've mostly been concentrating on the rainbow blanket I'm making for DD2, but there's not much point in showing you a photo of that as it's just more rows of colourful stripes, with lots of ends.  The end is in sight though as I've got two-thirds of the ends sewn in and three more rows of striping to go before the border.

I did start something new a few days ago.  Nympheas scarf by Mimi of Eskimimi Makes.  However..... after two pattern repeats, it's obvious that the yarn's going to pool in a not very nice way, so I'm going to frog it and start again with something else - not sure yet.  I think I've got some pale green Natural Dye Studio yarn, so if I can track that down in the stash-box I might use that.  I think I'll do a separate post about that.

Truth be told, it's been a flat couple of weeks.  The weather's been horribly wet and a bit chilly, so I've had soggy chickens and a soggy chicken run that even though I've been putting in newspaper, wood shavings and paper shreddings, is very muddy so I've got Diva Chickens with dirty feet.  The dog's been off her food, hubby got bitten by what we assume was a mosquito, so moaned about how itchy he felt for a couple of days and DD2 has been rather up and down emotionally, which can be quite draining and tiring.

On top of that, there's been the unfolding saga of All Craft Media, which went into Administration the week before last, leaving customers, designers and other creditors out of pocket, never mind the staff, who have lost their jobs and won't be paid for the last few weeks of their employment.  I was going to blog about it, but there are many others who have blogged about the debacle already, so I'll give you a link instead to PomPom's blog and if you scroll down her posts, you'll find links to other blogs.  All I can add is that in future I'll be looking on the back of any magazine I pick up and if I find it's produced by any company in which Kerrie Allman has an interest, then I won't be buying it.  There are certain times when phoenixing a company is acceptable, but to do it over and over because you're not very good at running a business doesn't come into that category - not in my book anyway. 

Today, however, the weather's a bit brighter (it's not raining, for a start), there weren't any upsets before school, DD2 came home from school on Friday with a Star of the Week certificate (for good listening and working hard all week) and we received a letter in the post from DD1's school saying that along with seven other girls from her year-group (there are 112 students in her year) she's been picked out as a conscientious student, who always shows commitment to her work, so things seem to be looking up.

I'll be back soon, hopefully with a post that's a bit more 'show and tell'.