Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Socks, My Face and Other Lovely Things

My socks were finished! I wore them to work and got jolly hot feet. They coordinated so well with my ruby slippers.
I also bought myself some new lipstick. I thought I'd go for something extra vampy, and chose Revlon's Va Va Violet.

It's essentially black/purple (blurple). I put some on for a trip to Tesco. It was sunny. See if you would have picked the same sunglasses as me-

I chose purple and orange, to bring out the purple in the lipstick!

Wooo, bugface! I love sunglasses. The bigger and more bizarre, the better. I also love lipstick, more on that later.
It's been superhot lately, and I don't deal well with heat. Probably because I always dress like a Dementor. The royal wedding is in 2 days and I'm getting pretty excited. My boyfriend and I are having some sort of champagne picnic with friends and I'm starting to prepare food now because I'm working tomorrow and all the shops will be shut Friday. I've got some avocados to make a guacamole salad, lentils, couscous, fancy ham and I'm going to make brownies too. I was going to make salsa but all the shops in town were sold out of cherry tomatoes. Weird. They are delicious but ONLY when cut in half or smaller. Whole cherry tomatoes are horrible, eyeball-like bags of exploding vileness. Cut up tomatoes are sweet, crunchy nuggets of goodness.
Oh, one last thing. I knitted a cuddly starfish for my friend! She's going back to Australia so I decided to knit her up a little toy.

The little cord you can see is going to have a number of little tags with English words on like 'arse' and 'duvet.' The best Australian phrase she has taught me is 'sookie lala' which means 'crybaby.' So exciting!
Any suggestions for other English words that an Australian would find amusing are very welcome!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Things you can do while knitting

These activities are ranked in order of difficulty. I would humbly suggest that you try to use this list as a way of assessing your own skill, from beginner to perambulatory veteran.

1-Listen to music
Obviously, this is the simplest achievement. So long as you aren't trying to concentrate on too difficult a pattern and the music isn't too loud, I expect you could do this while you were newly learning. The only real hazard is subconsciously trying to knit along to the beat of the music. No thrash metal, and no miming along lest you get to excited and use your needles as stand-in microphones.

This is subdivided into:
The general rule is to use a straw so you don't have to let go of your knitting, but it's very difficult to maintain a rhythm while you lean over for a sip. Other hazards include wet knitting, cold tea and drunk knitting. I've not seen any good examples of drunk knitting yet, although drop-stitch always looks like it was done by a wino. Please send me any pictures if you have them.

3-Watch a film
To watch a film and knit at the same time divides so many of your senses! Your eyes and attention are flicking between two things so quickly! Scarves and any repeating patterns are more easily done while completing this activity. Themed knitting is a possibility, allowing you to have a LOTR marathon and knit a shawl, or whip up some Harry Potter scarves. I don't recommend knitting in the cinema as the needles may be hampered by the arm rests (never mind the annoying clicking).

This is initially difficult due to the sheer mechanics. You can try balancing the book on your knees or on a cushion, but how do you keep the pages open? Once you've mastered that, the secondary difficulty emanates from the fact that reading and knitting seem to both use the same part of your brain, meaning you can easily flip flop between the two but will have great difficulty giving both simutaneous attention. Audiobooks seem a far wiser option, and you will only give yourself a headache trying to read something on a computer screen.

You are highly unlikely to ever need or want to walk and knit at the same time, especially outdoors, but emergency situations happen and you need to be prepared. I recommend placing the wool and the bulk of the project in a bag, putting your hands through the bag handles and knitting with the needles floating on top. Try practicing at home, but understand you can't anticipate all the confused onlookers in a real life situation, nor be able to open doors with any ease. If you are knitting in public to try to have alone time, know this: men who think they are funny will request items. One man wanted a lace jacket from me.

If knitting is only a hobby, you are less likely to encounter EXTREME KNITTING SITUATIONS but the career knitters and aspiring shop owners like myself will find themselves in bizarre predicaments from time to time. Feel free to suggest other achievements I have not yet accomplished!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

A new addition to my family!

I am so excited to announce that last night at about 2am I delivered my very first SOCK! Here he is during the labour
And finished!

There are a few little issues with it, like a really pointy heel, a propensity to twist around and I cast off too tightly meaning it won't go on very easily, but since I learned how to make socks, designed and created it all in one day, I find it difficult to be too hard on myself. For reference, I used Figure Eight Toe and this heel method, stockingette on the gusset and a simple lace pattern for the cuff.
Sock number 2 will be along soon, probably being made more slowly over three days, then I have plans for some snazzy knee length white stockings.
Today, I'm wearing a headscarf with Jack Skellington on! So rockabilly.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

A Zigging, Zagging Pattern for YOU!

Since my last update, dear viewers, I have begun my very first lacework project! It's only a very simple pattern but I'm practicing hard so I can incorporate the stitch into my later works. I like the way it looks like a controlled, deliberate ladder.
In addition to this, I finally finished my pink and grey angora scarf, with wormies. It took forever because it was knitted on 4mm needles and is quite wide, but here it is!
Now, if you're thinking 'Oh, that scarf is hella fine and I sure do want a piece of that zig zag action myself' then YOU CAN! I'm going to give you the pattern, without my special secret wormies.
Ready yourselves with two contrasting wools of the same thickness, and the needles of the recommended size. For my demonstration, I used DK and 5mm needles.
The whole is knitted in garter stitch.
Let's begin! Cast on your desired number of stitches-anything between 20 and 40 is a good scarf width-using COLOUR A.
1-Knit one row with colour A
*2-Knit one stitch with A and B together (see pic). Move long tail of B to front of work (this will mean it's on the correct side when you get back to it).

Continue knitting with colour A to end of row.
3-Knit with colour A until the stitch BEFORE the two-stranded stitch. Knit this stitch with both strands, as in pic.
Move long tail of colour A to front of work and knit last stitch with colour B.
4-Knit 2 sts colour B, 3rd stitch A and B, B to front, A to end
Continue so that on the RS you use both strands on the stitch before the previous bi-stranded stitch, and on the WS you use both strands on the stitch after the previous bi-stranded stitch.
Colour B will slowly take up all your stitches, making your work look akin to this:

Soon, you will find that colour B has moved all the way across your work and the last stitch has become the bi-stranded one. On the next row, simply knit the bi-strander with colour A, the next with both colours, move A to the front and knit B to end.

Then, on RS, knit both strands on the stitch after the previous bi-stranded stitch and on WS knit both strands on the stitch before the the previous bi-stranded stitch.*
Repeat from *-* until length desired and cast off using only one colour.
Looking good, my friend. Show me pictures, or leave a comment if my instructions make no sense. Thanks!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A Brief Mention of More Things I Hate

I never read or watch books, films or tv series in which the action is remotely possible in the real world. This includes things that were possible in the past (historical fiction) and 'true stories'. The only exceptions to this rule are: programmes about cute animals, Heston Blumenthal's cooking programmes (how possible is it really?) and knitting instructional books. I despise all reality TV and short-sighted escapism like Big Brother, The X-Factor, EastEnders and Hollyoaks. I just don't understand why anyone would spend their precious, limited time watching or reading about people doing things-such as audition for Simon Cowell, have 'romantical entanglements,' open the shop they always dreamed of owning or fight with their parents-when they could just turn off the TV or put down the pap and do it themselves!
The unlikely scenarios I most enjoy involve zombies, the future and sometimes vampires (not Twilight! Too mundane and tame!). I watched The Walking Dead on Sunday, have read all of the Anita Blake series thus far, am slowly making my way through the works of Arthur C. Clarke and watch often my Hellboy, Resident Evil, Rocky Horror Picture Show and Manga DVDs. I would be hesitant to claim that these things are necessarily 'good,' especially the literary car crash that is Anita Blake, but at least you can't deny that they're different to daily life, for anyone. If I think that a real life activity looks interesting-like working towards starting my own knitting business, or flirting with that cute boy on the train-I do it. There is absolutely no reason at all for any person not to do what they dream of doing (except murders and rapes etc. Don't wilfully misunderstand me). Cheryl Cole is not a popstar because she is inherently better than you, it's because she made the effort to become one. Your happy friend doesn't attend all these parties and have all these glittering friends because she is the only one who deserves them, it's because she works hard at getting out there and being loved. It is a skill to be loved, and it can be learned. You can learn it, if you just get out there and work at it.
This is Oogie and she knows you can do it.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Confirmed sighting of UFOs!

Oh my God, I'm such a knitting wit! UFOs are in fact unfinished objects, not anything actually interesting to other people. Still pretty funny though.
What I am trying to tell you is that this is a post documenting all the items I am currently in the process of making. There are, unbelievably, 10 of them. I am making 10 items (although a couple of them I haven't touched in weeks and will probably end up frogging (unravelling)).
Let's look at them and briefly comment!
This shows 1 1/2 little glovelets make on 5.5mm dpns with 'Fancy Love' yarn. This yarn is indeed pretty fancy but since I only bought 1 ball I was slightly limited as to what I could make with it. I'm thinking I'll further fancy this up with big buttons or sparkly flowers or something.

This is going to be a headband with sort of crocheted vines on it. I'll put at least one more vine on it, sew it up and sell it on. It was made on 2 3/4 needles! That is my thinnest needle yet.

You may recognise this scarf from earlier. It is much longer now, probably about 3/4 done. It is knitted on 4mm needles out of bastard angora wool. I say bastard because it snaps constantly, no matter how gentle I am with it, and the fluff gets EVERYWHERE especially up my nose, where it then tangles on my septum piercing, causing me to have to pull all the fluff back out with tweezers. The bastard wool was given to me on the condition that I knit something for the lady that gave it to me. Something...unusual. I feel I have achieved this, although by the time I finish it will be too warm for her to wear it.
Here is a mad scarf knitted from yet another single ball of bizarre wool. It's nearly finished, all I want to do is weave in the ends and put a different coloured tassle on each corner.
A little cape! I need to weave in ends, sew on a ribbon as a fastener and embroider a big skull on it. Show an interest and I'll give you the pattern.

This scarf is mostly an experiment in two needle cabling (do you want me to demonstrate in a later post?). I gradually lost interest since I hate the colours. Ew, pastels!

This is meant to be the beginning of a jumper. Thus far it is only the back section, which isn't finished. It was one of the first patterns I ever tried to follow, hence why I petered out so quickly. I really don't follow patterns well, at least 80% of my output is just made up as I go along. I very quickly realised that this jumper pattern is:
1-way too big
3-more complicated than it needs to be. Why knit a jumper in 4 sections when you can do it in one on circular needles? Not that I have, but I could if I wanted to.
My male housemate keeps demanding I finish it (not according to the pattern but 'Kitty-fied') but why bother when I can make a bat cape? I may just frog the whole thing and make something of my own design.

This is knitted in 2x2 rib, btw. It was going to be an IPad cover but I realised the dimensions were wrong and ran out of steam. I also can't remember which size needles I originally knitted it on as I have transferred it at least 3 times now. Probably should get frogged.

This is going to be a flower, when I roll it up and put leaves on it. Made from the remnants of lovely lovely baby wool that was mostly used to make myself a headband with.

Damn, that is one snazzy couch in the background. Cast on only today, this is a little snoody neckwarmer made in soft soft merino wool. I saw a pattern where some of the stitches were dropped as part of the design and decided to try the method out for myself. Not that I actually read the method, I just guessed at it.

Use the power of the comment to decide who gets finished first!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Fat Cat in a Hat (She does not care for that)

This weekend, I knitted this hat for my cats to share. Here is a picture of Skelly (aka Fatbum) deigning to wear it because I put it on her while she was asleep. She pulled it off 2 seconds after I took the photo.
It has little ties so you can keep it on the cat's head but I love her too much to tie it on that tight. Haha, I love her.
This weekend, my Grandma sent me slightly over 40 pairs of needles, ranging from 2 3/4 mm to 15mm (she only sent one 15mm though...) as well as some wool, which ranged from quite nice (black merino) through 'I can probably use this' (multicoloured DK) to utterly hideous, which I have repressed and refuse to talk about. She is a darling woman but doesn't really understand that just because I can knit with a certain wool doesn't mean I want to. I will probably sell some of it.
I started knitting another headband (white with multicoloured chainstitch vines) and made a little bag for my sister to put the pieces of her phone in-she dropped it in the toilet and had to open it up to let it dry. Now all her phone calls are dirty! Haha, I joke, she can't make phone calls on it.
Inkeeping with my veggie binge, I bought a fennel and some beetroot and will be making a warm salad tonight using lentils and yoghurt. My boyfriend is coming over, he will be eating a Pot Noodle. I'm about 3/4 finished with my Angora scarf and still waiting to get the drive to finish my stripey skull cape. I also designed a bat cape! The pattern is easy so I might just get someone else to knit it for me.
In other news, I hate the electricity company as, despite signing up to a fixed monthly fee of £80, they have decided to bill me an extra £120 for no discernable reason. I will be phoning them tomorrow for a shout.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Stuff, now with added Things!

If you don't already knit, you will definitely want to start after you visit Mochimochi Land. These toys can be made in about 2 hours, and amuse you for at least a week! I made a birdy for my Mum, look!
So cute! By the way, can I get a general show of hands as to who would be interested in knitting lessons over the summer?
In other news, here are some vegetables that are really delicious and that we should all eat more of. Especially me.
Purple broccoli
Rhubarb (is that a fruit?)
Petit pois from tins
Baby new potatoes
Butternut squash

I am sick of carrots and onions, I'm going on a veggie binge. My boyfriend is probably going to starve to death as a result. Oh well.
Sometimes, I forget that you shouldn't tell your boyfriend EVERYTHING and tell him things like "I would sell one of my legs to watch Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith kissing each other, topless but covered in mud" and he gets upset. But I can't help Benedict and Matt being so cute!