Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year New Challenge

I have found a new project to play with over the coming year. The UK Sock Knitters group on Ravelry are having a Year Long A-Z KAL. Starting on the 1st of January we're going to be casting on a sock that starts with the letter A,then 2 weeks later it'll be a sock that starts with B and so on and so on until all of the alphabet is completed.

I went through my queue on Ravelry and deleted all of the projects that had been languishing there never being looked at and now in their place is a list of 25 fabulous sock patterns. The only letter I couldn't find was X but I'm sure that someone will design one in time or we can always play one of our two wildcards.

Luckily the socks don't have to be finished in the 2 week period,just cast on. As long as they are finished by Saturday 12th January 2012 then all will be well. Just as well really as I have selected some completed ones, some knee length ones, some easy ones, 4 ply ones, double knit ones, aran weight ones and some I have no idea what they'll be like as they have only had a few projects completed.

This is also a cunning way to get rid of my stash as I'm on a yarn diet until I get rid of most of my existing stash. In the future I want a stash that is full of beautiful yarns with which I actually make amazing things, not random balls of bits that could, if I scrabbled enough of the bits together could, if you squinted in the right light, look okay.

If you'd like to join us in this astonishing challenge then check out the UK Sock Knitters group on Ravelry. If you're not up to the entire year long adventure then it's quite all right to dip in and out as the weeks come up.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Skating mishaps

I was roller skating a couple of days ago, I haven't managed to get out and play much roller derby as the weather has been awful but also I have a new job that requires me to work away during the week. So in a frenzy (as much as you can get after over eating at Christmas) of energy I went skating with my friend at Skate central in Sheffield.

Now I know this rink fairly well, the Sheffield Steel Rollergirls train there and I have used it for practise many times. During the public sessions you always have to keep your eyes peeled for wayward kids, random falling adults and the occasional sweet or other bit of crud on the track. Well I did really well on the first bit and quite well on the second bit but was a completely failure at the third. A HUGE (well not that huge, okay it was fairly small) stone managed to get caught by my wheel and I fell.

This wasn't just tripping style of falling. Oh no,I landed with the grace of an unexploded bomb. Smash. Crash. Flat out. Hands hitting the deck. Body hitting the deck. Knees hitting the deck. It was shocking. As I lay there my first thought was "phew for my knee pads and wrist guards" but I also realised that my right knee was extremely painful so I gingerly got up and although it was a ouchy it wasn't too bad once I moved about a little. I sat out for a bit and then thought I'd have another go at skating but after a few laps I realised that it was a no go so we retired to the pub.

Sitting there in the warmth of the Rutland Arms we chatted and although my knee was sore it wasn't too bad. Until I got home a couple of hours later. By then it had swollen to a good size and was going a delicate puce colour. I managed to find a knee strap for it and by the next morning I could barely bend it and but I could still walk so I trotted off to work wearing the lovely sweaty neoprene strap.

Getting home from work that night I took off the brace and expected to find a swollen and angry looking knee instead I had this

How naff is that? I must have been the pads that helped. Can imagine how muchworse it would have been without them?

Anyway moral of the story if you want a moral. When going skating always,and I mean always wear your knee pads and wrist guards as a minimum.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Knit It Frog it

I have made a shocking decision - I am going to frog many of my ongoing knitting projects because they are not going anywhere. I keep meaning to get them finished off but somehow other patterns catch my eye and I cast on and the oldies are forgotten.

Part of this stems from my stash which whilst not growing too much now is also not shrinking at any rate either.I have loads of lovely yarns (mainly sock wool) but seem to not be using it at all so for the next year I shall not be buying any yarn until I have got rid of most of my current stash.

See I did a clever thing there though because I didn't say I was going to knit with it all, just get rid of it. I shall try to sort everything out and tag it so I know what I have, how much of it and how long it is (thank the small gods for Ravelry) and then decide what I can make from those patterns that I have queued or favourited. Any thing that I know I will never use will either be sold on ebay, ravelry or etsy and then the rest given to anyone who wants it.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Tarzan and Pain Double Header

Sheffield Steel Rollergirls are having their first bout of the year against the lovely Middlesbrough Milk Rollers. But we're also having a Merby too - boys!!!!!

If you want to come along then pick up a ticket or 3 from the Sheffield Steel Rollergirls website - there'll be a few available on the door and sit yourself down for 3 hours of roller derby action

So the place is Ponds Forge, Sheffield.
The date is Saturday 29th January 2011
The time is 12.30
Come along and show your best

Saturday, 25 December 2010

HomeSpun Threads pattern giveaway

I was doing my morning perv on Ravelry and came across this great link to a fantastic giveaway for sewing patterns.

Aimee from HomeSpun Threads is offering all of her lovely patterns for free and all you need do is follow her blog. Have a looky see if there's anything that you fancy. I love the little baby shoes and her bags are fab too. Might crack out the sewing machine tomorrow and give make up a bag or two.

HomeSpunThreads: All HomeSpun Thread Patterns are FREE!!

Happy Christmas and hello again

Wow it's been a huge great while since I did this last. But the past couple of months have been busy and fraught and fun and many other things in between.

Firstly I am now employed again. Yay for getting a job. Well yay for my lovely friend Jan for hassling a company enough in to wear them down and they have given me the job. I'm back to being an archaeologist, this time working in Lincoln and supposedly employed to write reports but so far have spent much of the time on site doing watching briefs (this is a weird term for non-archaeologists but it basically means watching groundworks being dug and then cleaning things up to see if there's any archaeology).

It's been freezing here in the UK with temperatures well below the norm so standing out on site in minus 9 has been interesting in itself but I have realised that I do love archaeology and I get a buzz from it so will try to not mess up and get on with the job in hand.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


I think that autumn has arrived. Today I made apple tarts with the last of the garden fruit and I always think of apples as an autumn fruit. The leaves have begun to change from low green to soft yellow and they are beginning to fall across the garden making a patchwork. I love the smell of autumn and today was the first day it was here

Monday, 2 August 2010

Goodwood Roller Marathon

It's now only 6 days to the Goodwood Roller Marathon. For those that might not know about this, it's a sponsored charity skating event held at the historic racing track as Goodwood (the clue is in the title). I am doing this and I think that I am slightly mad for doing it.

I started skating with the Sheffield Steel Roller Girls at the end of April and I love is so a group of us are doing the marathon for the Sheffield Children's Hospital and so far we have raised over £500. Our target is £600 so please donate if you can. We have a Just Giving page and any amount would be gratefully received.

Most of us who are going have been practicing on bits of tarmac around Sheffield and its been lovely to get to know my team mates outside of the derby environment. Our favoured place of practice is Millhouses Park as it has a fab length of tarmac that's over half a mile long. Okay, we have to avoid other park users but that's where our derby training comes in: really it's only the dogs and children that are the main problems, the adults usually flee for cover when they see us coming.

So for Sunday wish us good weather and a calm day and I hope to come back having skated 26.62 miles and had a lot of laughs.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Bad me! Spank me!

Yeah, I know, it's been a while blah, blah, blah and the usually excuses that I make about my appalling lack of blogging. But this time I have a good reason, well reasons. My lovely man moved in so now we are a cohabiting partnership (doesn't that just sound so romantic?) and I have been way too distracted by roller derby things and I have found joy in my sewing machine again amd that's about it.

I have hardly knitted anything except for a few hats that we sold at the Sheffield Steels Roller Girls bout against Newcastle on Saturday and I have made a few half arsed attempts to finish stuff off but that doesn't seem to be happening just yet.

On the plus side I have done more sewing and I am thinking of getting my act together to actually start making a range of roller derby inspired clothes and nick nacks but first I need to tidy up my house, sorry that should be OUR house. Now there's 2 of us there twice as much stuff and somehow just not enough space. So you know what that means? Yep, ebay extravagance time. Must start listing things and seeing if that makes a dent in it.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Jamming in Wonderland Fundraiser

Jamming small
Just thought that I'd announce a fundraiser for the Sheffield Steel Roller Girls that is happening on Friday 21st May (yes, that's tomorrow) at the Lescar Hotel on Sharrowvale Road, Sheffield, S11 8ZF

There's going to be Bands and Burlesques and it's fancy dress if you want - the theme is Alice in Wonderland. I'm dressing up if I can finish my costume so come along and support this great team (that I now practice with). Oh do I ache but that's another story altogether.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

More ebay goodies

Although it's not the best time of the year to be selling on eBay, I have to make room for things so I am continuing with the clear out of my house. So far this week I have listed a group of vintage sewing patterns and they are fab.

There are some 1940s dresses and some great rockabilly style 1950s dresses too. Most of the sizes are reasonable normal although there are a few Junior sizes for those that are petite.

I'm also selling a skein of Wollmeise. It's from the first sock club and it's a colour way that I'm not that keen on so thought it was better to get rid of it than store it forever. The colour is Saami and it's a white, blue and red on natural

The link to my main eBay page is here and I'll be adding more things later in the week.

Got more sewing patterns, knitting patterns and clothes to add as well as a load of bits and bods that I no longer have a need for.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Floppy Hat

The summer is trying to make an appearance here in Sheffield but that are many days of cold cloudy weather. Since I have been trying to get my garden ready and planted up with veggies, I realised that I needed a sun hat for those days when the sun actually managed to break through so that the tops of my ears don't get burnt. I have promised myself that I do not need to buy any more yarn so decided that it had to come from my stash and found this double knit cotton that I bought a few years back in Lidl as some knockdown price.

After hunting on Ravelry for all of 5 minutes I came up with the Sunshine and Lollipop design by Alison Reeves and my mind was made up.

From finished things

It's a nice and simple pattern that is well presented and the bonus is that Alison not only gives you the size of an adult but also gives you the instructions on how to make it to fit no matter what size head it's for and even better you don't have to do any of that irritating swatching. I do swatch if it's a garment but for socks, hats, scarves and gloves I really can't be bothered.

I used Zettl Colorado for the main part and some Sirdar Snuggly Babay Bamboo for the band and the underside of the brim on 3.75mm needles. I don't really like the colourway of the Colorado but since I'm not going to see it I really don't care. Once it was finished I realised that I should have gone down a size in needles as it was a bit loose and not have made the sides so long but there was no way I was going to rip this back. Anyway I now have a slightly silly floppy hat that will keep the sun from my ears.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Clap and Cream

I have been shockingly industrious in the past couple of weeks. Finishing 2 things and now half way through a pair of socks - what is the world coming to?

So first things first. I have done a Clapotis by kate Gilbert. Yes, that seemingly ubiquitous wrap/shawl/scarf that is much loved on Ravelry with 14824 started projects and 11411 finished articles. Well it has another to add to the list.
From finished things

It was made for my sister as she loves big scarves and this completely fitted. The end product finished up being about 20" wide slightly stretched and about 70" long. I forgot to measure it but that's roughly how big as I soft blocked it on a yoga mat I have around.

I used some Silk Garden Lite that I bought from Hejhog and used about 5.5 balls or 748 yards. The pattern was a doddle and for those that are slightly in awe of it I'd say jump on right in there and don't look back. Basically it's just knitting and purling with the occasional dropped stitch. make sure that you have enough stitch markers and you'll be well away.

My second finsihed marvel is this very cute semi-circular shawl Citron by Hilary Smith Callis.
From finished things

I got the yarn from a charity shop ages ago, never quite sure what I wanted to make with it. This worked really well.

The pattern is easy to follow (as are all of those that I have tried from Knitty) and it really clicks along at a fab pace. As the shawlet grows it takes longer to wind from one side to another but funnily enough you always get to the other side. I chose to used Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off when casting off and it works well as it allows that fab crinkly edge a place to run free.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Green and Lumpy

This shows what a bad blogger I have been over the past few months - I finished this sweater in January and have only just got around to prattling about it.
So, Ta-Da!!!! What do you think?

The pattern is Cathode by Stefanie Japel and was in Knitty Winter 2004. The main body is knitted on 8mm and the ribbing on 3.75mm

The main part is knitted from Stylecraft Loop the Loop which I picked up for a bargain at 59p per ball from Kemps and the ribbing is from some old Rowan Lambswool DK that I got from a lady on Freecycle so the sweater was practically free. Okay, it did take me a while to get going and then a while to finish off the ends but it is now done.

I liked the pattern, it's clearly explained and worked from the top down so you can adjust any bits that you need whilst going along. There is no sewing up at the end which means just can just knit and knit and knit and then wear with none of that faffing that seems to take forever when sewing garments together. I also think that it's a great pattern for someone looking for a first sweater.

I think that my yarn choices were inspired, well I would say that, the contrast between the lumpiness of the Astrakhan and the smoothness of the DK works very well. Also having a textured yarn helps with making it more interesting to look at rather than a smooth body.

I also think that this shape flatters just about any body shape and makes your tits look huge (or so my boyfriend says) which is no bad thing in my book. The collar is very glamorous and almost reminiscent of a 40's style drape while the ribbing helps with giving you a smooth line as well as pulling you together. I think this is a classy vintage looking sweater that is easy to knit and, if you get your act together, a quick knit too.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Earth Hour approaches

So are you going to do your bit? Have you already done your bit? In case you are unaware tonight, in just over an hours time it will be Earth Hour. It's an environmental awareness campaign that encourages you to turn off the lights for an hour (the clue is in the title) to take a stand against climate change and to reduce, even for a short while, the burden that the planet is under. It starts a 8.30pm in your local time zone.

You might not agree with climate change and there's a lot of science going back and forth, as well as less informed and frankly quite scary people ranting, about how it is or isn't happening. Some say the amount of CO2 that has been released since the 18th century has drastically altered the was the planet can function, but then has been countered that with the reasoning that a few million years ago the atmosphere was even more CO2ed than now and nothing terrible happened then so it's not going to happen now. I think this is a tad simplistic as a few million years ago there wasn't the number of creatures on the planet that there are now. Humans weren't even humans, we were still evolving and no where near homo sapien let alone homo sapien sapien which happened about 500,000 years ago. There wasn't 6 billion people on the planet all trying to make it through the day and night with enough food, water, heat and light.

As one of those that lucky enough to live in a relatively free way, to be able to say what I want, and buy what I like, to be what I want to be and have CHOICES, I know that there are many people on the planet who do not have those choices and who might not be able to comment, who do not have the technology available to them, who have not been granted the education to be able to get their voices heard. So please, for them, for those that already live in darkness, who already live in the shadow of environmental destruction, for those that do not have the choice please join me in turning off your lights for 1 hour and see if we can, acting as a global community make a difference.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Bad me but fabulous dresses

I haven't blogged for ages and ages and now I have things to say and I'm getting a bit shy. BUT Bold is my fashion, so since I have some fabulous vintage dresses that are now on ebay I thought that I would share them. They are listed here and there are some crackers among them. How about this great late 1960s Waltah Clarke Maxi dress? It's a UK size 14 with a start price of only £4.99.

or if you are more into the Hawaiian prints of Alfred Shaheen how about this beauty? A red with black printed pattern in a UK size 14 or 16

Or are you more of a disco queen and would love this fabulous Furstenberg wrap dress (not sure if it is DIANE von Furstenberg) dress but it's still pretty stunning. It's a UK 12 and again starts at £4.99

But I think that my favourite out of the clothes that I have on ebay today is this beautiful vintage 1940s rayon dress with original matching belt in a UK 16 or 18.

I have more to put on, a fab mod dress in cream wool with an abstract pattern, a multi-coloured cotton late 1950s dress that brilliant, a satin cocktail dress that needs a bit of TLC, an early 1940s that needs some care but is beautiful. I have an amazing 1950s wiggle dress that will make you feel like Marilyn and a sharkskin dress that is to die for. I just need to get myself sorted and then it will be all up for sale as I am not going to wear this stuff, even though I love it and it's better that it goes to someone who will love and wear it.

Monday, 25 January 2010

A knitty art project

What a fab idea is this? Take a social networking site (like Twitter) and take some talented artists (like us) and take knitting (or your interpretation of knitting) as a medium. Let people issue instructions as tweets (so limited to 140 characters) and see what happens. Well that it the latest project from Platea.

If you want to join in then contact either @InnyM or @Platea and say you are on board. Hashtag #plateaknit so they can be added to the archieve and knit away.

The project runs for the next week and you can either start a new project or incoporate it into an existing one.

Since my existing projects are either a pair of socks and my sock blanket, I'm going to start a scarf with some chenille stuff that my sister has hanging around and see where I get with the limited amount.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Sock Blanket update

Here's the weekly update on my Scraps Sock Yarn Blanket. I know that I only posted about this a couple of days ago but am trying to get back on track with posting about my progress up to a Friday.

The blanket now has 46 squares. Most of the yarns I used this week I have used previously but the oddments I have now includes the remains of Martyn's socks so it's a bit more reddy.

Here the colours I used this week

On my other sock project, I have been a bit lax and only added another couple of rows to them, but this week has been busy as it was my birthday on Wednesday, I was out Thursday and Friday and I am now trying to catch up on just about everything.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Go with the Flow Socks

So a quick update on what my current project is. It's the Go with the Flow socks by Caroline Dlugy-Hegwer.

I had some multi coloured variegated sport weight sock yarn that I have tried for a variety of different patterns and it just never quite worked but it seems to be working fine with this.
The yarn is Gjestal Silja Sock Yarn and these are being started on 3mm needles but I'm about to change down a size to make them more snug around the ankle and foot. I know that this will throw the pattern of the yarn off but I think that it will still be okay. If not I can always frog them and find another project for them.

I'm also giving them a go as 2 at a time. I've tried before but have chickened out when it comes to the heels but this time I shall persevere and see if I can sort it out once and for all. Might have to get a slightly longer needle though and I have an 80cm but think that it's a bit tight.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Scrappy blanket

See I said that I was a bad blogger. I meant to do this a few days ago but completely forgot and then yesterday my heating packed in and I was distracted by waiting for the bod to come out and fix it. He did eventually come out (he's a mate of my landlord) but did nothing other then break some ice from the pipe so I spent a coldish evening in the living room snug under a blanket and duvet with a hot water bottle tucked in for good measure.He might be back today and it might not be fixed until when ever. However I'm a hardy type so hopefully will not freeze while we have this cold spell.

Right then on with the task in hand and that is the report of how my scrappy sock blanket is coming along. I said that I would try and add a square a day for the year and then see what size it has grown to. I know that I could work out the size but it's more fun to see how it grows and then be surprised at the end of the year that it (a) didn't get as big as I thought, or (b) is a good size but needs more work, or (c) now covers Sheffield and the surrounding areas. I think that it's going to be (b) but I suppose it depends on how many socks I knit so that I can get the scraps.

Since I am still unemployed I have said that I will try as hard as I can to knit from my stash and since my stash has at least 16 lots of sock yarn I think that I'll probably be able to see the year out, but all donations will be gratefully received!

Well this week was a bit of a whizz for the blanket as I started on the 4th and it's now the 10th and I have added 12 different coloured blocks so I have 2 days in hand so to speak. I have a collection of about 24 different yarns at my disposal, most is from socks I have knitted but some has been given to me by someone from Ravelry. So until I crack out a few more socks the colours are going to get pretty repetitive but I also like the way that it will change over time with the newer yarns taking the place of the older ones.

Here a snap of the colours used this week

At the end of the month I'll take a picture of the blanket on the bed so we can see the progress over the course of the year.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Masonic Lodge Socks

I have actually finished a pair of socks and may even start another before the end of the month. Here they are in their finished glory

This pair are for my lovely man who wanted a pair of socks that weren't too loose and baggy and held their shape. The ribbing and cable detail on these look as though they'll do the job.

They are made from trekking XXL and I found it rather tough to use. The finished fabric feels a bit hard but I am going to wash them to see if it blooms slightly. It's still comfy enough for socks though even if is only softens a little.

As well as the socks I have also been cracking on with my sock blanket - now I realise how addictive it can be. 3 days ago I had 24 squares to it and now I have 35. It's still tiny compared to what it is going to be but I can see progress and that makes me smile.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Scrappy sock blanket

I started a sock blanket, well THE sock blanket, last year but never really got that far with it. By the end of the year I had 24 small squares that formed the smallest corner of the king size blanket that I wanted.

This year I am going to try and knit a square for each day. Since it is already the 4th (how did that happen?) I should have added 4 blocks by now but due to this and that - I seem to have a lot of this and that moments - I have only added 1. By the end of today though, that will have been rectified and I shall have 4 new and sparkling blocks.

I'm using my stash of sock yarn and any colour repeats have to be at least 2 blocks away from each other. Since I am also planning on knitting a pair of socks every month I should have plenty to be going on with.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Time flies

Where has the past few months gone? It zipped along and all of a sudden it was December and now the New Year has broken and I have not yet caught up.

I am going to try and be a more faithful blogger this year. My lazy habits might be difficult to break so I promise nothing and offer no resolutions but I shall to keep this bit of my world a little more up to date than last year.

As this is the first day of the new year (just, it's almost the second) I present my first post and with it my current work in progress.
Ta Da!!!
From finished things

This is the Masonic Lodge sock pattern by Emma Haigh aka Erqsome knits and it's available as either a free Ravelry download or on her website.

The yarn is Trekking XXL in colour way 177 which I think looks a bit like a messed up German flag. This is the first time I've used Trekking and by the small gods is it hard on the hands. It feels like iron and I'm just hoping that it softens a bit once washed. So far I've done a complete sock and am now just before the heel flap on the second so I'm getting there.

I had a mad idea that I was going to knit a sock a week but I think that could be a bit ambitious so might limit it to a pair of socks every month but we shall see, I never know when my interest will be piqued and I'm off on a bout of knitting.