Thursday, 19 January 2012

2012 Challenges

This year I've joined in with four challenges.

The first two are on a forum of which I've been a member for eight years (I'm also a Moderator/Staff on that one).

The first one is a reading challenge which we also ran last year.  The idea is to declare how many books you are aiming to read during the course of the year.  In 2011 I said I'd aim for 17, as I get most of my fiction books from the library so thought that as the library lending period is 3 weeks, 17 would mean one book per lending period, with a week in hand.  In the event, I read 25 books with an average of 340 pages per book.  This year, I'm aiming for 20 books and have already read 4, although one of those was Franklin Habit's "It Itches" book of knitting-related cartoons and essays, which was a very quick read.

The second challenge is a photography one.  Photography isn't my strong point and I've had my camera for six years, so it isn't at the forefront of technology, but I thought this looked like fun.  We compiled a list of 50 words and the idea is to take a photograph related to each of those words.  Some are fairly concrete, such as 'bus', 'boat', etc, but some are more abstract such as 'inside', 'irritating', 'red'.  I've only taken one photo so far - some red berries clustered on a tree that I saw when I was walking the dog.

The other two challenges are knitting-related on the Phoenix Knitting forum. 

Challenge One is the same as one we had last year.  Finish at least one item each month and show a photo.  The FO doesn't have to be started and finished in the same month, but the idea is to get on with WIPs, some of which may have been lurking in the work basket or box for a while.  My January offering was the green Malabrigo socks which I'd had on the needles since last August or September, but kept passing over to knit or crochet other things.

Challenge Two is a stash-busting one.  Each time we finish an item, we count the metres of yarn used and add to a running total for the month/year.  In addition to that, any new yarn that we buy has to be debited against the yarn used, so if I use 350 metres of  yarn in FOs in a month and don't buy any new yarn, I'm +350 metres stash-wise.  However, after succumbing to the lure of Kemps last week and then having to order an extra skein of Mirasol Miski for a cowl I'm knitting, I'm currently -2821 metres.  Oops!

Someone on Phoenix also posted that Lidl will have yarn in next week and I've had a look and there's some cotton/acrylic mix that would probably  be useful for dish/washcloths.  However, I've decided that I'm not going to make a special trip to buy some (my nearest Lidl is 10 miles away), but if they've still got some the next time I'm shopping there, I might get a bag, or might not.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it and I went through my stash this morning and, if I'm totally honest, I've got more yarn than I thought I had and I know that what I went through this morning (re-winding half-balls that had gone loose and floppy etc) isn't all of it.

Better get knitting!

Until next time, take care and happy crafting :)

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Fresco Hat

I mamaged to persuade DD1 to put on her new hat and let me take a photo when she got home from school on Friday. 

Please ignore her hair - it's thick and slightly wavy and she hadn't been in long!

The yarn's King Cole Galaxy in Neptune.  It's the same yarn I used for DD1's garter stitch scarf a few months ago.  The pattern's Fresco and is an easy knit, made in the round from the bottom up and only took a couple of days to finish.

The yarn even behaved nicely so I ended up with a black crown.

And the sequins were nice and evenly placed.

I made the larger size as I thought my tension might be tighter than the pattern stated and also because DD1 has all that hair to get a hat over!  The only modification to the pattern that I made was to make it less slouchy than the pattern said, mainly because I only had one ball of  yarn.  I'm glad I did though as any longer and it might have started to look droopy rather than slouchy.

So, that's two FOs in January which is good because I popped onto the Kemps website yesterday to look at a yarn that someone had mentioned in a Ravelry thread and before I knew it I'd bought 4 x 50g balls of Regia Flusi sock yarn and 20 x 50g balls of Rowan RYC Cotton Jeans.  I'd looked at the Cotton Jeans before with a view to making a simple cardigan or tunic-type sweater and it was 99p a ball.  The whole order including P&P came to just under £30, but it does mean I'm very much in the negative with regard to yarn used vs yarn bought!  More on that next time - the 'challenges' I've signed up for in 2012 deserve a post of their own!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

First FO of the Year

I finished some socks last week and got round to 'blocking' them (ok - I ironed them on a medium heat with the steam on) yesterday.

The pattern is Go With The Flow which is a freebie on Ravelry.  I used the stitch pattern, but went with my usual toe-up construction (which is a method I've devised from various other toe-up gusset/flap techniques - one day I might get round to writing it up and posting it), used Eye of Partridge on the heel flap and did a 1x1 plain rib on the cuff.  For the ribbing, I tried out a slightly different way, which I'd read about on Rox's help article on Ravelry some time last year which tightens up the ribbing and makes it look neater.  It's very simple - when you do the purl stitch of the ribbing (or the last purl if it's 2x2 or 3x3) you wind the yarn around the needle the opposite way to usual, which takes slightly less yarn, but does mean you need to work the stitch through the back loop on the next row or round. 

The yarn is Malabrigo Sock in the Lettuce colour and blimey, it's certainly soft.  I don't expect these socks to last ages, but I don't care as my feet will be happy!

These were worked one-at-a-time using magic loop on my 2.25mm Addi lace circular.

I've also finished a hat, but can't show you that until I've got it back from DD1 (the intended recipient) and taken a photo or two!

In the meantime, I'm making a pair of vanilla socks in Regia Garden Effects, am still crocheting away on DD2's Rainbow Ripple blanket and have frogged my St Brigid sweater because I've decided I'll like it more if I knit it in pieces and seam it rather than knitting it in the round.  I think it'll hang better.