Saturday, June 30, 2007

Would it really hurt me...

...if I had only one project on the needles at a time?
I think it would! *^v^*

I read many blogs of long time experienced knitters and everywhere I see several knitting projects in progress so who am I to be wiser and oppose the obvious knitting tradition? ^^

Before we get to check what's on my needles at the moment, let me show you my Friday yarn shopping (and there is an FO at the end of this post! *^v^*)

I bought the following:

- white and dark red yarn for the Norwegian gloves (from the Japanese book of knitting).

- hazelnut brown yarn (the rest I already had in my stash) for the Ukrainian Socks (from the book "Folk Socks" by Nancy Bush), I'm going to knit the knee-highs. ^^

- 300 g of red wool or wool with something (it doesn't say on the label...), very soft, it's from the second hand shop and it's going to one of my two choices of sweaters, not sure which one yet, but I couldn't pass this bargain!

- also a skein of a mystery yarn (it will be revealed later, because it's a gift for somebody and she cannot see it before she opens up a parcel with it at her own home! *^v^*, I can only say I found something very suitable for this person, in colours as well as in yarn type - at least, I hope! ^^)

I also went to the big magazine&bookstore called EMPiK and found the Knit 1 Summer issue (from the Vogue Knitting family of products). Well, yes, I didn't think about it before, that I can check the bookstore for foreign knitting mags!... Thank you, Paulina (who is my blogless fellow knitter), for pointing me in the right direction! *^v^*

I'll be checking the contents today as I had no time last night - we went shoe shopping with Robert's mum and she bought us both a pair of shoes (and I bought myself another one), and this is the subject for the next post because I finally have not one but two pairs of red high-heels! *^v^*

Now, let's have a look at my needles:

Norwegian gloves (from the Japanese book of knitting) - when we came home last night I couldn't wait and cast on for the first glove, then while watching tv ("Yes, Minister" and "Monarch of the Glen" on BBC Prime) I suddenly finished the cuff! ^^ I love it completely!

Emelia choker - getting ready to knit this again and finally finish it and give it to Anna, keep your fingers crossed! ^^

Black&white checkered scarf - I may abandon this project after all, I'm not happy with the acrylic yarn (the least pleasant type of acrylic, all shiny and squeaky, brrrr!...) and the pattern, it was one of my very first tries

Zebra socks - I've just started a pair of socks from a soft 50/50 wool/acrylic yarn from my stash, because a. I wanted to use up some yarn I have, b. it is always good to have a pair of mindless knitting on the needles. Simple toe-ups (short rows, and it's high time I learned some new technique!).
And to my surprise, this is my unconscious contribution to the Project Spectrum colours for this month( June / July - Red, Black, Metallics), wow! *^v^*

Market Bag - I'm struggling to find any use for the green cotton I bought last year... It's not that it's just green, it's green with pink and yellow dots here and there, and I really didn't like any of the things I've started to knit with this yarn. But there is a hope in the lacy shopping bag! ^^

Yes, I remember I promised a FO at the end of the post - and here it is!

I have finished second Breeze anklet on Thursday night and I'm happy with the result. ^^

Brezee from Summer 07 Knitty
Yarn: Anilux, cotton called "Yarn" (I know, it sounds silly...)
Needles: 3,5 mm dpns

Because of the multitude of shades on the yarn the pattern may not be very visible, but you can see there is something interesting going on on these socks and that's fine for me. The cotton yarn turned out nice for a pair of anklets but I think I wouldn't use them for the full socks because they would not stay up properly.

Both charted parts are easy to knit and easy to memorize and overall, knitting these socks was a pleasant experience. ^^

I changed the pattern a bit because my gauge was a bit bigger than suggested. So, I repeated the lace pattern twice (24 rows x 2), and then I finished the toes in plain stockinette, adding a small loop at the very top of each sock - I may use it for hanging them to dry after washing and they look fun! *^v^*.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Liar, liar, pants on fire!...

Not pants, to be exact, but sweaters. ^^

I've been talking about the Polish knitting magazines lately, (which are not at all Polish, because they are on German or French license) and how I dislike the patterns there and how there is nothing eye catching to knit from them.

Well, I took another good look at the ones I have (either bought or borrowed from my mum), and I chose several models that caught my attention.

(Whether I will knit them or not it's a different case, because I cannot follow the Polish instructions - I learned how to knit from foreign patterns where you have written what to do row by row, in Polish instructions there are more general hints where to increase/decrease stitches after how many centimeters of work, ect, so it's not that obvious for me. But I'm definitely going to try some of them because, well, I really like them! *^v^*).

Here is a small selection of my favourites, more on my flickr set.

And tomorrow I will continue this subject plus I'm going on yarn shopping so expect some nice colours and fibers! *^v^*

Monday, June 25, 2007

Knitting magazines

I absolutely couldn't sleep last night... It was 2 o'clock, 3, then 4, and I was full awake, with millions of thoughts crossing my mind about sewing and knitting projects, and many other things... Today I'm a zombie, tired and yawning all the time (and sneezing, maybe I'm allergic to something, it happens too often lately), and even though I should be doing some things I just don't have any energy.
I declare this Monday the Day of Quiet Music and Lazy Knitting. *^v^*

Knitting my second Breeze anklet I've been thinking about ordering the foreign knitting magazines. In Poland I can buy knitting magazines that are the reprints of the German mags, and the patterns are not that interesting (at least not to my taste). And I'm getting ready (spiritually) to knit my first ever sweater! *^v^*

I've been considering buying Interweave Knits magazine and what is a better way to check, whether it's worth the money or not - I checked the patterns preview from the current issue on their website.

Well, I don't really like any of them. :/

So, that's settled, but I desperately want another knitting mag, namely the Rowan Knitting & Crochet! I really really like many projects from the issue 41 and I also browsed through the previous issues, and like them as well... Maybe it's the photos, they are beautiful, vibrant, colourful, maybe it's the projects that really suit my taste, but I'm definitely buying it and I may even consider the Membership. ^^

There is also the Knitscence mag and I like several projects from the current and back issues, so it will stay on the "to think about buying" list.

Did I miss any of the "big names" knitting mags? Let me know, please! *^v^*

Saturday, June 23, 2007

One more FO! ^^

I am so productive after finishing Muslim socks - I've finish my Kid Silk Haze scarf last night! *^v^*

(Just look at that... I have a yellow washbasin, green soap dish and a pink soap!... The colour combination struck me as I looked at that photo. Although it never did when I washed my hands in the bathroom, strange... *^v^*
But I digres.)

Pattern: A Scarf for Ally by Julie Theaker

Yarn: one skein of Kid Silk Haze I got from Ambermoggie

Needles: 6 mm bamboos

I love this pattern and I so love this yarn! ^^ At the beginning it was somehow strange to knit with a yarn as thin as that but then I got used to it and the shawl went on very quickly. The diagram is very easy to memorize (you follow the pattern on the right sides and knit all stitches on the wrong sides) and the pattern really shows the delicacy of KS Haze.

Ambermoggie, thank you one more time for sending me this yarn to try, you totally rock! *^v^*

I may start another lace shawl soon because I liked knitting this one so much! (I know, not all of them are so quick and easy to knit, but still... *^v^*)

BTW, for the beginners in lace knitting, I recommend Julie's post on blocking lace.
(Although I think I'm going to block my scarf one more time, when I buy the wire, because I don't like the uneven edges.)

Another digression: today is the Father's Day in Poland - Polish readers, have you talked with your Fathers yet? *^v^*

Friday, June 22, 2007

Another FO!

I have just finished another commissioned pair of socks for another friend of mine, this time they've been naalbinded, and I really think that it's high time I made something for myself! *^v^*

I have a pair of Breeze anklets on the needles now plus an almost finished scarf out of the beautiful Kid Silk Haze I received from Ambermoggie - it had to wait for some time while I was struggling with other projects but it knits up very fast so I should have another FO this weekend!

There is also the Emelia choker in my project basket - oh, yeah, poor Emelia, I totally lost my interest in her after the messed up stitches in the first choker!... But let's not forget that it was supposed to be a birthday present for my friend Anna last October...
Well, maybe I'll be able to finish Emelia till Anna's name's day (which is on 24th of July) - I just have to! ^^

And as I'm not feeling well today I think I'll go to bed right now and have a nap, the weather turned rainy and really cold this morning, brrrr.....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My dream

Thank you very much for the compliments on my Muslim socks, I miss them already and I'm thinking about knitting a pair for myself. ^^ But maybe further into the Autumn because right now it's been very hot in Poland and I had some problems with finishing the wool socks - they've been literary biting my hands in this temperatures! (just like the mohair Ella shawl last July. ^^)

You know what they say: if you have a dream you should say it out loud, so the Universe can hear it clearly and then all the good forces will unite to help you fulfill this dream. ^^

So without further ado, here is my dream (Universe, listen carefully!):

I want to live in Scandinavia, Sweden preferably (maybe I say so because I've been there several times and got to know it best, but Norway and Denmark are also cool!). I'm not happy where I am now, for many reasons, and I just feel that I would fit perfectly further up North.
If there is a place there for one IT administrator and one fiber&textile artist, Universe - book it for us, please!


Last night me and my friend Kate decided to have a mehendi night ^^, so I painted our hands with henna paste - I love this type of ornamenting the body and it's in a way more fun that the tattoo - it's not permanent, it only lasts up to about three weeks, so you can change the patterns! *^v^*

Kate had different patterns on both sides of her right hand.

Then I painted a pattern on my left hand, too, and we wrapped our hands in tissues and foil, and left them like that overnight so the henna paint could do the job. ^^

My hand this morning, after I've removed the dried henna powder.

Now, about my knitting plans:
Unfortunately I missed the sign ups deadline for the Summer of Socks KAL (they even have the Flickr group), but I feel that after the Muslim socks I caught the sock bug *^v^* and this Summer will be full of socks for me, so I decided to knit along with all the other participants and I've cast on today for a pair of Breeze (Summer Knitty).
I'm experimenting here a bit because I'm using cotton of unknown gauge, but these are small socks so I believe I'll be able to frog it and make any changes quickly. I'm also very curious about the potential of this cotton yarn as a sock yarn. We'll see the first results soon! *^v^*

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Muslim socks

First of all, thank you, guys, for your kind words to my yesterday's anniversary post! We had a really nice evening, with a bottle of bubbly and a box of Lindt Swiss chocolates, yummy! *^v^*

Here are the photos of the finished Muslim socks I made as a commision for my friend Lukasz.

Pattern: I recreated the archaeological finds from medieval XIII century Egypt, supporting myself with the diagrams and tips from the book "Folk Socks" by Nancy Bush. My socks are almost identical with the originals apart from one point on the foot - I had to add two more diamond-like patterns rows because Lukasz has longer feet than the person who wore the medieval socks in the XIII c. Apart from that, they are almost the same size! ^^

Yarn: Wendy's Merino 100% wool, 4 skeins of blue and 4 skeins of white. The originals were made of cotton but I'm not an expert in colourwork so I wanted an easier option, and cotton is more rigid than wool. The socks came out quite heavy, almost 800 grams altogether! ^^

Needles: 3,5 mm dpns

Gauge: 27 sts x 31 rows=10 cm

As you may remember, I started to knit a pair of socks from this pattern last year, following the instructions in the "Folk Socks" by Nancy Bush. Unfortunately I got the wrong gauge and the sock turned out way too small for me (I checked it when I was at the heel flap...), so I just frogged it to some point, finished the seam, felted it and ended up with a cellphone cozy.

I know I should have recalculated the number of stitches and re-knit the sock, but at that time I was way too scared to alter the pattern myself. I decided that I'd try them again when I get the yarn with a proper gauge and forgot about them.

But then Lukasz came to me and asked if knit them for him, this time totally like the medieval original. It woke up my inner historical reenactor and I decided to give it a try.

I knew from the start that it would require from me a lot of recalculating, because Lukasz is a tall man, with wide calves and long feet, so I had to fit the pattern to fit him. I took all the measurements, compared it thousand times with the diagrams, and... it suddenly was rather obvious! As long as I kept the right gauge and the proper number of stitches for each pattern - it all went so smoothly! *^v^*

Well, it took me over two months to finish these, because colourwork is time consuming and I had to reknit some rows because I was too hasty sometimes (and I've been doing other things than knitting as well! ^^), but I can feel I tamed this type of knitting and I'm oh so ready for another two-colour project: namely the stunning Norwegian gloves from the Japanese knitting book I bought last year.

I think I'll use the same yarn as for the socks, Wendy's Merino (it seems to give the right gauge), but in white and red or maroon. Going yarn shopping sometime this or next week. *^v^*

I'll leave you with some reading: something very interesting and giving a perspective for people like myself - path seekers in arts and crafts: how to be creative by Hugh MacLeod.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

19 June 2004

It's been three years since we've married and fifteen years since we've met! *^v^*

And I still wouldn't change him for anybody else! "^^"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Opal anklets finished!

It's official - I've finished knitting my Opal anklets and I haven't got one centimeter of that yarn left. *^v^*

It was a ball of Opal sock yarn I won several months ago in a Bag Me KAL and I've made a pair of proper socks first, and then decided to use what was left for a pair of anklets. With my ankles I shouldn't wear these but rather cover them with longer socks, but I soooo love short anklets that I decided I won't be bothered by this fact!

They are knitted toe-up and in fact, at the end of a sock #2 I ran out of yarn... I found some lime green wool of the similar thickness in my stash and finished the left anklet with this! *^v^*

I had some elasticity issues with the previous toe-up socks so in this pair I chose to finish the cuff with a small ruffle - at the last but one row I just did kfb all around and the result is a comfortably elastic top. If I had more yarn, I would knit two rows with kfb, it would give even a nicer ruffle.

Did I say I love the pattern on my socks? ^^ Guys, if you have a spare ball of Opal sock yarn let's make a swap or something, I believe I desperately need more of these and I cannot buy this yarn here in Poland. *^v^*

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Knitting again. And finishing!

Yes, it's true. I may have some knitting FOs very very soon. *^v^*

Last night I finished the first of the Mamluke Socks for my friend (proper pictures next week when he comes to get them). I still have about 12 cms of the other one to knit, and the most important thing - I am sure now that I won't run out of yarn (I was afraid it might be the case). More thoughts on this project next week.
(do you like my clever use of Winter brushes for Gimp? ^^ I thought that snowflakes correspond well with the thick woolen sock!)

Last night I had some difficult and unpleasant things to think through, so I engaged my hands into some mindless knitting and I almost finished my Opal anklets - I really need only a few rows, so I may finish them today, in between cooking dinner and washing up. ^^

I've recently joined a new knitting community, namely The Knitting Daily, issued by the people from the Interweave Press. I really liked the tone of the first few emails I received from the editor, Sandi Wiseheart, and the website kicked off on Friday, 15th June, with lots of free knitting patterns and knitting tips & techniques.
My point is, I started to consider subscribing to the Interweave Knits magazine and I'd like to ask you if it's worth it? I believe I've read many blogs with enthusiastic opinions about the IK patterns, can you recommend it to me?

Now I'm off to my sewing project, but I'll leave you with some frugality advice:
- because money is always an issue in our household, Green Minded Witch says: "You can save some money on electricity bills."
Here are some tips of mine:
- change the light bulbs from the traditional ones to the energy saving ones wherever you can around the house
- before you turn on the tv/radio think whether you are really going to watch it/listen to it - I had a silly habit of turning the tv on with the moment I entered the flat and it was on all afternoon and evening when I was doing different things even in another room; my parents sometimes have two tvs and a radio on in three different rooms!..., you don't really need this costly "background noise",
- the same goes for the light - switch it on when you're in the room but remember to switch it off while going out, don't leave all the lights on in the whole flat/house all the time, it's your money burning out!
- turn the appliances like a washing machine, ect off right after they finished their job, when they are on "standby" they do use some electricity, and as we know, even the smallest bits count

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I need red pumps!

I had a dream last night that I was running along the snow-covered lawns wearing a pair of beautiful red high heels. When I woke up I felt I desperately need such shoes - I need to put them on and have a walk outside, and see what happens next. *^v^*

Here are some of my favourite models: