Leopard Bootcuffs

Christmas gifts 014I showed my sister-in-law some pictures of bootcuffs earlier in the year and she had joked could I knit her some leopard prints bootcuffs, and I said I would if she found me leopard print yarn. But then, HA, I found a pattern for leopard print bootcuffs in a Debbie Bliss magazine.

Christmas gifts 015This was my first colourwork project and it took me waaay longer than I expected. And maybe in hindsight this wasn’t the best colourwork project to start with. For each of the brown and gold I cut long pieces of yarn, maybe a meter or two long. So. Many. Ends. The cream yarn I threaded across the back of the print sections.

The tension in the first cuff is a bit off but I got the hang of it a bit more with the second cuff. And I’m really happy with the results. In the end I got lazy and didn’t weave in the brown and gold ends – I just tied them off on the back and snipped them short. I know, I know, knitting sins, but there was no way I was weaving in that many ends. I hope you will all forgive me. And my sister-in-law was delighted with on Christmas morning.

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Choosing Affectionate Colours

I read two posts last week that combined sucked me into the Color Affection craze. The first was my local yarn shop’s blog where the staff have gone mad for the pattern. The second was this fabulous version in vivid green combined with shades of grey. After seeing these posts who could resist? My LYS, This Is Knit, then decided to do a mini-KAL on their Ravelry forum. Clearly I no longer had a choice.

Colour Affection 019I spent hours, and I do mean *hours* pouring over colour combinations on the Ravelry project pages. I wanted to research what made a good colour combination before starting out (some people have dreadful taste – there I said it). I’m going to preface the next paragraph by saying this is all just my opinion from looking at what I consider successful combinations on the project pages.

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colour-wheel (Photo credit: Jasmic)

I feel you need at least one, if not two neutral colours, so for me that means white, cream, grey, navy, black or even some very pale colours. If you go for two neutrals, then a really bright third colour works great. If you go for one neutral then two contrasting colours seem to work best, colours that are too similar seem to blend into each other and get lost. Thinking of the colour wheel you get yellow and purple, red and green, blue and orange.

I think two shades of the same colour might work too, so a very light green with a bright green for example. I would also put the neutral as the second colour in this case too. And I’ve seen some  beautiful monochrome versions too, using all neutrals or shades of the same ccolour. Solid colours also seem to work best as with variegated yarns the colour changes just get lost. There are just so many combinations, it hurt my brain.

Colour affection collageI headed into This Is Knit yesterday clutching a voucher my SIL gave me for Christmas and determined to find my perfect combination. I picked out a range of colours that appealed to me and spread them out on a table and together with N, who works in This Is Knit, we set about putting different combinations together. When I put the green and pink together I knew I was on to something. I put a light grey with them and then a black as the neutral but wasn’t completely happy until I sandwiched the eggplant between them. Bingo. They just spoke to me.

Colour Affection 026So my final decision was Malabrigo Sock in Lettuce and Eggplant with Millamia in Fuchsia. The eggplant can look more like a dark grey or a dark purple depending on what it’s with, but it will help tone down the vividness of the lettuce and fuchsia. I can’t wait to get started now, although given that a new semester has just started back in college, I’m not sure how much knitting time I’ll have.

I Heart Cables

Knitting cable hatMore gift knitting. In tune with my aim to spend as little money this (last) Christmas as possible I decided to knit as many gifts as possible. Having consulted with some of the parents that I know on Twitter, I decided a hat would be ideal for my friend’s daughter.

Christmas gifts 010Looking through the patterns on Ravelry I decided that I wanted a hat with ear-flaps that could tie under the chin. I don’t have children but I can imagine they like to pull hats off. I found the I Heart Cables pattern and then found some aran weight yarn in my stash. Bingo!! I knit the infant size and I’m really pleased with the results. It was super quick and looks so cute. And both my friend and her daughter seem to like it too which is great!!

Ollie and Mia

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This post is really just an excuse for me to share some photos of my Ollie and Mia. These photos were taken on the beach while I was taking photos of my Ashby shawl. We get stopped all the time when we’re going for walks so people can say hello and ask questions. I’m always quick to say that they’re rescue dogs to help dispel the myth that rescue dogs are are ugly mutts with behavioural problems. And Ollie and Mia love the attention.

Ashby 045I’ve written about Ollie and Mia before. The first photo is Ollie, he’s a Shih Tzu Terrier X and will be four this April. The photo just above is Mia, she’s a Chihuahua Yorkie X. She’s about two and a half now. They bring such fun and happiness into our lives. Don’t get me wrong, they’re hard work. Mia can be an absolute demon, but they are my babies and they are such a huge part of our lives. I hope you like the photos.

Yarn Confessions

Over on Twitter a conversation started about the size of our stashes. And bit by bit some of the knitters spread their stashes out to show them to us. So I decided to confront my stash and do the same. I’ve already blogged about my yarn storage solution, and my yarn still lives within it’s bounds, as well as much of my other crafty bits and pieces, so I’m happy with that.

Here we go:

Yarnconfessions 005I actually am quite impressed that it’s not as big as I thought it was. I have far roo much fingering weight at the moment (including five skeins of the most divine Coolree alpaca/silk/cashmere blend), so I have a feeling that’s what I’ll be working through for the next few months. I have a few sets of DK weight to do baby stuff and then I have 9 skeins of Mirasol Akapana to do a blanket for me. Other than that it’s all pretty random bits and pieces.

I keep it all in ziplock bags from Ikea, but took it out to photograph. The bags that you can see at the back are the ends of balls that I’ve kept that are leftover from other projects and these are sorted by weight. I’ll eventually work my way through these to knit mice for Pawsitive Knits.

Now lets see your yarn confessions.

*Some peeps are surprised at how small my stash is. And I was too. But then I love the process of picking a pattern and then choosing the yarn to match rather than the other way around.*

Return to me

Ashby 061In September I went back to college. I had spotted this Ashby pattern ages ago and just couldn’t get it out of my head. I had romantic visions of studying, surrounded by books, with this draped around my shoulders for extra warmth. I am so delighted with the results, I think it’s one of the most beautiful things I have ever knit. Thanks so much to my hubby for taking the photos of me with the shawl and for being so patient while I took more photos in the cold on the beach this afternoon.

Ashby 004It took some time to choose the yarn as I’m all about the smooshy, cosy, soft yarns. But when you need 677m of aran weight yarn the cost of smooshy can quickly add up. I also wanted a solid colour, something neutral, as I’m not a big fan of variegated yarns. I eventually decided on Mirasol Miski (thanks Nadia for helping me choose) and ignoring the price headed home from This Is Knit with 9 skeins (675m) of the softest Llama yarn.

DSC_0482I loved working with this yarn, the colour is so warm and it really is soooooo soft. Stitch definition isn’t great with it though, and I was worried that the manic cabelling on the border section would be lost. (There are 7 different types of cables in this shawl. Bet you didn’t know that!)

Ashby 024The shawl has an unusual construction. You knit the cabled border first, using short rows to turn the 90 degree corner. You then pick up a gazillion stitches along the edges and knit the body of the shawl decreasing four stitches on every right side row. Pretty quickly I felt the shawl was eating into the 9 skeins of yarn I had bought. Ignoring my instinct I kept going but about two thirds of the way through the body I ran out of yarn. I ordered two more skeins of yarn, hoping I wouldn’t need both, but in the end I did need some (but not nearly all) of the 11th skein. Still not thinking about the cost, no sir-ee.

Ashby 062When it was finally finished I soaked the shawl and laid it out to dry but didn’t pin it as I didn’t want the stitches stretched as you might with lace. The final measurement is 34 inches high at the spine with a wingspan of 73 inches, so slightly larger than the pattern suggested. And I love it. I’ll snuggle up to this shawl for many winters to come I hope.

What a year

The last few weeks have made me realised the power that the media and the general feeling of doom and gloom in the air can have on us (recession-this and cuts-that etc.). It would be very easy for me to look back on the last year and forget all the wonderful things that happened to me. In fact, until I really started to think about it I would have said the last year was pretty bad, because that’s what I keep hearing over and over again.

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Image Credit: Halfadreamaway.com

But 2012 has been an amazing year for me. First of all I married the love of my life last April. Married life so far has been pretty good, it feels very much the same as before, but also quite different too. It feels like we’re more of a team now, more secure – like being wrapped in a warm blanket, it’s us against the world. But day to day little changes.

Week 5 428The summer wasn’t so good, the weather was a bit crap and I had some crap going on with my job. But the extra time off meant I was able to foster some puppies which I blogged about. I fell hook, line and sinker for these two beauties, and while it took some time to find them the perfect forever homes, I was delighted that they had both found really great homes in time for Christmas. We’ve even fostered other puppies since but I’ve managed to guard my heart a bit better with those puppies.

Books 013And all the shit over the summer lead me to reassess my career and career options and in September I found myself back in a University lecture theatre. I’m currently studying for a Masters in Library and Information Studies and loving every minute of it. I feel like I’ve found myself all over again, and while I’ve been busier and more stressed than I had been for a long time I can also say that I’m the happiest I can remember.

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Image Credit: Halfadreamaway.com

So 2012, you were pretty epic. I have the most amazing family in my husband and our two furbabies, as well as my wider family and friends. I’ve got back into photography, have continues to improve my knitting and still enjoy volunteering with the DSPCA. It’s been a great year and now I’m excited to see what 2013 brings.