Wednesday, March 25, 2015

WIP Wednesday: things other than knitting

I've been doing some non-knitting things lately, so I wanted to show my other hobby WIPs this week.

First, I've become slightly obsessed with the idea of growing things since we moved into our new flat. A few weeks ago I bought one of those grow-your-own-herb kits, and I'm pleased to report that I haven't killed them yet!

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I've got parsley, basil, and chives sprouting cheerfully on the window sill. Hopefully I can keep them alive long enough to reap some delicious fresh herbs this spring.

I've also been sewing - although I got a sewing machine the Christmas before last, I haven't used it much other than for some hemming and repairs, and a few small projects. Now I've got the bug, though.

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Above, you can see most of the bits of my tweed handbag. I've actually sewn it all together since I took the photo, but I still need to attach the handle. I bought the tweed when I went to Harris last summer and dithered about choosing a bag pattern for ages until I finally settled on the Simply Stylish Bag by Lisa Lam. It's relatively simple as handbags go, but it's the most complicated thing I've sewn so far, in that it involves many layers, and interfacing, and magnetic snaps, and pockets... so I'm pretty pleased that it mostly worked out. Some wonkiness involved, but that's to be expected. FO photos coming up once I get that handle attached.

I'm linking up with Stitch-Along Wednesday this week. Click the link to check out more WIPs.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2015

How lucky I am to have such a festival in the city where I live!

EYF 2015 was this past weekend, and it did not disappoint. I didn't take any classes, but I sure exercised my stash-down exception. Wheee! As is typical, I hardly took any photos, and most of them are badly lit / blurry. Here's a glimpse of the WestKnits / Ysolda stall, though, festooned in beautifully mad colourful shawls. That sums up the yarn festival for me: beautiful and mad.

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Almost as soon as I arrived, I visited my friends at the charity yarn-winding table. EYF's charity of choice this year was the Teapot Trust, who provide art therapy to chronically ill children. EYF volunteers wound skeins into cakes for a donation to the trust, but the Teapot Trust also had a table of gift items for sale to raise funds. I bought a pair of earrings shaped like teapots from them because they were so cute.

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Then I went and bought yarn. And more yarn. I had a short list of projects to buy for, as per my stash down exception, but I was blinded by the pretties, so I didn't really stick to it.

There was so much beautiful stuff, much of it from companies I'd heard of but never seen in real life, and some of it from dyers I'd never heard of.

First up, Old Maiden Aunt. Obviously, I knew I'd spend time digging through the piles of loveliness since I'm a big fan. I ended up with this skein of 4 ply merino in the Crazy Ivan colourway. (Spot the Firefly reference.) It's impossible to describe or photograph, but think purple, teal, blue, green, and red all in subtle layers. Like an oil slick, only not shiny.

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Next, Easy Knits. This is a new-to-me dyer, which so many insane vibrant colours. Again, I ended up with merino 4 ply:
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The neon green is a bit outside my normal colour range, but it just called to me.

Finally, I stopped at Eden Cottage Yarns, and picked up some more merino 4 ply (sensing a theme?) in a lovely faceted charcoal gray.

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I didn't intend to buy solely merino sock yarn, but that's what happened. Oh well! Sometimes you just have to roll with it. As of now, the only skeins that have been assigned to a project are the neon green Easyknits and the Eden Cottage - I plan on using them together in a Pendulum shawl.

The festival seems like it was a roaring success, and I look forward to next time! Maybe I'll even take some classes. Maybe by then I'll have made some more space in my stash. Haha.

Friday, March 13, 2015

FO: Elf socks

I now have in my possession some fabulous (if I do say so myself) elf-themed socks. These were not the most enjoyable of projects, and if I made them again I would make some more changes... but I think they were worth it in the end.

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Pattern: Tauriel by Josiah Bain
Yarn: 75% wool, 25% nylon, my own hand-dyed with tea (see this post for details).

Mods: Shortened the ankle by 1 repeat, change heel to twisted-slip-stitch to keep the flow of the ribbing/cables, kind of ignored the instructions for the toes and partly winged it.

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Mistake the 1st:
I probably should have made a larger size. I balked at the cast-on stitch counts for the sizes above small; even though I do not have small feet, I rarely if ever need to cast on more than 68 stitches for socks. So, even though in my brain I knew I was a medium, I cast on for the small. As a result, the cables are stretched to maximum. Luckily, they are super-stretchy since it is basically ribbing with some cabley twists thrown in. The socks fit and are pretty comfy nonetheless, but I think they would look better a little less stretched. Oh well. Should have trusted the pattern.

Mistake the 2nd:
I shouldn't have shortened the ankles - these turned out slightly shorter than I normally like my woolly socks. Oh well. Still fine.

Mistake the 3rd:
I misjudged how long the toes would be. The pattern says to begin the toe shaping on one of several cable pattern rounds, and if the socks aren't long enough by then, to do ribbing until it gets to that point. I think mine look out of proportion because of where I started the ribbing. I probably could have gotten away with continuing the cables for longer and then doing a more rapid set of toe decreases. Never mind.

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Despite these frustrating details, I do like the socks and will wear them a lot - none of these things are bad enough to make me want to frog and start over. Definitely in the Good Enough category of FOs. I'm excited to have finally used my tea-dyed yarn, and look forward to seeing how it holds up to washing.

For those keeping track, this skein was part of my Sock Yarn Stash Match category. 3 more skeins to go!

And finally - anyone else heading to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival this weekend? I am so excited and will post a (probably incoherent, babbling) recap of events afterwards. If you see me, say hello! (I'll probably have a ravelry badge labeled Notpanicking. And probably my Colour Affection. And will be ogling the Old Maiden Aunt yarn stall, among others!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Raiun

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It's cardigan-blob day! I'm knitting Raiun by Kirsten Johnstone. I feel like it is going quickly... but then I've been at it nearly a month, according to Ravelry, and I've only just divided for the sleeves. So maybe not quickly, but obviously it is keeping me interested. I'm hopeful I'll finish this in time for warmer weather since I'm using a wool-cotton blend, and will probably leave it at 3/4 sleeves.

Check out more WIPs at Stitch-Along-Wednesday.