Knitted Shiraz Wrist Warmers

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Here it is…half a wrist warmer! Not much good yet, but getting there.

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As I suspected, ideas gleaned from Ally Pally have been more exciting than my discarded efforts pre-outing. This pattern was taken from a back copy of Let’s Knit that I picked up on the day, along with my Black Sheep Yarn bargain chunky.

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As a final image of today, behold KnitWit In-Law-HQ’s latest creation – instantly turning my 3-year-old into a very cute, minature grandad 🙂

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KnitWit

The Problem With Starting Knitting Projects…

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As I mentioned last week, one stash busting/management technique I have been using is to cast on new projects. The logic is that new projects make me look through my stash box and turn pretty yarn into potential products.

It is a good system as it does keep what I have fresh in mind and prevent random purchases on the grounds that I already have something similar. It is also quite nice to bag up projects (with patterns and needles) and then I can start them at my leisure.

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The problem is I also really like making project bags and I now have a bit of a collection of bags in different shapes and sizes. This isn’t a massive problem, but it does remove a natural stopping point for bagging up projects. The sky is then technically the limit for casting on and the only thing really governing how many projects I can have is the number of row counters I have available.

I really like row counters on projects. I know that many knitters prefer to use tape measures but I like the certainty of knowing exactly how many rows each sock/sleeve has. It also prevents the impulse to stretch things to get to your goal length (to then watch in horror as it shrinks upwards on the first wash).

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Denial is wonderful and I am quite happy to not know how many row counters I actually own. All I know is that despite the fact I keep buying them there is never one free when I need it. Is there a little sprite taking them in the night? I have had a stern talking to Cat and he hasn’t taken them, Mr LouBug wouldn’t know what to do with one and I don’t think KnitWit “borrowed” them when she house sat…

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Ok, I may have more than a few project on the go (small projects for the most part and it is easy to lose track of them in my project box). But surely I would run out of needles and bags first? Conspiracy theory is the only logical explanation!

So own up, who is really taking those row counters?!

LouBug

Alexandra Palace and Grand Plans

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There’s something about Alexandra Palace that has magical special powers, aside from getting me out of bed super early after the GREAT MOVE DAY. Yes, the longest house-move-gestation ever recorded was finally birthed the day before.

My last trip to a knitting show culminated in a comprehensive wittering about our LouBugKnits trip to Olympia. But Olympia suddenly feels like small fry compared to the great Ally Pally.

This mythical beast of a place seemed to have the power to get my auto-phobe sister into her car and tackle London traffic (give me public transport any day – I shudder at the thought, and I actually LIVE in London). Not only this, but my famously “careful with money” sister was suddenly AWASH with cash. The Queen’s eyes, usually blinking in surprise at getting an outing from her darkened purse, were suddenly in the full glare of this year’s Knitting & Stitching Show strip lighting.

I too was feeling rather crazy with the cash, momentarily confused at the value of money after moving house the previous day and spending literally a hundred gazillion pounds on such boring delights as stamp duty and removal men. What’s £30 on Rowan compared with the eye-watering zeros we owe to the government?

The magical special powers seem to have also stretched to eliminate my previous ‘to do’ list. Everything I bought seemed FAR more exciting than any of the other things I have been working on. Au revoir (for the time being, I do like it really) red knitted cowl. Sayonara weird grey basket weave block scarf…sorry son, cold neck for you this winter, I’ve bigger fish to fry!

So here it is – my loot. I did better than LouBug in some respects. Not the amount of goodies bought (of course), just that I had more than £2.00 left in my purse at the end of the trip. Yes, £2.00….oh dear.

First up the inspiration – £6.00 on a goodie bag of Let’s Knit back copies and assorted knit kits, best bargain of the day.wpid-1382534876688.jpg

Knit Kits
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Black Sheep Wools – Always a half-price winner. I’ve already seen a pattern I like the look of for some red winter knits (patterns from my new Let’s Knits magazines, natch). The chunky Rowan would make a great lap blanket – handy for keeping warm in the winter now we’ve handed all our money over to the mortgage company. Rowan down from £69.99 to £29.99 – woop woop! Rowan photo pending…

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This next set of photos are by far my favourite purchases of the day. Sorry yarn addicts, but it was the fabric stalls that got me this year. I could have bought the lot, but figured with my talent contraints (I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with the fabric yet…), my restraint was well placed.

Behold – Fabric!

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I shall be back to report on my progress once there is more action!

KnitWit

Nope, it really isn’t a Knitted Hat…

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Well, the dust has settled from Ally Pally and I am keen to justify my yarn spending by starting new projects. This is tied up in the warped logic that if the yarn doesn’t actually enter the main stash then (technically) I can’t be judged by Cat and Mr LouBug for yarn hoarding.

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First up is actually my cheapest yarn. Technically free (I got it when I renewed my Let’s Knit subscription). I give you King Cole’s “Funky Felts” yarn (the pink one on the left). It is a funny fibre as it is basically acrylic fleece cut into a 1cm strip.

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A nice quick make (started and finished on Sunday). Here it is, hot off the needles (or hook in this case), my first made item, a crocheted yarn bowl for me to take to knit nights.

It is designed to live in my knit bag, nicely folded up poised to spring into action and keep my yarn from rolling all the way to the bar.

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The yarn I made it with was actually quite lovely to work with. It was very soft and it had a nice spring to it (making it good for crochet). It would be good to make other structural items (bags, cat baskets etc) and should work for garments if it was knitted. I will admit that I am basing the design on a similar bowl I saw made from “Hoopla” but I think that this actually came out nicer as it has more “bounce”.

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To help keep it nice and clean, I have added a PVC print piece of fabric (stash dove from my fabric box) and a loop and button to stop it getting crushed.

Worryingly, Mr LouBug did think it was a hat and was very polite about how it looked (especially as I put it on my head to help stretch it out). It did worry me – if he could be nice about that, then what disasters has he politely let pass?!

LouBug

#Alexandra Palace – Toys in a million, all under one roof!

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The countdown is over, and Ally Pally arrived!

Sadly, being a worker, Saturday (the busiest day) was my only chance (seriously, the quicker I win the lottery and become a lady of leisure the better). At least I got to read the Tweets and dream the week away. Leaving the house at an eye-wateringly early 6.45am was a small price to pay for the once-a-year yarnirvana that is Alexandra Palace.

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I took a picture of the map to give you an idea of exactly how big this place is (I think there were something like 300-400 stalls there). Armed with my piggy bank and some advanced Christmas spending money I happily drew up my battle plans for the day.

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As expected it was a long day, but we managed it well with sensible breaks and avoiding the main room during the 3-4pm rush (this photo was taken at the rather sedate 10am, by 3pm photo taking was unachievable). Even nipping to the toilet at 3pm, bag free and keeping to the outside stalls was a 20 minute battle against a very polite (but determined) crowd of people.

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Black Sheep Wools was our first port of call (it is well known for its bargains and gets very crowded) and every single pack of yarn here is half price!

I was not the only person here to joke about jumping in head first and rolling around in the yarn. Even KnitWit had a crazy gleam in her eye when she realised the bargain prices and I found myself in the odd position of talking someone out of buying yarn. Somehow I didn’t think Mr KnitWit would like living off of cold beans once the food money had been spent.

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Unexpectedly, I was quite restrained on the sock yarn (the ten balls I bought over summer and the SparkleDuck from last week weighed on my conscious). I am pleased with the Jitterbug and Natural Dye Studio that I did get. My big spend this year (after the jumper yarn) has to be fabric.

I seriously had to hold back as there were some gorgeous prints and I could have bought four times the amount without really trying. Beads and charms also featured highly and I am pleased to say I managed to get the tiny spinning wheel I saw in a magazine and instantly coveted for my fairy tale stitch markers.

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Well, here’s the loot! I think I did very well as I focused on big bargains (paging Black Sheep) and irresistible things like fabric and ribbon for project bags and charms to make into stitch markers. The blue yarn on the end is breath-takingly beautiful silk (I got some last year in purple and have just started to make a sock yarn shawl out of it).

I was glad that I got the SparkleDuck in Cambridge, as there was none to see this year (which obviously totally justifies my splurge).

Anyone else enjoying a “yarn over” hangover from Ally Pally?

LouBug

Excuses, Excuses

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This is my excuse…domestic turbulance. Check out those boxes, am in the midst of moving-house-hell. Actually, there should be a correction here. Moving house is not the hell, my love of order and packing is no secret. No. As the saying goes, hell is OTHER PEOPLE.

Hurray hurray though, those hellish other people are (almost) a faded memory – a move date has been set!

Once moved, I fully expect to have many hours to fill in the evening with various knitting projects I have. Not because, of course, I have acres of self-discipline and bountiful amounts of creativity. No, I just anticipate it’ll probably take about six months for our broadband provider to get us connected…Boo hoo, no mindless internet browsing for me.

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All has not been lost, I have nervously knitted several rows of my cowl in the past few weeks. Row upon row of stress relieving garter stitch whilst I wait (im)patiently for some professional or other to PLEASE RETURN MY CALL! The wool was cheapo (even more so that I purchased it half price). Yet, it somehow is coming out looking alright. Pleasing even.

Anyway, back to de-cluttering eight years’ worth of accumulated personal possessions, ready for careful packing just in time for some removal men to drop-kick all of our worldly possessions into the back of a van. Ho hum.

KnitWit

Let’s Knit Robin Knit Kit – Mixed Success!

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In this month’s copy of Let’s Knit there was a cute little kit for making a robin.

As I am sure you remember me saying, my plan for this year’s Christmas knitting is to allow myself time to make knitted decorations, as each year I promise myself and then never get it done. So the kit seemed a logical (and cute) start to this. The instructions were easy to follow and it seemed perfectly makeable in an evening, so off I went.

I don’t knit that many toys. Not having any kids of my own and a limited amount of space to put “decorative” knits I haven’t really had the motivation to make them. Small items for gifts (for example knitted cakes) and flowers have certainly happened, but actual toys have been few and far between.

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Which could be why my robin looks like it has been run over by the ugly truck, and not the cute robin in the magazine. Mr LouBug thinks I am being harsh, but he didn’t see the horror I saw when I tried out different toy eyes and then worried it would come alive and serial kill us in our sleep.

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Maybe I need to sort out the eyes – eyelashes? eye brows? big felt super-cute eyes?. Something other than a fixed, angry, dead stare…

But, despite counting exactly and slavishly copying the picture, their one looks much cuter. I also draw your attention to the dodgy decreases on the belly and the least said about beak the better.

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Maybe I need to make the beak stick out (felt?) and I definitely need to do something about the odd-shaped stuffing. I will (however) agree that the wings and tail are quite cute and did work. *sigh*

Maybe it will look better when I get it back out at Christmas.

If anyone wants me, I’ll be in my sock stash and I’m not to be disturbed.

LouBug

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