Friday, 30 November 2012

Stashdown #11

In November I was busy busy crafting. I did not buy any yarn. And I used up:

  • 200 yards Fyberspates scrumptious lace, finishing blossom shawl
  • 450 yards of KP telemark completing the colourwork cushion
  • 200 yards assorted dk - I used various stash yarns to make a cupcake baby hat, a mad hatter's mini top hat, some gingerbread-style xmas decorations and a crochet toadstool
  • 62 yards - all the rest - of my blue Sirdar smiley stripes yarn on a pair of bootees

That's just over 900 yards worked up.

In December I shall most likely not be knitting at all, or if I do, it will only be re-knitting things that didn't work too well. I have a hat and a pair of mitts that are both too big and need reknitting a bit smaller. Should have a nil effect on Stashdown.

I intend to re-catalogue my stash during December, and I will post about that, but I can summarise now by saying I did loads of knitting this year. Between 1 Jan and end Nov, I worked up 8300 yards in total. And although I bought 7587 yards of various new yarns, I did end my 2012 stashdown 714 yards down on where I started, so all good. (Why yes, I also keep detailed spreadsheet records. Didn't you know?!)

I'll be renewing my stashdown vow for 2013, but I think it unlikely I will do so much knitting in the year ahead. I must reduce my participation in the House Cup, as I'd really like to see more of my kids! On the other hand, I won't buy so much yarn either. I sincerely hope.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Amanita Muscaria

That's the Latin name for the classic red and white toadstool of which I am so fond. Which is a way of introducing this FO:

The pattern was in Knit Now magazine, issue 8. I used Knit Picks Telemark instead of the specified yarn and I could not get row gauge, so I had to make row adjustments to the motif. I like my version better than the original, though, as the toadstools seemed a bit elongated to me. But OMG intarsia! I'm not in a hurry to repeat that experience, to be perfectly frank. No wonder I hadn't done any for ten years.

For good measure, I then made another version:

That was a simple pattern, free from the Red Heart website. I used dk yarn scraps, a 4mm hook and a few buttons. I will use it to festoon my Christmas tree.

Ah yes, the festive frenzy is about to begin. But I decided I will not be crafting for Christmas this year. I just don't have the time left, or the inclination really.

Monday, 19 November 2012

The magic of blocking

Remember what my blossom shawl looked like on the needles?

That's right, a crumpled mess.

It still looked like that when it came off the needles, but then I soaked it, squeezed out the water, stretched it out on a large towel (not owning anything approaching a blocking mat) and pinned it out to dry.  (Note: the blue colour has not come out at all in this next shot, I don't know why)

This process is called blocking, and is very important to open out lace. Here are some shots of the shawl during and after blocking, so you can see the effect:

The centre pic above is the truest to the actual colour of the shawl, I don't know why there is so much variation. The third pic was obviously taken outside and may be affected by sunshine, but all three were taken in natural light and the first two in the same location.

I think maybe I won't knit any lace for a while. It is hard work and takes a lot of concentration. The FOs are rather fabulous, though.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Fly Agaric Fan

Long-term readers may remember my fondness for the Fly Agaric. I had another one in my garden this Autumn, and it was awesome:

This photo was taken in the early stages. After that, it got bigger, and flatter, and then released all its spores. Next year, hopefully I will get even more. Although I have cautioned the kids not to touch it, as I hear they are toxic.

In recognition of my fandom, I'm now working on an intarsia cushion, that uses the toadstool motif in its design. Just over half way through the colourwork element, which is driving me mad, actually. It's ten years since I did any intarsia, and that wasn't nearly as complex as this one. Here's the back right now:

What a mess intarsia looks in progress. But hopefully the front will look better, when I've had chance to block it. As I found that made quite a big difference, last time.

I have two weeks to finish this, and my lace shawl, which is at the edging chart. Yes, I am on a House Cup mission! Wish me luck...

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Stashdown2012: #10

I bought one more lot of yarn at the start of October, for a planned project which is already on the needles - a colourwork cushion. It was approx 820 yards of KP Telemark  - as it's discontinued this was in the sale, so not a lot of outlay. I also visited a yarn shop whilst in Bath, and there I bought 4 balls (550 yards) of Adriafil col, with the intention of making a cardigan for my baby niece, and a ball of Rico creative cotton (90 yards), as I want to see how that works as dishcloth cotton, since it seems to be impossible to buy peaches & cream in the UK at present. Total yarn in = 1460.

I have offset some of this by using up yarn in October.

  • 130 yards of Wendy bliss merino dk making a strawberry tea cosy (it used up so much yarn because the yarn was held double for this project)
  • 110 yards of KP telemark making a pair of mittens for dd
  • 300 yards of Fyberspates scrumptious progressing my shawl
  • 30 yards of rowan wool dk on a gingerbread man. Yes, it's true. I do like to waste time making odd things...
  • 60 yards of KP Telemark on a couple of blanket squares
  • 150 yards of KP telemark on the colourwork cushion
  • 90 yards of Rico essential cotton making a crochet votive cover, and decorative hearts to go on christmas presents

Altogether that was 880 yards used up.

1460 yards in, 880 yards out = net increase of 580.  Kinda hoping I won't buy any more yarn this year now, as otherwise I won't achieve my year end target, to have less yarn than I started the year with. We'll see.