Friday, 16 November 2007

A little brightness to cheer things up a bit

So the previous post was lovely muted greens, greys and blues. Well, how about this to brighten things up a little ...

Amazingly gloriously purple isn't it? This fabulous creation is from the International Scarf Exchange, from my lovely secret pal Rhonda.

But I'm getting ahead of myself ...

My parcel arrived earlier in the week, but due to the fact that the Royal Mail delivers to my street at 1045am (I mean, who is in then?) it veered off before it got through my door and went to stay with some other parcels in the Sorting Office. Unfortunately the sorting office is not in a nice part of town, so I had to wait until it was either light (unlikely at this time of year) or husband was available for driving duties before i could go and get it. but when I did ...

ooh, the dilemma. It was wrapped in christmas paper, and said happy holidays - should I wait until December 25 to open it?

nah! of course not! And look at the many reasons why I should have ripped open the packaging

... gosh, I am lucky aren't I? A loverly skein of Manos cotton yarn in the brightest of all reds, some delicious sounding herbal teas (to calm me down when I get too excited about my knitting - yes, it does happen), and look, look, some Bertie Botts every flavour beans - ISE5 pal you are marvellous. I still haven't found these in the UK, so I was so pleased (yes, I know, small things amuse small minds - hee!) - these will be saved until I spend time with my little (well, 25) brother, and then I think a game of jelly bean russian roulette might be in order ... earthworm flavour anyone???

You can't really see (unbelievably it was too sunny for photos. Mind you, it was also below freezing) but I also got a gorgeous little bird stitch marker, which is now helpfully marking the middle of my Kiri shawl, and a very cute ceramic sheep.

Oh, and I mustn't forget this lucky little chap

But now to the scarf, and what a scarf it is. It is in a gorgeous soft silky yarn, which drapes amazingly, and I absolutely love the viney lace pattern. In fact, I think lace patterns in thicker yarns are fast becoming my favourite thing, so Rhonda, you must be a mind reader. I could effuse about this beautiful object all day, but I have knitting to do, so I will go and wrap myself in it and leave you with a gratuitous scarf shot. enjoy!

Catch up post

Well, it's been a while, for various reasons, so here is a post laden with some yummy knitting goodies. I am in the middle of furiously knitting christmas gifts for various family members, and in fact the only thing I have on my needles for me is my second baudelaire sock. Sigh. Still, this will be remedied after christmas, when I shall knit myself lots of goodies (he he he).

My christmas pressie list is currently running at 6 WIPs, all, for some reason, in really muted colours. Perhaps this is because I am knitting for men, but it really is no excuse. Dad's scarf (don't look dad) is the closest to being finished, as I am running out of yarn. It's a zig zag pattern I picked out of Jan Eatons ripple book, and is turning out lovely, although I am still struggling with the whole 'carry yarn loosely up side of work' aspect of things - it always ends up looking messy so I think I will have to fold the edge under and seam it before I am satisfied.

Secondly, I am in the middle of making warm things for my little brother, who is off to Iowa in January to visit his girlfriend, and where I am reliably informed it will be -23degrees. Thus, we have the very warm hat (Zimmerman)
The outside (or inside) is Freedom Spirit wool in pale grey, blues and a little brown (not really shown in the photo, oddly enough it was rather too bright!). The inside is some lovely silky Wensleydale DK in a very dark navy. For DK it is rather thin, which mean that the knit lining will be quite loose gauge, but I think this will work nicely - don't want his head getting too hot. I do hope this fits - its quite a tight fit on me but I do have quite a large head. Blocking will be the order of the day methinks.

I have also decided (perhaps misguidedly) to make him some thrummed mittens. Thrumming is the process of knitting in bits of fleece (in my case combed Shetland tops) into a fabric See the yarn harlot for comprehensive information.

I'm using the Manly Mitts pattern from as my basic mitten pattern, but have added a few extra stitches to accomodate the thrums and the fact that the wensleydale needs smaller needles than you'd think for a DK (not that it isn't lovely, just slightly uninformative - no gauge or needle guide whatsoever on the ball band). So far, it looks like something from another planet, but rest assured I have not murdered some small space creature for the sake of my brothers paws.
We shall see. It could end up huge and ridiculous, but then, I don't think I have made the equivalent of Mark Darcy's cringeworthy jumper in Bridget Jones yet so something had to go pearshaped.

I also have a Kiri shawl (pdf) on the go for my nanna, in some glorious Drops Alpaca, but it currently looks like an crumpled mess so pictures will have to wait until I have blocked it.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Pay it forward

I have discovered that I really like participating in swaps and exchanges. Friends I have spoken to often scoff at the idea, because of the risk involved trusting someone you don't know, will never meet and is likely on a different continent to send you things in return for what you post out. In a way this is true, as my expenditure on the various exchanges has been quite high, and I am still waiting to hear from various people about returns. But this is not the point.

The point is that you can really make a difference to someone by sending them something you have made, or found out specially for them. I think that is the point. I really don't like receiving cash for a gift. Yes, I know it is easy, and some people like my nanna don't have the resources to go out shopping for gifts, which is fair enough, but I would much prefer to receive a handpicked gift worth 50p than a cheque for a lot more. So with the aim of reviving the art of gift giving, I am participating in a couple of 'Pay it Forward' exchanges.

Well, these are not exactly exchanges. I've signed up with a couple of people who will send me a handmade gift of their choosing at some point in the future. In return, I pledge that i will send handmade gifts to three more people, who in turn will pledge ... and so on.

Here is the first pledge:

Pay It Forward Exchange

The Pay It Forward Exchange, where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness pass it forward too.

I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but I promise that it will be sent (within 6 months).What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

I will now Pay It Forward to you THREE, I wonder who you will be?! Please, be a PIF! You will enjoy it just as much as we do!

And, have 6 months to get your gifts done! Come on, you know you would love to be one of my angels. Then, one day, but you don't know will get a gift that I have made especially for YOU!

Please remember, you don't have to knit or crochet to participate, anyone who can make a nice handmade gift is welcome to join.

ISE5 news!

So I got an email a little while ago from my ISE5 pal, saying that she might post my scarf out in the next couple of weeks. Now, is it just me or is that the most exciting news you have ever heard? No? just me then.

It got me thinking about sending my pal's scarf soon too, once I have finished blocking it (turned out that half of the scarf is longer than the other half if you know what I mean - I knitted until I had 50g left and then started from the other end, but I guess there must have been less/more than 50g in the skein. Sigh. Still, it shouldn't be toooo noticeable, unless my pal reads this blog!)

This is not a picture of the scarf I hasten to add. I would not be that stingy! This is the sample I knitted when panicking about the disasters that could happen when blocking a silk/wool yarn in a hard water area. But it all turned out ok, as is the real thing.

It'll be in the post today I think. Hooray!