Saturday, 28 November 2009

In Which Saffy Combines Two of Her Favourite Things

Thanks to, I have become aware that I have unwittingly earned a number of Cast On Knitting Scout badges! So, here are my achievements so far...

1) The Proselytize Knitting Badge - "A requirement for all Knitting Scouts, the recipient must do his or her bit to present knitting in a positive light, whilst at the same time avoiding all references to “hipness”, grandmothers, and yoga."

Here's hoping I do a good job of this, at various points I think non-knitting people I know have thought the particular project I was playing with was kinda cool. Many of my Guides thought the fingerless mitts I did were really clever (they weren't) and were insisting I should sell them (Um... right).

Incidentally... I didn't know the word proselytize; it means to convert someone's faith. I don't think I've got that far yet.

The “MacGyver” Badge (Level One) - The recipient must demonstrate clever use of a non-knitting tool in a knitting-related scenario. For instance, recipient has used paper clips as stitch markers, or successfully whittled and then utilized bamboo skewers as dpns.

On the canal holiday this year I tried to turn some of my waste yarn into a little scarf for Pengi (a small stuffed penguin, of course). I wanted a looser gauge than I could acquire with the one circular needle I'd brought with me (in the days of project monogamy), so I used a pen lid as a knitting needle. (One assumes I used something else too, not much knitting could have been done with only one pen-lid needle - I can't remember what filled the gap).

The I've Knit Items With No Conceivable Practical Application Badge - Recipients are those “special” campers who have knit items which somehow missed the mark of their intended application. There are probably more who are deserving of this badge than one would expect.

Undoubtedly awarded following completion of this:

This was my 'Big Baby' project. A but-what-is-it pattern that would have been a bib in the right yarn. It was mostly intended as a fixing-my-twisted-purls project but I was originally hoping for something out of it. It's now a small cat mat, it bears closer resemblance to that than it could ever have done to a bib. Molly's rather fond of it.

Also deserving of an honorable mention are these:

The Yancy baby hat with gauge so tight it would reduce a baby's heat to slush and the Exfoliate face cloth that would leave little face behind. Oops.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

'If at first you don't succeed', or 'why I'm not renewing my subscription to Let's Knit!'

Started over on my Fair Isle project on Friday. Not for any reason related to the fact that this is my first such project or through any other error on my part. My gauge was spot on, I'd spotted some glaring errors in the charts before I got to them and things were altogether going quite well, until... I let someone who wasn't me try the item on. I am a rather small person and the item in question is a gift for a normal sized person. Much like anything I knit from this particular magazine, the item was correctly sized in one direction (in this case, length) but not in the other (width).

Ripped back the whole thing, made a few adjustments to the pattern to fix the sizing issue (I hope, I haven't got that far yet) and took the opportunity to fix the roll on the stocking stitch edge. I've also redrawn the chart without the mistakes (finding another three incorrectly drawn stitches as I did) and with the colours inverted so the white boxes represent the lighter yarn and the dark boxes the darker yarn. I couldn't get this online chart maker to play nicely enough not to drive me mad so ended up drawing the chart in a combination of editors (GIMP, MSPaint and Paintshop - a Mac imitation of MSPaint). Very pleased with the finished result but time consuming, so the lovely Hobnob is making me my own in-browser chart maker; he is good to me :)

Anyway, here is the reincarnated Fair Isle as it stands at bedtime this evening (or yesterday evening, I'm not sure how I refer to a time that has quite clearly passed me by - I blame Hobnob, he's in the coding groove).

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

FO: Infolab Baby Sweater

Wooo! A finished object :)

Pattern: Seamless Kimono Baby Sweater
Yarn: Araucania Ulmo, colourway 760 - Green (1 skein), Patons UK Linen Touch DK, colourway 026 - Mandarin (0.5 skein)
Project: online at Ravelry.

Started this on 1st November, so finished it in just over two weeks - and most of that was probably bringing myself to weave in all those ends. Although I wouldn't have been able to finish the project in just the green yarn, I really didn't think out how none-trivial the bottom colourwork was going to be. Sadly I ended up creating a lot of loose ends and made the tension of all those joins a wee bit odd. It looks mostly OK now... just as long as you don't stare at the bottom sides too hard. (Guess who might do that).

Not a bad match for its namesake either :)

Kool-Aid Dyeing

Been playing with a little bit of the Kool-Aid I brought back from the US in August. Started out with a skein of ONline Linie 3 Supersocke 100, colour way 109 "helles jeansblau' (bright blue jeans), which is a grey/blue light denim colour:

This was the lightest sock yarn the market had and I was too eager to play to want to order something from somewhere online. So, I got the lovely Hobnob to wind the yarn into a skein for me and mixed up two sets of Kool-Aid, one sachet of Grape in one pot and then three sachets of Ice Blue Raspberry divided between two pots. The Ice Blue Raspberry was a pretty shocking blue, I wouldn't want to drink anything that bright!

Following the instructions in this knitty article, I then put the whole thing in the microwave. I think I did a total of four microwave zaps at two minutes each.

Here's the finished skein:

And here it is wound into a yummy yarn cake:

It still smells quite exciting. I wonder how it will knit up.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Blog Prettiness

I think I've made this blog a bit cleaner/prettier to look at. Let me know what you think.

PS - I am quite excited by the fact that I have, somehow, managed to operate GIMP, this is a total fluke and is entirely beyond my normal set of talents.

PPS - Hobnob got me started with all the GIMP drawingness. He spent a fair chunk of yesterday evening trying to draw what I wanted when I didn't really know. Then I told him I didn't like what he'd done because the text was too dark. This header has only about three things different to the one he drew me - thanks lovely.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

WIP: Infolab Baby Sweater... nearly there

Just ends to weave in...

Lots happier with the colours now than when I started - phew!

University Challenge: Lancaster

Spent some time last week writing this:

University Challenge: Lancaster

This is (hopefully) the first in a series of geocaches about and near universities. I'm thinking the next one will be the nearby University of Cumbria but then maybe Warwick (although there are a number of caches there already) and/or Staffordshire (in Stoke) and/or Liverpool.

This cache gives you a collection of little facts about Lancaster University, each one accompanied by a simple question. The answer to each question can easily be found with a quick web search (there's nothing cryptic or difficult to find about the answers to these questions, if you're looking for that try slateman's cache Duchy of Lancaster - again it's all online, but not quite so easy!)

Monday, 9 November 2009

You're Never Fully Dressed Without...

It seems the Hobo man and the Dapper Dan could have solved all their dressing problems in one with the happiness hat:

"... a servo motor moves a metal spike into the head inversely proportional to the degree of smile."

So, as they say on the radio, "Smile darn ya, smile!"

Wooly Bullies

Someone mailed this to the KnitCafe mailing list this weekend. It made me giggle :)

Which reminds me, I really must try harder with crochet. I'll never get the hang of it if I keep just knitting things instead :)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

WIP: Infolab Baby Sweater

I always wondered who in their right mind thought that green and orange were two good colours to go together - and, in particular, why they felt the need to demonstrate their point in the design of our building:

(image from the InfoLab21 homepage)

It's green and orange, and slightly odd looking, and you can see it from the motorway.

And yet, when I came to think of things I wanted to do with my nice ball of green Araucania Ulmo, and when I'd finally settled on the seamless kimono baby sweater, and when I'd realised that my yardage was probably just on the short side, and I was shopping for a colour just to make up the yards and cover those edgings... what did I pick? Yes, that's right, I chose orange (Patons Linen Touch in Mandarin, should you be wondering).

(this lousy picture does the jumper no favours, I didn't think to take one until all the natural light had gone)

It's not there yet and the orange still looks awfully bright to me, but I'm sort of hoping that once the sleeve edgings and i-cord are in too then it'll just look crisp. Crisp, not too bright, but nice defining edges. Fingers crossed.


Can you tell I'm still not sure about this one? They did go better before I knit them up I'm sure.

Teaser Tuesdays Times Two: The Post-Birthday World (Lionel Shriver) and The Laying On Of Hands (Alan Bennett)

It's been a long time since my last Teaser Tuesday post, and I'm reading at least one good book at the moment (I suspect the other will be but I've only just started it).


TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!
My 2 “Teaser” Sentences for today (book one):

"Irina was perched at the kitchen table over the New York Times with a lone glass of coffee, whose bottom she had carefully sponged before setting it first in a saucer, then on a coaster. In preference to explaining that in this household eating was a sign of weakness, she waved him off with a mumble about not being hungry."

Page 362 of The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver


And my bonus “Teaser” Sentences for today (book two):

"These thoughts had taken him and the procession to the chancel, where the choir filed into their pews and the spare clergy disposed themselves around, while still leaving the hymn with a couple of verses to run. This gave father Jolliffe a chance to think about what he ought to say about Clive and what he ought not to say."

Page 34 of The Laying On Of Hands by Alan Bennett


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