Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Quick Night's Work

Last night I managed to get some instant gratification knitting done by using up some of my leftover lace yarn from my Ishbel and some beads that I had acquired during my bead shopping this weekend.

Pattern: Perdita (Lily of the Valley) by Elizabeth Klett

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Lace (Apple Green) approx. 0.1 skein

Needles: US 1 / 2.25 mm and 2.25 mm crochet hook

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Potential Mini Business Venture and Ishbel

I'm having such a grrr day at work. With every passing minute I'm considering the feasibility of quitting. I have to keep reminding myself that these are crippling economic times and I should be grateful to have a job. Sadly, that argument is wearing thin. Watch this space for an announcement that I finally gave in/gave up. The fact that I'm even publishing my sentiments in this public forum shows how dire the situation has gotten.

Anyhow, enough of my moping. This weekend, I spent both Saturday and Sunday in the environs of Covent Garden and its bead shops. I also did a bit of shopping for a black spring jacket but had no luck. I want it to be black as I intend to turn out some spectacularly colored lace shawls/scarflettes and I want a jacket that will match it all.

So while enjoying the fat-free indulgence that is pick'n mix bead shopping, I decided that the art that I'll teach myself before my 30th is jewelry-making. And as I'm a huge fan of instant gratification, it occurred to me that starting an Etsy shop selling stitch markers might be fun. I recognize that selling stitch markers on Etsy in no way provides a viable alternative to my current job but selling my wares on Etsy might keep me in beads and maybe a few skeins of yarn...

Anyhow, my weekend was not completely spent wondering the streets of Covent Garden. I did manage to get some knitting done. I finished Ishbel, my first time working with laceweight yarn and it's absolutely lovely. It's apple green in color though one might call it lime. You can see now why I will need a black spring jacket :-).

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Lace (Apple Green) approx. 0.8 skein

Needles: US 5 / 3.75 mm

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun Listy Activity

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

Look at the list and put an 'x' next those you have read.

x 1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
x 2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
x 3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
x 4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
x 5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
x 6 The Bible
x 7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
x 8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwel
x 9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
x 10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
x 11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
x 16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
x 18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
x 19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
x 22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
x 27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
x 28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
x 34 Emma - Jane Austen
x 35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (seen the movie)
x 37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (seen the movie)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (love the cartoon!)
x 41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
x 42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
x 43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (used to watch this on PBS religiously)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
x 50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
x 51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (seen the movie)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
x 54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
x 59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
x 61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebol
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
x 66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
x 68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (seen the movie)
x 73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (seen many versions of this movie plus the use of it in sitcoms)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (seen the movie)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (seen the movie)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
x 89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
x 91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (seen both movie versions)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (seen the show)

I guess I've read more than 6 but it seems I have a lot of reading to do. I have seen a lot of the movies though, does that count?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rockin’ Socks, Cookie A and A bit of Kinnearing

Rockin’ Socks

Today I was very excited to receive my Rockin’ Sock Club package. It was shipped out last Friday but it had taken the first shipment in January nearly a month to arrive, therefore, I hadn’t got my hopes up waiting for the package. So what a lovely surprise that it arrived only six days from shipping! This time around I hadn’t read any of the spoilers on ravelry and it was nice to see my March package with virgin eyes.

I love the colorway! I can’t make these yet though; I feel bad that I haven’t even start my January socks. Good thing I had the Cookie A sock design workshop at Socktopus this past weekend because now I’m very inspired to knit socks again.

Cookie A

Speaking of Cookie A, I absolutely loved the workshop last Saturday and I can’t wait to have some time to sit down with my graph paper to design some Caryl socks. The design I have in my head is somewhat similar to Kai-Mei in Cookie’s new book, Sock Innovation. I can’t wait to get a copy of the book. I’ll be at Loop on 5 April for the book launch and signing.

A Bit of Kinnearing

I was just in the kitchen at work and saw one of my colleagues wearing a very nice sweater (store-bought of course). I liked the look of it and now that I’m into designing, I thought it might make some good inspiration for a future design.
Anyhow, I took a sly picture of her.

Why did I have a camera in the office kitchen you ask? I happened to be in the kitchen to photograph my new sock club package (above). I get my mail at work and the work camera is way better than mine (10.1 megapixels vs mine which is 4 megapixels) and the kitchen faces the docks (I work near Tower Bridge) and gets lots of natural light.

You might also be wondering why this colleague is holding hands with another. Well, they happen to be enjoying a bit of an office romance. Tea break and hand holding anyone… I prefer cookies with my tea personally ;-)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Paddy's Day

I've finally recovered more or less from Paddy's Day. What a day of boozing!!! I spent my Saturday detoxing from a week of extravagant eating and drinking; my allergies were horrendous and I felt nauseous. Luckily I recovered on Sunday and now I'm back at work (for better or worse). The bf was visiting for the week and I broke pretty much every Lenten resolution. I've decided that I'll add an extra week to Lent to make up for my badness.

I also got very little knitting done. I spent Paddy's Day working on my minimalist cardigan. I think that knitting throughout the 12-hour + drinking session kept me fairly sober. I never got very drunk and I'm happy to say that there were no drunken mistakes upon inspection the next day. :-)

I thought I'd get so much completed on my week off but except for a hat that ended up too small for my big hair, I did nothing really. I gifted the hat to the bf's friend, Melanie, as it fit her well.

Pattern: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted (Chestnut) approx. 0.5 skein

Needles: US 8 / 5.0 mm and US 11 / 8.0 mm

To a fun St. Paddy's Day!!!

Worst Nachos Ever!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

UFO week

I'm taking this coming week off from work as my boyfriend is coming over from the states (It's Spring Break at U of Wisconsin!). Anyhow, while I plan to spend lots of time with him, I plan to add a bit of knitting into the mix :-).

I have a bunch of UFOs that I want to work on. I'll probably manage a few things for malabrigo march but I want to get my minimalist cardi done. Also I don't want to be stuck with an orphan sock so I'm going to finish up my second hourglass sock. Then there's Hey Teach. I've been stuck at about 75% progress for months now. It's time to get that done done and done.

For malabrigo march I want to do Ishbel and Star Crossed Beret and maybe if I somehow have any extra time, I'll cast on groovy cable tuque hat and darkside cowl.

That's a week filled with knitting. I hope I have some time to hang out with the boyfriend ;-).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Floral Headband

Pattern: Urban Outfitters Floral Earwarmer by Shalyn McFaul

Yarn: Rowan Calmer (White) Leftover yarn (0.1 skein at most)

Needles: 4.5 mm / US 7 circular and 5 mm crochet hook for flower

This was a great quick knit. I used the crochet flower pattern from Lion Brand. I’ll definitely make more of these with leftover yarn from projects. It makes me feel very glam.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Faberge Cowl

Pattern: Faberge Cowl by Nina Machlin Dayton

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Worsted (Sunset) 0.8 skein

Needles: 4.5 mm / US 7 circular and 0.75 mm crochet hook

I had a very productive weekend and managed to finish this cowl. I did it over 102 sts (120 sts according to pattern) as I saw some of the FOs and wanted a smaller cowl; also I’m a loose knitter so I thought that my looseness would make up for size. I might have made it a little too small but I like a cozy cowl fit.

The beading with 6/0 beads was a bit painful, especially for the first beading row (I would suggest if possible that 5/0 beads are used). I think it might have popped a bit more with larger beads as well. This is my first project with beads and I hadn’t realized that beads weren’t made equal. I seemed to bead about 2X no problem and then the third would be ridiculously painful. However I noticed that some beads had wider diameters than others and became more discriminating with my bead choices (I used a 0.75mm crochet hook).

Now I’m going to see if I can manage some faberge mini mitts with my leftover yarn and beads.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Talk About A Bad Dream

This is one of the cutest clips I've seen in a while. Poor dog! I love at the end when he/she comes to and realizes that it was all a dream.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Forest & Frill

Pattern: Forest & Frill by tiny owl knits

Yarn: Rowan Cocoon (Tundra) 5 skeins

Needles: 9 mm / US 13 circular and size 7 mm crochet hook

I just finished this pattern this morning. I'm pretty happy with this. It's a bit slouchier than I would have preferred but the end result is overall great. I had to learn crochet in order to do the edging which was really cool and resulted in my fabulous crochet clutch.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Cherry Garcia and other meanderings

Today I had a meeting near Hyde Park which is a slight trek from where I work (Tower Bridge) at 3pm. Therefore, I got to go home early as the meeting finished after 4pm. Yeah! So I went to Oxford St for a quick stop at John Lewis. I needed thread and a tiny crochet hook for beading. I ended up buying a lot more stuff of course. I'm planning to use my worsted scrap yarn to make pot holders. I'll knit squares and then put a layer of batting and then sew some fabric on the other side. I bought half a meter each of two Cath Kidston designs. Both designs are super cute! At least I think so...

In other news, I've completed a couple of projects.

Pattern: Cherry Garcia by Adrian Bizilia

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino (Velvet Grapes) 0.5 skein

Needles: 5.5 mm / US 9 circular

Pattern: Patty by Jenny Raymond

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino (Little Lovely) 0.1 skein

Needles: 4.5 mm / US 7 circular

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bead and Fabric Shopping on the West-End

I had quite a fun crafty weekend. After spending 45 minutes spinning at the gym (my workout for the weekend), I met up with my friend Rebecca and we headed to the West End for some bead and fabric shopping. We had a map to The Bead Shop which was recommended to me. However, on the way there we took a few detours. We first detoured to Bead Aura. I'd been there a few times hoping that they sold crafty things other than beads and each time I realized, nope, beads only (visits were few and far between and I kept forgetting that they really only sold beads).

Actually going to Bead Aura for beads was a treat! The place is packed in with beads and I'd have to say my favorite bead shop in London. We first browsed Bead Aura as we didn't want to purchase anything as cooler wares may still have been in the offing. Anyhow, every shop was a disappointment after Bead Aura. The London Bead Shop was overly pretentious, had few supplies and had lousy music. We pretty much ran out. The Bead Shop was ok and would have been great had we not first experienced Bead Aura. It was your bog standard bead shop but it was more expensive, had less variety and did not seem to make good use of space.

So we decided that we'd return to Bead Aura at the end of our shopping trip. I'd also mentioned to Rebecca that Bead Aura was only a stone's throw away from Rock and Sole Plaice, the best fish and chipper in London (based on my limited experience) and so we decided we'd end our afternoon with beads and fish and chips - yumtastic!!!

So we headed off to Regent's Street/Oxford Circus to hit Liberty's and John Lewis for fabric and other sundries. I ended up purchasing the most beautiful Liberty fabric to line a crocheted clutch that I had just finished. Also, Rebecca with her artist's eye did not like the button I had chosen for the clutch and so we did some button shopping (pictures below). I think the purse turned out very glam.

At Liberty's, this one guy helped me and little did I know that he was famous for his inefficiency. He insisted that I get a Liberty loyalty card and then badgered me for my age as for some reason I looked about 16 or 17 to him. You must be at least 18 to get the loyalty card. I assured him that I was indeed of age and that I would be turning 30 in about 8 months. I'm getting to that age now where it's pretty cool when people think you're younger than you are :-).

I kid you not though, this guy took like half an hour to try to get me this loyalty card and ring up my sale. In the end, there was something wrong with his computer and so I wasted all this time not getting a loyalty card that I hadn't even wanted. I was just being polite to the guy since he was so convinced that I needed to have one. Luckily I was in a relaxed mood and so the long wait and complete inefficiency didn't drive me up the wall.

From Liberty's we headed to John Lewis. There I needed to purchase thread and some fabric stiffener for my clutch as it was a bit floppy. In the end, we purchased some foam that children use for cutting out shapes and that worked a treat (again thanks to Rebecca's ingenuity).

By the time we finished at Liberty's and had to fight our way through Oxford Circus on a Saturday, we were pooped! So instead of heading to Berwick St and other great fabric shops - especially The Cloth House, we headed back to Covent Garden to eat Fish and Chips. Yum Yum!!!

Then to Bead Aura where we purchased beads then back to John Lewis to buy the foam to line the clutch (we thought the foam might be good but wanted to see if we could find something better and in the end went back to John Lewis to get the foam as we found nothing better). The only advice I'd give on Bead Aura is go early because by the afternoon it's overrun with young teenagers and others and it's just not as peaceful a browse.

Recent Finished Objects (FOs):

Pattern: Crocheted Clutch by Datura547

Yarn: Igea Merino (purchased in Estonia)

Needles: 5 mm/H crochet hook

This is my first crochet project and I’m very happy with the result. Thank you so much Tahra for your crochet lessons and guidance.

Pattern: Textured Shawl by Orlane

Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Silky Merino (Camote) 2 skeins

Needles: 5 mm / US 8 circular

I seem to be going through an orange period. I’m just absolutely in love with orange these days and that’s been reflected in my yarn purchases.