Friday, April 29, 2011

The maiden's hair is growing

Slowly but surely, I am plodding along with my Maidenhair cardi, and I still have not fallen out of love with it, and I doubt I ever shall.

However, I can never ever seem to get it in the right light. All this rain we've been having at the moment has made it very difficult to get any kind of decent photography done. Not that I would ever claim to be the world's best photographer, but it would be nice to get a nice light picture of it.

And I just watched the royal wedding, it was a pretty nice event to watch. Definitely great for some intense and delicate knitting done. And I think I may just keep on keeping on with the Maidenhair now. I don't think I've ever been quite so smitten with a pattern, but this is really so much fun to knit.

x peace folks

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Introducing Maidenhair

Hi all,
It's been pretty busy around the office here at Hilarity at the moment, getting into the last stretch of autumn has been a really inspiring time for all things knit, just in time for winter. Designing a range of garments has been a pretty exhilarating experience, and I am really eager to let you all know what is happening behind the blog scenes. Anyway, there has been something that I can show you, a birthday/christmas present for my sister, it's the Maidenhair Cardigan/Jacket/whatever you want to call it by Alice Starmore.

Here is a pic of the back in progress:

Sorry for the poor lighting, I will endeavour to get a better photo in the sun tomorrow. But it is a blast to knit. Not too difficult to knit up, but it is still something that you have to follow until you can remember the pattern repeat. I adore knitting it so far

Just for kicks, I took a couple of photos of the pattern sections up close:
Side panel

Middle Panel
Needless to say, this is going to take a little bit of time to get off the ground, so I have a plethora of small knitting projects going on behind the scenes to satisfy my cast-off desires. Either way, hoping your Autumn/Spring break has been great, wherever you are, and keep those needles clicking!

x peace

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Knitting Ideas

With the autumn period well and truly upon us, I've kind of gone into mini project overload. Mainly scarves, if I'm completely honest, but a couple of hats here and there, and I'm planning to do a couple of mittens as well.
Here is a photo of my squishy scarf in progress. It's a simple mistake-rib pattern, but oh mylanta. Boy does it ever make for a lovely, squishy fabric. Definitely one of life's simple pleasures.
And, I assure you that the green is much nicer and a bit deeper in real life, I'll try and get a better photo of the colour tomorrow.

I suppose I've been in a bit of a knitting funk at the moment. After (almost) finishing my Osterdalen, I am loving just taking it easy in some scarf-knitting. No tension checking, no stranded patterning to worry about. This is real therapeutic knitting, working my way up to the harder stuff again. I started with 8 feet of garter stitch, a bit of mistake-rib, and it's really comforting. Plus it is great to have a lot of little projects completed after such a colossal beast of a project.

I've also been doing a bit of designing as of late, but I'm going to save the details for the next post !

x peace folks

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Still Alive!

Hi everyone, hope that you are having a good week so far. I've been lucky enough to score (almost) three weeks of holidays, during which very little has to be done, so I'm glad to say that I have made a whole lot of progress on the knitting front.

After the Knitting and Crochet blog week frenzy, I must admit that I have been a little bit frazzled and fizzled out about blogging so regularly, and so I've kind of just returned to my pattern of just blogging when I have time to do it, and when I feel motivated enough.

So, onto the knitting. I've almost finished Osterdalen, and I took a few photos while I was doing the steeks which I might post up here, maybe in a post devoted wholly to the steeking process. I know that there are a couple of them out there, but it can never hurt to give people a helping hand, right?
I've pretty much finished doing all the little odd bits and ends of the knitting, and now I just have to put in the zipper, which I'm not liking. I just can't seem to wrap my head around the instructions in the Dale booklet, but I'm sure that I'll be able to find a whole lot of info about putting in zippers on the internet.

Apart from that, my life has been consumed with a whole lot of knitting projects. I want to knit up a bunch of plain scarves and hats, the main accessories and stuff. Just a lot of plain patterns, and then maybe open up a stall or something like that and see if I can make a little bit of a profit. It would just be cool to see if it were viable, I suppose.

Anyway, sorry about the lack of photo's, but it is pretty late now and the lighting is ghastly, so I will save them for the next post.

Peace for now folks x

Friday, April 8, 2011

Small Gauge Aran Work

I've been dreaming of doing a Starmore sweater for quite some time now, and now that I have all the patterns that I'm going to need to get myself going on a sweater or two, I thought I might as well try off a hat or something to familiarise myself with her style of pattern.

So, without any further ado, here is a picture of my Kittiwake hat-in-progress.

It was kind of hard to spread out the stitches on the needles in order to get the cables to stand out, but I'm liking it so far.

One thing that I have found, though, is that doing cablework at a smaller gauge is somewhat more tricky than at a larger gauge, because I tend to cable without a cable needle. But I'm not going to let that stop me.

In the meantime, I've finished the bulk of my knitting on Osterdalen, and I shall devote this weekend to getting it done and dusted, which means it's time to get the sewing machine out and cut, cut, cut away into the steek stitches. I'll make sure that I have a pot of coffee that morning :D

x peace for now folks

Monday, April 4, 2011

back to basics after a week of intense knit-blogging

Wow, the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week was all a bit of a blur, it went so quickly that I didn't really get to focus on a lot of the tasks at hand during the week. I didn't really get to read as many blogs as I would have liked last week, and I have a whole bunch of comments to catch up on, but all in all I think it was a great success.

And even better, I know that I can do a post everyday now! Although, I may not end up posting daily, it all depends on the content I suppose. Either way, I am very much looking forward to doing the same thing this time next year, when I hope that I will have a few more finished projects on Ravelry by then.

So, I thought, just to ease the pace down a bit, both in terms of the blog and in real life, I've decided to start a new and extremely therapeutic project.

Yeah, it's a thirty stitch wide garter stitch scarf.

I still have good ol' Osterdalen, but the problem is that on the sleeves, I have to increase every 4 rounds, and I'm ever so not in favour of stopping before a repeat round, otherwise I fear I may lose count of where I am. It's not something that I can just do a quick row over, I have to do 4 rows to keep myself happy and sane.

So I thought, why not let someone else take care of the colourwork? I could think of nothing more relaxing than knitting this scarf, along with following my recipe for a perfect evening of knitting. I can just lose myself on a wave of garter stitch. Non-ruffling, non-complicated garter. Ahhh.

And be forewarned. My next major sweater looks like it's going to be a Starmore. So expect a lot more scarves.

2KCBWDAY7 - Your Knitting And Crocheting Time

I suppose I have never really thought about the places I knit in, or how I surround myself when I do my knitting, and I must say that after examining my habits for a little while, I'm kind of peculiar.

Comfort is something that is really important while I am knitting, but I can't knit in bed. Something about the bed being too comfortable or something like that just makes it altogether uninspiring for knitting. But onto the theme of comfort. I've found that there are a number of things that really put me in the knitting mood, and will ensure that I get a hell of a lot of quality knitting done. I've even made them in list form. Although, this list would best describe my ideal knitting surrounds, I suppose.

                                    Matthew's Recipe for an Ideal Knitting Night               
  • The thing that I think will bring along the knitting process is a cold snap in the weather. Although, this doesn't mean to say that I won't knit without it being chilly, but it is hard to pick up the needles and yarn in 40 degree weather.
  • I love to have a nice cup of tea, preferably a pot to last me a little while. Over at The Imperial Tea Garden, you can find many suggestions on how to brew yourself a perfect pot. A vital step in the perfect knitting afternoon or evening.
  • Old School Movies also add to the feel of a perfect knitting night. Don't worry about all the new stuff in the cinema now, for me, knitting is a time when I can acquaint myself with a lot of movies a bit before my time. You want to find some great movies to watch? Check out the lists at I Check Movies. You can keep track of the ones you've already seen, and find some new flicks to watch.
  • Now would be the time to grab out a nice warm blanket. You can find yourself a couple of blankets to queue at Ravelry as well.
  • A bit of something to go with the tea never goes astray. Here, the choice really is yours, although personally, I would go for something on the sweet side. My favourite thing is to make some staple Finnish pulla, kind of like a sweet bread, but incredibly addictive.
And there you have it, a simple way to make my knitting time perfect. I'd love to hear what everyone out there does in order to get into the knitting 'mood', or to make the experience just right.

And with a bit of a sniffle, that is the end of blog week, it's been great folks

x peace

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2KCBWDAY6 - Something To Aspire To

For me, I constantly love to learn new techniques, but I never really think of it being something that I have aspired to, I just thought that the more advanced you get as a knitter, the more cool things you should be able to pull out of the hat. I hope in this post I can impart a little bit of wisdom to any newbies out there who are maybe making a forray into some more exciting knitting, and maybe just encourage people to try something they've been wanting to do for a while.

Personally, I think to fully respond to this kind of topic, I first have to explain how I think about knitting as a general concept.
I'm a person who is very good at following directions and instructions, and as knitters, we all have to be, right? And the thing with knitting is that, with only two stitches and its variations, it would seem that the sky's the limit? So something which is, to me, a little crazy, is that I've seen people out there, people who have done amazing things with their knitting, that certain patterns seem more intimidating than others.

Now this is where (in my head, at least) I think I kind of sound really smug and know-it-all-y, but I find that generally, even if it's a technique I've never tried before, if I follow the directions, I shouldn't have a problem. Take steeking, for instance. It never occurred to me that the idea of cutting into your knitting was worrisome for a lot of knitters out there. I just kind of figured that, hey, it's in the directions, I'll just do it, and it worked.

And you should all do it too, there's definitely nothing stopping you. A pearl of wisdom J.K Rowling gave us via several HP characters, which I think is pretty apt here, "fear of a name only increases the fear of the thing itself." Words and phrases like "steek", "lace", "fair isle" and "aran" seem to conjure up fear for a lot of people. My advice would be this :

Any pattern is possible when you attack it one row, one stitch, at a time, and that's the only pace you can go with knitting.

As seemingly overwhelming as that Starmore sweater or Cobweb Lace Shawl may be, don't forget that if you can knit and purl, you CAN make it. Who cares if, at first, it might take you the better part of knitting to do a couple of rows? So go on and make sure that you put paid to your aspirations and try all those nifty techniques and styles that are out there these days.

Despite all of this forward thinking, there are a couple of things that I would love to make over the next year. I think that I'm going to go ahead and jump on the lace bandwagon. And here is where we have my little something to aspire to.

See, my problem is not with the knitting per se, but the sewing. I suck at making up, and I freely admit that. I'm kind of lazy and also too eager to start wearing what I spent months on making, and often the finished object leaves a lot to be desired because of it. Which is why, up to now, I haven't really given a lot of lace a second chance. Sure, it is uber beautiful stuff, but the blocking. Oh, the blocking. I could never figure out what it involved before the days of Ravelry, and anything that I tried ended up just not sitting right and I could never figure out why.

So this year, I want to pay special attention to the post-knitting part of the knitting process.

Oh, and a wedding ring shawl would definitely not go amiss. I know that having something like over 1000 stitches on a row (or something like that) is crazy and super intimidating, but I still stand by what I said before. Even if I got half a row done a night towards the end, it's still definitely do-able, and I'm so not a fan of the mention of the pattern being for 'ultra-experienced knitters'. If you want to do the wedding ring shawl, just go ahead and do it.

2KCBWDAY5 - And Now for Something Completely Different...

Ok, just for funzies. Today is going to be something a little bit different, and unfortunately not a whole lot of knitting content today. In fact, none at all.
Now, I know that a lot of your blogs are solely about knitting, or near enough all about knitting.  At the moment, mine is too, and I like it that way. But for this post, I've kind of been going on the idea that as much as I do enjoy knitting, it's not the only thing in my life, far from it.

So I asked myself the question, "If I wasn't a knitter, what would I be blogging about?". And I really couldn't come up with a solid answer. Which, in a way, fits perfectly with the little task for today. I am going to do a little photo montage so you can get to know me a little bit better. So here goes nothing.

 I love my ipod, I named here Mrs Phyllus Finkelstein, just because I can. She has been through some tough times, and yet she still seems to manage to soldier on. And as you can see, I do love my music. I often think about starting up a music blog, or something like that, but then I remember how much time and effort goes into my little blog here, that trying to do a music blog would just drain any free time I had. But it is something I LOVE talking about, and I'll listen to pretty much anything. Except country and western. It's a long story.

 As you can see, I'm pretty enamoured with books. Again, they really are something that I can't resist, and I will have read every book on that shelf at least a couple times over, and that has possibly a quarter of the stuff I (personally) own. Just putting it out there too, HUGE Kathy Reichs fan.
Also, I like to play the guitar, and just fool around with music in general. Except my acoustic up there is a little bit broken :( I'm in a band (or what I'd like to call a band, more a gathering of people in the one room playing instruments) with some people from uni, which is a lot of fun, we just mainly get together and have a bit of a play around.
 Also something that I would be really keen to blog about, is movies. I used to see so many when I was in Finland for a year, which is something that I never really did before, but now I realise that there is so many to catch up on. And it's pretty much the same as my music tastes, I can watch pretty much anything, even westerns.
Finally, it doesn't really come out here at all, but I think if you asked anybody who knew me what I am best at doing is learning languages. When I was in Finland I learnt how to speak Finnish and some Swedish (and I can kind of read Norwegian and Danish with my knowledge of Swedish and English now), and I studied French all through school. In uni, I'm studying Spanish, French and Japanese, and there are a few others that I dabble in from time to time. Eventually, I would love to become an interpreter and work for somewhere like the UN or the European Parliament, but that won't be for a while yet.
 So if you want to leave a comment on my blog, but don't speak English, don't worry about it, post it in your native language and I'll figure it out, I'd like the challenge.

I hope you got to know me a little better, I think it's so easy these days to think that us knit-bloggers don't really do anything else apart from knitting, and I think a little bit of variety posting is always good for a blog, especially stuff you enjoy talking about.

x peace folks