Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

I think one of my resolutions should be to blog more. A big update should be coming in the next few days, as I have various crafty projects in progress, both crochet and non-crochet.

The 'yarn diet' is being reset, and a new rule introduced (moving the goalposts, if you like). From now on, only yarn that goes into 'stash' will be counted - i.e. yarn that's bough without a specific planned project in mind.

This was going to be a 'I liked the sunrise so much I bought the yarn' post, but guess what? I managed to delete both sunrise and yarn photos from my camera without putting them on my computer. *grump*

Friday, 28 November 2008

Gift projects a go-go

First of all I must thank those of you who have commented on other entries. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I tell evil Yahoo mail, the replies always get chucked in the spam folder. Grrr. It also still annoys me that Blogger doesn't allow replies to replies so a conversation builds up. One of the major bad points of Blogger IMO.

Anyway, I've been working away feverishly on various projects. A few weeks ago I was told that my aunt had been diagnosed with cancer. On hearing that she was to have chemotherapy, my first thought was "she's having chemotherapy? During a New York winter? I must make a hat!" Well, the hat became a hat, handwarmers and scarf set made from Fyberspates Squishy Alpaca/BFL:

margaretscarf margarethat margarethandwarmers

And so my uncle doesn't feel left out, I made him a cabled scarf from some Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran in my stash:

I was already working on an idea for a Christmas present for my aunt and uncle; a little felted cushion made from New Lanark yarn. I finished that too, but I'm not entirely satisfied as I was hoping it would shrink more lengthwise than widthwise and become squarer than it did. I was also going to adorn the corners with pompoms and bells but I was underwhelmed by the pompom maker I bought, and frankly I'm too lazy to make pompoms the old fashioned way. I present my funny little overstuffed cushion:

A ribbed scarf for my partner's Dad for Christmas:
stripyribbed scarf

That's Patons Shadow Tweed, which is self-striping and works perfectly with the crocheted ribs. I'm tempted to make one for myself, in a different colour - I don't think orange/green/red stripes are really 'me.'

I finished the experimental cardigan I talked about in my last entry. It's a slightly odd shape (haven't quite mastered the art of modifications yet) and is a little too big, but on the whole I'm pleased. I might straighten out those buttons though. Photos pre-washing:

bluecardiganpattern2 bluecardiganbuttons bluecardiganpattern

My latest experiments are in crocheting snowflakes from thread... lesson one: do not attempt to block snowflakes after wine consumption.

Monday, 3 November 2008


Over the weekend I finished two projects. This is the first Christmas scarf done:


That turned out to be a £5 project. The yarn is Wendy Fusion in Cardaman (3.5 balls). The photos really don't do this justice - it looks so washed out, and what looks brown is actually a lovely auberginey-purple, and the creamy looking bits are actually pale purple. However I'm also not in the mood to photoshop the colours back to a more realistic representation.

Second project: One row lace cowl in Rowan Classic Baby Alpaca DK:
alpaca cowl
alpaca cowl2

I got a bit carried away with this and used about 1.6 balls of yarn. I've sent my partner to John Lewis to get more so I can make handwarmers and a beanie/beret to match. This is definitely not a £10 project. And after using cheaper yarns recently (after some gritting of teeth before admitting they weren't so bad after all), this baby alpaca yarn feels like the softest yarn in the world... unfortunately it's also led me down the road to temptation.

As a counterpoint to my low-cost projects I am majorly lusting after some Qiviut (musk ox) yarn. For Christmas maybe. *dreams*

It was frosty here over the weekend. We saw this friendly chap round the corner from our flat:

And we have to have the obligatory frosty leaf photo:

I'm planning non-strenuous days today and tomorrow as I'm hoping to have a long night in front of the TV tomorrow night watching the US election coverage. I am considering an election night project - starting something early in the evening and seeing how far I get during the night. Of course, given how many mistakes I make when I'm tired this might be a bad plan...

Friday, 31 October 2008

£10 Projects and a rare stroke of genius (maybe)

I've been doing quite well with my sub-£10 projects. I made the Mei-mei jacket, designed by Doris Chan from Paton's Washed Haze Aran (total project cost £4.14). I found the instructions a bit confusing because you have to jump back and forth constantly. Luckily this yarn appeared to be indestructible and I was able to rip it back multiple times. In the end I messed up the front shaping and ended up with a shrug that fits like some kind of weird frontless bra:


I also made a Top-down Round Yoke Cardigan from a big ball of £6.50 acrylic/wool blend (in reality this is a blue-green heathery colour, not grey. Grey is a practical colour, but not all of my clothes are grey. Also, this is pre-washing, and teh sides are the same length):

Although it's not very flattering and the sleeves a little lumpy (my fault, not a pattern problem) it is really comfy and I wear it a lot. As soon as I finished it I decided I wanted to make another in a 'nicer' yarn.

I also have several other £10 Project Projects in the pipeline. Various online discount wool shops have been doing well out of me. Well, I really need some new jumpers.

A rare stroke of genius (or maybe merely sheer foolishness...)

I love the Northern Dreams pullover in the current issue of Interweave Crochet. However it's way out of my price range unless I use cheap yarn. I also like this Cardigan/top ensemble from Marks and Spencer, although I think it would look better with a round yoke rather than raglan shaping. As I said, I also wanted to make another Top Down Round Yoke Cardigan... TA-DA!!! A plan is hatched! I hope this flash of inspiration doesn't turn out to be a moment of utter stupidity... Watch this space...

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Yarn labelling fail

I think they meant approximately (~) 1350m, not plus or minus (±) 1350m:


Although it would be excellent for the yarn diet, I'd be pretty ticked off if it turned out that I'd received -1350m of yarn and the corresponding amount of yarn had vanished from my stash.

It's 100% extra fine merino Lane Borgosesia Baruffa Cashwool, a bargainous £8.95 from Pavi Yarns, and therefore part if the £10 Project Project. It's going to be a shawl when it grows up.

Also arriving in the post today was some Mama Ocllo Alpaca Lace from Knit n Caboodle. My two skeins cost a total of £6.90, so also part of £10PP. It's going to be a scarf:

And that's my yarn binge for this week.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Recently finished, The £10 Project Project and a decision

Yay, more completed items:

Luna Lovegood scarf by Pinkleo, done in Artesano Alpaca 100% Alpaca DK:



Seduction scarf by Chickenbetty, done in Fyberspates BFL Aran. I made this scatf longer and narrower due to the yarn being so thick. I'm definitely going to do more of these, but maybe in DK weight yarn.


Crocus Bud Shawl done in Kauni Effektgarn 8/2 in colour EF. This yarn is gorgeous but scratchy, and didn't soften much after two washes. I think I need to buy some Eucalan.


I think I have a major case of startitis at the moment, but it would be quite nice if I finished some of the projects that have been sitting in my project pile for the last few weeks/months.

I've also been trying my hand at broomstick crochet, and am currently making two scarves. This one is using The Yarn Yard Lochan in Froglet:

I love the yarn, I love the pattern, but just now I'm not sure about the two together. We'll see how it turns out.

The £10 Project Project

Since my 'yarn diet' hasn't being going swimmingly I am embarking on a new scheme to control my yarn buying. I am currently aiming to crochet from stash, and not spend more than £10 on each project (unless it's something very special). For the sake of simplicity, I will have a $20 limit on Etsy purchases (I know that $20 is currently more than £10, but I want to keep it simple). However, this means it's retty much goodbye Etsy, hello Kemp's. Admittedly, now that some big expenses are out of the way, I've ordered yarn for several sub-£10 projects (including laceweight which is going to send that yarn diet number soaring upwards)... I'm admittedly a yarn snob, although there are many reasons why I dislike acrylic. Anyway, here is the first £10 project:
A string bag, made from Stylecraft Kon-Tiki - £5.97 spent on materials, but only about £4.18 actually used.

Although I don't know if we'll be celebrating Christmas this year, I do have a couple of ideas - two presents can be made from stash, and another with about £9 of yarn.

A Decision

A while ago I did some dyeing. I dyed this sock yarn:

Now I want to do something with it and am undecided. I'm not sure how much there actually is (somewhere between 400m and 800m, probably between 600m and 800m) so it needs to be a fairly open ended project, must be crochet and must have a simple stitch pattern or else the colours will just kill it. I'm thinking maybe an Eva's Shawl... I have already warned my partner that he is going to help me wind the yarn into a ball as he is more patient with knots and tangles than I am, and this yarn has many knots and tangles!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


I will return with a proper post soon. To be honest I haven't done much spinning or crocheting recently, though I'm starting to get back into crocheting now - I think it must be that autumnal feeling in the air.

In the meantime, the photos of our 25 mile cycle ride can be found here.

I'm also skint (it's the time of year when a heap of expenses come in - TV license, insurance, course fees etc.) so I've mostly been crocheting from stash, which might make that number on the top right go down a little. I also joined a bookswapping website - Read it Swap it which has amplified my love of reading as well as the amount of money I give the Post Office.

To finish, a couple of projects I've finished over the summer:

This is the Spring Ripple Scarf by Angela Best, crocheted in Noro Kureyon Sock. That stuff is gorgeous but feels like string. It softened up a bit after washing but I'm not sure if it's next-to-skin-soft. I love self-striping yarn - I like watching the colours change.


This is the Sweet Pea Shawl by Amie Hirtes, from The Happy Hooker, done in Rowan All Seasons Cotton. I originally started using this yarn for a top, but it's basically expensive dishcloth cotton and it just wasn't working, plus I didn't have enough of it. I think it works far better in this shawl.

Monday, 14 July 2008

A post with no craft content at all

Yesterday we went for our longest cycle ride so far, a 15 mile round trip on the Hillend Loch Cycle Path. We set out late so we didn't do the whole thing. Review from The Guardian here. I really hope we get good weather this weekend so we can do the Bathgate to Caldercruix (and back) ride. It's too bad this path will be closing next month for the reconstruction of the railway.

Sculpture Trail part 1

Clicky for bigger versions...

Bzz bzz Bee on a creeping thistle:


Through the keyhole...

This is one of the sculptures on the NCN route 75 Hillend Loch Cycle Path, and is by Jeremy Cunningham. It's representative of the gateway between the urban and rural areas.

Tower by Paul Matosic

Another sculpture on NCN 75. It's based on the Fibionacci Sequence.

Marsh thistle
Marsh thistle

This was very spiky!

Glacial deposits
Glacial boulders

There were lots of these along one section. We suspect they'd been found nearby and moved out of the fields so they formed 'scenery'

Glacial foxgloves?
Boulders and foxglove

We saw this huge foxglove growing around these glacial boulders.

And close up:
Foxglove More foxglove


This was a surprise. Rampant bamboo, or bamboo-like woody grass. Bamboo, a well-known native plant of West Lothian.

Common spotted orchids:

and closer
Common Spotted Orchid Common Spotted Orchid

Bog cotton:
Bog cotton



This was next to a former colliery. It's a coal bing covered in new growth. West Lothian has a lot of dead mining industry, and there are coal and oil shale bings everywhere. The oil shale bings tend to remain stubbornly bright red and vegetation-free, but the only obvious evidence that this was no random hillock were the worn bits with coal remains.

Bothie by Stefanie Bourne

Oh dear, this sculpture hasn't aged well, in fact there's not much left of it.

Bay Willowherb
Rosebay willowherb

This is close to where we live. Can you guess what it is yet...?

Does this help?

Still not got it?
The Bathgate Face

It's the Bathgate Face by Lumir Soukup and lots of local schoolchildren. The measurements of the faces of over a thousand local schoolchildren were taken and the averages used. Apparently it's the largest communal portait in Europe. You can read about the project here.

We also saw lots of butterflies. The path was really busy with cyclists, walkers and dog-walkers. It's just unfortunate that some of the dog walkers think it's okay to let their dogs runs around uncontrolled on a cycle path and then look confused when cyclists try to get past, giving the dog(s) a wide berth. On the way out it was mostly flat with a very gentle uphill, so on the way back we had lots of easy cycling and frewheeling. OH got to test out the very high gears on his bike, and has thanked me for making him get a bike as he's really enjoying it now. Hopefully we'll get to do the rest of the Sculpture trail next weekend or the weekend after, before it's all torn up for the railway.