Knit Nat

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Quick sock update: I envy those who seem to be able to churn out socks like there’s no tomorrow. I am still knitting away at the basic sock and I’m only halfway through, about to do the heel. I know that it’s my first proper sock, it’s man-sized (so fairly big) and knit using tiny yarn and tiny needles, but it would just be nice not to spend 2 months per sock, which seems to be the time it’s taking so far. And I think I’m spending an OK amount of time on them amongst the busyness that is life – I get a few evenings a week, and any time during the weekend knitting it. Maybe I need to ramp it up a bit more. I don’t know! But I am enjoying it none the less, even if it is taking a while…

It snowed!

It snowed over the weekend!

Onto the acquisitions. I purchased some yarn from Knit Picks with these baby booties in mind. Again, I seem to be going back to knitting things for other people (the sock earlier isn’t for me, which you probably got from the fact that the socks are ‘man-sized’) and when I found out that one of Alvin’s cousins is pregnant, I just have to cast on a pair of the cute little booties! There are so many colour combinations from different people’s versions, so I had to follow suit and get some variegated yarn to make them. I don’t know if she wants to know the sex of the baby or if it’ll be a surprise, so I covered all bases (of course I did, it meant I could buy more gorgeous yarn!):

Knit Picks Imagination in 'Damsel'

Knit Picks Imagination in 'Damsel'

If it’s a girl, I’ll use Knit Picks hand painted Imagination yarn in ‘Damsel’.

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Lullaby'

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Lullaby'

If it’s a boy, Knit Picks Hand Painted Stroll yarn in ‘Lullaby’.

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Summer Vacation'

Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted in 'Summer Vacation'

And for either, Knit Picks Hand Painted Stroll yarn in ‘Summer Vacation’.

They are such lovely, squishy, soft, colourful yarns, I can’t wait to knit with them! I’m thinking of starting the multi-coloured ‘either girl or boy’ booties first, so that whatever happens, there are some finished booties waiting. And then I’ll get on with the blue and pink ones. There are quite a few cousins who are settling down, so I can see myself knitting a whole line of multi-coloured booties 🙂

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Apart from the Toddler Mittens that I managed to finish in time for my Niece’s Birthday, the only knitted gift I managed to finish was my Mum’s scarf (it was finished Christmas Eve!). I started my Grandma’s scarf at some point though, but changed the pattern from a mistake rib to something else, but can’t remember what it’s called… Anyway, that’s still a work in progress.

My Mum's Scarf

My Mum's Scarf

Following on from my resolutions in my last post, I’ve started a basic sock as my first ‘12 Socks in 2012‘ project. For Christmas, I got ‘Socks from the Toe Up’ as I wanted a good book to tell me exactly what to do and where when knitting socks (as well as a book full of patterns that I want to knit, not just half of them). And I have to say, even as a beginner knitter, the book is clear and easy to follow. Of course, there were things that I needed to clarify by watching YouTube videos and looked up a few things, but I’m really please with how my sock is going!

Socks from the Toe Up

Socks from the Toe Up

It’s quite slow going with the sock. I’ve never knit with anything thinner than DK weight yarn and nothing smaller than size 4mm needles, and it’s also my first ever sock, so it’s to be expected that it’ll take a while to finish. Just a couple more inches and then I knit my first heel ever. I’m definitely going to cast on the second sock straight away to avoid second sock syndrome!

The sock is coming along nicely

The sock is coming along nicely

I know that one of my resolutions was to knit more for me. Well… these socks are for my boyfriend, Alvin… But I will definitely be knitting some socks for myself soon I think, carrying on the 12 socks in 2012 🙂

In other knitterly news, I purchased my first sock club subscription from Yarn to Knit. I don’t have the budget to spend £200 on a yearly knitting club, but this one seemed perfect. It’s 3 months at a time, £35 including p&p (so £35 for 3 months) and it’s lovely hand dyed wool. I love surprises, especially of the sock yarn kind 😉

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Happy New Year!

As this is my first New Year where I am knitting, I thought I’d write down some knitting goals to achieve this year. I call them goals, because I’ve never believed in ‘New Years Resolutions’ – I think this name gives people pressure to change whatever it is they are trying to change and eventually give them up. Obviously this is not always the case. Plenty of people keep their resolutions, but I am not usually one of them! So I am going to list ‘knitting goals’ for myself to achieve throughout the year (and maybe some non-knitting related goals to shake it up a bit). So, here goes:

Knitting

  1. Have a go at Intarsia and/or Fair Isle. I have never done this before and to me this will be one of my biggest knitting challenges. I’m not putting the pressure on to knit a particular item using colour work, just to at least try, even if it turns out to just be a practice swatch.
  2. Make at least 6 pairs of socks. I’m putting a number on this one, as socks are very portable, quick to knit and as gifts, I think one of the most acceptable. I’ve joined the 12 Socks in 2012 group on Ravelry to help with this. I always admire hand knitted socks, so it’s time to just start knitting!
  3. Knit a jumper/cardigan (or sweater for those form the US). Another big knitting challenge. I want to at least try knitting a cardigan or jumper. Either for myself or a baby sized for my niece (which would be much easier!). Never knit one before, so why not!
  4. Learn some other knitting techniques. Apart from the colour work goal, I’d like to learn some different cast ons, maybe the magic loop method and possibly try lace as well.
  5. Go to a Stitch London meeting. I’ve always wanted to go to a knitting meet up with fellow knitters, but have never had the guts to just do it. It may sound silly, but to anyone else who’s is also a little on the shy side, you’ll understand! So this year, I need to bite the bullet and just go to one. They meet in venues around London, from 6pm (which is perfect seeing as I work in London) and I know I’d enjoy myself immensely once I’m there.
  6. And finally, knit more for myself. I have a bad habit upon learning anyone’s birthday or an event or holiday coming up – I get a sudden burst of inspiration to knit gifts for people. I love knitting things for people, but I need to be a little more selfish and make some items for myself. It also gets rid of the pressure of getting things done by certain dates!

Non-Knitting

  1. Keep on baking. Sounds a bit weird to say keep on baking rather than bake more or whatever, but in recent months I have been making the effort to bake things for birthdays and family gatherings, and I feel good putting in the effort and sharing the sweetness 🙂
  2. Try out different recipes. An extension of the above goal. I have my tried and tested favourites, it’s time I branched out and tried some different recipes. Not just baking, but savoury dishes as well. I have so many lovely cookbooks, I should try and step out of my comfort zone!
  3. And then there are the usual goals – eat healthier, start exercising again, procrastinate less…

..And I think I’ll leave it there before I list so many knitting goals, I won’t be able to even look at the list! Good luck to anyone else setting goals for the year ahead and hope you’ve had a great start so far!

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On Saturday, Alvin and I took the Tube into London for the Oxjam music festival in the Angel/Islington area. We had so much fun listening to unsigned bands and artists, drinking our favorite ciders, eating tasty food and perusing the old antique shops down Camden Passage.

But, there was one aspect of the day that I particularly enjoyed. I finally got to visit the Loop knitting shop. And oh what a wonderful place it is! Up until now I’ve been getting my yarn from online stores and big department stores like John Lewis. And as much as it’s great to have the large yarn selections of department stores, nothing beats a little knitting shop.

I loved the layout of Loop – buckets, boxes and cubby holes stuffed with yarn every which way you looked. They had a whole variety of colours, and at last! A large selection of fingering/sock weight yarn! I didn’t have that much time to look properly unfortunately; as I was with Alvin and a friend who met up with us before the music festival, I couldn’t really spend hours comparing all the different yarns. But I am happy to say I picked out a lovely variegated red sock yarn – Madeline Tosh in ‘Tart’. It was a bit on the expensive side, but it was to be expected from such a lovely, soft and hand painted yarn.

I cannot wait to cast on. I’m thinking Fruit Loop socks for myself.

Madeline Tosh Wool

Madeline Tosh in 'Tart'

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I’ve been fairly consistent with my knitting lately. I’m knitting nearly every day, and although it’s slow going, I’m managing to make a small dent in my list of knitted gifts for my family and friends. I think some items might end up being birthday presents as there are quite a few birthdays coming up before and after Christmas. It all depends on how quickly/slowly I get my gifts knitted!

Anyway, onto the list…

  1. Wash Cloths: friend (surprise gift) –  these are actually finished now, they just need to be blocked
  2. Toddler Mittens & scarf: my Niece [Birthday present – 24th November]
  3. Beer Gloves: Alvin [ASAP]
  4. Mistake Rib Scarf: my Mum [Christmas present]
  5. Mistake Rib Scarf: my Grandma [Christmas present]
  6. Mistake Rib Scarf: my Sister [Christmas present]
  7. Palm Readers: Me! [Whenever I have time]
  8. Star Crossed Slouchy Beret (using the same yarn to go with the Palm Readers): Me [Whenever I have time]
  9. Gretel hat: Me [Whenever I have time]
  10. Mr. Pitt’s Socks: my Dad [Christmas or Birthday present – 6th February]
  11. Tea Time Blanket: my Niece [Biggest project and of course I was convinced it’d be done by Christmas! I think it’ll post Christmas now]

Can I get all this done in time for Christmas? I’m currently full of delusion thinking yeah, that’s completely doable… I’m sure I’ll be panicking nearer the time!

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I almost didn’t go to the Knitting and Stitching Show; I know, shock horror! From reading up about it and looking at past pictures, I got the impression it was mainly exhibitions and galleries. I’m glad I was wrong and decided to go in the end!

The Knitting & Stitching Show

The Knitting & Stitching Show (not the greatest picture - I was busy taking in all the yarn!)

I went with my Mum (who’s more into sewing) on the Sunday and we had a really fun time. The place was packed and some stalls you had to wade through the sea of people to get near enough. I don’t know whether it was because of the last day or not, but a far amount of items had prices knocked down. I don’t know how I managed to do it, but I refrained from splurging on yarn. Maybe it was partly to do with the fact that my stash has become so large that it only just fits into my 3 drawer unit I bought the other day (pictures to follow). Eek!

We did get some yarn though. My Mum had asked me to knit her a scarf (after seeing the mistake rib scarf I’d made myself) and so this was the perfect opportunity for her to pick out some wool! She picked out this gorgeous muted blue wool with strands of pink, yellow, green and purple in. I also purchased some wool, a really bright magenta and purple mix. I didn’t go with a list of things to buy, so although there was a lot of tempting yarns, I just bought two of the magenta/purple yarn. I’m thinking a fingerless glove and hat set for myself 🙂

Can’t wait for the next knitting event. Next time, I’ll come armed with a shopping list!

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