Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Planning the next 3 months crafting

I don't think I've mentioned here yet but I've just got a job in York.  It's a small animal practice and I'm there on a 6 month temporary contract, which suits me perfectly since ideally I want to be in Scotland.  It'll give me the experience I need to hopefully get something more permanent in Edinburgh/Glasgow come next March.  It's a lovely practice, I worked there for 2 weeks a while ago and everyone is super friendly and helpful so I'm excited to start!

Since it's going to be 6 months away from the flat, I feel the need to plan my crafting for the next few months, at least up until Christmas.  I'm going to be back in Edinburgh every alternate weekend so in the meantime I'll need enough down in York to keep me occupied in the evenings.  I'm planning on joining a knitting group while I'm down there and I'd like to take a dressmaking course, if there's anything affordable and convenient timing-wise.  I'd also like to have riding lessons again but that's by-the-by since this is a craft blog!  I'm not going to have time to work at this rate...

I'm planning on taking my sewing machine with me, since I've also got Christmas presents to think of.  I'm currently halfway through sewing up a scarf for my Grandad, I'm using the red tartan from this skirt, it was left over from my Etsy shop when I shut down the vintage section and the material is lovely, 100% wool.  I'm backing it with some cream satin from my stash


I'm aiming for something like this (minus the tassels):

For Victoria this year, I'm making this awesome cable knit mini skirt.  Since she chose the pattern and yarn (Pebble by New Lanark) I can talk about it on the blog without spoiling the surprise.  I'm excited to try this pattern, I love a) cables, b) New Lanark wool and c) chunky yarn since it knits up so quickly!

Source: ravelry.com via Amy on Pinterest

For my Mum I'm knitting Owls by Kate Davies, again from New Lanark wool (I'm putting in a mass order this week!).  After Christmas I plan to knit myself one of these too, Mum and I (and Vicky!) can be matchy-matchy!

Source: ravelry.com via Amy on Pinterest

For myself I'm still slogging away at the Still Light Tunic.  It's not that hard going, it's just been put on hold for other projects recently.  I'm also planning on knitting myself a sweater from some amazing British Herdwick wool my Gran bought me for my birthday, I'm thinking of this Simple summer tweed top down V-neck (what a mouthful) since I'm needing a simple jumper to throw on over anything.  It looks a bit dull in the photo, but the projects made by folk my size make it look cuter, I think the trick is going to be waist shaping so I don't end up looking like I'm wearing a sack.


I'm also wanting to knit myself a hat, since all I've got is a pink tartan fur bear trapper and an old brown handknit that Andrew says 'makes me look like an old lady'.  Thanks love.  It's also a bit scratchy.

I can't decide between these three (I know some of the photos are of kids, the pattern does adult sizes too, before you point out the obvious size issues there)

Source: ravelry.com via Amy on Pinterest

Source: ravelry.com via Amy on Pinterest

Source: ravelry.com via Amy on Pinterest

There's a bit of a cables theme going on right?  I've got some lovely green Debbie Bliss alpaca silk that's been languishing in my stash for too long now so I thought the time might be right for it to be hatified.

I've also got a baby present to make (I'm halfway through that but can't reveal just yet!) and the new house blanket to finish so I think for the moment I've got enough to be getting on with!  We'll see how much I get done between now and Christmas...

Monday, 17 September 2012

Two knitted baby hats, sitting on a wall

Heather's baby, Alma, is now 7 months old and has grown out of her panda hat (though still fits the farmyard cardigan!).  Heather requested some more knitted headgear so I've been busy at the needles.



For those interested, the pattern for this one is Little Sister by Linda Permann.  I'm about to add it to my Ravelry so if you're friends with me over there you can see my notes (I'm 'SecondFiddle' if you want to add me!).  I chose a crochet pattern because I was going away for a wedding and had to fly, so knitting needles are out.  Man, I suck at crochet!  It took several attempts to work out this pattern and I was close to giving up at one point.  I know this is controversial, but I'm not a huge fan of crochet.  I guess just because I knit more, I'm more comfortable with knitting patterns and what I'm doing and I can generally visualise what a pattern will look like by reading the instructions.  Crochet on the other hand, might as well be written in elvish for all the use I find it at times.


I started off adding the crochet hearts (using the Heart Fridgie pattern from Ravelry) out of some luminous pink wool I've had in my stash for years.  I decided afterwards that they're too blob-like though, they're not obviously hearts and the pink looked a bit tacky.  So I swapped them for the crochet flower, a skill I learned whilst making my new house blanket (another ongoing project).




This second one is Poppy by Justine Turner  I really liked the '20s style cloche but the short rows were a bit of a nightmare, I've got tiny little holes every time I wrap and turn.  I'm not entirely sure whether this is my poor technique or the yarn being quite smooth and so not filling in the spaces.  Either way, I'll be practicing them in the future! 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Thrifted sweaters to winter blanket

Back in 2010 I made Andrew a blanket out of thrifted wool sweaters and backed with fake fur. It's a lovely warm, heavy blanket but it's always bothered me how...well, ugly it is. I didn't really have a plan when I made it, just felted the jumpers and went to town, cutting and sewing as I went.

Source: eddiebauer.com via Amy on Pinterest

 I've always planned to make another, prettier one and saw these on Pinterest a while back so pinned them as inspiration. Then, a few months ago, Imogene moved into a new flat and needed a blanket. I'd recently inherited a few blankets from a friend emigrating so I put two and two together and came up with a new sewing project!


038039This project has also been great as a stash bust, many of these blankets were once in my Etsy shop, before I shut down the vintage section. I love working with felted wool, it's so satisfying to sew. Imogene said that since the backing blanket was from Alison, it'll make her think of both me and Alison when she's snuggled underneath. Can't get much more approval of your craft than that really!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


A few weeks back, Imogene and I checked out Wool-tastic! at the National Museum of Scotland. Embarrassingly, after 8 years of living in Scotland, I'd never actually been to the museum, so it was a great afternoon for me on two counts, I finally got to see Dolly the sheep (who incidentally was post-mortemed by one of my old lecturers!).


The idea of the afternoon was to encourage the general public to engage with natural fibres and learn about wool, knitting and the history of the craft. The set up was lovely, lots of knitted armchairs and beanbags, plus an amazing tree covered in knitted leaves. There were loads of kids playing with wool, making pom-poms or learning to knit, it was lovely to see. Imo and I decided to make the deceptively 'easy' Knit A Rabbit From A Square. Ohemgee, it was awful. We were there for 3 hours, long enough for several of the helpers to comment on how long we'd been slaving away at our tiny little bunnies. Granted, Imo was teaching her boyfriend how to knit (kudos to him, there's no way I would have got Andrew anywhere near this event!) at the same time, but still, it took me the full 3 hours and I wasn't teaching anyone anything.


Basically you knit a square, then sew up the corners to make the legs and sew 2 rings to form the head and tail. It took me AGES to work out how to do the head, everything I did ended up with the head merging with the legs, like the rabbit had antennapedia. Not cool. I eventually gave up attempting to do the tail and instead made the tiniest little pom pom instead, which I actually think worked rather well.


Imogene was not best pleased with hers, I rescued him from a fate in the bin and, along with mine, will be making them into finger puppets for my friends' babies. I'm reasonably pleased with mine (the grey) but for the amount of time and effort put in, totally not worth it. The event was lovely though and definitely a nice way to while away a Saturday afternoon.

Knitted rabbits

Incidentally - is anyone else having issues with Photobucket?  Mine doesn't seem to be updating the size of my images after I've resized them, they still come out far too big when I copy them into a blog post, so you lose half of it over the edge.  It's really annoying, I'm thinking of changing to another host, anyone got any suggestions?  Preferably for free sites...!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Updating a handknit

Remember the BOB cardigan I made, way back in 2010? I love the blog, just as a record for my crafty endeavours. I never would have remembered when I made this cardigan, I was trying to work it out by myself, then just gave up and one quick search on my blog (the google search bar in the top left in case anyone out there needs to search, or there's a search bar to the right as well!) and there we have it, I finished it in May of 2010.

Anyway, I digress.

Remember when I made this cardigan? Remember the ridiculous chunky toggles I used at the time? Well, I loved them to begin with, but then over time the things I'd loved about them started to niggle me. Why are you so bloody chunky? I can't do up my coat over you. Or if I do, it makes me look lumpy in weird places, like I have a uni-boob coupled with a bizarrely shaped pregancy bump. Also, you make the cardigan sag at the front. Which, coupled with the slightly strangely shaped collar (my problem, not yours), makes this cardigan a bit unwearable. It languished at the back of my wardrobe for a while, until in my recent obsessive sort and clearance of the flat it got moved into my 'trunk of clothes to alter'. I'm determined to actually start altering some of these clothes, some of them have been in that trunk for over 4 years, it's silliness.


I didn't have 7 matching buttons so I've gone for 7 mismatching instead. I really like the outcome and I'm wearing it as I speak, so I judge this update a success!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Comfort in craft

It's been a funny old summer, since graduation. In many ways it's been lovely, it's great not to have to study, not to have the stress and pressure of exams looming over you, having time to indulge hobbies and see friends. In other ways it's been miserable though, job hunting is quite demoralising and adjusting to life 'in the real world' has been much harder than I anticipated. I definitely thrive off routine and habit, knowing where I'm going and what I'm doing. It's boring and completely un-spontaneous, but there it is. So having all the time in the world and no set goals has been...difficult. I feel ridiculous as I type that, talk about first world problems, but I guess that's just who I am and I need to embrace that.

I've found some things particularly comforting this summer, whilst my life has been in this state of flux. It's been nice to have some old friends to make you feel that whilst everything changes around you, some things stay reassuringly static.

1. Crafts. Obviously this is a craft blog and so unsurprisingly I find comfort in crafts. There's something so nice about being able to take half an hour with a cup of tea and an episode of the Office to crochet a baby hat or knit a jumper.


2. Tarquin Biscuit-Barrel III. We've had our share of ups and downs over these past 2 months but Badger makes me laugh on a daily basis and that in itself is comforting.


3. Bruntsfield. I'm definitely a home-bod, I like to nest and like nothing more than to spend a weekend in the flat pottering. But since there's now a ticking time limit to us being in this flat, I'm finding it harder to draw comfort from the house itself. Bruntsfield, on the other hand, is lovely. I'd like to live here for a very long time but I think that's not going to happen sadly. Still, there's something to be said for a sunlit walk on the Meadows with the dog, coming home to that view.


4. Arthur's Seat. You can see the unmistakable outline of this ancient volcano from miles around Edinburgh and so in my daily jaunts in and around the city, the comforting presence of this mound always makes me smile.


Normal service will resume shortly, everything I'm working on at the moment are for other people so I can't show photos until they've been given away!