Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Me.....Knitting?!?!?!!?!

I finally took the plunge and completed my first proper knitting project!!! There was lots of stress, pure frustration and childish tantrums!!! But I got there in the end and am "oh so proud" of my first knitted project.

I've had a strong desire to give knitting a try for a few weeks now. Firstly I was hugely impressed by some of the knitting work I had seen Dennis create, and secondly I couldn't help but notice all of the knitting inspired Christmas ornaments that were in the shops last month.





Knitting inspiration was everywhere!

I finally got around to giving it a try and started by just playing around with the basics. I watched videos online and read books to help me figure it out.
I was told that the continental style would suit me as I was used to holding the yarn in a similar way when I crocheted. This was the first hurdle, I struggled to hold an extra needle!!!  STRESS EXPLOSION!!!! Figuring out how to hold two needles and keep any kind of tension to the yarn seemed almost impossible! The yarn would hang all loose, which meant my needles kept falling out!!! I tried so many times but it just wasn't happening!
The knitting needles ended up being put away for a few more weeks!!!

I let my temper simmer down and came back to knitting with a slightly different approach. I asked some of you on my facebook page for guidance and tips that would help me along the way. Many of you kindly suggested different methods, needles and yarns that would perhaps make my attempt at knitting a little easier. I tried many different things but the biggest help was to change my needles from metal to wooden ones. I found metal needles very very slippery and therefore kept on dropping my work. The wooden needles seemed easier to grip and made my knitting a little tighter and more manageable.

Wooop! So I could finally hold the needles and yarn, now to try some stitches! After watching videos about the continental style method of knitting and not fully understanding, I finally gave in and asked Dennis to show me how it was done. He was very patient with me (just like when he taught me how to crochet) and he kept showing me until I finally started to get it. Knit stitch was fairly easy but the purl stitch was extremely hard at first. It really took a while for me to get that. I kept trying and worked little swatches to practice with.


Once I was a little more confident with these simple stitches, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and give my first project a try.
I searched Ravelry for a fairly simple pattern and after a recommendation from Dennis I settled upon "Daybreak" a  shawl pattern by Steven West.
I picked some suitable yarn in some slightly darker shades than I normally work with. I planned on making this for myself to wear and didn't fancy rainbow colours :-) I chose some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. It is sooooo lovely and soft, I knew instantly that this would feel amazing wrapped around my neck on a cold winters day.



Off I went to start my new project! At first I needed a few attempts to start it off. It was a little tricky, but once I got going there was no stopping!


Before long my project was growing and I was becoming slowly but surely faster and more confident with the stitches.



I was loving how the yarn was feeling when worked up, It felt almost silky smooth! I was also extremely pleased with the colours as they started to grow and stripe together. Blue, grey, blue, grey, blue......



There were a few loose baggy stitches every now and then and I dropped a few stitches once in a while. I tried not to let it bother me and just continued to keep going with the project. My initial reaction was to pull all of my work apart each time that I made a mistake. I started to realise I would get nowhere if I did that every time a mistake happened. As the project progressed and stretched out, I realised that my stitches were actually starting to look pretty even. I also noticed that any mistake that was made could also be corrected with the help of a trusty crochet hook. Learning by doing!

Before long I was reaching the end of my project. The knitting part was all done, it was just time to block it and stretch it out to the desired finished shape. I did this by making my project wet and patting out extra water. I then placed it on a large beach towel (to soak up any excess water) and blocked it with pins to the mattress on my bed.



It dried out nicely and each section ended up looking pretty even.


My first knitted project was done!!! I'm so happy with it! So happy that I even decided to model it in a picture for you! You have to bare in mind though....
A dancer, I am. A crocheter, I'm that also.  A Model......I'm not!!! Here I am looking randomly in some direction trying to look a little modelesque. It didn't really work! :-( Anyways, Ignore me and take a look and my scarf! I'm so very proud of it and I LOVE wearing it. The Debbie Bliss yarn is so soft and warm against my skin and I am extremely happy with the colours!


I'm totally chuffed to bits with this project and I can't wait for the next! I'm already on the look out for something simple that will challenge me with a few different stitches. I'm not sure what that next pattern will be yet, but I'll keep you posted!
Until then I have a fair few crochet projects that I MUST finish!!! Once again, my pile of unfinished projects is quite rapidly getting bigger!! EEEEEK!!!

Thanks for popping by!!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Granny Square Blanket.....The Sequel!

Good evening lovely people! How are you all doing?
I'm having having a nice night in at home, spending some quality time on my blog. I'm hoping to finally get around to updating my facebook page and replying to some comments!! But first I have a little something to share with you all.
Remember back in October I finished a very special granny square blanket for a friend of mine.


I was in love with this blanket and really found it very hard to part with, I had to start one of my own immediately! I wasted no time in ordering myself a new supply of Stylecraft. This time I didn't stick to the 17 colours from the "Stylecraft colour pack" but ordered myself an extra selection of colours to add to the colour pack. I had 27 colours in total to play around with.


Now I was taking a bit of a gamble with the colours, as I wasn't really sure what the over all feel of the blanket was going to turn out like. I was very much enjoying working with different colours and was especially loving the more muted tones like denim, teal and grape.

I got cracking with my granny squares and made them whenever possible. My initial plan was to make all of the squares individually and sew them together at the end.


However, after becoming a little daunted by the prospect of sewing together so many squares, I decided to use the "join as you go method" to join my squares.


Normally I wouldn't make all of my squares before joining, it kind of defeats the "joining as you go" idea. However, I decdied to make all of my squares first, purely out of personal convenience. I worked a lot on this blanket in between my shows at work. So I found it much easier to make 25 squares in the same colour, this way I only had to take one ball/colour of yarn to work.

Within a few weeks all 675 squares were finished (I made 25 squares in each of the 27 colours)!


NOW THE EXCITING PART!! I began to join my blanket!


I was amazed at how different this blanket was looking if I compared it to my previous one. It feels deeper and darker compared to the last.  You can see in the pictures below just how different the overall colour is. The picture on the left is my last blanket and the one on the right my current one.


I've had a little niggling feeling when I compare the blankets as I feel like I prefer the one that I gave away. I had moments when I almost decided not to finish my current one. I'm so glad I pushed through that phase though. As adding a border to it made me see it in a different light.
Here it is in it's full state of granny square greatness!!! (A little tricky trying to get it in one shot!)


Here's what I did with the border:


It's a little darker and maybe a tad moodier than my last blanket, but I think I'm liking that now. It just took me a little second to realise that it is a different blanket and so I'm aloud to feel differently about it.
It does look quite at home spread out across our bed!




This blanket was by far the quickest I've done. It took just six weeks to complete. I think it came down to pure determination and being very organised and strict with my blanket making regime! I'm so happy I still have some cold winter months to get some use out of MY granny square blanket. That's right.....I'm keeping this one!!!


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Spoiled Rotten!

I'm slowly getting myself back into a routine after indulging way too much over the past weeks.
For me, food has got to be one of the biggest and most enjoyable things about the Christmas festivities (along with spending time with loved ones). However,  I do find I get to a point when I just can't do it anymore. No more sweets and chocolate but a trip to the gym instead to lift my spirits.
It's been quite hard to break the cycle of eating too much junk food, especially as my family (very kindly) sent me a great deal of chocolate over from England.
Sometimes I think that maybe my mum doesn't realise that they also sell chocolate here in Germany :-)

Well I've finally got myself back to the gym and I am feeling good for it. The Christmas decorations are coming down and life is returning back to a somewhat normal pace. I do hate taking down the decorations, everything looks so empty and bare. I can hardly believe that for 95% of the year the decorations were not there anyway.
To fill the void that removing the Christmas decorations had left, I had to splash out on something a little cheery for the apartment. Some lovely bright roses. They make my heart feel all fluttery!!


I could stare at them for hours! Gorgeous, bright colours and everyday they open up a little more spreading bucket loads of light.


Tidying up the apartment and removing the tree gave me a moment to go through all of the lovely gifts I received. I really am very lucky!
Along with the mountains of chocolate my lovely family sent, I also received some clothes, candles and of course socks!! I've learned to appreciate receiving socks for Christmas, I used to hate it as a kid. I have to say, thanks to my mum I have a rather splendid sock collection for 2013.
Along with all of these lovely gifts I also received some rather amazing crafting goodies.



An adorable selection of buttons and ribbons from my amazing sister and my lovely friend Tracy.


Aren't those buttons crazy and I really can't get over how cute the ribbons are.!
I will definitely be putting these to good use, although part of me doesn't want to sew or cut the ribbons up as they seem practically perfect just the way they are.


I believe my sister purchased them at the cute little craft store in Bath. (The Makery Emporium)

You may have also spotted the cute little owl? it was also from Tracy, she sent me this as a 'thank you' present for the yarn I had sent her earlier in the year. She really didn't have to as she was actually doing me a favour by giving my unwanted yarn a new home. Nonetheless, I was chuffed to bits to receive this cute little needle holder. Thank you Tracy!!!


So sweet! I love his googly eyes, not to mention how organised my little needles are!

 My final crafty present, was a brand spanking pair of new handmade slippers! Ok I know it sounds a little crazy to get so excited about new slippers, and what's so crafty about them? Well...let me explain :-) These were my old ones:


Dennis made them for me. I loved them so very much and wore them all of the time, which very sadly meant this happened:


Soo sad! They were well passed retirement and sadly needed to be sent to slipper heaven.
But, imagine my utter delight when I received a new pair on Christmas day!! WOOP!!


Aren't they just lovely! Dennis did a great job making these and picking out a lovely set of new colours. I love them even more than my last pair.
I'd wear these on the street if I could, just to show them off to passers by :-)


I'm so very lucky and extremely grateful for my new gifts. I can't wait to play around with those crafty goodies whilst wearing my new slippers!!
Not sure what I'm going to conjure up yet. First i want to finish my current projects! Here's a little snippet of something I've been working on over the Christmas period.


It's my first time trying out some entrelac crochet and I'm enjoying the feeling of playing with this technique. I'll keep you posted with how it progresses!

What "new year projects" are you all working on? Something amazing, I'm sure!!!


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year!


Oh hello there!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! WOOOOOOOP WOOOOOOOOP!!!!!!
How are you all doing? I do hope you have had a lovely Holiday Season and are as excited about the new year as I am?!

How was your Christmas?
I  have had a really lovely one here in Hamburg. Time spent with my friends and enjoying a lot of yummy food and making great memories!

The Christmas days off from work were amazing . They were spent enjoying food with friends, over indulging and laughing lots! (I must get back to the gym soon though!)

Christmas day itself was quiet, but extremely special.  It was spent opening gifts from my family and watching some favourite Christmassy movies from my childhood. Of course there was also a Christmas feast and treats thrown in throughout the day.


Christmas was made that much more special as it was spent with Dennis. We have had such a lovely time together and it just seemed right to take the new year as a fresh start for the two of us and get back together. I'm so happy that we are both looking forward to a future together. That was more than any Christmas present I could have hoped for. :-)

The last few days of the year went as fast as the rest of the year!
2012 was a very busy and exciting year for me, personally and professionally. I made some great friends here on the blog and together we have had a positively creative year, crocheting and crafting our days away. 

I couldn't help but do a little project round up of 2012. Just looking at the pictures of my crafty endeavours all grouped together makes me feel very proud. I have such fond memories of creating each of these projects. It's been a tremendously fun year!


I'm thinking 2013 is going to be an awesome year also! I'm already sensing some big changes happening in my life. Talks of possibly moving to another city later in the year with my job are already on the horizon and the idea is exciting me no-end.
I've also made a start on some new projects and I'm even plodding along with the battle of trying to learn to knit! I'm very much looking forward to getting creative with you all throughout the new year!!
Here's to a year full of happiness, health, love, friendship and of course....... creativeness!!
Lots of love to you all!!!