Sunday, 29 September 2013

Year of Projects 3 - 29th September update

Three months in! This year is flying by at an astonishing rate. Luckily for me, my knitting mojo has returned and I've been racing through my latest projects.

$5 in San Fransisco is progressing well. I made a couple of modifications to the pattern as written, to improve the fit, which necessitated several rounds of threading a lifeline, removing the needle and trying it on. I'm glad I took the time over that though, as it looks like it's going to fit really well when I'm done.

I am also absolutely loving my colour choices. The bright teal against the dark navy is working beautifully (not that you can tell from the photo above!). It's Cascade 220 in colourways 8891 and 9568. I can see now why there are over 108,000 projects in this yarn on Ravelry! It's fantastic. So easy to knit with. And now I know I can easily get my hands on it by shopping at Loop London, well, I can see it featuring a lot more in my future knitting plans!

Incidentally, I am planning a trip to Loop on Wednesday as I happen to be in London for my exam; I hope nothing accidentally falls into my bag while I am there. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wednesday sure rolls round fast

Is it just me, or are the weeks flying by at the moment? I can't believe it's almost the end of September!

I've actually done a fair bit of knitting this week, as it has been a welcome distraction from all the revision I am having to do for my exam next week. Wingspan and Dragonfly Wings are both in the basket waiting to be blocked (will get right onto that after the exam is out of the way), which means I've been able to lavish some attention on my poor neglected socks.

I've reached the calf increases, so I really feel like I'm on the home stretch now. I am so glad I am doing these two at a time! I think I would have had a serious case of second sock syndrome if I'd done them individually.

I've also been working on $5 in San Fransisco. After a slow start (I had to cast on multiple times because I can never judge the length of the tail for the long tail cast on), I have reached the first colour change and am increasing for the shoulders.

It's my first knit garment so I'm very excited.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Year of Projects 3: 22nd September update

Another week, another Year of Projects update! Well, good news to start, as I've cast off Wingspan and it is now sitting in my basket waiting to be blocked. I am reserving judgement so far on if I like it or not, once it's properly finished I will make up my mind.

With that off the needles, I've been working on these this week:

Don't they look so pretty all piled up together! So what are all these projects, lets re-cap.

This is the baby blanket for my work colleague. I ran out of yellow as predicted, and switched to a peach yarn (which looks less pink than these photos would suggest). I think I might run out of peach too before it gets to the size I'm after, so as we don't know the sex of the baby, I might switch to a pale blue to bring it back to gender neutrality. Or a mint green, that might work nicely. Don't think I have a suitable yarn in the stash, so I might have to pop to Hobbycraft and pick something up.

Dragonfly Wings has had a couple more rows added to it since last week, but it's such slow going! I realised a few days ago that the lovely new posh needle I bought to knit Mrs Tumnus was the same size as the cheap bamboo needle I am using for this shawl, so the next row I knit I am going to switch needles. I think using a nicer needle will encourage me to finish this off quicker.

The obnoxious socks are crying out to be finished. It's almost cold enough to switch back to knee high socks under my trousers in the office, and I can't wait to wear these and see what people say! But, I can't wear them until they are done. So I'd better pull my socks up (pun intended) and get some knitting done on these.

Unfortunately, the socks might get pushed to one side for my new project! With Wingspan cast off, that opened up a space in my WIP pile, and I decided it was time to start work on $5 in Paris. Because the skeins are so big, I decided to hand wind the Cascade 220 rather than make a cake. I've gone for the darker blue for the ribbing, and spent ages trying to figure out how many stitches I needed to cast on! The pattern isn't that descriptive on sizing, and I'm still not sure I've got it right. Lots of trying it on as I go I think!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Year of Projects 3: 15th September update

So, it's been over a month since my last Year of Projects update. I actually had to go check out my Ravelry page to remind myself what I've got going on!

Pretty much all of my outstanding WIPs are from the list! Sadly, my progress on them is nowhere near where I anticipated myself being at this stage in the year.

Peerie Flooers is rapidly approaching a year since I cast off, and I still haven't blocked it and woven in the ends. If I want to wear this hat this winter, I'd better get on to that soon!

Flash of Light, my Dragonfly Wings shawl for the Pick-a-Boo KAL, was sadly neglected and I failed to finish it by the end of the KAL itself. It's currently hiding on a shelf, but I am going to get round to finishing it at some point! I really don't have that much left to do on it, I just need time where I can concentrate, because now I'm in the lace border and I don't want to make a mistake!

My Obnoxious Socks stalled for a while because I misplaced the needle I was using. It has been found now (it was down the sofa cushions) so these socks will become my mindless knitting project again soon.

Starlight was originally intended to be knit and completed by the beginning of October, so I could wear it to my friend's wedding. Sadly, I haven't touched it in ages and there is no way I will have time to get it finished. So I'm putting it on the back burner and will get it finished in time for a wedding next year instead.

Esiotrot just needs a little bit of sewing and stuffing. It's almost done, just the legs and head to go. But as I don't need it finished until Christmas, it can wait for now.

Wingspan is oh so close to being finished! I have completed all of the triangles, and only have a few rows of garter stitch border to go. I'm hoping to get that done today, so I can at least have one FO in September!

The final project on the go is a new one. I started a baby blanket for one of my team, as she is having a baby in December. We don't know what she's having, so I'm using the last of my James C Brett Top Value DK in a lovely pastel yellow, which has already provided two baby blankets, two baby pillows and a hat. I may run out of it before the blanket is the right size, so will have to choose a suitable contrast colour from my stash of acrylics. I've got a lovely peach colour that might work...

Friday, 13 September 2013

More LARP tat

I don't know quite what it is about this hobby, but LARP provides so many opportunities to be creative! One of the main themes of my character's experiences over the last four years has been falling in love with people, only for them to die in incredibly harrowing circumstances. Before I went to Renewal, I had been idly considering making a locket containing a drawing of one of those characters, who had died almost two years previously.

This is us three years ago.
Copyright Iain Sewell

I didn't get a chance to do it before the event, as for once there weren't any decent lockets on sale in Claire's Accessories! It's usually such a handy place for LARP suitable jewellery tat. So I went to the event without my locket, and figured I'd sort it out when I got back.

What I didn't realise was that at some point during the event, the other characters I was extremely fond of would also end up dying! (Seriously, it appears to be a really bad thing for you to have my character like you. It's like an accelerated death sentence. I think I might have to become a nun or something to stop it happening again!). So when I got home, after I'd recovered from the event, I decided to rethink my locket idea. I found one on eBay that could hold four pictures, and set about finding a decent IC head shot of all four of the friends I'd lost.

I used Picasa to edit the photos to make them look like pencil drawings, and mucked about with the photo printing settings in Microsoft Picture Viewer to print them as small as I could. Ten minutes carefully cutting them out and sticking them into the locket (protected with that fab stickyback see through plastic stuff you can buy) and I have a gorgeous piece of kit that I cannot wait to wear to the next event (if only for the lovely roleplay it will generate when someone asks to see what is inside).

I am so pleased with how this has turned out. And it only cost me a fiver!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Cake painting

Before the last LARP event, I decided I was going to decorate a cake for an IC coronation we were planning. The faction I am now part of is big on heraldry, so it was an easy decision to make to create a cake adorned with the heraldic device of the kingdom we were holding the coronation for. Unfortunately, the in game heraldry was not designed particularly well, so I had some pretty tough source material to work from.

The shield of Essex

I spent ages thinking about the best way to achieve this on a cake. I settled in the end for airbrush food paint, as I thought stencils and using Jamie's airbrush (that we bought for painting 40k models!).

Our first experiments with the airbrush didn't go so well. The paint transferred onto the icing alright, but I couldn't get crisp edges from my stencils, and the risk of the red and blue bleeding into each other and making a horrendous blackish-purple was too high. In the end, I settled for painting by hand.

I decided to do two cakes, as the only pre-iced cakes I could find were quite small. This Lion is one I found in a Google image search, which co-incidentally turned out to be exactly the same one as the previous Kings had used as their symbol and was all over banners all over the camp! It took a couple of coats of the food paint to get a good clean covering, but it was worth the effort.

I failed to get a picture of the finished cakes. The Essex cake had "Long Live the Queen" iced around the edge, and the Lion cake said "We Shall Not Falter".

I was so pleased with how they turned out! And everyone at the event said such nice things about them. I have already started planning my second attempt at cake decoration.

I'm going to do a much bigger one this time, with all ten shields on it. Some of them have quite intricate designs, and they will be smaller than the one I made (only 3 inches tall) as they will be adorning the side of the cake rather than the top. I've found a decent sized iced sponge cake on the Waitrose website, which I will be ordering as soon as the date for the banquet is announced! Watch this space!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Radio silence

Well, seems I've not been around here in a while! I've been quite busy since I last posted, mostly because of LARP.

I'm afraid I didn't get any decent pictures of my new kit from the event; I have this knack of avoiding all the cameras it seems! The only picture that has appeared so far is this one:

Copyright Steve "Flasher" Mitchell
It was taken during the battle on the last day of the event. The High King of our faction and his sister had just been killed, and I spent the rest of the battle crying over their bodies and not doing anything useful at all. In fact, the event as a whole was so emotionally draining (I don't think I've ever cried so much in such a short period of time!) that it took me almost a week to get over it!

While I managed to avoid most of the cameras, I'm fairly sure I was caught on video a few times through the course of the event. A film crew (Slender Pictures) was there getting material for another promotional video, and I was interviewed by them as part of that filming. When the videos are released, I will be sure to share them with you!

Of course, I came back from the event full of enthusiasm for LARP, even though the season is now over. Lots of ideas for new kit, and other things to make! Unfortunately for you, and this blog, most of that creative energy has been poured into the writing of an IC journal for my character, spanning the last four years of game play. It's up to 25,000 words already, and I still have most of the last event to write up. Once that's done, I'll turn my writing energy back to this blog. I may even have some knitterly progress to share for this week's Year of Projects update!
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