Found: An un-finished (and long lost) jumper.

A good few months ago I mentioned in a post about an aran jumper I was knitting.  Well, I lost it.  I was getting work done in the house and put it somewhere ‘safe’.  I thought it had been accidentally thrown in the bin and was gone forever…..until tonight.  I was looking for something else and found it in a bag in the corner of a cupboard that doesn’t get used very often.  To say I was delighted was an understatement!  I sat tonight and completed the front.  Just two sleeves to go now.

(Note to self:  Find a more interesting backdrop than the living room floor!).

I got the latest copy of ‘Cast On’ from The Knitting Guild Association a couple of weeks ago.  There’s some beautiful patterns inside…..

Isn’t that gorgeous – look at the detail!

There was a couple of aran jumpers that caught my eye too.

I bought myself a new mug with a fair isle design on it.  Isn’t it cool?

I love this heart shaped ice cube tray – it’s just a pity we’ve not had much of a summer to make use of it.

My peas and rhubarb are coming along nicely.  The rhubarb has been put into bigger pots since this photo was taken.

I planted a herb garden and a pot of tomatoes in the kitchen too and that is growing well.

The mint isn’t growing as quick as the rest even though the seeds were planted on the same day.

My garden has been blooming nicely and looking lovely and colourful.

The sweetpeas got planted from seed earlier on in the year and I can’t believe how quickly they have grown.  They smell absolutely gorgeous!

I’ve taken an interest in baking.  I made a victoria sponge with fresh cream and strawberries for my Mum and Dad who came to visit and dog biscuits (of all things!).

Cuilean got his hair cut again (not as short as last time though thankfully!).  He was so soft and fluffy and smelled lovely.  I couldn’t stop cuddling and sniffing him.  😀

I started making my own cleaning products recently using baking powder, lemon juice, essential oils, vinegar and castile soap.  It’s so much nicer than commercially bought stuff which I find catches in my throat.  I like using Dr Bronner’s castile soap, it’s so versatile.

I was walking down the high street in Inverness last week and was approached by a lovely Irish woman and she handed me a sprig of lucky white heather in return for a donation.  I didn’t have my coin purse on me but she told me to keep the heather anyway so it’s taped to the side of the fridge for luck.

A few weeks ago I was woken at about 1am by Cuilean and my sister’s dog Bo making an almighty noise. I jumped out my bed to see what the commotion was about.  A little bird had came into the house and was hiding behind the bathroom door.  The dogs were trying to get it, I was trying to grab both dogs and get the bird before they did when the little thing ran between my feet and hid behind the laundry basket.  Initially I thought it was a mouse as it was so fast.  Isn’t it the sweetest little bird?

It was so small – no bigger than a golf ball.  I put it in a cardboard box on a towel with a saucer of water and left it in quiet room away from the dogs.  The SSPCA came later on that day and took it away.  It’s wing was injured but the girl that collected it said she thought it would make a full recovery.  She took it home for observation and to feed it up for a couple of days before releasing it.

I am a Princess – it’s official!  (According to my Sister anyway).

Who am I to argue with that!  😉

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This & That…..

I can’t believe we are more than halfway through June!  Where has this year gone?  It doesn’t seem like 6 months ago I was moaning about taking my Christmas decorations down.  I’ll be putting them all back up again before I know it!

I’m nearly finished module 4 of my course, just a tiny bit left to do.  I’m determined to have the whole thing finished by the end of this year so I can make a start on the diploma.

I finished the garter st hooded jacket by Debbie Bliss a while ago and finally got round to photographing it.  I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

I bought myself a ball winder.  I’ve wanted one of these for ages and am having great fun transforming skeins into cakes of yarn.

This yarn is by ‘Virtual Yarns’ in colourway ‘Pebble Beach’.  I bought it so long ago I forgot what I was going to make with it but I love the colours.

I bought myself ‘Sweater Design in Plain English’ by Maggie Righetti.  It’s a brilliant book.  I’ve found it to be quite handy for my course.

I joined ‘The Knitting Guild Association’ earlier on this year too.  They publish a magazine called ‘Cast On’ which is pretty good.  It has lovely patterns, good articles and tutorials.  I enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next issue.

I’ve found myself getting into gardening recently – something I’ve never really bothered about before.  I’ve planted garden peas…..

and rhubarb.

They seem to be thriving which I’m surprised about as I’m not particularly good with plants.  Having said that, I planted some strawberry seeds too and not one has sprouted so I don’t know where I went wrong there.  I’m putting it down to a bad batch of seeds (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!).

I bought a couple of hydrangea’s and a couple of conifers (I think they’re conifer’s – please correct me if I’m wrong!).  I need hardy plants in my garden that are dog proof.

This is my favourite wee corner of the garden with my lavender, daisies and montbretia.  I love the wildness of it and the colour combinations.

I got a new kitchen and I can’t believe how much more space I have now.  I went from having literally one cupboard for all my plates, bowls, cups, glasses, pots and pans etc…..

to having loads of room.  It’s so lovely being able to lift out a plate / cup / bowl without having to lift half a dozen things out the way first.  Even Cuilean has his own food cupboard now.

(Please note:  The old cupboard hasn’t got dirty shelves.  No amount of bleach and elbow grease got that to look white).

My boiler quite often plays up and takes an age for hot water to get through which is frustrating when I want to get my dishes washed.  The kettle doesn’t boil quick enough for me and I have to boil it 3 or 4 times until I get a decent amount of hot water anyway so instead I fill my basin with hot water from the shower.  My Mum couldn’t believe her eyes – I thought she was going to have kittens!  It works fine for me as I can control the temperature and it’s hot water on demand.  Am I the only person that does this?!

The weather here in Inverness has been dreich* the past few days.  We did have a lovely few days last month where it was scorching hot so I took my camera out with me one day when walking Cuilean.  This is the River Ness – a beautiful walk and only 5 minutes from the city centre.  The castle in the background is our sheriff court!

I think it’s a beautiful building and would make a gorgeous hotel.

This is my favourite view of the city although it’s not a particularly good photo.  This is just a 5 minute walk from my house.  When the streetlights are on at night it’s really nice and at Christmas time when all the lights and decorations are up it’s lovely.

I joined ‘Scottish Slimmers’ last month.  It was one of my new year’s resolutions to lose weight.  I know it’s June but better late than never.  I started off at 14 st 5lbs and am now 13 st 9lbs so I’m quite pleased.  It’s a step in the right direction.  Height-wise I’m 5ft 3″ or 5ft 4″ so I know the weight I was, was not healthy.  It’s a good simple diet to follow and you can still eat what you like as long as you don’t go over your allowance.  I must admit I found the first week really hard and I thought about food all the time – what I could eat and how many checks it was but now it’s much easier and I’m enjoying it alot more.  I’m going to America later in the year to visit family so am hoping to be at near enough my target weight by then.

My Sister bought me a cute present to hang on my wall and I think it’s so true!….

That takes pride of place beside these ceramic wall ornaments I bought in Dublin many years ago.

The Angel is actually a Christmas decoration but I think she’s too pretty to be seen just once a year.

Talking of little Angels, here’s my best buddy with the cutest smile.

*Dreich – A Scottish word for wet and miserable weather. 

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Module 3 – City & Guilds Knitwear Design. Fashion Accessory – Part 2. (Certificate).

Fiona kindly asked me if I would re-do my Fashion Accessory which was a hat and add a stitch pattern to it instead of stocking stitch for variation which I gladly done.  I designed and knitted two baby hats, one in half-linen stitch and the other with cables.  The half-linen stitch was a beanie style hat and the cable hat was knitted straight up with no shaping and finished with a three needle bind off with a square top and a little button.

My various swatches done in the round.

My half-linen st hat.  This stitch pattern is lovely and is one of my favourites.  I was quite pleased with how the hat turned out.

My cabled hat…..

…..and the view from the top modelled by my trusty Berenguer doll ‘Charlie’.

Meet my little Charlie,  I think he is really cute but he gives my Sister the creeps!

I bought myself some new books recently.  ‘Saturday Treats’ and ‘Whimsical Little Knits 3’, both by Ysolda Teague and ‘Finishing School’ by Deborah Newton.

The thought of taking a pair of scissors to my knitting like that brings me out in a cold sweat!  The colourwork is beautiful though, and the finished result is stunning!….

And last but not least, I bought ‘Principles of Knitting’ by June Hemmons Hiatt.  This book is absolutely fabulous and is really comprehensive.  I love it!

I seen this in a shop recently and just had to buy it.  Noughts and Crosses with sheep and sheepdogs.

Aren’t these little figures adorable?!

Talking of adorable, my Sister asked me last year what I would like for Christmas and I said a bird house as I’m planning on having a small wildlife garden to try and entice birds, bees and butterflies into my garden.  This is what she bought me.  I think it’s too nice to be anything other than an ornament.

I bought a couple of smaller bird houses too.  Hopefully they’ll get used – I just love to hear birds singing and see them flitting about.

I took my wee Cuilean to the dog groomers a couple of weeks ago.  The groomer asked what I would like done and I said to cut his hair short.  He went from this…..To this…..

I didn’t recognise my own dog!  I walked into the groomers and was looking for him and I stared straight at him but it still didn’t register that he was mine until he barked at me.  I honestly think I would’ve walked past him in the street.  He’s starting to look more like his old self now though.  That’s in no way a criticism to the groomer – she done a fabulous job.  I just couldn’t believe how different he looked.

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Module 3 – City & Guilds Knitwear Design. (Certificate).

Finally got module 3 posted to Fiona today.  Again, this post is picture heavy with a breakdown of the course content.

Activity 1:

The objective of activity 1 is to be able to work with a fashion template and illustrate a variety of garments.

Activity 2:

Activity 2 is to knit a range of knit and purl stitch patterns, which should include stocking st, garter st, moss st,  1 x 1 rib, 2 x 2 rib, at least 2 wide rib patterns and at least 3 knit and purl patterns, e.g: gansey style patterns.

Activity 3:

Activity 3 is to do knit at least 2 examples of crossed stitch patterns.

Activity 4:

Activity 4 is to knit at least 2 cable patterns, one simple and one more complicated.

Activity 5:

Activity 5 is to knit at least one sample each of popcorn and bobbles and at least two examples of embossed patterns.

Activity 6:

Activity 6 is to collect a variety of charted patterns.

Activity’s 7 & 8:

Both these activities were to calculate a round neck set-in sleeve pattern and to calculate a v-neck raglan sleeve pattern.

Fashion Accessory:

I had to design and knit a fashion accessory and had the choice of a hat, belt, bag, collar, scarf, shawl or a piece of jewellery.  I chose to do a plain st st hat.  As well as the designing and knitting the hat, I had to do a sketch, a swatch, a design brief and an action plan.  I was quite pleased with how the hat turned out although would’ve preferred it to have a more rounded top.

I love Christmas and hated taking down my Christmas tree and decorations.  The house looks so bare now.  The Angel on the left hand side my Mum gave to me and is older than me.  She’s been carefully wrapped up and stored away.  (The Angel, not my Mum!).  😉

Here’s some of my favourite decorations.

Still, only 343 days till Christmas!     😉

And finally, couldn’t write a post and not include a photo of my wee boy.

Happy Knitting!

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Happy New Year!

Wonder how many of these I’ll keep?!……..

I treated myself to some new books over Christmas: The Barbara G Walker Treasury Knitting Pattern series 1 – 4 and Aran Sweater Design by Janet Szabo.

Cuilean was overwhelmed by the New Year and spent the whole evening lying on the couch.

Right now, we are both relaxing in front of the fire, me with a bowl of home-made sweet potato & parsnip soup and a glass of non-alcoholic mulled wine and Cuilean with a rawhide chew.

Happy New Year and all the very best for 2012!

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Happy Christmas!

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Love this Christmas advert!

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Happy St. Andrew’s Day!….

For all Scots at home and abroad.

I love this song! x

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Challenge Kelly.

I’ve decided to challenge myself to see how much I’ve learned since starting my C & G course.  I’m going to design and knit a baby’s aran jumper and call it, “Annie” after my Gran who taught me to knit.  I’ll use the Lion Brand Vanna’s choice baby aran yarn I got a few months ago and try out my Bryspun needles properly.

I treated myself to Ysolda’s new book, ‘Little Red in the City’ to accompany ‘Whimsical Little Knits 1 & 2’ that I bought a while ago.  I’ve not had the chance to read it properly yet but it certainly looks excellent from what I’ve seen so far.

I knitted a couple of egg cosies for my sister which were designed by Suzie Johnson from ‘The Wool Sanctuary’.  They were featured in Kirstie Allsopp’s programme, ‘Kirstie’s Homemade Home’.  They were super quick to knit up and are so cute!

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Module 2 – City & Guilds Knitwear Design. (Certificate).

I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since I last posted.  I’m finally getting round to putting up my previous module from my city & guilds knitwear design course.  I’m almost finished module 3 so will photograph it and post it before I send it away to be marked. It’s a bit picture heavy this time but the module was enjoyable.  There are 16 activities in total for this module.

Activities 1 – 10 came under the heading ‘designing’ and ranged from painting your own colour wheel, painting tints and shades, working with complementary colours, and paint ranges of intermediate colours.  I’ve shown my examples in the photo below.  (Activities 1 to 4).

Activity 5 shown above was to find a postcard and make a torn paper collage matching it in colour and texture as much as possible.

Activity 6 was yarn wrappings again using a postcard and finding yarns as closely matching the colours on the postcard as much as possible.Activity 7 was pretty much the same as the previous one only making a wrapped frame to match the postcard using various coloured yarns.

Activity 8 was to make a wrapped landscape using the same methods as above.

Activity 9 was a mosaic picture which for some reason I never photographed.  It basically was the same postcard and I had some square paper and done the postcard in mosaic form using felt pens and colouring pencils trying to match the colours / shades in the picture.

Activity 10 was again using paints to try and match the colours on the same postcard.  Also involved was photocopying the examples below and making various patterns from the cut out examples.

Activities 11 – 14 came under ‘knitting’ and consisted of colour mixing in knitting shown below.  For activity 11, I had to knit a piece of fabric using different stitches and blending colours together.

Activity 12 was doing knitted examples of  activity 10.  (Looking back on the photo’s I certainly don’t believe in weaving in ends!)

Activity 13 was shaping, using various increases and decreases.

Activity 14 I never photographed which was joining seams: knitted seam join, mattress stitch join, backstitch join and slipstitch join.

Activities 15 & 16 came under ‘general knowledge’.  Activity 15 was drawing a basic block from measurements taken from a person, in my case I used my sister.

Activity 16 which I never photographed was the same as 15 only using different necklines, sleeve types etc.

After all my hard work I decided to treat myself so bought a set of Bryspun needles from sizes 3.25mm – 5.50mm and a couple of ‘fix-it tools’ which is basically a little cable needle with a crochet hook at the opposite end.  It’s a handy wee gadget to have on hand for dropped stitches etc.  I also bought myself some Lion brand Vanna’s choice baby aran and Lion cotton.

And, last but certainly not least a picture of the wee boy who has tried to get in every shot I’ve taken of my work.  My best friend Cuilean.  (Pronounced cool-ann).

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