Friday, 26 February 2010

The end result

So you know all that knitting that I had to get through- well I can now update you on some of it.
Those afghan squares? Well I got all the bits made up and then washed and blocked my squares out to the right size. Only they aren't the right size. After taking out all the blocking pins and measuring them again they are now half an inch too small. So I have to them again.
The socks that I planned to start? Didn't even manage to get them cast on yet. Won't be entering those for the Ravelympics then.

The good news however is that I did manage to get three baby items finished off which were very well received last Sunday at the baby shower.
The first thing I made was some little baby bootees. The pattern is Baby Slippers by Zoƫ Mellor from her book 'Adorable Knits for Tots'. I love this pattern- it's my go to for emergency baby gifts. So far I have made 3 pairs, each of them from a different yarn and in different combinations. It's so easy to adapt the pattern to fit each individual gift giving occasion. Plus you can easily do a bootee in an evening so its only a couple of days work to get it done.

For this pair I rummaged out some cotton from my stash- it's a 4-ply by Patons I think. I like it because it has a shiny thread running through it which is a bit different. The dark orange is the remains of some Rowan Cotton Glace that I used for my Sourcery afghan square. I ordered the buttons specially from e-bay (search for 'Waddles the duck').

I also made a Totoro baby bonnet from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. I made the smallest size and it took less than half a ball of yarn making an excellent gift in all sorts of ways. The fact that it is super cute probably wins over everything though.

My final knit was a little hooded kaftan made from Debbie Bliss Eco baby. More on this in another post as I made a couple of alterations to the pattern that I thought people might be interested in.
All modelling by Olas the bear- didn't have a handy baby to dress up in my newly finished knits.

Both of the last two projects I entered for the Winter Ravelympics (instead of my socks) in the Junior event so I'm sporting the following with pride :D

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Knitting diversions

As ever, I have a huge pile of knitting to get through. Most of this heap is of my own creation. I have been in a frenzy over the last couple of months and have started way more projects than I can possibly deal with at any one time. As always happens at this point external factors start kicking in that throw any kind of scheduling that I might have had overboard.
Right now, as of 9am today I have to have figure out how to fit this lot into the next two weeks:

x2 afghan squares to be sent off at the beginning of next week along with notebook entries for both pieces (that are to be compelled along with other peoples into a proper book for the recipient). Afghan squares should be fairly easy you say- they take no time to knit you say, but these squares are the equivalent of my Pratghan squares as they are for a member of the same group. This means that I am procrastinating in the extreme.

x1 pair of socks. Easy enough except that they are to be my entry for the Winter Ravelympics. Problem is that they start in 2 days and I still have socks on the needles that I want to use....
plus the socks that I want to make are for my husband which means that they have to be huge to fit on his big bearish feet.

Baby things! Whatever I want or need to make but my deadline is for a week this coming Sunday as I have been invited to a baby shower! First time I have ever been to one and I'm really super excited about going but now it means that I have to find baby gifts. So my thoughts, of course, turn immediately to knitting tiny cute things for babies and I'd like to give at least one knitted gift- I'm just not sure how its all going to fit in. At the very least I am going to have to make a Totoro baby hat though. They are the perfect people to make it for and I can't miss the opportunity. Now all I need to do is dam my enthusiasm about starting other big project pieces such as baby blankets and the like.

So they are all my immediate problems to deal with. I'm going to be knitting full time in the evenings to get all this done on time. What I haven't touched on is how much other stuff is just sat there waiting for me to finish it off. I'm sure I can't be the only person who gets themselves into this kind of WIP pickle! To add just a little extra spice to the whole situation I have an enormous amount of things to do at work so I'm putting in extra time there and then there is Valentines day to contend with- not that we are doing anything special but I will need to devote some time and attention to the husband which is time therefore taken away from knitting. If I was to actually work out the math of the situation I'm sure I could come up with some kind of count down timer on this so that I could watch it all drain away before my eyes.
Urgh, what a horrible thought.

Monday, 1 February 2010

R.I.P. Videosyncratic

You shall be sorely missed ~sniff~

For those of you that don't have the pleasure of being personally acquainted with the store Videosyncratic then let me bring a little enlightenment to your life. Videosyncratic was quite possibly the coolest independent video/DVD hire shop I have ever come across. Not only did they have an awesome selection of movies but the store was just fun to be in. How could you not love a store that has a shelf of Burt Reynolds movies? And another just for movies with impressive mustaches. It also had a fantastic selection of world cinema, manga and series box sets. Their prices were more than fair and they pretty much whipped Blockbuster in every way that counts.
Only problem was that DVDs are now so cheap through places such as Tesco's and Amazon that people just don't need to hire them anymore. When you can buy the movie for the same price that you can rent it then I'm sure you can work out what choice most people were making. Throw in on top of that extortionate rent prices and a population that halves outside of term time because you're in Oxford then its a real tribute to how hard the owners worked in order to make that business.

The videosyncratic closing down sale started today. The husband and I went in to try and grab ourselves a little piece of history. For us the Cowley Road store was a big part of our early relationship. We used to have a little flat not all that far away and on the days that we were in need or just feeling a little flush with cash we would pop round to the Pink Giraffe to pick up some chinese takeaway and then trundle over to Videosyncratic to pick up a stack of DVDs. Many was the time that we snuggled on our sofa watching movies rented from that shop. All the films we watched on my hen weekend came from there. I will surely miss that store.
When I tell you it was busy in there though I want you to think of the analogy of a tin of sardines- it was packed! I don't handle crowds so well so after a little browsing the husband jumped into the long, long, long queue whilst I browsed and popped in and out of the store as I felt the need. We picked up a few films including Batman Begins- not my choice. The husband spotted whilst he was in the queue and thought it was the good one so added it to the heap. Can you imagine our surprise though when we got it home to find the following inscriptions on the inside cover:

The weird bit isn't that there are messages on the inside cover- the store actively encouraged their borrowers to leave a review of the movie (the top case is the proper one. The bottom case with the writing is the one the movies is hired out in. For speed they were just giving out both earlier). The strange bit was that of all the movies that my husband could have picked up he grabbed the one were I was the first person to have left a message. He was reading it out loud in a kinda 'look honey, people left messages' type way when I put my head over his shoulder because it was sounding familiar (the use of the name Dawsons Crack rather than Creek should have been a give away). He hadn't recognised my handwriting and so got a shock when I pointed it out to him. I think he was even with me when I wrote the original message. Hee hee. Aren't coincidences great sometimes?

They also stocked a range of graphic novels and comics. I picked up the following two- the Neil Gaiman one for me and the Old Boy one for my brother as part of his birthday present. I just wanted to show you them together for a little juxtaposition...