Saturday, 29 March 2008

Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Here's Catbert at Covent Garden, showing off her Diamond Fantasy Shawl. DSoK the Intern and I travelled to London to meet her on Thursday, in order to collect our Christmas presents, which were tickets to the Lord of The Rings at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. It was a great show, by the way, if you like LoTR I really recommend it. The sets are amazing. We stayed on for a Q&A session with some cast members after the show and I learned amongst other fascinating facts that it takes Galadriel two hours to have her makeup and hair done, and that the hobbit feet are comfortable to wear.

Sadly hobbit feet were not on offer in the souvenir gift shop, or I would have been sorely tempted.

Here is the shawl before blocking:

And after blocking - what a difference! I was afraid it would not be large enough but in fact it is a good size. I used a skein of Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino Dream in Fiery Fuschia, on 5mm Knitpicks Options, and knitted five and a half repeats as I was afraid of running out of yarn. I really enjoyed knitting it and would like to knit myself one now, maybe in a semisolid.

I've also started knitting the Bergere de France Cable sweater. Here's the first few inches of the back:

Saturday, 15 March 2008

There's Hope and Cushions

Last weekend I finally finished two cushions which have been On The Hook for ages. The first one is the textured cushion from Erika Knight's Simple Crochet (a fab book for new crocheters btw). I started this in 2006, I do believe, just after attending the crochet course which got me back into knitting and fibre arts. The yarn is a strange kind of raffia like yarn with beads on it, by Ice Yarns, which I got from Yarn Paradise on ebay. I've also got a blue version of this yarn with sequins rather than beads in.

It is a swine to work with because it splits, but it was manageable for the cushion front, as the lace pattern is quite interesting, so I did that quite quickly. Then you are supposed to crochet the back in two pieces, in double crochet (that's single crochet for any US readers). I'm sorry to say that I'm such a shallow crocheter that I found interminable double crochet with a yarn that splits was not enjoyable. What am I like? So I stopped. For over a year. Finally I worked out that I would just use the front, and attach it to a sewn cushion cover, and that's what I've done. I think it looks really cool!

The second cushion is made of granny squares, and it is loosely based on the Modern Afghan pattern, also from Simple Crochet. Regular readers may recall that I started crocheting these aquares about one year ago, mainly on the flight from Hong Kong to Auckland. There was one square which I didn't like so much as the others, and until I got around to frogging that square and redoing it with better colours I was stuck. As soon as I had changed that square I wanted to carry on and complete the cushion, so that's what I have been doing. I just love it and it is so cosy and snuggly.

One day I am going to make a granny square afghan, too, as I just enjoy playing with the colours so much.

I have also got around to tidying up the blog sidebar a bit. Finished in 2006 has gone; I have added the last two projects for 2007, although I must say that the overall total still looks a little pitiful compared to some; and I have created a Finished in 2008 category. So far, it is mid March, and these cushions are my first FOs, which is a bit disturbing, but the Diamond Fantasy Shawl and the second Snowflake sock are whizzing along now.

And finally, I have created a section for the Babette Blanket. I intend to post a photo for the colours for each month's theme and then the crocheted squares when they are done. This month's colours are intended to represent new growth of leaves and buds in Spring.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

The Knitbert List - March

This year I thought we would have a change from Memory Lane, and have the Knitbert List. I got the idea from Jacquie. So I will publish a list of 10 things each month.

March's List is:

10 Favourite Foods:

1. Smoked salmon
2. Any other kind of salmon
3. Fish and chips (I prefer plaice, but cod is good too)
4. A mixed salad, with watercress and rocket, and assorted vegetables, and a garlic vinaigrette
5. Risotto (any kind - I had one with smoked haddock and chorizo last week, and I also like butternut squash risotto, mushroom risotto, asparagus risotto, well, you get the idea...
6. Pumpkin and Ginger soup (my favourite Hallowe'en recipe)
7. Creme brulee, which I think is a good test of a chef's ability
8. Venison. I once had a wild venison burger and chips, in Geraldine, NZ. Mmmm!
9. Roast Turkey
10. Chocolate mousse. Did you know that this is one of the lowest fat deserts you can have? No really, help yourself to seconds...

As it happens, I have been tagged by Fiona, which means I have to give five facts about myself. So there you are, ten facts for the price of five. I should really tag other people, but I'm still thinking about it.

Last week I finished crocheting my Romance squares for my Babette blanket, for the Crafty Threads and Yarns Quilt a Long (yes, I know it's not a quilt). I like how they have turned out, and I am currently planning my colours for the March theme, which is Hope. I've got some more Karisma from Scandinavian Knitting Designs on order.

I also realised this week that I was about to run out of two marvellous cosmetic creams which I purchased in Singapore last summer. They are by a company called Skin Food, and they really work well, so I was a little worried that I would age ten years overnight, which at my time of life, dear reader, is no laughing matter. Skin Food is a Korean brand, and does not seem to be available in Europe. However, I found Sweet Violet's Gift Shop on ebay, and she stocked some Skin Food products. I emailed her and within 24 hours she was stocking what I had asked about, and some new related products which I most certainly will be trying. I am looking forward to receiving my order, as I'll be able to expose my skin to daylight again.

Catbert will be pleased to learn that I have restarted work on her Diamond Fantasy Shawl, and now have only two repeats to go. Go Knitbert!