Friday, 31 December 2010

Goodbye 2010, hello 2011

I've spent a fair bit of the last week knitting and also mulling over 2010.

I've had a pretty good year. I haven't made as many large items for myself as I'd have liked to but I did do some sample knitting which I enjoyed as it makes me knit things I wouldn't normally knit for myself.

Here's a quick list of my 2010 highlights:

Meeting internet knitters in real life. I met loads of you at shows with p/hop, so many that I got very bad at remembering people's names, which is something I am normally good at. A few knitters came to stay at ours which was great (look at my stash) and I stayed with a few knitters I have known for years on Rav but finally met in real life (I looked at their stashes).

Going to Stitch London meetings. Similar to the above with the added enjoyment of teaching someone to knit for the first time. You can do this too but you'll have to wait for me to be at a better PC to add links.

I learned a fair few new techniques this year, my favorite being the German Twisted cast on which I now use all the time.

Twitter has been awesome this year and I have made new friends and learned more about old ones through it.

I'm typing this under a duvet at my MIL's house in France where we are spending New Year. I have a hot cup of tea and the lovely Mr Gingeknits next to me as well as American Gods by Neil Gaimen which I have been meaning to read all year and finally started it on the train to my MIl's house this afternoon.

One of things I am going to try and do more off in 2011 is read more fiction. It's the one downside to knitting (well that and the fact knitting doesn't burn enough calories for my liking)that it eats into my reading time. Maybe I should learn to read and knit at the same time, though I like giving both things the attention they deserve.

Aside from that I don't really have resolutions, more a list of new things to try. I'd like to learn Brioche stitch, more techniques and improve my lace knitting in 2011 as well as complete the knit 52 pairs of socks in a year challenge which I'm a little way behind on at the moment though that deserves another blog post.

Anyway, I'm rambling on like a woolly Ronnie Corbett when I should be giving my MIL a hand with dinner. Goodbye 2010, you've been a fun year. Wishing you all a happy and peaceful 2011.


Oh yeah, how could I forget, I got two crochet patterns published this year. My first job of 2011 will be to add myself as a designer on Rav. Eeeek!!!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Ho ho ho

We sort of postponed Christmas this year as we both have horrible chest infections.

Today we've spent most of the day under duvets in the lounge watching Christmas TV, sleeping and eating what we fancied. It hasn't been that bad and I seem to have perked up a little this evening, so much so that I did some knitting.

Mr Gingerknits gave me this very appropriate card with glittery knitted sprouts...

Knitted sprouts

... and I found this wee bear knitting in a box of old cards.

Festive knitting

I've been making socks over the last few days. The blue sock is using some On-line sock yarn (superwash + bamboo)I bought in Berlin last summer. I'm using a simple slip stitch pattern to break the colours up and am pleased with the fake isle effect it is creating.

The orange and khaki sock is using another sock yarn I bought in Berlin (I can't remember the name of it right now) and Yarnyard Toddy which Natalie had started a sock in but abandoned it, luckily for me as I got all the yarn.

I'm going to try and make them with short row heels with a gusset. When I've made short row socks for me before I found they haven't fit too well around my ankle so I'll see if this tutorial, passed on to me by RuthieD works out.

I met RuthieD a few years ago when I went on an Iknit Knit in Public Day treasure hunt. I bumped into her at KnitNation where she helped me sort out some p/hop raffle prizes. We chatted about sock knitting techniques and she messaged me the link about short row gussets a few days later. I love that about knitters, the willingness to share.

I hope you're all having a lovely festive season.

Merry Christmas
Love

Gingerknits

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Ham

I don't remember our family having a "Christmas Ham" when I was a kid. I think we did have ham at Christmas but never called it the Christmas Ham so when I came across the phrase a few years ago I was amused by it and it's become a bit of a meme in our house.

We've been trying to lead a very green Christmas and use newspaper to wrap each others presents. I found these pictures of festive ham in a supermarket newsletter and couldn't resist using them to wrap some chocolates for Mr Gingerknits.

Christmas Ham

Monday, 20 December 2010

Draughty?

Got draughty old windows? We do. I normally push crumpled newspaper in the cracks but this year used old scraps of roving and felt I've made. It works brilliantly and I can cram it into the smallest of cracks (using a baking spatula) making my flat that much cosier.

Yet another great reason to love wool.

Roving insulation

Friday, 17 December 2010

Snow cat

We had quite a downpour of snow this morning. For those of you who live in snowier climates this won't look like much but it is quite unusual for London. The Black Cat didn't quite know what to make of it and oscillated from wanting to be inside...

Snowy garden + Black Cat

to dashing outside to chase snowflakes (and eat snow!).

Smew and snow

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ha!

I just picked up a  tinned meat comment on my blog which goes as follows...

"Why have you deleted my post? It was very helpful information and i assure atleast 1 person found it helpful unlike the rest of the comments on this website. I'll post it again. Sick of obtaining low amounts of useless visitors to your website? Well i want to share with you a brand new underground tactic that makes myself $900 each day...." blah blah blah

Picture found at srobadelic blog   

Well at least the spammers are getting more creative.


I deleted the comment.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Laceweight & Owls

I did a little bit of shopping at The Bothered Owl Christmas Party.

IMG_9003

There was lots of beautiful yarn available so considering the circumstances I was very restrained.

The yarn is from Indie Dyer Sweet Clement. I spent most of the evening trying not to succumb to her beautiful colours but I could see her yarn from where I was sitting at the p/hop table.

Sadly all the red sock yarn had been snapped up by the time I decided to treat myself so I bought some laceweight. I don't know why I do this. I am definitely falling into the category of yarn collector rather than knitter when I buy laceweight as I have never knitted anything with laceweight but I now have a few skeins of it in my stash after a year of visiting festivals. I am determined to knit with it so need to overcome my fear of it, I just need to find the right pattern.

I'm a big fan of Kieran Foley's patterns but they are a little too tricky for me at the moment. I've tried making High Seas a few times but need to work on my concentration as I always go wrong.

The green/blue yarn will become socks but for the time being it's just something that I stroke.

The party was great fun and even though I was working I had plenty of time to sit and chat, especially with Sarahabroad, Whitehart and Lapurplepenguin who all kindly helped out on the p/hop stand. I also met knitters who I had chatted to on twitter but not met in real life such as rockpurlgirl and onehandknits who were both just as fab in real life.

A big thank you to The Bothered Owls for such a relaxed and fun evening.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Paul Smithesque

I'm currently making myself a pair of socks using some left over Mist Alpaca yarn in 2 colourways. I love the way the colours are working together as I alternate the yarns and the stripes remind me of Paul Smith colours.

IMG_9012

While Browsing the Paul Smith website to find something similar to illustrate my point I came across this.


Image from PaulSmith.com

I'm emulating Paul Smith who is imitating granny squares. I think I prefer mine to his. At least when I make granny squares they are real!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Lashing and lashings...

As well as talk of Clementine Cake on twitter there has been talk of brewing Ginger Beer. Ginger beer is my drink of choice and I'm always in search of a good one. I find many commercial ones too sweet. Once on holiday in Brasil I had a ginger beer made with freshly squeezed ginger which is the gold standard at the moment and a tough act to live up to.

@eskimimi (who has a lovely blog) linked to this River Cottage recipe last week. I had to hunt around for brewers yeast as the brewer's yeast you can buy in chemists and health food shops is deactivated so won't work for brewing, despite the name. (trade descriptions act anyone?).

I ended up buying my yeast online after consulting my brewing guru Bioniclaura. As well as knitting Laura brews her own beer, which I got sample when I stayed with her and her lovely dog and husband in Dublin when I went over at the end of October. More on that later.

I couldn't wait to get started but had to wait til we returned from Hastings to get going. It only takes 48 hours to brew but I've been VERY impatient and watching it like a kid watches the countdown to Christmas.

Brewing Ginger Beer

My beer was ready tonight. It's fiery, fizzy and fabulous and I am definitely making this again. I altered the recipe slightly by using a lime instead of a lemon as it's what I had in and I added a teaspoon of powdered ginger as well as fresh grated ginger. I think the powdered ginger has added a subtle kick. I used Danstar Windsor Yeast but also bought Safale s-04 following Laura's advice. It will be interesting to see how much difference changing the yeast makes. Uh oh, looks like I have a new hobby!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Windy Snow

We spent last weekend in Hastings with a group of friends. It was rather wintry so we didn't make it to the battle site but did stroll along the beach. I'd given a couple of friends Cranford Mitts I'd made as part of the p/hop Mitt-a-long which went down well, though I ended up borrowing one pair which makes me a bad gift giver. Here you are, lovely bespoke mittens, which I will immediately take back and use.


Paula's Cranfords

I made these Cranfords using some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino which I p/hopped last month along with some from my stash. The mittens are slightly different in colour due to different dyelots but I think I'm the only person who has noticed. The brown edging is a wool/silk blend mystery yarn from my friend Montyknits, I suspect it is Blue Sky Alpaca yarn.

A lot of Hastings seemed rather forlorn in a run down British seaside way, like a forgotten favourite teddy bear left on a shelf. The pier had burnt down which added to the post apocalyptic feel.

Poor pier

I did admire the way everything was linked to the Battle of Hastings, the local bus service is called Arrow, and a weather station on the beach had some apt cartoons.

Snow

The old town was lovely and we found a brilliant deli and a cheese shop which had lots of local Sussex cheeses to try. There were also many kitsch and cute shops and I spied a fair bit of knitting and crochet in the shop windows.

Shop window granny blanket

During the week there had been lots of talk on twitter about baking and this Clementine Cake recipe came up a few times so I decided to make it. It's very easy to make. Boiling the Clementines for two hours is the hardest part. It's also gluten free as it uses ground almonds not flour. It's a brilliant recipe and I will be making it again, though I must warn you, it doesn't last long!