Sunday, 26 July 2009

Things are looking green and blue

Crafting time has been a little on the short side over the past few days, as I've been engaged in a major system upgrade at work, meaning that I've been practically camped out in the office. It's a sign of how much "out of hours" work I've done when I call Security to warn them that I'm about to enter a building (and set off all the alarms) and they recognise my voice and telephone number, responding to me by name.

With no weekend (OK so there was a Saturday and Sunday, but I worked straight through so they didn't register), long hours and little brain power left when I do make it home, where I am soundly told off by my disapproving cats, I've had to keep any projects simple. Something that can be picked up and put down and doesn't require a huge amount of concentration to work on.

So naturally, I've been working on a plain sock...


I'm calling these the Ork Deathskull Socks and they're intended for Dave, who when I queried him about how this colourway was working up, wondering if it was a bit striking or colourful for his tastes, remarked... "You do know that green and blue are my favourite colour combination, don't you?" It was then that I remembered how many hours he spends staring at his orks trying to get exactly the right shade of green, and the clan he paints are Deathskull, who like Blue.

I actually cast these on a couple of weeks ago, to take with me to the AscendancyLRP event up at Murton Park and they've been a background project ever since.

At Murton Park we stayed in our usual hut (for maybe the last time - grrrrh) and my only real knitting time was first thing in the morning. Knitting in the half light of a hut with my new Knit-Pro 2.5mm DPNs, I learnt something new. I learnt that knitting a dark navy yarn, on tiny dark coloured needles, in a darkened hut does not bode well when you're trying to do a K2P2 rib.

It sounds simple enough, but when you can't see what you're knitting and therefore can't read the pattern of the rib, it is very easy to loose track and end up with one needles worth of rib completely out of sync with all of the rest. You don't see that you've made a mistake and continue knitting obliviously, only to realise just how much of a mess you've made when you finally get to look at your work in the daylight!

So a mental note to myself... Next time I'm intending to take a project somewhere to knit in a darkened hut, I need to choose light coloured needles and a bright yarn, avoiding navy blue at all costs.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Indulging in a little retail therapy

The weeks seem to be flying past again after a few months of every day dragging by slowly and I can hardly believe its been over four weeks since our holiday in Yorkshire. Last weekend, we were in Murton Park again for a core AscendancyLRP event and it was our first since we officially moved over to permanent crew (rather than the on and off crewing/writing we've been doing for the past few years).

Richard has already done a fair write up here. I was strictly non-combatant but managed to play four character NPCs through the weekend with a particular liking for my outing as 'Tsunami'. No pictures of me in costume alas, but I did take some very nice action shots using Richard's camera though, some of which are over on the Ascendancy website and viewable here. My favourite is the one of AndyL being 'shot' as it captures Andy reacting to the gunshot and shows a little puff of smoke from the cap going off in the gun. :)

After a hard week at work and not much chance of it letting up next week, this weekend was about trying to chill a little. Yesterday we headed into town with a few bits of shopping to pick up, but also intending to drift around the shops and engage in some retail therapy of the lightest kind.

Both of us treated ourselves to some things. In Dave's case it was orcs who I'm reliably are in the process of having their arms and legs hacked off, to transform them into orks.

I picked up...


Yes... That's more yarn, picked up from Busy Fingers with making something for me in mind. I've used the Brett Marble (Ravelry Link) before and love the way the colours come out; it's not at all expensive as yarn goes being an acrylic so is a cheap buy really. I'm hoping to turn it into a waistcoat and possibly a jumper or cardigan for me... I shall have to see how inspiration hits.

And then I picked up these.

Typically I haven't had more than a few minutes to myself to browse through these, but I spotted a new UK based sewing magazine called 'Sew' in Smiths. This is issue two, issue one having come and gone completely unnoticed by me, with a cover price of £5.99 which is a tad pricey. As is the tendency these days, it was wrapped in plastic so I couldn't get a look at it in the shop and I like to support new craft magazines and buy at least one issue, so I picked it up.

Then we have Jane Austen's Sewing Box by Jennifer Forest, which isn't a book as purely based on sewing projects as the title might suggest. Instead it's a collection of projects, some sewn, some knitted, some netted inspired by Jane Austen's collected works. It's a book to read as much as a pattern book, with references to the books with each pattern along with historical information providing context. I had a gift token left over from Christmas and considered this to be a lucky find which I'm looking forward to reading.

Not a bad haul I'm thinking.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Not as much hippie tat as we'd hoped

Yesterday afternoon we headed over to the Godiva Festival, in Coventry's War Memorial Park. We were hoping to spend a good while poking through tat in search of hidden gems, which incidentally is one of Dave's favourite pass times. Personally, I was hoping to find a length or two of red blousey fabric, such as an oversized scarf or maybe an old sari. I was also on the look out for small drawstring purses.

I've got to say that I was rather underwhelmed with this years festival, at least from a poking through tat viewpoint.

The festival organisers had moved the small traders inside the 'fenced' area, where they were selling booze and most of the available food and housing the stage for the live music. To get in, we had to be shepherded the long way around and searched as a condition of entry. I was patted down despite wearing a skirt and having no pockets, my handbag was searched and my bottle of water fondled. Meanwhile, Dave had his hat searched but his rucksack completely ignored...

Ahem - Am I glad my handbag contained nothing more offensive than a suspicious bottle of water, I may have been refused entry had I had something dodgy like knitting needles on me.

Having made it past security, we were surprised at how few private traders there were, each selling very similar stock. Slim pickings indeed. I did see a couple of small drawstring purses, but they were too flashy for my needs and no sign of a sari or suitable oversized blousey scarfs or throws. Dave did draw my attention to some sarongs, but as I pointed out, they looked far too much like sarongs and would have been difficult to remake into something else.

Having failed to find some drawstring pouches that I liked, I had no choice but to make my own. I persuaded Dave to move the wardrobe blocking in my sewing machine (we've been doing some decorating) and after an hour, I whipped up these.


My knitting mojo is still missing in action, so to try and locate it I decided to try my hand at some crochet. Other than dabbling in a spot of Tunisian, I've not really done any crochet in a while, so this has been proving a refreshing change.

A couple of months ago, I picked up Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan from the Knitting and Crochet Guild, mostly because it had several designs in there that I could imagine myself actually wearing. I decided to start with something simple and chose a tanktop or vest called Sweet Tea (Ravelry Link).


As you can see, it's coming along despite several false starts because it seems I cannot read simple instructions or count... Perhaps I can blame the heat?

Summer has arrived with a vengeance this past week and look we have strawberries!