Handmade items

Episode 19: Octopussy


Image Details: ‘Octopusses’ by nonelvis, via Flickr.

Hello and welcome to Episode 19 of the show, which has nothing whatsoever to do with James Bond and everything to do with friendly cephalopods.

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Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2013 (4KCBWDAY7): Back to the Future.


Image Details: ‘Delorean’ by The Plate Market, via Flickr.

Day Seven (Sunday April 28th): Looking Forward
One year from now, when the 5th Knitting & Crochet Blog Week rolls around, where do you hope your crafting will have taken you to? What new skills, projects and experiences do you hope you might have conquered or tried?

Last year I set myself several things I would like to learn in the coming year, as part of the Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2012. I decided, whilst writing this post, that it would be fun to look back and see if I had managed to achieve any of them. I do feel like I have progressed in my knitting ability during the past year and have attempted projects with wild abandon, without any regard to how difficult they were going to be. I must also confess though, that I have not looked back at those goals set last year until now. So, what did I plan to learn?

1) Fair Isle
2) Adult size jumper, for me
3) Dye some yarn
4) Handspin yarn for a project
5) Learn to do TAAT socks

How did I do?

1) Fair Isle: Epic fail. Didn’t even try any.

2) Adult size jumper, for me: Cast on Owls by Kate Davies, decided that expanding pregnant frame not suited to form fitting jumper of previous size and elected to leave it until after eviction of the little squatter. Left the project in the UK after Christmas as I needed the luggage space for baby paraphernalia.

3) Dye some yarn: Thought about it, read about it, didn’t do it. I planned to attend a yarn dyeing course with Carlé from Nurturing Fibres, however the course unfortunately did not run in the end.

4) Handspin yarn for a project: I haven’t touched the wheel in a while. I really need to start using it as I can’t really justify it’s current existence as a rather beautiful ornament. I think possibly aiming for 10 minutes a day might be the way forward for this.

5) Learn to do Two At A Time socks: Epic fail. Didn’t even try it. Did do a couple more pairs on the old DPNs though.

I found that in typical Bee-like fashion, I got distracted by other projects, such as doing a podcast! I also found that, by having such a wide scope on the goals, I didn’t actually get there because they weren’t broken down into small enough, specific steps. I have therefore decided to slim down this year’s goals to just one and I have already chosen which project I am going to do and when I will start it. If it is finished in time, I may then move on to the other two reserve projects. This way, I have a much more specific path in mind, so it is harder to become distracted from the goal. I am also going to blog about these projects once per week such that you can all keep me on track.

White and Colourful by Suuf.  Image used with kind permission of Suuf, All Rights Reserved.

White and Colourful by Suuf. Image used with kind permission of Suuf, All Rights Reserved.

1) Fair Isle. I am going to complete the White and Colourful hat and mittens project, written by Suuf on Ravelry. She kindly sent me the charts for her self-designed/adapted project, and I intend to start this in August when we return to the UK and finish it by Christmas. This will give me time to clear down my ongoing wips in order to concentrate better on this project.

2) Adult size jumper for me. I am going to get the Owls out of hibernation when I return in August and work on this when I am not in the right frame of mind for Fair Isle! The plan is to finish this before next year’s KCBW.

Box of Chocolates

Box of Chocolates

3) Two At A Time socks. I have the Box of Chocolates yarn and I am going to do Carlé’s Vanilla Sock pattern on Ravelry. As I have it with me now, so should I finish my ongoing wips, I will allow myself to cast them on.

What are your crafty goals for the coming year?

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Episode 6: Modown


Image Details: ‘Moustache’ by Paul Mutant, via Flickr.

Welcome to Episode 6 of the Shinybees podcast – ‘Modown’. This episode is brought to you from a somewhat cooler than SA UK. We have a pattern pick in celebration of Movember and an interview with Carlé of Nurturing Fibres, a South African indie dyer from Cape Town.

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Episode 2: Stop. Bunny time!

The League of Shadow Bunnies

Image Details: ‘The League of Shadow Bunnies’ by LexnGer, via Flickr.

Hello and welcome one and all to episode 2 of the podcast: Stop. Bunny time! This week promises a lot of travel chatter as I have just been off on a road trip around Kwa-Zulu Natal, Swaziland and the Kruger National Park.

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Episode 1: Send in the Hogs!

Son/daughter of Billy

Hello and welcome to the shownotes for the first official Shinybees podcast. For those of you coming back after the Pilot Episode, great to see you again, and a warm welcome to any new listeners.

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Image Details: ‘bunting’ by mrjamie, via Flickr.

Bunting was originally a type of fabric, used since the 17th Century, used to make, amongst other things, signal flags for the Royal Navy. The term ‘bunting’ is also used to refer to a collection of flags, particularly those of a ship. In the last couple of years, it has also become the home decor accessory of choice in such style bibles as Ideal Home.

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Day 6: Improving your Skill Set.

Skills Drop Off

Image Details: ‘Skills Drop Off’ by squacco, via Flickr.

Day 5 of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week brings the subject of improving your skill set to the table. As a knitter, I find that once you know a couple of basic stitches and how to cast on and off, you open up a whole world of pattern and project opportunities. Granted, it’s a bit fiddly to start with and there is all the stitch dropping and creating, frustration, laughter and undoubtedly the odd expletive, but I have yet to meet anyone who has not been quite proud of their first project. I still remember starting the Knit Club, way back in the day now, and the competitive crafting that took off when knitting a pair of garter stitch baby booties. I can’t say whether they are all still knitting in secret without me poking them in the bum with a 12mm needle, or plying them with wine, cake and some good chatter, but should they ever feel the need to pick up sticks and string again, I know they will have the confidence to do so.

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Wippin’ Piccadilly

Map of Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway System, Manchester Victoria Station

Image Details: ‘Map of Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway System, Manchester Victoria Station’, by mrrobertwade (wadey), via Flickr.

“Once upon a time, not too long go, we took a day out in Manchester,

We all fall down, there’s not enough hours in our day.”

On 13 April, 1998, Gomez’s ‘Bring it On’ was released. ‘Whippin’ Piccadilly’ was a single from this Mercury Music Prize winning album of the same year. This song, for some unknown reason, comes into my head whenever I think about my ever expanding pile of WIPs; I do in fact also own the album, however it is not normally music to knit to. It does remind me of those halcyon college days, drinking pernod and black at the indie night at Wigan Pier, being young enough to not get a hangover and too young to remember pernod and black actually being in fashion.

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On the Road: Windhoek, Namibia

Off to see the desert, the wonderful desert of Nam

Image Details: ‘Off to see the desert, the wonderful desert of Nam’ by Paul Watson, via Flickr

As it was my birthday last weekend, we went on a trip to Windhoek in Namibia. I’m not going to lie to you, this was prompted almost entirely by alcohol: our favourite lager here is ‘Windhoek’ and we booked the flights after 2 bottles of wine. Have you ever woken up in the morning and thought ‘did we really book flights to Namibia last night?’ No? Just me then….

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You can take our acrylic…

But you’ll never take our freeeeeeeedddddoooommm!

brave heart

Image Details: ‘brave heart’ by lcampos37, via Flickr.

It all started with a little TV appearance on BBC Breakfast by Lauren, aka Deadly Knitshade of Stitch London fame, who appeared at a fairly ungodly hour to chat about knitting. She cracked on with a rather bright scarf, maintaining a cheery demeanour – no mean feat at that time in a morning, I’m sure – and giving her opinion on knitting. Clearly, though, some people thought she wasn’t taking all this knitting lark seriously enough. Heaven forbid she rocks up on TV with blue hair and knits something out of acrylic. You would think she had turned up on TV and garotted a baby dove with her circulars (rather than be accompanied by an entirely intact and unharmed Cooey the knitted pigeon) the way some folk were going on.

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