17x5= ?

Saturday, 23 February 2013

I have taken up knitting! (again, kind of)

I did a trial of a pattern whilst on holidays, and I've now redone it properly and I think it worked! The pattern was for boot toppers, although they don't fold over the boot, and are more like legwarmers. 

KNITTING PATTERN  PDF File - Lacefield Knit Legwarmers - Boot Toppers - Chunky Lace

The pattern I tried was the Lacefield boot toppers by NeekaKnits on Etsy 

So Pretty!

I thought they would go lovely under any of my boots.

I haven't done much knitting since I was small (the mother of one of the students in my primary school was a kick-ass knitter, as were her children, and it some how came about that she gave us classes as part of the school week. You'd knit an arm and a chest and suddenly a whole knitted animal would appear as if from nowhere! I think I have a wedding mouse and a penguin at home somewhere...

Before I was sure that I could get back into it, I didn't want to do my usual forking out loads of money to let it all just sit in a corner, so I bought a cheap '200 knitting questions' book and a cheap ball of wool from the bookshop 'The Works'. I had a couple of pairs of needles that I found in the back of a cupboard in my home house, and of course since then I had gotten the Cath Kidston needles too so I was well set for practice! These are some of my practice stitches from holidays

Think this was moss stitch at the bottom and ribbing on top. I wanted to see if things would turn out as they were supposed to.
And they did! 

In preparation for the holiday I had bought a couple of patterns (including the boot toppers) on Etsy and they were emailed to me in PDF format, which was wonderful as it meant that I could have them with me on my iPhone, and they even popped into my iBooks shelf.

I decided to start the boot toppers, as I understood the method of the pattern, but I didn't know what some of the stitches were.

Wonderfully, a quick look on YouTube has given me all the info I've needed. It's the best resource I've found so far, as I sometimes have problems visualising things from written print.

This is how my first boot topper turned out. I haven't seamed it up, as I was considering ripping it down and use it to make a rounded one because I had made it in too big a size also. I did the pattern on straight single pointed needles on holidays but it should have ideally it been done in the round, so it wouldn't have to be seamed up the back. 

Therefore I purchased a set of double pointed needles on eBay, with 17 sizes and 5 needle in each pack for £15! That's a whole lot of needles. 

And here are they are :) 17 sizes with 5 needles each! They arrived very promptly, bamboo I think, and the only fault that I had was that the points weren't very pointed, and I was worried I would struggle to get into the stitches to knit them, but I managed okay! I may have problems if I ever get really tight stitches though.
I decided to go for double pointed instead of circular, as I want to get up to knitting mittens and socks, and I deducted that you needed double pointed needs for turning heels and doing thumbs. 
Hopefully if I get this knitting malarkey down I can do more handmade presents. I thought that it may reduce present costs but after looking at the price of yarn in John Lewis ( I know, not exactly the cheapest place to go) last night, I may be wrong. 
Eventually I'd love to be able to knit myself cardigans too, saw some beautiful patterns in books last night.

I started the second boot topper in the round (and also a size smaller). 

I looked up videos to get started on the double pointed needles. I found Stephanie Japel for becraftsy very helpful on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8ZNzxnF1t4) 

And I even learned to knit the 'long tail cast on' by rewatching the video, and that wasn't even what she was teaching!

The first row was tricky, but I'm used to it now. You can see I was very careful about my rows, and making sure that I was keeping track. I now know by looking at the stitches whether I have knitted or purled a stitch, and am pretty certain about counting up the rows now.

I was a bit scared to cast it off but I just followed the videos.

And here it is!

I'm pretty please for a first attempt at round knitting! The lace design has come out quite clear, and it looks a lot more complicated and impressive than it actually was! I think a thicker yarn would have made it look even more like the pictures.  I'm looking forward to working with some more high quality yarns, as this ball cost me about £1, but as I said, I wanted to make sure I could do it first! And I'm very surprised at how much you can get out of a ball, I've done two now, and I'm sure there's enough for another two!

I'd love to hear your comments!

Love Emmie x

I have a self control problem...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Hi, long time no blog!

I have been making a list of blogs to write up so hopefully I won't lapse for so long next time.
This post has to do with my holiday in Devon, and a small obsession that I finally let come to fruition.

As I grew up in Ireland, and only moved to the UK about 3 years ago, I hadn't really heard of 'Afternoon Tea' or cream tea in general. I think I had heard the words mentioned here and there as my mother watched ITV on our very limited channel selection when I was growing up. Since I moved to the UK, and my love (and access to) all things vintage has grown, I have fallen in love with the idea of Afternoon tea, and in particular, the vintage china with which it must be hosted.

I started my collection with quite a few cake stands (although they are mostly used for jewellery, etc). However that clearly wasn't going to be enough, and I started trawling though eBay looking at vintage teacups and the like. After a bad experience with a broken cake stand from eBay, and what with the price people were asking for each trio (which I could maybe have justified if it wasn't for the postage price on top) I managed to keep myself in check. I had a few wobbly moments when people were selling massive job lots after their vintage weddings but my boyfriend managed to talk me around. 

But then he bought me a vintage sideboard for Christmas with lovely display cabinets on either side and I have been dying to put some china in it.

I haven't actually got it in the flat yet (hopefully this afternoon) but this is the picture he gave me.

We went to Devon on holiday this past week and found a beautiful antiques shop in Topsham. It was so big, and was spread over 3 very large floors. Of course my eyes were searching for all the china, but with each trio priced at £6.50 to £10, to get myself a decent set of randoms was going to be expensive. I considered an entire set that was £32 but I didn't love it enough, and really wanted them all to be mostly individuals. 

On our second last day we stumbled across the cutest little town, with all independent shops called Totnes. I really loved it there, and as we only had an hour to look around I insisted we come back again in the morning. And boy was I glad I did! We were walking around when out of nowhere a market appeared... and down the back of the market was a proper flea market, full of the most random crap you could imagine. My eyes started searching and eventually I found some! I got 4 trios (cup, saucer, sideplate) for £5! And I presuaded him to throw in a lonely cup with two saucers as well. I was so chuffed! There were a couple of other bits I was interested in, a couple of cool Japanese cups and saucers with Japanese men sword fighting on them (although I then noticed there was the guts of a fell set, and I didn't want every piece but I felt bad to split it up and my hands were full so I had to leave it behind. Sad face.) At this stage my boyfriend was getting antsy to move on so I left with what I had.

This is one of the four trios!!

The story should end there really, but then comes the bit about self control! On my last night in Devon, I went to see a Burlesque show, featuring Anna fur Laxis and Eliza DeLite. I got to meet the girls after, and Eliza mentioned that she had been to a secondhand/antiques shop in my town that she liked. I myself had only been in there once, but hadn't been super impressed. On my way home from Devin we stopped in town for lunch, and the place we had lunch in happened to be beside the shop so I decided to take a mosey in and see what it was like. 

No I don't know if I had been in a bad mood the first time I went, or if they had changed their stock intake, but dear god there was china as far as my eyes could see. My next item on the list had been a teapot, and I spotted one straight away that I loved. Now at this point I hadn't seen any prices so I wasn't holding out much hope, but I turned the ticket... £7! I mentally filed it to take to the till, but kept looking. And then came the semi loss of self control. I saw so much, and each trio I wanted was £3-3.50. And there were baskets on the floor full of individual plates and saucers for £1.
 I couldn't stop myself. 
Even when he was taking what I wanted out of the cabinets I kept choosing more. 
And then when I got back to the car I realised that I had forgotten a couple, so I went back.
And I bought more than what I had forgotten.

So I now have in total, after a total of two days. And £43.

1 Teapot (although now I think I need another)
1 Milk jug
1 Sugar bowl
11 Teacups
14 Saucers
12 Sideplates

And of course, I need to finish it so that everything has a companion, clearly. 

And here are pictures of everything. Some of them are complete trios, some are not. I just laid it all out of the bags, so they may not even be with their correct match but I like how they are almost all interchangeable!!

I think they are all beautiful. But I don't know where its all going to fit. Which scares me because I want more!!

Does anyone want to come to my tea party??

Made With Love By The Dutch Lady Designs