Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 in knitting

So, the end of another year. Time to look back on what I've been knitting over the last 12 months.

I must say that 2011 wasn't great in terms of knitting output. It all started quite well but then things got a bit hectic in the summer and then, well then we found out about the upcoming new addition to our family! I was very lucky to not really suffer with morning sickness, unfortunately I did suffer with crushing exhaustion and lethargy and even picking up my knitting needles felt like far too much effort. This meant I only finished 6 items in the second half of the year.

Oh well, let's have a look at what I've knit in 2011...

6 pairs of socks
3 adult sized cardigans (admittedly most of one was knit in 2010 but I finished it in 2011!)
1 adult sized jumper
1 neck warmer
1 adult hat
1 baby hat
2 gadget socks
1 pair of gloves

That's just over one item a month. I have also finished the year with 6 WIPs still on the needles (one is currently missing from my Ravelry project page but I'll get on it) which is pretty poor. I really need to finish or frog those.

Oh and there is one more FO I'll share at the end of the post.

Looking back on my knitting goals from last year...well...erm.

2011 Knitting Goals
Finish blasted cardigan of doom <---did this!
Learn how to do colourwork (I've knit a little on my Christmas stockings but I want to do more and do it faster) <---nope
Design my own project (I got a "design your own knits" book last Christmas which I've flicked through but I haven't attempted to do it, I'll probably go for socks) <---nope
Knit 12 pairs of socks (got to have this one in there!) <---sadly not but I did manage 6 pairs
Knit another adult sized garment from stashed yarn <---yay! I actually knit THREE adult sized garments from my stashed yarn
Reduce stash (ha!) <---I think so, it's definitely three jumpers and a few pairs of socks lighter at least and I didn't buy much yarn

Also a quick share of my final finished object of 2011, the little red cardigan for our baby! Just a note that our baby's gender is remaining a mystery until birth so any knits will be in bright colours or more neutral shades anyway. Also I think babies look awesome in bright colours, who needs pastels?!

My project page with details of pattern, yarn, needles and so on can be found here. Please excuse the wild variations in colours in the pictures, it is a bright red shade but we're still finding our way around the settings on the new camera!



Hope all my readers (and people who don't read, just everyone generally!) has a wonderful 2012...I'll try to be back tomorrow with my knitting plans for the next 12 months.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Little knits for little people are very quick

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that Father Christmas left some lovely things in your stockings or under the tree. Mr NM and I received the rather exciting present of a fancy new camera. It's very exciting and shiny, I just have to work out how to use it now!

This year was low on the knitterly gifts but that was my choice. I know my knitting time will be very much eaten into in the new year and so did not want to get masses of yarn and books and needles that would only be added to the stash and not utilised. I did however get the latest Yarn Harlot book and a book from the One Skein Wonders set of books, perhaps it will encourage me to use up some stash before April!

Another little someone-to-be got some knitting goodies though as my mother-in-law pointing out, the baby can't knit, oh dear! I had to do it for him or her then, blast!

Mr NM had very sweetly picked out a cardigan pattern, some scrummy red yarn and some adorable little teddy bear buttons. It is vitally important to play with your new toys on Christmas day so I cast on (and Mr NM played with the camera)


I have shots in various stages of the knitting process...


Also that last picture, that's the window in my in-laws' living room, it overlooks the Albert Dock and is a pretty special view. I like being in a house but their flat does make city centre living rather tempting at times...not that we could afford it!

Anyway I knit and knit and it grew very quickly, I suppose that's the way things are when you're knitting such teeny tiny garments! Yesterday, finally back home, I picked up the stitches for the right button band, I have a picture of the picked up part but it was dark by the time I'd finished and I didn't bother with another picture.


Now I just need to knit the right button band, sew it all together and give it a little bath to even out the stitches, then I'm done! Super quick and actually good fun to knit.  I'm sure I'll have FO pictures to share very soon.

For those interested in such things (and I know people are) the yarn is Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK in Teddy Red, the most accurate picture for colour (on my monitor at least) is the picture of the back of the cardigan on top of the knitting pattern. It is an absolute dream to knit with, so soft and such lovely stitch definition, I rather wish I was knitting a cardigan for myself with it!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Accidental Christmas knitting

We're at the in-laws, all ready for Christmas.

I brought some knitting with me. You may or may not remember some gloves I was knitting way back last February with the intention of finishing them for her birthday in March.  Needless to say that didn't happen!  Well I was determined to get them done and picked up the second glove again last weekend.  I had to pull out what I'd already knit as it had clearly caught on something and has a big hole in it.

I'd been working on them during the week and cursing glove knitting (fiddly fingers, yuck!) but the reality is that gloves still knit up quite fast, particularly gloves for my mum who has tiny hands!

So when we got here yesterday afternoon I had this:

By bedtime last night I had finished them! I didn't take the pictures then, I waited for some sunlight this morning.

The pattern is designed with commuting in mind and the tip of the index finger and thumb on the right hand are left off making it easier to read on the bus, use a touch screen phone (my mum doesn't have one of those!) or just do those things where only a bit of grip is needed and you really don't want to remove your full glove.

I hadn't intended them to be a Christmas gift but why not! I've wrapped them up and they're under the tree ready for my mum tomorrow.

Rav link here for yarn and pattern details.

I'm hoping I made the nice list this year and that Father Christmas visits tonight as I'm hoping very much for a new camera and not always having to use the one on my mobile phone. Fingers crossed! Still, he wont come if I don't head off to bed.

Merry Christmas to anyone who reads my blog, hope you have a wonderful time whatever you are doing with yourself.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

The knitting of others

I thought I'd share my mum's current WIP (not that I don't have plenty of my own to share!) as it is rather special. She is very excited about the prospect of becoming a grandma and there's only one thing for a keen knitter with a grandchild on the way to do, get those needles clicking!

Whilst I have the level of knitting skill to knit the same things my mum can she has one thing I'm rather lacking in, patience! Also she knits like the goodness that lady is quick! I suppose that happens when you've been knitting for over 50 years though. Anyway her patience and speed are being used to knit something I'd never get through due to my issues with startitis, a lovely baby blanket.

Apologies if the picture is a touch dull, the natural light was very thin and grey yesterday. Still the blanket is looking just wonderful and I can't wait to wrap my little one up in it...well I can wait as I want them to stay put until they're due but you know what I mean!

I can also confirm it's definitely Christmas in the Northern Monkey household. The tree has been up for a week and I still get giddy with excitement every time I switch the fairy lights on. I LOVE having the Christmas tree up...I hate taking it down but I love it when it's up. All sparkly and colourful. This year we've only got our 3ft tree up (we usually have a 7ft one in the dining room) so all my big tree decorations are on that. I don't care if it looks a bit over the top, I love it!

Oh Christmas tree

So, it's Sunday evening (completely dark out at least favourite thing about winter) a roast is in the oven, MrNM has football on TV (his team already won earlier today, such a relief!) and I'm ready for a long evening of snuggling up and knitting in front of the TV as all my chores were done earlier in the day. Fantastic!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The most exciting WIP ever

A couple of weeks ago I hinted at having a very exciting work in progress at the moment and promised to tell all later. Well now I'm ready to share it.

This is possibly the most exciting (and difficult) WIP I imagine I will ever work on but I am also thinking it could be the most worthwhile one.


Baby Northernmonkey is expected to put in an appearance some time in late April or early May depending on how punctual the little monkey is.

This is partly my explanation for why I've done so little knitting to blog about lately, up until the last few weeks I've been so tired that even picking up the knitting needles has felt like a bit of a chore. I'm hoping that now I'm past some of the exhaustion the knitting productivity will increase again. I suppose it had better with a little person to knit for as well!

Monday, 5 December 2011

New technology get!

Mr NM and I are both suckers for technology, sadly our budgets don't really match our desire for gadgets but there are times when shiny new things with buttons are a possibility.

Rather excitingly the weekend was one of those times. I got a message last week saying we were eligible to upgrade our mobile phone contracts, very exciting stuff! Now it's about 5 years since I upgraded a phone contract, I used pay as you go for a while before nearly two years ago deciding to go back to contract and joining the smartphone generation. Unfortunately those phones were very much on their last legs so the opportunity to get something new and shiny was thoroughly appreciated. Apparently these days instead of the phone company telling you what phones are available (as was the case last time I was on contract and upgraded) you can just choose anything they do, amazing.

We picked up our new phones at the weekend but with such shiny new things we saw a problem, too many opportunities to scratch shiny touchscreens! The cases available in the shop were rather expensive and with no reviews available we decided to wait until we got up, read reviews and order on-line. In the meantime I got my knitting needles and sock yarn leftovers out to knit up some little gadget socks to keep those fancy screens safe for now.

Gadget socks

His is the larger sock, his phone is bigger than mine though I must confess I did misjudge and cast on too many stitches so it's a tad big. I offered to re-knit but my offer was declined. I used some leftover Regia in one of the Flusi The Sock Monster colourways (his choice) and then for mine some leftover Laughing Yaffle in Spring Fling. I'm hoping these will keep the phones safe and scratch free until proper cases can be purchased.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Fallberry mitts - WIP

Looking out of my office window it’s pretty difficult to believe that this time last year we had to walk home from work as the buses had stopped running and that this was out street.


Compared to last year November has been so mild and it doesn’t seem likely to get as snowy as that any time soon. You watch it happen now I’ve said that! I am just hoping and crossing my fingers that if there is to be any snow it holds out until after Christmas when our visits to family across the Pennines are out of the way!

It may be mild but there is still a chill in the air so I thought it was a good time to cast on something to attempt to combat that. Having finished my Morven I felt rather good and positive about starting something new. I realise this is still ignoring my other WIPs, very naughty but so what, I am the boss of what I knit so there!

I need new fingerless mitts, I hate knitting fingers so any hand warming things I knit are likely to be full mittens or fingerless ones, as I still have last year’s mittens doing the full hand coverage duties and as I said, it’s not that cold yet, I definitely wanted fingerless.

I also knew I had this lovely stuff in my stash, far too soft and pretty to hide in boots! Also it doesn’t feel like it will survive being socks though I may be wrong on that one. Anyway, I didn’t want to hide it and I did want to use it so out of the stash it came.

knitting 036

Next was finding the right pattern, something pretty but simple with a memorable repeat and a proper thumb gusset, not just a gap to stick my thumb through. I know a couple of bloggers whose blogs I enjoy (josiekitten and snoopydog, check them out if you don’t read already) are big fans of Anne Hanson. Now I’m on a pattern purchasing ban but it just so happens that she has a pattern in the Winter 2011 Knitty for some mitts that fit my requirements pretty perfectly.

BLOG 161

I started them on Sunday and am now at the increases for the thumb so not too shabby, I could knit them more quickly really as the pattern is simple to remember and good fun to knit but obviously there’s still that blasted issue of actually finding knitting time! I am happy so far though, I love the colours and I am thoroughly enjoying the pattern. An all round winner I’d say.

Also I must confess that whilst we're being pretty frugal this year and I'm not doing any Christmas knitting I can't help but be getting a tad excited about the upcoming celebrations.  Attempts to be scrooge-y about it always fail, I just love it and am a complete big kid!  As it's now December I'm totally allowed to mention the C word anyway, just need to decide when our decorations are going up.