Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Oh-my-god-I-must-be-freakin'-insane project

Obviously the huge pile of current WIPs from the last post isn't enough for me because I'm planning to embark on the most ridiculously complicated project I've ever considered. I've been listening to the Craftlit podcast recently - audiobooks are very good for handsewing I've found - and Heather mentioned that she was working on Vogue's Map of the World Afghan (actually she mentioned this in a podcast from about 3 years ago - I have quite a bit of catching up to do). I wanted to see what it looked like so I looked it up on Ravelry, and yes, it is an entire map of the world charted in blanket form:
And then I discovered that Vogue Knitting have it online for free and I started thinking about it. I'm not sure why, I don't even really like how it's styled. I like the bright colours in the countries but I think it's kind gaudy in the edges, and I really don't like the points and tassels, but I couldn't get it out of my head for some reason. Aaaand then I started looking at suitable yarn substitutes and found Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed as a perfect British alternative. And then I was kinda sorta looking up how much donegal tweed cost, just to kill time you understand, and I found out there were a lot of shades recently discontinued and now on sale on various websites for about half price, and, well...I cracked.

Yup, that's a LOT of yarn. But to be fair, this is probably going to occupy me for about 10 years, so a complete bargain really (off topic, I was saying this to my boyfriend as I was paying for it and he said "you know, you really don't need to justify your yarn purchases to me". I am going to marry this man*) The colours are a leetle bit brighter than the picture, but not quite so obnoxiously luminous as the original. The pack of natural coloured yarn at the front is for the edges, and I'm going to leave off the points and just finish it as a rectangle with a non-curling border. Of course, now that I HAVE all the yarn, I won't be casting on a single stitch for at least a month because

a)I am overcomplicating things slightly. For a normal, sane person, this is a great chart, but...err...I have a tendency to get a little...anal about detail. I could see straight away that I wasn't happy with the shape of some of the countries, Britain and Italy for example, and in a few places they'd lumped smaller countries together, for example, they have Central America as one country rather than eight. As I've started going over the chart I've found some really strange mistakes. Not only have they stuck countries together, they've split countries in half. They have actually added fictional borders into this map. I don't understand why they would do that.

Yeah, I know, this makes me crazy obsessive.

b)I'm in way over my head here. I don't know how to do intarsia. I don't just mean I've never done intarsia, I've never done fair isle, but at least I know the theory behind it. I have absolutely no idea where to even start with intarsia. It scares me slightly. Nice simple project to start off with then.

c) Oh yeah, and there's the other 11 projects already on the go. Best start knitting faster.

*No Mother, that is not your cue to buy a hat.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2 days to go!

I am two days away from the end! Not, I hasten to add, two days away from poncey gowns and mortarboards, I still have a little while to mentally prepare myself for that anguish, but my final deadline of the degree (CVs, portfolios and a lovely long evaluation about how wonderful the course is) is on Thursday. I had my big scary finished garments hand in 2 weeks ago, so this one isn't worrying me half as much, and I've been able to knit away to my heart's content in between preparing my portfolio and rather half-heartedly looking for jobs.

Ooh! And the costume I just handed in? Not only is it by far my best work, but I've been told by my Head of Costume that it's one of the best pieces he's seen ON THE ENTIRE COURSE. I am slightly swept away in a tidal wave of Smug right now. (Photos to come in a few weeks, gotta get a good photoshoot for this one)

And onward to knitting...

I have actually cast on at least 6 new projects since I last blogged, but in an effort not to make this post explode with images, I may leave those until later and catch up on some extremely late finished objects.

I finished my stripy jumper! About 6 months ago! (this is how behind on blogging I am) This marks a milesone for me. It isn't the first full size garment I made (that was the blue green and purple acrylic blob), nor is it the first jumper I've made that fit me (that was Tempting), but it is the first full size jumper I've made that fit me and STILL FITS AFTER BEING WASHED!! Huzzah, success at last! I love it, as you can probably tell from my out of focus grin. Ms. Walker is a genius and I look forward to making more garments from Knitting From the Top, though probably not any of the various styles of knitted trousers.

Just before finishing my (incredibly cartoonish) stripy jumper, I made a Kombu scarf from the Manos silk blend I bought in Scotland. I love this pattern, possibly would benefit from something a little less drapey in terms of yarn.

The second scarf I made was for a two part swap over at the Monthly Adventures group on Ravelry, the idea being that we sent someone a skein of yarn (along with some presents for them), then they used that yarn to knit a scarf and sent it back. I ended up being paired with Twinsmama a second time for this one! She sent me 2 gorgeous malabrigo skeins which I used to make her a Reversible Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf. This is another great scarf pattern, it has all the flat, reversible, extra squishy benefits of ribs, with added pretty cables all over it. 'Tis a good thing she picked pink yarn or I would have been sooo tempted to keep this for myself. But I did get a lovely lacy chevron scarf back from her so I don't mind too much!

Last minute Christmas presents! These were for a couple of my friends from university who unexpectedly gave me presents at the last minute (eep). Thems on the left are Fetchings, the most popular project on ravelry, for good reason. I think I finished those in one day. Thems on the right I designed myself :D Yup, I made charts'n'everything. I'm currently reknitting these as full mittens with some minor tweaks to the cable, then 'll write out a pattern. (Though it might make more sense if I waited until after the summer. Maybe)

Last one! This is the Limerick Moss Cap in mmmmmmMalabrigo, one of the lovely presents Twinsmama sent me in the scarf swap. According to my project page, this is the last item I finished knitting and I remember wearing it on my birthday. *sigh* that's over 4 months without a single finished item.
Hmm. So much for not having a picture heavy post.
Never mind. Just to cap it off, this is my small selection of current works in progress:

Hmm. I may be overcompensating for the last 4 months...
P.S. I did go and see the turtles at Weymouth in the Easter holidays, they are unbelivably cute! I think they're actually terrapins though. Bah. False advertising. But they are (were) about an inch long and thoroughly confused by the mirrored sides of the tank which more than made up for it.
P.P.S. I also went up to Wembley Arena the day after my final fitting to see the Prodigy play live :D (yes, I took 2 whole days off when making this costume). The Prodigy are, it has to be said, not as cute as baby terrapins, but they do set off this bizarre reaction in me that makes me dance like a broken marionette having an epileptic fit while stone cold sober. I am still on a high from this gig. Though I may remember to wear a sports bra if I ever see them again
P.P.P.S. I finally got round to casting on my second toe up sock, on the same needles, with the same number of stitches, only to find that my guage has somehow changed in the last 6 months. Well, bugger.