Monthly Archives: May 2012

Where did the last week go?

I haven’t stopped blogging, I’ve just lost a week! The sad thing is, I haven’t really got much knitting done either, I’ve been trying to get the neck of my bolero right, and every time I get somewhere near it, I change my mind and frog it back again.  Argghh!

So here are a few photos from the last week..

Bristol Balloons

Bristol Balloons - view from my window

my first latte art

my first latte art!

Radio Head

Book before bed

Victoria Park Bristol

Victoria Park

A Catch up with My beau

A Catch up with My beau

Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke plays with a yoyo

Veg Fest Bristol

Veg Fest Bristol - Nom!

lunch in the park

lunchbreak in the park - warm enough for a bikini!

View of Clifton from the River

Another lunchbreak, and here I sat to knit..

As you can see, it’s been pretty glorious here! I have been preparing this week, as it’s my last day at work on Friday before I go self employed (excluding the odd shifts I will be working in my lovely local pub.)

Bring it on!

Adventures in Machine Knitting Part Deux

Adventures in Machine Knitting Part Deux – Brother KH965

Having everything set up this week has actually made me a bit more determined to get the hang of machine knitting.  I’ve joined a very friendly Ravelry group who have been really helpful, and with a bit of practice I’ve got the hang of threading the machine correctly.  I think this was why I was dropping stitches – and today I even managed to pick some back up again!

Owl attempt 3 Machine Knitting

Scruffy owl attempt 3

Here’s owl no.3 – looking slightly better than my first attempt, although he’s a bit scruffy as the colours have laddered slightly.  I’ve learned what caused this now – that the contrast colour also needs to go all the way to the edge of the knitting, which wasn’t something I’d considered when programming in the picture.

So rather than the stress of re- programming the image, which I think I’ll put on hold for a bit, I thought I’d have a go at some of the patterns already in the machine.

Here are some rams:

Rams! KH965 Machine Knitting

Machine Knitted Rams on the Brother KH965

And some elephants!

Knitted Elephants KH965 Machine Knitting

Machine Knitted Elephants on the Brother KH965

I’m definitely finding using the knitting machine easier with practice – like all new things I suppose.  I even found I was looking at patterns for jumpers (I’d like a nice lacy one please) but had to slow myself down.

Not much else to report today – it was beautifully sunny outside and I stayed in doing this! I will get out more tomorrow 🙂

What have you been up to?

 

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

An Inspirational Saturday at Bristol Southbank Arts Trail

I woke up yesterday morning feeling like death warmed up.  A combination of a full working week, followed by my first shift in the pub and a sleepless night left me in urgent need of some coffee and some good food.  So after my friend Lucy asked me to meet her at the Old Bookshop I was more than happy to find this in front of me!

Breakfast at The Old Bookshop, Bedminster

Nom!

We were about to embark on the Southbank Arts Trail, and I had no idea what was in store.  As it turned out, this breakfast was to set us up for the day, as we hit the streets on our bikes for the next six hours to cover only half of what we wanted to see.

One of the first places we entered was The Bed Workshop, which was decorated wall to wall with illustrations and would be hosting a ukelele rock opera later in the day.  Sadly we didn’t get to see that, however I did pick up these lovely cards by Melanie Wickham.

Bristol Hand Printed Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail

Handprinted by Melanie Wickham


Handprinted Card by Melanie Wickham - Southbank Arts Trail

True!

I also bought this print by Lou Archell, who I have just discovered also has a lovely blog!  I fell in love with this print – I seem to be rather attracted to tree type imagery at the moment.  Now to find a frame!

Lou Archell Tree Print - Southbank Arts Trail

My lovely new print by Lou Archell

We entered an array of houses and public spaces exhibiting everything from illustrations and photography, to pottery, glassware and textiles.  It was a real inspiration how motivated these artists are, and I found myself feeling a little bit overwhelmed!

Divaweaver's beautiful patterns - Southbank Arts Trail

Divaweaver’s beautiful patterns – click for facebook page

The artist that stood out the most to me was Angie Parker – aka Divaweaver – who took the time to show me how she makes her beautiful rugs and upholstered chairs.  I’ve never seen any weaving done before and was mesmerised by the loom and how the fabric came together.  Angie also had a great tub full of coloured yarn that I clocked as soon as I walked in, from which she had chosen some wonderful colour combinations for her rugs.

Heading homeward I decided I need to be more proactive when it comes to making things. I’ve been having trouble sitting down and getting things done recetly – I’m hoping this will all change when I finish working full time.

My knitting machine set up

All set up and ready to go!

So after knitting a few rows of my bolero and feeling sorry for myself this morning, I thought I’d give my knitting machine another go.  I want to make some fair isle purses for Art on the Hill, and that means knowing how this thing works!  I persisted and learned how to programme in my own pattern, taken from an image I’d found online, which I converted to a bitmap in Photoshop.

 

This is where I need some advice.  To programme in your own pattern on the Brother KH965, as far as I can tell, you have to sit for ages pressing one of two buttons, which makes the same shrill noise every time you press it with no option to turn the sound off.  I know this is an ancient piece of kit, but after an hour and a half this drove me nuts!

Finally I finished programming and rechecking, I’d done some practice rows of knitting, so it was time to knit the owl 🙂  I hadn’t anticipated what to do when the stitches come of the needles when you are knitting with two colours.  When hand knitting, I always fix mistakes from the right side of the work, but with the machine you have to work from the back, which is hard because you can’t see what’s going on in the pattern.

A poor attempt at machine knitting

Sad owl that looks like a cat

So here he is.. a sad, fat, pale owl because in my haste I forgot that I should have charted him in rectangles rather than squares, to allow for the fact that stitches are wider than they are high.  I felted him slightly, largely because I wondered how the yarn would react but also so it would like flat for a picture.   Not bad for a first attempt I suppose, though I am put off by the frustration I went through trying to programme this guy in.

I think what I really need is someone like this lady to come and rewire my knitting machine so my MacBook can talk to it:

Any volunteers?

 

 

WIP Wednesday: Nameless Lace Bolero

After taking part in Eskimimi’s Knitting and Crochet Blogging Week, I discovered I don’t knit any summer stuff.  So as soon as I’d finished the woolly mittens I was making a couple of weeks ago (photos to follow) I dived into my stash looking for a summery yarn to knit up.

You might recall I was hoping for a yarn swap at the beginning of the month.  That was because I wanted to knit something light for the summer, and I seem to have a house full of wintery yarn! But there are other season right?

Lace Shrug

Nameless Lace Bolero

I’m knitting this bolero for those chilly evenings, when you’re out in a pretty dress but there’s a nip in the air.  I always feel the cold, so even in summer I’ll appreciate the chunkiness of it, but it might be more spring and autumn for some.  The yarn is Erika Knight’s ‘Vintage’ in Wisteria.

I’m rounding off the collar at the moment so it’s longer in the middle, and then I’ll get to work on sewing the sides of the rib together at the top and bottom.  There will be scalloped edging around the arms to finish it all off.

Lace Shrug Pattern

The Stitch Pattern - Unblocked!

This is a fairly basic stitch pattern, but I’m really enjoying making it. It’s a good one for knitting in front of the tv and when you’ve got a few box sets on the go that’s perfect! Currently we’re watching Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and Boardwalk Empire (while waiting for Dexter and Misfits to come back) Any more suggestions are always welcome, though I suppose I should try and see daylight at some point!

I suppose it might be hard to tell without seeing the finished thing and what it looks like on, but this bolero doesn’t have a name yet – so any ideas are welcome!

Recipe: Peach Muffins with Duck Eggs

Peach Muffins with Duck Eggs

I was all set to make chocolate chip muffins today, but was drawn to buying a tin of peaches, which totally changed my direction.  We were given some little silicon muffin cases for Christmas (thanks Mum!) and I’ve been looking at them for a while thinking we should use them.

Peach Muffins with Duck Egg

Peach Muffins with Duck Eggs

My work colleague Joanne keeps ducks, and I came in to find five eggs on my desk this morning.  I was determined only to use one in the cake mix so there would be enough for breakfast tomorrow (have you ever tried scrambling duck eggs? Amazing..)

I can’t totally take the credit for this recipe, I based it on this Blueberry Muffin recipe but then changed it quite a bit.  Let me know what you think!

Makes 12-16 muffins depending on case size.

Ingredients

250g (9oz) plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
115g (4oz) demerara sugar
1 duck egg
80g (3oz) unsalted butter
4 fluid oz semi-skimmed milk
4 tbsp syrup (from tinned peaches)
1 tsp vanilla essence
200g (7oz) tinned peaches, cut into 1cm cubes

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4

Melt the butter slowly in a pan, and allow to cool while you sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
Mix in the sugar, and make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.  Add the melted butter, vanilla essence, peach syrup, egg and milk, until just combined.
Now fold in the peach pieces, being careful not to over mix the batter.
Pour into muffin cases and cook for 25 minutes on the middle shelf.

Leave to cool on a wire rack, eat and enjoy!*

Peach Muffins with Duck Eggs

Peach Muffins with Duck Eggs

*For extra yumminess, serve with hot custard, mmm…

Sunshine – Finally!

After what seems like weeks of rain, we’ve had a beautiful weekend in Bristol! Determined to make the most of it, we spent a very lovely couple of days out and about.

Ashton Court Bristol

When we moved here in August, I went straight into full-time work for the first time in years, and the 8 hour days really knocked the energy out of me for about 3 months.  By the time I got used to it, it was dark by 4pm and wet outside, and it felt like we’d missed the summer and the best time to explore a new city.

Two Trees, Ashton Court, Bristol

I’m excited now as summer approaches, and the 9 month contract I signed up to at work comes to an end.  It was the best way into Bristol and an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, but I’m looking forward to part time work again and the chance to do some freelancing, design more knitting patterns, and finally get out and see some of the area we live in 🙂

Red Tree

These first few pictures were taken yesterday at Ashton Court – our first visit and I am sure we will be back soon!  The weather was gorgeous and I got a little snap happy with all the colours around, it’s been grey for so long I was a bit over-excited!

Sunlight coming through the leaves

Ashton Court Bristol

After a lie in  this morning, a late breakfast of Spanish omelettes and a bit of Googling, we set off on what turned out to be about a 38 mile cycle ride to Clevedon.  I wanted to see the sea, and although Clevedon isn’t technically a beach (I don’t think) it was the closest place we could get to (and cycling meant it was free!)

Cycling Bristol to Clevedon - Approaching Pill

Portishead Cemetery

The wind was against us on the way there and it was more hilly than expected, but after a quick pit stop for lunch at Portishead Cemetery, we finally made it to Clevedon, and back!

Clevedon Pier

So this evening is all about stretching, eating curry, ginger cake and custard, Nutella from the jar, Game of Thrones and knitting.  Hurrah!

366 Photography Project Update

366 Photography Project Update

I just wanted to say a quick hello and say I haven’t given up on the 366 photography project yet!   If you don’t know what I’m on about then click on the 366 Project Page at the top of the screen, which is filling up nicely! I must update more often.

A lot of the photographs recently have been indoors, the weather in Bristol has been miserable out and I’ve felt uninspired.  Although seeing them all together I’m actually quite pleased with the results!

chilli and herb garden © Buttons and Beeswax Knitting Blog
On Monday we went out and bought some bits to make a herb garden to cheer ourselves up a bit.  But the basil is really unhappy! This photo was taken shortly after planting, but by Tuesday night it was withered and sad.  Could it be too cold perhaps? I’ve never been the most green-fingered of people.

Greville Smyth Park, Bristol © Buttons and Beeswax Knitting Blog
Today’s photo was going to be of my WIP – a lace shrug knitted in aran to keep off that May chill that’s still in the air here.  It’ll be finished within a few days at this rate hopefully – however I’ve spent so long since I got back from work playing with the all the photos I have uploaded to the 366 Project Page, it’s now too dark to take one.

Trees in May © Buttons and Beeswax Knitting Blog
So instead I have posted couple of photos from today – May in Bristol – still raining, though the trees we look down on from our kitchen window are green and lush.

I am also logging my 366 project photos on my Flickr photography page, so add me as a contact to follow me!

Rowan Kid Classic and Jaeger Grace – Yarn Swap Anyone?

Yarn Swap Anyone?

Today I’m so bored of my wool stash, I wondered if anyone fancied a yarn swap!  I haven’t bought any new yarn in ages, and I have the urge to knit something lacy and summery after discovering that I am a winter knitter and I should be more adventurous.

Rowan Kid Classic Rose © Buttons and Beeswax Knitting Blog

Rowan Kid Classic - swap?

I feel like knitting a bolero, or some sort of lightweight shrug (or maybe even a sweater) but everything I have more than one ball of yarn of is aran weight wool or pink, which isn’t really my colour!

Jaeger Grace Yarn Swap © Buttons and Beeswax Knitting Blog

Jaeger Grace - who wants to swap?

I’ve got about 6 balls of each Rowan Kid Classic in Rose, and Jaeger Grace in black going spare if any of you lovely knitter s fancy trading some nice yarn for them?

 

 

Mini Etsy Treasury – Trees!

Mini Etsy Treasury – Trees!

I’d like to try and make Etsy Treasuries and favourites a regular thing on here, it felt good last time giving a thumbs up to the sellers I’d featured! Today there is a bit of a tree theme going on.  Please click on the photo’s to be sent through to the sellers Etsy page.

sageANDindie tree pendant - etsy favourite  lazydoll heart tree purse - etsy favouriteJewelleryByZM tree pendant - etsy favouriteminimonos screen printed tree pillow - etsy favouriteLeafyDesign tree brance scarf - etsy favouriteWoodlandGifts tree print heart shaped buttons - etsy favourite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Tree of Life Wire Sculpture Encased Picture Jasper Stone Necklace from sageANDindie

2. Heart Tree Embroidery Purse from lazydoll

3. Tree of Life Sterling Silver Necklace from JewelleryByZM

4. Tree Branches Silk Screened Pillow from minimonos

5.  Tree Branch Scarf from LeafyDesign

6.  Set of 10 Mixed Tree Patterned Heart Buttons (ON SALE!)  WoodlandGifts