Saturday, 20 August 2016

fo: knitted sheep baby blanket

James Gosling Photography
Pattern - Sheep Blankie
Ravelry project page - here 

In May, a couple of really excellent friends of mine got in touch to request that I knit a baby blanket for a friend of theirs who was expecting. They didn't know what blanket they wanted, just something hand knitted, that they could choose. Trusty ol' Pinterest to the rescue. I put together a selection of options, and we settled on this sheep blanket pattern, choosing green for the base because they didn't know the expected gender of the baby, but also of course that sheep graze on grass. 

Lion Brand Vanna's Choice is a brand I have used many times before, including on my Jayne Cobb hat, so I knew that their baby brand would be perfect for this project. I wanted something as fluffy as possible for the sheep too, to make them soft to touch for the baby, and to make them stand out on the blanket. James C. Brett Flutterby Chunky fit the ticket; I'm sure I've never knit with something so soft, and it's perfect for babies as there are no loose fibres escaping, as you might find in a bouclĂ© yarn or equivalent. 

James Gosling Photography

James Gosling Photography
The finished blanket is small and square, knit to a newborn size. The border is my all time favourite stitch pattern, moss stitch, and the main feature of the blanket is 24 small, fluffy white sheep, all knit in stocking stitch using the intarsia knitting method. 

I think the blanket looks really splendid, but I must say I am not really in a hurry to knit another! The 24 sheep are made up of 4 rows of 6, which means that when knitting the sheep I had to work with 7 balls of wool at once (6 white, 1 green carried across the back of all 6) and my goodness! The number of times I got in a tangle ... And the ends. THE ENDS that I had to weave in. But it does all look so splendid. 

Once the knitting was finished, I simply sewed the face and feet with some black yarn, and steamed the blanket to finish. I've only crocheted blankets before, so even though this is only a baby blanket it really was so satisfying to finish and I love the weight and texture of the knitting over a much larger area. I will be attempting to knit many more blankets in my time, preferably in one piece if I can. 

Thank you to James for taking the pictures for me! He takes absolutely wonderful pictures and does offer half and full day photo shoots. For more information visit his website or Instagram.

James Gosling Photography

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

fo: space invaders fair isle hat

Pattern - my own design, pattern available to purchase soon
Yarn - Sirdar Country Style DK, Sirdar Harrap Tweed DK, Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK
Ravelry project page - here

A much delayed post, looking at more closely the Space Invaders Hats I knit for my 'simply sublime' yarn review, that I promised to share with you 2 weeks ago! I can give you excuses and apologies and what not, but I've been doing that a lot lately, and will probably do it some more yet. Combined with the fact that I won't have regular internet access until the very end of this month (thank you very much for that, Virgin Media), let's just blow past this and talk about the hats!

When I first wrote about the hats on the blog, it was review some lovely yarns that Sirdar sent over to me. I don't want to repeat myself too much, but now you can see the 2 versions of the hat modelled by Ben and me. The tweed version is knitted with Sirdar Harrap Tweed and Country Style DK - wool and acrylic blends - and the brighter version is made using Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool. The merino wool is my new favourite yarn with knit with, but you can read more about my thoughts on all of these excellent yarns in my earlier post
I've designed the hats to be knit in the round. I prefer circular needles and the magic loop method myself, but I would have thought double pointed needles would work fine as well! The fair isle design is, again, of my own creation. I worked out the pattern on some graph paper and coloured in a few versions to decide on the two colour combinations that I liked best!

Initially, the fair isle had a different band above the space invaders, that looked like peaks and valleys. I decided, while knitting the hats, that this design wouldn't fit well and would look unbalanced. Instead I repeated the first section of the pattern above the space invaders which creates a more clearly defined 'band' around the hat. 

The pom pom's are of course made using a Clover Pom Pom maker (this, honestly, is one of the best purchases I ever made!) and are a mix of the 3 colours used on the hat which I think ties it all together nicely and adds a nice little explosion of colour to the hats. 

The hats are really comfortable and warm, which made taking pictures in August very interesting. I think Ben and I are going to look so darn cool in winter wearing these hats - particularly if we wear them together!

I've wanted to knit myself something like this for a long time and I am really pleased that I finally sorted myself out and got to it! As mentioned before, I will be publishing a pattern that you can purchase for the hat soon - I can't say when as my schedule isn't letting up anytime soon! But I hope you will be pleased with it when it finally comes out. I will be sure to let you know.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

mcm manchester comic con 30-31 july

Well, it's that time of year again (perhaps slightly delayed), but as promised in my last post, here is one of my favourite posts to write every year; our weekend at Manchester MCM Comic Con.

As usual, this post doesn't require much thought - it was a blast! And even more so, (self plug coming) because I made the costumes myself and they turned out pretty splendidly. Or so I hope you will agree. Below you can see Ben in the same ensemble that he wore to Star Wars Celebration (I might have insisted that he wear it more than one day). And, as mentioned in my Baby Glaceon post, here I am in my 'human form' kimono (inspired by this) with ears, wig and Glaceon herself in my hand.

This year, Sophie (she of the infamous constantly-mentioned-thank-you-for-your-patience cardigan) came with us on the Sunday, dressed as Mad Alice from the video game. She was suitably scared of Ben, who looks remarkably unimpressed with the whole situation (he is just so into character! I'm pretty sure he had a good weekend too.)

The stuff

We were *reasonably* conservative with our shopping this year at comic con: we really wanted some Japanese crockery from a wonderful stall that is there each year, so we made sure to save up for that; a top and a jumper each; and only one or two other bits or bobs. This didn't stop us from wandering around a drooling over everything we saw! I was really sad to find that Gametee weren't in attendance this year however, I always love buying stuff from them at comic con, but they have a lovely online shop at least.  

The steampunk Storm Trooper helmet was also with a steampunk Yoda head and Darth Vader helmet, and the level of detail and thought was fantastic. There was a section of the convention devoted to steampunk; designs, costumes, art, that sort of thing, including a mini stage where discussions took place. I am not really into steampunk myself, but that didn't stop the 3 of us on Sunday having a very careful look over everything on display. I do really enjoy the level of detail that steampunkers (correct term?) take their costumes and props to and it's always a wonder to see what diversity can be made into this style. 
The cosplay

What would any comic con be without the exceptional cosplayers? We didn't make the same mistake that we did at Star Wars, and this time we took the better camera. We managed to get some really good pictures of some of the best cosplayers and costumes there. You've already seen mine and Ben's costumes and I am happy to report that we were stopped for plenty of pictures ourselves; I was particularly delighted that people actually knew what I was supposed to me - all that hard work paid off eh?

Dark Magician Girl from the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card game was probably my favourite, as she also happens to be my favourite card! I asked for this picture on the Sunday afternoon so the lady dressed up was a little bored I think (I believe she was working on the Yu-Gi-Oh! stand rather than attending the con and so had probably been stopped so very many times). 

You can never go wrong with a Disney Princess cosplay, as indeed I went in one myself to the first comic con we attended (Belle's everyday wear, rather than the ball gown). That also happened to be a costume I made myself, but I could totally improve on that now ... Belle and Aurora, and the gowns were really splendid to view at the convention.

I love when I ask someone for a picture, and they pose in character. I would like to think I could do that, but I am not confident enough quite to feel I would be loyal to the character. But then again I do like to smile in the pictures which is a pose in itself. That's the great thing about cosplay though - the costume, and the atmosphere, gives you so much more confidence than you realise, so that any other day I don't like having my picture taken, but it's almost a game to see who can have their picture taken the most. And the smiles and costumes just really egg you on and everything is so enjoyable.

This was the funniest cosplay of the weekend - Deadpool Trump. Please, USA, please please please make the right choice come November .... I mean, if it was Deadpool there is no contest, but it isn't. So it's not. 

Ben commented that there weren't quite as many Star Wars cosplayers as we might have expected at comic con this time, which was a pretty fair point given how popular The Force Awakens, and the upcoming Rogue One, are. I pondered that this was because comic con covers so much more than just Star Wars that perhaps it wasn't too much of a surprise? Perhaps because we were only just at Star Wars Celebration two weeks before this it felt much more different than usual. 

Well, as ever MCM Comic Con was absolutely splendid and I am only sorry I have to wait so long in between the conventions!! I am really eager to go back to London, and try the October con one year, but that will probably have to wait a little while now. This last week we moved into our rented house, and good gracious I have just been so busy! We also most likely won't have internet until the end of the month now, due to a mix up with the order :'( so I've popped back to dad's this weekend to get some posts prepared so I don't leave you lovely people wanting :)

In the meantime, do enjoy this picture of a Sith Lord, exploring his inner Pokemon.