Thursday, 26 May 2016

fo: sophie cardigan

Pattern - my own, based on an M&S Chunky cardigan, owned by my friend Sophie!
Yarn - Sirdar Faroe Chunky (rockpool)

Cable charts - back (celtic cable)front (cable cushion), sleeves simple c6b
Ravelry project page - here

IT IS FINISHED! Thank you to everyone for your patience and interest in the ongoing project that has been the Sophie Cardigan! I've been giving you steady updates and hints and sneak peaks for ages now, and I've had to rip back many a section and learn how to do a lot of new things. But I hope you will agree that it's all be worth it!

The whole point, after all, in attempting this project was never just to knit a cardigan I fancied the look of, but to test how far my knitting and design skills have come along and to see if I'm at a point where if I fancy something, I can just make it without a pattern - and I can!! It takes a long time and many mistakes, but over time that will change :)

It's chunky, it's cabled, and it's colourful! I am so happy with the finished project! I've even managed to wear it a couple of times already, because apparently we here in England really don't know how to stay summer. 

You can find more notes on the Ravelry page - including some helpful links to how I learned to shape the sleeve caps and even the sleeves themselves. The sleeves were easily the more difficult section to knit, because they had to slot into the cap which I had shaped through knitting the front and back panels.  I think my maths may have been slightly off, as the sleeves are quite a bit baggier in proportion to the rest of the cardigan. It is supposed to be an oversized cardigan but the sleeves are just a little too big. Perhaps if I were a perfectionist I would re-do them ... naah!

Above you can see the detail on the sleeves and the front panels, and below a close up of a section of the back. The base of the cardigan is moss stitch, and the cable patterns you can find linked at the top of this post if you like the look of them and what to have a go yourself! The small cables on the arms and front of the cardigan are just worked over 6 stitches.

The grey buttons have little flecks of yellow in them - just a lovely little detail you perhaps can't see -and I bought them from Abakhans in Manchester. You can shop online as well.

If you want to read more about how I knitted the cardigan, do be sure to look through the Sophie Cardigan label on the blog. I am considering putting together a one-size tutorial for the cardigan (if I can face working my way through my pencilled notes!!) but I am eager to focus on some other things in the meantime. I am also part way through a baby blanket commission for a friend so need to get my skates on with that!

I hope you like the cardigan as much as I do, and thank you for following me through the muddled journey of it - here is to the next made up item!!

Monday, 23 May 2016

fo: space invader baby blanket

Pattern - coming soon!
Ravelry project page - here

Finished dimensions = 102cm x 76cm (40" x 30")

Here it is - my Space Invader baby blanket! The first of the two big projects that I've been spending most of my time on over the last few months. I've teased and alluded to this project many times, but now it's all finally finished (well, I'm not counting the 200 odd ends I need to weave in on the other side yet...that's a binge watching job for sure).

I thought of this idea a few months ago and got to working on it straight away. As it so happened in one of dad's clearing up sessions of mum's old craft supplies, he found 10 balls of some red wool, and my dressmaking teacher (lovely Lisa) gave me a large ball of white wool that she had no use for! Providence you see, and so I was able to design the below character.

For space invaders fans reading, you might not recognise the cheeky character on the blanket. This is because I designed him on some graph paper. I wanted to have the fun of designing the character, and the option to be able to sell the blanket on, and as it's my own design (strictly speaking it's a space invader inspired blanket then I suppose ...) that should be ok! That is in face the plan, to sell this blanket on Etsy once all the ends are fixed up. Since I've taken the above picture I have actually washed the blanket ready for steaming, so those wonky edges should look a little neater. 

The blanket is made up of 228 individual mini-granny squares (100 red, 128 white) sewn together according to an image I put together on Excel (very hi-tech), and finished with a single crochet border twice round to neaten the edges.

If you are thinking 'gosh, I would love to make one of these myself' (and hopefully not 'oh my, what an awful blanket') then fear not! I didn't just make this blanket with a view to selling the finished piece (although, if it doesn't sell I wouldn't mind keeping it on my chair...) but also for putting together a free pattern for you lovely readers. I should have something for you in a week or so, so watch out :)

If you're very excited and want to get the stuff ready in preparation, you will be about 500g each of the colours that you want to use (my example is of course red and white), plus an extra 100g in your chosen background colour (white - for the border) and a 4mm crochet hook. Yarn should be Aran weight. I will be including directions on how to crochet the mini-square, a chart for 2 versions of the blanket, and written instructions to support this - watch this space guys. 

And of course, in other delightful news, I finally finished the Sophie Cardigan! I've given you sneak preview of this on Instagram, but you can look forward to a more detailed, finished post within the week - I'm very excited that this project is finally finished and I can show you!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

yarn along

Well well well, if it isn't Wednesday again - the days just seem to melt by. I'm working on several things at once, all on the verge of being finished, so I can share a new pattern or post with you (just another day or so, then I will do a new blog post - yeah, right). Yet here we are again, and instead I'm just telling you what I'm up to. Whetting your appetites with promises of what's to come (eventually - cross my heart!). I'm sure you don't mind, really, though - right?

As usual, this post is linking up with Ginny's yarn along - if you've come along through her blog please say hello and leave your link for me and readers!

I've started working on (yet another) project for which I am making the design up for. This, however, is something I've wanted to do for ages, and I hope it will be my first amigurumi pattern to sell (you can find all my free patterns here). It will hopefully be a rather chibi-esqu dragon, (the start of a line of a few patterns and characters) and you can see above the head and the beginnings of the body starting to take shape. As this will be a pattern I hope to sell, I fancy having some testers/giveaways on other blogs; if you would be interested let me know!

I've finished reading the Assassin's Apprentice, and so have moved onto the second in the Farseer Trilogy, Royal Assassin. The first book was really enjoyable to read, with some great twists towards the end (some I could see, some that were a complete surprise - a nice balance) and a pretty satisfying ending, I felt, for a first book of a series. I've started the second with high expectations, so hopefully this will deliver! If you're on Goodreads, do add me as a friend - particularly if you like fantasy, historical, or young adult distopian novels.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

yarn along

So, after the exciting news that I shared yesterday, seem's appropriate to keep you informed also of what I've been up to alongside this. As if designing my own cardigan wasn't enough, I've decided to do some more designing again - this time a fully knitted, cable throw. The exact same story with the cardigan! I bought a big bag of yarn at The Knitting & Stitching Show, assuming I would find a great pattern. I changed my mind on a jumper (time to try something a little different) and decided on a blanket (ok, not THAT different - but this one will be knitted at least), and so I took to the world wide web to find a free, cable knit blanket pattern, that used double knit yarn.

Couldn't find anything, so I tried my many knitting books.

No more luck, perhaps the huge stack of magazines ...

Nothing - plenty of baby blanket patterns to be sure, but no adult ones! I realise knitting an adult blanket in double knit will take a while, and my unwillingness to buy a pattern doesn't help, but come on! Unfortunately the idea is stuck in my head, so I will JUST have to make one up myself and fill that gap in the market - what a bother! I fancy lots of textures and cables if I can, so (above) you can see I'm practising my swatch for the tension, but also to see what patterns and cables I like, using the amazing book that is, so aptly named, The Knitting Book. It's filled with ideas, techniques and, more importantly, stitch patterns. Watch this space for another oooooongoing project!

Of course I am, as usual, linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along so I shall also tell you what I'm reading. Back to Robin Hobb, I'm reading the first in another trilogy (The Farseer Trilogy) - Assassin's Apprentice. Where I struggled to get stuck into The Liveship Trader's Trilogy, I had no problem eating this book right up and I'm already half way through after a couple of days! This is the story of Fitz, the bastard son of a Farseer Prince, and how he is learning how to make his way in a world that he doesn't quite fit into, where he is judged only by the accident of his birth, and he is also training to become - well, an assassin believe it or not. All with the right amount of magic and mystery, just how I like it! So far we are only following one point of view which I really love. Although the various characters in The Liveship Traders and A Song of Ice and Fire is great, I find that the emotional attachment is more with just a single protagonist. I don't mean to ramble - just get to reading this book if you like fantasy and George R.R. Martin! Also, read this before The Liveship Traders, it's all a part of the same world and will probably set up that trilogy better than I had :)

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

online knitter of the year - profile!

Hello everyone! How are tricks? I've recently become addicted to an amazing podcast - Anna Faris is Unqualified - and if you like podcasts, or have always fancied getting into them, I can't recommend this one enough! Anna Faris is hilarious, and its great to hear her talk to her friends (such as Chris Evans, Aubrey Plaza, Jenny Slate - so many awesome names) about real life. Their aim is to try and give relationship advice, but its all very honest, entertaining and thoughtful - advice is given as if to friends and not as a therapist or agony aunt. An added bonus is that Chris Pratt, Anna's husband of course, makes the occasional appearance! 

But that's not really what I wanted to talk about today - I just need you to look it up!

While you are looking that up you should also check out the current issue of Knit Now magazine - which features my Online Knitter of the Year profile! Yippee!!

I get a whole page to myself in the magazine and I've been carrying the magazine around and oh-so-artfully letting it drop open to that page here and there, all very tastefully done you understand. Kate Heppell sent me some questions, and late on a Sunday night I bashed out my answers and was a little giddy, so some of my sentences read rather dramatically (I will let you find out which ;p) but all in all I'm sure I come across to the readers as someone they want to look up and read more about (oh man I hope so!!)

Perhaps you are a new reader of The Geeky Knitter, stumbled along because I was in the magazine - if so, hello! Welcome to my corner of world wide data, and I hope you're here to stay :)

If you fancy reading the magazine itself, filled with some excellent patterns as always by the way, you can purchase the magazine online, or pop into Sainsburys, or Hobbycraft,, WHSmiths undoubtedly and maybe perhaps Tesco? It's all on the website.!

A HUGE thank you to Kate, and Knit Now magazine for having me in this issue, I'm really pleased and honoured, and I can't wait for the trip to Sirdar in June!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

a look back at what I've been up to, and happy Star Wars day!

May the 4th be with you - always ...

representing A New Hope at work
Star Wars bag

Ah, even though Star Wars Day is just a pun-day (oh nice, if I do say so myself!) I do like to get a little giddy with it, and this year I'm wearing a classic poster t-shirt (thank you Lucy!), carrying my dark side tote bag, and Jedi Totoro is doing the rounds with me at work and while I potter about. I plan on watching at least 2 of the films tonight if I can manage it (sorry die-hards, I do love The Phantom Menace so that's probably one!) and I bought The Force Awakens on blu-ray at the weekend, but I've already watched that twice since then, don't want to over watch it too soon. 

Jedi Totoro
Now it's usually about this time in the month that I will let you know how my crafty plans got on, and what I am aiming to do this month. In April if you recall I switched up the style a little and made my goals a little more informal, and threw a life goal in there too. 

Finish the Sophie Cardigan

GUYS this IS FINISHED!! But where is the photographic, joyous proof I hear you ask? Well, the cardigan is knitted and sewn together, but it's not steamed, the ends aren't woven in, and I was supposed to buy buttons last Saturday but got distracted at a splendid cocktail bar in Manchester, so the shop was closed by the time I got there - oops. But fear not, a final update will be forthcoming!

Craft for pure pleasure

I killed two birds with one stone on this one, as it turned out I really fell in love with working on the Sophie Cardigan again once I'd worked out all the uncomfortable maths. So TV and chilling was had!

Find a new job

OH I was so close, I had a really great interview for a job I really wanted, but unfortunately I didn't get it - lost out to someone more experienced. As much of a bummer that that is, they were very praising of my interview and application and said I couldn't improve on that, so they will keep me in mind for future roles, so the door isn't totally closed on that one. But I am so ready to move on and face something new, I will keep looking and just hope the positive thinking works again this month (only better). 

So you see, it all worked reasonably well, but I'm in a bit of a stump with working life at the moment, and its all seeping into my moods and what not. So in the interest of not worrying myself, this month I won't set any goals in the hopes that my creative juices will flow and I will have lots to talk to you about anyway! And then in June I hope to organise my second ever craft swap! So a month without 'deadlines' will help the thought process on that I am sure!

Hope you all get to enjoy the sunshine today, and watch as many Star Wars films as you can!!