Tuesday, 15 November 2011

7 weeks without stitching - NEVER!

As my big trip to South America looms closer I've been thinking about what projects I can take that will keep me going during 7 weeks of backpacking.  We have decided to only take 2 smallish rucksacks each. Mine is 33 litres and hubbys is 35 litres. So space is seriously tight.
We've got quite a distance to cover, and even though we will be spending a lot of time trekking and sightseeing there are quite a few long bus and plane journeys in to get through as well. What better way to pass the time than to take some projects to keep me going.

I thought about taking the vintage knitted top that I keep going on about, but I would be beside myself if anything happened to it, its taken me so long to figure out how to do it and I've spent so long working on it.
A few weeks ago now I was at the Knitting and Stitching show in London and the lovely people there taught me how to crochet. I had tried once before but made the mistake of not practising regularly enough and quickly forgot how to do it.
Since then I've been practicing granny squares and I am defiantly getting more of a hang of it...although still not mastered what to do with all the loose ends.

So I thought something like this might be good to squeeze in my rucksack. Only one hook needed...I can take just a few balls of wool...no biggie if my rucksack gets nicked or anything. Maybe by the time I get back I'll have enough squares to stitch me up a blanket!
I bought this gorgeous crochet book by Nicki Trench recently. 

It has a few blanket projects in it but I'm going for the beginner one...this 'Springtime Throw'. Its bloomin' massive (finished size 162cm x 2223cm)...so I'm just going to work with the few yarn balls that I have and see how many squares I get to. 

House of Fraser have a sale on the Amy Butler Belle Organic aran and DK at the moment...I think they are selling of there end of line stock and I managed to top up some of the yarn that I already had for just £2.50 per ball (usually over £5 so a bit of a bargain). Only problem was you had to buy it in packs of 10 balls...which seemed excessive....so I managed to find a few smaller packs and I'm planning on using the cream and the two shades of blue to make up a smaller blanket. Will probably end up being a baby sized blanket...now I just need a baby...maybe not just yet! 

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Planning, packing and stitching too...of course!

I've been busy trying to get organised for my upcoming trip over the past few weeks. Me and the hubby are going to Panama and South America for 7 weeks and we leave in just 2 weeks time! We only decided to go about 5 weeks ago so it all been a bit of a rush to get ready. Here is a map of our planned route....
My cousin has put us in touch with one of his close friends who is a tour organiser based in Lima and she has been so amazing!... putting an itinerary together for us and she is even picking us up at the airport in Lima. We just have to sort out a week in Panama ourselves. 

In between ticking off my several to do lists I've been working on the vintage knitting pattern I found at my parents house in the summer. I thought it didn't look to difficult....I could work out all the abbreviations and when I first read it I thought..yeh sure...I can work it out. Hmmmm.....so far its certainly not been a smooth ride. On the positive side I can't believe how much I have learned by the section I have done so far. 

A few weeks ago I got soooo stuck with it. The pattern presumed I had special powers and could work out complicated increases with minimal information. I seriously got so stuck and in such a state. After a frustrating phone call to my Mum, who couldn't help me figure it out (and I don't blame her, it was really complicated especially when she could't actually see what I was doing) I turned to Ravelry and searched for knitting groups in my area. What were the chances....? There was a group meeting that night at the MAC

Everyone I met was so lovely and friendly and I got the much needed help from Minty who even gave me some stitch markers to help me on my way. It all seemed so much clearer. I needed to draw out a chart of the pattern..which seemed simple...until I made about 3 mistakes in that which then lead me having to undo 3 rows (of 106 stitches!), In process I also managed to drop stitches...thanks you tube videos for teaching my how to pick these back up again! 

But since then I've been on a roll with it...and now managed to get a huge chunk done of the back panel.

So now I've managed to figure out how to do knitting 'a la fair isle'....pick up dropped stitches...use stitch markers...turn complicated instructions into a chart...incorporate increases to follow the pattern. Not bad I reckon! And now I can't put it down!  

I quite fancy making a new wallet for my trip though and found some great tutorials online last night by very purple person so thats my job for next weekend I think!