Monday, 17 September 2012


Hats are another thing that be as easy or as difficult as you want them. I've knit two hats recently, but I think my favourite it the Ishbel beret.
I adore the colour of this one! (As a side note, I dyed a bit of yarn last week using tea bags and got a similar colour!) The pattern is the Ishbel beret by Ysolda Teague. The yarn is Shilasdair Luxury 4ply. It has cashmere, camel, angora and merino in it. Definitely a bit of luxury for your head! :) My project page is here.
This was a stash busting hat. The pattern is a free Ravelry download called Sneaky Snakes, and the yarn is Rico Design Essentials Merino Aran. I'm undecided as to whether I'll keep this one, it came out a bit small. I'll try blocking it bigger, and if that doesn't work a giveaway might be in order :) My project page is here.
Ashley x

Friday, 14 September 2012


I've also knitted a couple of pairs of socks. I love knitting socks, just as you're getting bored of doing one thing, there's a new thing to do! And they can be as easy or as difficult as you fancy. 

I love this pattern, the swirls are so pretty! It's Vorticity from the book Socktopus. The yarn is Rico Design Superba Bamboo. The bamboo makes the yarn very smooth and soft. And the stripes are so fun to knit. For more info on the yarn and pattern, my project page is here.

Now these socks are hard to photograph. There are cables and lace in there somewhere! The heel is also patterned, so it's the first time I've done a patterned heel :) The pattern is Eunice from the book Sock Innovation. The yarn is a Crazy Zauberball, I love this yarn! For more info, my project page is here.
And this is the Jaywalker pattern, a free Ravelry download. The yarn is King Cole Zig Zag, and Dom keeps calling them the dinosaur egg socks because he reckons the white and green look like dinosaur eggs. This pattern is great, very easy to memorise :) I can't wait to finish them.
Ashley x

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Dyeing with teabags!

I dyed some yarn!! With teabags!! As you can see it sent the cream Cygnet DK yarn a lovely coppery colour. I'm really pleased with it :) Word of warning though. If you do a test batch, make sure you do it with the yarn you intend to dye! I did a very small test batch using the Excelana 4ply, and it came out a very lovely autumn yellow. As you can see, the Cygnet came out far from a yellow! Luckily, I love this just as much as I love the yellow. Just be aware that it might not come out the same colour on a different yarn. 
I followed this tutorial. My test batch came out a similar colour to hers. The great thing about dyeing with food stuffs is that it's safe for your pans! The tea stained my pan slightly, but it came straight off with some magic eraser :)
I've dyed a second skein and intend to dye two more. It should be enough to knit the Peaks Island Hood from Whimsical Little Knits 2 :)
Ashley x

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

I killed a dishcloth!!

During the clean up of our flat, I used the only dishcloth that I could find in the mass of boxes:
This picture was taken just after I'd finished it. It's the prettiest dishcloth I've ever made. During the clean up, it was subjected to bleach and much scrubbing. Here's the poor thing now:
The picture makes it look better than it is, it looks much grimier and more sorry for itself in real life. I'm not sure how I managed to make a hole in it, it's starting to unravel. Which is why I'm declaring it dead. Better to lay it to rest now, than when it's a nasty pile of yarn that's annoying to use.
In tribute to this poor sorry dishcloth, I made three more:

I don't think we short on dishcloths for a while, considering what it takes to kill one :)
Ashley x

Monday, 10 September 2012


Phew, where have the last couple of months gone?! Thank you for the well wishes :) The move went so-so. We managed to get everything into Dom's dad's van ok, and the drive down was fine too. I didn't even get travel sick! We arrived on the Friday, we were to stay in an inn and get the keys on Saturday. But when we got here it was clear that the last tenant probably wasn't going to be moved out in time to drop the keys off at the estate agent. She and her mum were just shoving things into the car, she hadn't even packed anything beforehand! And they were throwing a few things into the car, not even filling it up as much as they could. In the end Dom's dad suggested we offer to help. We filled their car as full as we could, and off they went. They returned for the last few bits and left us with the keys. Hurray, we were in a day early! Right? You'd think we'd be happy, but the flat hadn't been cleaned at all. 
We decided to stay at the inn anyway, as the flat was in such a state that we just didn't want to sleep there. 
So on Saturday morning, we made our way to our new flat. The walls were mouldy (apparently this is a common problem round here, but she'd made no attempt to keep it under control), the fridge was disgusting with mould and the freezer box was frozen over so we couldn't open it (when we eventually got it open there was food in there!), everything was grimey, the bedroom carpet is cream and shows up everything she'd managed to spill on it, as well as a burn mark from an iron! After a couple of days, we noticed that the curtains were also mouldy and had cat hair matted into the lining. And then there were the fleas in the carpet!!! Ick!!
Anyway, we cleaned and scrubbed, and had the land lady and the estate agent round to check out the curtains and told them about the fleas. They were both disgusted, and the poor land lady was embarrassed! They both agreed that she wouldn't be getting her bond back. They took the curtains to be dry cleaned and organised for a professional flea treatment and a painter to come and stain block the walls (after we'd given them a good clean with water and white vinegar) and re-paint them cream. 
So we're mostly happy with the flat now :) We're still lacking in furniture though. We went to a furniture sale during one of our first weekends here and bought a chest of drawers (it's nearly as tall as I am!) and a little side table/coffee table from a company called Underneath the Mango Tree. It's made from mango wood! It's beautiful and is built to last. Plus  the chest of drawers makes our clothes smell lovely! We also have a sofa that the last tenant left, after a good scrub and a hoover out, it will do until we can get a new one (it's not in very good condition thanks to the cat). And a bed, of course. 
The lack of furniture has also meant no sewing! We don't have any kind of table (the side table is too low), and there's no way I'd manage on the floor! I'm sure I've seen a photo of a blogger using a sewing machine on the floor and her legs are bent every which way and she's all hunched over. I think I'd injure myself if I tried that! We've placed a massive order with Ikea and are now waiting for all manner of furniture. There's a desk big enough for both me and Dom, and I can have my sewing machine permanently set up there!! I'm so excited, I can't wait to finish my Chantilly dress and not have to put my sewing machine away every time I'm done with it. And a wardrobe, and a lot of storage in the form of drawers and bookshelves. I really hope we have plenty of storage, I'm tired of having things in boxes or neat piles. 
And now we come to the title of this post. We graduated last week! The graduation took place in the Lincoln Cathedral, with drinks afterwards in the Castle grounds. It was lovely :) Dom and my mum came to mine, but I wasn't able to go to his as we only got two tickets each (for free, you could buy extras but they sold out super fast!) and his dad and step mum went. Dom was also awarded the prize for most creative use of technology! How cool is that?! Also, it's a good job Dom took an extra handkerchief as my mum had need of it during the ceremony :)
I'll finish this long post with photo's from my graduation :) I don't have any on my laptop of Dom in his cap and gown yet though. Here are my favourites:

Me and mum :)

I know this blurry, but it's one of my favourites. I think we were laughing
because I'd poked him in the head with my hat!

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend :) I'll share some of my recent knitting this week. And hopefully some sewing at the weekend! (Fingers crossed that the Ikea order comes when it's supposed too!)
Ashley x

Update: Just received an email from Ikea with the date of delivery. Not until the 20th!! When we ordered, the estimated delivery was the 15th *sigh* I was hoping in would be sooner, we really need a wardrobe. We've been hanging Dom's suits on the headboard of the bed! lol

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Leaving tomorrow!

We're leaving Lincoln tomorrow! This is the third day of packing and we're down to the last bits and bobs, and trying to pack up pots and pans but leaving out the ones we need for tea tonight.
We'll be sorting the paperwork tomorrow, and should hopefully get the keys to the flat! I went to my last Spins and Needles Knit night on Monday, Sarah moved it so I could attend one last time. And she presented me with a lovely bag of yarn, a yarn bowl and a Spins and Needles mug! I was not expecting this, and it has made me even more sad to be leaving.
Anyway, the next time I post I'll probably be posting from Hungerford public library! Hopefully the internet won't take too long to get sorted.
Ashley x

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Little update

Just a quick little update :) It was my 21st birthday last weekend, and my mum organised a lovely family party for me! This is much more my style than a night on the town in night clubs etc. :) I absolutely loved it. So a massive thank you to my lovely mum!  Here are a few photos:
How cute it that cake?!
Dom and I :)

Crazy candle/flower thingy

Cute cupcakes mum decorated :)

Me, my cousin Donna, and my lovely mum :)

He persuaded to do a silly smile and the hand thing!
I had a lovely birthday, and received some wonderful presents :) I think my favourite part was the food! Mum put on a massive amount of food, including my favourite - curry fry! And my granddad (in the last picture) made 'yellow rice', just like my nan used to make it :)
In exciting and slightly stressful news, we've been busy the past few weeks job searching. Dom was contacted by an agency about a software engineer job. After an interview, he was offered the job the next day! He's supposed to start on the 23rd of this month, so we have 2 weeks to move down south!! 
We'll be close enough to visit London at the weekends every now and then, which will be great as I can finally have access to good quality cheap fabric! This will greatly impact my sewing, and I can't wait. Unfortunately it won't be for a while yet, we have to find our feet and I still have to find a job once we're down there. 
So posting here will be few and far between for a while. It will also be mostly knitting for a while, which it has been for a while anyway (apologies to the sewists). I have access to good quality yarn in Lincoln, so I've been much more inclined to knit. But buying fabric online has meant it's not what I want it to be and is usually too stiff for garments. But hopefully, sewing will be more appealing once I can buy fabric after feeling it first :)
I'll let you know how the move goes (once we've got the internet sorted, or I've found a public library). I'm excited and stressed about it at the same time. Wish us luck!
Ashley x

Monday, 25 June 2012

Echo Flowers

I love this pattern, it's so pretty. I kept seeing shawls all over Ravelry that I loved, and when I went to check the pattern it would the Echo Flower shawl pattern. Eventually I just recognised it on sight! :) You can find my project page here.
It uses Estonian stitches, so lots of 3-into-9 stitches and such. I eventually realised it would be easier on my hands if I made sure to knit these loosely. And nupps!! (Apparently this is pronounced to rhyme with soup) The pattern also calls for you to bind off with the yarn held double. This has given it a nice sturdy but still stretchy edge. It was a very enjoyable pattern :)
Ashley x
p.s. No pictures of me wearing it yet, I have a cold sore and cold sores are icky :( I get cold sores when I'm particularly stressed, so yeah :(

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Bumpy Lace

I'm not sure where the three weeks since I last posted have gone. I managed to get three summer dresses finished before the sun disappeared. The first one is a house dress only, a test run I suppose. I love the second and third ones. I haven't gotten round to taking photo's yet, and I was too hot when I actually wore them out to want to have my photo taken. 
So instead, I have a photo of a shawl that I've been working on. This is how it looks pre-blocking:
As you can see, it's very bumpy and lumpy. I've blocked it hard, which has made it flat and smooth :) To make sure I take photo's of my summer dresses soon, I'm going to wear one to take photo's of the blocked shawl.
Anyway, I just thought I'd pop in and say hi :) Oh, and we have a white chocolate and raspberry loaf in the oven so hopefully I'll have some photo's of that to share too. It's just starting to brown and smells amazing!!
Ashley x

Friday, 25 May 2012

Operation Emergency Maxi Dresses!

It's hot. Most of my dresses are polyester, and are terrible to wear in this lovely weather we're having. The trip into town to pick up thread, zips, and elastic was very uncomfortable. I definitely need some cooler dresses! 
So Operation Emergency Maxi Dresses begins! Simply, it will be a tube of fabric with a zip at one side and elastic and straps at the top. Then I can wear a belt at my waist as tight or as loose as I want. Or no belt at all if it's super hot. It will be a good chance to practice invisible zips :)
Hopefully I'll have at least one maxi dress to show you soon!
Ashley x

Thursday, 24 May 2012

After a short break. . .

I had my last ever uni exam yesterday! How weird is that?! So revision was the culprit for the silence on the blog. I think the exam went ok though, so hopefully it will be worth it :)
During my silence, I've worked on my Chantilly dress a little and have finally nearly finished it! I need to finish sewing the yoke lining down, insert the invisible zip and finish that seam, and sew the hem. So close! Also in sewing news, my pre-order of the gorgeous Cambie dress pattern from Sewaholic arrived! I think this will be my next sewing project. Though I've been thinking about sewing up some quick and simple maxi dresses, as I'm seriously lacking summer clothes. 
In knitting news, I've made great progress on my Lauriel cardigan and it fits wonderfully! I've now almost finished the first sleeve, but here's a photo of the body:
Also, if you're wondering why there is no hair on my shoulders, I got it cut! It's been a couple of months now, and I still like it ;) There'll be photo's when I finish Chantilly :)
I've also taken an interest in my nails, and the wonderful world of nail art! I came across a thread on Ravelry where they were showing off their manicures. I discovered dotting tools, and nail stamping and fell in love :) I also discovered quick dry top coats. They work like magic and I haven't smudged my nails since using it! Here's my first attempt at nail stamping :
The shininess of the top coat and the gold I used to stamp with made this quite a challenge for Dom to photograph ;) Click the photo for a closer look. I need to get better at being neat and cleaning up, but I'm still pretty impressed :) If you're interested, here's what I used and how many coats:
Base coat: Sally Hansen Double Duty
Colour: Rimmel Lasting Finish, in double decker red. Two coats.
Topcoat: Sally Hansen Instra-dri anti-chip top coat. The top coat sped up the drying time and made it solid, so the stamping didn't smudge the colour.
Stamping: Stargazer Chrome nail polish, in gold. The nail plate is Konad M73.
Topcoat: same as before, but I did three coats to make it extra strong.

As a first attempt, I think it went pretty well :) It's very pretty and very subtle. Stamping is very fun to do, and I'm slowly building up a decent nail polish collection. I also bought a Bundle Monster 25 piece set of nail plates which is a great starting point, as well as a few Konad plates that caught my eye. So lots to choose from :)
Have you ever tried nail stamping? I've never heard of it before now, so thought I'd share in case you haven't either :)
Ashley x

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Socks and Narwhals

I love narwhals and I love toasty warm mittens. These mitts are both! They are lined with another plain knitted mitten. I forgot to take a picture, but it make them amazingly warm :) For yarn and pattern details my Ravelry project page is here. 
And I finally got to knit up a Zauberball! It's a Crazy Zauberball. The pinks are much brighter in real life. They are so cosy and warm :) This is the first pair of 4 ply that I've finished for myself that fit. Lovely :) My Ravelry project page is here for yarn and pattern details. 
And finally, do you remember that I had a cardigan on the go? Probably not, as it's so long since I've mentioned it. I split the sleeve stitches off so I had arm holes, and knitted about an inch more and then put it away. The more I looked at it, the more I didn't like the yarn. I bought it online as it was cheapish. I'm not keen on the colour and it doesn't feel too great. Plus, I wasn't sure on the fit. 
So. I bought some yarn that I love. It's Rico Essentials Merino Aran. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn, and although it says it's an aran, it doesn't look like it to me. I got perfect gauge and I like the fabric that it makes :) I've also gone down a size, as the 38 was a bit loose around the neck. I also took the advice of the pattern and increased at the front after the leaf collar to accommodate my bust. I'm much more confident in the fit of this one already. And the more I look at the yarn, the more I love it! :)
I had gotten about halfway through the raglan increases when I realised the armholes were wonky! On one side, there were six leaves before the arm and on the other there were seven! Argh! So I had to frog back to the leaves and start over from there. I'm almost back to where I was before.
The colour of the yarn actually has life to it. Does that make sense? It's not just a flat colour, it has subtle lighter and darker bits when you look at it closely. I like it a lot. The original yarn will get knitted into a scrap blanket instead :) 
Now I'm off to make some pizza dough. We're having pizza tonight! We took a look at a restaurant menu to come up with ideas for toppings. It's a great way to try new toppings that you wouldn't normally try. We're having olives, capers, red onion, roasted pine nuts, and sultanas on our pizza. I'd never have thought to put those things together on a pizza, but it's delicious! :)
Ashley x

Friday, 27 April 2012

Dishcloths and washcloths

I have a 3000 word essay to start and finish by Sunday night so I'll keep this brief - Look, dishcloths and washcloths!! We needed them, so I made them! If you'd like details on yarn or patterns, you can find them here on my Ravelry page. I've been doing them a row at a time while working on other essays. 
Also, thank you for the lovely comments on my last couple of posts, I'll reply to them when this essay is done and handed in :) But for now, thanks!
Ashley x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Fiddler's Mitts

Blocking really helped smooth out the stitches and colour work on these mitts! (There's a before blocking photo in this post) The pattern is Fiddler's mitts by Ysolda Teague. It's part of the book 'My Grandmother's knitting'. There are some lovely patterns in this book :) The yarn is Excelana 4ply. It's lovely to work with and softened quite a bit with some Soak wool wash. 
I've been working on finishing the Narwhal mittens (they're for Dom, so I feel bad that he didn't get to wear them this winter), and I'm now tired of colour work! I'm onto the lining now so at least there is no colour work left to do :)
Ashley x

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Socks, gloves and a shawl

I didn't intentionally take a break from blogging, it just sort of happened! I've been working on finishing up some knitting projects, as having 6 (plus 2 long term) projects on the go wasn't fun. So I'm now down to 3! The long term ones don't properly count ;) So here are the projects I've managed to finish:
This is an Ishbel shawl by Ysolda Teague, made in Botany Lace by Araucania. I'm not sure how to wear it. I like it a lot more than I thought I would before I blocked it. Here it is before blocking:
It was all rumpled and bumpy. And it grew a lot!! Before blocking it was 39 by 13 inches. After blocking (and a little shrinkage) it is 57 by 16 inches! It's a nice size for wearing around my neck like a scarf, but it doesn't show off the lace as much as I'd like.
I also finally finished Dom's socks. He's was very happy to put them on today, as it's very windy and rainy.

He says that they're very comfy :) The pattern is Manly Aran socks from the Toe up socks for everybody book. The yarn is Superba 100 Klassik 4-fadig by Rico Design. It's a very good sock yarn, and relatively cheap too. Lucky for me, Dom doesn't like his socks super long so once I was past the heel there wasn't much further to go :) Oh and the background is some fabric I bought last week for a summer dress when it was lovely and warm. I think I jinxed it! 
And lastly, the gloves. These are the Fiddler's mitts by Ysolda Teague from the book My Grandmother's knitting. I used Excelana 4ply yarn, and I really like it :) The photo shows them before blocking, and you can see where the colour work isn't as smooth as it could be. They're currently drying, I just soaked them for a bit and smoothed them flat to dry. They look much better, so I should hopefully have some blocked photos soon :)
I hope they're dry by tomorrow so I can wear them into town to meet a friend. They should keep me warm enough :) I'm also getting my hair cut tomorrow and I'm planning on a shorter cut. I'm still not entirely certain about it, but we'll see :)
Ashley x

Friday, 16 March 2012


Just thought I'd check in and let you know why it's been quiet around here. Nothing exciting, I've been writing my dreaded dissertation! Eek! As you probably don't know, I'm studying psychology. As a psychology student I am expected to carry out an experiment, analyse the results using statistical tests and then write it up in a report. I found carrying out the experiment really hard, I'm very shy with people I don't know so it was just awkward. Lucky for me, my uni has just started using an online system where you put your study up and then other psychology students can come and sign up to it. The great thing about this system is that to use it you have to collect credit points in your first and second year. You have to collect 20 credit points to be able to give out unlimited credit points. It means that you don't have to beg people to participate because you can offer them credit points :) But yeah, still really awkward telling people what to do in your study!
Anyway, I finished a big section of my write up today so I decided to take the rest of the day off. I think my need it, my brain is starting to turn to mush! lol
Also, a huge thank you to Sarah from Narcoleptic in a Cupboard for passing me the Liebster award!! :) Thank you so much! I love Sarah's blog, and as a psychology student I love that Sarah shares her experience of narcolepsy. I find it so interesting! :) I was lucky enough to receive this award once before and you can see that here :) Go check out those blogs!!
Right, I'm off to enjoy a cuppa. And then I need to have a quick tidy so I can get my sewing machine out :)
Ashley x

Friday, 9 March 2012

The yarn pile

When Lianne mentioned on this post that she'd like to see my yarn pile, I thought 'Aha! A chance to pull it all out and take more photo's!' ;) I enjoy taking photo's of yarn, it stays still and doesn't complain when I take 20 shots to get the colour just right :)
I'm pleasantly surprised at how much there is, but at the same time I don't think there's that much of it. It's a 'stashlet' really.
I decided the best way would be to group it by weight with one big photo at the end :) But first here is the Malabrigo that I mentioned I got in my last post. 
I want a roomful of this yarn to roll about it. It is that soft and lovely.
So, the lace weight:
Sock yarns and 4ply (can you tell I like this weight?)
Onto the sport weight:

And the DK:
That Cygnet is a pain to photograph! You can see a better representation of the colour here.
And all of it together:
And so you can see the full extent, here are my six, yes, six WiPs (work in progress) :

So there you go! It's not huge, but every skein or ball is dearly loved and I have plans for most of them :)
I just realised I forgot to photograph the blanket I am working on. It's made from leftovers and skeins that I didn't know what to do with. I'll have to take a photo soon, it's an intentionally ugly knit ;)
Feel free to ask about any yarns you'd like to know more about, or if you're on Ravelry my stash page is here. I try to put in all the info I can, so if you're wondering what colour way a particular yarn is you can find it there :)
I've enjoyed pawing through my yarn for this post, and I hope you enjoyed seeing it :)
Ashley x
ps. In case you're wondering where I keep it, the yarn lives in a bag I made as a proto-type of a pattern I made myself ages ago. I lined it and even made a divider in the middle! I still have the pattern pieces, but now I can't remember how it goes together! I'm not a fan of the fabric (I got it from the market as something to practice with!), but it's thick and sturdy so keeps my yarn safe. I keep my WiPs in various little bags :) You can see the zip is bulging slightly, I struggled to get it closed!


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