Friday, 31 August 2012

Knitting Update - My Arleen

Arleen by Dona Knits, knitting pattern

This is my first completed knitting project in nearly a year. This is also my first ever sweater and attempt at circular knitting. The pattern is Arleen from Dona Knits, and i used the recommended yarn of Cascade 220. I chose this pattern because it looked, simple and stylish, and did not want my first experiment with knitting sweaters to be complicated.

Overall I am very please with the pattern and the way it has come out. The pattern was easy to follow and the illustrations for the crocheted button holes were very useful. All the problems with the sweater lay in me. My cast-on on the neck was very wonky, this is probably to do with the fact i started this project whilst in the Wimbledon queue. I was very distracted chatting to other queuers and had to unpick the stitches several times, because i kept counting them all wrong. The tension is also a lot tighter at the top compared to the bottom, again i was in the Wimbledon queue and knitting in a tent apparently equals tight tension. So i think i have learnt that in front of the TV is my best knitting position. I have also added about 4 inches to the bottom to compensate for my long body.

Arleen by Dona Knits, knitting pattern

Arleen by Dona Knits, knitting pattern

Arleen by Dona Knits, knitting pattern

Arleen by Dona Knits, knitting pattern
Some fun with my camera and the collage button.

Elbow-patch Cardigan, knitting

Above is my next knitting project it is the Elbow-Patch Cardigan by A. Butta. Still along way to go i am hoping that i finish before the end of this winter. Here is the link to my Ravelry notes.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Blue and White Stripy Lace and Swans

After what seems like an eternity i finally have some sewing related stuff to talk about. I am starting to make plans for the future (but i wont tell you what just yet), so i really need to get my fabric stash down to a manageable size. So i am making a start on all the jersey knit fabric that i acquired over the summer. Luckily the 9/2010 issue of Burda Magazine is full of loads of simple knit tops that i can use to achieve this.

Burda 130a 9/2012

This weekends project was this blue and white lace jersey that i bought on one of my trips to London in June. I had 2m of it and i managed to make this cowl top, pattern number 130a (9/2012), and ..

Burda 119 3/2012

this tank top pattern number 119 from issue 3/2012 of Burda Magazine.

If this tank top looks familiar i did an Internet search for blue and white lace on the Internet last night and found this...

an almost identical top from New Look (the shop), just it has buttons down the front. Its the same material and almost the same pattern, they have even used the blue stripe as binding. I understand why they made a tank from this material as looking at i could not really see any other option. Its a pretty fabric but the stripes make it so casual. I just wish that i had not found it. Now i feel that if i had i seen this top in the shops, i would have past it by, even though its on sale at £7.

Burda 119 3/2012

Sorry i don't have many photos to show you of the tops in question, but luck has not been on my side. Yesterday i took my camera, tripod and tops for an hours walk along the canal to find a quite spot to take photos and then found that i had left the device that attached my camera to the tripod at home. Today i tried to take some in the rain, but the rain quickly got too heavy and i was worried about my camera getting soaked. But never mind i did come across this family of swans on the canal in Newport, which made my day Sunday.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

French Course

Alpha.b French Course Trip to Antibes.
So I went back to Nice, France for our two week shut down at work. I did think briefly about staying home, but i could not watch the Olympics on TV knowing that they were so close to home and i was unable to get tickets. So as a distraction i took a two week French course in Nice at the Alpha.b language school.

I have been wanting to learn another language for years, and have had several attempts at learning French in the past, at school, at night class and off the Internet. In my attempts i had picked up hundreds if not thousands of French words, but i just could not put them together or pronounce them in a French ascent.

The course was brilliant, we were placed into small groups of around 6-9 students after a placement test on day 1. The class had such a mixture of nationalities, there were Italians, Austrians, Swedes, Germans, Slovakians and Japanese and me the only Brit. Our teacher Priscilla was French and the class was conducted entirely in French. I was very sceptical before i started this course that i could learn this way, but the lessons were put together so brilliantly. If we did not understand Priscilla would just keep on explaining in French and actions until we got it. And i did, most of the time.

I started off the week at a very basic level, and left the class each day with a huge mental list of things that i needed to look up. At the beginning of the week this was as basic as 'What is a Verb?'. In my years and years of schooling, grammar is a subject that i have managed to avoid with pleasure. When i went to school it was not really part of the curriculum, but it was thought that if you read then you would pick it up naturally. Which is true to some extent, but if you are learning another language being able to define a verb, noun and adjective is kind of important.

One of the rare photos of me.
My plan was to go to school in the mornings and use my afternoons to explore the South of France. Humm well that did not really happen. I mentioned the Olympics above! I love the Olympics. Its two weeks every four years that i am glued to my TV. Swimming, Cycling, Table Tennis, Diving, Archery is never so addictive as when it is at the Olympics. So my hostel had a TV and i spent many guilty hours watching what i had left the country to get away from. I did get out though, i did day trips to Monaco, Grasse, Antibes, Villefranche and Eze Village but not as much as i would have liked. 16 nights in Nice and i never got to the big cathedral that is on all the pictures.

So after my two weeks in France, i can now understand a tiny bit of French and have a better idea about how to move forward with learning French. Now is the hard part, keeping it up. Its so easy when you are going to French lesson in France everyday, but at home there are so many distractions and know body to practise with. I can already feel it slipping away.

Oh the food!