Microbeads

 On the news this morning they announced micro-beads will be phased out of production by 2020. I thought we all knew how harmful microbeads are to the environment already? I certainly knew and I’m just some woman somewhere. Canada is looking at adding them to a list of banned toxic substances. California has taken the positive step to ban them from 2020 onwards but elsewhere the target is voluntary and not every company has signed up to it. What I don’t understand is how comes the manufacturers need another 4 years to stop making them though? 

It has got to be more simple than that hasn’t it? I stopped buying products with microbeads in them ages ago when I first learned they were bad and I talked about it at home so my household is micro-bead free. Apparently lots of other people did the same thing according to the news this morning because the sale of products containing microbeads has dropped dramatically. But if one shower using a microbead infused product can release 100,000 of the blighters into the water supply then why aren’t we getting our skates on?

To me it’s obvious, don’t allow the manufacturers to dictate the pace. Of course it is in their interests to make it sound like production has to be phased out over a long time but it isn’t their call really is it? It’s ours. I think we could bring this forward to a matter of months if we put our minds to it with just TWO simple minimal effort steps: 

1. Stop buying products containing microbeads, they might not be described literally as microbeads, they could be on there as tiny capsules of something or as some kind of exfoliating scrub beads but you’ll be able to work it out.

2. Where you do find shops selling products containing microbeads, ask them to stop. It’s up to you how you do this but we all know the power of social media.

I am utterly convinced that if the demand is there from the consumer and the shops’ buyers don’t place orders for these products miraculously manufacturers will manage to end production way in advance of 2020. I think we can do this quick smart and be nice about it too. #banthebead

 

Today I’m Making… Le Moelleux shawl

I have been trying to make a shawl using these two yarns for most of this year, I think it was back in February at a Knitaway at the Westcliffe Knitting Hotel that I cast on a Knit Night  shawl but didn’t really like it, can’t really put my finger on why but it didn’t work somehow with these colours so I pulled it back and put it to one side.

imageIts not  obvious in this picture but the white yarn is an I Knit London Ziggy Stardust so it has silver running through that gives it the most gorgeous subtle shimmer and its as soft as anything so I’ve been dying to use it for something really nice.

Gerard, the owner of I Knit London made the most gorgeous Le Moelleux shawl that I’ve been mooning over for ages but I thought brioche stitch would be really hard so never seriously thought of making one.  Until one day an IKL newsletter popped up advertising new brioche workshops.  Well, I was on it like free cake. I was in on the first one and you know something? Brioche is easy. I would recommend a workshop if you can get to one but its not a lot more difficult than doing yarn overs.  I finished my workshop project  and that was it, I was straight to Ravelry to buy the Le Moelleux pattern.

image

I made one false start on my second trip to the fabulous Westcliffe Knitting Hotel when I misunderstood the pattern when it said tension didn’t matter.  What I was thinking I do not know but I took that to mean knit with any old tension anywhere in a row or rows.  Of course it looked hideous so I ripped that back too. I do wish I had dropped a needle size too but now I’ve started knitting with a more even tension its a delight.

I have a terrible problem with starting tons of projects and not finishing any of them so I’ve signed up (late) to the I Knit London Ravellenics team in the Shawl Sailing category to give me the impetus to finish it.

Right now I’m on repeat 16 so just about halfway and the deadline is the weekend so a pretty good chance I’m on the DNF podium.

So this is where I am now, the picture on the left is mainly to show my lovely moonstone ring that I’m very pleased with and that my manicure tones with my slippers beautifully.

The picture on the right is where I am tonight, now all I need is to do 5 repeats a day (= 2 hours to knit 80 rows) until Sunday and I’ll be able to cast off before the closing ceremony. Today I managed 2 repeats…

 

Today I’m Making… a jumper for me

I could have sworn I’d talked about this before but I’m probably getting confused with Ravelry because I can find no sign of a previous post here.

I have a problem finding a jumper that suits me in shops, nothing quite fits the bill, and my bill has a lot of items on it:

  • Must be a block dark colour, preferably black to minimise my bust;
  • No stripes or patterns around the chest area;
  • Must be fingertip length or at the very least 3″ below my bum (this also helps balance out my chest);
  • V-neck of course but not too deep or too shallow, I don’t want to expose cleavage but it needs to come close to be worth doing at all; and
  • Sleeves no shorter than elbow length, and I’d rather below the elbow than on the elbow

Limiting isn’t it?

On a visit to my local yarn store (not that local, its a good 6 miles away) for something completely different I came across this Stylecraft Cabaret pattern 9182awhich is pretty close to what I’m looking for, but without the stripes and if I made it much longer and perhaps the neckline is a bit low…

imageI’m having a trial run at making this with some plain black acrylic yarn I bought at Aldi (of all places) and am making it much longer, down to mid-thigh I think.  I don’t like this fussy cast on either, there is another option of just doing garter stitch for a few rows so I plumped for that.

I’ve also recently bought a book on designing your own knitting patterns so in a funny way I hope this doesn’t turn out to be quite what I want to spur me on to make my own pattern. I know a lot of people turn their nose up at acrylic yarn but it holds colour well and you can machine wash it easily enough, plus it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

imageSo far I’ve knitted the back and about a quarter of the front.  Not an awful lot of progress is it but it is quite boring just doing stocking stitch in black so no wonder I keep getting distracted by other projects (see Debbie Bliss yarn left)  I can’t quite remember when I started this, but I think it was the beginning of this year.  Crikey that’s not good is it, I really would like to wear it this winter too.

I’ve found some spare black shimmery DK in my stash so I’ll add a couple of low impact contrast stripes on the forearms of the sleeves.  I don’t like my clothes to be too flashy, I have lots of incredible vintage brooches so I tend to see clothes as a blank canvas to show off jewellery.

I’m also thinking about making my own clothes from now on too, I am bored with buying clothes that don’t fit me properly and are not quite the look I was hoping for.

 

Today I’m Making… socks for my bloke

This last week I’ve been on a knitting retreat at the ever excellent Westcliffe Knitting Hotel in Blackpool (really you must go if you can, its fantastic). The one thing I was determined to finish was the socks I’ve been knitting for my bloke for the last couple of months or so.

I didn’t. But I’ve finished them this morning (I came home yesterday evening) and I’m really pleased with them. So is he, and so is his mum!

I found a great sock pattern from 1986 in a charity shop and used that because it has a nice spiral decrease for the toe (like you’d see when knitting a beret) rather than a grafted toe. I dislike that chisel tip look you usually get, anyway, with a few tweaks this is going to be my standard sock pattern, there are also only 5 stitches to pick up after turning the heel and no silly heel flap.   I am going to rewrite the heel to make it sturdier but to be honest I don’t really need to.

So here they are, charmingly modelled by himself with barely any direction from me, he’s worn them round his mum’s just now and she’d like a pair too, scaling the pattern down for her feet won’t be any trouble at all, once she’s measured her foot and chosen her colour I’ll get cracking on them.

I do want to say something about the yarn, and I’m sorry to say its not going to be overly positive. I used the Debbie Bliss Rialto so called luxury yarn.  It looks delightful as you knit (unfortunately I bought three balls so I’ve got to use it up) but it unplys as you knit shockingly and I can’t work a way out to stop it (any suggestions anyone?). It lurches in width from thick to thin to very thick and very thin alarmingly but strangely it hasn’t affected the finished socks that I can see so not a huge problem but not something you’d expect when you’ve paid £10.50 a ball. I am quite worried about wear with it unplying so badly (you can’t do a whole round without it happening), where it has happened the yarn must surely be a fair bit weaker.  Now, I know I could take photos and send it back and blah blah but I’m not going to, I’d rather just not buy it again.

image

Still for all that I’ve make a very fine pair of sock and Mr GinPoodle is very happy with them indeed so its all worked out well in the end, eh?

 

 

Today I’m Making… Brioche scarf

Ta dah! I finished it. I love soft squishyness and the contrast of the riot of colour peeping through the calm natural cream.  I love brioche.img_0757

I’ve fancied having a go at brioche knitting for ages but as you might have picked up from other posts I have a ton of outstanding projects (1 pair of beaded gloves, I pair of mittens, 1 jumper, 4 pairs of socks, 1 scarf, slippers, 2 blankets, a cowl, various snoods – these are just off the top of my head) so I sort of put it off because I really should finish some of what I’ve already started…

Course then when I went on that Knitaway break to the excellent Westcliffe Knitting Hotel Paula treated us to a trip out to the incredible Beckside Yarns in Clapham, Yorkshire and they had the most incredibly luxurious feeling kimono style brioche jacket and it’s been on my mind ever since.

Most Wednesdays you’ll find me very happily at the I Knit London  knit night, the owner was knitting the most gorgeous Le Moelleux – he’s really good with colour so his one is really yummy.  Then, he only sent out a newsletter advertising a beginner’s brioche workshop. imageWell. You can imagine how fast I signed up for that. He has more lined up so if London is accessible to you I highly recommend doing the class.

Turns out the basic brioche stitch is pretty easy once you get the hang of it and really enjoyable.  OK so I did cock up my increases and decreases a bit at first but I go the hang in the end and its all part of the learning process so I don’t tend to unpick unless I really have to.

I love the way it looks, with the bright mix of colours peeping through the cool calm neutral. The yarn is I Knit or Dye DK and is the most soft and snuggly thing you’ve ever felt. I’m almost looking forward to cold weather so I can wear it all the time.

 

Thanks to Gerard at I Knit London I feel confident enough to take on Le Moelleux myself.

Today I’m Making – Progress on the toe-up socks

I say progress, is it really progress if you realise they not going to fit?

I’ve finished one sock and its enormous.  Same as the last couple of pairs I’ve made these are closer to a size 10 than a 6.  What I should stop doing is following patterns that I know are not going to turn out right and go with my own measurements, so that’s what I’ve done.

I have cast on this little git’s brother but the next pair are going to be my own pattern and lets see if that fixes my baggy heel issues.  Do you see the odd pointy toe? Its happening again on the next one, sort of like it though. Happy to report I’m not flat-footed, evidence top left, I always thought I was growing up because I didn’t leave pretty damp footprints in the bathroom but looking back perhaps I should have been focussing on more important things like turning up at school rather than bunking off to see bands or go clubbing.

I’ve made slight progress with the book too (mini review here) his wife has left him for his best mate and they’ve skipped off to Mexico together.  I’m with her so far. The book in the picture I bought from I Knit London and its a Ronseal read, does exactly what it says on the cover i.e. gives you a load of cast on and off methods and tells you which type of project they’re suitable for. I’ve used a y/o cast off for the cuffs and I like it very much.

Today I’m making…. Toe-up socks

I think I started knitting these toe-up socks earlier this year, the yarn is a mega cheapy from Tiger and to be honest the colour is lovely but lets just say I expect they will be hard wearing fellers and leave it at that.  The colour is lovely, a raspberry toed purple but I wouldn’t buy this yarn again.

Other projects distracted me for a while when the pattern asked for a 2.5mm short circular needle and I took an age to get around to buying one.  Mind you I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to use a circular I reckon I could have carried on with my carbon dpns quite happily though the circular does mean you can try them on as you go so that’s a bonus but I prefer the dpn’s.

 

 

I’ve never got on with the magic loop method either, I find it a bit of a faff so I think for me socks and circs don’t go.

So here we are working the heel and the finish line in sight so to speak.  If only I liked this yarn more, I’d feel more motivated to crack on with them.

I’m not that motivated to finish this book either, it looked good from the blurb on the back, its a collection of articles published by a writer who died young when he was swept out to sea whilst torturing fish.  Anyway turns out he was massively into dance culture and football which to me just means YOB. I’ve set myself a low target of reading 26 books this year and I’m already one book behind schedule and this bloke isn’t helping. Dunno about Bliss to be Alive, more like bliss to get to the end. Still it was a freebie from my days working at DK so can’t complain too much.

Why don’t I just rip these socks and make some with the huge stash of beautiful handspun hand dyed yarn I’ve bought from I Knit London and just squirreled away? I think there must be something wrong with me sometimes but then again these were supposed to be just a trial pair to see if I got on with a toe-up sock and I can take the fancy stuff with me to Westcliffe when I go back for a week at the end of July.

Oh didn’t I mention that before? I’ve only booked myself in for a whole week at the Westcliffe Knitting Hotel in Blackpool the last week of July.  Can’t bloody wait.