Evenstar Gloves

Today I bring you a set of gloves [or mitts or what ever you call those things that keep your hands/arms warm when the cold of winter starts to seep into your bones…] that I started/finished making in the course of the last week.

These are the “Evenstar Gloves”, pattern can be found on Ravelry, here, and they are just amazing. This is a pattern that I have regularly queued and then deleted when reviewing the queue list as I wasn’t sure I would have the skill to make them as they just looked so complex and insanely hard to make – which was silly of me to think in the first place as one; I can knit gloves in the round, two; I can do cabling, and three; I can read a pattern. But they did look complex and I did put off making them.
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Recently I have discovered some hidden confidence with my knitting work, and feel as though I have made that transition from “beginner” to “intermediate” maybe even erring on to “advanced”. There are still things that I would like to develop better – like my ability to sew up/seam knitted pieces together [a reason why I love knitting in the round to be perfectly honest]. This hidden confidence have definitely emerged this year, perhaps it was with the Heliopath Vest, perhaps earlier I can’t quite tell. I can certainly tell the difference in the patterns that I am now looking at on Ravelry and thinking that I can do them, that they are within my remit for sure.

I love how these gloves have turned out. Yes, there were mistakes – mistakes that I didn’t even realise until I was knitting the second glove [on the right hand glove I was C4B instead of where I should have been doing C4F] – in fact that was my biggest mistake, but it doesn’t take away from the finish item at all. I am seriously in love with these gloves, and can’t it just be winter now so that I can wear them?

The other mistake that I made was when transferring the stitches to waste yarn on the left glove. I swear I transferred eight stitches, but when it came to picking them up there was only 6 on each row, and I have carefully inspected and can’t see any dropped stitches anywhere. This hasn’t made a noticeable difference how they fit on the hand/thumb though so it’s all good, and doesn’t look like the circulation is going to be cut off. Although, for these gloves loss of limb would be acceptable. [Alright, maybe not, but you know…]

This pattern also taught me a new technique for creating a thumb hole. The previous gloves that I have made have all been created using the gusset method. In this pattern where the thumb would be, the stitches are knit onto scrap yarn, and then reworked with the working yarn, and then picked up once the body of work is completed. It was one of those things where I wasn’t sure I would do it right, and excluding the bit where I didn’t put enough stitches on hold it worked perfectly, and it doesn’t feel any different from making a glove with a gusset.

I used Debbie Bliss Andes from my stash, in burgundy and it’s just perfect. It’s a blend of alpaca and silk, and does look a little fuzzy when you look at them, but it’s just beautiful. The picture of them makes them look quite skinny, but they fit well when worn, although they are little tight I think if I had gone up a needle size they would have been too loose – I have ridiculously skinny wrists. Seriously, I can buy children’s watches have have them fit!IMG_0478

The pattern is also so well written. It’s one of those that I would have been genuinely happy to pay for – it’s clearly written and the instructions are so easy to follow. I will have to check out the author’s other stuff – if it’s as good as this one pattern then I’m on to a winner for sure. I am surprised that there aren’t more people who have made this – perhaps this blog could inspire a few [nudgenudge, winkwink]. I changed from working on DPN’s to Magic Loop though as I can’t stand using the DPN’s that I have, and just find the ML loop much easier. And, actually, no ladders in this one either which makes me happy as well!

I plan to give the knitting some rest for a few weeks and get onto the Crochet magazine that I mentioned in my last post. Here’s hoping that I can branch out my skills a bit. And maybe get into the book I’m reading as well.

Have you made this pattern? Would you?

Take it easy folks,

Kialtho

The Traitor Queen – Trudi Canavan

The Traitor Queen – Trudi Canavan

This is the third book in the “Traitor Spy” trilogy, and the seventh set in the world that Canavan has created [The others being the Black Magician” trilogy, and then “The Magician’s Apprentice”].

As always, beware spoilers if you haven’t read this book/series yet.

This book picks up fairly quickly after the second one ended:

Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels. The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians – or make Lorkin an outcast forever.

[From GoodReads]

I felt that with this book there was a potential for so much more, and that it just wasn’t delivered. For the first time in 20 years [as we are regularly reminded] Sonea leaves Imardin to find her son, who at first is a prisoner, then not, then a Guild Magician, then not… Before she left, as a “feared” Black Magician, she took power from other Magicians [with their permission] to build up her stores of magic for what is built up to be a confrontation between Sonea and the Sachakan people… that just doesn’t happen. At all. She’s just swept aside and that’s that really.

Another part of the plot was the tying up of the situation in the city itself, with the Thief Skellen and his mother. Again, we spend much of the book with the characters involved, Cery, Gol, Lillia, building up to what should have been a big confrontation with magical battles around for it to go out in a whisper of magic. Lillia used her [immature] Black Magician skills on a trained magician and his mother and solved the whole thing in an instant? I know it’s fantasy, but considering Lillia has been one of the most useless characters from the start it just didn’t seem all that realistic how her storyline came around.

I disliked that Cery constantly moped about his age, the aching in his bones, and the constant clinging onto the past as well.

The best bits that happened were in Sachaka, but it was still lacking. I felt that this book, which was the concluding book of the trilogy, despite not reading like it, was mediocre at best. The very last chapter introduced an interesting concept that could have made the whole series something much, much more interesting… the people who don’t have magical powers had developed a gun like mechanism. That is interesting. But I was always taught in school that the conclusion shouldn’t introduce something new! Which just makes this a frustrating read from beginning to end.

It was far to slow to begin with, and then rushed towards an extremely anti-climatic ending.

Have you read this series? What did you think?

The Inbweeners Movie 2

The Inbetweeners Movie 2

When the Inbetweeners announced the first movie I didn’t think the creators would be able to translate a half hour show to a full movie [how many films have done that and actually passed it off?] However when I went to see it it worked very, very well. That was a good couple of years ago now [I believe] and this week the second movie was released, and has become the best performing British film this year, and best release for a British comedy as well.

The second movie does just as well as the first – the misfits that we had from the TV series through to their exploits in the last film… it was great to catch up with these characters once more, knowing that they were still friends, that they still hadn’t found their place in society and that Jay is still making up ridiculous out of this world lies about his sexual adventures…. or lack thereof.

When I went to the cinema to see this there was a queue that wound out of the doors. It’s a pretty big cinema as well, with the maze style queuing system. Even when big films like “The Avengers” came out I haven’t seen a queue that long.

If you have an immature sense of humour, liked the TV show, or generally want a laugh go and see this film. You don’t need much foreknowledge of the previous film, and it’s not hard to grasp the notion that these are a bunch of misfits… and if you like poo jokes, this is the film for you. Because the poo joke is so, ridiculously, tear inducing funny… and sickening at the same time. You won’t look at water slides in quite the same way again.

The only thing that I thought was a bit of a downer on this film was the rather abrupt ending. But everything was tied up into a neat bow, allowing for the franchise to bow out of the market respectfully, and in a funny manner. The one thing that can be said with this is that it was a great series, and certainly, the creators and producers allowed it to finish without becoming old, stale or awkward.

I was disappointed to not see this in the film though:

Have you seen this film? What did you think? How do you think it compares with the first?

Kialtho

Penguin!

I finished another knitting project today. It wasn’t a particularly intense knit at all, and didn’t take long to complete. I cast on last Sunday and finished this afternoon, but I didn’t spend all that time knitting, in fact I think I only spent about three evenings on this. One evening was dedicated to feet and the beak!

So, without further ado, I introduce to you Mr. Penguin:

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I’m pleased with how this has turned out. My sewing up skills are slowly improving, and I think that is evident here, even though I chickened out of embroidering the eyes and used buttons instead. This was from the Sarah Keen book “Knitted Wild Animals”, and is the third or fourth animal I have now made, and I think it was the easiest toy to come to together.

I did run out of stuffing for this little guy though, but there was just enough there for the project. I used scraps of yarn for the feet and beak instead.
I have already got my next project chosen, and the yarn wound into balls for it, just need to cast on.

I have also bought a magazine I found in WHSmiths on the beginners to crochet as it’s a skill that I would really like to understand/be able to do. I think the language used puts me off as well, and this looks like a really good magazine, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it’s called.

There isn’t much else to add to this particular blog today, but watch out over the coming days for blogs about Russell Howard, The Inbetweeners 2, The Traitor Queen [Trudi Canavan], and much more! It’s going to be a busy few days on the blog.

Take it easy and happy crafting!

Kialtho

Knitting

Over the last couple of weeks I have a managed to finish a couple of projects that I wanted to share with you:
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I finished knitting my second “HitchHiker”, this time in the “Animal” colour way from GnomeAcres, and then I finished a slouchy hat, the patterned called “Shroom” – this one I made a little too loose, but nothing that a little elastic shouldn’t fix around the ribbing section. I am currently unable to share the picture with you though as my phone and iCloud haven’t sync’d over with each other to allow me to load the photo. Technology, eh? Who’d have it?

Sorry for the short posting today, normal blogging should resume fairly shortly as I have some interesting things coming up and want to share with you all.

Thanks,

Kialtho

Awesomeness Happened :)

 

I have mentioned before how important certain things are in my life – things like Harry Potter. Harry Potter has played such an important part in my life – from the age of about 8 or 9. I have blogged before about the friends that I have made through Harry Potter, from the people that I have met online to the people that I have met in real life. Harry Potter has touched on almost, if not all, parts of my life.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet up with some of the best, and closest friends that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. We all “met” online something like seven or eight years ago, through the website “fanfiction.net”, of course through the Harry Potter section. I have actually been part of the website since 2003, but we didn’t meet until the forums were re-introduced sometime later, through something called “The Reviews Lounge”.

We broke all the rules of internet security back then, you know, don’t reveal anything about yourself, where you come from and all that. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting other members of our group, but this was the first time more than one of us, I believe, had met up together. Naturally, because we met through the nature of Harry Potter, I deemed it worthy of having proper Harry Potter filled weekend, which included a tour of London by Nuri of Harry Potter locations from the films, and some of the inspirations from the books, including “Honeydukes”, Diagon Alley, and Knockturn Alley.

We also went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour, which was just so, so awesome. If you love Harry Potter, and enjoy everything about Harry Potter, it’s worth a visit. I learnt so, so much there about the films, and it was just amazing! For instance, the individual broomstick handles tips for the death eaters were hand cast in resin, washed with acid, and then cast in silver. They also matched each death eaters mask, which were all unique to the character, and cast in the same way – and the handle tips were something that we probably didn’t see watching the films.

We also visited other places like Camden Town [I brought a Time Turner], we also had loads to eat, like Nando’s, Wagamama’s and food from Camden.

I should have written this before as the details tend to disappear, but seriously, this was one of the best four days in my life, meeting these people that have been part of my life for such a long time – to have the physical memories of us being together. It was something that wasn’t at all awkward because we’ve known each other and been friends for that amount of time. It didn’t feel like it was the first time that we had all met for sure, and I certainly look forwards to being able to meet up with them again!

I feel like I am failing for not writing enough here, but I it was such an awesome experience that I am finding it hard to express how I felt about the whole thing… except that it was something unlike I had experienced before, and no doubt will be sometime before we can all get together again.

That’s all for now folks, take it easy,

KialthoIMG_8638IMG_0275

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) – Susan Ee

I thought I would take a break from my knitting in this extremely hot weather and spend a little time reading instead…

Synopsis:

It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

In total it took me about six hours to read this book [a trip to London and back, and a little reading session after work yesterday… not long at all].

In “Angelfall” we are dropped in a post-apocalyptic world wherein Angels have come and conquered the Earth and it’s people, for no apparent reason. Most of the world is either dead or surviving in gangs and factions. We met Penryn, a late teen [from what I gather], who’s trying to look after her disabled little sister and her schizophrenic mother and survive in this new world, known as “World After” the angel invasion. Penryn makes the desicision to move the family to a safer location, but early into the journey the family come across a fight between angels, where we meet Raffe, who has had his wings brutally cut. This is where the story really begins, so I won’t go further into the plot, except to say this: Penryn’s little sister is kidnapped, and her mother disappeared, so it’s down to Penryn to get her sister back. Even if it means allying herself with an angel to do so.

This story had me gripped from the start. I can’t tell if it’s because of the way it’s written – in the first person, and not overly complicated, I didn’t even notice when a scene seemed to go on for too long or feel that it was over done. What we have is a novel about a girl fighting to survive – and doing alright at it for a time. She connects with the angel Raffe, and although forming an unlikely duo, her focus is always on getting her little sister back. There isn’t the whole forbidden, love at first sight, sickening novel – although Penryn does start changing her opinion of the angel, I like that it’s not in your face and a novel about that romance rather than a novel about the post-apocalypse.

We’re introduced to a range of characters all struggling to survive this brave new world of being hunted and killed, and not always from humans or angels, but something altogether more terrifying. There have been comments made about the wet t-shirt fight with a one dimensional female about half way through, but when I was reading I didn’t get that impression; yeah, the character involved was a bit cliche, but to be honest it could have been a lot worse.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in this series, and will do once I’ve made a dent [ha!] in my GoodReads “to-read” list which never seems to decrease…

Have you read this book? What did you think?

That’s all for now folks so take it easy!

Kialtho