Handmade Winter Knits

After a long while, I have found my knitted accessories to be of some use. On top of that, I am knitting again! I have yarn that I want to use up! YAY.

For the first time in years, we had a wave of heavy snow. Now, just in case you live in Canada or other snowy places, I must explain that heavy snow in the UK is something like 10cm of it. Most years we only get a trickle of it, so having so much snow so early on in the year is fairly unusual for us.

Needless to say, everything shut down and the roads were dangerous and everybody made a snowman that day. Meanwhile, Twerp and I made a snowman on our first day of snow. It was taller than me and a very impressive effort considering previous years.

We planned to make another on Day Two of snow but it was powdery snow that wasn’t cooperating well so we ended up doing a photo shoot that I had been procrastinating for weeks. Behold – I wanted to share my hand knits.

In this grey winter, this neon hat has brightened the lives of everyone around me, I’m sure. People underestimate the power of neon combos and this blue and neon pink had always been something I wanted to try, so when I spotted the two yarn colorways sitting on a shelf together I practically leapt for them!

The lipstick is Revlon’s Matte Balm in Sultry. I think.

The yarn is from the store, Tiger – it’s the thick fabric yarn (Super Chunky weight) and costs £3 a ball. For this I used two balls of the main colour and one ball of a secondary colour, and improvised using this pattern as a base. This took me less than a week to make thanks to the large size of the yarn. Here are the main changes I made:

  • cast on 45 stitches with 10mm circular needles.
  • no pompom.
  • Decreased using the main colour but tied the ends in using the secondary colour in a star formation so it looked cute

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I remember I promised a pattern for this cowl that was improvised years ago, and I hate that I completely forgot about writing one because… guess what? I’ve lost the original, I want to make a new one, and there’s no pattern to be found. I must really hate myself.

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These fingerless gloves aren’t helping my fingers in the cold, but at least I can use my phone. For snowman making, I obviously would not recommend these! I made these three (!!!) years ago completely improvised and for a while, I thought I had lost one but it turns out both were lying in separate nooks and crannies of my room! I’m glad to have them this year! However… I have lost the matching hat… RIP caramel hat, you will be missed.

The yarn I used for these projects was Sirdar’s Escape DK, although I’m not sure if it has been discontinued or not…

Meanwhile, this cowl took two years to make. I used this pattern and started it because I needed a knitting project for watching the Great British Bake Off in 2015. Here’s the link to my starting post on it! It’s super cushy and cosy although the stitch pattern does cause it to roll up on itself. The pattern is Lael by Wendy Neal (linked to Ravelry page) and it’s a free pattern, so go knock yourself out! If I were to make it again, I’d use an even softer yarn than Stylecraft’s Chunky with Wool.

I hope you have enjoyed the snow too, this year. Especially as we likely won’t get something so wondrous for at least another five! It warmed up so quickly a few days later that our snowman lost its head overnight (although it took another 8 days for it to fully melt and only fully disappeared today – maybe that was jsut because ours was so huge!).

Seeing as this is my last post before Christmas (or on Christmas, even), I would like to take the time to wish you all a Merry Christmas whether you celebrate it or not!

Until next time,

X

The Birthday Lot 2016

In the two months or so that I have been sporadically Missing in Blog Action, I turned 18. That’s February, guys. So it’s about time I posted about what I got since this post has been ready to go for a few weeks now. Has it been that long already? My siblings still laugh at me when I say that I’m a legal adult, and I don’t think it’s hit home to me at all.

Y’all know what that means!
Clubbing with my own ID!
Being a responsible grown up!
I even took the siblings out to the Sea Life Centre this Easter Break! (Photos to come in a post in another two months- or maybe they’ll just end up on Instagram.)

I’m not even a party person. I much prefer the Night In, knitting and watching whole seasons of Adventure Time or some Descendants of the Sun (whilst I’m not there with the obsession, I’ve been a Song Joong Ki fan since his days on Running Man. He’s SO cute.)

Anyway, I wasn’t particularly wanting of anything this year, even though I did have some sort of wishlist. I also didn’t really give anyone the wishlist so most people were just working on how well they knew me and the few times I pointed out something I loved,  and I got some surprising and super thoughtful gifts that I absolutely love.

Note: None of the edible stuff is pictured because I ate all of it. ALL. Of. It.

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From Twerp
Honestly? My sister is twelve and I didn’t expect anything from her at all. But then again she has a surprisingly big budget for a girl her age – When I was 4, adults gave me chump change and dolls for my birthday but when she was four, adults gave her the same as what I’d get – whole fivers and tenners and stuff. It all added up – no fair.
She bought me a Game of Thrones Colouring Book, Birthday Cake Flavoured Oreos (from Day In supermarket in Chinatown) and Pocky Panda. As well as cotton yarn, with which I am knitting yet another face cloth.

Now I am into skincare I don’t think I actually have enough facecloths at all and they make great quick portable projects. Seed Stitch ones are the best, imo. I just like the feeling of the little bumps.

From TD
A NARS MATTE PENCIL, OML.
The shade she got for me was Dragon Girl, a super bright red with the slightest hint of pink.  Super stoked by this and how well it holds up to its reputation. This is so comfortable to wear but didn’t leave a mark on any of the cups and mugs I drank from on my first test wear day, and still looked immaculate after 12 hours, spaghetti, cake and rice and no topping up at all. Like what is this sorcery? I was so stoked I bought two more – Cruella and Train Bleu – so TDBae has a damn lot to answer for.

Out of these three, Dragon Girl also holds up the best in terms of wear time without looking too messy, and transfer. I would love to do a post comparing the three if nobody minds yet another post to add to the 15 billion posts about these pencils. FYI, the ones I bought were barely used second hand, so I’ll probably write about the app I used too.

From AT
Atii printed some photos of our times together and popped them into a heart shaped tin, with personal notes on the back. I felt pangs of nostalgia and I will probably never get bored of going through this box of memories. Also a super cute pair of nail clippers and a consecutive 1/2/3min hourglass timer (not pictured). Both of these and the tin were from Tiger, my new favourite store ever, because they sell absolutely everything practical and fun, and not too decorated. Like a colourful, fun version of Muji.

There’s a store in Grand Central Birmingham, next to Select, and by the entrance that is ‘up the ramp’ from McDonalds and HSBC Bank. If you’re familiar with Birmingham’s city centre, I hope you can decipher my directions. I have a decent sense of direction but it’s only understandable by me, it seems.

From Q
She got me a box of cute bath fizzers.  I don’t usually take baths but I’ve been going out of my way recently to do so in order to relax and use some of these.
Also, a Rimmel Kate Moss Matte Lipstick in 111. By complete coincidence, TD got me the same one previously for Christmas! It’s evidently a very ‘me’ shade of red which I love, and it will get plenty of use besides. With a bit of prepping and blotting and layering, this holds up quite well for a lower-end lipstick so its now-permanent place in my travel makeup bag for just-in-cases-that-never-happen is well deserved, and considering how long it takes to use up a lipstick I don’t I’ll be without it for a while!

From RZ
Notebooks! I don’t actually buy any more of my own because I have plenty now, but that doesn’t stop the collection from growing. These are both pretty and practical.
She also got me a clear pen holder,  very useful as I needed a place for my drawing pens and colouring pencils (I even shove pieces of paper down the side and it acts as a little display, almost), and some nice blue tea lights. Everybody who has seen them has asked me whether they are scented.

They are not.

From DD
The biggest surprise as this included my Christmas Presents! It was March when she gave them to me, but better late than never…
She bought me a pretty Tokyo Ghoul Necklace.  It looks a little strange if you have no clue what it is, but I really love it!
For my birthday she gave me a bar of Toblerone, a bonsai growing kit and a set of tarot cards.

The tarot cards in particular were super interesting because I’ve been meaning to pick up a set for writing research purposes.  I didn’t express this interest to her or to AT (who helped pick these out) whatsoever so this was a lovely surprise. It’s not the most glamorous set but I like the mysticality of the medieval styled designs and somehow, ATs first card reading came out painfully accurate.

I don’t have enough thanks for everyone. It was a quieter birthday with a big milestone and still a lot of fun.

Here’s to another chaotic year!

X

Bonus: Look at this gorgeous and super-tasty cake that AT brought in for in-school celebrations! *drools

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P.S. You can find me on Instagram for things I don’t blog about (@swanzig_x), and on twitter as @twentyswans for… other stuff. Exams are a-looming, so you might not see anything here for a couple of months, but I’ll do my best with the social media. Thanks for your consideration ~. Best wishes to any exam takers out there and let’s all hope that we survive and arrive at summer in one piece.

Reflection: Mock My Week.

(Featuring sheet masks and insta-crafting.)

Mock exams are a roller-coaster of emotions. Psychology was fine other than that I didn’t write enough,  and didn’t know my arguments well enough to write more. I know full well I am capable of at least two sides of writing for topics I definitely get,  but for now I’m not at that stage and there’s still plenty of time before the real exam.

Biology was a disaster. I know my theory well enough but my application is horrendous and I am being nice to myself when I say that!

General Studies is impossible to revise for,  but I think I did fairly well on that.
Now I have three days to revise for Chemistry and I’m feeling good about it right now.

As if out of spite, my lamp broke.  Just as I was about to settle in for the night.  I turned it on and it just…  Popped. Sparks and everything.

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That little sphere by my laptop is the bulb that fell.

So, since I really needed it, I treated myself last night to one of the Etude House Masks from my 20Pc set: Damask Rose. Here’s a sweet and snappy review…

It really does smell of roses, and reminds me of the rose hand creams from M&S. I really like the designs on the packaging and this rosy one is ultra pretty. This one is a fairly simple moisturising mask and the scent is really noticeable when you first take it from the sachet. There’s lots of clear essence left over.
I think the fit was a little strange but I think I put it on my face a little too much to the right. I struggle to get positioning right with masks, anyway.

 

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I’m not good at smiling in a sheet mask, and yes, that is an Adventure Time T-Shirt. I am also not really that… yellow. It’s the bedroom lighting. 

As another form of relaxation I picked up my knitting again, and finished a facecloth. The motivation for it was purely that I am totally into skincare now and need more facecloths to rotate. I have knitted all of mine (three) thus far.

That one got finished quickly after a few hours, so I was in need of something else, but I had run out of the cotton that I keep specially for washcloths. So instead, I decided I needed a headband to keep the hair from my face when I cleanse and do my skincare routine. I did have one previously, but ended up giving it away, and I already had a second on hold from last year…

(That photo has 54 likes as I type. It’s an instagram record. *cries with pride*)

I’m trying to figure out how to embed so the instagram images align in the centre but it seems WP doesn’t do this. Sigh.

If you are an A-Level student, how are your mock exams going? What are you doing to relax?

Until next time,

X

 

Life and TV Knitting Update

  • Recently I have been reflecting on the blog and the writing style I use for it. It does sound like me, yes… a formal, too many thoughts me. I’m wondering whether I should attempt to adapt it or not. Big question.
  • Another thing. I still need to finish the blog logo. Just assume it will never happen and I may perhaps surprise you all one day!

Every now and again I am reminded that this blog started off fairly knit-heavy which it now isn’t, having been buried under things like skincare and too many thoughts. I’m a little ashamed to admit that I just don’t knit as much as I used to, but the important thing is that I still do. Compared to my A-Level studies and UCAS applications and stuff, my hobbies are really low priority. Blogging has, by far, been the easiest one to keep up with which is why I still post fairly frequently.

Progress is slow and steady on the  #GBBO2015 cowl, which is, as of now, still lacking a proper inspired name (ideas include naming it after contestant Nadiya who is my favourite to win, or something chocolatey)  The rounds are long and the pattern is interesting, but slow to knit. We are past the halfway mark of the series but I haven’t finished the first skein yet!

You can see both the right side and wrong side in the photo.

Luckily, Doctor Who has returned to our screens which means more TV knitting (Maisie Williams is guest starring this season!! Squeal!) Hopefully this means I can catch up a bit. Despite constantly suffering from Tenth Doctor withdrawal symptoms I still watch the show loyally. I think Peter Capaldi as Twelve is great, but at the same time I feel he hasn’t really found his feet with the character and is just as spontaneous and ‘everywhere’ as Eleven. Maybe it’s just Steven Moffat’s writing (which was better than usual for this season’s opening episode – I hope this is kept up all season!!).

(Another reason why I haven’t knit a lot is that knitting has been more a luxury for me recently due to life problems so I feel kinda guilty when I do, especially when I could be studying for my resits. Sigh.)

Until next time,

X

Green Things.

I seem to have gathered an abundance of green things so I thought I would put them all in one post. It must be the side effect of living in a grey/brick red city area.

Months ago, I finished an amazing, green lacy purse-stitch scarf. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I remember wearing it home in the heat of late June and subsequently stashing it away without a photo, ready for colder days. Well, these past few weeks it has been both rainy and sunny in equal measure/intensity – typical British weather but great for scarf-wearing. Here is a quick photo snapped during break at work.

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It doesn’t do any justice whatsoever to the gorgeous green colour – this photo (link later) is more accurate. It’s the artificial lighting.

Longer ago than that, I finished my pair of Spring Fling Fingerless Mitts and never did take a photo of these either. They were completely improvised. Yes, the stockinette curls which is ever so slightly annoying, but I don’t like ribbing in this yarn. Just me? Sadly may have to use ribbing as I have more pairs planned – I have 2 1/2 skeins still to go through of various colourways of Calico…

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In other news, I had my nails painted again.

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The colour is Cacee’s BFE Nail Lacquer in Isabelle. Apparently this is one of Mom’s most unpopular colours at the salon as not a single client has picked it (nudes, purples, deep reds and neon corals/pinks are the rage depending on the age group) but it really is a nice colour! The stickers are from Mom’s stash – I think the brand is from Hong Kong. A top coat is used to seal them into place after application.

Finally, as previously mentioned, I began a new part-time job last week so I bought a new watch as there isn’t a clock on the shop floor. It was £4 from Asda, and does the job well enough for me. While I was at it I added the matching earrings I wore to my shift a few days ago, which were bought as a set of 3 from Sainsbury’s for £5. The others in the set are the same design but the centre colour is in white or pale pink.  The magic balancing dragonfly lives on top of my computer monitor -apparently we bought this in Vietnam last year although I don’t remember.


I also have a thing for green eyeliner and coincidentally, my dumbells (well, my moms but still) are also a light green. There is no end to the green.

X

Must Knit to Quell the Urge to Eat during GBBO…

Okay, so when I started writing ‘weekly thoughts’ it was because the things that happened in my life were far too momentous to put into their own posts. Then all of my personal writing became the weekly thoughts so now I’m trying to switch it back a bit.

I guess I am still finding my feet with this blog by experimenting which can be a bit annoying (you can contact me to tell me what you like, though! That’s why I set up an email and Twitter! Just sayin’.) but it’s also quite exciting as well. 

The Great British Bake Off is back, if you didn’t know. I was super excited all day and did a bunch of things to prepare. I roughly tidied up my room, made a hot drink, had a new knitting project ready, and BBC iPlayer in live mode because Dad and Aunt were actually using the TV for something for once- and there was none of the usual WiFi lag and quality problem, I got a crisp image almost all the way through the program and it. Was. Great.
I learnt that morning that more people watched last year’s final than those that watched the Fifa World Cup Final, which I think is amazing, and #GBBO hit #1 on Twitter’s worldwide trending list that evening. If I remember correctly, GBBO has racked up the first episode views every year by about 2 million and this year it was no different is it gathered about 9.3 million/43% viewers! It has become an essentially British thing and I love it.

Oh yes… I did just say I started a new knitting project just to celebrate.

It is being made to the Lael Cowl pattern (I will give it a personal name related to baking as it is my GBBO knitting project – but it’s not quite a Black Forest Gateau *wink*) using Stylecraft’s Life Chunky in Colourway ‘Mixtures Bracken’. This colourway is acceptably close enough to chocolate and a great neutral colourway for this winter. No reason not to start early with my knitting speed, though.

I underestimated the big-ness of it – it is also supposed to be my short break between bits of the Ilene Bag, but now I’ve finished the cast on which took me the best of half the GBBO episode, it feels like it will take a bit longer. I think I’ll just switch again when I am bored or literally just knit this on GBBO days and the Ilene Bag on the other days.

Hopefully I can get this cowl finished by the time the final rolls around!

X

SUMMER HAS ARRIVED.

As of 12:30 yesterday, the summer has started and so has the perpetual boredom, and the bubbling hype leading up to AS results day…

I’m not one to laze around doing nothing (!) so I have my own goals set for this summer. This includes a reading list, picking up that new language again, as well as those musical instruments, drawing, and this knitted bag.

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The pattern is Ilene, the yarn Schachenmayr Select Belisia, which I picked up two balls of on sale at House of Fraser’s craft section. I didn’t buy them with a project in mind – I just adored the colour and had been eyeing this particular yarn for a while before I finally bought them.

I have made a cotton bag before, but that ended up being gifted to my aunt in Vietnam. This one is for me. I like the really easy lace pattern, the simple construction (for my intermediate skills, anyway) and the short handle it will have, as cotton stretches pretty well and I’d rather not have the bag dangle down to my feet like with my standard tote bags.

You start off by knitting a block of stockinette, then picking up the stitches around the edge to create the base. Having started the lace already, I’m pretty proud of myself because I managed to pick up all those stitches and make them look like part of the pattern. It’s hard to show off without some sort of visual aid, though.

I said the lace was easy to knit but it also takes ages… Hopefully a healthy dose of movie nights this summer will solve that!

X

P.S. Thinking about winning the Psych prize yesterday still warms my heart. Do I colour the book in crayon or do little patterns in fineliner pens? Exciting.