Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Yarn Haul - Gnome Acres

I have been lusting after Gnome Acres yarns for quite a while, but have never managed to catch one of her shop updates, but when she moved from Etsy to her own shop in the new year she had a massive restock, so what better time to order from her! Here are the ones I limited myself to:

This one is Ninja Cupcake. It is a fingering weight in her House Gnome base which is 75% super wash merino and 25% nylon. It is super soft and squishy.
I think this is probably my favourite colour out of the ones I got, I absolutely love it. I have no idea what to make with this, but I think this will make a awesome pair of socks.
House Gnome is $21 for 100g.

Next up is Unicorn Freckles, which was her new colour way that she introduced with the shop update.
Another colour that I love! Well I love everything I got, but you know what I mean.
This yarn is a tweedy one, so it felt slightly softer then the House Gnome ones, which is hard to believe because the House Gnome is so soft as well. It's a fingering weight again, and I have no idea what to knit with this one too!
This is her Scruffy Gnome base which is 85% super wash merino and 15% donegal tweed.
The Scruffy Gnome base is a bit more expensive at $23 for 100g.

Being a Potter fan I couldn't pass up on some of her Harry Potter themed yarns.
This one is Bertie Bott's which I think is a perfect name for this colour.
Another fingering weight in the House Gnome base.
This one I actually have an idea for, I want to knit the Hermione's Everyday Socks. The yarn goes with the pattern which I love, and I think it will make some gorgeous looking socks. 
Gah I love looking at this yarn, there is so many gorgeous different colours in one skein.

The last colour I got is another Harry Potter inspired one, it is Polyjuice Potion.
The blue in this is so pretty and vibrant, and I love purple too so this seems like the perfect coupling of colours to me.
This once again is the House Gnome base, so yes another fingering weight!
For this yarn I'm thinking of making the Hogwarts Express Shawl. I love the look of that shawl and what would be more perfect then knitting it in Harry Potter yarn!

I am very happy with all the yarn I got from Gnome Acres, and despite it being shipped from America just after Christmas, it didn't take too long and the shipping wasn't too expensive, however I did have to pay custom fees which are around £17, which is quite pricey, so if you are making a order make it cheap enough that you avoid the custom charges or order a massive quantity, maybe a group order, to make the shipping and customs charge more worthwhile. 
Sunday, 27 January 2013

Skin Care Superstar - Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm

I have decided to start a new series on skin care because I have gotten into it so much recently. 
I am going to share with you my skin care superstars, products that I would definitely repurchase and think they have made such a positive difference to my skin care that I would recommend them to anyone.

The first product to receive the superstar treatment is one lots of you have probably heard of, it's the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm. 

Here is what the official Emma Hardie site has to say about the product:

- Thoroughly cleanses and moisturises the skin.
- Helps to purify and minimises the appearance of open pores.
- Calming for sensitive skin
- Revitalising for dull and mature skins.
- Can be used as a rescue balm, ie on dry elbows or knees, or as a lip balm.
- Doubles as a soothing mask if left on the skin for ten minutes

Key Ingredients and what they do:
- Moringa seed extract, Wild Sea Fennel and Vitamin E:Balance, purify and help to minimise the appearance of open pores
- Orange, Neroli and Mandarin extracts: Rejuvenates and revitalises the skin.
- Jasmine, cedarwood and Rose:  Helps to recondition dull, dry, dehydrated and mature skins

I pretty much agree with everything that they have said about the product.

At first I was pretty skeptical about using such a oily product on my face, because although I don't have oily skin, I haven't had much success with other cleansing balms before, most notably Lush's Ultra Balm, which felt like it had left a oily film over my face.
This product however, is nothing like the other balms I have tried. After using it my skin feels so clean yet soft, with no residue left behind.

I have been using this twice daily for the last 3 months and I have found it has definitely made my skin look less dull in the winter, something I normally have big issues with, helped with my eczema and I definitely have had less spots.

To use the cleansing balm you just get a tiny amount (and I mean tiny, a pea size amount will do it for me), mix it with a tiny bit of water and then massage all over the face. Remove with a warm damp face cloth. 
Because you use such little product as well, this lasts for ages, which is good because it's not exactly the cheapest of products!

I love the cleansing balm and this has replaced all my foaming cleansers that I used to use and I can definitely see the skin care benefits.
If you are in the market for a new cleanser I cannot recommend this one enough!
Sunday, 20 January 2013

Finished Object - Louie the Lovebot

I have finished knitting my first ever stuffed toy! It is Louie the Lovebot by Rebecca Danger.

I absolutely loved knitting Louie, and I think knitting toys may be a new found favourite!

Rebecca's pattern was very clear and easy to follow, and had lots of photos demonstrating what she means. I would really recommend this pattern to anyone wanting to give toy making a go. I liked the pattern so much I went and took advantage of the 5 pattern discount she offers!

Whilst knitting this I learnt:
Magic Loop
Some intarsia (although this did go a bit wrong!)
Picking up stitches
Kitchener stitch 
And knitting with waste yarn to expose live stitches later.

As much as I love Louie, he is far from perfect:
His eyes are wonky 
I struggled a bit with knitting intarsia in the round, luckily it is all hidden inside because it became bit of a mess! After finishing him I found out that I should've knit a row of the heart, then purled the next row of the heart and just slipped the stitches on the next round (sorry if this makes no sense!)
His stripes on his arms are a bit wonky where I pulled the yarn too tight.
There is a slight gap on one of his feet where the leg connects because I didn't pick the right stitch up.

I made him out of Patons DK 100% acrylic yarn, which I have loads left of and only cost £1.69 a ball, bargain!
I knit on 3.5mm needles and used my Knit Pro Spectre needles. I think my needle and yarn choice was probably the only thing I didn't really enjoy whilst knitting this. I have no problem with acrylic yarn and think it works great for toys, but if you don't know, Knit Pro Spectra needles are also plastic. Plastic yarn on plastic needles? Not a nice combination at all, and lots of squeaking!

Because Louie is a robot, of course he likes Xbox! 

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Finished Object - GAP-tastic Cowl

I have just finished knitting the GAP-tastic cowl by Jen Geigley.
It's design is inspired by one she saw sold in GAP, hence the name.

Its a very simple cowl, knitted in moss stitch which gives it a lovely texture, however as you can see it is very long and thick for a cowl, I had to use 3 skeins to get the right width! It was actually quite repetitive to do because it was just moss stitch knitted in the round which made it quite a boring project to knit.
It's knit in chunky though so at least you can see it taking shape quickly.

I used Malabrigo Chunky in Polar Morn, the same colour I used in my Orchids and Fairy Lights hat, but the chunky has a lot more variation in its colour then the worsted weight. It's gorgeous and soft yarn though, and I love the colour variation on it.

Considering it is about to snow tomorrow I think I finished this just in time and love how warm and snuggly this is. Despite how tedious this was to knit I loved the way it turned out and can't wait to pair it with my hat! 

Sunday, 6 January 2013

End of month hexipuff count - December

I apologise that this post is a few days late, but I haven't had a chance to take any photos in natural light. Anyway, here are the hexis from December!

So this month I managed 8! 1 more then last month.
I may have managed 9, but my bag which I keep my hexipuff stuff in went missing for a few days over Christmas because I accidentally left it at my Aunts house.

I have to confess as well, I haven't actually woven in the edges, opps!

I love seeing the hexis all put together like this, it makes me excited for seeing the finished quilt and is definitely a motivator for when you feel like you are getting a bit fed up.

All the yarn used is from the mini skeins I got from The Knitting Goddess. The blue and red one reminds me of a football team, West Ham, not that I'm a football fan or anything, and the yellow ones remind me of Polly Pockets, although I'm not sure why?

This one has to be my favourite though:

It was bit of a surprise because in the mini skein it didn't look like much as its quite muted, but I actually love the colours and think it makes for some very pretty puffs. Reminds me of neapolitan ice cream too, yummy.

And here is where all the hexipuffs are living for the moment, in a reused Jo Malone box:

I didn't make my aim of 10 puffs, and considering I haven't managed to finish a single puff yet I think I will stick to a aim of 10 puffs for December.

Hexipuffs knitted in December: 8
Total hexipuff count: 15