Check out my Finished Items on the second page

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Sometimes a downside.....

So, the downside to acquiring all those wonderful pots, planter, and bed that I wrote about here, was this:

3 tonnes of topsoil that needed to be moved from outside my garden, to inside my beds.  Boy do I ache today!

In other news I've just this minute received some new sunglasses from  Very impressive service.  I just wanted a cheap pair of prescription sunglasses to wear when I haven't got my contacts in. I wear contacts a lot in the summer so generally just wear plain sunnies, but now and again for whatever reason I don't have them in, and this was an idea solution. Prescription sunglasses for £27 incl delivery.  In case you're interested, I went for these ones - Here. (They've gone up a bit since obviously, but there are offers and voucher codes around the site. Given that they are sunnies, I could probably have done with a deeper lens, but they're perfect for me, and I'm not the most careful person with my glasses so it's not worth spending a fortune on the, (1 dog, 8 hens and 2 cockerels do not bode well for glasses!) If they last the summer I'll be happy! *rolls eyes*

It's been raining (finally) this week, so not much else to tell you. I do have 2 finished objects to photograph and show but they're not "quite" ready yet! ;)

'Til soon xx

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ipad apps for Knitters, Sewers, Crafters and generally just good ones!

So I have noticed that a good few people seem to have acquired Ipads in the past few months in my crafting circle of friends.  I've had mine since Feb I think, there or thereabouts anyway, and one thing I've noticed is that finding apps isn't really as easy as you'd like it to be..... I mean there are hundreds of thousands, but how do you find the "one"  That one that is brilliant, the one that turns your ipad from an internet surfing gadget to an awesome and irreplaceable tool........ Well, to my mind the best way with these things is always to share information. So I'm going to write here the few apps that I couldn't be without, and hopefully other pad users will add their favourites in the comments, or will blog and add a link to their blog posts in the comments - either/or! ;)

Right, my first crafting love is knitting and yarn craft. I am a little fickle and do love plenty of other crafts but generally knitting and crochet are what I always have on the go.


My favourite app of the moment is definitely KnitCompanion.  <<That link is to the website, if you want to go straight to the app it's here   The full version isn't free, in fact it's quite pricey as apps go (GBP 10.99), BUT there is a free version complete with 5 patterns included which you can use and knit to learn the app and see if you like it.  If you then want to use it to use other PDF patterns you need to buy the full version.  This is a brilliant idea because it's quite a complex app, and I don't think I would ever have bothered buying it..... but I knitted Haruni from it and was sold.  I have to say I don't think it would be for everyone. You need to set up your patterns, and there's a bit of faffing which you don't have if you just print the darn thing out.... but oh! it's so graceful to be able to pluck out your Ipad with your latest project pdf on it and know exactly what row of what chart you are on.  Knitcompanion recognises charts (well you tell it where they are) and you can then use row counters and stitchcounters..... it's all just so effortless to keep up.

I used to use Goodreader (another very good app) which opens PDF's and allows you to annotate them, so I'd open a pattern and draw lines across the chart as I completed each row.... but it's cumbersome and a little bit of a nuisance, and because of that you get complacent and don't always mark off your rows, and there my friend, is where disaster lurks (believe me!)

Knit companion just has a click button which advances up the rows on the chart and highlights the one you are on...... so easy. The most you have to do is turn off the auto lock feature! ;-o

If you are considering getting Knitcompanion, don't wade straight in and buy it, download the app from the website and knit one of the included projects - even if you don't want one! Only then will you know if this app is for you. It's expensive for apps, but is still less than most skeins of sock yarn (and we all have plenty of those don't we ?) and if it suits your geek style, it will be worth every penny!


Goodreader is mostly a PDF opening type app! But it's cleverer than that in that you can make an "annotated copy" of your PDF's and scrawl all over them! There's a toolbar which includes icons for lines, text, bubbles, footnotes and all other manner of making far too many notes on a pattern! You can open your patterns from Dropbox, and link directly to your Ravelry library (see the iphone group on Rav for details - the post is stickied here) .  Good reader has some great abilities and can't be beaten for PDF's of garments where you want to ring sizes and note how many rows got you from A to B etc..... but I found it unwieldy for charts.

Above is just a bit of nonsense i scribbled over for the fun of it!  It certainly has it's uses, but I don't think it's a one app fits all kind of scenario (but then I probably don't really with Knitcompanion either) In a perfect world - you'd have both!  One thing I have noticed is that in a non-crafting world (I know it - it rarely exists, but what can I say - once in a while.........) I do almost always use Goodreader as my go-to Open-with app when I'm looking at PDF's in safari on the pad.

Where would us knitters be without Dropbox? 2GB of free space to store all your knitting patterns in the cloud so that when you're out and about and happen across a yarn store, you have you pattern and requirements to hand (assuming some form of signal)  Yes, you could surf to Ravelry on the net, and sometimes i do..... but i love Dropbox for having everything i really need just where I really need it (i.e. everywhere!) Yes, I did orginally sign up for it for work, but heck...... kniting pattern storage is just so much more important. And, as well as easy access....... they're safe from hard drive failures and all sorts of other natural tech disasters.  Dropbox has an app of it's own, but more importantly so many of the other file access apps have built in Dropbox support. - Can't beat it!

KnitCounter Lite:
Simple row counter - free - touch the screen and it incrememnts the row number. Easy! You can set it to remind you for increases/decreases etc too which is clever. There is a paid version, but for a good old row counter for plain and simple things like vanilla socks, you can't beat this.

Zite is a sort of personalised magazine. Not particularly crafty in essence, but once you tell it to find you articles on Knitting, Sewing, Crafts, Crochet....... well then it becomes obsessive a very useful inspirational tool (if anyone has any other good categories that work - comment away!)

nope not an app, just a good old fashioned internet browser that comes on the Pad, and you know what? - It's great. Fast, easy, reliable. Sometimes we get hung up on wanting apps for everything (did I hear you ask for a Ravelry app? - no, there isn't one!) but why? OK if they have added functionality, then great, but often all the info we need is sitting right there on the web, and on the Ipad it's easy to see and read, even for my poor old eyesight. Surfing is as good on the pad as it is on anything else, and sometimes even better!

I do have some quilting apps, but to be honest they're not hugely worth the mention, nothing overly amazing. I don't have any other sewing (non-quilting) apps, and I don't seem to have any specifically crochet apps, although all the above would apply to all crafts really.  In non-crafting terms, I like flipboard for reading blogs when i haven't got around to them on my laptop. - It imports them from google reader so no need to set them up again.

For twitter content I use Echofon, just because it's simple and does exactly what I need it to do, and I'm used to it now!! I hate the facebook app, and usually just surf there in safari. The app hasn't updated to use timelines so half the information is missing, and it doesn't seem to auto refresh. Just rubbish really!!

I use a sweet little app call Signature to put a nice signature on my outgoing emails (instead of that awful "sent from my Ipad" )

Noo's Knits
Bespoke handknitting service
In my signature these are all clickable buttons to follow me or find me in their respective platforms. (Strangely i can't find that app to link to?, but there are loads of others which I am sure are just as good) ** well look at that they're clickable in this post too - how clever!

TBH, those are the most often used apps. Well plus eBay of course, and a paypal calculator that tells you how much to sell something for if you want to make sure you receive a particular amount. and a Royal mail calculator which I hope will be updated with the new rates when the time comes. 

And finally there's words with friends - which I only play with my sister cos it interrupts knitting time! ;)

Right, I have just seen the time and nearly had a fit, i've been here 2 hours and the dog's not even fed yet. So this will have to do for now. Feel free to tell me your favourites below, or maybe do a similar post and link to it in the comments? It's always fun to hear what others are using

Monday, April 09, 2012

Making Monday - a List! ;)

n at The Yarn Yard publishes making monday posts.  I rarely seem to "make" on quite the right day - or at least I never get round to blogging about it. And to be fair today will be much the same. I will be making - I will be making a final sleeve for a jumper. (Well I hope i will be making it cos I've completely screwed up picking up the stitches from the provisional cast on - I must have had someone else's eyes in last night!) Anyway, I will be making that. But in the meantime i thought I'd make a list of things I want to blog about in the near future because when I come to writing I feel I'm a bit repetitive (knitting, dog, chickens, garden, chicken, knitting, dog!) and I never remember the thing I was going to write.

So Making Monday's List!

Blog Posts of the future

  • Good Ipad apps for knitters/sewers/crafters etc. (a few people seem to have acquired them lately and I thought it would be good to pool resources!)
  • (Maybe a separate post of Iphone apps?)
  • Reveiw of some winter waterproof trousers I bought
  • Hopefully some thoughts on re-covering a sun lounger cushion (mouse damage!), because I can't find any anywhere, although if anyone has any ideas i'd be chuffed to hear them!
  • Free listing giveaway for the Crafters Barn when the site is live. 
That should see me through the next month or so, but feel free to comment if there's something you think I should say.
And just for n (cos she showed us hers!), here is a photo of my daytime knitting spot: - It's in the corner of my conservatory, next to the windowsill (for good light, and somewhere to put my scissors/needle/glasses/coffee/ipod) and it looks out onto my garden:

Have a great bank holiday Monday everyone,
'Til soon x