Thursday, June 30, 2005

Knitting disaster on the train...

What a weird day. It should have been quite nice, with plenty of time for knitting on the train and not too much of a mad scramble in London. But I didn't get a proper seat, only one of those flip-up ones in the section where two carriages join. It's very bouncy sitting here. Anyway, I was happily knitting away at my sock, squashed in the corner by a man on the other flip-up seat reading something very dull. And then I started dropping stitches left, right and centre! I even managed to pull the needle out at one stage, leaving about 30 stitches floating around in midair. Of course this was the one time I didn't have a crochet hook with me to help redeem the situation. Anyway, I was really NOT a good advert for knitting as I swore away to myself in the corner, wrestling with tiny loops and silly DPNs while wearing a big frown. I think I pretty much got them all. There is an, ahem, ventilation hole, where one wasn't originally intended but otherwise it's not as bad as I first thought. Here's a pic of progress so far. I would have got a lot more done if I hadn't spent most of the journey down frantically looping stitches into each other...

Meanwhile Fondant is moving forward slowly. Very slowly. I have now realised that the front is shorter than the back as I misread part of the pattern. The question is whether I can set a new fashion by wearing it like this as I can't really bear the thought of frogging it. I'm going to finish one of the rib sleeveless bits to see what it looks like, and try it on to see if I can get away with it.

And to cheer myself up when I got home I started off another project (!!), one of the baby jumpers for Feed the Children. One sleeve is complete & I'm using Sirdar Denim Tweed DK which I found in a sale a couple of months ago. I have one ball of blue and four of green - enough for two jumpers (one in the smallest size, one in the largest) so I'm going to vary the colours between them. This is the sleeve I made this evening, again the light was a little strange by the time I got round to taking the photo!

Thank you to Mary Anne for her encouraging comments on yesterday's blog - it cheered me up when I got home! A couple of friends' birthdays are approaching so soon I should be able to reveal their (knitted) presents.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Feed the Children

Oh dear. Another post without photos. Sorry everybody, but the last couple of days have been frantic as it's approaching the end of the month and I had deadlines to meet. So not much knitting and no photo taking have happened. And I am SO tired after working flat out. And it's London tomorrow, which always makes me even more tired. Yawn. OK. Winge over. I promise I will now attempt to write something interesting.

Fondant is still progressing. I've finished the collar (and yes, my head fits through!!). I've got a horrible feeling that I did something wrong a while ago and it's going to end up being shorter at the front than at the back. Anyway, have just picked up stitches (EEK) around one armhole and have been busily 2 x 2 ribbing away all evening. I will put up a pic of progress fairly soon.

The Sock is also progressing, I got the heel turned over the weekend, which is never as bad as I think it's going to be. It will be my train knitting for tomorrow again as I should be able to get a good long way along the foot on the journey.

I've also contacted Feed the Children's knitting appeal after reading a bit about them in Simply Knitting. They're looking for people to knit jumpers and blankets for babies and children so I sent off for the jumper pattern, which comes in a pdf file on email. I'm going to have a go as the pattern is fairly basic and I'll be able to use some of my stash. They want colourful items so it will be a good antidote to the excess of beige I've been experiencing lately! I could also do a blanket and have a practice of some new stitches at the same time I suppose.

Meanwhile, I read an interesting article about some excavations at Fishbourne, a Roman palace down south. They've shown that the Roman invasion was actually several decades before all the history books say it was and that it wasn't an invasion at all but quite friendly. Only problem is, it was in the Independent, and they start charging for online access 3 days after the article is published. Grrr.

I finished "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a very gentle detective story: nobody gets murdered so it seems more like real life as most of us know it! The people are very colourful and come across well (they also spend a lot of time drinking rooibos tea, which is one of my favourites!) and it's just a very pleasant, interesting, not too taxing book to read - good bedtime reading! Now I'm reading "The Seymour Tapes" which is a totally different kettle of fish - about a man who becomes obsessed with surveillance and knowing what his family and colleagues are up to all the time. It's fairly compulsive reading.

Right I'm off to excavate my stash and find some DK of some sort for baby jumpers...

Monday, June 27, 2005


I am acquiring a reputation. The postman just rang my doorbell, handed me a parcel and said "That's your knitting for this week"! How did he know?!?!?!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Fondant update

This is progress on Fondant:

The neck is supposed to be 20cm, then it's worn folded over, so there's a little bit to go yet. Amusingly the colour looks totally different on this post, as I took this photo in my flat, rather than in Mum's house next door. Who would have thought the light could look so different?!

I wonder whether anyone else does this? I realised at Knit Lincs yesterday that while I was busy pointing out all the wonky picked up stitches, mutant parts etc of Valentine and Fondant, Lorraine and Debbie were both admiring them. Maybe the maker spends too much time with the item so doesn't fully appreciate it? Or appreciates it in a different way? Will be interesting to see how I feel about them when I wear them out and about. Typically I finished Valentine (in very warm Rowan Polar) just as the weather turned very warm so haven't really had a chance to wear it yet!

I also thought I'd put on a picture of my Bigga Bag from Simply Knitting issue 1:

I'm using it as my knitting bag as I put in a lining to stop my needles falling through. The lining is a piece of burgundy fabric left over from a balldress Mum made me whilst I was at university the first time round. The yarn is Sirdar Bigga (3 balls) in Etna, which is the colour also used in the magazine. I was hoping for a different colour (although I do like Etna), but Sirdar only seem to have limited variegated colours in Bigga and I didn't want a plain colour one (boring!)

The socks are also progressing well and I did the heel tonight while watching "A picture of Britain". I've really enjoyed this series. David Dimbleby talks about various parts of the landscape while walking up hills/along rivers/through caves and intersperses it with what artists and writers thought about the same landscapes. I'd like to go to Tate Britain to see the exhibition there that goes with the series. It's on until September so I should get a chance...

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Knit Lincs

Today was knitting group day - HOORAY!! It was our first meeting and three of us came - me, Debbie and Lorraine. It was SO cool knitting with other people! We had a good explore of The Hub Craft Centre (in Sleaford, Lincolnshire), an amazing building. In fact I was amazed with Sleaford as a whole. It used to be a slightly grebby little market town (I was at secondary school there for 7 years) but now things are happening - they have roundabouts, one way systems (which I went round twice, oops) and groovy places like The Hub! The Hub is enormous and has a cafe, shop, exhibitions, galleries, classrooms, things happening and space to sit and knit! We ended up at the top, where a balcony runs round one entire end of the building. The light was brilliant and there were comfy seats. In fact we got so settled in, chatting, knitting and looking at patterns that we forgot to go down for a coffee before the cafe shut! Oops.

We had a good laugh about the dreadful Teen Knits book (see previous post) & Debbie had brought along a copy of Rebecca magazine, which had a pattern which she thought would work with my HipKnits cotton (also see a previous post!). I really like the idea so watch this space... The time went soooo quickly.

Meanwhile, I'm feeling rather pleased with myself for driving to Sleaford and back - it's only 20 miles each way but that's the furthest I've driven for about three years. Of course, the disadvantage with taking the car is that you can't knit and drive at the same time, unlike on a train...

Thanks for the mention on your blog, Mary Anne! Thanks to Cathy for the comment on my last post and what else was I going to put here? Oh yes. I saw on Lixie Knits It something about virtual pets, followed the link and the result is KnittyKitty, now purring in the side navigation thing. You can get her to chase a thing which looks like a ball of yarn on the end of a stick!

Sorry no photos for this post. There will be some soon as there is plenty of knitting TV tonight (Casualty and something called "The girl in the cafe") so should get LOADS done! Must remember to cast off loosely on Fondant's neck, otherwise my head won't fit through...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Knitting socks on the train

First of all I've got a few thank yous for comments and help I've received! Mary Anne has sent me lots of encouraging comments which have been much appreciated. Kate answered my query on her blog about the best way of darning in ends, with a link to a Knitty article. Fred emailed me a while ago after I'd bought the two Harmony guides at Oxfam to tell me that there are actually three vols, so I'm going to have to keep looking for the other one (or buy it second hand from Amazon!). Anyway, thanks for all that folks!

Train knitting today was moderately successful, I produced the part-sock on the GNER train to find 7 pairs of eyes fixed on me! But only one lady was brave enough to talk about it, and she didn't believe me when I said knitting was really popular again! Still, I got a lot done, starting from scratch. It helped that I had an hour to wait for a connection at Newark on the way back - sat in the sun with a cup of tea, chocolate brownie and DPNs! (and no, Mary Anne, I didn't stab anybody!) This is progress so far, the colour looks a bit strange as I forgot to take it in daylight and the light in my kitchen is a bit orangey.

Meanwhile, London was really frustrating - UCL library was being reorganised so half the books in the Main Lib had been moved to the Science Lib but nobody there could tell me where they'd gone! This involved lots of running round in the sun. I was REALLY annoyed, as this happens every summer, as soon as the undergrads have gone home they start moving stuff around and knocking walls down etc - does it not occur to them that postgrads might still want/need to be using the libraries?!?!

OK. Rant over. But it did mean I was there ages and so didn't get to Guide HQ on Buckingham Palace Road to buy promise badges. We have 6 girls now in our Ranger company which is great news and they would like to get enrolled soon.

And when I (finally) got home this was waiting in the porch:

Opal handpainted sock yarn! I saw it on Ebay and couldn't resist!! This is turning into a very materialistic blog. Maybe I should try being a minimalist for a while... Only trouble is I also discovered the Elann website this week and then discovered that John Lewis has a sale starting in a fortnight! GULP.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mutant Octopus

Progress has been made on Fondant:

There was an interesting stage when I seemed to be wrestling with some kind of mutant beige octopus - involving two balls of yarn, some knitting with 2 circular needles attached and 4 stitch holders, but the situation has recovered a bit now that 1 circular needle and 1 ball of yarn are no longer needed. It was quite a tempting prospect to take on the train though - the potential for funny looks whilst wrestling with that lot must be immense!

However, as it's SO hot still, and promising to be even hotter in London tomorrow I don't really fancy lugging Fondant around with me, as I have quite a lot else to carry around (like a pile of library books to return to UCL). I have given up on the Lucy's Diamonds scarf for the time being as I'm a bit sick of scarves anyway and the Anny Blatt wasn't ideal for this project as it kept splitting. I think now is the time to start another pair of socks as these are small and light for taking on the train and still have plenty of impressive looking sticking out DPNs for the "what on earth is she doing" factor at the station. I'm going to make a pair for my Mum, as she saw some Regia sock yarn she liked on holiday:

This is Regia Jacquard in a sort of reddy, greeny, bluey, whitish colour. The other bonus is that I need two 50g balls for a pair so I only need to take one ball with me tomorrow, thus saving even more room in my bag! Sometimes I am just too cunning...

So what have I been up to today? I've done 5 hours job-work and been for a wander round the Arboretum for a break before returning to dissertation writing. If I'm not careful working from home can mean that I spend the whole day in the same room either working or doing the dissertation (or blogging) and never go anywhere else = boring! Today was so beautiful and sunny though a walk seemed a good move:

This made me think that a knitting picnic might be a good idea this summer. Although knowing British weather if we organised one in advance it would probably rain...

Right. Onwards with the dissertation. I've done 1500 words, so only 13500 to go - AARRGGHH!!!

Monday, June 20, 2005

It's SO hot

This will be a short post as it's really really hot here & I need to get ready for Rangers tonight. This is progress so far on Fondant:

I'm almost at the point where stitch holders appear and it's knitted flat for a while. I seem to be going through a very boring beige phase, as my Summer Tweed top (in my profile photo) is beigish and I've been considering what to do with some Anny Blatt Savane I have in my stash in ecru (pale beige!). I'm very tempted by the "Lucy's Diamonds" scarf from Southern Cross Knitting and have kind of started it - I'm still having a play around with needle sizes. Thanks to UKHandknitters I discovered how to do a provisional cast on last night - from a very helpful website with videos of techniques - Knitting Help.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Monkey's Best Friend

This post is to introduce Monkey's best friend - my nephew, Noah. Here he is on holiday last week with Monkey (and the banana). Noah is modelling the hoodie I knitted for him from Simply Knitting issue 1 (I think it was from Debbie Bliss' Special Knits book).

It was made using 5 balls of Sirdar Snuggly Aran in navy blue, and I used another 5 balls to make him an aran-type cardi (this was my first proper knitting pattern so I was rather pleased with myself for doing cables!). The cardi is still a bit big for him as I made the one year size thinking it would take me about six months to make, and it actually took 10 days!

This is another view of Noah (a bit younger) wearing his hoodie, with my sister-in-law, Sarah:

Noah is the cutest and cleverest baby ever (I may be a little biased), but Monkey isn't too pleased with him at the moment as N is now bigger than he is!

I think I also said I was going to blog about the books I took on holiday, so here goes:
I really enjoyed "The Fit" by Philip Hensher. It was a little weird (which I like), about an indexer who likes putting things into categories until his wife leaves him and he starts drinking champagne... There were sad bits, happy bits and downright strange bits but it was an entertaining read.
I also took "The Food of Love" by Anthony Capella. This would normally have annoyed me as the plot is a little thin (not to say entirely predictable) but the food descriptions are another thing! If I read it in bed I found I ended up in the kitchen in the middle of the night finding food, and some of the recipes sounded delicious. It was more like one of those recipe books you can read (instead of just cook from) in places.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Cotton in interesting colours

First of all thanks to Angie for her comments about cotton on yesterday's blog. Ironically this is what arrived in the post this morning: Patons 100% cotton 4ply in magenta and purple!

The colours are lovely, brighter than they appear in the photo and will be added to the stash and turned into tops at a later date. These came from a shop called "Designs" based in Yelverton, Devon. They're having a sale of all their stock as the owners have to retire and so I got all of the above with 40% off. They have a friendly service and it's well worth contacting them to see what's left (it's mainly stuff from Sirdar, Wendy and Patons). My parcel arrived very promptly and they send an invoice so you pay once you've seen it. Their phone no. is 01822 854364 - Happy Yarn Shopping!

Once I'd recovered from being woken up & receiving the parcel in my pyjamas (the postman kept me chatting on the doorstep, whilst I was wondering what on earth my hair looked like as I hadn't been near a mirror at that stage. As I suspected, it was standing on end in big knots.) I went into town to distribute some posters for Knit Lincs next weekend and went to the Farmers' Market. I highly recommend them if you've got one near you. Although there were a lot of stalls selling meat (I'm veggie, so this wasn't very relevant to me!) I did get some tasty local organic asparagus, free-range eggs and some sunflower bread (oh and cheese scones, but they didn't last very long).

I also discovered Debbie Abraham's book "25 cushions to knit" at the library, as I'm looking for inspiration for the cushion covers I'm planning. This is really well-illustrated and spiral bound so you can have it open in front of you whilst reading a pattern. I don't intend making one of these patterns, but am planning to put something together of my own, using yarn in my stash.

Meanwhile, in the Oxfam bookshop (having walked past the site where Waterstones is opening very very soon!) I found the two Harmony Guides to Knitting Stitches for 99p each! These are quite terrifying in the number of stitches covered (about 400 in each book) but there are pictures of each stitch knitted up, as well as instructions on how to do them. I thought these might also come in useful for the cushion making...

And tonight it's the final episode of this series of Doctor Who. If you go the website and have sound on your computer you get a load of Daleks all shouting "Exterminate"!

Thanks to all the people who read my blog - I can't believe the hit counter figures! Hope you're enjoying it!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Chocolate car

First of all, this is progress on my "Fondant" top from Knitting magazine:

as you can see I got a lot done on the trains yesterday, although no comments this time! I was waiting for the connection at Newark North Gate and there were loads of people on the northbound platform waiting for trains to Royal Ascot, which isn't at Ascot at all this year, but at York instead. It was pretty cold weather, but they weren't wearing that much, and had some incredibly silly shoes on (and as for the hats!). I think this is why no one commented on my knitting, we were all too busy gawping at the people on the other platform!

Mary Ann asked me what I was using for Fondant - it's Sirdar 100% cotton DK in a beigy colour. I liked the summer top patterns in the June Knitting mag, but it's been difficult to find cotton in bright /interesting colours, rather than baby pastels...

Meanwhile, I've been admiring the chocolate car, which I heard about on UKHandknitters. Yummy. Yummy.

I was going to do book reviews now, but I think I might leave that until Saturday after my trip to the library. When I was in London yesterday though, I made a visit to Waterstones on Gower St (it's got 5 floors & it's very easy to spend hours in there, in fact I usually get lost). Their knitting section has tripled in size since I last saw it and I had a look at the Teva Durham book "Loop-d-loop" which various people have been talking about. It looks so tempting, with some interesting patterns. I've emailed the library to suggest they might like to buy it and in the meantime, it's on my wish list! :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Circular Knitting

I think I've definitely fallen in love with my circular needles. It's just so cool knitting in circles! I'm using cotton DK so it grows fairly quickly and it's nice and clear to knit with. Here's a photo of progress so far, this is the rib at the bottom of a summer top:

I think this will definitely be tomorrow's train knitting on the way to and from London. Wonder how many funny looks/comments I'll get this time? Knitting socks on DPNs usually causes a stir. The best comment so far: "Aren't you a bit young to be knitting?" (!!!)

Being "young" does have it's advantages though, I discovered today. The YHA has just started doing cheaper membership for under 26s, so I'm just eligible! They also do craft weekends at some Youth Hostels, that looks quite tempting too. How about "Hooky and Proddy" - making rag rugs at YHA Windermere?!

When I woke up this morning I discovered a new friend:

had set up home on the edge of my bedside light. Think I'll put him outside when the weather clears up a little. He'd spun a most impressive web, wish I could knit that fast.

Otherwise, today I've been working, apart from a little chocolate mission in the afternoon. I also took some compost down to put in the bin at the bottom of the garden. Hadn't been down there for about 10 days (before we went on holiday) and things have taken on rather a jungle-like appearance...

I've also ordered some Patons cotton from the Designs shop in Devon. They are having to retire as they can't rent their shop any more so are selling things off at about a 40% discount. Several people on UKHandknitters have mentioned it and Alan was very helpful when I emailed to see what was left. I've ordered some to make another top, as I'm really enjoying using the cotton on the circulars. I was going to say that it's better knitting cotton in hot weather, as the Rowan Polar was quite hot to work with, but it's not exactly been hot weather so far...

Anyway, I want to get the MYSTERY item finished tonight, and then on with the circulars - hooray!!

Oh and if anyone happens to be around in Lincolnshire on 25th June (Sat) - it's our first Knit Lincs meeting at the Hub Craft Centre in Sleaford between 2-4pm. But PLEASE let me know you're coming as space is limited!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I've just got up. Oops. So much for the bus, and the two after the one I intended to catch. For some reason I couldn't get to sleep last night, so ended up knitting in bed at 2am! I've started off a circular knitting pattern (my first!) from June's Knitting Magazine. The circulars weren't too bad, even though it was the early hours. I didn't intend to start another project off just yet, but my MYSTERY item was next door where I knit in front of the TV (don't have one in my flat) so I had to start something else!

Also Debbie told me on the phone last night about this: The VV Rouleaux playground market - it looks so groovy. Wonder when my next Saturday in London will be?

Right. Now should I write some dissertation or clean the bathroom? Answers on a postcard...

Monday, June 13, 2005

Teen Knits

Well first of all I've changed the photo on the section two entries down so that the button picture is actually a bit more in focus! There was a lovely selection of hand-painted buttons at the Alpaca Centre, although everyone looked a little puzzled that I chose six different buttons rather than ones that matched. But it's more fun that way... Not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, although I have got a Colinette pattern at the back of my mind...

I also forgot to post the pic of my HipKnits cotton swatch - knitted on holiday.

Doesn't it look fab?! This is stocking stitch, and it knitted up to a DK tension so summer top pattern here I come. Although Debbie said she'd got a jumper pattern from Rebecca that might look good in it too. This would probably be better as it's a little bit see through in places! Anyway, I have a large pile of yarn and a dissertation to be getting on with in the meantime!

I've been listening to all the stuff on the radio about Live 8 and Make Poverty History etc and thought that now might be the time to reread Cause Celeb by Helen Fielding. This is a really good read, very different to Bridget Jones. It's moving and funny all at the same time. Also, Radio 4's Book at Bedtime this week is "Notes on a Scandal" by Zoe Heller. This is also a good read, if a little chilling at times...

On the subject of books, but knitting ones this time, I received my "free" copy of Teen Knits in the post this morning. It was last month's offer from Knitting magazine, and all I had to do was send a cheque for the P & P. I was really disappointed, as I was hoping it would have some interesting, young designs that would appeal to teenagers (and young people like me!) But it was dreadful, the patterns are more the sort of thing you'd knit for toddlers. I even took it along to Rangers tonight to see what the girls made of it - they (4 14 year olds and a 16 year old) announced that no self-respecting "teen" would ever dream of wearing this stuff. In fact they thought it was hilariously funny! Think this may be one for Ebay!

Right. Must get off to bed now, meant to be on placement tomorrow and will never be up in time to catch the bus if I'm not careful. Bye!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Pictures now work!

I think, finally, the pictures now work on my previous post. I still have no idea what I did first time round, but it was a bit hair-raising putting that many pics on at once!

Also, thanks for all the comments! I was overwhelmed to discover that this blog had been accessed over 100 times whilst I was on holiday - who are all these people?! I hope you like the blog.

If anybody's interested in Rowan Polar yarn in red hot (the warm red colour I used for Valentine) I've just put 900g of it on Ebay - that should be enough to make another jumper...

Home again

Well we've got back from our holiday to find that my herbs have grown an enormous amount:

I suppose being away a week you notice the growth more than you would if you saw them everyday. They're getting a bit leggy though so I'll have to do some chopping (and eating!) soon.

I suppose I'd better refrain from putting ALL my holiday photos on here, although the people who've met me will know that I usually force people to look through all of them! I will attempt to limit pics to those that people reading this might find interesting... Here goes.

We went to a beautiful little village called Caldbeck. This is the church, St Kentigern's:

It's actually quite big inside and appears to be very active. There's a fair trade shop opposite (in a converted bus shelter!) which stocks a surprising amount. Fair trade is REALLY REALLY big in the Lakes and Keswick has now become a Fair Trade town.

Also in Caldbeck is a wonderful converted building containing various shops, including The Wool Clip - they had plenty of local wool, kits, knitted and felted items and stuff to look at. Bliss. I bought some Jacob sheep wool and a mixed pack to make a knitted lengthwise scarf (this was made by the Spinning Gallery in Cockermouth). There is also an extremely good cafe above the Wool Clip.

Another wonderful place to visit was the Alpaca Centre just outside Penrith. Here you can see the beautiful alpacas in the fields and buy alpaca products (plus cotton stuff from Peru). They have some fantastic garments and a small amount of yarn on sale. I bought some handpainted buttons, although the photo hasn't come out very well:

Other good/interesting shops were Shades of Wool and Indigo Knits in Penrith. Indigo Knits had some of their own kits and I acquired some more Opal sock yarn. Shades of Wool is more in the centre of town and is staffed by some really friendly & informative ladies. I also accidently (honestly) fell over a yarn shop in Cockermouth for some more sock yarn. I was a little disappointed that the Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre at Cockermouth barely stocked any yarn at all, but the extremely enthusiastic Tourist Info man more than made up for it - I asked where the best place to park is for Wordsworth's House in Cockermouth and he drew me a map of every carpark in the town! I also thought Wordsworth's House was disappointing - it's been done up so it's very entertaining for children, with people in costume etc, but I thought it was a little patronising and there was hardly anything left in the house that was original (most things were replicas so they could be handled). Still some of the items the cook had made were quite exciting, it was just a shame nobody was allowed to taste them due to Health & Safety Regulations!

I think at this point I'll include my photo of my holiday yarn purchases:

I have various plans for it - including cushion covers, a summer top, two pairs of socks and a scarf so that should keep me occupied for a while.

I'm not sure if there's anything else to talk about? We didn't go to the cinema or theatre this time, or eat out much, although there was one place where we had a lovely lunch: the Lakeland Pedlar in Keswick. This is a cycle shop with a veggie cafe underneath and the food is wonderful - it was so nice to have a choice of sandwiches, instead of cheese (with or without salad) which you get in most places. It was very popular though and fairly crowded and must be even worse at the height of summer.

Oh, and I did finally finish Valentine:

Yes, there are some wonky parts but this is my first jumper finished so I'm feeling very pleased with myself!
Bye for now.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Valentine - almost!

Well today has involved plenty of rushing around doing pre-holiday type things (and some work too, as I'd promised I'd do a certain amount before going away and somehow 4 hours of it ended up being today). It's very quiet now as we took Sooty:

to the cattery. He caterwauled all the way there, as he always does. He must be the world's noisiest cat. The woman who runs the cattery came to meet us in the car park as she heard him wailing from there! He seems to have got worse as he got older (he's nearly 18) and especially now he's quite arthritic and can't jump onto things any more (he only has three legs).

I've also been to the library, to return "Watching the English" (unfinished, I've reserved it again as it was a very funny book to dip into now and again!) and to pick up my holiday reading, which, this year is:
Valentine is also unfinished - I still have one sleeve to sew in, although I've tried on what there is and it's looking good! I did try a photo but it came out red and wibbly and you couldn't really tell what it was meant to be. I like the length (just covering my bottom, to keep it warm in winter) and it's lovely and soft and cuddly. I'm considering taking it away with me to finish off, although it's quite big. It would mean that I'd have an extra jumper there to wear though...
I've been debating what knitting to take. I've packed my MYSTERY item (it's a birthday present & I know the recipient reads this blog as she said she'd bookmarked it!) and also a skein of my HipKnits cotton (now fully recovered from the green wheelie bin escapade). I'm taking this to think about what I want to make with it, I thought stroking it might provide inspiration, although I have got some ideas already. I've packed my knitting needles so might knit up a swatch to try out the tension.
Now, I've packed my other holiday essentials - Colin Firth DVDs, cocoa and my hot water bottle (yes, I do realise it's June). Perhaps some clothes and a toothbrush might be a good idea too? One year I went to the Lakes and forgot my waterproofs. Never again.

Have also had a think about what we're going to do while we're away. I've tracked down two yarnshops to visit - one selling Cumbrian rare breed sheep wool. Have also arranged a visit to Townend to see the library there (for the ever-looming dissertation) and to meet up with an old school friend who now works there (isn't it a small world?).

Meanwhile the ospreys are nesting again by Bassenthwaite lake and have hatched out 2 chicks this year:
Osprey WebCam.
There is a walk through the woods to telescopes set up to view the nest properly and they have a mock-up of the nest. It's deceptive on the webcam as it looks quite small - it's actually bigger than me, and they are massive birds.

And the major question of the holiday is: will I survive a week without checking my email? I'm deliberately not taking the laptop but will I be able to resist the temptation of Keswick's internet cafes?!

Friday, June 03, 2005


Well, after all the excitements of London yesterday I was absolutely exhausted (my usual state on a Friday!) so had a very quiet morning (catching up on blogs!) and then Rachel came over. Rachel was one of my housemates at Royal Holloway several years ago, and now she has 14 month old twin boys - Alexander and Joseph:

Aren't they sweet?! Rachel is somehow managing to hang onto both the boys, Monkey AND the banana (which the babies thought was great, they were also rather taken with Monkey's bright orange eyes). We spent a lot of time catching up, went for a walk in the Arboretum and had tea and cake at a cafe before drinking even more tea back at my flat! The boys were soooooo good, they're just at the stage of pulling themselves upright by hanging onto furniture and always seemed to be going in opposite directions...

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I don't believe it - as soon as I put a picture of Monkey on here I start getting comments! This is absolutely typical, one year Monkey even received more Valentine's cards than I did...

A much better day today. I've been down to London and met up with Christina, my old boss, who now works at the Wallace Collection. We had a quick look in the Collection before lunch and there was some really cool stuff around. It's half term so there were quite a few children - some were trying on costumes and there was one little boy in half a suit of armour - all you could see was the armour with two little legs sticking out of the bottom! Even better though, I went into the Oxfam Bookshop on Marylebone High St on the way to meet Christina and found Stitch n' Bitch nation - a brand new copy, very cheap!! This, of course, totally put paid to my plans for finishing my original book on the train home...

Also, I'm still working on my jumper (Rowan Valentine). The knitting part is complete and I thought I'd get it finished last night, but forgot about doing chain stitch round each of the heart motifs. I tried one out and it does look a lot better (even if my chain stitch is wonky). The Rowan Polar is quite hard to sew with as it comes apart if I pull too hard.

Then I arrived home to find my parcel had arrived from Hip Knits. It's fantastic, gorgeous, soft, cuddly cotton in a dawn sort of colour (see below). But I can't BELIEVE how it was delivered. I found a note through my door saying it had been left "in the green bin out the front" and found it in my green garden recycling bin - which was full of soggy grass cuttings and bits of tree and crawling with ants! NICE! Fortunately the parcel was OK (even if the external wrapping was wet it hadn't got through to the inside and the ants had stayed with the grass), but what on earth was the postman thinking?!?!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

It's raining...

Horrible, rainy day and I'm lacking motivation to do very much at all. The jumper is now half blocked (only room to do half at a time) and I've discovered a picture of the banana I knitted for Monkey (from Jean Greenhowe's Knitted Toys) so thought I'd post that for all to see:

Whilst looking for something else last week I found that Mavis Crafts (where I bought the original Monkey kit) has a gallery of Monkeys knitted by various people! Nice to know there are other people as nutty as me out there.

And then onto something a bit more philosophical:
Why am I writing a blog? Will anybody read it and why would they want to (?!).

Well I've enjoyed reading the blogs I've read so far. I like the ideas etc I've picked up along the way - places to go, things to knit, books to read. I like having the contact with other knitters and to post pictures of what I'm knitting (this way people can come to my blog and have a look if they want rather than me driving everyone dotty by emailing pictures of socks all over the place!). I suppose once Lincolnshire Knitters, or whatever we end up calling it, gets off the ground, that won't matter so much. But blogs are a good way of finding out what's going on in different parts of the country - new shops to try etc. Oh and my HTML was getting a little rusty so at least I get some practice here too..

Right, and now I really should go down to the post office to get rid of the ebay parcels. I've been waiting ages for 2 echeques to clear - I hadn't even heard of them until two people from my last auction suddenly paid via Paypal using echeques - which seem to take at least 10 days to clear. I suppose at least you know it's on the way rather than hanging around for the post to see if someone's send a "real" cheque... And, it's stopped raining....... I'm off!