Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lovely weekend...

I've just had a lovely weekend with my DB. :-) Hardly any knitting got done, but we did go for a wander around Lincoln in the beautiful sunshine of yesterday (including the sausage festival, although that seemed rather carnivorous for my liking!). We also watched Downfall, not an enjoyable film, but very thought-provoking. It covers the last days of Hitler, and his decline as he's still convinced the Third Reich will be victorious until the very last minute. It's chilling, and unpleasant in places, especially when a mother kills her children, which I found hard to watch.

Thanks to all the people who left comments/emails. I did succeed in hiding all the knitting from the people who were receiving it! Here are some pics of progress so far:

This is the back and part of the front of Noah's jumper. The pattern is from the Regia Kreativ leaflet no. 37 and uses Regia 6ply Crazy Color. It's a straightforward stocking stitch knit, but the colours make it fun. I also perfected my reading and knitting simultaneously technique last week on the train whilst doing this pattern!

This is the very beginning of the Broadripple sock for my SIL's Christmas present. The yarn is Regia 4ply cotton surf from Black Rock Creek Sheep Farm in the US. They advertised a special deal on the Socknitters Yahoo group (only $3 shipping from the US for enough yarn to make 5 pairs of socks!) and were very friendly and helpful to deal with. This is also where I got the Regia 6ply for Noah's jumper from.

Finally, here is progress so far on Misty Garden from Scarf Style. This is Jaeger Mohair Art (from the John Lewis sale in London the summer) and will be Mum's Christmas present. The pattern uses a variegated mohair (Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair) but I like the effect in the plain colour Mohair Art, and this colour works well too.

There probably won't be much blogging (or knitting!) this week, as I have 3 days working in Derbyshire, 1 day in Lincolnshire and 1 day in London. So bye for now!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Continuing the materialism...

here's my latest parcel from my Secret Pal! Who is GREAT! :-) Look what was in it! She had given me instructions in a card as I had to open them in a particular order, I will explain a little further down!

Here's a cute cat magnet (now on my fridge door) and a cool frog bookmark and At Knit's End from my Amazon wishlist! The blurb on the back is so funny.
Do you ever...
  • experience palpitations when passing a yarn shop (well yes, especially as it's so rare to actually find a decent one over here!)
  • sneak new yarn purchases into the house (er, yes. In fact I've had to get the postman sworn to secrecy too!)
  • utter the words "just one more row"? (hang on. Doesn't everyone?)
  • plan your vacation around yarn store locations? (Erm. Read my post about the Lake District back in June...)
  • secretly scope out new spots to store your stash (well yes, but there aren't any!)
if you answered "yes" to one or more of these, you are at risk of becoming an obsessive knitter! (well, that's only me and a few other people then.)

Then there are chocolates (have stored these in my tummy for safe-keeping) and a chicks with sticks notepad - so cool! :-) Wonder if you can get things like that over here?

And then onto the yarn! My SP had arranged these parcels in order as an "educational" package. You see, on the SP6 questionnaire I'd put that I wasn't sure what Lion Brand and Red Heart are, but was assuming they're cheap and acrylicky.

So package #1 was a ball of Red Heart in multicolours! My SP says she understands if I throw it away but I'm sure it could be used for hats or something (after all, not everyone can wear real wool on their heads). She said she gets it at Wal-Mart - can you imagine buying yarn at a supermarket... I quite like the idea of tripping off to Waitrose and picking up some wool at the same time! Then package #2 was some Lion Brand sock yarn called Magic Stripes. As my SP said, she can't really see what the issue is with Lion Brand, and neither can I. This looks very similar (same composition too) to Regia or Opal sock yarn. Nice colours too. My verdict on US cheap acrylicky stuff - it's much better than the cheap acrylicky stuff available over here! Oh, and Lion Brand is now stocked in the UK - here.

And then onto the "real" yarn in package #3!

Isn't this gorgeous? It's handpainted laceweight yarn from Schaeffer Yarns, in beautiful colours! My SP said I could use this to make socks, if I wanted, but then, in package #4 were two lace patterns, so I can have my first go at lace! She says there is enough yarn here for one of the patterns, so I'm going to have a Big Think and decide which to make. The patterns are: the Reversible Lace Cables Scarf and the Pillared Archways Scarf. And I like both! I suppose I could make one with the Schaeffer yarn, and then look out for some more laceweight at Harrogate if I decide I like knitting lace. At the moment I just want to get going with this delectable yarn, but CHRISTMAS PRESENTS MUST COME FIRST. Somebody please remind me I said that!


Oh, and I know various people have tagged me with various memes, and I promise I'll do something about them soon!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Random midweek post

According to the Guardian 1/3 of us choose a book cos we think it'll make us look good!
(what happens when you get questioned on its contents then?)

This link also came up on the Socknitters Yahoo group - a good way of finding out all the negative feedback from an ebay seller instead of having to trawl through all the feedback pages!

And this link is a song about Google! ;-) It's hilarious!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Birthday photos

Warning: this is a very materialistic post! Due to the problems with taking photos during the week as I'm out at work all the time and the amount of stuff I need to take photos of at the moment, I'm going to have a photo-crazy weekend and then use that material for the next few posts. So you won't get bombarded with all the pics at once!
Thank you to everyone who left comments and emailed with birthday wishes, I think I managed to reply to everyone whose email address I had but apologies if I didn't. It's a little crazy here in the evenings as I don't have email access at work so have to do all my work emailing in the evening as well as my knitting emailing (and my knitting!)

So, on to presents. The pics this time have come out rather blue. You wouldn't have thought I once had a job taking digital photographs would you?!

This is yarn. For those who didn't realise. From the left we have hand-dyed handspun chunky in a pinky/apricoty shade from Trefiw Woollen Mills. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I heard a rumour that this is the last mill-left-in-UK that still does the whole process. Surely that can't be right? Very scary if it's true. In the middle we have Opal sock yarn in the Rodeo pattern in blue from Mary Anne (thank you!). On the right we have 3 balls of Stylecraft Eskimo in a bluey/purple colour. All very very tasty and very very tempting, but I'm knitting Christmas presents at the moment. So if you see any photos of me knitting something with one of these please tell me off!

This is chocolate. Again for those that didn't realise. And a cat tray (there are two more but couldn't get them all in the pic).

This is Lambert, my sheepy from James (he's the one in the middle, Lambert that is, not James). To the left is a book of handmade paper - very cool. Not sure what I'm going to put in it yet, but it's very strokable. On the right is a book (really?!?!) A History of God by Karen Armstrong (who I heard talk at Greenbelt). I've been meaning to read this for a while.

And as a little break from materialism, here is a pretty picture I took at work on Friday, when I went for a wander at lunch time.

And after that, we return to materialism. On the left are some stitch markers from my Secret Pal. You may not be able to make them out, but four have little sock pictures on, and the fifth says "Daisychains". Isn't that cool?! On the right are some funky buttons from Penny. Not sure where I'll use them yet but they are exceptionally groovy!

That is it for materialism for today. There will be more later in the week as I also have a whole box of goodies from my Secret Pal to show off! PVP is blocked (again) but the weather has been too dull for a photo. The charity baby jumper is complete and will be despatched to Feed the Children on Wednesday. Work on the needles has now become complicated as it's all Christmas presents:
  • Misty Garden from Scarf Style in Jaeger Mohair Art for Mum. This can only be knitted just before I go to bed as Mum has an interesting tendency to burst into the flat without warning. (What happened to landladies having to give 24 hours notice?!).
  • Broadripple Socks from Knitty for my SIL in Regia cotton surf 4ply. These can be knitted at any time, except next weekend when the family is coming over.
  • Jumper in Regia 6 ply in colourway "Bonbon" for the nephew-sprog. Similarly this can be knitted at any time except next weekend.
  • It looks like I need another project for next weekend, doesn't it?! Chamonix jumper, Simply Knitting mini-skirt, woolly hat, more fingerless gloves, little hats for Age Concern...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Happy Birthday

to meeeeeeeeeeeee, happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, happy birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee---eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, happy birthday to me!
In case you haven't guessed, it was my birthday yesterday! I have lots of goodies (and, I understand, some more on the way!) but I'm afraid there are no pictures at the moment. I'm back at work so am never at home in daylight on weekdays now. The light inside is so orange everything came out looking weird. Anyway, my vast haul included piles of CHOCOLATE, piles of YARN, a subscription to Simply Knitting (thank you Sooty!), a new suitcase, a sheep (not real, I hasten to add), more crafty stuff (cards, stitch markers) and a book!

I am also pleased to report that I've survived the first 24 hours of being 26 and actually it seems to be pretty much the same as being 25... And there I was thinking I'd be able to knit faster as I got older!

On the subject of knitting, no photos of this either I'm afraid, but PVP is finished! I found the ribbon (where I'd put it, in the same bag as the knitting!) and attached it to the front and it looks FAB. The silly baby jumper just needs its sleeves sewing on, then it'll be done too. I'm afraid that I have already started something new, and cast on one of the scarf patterns from Scarf Style. But this is using stash yarn - impressive or what?!

Thank you to the people who left Happy Birthday messages! :-) I will try and post some pics at the weekend!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Some FOs

Not as many as originally intended, but I have decided that finishing off UFOs and WIPs is boring! Pictures are the two projects I enjoyed knitting, my Artyarns socks and the Clapotis.
Here is sock no. 2 with the tube part finished. Knitted from the toe (on the left!) upwards to the castoff (on the right!). You should just be able to see the 32 stitches of waste yarn on 2/3rds of a row where the heel will be inserted:

Then I went back and inserted the DPNs on either side of the waste yarn:

The waste yarn is then removed, and all you have to do is knit round and round on the DPNs for the heel, decreasing as you go. See. Easy! ;-)

Yes, I know this finished shot is dreadful, but I read on someone else's blog (can't remember whose now) about taking photos of socks with your feet in the air, so thought I'd give it a try. Would probably have worked better a bit earlier on when the light was better. Or I could just get Mum to take a photo of me wearing them! The garter stitch castoff cuff is a little loose on both of them. I don't think it will matter, although I have thought about redoing that part with ribbing. But I like the texture of the garter stitch there...

Below is Clapotis, after blocking. I love my Clapotis - very good for wrapping round sore throats to make them better (it is now, thank you, although I'm still a little lacking in umph and didn't make it to Knit Lincs yesterday.).

Meanwhile, Pretty in Variegated Purple (PVP) is STILL waiting for me to sew the ribbon on the front. Yes, I bought the ribbon a fortnight ago and it requires a TEENSY TINY amount of sewing to attach it. But I haven't got round to it yet.
Similarly with the Feed the Children baby jumper. I finished the 2nd sleeve yesterday and am now doing the collar so it's on the verge of being finished. But I LOATHE 1 x 1 ribbing, which is why it's stalled...


So, you see, instead of getting on with PVP/the jumper I have been lounging around reading Scarf Style and flicking through my new copy of Rowan 38. Ooooh yes, I've just won a year's membership of Rowan International! :-) It was one of the competitions in Simply Knitting a while ago, and the second one I'd won so it's well worth entering!

This morning I went to renew my Young Person's Railcard for the last time. You can renew it any day up to your 26th birthday, and the man very kindly gave me on extra day (as my birthday isn't until Tuesday but I won't be able to get to the station to renew it tomorrow). This is very SCARY though. My last ever YP railcard. Old age is just around the corner. GULP. And full price train tickets. GULP. Oh well. In 34 years I'll be able to have a Senior Railcard...

I have been very jealously reading everyone else's posts about Ally Pally, although I'm kind of relieved I didn't go, as I'd never have been well enough to enjoy it this week. Roll on Harrogate! In the meantime, enjoy the pics and descriptions on the following blogs:
Thank you to blueadt for advice about getting the cat to catch the mouse! Unfortunately it didn't work as he just made even more noise than normal. In the end we caught the mouse with a humane trap and let it go in the field behind the house (where we think it originally came from, before it was frightened indoors by the grass being cut!).

To raise funds for Harrogate (yummy yummy yarn) I've just listed some more stuff on ebay. Please go and take a look (and bid large amounts of money!).

Right, now, should I go and sew the ribbons on PVP or should I start something new. Hmm...

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Non-knitting post

This is a non-knitting post, but please don't run away! I thought I'd better fulfil what I put in my blog subtitle (ie, include some history and books!) quick as it's been very knitting-heavy lately. Not that that's a problem really as knitting is LOVELY, but let's have something else. This week has been named the "Week of WIPs" and by the weekend I aim to have finished all my WIPs off! So at the moment they're all in progress so there will be a knitting post by the weekend.

In the meantime look at some cross stitch:

This is Hadrian's Wall from Heritage Stitchcraft which I made last year whilst recovering from depression. It's very good for that as it's relatively quick/easy to complete each little picture that makes up the whole, giving a good sense of achievement at regular intervals! Hadrian's Wall is one of my favourite places, one that featured largely in my A Levels and first degree and which one day I plan to walk along. I like the idea of walking between two coasts and the Coast to Coast path is a little long for a first proper long-distance path walk. I've done 60 mile walks before, but nothing longer. Hadrian's Wall is 84 miles which seems do-able. Being a wimp I wouldn't do it camping again as I hate lugging enormous rucksacks up hills, but I quite fancy B & Bing or youth hostelling.

What made me think of all this was a programme I saw on BBC2 on Sunday night - about the history of the Ordnance Survey. Does anybody else find maps absolutely fascinating? I love the way you can see the contours of the land on a map and the amount of work that went into the original surveying is incredible. You can also join in a competition to find the most boring grid square on a map.

And now onto books. Except there haven't been many recently as I've been too busy working! I have read, enjoyed and lent to Hazel, Zen and the art of knitting, which I highly recommend! Hazel's written a lot more about it on her blog and I don't think I could have put it better (and also can't talk about it here as this is a non-knitting post!). I finished Malorie Blackman's Knife Edge, which I didn't think was a as good as the first in the trilogy. Not quite as nail-biting and I didn't get into the characters as much. I'm awaiting the last part from the libray. At the moment I'm reading Hugh Massingberd's Daydream Believer, which was recommended to me by someone at one of last month's conferences. Quite entertaining but I'm not far enough into it to really comment yet!

Thanks to everyone who asked about the Dr yesterday! I can report that I do indeed have tonsillitis and was told to take paracetamol (!) and also some antibiotics! The waiting room was stuffed full of people, the receptionist was too busy talking to someone to even notice me arrive and I wasn't offered a cup of tea - therefore proving that Doctors is nothing like real life!

Now if I'm going to get these WIPs done by the weekend I'd better go and get on with them...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Clapotis takes a bath

And that's a "bath", OK, not a "barth", I no longer live down south! Don't worry I did suggest that she washed behind her ears, dried between her toes etc. Here she is:

I finished her off whilst watching Neighbours and Doctors at lunchtime. Not that I was watching daytime tv obviously, but it's always good to have something in the background whilst knitting. Anyway, Doctors had the most improbable storyline yet (even by their usual standard), involving the receptionist taking the upset person off to the staff room to have a nice cup of tea and a chat. When have you ever seen a doctor's receptionist who's not rushed off his/her feet? Of course there was no one else in the waiting room, but then there never is, unlike when you go to the real GP. I have an appointment with a real GP tomorrow (I can predict he'll say "You have tonsillitis, go home and take paracetamol!") so I will compare real life with fiction. Already I failed to get an appointment within the 48 hour thingy... I know, I know, I could just stay at home and take paracetamol, but I need a Dr's certificate for work!

Here is Clapotis reclining in the conservatory on my spare bed (mattress). She's a bit wonky, but I decided I wasn't too worried as it won't be noticeable once she's in action. Look at all those lovely dropped stitches.

Mum is due back from Moscow tonight. I hope she had a good hol. I've been running around clearing up the debris that is me when I've expanded into two homes. Sooty is being an absolute pain. He spent all yesterday whinging about his leg and dragging his bum across the floor as though he had no umph left. Then, late afternoon, he went brawling with another cat, and from the look of him fighting, it was hard to tell he has a leg missing, let alone that he's ancient and arthritic! I suspect he's missing Mum.

This plopped (nice word) through the letterbox this morning. The special issue from Interweave Press, called "Knitscene". I ordered it a while ago whilst browsing on their website and it's just been published. Haven't had a proper look yet, but it seems interesting. I'll sit down with a cup of tea and some ice cream (sore throat medicine) in a minute and look properly. I'd already noticed that one of the patterns was featured on You Knit What?? yesterday!

So, what does the future hold in knitting terms? This is what I still have on the needles:
  • Artyarns second sock (yummy scrummy).
  • Final sleeve of charity baby jumper (how long has this been hanging around now?!)
  • Nearly finished swatch for Simply Knitting skirt which I'm still not sure I want to make. Like the swatch though. The next issue of Simply Knitting is due out on Thursday so I might wait and see if anything really grabs me in that. Or in Knitscene once I get sat down with my ice cream.
This is what I want/ need to get started:
  • Chamonix jumper (for me, so probably shouldn't be a priority).
  • Socks for Christmas for family.
  • Scarf of some description (from Scarf Style?) for Christmas present.
  • Hot water bottle cover for Christmas present.
  • Cute little woolly hat bottle tops for Age Concern.
  • Woolly hat and more fingerless gloves and armwarmers for me (a priority because my attic is FREEZING and it's only October! I need more than one pair cos they get covered in book dust but at least the sock yarn I'm using is machine washable.
I suppose at least if I start a scarf I can join in the Scarf Style KAL too... Should also be suitable for train knitting later this week (assuming the paracetamol/ice cream treatment does the trick). However the socks could do with being started too as there are more of them.

Ooh yes, my SP sent me a cool link yesterday for a Christmas washcloth pattern. Now I've found dishcloth cotton I can make it!

Right. Ice cream here I come!

Monday, October 10, 2005


I've been making good use of my time whilst lounging around at home with tonsillitis. I've been looking at Mary Lou's blog and this led me to :

I highly recommend going to have a look as it'll cheer up anyone's day..... Although some of the patterns will just make you cringe! :-)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Toe up socks!

I've finished my first toe up sock with the Artyarns Supermerino from my Secret Pal. It looks ace. This is how far I'd got yesterday afternoon:

It started with a Square Garter Stitch Toe, then you have to pick up stitches round the edge of this so you end up knitting in the round up the foot. Then do some increases for the foot. I had to frog and start again here as my feet are v. narrow and shallow so had to make the square smaller and hardly do any increases! Above you should just be able to see a line of waste yarn (navy blue and thinner), this is knitted on 2/3rds of the stitches of the round and will be where the heel goes. Then you carry on knitting as far up the ankle as you feel like/have yarn for and cast off.

Below is the finished sock:

I went back and inserted the heel (Lucy Neatby calls is a "Turkish Heel" but I've also heard it called an "Afterthought Heel"). This construction made for a very satisfying quick knit (especially as the yarn is quite thick so I used 3mm needles). The good thing about the heel is that, as it wears, you can replace just the heel with fresh yarn! (not sure I'd have the nerve for that, but it's a nice idea). To avoid Second Sock Syndrome I've already started the next one. ;-)
Don't the colours look great knitted up?!

Hazel has very kindly sent me some yarn from Texere to try out. She's been using it for her capelet, but I had it in mind for the skirt in last month's Simply Knitting. I like the yarn (and it's recycled, which makes it even better!) but I shouldn't really start another WIP for me at the moment. Will post a piccy of the swatch once I've finished it. Also not sure if I want a knitted skirt, but I liked the style of it - it's taken from Di Gilpin's book "Shorelines". Cost of yarn from Texere to make it: approx £20. Cost of using "real" yarn (Rowan Scottish Tweed): approx £70. Hmm. Wonder which I should go for?!

The charity baby jumper still hasn't been looked at. And I'm also very tempted to make some little hats for bottles for Innocent Drinks. Clapotis is steaming along. Here she is at the end of Section 3, so we're nearly there now! Notice Sooty's total lack of interest in knitting! Also the vacuum cleaner hovering in the background. My flat doesn't have any cupboards so I've yet to find somewhere to stuff it, at the moment it's a "feature" in my living room. At least that reminds me to use it occasionally.

I seem to have tonsillitis, which isn't much fun. Sooty is proving to be **** at providing TLC, this morning I got sworn at for being late with his breakfast. However, I haven't felt like going out, which means LOADS of knitting time! :-) Almost worth having a v. sore throat...

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Happy Birthday Sooty!

for last week. Oops. We did just remember in time last week that it was Sooty's 18th birthday, but then I forgot to blog about it. Luckily he doesn't read my blog so he won't know... This is the birthday boy looking very handsome, if rather sleepy:

He's definitely feeling his age these days and his one back leg is having trouble taking the strain. It's very arthritic and we took him to the vets 10 days ago (terrified that he'd have to be put down) but instead got some anti-inflammatories for him. They seem to be doing the trick at the moment, although he still drags that leg quite a lot. Part of the problem is that he always lays it on thick if he thinks someone is watching (particularly visitors) so that he gets LOADS of sympathy. He's done this all his life. People would say "oh poor little pussy cat, only got 3 legs, aaahh" and tickle his tummy/pat his head/cuddle him. Then, when they're not looking, off he would gallop up a tree, across the roof, catching birds etc. He loves talking to people at the top of his voice, even on the phone too!

This picture, which I think is extremely cool, was sent to me today by James (whom I met at the conference in Cambridge last month). He's being amazingly tolerant even though I've been bombarding him with photos of knitting and doesn't appear to think I'm totally nutty (little does he know!).

Northanger Abbey has now finished, but a dramatization of The Professor by Charlotte Bronte is still on during Woman's Hour in the morning and repeated in the evening. I remember really enjoying this when I read it about 10 years ago.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Halfway Clapotis

Thought I'd provide a progress report, now that Blogger is allowing pics once again. My mittens are finished (at Knit Lincs yesterday):

Ready to wear at work tomorrow! This is from the Southern Cross Knitting website, here. I used up some more of my Opal handpainted 4ply (as used for the Crusoe socks earlier), the ribbing was on 2mm DPNs, and the rest of it on 2.5mm. Very scary for train knitting as you can be carrying 10 DPNs round with you!

After last week's splurge of train knitting Clapotis is now halfway:

This is fun! I suspect it would be a little repetitive if it was the only thing on the needles, but it's not, so it isn't (when does Clapotis fatigue kick in?). It also seems to be obligatory to include a close-up of the dropped stitch bits (from looking at other blogs), so here it is:

I'm afraid that I've been a little bit bad too. I was supposed to be starting Christmas presents etc, and a scarf for the Scarf Style Knitalong, but the Artyarns Supermerino from my lovely Secret Pal was just, too, well, lovely. So I wound it into a ball and started playing. I'm having a go at Lucy Neatby's toe up socks from the Cool socks, warm feet book.

Knit Lincs yesterday was ace, we had a new person - Jill, who could knit VERY fast. Wish I could knit that fast... Afterwards Jill and I walked over to Boyes to find some ribbon for Pretty in Variegated Purple. Boyes is amazing, the ribbon was only 30p a metre (compare John Lewis were you have to fork out for a whole reel). Jill also showed me the fabric section tucked away at the back. Tasty. Tasty. I acquired another row counter as well as the ribbon. I then wandered off to find a shop called "Oh Sew Simple" (no website) which had advertised in the last Simply Knitting. It was nice, but small and only stocked Sirdar and Wendy type stuff. I got some 2.75mm DPNs and a ball of dishcloth cotton (everyone overseas seems to knit dishclothes, yet I couldn't find any soft cotton over here. Everything seemed to be mercerised. Anyway, I've found it now. Dishclothes, here I come, after I've done the socks, Scarf Style, Christmas presents, Chamonix jumper etc).

Still haven't attached the ribbon to PVP but it will get done this week. Mum is about to go on holiday (first time since Dad died, so it's going to be weird) so there will be no one to take my piccy wearing it for another week or so. You will just have to be patient.

The Radio 4 Northanger Abbey dramatization finished this afternoon, whilst I got the ironing done (look at my halo!). I've really enjoyed this, and have actually remembered to listen to all of the episodes. But WHAT is going on in the Archers at the moment?

Also, Mary Anne spotted that the sheep from my Secret Pal is no ordinary sheep. I thought it was just a cute sheep, but it actually turns out to be a cute sheep that's really a tape measure! You pull its tail and away you go to measure your clapotis!

I've cleared out a few books and put them on Green Metropolis. Go and have a look, they've got loads of stuff there!