Wednesday, May 31, 2006

No football here

This blog has been declared a World Cup free zone. (Thank you to Alex for the button).

Monday, May 29, 2006

A close encounter of the nephew kind

Mum and I went to meet Dylan today. He is SO cute. This is Mum and Dylan (his jumper was made by my SIL and is the one on the front cover of Debbie Bliss' Special Knits):

I had a cuddle with Dylan too, and also played with Noah quite a bit:
(Noah's hoodie was also made by my SIL and is another Debbie Bliss pattern)

My brother, SIL, Noah and Dylan.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Loads of news

I now have another nephew! Dylan Jonathan was born yesterday (Saturday) at 5.40am weighing 8lb 14 (ouch). I haven't met him yet as they were all a bit tired yesterday (can't think why) but Mum and I are going over tomorrow, as it's bank holiday Monday. This delay meant I had time over the weekend to get the little hat and one sock done.Hopefully I can finish the other sock off tonight. Isn't the little sock cute? Although I'm sick of Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn...

I've been reading blogs written by librarians, these are the best so far (well, apart from my blog obviously! ;-) ):
Well dressed librarian

and read two books this week (both from the library).

London Born by Sidney Day is an account of a boy growing up in London around the time of the First World War. Sidney himself can't read or write so the book is by his grand-daughter. Sid spends most of the time bunking off school, getting involved in petty crime, avoiding fighting during the Second World War so he can be there for his wife and daughter. He seems to hop between informal jobs and the descriptions of poverty during the inter-war years are very thought-provoking.

Freakonomics is an off-beat book about economics. Although that sounds a bit scary, it's very readable (and thought-provoking, but in a different way to London Born!). It really changes the way you think, and the way you look at statistics (which is more dangerous - a gun or a swimming pool? What was the impact of US abortion law on violent crime? etc etc). I'd highly recommend it, if only because it'll make you stop and think about things (anything) you've taken for granted.

My One Skein SP has sent me my first skein early! It arrived yesterday morning (in time for me to take it to Knit Lincs). It's 100g of 100% wool from the Knitting Goddess (an Ebay store) in gorgeous colours. Plus a handmade card and some cool glow-in-the-dark stickers. Thank you SP!

On Friday I paid the deposit on my house and we've set a completion date of 16th June! It's only four weeks now since I first saw it, so things are moving really fast. I also had a rep from a removal company round to assess my stuff and give me a quote. He didn't seem at all intimidated by the bombsite in my flat - supposedly I have 22 boxes worth of books and the yarn didn't scare him at all! The move itself is going to be in early July so plenty of time yet...

This is the scene of devastation in my living room at the moment. I think part of the problem is that it doubles as a study and dining room and general living space. In the new house there are separate rooms for all of this which might make me more organised and tidier (!). All the carrier bags on the floor have WIPs in and yes, that really is Monkey lying drunkenly on the arm of the sofa. That's what happens when you eat too many bananas. You have been warned...

Claire - I haven't forgotten you tagged me and I will divulge the contents of my knitting bags sometime soon!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

In which I discover why Monkey doesn't get tonsillitis

Whilst trying to take a photo of Monkey's tonsils I discovered why he hasn't yet had tonsillitis. He doesn't HAVE any tonsils. AHA. That explains a lot.

Yes, you've guessed it, this week I managed to have tonsillitis for the THIRD TIME in 5 weeks! I reckon I must be up for a world record at this rate. I have an appointment with the ENT consultant on 15th June, and I checked on the hospital website - the waiting list is 84 days (which I didn't think was too bad) so I too might be tonsil-less like Monkey by October! This time hasn't been too bad, as I refused antibiotics (couldn't see the point) so consequently felt better a lot sooner (?!?!). Obviously echinacea is the way forward...

In case you're wondering why Monkey is now sporting a flower round his neck. I bought some clothes in London last week. I was very tempted to join the Wardrobe Refashion blog, but had a slight problem :
I've grown. I doubt many women have recently rung some friends in great glee to shout "My bum's got bigger"! But mine has (finally, been trying to grow it for years). I went through my wardrobe last week in preparation for moving and discovered that I can no longer get into most of my clothes. So about a third of my wardrobe is en route to the charity shop and another third has gone for recycling/rag rug making. This isn't a problem as I generally wear jeans for work, but occasionally (like last week) I have to go to meetings and look smart and presentable. I've bought some casual organic cotton stuff from People Tree and Howies, but could I find anything smart?!?! Shops in Lincoln are crap, they only seem to stock size 14 (why? Does everything else sell out straight away, or do they only order that size in?!) So I trotted off to M & S Per Una at Fenchurch St and acquired some linen trousers and a jacket. The trousers came with a bizarre corsage thing attached, which I had no intention of wearing, but which Monkey demanded to put on. So I let him. Now he won't take it off.

The new nephew/niece sprog is much delayed, which has given me a chance to finish off the cardigan:

I hope Monkey will consent to take that off. Now I'm frantically knitting the hat to go with the cardi as this baby surely can't be too much longer putting in an appearance (it was due on 18th). There are also the matching socks, but they're tiny so shouldn't take too long.

Anybody else seen the latest Simply Knitting? I like this empire-line cardi/top thing, even though the blurb at the beginning seems to imply that you have to be pregnant to wear it. (No, Monkey, I am not making it for you to wear). The pattern is for Jaeger Aqua, but I thought it would look nice in Jaeger Trinity. We saw both last Saturday at Yarn and I loved the Trinity yarn, plus the yardage is excellent.

Tomorrow I have to go to the solicitor to sign the house contract and pay my deposit. Very scary & I'm trying not to think how much yarn I could be buying with that instead...

In which (some of) the Knit Lincs gang go on a visit to YARN!

Funny how much easier it is to get up in the morning when you're going on an outing to a yarn shop instead of to work... Four of us caught the 9.20 train from Lincoln (look, I know that's not that early, but this is me on a Saturday morning, OK?!). Central trains had even provided two carriages instead of the usual one sardine tin, although the two carriages were still a bit grebby.

After changing trains in Nottingham, we had exactly six minutes on a glamourous, sleek, comfy Midland Mainline train to Beeston. Then we trotted along to Yarn, and spent a few minutes just staring through the windows at all the goodies inside.

Inside Joy and Cay soon got stuck into the pattern books, as the lovely Alison and Sarah who run the shop produced tea, coffee and yummy shortbread biscuits for us.

Meanwhile I wandered round in a daze, mesmerized by all the yarn...

It was SO cool, loads of yarn to take in (even more than when I was last there), patterns to look at (this is the only LYS I've been to that has chairs so you can go through the patterns in comfort) and some made-up garments (some of which we tried on!). The yarn I saw was: Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Louisa Harding, GGH, Opal, Patons, Noro, Lana Grossa, Twilleys and some handspun/dyed gorgeous skeins from Miss Bell. Even going to the loo was fun, as you get to walk through the stock room (I managed to resist the urge to throw myself onto the piles of yarn in there!)

Soon (well, after about an hour of drooling) we were running around working out which patterns & yarn to buy (fitting the whole shop onto the train on the way back wasn't really an option):

and made our purchases. I think maybe our fourth person was a little overwhelmed, as she wasn't a knitter...

Look at those grins!
Then we went just down the road to the Flying Goose, an organic veggie cafe, for a very tasty lunch.

And this is what I bought:

A ball of Opal Uni sock yarn to make the Devan cardigan pattern for my nephew. And seven skeins of Noro Blossom (Colourway 13) to make the Eloise cardigan for me from Noro Knits.
I also got a pair of bamboo needles, an Opal sock yarn bag & scarf pattern, some more yarn bobbins and a little badge.

Friday, May 19, 2006

In which I delude myself about the yardage in a ball of Magic Stripes

In my last post any sensible knitters would have noticed that there really wasn't a lot of yarn left for the baby cardi. I kept being very optimistic (in an ostrich-like way) and thinking I wouldn't run out, but of course I did (the pattern is for Opal, and I was using Magic Stripes, which has about 100m less per ball). Thankfully Julie at Banyan Tree yarns came to the rescue. She had Magic Stripes in the same colourway in stock and sent me another ball very quickly (she also charges actual cost of postage, so you don't end up having to pay an expensive flat rate just for one ball). Very impressive service, although the yarn arrived in see-through packaging - very dangerous when there are postmen, Mums and Monkeys hovering around.

No pics of the cardi yet I'm afraid, I'm just back from a few days in London & Chelmsford. The meetings yesterday went very well (phew) and I have some ideas for how to improve things for next year (which is a 3 day event, this year's was only a day! Aaaarrrrgggghhhhhhhh!!). I took my Magic Loop Trekking XXL second sock to do on the train. On the train between Chelmsford and London yesterday I sat with two of the men who'd been at the meeting. I got my knitting out once we'd sat down. They both spent the journey very obviously trying to avoid looking at it, which I thought was hilarious! Maybe they couldn't cope with me talking to them and knitting AT THE SAME TIME!!

J loved the catnip mouse. I have one very bad pic (forgot to put the flash on), but I think you get the idea:

Also, I found this blog, Katy Did Knits, this week. Not only does she have some beautiful knitting (and other crafts) on display, but also provides an Excel spreadsheet to organise your yarn stash on (and therefore give yourself a heart attack). If you scroll down the sidebar of her blog quite a bit, it's there under "My patterns and stuff".

Bedtime now I think. We're off to Yarn in the morning! Tee hee hee...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Psychedelic mouse

This is progress on the baby cardigan:

In the above photo is looks liks a first attempt at knitting, the sort where the increases and decreases are accidental rather than deliberate...
Folded, below, you can see more of how it's meant to be. I love the way the stripes vary a bit depending on the width of the knitting. The yarn is Lion Brand Magic Stripes. The pattern is written for Opal 4ply, which I think has better yardage than Magic Stripes, so there probably won't be enough to make the little hat and socks too. But I have plenty of oddments suitable for those!

Anne very kindly sent me some of her leftover balls of Kool Kotton so I can have a play in preparation for the throw in May's Simply Knitting. If I decide to make the throw I don't want to start until after I've moved and seen how the furniture etc works in the new house, but this will give me a chance to see how Kool Kotton compares to the yarn used in the pattern.
Thank you Anne!

The very brightly coloured mouse is stuffed with catnip and is intended for David's cat Jennie, whom I'll see later this week. Jennie is blind and sometimes loses her toys under his furniture so I thought making a pschedelic mouse would help him find it for her again.
Unfortunately Sooty got a whiff of catnip whilst I was busy stuffing but hasn't managed to get his paws on the mouse (yet).

In terms of books, this week I've read:
The Dream of Rome by Boris Johnson. I think Boris is a prat, he is very very annoying on Have I Got News for You etc, but I wanted to read the book because I love Roman History and the TV series was quite interesting. The bits when he insists on comparing the Roman Empire with the EU are just plain clunky, but the bits about Rome itself are good. He has a very readable style, so it doesn't at all read like a dry history text (read the Amazon reviews, some are also quite entertaining!). Oh, good grief, someone has even done a BorisWatch website, how scary when you start Googling for links to a book...

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (and bought from Greenmetropolis too!) - very useful list of ways to not only recycle things, but also how to reduce consumption in the first place. I also like the little cartoons!

I also finished Knitting Rules by the Yarn Harlot. I LOVE this book. Not only is it full of useful things to know for the beginning and not-so-beginnerish, but it's very funny! It's good for dipping into, and the basic pattern "recipes" are very helpful.

I'm not sure how much there will be in the way of posts and knitting this week. I have two days in Norfolk, two days in London and one day in Chelmsford (unfortunately not in that order, but more like behaving like a yoyo). Fortunately though London and Chelmsford will be done by train, which bodes a little better for knitting!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Great Northern Needlefest

Today Mum disappeared off to Harrogate to the Great Northern Needlefest, on a bus stuffed full of other ladies. I didn't get to go as she and my godmother booked ages ago, and I was meant to be at work today. Except I'm off with tonsillitis (which is very nearly better) and spent the day trying to get Jobcentre Plus to process my benefit claim and tracking NI contributions through all my previous jobs (fun. Not. This aspect is the downside of self-employment, most of the time it's lovely. Must remember that). And trying to find a B & B for next week after the one I booked cancelled.

Then in the afternoon the most unearthly caterwauling was heard, I shot outside to see what was going on and discovered that Sooty had somehow managed to corner another cat in the corner of the garage (underneath piles of junk). I have no idea how he managed this as the other cat looked considerably younger and fitter than him, and was also blessed with its full complement of legs. Getting them out involved shifting half the junk so I could pick Sooty up (I wouldn't pick most cats up whilst they're spoiling for a fight, but Sooty is a soppy whatsit & probably secretly quite glad to be rescued). The other cat scarpered, Sooty looked very annoyed and insisted on going outside in the thunderstorm to try and track it down. Then he looked surprised that he was absolutely soaked through. I gave him a lecture on how he should behave like the pensioner he is these days, but I doubt any of it went in.

Meanwhile, back in Harrogate, Mum reported that there were a few knitting stalls (grrrr) but it was mainly quilting and cross stitch. She brought back leaflets for these places, which I think look quite good:
Bags of Handles -
- they have every conceivable type of handle you could ever need, plus some beads and examples of bags made up with their handles.
Sew Good Books

Must remember am on a yarn diet until the move is underway. Except we're going on a Knit Linc trip to Yarn next week. Oops.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


No, not me, the yarn. This bout of tonsillitis doesn't seem as bad as the previous episode (or maybe it's the Evil Antibiotics I've got this time). Anyway, I thought it would be fun to fill the time by doing some dyeing.
I used the instructions from the Knitty article about Koolaid dyeing. There are also instructions (and nice pics!) in the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook.

First take a ball of slightly boring undyed (or you could overdye something?) yarn. This is 100% wool which I got for a £1 a ball on Ebay a while ago. I have no idea if it's from a sheep or something else (but I do know it's an animal!).

Then turn it into a loosely-tied skein and select which colour Koolaid you're going to use. I chose Fruit Punch as I wanted to see how red it would turn out.

Give the skein a bath. And make sure it washes behind its ears. I used a squirt of Clear Spring Laundry Liquid which I use for all my washing. Leave soaking whilst you...

Dissolve the Koolaid in a pan (for the hob method) with a little water.

Add the clean and sparkly skein to the saucepan and just enough water to cover the wool.

Heat until nearly boiling point, then leave for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When it's ready the yarn will have absorbed the colour so the water will be clear (I couldn't believe this bit, but it's true!). Then rinse the yarn.

Hang on washing line to dry.

Next morning decide to overdye it with a contrasting colour to see what happens. Mix up a Koolaid sachet in a bit of water (this one's "Grape"). Do the whole yarn/skein washing thing again. Lay the yarn out on a plastic bag (the one's from Loop are good for this!) and splodge some of the new colour wherever you want it on the yarn. The instructions mention using a turkey baster, but I just sort of poured it and then squidged the colour in (with my hand covered in another plastic bag).

Put in glass bowl and microwave on full power for 2 minutes. Do not do the washing up cos that's boring. Leave yarn to stand for a bit then microwave for another 2 minutes. Leave to cool down and rinse it (don't shock with cold water!)

Hang back outside on the washing line.

When it's dry wind into a ball using groovy ball winder and admire the colours!

See? Easy peasy! It's a lot of fun, although you do get a rather fruit smelling kitchen afterwards. I know Koolaid is "food" so it's OK to use utensils that you cook with, but I decided to use an old saucepan, and the wooden spoon has a big crack in it so I've stopped using it for food preparation.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Finally the blossom is out in the garden - only a bit late this year! These are all apple trees.

Anthea reported back on the new Lincolnshire LYS situation. The shop in Horncastle is called "Libertine" and has a fairly basic website. The shop itself stocks Noro and Debbie Bliss (I think the first Lincolnshire stockist of these two?) plus some other yarns and vintage things. It sounds very inviting, and Horncastle is a good place to spend a day wandering around exploring. Nic is hopefully going on a further reconnaissance mission later this week...

Anthea also found a shop called "Pastimes" in Brigg, selling lots of cheap yarn, including some lovely Twilley's Freedom Wool at £2.80 a ball.

Meanwhile, I've been pricing up subs, as I like the leaf throw in the latest (May) Simply Knitting (thinking of furnishing the new house!). It needs 36 balls of Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which even with 10% off at Angel Yarns comes to £118.44. OUCH.
But All Seasons knits up as DK weight and is 60% cotton/40% acrylic, so I'm thinking it should be fairly easy to sub. Texere has Kool Kotton, which is DK and 50% acrylic/50% cotton and has some nice colours too. It would also cost £28.75 for enough (25 balls) for the throw. Hmm. That'll be a difficult decision then... I also saw Kool Kotton for real in Boyes in Lincoln and the colours really are nice. However, I find the idea of knitting up 25/36 balls a bit frightening. There is a possibility the throw wouldn't be finished until three house moves further down the line.
However, a yarn diet has now been declared until I move. I don't want to move more than I really have to.

The wrist is better so I have started tentatively knitting again. But only for short periods of time and on a variety of projects (I realised last week that I didn't watch any TV, evidently TV is only something to be used as a background for knitting!)

My "jellybean" cushion (name invented by Yarnstorm, but the pattern is from Debbie Bliss' Home) has begun. Very slowly. Never done the whole different colours on one row thing before. It's a lot easier with proper bobbins to wind the yarn round, as I started out with chunks of loo roll middle with slots cut in the side! The yarn is the Drops alpaca, which Katarina sent me and I'm using 3mm needles. It's gorgeous yarn to knit with, very soft and cuddly.

As the arrival of New Nephew/Niece Sprog is now imminent I thought it was time to cast on for a little baby cardi set, using this pattern. I think it may be a translation as some of the instructions need reading twice! Below, believe it or not, is a sleeve, with the front out to the left and the back out to the right. The yarn is Lion Brand Magic Stripes sock yarn, on 2.5mm needles.

Oh, and although the wrist is now better, the tonsillitis has put in another appearance! My tonsils have had a very stern talking-to and told to stop this messing around at once. I've got a referral to ENT in the hope that the threat of removal will make them behave. If not, they're coming out! Meanwhile, I'm moving up the antibiotic hierarchy (which I'm not happy about cos I'd rather not take them at all!), the latest ones are bright yellow (is that better than bright red?) and my GP told me very earnestly that they cost the NHS nearly a £1 a tablet! So obviously I am single-handedly responsible for the NHS financial crisis... Er, and how many times have I paid the prescription charge and the actual medicine has cost the NHS LESS than the charge then?!?!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Stop Press

Reports of a new LYS in Horncastle are filtering through to the Lincolnshire LYS Detection Unit. More details to follow...

And look at my egg!

Watch my egg turn into something!

The Site Fights Egg

Friday, May 05, 2006

Not knitting

No knitting this week. I still have Knitter's Wrist and have been wandering around wearing a Tubigrip. No sympathy though, people just fall about laughing when I explain it's a knitting injury.

Lots of house things have been happening. I'm still trying to keep up with the speed of it all (buying houses is supposed to take ages, right?). Anyway, I went off to the estate agent with my driving licence, passport and Council Tax Bill to prove my identity on Monday and came out to discover that we'd mislaid 360 years and the Cavaliers and Roundheads were out in force outside the estate agent's:

Most bizarre. Even more bizarre was that the estate agent said it might only take 3/4 weeks to "completion". I now have a completion date of 2nd June - how weird is that?! The survey is booked for next week, and it all seems to be steaming ahead at high speed. Now all I have to do is find a removal company prepared to fill a lorry with yarn and a few bits of furniture.
Monkey has decided he wants this cake at his housewarming (thanks to Debbie for finding the recipe!)

Instead of knitting I've been reading about knitting. I've looked through some of my pattern books (wish I'd done this before as there's quite a few things I'd forgotten I'd got patterns for!). Yesterday in London I acquired a copy of "Knitting Rules" and then kept getting the giggles on the train on the way home. Meanwhile, Mum had been up to York, and just happened to drop into "Sheepish" where she got me a ball of Adriafil New Zealand Multicolour - yummy scrummy! I reckon there's probably enough there for a pair of toe-up socks...

Today I met up with Claire and Carolyn for a cup of tea and some knitting gossip at the Drill Hall. It felt like a Knit Lincs meeting, which is really going to confuse me as it isn't Saturday until tomorrow, when, hey, we have another Knit Lincs meeting! Claire swopped me some DPNs and gorgeous Daisy stitch markers for some Koolaid. (sorry, I can't get the pics of the stitch markers to come out at all, my own fault for trying to do arty pics on a tree trunk). She'd also brought along her Twisted Float Shrug and, wow, it looks even more amazing for real than it does on her blog!

Believe it or not I have been at work this week. Although some time has also been spent devouring the IKEA catalogue. I thought this coffee table might look good with yarn/buttons/beads in the divided bits under the glass!

Posh yarn have started a sock club. Looks very tasty. Am not tempted. Not at all. Do not need any more yarn to move...