Sunday, 9 November 2008

1960s Aldermaston, 1970s Vietnam ...

....1980s Greenham Common, 1990s Poll Tax demos, 2002 UK anti war protest ...

What links these ... well the demograph of a group of knitters on a teeny tiny site (sorry Let's Knit but you are not big in internet terms) who are supporting the publication of knitting patterns. Yes ... knitting patterns.

Long story - short; a designer creates some knitting patterns based on a book (Beatrix Potter ... is this out of copyright - I don't know), he then sells these patterns to a magazine which subsequently closes. Desperate knitters pay silly amounts for copies on EBay. OK we are still in the world of knitting, despite how this sounds. A knitter, promoting "family values" and "traditional childhood" uploads the patterns on to a website. Next thing the designer is threatening legal action. Morever he goads his groupies with the following speech

“I would like to thank all of you who wrote to complain to Margaret Allcock of cabbagepatchtreasures, who was illegally offering free downloads of my copyrighted patterns. It must have done the trick because her website has been revamped today and my patterns have been removed. Yesterday Mrs Allcock wrote to one of my ‘undercover agents’ to say that over 70 members of Ravelry had downloaded the patterns, but I really hope this isn’t true and that she was simply making mischief because, in a world full of people ripping off and profiting from my work, it’s good for me to know that I can rely on my Ravelryettes to protect my rights and act ethically ….. as you have always done. I’m as frustrated as you are that many of my licensed character patterns are no longer available, but there are plans afoot to see if some can be reissued next year and I will post any news of this on my website. Again, I send my heartfelt thanks to all my loyal Raveryettes. More power to the ‘Ettes!”

I'm sorry ... did he really call his groupies Raveryettes/Ravelryettes? Do these women not mind being an ette????

Back to my opener ... the knitters supporting Margaret Allcock are from the generations who stood up and were counted when things mattered ... they are vociferous in their support of a person who felt she was merely making "family friendly" patterns, out of print and out of date, available to those not able or willing to pay eBay prices. None of them would ever have tolerated being an "Ette".

Sending hugs and love

xxx xxx

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Knit, knit, forget the stress

Yesterday I took the day off - didn't knit, not one stitch.

I did play with my yarn, play with my patterns, print out new patterns and buy more yarn on ebay (honestly if I could source illegal drugs on there instead of yarn I'd probably spend less - well way less actually as I'm quite happy with the legal drug that is alcohol, but what I mean is I think yarn buying is way way way more addictive!!) but I didn't knit.

Today I had a whole day with MadMother, so tonight the knitting demon is back ... it whispers in my ear " knit, knit, forget the stress ... faster, faster, forget the stress .... more, more ..." well, you get the picture.

She had fallen over again, so today she turned up with a black eye (not that is necessarily a sign of madness, more of which in a moment) a badly cut forehead and bruising to her cheek. Honestly people have come out of boxing with Mohammed Ali or Smoking Joe and looked better. I worry, but as yet she wont have help, won't move closer and is stubborn as hell. "Knit knit ...."

As for the black eye comment, I forgot to say that last week, during the need to push the knitting beyond human endurance, I felt the need to pay lip service to the housework. So, vacuum cleaner in one hand, damp kitchen towel in another, and knitting sitting in the chair calling out to me like a sad baby ..." mommy come back" I was supercharged with the cleaner, then using my foot to press the button to rewind the power cable into the cleaner, whilst at the same time just mopping up a blob on the floor (probably coffee) the plug maliciously thwacked me - extremely hard - on the eye socket. One of the prongs cut the corner of the eye, whilst the rest of the plug gave me a lump and a technicolour bruise that would out do those adorning hardened scrappers! As you do, I kicked the cleaner ... didn't help much!

Back to MM, she was ok today, except for the fact that she couldn't find anything she wanted to buy while we were at the shops. So, the conversation went something along the lines of:

"Bread" "Got it", "Vegetables" "Got plenty", "Cat food" "plenty", "Cleaning materials" "plenty" ... and so on.

However, the minute I got her home she was desperate for a new loo brush (True I didn't mention that one), a long life light bulb (ditto) and a fuse for a plug .... Oh for goodness sake, just shoot me.

Actually, today was really a good day, and she wasn't too repetitive ... so the stress could be worse. However, having said that, the sock I am knitting tonight is sitting on the sofa behind me calling me .... "Come back, we can work together on your stress, pick me up, knit me ... feel the softness of the yarn" So, much as I love you all ... I'm off to sit with my knitting - we need each other!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Wild eyed maniac with twitching fingers .....

... seeks kind and loving nest, built out of alpaca, cashmere, silk and qiviut with wine fridge in corner. Well, that shows what a high maintenance dreamer I am!!

On the left is a slightly aging, much beloved sweater, belonging to DD. She has worn it almost to death and, as it was a shop purchased item from several years ago, there is no chance of buying a replacement. So ... under the guise of bringing it home with me for some TLC (sewing in fraying edges, shaving off lovely acrylic pilling) I decided to use the pattern and create a replica ... albeit not in lovely crispy acrylic, but in soft dreamy DB alpaca and silk DK, sadly long discontinued. Greater love has no mother than to give up some of her most beloved stash ... but, selflessly I used the raspberry, worked a whole lot of maths and ... voila ...

We have a copy. Now this is about to be blocked, so it's not quite perfect, but honestly I'm so proud of myself I'd wet my pants if I didn't show you all.

What do you think? I'm thrilled!

So that is part of her Christmas presents sorted.

On to the other gift knitting ... in this past week I have (as well as above labour of love) knitted four adult scarves (three of which are fully completed, with fringes and weaving in of ends; one still requires fringing ....

Two in pink purple Mille Colori and two in multi Mille Colori ....

I have enough yarn for four more ... I think however my brain has decided that's enough for a few days ... moving on ....

I then knitted two soft, funky, fluffy (ok they are acrylic) scarves for the maniac twins, and am contemplating some kind of matching hat thing ....

I am so proud of the twins ... they have just had a week's holiday and insisted on wearing the jackets I knitted them for their birthday all five days ... so my last photos will be them in their jackets and perhaps a spooky one or two if I can squeeze them on.

Meanwhile, I also finished a pair of socks, then started on another; this time I am using Dream In Colour Smooshy and again I think I could easily share a bed with this yarn .... it is gorgeous.

So if you have noticed a wee gap in my blogging ... forgive me, my fingers have been flying, and my needles sparking ... the keyboard was having a well deserved rest!

ps ... the dream sounds good though!

Love hugs and may your needles glide through your projects.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Gardens, twins and sunshine

Well, this is the back of the house, newly painted by ourselves, taken by photographer extraordinaire (that's me, OK) in the sunshine this afternoon. I'm standing on the far side of the little low wall between the tamed garden and the field ... in olden days that little low wall was called a haha - in olden days that little low wall wasn't built, we built it not so many years ago, but hey ... ha ha it's a wall! I was gardening all day, but needed a break from tugging up nettles and brambles ... so out came the camera!

And here is DH, strimming the ditch, so that the bloody weeds won't keep blowing into the garden ... Give a man a machine that goes broom broom, operates on petrol and oil and he will be happy and content for hours!!! I can;t work out why they call an oil and petrol mix 2 stroke, but I'm sure there is a bloke joke in there somewhere.

I'm sure he thinks he is clearing brush in some jungle some place exotic ... meanwhile ....

This is the view of hubby, happily wielding the strimmer ... it's man and machine against nature ... although it's not really too much like jungle out there!!! No tigers, no lions, no alligators or crocs, no monkeys, parakeets ... well you get the picture - just a man, a strimmer, weeds and some sugar beet as backdrop.

Meanwhile I'm up to scarf no 4; 3 are competely knitted wit
h ends sewn in - I just have to fringe, whilst the 4th is still in production. I definitely have 7 scarves on my list for Christmas mini gifts, although there will definitely be a couple of smaller ones for the twins at the end.

And here are the twins, rabbit and tiger, smiling for the camera ...

When this was taken they didn't need scarves .. but give it a month or two!!!

So, here I am with hands bloodied and blistered from gardening, arms aching and fingers numb from knitting, and heart full and happy from a couple of good days.

Cooking has been fun too ... dinner tonight was lamb steaks with portobellini mushrooms with a mushroom/cream cheese stuffing and a madeira sauce, with roasted italian vegetables and baked sweet potato
; whilst the naughty sweet stuff was almond and sun dried cherry flapjacks. I really need to garden more ...!!!

I think tomorrow I must get up early and run for at least 12 hours!

Love and hugs

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

A cold, yoyo yarn, yoyo the cat and hoops!

Let me tell you a wee sad story; this time last year my daughter's beautiful cat, Truffle, died. He (and she) fought a long brave battle with his kidney failure, but in the end we had to kiss him goodbye.

I cannot tell you how we have grieved and mourned, but on Sunday these two tiny kittens (the picture makes them look much bigger than they are) became adopted by my DD. They had been found, worm infested and flea ridden with two other cats, one of which was dead. A kind soul associated with an animal charity took them in, and made them better. Now they are about 10 weeks old and gorgeous. They are a colour that is somewhere between faded apricot/rose and ivory.

The one looking at the camera (YoYo) is a gorgeous shy girl, while her brother is a bounding ball of excitement (and called Hoops). So, as DD was at work on Monday, I had to drive for an hour (and a bit) to her house, to kitten sit! Boy do these little monkeys like knitting. They love the needles, they love my arms moving, they love the yarn, and they love the ball band. I laughed more than I have done for ages - I very nearly stole them! Watch out, I may yet.

Anyway, back to my knitting of the past few days ... I have had a cold (only a girl cold, but still rubbish). So I knitted and knitted. I have finished my recycle jumper, but couldn't sew it up (my eyes have been streaming) and my icecream sweater is gorgeous, but I needed something to take my mind off the continual sneezing and eye watering.

So, for my second ever pair of socks, I fall in love with the Slip Stitch Delight pattern, (Thanks Terry L Ross) and decide I will knit them for my DD as a wee gift at Christmas. I decided I was knitting this with classic rib top (cuff) and not with fancy X top; I adore the mock tweed rib, which is gorgeous. However I was more than a bit dismayed at the poor quality of the Noro K sock yarn, which is a bit like a yo-yo dieter -veering alarmingly from way too thin, then ok, then way too chunky, back to way too thin, etc, etc. The colour is gorgeous … but don’t know whether this is just a duff skein or whether this is typical of the sock weight yarn (although I have shared these feelings with another user who is suffering the same weight issues!).

Once they were finished I took a snap and decided I am a better knitter than photographer … the socks look weird in photo and ok in reality .. perhaps it is being short … I can't get the perspective right.

Then I actually decided to reinforce one part of first sock with duplicate stitch, as yarn went almost invisibly thin on one part of sole and I know it would wear out in a heart beat. :( I cannot believe I am now pre-darning socks.

As a quick win I moved on to the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf by Karen Baumer, which I am knitting in Lang's Mille Colori. I have to say this yarn is gorgeous … having just finished the socks in Noro K sock yarn where, quite frankly, the yarn was all over the place in thickness, this yarn is beautiful and, consequently, the scarf is going to be beautiful. Despite being all knit stich (and I DO get bored VERY EASILY) I have mentally ordered several more scarves from myself as Christmas gifts … well, perhaps the diagonal knitting will stop me from hanging myself with 50% wool/50% acrylic.

I did see something similar in the Per Una range in Marks and Spencers at £25 … YES that’s £25!!! and that was 100% acrylic or poly. This will take 2 skeins and work out at £6 ish. (shop around and if you can't find it for that price email me and I will give you the name of my source.

Wherever you are and whatever you are knitting, I hope a laugh or two bounds into your life to make you smile.

Sending hugs

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A sugar rush

I recognise the signs when I am stressed; I want to cook or knit or drink wine, or do all three (which in the past has led to some pretty inventive cooking - like the raglan spaghetti sweater in red wine*!)

Today we did gardening and gardening and gardening, when suddenly I got the urge to dash inside and cook brownies and teacake. Now I only do cake/dessert cooking once every decade or so, usually when I find out I am pregnant or redundant or about to remarry. None of those apply (fingers crossed), but still the urge for bakery was fierce.

The brownies are deep, dark and decadant; seriously heavy cocoa content, really soft, chewy, thick and deep deep chocolate, with chocolate chunks and dashed with chopped pecans, almonds and brazils. The teacake has sultanas, raisins, prunes, apricots and pecan. I now have a sweetly swollen tummy curve from the trialing, tasting and testing. If I am not to swell up like a balloon I need to find something hugely complex to knit. The wine was Blossom Hill, a californian soft red and dinner was slow braised lamb, with flageolet beans and small cherry tomatoes.

Tomorrow I know that, as all tomorrows shall be, I shall be good and eat nothing but salad, run miles, exercise hard and only drink water! Except that tomorrow is Wednesday, which is mad mother day, so perhaps tomorrow will start on Thursday!

Is the love I gave in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes

So tell that someone that you love
Just what you're thinking of
If tomorrow never comes

Monday, 13 October 2008


And so, after a great couple of days away, it is back to the grind of trying to catch up with everything. We finally finished painting the outside of the house last week ... and it was a lot of house.

However, we are late with everything this year: when hubby put his back out for 4 weeks it put everything on hold. So it is now time to return to trimming the laurel hedge, and there are miles of it... and the garden is in serious need of some TLC as the weeds are the bully in the playground and threatening the gentle pretty plants. So I am about to wage war on bindweed and nettles, thistles and dandelions, as well as speedwell, daisies, rose bay willow herb and buttercup. "Wild flowers" sound far more attractive when they are in a wild place ... in my garden they are just a huge nuisance!

I won't however do weedkiller ... so I am forever disturbing a surprised frog or toad as I scoop up leaves and pull up weeds. Occasionally a newt will peer at me, I am sure it will be praying I am not a predator (I'm not!) before I pick it up and move it closer to the pond.

I finished knitting the recycled sweater tonight ... tomorrow may be a "finish off" day ... or it may well be a "cast on and hang the sewing" day. I have to start planning what I should be doing, rather than letting my excitement persuade me into knitting something that may not help the Christmas gift situation.

Here I want to say that despite the fear that hubby's pension pot may have dissolved into a puddle of mud; despite the fact I am 200+ miles away from my twins, son and Dil; despite the fact that mad mother is not going to get better, and despite the fact that I miss my daughter immensely and fear she is working too hard; despite all those things I feel happier tonight.

I think it is the belief in possibilities. There is a possibility I will meet up with DD for a girly morning on Sunday; there is a possibility I may see the twins at the end of the month, sometime over half term; there is the possibility that the worst of the dreadful stockmarket may have happened and this could at least level out; and finally, even though mad mother is not going to get better, she was happy on the phone tonight and possibly she will be happy tomorrow.

Meanwhile, decision made, I think tomorrow WILL be a cast on day!

When the night has come
And the land is dark
And the moon is the only light we see
No I won't be afraid
No I won't be afraid
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

And darling, darling stand by me
Oh, now, now, stand by me
Stand by me, stand by me

If the sky that we look upon
Should tumble and fall
And the mountain should crumble to the sea
I won't cry, I won't cry
No I won't shed a tear
Just as long as you stand, stand by me

Sunday, 12 October 2008

How much do I love them? Let me count the ways

Well, how lovely, the jackets were a success. They put them on as soon as they unwrapped them and they wore them all evening. Then, in the morning, they pulled them on over their PJs and wore them all morning.

I knitted the size 7/8 for their 6th birthday so I thought they would be over big ... but no, they can grow some and they will still fit, but they look lovely now.

Modelling the version in Sea spray is Beth and her puppy Lucky. She also smiled despite being a little concerned that she is waiting for her front teeth to grow back.

She would like a real dog, but for now she has to make do with Lucky!

Modelling Purr is Ellie, who is kitten like and curled, smiling because she thinks I'm a little bit silly. It's a jacket, it's keeping her warm and I don't usually take photos of her clothes.

However, they were both completely impressed that the knitting I had been doing when I last visited had metamorphed into jackets. They have taken up their needles and rather tangled bits of yarn with renewed vigour, knitting and dropping stitches with great enthusiasm.
Meanwhile I had a hoot after they had gone to bed last night, watching Mamma Mia (truly cheesy and wonderful) and drinking just a little more wine than I should! Actually, I was impressed with my knitting today ... no major bloopers! (so not too much excess wine!)

My second sock is progressing well and I am just decreasing for the instep ... on the home straight and I have enjoyed the socks ... guess I may just be tempted into doing some more ... this would be a good thing as I accidentally bought some noro sock yarn ... whoops!

As for my twins ... well they quite fancy hats and mummy is going to look around and see what she would like for them from the shop, take photos with her mobile and send them to me! I think that's success.

So night night all, have a great day tomorrow and may all your knittings be miracles!


PS a touch of poetry for the twins, a sprinkling of a little Coleridge, snippets from Frost at Midnight -

Dear Babes, that slept cradled by my side
whose gentle breaths heard in this deep calm ....

My babes so beautiful! it thrills my heart
with tender gladness, thus to look at thee ...

But thou, my babes shalt wander like a breeze
by lakes and sandy shore, beneath the crags
of ancient mountain and beneath the clouds ...

all seasons shall be sweet to thee
whether the summer clothe the general earth
with greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow

Friday, 10 October 2008

Lady of Shallot, onions and leeks!

So, in a far distant and somewhat dusty corner of the universe, someone posted a line or two of William Blake to describe their Roaring Tiger yarn. Gorgeous ... just gorgeous ... so I went to check out the yarn and in doing so I left the website and ventured google wise to find said yarn. In a poetic frame of mind I then thought:

She leaves the web, she leaves the loom,
She makes three paces through the room, she sees the waterlily bloom,
She sees his helmet and his plume (no sniggering here girls)
She looked down to Camelot

Out flew the WWWeb and floated wide
The mirror cracked from side to side
The curse has come upon me cried (again no sniggering here girls)
The lady of Shalott

(Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

And what the heck it is true (not the whole sailing on a barge like a dead thing issue), knitting is rather poetic. It needs to ring true, it needs to have balance and whilst people admire the
"off the wall, freeform" style, traditional metres, patterns and styles have a soothing and recognisable value.

And, if that all sounds too highbrow, then let me say

There was a fine lady who knit

She'd sit and she'd knit and she'd knit

She knew she should dust

and clean if she must

But still she would sit and she'd knit

Meanwhile the little garden bed on the RHS is now pretty, a little picture of lavender, climbing rose and edged with box. My nails now look like claws, my facial pores are filled with grit, despite several attempts to clean and exfoliate, but the garden looks good.

Tomorrow I'm off to deliver the little jackets to the ever growing maniac twins, how much do I love them - let me count the ways!

If I don't chat tomorrow have a fantastic weekend.


Who is this and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer
And they crossed themsleves for fear
All the Knights at Camelot
But Lancelot mused a little space
He said "She has a lovely face
God in his mercy, lend her grace
The Lady of Shalott"

OO I do like that .... a lot!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

The insanity of gardening

Apart from knitting (and cooking and drinking wine, but bear with me here), apart from knitting - Gardening is one of my real pleasures. Don't get me wrong, I loathe weeds with a passion; hate the wrong kind of weather; detest slugs and snails; would totally eradicate bindweed/convulvulus from the global memory of the planet in a heartbeat; get annoyed that grass will grow strongly and unbeatably anywhere and everywhere - except on a lawn, but all that said, I enjoy gardening.
So, today, I was planting up a new bed. Last year, on the LHS of the drive, I planted up a lavender bed, edged with box. This year, throughout the year, it looked lovely. It is two tone (I like colour combining), in a soft pink and a warm purple. When the flowers were out, and the sun was shining, the scent was gorgeous; the bees droned, and honestly it was a lovely area where before grass had struggled to survive.
So this past week on the RHS I have dug up some dead (well they are now) and dying (well honestly they really were) shrubs, raked over the soil, and set about putting in a matching bed of lavender edged with box. Hubby went to golf today, which I thought was a GOOD thing. I do like a few hours just to pootle, poodle and do whatever.
However the "whatever" today involved a lot, yes A LOT, of swearing. The wind was blowing, and the weed suppressing membrane I was laying wasn't (laying); it was flapping and waving and moving and not staying still. The most stupid thing is that you lay the membrane, get it sorted into places (like lining up stitches, or decreases) then you hold it down and cut ruddy great holes in it. Then you do this whole "shy" thing whereby you fiddle around, under the membrane, digging holes in soil you cannot see, then plant lavender in holes you hope are large enough (you can't see), then try and bed them in with spare soil (which YOU STILL CANT SEE), whilst trying to hold the membrane down in a wind (which unsurprisingly you cant see), and you hope that the end result (which you very clearly can see) is perfect. Huh!! A lot of swearing. Then, just for fun, I throw on a couple of hundred spadesful of shingle ... and tonight I am only half way ... so I have just as much pleasure tomorrow to look forward to.
When I came in, to chill out and knit a few rows, I finished off a front .. just a few rows. So I moved on to the socks, when I hit the divide for heel, so migrated and I knit a few more rows of the surprise Christmas swap thing, before I needed to integrate a fairisle or is it fairaisle ... I don't know, well a dual colour pattern section, so I moved on to my 4th project ... and now I have hit the arm decrease area on the RHS front of that ... so I am about to find something mindless to cast on ... either that or I'll just go and read (with my unemployed fingers twitching) for 10 mins before bed.
Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, have a good day .... my aching legs and butt are off to bed ... and joy of joys, the weather looks good for tomorrow, so I guess I'll be outside again - whoopiedoodie!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

What if the world goes bankrupt and other such questions?

Wednesday is MM day (mad mother); every Wednesday she catches her local bus and I drive into the little local market town, where we meet. Wednesday is market day and in the little local market town there is one of the largest and most diverse markets in the UK. Every Wednesday we convene at a local cafe for tea (which is wrong - it should be a cafe for coffee and a cosy for tea!)

This Wednesday the global economy has dissolved into a puddle of mud. MM tells me that she was born on 5th May 1929 (which I know) and that was the day the great crash hit the US (which I need to check - she has a habit of mostly being wrong then, just to upset me, occasionally being right). Note to self - check details BEFORE blogging.

So, MM asks me what will happen if Iceland is bankrupt - not too much to affect you, I say, unless you are invested in whale blubber (Note to self - apart from banking - what are principal economies of Iceland?). What happens if world is bankrupt, asks MM. Well, I replied, I will dig up my lawn, plant vegetables and keep chickens. MM laughs, but honestly I have no idea, however the planting vegetables and keeping chickens may be a good start.

Meanwhile recyled cardigan proceeding well; socks have had a few more rows added .. nearly at heel on 2nd sock; accessories for christmas swap gift have arrived ... fabric and things, and we had salmon en croute for dinner.

I have promised MM that I will help her make sense of her banking - which is a good thing because it will save me sheepishly accompanying her to the bank every Wednesday to get confirmation of what I know and MM has forgotten :(

Meanwhile, what if the world does become bankrupt? .... well I have some very fine stash, some of which I am willing to barter for some vegetable seeds and some chickens.

Chat soon

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Life, the universe, and thoughts on recyling

On my 999th row of round (it's triangular to be exact) knitting on the sock project, I hit the meditation mode. The one where you forget to increase\decrease\change pattern whatever, but start thinking off at a tangent (that's probably how entrelac was thought up). Anyway (OMG only on third sentence and I have hit my anyway start) ... I got to wondering (after the 999 rows of knit only) why people disliked purl. I rather like it and not just because it makes a change from 999 rows of knitting. I like it because:-
It is done at the front! Yes, that's right, at the front where you can see it. No trusting that your needle has picked up all of the yarn and not split it, so that you end up with a quasi increase - a clearly visible entry, yarn around, and exit. ALL AT THE FRONT.
I love the way it makes a smiley face ... ok so this point is not as technical as the previous point, but honestly when you are knitting something tedious and you can see smiley faces as well as arrows, it is cute.
It makes moss (seed) stitch look like naughts and kisses (now if you are from the US this little pun won't mean much as you call naughts and crosses TicTacToe. Actually why? Naughts and crosses I understand cos you either put a 0 (ok in the US that's a zero, over here in antique land it's a naught) or a X (Kiss/Cross - hence the pun)).
Anyway, for a break from the unending 55mile an hour highway that round and round and round knitting can be, I decided to unravel a cardigan. I love the yarn, I really love the colour and texture, I even wore the damn cardigan a couple of times because I loved the feel of the yarn and its colours. But I hated what I had done to this gorgeous yarn ... it had turned out too baggy, too wide and too short ... almost like I had knitted it for someone much wider than me (ok possible) and way shorter (seriously not, at 4ft 10.5ins just really really not possible).
At this point I should confess to having a stash that outdoes my LYS ... I have more (bad) yarn and more (good) yarn and more (middling) yarn than most people within a few hundred miles. Dont want to get into a mine's bigger than yours situation, but we don't need loft insulation.
So why did I unravel and immediately recast on this wonderful yarn. Why didn't I just consign the garment to the sin bin (also known at the charity shop or thrift store)? Well, as I said I love the yarn. More than that though, I felt I had fallen short on this yarn's potential. The thing is, there is nothing else I can think of can be undone and redone but better. That's it. Knitting has the potential to take yarn and eradicate past mistakes;to rise above errors and to become something better.
Cooking - can't take apart the ingredients and reuse as if new, definitely not parenting, nor making curtains, or painting walls ... knitting has the ability to be deconstructed and reconstructed, like the bionic man of my childhood, so that it becomes better than it was. It's also so very "green", a recycling of prime components - all within my lap. Wow.
How cool if life were like knitting - still at least knitting is like knitting!
Sending hugs

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Strange days indeed

So it was lashing it down this morning; I checked out of the upper windows several times but didn't see anyone building a large wooden boat with a whole load of animals in their garden, so I decided it was ok to drive to the shop for the paper.

Here, in the back of beyond's beyond, there's no such thing as paper delivery and the shop is a good threequarters of a mile away ... so a nice walk on a decent day, which today wasn't.

Into the car, down the road, pick up paper, drive back ... so far, so normal (well apart from puddles with ducks in). However, I opened my door to get out ... leaned over to passenger seat to pick up newspaper and handbag and a little dog jumped into the back seat behind me and sat there (smiling? it looked like it was smiling - do dogs smile?). It was tiny, wet and muddy but hugely friendly and wagged its little stump of a tail like crazy (crazy indeed!). So, I said hello (as you do) and leaned over to read his collar. He acted like a runaway criminal "oh trying to feel my collar" he thought, and jumped out still smiling and wagging. So, I followed him down the drive in the lashing rain, dialling on my mobile. A nice sounding woman answered; I told her I had a small dog with me .. she sounded bemused ... not her dog! I had transposed some of the numbers. Meanwhile dog now thinking it fun that I am chasing it, in the lashing rain, without an umbrella ... I'm disagreeing. So I thought I would leave little maniac to go pee on someone else shrubs and hope he makes it home safely.

Later (that same day as they say in the best novels) I had a phone call.

Now I grew up in London and then moved to Windsor - huge city, big town. This may have coloured my perception of the role of the police force.

On the 10th of September my mother had her purse stolen (largely invited by the fact that she never shuts her bag and insists on carrying worryingly large amounts of cash). Still, as thefts go it was subtle ... she never knew and wasn't hurt. It has however shaken her and her confidence - exacerbated by the fact that her memory is failing her and she can't remember all the details. So, back to the plot ... I had a phone call. It was the lovely community PC who had come to take the details from us on the 10th. He wanted to check that my mother was ok, he checked on a Sunday, with no hidden agenda, he was just asking how she was doing. I LOVE the countryside (despite the lack of paper delivery and puddles full of ducks).

On the knitting front I have knitted another third of a sock ... I'm not sure I comprehend SSS (Second Sock Syndrome) - surely it is better than second sleeve (you need two of those and you are still not finished), and definitely better than knitting two of everything for twins ... so I am happily plodding on with sock. It is, however, fine yarn on teeny DPNs, so in the evening when I am making attempts to be sociable (tonights film Run Fat Boy Run) I knit something which doesn't require good lighting and full concentration.

I have also been planning my Christmas swap gift ... have ordered some materials and am rather excited at my concept. How, though, do I share it? I may have to wait for 3 months to discuss .... I am not sure I can hold out that long!

Day 66 - pork loin
marinated in orange zest/juice, ginger and orange liquer, then roasted with an orange and apricot sauce ... actually extremely jummy and low fat - bonus!

Meanwhile, eagerly anticipating deliver of latest YH book ... will try not to scoff it down in one sitting like a kid with a bag of sweeties.


Saturday, 4 October 2008

Not going to get rich by knitting!

So, despite not being "normal materials" for a baby jacket, I guess that means it wasn't white and it wasn't acrylic .. they awarded me a first - Woo Hoo. I won, now hold on to your seats here (and notice I've not issued my address in fear of muggings or beggins letters) the princely sum of 60p ... I guess that may be about $1 ... so I am not about to go buy the champagne just yet!
In the early summer I entered my Alan Dart, Tooth Trader fairy, who whilst lovely apparently was "too thin". Anorexia hits the knitted toy scene and is booted into the sin bin! She won second, so hurrah, the jacket "done good".
Meanwhile, back on the needles, one half of a skein of Colinette Jitterbug (lapis) has morphed into a sock. This was going to be a present for DH, but as it was the first foot wear, excluding baby booties, that I have ever attempted, I decided to make DH try on the first, before I went for the match.
Yey hey, success, he loves it, it fits, I'm happy!
Well ... and sad (as the surprise element is now ruined) as I now have to think up a further surprise Christmas knit for dearest beloved.
Meanwhile in the backwater, a Christmas draw has taken place and I, fortunately, have pulled someone whose tastes I know ... so have great ideas. She is a little bit goth/emo .. no matter her age ... so I am thinking a knitting bag with goth imagery and lining ... bear with me on this one and I shall consolidate my plans and let you know ... but you are SWORN to secrecy :-)
Meanwhile ... still planning on how to spend all my decadent winnings!!
Night night sleep tight and enjoy the rest of your weekend
PS Thursday, field mushrooms stuffed with welsh rarebit; Friday - slow braised lamb shanks with red wine and sun dried tomatoes; tonight Carbonnare de boeff (my spelling is really nowhere as good as the cooking!). 65 days and no repeats !!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Ripples in the backwater and Virgin sock knitter

Well, I've just started my first pair of socks for this socky virgin. Not that socks scared me ... I just got put off by known obsolescence. (I have the first baby wrap I knitted; I have a sweater that morphed 3 incarnations - but never have I darned socks). The knitting is lovely, the yarn sublime - I just don't know how I will cope when the first hole appears - I may lose it entirely! However, DH has been remarkably likeable of late (not least because he has been working his conkers off [translation conkers = horsechestnuts = nuts] painting the house) and has been deserving of some knitting. He has ooed and ahhed at the Double Trouble jacket, and (honestly) made some insightful comments like "wow how did you get that cable to move from the middle to the outside?". Now, for me, that is almost a declaration of passion ... ok maybe travelling cables don't get you every time, nor me, but a non knitter chap noticing - well that's GOOD.
So back to the main theme ... I decided I would knit him a pair of socks - in the softest most tactile yarn I could discover, in the most vibrant of colours (hang in there if I had knitted them in black or navy they would get worn too often and worn out even quicker!). In the product placement world this is where I declare my eternal love for a brand and get squillions of skeins of yarn ... however in my world if you want to know the sock yarn I fell for go look at the project details on Ravelry.
As for the sock (well I am still on the first) so far so lovely.

Meanwhile I thought I would touch on ripples in the backwater and say that on another site ... in a galaxy far far away, there were downing of needles and abandoning of forums after one member was summarily banned for expressing displeasure that out of 11 issues of the magazine 17 patterns had required later correction. The banning was later lifted and attributed to "typing in capitals" as aggressive and intimidating behaviour. WELL HELL CALL ME A RIPPLE. I know that squillions of us quiet/loud, famous/infamous knitters would be casting aspersions on the checking department and perhaps even in CAPITALS. After a day of protests and virtual banner waving the capital typer became reinstated. Small beer in a day, but honestly freedom of speech says nothing about "well say what you want and I will defend your right to say it, unless of course you put it in capitals".

Back to the first part of my name .. .. I do like to cook - really, from scratch, without packets or tins, and sometimes without anything except a spoon, a knife and ingredients. When I was an ultra stretched banker I would come home feeling my life, whilst well paid(ish), sucked as I had contributed little to anything of meaning. So my creative outlet, between loading the washing machine/dishwasher, reading bedtime stories and going to sleep myself (sometimes I even made it to bed, ... so my creative outlet was cooking. The more stressed I was, the more I would chop, slice, stir, season, taste and arrange. Back to now and I still love to cook, but for enjoyment and the production of great food ... for creativity and stress reduction I now have the time to knit.

At the beginning of August I asked hubby if there was anything he fancied to eat as I was off to the shops. He replied that he should start a spreadsheet (ex accountant - gets his fix from Excel) then whenever I asked him that (as I do once or twice a year) he could suggest something we hadn't eaten for a while. So, I said, "ok, go create the spreadsheet".

So here I am, bragging/boasting/smiling, because in two full months, more than 63 evening meals, there have been no repeats! (There were three days, at the beginning of September when I went to stay with twins and look after them before school resumed, that he ate preprepared oven ready meals ... but even those meals have not been repeated).

So, feeling proud of the first and middle part of my name, I think I deserve the last syllable ... and I think tonight I'll drink red ... (but keep it well away from the socks!)

Sending hugs

ps These are the rabbit and tiger who are the "double trouble" duo .... cute aren't they?

Monday, 29 September 2008

Happy Birthday Beth and Ellie

So, double trouble done ...I have to say after a somewhat difficult start I love these jackets.

I first started, on 2nd September, in Sirdar Denim Aran Sport … but, despite a great swatch, half way up the first back I discovered the yarn was too soft and pattern blurred and fuzzed ... all I could see was the changing colour of the mix.
So, I restarted in Rowan All Seasons Cotton, which (foolishly) I didn't swatch and, half way up the back (for a second time) I discovered it had knitted up on the large side, so I had to change down a needle size and restart for the third time.

Then, as I am knitting for twins (fraternal not identical) I decided to knit 2 at once, one in soft lilac, one in sea spray green/turquoise. Twins’ birthday 30 sept - OMG!

I finished 1 back, and neared finish on second - I had decided to alternate jackets and (of course) colours. My fingers felt they were dropping off and arm ached from cabling and seed/moss stitch! I grew hard skin on my knitting finger ... however I began to really enjoy this (how bizarre). I found that alternating colours really was encouraging.

I started counting off the completed sections ... have now completed 2 backs, 4 sleeves, 4 pockets, 4 pocket flaps, two left fronts and half way up first right front... SO only 1.5(ish) right fronts to go, then 2 collars, hours of weaving in ends and sewing up! I felt on target definitely for 30th Sept! Woo.

So there I was on Saturday 27th with the main parts complete … hoping to sew/weave, then collar and button soon after!

If you have ever wondered what SSS was ... it is Second Sock Syndrome .. basically you get the first one done then wonder if you have the will to live, let alone start again at the beginning to knit a twin of the first. I now know that actually primary SSS is the second sweater syndrome and basically until you have had to knit two identical sweaters you have been living a sheltered half life. Second sweater out ranks second sock by a trillion to one.

Anyway, if you ever felt your wonderful handcrafted item had way too many ends to weave in then think of me and send me your hugs. I had double anything you have contemplated ... then 22 buttons to match up as well! And because I have a touch of OCD and the buttons have writing on them, I had to angle each and every button in the same direction, so that the writing on the buttons all aligned. Shoot me now.

However, Wow … I’m really pleased! I think they look super. I am allowed to say this because they are a gift and do you know, there is really very little I was unhappy with ... The pattern said pick up the collar with the right side facing, so I did on the first (which is extremely silly because then you see the picked up stitches) so on the second I picked up from the wrong side, which gives a very neat and invisible join.

Sadly, though, after all that, my visit to the North West has been postponed ... as they say "these things do 'appen". As I say "Bugger".

Happy birthday Ellie and Beth ... love you to bits!!!

Friday, 26 September 2008

More post .... and a bit of Amy Winehouse

So ... you know your addiction may have become uncontrollable when your post delivery person squeezes your parcels and asks whether this time it is cashmere, silk or alpaca
.... you know your addiction may have become uncontrollable when you are invited to book launches as you are your local book store's favourite person know your addiction may have got a weeny bit out of hand when you are forcing golf clubs into your DHs hand and pushing him out of the door, so that you can reorganise the last remaining inches of space in order to squeeze in your stash
.... and you seriously understand the meaning of addiction when you stand in your secret place stroking Silk Rhapsody from Artyarns, which has a silk core wrapped with a silk and mohair outer layer, at a cost per gram greater than that allegedly paid for film star quality white powder ....
...and when you write to seriously famous designers to beg for copies of their patterns, because they don't come to the old backwater that is the UK

Is there a rehab for stash junkies ... and if there is do I want to go there and renounce my addiction ....
I think the answer has to be "rehab? No no no!!!"

Thursday, 25 September 2008

So relaxed have melted over top of pants!

So here I am now, all tidied up on the stash front ... have secreted new purchases ... swooned because stash total now exceeds 100 (and some of those are lumped together to make it look smaller). Here I am now .... with boobie mouse ... alive, well, and (honestly) with many less worries than for the past few weeks or morel

Here I am now ... amazed at the number of friends, many of whom I've never met, who have been supportive and loving.

Doesn't it just make you want to hug someone when you realise, despite all the doom and gloom on the front pages of the newspapers, that actually most people (especially knitters!) are kind, caring supportive and loving. Makes me want to hug someone or something! Or at least knit them all a scarf/ hat/ mittens/ gloves' or sweater!

Meanwhile ... I don't know how to get emotional virtually without overusing the !

So, I shall give in to my dark side and say a huge thank you to everyone who was so caring ... watch out here comes the lack of control .. .. ... Here I am now ....... THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! """""""""""""""""""""

Norah Gaughan Vol 1 (Berrocco) - Manon

I had real trouble sourcing this pattern book in the UK, Berroco won't ship here, it wasn't listed on Amazon or the Book depository or ...

Rudely I wrote to NG herself, pleading for help and got a rapid response pointing me to a supplier here in the UK. How totally amazing! Thank you NG. Book ordered ... just going to harrass the post delivery person until he coughs it up!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

It's Benign!!!

Which is sort of opposite to the Frankenstein quote when his monster gets struck by lightning - "It's alive".

Well my little marble is a fibronoma. "Well hello and welcome to the mammogram little fibronoma, and tell us, where have you been hiding these past few years?" Apparently these things are sort of clumps of tissue that have bonded (similar to groups of knitters at an LYS or a knitter's internet group forum). They are not malign (ditto) and occasionally put on a little growth spurt like a non cancerous skin mole, often with age ... (Age??? are they saying I am getting old???)

So my little fibronoma and I are going to cohabit ... and just as I weigh and measure myself (when I want to be depressed or convince myself I should do something other than just knit, read, drink wine and cook) so my lovely little friend, nestling within my left boobie, will also be measured regularly.

Meanwhile, both hands to the needles ... I have nearly finished the twins' jackets ... am on the neck decreases of the second jacket. Will then just have sewing, blocking, ending and collars to do.

As I am an organised sort of person, last night I cast on in a lovely cashmere, merino, silk yarn, the Garndrops Eskimo jacket, figuring that all the stocking stitch on the back would be soothing and requiring minimal concentration whilst I waited for the surgeon to see me. Today, as a completely freaked out, oh my god I'm going to see a surgeon about this thing in my left boobie, sort of person I left my knitting behind. ARRRRRRRRRGH

I'll say that again
ARRRRRRRRRGH - a 30 minute wait with nothing to do but trawl the decades old magazines (looking for knitting patterns - you can tell how old they were one of the patterns was for support hose - OK made that last bit up, a complete fib, sorry).

Still, I am here and happy and planning for an early night's sleep, as my sleep last night was minimal, whilst my nightmare dreaming was maximal! Still off to do at least one more row ....

Happy knitting

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Interesting times!

The past four weeks have been somewhat difficult. Wednesdays are my "mad mother day" - ie I meet my more than forgetful, extremely eccentric mother.

The first Weds my mother came into town on the bus, wearing shoes that were too small and too tight; we almost had a fight because she wouldn’t pay for new shoes and finally bought some more second hand ones from the charity shop (which, surprise surprise, also didn't fit).  

The second Weds she fell over and cut her eye and hand and bruised her hip, so there was then a first aid session in the car park.  

Last Weds she had her purse stolen after I left her ... but she will insist on carrying large amounts of cash and then leaving her handbag unzipped.  So I ended up driving back into town and sorting everything, a mere four hours of cancelling cards and chatting with the police, then driving her home (about a 1.5 hour round trip).  Still she was ok, not harmed and very grateful. 

This week, however,  she insisted we check everything I did with her last week ... eg confirm in the bank that we’d cancelled the cards, ordered statements, etc. I am so embarrassed now at going in and out of the bank at least twice every weds!  The staff know my name, and I'm not even their customer.

Meanwhile ... I had mammogram on 5th - don’t you just love having your gentle bits crushed. 

Got called back for further investigation on Tuesday this week (16th) where I had 4 more x-rays, then ultra-sound, then some biopsies into the lump they found in my left boobie.  A biopsy is similar to getting your ears pierced ... they shoot you with a gun, but keep the bit of flesh - yuch, AND you can watch it on the ultrasound screen, beats football!  You do, however, have a local anasthetic, so it’s not painful until later, when you can take paracetamol (which I confess to having washed down with a glass of red wine!). This lump is about 0.8 cm (about 1/3 inch in old money) so bigger than a pea and smaller than a malteser. 

I now have an appointment with the surgeon on Weds 24th.  If it’s benign then the old surgeon will have a smile on his face and tell me they will just measure it at the next mammo; if it’s not then I guess I get told the options.

Meanwhile I actually feel ok ... bizarrely.  I was more worried before the recall appointment, now I have seen what I am facing and, frankly, who is scared of a malteser!  (Maltesers are yummy little chocolate round things, allegedly less fattening than denser chocolates and in size are a little larger than M&Ms) .

Which makes me think I now need chocolate and a glass of wine! However I restrict myself to both until the evening, unlike knitting, which I sneak in whenever I can.

Meanwhile, on the knitting front, I  committed myself to knitting two jackets in size 7/8 yrs in the Debbie Bliss pattern Caitlin as birthday presents for the twins.  Because I love my DIL, I wanted a yarn that was easy care, so  I started in Sirdar Denim Aran Sport, which had perfect gauge … but half way up the back I realised the yarn was way too soft and the random colour was overwhelming the pattern, so the whole nubbly texture appeared lost.

So I restarted in Rowan All Seasons cotton, without a swatch (oops) which I realised (when I was 3/4 of the way up the first back, for a second time) knitted up far too large, so frogged again and changed down a needle size.

However, third time lucky and now am knitting 2 at once, one in soft lilac (Pur) one in sea spray (green/turquoise), Twins’ birthday 30 sept - OMG!

After finishing the second back I thought my fingers were dropping off and arms seriously ached from the cabling and seed/moss stitch!

However I am really enjoying this now (how bizarre). Alternating colours and jackets really is encouraging.  I've now completed 2 backs, 4 sleeves, 4 pockets, 4 pocket flaps, two left fronts and half way up first right front. SO only 1.5(ish) right fronts to go, then 2 collars, hours of weaving in ends and sewing up! On target definitely for 30th Sept! Woo.

Chat later :)

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Radical Rearrangements Part 2

So .... <--- was the starting point and after all the wrapping and packing, sealing and sorting, arranging and labelling ... the end results ... tada ..... are:

sorry don't know how to add drum roll :)

cupboards all neatly labelled, not only are the yarns organised by weight and alphabetically sorted ... but each shelf labels the weight and the yarns stored there.

Finally .... all the odd balls I have for charity and toy knitting I have rolled and sorted into weight and I now have two bags full of yarn, one DK or fatter and one ingering/4ply or thinner.

From this
to that --->
Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I have space for more stash!!! Woo hoo! Now off for well deserved glass of white!
Oooo job well done :)

Just a touch obsesssssssive

Well, enough is enough, so I waited until hubby was out then I grabbed yarn from all the little secret places and decided to organise.
He's gone to golf, which takes at least 5 hours, including the quick beer at the end ..
I have been getting increasingly more panicky (being slightly of the OCD persuasion) that things were spiralling out of control ... so into a big heap it went. Then, with due credit given to ThatLoganGirl's most awesomely inspiring stash, I decided to sort ...
All yarns were firstly bagged and sealed, then it was sorted into "weight" piles - chunky, aran, dk etc. Missing photo's were taken for stash data on Ravely (and I confess to not unbagging them having just finished sealing them all! ). I made two separate bags for charity/toy knitting - one in DK and one in 3ply/fingering weights.
Finally each weight was given its own shelf or shelves and stacked .... are you ready for this ... alphabetically.
Here I wanted to show you photos of results ... but blog is hanging ... so will move on from here to second blog, which is better than throwing keyboard through screen!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Banished for being unsexy

Oh dear

My darling Pearl, knitted mouse with demure but twinkling eyes and thunder thighs so appealling to those of a rodent persuasion (or indeed many human rats too) has been discarded.

She has elasticated panties, which do come off when the mood is sophisticated enough, a hoop to make men jump through and a je ne sais quoi bow on her slightly tilted, just so, come and get me head.

Today however I got this email -

Hi Chris-
I am writing you to let you know that we have removed two of your projects (Nit Wun, Ringmaster & Pearl) from the Sexy Knitter’s Club group page. We appreciate your enthusiasm in sharing your projects with the group however, we feel we need to be a little more discriminating regarding which projects appear on the group’s page. Our group page reflects what the SKC is about and is the face we present to Ravelry so it needs to represent sexy knitting as accurately as possible. Please help us with our goal by considering this when adding future projects. If you have any questions you can read more about this on the group page (thread titled Announcement - Group Project Page) or you may contact either me or our other mod rchrispy. Thank you!
Happy knitting, Maryanne

I guess Maryanne doesn't have a thing for rodents - me I kind of love the old roue rat thing. Even Nit Wun was given a genuine, old style baddy type twirly moustache. Had I known that things were not spicy enough I could have tied dear Pearl to a railway line and had Nit Wun pose with a "give me your virginity or die" caption coming out of his mouth!

Sad isn't it when sexyness comes policed as hotly as old Mary Whitehouse used to ... just slightly from the other side!

PS if you want to see the offending, and obviously unsexy, Pearl link is here:-

PPS - Bet she never checked down Nit Wuns trousers either!!

Friday, 13 June 2008

slow spiral into insanity

Today I have been poking and soaking. It's a long story, but it started when we noticed mushrooms growing on the lawn ... in a circle ... and the lawn was not growing where the mushrooms were. We have a fairy ring!
So, off to the supercomputer ... guess what ... bloomin difficult to cure. Apparently, or is it allegedly, there is one at Stonehenge that is squillions (well hundreds anyway) of years old. (And I thought it was druids and hippies that danced in a ring at Stonehenge ... not fairies, oh well).
So, it seems that there are no weedkillers that joe public can buy that will kill the blighters off ... not that I could really use them anyway, being a bit organic. So eventually I found a site in California, where apparently fairy rings are a big problem, and they said that fairy rings are a growing problem (hahahaha) on the increase indeed. Not a lot can cure it ... the fungus (something sounding like mycell*** - can't remember the exact details!) only dies when its source of food is depeleted. And it loves thatch ... the build up that grass makes. Woop.
However, it did have a cosmetic cure. Now the thing is this fungus when it grows is a clever little thing ... I'm sure there must be huge potential for what it does ... it makes the ground around it waterproof! So the grass roots can't get water and the grass around it dies ... leaving the mushrooms to munch on all the local organic delicacies.
So, to make the lawn look better (can't actually make the mushrooms bu**er off) you have to

1. Pick mushrooms (apparently delicious and non toxic - but hubby wouldn't try them, spoilsport!) So, in my case, then bin them.
2. Find a kebab stick or a skewer ... I jest not. Stab the ground repeatedly, to a depth of 2 ins or more, all round the bloody ring.
3. Pour slightly soapy water on the ring and hopefully into the holes. Now the site recommended washing up water ... apparently the soap makes the water wetter??

Repeat 3 steps EVERY day for 4-6 WEEKS.

So I have been doing this for four days and already my right arm stabbing muscle is a bicep beyond compare! I must try stabbing with left arm too. Also neighbours stare at me ... I can tell they are whispering to each other about my stabbing of the lawn then leaving little piles of fairy bubbles (lol ... in the UK fairy is washing up liquid) artfully arranged on the lawn.

I am worried they will completely freak out when they find out tomorrow I am going to sit in a park, in public, on my own with a picnic and knit - in the rain!
Well that started cos tomorrow is WWKIP day (knit in public day) ... and no-one from Bury seems to want to participate - except me ...

So if I never appear to blog again, forgive me, I will be in a nice place, with nice carers, and hopefully they will allow me my knitting needles.

Have a great day tomorrow!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Why do I love yarn ... let me count the ways

Yarn loves you to cuddle it, but doesn’t want you to make it tea or beer.
Yarn loves you to wind it around your little fingers.
Yarn is happy if you don’t talk to it.
Yarn is happy if you do talk to it.
Yarn doesn’t create piles of washing.
Yarn doesn’t need feeding.
Yarn likes it if you suddenly pick it up and cuddle it even if it was asleep.
I love yarn.

Yarn is my secret lover and I sneak it into the house when hubby is not watching.
I hide yarn in cupboards all over the house and often go for a secret stroke.
When hubby is out I go and have loving sessions with my yarn.
I love yarn.

I can choose a yarn to match my mood :
- soft silky sensuous
- strong butch and robust
- fine ethereal and elegant
- multicoloured
- deep hued
- pastel
I love yarn.

Yarn never moans when I put it to one side for another.
Yarn always makes me feel welcome when I pick it back up.
Yarn never looks at another Knitter and thinks they could be happier with them
Yarn will wait forever for me.
I love yarn

Monday, 26 May 2008

It's tag .... ooo

Well, I was trawling other people's blogs and found Quelle Erqsome (droll). She was talking about a litterary tag game
" ...... and today I found myself engaged in something that seemed worthy.
The rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book ( of at least 123 pages).

2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people & post a comment here once you post it to your blog, so I can come see."

So, never having grown out of being the kid in the playground who never gets picked to play, I shouted "pick me pick me" (well, in an email kind of way). So thank you she did .....

Book - the Gathering (Anne Enright)

"So it was an air hostess's suitcase I carried down the stairs filled, just like an air hostess's, with dirty clothes and squeezed-out tubes of spermicidal jelly; in the middle of it all, the tiny, smothered sloshing of a mostly empty bottle of gin.
Bump bump bumpetty bump.
Liam was in some other house, like this one or worse, and he wasn't having a lot of sex, or drugs, or deep and spacey conversations. "

Fun, sad and odd book (won the Man Booker prize 2007 - I know that because there is a label that says so on the front - why is it the Man Booker prize was won by a woman?)

Now I should be tagging 5, but (still like the sad girl from the playground) I'm scared to ask people to play, because I know they will say no :(

So I'll just link this to Erqsome's blog and hide behind the bigger girls.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Star Signs, knitting styles and random nonsense

So, in passing within another comment, my mind wandered to astrological styles ... I'm Aries and a fire sign, full of energy at the start, impatient, energetic, vibrant, but hate the long slow finish ... which pretty much describes my passion for the start, and away gallop of a new project - I have a love of the innovative and exciting yarns. I guess perhaps earth signs (Taurus, etc) take things more steadily but have a love of the luxury yarns, but will ensure that if they buy them then they use them.

The air signs (gemini, etc) are perfect sock folk, love the sociability of knitting and a love of smaller, transient, beautiful, but perhaps less enduring projects, and have an affinity for the light fluffy mohair yarns. Meanwhile the water signs are more varied, from Cancerians who love their homes and families, so are the perfect knitters and will knit to prove their love for home and family, to Aquarians, who are creative, but don't necessarily need to finish something - the attraction is in the creativity. They have a raport with aran, the original fishermans wool, and anything with a soft silky fluid feel - I'm sure bamboo and silk will respond to their soft harmonious flow.

Fire signs should use the primary and cardinal colours - red is so good for them. The earth signs will have a raport with natural earthy colours, greens, browns, and wheat. Air can cope with the colour of clouds, whites, greys, and sunrise golds; whilst Aquarians love water linked colours - blues, turquoise, and aqua (of course!!)

Tell me who you are, what your star sign is, and what you love to knit or knit with ... we'll see if all this adds up!

Happy knitting

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Favourite swearword now worn out ...

It was all downhill, I had finished the RHfront, LHfront, back, sleeves, knitted up the button bands .... next step the 3 needle bind off. Now if you're from the UK there are some new terms to learn when you knit a US pattern.

1. Bind off = Cast off (not so difficult). The 3 needle version does a lovely little trick whereby you knit 2 separate needles of stitches as one, with the 3rd needle. Absolutely beautiful finish! Amazing.
2. Frog - this means undo what you have done; basically "ripit ripit" ... ho ho. When you have finished admiring the 3 needle cast (whoops) bind off, you notice you have affixed the wrong side to the back - hence the button band now hangs rather nattily under the armpit. Useful!
3. Tink - this is undoing your knitting stitch by stitch (indeed, it is knit backwards, double ho ho ho)

So, am now in joyous position of Frogging and Tinking, so I can get back to where I was at 3pm this afternoon. I know what it was ... excitement .... Was hoping to post an FO, was desperate to start queued sideways jacket - worse was hoping to flounce around in it tomorrow, taking photos and feeling fulfilled. So last use of favourite swearword before I go have a glass of red to drown my sorrows - Bullocks!

Happy knitting xx

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

So close ... yet so far (unfinished ..)

Well, have now completed back, rhs front, lhs front, two sleeves ... just have button\button hole bands and finishing to go.
The pattern gradually drove me mad seems simple enough, but at the end was getting left twist and right twists muddled!
Anyway, am within sight of touchdown, so am thinking of casting on for next project ... except, I know I am a serial starter and an intermittent finisher, so am delaying the start in the hope of a finish worthy of champions.
Why is it that ALL the best things in life are more exciting at the start?
I'm also toying, for yet another project, with blending some Noro silk garden with some Debbie Bliss pure silk ... the colours are a match made in a rainbow; the gauge is a wee bit off, so think I am going to have to think about needle swapping (in a non junkie sort of way). Ho hum .... thinking also at this point a glass of wine will oil the cogs in the brain!
cheers and happy knitting

Friday, 9 May 2008

Might as well face it I'm addicted to stash

So ... now it has got to the point where I'm not even confessing here to the whole of my addiction ... does life get any better than knitting, shopping, shopping, buying, ebaying and blogging?
Have bought more wool and will have to confess to it soon ... however, all you secret hoarders will join with me when I say it whispered in my ear, called to me from afar, sent signals from across the ether and seduced me with a soft, silken smile.
So, I need to add photos to the stash and, worse, knit faster and better so I can reduce the stash to FO deficit ...
still working hard at silk cardigan
still have cotton jacket at no 1 in next project stakes
still need to acquire 6 more sets of hands to catch up with project desires
Sending love and hugs

Friday, 2 May 2008

Rabbits Raveling and Ragout

Hello and Hi

It's not everyday I get accosted by a rabbit but today, having finally received my invitation to Ravelry, I got invited to join the Oddballs. Having been invited to join a group hosted by a raving rabbit made me feel quite alice like so perhaps my next project should be a blue silk dress, white apron and a velvet headband. So "thank you" Jan for the invitation and hi all you maniacs.

Strangely am now on a project involving blue silk (I adore debbie bliss) though no headbands .... will work on that next along with aprons! It's a gorgeous cardigan from the latest Interweave knits mag ... but I'm knitting it with the blue pure silk from DB. Not sure who does a pattern for velvet headbands, then again I'm not sure I'd knit one anyway!

So I'm glad to be here and I'm appreciative of my invitatons to join both Ravelry and Odd Squad - I never knew there was a niche somewhere just designed for me, but hey it found me anyway!

Hope to chat to you all soon, meanwhile Happy Friday!

Love and hugs


ps Tonight cooked loin of lamb fillets on bed of leeks, glazed with a madeira sauce and topped with heart, star and flower shaped pastry hats, with orange caramalised carrots, and lyonnaise potatoes .... so no ragout at all! Yum

Monday, 21 April 2008

First one for me

So .... take
one slightly used blogger

Some virgin wool


A splash of extra virgin olive oil ...

All gently marinating with a small glass of wine while the football whines in the background.

I am a victim of torture and slow death by Sports TV.  His tv schedule encompasses football (soccer), golf, rugby (league and union), cricket, tennis, darts, snooker and the Olympics have yet to start!  So ... for me -  new knits, some favorite recipes and perhaps a small glass of wine.

Have found several, very welcoming sites (OO Sexy Knitters Club - great name, friendly people); I am getting in touch with my inner pearl (lol) and am off the starting block (sports is contagious|) with this, my first knitting blog.

I'm starting a light-weight,  asymmetrical top in bamboo - the first time I've used it and it is handling beautifully.  Will get up to speed on posting both better blogs and photos very soon ...

So, wherever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope your patterns stay on track.

Love and hugs


Visit InfoServe for blogger backgrounds and custom web site design.