Tuesday, 30 December 2008

A Great Break

I am so just enjoying chilling and not being at work. Today, I have spent most of the day catching up on blogs and sorting out photographs. I have (with Iain's help) sorted out the bedroom. I have drastically reduced my shoe collection and will finally be saying goodbye and eBaying my collection of DM boots. I am sad but my feet have grown over the years and I fear I will never fit UK size 5 again.

The good news is that my DH gave me the loveliest pair of boots for Christmas.

I am hoping my sister will drop by tomorrow. I will then be able to thank her for my presents, which included:

Yes, that's right - both Mason-Dixon books. I think these are great, they are fun, informative and encourage you to do your own thing. I really want to make the following:

a mitred blanket and also a log cabin blanket (not pictured)

A knitted quilt (this one is flying geese).A swatch blanket. I just love the denim blues.

I love this dotty blanket and think this would be perfect for Kauni yarn. Yes, I am aware I seem to have a fixation on blankets since knitting Lizard Ridge.

I also loved this simple but clever shawl in Rowan Kidsilk Haze, something I seem to have quite a bit of in my stash.
I love the bodice of this cardigan. Maybe the lyrics from a meaningful song:

And I believe in Love
And I know that you do too
And I believe in some kind of path
That we can walk down, me and you
Into My Arms by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

I think my neice would like a huge stocking for next Christmas...

Talking of Christmas knitting, the only thing that has saved me this is year is I don't see everyone before Christmas so I have been using my Christmas holiday to finish off the knitting. I shall bve very happy to finish the last of them tonight.

Finally, I have a really cute reindeer:
He is staying with us until 12th night. Then he shall hide away until next year (boo hoo)!

Anyway, DH and I are spending the New Year with Matthew and Sam. We will also be joined by Mel, all the way from New Zealand. I can't wait to see them all.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Santa's Coming

Merry Christmas to you all.

It has been a busy couple of weeks involving Christmas shopping, cooking, the annual Christmas party and, of course, knitting.

I still have a couple of gifts to finish but as I will not be visiting them until the New Year, I still have time.

I did manage to make some mittens for the new(ish) babies at work. A fun pattern (Bold Banded Mittens by Zoƫ Mellor) to knit and very easy to memorise. A good stash buster as well, these were knitted in Debbie Bliss, Baby Cashmerino.

I admit I have cast on a project for me, I know I shouldn't but I really couldn't resist. As you can see it is a very cheerful cardigan and the yarn is really nice to knit with. I purchased it cheap on eBay and it is by Royal Fibre Spinnery.

Having spent the purchasing and preparing food. DH is having filo haloumi parcel for main and I have made some white chocolate Christmas puddings but forgot to put the breadcrumbs in. I hope they still taste good.

Anyway, it is nearly time for bed so the festivities can start on waking!

Monday, 8 December 2008

A short fuse?

I just love the glasswork of Teresa Belmont. Every year I purchase a new fused glass decoration from her. I also purchase her glassware as presents for other people.

I'm sorry the pictures are not so good. Her work should be available shortly at Beau Jangles Glass.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A Crafty Weekend

I have spent the loveliest weekend; I feel very contented at the moment. Three days away from work and I feel like my batteries have been recharged.

I spent a wonderful Friday catching up on some housework. Unfortunately, I can't say I caught up on everything as my office and the bedroom need a good dose of organisation. Also, I still have the contents of the conservatory and shed in my dining room and it currently doesn't look as though the conservatory floor will be finished before Christmas. Poor Iain is so busy working late into the evenings and at weekends I sometimes forget he is in the house. This is always Iain's busiest time, which is a shame as today it would have been lovely to take a walk in the woods.

Anyway, I spent the rest of Friday knitting presents and I am pleased to say the first present has been completed and I have nearly finished the second present - these are for my sister and BIL so I can't really post photos, just in case they decide to look me up. Only two more presents to go after these (and one must be complete by the 19th!) and I have finished gift knitting. Yippee!

On Saturday, several of us visited the Knit and Natter at Get Knitted. As this usually involves quite a bit of talking, I decided to cast on a cardigan for myself. This is loosely based on Sedna by Katya Frankel [Ravely link] but will not carry the cables. I am really hopeful I will have enough yarn to do the sideways bands but I will have to wait and see. I do have some concerned regarding the yarn ... it is a damn sight more colourful than I thought when I bought it off eBay. It is also more colourful than it looked in the skein. I have decided this will be my Depressed Cardi. It is like a party and I just hope I am brave enough to wear it when it is finished.

The yarn itself comes from a small independent spinner/dyer Royal Fiber Spinnery and is a medium tight 2ply worsted (aran), although I think it is closer to DK than aran. It is really lovely to knit with. The skeins are the biggest I have ever come across and are way too big for my yarn swift. Consequently, it took me nearly 20 minutes to wind just one. I have 4 more to go. I have received an offer of assistance (thanks Elizabeth!) which has made me very happy.

Of course, I couldn't resist making several purchases while at Get Knitted. It would have been rude to use their heating, lighting and coffee facilities without swopping money for yarn, right? I purchased two skeins of Manos del Uruguay for my Woodland Shawl by Kathy Merrick.

I also purchased two skeins of Alpaca Sock Yarn by UK Alpaca. These are called rose and sapphire and will make a gorgeous pair of socks.

My final purchase was this lovely skein of Echo Self Striping Sock Yarn by Fybrerspates. This colourway is called flowergarden and I am very excited to own this. It might not be knitted up for a while, but is definately a favourite with equal billing to my Zen String Bambewe. These two yarns excite me so much it is obscence!

The afternoon and evening was spent at Elizabeth B and Kendric's house-warming party. It was great fun and Kendric laid on a feast, including pigs in blankets vegetarian style. I am trying out his receipe tonight to gauge Iain's thoughts. I am also making bread sauce ... yum!

We decided our next collaborative project and are going to cross stitch Elegance of the Orient for Elizabeth S's mum over in the States. We have decided we like to make people cry by craft. It is very satisfying.

All this talk of cross stitch prompted me to pick up a FO and start working on it again. The design is The Fairy Moon and is designed by Nora Corbett under the name Mirabilia. I totally love her designs. I have a sneaky suspicion I have a couple more charts in my crafting stash so I really must spend more time on cross stitch.

Sunday afternoon was spent wondering around the Christmas Market. Unfortunately, we were not able to visit in the evenings due to Iain's work commitments and it really does look its best at night.

My favourite stalls were:

Button Company
, Chichester carries a great selection of buttons, ribbons, and other crafty items - very useful for the knitter, quilter, sewer and card maker.

They also showed a variety of quilt and folksy kits. These are carried by The Eternal Maker and I shall be ordering THIS one - In My Folk Art Garden by Cinnamon. The colours, quality, design and textures are just lovely. I just need to get paid first.

Another lovely stall, as always, is Walcot Woollies. When Maddy is bigger, I shall buy her a fleece or a dress from here. Their garments, hats and booties are beautiful.

These mugs are cute, especially the sheep and penguins. They were on the ECP Design stall.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Surprise, Surprise

I have had such lovely yarny fun this week. Unfortunately, I can't say anything about it until mid-January!

I have, up until this week, been working hard on present knitting. I am totally lusting some patterns I have recently come across:

Heathered Skies
by Claire Montgomerie (published in Yarn Forward Issue 8) [Ravelry link]
Tidewater Wrap by Nancy Shroyer (published in Interweave Knits Summer 2008)

At the moment I am totally delighted by stranded knitting. I am currently knitting a present using this technique and it is very enjoyable. I love the use of colours in the above two projects.

The other two patterns grabbing my attention are crochet patterns:

Woodland Shawl by Kathy Merrick (published in Interweave Crochet Fall 2008)
Spanish Moss Coat by Tracy St. John (published in Interweave Crochet Fall 2008)

I believe I have a lot more to learn before I can tackle the coat so this might be a project for next autumn. The shawl, however, is a different prospect.

Several of us are planning to visit Get Knitted next Saturday and I might purchase the yarn for the Woodland Shawl then.

Anyway, I feel I should show you a recent present made and given to a friend - thrum mittens. She did confuse them with boxing gloves but has reported they warm her hands up well in cold weather.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Old, New, Borrowed and Blue

I have been bursting and wanting to write about one of my favourite projects for ages. However, it was a special present for my lovely friend Jess and her husband John.

Jess organises our knitting circle here in Bath and, when we heard about her wedding, several of us joined forces to knit the lovely couple something special. The idea was posited by CausticAngel [Ravelry link] and Lizard Ridge by Laura Aylor was decided upon.

With Elle, Elizabeth and Betsan also on board the project flew off the needles. We settled on a modest afghan 3 squares wide and 5 squares long knitted in the recommended yarn Noro Kureyon. It was a pleasure to shop for the different yarns and I think we produced something to be proud of.

I think wrapping the present was as much fun as making the gift itself.

I had so much fun making it. I loved working on a project with friends. I loved the fact this project removed my fear of purling and I now enjoy this stitch. Sewing the squares together was enjoyable, and I no longer shirk from such a job.

Everyone involved was so positive about this project and I believe we all loved working on it.

Together we have made a friendship afghan and I hope it wraps Jess and John in love whenever they use it to keep warm.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Lazy Saturdays

I had a most enjoyable Saturday. I believe this is due to me losing grip on reality.

I spent most of my Saturday ironing. See! I am mad.

Anyway, I was working on a gift and this involved me, my steam iron, a wet tea towel and the TV. DH had to go to work so this left me free to watch several Nick Cave & The Bad Seed sessions. Bliss. I think this might be the reason why I ironed for such a long time as I danced and sung my way through the ironing pile.

I think I need to go to a concert. It has been a while afterall.

As a lazy day project, how about knitting and felting your own netball game (as spotted at Glastonbury 2008).

I am in vinyl love. I really would like this limited edition set by Eels. However, I can't afford it :(

On the knitting front, I you have time pop over to Woolly Wormhead's site and provide her with your head measurements as she is aiming to work out valid small/medium/large hat sizes.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Tuesday Night Knit Club

Had a great meet this evening. It was a small cosy group this evening so lots of gossiping.

Anyway, I have cast on a cute hat for preemies. Thank you very much for the pattern Woll-Ecke. I have been promising to carry out some charity knitting and have kindly been given some yarn (absolutely masses of the stuff!) by a friend of mine. Anyway, this means I must put my pointy sticks to work and start knitting.

The only thing for it is to try to dedicate little blocks of time. I am loving the pattern and hope to finish it tomorrow.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Ripe Wheat Doily

Ripe Wheat Doily
Originally uploaded by Captains & Mates
I'll whisper this bit ... I am suffering from doily madness.

This has caused me to cast on this project.

I really loved this doily that was crochetted by CharlotteUlmer (Ravelry link). I spent days trying to ignore it. It wouldn't go away.

DH is having palpatations ... he doesn't think we are old enough to have a doily.

I don't care. I have to make this one!

Time! It flexes like a ...

Well, madness has been happening at work and it has taken up almost all my energy. I have had a certain David Bowie line trot around my head as each time I look at the clock I discover another morning/afternoon has passed and my to do pile hasn't deminished in the slightest. Luckily, we have a new person in our department since the beginning of the month early and this will really help.

On the plus side (there is always a plus side, right?) I have managed to shake a few things off my needles. I am pleased.

Vera - the glorious VLT pattern is off my needles and off the blocking board. I have been wearing this loads but haven't managed to take a picture of it without pins. Soon, I promise. Meanwhile, enjoy some lace porn.

I also managed to finish All the Fun of the Fair (so called because I purchased the yarn at All the Fun of the Fair, London a while back. I love it and only have about a 1m of yarn left over. I am so happy although I was scared of running out of yarn.

Socks have been causing me some problems recently (did I boast at a knit club?). I have some gorgeous Natural Dye Studios sock yarn and have tried to made a certain sock pattern 4 times. The last time, I had to admit defeat. I love the pattern but the yarn hated it. Finally, I listened to the yarn. Afterall, a good knitter should follow the yarn where it leads her ... Nancy Bush's Latvian Socks (aka Spearmint Arrows). My sock yarn is happy and I am happy. I have wanted to knit this pattern for ages and finally it is on my needles. It makes me happy.

I have also cast on a pair of Thrumb mittens for a girlfriend. She works in a warehouse and her hands become really cold. I thought these would help defrost her fingers during break. They are mad and DH hates them. They really make me laugh. Just need to knit the left.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby!

My in-laws celebrated their 40th Wedding Anniversary last weekend.

Merriment was held at my BIL house and the weather was so kind we were able to enjoy an afternoon in the garden, drinking tea, eating cake and, later, quaffing wine. Although that warmth seems a long time ago as I have been cold this evening.

After a glass of champagne (so necessary at all festivities, although DH disagrees), we were treated to a lovely dinner at La Flambe.

Following on from all the festivities, Sam and I played netball on Sunday morning. I don't know who was more surprised - Sam that I actually turned up or me that I could catch the ball! Certainly, it was not like playing netball at school. I used to hate the seriously competitive edge matches had, maybe because I always felt useless and was one of the last chosen. I'm really not bitter and twisted by school sports (although I hated the majority of them), but it is refreshing to discover that ball games can be played for fun, with much laughter and the odd jostle.

For the afternoon, we enjoyed a sunny walk around the circular drive at Westonbirt Arboretum. The autumn colours are starting to come through, and there are plenty of berries on the trees.

Russets always look spectacular and light up the greens around them.

I just loved the splash of purple against the lime of the leaf.

I was surprised by the glorious show put on by the hydrangeas, although I do love their blousey lazy look.

I think the perfect view of the day was this heavily ladened tree. Each branch was perfectly lit and looked like a shower of lights in the sunbeams.

I have been knitting too, although you might not think so. I am desperate to finish All the Fun of the Fair and Vera. I am very close to finishing both of these projects but have been devoting time to knitting presents.

My friend, Mandy, returned to New Zealand this Wednesday. I have discovered she has taken up knitting, generally reusing garments from charity shops. I really hope to see some of the stuff she has been working on. I was able to send her home with my EZ Hat, which should help keep her warm next winter.

I will be running the Trading Hut in the village this Saturday. Whilst I hope to get some knitting done during my shift, I also hope it will be busy so we take some money.

Saturday, 27 September 2008


As Amy so rightly stated, it didn't take me long to die and suffer forced retirement from Hat Attack II. I love my death weapon but am secretly pleased not to have to knit at the required gauge. My hands hated knitting such a thick yarn on such small needles. Madness and my mind is still trying to recover.

Anyway, thank you M McClurg for my woolly death, it is lovely.

Our village held its annual Flower Show on 13 September.T he night before it looked as though the marquee would be washed away but on Saturday morning we were all greeted by a lovely sunny day.

With certain members of the village not entering a Victoria Sponge or Fruit Cake this year, I felt sure I would be placed. Oh, foolishness indeed. Although I thought they both tasted lovely, it appears that Soya margarine is not the type of marg the judge likes. I must return to the traditional type of marg next year. (The fruit cake is a set receipe.) Even worse was the fact that a very small portion of my Victoria Sponge was not thoroughly cooked. Now, in our house this is not a problem but in the competitive world of cake baking it means the cake will never be placed. Not in a month of Sundays. Drat. This also meant I could not entice people to purchase my prize winning cakes at the tea stand. Not this year anyway.

Roll on 2009!

On a much brighter note, I obtained a 3rd place for my first ever entry in floral arts. So happy. My husband is very concerned that the pink container came home with me. However, it is cute. I just need to think of a use for it.

After my bitter disappointment last year when my lace shawl received a second place I am very happy to be placed 1st this year. Last year, my lace came behind a well knitted pair of stocking stitch socks.

This year, I entered my socks Purple Perils (above), lovingly blocked onto my Fibre Trends sock blockers. I was up against some stiff opposition this year, the cardigan, necklace and blanket were lovely.

Also, there was some glorious needlecraft in the show this year. I am not sure who the entrants are but I am in awe of your work.

I will be uploading images from the Flower Show shortly in Flickr. I will advise when they become available.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Hat Attack II

Well, today is the day! I have been presented my target, the lovely Amyjaneb (Ravelry link).

My needles have been well tuned and I have selected the gorgeous colours for my murder weapon "Death is not the End".

I really think I'll use the maroon and bitter chocolate colourways (both to the right of the picture). The yellow and green were used to knit a hat based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's pattern. I am very happy with how it turned out. Therapi is a really lovely yarn to knit with (even if I have to use insanely small needles to obtain the necessary gauge for the death hat.

Anyway, it is time for bed so I can get up early and knit some death hat before work.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Honey, I bought more yarn!

The internet is a wonderful but dangerous place, especially just after pay day. I have amassed so much yarn over the last couple of weeks I am having serious problems with wedging it into my storage basket.

Anyway, shopping is always a favourite - even though it is best to window shop. There are adorable knitting needles by Kiku in the shape of ducks, pirates and Buddhas to name a few.

I also think the sock project tubes by Knitzi are great. My friend Jess has one and it is beautiful. I admire it very much and, when I can stop buying yarn, I really want to get myself one.

A pair of blockers is really useful for sock knitters (of which I am one) and I do love my Fibre Trend pair. However, I much admire Chappy Woman's wooden sock blockers. They come with many gorgeous designs and the main problem is deciding which to purchase. Also adorable are the blockers from Whorl Drop Spindle.

If only I hadn't been so bad with my yarn purchases over the last month ...

There are all sorts of goodies in there ... SWTC Therapi for Hat Attack II, Collinette, Manos del Uruguay, RYC, Lornas Laces, 4ply alpaca for Victorian Lace projects and some angora (the lovely blue/green/lilac bundle. I spent way too much but the majority was scored for really good prices on eBay.

I think my stash needs organising and I definately need to and learn to knit faster.

Our village Flower Show takes place this weekend which will put an end to some of the madness and mayhem in my life for another year. I am off to complete my entry form before I start baking cakes for the refreshment stall.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Walking News

First, The Gardian carries a knitting supplement and then The Telegraph follows suit. Where The Gardian was aimed at encouraging new knitters and also featured several sock patterns, The Telegraph's article is interesting and incorporates a book review. The vintage patterns are interesting, especially the frogged cardigan.

At work, we all seem slightly sad that September has arrived and we are yet to have a real run of sunny weather (although Saturday was glorious). To remind myself how lucky I am I thought I would pay attention to the views I enjoy whenever I attend my Sunday Knitting Group.

You see, I am lucky enough to enjoy a walk along a portion of the Kennet & Avon Canal at Bath.

I usually enjoy my stroll and knit along the way. I get the odd look but it has lead to an interesting conversation or two.

After the calm of the canal, I then have to walk up a big hill on a main road. Even on a Sunday, this can be busy and the noise of the motor car shakes out some of the good vibes. However, half way up the hill I can look over the wall and enjoy this view...

The sheep are a real bonus and I miss them when they aren't in the field.

I am a lucky girl.