Monday, 31 March 2008

Funeral for a Friend


I was so hopeful of Plums & Custard, so sure I had managed to bring my knitting under control and force the needles to do my bidding. It appears I was mistaken. This is the second time I have had to admit defeat and frog them. I am seriously upset, this is the second time I have had my arse whopped by one circular needle and 100g of gorgeous wool. Plums & Custard, I love you but I fear we have parted ways. I believe we need time apart, meanwhile I mourn your loss my purple and yellow friend. Perhaps when we meet again, you’ll let me know what you want to be … it sure as hell isn’t a pair of damn socks!

It could be Iain sabotaged our relationship, he has been jealous of our relationship. He has been waiting for me to cast on his purple perils.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

What a Wonderful World


I have had a great Easter weekend. I was lucky as I was whisked off to Oxford by Iain. A weekend away in a rented apartment and tickets to see Eels on Sunday … I am a very lucky gal.

Anyway, Oxford is a beautiful city with lots to explore; streets full of character, iconic buildings, beautiful parks and riverside walks. We spent a lovely time roaming and we even visited the Bodleian Library which is fascinating. Iain discovered that it was usual for students to stand during lectures; something he thought might be of benefit today. If you love old books or even just the smell of old books, I thoroughly recommend a visit. I am not sure how anyone graduates from Oxford, I personally would spend my time going … ohhhh, look at THAT, its lovely!

The star of the weekend was attending Eel’s concert at New Theatre, see some pics here. I think E might collect rugs; they sure make the stage look homely. The evening started with a viewing of Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lines the documentary made by the BBC looking at E and his father, Hugh Everett III, a famous quantum physicist. The remainder of the evening was spent listening to music and excerpts from E’s book Things the Grandchildren Should Know. I am pleased to report I now own a purple t-shirt and our CD collection has grown (again!).

I did manage to fit in some knitting and Plums & Custard are growing, albeit slowly. Unfortunately, I just had to purchase some Rowan Kid Silk Haze to knit a beret … damn the cold weather and latest issue of Let’s Knit magazine.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Brother, My Cup is Empty

I cast on the first project for my sister’s baby last week and have nearly finished it. It is Debbie Bliss’s Garter Stitch Matinee Jacket from her Baby Cashmerino 2 book. I thought it would be a fun, plain pattern to knit but I am finding it a bit dull as it is all garter stitch. However, I think it is going to look stunning. Pictures coming soon, I promise.

I have tinkered with the pattern so I won’t have any sewing! The fronts and backs have been knitted as one piece on circular needles, removing 1 stitch from the fronts and 2 stitches from the back pieces when casting on. I used a crochet provisional cast on when adding stitches for the sleeves. This has enabled me to knit the fronts and I will then pick up the stitches so I can knit the backs. My plan is to use the 3 needle graft detailed by Sandi Wiseheart of Knitting Daily to join the tops of the sleeves so the jacket appears to have no seams whatsoever! That will amaze my sister.

This is the first time I have used Rowan RYC Cashsoft Baby DK which is lovely and soft. It is easy to split with the needles but has good stitch definition. As general with baby patterns, I didn't bother swatching as baby will grow to fit this item. I am only getting 22.5sts to 10cm and the pattern calls for 25sts on 3.25mm bamboo needles so I adjusted the length of the garment to take this into consideration. However, as I have more of this in my stash I plan to drop a needle size when using the rest of the yarn.

I am lucky enough to live a spit close to Bath, which allows me to enjoy the city after just a short walk. A while ago we were lucky enough to have Oxalis open their tea emporium in New Bond Street. Being partial to a cuppa I think this is a brilliant store where loose leaf tea can be purchased by the bag. They also sell lovely teapots, cups and tea cosies that are knitted by the mum of the man who runs the store. Best of all is that they now have tearooms in the basement of the building. A genius idea that enables you to try a type of tea from their extensive menu before purchasing it from the shop upstairs. The ambience and service was as lovely as the tea and my visit left me with a warm happy glow for the rest of the day. They are also happy to see knitters so, if you have some time available and fancy a pleasant location to knit, drop in and have some tea. I don’t think it will disappoint.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar

Things have been busy, or should I say my Bank Manager is slightly poorer. I had a slight splurge on books this month - I purchased 3 knitting books to further extend the library.

The first is Debbie Bliss’s Simply Baby. I really like her patterns and this contains the most amazing double breasted coat. It is so lovely I am going to knit it for my sister’s baby. Sue will totally love it and I seriously think it should be bright red. Anyway, I just have had to knit this coat, its so beautiful and, even better, I can knit it for my sister’s baby. There are a host of other gorgeous patterns in the book, solid Debbie Bliss and I shall enjoy working through the book.

The other two books are Beads, Buttons and Lace by Jennie Atkinson and Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael. These books are just so lovely but realistically I would need to have somebody else’s body for the designs to look great on me. However, Ms McGowan-Michael regularly sizes her designs for the larger gal and they still look totally wonderful, so there is hope for me yet.

Beads, Buttons and Lace contains the pattern for THE ultimate dressing gown. I was lent this book by Jess and have been incapable of wiping this design from my mind. Anyway, I have given up smoking and I’m not drinking at present (just a wee bit jealous of my sis) so surely I can loose weight to make THAT dressing down look amazing on me? The book does also have several other lovely designs and accessories all evocative of Hollywood glamour of the 30’s and 40’s and, whilst predominantly knitting based does incorporate some lovely crochet items.

Knitting Lingerie Style does contain patterns for knitted undergarments including an underwired bra but it does so much more than that. It provides a range of structured tops that will suit all shapes and sizes. There is also a selection of stockings and socks. Although some designs are quirky and will probably never make it onto my needles they are all pretty and slightly flirty.

Oh! I ought to include a word about Plums & Custard. I do believe the knitting fates are teaching me a lesson. Having turned both heels, I discovered a serious problem with my counting - one heel was wider than the other. Yes, 2 whole stitches wider. This also means that the top of the sock was also disadvantaged. After some stropping and debate I had to frog one of the heels. Damn, I thought I had two socks on one needle licked, afterall my last pair worked. It’s a bit sensitive at the moment. Jon, I still love your wool!

Friday, 7 March 2008

Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

Phew, it is the end of what feels like a very long week. It has been a week of deadlines - some achieved, some missed and some re-located to another day.

One of the worst was missing the newsletter deadline for the Gardener’s Association and, rightfully, this will be commented on by the other Committee members. However, I have agreed to pre-prepare some articles which will prevent this from happening in the future. Luckily, we have an open day in the village Trading Hut soon, so this will provide fodder for an article I can write and have available before time.

Tuesday night was the local SnB meet down the pub - yippee! Still not drinking - boohoo! It was fun seeing some of the other projects on the go. Jess is knitting some fabulous
Snowflake Lace Socks by Melanie Berney.

Simply Knitting magazine have organised a knit along detailed at the Simply Knitting blog. Elizabeth was using DT Craft & Design's gorgeous hand-dyed sock yarn. This is 90% soft alpaca and 10% hard-wearing nylon and is so lovely and soft I placed an order the next day for the Kool Aid dyeing kit. The service was excellent and I received the kit the next day.

I finished my version of My So Called Scarf and love wearing it. It is so soft to the touch and the stitch design reminds me of my mum’s coat. I am also working on Plums and Custard. This is the second pair of socks I have made using this yarn as I hated the first pair I made. I could probably have found somebody who would have loved them but I could not bear to part with them. There was no option but to frog and start again. Anyway, Plums & Custard is a plain pair of socks knitted simultaneously using the magic loop method. They are named after the colour way I am using. This wool is spun and dyed by Jon of EasyKnits.

We received the new Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds album Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! this week and have been singing away and doing silly walks. Such fun.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Got the pussy blues?

I admit I am only a novice servant as I have only been in training for 17 odd years. Not long after I moved into my first flat I provided accommodation to a cat - my mum disliked them.

Teddy gave me a valuable lesson - we are only there to serve. He proved to have a temper and a tendency to car wrestle. I miss the way he would greet me home from work. However, he would tell me off if the weather was bad. I feel sad that he was deprived knowledge of yarn, I think he would have really enjoyed it.

Teddy Mark II then came into my life and she could not have been more different. She was sweet tempered and hated going outside. She became queen C when her world was invaded by two upstarts, who bounced and fought. Teddy MII was still with me when I knitted my first scarf. However, she never had the opportunity to see the path that scarf took me down. She would not have been too pleased with my obsession as knitting makes access to the lap more difficult.

The current masters, Meg and Smudge, share the house with yarn and will seek out small balls to toss around, although they are firm believers that small rodents are better. Luckily they have yet to show a desire to fish yarn out of my project bag. They do like using my working tail as dental floss, something I guard against.

Even more concerning is their love for wooden needles and hooks. They like to watch the tips of my needles and can be seen waiving their heads as they follow the flow of my needles. They also enjoy rubbing their heads and cheeks against the needle and then, ever so gently, nipping the end. Luckily they have not caused any damage to date. They are doing this less and less, I think they secretly laugh at me as I become all flustered and huffy.

Both if them have their own secret weapons (and I don’t mean claws) in getting attention. Smudge rolls around on the floor chasing her tail. This singular act of cuteness can get her the attention she craves. Meg takes the more relaxed approach of stretching herself out on cushions, making sure she looks as refined as the Queen of Sheba, although sometimes she just flops down as a ball of chocolate fluffiness. However, if I bribe them, they will generally let me get on with my knitting.

However, the joy of housing cats became totally apparent as I tried to sleep last night. It was a bit cold and I discovered I could not turn over as one of the cats had decided to sleep between my legs. Not having the heart to kick her off every time I wanted to roll over, I woke up, dragged my leg up and around my sleeping cat, repositioned myself and fell back to sleep.

I know who gets pampered in our house.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Welcome!

For a while now, I have been keeping notes of my manic knitting. The next logical step was to make it interactive so I could easily post pictures next to my notes. I could then follow progress of my objects as they change from yarn to finished article. Maybe, just maybe, someone else might find it of interest. Afterall, I spend a lot of time on Ravelry looking at other people's work.

My thoughts are that this will document my growth as a knitter and the problems I have with crochet. I will probably talk a bit about spinning as I start out learning this craft.

I plan to link to things I find of interest or that make me laugh or cry. I have climbed on the roller coaster and I think I'm gonna enjoy the ride!