Sunday, 30 December 2007

Belated Christmas Wishes (warning, this'll be a very long one!)

First off, thank you to all you wonderful people who left comments on the last post, it really cheered up DH's day (and a few days after!).

Right, I promised I'd update you all on the trials and tribulations pre this festive time so here it is. However, it comes with a warning, if you don't particularly want to read about emotional stuff and all that it entails, just skip the starred part and look at the pretty pictures cown below. There's plenty of them and lots of Christmas goodies as well as a F.O.

You have been warned...

A while back, I posted about the fact we had a mouse in the kitchen. I extolled the virtues of the JML pest shield because I believed the hype that it was protecting the house and as there seemed to be no trace of mouse poo on the worktops I went about my business secure in the knowledge that my house was protected from the critters...BIG MISTAKE!!!

Firstly, JML have been slapped on the wrist for "misleading advertising" and withdrawn the product, it's all a pack of lies! At best, it's a low grade ultrasonic deterrent that maybe covers the worktop but as recently we've even had poo back on the worktop where it's located, my guess is it's just a pretty little light right now.

I started to have my suspicions when, months later, I noticed odd traces of poo on the baking sheets thast are stored underneath the oven but then again it could just have been old stuff. I knew I'd been far more vigilant cleaning up crumbs and spills and washing up but when I got around to using the oven and found the bottom of it caked in feces my stomach just turned.

Around a week or so after that, I was woken by a noise around 3am one night. I went to the loo, went back to bed and tried to tell myself that it was just house noises, you know, creaking floorboards, rain on the roof, wind etc. etc. but when I watched a mouse climb up the curtains (cream with a streetlight just beyond so, yes, I got an in-depth look!), right to the top, scout around and then scramble down again, pausing because it could obviously hear my heart thumping so loudly, I was scared half to death. Unfortunately, the mouse that had decided to make its appearance was a somewhat heavy-footed creature and incredibly determined as, even with the bedside lights on, it continued to crawl all over the room, up the clothes rack, over hubbies coat, and to the corner where it was determined to chew a hole in a holdall.

It essentially drove us from the bedroom around 4.30am and we went downstairs to the living room where we both crammed on the sofa and tried to get some sleep, hubbie being somewhat taller and taking the lions share but hey, who's going to gripe at a time like this? Around 8am, I decided I was fed up of being squashed in a corner, retired to a single chair and pulled out the knitting (god knows which one it was!).

That day (a Saturday), we visited the bro's, both somewhat the worse for wear and tried to work out what to do next. The bedroom was obvoiusly out of bounds until we could be sure it was mouse-free and I certainly didn't fancy sharing the sofa again. Anyway, that became a moot point when I returned home and saw one scuttle across the lounge!

By this point, I was so strung out and clearing the corners of the bedroom didn't exactly help; around midnight we gave up trying, (the little mouse with clogs on was obvioulsy still in evidence!) and threw ourselves on the mercy of the in-laws, a mere ten minute drive away (and luckily still with a king-size bed in hubbie's old room). The poor poochies had to fend for themselves that night though we made sure to get up early so they weren't left for too long. We were somewhat more relaxed after a break away from the scene though still needing to sort the situation out and pronto.

We found some sticky cardboard boxes (they were too clever for snap traps) from a local hardware shop then swung by B+Q where we met 3 other women (total strangers) all debating the best way of despatching the little critters from their homes. It somehow felt good to know there were others in the same situation, that it wasn't something wrong with us, that we were somehow dirty or substandard, it was just sheer dumb luck. If they want to get into your home, they will, period.

Anyhoo, after careful deliberation, we went with the electric trap that zaps 'em, an ultrasonic deterrent (no, we weren't put off, the description and limitations were far more believable) and more sticky traps. The ultrasonic went in the bedroom, a plug directly opposite the bed, the zap trap in an alcove where the sonics wouldn't reach, the sticky in another corner and as hub heard one in the computer room, another sticky in there. In the space of a couple of hours, we caught one in the computer room and I heard numerous cries of distress from the bedroom (oh yeah, it crashed and banged in the daytime too-sonic thingie was obviously doing its trick!) so by the time it came to bed, things were somewhat quieter so we risked sleeping- with the lights on.

Not like I got much sleep that night, I was listening for every noise, stressed to the eyeballs but it was a start and over the following nights, we gradually worked with less and less light until we were properly sleeping with the light off though I still got extremely twitchy when it got dark (as it does early here, 3-4pm). Things began to get more stable though in a house which is crammed to the gunnells with fiberly stuff, I had to fall on the generosity of many and stored boxes of yarn with the in-laws, my parents had generously driven over and filled their small car with smelly fleeces to store in their garage and we obvoiusly spent time clearing and tidying where and when we could.

All went positively until Tuesday came along, we'd put a sticky trap on the kitchen worktop where evidence was most active the evening before and hub was to check it before he went to work in case it had worked. Well, he did, nothing, I did at breakfast, still nothing, at lunch when I came in with my pie from the bakery it was fine but when I went to wash my plate I was greeted with a squeaking shrieking creature that I plain and simply could not go past. Problem.

Particularly as it was hubbie's Christmas meal at lunchtime and I had no idea of when he would return...and half the kitchen was out of bounds.....

There was NO WAY I was dealing with it, I tried but it honestly turned my blood cold, in my childhood we were close to a water treatment plant and river and rats plagued my formative years until I was around 6 or 7 and a council man got to the bottom of the situation so it's essentially left me with a bit of a phobia, behind bars, no problem, but wild, urgh! So, once again, I had to fall on the generosity of the parents-in-law and the FIL turned up an hour later complete with bashing stick, poor guy! He did a good job though and by 2pm I had regained control of the kitchen and spent a somewhat stressful evening waiting for hubbie to return. So the score was sticky traps 2, everything else zero but we were 2 down which had to be good but this was leading towards Christmas and I had neither time nor energy to decorate the house so it was only the Sunday before when the tree finally got put up, that's about as far as it went.

It wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't had a succession of bad Christmasses which I'd mentioned previously, the first of which involved one grandmother in hospital with a crumbled spine. She died in the new year, a good age but the thing that tipped me over the edge was the fact that she'd had and been treated for cancer and hadn't told a soul. Coming on top of leaving my job due to ill health that no one could find a reason for and having my benefit snatched from me by a cow of a doctor (with no recourse to appeal simply because hubbie works), it was the straw that broke me, literally.

That was the start of my continuing battle with anxiety depression, I felt guilt and anger that I never had a chance to help or support my grandmother tied in with the emotional distress of being forced to make a job for myself at a time when I knew in my heart I did not have the strength to do a half reasonable job and just before that Christmas due to the incompetence of benefits staff, my time-limited benefit expired and was not transferred so I was expected to run a business on £15 a fortnight!

So 2002 is pretty much deleted from my memory and when in the Christmas of that year my other grandmother was at home with oxygen and died around easter... of cancer, that time wasn't excatly sterling either. The next year eactly on hubbie's birthday, my dad decided to step in a pothole taking the dog for a protracted walk, broke his ankle, got up and stood on it (v. bad) and shattered both his ankle and lower leg. Also being in the middle of nowhere when it happened, he was lucky that a couple also out walking helped him to limp home. So that was another Christmas spent at the hospital, it took ten days before the swelling went down enough for them to operate and months of metalwork both internal and external. I had the advantage? of breaking my arm back in 2002 which meant I got extra support from people who didn't see I needed it mentally but the lessons I learned in recovery I was able to pass on to my dad and he like myself is pretty much back to normal as far as level of movement is concerned.

I've had a lot of time, a lot of therapy and two years of less-stress Christmasses before this one and in a lot of ways I've recovered though it's become clear over the last few months that the long term stress my body was put under has actually caused one hell of a lot of damage. No, not cancer, not the thing I worried about; Hashimoto's Thyroiditis just like my ma (heading in the right direction so far), acid reflux so bad it caused the lump in my throat and now it looks like hypertension could be on the cards. At least I have sucessfully been treated for the Arthritis which never comes up on a test but plagued my life for so long even though I get stern warnings from my doc every time it comes to medication reviews (us asthmatics aren't allowed to have Arthritis, aparrently, or at least shouldn't get treatment for it).

I still get stressed, unreasonably so I guess, and very emotional over trivial things but the mouse situation's shaken us out of our complacent lifestyles and examine quite why the place gets in such a mess. On Boxing day we did a grand clear out of the back room upstairs, the grand dumping ground for boxes and associated christmas stuff, filled the recycling bin, the half-full non-recycling bin, took a car load of stuff to the charity shop and another car load ready to go to the tip tomorrow. We went to B+Q and got 2 metal shelving units and some plastic boxes so now my upstairs yarn has a home and he's currently assembling the second one right now for his assorted junk, a small step but in the right direction and in a few days we've made a huge difference in that room.

And so far, there's been no more evidence of our little friends though I'm not relaxing yet. Once things are clearer and I can be sure, then I'll be happier but for now I'm just glad they're keeping hidden.

I see a definite New Years resolution starting!
Now to Knitterly news which, in my typical stressed fashion, I've put the pics in the wrong order, d'oh! Ah well, here we go.

Here's Mystic Waters finally finished and blocking. It was so big, there was no way it was going on the blocking board so it couldn't be wetted as it was pinned to the bed!

I just couldn't get it all in the frame!

I never managed to get that pesky final border straight but it did have pride of place at the Christmas dining table. It was lovely to wear if impractical though I guessI'm going to have to get used to it, there's four so far this year, two starting in just a couple of days.

After much frustration and major repeated frogging, I completed the back and am around the armhole stage on the front.

It's difficult to get the colours right but you get the picture. It's moving slowly, even slower wht with the Christmas and tidying and so on but I hope to still have it finished before the winter turns to spring.

Here's where we jump around a bit 'cos the pics are in the wrong place. I picked up this nifty bag as a sort of gift to me just before Christmas.

It's got places for needles, a circular concertina holder thingie and loads of pockets for lord knows what stuff. I plan to fill it sometime soon.

In total disorder here's my first knitted swatch for Secret of the stole 2. I knitted the first part with 3mm needles then switched to 2.75mm when I thought it might be a wee bit loose which is why the edges are uneven. I'm undecided which needle to use but the yarn is truly gorgeous.

Here is my choice of yarns for the next 3 knitalongs, the dark blue in the background for Dem Fischer sin Fru, a choice between the dusky pink at the back or the green in the middle for the Spring surprise, variegated laceweight that I decided against and cones of cashmere silk that were a bit on the fine side. I'm accruing a good lace stash! Oh yeah, and at the front another "me" prezzie from Posh Yarns before Christmas, just not enough yardage.

Christmas prezzies (should have been at the beginning!). Being a forward-thinking kind of girl, I order them in advance then they're ready to pass around when relatives ask me what I want!

The bottom one is a special book that hubbie ordered with our holiday photos in it, what a great idea and a lovely surprise!

And an even lovelier surprise, a special pre-christmas gift from Lyndsey!

It's 5 skeins of wonderful Colinette Parisienne that the lucky lady found in the SALES section! There's around £40 of yarn there for a fiver! I did try to tempt her with the pattern book to make something for herself even though I seriously coveted it! I did knit a pair of socks for her recently which she loved (we did a bit of a bargain!) but it was still a lovely present.

And here's the Posh yarns laceweight that hubbie gave me (well, I DID pick it up in advance!).

There wasn't really enough for two of the knitalongs this time but the third HAD to be knitted with the cobweb cashmere/silk she'd called Chocolate! the rest will just stay in reserve until something else beautiful comes along. It was a nightmare to wind though!

We even did a bit of post-Christmas Shopping yesterday, I got these from John Lewis...

...all half price!

And this cache from Abakhan, for just over £15!

I got plenty of pennies stashed away ready for Skip North next year and picked up a few goodies along the way too. Plus there's Posh yarns sale later on this evening...get ready for the scramble!

...actually, I just lost everything, bugger!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

21 today! (Again!)

Sorry for the dealy in posting, I will tell you the whole story in the fullness of time but for now I need your good wishes for a totally different reason.

Having a Birthday so close to Christmas is never going to be an easy thing, too many times of combined presents and the day being consumed in the feverish racing about picking up last-minute items plus the memory of three horrendous Christmasses one after another has left our dear hubbie with a deep mistrust of all things Birthday-related!

For me it means extra-special effort to try and counterract the negativity, early presents, birthday wrapping paper and heaps of prezzies on the day. There have been times when I have let things slip in the past but I think the nail on the coffin was a few years back when my dad fell down a pothole on the exact day and ended up in metal and wires around his foot and leg for months. It's been two, maybe three years now since anything major happened around Christmas but it still has that slight air of " what can go wrong this time?" Well, we kind of have repeat scenario this year but at least no-one is hurt, in hospital or at death's door!

So anyway, I'm asking anyone out there who's still reading my blog at this stressful time of year to take a second and wish my lovely Pete a happy Birthday in the comments section; hell anything to make his day a little bit different, what d'you think?

Thank you in advance for anyone that is still out there!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

It's Magic! (or how not to knit a sock!)

Firstly, apologies for the somewhat lacklustre post last time. I've been suffering a bit with the old health this week (mostly self-inflicted..note to self, do NOT carry a 6kg wheel in a bag over your shoulder all the way through Liverpool-20 mins. and expect to get away with it!). I have been told by the other half in his somewhat undiplomatic way that I was "a right old grouch" on Monday so I was obviously not on top form.

Anyway, Would you like to see a bit of magic?

Here we have a nearly completed pair of socks...
I wave my magic wand (just use your imagination!)...
Now you see them...

...Now you don't!

Sorry, was that too fast for you?

Okay, let's do it one more time, just a little slower...




(Nearly) gone!

To fill in the gaps, these were destined to become a pair of Jaywalkers for the aforementioned other half. Despite the fact that I have already knitted this pattern three times before for different sized feet, I mucked it up right royally!

Before starting the heel on the second sock, I got hubby to try the first one on, unfortunately it was tight getting over the heel area so I thought..okay, I fix the second heel, finish the second sock then rip the first back to the heel and fix it...Well, that was the plan.

I got hubbie to try the second half-finished sock on to check the heel modifications in case it needed further tinkering...he couldn't even get it on his foot, the leg was too tight!

So, adios amigos, they'll just have to wait 'till after Christmas. Still, look on the bright side, that's one UFO out of the pile! Actually, I've made good use of my lack of activity outside to complete 2 more long-standing UFO's, pic's to follow. I've actually sewed in 2, yes, TWO zips in cardi's this week, I'm dead proud!

Monday, 3 December 2007

A whole week goes by and all I can show you is.....

Knitting, knitting and more knitting!

in Mystic waters news, here's the latest installment...

...Yeah, it's getting a bit big to appreciate all in one shot (and fit on one 80cm circular!), so here's a close-up...

As I actually managed to take these photos on one of those rare patches of sunlight, they might apppear a bit bleached but I think it still shows how much I'm loving this whole thing. I completed clue 6 in one day (albeit a long one!). Only 2 more weeks to go!

And in between all the lacy happenings, I managed to complete the cardigan i've been blogging about over the past few weeks..

....Here it is actually being worn...

..And I rather like it! I 'm happy with the fit after the alterations I'd made and the buttons...well, after buying about ten "possibles", I found the perfect specimens in my button box, from a previous forage!

There is sock news but i'll leave it to next time, suffice to say there's a bit of frogging to be done before they're done, but at least I'm working on the heel on the second sock right now.

The completion of Secret of the Stole cleared time for me to start this knit which I've been dying to start for months!

It's Twilley's freedom spirit and an interesting pattern where the front becomes gthe back and vice versa hence stripes of stocking and reverse stocking stitch. Adding increases into that makes it a bit like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time but thankfully, at this time, I'm past that point. Not without a reasonable degree of frogging, however, the worst when an entire days worth of knitting went west. Ah well, these things are sent to try us!

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Secret of the Stole Completed! (and other knitterly news)

The wonders of technology have played their part in the delays of this post, I would have posted yesterday but as all the camera batteries decided to die at the same moment, I only just scraped a photo before the light went arouond 4pm.

Still, I have pleasure in various Secret of the stole.
a) directly off the needles (still needing a wash and block).

b) on the blocking board which by a miracle just fitted all the way around...

...see the crossover on the bottom, the twin forks of the beginning and the single point of the end.
..and just to prove it, here's the other side. Of course, the flip side of pinning in this way is the inevitable scalloped edge but what the hey!

c) A rough idea of what it will look like when worn.

And, yes, there are tails still there, you can see how eager I was to photograph the whole thing!

After washing, there was a fair amount of grey sludge loss so the whole thing looks a tad brighter and fluffier now it's lost it's machine oil coating. I'm really pleased with the overall look, still 50/50 as to whether to overdye it a bit stronger colour but as I still don't have a clue what the overall theme is, I'm not committing to anything quite yet! (I could work out the clues but, you see, every braincell is focussed on the 3 remaining projects and getting everything polished off for Christmas).

In other lacy news, I finshed clue 5 of the Mystic waters Shawl in record time, considering I'd put off knitting clue 4 'till the weekend/beginning of the week, I felt I'd got into the groove of the piece. I sort of can't wait for it to be completed but I'm already suffering lace knitting withdrawal symptoms, so what I'll pick up then, I just don't know!

Pretty, though, ain't it?

And I can't let another day go by without acknowledging my rockstar parcel I got from Charity.
Remember, she'd been to Blue Moon Fibre arts Sale? She picked up this colourful selection for me...

..there are FIVE skeins of Socks that rock lightweight sock yarn, some lovely merino laceweight that she hand-dyed especially for me, a cute box of chocolates and tinted lip balm, just right as the weather gets nippier!

In between re-arranging my life around lace, I have been fitting in other knitting..

..Squeezing this single sock into my travelling knitting, one more to go! I modified the original pattern to make it a bit longer overall, Just one more sock to knit (then another pair that i've promised for a friend),and I'm one project away from finishing my Christmas knitting, Woo hoo!

The fusion cardi has also been a quick(ish) knit for mindless times in between lace clue postings.
Both sleeves are now complete..

...Actually, I'm 3/4 through the front panels now, just haven't got a photo yet! The colours in this particular shade have been a bit random, I bought the pack for the gorgeous cobalt blue that features but there's been only small flashes of it in many balls and the front is quite dark. Still, it'll all look better when it's joined together with its ribbed button band and collar, you'll have to watch this space for that one.

With the new camera (for all the battery discharging faults), I do get the opportunity to get pictures like this one...
What's he dreaming about, d'you think?

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Don't ya just love it when technology actually works?
Unfortunately, blogger just 'aint right now so you'll have to settle for one lone picture :(

On the bright side, you can see some fab pics about Tuesday's adventure here.
It was a fantastic day, non-blogging new driver Lyndsey drove us (nearly) flawlessly and very confidently and we both had great fun! I really enjoyed meeting a select group of ravelers and made some new friends as well as having some sage advice as I ran around grabbing yarns and yelling "does this suit me?".

Luckily, my one pic. that blogger DID deign to download was my somewhat sizeable stash enhancement from Colinette. It appeared that small numbers actually did have a bit more pulling power, they dragged a pile of Cadenza from the back room for us to peruse 'cos there wasn't room on the shelves!

So, there's ten skeins of maroon Cadenza (at the back), ten skeins of grey/blue and colourful Cadenza, 5 skeins of Jitterbug in browns to make a jacket, 4 skeins turquiosey Cadenza ready balled to knit the Forest Canopy Shawl and some turquiose Jitterbug for fabbo socks. Well, it's a good journey, so I had to make it worthwhile, didn't I?

Unfortunately, I can't show you my lovely new stash of Posh Yarns Cobweb :(

Or my yummy Wollemeise Lace and Sock yarns :(

Or my WIP Fusion Cardi...not that that pic was particularly thrilling but I have made some progress this week. Speaking of progress, the Mystic waters Shawl has kind of..stalled. Clue 4 started well enough but I got lazy, forgot to count and had to frog the ten rows that I'd knitted!

No matter how many times I tried to work out where I was, I just couldn't relate so it's put on short term hold.

Funnily enough, since I decided that, there's been a great sense of release today that I don't HAVE to knit it. After all, it is supposed to be pleasurable! I'm happy to pick up the Secret of the Stole pattern tomorrow then I'll decide whether to tackle the mystic Shawl on the weekend. I don't want to fall behind but neither am I going to kill myself finishing them, particularly as there's a comission knit in the offing for a client for Christmas so a little rearranging of the kniting schedule may be necessary.

In other technological news, I've just about worked out how to add an avatar on Ravelry and a whole project picture! I've put some pics on Flickr from my previous posts and will eventually work out how to link everything. I'm not the most technological person, but I'm learning!

Oh yeah, and before I go, my Spoilee FINALLY got her first package! You can read all about it here.

I'm so glad she likes it, I just dread how much longer she'll have to wait for the second one (it's already been in the system a month!).

Monday, 12 November 2007

I'm Back! (by the skin of my teeth!)

Sorry I'm a bit late on this post, it's been a bit of a catalogue of errors this week!

It started well enough, I finished sewing up the Blur sweater just in time for the Knitting group on Tuesday evening, and roped in a friend to take this one...

...Well, it makes a change from the same old scene! You can see some of the goodies in the shop behind me, I am already lusting after half of it! It was a quick knit but I had so many other projects in the way that it took 2 months to complete :(

It's perhaps not the most flattering of garments but it's a thinnish warm layer and that's good around this time of year as the weather turns more towards the cooler end of the scale.

And with that in mind, I cast on another project!

It's Wendy Fusion (which I adore!) and another way to stashbust somewhat quicker than laceweight which takes up most of my knitting time right now. It's got decoration on the front but the rest is pretty mindless for those fogged out days, though it's been weird knitting with 5 1/2 mm needles after all the sock knitting! Of course, I couldn't help fiddling with the sizing and adding a wee bit of shaping though it'll probably still be quite wide (but cosy!).

I completed the next clue of the Mystic Waters Shawl, squeezing all but the last 6 rows out of the first skein. I'm still not sure I'll have enough to finish it completely but it's squaring up to be huge anyway so I don't think it'll be too much of a problem!

It's still taking a while but it is truly beautiful!

Things did go a bit downhill on Thursday when I managed to throw an entire pint of water all over the sofa, floor, laptop, knitting et al. After some frantic scrabbling, a manic unplugging and switching off, it was just a case of letting everything dry out hence the late post! Actually, it was the general mood for that day considering I'd spent the morning trying to track down batteries for the camera and charging them all as they were all totally dead, racing round to find the now one remaining working phone and so on. Not the best of days :(

It didn't take me too long to print out the shawl chart and on Friday the stole chart and work from the printouts so I wasn't left totally in the dark but I did get a bit twitchy not having Ravelry and the likes at my fingertips! We actually did a bit of Christmas shopping on Friday too as Himself had a day off so I'm playing catch up on the stole right now. Still, camera is now fine, laptop is AOK, Ebay items went over smoothly and were posted today (could have done without the half hour queue in the post office though!).

The travelling knitting got a boost though, what with Friday and visiting my brother on Saturday so you won't be too surprised to see another sock on the needles.

Yup, after saying I needed time before revisiting the Jaywalker pattern, it just seemed right to this project. It'll be a pair of socks for himself for Christmas and whilst fair isle patterning yarn isn't recommended, this Opal yarn has big bands of solid colour so I think it works really well. I'm making them a couple of inches longer than recommended to make it more male length.

Actually, it's been a yarny month, wonderful Charity went to a Blue Moon Fibre arts sale and offered to pick up some goodies for me, she did offer to tell me what she'd got but I'm happy to wait and see what arrives, it'll be a wonderul surprise. Follow the link and see what she picked up, it looks like a fab day out!

I also managed to pick up a hank or two from Wollemeise, some laceweight for a future project, sock yarn and undyed laceweight to have a play with, pic's to follow.

And it that wasn't enough, I'm nearly all set for tomorrow, the great Ravelry Colinette meet! Non-blogging Lyndsey who's recently passed her test has agreed to go on the adventure with me, I'm so excited! I look forward to meeting friends old and new (and "enabling" yarn purchases!). You'll have to wait until my next blog for what happened next!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Pictures, updates, and miles and miles of lace!

Okay, it's Tuesday not Monday, but here are the knitting updates I promised. Bizarrely, I had enough energy yesterday to visit a friend, walk the dogs twice, stop in on Val's new knitting shop, sort the tea AND go to a fireworks display!

Hence, not much time for knitting OR blogging! HOWEVER, better late than never here's the latest clue completed in the Secret of the Stole knitalong.

I can see that by the end of the next clue, I won't be able to fit it all in the viewfinder so I'll have to get a bit artistic or something! Funnily enough, I like knitting this pattern better than this one...

...Clue 2 completed of the Mystic Watershawl BUT I like the yarn better in this one! I know that the cashmere's true qualities will shine through at the end after the Secret of the Stole is washed but the cashmere silk blend is sooooo nice to knit with! (should have expected that being from Posh Yarns!). The pattern needs you to have your head screwed on to follow it and I'm not always that clear-headed (and it's not always alcohol!). I still love how the pattern is turning out, it does justice to the lovely yarn and fingers crossed the yardage will work out. I'm hoping to get half the rows from the next clue out of the first skein and the rest from the last 2 skeins, fingers crossed.

I have started a new project but unfortunately it ended in the frog pond rather sooner than expected. I have some DK lilac pure wool yarn to knit my MIL a pair of gloves, not mittens, not fingerless gloves, real traditional gloves. I want a pattern to knit in the round, I've searched Knitting pattern central, Knitty and loads of other online resources, scoured my patterns and found 2 on straight needles and one that I thought was perfect. Unfortunately, it uses sportweight yarn and 3.5mm needles and knitting on 3.25mm still made it massive.

I am of course being lazy, if I swatched the yarn first I could use the diet diary's patttern generator, I just wanted to get knitting! I have also now got the perfect yarn to restart the Eastern Cable Jacket ready for Christmas so I might just have to grab the needles and pattern and take them to group with me this evening.

Oh yes, and before I forget, I've done a smidge of work on the UFO heap, the Blur sweater is in the process of being sewn up and done some more rows on the ribbed Colinette sweater. Problem is I can't find the original pattern book and apart from a scribbled single-liner telling me how many decreases to do, I can't carry on much further. Which is why I'm justified in starting something new until I sort the gloves out!

The dogs are unfazed about the noise and fireworks last night, they were a bit jumpy after we returned from the big display at the local park but then it was noisy! I had to show you this snap I got last week though...

Altogether now.....aaaah!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

The Elephant has left the building.....

Yes, it's no longer hiding badly in the corner, the course is done 'n' dusted, final numbers 4 (which is 1 better than 3!), and I think they all had a good day. We were up on the top floor in a room I'd never beein in before, a wee bit shabby but with a fantastic view over the formal gardens at the back..which I never got a chance to photograph as I was so busy!

In retrospect, having a small group was a godsend because otherwise we plain and simply wouldn't have covered all that was planned! Everyone, as promised, went home with two patterns, a basic and a fitted sweater though the number crunching after lunch nearly saw us all off! I shall probably collapse for the rest of the week so expect some update pic's tomorrow when the light's better. A last minute attendee was actually secretary from one of the local weavers guilds so I'm hoping a bit of word of mouth might bring in extra numbers next time when we'll be exploring UFO's! Roll on February!

I'm feeling somewhat free and easy as I completed the Secret of the Stole pattern in record time (1, very packed day!) followed by the last 30 rows of Mystic waters shawl by yesterday afternoon and the second sock is approaching toe shaping so with a little luck that might get polished off this evening! I have found a potential other glove pattern for the MIL which will be nice, working with heavier than 4 ply and there's only one other pair of socks to do so I'm definitely beating Christmas knitting....yaaay! Might just sneak a bit of UFO bashing in before the next clue promises though!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Is it Just me or...

...Am I becoming lace obsessed?

I'm sitting here with half a bottle of a good red inside trying to work out the next installement of the mystic waters stole...not a good mix! I'm up to row 149 which is good but once again I can't figure out what's going on in the middle so perhaps it's best left to the morrow.

I would show you where I'm up to but a) the camera cable's upstairs; b) the lighting's appalling down here and c) I've just consumed half a bottle of a good red!

So you'll just have to make do with a recent snap of the horrible hounds...

...Who are both fit and well and not at all concerned about my ability (or lack of) on the lace front!

Other knitterly news that I have no pictures for...I'm nearly at the second foot on my Ma's socks...which is nice but the metal needles are hell on my hands which is less nice, sigh!

After deciding I wasn't going to touch any UFO's until after Christmas I've now frogged 2 projects, the Eastern Cable Jacket which I got antsy over after a friend's project in Jaeger Matchmaker stretched massively after blocking (I've had personal experience of it growing but blamed it on myself). Anyway, I've decided to get the proper yarn and start from scratch but in the intervening, the knitted yarn has rejoined the stash. I'll look for a stabilizing stitch pattern (like slip stitch) or maybe just WASH the swatch and calculate accordingly for the next Matchmaker project!

For a similar reason, I unearthed a Colinette chenille project buried for many months that looks hopelessly gappy and like it'll stretch 3 sizes bigger in the wash. So that was also added back into the stash but I haven't a clue what it'll become in it's new life, it's foxing me!

So maybe I'll get around to a bit of (EEEEK!!!) sewing up or (EEEEEEEEEEK!!!!!!!!!!) sewing in zips in the meanwhile...but don't hold your breath!

Ooh yes, before I forget, we had our first Knitting night at the NEW VENUE!!!! It's still in it's infancy and waiting stock but it's building up to be a cute new yarn shop...and its all MINE!!!! MWAHAHAHAHA! (well, and everyone elses, of course!). It was fun, it took a bit to get going, a shop out of hours is bound to be quieter than a pub but raucous laughter was certainly heard at various points (and I pity the poor saps who will be renting the flat above!).

And if course, I'm ignoring Sunday right now, I'll think about it maybe...Saturday?

And if there isn't a single spelling mistake in this post, a minor miracle will have ocurred....

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Secret of the Stole update, I'm getting Quicker!

No excuses this time, maybe I'm feeling a teensy bit better this weekend! Anyway, here are promised photos and I even finished clue 4 in record time, I had only 8 rows left when I went to bed Friday evening (but then I found a mistake and thought it best not to tackle it on half a bottle of wine!). So it WAS completed by Saturday lunchtime...

...I pinned it out this time and put it on a black background 'cos this cashmere- can look greyish on the wrong backing. It's funny to compare this yarn with the one below, they're very different!

Actually, I'm quite pleased that it didn't take too long this week, The Mystic waters clue is a LOT more difficult in comparison and MUCH easier to make mistakes so it needs my full concentration.

This is where I'm up to so far, about 2/3rds of the way thru the clue. The yarn as I've mentioned previously is a gorgeous cashmere silk blend lovingly hand-dyed by Posh Yarns. The shade is Azul and I bought 3 skeins especially for this project. The silk in the mix makes it much more soft and slippery to knit and the yarn, a laceweight is actually thicker than the cashmere 4ply! The pattern is lovely and suits the yarn really well and hopefully I'll be able to stretch the yardage (or shrink the pattern!).

In other knitting news, here's the finished BMP socks....

As I'd mentioned, I scaled down the stitches on the leg and used 2.75mm needles then switched to 2.25mm needles for the feet for extra wearability. If I did them again, I might rotate the hi-score table to the side, but aside from that I;m relatively happy (though fair-isle isn't my forte!).

And here's the first of 2 socks for my mum...pity they don't photograph well!

...You see, they're too long for the hanger foot blocker...

And they look plain weird unblocked! Still, you get the idea, they're ribbed so they fit both my large calves and my mum's much skinnier ones! She's gluten intolerant and has to watch her cholesterol so she doesn't get the chance to put on weight! Come the winter, these little babies will keep her tootsies toasty!

And finally (on the knitting front)...

...The little red square I mentioned in the last post. I might just squeeze another out this week but as I may be comissioned to knit a sweater for the new shop imminently, my spare knitting time will be severely limited!

Anyway, also as promised last time, my latest haul of stash enhancement...

I managed to get a ball (or two..or three...or) of Sublime Merino Angora...soooo soft!

Plus a couple of pairs of my fave Fiskars soft touch scissors... all half price! I DID feel a bit guilty and 'fess up to hubby...(he laughed!).

And the promised haul from the friendship guild...

...There's an extra blob of Merino somewhere, I picked up enough for a sweater's worth. I also got some will reside with my other wild and wacky fibres 'till I get round to playing with them, some tencel, broken silk tops (much easier to spin with) and BFL washed fleece.

The idea was to mix the ultraviolet purple with the paler purple to give the finished knitting some variation and add silk in for shine, It ended up looking like this...

...I was very unsure of the final effect, had to live with it for a week until I was happy with the effect, the while silk peeking out somehow made it was less shiny than I'd thought too. Still needs a wash and dry then I can explore it in the skein, watch this space...!

You might be wondering quite how I manage to fit in as many knitting hours as I do, It's no miracle, I've suffered with a number of conditions for a while and now it looks like I might have a low thyroid condition adding to the mix. I do what I can in a day then I rest and while I rest, I knit! It's been a fantastic therapy for me in my down times and so long as I don't overdo it and kick off the arthritis, it keeps me from getting down about life. With a little luck, I should get a reasonable diagnosis in a few weeks and maybe start to swing things in my favour. 'Till then, I'll keep on Knitting!