Saturday, 23 June 2007

Thursday's Haul, WIP's and SP stuff too! (WARNING, LOADSA PICS!!)

...I know you probably want to skip straight to how much I bought at Colinette on Thursday, if so, scroll down the page a while...

...Otherwise, here's a peek at what's on ( and off ) the needles currently.
First, we FINALLY cracked the second sock curse...or so we thought..........

..Here are my new Jaywalkers in their colourful glory. Unfortunately, there was no one else about when I took the photo so this will have to do for now.
So, what's on the needles next?.............

....Looks familiar, doesn't it?

There's a tale..........

I was knitting these up in my spare time, some of which was waiting for my Reiki session at the Crystal Zen Garden. Unfortunately, boss man Ian has been at me for a while to knit him a pair of rainbow socks....When he saw these, he wanted them...exactly the same but a size 8 please!

So, it's off to ebay, managed to find some more regia clown in a buy-it-now ( I will be reimbursed), it arrived of Thrusday while I was out so went back to the sorting office for collection which I did Friday morning...on the way to a Reiki session.

Anyway, long story short, Chris, the other Reiki healer also wanted a pair! So now I have to knit the same sock not twice but six times!!!!

Curse, you betcha!

By the way, see the cute sheepie stitch marker? That's courtesy of my mate Donna who made them 'specially for me. I'll have to order more now!

In retaliation, I also cast on a quickie(ish) project, with all my odds and ends balls from Colinette.

It's a throw on 8mm needles in a chevron pattern, really easy but it is beginning to get a wee bit weighty which is a bit of a strain knitting at the moment.

It is pretty, though, isn't it?

Actually, the reason why it's a strain, I had a bit of a tumble, bashed all the way down my left side and had to have help with everyday stuff like getting dressed, cooking and carrying for a while. I am somewhat recovered now, but that's why Tuesday's was a little shorter than usual.

I also cast on for another project, when the insanity of the second sock hit, it's a pattern and yarn from my SP Charity.

It's a shawl pattern called Adamas from Knitpicks, it caused me a bit of a stir as it requires 36 STITCH MARKERS!!! I've reduced them a bit but I've had to call in favours left right and centre for some to be made up for me, I only had about ten!

So far, it's not an easy knit and has had a frog or two, mainly due to my inability to follow instructions properly!! However, I have learned not to make up the missing stitches as I go, just take it back a few rows and work out what went wrong. Hopefully, I'll get the pattern better in my mind soon, then it'll be more intuitive. Lovely though, isn't it? I love the way it starts from the centre of the top edge and radiates down diagonally either side, clever stuff!

Anyway, I'm sure you're dying to see how much moolah I burned on Thursday,....

Here's a clue..............

...I've never managed to come away with TWO big bags, so, it is quite an achievement.

There WAS only one bag, but then the lady at the till mentioned the pound box, but I digress...

This was the selection of Jitterbug ( yes, Jitterbug!) I found for Mel to choose from ( so it wasn't all mine!). It was in the £4 per 100g section 'cos the dye wasn't as washfast as it should have been, still one hell of a saving from a tenner each!

This was my choice of Jitterbug ( well, I had to share in the savings, didn't I?)

This was also in the sale room, i couldn't believe my luck! It's the brand new Banyan Yarn, aparrently they've changed suppliers 'cos the first batch was "a bit twisty". It means there's a pile of fab colours just waiting to be snapped up!

So I had to get the book to go with it, obviously!

As they're DK weight, the book could be used with any DK yarn, like this one...

...Yep, also new, Cadenza, the DK merino, also in loads of luscious shades. Considering these both retail about £4.50 per 50g skein, they're half price!
I was pleased with this haul too...

..Despite for the first time in my life paying FULL PRICE for a skein of yarn, I got the rest from the bargain room, a really unusual purple, brown and cream shade that looks brown in artificial light. I have just the pattern for this one at home, an Enigma and Giotto Mix.

From my throw, though, I did also find how slippery it was..on the journey home from Colinette, it undid the knot at the side and slid through a few stitches of the yarn below and above- I picked them up and double knotted it but I'll be doubly careful with this garment!!

Not full price, but more than usual, these skeins of Parisienne kid mohair called to me.. did this reduced skein of TAO pure silk!

At £10 I could only justify one, but it had to be done!

So, I had to have the pattern book too, after all, there's not a lot of patterns for 4 ply Mohair, ( and I do have tonnes of the stuff!)

...And this one, well, I like the jacket on the front and my excuse is it's all 4 ply so I can use more of my stash...

Okay, I was at the till at this point, flexing the plastic to the tune of £124 whan the assistant mentioned the pound box. Pound Box? My ears pricked up as she led us to the less than gorgeous but nonetheless perfect box full of solid shaded yarns, their only crime was, they were old stock, but by all accounts felt well.

£13 later, I came out with my TWO bags of goodies, 600g of pale plum DK, 600g of Sand DK ( I passed on the bitter Choc Skye Aran) and 100g 4 ply in Ochre. Definitely room for some overdyeing here, I mentioned it to the shop assistant and her ears pricked up, I don't think she'd thought of that!

Finally, I thought you could have a Pixie thought for the day, she's one of my mate's brood. And what are her thoughts on today's blog? "Feed ME. I'm gorgeous, and boy, do I know it!"

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

End of an Era

I just had to take a last photo of my LYS before it changes out of all recognition. Ryder House has been in the same place for lord knows how long and the current (just about) owners took it over from a Mrs Ryder sometime back in the fifties, I think!

Well, it finally closed its doors this Saturday, after the death of the husband (mr Ryder) late last year. The wife struggled on but esentially it was always hubbie who had the great love of yarn and she'd been at him for years to sell up. It was always a unique experience, both of them in their eighties (I think) and a place that shunned technology with one of those wooden box tills, handwritten reciepts and no cards, thank you!

Here it is in the flesh, you'll no doubt recall the bargains I've been picking up as slowly, bit by bit, the stockrooms were emptied and the bargains were found. As you can see, it hasn't exactly had much care over the years and I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing was ripped to bits and modernised to within an inch of its life by the developer who bought it.

So, farewell, Ryder House, and good luck to Mrs Savage who hopefully will have a well earned break!

The pic was taken on the way to my friends so I thought you could have a photo of one of her brood (and extended family). She has four Papillon dogs, little weeny bundles of nuisance!

Biscuit's relieved that there'll be no more yarn coming into the house (little does she know about Thursday's jaunt!)

...And Floppy shows us why he got that name!!

The jays are now oficially on the foot proper AND I'm starting on an SP project... more about that in the next post!

But for now, that's all folks!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Whirlwind Week! Spinning, Knitting ( and plenty of Buying!)

Gosh, what a week! I can't say I've been rushed off my feet but an awful lot seems to have happened and I've only been at the computer briefly all week so it's quite a treat to find the time to post this!

Anyway, I've mostly been spinning (and buying!) this week so I thought you'd like to see this....

....I've finally finished spinning the Shropshire fleece that gave me so much heartache and yet so much pleasure at the same time. (Is it just me or does that sound a bit like the average relationship? - Oh no! I've been having extra maritals with a fleece!!!!!)

Anyway, smutty humour aside, I've now got 13 skeins to add to the stash until they tell me what they want to be. But it's not unlucky, 'cos there's still the giant tension square (1 ball) plus the ball I sent to 'Romy a while back so there will always be fifteen skeins in my memory. It feels like quite an achievement to have finally got ALL THE WAY THROUGH a fleece, right to the end, every last little bit, no cheating, no carrier bag full in the back room that got forgotten about, no abandoning it halfway through 'cos you're sick of it and end up palming it off on unsuspecting newcomers ( not mel this time!).

So, yeah, I'm taking a moment to blow my own trumpet 'cos there'll be others out there who actually realize what an achievement it is (rather than humouring me) and how rarely I actually follow something through to conclusion and apologies to anyone who doesn't give a damn.

Moving on...

The first in the 5 bag challenge and I'm falling at the first hurdle. I picked something easy, break myself in gently, picked one of the bags that's been there the longest, carded, clean (but whiffy) Gotland. It's actually more of a silver grey but with the flash, it was really washed out so use your imaginations.

And, yes, I am a glutton for punishment.

Yes, it is laceweight, bordering on cobweb.

Yes, I have mentioned that spinning fine seems like a good idea at the time then turns you slowly insane, what with the constant breaking/ snapping if you so much as breathe on it but this time it's different...isn't it?

Actually, no. I had a miraculous day where I got in the lace groove and managed a fair bit of what was on the bobbin BUT yesterday was HOPELESS!!! So I'm now officially going on record as HATING TO SPIN LACEWEIGHT!!!

Right, now I've got that out of my system, only another 450 grams to go...well, you can't change weights mid way thru a project, can you?

'Scuse me while I book myself into a nice, quite padded room far away from wheels, pointy things and long stringy stuff............................

THE NEW WHEEL CAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
May I formally introduce you to my spanking new Joy! Actually, she wasn't going to have a name, but I think one is brewing, more further on...

So, what's been spun on my new wonder machine? That Gorgeous Merino that charity, My SP sent me. What's that? Looks a bit thin? Kind of Like...Laceweight?

I'm beginning to think I might get wheel 3 out of mothballs just to spin ANYTHING that's not laceweight...for my padded cell? Would need mufflers though, 'cos it's damn noisy! Perhaps not.

So, what's the problem with Mabel the wonder wheel? ( I'm trying them out, see which name sticks!). Well, it's to do with these grey foam rubber washers....

...They sit at the front and keep the footmen in line ( don't wheels have lovely names..mother of all..maidens, and the less pretty ...orifice!). Anyway, I set up my new wheel, oiled exactly where it said and started to treadle.

There's a squeak...that's a sort of squawk...kind of like rubber rubbing up against something? Well, they're responsible...I've oiled them and oiled them and it doesn't make a happ'orth ( ha'pennie's ( half penny) worth) of difference ...and it too is driving me slightly doolally. Naughty Madge!

I'll get in touch with the supplier after this, maybe someone has a solution...somewhere!

This post appears to be a wee bit spin heavy, apologies for the knitters out there, keep the faith, there is knitting below!

One of the ladies at group was surprised at how slow I'd been with the second Jay, I do have a "Jumper in a week" reputation to uphold after all! But she doesn't know about the Curse of the Second Sock...

...You see, when the first sock has gone with nary a hitch, the sock faries gang up on you and you start making mistakes...

Mistake number one was mixing alcohol and Knitting on Tuesday night...By Wednesday, I had a heel with 54 stitches in it (it's meant to be 42!) so it had to be frogged and start again..

Mistake number 2 was somehow shifting the heel stitches along a full panel so that when I came to pick up the stitches either side, I found I could no longer continue the pattern on top properly.

So, it's off to the frog pond again...We're approaching 3rd time (lucky?) and so far everything SEEMS fine...but, you can never be sure...

Stash Time!!!

Look at these little beauties!!

There's a story (sorry!). I was in Ryder house on Tuesday, when the lady came scuttling from the back of the shop with a ball of bright green fluffy yarn in her hand. " do youi ever use this for trimming your jumpers?" she says. I ask her what it is, Mohair? and She replies "Angora, fifty pence a ball". Two second pause, I got that look in my eyes and asked " how much have you got?"......

....So, six, or is it seven boxes (yes, they come in their own boxes, look!) Later, two shop bags, a binbag and some creative yarn stashing, I managed to drag my haul to my friends. She has been known to stash stuff for me in times of need- like when I'm bringing a Lemon Meringue Pie home as a treat for himself (and me).

I have to add, they're not all full boxes, and some aren't exactly my colour but, woah, bargain!!!

I also got some divine denimy blue Alpaca at...a pound a ball!!! And some 4 ply cotton for that vest top thingummy I keep debating over.

So I had to go back on Thursday, pick up the rest of the Alpaca there and spend quite a chunk of my Birthday money on a ready made stash for Ebay, speculate to acumulate and all that...

Aren't they lovely colours, a bit lighter that the pic. So, I HAD to go in on Friday too, well, I DID have my orders. And she'd found another pack of the Brown Alpaca at the back!!! Last day was Saturday and I steered well clear but it almost feels a bit like stash saturation. Almost, just a little bit...won't stop me at Colinette though!


Floppy says " don't stash any yarn in MY bed, PLEASE?????"

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Normal Service Resumes - with an oopsie or two!!! + SP stuff

Wow, it's a scorcher of a day (as I'm hidden away in the cave of a room with the 'puters, curtain across, am I a bit of a vampire?) . Anyway, as the title states, things are approaching normality again, still having health hassles and i'm pretty wiped out after the full-onnness of the that few weeks but I'm still here and still creating and life's pretty good.

Speaking of creating, I thought I'd go arty farty and take a few outdoorsy shots, rather than chucking stuff on the bed and hoping for the best! Despite being outside in the blazing sunshine, they look a bit like a cloudy day! Still, A for effort! doesn't the red look super vibrant against the dark green foliage though?

Anyway, the first pic is the latest skein off the bobbin, completed only last night. It was only midway thru creating, it occurred to me- there's no turquoise in this bag....oopsie! So the last 2 skeins will have something missing but, hey, that's creativity for you.....

As I rarely show outdoors, I had to put this one in, my Marigolds out the front. I painted the pots myself a few years ago, they look pretty good together, don't they? (Oh, and ignore the flaking paint!)

I also forgot to take a pic of this, a lovely 200+g or half pound of Merino tops given to me by my Secret Pal, it's a lovely blend of muted greens and is so soft it's screaming to be spun as laceweight ( if I have the patience!). I'm saving it for a while 'till I can give it my undivided attention- I like to leave the special stuff 'till later, get the rubbish out of the way first and it makes the special stuff even more special!

Pretty though, huh?

I haven't given up on knitting altogether, however ( hubby just said the equivalent of how could I?), I'm being semi-virtuous and picking up on a few UFO's ('till i get fed up with them again!).

So, this will eventually be a knitted bag, it was a kit from Home 'n' Bargain for under a fiver that Hobbycraft have now rebadged and are charging £15 for!

And the Jaywalkers are making slow but steady progress, nearly up to the heel again which is good. Plus, the aforementioned wheel will arrive at some point tomorrow (thanks again Alpaca Spinner!) so I'll have to find something to do while I'm waiting!

I still love the colours though!

Oh yeah, more Sp news, I've had a lovely e-mail from Charity, my SP ( who's given me her blog now), she's going to the Maryland Sheep Festival- which coincidentally occurs on the same dates as the event that will not be mentioned at the end of this month; and she's promised goodies!!!

And Romelda's threatened that there's something in the post too! Hope you're feeling a little better, we're all thinking of ya! I am a lucky girl, aren't I?

I'm still debating what to get with birthday pennies, I'd originally planned to book a Japanese embroidery course at Burton Manor but when I phoned, it was full up! I know my teaching day will clash with the next one in November so I guess it'll be next year, which means I've got an extra £100 to spend! Plus, hubbie's threatened a Colinette trip- we've even got a tentative date! You could do a fair bit of damage in Colinette with that amount!

Floppy despairs of the fact he'll have to share his space with even more yarn! (But doesn't mind too much if it means he get's extra attention!)

Biscuit just wants us to turn the heat down, she's coping well though and seems through the worst of the Arthritis flare up which is good.

I'm in the grip of startitis again, did a list of ten next projects (and 10 UFO's) to do then decided maybe a sleveless top or two in cooling cotton wouldn't go amiss in this kind of weather. You just know it, though, the day you finish something like that, the weather'll change irrevocably for the rest of the summer- It's like taking an umberella on a cloudy day- you know it'll never rain!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Not so Short but Sweet

We're on the home straight!

The artist formerly known as the s****y fleece has been renamed the Cinderella fleece 'cos it spins up quite pretty once you've wrestled with it, it's super short short bits and the tiny ends and suchlike.

Anyway, you can now see why I've had less time at the computer, so far I've spun up ten skeins of this stuff, and the bag in the pic is the last one! With only another 2-3 bobbins worth left, I'm considering my next mission. And it's a doozie!

In the spirit of the event which shall not be named at the latter end of this month, it was always my intention to spin, discard or otherwise palm off on some poor sap (sorry mel!) at least 2 fleeces from my collection. I've probably achieved that now or will do after the last bag is spun.
So, I'm continuing along the same vein with the FIVE BAG CHALLENGE.

This will mean I grab 5 carrier bags of fleece from the back room, perhaps not whole fleeces, just whatever's there and aim to spin at least half of them before the end of the month. The remainder will be spun up in July and depending on how well or badly it goes, I may plan for something bigger and better after christmas!

So, If you wish to join in, feel free, you can always leave a message as to yuor progress and I will update as we go.

In other news, we have a final date for the closure of our LYS. It will finally close its doors on the 16th June after numerous years of service and will be sadly missed (especially the bargains of the last few months!) HOWEVER if all goes to plan, Val and Lyndsey from the New Brighton knitters will be starting a new venture some time in July with a combined yarn shop and haberdashery and lord knows what else here in (not so) sunny Liscard! I wish them both well in their new adventure!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...And If I don't get my blog done now, certain PERSONS will hang, draw and quarter me!!

So apologies for the lack of pics at this stage, I will add them in when I get a spare second (which may be a while!)

It's been a packed schedule since my last post, with a visit from Mel, a visit to Donna and a guild meet Saturday which was less than fun packed (particularly trying to get home during the Lord Mayor's Parade- which bizarrely I ended up doing last year too!).

Sunday I was trying to recover from the previous week and spent a happy hour or two spinning and considering my new wheel (yes, I WILL be a three wheel family, although how long for is not yet known!) then a productive afternoon planting up marigolds into pots with a huge bag of compost from B+Q and more than a little judicious weeding (the forest of nettles) in a sort of accidental on purpose that if I got stung, there was an old wives tale about it taking away the pain of Arthritis which has been a real problem for me of late.

Well, for those that are interested, I did (get stung), it did sort of (take away the pain) but basically to replace it with a new type of pain that lasted a good 24 hours. Not necessarily recommended and probably a lighter workload (less blogging!) but things have improved slightly.

Anyway, Monday I attempted to show willing and do Yoga with a friend, lasted roughly ten minutes before we gave up and I knackered my back in the process! I thought excercise was meant to be good for ya! Anyway, bacause of aforementioned back, I didn't check my e-mail 'till 11pm to find a message from Alpaca Spinner (wonderful woman) that there would be a delay with delivery of my new Joy as it was stuck in customs! but also she'd had a word with the suppliers and to contact her asap as she might have an answer to my wobbly Traveller spinning problems. Hence early today, there was a mass flurry of calls rearranging a meet with ma and pa to today ( rather than Thursday), trying to get in touch with Alpaca Spinner (which I finally did) and due purely to her persuasive nature, this little wonder has arranged a replacement flyer for me gratis despite my wheel being a week out of it's one year guarantee! That's real service for you!

So when Mel called (as I was mid-way thru composing a mail to her), I kinda went into hysterical laughter, not sure what the poor girl thought, probably i'd gone off my rocker!

Anyway, I finally arranged a suitable meeting time with parent-types for lunch in Liverpool then we went all touristy and did a trip on the Mersey! It's been years since I've been on a ferry and it didn't cost them a penny and I think it was a good switch off for all concerned.

Anyway, I've had most of my pressies and some lovely cards (and some lovely money!!) and I'm just back from the Knitting Group which was a touch on the surreal side this evening (especially with alcohol) but more about that at a later time. Suffice to say fun buns were eaten, alcohol was consumed and (I hope) a grand time had by all. Soon there will be a link to our new group blog where I will also be posting knitterly things so watch this space!

Anyway, knitting stuff, currently on the needles is the SECOND Jaywalker, love the yarn, love the pattern, don't think there'll be second sock syndrome there!

Also bought for me by me, another Posh Yarn sock yarn, this time in colourway INFERNO. Possibly at some future point to be turned into Monkeys, time will tell.

And on that note, I will end this ramble, hopefully vaguely coherent and the promise that as soon as life starts to behave more normally usual service will resume ( I hope!).