Friday, 31 August 2007

Awards, knitting, and stepping outside your comfort zone

First things first, I've been given an award!!!!
I thought if I left it any longer it'd be plain rude to the lovely lady who gave me it, so, here it is!

It was awarded in appreciation of my swap-bot package that I sent to her, I've not recieved mine yet, but then I was an early bird and everyone else has until mid-September to post. In one way, I get a real kick out of selecting the goodies and posting them off, that's why I joined Secret Pal again this year, (not that I don't mind a few surprises myself!).

Anyway, in the spirit of these things, I'm nominating both Mel's, U.K and U.S.A for different reasons; Woolydoodles for being a great and generous mate who's always ready to listen ( and fellow yarnhead!), and Pell Melling for both her generosity and her great wit! You girls/ladies/women (insert as appropriate!) both rock!

I'm also retrospectively nominating Knit-me- purl-me for being a great Secret Pal in SP10, for lovely packages despite the trials of moving and for being great fun too!

Anyway, as promised, here's some knitting Pr0n.

First there's the cashmere (poss with silk?) that I spent 2 days unwinding from it's loosely spun 4 strands into more tightly spun 2 ply which will be perfect for socks once it's had a dip in the dyepot. There's around 200yards per skein so there should be plenty.

The Gansey socks continue apace, (Though I wish I had sock blockers!). I'm all finished on the first and after all the travelling over the weekend, the second's certainly grown. I'm familiar enough with the pattern to make these travelling knitting and they'll have plenty of opportunity this weekend too!

The learning experience bit comes from this...

..It's the back of a cardi that I've designed from scratch myself. I figure if I'm going to teach others about designing your own knitwear, I need to get my own collywobbles out of the way first! This is about the eighth draft design, my living room is scattered with sheets of paper with scribbles, calculations, Barbara Walker Treasuries et. al.

I decided yesterday that I was so wiped out that my brain could have some excercise instead of my feet so, I took plenty of measurements, scoped out plenty of stitch patterns (before discarding them all!) and raided my stash for a cheap, quick knit yarn that would hold my interest and still look good despite simple styling. The solution? James Brett Marble chunky. I have plenty of patterns for it but at under £4 for a 200g ball, it won't cost the earth to replace if necessary, looks pretty and knits up quick on 6mm needles- my idea of heaven!

There's shaping within the garment itself rather than on the edges and varying amounts of rib on the sides for extra stretch/closeness. The front will have a v-neck and collar and has a curved edge at the bottom. I am writing up the pattern as I go, it's a bit two-steps-forward, one back, but it's fun and that's the main thing. I'll keep you posted on pregress as I go.

Despite having rather a lot of things on the needles (and yes, the Cable Jacket's still in the running, it just doesn't photograph well!), I needed to work out what to knit for my Spoilee whom I am Secret Pal to. The nifty thing is, because this will go out in the last package, this isn't actually a spoiler because she'll find out who I am then anyway!

The pattern is Eunny Jang's Print of the Wave Stole, a lovely knit and with a repeating 12 row pattern, quite easy to do.

I started just before the weekend and am already halfway through this side so I'm happy I can fit it into my schedule in plenty of time. I have other plans for the first package which for now must remain a mystery......

More next time plus what I got from the Stitch Fair!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

What a (Bank Holiday) weekend! (warning, picture heavy!)

Gosh, so much has been happening, I've had no time to blog! So, apologies for the lack of weekend entertainment, but at least I had my camera for some of it!

I've suffered physical injury in the process of stash diving (head connected with underneath of stairs...ouch!); celebrated the MIL's birthday with a meal on Sunday; had an extremely funny e-mail exchange with Romelda...and then there was Monday...when we went here...

...To fill in the gaps, bro had got the taste for walking again after a hol with the parent types and so we downloaded a pile of walks in our area and narrowed it down to West Kirkby (where we could have plenty of choice for lunch afterwards). One slight flaw in the plan was the mass tailback of traffic through Hoylake (more about that later), but, being intrepid souls, we knew a back route so arrived a bit later than anticipated- about 1pm!

Anyway, we headed up the hill away from the hurly burly to the column.

Unfortunately, the sun was ahead of us, it wasn't nearly as mean and moody as it looks, it's a sandstone column that is a major feature of Caldy park. I didn't get a pic of the steps we took to get up here, but this route we saw further along looked so intriguing, I had to snap a shot.

It's amazing, it could be heading anywhere, just disappearing into the distance like that, really fires the imagination!

This was the path we took, it's somewhat more rustic than some routes, we had to squeeze through the Wirral gorse at points but that made it seem all the more remote, and very atmospheric!

Had to snap some heather, aren't the colours really vibrant? It seemed, the further along the path we travelled, the more we'd come across a different landscape. First there was the gorse and masses of fruit laden blackberry bushes, then the common land and mases of sandstone rocks and heather...

Here's himself checking the route, unfortunately, half the landmarks had disappeared but as it was essentially a straight path, we couldn't go that far wrong. can you see the pine tree on the left?

This is bro up to mischief (again!), we came to a mass of pine trees (and pine cones), so he thought it vital to fill all the benches with pine cones! lord knows what the next person to use them would have thought!

Here's some more of those sandstone boulders, it was actually a realtively dull day but it seems to have made the pictures extra vibrant!

We ended up in Caldy village, lots of pretty houses but not a single shop in sight, the Post Office long since closed down. It costs a fortune to live here and you have to get in your car for a loaf of bread, that seems sad to me. It leaves the place a little like a film set, lots of black and white houses, the date on this one was the 1700's, but somehow a little make-believe.

After a short trip along the wirral way, we followed the cliff path back to civilization. The lump on the horizon is actually Wales, just a sandbank away! See all the brightly coloured dots? those are pleasure boats waiting for high tide.

We were taking the path around the marina, when we saw a familiar sight, a group of red planes fly by...I got my camera ready...but the battery had gone so low, I had no picture so I Kinneared it!

Here was what I was actually trying to take a picture of, all by chance, we happened to be watching a Red Arrows display! We later found out the readon for the traffic jam, an R.N.L.I. (lifeboats) fun day, by all accounts a spectacular affair, just down the road from where we were in Hoylake. Shows what you miss when you don't read the local paper!

By the time we got back to civilization (and watched the display), it was about 3.30pm so we settled for a chocolate cake and hot chocolate lunch- which was very nice!

Anyway, on to Tuesday, a very busy day (I finished my Reiki Masters course) and, of course, knitting night. So when everyone said was I watching the fireworks later....?

Well, it turns out (which I knew then temporarily forgot) that Tuesday was Liverpool's 800th Anniversary, how anyone knows the exact day, I don't know (but we don't dwell on this too much!). The culmination was a spectacular firework display starting at 10pm, setting fireworks off at two points in the city (both cathederals), and on the waterfront, and on a barge in the water.

So, a few phonecalls later, we walked from New Brighton a little closer to the action, there were four of the knitting group (and a boyfriend for support), we settled in and watched the action.

I've been promised proper pic's later but as we were pretty far away, this will give you an impression of what it was like. The display was AMAZING! They had the timing to perfection, there were even clever fireworks that burned in a circle in the air, spelling out 800! There were displays on both cathederals, at one point the whole top of "Paddy's Wigwam" (the catholic cathederal) was aflame in a column of sparks then two "arms" of fire spread outwards, a firework cross!

I was so pleased to have been a part of this historic event, I love fireworks with a passion and it was an amazing night. Plus, with one of the knitters living a mere road away, I had company on the way home.

There's been very little knitting content this time, and for that I am sorry, I just couldn't cram any more in! I still have tales to tell, knitting to show but that'll have to wait 'till next time.

Hopefully sooner than the weekend, got to catch up with the quotas!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

SP11 update, spinning fun (and MS3 completed!)

Well, after an unfortunate pairing in Secret Pal, I now have a new hostess and a new person to spoil. I can't tell you much about her (or I will have to shoot you!) as I need to keep the mystery but she's quite like me which is lovely and looks like she should be easy to spoil rotten!

It's still early days but the planning's been pretty thorough today in readiness for my stash trawl tomorrow, aah, the things I will rediscover!

In a fit of I-don't-know-what on Saturday (and lack of sleep), I spent the entire day finishing the Mystery Stole. You can just about see the "wing" at the top...

...Here it is in more detail, it's not been blocked yet (no time!), and it does look odd all laid out like this But I bet it'll look better actually on a human being so both fronts drape and the changeover is not so stark.

The wing on its own would make an interesting shawl, as would repeating the other halves and grafting them in the middle. But not yet...

There are plans afoot for it to recieve a nice new home, once it's been properly blocked. I'm pleased that a humble yarn performed so well and that beading with a beading needle tutorial was inspirational! Sorry, I can't find an easy link, if anyone wants to put a comment in the box, I'll do a pictorial tutorial myself, it's so easy, I showed Mel it in a minute yesterday- no more threading beads on yarn!

Speaking of the aforementioned lady...

...This is us at a Guild member's house yesterday. Once a year, the Cheshire and Liverpool guild members meet up in Elaines garden to knit, spin, weave or whatever is their fancy. It's an amazing place, it feels like you're in the heart of the countryside yet a few minutes drive from civilization and her house is right next door to a converted windmill!

The day was a little late this year because of the bad weather in July and so when I got the e-mail, I asked Mel if she'd like to join the fun. We were two of three spinning, me on my new Joy (yes, I fixed the squawk!), Mel on her Traditional. It was sunny in spells and shady in spells so no one baked, perfect weather, really. I set to spinning some more of that gorgeous merino blended top from my previous Secret pal, Charity, Mel her own handdyed top! I'm wearing Charity's shawl to keep the chill off in the cool bits and the sun off my neck in the hot bits, v. useful! I've got my eyes shut, as usual, most pictures of me are with my eyes closed or half shut, I can't help myself!

Other knitting continues anon, the back of the Fresco top is now finished, the gansey sock's well into the foot and despite looking decidedly skinny, fits a treat (it's stretchy, you see!); the Cabled Jacket got a few more rows done on Knitting night and I've spent most of today doing personal shopper for my mother (and dealing with the accompanying complaining!). She now has a couple of key items to make up an outfit and I have the beginnings of a headache!

Friday, 17 August 2007

SP11, and other fiberly goodness!

Well, SP11 oficially started two days ago, I've just recieved a message from my Secret Pal and I'm still waiting for someone to spoil. Good things come to those who wait? (I hope).

In the meanwhile, I'll just have to entertain you with my knitterly pursuits.
I haven't exactly had much time for knitting this week, too much time spent at the computer!

I've also joined my first swap-bot swap and spent all of Thursday scouting the ultimate pattern for my swap mate! I'm overdoing it, I know, I always do! Then again, most Sp'ers will know it's the thrill of spoiling someone, it gets you every time!

Anyway, I digress, Despite being chained to the Keyboard cataloguing all my knitting books (8 pages so far!), I JUST managed to finish Clue 6 yesterday.

Mel was trying to get her head around the final design, hopefully these pics will give you some idea. It ends with a point at one end and a curved arc of a wing on the other. I put tissue behind so you could see the pattern better (ignore the creases!).

This is a close-up of the wing, it started in the left hand corner of the eyelet holes and has travelled along by means of short row shaping, increasing as it goes to form a sweeping curve.

I've sort of promised Mel it'll be completed by the time I see her on Tuesday so it'll be a heavy knitting weekend!

The Fresco's grown too, jsut a few rows before bed and a few in the morning suddenly took me up to the armhole shaping (which was a surprise!)

And the Gansey Sock's shot along, I'm actually well into the foot now plus as it only has the mini cables and heart pattern on the top. It knits up considerably faster (and is now car knitting too!)

I have been a bad girl though, I had to look at Posh Yarns stuff on Sunday....Fatal!

The bottom skein is a sock yarn Emily (80% Lambswool, 10%cashmere, 10% Angora) in shade Chameleon; and 2 skeins of cashmere/silk laceweight in clover and springtime. Gorgeous!

I was rooting around my stash for my swapmate and found this, doesn't it blend with the others well? Anyway the 3 together make 1200 yards, so I was thinking...Bee Fields Shawl? especially now there's a Knitalong...or....Honeybee STOLE?

Yup, she's done it again, made her gorgeous triangular shawl into an even more stunning rectangular stole...I'm in love...BUT

I've got to think knitting for others FIRST boo hoo (not really!) and leave such guilty pleasures 'till Christmas maybe when there'll be time aplenty to enjoy them.

Well, hubby's been off today, good thing too 'cos he's working overtime tomorrow! I was getting really stressed not getting my SP matches so we went out for the day, I got overpriced magazines from Borders so I didn't have to wait for the U.K. versions, had a lovely lunch, moved on to Voirrey Embroidery where I picked up a Noro World of Nature then on to Abakhan where I met Kath and made a purchase or two! oh yes, and scone with jam and cream (fruitless of course!- and no tea!) in between.

I will provide pic's but not just now, I'm brewing for a headache and feeling a wee bit fragile.

Still, I shall carry on regardless, sort out the ULTIMATE pattern for my swapmate and get that in the post next week before the fun starts.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Seven Things Thing

Gosh, it's Sunday and I'm at the Computer (multitasking as usual!)and I haven't really got anything to blog about!

Well, I DID post on Monday AND Thursday this week, not an awful lot's happened since then (except me deciding to go on a bit of a health kick which requires HUGE amounts of fruit and veg to be lugged from the ASDA which is a good 25 mins walk away unladen!). I've put lots more time into cooking and preparing 'n' stuff so there's been less time for fiberly pursuits!

Not like I've been totally Knit-Free, I knitted up most of the front of the Blur Sweater but I've lost the run of the back to match up the armhole depth. D'oh!

I've started on the heel of the Gansey Sock- but it doesn't look that much different from the previous pic...I've come a cropper on the cable part of the Eastern Cable Jacket (Again!) which needs brain time and one-to-one time to sort out...I've done 20 more rows of MS3 but that doesn't really look andy different...and the Fresco Sweater's growing (still) slowly!

So, I remembered Kath tagged me for the Seven things Thing (whatever it was) months ago and my memory's so sieve-like that I kept forgetting to post anything! Anyone who wants tagging can consider they're tagged, I imagine most people have done it already!

Seven Things About Me

1/ I've been an Onion Buncher, an Avon Rep. and supplemented my meager college grant with my crafts all thru. college. I've taught as a Supply Teacher and in a private nursery as well as moving into customer services and even started my own business making Mohair Teddy bears!

2/ I once had a vision of my pet Chinchilla stuck down the loo; so graphic was it, I went and looked...and he was, looking extremely sorry for himself!!! A shower and a towelling later, and very gentle heat to dry him off (they're pretty delicate), he was none the worse for his ordeal (though a bit weary)and somewhat happier to be picked up and cuddled after!

3/ We once had to rescue Biscuit from the Mersey, the stupid mutt decided to launch herself under the railings onto the narrow wall below then even more stupidly, into the river which was rising at the time! Hubby had to go down the nearest steps, onto the short wall, reach down and grab her (thank god for harnesses, the handle on the back of a dog is worth it's weight in gold!) and lead her to safety. They've concreted under the railings now so it can't ever happen again!

A couple of minutes after the incident,we were walking home when Biscuit stopped dead in the path and shivered and shook all over, whimpering loudly. She was none the worse for the incident, doggie shock had hit her and a few cuddles later she was fine and we could head home. It's stuck in my mind all these years 'cos she'd obviously been mulling it over in her doggy brain, even dogs have regrets!

4/ Before I joined college, I wanted to be a writer. In sixth form I helped out at a local school and decided teaching would be better. In truth, I wanted the adoration (but not the hard work!).

5/ I also wanted to be an artist, a counsellor, a reflexologist, a careers guidance advisor, an embroidery teacher and loads more. Once I was thinking up new careers every week, I thought perhaps it was time to stop?

6/ I HATE buying shoes so much I haven't bought any in four years! I live and die in training shoes 'cos they acommodate my wide feet and narrow ankles.

7/ After shoes, clothes shopping is my least favourite thing. Being short and dumpy, it can be really hard to find nice things to wear. That's why I want to design pretty knitwear for myself, once I get my confidence up (and my critical self down!).

Wow, that's taken me over two hours!

(sorry, it should say " You go find toy, i'll wait here!, looks fine on preview but trimmed on blog!)

Be back soon with proper knitterly news, promise!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Yarn Pr0n, Knitting and a laugh or two!

Postie brought me pretty things recently...

....Well, actually, postie and the library. I actually ordered the twisted sisters book over 3 months ago from Caiman Media thru Amazon. Never again! They may be the cheapest but I've had one second hand book with a whole chapter cut out- obviously they don't check them, they seem to list books they don't have, in this case it wasn't even available in the U.S when they CLAIMED they had it, and when it arrived it had a big dent in cover and a few pages, definitely nothing to do with transit, suggesting they've been buying damaged books so, you have been warned!

The Loop D Loop Crochet book is care of my Library, I have expanded their knitting section by 25% since I've been ordering! They're buying 2 more new books in for me and I've put in requests for 2 more so we shall see...

Here is the result of Sunday's dyefest...

From the top, there's the superwash wool/nylon DK, in the middle some fuzzy wuzzy 80% Angora, then the big smooshy Cashmere skein at the bottom. Here's a closer pic. of the wool.

I'd only loosely tied the skeins so some are a bit messy but I still love the look. I guess these will be DK socks or something else small.

Here is the cashmere, it was originally laceweight which I spun together on the wheel to make a loose 4ply then wound out a 20+ft skein which I dyed in roughly 1 metre sections. After drying, I rewound it to a ballwinder then a more manageable skein. There's 85g so enough for a pair of socks, I love the effect!

On the knitting front: The Blur Sweater's growing, I'm on to the front now.

I've been neglecting other knitting to get to grips with this little blighter, the Gansey sock I've been blabbering about! I put in a concerted effort yesterday to get all 3 repeats of the cable done ready for the heel. Despite the fact it looks so skinny, I have tried the leg piece and it's a pretty stretchy pattern, I like how it looks!

I'm using Rowan 4ply soft in a cream colour on a 2.25mm circular- it's lovely to knit with but you do have to focus on the pattern!

MS3 - Better Late than Never!

Getting so caught up in other things, I only got around to the stole yesterday but I made a big effort and am ready for Friday now.

It's an asymmetrical stole with a point one end and a "wing" the other. Looks a bit weird right now but I'm sure once it's completed and blocked, it'll stand out less. I'd like to keep the weekends for lace knitting once this is over but with knitting for SP11 and Christmas, I might not get the chance!

The Fresco is still growing...slowly. It's at the side of my bed so I do a few rows when I'm not fit for anything else, I guess it could become my Tuesday night thing after I've finished the Blur Sweater.

And the poor old Cable Jacket hasn't had a look in! Never mind, its time will come!

Just for Laughs!

kitteh jar

I Duz Yoga Ta Relax

If you haven't visited yet, you like cats (and assorted animals) and can figure out the unique language, there are pages and pages of stuff like these!

(Saves me parading the poochies everyday!)

Well, what with all the knitting, there hasn't been time for a lot else! I am going to a spinning day soon though, it's in one of the guild member's gardens (which is sizeable), and we all meet up once a year in the summer. Should be fun, I'll have to remember the camera!

Oh yeah, and there's the stitchcrafts event in Manchester at the beginning of September so maybe a chance to enhance the stash just a little bit more?

Monday, 6 August 2007

Put a Cork in it (and other learning experiences!)

Hubby left a bowlful of these on the level. (long story, but basically collecting for bro who uses to keep kebabs in place on his Spanek- then he doesn't use them!). I got my kool aid-alike dyes out to finally have a play and they were there, staring (metaphorically) me in the face.

Guess what I did?

Well, I had to see if it worked...

I started a little cautiously, but they seemed to be making interesting marks...

...So I got a bit bolder...

...And ended up with something like this x hours later! The skein at the front (and middle, and back) is the longest ever skein which I had planned to do flame colours for Fawkes socks...before I got carried away cork printing!

It was fun, though, I started with the ballwound Angora that's been waiting to be dyed for months. I squirted dye neat thru the middle then spooned colours round the edges, wrapping them up and leaving for the dye to permeate a while before steaming. You can see one skein in the pic below.

Of course, the flipside of ball dyeing is the soggy skeinwinding in order for it all to dry properly which takes a good hour and a half!

Here are some skeins drying in the shade ( I was too lazy to put them out this morning!) You can still see the cork roundels which I really like and the fact that the colour intensity changes, a paler version on the back. I'm keen to see what this knits up like but lord knows when I'll get the time!

The lesson comes from the longest ever skein which, being clever, I carefully measured and tied at metre length intervals. WRONG!!! Great for marking, but crap for keeping put, out of the soak water it'd tangled up into itself so badly I had a hell of a job seperating it out to dye, an interesting time seperating it again to dry and a longer than average time to ballwind once dry.

That's something I won't do twice!

Still, it's now skeined to an acceptable length, been washed to remove any last dye residue and I will post a pic once it's dry so you can see the difference in colour.

On the knitting front

This is the back of the Blur Sweater, I've just cast on for the front so will get past the hard bits before Group tomorrow. I'm liking the colours, though they aren't my usual thing, but you know what a sucker for variegated yarns I am!

The Fresco top is growing though more slowly. Actually, it's mind-numbingly boring to knit (after the column rib I added to flatten out the bottom), if a stitch slips off the needle it can drop a few rows without a second thought which is a pain BUT it's so simple you can knit it in a darkened cinema ( yup, I finally got to see Harry Potter!), at least until you drop a stitch!

Some of the problem is that it knits up slowly on 4mm needles so you're never as far on as you think- black hole knitting?

I managed to snap this one of Floppy in his "other bed". He dragged a blanket from one of the beds and arranged it on the top stair, well, it was probably uncomfortable to lie on the wood after he chewed that square of carpet...twice. We will recarpet eventually, once we know he's well out of the chewing phase!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

SP11 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

I'm pretty easy going when it comes to yarn, I love natural fibres (wool, cotton, silk etc.) as long as they're soft (I have sensitive skin). I like space dyed/handdyed/handpainted and variegated yarns and even like acrylic if it's a pretty colour and soft. I have the wrong colouring for beiges or neon brights.

I am a sucker for laceweight yarn as it's not easily found over here, enough to knit a shawl (1200yds+), I love handpainted yarns and sock yarns (though I have a ton of them!) as well.

Big no-no's are scratchy yarns, yarns with glitter in them, fun fur and the like. If you have cats and are gifting from your own stash, please warn me so I won't go smooshing my face in them and I'll give them a wee wash first to save any allergies.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

One of those old knitting project holder thingies that has a wooden frame and fabric bag. Cheap 'n' cheerful, I must get more organised one day!

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I've been knitting on and off since I was 6, I'd definitely consider myself an advanced knitter though I vary my projects difficulty levels according to attention span!

I partly taught myself with help from my mum (with the harder bits!). I taught myself to do intarsia back in the eighties (Kaffe Fassett time!), but do have some issues with my tension in Fair Isle. I have done a lot of aran in the past but find really heavyweight stuff too much for my arms nowadays but have taken to lace shawls in a big way in the last 12 months.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

You can find my U.K. Amazon wish list here

and my U.S. Amazon wish list here

5. What's your favorite scent?

I like Fruity scents, green notes like Jasmine, but nothing overpoweringly floral.I don't really wear perfume but I love my Lush baths! My mum and MIL have kept me in soap for the next 10 years or so, best not add to the soap mountain!

ooh, ooh, something to wash the woolies wouldn't go amiss! I get thru a fair amount of wool washing liquid what with my mountain of sweaters and the smelly fleeces that need a good dunk in the bath!

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I have a VERY sweet tooth, I love chocolate, fruity sweets, mints but nothing with dried fruit (raisins etc. though orange peel or ginger's o.k.). I DON'T do chewing gum, banana or cherry flavoured things, marzipan, coconut, apricot and cinnamon (and dried fruit!). I like good quality chocolate, milk or dark- my big yum ath the moment is Lindt Dark chocolate with orange and almonds- yum!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

I spin, dye, cross stitch but mostly knit, design and modify knitwear patterns so they fit!.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) .

Pretty eclectic, nothing too heavy or depressing (Sting stuff gets stuck in my head and turns me mental!). No problem playing MP3's.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

I seem to gravitate towards blue/greens but like purples and lilacs, reds, burnt oranges and chocolate browns, pinks (nothing too garish or neon). I really don't suit pale colours or beiges and LOVE Noroesque changing of colours as you knit through the ball so you end up with stripes (like Kauni). I like dark shades too though black can sometimes wash me out.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

Married but no kids. 2 Loony Labs (well, one elderly nearly lab, one nutty lab/staffy cross).

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Come the colder months, yeah, the wind that comes off the Mersey can be pretty biting and dogs always need walkies, whatever the weather. I'm not a poncho person but closely knit hats or gloves (or felted so the wind doesn't get thru the gaps) always come in handy.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Anything that catches my eye! Lace seems to be creeping into a lot of my knitting recently, though I'm totally seduced by the Kauni cardigan. Socks are good 'cos they're quick to knit...except when they're not! Quick knitting (i.e. chunky yarns) give me instant gratification but I have also to have something stimulating the old grey matter too so I can chop and change as the situation, mood or intelligence suits.

I yearn to knit really complicated patterns so collect masses of beautiful yarns and designs but have to be in the mood to knit them else I make mistakes! I've been loving knitting the MS3 stole which I found intitally challenging until I made time for it and hope to knit another lace shawl/stole in the near future.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Lace Stole from MS3 (nearly finished clue 5!)-update, now on clue 7!, Blur Sweater (for knitting group), Fresco Sweater (truly mindless for travelling), Gansey Socks (LOVE cables and ganseys!), Eastern style cable Jacket (sort of got usurped by the sock!).

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Who doesn't? I certainly enjoyed knitting for my SP last time, it gave me the opportunity to spread my wings a bit and knit stuff I wouldn't necessarily knit for myself. I'm sure other knitters feel that way too.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

I have most needles in most sizes in bamboo, metal and plastic/plastic coated metal. I have collected a few Addi's (circular), a Boyes set, a Knitpicks options set and a Denise set but hope to look for some lace circulars at some point and one day maybe try wooden DPN's like rosewood.

It seems no matter how many needles I have, there's always more to get.......

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

I have a yarn winder but no swift (but that doesn't stop me!)

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Actually, less than 5 years old. I thought I wasn't going to be able to knit again until arthritis was properly diagnosed and treated and got rid of all my lovely yarn and patterns! Hasn't stopped me from acquiring a stash four times the size of the original since then though!

18. What is your favorite holiday?

I like Christmas but too many bad things have happened around that time for it to be my favourite. Easter can be good for the weather (if not my waistline!); but my favourite time would have to be Bonfire Night, closely followed by Halloween. I ADORE fireworks, crisp autumn evenings, the colours of the leaves turning though not the wet weather! I don't really celebrate Halloween, I just like the spookiness, the fun, the time of year. The fog rolling in over Whitby and the atmosphere it created, now that's Gothic!

19. Is there anything that you collect?

You mean aside from yarn, patterns, needles and other things knitterly? I like beads, big and small, lampwork, handmade, japanese, etc. I like unusual buttons, quirky etc. too.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

See Amazon list, I regularly buy Vogue Knitting but would love a copy of Knitters, Interweave Knits or Spin Off. I want to try lace circulars one day or wooden circulars (not bamboo). There are loads of online patterns I haven't quite got around to purchasing yet, e-mail me for a list.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

I'd like to find out more about finishing techniques, innovative things to do with small amounts of yarn and get to grips with things like continental knitting.

One day, I'd like to make time to learn more than 2 stitches of Crochet. I hate when crochet tries to emulate knitting but LOVE the lacy, openness it can produce. Being a leftie, though, most instruction books can be annoying.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yup, I do socks amongst other things. I'm a U.K. size 5 foot which I think is 9" circumference?

23. When is your birthday?

5th June (so no good for this time!)

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

I'm 14959th in the queue with over 5000 in front of me so it may be a while yet!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

We're all going on a(n) (autumn) Holiday, no more worries for 8 days or so!

Yup, I promised there might be something special in this post, last Tuesday, we booked a coach trip to....


It's a LONG drive from where we live, so we've decided to be civilised and take a coach tour, no more driving for Mister P and no cooking for me! We'll be staying in 3 seperate hotels, heading thru Skye over to the Hebrides for 3 days before heading back to the mainland. Most days have tours pre-organised, some of which we have done before and not always what you would do were you going under your own steam but we get to see parts of the British isles that would be otherwise hidden to us and that's worth it's weight in gold!

We were originally looking at Ireland but there didn't seem to be anything outstanding ; I'd have loved to do the Shetlands but it was cost prohibitive, maybe in a year or two. Hubby has a bonus coming in a month or so and we decided, what the hell, let's go for it!

I have a special fondness for the Hebrides because of the works of Alice Starmore and her beautiful knitting patterns so it will be exciting to see the island for ourselves, weather permitting! Of course, whether I decide to take a Starmore pattern in honour of the trip will depend on how much concentration it takes! Maybe I'll take a selection?

On the needles right now:
I've finished the back of the Blur Sweater, just need to get the lace part of the front sorted before knitting group (Tuesday); the Fresco top has grown some, mostly from waiting in queues (and bus journeys!); I have started my first sock pattern from the Six Sock Knitalong - the Gansey sock (I'm a sucker for them!) in cream Rowan 4ply soft and unfortunately have yet to find time for clue 5 of MS3 this weekend! Have to make some time next week.

Had a lovely Wednesday when Mel called by with my fleece and picked up her Kool-Aid-alike dyes (amongst other things!). I was midway thru a major stash re-organisation which has mostly been sorted and means all my cottons are in one place, my 4 ply stash is now spread over 4 boxes, Jaeger, Handdye, Commercial space dye and anything else so I SHOULD be able to put my hands to whatever I need more easily (fingers crossed!).

Mel's been dyeing today so now I know what colours the dyes make before I even get going! I anticipate having a wee dyefest tomorrow, in between FINALLY getting to watch Harry Potter on the cinema. Hence little opportunity to get concentrated knitting time in tomorrow!

SP11 continues apace, I've got my confirmation for this round, fingers crossed I'll get my match mid August as promised then it'll be all systems go again, knitting for my Secret Pal then probably starting the Christmas knitting.

Ah well, back to the sock....