Sunday, November 04, 2007

November already?!

I guess you could say I've been a bit lethargic of late when it comes to knitting, blogging, etc and I really hadn't realised quite how long it's been since I blogged last. Recently I've not been doing much knitting at all anyway and have been reading instead some of my favorite books from childhood, namely Susan Cooper's 'Dark is Rising' series which I found again in the attic last month. There have been glimmers of creativeness here and there but I think the whole 'must knit these for Christmas' deal is putting me off it all and so I'm pulling the breaks on and have decided that I will knit things for people and they'll get them when ever but more likely after the festivities!! I also forgot that MIL already has her present of lace weight merino and a pattern so there's one less thing on the list already!!

Autumn finally seems to have arrived here and has lead to my current obsession with photographing mushrooms and fungi.

And my Aunt finally introduced me to her charges - 15 adorable Ryland sheep on the Formby Dune Heath which she 'watches' one day each week (counts them and feeds them and checks they're OK). They're on holiday from the Liverpool City Farm which has lost some of it's funding and so is unsure if these sweeties will be coming home again or not. They are such friendly little things and, with no rudeness involved, just look at those furry little bottoms - like mini Alpacas!

They did actually come up to you and were strokeable. Emily really enjoyed this but I told her she had to be quite with them and say 'Good Morning Mr Sheep' which she obediently did - can't get her to tidy up but say hello to a sheep? Of course!! Definitely a spinner/knitter in the growing!

Back to the glimmers of creativeness - I've found a 'local' Spinning guild. I say 'local' as it's about an hour away near Abergelle in a fantastic spot and in my first meeting we did rush weaving which was great fun - can you tell what it is yet?

It's a mat of course!! A bit holey and bumpy but I love it and I'd love to do more again. The lady who taught us was Mandy Coates and she had some wonderful creations on show with her made from both rush and willow and apparently goes to a lot of shows in North Wales wearing her woven hats so do look out for her! I've been back to the guild since for a spinning afternoon and the next meeting for me will be a show and tell - eek!! Will have to prepare myself for that one!

Talking of SWD guilds you may remember Mum has done some weavings with her guilds, the name of the lady escapes me now but I'm sure Mum has note of it somewhere on her blog. Anyway I had a little go at one as well way back when she did her first one but hadn't got round to finishing it off for ages. Now I can finally present it to you all:

Maybe there should be a prize for the person who can guess what it's meant to be. DH had trouble even seeing it in the flesh but then he does sometimes have trouble seeing things right in front of him - bless him! He was also the cause of a woolie mishap when my Twillies Freedom Spirit tank ended up in the wash. Poor DH hid it thinking I'd go mad with him (a bit annoyed granted but I've not killed him for it!) and when confronted with the felted mass he said 'Can't you frog it?' which impressed me with his knowledge of knitting terms - can't go mad when he's learnt that much, there is hope he may learn more!!

My knitting course progresses all 8 weeks of it including homework one of which is this bag in Sirdar Bigga which was an insanely quick knit but needs lining at some point before I call in properly finished.

Right, I'm weary now - coming down with a cold and having a tiresome few days (and nights) with a poorly DD who not only is full of cold and coughs but has nasty big back teeth coming through as well so lots of sleepless nights and whingey days poor love. Will try and get my knitting mojo back but the old knitting/tennis elbow is still bothersome at times so it may be dribs and drabs. Oh, that reminds me - I've a new link in the side bar for 'Knitting without Obligation' which I found from a comment on ArtyFartyKat's site which seems a really sensible approach to blogging which fits my mood lately and I've decided to try not to make this blog seem a chore and blog when I feel up for it. I will try and catch up with you all as soon as possible but it seems to be the hibernating season for quite a few blogs lately - maybe it's the time of year! Catch you all soon!!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

FO Flashing!

Well as promised I would give you all the full details of my latest knitting as soon as it was finished and here you have it! It was finished last Tuesday/Wednesday and I'm pleased with it - it really is warm but being such a heavy chunky wool has given me a case of Knitters Elbow with my left elbow and wrist being painful. So there was no knitting for a few days to ease the ache!
The pattern comes from N.Y. Yarns but mine has been modified due to lack of yarn. The original had a fold down collar which I didn't do. Instead I did some short row shaping around where the collar would have been and I also added another button hole to stop the from gaping open quite so much. In these pictures there are only 3 buttons because I didn't buy enough (typical!).

I went to visit Mum for her birthday the other week which was the perfect chance for a photo shoot! Mums treat was a pic-nic to a local beach, Black Rock Sands, where we had chip in the camper van. We had a great time going for a walk as well even if it was a wet and blustery day.

And I even braved the weather to 'flash' my FO!!

Mum called this my 'Norman Wisdom' pose!

Well in my defense it was cold and wet!!

Here's a 'normal' pose for you! It had a brilliant test drive on the beach - it's lovely and warm and cosy and I've been wearing it loads since! Definitely a success which I'll be knitting up again but will try and spin enough for a collar as well next time!

Sorry it's a bit short and sweet this time. I'm feeling a bit anti-computers lately and have been avoiding it a fair bit. Yes, even avoiding Ravelry. No Computers, no blogging, no Knitting even - what's come over me? I think it's a case of the blues right now but DH has promised me a week away at my Mums without Emily at some point in the near future!!!! Bless him, he's good and I certainly feel due to escape and switch off for a while! Right I'd better go and get ready for week 2 of my course - so far so good. I promise I will try and be a good blogger this week and attempt to catch up with all your blogs ASAP, thanks for sticking with me!

Edited to add: The yarn I used was my own chunky handspun Merino/Silk from the giant batt I got in WoolFest. I'd decided to set myself a challenge of spinning enough yarn for a garment and knitting it up before the 31st October as that will be a year from when I first had my spinning wheel and I thought it would be a good way to see how much Id learnt in that time! I am really pleased with the result and the thought of spinning for garments now doesn't seems as daunting anymore!

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm In!!!

Hurrah!! My Ravelry invite has arrived and I'm all set up - if you're on I'm KraftyKath, come and find me!!
What a great way to loose hours - I've been meaning to post here since Saturday evening but have been lost in Ravelry until all hours of the night. And at least I know I'm not alone, a certain Piglottie was also on there near midnight on Saturday!

Anyway - there has been knitting going on as well which is another reason for the lack of action here. I've been putting a determined effort into knitting up my merino-silk hand spun after the fiasco that was 'Lacy Waves'. I did start off with one of Sirdars 'Peru Naturals' patterns but decided I'd do something else before I'd even completed the back.

I've nearly finished this now - I'm just picking up 222 stitches round the front edges after sewing the shoulder seams. I never really enjoy picking up stitches so the thought of 222 is not fun. It's a really simple pattern, just a k4, p2 rib with rows of reverse stocking stitch every now and then and as it's knitted up on 6mm needles is a quick grower. You'll have all the details soon when I do the final reveal!
I had a bit of a surprise on Friday in work when I was asked to go on a course for them today at short notice - could I get a baby sitter? Well - how hard do you think I would try to get a babysitter so that work could send me on a knitting course?! So I will be off this afternoon to head office in North Wales to join all the other paying customers in Abakhans very first 'Advanced Knitting Course'! My boss did add that she knew I could knit well already but she thought I might be interested in the chance for a free course 'to improve the service we offer our customers'! Who am I to refuse?! And Mum thinks the instructor is a lady from one of her Spinning guilds - small world!
Anyway I should go and get myself ready and stock my knitting bag in readiness! Full report to follow!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A Measure of FO's

There are times when I am in love with my Finished Objects and there are times when I wonder why on earth I even bother knitting at times. 'Lacy Waves' has been finished but I'm sorry to say that it has a tale of woe for you.
For once I actually decided to block all the finished pieces out to the stated measurements before I even started sewing 'Lacy Waves' up. I was so pleased with myself for being professional (so I thought) and taking the time and effort to do things properly. I did make a little adjustment to the pattern in that I did a three needle bind off at the shoulders and was pleased with the result. It was when I washed the pieces that I had a bit of a surprise - the wool decided to grow despite all my careful washing. The body length up to the armhole had grown from the 14" I'd knitted to 17.5" and the body width was also larger than intended. The arms were longer but I wasn't bothered by this as in the pattern photos they did look like 3/4 length and I rathered longer sleeves. And at any point in my careful blocking did I realise what lay before me? Not at all.

Lace Insert detail.

Impatient for everything to dry and realising that Emily would soon be back from Nursery to trample over my knitting blocked out on the floor I started sewing the damp mass up. At this stage I was still pleased with how soft the washed wool was and how neatly I was sewing the garment up but as I sewed the last seam it dawned on my that the stupid thing looked massive. I knew the pattern wasn't going to be my usual fitted garment anyway but this was bigger than it should have been.

The fitted sleeves were loose and baggy and the body was overly wide threatening to fall down all the time. Admittedly I had yet to crochet round the neck but at this stage I knew that 2 rows of crochet were not going to save this. 'Lacy Waves' had drowned to become a Bagpuss jumper - saggy and baggy but not loved. Well, I lie - I did/do love the lace insert which was a clever piece of textural knitting combining lace and cables but the rest of the jumper is an utter waste of time. And what cheap and badly behaved yarn was this knitted in? Jaeger Matchmaker DK so I can't even blame that. What happened with the tension square you may very well ask? I hang my head in shame here and know my downfall - no tension square. It was the right sized needles - why bother?

With no smaller size 'Lacy Waves' pattern I'm not sure what I'll do now about reknitting this again. And the yarn itself worries me a little - will it grow again after reknitting? So far the plan is possibly to knit 'Daphne' the lovely little cardi that Mum has just finished and hope that the smaller needle size will keep the yarn in check but for now that yarn is going to sit in a corner out of my way until I'm less disappointed with the whole fiasco.

On a brighter note I do have some photos I promised you last time of some Monkeys I found hanging round in the woods by Mum last week - thank goodness no-one saw me with my feet up a tree taking photos of my socks! I'm still really pleased with these even if they have a tendency to fall down a bit for what ever reason. The Lana Grossa Mellienweit is lovely and woolly and such lovely soft colour blending - will be interesting to see how it wears.

Also as requested here is my bobbin of handspun. Blended on the drumcarder predominantly using shades of purple, blue and pink hand-dyed Texel and Cotswold curls with odd bits of yellow and red thrown in for good measure. The photo doesn't really do the colours justice as there is so much more variety in the colours than can really be seen here. Still need to finish the other bobbin to ply this up with so will report back later with the finished yarn and it's details.

Whilst at Mums I cast on for yet another project - not something I really needed to do as there are so many around the house. Can you tell what it is?

Can you tell where the deliberate knots in yarn end and the unintentional ones start?

Okay - it's a 'Scarf with the Striped Border' (not the most exciting title!) from 'Victorian Lace Today' knitted in some HipKnits lace weight silk which is such a slippery thing it will not stay in a ball and is permanently making it self into knots whether I like it or not!

More pretty things for you all - goodies from our trip to the Colinette Millshop! I did very well and resisted most admirably (could this be due to a certain 2 year old causing major distractions?!) and came home armed with this small offering:

The blue and yellow are both 'Jitterbug' from the sale room in unknown colourways and, as always, another cone of 4ply wool for my collection - such good value I can not resist! And all lovely bright colours for happy socks!

Whilst at Mums we had a lovely walk round a local lake that I've driven past so many times but have never actually walked round. What a pleasant surprise that was. Emily had a whale of a time running round with the dogs and playing 'Pooh Sticks' on the bridges and it was such a lovely day - we even managed a pic-nic!

Emily plays 'Pooh Sticks'

And why the surprise at the lovely location? Can you see the building in the photo below? That is the decommissioned Trawsfynydd Nuclear power station, something I've always grumbled at and never really before seen what really surrounded it. The only drawback to it going is that the funding has gone for the visitor centre for the lake and so there are no more details available on all the lovely walks surrounding it all.

Well, all those photos have put me in a better mood now. I shall ignore that pile of green for a while and forget the excitement of a lovely lacy jumper gone sour. Ah, knitting - why do we inflict ourselves with it?! Sorry about the photo heavy post will try to keep it brief next time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Stocking Stitch Slog

Well as I feel like I'm virtually up to date with every ones blogs again I'll allow myself to post. Saying that there's not an enormous amount to blog about right now. I'm trying to do two things at once as always and am working on Norah Gaughans 'Lacy Waves Top' from 'Lace Style' again. Now I've not shown you this before as quite honestly there's not a lot to see. The back is plain stocking stitch - no shaping until the armholes and neck / shoulder. The front is much the same - 14" of plain stocking stitch, nice mindless knitting but not exactly the most exciting photo in the world. But just to show I have been doing some knitting here is a dull photo of stocking stitch for you all.

The pattern does get more exciting later on with the lace sleeves and lace insert panel for the front of the jumper but for now it is a little dull and a bit slow growing as a result. I've decided that I do like my knitting to keep me thinking to some extent or another and so these 14" have been a bit of a chore at times, still not far to go till the armholes bringing shaping and things to think about!

WIP number 2 at the moment (obviously not including those lost in the UFO pile) is another pair of 'Log Cabin Socks' from Hand Knit Holidays but these are the larger size this time which will hopefully fit my Dad. I wanted to make him some thick warm socks as he does Motor Racing Marshaling (those guys in the orange suits round race tracks) and stands round in the cold for hours - these will hopefully do the trick for him! Knitted in a chunky yarn on 4mm needles (I'm doing the magic loop as usual) I'm using some Sirdar Denim Chunky as I don't think I could trust Dad not to sling hand wash only socks in the washing machine so at least these will be safe in the machine and not shrink on him but still have some wool content.

It is a great pattern - quick growing and a straightforward cable pattern that whilst easy is enough to keep you from being too bored. I'm on the heel flap right now so am whizzing through them - pity not everyone is having chunky socks for Christmas!! I think I'm safe to post about Dad's socks here as well but other Christmas socks may have to be kept secret for a while!

My Monkeys have of course been finished and unfortunately the camera battery ran out as I was about to photograph them for you so a bit of a delay for that.

I've also been playing with my drum carder making my own batts out of my hand dyed fleece and playing with blending colours with really satisfactory results, well at least I'm pleased with them! As with Monkeys no photo so far but I'll get one done as soon as possible. I've one bobbin of purpley mauve shades and I've started spinning up a bobbin to ply these with. Original plans were for some plain Welsh Black but I'm now thinking of blending some more coloured fleece in with this to see if I can get subtle flecks of colour coming through the black. It's proving to be a good way of getting used to the drum carder and figuring the best way to use it and is fun seeing what happens to these pretty batts once they're spun up. Not sure what the yarn will end up as but so far it's nice and fine so depending on the yardage possibly socks - now there's a surprise!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fireworks for Finished Objects!

Not really! I'm very lucky to have great scenery on my drive to and from my knitting group. Some people may not agree with me, especially when I say that I have to drive through Birkenhead's Dock area but it really does have lovely urban scenery and I've seen some fantastic sunsets over the docks on my way to knitting on many an occasion.
And in addition to this there is the views over the River Mersey to Liverpool which really has a great waterfront. And on Tuesday night as I was coming home from knitting I had an extra special treat. I got myself front row seats (well standing room) at a Birthday celebration. If you weren't aware the City of Liverpool is 800 years old and really celebrated '800 day' in style with one of the largest fireworks displays on the river in years. And boy was it spectacular - they even had fireworks that burst open to say '800' which I am seriously impressed with!

It also gave me a chance to test my cameras 'firework' setting and try and capture the atmosphere.

You can't really tell but the orange blur to the lower left is actually the Liver Building home to Liverpool's famous Liver Birds. It sounded like they were bombing Liverpool with all the blasts and bangs and combined with all the smoke and searchlights they had it almost felt like having gone back in time and watching a wartime air raid. Anyway, I thought I'd share this little bit of local news with you all as it really was a fun night out!

Back to the knitting I've a flurry of knitting to share with you and, sit yourself down, some more FO's. Recent ones. And another half done WIP. Yes, there has been some concentrated knitting time (OK - due to being full of cold but it's still results!)

Exhibit A - Angora Fetchings. Based on the pattern from Knitty, I used some Louisa Harding Kimono Angora and 3.75mm dpns and lenghtened them to make skinny hand versions as a (belated) birthday present for my brothers girlfriend. They've gone down well and I did promise her some mittens last Winter so at least they'll be in time for this year! She's bunny mad as well hence the angora yarn which is insanely light and fluffy. These were knitted from one 25g ball and I've got a load of left overs!

Exhibit B - Finally I've gotten round to completing my Devon Holiday socks which was a silly UFO having only about 1" to knit up before casting off for the toe. Needless to say these took next to no time to whip off the needles and near enough straight on the feet! The pattern was from 'Sensational Knitted Socks' and if I ever find where I've put the book I'll tell you exactly what pattern it was. Yarn is as usual some Colinette 4ply wool from the Mill shop sale room. You can see slight colour variations - on the right foot the toe area is a little redder than the rest and on the left the cuff is redder. I realised what was happening and switched back to another section of yarn so I could end up with mostly matching socks.

So far they're lovely and snug and cosy and was a simple lace pattern to do, even if the colours in the yarn don't really show this up much!

No sooner had I grafted the toe of these, stitches were rapidly cast on for Monkey which started zooming along, so much so that I've already finished one sock and am halfway down the next leg! Must say it's a great pattern and I'm glad to be finally knitting them and am probably the last person globally to be knitting them. I can see myself knitting more of these and I'm really pleased with how the yarn is knitting up as well. This is some of my holiday yarn namely some Lana Grossa Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch which feels lovely and woolly and has lovely soft colour changes which don't seem to distract from the pattern. This photo is pretty accurate colour wise except just before the heel flap on the leg.

You can also see my latest lucky acquisition - my very own set of 'Tony Toes' sock blockers! I'm trying to persuade Mum's DH that he could start earning a bit of pocket money making these sock blockers to sell and have decided that he should brand them 'Tony Toes' but I'm not sure if he's convinced yet! But bless him they are great and have been a godsend recently as my DH accidentally washed a pair of my 100% wool socks. In the Washing Machine. Softly felted socks anyone? Thank goodness I can still get my foot in them and they are on the blockers being stretched. I just seem to have lost a bit of length in the leg (of the socks - not me!) and somehow managed to get a hole in them in the lace section. Thankfully I've plenty of that yarn left so I'll darn the hole and it needs be I'll knit another pair - why though does this have to happen to your favorite pair?!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Of Gables and Socks.

Well I've only just realised that I've a Finished Object that has been waiting to be shown to you all for about two months now. I'd finished 'GreenGables' in time for WoolFest and just wanted to get a good photo for you. Well I think we'd still be waiting for that so you'll have to make do with a not so good photo instead!

It's not brilliant I'm afraid as I took this myself in the mirror. And I'm not that tall really - I'm stood on a box so that you could see all of the top! I love the pattern even if I did mess up the lace pattern as I kept forgetting which row I was on of a simple 4 row repeat - so mindless I didn't even think enough for it and only realised when I'd cast off! I don't mind as I love it so much and I'll definitely be doing this again - hopefully accurately next time!

I've been thinking of WoolFest lately after listening to the latest BritKnitCast and it reminded me that I'd filmed on of the sock knitting machines which were just brilliantly clever machines so I thought I'd leave you with this little film whilst I try and finish some more WIP's! Enjoy!!

I should also add that I've been nominated for a Schmoozer award by Mum.

Which to quote from her blog is:

Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection. Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogsphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship".

So in return I nominate the following:

Sarah who always has a kind word;
Badger who always seems to have a friendly word to say;
Carrie-Anne even if she is away house-sitting she still manages to comment and keep up with the outside world;
Piglottie who again always seems to have a friendly word to say;
and finally Jo another one who never seems to fail to reply to comments.

It has been very hard narrowing the nominees down again as there are so many people out there who are so friendly and generous with their time on-line and always seem ready to encourage and support and offer words of friendship. I really do cherish the camaraderie within blogland and thank you all for your support and comments and will try my best to return the favour!

Friday, August 17, 2007

As Requested...

Well, as I said in my last post I've been responsible for the Wool Department in work the last few weeks and have had large deliveries to put away. Normally the official Wool Lady does this but she's on holiday which means I'm left in charge - ooh er!!

I arrived today armed with my camera to get some photos as requested only to find there had been 5 more huge bags of wool delivered and there were 3 more still to be unpacked. As if that wasn't enough work to contemplate the boss decided we should move all the DK weight yarns to the same area. And of course by 'we' I really mean 'me'!! I didn't escape the wool all day I was that busy shifting things. I don't know if the orders were doubled up or not but there were insane mountains of cheap acrylic DK - still a big seller with our little old charity knitters - most of which were doubled up. I did enjoy myself once I'd figured out where everything should go and was bemused when the Sirdar rep arrived and as I had armfuls of wool at the time dealt with me! Thankfully nothing more complicated than a new shade book and new posters to display but exciting none the less! Naturally the old shade book is sat here with me to peruse before being passed on to my knitting group to study.
So here's the finished result of anothers day hard labour in the wool dept!

From L to R - Click Chunky, Blur, something from Wendy with alpaca in it,
Wendy Fusion and Peru Naturals (that actually smells woolly!!)

The DK Aisle! - including the new Click DK and Twillies Freedom Spirit
and leading to the rainbow of acrylic DK!

I also hinted in the last post that I might at long last have an FO to share with you and so I have - can you tell what it is yet?!

For those in the know it's obviously another of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jackets in its 'before' mode. And here it is 'after'!

The girls had fun at my knitting night trying to figure how it all came together after I finished casting off and were all suitably impressed with the cleverness of the pattern. Obviously I haven't sewn the buttons on yet but Emily has worn it and does like it. DH is trying to train her to say 'Surprise' whilst wearing it and so it's of course known as the Surprise Jacket to little Emily as well!

I love the pattern! I really really do! This only used 144g (weighed on the kitchen scales!) of leftover DK acrylic that was in the stash - not my favorite but with messy Emily a god send really and simple to wash. I was even tempted with the thought of making a rainbow one - all I need is a decent blue and orange and I think I know where I can get those from! But first I want one for myself! And then Emily really needs a Tomten Jacket and another of EZ's fantastic patterns - do you know, I loved the patterns before knitting them. But now having actually knitted one up I'm even more in love with them all - EZ was truly a genius with her patterns and I want to knit more of them!! I can see an obsession coming on!!

Right, I'm going to try and find the buttons for this and try to crack on with finishing something else namely my Devon socks - only inches to go!!

Edited to add: The girls in work though I was mad taking pictures of the wool but one of them has decided that this is what happens when you start knitting with four needles!

Monday, August 13, 2007

And the award goes to...

Well I'm really touched to have been awarded this:

even if it was by my own Mum. Thanks for all your support as well!
And now comes the hard part in both narrowing down who to nominate and finding those who haven't already had this award! So the names out of the shiny gold envelope (drum roll please) are as follows:

hpny knits for all her lovely inspiring photographs and projects.

Christina for managing to knit all those socks with 2 small children!

Crafty Drama Queen for all her talented creations and because she loves green as well (only joking!)

Queen of the Froggers again for all her lovely creations although I've a feeling she may have been nominated already.

I will add this though that it was very hard to narrow the choices down to just four as there are so many blogs out there that are inspirational in both their content and the talent shown and there is such a great and supportive community here in blogland that everyone really deserves this award.

I will post again soon with some knitting content but for now I feel I ought to leave you with a list of current WIP's that make me think I should rename this blog 'The Butterfly Knitter' as I'm flitting from project to project right now with the attention span of a butterfly. Definitely a severe case of Cast-on Fever and Finish-itis although I may have something finished soon!
  • EZ's baby surprise - actually a toddler surprise adapted from the Adult surprise directions so it'll fit Emily better, virtually finished so watch this space;
  • Lacey Summer Shrug - abandoned when the dodgy weather arrived and not touched since;
  • Lacey Waves Jumper (from Lace Style) - back completed and put aside when the warm weather was on it's way in favour of the above;
  • Devon Holiday Sock number 2 - not much more of the foot to knit, not sure why I haven't just picked it up and finished the darned thing;
  • Lace shawl (Japanese Waves or something from KnitSpot) - 1 repeat down, forgot where I put the instructions and 'tidied' the knitting away and forgot about it, poor thing - needs good light and brains.

My handspun yarn from my WoolFest giant merino/silk batt is all done now and so I'm itching to start that soon with a different pattern to the planned one as I don't think I'll have quite enough yardage and don't really want to tempt fate. I'll revisit that pattern with more handspun when I know I'll definitely have enough to finish it.

I was almost sad enough to photograph the shelves of wool in work that I've been playing with lately. It's such a hardship but on my days in I'm being asked to take charge of the wool department and had the hugest wool delivery to put away on Friday and it was all new wools. Well it took all day to find space on the shelves and arrange them to my satisfaction (in colour groups with preference to the colours I liked!) and I was so pleased with the results I was very tempted to photograph it as a FO to show you all here but then I think that would have been a bit sad!! And then the next day I had to put out all the new patterns that had come in the same delivery and I was very pleased with myself that as I was looking at them all my first reactions were - 'I have the yarn for that' or 'I can spin yarn for that' rather than 'I'll need to buy that yarn now!'. Still we have lovely colours of Twillies Freedom Spirit and Sirdar's Peru Naturals that will be screaming at me for a while now - must remember to try and get some Twillies patterns in after hearing Dreamcatchers reviews of the new book - not just for me of course!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bargains in B*******!

(The name has been hidden to prevent embarrassment as you will find out!)

I am so behind with everyones blogs since coming back from our holiday and I don't seem to have had any time to remedy that. I will try to catch up with everyone as soon as possible.

After a mad-cap non stop week after coming back from Devon I had 3 days in work, rather than my usual 2, and then was straight over to stay with Mum without pausing to draw breath!
It was a lovely break as always and Emily ran us both ragged, as usual, and we before we knew it it was time to go home again. Not before we found some lambs at a local Rabbit Farm (and lots of other animals!) in an attempt to entertain young Emily who after running round came back and excitedly told us she'd found some poo! Bless her!

Cute Lambs.

We did manage to get to Mum's local charity shops and found the bargains of the titles. In the same shop where Mum found a huge pile of 'Vogue Knitting' back issues we found a set of five folders full of knitting patterns which have some little gems in them and which were only £1.50 for the lot. We also found a complete set of 'Golden Hands complete knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guide' books. We asked the lady how much they were and she said "£2". Her colleague then piped up and said "Well it says here 6 books for £1, so 18 books... that's £2". We didn't argue, Emily was starting to get bored and it was time to haul all our goodies back to the car. It was only when we got to the car that we realised that Emily had acquired a new little car and little toy car - Oooops!
Anyway back to the books. There are loads of lovely ideas in amongst this set of books and lots of really mad seventies stuff which I'll try and find some choice selections for you. None the less I can see myself spending hours browsing through this lot!

There hasn't been much knitting going on as I've been spinning like a dervish and enjoying every minute of it all. I've just over 140g left to spin up before I can finish all the plying and get things worked out for my project. I've set myself the challenge of trying to finish the spinning and knitting up by the 31st of October which will be a year from when I first got my wheel and for me a marker of how much I've learnt in a year - we shall see! Hopefully this yarn will knit up with subtle variations of colour - each skein so far is different and yet toning as you can see. Those white parts are luscious lumps of silk!

The other news I suppose I should tell you all about is my lovely parcel I received. Can you tell what it is yet?Maybe this shot will help you!
That is it - my spinning equipment supply is complete with my lovely new drum carder. What with all these fleeces I've got in the shed I decided it was a must have if I'm ever to work my way through it all within my lifetime (I exaggerate of course!). Haven't really stopped long enough to have a really good play with it yet but all the ladies in Mum's guild have said the Ashford is the best out there to go for and with all their experience and talent who am I to disagree with them?! What I have done with it I am pleased with but really want to get this project out of the way before biting off another thing right now.
Oh and one of the girls I work with brought me a shearling Suffolk Mule fleece from her sisters small flock in West Kirby so I now have two local fleeces to play with ( and wash ASAP!) as if I needed more! But bless her it was going free and she thought of me!
Right, as I'm really waffling about nothing I shall leave you with some pretty pictures from our Devon trip as a reward. These were amongst the few that don't have Emily in and I hope you enjoy them!

Beesands beach, Start Bay.

Slapton Ley, also Start Bay.

Streete Gate.

Looking along Slapton Ley to Torcross.

As you may have guessed these are all in Start Bay and local to where we were staying. For those of you who don't know the area it's South Devon down the coast from Torquay and Paignton and so peaceful and beautiful with all these pebbly beaches and rolling hillsides. Well recommended for a visit if you're ever down that way.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

End of Summer

At least that is always how it feels coming home from our weeks holiday, never mind! But I've not been resting without knitting, fear not! I have been busy and have a number of FO's for you plus one I haven't photographed yet as well which is the 'Green Gables' top which was completed in time for WoolFest which really is a bit sinful - wearing Cotton to WoolFest!!! Well I would have been if we'd gone in for another day! The other FO finished before WoolFest are these wonderfully cozy socks:

They were finished only a few hours before WoolFest admittedly but still! And I was so reluctant to take them off as my feet were so toasty warm wearing them. I had planned to knit them up later in the year in time for Winter but I was in the midst of Cast On Fever and as they are knit in Sirdar Super Nova on 3.75mm needles they were a seriously quick knit. The pattern by the way is 'Log Cabin Socks' from 'Hand knit Holidays' by Melanie Falick. You will be seeing more of these socks!!

Next in the FO-fest is some overdue spinning starting with 109g / 194m of Merino/Silk plied with some fine kid mohair - what it will be I do not know but suspect this is calling to be a hat of some form or another. I'm hoping it will call to me and tell me what it wants to be. It's roughly aran weight and is a bit lightly spun in parts and certainly not evenly plied but it was the first bit of spinning I'd done in a while so I'll not worry about it and it is after all a very fluffy and soft yarn to stroke in times of stress!

And besides, why worry about lesser spun yarn when I'm happy knowing I've 4 bobbins full of some Merino/Silk blend from a WoolFest purchase I forgot to confess to tell you all about which was a giant 600g batt from Winghams which I am really enjoying spinning up. There is a plan with all this spinning and hopefully it will be enough to make the garment I have in mind. I'm not going to tell you about it yet as there will be maths involved with the yarn and pattern and I think I'll leave the reveal until I've made a start on the item in question and see if it's going to work or not. Suffice to say the inimitable Mrs Zimmermann is involved somewhere along the line in this grand project!! (Okay - not grand really but I'm a little nervous trying to spin enough consistently for a garment!)

And there's more! My current WIP - a lacey tie front shrug to provide a little warmth on all these balmy summers evenings we're having (sorry, wishful thinking!) - was a little to complex to knit all the way down to Devon. So, desperate for something to break the tedium of all those miles on the motorway out came some Colinette 4ply and Sensational Knitted Socks and here you have....

... some Lace Rib socks (on the M5). The yarn is more muted than it looks thanks to the sunshine and the flash (bad combination for yarn photography!) and makes me think of cottage gardens but isn't really great for showing up anything much of a pattern as you can see below. I'm just turning the heel on sock number 2 but have the slight hitch of not being able to find it at all, never mind so I think we'll have to wait for a finished pair for now!

I should also confess to having found some yarn shops whilst away as well and of course had to make a purchase to support the local economy, etc.. and so came away with just a little more sock yarn for the stash! (Like I really need more!)

So here you see 4 balls of Lana Grossa Melinweint Mega Boot Stretch (Mum yours is the one above the lary orange one that looks day glow!) and a hank of Jitterbug in Gaugain colourway which reminded me of the colour of the sea in glorious Devon. when my brain wakes up again I'll try to remember the names of the shops but for now will tell you one is in Totnes and was the first stockist of Colinette ever and the other is in Paignton.

I suppose I should leave you with some lovely scenery shots to calm the mind after all my wittering so here you go! Many thanks for all the comments, I will try to get round to catching up with you all as soon as possible but am drowning in laundry right now so bear with me!

*Blogger must be tired as well and doesn't seem to want to let you have any pretty scenery shots tonight so I'll let you see those again another time, after all I think I may have shown you enough FO's to last a while yet!