Thursday, December 18, 2008

Just a quick post for now in between getting ready for Christmas. Take a moment to have a look at CherryRed's blog where she's having a prize draw to raise funds in memory of her Mother who passed away recently due to Cancer.

It's a really worthy cause and is something that touches many lives and in this seasonal time of giving is something worth a little of anyones time to give a little. Not nagging or anything but thought it would be nice to have a little pause for thought in amongst al thoughts of turkeys and presents.

Will be back soon with a proper post soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And Baby Came Too!

I'm ashamed to say that I've forgotten to tell you something that I've been really excited about but somehow seem to manage by the time it comes to blogging. I know I really should do this whilst I'm wide awake and not when I'm half asleep and that way I'd not forget the exciting bits and inflict you with a load of waffle instead. Well, I'm awake now so you'll have the news (as well as some waffle!).
A month or so ago I took part in a Spinners Swap on Ravelry, my first ever swap and I had a whale of a time picking out goodies and dyeing stuff up for my swap partner and after sending out my parcel I almost forgot about that fact that someone else would be sending me a parcel in return! And when I got my parcel I was thrilled with the goodies inside which 'Manicgirl'
from Sweden sent.

As well as some beautiful hand dyed merino and some luscious hand dyed silk hankies were some beautiful hand spun yarns which I'll have to find something special to use in. The middle item in the photo is the one I'm most impressed with as it's so beautiful it's almost a shame to use it! It's some flax tied in the traditional Swedish way which really does look fantastic and the smell is wonderful - my Grandad would have been interested in this I'm sure as he was from Belfast where a lot of linen is produced.

I've decided to dedicate this post to my spinning as there's been a fair bit going on lately as well as all the dyeing I've been churning out for the shop. This first yarn was from some Fybrespates fibre, I can't remember what it is as it didn't have a label on but it's lovely and soft and has a lovely sheen. I plied the singles with some rayon thread in a toning shade and there's enough yarn here to make myself another Forest Canopy shawl!

This one is a blend of Alpaca, Mohair and Wool from the lovely 'Wool For Brains' etsy shop and it was a lovely fibre to spin and there's just possibly enough for a pair of socks by I'm going to spin something complimentary for the heels and toes I think to make the yarn go farther. The colours in this are really lovey and don't really show well here.

There is more hand spun to show but I've not take any pictures of them - one of which I'm really happy with is a three ply Alpaca/Nylon blend yarn which is destined to become socks - and there's plenty of yarn for them!

Recently Emily has been getting involved with spinning too. Firstly I took her to the Frodsham Friendship Day which was help by one of the Cheshire Spinning Guilds. She was really excited when we walked in to the main hall which was full of loads of spinners and their wheels and asked if she could start spinning there and then! She even decided which wheel she wanted and virtually claimed someones Louet wheel! We met up with the lovely Jackie and her girls, who Emily loved, and I was surprised that Emily didn't protest and let me stay nearly all afternoon!
By the time we left she was very tired and upset that I'd left 'her' wheel and her new friends behind!

After such a successful day out with her I tried her out again with a trip to the Abergele Guilds spinning afternoons which again she was most impressed with. Even after packing some snacks (bribes really!), jigsaws and colouring bits I didn't see myself being able to do much in the way of spinning but to my amazement she let me get on with it. I can't say that she let one of the other ladies do much spinning, Lynne became a temporary childminder and seemed to enjoy herself being taken on riverside walks and walks on 'squelchy' fields. And the final vote of approval from Emily came when she saw our tea-time cakes - I think I'll be allowed to go again with her and the other members didn't seem to mind her at all either!
So now Emily wants me to teach her to spin, we've a spindle all ready for her but I think I'm more likely to get eyes poked out rather than yarn spun so far! I think Emily really wants to have a go soon - she's been sitting on my lap and 'helping spinning'. I don't think she's quite ready yet but she thinks she is!

I'll leave you with a shot of yet another small person who's been 'helping' me to spin - not sure if he's ready to learn or not either!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Playing Around

It's funny what you can find on peoples blogs which are a great way to kill time with! I was reading GoldfishGirl's blog and found this from Wordle and it's a fun thing to do with your blog and interesting what words it pick up on!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One Hundred Posts Old Today!!

Maybe it's just the time of year but I've kind of fallen under a spell of the blues and as a result I've kind of been hiding from society (OK - it may be online but it's still a society of sorts!).
Only some lovely kind words from a certain Sarah made me realise how slow I've been at updating lately and that I needed to get out and post something!

The thing is it's not as if there aren't any FO's to show you - I've been knitting and spinning like mad (that's the hiding from society bit!) and have a fair old pile of stuff on the finished pile. I should also add that there's still a pile of stuff on the WIP pile too but then who doesn't have these on going projects?!

I decided a montage shot would be less bother to post rather than inflict a load of photos on you and was surprised how many things have been done since I last posted - five finished objects and another new one on the go! Well I'm impressed at least but I suppose it is cheating of sorts as they're all small projects really.

As the days have been growing colder and darker (and then warmer again - silly weather!) my thoughts have been on making warming layers for DD. It's not that I don't want anything for myself (I don't think I'll even attempt to start a list we could be here all night but I might just mutter 'Wisteria' under my breath!) but I keep thinking she ought to be wrapped up against the cold (when it gets here for good!) so there are slipovers and tunics galore on the 'to knit' list ready for Winter. Most of the following have been made for her - OK all bar one! Hubby is still grumbling that his project isn't finished yet but that hasn't been photographed and I'm making the pattern up as I go and can't find my notes (I blame him for tidying!)

I suppose I should start with the current WIP which is a Sirdar pattern (details are on Rav - I don't do details well, that's what Rav is there to remember for me!) for Miss Emily knit in some Sirdar Sunggly Aran (which is as the name suggests!). Even though it's a simple waistcoat with very little sewing up to do I'm reducing the sewing further by converting it to (I was going to say in the round) a one piece job. The cables are really lovely looking and make for a nice think fabric but it's not the challenge for the grey cells I was wanting - the cable pattern was learnt before I'd finished the first repeat. Still it's working quite quickly (when I actually knit it) as I can get away with doing some of the cables sans cable needle! Does it look like I'm content with doing the pattern the traditional way (blind following)? The urge to 'tweak' is strong!

The Rainbow Beret (can you guess which one that is in the montage? Do you need a clue?!) was another pattern I wasn't content to follow blindly. The initial try was too pointy for my liking and more elf hat than beret. So it was ripped back and I made it up, increasing stitches like a mad thing - nothing written down of course so I'm doomed if I want to recreate it! Plus the pattern (again details on Rav - can't remember where I found it other than through Rav!) was for a 2 year old so I played and guessed whilst DD was in school and cast off with no head to double check on. As a result there's no real need to know what I did with this as there's plenty of room for growing here! As part of the developing trend the yarn for this (Colinette Cadenza - I do remember some things!) was lovely and soft to knit with and is nice and snuggly too!

Before the beret came the BSJ - do you need details or do those three little letters tell you all you need know about the pattern?! OK, for all that Elizabeth Zimmermann wanted people to not follow patterns blindly I did with this. The maths and the whole construction of this little beauty of a pattern still befuddles me even after knitting this second one - I really couldn't conceive of thinking one of these up from scratch! If you haven't tried this pattern out yet I urge you to try just for the fun of trying to work it out and then once you've figured out how it goes together making others try to figure it out themselves! Hours of Fun!! Anyway this was for a friend baby who technically is still not due but who in reality arrived on the 3rd of October (Mum's Birthday too!) seven weeks early and coincidentally my Baby Surprise was finished the day before - I know Mum has said about being Welsh Witches but really?! Expect to see more mini knits with this same yarn (Fabel from Garn Studio - lovely yarn and great colours!) as this only took just (and I mean just - half of the last row and casting off done with the second 50g ball!) over 50g to knit and no girl is fully dressed without matching booties and hat now are they?!

Bored yet? Nevermind! Still on the list is a Sirdar aran jumper (strangely enough also knitted in Sirdar yarn - not a usual trend having the 'right' yarn for the pattern!) again converted into being knitted in the round and a baby Kimono from Lion Brand done in Mad fluffy slubby wool which was an insanely quick knit. Well, as this is turning into a huge essay I'll keep it brief on these two and move on to one of my favorite FO's and a first for me - a Crocheted FO!! I don't expect many of you to have heard of it but the little white beastie is a Totoro from the Japanese animated film called 'My Neighbour Totoro' a really lovely film for little ones (and handily dubbed in English). Totoros are woodland spirits fond of gathering acorns and disappearing when they want to hide away and this one is a 500 year old 'baby' one. Seriously this film is worth looking out for for those with little ones to amuse, it is a bit bizarre (I'll just say 'Cat Bus' and leave it to your imagination) but is a lovely gentle film, not a lot happens but DD adores it and many others from the same makers 'Studio Ghibli' Japans equivalent to Disney. Anyway this is the first ever crocheted creation I've done, other than a little freestyle dabbling, and it was only by the time I'd nearly finished and was doing the tail that I figured out how to count crochet stitches and how to follow a crochet pattern properly. The stitches are wonkey and not necessarily what the pattern wanted (or where it wanted them!) but it look like what it's supposed to and I love it as does Miss Emily! And that's what matters!

I was going to show you some hand spun I'd done but my back is aching sitting at this computer and I think I've inflicted enough waffle for one night for you. Plus it gives me something to start my next hundred posts with doesn't it?! Will try and touch base with you all and gradually rejoin society - see you out there!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Oh I do Love to be beside the Capital of Culture!

Whilst I wouldn't want to actually live in Liverpool (being too much of a country girl at heart!) it has been great being on the doorstep of this City during this year of Capital of Culture. There have been so many wonderful events that have been wonderful to watch and feel part of. My favorites have to have been the Tall Ships Race, photos of which can be found here and the 'Go Superlambananas' sculpture trail which involved over 120 Superlambanana sculptures dotted around the City (as well as Runcorn, Euston and Moel Fammau in Wales). What fun we had chasing all over the place finding them all (not sure if our feet agreed with all the walking but still!) and since we couldn't make it to Euston demands were made by Hubby to his company (who sponsored the Euston Lamb) to bring her back home to Liverpool, a fact he is mightily pleased about (even if his middle name in work is now 'Lambanana'!). And Emily has really enjoyed hunting them down too - that's her at the bottom hugging one of them!

A Selection of my favorite SuperLambananas!

And now, after the SuperLambananas have left the city a new creature has emerged, disturbed by all the renovation work Liverpool is undergoing - 'La Princesse' has arrived courtesy of 'La Machine'!!

Boy she is big! 37 tonnes and 50 foot high - so big my arachnophobia said 'Get real!' and didn't engage. DD and I spent the morning watching as she was craned down from the building where I used to work (which actually I'm glad I wasn't in as a Giant Spider crept past the window!) and on to a lorry taking her down to Albert Dock ready for this weekends excitement.

Exactly what 'La Princesse' will do is unknown, maybe she'll spin us a tale! It's all being kept secret but it will be a great extravaganza and we shall enjoy as much as we can! I will leave you with one more shot - that on the police bike that was genuinely part of her escort... co-incidence or not?! LOL!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Please can we have more hours in the Day?

Doesn't time seem to fly by relentlessly? There are so many things I'd love to be getting done but they just don't seem to happen! We've had a busy old time of it here lately - last week has been spent comforting Emily which has taken so much time.
She'd been ill early Saturday morning and seemed better on the Sunday so we went out to watch the motor racing with my Dad at Oulton Park in Cheshire. By the time we got there Emily wasn't well again and managed to sleep through a noisy race which our friend was driving in. So we decided to head home and pop in to Borders on the way to see if the latest Interweave Knits was out yet.
After a successful trip clutching IK for Mum we returned to the car only to see a familiar face parked next to us! Well, I recognised the yarn in her cardi before I noticed it was none other than WyeSue up in the area for the weekend - and a lovely surprise it was too! Anyway the point being that it made me realise that I haven't managed to keep up with any ones blogs for ages and feel quite out of touch with everything.
Now Ravelry is one big black hole that does seem to consume huge chunks of the day and Emily is the other, especially this week. Take Bank Holiday Monday for instance - were we passing the time of day doing something fun for her? Not at all, what should have been a quick trip to the out of hour doctors ended up as nearly six hours in the Children's A&E next door. Now there was nothing seriously wrong, other than a Urine Infection (which is bad enough), but having to wait for four hours for a sample was torture - no knitting, nothing to read (other than kids books - I'm talking of course of the brand new IK sitting at home!) and a child who doesn't want to drink her orange juice and wants to know why the hospital doesn't have apple juice? Argh!

Thankfully she is now loads better and is back to her energetic self and I'm dedicating more time to knitting again and trying to get round some blogs (bear with me - every time I tune out a little every ones blogs seem to grow by dozens of posts!). There is even a new FO to show, when I sew the button on and DD sits still long enough for a photo! Plus my Laminaria, long neglected, is finally growing again and is nearing the end of the Transition chart.

I haven't even had time to dye more bits for the shop or the Spinners Swap I'm taking part in over on Ravelry and there are lovely bits of hand spun for that that can't be shown yet without spoiling the surprise! Still Mum has uploaded some natural dyed rovings to the shop so I'll leave you with a picture of some pretty roving so it's not too boring a post!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wowee!! Does this mean we're famous?!!

I take one little break from the dye pot and what do I find?
Only a sooper dooper mention on Lime&Violets' 'The Daily Chum'!! Seeing as we haven't been going that long I am so touched and thrilled to have been listed here - it's a good thing I'm on my own in the house today as I squeeled good style when I saw the post!

And Mum's away on her holidays - typical! I'm now heading back to the dyepot to restock the shop with more fibres and there she is with a house full of dyed up beauties ready to list. Talking of which, have you checked out her blog to get a sneek peek? Don't you just love them all? I know I do and would sorely love them all, especially those natural dyed ones - heaven!! And I think Mum will find it hard going putting those up for sale too!

Monday, July 28, 2008


We're finally open for business!!!

Find us here!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

All I want is a Tall Ship...

... And a star to steer her by.

As you may or may not know Liverpool recently played host to the Tall Ships Race which was absolutely fantastic and stirred my soul making me want to run away to sea again. Last time they were up was in 1992 and I did run away to sea as it were by signing up to sail with the Sail Training Association that August and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think maybe the family history of sailing and working at sea helps the appeal but I don't think there could have been many people who'd fail to be impressed with the ships that were berthed in Liverpool this last weekend. And there certainly were loads there to see them all too!

Anyway enough of the Capital of Culture report for now and back to our usual topic! There has been knitting, spinning and dyeing activity a plenty over the past few weeks, as the blue fingers and blue smudges over the computer keyboard will vouch for! And little Emily has been the lucky recipient for a lot of it. For her birthday this year she had a toy kitchen but she's hadn't got a lot of food to go with it so I decided to fix that by knitting her some more food and I've had a load of fun doing them too as most of them could be churned out in just one evening or less and the huge smiles on her face has been encouragement enough plus they're good little stash busters! So far she has a slice of Battenburg cake, an iced bun, an ice-cream cone, two cupcakes, a cheese sandwich and a chocolate biscuit. I must admit that my favorite is the ice-cream which is really cool, even if it's blue - which Emily chose and who am I to argue!

I almost forgot that Emily also had some new socks ready for Winter using Gilraens Micro Monkey pattern and some Garnstudio Fabel which has lovely bright colours for little feet and is reasonably priced too. A nice simple pattern to knit, the only work is making up the heel and toe numbers to fit as you go. So that's one pair down ready for Winter and more stashbusting socks to go as these only took 28g of wool and I'm sure I've plenty of leftovers for more!

Also for Miss Emily on the knitting front is a really easy knit (again busting that stash!) using just 100g (with leftovers!) of James Brett's Kool Kotton cotton blend DK yarn and a pattern I found on Ravelry here but I modified it slightly to get the ruffled edge which is really cute and girly. It was a quick knit as well and only took 8 days to finish.

Next on the needles will be for Emily as well and is a cable jumper pattern from Sirdar, can't remember which one right now so will give the details later! As for the dyeing they'll all be uploaded shortly to our etsy shop 'Mam a Mi' and boy do I wish I could keep them all!! And, if you hadn't have guessed already, one has got some luscious blues in it!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Sorry Tale of SABLE

A friend of mine from our knitting group died this week quite suddenly which obviously upset us all but it did much more than that. This loss has made us all start to really think about our stashes and how SABLE (Stash Aquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) comes into the picture.
You see our friend 'L' left behind her a house full of wool. Now I know lots of us say we've a house full of wool but with 'L' I really mean it. Now I'm not directly involved with helping to clear this stash our but my close friend is and I can see how hard a job she's faced with. How best to dispose of bag upon bag of knitting needles; hank upon hank of cross-stitch threads (we're talking huge full carrier bags worth) before you even get round to the yarn itself which seems to have virtually filled rooms.
All in all it's left me feeling sad for the loss of a friend and the realisation that we barely knew her in some ways - we only ever saw her knit with acrylic yarns and yet her house was full of lovely yarns such as Rowan, Yaeger and Debbie Bliss which will probably have been there for years untouched. It's so sad to think of her sat all alone surrounded by all that wool. We will never know what drove her to gather all this wool together but I'm sure we've all been left with the huge lesson of knitting what we've got.

My stash seems to have changed over night from a growing thing to something to be used and enjoyed but with the emphasis on Used. The thought of buying new yarn is strangely unappealing as I know I've certainly enough yarn for a dozen or so socks (not including stash busting left over socks!), probably a dozen jumpers or cardigans in varying weights and half a dozen shawls. Surely that will be enough to keep me busy for the foreseeable future? And of course I'm spinning new yarns as well so the stash does grow...

So I ask you - How do we know when we've reached SABLE or at least when to stop feeding the stash? For me I think I'm there and have no intentions of adding to the pile. Now I'm sure I will fall of the wagon at times, don't we all!! But I'm certainly going to make a definate effort to knit what I've got and try to ignore the siren call of unpurchased yarns.

And on a lighter note I will leave you with the first of the great stashbusting projects - a stashbusting memorial flower garden for 'L' which we will keep in 'Made' in Wallasey, where the New Brighton Knitters meet so that 'L' will always be there with us for our knitting evenings. And quite probably some of her stash will also make it into the garden as well.

I will post again soon about our lovely holiday and try and remember to take photos of the flowers (which are really fun to knit!) but I'm not really feeling up to jollyness right now. The photos in this post were taken in 'The National Botanic Gardens of Wales' which are lovely and well worth a visit and will be the only holiday photos for now.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Buzz, Buzz, Buzz...

... Busy little Bee!! Apologies for the photo heavy post that follows!

Well my spinning wheel has been keeping me busy lately and the garden has been calling too. Poor neglected knitting - Yeah playing with fibres!!

Been busy chucking various fibres and bits at the drum carder and then having fun with the results, plying with whatever was to hand (namely sewing thread) and 'boufant boucle'ing the yarn - definitely fun after spinning 75g of Merino silk blend and producing 256m!

Primula Vialii

Aquilegia 'Norah Barlow'

Look at those yummy swirls of snipped silk threads!

Octopus and Jellyfish boucle tendrils!

More Jellyfish tendrils of boucle coils - full of sparkle and glitz!

Finest yarn I've ever spun - 256m approx from 75g of Merino/Silk blend!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

260 Miles and a Whole lot of Fibre!!

Okay, I'm in writing about it but I managed to get to WonderWoolWales (via Mums house and travelling in convoy!!) at the end of April and boy was it Fun!! Needless to say I returned home laden with new fibres and yarns and a head full of ideas from the lovely Prudence Mapstones workshop. The atmosphere was lovely there - so relaxed and plenty of space to wander round in - not as claustrophobic as WoolFest seemed last year.

And as that's nearly a month ago now some of that lovely pile of new yarns and fibres have been played with and knitted up. I've been wanting to knit up a Forest Canopy shawl after seeing one of Joy's lovely creations back at the Ravelers meet-up in Colinette all those months ago! And having acquired some pretty Posh Yarn Lei at WonderWool (shortly before meeting Joy again as it happened!!) it seemed the right time to have a go. And what a great pattern it is! Such a quick and satisfying knit that I can see why Joy has knit up so many and I can see myself knitting more too!

The colours don't really show up well there but they really are more jewel like and similar to oil on water except on a green background (if that makes any sense!!).

And is one shawl ever enough? Never!! I'd dug some Jaeger Alpaca 4ply out of the stash to knit up Norah Gaugan's modular shawl from Vogue Knitting's Winter or Spring issue (can you tell I can't remember which one!!) anyway the details are here. It was a fun knit too and nice to knit modules even if it needed more construction in the end. Plus it tested my crochet skills so all in all a good project and finished in plenty of time for our holiday which is what I intended it for!

Not the best photo but you get the idea! The plan was to possibly dye this a different colour if I ever work out what colour I wanted in the first place but I've actually come to love the creamy neutrality of it - at least I goes with everything!!

Another quick knit (and again fiddly to assemble) was a little something for Emily's birthday. Meet Joanna knitted from the 'Knitted Babes' book complete with 2 outfits (so far!) and I'm pleased to say that Emily loves her. So much so that Joanna already needs surgery to put her arms back on!! Serves me right for forgetting to actually sew them on properly!! Plus I think her hair is too heavy and her neck under stuffed so there will be the possible addition of some cotton wool buds to act as a spine for her neck!

I think I got carried away with the accessories but then why shouldn't a girl have some bling ear-rings and a feather boa?!!

The last couple of months seem to have been crammed full of spinning, dyeing and knitting which is why the blog has been neglected (plus that naughty Ravelry keeps distracting me too!!) and my favorite thing was the dyeing session that Mum had at her house with myself and Christina. Great fun was had by all and lovely coloured yarns were made using both naturals and chemical dyes. My favorite does have to be the red onion/weld combination though which is destined to be..... why another shawl of course!!

Red Onion (green) and Weld (yellow) natural dyed Alpaca Lace weight

Cochineal natural dyed merino lace weight

BFL sock yarn dyed with Landscapes dyes, over dyed with blue Easy Peasy dyes

Assorted hand-spun yarns - top to bottom:

Fyberspates Alpaca rovings; hand-dyed BFL fleece; Teeswater plied with Cotswold/Texel blend

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Brushing the Dust Off!

It seems odd not having posted for ages but I've been contentedly knitting and spinning away and blogs have been far from my thoughts. Maybe it's the faint promise of Spring and the lengthening of the days that's drawn me back but here I am (admittedly it's too cold for me here so I'm wrapped up with Agatha!).

I've always wondered how some people can manage to knit so many socks in relatively short periods of time so I surprised myself by knitting and casting on for three pairs of socks in three weeks. Admittedly there are only 2 pairs and one lonely Elfine so far but I was distracted as I'll explain shortly. Obviously if you've read my previous post you'll know about the first of my finished socks which are my hand-dyed Plumkin Pie Chevrons. The pattern is one of the Chevrons from 'Sensational Knitted Socks' which isn't to hand right now or I'd give you the exact details! Nice comfy socks - shame about the bit of pooling around the heel flap but other than that I'm really pleased with my home made self- striping socks even if they are a bit like tiger feet!!

Next up was a first try of my Colinette Jitterbug stash in the Gauguin colourway which I got on holiday last year in Devon. The pattern is 'Lorelei' from 'Lets Knit!' a month or so ago which was done in the exact same colourway so I thought I may as well give it a go and try and avoid the odd pooling the Jitterbug sometimes seems to do as the socks in the photo looked great. And mine done on the same size needles? Weird purple stripe that turned into blobs on the soles of my feet (a Paul Simon song if I'm not mistaken!!) which made me think of either birthmarks or grape pickers feet! And the pooling on both sock was different to the other. But as for the sock - lovely and squishy and comfy but I think I'd have rather do them on smaller needles for a bit more of a snug fit but that's just being picky!!

Finally the aforementioned 'Elfine', a pattern I've been wanting to knit for ages now and have have wool set aside for ages specifically for it. I'm of a mind that I need the right colour sock yarn to go with a pattern sometimes and Elfine screamed greens to me. Now my wool looks nothing like the photo below the blues and purples are more vivid than shown but as Mum rightly says you can't really see the pattern for all the variegation of colour. All the same it's pretty and I like it. It also happens to be a good variation for me (like Lorelei) in that it's a toe-up sock but this time using a figure of eight cast on which is a bit fiddly to start but lovely and neat. the trouble is I need to be fully awake and have my brain in gear before I start the next one and lately I've just been that little bit too tired of an evening to gear myself up for a bit of work.

I'd finally decided that it was about time that my Japanese Feather Stole was finished off as it was far too simple a pattern for it to be neglected. So Elfine number two was delayed for the moment whilst I slogged on with the stole which grew quite quickly once I paid it some attention and thankfully it's that straight forward enough of a pattern that I was able to do it whilst DD was around which says a lot seeing as she's definitely going through the Terrible Two's (BTW what's next - Frantic Threes; Fearful Fours?) and I could even knit it at our Knitting evenings albeit slowly!!

I'm not sure if it's a Spring Thing but I've cast on for another shawl with Summer in mind. DH mentioned how many weeks it was before we'd be off to sunny Pembrokeshire for our hols and I decided to cast on to make sure it's be finished in time. It's Norah Gaughan's Medallion Shawl from Vogue Winter 07/08 which involves knitting up 15 separate hexagons which is actually quite satisfying to knit up. So far I've 9 knitted up in some Jaeger Alpaca 4ply in a cream shade making it look like little snow flakes (so much for a Summer shawl!!) and 6 more shouldn't take too long to do but I think the crocheting together of them all may be a bit testing of my meager crochet skills!

I shall leave you with photos of the extremes of the month. First off is a shot of the mountains from the moors behind Mum's house (one is probably Snowdon but I'm not too great at remembering the names of them from a distance) which was taken this Monday. And the final shot for you are some Dog Tooth Violets which appeared in one of my plant pots last year and are providing a beautiful shot in today's bright sunshine - definitely a month of mixed up weather!

Anyway I'm surrounded with piles of raspberry fluff to be spun up so I'll leave you for now and attempt to return with more news as soon as possible, hopefully within weeks and not months this time!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Plodding Along!

Believe it or not I did actually start another post in January. Admitedly it was the end of January so no real rush to post but it ground to a halt. There were even photos. But then I thought the best thing to do would be to start again. So here I am, waiting for a delivery and putting my time to good use!

I have been busy, admitedly with a lot of none knitting related bits (like potty training - Fun!!) but also with some new knitting to show you all. There was a birthday deadline to meet to start with and I decided to make socks seeing as I'd not managed them for Christmas. Not content with knitting a pattern I knew and was happy with the results I decided to try a new pattern from Garn Studio which I liked the look of. Knitted up using 2 strands of yarn together on large needles (for socks at least!) it was a fairly quick knit once I'd got my head round the instructions. Not having done short row heels for ages as they're not my favorites my brain refused to comprehend what was going on for a couple of attempts but it got done in the end with fairly neat results. I'm happy with the finished socks and most importantly my Aunt is happy with them and they fit - what more can you ask?! Oh yes, the funny thing with these socks is that despite having 2 different yarns (both self-striping but different colourways) both of them got to a similar colour band at the same point resulting in obvious stripes in the midst of more random colours - weird hey?!

It's funny but knitting these socks and knowing they weren't for me has given me an urge for new socks of my own so no sooner had I cast off the Birthday socks then I cast on some for myself. The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks and is called Chevron (so simple to remember!) and I'm using some Blueface Leicester sock yarn I got in WoolFest that I dyed up during our big Dyeing Week and my Mums. Now I don't normally name my hand dyed yarns but this one screamed 'Plum-kin Pie' to me with it's shades of orange, brown and plum.

I have progressed a lot further than the photo shows now but then that it because I've been slow getting these posts done! So far I'm really happy with these, especially as Mum didn't recognise the yarn as stuff we'd dyed up and wondered where I'd gotten it from! Talking of Mum in connection with knitting, this next FO comes with many grateful thanks to her. Last birthday she gave me a skein of Posh Yarns luscious Cashmere aran weight which I'm ashamed to say I'd just not gotten round to knitting up sooner. This neck warmer is lovely to cuddle into and is based on a pattern for a whimple Mum found somewhere on the net - if I ever find the link I'll let you know!

DD is going through a phase of asking what I'm knitting for her everytime she sees my knitting something which is rather annoying as she doesn't seem to want to wear anything I've knitted for her. So I decided to knit her something she might play with instead and found this sweet pattern in amongst the huge pile of 'Golden Hands' craft books from the 70's. So far it's been a success.
And despite being a bad blogger and posting erratically Cyndy has kindly awarded me with the 'You Make My Day' award - Thank You!! so it now falls to me to return the favour and spread the award! To quote from Cyndys blog:
"Give the award to 10 people whose blogs bring you happiness and inspiration and make you feel happy about blogland. Let them know by posting a comment on their blog so they can pass it on. Beware you may get the award several times."

Where do you start?

  • My Lovely Mum - I may be biased here but she always makes my day and makes me happy, except when she's feeling poorly and down because she's so far away and I can't always be right there in person for her.

  • Kendra - because of all the beautiful things she makes and the fact that she'd designing a new lace project with a young baby - now there's dedication for you!

  • sheephappens - well I have to support another February 70's child! And she has lovely pics!

  • Jazzycrafts, CraftyDramaQueen, Piglottie and Nicola - for always being so busy with assorted projects.

  • Woolforbrains - and not because she louses things up but because of the amount of things she knits up with her own handspun (yes I know she's already had the award but nevermind!)

  • Jo - for pretty handspun pictures.

  • hpny knits - for pretty pictures and projects.

Well there are 10 for you who may or may not have been awarded already. Oh and if you haven't seen Cyndy's blog before hand hers always makes my day as well because of her beautiful nature shots which sort of make up for the lack of snow we've had here!

Oh and just before I go I feel I ought to let you know that I've fallen off the 'Knit from Stash' waggon already - Ooops! I blame birthday money burning a hole in my pocket and having a knitting group in a LYS but there is new yarn and new knitting books to show you and I'll try to do this sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New Year, New Post

Well it has been a while and I can't honestly think why I've not gotten round to posting since November! When I posted about 'Blogging without Obligation' I really had not planned on a break like this! There has been knitting, spinning and dyeing a plenty - I even had a great title for a post all ready for a quiet moment at the computer. I suppose a whistle stop tour of the past couple of months comings and goings will be in order and a selection of photos for you to browse through!

Those of you who read Artis-Anne will know that we had a grand spinning and dyeing week without Little Miss Emily and I was all set to tell you all how:
"I Dyed and Berried Myself!"

OK the picture is a little blurred but it does give you an idea of the colours we dyed up. Actually all of these ones are my selection with a small glimpse on the right hand side of our natural dyeing as well which Mum has more details of on her blog. The overall colour theme with me seemed to be rich berry and purple colours and 'tomato soup' orange! Here's another shot of that purple which is some luscious Teeswater fleece in the process of being carder with the very scary looking English Combs which are fantastic for preparing long fibred fleeces if you're careful!

The Christmas knitting didn't progress very far and really put me off knitting for a while. I think it was the whole idea of having to knit things and the pressure of a deadline. December seemed hectic enough without adding to it so I only ended up making 2 presents - the cable socks for my Dad and a scarf for my cousin. That's not to say I didn't knit anything in December - just not for Christmas presents! After finding some Sublime Merino Angora yarn half price I decided to treat myself and made 'Agatha' which is a faroese style shawl and such a lovely pattern to knit up and quick growing to boot! 'finished in time for Christmas it's lovely and warm and the yarn is so soft and squishy even if it is almost too fluffy (grr angora!).

And the latest issue of Knitty had quick temptations as well for the Christmas period that were ideal for using up some of those stash yarns (this years resolution - knit from stash or spin something suitable!). The results of this was a Toasty Topper knitted up in some of my early hand spun and a virtually finished Quant using a ball of Noro Silk Garden. Now I'll admit that the Silk Garden has failed to live to my expectations - bitty and uneven though the colours are nice. Typically though Emily won't wear the hat/scarf but that's no surprise as she doesn't really wear anything I've made for her even if she does constantly ask what I'm knitting for her.

The latest FO hot off the needles is a stash buster using some unknown chunky yarn recycled from a jumper I no longer wore (sorry Mum!). It's one of Garn Studios patterns which was quick and simple to work but then again it could have been such an enjoyable knit thanks to the Christmas present from my beloved DH - some ever so pretty Knit Picks Harmonies!!

On the needles right now? Well for once I'm knitting something that DD might actually be glad of and make use of - a dress for her dolly!!

Right am off to knit and will make a definite effort to get back into blogging and will try to work my way round catching up with everyone. Finally I'd like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year and Happy Knitting!