Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reader, I married him


First Love and I were married on 28 December 2007 in Portree Registry Office, on the Isle of Skye.

The weather and his health were kind to us that day. But he totally overdid it trying to walk the Cuillins and when he gets tired he gets depressed. So it has been a celebration tinged with sadness.


We stayed at the Marmalade Hotel, where they were incredibly kind to us. We arrived in the midst of a storm, to find the hotel closed! So we spent the first night at its supposedly-posher sister hotel, the Bosville. The food was lovely there, but the room was small, the walls paper-thin and the rain was lashing the windows all night, straight from the sea. It was a relief to transfer to the larger rooms of the more peacefully-located Marmalade. They gave us flowers and chocolates by way of apology for the mix-up - they hadn't realised we were booking Boxing Day night. And we had the best of all possible service when they realised we were getting married the next day! Lovely people, lovely place.

Fashion notes will follow!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Call me Rosie


So all the Christmas shopping is done. Every item was bought online. I have knitted 3 hats and 2 pairs of socks as presents (all blogged). I have still to knit something for my daughter. I was thinking I might give her “my” Marina Piccola socks… but I want to keep them for myself!

Yarn? From the stash, it is Fyberspates sock in Seascape (bright turquoise – she picked this as her favourite a while ago.) Pattern? Pomatomus? Marina Piccola? Esther? Ironwork? She has very slim legs so maybe Marina Piccola is the best plan, since I know it can be easily adjusted to fit.

Every year my mother sends money to get presents for “everyone”. So I have to decide what to label “from Grandma”. It gets harder and harder when the children’s interests divert from what Grandma might deem “suitable”.

The photo? Me and Feargal taken by FL the other day. Note the scruffy coat, the gorgeous hat and the very summery wellies. The next time you see me I will probably have changed my name!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Craft sale in Hereford, Tuesday 18 December

If you are anywhere near Hereford tomorrow (Tuesday 18th December) please be sure to pop into the Museum between 11am and 3pm for a Christmas Craft Sale!


My friend Estelle is hostessing a stall with all manner of crafty goodies: handmade jewellery, some knitted goodies from me, cards and other gifts - well worth a look for an unusual present!

The event is in aid of Riders For Health, a charity which provides motorbikes to health workers in rural parts of Africa.

If you can't make it to Hereford, Estelle also makes jewellery by commission. Have a look on her website!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Cartoon dress

Gretel - a picture at last! So warm, I start to feel sleepy when I wear her!
And this weekend's sewing project: the black watch tartan over-dress. From the Japanese book "Cozy Homewear" (ISBN978-4-8347-5668-5).

Very simple drafting and sewing. I had problems trying to cut patch pockets which matched up the tartan while also lying at an angle - so I gave up! But I like the dress for its simplicity. You can tell it is a Japanese pattern because when it is laid flat, the hem curves up towards the side seams - it is like a child's drawing of an a-line dress, a cartoon dress! I am tempted to make one in a bright colour with black tape down the side seams and along the hem to show off this feature!


P.S. My wedding ring is at the assay office being hallmarked - woo hoo!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two more Japanese pattern books!


New Japanese pattern books! I promise not to buy any more until I have made at least one item from each book I own. I bought these in my search for a coat pattern. I have been wearing my dog-walking coat to work and it is not a good look.

Mrs Stylebook (Winter 2007) is a revelation. This is the kind of pattern book which demands total confidence in your understanding of garment design and construction. If you are not already a proficient pattern-cutter, do not even think about buying one of these books! Of course, I only discovered this after I bought it. It is total immersion in Japanese. I don’t understand a single symbol. But I have gathered from other bloggers that you use the “Making Navi” (apparently that is English – meaning a “construction map” I suppose) to construct a series of blocks based entirely on your own measurements. These blocks then form the basis of the garment patterns themselves. So they are guaranteed to fit if you get your sums right! So, for example you might take one of the bodice blocks and start drawing lines to add 3.2 cm here or there, or cut into the block and angle it to add a dart. So far so good. But that’s your lot. After the pattern pieces are drawn, you are entirely on your own. There are detailed step by step photos for making two garments from the book – and these also have full-sized patterns included as a pull-out section in the middle of the book - but of course I don’t want to make either of these! I need to buy a large quantity of pattern-making tissue paper and a long ruler. There are literally dozens of pattern schematics in this book – an enormous bargain if you can master the drafting process!

The styles are definitely trend-driven, with details I haven’t seen anywhere else. I am besmitten by two coats, a dress, two pairs of trousers, a skirt and a jacket. Watch this space!

The other book was sold to me as “Favourite Black Clothes(link to another blog with photos of the styles) , but I have also seen it called “Sweet Black”. I have wanted this one for over a year after seeing other people rave about it and I am not disappointed. This is “easy” Japanese pattern-making – all you need to do is trace the pattern for your size and then follow the diagrams to put the bits together. This book specialises in quirky angles – asymmetry, pleats, layering and textures. They don’t have to be made in black, but it appeals to me and my goth-wannabe daughter.

P.S. If you can read French (and even if you can't!) I just discovered a great Japanese sewing blog here!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another post about planning

Found on the needles: the Pine Cones Sweater, the premonition of a second Clessidra stocking, and a lurking So-Called Scarf.

My sock schedule for the new year will be determined by the whims of my random selection process in the Socks From Stash Club. So that’s 12 skeins accounted for!

But what do I really want to knit in 2008? Is it the same as what I want to wear? Could the two – gasp – coincide?

I realise that over the past year I have knitted far more than in any other year of my life. In fact, probably more than the rest of my life put together! And if I added up all the miles of knitting of socks, I would have completed several garment-sized objects. Interesting!

So… back to the Pine Cones sweater. It isn’t working. Like the garment I modelled it on, the twisted rib panel at the front... sags. And the shaping at the waist… bulges. I am knitting myself a muffin top. Lovely.

The So Called Scarf is… grey. Grey without depth. The stitch pattern which intrigued me over a year ago now looks… boring.

You see where this is going don’t you? Start the New Year afresh: rip, rip, rip.

But I DO need to knit the second Clessidra: off we go!

I paid a quick visit to PoshYarns to get some aran to make FL a Koolhaas hat - in "Zany" which is red and green - very Christmassy and cheerful. He needs cheering up. He had a depressed weekend: "Why are you marrying an old decrepit cripple?..." Yadda yadda yadda "Because I LOVE YOU! Now stop that and fetch the mop!" Rain streaming down the inside of the chimney into our bedroom - paddling through icy cold turnip-smelling water is not the best way to start your day. We need to get the builder back - sigh!

Made Christmas cards with my daughter. Made a banana, date and walnut cake - also with my daughter. Cut material for my tartan over-dress. Read a novel called "This Book Will Save Your Life". Waited for FL to emerge from his dark cloud. He is on dexamethasone (steroids) for the next 4 days - he will soon be buzzing.

Oh, and I rustled up a Gretel beret for myself. In medium size. One skein of charcoal Colinette Skye with top-up stripes from leftover coral merino from the first (slouchy) Gretel. The stripes were necessary due to low yardage, but I think the charcoal reveals its depths when contrasted with the pink. A real winter sunset combination! Picture? Working on it!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My wedding scarf


My mother has finished knitting my wedding scarf!

It is the Lead or Follow pattern, using Perchance to Knit laceweight silk / mohair in "Harlot's Peacock / Midnight Rainbow" which I bought from the Loopy Ewe.

She warned me that her hands had turned purple knitting it, so I took Hanne's advice and soaked it in a vinegar solution before washing and blocking.

It is narrower than I expected, but it is beautiful and I know that my mother agonised over it so I am absolutely NOT complaining!


Look at the shimmering colours! Rather like the Raven colours over at Blue Moon - so maybe this will stop me lusting over them! And look at the shadow too!
So that's me almost set for my wedding... except for the ring! But I won't go into that...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Made his Brown Eyes Blue



I finished the Brown Eyes Blue Christmas socks for First Love at the weekend.


Of course he saw me knitting them and knows they are for him, but played along with the pretence that they were for a mystery recipient! He loves the colours - especially the "sparkle" in the blue caused by occasional tiny undyed patches.


These are the Gentleman's Winter Socks from "Knitting Vintage Socks" (Nancy Bush), hand-dyed bfl from Old Maiden Aunt - if you are quick she has one skein left in her shop! 2.5mm needles.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Birds on the line



On Saturday, the kids were both out at friends' houses, so First Love challenged me to make something with my new sewing machine. I was not allowed to cook dinner until I finished! Splutter! It was a bit like an episode of Project Runway without the bitchy asides. Although I definitely headed more into Angela-territory than planned - the "Holly Hobby artsy craftsy" school of fashion! I would like to call it "Marni-influenced", actually!


Another Japanese pattern from the same book as before (that's my third skirt from this book - it has paid for itself already!). The close-up shows you the tweed and the lace and the bird buttons. The washing-line view shows you "the look", but doesn't make the most of the swinging flare, which is really... swingy! I only had one metre of fabric for a pattern that was meant to take 1.7m, so had to do some piecing-together at the back. I used the lace to highlight the horizontal seam, and I think it works as a "design feature".


We ate dinner at 9pm - not bad!


Friday, November 30, 2007

Seen in the press

I was looking through the "ethical gift" pages of the Guardian last night and came across a handknitted scarf with mittens on the end. I read on:

"Each piece is hand-crafted from knitting to finishing, using British knitters and the finest lambs-wool from Scotland (the company is committed to supporting British industry and small businesses where possible). This process takes about a month from beginning to end per garment, which results in only a limited number of each style ever being produced."

A month?! Maybe this blurb is designed to support the £118 price-tag. Maybe it includes shearing the sheep? I would be interested to know what they pay their knitters.

"[this company]...fulfils the desire for the special, reflecting the current cultural shift towards life quality and the value of the individual, over global branding and commerce."

So why not make your own? Instead of paying £118 for a scarf!

In the same newspaper, this Saturday's edition is advertised as having a "Hand-made Christmas" supplement, and the advert is illustrated with a photo of a very-badly stranded-knitted Christmas stocking in the round...on two needles! I am not sure whether they are intending to say "This is a hideous mess, make something much better by buying our newspaper", or if they seriously don't realise what a bad impression it gives of handknitting!

Sigh.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Birthday arrivals

On Sunday I tried out my new sewing machine and eventually worked out how to thread the bobbin... so nothing to show for my efforts!

But other things arrived either for my birthday or around my birthday, so have been adopted as "presents" even if I bought them myself!


First up - a skein of sock yarn from Ambermoggie. Hey, Amber you didn't need to do a "swap" - my yarn to you was a pressie to cheer up Mr Mog! But I am not complaining because the colours in this skein are really really lovely - it looks like the sock you were knitting recently? So many many thanks!


My non-knitting friend E sent me "The Crafters Companion". This has been on my Amazon wishlist for ages and ages and is one of those books you keep by the bedside to dip into in the hope of inspirational dreams. If you don't already know, it is a compendium of craft blogs, mainly of the sock-monkey-esque genre. Quirky stuff. Things that wouldn't immediately occur to me. Brilliant for sharing with my daughter. At 11, she is on the point of becoming crafty and I think this will spur her on!



Then there is "Crochet Me". I pre-ordered this from Amazon and asked FL to hide it away until my birthday. So... he lost it! We had a major tidy-up and found it at the weekend - hooray! I haven't had time to look at it properly, but it is another blog-derived book aimed at inspiring the "new crocheter" i.e. people who probably didn't do the granny square thing first time around! I love several of the projects in this volume. There is a spider's-webbish tunic that inspires me, a gorgeous baby-doll tunic dress, an intriguing plaid scarf, and probably the hottest favourite, a short-sleeved top with matching arm-warmers - oh yeah! But this will be a technical challenge. I haven't crocheted a whole garment, ever. I am thinking of making one of these projects during the Christmas holidays when the kids are away and I have long periods of uninterrupted sofa-time!

But top of the heap... Norah Gaughan Volume 1. I had to order this via ebay dot com because Berrocco don't ship to the UK. Oh wow! This is knitting like I have never done it before! I thought Annie Modesitt was offering me a challenge in "Romantic Knits", but this is a whole new dimension of knitting! Top of my wish-list is a scarf which uses casting off and on to make a 3-D ladder of knitted fabric - oooh! There are at least three other scarves in here that I NEED to knit: a shibori-looking "bubbley" one, a pointy pom-pom-trimmed one, and a lacey diamondy one. But I also NEED to knit the Manon jacket - which seems to start off as a series of geometric shapes which are then joined together on the bias to create an amazing sculptural effect. Some of the photos in the book are a bit vague, but careful reading of the pattern and use of a magnifying glass have revealed deep complexities that I love! There is a hexagonal patchworked skirt which I respect but will probably never knit. And a little top called Anais which might have to be knitted for its name alone (Anais Nin being the subject of my abandoned PhD many years ago!) - this has a lovely web effect at the neck. There is a LOT of knitting in this booklet! Bags, jackets, skirts, tops, scarves, hats, a belt - it's all here, and every item has a "twist". There's a definite Japanese vibe. It is all arty, yet wearable. I want it all! Not a sock in sight! Will 2008 be the year I start knitting BIG garments?!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FL's Christmas socks

Last Tuesday, I started a pair of socks for FL for Christmas. I needed something easy to knit in the waiting room, and I realised too late that I had not wound my skein of Colinette Skye for the Ysolda beret, so that was off the menu.

At the top of my knitting bag was the Brown Eyes Blue yarn from Old Maiden Aunt. It was a case of “grab it and run” and I wasn’t terribly enthusiastic… until I started knitting it. Look at those stripes! This yarn was sold as a “monster from the lab” and I think the reason for this is the occasional flash of white through the blue. But it is very occasional and I think it adds to the character of this sock.

The pattern is the trusty Gentleman’s Winter Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks (Nancy Bush). And somehow the stripes make me go faster! The first sock is finished already! It is an unusual short-row heel construction - Nancy Bush calls it a Dutch Heel. It produces a 5-stitch-wide "seam" which has turned out to be brown all the way - very neat!

This has been a real lesson for me in giving the stash a chance - I wasn't initially inspired by this yarn - the brown was a bit too... pooey! But when I saw how the striping worked out - wow!

Which leads me to today's invitation!

Have you ever been tempted to join a yarn shop sock club, even though you already have a stash of beautiful yarns you don't have time to knit?

Do you love knitting socks? Trying out new yarns and patterns?

Then the Socks from Stash Club is the one for you!

Come and join us!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Woolgirl sock club November mailing


My Woolgirl sock club package for November has been rescued from HM Customs & Excise for the princely sum of £3.43 PLUS a Royal Mail “handling charge” of £8! I think this is outrageous cheek on the part of the Royal Mail. I (well FL actually) had to drive several miles to a distant sorting office at an inconvenient time to collect it – because the alternative was to attach stamps to that value to the notification card before they would re-deliver. Stamps to the value of £11.43?! Funnily enough I don’t have those lying around at home. Rant rant rant.

Inside: ahhhhh! Oooooh! The theme is “Irish dreams” and this was like receiving a really good “swap” package from someone who has taken great care and attention to detail – I am really impressed! There is: a skein of Spunky Eclectic Super Nova yarn in a specially-dyed colourway. It is meant to be reminiscent of Ireland… I have to say it’s not like any Ireland I have ever seen! I wish there was a better explanation of this! OK so it is green and orange, so the political landscape is there, but I can‘t see a reason for the pink or the purple. But I am not complaining because the purple is the bit I like best! The yarn is very soft 2-ply with a slight sheen and smells lovely. 20% nylon… which I normally avoid, but I know that this will make them stronger. And I think I like the pattern. Like last time, I am finding the photo really unclear. I think there are bobbles down it, which is a funny thing to have on a sock! FL wondered if they were meant to be bed socks since the pattern is called Irish Dreams…?

The other goodies: three tea bags and two straws of honey (lucky it survived the journey!). My son has already drunk the Pumpkin Spice tea and wants more. (Pumpkin Spice? Irish?!) A sheepish fridge magnet and card by Thomas Joseph. My daughter wants this. She had to do art “in the style of Thomas Joseph” a few months ago at school so we know the “look”. A little bar of lavender soap – mmmm! And a delicate copper stitchmarker which is “double-sided” for small or large needles.

So – yes I would recommend this sock club! Two successful packages of high quality unusual goodies so far. BUT the Customs issue really p’s me off. I cannot afford the extra charge on top of the club cost. Which is really sad because it should have been a real treat receiving this on my birthday. Instead it turned into a saga, involving FL and a calculator (calculating the VAT) – so now he knows the cost of the sock club itself – oops! There is just one more mailing this round and it will be my last. After that, I am going to have a diy sock club for one, involving a skein from my stash every month – who was it did this? Words and Wool I think – great idea! And there is enough in the stash to last a year!?!

Monday, November 19, 2007

A pair of Arty Earls


Almost finished my son's Christmas socks. This is the first one - the second one is the same! He has no idea they are for him, and sat next to me as I knitted them - too hee hee! I would never get away with this with my daughter!

It is the Earl Grey pattern by the Yarn Harlot. But I could not get the cable to look like the pattern. I don't know whether this is a mistake in the way it is written or just in my execution. But luckily the "mistake" doesn't show in this dark colourway.

The yarn is Alter Ego superwash merino from Dyeabolical Yarns, in "Scratch Art". This is the same skein of yarn that I used for my first June Bride mitts! Talk about yardage! It was touch and go, but I had enough for both projects, by substituting plain black Regia for the toes. The yarn is a two-ply, which is not my usual preference, but I have to say this knits to a fantastically smooth, even fabric in stocking stitch. If I wasn't being strict with myself, I would be snapping up some more - have you seen her Dark Knight colourway ?!

Next on the needles was to be a fitted-style Gretel beret for my mother's Christmas: Colinette Skye in charcoal. I need 155m and the ball band says 150! But we visited her on Saturday (3 hour drive each way, which FL insisted on doing himself and now he is exhausted - naughty!) and she was making very disparaging remarks about my purple crochet beret (never seen on the blog) so now I am discouraged. She seems to think there is something odd about hand-made berets. Despite her collection of kangol felt-type berets! Confusing. So I am thinking of making this for myself after all, with a striped rib section, using leftover Hipknits aran in that coral colourway I used for the first Gretel, and a smattering of the turquoise Debbie Bliss. A nicely portable project for another hospital appointment tomorrow - I can't believe another month has gone by!

My mother is making good progress on her wedding-knitting. It is the Lead or Follow scarf in Perchance to Knit "Midnight's Rainbow / Harlot's Peacock". Errr... yes, I admit it, this is the project I could not seem to get a hang of! My mother is persevering, but only because she feels it is her contribution to my wedding! There is a ssk which includes a yo, and if you drop it....aaargh!..... you get the picture! The yarn has a slight fluffiness so it is hard to undo mistakes. And her hands are turning purple. But it is going to be beautiful! See the rainbows?


And finally... let me present my new look!

Old glasses

New glasses

Friday, November 16, 2007

Them boots don't fit!

Nooooo! Too tight, too high. Like pointe shoes... and I am no ballerina.
Gutted!
Back to the Web!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Idle chit chat

Thanks for the shoe-pointers, my fashionable friends! I browsed around and still haven't found anything quite like the ones I showed you. Did you notice the carved heel? And the velvet bow? Bryony showed me a Mary-Jane with the same heel and bow, in navy... but it has to be a little boot. So I am going with the green one for now - I can try it on at home with The Dress and then decide. I do fear I am going to look like a Pirate of the North Sea, but hopefully not too "panto", which my dear ex-sis-in-law suggested might happen with one of the boots I considered!

Marie-no-blog suggested I look at Di Gilpin's Venus shrug for wedding wear... but I can't find a picture or mention of it anywhere. Any clues? This is purely out of curiosity, as my mother is already knitting me a scarfy-shawl-thing, at my request. We are visiting her this weekend so I might be able to show you progress!

My Vogue Knitting Holiday edition arrived... and I am underwhelmed. Nothing at all I want to knit. I am going to let the subscription lapse and spend my pennies on "must haves" instead! Like "Norah Gaughan Vol.1" from Berrocco. I succumbed to Ebay dot Com for this one.

I know that my second Woolgirl sock club package is on its way and I am very excited!

The house is almost completely repaired. Lots of new plaster and guttering and repointing. But I heard the mice last night... which might mean they have been sealed in to the roof space. Gulp.

FL is doing really really well, touch wood. Back to the hospital on Tuesday. Hoping this will be the one where they take him off the chemo regime.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

First Young Earl

I finished the first Earl Grey sock for my son. I managed to sneakily check the length as he was sitting on the sofa watching TV, though I accidentally touched the back of his heel with my needle and made him jump in the middle of a scary film! I have made the toe plain black because I fear I may be short of yarn. I weighed it before I started and it was exactly 100g. The leftover yarn almost balances the finished sock... but not quite. Fingers crossed! If absolutely necessary I could frog my first June Bride fingerless mitts...because I used the first part of the skein for them. But I would rather not! Impossible to photograph until the weekend (no light) and by then it may be a pair!


I also have to report a tiny stash enhancement - but all in the cause of Christmas knitting! Snagged over at Ebay - a skein of Colinette Skye Aran in Charcoal (mmm - soft! Almost purple!) and a ball of Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed. It was the Colinette I really wanted, to make my mother a fitted-style Gretel beret. The Debbie Bliss came as part of the deal - the two yarns together for less than £5! I am thinking of buying another ball of the DB in a contrasting colour to make a stripey slouchy Gretel for me.


I am finding the acceleration towards Christmas a bit alarming. I don't approve of excess (woooooooooo - hark at me!) and try really hard to make presents rather than buy, but it's tricky with two kids who have another parent elsewhere. We take it in turns to host Christmas, and it is their father's turn this year, so I began by thinking the pressure was off... but I know we will have our own celebration when they come home, and after all this is their "home". So: some books / CDs / art materials and something I have made myself. FL will get Christmas socks - even if I am still knitting them at the wedding! My mother - a handknitted hat and a calendar of family photos.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Shoebeedoo

Ok all you style gurus out there - I need your help!
I haven't shown you The Dress but I need your help to find the right footwear to go with it!

What I am looking for is a pair of shoe / boots - you know, the terribly fashionable style that is "in" this year and yet mysteriously absent from almost every website I have visited. What is wrong with you, TopShop?!

I have found a pair that I really love - but they are the wrong colour. See?
Has anyone seen anything like this in purple or dark blue or black? And yes, I have checked the manufacturer's site and they don't make them in any of those colours!
I need some height, so platforms are a good thing, but I cannot balance on spikey heels - I have small feet and I just fall over!
Help?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

First snow!


It snowed on Thursday - eek! And today we were walking the dog and cat and got caught in a hailstorm. Yes, the cat comes on walks too! I tried to put him under my coat and run for shelter but he was having none of it. Both pets are now snuggled up by the radiator. Still no sign of our central heating and we have the builder in, so it is a bit draughty round these parts! There is now no ceiling in the bathroom, plaster dust everywhere, and a raging wind coming in the back door. The utility room has been demolished, so the back door is now all that is between us and the North wind. Lovely. But hopefully by the time the builder finishes, we will be weather-proof and vermin-proof. No more tap-dancing mice in the roof space above my bed at night! I need to pester the central heating people though!

Spent Saturday handwriting descriptions on my Moo cards for the craft stall brooches. Sadly, the gel pen ink refused to dry on the plastic-coated surface - always check before you do a whole batch! So now I have to start again. Mutter mutter mutter.

Knitting my son's socks today, and cooking delicious things from the Claire Macdonald Cookbook, from the library yesterday. She is the clan chief's wife, and they have an expensive restaurant on Skye, way out of our budget. But the library book is going to keep us full of winter warmers for a month or so!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Preparations

My head is full of wedding preparations. We are doing it very very quietly. Just FL and me on the Isle of Skye with friends of the Registrar as witnesses, in exchange for a box of chocolates / bottle of wine! I have invited my mother to knit me a "not-a-veil", and sent her the yarn and pattern. The Dress arrived today, received by FL who was astonished and delighted to see where the package was from - woo hoo! Today I also managed to find somewhere for us to stay on Skye - who knew it would be so difficult? Apparently half the island is shut between October and April and the other half wants to hike up their rents for the "Christmas / Hogmanay in Scotland" trade, so wouldn't consider less than a week's rental - pah! But I have found somewhere with a fabulous view within walking distance of the wedding venue - woo hoo!

I had an extremely close shave with the Socktopus sock club - so close that Alice put a special "For Ruth" button up on the website to allow me to join after the closing date... but I managed to rein myself in (and apologise for wasting her time!) It was the news that she was going to stock Duets yarn that threw me over the edge - wow! But this is not the time to spend £90 on sock yarn, with a wedding and Christmas on the horizon!

I also have deep lust for the Raven collection over at Blue Moon. Rook-y and Thraven are probably my ideal yarn colours in the entire universe, ever! Part of me wants to fill cupboards with the stuff and knit myself an all-in-one catsuit, a dress, a cape, hats, stockings - a whole wardrobe! But just putting two skeins into my basket provoked a $24 shipping charge, and I am sorry but that is completely out of order! Cancel. Sulk. Not for me. Not this year anyway.

And I am knitting! There was a mishap with the Pine Cone sweater, where I failed to tick off my rows as I knitted and repeated the shaping, hence creating a wasp waist of laughable proportions. Rip rip rip.

Now working on a pair of socks for my son's Christmas. The Earl Grey pattern in an inappropriate yarn - the stitch pattern just gets lost in the darkness of my Alter Ego Scratch Art wool. I knew this before I started, but I have this hope that it will intrigue him to actually look at the work involved and feel the texture with his finger. He wants to "do" Art so this was the right yarn, even if it seems wrong. That's my story anyway!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tilda and Toast

Every year about this time there is a Sunday supplement article (or two) on the latest Toast collection, with lots of “lifestyle” pics of country farmhouses and windswept moors. Co-incidentally, there also seems to be seasonal trend to interview Tilda Swinton, and picture her in equally wild landscapes – once, she was wearing the latest Toast collection! So Tilda and Toast are inextricably linked in my autumnal “wardrobe view” of the world.

While in Beauly I was flicking through said Toast catalogue, full of wist. And it dawned on me that I wasn’t far from Tilda-country – she lives near Inverness, but not on the Beauly side. So when my eye fell upon a blue velvet dress in the catalogue, I thought – that’s it, my wedding dress! Because I somehow felt that a Toast dress would fit my mythical romantic country lifestyle. I would be translucent and graceful, like Tilda! Sadly, however, they had sold out of my usual size, and when the smaller size arrived, I felt like a Stepford wife at a cocktail party – it was too short, had no drape, and did nothing for me. Back in the post to Toast! But it inspired me to find The Dress! Oh my The Dress!!!!! I can’t wait to show you – but I am sorry , not yet!

Meantime, I finished Gretel and attempted a self-portrait. And Tilda is once more brought to mind. The Tilda of Young Adam. Tired, washed out, a bit too thin, grabbing onto hope with a fierce passion wherever she can find it.

Notes to self: get new glasses; get split ends cut; wear make-up when taking self-portraits; don’t show them The Dress until after the 28th December!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Gretelling

At 5pm on Friday I had a sudden gust of inspiration, and downloaded Ysolda’s Gretel beret pattern. I had had it at the back of my mind for a long time, and was suffering from frustration that the yarn for the IK Holiday Gifts spider web beret was so obscure I could not source it anywhere (not even just to gasp at the price and move on)! So, I printed it out, drove home, put the dinner on, and wound the Hipknits organic merino aran that Kerrie so kindly gifted me.



It feels like I spent the whole weekend knitting! I had three dedicated sessions which ended at midnight - I had to give up last night , just four rows short of finishing – pah! But I couldn’t keep my eyes open for another second.

It was an absorbing knit! The yarn is buttery-soft and the colour is sort of crushed strawberries / coral pink – I highly recommend it if Kerrie has some in her shop! I am in awe of Ysolda for the care with which she worked the decrease rows into the cabling so that the cables actually carry the shaping - very clever indeed!
I made the slouchy version, and as I knitted, it was the size of a toddler's jumper, done in the round. This was a bit of a surprise as I think of hats as small, quick knits. It also took more than one 100g skein of yarn. Luckily I had two - I think I have enough left for a set of Fetching to match the hat. I had to steal my 4.5mm Denise points from my pine cones project, so it was essential not to leave this project half-done, or I would be stuck with two UFO's.

This one is a Christmas present. But I want one for me! It will be really warm and can accommodate big hair. I want a purple one!
On the left is Pine Cones in progress - a bit of sunshine makes such a difference!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween

Knitting was interrupted by the requirement to produce a scary fairy costume for my daughter’s school disco. For three weeks I have been asking what she wanted to go as, and was fobbed off with vagueness. The night before last, the night before the party, she announced that she would go as a scary fairy…. and all she had to wear was a set of wings (from our fabulous funky Aunty over at fairyfancies!) and MY Tomb Raider-style boots!

So I set to with a metre of lining material, and rustled up a lilac slip dress with fronds of black and lilac raggedyness at the bottom. Thanks to the Japanese pattern base, it has a certain pizzazz. Who knew you could put elastic into the lower spool to produce a line of stretchy gathered stitching below the chest?! I will do that again! I just had to get home in time to do the Amy Winehouse make-up / hair – only to find that we couldn't find the make-up. So she was a fairy with a bit less of the scary.

Ravelry has led me to another fab sock pattern that is calling my name – the I Love Gansey at the Six Sox Knitalong. This will absolutely definitely be what I use the Natures Palette for, Roo! And soon!

Trying NOT to sign up for the Socktopus Sock Club, though I am severely tempted. Clever to have different grades of luxuriousness – you can be a cheap skate (well, not exactly cheap…), spoil yourself a little, or spoil yourself a lot. And so near Christmas!

A quick audit reveals that I have not achieved much from the Christmas knitting list I set myself. Oops! So I really need to get back to that. The essentials are: socks for my son, fingerless mittens for my daughter (have you seen the Kyla pattern?) and socks for FL. My mother? Errr… maybe some gloves? The Gauntlets from IK Holiday Gifts? It’s not going to happen, is it? It is NOVEMBER, people!

And still the yarn calls to me! I looked through my stash on Ravelry (hooray for Ravelry!) and see I have some really lovely yarn waiting to be knitted – the Bearfoot, the Fleece Artist – the STR for goodness’ sake! And what do I do? I ogle self-striping German multi-packs at Ebay and fantasise that I could knit vanilla socks (or should that be raspberry ripple in view of the stripes?) for the whole family for Christmas – WHY?! Because it is simple, and requires no thought whatsoever – tsk!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007




My Brown Eyes Blue yarn arrived and is a bit too soft for man-socks I think. It is a two-ply yarn which breaks REALLY easily and is quite thick. I am thinking of making a hat for FL instead of socks. He actually wants an old-style “bonnet” like the ones in the knitting history article in IK Holiday Gifts but I think that would be too eccentric, I really do. The brown is a kind of baby-poo colour, but it‘s a good strong blue. Hmmm. Thinking.

My new Japanese pattern books arrived too, and I am planning an over-dress. The Cozy Homewear pattern book is slightly less forgiving than previous ones I have bought and doesn’t give the whole pattern to trace. Instead I have to trace the basic bodice piece and then measure out the sleeve and skirt pieces beyond it. Not hard, but requiring more concentration and a long ruler. I am thinking of black watch tartan. Another skirt first though!

The other book is a bag-making book. Loads of text in this one Рall in Japanese of course! The instruction diagrams are less clear than usual Рit looks a lot like origami in places! I am planning to use this book for embroidery and appliqu̩ inspiration rather than to make the bags themselves.

Knitting continues: the Pine Cone jumper progresses but is incredibly hard to photograph. The fabric is deep and rich and I love the colour-exactly the foresty green I wanted. I am just working out how best to shape the waist area, as I want this to be quite a shapely item.

Hanne asked if I was planning to knit something for my wedding. Not at the moment, no. I might wear my Cinderella stockings – I have been saving them for a special occasion! Clearly I should sew something to wear… especially as FL is buying me a new sewing machine for my birthday / Christmas / wedding present! My old machine was second-hand twenty years ago and is a bit temperamental – it loses tension at the most inopportune moments and I have given up replacing the lightbulbs as they pop so often.

Thanks to everyone who sent congratulations! It is lovely to feel able to plan a future together.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A decision

So - where to start? We had a lovely couple of days in Beauly. We rented a cottage overlooking a golf course, and although FL wasn't fit enough to play, he DID knock a couple of balls into the practice nets without upsetting his back. We walked in the woods and picked a handful of brambles. We reminisced about the last time we were in Beauly and we talked about the future as well as the past.


He gave me a beautiful silver locket.

And we shed a few tears.

And we decided to get married.

And some knitting

As well as the intense stuff, there was a lot of relaxation. FL had a long long sleep on Thursday, and I made a start on my Pine Cones jumper. This rubbishy photo shows the beginnings and also shows the view from the cottage window. I have knit up the first 100g and it is looking good!



It is quite harsh wool while knitting (Shetland 3 ply chunky) yet a fairly soft fabric. Great as a top layer in the Highlands!



In between times, I also made another pair of June Brides in HipKnits organic handspun merino. This was like knitting with cotton wool in comparison to the shetland chunky - really really soft! This is the best pair of June Brides to date.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Beauly


Beauly means "a beautiful place" and it was!

We ate well, we slept well.

There was a gift, some knitting and a proposal!

More on Monday!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Waterfall Marinissima


I finished my Woolgirl sock club yarn socks - hooray!

This is Miss Babs Yummy 3 ply Superwash sportweight, in the Waterfall colourway designed for the sock club. I wasn't grabbed by the pattern that came with the yarn - too lacey for thick socks I thought, so I used Marina Piccola by Kate Gilbert.

I love this pattern! It is infinitely adaptable to yarn thickness / gauge. I used size 2.75mm needles and 52 stitches to suit my foot.






One sock striped perfectly, but the second has pooling issues. I have noticed this has happened to other knitters using the Waterfall pattern so it must be to do with the dyeing. But I am not really complaining as the colours are so lovely and the spinning so sproingy - lovely cushy socks!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Woo hoo for Roo!


No, not this Roo, THAT Roo!


Remember my rainbow fair isle socks for Sockapalooooza? They went to the "other Roo" over

at Rooknits. She liked them! And this week she sent me a thank you package - wow!


She made me a super-smiley sock bag, that is a near match to the pattern on my Tepper Jackson weekend bag that I use for knits in progress. This is absolutely PERFECT for waiting room knitting, to stop my ball of yarn rolling off my lap into unpleasant dusty hospital corners (eergh!). And inside, there was a bar of Green & Blacks (mmmm!) AND two skeins of Nature's Palette in "Indian Paintbrush" - a great big WOO HOO FOR ROO!!!!! This is yarn I had on my wish list and it is such a "me" colour too!


Thank you thank you thank you - I never expected your "little something in the post" to be on this scale of greatness - thank you again Roo!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Brown eyes blue

In the search for cheap p and p on the new Interweave Holiday Gifts I found myself at K1 Yarns website, and had a bit of a browse. I spotted some hat kits which sounded intriguing but had no photos of the finished item, so I Googled "Old Maiden Aunt", the designer.

WELL! I have discovered a new (to me) UK-based yarn dyer / spinner! Tigerlilith aka Old Maiden Aunt sells sock yarn / laceweight / handspun / hat kits through K1 Yarns but also directly via her own blog. Have a look!

I love the handspun "Old Penny" but cannot justify shawl-money right now.

But there was no avoiding the "monster" page of experimental yarns where a skein of sock yarn screamed at me. "Brown eyes blue" is destined to be First Love's Christmas socks.

Health update: FL's energy levels continue to rise. No doubt this week's steroids are contributing, but he has been "buzzing". Today he is taking the kids to the cinema and then we are meeting up for a meal at a favourite inn. Our first meal out since he fell ill! So it is a belated celebration of the June birthdays and also of his return to having a life outside the sick room, slowly but surely. Back to the hospital next Tuesday when hopefully science will back up our hopes of improvement in his condition.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Autumn colours



This was supposed to be a photo shoot among the fallen leaves... but we went bramble picking instead (pear and bramble crumble - mmm!) and by the time I finished my skirt it was dark outside.


Another skirt from the Japanese pattern book "Every day skirts". Once again, the cut is just right for me, though I shortened it a little. My photographer struggled a bit with the instruction not to make my bum the centre of the shot. SIGH. But I love the back kick-flip thing!


Limited progress on the Marina Piccola sock but I wanted to show you the self-striping of the gorgeous Miss Babs yarn - mmm! And the book is evidence of First Love's regained energy. He has dug out all his "must read" books - Darwin, Greek history, philosophy... not exactly light reading!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Crochet? Me?

Marina Piccola is dashing along dandily now I know how to do it - amazing! But it was too dark to photograph that elusive purple / blue yarn, so it will have to wait for the weekend.

Meanwhile, I cancelled my pre-order for "Knitting Little Luxuries" and replaced it with "Crochet Me".

If you have seen the previews, maybe you will forgive me. If you haven't, take a look and perhaps reconsider your attitude to crochet - this collection has certainly made me rethink my prejudice against the doily-making craft! The biggest thing I have ever crocheted was a rasta beret in purple mohair. And I just polished off a pile of flower brooches. But a full-size dress?

Look!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Marina in a pickle-a

So - Marina Piccola. Lovely pattern. Lovely.
But guess who didn't realise there were at least three ways to increase a stitch and NONE of them involve a yarnover?
I started this project in the Waiting Room on Tuesday. I failed to get gauge with the needles I had taken with me, so was forced to read OK and Hello instead. Grrr.
On Tuesday evening, while my daughter was being a Guide, I sat down again with an assortment of needles and finally achieved a sock-like structure. 52 stitches on 2.75mm needles. Yummy yummy yarn - my favourite "boots through freshly-fallen snow" feeling as I knit - hooray!
But who knew there were so many different ways to make a stitch? Not me, that's for sure. So although I have achieved a lovely patterned sock, it sure as L is NOT a Marina Piccola!
Sigh. To frog or not to frog?
I emailed Kate Gilbert, the designer, and she sent me to her website for a lesson in "Make one, left-slanted" and "Make one, right slanted" - wow! I have a new skill!
So last night I ripped back 28 rows and knitted 20. Much better! Photo tomorrow!

FL is feeling much perkier - the antibiotics seem to be working at last. A proper night's sleep was had by all - hooray!

  • Liking the short row rainbow stripe socks at MagKnits!
  • Liking the preview of Interweave Holiday Gifts!
  • Buying a fab new Japanese pattern book with 70's over-dresses - I lurved them then and I lurve them still!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Elf and fitness


Yesterday I finally came out from under my blanket - and about time too! I didn't have the concentration for fancy knitting while I was ill, so churned out three Elf hats from "Handknit Holidays". I was astonished that my son pronounced them "way cool" and has not taken his off since!


Two hours of lazy knitting, using two strands of yarn and my Denise circulars (woo hoo!). The purple one is one strand of handspun from Pigeonroof Studios and one strand of Debbie Bliss Maya (aka Soho aka Manos del Uruguay) - this one is the softest and the best fit for an average adult head... so I made two of them the same!


The red and green one is one strand of Rowan Cork and one strand of green handspun from my Sockapalooooza pal Rebecca. This was less successful in the sense that the thinner yarn kept slipping behind the red, so the inside is green and the outside red - but my son likes it this way. It is HUGE! I knitted the large size for his dreadlocks, but it makes his head look like a pumpkin. Lucky it isn't orange! A big hit at the skatepark - I am slightly worried he will try and wear it at school and end up in trouble.


And I finished Chevron. It could probably have been another foot longer, but I was getting bored so I stopped. It could do with blocking - it rolls a lot due to the wavy stitch pattern.


Wound my Woolgirl yarn!

First Love is a bit better, now on second type of antibiotics and symptoms are improved but he is very depressed. Not even a house full of elves can cheer him up!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

UK-based enablement

Hey - all you UK-based knitters! There doesn't seem to be much of a stir on the blogs about the arrival of Socktopus - a sock yarn shop in London, with an online shop. I only mention this because I notice they stock Dream in Color yarn - mmmm! And they have the new Somoko (Silk, Merino and Kid Mohair) from Fleece Artist - wheee!
And there are further stash enhancement possibilities over at the Woolly Workshop, who are getting in Apple Laine - ooooh! They are starting a new sock club with Schaeffer, Apple Laine, Claudia handpaint and CTH all on the menu - interesting!
But I am trying ever so hard not to buy any more sock yarn right now so that I can fund a kilo of jumper wool without guilt spasms setting in. Currently watching some dark green wool at ebay for the Pine Cone jumper plan - fingers crossed!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Rhythm


Proof that Hero is a big soft mutt!

The Chevron Scarf continues – maybe another foot of knitting to go – this is a great project for waiting rooms, car parks and trampoline supervision, as very little concentration is required. Having said that, I dropped a stitch and then started doing compensatory decreases to make the pattern “work” – grrr! Only noticed after a couple of inches. All is now repaired.

I had a weekend of manic window-cleaning and a trip to the local organic box scheme farm to see how they do it. Came away feeling much better about my own gardening efforts – even “proper” farmers have crop failures! Lots of fantastic driving practice trying to park my little car among the 4x4’s up a muddy track. I ended up reversing downhill and round a corner into the packing shed, narrowly avoiding a flock of toddling 2-year-old’s collecting eggs from the free range chickens – eek!

A recent comment on the blog (about waiting room knitting) reminded me of an encounter at the hospital last week. I was in the waiting room with Chevron, bashing away in the corner while FL was having intravenous bone-strengthening (yes really!). The place was packed as usual (a sobering thought) and I spotted an old lady watching me intently. She turned to her (?) daughter and said “I never could do the purling, only the knit. But Jessie, now Jessie could knit as well as spin. One evening we were in the bothy [small outhouse on a Scottish farm, used to house migrant labourers in the old days – and probably still] and Jimmy was playing the fiddle and singing, and Jessie was sitting there with her wheel, spinning away, when all of a sudden Jimmy lets out this ROAR! [and she did a huge roar, there in the waiting room!] And he shouted: ‘Woman! Will ye stop that clacking! I cannay play withoot following yer rhythm!’”

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? A band with a spinning wheel as percussion?!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Almost October

I am really cold. I just ordered 4 thermal vests and a pair of flannelette pjs by way of long-term investment in living in this draughty Scottish farmhouse. My superstitious self is hoping that this will somehow accelerate the processing of our central heating application! First Love is spending his sleepless nights in the front room with the electric fire on full blast, crouched over the table wearing a hat, coat and quilt... leaving me shivering in bed alone. I have not slept alone for 26 years - blimey! 26 years!?! So I decided to be proactive instead of just complaining.
Which led me to thinking about warm clothes in general, and the absence of hand-knitted jumpers in my wardrobe - how can this be?! So the prevarication project known as Notorious has been swept aside until the sun shines again. This woman needs a woolly jumper!
While I was studying for my Finals at University (and was single and cold) I knitted a gorgeous jumper. It was pine green wool, mostly in a sort of double moss stitch,with a panel of twisted rib down the front and raglan sleeves. The jumper itself and the pattern are long-lost (3 Suisses Junior, I recall) so I am thinking I will try to recreate this old favourite as a design exercise, using my new Denise circular needles.
Off to order some chunky wool - watch this space!

P.S. Remember I broke the points off my new Daisy dpns? Well, I emailed Gill at the Woolly Workshop and she sent me another set, free of charge, and they arrived the following day! How is that for fantastic customer service?!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Woolgirl and another June Bride




My first Woolgirl sock club package arrived yesterday and I am SO pleased I signed up!

The yarn is Miss Babs sportweight superwash merino in a specially-dyed color called "Waterfall". Deep rich blues and purple - mmm! The sunlit picture is the best one of the colour - that elusive blue and purple mix confuses my camera! And it is a deliciously springy 3-ply! I am not immediately sure about the accompanying pattern - it is hard to see but it looks to have lace and cables - and I would probably prefer more solidity for a warm sock in this weight of yarn. I am thinking of knitting Marina Piccola in this yarn - I think it would be a good match. And there are other goodies too - chocolate mint lip balm (smells exactly like After Eights!), a crystal stitchmarker (pretty!) and a Woolgirl Sock Club Journal and pen - woo hoo! I am a sucker for stationery! And there are competitions to enter too! Gold stars for quality, presentation, value and general loveliness!
Also in the post: my Denise interchangeables! Yes, I went for the "maximum flexibility for my pennies" option. I had to buy the pink set (in aid of breast cancer research) as it felt like tempting fate NOT to support this cause.
So I am now itching to cast on for Notorious - and forget those month-by-month plans for knitting projects up to Christmas! Naughty!

BUT I have finished the cashmere (HipKnits buttermilk cashmere sock yarn) June Bride fingerless mitts. The lacey pattern really stands out in a plain yarn (well, duh!) so I did a second lace repeat this time. I also adjusted the sizing and knitted a small hand with a medium thumb - a much better fit for me than small all over. Not sure whether these are for a present, the charity craft stall, or to keep for myself. Cream is not really my colour, but they are SO soft and cosy! Two evenings of knitting for a pair of pretty mitts - brilliant!
The only thing is... I snapped the points off TWO of my brand new Daisy dpns - aargh! They broke at the point where the dark purple joins the light, a clean break. And I am NOT a ham-fisted knitter, honestly! Mutter mutter mutter. Off to email the Woolly Workshop to see if they can replace them...

Monday, September 17, 2007

June Bride's second cousin


Finshed the June Bride mittens, as per instructions. They are lovely!

I emailed Annie Modesitt about the discrepancy between the photo and the charted pattern ... and she emailed back! And the upshot is that the mitts in the photo are not the ones in the pattern: there was a bit of a mix-up and the publisher decided to go to print with the wrong photo. How frustrating that must have been! Crikey - the perils of international knitting design stardom! Seems like a really odd decision to me.

But anyway... I like the pattern as it appears in the book and that is what I knitted. The geraniums photo is the best picture of the colour. The close-up caused the flash to go off and drowned the black. But you can see the lacey back better.


Very quick to knit - I started a second pair yesterday in cream cashmere sock yarn - mmmm!

The first pair was intended for my daughter, but she came across me knitting them and was so disinterested in the yarn that I am thinking these might go to the teenaged cousin for Christmas after all.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mystery mitt

Have you ever tried to wind a ball of wool while sitting in a car? Can I just remind you that it is a really really bad idea to use the steering wheel and/or gear stick to hold the skein? Just saying…

Try explaining that one to the AA.

Luckily, I managed to free the trapped strands on my own. Eventually.

No, of course I wasn’t moving at the time. I blame the Girl Guides myself. If only I didn’t have to spend so long in a car park waiting for them to finish learning how to eat chocolate this would never have happened.

Anyway, wool extracted and wound, I cast on for the June Bride fingerless mitts from “Romantic Hand Knits”. This was a bit of a risk. The yarn (Dyeabolical Yarns Alter Ego superwash merino sock from Etsy, colourway Scratch Art) was calling out for me to do something a bit emo / goth / sk8er girl for my daughter. But the pattern called for two strands pulled from a five-strand cashmere yarn – err right! So I cast on using the 3.75mm needles suggested, just for fun,“got gauge”, shrugged and kept on knitting.

And it is such FUN! I was thrown by the instruction to garter stitch 4 rows before joining the knitting into a round… then I realised this achieved a ruffle cuff with a little notch in it – pretty! I struggled a bit at first with the language of this pattern. Ever done a “vertical double decrease”? You probably have and didn’t realise it. Luckily there is a glossary at the back of the book. I annotated the lace chart and all was well.

It looks NOTHING like the picture in the book. But the photo in the book looks nothing like the chart, however hard I peer at it. Is this actually the same pair of mitts?! Today I emailed Annie Modesitt, the designer, because the chart clearly shows yo's and yet the photo shows a plain-backed mitt! It is really exciting to be knitting a mystery mitten!

But I really like what I see so far. There is a ruffled cuff, ribbing at the wrist to pull it in, then a lace back. The yarn I am using is coming up with a spiralling stripe, which was not at all what I expected. I thought it would have small splotches of colour here and there through fairly solid black. But this is much more exciting! There is a strong diagonal swathe of colour with an arrowhead of lace holes shooting through it - I like it a lot! I will take a photo at the weekend, when I finish them.

I am knitting the smallest size, so I will be interested to see what happens when I knit my next pair, the next size up, for me. Because I certainly will!

The needles are my Daisy dpns. They have added to the fun. They are made of “ABS coloured resin”. You might call them plastic. But they are kind of soft and warm to the touch. I don’t spike my finger on the point when I push against it. They have flexibility but don’t feel like they are about snap. They are PURPLE! If this is what Denise interchangeables are like, my circular decision is made!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Knitting Little Luxuries

New book alert! Coming soon, available to pre-order at Amazon.

"Knitting Little Luxuries" by Louisa Harding.

And there's a slide show of its contents HERE.

I want the bag on the cover, and the little shawlets and the slipover with the diagonal cable and the long fingerless gloves....

Lots of gift ideas!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Pigeon Post

Woo hoo! My PigeonRoofStudios order has arrived at last!

And the sportweight sock wool is.... gobsmackingly beautiful! It is like a thicker version of the old Piece of Beauty sock yarn: beautifully springy and soft and the dyeing... ah… sigh…. the dyeing is SO lovely! It is so obviously hand-painted, as in "painted by hand" using a beautiful blend of colours - this is "Nightshade" and it goes through a range of purples with dashes of pure clear blue - wow! Just look at it! It does have a bit of a whiff of vinegar about it, but all is forgiven because it is so totally gorgeous. Can you tell I like it?

I also ordered a skein of handspun. Lovely colours again, but a very uneven spin - it is real "thick and thin" yarn, which I wasn't expecting. It is nothing like the emerald handspun I got from my sockapaloooza pal, and I don't think the two will work together as a Chevron Scarf - boo hoo! So I am not sure what I will do with this... it is very soft, so maybe a simple hat?

I ought to mention that this took a VERY long time to get here. Krista admitted that she had “fallen a bit behind” on international orders, but it is hard to be patient when you see something you must have, order it and wait… and wait… and email… and wait. Luckily I had other projects to distract me. But I thought I should warn you, in case you need some too! Woolgirl stocks her yarn, so I will probably buy from there next time.

It is just as well that I have a dial up connection at home. On Friday I missed the Sheepaints shop opening by an hour and missed all the good stuff. I completely forgot about the Yarn Yard Friday Frolic in my sulk. Then I managed to fill my shopping cart at Poshyarn on Sunday – but by the time my checkout page loaded at 6.05pm, most of the goodies I had selected had been sold! And I failed to get anything at all through the payment process. I also lost a bidding war for a set of Denise interchangeables at Ebay. Sniffle.

Then I came to work yesterday to find one of the yarns I wanted was still available at Poshyarn, and there were two “must haves” over at the Yarn Yard. And I have not ordered any of them … yet! Can you imagine how much money I saved?!

A confession: I have an overwhelming desire to buy some orange and turquoise sock wool – yes, the two colours in the same skein. Wollmeise has a likely suspect – but her shop is closed for online refurbishments. Gemini Knits (Etsy, UK-based) has a version, but is moving house this week. Lovesticks has a self-striping yarn, but it is not available right now. There is another stripey one over at Vesper – but that stuff is like gold dust. And all of this just helps to reinforce the sheer time-wasting ridiculousness of this web-scouring obsession with turquoise and orange! Lets hope it blows over – I do NOT need turquoise and orange socks, people!