Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Monday, May 28, 2007
So on Saturday I took myself to Alford and explored "The Wool Shed".
And it was great - really it was! Seeing and squeezing some of the yarns I read about on the internet! Colours! Textures! Pattern books to browse through!
They had 3 skeins of Jitterbug sock - just the three! Fruit Coulis, Popsicle and Velvet Plum. And I found myself considering buying all 3 - just because they were there and they were so BOUNCY! But I managed to control myself and remember that I really want Velvet Bilberry, and that I don't exactly lack sock wool right now...
They had Banana Silk - yuck! Horrid scratchy stuff! They had Tofutsies - hmmm, a bit thin and hard for a sock yarn I thought - some nice colours though. They had Debbie Bliss and Rowan, some Silkwood, some HipKnits, some Katia, some Lana Grossa.
They had lots of Noro and I spent an indecent amount of time browsing the pattern books and deciding I wanted to knit a chevron-lace pullover from "Naturally Noro". But it was then that I started to get grumpy. Because there were no price labels. None.
After asking the assistant for prices on four separate occasions, I began to resent it. I was getting all twitchy - the implication seemed to be that if I needed to ask, I was not a serious buyer. But who buys yarn "blind"? Surely everyone makes decisions based on a judgement of quality and price - works out the "value" of their choice? I could equally have knitted said chevron jumper out of Kureyon or Silver Thaw... but lacking the price information, I wandered round the shop in a dither. In the end, I walked out with nothing. In the hour and a half I was there (this was a sunny Saturday afternoon) only two other people came into the shop - and they didn't buy anything either, despite me overhearing their conversation and assessing them to be a) American, b) compulsive knitters, and c) rather well-heeled! So how long do you give this shop? Survival chances?
And although I wanted to support my "local" yarn store, I came away empty-handed, with a mental shopping list which I will almost certainly take online. The irony being that the Wool Shed is setting up its own website... where I presume they will have to show their prices! Maybe I should email them...
P.S. Have you ever squeezed Lana Grossa "Bingo"? B-O-I-N-G!! Supersoft, super-bouncy DK-ish merino - I am off to investigate patterns!
Friday, May 25, 2007
I had a request for the title of the book where I found the pattern for my blue linen top.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
I have been tagged by G! This is a first!
1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment to tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.
- I have a morning coffee ritual. I get to work for 9am every day and the first thing I do is make myself a strong shot of espresso (using a cafetiere top fitted on top of a china cup cos I broke the coffee pot!) and pour it through hot milk. I then read my emails and eat a KitKat with my perfect latte! I have tried to ditch the KitKat but I just get grumpy…
I have almost been a teacher… three times! First time – I chickened out a month before the course started and instead got my first job (processing invoices on an industrial estate in Hull – mmmm! Great career move!). Second time – I lasted until the week of my final teaching practice, then had the realisation that if I completed this course I would probably spend the rest of my life cooped up in a school with stroppy teenagers and back-biting colleagues, so I walked out and never went back. Third time – after having my kids I decided I needed “a career”, so enrolled on an Open University Primary teaching course… and the month before it was due to start, the O.U. had a bad inspection report and closed down the course. Fate!
I should have been in musical theatre. From the age of 10 I obsessed about musicals, and can still sing from memory the entire score of “The King and I”, “Oliver”, “Annie”, “Joseph”, “A Chorus Line”, “The Sound of Music” and “Chicago”. Unfortunately, I have more enthusiasm than talent, and nowadays my high kicks are barely above knee-height. Tsk!
I dislike the word “savoury”. It makes me feel slightly queasy just hearing the word. It makes me think of the time I had food poisoning after eating warm goats cheese in a steaming tent in the South of France… bleeuch!
I can be unnecessarily strict with myself. For example, while weeding the garden, I can be dying for a drink, but don’t allow myself to stop until I reach a certain bush… and yes, this has led to heat-stroke from time to time.
I love green apples: crisp, sharp, slightly tart. I eat two Granny Smith’s a day. I can’t stand Golden Delicious or other soft flavourless apples.
I passed my driving test last year, on the fifth attempt. It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do.
When I was a child my ambition was “to have a croft on Skye”. It’s not quite a croft and it isn’t quite on Skye, but I do feel I have come home to where I was destined to be.
I need to tag 8 people: Bryony, Roo, Cindy, Gilraen, Holly, Katherine, Happy Yarns, Etod Knits. Go for it girls!
Thursday, May 17, 2007
But the wool is all it should be - soft and warm, and I really love the colours. See how well it self-stripes? The only problem has been the urge to make and consume chocolate hazelnut muffins, strawberries, ice cream!
On the green front, I located some fairtrade organic earth-friendly-dyed string bags in funky colours, so now I don't have to torture myself knitting them (when I would rather be knitting socks!) No more plastic bags for this family!
I also ALMOST started our chicken flock... but was trying to do it in too much of a hurry. Luckily, I have been talked out of a Sunday-afternoon collection of three anonymous hens: no breed known, no word of them having been inoculated etc. Not clever. Especially when I have not yet bought a chicken coop (though I have found out where to get one locally) or decided where it is going (probably involves clearance of the area between the house and the garage, currently home to a dozen hotel doors, a pile of slates, assorted drainpipes... don't ask!) or bought the necessary fox-proof fencing. Sigh. Who knew it was all so complicated? Tom and Barbara made it all look so easy!
But I HAVE joined the local wholefood co-op scheme for the bulk-purchase of chick peas, butter beans and Ecover washing liquid. And I managed to resist the temptation to bulk-buy dairy-free chocolate... but only just!
ETA: seen the new Interweave Knits? Got to buy it! Dammit! Backless gloves, lacey top, smocked cardi, spiral socks - OOOOH!
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
And the new Jitterbug colours are looking good (Velvet Bilberry? Mmmm!)
But this is not a post about profligate yarn-buying, oh no! This is a post to update you on my green progress!
Following my post-Earth Day post, I DID sign up for a weekly organic veg box from “down the road” – hooray! I also arranged to buy free-range eggs from someone at work who keeps hens – hooray!
My own veggies are underway – salad leaves doing well, kale recovering from a snacking rabbit, beetroot “hardening off”, courgettes still happy in the greenhouse, savoy cabbage and more kale still at the seed stage. Loads of herbs romping away!
I also looked seriously at buying LED spotlight bulbs (on Rooknits’ recommendation – thanks Roo!) and will do this soon – I just need to check the size. I decided I could not face knitting plastic bags together (texture phobia), and will be making cotton “string bags” – if they go well, this will be this year’s generic Christmas present.
And today I discovered a forum called NEEPS! Which is the “North East Eco-friendly People’s Site” – perfect! I have signed up for membership and intend to be interactive there – they have a Suma Wholefoods co-op scheme, and tips on local crafts / poultry suppliers / events – hooray!
Still seriously intend to get some chickens!
And I WILL turn the compost...
Monday, May 14, 2007
Here are the completed Cable and Rib socks from “Favorite Socks” in Claudia hand-paint, colour “Ingrid’s Blues”. They fit really well, despite seeming very “skinny” in repose. The 2-ply merino is “cushy” underfoot and the colours are great with jeans – socks to match my clothes? Surely not!
Meantime, the postie came and I now have the black contrast for my rainbow socks, and some Regia Nation rainbow stripe, which is NOT for my sockapaloopza pal, but for me, me, me (cue mad laughter)! I saw some Jaywalkers knit up in this and they are a sight to behold! The final ball is Austermann Step in 02 Water – a second ball to make long man-socks for First Love. I already had one ball of this in the stash and decided I had better get another while I was shopping (Web of Wool) as he wants knee-highs – gulp!
And as if this was not enough, I cast on and bounded ahead with a pair of Priscilla’s Dream Socks ("Favorite Socks" again) for my daughter in Duet “Chocolate Fantasy” – mmm! The colours are seriously like chocolate and crushed strawberries, melted into ice-cream! Being DK-weight, I am almost at the first ankle after a short evening’s knitting.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
It was a weekend out of an Enid Blyton book!
We went to an “eco-cottage” on the shore of Loch Broom, near to Ullapool In the Western Highlands. Me, First Love, the two kids and the dog.
We woke to the sound of a cockerel, and waves lapping on the beach. There were piglets to feed, two wild boar, sheep, highland cows and plenty of happy free range hens. The kids rode their bikes along the shoreline and explored the rocks. The dog tried to make friends with the pigs. We found a tipi in the walled garden (you can rent it by the night!), and a stone circle to meditate in (even if they meant it as a joke, the children seemed so peaceful!). If you go there on a Wednesday, you can buy organic veg and free range eggs from the farm.
And the socks came too! Never let it be said that I don’t show my socks a good time!
I had planned shots of “socks in nature” but of course the rain came on.
My daughter says it was “perfect” there, and can we go back again soon? Yes please!
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Via a link at the socka-wotsit-4 blog, I found some very very cool socks.
Here is the KAL!
Seize Diamondbacks are coming soon - oh yes they are! In Wollmeise Poison Nr 5.
Oh dear. Too many projects on the brain. I DID finish the first Cable and Rib socks, I did I did!
Did you ever do those scratch drawings as a child – where you cover a whole sheet of paper in dense wax crayon in a mad pattern or stripes or whatever, then cover the whole thing in black paint, let it dry, and then scrape off the paint with a sharp lolly stick to produce a multi-coloured drawing? There is probably a fancy art-teacher name for this technique.
Well, that’s the effect I want to achieve in the design of these socks! The Opal is SO bright that it would overwhelm anything in the way of a fancy stitch pattern. I thought about Jaywalkers… but my pal has knitted these – of course she has, haven’t we all?! Then I pondered Broadripple… but thought these might look too much like Jaywalkers with holes in them - and my pal doesn’t seem to knit lacey socks, so maybe she doesn’t like them…? I seriously considered RPM… and I might come back to that idea. I thought about trying to knit a black spiral up a rainbow-striped socks… but how? Swatching got me nowhere.
Then First Love asked me what I was doing (crayons, paint, swatches everywhere) and picked up Broadripple… “Why do people knit horizontal stripes in socks – vertical look so much better!” Eh? Maybe he meant ribbing… I can’t remember seeing many vertically-striped socks around.
So I did some exploring.. and I found sideways-knit socks – nah, don’t think I like these! And I found Nordic Lights Socks. Hmmm. Very tempted. The rainbow stripes will shine through the black, just like the crayon colours, in the fair-isle pattern sections. And there will be vertical stripes of black crossing the horizontal rainbows. I like it!
The only stumbling block is my pal’s preference for lightweight socks… I am afraid that the fair-isle will come up too thick. What do you think?
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Opinionated blogging follows - *warning* - *warning* - one person's opinion coming... no offence intended...
I know that Kerrie had trouble with her printers / publishers, but it is still disconcerting on the 1st of May to find myself reading about New Year's resolutions, and being told that the next issue arrives in April - it feels like being in a time warp! Like sitting in the dentist's waiting room and picking up a magazine to flick through.
That said, the content isn't date-specific. It is mostly about socks, with a dash of crochet and some uninspiring plain-looking "jumpers". (Sorry, Kerrie, not my kind of thing.) The socks are good though! I like Bronte's Zippy socks, and Dee's Cable socks are nice too. "Nice"?! Sorry - I just can't get excited, even though I really want to, because I think Kerrie is trying really hard... and the sock patterns are perfectly good. I can't put my finger on what is "wrong" with this magazine. I do think the technical difficulties are off-putting - blurry photos and dull colours make it seem a bit... amateurish.
I suppose my biggest query is - who is this magazine for? It isn't available in your local newsagent, so depends on t'internet for its sales... which I think defines the audience as bloggers and surfers. And I think we are a sophisticated bunch, with access to Knitty and the like... so maybe I am questioning the need for a paper magazine at all. Web-publishing is so much easier to get right, and you are in control - no printers to let you down! Digital photos are crisp and colourful, you can design your own layout and do your own proof-reading. But I suppose it doesn't let you make much money... whereas a paper magazine has adverts etc... I am thinking aloud here. I actually can't imagine that Kerrie is doing much more than meeting her costs at the moment.
So what am I saying? I am all for creative people having creative ventures and getting out there and I take my hat off to Kerrie for DOING it... but alongside the similarly-priced Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits, this magazine is not doing it for me. It doesn't have that artisan-press handcrafted approach which might make it stand out as "different". It is quite middle-of-the road looking. It reminds me most of a local church community magazine. It is definitely not a "Zine", even though Woolly Wormhead's hat pattern has all the potential to be "alternative".
But I like the socks, everyone!