Monday, December 18, 2006

Only One Week To Go!

Well its been a busy couple of weeks! TypePad gave me some grief and I was unable to leave any comments on TypePad blogs. I contacted their technical support who were absolutely brilliant. Tons of emails flew back and forth between us and after a few days, all was sorted. They were really grateful for my patience and help and I was happy with their excellent service.

Work has been better. A new system has been implemented for one of my bugbears and is working well. So it does look like they are now keen to bring other systems and procedures up to date. Good. I love new systems ;)

Unfortunately my own system for doing some sewing up each weekend has failed miserably. My poor Malabrigo is still waiting for some loving attention. But I've finished work now till the New Year so I have great plans this week.....

I have been knitting though and the back and left front of my Fletcher coat in Noro Iro are now done. After taking the photo though I ended up having to frog all the moss stitch at the top. It was only after I started the garter stitch rows that I realised the left front did not match the right! And darned, it would have to be the back that needed redoing....I'd misread the amendments and started the garter stitch rows on the wrong side. Oh well. All re-done now and looking good.

The 2nd STR sock is almost done and should be finished this week. So it will be new STR socks for Xmas then. Cool!

I've had a card making blitz as you can see. I always put off card making till the last minute but once I get going enjoy it. Knitting calls to me you see and card making is an awfully messy and time consuming business! I'm just so fussy - what can I say ;)

Online bingo has grabbed my attention a little too. I used to love playing bingo on holiday when I was young in the seaside resorts. I've never joined a bingo club but saw an offer I liked the look of and its surprisingly fun. Well it was for a day or so till I got bored of not winning. But I've had a few goes since and won a few pounds. Keeps me out of trouble anyway......

I have bought some bits and bobs recently but nothing out of the ordinary. A few Lana Grossa mags from Germany and a ball of Regia Stretch that asked to come home with me. Obviously I couldn't refuse. But I worry a little about my sock stash. They take so long and I've gotten so particular with the brands that my old regulars are still sitting patiently waiting in the sock yarn stash box. My favourite regular sock yarn is Milenweit but I gotta admit I just love handpainted yarns. They're just too pretty to resist you see...

Yup, so of course I couldn't resist the offer of more STR from DH for Xmas. Aren't they gorgeous? I haven't opened it yet though as am not allowed. Though it didn't go quite as planned as DH said to order an extra skein and order 3. Which seemed fine at the time until the parcel took longer to arrive and I realised it was probably held up in customs! I was right, unfortunately and had to pay £8.11 for VAT & PO charges. Won't be doing that again. Will stick to 2 skeins in future ;(

DH had also promised a skein of Colinette's Jitterbug too and Popsicle was the shade I chose. Even Thunder was interested and got in the way but I managed to take another without the furry beast.

Thunder says its important to keep warm in the cold winter and snuggling on the sofa in mums dressing gown (whilst she's wearing it of course!) is a great way to keep warm ;)

Custard says hello to everyone and asks for more organic sunflower seeds please ;) And not to worry about his eye. At his age his tear ducts don't work so good so mum has to help him open his eyes most days. Can you believe he's 33 months old now!

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and New Year!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Where does the time go

After my last post and the crappy time I'd had I was kinda hoping for a better time. It didn't quite materialise but there is light at the end of the tunnel......maybe normal service will resume soon!

Work has continued to give me stress. Different reasons this time. Mostly that its antiquated and outdated and though I was brought in to make changes and bring it more up to date, in reality it just hasn't happened. You just wouldn't believe the stuff I have to sort out because other staff aren't capable enough or have never been made to do their jobs properly. I'm not learning anything new in fact am going backwards. It's a very small company and hasn't been working out as expected, or as I was led to think it would.

So of course I went in last week to hand my notice in. But didn't quite manage it. I ended up agreeing to see how it goes. They've promised to give me full support in the changes that need to be made and have agreed 100% with the issues I raised. So not at all what I expected but it was nice to be so clearly wanted! So, we'll see how it goes. It's given them a real wake up call and they've realised that if I leave and someone else comes in, the same problems will happen. As I've been there 2 months already, a little longer is ok. Otherwise I'll just temp.

No results yet from my tests as they've turned into a quite a disaster. I got a letter from the hospital which started off ok with the first paragraph being about me, but then it went on for 2 pages talking about someone totally different. So apparently according to the hospital I'm now a policewoman with a cat and dog allergy. Frustrating isn't the word really. It didn't help either that I had another reaction last weekend. I woke up the next morning with a puffy face - even thats a new one for me!

At least DH now has a new van which I found for him after a lot of searching around the main dealerships on the internet. We viewed it and knew my DH would like it and so we picked it up last weekend. There were fun and games with the paperwork that I really didn't need, but hey, we got it and its happily parked in it space ;)

Of course all this has meant knitting takes a bit of a back seat and I don't have a great deal to show. I have been making good progress though and finished my Hoodie in Malabrigo which is even all pressed too. Just the lovely sewing up to do......

But I just haven't got round to taking any photos this post. I should have some next post. She says hopefully :)

To soothe my work troubles I started the Fletcher coat in Noro Iro which I got 2 Xmas's ago. It is perfect as it feels so earthy and tactile and the perfect calming yarn. My gauge is spot on and I'm lovin knitting with it. It is a very sturdy yarn so perfect for a jacket or coat. The silk in it means it sheds a few fibres which show up quite well on our cream sofa. Remind me not to get a cream sofa again please ;)

Why is it I keep remembering something I should have mentioned after I've posted? I did it again, but I can't believe I didn't mention that I signed up for the Socks That Rock Sock Club and have my ID. Here's hoping I have the money ready in the New Year....

Though it certainly was a surprise to see the cost it is without a doubt my favourite sock yarn and I love the idea of getting packages throughout the year. I'm putting my bonuses from work towards paying for it and I really think it will be worth it. Having been disappointed with handpainted yarns before, I know this is highly unlikely to happen with STR. There is something so magical about this yarn that I can't wait to pick up a sock I'm knitting with it so I can feel that amazing texture. It really is addictive.

I'll leave you with some more holiday photos. Yep more still from Malaysia this year. Just what you need in this cold winter weather ;)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wadda Week

I forgot to mention that my copy of Vogue Knitting finally arrived a week or so back and as usual I'm so impressed. Though there isn't anything that jumps out at me as a must knit, I love the designs. You know you're reading Vogue. There really is nothing quite like it ;)

I visited my mad knitting friend and this is what she brought me back from her trip to the US. I asked for a couple of balls and she brought me back 12!!! This is what happens when you ask a yarn addict to bring you back some yarn ;) I couldn't believe my eyes and I was so pleased to get it. So thank you again Jackie!

It's been one of those weeks. First of all I had my hospital appointment at the allergy clinic which turned out to be quite useful and definitely not a waste of time as my doctor suggested it might. I had pinprick tests - 8 of them - and reacted to trees but not to tomatoes. The trees was no surprise as I have hayfever. The tomatoes negative result was no surprise by the consultant either. He said that test is notoriously reliable. I was tested for cat, dog, horse and rabbit amongst others but knew I'm not allergic to those. What was most odd was that whilst waiting to see the consultant again after the first tests I reacted to something and red lumps came up on my hand. The consultant suggested it might be the tape but I know it didn't touch my skin. Thats me all over. I have 9 pinprick tests on my arm and react on my hand! Perhaps it came out in sympathy ;) The consultant said 'you are quite an allergic person aren't you?' whilst DH was sniggering quietly as I said yes to all his questions asking what allergies I had. Tell me something I don't know!

Next I had a RAST blood test and another blood test for vitamin deficiency. Being a long term lactose intolerant veggie I could be vitamin deficient. The blood tests took forever as the nurse just couldn't get any! I always have trouble unless its a very experienced nurse. I'll get those results in a few weeks. Depending on what they are the consultant suggested I go on the ward to be fed sliced tomato!!! I am so not keen on this I can tell you.....

I've also been referred to yet another hospital for investigations about my tongue. In the consultants own words 'that is definitely not quite right'. My tongue is where the reactions are occuring but now I constantly have blisters or lumps or blotches even a couple of days after the reaction and it hasn't been normal for months.

So I now have been referred to 3 hospitals all to due with my allergies. I think this is a good thing. At least its being taken seriously though all these different hospitals makes it all a tad confusing ;-(

Then I got really upset at work by the awful language used by one of the guys. I would never repeat it but would describe it as explicit pornographic. I just couldn't believe my ears. They guys involved were made quite aware I won't tolerate that kind of behaviour but to be honest, I don't want to be anywhere where that kind of thing is acceptable. There are so many laws about behaviour in the workplace that are supposed to prevent exactly this type of thing. It was not a good day. But when I came back from lunch one of the guys apologised - not the one that uttered the words, but the guy he was talking to. So they're now aware as is the boss.....we'll see if it happens again.

The day after that the garage rang to say my DHs van isn't worth repairing. It failed its MOT disastrously and would cost around £2,500 to fix. Uneconomical to repair was the advice. So now we have to look for a new van. Why do these things always happen in the run up to xmas?

I wasn't joking about the kind of week I'd had.....but it ended quite nicely when I was wearing my Biggy Print Jacket out and I was asked where I'd got it as a woman really wanted one. Then she spied my Sherbet bag from last post and said her daughter would love that. Its always nice when that happens ;)

I thought I'd see what happened if I felted my oversized Big Wool mitterns that were far too large. The result was hilarious. They'd probably fit a 6 year old now. Wow did they felt quick. I didn't mind as I don't wear them anyway. At least I now to be very careful when felting Big Wool :)

I'll finish off with an FO that I'm really pleased about. The Lana Grossa Mega Boots are finally finished! They're lovely and fit perfectly. And of course now I can cast on for that 2nd STR sock!!!

And leave you with the kind of week I would really like to have - a real chillin' one.....just like Thunder's!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ta Da

My Knitting Pattern A Day calender arrived a week or so ago and I put it with the presents waiting to be wrapped to get it out of the way and my DH got carried away with wrapping presents and wrapped it up too. So another pressie from him he he;)

DH also wrapped my Colinette Marshmallow yarn by mistake and was most cross about that. You'd think he actually knew what he'd got me but no, obviously not. I was pleased as it saves me doing it. Though its actually from my friend we take our own pressies home after the show as it makes more sense seeing as we only usually meet up once a year. This year she fell in love with the new Wrap Cardigan Kit from Web of Wool which was introduced at the show and seemed to be very popular indeed so that was her pressie sorted ;)

Last year I bought her some lovely Colinette Point 5 to make a pretty cardigan which has been finished for months and months and currently resides under her bed! I thought maybe writing about it on my blog might shame her into pressing it and sewing it up. Boy is it nippy out now and it would be perfect for the cold. We don't want it living another year under the bed now do we Joanne???

All this cold weather has brought out the accessory urge in me and I made some fingerless mittens using this fabulous Custom Fit Fingerless Mitts pattern. It's a really simple pattern to follow and the easiest way to actually make a pair that fit. Normal patterns are always huge on me so its great to get a proper fitting pair. My hands are rather petite you see and almost permanently cold, so good fitting mitts are essential. Work is getting cold too so might need some for there too. I cannot bear to be cold and get very irate indeed :(

As you can see my Sherbet bag is all finished and lined so finally I have my winter bag. Pretty isn't she?

Poor old Custard had to stop the eye drops and was prescribed liquid antibiotics which he HATED. The poor thing is so trusting and happily started to drink it till he realised how awful it tasted then went absolutely barmy running round his cage like a wild thing and refusing treats!!! This is unheard of but thankfully it was only a short course and now he is back to his lovely self which I'm so glad of. He's such a sweet old hamster I really didn't like him being stressed ;)

You just wouldn't believe how terribly jealous Thunder was of the attention Custard was getting. He would do anything to get some including jumping on Custard's cage, jumping on my back while holding Custard or even resorting to kicking over Custard's climbing tubes! Naughty jealous thing. Amazes me how he can be jealous of something so small compared to him. Funny creatures aren't they ;)

Yippee! I made myself a mini sock and it lives happily on my keyring. I still can't get over how cute they are. Must make more!

I'm up early for my hospital appointment at the allergy clinic tomorrow and now have to attend another hospital next month to see a dermatology specialist for my other allergies. It's all getting a bit confusing. And you should see how long my allergy list would be far easier to list stuff I wasn't allergic too. At least I'm getting referred even if it is to 2 different hospitals!

I sent my dear friend that I spoke of a while back this chemo cap in Rowan Calmer which has been a great success as Calmer is the softest gentlest yarn imaginable. I used a pattern from Headhuggers which has a great selection of patterns. The mini sock was also for her and I managed a better photo of it before I sent it off.

It looks like the days of being able to post once a week regularly are a distant memory. So much to do and so little time. Never mind, we get there evenually ;)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Cutest Sock Ever?

Poor Custard has had an eye infection and for the first time in his long hamster life had to visit the vet. He was very well behaved and the vet was ever so congratulory on the weight and health of our long-lasting hamster. She said it was lovely to see such a well cared for friendly hamster, and said she was sure it had made a difference to his lifespan ;)

I was pleased as punch I can tell you. We were given the obligatory eye drops and then the fun and games started. Have you ever tried to give a hamster eye drops??? Impossible almost - the furry wriggling beast won't stay still for a nanosecond. The eye drops went everyone except his eyes. We've nearly used the whole tube only because it was so difficult to get any drops in. Why oh why couldn't they have given us liquid ones - you'd have more chance with those. Anyway we've persevered but another trip to the vets might be in order.

Last weekend we visited House of Fraser who still had a sale on and also had an extra 20% off sale prices. So I got a few balls to add to my stash for bag making, accessories etc and of course couldn't resist more Rowan Calmer which I plan to turn into bed/lounge socks. Eventually.

I finally finished my Socks That Rock sock and am so pleased with it. Unfortunately its sibling will arrive a bit later than planned as I broke another Brittany and haven't received replacements yet. Thats the only downside to the STR, that I have to drop down a size and use 2.25mm DPNs which aren't the strongest needles for sure and only Brittany seems to make them as I have to use either bamboo or birch. DH suggested it would be a wise move to order another packet judging by the rate I'm going through them. He is very wise sometimes ;)

So I did order some and of course had to order a few extras from Web of Wool. Their service was super fast and my packet arrived next day! Oh I like that..... I'd ordered a copy of Yarn Forward as I'd heard good things about it and can definitely agree it is totally different to the other UK mags. A refreshing change for sure and already a pattern I love in it and actually want to make! It's almost a miracle and even DH loves it too. Sorted.

But back to the STR - boy have I loved knitting with it and am totally overjoyed at how soft and comfy the sock feels, especially as its such a tightly spun sturdy kind of yarn! I imagine these will wear very well. I'm still deliberating on whether to join the sock club when it comes out or not. I've kind of had my xmas pressie limit already so we'll see. Decisions, decisions. It doesn't help either that Colinette are bringing out a new sock yarn Jitterbug. Oh can you imagine the colours! Apparently they were at the Kniting & Stitching Show but amazingly I actually managed to miss their sock yarn - oh you have no idea how much I want to kick myself for that!!!

I still feel like I'm chasing my tail trying to get the ton of paperwork I have piled up still but I have progressed a little with my knitting, thankfully! I've finished both sides of a bag, the pompons and twisted cord. Pattern is from 25 Books to Knit and I'm using Chunky Print for the main part and Colinette Zanzibar for the pompoms, top and strap. The pattern says to knit only one strap but I'm not sure it will be strong enough so I'm going to knit another.

I had yet another reaction to tomatoes last Sunday and getting fed up with the whole business. I'll have nothing left to eat at this rate! It's not long to go till my hospital appointment so hopefully it will help.

I'm waiting on my copy of Vogue Knitting again. Its late arriving in the UK, yet again, and as its my favourite magazine quite frustrating. Though I have to admit to being impressed with the 2nd issue of Knit Today which has two patterns I actually want to make. This is almost unheard of in the UK knitting mags - mostly I get them for the articles as I find most of the patterns awful. So this is a good thing and am happy at least one UK knititng mag I subscribe to has stuff I like. But oh, what am I saying, now we have Yarn Forward too. My my, I'm just spoilt for choice ;)

I'll leave you with the cutest mini sock imaginable. It really is too cute for words and I love it. However, it is sadly not for me so we'll say goodbye to it. Though I will definitely have to make one for me to keep. I was surprised it wasn't as fiddly as I'd expected and I had real fun making it and it counts as an FO too! Looking at it just makes me smile and it just so tempting to keep ;)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Knitting & Stitching Show

The show was fabulous this year. I can't believe I was there a week ago today! Doesn't time fly ;) There seemed to be much more knitting related stands this year and far less cross stitch which great and most welcomed. It also seemed a little quieter too. Maybe the coaches head already gone when we arrived, but it definitely wasn't as packed as before. For once we could actually get to the Colinette stand without having to come back later when it was quieter. I'd be interested in hearing other visitors opinions - was it just Thurs pm that was quiet and the rest of the time busy as usual?

The downside of all this yarn was that I ended up totally overwhelmed by all the lovely colours everywhere and choosing what to get was quite a challenge. The variety of hand dyed sock yarns had to be seen to be believed but eventually I made my decisions and am very pleased with my purchases. The first of which was at the Cherry Tree Hill stand with Gill from the Woolly Workshop and some gorgoeous Potluck Sock Yarn in Brights. Gill managed to give me quite a fright by coming over and saying 'you're Anita aren't you?'. I was in 2 minds whether to admit I was or not, but having decided I hadn't committed any major sins recently agreed I was. Of course Gill recognised me from my blog, but it was still a surprise and quite amusing. It was lovely to meet Gill and to put a face to a name.

I also got some Fyberspates sock yarn from the Fyberspates stand in the lovely and very apt Happy colourway and an amazingly cute mini sock blocker. And of course a visit to Web of Wool is always essential where I got some more Clover goodies. And my absolute bargain of the show was some Rowan Plaid in Seagull for £20! Oh yes, now that is what I call a bargain. Its my favourite shade and though I've seen other colourways on sale before, they didn't have this one and also were more expensive. So no way could I leave without having some. Though admittedly I wasn't looking forward to the journey home armed with a full pack of yarn plus xmas pressies and the other goodies I'd bought. But hey, I managed somehow ;)

I'd fallen in love with some fingerless mittens knitted in the most amazingly soft alpaca from Catalina Yarns as we first walked round. So as part of my xmas pressie my friend Jo got me some Baby Alpaca Chunky in shade 117 and I got the pattern with it for free. This stuff is so soft, if you get a chance to try some do. You really won't be disappointed. I've never seen it before so this was my new find of the show. My friend also got me some Lana Grossa Milenweit from the lovely Sue at Get Knitted that came with a Milenweit leaflet and free glove pattern. I fell in love with the shade so of course had to have some. And finally the last part of the present, though certainly not the least, 4 skeins of Colinette's new show only test yarn Marshmallow. It's the same gauge as Point 5 and very similar, though much softer. It is glorious and I chose the shade Popsicle which will be made into felted slippers, from the Rowan Felted Collection.

So didn't I do well? I couldn't help but fondle all the glorious yarns on Hip Knits, or gasp in amazement at the Tilli Tomas yarn at £75 per skein, and be surprised at the Australian stand that had come over just for the show and also the number of US companies that were here just for the show. Wow, knitting is seriously HUGE and even I was surprised to see the number of new yarn exhibitors. It really was the Knitting Show this year....

You won't be surprised to hear I've been bogged down by paperwork again which explains the late post, but I'm trying to catch up on stuff and hopefully in a week or so things will get kinda back to normal. Knitting has been sporadic, as has cleaning and studying too.

But I did manage to finish the Andi Messenger Bag the night before the show. Yep, I was still sewing on the pocket in the evening before putting in the washing machine for felting. It turned out fabulously and after a night in the airing cupboard, happily joined me for my trip to London. Apparently I've been told this kind of behaviour is quite typical of me. Why I don't know, it makes life a little more stressful than it needs to be, but hey, at least I got the bag done and have another FO to show;)

One bad point about the Rowan Felted Collection is that no approximate sizes are given after felting. I know it varies, but a rough idea really is needed. Personally I would have made the bag a little narrower, as its just a little too big for me for normal day to day use, though of course very handy for trips etc.

So now another bag is on the needles.....more on that next post.

I've been meaning to mention this video that appeared on Cute Overload a few weeks back for the animal lovers amongst us that haven't seen it. Its a cat nursing puppies! Yep, you read right.....

I took advantage of Rowan's offer to subscribers for discounted kits and ordered 2 before we went away which arrived just before we got back so of course got forgotten about. They were such good value and to be honest, even if I never made both kits, the yarn, buttons and toggles included make it extremely worthwhile. Cheers for that Rowan ;)

Another thing waiting for me at the library was One Skein which I'd ordered a while back. Maybe cos I'd waited so long it was a bit of an anticlimax but as I looked throught it, kind of though, oh, is that it? So not for me and glad I waited for a library copy. I'm definitely getting really choosy in what books I buy and keep nowadays. Pretty much everything I rarely use or want has been sold. Which means more yarn money of course!

Though I did have to order the Knitting Pattern-a-Day Calender 2007. I enjoyed last year's one and found lots more UK retailers selling it this year so managed to get for even less than last time. I do love a good bargain. Lets hope it arrives soon;)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ooh Its Getting A Bit Nippy

I've got so much on at the moment its making my head spin. In between the new job, new course, dreaded management accounts plus my husbands accounts as well our own, I am literally drowning in paperwork and trying to fit everything is a challenge to say the least!

However the management accounts should be gone within a month as we have our AGM tomorrow and both me and the chairman are resigning. Of course I have to organise the handover but I can see some light at the end of the tunnel....

So not much on the knitting front at all worth showing as I haven't managed as much as I'd like. I have started tackling the strap of the felted bag in the slight hope that I can get it ready for Thursday and Knitting & Stitch Show at Ally Pally. Yeah, I know, some hope ;)

I have done really well with my new sprouter and sprouting hobby though as you can see. I love being able to pick fresh sprouts to go with crackers and humous for a healthy snack and am sure they are working wonders for my health. A supply will be coming with me for the long trip on Thursday to keep my energy up. Its always good fun but such a long exhausting day so anything that helps is a good thing.

As the weather has got a little colder I managed to wear York a few times and I am really happy with her. She is certainly unusual and very easy and comfy to wear. DH thinks she looks brilliant which is always nice to know ;)

I didn't mention much about our holiday in St Ives last post, which already feels like a distant memory. We go each year and have done so for a few years now but this year was one where we ended up having to change several of our usual evening restaurants. We dine out every evening and like to go somewhere different each night, but couldn't manage it this year. One had closed due to a fire, another had changed its menu and had nothing for me to eat so we had to try somewhere new.

We found a new Thai restaurant that had a lovely atmosphere and my DH loved his meal. I lucked out and managed to pick what I though was a veggie dish and asked for no soy or fish sauce - but would you believe it - had egg when it arrived though wasn't mentioned on the menu. Oh boy. I ended up ordering another starter which was lush. I'll remember for next year though and we'd definitely try it again.

Even the lunch cafes had a complete overhaul too. Our favourite cafe in St Ives became no longer our favourite and we found a lovely place selling lots of homemade dishes and my favourites such as humous with olives and fresh sprouts. Oh so healthy and so yum yum. And the tea came in a pot so perfect for me and DH loved the hot chocolate. So a new lunchtime favourite was found.

Our usual cafe in Penzance has changed hands and we ended up having the most awful all day breakfasts we've ever had. Yup, it was worse than service station food! It was truly hideous. They'd tried to make it trendy and added aubergine to the veggie breakfast - seriously aubergine??? And put herbs all over what looked like yesterdays left over baked potatoes....needless to say we won't be back.

Neither will we go back to St Agnes either which is quite a shame. We've always loved it there and it has some amazing shops full of local art. But the beachfront cafe staff were incredibly rude and I walked out. So now the whole village will lose our custom too. But that's life. Instead we drove to Truro and found a lovely cafe and plenty of new shops to spend our pennies in. So lots of change this year but it all worked out really well in the end;)

It was so nice to come home after our daytime outings and sit down with a cup of tea gazing out to sea whilst doing some knitting. Of course our flat comes with a seaview! And again after coming back in the evenings after our meal and trip to the arcade I'd do some more knitting before we went to bed. Oh what a life ;)

Maybe soon I'll get some more knitting time....oh yes, I lots of travelling time coming up on Thursday don't I?

Yep, the amazing long living Custard is still going strong at age 31 months. Check out that cheek stuffed full or organic sunflower seeds!

And lastly Thunder with his "I'm sorry mum for being so naughty but I promise to be good now" look on his face. Usually lasts of all 5 minutes ;)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Back to Reality

We had a lovely time in St Ives and had a wonderful anniversary. Thanks to everyone who sent me kind wishes ;) The weather was great with a few really hot & sunny days so I managed to wear my flip flops and cropped trousers a few times so that was a nice bonus. The Saxon Noro felted socks were a big hit in the evenings especially as the floor is laminated so too cold for bare feet.

I put them in with my normal washing and they're fine. They shrank a little more but that was expected and I tried them on straight away again to make sure they fit nicely. They're a brilliant alternative to slippers as you can wear them all round the house and even on the sofa too!

I did a fair bit of knitting on the drive down on the Andi Messenger Bag from Rowan Felted Collection using some Rowanspun DK in Icy from my stash. I'm now on the strap but its boring so hasn't been touched since I got back. Maybe it will be my car knitting project. Passes the time and gets it done - if slowly. Though I really do need a new bag asap - the time for pretty summer bags looks like its gone for sure.

Whilst away I started my Hooded Pullover from Blue Sky Alpacas but had trouble with the gauge so frogged it and restarted it when I got back. And made a mental note not to start a new major project when away. Best to take stuff thats already on the needles and where you know the gauge is perfect. But oh my did I love Malabrigo as did my is like knitting with candy floss or cotton wool. Its so hard to describe but there is really nothing else like it. So another great hit!

As you can see the back is now done and it only took a ball with a little left over. That is seriously good going. Unusually the pattern is written so you do a 3 needle bind off on the shoulders. I do that anyway but its lovely not to have to work it out yourself. If only more were like it!

I finished the foot part of the Lana Grossa Mega Boots sock in St Ives and did the toe shaping and finishing at home. It is lovely yarn but does seem to take longer to knit than most sock yarns. Maybe because they're not as bright as my usual socks - who knows? So I'm afraid I've not cast on for the second sock - but I will after I finish my next pair of socks.

Which brings me nicely on to the current socks. Yep, I couldn't resist and had to bring my Socks That Rock with me. This stuff is amazing. So tighly spun there's no chance of splitting the yarn - unlike the Mega Boots. I really can't wait till its finished and I get to do the wear test. And all the talk about how wonderful it is - well now I know exactly what everyone means. It really does live up to its image. It is so different in texture than any other sock yarn I've used and what I love about the colours is they change so often - you really don't know what will happen next so you're constantly gazing lovingly at the pretty colours than turn out. Yes, I think I will have to ask Santa Claus for some more STR and Malabrigo.

Of course all this wonderful new yarn had a downside. For the first time I bought NO YARN!!! Yes, you are reading correctly. Not one little skein nor even a knitting accessory. And I visited all the yarn shops I could - 1 in St Ives, 2 in Penzance and 1 in Truro. I could hardly believe it myself. I did try and visit another in St Agnes but that had closed down. I guess I've been spoilt with such unusual luxurious yarn that everything else kinda pales in significance.

This doesn't meant I didn't spend anything. Far from it. DH requested various Quiksilver items of clothing and DC skate shoes for Xmas. So of course I returned the compliment which means we've made a good start on our xmas shopping. We also got various bits and bobs in St Ives, as favourite of which is my Sprouting Kit. Yes I have a new hobby and have already harvested my first bunch of alfalfa which was very tasty indeed. Currently we have mung beans germinating.

I got some more seeds at the weekend and now want a germinator. The sprouts taste so delicious and being organic as well as extremely good for you makes them just perfect for me. And might help with my latest allergy to postage stamps - you know the ones you lick. They didn't have any self-seal ones at my new work nor a stamp sponge......and the following day I was really ill with a bright red sore, blotchy and blistered tongue and felt so awful all I wanted to do was cry. I managed to get a doctors appointment and thankfully feel better now than I did. The doctor is trying to hurry my allergy clinic referral. My allergy list seems to growing weekly right now ;(

Finally we have my Noro Kureyon York zipped cardigan in all its glory. I managed to finish it before we left and took it with me, though of course it was too warm to wear - hence no photo yet of me wearing it. But it is lovely on and I'm really pleased with it ;)

Friday, September 15, 2006

St Ives Here We Come

Aren't these just the best felted socks ever? I love them. They've been simple to make and look just great. The felting process was easy peasy. I put the socks in a lingerie bag and put a pair of jeans in the machine and did a quick cotton wash at 40 degrees. And they came out perfect! I tried them on straight away - yes they were a bit damp - but of course had to make sure they fit and they did. So I straightened them out gently and left to dry. So yippee, they're ready to take with me ;)

Here we have a pre-felting photo. For some reason one looks quite a bit larger than the other but its probably due to the angle of the camera. I used Noro Kureyon 92 and 154 - 2 balls of each. But only used a small amount of both second balls so if you wanted to do them in just 1 colour, 3 balls would be plenty. But those stripes are so cool.....and would look good I reckon with whatever shades you did them with.

Yep, its that time of year again and we're off for a week to St Ives for our anniversary and are staying at our favourite place. Meals are already booked for the weekend, our favourite Indian for the Saturday we arrive and my husbands favourite for the Sunday, our actual anniversary. The restaurant does an amazing vegetable fajitas which I have every year. Its traditional you see ;)

Of course I've only just started packing as I've been more concerned with knitting. I'd been racing to get my felted socks finished so I could felt them in time. I tried hard to get a felted bag done too but there's no way I can get that done in time. Oh well. But as the weathers gotten a bit sunny again I don't mind as I can still use my nice bright summery bag.

Talking of felted bags I love the Ayla design from the latest Knitty. Its great. Another one to add to the list maybe?

I have been just bogged down with paperwork recently. Partly my husbands accounts but also I've recently taken on the role of Secretary for the Management Company where we live. I decision I bitterly regret as it is definitely not 'just signing a few cheques'. Its in quite a mess and there are lots of problems that need sorting. Which I don't get paid for so very frustrating as I'm not going to spend hours sorting it out for nothing. But we won't be here forever and I'm hoping once its more organised it will settle down. I guess the take-over part is the worst, especially if it hasn't been managed properly beforehand.

I've also started a book-keeping course which will lead to a recognised qualification. I've not had any formal training so it would be nice to find out how its done 'properly' and will help with the new role I've been lumbered with.

Talking of new roles I've just accepted a new part-time role just 5 mins drive away from me. Guess what I'll be doing there? Yep, lots more paperwork as I'll be office administrator. Environment is very relaxed though and I can wear jeans and trainers so I'm happy about that. I start once I'm back from my hols.

This is what Thunder thinks of us going away. Totally unimpressed!

So see you when I get back. This is the only time when I have no computer access so won't be able to reply to anyone till I'm back. Bye bye ;)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Big Foot

Isn't the bed sock wicked? No of course my feet are NOT that big, this is a pre-felting photo of course, with a a normal trainer sock for comparison. It was fun knitting and I liked the way the stripes turned out, even though the twisting of the 2 colours can get a bit tedious when knitting in the round. I'm working on the 2nd sock and am hoping to have them ready to take with me to St Ives. Pattern is from the wonderful Noro Unlimited by Jane Ellison.

Wanting to get the sock finished (and a bag too but thats a different story!) meant that I didn't get quite as much finishing done as I would have liked. But I have done some. Kitsch finally got its collar sewn on using slip stitch which I very rarely do so am not comfortable with at all. But I got my Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters out and read all instructions carefully and even though I say it myself, ended up sewing a pretty near perfect collar on. Whew, I was relieved when that was done. Only 1 sleeve needing its ends sewn in, sleeves pressed then sewn up. How come it seems to be getting further away rather than closer to being all done?

I used the fabulous Knit Klips for the first time and was amazed at how good they were. No pins dropping on the floor or stabbing you in the finger. It was so quick to pin the sleeve - literally a minute instead of the usual 5 or 10 then wondering if there are any stray pins lurking around - which is not a good thing when you have a nosy fury creature around! So to anyone wondering if they're worth getting, oh yes, they are an absolute must have. I got a pack of 10 and that seems to enough. Even DH was impressed with them.

What I used the Knit Klips on was York and I happily sewed a sleeve into the armhole quickly and easily without worrying about those darn pins. The second sleeve has been knit klipped all ready to go. I ended up using some 6 ply sock yarn doubled for sewing up. We all know not to use Kureyon for sewing up unless we want to risk losing our sanity - or what we have left of it anyway ;)

Which reminds me. I totally forgot to mention last post that I had no intention of making the sleeves match so well on York. I knew I had 2 balls that started at roughly the same colour, and it would have been nice to end at about the same place, but that was about it. With the very real possibility of running out, colour matching the sleeves wasn't really an option. It was more a case of trying to match the joins as best I could so they weren't very obvious. So it was a real bonus that they ended up quite close. See, the Kureyon all worked out ok in the end. I was so relieved I had enough - I don't want to go through that again in a hurry!

Its been a few weeks since I had an FO to show but finally I got one. Yup, its the shrug I had so much trouble with last post. Its an ok FO. Nothing special though the Rowan Polar yarn is gorgeous to knit with and very soft and warm. It really needed the sleeves to be knitted in the round to avoid a seam, especially as it uses chunky yarn. Having a seam makes it too snug to wear for long though it is handy to have. I thought about frogging but probably won't bother now. You live and learn eh? I never seem to have much success with online patterns - I am so fussy you see. I guess thats why I love Rowan designs - they're designs are tried and tested and I can't remember ever making anything that didn't fit really well. And you don't need to rewrite the entire pattern either.....

My copy of Vogue Knitting finally turned up on Monday. Only 6 weeks till the next issue. At least its here - better late than never!

What a sad loss to the animal world there's been this week with the death of Steve Irwin. He'll be really missed. He was such an enthusiastic conservationist and such a character. There was no-one quite like him.

So it seemed like a good time to post more of my holiday pics. These are from a mangrove tour which was just brilliant. We have me & a ray, eagles, wild dogs and monkeys. Enjoy ;)