Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Rabbit Is Definitely A Lovable Toy

Oh yes the rabbits are cute aren't they? I'm so pleased with myself for making the Rabbit from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and delighted with the way he's turned out, especially as its the first knitted toy I've ever made. Even darling Thunder is suitably impressed.

I added up all my FOs that I'd completed during 2005 and the grand total came to 35. Not bad eh? So how come my stash doesn't get any smaller then.....

As I'm feeling perkier now and my last post was a bit short on words (yep must have been real ill ;) I thought I'd explain a bit more about my xmas pressies and sale buying. For pressies there was of course 8 skeins of Colinette Point 5 in Mist bought at Ally Pally in Oct, the KnitTin scarf set which contains the beautiful Brittany needles and the 3 skeins of Point 5 in Lagoon that you see in the pic. Then there is yet another sock kit, some wonderful double ended Clover stitch holders, a Rowan Biggy Print scarf kit and a couple balls of handspun 4 ply I got in Cornwall in September and a couple balls of Artesano Alpaca. Which I'm not sure what to do with now as its handwash so no good for socks then.

And in the sales the Cotton Tape is probably for Kitsch in Rowan 37 and the Cotton Braid will end up as a summer cardi. I wasn't expecting Matisse to be discontinued so that was a bit of a surprise. The Rowan HK Cotton will be for bag making and the 2 balls of Calmer I have no idea but I just cannot resist Calmer. It talks to me and whispers sweet nothings at me. So of course I couldn't leave it all there on its own now could I?

I got my wireless router before Christmas and very groovy it is too. I've got over the initial buzz of wandering round from room to room attached to my laptop and things are settling down now. It was very simple to set up. What had me going for a couple of hours were the security settings. But I got there in the end and am so glad I've gone wireless.

I got tagged by UKNITTY so for the first time I'm actually playing. I am usually so bad at stuff like this but this is a nice short one so I thought I'd play. If anyone wants to complete it please count yourself as tagged and if you let me know I'll add a link to your blog. I'm not asking anyone directly as I am so bad myself so it would be just too cheeky for words!

What new knitting techniques did you learn this year?

I learned the Magic Loop method of making socks. And also learned I didn't like it much so the circs are on Ebay and I went straight back to my lovely DPNs. I also did some proper fairisle in the round when I made my earflap hat and enjoyed that lots. Previously I'd done a bit here and there but not enough to say I'd done it properly. It was much easier than that nasty intarsia.....

Which completed project from the last 12 months are you most proud of?

I couldn't possibly just name the one. I'd have the Cat cardi in Colinette Point 5. And Hike in Calmer. Then the Iris shrug in Calmer. And the recent Biggy Print Zipped Jacket. Not forgetting the new Rabbit in Blue Sky Alpaca. We couldn't possibly leave him out now could we?

What was your biggest knitting disaster of the last year?

Easy peasy. That nasty ASC zipped jacket with the stupid STUPID saddle shoulders. Nuff said.

Who or what has been the biggest influence on your knitting in 2005 ?

Realising that I prefer certain types of yarn over others and that there is not much point forcing yourself to knit with something you're not happy with or that gives you arm ache - like cotton. Fine for bags and in small doses but thats about it.

What knit craze grabbed you this year?

Hmmm. Not really a craze type of person. I like what I like and thats that. But I loved Charlotte, the shrug/wrap/stole/capelot whatnot but also saw lots that I definitely did not like.

Finally, some New Years resolutions.

In 2006 I will knit
- lots and lots of course ;)

I will learn to - try and remember to keep my Brittany's out of the way of that needle nibbler, aka Thunder

To become a better knitter I will
- buy more unusual yarns to try, I mean, you don't know till you try eh?

Name the folks you pass this meme on to.

Would you like your name here? Send me a message and I'll add you in if you want to play.

Lastly, all thats left is to wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Things Don't Always Go To Plan

Well Christmas didn't quite go as expected. I started being sick last Friday and could only manage to drink sips of water for 2 days. I did manage to cook our lunch on Xmas day and ate a small dinner. As I hadn't eaten for 2 days I managed that ok. I did have lots of pressies to cheer me up and here's a pic of my yarn goodies.

I perked up for a couple of hours on Tuesday so we had a very quick trip to the sales and only went in House of Fraser and then John Lewis. For the first time in ages John Lewis had a better selection of sale goodies, though HoF is a little cheaper. And here is the obligatory pic......

Unfortunately I'm still rather unwell and haven't been out of the door since. The only think I've wanted to knit is the lovely rabbit from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. He's almost done and to my surprise I've really enjoyed making him. I've never knitted a toy before but this was has been fun. Maybe it's being ill - who knows?

Hope everyone has enjoyed their holidays - preferably more than I have!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas

I feel like a little production line as I've turned out yet another garment! This week we have the lovely Beth knitted in Ribbon Twist that my DH bought for our anniversary. She took just a week and has been pressed and now only (!) waiting to be sewn up.

I have realised that knitting all my Big Wools first means a big stash reduction. I mean, I have to make a bit more room for the post Christmas sales don't I? I mean you never know what goodies you might spy.

No doubt some Cotton Tape will be got if I find any in my favourite colours. I can't believe Rowan are discontinuing. I love it! Linen Print is going too but I'm not too bothered on that one. What did surprise me is the shade of Yorkshire Tweed DK I got a couple of weeks back is going too. I wonder if any more of that will be around......

I've had to restrain myself from staying on my iBook too long as I OD'd on it and made myself go all weird and dizzy from spending too much time staring in amazement at all the new widgets and flash stuff like expose. Apologies if I'm talking in another language but it's the excitement of a brand spanking new super fast iBook! Oh its so lovely. Looks pretty much like my old iBook but super fast and with the most amazing OS Tiger.

I'd let my OS get a bit behind as I knew the old iBook was on its way out. You can only put up with dodgy connections (my fault - I kept dropping it....) for so long. As the new one is wireless ready I'm getting a wireless router so if I drop it won't damage the connections (again). Oh boy am I in love with my iBook and all its widgets......I mean, Christmas comes each year but new laptops don't do they? My last one I've had for 2.5 years which isn't bad as I'm practically joined at the hip to it....My broadband speed has also been upgraded and wow that seriously makes a difference too.

I promised a pic of me wearing my gorgeous Biggy Print jacket and here it is. I am so pleased with it. Apart from being ever so pretty it is amazingly warm and comfortable and I've been able to wear it out in this cold weather with a micro fleece underneath to keep the wind out.

Lengthening the collar and zip was a great idea too as it keeps my neck warm. I find Big Wool jackets & cardis a bit uncomfortable with even a micro fleece underneath and of course they are just not warm enough on their own and not comfortable under a jacket either. So having a wool jacket I can wear out on its own is superb!!!! And of course I can happily wear my pink flip-top mitts with it. Isn't it nice when stuff all works out well.

Doesn't Thunder look exactly like Gizmo. Blimey, the resemblance is truly amazing. Sorry, I can't help it. The poor bunny gets that done to ears every day. Amuses me no end.....

As its only a few days away now I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and hope they get lots of knitting related goodies from Santa!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Naughty But Nice

Nope, you're eyes are not deceiving you. This is what arrived last Thursday from Get Knitted. Of course, buying the whole set of shorter length Brittany needles in one go is not actually my fault. Firstly, I blame Alison the Rowan Consultant at Cribbs Causeway for showing me her Brittany needles and how purrty they were. And telling me they came in 2 lengths.....THEN Simply Knitting had the utter cheek to advertise that the KnitTin were selling complete sets of Brittany Needles in a needle roll in their latest issue. Well, obviously I was drooling at this point, and conveniently remembered that my husband said he'd buy me a set for my birthday as he thought them very purrty too and that was that. Unfortunately its not actually my birthday till April, but whats a few months difference eh?

I almost, but not quite, feel guilty. I mean I haven't done anything bad or committed a crime. But I have that 'naughty but nice' sensation when you know you've done something you really probably shouldn't have but are just too elated too care!

They are just too beautiful for words. I wasn't too keen on the needle roll idea myself and thought it would be cheaper on their own, and indeed it was. I have sold a load of stuff on Ebay recently so it kind of all works out okay.

Unfortunately my elation was rather short lived. A few hours really was all I managed until my DH came home and told me that the repair job done under warranty on my car that I had picked up the previous EVENING, was bubbling......So was I when I saw it. I was livid. So to cut a long story short I have to go on another 2 hour trek to get it examined yet again then book it in again for yet another 2 hour trek. What a joke. And this is the manufacturers recommended garage. Never again. I tell you, I need those lovely needles just to take my mind off it.

Whilst we're on the subject here's a few other bits I got the week before that I kinda forgot to photo. First is the Go Knit Pouch from Get Knitted with the cute Clover Knit Mate Accessories Set and some Jumbo Locking Stitch Markers. I didn't know I actually needed the pouch till my friend Jackie mentioned she wanted one. That was it then. I had to have one, especially once I saw the new Clover set. Boy their stuff is too cute to mention.

Then we have the Baby Bobbi Bear pattern and some Blue Sky Alpacas from Coolwoolz. Although I have the bear pattern now the 2 skeins is for the rabbit from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It's so luxuriously soft that it will be perfect for the rabbit. No surprise there then.....

The new Knitty is out and for the first time I've fallen in love with one of their designs Tempting II and it has gone straight to the 'must make' list. I have some Calmer I got in a sale ready and waiting.....I will start that around March I reckon.

Another design I fell in love with at first sight is the one on the front cover of Filati FF Book 2 by Jane Ellison. Unfortunately the yarn it uses did not have the same effect as its a high fashion yarn and definitely not my cup of tea so I'm planning on using Chunky Print in Tart instead, another bargain sale purchase. I can picture it in my head so hopefully that will work out well. When I get round to it of course....

And finally to the knitting. Last but definitely not least! So here she is, my latest FO, a gorgeous Biggy Print Zipped Jacket. She is amazingly warm - more so than Big Wool even. I'm really pleased with her so many thanks to Linda for recommending her. As regulars will know I usually prefer to have a pic of me wearing the garment but I've got a little bit more work to do on the zip and then press those seams so will hopefully get some pics this weekend.

Last post I mentioned the Wrist Warmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts which were begging to be made up. Here they are and they're fabulous. I mean, you can knit in them!!! Fabulous pattern and very impressed with the fit, even for my small hands.

That just leaves the sewing up of Lizzy now. She's finally at the front of the queue. I have been hoping the Sewing Up Fairy would come and visit and have been leaving a ball of yarn under my pillow each night, but alas, the fairy has not visited and it looks like I will just have to get on with it. In between finishing off making Christmas cards, decorating the tree, trying to keep the bunny from attacking the tree etc. etc......

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Peruvian Llama Earflap Hat

Oh I just love this hat. It's exactly what I wanted and keeps my ears lovely and warm. Unfortunately my DH has also taken rather a liking to it and is threatening to take it to work so I've had to resort to hiding it. The last thing he took to work I'd knitted was fingerless gloves. He ruined them in one day. How he managed to turn them into a massive ball of fluff I don't know. However, I won't make that mistake again and the hat is staying hidden away well out of sight. It took me ages to find this site and the fab Llama Peruvian Hat pattern. There's another pattern for a Snowflake Hat from this page too. I looked at tons of hats but nothing was quite right. Now of course Interweave Knits have a similar pattern on their website. Always the way eh? I could see myself in another one though.....

There must be something about the hat though as when I took it out to show the manager in House of Fraser (yes, another discount day!) last Thursday there was a bit of a stampede as eagle eyed knitters charged over demanding to know what pattern it was, and what I was knitting it in and of course how lovely it was. Even though it looked rather a tangled mess being only half finished, it had that 'I want one of those' quality about it. It was ever so flattering and my DH watched over these proceedings thoroughly amused.

I only bought 2 balls of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK in Goose as it matches my scarf and just kinda caught my eye. My husband bought me Big Wool Fusion in Source for Laura which has been on my list of wants for a while. That was a thank you for some work related stuff I'd done for him. And I can proudly admit that at the current time (ie till the next round of magazines are issued) there are no more projects I want to buy yarn for. How long this lasts is anyones guess but it's a nice feeling, however short it lasts!

Which means of course that all the other designs I initially liked haven't made it to the 'must knit' list. Like Rowan Spray designs......I tried to like the yarn but it just isn't doing it for me. Too much acrylic for my liking I'm afraid and rather expensive, even for my yarn snob tastes! I don't mind paying for luxurious yarn for something I know I'll love knitting and will wear to death but it has to be pretty special to make it to the 'must knit' list. Then how come the must knit list is still so big then???

I had a think about all the gloves/mittens I had lying around, in various stages of progess. And it dawned on me that I want them to be quick knits with no major headaches. Just a nice easy project so that all you need is a few hours concentration and thats it. But some of them have been not as successful so I had a sort out.

So now Eowyn is frogged and I've gone off RYC Soft Tweed as well. I do want lovely fingerless gloves, but would rather have 100% natural ones rather than any manmade fibres. So the unused ball of Soft Tweed will be returned. Not being able to use Kid Classic probably didn't help matters. I still love the Eowyn pattern, but for me its too pretty and not practical enough. I think the cable will just get in the way. What I really want is the ones in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. And these are what I shall have! I have some leftover Noro Silk Garden just begging to be turned into fingerless gloves ;)

My flip-top fingerless mitts very nearly got frogged although they were pretty much finished. I kind of regret the colour I used. They'd have been suited to gloves without the flip tops really as its such a cutsie colour. Flip-top mitts are kind of funky. But you live and learn. I still like them, my DH loves them though what possessed me to make in that colour I have no idea. Its not like I have a pink scarf or hat...... but they're warm and work well - after a LOT of tweaking and frogging. I ended up ribbing the tops of the mitts and they're much more comfortable and look much better that way too. That just leaves the Biggy Print ones to decide on....

We have a thief in the house. Yes, our adorable bunny Thunder has become a very talented and amusing thief. He steals stuff and runs off with it. He doesn't even care when you tell him off! He really is so naughty. Good job he's so lovable with it. I was tempted to take a picture of him whilst caught in the act but thought that would only encourage him so instead we have a cute bunny pic.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Brutal Truth

Your Birthdate: April 30

You have the type of personality that people either love or hate.

You're opinionated, dramatic, intense, and very outspoken.

And some people can't get enough of you - they're totally addicted.

Others, well, they wish you were a little more reserved.

Your strength: Your flair

Your weakness: If you think it, you say it

Your power color: Scarlet red

Your power symbol: Inverted triangle

Your power month: March

Talk about spot on. It's embarrassing really, now everyone knows just what I'm like!

My husband's one of course made him sound like an angel. What a difference.....

What of course they don't say is that I can of course be a real sweetie and that my DH can be a complete devil. But then they wouldn't be as much fun then would they? Thanks to Mandella (I think!) as it was on her blog I first saw it.

Remember I said the collar wouldn't take long on my Biggy Print jacket. Well, it wouldn't have done if I hadn't run out mid collar. Because of the problem with one of the balls all I was left with was a few ends that I was keeping for sewing up and no way did I want the collar to be full of joins. So off we went again to John Lewis and I was most cross. But the lovely Alison, the Rowan rep in our store, was there and let me have a replacement ball. And off home we went and I redid the collar. BUT then decided I might want a longer collar so I'm waiting till its all sewn up so I can decide on the length as I want the zip to go all the way to the top of the collar. Currently its on the lounge floor. Sleeves have been sewn in. Just waiting for sides and arm seams. Just, she says. Great thing is that it took about 10 mins to do each sleeve! Wow, I like that. Lets hope the rest of the seams are as quick.

Lizzy is waiting for her arms to be pressed and sewn in before I can finish the sewing up and attach the frilly bits on the ends of her arms. The frilly bits on the front are done and look lovely.

For over a week now I've just had no time to myself, hence the late post. I've been making numerous trips back and forth to garages and had no car pretty much most of the time. Having do to a 2 hour trek to the garage that did some work on my car to make sure they would repair the rust that has now appeared on the work they did really didn't help matters much either. They've agreed the work comes under their warranty so its another trek back on Monday and another week without a car......

I have managed to start a lovely hat with earflaps which I'm really enjoying knitting even though it has quite a bit of fairisle. It's made me realise I prefer fairisle to intarsia. Excuse the numerous balls in the picture! A normal person would have 1 ball per colour, but oh no not me. I'm doubling up the main colour with Rowanspun DK and using 4 balls each Rowanspun 4Ply for the other 2 colours. Which makes a delightful mess if I don't keep a very watchful eye on it, even more so as the lovely now discontinued Rowanspun are tweedy yarns which seem to delight in sticking together like glue! Oh I can't wait will its done though. A hat with earflaps. Pure joy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Surreal Experience

I'm pleased to say I started to feel vaguely alive on Thursday and was much better on Friday so had a lovely weekend. And so started the most surreal experience with Biggy Print. Now, I've used it before, love it and am always amazed how quickly it knits up. But I've never made anything bigger than a scarf. So on Thursday evening I felt well enough to start a new project, a fitted zipped jacket pattern for Rowan International members that had been recommended to me by Linda who'd already made it. And to my amazement by Sunday night I'd finished the front and the back.

It is really weird spending a few hours knitting and then the back suddenly appears. It's almost like magic. I mean, I'd really not been spending much time knitting at all. Very odd. You'd think seeing as I make quite a bit in Big Wool or Colinette Point 5 I'd be used to super bulky yarns. But Biggy Print is really something else. So of course Sunday had to involve a trip to JL to have a look at the zips. I've got a couple in 2 lengths so one of them should be ideal. No doubt the collar won't take long either.

I had a strange occurence happen with a ball of Biggy Print though. The middle of a ball of fell out while I was knitting with it. Hmm. Rather odd I thought. Then it dawned on me the middle of the ball couldn't fall out - or could it? On closer inspection, the middle was 4 short cut lengths. Weird or what. I took it back to JL and they refunded the ball. Never had that happen before.

I also managed to snap one of my favourite 5" Brittany DPNs on a fiddly K2tog. Luckily they're guaranteed so a replacement should wing its way to me soon.

The last odd event happened when I managed to return an Amazon rental DVD case back to them - but without the DVD in it! Oh well. These things happen. Funny how its always in three's though.....

And finally, a picture of Shingle. She'd been waiting for the ties to be done for just ages. I really got the timing of her wrong. Usually I manage to work it really well so that I can wear whatever I've made. But I started her too late in the year and it only dawned on me that she needs to go over a camisole/vest top once she was finished and I'd tried her on. I was disappointed at the time but she does look lovely and will be perfect for next year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Crazy Electra Socks

I found out the name of these umm 'vivid' socks and boy they're apt. Crazy Electra. I've fallen in love with them more and more and they are currently at the no. 1 favourite sock spot. The stretch yarn is fantastic. I'd hearn some people had trouble with it or just weren't that keen, me, I think its brilliant and want some more. In fact, it will be quite hard work going back to just plain old 4 ply. Except for Lorna's Laces of course. They are always an exception.

I'm afraid that's pretty much it on the FO front. I'm poorly and have been for a few days now and not ventured out into the real world since Friday. So the knitting is very very quiet as my head and brain no longer seem to function. I can manage socks as I can just do a few rows here and there. Thank god for socks......

And why is it when you're ill you think of all the knitting you could get done while you're resting but of course it never happens. If you're ill knitting becomes the equivalent of doing brain surgery. I'm at the stage when I'm looking forward to actually having the energy to do some cleaning and dusting! Things must be bad then.

My leg warmers have come in very handy lately and are one of the most surprisingly useful items I've made recently. Which reminds me, I am now the pround owner of Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Nothing unusual about this you think? Well getting the book has been what can only be described as a challenge. I had it on order with Amazon for 3 months before they cancelled. Why oh why does it take so long to get a book that is easily available in the US? Just don't get it. Anyway, shortly after cancelling I saw it on Amazon with a 1-2 week wait (rather than the 3-5 that ended up over 12!) so I tried ordering it again, only to find the day after it was back to the 3-5 week wait again. So finally, in desperation, I investigated ordering it via Amazon Marketplace from the US. To my surprise I found out the postage was the same as ordering from a UK company. So of course I quickly ordered it and it arrived in about 12 days and was a nice cheer me up on Saturday.

It is a lovely book however something rather odd happened. My husband likes one of the patterns - but for HIMSELF! This is a first, he's never wanted to make him anything more than maybe gloves. I am not sure how I feel about this. I mean if he asks me to make it I can hardly say no, but crumbs, I could make 2 tops out of his 1 - at least....... and knowing my boredom threshold is practically nonexistent, would it ever be finished? Lets hope nothing more is mentioned. Must go and hide the book now.....

Finally Thunder says a big thank you to everyone thinking of him. He's totally healed up and is as bonking mad as ever. The only thing that seems to calm him down when he's in one of his mad as a hatter moods is 1. food (no surprise there) and 2. a lovely scratch on the ear which sends him all gooey and cuddly. Bless.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Colder Days

It definitely feels like winter has arrived over the past week. The heating has gone on and the scarves I made have come in very handy. I really need to finish some of my gloves and armwarmers that I have started though. I think I have 3 pairs in various stages now. My fingers are starting to get rather cold......and I have an urge to do jigsaw puzzles which is total proof that winter has surely arrived.

Lizzy is coming along really well. One sleeve finished and another started so shouldn't be too long before the finishing gets started. Which might take longer than expected as she has frills on the edges of just about everywhere.

Poor Thunder had his op with no problems and was recovering quite nicely. I was due to take him for his checkup on Friday and before going noticed that things were not quite right. As I suspected, he decided stitches were not for him so he removed them. Luckily the wound is small so I just need to bathe twice daily in salt water. This seems to have done the trick and everything seems to be healing up nicely. He seems to be back to his mad old self and is bouncing round the room like nobody's business.

House of Fraser had one of their 25% discount days last Thursday and I just HAD to go. I didn't actually need anything, but boy did I want something. I had a good think before I went and decided on yarn to make the Lana Grossa cardi I fell in love with a little while back. They only had 20% discount off the yarn though this time which was a first as its always been 25%, but still a good deal as it was something I'd been wanting for a little while.

All those balls of frogged ASC have been looking at in a kind of questioning way, asking me what is to become of them. I can't see me making anything to wear for a while so I'm using up some of the smaller balls to make dishcloths and washcloths. They've never appealed to me before but now I rather like the idea, and its get rid of a few balls of ASC into the bargain.

So no surprises that my first facecloth is a bunny design which I finished in a couple of hours for my DH. He said it worked very well in the bath last night but wanted to know where the black eyes and fluffy white tail are. I'm sure men are worse than children ;) I'm going to make a dishcloth next and will do a a house pattern. I found this site full of cute dishcloth patterns and will probably make a few. I'll go down a needle size for the next one though, and see how it turns out. That's the great thing about them, the gauge doesn't really matter. You can always whip up another and of course being machine washable comes in very handy. I wonder if I'll actually manage to finish any gloves now that I've discovered the joys of knitted cloths.....

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Saddle Shoulders Are Evil

I've finished the gorgeous Regan scarf from Big Just Got Bigger in the gorgeous Splash colourway. Many thanks Linda for the yarn you sent me - I got just a couple more balls as the yarn just screamed scarf at me. It's lovely and warm and I'm now the proud owner of a proper big superbulky scarf. Not that its cold enough to wear yet but no doubt won't be long.

Macey is dead. She died last night. Well, to be exact she has been frogged. She was not turning out as expected. I was actually sewing - ahem 'attempting' - the collar on with that feeling in your tummy that says, you hate her, she is horrid, you won't wear her. So I left it and had a little chat with DH who agreed I would never be happy with her and that was that. Funny how relieved I was once I started frogging her.

It all really started with the saddle shoulder seams and the realisation that it was practically impossible to get a nice neat seam. Or anything resembling even half decent might not have been too bad. I like my seams perfect you see. It never actually dawned on me that she had saddle shoulders or if I had noticed, it wouldn't have occurred to me that saddle shoulders are pure evil and are designed to drive us totally insane trying to get them to look right. Yes, just utter pure evil. In fact, there should be law against using them in hand knitted designs. It took me hours trying to get them to just 'ok' standard and I was not happy. She almost ruined my Sunday she did. Didn't matter how many times I redid them, they never looked that good. And if that wasn't bad enought, the stupid sewing on of the collar was hard work too. Sewing it on with slip stitch didn't look right, and mattress stitch was no good either as it was too loose.

I was disappointed at the time especially with the saddle shoulders, but now quite happy. She is gone and is no more with her crappy seams bugging me and her stupid collar annoying the hell out of me. Verdict - saddle shoulders are crap. What is the point in them? No wonder I've never seen them before on a knitted design. I know why now! And I'm a bit put off with All Seasons Cotton too. I've seen it used on kids stuff and looks great, but all I can think of is I'd much rather be knitting with Calmer. I am definitely a tactile knitter (aka Yarn Snob)!

So I have to apologise to Linda who is also knitting Macey. I hope I haven't frightened you off and that she gives you less trouble! I know people that have made her and been happy - though all admit the saddle shoulders are a nightmare. But she is just not for me.

Lizzy, which is such a joy to knit, is finally getting arms. The only reason I hadn't started is the design has short sleeves and I want long ones so I tried to plan a quiet half hour or so to work that out. This of course is unlikely to happen so I gave in and worked it out whilst watching tv. She is so soothing after recent events and much needed.......

My very bright sock is finished and the colour has really grown on me. I've used Regia Stretch and love the feel of it. Although the yarn looks like it should be for a toddler, it is perfect for autumn when the days are grey and rainy and you need a bit of sunshine in your day.

I had fun and games knitting some convertible mittens - originally they were going to have fingers and after some frogging gave up that idea. One is finished and I rather like them. I'm almost looking forward to colder weather so I can try them and see if they work ok.

I managed to find a UK supplier of the Knitting 2006 Daily Boxed Calender which I'd been hearing about. I can definitely recommend Calender Club for quick service as I got my copy the day after ordering. They have branches around the UK so I thought I'd ring my local one to see if they had a copy but they didn't, but the very nice guy gave me the office number and a code for free shipping into the bargain. So I am most impressed as it has cost me just £9.99! As I bought it for myself I've opened it and gone through the patterns. There is a real variety and several that I will definitely make.

Poor Thunder is off to the vets tomorrow for an operation. He's got a little frisky in the last week and after a check up at the vets yesterday was declared 'most definitely ready'! I feel sorry for him already though. He's so young still and so cute looking.......but my husband is getting a bit fed up as he seems to be the target of Thunders attentions ;)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Somerset Sock In Wedded Bliss

My somerset sock now has a mate and they are now living together happily ever after and look very cute snuggled up together.

While they're settling into married bliss I've beeing having a think about what magazines to continue to subscribe to. My sub copy of Family Circle Easy Knitting arrived a few days ago and as usual there's something I like in it. It has patterns for socks on 4mm DPNs using 2 strands, so these would be a real quick knit. I like the sound of that......

FCEK is the one subscription that never gives me any troubles. I order it, my copies arrive, no problems. Lovely.

Unfortunately I can't say the same for Vogue Knitting or Interweave Knits. I got so fed up with VK that I cancelled my direct sub with them and took one out with GMC in the UK who are fantastic and since then, no problems. I do love VK though and wouldn't be without it.

Interweave Knits has been a challenge of a subscription from day one, with late issues, missing issues and once an issue arriving without any packaging whatsoever. Funny though that this is the only magazine that keeps sending me reminders to continue my subscription. I think not. I'm waiting on the last issue to arrive of my subscription and that, I think, will be that. There isn't anything I want to make from IK really, a few bits I like but nothing that screams KNIT ME!!! So unless the new issue has something that gets my knitting juices going I won't continue. And even if I decide I still want it, it will be via a UK company. I've learn that lesson the hard way. What I don't get is if FCEK can provide a brilliant subscription service from the US, why can't VK and IK? Anyway, rant over. It's time to move on.

Lizzy is looking lovely. If I get into serious knitting mode I could make a big dent into those sleeves. Whether this will happen or not is anyone's guess. I'm currently on a sock and glove/mitten binge at the moment. Yes, another one.

I ended up frogging my flip-top mittens I'd started from the S&B Nation book as I wasn't happy with the pattern. The thumb didn't have a proper gusset and just wasn't good enough so rip, rip it went. However, I did find this great pattern for mittens using Biggy Print which I'm amending to make them flip-top ones. These will be the 'freezing weather' mittens as boy these mittens are solid! They stand up on their own and would walk if they could. But for sure they will definitely keep out the cold. The pattern uses 8mm DPNs - yes, for Biggy Print! Great was of using up a couple of balls if you're lucky to have some lying around.......will post a photo when they're finished. No doubt I'll make another pair in Rowan Polar that will be quite a bit softer if I decide I'm happy with the design.

Well done for this amazing pattern for a knitted breast prostheses that really got me thinking. What an amazing attitude this woman has - make sure you read right through the article - the ending is superb. If you go through to the designer's site, make sure you have a look at the Watermelon design. How amazing can knitting be? I've never seen anything like this site before and am sure there is nothing similar in the UK. There really should be.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ally Pally

Well I managed to finish the fringing on my Adriafil Baba scarf on the train to Ally Pally and the Knitting & Stitching Show. Luckily it wasn't that cold on the way home so I didn't end up using it but am very pleased with it and it is very soft and warm and the perfect length for a cream Roxy jacket I have. It was nice to actually use the whole 2 balls and have no leftovers remaining whatsover.

The show was good fun though very, very tiring indeed. By the time I met my best friend and we actually arrived it was almost 2pm and we sat and had a cup of tea and lunch while the Elle Fashion Show was just finishing. Then we were off and ready to go buying. Of course the best stalls are always busy and the ones you're not interested in quite empty but that's always the way. As usual Colinette was the absolute favourite and we couldn't resist buying some Point 5. Unfortunately I have been barred from taking a picture of it as it is a Xmas pressie from my DH. I'm also not allowed the 2 double ended Clover stitch holders that I bought either. Yes, they're for Xmas too.

But here's a picture of the colourway Mist I bought. It is just beautiful and the colour just talked to me and the 8 skeins I got will make a gorgeous jacket.

That was the main purchase at the fair. I didn't end up spending much money on myself as the lovely Knit Tin scarf set I fell in love was equally admired by Joanne so we ended up buying each other one, yep, for Xmas. These tins are fabulous as you get to choose the yarn you want and they make up a kit for you and include the gorgeous Brittany Birch needles and a simple pattern too! The needles are lush and the perfect size for scarf making. They had Rowan Ribbon Twist and various Colinette yarns available for the kits and more that I can't remember. Check out their site at The Knit Tin which will shortly have an online ordering facility. This stall was a great find and had some beautiful stuff. I chose Colinette Point 5 in Lagoon for my kit and boy is it bright and colourful.

Web of Wool is always a favourite and I bought my friend a kit (yes Xmas again) then decided I wanted one too so she's bought me one as well. I chose a yarn with some new fangled ingredient called Polycolon and came with bamboo Clover DPNs which I haven't tried before. Anna did explain what Polycolon did. Something about keeping your feet dry is what I remember. I also got some fabulous 5" Brittany Birch DPNs and I just love them. They are the perfect length though feel like knitting with toothpicks. They are also blunter than other needles but this doesn't actually make any difference. They are now officially my favourite sock knitting DPNs.

It was lovely to see Sue and Carol at Get Knitted. I also bumped into four of the staff at my local John Lewis on the way in and on the way out.

And that was it really shopping wise, apart from the new Vogue Knitting mag for just £2 which I couldn't resist even though my sub copy arrived on Saturday. Oh yes, and a ball of the brightest sock yarn imaginable. I quickly nipped to Web of Wool again to buy a ball so I could show Joanne how to start knitting a sock. Can you believe she wouldn't let me start my sock kit! So I had to go and get a ball didn't I?

I've been asked for some more info on my Cat jacket which I made using Colinette Point 5 instead of Rowan Big Wool. I used the shade Blue Parrot and the pattern is Cat from the Rowan Big Wool Collection. I wasn't keen on the collar for Cat so followed the pick up instructions for another pattern in the booklet and just knitted it in garter stitch to match the jacket until I was happy with the length. The stitch tension for both of these yarns is the same but Colinette is worked on 12mm needles and Big Wool on 15mm needles for this design. The row gauge is slightly different but as you measure the length anyway it didn't make any difference. It took 7 balls to make the small size. The original pattern had stripes but I just knitted it plain. I got so many comments at the show that I lost count. It was lovely to have complete strangers come up to me and say how lovely she is, but she got so big headed she could hardly contain herself ;)

PS - some Big Wool designs are knitted on 12mm needles so can't be subbed with Point 5 so easily as they have a different tension. Make sure the design has a 7.5 tension first! And of course the yardage will be different so take that into account too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Letter Have It!

Well she's finally finished and I'm really pleased with her. I'd actually finished knitting her before we we went to St Ives so chucked her in the machine on our return, and only realised after that I'd forgotten to take a picture of her pre-felting. Sue from Get Knitted was right, Colinette Skye does shrink a lot! Good job I made her a little bigger than the small size in the book. Getting a zip was fun as I only took a sample of yarn with me but of course the colour changes after felting and I wasn't happy with it once I got it home. But once the zipped was changed it was all systems go and I'm very happy with my latest bag creation. Seems ages since I last made one but it's only a couple of months.

I think she may be coming with me to Ally Pally on Thursday. She deserves an outing doesn't she?

I finally managed to cast on the 2nd Somerset sock. Socks are weird. As soon as you start one you can't put it down. But then you can happily forget about them. Until the next urge to cast on starts. I really need to get this sock done so I can start on my winter Alpaca ones. Ooh, my feet can hardly wait.

On Saturday we went to see The Moscow Ballet performing Swan Lake which was fabulous. I must have seen Swan Lake 3 times now but each time is as magical. I just love going to the ballet and luckily my DH is happy to indulge me once or twice a year. But coming home reminded me how cold it gets in the evenings now so I may have to bring a scarf with me on Thursday to keep me snug on the journey home. Just have to knit one up then. I spy the Adriafil Baba just asking to be knitted up......

And lastly, here's Thunder have a relaxing time on the sofa. He prefers the cushions without covers apparently. I'd literally just taken one off for washing and he buried himself in it. Lucky bunny!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Accessories Time

Before I went I way I managed to have a good look through Urban Streets and am really impressed with the patterns in it. I'm even thinking about knitting a jumper! Whilst this may not exactly be exciting to most people, it is very unusual for me. I never, ever wear jumpers. Can't bear anything round my neck you see, not even a crew neck and I just find jumpers a bit constricting. And never in a million years will I ever wear a polo neck. In winter all I wear are O'Neill or Animal fleeces that either that have a zipped neck or are zipped jackets. It's so much easier to undo if you get hot rather than the hassle of taking a jumper off. So for me to want to knit a jumper is quite a new thing for me. I guess I'm just a zipped jacket/cardi kind of gal!

I have to admit looking at the shade cards for Rowan Spray doesn't exactly inspire me, but I know from experience that looking at something and knitting it up are two very different things. My 3 favourite designs are Quirk, Clash and Angel. Jury is still undecided on which one will be first. Or it might even be the cute scarf in Simply Knitting a few issues back which was the only good thing about that issue. It only uses 2 balls of Rowan Spray too. Would you believe I don't have even a single knitted scarf to my name? I know, amazing really. Usually far to busy doing more involved stuff but have plans to make a few scarfs for winter. The 2 balls of Adriafil I got in St. Ives are for the same pattern in Simply Knitting. I'm not a fan of massive scarves and this one that slots into itself is just such a fab design.

Saying that though, I saw someone wearing a huge scarf and it looked great. And when I spotted this fab Rowan Knitting Kit in John Lewis I just couldn't resist. Although my husband stole it off me and bought it for Xmas so I will have to wait. I just love the short 15mm needles. This kit is rather a bargain and a fab idea.

I guess the change in weather has brought on this accessory craze. I've read that wearing leg or ankle warmers keeps your feet warm so I've made the Toast ones in Chunky Print from The Next Big Thing to test the theory out. My feet and hand are always cold from autumn onwards so anything that helps has to be a good thing. And can I please stress that the legwarmers are for INDOOR USE ONLY! No, I wouldn't dream of wearing them out and they will probably fit quite nice under my sweat pants at home so probably will hardly be seen.

I also want to make those funky Flip Top glove/mitten things and have found 2 patterns I like. The Plaid Flip Top Mittens have proper fingers and the other is from Stitch'N Bitch Nation and I think they're without fingers. But both have the fab mitten attachment and I can see me wearing these loads. In fact I expect my long suffering DH will make me wear them at home, or possibly in bed. He can't bear my hands being so cold once the weather changes.

Lastly, I managed to replace my much loved Vans skate shoes and here they are again. They are so beautiful aren't they? And to those who are starting to think I've gone a bit barmy, well, you're probably right but I never wear shoes, only trainers and am so fussy it's untrue. It takes me forever to find a new a pair I like when they finally need replacing and by then I can no longer get the same style. So now you know why ruining them was such a disaster for me.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Halterneck Top & Domesticity

Domestic issues have kept me so busy since we've been back. Cars at garages, electricians and plumbers to name just a few. No wonder my pile of items waiting to be finished off is still a pile. I did manage to get a zip for my felted bag which has turned out fabulous. Except now I don't like the colour of the zip so will have to change it.

And of course the absolute disaster that occurred in Sainsbury's involving a bottle of organic virgin olive oil and my beautiful pink Vans trainers did not help one bit. I won't go into detail but they are ruined and I am seriously unhappy as they were my favourites and I wore them all the time. The shop I bought them from no longer has them and I've searched and searched the web and have only come up with 1 possibility and they don't have an online stock facility. This is not good news.

Earlier that day I got an email from DoCrafts saying I'd won a prize - 10 X-Cut punches which was great news with Xmas not to far away. I always make all my cards so will be nice to have new toys to play with. It was a lovely surprise - somehow I enter stuff and never expect to actually win. What a nice surprise. Except the trainer disaster ruined it. And the postie waking me up at 7.15am on a Saturday to give me the parcel wasn't exactly good timing either.

In between domestic issues/crises I have managed to finish the left front of Lizzy though but have managed nowhere near as much knitting as I would have liked. I did manage to sew up the Rowan 4 ply halterneck top that took so long to make it nearly finished me off. It looks gorgeous though, but of course seeing as its now autumn won't get worn till next year.

I did manage a brief trip to JL but they didn't have the new Louisa Harding range I was hoping to see. I'm pretty sure though that it won't be my thing what with the nylon content of some the yarns but I was hoping to at least be able to have a good look. Hey ho. No-one was available that knew if they were having it either which is a shame as it's always good to have new ranges isn't it.

As its that time of year already I got out my lovely Cat from the Big Wool collection and wore it to JL on Saturday. I made mine in Feb this year in Colinette Point 5 and its one of my favourites. I much prefer Rowan patterns to Colinette's own ones and was very pleased with the way it turned out. Isn't it beautiful? You can spot me a mile off wearing it. Very handy. Perhaps I'll wear it to Ally Pally maybe.

Have learnt a lesson about bamboo knitting needles and cute bunnies and now one of my Inox needles had Thunder's teeth marks on them. Still usable, but should have put them a lot further out of his reach. Naughty little rabbit. He is still the sweetest thing and I adore him to bits. He has now taken to licking the sofa as well as his dad.

Monday, September 26, 2005

End of Holidays

Well we're back from our holiday in St. Ives and as usual it was fabulous. This is the view we had from our apartment. Gorgeous isn't it? We didn't see any rain while we there and had lots of sunshine so were really pleased with the weather. We visited Penzance and the lovely Knit Wits shop were I met Julie, the lovely owner of the shop. I bought some Sari Silk to make a bag as well as some bamboo handles. I also just had to buy the Petticoat sock yarn and the Apaca in rose just spoke to me ever so quietly saying wouldn't she make the most luxurious, warm and comfy slipper socks. If only I could make socks quick enough to keep up with the amount of sock yarn I buy.....

For the first time I also bought some yarn in St. Ives itself. Only a couple of balls of Adriafil for a small scarf that will go lovely with a jacket I have. We popped into Iriss in Penzance while we were there and DH bought me some locally produced hand-dyed yarn for yep, even more socks!

I will get round to pressing & finishing my ever growing pile of FOs as soon as I get through some of the huge pile of washing I have. Seeing as we only went for a week the amount of washing to be done is unbelievable.

All my babies are well and happy though obviously missed us, especially Thunder. And to be honest, I missed him dreadfully and was just so excited on the way home. He's grown a little and is still the adorable and friendly but cheeky little devil he was. He has also realised that the sofa and my lap are for his personal use as and when he feels like it. He really is one cool rabbit. He's giving his dad a well needed wash in the pic. DH had just got home from work and Thunder just loves washing him.

So for this year our vacations are all done now and it won't be till next year that we'll enjoy the luxury of eating out every night at restaurants. You didn't think we'd eat in now did you? Oh no, walking and shopping each day, restaurants each night followed by a bit of fun in the arcades and maybe a quick drink in the pub. No wonder we do it every year. And my DH gets to eat as much ice cream as he wants. Which is a lot, believe me.

Knitting wise I finished the back of Lizzy from Naturally Noro. Shinano is just gorgeous to knit with and I wish it hadn't been discontinued. Never mind though, I've got more than enough to be going on with that's for sure.