Thursday, January 26, 2006

Only A Week To Go

As you can see, the lovely Laura is almost finished. Just the collar and sewing up to! I heard from Rowan - a paragraph was missing from the pattern - and the front has no buttonholes at all as it messes up the very lovely ribbing which you can in the photo. As the yarn is super-bulky you just slip the button through a gap. So easy peasy in the end. Apparently Rowan had tried emailing me but their emails got bounced back. Seems like my firewall is working maybe too well.....Never mind, we got there in the end.

I've been faffing about trying to decide what project to start next. Part of the problem of course is that the new Rowan mag is out on the 1st Feb with 2 new yarns and accompanying booklets. Which of course will no doubt contain projects I'll want to make. So the idea was to make a quick knit that might be finished by the time the mag drops through my door.

Nice idea, but just didn't work. I did actually start a little halterneck summer top but got fed up after a few rows. It just wasn't happening so I frogged it. Then Elspeth started talking to me and after finding a fab bargain on Ebay for 4 balls of my favourite yarn Calmer for £12 plus postage, it was obvious it was meant for Elspeth. Only problem of course is that its a lace pattern. Which will take longer than a week for sure. And of course the minor problem that I cannot in any shape or form, read a knitting chart. Not forgetting that I also HATE lace knitting unless it involves no shaping at all then at least I can easily spot a mistake.

Knitting sends me into a trance so I rarely knit in the day, and the thought of having to concentrate on Elspeth turned me cold, so I decided to make it in good old stocking stitch. Which will suit me far better as I'm not really a delicate lace type of gal. So far she's going along nicely with the back complete, though now I regret not making something chunkier. Jumping straight from 12mm needles to 5mm ones is not to be recommended. I still feel like I'm knitting with toothpicks and that each row is taking just forever. But hey, I've started so I'll finish ;) And isn't she just a gorgeous colour?

I think she'll be perfect for holiday. Which reminds me that when I was looking through our jab records to work out if we needed any more for our trip to Langkawi in May, I was surprised to realise it was 10 years ago, in 1996, that I went on my first longhaul vacation to Kenya. It wast truly amazing. I remember it perfectly even now.

A weeks safari followed by 2 weeks on the beach recovering. I travelled on my own and so began the yearly ritual of jetting off each year somewhere exotic. The year after I went to Thailand for 3 weeks, followed by the Maldives, etc. etc. I just love travelling on my own - there is nothing quite like it. Of course I've gone with my DH for years now, but boy did I enjoy my independent travelling years. So to whet your appetite, here are a few pics from Kenya.....they're already on my computer as I printed them for an exhibition at a company I used to work for. I took hundreds of photos while on safari and still love looking through them all. You just cannot explain what it is like to be there. It really does have to be seen to be believed.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Beth Makes An Appearance

It's kind of been one of those weeks. You know the two steps forward and one back sort.....I'll explain. Knitting first of course.

Laura has a left front. And an arm. She would have had a right front cept there are no flippin instructions for the buttonholes anywhere on the pattern. If you have Big It Up, you can see for yourself. Ooh I was cross. I'm hoping to hear from Rowan before the other sleeve is done.....

The Cotton Rope Marakesh bag is all done apart from the lining. The pattern was a bit ambiguous and I ended up frogging a few rows so I could work the top bit where the cords come out properly but got there in the end. BUT while trying to thread the end of the cords through a handmade toggle managed to put a large Chibi needle right through my finger - and out again!!! Yes, it was very sore and bled a lot.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the next evening while in the bath I noticed one of the holes was pale green. Very odd I thought. What can that be? Eventually DH sussed it was the plastic from the Chibi case!!! Once I removed said plastic from finger it started to feel much better and is now healing quite nicely. Well it would really wouldn't it?

I have yet another FO all completed! This is Beth and she is lush. She came out much better than I hoped and I wore her all day today and she proved very popular. She was really easy to sew up too. Hurrah!!! The shaping was all done 3 sts in and this really made a difference so will probably do that again. I've done the shaping 1 or 2 sts in before but found it made the sewing up harder rather than easier. But 3 sts in seems to be the thing to do. Sorry about the missing head but husband was not doing his job too well as photographer. Will try and get a better one. Photo not husband!

And another FO - this time a cute swan washcloth. See, I do make things for my husband :)

I'm still without a car. It's been in the garage for over a week now. They've obviously tried to re-repair the repair but it's not happening and I won't accept any more shoddy work so they're replacing the whole panel. Again....I should hear more at the end of the week. By which time the nasty rash from the Monster Munch episode should be starting to settle down. More about that further down. Anyone that suffers allergies or intolerances will understanding exactly what I'm talking about.......

MEME: Seven times Seven

Annarella tagged me other day and I like this one so I'm playing:

Seven Things to Do Before I Die:

1. Visit Tibet
2. Visit Australia
3. Visit Russia (my dad is Russian!)
4. Learn Spanish
5. Make Fletcher from the Noro Iro my DH bought me
6. Be given an eternity ring - in due time of course
7. Move to Cornwall and live by the sea

Seven Things I Cannot Do:

1. Keep quiet when angry. It just makes the explosion to come far worse!
2. Eat meat or fish. Well I wouldn't, being a vegetarian for many years.
3. Use any toiletries or household cleaning products containing chemicals or additives. I'm allergic to practically everything so make many toiletries myself using aromatherapy or buy natural and organic products. One whiff of a chemical and I can suffer an asthma attack - and any high street toiletry product will do evil things to my eczema.
4. Bear anyone smoking anywhere near me. My DH is just the same too.
5. Throw anything away that can be recycled. I live at that recycling depot...
6. Eat anything with lactose, yeast or eggs more than once a week without suffering severe pain and other nasty things that trust me you do not want to know the details about.....
7. Eat junk food. It's organic home made food please thank you very much. I make all my own soups, pasta sauces, curries etc which are all organic and very tasty. Otherwise the crap in most junk food does nasty things to my body. Every now and again I forget this then get reminded. Like the other day when I ate my DHs Monster Munch and was rewarded with a bright red itchy full body rash. Which will take about a week to go. Allergy/food intolerance sufferers will know all about that one...

Seven Things That Attract Me to Blogging:

1. Making internet friends from all around the world
2. Showing off all my lovely projects
3. Sharing patterns and links I've found
4. Being able to post pictures of my menagerie and know people enjoy them
5. Learning from other people
6. Being able to show friends you no longer see as much what you're up to
7. Getting lovely comments

Seven Things I Say Most Often:

1. **** ***!
2. Thunder GET DOWN
3. Yeah right
4. Stop that
5. Yes, yes, yes, whatever
6. I love you
7. You're so cute

Seven Books That I Love:

1. Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters - Jane Crowfoot
2. Tully - Paullina Simons
3. Flashpoint - Lynn S Hightower
4. Last Minute Knitted Gifts - Joelle Hoverson
5. Sylvia Plath - The Bell Jar
6. 25 Bags to Knit - Emma King
7. My Rowan books of course

Seven Movies That I Watch Over and Over Again:

1. Badlands
2. True Romance
3. The Transporter
4. Gone In 60 Seconds
5. Ong Bak
6. Kickboxer
7. Layer Cake

Seven People I Want To Join In Too

1. Chris
2. Rebekah
3. Mandella
4. UKnitty
5. Mary
6. Fred
7. ???

No pressure of course. Just if you want to.

Friday, January 13, 2006

It's Still Cold Outside

Awww! See even Thunder agrees its a bit nippy whilst snuggling in between my DH's legs for cuddles. He looks like a baby still in this picture. Is there anything cuter?

My spreadsheet amendments seem to have done the trick nicely and I've come up with a few more patterns I'd like to make from my stash. There are still a few to go but so far it's been a great help. I would really like to reduce my stash a bit. It's not really that bad at all but I'd still love to reduce it some more. Maybe in readiness for the new yarns coming out at the end of the month..... But then again, its great being able to go through my spreadsheet and see what I fancy making. I mean, when you've decided what you want to make you always want to start it right now don't you? So of course you have to have some projects waiting to be done. Sounds good to me!

I've got some FO's to share so here goes.......Firstly yep, it's Lizzy now finally finished in all her glory. The frills on the wrists really set her off and I'm really pleased with her. She will need a wash before wearing as she's a little stiff - not surprisingly with all those twigs & other paraphanalia in the yarn. She is very different from what I usually wear and I can't quite imagine wearing her. But as its too cold yet I have plenty of time to work out what to wear her with. My DH is really impressed.

She really is something quite special. Easy to knit, not so easy to sew up. The stitching itself was easy enough and looked great, it was just that Noro Shinano does not appreciate being yanked and pulled about so short lengths and extra twisting are essential. Unfortunately I like very long lengths and sewing up in one go. This just didn't work and made the sewing up a lot more annoying than it should have been. But hey, you live and learn and she was worth it in the end.

Then we have the Snowflake Hat which was easy to knit. She needs her ends sorted and pressing but thats it. No sewing up - YEAH!!!!

And lastly a sock knitted with Regia 6Ply. Of course until it gets a mate its not a proper FO, but it looks cute anyway. I love the K3P1 rib too. Will definitely do that again. As you can see, I don't bother pressing my socks. I let my feet do that job!

I'm desperate to get into a big, relaxing project now. Had enough of smaller ones where you have to keep checking where you are in the pattern. I just want some mindless knitting please. Bigger projects are just so relaxing.......

The Marakesh bag now has some matching lining and is pressed. So now just the bag lining and sewing up to be done but thats nothing major. The ties are all done. My my, I am ahead of myself!

Chris asked me where I was off to for my holidays in May. You just have to visit her site and see the most amazing picture of Chaos the very inquisitive cat!

I am very happy to announce that we're going to Langkawi, Malaysia in May and I just can't wait to go. It's been on my list for a few years but due to flight price increases etc. haven't managed it. But I finally got a great deal and now we're going. It will be lovely. I love the Far East and so far have visited the Maldives (4 times!), Bali, Thailand & Sri Lanka. Told you I liked the Far East:) I have been elsewhere too (Kenya, Egypt, Antigua and Mexico) plus Majorca and Ibiza in my teens but its the Far East that I find totally irresistible.

Interestingly I met my DH in Bali. So of course we both share a love of travel and long haul holidays. I can't describe how amazing I find seeing other peoples different cultures and way of life. It kind of puts things in perspective for me.

And if you think I've been to a fair number of fab places, trust me, there are lots more places on my must visit list including Russia, Cuba, Australia, Tibet, Borneo, Galapagos Islands, Antartica and Canada and to name just a few plus of course re-visit some of the places I've already been!

Fred asked me how I was getting on with my new Brittany's. I just love them. They're the perfect addition. I couldn't do without my longer 33cm Inox but wherever possible, I go for the shorter length Brittany's. They feel so luxurious to use. I did find one pair not quite as smooth as my Inox, but no doubt they will feel smoother over time. Not that they were rough or anything - far far from it. In a nutshell, I adore them and am so glad I got them. Luckily for my wallet, the longer length Brittany's are just too long for me so the Inox are still safe!

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thinking Ahead

Well we're well into the New Year now. And for the last couple of weeks I've been thinking about summer clothes and what I want to make. As we go away in May - which is amazingly only 4 months away - I need to start planning. It's nice to have something to look forward to and imagine wearing summer clothes, especially while its so cold.

You might have guessed I don't really look back on the previous year and I haven't made any new year resolutions for at least 10 years. For me, its all about looking forward.

To start with I'm almost done on the Marakesh rucksack bag in Cotton Rope. I think it will be the most perfect holiday bag. It will now join my pile of sewing up which is getting quite ridiculous. I also need to finish off Laura which will probably be the last Big Wool project for a while. I did kind of lose the urge to make her as all I keep thinking about is all the new spring yarns that will be out on the 1st Feb from Rowan that I can hardly wait for ..... but I had a go at her yesterday and now her back is done.

Of course its not like I need any more yarn but I often change my mind about what pattern to make if something better comes along. Oh its so exciting..... all these new yarns and patterns to look forward to!

I've done some work on my knitting spreadsheet which is kind of like my bible. I'm a real super duper organised type of girl! It list all the yarn I have and all the projects I've made together with the yarn used and any other notes. Now I've juggled it about and have the project I have in mind next to the yarn and now a new list of patterns that catch my eye together with the yarn specifed from all the magazines and books I have. I hate having to search through everything when I'm looking for a particular pattern I know I've seen so hopefully that will make life a bit easier. And seeing how many magazines I currently subscribe too this is well needed.

I've frogged a couple of projects that I'd changed my mind about. The Drift coat in Rowanspun Chunky will now become a blanket. I've been promising myself one for ages so have started a few rows. It will be ever so warm and cosy as a blanket as I just couldn't imagine me wearing the coat. Also frogged are the Biggy Print flip top mitts. Super warm they might have been but flexible they definitely weren't.

The only problem with all these new ideas and projects I want to make is of course too little knitting time do do it all!!!!