Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Moo & Atchoo

The funniest story this week was on our local tv news about the sounds cows make in different areas and they played a Birmingham cow mooing followed by a local West Country cow mooing. The difference was amazing. You could spot the West Country cow a mile off. It was really funny and we did laugh. Yes, our locally news is definitely not wildly exciting!

Then a couple of days later this hilarious panda video appeared on Cute Overload that had me in fits of laughter. Showed it to DH and then we were both in fits. Nothing to do with cows of course but explains the atchoo ;)

The nearest think to a miracle occurred last weekend. Remember I wanted to get the zip for York? Well, I brought it with me to the shop to choose the colour and found the perfect zip. Off home we went and suddenly I had an urge to pin the zip in. Followed by another idea of 'well I might as well sew part of one side'. Followed by 'I might as well finish one half completely'. Then I put it back and it stared at me, you know the way these things do. So I picked it up again and finished the whole darned zip. In one go! It is truly amazing and I couldn't believe. Usually any form of sewing up is kinda hidden and pushed to the back of your mind. So it was best to get it done while the urge was there.

Unfortunately the urge went and no other finishing has been done. Oops. I will tackle it soon, honestly.....it's building up into quite a pile, but I just can't put my knitting down in order to do some finishing. Funny that ;)

Knitting wise the week was mostly taken up working on the sleeves from York. As you can see they're finished and admittedly were a bit of a pain. I really wanted some nice simple brainless knitting but Kureyon had other ideas. We got there in the end but it was real close. All I got left with was these few oddments below. I used a whole extra ball too which is really unusual. Last time I knitted a Noro garment with Shinano I was left with a ball over. This time it was so close - this combined with the knots made it quite stressful indeed. Boy I was glad when it was all done ;)

I am cross that the fall issue of Vogue Knitting still hasn't been sent to UK subscribers. Its only just hit UK suppliers which makes it over 2 weeks late now. Everything else has been out for weeks for the new season. By the time we get our copies the winter edition will be on its way. Its crap isn't it? Apparently its due to a mistake by the shipper. No doubt it was sent surface mail.....and we know how long that takes!

We have had a brand new knitting magazine come out though just this week to keep me occupied. I got the first issue and am rather impressed so far. Mostly Rowan/Jaeger or decent quality yarns for once and only one nasty shiny cheapo fashion yarn thankfully! But what really made me mad wasn't the mag itself but the freebie gift, a preview of Alison Dupernex's Knitting for Beginners book. And in particular the picture of a load of horrendously long metal needles that look so very old fashioned. And it got worse with her words "plastic and bamboo are becoming fashionable, but they bend are are not so easy to use ". Lordy lord, how long ago was this book written? It certainly doesn't apply now. What a turn off. I don't know. How does this stuff get published. What was the book editor thinking???

The new mag is called Knit Today and had a lovely shrug pattern in it by Laura Long, a Rowan designer. I fell in love with it at first sight and had to have a shrug. Decided to double up some Cashsoft DK as it specified an aran weight yarn. Then was disappointed to find I didn't have any bamboo DPNs in 6.5mm so had to use some crappy metal/plastic hybrid which were not smooth at all. Combine this with a lace pattern and no surprise, it all went horribly wrong. Trust me, don't try and double up Cashsoft DK if there's any chance it all it might get frogged. It fluffs up really easy and was a real headache to separate and frog.

So back to the drawing board we went. I didn't want a lacy shrug. I wanted a warm shrug with no holes to let the cold in. That was the point. Of course there was nothing exactly like I wanted but I liked the style of the Magknits Hug shrug and happily cast on for that. Till I saw more pics on the designers site and knew I did not like the back at all. Of course by now I was almost at the back.....so a bit more searching on the web looking at shrug construction and I changed the pattern to one I liked. Phew. What a performance. Now of course I wished I'd knitted the sleeves in the round. But maybe next time eh?

We spent one day of the Bank Holiday weekend visiting my stepson in Wales who will be 19 in November. Some of you might be surprised to hear I even have a stepson, never mind an 18 year old one! I don't think I've mentioned him before. But seeing as he turned into the teenager from hell from the moment he turned 12 could explain it. But over the last few months he seems to have calmed down a lot so we're hoping its the end of his nightmare teenage years. I've always got on well with him, probably because I'm so direct. He knows where he stands and he seems to like it. We had a nice lunch and it was good to see where he's living now and that he's doing well.

How come day trips are so tiring though? We picked a bad weekend to drive to Wales. It took forever to get there but luckily the drive back was much quicker. After that we weren't in the mood to go to far over the bank holiday so had a relaxing time enjoying the break.

Here's a pic of the lovely Thunder having a real laid back moment. Bless. He looks about as tired as we were after our day trip ;)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

It's Arrived!!!

Yippee - my Socks That Rock order has arrived!!! Shipped Friday, arrived Tuesday. Wow, the US Priority Service is very, very good! I had to wait a bit till a new lot was dyed, but it all adds up to the excitement doesn't it? DH let me take a pic of the STR and Malabrigo before they get wrapped up. At least I won't forget what they look like.

The Malabrigo is in Emerald and is just divine.....words can't express how soft this yarn is - it's almost like cotton wool.

The STR colouways are 1 skein Sherbet and 1 skein Watermelon Tourmaline. Both are lightweight. Sherbet is so bright you almost need shades. As you know, I love bright colours and as DH said, who wants boring socks? The WT is such a yum yum colour you can't help but stroke it! I'm so pleased with these pressies I can't tell you.

What I find quite amazing is that I've seen more than one blogger buying 12 skeins of STR at a time!!! The first time my eyes nearly popped eyed, then a few days later someone else had ordered loads. I mean, 12 SKEINS!!! I guess its the same amount you get as if you'd joined the sock club, but I gotta admit, I'd love to be getting a package from STR each month rather than 12 in one go. Kinda makes my 2 skeins seem very minimal indeed ;)

And if that wasn't enough the most amazing pattern book arrived from Get Knitted. I've been waiting for it to be released and finally its here. Yup, its the latest Noro book from Jane Ellison, Noro Unlimited. It has way surpassed all my expectations and I love it. You know when you start to get excited as you turn each page, not quite believing your eyes. There are so many patterns I want to make I don't know where to start. The felted socks, felted bag, fingerless mittens, Kochoran zipped hoodie and Kureyon hoodie are the first that spring to mind. Also a skein of Lorna's Laces sock yarn in Childsplay somehow managed to order itself with the pattern book. You know how these things happen :)

I am so glad I love the new Noro pattern book. Its made up for my disappointment with Rowan 40 and all of the new Rowan and RYC booklets. I didn't like any of them except for Rowan Felted Collection which was this seasons saving grace for me. And the only booklet with some funky trendy designs. Even Arabesque left me cold as it uses mostly Little Big Wool yarn which has been ruined by adding 33% nylon! Its just shocking I tell you. A third plastic and a whole lotta money. Not good. And Country Escape had nothing I liked either. Designs are too fussy for me I'm afraid, especially combined with multicoloured yarn, though the yarn itself is lovely.

From the Felted Collection though I'm desperate to have Big Wool felted slippers (not Little Big Wool you understand, the proper original 100% merino stuff)......though mine will end rather multicoloured I expect as I've enough oddments in my stash for them. As tempting as it is, I really can't justify buying 4 balls of Big Wool just to felt them, though those cream slippers are as cute as can be. But they wouldn't stay cream for long though would they? No, best make some coloured ones.

The rest of the week was fairly quiet. We managed to clip bunny's nails without any major dramas and under 5 minutes so were all rather pleased. Bunny didn't sulk and seemed ok to be wrapped in a towel. No doubt the more we do it the easier it will be and hopefully Thunder will get more used to it. I actually managed to trim 4 of them on my own whilst giving Thunder a cuddle. But he cottoned on that I was up to something so had to wait till DH came home to finish off.

We don't have any trouble with cute Custard the hamster. Mind you, he's so tiny he's easier to control. His claws are so small though that I have to use embroidery scissors.....I can't remember cutting hamsters claws before. But then again, none of them ever lived to be as old as Custard ;)

York has gone really well with the fronts, back and collar done. I managed to get the fronts to match up with a little trickery and realised it would be much easier if I had them both on the same needle whilst working on any 'knot and colour issues'. I think Noro do it on purpose. Kind of like a puzzle or something to keep you on your toes. Anyway it all worked out and I'm working on the sleeves now. I did the collar straight away so I could get a zip over the weekend so that will be all ready to go. Told you I was organised ;) It's really nice not having to press it either - the benefit of a totally ribbed design. Which I though which start to bore me but luckily, it hasn't in the slightest. This is a very good thing.

Finally more holiday pics for you. This time we have the monkeys that live in the forest where our resort was. I did mention the resort was in a forest didn't I? The cheeky devils use to love running across roofs frightening the lives out of any guests underneath :)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

So So Tired zzzz

Well we're back from our daytrip yesterday to London to see my dad and are both absolutely shattered. Our train was cancelled so we didn't have our reserved seats and although did have seats the train was packed and we arrived an hour late. However, there was no way I wasn't going to miss out on visiting Stash. I don't know when I'd next get the chance to visit.

We found Stash easily and it was only a few stops on the tube out of our way and direct from Paddington anyway so that was good. But we definitely did not dress for the occasion as it was COLD and windy and we were wearing O'Neill cropped pants. We're used to the wind but it was colder in London than at home. We'd been living in croppped stuff and me in flip flops but everyone in London was wearing jeans. Weird, I don't remember it being colder.....anyway I'd prepared well and had brought some hand knitted socks to wear on the train. And very warm they were too.

Stash was totally amazing and it would have been lovely to spend ages browsing but it wasn't to be. We had to get to my dads asap before starting the trek back to Paddington and finally home. What caught my eye straight away was the Malabrigo. Oh it whispered sweet nothings to me and was just so luxurious and soft to touch. Oh and the colours were to die for..... DH really liked the Lorna's Laces Worsted Merino but it was almost twice the price. I ended up getting some irresistible Malabrigo for the Blue Sky Alpacas Hooded Pullover pattern I got a little ago while which it will be perfect for. I was happy to have some beautful yarn I've never seen before and DH was pleased as that was my main anniversary pressie sorted. So no photos yet till I'm allowed!

So off we went on yet another tube journey to my dads who I haven't seen for a while. It was really good to see him and we had a laugh, especially at the awful school picture he has up of me. He really couldn't of picked a worse photo if he'd tried. I couldn't believe my eyes......so after a good chat, some tea and a couple of hours rest we were off again on the tube, then onto our train and finally, hours later, home. We were too tired to hardly speak and couldn't wait for a bath, hot food and finally bedtime ;)

What - haven't we recently seen a picture of Noro Iro??? Well yesss, but this is the latest addition to the family. The Ebay seller I bought from last time had some more wonderful bargains going and I could not resist. It is so beautiful and I do love Noro yarns, as challenging as they sometimes are. More on that in a bit.

The latest issue of Interweave Knits arrived and is probably my favourite issue so far. There are several designs that have caught my eye and will be added to my list of possibles. So well done IK for a superb issue. Though I'm still missing Vogue Knitting. Where is it? It's been out in the US a while now but has yet to hit the UK. And according to the distributor, might not appear for a week or so! Oh piddle. I mean, I cancelled my direct sub with VK as the UK distributor was always getting their copies before me, now of course they're getting them late. It is just not good enough ;0(

My urge has been satisfied ;) Oh yes, I'm happily knitting York from Noro Knits in Kureyon and I just love the earthy feel of Noro yarns. That rustic, real 100% wool feeling is just heavenly. So much so that I can hardly put it down and will happily pick it up for a row or 2 here or there instead of picking up my sock, which is my usual in between project.

It's knits up quite stiff but those that have used it will know, softens up considerably after washing. The yarn of course has a mind of its own and has totally paid no attention to what I had hoped would happen with the colours. A knot in the middle of the first ball on the back put paid to that. I tried continuing but the join stuck out like a sore thumb, so I had to get a new ball that started with a similarish colour. So now I definitely have a unique design. Kureyon likes to do as it pleases you see, you cannot tame this yarn unless you wish to drive yourself mad. It forces you to just go with the flow......which sometimes is just what you need ;)

In all my excitement about the new season last week I totally forgot to mention my other excitement - yep, the trial of NeoCounter showing what countries have visited my blog. I loved this counter! It was superb. I can't believe I've had over 500 visitors from 23 countries in just 2 weeks.....its amazing. But the trial is over and I haven't upgraded, so the counter is no more :(

I cam across this photo of my Linen Drape halterneck top and will replace the one that is currently in my 2005 FO list. Somehow I had the same picture of me wearing the halterneck and my favourite Calmer zipped cardigan Hike, so thought it time the halterneck had its own photo. Though it appears quite a relaxed fit in the photo this was before washing and now it fits much better and is definitely figure hugging. This year I've managed to get lots of wear from my knitted summer tops thanks to our heatwave. It certainly made a change - last year I hardly remember wearing any tiny tops. Apart from on holiday of course ;)

Which brings me nicely on to some photos.......yes I know its been ages but there are so many. Here are just the lizard ones around the resort! Mostly monitor lizards, but another too. And yes, some were huge, some sunbathed under the sunbeds and yes, they drank and swam in the pool occasionally too.....

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Green With Envy

All this talk about Socks That Rock and even worse, the darn pictures, have been making me go green with envy for some time now. Yes, you know who you are!!! Jealousy is an understatement.....so I got to thinking. How could I justify getting some? I mean, Christmas is way too far off and I'm a Taurean. So of course I just don't do waiting. And my birthday has already gone so no good either. Then it dawned on me......it's our wedding anniversary in September!!!

So I 'persuaded' DH that STR are the perfect anniversary gift. It only take a day or so for DH to agree - I knew he would, it was all a matter of time! Of course I could have just got them myself but then there might be guilt involved and where's the fun in that?

Talking about presents remember all the Dr Hauschka goodies I got for my birthday. Well I'm still using them all and have only had to replace the cleansing cream so far which great. The original lasted me well over 2 months and as I use it twice a day is excellent value. I LOVE that stuff. I'd never have thought I'd be addicted to the whole cleansing routine but I am. And as promised, I don't need to use any night creams, though I still put a drop of oil around my eyes to keep my eczema at bay!

The new autumn/winter knitting season has arrived at last. I say at last because I have been desperate to knit with 100% pure wool for a few weeks now. And finally, I can. Especially as Kitsch is now all knitted up. Just needs finishing and sewing up ;) I didn't quite make my July deadline, but it was only a couple of days after that I finally cast off her collar, which I shortened quite a bit. Didn't really fancy the sailor look you see.......

But I did manage to finish these lovely Opal Petticoat socks. They sure are purrty!

Anyway, back to the new season. First I got the latest Knit Simple. I'm not currently subscribed, as it ran out with the previous issue, not that anyone bothered to let me know! However, I'm rather glad I haven't resubscribed as I thought the new issue was rubbish. The adult designs were just ghastly. Kids stuff is good as usual, but thats not why I get it. So boy was I glad I'd only just purchased the single copy.

Next to arrive was the new Rowan Magazine 40 and once again it came early for UK subscribers. Yeah!!! BUT, I'm really not keen on this one. Looking through it reminded me of older Rowan magazines and was quite a disappointment. There are lots of colourwork designs which just isn't my thing and tons of designs using furry yarns!!! And I mean tons! Kid Silk Haze and Kid Classic are definitely the latest thing as it isn't just Rowan. Everyone is bringing out new mohair yarns and patterns. This is not a good thing, apart from my wallets point of view, in which case this is a good thing!

Of course I could sub, but it isn't always the same is it. And the thing is I don't find the designs at all inspiring. Nothing interested me.......nothing that grabs you and makes you rush to your LYS demanding the yarn immediately. Which is admittedly, rather unusual. There is generally at least one must have. Not this season. Not for me anyway. Must be quite a lot of disappointed people around though, as mohair must be the most common yarn allergy. Oh well, I've got plenty to be getting on with.

Well, going back slightly on what I've just said....... I do love this design, Cobweb. But again, its in KSH and I'm not sure if it will work in anything else. And not sure if I can be bothered to try either.

And I also love these Anna socks, but hey, they're just socks. Surely there must be more in the mag. But no. I'm definitely in the minority though on this issue as it is really popular, judging by the comments on the Rowan International forum. I noticed that there are a number of great mens sweaters, but again, no good for me. Everything is either too colourful, too furry, too fussy or for guys. Darn. You see, there is a lot of stuff in there, just nothing I would wear. Sob, sob :(

I haven't even mentioned the new yarns used in the book have I? Romance looks awful in the photos and from the composition I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. And in the flesh is like a neon light. Someone mentioned 'my little pony'. It reminded me of gaudy Christmas decorations.......

Tapestry though looks very nice and is ever so soft. Being a DK weight though wouldn't be my first choice for cold weather and of course I didn't like any of the patterns using it. There's a theme here isn't there.....

My local John Lewis has the Arwen Gown on display. Oh my. All that KSH.......not good. I had to do a very large detour around it to make sure none of the irritating fibres didn't find their way up my nose! I must admit it is quite amazing. And doesn't bear thinking about how long it took either.

So for the time being I won't be going on a Rowan spending spree which is probably a good thing as we have a lot going on at the moment. We're visiting my dad next weekend in London and will of course have to pop into Stash while we're there. I mean, it would be rude not to really.

And in September we're off to St Ives for a week and of course there are a couple of yarn shops that must be visited. Then its October and the Knitting & Stitch Show at Ally Pally. Whew! I'm getting all weary just thinking about it.

I haven't yet checked out all the new booklets and yarns yet although I've seen some - more on that next post........

See, even dear Thunder has his own cuddly toy. This is Lamby, and he's often dragged about the cage and often found hiding in the den at cleaning out time ;) We've realised Thunder is a very, very nosy rabbit. And also rather jealous. When I was feeding Custard the other day and had my back turned away, he decided he wasn't happy with the attention Custard was getting so jumped on my back! He is a naughty thing. But he does love Custard though and is always going over to have a look at what he's up to. Shame there's such a size difference though, I'm sure they'd make great playmates otherwise ;)