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 ;)