Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Late Twenties...

Yep, I'm now 27. Late 20s, as my dear Mum pointed out to me. (Thanks Mum)

Normally I don't like my birthday, but for the first time in AGES I have had the day off work.

And Oh made me a cup of tea while I opened my cards, and then he cooked me Eggs Royale. For those not in the know, that's English muffin, smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise sauce. Yum! Lovely.

I also got lots of thoughtful gifts, from "Never Not Knitting" from both my sister and OH (I've organised a trade for one of them...), some lush toiletries from Soap and Glory, some music, a funny mug (I collect mugs) and this...
Skein Holder / Swift
It's a swift or skein holder. From OH. It's lovely. He tells me that he looked on Ravelry (I allow him my password so that he can do exactly this) for where to get a good one from. Isn't he the best boyfriend? (Non knitters, imagine being knotted up in 400m of fine but strong wool which you want to be in a ball... this stops the knotting up - mostly)
We're going out for a Chinese later on, and then on to a New Year's Party.

I'm working on my 27 things I have achieved in my 27th year - I'll have it by tomorrow.

So, for 7 hours time, Happy New Year Everyone!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas

Xmas 2008 I hope that you all had a pleasant Christmas, if you celebrate it.
I had a nice three days with my sister, her fella, my parents, and my OH.
The picture above is us when we arrived next to the very tasteful Christmas Tree (really, my trees are always examples of the tree that taste forgot...)
We had a really nice curry made by notBIL (That's not Brother in Law) and my sister sorted out bits to go with, like naan bread and the like. Oh, and drinks, very important that. I had an organic fruit beer, which was very pleasant and went well with curry. We played silly games on the wii and had a pub quiz.
I was sleeping in the lounge on an air mattress, which was not as bad as you might think. We were up at a reasonable hour to open prezzies, after a cup of tea. I received some very thoughtful gifts, not limited to but including a one-person tea-pot-tea-cup from sis & notBIL, a sheep buff from OH, Shaun the sheep from my parents, and a secret santa prezzie from one of the Ravelry groups I'm in.
Secret Santa - Package There is some really nice stuff in the box. There's a chocolate and cinnamon stick (eaten, sorry) some kool-aid (for dying yarn), an aromatherapy stick, some ribbon yarn, some cotton yarn, and a cup-holder. Really nice, and I have no idea who my santa is!
On Boxing day, keeping with tradition, we hit the sales. I didn't buy much, a couple of organic t-shirts from New Look, and a bread-maker.
Yes, you read that right - a bread-maker.
We've just finished our first (wholemeal) loaf, so I'll leave you with a picture of it. I hope it tastes as nice as it looks (and smells!)
Loaf and Death?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's Sunday, December 21st. I have no Christmas knitting to complain about, because I am not knitting anything for anyone this Christmas. After last year's still knitting on Christmas Eve, (don't even go there) I thought it was best. In the spirit of trying to feel more festive, I've tried a few things. I have a festive-smelling body scrub. I bought mince pies for my team at work (and had two left for Leon and me) We went into town on Saturday for the Christmas Market, which wasn't. Nope, still not feeling festive. I'm thinking about my 27 achievements of being in my 27th year... And whether I've achieved my 2008 goals... No, if you saw the post at the beginning of 2008, you'll know I've not managed to achieve those. Still, I'm not worried. I will have my 27. I'm good at spin.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Listen Very Carefully

I shall say this only once.

I have knitted a beret-ish hat, which coupled with my white wool trench made me feel like Michelle of the Resistance in 'Allo 'Allo.

It's very warm, being alpaca, and I like it (even though, I confess, it looks a little daft!) More Pics on my Knitting Blog

Sad News too, I have lost one of my Noro Gloves. :(
I may have dropped it when rushing in from the car last night.
We were at my parents this weekend for my Mum's birthday. (Happy Birthday Mum!)

I've started another knitting project, a shawl which I hope to wear to P&E's wedding in February.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Xmas Dress

So, on Friday I promised to show you my frock from the Christmas Party, and here it is. I took the pattern from the same dress as this one for a recent wedding was taken from. Instead of making it as a dress and a skirt sewn together, I made each panel the full length of the dress. The centre front panel's lacing doesn't add to the structure of the dress, it's just for show. I tried lacing it the other way up, but it didn't look as nice. The straps were a bit of a trial this time, and I have some sneaky bra-strap-holders attached to keep them hidden.
Construction issues aside, I did like this dress, and it didn't take that long to make. I wouldn't change it, I was pretty happy with it.

Also, you might notice that I've had a haircut. I know it's not that different, but there are two things to note. One is that, other than the blonde-ish bit near the front, it's my actual natural colour (that happens once in a blue moon, I dislike my natural colour. I guess at least it isn't grey, yet). The other is that my "parting" is now on the other side...

The party itself was pretty good. The band were reasonable, though they needed to turn up the mike on the lady singer a bit. The Wii's in the other room were always too busy, and I gather they were hogged by the same group of people all night. Tut. I got to dance to plenty of cheesy music, and generally had fun. The food (my only turkey this year, I suspect) was better than it has been in previous years.

Next Christmas Party is my Department's do next Friday. This is coupled with some work stuff, so will be less fun from that aspect. However, it's all paid for by the company, which is nice.

After that there will be the traditional Christmas Curry, then Christmas at my sister's. We're due to be home on the Saturday and then back to work for 2 days (joy). I should be off on my birthday, and have to decide whether I'm off to a New Year do, or sticking to my original Chinese meal with a few friends option. I wouldn't want anyone to have to choose between me and our other friend (whose party it is) so that's a bit of a dilemma. That said, as I'm at work from 9am on the 1st (yes, you read that right, 9am on the 1st January) then I don't really want to be out getting completely ratted.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Brief...

Christmas Party tonight.
I have made a dress this year again! I'll put some pics up (hopefully) tomorrow, unless either I fail to get any good ones of me, or if I'm too hungover. If the former, I'll take some new ones, if the latter then it might be Sunday...

Just waiting for my lift now, and we have to book a taxi for coming home at some point. I've had a G&T and we have a bottle of wine on the table for OH and me.

I'm actually quite excited!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's only a little bit of snow...

Earlier in the year (close to Easter) I wrote this post in which I quoted (or mis-quoted) a song from Terry Wogan.


It’s December now, we expect the weather to be less pleasant than the rest of the year.
For some reason, when it snows the entire country goes crazy.
Here in York we’ve had about 2 inches of snow at the moment. It’s already melting. Frankly, I’m disappointed as the met office promised me 6 inches and snow drifts.
And yet, chaos? It’s 9:34 and I reckon about half of the people on my floor at work aren’t here yet (which is unusual).
In true British fashion, it is all anyone is talking about (and indeed, I’m blogging about it, so I can’t really take the Michael there.)
I’ve just been to the BBC weather page and read the warning, and I think that the televised news is scare mongering a bit. The 20cm that has been forecast (that’s almost 8 inches in real money) is for high ground with only 2-5cm (up to 2 inches) forecast in low lying areas and cities. Pah. That’s nothing.

I don’t know why I’m complaining mind you, I don’t really like snow that much. It’s cold and makes everything else cold. If it is snowing then it sticks to clothes, getting them wetter than rain would. Snow piles up and then gets stomped into mushy slush which then freezes and becomes a death-trap. Oh it looks pretty for about five minutes before the rush hour. Then there’s flinging snow. People seem to like the idea of throwing filthy compacted balls of ice at one another. They call it fun. I call it horrible, and stay inside with a hot drink.

[as an aside, every time I type a br tag, for a new line, I keep putting brr. Funny, if you’re a geek]

I just take comfort that we’re in a part of the world where large amounts of snow don’t usually happen. I admire places (like in parts of Canada) where snow is normal for three months of the year where everything doesn’t stop.

It doesn’t seem that long ago (though I think it was last year) that we were complaining that the very hot summer was buckling railway lines.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Can you spare £2?

If you can, go to Ramblings of a Yarn Junkie and click the link to donate it to her sister's skydive in memory of their mum.

It's a touching post, and I can't even imagine how those sisters must feel. I've been lurking on the blog for a while after coming across Shirley on Ravelry.

Go on.

Curing cancer is something we can all believe in. And if you're not bothered about that, go anyway - you can win some nice goodies.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Nothing else to say

I gather (from my sister) that I pretty much just blog about knitting.

And it's true, I don't blog much else these days. With good reason.

If I were to blog about my day you would all be bored to tears (rather than just those of you who aren't into knitting being bored to tears).
If I were to blog about work you'd all get depressed from reading it and I'd probably write something I shouldn't and get fired.
If I blog about what I do the rest of my time, when I'm not knitting, then my blogs would be about going to the gym and shopping for groceries.

Ah well, I'll try to be a little more inclusive. Nobody but a knitter (or the long suffering partner of a knitter) can really understand the knitting thing.

So, in an effort to not discuss knitting...
Oh, wait. Is sewing out too?

Seriously though. We did go back to the gym over the weekend. It takes up a chunk of the day which is always disappointing. I wasn't as badly out of shape as I thought I was - I managed 10 minutes running at 9kmph, squat 20.4kgs (45lbs - an olympic bar) without issue, did some shoulder presses, chest presses, lunges and bent over rows, all at the same weight as my last session at the gym. I don't know how motivated I will be to do the same programme each week mind. Staying motivated is very difficult, especially with the cold weather and the dark nights. But motivated I must stay if a heffalump I don't want to be.

It doesn't help that I self-vet these posts so much. At least knitting isn't controversial.

Anyway, sod it. I'm off to bed where it might be a little warmer than the current semi-Arctic state that my living room is. Not that the bedroom is much warmer and I still haven't convinced OH that the 4tog duvet is too thin, but since the other option is 13tog...

For those who are interested in the knitting, my hat is coming along well. Will post when I have pictures.

At least I have a hobby, and I'm less stressed as a result of knitting, which makes the world a better place. :)
Edit: Actually, I do have another thing to blog about, which is ethical/environmental shopping. But I'll save that rant for a day when something has annoyed me into action.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Decisions...

So, I bought a sweater worth of Noro Cash Iroha from Knit n Caboodle at the Harrogate Show. (It's not quite as turquoise as in the picture...)

Noro Cash IrohaI was thinking of knitting the Simple Knitted Bodice with it, but I'm not sure I have enough. I probably do...

Anyway, in my Queue there are other options which use the same weight yarn, Snow White and Corsica.

So, the SKB is a good length, my main concern being whether I have enough yarn. Snow White is very pretty and I already have the pattern, but despite it being pretty, I'm not sure if it will look nice on me. Corsica is beautiful, but I'd be worried that it's not long enough, as it shows off the model's tummy in the pictures. Not a good look for me at the moment I think. And not good for being warm! So I'd have to extend the length (just keep knitting!) but I think that would be quite easy because it seems to have modular construction.

So, I'm trying to decide which of those three I would rather make, which comes down to which I'm more likely to wear I think. The shape of the SKB and Corsica is a flattering one on me, it adds balance to my pear shape! But Snow White is pretty and would go with the tops that my mum has bought me for Xmas (same shape)

So, it might cost me up to $8 for a pattern, but that's not that much. I buy entire magazines for one pattern, so why not?!

So, eventually I'll let you know what I pick. I have to finish my hat first. Not that the hat that I own isn't adequate, but it is looking grubby from a year's wear (it's white, as you can see in the Clapotis pics from earlier) and I always like new hats. I'm decreasing now, it should be a bit big/floppy and will have a brim. I hope I haven't made it too big/floppy though! (Getting concerned about the amount of yarn I have left!) So pics of that soon(ish).

[edit] I should add that I have a sweater worth of Noro Kureyon, Rowanspun 4ply and of Rowan Summer Tweed too. I have an idea that I might make Ester with the Noro, Apres Surf Hoody with the Rowanspun and Hey Teach with the Summer Tweed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Not News

I have no news, but someone who did take some nice pictures at the Harrogate show is Purplestocking

I'm knitting myself a hat from the Toft Alpaca that I bought from the Yorkshire Show. It's a pattern from Stitch N Bitch Nation, but I'm adjusting it as the suggested yarn is Aran weight, and the alpaca is DK. Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Clapotis!

Clapotis on meSo, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, I finished my Clapotis in time to wear it to the Stitch and Craft (or whatever it was called) show yesterday. I love it! It's warm, pretty, stylish, and did I mention it's warm? It's pretty long, but in a good way. Brilliant! That also means that I have one less thing on the needles at the moment. I know I should really get going on mum's cardigan, but I don't really feel like it. I might have a stab at the swatch for the Muir.

Matching Hat and Sweater We went to the tip today to do some recycling and when we came back I realised that OH was wearing his hat with the sweater I knit. As they're both in the same yarn, it looked very cute, in a matchy-matchy way. I really like both items, and I'm glad that he does too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fun Day!

I have finished the Clapotis, but it needs blocking again (I did wear it today...) More on that later. Today some of the girls from my knitting group and I went to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate. I'm afraid I was rubbish and didn't take any photos. This was mostly because there were lots of signs on the displays asking us not to. I did score some great yarn though, so I'm going to share that with you now. The Haul As well as yarn, I bought some other bits and bobs. Underneath all the stuff there is a Jamieson and Smith 100% Shetland wool blanket. It's really pretty, and should be warm. OH has agreed that he's going to buy it for me for Christmas. There's also a book in there. It's about how words from textiles are used in our language today. It's signed by the author for me too. How cool? There's a funky T-Shirt there on the left which I love. I tried it on at the stand. From Knit & Caboodle. Then, at the back, there's a dye kit. It's natural dyes, from DT Craft. I got some Noro sock yarn at a bargain price (I can't remember where from!) Yet More Noro Sock I also bought some lovely sock yarn (the red yarn) from the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop who had lots of lovely yarn. 4ply Wensleydale Lastly, again from Knit & Caboodle, I bought 10 balls of Noro Cash Iroha in a nice shade of green. I hope to make a Simple Knitted Bodice from this. Noro Cash Iroha Other than the food being a bit dear, which frankly I expected, there were some good deals to be had. I am excited by the dye kit that I bought, and I'm looking forwards to knitting up the Wensleydale sock yarn into some "Spring Thaw" socks, from one of my magazines. In other news, I have another pattern up, the Hamster House. I wanted to make a cosy home for my hamster. So far all he's done is chew it a bit, but maybe he'll get used to it. In any case, it's 100% wool so shouldn't do him much harm if he does decide to shred it for nesting in.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Of Bread, Hats and Winding

Well, I finished the François hat for OH. It's pretty cool (well, warm...) Francois Hat
We've got some time off work at the moment. Partly to recharge, it's been a long couple of months with all the restructure and such at work. Partly to get some things done around the house that we've been meaning to do for a while (some of them for 3 years!)
One of these is to finish the curtains. I did the cream ones a while ago, and yesterday I finished the nets. Now I only have to make the outer drapes and the liners. (Only!)
Well, otherwise we've mostly been tidying up and that sort of thing. You know, the stuff you don't do because you're just tired and want to veg out after work. (Even despite my sore throat! How motivated am I?)
But, I got a little side tracked today when I realised that we had nearly run out of the nice organic loaf that we bought at the Farm Shop, and that the bought loaf just isn't the same level of niceness. So I've made some bread. Bread Doesn't it look scrummy? The loaf on the left is wholemeal with pumpkin, sesame and linseed. The right hand loaf is plain wholemeal. I used dried yeast, and I used about double what they suggested in the recipe so it should be light. The recipe came on the back of the bread packet, which is useful.

So, other than the make-the-house-nice tasks, which we're doing a reasonable number of each day, I'm hoping to have a pretty relaxing week in the run up to the stitch and craft show on Friday. Minniemoll has kindly offered to drive a small group of us there and back. I'll make sure to charge the camera and take some photos of the prettiness I'm hoping will be there.
I have already received my show guide, and I have highlighted and named all of the stands of interest. I'm not sure what I'm most excited to see yet. I'm looking forwards to the Habu stand, though I don't know if I'll be able to afford anything there! I'm also keen to see the Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop after my lovely visit to their farm. I'm thinking of picking up some 4ply from there for some cosy socks or perhaps for a shawl. I quite like working with 4ply, though I don't know if I could ever manage a sweater from it. One day. There must be patterns for sweaters that are as addictive as Monkey - Which reminds me...
I'm sure you remember this: Wrath of Kool Aid 2 Well, I wound it into a ball, which looks like this: Wrath of KoolAid 1 And now I'm making "No Purl Monkeys" with it. Well, mostly no purl. There are purls in the ribbed cuff, and there will be purls in the heel. Another variation would be to really avoid the purls and have say a picot cuff and a garter stitch heel. Maybe next time. Anyway, the colour is Wrath of Kool Aid, and I can't believe how pretty it looks when rewound. I want to wind all of the hand dyed yarn I made, at least into new skeins!
Must do house chores first. And I like to think that there's a hope that I might be able to wear my Clapotis for the Stitch and Craft, though it's only a shade over half completed and I've been knitting it for two months now...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lest We Forget

I know that the web is awash with this sort of blog post, but I am compelled to post anyway.
I am always touched by the stories which are told on Remembrance day. Stories of heroism, bravery, sadness and loss. I have done some little research into my family history, and know that members of my family fought in both World Wars. I was a child when British Troops went to the Falklands. British Troops still fight in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Armistice Day, or Remembrance Day, is not just a day to remember those brave men and women who gave their lives so that we could live free in the Wars at the beginning of the 20th Century. It is also not just a day to remember those who have died or been wounded in wars since. It is also a day to reflect on the reasons that these wars were (and are) fought. Whether you agree with the war in Iraq now doesn't change the fact that young men and women are fighting there for freedom.


I leave you with two verses from a poem... (full version here)

For The Fallen
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
-- Laurence Binyon

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust

Remember that I was making a cardigan for my Mum?
Well, I've just frogged back 28 rows of 209 stitches.
Why?
Because I should have been knitting 236 stitches per row. Not the right size, even with my slightly large gauge. (And I made a mistake in the lace too, though I was willing to live with it...)

So, now I have to cast on 236 stitches again, so as to start making the right size (all being well)
Although I'm thinking of substituting the lace pattern in the original for something a bit more interesting. I've found one which is pretty called little roses. (I also liked passionflower which looks just like no-purl monkeys)
Oh well, live and learn.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fetchingly Repetitive

I have knit two pairs of fetching so far,
Fetching One Pair Fetching
They’re a nice knit. the second pair are slightly amended, as I did a longer thumb and an extra repeat of the cable on the knuckles.
I wonder if they might make nice actual mittens too. You see, my fingers get cold easily, and so I like to wear “fingerful” gloves and mittens. I’m considering making some of the pretty ones from the autumn issue of Vogue Knitting. However, they’re all sock weight. As nice as that is, there are a couple of points: they’ll take a while; they will not be as thick. So I’m thinking about perhaps converting the Fetching pattern into some mittens that I might wear, when I’ve knit the other things in my queue right now. Or, some of them at any rate.
My plan is to finish the François, the Clapotis and Mum’s cardigan. I’d like to get the cardigan done before Christmas. It’s not technically a Christmas gift, but still. However, I’m not a big fan of cotton I have discovered. This is nice cotton too, it’s soft and not too hard to work with. It just doesn’t have the smoosh factor of wool, and the wool I’m working with is very smooshy. I have NDS BFL and Rowan Pure Wool Aran. Both are a real pleasure to knit with. I think, also, the pattern for the cardigan isn’t very intuitive. I’m tempted to rip it back and start again with a more intuitive lace pattern, or one with a longer repeat. Maybe I’ll have a look through my stitchionary tonight.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Dr Who Knitting Joke

From Have I Got News For You tonight
Dalek Knitting Pattern:
Knit 8, Purl 8, Extermin 8.

Tom Baker actually said that joke on the show. How good is that?
Tom Baker has the best scarf.

Mac-tastic!

So, two projects completed. That means seven to go! Seriously though, I feel good about having finished something finally! I’m all set for the next lot of socks, but I’m not casting on until I finish some more stuff. I’ve brought François for my lunchtime knitting. It’s just rib at the moment, it doesn’t get interesting until the crown decreases.
I don’t have any pictures of it yet, but I’m using the same yarn that I knit OH’s sweater from. It’s soft and has plenty of give, but it also copes in the washing machine (wool wash, 30˚, low spin speed, dry flat) so I’m pretty happy with that. I’m trying not to get too attached to the hat as I knit it, for two reasons. One is that it’s not for me, the other is that OH will probably lose it before winter is out. It should be a quick knit, but a couple of rows here and there don’t make a finished hat.

In other news... the new Macbook is amazing. I’m really impressed with it so far. It’s brought it home, because while I’m happily surfing the web, installing Uploadr and such like, OH spent all afternoon installing Windows onto the new hard drive, and after that nothing works.
“Hello, I’m a Mac. Is that a DVD? Would you like to watch it? Ok!”
“Hello, I’m a PC. What is this disc? What? Oh, really, a DVD? Well what do you want me to do about it?”
So now he’s got to spend goodness knows how long trying to find all the drivers for everything! Since we’re really organised, most of the discs for the hardware we have are scattered all over the house (not literally, that would be even more untidy than I really am). The Mac just does stuff. It’s fab! Plug in a mouse: it works. Plug in iPod, camera: they work. I haven’t tested my phone with it yet, but I’d be willing to bet it will work with a lot less fuss than the PC!
Pretty much the only problems I have are: the “ and @ are the wrong way round (as are \ and ‘) and the close-x button is on the other side of the window. Both of these things I am already getting used to though, so frankly that is a small price to pay for a system which just works.
Now I just have to work out how I’m paying for it. Whoops.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Completed Knitting!

I've been doing some knitting today too!
I've finished some Fetching for my Secret Santa giftee. I don't imagine she reads my blog so I'm not worrying about that.

I also finished the Noro Striped socks which are fab...
Noro Socks Front

Shiny Shiny!

So, I told you that my PC was broken.
Well, after much some deliberation, and a trip to Maxwells in Northallerton, I now have a shiny new MacBook. Shiny Shiny It's pretty, isn't it?
It's also wireless, so naturally we've upgraded our home network to be wireless. Which means I can read my emails or surf the web (and Ravelry) from anywhere in the house.
It rocks!

However, we started off, yesterday, with a Belkin wireless router. Which was a bit intermittent last night, and then this morning it just didn't work at all. Pah. So we've swapped that for a nice Netgear one, which was much easier to set up and worked within a few minutes. Much better.

The old computer isn't completely written off yet though, we're now a two-computer household. Or we will be once OH gets the new hard drive working in the new one. Not complicated, but installing Windows takes a while, you know.

Then we'll have to set that one up to wirelessly connect too, and we'll be able to both be online at the same time!

Maybe we could get the XBox and PS2 on-line too now. Ahaha.
However, I am now appeased. And Apple are my new favourite manufacturer!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Out of kilter

OH didn’t believe my prognosis on the computer when I said it was dead and that we needed a new one (or at least a new hard drive).
So he invited The Black round to take a look. We gave him coffee and his girlf provided cake. We gave him the Dell rescue disk and the system install disk. He ran lots of Dell diagnostics which claimed that all was well (seriously?) and then the windows disk said that there were un-recoverable errors.
Man, I hate being right sometimes.

So, we’re definitely in the market for a new computer or hard drive, or possibly both. OH is pretty keen for me to have a computer of my own because I get really cross when he changes the settings on mine. And it is my computer. Actually, it’s our computer, which is tremendously difficult to acclimatise to – even though we’ve been sharing computers for the past five years or so. OH and I have different ideas about what is useful to have on a computer. So I might think that the Flickr Uploadr is pretty cool, but he’s downloaded the Ikea kitchen planner. Actually, that’s a bad example, since we both use both...

In other, non-computer news, I can’t knit fast enough for this cold weather! I’ve already decided that when I finish Mum’s cardigan that I’m not knitting anything else for anyone else (except maybe OH, or if I feel like I really want to) and I’m only knitting for me. I feel oddly gleeful about the idea. I thought “I don’t knit that much for other people anyway”, but when I look at my projects...
I have 52 projects on Ravelry.
9 are in progress, of those nine, five are for me.
5 are ugh! And 2 are snoozing. These are frogged or not happening, so they don’t count.
That leaves 36 completed projects.
Of those, 14 are for me.
That’s rubbish.
So, once I’ve finished the four projects which are not for me (one for a friend’s baby who isn’t cooked yet, one for OH, one for Mum and one for my Secret Santa) then that is it. No more nice knitter. Well, until I redress the balance a little, and I think knitting for babies doesn’t count as knitting for other people. I have really enjoyed knitting for others, but it’s just not happening anymore. I want to have nice warm cosy woolly things that I have made. In the meantime, I think I might have to go buy a new cardigan!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Posts in One Day...

I expect that when I said that my computer wasn’t working a couple of you might have thought “Oh no! All your stored patterns! All your photos! Your music!”
However, panic not. You see, I have a memory stick on which I had recently saved all of my patterns from the “My Knitting” directory on my PC. Phew. Thank goodness for that.
My photos are pretty much backed up too. Most are on CDs (all the Florida ones, all the France ones) and the rest are on Flickr. There are some still on the camera, but that’s okay too.
I believe that I bought my various music before the old computer died but there is some that I didn’t. I’m not sure what I’ll do about those. I might just buy them again as there’s probably only a couple of songs. I find it slightly irritating that iTunes is not clever enough does not trust me enough to remember that I have bought music from them before. I know that they do that to try to prevent file sharing. I wonder, if I email them my receipts and my sob story (boo hoo my PC died) they might let me have them again for free? I doubt it.
Also, this will then be the third PC that my iPod has been connected to. I think I’m only allowed five. That worries me a bit, because my iPod has been a darned sight more reliable than my PCs have. My iPod is over 2 years old (got it September 2006) and still in great shape! The PC came to us around May 2007 and is broken. The one before that lasted a good while though, since university! (Getting on for 5 years I think)
I wouldn’t say that my iPod gets the kind of abuse that my PC does, so it’s not really a fair comparison. But still, if my iPod continues to outlive my PCs, I’m going to have to buy a new iPod. Which seems silly to me.
So, in a roundabout way, I’m coming to the view that I should perhaps consider getting an Apple Mac of some sort (the Mini?).

Meme

I saw this meme on this blog and thought, why not? So here goes.
Tune in later if you're not bothered. Oh - but there will be no new photos for a while with the computer having gone and died. So I'm having to recycle old ones for now. Sorry.
  1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes.
  2. Do you own a gun? I own a glue gun and a staple gun.
  3. Have you ever smoked cigarettes? I’d be lying if I said no, but I claim to be like Bill Clinton, ahaha.
  4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite? The Grape and Strawberry made my yarn a nice colour
    Pastel Nexus
  5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments? No.
  6. What do you think of hotdogs? They’re horrible, unless you use proper sausages!
  7. Favorite Christmas movie? Christmas Carol, starring Patrick Steward (or the Kermit one is funny too…)
  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Yorkshire Tea
  9. Can you do push ups? Not proper ones
  10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? I don’t really wear jewellery, but I like the red beaded necklace that blogless HB made me.
  11. Favorite hobby? Knitting, duh!
  12. Do you have A.D.D.? No, I have no excuse.
  13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? Yes, glasses, and they look cool.
  14. Middle name? Nope.
  15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
    • I wish my neck didn’t hurt
    • Mmmm tea (one just arrived)
    • Why do I do these memes?
  16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink? Tea, Gin and Tonic, Wine (oh dear)
  17. Current worry? That I have to replace the computer and was trying not to be spending money.
  18. Current hate right now? Clothes shops round here don’t have trousers in my shape!
  19. Favorite place to be? In bed.
  20. How did you bring in the New Year? Last year, dinner with friends. But I was working on New Year’s Day.
  21. Where would you like to go? Gosh, that’s a list! Somewhere warm would do.
  22. Name three people who will complete this. I doubt anyone else will bother.
  23. Do you own slippers? Yes, I crocheted some.
    Fluffy Not-Bunnies sides
  24. What shirt are you wearing? I’m wearing a pink vest with a beige sweater over it.
  25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? Never tried it.
  26. Can you whistle? Yes, but not in tune.
  27. Favorite color? Pink. Red.
  28. Would you be a pirate? Arrr. Seriously though, probably not.
  29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Whatever’s playing on the iPod.
  30. Favorite Girl’s Name? I dunno, something exotic sounding or with a funny spelling
  31. Favorite boy’s name? See above.
  32. What’s in your pocket right now? I don’t put things in my pocket.
  33. Last thing that made you laugh? Yarn Harlot’s blog.
  34. What vehicle do you drive? VW Polo in pistachio
  35. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Broken leg (I was 3, I don’t remember it)
  36. Do you love where you live? York is a great city! I’m less enamoured with the house, but it could be worse.
  37. How many TVs do you have in your house? One.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

RIP My Dell

My home computer has died. We managed to get to a DOS screen (of sorts) and I tried C:\chkdsk to which it replied that it couldn’t find a mountable volume. Oh dear.
So, it looks like we might be in the market for (yet another) new PC. We might be able to just replace the hard drive. I don’t know how easy that would be, it’s a long time since I did anything to the insides of a computer (not since I unsuccessfully tried to build my own PC at university!)
So, at the moment I’m not sure what the plan is. This one didn’t go “bang!” at least, it just failed to work. It’s a bit of a shame; I was all set to be impressed by our Dell. As it stands, I’m wondering if we can afford a Mac instead. My main concern with switching to a Mac is the lack of software. I wouldn’t be able to run Civilisation IV any more (the only game I play on the PC in fairness) and we’d need to find a new word processor (not the end of the world). And I start to feel like Apple are becoming almost as monolithic as Microsoft, which isn’t a good thing!

So, I’m limited to internet access at work, which I should only be using in my lunch break. No internet banking, no shopping (except places where I can use pay pal) no Ebay – it’s blocked. At least they’ve built a massive new PC World near my gym. (!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sorting it out one room at a time...

In three weeks’ time I have a week off work. We were thinking about going somewhere on holiday, but eventually decided that we couldn’t justify spending all that on a holiday. I am planning on going to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate (more information here, if you’re interested)

The rest of the time off is to be devoted to tidying, rearranging and generally improving the state of the house. I want to finish making the curtains I began this time last year (!) – I made the main curtains, but we still need liners, drapes and a net. I have everything I need to do this, except for motivation and time. The time off work gives me the time, so I just need to get motivated. One of the things which is hopefully going to motivate me is to get the craft room sorted out (maybe get rid of the sofa bed which is so uncomfortable nobody will sleep on it!) I wonder if we could donate it to a charity shop. (Would that be bad Karma?)
I have a massive craft table in the craft room, a three-drawer chest full of yarn and then a stack of boxes with spinning stuff, dying stuff, beading stuff and card making stuff. Something tells me that this could be better organised than being in a bunch of cardboard boxes of varying sizes! The other things that are in the craft room are: the sofa bed, ironing board, box of tools, some rubbish, an old bathroom drawer set (icky), some clothes which need adjusting in some way, two chests of drawers with OH’s clothes in, some workout equipment and a drying rail for clothes.
Perhaps I should keep a list of all the things we could try to sort this out. I’m more motivated to sort out that room than I am any of the others, if I’m honest.
The lounge/diner is another big trouble spot. Because it has so many uses, from library to study to dining room to dumping ground; it’s in a state. There the issue is less one of storage (though that would help, if we had some more useful storage type devices) and more one of the room just being weird! We don’t have the living room at the front half of this room, as is traditional. This causes us many issues (including trailing wires everywhere) which would be solved by being the other way around. However, that end of the room is colder and noisier. Maybe the new curtains will help.
I’ll let you know how it goes, though I’ll probably be more excited about the K&S show!

I was at my sisters at the weekend to celebrate her birthday (Happy Birthday again!) and we had a really nice time shopping in Liverpool 1 (the new shopping complex) although it was a bit cold and rainy, and L1 is outside! We sent the boys to a brewery, which they enjoyed too. Excellent all round! I’m looking forwards to seeing my sister and her fella again at Christmas.

Friday, October 24, 2008

UK Shoppers

If you want to buy the Wensleydale Longwool that I mentioned in the last post, but can't get to Wensleydale to do so, check out Ecoknits.
They also stock NDS and Artist's Palette - though you could check out their websites (as linked) too. (Artist's Palette have lovely laceweight, I sent some to my SP!) Ecoknits also stock The Nude Ewe, which sounds good.
I've never tried Ecoknits, so if you do let me know!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Support our Hill Farmers!

Today on Ravelry I followed a link to this article from the Telegraph about how last spring (2008) some farmers found it more economical to burn their fleece than to sell it to the British Wool Marketing Board.
It’s a travesty! I know that we can buy a synthetic sweater on the high street for £10 – or less sometimes, heck – I’ve done it! but there is nothing to compare to a real wool sweater.

You can see here what price the British Wool Marketing Board will pay for fleeces. Note that the prices are “up to” and not actual prices. That is the most a farmer will get for their fleece.
They also claim that “The British Wool Marketing Board operates a central marketing system for UK fleece wool with the aim of achieving the best possible net returns for farmers.”
On This page you can see that the average price that the WMB are selling fleeces for is 71.39 pence per kilo. They pay farmers a maximum of 58p per kilo (Cheviot) – so on average the WMB are making at least 13p profit on each kilo of fleece.
On the information provided for hand-spinners, you can see that a whole fleece varies from 1kg (Shetland breeds*) to 4.5 kilos (Wensleydale**)
I’ve managed to find the price list on the site...
For Shetland fleece I think that the WMB is making around £1.85/kilo for handspinners***.
For Wensleydale they’re making about the same - £1.86 by my reckoning.****
I’m sure there are overheads to be met, but the idea of a farmer making less than 50p per kilo of fleece does sound a little stingy. (That means for a flock of 100 Shetland sheep he might only make £50-100 per year for fleece, or for 100 Wensleydale sheep he’d get around £175-225 as they have larger fleeces)
Many farmers in the UK breed their sheep for eating, with the fleece being a bonus. However that bonus used to be enough to pay rent for the pasture on which the sheep graze. I doubt that this is covered at 50p per kilo.
The article I linked to above states ”The cheques they received for wool used to cover their rent. Now it's almost worthless because fewer people want woollen products” - I’ll repeat that - fewer people want woollen products. This is not a good state of affairs. Synthetic fiber is usually a polymer – it’s made from oil basically. Nylon, for example. We made nylon in Organic Chemistry lessons. (In this case Organic means that it belongs to a family of hydrocarbons to which methane, ethane etc belong to, not grown without chemicals) I confess, the sweater I’m wearing today is made from 17% Nylon and 83% Viscose. To manufacture viscose you need Methane. I'm cross with me.
But woollen garments are so much nicer! They are warm, breathable and envirnmentally friendly***** So, in the words of podcaster Brenda Dayne, if you’re cold, put on a sweater. That’s what they’re for. And I’ll add, make it a woolly one, if you possibly can.

Lastly, we need to do something to get our famers a better deal on the price of fleeces – whether that’s buying fleece direct, or simply getting them a better price from the WMB? Many years ago dairy farmers started making ice-cream from milk that the Milk MB told them to pour down the drain – perhaps we can do something like that?
Come on people, support the farmers!


* Shetland yarn is quite well known, check out Jamieson’s for example where 100g of dyed Aran weight is £4.50.
** Wensleydale yarn is nice, and has a beautiful lustre – check out Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop (very nice people)
*** Assuming that fleece bought by WMB at 45p/kilo and that I get an average (1.5kg) fleece.
**** Again fleece bought at 45p/kilo and assuming I get a 4kg fleece this time.
***** Some might argue that they’re not environmentally friendly because of sheep-farts. Some might argue that they’re not because of the processing of wool. I’d bow to the processing argument, but I am talking about hand spinning here too. once you have the spindle or wheel there aren’t many production costs – except cups of tea in my case!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Forgive me for I have sinned...

...I cast on another project at the weekend.

Excuses:
  • I wanted a quick knit so that I could have something finished to make me feel better (it’s not finished yet)
  • I have to get something made very soon for my Secret Santa (well, for the end of November...)
Okay, I only have those pathetic excuses. I am weak. Anyway, the offending item should be finished in a couple more days. I can’t say too much about it because it’s for my UKarma (Rav Link) Secret Santa Giftee. I’ve also bought the gift for that now, almost within the budget. So, only the edibles to add.

This weekend we went to Masham, and from there on to the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop. Seriously – go there if you’re in the area.
I noted, before we left for Masham (another nice town, go there too) that there were no opening hours marked on the website. I thought that maybe they wouldn’t be open off-season. And certainly not after 4pm (we arrived at about 4:15 or so). Not so! The lovely owner (possibly Ann) opened up the shop especially for me - talk about service! So I got some lovely goodies. One is the aforementioned gift, so no piccies, and a poster of British Sheep Breeds (!!Wow!!) and a book about sheep. Lastly, a big ball of Wensleydale sheep wool top. Ready for spinning. Woo!

I have made some progress on the spinning front, but I have decided that the red/red/orange doesn’t go with the purple/pink I already spun. So I still need to find something to make with that. Perhaps I could use it for trim on something. I’ll think about that.

Anyway, I realise that I haven’t treated you to any pics of the latest FO, so here are:
The Ladybird socks:
Ladybird Socks 3
More here

Friday, October 17, 2008

SP12 Parcel 3 - the Reveal!

Parcel 3 Goodies Tada!

Here's the parcel my SP12 upstream has put together for me for the third and final instalment of SP12. Can you see all those goodies? Can you?

Wow, so where to start. There's oooooooodles of yarn, but I'll leave that for a moment.
There's (top left) a beany sheep, who is so cute! I was very excited to see her!
In the middle of the picture you can see a badge with balls of yarn on. Very cool. I'll be wearing that for the knitting & stitching show, along with my Ravelry badge.
Above that you can see a felted bowl (which rocks!) and a tube of beads which I hope to make into something nice - I don't know what yet.
To the far right you should be able to see a sock-in-progress tube (with my current Noro sock in already!) - My upstream kept the other one of the pair - as I would have in her place. Who needs two sock-in-progress tubes? I only ever have one pair "in transit". Well shared, pal!

So, the yarn... There's some lovely cotton in plain and striped pink (bottom right)
There's some lush sock yarn from Hipknits (bottom centre)
There's... Llama Yarn This "Llama Yarn" - which isn't made of Llama, that's the company name. After a look on Ravelry I think it's probably banana silk. Banana Silk! I've been dying to get my hands on some of that for an age! Woo!
Last, but not least: Alpaca Lace This is alpaca lace. I did some hunting on Ravelry again, and I think it might be Mama Ocllo. It's lush in any case. I'm already trying to decide what it aught to be... Ice Queen? Wisp? or something else?

So, Thank you for all of the parcels, Mazzam! I love everything from all the parcels! I just have to figure out what to knit with all this yarn!

Also, if you'd like to check out my downstream, I've been spoiling Kayb.

I've really enjoyed SP12. If you fancy playing in SP13, head over to the blog. I'm not playing - it overlaps Christmas and I'm not organized enough to manage SP and Christmas!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Stop Casting On!!

It’s been a while. Not so long, but longer than I usually leave between blogging.
This is mostly because I have completely failed to upload any pictures of my completed socks, or my sock in progress. I’m a bad blogger.
So, what’s going on with me? Not a lot really. I’ve been looking at and queuing lots of lace projects. lace is nice, it looks complicated and often isn’t as complicated as it looks. Sometimes it is complicated too though. I’m getting better at reading my knitting, which is an important part of knitting lace. I think I might have to be brutal with myself. I have quite a few projects on the needles, and I need to get some of them finished. So, I’m thinking about not casting on anything new until I have finished what I have on the needles at the moment. Brutal, no?
What do I have on the needles?
Noro Sock Noro Socks - these are getting my “at work” knitting time, as they’re the most portable of my projects. If I stick to my not casting on, then once these are complete I will have to bring a different project to work! I really like these so far. If I remember when I get home I’ll switch the picture to be one of the actual socks!
Clapotis - there are 8008 Clapotis on Ravelry, and it’s in 4213 queues. It’s a beautiful scarf/shawl thing, and there’s so much scope to make yours a little different than everyone else has. Mine is using sock yarn, 237 of those on Ravelry come up when you search for “sock” in the Clapotis category. I really must take an updated photo. This is getting most of my “sofa” knitting time, as it’s simple enough for me not to go wrong while engrossed in something. Also, things like the Vice Presidential debate are made more interesting by knitting along! clap markers
The remaining projects I find I spend less time knitting on, and these are the ones I want to concentrate on before I cast on something more.
For Mum Cardigan for Mum - I really do want to finish this! It’s a cotton yarn, which I don’t enjoy working with as much as I do wool. The lace pattern is simple and effective, and there’s no side seaming, only seaming on the sleeves. What more could I ask, really? Branching Out 1 My First Lace - or not, really, because I’ve finished lace socks now. This is really pretty, but as with all scarves (except for Clapotis, so far – touch wood!) I’m bored of it before it’s long enough to even think about casting off. Tut.
Sudoku Blanket. Yes, it’s still here, still technically on the needles. I think I need to find a pattern that I like for the next eight inch square, as the one I’ve been working on is not as nice as the first one was. Since I have to knit 9 of each pattern I’d prefer it to be a pattern I don’t hate! Crochet Squares (bag?). I started this because I didn’t think I’d be able to knit on the plane on the way to France. They way it’s going, I’m not likely to do any more on it until I next get on a plane! No, really though – it’s just basic granny squares which I plan to sew together into a bag. I haven’t decided how many squares yet.

I promise to be a better blogger soon! Proper pictures and stuff. Honest!

Oh - by the way - notice the new layout of the blog? I finally figured out how to make the page wider (call yourself a programmer???) so yey! proper tables, pictures at full width, the works!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Too Funny

I have to share this Yarn Harlot post with you all.

I'll have some completed sock pics for you soon.

And oh yes, I'll be looking to get in on the sock-foisting (next post)... Now, where might I find someone eligible...?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Tea

A thought for the day:
If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you. Gladstone, 1865
So go on, put the kettle on.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Power of Love Knitbloggers...

Check this out:
A Community Fibre Farm needs a Tech Makeover.

To be honest, I think they're as worthy as anyone, but I voted for them because I love the idea. Someone owns a farm, but people own the wool before it's even fleece, never mind if it's spun yet! What a great idea!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm Spinning Around...

(Guess the artist?)

So, I counted the number of lengths in my mini-skeins of the pink stuff and measured around my elbow (the niddy-noddy I used was my arm! I will use my new wooden one [niddy noddy, I don’t have a wooden elbow], but it needs sanding and sealing first).
I worked out that I have about 53 yards of it. I haven’t figured out the wpi yet, but it’s not even anyway. For Calorimetry I’d need 93 yards. So I’m 40 yards short. And that’s assuming that I get gauge. Which given that (without measuring) I think I have some bits that are about 4ply/sock weight, and some that are Aran/Worsted! I’ll let you know what it averages at!

So, I have three choices:
1. Spin another 40 yards of a contrasting/matching colour.
2. Make something different with this yarn (but what?)
3. Keep this yarn as some pretty but unused handspun and move on.
I’d like to make something with it, so I guess I’ll have to work out what the wpi are. Even if I only make a coaster in the end, it will become something. I don’t like the idea of yarn that isn’t meant to be knit!

I feel a little like I’m being unfaithful to my knitting when I spend time spinning! I do enjoy spinning though. It takes a little more concentration than knitting does at the moment, but then I haven’t had much practice with the spinning. I love the spindle I bought at the spinning class we had. I’m also still Andean plying most of the time. I’ll have to put a nostepinne on my Christmas wish-list (although I’ll also have to recommend a place it can be bought from!)
I haven’t spun all of the pink that I got ages ago. The original plan was to spin enough, thin enough, to make socks with. I don’t know whether that’s still my plan. I’ll have a look at what I already spun and decide from that I think. I have 100g in total, though I am not even half way through the first 50g bag.

I’m thinking of spinning this one: Bonkers Fibre 1 as it comes, and plying it without regard for colour repeats. So I should get a variegated heathery type yarn. I think that will be nice. With this, also, I haven’t the foggiest idea what I’ll make!

I don’t like to talk about work on my blog, which is why no details about the job thing. (I get whiny, or rant a lot, and there’s no need for it really!) Suffice to say that it’s a difficult time and some people are doing a lot of soul searching.
In the dream situation I would own an angora bunny farm, or possibly alpacas. Alas, that’s not to be, not right now anyway.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spinning...

I've been spinning... Handspun 1
Pretty? I think so.
This is from the fibre that my SP12 upstream sent me in package 1. It's come up really pretty! I'm thinking now about what I could knit it into.
I'm not sure if there's enough for a Calorimetry but I might try that...


Oh, and I do still have a job.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Something Old, Something New...

I've cut my hair off. more new hair
And I've finished Storm.

On Monday, I'll tell you if I have a job or not...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Secret Pal 12 - Final Question of the Week!

If you were told you could never again buy yarn, what would your last yarn purchase be?
Never again buy yarn? That would suck. I guess I would buy as much undyed sock yarn as I could! At least that way I could feed my sock habit and also have fun with colour.
If you were told you could never knit again, what would be the last thing you’d knit?
I’d knit one of those “wedding ring” shawls, they’re so delicate – so the tale goes – that they can fit through a wedding ring. It would be ever so complicated, and take many hours to make, so my last ever knitting would last a while. Also, once finished it would be a wonderful heirloom.
In a given year, how many times do you buy yarn?
Too many?
Less than once a week, probably on average about once a month? < br /> Possibly more. < br /> Faster than I knit it!
And what is your favourite place to buy yarn from? A festival? A shop? Online? Dish your favourite places!!
Ooh, anywhere. I like to buy in person for the feely factor. But once I know I like a yarn I’ll buy it from where it is cheap or where the customer service is good. I like festivals (not that I've been to many) because of the range, and independent dyers!
Lastly, with Fall in full swing in many areas, what is the one thing you look forward to most?
I don’t like the cold, so Autumn is when I start to feel a bit gloomy. But, I revel in the fact that I now knit! I’m looking forwards to knitting myself (and one or two select others) lovely woolly knitted things. It starts to feel like Christmas is on its way too (seriously, my local supermarket already has Christmas Puddings on the shelves!) and I both like and dislike Christmas. I like spending time with family (mine and OH’s) and I like relaxing in front of a Bond movie on Christmas day!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Too Cute

Like Doggies?
Like Felting?
Like Cute?
Go Here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Random Weekend

On Saturday we went to Harrogate, mainly so that OH could have a haircut. I decided to book in with the same lady so I now have new hair too. Hmm. I’m still not sure if I like it; sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Still, it’s shorter. Which is good.
I got a reasonable amount of knitting done on the train there and back and also while waiting for OH. I’ve got about 15 rows left on the “Sock Putt” socks. Then I’m experimenting with a stretchy bind-off from Interweave Knits. If it works, I might have to un-bind-off the other sock and re-do it the new way.
I also did some shopping and bought prezzies for my sister ready for her birthday next month.
Sadly, there are no yarn shops in Harrogate. Well, I say “sadly” but it meant that I didn’t spend a fortune!

So, I’ve shipped my final SP12 package today. Hopefully there are enough clues for her to guess who I am. I’ve quite enjoyed this round so far. I am not sure whether I will join in the next one – it depends on when it is I think. This one fell quite nicely for me with regards to holidays, finance and life generally. Also, I’ll be getting some news from work next Monday which might change everything. My department is being restructured. It’s a good thing for the business, but it means that things will be changing, including my job. But we’ll see – I’m not worrying about it; it would do no good to worry about it, I’ve done all I can.

I also have a package to collect from the post office. I suspect that it is the Niddy Noddy that I ordered from Forest Fibres on e-bay. Actually, they’ve been really good at Forest Fibres, there was a delay with the shipment of Niddy Noddys (customs I gather) and so it’s taken a while longer than expected to ship it. They’ve kept me informed through the process, and have responded to my emails, which is always good, and they’ve even offered me a discount next time I buy. Which I will be doing, next time I want spinning supplies of some sort!

On Sunday I went to “Range”. I intended to buy some wire cutters for jewellery making, but it’s harder to find them than you think! So, I ended up with some more heavy duty ones for now, plus quite a few beads and things. I’m wearing a bracelet I made right now! I’ll take a photo later.

I don’t think I mentioned that we’ve had to split the hamsters up. Aran and Rowan don’t get on, so we now have two cages. We already had two of most other things (bowls, bottles etc) and now we have two cages, two houses, two chewy logs (well, one cut in half with a junior hacksaw), two wheels, the works. They both seem much happier now, no more squeaking. Aran still runs around his cage quickly and Rowan potters around more sedately. They both like the wheels, though Rowan doesn’t run so fast, he prefers to eat!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meme about music

Saw this on Knitting and... and thought it might be interesting.

A.) Go to musicoutfitters.com
B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year
C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate - I came to the conclusion that the American Billboard Chart - sucks.

So, I thought I'd have a dig for a more interesting year/date.
I was going to do the UK top 40 for December 1981 (when I was born) but they were all a bit odd (the birdy song?) so I looked up what was in the chart on my 21st birthday
I've bolded the ones I like and struck through the ones I hate...

1. Will Young, Leave Right Now
2. Ozzy & Kelly Osbourne, Changes
3. Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules, Mad World
4. Black Eyed Peas, Shut Up
5. Shane Richie, I'm Your Man
6. Darkness, Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)
7. Westlife, Mandy
8. Gareth Gates, Say It Isn't So
9. Bo Selecta, Proper Crimbo
10. Girls Aloud, Jump
11. Idols, Happy Xmas (War Is Over)
12. Katie Melua, The Closest Thing To Crazy
13. Cliff Richard, Santa's List
14. Simply Red, You Make Me Feel Brand New
15. Outkast, Hey Ya!
16. Evanescence, My Immortal
17. Cheeky Girls, Have A Cheeky Christmas
18. Kevin Lyttle, Turn Me On
19. Atomic Kitten featuring Kool & The Gang, Ladies Night
20. Dido, Life For Rent
21. Christina Aguilera, The Voice Within
22. UB40 featuring United Colours Of Sound, Swing Low
23. Sugababes, Too Lost In You
24. D-Side, Real World
25. Busted, Crashed The Wedding
26. Blue featuring Stevie Wonder & Angie Stone, Signed Sealed Delivered I'm Yours
27. Ultrabeat, Feelin' Fine
28. Fatman Scoop featuring The Crooklyn Clan, Be Faithful
29. Ja Rule, Clap Back / Reigns
30. Nelly Furtado, Powerless (Say What You Want)
31. Madonna, Love Profusion
32. Lemar, 50 / 50 / Lullaby
33. Big Brovaz, Ain't What You Do
34. Lost Brothers featuring G Tom Mac, Cry Little Sister (I Need U Now)
35. Alicia Keys, You Don't Know My Name
36. Britney Spears featuring Madonna, Me Against The Music
37. Alex Parks, Maybe That's What It Takes
38. Delta Goodrem, Not Me Not I
39. Michael Jackson, One More Chance
40. Daniel O'Donnell, You Raise Me Up

Monday, September 15, 2008

Can't think of a clever title today, sorry.

I’ve had a very creative weekend. Sadly, I’ve only photographed the dying that I did (see this post) so you can’t see the pretty yarn that I’ve spun from the fibre that my SP12 sent me in the first parcel And it seems that I’ve totally failed to photograph the fibre beforehand too. I’m a bad Blogger.

However, I have photographed my progress on the Clapotis Clap Which is a nice knit. it is using all of my stitch markers though! I knit quite a bit of this once my arm was tired from spinning, while watching another instalment from my Sharpe box set.

Also, on Saturday I discovered a new (to me) bead shop in town called “Bead Hive”. It’s such a fun shop. I spent more than I should have in there already, and I’m already planning on going back! I made something from one of their kits, which is nice but a bit jangly for me. I’ve also made something secret, which is a simple big-bead on a hemp thong. Lastly I fixed the Nevada turquoise pendant that my parents brought me back when they were in Nevada.
While doing that I learned a great deal about the “findings” required for such things, as well as finding out that my round nose pliers were a bit iffy and OH’s wire cutters are completely rubbish. So, I plan to get some nice jewellery wire cutters. I might not replace my pliers yet, they’re coping as long as I’m not daft with them.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Whoops! I did it again...

(Bit of a theme goin on with my recent titles, no?)

Next Generation
This one is called "Next Generation" and was originally Blue Faced Leicester from Bluefaced.com

But today, I've been practicing spinning, and now I'm going to spin some of the stuff my SP12 sent me to see how it goes and to hopefully then knit into something, eventually.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Somethin' Kinda Ooh

Or possibly not, I just have that stuck in my head. Probably after reading that there’s a new GA single due out soon. (The Promise, out on the 27th October)
I’m not ashamed to admit that I like cheesy pop. I am the sort of girl that hits the dancefloor when the DJ puts Britney, Kylie or such like on. I’m the one who knows the dance to the Macarena (so sue me) and Gimme Some, and wig-wam-bam, umm…
Anyway, GA are one of my cheese-of-choice pop groups. But you could have guessed that, right? I have the albums, they’re a long standing Christmas list item. Since their new album is out in time for Christmas (It’s not named yet, but I’m sure it’ll be out for Christmas!) then I’ll be hoping for that one.
Sadly, there isn’t much other proper girly pop out there at the moment. Come on Kylie, we’re waiting. I was hoping that Britney’s recent upturn (cleaning up her act and such) might be leading to a new album on her part. We will see. I do quite like some of the stuff in the charts now (well, that was in the charts last time we were in the car listening to the chart show – is it even called that – on Radio 1. must have been at the end of August)

My boss has commented that I don’t wear much hand-knitted clothing, considering that I knit. I’ve found that to be an interesting comment. I don’t wear a lot of hand-knits, it’s true. This is because I can only knit so fast, and a lot of my knitting time is spent on socks. Or for some bizarre reason, scarves! I am currently wearing (and enjoying) my urban vest Urban Back Although not with that shirt under it. I’m wearing a nice green striped long-sleeved t-shirt and blue jeans. I feel comfortable, and warm! I do hope to knit some more cardigan/sweater/tops for myself, but I am otherwise occupied at the moment:
  • Ravelympic Socks - yes, still working on these. I have about 60 rows left of the leg, which at 70 stitches per row is quite a bit of knitting. Still, they’re going to look fantastic! I love socks. It’s quite a slow pattern to knit because of all the purls. I tend to try to avoid purling on socks if possible…
  • My First Lace - the branching out scarf. I’m pretty bored of it, and it doesn’t have a deadline. So it’s pretty much just sitting by the bed for when I forget to bring other knitting with me. Shocking, I know. And the yarn is so pretty and soft. Travesty. Perhaps it’ll get sorted if I do another “February is for Finishing” next year?
  • Not more socks? - the plain old vanilla sock pattern because the Ladybird colourway doesn’t need anything else to look pretty. It’s a good tired project, and probably good for watching movies I’m actually interested in with.
  • Cardigan for Mum - as chosen by Mum. The yarn is cotton, which feels weird when you’re used to woolly yarns. It’s nice though, and the lace pattern is pretty so far. I’m unsure about the moss-stitch for the top half and sleeves, and I’m thinking about substituting some stocking stitch instead. I know the gauge for this will be different though, and the drape… I think it might be nice though, and a much more pleasant knit! It will change the look of the cardi though.
  • Clapotis - this is the “everyone knits it” item for knitting. Clapotis was published in Knitty in Fall 2004. It’s by Kate Gilbert, who is possibly one of my favourite designers at the moment. It’s a scarf/shawl and is knit diagonally, so self-striping yarns make the pattern look really cool. I’m not using Worsted/Aran weight yarn though, I’m using sock/4ply yarn from NDS. That means that it’s a slightly different beastie. It looks lovely so far, although I haven’t yet dropped down any stitches. The NDS yarn helps, I think, as it’s sort of striping, but not. I’ll take a photo at some point to show you.
So, perhaps when that lot is finished, I can get on with the many other things I want to make, which currently stands at a list of 97 items. Oh dear. Including 36 pairs of socks. Hmm. I have enough sock yarn for 26 pairs, assuming that I can get one pair from a 100g ball. Still, I’m not buying more until I have knit more. Or I get to the Stitch n Craft show in Harrogate, by when I will have knit more anyway.

Monday, September 08, 2008

News!

Lots of news!
In fact, there’s so much news, I’m going to split it into more than one post!
That way, you can read just the bits you are interested in.

Over on My Knitting Blog, there is a post about my dying exploits. I had a lot of fun at the weekend experimenting with Kool-Aid, food colouring from Supercook, a steamer and some yarn. Here’s a link to the actual post.
Also, I finished the Urban Vest

But, here’s the news that more of you will be interested in:
On Saturday we gained two new additions to our household. I’d like you to meet:

Rowan
Rowan and Aran
Aran
Yes, OH allowed me to give them knitting names, though they’re proper boy’s names too. They are beautiful little dwarf Russian (or Campbell’s) hamsters. All five that were available to choose between were of this colouring, the same as Aston was. We chose the two who were most interested in getting in to the random cardboard box!
Rowan and Aran
Now, to tell them apart, Rowan has darker stripes down his flanks than Aran, and Aran is a little smaller than Rowan. Aran also squeaks, a lot.
We’ve had a look in the book, and he’s behaving in a way that the book suggests means that he’s afraid. He tends to lie on his back with his paws in the air and squeak.
I already love having pets in the house again. We’re not tidy enough to have anything that can roam free, and although I love bunnies (and guinea pigs, but less so) and we could replace the shelving unit with an indoor-rabbit cage, it would be quite expensive. So perhaps not yet. Hamsters are a good size for taking care of, they’re portable enough that we can take them with us when we visit places in the UK, and also portable enough that we can take them to visit friends if we go out of the country.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Colour me 22p

I’ve bought some food colourings. I bought red, blue, yellow, green, pink and black. I decided against natural yellow and natural red on the grounds that they were 80p more expensive. The good news is that Supercook food colouring is only 22p in Morrisons, except for blue and black which were 27p. That’s wicked cheap, if you ask me. When I’m allowed* to buy more yarn (tee hee) I’ll probably get more for dying, but as it is I have only the 400g cone (which is where I’m beginning because it was cheaper) and one beautiful skein from Bluefaced.com who were at the Natural Dye Studio open day. So, I’m just waiting on the Niddy-Noddy. Sadly there are stock issues, so it’s not going to ship until next week. I’m prepared to wait. Well, I might wind 100g off the cone and turn that into a skein by some other means. Just so I can have a go. I’m very impatient.

I’m not sure what colour I would like to make my first hand-dye skein of yarn. It’s a tricky one. My favourite colour is pink (who would have guessed) and red comes a close second. However, red-and-pink together might not work so well. Perhaps I could put blue in between them, that might work better. I guess it all depends on how long the repeat is, which depends on how long the skein is. I can see myself wrapping this yarn around my craft table, for long repeats. I’m going to use cling-film to protect my nice craft table. I’m also going to put something down on the floor (newspaper, if we have any) to protect against splashes. I should invest in some paintbrushes perhaps. Having seen Fyberspates’s Jen using a paintbrush with great success at the NDS Open Day (anyone else think I got a lot out of that day?)


* It’s only me stopping me from buying more yarn. I have plenty. Not SABLE yet, but certainly getting there! I must learn to knit faster.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Not more socks

I definitely have not cast on another pair of socks. Certainly not, I haven’t finished the current pair yet.
Okay, I confess, I have cast on another pair of socks, and not just so I can cheat my yarn diet. I’ll have to actually finish them before I’m allowed more sock yarn.
I’m making some basic socks with some self-patterning yarn. It’s the ladybird from Opal that I mentioned before.
So far, I like it. I’ve done ten rows of k1tbl, p1 rib and three rows of plain old stockinette*. I have less than a full ball (only 94 out of the original 150g) but I’m confident that this is enough for some socks. The difficulty comes in that I prefer to knit cuff-down socks, so I’ll have to guess whether I have enough yarn, and risk having to frog an entire sock. I have split the yarn into two 47 gram balls though, so I’ll only have to do this on one sock. I think that the foot (including toe) must take about the same amount of yarn as the heel, leg and cuff. So if I can decide how much yarn I think the heel takes (perhaps by percentage of stitches or something) then I could use that to calculate how long to knit the leg. Or I could guess. In fact, I probably will just knit til I think it looks long enough.

In other news, I’ve finally got around to ordering a niddy-noddy. I found one on ebay for a reasonable price. It’s an Ashford one. Once that has arrived I plan to skein my cone of 4ply undyed lambs wool into four 100g skeins (approximately) and then it will be ready to dye. That said, I don’t have my Kool-Aid yet. However, I’m considering having a go with food colouring instead. There’s a good tutorial here, at knitty.com specifically about dying with food colouring, and this one contains loads of information about colour theory, what is in food colour and how it works. It is very interesting. I’m hoping that Supercook food colouring will work just as well. I might have to use a steamer as my heat source too, which could make a difference... I’ll document the process, and if it all goes well, I’ll put a “how I did it” on here.

* My spell checker tells me that stockinette is not a valid word, but I’m not sure that I like Microsoft’s spelling of stockinet. So I looked it up on Dictionary.com, and sure enough there it is, spelled stockinette. So I have now added it to my MS dictionary. The spellchecker doesn’t like niddy-noddy either, but is fine with Kool-Aid.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

It goes on

I keep saying that I’ll blog when I get home so that I can put pictures on.
And then I have other things to do, or get home at silly times.

Last night I was at Brigantes again for Stitch n Bitch, Knit n Natter, or whatever you like to call it. it was good fun, and I got quite a lot of the Urban Vest done. I’ve finished the collar now, I have the sewing up and arm-cuffs left to do. While I don’t enjoy sewing up, it is a means to an end. And I am far to excited about the possibility of wearing this sweater that I will finish seaming it tonight. (I thought about doing it before work, but then had to accept that it would take longer than the 10 minutes I had spare. So I just prepared it.)

In an effort to use up stash, I’m planning some new socks. I’m going to use the Opal 6ply Ladybird that I got from the UKarma swaps forum. Rainforest I’m considering doing just plain socks, though I would prefer some pattern to keep it interesting. I don’t know if the patterned yarn would be interesting enough (I suspect so, I have the attention span of a three-year-old full of e-numbers – Ooh! Pink! Ooh! Cream! Ooh! Black spotty bits! Ooh! Pink! Ooh! Etc.) and as this is 6ply, it’s nearer to DK than to 4ply weight, so I’ll only need 56 stitches (perhaps). I’d quite like to make something Jaywalker-like, but I’d like less ziggy I think. (it’s not a solid striper, which I think I’d prefer for my next Jaywalkers) maybe something with eyelets on it in a pattern – or would the pattern be obscured by the yarn? I could make something monkey-like (I liked the monkeys), but I’m not sure that would be good with the stripes. Which brings me back to just plain old vanilla.

However, I am still knitting the Sock Putt sock. It doesn’t seem to go very quickly. Every time I pick it up I like the yarn and I like the pattern. But it’s so slow! I think it’s because when there’s a lot of purl stitches, and a lot of knit stitches, then you spend a lot of time moving the yarn around into the right place and not knitting.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm not 21 any more.

I have learnt something.
Last night we went out for a leaving party and I had quite a lot to drink.
I learnt that I can still drink like a student.
This morning I also learnt that although I can drag my sorry ass out of bed and into work, I don’t recover from drinking like a student like I did when I was a student. In as much as I groan a lot more, need more cups of tea and succumb to bacon-sausage sandwiches.
Oh well. Live and learn, I’m not 21 any more!

I’m still knitting the things I have been knitting for what seems like ages.
I keep having new ideas though.
I’m designing a new pattern! It’s for a neck-warmer, and it’s going to use this yarn. Pink stuff from K1 This is lovely stuff, I bought it from Ysolda herself at K1 in Edinburgh. It’s a lovely shop, and I managed not to be starstruck. In case you don’t know who Ysolda is, she is a designer in the knitting world. She’s designed some lovely things, I have a sweater of hers in my queue (Snow White, Rav Link) and she’s made some adorable stuffed animals. Anyway, the yarn is Orkney Angora St Magnus D.K. I’m planning something with lace or cables and buttons. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Otherwise, the socks are still going, slowly. It’s the whole second sock syndrome. Interestingly I only seem to get this with socks for OH. It’s probably because with the cuff height that he likes and the fact that he has quite big feet, there’s an awful lot of stitches in these socks. However, the yarn is lovely, the pattern is interesting enough without being complicated. It’s just a lot of stitches!

Lastly, as a reminder to myself, I’ve been touting around for some yarn I’m looking for intended for my secret pal. These three were helpful on Rav:Yarn Yard, Freyalyn on Etsy and the ever lush Violet Green
(I know, they are mainly trying to get my custom, but I know that and I don’t mind if they provide what I’m after!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

SP12 Q of the week – w/c 25th Aug

Service Announcement:
Sorry, I know the blog is chocka with SP12 stuff at the moment. Normal service on the blog will resume once normal service in my real-life has resumed.
Thank you.

What is your proudest knitting moment?
Well, after my first garter-stitch scarf (which I knit way too wide!) and bag (another square) I decided to branch out into something more interesting. I picked up a “kit” for making a massive throw, which is still technically on the needles. I’m mad proud of my first socks, which are here: Pair o' Socks again It’s a plain sock pattern with the coolest yarn I could find at the time. It’s Opal Feelings 1702. Although there are holes where I picked up the heel flap, I got confused and decreased every row on the toes, and the cast on is a little tight as I only knew how to do one kind of cast on, I love these, my first ever socks. They’ve allowed me to go on to knit lots of socks!
Earl Grey SocksAnkh Socks 8
JaywalkerMonkeys 1

However, I’m also proud of my first ever sweater Manly 1 This was for my boyfriend. He was very patient as I cast on in December 2007 and didn’t finish until July 2008! However, he’s worn it more than once since then, despite the sleeves being a little longer than he would prefer! I think it looks great on, and that’s the thing that makes me proud of it, it’s wearable!
Hopefully I’ll be really proud of loads of other finished objects to come too!

I’m also proud of myself every time I learn a new technique to make my crafting better. I was really pleased when I learnt a different cast-on to use on sock-cuffs, making them stretchier. I was really proud of the cabled scarves I made at Christmas. I was proud of myself when I made a mistake on the monkey socks, realised I couldn’t live with it, dropped the stitches down a couple of rows and fixed it without having to tink or rip-back!.

What is the one thing that you can’t get right?
One thing I can’t get right? Hmm, that’s tough! I bought some cotton yarn and tried to knit a lace cardigan for my Mum (she didn’t know about it, thank goodness). It was hideous yarn barf. I made mistakes, I hadn’t learnt how to decrease in pattern, I didn’t swatch – basically I did everything wrong! But, I’m putting those demons to bed as I’ve cast on for – you guessed it – a lacy cardigan for my Mum! This time I have slightly more forgiving yarn (still cotton, but much softer) and I have pre-read the pattern. I understand what I have to do. I still didn’t swatch, but I can live with that.

If we’re talking about areas to improve in, though, I can talk about that!
  • Learn to knit faster. I know this just requires practice (and an easy pattern) but I’d love to be able to finish a pair of socks in a week. It takes me about 3 weeks, or more, at the moment.
  • Read charts better. I can figure charts out, but I still like written instructions.
  • Design more, and better, patterns. I’ve butchered a basic sock pattern to make my own lacey sock pattern twice now, only one success. I am working on understanding how the patterns work for these things so that I can better design my own versions of them. That includes clothing, bags, socks, whatever I think of!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Secret Pal 12 Package 2!

I know I already blogged twice today, but I just had to post about my recent parcel.

My secret pal shipped this latest installment to me, and it arrived on Friday, but I only had chance to collect it today!
Secret Pal 12 Package 2 You might be able to see what there is, but here's the list anyway:
  • Sock Yarn from Cinders Knitting - isn't it fantastic colours? I'll have to try to find out more!
  • Yarn Harlot's latest book, "Things I learned from knitting..." - I've read the first couple of things, it's very funny!
  • 70% cocoa chocolate. Yum.
  • Some pretty and nice-smelling soap
  • and a lovely card
I'm really pleased with this package! The yarn and book are so fab, and I've already begun munching the chocolate.
Thank you Secret Pal, whoever you are. I'm still unable to decipher the return address, and my blog stats (yes, I looked in the end) are no help.