Thursday, 28 July 2005

You're It!

Lixie tagged me! My first time. ;-) I have to write down 5 personal idiosyncrasies, so here goes:

1) The drainer in the kitchen has to be loaded up right; if it's done in a particular way you can fit loads on. If it's not done that way, it really irritates me, and I have to move things to their "right" place.

2) Loo roll has to be on the "right" way round, i.e with the end nearest you (same as
Knitty Kitty). I feel so compelled to do this that I find it really hard not to put it "right" everywhere else I go.

3) First hot drink of the morning has to be regular tea. Not coffee. Not any fruit or herbal teas. Regular teabag tea. After that, anything else is fine.

4) I have to check under my duvet and pillow for creepy crawlies before I get into bed. Even if DH is already in bed, I still have to check my side and as much of his side as I can get without turfing him out. I have actually found creepy crawlies in there twice in my years of doing this.

5) Clothes washing has to be left to dry in the best way so as not to have unnecessary creases in it. I'm the same with this whether it's on the clothes line or over the radiators. I really have to grit my teeth and not look at it if somebody else has done it for me and it's all wrinkled! Makes sense to me as I hate ironing.

OK, so who shall I tag? Let me see... Goldthorn Girl, Scarletprincess, Guernseygal, Float'n'Purl, and last up it has to be Woolywarbler. Ladies, you're it!

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

The Angel Flies!

Yes, Angel is complete, at long last! Here she is, modelled by my eldest daughter (the recipient):

I'm really pleased with the final result, as is my daughter. The pattern (from the Pipsqueaks book) is easy to follow, and the Rowan Wool Cotton is gorgeous to work with - so buttery soft. We'll see how it stands up to life with a 6yo!

She also wanted to show off her new wellies - part of my huge order from the half pice sale at Next. Groovy huh?!

And WIPs? They're here too..

Clover Top - is still with the seaming team (I wish I had one of those). One sleeve is in (and fits beautifully) but gave me a headache to do; the silk yarn does not like being pulled hard and breaks very easily. I may revert to a different yarn for the rest of the seaming to save my sanity.

Cashsoft 4ply Scarf - is no longer. I swatched, noted, and frogged. It's still on my To-Do list, but will have to wait until the summer garments are finally out of the way.

Which leaves space for A New Project. :-) I've started the blue top on the cover of the June issue of Sandra magazine using the Presto yarn I bought from Wollywood in Germany. It's too early to photograph it, but the swatch looked lovely last night, and the yarn feels soft but kinda nice & crisp, a bit like the Linen Print . It's a cotton/acrylic/polyester mix, so practical rather than delicate this time.

BTW fingers crossed for not too bad a night weather-wise - it's forecast to be really torrential rain all night, so I'll have to check that there's nothing of great value at ground level in our garage tonight in case it floods.

Finally would you all please mentally send lots of good health wishes to my youngest daughter who yesterday had a hospital visit for oxygen, a nebuliser, and antibiotics, due to breathing problems caused by a chest infection. Hopefully it'll clear up within the next couple of days. No underlying asthma flare-up this time, but always too scary.

Monday, 25 July 2005


I was soooo cold this morning, and this afternoon I had to try not to snooze at work in the warmth. No wonder I've had a horrid summer cold since last week. The weather here is not wonderful for July. I know lots of friends who have gone on holiday in the UK this week; I hope those who are camping don't get washed out! Fingers crossed it'll improve as the week progresses.

Despite the weather, and my health, the knitting is coming along nicely.

My Clover silk top now has a eyelet edged neckline and 2 sleeves, and is awaiting seaming.

Angel has a lace edging actually sewn onto the body. Yes, you read that correctly. I accomplished this long-awaited task during a fab Knit Chat this Saturday - thanks ladies! So now Angel just needs a buttonband which is I think approx 200 odd stitches long... Hmm, a minor final task..

And yes, I've started a new project. Or two.

I had to start the first one as it's a replacement scarf in the new Sirdar Fizz for a relative. I'm not really enjoying it but it has to be done. The yarn is fabulous to feel, but I'm just not in the mood to pull out the bits on each row of knitting before doing the next.

The second one I started out of frustration last night when I needed some knitting that didn't need to be groomed after each row. So I scoured quickly through my stitch directory, grabbed my bargain odd ball of Cashsoft 4ply, and began on 3.5mm needles. I'm thinking of a yummy cuddly scarf in Horseshoe Lace (aka fishtail lace) pattern. I'm still experimenting though; this morning saw 3.75mm needles with a view to 4mm and a decision to move to 4 pattern repeats instead of 3. If it looks good you'll see it here soon!

Today I also paid off my credit card bill; I've obviously had a good shopping month as it was fairly sizeable. I'm trying to clear it every month, but it's been a struggle this time. This means not only yarn diet, but shopping diet. That includes clothing, but excluding the NEXT sale order arriving over the next few days. That doesn't count 'cuz it's for my DH and my girls too. ;-) I guess the Filatura di Crosa Brilla yarn from Marchmoon and the Stop Print from Wollywood will have to wait. I. MUST. USE. MY. YARN. STASH.

Friday, 22 July 2005

Just One Thing

Yep, I'm sticking to my HipKnits silk top project like a.. like a... (let's be decent here) ..lid to a new jar of jam. It is progressing quicker, but it also means you only get pics of knitted-up silk in Clover colourway (sigh). A knitter's life is a tough one. So here they are.

The finished back, with integrated in mid-body shaping and that lovely eyelet edging. Ignore the dodgy side shaping; it's not really like that. I seem to have a talent for pulling pieces into odd shapes when photographing them.

The front, nearly done (again without that peculiar-looking side & hem shaping!)

One sleeve; I knitted this before anything else as I wanted to try out the edging over a smaller piece. So now just one more sleeve to go, definately less boring than two!

To be honest, this could have been finished by now, but I've been feeling too poorly to do much - including knitting (eeek!). It's only a summer cold, but it's really draining me, so much so that I've been going to bed early. The first part of this week it had got into my eye ducts, meaning my eye was swollen, bloodshot, constantly streaming, and sludgy in the morning. Nice. Made me feel quite like
this. Real attractive.

On a good note, I was pondering over the next project - as you do after getting about halfway up the first piece of the current project. I thought the
blue Sandra top would be a good idea whilst it's still (supposedly) summer. But to my horror, after checking all my stash locations, I couldn't find the yarn! I had ordered it from the yarn shop in Germany, received it and showed it off, and then lost it!

I decided that either I was being told that I should not be buying any more yarn, or the household gremlins had felt wicked and hidden it. It must be the latter of course. I was right, as yesterday I found it! It was tucked down behind the air conditioning unit which DH had moved into our bedroom when the hot nights started. Definately gremlins. I'd better start knitting it before they get hold of it again.

It's still a close call about the next project though. I've worn my
Peachy Bolero so much that I've already created a Knitware pattern for another using this DK yarn from my stash (note the halo). Can I get a bolero & a summer top both finished within the next month?

Anyway I'm off to knit - it's the last school day before the summer holidays, which means no more quiet Thursday & Friday mornings for 6 weeks - aarrrggghhh!

Monday, 18 July 2005

Back to nature

I don't know what's come over me the last few days.
We're always proud of the fact that our young children are happy to eat a wide variety of good foods (ok so I'm blowing my own trumpet there!), and tend to opt for a pretty balanced diet most of the time.
But recently I've gone health mad, well, nutrition mad to be precise.
Our shelves are now stocked with brown rice, houmous, rye crispbreads, and I find myself making much wider use of seeds, beans, and natural flavourings like ginger.
I've swapped a lot (but not all!) of my coffee quota for herbal teas - and enjoying them! I want to munch on organic carrot & celery sticks dipped in houmous. :-o
Yesterday morning DH made us a bacon sandwich - usually a Sunday treat - but afterwards I felt really stodged up and not good.

I really don't understand it. Is it an age thing? Or maybe it's seasonal, like SAD?

More importantly, will it affect my knitting? I guess I have been opting for more wide ranging natural "ingredients" there too; I bought the House of Hemp yarn & the HipKnits silk, I've been eyeing up the bamboo & soy silk yarns for ages, & I'm determined to get hold of some fabulous alpaca for a yummy warm winter sweater this year.

Maybe it's my age..?

Friday, 15 July 2005


Yes, it's stash enhancement time, courtesy of ebay again.

First we have a pack of Rowan Summer Tweed in Lilac. I've been intending to buy some of this for months, with the idea of making a duplicate of an old and much-loved sweater which finally disintegrated. It was a bought one in a similar yarn, which had a crocheted front and knitted sleeves and back. Quite plain, but very useful!
Only problem is, I've since spied
Dune in Rowan 33, and I love that too. Maybe I'll have to buy another pack!

Next up, 2 large packs of Jaeger Aqua, which will hopefully make for a good substitute for the Twilleys Cotton DK in Phoebe and Monika from the pattern book I've had for months.

Plus a new WIP! I had to start a top using my HipKnits silk in the Clover colourway. It was calling me day and night, and I simply couldn't wait any longer. ;-) It's quite a simple knit, created using my Knitware Sweaters program, with a lovely eyelet edging from Jane Crowfoot's book.

The last bit of news for today; we just ate a lovely dinner of oven-roasted breaded cod fillets with a potato and spinach salad made with the first crop of our own sugarsnaps, picked literally 5 minutes before being eaten. Deeee-licious!

Tuesday, 12 July 2005

Summer highs and lows

Yes, it's that time at last. The WIPs I've been threatening to finish have finally had their last stitch sewn, their last end woven in. So, in order of finishing, may I present my youngest daughter wearing her Rainbow in the Sky Crochet Poncho:

I'm happy with this as it fits her beautifully; she thought it was going to be the same size as her sister's, i.e. a little too big for her. Plus I didn't get hung up on the fringing this time as I remembered how painless it was when I finally got round to it last time. ;-)

And next - it's a Peachy Bolero! I stayed up late last night to finish it as I wanted to wear it to work today:

It's this first time I've made a bolero type cardigan, and I'm real pleased with it. The Linen Print feels lovely to knit with and even better to wear. The sizing from my Knitware pattern came out exactly as I wanted, as did my front shaping which I basically guessed by eye and marked out on the pattern front.

I'm a happy bunny; 2 FOs in 1 post. Pardon? What about Angel? Well that would just be too much. ;-) I do have to keep a little seaming on the go, otherwise I'd be able to knit all evening. And that just wouldn't do would it?!

As for the weekend, it was packed full of events. The main one was the local City Show which we visited on Sunday as it's within walking distance form our house. We walked around for 3 hours with the girls, but still had to go home before seeing everything as my youngest daughter had a party to go to.

The show was very family-friendly this year (unlike previous years) and much extended. We even saw our butcher there who was in a tent with other local butchers showing how to dry-cure bacon, make sausages, etc!

Then we spotted a farmyard animal section, which of course had masses of sheep with a demonstration every hour of them being sheared! Sarah Beth was going to ask if she could have some of the fleece - did you manage to get hold of any? There was also a huge tent with loads of sheepskin rugs dyed some wonderful colours (my favourite was a deep rich purple.)

It was glorious weather, really hot and sunny, and has been since. Only one problem - yesterday I saw the first dreaded wasps of this summer in our garden. I can't begin to explain how much I hate wasps. I've had 3 horrible stings (ok not many but they hurt!) so far; check out these weird scenarios:

1) Stung on the palm of my right hand at the base of my thumb by a wasp which was sitting on the washing line (eh?) while I tried to grab the washing as it started to rain; how swollen do you think my hand got?! That critter escaped too..

2) Stung on the back right side of my neck at the top of my shoulder multiple times in one go (grrrr) by a wasp which managed to get stuck in my hair (which was tied back in 2 bunches at the time!? Go figure!) whilst in the fridge section of a small local supermarket! I had to flatten that beast against my neck by hitting it repeatedly with my hand before it would stop stinging me. The other shoppers thought I was having some kind of fit until they saw my neck..

3) Stung on my left calf in bed at 5:30am by a wasp that had crawled under the duvet and sat on my leg, then stung me when I moved in my sleep - aaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh! DH squashed that evil monster double-quick.

Now can you see why I hate them so much? I have no problem with bees but wasps are in a different, evil league. Well who's idea were they in the first place?! I think I may put up half a dozen homemade wasp traps around the garden very soon, and I even have muslin and stick-on velcro to make window & door screens so that we can get some air without inviting in masses of wasps. We had no less than 3 nests in our house when we moved in 10 years ago, and had to get Rentokil in to get rid of them. Now there was a brave man!

Anyone else had any horrible stings?

Thursday, 7 July 2005

Chugging along

I'd just like to say first, thanks for all your good wishes for my nephew. He's doing well, and went home today! Also my migraine is in it's final stages, so I'm feeling a lot better today; it's been a stinker this time!

It's a very pictoral post today; starting off my one of my favourite plants in my garden, the astrantia bush. These flowers are wicked; I love the unusual shape and the colouring. I may have to get one of the pink variety too. They're very easy to grow and take little looking after - that's my kind of plant. ;-)

Here (at last) is a quick shot of the rainbow & sky blue crochet poncho for my youngest daughter. I thought I'd better get one up now as it's nearly finished! I've made this one slightly smaller, and it feels like it's taking a lot less time than
the last one. That's probably not true; it's just that I want to start more projects!

This lovely little sample is of
Sarah Beth's handspun acrylic. She brought some round a couple of nights ago, and I have the priviledge of knitting it up and washing it to give it a test run, and then pass my comments back to her. Isn't it fab?! I adore the colours. I've never been a yarn tester before!

My peachy bolero is also nearly finished; just a little seaming and edging to go. Karen asked about the shaping leaning the "right" way; you can see from this photo compared to the back before I frogged it - look at the shaping on the left and hopefully you'll see a difference! This is achieved by decreasing using K2tog (knit 2 together) on the one side and k2togtbl (knit 2 together through back of loops) on the other side. Just don't ask me which is used for which side cuz I can't remember! You'll soon see when you try it.

So how do you like this little number? It's the clasp I bought from
ebay (of course!) to go on my peachy bolero - that's the idea anyway. I also found some fab ones at
Bead Addict which are lined up for a purchase soon I feel!

And here is Angel, looking very erm.. punk with all the safety pins holding the edging on. Yes, more seaming to do..

You know, the number of my WIPs is finally, really, going down..!

One last thought regarding events in London today: it never ceases to horrify and sadden me how much pain and suffering we so-called intelligent human beings cause each other.

Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Of babies, migraines, and seaming

As promised, here are a couple of pics of my new nephew, James. These were taken on Sunday when he was just 1 day old:
Baby James
What a cutie!

Who could resist a cuddle? Not me!

I've had a pretty poor day today as I had to come home from work early suffering from a migraine. I haven't had one for a while, so I guess it was on the cards. The visual disturbances are quite amazing but very annoying. I can see properly now, but I still have a cracking headache on the left of my head, so I'm taking it easy.

As for knitting progress, I'm being very disciplined and actually finishing my peachy bolero before I start something else! I've done half the seaming and sewing in ends, but couldn't resist starting to do a crab stitch (reverse crochet) edging. I'm really pleased with it so far, so pics to follow when it's complete.

I'm also romping through my youngest daughter's crochet poncho as I want to get it finished for her. When that's done, I really should get around to edging my crochet cardigan; I was horrified to realise last night that I actually started this in April 2002! Oh well, I guess it was a long-term project. ;-)

Sunday, 3 July 2005

New arrival!

What a mad weekend. On Saturday morning I received a phone call from my brother saying that his first baby has arrived - 5 weeks early! Welcome to the world baby James! He weighed in at 5lb and half an ounce, and has dark hair, and the bluest eyes. He's sleeping loads, and is tiny and gorgeous.

My brother needed a hand as they had just set out to shop for all the baby essentials when his partner went into labour. So I spent a wonderful 3 hours yesterday morning in
Babies'r'us buying everything needed for now, including a moses basket, baby monitor, travel system, nappies, sleepsuits, breast pump, bedding, etc, etc! I loved it, and my brother was very grateful as he hadn't a clue what to buy. :-)

I went to see them tonight in hospital, and James is beautiful - pics to come soon, once DH has fixed the floppy drive. Good job I got that baby blanket finished early!

We spent the weekend at my in-laws as it was their 39th wedding anniversary. We've had a great time relaxing, swimming at the local baths this morning, lots of eating and drinking, etc, etc. No knitting; I've finished all the knitting for my peachy bolero and re-knitted the shaping on the back as I realised from the
last photo that the shaping on the left side was leaning the wrong way. I've started the seaming, but didn't really feel like I could do that justice whilst we were away this weekend. Instead I've made progress on my youngest daughter's crochet poncho in rainbow and sky blue, as requested. Pics soon!