Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Time to hibernate........

More FOs this week. This is the delightful Mr Smith. (Whimsical Little Knits 2, Ysolda Teague). He's actually part of a Christmas gift for a certain little girl so he's been put away in a dark cupboard to hibernate for a while.

Maisy loves him so much I suspect I will have to knit a whole family!

This is the Icing Swirl Hat also from Ysolda in Whimsical Little Knits. This was the project that the pattern and yarn were bought for whilst at Iknit and cast on immediately. I had to do a little tinkering with the pattern to get the right degree of slouchiness but I really like it on. I knit it magic loop so I could try it on as I went, it's such a great technique, I wish I had learned it years ago. Excuse the odd photo (and the multiple chins) but it was a self portrait taken in front of a mirror. The idea was so that I could see what it looked like at the back.

It is full enough at the back so that I can wear my hair clipped up underneath it, exactly what I had envisaged.

I am at least a third of the way into the Cinnamon Latte shawl now and it too is knitting up very nicely and after a years dormancy it is actually knitting up pretty quickly.

I really have to get started on Christmas knitting now as I have all sorts of great ideas but in practice I don't have the equivalent time to produce the finished goods! Maybe the intended recipients will be happy to get their Christmas gifts at Easter this year?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finishing and starting

I have finished some projects, hurrah!

The lovely Angee from Cookie A Sock Innovations, knit in Trekking Pro Natura. I love the way the mock cables "pop" in this yarn and so comfy too. I think the bamboo helps.

The equally lovely (and knit by thousands) February Lady Sweater. This is knit in New Lanark organic DK. Whilst it feels a little coarse to touch it softens beautifully when knit and more so once washed. I used a 2 colour design as I thought Iwould not have sufficient of the darker colour, however it used so little yarn in total I probably could have made it all one colour after all. My good friends tell me, however, that it is lovely as it is. I certainly love the way it drapes and it seems to flatter all shapes and sizes. Technical notes: it's a top down knit in one piece so no making up at all. Perfect for those of us who hate seaming and with the bonus that you can try it on as you go to make sure it's the size you want. The FLS is modelled by Maisy as I really can't abide seeing myself in photos.

I have also finished the Icing Swirl Hat by Ysolda in Whimsical Little Knits (1). Book and yarn bought at the IKnit weekender in London (more of which later). In the pattern photo this is a slouchy pinwheel style hat but when knit in Manos Del Uruguay Classica in shades of red (mmmm) it came out like a beanie! So a little tinking and adjustment to the pattern was required otherwise it would have been an ultra fast knit. I love the finished hat and as I knit it magic loop I was able to try on as I went to ensure I got just the right slouchiness. It's going to get an awful lot of wear this winter. I knew the yarn was perfect for me, after I had bought it I looked inside the label and the name of the maker turned out to be....Karen!

I have made good progress on the Milkweed shawl and have about 10 rows to go, but my, those rows are getting awful long now. It's definitely a project that requires a lot of concentration so my work on it is limited to when the house is a no-child zone (not often when there are 3 of them).

Paul's Cauchy socks have been put on the back burner a little as I have rekindled an old flame in the form of the Cinnamon Latte shawl. Dormant for a year, I found this project at the back of the stash cupboard and fell in love with the pattern again. Now that I have joined the border and picked up all 576 stitches in the round, it's going swimmingly.

What should I tell about the IKnit weekender (11-13 Sept)? After a 04:30 start on Friday Mhairi, Kimmie and myself arrived at the Royal Horticultural Halls before the doors opened at 10:00. We made a pledge to not buy anything until we had been around the market hall once. About half way round the resolve had seriously diminished. However the number of stalls had increased significantly over the previous year and we felt we should continue around and make sure we had seen everything before unleashing the credit cards.

After that 1st once round we were shattered and rather overwhelmed with choice so lunch and a fortifying cup of tea followed. It was beautiful weather so we ventured outside to a local deli, delicious!

It was quiet in the hall on the Friday so it was very pleasant to go back and start the decision making about what to buy first and second and third and....well you can imagine. We stayed on for the party even though we were propping our eyes open with matchsticks by that time and we were so glad we did as we got to enjoy the extraordinary and amazing performance by Gaggle. This was a choir that was so unlike any choir I had heard previously, with all original pieces (one of which was tailored to suit the knitting/crochet audience to hilarious effect) and wonderful voices in a fabulous acoustic setting. Really, truly memorable. Bed called after a quiet meal in the hotel.

Saturday we were up early as we all had classes to attend, Mhairi took Estonian knitting and Kimmie and I took Toe Up Socks with Yarnissima. Once we had got the cast on sorted (about 3 attempts each!) the sock was knit quickly and completed in the 3 hour class. Now I confess I have not turned into a speed knitter, the entire sock only measure 3 inches! But what a wonderful way to learn this technique, I will be having a go with the next pair I cast on, might even try 2 at a time!

The afternoon was very relaxed with more shopping and lots of knitting in great company. In the evening we went to The Hope and Anchor, a GastroPub within 5 minutes walk of our hotel on The Cut at Waterloo. If you find yourself in London, I can heartily recommend this place for the finest meal I have had in many years. The staff, the ambience, the food and of course that Damson Gin were outstanding.

On Sunday we found our way to Socktopus near the King's Road where, after a massive brunch at Megan's, we enjoyed the Old Maiden Aunt trunk show. Lilith for those who don't know OMA has a studio in West Kilbride, not 30 minutes from my own home. But that didn't stop me acquiring the beautiful Lon Dubh from the Homecoming Collection. Lilith has a wonderful eye for colour and I am hoping that I will be able to attend one of her dying workshops very soon. Alice at Socktopus stocks a fabulous range of artisan yarns and I couldn't resist a few more purchases whilst there.

My tally for the weekend was:
1 Zauberball
2 Alpaca/silk skeins from the utterly lovely John at Easyknits
1 skein Japanese silk with Nepps from Knitwitches
1 skein Manos Del Uruguay Classica
1 skein from Old Maiden Aunt
2 skeins Chameleon Colourworks
4 skeins Artist's Palette Buttersoft DK
1oversize Toft Alpaca Ash button
A slection of beautiful buttons from Textile Garden
A little pot of red dye from Helen Deighan's Dyes
3 cards from Tillyflop
Whimsical Little Knits 1 and 2 from Ysolda

Restrained? Hmmm I thought so at the time but it does look quite a lot when written down.

On other news Maisy began school, half days initially and now full time. I am so happy that she absolutely loves school and can't wait to do homework in the evenings. She looks so grown up in her uniform with her little tie and blazer. Brings a lump to my throat most days when she goes into school. She takes the school bus home now and is becoming so independent, something I don't feel quite ready for.

And finally:
Congratulations to my lovely daughter Rhona who has been awarded a certificate of Prestigious Merit at school
Good luck to Andrew who begins his BioMedical Sciences degree at Strathclyde University next week

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I have been busy, really...........

I have just noticed that I haven't blogged about knitting recently and it's not like I haven't done any, so this blog is dedicated to recent work.

Well apart from a brief update about Once A Sheep, the shop. Basically there is no update as I still don't have a property. The unit I particularly want is still under offer and I am awaiting a decision from the landlord. So back to the knitting.........

Paul's cousin's wife has had her baby, a girl called Lois. Lovely name and a bonny baby too, all 10lb 6 oz of her! I had knit a wee cardigan for her

but after finding out her birth weight I have quickly knit up a second cardigan a wee bit bigger. Both are knit in the same Patons Smoothie DK which is so lovely to knit with and feels just like bamboo without the "give" and best of all it's machine washable. I'll be sending these off along with the baby pinwheeel blanket featured a wee while ago.

My brother and his partner and daughter came to visit for a week recently. I realised (too late) that I had not knit anything for Ruby Rose (two and a half years old) so began what I thought would be a quick knit stocking stitch top down cotton smock, Heidi from Yarn Forward. However with 180 odd stitches it turned out to be quite full and has taken rather longer than anticipated. Only the second sleeve to complete now and I can send this one off too.

My June socks were completed in time, though only just and whilst I loved the finished look of them I discovered on Thursday that I had made life very hard for myself by misinterpreting row 7 of the pattern Duh! I think I will knit these gain and compare the correct version to my "designer" version! The photo was taken late at night in bad light, Stephen I am awaiting your photograph which should be much better. These are Kai Mei from Cookie A. Sock Innovations.

I completed my July socks (in the sock a month challenge on Ravelry) which was the Switcheroo sock from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarns. I didn't continue the pattern onto the foot as I was afraid it would be uncomfortable in a full shoe. The lovely yarn is Natural Dye Studios CHI socks in Sweet Violet. I really like the way these came out. I have used Magic Loop for the last 3 pairs of socks I have knit and love this technique. I think I will give two at a time a go next time. I haven't cast on any more socks yet as I'm trying to finish some UFOs this month.

Talking of which, I am still knitting the Milkweed Shawl in Fyberspates Unicorn yarn. I am about halfway through but put it aside for things with immediate delivery deadlines. This is an easy pattern written in charts and in full which is great for those of us with chart blindness. It is knitting up very pretty but I will save the photograph for when it is finished and blocked.

I also completed, a little while ago (but failed to blog), another unicorn project, The Crest of the Waves scarf. Another very easy pattern and I'm looking forward to some cooler weather so I can wear it out!

And finally Carrie helped me to learn how to crochet a couple of weeks ago and I jumped in feet first and joined a CAL (crochet-along for the uninitiated). It's the Posy CAL designed by Queenieamanda of Natural Dye Studios. I think I may have over-committed on this one and rather than a shawl I might be aiming for a hankie just now!

p.s. sometimes I hyperlink to Ravelry, only members can view Ravelry but I can highly recommend a (free) subscription.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A trip doon the watter

Last Saturday a few of us went on a fabulous knitting trip on the Waverley, the world's last ocean-going paddle steamer. The forecast was for "dreich" weather so suitably dressed in jeans, long sleeved tops with waterproofs we headed down to the Custom House Quay in Greenock.

Of course the sunset the night before should have given us a clue as to the real forecast. Red sky at night etc....

Kimberly and Lewis treated us to ice creams on the quay whilst we were waiting with the sun blazing. Here's Carrie (suitably dressed!) discussing Kimberly's Kai Mei socks.

Then the Waverley appeared puffing down the Clyde from Glasgow.

Here's Val under steam (well she wasn't personally under steam but you know what I mean), look at that sky, no rain in sight there!

We soon passed by the ill fated Captayannis, a sugar boat holed and sunk in 1974, we got quite a good view of her as she lies on her side on a sandbank. We stopped at Helensburgh to pick up some more passengers and headed off to Dunoon.

In Dunoon we picked up Sandy and Ali and as we set off again, we all opened up our picnics for lunch. It was so hot by this time that we were having to strip off our outer layers and slap on the sunscreen. But we weren't complaining!

After a further stop at Rothesay to pick up more passengers we headed through the Kyles of Bute toward Tighnabruaich.

The Kyles act a bit like a wind funnel so it was a wee bit breezy but as we rounded into Tighnabruaich the wind dropped, and we were accompanied to the pier by some beautiful local boats.

It's so pretty here, if a little bit remote.

We stopped for an hour or so and walked into the village for a nice cuppa tea! Meanwhile the Waverley steamed off for an hour's mini cruise to raise funds for the pier association.

On the way back much knitting, chatting, cake eating (of which no photographic evidence I'm afraid) and general hilarity!

And here's a gratuitous engine shot for those of you interested in old steam engines!

We have decided, despite the sunburn, that it will become an annual event so all aboard for next year's trip!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When you're tired...........

you just have to sleep. After a busy day with friends, what's a girl to do?

Monday, June 15, 2009


We all had a fantastic day at Carrie's on Saturday for WWKIP day. Carrie is a wonderful hostess, a fabulous cook and great company. (And Abby is just gorgeous, more of Abby in a mo!)

It started out a little grey and so we sat indoors

knitting and enjoying a beautiful lunch of grilled (barbecued to us Brits) chicken, home made Quiche, fried sweet potato and butternut squash (my favourite) and a pasta salad with roasted veg. Mmmmm.

The weather brightened and became very sunny and warm so we decamped to the more "public" back garden and variously knit or spun whilst we tucked into dessert and homemade lemonade or tea. Look at the height of that cake, another masterpiece from Carrie. But just who was it that got the first largest slice?
You know who you are!!

And this (still huge) slice was mine alongside the white chocolate mini cheesecakes made by Kimberly. I followed this with a slice of Moira's mums Early Grey tea loaf (gorgeous!) So no diet on Saturday.

Necessity being the mother of invention,

Carrie improvised a great table for the garden, can you tell what it is yet?

Who's that looking uber cool and stylish in her new sun hat? Long time no see Sandy, so nice to catch up again, hope that leg clears up really soon.

Gotcha Moira, I know you hate being photographed but I finally caught you!

Mhairi and Kirsty, sisters, enjoying the sun!

Innes, getting to grips with her new camera before getting out her wheel and spindles for an impromptu lesson.
The gorgeous Abby joined us outside and was very taken with Kimberly, particularly her necklace and her......nose!

(photo is a bit blurry as I was laughing so much)

I had a thoroughly great day and spun quite a lot of my cherry alpaca

that has been sitting waiting for me to get back my spinning mojo.

Thanks Carrie!

On the "Once A Sheep" front, they say no news is good news but I still have no news on the lease (aaargh!) but I do have a viewing on a second property so there is still another possibility. I'll keep you informed!

My Iknit weekender tickets (Sept 11-12)

arrived along with my pass to two workshops "Socks Upside Down" and "Adult crochet" (that's crochet for adults by the way not the more lurid other possibility!) Really looking forward to this as I can't make Woolfest this year.

Meanwhile we have been busy in the garden and now have a (rather large) new deck,

patio and paved and gravelled area. It's not quite finished as you can see

so I am hoping for more good weather so I can get out and do the finishing touches. We also spent all of Sunday building Paul's new workshop. It turned into a bit of a marathon session and we were both suffering with sore backs by the end. But it is all finished and just needs filling with all of Paul's "best tools".

Mum and dad arrived back from their Balkan cruise on Saturday with gifts of some absolutely fabulous fibre from Estonia (weird how the fibre smells different to British sheep?) and some gorgeous sock yarn from Finland.

Looking forward to working with both of them, though not at the same time as enjoying the litre of Absolut vodka from Sweden!
Thanks mum they are lovely xx

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sleep deprivazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I am tired.

So tired!

I'm not sleeping well, lying awake 'till then waking again at 5 a.m.

It's making me forgetful and disorganised, which is pretty worrying as I only have half a brain anyway with the rest given over to mashed potato.

Why am I tired?

I have a major project on the go, really major, life changingly major! I have finally decided to commit to opening a LYS. (Local Yarn Store to the uninitiated.) This means I have a gazillion things to organise and money to find from, well, nowhere really. A store wasn't in the budget until a few weeks ago. There is one minor, teeny weeny fly in the ointment, I don't have my premises yet! I am waiting to hear whether I have been successful in obtaining the lease on my preferred premises. I really, really hope so. I have my heart set on it.

The best part has been searching out suppliers and choosing who would be a good fit for the feel of the place that I would like. Can't wait to start placing orders so I can touch and feel all that lovely yarn and fibre.

Who could want more than to spend each day, every day in pursuit of their hobby?

With all this tiredness though comes a downside, less knitting. I pick up my needles and I'm off to slip in a jiffy. (Maybe I need to pick up the needles at 2 a.m.!) I have finished my first sock from Cookie A.'s new book Sock Innovations. Here is Kai Mei. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino.

Not awfully well photographed as it was a "self portrait" late at night. I'll do a better shot once they are both complete. If you like socks, do look at this book it's fabulous, I like every single pattern even if a couple of the charts give me the heebie jeebies! (Do check the errata online though, as with all new books the proof reading is rather lacking - can you tell I'm a proof reader too?)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Didn't we have a lovely time...........

Isn't this what summer is all about?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The longest sock I've ever knit

All 5kms of it! Well I suppose, strictly speaking, the sock isn't 5km but that's how far I walked with my Gourock SnB friends whilst knitting at today's Race For Life.

I had to learn Magic Loop (thanks Kimberly for the last minute lesson) so that I could walk without the fear of dropping my DPNs. Turns out I really like Magic Loop and it's so fast too, well it has been so far on this vanilla sock at least. I'm using Meilenweit Mega Boots which is knitting up really nicely. I haven't done a plain sock since I first learnt to knit socks and strangely I am really loving this sock.

The day was great fun including the warm up aerobics complete with knitting, thanks to the nice man who held on to me as I almost fell (I didn't want to let go of the knitting you see).

This is where Kimberley dropped a stitch whilst negotiating a particularly tricky aerobics step!

We were really lucky with the weather which was bright and dry without being too hot, though the ground around Eglinton Country Park was still pretty muddy in parts. There were only a few casualties (dropped stitches) and we finished the course still knitting. (Kimberly, Rhona and I brought up the rear, Marion had Pete the dog and he wasn't hanging around for us and Mhairi had been told she had to win the race by her youngest son so she had to make it over the line before us!)

I managed to raise £185 against my target of £100 so I am very grateful to everyone who sponsored me. Perhaps by next year we'll be able to run whilst knitting! I wonder how much you would all sponsor us for that?From left: Rhona, me, Kimberly, Marion, Mhairi

On to more sedentary knitting. I completed a pinwheel pram blanket for Paul's cousin's baby when it comes. I'm pleased with the way it turned out and will definitely do it again. It's knitted with Adriafil Ice Cream which is 80% wool but so soft and snuggly.

I finally blocked Paul's Flaming Filey and finished it, he likes it so that's a good sign. Maybe he will even wear it.

My whirlpool socks are destined to be frogged the swirl pattern is pulling too tight and I don't like the way the beads sit. You can see what I mean! The yarn is far too lovely (Cherry Tree Hill) to be used on socks that I won't wear.

The sock started on RFL is now finished and I have started on its partner.

I have also finished knitting a square for Sandy's Stitches on The Bridge panel, but had to frog it twice to get the proportions right. It should only have taken an hour but actually took three! (Sorry no photo before I passed it on to Mhairi for her square).

Finally I have made a little more progress on my Unicorn scarf but I think I already mentioned the yarn just seems to go on forever so this could turn into a scarf Dr Who could be proud of.