Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Knitmas

I think my lot have finally cottoned (or yarned?) on that I'm a knitter and as a result 4 out of the 5 books I received for Christmas were knitting related - yahoo!

Mind you, I did do Mum's Christmas shopping for her so having heard a review on the Knitpicks podcast of No Idle Hands I decided I/she could buy that for me. DD arranged for DH to buy me books 2 and 3 in the Blossom street series by Debbie Macomber, as it was hard to tear me away from the first book, and he also paid for my subscription to YF, and finally MIL bought me the Yarnharlot book (though I do think DD had a hand in that too, bless her)
Then at our Lace group we have a secret santa - but instead of pulling a name out of a hat and buying for a particular person, as we are all ladies of similar interests, we each buy a gift pop it in the sack and take turns at 'lucky dip', so how strange that I should get a scarf!

No, this isn't a knitted flying saucer

it's a beret for DD,

we went up to London yesterday intending to have a nice long walk - but I can't remember when I was last so cold so we shortened it a bit - anyway having got completely frozen DD actually asked me to make her a hat!!!!! So I let her loose on Ravelry to find a pattern and she came across A Country Beret I only had one ball of suitable yarn (Jaeger natural fleece) and much to my surprise she liked it! So out came the needles and the beret is now blocking on a dinner plate, with fingers crossed that it fits.

Monday, December 15, 2008

He sees you when you're sleeping...

He knows if you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So you'd better be good for goodness sake.....

You'd better watch out, You'd better not cry,
You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why....

Santa Claus is coming to town!

(with apologies to everyone who now can't get the wretched song out of their heads)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Slowly,slowly, Continent'ly

Having just read

I just had to knit the Baby Blocks blanket that was used for the beginners class in the book, so I grabbed some inherited yarn in a bright colour (this will be for the Baby Pack Project so I think cheerful is better - I love the idea of a little coloured babe wrapped in a bright blanket) and cast on.

Now I have finally got to the stage that I can no longer kid myself that knitting is not affecting the speed at which my RSI is healing, I have a special vertical mouse at work, weekly physio and daily exercises but though improving I have hit a plateau, So.... I have decided rather than give it up completely (even the thought makes me quiver) I am learning to knit continental style to see if that will help - the theory being less repetative movement of the right hand should have an effect. As you can imagine, it is a bit of a challenge after nearly 40 years of english style knitting - but it is coming..... slowly.

(Incidentally the little dots on the blanket aren't dirty marks! they are different coloured slubs, red, yellow and green - but for some reason they will NOT come out on the photo)

I have also finally got around to mounting the little sock decorations on to cards for my 'Lace friends' but managed to seal two of the envelopes before I thought about taking a photo - duh! Still, I was quite please with the result and am already thinking what I will do next year (provided they go down ok, of course!)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Children in Need

If you donated to children in need last night, then there is just a chance that we may have spoken. My company was one of the contact centres for donations and I was lucky enough to have the chance to man the phones.

Our office was decorated to within an inch of its life and fun was had by all. Management were co-opted to serve refreshments, clear rubbish and run errands, we had a couple of clowns who came around to 'entertain' though probably the most entertaining bit about them was when the one on stilts couldn't get in through the doors! The fire brigade came in to encourage, hand out food and drinks and parade round the room with posters telling us how much our call centre total was until they had a shout and had to drop everything (but not quite as much as some of the ladies would have liked!!) and dash off.

And as if the enjoyment wasn't reward enough we each left with a little 'party bag'

Though it was really good, it was a long day - I had been on the phones in my own job for 7 hours then for Children in Need for 6, so to the lady to whom I said I was processing her claim (rather than donation) - I do apologise, my brain had gone onto auto pilot and it was past my bedtime!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wear your poppy with pride

Based on the downloadable pattern from Knitonthenet in aid of The Royal British Legion, I wanted something smaller than the original design, so I adapted the number of stitches and rows, and didn't 'stuff' the black centre as I prefered it flatter.

I wore it to work today and received many nice comments (and several quizzical looks from the youngsters). With the exception of scarves this is the first time I have been brave enough to wear one of my 'creations'.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Little Brother

Having decided I needed to use smaller needles for my next comfort doll to get a better fabric for stuffing, I ended up with the first dolls little brother

DD had started this one and has a much looser tension than me, so despite trying to take this into account when changing needles, he still ended up with baggy trousers! (actually I quite like them)

Also off the needles is my Pi shawl, just needs blocking now - if the weather ever cheers up enough for anything to dry I'll do it, but in the meanwhile here is an unblocked picture

I tried several different lace borders, but after knitting, frogging and reknitting umpteen times I still couldn't find anything that looked right to me so eventually I settled on EZ's garter stitch with semi icord, which does the job - though I'm still not 100% convinced.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Time Thief

There is a time thief in our house, I swear there is, he is usually only about in the mornings before I leave the house, (and for some strange reason on a Thursday evening making me late for the Lace group) but over the last few weeks he has been working full time! I meant to post after Ally Pally, but he stole my spare time, I meant to post before I went away for the week, but he did it again, and I was intending to post as soon as I got back, but, you've guessed it, I've been back nearly a week and lo and behold, he's still at it. However, I've fooled him this time, I WILL update my blog - and he can nick the time from something else instead!

Well Ally Pally is old news now, I had a great day, all by myself, it's my day out, I pleased myself and didn't have to feel guilty going back for a second (or third) look at the same things. I didn't buy very much just a couple of balls of sock yarn to add to those I already had to make Kaleidoscope some Serenity in black for Wicked and Elizabeth Zimmermans Knitting Around, which I have been eyeing up for ages.

The following week we went up to the Lake District to stay in my old bosses cottage, unfortunately the weather was a bit pants, and we got rather damp but it could have been worse (as it was after we came home with the Mountain Marathon having to be cancelled and all those runners having to seek refuge where ever they could)

We managed to catch a bit of sunshine, and appreciate the gorgeous autumn colours, but boy was it cold and the wind........ Oh and that isn't usually a lake to our left - it's a field

And as the week wore on, the continuous rain meant that there were quite a few impromptu fords, and the Lakes became rather full, to overflowing

Erm, where does the lake end and the road begin?
Thank goodness for the shrubs!

The upside of the bad weather was that we often went out in the morning then came back for lunch and to dry out, and spend the afternoon relaxing and watching the wind and rain from the comfort of the arm chairs, so needless to say, I was happy, plugged into my iPod catching up on podcasts and knitting away

Not much by a lot of peoples standards, but I was pleased to have completed another hottie cover , (I followed the pattern exactly this time, and DD immediately claimed it) and a Comfort doll for icross. The four little socks are for Christmas tree decorations which I will attach to cards to give to my "lace friends"

Sunday, September 28, 2008

And there's more...

to make the total up to a dozen.

Using odd yarns just to see how they come out.

Not sure if I will be making any more, they were fun but I feel like moving on now. I have gone back to my Pi shawl, only 8 more rounds and the border to go, but it's a long way round. I'm also trying to get a piece of bobbin lace finished for 'Show and tell' next week at my Lace group not to mention plenty of walking practice - yes I do know how to walk, but for some inexplicable reason when asked if I would take part in a 22 mile walk at the end of November, the word 'Yes' came out of my mouth! I know I can do it, but with training it is going to be a lot less painful.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Everybody's at it

I know all the world and his uncle are making little hats for Innocents big knit but I just wanted to show mine.

DD made the pompoms and I added the hats using odments of acrylic, far too small for anything else. Having made a few stripey ones I decided to try a stitch pattern or two, wasn't quite so keen on the Mini bobble stitch - (purple one on the bottle) as it didn't stand out very well, but I am rather pleased with the Knotted Openwork (from The Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches)

I have plans for a few more using weird and wonderful yarns - funky fur, unidentified fluffy stuff etc. These little devils are addictive.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ready for winter

I've been a knitter for nearly as long as I can remember, but over the last 30 odd years there have been a some breaks and a few years ago, after a one such hiatus I spotted a stripy Hot Water Bottle cover in a sunday supplement for some ridiculous amount of money and thought ' I could make one like that' and I did - and hey presto I have been knitting again ever since. Well that cover is now well and truly worn and I've been meaning to make a new Hottie bottle cover for ages, had the pattern printed off for months, but it took the knitalong over at CT'n'Y to get me going, and once I had it didn't take long. Made in unknown inherited aran weight yarn, I'm all ready for the cold weather now.

I adapted the original pattern to make the opening at the bottom rather than the top since I fill my bottle from the tap and regularly get it wet in the sink, I needed a cover I could slip on and off easily, (wet covers are not nice - believe me). So I only knitted half the rib at the top and sewed it closed, and added a flap and buttons to the bottom.

Any Sherlock Holmes out there?

Yesterday at the Lacemakers group we had a collection of 'no longer needed' items available to take in exchange for a charity donation, and this caught my eye....

Sadly the label is partly missing but what is there says....
Full Set. Size 1

So I am guessing along the lines of The Universal (?) Knitting pins, Full Set Size 14 (since inside the wooden case are 9 steel 2mm dpns)
Unfortunately nothing is known of it's history and I'd love to know a little more about this set, especially how old it is, and what it's original use was (surely not 9 dpns for socks) so if anyone has any ideas or knows how I can find out I would love to hear.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Meet the twins

I always said that every little girl should have a rag doll to love, and over the years I have made quite a few for small female relatives and daughters of friends, I even made one for a small boy who was desperate to have a dolly of his own despite his father being adamant that no son of his was going to have a doll - I dressed it in a BRIGHT orange clown suit with fluorescent green buttons (well it was the '70s) and everyone was happy, especially small boy who took Clowny to bed for several years.
So when I heard about the Uthando project, well there was nothing for it but to get the sewing machine out, and may I present the twins.

The pattern was one I had kept from an old Prima magazine and the original clothes patterns were all knitted, so I got some paper, pencil and scissors and designed his trousers and her dress. I knitted the hair with loops for him (well, a little coloured chap has to have curly hair doesn't he?) and garter stitched the little girls hair then added strands which DD braided (her suggestion, which I think worked well).
All that was left was to choose names for the twins, so here we have

(meaning beautiful)


(meaning good luck)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

And I bought yarn

One of the prettiest places we visited on the cruise was Santa Margherita, and because the ship was so large, and the port so small, we anchored out to sea and took a Tender ashore.

We enjoyed a leisurely stroll around the streets and noticed this shop
which looked like a nice little place, and then I noticed something at the back of the shop through the window, and on closer inspection there seems to be a strange combination of goods for sale.
(DH was, at this point, a little concerned what our fellow passengers would think should they notice him taking a photo of ladies underwear!)
Anyway, DD and I just had to go in, all the yarn was in shelves behind or under the glass topped counter with no price labels or any details, and despite the elderly shopkeeper not speaking a word of English, and my Italian being limited to yes, no, please and thank you, we managed to establish the cost and explain (through sign language mainly) how many balls I wanted of what.

In real life the yarn is a little lighter, and to me reflects the beautiful colours of the seafront.

Don't cry because it's over..... because it happened

A very appropriate saying for our holiday (spotted on the blackboard outside a pub ) - we had such a great time, I really did not want to come back to reality. We've just come back from a fornight on this

P&O's new ship Ventura

Which was, to put it mildly, wonderful. When I first saw it in Southampton docks my jaw dropped and I wondered how on earth I was going to find my way around without getting lost - I even considered a wristband saying 'if found please return to cabin 503' but in actual fact I didn't get lost, even once - a little disorientated maybe, but lost - no.
I find it so relaxing on a cruise, no worrying about supermarket shopping, cooking, washing up etc, in fact the only problem regarding food is 'shall I chose this, or shall I chose that'. Plenty of time to read and knit (of course) and enjoy the entertainment - though it has to be said that of the 3 ships we have been on this scores lowest on the entertainment/activities/lectures front as there was little to appeal to us, but as far as the cabin went it was the best - and having booked before the ship was even built! we got a fantastic deal and could afford a balcony which was just amazing.

We went down the Med, primarily Spain and Italy where we saw

The leaning tower

The Trevi Fountain

and of course
ate Italian icecream

And one last picture - as DD says it is unusual for me to look so happy in a photo, but then again, sitting on the balcony watching the sea go by, with knitting, ipod and a drink by my side - it just doesn't get much better than this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ready to go

Well, I've got all the important bits ready. I've started the Pi Shawl and got it onto the smallest circs, so I don't have to do battle with the DPN hedgehog while I'm away and my cross stitch is there (not entirely sure the Titanic is the right choice of subject bearing in mind we are going on a cruise - but I certainly hope we don't encounter icebergs in the Med). I've downloaded the latest knitting podcasts and an audio book, selected my reading and with travel sickness pills and mint imperials I am prepared for the journey. All I need now is some clothes!

Back in a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A little cutie

It was such a lovely evening, and with DH trying to get himself organised for when we go away in a couple of weeks, and feeling the pressure of so much to do, I suggested we go to the local model club flying field so I could take some photos of his latest review kit, needed for his website. It is so peaceful there (if you discount the noise of the model aircraft that is) that it is no hardship.

There was only one other visitor there, and he looked so sweet the camera strayed away from the little red plane to photograph......

ps I did take the model pictures too

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Getting carried away

I don't usually get involved with anything political - though having met DH through Young Conservatives all those years ago perhaps I should as good things can clearly come of it. Mind you I only joined because I was pressganged by a friend to keep her company as she though it would be a good way to meet a man...she didn't....funny how things turn out. Anyway, I digress, it was more the humanitarian aspect of the Save the Children Knit One, Save One appeal that caught my eye, never mind Gordon Brown. If a couple of hours of my time could potentially save a baby's life by keeping it warm to help prevent pneumonia then I'd knit a hat, just the one, then I'd get on with my top. Erm, but it didn't quite work out like that. They were fun, cute and easy and I got a little carried away. I started thinking perhaps I'd try a different yarn, oh and there's just a little of that left which would look great striped with that one, and that stitch looks interesting on that cardi pattern, how would it work on a hat. DD didn't help, " there's nothing girly" she said so I had to knit a pink one, and a self striping pinkish one and so my one hat became....

and there is yet another on the needles - I think I may be addicted.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


This is what happens to a cat who likes catching moorhens but who loses his footing

And doesn't green muddy pond water smell!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

While the cat's away....

Modelwidow is going to teach herself to spin

Well that's the theory anyway. DH and DD have gone on their annual Daddy/Daughter trip to the Lake District to 'bag some peaks'* so I thought I would take the opportunity of time to myself to try something I've always wanted to do. I've read the book, checked out all the threads on the Crafty Threads'n'Yarns Forum and watched some videos on Youtube, so now it is just a matter of actually doing it. The yarn on the spindle was already there, spun by the seller to start me off.
Watch this space ( or listen out for the bad language as I discover why the contraption is called a 'drop' spindle)

And now for a Meme:

Sarah has tagged me for the Peeps I Want To Know More About meme so here goes:

The rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.
Here are my responses.

1) What was I doing ten years ago?
I was a stay at home Mum, DD hadn't long started school and we lived on the other side of the village. In May I would have been busy on my allotment much of the time and though I was going through a spell of not knitting (shock, horror) I had recently taken up Patchwork and Quilting, and was sewing clothes for DD too.

2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
3.Bobbin Lace
4.Visit Mum and Dad
5.Make Cauliflower cheese for tea with a cauli from Dad, cut this morning. The others hate it so I don't bother when they are home.
Yes it's all self indulgent - but then I am having a little holiday at home this week.

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Fruit, especially bananas, and chocolate of course, and if I am trying to be good, then Salt and Vinegar rice cakes.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Tell work what to do with their job naturally. Then buy a nice place in the Lake District, with cottages/accomodation attached so I could let them out, just to keep the £££'s topped up and give me something to do, and have my friends and family to stay in them (for free).

5) Places I have lived:
Tunbridge Wells in Kent, and 2 villages nearby - and Northampton when I was at college.

6) Jobs I have had:
Forecourt attendant (in the days when we served the petrol) Shop Assistant, Office Admin, Life Assurance claims assessor, Bank clerk and now Health Insurance Adviser.

7) Peeps I want to know more about:
This is the hard part, sorry Peeps - (only do it if you want)

* there are 214 Wainwrights (fells described by Alfred Wainwright in his guides), and some strange folk DH and DD included try to visit every one. DH has about 50 left to go, and DD quite a few more, but then again she is several years behind him.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Along the Thames

(Picture heavy courtesy of DD)
As a family we like walking, we also like London, so the other weekend we decided to combine the two, and DD took her camera along to take some different shots of well known places.
We started out by taking a tube to
The Millenium/O2 dome

and then made our way towards
Canary Wharf

It seems strange looking at it like this at the end of a road. We followed the Thames Path most of the time which takes you to
Greenwich Observatory

and through the Greenwich foot tunnel under the Thames which DD did not like one little bit, I have to admit when you are roughly in the middle it does have that damp cold eerie feel. On towards Docklands and
The Traffic Light Tree

I'm glad I was walking not driving - even though it is only for decoration I think if I came upon that in the middle of the roundabout it would throw me completely.
Further on, heading back towards Charing Cross we turned around to see
St Paul's Cathedral

The weather was perfect, warm enough to walk in T-shirts with just enough breeze to make it comfortable and en route we saw or passed so many other sites and things of interest, the Gherkin, the Cutty Sark (or what's left of it), some real Gin Palaces of Yachts in the docks, a Victorian Wooden boat waiting for the lock gate to get out into the thames etc etc, I could have made this the longest post in history, but all good things must come to an end and three tired but happy people made their way back to Kent, and of course DH couldn't resist taking this rather unflattering picture of the best way to pass time on the train.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I have been thoroughly spoilt

When I accepted Silvia's invitation to Pay It Forward I never expected to be this spoilt. Just look at this beautiful lap quilt.

I just love the 'rustic' look of this Rag Quilt (the name doesn't do it justice). The gingham is not the type of gingham I remember of school summer dresses, but much nicer than that, and the lighter coloured squares have tiny dots and little stars that complement the design so well.
I used to do patchwork and quilting several moons ago, but it is one of the crafts which have fallen by the wayside for me, and though DH brings me home a magazine each month, I read and wish but never make - now I have a quilt of my very own specially made for me.

And not only that, which on it's own is wonderful, but Silvia also included some of her gorgeous handspun BFL

I wish you could feel it, so soft and squishy. I'm going to have to find just the right pattern to show it off, but in the meanwhile, I'm happy fondling!
Thank you so much Silvia.

And now in the spirit of Pay It Forward :

The first three people to join the challenge on my blog will receive a gift handmade by me. I will have 30 days to make and send your gift. You must then do a post on your blog inviting 3 people to join your Pay It Forward and receive a handmade gift from you. Sounds easy enough right. The first three people who leave a comment saying they want to join will receive something made by me.

Please feel free to comment anyway, but if you would like to join the PIF please say, if you don't mention joining in then I'll know you aren't (iyswim - you have no idea how many times I have tried to phrase that so it makes sense. I hope it does because I have now given up trying!)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Keeping the postman busy

That's the trouble with having a couple of weeks off - easy access to the computer! Actually the first lot didn't cost me a penny because at work each time we achieve something we are awarded stars ( yes it does sound like school and no we don't have a star chart) They are saved automatically on a computer system and we are able to convert them to gift vouchers when we have accumulated a few. I decided to have Amazon vouchers and treat myself, and this is what I bought.

I have no idea who I will be making the Fleecie Pets for, I'd seen the book in the shops and fell in love with the little critters. I expect a lot of you will have seen 101 designer One Skein Wonders already, I just thought there were so many nice little projects in there ( having checked it out on Ravelry) and I wasn't disappointed. Trust me I'm a junior doctor is going to be a good read - I always read Max Pembertons column in the weekend paper, I do find his style of writing amusing, and this book is about his first year after qualifying. And finally, as I've read some good things about Diva's don't knit I thought I'd give that a try too. The CD which just would not be photographed is by Savage Garden cos it was only £2.98 and I like two of the songs on there - I don't often buy CD's but at that price...... Not a bad little selection for free, considering I earnt my stars simply for doing what I consider to all be part of my job anyway.

Then I noticed that Kemps Wool shop had a sale and having been eyeing up Sirdar Ocean for a while, when I saw it for £1.50 a ball I just had to buy some. I've been a good girl, I knitted a tension square and washed it too before I cast on

and whilst I was there I spotted this gorgeous coloured Cotton DK from Patons and since it only increased the postage by a few pence it I couldn't resist buying some for Soleil from Knitty

And finally, just to show I have been doing some knitting as well as buying here is my latest charity knit

Using stash DK and 8mm needles, it knitted up quite quickly and is drapey, but I didn't enjoy making it and won't be using that needle/yarn combination. I thought I'd give it a go, and now know I don't like it but never mind, it will keep some little bubby warm.