Monday, September 27, 2010

A KAL and a CAL

Well the KAS Cuddle is growing nicely, with chunky and DK held together on 8mm needles it kind of has to ;0)
I've even started knitting in my lunch break in the office - I've always been a bit funny about that, happy to knit in public I don't know, in the park, on the train etc but felt uncomfortable in the middle of those I do. Perhaps it's because in my new department we are all that little bit older, perhaps it's because I have discovered some of them are closet knitters too, perhaps it's this particular project but the other day when rain was forecast I thought 'what the heck', put my knitting in my bag, took a deep breath and pulled it out at my desk at lunch time (no rest room to escape to) and do you know what - no one batted an eyelid!

Not content with just doing a KAL (something I rarely do) I've decided to do a CAL as well, fortunately I could raid stash for most of it, and only bought the 4 balls on the top.

This is for the Bernat Mystery Afghan so look away now if you are doing it and don't want to know what Clue 1 looks like...mind you, it wasn't too hard to guess just from reading the pattern.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Cuddle of many colours

I'm a bit late to the party (so nothing new there then!) but I have just cast on for the KASCuddle KAL and we are making these...

Sleep sacks for aids orphans and and abandoned babies of Africa.

My tardiness is not entirely my fault - the KAL called for 21oz of worsted weight in 100% wool, which is used double. Well at a quick reckoning that would be well out of my budget - but then I discovered (thanks to the Ravelry forum) that, as long as it's composition is labelled any other fibres are acceptable too. So I dived into my stash, and with a bit of (hopefully) clever yarn combining, I think I have come up with equivalent thickness in a reasonably high wool content, which should be nice and warm - it's just going to be rather multi-coloured, but I don't suppose the bubbies will mind.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy to help

As you have probably gathered by now I get a lot of pleasure from knitting for others, especially charity, and I don't believe I have shown my finished SANDS blanket, so here it is.

It may be a sad cause, but I loved every minute of the knitting, especially the knitted on border and will definitely be using this pattern again, maybe in other colours for baby shower gifts.

Now, I have finally got around to making something, small, quick and brightly coloured, which you may recall was my intention before I started the SANDS blanket!
I work for a very large company who are celebrating 70 years of being by having a Fete in aid of Kent Air Ambulance (our chosen charity for 2010), so when they asked for donations for the 'Made by Hand' stall I couldn't resist. I started by making some phone socks

Three at a time on two circs, using oddments of sock yarn - that certainly caused a few raised eyebrows when I got out my knitting at the Lacemakers group, but to be honest it was a lot easier than two-at-a-time socks - at least the yarns were different colours so there was less danger of carrying on without changing. I did get in a bit of a tangle though, until I mastered the art of turning in opposite directions at the end of each row!

Then it suddenly occured to me - they didn't have mobile phones in the 1940's (doh) still the lady organising the stall said she still wanted them as they were knitted and that was an old-fashioned skill (not sure if I should be pleased or offended!.
However I went on to crochet some Bookworms

Which only took a few minutes each, and came out rather cute, even if I do say so myself, though I will put that down to Michelle's lovely pattern rather than anything I did.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Eternal Optimist

Or at what point do you frog?

I’ve been knitting this Moebius Scarf, from Simply Knitting, forever – or so it seems, and I am not enjoying it one little bit, in fact I am having one of those ‘whatever possessed me’ moments.

I really don’t like Rowan Milk Cotton – it makes my fingers feel dirty, it’s not soft and it smells funny. I hate doing moss stitch and the rows are endless. I’m not happy with the colour changes either, I like a nice clean change, not the loops from the stitch below interfering with the new row, and as for carrying the yarn you aren’t using up the side, well there isn’t a side so it looks horrible, added to which I can’t even imagine myself wearing this thing!

And yet I’m still plodding on in the vain hope that it will get better, that I will like it, that I will start to enjoy moss stitch (though heavens knows why I am even considering the possibility – I’ve hated it for the last 30 odd years, so what’s going to change now?) you see, I’m the eternal optimist (or downright stupid, perhaps) and so I knit on






Ah, that’s better :0)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Walking our socks off

DH and I enjoy walking and more often than not we do a few miles on a Sunday morning, but DH is in 'training' for The West Highland Way (95 miles from Glasgow to Fort William) so we thought we'd up the mileage a bit for this walk. Just for a change we hopped on the train and I knitted my way up to London. We made our way to Paddington Basin (no sign of the bear as we passed through the station, much to my disappointment) and, after a quick coffee and Muffin to fortify us, we set off along the canal.

The Weather was very pleasant, which unfortunately made the tow path rather busy. I'm not quite sure how we walked all that way without seeing one of the multitude of cyclists ending up in the water! They were swerving and speeding and infuriatingly dinging their bells even when we walkers had already flattened ourselves against the sides despite the fact that pedestrians have right of way over bikes on a towpath - in fact, one or two were pretty lucky I hadn't thought to take my walking pole with me!!! and I'm certainly not usually given to violence or even unkind thought but really!! (Grumpy old woman gripe over!)

We passed by Camden Market and I resisted the temptation to turn in - but oh my, did that food smell good.

And carried on with a backward glance at Camden Lock, and on we walked keeping a nice steady rhythm and eating up the miles til at last

The end was in site, with Canary Wharf in view we knew we were nearly there and made our way via the Underground to the train and home again, tired but happy after a lovely day out.

In all, from door to door we did just over 13 miles, and much to my amazement my legs weren't the least bit stiff the next day - DH was moaning though, despite being much fitter and more used to walking than me. Perhaps I should take his place on the WHW next month instead ;0)

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Workshops are like buses!

It has been ages since I've seen any workshops that appeal, and then two came along in a week.

I went to Knit Nation on Saturday and took the Spinning for Knitting class with Merike Saarnit, it was brilliant. I had dabbled rather unsucessfully before, but it just wasn't the same trying to teach myself and, I discovered, having the right tools for the job makes such a difference - previously I had tried to spin with a bottom whorl spindle, but now I realise a top whorl is the way to go for me.
Merike is a wonderful teacher, patient but not patronising, kind but firm - she had us spinning in no time at all, and we tried all manner of fibres, and had a little of each left to bring home and practice with too. Sadly there were no spindles to buy in the Marketplace (missed business opportunity there, methinks!) and it has taken me a while to decide exactly what to buy online, but I am now waiting anxiously for postie so I can have another play.

Before and After

And because I am ridiculously pleased with my efforts, here's a close up...

My first Handspun

Then, on Thursday, I went down to Kangaroo near Lewes, East Sussex for a Tunisian Crochet workshop run by the lovely ladies from Denise Interchangeable Needles. Barbara taught us in the morning, again she was an excellent teacher, with a pleasant laid back style (and a lovely american accent), and we picked it up very quickly. Using an 8mm hook and Rowan Cocoon (oh so soft and gorgeous - I think I'm in love with a yarn!!!) our little bags grew rapidly, and after a hasty break for lunch there was no structured teaching so I spent a most enjoyable afternoon finishing my bag whilst chatting with the other students and to Linda (who owns Denise needles) about anything and everything, UK and USA. It was such a good day I was not a happy bunny on Friday when I had to go back to work and couldn't chat and play with yarn and hooks all day!

Bonne Bouche Bag in Tunisian Crochet

designed by Barbara Kreuter

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ten thousand gallons of 4* please!

Well despite the weather - rain, mist, drizzle, fog, downpours, more mist, oh and did I mention rain? - we had a lovely time. On board ship was, of course, superb, gorgeous food, lovely staff and no housework!! but even through the bad weather you could still see and enjoy the beauty of Norway and the Fjords, and we have a very good excuse to go back again.
As you can imagine we took tons of photo's but here are just a small selection.

Couldn't resist this shot of the Ventura berthed at Olden.

Bergen was a lovely town, the old wharf, Bryggen is so attractive even in the rain, I bet it looks wonderful in the sunshine - these old timber warehouses are included in UNESCO's World Heritage list, most are now used as artists studios or restaurants

The narrow little streets and alley ways behind really fascinated me - wouldn't fancy have to traipse all the way up these steps with heavy shopping when they are icy in the winter!

In Flaam we took the scenic railway up the mountain, with sheer drops and a very windy track it made for an interesting ride, there was even a 5 minute stop for photo's at one point, and this is a scheduled train not specifically for tourists - can't imagine BR doing that!

Leaving Olden, I just love the way the mist hangs in the valleys.

A day at sea with little to do, DH decided to be an arty photographer!

And no set of pictures from Norway would be complete without a troll - I thought this was the sweetest we saw (yes saccharine sweet I know) especially as she was wearing a traditional Norwegian cardigan

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Getting my priorities right

It's tatty knicker week in the Model household - yes that's right we are off on holiday in a wee while and all the good stuff is packed, but I've made sure to get my priorities right

I have Rowan Milk cotton on the left to knit a moebius scarf from Simply Knitting, and Panda Silk from Crystal Palace Yarns on the right for Annis from Knitty, though I thought I'd use beads rather than nupps, and of course I have a knitting novel - if you like something light and fluffy with a bit of fibre thrown in then I would recommend Maggie Sefton's Knitting Mysteries.

You may have guessed from the travel sickness tablets - we are off on a cruise again, this time to the Fjords, I'm really looking forward to it, lovely scenery, a bit cooler than the melting weather we've been having here lately, and the only thing I need to think about where food is concerned is shall I have this, or shall I have that (or both possibly!)

Talking of food, I popped down to see Mum earlier in the week and found her cooking lunch - it does worry me sometimes that at 79 she is still deep fat frying, and when I saw her draining technique I was even more concerned - she assures me she only uses metal needles as she doesn't think the plastic ones would be strong enough!!!!!

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!

Lace and Tea

Rather a good combination I think.

I belong to Tonbridge Lacemakers who meet on the second Saturday of the month, and we take it in turns to 'do the teas' (well some of us take more turns than others, but isn't that always the way) and yesterday I and a couple of friends had volunteered. It's not an easy task keeping everyone happy. Until I started doing this I would never have realised how easy it is to upset older ladies by not making a cuppa properly - me, I'm a tea bag in a mug girl, but oh no, that would never do, teapots at dawn if you tried that!
Fortunately (and surprisingly) it is easier to keep the old dears happy with the cakes we provide for afternoon tea - and this time I chose Ginger and Lemon

I did manage a little lace between kitchen duties, and finished a bookmark - designed by a friend, it should have been larger but I missed the bit in the instructions which said "photocopy and enlarge to 150%" - Oh dear, just as well I read small books then isn't it ;0)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Forgive me Blogger...

for I have sinned, it has been a long time since my last post....

I don't know what happened really - but I'm back.

I've still been knitting of course, made loads of squares for Knit-a-Square and lots of little oddments but my latest decent sized knit has been

Debbie Bliss' Alphabet Blanket

Using Sirdar Snuggly in Vanilla for my Little Cousin's bump due any day now - poor girl pregnant in this heat. I'd forgotten how nice it is to work in 4ply, though it was a bit of a challenge with hardly any two right side rows the same, and a little way in I didn't think I would make it in time, but having worked out a minimum row rate per week I felt more motivated and voila.

Whilst knitting it I promised myself that my next project would be something small, quick and brightly coloured, so as soon as it was off the needles I started knitting this......

Ooops! wrong on all three counts, but having seen the urgent appeal over at SANDS for blankets for their Always loved, never forgotten Memory Boxes I couldn't help but cast on - I'm enjoying the garter stitch, and looking forward to the lace border, which I will be knitting on with a little guidance from those lovely folk over at Ravelry in the British Knitter's SANDS appeal thread

And just to prove I am not completely devoid of colour in my life, though not usually given to impulse purchases, I couldn't help myself.
I've no idea what I am going to wear them with, but they make me smile when I look at them, (and I have been doing overtime lately so I deserve a treat)...Sad eh?