Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Brown Eyes Blue yarn arrived and is a bit too soft for man-socks I think. It is a two-ply yarn which breaks REALLY easily and is quite thick. I am thinking of making a hat for FL instead of socks. He actually wants an old-style “bonnet” like the ones in the knitting history article in IK Holiday Gifts but I think that would be too eccentric, I really do. The brown is a kind of baby-poo colour, but it‘s a good strong blue. Hmmm. Thinking.

My new Japanese pattern books arrived too, and I am planning an over-dress. The Cozy Homewear pattern book is slightly less forgiving than previous ones I have bought and doesn’t give the whole pattern to trace. Instead I have to trace the basic bodice piece and then measure out the sleeve and skirt pieces beyond it. Not hard, but requiring more concentration and a long ruler. I am thinking of black watch tartan. Another skirt first though!

The other book is a bag-making book. Loads of text in this one Рall in Japanese of course! The instruction diagrams are less clear than usual Рit looks a lot like origami in places! I am planning to use this book for embroidery and appliqu̩ inspiration rather than to make the bags themselves.

Knitting continues: the Pine Cone jumper progresses but is incredibly hard to photograph. The fabric is deep and rich and I love the colour-exactly the foresty green I wanted. I am just working out how best to shape the waist area, as I want this to be quite a shapely item.

Hanne asked if I was planning to knit something for my wedding. Not at the moment, no. I might wear my Cinderella stockings – I have been saving them for a special occasion! Clearly I should sew something to wear… especially as FL is buying me a new sewing machine for my birthday / Christmas / wedding present! My old machine was second-hand twenty years ago and is a bit temperamental – it loses tension at the most inopportune moments and I have given up replacing the lightbulbs as they pop so often.

Thanks to everyone who sent congratulations! It is lovely to feel able to plan a future together.

Monday, October 29, 2007

A decision

So - where to start? We had a lovely couple of days in Beauly. We rented a cottage overlooking a golf course, and although FL wasn't fit enough to play, he DID knock a couple of balls into the practice nets without upsetting his back. We walked in the woods and picked a handful of brambles. We reminisced about the last time we were in Beauly and we talked about the future as well as the past.

He gave me a beautiful silver locket.

And we shed a few tears.

And we decided to get married.

And some knitting

As well as the intense stuff, there was a lot of relaxation. FL had a long long sleep on Thursday, and I made a start on my Pine Cones jumper. This rubbishy photo shows the beginnings and also shows the view from the cottage window. I have knit up the first 100g and it is looking good!

It is quite harsh wool while knitting (Shetland 3 ply chunky) yet a fairly soft fabric. Great as a top layer in the Highlands!

In between times, I also made another pair of June Brides in HipKnits organic handspun merino. This was like knitting with cotton wool in comparison to the shetland chunky - really really soft! This is the best pair of June Brides to date.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Beauly means "a beautiful place" and it was!

We ate well, we slept well.

There was a gift, some knitting and a proposal!

More on Monday!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Waterfall Marinissima

I finished my Woolgirl sock club yarn socks - hooray!

This is Miss Babs Yummy 3 ply Superwash sportweight, in the Waterfall colourway designed for the sock club. I wasn't grabbed by the pattern that came with the yarn - too lacey for thick socks I thought, so I used Marina Piccola by Kate Gilbert.

I love this pattern! It is infinitely adaptable to yarn thickness / gauge. I used size 2.75mm needles and 52 stitches to suit my foot.

One sock striped perfectly, but the second has pooling issues. I have noticed this has happened to other knitters using the Waterfall pattern so it must be to do with the dyeing. But I am not really complaining as the colours are so lovely and the spinning so sproingy - lovely cushy socks!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Woo hoo for Roo!

No, not this Roo, THAT Roo!

Remember my rainbow fair isle socks for Sockapalooooza? They went to the "other Roo" over

at Rooknits. She liked them! And this week she sent me a thank you package - wow!

She made me a super-smiley sock bag, that is a near match to the pattern on my Tepper Jackson weekend bag that I use for knits in progress. This is absolutely PERFECT for waiting room knitting, to stop my ball of yarn rolling off my lap into unpleasant dusty hospital corners (eergh!). And inside, there was a bar of Green & Blacks (mmmm!) AND two skeins of Nature's Palette in "Indian Paintbrush" - a great big WOO HOO FOR ROO!!!!! This is yarn I had on my wish list and it is such a "me" colour too!

Thank you thank you thank you - I never expected your "little something in the post" to be on this scale of greatness - thank you again Roo!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Brown eyes blue

In the search for cheap p and p on the new Interweave Holiday Gifts I found myself at K1 Yarns website, and had a bit of a browse. I spotted some hat kits which sounded intriguing but had no photos of the finished item, so I Googled "Old Maiden Aunt", the designer.

WELL! I have discovered a new (to me) UK-based yarn dyer / spinner! Tigerlilith aka Old Maiden Aunt sells sock yarn / laceweight / handspun / hat kits through K1 Yarns but also directly via her own blog. Have a look!

I love the handspun "Old Penny" but cannot justify shawl-money right now.

But there was no avoiding the "monster" page of experimental yarns where a skein of sock yarn screamed at me. "Brown eyes blue" is destined to be First Love's Christmas socks.

Health update: FL's energy levels continue to rise. No doubt this week's steroids are contributing, but he has been "buzzing". Today he is taking the kids to the cinema and then we are meeting up for a meal at a favourite inn. Our first meal out since he fell ill! So it is a belated celebration of the June birthdays and also of his return to having a life outside the sick room, slowly but surely. Back to the hospital next Tuesday when hopefully science will back up our hopes of improvement in his condition.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Autumn colours

This was supposed to be a photo shoot among the fallen leaves... but we went bramble picking instead (pear and bramble crumble - mmm!) and by the time I finished my skirt it was dark outside.

Another skirt from the Japanese pattern book "Every day skirts". Once again, the cut is just right for me, though I shortened it a little. My photographer struggled a bit with the instruction not to make my bum the centre of the shot. SIGH. But I love the back kick-flip thing!

Limited progress on the Marina Piccola sock but I wanted to show you the self-striping of the gorgeous Miss Babs yarn - mmm! And the book is evidence of First Love's regained energy. He has dug out all his "must read" books - Darwin, Greek history, philosophy... not exactly light reading!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Crochet? Me?

Marina Piccola is dashing along dandily now I know how to do it - amazing! But it was too dark to photograph that elusive purple / blue yarn, so it will have to wait for the weekend.

Meanwhile, I cancelled my pre-order for "Knitting Little Luxuries" and replaced it with "Crochet Me".

If you have seen the previews, maybe you will forgive me. If you haven't, take a look and perhaps reconsider your attitude to crochet - this collection has certainly made me rethink my prejudice against the doily-making craft! The biggest thing I have ever crocheted was a rasta beret in purple mohair. And I just polished off a pile of flower brooches. But a full-size dress?


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Marina in a pickle-a

So - Marina Piccola. Lovely pattern. Lovely.
But guess who didn't realise there were at least three ways to increase a stitch and NONE of them involve a yarnover?
I started this project in the Waiting Room on Tuesday. I failed to get gauge with the needles I had taken with me, so was forced to read OK and Hello instead. Grrr.
On Tuesday evening, while my daughter was being a Guide, I sat down again with an assortment of needles and finally achieved a sock-like structure. 52 stitches on 2.75mm needles. Yummy yummy yarn - my favourite "boots through freshly-fallen snow" feeling as I knit - hooray!
But who knew there were so many different ways to make a stitch? Not me, that's for sure. So although I have achieved a lovely patterned sock, it sure as L is NOT a Marina Piccola!
Sigh. To frog or not to frog?
I emailed Kate Gilbert, the designer, and she sent me to her website for a lesson in "Make one, left-slanted" and "Make one, right slanted" - wow! I have a new skill!
So last night I ripped back 28 rows and knitted 20. Much better! Photo tomorrow!

FL is feeling much perkier - the antibiotics seem to be working at last. A proper night's sleep was had by all - hooray!

  • Liking the short row rainbow stripe socks at MagKnits!
  • Liking the preview of Interweave Holiday Gifts!
  • Buying a fab new Japanese pattern book with 70's over-dresses - I lurved them then and I lurve them still!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Elf and fitness

Yesterday I finally came out from under my blanket - and about time too! I didn't have the concentration for fancy knitting while I was ill, so churned out three Elf hats from "Handknit Holidays". I was astonished that my son pronounced them "way cool" and has not taken his off since!

Two hours of lazy knitting, using two strands of yarn and my Denise circulars (woo hoo!). The purple one is one strand of handspun from Pigeonroof Studios and one strand of Debbie Bliss Maya (aka Soho aka Manos del Uruguay) - this one is the softest and the best fit for an average adult head... so I made two of them the same!

The red and green one is one strand of Rowan Cork and one strand of green handspun from my Sockapalooooza pal Rebecca. This was less successful in the sense that the thinner yarn kept slipping behind the red, so the inside is green and the outside red - but my son likes it this way. It is HUGE! I knitted the large size for his dreadlocks, but it makes his head look like a pumpkin. Lucky it isn't orange! A big hit at the skatepark - I am slightly worried he will try and wear it at school and end up in trouble.

And I finished Chevron. It could probably have been another foot longer, but I was getting bored so I stopped. It could do with blocking - it rolls a lot due to the wavy stitch pattern.

Wound my Woolgirl yarn!

First Love is a bit better, now on second type of antibiotics and symptoms are improved but he is very depressed. Not even a house full of elves can cheer him up!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

UK-based enablement

Hey - all you UK-based knitters! There doesn't seem to be much of a stir on the blogs about the arrival of Socktopus - a sock yarn shop in London, with an online shop. I only mention this because I notice they stock Dream in Color yarn - mmmm! And they have the new Somoko (Silk, Merino and Kid Mohair) from Fleece Artist - wheee!
And there are further stash enhancement possibilities over at the Woolly Workshop, who are getting in Apple Laine - ooooh! They are starting a new sock club with Schaeffer, Apple Laine, Claudia handpaint and CTH all on the menu - interesting!
But I am trying ever so hard not to buy any more sock yarn right now so that I can fund a kilo of jumper wool without guilt spasms setting in. Currently watching some dark green wool at ebay for the Pine Cone jumper plan - fingers crossed!

Monday, October 01, 2007


Proof that Hero is a big soft mutt!

The Chevron Scarf continues – maybe another foot of knitting to go – this is a great project for waiting rooms, car parks and trampoline supervision, as very little concentration is required. Having said that, I dropped a stitch and then started doing compensatory decreases to make the pattern “work” – grrr! Only noticed after a couple of inches. All is now repaired.

I had a weekend of manic window-cleaning and a trip to the local organic box scheme farm to see how they do it. Came away feeling much better about my own gardening efforts – even “proper” farmers have crop failures! Lots of fantastic driving practice trying to park my little car among the 4x4’s up a muddy track. I ended up reversing downhill and round a corner into the packing shed, narrowly avoiding a flock of toddling 2-year-old’s collecting eggs from the free range chickens – eek!

A recent comment on the blog (about waiting room knitting) reminded me of an encounter at the hospital last week. I was in the waiting room with Chevron, bashing away in the corner while FL was having intravenous bone-strengthening (yes really!). The place was packed as usual (a sobering thought) and I spotted an old lady watching me intently. She turned to her (?) daughter and said “I never could do the purling, only the knit. But Jessie, now Jessie could knit as well as spin. One evening we were in the bothy [small outhouse on a Scottish farm, used to house migrant labourers in the old days – and probably still] and Jimmy was playing the fiddle and singing, and Jessie was sitting there with her wheel, spinning away, when all of a sudden Jimmy lets out this ROAR! [and she did a huge roar, there in the waiting room!] And he shouted: ‘Woman! Will ye stop that clacking! I cannay play withoot following yer rhythm!’”

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? A band with a spinning wheel as percussion?!