Thursday, December 28, 2006

Yarntide!

Santa obviously thinks I've been a good girl this year, as he brought me Qiviut! Made from the Alaskan Musk Ox, it is supremely soft and apparently 8 times warmer than sheep wool by weight. Blimey!

And Louisa Harding 'Grace' merino and silk yarn.

Thank you indeed, Santas!!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Yesterday we spent the day walking in the Lake District. We'd camped over at the National Trust campsite in Great Langdale, which was quiet and almost empty (I expect the crowds will be turning up for New Year's Eve though) with only about 5 or 6 other tents on site. The morning dawned grey, but dry and not particularly cold. We set off to walk over Crinkle Crags (859m) at about 10:20am.


As we climbed up the (steep!) path passed Brown Howe up to Red Tarn (where we got 'meh'ed at by a local), the clouds began to look a bit thinner and we started to hope that there was a chance of some views after all.

Even so, I don't think either of us were quite prepared for this though...
Looking back to see Weatherlam and Swirl How rising out of the clouds.

Just the tops of Harrison Stickle and Pike O'Stickle were visible, so the top of the cloud layer was at about 690-700m. This is what is looks like on a clear day (photo taken on 4th October 2004).

Almost a White Christmas.

The Scafells

This was our view when we stopped for lunch on the highest crag on the Crinkles - we'd come up via the Bad Step. Although I know the Bad Step is not as bad as the name would make it out to be, it is something I've always avoided in the past, but decided to go and take another look. There was still a wobbly moment, but I hung on and, not looking down or thinking too much about the size of the ledge that the toes of my boots were on, I made it up.

Descending into the cloud as we came down The Band, back to the valley and home.

I took a LOT of photos, and this panorama video clip, although be warned, it isn't very good quality and is a bit sea sickness inducing as I couldn't turn round on top of the pile of stones I was balancing on very easily!!

video

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Yule

It's big, it's heavy, it's log!


It's lazy, it's fluffy, it's mog!
Well, I am as stuffed as a stuffed thing. My mid-winter feast of nut roast, roasted veggies followed by yule log and icecream went down a treat. Just need a glass of Bailey's to finish things off nicely :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Weirdness

Thanks for this, Noo !!?!

To be honest, I that the things that most people of my acquaintance would think was odd about me was that I like to knit and I blog about it (although I don't tell many people about this actually!) I am thinking that this is not going to cut much weirdness-mustard with you lot though. The thing is about weirdness, I have decided, is that it all comes down to perception. If I were to ask 6 different people that I know to name a weird thing about me, I can guarantee that I would get 6 different answers - and the most accurate observations wouldn't be the ones that people would say to my face.

So discounting the things that people have commented on about me (within my hearing) before now - things such as the knitting, blogging, caring about weird things like the planet, animal welfare in farming, etc, wearing black most of the time, not wishing to get a tan (real or fake), not living in the same town or even county as my parents, being married for years and having no children (deep breath) - the things that I think are a bit odd about me would be...

1. The first weird thing about me is that I probably spent waaay too long thinking about this
2. My hair and nails grow really quickly. I cut them, and then poof! before I know it they are long again.
3. I never go out in shorts or skirts with bare legs. Not even in the height of summer.
4. I enjoy camping in the middle of winter; the colder, the better!
5. I can't stand listening to people say nice things about me, I get really flustered and upset.
6. I like beetroot soup!

And I tag the following: Badger, Bertie, Bronte, Diane (you're not getting out of it that easily!), Hawksley and Annie.

THE RULES:Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Pretty!

The lace is coming along quite well. It would be quicker, but I keep stopping and stretching it out so that I can admire the pattern. The stitch pattern for the leafy section is very simple, so I haven't had any problems memorising it and everything seems to be progressing ok. I am trying not to think too hard about the nupps as yet...

I got my mitts on more sock yarn last week, in a swap for a couple of patterns with jam_mam so am now the proud owner of some Opal Zebra. It's more white than I was expecting, but am really looking forward to having some fun zebra socks! I shall be doing them on two 2.5mm circs, as I finally managed to get hold of some 60cm length ones. I was really surprised at how none of the shops that I visited had them, as it seemed that everyone knitted socks on two circs but no.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

*waves*

Today I decided to change my blog from the strangeauntie spot to it's own sheephappens one to keep things a bit more consistent. I am also looking around thinking my template could do with a bit of a wash and brush up, but it's already getting late and I think I've had enough of Blogger for one night!

By the way, the address www.sheephappens.co.uk will also work !!

Just a quick hello too to all the people who's blogs I drop in on from time to time. Commenting seems to be a bit unreliable at the moment with the changes to the new beta blogger and I haven't been able to leave comments on a number of occasions. I am not ignoring anyone and hopefully things will be sorted soon :)
H.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Lace Am Begun

The next chapter in my How To Knit book is lace. I absolutely intend to master (well, attempt and try and gain a certain proficiency) all the techniques in my book and have been meaning to begin for a while. I bought the yarn. I bought the pattern. I got the Fear.

But I have been reassured by numerous people, and one in particular, that is it Not That Hard. I had a practise with some sock yarn which went ok and then spent over an hour winding my laceweight posh yarn in to a ball (while watching Apollo 13) and have begun. I will put it on to my circs when I've got the hang of it a bit better, I thought it would be easier to start on straights. It is early days yet, but so far there has been no tears or whimpering, or even very much terror.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bit of a knitting update

I have finished the Christmas knitting - although I am thinking about knitting an elephant for Lily. I saw the cutest floppy heffalump the other day and thought how nice that would be, but I can't find the pattern for it. I spotted Kath Dalmeny's book World of Knitted Toys on Amazon, and am thinking that would be a great purchase, but the elephant is more 'correct' than the floppy being I fell in love with. I also think I should make some of the other stuff I've fallen in love with first. Hmmm.... deja vu....

Windy

Not me personally, but the weather!

The wind seems to have been a major feature of our weather lately, along with some clouds and rain. We had sort of planned to go away camping last weekend, but our usually apathy put paid to that and in the end it was probably just as well, I thought, as I lay awake in bed in the middle of the night listening to the howling gale outside.
We had gone camping a couple of weeks ago in the Lakes, with the idea of walking up on the Langdale Pikes but having nearly been blown over a dozen times when about half way up the hill, decided against it. This was then... That day, unfortunately, the batteries on Rob's windspeed monitor had given up the ghost, so we had no record of the actual windiness that forced us off the hill. It was probably slightly windier than Grasmore and definitely windier than Mam Tor (these are our previous 'very windy' experiences).

So, this Sunday we headed out for a walk around Dovestones reservoir (11.7miles) which is a local spot very popular on weekends and bank holidays as you can walk around for a couple of miles in the valley on the flat, but it is also possible to scramble up the hillside (if you don't mind steep slopes, rocks and a bit of slime and sheep poo at close proximity) to walk around the edge of the cliff-like edges overlooking the reservoir. We've been here loads, but it's still a nice place to come and blow the cobwebs away.
Blow is right, we measured a maximum windspeed of 51.2 mph up on the tops with an average blow around 20-30mph. These strength winds aren't enough to blow you over (unless perhaps you are a petite little thing, which I am not - although I am not quite a giantess, despite what some critters might say) but makes walking pretty hard work and I didn't want to get too close to the steep drop. I'm not scared of heights, but I am scared of hitting the ground at the bottom...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Long Weekend

I have been doing some knitting lately, but it has been for Christmas presents so no photos.... although I'll put this one in just to prove that I've not been idling and watching reality tv shows (actually I've avoided getting sucked into obsessively watching I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here this series, which is always a good thing).

The shades have been changed to protect the innocent.Had a couple of days off work last week and we went into Manchester on Thursday, had some lunch, did a bit of shopping, went to see the new James Bond film. I'm no film reviewer - so I'm not going to try - I'll just say that I liked it. It has vertigo inducing stunts, blatant product placements, torture, long & involved poker playing and no cheesy Roger Moore puns and crap.

Had the obligatory wander around Waterstones on Deansgate (their range is really improved lately, there are at least 3 shelves of knitting books now) and got a couple of books including Andean Folk Knits by Marcia Lewandowski, mostly because I fell in love with this fishy bag:


I tried to take a picture of the book for the blog but this happened

And then thisso I gave up.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Slow day

Just having a blog browse and came upon this on Bagpuss's blog, thought it was funny, so I nicked it.

Flip to page 18, paragraph 4 in the book closest to you right now, what does it say? Conversely, if there are plenty of coulombs available, a small voltage, such as 117 volts (or even less), can result in a lethal flow of current.

If you stretch out your left arm - as far as possible, what are you touching? A book shelf.

What’s the last program you watched on tv? Everest, Man and Mountain

Without looking, guess what time it is. About 11:30am. Close it's actually 11.28am.

Except the computer, what can you hear right now? The air con

When was the last time you were outside and what did you do? I walked across the car park this morning.

Did you dream last night? I vaguely remember something about going to London and there being rubbish piled up in the streets.

When was the last time you laughed? This morning, we were talking about music exams and a colleague was telling me about a friend's 6 year old who had won a violin competition, in the under 7's, under 11's and under 14's categories. Can you imagine how embarrased you'd be, being 13 years old and being beaten by a 6 year old!!

What’s on the walls, in the room you’re in right now? some storage cupboards, lovely shade of taupe.

Have you seen anything strange lately? I found a miscreant ball of sock yarn in a drawer and have no idea how it came to be there.

What do you think about this meme? Funny, it was the first book question that made me want to steal it.

What’s the last film you saw? Pirates of the Carribean, Dead Mans Chest. Wish I'd waited until the next one was out then I could have watched them together.

If you became a multimillionaire, what would you do with the money? I'd give some to charity, some to my family and move to the country.

Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. I got married in secret in Las Vegas!

If you could change ONE THING in this world, without regarding politics or bad guilt - what would it be? I like Bagpuss's idea of the buses. More and decent sized cycle lanes would be good too.

Do you like dancing? Yes

George Bush? No thank you.

What do you want your children’s names to be, girl/boy? Lorna and Jared (not going to happen!!!)

Would you ever consider living abroad? Not seriously

What do you want God to tell you, when you come to heaven? Come on in

Who should do this meme? Any one with a book to hand :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

video testing one two three

If this works, it'll be a miracle.

Here should be a video clip what I made earlier of me crocheting a border onto a knitted piece of stocking stitch. That's the plan, anyway.

Can anyone see it? Has it worked? *


* if you can see, I apologise now for the crappy quality.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lovely Glovely

Sorry - the title sounded better in my head.

So this post is dedicated to all things handy. Firstly, these are the wrist warmers that went to the Keep Pie Princess Warm This Winter Effort.

And this is the first of my Fyberspates gloves. I really enjoyed making this and I learnt a lot about how to make better gloves in future! The main thing is not to be a slave to the pattern, just because it says that you should pick up x stitches, if this should leave holes then there is nothing stopping you from picking x + 1 or 2 and then decreasing on the next row (this also stands when picking up stitches for the heel of socks) and as long as you end up with the correct amount for the finger width you need, all is peachy.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Project Formerly Known As Shrug

...is now a scarf. I realised that I had miscalculated the number of flowers needed to make the flowery thing as a shrug, and it would have been flopping over my hands and way beyond. So I decided a change of plan was needed and simply finished it off when it reached scarf size and added some fringes. It may not look like much, but I am very pleased with this project as it was my first foray into lacy 'open' crochet (I have no idea what the correct term is, but by 'open' I mean repeated flower motifs joined by chains rather than solid material rows of crochet) following a pattern, so I am rather chuffed that I was able to decifer it.

This is the final result (and demonstration of my bad posture...)


I have also made another pair of the Noro wristwarmers, but these are a gift for Pie Princess, who won't get them for a couple of days, so no piccy just yet.

In my crazed state of getting on with unfinished objects, I also did some more of the DB hoodie and am almost at the top of the first sleeve now. The yarn is really hard work though, so I don't think I'll be working on that solely and have started making plans for a pair of gloves out of the Badger Fyberspates. I was going to do a pair of chevron socks with it, but when I saw the little tension swatch on my finger I thought it would be ideal for a pair of gloves.
There are loads of patterns in my Grandma's pattern collection, so we'll be heading back to the 1950s for these. I don't think the 'new' Paris style shorties are for me, but there's a rather nice pair of ribbed cuffed ones with patterned backs that look just the job.


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Wonderful things

We had a lovely evening last night with our friends, stuffing our faces with baked potatoes, stew and fruit crumble with ice cream.

I have to show off the present that they bought us from Manchester Art Gallery, which I think is inspired. It is a porcelain toothbrush holder in the shape of a tooth. Genius.
There was much talking and a small amount of knitting. Kirsty has 'inherited' an almost completed tank top from her Auntie Joan and would like to finish it as a present for her Dad, so we were deciphering the (very old!!) pattern and I showed her how to work the dpns for the neckband. There's not much left to do, but it might take a while with a very interested 1 year old about! I have also introduced Kirsty to the world of sock knitting - and gave her one of the balls of Opal Elemente from my stash and some Addis to get her started.

What goes around comes around, for today a skein of sock yarn arrived for me as a present from Badger for writing her a poem (or cobbling together some words that rhyme would be more accurate).

My Posh Yarn Lace Club yarn also came today, it is Felicity - pure silk and pure heaven.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Wrist Warmers II


Just to prove that I can finish something on time, once at least... this is the other pair of wrist warmers that I managed to squeeze out of the Noro Silver Thaw - they are for Kirsty, who is visiting tomorrow along with hubby and the gorgeous Lily-Rose.

So, if you'll excuse me, I have to now rush off and start tidying the house up ;)


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Aha

I think I now see how the unfinished project thing happens. Today I offered to make some wrist warmers for a friend who is coming to visit next Tuesday - this has to take priority over the shrug, which will then be put down again...

I should probably learn to keep schtum ;)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Unfinished things

I have some projects on the go that seem to have been abandoned lately. I'm not really sure why I do this - I am in the middle of something, enjoying it and then one day will put in down and start something else instead. The put down thing then languishes in my knitting bag, or draped dangerously over my work box next to the cat scratching post and seems destined to stay there, even though I was enjoying making it. So, after a trip to John Lewis and purchase of some Rowan Kid Classic for to make the Ruffle Scarf from their new magazine, I decided that I wouldn't allow myself to start this scarf before I had finished the crochet mohair shrug.

So here is the shrug progress, I think I'm probably about 1/3 of the way there, although it's difficult to tell because it's a vastly different size to the original (I may decide to keep it as a shawl / throw rather than making it up into the shrug because I think the sleeves may be too long and there is no way on this planet that I could undo it now and start again!!).

And this is the Ruffle Scarf with the yarn I picked (red certainly seems to be in for me this autumn, I picked up a red cord skirt and two red tops while shopping last week too...hmmm).

And one last pic before I go :)

We went to Chester Zoo last week, which was very good and I really felt that the animals were well looked after and happy in their enclosures. This was my favourite, the Capybara! So cute and especially easy to photograph - they don't move much!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bodnant Gardens

On Tuesday we visited Bodnant Gardens which are always stunningly beautiful. The garden is between Llandudno and Llanrwst - where there is, I believe, a very nice yarn shop although I resisted the temptation to stop and have a browse. I know this seems strange, but the weather was getting a bit misty and I wanted to see the garden before the rain really started coming down!

There were still many late flowers in bloom, the rose gardens looked and smelled wonderful, and much autumn colour and berries too.

As usual, I got totally carried away snapping pics of everything in sight, so big thanks to Rob for not getting too bored. All the photos will be in my gallery pages soon, as soon as t'internet starts behaving itself (and I upload the right folder this time....)


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wales

The first couple of days of our holiday proper were spent in North Wales, at Betws-Y-Coed, which is one of my favourite places. It has a nice campsite (the Riverside, open March till end of Oct), nice pub with outside seats and heaters, and lots of outdoor shops to browse.

On Monday (while NOT AT WORK ha ha ha!!) we caught the bus (with very friendly bus driver) to Capel Curig and walked back to Betws via Llyn Crafnant (always pretty) and The Grey Mare's Tail waterfall. The walk was 11,5 miles but not particularly hilly.

We passed lots of old mine workings and relics of industrial days, all overgrown and reclaimed by nature. The men that worked in these places must have thought that their walls were so solid and the industry would last forever, and yet not so very long a time later, here I am wandering through their ruins looking at the plants and trees that have taken hold.

It always makes me wonder how long it would take for all the things we take for granted, like shopping centres, motorways and so on to disappear if the people did. I think I've seen too many films, as it's usually around this point that I start thinking about zombies and get scared... anyway back to Wales.

You can't really tell on this little picture, but the white blob on the left of the tree is a sheep that was taking a nap on a rock. So cute!!


Saw lots of white welsh sheep and these two - which I think are Jacob sheep (although my sheep spotting talents are minimal to say the least.)

Wrists of warmth

One completed wrist warmer.

It is very nice and warm indeed, and I have cast on straight away for the left one. I have decided not to try and work out the reverse chart pattern, as it's not very clear on the finished piece, plus a bit tricky to work out and I am slack.

It took a bit of effort of match up the colours for a matching pair, but I really wanted them to look the same. There is also going to be enough yarn to make a second pair in more green and orange tones. These might make good presents, or I might keep them all for myself!!

Still the weather is not quite cool enough to really require wrist warmers, it was nice enough over the weekend for us to sit outside.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

I've just noticed the date!! Right that's it, I'm going back to bed.

Come on Autumn

Have started on the 'Hurry Up Spring' wrist warmers, although I think I should rename mine 'Come on Autumn' as I am knitting them in expectation of chill clear autumnal days with a nip in the air. The weather forecast is quite warm for the weekend, but turning chillier next week so I am hoping to have them finished so I can wear them out and about on my week off! Yes, I have holiday!! I can't wait, I'm so looking forward to having just a week of pottering around doing our own thing.
The wrist warmers pattern calls for 4,5mm dpns which I knew would be difficult to get locally, so I'd planned on trying the two circ method which many people rave about. However, my local supplies shop (which is more of a craft and sewing trimmings shop than knitting although they do stock some yarn and needles) didn't have what I wanted. I managed to get one long circular needle with which to make my wrist warmers using the Magic Loop method.

My first trial run using acrylic wool mix yarn (left over from Samuel's tank top) wasn't entirely a success, I got the method ok, but ended up with nasty ladders down the sides where the cable of the needle seemed to pull apart. Undeterred, I have cast on with the Silver Thaw and this is the progress so far:

It's not too bad, I think, although the Noro isn't looking quite as fabulous as I was hoping it would. I'm not sure about the little flecks of colour and I was expecting there to be more overall variation in the shading. It is certainly softer than the Kureyon though, which is something.

I have colour coded the chart to make it easier to read and I am also a little unsure about what happens when I get to the thumb, but until I get to that part I shall try not to think about it too much.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Smock Jacket

The Smock Jacket from Celtic Knits by Debbie Bliss:


The yarn is Debbie Bliss Merino, which was lovely to work with - very soft. I have a sneaky feeling it will shrink slightly in a washing machine, so maybe isn't a good choice for a toddler knit, but hey ho, it's done now...

The pattern is good fun, because there is little bits of interest on each piece as well as the main fancy work on the front panels, there is smocking on the back, the cuffs and the collar. I spotted a couple of mistakes in the pattern, one in the front cabling pattern which would have meant the main cables shifting over, so was obvious. The other is the lengths of the front skirt sections are not the same. One is 5" and the other is 5 1/2" - I didn't notice this until I came to sew it up and by then it was waaaay to late. Hopefully it doesn't notice so much in my finished jacket. I also changed the bobbles from her instructions, as they weren't as bobbly as I wanted.

I didn't do the embroidery as I thought the design was busy enough as it was, and chose the pale buttons to brighten it up.


Sunday, October 08, 2006

Holm Moss

Today we went for a walk around Holm Moss (11,5m). The walk starts from the 'Isle of Skye' Road between Oldham and Holmfirth - why it is called this I don't know but you certainly get to see a lot of sky.

The walk goes up Black Hill and we were amazed to see the new grass growing up there. Apparently the peat landscape isn't natural to the area but a result of over grazing by sheep and the harsh climate, so they sowed it with grass seed a few months back.

This is what it looked like about 2 years ago:

And this is what it looks like today:
Some difference, eh? I don't really know whether I like it with the green, it doesn't look quite right to me - but I suppose if that's what it's supposed to look like then that's ok, but I just have this feeling that it's one of those 'we've screwed something up, so we have to mend it' moments and in hindsight the best course of action would have been to leave well alone.

The sheep took one look at us and went careering down the hillside at full tilt in a very alarming manner, but they made it down in one piece thankfully - well, three pieces.

A tranquil scene at the bottom of the valley - and my feet were much better today in my boots, which I was very glad to be wearing as a stomped through the bogs while Rob was having to pick his way carefully to stop his trainers getting wet. Ha ha :)