Thursday, June 29, 2006


Apologies for the slightly messy photo, but I was difficult to get a picture of my hat so far as it has a tendency to curl up. I think this is why they put the crochet edging round it.

I am planning on lining mine with thinsulate fleece material, which I am hoping will stop it curling, make it less likely to leave alpaca fluff in my hair and hide the back...

C'est fini

The Booga bag is done. I have to admit that I was a little dubious about how well it would hold up as a bag, but after the struggle I had getting the knitting needle through it to put on the straps, I think it's tough as old boots!

I'm quite pleased with it and am in two minds as to whether to give it as a gift or keep it for myself....

I didn't mow the lawn this evening. I thought about it. I went outside to play with the cat and noticed loads of bees buzzing merrily around on it and decided to leave them in peace. That is my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Isn't he cute??

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Looky what arrived today!

I got fab presents from Badger, including some moo cow buttons from the Angel Yarns open day, scrummy G&B chocolate, stickers and jelly beans!! Despite my unshakable belief that I will win the £1000 cash prize, holiday in Rome and jelly bean machine from that crossword competition, it is nice to have these jelly beans in the meantime.

I have made a start on the alpaca earflap hat and so far, I am about a third of the way up one flap. It's not really the most interesting thing in the world to look at so I will wait until it's a bit more, erm, flappy before putting up a pic.

Monday, June 26, 2006


I have committed myself to joining a Stashalong until September 30th, so no more yummy yarn purchases for me in the near (or far!) future. I figure that I have more than enough projects planned to be going on with and should make a determined effort to try and do something with the bag loads of stash lurking in the sideboard. We'll see. Wish me luck.

My 4mm dpns arrived today, so I just need to remember to print off the pattern of the earflap hat from my work PC and I can make a start.

The Booga Bag is still damp. It's been two days!!

I promised a friend today that I would make her some knitted socks for her birthday. I am honoured to have been asked, as when I was starting to learn to knit again I was in awe of her skills and now she is asking me to make things for her. Amazing. I have earmarked the Regia 'Jeans' for Lisa.

In non-knitting news, I have started uploading some of my photos to our website - we get this free space with our broadband and ought to make more use of it. Link is over there >>>

At the moment there are just some recent folders to test out the layout etc, but hopefully soon most of my pics will be there. Have camera, will shoot take photos of sheep.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


After some (admittedly very little) thought, I decided to felt my Booga Bag by hand. It was more out of curiosity than anything else, to see the felting (fulling would be more accurate, I suppose) process happen before my very eyes. I also feel that seeing as I had knit the bag by hand to felt it in a machine would have been wrong somehow, like knitting on a machine. Call me strange, but to my eyes if you are going to start using a machine to knit something, you may as well just buy a ready made one from a shop. But anyway, I digress.

Before: See the bag clashing horribly with my carpet.

I prepared a bowl of very hot water (not sure about the actual temperature, but I could still put my gloved hand into it ok) with some soapflakes and another of cold water.

Putting in my bag for the first time was a little nerve wracking, but after a while I w
as pummelling and kneading away merrily.Every few minutes I took the bag (and cord, of course) out of the hot water and dunked it into the cold water. Apparently this shocks the fibres and helps the process happen more quickly.

After a while, I could definitely tell that things were back was starting to ache a bit and a flood was developing nicely on the counter.

At last, after an hour (yes, really!) and about three top ups with hot water from the kettle, I was satisfied with the result and rinsed the bag three times in cold water.

After rinsing, I rolled the bag up in a towel and squashed it to get the excess water out, put it over a covered box to block and had a nice sit down with a bottle of beer :)

Friday, June 23, 2006

Sensational Socks...soon

My book and yarn has arrived! The Skater is darker than I expected, the Jeans is lighter and the Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino is just scrummy (colour is 'Seashell').

I visited both my LYSs yesterday in search of some 4mm dpns to make my alpaca hat with, but no joy. Found a bamboo set on ebay relatively cheap (I admit, I could have got metal ones for a bargain but I didn't want to spoil the experience of working with such a nice yarn by using needles that I don't like). Actually yesterday was quite an efficient day (for me) I collected my yarn from the post office, posted my blanket squares off, took a bag of books, bag of shoes* and a pasta maker** to the charity shop, bought two knitting mags and managed to fit in getting some lunch too.

To inspire me to carry on with work on my hooded cardie and not get sidetracked by the new sock and hat plans I thought I would post a progress pic:

And lying on the floor next to it was this:

*shoes, yes, well, I might have a few....

**My name is Helen and I am a hobby-oholic. I have a problem with getting enthusiastic about new hobbies, buying the equipment and then never doing anything with it. Anyway, it was almost worth it for the look on the shop assistant's face when I handed over my donation, and someone
might want it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

More Good Luck than Judgement

I had a bit of an idea this morning, while waiting for the breakdown recovery man to come and start my car so I could take it to the garage :( that it might be worth trying a swatch of the alpaca with the yarn doubled to see if that got it anywhere closer the 20 stitches per 4" that the hat pattern calls for. The ball band states 25 stitches x 33 rows on 4mm needles, so there was no way that just going up a couple of needle sizes was going to work, and the thought of trying to re-design the hat pattern was quite scary. So, I thought it was worth a shot, and whaddaya know? I ended up with 20 stitches x 25 rows on 4mm needles! The pattern doesn't give a number of rows, so I'll just have to try it and see, but I am quite hopeful. The yarn is so soft and nice to work with (although my trousers did end up looking like the cat had slept on them) and the fabric is thick and, hopefully, will be very warm.

Did a few more rows on the hoodie too, so I've moved my bar.

Also today I got a card through the letter box from Royal Mail saying they've a parcel for me. Yay.
But I have to wait 48 hours before I can go and collect it. Bummer.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Shopping Update

Maybe I shouldn't surf the t'internet after half a bottle of wine. It occurred to me that seeing as I was buying a book on making socks, I would need to buy some sock yarn to make the socks with (conveniently forgetting about the couple of balls hiding in one of my boxes...)

And maybe I was feeling a leeetle jealous of all the stash enhancement going on at the Cake and Knit Day at Angel Yarns today.... hopefully they've left enough yarn to fulfill my order!!

Have just placed order for some Lucy Neatby yarn 'Seashell' which I spotted in the sock catalogue I happened upon while tidying up earlier. Some Regia Stretch 'Skater' and 'Jeans' fell into my shopping cart too.

And now to bed...perhaps to dream dreams of socks ;)

Knitting update

I have just ordered a copy of Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I really want to try more sock patterns, particularly short row heels and have seen many people recommend this book, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

The knitting of the Booga Bag is complete and I am just waiting for the next jeans wash for it to go in the machine. I'm contemplating felting it by hand but need to investigate this further - would it use less water / energy than the machine? would it be hard work? would it be as effective? hmm.

So in the meantime before my sock book is delivered, I have been working on my hooded cardie. I'm thinking of updating my percentage bars to 71% but I don't think I've actually done that much more.

Food and S.E.X.

As both Rob and I have been feeling slightly under the weather lately, we decided that it probably wasn't a good idea for us (well, me, to be more precise) to go hiking up steep hills on hot days but we both fancied a weekend away so we went to Keswick for a relaxing weekend of too little exercise and too much good food and drink. Hurrah!

We walked into Keswick (9.5miles there and back, mostly flat) to try and balance at least some of the calories, along a disused railway line, which was quite pretty and shady (it was quite an overcast day, but the sun did come out for quite a while in the afternoon and then it was blumming roasting).

We had a nice lunch, did some shopping (more details later), played crazy golf (I lost, as usual, but it was very funny) and had afternoon tea (am too ashamed to put a picture up of the enormous wedge of carrot cake that I scoffed!) I resisted the temptation to go in here and try to claim free chocolate...

On the way back, I spotted these guys

and we walked underneath the Greta Bridge, which was voted the 'Best Concrete Engineering Structure of the Century' in 1999. It curves round slightly, which you can just about tell from the photo. I wouldn't say it is the nicest bridge I've ever seen, but I suppose as far as concrete things go, it's quite impressive.

Now I have honed (!) my knitting-with-colour skills, I feel tempted to have a go at the Peruvian style earflap hat that I have had my eye on for ages; so long, in fact that the company that produced the yarn and free pattern has gone
out of business. There is a small yarn shop in Keswick called Needles and Pins who stock Artesano Alpaca so I got some to make the hat with. Unfortunately, it knits up to a very different gauge to that called for in the pattern so some maths will be required but hey, maths is fun, kids.

The results of my S.E.X. - inspiringly named light grey, charcoal and dark charcoal.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Spent yesterday being rather ill. Although the afternoon wasn't too bad, had a nap, watched Perry Mason, Fraser and Angel (the latter two I'd seen before, but they were still entertaining enough while I slumped on the sofa) but the morning is better glossed over.

The one bright spot of my day was when the postman brought me a parcel from Pie Princess with lots of cow goodies.

Thanks, Ms Princess.

Pud found the bag entertaining too.
Just checking to see if there was anything I'd not spotted....

I knitted a bit more of the Booga Bag in the evening. Had a slight panic attack
when I was finishing off, just pulling the end through the last cast off stitch and pulled a bit too hard, snapping the yarn about one fuzzy inch away from the stitch :( I think I have secured it ok, but it'll teach me to be more careful. I've now done about 2 feet of the i-cord, and it's looking ok. Any loose stitches are purely down to the varying thickness of the yarn, not my sloppy i-cord making....

And finally, this was the view out of the back window last night.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Snot Bag

I seem to have contracted Man-Flu. I have caught Rob's cold and my head is disgusting.

Appropriately, I have been making a Bag-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. I appreciate that I am going to come in for some criticism from certain quarters for making this item, but I've had plans to make one for so long that just because lots of other people have made way, way too many of them isn't going to stop me now. So I am asserting my individuality by not listening to people (who probably do know best) and going along with the crowd. Besides, I've bought the yarn and everything.

Knitting on circs is fun, totally mindless and I got to try out the Russian Join.

Join about to be knitted.

Join having been knitted in. It's barely noticeable as the Kureyon yarn changes in thickness anyway.

Notice, if
you will, Pud on the sofa in the back ground. Looks as though she's been there for hours, but no, the little minx only got up there the second after I'd stood up to fetch my camera. That's vermin for you.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Bunny Returns

Final part of the knitted square trilogy has been finished. I am quite pleased with the result, although I think the bunny should have been slightly bigger, and it is still alittle wobbly around the more complicated bits. I have decided that weaving in ends is quite possibly the most tedious thing in the world of knitting.

I also mowed the lawn this morning, and darn hard work it was too! Here is the evidence.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Oot 'n' aboot

I can't believe that it is only a week since my last post. It feels like much longer than that because I have been so busy and much away from home.

Last weekend was amazing. After the previous weekend of knackering myself out and having campsite issues I had declared that we were staying in and avoiding people. However, on Thursday night we wandered up to our local for dinner and a few pints and both confessed that we'd been thinking how nice it would be to go camping and that we ought to get back on that horse.
So we decided on the North Lakes as it would hopefully be a little quieter than
the central area around Ambleside and picked a campsite that was new to us having been told that they weren't full but we would be 'up on the hill'. Up on the hill is a very accurate description. There was a small carpark, a toilet block and a few statics there - and a flat area the size of a postage stamp with dozens of caravans and big tents crammed on. The rest of the site would have been enormous had it been stretched out and laid out flat, but as it was a one in two slope with a few little flat ledges dotted around there was actually only about 6 or 7 decent pitches in the entire place. We could have pitched up near to someone else's space as theoretically there was room, but given that I would have had a hissy fit if someone had done that to me and it was still early evening, we decided to try our luck elsewhere.

Luckily, our Good Lucky Fairy had decided to join us for the weekend and we found a dead nice (and quiet) campsite that isn't on the map. It was by a river and on both evenings we got to see lots of bats flying around unbelieveably close to us. There were also some ducks, chickens, some cute little dogs and a big dog that cocked his leg on our tent but I screeched at him so he ran away, but the bats were by far the most interesting.

We had a lovely walk (about 10 miles) on Saturday around Derwentwater and back over Catbells (451m), a dead nice pub that served cheap beer and scrummy food and on Sunday I purchased lots of shiny new kit. Including a new spork for my collection!

Buy that Luck Fairy a beer!

Monday morning involved horrendous panic and stress, followed by a five hour car journey to Southend-on-Sea for two days of meetings. In an ideal world I wouldn't get nauseous if I read while being a passenger in a car and I could have used the time constructively, but as it was I sat in the back staring out the window trying not to worry about how close the driver was getting to the car in front on the motorway.

Actually, no. Scratch that, in an ideal world, I wouldn't have been going in the first place but lazing in my backgarden with Badger, knitting and eating jelly beans.

Southend seemed quite nice, the front was quieter than I was expecting considering the weather was so nice but it was early in the week. The hotel overlooked the sea front (although it didn't feel very sea-like to me because you could see Kent quite clearly on the horizon) and was very pink and the average age of the other guests must have been about 75. I didn't take my knitting, as it was a business trip, but I wished I had as I bet I could have got some really good advice!

So now I am back, and am thinking that I would like to stay at home this weekend. The weather really is too hot for me to be much outside and I am getting withdrawal symptoms from knitting!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

As Calm as a Carrot

Firstly, thanks for the nice comments people have made about my first blanket square. As I think might be clear from my post about it, I am not totally happy with it - so in the spirit of determination decided to simplify the design and try again. Here is the carrot square, sans lapins.

There is definitely less puckering and general wonkiness going on here.

Bunnies may well feature again in the next square, I think I need to another one to really get to grips with it (and use up the nasty green acrylic yarn!). So I am now embarking on the 3rd part of my blanket trilogy.

In other news, I am currently obsessed with crossword puzzles and trying to win my fortune by entering compemetitions. It's early days yet, but I have high hopes that I'll be able to give up work and spend my time lazing around, knitting and scoffing jelly beans very soon.

And I have a nasty blood blister on the inside of my mouth :(