Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Those socks

I made three starts at the toe up socks and frogged all of them. The first time I read the pattern wrong, the second time I did it right, but thought it was wrong so I frogged it and the third time I did it wrong again, realised it had been right the last time when it had looked wrong and messy and decided to make the damn socks using another pattern. As a wise duck once said, once a pattern has annoyed you it can sod off.

So I have chosen another pattern from SKS, which is done rib down. No doubt I will encounter numerous problems once I get to the fancy part, but at least I know I can graft a neat toe.

Paper craft

I couldn't sleep on Sunday so got up really early and made the envelope, which involved lots of measuring, marking, cutting and gluing. The amount of time and effort I put in to making it really was over the top for something so simple that will ultimately end up in the bin, but strangely it took my mind off other things - better than knitting those toe up socks anyway.

Here is the card I made over the last week or so

and the envelope

Shopping Expedition

On Saturday we had to take a trip out to meet a family who had bought one of our tents off eBay. We'd arranged to meet them at the Trafford Centre to hand it over. That done we then went into the shopping centre to spend the cash. I bought a few bits and bobs, some card and glue for paper crafting - which is not something I've ever really done, but I'd done some painting recently and made it into a little card and I wanted to make an envelope to go with it. More details on these in the next post. I bought loads of little bits and pieces, not spending vast amounts, but trying to get the most of my retail therapy. I felt a bit sorry for Rob when we were having lunch and I had a bit of a lapse and it was highly probable that people were looking at him thinking what a git for upsetting me over dinner.

So anyway, back to the shopping. I shopped good. The finishing touch was as we were walking back towards the car through John Lewis and I spotted their new yarn department. I let out a little 'ooh', Rob turned to look, went 'Ah. I'll go and have a look in the electricals department' and wandered off. Cue me, rushing headlong into the sale bins and what should they happen to have, but lots and lots of packs of Rowan Chunky Print! Just the thing for Blackberry. I'd tried a while ago to get it thinking I'd spend the birthday money from my Mum on it but not been able to find it in stock anywhere in colours that I liked. The only place I'd seen in was at MCA Direct, where it was reduced but still fairly pricey, and I'd just committed myself to a stashalong. John Lewis had it at half price, and there was a choice between Rage (black) and Pit (delightfully named deep chocolate brown). Pit it had to be, so it came home with me, stashalong or no.
Here it is... I got an extra ball just in case, so I might have enough to make something else too.

Crappy weekend

I had a pants weekend. It really topped off my pants week in possibly the most spectacularly crap way imaginable.
Pud was hit by a car and killed on Saturday morning. Some neighbours had taken covered her up and taken her away, and other neighbours came over to tell me what had happened. Pud was returned on Sunday and we buried her in the back garden. When the weather is cooler and we are getting decent amounts of rain I will buy a plant to go over her spot.
At first I was practically out the door and on my way to the RSPCA to get another cat there and then, but as I have come to terms with things I think it will be a couple of months before I even seriously consider getting another pet. Yes the house seems strangely empty considering she was so small and I keep looking twice at jumpers on chairs and bags on the floor, but I think I would worry too much and trying to keep a cat indoors in this weather with the doors and windows all open wouldn't be fun for anyone.
Of course, as a devotee of the Way Of The Pud, she will now be in Pud Nirvana on the Great Laundry Pile in the sky.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Secret Summer Santa

The presents from my Secret Summer Santa arrived this morning. Although I knew that other people's had arrived and that I should be expecting something in the post at any time, it was still a real surprise when the postie came this morning with a big parcel for little old me!!

It all was beautifully wrapped and in a lovely bag.

And inside were two hanks of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn in Wisteria, two hanks of Colinette Lasso in Seabreeze, a Lantern Moon Bee tape measure which is really cute and my clue, which was a little bird keyring.

So, many many thanks to my Santa, Hawkesley, and if everyone is as pleased with their presents as I am with mine then the whole thing is going to be a resounding success!!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Pud in Cat Outdoors Shocker!

This exclusive picture can now be revealed!

Amazingly, earlier today evidence was captured on camera of Pud outside! Awake! Playing! This is a rare aspect of the Way Of The Pud not often witnessed. Behold...

Fair Isle Tank Top

Tis done! My first fair isle project, and I think it went ok. The actual mechanics of the knitting is quite simple and a lot of fun to watch the patterns forming. I like to see the patterns coming out on self patterning sock yarn, and this is even better because I am doing it!

As I mentioned before, I ended up with a lot of ends that needed weaving in. This seemed to take almost as long as the knitting, and then there was the neck and arm bands to pick up and knit. I always faff around with my finishing, but took so long this time that even Rob asked me what I was playing at!! :)

Photos showing some hot back action, just for Badger ;)

Hopefully it passes inspection.

And the completed tank top. All ready to be wrapped and handed over on the 25th. Phew!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Got there eventually...

The plan (last week) was to post the next entry of my blog with the completed fair isle tank top pictured. On Friday night I ran out of one of the colours - this was not a total shock as I had subbed the yarn from Sirdar Denim Tweed to Patons Diploma Gold and hadn't checked the meterage on the balls... - so Saturday I bought a ball of yarn. I am not counting this in my stashalong as I needed it to complete a WIP - and besides, Terri said it was ok :)

Sunday, I had a strange complusion to clean things, which is not like me at all, and only sat down to my knitting after a day of scrubbing, mopping, polishing, sorting and painting everything in sight. Needless to say my stash is still laid out across the dining room floor in what Rob calls a 'wool explosion'... well, I need to see what I'm up against.

So the weekend came and went. I finished the actual knitting and then started on weaving in the ends. I was rather concerned that I had too many ends, but having looked at some of the pictures of fair isle projects in progress on other blogs (particularly impressive ones of Eunny Jang's site) and think I had a normal amount. I must admit that I took more care than usual in weaving in the ends neatly, as I think by the very nature of fair isle it is the sort of garment that begs people to look at the back. I know I do this, especially if I think it has been handknitted, and didn't want to let myself down with sloppy finishing.

So about three days later than expected, the tank top is washed and laid out flat to dry. Which in this heat shouldn't take long.

Picture tomorrow. Promise ;)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Good post day

Some of the bits that I have ordered for my pal have arrived and I had a lovely time opening the packages and looking at my purchases, especially as some of them were for me!! Got some books:

The Alice Starmore one is just beautiful. Most of the designs are timeless and the fact that the book is about 14 years old does not matter. Not all the patterns are to my taste and certainly the majority of the yarns are disco
ntinued now, but that does not detract from this wonderful book. The Debbie Bliss one is more modern and is very Ms Bliss. I like her designs, and this book contains possibly the cutest fairisle kiddy socks that I have ever seen :)

My new hook also arrived:

Is it wrong to be this happy about a small piece of wood?!

Work continues apace on the tank top. A slow pace.

This is the back, after spending ages weaving in the ends. It seemed that no matter how I arranged my yarn, I always ended up with the end at the wrong side when I came to use that colour again.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Itchy and Scratchy

One downside of the weekend is that I got eaten alive by the midges. I react badly to insect bites and now have a lovely collection of livid red lumps up one leg, around my neck and the top of my head. It is really my own stupid fault as I know I get bitten, but didn't realise it was happening until it was too late. So I have spent today rubbing on anti-hystamine cream and zapping myself with my mini electrocution clicky thing.

Did some shopping today too. For my Secret Summer Santa spoilee. It is a very nice feeling being able to browse through the posh stuff with no feelings of guilt whatsoever. The only difficulty was trying to decide on the best colours to suit her preferences... I hope I've got it right *fingers crossed*

It was incredibly tempting to get yarn for myself at the same time, but I was a good stashalonger and just bought myself a pattern, book (or two!) and a crochet hook which will be needed in the not too distant future. Ok, so a fancy Brittany Birch hook wasn't strictly necessary (I've always managed with the bog standard metal ones before now) but I think having a nice hook will make my stashbusting more agreeable.


The weather forecast said it would be cooler this weekend, which as far as I am concerned is much better weather to be having than that of late and we decided to head out onto the hills of the Lake District. On Saturday we walked up Blencathra (868m) and down the other side (10.5miles) and then to the pub for tea. It most certainly was colder, hood and even gloves were required at the top.

On the way back, we passed a field with some llamas.

Posing for the camera: llamas know they're cute.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Seeing Stripes

I have made a start on the little tank top for my nephew. It is his 'Day' on the 25th July as he was born on Christmas Day and his parents wanted him to have a special day all to himself.

The pattern is from a Sirdar Chunky Knits book and I'm using some wool rich DK (Patons, I think) which is machine washable and tumbleable. Ok for a two and a half year old, I think, although it's not as soft as I would like. Hopefully washing will make it a bit comfier and it is designed to go over a t-shirt so shouldn't matter too much. I might make him some more little socks out of something nicer as well.

I started a list of all the things that I had planned to make during my stashalong, bearing in mind that I have something like 13 weeks to do it in. Once I'd reached 13 projects on my list, I stopped writing and tried to calm down. Ok, so some baby socks aren't going to take long, but some of these things are quite substantial...

So today's lesson in the Way of the Pud is relaxation techniques.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Waffly explanation of colour knitting

Intarsia is where separate pieces of yarn are used in an individual area of colour. I did this for my dodgy bunnies and carrots, ending up with many little bobbins of yarn hanging off the back of the work, lots of loose ends & much weaving in and swearing.

Fair Isle is often used to describe the method of patterning colours along a row by running colours across the back when not in use, however I believe it is more accurate to call this 'stranding' as Fair Isle is a name for a specific style of knitting which is done by stranding.

According to the Shetland Museum website "...real Fair Isle patterns are built up in horizontal bands, by knitting two coloured yarns in each row. The motifs are clearly defined by careful selection of colours."

Groovy hat!

The last progress pic. Fairisle (I should really call it 'stranding' I suppose, but fairisle is a much prettier word...) is so much more fun than intarsia. I have decided that my next project will be fairisle too.

And finished - Just the thing for summer.