Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Knitting Peer Pressure

I gave in. I made the hat. But I'm not sticking the pom pom handles on the bloody thing. No way.

It was quite a nice little knit to get on with over the bank holiday weekend while we had visitors, as I could pick it up while they were watching kiddie films and football. I don't mind the odd match on telly now and again, Rob supports Newcastle United, so I see some of their games and Match of the Day is ok by me, but I'm not prepared to sit and join in supporting Chelsea. No way, Jose. We did manage to prise the kids away from the telly and out of the house for an afternoon, and managed a walk and picnic, which was almost shared by some interested locals.

Yesterday we visited Dunham Massey. The house is being renovated at the moment, so you can't see the front, but the insides were very impressive (although they had lots of paintings done by people that patently couldn't do dogs or horses and some of the humans were a bit suss as well....), the gardens were lovely and waterwheel operated sawmill, complete with Old Ripper (and custodian bemoaning about how they can't use it properly these days due to bureaucratic Health and Safety Regulations stopping everyone's fun and how there were almost never any accidents or limbs removed) but the best thing was the deer park. Acres of beautiful old oak woodland complete with antlered deer roaming was just the thing for a quiet afternoon fantasizing about being Lady of the Manor.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Baby cardigan II

The boring baby cardigan is finished. It was quite an enjoyable knit (although to be honest, I think it would be strange if someone who loves knitting as much as I do thought something wasn't enjoyable to knit...) and I am rather pleased with the end result. I feel slightly guilty that more time, money and effort didn't go into this cardy, as the baby boy's elder sister got 'Dolly' from Jaeger knitted in Jaeger yarn with scallops and everything... but I doubt their mother will ever notice so I'm not going to worry about it too much. I am particularly impressed by the way the stripes of colour on the raglan sleeves match up on both sides. How on earth this happened is a mystery to me :)

I am standing by my principles however and I am not making the hat. I wouldn't do that to anyone, let alone a little boy. It wouldn't be so bad but the pom poms! Just stuck there! like handles! What were they thinking?

I did the tension swatch for the DB smock jacket last night. The ball band on the yarn said 22 sts x30 rows on 4mm
needles, I needed more than this so used 3.75mm needles and ended up with 21 sts x 28 rows. Hmmm. Washing the swatch and pinning it to dry, I managed (with a little bit of encouragement and creative measuring) to get 22.5 st x 30.5 rows but I am not convinced. So the swatch has now gone in the washing machine to see what happens to it after a proper washing cycle. No doubt it will come out the size of a postage stamp, but it's worth a try. I am thinking I'll try again with 3.5mm needles, but I'll wait until the washing experiment is done before starting again. I should probably do a bit of work on the shrug anyway.

And I couldn't go without putting in a proper picture of Cadbury.

He'll try and eat anything, begs like an urchin, gets under your feet at every oppotunity, is scared of just about anything in the house that makes a noise (particularly the washing machine) but is so friendly and affectionate it's unreal. I think I'm smitten!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Grandma's Pattern Collection

My apologies for the dull pictureless baby cardigan post. As rightfully pointed out, it has been a very quick project and seems to be coming together ok. Just the button bands and collar to finish. It seems very strange to knit them separately and then sew them on rather than picking up the stitches, but I'm useless at working out button holes for myself so I'm following the pattern. Here it is so far...

And here, in all it's glory, is the original pattern. I think I'll pass on the tea cosy hat and legwarmers. There's no date on it, but I'd guess early 80s... thankfully by which time I was too old for Grandma to have made the outfit for me!

My Grandma was an amazing knitter and seamstress and I used to love doing embroidery and crafty things with her as a child. When she died, I inherited her collections of patterns, notions and knitting needles and other bits and bobs. They mean a lot to me. There are some amazing patterns from the 1930s to the 1980s - many of them are probably never to be used again, but I just love looking at them. Here is a small sample - check out the sock patterns!

The 'Knitting made easy by P&B...Edition 1940' pamphlet contains such delights as bed capes and thigh hugging pants. The label on the cover reads 'Please note: Owing to war conditions, shade ranges are being reduced. Fringes are issued subject to this feature and to available supplies against orders through usual stockists'.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Baby cardigan

My cousin had a baby boy during the week. He has been named Harry William - which was quite a surprise as our family is not usually given over to 'royal' names! He was a bit of a big 'un too, over nine and a half pounds. Ouchie! Mum and baby are ok and I have started on the obligatory cardy. Ages ago, I got some Sirdar Snuggly DK Magic in blues which I have been waiting to use up, so a baby boy is just fine by me. I'm using a very old pattern of my Grandma's which I thought would show up the stripes of the yarn well - it's not the most interesting thing in the world (hence no WIP pic) but it's coming a long ok. I really want to get started on the Debbie Bliss celtic smock jacket for Lily-Rose as we'll be seeing her (can't wait!!) for the first time in a month and the DB Cashmerino feels so lovely and squishy (and I like it all the more because it was a complete bargain!!)

Edited to add: I've just noticed that you can see the beginnings of the cardy on the arm of the sofa in the pic of Cadbury below (who, by the way, is settling in very well and making himself right at home!)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I seem to have adopted a new cat. It was all a bit sudden really.

A colleague started telling me about a stray cat she'd been looking after but couldn't keep as her cats didn't like it. Well, I say 'looked after'... she'd fed it and brushed it once in the hot weather when it's fur got matted. She was a bit worried about what would happen to it in the winter and would I like to come and have a look at it? Ok, so I went and looked...and brought it home with me.

A trip to the vets the next day revealed that 'she' is a neutered tom, not microchipped and in pretty good nick all things considered.

I don't really want to get judgemental about things like this (but can't you just tell I'm gonna start venting!), I mean, she meant well by telling me about the cat and has asked after him and said that they've missed him being in the garden when they've been going to and from the house, so I really think they did care about him in their own way... but to not even bother checking if he was microchipped or taking him to the RSPCA after so long a time just astounds me. He could have been rehomed, or had an existing family missing him, he could have been an unspayed female as they'd thought and ended up bringing loads of other unwanted cats into the world.
What really did it was when she commented that they thought it was funny when it started raining and the cat just sat there in the rain getting wet through...yes, and I'm sure he thought it was very amusing too.

So, I am pleased to introduce Cadbury. Thankfully he is learned in the ways of the littertray but hasn't quite mastered the mysteries of doors or catbeds yet - but then after sleeping under a car for the last six months, I suppose anywhere will do.

I saw a bear!

I did! Made from Denim Tweed following the pattern in Simply Knitting Issue 2.

Fun to make, although fiddly to sew up, it was amazing to see it come together and actually look like a bear! I had feared it would end up looking like a mouse or a brown unidentifiable blob thing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I've started so I'll fi

Alright, so I guess Anne Robinson or Magnus Magnusson have nothing to fear from me. The Knitting Geek award of the day goes to Badger, for successfully guessing that the mohair fluff is becoming Tess's Summer Shrug from Simply Knitting Issue Sept 2005.

(not that mine will look anything like this, but that's the wonder of knitting - everyone's creations are different).

The baby cable socks are finished. I am quite pleased with the way they turned out, the garter stitch section down the gusset made for neat stitch picking up, although I think it gives the sock a bit of an odd look. Not sure I'll bother with it again, as holey gussets was never something that was a real problem for me, I just usually pick up as many stitches as I think I need rather than what the pattern dictates and then knit into the back of them on the next round.

The yarn is Regia stretch 'Jeans' which is a lovely pale mottled blue. These are for Lisa's birthday (who bought me the LL's Purple Iris yarn) so I hope she'll like them and they fit ok.

I made some fluffy bed socks with bobbly cuffs to ages ago to practise my bobble making which had short row heels and they turned out ok (although far too frou frou for posting pictures of in public!!) so I think I'll try short row heels on proper socks next.

And finally, introducing Ickle Cow, who was made for me by Northern Monkey.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I have more than 15x 25g balls of Jaeger Mohair Cotton, which was a gift from my MIL and has been sitting around for years.

So I decided to do something with it. Can you tell what it is yet?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Life is like a butterfly

I have some buddleia bushes down the side of the house in varying shades of pink and purple. Buddleia are amazing plants, they grow anywhere (if you pass through a run down industrial area and you see bushes growing out of the roofs and brickwork of old factories and warehouses, chances are it'll be a buddleia), have pretty flowers and are loved by butterflies.

Making the trip to the compost bins at the moment is a little like walking through some kind of insect zoo, there is so much activity out there. I did take pictures of other things, like spiders, but I won't be putting them up here for fear of upsetting anyone! My Mum could tell you exactly what these are (she's a bit strange about creepy crawlies - I have a photo of her holding a tarantula...) but I just think they are pretty! There were some plain little brown things as well, but they flapped their wings too fast for the camera.

Earlier this week, my Posh Yarn Lace Club yarn arrived.

Here is it nestling in it's posh tissue wrapping. Isn't it lovely. Too nice to be knitted by me really, but it drew the short straw and it's here now. I am not totally convinced by the flower pattern shawl that is suggested for it, so I am in the process of trying to find something relatively easy that I will be able to make with
630m (690yds) of laceweight yarn. Any suggestions will be looked at with great interest ;)

And just to prove that I have been knitting as well as aquiring yarn (which has been happening more than it probably ought during a stashalong - the posh lace was my August day off, if anyone is taking any notice of these things) here is the current sock progress pic.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Harvest time

Firstly, I have to say thank you to everyone for their thoughts and sympathy lately. It meant a lot to me.

According to the Celtic calendar, August 1st is called Lughnasad and the night before is Lammas Eve. This is traditionally a night for bonfires and sacrifices for the harvest, the start of which is marked by these celebrations. So, seeing as we have a garage full of wooden crates, this seemed like a good time to have a fire and clear up some space. Besides, burning things is fun!

Thankfully* the weather started being a little more British yesterday so no one had their washing out or were in their gardens. I was a little worried earlier in the day about the torrential rain, but fortunately this stopped and the evening was cool and breezy, and I was able to enjoy a glass of red wine in front of my fire. I also baked some bread and the plums on the tree are looking ripe for the picking, so our tiny harvest festival looks all set for today!

*I am thankful anyway. To hear most of the people I work with talk, you'd think it was the end of the world that the temperatures have dropped below 25°C and we've had a few rain showers. Hah!


We decided to go camping in the Lake District this weekend, to get us out of the house, try out the new tent and do some walking. We were shocked to discover our newly found ‘quiet’ campsite was full! It’s not the biggest place in the world and these days tents seem to be huge palatial mansions – well, other people’s tents do anyway, if our current trend in tent purchasing continues we’ll be in bivvy bags next. So there was 20 minutes or so mild panic while we tried other sites. Thankfully the Bridge End Farm site had opened up another field for the summer season so there was plenty of room there - if quite a long walk to the shower block!

Saturday we walked up Helvellyn
(950m), via Stake Pass and Lower Man.

Some sheepses enjoying the summer.

Not many takers for the ski lifts!

The weather was hazy and pretty warm, quite windy at the top, with gusts up to 31.5mph that we measured and it started raining while we were coming back down to Thirlmere, but we were mostly under the trees at this point so it wasn’t too bad. Arrived back at site just in time to enjoy the final moments of the England cricket team whooping Pakistan and then we went for tea down the pub.

On Sunday we did some shopping in Keswick – bought some Smartwool merino socks and insect bite cream (!) and had brunch in the Wild Strawberry CafĂ© which was very nice.

Returning home, there was a package addressed to me from Get Knitted. I opened it thinking there had been some mix up and they’d mistakenly doubled up on my last order - only to discover that it was a present to cheer me up from one of my best friends. I am so lucky to have such kind, thoughtful and generous friends, with obvious good taste!