Thursday, September 28, 2006

On the home straight

I might just do it!

I knitted loooong into the night (well an hour past my bedtime) last night until my left hand started aching too much and I had to give in. I have 8 more rows of knitting left on the collar and then the sewing up left to do. I could save a bit of time by doing a quick steam rather than a full block. Buttons are now starting to concern me. I am hoping that I have some suitable in my button stash, which is rather sizeable but I am fussy about little details and if I don't have just the right ones, then the whole thing will have to wait.

One very good thing has come out of this. I lost my cable needle. It is somewhere in the recliner mechanism of our sofa, which is quite possibly the most comfy sofa in the whole world but rather scary underneath and my desperate search turned up nothing. I suspect that the goblins who operate the sofa gubbins have used it as a spare part. At first the loss of the cable needle seemed to be a complete disaster but mothers,inventions and necessities and all that made me sit down and actually think about what the cable needle is used for. Moving and crossing stitches. That is all. So surely it is possible to do this using my ordinary needles and then knit across the stitches once they've been moved. Yes, it is possible. It is also much quicker and less disruptive to my knitting rhythm so the goblins can keep my cable needle!

I took some not very explanatory photos which I will post up next week, but first I need to concentrate on knitting whenever I can!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Knitting Deadline...

I had sort of decided that I wanted to give Lily-Rose the smock jacket when we see her next weekend. Of course, this means that the jacket needs to be finished...the right front cable panel is still to be knitted and then it'll need to be embroidered, blocked, sewn up, buttons and everything. By Friday. It's now Monday night. We'll see... if I can manage to not rush and make mistakes but just keep steadily working at it, there is a chance.

It's a nice pattern to work certainly, there are things of interest in every piece and the pattern seems fine so far - just one tiny error that would be really obvious to anyone as it's in the cabling pattern where you create panels of stitches up the work.

The cuffs are pretty, repeating the smock effect from the back.

Ooh me feet!

I made a slight error in judgement during a visit to my sister's last weekend. As we were leaving, I called to my nephew to give his auntie a goodbye kiss, forgetting that my sister had informed me earlier that they were getting over colds and it was too late to back out by the time his snotty little face and plastered itself all over mine. Nice. Not. Bleugh. Needless to say, three days later I started with a sore throat, the voice went completely over the weekend and now it is coming back but I still sound like Janet Ellis.

On Saturday, we decided that some fresh air was needed and headed out on to the hills not too far from here, following the Pennine Way across the M62 at Windy Hill bridge (by the big aerial on the tops by Jcn22 if anyone knows the area) up to the Aiggen Stone,
round the reservoirs overlooking Todmorden and back. It was a lovely day (although there were some ominous looking clouds further north for a while) although slightly spoiled by having to walk the last hour or so in almost agony because of stupid blisters on my stupid feet. Managed to put some tape on them before they caused any real damage, but it was really really slow and uncomfortable hobble back to the car. Today's Lesson: put the tape on BEFORE your feet start hurting.

Some sh
eep, because it's been a while.

We were very lucky with the weather over the weekend, it is very unusual for Manchester to seem to have the best of it. And the day was rounded off by a spectacular sunset.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Got Beetroot?

I don’t think of myself as a fussy eater, but there are some things that I do not like. These include stilton cheese, liver, peas, grapefruit. Peas I will eat if they are the only green veg served with my meal in a restaurant, but I’d never cook them for myself. Stilton I tried not so long ago as I wasn’t sure if I really didn’t like it or just thought I didn’t. I don’t. This happened with egg sandwiches too, although it turns out they just don’t taste of anything. I try not to dismiss stuff just because it looks unappealing – I missed out on years of date eating because I was put off by the looks of them and they are wonderfully fudge-y, and my butternut squash and sweet potato curry was nice – but some things are definite no-noes... my sister has recently returned from France and was extolling the virtues of frog’s legs. I think not. I think squid is the closest I’ve come to this and never again. Butter beans, nope. Chestnuts, no. Beetroot, I am not fussed about. I don’t like it on salad, it is mushy pointless stuff. So when I got some in my veg box last week I mentally consigned it to the compost heap, but lazily left it in the box with the root veggies.

On Saturday morning we went into Manchester to do some shopping. The new end of the Arndale Centre and market hall is now open, and although not completely filled with new shops, there are plenty and it all looks new and shiny and impressive. Far better than the old dingy bus station and indoor market.

After a wander around the shops (and maybe a cup of coffee and a wodge of carrot cake) I came home with a new camouflage print t shirt and two books on making soup. One is from the New Covent Garden Soup Co, whose fresh soups are delish but expensive and the other is called Soup Kitchen and is a collection of soup recipes sold on behalf of charitieshelping the homeless such as Centrepoint and the Salvation Army. The look of the book is very similar to Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall’s River Cottage books (he also wrote the introduction, so this may not be entirely a coincidence) and it contains recipes from loads of well known chefs and cooking people. Some of the soups are perhaps a bit fancy for everyday, but it really is the sort of book that makes your tummy rumble while you flick though it. And…yes, this is going somewhere…and in the book there is a recipe for Borscht. I have beetroot and a sense of humour, how can all those Russians be wrong? Turns out they are not wrong at all! It is lovely stuff, yummy and such an amazing colour. You should try it…and think about buying the book while you’re at it ;)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bobble Trouble

The merino jacket is coming along ok. I have finished the back, it has a really nice crossed cable 'smock' pattern across the back that looks really effective but seemed to take as long as the vast expanse of stocking stitch did as the pattern refused to stick in my brain, and am about half way up the left front. I decided to redo the cabling pattern after the first attempt, as the bobbles didn't seem to be bobbling properly. So I have added an extra row of purl stitches into the MB to make them stand a bit prouder.

So far, so bobbly...

Peak District

On Saturday we drove over to Bakewell to meet up with my Dad and step-Mum who had brought their caravan up to the Peaks for a few days.
We got a guidebook of walks in the area from the tourist information office and set off for a nice three mile walk up to the Nine Ladies Stones, the four of us and two dogs, Holly and Ben. There were some interesting things along the way, such as a protest camp / squat in the woods where the council want to reopen a quarry, they had rope ladders, rope bridges and everything. We didn't see any eco-warriors, but they could have been hiding out in their amazing (but rather unsafe) looking tree houses. Also encountered on the way were some rather anxious cows, one of whom took an obvious dislike to Holly and Ben, thankfully there was enough room around the edge of the field for us to skirt around and there was a fence which looked easily climbable in the event of an emergency. After a couple of hours of walking, it became obvious that the walk wasn't three miles long - it was actually 5,2 miles and quite hilly - but everyone coped and later, over a nice cup of tea, declared it had been a good outing although I thought the Nine Ladies were a bit of an anti-climax - Avebury and Castlerigg it is not... I didn't take a picture of the stones as there were lots of people sitting on them.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Slow progress

Thanks to Acrylik for her kind words on her blog about my bear and to everyone who commented both there and here :)

Thanks also to all for their good wishes for Cadbury. He is fine and the lump has gone down with no probems at all.
I am slightly annoyed at the vets though as she really did scare the crap out of me, ruin my weekend and probably cost me nearly £50 in unnecessary vet bills just because she didn't have the experience that the other vet did, and didn't go and check with a colleague while I was there the first time. I don't expect people to know everyt
hing off the tops of their heads, but I do have a problem with people making out like they know what's what and then giving wrong diagnoses, then changing their minds half way through the consultation and deciding it would be better if you came in again in a couple of days to check on things when coincidentally the senior vet will be doing the examination...

I suppose that now I (and hopefully scary-scapel-mad-vet-woman) have more experience of lumpy cats after this, and the main thing is that the little fella is ok.

Not vast am
ounts of knitting have taken place this week. Not sure why not, I just seem to have been spending more time doing other things. I had fun experimenting with my organic veg delivery this week as it included sweet potato and butternut squash. What to do with these exotic things? Ainsley Harriot will know, I thought, turning to his 'Low Fat Meals in Minutes' book - and he did! Curry - and it was actually a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be.

Anyway. Knitting. Yes, well....

And here is something else you can do with merino yarn....

Monday, September 04, 2006

Panic over

The hat and cardy have been posted. The birthday socks have been posted. I posted instructions on to get to my house to my Mum - you'd think a mother would know the way to her daughter's house, and she does, but only from one direction! I remembered to post a birthday card to my Grandpa, who's birthday I always get wrong. I know I remember it wrong, I always think it's on the 4th rather than the 6th and post a card according. Sadly I always then realise that it's actually the 2nd not the 4th or the 6th. Ah well, better late than never. All this cost me over £5. I have no idea about sizes, weights, parcel post, letter post or anything, I just handed over the money.

It was rather a bad weekend. Cadbury's back has swelled up and formed a lump which is quite noticable. I took him to the vets and he was duly poked and prodded, given an injection and antibiotics and words like abscess, cancer, sarcoma and surgery were mentioned. An emergency visit for this Monday was scheduled and all weekend I have been a bag of nerves and worry. We've only had him three weeks, haven't organised insurance for him yet, there is a type of sarcoma which is thought to be associated with vaccination, so is this something I have done to him? All these thoughts in my head. He seemed totally oblivious, which is probably just as well as I think if he'd picked up on my mood we'd not have got him out from under the bed for a month.

So this morning I went to the vets (thankfully the smell in the waiting room was eminating from someone else's cat carry box and not mine) and had a nice calm chat with a different vet. He thinks it is just swelling from where the microchip was injected as they have to use a big needle and it is possible for them to hit other things and cause bruising. He thinks that the chances of it being a sarcoma are non-existant as they take years, not weeks to form, and it would have been noticed during the previous examination. It's possible it could be an infection around the chip, but the antibiotics will clear that up. So a much relieved Helen brought Cadbury home for his breakfast.

Kind of appropriate to my mood this weekend was my knitting:

A big flat expanse of grey in stocking stitch on 3,5mm needles.

However, today I am in a better mood and it looks soft and muted, and the merino has a silky soft feel to it. I think (hope!) it will look lovely with the details on the collar and sleeves picked out in dark red

This is what I'm aiming for - the Smock Jacket from Debbie Bliss Celtic Knits book.