Wednesday, December 19, 2007


You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Inigo Montoya

Which Princess Bride Character are You?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Shawl? What shawl?

The ugly sock is not all by itself any longer. I started on it's ugly companion straight away and now there are one and a bit ugly socks. I think I might give them to my Dad for his birthday.

See how well thought out the jolly pink background was :|

Then I got all sidetracked by the Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey socks which I decided would make a rather nice Crimble pressie. As long term readers of the blog will know, I am not good at knitting to a deadline and I really should have known better to even attempt to start making something as a gift after, ooh, sometime around the middle of October. There is no way on this planet that I am going to get these babies knitted in time. However, this might be a good thing as they are turning out to be just the right size for me! I can feel myself getting more and more attached to them by the (tiny) stitch. The Garnstudio Fabel sock yarn is very nice and soft and I am thinking that the grey would be very practical indeed. Another argument on the side of me keeping them for myself is that I have had a horrible cold lately and might have impregnated it with illness. I saw a book with a funny title in Waterstones the other day, a survival guide and collection of anecdotes about flat sharing called 'I Lick My Cheese' ... I think I might adapt it to 'I Cough on my Yarn'...

I reluctantly let go of some of my non-germ-affected yarn from Ally Pally to a good friend of mine for Christmas, I decided that I could spare one of the two lovely skeins of Jitterbug that I bought, but I needn't have feared, for more yarn has arrived to replace it!

A big thank you to Itgirl for my 'Hands Across The Sea' swap package which arrived a week or so back. In it, I received some very interesting American foodstuffs for the making of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some packet mixes for American biscuits, although I need to find out more about this to know what to make them to go with.

There was also American yarn of the sock variety:
And the scrummy lace variety:
The Lacey Lamb is very soft and fine indeed. Be assured I have coughed slightly near it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Santa came early...

I bought myself a present.
I will never go needy again.

Friday, November 30, 2007

'The hell was I thinking?

I knew there was something wrong about half way down the cuff but I carried on knitting. Somehow this sock made me knit it. It's ugly and it's evil.

I'm scared.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hills, most of them cloudy

Last Friday it was our wedding anniversary. It has been 6 years since we ran away to Las Vegas and to celebrate this event (as we are saving the return trip to Vegas for our 10 year anniversary) we went to our favourite place in Blighty for a few days.

We rented a tiny apartment in Ambleside, just outside of town up a tiny lane with stone cottages which is described in the tourist brochure as 'the delightful Peggy Hill' - this was renamed, after returning on foot from a 10 mile+ round of the Fairfield Horseshoe, 'the scabby Peggy Hill'. I didn't get a picture as just as I got my camera out a delivery van pulled up at the foot of the hill with hazards flashing and spoilt it. Here is some snow instead.

Top of Fairfield - it were a bit parky!

From Nab Scar, looking down to Ambleside

Next day, as a break from walking, we took the ferry down Windermere to Bowness to visit Blackwell, which is a beautiful house in the Arts & Crafts style - it made a real change from the usual stately homes we see in England and I bought a copy of the best book in the world ever! It is surprising how little you can fit into a short winter day if you don't go places by car, it was dusk as we were on the return ferry - very romantic!


Windermere, heading back to Ambleside

On the last day of our break we walked up Helm Crag, over Gibson Knott to Calf Crag and back down Easedale Gill. This would have been a lovely walk if it hadn't been peeing it down all day and blowing a gale. Still, it is days like this that make you appreciate the days when you get clear blue skies... like the following day when we were coming home. T'uh!

Far Easedale Gill

Sheepses in the sun

I decided against taking the shawl away with me and decided to make a start on a pair of socks in a colourful Lana Grossa yarn that I bought in a sale on a whim recently. I am too ashamed to show it to you. I am making the most hideous socks in the world :(

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Pattern: Devan by Holli Yeoh, from Knitty
Yarn: Stripes are Schoppel Admiral, colourway 1744 (2 x100g balls, 60g left over)
Contrast colour is Opal Uni, colourway 1412 (1x100g ball, 30g left over)
Needles: 3mm straights & 2,5mm/60cm circs
Size: 2-3 years
Mods: Not much, made the detail on back slightly bigger to use each stripe colour and made larger button holes to suit the
flower buttons; these were from Ally Pally - I've lost the card with the details of the stall holder, will update if I find it or a miracle occurs and I remember the name.

I really enjoyed making this, it is a very nice, simple pattern to follow and the stripes in the yarn striped well - although I have to admit that towards the tops of the fronts and the arms, where there was more shaping, I did help things along a bit to make the stripes neater. I wasn't going to 'fess up to this, but feel that it's only fair to in case someone decides to use this yarn and expects it to work up perfectly. I still didn't manage to get the fronts exactly the same, but I like that it has the differences that make it unique.

So, one 2nd birthday present for Lily-Rose finished and with over a week to spare before the big day. Anyone would think I was organised!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Jumper jigsaw

The pieces are knitted and the time comes to put it all together. It seems to have taken much longer to get this far than knitting a toddler jumper should have but I am blaming the little stitches for this, as I'm sure that I've not been slacking off - much. Ravelry may have something to answer for though as it is definitely 'getting sidetracked' central.
I quite like sewing up. There is something satisfying about seeing the bits come together as a garment and I don't really understand why so many people put it off; who wants a bundle of knitting hiding away at the bottom of their workbox making them feel guilty when they could have a FO to gaze at lovingly. Yes it can take a while but I think it's always worth doing carefully, as it would be rubbish to have a beautifully knitted something spoiled because your seam was wonky or you left a knot showing through. And you just know that someone somewhere is going to take a sneaky peek at the inside.

Joining the shoulder seams on Devan is to be done with the three needle bind off - which is something new to me. Despite the fancy lace and cabled knitting that I have produced, as it seems to me that there is always a new technique to learn and I am still very much still on the learning curve, after all, it was only about 4 or 5 years ago that I seriously decided to try to become an 'expert' knitter.

It strikes me as funny though when I compare this feeling of relative novice-ness at knitting to my 'years of experience' at crochet. My mum taught crochet classes at the primary school before I started there and she used to take me with her and I would go along with her. I remember vividly laughing at one boy's efforts (very mean and insensitive of me, I know!) and informing him that he was doing it too tightly. But despite getting on for thirty years experience at crochet, I actually only know how to do a couple of stitches. Which just goes to show that it doesn't matter how long you've been doing something if you don't push your boundaries. So if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go and look up three needle bind offs.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Finally finished flipping felted footwear

So eventually I have got round to finishing the felting of the clogs that I started aaaages ago. I really like the look of these clogs and I am glad that they are done, they are warm and very comfy and my house is cold. Well, not cold, but we've turned the thermostat down and are wearing jumpers. I would have preferred the slippers to be slightly shorter at the toe, but I'm done with felting them now. The felting didn't turn out quite as well as I would have liked, which is probably why they were banished to the back of the work box for so long. Felting in the washing machine may be quicker, but it left some unevenness that I don't like but didn't seem to be able to change by hand afterwards. Meh. It may be a while before I felt anything again. Aside from that, these were great fun to make, a very interesting pattern. My Denises were a great help, as at one point you end up with loads of stitches on holders and three 9mm needles on the go.

Pattern: Felted Clogs from Fiber Trends
Yarn: Lambs Pride Worsted in Seafoam and Turkish Olive
Needles: Denises

Slightly uneven felting, but still cute

My apologies for the lily-white ankles.

I'd like to add here a bit of a plug for Gill at the Woolly Workshop for amazing service. I ordered my Interweave subscription yesterday and lo and behold! this morning a magazine (containing a rather nice felted bag, I notice) arrived on my doorstep. Thanks, miss.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Teeny Tiny Stitches

The project that I was grumbling about is finished. In the end it wasn't so bad, once I had given up trying to make sense of someone's ramblings and did my own thing. No pics yet, as it is a present.

I have also been knitting away on Devan. Although 110 stitches a row in stocking stitch is not thing fastest growing knitting in the world. I am now about half way up the back in the plain yarn and even though I am not using a particularly jacquard-y self striping yarn, I still want to do the version with the patch motif. A bit of cutting and weaving in should do the trick.

And since I keep mentioning Mr C but he never gets his picture tooked (as he's not very good at sitting still and posing) I thought I would put one in now. Here he is in action, catching his dinner. We got him the food ball to try and encourage him to get a bit of exercise and although it took him a while to get the hang of it, he uses it now for every meal. It really is one of the funniest things to watch!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Autumn Colour

Conversations on weekend mornings in our house tend to run something along the lines of: Was there anything you wanted to do today? No, not really. Shall we go out? Yes. What shall we do? Don't mind. Where shall we go? Don't know. So we stay in. But yesterday, we made a decision! And we went out! To Hardcastle Crags, just north of Hebden Bridge, to see the trees in all their Autumn glory.

A walk in the woods

We got away without paying!

Hebden Water

Plenty of water in the streams after the rain last night

In knitting type stuff news, I have been mostly huffing and grumbling under my breath. I decided to make something for a friend and the 'pattern' if it can be called that, is a nightmare. I am subbing a yarn, which I am quite familiar with the pitfalls of, but even including for that, it is the most, erm, *grumbles under breath* piece of *grumble grumble* ever. I eventually abandoned trying to follow it and started making it up as I go along. When I'm finished I shall post my version of the pattern, that will be as much use. It will be a picture of the thing with 'make something that looks like this' written underneath. *Grumble*

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I had forgotten how much fun self-striping yarns are to knit and am loving the stocking stitch - at the moment, I'm sure the novelty will have worn off long before I've finished the jacket.

I had some good news today. The vets called to say that Mr C's latest test results have come back and all is well, so there should be no need for any more tests or treatment for 6 months. Huzzah! Crack open the catnip!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Nothing to see here...

I remember once reading a forum thread about the sort of things people like / do not like to see on knitting blogs where someone had commented that they didn't like blogs where only finished blocked projects were shown and there was no detail on things that had happened along the way, no trial and errors, mistakes, minor panics or progress reports. Well, whoever you were, this post is for you.

Before I start with any of my new yarn, I want to finish the shawl from VLT that's been on the needles for a while now, so on Sunday I managed to drag myself away from Ravelry and the computer and finished off the main body section with it's pretty picot cast off.

Yesterday, I rummaged around for some 3.5mm dpns to knit on the border. Do I have any 3.5mm dpns? no, I do not. Bit of a shame that I didn't realise this before spending the whole day on Friday in and around knitting shops, but hey ho. I have some 3.75mm dpns, so I thought I'd try with them as after all, there isn't much difference between 3.5mm and 3.75mm diameter needles is there.... well, actually, once I'd thought about it a bit more carefully, there is. There is a 0.8mm difference in circumference between these two sizes, which is over 20%. This is going to add up, and yes, 20 rows later this experiment was frogged as the lace pattern was looking decidedly floppier than it ought. My 3.5mm Addi lace needles are a little on the small size, so this difference will be even more. Ah well, the postal strikes are over, so my order for a selection of small dpns (and some sock yarn that was on sale) has been duly placed with Get Knitted.

While I wait for my needles, I thought I'd make a start on Devan for Lily-Rose's birthday. The pattern calls for 2.5mm and 3mm needles. Another look in the needle box turned up no 2.5mm straight needles other than dpns, which are too short. Could I use 2.75 and 3.25mm pairs instead? A tension swatch proved no. Then I remembered that in my knitting bag there are my 2.5mm circs for sock knitting. Perfect. I started with them. In the wrong colour. I went to bed.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ally Pally

I did go to Ally Pally yesterday!

London is a big, strange place, but I was accompanied by Super Monkey, Badger and Northern Monkey so was quite safe. However, things did get off to a slightly shaky start when a random man on the train declared, totally unprovoked, that my Bayerische socks were 'hideous' and he 'wouldn't be seen dead in them'. Well. Quite apart from the fact I'd be surprised if any greying, middle-aged chap wearing a dull suit would like a pair of fancy cabled purple socks -I most certainly won't be giving them to
anyone to be buried in, no matter how much they liked them. So sod you, sock hater.

Anyway, on to more pleasant things. Like yarn! And shopping! And lots of it.

I can has stash?

Ally Pally was very exciting. I took this picture on the way in and then forgot to take any inside as I got a bit distracted. There were lots of knitting and yarn stalls, and some others with strange papery stuff that we ignored. And a tiny button stall where I got some lovely (fully washable) handmade buttons.

So, we have, silk laceweight from Knitwitches

Bronze Earth

Very Black

Just the thing, as the evenings are drawing in and the nights are getting longer, for making big black lace shawls with - I may have read too many Victorian novels, but I have in mind something that would be suited to dying of consumption in. While dragging yourself up to expire on your dead lover's grave. In the snow.

The ladies at the Jamiesons stall were very reassuring about black shawl making and offered good advice on how it might be achieved while minimising the risk of blindness and insanity - they were very nice, even if I did almost have to wrestle one of them to get the yarn back.

Colinette Jitterbug in Castagne and Copperbeech

Fyberspates DK - I cannot remember if the colourway had a name. I shall call it Beautiful.

I possibly didn't give as much thought as I should have done to my shopping list before going to Ally Pally, although a list that is made up of things like 'nice laceweight in black' and 'grey sock yarn' and 'nice yarn' was fine by me. I plan to make Devan from Knitty for a friend's kiddy, as I made an Opal cardy for Lily-Rose when she was born and (how brilliant is this!) it became her favouritest cardy ever! So now she's bigger, I want to make her another one. I got this yarn at the Knit' n' Caboodle stand as they had non varigated sock yarn and they turned out to be very helpful and friendly.

Admiral R Druck sock yarn and contrast colour in Opal.

And an ugly duckling of the sock yarn world, Garnstudios Fabel sock wool in grey. I solemnly pledge to this yarn that I will make it beautiful.

So, as if that wasn't enough yarn for anyone, after lunch we went yarn shopping. In shops. First we went to Stash, where I did bump into Kai and where Northern Monkey and Badger got me some petrol yarn for driving them Down South, and more importantly, back Up North afterwards.

Koigu KPPPM sock yarn

Malabrigo lace weight in Violetas.

Then we went to visit the lovely Mr Craig in his lovely shop I Knit London where we got some of the softest cashmere ever for our Mystery Snoodalong and some ace badges. Badges, not badgers. We had to take her away with us, even though she did take her shoes off and get very settled in on their sofa.

Softest cashmere ever

So, a fab time was had by all (apart from the sock hater) and big thanks to Super Monkey and Devious for putting us up and looking after us, Idoru for her pancake restaurant knowledge and Badger and Northern Monkey for singing themselves hoarse in the car with me. Hurrah!


This is my 200th blog post. Woo.
I thought I should save it for an important announcement which is that I got into Ravelry today! Woo again.
I am on there as HellBelle so if you're there too, look me up :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great Langdale

Now that the year is turning, the summer over and the nights are drawing in, the temperature is dropping and the camping season for most is over. But not us. Nope, this is the time of year to get out your tent, warm poufy sleeping bag and head for the hills.

We had planned to visit Glenridding and the North Eastern Fells, but there were horrendous traffic jams, delays and bridge repairs on the M6 north on Friday night, so Plan B was Great Langdale and the Langdale Pikes. As it has been a while since we did any 'proper' walks, we decided to keep it simple and follow a route up towards Harrison Stickle, but skirt around underneath to Stickle Tarn without going all the way up.

Sheep enjoying the view.

Pavey Ark overlooking Stickle Tarn.

From the tarn, we headed round to Castle How and down to Chapel Stile - stopping for a welcome sit down and a pint at the Wainwright Inn
before heading back along the valley to the campsite (9,5 miles). The day was a little grey and hazy, but it stayed dry and was quite a lot warmer that I was expecting, partly because there was hardly a breath of wind - something that would have been quite a relief while huffing and puffing up the steep bits!

The pointy one in the middle of the background is Harrison Stickle.

Rather dramatic moon - photographed at bedtime en route to the toilet block.

Daisies this morning at Sizergh Castle - where you can see lovely autumn colour and some very impressive scaffolding & plastic sheeting.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn Equinox

The days are on the slippery slope getting shorter at their quickest towards winter. We've had some fairly cold nights, and the spiders and woodlice are letting us know it's chilly outside by coming in and setting up home by the fireplace. I'm not especially scared of spiders, thanks to my Mum (whom I have a picture of somewhere holding a tarantula) but I won't pick them up (having seen my Mum's finger swell up and go numb after being bit by a spider that she was rescuing from the dog's water bowl) so we have plastic pots and pieces of card handy for taking them outside. Some of them have been monsters! Spiders may be hairy and scary, but they are useful little creatures who help reduce the number of insects in the world and I would urge you to put them out rather than squash them (you only end up having to deal with a dead spider instead of a live one, which is worse, in my opinion, as you have to move it yourself). Woodlice that come inside die very soon from dehydration, so if you like the teeny armadillo lookylikeys you should put them out too before they succumb to the Sahara-like conditions of your carpet.

So another weekend has gone, but it was fairly productive.
I painted the front window, which now looks white and glossy and makes all the others look twice as bad. I uploaded my latest photos to the online gallery (there is a link over on the left if anyone wants to see more of our walks and days out - although there has been shamefully less walking this year than there should have been). I did some baking and some knitting. I managed to ignore the untactful utterings of my MIL without laughing in her face or poking her with a paintbrush. Job well done.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Curved Shawl Progress

It took a while, but I am a changed woman. I haven't suddenly become the world's speediest lace knitter, but everything seems to have fallen into place and I am at least now a relaxed lace knitter. The pre-blocked knitted fabric is uninspiring to say the least.

But with a little bit of pulling about (I managed to get a photo where you can't see my foot in it!) we can have a sneak preview of what the magic of blocking will reveal.

Monday, September 17, 2007

In which there are sheep

Yesterday's walk was over Rishworth Moor, from Green Withens Reservoir around Dog Hill (9,5 miles). Didn't see any dogs but we did see plenty of sheep, which is fine by us. The day started fine but breezy and got windier. The rain just started as we were stopping off at the Co-op to buy beer on the way home.

Sheep on the moors

Sheep in the grass

Sheep in fields

Crackly wires