Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Too slow, Chicken Marengo

10 minutes per round. 18 rounds per pattern. 4 pattern repeats. 720 minutes for the cuff. Heel probably about the same. Foot is only half patterned, that should be much quicker, estimate 5 minutes per round, so 360 minutes. Traditional to make one for each foot. This means a total of 60 hours knitting time. Hmmm.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Home Sweet Home



The alarm came as a bit of shock this morning, as did having to get up and go to work. I was a bit miserable about it all, until I decided that I should try to look on the bright side as, until I do something like win the lottery, I don't have a lot of choice in the matter. So I've been thinking of positive things about not being on holiday any more.




1. Comfy bed.
2. Reclining sofa.
3. No strange noisy boiler room type things whirring all through the night.
4. Payslips.
5. I now have five days worth of Gilmore Girls episodes to watch while sitting on aforementioned sofa. While knitting.

Ah, it's good to be back.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Holiday in the Lakes

Last week we went on holiday to Keswick in the Lake District. The week got off to a slightly nervous start with the torrential rain and road above Ambleside seemingly under water, meaning that we had to turn back and go over the Kirkstone Pass in an attempt to try and get to Keswick and collect the keys to the apartment before 5pm - we made it with 10 minutes to spare, so no panic there then.

The next few days were clear and bright and we did lots of walking and sight-seeing.


Heading up to Grisedale Pike (791m) was a nice walk, grassy slopes leading up to a rocky summit with lots of little scrambly bits. This would have been a lot of fun if I wasn't quite so unfit!

Lunch overlooking Hobcarton Crag and Hopegill Head (770m) - the pointy one - which was our next destination. Returning over Crag Hill (839m), Sail (773m), Outerside (568m) and Barrow (455m) made a Wainwright total of six for the day and two rather tired pairs of legs.

There were sheep out on the hills, looking very majestic...

...and the following day sheep on stage - at the Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre, where you can get right up close and meet them properly. Some are very cute indeed and I have decided that I want a pet Shetland sheep, although they are quite dark coloured and the photo didn't come out very well - so here is a Blackface instead with a Swaledale troughing behind.

I think the main theme of this holiday was food. Lots of food. English, Italian, Indian, Thai and Mexican. So much yummy food. So it was just as well that there was a more walking...

After scaling the dizzy heights of Walla Crag (376m) we returned back along Derwent Water shore, which was very high indeed after all the rain.

Ashness Bridge

The weather deteriorated towards the end of the week. Thursday was nice enough to go walking, and we went over Ard Crags (581m) and Knott Rigg (556m and very windy).

And on Friday it rained. And rained. And rained some more. So we visited the Honister Slate Mine in the belief that it would be drier underground. Ha ha ha. My shoes are still drying out.
Over Honister Pass from the car. With heater on full.

In between all the walking and eating, and sheep visiting, mining and theatre going, I did manage to fit in a little bit of knitting, although it must be admitted, not much. These are Cable Net socks on 2mm needles and you'd better get used to seeing them, because they're going to take me a loooooong time.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Autumnal

So October is now here and it is autumn good and proper. Today's weather has been lovely, sunny and still, but chilly with a hint of crispness in the air. Not bad at all considering it was supposed to be gales and torrential rain. I guess that'll be here tomorrow - Saturday - ah well. Today was perfect for taking photos in the back garden, so it was good that I have something to show.

My Drops jacket is finished and I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. Took a little bit longer than I expected as I decided to reknit the arms. The pattern calls for something like 34 stitches for the cuffs, knit straight at then increase up to the shoulder and 'bell-shaped' doesn't even begin to describe. I am not a fan of baggy sleeves and there was a definite risk that the hugeness of the sleeves would use up all my yarn - and possibly start invading other people's stash all by itself - so I frogged and redesigned with my own preferred sleeve style, hugging and long enough to cover half my hand.

Pattern: 103-1 Jacket in Eskimo or Silke-Alpaca with A-shape
Yarn: Rowan Chunky Print, in Pit. 7 x 100g balls
Needles: 9mm Denises
Mods: Made body slightly longer, arms longer too and more fitted

The buttons came from my Grandma's button stash that I inherited. They may not be the prettiest or trendiest buttons in the world, but they make the whole jacket seem more special to me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Drops Jacket 103-1

103-1 isn't exactly the mostly inspiringly named design in the world, but that doesn't seem to have put a dampener on it's popularity. I am (as usual) a latecomer to this one, but I'm not letting that put me off either. I bought this Rowan Chunky Print about two years ago with another pattern in mind, but having seen some of the versions that have been made I changed my mind - and I don't think I need another bolero style cardy.

The yarn is very nice to knit with, although I am not really liking knitting on 9mm needles as it seems to make the back of my right hand ache a bit. Still, chunky yarn on 9mm is going along at a good rate, so it shouldn't be for too much longer.


P.S. If the world really does end tomorrow, it was nice knowing you :)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Glaistig

Pattern: Glaistig by Robin Melanson, from Knitting New Mittens & Gloves
Yarn: Artesano Alpaca, Inca Cloud 2/4#009 light grey, 2x50g
Needles: 3,5mm bamboo
Mods: none (not planned, anyway)

I am very happy with the way these turned out and I know that they are the first of many pairs that I'll be making. I used one 50g ball of yarn to make both cuff and hand pieces, and after much umming and ahhing decided that I really did want to have the buckles covered as well. Somehow the look of the shiny didn't seem right with the soft yarn. So I made a trip to the indoor market where there is a little shop that sells all sorts of stuff (while I was in there someone came in to ask for comedy inflatable boobs, as you do) and had a rifle around in their buckle box. It really was a treasure trove, and I said as much - to which the lady behind the counter gave me a bit of an odd look. It always strikes me as odd when people who work in these places seem to totally fail to see the enchantment of them. Maybe it's something that wears off after a while and she no longer sees the charm of boxes of old buttons and odds and ends. It's also possible that she was busy, but that's beside the point.

Anyway, I found some shorter, fatter buckles which allowed a bit more room for the end of the cuff once they'd been covered - which took quite a bit more yarn than I was expecting, certainly made quite a dent in the second ball of alpaca.

Monday, September 01, 2008

September so soon

I haven't posted in a little while, and really I think I've been doing you a favour as I have been not particularly good company and you really didn't want to be reading my endless whinging about the weather, being overworked because everyone else is on holiday and how hungry I am. There are silver linings to a couple of these, in that I will be able to gloat and be smug when I am the one disappearing on holiday and when I do go, I will be wearing those size smaller jeans.

I have often said that autumn is my favourite season and one that I look forward to, although admittedly I would have preferred to have had some sort of summer to break up the colder seasons. I love the colours of autumn and the thought of cold, clear days for which hand knit sweaters, gloves and scarves are perfect. The thought these days of my imagination will soon be here never fails to cheer me. Added to this some new books and the latest Fall magazines arriving, and I have been inspired afresh to start knitting and planning.

Firstly, I have finished the patterned socks. They were a lot of fun to make, although the end results are not quite as satisfying as I would have hoped. The stripes around the foot look great, I think, but the changeover of the yarn created a seam under the foot which despite my best efforts not to pull tightly, is quite noticeable when walking in them. If they were for me, I wouldn't mind too much, but these were the second attempt at birthday socks for my sister and I am reluctant to gift them knowing that they won't be as comfortable as hand made socks can be.


As a break from the dreaded sister-socks, I thought make Glaistig by Robin Melanson for a friend. These are really pretty and I love the detail of buckles at the wrists. So I cast on with some Artensano Alpaca from the stash in a soft light grey. I managed to knit up all the main parts out of one 50g ball, which I was quite chuffed about - although it didn't leave any spare for covering the buckles.

Finding buckles proved to be more difficult than I had expected. But I found a very decent selection at Buttons, Buckles and Belts and ordered a few to try out - total cost less than £4! I ordered them Friday and they arrived today, which is pretty good going and I liked that they used good recycled packaging.

Can I get away with the black plastic ones top right left uncovered? The gilt ones are a little heavy, and I'm not sure I like the way that the horizontal type pull the ribbing in too tight. Hmmm.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Socks socks socks

So, when last you heard from me I was about to start making some socks for my sister for her birthday. I picked out some very pretty Colinette Jitterbug yarn from the stash and a very pretty lattice pattern from the Sensational Knitted Socks book and set to. My sister has slightly bigger feet than me, but not by much, so I reckoned that any sock that comfortably fit me will fit her well enough. I had a slight hiccup when I spotted a mistake and had to frog a few rows and try again. Could be me, it often is. Try again. Nope. I checked online and was shocked by the number of errata that come up for this book. Got the right instructions, set off again.

I got started on the second sock straight away - and things are going well.... until about three inches to go to the toe I had a sudden realisation that I'm going to run out of yarn. So I undid the toe of the first sock, shortened it by half an inch and pinched the yarn to finish the second sock. Unfortunately, now they are really too small to give to my sister so they have found a home in my sock drawer. Shame.


Cutting it fine.

So, I have started on another pair of socks that are intended for my sister. I bought some Regia sock yarn in the Woolly Workshop sale last month and thought I'd have a try at some two colour socks. I like trying new things, and the pattern is really fun. Just a shame that these seem to be turning a little on the small side....


And I leave you with Mr C relaxing in style.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

And then there were two

My first loopy sheep was looking a bit lonely (and there was half a ball of yarn leftover) so I made it a friend. The kit makers were rather generous with the filling so I shall have lots of organic filling for the next few toys that I make, which is nice. The second sheep turned out very wonky, not sure quite why this happened and so I had to put in some long stitches through the body and tie them tightly to straighten it out. I did the feet differently too, on the first sheep I made little bases for the feet and sewed them on and on the second I just stitches around the ends of the legs and pulled them closed - this looks neater and was a lot less faff.

It is a shame that the weather decided to be crappy today, so they are indoor sheep rather than lawn sheep.

I have now started on a pair of Jitterbug socks for my sister for her birthday. There's only a cuff at the moment, so I'll take a picture when there's a bit of pattern to look at.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Proof!

...if proof were needed, that sheep are highly cultural animals and love a bit of modern art sculpture.

Yesterday we visited the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and had a great time (despite the very windy weather) walking around the park and looking at (and in!) the sculptures. My 9 year old niece proved herself to be very knowledgeable... or at least very good at finding the labels before everyone else.

Sheep by a Henry Moore.

This sheep has had quite enough of art for now, thank you.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Midsummer!

So the longest day is nearly upon us... and it's all down hill from here ;)

Nevermind, for it is a night for parties and bonfires and fun into the night (quietly, though, because of the neighbours) and celebrating the turning of the year. I'm not one for getting up early to see the sun rise, although I do hope to see it one year I never attempt it!

In other news... I can't remember if I mentioned it here, but a while back I bought myself a Wii Fit. To be honest, I haven't used it everyday and it has on more than one occasion been a little bit, how shall I put it, sarcastic about my progress. However, I have been using it a bit more regularly this week and now I shall risk Fiona's scorn for the accuracy of such measurements by saying that my BMI dropped out of the 'overweight' category today (my Mii looked rather pleased with herself) but the big story is that today, for the first time ever, my balance board didn't say 'ouch' when I stood on it. Woo hoo!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Baa!

This little fella was made from a kit that I was given for my birthday. It is a Cornish organic wool loopy sheep and is very cute indeed. I decided not to give it the hat or scarf, as that would be unrealistic. It's summer and far too warm to be wearing scarves. The kit contains enough to make two sheep, so who knows, in another three weeks I might have managed to make it a friend. Or I might have started on the wonderful Alan Dart circus mice that have caught my eye in Simply Knitting magazine lately.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Memememememe

Modelwidow tagged me for the Peeps I Want To Know More About meme so here goes:

The rules: Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5-6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

1) What was I doing ten years ago?

Hmmm. May 1998. We'd not that long been in our own home and it was a new build so in the spring I was busy trying to make something of a garden out of the weeds and building rubble. Battling with poor soil, slugs and drainage issues.

2) What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today:
1. I have yet to get dressed. What? It's Saturday!
2. Paint a picture
3. Mow the lawn
4. Knitting!
5. Blog about actual knitting.

3) Snacks I enjoy:
Chocolate and biscuits. I'm having a KitKat phase at the moment.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Donate to charity, of course. Move to the Lake District. Employ a housekeeper. Set my Mum up so she can retire in style. Do a lot of walking, knitting and purchasing of fancy new toys.

5) Places I have lived:
Mostly in houses! - although I did spend a summer in a caravan once. I've had some really grotty flats but now thankfully I have a lovely house with a garden. That lawn still needs mowing though.

6) Jobs I have had:
Boring ones, but they are good at paying the bills. The best ones was working in a toyshop.

7) Peeps I want to know more about:
I shall be mostly tagging people with three letter names: Kay, Noo, Dee, Mel and Ann.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Rain

Today it rained for the first time in over two weeks. I am pleased about this. Now, normally I'm not a big fan of the rain and getting wet and I was happy that it stayed dry while I was on my holiday - however, water is kind of essential for a number of things. Like watering plants and putting out fires.

This is a view over Greenfield in Saddleworth yesterday with the smoke from the big moorland fire up at Littleborough (about 10 miles away) on the horizon, it was so windy that the fire spread really quickly and the smoke could be seen for miles. The fire burned through most of the night and only the rain we had early this morning put it out properly.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Holidays!

Last week I didn't knit anything. Instead, I went on holiday to Keswick in the Lake District. It seemed ages since we'd been out and done much of anything outside, mostly because it has been ages and we needed a serious kick start to get ourselves into gear and out on the hills. And there were hills. Steep ones. With sheep on, so it wasn't all bad.

These were some locals on the slopes of Skiddaw where were walked on Tuesday, up from Latrigg - where someone has conveniently placed a carpark a good way up - over to Lonscale Fell then up to Skiddaw summit via the Little Man.

This is looking back towards Keswick - very nice view and I may also have needed to stop for a breather. Shame it was only about 300 yards from the car park. Once over Skiddaw we turned right at Bakewell and headed back along the Cumbria Way, passed Skiddaw House.

Where there were some sheep enjoying the shade of the trees. This whole area is called Skiddaw Forest, although I assume that the forest part of the name comes from the really old meaning of the word as an area reserved for hunting rather than because of it having many trees, because it doesn't and the tiny wooded area by the house is, well, tiny. This was a pretty long day, considering we hadn't been out for a while and 12,4 miles in total, so we definitely deserved our chips that night. There might also have been beer.

On other days, we went for a boat trip around Derwent Water, visited the Cumberland Pencil Museum where they have the longest pencil in the world which is pretty blumming big and went to Whinlater Forest Park to see a proper forest with trees and everything. Including alpacas, which was quite a surprise.



Saturday, May 17, 2008

Corsica

Just in time for summer, I have finished Corsica. Although in a typical British summer, sometimes a big chunky sweater is just the thing. I really liked knitting this, the pattern was well written and it's (as I've probably said loads of times by now) an interesting construction. My only critisism would be that the arms are on the skinny side and it's a bit of a stretch and a struggle to get it on. The same number of stitches are used for all sizes of the pattern at the moment, which I think is rather unrealistic. I know the pattern is going to be published for larger sizes than are available at the moment and they will have wider arms.


Pattern: Corsica by Fiber Fiend
Size: 38"
Yarn: Sirdar Hug in Murmur 170, used 10x 50g balls
Needles: Denise Interchangeables, US10.5
Mods: I did about six more pattern repeats on the arms to make them longer, I like a nice long sleeve that amply covers my wrists and half my hand. I also reduced the number of rows at the back of the neck.

Monday, May 05, 2008

How many needles?!

I have gone back to working on my Corsica after finishing the socks and am now on the row where you join the sleeves onto the body. There's a lot going on.

And a close up of all the needles...

It's certainly interesting!

Friday, May 02, 2008

FO!

A Finished Object! Not being rude, honest :|

Pattern: Garter Rib socks from SKS (Charlene Schurch)
Size: Mens US12, 96 stitches
Yarn: Wisdom Yarns - Marathon Socks, Boston
Colourway: 211
Needles: Knitpicks 2mm circulars

I was gifted this yarn by itgirl as part of a Ravelry swap (thank you!) and it was very nice to knit with and a cool, subtle colourway. I'm not sure if you can source it in GB, but I would really recommend it. It is stretchy and super soft once washed. The ball was 100g and I decided to make them top down and see how things went. The first sock weighed 48g so I was confident as I cast on that there would be enough yarn to make the second but as I got closer and closer to the toe and the ball was getting smaller and smaller, I must admit that I started getting the niggly doubts. In the end, eveything worked out juuust fine...

and there was even some left over to make a toy for Mr C.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Still alive!

It is true. I have not fallen foul to malaise or mire. I have been meaning to post here for a couple of weeks now, but the truth of it is that I haven't really done much that I've felt worthy of blogging about. I seem to have been stuck on this little treadmill of life that included work, eating and watching telly. Exciting stuff, eh. There has been painting, yes, but that is not for here and there has been knitting, but when I'm knitting socks with 96 stitches on 2mm needles, these things take a while.

So, some of the shopping was new shoes (Clarks - my grandma would definitely have approved), Hotel Chocolat goodies and this: The Cute Book, because I feel I need more cute in my life.

It is ├╝ber cute. These are not knitting patterns, but basic sewing pattern ideas for making out of felt. In the way I have of making simple tasks waaay more complicated than they need to be, I have a plan for making my own felt. Yes, this is going to happen....

Progress on Corsica is coming along well. It's a really interesting pattern to follow and I am really intrigued as to how the arms are going to be knitted on. Sirdar Hug is very nice yarn to work with too.

I have knit the main of the body and about one and a half sleeves. I'm doing the sleeves on my Denises, using magic loop. They are very very close fitting and I have contemplated a few times re-knitting them with more stitches as I'm a bit worried about them being too tight around the tops of my arms, which frankly aren't as thin as they used to be. The wristy bits fit fine though.

And then there are the socks that I mentioned. These are they:


I took this sock along to my very first knitting group on Thursday night in Stockport and it had a very nice time, was made to feel welcome and may well go back in a fortnight :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sheep art

In the snow

This is todays picture from my Picture A Day blog and I'm putting it here to because I feel that it fits well with the weather we are having. And I like sheep :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Steps

The final step count before bed yesterday was 13337. Woo hoo! I'm pretty proud of that, and feel that I deserve the large slice of pie, chips and gravy that I had for my tea at the pub! Today, I have done 9797 steps so far and am confident that I will reach the 10,000 goal today.

I haven't made any grand decision to try and walk 10,000 steps per day but I am trying to do more exercise generally as some of my clothes seem to have shrunk in the wardrobe over the winter. I love knitting, but it's not really the most energetic of hobbies.

So we have bought a Wii and I knacker myself out trying to play tennis, even though I'm a loooooser, and while the weather is nice I shall walk whenever possible and when it rains I shall go in the car and not feel guilty.

I realised earlier that I hadn't answered Tutley Mutley's question about Supernatural. Sorry! I did think about the answer and then it slipped my mind. Supernatural is a drama / horror / comedy show from the USA. It's into it's third season now, although I'm a late joiner watching on DVD so I'm a bit behind. I think the latest shows are on ITV3. It's about two brothers that fight supernatural creatures like demons, evil clowns, werewolves and ghosts. It's kind of like a cross between the X-Files and Angel. One of the brothers Alec X5-494
in Dark Angel if that means anything to anyone. That was a good show too. You should watch that as well :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Pretty things

Corsica is coming along pretty well. I have done the braid, ribbing and picking up for the top section and am now about to make a start on the sleeves. It's a really interesting pattern and lots of fun. I am pleased with the yarn and hoping that this is will be a knitted item that I will really get some wear out of. I have to admit that most of my larger knitted items don't really see much use. I wear my socks, hats and wristwarmers a lot, but the jumpers well, not so much. The massive cabled jumper I don't wear because it's massive and the cabled hoody is a bit itchy. Shame really.

Last week I received a lovely belated birthday pressie from Badger, with some pretty laceweight and a chocolate bunny! There were some chocolate buttons too, but they didn't hang around long enough to have their photo tooked...

How cute??!

Right, I am off to the pub for my tea. Hurrah! I am not being totally unhealthy though because we'll be walking up to the pub and back. I've been wearing my pedometer all day and so far have done 6987 steps. Woo!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Beginnings

I have the beginnings of a Corsica. The construction of this jumper seems a lot more complicated than others that I've made, looks like it's going to be very interesting! The Sirdar Hug is looking pretty (this colourway is called Murmur) and it's very soft, although a bit splitty so you have to keep an eye on where your needle is.

An interesting pattern, rainy weekend and Season 2 of Supernatural on DVD and I should be able to make some good progress with this!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Cosy

The weather has been rather unpredicable of late and there have been an alarming amount of germs in close proximity so I am glad to have my cosy alpaca/wool socks. They are loosely based on the Drops Design 98-10 pattern, but I changed the rib to 1x1 to make them more stretchy.



And, thanks to RaVen, I have possibly the cosiest, softest warmest hat in the world. I have also decided that hats are my new favourite things to knit. They are quick, simple and (unless something's very wrong) you only need to make one of them.

Qivuit cap in false cable pattern


Erm

That's better - although still not quite Alaska

We had about an inch of snow lying this morning, most of it fell in the space of about an hour (not sure how much space an hour takes, but there you go) last night, while I watched the cars slipping and sliding all over the road outside the house (we live on a steep hill) and hoped that Rob got home safe from work. As soon as he did, the snow stopped completely.

I am now swatching up the Sirdar Hug that my Mum gave me for my birthday. I have enough for a sweater or cardigan, although it's bulky yarn so I'm not sure what style to go for. Maybe Corsica?