Thursday, December 30, 2010
Yarn: Alpaca Select 4ply
Used: about 550g
Needles: 3.75mm Addi Lace circular needle
Size: 14, but cut 10 pattern repeats off each sleeve.
Got gauge, but should have checked the measurements of the sleeves. I am considering this one to be my trial run, as I really would like to make another one, this time with the thumb holes! It is a lovely design and the pattern was a lot of fun - should be easy now I know how many pattern repeats I need to do to get the blocked sleeves the right length.
Monday, December 20, 2010
Some previous examples. Ooh look, fabric softener. No need for these scones.
What to feed kitty today? Gourmet gold / Alpen? Kitty loves the muesli bars.
And today: No yummy chocolate drink for me today - I'll be just having these here tinned vegetables...
*That said, I don't have photographic evidence of the funniest one I ever saw (sometimes you have to pay the consequences for not keeping your phone charged) which was a pack of underwear left in the booze aisle in exchange for a bottle of wine.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Backstitch down centres of two adjacent diamond patterns.
Tiny stitches and tiny needle with black cotton - not the pink basting.
I really would rather not have had to do the steeking. It was not an enjoyable experience, particularly not because it could have been avoided if only I had taken the time to check out the width of my knitting, while I was knitting it, and when it would have been far simpler to do something about it. But still, this isn't the first time I've made this mistake, and sadly, I'm certain it won't be the last. And I did get a pair of lacy wristwarmers out of it.
The ends of the cardy sleeves have been finished off in a similar way, and it is now blocking.
I appear to have italics all over this post, and I've tried but can't turn them off, so they are staying. This is annoying me more than it has any right to, I've had a traumatic day and I am going to bed.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Okay. Deep breath. The lace cardy is knitted from the back upwards, then increased over the sleeves, decreased and split for the two fronts. So it's not possible to simply frog back the sleeves to make them shorter because the knit stitches are sideways. So I steeked them, and am making a pair of fingerless lace mitts out of the ends. Yes. I CUT my lace.
Photos to follow... if you are brave enough to look.
Monday, August 30, 2010
I bought two types of shuttle, one made by Prym which is a simple symmetrical bobbin and one slightly more fancy design by Pony. The Pony one has a little hook at one end which is really helpful for loosening wrong stitches - and there will be wrong stitches - and the winding bobbin is a nifty trick so you don't have to turn the whole thing around in your hand to unwind more thread. I think the Prym one cost about £1.30 and the Pony £2.40 and in my experience is well worth the extra pennies.
To start with there were some knots, wiggly knots and some swearing. In the guide book it rather comfortingly says that your practice thread may measure a foot or two before it is consistently correct. I didn't quite take a foot, but not far off.
I am now into lesson 2 and things are getting a bit more fancy. Hopefully soon I will be confident enough to take on one of the projects and have something a bit bigger to show for my efforts.
Slightly less luxurious perhaps, some random black acrylic aran (on 4,5mm bamboo dpns) which is going to be a pair of ankle warmers. I have just taken possession of some rather fancy black patent leather ankle boots which will look good with a pair of chunky socks, but are not big enough to comfortably wear a pair of chunky socks in, so I am making these ankles warmers to wear tucked into the boots rather than in eighties legwarmer style. That's the plan, anyway. There is no pattern, I'll just stop when I think they're long enough.
A couple of mobile phone cosies out of left over sock yarn, the one on the left is Opal Tiger with a manly flap and the one on the right is Opal Carnival with girly beads. I made the Carnival one first as a simple tube with a picot cast off, but was not happy with the seam at the base so with the second one changed to a Turkish cast on which is much neater.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
And then I got carried away. This pair of yoga socks (again for Mum because they proved so useful) I thought I'd try making two pairs of socks at the same. I have these dreams of doing the two at once on dpns where you knit one inside the other, alternating between stitches on each sock but while I may be occasionally overly optimistic about things, I am not delusional - so didn't attempt that. The two socks on two circs went pretty well to start with. It is a little fiddly having to cast on the stitches and then rearrange them on the circs so that the leading yarn is in the right position but there are some good websites with plenty of pictures to follow. The cuffs went pretty well and it seemed to be generally quicker than knitting them separately would have been. Then I reached the heel cast off and cast on edges and it got all very confusing and fiddly. I ended up dropping a stitch (which thankfully I found and recovered before it caused a complete catastrophe) and also had some loose stitches and holes appear at the rib edges. They had to go. So, I ripped back to the heel hole, separated the socks onto two sets of circs and finished them one at a time. I'm glad I tried the two socks at once thing, just to get it out of my system!
After the success of the first pair of yoga socks I decided to make a pair for my mum's best friend, whom I really like. It's also a treat to knit with the lovely Shepherd Sock yarn, so worth it. This colorway is Pilsen.
My knitting group decided to have a KAL and chose the Traveling Woman shawl by Liz Abinante. I think it looks good in variagated yarns, so decided to use some really colourful stuff that had been given to me as gift but I didn't know what it was apart from it being approximately 4ply and very very bright! Taking a bit of a chance that it would block, it turned out really well and I'm dead chuffed with it. Lovely autumnal colours will be just the thing in a month or so.
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Lacy Lamb, 100% lambswool
Used: about 15g
Needles: 3.5mm Addi Lace circular needle
Size: Made large size, bigger st/st section, followed charts A, B, A, B, A, C, D then E.
Surprisingly, the hardest part of making this was the stocking stitch section. The lace charts were a joy to knit and seemed to take no time at all. The Lacey Lamb yarn is very, very fine - and wonderfully soft - so I was a bit concerned that the shawl would end up the size of a handkerchief but after the wonders of some vigorous blocking, it came out a very good size.
The whole thing weighs about 15g and is mostly air.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
With great excitement, we travelled up from Manchester on Wednesday evening by train after work. We spent the night at the Alexander Thompson Hotel in Glasgow, which is very handily situated just around the corner from the Central Train Station. It actually came as a bit of a shock when we arrived late in the evening just how close it was, as I was expecting a trek across the city but it took less than 5 minutes to find. A good night's sleep and a very hearty breakfast complete with seagull entertainment through the window, the first of many - hearty breakfasts, not seagulls - began the day and we headed to the train station and Milngavie (pronounced Millguy- although we did speculate that maybe the locals just tell unsuspecting walkers that's how it should be said just for a laugh). There would be numerous discussions along the way about town and hill pronunciations, most particularly about Rowardenen.
Sandwiches for lunch were bought in Millgavie, a bit of last minute shopping attempted (and failed), and we were off. The path leaves town and weaves by the side of the river through a country park before heading out into farm land and tracks. Part way through the morning, we made a detour to visit the Glengoyne Distillery, but the tours run on the hour and it would have been over half an hour wait until the next tour, so in our excitement we decided not to wait and headed off straight away along the path. I later decided that I would make up for this omission by toasting the end of the WHW with a glass of the Glengoyne.
We reached the tiny, basic (to put it kindly) campsite at Easter Drumquahassle Farm and pitched our tent amongst the trees in the sunshine - along with some other WHW'ers that we were to see on and off through out the week. The WHW is very popular and many people follow very similar itineraries, so you get to recognise and chat with many people along the way. We'd read that thousands of people walk the WHW every year, but it was still quite a surprise to actually see so many people undertaking a long distance path. You don't often see anyone on the Pennine Way who looks like they might be doing the whole thing.
An evening visit to Drymen (Drummen) proved interesting, we managed to get drinks at the very friendly Winnock Hotel and a fantastic dinner at the Clachan Inn in between sporadic lengthy power cuts. There is a Spar here too for shopping. Returning to the campsite we had a rather unmotivating chat with a fellow camper who had spent the last week in Scotland revelling in the glorious weather that was just about to change for the worse and was telling anyone who'd listen how many people he had seen hobbling off the path into Beinglas campsite (our destination on day three) suffering with sore feet and blisters, apparently the worst off being the fools who were carrying all their own gear... cheery stuff indeed. Still, this chap was gone by the time we surfaced in the morning, although we were woken quite early by the enthusiastic morning greetings of a rooster.
The start of Day 2 was dry but very humid and warm. We headed through some fields and then on to tracks through forestry, where I saw the back end of a red squirrel running off into the trees. At about 10am it started raining. At about 10:30 Rob started complaining about his leg. At 11am he could barely walk. We stopped at a bench overlooking the valley and had a rest and wondered what to do. There had been notices about the section of the WHW over Conic Hill because of lambing and there was an alternative route suggested which took a lower level path. We descended to the road and had a good, long lunch break at the Beech Tree in Balmaha (with iced lemonade and chips) and took stock. Rob decided he could carry on, at least until the end of the day and then would see how he felt. Here we met a group of chaps here who had already walked from Milngavie that morning and were planning to do the whole thing in three days over the weekend. Seems like too much like hard work to me - although I was quite jealous of the tiny daysacks that they were carrying.
We wild camped in the woods beyond the youth hostel at Rowardenen. Had dinner at the Hotel, which was nice - although we spoiled our dinner by having tea with massive scones with jam and butter when we arrived.
We'd bought provisions for breakfast from one of the campsites passed the day before, so had cereal and a decent cup of coffee with fresh milk and Rob decided that he had enough feeling in his leg to allow him to carry on, although we'd have to 'walk slower'... this 'walking slower' suited me just fine! The new official Way route goes on a higher track for a while which is very easy going and then returns to the shore of Loch Lomond for the rest of its length. The path is narrow and rocky and it was part way along here that we met the first of the runners. To begin with it was a novelty to see people going for their Saturday morning runs but after I'd commented to Rob that 'there was another runner coming', this runner replied that there would be about another 300 of them. These amazily fit people were doing the Montane Highland Fling race from Milngavie to Tyndrum - the winner taking 7:45hrs and the fastest woman, who was beaten by only four men, ran it in 8:38hrs. Incredible. I suspect our paths had met along probably the worst possible bit of the Way for being passed by other, faster users and it did get wearing to have to keep looking around to make sure there was no one approaching when starting to head up or down tricky sections - but they were all very polite, very friendly and very appreciative of the efforts we made to get out of their way.
Lunch was at the Inversnaid Hotel- where there wasn't as much choice as I was expecting, but it did. Many American tourists (and runners' lunches strewn across the carpark) here. Camped at Beinglas Campsite which is very comfortable and the wigwams looked nice. Facilities (shop, bar, food, showers and laundry) were excellent.
We took detour down (& back up quite steep hill) into Crianlarich on Day 3 for lunch at the Rod and Reel Pub and to visit the shop. We had planned to stop at the Tyndrum By The Way Hotel campsite, but decided when we reached the Strathfillan Wigwam village (near Auchtertyre) to camp there for the night. The 'village' is a lot bigger than I expected, and the wigwams seemed nice - good shop, serving hot drinks and food, but sadly hadn't opened by the time we set off at about 8am, so I didn't get to have the hot bacon roll and coffee that I'd been dreaming about.
A late breakfast was had at the Green Welly Stop at Tyndrum where we put away an obscene amount of food. We shopped for snacks (long walks make for a very good excuse for eating shortbread at every opportunity) at Brodie's. Today was a short day and we arrived at Bridge of Orchy Hotel early and made ourselves comfortable in the bar. There was a telly here, although without sound, and election news coverage on - made me very glad that we are away to miss most of the electioneering. Dinner was excellent and we had a good breakfast the following day (the previous Full Scottish Breakfasts had finally taken their toll and we couldn't face any more than cereal, scrambled eggs, toast & croissants, juice and coffee for brekkie..yes, we are indeed piggies...) and packed lunches available to order. The hotel was very nice and we were well looked after, taking advantage of the laundry and drying room, although the beds in the bunkhouse were rather hard and uncomfortable.
Day six saw us crossing Rannoch Moor in appropriately gloomy, atmospheric drizzle and trying unsuccessfully to name the mountains that we saw. Arriving at Kingshouse Hotel we set up camp by river under the watchful gaze of the almost tame deer that grazed nearby - it was a bit midgy, even in April and I got bit on my hand, thankfully not the itchy kind. I saw a fish in the river - this may not seem like a particularly momentous thing to many people but I have seen so few wild fish that I was almost convinced that they didn't exist and anyone seen by the side of water with fishing rods in their hands was just kidding themselves. The benches in the Climbers Bar are unbelievably uncomfortable, but the tea, cake and food were all good. Campers can use the bar facilities during the day (open at 11am) but not at other times. This is very politely made very clear in the notices by the door. There was VERY heavy rain during night, amplified considerably when falling on the tent so I was very thankful for my mp3 player and Stephanie Mayer's New Moon and my earplug for helping me get a decent kip. When I woke up the puddle that had formed under the ground sheet by my feet meant that there was a distinct water bed thing going on. The river had risen considerably and I was glad that we hadn't pitched any closer to it. We had a bit of an enforced lie-in because of the rain, but by the time we'd got packed up at 9am it had eased off and stopped.
From the Kingshouse Hotel we walked over the tops to Kinlochleven (Devil's Staircase isn't so bad, if you're used to any kind of hillwalking) and camped at the MacDonald Hotel, which was very nice. Good food and entertainment (including a pool table, where Rob beat me as per usual , although I did put up a better showing than usual) at the Walkers Bar. Breakfasts and packed lunches are available if needed. Was informed that the Tailrace Inn is a good pub, but we didn't fancy going back into town to visit. Along the route today we started seeing people on motorbikes and signs for the 'Pre-65s' scrambling bike event. Impressive as it might have been to see all the vintage bikes on the trails, I was pretty thankful when we read that the main trials were to take place on the WHW on the Friday, by which time we would be on our way home. The runners by Loch Lomond had been a little inconvenient, at least they not so big, fast, noisy or fumy as motorbikes.
We set off from Kinlochleven in good time and in good weather. The views out of Kinlochleven are amazing and I took many a photo along the way, I'd been told there was a family of eagles nesting in the hills nearby but sadly I didn't get to see them despite spending most of the time peering up into the sky. It being the last day, we ate all of the 'emergency' food that we'd carried the rest of the week, so were well fueled on trail mix and Jelly Babies. Towards the end of the day, you leave the forests, get a view of the bulk of Ben Nevis in front of you and it's all down hill from there. It is traditional to climb Ben Nevis when finishing the WHW, but I'm afraid we had a strong case of the been there, done thats.
The WHW follows the road from the Ben Nevis visitor centre into town - I would suggest (if you don't mind deviating from the official route slightly) investigating the path to the Braveheart Carpark, or even the higher level path into town, as even if these routes might be longer they may well be easier on the feet than very uninspiring pavement by a busy road for the last bit of the way. We stayed at the Premier Inn at Fort William, which is no frills but clean, comfortable and had very nice bath. I celebrated the end of this amazing holiday in the Grog and Gruel pub with some nachos and my wee dram of the Glengoyne.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Rob and I carried everything between us, he took the food which made his pack heavier and a less consistant weight than mine, which came in at about 8-10kg, depending on what I was wearing or carrying. The majority of WHWers that we saw were taking advantage of the luggage porter services who, for about £35 per bag, will take your bags to your overnight stops so you don't have to carry anything more than a daysack. We decided this was cheating, because we are like that and
This is pretty much what I took.
Osprey Exos 58 rucksack =1150g
Alpkit 600 down sleeping bag =980g
Camp 3 Kovea Titan stove, windshield, feet, 125g GoGas canister, Lighter
2x Origami folding plate/bowls, 2x plastic cups, 2x Light my Fire plastic sporks
Snowpeak Titanium pan & lid =about 650g
Go-Lite Shangri-la 3 tent inner =1020g
Thermarest Neoair mattress - mdm =380g
Thermarest Compack Chair =182g (unused)
Berghaus Infinity Lite smock (used mainly as pillow...) =280g
Integral Designs brushed nylon pillow slip =38g
2x Berghaus X-static top =154g, Mountain Equipment red t-shirt =90g,
Sprayway troos =220g, 2x Smartwool socks =80g, Bridgedale liner socks =22g
Buffalo mitts =80g, tesco £1 fleecy gloves (not used), woollen shooting mitts, waterproof overmitts
Visor Buff, Buffs x2, quvuit knitted hat =50g (not used), midge net - not needed, thankfully
Paramo Cascada trousers =650g
Paramo Velez Adventure Lite Smock =520g
Paramo short gaiters =150g (unused)
Salomon Windproof jacket =120g - very impressed with this, would probably be winner of best kit on trip award
Columbia lightweight fleece short zip jumper =150g
2x Lowe Alpine dry-flo pants =54g, spare pants =14g
Thermal long-johns =100g
2x Debenhams t-shirt bras =48g
2x Platypus bladders, filter, tubes - unused because I forgot a connecting lid and ended up using a small plastic bottle got free from the hotel in Glasgow.
Jinga shoes - pretty, but not entirely practical =240g
Petzl Tikka Plus headtorch =68g
Camera, spare battery, case, clip strap (neat idea but not quite sturdy enough for the job) =650g
Phone, mp3 player =180g
Notepad & pencil, Swiss Army knife - used mainly for the scissors, Lip balm, hanky, Silva compass & whistle, hand gel.
Washbag - mini toothbrush, Colgate, Dove deodorant, shampoo, SPF15 moisturiser, facewash, loo roll, bags, wetwipes, comb, earplugs, mirror, nail file, foot cream, all purpose soap, painkillers, hayfever tablets, midge bite clicker.
Zinc oxide tape - started off with stuff from Boots that proved to be bobbins, replaced when we got to shop in Tyndrum
Travel towel =65g, 2x small cloths
4x carrier bags, ziplock bags, bin bag
Sit mat =40g
Leki Makalu trekking poles
Salomon Elios gtx mid-boots
Sunglasses - worn once... =80g
Suncream - could have probably managed without this...
Deciding what to take and packing was a tricky business. Partly because this would be the longest backpacking trip that we'd undertaken and also because of the wildly fluctuating weather forecasts. A week or so before we left there was significant snow and freezing temperatures during the day and night. The week before we set off it was cold, clear and sunny during the day but freezing at night. By the time we set off it was going to be warm, wet, windy, sunny and just about eveything in between. So, erring on the side of caution, we went for the winter sleeping bags, warm clothes and big rucksacks. Turns out I was almost too warm every night and didn't need much of the warm gear I'd taken, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and, funnily, the weather forecast for the coming week is for a return to cold weather and frosts.
Hindsight being what it is, I wouldn't have taken the thermarest chair because we could sit in hotel bars or pubs pretty much every night. A paperback or some knitting would have been more useful. I would recommend taking a sit mat in with you if you are planning on spending any amount of time in the Climber's Bar at the Kingshouse Hotel - those benches are tough! I didn't need the pair of fleece gloves, and I didn't wear my Buffalo mits but would have taken them anyway because, well, just because I like having them with me. I probably could have managed with one less top and one less pair of socks, but it was quite a relief to have additional spare stuff as it happened that although there were laundry facilities at many of the places we stopped, they weren't always available.
The stove and cooking gear wasn't essential, as places to get food and drink are so widely available on the WHW, but it was nice to stop and have the occasional brew - and it's reassuring to know that we could be self sufficient if need be.
The photos are uploading now, and I will blog about the actual walk tomorrow.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Since my last post, there has been a fair amount* of activity. I decided I really need to come up with a better system of uploading blog posts and photos as I really want to continue blogging but it all seems such a faff sometimes. I have photos uploaded to Ravelry from flickr and photos for the blog elsewhere, holiday photos somewhere else entirely and there’s no continuity. However, in my usual way, I haven’t done anything about it yet.
*well, quite a lot for such an intrinsically lazy person as myself.
So...what's been happening...
Sunday, January 10, 2010
So Sunday was spent firmly attached to the sofa in front of the fire and my knitting in hand. I have started on an Edith Hat, which is the prettiest patterned hat by Johanne Ländin, using Cherry Tree Hill yarn in Nantucket Red and Slate Blue.
The border starts on 2mm needles; there is something very pleasing about neat rows of tiny stitches.