Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Two steps forward.......

You know when your heart says 2.5mm and your head says 2.0mm. Well, I listened to my heart :( In my defence, I LIKE 2.5mm. It has a nice ring to it and I am sure that Dan Brown and Mr Da Vinci would find something particularly positive to say about this combination of numerals.

However. Karen of Karendipity-fame did say 2.00mm needles....but I ignored her advice and the little voice in my head (ok I admit to voices in my head....this was one of the quieter ones...so I ignored it....if it had been the louder "eat more ice-cream"...well we wouldn't be having this conversation....anyway, I digress...)

So although stunningly beautiful in my eyes, this progress so far will have to be frogged. I have thin wrists and arms (think pale, shaved Orangutang)...so a visit to frog-pond...so now you see it.....
So have a quick look at rhe braided cast on and the corrugated rib :(

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Normal service has been resumed!!!!!

Well, life threw us a couple of curve balls BUT as they say "everyday above ground is a plus". Has a cetain ring to it, doesn't it???? Bet it was a fellow dour Scot who said that...answers on a postcard or comment please!
Anyhow...knitting has started again :) I have been on holiday in Turkey since my last post. Great stuff....sun...knitting...more sun....good food..reading...alcofrolic....more knitting. (I chucked in reading to show I have culture). I managed to give an impromptu crochet lesson beside the pool...much to Sinbad's embarrassment. Crocheting in a red polka dot bikini.

I made inroads with my version of The Yarnharlot's Earl Grey socks. I say "my version" not to impy I improved upon them but because necessity led to it. The necessity was the Pirate clan becoming parted from a bag at Bodrum airport. Thies bag had 99% of Mr Sinbad's clothes in it BUT lets get to essentials...it had my Earl Grey knitting pattern in it and some of my needles and crochet hooks. Fortunately I had completed both socks to the heel flap...so I had to wing it and recall what I could and improvise. If you are reading this Stephanie you will now know why there are subtle design-differences between your version and mine. Like mine have no cabling.......in fact these socks bear no resemblance whatsoever to yours. Maybe I should rename them the Bodrum Airport socks (bet Stephanie wishes she had thought of that name first...just rolls off the tongue). Here they are so far. They are knitted in one of the Yarnyards Special Edition yarns...this picture doesn't do the full justice to the Autumnal shades of the Sunset colourway.

I've also been knitting a dog coat. Whippet's feel the cold...especially in tropical Wales...so the search was on to find a pattern suitable for the undulations of a Whippet. Eventually found this customisable pattern...progress is good. I'm using Sirdar Denim Sport in a manly/dogly? Denim colour. He is not a great model and now moves off sharpish when I try it on him.

I can tell it's winter...I have an urge to do Fair Isle. So the hunt was on for a suitable pattern. I found two fabulous ones by Karendipity. They are fabulous in terms of both design and the actual patterns themselves. I think it's always hard for a designer to hit the right balance of enough information without making a pattern seem unduly complex/too abreviated or just downright ambiguous. These two patterns don't fall into any of these categories. They are well illustrated, have clear instructions, super tutorials AND (as if this wasn't great enough, inbuilt-chocolate breaks. The woman is an icon. Patterns are available in PDF and hard-copy
There is also a Ravelry Kal and another non-Ravelry KAL (see sidebar). Karen tells me that the secret to getting really good pattern-definition is to go for good contrasting tones. So here are my two narrowed down choices.

Option 1/
The Yarnyard Nude and The Yarnyard Fegrig ( oh how I love this yarn....the colours are a feast of Autumnal shades...far better than my photo suggests.

Option 2/
I also like this combination....very festive and cheery! This is Yarnyard Pillar Box (deeper in real life) and Yarnyard Nude. ()Two nudes in one post....I will be exhibiting in The Tate next :)

What do you lot think? I am going to knit the mittens pattern first and then the gloves later.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007


OK you clever knitters, I need some help. I want to run a competition with a difference!!!!! It will be in two parts and the theme is GOLF .

First part: I need ideas for small knitted golf items that are suitable for the male and/or female golfer. You might even come up with your own design for golf socks, gloves to wear onyour way to a golf Lesson or headcovers?? A suitable prize will be sent to the winner of a selected pattern/ idea...the prize will be from the Yarnyard...fabulous squidgy sock yarn. After looking at this video...maybe you can design a pattern for a knitted protective codpiece....male readers may find the following images disturbing...

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Rings and out-damn-spot

Contrary to the rumours I have not won the lottery and been crushed under the resulting mountain of yarn-purchase.....no...nothing so interesting...

The previously-mentioned lurgy had seemed to dissipate and lulled me into a false sense of security, so holidays were over and back to work and earning a crust...........then the SPOTS arrived!!!!!!

Lady MacBeth eat your heart out....these spots were not mere insignificant pimples...they were Gods of the spot-world....or... to quote my GP.... "it looks like Chicken Pox".....

So that explained why I was insanely tired, scratching like a demon and writhing about. Sinbad commented on my restless sleeping as being a horizontal version of Riverdance. I thought partners liked women who were active in boudoir????????

The doc said keep away from others until you have had no more spots. Now this is good advice. However, on reflection. If your body is spattered with multiple spots that seem to merge after nocturnal ratchings....how do you know what's a new spot or not. Colour-coding!! Well...it seemed a good idea at the time...have I mentioned I was dilerious??? Anyway...all original spots were circled with green felt tip. all new spots were then circled with blue, pink and other shades of felt tip. All spots, irrespective of colour code, were lathered with anti-itch cream and an outfit of loose shorts and pyjama top preserved modesty. This was "a good system" but like all "good systems" there was a flaw. You do not want to sign for a parcel when looking like a blue-ringed octopus victim wearing a Hong Kong Phooey outfit....you guessed it...the same postie from the lurgy post came to door with a sign-for parcel. This guy thinks I'm strange. I could tell.

So, to cut a long story short, I have been encarcerated at home. This particular cloud had a silver lining. In between frenzied scratching and scaring postal workers, I finished off my Spiral Socks and I'm really pleased with them!!!! My next socks are to be the same designers Bracket Fungus Socks.

Spiral Socks

I also hauled out my sewing machine that hadn't been out it's cover in 18 years. This was a gift from Sinbad just after we were married. Not quite certain why he bought it as I had never made any clothes before....but I made a set of trousers that MC Hammer would have been proud of. Anyway, for whatever reason...I got the mad idea to made some clothes...maybe I was dilerious? I bought this pattern after seeing a finished skirt by Harrysmum from CraftyThreads forum.

Ta da!!!!! £5 worth of bargain material, scissors, pins and lots of colourful language (in Gaelic to protect Pirates from corruption) and we had a skirt!!!! In retrospect maybe not a wise choice for a gentle re-introduction into dressmaking. Stitching lots of curves/spirals in 100% cotton with little "give" was a bit challenging for someone with St Vitus dance but youngest Pirate loves the results! No she doesn't have short legs...it's a tad long :) I love this pattern and will be making making more of these.

When I googled the pattern I found a super review site that gave other examples of these finished skirts. This site is well worth a look before purchasing sewing patterns.

So what was in the signed for parcel? This last week was also eldest Pirates birthday and the parcel contained some PRESENTS.

To say that I was losing the will to live with "is it xxxxx I am getting....do you know it's my birthday in two days and 34 seconds" etc etc...is an understatement. The day duly arrived (relief all round) and eldest Pirate got sock yarn...sock needles...a camera..Dr Who autographed piccie..and a sock bag.
Eldest Pirate was over the moon. We also have a tradition of the other Pirate getting a small gift on the other's birthday...so both Pirates got a copy of The Hobbit. They also got a set of Pink Denise Interchangable needles to share....indoctrinate them when they are young. This cynical and calculated craft-brainwashing is working...here are their latest Finished Objects.

Youngest Pirates jeans patch...

Eldest Pirates Jeans patch

It's interesting...mention Intarsia to an old-fogey like moi and it's "Sounds complex".
Don't call it anything and show pattern to an 8 year old and a soon-to-be-10 year old and they just do it. Elizabeth Zimmermann would have approved, I'm sure.

Kindness of knitters
Eldest Pirate also got an Amazon goodie voucher from Melody Yarns....She decided to buy this book, The Ultimate Book of Kids Concoctions

The book was recommended by Ring-Master Jacquie (see below) and to add some of her birthday money to Melody's generous offering to get this....

When I first saw the title I thought youngest Pirate had been influenced by her Father's previous talents as a single man...but no...she informs me it involves lots of activities/jumping around. (still sounding like Mr Sinbad in the pre-marraige years).
Pirate said "we can play this together as a family..I feel a hernia coming on. Thanks Melody Yarns!!!!!!

N(atalie) is also sending a gift....I am hopeful it is not a chicken.........she is strangely drawn to them.

There have been further examples of "The Kindness Of Knitters"....I have been after this pattern for a while now..

It's the Halloween Vest by Kathleen Taylor. Knitpicks had the licence for it but it sold out. I scoured ebay and posted on USA boards. A kind Knitters Review forum member gave me the designer's webpage..which I had failed to find before. I wrote a rambling email and half-expected no reply...as it WAS a rambling email...Did I mention I've been dilerious????? Anyhow, I got a lovely response and Kathleen helped me get the pattern. What a smashing lady!!!! Just goes to show... knitters are good folk. Some real inspiration on her blog!

I have also resurrected the Calista McQueen Knock Off sweater. The pattern is designed by this lady.

I have been following an adapted version of this I found on Craftster. This version is "knitting in the round". Anything that avoids seaming is fine by me!!! It's an enjoyable knit...once I realised that I was one row out for the back compared to the front (back and front are identical) which meant front cables great and back ones a mess. A quick bit of frogging and we are back on track.

Lastly....did I hear a sigh of relief...the blog also got a "new addition" after I was approached by the Ring-Master! No, not a proctologist. (Chicken Pox is bad but not THAT bad). This ring master's domain is blog-rings. So, I am now part of the Crafty Ring!!!!
There are some cracking blogs on there...so have a mooch.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Lurgy and chocolate skulls....

Woke up today feeling less than perky...sniffly, fluey and with a facial carbunkle that would frighten cats.....large sharp-fanged cats. My body is a temple.....have you seen pics of the Parthenon recently????

So, a day at home with my laptop, cold remedies and a chance to mess around with my blog settings. Hence the new background to the blog header.

Now one of the rather eagle-eyed amongst you has already sussed out that this header is a close-up photo of some rather delicious skull candies. They taste like strawberry and milk chocolate but I don't think that there is much cow-juice in them...more hydrogenated fat and sugar...you know the type of thing. Hydrogonated fat, as in the culinary version of artery-blocking-quick-dry-cement, with an oom-pah addition of teeth dissolving sugar. Ah bliss!!

Well the "observant one" suggested I must have bought a small bag of these candies specifically for this photo opportunity. Of course I may have had the artistic foresight to do such a thing..but that would be a....NO.

I am ashamed to admit that Sinbad had bought a WHOLE TUB of these for the Piratepurls and myself.......maybe he thinks sugar rush will distract me from yarn enhancement?

This is the same Sinbad-the-parent who confirmed with our dentist-with-flashing-white -teeth-and -figure-to-die-for ( a female dentist, just in case you were wondering) that he agreed with allowing children to have a once a week sugary treat. Hmmmmmm...........

In her eyes, he can do no wrong. After my last dental exam she said "Your husband has LOVELY teeth. A quick flash of the Plant from The Little Shop of Horrors passed through my brain.

So I have now a justification for the confectionary skulls...they are blog-art. I can smile demurely at said dentist on my next visit.

I found an anonymous chocolate quote on the web.....
'This guy found a bottle on the ocean, and he opened it and out popped a genie, and he gave him three wishes. The guy wished for a million dollars, and poof! There was a million dollars. Then he wished for a convertible, and poof! There was a convertible. And then, he wished he could be irresistible to all women... poof! He turned into a box of chocolates.

Not much knitting today....until the cold remedy kicked in to stop me sniffing like a tap, I was going for the stuff-tissue paper up nostrils approach. This is surprisingly effective but bending over a sock in progress gives enough gravity to reduce the tissues "cling" factor. By the way, if you are thinking of trying this at home I do not recommend you answering door to postman with tissue "in situ". I don't know if it was the "psuedo-Walrus" appearance of my face with two coils of white tissue emanating from my nostrils OR the Walrus look in conjunction with the not-insignificant carbunkle...but said postman was less than chatty when I opened door to receive a do-not-bend envelope. Maybe he was just having a bad day.

Anyway...the envelope contained a Rebecca 27 magazine bought from the lovely Queen of The Froggers....

QOTF has been especially helpful in writing me some guide-notes for this pattern, The Apricot Jacket , which I specifically bought the book for.

I think it's fair to say that several knitters have referred to the instructions of this gorgeous cardigan in less than glowing terms...so all help gratefully received. This is a future knit as I must finish my WIPs. It is a gorgeous cardi though.......

Speaking of WIPs...The Piratepurls are very keen on Dr Who. This led me to, in a rash moment, offer to knit them a silver and black Dalek. On the surface this did not seem to be a particularly onerous task, as the finished article would be about 8 inches high.Unfortunately Pirate Murdo had obviously suffered oxygen-deprivation in a previous keel-hauling and had omitted to read the pattern before making this generous offer...there are 24 plus bobbles on the darn thing.....and (again in a moment of madness) I chose to knit it on 2.5mm needles with a multiplied yarn. As if this insanity was not enough I embroiled others in the madness and suggested a Dalek-along...so I feel I must finish my silver friend. I intend to make him into a 2-rolls-high toilet-roll-holder. House Doctor eat your heart out. PS...I have since found out that my delightful offspring have offerred my services to one of their friends who also wants a Dalek................

Here are a knitting and a crochet Dalek pattern if you want to join in!



Right...off to knit!!!!!!!!

Monday, 20 August 2007

And so it begins.........

Well, someone called N suggested I sould have a blog...not sure why...
maybe to stop me commenting on hers :o)


It could be that my dazzling wit and intellect is such that she thought I should share it with the world....Hmmm....ok it is probably to keep me occupied so I post less on others blogs and forums.

So here we go!!!!Today has been a "good day". Porridge for breakfast...yum.... there is something wholesome about porridge in the morning. Makes you feel all warm inside and virtuous...also while away a happy few moments looking at the strapping chappie in his kilt that adorns the Porridge Oats package.

Porridge is not just an attractive man on a packet....

"Doctor Johnson proposed to define the word ‘oats’ thus: ‘A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.’ And I replied: ‘Aye, and that’s why England has such fine horses, and Scotland such fine people.’
–James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., ch. 14 (1791) "

Moving swiftly on....

This wholesome repast/ballast is also good preparation for "Yarn Dyeing"
Dyeing yarn is always fun...especially when

a/ you have lost the instructions for chemical dyes you have only used once before

b/ Your children exhibit total confidence in you by saying...we won't blow up, will we..before retreating several feet towards door and asking if you have written a last will and testament.

c/ I am a mature adult and know ALL about taking precautions...despite having two children...so I took the well-proven approach of using the longest handled spoon I had and pouring ingredients in one at a time. Definitely the way to go. I learned a lot about safety around ingredients after dropping a large piece of mercury tape down sink hole in school chemistry lab some ...ahem...several years ago....anyway, I digress...

Ignoring flashbacks from old Jeckel and Hyde movies and opening all windows to the fullest and...ta daaaa..... we now have blue mix yarns and purple mix yarns drying in the bathroom.

I just hope blue and purple fingers are "in" this year. ....not a look I would recommend. Note to self to check rubber gloves not punctured by Wonder-Whippet BEFORE dyeing next time round. This dog's preoccupation with rubber is of concern.......it is not based on anything he has witnessed. This is a wholesome establishment...for heavens sake, we are porridge eaters!

Some progress has been made on the Spiral Socks...the slip stitch gives a wonderful effect.

There is a KAL here...


I am using a self colour from The Yarn Yard and it reminds me of Kingfishers we can occasionally see on a river nearby.