Saturday, January 28, 2006


That's me blue socks finished. I'm quite pleased with them, the wool was very nice to knit up. They took just over two 1 oz balls of Lee Target "Motoravia" four ply. I still have four and a bit balls left and will definitely do another pair with it, probably something patterned.

I am now knitting a pair of socks for Freezing Toes which is in response to a request in my email newsletter from Castoff for people to knit socks for the victims of the earthquake in Pakistan. I'm glad to be able to do something for this particular disaster as I feel that it received far less media coverage than either the Tsunami or the New Orleans flooding and therefore probably got a lesser response.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bin being bad

Some evil blogger mentioned a sale at Get Knitted so of course it was the work of but a moment to shoot over to their website and buy some goodies. I did try this before but I had unfortunately blocked cookies from their site so after choosing my yarn I progressed to the checkout only to be told that my credit card wouldn't work.


Not having much staying power I gave up on that occasion, but this time I persevered and I adjusted my security settings, allowed the cookies and did the deed. So I arrived home from my run on Wednesday to find a parcel waiting for me on my doorstep containing the following:-

One skein of Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (Peacock)

One ball of Opal "Carnival" sock yarn

Two skeins of Debbie Bliss Maya (can't remember the name of the colour)

Well, they were in the sale, I was saving money wasn't I?

BUT I have redeemed myself to an extent by promising the Opal, the free sock pattern that came with it a new set of five DPNs that I bought in Bristol this week and some home made stitch markers to Ro, who has decided that she's going to KNIT SOCKS!!!!
HURRAH for Ro! (Everyone should knit socks, they're fab. I may knit nothing but socks this year. I may knit other things, but at the moment I want to knit socks).

In fact that's exactly what I've been doing. Using some cheap (but real) wool that I bought from a charity shop next door to La Ruca (wholefood shop and cafe on Gloucester Road in Bristol to which I make a delivery every week) I have been knitting a pair of socks, and here is the second one. In order to avoid "second sock syndrome" I have rather cunningly decided to knit the second sock first!) No that's not true, but it's not a bad idea is it?
When I finish these I'm going to have another go at a more interesting sock pattern. I tried "Elfine's socks" last year but gave up 'cos I lost count turning the heel and they were a wee bit small round the foot. I may try them again on slightly larger needles and CONCENTRATE this time. Want to try Grumperina's Jaywalkers too.

Ooops nearly forgot, someone on the tiger's supporters message board posted a link to this It's driving me mad and I don't see why I should be the only one to suffer. Go on, give it a go!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Once upon a time

Long, long ago a knitter started to make a bag. She bought the yarn and the pattern and began to knit. Then she decided that she didn't like the handles that she'd bought for the bag, so she bought some different handles from ebay.
BUT whilst waiting for the new handles to arrive, she lost the pattern. It wasn't a very complicated pattern, but she couldn't remember how much she needed to decrease for the second handle. So the bag languished alone and unloved in a carrier bag under the table in the dining room.
HOWEVER, whilst at her sister's house at new year, moving stuff about in the spare bedroom lo and behold, the knitter unearthed the pattern for her bag. (Don't ask me how it got there, bloody cat probably kidnapped it.) The knitter was very happy to have found her pattern. She hurried home to rescue the lost bag from under the dining table (I use the term hurry in it's loosest sense).


This weekend I finally got round to finishing said bag (except for lining it). I'm not actually as keen on it as I was when I started it BUT I had some yarn left over which I combined with the dodgy ginger mohair and some other stuff for bulk and made
another finger scarf. (excuse me modelling it in my 'jamas) . There was rather more of the ribbony yarn left than I thought and I actually ran out of the ginger mohair, so I changed to some blue mohair I had from Texere, so half the scarf is blueish and half orangeish, which I quite like. And it's enormously long!

Friday, January 20, 2006

secret pal

Just after I posted this morning I received a surprise through my letter box, to whit ..........
A parcel from my (extremely efficient) secret pal. It contained a bar of Green & Black's Maya Gold chocolate (mmmmmm), which I have so far managed to resist, though I can't see that continuing for very much longer.

whooooooo hoooooo, sorry about that, I'm listening to the internet commentary of the Tigers match against Claremont Auvergne (French rugby team) and Tigers have just scored a try to go ahead 6-8.

Sorry, back to knitting matters. The parcel also contained a skein of Louisa Harding's sari ribbon. I've been eyeing this up for a while now, but haven't been sure what I could do with it, so any ideas gratefully accepted. It's a bit lovely though so in the meantime I'm quite happy just to admire it.

In addition there was a pattern book "Muse" from Colinette, which I've been perusing with interest, it has some nice patterns in it.

Thank you secret pal. A lovely parcel of goodies.

the secret project..

...... that I was keeping quiet about was this which has reached a bit of a full stop at the moment, but I have high hopes of restarting it very soon (today hopefully).

AND a big hello to my secret pal who has contacted me twice already. Nice to hear from you.

In the meantime I have knitted this ....
which is a hat by the way (I would have taken a picture of it on my head, but it's a bit small I think, and the colour is what Ro would call challenging).

Note the detail (new camera!!!!). I started this off knitting one of Woolywormhead's hats, but having got halfway up I went off on one and just winged it instead.

It's probably not an original pattern, but it was to me. It was going to be an experiment anyway, I'd tried knitting up some Texere mohair with some Rowanspun Aran (I think) to knit a big baggy jumper a la S&B handbook cable fronted job, and I liked the effect. I have a cone of recycled cashmere (?) stuff from Texere left over from my last cable fronted biggy, and thought I'd try that out with some mohair too for a slightly more feminine effect. (Yup that's me, feminine through and through!). The only mohair I could get at the stall on the indoor market was the rather unfortunate shade of ginger you see in the hat.

I quite like the effect if not the colour. Knitted up on size 6mm needles it gives a good stiff fabric, which is what made me decide on a hat that stood up for itself. So I continued knitting in the round until it was about 6.5 to 7 inches, then did a row of purl to give it a definite edge, then did a double decrease thing (k2 tog, sl sl k, or should that be the other way round. Damned if I can remember) at each quarter of the hat every other row. When I got to the middle and ran out of stitches I cast off. I was hoping for a rather rounder rather flatter top, but it had a pokey up bit in the middle and was decidedly square, just crying out for a tassel, so behold, it got a tassel too. I probably won't wear it but I am inordinately proud of it. please don't anyone post a picture of one exactly like it and I will continue to believe I have designed a hat.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Here is a box .......

........... a musical box.

This was on Radio4 on Tuesday morning and was essential listening for anyone of a certain age. A programme about Trumptonshire which had me motoring into Bristol happily singing along to "Riding along in an army truck, in a humpety, bumpety army truck".

Happy days.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

SP7 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
Up to a point. I prefer natural fibres but will use novelty yarns too (though for accessories rather than garments). Will also use blends if I like the feel of them. Big NO NO to the big balls of 100% acrylic that you find in some places claiming to have a "wool department"

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
No to spinning, though tempted to try. Have crocheted but prefer to knit (but never say never!)

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Needles in a home made needle holder (a la S an' B handbook), circulars in original packets in a plastic box. Both strewn across living room floor, attached to UFOs and down the back of the settee.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Born again knitter for about two years now but it's all coming back to me. I'd consider myself to be an intermediate knitter, but I like to try new things. Originally learned to knit about forty years ago?

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Prefer unscented products

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Ummm, yes I guess so, but enjoyment usually spoiled by guilt. Prefer good quality dark chocolate with ginger or nuts or stuff.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Have done a number of different things which I no longer do eg papier mache; still do a spot of beadwork (earrings, stitch markers etc). Have been known to sew a bit. I quite like cooking and baking, and am an enthusiastic imaginary gardener. (If you saw the state of my garden you'd understand that description, it's all planned it just won't get off the drawing board!!!)

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Most kinds of music, classical to modern. I'm a child of the sixties so in my teens in the seventies. Like late seventies early eighties stuff, but pretty much anything. Yes my computer does sound.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Probably green, but I like most colours. Less keen on really BRIGHT synthetic colours than more earthy ones.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Live alone, no pets. Auntie to occasionally visiting cat.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yes, yes, gloves (with or without fingers), and no in that order.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Haven't discovered a favourite yarn yet, still trying new things..

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Anything scratchy synthetic feeling.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
I like hand knitted socks and want to make more, but there are too many other lovely things to make out there. Don't think I have any knitting obsessions though.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I refer the honourable member to my previous answer.

17. What are you knitting right now?
A hat, a "tubey" jumper, toying with adding an extension to a cable jumper from S & B handbook that I made last summer. I'm in a bit of a lull at the moment following an avalanche of Christmas present knitting.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Ummmm, ...... qualified yes

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Depends so much on the project I'm working on. I prefer circulars to DPNs for knitting in the round, but I like to knit with longer needles if I'm knitting backwards and forwards. I REALLY like the idea of adapting patterns that use back/forward knitting onto circulars to avoid seaming but haven't got round to doing it yet.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Not keen on plastic, usually use aluminium as they're easy to come by (charity shops, local knitting stall on the market etc). I found them too slippery for my Clapotis and tried the bamboos that I got free when I subscribed to Simply Knitting. I liked them quite a lot and imagine that ones that aren't cheap and nasty are even nicer to use. I want to try some wooden needles as well (this is NOT a hint just a comment) there are some beautiful ones out there.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Winder but no swift yet.

22. How did you learn to knit?
Hmmm, lost in the mists of time. I assume that my mum taught me, she taught needlework and PE at my primary school so that would seem logical.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
As old as the hills. It's a Tigers scarf that I started in some rather nice (!) 100% acrylic yarn in a previous knitting incarnation, but I got bored with it. I may ceremonially dispose of it, it's still hogging a pair of perfectly good needles.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I can't think of a favourite animated character (oooh hang on, do Clangers count???) , I like cats (some cats anyway).

25. What is your favorite holiday?

just read someone else's answers and it would seem that this means like christmas or new years or such, I thought it meant favourite holiday spot, which is, as you can see, my settee.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Just mountains of junk I seem to have a congenital inability to throw ANYTHING away.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Rowan though saying that after subscribing at the tail end of lat summer I have yet to receive anything interesting from them, just a couple of newsletter type things.
Simply knitting, I know that it's naff and I probably won't re subscribe, but it's given me a couple of ideas and a few useful technical tips.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I already have a book, so that's a no (my mum used to say that when I came home with yet another book "Why have you bought a book, you've already got one?")
Yarn, well yes of course ALL of it, this is my problem.
See also stuff about wooden needles.
I'd like to see something interesting arrive from Rowan, or just something at all.
I want a swift and when I see one for sale in the flesh rather than on the net I WILL buy it.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I want to learn to knit two socks at a time on circular needles. Also that modular knitting thingy (can't remember what it's called) and I want to knit one of those shadow scarves with the Tigers logo on it.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes, though I've only knitted a couple of pairs and one of them is HUGE so they just get worn around the house. Hand knitted socks are just SO comfortable.
Feet size umm, widish size five I think. I've noticed a number of people have put that as their answer (not that exactly but their size in British commercial sizing terms which isn't very useful if someone wants to knit you a sock!). They are aprox 9.5 to 10 inches long and just over 9 inches round at the widest part (crumbs who'd have thought it?).

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
15th March (sorry can't think in mm/dd terms)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

new year stash increase

I've actually been quite good about buying yarn so far. Mainly 'cos I've not been out a right lot. Whilst at Ro's over the new year I discovered that the wool that I'd taken down with me was too scratchy for the project I had in mind so I had to go and buy some more. Tracking down a wool shop in Leicestershire is FAR harder than I thought it would be. The last time we went to one in Burbage, which has since closed down.

We managed to find one in Hinckley called "Busy Fingers" (I believe they also have a store in Coventry). This is quite a nice little shop, properly friendly as a knitting shop should be, and with a pretty good range considering it's size. As well as the Patons and Sirdar stuff they had Rowan wool too.

I bought some :-
Patons "Funky Chunky" 60% wool 40% acrylic, which is a bit like the Rowan Big Wool in it's density and ply. These were on offer at £1.50 a ball (should have got some more). Got four balls of a dark green and one (the only one) of a nice dark pink.

And a load of Sirdar "Salsa DK", which is a 50/50 blend of Merino and Acrylic. Bought this with a particular project in mind but I'm keeping quiet about it, cos I don't want to bring down curses upon my head (it might all go horribly wrong). Mind you, it's looking okay so far. I'm hoping that the wool content of yarn will counteract any tendency of the finished object to go horribly out of shape when washed which seems to be what acrylic does if my memory serves me. It's a long time since I knitted anything with acrylic and that would have been 100%. I can't remember how much the Salsa was, about two pound/ two fifty a ball I think.

Dunno why those pictures are so small, something to do with how I got them from Ro's computer to mine I think. Will have to try again.

And last but not least
This is picture that I took yesterday of a ball of Adriafil Baroque. However the purpose of posting it here is NOT to demonstrate the loveliness of the yarn (though it is lovely), but to show you the capabilities of my new toy.

Oh yes, I've upgraded my camera. It arrived yesterday and it's FAB.

It's a Panasonic LZ1 which I bought myself with part of my Christmas bonus and I love it. The instruction book is a bit large and I'm trawling my way through it. I'm NOT a photographer, I have used a 35mm SLR camera, many years ago when I was an art student, but never really got to grips with the technicalities of it. Since then it's been 35mm point and click stuff. This is a point and click job, but it seems that you can override the settings when you want to be a bit more adventurous. (That seems to be the case anyway).

I'm still at the point and click stage.

Dontcha love it?

The review says that it's disappointing indoors in low light levels, but I took that yesterday afternoon in my (darkish) living room without a flash. I'm quite happy with that.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Despite my best intentions I completely forgot to post the credits for those whose patterns I used for the Christmas presents that I posted on my last blog. Very sorry for that omission to all concerned.

The three cornered hat is from a free pattern on Woolywormhead's site. It's a very quick and simple knit, but the end result is good. Ro was so impressed with the one I knitted that she immediately knitted one for herself. Now two more people know the "two needle crochet cast off" who didn't before. Many thanks!

The hot water bottle cover was inspired by the BAWK from Yarnagogo, but with a couple of adaptations of my own from the pattern in Simply Knitting. I decided NOT to add the beads as an embellishment which featured on the Simply Knitting hot water bottle cover.

BEADS? on a hottle cover? Who wants to hug that????? crazy people on that Simply Knitting mag, no?

The Moebius scarf was knitted from a free pattern on this site. This is so effective but very simple once you get going. All the way through the cast on and first few rounds you can't actually believe that it's going to work, but hey presto. There it is at the end.

The finger scarf technique was shown to me by Ashley Selman at the wool shop in Addingham where I bought the Adriafil yarns for it. The bag which I knitted to match it was very loosely based on the bag in the January issue of Simply Knitting, but I mostly made it up as I went along.

The Clapotis for Ann, you all know about, pattern by Kate Gilbert featured on Knitty. Known and loved throughout the knitting world. And the bag for Ro was adapted from a pattern in Simply Knitting which was taken from Emma King's "25 Bags to knit".

Once again apologies to all concerned for my failure to post these credits on my original post.

Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Now that Christmas is over and presents are given I can post up the pictures of the stuff I made for other people.
Moebius scarf for my brother (Rowan can't remember), and hat (pattern courtesy of Wollywormhead knitted inAdriafil New Zealand) for his partner.

Please note also the cards I printed off to go with my presents. These read : "Handknitted with love by Rachel" and contained care instructions for the finished article. Unfortunately the only people who appeared to notice these were my sisters, the others just got bundled up with the wrap so I probably won't bother with this detail again!

Moebius scarves for brother in law (brown Noro something) and nephew (blue Debbie Bliss Maya).

Bag and finger scarf for niece (Adriafil graffiti and Baroque (I think))

Hot water bottle cover (Adriafil New Zealand again) for my not auntie (she's my godmother and a friend of my mum's but we've always called her auntie).

Bag for my sister Ro. Made with some red chenille from a charity shop, some green baby cashmerino and lined with green velvet from the mill shop at Denholme Velvets.

The last present was for my other sister Ann, this was the clapotis I knitted which featured on an earlier post. I was a bit worried that she might not like it, but she did so that's okay. A productive Christmas.

Have started a new project but I can't tell you what it is 'cos it may well go wrong. The yarn I'm using is completely different from that specified in the pattern so it may be that I'm knitting a tadpole (ie, something that will become a frog).

Wish me luck.