Sunday, January 28, 2007


The smart among you may have noticed that we missed a day out of the week's round up in my last post - it was getting a little too long to be manageable so here is Saturday all on her own!
I am pleased to report that I managed my longest run to date - 6.4 miles so the mileage is slowly clocking upp as you can see from the tortoise whose name is Achilles - thank you Dad for the best suggestion!

Earlier in the week I received two of my return Water Element ATCs and here they are as Saturday's photos:

This is a handpainted picture of Cape Cod from Janet and below is some more water from Paula (both sadly blogless) I think they are both beautiful!

In the meantime I have been working on my outstanding ATC swap with a Valentine's theme so here they all are ready to go:

Two the the USA and one to Australia - happy valentines day when they arrive!

I can't believe it's been a week

Such a long time since my last post and Imissed my usual Saturday slot for posting my Project 365 pictures. Time for a little update then...


Yummy loaf of bread - hmmm


Monday was our 9 month wedding anniversary - not much I know compared to the lady who sits behind us in church who is about to clock 60 years of matrimony but a very special 9 months none the less - roll on the next 59 years 3 months!


(Look knitting related content at long last!) Yes it's the first pair of socks of the year - Lorna's Laces in my favourite River Rapids pattern - they are hugely comfortable and I'm wearing them now. Lorna's Laces is a very smooth yarn so it is really easy to knit with, it doesn't split and it very fluffy and warm when knit up - I wish they sold it in the UK !!

Although not stricktly in line with the Socktopia theme it is none the less a pair of socks and certainly counts towards my stashbusting!


IT SNOWED!!!!! Look can you see it? that's my car under some snow - honestly, I promise, it is really there but it's quite dark at 7.20 in the morning still.

OK here you go really:

This is the view from just outside our house and you can see a good inch covering of pure powder. I appreciate that in many places in the world this much snow would just be laughed off as nothing but here it's cool. Sadly I had all of 30seconds to appreciate it as I dashed out the door to work. Interestingly my car and my drvie do not appreciate snow. As you can see from the picture, our house is some way above the road and I had to very gently back out of our steep drive onto the road and then glide gently down the hill to the main road which had actually been gritted (you can just see it to the left of the picture!).

I'm very glad nothing was coming when I got to the main road as I'm not absolutely certain I was stopping until I hit gritted tarmac!


My firm is a patron of The Prince's Trust and as such we as a firm have to raise a certain amount of money for the Trust over the course of the year. The powers that be decided that we should have a "dress red day" on Friday and in our office we decided to add to that with a coffee and cake sale and a party in the evening. My colleague is on the CSR committee and volunteered me to produce some cakes so on Thursday I hit the supermarket and then I baked:

(Raspberry Marscapone Layer cake from Annie Bell's Gorgeous Cakes)

and then I baked some more...

( Rhubarb and Ginger Muffins from Williams-Sonoma)

and a little bit more...

(Sour-cream Raspberry Crumb muffins and Orange Flower Madelines (dyed red) both from Williams Sonoma)

Cake shop in my kitchen!

Acutally there were some red fairly cakes with crazy icing as well but they didn't make the photo-shoot - they were in the oven at the time.


I wore red - this is the sweater I wore all day but is nothing to Pocohontas, the Prince's Trust Princess, a pair of red fishnets and one of the partners who was first introduced to my new colleague while wearing a pvc 'fireman' outfit (think red plastic shorts, braces and a red hat) over his ordinary clothes. Somehow she still plans to return next week!

Hope you all had a good week!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

All the news and Project 365!

Tims to update you on all the exciting things going on in my life. Actually that will make this a very short post. I have been at work. I have done some work. I have rearranged my office (in a way I do not like - grrrr- but the boss does). Enough said.

Because of said work I have very little knitting news and nothing that really merits a photo - I have turned the heel on my second Lorna's Laces River Rapids sock and I'm still going strong on the front of Aimee (after 3 or 4 attempts at the hem becuase I kept making daft errors!)

Ooo the other exciting thing is that my KMKS kit is on its way from the US - I'm so excited even though it will probably take really long for it to get here. I hope my pal likes her kit when it arrives too - I've seen some of the pictures on the KMKS blog (there's a link in the sidebar) and the look really cool.

Anyway today is Saturday and that means only one thing: Project 365
Sunday merits a daylight photo - this rose we found growing in our garden - a product of the mild weather perhaps?
Monday - H and I ran 4.6 miles towards my 100 miles goal and boy were our feet tired when we got home.
NB no1 - Husband's make good footrests
NB no2 - apparently so do wives!

Tuesday - last weekend in celebratory mood we finished the bottle of champagne we had at Christmas - very swish and yummy - an engagement present from H's grandmother and the perfect toast to both Christmas and H's first week in the new job.
Wednesday - the last Christmas cookie

Thursday - winding the second skein of Lorna's Laces - aren't the colours just gorgeous!Friday - yet more indoor evening photos I'm afraid - this time we have two little presents from Santa
Saturday - hurray it was sunny and bright and I'm so glad I had the chance to take photos with decent lighting - this is the church in our village against a brilliant blue sky!

Have a great weekend one and all - I'm still collecting suggestions for the tortoise's name so drop me a comment!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

First sock of 2007!

Starting the New Year with a bang here is my first sock and my first Lorna's Laces sock taking advantage of the sunny weather to perch on a bush in the garden!

The pattern is my old favourite River Rapids and it looks fantastic!

This afternoon I have been playing around with some of my scrapbooking bits and bobs to make these, ATCs or Artists Trading Cards which are basically playing card sized mini pages. These three are on the theme of the 'element' Water for a swap at the end of January. They all involve collage and two of them are blue glitter shakers cards to give the movement of the water - I really enjoyed making little things because they didn't take very long but I still get the creativity high!

I'm signed up for a Valentine themed ATC swap as well so more card making is definitely in the future!

UFO Bust-along

Earlier this year I mentioned that one of my goals for the year was to finish some of the projects which I have already got yarn for and to this end I have signed up to the UFO bust-along so here are my Bust-along declarations:

First of all here is my stash - a bag of sock yarn, yarn for projects and a whole box of leftovers from other projects and odd balls.
My UFOs include Aimee and my socks which are currently on the needles but they aren't tru UFOs in the strictest definition because I am actually knitting them at the moment, they have not yet been abandonned. These are in fact my unstarted objects, a scarf from the pink/green silk, a sweater from the blue alpaca and Joy from Vintage Style from the dusky purple Yorkshire Tweed.And finally, my UFO for the project - my trellis scarf. I know this is a true UFO because when I mentioned it earlier H had no idea what I was talking about - and he bought me the turtle stitch markers. This will also tie in nicely with Project Spectrum because it is the perfect colour for February and March! Ready, Steady, Go!

A week of Project 365

The first week of my Project 365 is now complete and I have 7 photos each taken from the approrpiate day of the week. Unfortunately what with working and commuting and it being the winter, most of these are indoor photos but I've been having a bit of fun anyway so here goes:

It's a road in the Cotswold - on our way to see a friend. If you're reading this and you don't known Warwickshire or the Foss Way it just looks like a straight bit of road but it's special because it's an old Roman road and it goes straight for mile after mile after mile and has some very funky hills - nothing of your going around the hill for those boys - if there was a hill they went over it!!

Monday H started his new job - I predict he will be a star


My first running trip towards 100 miles (on which point have you seen how far my little tortoise has moved - we're in the double figures thanks to a grueling stint this morning! I think I need to name my tortoise - any suggestions?)


We had quiche for supper - it was good - there's nothing like letting the food speak for itself! (NB to mother - yes I did cook it before we ate it!)


Potatoes for supper! These had such a gorgeous colour when just washed that the camera had to comeout. I was going for an unusual shot so this is the potato in my metal mixing bowl under the cooker hood lights for funky reflections! H thinks it looks like a picture of someone's tongue - it isn't I promise.


KMKS all packaged up and ready to go complete with mitten kit and a few choice knitting assistants aka chocolate

and finally Saturday:

This jug lives on a bookcase in our Lounge and holds my knitting needles and H's paintbrushes - synchronicity of craftiness!

More piccies next week.

In knitting news I do now have the first sock of 2007 but I will wait until tomorrow to take a good picture but I haven't completed much else as I have been intensively cleaning my kitchen (it looks fabulous now!) which takes up far more time than it ought to and then people expect to be allowed to prepare and consume food in it! Just who do they think they are and what do they think that room is for!! PS lovely H I suspect you are probably entitled to consider that supper might be produced from the kitchen and I hope you liked your pizza!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Some progress and some Ssss

Well first the big news - I have finished the back on Aimee!I love the way this is knitting up and it is going to be a gorgeous sweater when I've finished - more progress in due course but it is very much a piece of knitting to force me to slow down nd relax as the lace pattern stripes (and the top of the piece which is all lace) does not allow fast knitting as you have to keep lifting stitches over to make the pattern. I can read when I've got the pattern right now which is helping so I'm less worried about obsessivly trying to figure out how each row deviates from the one written out in the pattern in terms of stitch numbers etc. It's also nice to snuggle under while I cast on for the front!

By the way do you see my tortoise? He's moved a little bit further but I'm still way behind some of the peeps at Runagogo who have done 20, 30+ miles already ( I thnk there may be some cycling in there though!) Still, only 93 miles to go!

Now about thoses Ssssss .... Cara at January One tagged me with the letter S - the idea being to list 10 things in your life that are important that begin with your letter so here goes:

Spouse: I am very very lucky to have married my soulmate and my constant support, my lovely husband. A year ago he was only my fiance and the letters wouldn't have worked!! No seriously, this man wears his handknit socks to cosset his feet in the evenings, to the extent that he had to keep swapping between the two pairs he got for Christmas during Christmas day because he liked them both so much, AND he managed to brave a yarn shop (to buy more sock wool) for my Christmas present. Moreover, not once has he uttered the words "Just how much yarn do you have!" - collecting things is normal.

Stashing: (or possibly Squirrelling) I think this segways rather nicely - I fear that my nature is to be a compulsive stasher and even recent efforts at decluttering had to take much mental effort - I'd saved letters I was sent when I was 13 so why should I bin them now (I'm pleased to say I saved only the special cards from my parents and sister and grandmother and binned the rest). The recent reorganisation also united all of my fabric stash - for someone who only really dabbles in quilting I have a remarkably large fabric stash saved over many years - personally I'm putting it down as inspiration. The same is true of my cardmaking/scrapbooking stash - there are some things in it that are just too pretty to use so they stay hoarded. For the sake of more delicate readers we will not get into the question of my yarn stash!

Singing: I love to sing it's as simple as that. I'm not currently in a choir but I'm looking for one to join if I acquire some free time. Before I move north I sang with the Addison Singers in London and my chapel choir at university so my repetoire is somewhat eclectic! I also once sang for the Queen (in a choir) although the organ pipes were between her and us and I'd be surprised if she heard much of us!

The Sea: Despite now living about as far away from the sea as you can get in the UK I am a water baby at heart and coming from the Westcountry where they have a fair amout of coastline I love the crash of the waves, I love surfing and swimming and the smell of the sea in the morning when we wake up at my parent's house (it's on the edge of a cliff) - there's no avoiding it - the salt is well and truly in the blood!

Which I guess is why my next love is
Sailing: Again with the waterbaby vibe (probably more often than I should have done given my capsize record!) sailing comes with the genealogy! My parents taught me to sail on the river and I've never stopped culminating in two Tall Ships Races and a lot of mucking about in dinghys - if it has sails I'm game.

Sheep: Or as they are known in our household "Knitting on legs". I think the theme is rather the product of the sheep rather than the animals themselves although they are very cute as small boingy lambs in the spring, particularly the multi-coloured sheep. I guess I could include spinning in this category too although I am resolutely resisting learning how to spin as it would only create more stash and less cash!

Serendipity: Fortuitous accidents - I am by nature optimistic (particularly when it comes to reaslistically assessing whether or not I can bend the space time continuum) and I love the way in crafty and non-crafty things every now and again things just come together in a perfect but entirely unintended way - little surprises for life - often in my cooking as I have a teeny tiny tendancy to tweak things that I already know how to cook to add in little extras that we happen to have lying around - mostly it is a serendipitous success!

Solutions: My job as a litigator frequently involves sueing people or defending people who re being sued and that could quite easily have been another S but the inspiration and motivation to do the job is for me more about finding the right solution to the dispute. Sometimes if my client has been defrauded the right solution is finding out how the fraudster did what he did and making a recovery, in other cases it is finding a settlement that allows both parties to walk away feeling vindicated and if possible, able to continue to have a working relationship, what matters is finding the way to solve the problem.

Space: Pehaps this is the westcountry roots reappearing again but I love big open spaces. When I worked in London I really enjoyed being in a big city but some of my favourite places were the bridges - Hungerford footbridge and Blackfriars brdige in particular - because you can really see the skyline of the city and feel a bit of air around you. My study at home in Warwickshire is on the front of our house so I look out over the rest of the village and across the fields but for real space head to Dartmoor - it's so big you really feel you can breathe properly!

and finally ...

Sharing experiences: whether it's through blogging, or chatting with the girls or joining in one of the many KALs it is such fun to share a common interest and enthusiasm and I'm glad we have such a strong on-line knitting community - next step world domination!

So there we go, a few random thoughts that I have really enjoyed putting together. If anyone would like a letter of their own please leave me a comment and I will send you a tag

Happy knitting


Monday, January 08, 2007

The Running Knitter

I am proud to announce that (as you can see from my tortoise above) this evening I unearthed the running shoes (I even found a matching pair after some effort) and went for a little trip round Warwick. It was a lovely night for running - dry, mild and windy but I can't say I really appreciated it after the first 10 mins - it was hard work to keep going and I'm very pleased I did - only 96.5 to go!!

Completely un-knitting-related I know but Google Pedometer is a fantastic tool for calculating distances - I was rather disheartened when the GPS seemed to say I'd only done 1.3 miles but I may have been reading the wrong display and this pedometer was very reassuring!

Now I think I've earned a little bit of time with my knitting so goodnight one and all!

I finished!

Apologies for the photography, my lovely husband is away in Swindon on a course and having finished I was too impatient to wait for him to return tomorrow - that and too disorganised to take a picture yesterday evening when we got home!

So we have that age old favourite - the mirror shot!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2007 - that still seems really odd to write - I've sure I'm going to keep saying 2006 for a while, and 2006 was such a great year I think 2007 has a high target to keep up with and there's only one way to make that happen so on with the show!!

As it is Epiphany today and officially the end of Christmas it seems appropriate that it is also the end of my holidays. Aparet from working Thursday morning this week because I had a trial (and a couple of phone calls from my boss on Thurs/Friday) both H and I have had two whole weeks off but now I have to go back to work as he has to start a whole new job complete with career change and everything so although I kept meaning to post earlier this week I just spent lots of time with him.

Also a little part of me kept thinking "if I don't post just yet then I might have a finished object to show". And this is the almost finished object:

My lovely Sister-in-Law who appreciates the handknitted things in life, and who was the recipient of the mittens I made at the end of last year, succeeded in emulating her brother in choice of appropriate gifts for a knitter - she gave me two Debbie Bliss books and the yarn and needles (including crochet hook) to make the tie-front bolero from Pure Silk. This is a pattern and a colour which I admired when we went to play in John Lewis in Edinburgh in May or June so I was very impressed at the powers of recollection! We arrived at the in-laws late on Friday, I swatched and cast on Friday evening and pretty much knit on it constantly from then on! I finished the actually knitting yesterday and started to get to grips with the instrument of doom - the crochet hook !!

I know from doing this edging that crochet is never going to be a passion with me in the same way that knitting and other crafts are but I haven't found it too hard and with a squint at the pattern, a good read of Debbie Stoller's Happy Hooker, and a bit of a donf I have a very pretty edging that may or may not be quite what Debbie Bliss intended or what the pattern says (actually I can't read the pattern well enough to tell but I have a 4 chain picot on each third stitch so that matches up)

As you might be able to see from the picture I have edged the cuffs, the right front, the neck and part of the left front but I still have to edge the rest of the front and the lower back line so I thought I'd post a picture today while I had the chance - expect finished object status tommorrow but evern 9 days isn't bad going!

If anyone is considering making this top I highly recommend it - the pattern is very well written with no errors and lovely shaping - it has such a nice neckline when I've tried it on - very sweetheart which you don't really get to see in the picures in the book.

New Year's Ambitions

I know lots of people have New Year's resolutions and I think on previous occassions I may even have been one of them but for the last few years I have gone more for goals and ambitions for the year so here are some knitting (and not so knitting related) goals for 2007.

The stash

The first is semi-resolution in that I really would like to make some of the projects that I have earmarked from my stash - apart from Aimee and a blue scarf which are currently on the needles I have stash for Joy from Vintage Style, a whole heap of socks, a lace stole and some blue alpaca to make a sweater (more on that later).

In similar vein I have a number of other projects which I would really like to do in other crafts, mostly cross-stitch, scrapbooking/cardmaking, dress making and quilting, all of which I have the ingredients for in my stashes. I also managed to clear out the last boxes from my parent's house so all my stashes are now as one which makes them scarily large and required a lot of clearing out my study earlier this week (and I still have things in bags and stacked on the floor - more storage is required!!)

To help with this goal I am considering some of the many yarn focus/stashalongs out in the blogosphere but we'll have to see.

I have joined Project Spectrum which Lolly is organising again this year - I really enjoyed it last year and this year has more flexibility in the colours which should help me find projects in the right colour in the right months!

February/March are blue white and grey which at first made me think "what am I going to make - I have a red sweater on my needles (needles which are getting slightly dusty at present!)" but then I have blue sock yarn which was a present from H, a blue lace scarf on the needles, a blue quilting project and a white blouse which I want to make - Feb and March are more than sorted!

Add into that the recurring blue alpaca - this is the only time that I have bought a significant amount of yarn (ie a sweater's worth) without a specific project in mind. I was proposing to knit the Ogee tunic from Knitting Nature but a swift calculation revealed I was about 500 yards short of yarn. Now I can usually squeeze a fair amount out of a yarn specification but 500 yards is a no-win situation. I was happily contemplating how much yarn my proposed waist shaping would save and whether I could get more yarn and just mix the dye lots when salvation appeared in the form of my copy of the Winter Interweave (posted Nov 3, arrived Dec 30) which has a fairly plain sweater with a patterned Raglan shaping at the shoulders and a funnel neck. I have exactly the right weight yarn and exactly the right lenght and the pattern at the shoulders is my favourite River Rapids - could there be a clearer sign!!

The photos

Looking back over my pictures from the last year I realise that I want to learn how to take prettier photos and better photos (although I acknowledge that taking photos in the dark doesn't help) so I've joined or perhaps just decided to do Project 365 - take a picture every day for a year. I've started a little bit late but my plan is to take a photo every day and do a weekly photo post.

Today we have today and yesterday - yesterday I took our Poinsetta outside for some daylight (not that it got much because it was grey (my auto flash kept going off) and windy and it got knocked off the patio table by the wind)

Here is the poinsetta

It is remarkably healthy considering that I've been looking after it although quite a few leaves have fallen off recently - if anyone has any poinsetta care tips please let me know!
This is my alternative shot which I rather like - it's a bit Jack and the Beanstalk.
For today we have my afternoon's activity:

These are the first three blocks of a nine block quilt which will eventually be a cushion cover (the US material on the left is the backing for the cushion). The fabric is a bundle of fat quarters in brushed cotton which I bought when H and I and one of our friends went on a trip to New York and Boston in summer 2005 and I always said I would make a patchwork cushion as a reminder of the trip. I cut the mini squares and triangles for this project last Summer and today they all came out again to remind me how much I enjoy patchwork. The pattern is inspired by a quilt in a copy of McCall's Quilting which was around in April/May 2006 called American Sweetheart and eventually that centre block will have four hearts pointing into it which the blue border starts and stripes going around it.

Run knitter run knitter run run run

My final goal for the year (at last as far as I've thought up so far) is to start running again. I pretty much stopped after my appendicitis because it hurt a lot to start with and then it was cold and dark and I was used to being at home and doing other things (predominantly knitting and cooking and caring for the lovely H)

So the challenge is 100 MILES BY 1 APRIL

I know I used to be able to do that - hey I ran a marathon once (in Edinburgh. With Hills - but that's a whole nother story) but I will also have to ease back into it so I don't damage anything - knees being a particularly favourite weak spot of mine, so it seems like a good target and we'll just see what happens!

Anyway I have yattered on for far too long - FO pictures will follow in due course!

Roll on 2007