Sunday, April 29, 2007

Real Life returns andin which it appears that a yarn farie has been to visit

There really is no other explanation - when we got back on Monday various packages were waiting on the doorstep (in the rain, with and without added worms) which when unrapped revealed this:

The power of the knitting farie has revealed to me that the centre of the yarn puddle is Cherry Tree Hill Laceweight in Moody Blues which is to be the Flowing River shawl , at the back is Lorna's Laces sock yarn in Tuscany, to the left is more sock yarn, this time called Sugar Maple and at the front are a couple of yarn blanks for more dying.

Isn't it amazing how the yarn farie (a) knows exactly what I've been drooling over for the past few months while trying to stash bust and (b) has acurately predicted the numbers of my credit card!
This is H's first sock yesterday morning - ithas since been finished but as it is raining now I think I'll stick with this picture. He likes the colour very much and spent yesterday evening wearing one new sock and one old sock - I'm taking that as a sign of approval!!
The baby blanket has also grown again despite being away for the weekend - it has also progressed a bit further since this picture - it's now starting the sixth and final row of the main pattern and it is starting to look like I might finish so long as the baby doesn't hurry.PS - I forgot this picture from my last post - we went to a place were Elephants stand on their heads - how cool is that!

A little bit of something special

Well as always life has got in the way of blogging and knitting (and laundry and cooking and cleaning and sleeping and ....) Anyway, I meant to tell you all about last weekend a little sooner than this but hey ho, the laundry is done, the washing up is drying and the work I brought home over the weekend is finished and e-mailed back to my office (which will no doubt block the e-mail and call me all sorts of problems tomorrow) so what is there to do but catch up with the bloggy world and tell you about a little bit of something special.
Those of you who know me in real life or who have read the blog for a while will realise that H and I have just passed our first wedding anniversary. Given that our honeymoon didn't go quite to plan (to say the least), we needed to make this one special and as H has been busy with his new job I got to choose where we went and to surprise him.

All he knew was that he had to get up at 4.30 on Saturday morning and bring his passport. When we got to the airport I handed him his card which had our e-tickets in and he knew we were going to the place which looks like this:
(Hint: it isn't in England)

One of the biggest roads looks like this:

And something quite important looks like this:
Still can't guess? Well I suppose I could give you a better clue .... - does this help?:

I love Paris - I'd never been before and H had only been on a school trip many years ago.

We did all the touristy things including climbing the Eiffel tower (yes we took the stairs to the first two stories with me desperately clutching the banister and trying to convince myself that really it was just a staircase and no I wasn't horribly high up on the equivalent of a fire escape - interesting thought - if they have a fire alarm in one of the restaurants do they all have to come down the stairs?!).

The pictures above are a view from the Right bank of the Seine looking towards the island with Notre Dame on it, the pyramid at the Louvre, the Champs Elysees and the inside of the Arc de Triumphe

I also started a new pair of socks for H as his special anniversary socks. I cast on in the train from the airport and the first few inches of the cuff had a few rows added to them if we stopped in a garden or on the river bank to rest our feet and escape from the heat for a bit - yes my friends it was hot with a H - gorgeous weather.

The sock attracted interested looks from a pigeon in the Jardin des Tuilleries - AND the sock went to the top of the Eiffel Tower look -

See - sock and top of the Tower!!

OK the sock did go to the top but I was a bit busy holding onto the walls to either take it out of the bag or knit it so this will have to do!

In our travels we also came across a couple of wonderful little shops both of which would probably be properly termed a haberdashers. The first, Entree des Fournisseurs had a wonderful arrays of ribbons and embroidered patches and we gathered up enough French to request "une petite papillion comme ca dans rose et vert, si vous plait."

This is what that gets you:

I love this little butterfly quite irrationally - it's about 2 inches wide and an inch high and I think I may attach it to one end of my tired roses scarf when that it finished as it's the perfect colour match and I think it might be pretty to have a lace scarf that a butterfly has landed on. If not I'll just keep it as it makes me smile!

The second shop we found was called Le Comptoir and was much more of a knitting shop. H on holiday is a serious enabler so it is not perhaps surprising that some of the shop came home with us - it's a souvenir you know!

The fabric is two bright floral fat quarters, the blue/purple is more lavender in true colour and is a version of Kid Silk Haze without the silk - very light and soft and fluffy and will make a fabulous stole and the blue/green - that's hand dyed aran weight silk and it is irrepresibly beautiful. I think it will be a fairly simple scarf to show off the colours - at present I'm thinking Knitty's Argosy

To knit it, perhaps I will use these:

Or maybe these
Total indulgence - Peace Fleece needles with ladybirds and butterflies! The sizes are 6 and 7mm which I don't have so there is some practical merit as well as just looking at them and exclaiming over their prettiness!

All in all we had a wonderful three days, we were treated wonderfully by the hotel staff and I think it is somewhere we will go back to in the not too distant future.


seems to be working

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Cherry Snow

A warm, windy spring day and I've found something I love almost as much as the crisp sticky snowflakes of an occasional winter; this time it's Cherry Snow. Soft pink petals flurry past the window in ones and twos or as a crowd when the tree is hit by the breeze. Each one twisting and turning, climbing and falling in the stream.

Walking outside the garden is covered in a spring blanket of pink and the blossom catches in my hair and drifts against the side of the road.

Gentler than the winter storms but no less determined to cover everything in its path only this time not to hide but to announce the arrival of summer in our little corner of the world

Friday, April 20, 2007

In which we discuss many completely unrelated topics!

Knitting News (beep-de-de-beep-de-de-beep)

1, My socks are finished

Socks, meet the blue bench; Blue Bench meet Rolling Thunder. Perhaps slightly more carnival band type thunder than the american indian type thunder Knitty envisaged but if you're going to have lound socks you might as well go the whole nine yarns and add turquoise beads.

H gave me the yarn for Christmas and I love it and the way it fits the pattern - definitely kismet.

2, The update you really want to see:

The picture isn't fantastic and the whole thing will need blocking but the third row of blocks is now finished as of this morning. This pattern is great to knit - I highly recommend it and Baby Cashmerino makes a great fabric and so far seems fine as a substitute to the discontinued Debbie Bliss wool cotton and you get a little bit more of it to the ball.

The baby is still due May 14th and as far as I know has not made an early appearance. If I can finish the next tier during next week, one or perhaps two during next weekend then I'll have the bank holiday weekend to put the borders on and block it and give it to the hopefully pleased parent of the baby-to-be. It's all in the power of positive thinking/self delusioning (is that even a word?)

Yarny news or The Stashbust is over
And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, Ill say it clear,
Ill state my case, of which Im certain.

Ive knit, all from my stash.
Ive knit on each and evry highway;
And more, much more than this,
I knit it my way.

Rip backs, Ive had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And knit anew without exemption.

I planned my charted lace;
Each careful stich knitting every day,
But more, much more than this,
I knit it my way.

Yes, there were times,
Im sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could warp the space time continuum sufficiently to accomplish.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I stayed up late and knit it out.
I faced my stash, needles in hand;
-And knit it my way!
(with apologies to Frank Sinatra who is by now surely turning in his grave!)

Having completed the stash-bustalong yarn free period with only the purchase of present yarn one day before the end of the period bringing me even close to cracking it is possible that some yarn may have come home with me today and more may be arriving in the mail in due course.

My chief evidence for this is that I found these under the poinsetta while it was airing today.

On the left is a new pair of socks for H and on the right is Jitterbug Blue Parrot that is a million times prettier in real life than in the photo. Of course the only way that they could have arrived here is by sensing my need for them and creating some form of transportation to my house. "Didn't you just have a yarn binge?" I hear you ask; why would you think that...!

Truly random topicsRandom dead donkey - this is delicious if you like your cider - proper cider (ie dry not alcoholic apple juice) with a dash of blackcurrant liquer - oh does this hit the spot!

Anyway, after that ramble I shall leave you to your evening's entertainment and I have to go and finish preparing for a rather exciting weekend - more on that later!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Babies wait for no knitter

And that means only one thing - the first baby is due on May 14th and I need to get cracking on this blanket. With my first gratuitous blue bench shot of the day, look what arrived on Saturday morningOr in close-up so you can actually see it rather than just admire the blue-ness:
That's a LOT of baby cashmerino (two blankets worth I hope). I virtuously did the shopping on Friday night and Saturday morning and went for a 4 mile run (please note progress of Achilles across the tracker bar) before I went to Web of Wool to collect it (please provide own angel and polishing of halo noises!)

In the afternoon we went to visit a friend down in the middle of nowhere in the Cotswolds and I ensconsed myself on the bench in the garden while H and F played football. The boys then decided to crown me with a tiara of daisies and provide me with photographic evidence for the blog comme ca:
Posting that not particularly flattering picture of me gives me every justification for showing you what happenned next when I turned the camera on the boys!!
H and F discovered that contrary to their childhood belief, if they can't see me I can still see them - who would have thought!!

The boys take flight!

So that was Saturday - I knit and chatted to H and F and to Poppy the cat and we watched the latest Bond film again - a wonderful day.

Sunday was another beautiful day and my day mostly looked like this:

Please note the following items essential to an afternoon's knitting:

1, The sunhat - important so you are not dazzled by the quick flashing addi turbos and the cream yarn
2, Ipod - podcast catchup heaven
3, Garden chairs enhanced by many cushions
4, Plastic crate to allow yarn to scamper round in so that it doesn't get dirty
5, Interesting but not taxing knitting

I did move around the garden with the sun, starting off on my blue bench and ending up in the conservatory and there were laundry intermissions (hanging up and taking down of) but that was pretty much my Sunday afternoon. H was playing golf so the real question is, am I a grass widow or is he a yarn widower? Answers on a postcard!

And the result....

The first two rows of blocks - there are six in total and a nice little edging - anyone else think I'm a little crazy/over ambitious/secretly have discovered how to warp space and time and would like to know how? All I can say is love the pattern and love the yarn - it's a good job too seeing as baby No2 is due in July!

For my piece de resistance I present a flower whose name I have forgotten but which I have christened Project Spectrum Flower - pink, yellow and green!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sock it to me!

Yippeee Sockpalooza signups have started and I'm registered so more sock knitting on the cards. Hopefully the post office won't steal my parcels this time - I've still never got anything for either the mitten swap or a beads and buttons swap I did back in January and I've given up on that one - both of the people I was sending things to really loved their packages and it was so much fun to make things for them so I don't mind too much.

The Rolling Thunder socks are zipping along quite nicely and I'll go and pop a picture of them when the second sock is finished.

My scarf is really lovely - this is what it looked like on Monday morning and it is now 2 and a bit repeats longer and I'll be putting the edging on soon - yippee!


It may not have escaped your attention that 1 April has been and gone and little Achilles the tortoise remains steadfastly fixed in the same spot. It appears that snow, ice, rain, cold, general laziness and the manic that always goes with the year end in Feb and March combined to defeat me.

Runagogo round 2 has now started - 100 miles by July 4th and this time I'm going to do it. I started with a gentle 2.5 mile trot which nearly killed me but the only way is onwards and I know it will get better soon.

If you fancy any sort of exercise then join up to runagogo and walk/run/cycle with friendly knitters (who may well be asleep when you are exercising depending on your part of the world but hey-ho!) because the cameraderie is fantastic!

Meanwhile I present my tired little feet!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

A time for new life

Happy Easter one and all.Easter is a time for new life (see Hamish yesterday) and today our new life is in the garden:

I love how in the last picture the camera has picked up the sneaky little viola in the corner rather than the main bunch - serendipitous photography!

And the knitting?

Well I have to say it is very nice to be able to share what I'm working on. The lace scarf continues at a meditative pace - it's coming along quite fast and I have 2.5 repeats done as I type (I'm planning to go and finish the third shortly) and I think each end will probably have 6 repeats - each repeat being about 3.5 in long but really I'll just knit until the yarn runs out! No picture today due to lack of decent light for photography.

The sock was cast on yesterday and currently looks like this:

With apologies for slightly iffy photography - see references to poor light above.

Although I have discovered from past experience (the invisible dolphin socks) that purl stitch patterns do not work particularly well in self striping yarn as they get obscured by the stripe - this yarn and this pattern work together in a wonderful example of kismet and turqoise beads just set the whole thing off. This yarn has all the colours of project spectrum and some and it demands a flamboyant pattern because even just plain stst socks would turn heads in this.

I love it and I can't wait to wear them with pride.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Another sunny day

Well what should a girl do with her new blue bench?

(1) Eat breakfast on it and (2) introduce it to knitwear - do you want to see something pretty?


is 435 metres of curious yarns' pure silk laceweight in a colourway named Tired Roses. Curious Yarns are having a little hiatus at the moment and I hope they will be back soon because not only do they sell wonderful stitch markers but this yarn is beautiful and I want more in lots of different colours!

Giving in to the inner colour junkie I have also rescued this to meet the new bench:

This is self striping yarn that I have already threaded up for Knitty's Rolling Thunder socks from the Winter 2006 Knitty. I started then a while ago on 2.5mm needles but they seemed too big so I'll try the 2.25 the pattern calls for and see how we go.

Today's expetition (as another bear of little brain would say) was to the farm for some Easter food and while there we met this gentleman:

This is Hamish - I defy you not to utter an uncontrollable "aaaaw" at seeing him - he is very cute and usually lives in a large henhouse next to the farm shop but was out today to say hello to everyone for Easter!

Having executed all inescapable chores I settled down in the garden this afternoon for another day of sunbasking and some lace therapy.

This is the first repeat of a pattern I'm making up myself and I'm enjoying getting back into the swing of lace knitting - it doesn't have the flow of stocking stitch and although it does have the tangled mess look at the moment I have sufficient faith in the blocking process for lace that it will all even out in the end! (NB the earlier picture gives a better indication of the colour)

Now if you'll excuse me Doctor Who is on and I need to go and cast on a sock.

PS - we will gloss over the result of the boat race, suffice to say that our boys put up an excellent fight and I only realised too late that I was wearing the wrong colour jumper.

Just wait until next year

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Good Good Friday

And a happy Easter weekend to you all.

Today has been a wonderful day for many many reasons so here are some:

1, H is home - he has been on another course all week and it is lovely to have him back again!

2, It has been warm sunny and a perfect spring day - I spent this afternoon sitting in first the garden and then the conservatory with the doors open as the sun moved around the house.

3, H has painted the bench in our garden a wonderful deep blue - we chose the colour a while ago but have only just got round to painting it - it makes the bench a very calming place to sit - I will have to make a bench cushion!

4, The bookbooksecret socks are finished - hurray!

5, Now I can give in to all my inner colour junkie and go mad - the last two pairs of socks have been in colours which photograph very well but don't inspire me personally and I am just going crazy for some colour and there's a whole lot of pink, green and green/white with a touch of yellow just waiting for me! I am having serious cravings for some spring green, some bright pink and some burnt orange - just possibly not together. The next big thing on the needles will be a baby blanket but the yarn for that hasn't arrived yet so I have all Easter weekend to indulge myself!

6, Our children's church activity morning went really well - the children all had a wonderful time, their pringle pot shakers (my craft spot) are as noisy as anyone could ever wish and the children's song and dance for Sunday should be very good.

7, Our Good Friday walk around the village was peaceful, reflective and out in the sunshine - there may have only been nine of us but we had a good time.

8, I don't have to go to work until Tuesday!!!

I'll leave you with a picture de jour from Palm Sunday:

Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's the time of the season

Farewell to Blue, Grey and White of winter and hello to the new April/May colours of Pink Yellow and Green for this new sector of Project Spectrum. To celebrate even the plants in the garden have arrived on cue:

Sadly the pink ones blew over in the wind and I didn't think petals on the ground had quite the same effect!
However, before I do consign all of the blue/grey/white yarn to the back of the stash for a bit, time for a little reflection on the last two months of blue projects. We have two pairs of socks in blue and blue/purple , my wonderful trellis scarf, a set of hat and mittens and last but not least my refined raglan. (plus two pairs of bookbooksecret socks). Gosh, that's actually quite a lots of knitting - no wonder my house looks the way it does!.
I have LOVED the blue/white/grey (although there wasn't much grey) and it has seemed so appropriate to be knitting in those colours to match the outside world and it has matched very well with my UFO and Stashbustalong which finishes round one at least on 15 April.
In the last two months I have finished my oldest UFO (the trellis scarf) and knitted up the largest amount of yarn that has spent the longest in my stash when the deep blue alpaca finally told me what it wanted to be.
Looking forward I can happily embrace yellow pink and green with my Raspberry red/pink Aimee that needs finishing, some yellow white and green varigated dishcloth cotton which I am very tempted to use to make this although I think that this is very clever and might be rather fun. I also have one skein of delicious silk laceweight in the colour Tired Roses which is soft green and pink and is just wonderful to look at. I've written myself a pattern for a scarf based on a few other patterns I've seen around - if it's a success I may tell you about it!
I also know of a couple of babies in waiting who belong to families fully deserving of knitted goodies to welcome their arrival into the world and as they are both summer babes it seems cruel to inflict knitted jackets which won't fit by the time it is really cool enough for the bambinos to wear them (plus I have no idea whether they are boys or girls) so this time it's blankets - more specifically Debbie Bliss' Alphabet blanket x2. Blanket production will start as soon as the current knitting is finished and this time I will be able to share some progress as neither Mummy-to-be reads this blog (I think in one case and devoutly hope in the other!)
My current knitting is still the bookbooksecret socks of which I have finished three of my remaining 4 - I've been knitting up a whirl. However, spring has arrived and despite trying to stave off second sock syndrome I retreated to my garden today and what started out as a plan to weed one of the flowerbeds turned into a full scale weed of two large beds (they were very weedy) and planting them up with summer bulbs and a few violas, pansys and antihurrums for instant colour - it's going to look fantastic come the summer (or possibly not - soil depending!)
For the moment it looks like this:
and while I can see that the beds look very flat there are things that will grow pretty tall (two packets of sunflowers for a start) and I can't wait - roll on the summer.