Thursday, May 31, 2007

Things that are finished

Well I did say the knitting had got a bit longer!

Et voila - I have finished the back of Peggy's dress and my Conwy socks:

Peggy's dress is as always great fun to work on, especially now I've mastered the smoking without needing an extra cable needle. Somehow I always seem to stab myself with a cable needle so it's a useful skill. If you're looking for a tutorial on how to do it there are many but the one I found most helpful was Grumperina's.

And now for the properly finished object!

My legs are scarily pale but in real life these socks have a beautiful warm glow and the yarn (Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino) is wonderfully soft. I finished these on the way home and I have a new entry on the list of "how to freak out the muggles!" - finish your second sock, darn in the ends and pop them on your feet - seriously I got some wonderful looks but it's been cold of late and I'm liking the snuggly feel.

I knit these socks pretty much to the pattern although as I had yardage concerns I only knit the legs to 6" rather than the pattern's 8". They are not ankle socks and fall on me about where commercial socks fall which is shorter than my handmade socks but still a comfortable length. In the end I had a good nugget of yarn left over and I could have had a few more repeats on each leg but rather safe than ripping out almost two pairs of socks because you fall a bit short! Watch out for the remainder of the yarn appearing in something else many moons from now!

All in all another success and I can see these socks rapidly becoming a favourite.

Which leaves Aimee still waiting for the rest of the sleeve, and another sleeve and a bit of sewing up. I now have I think got sufficient yarn to finish the project and I think now it ought to be a pull to the finish, if only to prevent some of the Tuesday night teasing! So the question is, how much knitting would I need to do to finish Aimee by next Tuesday? I'm in London on saturday so I could hit Liberty's for some gorgeous ribbon if I get the time and there will be all that train time. Hmm - must balance overachieving instincts with regard for sanity and need to sleep and tidy the house at some point over the weekend! Only time will tell but for now there is a sleeve calling!

PS - who knew gardening could make your bottom ache so much - dang the clay soil

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Making Mud Pies

It's all action here!

Fond readers of this blog (ie Mum and Dad) may have noticed that H and my attitude to our garden is a little haphazard - we buy things we like, we plant them, we attempt to look after them and we see how we go. We also painted our bench blue (enough said!!).

However, heavy clay soil not withstanding, we do aspire to a pretty garden and so far our scheme of municipal bedding plants is doing great. Our trip to the westcountry at the weekend saw a little "raid" on the parents cold frame as inspired by this site which has some very useful tips including cadging plants off your nearest and dearest (well that's how I read it anyway).

Parents you may have thought it was a spur of the moment decision to fill our car with your spare plants but now that I am safely 200 miles away I can reveal my malice aforethought (actually we were just going to beg for cuttings but you are as always wonderfully generous and the plants are great).

It is also possible that this plan was not fully known to H when we chose to take his nice shiny car as opposed to my slightly tired car! oops!

Anyway... on Monday we popped a few lettuces in a small trough, yesterday H drilled me some drainage holes in the big trough and this evening I have been pretending to be gardening but in reality it's been mud pies all the way! Yippee

The finished product? (and we use finished in the loosest possible way!):
This is the veggie patch - a lot of lettuce, two tomato plants and a courgette. Lovingly placed near the back door so that I can scare away the pigeons by making funny faces through the glass!A newly planted flower bed - cracking photography this evening - even I can't tell what's what in the picture and I planted it all. For those in the know we have some red Silvia, some Geraniums, Cosmos, Cotton Lavender, a Hebe and some foxgloves (oh and some pre-exisiting Roses!).
H thinks it is very pretty and I was rewarded for my valient efforts with a wine gum. Clearly gardening (even of the heavy digging in our solid soil) is considered reward enough whereas excessive housework has on occasion promoted the arrival of yarn in the house - now where did I put the hoover?
Lest you think I have entirely abandonned ship and gone over to the green side I have the following knitting progress reports:
Aimee: nearly finished a sleeve, is slightly longer than when last photographed.
Peggy's Sheep Dress: nearly finished the back, is slightly longer than when last photographed.
Conwy sock: nearly finished the second sock, is slightly longer than when last photographed.
Tired Roses scarf: is lurking.
I do promise pretty pictures when I am finished something, until then I leave you with a floral tribute to the outgoing Project Spectrum triad of pink, green and yellow:

Monday, May 28, 2007

An update and some answers

Long time no blog - bad girl - no cookie!

We've just returned from a wonderful bank holiday visiting my parents in the south west to a grey Warwickshire with wet windy and cold weather. In contrast we ate lunch outside on the lower terrace and it was wonderfully hot and before lunch we went for a paddle at the beach - ah me!

So.... the news and the answers.

The baby of the blanket arrived into this world 10am last Wednesday; a boy named Edward. I hope he likes his blanket. He was 8lb 10oz so I'm glad it was a big blanket!

The next baby is due in July so I'm about to cast on for the next blanket - lucky I liked the pattern so much.

In the meantime, Mary guessed that the few rows of green knitting was not socks (despite the mislabelling) and she was right. Do you want to see how it looks now?

It's not perhaps the clearest picture as I was very keen to get Mr Flowerpotman in the photo but you can see the addition of a few small sheep, 28cm of stst (thank you long car journey home) and a little mock smock at the top.

Now while I'm sure you would agree that small sheep on a green background would make a most attractive summer tank top for me, I happen to know a young lady who is about to turn one in July whose Grandmother has long associations with raising sheep and all things woolly so when I turned a few pages forward from the Alphabet Blanket in Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits and saw the little sheep dress, I knew it was kismet.

The lassie in question (who for the sake of the blog we shall call Peggy although it isn't her name - PHB you can work out the etymology on that one - it's right up your street) is very cute and much larger in recent photos.

So, for Peggy's birthday which is at the end of July/beginning of August I am aiming to complete the little green dress, the shoes to match and possibly also a small knitted sheep for Peggy herself to play with.
I know I always am a fan of Debbie Bliss patterns and this one is no exception - it's the little touches like the fact that the sheep are done in moss stitch so that they feel woolly that will make this just the cutest little dress for Autumn/Winter. Fingers crossed she doesn't grow too much!
The big question is will the next baby cousin arrive before Peggy's birthday? At least I'm fairly certain that Peggy's cousin will arrive after her birthday as s/he isn't due until October.
I can also spill another secret FO which you won't have seen before. The reason we went to the westcountry was because it was my lovely Mum's birthday. Her birthday request? another pair of socks, preferably brown and cream to match her brown trousers.
The result?
I completely forgot to take a picture on her feet but they fit perfectly, match the trousers and are an all round success. The pattern is a variation of Friday Harbour from Nancy Bush's Socks on the Road. The original pattern is for DK weight yarn on 50 st and I added in 10 st and knit them still on 2.75mm needles but with a few more pattern repeats. Basically you add a st either side of the central pattern and the rest as part of the rib - piece of cake!

My socks are still in progress although I am now onto the second sock which was hopefully motivated by being introduced to the view:

That's my parents' back garden - be jealous - seriously, I am because I don't get to live there anymore (although I love my home too).
May I also introduce Lettuce:
This little bunny has decided that the heather beds would be a perfect place to set up camp. He may feel differently when the heather moves to make way for a new path - time will tell.

Devon is a very beautiful county and we saw so many pretty things on our cliff walks but honeysuckle and foxgloves are always on the rampage at this time of year so here is a little countryside for you!
Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back with a vengance

Hurrah the gremlins have been exorcised! It turned out the gremlins were not so much in the computer (phew) as in the power supply to the wireless router which had gently fried itself hence no internet and a very confused computer. All is now well (she says touching all available imitation wood and crossing fingers and toes).

Anyway, did I mention I've been making pretty things. Less internet does seem to equal more knitting (who would have thought!) so here is the beauty parade:

First up - the current sock in progress. Looking at the picture I appear to have taken a shot of the back of the sock which has various elements of shaping in it so you can't really see the braid pattern - I promise it's there and will be much more visible when the sock is on a foot - I tried to put it on my foot yesterday and broke another needle - oops. The yarn is Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino in Sugar Maple and the pattern is Conwy from Socks on the Road - the pattern is more time consuming than some but I love the yarn and the finished effect so who am I to complain!
I have finished the first half of my Tired Roses scarf; my cunning plan is to knit the first half, knit on the edging, knit a bit of the second half, knit the second edging and then knit until I run out of yarn and then graft the two halves together. If I end up with slightly more repeats on one half than the other I don't think it will be that noticiable and I can already see that when it's properly blocked it will look very summery.
Something pretty in green for Project Spectrum - 8 rows of stst at the moment, I'm waiting for some black and no I'm not going to tell you what it is yet - all will be revealed in time - guesses in the comments!

I think yesterday I was having a touch of finishingitis what with completing half of the scarf and the edging. I also rescued Aimee from the bottom of the knitting basket and finished off the front. It didn't take that long and leaves me wondering why it has been neglected for so long. Now all I have to do are two sleeves and then she will be ready for the summer!

Today has been spent seriously tidying our lounge and trying to find somewhere for all the yarn and paint to live - I think we're getting there but I have definitely earnt my knitting time today. So, the podcasts are downloading (yippeeeeee) and I'm off to curl up on the sofa but with what? Sock, Scarf or Sleeves - the choice is ......... entirely random!

Hope you all had a good weekend

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Silence may be golden but I find that while the little gremliny virus inhabits our home computer and the internet and all things lovely that go with it are off limits (or very severely limited) I miss blogging and I really miss my commuting podcasts. All I can say is that I’m going to have a bonanza when we are restored to life (hopefully this weekend).

For the moment you will still have to imagine the pretty things I am making; the tired roses lace scarf has got a little longer, a gorgeous pair of Nancy Bush’s Conwy socks are on the needles in Lucy Neatby’s Celestial Merino in the Sugar Maple colourway, I have a partially started project in green and white which will eventually be a sock (possibly) but we’ll have to wait and see. I also have magically acquired some green baby cashmerino and two skeins of Monet in Jitterbug. The latter is for socks and the former – we’ll again you’ll have to wait and see.

In conclusion, being taken away from the internet makes me buy more yarn. (See it’s not my fault really). I tried to convince the girls at knitting that it was really loft insulation but the fact that it is insulating the floor of my study or the ceiling of my kitchen perhaps undermines that theory.

In other big news I have had a cunning plan. As the plan has now been running a week and is therefore a distinct plan and not a figment of my imagination I can feel free to share it with you. Every day I have to travel to the station and then catch the train to work. The parking for the station has gone up astronomically recently and it is now about half of my season ticket for the train. So I’ve hopped on my bike (or rather H’s bike, it has a more comfortable saddle!). I now cycle to and from the station which takes about 15 mins each way. The parking is free, I get to cut the queues at the traffic lights the exercise is beneficial and it releases some yarn funds – what’s to loose.

The only slight disadvantage is that it has rained every single day since I started doing this – please tell me it’s not related.

If you’re reading this from the blog page and not through bloglines etc then you will see that Achilles the tortoise has made a major jump forwards (most un-tortoise like). Although I am still running as well as cycling I think as they are Carie-propelled miles rather than engine driven they count – I shall try to get 50 of my miles running and the rest will be covered by the cycling!

I felt very virtuous going out running last night albeit for a small lap of the common given I had just cycled home AND it was raining. When I started out it was only freckling rain but it quickly matured into a full blown downpour – delightful.

Actually it meant no-one was playing on the deathslide by the time I got there so I had a couple of runs as a warm down!

All this virtue was amply rewarded by the arrival of the new Interweave Knits. I wasn’t too enamoured of the last copy and none of the patterns particularly jumped out but this one has some stars. I think the boot socks will be perfect for my sockpalooza pal, and I love the Notre Dame pullover and I am secretly tempted by the Kate Gilbert one shouldered top. Full credit goes to H who was greeted by the news of a new magazine with some really great patterns and managed to look delighted at the prospect of more yarn in our house – one of many reasons why I married him.

The gremlin is due to be evicted at the weekend I hope so full service should resume shortly.

See you soon

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Ah ha

Blanket mystery has been partially solved - my boss is holding back the presents we gave him until the baby actually makes an appearance. As to date (and time) we have no baby, the blanket has not been unwrapped - perhaps they can be restored to lovers of knitwear status after all.

All of which means - come on baby!

In techie news out internet has really died at home (I'm posting from work on my lunch break) and we don't know whether we are virussed or the router broke or quite what. A couple of days ago I could get it to work for long enough to get my pictures onto Photobucket but now not even that so for the moment you just have to imagine that I am knitting very pretty things (because I am).

Question: is it crossing the borderlands of normality to lay out all your fresh (as opposed to part knitted) sock yarn on the floor to look at it to make yourself happy? It is very pretty sock yarn!

As they say in Brummie-land; ta-ra for now!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Oh my

To say that my computer has had internet problems of late is to suggest that the Pope has inclinations towards Christianity if he were into organised religion.

Hey ho.

The good news is that the knitting karma works - still no baby on the scene and although the baby isn't due until next Monday we are all expecting him/her iminently.

When I left you last the blanket had top and bottom edging and on Saturday I carefully calculated how many stitches I would need to pick up per block to get to the total 227, carefully picked up all of those stitches and carefully knit on the triangular border which whilst fun is time consuming. I finished the border late Saturday night and spread it out for a look.

Words cannot express my feeling when I realised that no amount of blocking was going to rescue the frilliness of the border. I had wondered why a square blanket had 187 st across the top and bottom and 227 across the sides and when I pinched and pulled the blanket and worked out there were about 5 triangles too many or 40sts I realised the answer: it shouldn't.

I'm sure Debbie Bliss has very good reasons for suggesting 227sts but it doesn't work for me (perhaps her row gauge is looser than mine or something). Anyway with H holding the blanket to stop me stamping on it, I carefully frogged the entire day's work. Grrr. There is no photographic evidence because I was in too much of a pet only compounded by the fact that the internet problems gave me a huge headache checking the Debbie Bliss site and google generally to see whether it was just me. Eternal thankyous to GrumpyGirl for having a site that would load and having had the same problem.

Sunday I knit one border on 187 sts which was much more successful and on Monday at around 2pm it looked like this:
I then bravely introduced it to the washing machine and gave it a little block on the spare room floor comme ca:
Then I did something else for a little bit and popped back to see if it was dry - it wasn't. It still wasn't dry the next time or the time after than or even by the time we went to sleep on Monday. It was only on Tuesday morning that I got to take the glory shots before hurridly wrapping it up to take it to the baby's father.

I have absolutely no idea whether the bump or its parents like it as it didn't get unwrapped at work and I've heard no comment since. Usually I don't really mind whether or not people like their knitted pressies although obviously I'd rather they liked them but with this blanket I've put so much time and effort into it recently that I want the baby to like it. I'm also not sure whether they'll even know I made it rather than bought it as I don't tend to wear knitwear to work. Only time will tell.

However, aside from the side border issue and the fact that there is a mistake in the pattern book for the letter S which explains why I couldn't work out what was wrong with my S, just that it was, I still love the pattern and the yarn and will have no problem casting on another on for the July baby. The yarn machine washed fantastically at 30 and was still soft and squishy so it's definitely a favourite.

In the meantime it's nice to be knitting without a deadline and I will try to finish my tired roses scarf and the long-suffering Aimee soon as well as all the things calling to me from the stash and something lovely for my sockpalooza pal!

Friday, May 04, 2007

H's Happy Feet

H's anniversary socks and my first socks for May are officially off the needles. Despite great attempts by the yarn to avoid producing a matching pair of socks I finally finagled them into submission on the train to work this morning only to discover I hadn't put my scissors back in my bag and couldn't complete the kitchener without working out how to detach four separate strands of yarn from the knitting. Basically this yarn has a very long pattern repeat in two halves that look fairly similar but have subtle differences. In starting the second sock I had to wind on a fair way and so couldn't finish the sock without needing to go back to the beginning, and then I had to wind off a bit more again to get to the right place and then that ran out and then I ended up just matching the rows from the first sock with random lengths of colour from all over.

However, the important thing is that they are soft and lovely and H thinks they're great (and they climbed the Eiffel Tower - that's pretty cool too)

And now the news: (beep-di-di-beep-di-di-beep)

In the ongoing Alphabet Blanket v Baby fixture:

Blanket edgings 2
Baby 0

However our insider (the midwife) reported on Wedneday evening that the Baby was likely to be around in the next couple of days and this knitting reporter considers that it will be a minor miracle if the blanket outwits the baby long enough for the blanket to be given to the father pre-birth (ie Tuesday). The knitting reporter notes that the father left work at 3pm today but was assured at the time that this was not related to an impending arrival.

Two more edgings (these with more complicated picking up of stitches) to go and then a washing machine visit and a hefty blocking. We are looking on track for Tuesday, whether there is anyone at work to give it to is a completely different question.

May the knitting karma which traditionally prevents birth before the completion of knitwear be with the blanket - this child is trying to be over a week early!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

As easy as...


Just the borders to go now so time for a progress reports:

Needles for the border: Check
Yarn for the border: Check
Completed centre panel: Check
Ends woven in: Check (and bonus point for angelic knitting stance)
Knitter: Check (when not working)
Baby: Not here yet

It's looking good so far.

In other news here is the proof that H's sock is (a) finished and (b) an attractive addition to his work wear! The other sock is on the needles but should be finished soon!