Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Explorers Return

The last few days have seen H and I take a little road trip north to see siblings and family (ah the life of those of us not at work for two weeks).

We set off on Wednesday and drove up through the Lake District:
Edinburgh 004
Sadly without time to stop so the pictures are from the car, and crossed into:
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Land of extraordinary spelling and Picts so strange the Romans built a wall to keep them out. Fortunately Braveheart is not a permanent fixture.

A land where giraffes roam the pavement:
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And the pigeons have got rather plump and heavy
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- welcome to Edinburgh.
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Whilst we spent much of our time with family we did have a chance to potter round a little bit and we really enjoyed the Scottish National Gallery which while much smaller than the National in London has some lovely pictures and is well worth a look.

The other little gem we discovered was an exhibition of tartan weaving largely disguised as a shop and with opportunities to grockle at every turn. However, it was free and you could lean over the balcony and see the machines at work
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- it was fascinating and the fibre-aholic in me was rather taken with the shelves stacked with yarn ready for weaving. Interestingly, while the machines go very fast, the tartan grows rather slowly.

I took the Kauni cardigan to protect me from the sharp Scottish cold and it was needed - we watched the thermometer drop as we drove up the motorway - a good 5 degree difference and it got warmer as we came back down again into England.

I can however assure anyone making a Kauni cardigan that it is now an internationally recognised symbol of a knitter after the Rowan consultant in John Lewis in Edinburgh turned round to me in delight to pat my arm (universal knitter's handshake) having recognised the cardigan!

So then, a bit of knitting. Now I know none of you will find it strange that I took 4 projects with me for a 3 day trip.

First off I picked up the Argosy scarf which has a wonderfully mindless pattern and quite short rows - perfect for motorway knitting:
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I am now well over half way and I've started the second ball of silk which, as you can see, has a great deal more blue in it than the first half. Whilst it shows up clearly when photographed like this, in real life I think the colours meld better and it won't be noticeable unless you really analyse the scarf. In any event this is French hand-dyed handspun silk so it's blue or nothing and I love this scarf. The yarn has a little bloom and will probably pill something chronic but it is soft and autumnal and fits my current green whim.
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Next on and off the needles was wee baby sock number 2 - I am now fully prepared for the arrival of Baby R - no news yet though:
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And then the picture-less projects. I have started a little Christmas knitting - it isn't for anyone who reads the blog so there may be a picture in due course but not just yet. I also figured out the maths to make the decreases on the front of Foxglove match the extra length I added to the back in all the right places.

And finally....

I promised pictures of the finished blanket:
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For Baby R
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Or will he be E?
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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dear Baby R

My little second-cousin-to-be: I am pleased to inform you that you have been selected from among my readers to make your way into the world shortly (all the others have already done so).

Your bootees are ready, you have one wee sock and most of all:
Blanket 3 002

You have a blanket. It is soft and beautiful as always and will help you to play with your letters at some point (I double checked and they are in the right order). Despite all of my mutterings about endless edging triangles and dejected sighing when I realised that there are 100 edging triangles in total, this blanket was made with much love, to give you the very best welcome into the world and into my family that I can give and by the special request of your Great-Uncle (who it must be said has very good taste in these things).

I know that as you get bigger you will chew the edging, drop it in puddles, make tents with it and I hope it will stand the test of time. Now if you want to hang on for a bit I'll finish off your other sock and rescue your blanket from the washing machine.

Otherwise, Mum-to-be of Baby R; fire at will.

Love Cariemay

PS - let me know if your name begins with E- I am studying the corrolation
PPS to everyone else - proper photoshoot and details will follow later

Monday, September 24, 2007


PS - while we were out today I saw a set of interlocking foam mats. There were 4 and they looked a good 50cm2 each and very reasonable and they struck me as just the thing for blocking.

If anyone has ever used foam boards rather than towels on the spare room floor please let me know (a) whether they work (with or without a towel on top) and (b) whether the dark grey colour would come off on the knitting?

Top to Toe

Fear not lest you be alarmed that this post contains some of yesterday's substitute photographs - it does not.

After more mammoth knitting sessions (my favourite), not only have I finished the centre square but also the top and tail borders. The weather played along (temporarily) and this morning (possibly afternoon, I'm on holiday and a little fuzzy about time) this is how Baby 3's blanket looked (note autumnal foliage and be reassured that the blanket will be going through the washing machine before being sent to baby):
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I have two borders to go and I am determined to finish it over the next couple of days so that my holiday knitting can all be for meeeeeeeeee!

Oh yes, holiday. I am not at work. I was not at work this morning. I will not be at work for any of the days of this week. Nor will I be at work next week. Hee hee hee. For some mystifying reason this makes me prodigiously happy (tee hee!).

On a complete tangent it is noteable that on the first morning on which we really could sleep in guilt free we were woken up by two big storms and the postman arriving at 7.15am with a parcel (it was a knitting parcel and I made H go downstairs and get it - oops!).

Now then where was I, oh yes: Baby Blanket 3. Now that I have only two borders to go I am becoming more enamoured with the project again although I am determined that if I ever make another one of these again it will only be for one of my own babies and that won't be for a while. Watch this space for a newly finished object.

Speaking of things that are finished ....

This afternoon we were in Coventry and after queuing at just about every bank imaginable I got a good 50mins people watching time in Starbucks waiting for H. Cue Ipod, blackberry and gooseberry smoothie, apple cake and a traveller's sock;
And now there are two:
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This is my best attempt at photographing the cuff - it is very pretty and worth the effort.
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These socks fit beautifully (as most Nancy Bush patterns do), the yarn is soft and cosy (.. can you tell I'm still wearing the socks), and I've got another favourite to add to the sock drawer. Thank you little sister Zee for the birthday yarn xx.

I also got out in the garden today to discover a "late developer":
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About time too! It is possible that our not-so-very-giant sunflower feels a little intimidated by the neighbours:
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Our sunflower is the one in the bottom left!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Manic Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ...

Blogging has sadly been lacking from the curiculum for the last week as H and I gear up for a wonderful two weeks off work (it's wonderful but hasn't quite sunk in yet!). Unfortunately being off work for two weeks means making sure that your work is in a state that can be left for two weeks hence the manic. Now, enough worky-talk; all is play for the next two weeks.

The time not spent working has been spent knitting like the sheep were about to come and ask for the wool back. Baby 3 is due shortly and I am determined that he (for it is another he) shall have a finished blanket to greet him.

The fact that this is the third blanket within 6 months means that it has rather lost the novelty value and somewhat removes my incentive to blog about it - that and it's dark when I get home at the moment so I can't take particularly good piccies.

I started while I was waiting for Kauni to dry and 1 week later it looks a little bit further on than this:
Alphabet Blanket 2
this is actually blanket 2 but under better light than any current picture of blanket 3.

So.. 1 tier and 4 borders to go and we will be ready to welcome Baby 3.

On a side note - Babies 1 and 2 were both boys and both named E - I already know that Baby 3 is a boy so the question is - (1) do I get a hat trick on the names as well and (2) can you influence a baby's gender by knitting an alphabet blanket?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

No need for a hairdryer..

Patience, and time spent practicing crochet appear to have won.

Well you know what this means:
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Kauni is truly finished et voila enough sunlight remained to take a photo under natural light (ish).
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I am very pleased with the finished cardi - it has softened up a lot in the wash and is warm and snuggly and everything I wanted it to be.

So then, those steeks.... there seems to be lots of advice on how to finish off your steeks ranging from the "just leave them alone" to binding them in with another bit of knitting/ribbon. I've gone for a combination approach.

The steeks on the neckline and round the armholes I have trimmed and left well alone:
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They aren't under any stress and will never be seen and will gradually felt into the main body of the cardigan.

The steeks on the button bands however, may well be seen and could get pulled about a bit. The best tips I found were from the Rainey Sisters who have a method of crocheting on a steek edging. I haven't done eactly what Sally suggests - I folded the steek along the line of the third row of stitches from the edge so that the third row was on the edge and then did a line of double crochet through both arms of that third stitch. At this point the rest of the steek band was still attached (also I mean English double crochet which might be US single - it's all very confusing).
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I then very carefully cut the edge of the steek away from the crochet edge and it all holds together very nicely (for the moment). If at a later stage it all falls apart and is an unmitigated disaster then I will cover it all up with some pretty ribbon!

And just for a giggle - proof that I was blocking in the back garden!!
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I needn't have worried about running out of yarn either - here are the leftovers!
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Today is obviously the day for presenting FOs to the world. Another "project in a commute" on the train this week were these adorable booties for baby R in leftover Sugar Maple yarn from my Conwy Socks. Simple, quick and very cute - just about sums it up!!
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Patience is a virtue

Kauni is finished. Kind of. The knitting part has been finished since Thursday at which point I washed and blocked it. I still have to finish off the steek edges (I'm thinking some version of crochet) and sew on the buttons but the wretched/lovely thing isn't dry.

It's been drying since Thursday night - a day on the spare room floor and outside since this morning. Is it wrong of me (and indicative of the state of modern society etc) that I really want to take a hairdryer to the button band?

Piccies will follow in due course but for now I'm saving the surprise!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just a little something

Do you see what I see?
Baby Sock 002
The leftovers of Traveller's sock number 1 makes this impossibly cute little baby sock. In a day's commute!! Seriously it's very very cute and the pattern is here (all hail Ravelry for finding it for me!)
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This sock will be joined by a friend as soon as I finish the other Traveller's sock and they are to be for Baby R who is due at the beginning of October and is a wee baby boy, hence wee baby boy coloured sock!

And Mary .... I see your plant and raise you a guitar!
Baby Sock 001

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Dark Side

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
It is a morning of Saturday. Rebel knitters, striking from a hidden base behind the stash, have won their first victory against the evil Empire of the Hook.
During the battle, Rebel knitters managed to acquire skills to recreate to the Empire's ultimate weapon, the Granny Square, an armored afghan with enough power to destroy an entire planet's interior decorating tastes in the early 1970's.
Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents (thoughts of entire crochet projects) , 'Princess' Carie (Fisher?!) races home aboard her starship, custodian of the knowledge that can save her knitting and restore edgings to all the Rowan patterns....


It is true, I have fallen victim to the dark art of crochet! Web of Wool run a series of fantastic workshops throughout the autumn and this week it was Basic Crochet. As Foxglove requires a few crochet flowers and leaves I decided that it was high time I learned properly rather than fudging things as I am wont to do whenever crochet has been required in the past.

Despite all the Star Wars jokes it was a fantastic day and having a small group meant we got a lot of individual attention. It sounds daft but the most useful thing was learning how to hold the yarn and the hook and which way to wrap the yarn. Having forced myself to get used to two-handed knitting for fairisle it wasn't too alien a concept to have yarn in my left hand and I think that helped a great deal. We worked on a little bag project, edgings, circles and the ubiquitous granny square and at the end of the day I had produced:

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Half a bag - one side and one handle to be precise

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and a strip of lace edging and a granny square with a colour change.

It was a lovely relaxing day talking knitting and crochet and rugby with everyone and I was sorry when we ended. After a little bit more practice this morning look what I have:

Crochet Bag

I asked H what we could use a small green string bag for and he replied "keeping green string in" - right then!!

Least you feel I may have entirely embraced my inner vader (what do you mean, why am I wearing all black and suffering breathing difficulties?) I can announce a massive bout of startitis which I have wallowed in. Work has been a bit tough this last week and will continue to be that way for the next couple of weeks at least so I dove into the stash and brought out a treat:


This is the start of Argosy using some wonderful hand-dyed and handspun pure silk which H and I bought in Paris in the spring. The colours are beautiful, and it's luxury knitting. I have no idea how much I have in yards - I have two skeins, I've added another pattern repeat widthwise and I'm going to knit until I run out of yarn. It's going to be a lovely snuggly autumnal scarf.

In Kauni news I have knit the neckband:

As you can see I followed Melinda's route and unpicked the cast off steek stitches to have a neckline steek - it is a million miles easier to work corrugated rib in the round as I am now discovering - I cut the centre steek this afternoon and I am very slowly going back and forth on the button band.

Finally, I finished a sock. This is a singular sock at present but deserves a mention because it took ages - the Travellers Sock from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road - the cuff pattern takes ages.
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September 2007 006
In the immediate future I have plans towards a pair of baby socks, baby booties and I have another small pile of cream baby Cashmerino signalling that it is now BLANKET TIME!! Baby number 3 is due in early October and I'm warming up my fingers as we speak.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Comfort Knitting

Life has been pretty fast paced recently and as you all know, when the going gets tough, the tough retreat to the sofa with a Pimms and their comfort knitting.

Kauni is still waiting a neckband and some button bands - in the meantime foxglove has grown a back.

I'd love to show you some wonderful arty photo but as will be the norm for the next nine months it's dark now and anyway the back is a riveting stretch of coral coloured stst.

In an attempt to liven things up I've added a few friends.
The dolphin is south american (I think) and was a present from my father who saw it and knew that I would love it (as indeed I do). The whale is a present from New Zealand from my parents - if you pull out the eye it all comes apart as a jigsaw puzzle and when it's together it has nice curves from its joints!

are my more impressive finished object - actual tomatoes which survived the drought/flood/drought weather we've been running. They were yummy!

And finally, grow your own sunshine!
We planted a mixture of yellow giants and these red ones but the fat pigeon ate the tops of the giants. The giant in the background is over the fence and belongs to the neighbours who have apparently managed to intimidate the fat pigeon - I must ask them how!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Autumnal knitting

The leaves have started to turn, it's dusky and dark by the time I get home and all this means cosy knitting and indoor flash photography. The former is great, the latter not so much!

All of this enforced snuggliness does mean that it is no hardship to have a large wool jumper in my lap and so I have finished the second Kauni sleeve.

This one seemed to take ages, probably because I redid the cast off twice and then re-knit the cuff on the first sleeve. They are at last how I like them and as you see, distinctly not matching!!
Kauni Sleeves
While I deliberate over the colours of the button band and neckline I'm making steady stocking stitch progress up the back of Foxglove - it really isn't very exciting so there isn't a picture.

The current sock in progress is Nancy Bush's Travellers' Sock in Lorna's Laces Devon colourway - it seemed appropriate.
Travellers Sock
The pattern on the cuff (a) takes ages to knit and a lot of concentration for first thing in the morning and (b) pops a lot more in 3-D than it does in the photo and a bit better when there is some tension behind it. I'll try and get a better picture when I have a finished sock but for the moment I'm on an easy run down to the heel.

Beep-beep-de-de-beep - here ends the knitting news - let me know which colour combinations you think I should use for Kauni.

Farewell to summer

Dear Summer

I have known for some time that you are not on best terms with the English. We whinge when you're not here and whine that it's too hot when you are. Every time you think about making an appearance we announce record heat/drought/rain/global warming and climate change (delete as applicable). But this year I have to say (and truly it pains me to say it) that I think you could have made more of an effort.

Ungracious though we may be we do actually like it when you turn up at the party. This time you promised to turn up - your rsvp to the weather man suggested a lengthy and prolonged appearance - but while your limo cruised past the door a couple of times (thanks for 11th Aug), you yourself were a no show.

I know that you may tempt us with a brief flash as you pass on to somewhere more exciting in the next few weeks (Australia for example) but your cousin Autumn has arrived and there's no budging her.

So for this year farewell - your end of term report reads "could do better".

love Carie