Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Monday, June 25, 2007
I have been knitting (and eating ice-cream but we'll concentrate on the knitting). I have been knitting to match the rain; time consuming sleeve knitting, completing all the sl 1, k1, psso repeats that make the lacey panels on Aimee.
However, I have now finished both sleeves and in a change to usual form I blocked out the individual pieces to stretch the lace yesterday. This evening's task is to sew the shoulder seams and knit the neckband. If I get onto the rest of the seaming then all well and good but if not it can wait for tomorrow's knit night.
I really do like Aimee but it has been a bit of a push to the finish because the knitting is not complex enough to keep me really interested (the equivalent to a book you can't put down), nor is it quick stst which doesn't require attention.
If it ever stops raining then I might get a chance to model it for you (fingers' crossed).
In other news I am now onto the second spiral boot sock and I have a lovely long train trip to London for a training course to really get my teeth into it! This pattern (from the latest IK) has everything you could want in a pattern - it has interesting but subtle changes as you go down the leg so it breaks up into natural stages and the pattern itself is nice and memorable.
That and the finished sock looks fab. I'm very impressed with how much yarn there is in a ball of Opal and it may be that I don't need the full two balls and I might squeeze out a pair for myself - time will tell!
Sunshine is promised for the end of the week and next week I have a week off work (supposedly lounging around in the garden!) so I shall try to make good progress on my tired roses scarf this week and then next week I can treat myself to a bout of startitis. Whilst there are more practical projects to start than a wooly cardigan in July I think that Kauni and the next baby blanket are calling to me!
Friday, June 22, 2007
We both had a wonderful day yesterday and I can only share with you just the littlest taste of the festivities. The funniest thing of being a joint birthday is how like Christmas it is - you know how people wish each other Merry Christmas so when someone says Merry Christmas to you, you say it back - I'm the same with Happy Birthday. Mum phoned me first thing in the morning to say Happy Birthday and my response was "oh, Happy Birthday too!". Her birthday was in May so I may have been a little late/ early!
Having said that H wrapped my presents in paper which said Merry Christmas which I thought was particularly organised for next year but he assured me that it was a birthday present.
Now if I show you this:
I have the best husband a yarn-fanatic could wish for - look
It's a ball winder and a swift (Note for Dad - the ball winder is the bit in the background, the swift is the wooden cross in the front. You put the yarn hank on the pegs on the swift and thread it to the ball winder and then you turn the handle on the ballwinder and it all winds up nicely).
I am so pleased with it I had to start finding yarn to wind up right away!
Fortunately my sister came to the rescue with her presents to me:
Lovely Lorna's Laces sock yarn - the colourway is Devon and is all the colours of the ocean on a summer's day. And this...
Well this is Koigu (let me hear you say ooooooh) in fabulous shades of orange. There is a little story behind that colour (apart from it being fabulous!). I will be Zee's bridesmaid this year just as she was mine last year. When she was trying on dresses as my bridesmaid she was very taken with a lovely dress in midnight blue. Well she got the dress but in ruby red instead. I love burnt orange and it suits me so when I was trying on dresses to be her bridesmaid I kept making a plea for burnt orange and picking the orange dresses off the racks. We will look lovely in sky blue come the wedding :)!
Thank you sweet sister you choose very well.
The wool that actually got wound up was the leftovers from these:
H's birthday socks, made from Opal of some sort on a 64st round with 2.5mm needles. These are slightly snugger than his other socks but I am informed that the snuggly loose socks meet with approval so I shall probably go back to 68sts for future socks. I am a trixy little wife though! When H unwrapped his parcel he found a ball of yarn (a slightly oddly shaped ball) with a pair of needles with a few rows of garter stitch. I told him he was to learn to knit as his birthday present and he dutifully sat down and started to knit.
After 5 or 6 sts I told him he needed more yarn and so he should throw the ball of yarn across the room to unwind a bit of yarn. As he did the corner of a sock popped out and the penny dropped! I have told him he is the fasted sock knitter ever though - 6 sts and he's done!
We had a veritable flood of birthday cards and good wishes from all our friends and relations - my boss gave me a bottle of wine and my secretaries gave me cards and some beautiful pale pink gerberas which have brought a little summer into our house. I went out to lunch with me team and out to supper with my husband and all in all it was pretty perfect.
I also have a little birthday treat waiting for me to do some winding (I'm trying to be good and do some finishing first!).
Those of you who follow the knit-bloggy world will know what this is as a certain young lady has I think made it the next must-knit. I was entranced by the version just recently completed over at Purlwise and I'm glad I was because this wool is far far prettier in real life than any photo can show you and every colour in the yarn is just perfect for me. I have to finish Aimee and my tired roses scarf before I cast on for this, the next Alphabet Blanket and a few other projects currently up my (capacious) sleeves so for the moment I sit and look at it, and stroke it, and hug it if I feel in need of brightening up!
Now, to conclude the world's longest post, some answers. Korinthe asked where I got the point protectors for my DPNs. The answer is Father Christmas but I believe he may have shopped here. They are genius and I can't believe we ever managed without them!
Marly wanted to know about the sheep dress - it's from Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits book and the Amazon reference is here but you may be able to find it more locally. The alphabet blanket also came from that book and it has some really lovely baby and toddler patterns in it but there are a few errors so it is worth checking the errata on her website.
It is finally the weekend so I have films to watch, knitting to do and kittens to name - have a good weekend
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
And the filling is white (well cream at least). I am not the world's best cake decorater and I probably should leave the drawing to H who is much better than me. However, a cake surprise tradition is a cake surprise tradition and I hope he likes it: Despite there only being the two of us it still seems important to have two birthday cakes so I made a chocolate cake for me too (I cheated on the icing - it came from a Betty Crocker tub but there are limits to how many cakes I can make and ice in one evening). My creative inspiration for the decoration was these cupcakes at VeganYumYum .
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I have a number of projects calling to me from the knitting queue (not least the second baby blanket) but I shall try to finish off Aimee and my tired roses scarf before starting anything major - at least that's the aim!!
Now then, today is Tuesday so it is time for a randon Tuesday knit-blog. Today's random Tuesday blog selected by the Knit Pligg is:
So go and say hello - her sockpalooza socks are fantastic mosaic stitch knitting that put my pink knee socks quite in the shade!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Saturday was intermittently wet but Sunday was lovely and I had a change on Sunday afternoon to see what effect the rain has had on the garden.
It seems that the garden is at it again - my courgette plant has sprouted not only two baby courgettes but also these:
Two baby sheep shoes!!how does it do it?One was even found to have migrated to a rose bush - simply staggering.
OK, ok - enough of the silly garden piccies. The end of last week saw a surge in finishing which culminated in this "action" shot:This is Peggy's dress, posing on H's sleeping bag in our tent at a hockey festival, shortly after completion. H thought it was very good and liked the was the picot edging looks like a picket fence!
As you can see from the picture I'm having to hold the end down to stop it roling up - it's currently blocking which should help but it's curling up a bit even in the photo in the book so I'm not too bothered.
Having finished the dress Saturday afternoon I cast on for the shoes and I had finished both shoes shortly after the end of the Indy Grand Prix yesterday - they are wonderfully fast knits and so cute. I'm not quite sure how to block them though, possibly with a bit of rolled up paper towel inside to give the shape - any suggestions let me know.
The live stitches for the neckline plan also worked really well. I calculated how many stitches I needed for the collar, picked up and knit sts round the neckline to match (including the live sts) and then grafted the two together with the smooth side (ie the stst front side) on top so that the bit touching Peggy's neck will be soft. It is very nice and stretchy to the extent that it actually goes over my head (Sheep dress as a tabard look is rather unusual though). I am very pleased with both the dress and the shoes but now I have to wait another month to send it to Peggy - hopefully just enough time to knit a little sheep to match (and lots of other things in the knitting queue!)
The gory details: Sheep Dress from Debbie Bliss Baby Knits book. The pattern calls for Debbie Bliss wool cotton, I used baby cashmerino with no problems. I have used 7.5 balls of green and a smigin of off white (the true white is a bit scary for sheep) and black on 3.5 needles.
The only problem I found in the pattern was for the shaping on the shoes, it says skpo where it means p2tog on one row but that's easily picked up, otherwise it's another great Debbie Bliss pattern that I enjoyed knitting. If you fancy trying it I would recommend working out cabling without an extra needle as it saves so much time!
And finally, a picture of what the rain really brought out in my garden:
Friday, June 15, 2007
... and it's still raining
PS for Susan - a courgette in England is I think a zucchini in the US, or is that a bell pepper? - actually a bell pepper could be a capsicum. I learnt these things when sharing with an Aussie housemate but I've forgotten now. Anyway when fully grown a courgette looks like a small cucumber
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Yesterday morning dawned bright and clear, a perfect June day without a cloud in the sky. As I cycled into the station I could smell the cut grass and the honeysuckle in the hedgerows and for once, no-one tried to run me into the gutter going up the hill.
I arrived to the station with plenty of time to change and catch a leisurely train ride to work.
Yesterday afternoon it started to drizzle and I admit I got a little freckled with rain on the way home - not enough to need to wear my waterproofs or even change when I got home, but a soft refreshing addition to the ride.
This morning; well it was a touch damper - the waterproof came out of the bag and I cycled in haste to avoid the big drops from the trees.
Today it rained. and rained. and rained. and then it rained some more. It rained the sort of rain that you think must stop after a few minutes - there just can't be that much water up there. And then it really rained. Tucked up in my corner of the office I only noticed that my small square of sky was a little grey and that the world outside seemed rather dark but scuttling to the station it didn't seem too bad - a few large splashes on my blouse but nothing that the waterproofs wouldn't protect me from.
Oh yee of too much faith.
When I arrived at the station it had gone from the rain that must stop to the rain that you fear will never stop. It was pouring in a torrential downpour type way.
My waterproofs gave up the ghost in the 20 seconds it took to bike from the station to the traffic lights (about 200 yards if that) and I could feel the cold clam as my underneath clothes started to stick. Peddaling home the surface water was frequently at the level of my pedals, with spray hitting me from one angle and still this incessant rain from the other.
Then it rained even harder. And then some.
As I arrived at the hill at the bottom of the village I realised that the village was now on the other side of a very large stream. Moreover said stream was flowing fast and downhill against me. It was wet and it was hard work. The final ignimony was when I had to stand on my pedals to get up the hill exposing the hitherto only remaining dry part of me to the elements.
I was met with a towel and directions to the kitchen and the mop bucket!
We currently have two inches of standing water on our patio:
And what appear to be a rather large amount of water in one of the flower beds - ouch.
All this rain has been good for the plants though - as Caroline predicted my courgette has blossomed
Look, look look it's a baby courgette. A real one. Which I grew. How exciting is that!
I have also done a little knitting and here we have the final piece o fthe puzzle - the collar to Peggy's dress - now I've just got to go and assemble it!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Well you all know that the chances of my not trying to amend a pattern were not very high and the rot has started to set in!
I've already decided to short row the shoulders and do a 3 needle bind off to give a pretty shoulder line (and less of a seam) but in reading through the pattern it struck me that this dress is a "pull over the head" type with no buttons or placket or anything that might give a bit of room for stretch. As written the collar is knitted from the outside in, cast off and then sewn to the top of the dress.
My cast off can be a little tight and I've found myself that I can't always get a cast off edge over my head so I decided the same tweak could work here and what I needed to do was to keep the centre stitches on the front and the back live, keep the collar edge live and then pick up stitches round the sides and graft the two together. So far so good. Shame I decided this after I'd finished the back.
Nothing ventured nothing gained. Fates were against me in that I was hoping that there would be a nice yarn join at one side of the cast on edge to unravel but no, this is how it looked before surgery.
As a first step I put in a lifeline to hold the stitches on the row below my cast off (that's the grey yarn in the picture). I put it in a few sts either side of the cast off just to be on the safe side, comme ca:
And then I cut (yes cut, I cut my knitting, I am insane!) into one side of a cast off st half way through the row:As you can see it all unravelled rather neatly, the sts are caught on the lifeline and it stops unravelling on the right hand side when it meets a st which has been knit in the row above. Working left takes a little more care not to unravel too far as you have to ease the yarn through rather than just pulling but here we have all the sts live and on the needles!
They have now been safely transferred to a st holder and all I need to do is the collar (and a wee bit of sewing up, oh and the shoes to match, oh and the sheep for Peggy herself) - good job it's a long time until July (don't tell me it isn't, please don't - I have to get old before July and that can't be happening yet!)
In other bebe-related news (I was going to call this post "babies babies babies" but figured it might induce un-natural panic in my mother - or at the very least a desperate search for prozac!).... where was I.
Oh yes. That baby blanket. As I came into work this morning my boss said "that shawl you gave the baby, you didn't make it did you?". I duly claimed ownership and it turns out that the blanket has been out and about with the baby and a lot of people have commented on how nice it is and wondered where the baby acquired it. So yesterday the baby's parents had a look at it and his sensible mother correctly adduced that it was hand-knit and the boss started to wonder - he knows I knit because of the small penguins in our office.
So all is now revealed, baby's parents thought I bought it. I am flattered by their opinion of my knitting and so pleased to hear that the baby likes it and travels with it (personally I think the baby knew I made it - he's an intelligent-looking boy)
Anyway the boss said he was very touched that I made the baby something and he wants to bring the blanket to the office to show people (although the baby itself is the more impressive creation), he then phoned the baby's mother to tell her I made it and she said it was amazing. And me; I am quite pink with pride
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Not the best photo admittedly but this is the front of Peggy's dress all finished and languishing in a hebe bush at dusk. I would have finished early enough to take a decent photo but I was finishing a book and then we had a barbeque.
The book (the Da Vinci code was a light jaunt for a Sunday) and the barbeque was fabulous - H has serious BBQ skills and accordingly he cooks twice as much in the summer because we eat outside.
I now have a sleeve, the collar and a bit of sewing up to do and the dress is finished - just the shoes and possibly a small fluffy sheep to knit before Peggy's birthday - no stress!
Interestingly for all the knitting I do in public on a daily basis on the train I rather missed out on knit in public day as my parents came to visit and when we went on our impromptu expedition both the camera and the knitting stayed behind. I knit in my garden and the bees and the red and black butterfly that sat on my toes were duly impressed!
Today we went to hear Tony Campolo who is travelling in the area and speaking at a number of churches over the next week. He is a very good speaker; challenging in all the right ways and was well worth hearing - lots of food for thought!
Now after my exhausting afternoon sat knitting in the garden I have to go and darn in some ends!
Hope you all had a great weekend!
A row of Salvia "fury", chosen for their brilliant colouring and set off by lots of silver foliage (you can just see the cotton lavender in the background).
Clearly it's a picture of my ceiling ( a nice tidy bit of the house to show you!) but the patterns are my metalic, this is the light reflected onto the ceiling by a jumble of upturned CDs lying in the sunshine - like this
See, red and metalic - and quite intense light - probably doesn't do the CDs any good though!
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I know it isn't Tuesday but we might have to forgive that; Tuesday's are for spotting socks in places where you haven't looked before and to be truly random I let the Sockpalooza Knit Phiqq choose Yoshimi Knits for me.
What is impressive is that of all the 1000+ knitters worldwide in Sockpalooza, this one lives about an hour away from me - what are the chances.
Anyway what really impressed me was the fact that she has hand dyed yarn with tea and coffee which is certainly a natural dye and the colours she has produced are lovely and soft cool brown/cream colours (at least that's how it looks on my monitor!) - really impressive.
Ao, go and visit Yoshimi and see her socks and say Happy Sockpalooza! Also congratualte her on her very great taste in liking Yes Prime Minister - classic comedy never fails!
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Indeed, I went up to London to visit my sister for the day. We had a fantastic time, we went for lunch, we walked along by the Thames in Putney (hence Putney bridge pictures) and most importantly we went to Stash to drool over some imported yarns.
Mmmmmmm pretty things including Lorna's Laces, Koigu and Handmaiden Sea Silk! I of course was very restrained however, I did notice this morning that our plants have started to show some really unusual foliage. Please can any budding botantists tell me why my garden has started to grow Koigu?
I also made it into central London where I encountered this:
Of course I can have had only one destination:
As as for today, gorgeous sunshine and a lovely barbeque - what more could a girl want except not to have to go to work in the morning!!
Friday, June 01, 2007
A minor correction: Smocking not smoking. I've never smoked or even been tempted. Having said that I've never smocked either but Peggy's dress - that's knitted mock-smock - not a whiff of doubt about it! Thanks Tanya - I had such a giggle when I realised the typo!!
Hmm... which leaves us with Aimee. I industriously picked up the first sleeve last night and, in the company of Little Miss Sunshine, happily completed the sleeve. Today I decided to trial run the sleeve because I was a bit worried about the length so I sewed the side seam, the sleeve head and the sleeve seam with running st in a smooth yarn and tried it on.
Conclusion: The sleeve is too long and does not match the stripes on the top of the sweater.
Solution: rip out a sleeve head's worth of Kid Silk Haze - grr
The deed is now done and whilst ripping the KSH was a little painful (and involved careful scissor work to free some of the yarn) it will be better for it and I love both the look and the feel of the finished sweater so it would be stupid to spoil it now (note to self, keep repeating this mantra and feeling of pain in solar plexus will go away; note to fellow knitters - send sympathy - it was a lot of unpicking of a very clingy yarn)
Whilst tomorrow is another day I have accepted that given the work I need to do over the weekend, finishing Aimee in the very near future is unrealistic.
However, as we are now in a new Project Spectrum triad I do need to finish it soon. Watch this space!