Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vexed of Warwickshire

I am suffering from the downside of crafting hubris - it should surprise no-one but myself to learn that although I am a good knitter and a good cross-stitcher and a fair-to-middling freehand embroiderer ... I'm a bottom of the heap beginner quilter.

Week 5 of the Star Quilt-along was posted yesterday and I've spent the evening trying to get to grips with my triangles. This:
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Is a vague interpretation of this week's star (see it lying there all sweet and innocent and starry - grrr, naughty star). Folks, this one is kicking me in the teeth. I spent ages carefully cutting out each square exactly and turning them into little exact triangles.

Then the original fabric I cut out for the darker blue looked all wrong so I re cut the blue I am using and in doing so swept half of the pieces onto the floor, including one little blue triangle that was never seen again, so I cut another one of those.

Then on the umpteenth rip out and do-over I did this:
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See that little dark line? That's where I melted the thread onto the one triangle that was looking OK - clever eh?

So here's my question of the day to any quilters out there: When you piece a triangle to a square and the triangle hypotenuse is longer than the square's side, do you line it up like this:
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or like this?
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I just can't seem to make it all line up and the kicker is that this is the only block so far that is smaller than it should be and it's only going to get smaller the way the triangles are aligned. I solemnly declare here and now that this is NOT going into the final quilt. I can and will do it better.

I'm going to reassure myself that today's disaster is a result of a hot tired little brain that doesn't like the air pressure. H is away next weekend when I will sit down with next week's square, this square and a whole load of setting blocks and see what I can make out of it.

H came up while I was ripping out another seam and griping at the sewing machine and foolishly wondered why I was doing something I didn't like - surely it's obvious that this is my idea of fun!

PS I promise I have knitting to show soon, I've not defected entirely (well not just yet)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Where the wind blows

One of the things that I love about the Internet is the places that you end up when you hop from blog to blog following other peoples' links and as the rain bucketed down yesterday and the laundry came to a screeching stop, I started a couple of projects that I found in recent travels.

The first hop was to Frieda who was my upstream swap partner in the last Tiny Wee Sock Swap; the first time I visited her blog she was showing some beautiful quilted stars that she had made for a Quilt-along, which led me to....

Amandajean (Crazy Mom Quilts) who is now hosting her second of two quilt-alongs, and this one is stars. I have a weakness for stars and a large stash of blue fat quarters so it shouldn't surprise to you learn that I've been playing catch-up:

Week 1
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Week 2
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Week 3
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Week 4
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And a setting block
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Every time I finished one I had to run downstairs to show H so really it counts as exercise - yes?

And from someone on Crazy Mom Quilts I got to Lynette Anderson's blog - she is having a wonderful free block-a-month, this time with little embroideries that form the centre of a log cabin block and then all go together as a mini-quilt. I've done two of the embroideries, a dove

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and two bunnies

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and I'm working on two cows

Anyone like to hazard a guess as to the theme? If you want to check your guess go here

Sunday, May 25, 2008

And the results are in

She loves it:
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May 118
Or at least, she loved it once I took three repeats off each sleeve and adjusted the collar a bit but that was easily done and these pictures were taken today in the garden at my parents' house. I am so relieved. Phew! They say that you should never move house and get married and change jobs all at the same time - I'll say you should never knit to a deadline, for a person that isn't there to be measured and when you're making the pattern up as you go along!

We've just come back from spending a long weekend with Mum and Dad which was a wonderful escape from the real world - I rashly suggested that we go on a long cliff walk, and by long I mean that the cliff length is about 12.5miles and the path itself goes in and out and up and down all the way. It is really beautiful though:
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There were sheep:
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Seals on the rocks off the Lighthouse:
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An ambitious seagull nesting on the dormer roof (and 'decorating' the roof) of a newly built house in Hallsands,
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And 'helpful' sign posts like this:
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(this is about 2/3 of the way through the walk just as you feel that your legs have turned to pure lead - we decided to go to Poole!)

[NB - H is reading this over my shoulder and would like you all to know that he was still flying along at this point - it is true that he raced up every hill we encountered, of which there were several - the rest of us plodded along]

And in all of this exhausting exercise there was time for a little knitting and finishing:

First to debut - my Silk Dream
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It's a hit, need I say more?

And then we have and unusual development in the Red Hot Poker bed - could it be a finished Firestarter?
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I really must improve my garden to offer more room for floral knitting photography - perhaps that's a project for tomorrow!
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

French Silk is.....?

This is French Silk Pie (well it's H and a slice of French Silk Pie to be precise. While he did eat a lot of French Silk Pie on our honeymoon he has not yet turned into it, which is a blessing)


This is French Silk, knit in to a soft and cozy little shrug
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This is what happens shortly after my husband encounters French Silk Pie

Happily, as you see, the knitting remains uneaten.
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The shrug is nearly finished, I'm on the second cuff and then I have a little seaming to do and some ribbing around the edge so it should be finished shortly which is great because I can't wait to wear it - I think this project is a winner and I'm so glad I decided to frog the previous incarnation.

Now then is anyone feeling a little low, perhaps as if they could have done with a bit of sunshine today, needing a little vitamin D boost?

Behold!!! I give you ..... the sock of unquenchable brightness and glow
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I'm really enjoying this Firestarter, it makes me smile whenever I see it.

And now, time for a little something different - on Saturday I paid a visit to Beading Crafty at Hatton Country World (it has a website but it's under construction) which is a new-to-me beading store and it has pretty things. Oh so pretty things.

It is just possible that a few little bits and bobs came home with me because, as is abundantly clear by now, there isn't a craft I can resist. The great thing about knitting is that you'll always need stitch markers, so I get to play with beads:
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These ones:
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are spacers, multi-coloured baubles and the plastic alphabet beads (which I only realised went the wrong way when I got home - oops) and these:
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Are gorgeous bobbly ceramic beads which I fell in love with, together with the silver spacers and coloured glass and plastic beads. The beads are all threaded on Tiger Tail and the ends tucked in which seems to hold them pretty firmly. I see a few more of these in the future!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

H is for Husband

Over the past few years and through 9 years of exposure to me, H has acquired a good deal of knitting lingo and this evening he agreed to put it to the test in "Non-Knitter Mastermind"

Your name: H (not from Steps)
Your specialist subject: being married to a knitter

Our questions start now:

Do you know how to knit?

So will you be knitting your own socks from now then?

What do you mean kind of?
Well when we got married we became one; so if you knit my socks then I knit them. It's the same way you mow the lawn.
How many pairs of socks is too many?
It's not possible to have too many socks - keep knitting; you've stopped

Do you think I have too much yarn?
No - more yarn, more pretty yarn I want

So can I knit you a sweater?


But what if it was a nice ...

How about some mittens?

Which is your favourite of all my knitting?

The Funky Monkey is quite cool - where is my monkey?

I have to order more yarn to make it
Well go on then, order some so that you can make my monkey.

Do you know what frog means?
Ribbit ribbit

How about tink?
Yes - backwards knitting

Is gauge important?
Not to me

In our house, how far away from yarn are you at any one time?
I'm wearing socks, does that answer your question.

And the final question, do you know where all of my yarn is?
Are you sure........?

In other news it appears that if you start a fire you might just get a Firebird:
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It arrived on Saturday and I couldn't be happier - I'd really started to worry that the second parcel had gone astray. This yarn
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Is the first parcel for the Flock Sock Club and is a Tsock Tsarina pattern. Needless to say it will not be a travelling sock!

And although the temptation to cast on straight away was pretty high, I've started another little something. Last autumn I knit the Argosy scarf with luscious silk yarn that H bought for me in Paris on our wedding anniversary. The yarn was lovely, the pattern was lovely - but the two just didn't work together - the yarn was too heavy and drapey to hold the pattern and it ended up with the scarf stretching into a thin little strip. So it had to go.

I've been eyeing up this shrug from Dream in Colour for a while and this silk is the perfect weight for it. So I did a little internet shopping on Friday night and frogged the scarf. I have to say that Alice amazed me with the speed of delivery on this one - I requested the pattern be sent by e-mail and put in the order late Friday night expecting to get it Monday maybe, what with it being the weekend and all - by the time I'd finished looking at all the pretty things in her shop and gone to check my e-mail it had arrived! Well with auspices like that you just can't ignore them, so after the yarn had a little dampen and a little rest on my swift I cast on.

At lunchtime today it looked like this:
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And now I'm nearly six repeats through and loving it.

And now for my final question for you - any guesses what this is?

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Friday, May 16, 2008

A study in Orange

The Quarterpint cardigan is finished. Cast off and sewn up last night, and soaked in Lavender Eucalan tonight - it's currently blocking on the spare room bed and I think it's going to take a couple of days to dry so I'm glad I'm not up against the wire this time.

I'm pretty pleased with it at the moment, I can't say for definite until crunch time next Thursday but hopefully Mum will like it.

It looks like this:
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Only knitted up (what you thought I would spoil the surprise so close to her birthday after keeping it hidden and having no blog fodder for ages! - if I've made it this far I can keep a secret until the end). Mum chose the yarn so no surprises there.

All of which fervent finishing left the needles rather empty and in need of a travelling sock. It also coincided with the end of summer (seriously, I think last weekend may have been it) and a sky too dark grey and cloudy for any decent daylight photography so I dived into the stash and pulled out a birthday present from last year (see Zee, I do knit the yarn you give me, please don't stop) - Koigu KPPM in a colour guaranteed to cure all known cases of SAD:
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See, here I have my own little ball of firey Hydrogen, Helium and other exciting molten things - guaranteed to burn itself onto your retina without any provocation - I love it, it's my perfect bright orange.

I've spent some time trying to find the right kind of firey pattern but a lot of the lacey flame patterns just seemed too tame. But now, it is
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A Firestarter - it shows off the colouring and then down the sides we get this:
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A twisted firestarter. It's all about the orange.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The very hungry caterpillar knits socks

It's amazing what you can accomplish with a few well placed business trips! On Sunday morning I popped out into the garden while the sun was still shining on the blue bench to show you this:
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The first of C's birthday socks knit in Regia Canadian "Comet" which, depending on whether he's been phoning his brother like a good boy, is either appropriate because he has every electrical gadget going or because he's a star.

And on Sunday night, after a wonderful day sat knitting in the sunshine with Mary, four needles and half a ball of yarn lay in a sock knitting bag.

On Monday morning, the warm sun came up, the knitter got on a train and POP! out of the sock bag came a tiny cast on.

The knitter started to knit. On Monday morning she knit the ribbing, but she still needed to knit more.

On Monday evening she knit two inches of stst, but she still needed to knit more.

On Tuesday morning she knit three inches of stst and half a short row heel, while the train got later and later; but she still needed to knit more.

On Tuesday lunchtime-ish she knit the other half of the heel and two inches of stst; but she still needed to knit more.

On Tuesday afternoon she knit another two inches of stst; but she still needed to knit more.

On Tuesday evening she knit three rounds; but she still needed to knit more.

On Wednesday morning she knit two inches of stst; but she still needed to knit more.

On Wednesday afternoon she played Solitaire on her Ipod for 10 minutes, then she knit the toe and felt a lot better.

On Wednesday early evening she kitchenered the toe in the car during the 10min drive home from the station; she wasn't driving. And it wasn't a tiny wee cast on edge now but a big piece of knitting.

And then the knitter turned the knitting inside out and wove in the ends of the cocoon and when she turned it back the right way it wasn't a piece of knitting anymore, it was

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A pair of socks

As my beautiful Clematis has started to flower I tried terribly hard to get a picture of socks plus Clematis rather than socks plus brick wall but this was the best I got.
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To make up for it, here is the Clematis in all its glory.
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This is to the envy of my parents who nurture and protect their Clematis from the storms, and even carefully took one all the way home on the train, whereas ours grows like a weed.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


It is a truth universally acknowledged that I approach all major high days and holidays with a need to provide one of two things: cake or knitwear.

Occasionally the celebration is sufficiently meritorious to demand both. Today our lovely friend A is 28 (a full month and a half older than us) and he definitely comes under the knitwear AND cake category.

The socks you've seen on my last post and it was just too hot today (30 C) to make him try them on for a picture so imagine him smiling and saying that he likes the colours because they're a bit like LandRover colours.

To make up for a lack of pictures - here is a vision of a sunny day in case it rained where you are
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The cake ... well the cake comes with a backstory. My parents-in-law tend to go to the US every year just before Christmas to stay in a cousin's house in Orlando and they tend to do their Christmas shopping there. My Christmas present? a William-Sonoma cake tin. This year it was a set of little car cakes and what better for our petrol-head friend.
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The unpolished state is pretty impressive but add a trip to Lantern Corner (a wonderful sweetie shop in Leamington) and you have this:
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Add candles, and you have this:
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And more recently this:
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A loves it and when we finally recover from eating the BBQ that H cooked (delicious but substantial) we'll try some cake.

It seems to have been the day for presents as I had not one but two parcels arrive this morning. I seem to have had an extraordinary run of luck recently - Marisol chose me as the winner of her funky sock monkey kit, and I won the drawing for finishing my last Socktopus club sock (Neighbourhood Tunnels) before the last ones were sent out - and boy am I happy: May 025

Look at this yarn - see, looooook, May 026

it's soooo pretty, and the monkey pattern is so very cute. AND it's the perfect excuse for a little STR aquisition as I need a contrast colour for the monkey extremities.

And the Socktopus prize is this:
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A copy of Stephanie Pearl-Mcphee's latest book - it's very very funny (no surprises there then) and perfect for a hot day when moving was just a little bit too much effort. Yes, I know I didn't help matters by putting the oven on either!

Tomorrow H goes to play hockey for the whole day and I have to knuckle down and get going on the last sleeve for Mum's cardigan - 12 days and counting, here's hoping it's sunny again