Saturday, 26 February 2011

Hiatus

Nothing to see here.

I'm taking a break from blogging. I've not been very prolific of late so there's no great loss there.

I'm alright - just got a lot on with work at the moment the project I volunteer on is going from strength to strength which means I'm feeling a little stretched and I don't have the same enthusiasm for blogging. It has become a chore rather than a pleasure, despite people's lovely comments. And I also find that blogging gives you a polite obligation to look at other people's blogs and I don't have time to do that anymore. Which is rather rude of me.

So, rather than leave a blank space, I thought I'd temporarily close things until I'm ready to start chatting again.

Happy knitting.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Colourwork

At the beginning of the month I was checking my yarn levels. I discovered that I have more odd and orphan balls (and remnants) than complete projects, so I decided that I really need to make a dint in this.

Conveniently enough, my cousin is expecting twin girls in April and the BF's cousin is expecting a little boy in July. So lots of baby projects to use this lot up. As a result, nobody is getting any mono-colour knits. This little lot might look clever (as a couple of people have said) but it's entirely down to having a lack of enough wool to do one complete, single colour project.

Stand by for stripey blankets, jumpers and cardigans; with a fleur de lys jumper and a domino-knit scarf. (34 balls used up).









Some Pix I Forgot to Show You

I knitted a few things for Christmas presents at the end of last year - mostly socks it has to be said, and none with any funky patterns (other than the colour itself). However, I did knit a couple of lovely things... this cardigan for Niece No 2 (and please note, the BF sewed the buttons on for me and he did a lovely job too)... with a matching pixie hat.



This is "Sirdar - Baby Bamboo" and it was a pleasure to knit, fun pattern in silky smooth yarn. The pixie hat was not strictly as per the pattern. There's a very good reason for this. The pattern was for a tam and as I looked at it, I kept thinking of Victoria Wood doing her "my friend Kim-ber-ley" routine. I couldn't help imagining my niece as cross between Kim-ber-ley and Frank Spencer.

The other noteworthy gift is Winnie the Pooh for Niece No 1. However, this monstrosity looks like a Rat-Faced-Evil-Winnie than the Disney offering.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Review of 2010

It's taken me a while to muster some enthusiasm to write in my Blog. The last four months of 2010 were pretty rubbish and I wasn't sure if I wanted to write about that as this is where I try to keep to the business of knitting (and baking cakes). However, I've decided to summarise the generally icky nature of last year in an attempt to get it out of my system and move onto nicer things for the New Year.

So, in September, I had surgery and I've written about that in earlier posts so I won't drone on about that here. While I was in hospital, the BF's Nan had a massive stroke and was also hospitalised. The MIL had a prolapse. So, everyone's in hospital.

I went back to work, fighting fit, raring to go and with lots to catch up on. That was ok. Two days back at work and my Mam was in a three car collision. Thankfully, she wasn't badly hurt - whiplash, bruising across her chest, more shocked than anything else. Meanwhile, she was having to care for my Granda who had been steadily making himself ill through not eating because he feared that he had bowel cancer. He didn't. Investigations showed the problem was constipation. Eating, or rather not eating continued to be a problem and my Mam was trying to get help from Social Services, which he was refusing. (I live 150 miles away so I'm not exactly on-hand to help). He got himself into such a state, in November, that he fell and fractured his pelvis. He was admitted to hospital and two days later developed pneumonia and died. (My Mam rang to tell me to get home as he wouldn't live out the day. I was too late). My Mam, meanwhile was also enduring investigations and she has been diagnosed with diverticular disease.

Two week's later the BF's Nan died - the day after we were supposed to visit while we were in London, but couldn't because the BF had a chest infection and you can't visit a ward of frail old ladies when you're ill.

The icing on the cake happened the day after Nan's funeral when the washing machine sprang a leak. I superstitiously wish I had said 'cherry on the cake' as there is always room for something else on top of the icing. In the week before Christmas, my brother and his wife were made redundant.

Marvellous. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. My SIL isn't out of work until March and my brother has until June, so they have time to job hunt. My Mam is getting better - she needs no more physiotherapy and my Step-Dad retired last weekend. So things are not as bad as they were and I feel better for getting that out of my system.

So, knitting wise... I made lots of small things and I although I had said there would be no gift knitting, I still made a few things. Mostly I had fun so all was good.

Stash Busted 2010

  • "Baa-baa Baby" Hat ("Sirdar Soya - DK") for a friend's baby
  • "Baa-baa Baby" Jumper ("SIrdar Soya - DK") for a friend's baby
  • "KnitWitch - Lacy Rib Ladders" scarf
  • "Point Edge Wrap" (DB Cathay) in 'Muskat'
  • "Regia - Bamboo" gloves for BF's Tante
  • "Regia - Colour" socks for me
  • "Regia - In Step" socks for Step Dad
  • "Regia - Pink" Mini Diamonds Socks for Neice No 1
  • "Regia - Ringels" Fern Lace socks for me
  • "Regia - Silk" fingerless gloves for the BF
  • "Regia - Silk" socks for me
  • "Regia - Silk" socks for the SIL
  • "Regia" socks for BF
  • "Regia" socks for Dayle
  • "Rico" (black & white) socks for the BF
  • "Rico" (blue & white) socks for the BF
  • "Rico" (multi) socks for the BF
  • "Sanqhar Gloves" in 2ply laceweight
  • "Shaun the Sheep" for Niece No 2
  • "Sirdar - Escape" gloves for Alayne
  • "Sirdar - Escape" gloves for Anne
  • "Sirdar - Escape" gloves for Liz
  • "Sirdar - Escape" scarf for Alayne
  • "Sirdar - Escape" scarf for Niece No 1
  • "Some Assembly Required" in various cheapo DK
  • "TARDIS Socks" (!) for SIL
  • "Touch Yarns - Handpainted DK" scarf in 'feather and fan' for me
  • "Touch Yarns - Handpainted DK"gloves for me
(Gift) Knitting
  • "Austermann - Step" socks for BF
  • "Austermann - Step" socks for Liz
  • "Regia - Blue Trim" Socks for Thomas
  • "Regia - Blue" Socks for Thomas
  • "Sirdar - Baby Bamboo" Hat and cardigan for Niece No 2

Stitching 2010

  • Elephant curtains for my Mam
  • Two red and gold cushions for the sofa

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Almost Forgot...

...to mention that I made it down to Ally Pally for the Knitting and Stitching Show (though quite why there were so many beading and papercraft stall there is beyond me. It's a knitting and stitching show, damnit - not a general all purpose crafting show). Did I go to shop? Absolutely. Did I buy a veritable feast and abundance of yarn? Sadly not.

I saw lots of lovely things - a peacock shawl that would make you look like you were wearing wings, but I'm not really into looking like an escapee from The Battle of the Planets. At the risk of sounding tight-fisted I didn't see many bargains either - I know I can do better on eBay. So, I bought some gorgeous "Sirdar - Baby Bamboo" (at a decent discount) to make a cardigan for Niece No 2 and the "Colinette - Jitterbug" at the bottom of the picture was one of the few things that leaped from the stalls into my hand.



Not a bad selection of purchases but not quite the hauls of Ally Pally Expeditions-past. Am I going off yarn?

No. A gorgeous shop called Purl City Yarns has opened up in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. You haven't been there? Quick! Go now! Take my car. Actually don't, get the train. It's a great shop selling all manner of loveliness and I called in on my way home from work on Friday.


L-R: "Green Eyed Monsters - Silkling"; "Manos del Uruguay - Silk Blend"; "Austermann"

The "Green Eyed Monsters" is handmade in Manchester and that's about as local as I can get, though I am yet to see sheep roaming Platt Lane Fields or in Debdale Park, so maybe it's just hand-dyed. I'm looking forward to trying it and comparing it with the "Manos" - they're the same blend: 30% silk and 70% merino but there is more of a sheen to the "Manos". Obviously, it's for experimental purpuses that I was forced to buy this yarn.

And finally it was my birthday last week and my fab SIL baked me a cake!



I have never had a novelty cake before. I was very excited!

White Noise

I've finished one of the Sanqhar Gloves - they of the shonky pattern - and I am very pleased with the end result. These are going to be toasty as the weather cools.



Obviously, one glove alone isn't much use to me so have started the second. Spot the deliberate error.



Yep, I forgot to reverse the pattern - this requires a reversing of the colourwork, not just the structure - and instead of black stripes up the back of the hand, we have white stripes. This is what happens when you gleefully have a couple of glasses of wine whilst knitting a complicated and shonkily-written pattern. I couldn't be bothered to unpick the rows to correct it.

Those stripes are going to get filthy aren't they?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Sanqhar Gloves

I'm going to Ally Pally on Saturday for the Knitting Show. (The incisions are healed and I feel fine though I won't be pushing myself). Two years ago I bought a glove kit for Sanqhar Gloves. Sanqhar, apparently, is a small town in Dumfrieshire and the patterns (included in the kit) are variations on centuries old designs. I'm knitting a verion called "Shepherd's Plaid", because it has a red trim and is the only design without monogramming. (I'm not a fan).

I'd show you a picture but the copy of the pattern is rather poor and the picture was summed up by the BF as "white noise". As the name suggests the pattern is black and white tartan - laceweight so I think the finished result will be rather elegant.

As for the instructions... well, they are rubbish. I have never followed (or attempted to follow) such a shonky pattern in all of my life. My usual approach is to start knitting, having read a few lines of the pattern, rather than reading the entire list in detail because I often put myself off in thinking it's too difficult for me. Big mistake. For the first page (of five), all of the instructions refer to rounds, so my interpretation was that these were knitted in rounds. It's only on the second page that I discovered these first rows are knitted on straight needles - on page two, we convert to DPNs. These kind of errors abound throughout the pattern - it doesn't use charts but lists the stitch colours and does so, badly.

I'm a fairly experience knitter so I've been able (so far and with low levels of swearing) to overcome these problems. However, I am really appalled by the amount of errata in this pattern.

Anyway, stage 1: knitting the cuff on straights. The piece is then looped over and the cast-on edges knitted into "working edge" before continuing...



in the round (stage 2) - moving into the tartan pattern.



Althought it's laceweight, the Fair Isle technique means that the yarn is passed behind the work, making a thicker material. I will be toastie warm when I wear these.



Stage 3: Thumb gusset and stripes up the back of the hand.



Consideration: the pattern offers no advice on whether to stitch the two sides of the open cuff together. I think I'm going to leave it open - for room and because I rather like the look with the red lining showing.