Monday, 30 April 2007

Big Sock!

I know it's early, but here's the progress I have made on the Christmas Stocking for Thomas. It's tking shape quite rapidly - because surprisingly, for me, I am not bored with it. I thought it might take too long to knit a long stocking but it hasn't.

Here's a shot of the trees - bigger than I had planned. Knitting the actual pattern has given me a much better idea of how they will look than drawing them. That's why I like Fair Isle - it's just drawing with wool. I like using squared paper (or Excel) for my charts and while it's fun to colour in, I didn't really know how well the design would work until I knitted it.

I don't think it's too shabby. :-)

So, here's the stocking with the heel flap, just before turning the heel, which was a fun exercise, especially when it came to joining the sides and thereby rematching the stripes. This has been more or less successful to a certain degree. The stripes were four stitches wide. Some of them are now five or three. Decreasing the stitches to shape the foot is giving me some fun decisions to make - should I turn the green stripe into a two stitch wide one or just let the red stripe become a massive eight stitches wide? Ah, the trials of designing a Christmas Stocking!

(BTW I'm laughing at myself here, and I'm really enjoying making this).

Well, I was enjoying myself... Somehow, in turning the heel I've created a bloody great big hole!

I think a little stitch will fix that.

PS Mortgage approved today - surveys going through. Yippee!

Saturday, 28 April 2007

SEX Under Stress

Why on earth would I be stressed? On Monday night, we found the perfect house...great area and gorgeous house. It's only three years old, so no scary business with the electrics; there's no wallpaper, so no stripping it only to find that the plaster falls out; and it is just gorgeous!! Hurrah!

The stress comes in because we put in an offer, first thing Tuesday morning... and waited all day to hear the answer. So, whilst I was fidgeting - all day, unable to concentrate... I bought...

These three lovely sets of "Peace Fleece" needles, even though I'm not terribly convinced by their 'green credentials'. The trees are chopped down in Maine, USA, then shipped to Russia to be made, and then shipped back to the US for selling... and I'm buying them in the UK. Hmmm.

I also bought this lovely stash, this time from "Angel Yarns" where it was on SALE!!! I've been planning to make myself the "Bonnie Bag and Scarf" from 'Rowan Weekend' for ages and this was too good an opportunity to miss. I'm a couple of colours short but they'll be on their way soon.

After all of this shopping and ridiculous fidgeting, what was the outcome on the offer we put in?

They accepted it!!! The BF and I were ecstatic. So, now we have leaped onto the merry rollercoaster that is mortgage-sorting with the waltzer stops for surveys and the roundabouts for contracts and solicitors. Marvellous. It only took us five days to get the full asking price for the house we're selling and another five days to find the house we want to move to, so it really hasn't taken too long.

After filling in a rainforest of paperwork last night, I sat with the Christmas Stocking for Thomas and watched "Carrie" - a fine movie for relaxation. :-)

PS The SIL loved the "Opal-Neons" and my "Hundertwassers" are sort of on hiatus from Second Sock Syndrome.

Monday, 23 April 2007

SEX and Odd Socks

Now there's a title that sounds ruder than it actually is. :-)
I popped into "Wool" ( in Stockport on Friday. It was the shop's first birthday but I couldn't stay for the party because we had another viewer (even though we've accepted an offer). However, I still did some shopping, and check out these goodies:

Here we have five balls of navy, three yellow and one blue ball of "DB Cashmerino DK". The blue will form part of the band for the baby hat ('Snug') that I'm making for Bump (my niece/nephew due in November). I'm going to use the yellow and navy for a moon and stars baby blanket. It's so soft. I kept squeezing it as I sat on the bus home. :-)

Here's some nice-and-cheap multi-colour ("Stylecraft - Wondersoft") I'm going to use to make a hooded jacket for Bump. (I made one for Thomas in pale blue but didn't photograph it). The jacket has a pointy pixie hood and is knitted in moss stitch. It was great fun to make so I'm glad I have an excuse to make another.

And here's a "Jitterbug" treat to myself! On the left is "Florentina" and on the right "Mardi Gras". Now that's how vivid "Jitterbugs" are supposed to be.
So, those odd socks. Here they are. On the right, we have an "Opal - Hundertwasser" and on the left, an "Opal - Neon" that I also bought on Friday.
Have I got a really weird case of Second Sock Syndrome? Nope - the BF asked me on Friday morning if I would make a pair of rainbow striped socks for his sister's birthday (this coming Wednesday). "Opal - Feelings" would have been perfect but unfortunately "Wool" didn't have any. Aileen offered to order it for me and though she's fast, it wouldn't have been quick enough. Still, I think the "Neon" will be fab.
And an update on househunting... We've seen seven altogether - none of them any good. Why don't people present their houses in the best possible light? We've seen houses with holes in the interior walls and rooms full of rubbish (some of it rubble). We've had people point out the half finished work: "Well, we were going to do..." At one house I ripped my trousers because there was no carpet on the stairs - just bare stair rods and nails sticking out.
These houses, I should point out, are the ones being sold as "needing no work". If I had known they were fixer-uppers I wouldn't have gone to see them.
Then there was the house we went to where the owner was in the bath.
Don't these people watch "House Doctor"? :-)

Friday, 20 April 2007

More Yarn!

My brother and his wife are having another baby. They don't know whether it will be a boy or girl but it's due in November. (Phew! Lots of time).

I jokingly asked if they could find out so I would know what to knit. (I think they thought I was serious).

Anyway, what was that announcement but a justification for more shopping? So, above is some "Opal - Lollipop" which I intend to use to make "Archie" and "Snug" ('Rowan Babies'). I think this colourway would work well for a boy or girl. They're a hat and jacket set. (I'm going to do the hat band in blue). I'll wait and see before I do the buttons. :-)
PS. Since the house went on the market (Saturday), we've had five viewers and two drive-bys (without the guns. This might be Manchester but I live in a very quiet street). The amazing news is that we have had an offer...for the full asking price...yesterday...less than a week since it went on the market. I'm in shock, I didn't think it would sell that quickly!
We looked at two places on Tuesday. In one, the interior walls were full of holes and when we went to the second... we spotted a huge security camera on the outside wall. Now, why do you suppose they would feel the need for that? It out us off. More house hunting tomorrow.
The couple who want to buy ours are first time buyers (like we were when we bought it) and are living with his parents. They're not in a rush for us to move out until we find a place so there's no pressure to make ourselves homeless. Phew!

The Early Christmas Stocking

Here's where I was up to with the stocking for Thomas on Wednesday night.

And here is a close up of some of the lettering.

At this point we have another tale of the BF's ability to be a big stinky meany.

The BF and his sister are half-Danish. As he was admiring the lettering, he turned to me and said: "You do realise that they spell his name with the Danish spelling, T-O-M-A-S?"

I stood there open-mouthed: "But I showed you the stocking design before I started knitting it!"

He burst out cackling and admitted he was lying.

Enquiring minds wanted to know...

...what happened to the "Jitterbugs" after machine washing.
Here's before (in daylight):

And, here's after (again in daylight):

I've been happier.

Monday, 16 April 2007

New Socks!

Here are my new socks in "Opal - Rainforest (Blue Frog)"! Piccie is a bit blurry 'cos the BF took it.

They're almost matching.

Speaking of socks... the BF washed my "Jitterbugs"... in the washing machine. 'Fire' isn't quite so fiery and 'Popsicle' doesn't look quite so appetising. He will be kept very far away from my 'Lapis' "Jitterbugs" when I get around to making those.

Pained Look

I hate having my photo taken and here I am squinting in the sunshine on Saturday morning - but this is just to show you "Tulip".

I am seriously pleased with that at least.

Anyway, I ended my postings on Saturday with a note that I was about to have a row with the estate agent. This is because he told us that our house would be on their website by 8pm Thursday. It wasn't but that was ok - I was prepared to wait until Friday lunchtime. No sign of it then either.

I rang the agent. Apparently, someone would be at my house at 4pm with a brochure sample to proof read. I dashed off from work. It was 5.15pm - and three phonecalls later - before anyone appeared.

On Saturday, it was on one of the websites run by the agent, but without any photos.

I was not pleased.

1. There were three occasions I had dashed home for this guy only for him to arrive at least 30 minutes late.
2. The agent was the one who had said the house would be on their website by Thursday night, so if he hadn't made the promise, I wouldn't be giving him earache.

Anyway, it's now Monday - everything is as it should be on the agent's website (give or take a couple of errors, but at least the pictures are up); and I am in the middle of showing people around the house. We're waiting for the fourth couple now.

We're off to view some houses tomorrow night.

So far, so good.

PS This top, knitted for size 16, used 7 and 1/2 balls of yarn - not the pattern-recommended ten.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Odds and Ends

After I finished "Tulip", I did some more "using up the sock yarn for charity" and here's a hat and bootees in "Rainforest - Flamingo".

I also started some early Christmas knitting. This is the start of a Christmas Stocking for the BF's nephew Thomas. I'm basically enlarging the free "Opal" pattern and doing it in DK on 4mm needles. Knitting with hedgehogs? This baby's knitting with porcupines!

This is actually red wool, not orange. I've designed this myself. I'm going to do Fairisle including Thomas's name and some Christmas Trees. Then it's going to be a garish stripe design (green and red) with a red heel and toe. I'm starting it now so I can get bored and skip to other projects, and actually get it finished.

Finally, here's some more socks for me! (It's been a while). This is "Opal - Rainforest - Blue Frog" and it was sent to me in the Springtime Secret Santa goodie haul. It's about time I started knitting with it. :-)

As for house selling... I'm about to have an argument with the estate agent so I'll get back to you when I have finished that.


I finished "Tulip" on Easter Sunday, which I think is pretty good going. Below are two pix of the trim being attached. This is knitted on, rather than sewn on. I had my doubts about it - wondering how I was going to make sure the trim didn't overrun the neck line or run out before it was finished.

But... it worked and look - you can't see daylight between the join. It's almost invisible seaming.

I'm wearing it today. Photo later, maybe.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Quick Update

"Tulip" is currently blocking in the spare room. The BF has been warned not to go in there today. I'm stretching it a little to make the top a bit longer than it currently is. It should be dry by tonight and I may be able to attach the trim to it.

One point to make:

The pattern required ten balls. I have the neck trim yet to make (312 stitches over eight rows); two arm sleeve trims and two 1m long ties. I'm only just now on the seventh ball, so there's likely to be a least two balls left over.

If anyone is contemplating using this yarn and shade for anything, I'd be happy to do a swap, sending on whatever is left over.

My Mam loved the "Twilleys Freedom Spirit" wrapover. The BF chose that moment to say he'd had his doubts about it (oh, yeah)... not the actual knitting (that's alright then), but whether the colour would suit my Mam (as if I wouldn't know). And he claims to be the bastard love-child of Trinny and Suzannah?

Sorry I haven't popped into many people's blogs to leave comments over the last week. We're getting the house ready to sell and we want the estate agents to visit next week. So, I've been cleaning up the grout in the bathroom, touching up paintwork and doing the garden... more of the same this week!