Sunday, 28 October 2007

Knitted Hats? Now there's an idea!

The Guardian has discovered knitting, well not knitting per se, but knitwear. (It's always fun spotting a Grauniad revelation. This week (Saturday 27th October) we have Jess Cartner-Morley discussing the drawbacks of chunky cardis.

Personally, I don't think there are any, even if I'm not an anorexic super-tall model - my words, not hers.

However, said publication has also discovered knitted hats.

(not these, but I like illustrations)

On a couple of forums recently, posts have commented on how dirt-cheap knitwear is when it appears in stores. As a result non-knitters receiving gifts of socks and other hand-knitted goodies do not appreciate a). the cost of the yarn and; b). more importantly, the work that had gone into making the item.

Not if they read yesterday's "Weekend" they don't. In a selection of seven hats, while the cheapest were £7 and £20... the range of prices included a £42 bobble hat in stocking stitch (with a 2x2 rib)' a £79 fairisle hat and a £110 beanie hat, also in stocking stitch. Ladies (and gents)! We could be rich!


No knitting update this time as I have just come back from a conference in Valencia. To quote my good friend Lee: "I'm so working class that a conference is a holiday". The conference was rubbish and the food was cack so when proceedings finished on Friday, my colleagues set off in search of decent grub and found a fantastic restaurant called "Saquhara". It was lovely - small with very funky decor (though the painting of lemons looking more like a shoal of sperm), the waiters were friendly and I had the best steak I've ever eaten. Lovely.

Now, I am reliably informed that, apart from the leaky opera house (Saturday 27th October, Guardian), the city is beautiful... however, I didn't see any of those bits.

The conference was held in a gorgeous hotel overlooking the harbour. Registration was held at the other end of the city, so we spent a lot of time on the Metro system underneath Valencia, missing all the sights. Around the corner from registration was what looked like a lovely yarn shop - stocking "Katia" and lots of brands I didn't recognise... but it was shut.

Still, here are some piccies, anyway.

This is the rather lovely hotel - bit of a Greek motif going on here. The buildings were built around a garden and two pools, looking out across the sea. Unfortunately, by the time I got the camera out, it had started raining.

Next to the hotel was a walkway running alongside the beach, lined with painted houses and restaurants.

Up the coast, to the North, we could just make out another city in the distance, and hills reaching into the sea.

To the South of the bay was the port and these cranes reminded me of the pictures of the Swan Hunter cranes on Jam-Mam's blog (All Stitched Up). When I was small, and before he retired, my Granda worked as a welder in the ship yards of Sunderland. My Mam used to take me with her when she went to pick him up from work and I love seeing cranes by the sea - brings out the nostalgia.

Also on the beach were sand sculptors and this was one of the best ones.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Attack of the Frogs

Remember that jumper for Thomas?

I miscounted - couldn't repair the mistakes so the centre cable patterns were both out.


Sunday, 21 October 2007

Catching up... with pix

I'm taking a break from knitting this jumper for Thomas. It's from a "Dale of Norway" book - the finished project will (hopefully) be like a cricket jumper. I say 'hopefully' because it's annoying me. I think I've counted the right number of stitches but it doesn't want to play nicely with the central pattern.

Speaking of Dale, here are the finished socks for another Dale. I'm spoiled being a size 5 - knitting these size 9s was a shock to the system.

Back over on the Dark side, I finished the curtain - despite my inability to use a sewing machine, and this is the world's smallest curtain.

My hand-sewing is pretty neat even if I do hate sewing up my knitted stuff.

Can't see me hand-sewing a full set of proper curtains, so I bought a sewing machine, because I would quite like to have a bash at making some for our house - the small windows, mind.

I forgot to show you these purchases from Ally Pally. What do you think of these? I think the gingerbread men may go on something for Thomas, though I'm not sure what while the ducks and ladybird will be for Bump. I have a cunning plan... I'm going to make a hat shaped like a flower and sew the ladybird to one of the petals.

Right, we're up to date now - best go and prime the ensuite floor for tiling.

My lovely stepdad is tiling my kitchen and bathrooms. Yes, we are those people who rope their parents into DIY... though in our defence, we asked Peter to show us how to tile and he decided to do the job. He's such a star. My Mam didn't give the male species a second chance until I was 24, so it's not as if he raised me which I think makes his help even more appreciated - we're not his kids.

I mention this as we were in a shop buying tiles and the assistant sympathetically asked: "Is it your first house?"

No, it's the second but the professionals we paid last time did a lousy job!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Missing In Action

The camera has gone missing.

Actually, I know exactly where it is. It has sloped off to New Barnet with the BF, where he is spending a few days with his sister and nephew.

So - no pix of the finished socks for Dale. The "Regia" yarn is softer than "Opal" which I was a little surprised by. No pix of my new sewing machine... top bargain in "Aldi" for £45. And, no pix of the world's smallest curtain. I spent Sunday afternoon turning last week's samples of materials into said curtain, after I had learned how to use the iron.

The BF had to teach me.

He asked me if it was a cunning ploy to make him to my ironing... I hadn't even thought of that.

On Monday night, I learned to use a sewing machine - I rather liked it.

Anyway, while the BF is away, I have a few evenings to do some more stealth knitting on "Saranac". I've started the front now. The back is knitted to armpit level, as is one sleeve and another sleeve is ongoing - then I have to join them all together and knit the shoulders in the round.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Ally Pally Yarn P*on

What did I buy? prepared for a picture heavy post.

So, in some detail:

"Knit Witches - Cashmere Laceweight"... yes, at some point I am going to dip my toe into the water that is lace and make this lovely 'Lacy Rib Ladders' scarf.

"Sirdar - Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK"

This will be a hat with earflaps for Thomas. My nephew doesn't like to keep hats on and his Mum his worried about him getting cold in Winter... if that ever arrives. (Climate change is going to be the bane of knitters in my humble opinion - I want to knit and wear lovely toasty woolies).

Speaking of which, I also bought some "Sirdar - Peru Naturals" to make this wrap-over for myself. The yarn is lovely and soft - a bit like "Twilleys Freedom Spirit".

Also, on the soft front... "Sublime - Cashmere Merino Silk DK" for this 'Hearts and Cables' table top. (I hit a bit of a tank top craze yesterday - under the influence of Ruth (The Girl That Knits) from the Knitting Forum, who I met up with.

I'm one of those people who doesn't have an original thought and magpies the great ideas that other people have. I always give them credit though!

There was also a lovely stall - "Touch Yarns" from New Zealand where I bought some beautiful yarn in Autumn shades to make this jacket. There were many, many lovely things there.

And here is the "Twilleys Freedom Spirit" that I just can't resist for making...another tank. Realistically, none of this is going to be knitted up until I have finished my Christmas knitting.

And, because I desperately need more sock yarn, I picked up some "Opal Rainforest - Tiger", and these lovelies from a stall selling THREE balls for £12.50!!!!

I could quite happily have bought more sock yarn so I think I was quite restrained.

Oooh, icky fact for the day - there was a Danish stall selling some beautifully soft yarn - £40 a pop for 50g of this laceweight, that's made from the hair of Artic Musk Ox - animals that roam Greenland. Beautiful stuff, but the ox are wild and to get the hair, they have to be killed. I don't know how many of these animals there are so I can't comment on whether this is endangering them - I imagine it's not. However, still not my cuppa.

ETA: See Viking's comment below for a more humane alternative in harvesting this hair.

If you are going to Ally Pally, have a great time. There's lots to see - though not all of it knitting. :-)

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Going over to the...Dark Side

If crochet is the Dark Side... then I've just become Darth Vader's girlfriend. I've just started going a soft furnishings class, and by next Monday I have to convert this lot...

...into this...

It's a sample curtain. Yes, I am learning to make curtains... and probably cushions and runners and other things. I thought it would be fun and was looking for something to get me out of the house of an evening. So far - it's great fun, though I can't believe I've willingly taken up something that involves sewing.

The knitting, obviously, isn't falling by the way side and here is the progress on one of Dale's socks. It looks far greyer than it really is - all the monotone is soften by some blue flecks and stripes. The "Regia" yarn is a lot softer than "Opal" which has been quite a surprise - I hope it's as hard wearing.

Speaking of sock yarn... It's Ally Pally on Thursday and unfortunately my Auntie Anne can't come with me after all. She has to go to hospital for some treatment on her legs, and will be admitted as an in-patient for eight days. Anne is gutted, and has asked me to get some sock yarn for her while I'm at the Show.

It's very disappointing - we have been planning this for some time.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Stealth Knitting Sessions

I've been to my Mam's this weekend. The drive up on Friday evening was hellish, unsurprisingly and took me nearly four hours to crawl over the M62 and up the A1. Actually, after I looked at the clock and realised it had taken one hour to go 30 miles from Manchester to Hart's Head Services, I headed off at Bradford to dash across the A roads... only to end up in a 5mile an hour convoy all the way to flippin' Harrogate.

All that wasted knitting time.

Still, this weekend, I've finished the socks for my MIL.

(This picture doesn't really show how vibrant the colours are - very bright primaries, plus lots of splashes of green).

I smuggled the yarns for the BF's jumper and socks out of my house, so I've finished a third of one sock, while babysitting my niece with my Mam, who had to read all six books of the "Dr Suess" collection that I bought her for Christmas. Apparently Lois been fixated on these for the last two weeks. She was fighting sleep and I was providing my Mam with encouragement: "One more page. She's nearly off. One more page."

I've also started the second sleeve on "Saranac". The BF is off to his sister's for three days in two weeks - plenty of knitting time.

And this is a fab cardigan that my Mam has been knitting - the stitches are really neat. She doesn't like sewing up set-in sleeves, so I agreed to sew them up...

I've also started the socks for Dale ("Regia - Polar") He's the same size shoe as the BF. This could get confusing!

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Yarn Goodness

During a pleasant blog browsing session I discovered that the "Opal Rainforest 3" collection is available. Joy of joys!!!

So I had to go shopping. There's one ball ("Opal - Feelings - Rainbow" for SIL's socks) still to arrive, and of this selection, only one of them is for me. Do you admire my restraint? ;-)

The "Regia - Polar" is for socks for Dale for Christmas. The green ball of "Rainforest 3" is for the BF's socks which he specified must be in green. The multicoloured ball of "Rainforest 3" is for me!

Monday, 1 October 2007

More Bamboozling

As you may remember, I knitted some "Bamboozle" socks for my friend and I wasn't terribly impressed with it. Well, when I bought that yarn ("Raspberries and Lime"), I bought some more ("Fruit Salad") for socks for my MIL, as she is also allergic to wool.

I'm off sick today - every bugger I know has had cold over the last few weeks and they've all very kindly given me some of theirs. Am feeling thoroughly rotten, but between snoozes, have managed to do a little knitting. (I hate it when I'm too sick to knit at all).

So, here's the start of MIL's socks. I might spend the next month just making socks - it is Socktober after all. :-)