Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Christmas 2009

Sad as it is, I've been sock yarn shopping for next Christmas's gifts. It makes sense to hit the sales early and snap up a bargain on yarn... especially when various family members are making requests.

The surprising one is my ratbag brother who, on Christmas Day, expressed a nagging fear and suspicion that I might have knitted him a jumper. Ha! He wishes! However, in the next breath he mentioned how cold he gets at football matches so would there be any chance of a pair of socks for such occasions, please? I'm actually going to do so and I've worked out that I need to knit eleven pairs - some people are getting two pairs.

Thanks to Ebay, I'm getting seven balls of "Opal - Circle" (the eighth ball wasn't available) for... drum roll, please... £4.49 per ball.

Over on The Black Sheep website... I found four balls of "Rico" yarn (though it's not a brand I've heard of) for... even larger and longer drum roll, please... £4.26 per ball.

Roll on postie visit. Even if the yarn is not for me.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Those Darn Socks

A few months ago, my favourite trainers bit the dust but on their way out, they decided to attempt to take five pairs of socks with them.

Normally, socks full of holes just go in the bin... but that would be cheapo shop ought ones, not socks I've knitted myself. So, because I had no idea how to darn and was too flippin' lazy to look it up, I've had five pairs sitting in my sock drawer waiting to be fixed. These included my "Opal - Snakes" which were the first pair of socks I knitted for myself.

On Christmas Eve (a great time for such jobs) my Mam taught me to darn and my efforts range from downright awful (on the first sock) to quite a neat finish (on the last one, which was ten socks later).

Sunday, 28 December 2008


So, I finished the socks for me. Being as they're pretty garish... I logically decided to make a longer pair than I would usually.

I've also started these for the BF - I love the pattern and have been sorely tempted to nick them for myself.

In other news... all the knitted goodies went down astonishingly well. The BF loves his socks and reckons his jumper is the best one I have ever knitted. Niece No 1 loved all her socks and especially Puss in Boots. Brother was relieved that I hadn't knit him a jumper but has asked for socks to go to the football in next year. (There's a compliment in there somewhere, I think). Mam, MIL and Step-dad loved their socks.

Out of a remote controlled Brum, Thomas the Tank Engine train set, garage, Lego and cars, and much more besides... nephew's favourite gift was his knitted jelly babies.

Praise indeed and proof that our families are not ungrateful yarn heathens.

As for my knitting-related goodness...

...Cath Kidston knitting needles and roll from my Auntie.

...A gorgeous sock knitting book from the BF.

...Louisa Harding's "Knitted Luxuries" from the SIL.

Monday, 22 December 2008

A Break Through

I've knitted past row 3 on the "Sublime - Hearts and Cables" pattern.

Sublime? Ridiculous. I was wondering whether I needed to resort to asking the BF to read out the pattern for me.

And, before I forget... Happy Chrimble!

Sunday, 21 December 2008


I finished both the BF's and the MIL's socks yesterday... five days before Christmas! Yippeee!!!

BF's ''Regia Kaffe Fasset''

MIL's ''Wendy Bamboo''

The Christmas knitting is over. Hurrah!

I decided to treat myself (from the stash) and start this "Hearts and Cables" tank in "Sublime - Merino Silk DK". The yarn is gorgeous and very forgiving... unlike the pattern. I've made two attempts and keep making a mistake in row 3. So, having pulled it out twice, here's where I am now up to.

I got fed up.

So I started with an old faithful...

... in one of the "Opal - Hundertwasser" shades. (Yes, also out of the stash box too). However, I've decided that I'm going to make them longer than usual. I don't usually go for bright yellow - in anything I wear so I'm really going for it with these.

The BF is also moaning that I haven't made him any socks lately. (Ha!) So he has been told that I am taking this...

...with me on the Cross Country Christmas Dash to see the families.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

A Thomas for a Thomas

One of my buddies at work, Pam, is a knitter. (We're growing in numbers and will soon convert the department! Hahahaha! Sorry - been watching Scooby Doo. If it wasn't fo those pesky kids...). Pam has a goldmine of old patterns and she mentioned that she had just found a pattern for a "Thomas the Tank Engine" cardigan.

I had to have it.

Here it is - very 80s, complete with a model who looks like he desperately needs a wee.

It looks like a pretty straightforward Intarsia pattern, complete with very nice charts so I'm going to make it for my nephew after Christmas. It doesn't give an age size and the largest size is 66cm (chest). I'm hoping that will fit a 2-3 year old.

The BF reckons this will make me the best Auntie ever.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Nearly There

One sock for the MIL done - a third done on the other. One sock for the BF done - two thirds done on the next one.

Shouldn't have been so smug with my Christmas knitting. There's still a chance I'll be knitting on Christmas Eve! I can't wait to make something for me. And I'm wondering if I'm going to do presents next year. It takes me about four months to get them all done. Or am I just being a big meanie?


Sunday, 14 December 2008

Panic Socks!

The BF is stressing (again) about what to buy his Mum for Christmas. So, thanks to this year's trip to Ally Pally, I'm making him some "Wendy - Bamboo" socks to give her.

I'm not too impressed with it. The yarn splits and the stitch definition really is not great. The pattern is lovely and I did actually buy it with the MIL in mind. (I wasn't anticipating a last minute panic from the BF at all, honest). Oh no, I wasn't.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Finishing Touches

I've pretty much finished all of my Christmas knitting.

So, first job - the trim on my Granda's cardigan ("Retropolitan" - again - from "Son of Stitch and Bitch"). I love doing the trim on this project. It's never as bad a job as I think it's going to be.

I never pick up the right number of stitches - always too many or two few - so I have stopped worrying about this detail. Hope it doesn't turn out to be a crucial detail!

Here's Talia's "Sirdar DK Tweed" cardigan with little star buttons...

...and I've also stitched the zip to the striped hoodie - no piccie, sorry.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


And, here's a pair of gloves for Mary.

Another top stashbuster - one ball of "Twilleys Freedom Spirit" and half a ball of some "DB Merino DK). I combined two patterns to make these - the red section, from a free book of glove pattern from "Knit Today" and the old faithful that is the TSF pattern.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Stealthy Socks

While I finished the BF's jumper months ago, his socks have been causing me some grief. I've just finished one of them.

While I can finish a pair of socks fairly quickly. Knitting them in secret takes some doing.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Tea for Two?

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it a hat?

Nope, it's a tea cosy for SIL. Hope it's big enough - she drinks a lot of tea.

In other Christmas present knitting projects...

I've finally finished Lois's "Tiger Feet". (The Zebra socks were such a hit that my brother is grumbling that she never takes them off).

And, a scarf for Debbie which didn't go exactly according to plan.

It was supposed to be black and white, but I can't find the yarn I bought. So, I used three balls of "TSF" and knitted lots of squares.

I'm quite pleased with this.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

World AIDS Day

This time last year, I said I would donate to the Terrence Higgins Trust 10p for every comment to my blog for World AIDS Day. 26 people commented, which is lovely, but that only came to £2.60.

So, I decided that I would donate this year... after one year's worth of comments. Including those first 26 comments, there have been 247 comments. So, this makes it £24.70. Round it up and we have £25. So I'll times that by two and I'll be sending a cheque for £50 to THT.

Thank you, everyone.


For Paul.


I was originally planning to make a black n white scarf for my friend Debbie... but the yarn has gone missing. It's somewhere in the house, but I've no idea where. So, I'm using the rest of the "Twilleys Freedom Spirit" instead.

A good stash bust.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Books - the Sixth in an Occasional Series

Over the last few weeks, I has been mostly reading Asimov (and mostly eating roast chicken and mostly wearing Prada and watching old episodes of "The Fast Show"). I has also read:

1. "Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks" by Christopher Brookmyre, in which the git has killed of Jack Parlabane. If you are a fan, and didn't know this, this was not a spoiler. It's there on the blurb. The focus of bile on this occasion is dodgy mediums (of the 'knock if there's anybody there' variety as opposed to being an example of some size-ist venom from me) and right-wing Christian fundamentalists. It's very good.

2. "The Brightonomicon" by Robert Rankin is pants. Don't bother with it. It's rubbish. Actually the first half is ok and then it's as though he got bored with it. Don't know why I finished it.

3. "A History of Modern Britain" by Andrew Marr - I needed something to read something good after Mr Rankin's printed diarrhoea. This covers the history of Britain from WW2 to the present day and marvellous it is too - apparently Peter Mandelson's grandfather was as slippery as his grandson. And Manchester was where dog racing started. And "Passport to Pimlico" and "Whisky Galore!" are based on true stories.

4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Various "Foundation" volumes by Isaac Asimov - sci-fi, future, collapse of intergalatic civillisation and attempts to create a new Empire. Marvellous. But not a robot in sight, which was disappointing.

9. Back to Robert Rankin with "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse" because the BF said it's good. And it is. Set in Toytown with Eddie Bear PI investigating the murders of Humpty Dumpty, Mother Goose and other Pre-Adolescent Poetic Personalities. So, good in fact, that I chanced the sequel:

10. "The Toyminator" wherein various toys get bumped off. Very good... until half way through, and the jokes become very old, very repetitive and make me want to gag. I'm off Rankin for a while. He's not as clever as Douglas Adams.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Warm Hands

I also rattled these off at the weekend... but forgot to photograph them last night, and then couldn't be arsed. I've had a wodge of "Twilleys Freedom Spirit" in the stash box since last year's trip to Ally Pally. This was intended for a tank-top for me... but then I went off the idea.

So, here is a pair of wrist warmers for Liz - she's a photographer and needs something to keep her warm for her outside Winter pix, something warm that she can still wear whilst snapping away.

And a pair of gloves for Doreen.

This has used just over two balls of "TSF"... so there's a few more gifts to be gained from the tank top. A good swap, I think.

Monday, 24 November 2008

The Gift Haul

Long time, no blogging - I've had bronchitis. OK, so that wouldn't stop me typing, but I couldn't be arsed. However, I have been knitting and finished a couple of items though I still have a few things to finish off completely.

Granda's "Retropolitan 3.0" needs its button band, but I can't do that until it finishes blocking in the bathroom.

I've also been having a look at where I am up to with the rest of the Christmas knitting, so here's Lois's stash - a cardi, some socks and "Puss in Boots".

Socks for me Mam (the ones on the left) and for Peter. He's not a fan of pastels.

Here's Thomas's "Zoo Bag" with five jelly babies and a newly-finished jumper knitted in "Rowan All Seasons Cotton" (aranweight). It's yarn left over from last year's Christmas jumper for the BF, so a good little stash buster. This was a simple pattern to follow - raglan sleeved in moss stitch.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Granda - Missing in Action

Blimey - I is a little tired of this "Retropolitan" (being as this is the third time I've made on the bloody things, in a year), and after knitting a spate of baby-sized clothes, an adult-sized cardigan feels like a bit of a slog. However, I ain't complaining too much as my Granda gave me something of a shock last night.

We had just settled down to watch the "Sarah Connor Chronicles" when my mobile rang. (After 9pm, that's just really unusual, when I'm not going out). It was my brother... who never rings me (except on my birthday or to stress about what he should get for other people's birthdays. There are no birthdays approaching).

He was stressed. He was just finishing work and had spent all evening trying to get in touch with my Granda, and just kept getting an engaged tone on the phone. Where was our Mam, he asked? "London," I said - "at some posh awards do with work". "What should I do?" he asked. "Go and see if my Granda's ok", I said. "I don't have a key", he said. "Knock on the door", I said. "Oh", he said. "I can't, really, I'm home" he said.

I'm afraid this didn't create a terribly sympathetic feeling from me. The rest of my family all live around Sunderland. I live in Manchester. Absolutely, I could go and see if my Granda was ok... but it would take me over two hours to get there.

"I've got the girls", my brother said.

So, I rang my cousin. "I've had a drink," she said.

"I'll ring my Dad for a lift," she added.

Twenty minutes later, the phone rang. It was my brother: "Granda's fine - nothing to worry about". I texted my cousin to thank her for going.

She rang me ten minutes later.

My cousin had arrived in Granda's street. There was no light from the house. She feared the worst. She put her key in the door expecting to find my Granda collapsed or worse. She was praying he would be alright. She opened the door.

There was my Granda and my brother having a can of lager.

Obviously, my brother had decided he had to go to check. I hadn't realised that when he rang.

My Granda is 87 - he's going to outlive the rest of us.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Another Item Finished

I bought the yarn and pattern for this cardigan at Ally Pally a couple of weeks ago. It's part of the Christmas stash for Talia.

I love the patterning of the yarn, but as you can see, it needs some blocking. The cardigan is knitted in eight pieces. Each body part is two pieces - a yoke and a frock. Very simple and very quick.

Now, I'm on with "Retropolitan 3.0" for my Granda - could I be forgiven for being a bit sick of this one? However, it is a winner and he wants the same colours as the last one... which makes it a tremendous stash buster.

Monday, 20 October 2008


I've finished the jumper for the BF!! I was visiting my Mam at the weekend and got the final sleeve finished and the whole lot knitted up. That's a huge weight off. (No pix - I've left it in Sunderland. The BF will be expecting a squishy parcel but as we'll be there for Christmas, he won't see one in transit and therefore won't expect one. Ha!)

The "Zoo Bag" is also finished and sewn up.

Last night I started this little "Sirdar" cardigan for Talia, while watching "Independence Day", again. It's another fast knit and each section (fronts and back) is knitted in two sections - a skirt attached to a yoke. Lovely yarn too. "Sirdar - DK- Tweed". I picked this up at Ally Pally last week as a top little bargain.

The Stash Situation

So, here is what remains from last year's trip to Ally Pally.

Below is the sock and lace collection - though there are three skeins hidden in the spare room as well.

And, this is the orphan box... there's more yarn in here than in any of the others.

This is what I bought this year - a lot less in comparison with last year...

...even with the twelve balls of "Muskat - DK - 100% Egyptian Cotton" that arrived in the post on Friday.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Zoo Bag

This has knit up fast. I now need to sew it up. Hopefully, this will not take long. We know how I feel about sewing (and yet I've started a night class on garment making - Darth Sewing Machine and myself currently enjoying a ceasefire. It hasn't committed GBH on me and I haven't threatened to dismantle it).

It's a simple knit - just a very long rectangle folded in half to create a sack. The top of the back is to be folded over and sewn down to create a draw-string tie. Yes, it was a very long exercise in st-st but the striping relieved the monotony, and the elephant on the pocket was a fun little Intarsia detail. Yes, that is an elephant, not a dog - it's a Zoo bag, after all.

New technique of the knit was French knitting the cord. (Below, on a bacdrop of lovely stitch definition).

I've never done French-knitting before and the pattern didn't actually require it. It said to knit two lengths of tie - back and forth across six stitches for a metre. Struck me as boring and besides... I had a new GADGET!

From Ally Pally.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Birthday Goodies

It's my birthday today. (And Margaret Thatcher's - hmm; and Paul Simon's - yay!) And I'm having the day off. Bliss.

Guess what the BF got me...

"Old Harry's Game" - Seasons 1 and 2 of the Radio 4 show which has me in fits every time I hear it. So, I'll be spending today listening to that.


This gorgeous yarn swift! I'm so pleased. The BF reckons it's a gift for him as well - he no longer has to provide skein assistance and it's a gadget. He demanded a demonstration before he left for work. (It only took 20 minutes too).

My friend Liz, at work, also gave me a box of needle huggers - I'm touched by the thought and the time she took. She's not a knitter .

Postie hasn't been yet - but I'm told to expect some more goodies. What a great day.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Ally Pally Porn

Ally Pally! I went on Thursday with Auntie Anne. We had a great day and in my opinion, it was a much better event than last year - more knitting stalls, less paper, less ironing and not as crowded. (Which has always got to be a good thing when you're wandering around).

Surprisingly, I didn't buy as much as last year. Or spend as much.

Here's what I did buy.

Ten balls of "Sirdar - Escape"...

... to make.

Three balls of "Sirdar Denim Tweed DK" to make...

... this cardi for Talia.

Four balls of Laceweight 2 ply.... 2 ply! Jesus! What was I thinking? What am I going to make with that?

Oh, yeah... these rather smart and snazzy gloves. I want to knit something a little more challenging... but I don't want a huge challenging project. Gloves will do.

Ten balls of beautiful "Regia Silk Colour" (4ply) to make a myself a smarter jumper than the usual chunky ones I go for. I fancy a finer yarn.

This is gonna take bloody ages, isn't it? Remind me that I want a finer yarn jumper.

Here are the obligatory sock yarn purchases. The rainbow on the left is for me. The "Wendy Bamboo" in the middle will either be socks for the MIL or my wool-allergic pal, Lesley. The blue ball on the end is for the BF.

I made a rod for my back there. He wants more socks.

I also ordered some lovely Teal colour "Muskat" (100% Egyptian Cotton" from Scandinavian Knitting Design. At least I think it's Teal - I am colour blind over weird shades of blue and green. I thought my first car was green. Everyone else thought it was turquoise.

Looking forward to some squishy parcels soon.

PS Apologies for not regularly popping into blogs to comment. I just haven't had a lot of time over the last few months. I do read when I have a chance but don't comment - it's awfully rude of me so I am sorry.