Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Bonnie Buttons

I've finished the scarf! How many of these squares have I knitted?! Well, that's easy - 32 make the scarf and the finished result is over six feet long, or is that tall?

It's almost my very own "Doctor Who" scarf, and there's so much of it, it's almost like my own portable blanket. (The blanket is actually 109 squares). The pieces for the bag are now blocking and I think I'm still going to have enough yarn left for another two "Bonnie" bags for Christmas presents.

I'm trying to be good and use the yarn rather than chuck it straight into the orphan ball box.

In other news, the buttons are on "Retropolitan".

...And here's a very yellowy picture to prove that it is all sewn up and ready to catch the first stottie up to Sunderland for my Granda.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Aran Chunky Goodness

It's been a knitting-fest of "RYC - Cashsoft Aran" lately (all bought in good sales), what with the "Bonnie" scarf (below) and the "Retropolitan" cardigan for my Granda.

This is half of the scarf sewn up the other night and, best of all, it only took two hours. I love the colours and I really like the randomness to the pattern. I suspect this is going to be an epic of Tom Baker as 'Doctor Who' proportions... it's already up to my belly-button and I'm 5' 7".

The other 16 squares are upstairs blocking, on the exercise mat I bought when I decided, in a fit of enthusiasm, that I needed to get toned up. However, it gets more use through my knitting.

However, I think I'll block it again, once it's all sewn up, to get some straight edges.

I've also started the "Bonnie" Bag now. The scarf pattern stated that two balls of each colour was required, but I knew that I always use far less than the requirements. So I intended to use the yarn for making the bag as well as the scarf. However, even with this in mind, there is still going to be enough wool for making at least another bag. Spare Christmas present, methinks.

The fuzziness above is my Granda's cardigan - it just needs the buttons sewn on. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the pattern was really easy to follow. Once I joined the sleeves to the body it seemed to knit up really quickly. Even the buttonhole trim was a doddle. It has been a real pleasure to work on and the finished cardigan is velvety soft and thick - it should keep him warm.

I've just realised there has been far too many references to 'sewing up' in this post.

Sunday, 18 May 2008


I have finally started blocking my "Bonnie" scarf squares - not that I have finished knitting them yet. 21 knit... 9 to go.

The BF was nagging me to start blocking - he's becoming a regular back-seat knitter. I think I might have to get him an introductory knitter's set or something. Well, as you can see I got eight squares blocked before I ran out of my bubble-topped pins. I don't know where the rest of them have disappeared too.

Above is the jumper that my Mam knitted in "DB Rialto". She adapted one of the patterns in the
"Rialto" book - one she had liked at first but then decided was too busy. As you can see, this version just has several cables running up the front. She followed the neckline pattern but found it too deep, so she doubled it over and sewed it in place - it's very smart.

Saturday, 17 May 2008


The BF has been browsing knitting patterns.

He got ideas when he saw me knitting the "Bonnie" scarf and asked me if I would mind knitting smaller squares to make him a scarf? Not any old scarf, a 'Tetris' scarf, and it would have to be an accurate 'Tetris' scarf. It would have to look like a 'Tetris' board, not just be an homage to the game.

Do any of you live with Gamers?

Bearing in mind that the "Bonnie" squares are 11cm across and you need 32 of them to make the scarf, how many smaller squares would I need to knit to form an accurate 'Tetris' board? Far too many in my humble opinion and it would take forever.

The BF likes this scarf that he found on line, but this falls into the category of 'homage'...

...whereas this one is more like it, though the BF doesn't want a fleece scarf... he wants it knitted and can I make it look 3D. Authenticity really is an issue here, certainly according to DS Fanboy, who says:

"We quite appreciate the attention to detail here: the playing field is 10 blocks wide and at least 15 blocks tall (a true Tetris playfield is 20 blocks tall, and we can just assume that the falling piece has decended five spaces.) We prefer our game scarves as accurate as possible, thank you."

It's a different world.

Knitting for Old People

The cardigan for my Granda is really taking shape. I've adapted the pattern to add a couple of chunky lines of blue. Yes, I could risk running out of this colour, but I do have some spare (from the "Bonnie" scarf and bag, though they're not finished yet).

The body seemed to rattle up really quickly.

When you know the sleeves are half the number of stitches as the body, you'd think that they would seem to knit up faster... but they didn't and I actually found them a bit of a slog.

Once I finished the sleeves and started attaching them to the body, I started to feel like I was really getting somewhere. Only 9 inches to go.

The gaps between the sleeve and the body will be sewn up. I won't leave my Granda with draughty armpits.

Sunday, 11 May 2008


The camera cable has gone walkabout, again. So, I can't show you any piccies of progress of my different projects:

Granda's Retropolitan Cardigan: Knitted up to the armholes, and have nearly finished one sleeve. The sleeves are joined to the body of the cardigan and all knitted together. Minimal sewing.

Speaking of my Granda - he is much better. I visited him yesterday and he is in much better health and spirits. Doesn't believe in managing his illness, like: "As long as I can have a pint, I'm alright."

This is the 86 year old who says 'Help the Aged' can't help him, because they're for old people.

Stealth-Knit Jumper for the BF: This is the "Retro" jumper from the "Sublime Second DK Book". (Hmm - "Retro" and "Retropolitan". Are we detecting a theme here. I've finished the back and all I have to do is finish the neck and shoulders on the front.

Zebra Socks for Lois, my neice: Finished ages ago, but an update on their reception. "We can never get them off her feet," grumbled my brother at the weekend. Now, that's praise.

My Mam, has finished her latest project (see earlier comment on camera cables). So, she needed, yes, needed, to go to Kemps Wool Shop - Sunderland. Bargains? She bought enough "Wendy Mosaic Chunky" to make two cardigans. Price - 89p per ball. Yep, it's an entirely man-made yarn, but the patterns were lovely and you should see how fast it's knitting up.

I've been shopping too... but not for myself. (So, not fallen off the stashalong wagon yet).

This is "Stylecraft Pure Luxury Merino DK" - I didn't know "Stylecraft" did merino.

I've bought enough yarn to make Talia's (niece No. 2) birthday/Christmas present. Yep, like big sister, she's a Christmas Baby. My brother and his missis need to sort out their timings.

I'm going to make this buttoned cardigan in Ivory, but I love the colours of this zipped hoodie, so Talia's getting a replica of this. Originality? What for?

I bought this lot for £2.49 a ball. A quick look at other websites suggests the average price is normally £2.99 a ball. It makes quite a difference.

Monday, 5 May 2008


I've knitted 22 of the 32 squares of the "Bonnie" scarf but I'm taking a break from it. Despite the BF's accusation that this is so I can avoid sewing up, it's not.

My Granda has emphysema. He's been fit and healthy for the last 18 months, but he's currently having a bad attack. My Mam and Auntie asked me to knit him a cardigan for his birthday (September). Every time they buy him something warm to wear, he thanks them and says he will "keep it for best". So the intention is that by knitting him something, he'll wear it because it's "only" home-made and because he'll appreciate his granddaughter making it.

So, I've decided to crack on with the cardi now and I found the perfect one in "Son of Stitch and Bitch" - "Retropolitan".

Apparently, it can be worn by "trendy urbanites, indie rockers and computer nerds alike". Really? Fashion-conscious people would wear this? It's a beautiful cardigan but to me, it's something that my 50-something uncles wore in the 70s (and they weren't your fashionable types), and it's very similar to something my Granda already wears. (Yes, he's a smart man but he goes for very traditional gear, so I do not see this cardigan as being that funky).

No disrespect to the designer. I suppose trends come and go.

The pattern is beautifully simple. It's knitted in one piece as far as the armholes (another 5 inches to go); then the sleeves are knitted and the whole lot joined together. The pattern recommends "RYC Cashsoft Aran" which, shock horror, I haven't substituted. Being knit on smaller needles (4mm and 4.5mm) than you'd usually knit Aran, the result is a dense material which should keep my Granda warm. I'm also going to stick with the large button recommendation as he struggles with smaller ones.

And, finally, thanks to Helen (Sheep Happens) who has taught me how to use my Christmas present - Sensational Knitted Socks - which I've been struggling to use because I needed instructions for the instructions. Thank you, Helen!

Cork and Blackcurrant Jam

I've been in Cork this week - another conference. Yep, I'm seeing the world through talking about icky diseases, which rocks.

The conference went really well and my presentation was applauded (which is always a huge relief). However, in the break before the session where I was presenting, the hotel served up fruit scones with blackcurrant jam and clotted cream. Wouldn't you think that I would have the sense to stay away from these? Yes. Don't you think that, bearing in mind I was wearing a pale turquoise top, I might suspect that eating blackcurrant jam was tempting fate? Yes.

So, what did I do?

I took a scone. I carefully spread blackcurrant jam over it. I gently placed a dollop of cream on the jam, on the scone. I took a bite. It was very tasty. I took another bite.

Result - thick streak of blackcurrant jam straight down my chest. AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

My friend Donald gallantly handed me his serviette, saying: "Sorry, but I'm not going to dive in there to help."

cardigan over the top.With one minute to go, I ran to the loo, turned my top around and wore my "DB Cathay"... and kept it on for the rest of the day, asking Donald to remind me NOT to take off the cardigan for the evening dinner.

The following day, we had a few hours to explore Cork before our flights. Sarah, Helen and I caught an open air bus ride round the town. It was a great laugh, though hair-raising in parts, especially sitting at the front of the bus, upstairs, going through tree branches and down tight, narrow winding, uphill country lanes. Who needs tickets to Alton Towers?

Afterwards, we trekked across the city in search of traditional Irish stew. We inspected many pubs, only checking the menu, honest, before we made it to Reidy's Wine Vault. It was fab - lovely traditional pub, good pints and a top Irish stew with wedges of soda bread. Mmmmm.