Thursday, May 31, 2007


I'm here!! I'm so sorry, I hadn't checked in for so long, I didn't realise I was being missed and that you'd left messages. Thank you so much for your care. It's all my fault - I should have just declared a break from blogging, instead of disappearing.

I've been busy, yes, focused on other things really. Also, Charles has had hypertrophic (huge, huge, HUGE) tonsils and adenoids since the first week of April. You wouldn't know it to look at him! But at night it's causing obstructive sleep apnoea, which is uncomfortable for him, and frightens me to death. Recently he was only taking four breaths per minute at one point. I've tried eliminating different foods etc. Not working. So we're taking the homeopathic route, whilst waiting for an appointment with the ENT consultant. Really don't want those tonsils removed, if we can find another way.

The other thing is, not much knitting going on. I've been knitting the same pair of socks on and off for two months! So, nothing to report (and that's the main reason for not blogging).

But I hope you are all well, and I trust the knitting frenzy is continued without me!! And thank you again for asking after us.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Firstly, so many thanks to all of you for your comments, and for checking in to see if we're okay. Sorry I've left it so long to provide conclusive proof that I'm still alive, but alive we are, and well. Yippee! Whilst in the midst of the Ailments, it was nice to know you were there.

But now, I am back. I have been knitting and finished the Dove Shawl. You may remember the ginger beard. This is the sparkly red version I started at the same time. The yarn is Kidsilk Night and I would never again use it for any kind of shawl, or other garment requiring any drape at all, as it feels somewhat stiff and slightly rough, especially when compared to the Kidsilk Haze, which feels just as soft as a little lamb, AND drapes nicely. The red shawl took me just over two weeks and I was quite seriously considering ripping it to pieces right until the end. Obviously I didn't, but I'm really not sure it was the right decision. Okay, I love the little pockets made by the pattern (it only needs light blocking - you don't want to make it look flat), and I really like the stitch itself, and the colour of the yarn, but knitting this has made me realise I don't like triangular shawls nearly as much as I like rectangular ones; the pointy bit at the back hangs down too far to look nice, and has no practical use to compensate for this. I don't like any of the pointy bits, actually; they get in the way, and the shape just isn't cosy enough. In other words, a triangle doesn't cover me up enough on a chilly sofa. It would if it was HUGE, but then the useless pointy bits would be even huger. No thanks. Also, due to the slight stiffness of the yarn, the shawl tends not to drape securely over my shoulders, so I find it pinging off when doing, say, the washing up or whatever. By the way, the shawl does look really crumpled and creased in the photo. This is because our cat, Spooky, has taken to cosying-up in the bottom of my wardrobe, and in particular, on my knitted shawls. Needless to say, he has been severely, um, glared at, AND shut out of the wardrobe. The culprit:

Because of this bad vibe, a couple of weeks ago I completely frogged the "ginger" one (a few evenings' work into thin air) and BOY it felt liberating. The hours spent knitting it were not wasted, as I enjoyed the knitting for its own sake, and also learnt something: don't flog a dead horse. I know that the shawl would have felt much nicer knitted in the non-sparkly stuff, but, like I triangular shawls for me. Not practical. This is why I am now knitting another Edwardian Lace Stole with the "ginger" (I shall refer to the colour as "swish" from now on, as that's what it is called). Aaah, the ELS. Now, that is a stole you can really cosy-up in. Despite being all floaty and as light and seemingly insubstantial as a cobweb, this stole keeps me seriously warm, and it's nice and LARGE and a good shape (rectangular). Plus, the precise geometric shapes could have me inspecting the stitches for hours, in wonder. I will always love my ELS and would recommend the pattern to anyone.

I have also knitted various socks, but that's another post.

Cripes, no wonder I have to get in the right mood before posting on this blog. It's because it seems to take up so much time....but it's just hit me that it's only because I talk so much. Others seem to manage a concise few words sometimes, but I can't get the knack.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An Explanation

Well, hi to you all! This is a very quick post to thank those of you who have asked after us, and to explain my absence.

Charlie has been ill for over four weeks. He has had various high temperatures, including one of over 104 (40C). He has had conjunctivitis and a bad cold, with a very nasty cough. And two days ago he went down with some kind of sickness bug. He has had a few days in between these illnesses, but not many. We have also been a bit ill, with a really rubbish virus, which had me in bed with a high temperature last week. I'm half recovered from that, but as I type, Nick is throwing up, upstairs. He got the sickness bug this evening. Great! So, now I'm waiting to catch The Bug as well. There's something eerie about just waiting for it!

Usually we have had quite healthful winters. I just don't know what has happened. It's not as though we live on fastfood etc. Must go now, to check on Charlie and see how Nick is.

I will check in again soon. Hope you are all keeping well.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Can You Tell What it is Yet?
Yes, I am knitting a large ginger beard. Not really. Here is (are?) the beginnings of one of my twin shawls. This was after only a couple of days, and before I was distracted by some hand-painted Opal sock yarn. I have now knitted three-quarters of a sock, but cannot report further progress on either shawl.

I am now unable to put my sock down and will most likely finish it before picking up on the shawls again. Here is the sock (a couple of days ago):

The stitch is Stansfield #10 from Sensational Knitted Socks. The colourway is Midsummer Night's Dream. The colours are so much darker than I expected - nothing like the bright colours in the photo, but this happens, I suppose. Sometimes it takes something like this to make you realise what it is that really pleases you. These dark colours are quite striking if you look at them close-up, but I now know for certain that I prefer something lighter (not usually pastel, though), brighter and - dare I say it - more feminine.

I had trouble deciding which stitch to knit the socks in, too. About ten rows in, I still wasn't very happy with Stansfield #10. I don't know why. Maybe it's too austere when combined with this colourway. Thing is, though it's not making my heart flutter, I do feel the pattern shows the yarn off quite nicely. This yarn is lovely to knit with - it's all springy and has a lot of body. I do really like it, but can't help feeling that the yarn and pattern combined were really meant for a man. And not a flibbertygibbet thing like me.

Soon, I will tell you about the shawls, and the "issues" I have. Oh, things just aren't tickety-boo knitting-wise, at present. I feel as though I've made some errors of judgement. However, as all knitting is good knitting, and, it's the journey that counts, etc., it's okay.

Before I go, I am so ashamed of not thanking you all for your lovely comments on my Edwardian wotsit. So, thank you, all of you.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Ooooh, Look!

The Snowman, built at 8:30 this morning.

Charles, with a black eye. That's what comes of throwing a wooden brick at the wall, and it bouncing back at you.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Love Makes Little Things Grow

Here is the hat I knitted for Charles, in Twilley's Freedom Wool, colour Ocean. How quick this was! I knitted it on much smaller needles than called for, as it was meant for a three-year-old. It worked, and the fabric is so dense that it couldn't fail to keep you toasty. Thing is, Charlie will not, absolutely will not, wear it. I tried the same tricks as I used when I knitted the blue Odessa...."it's a train-driver hat"......"it's a Thunderbirds skiing hat", etc. It did not work and he cries real tears if I even look at him with intent whilst holding it. I have the same problem with the knee-high blue socks I knitted. It's weird. He will wear the Lana Grossa socks. They are softer, but I wouldn't say the Opal ones are too rough. I think children just decide something and they stick with it out of principle and not for any good reason.
But never mind - I have already worn this hat a couple of times and I love it. I may knit another in PINK (you know how I love pink (but not baby pink), though I only realised it after knitting everything in pink without even noticing).

Pattern: Snail Hat from Knitting Without Tears, 5mm needles, with Twilley's Freedom Wool in colour Ocean

Sorry, the photos were taken in the dark.

I have started not one, but two shawls (and both the same ) and will enlighten you soon.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

At Long Last.....

.......not just the Edwardian Lace Stole, but a photo in which I am smiling!! At long last. Indeed.

First - I know, I'm wearing that skirt again. It's my comfy skirt and I wear it all the time. And yes, with handknitted socks and clogs. So, that's out of the way.

Here is the Edwardian Lace Stole, from Heirloom Lace. It really is divine, though how useful it will be, I'm not sure. But is that the point of knitting - to make useful things? Not wholly, I think. But that's another story.

I could have knitted this stole in a month or so. Each repeat didn't take long at all - there are twenty-eight, so even if I'd knitted one a day, it would only have been a month. But six......... As I mentioned before, I just got bored with it. If it had been a sweater that I was looking forward to wearing, maybe I'd have hurried along a bit. The pattern was easy, though I had to get my head round the provisional cast-on and picking up the stitches from it, in order to knit the second half. It wasn't that this was difficult, it was more making sure I understood the directions. I have to say, whenever I had any kind of query, Sharon Miller at Heirloom was wonderful at helping out.

The really horrid bit of lace knitting is the blocking. How do people make it look so easy? I mean, they show a photo of their blocking in progress, and it all looks so perfect and even. I tell you, my attempt looked nothing like that. The edges weren't even - honestly, it was NOT a regular rectangle, as it tapered towards one end. I could not seem to manipulate the yarn to do exactly what I wanted. Maybe I was trying to stretch it too much width-ways to start off with and the yarn just had no more left to give when I reached the other end. I couldn't get the bloomin ends to match, and the pins had a life of their own: they kept popping out all over the place. And I'm impatient. Having washed the stole and throttled the life out of it, and then wrapped it in a towel and jumped on it a few times, it was pretty dry when I started pinning it out. So, after pinning for AGES, I gave it a quick blast with my most scary hairdrier and promptly unpinned it and tossed it over my shoulders. Bob's your uncle. Next time I am not attempting to block a lace ANYTHING without special, special wires.

I have another lace shawl to knit, in the KSH again. It's the Dove Shawl, and I've had the pattern since September. Will post a photo of it soon, though I think some of you may have come across it already. I'm fully expecting to take a long time knitting it, as I find the rows and rows of the same pattern repeats quite monotonous.

Thanks for the suggestions for Charlie's hat. I ordered some Twilley's in Ocean as soon as Jo mentioned it. Thanks
Jo. And thanks Frankie, I looked at the Colinette after the event and like the look of it, so will try that out soon.

Friendsheep, the reason I'm so on track with my ufos, is that I don't have any new yarn to start anything else with. I've even had the KSH for the Dove Shawl since September!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Currently in Progress

I haven't mentioned Shedir lately, as I haven't spent any sizeable chunks of time working on it. I find I really have to concentrate on what I'm doing, otherwise it all goes wrong. For some reason cables have this effect on me, where lace doesn't (not to the same extent, at least). So I've been knitting a row here and there and have now done the first few rows of the second repeat. What makes it worthwhile for me is seeing the pattern emerging - otherwise I might not bother with what I find to be quite hard work. I'm using Felted Tweed for Shedir, and it's pleasant, but not one of my favourites. Thing is, I can't say why. I like the way it looks, more than the way it feels to knit with. Having said that, I like the way it feels once knitted. Weird.

I'm also still working on the second of Nick's socks, which I started back in April last year. The fact that each sock has 90sts isn't a good enough reason for this delay. I just got bored. The slipped-stitch-rib pattern isn't interesting enough to keep me, well, interested. On the other hand, I have to look at it whilst knitting, so it's not exactly mindless knitting.

I've resurrected the Edwardian Lace Stole as a wip in the last week or so. You may remember I started this back in August and, having completed one half, just stopped. Again, I think I became bored with the same old stitch pattern. Anyway, when I picked it up again I immediately liked the feel of the Kidsilk Haze with the bamboo addis, and wondered why I'd left it for so long. I mean, I can knit this pattern while Charles chatters away, or the TV is on. Now, there are only three more repeats to knit, plus the top edge. Don't hold your breath, though. You know it could still take me a few months.

I want to knit a little hat for Charles, from the Elizabeth Zimmerman, Knitting Without Tears. It's the snail hat and I need a yarn that can do approx 7-8 sts to three inches. Cripes! That's big. Anyone know of anything nice I could use (wool - something natural)?

Before I go, thanks for all your comments on my Forecast. I'm enjoying wearing it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

On Not Having Enough (Yarn)

Here is my latest Forecast, knitted with eight balls of Debbie Bliss Felted Tweed (I think), on the needle sizes recommended in the pattern. My first Forecast was knitted in Cascade 220, which is very soft and springy, compared to the Felted Tweed, which is much rougher and stiffer. I actually prefer the stiffness of the Felted Tweed for Forecast - it makes quite a robust fabric and the ribbing on the cardi is more flattering in the Tweed, as it holds everything in slightly! Heaven knows what will happen when it's washed (I haven't blocked it). Anyway, half way through the first sleeve, I realised I wouldn't have enough yarn. It was pretty easy to suss this out, as I'd had two balls left with which to do both sleeves, and as I'd got through three-quarters of one ball before the first sleeve was half done, it was safe to assume I wouldn't have enough for two long sleeves. That is why I knitted them to just above the elbow. Having done that I realised the shape needed balancing out, by adding more "weight" at the edges, hence the frills. So, on to the button bands - again I didn't have enough yarn and decided that the cardi would look quite cool with buttons on the lower half only - and that's what I did. It was so quick to knit such a tiny button band, and very rewarding when I saw how much I liked the result. I think this is my favourite knitted item. By the way, I'm wearing my sunglasses because I looked pretty frightful without them.

The neck warmer I'm wearing in the photo is knitted on 7mm needles, from one ball of Sirdar Vegas (which is representative of the type of yarn available where I live - you know what I mean?) Anyway, I was suffering from yarn deprivation when I bought it. I intended to knit a scarf but didn't have enough. That's why it turned into a neck warmer (I sewed the two ends together). Putting prejudices aside - I really like it and will probably make another in a different colour. Where so many knitters dislike the boredom that results from knitting the same thing twice, I seem to like the known territory. I must be so boring.

ADDED LATER...........Sorry everyone - it's Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed, not Felted Tweed, (what a donkey I am). £1.77 a ball from Jannette.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Baby Cable Rib

I started these socks on Saturday and finshed them on Thursday. Usually it takes me ages to knit a pair of socks, especially if they're not just plain stocking stitch, so I'm really pleased. The baby cable rib pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks - a very useful book - and is on 56sts and 2.5mm needles. The yarn is Opal 4-ply.

I have actually finished Nick's sock, which I started last April. I've just cast-on 90sts for the other sock. So now I can look forward to loads and loads of 3 x 3 slipped-stitch ribbing. It's okay though, as I'm finding that these days I'm content to sit and knit and don't really mind what it is (if it's my "mindless" project of the moment). I used 47g out of 100g for the first sock so I'm hoping I'll have enough for the second. I should have, as I have 6g to play with and that's quite a lot, I suppose. But then, you know what my tension is like, so it may be a bit hair-raising towards the end.

My hair is dark brown again, by the way. Now I can wear my funky/odd clothes again without it all being too much.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Six Weird Things

I have been tagged by
Kathryn (before Xmas!), Forbidden Knitter and Cherry, to list six weird things about myself. This was difficult as, although I sometimes think I'm weird, I couldn't think of why! I still can't, so I've just grabbed six out of the air:

I have to put tins, packets, spoons (everything, in fact) up the right way, even on the conveyor belt when shopping. Packets and tins absolutely must be opened at the top. I don't know what might happen if I forgot one day. I could never forget, so it's not an issue.

I am the worst (best?) hypochondriac I know, except for most members of my family. I am thinking of getting "help" as it's taking over my life again. This is not a good weird thing. It is very bad.

I absolutely cannot be too restricted (eg, someone pinning me down, in fun). I was once wrapped in a carpet as a child (by other children) and have never forgotten the feeling of claustrophobia, even though they kindly left my head poking out. I go ABSOLUTELY CRAZY if anyone attempts to hold me down, even if it's just my hands.

Like Cherry I often throw an impromptu disco for myself and Charlie, or on my own. I can get into quite a euphoric state dancing to cheesy tunes (even Cliff Richard.....). If you've never tried it, do. You might surprise yourself.

I don't answer the phone. I like to be able to choose who I speak with, and when. You can imagine how much I detest my door-bell ringing.

I eat strange combinations of foods. I don't mind if they don't go together, as long as I like each food. I went through a phase of having tuna and sprouts every day. I love sprouts and still eat them several times a week, as a snack.

Well, that's six. I could do a few more but wouldn't wish to bore your pants off.