Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Light the fire!

It has been a while since I last posted here as things have been crazy and sometimes ugly and I thought it better to keep my thoughts to myself for the time being. The fight with Social services is something you would not believe and I thank you all for thinking and praying for us as we work through this dark time.

You may recall that I wrote about a shawl of unusual construction I was working on for Anni - well the preview of that design is now available for all to see here:  Lamorna Cove

Also on the needles is the lace weight test / sample of this years mystery knit a long, it is a really lovely pattern and I am going to have to be persuaded to part with it to be honest! See how well it goes with my glasses?

I have only got a few rows to go and then it will need to be packed up and posted off back home again. It has been a lovely knit and I look forward to being able to share the finished picture but not until all the clues have been released. 

Once this is off my needles I shall be clicking away at my half of the BFF Cowl which I have started work on but have plenty left to do. It is a lovely pattern once you get your head around the construction of the folded edge and I am really excited to see how the other piece of the cowl is worked, once both parts are done the swap can take place and all will be revealed......

The weather here has taken a turn for the dark and chilly side and the stove has been burning brightly every evening - just a small comfort in the turn of the seasons but one that makes me feel just a little better about life.

I hope that your fires are burning brightly and all is well! Sxx

Friday, 24 August 2012

New Routines!

The summer has passed in a bit of a blur here so once Lottie had her apprenticeship place the next thing seemed to be results and her 18th Birthday. She got 2C's and a D (English, Physics and Maths) which would have been enough to get her into the Uni of her choice if she had wanted to go. Work started in earnest on Monday of this week and we have to drive to the station for the 8.30 train and then pick her up again at 6.45pm. Hopefully she will be able to drive herself to the station soon but in the meantime it provides some good practice time for her behind the wheel.

Speaking of wheels I have been emptying some of my bobbins of the remnants of spun yarn that needed plying. The left overs I had were the ends of fibre that I had spun into uneven lengths on the bobbin meaning that when I had been doing a 2 ply yarn one bobbin had more on it than another. I plucked up the courage to ply from a centre pull ball using both ends to give the 2 plies needed. I was a bit worried as I had heard that this could be a tricky thing to do but as it was only  partial bobbins I thought it was worth a try! It
worked quite successfully and you can see the bobbin end yarns are the skinny skeins next to the full size ones plus my lovely assistant ( I am not sure why there is a green stripe in the photo - I don't have any green on my carpet).

I have now finished off my colour affection shawl - it was such an easy knit and I really enjoyed it. 

I have also  made progress on the Rams and Yowes blanket and a couple of my sushi shawls - it would seem that this summer has been all about making progress rather than starting new projects! 

Hopefully there should be more spinning soon as I have discovered that my bobbins from the 'traditional' fit the freedom flyer on my new 'Joy' so I have lots more bobbins spare than I first thought!

Have a lovely bank holiday weekend! Sxx

Friday, 27 July 2012

Long overdue!

I know it has been a while since I blogged but really I have had nothing good to share with you until now.

Ted is happily still here to the amazement and joy of all of us although we have had a couple of rough patches he is still happy and not in pain and more than that he just wants to be here!

I haven't mentioned it but my Autistic sister is going through a nightmare time with Social services and we are having an almighty battle to try and get her to be allowed home again sadly court hearing number 3 will be in November and I am just praying for a miracle to happen for her. I can't really say too much but it is the worst thing ever!

Happily though I can say that Lottie has been offered an apprenticeship in digital marketing over in Liverpool. It will be a bit of a commute but will give her experience and a qualification whilst she earns a little bit as well. In this climate I think that can only be seen as a positive out come for her. Ironically she has also just been asked back to a second interview for another one she applied for but we think that a bird in the hand is worth more than 2 in the bush so to speak.

On the knitting front I am almost done with a shawl for Anni which is quite unusual in construction. I think it will be released later in the year and I will keep you posted on that.

Perhaps at this point you might want to sit down because I have actually finished something, other than commission projects that is! You may remember that last summer at my lowest point I was sent an unfinished shawl by Dee from Posh yarn in a lovely chocolate brown alpaca? Well finally it is finished! It is the biggest shawl I have ever knitted and I can't even begin to express what it means to me. It has kept me company through some tough times and although I have only worked on it intermittently I have felt its presence when I needed it most. It was with very mixed emotions that I grafted the edging together, happy that it was done and I had a beautiful shawl but sad that the process had come to an end.

You can see why I look at this shawl and think of my precious boy can't you? I don't really know why I love Pi shawls so much as they take so long to make a really good sized one but I can't help thinking that they are my favourite shape to knit ever and I have tried a good many!

Hopefully I shall be finishing a few more UFO's soon and I will be back to share them with you all, Sxx

Monday, 28 May 2012

On a more cheery note...

Oops sorry about that it seems I was having a bad week last week! Occasionally the tiredness overwhelms me and I come out all cross and grumpy!

This week it is all about a deadline scarf and I shall be knitting like mad to get it finished. It is a slippery alpaca / bamboo mix and it took the trusty knitpics needles to keep it under control. Sadly I can't share it with you yet but I will once I am able. More soon, Sx

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

May is flying!

I am finding it really hard to blog at the moment as life is pretty much a cope with each day as it happens kind of thing. Ted is plodding along in his happy and contented kind of existence and I seem to just do whatever it takes to keep him that way. Lottie is working hard but finding that A levels are very stressful right now and wishing that the next 4 weeks would be over and done with soon.

I have several projects on the needles but this is my current favourite:

It is the Chameleon shawl and right now the simple garter stitch is just what is needed while I watch TV at night.

Before I pop off and leave you in peace I wanted to share a quick link with you. I love the work that this lady does and one day I hope to be able to own some of it, she is based in my favourite county - Norfolk and I love those little ceramic hens so much! potterjotter.blogspot

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Big bag, little bag, cardboard box!

Hmm, seems like I have begun a collection without realising it - you might recall my post about my hexibag and little dumpling bag well I also really wanted another little bag which is as yet unnamed but looks like this:

When it arrived I immediately filled it with a sushi shawl as I had one that needed a home to carry it about in but I had one more project that wouldn't fit into anything (you might remember Dee's unloved shawl) which had been stuffed into a basket for lack of a home.

I emailed Marianne to ask if she could make me a bigger version of the nameless pouch as I felt that it would be perfect for this project and this is what she made for me:

I believe that it may be called the Fluff bucket as that was what I termed it and I think it stuck? I called it this because as I opened the tissue wrapped package my first thought was wow this is a big bucket! As I opened it up I noticed the word Fluff was stitched on the pocket and so Fluff bucket it was. It holds Dee's unloved shawl beautifully and sits at the side of the Sofa so that I can pick it up and do a few rows of the edging in between other projects on the go. Speaking of which I have a finished shawl (don't pass out with surprise they do get finished eventually) it is the Mar Menor shawl I cast on at the beginning of March. Sadly I had to looses a few rows of the stocking stitch before the last pattern part and still I ran out of yarn on the cast off. Fortunately I had a similar colour way in the sock yarn stash and I had already started to have more stitches between  the beaded picos - my tension is not normally that far off Anni's so I wonder if either mine or her skein was wrong on the yardage front (I have had that happen before with Arucania yarn). But most importantly it is finished and blocked.

Lastly I thought I would share with you the contents of my cardboard box - it arrived on Tuesday and put a hold on the rest of the day whilst I played with it. What do you think?

I still have to sell my Old Ashford traditional but didn't want to miss out on the chance to get the new one whilst it was on offer! I have some hand spun yarns to show you but I think they will have to wait a while before I show you.

Have a lovely Easter and I will be back again soon I hope. Sxx

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Too long!

Sorry it has been a while since my last post, life here has been plodding along as ever although we have had a bit of a readjustment in terms of meds for Ted which has resulted in me no longer having to get up at 6am for his first lot of tablets. I can now have a lie in until 7am which is lovely although I do still have to get up at 2am and he now has a full lot of tablets then as well as his injection. There are many hours of sleep still to catch up on but along with the lighter mornings I am feeling much more perky. Ted is much better too and the cardiologist is stunned that he is doing so well now and finally putting some weight back on after all he has lost recently.

On the knitting front I have made a little progress with the sheep blanket

but most of my time has been taken up with the linen top of doom (we had a small sizing hiccup so back to the start it went)
and a small shawl that I can knit when it is too dark to see the dark linen yarn.
I have been using the continental method for everything except the linen top as the yarn has no give in it and I really love this method of working. I hope that now I am a little less tired that I can increase my knitting output as I have so much to do and a little more energy to do it with. I trust that all is well with you all. Sx

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Road testing!

Last week I was fortunate enough to get the chance to learn a whole new skill and road test a new way of doing it. You all know that I test and sample knit for 'Yarn addict Anni' but last weeks challenge was totally different I was testing the new on-line class for Continental knitting a skill I have wanted for ages and after 5 days of classes I can say it is an amazing way to learn and if you fancy learning then you should give this class a go!

I really love that I was able to play the classes at any time, 6am seemed as good as any, I could revisit each video as many times as  I needed to, in fact after a couple of days I went back again and replayed each stitch as I found that the revisit showed me things I had missed first time around. I practised on a couple of my 'sushi shawls in progress' as they had the stitch combinations I was after

and today I have cast on the Rams and Yowes blanket that I have been waiting to have a go at. By learning to do continental knitting I am able to combine it with English knitting and use both hands for the colour work and that is what I call a total result. I am still getting quicker the more I practice but I am more than happy with the pace I have achieved in the few days since I began learning. Bearing in mind I have been knitting on and off for more than 30 years I am almost as quick as my normal English knitting pace - I just need to learn how to do it without looking and I will be over the moon!

Having said I have been knitting for a long time I have never done colour work like this - years ago I made my young sister a care bear jumper but it was  intarsia  not fair isle knitting. In short I have revolutionised my knitting and had a ball in doing so! Would I recommend this on-line course absolutely I would without hesitation. What are you all knitting at the moment and are you having more fun with it than me? Hopefully more on the blanket progress soon, Sxx

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Herman and the podcasts!

So Tuesday was B day for Herman and despite Allison cautioning me against the horrors of someone else having pre owned a part of him I went ahead and baked him! I totally understand where you were coming from on the pre owning front Allison but as I know the last 2 owners quite well I felt that it would be ok. I have to confess he is delicious and isn't helping my expanding waist line much at all!

My podcast journey began a good few years ago and coincides with the start of the Wiggly wigglers podcast. I am a bit of a 'greeny' and had bought a wormery from them and so wanted the chance to learn more about what they get up to down in Herefordshire. I have to confess they are hilarious and also quite informative on coutryside matters!

After I had been hooked by the podcast bug I then went on to look for other things I might like to listen to and quickly found The knitmore girls currently they are on a break as Jasmin has just had a baby but it is worth listening to some of the back episodes if you are new to them as they have some great stuff going on.

I have a couple more American podcasts that I also listen to from time to time but  recently more uk ones have begun to pop up. My current line up is: a playful daycast-onElectric sheepknit spin cake and yarns from the plain.

Have I missed any that you love? Please let me know so I can give them a try. Hopefully there are some here you haven't listened to and can give them a go - let me know what you think.

Will be back with pictures of knitted stuff soon! Sx

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Succumbed to Socks!

It has been a while since I have knitted socks and recently it seems lots of folks are making some lovely ones and I got to wondering why I stopped. It would seem that I don't like heel flap heels and hate the stitch picking up part - my favourite socks are all short row wrap and turn heels. So having flipped through my lovely 'Socktopus' book I decided to try something new with the Spring shoots socks . These socks are toe up and also done by knitting the foot and heel then snipping it open to add the leg. Progress is slow due to the 'commission cardi' that and the fact that I started knitting a medium and had to go back because it turns out my foot is a small! These are my 6am knitting project as I can almost knit them in my sleep! Turns out I am much more accomplished at doing things in virtual sleep mode than I ever though possible! The only down side to living this way is that my body doesn't seem to be burning up the calories as quickly and my middle is getting bigger - much like poor Ted as well but for very different reasons.

Last weekend we were given a 'Herman cake' which is a sour dough friendship cake that you look after for 9 days (adding things as you go) and then split up and bake your share. It is a lovely idea but smells like a brewery (guess the yeast part is working) and I can't wait to bake our bit of him. We have a few more days to go and I will be able to share him with you (virtually that is) but it has been a bit of fun really.

I do have a question for you though - does anyone else listen to podcasts I have a few favourites mostly knitting related but wondered if I am alone in my love of them? I like to listen to them when I am in the car on my own pootling off to collect one of my lot or on my way back from dropping them off. Let me know if you have a favourite please?

Monday, 9 January 2012

Bags of Fun!

Way back in October I was lucky enough to get to the top of the list for a Hexibag from Picperfic and I was over the moon to be able to carry my Nupkin hat around with me as I sat waiting as ever to collect my family members as and when was required.

Now being a bit of a fan girl I follow Marianne on twitter and Facebook and love to look at her pictures of other bags she has made - it was whilst I was browsing that Lottie spotted another hexibag with lovely pretty skulls on and said that she would love one of those so secretly I asked very nicely if Marianne would make me one specially for her as a Christmas surprise which she did and also she made me one of her special Little dumpling bags at the same time.

Lottie was over the moon on Christmas morning when she opened her bag to which I had added sock needles and yarn to as well (she is on her first pair of socks but it is slow going at the moment).

Now I love my hexibag a lot and I have my nupkin in there still as my grab and go project when I dash out of the door but it is the little dumpling that makes me smile everyday at the moment - it is like a little bucket and holds my very lovely ball of plumptious yarn and my current 'Cilantro' scarf project. I love the shape of it and the pretty spotty fabric and knowing that it was made just for me.

At the moment it is joy in little things keeping us all bobbing along so I wanted to share a little bit of my joy with you all just in case you were in need of some. Sx

What makes you smile today?