Thursday, June 30, 2005

Fighting with dpns

I started the French Market bag last night & anybody watching would have been laughing. I've only ever used dpns before for the i-cord (on my first felted bag - see 'Secret Project et al' in May 2005 archives) bind-off & handles. I was working with the black Jamiesons Chunky shetland - 8 stitches over 4 dpns.

Well what a farce - the needles kept falling out, I couldn't work out how to divide the stitches etc. But I got there in the end & here's my progress tonight:

French Market bag
base of French Market bag

I am now up to 20 stitches per needle - the
pattern calls to move to circulars once you've got 50 on each needle - I
don't think I'll be able to cope with that many so will move sooner. It's lovely to knit with & so quick compared with the awful cardigan.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

nearly there....

The awful cardigan is finally being blocked. I have never had this much trouble with a pattern before & hated knitting it. I've had to frog it loads of times & am ready to throw it out of the window but as I'm a stubborn witch with a lot of projects planned I was determined to finish it.

The pattern calls for the button band & collar to be picked up & knitted BEFORE sewing together & then blocking. So I've blocked it tonight, then will sew it together before finally picking up & knitting the button bands & collar. It's far too fiddly & curled due to the stocking stitch to do it any other way. After I started knitting this cardigan a few knitting friends suggested a better way to avoid curling edges so I'll slip the first stitch from now in.

Anyway I'm moving away from the awful cardigan (at least until it's blocked) & am about to start my French Market bag from Knitty - Yay!!!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Knitty Christmas in June!

I had fun on Friday morning as I recieved a parcel from my Secret Pal!!!

The contents were beautifully wrapped in silver & lilac paper & looked so inviting. I couldn't decide where to start so I chose the card

Card from Secret Pal
Card from Secret Pal

From which I think I can safely summise that my SP is a cat lover too!

Then I opened a little package containing

blue beads
blue beads

and some

red beads
red beads

Next up was this wonderful arrangement

sock yarn & pattern
sock yarn & pattern

Which means that I have to start knitting socks soon - however daunting!

Next I opened this

sock book
sock book

which really reinforces the previous sentiment - I must start socks soon!!

Finally I opened this little package:

citrus soaps
citrus soaps

Which I'm about to use in the bath tonight!

Thank you so much Secret Pal - it was so exciting to open exclusively knitty presents & not know what the parcel contained.

DD has already got her eyes on the beads to use with her Scoobies but has been told no way! Or at least let me learn how to make stitch markers first

Friday, June 24, 2005

Thank you Secret Pal

My Secret Pal sent me a fantastic parcel today - thank you.

But we're about to go away for the weekend & DH hasn't got time to take photos so I'll post some when we come home. Just to keep you hanging on everything is fantastic & it was like Knitty Christmas in my house this morning!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Getting ready...

I've been preparing for my next project once this stupid cardigan is finished. I ordered another skein of this in black as I plan to make the French Market bag from Knitty

I bought a ball winder a few months ago from ebay but as the yarn I've been using was all in balls hadn't used it until tonight.

The yarn from Moondance Wools started out like this

Moondance skeins
Jamieson's chunky from Moondance

After a bit of playing (me as the skein holder with out stretched hands & DH turning the handle) it now looks like this

Moondance balls
Jamieson's chunky from Moondance in balls

Obviously just to complicate matters one of the purple skeins had a knot half way through so I decided to make it into two smaller balls rather than one large one (that sounds rude doesn't it!!).

But as I'm not touching it yet (mantra: not yet, not yet, not yet, is repeating in my mind) it's now being housed in this

Moondance bag
Jamieson's chunky from Moondance in bag

until I've finished the awful cardigan.

Look here for a close up of the label on the bag - it's really cute. It was chucking it down as I left Margie's shop & the evidence is still there.

Secret Pal

My SP has been in touch & has a parcel ready to send me!!!! The downside is that we're hoping to go away tomorrow for the weekend (weather permitting) & I'd be gutted if I missed it & it sat in the postoffice until next weekend.

Maybe it'll arrive tomorrow morning....

Sunday, June 19, 2005


I've spent the WHOLE day cleaning, washing, ironing (big gasp) & even bigger gasp - put it ALL away. Normally clean washing sits in a basket for at least 2 days just for the fun of it & for DH to trip over on his way to bed.

Now I'm sitting on my butt & am about to tackle the awful cardigan that I'm knitting - I've had enough of the pattern - it's full of mistakes & is so frustrating. I should have finished it weeks ago but have spent too long ripping it out & redoing it again & again. I will finish it before I start something new as otherwise the intended recipicant will be a grandfather before he receives it.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Domestic goddess? - I think not

DD's school held a summer fair today but she was already entered for a swimming gala. The school asked for parents to held man stalls etc. I didn't offer anything for obvious reasons but when another letter was sent out saying that the fair might not go ahead due to a lack of parental support I offered to bake some cakes.

I was really busy yesterday so didn't start until very late.

lots of cakes

First to be finished was the

Crunchy Top Lemon cake
Crunchy Top Lemon cake

followed by the

Iced Orange sponge
Iced Orange sponge

Then a wait whilst the chocolate cake cooled before it could be iced.

Death by Chocolate
Death by Chocolate

Whilst it was cooling I threw together some chocolate cornflake buns with a bit of peppermint essence & named them

After Eight Clusters
After Eight Clusters

DD was gutted that she couldn't have any chocolate cake but I did save her two clusters.

But don't get the wrong idea & presume that I'm some sort of Domestic Goddess - not at all. Our house is in the process of being extended by DH (since July 04) & things are all over the place. I do my best but sometimes it's so depressing that I don't have the inclination to clean it up.

DD did really well in her gala this afternoon & came home with 3 medals - 2x 4th & 1x 6th. She'd never swum 200m backstroke before & came 4th in her age group. There were 6 girls in her age group that swum it but 2 were disqualified so she did really well (it's REALLY easy to get disqualified in competitive swimming). She also beat a girl who wins everything, in the 100m breaststoke, by a full 2 seconds. So she got to chose dinner tonight - Take Away pizza with
a cheese stuffed crust, garlic bread & chips.

Last week I mentioned that DD racing up to the loo fell on the bare stairs & hurt her legs - look at the state of them 6 days later.

DD's bruised legs
My DD's bruised legs

She's insisted on wearing a short skirt all week to school as it's warm - I'm worried people are going to think that we've beaten her up. DH has been calling her the Zebra

Do I? Don't I?

I've been sat here at the PC finger poised asking myself that question.

The question relates to this on ebay. In the end I decided not to give in to temptation for now mainly as I found it on Amazon in a spiral bound copy.

Which leads to my next point - why aren't more knitting books spiral bound? It's so much easier to follow patterns or tips if you can open the book out properly without breaking the spine. I hope that Rowan & other knitting 'leaders' decide to go this way soon.

I tend to use a photocopy from my book when I'm using a pattern purely because I knit on poolside whilst DD is training & often get splashed. Especially when you've got 20 kids ploughing up & down doing butterfly or a kick drill. But a nice spiral bound book would be great to use at home or in a dry environment.

Do you think book publishers read knitting blogs????

Friday, June 17, 2005

Yardage nightmares

I bought 500g of Rowan Cork in BRIGHT orange in the January sales for £9 instead of £49.50 - a real bargain but I hate orange. However two of my friends really love it & so does another friends' 1 year old son. Before I started scarves for the first two friends (see Gift Stash 2005 - Fay 1 & 2), I searched for a pattern for the little boy.

I couldn't find anything small enough so resigned myself to using it all for scarves. Until last Friday night. I was searching through all my magazines for aran patterns & remembered that I had last Summers Woman's Weekly Knitting & Stitching Special. It has a great pattern for toddler aran cabled hoddies. When I dug it out I discovered that the yarn was Cork not aran as I'd remembered it. I'm 29g short for the 18 - 24 mths size which is a really bummer. But I'm going to go for it & use a different yarn to sew it up with. If necessary I can unpick one of the Fay scarves & steal a bit but I'd rather not.

Second annoying thing - I've got 490g of Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in a lovely dark bluey purple which I'd put aside for DD. I'd planned to knit Cameron from A Season's Tale. It requires 500g of Rowan Spun Aran in version 4 which is what I want to make for DD size 10/11 which has a yardage of 1095 yds. My 490g of DB Merion Aran has a yardage of 744.8 yds - I feel like crying. The colour would look fantastic on her but it's such a shortfall that I don't want to risk it. I've just contacted the place where I got it from in the vain hope that they've got any left but it's a slim chance.

Any ideas or suggestions of alternative patterns anyone? DD is 10 in October but is tall for a 9 year old & towers over most of her friends hence choosing the 10/11 size.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Update on a busy week

I've been so busy & have done so much in the last week that I'm not sure where to start so I'll do it in order of events.

It was our 10th wedding anniversary last week so we went out for an Italian meal. It was fantastic & we intend to go back there again.

On Friday 'In Stitches' met again & what a meeting. There were 10 of us for the first time & that included 3 new members. If we all got together the room would be really crowded. The room was buzzing & everyone enjoyed themselves but I never get much knitting done

I had the weekend to myself which was a treat as DH & DD went to Cardiff for the Speedway Grand Prix. I went out for the day & met up with two knitting friends. We had a great time & went to a great restaurant where we stayed over 4 hours. I don't know if knitting has been discussed such depth in a curry house before or tips & problems shared with yarn & needles flashing but we had fun.

Yesterday another knitting friend came round & we discussed patterns & yarn. The dogs & Monet (cat yet to be introduced) thought that she was fantastic. The house seemed so quiet & peaceful - which was shattered when they came home. DD rushed in dying for the toilet, slipped on the bare stairs (the carpet is up due to the house building) & smashed her shins - the shreeks seems so loud compared to the rest of the day. I calmed her down & then sat applying witch hazel to the brusied legs - back to normal.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


I added loads of new photos to the gallery a few days ago so please feel free to check it out. I'm still waiting for a photo of the baby blanket that I did for my nextdoor neighbours baby - I should have taken one before I gave it to them.

I'd also put loads to my last post under the links. We had so many that I didn't want to crowd the post so check them out. My favourites are of the dogs playing on the beach from 'gallops' to 'chilled'.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Lifeline restored & details of our latest trip - warning LOADS of photos & links

We're back online again - what a nightmare it's been. I NEVER watch TV normally but last night I sat down & watched 3 programmes in a row out of pure boredom. I got loads of knitting down which was a good thing so I've decided that I spend too much time on the computer but what the heck - we're back online.

I'm going to pick out the best bits rather than a day by day account as that would be too tedious..

On the first morning I went into Alnwick to pick up some food & also to check out the LYS's. I bought some Sirdar Denim Tweed DK to make a cardigan for my friends' son who will be one on Friday & also my first ball of sock yarn!

Denim Tweed & Pattern
Denim Tweed & Pattern

Opal Sock Yarn
Opal Sock Yarn

Of course I had to cast on the cardigan straight away so the planned projects in my bag didn't see the light of day. Two days ago when DH took the photos I'd done part of the left front & the back.

I'm just about to finish the left front now & am rushing to get it finished as I've only got a few days until his birthday. It won't be finished in time but his mum knows I'm doing something & luckily he's too young to realise that it's late.

We spent a day at Alnwick Garden & also went in the Tree House. Unfortunately DH didn't take his camera so I don't have any amazing photos for you.

We visited the Scottish border & the kids had great fun stepping from England into Scotland & back again. We took them to a childrens farm just before the border & they fed the goats, sheep & ducks. We also saw some Llamas & DD wanted to bring a new friend home with her.

Opal Sock Yarn
Dogs at the Scottish Border

On a horribly wet rainy day I left DH & DD in the caravan watching DVD's & playing on the xbox & went up North to visit Moondance Wools.
Wow - this place was well worth a visit. It was like an Aladdins Cave - the more you looked the more treasures you saw.

Margie was very welcoming & I was so tempted to blow my good intentions & use my visa. I bought some fantastic Castlemilk Moorit to make Sophie from Rowan 30.

Castlemilk Moorit
Castlemilk Moorit for Sophie

I endulged in 300g of this & plan to make another felted bag with it. Margie had a great pattern in a Jamieson's book but it was rather expensive so I left it.

I also bought the Winter 2004 copy of Interweave Knits, The Knitters Companion & a present for my Secret Pal - but no photos here! DH went mad that I bought more yarn as I have loads already but he doesn't realise how restrained I had been. I could have easily bought 10 times more but kept a mantra going in my head "Your Stash is Big Enough".

I had planned to visit the workshop of a local felter recommended by Margie of Moondance Wools but a dog related problem meant that I couldn't. Due to their appalling breeding (both were rescued from the same breeder) my dogs have von Willebrands Disease (Annie bleeds more severely than Blue). She got a minor nick to her ear the previous evening whilst playing with another dog but it wasn't bleeding when I got up that morning. After visiting Moondance Wools I stopped at Coldingham Bay to give the dogs a gallop in the rain before driving back. When Annie came back to me I noticed that she had blood all over her cheek. A few phone calls later & I was back down to Alnwick to collect the necessary medication from the vets - it was very stressful. 36 hours of sedation & she was fine as it was such a minor cut. I was really annoyed with myself as I'd taken the drugs necessary if she needs a transfusion but left the tablets at home that help when she has a tiny nick.

When we visit this part of the county next I would love to do one of the workshops that Moondance Wools offer on either weaving, spinning or felting.

The dogs enjoyed their gallops on the beach at Embleton Bay, stalking & chasing each other. It's a great way to get rid of their bounce & I then had calm & chilled dogs for the day.

We also visited Cragside House which is run by the The National Trust.

Cragside House
Cragside House

The gardens were amazing & we drove around the estate amongst the rhodendrums & loads of other flowers that I don't know.

Towards the end of the week we spent an evening on the beach as the kids hadn't spent much time there. They really enjoyed digging & burying themselves in the sand. Annie & Blue had also had fun as did DH taking loads of pictures as usual.

the beach at night
Embleton bay at dusk

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Utility nightmare

Yesterdays post brought us a gas bill for £3316 & we were in credit in February! So total panic as I was on hold for ages & DD had to crawl into the understairs cupboard to get a meter reading for me. We're ok as it's a mistake & we're still in credit - I've asked for a cheque so we can have the money back.

Then today when I came in from work - the phone was totally dead! Luckily my mobile had some credit on it & I was able to ring DH. He contacted the phone company & there is a fault in the area which won't be fixed until tomorrow night :-( So no internet access from home & the house will be quiet this evening.

I'm wondering what's going to happen tomorrow.

Just in case you're wondering I'm in a library using public pc's - very sad as our connection has only been off for about 4 hours but we had some time between a dentist appointment & DD's swimming & I'm making the most of it.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Secret Pal

My Secret Pal has been in touch via email as she couldn't read the link to my Amazon wish list. All I've been able to work out so far is that she's also in England! It feels really weird to think that someone is reading my blog trying to work out what sort of things I like & is then shopping for me!

My other SP (whom I'm sending to) has also been in touch. I'd sent her an email before we went & two postcards whilst we were away. She's received one so far so at least I know that the address is ok. I've posted her a parcel today by surface (she's overseas) & am looking forward to reading her reaction when she gets it.

I had a bit of a hard time accessing her questionnaire as it wasn't up by the time we went away. I ended up ringing my SIL from my mobile whilst walking with the dogs across a field in the pouring rain - dedication or what. I had to do it as I was visiting somewhere fantastic that day & needed to know what she liked. It was worth it & I hope she loves what I've sent her.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Back home

Just a quick post before I go to bed. We're back & are all knackered. We had a good time but a really mixed bag weatherwise. From gales so strong on Saturday that some trees came down to extremely heavy rain - so heavy that we had a river running through our awning! I jest not. We were pitched behind a windbreak of trees which was great when it was blowing a gale but for some reason the water ran off the trees & went straight through our awning. DH & I discovered last night that if we stood in the awning the water went over our toes!

It was last night that I realised the benefits of not owning a dog! - no need to go out in awful weather getting wet. I couldn't see where I was going & I can't use a torch as DH in his infinite wisdom taught Blue to chase light beams when she was a puppy so torches send her absolutely scatty. Annie took ages to pee as she couldn't find the right spot as everything was too soggy.

I'll post re our travels & my knitting & yarn purchases soon when I've sorted out photos etc.