Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Nice surprise

I came in tonight after the Kids Knitting Club at DD's school, to an empty house, bouncy dogs & a mad rush to get DD fed in time for swimming, to find a nice surprise in my inbox. My SP had sent me an e-card from GGH

SP7 e-card

with the following message

"Have a happy day!

Cheerio for now, your SP"

Isn't it cute! I think it's a Lemur - any better suggestions?

Thanks SP - I've got absolutely no idea who you are but look forward to getting to know you.

Monday, January 23, 2006

SP & Comments

I've heard from my SP & she'd left some comments on my blog but they hadn't shown up. A quick look in my template & I discovered that moderation was on with an email address as instructed but I hadn't received anything from blogger.

I haven't received any since mid December but thought that nobody wanted to comment on anything Moderation has now been removed so please leave me a note so that I know I'm not totally alone in my ramblings in cyber space

I've been in touch with the SP that I'm sending to & she seems really nice. I've been searching for goodies for her & hope she enjoys what I send her.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

100 things about me

1 - I'm a Taurian
2 - born in the year of the Pig
3 - I'm an only child
4 - I have blue eyes
5 - I was born in London
6 - I left London when I was 18
7 - I spent a year in India when I was 8
8 - I learnt to swim when I was 9
9 - I'm right handed
10 - I can touch type
11 - I HATE the colour orange
12 - I can't touch my nose with my tongue
13 - I am a vegetarian
14 - I HATE beetroot
15 - I like cooking
16 - I am good at baking cakes
17 - I have a good telephone manner
18 - I am scared of heights
19 - I have a 'sensitivity' to anaesthetic
20 - I can't roller or ice skate
21 - I have a very good sense of smell
22 - I have a very weak stomach - combined with the above - I throw up at bad smells!
23 - I can drive a car
24 - I can groom dogs
25 - I love reading
26 - I can't stand heavy floral scents
27 - I hate Turkish Delight
28 - I also can't stand Mince Pies
29 - I had a mole removed on my arm as it was bleeding but it was ok
30 - I've had two wisdom teeth removed
31 - I wore braces as a child
32 - I freckle easily in the sun
33 - I can't stand my feet being touched - in fact I don't like feet full stop
34 - I have one child
35 - I was very close to my Nana who died in August '99
36 - I have a BA (Hons) 2:1 in Humanities but haven't used my degree work wise
37 - I can ride a bike
38 - I love animals
39 - I had an awful childhood
40 - I don't have any contact with my mother
41 - I miss my Grandparents
42 - I am stubborn
43 - I tried to commit suicide when I was 20 but a friend found me
44 - I love going to the cinema
45 - I don't watch a lot of TV
46 - I've never been to a football match
47 - I love Cranberry juice
48 - I don't drink tea or coffee
49 - I was very ill when I was 19 but have now fully recovered
50 - I am very independent as I've always had to look after myself
51 - I used to be a dog trainer
52 - I used to show pedigree dogs & have won awards for handling dogs
53 - I like baked potatoes
54 - I love fruit
55 - I like cheese
56 - I can't stand runny eggs
57 - I don't snore
58 - I love being massaged
59 - I get car sick if I sit in the back
60 - I avoid having my photo taken
61 - I don't like wearing make-up
62 - I hate shopping for clothes & find it really stressful
63 - I was born on St George's Day
64 - I like gardening
65 - I love the colour purple
66 - apparently I've got nice eyes
67 - according to DH I'm very helpful
68 - I have never smoked & can't stand being around smokers
69 - I don't drink a lot but do enjoy a glass of red wine & Baileys
70 - I hate gin
71 - As a young child I had platinum blonde curls but now have thick chestnut brown hair
72 - I don't speak any foreign languages but wish that I could
73 - I have always wanted to go to Canada & Barcelona
74 - I would be very happy to move away from the city where I currently live
75 - I came here to go to university in 1992
76 - I met my DH in 1993 & am still here
77 - I love Indian food
78 - I'm not afraid of spiders & can pick them up
79 - I have done a course in Pet First Aid
80 - I used to play the saxaphone as a child & still have it in the loft
81 - I used to play a lot of basketball as a teenager
82 - I don't take drugs unless you count painkillers when necessary
83 - I bruise easily
84 - I like white Christmas lights rather than coloured
85 - I love walking my dogs in the snow & feeling the snow crunch under my boots
86 - I am a qualified ASA Timekeeper (for competitive swimming)
87 - I love being held
88 - I can't stand bullying
89 - I don't like beards
90 - I can't wear nickle ear rings
91 - I have a Recruitment qualification from a previous job
92 - I have been threatened by my boss in a previous job
93 - I breastfed my daughter
94 - I like & respect my current boss
95 - I love dancing
96 - I like liquorice
97 - I can't eat coleslaw
98 - I don't bite my nails
99 - I love to have a bath & then get into a freshly made bed
100 - I struggled to find the last few things about me

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Basic pattern +

I'm now repeating the Debbie Bliss Boat Neck Sweater but am experimenting & adapting the pattern to suit me. As I can't stand sewing up I'm knitting the body in the round.

Boat Neck Sweater in the round
Boat Neck Sweater in the round

This picture was taken last night & looks worse than it was as I'd borrowed one needle for something else so half the stitches were on a spare bit of yarn.

I'm now close to finishing the first of 3 50g balls of Jaeger Matchmaker Merino Aran in 'Prose' that I found last week half price in a bargain bin. The yardage is less than the suggested Cashmerino Aran so am using a ball of black which also jumped into my basket (along with some red for DD but that's another post) on the garter stitch cuffs. The body will be going back onto bits of yarn tonight as I'll be starting the two sleeves tomorrow (on one set of two needles - not done that before) as I want to know how much of the body I have to knit flat rather than in the round to set the sleeves in - I hope that makes sense.

This jumper is going to my Airedale loving Canadian friend who shares my love of purple amongst other things. The colour combination really reminds me of my French Market bag which has been felted & finished for months but is still waiting for the lining to be sewn in - can you see a trend developing here? Said baby has sadly outgrown her Daisy cardigan & it's cold in Canada.

OTN + shouting for my attention: My Entrelac Shawl is waiting patiently for me to have some peaceful & unhasseled knitting time & the Tiger Opal Rainforest Jaywalkers are growling from the corner where they've been stashed whilst I dealt with the mass of baby knits.

BTW: Just in case anybody gets the wrong idea - I'm not broody - far from it! It seems that everybody I know is pregnant or has given birth in the last few months. Found out that another ex-work colleague is pregnant yesterday but that's it no more - after the blanket for a neighbour - made one for the otherside last year & can't do one without the other. However that's planned in stash yarn so it'll be good to clear it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bear necessities

Before I start I want to tell you that this bear, Emilano, is DD's much loved treasure. He is the recipent of the clothes that she got for her birthday in October including the pirate outfit previously mentioned.

Now for some baby knits for a new, yet to be introduced, babe who is due to be born next month.

Jacket with Moss Stitch Bands
Emilano wearing Jacket with Moss Stitch Bands

Knitted in Debbie Bliss's Baby Cashmerino in requested cream. Here's another shot showing the neck & bands more clearly & here you can see the buttons in close up. I adapted the pattern slightly & used Kitchener Stitch to join the shoulders as I detest sewing up.

Boat Neck Sweater
Emilano wearing 'Boat Neck Sweater'

Knitted in Cashmerino Aran I took the decision that red was a unisex colour for a baby who has two dark haired parents as they are very unlikely to produced a pale blonde child. DD is a good example of this and she looked fantastic in red as a baby. Pale pink made her look washed out & ill. Both patterns can be found in Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss.

Next another pair of the now surely expected baby bootees from 50 Baby Bootees to Knit.

Cotton Textured Cuff Bootees
Cotton Textured Cuff Bootees

The yarn came from the big box of inapropriate yarns that Rowan sent for the kids club that I set up at DD's school. I think it's Rowan Wool Cotton & if it is - yuk. It was horrible to knit with, kept splitting & was hard in my hands. I've washed them gently & they've softened up enough for a baby but I really wasn't impresssed.

Finally a shot of how DD's bear is normally dressed:


No Bratz or Barbies for my bruised & black eyed, swimming obsessed, football playing, Harry Potter loving daughter.


This is the child who drew on her 'baby' with a permanent marker at the age of 3 to show her distain, who cites her favourite colours as black & red & whom I'm convinced is a goth in the making

Some good news wanted please....

I had a horrible dream last night which left me feeling shaken & unsettled this morning.

I dreamt that DH died of pneumonia.

Both DD & I were understandably devastated. I remember feeling the overwhelming weight of responsibility when I realised that I had to tell her. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed & pull the duvet over my head & shut the world out but I couldn't. I had to be strong for DD as her world had fallen apart. She's very close to her father & a total Daddy's girl. I also had try to go back to work after an acceptable period, manage the house, insurances etc, the dogs still needed walking & feeding & I just wanted to crawl into bed & mope. I felt totally alone in the world & wanted a hug more than anything but there was nobody there to hug me.

When I woke up DH was whinging as I'd clung to him like a limpet for most of the night & he hadn't slept very well.

Then today I took a call on my direct line at work:

Mrs xxx, its xxxxxxxx school

xxxxx is ok but...........

At this point my imagination went into overdrive: ambulance, intensive care blah blah blah ...

It turns out that DD had collided with another child whilst playing football. She couldn't swim last Saturday as she had injured herself playing football & has loads of galas coming up so I'd asked her not to. Her face, I was warned, wasn't pretty!

However it wasn't as bad as I had imagined: A big black eye which is half closed but no cuts or broken teeth.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Apparently I'm a natural!

Your Seduction Style: Au Natural

You rank up there with your seduction skills, though you might not know it.
That's because you're a natural at seduction. You don't realize your power!
The root of your natural seduction power: your innocence and optimism.

You're the type of person who happily plays around and creates a unique little world.
Little do you know that your personal paradise is so appealing that it sucks people in.
You find joy in everything - so is it any surprise that people find joy in you?

You bring back the inner child in everyone you meet with your sincere and spontaneous ways.
Your childlike (but not childish) behavior also inspires others to care for you.
As a result, those who you befriend and date tend to be incredibly loyal to you.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Rough week

We've had a rough week here - no deaths or mass murder but everybody has had a stressful time.

My first full week back at work & I'm convinced my boss has taken a New Years Resolution to ride my back. 'Ride her hard to maximise performance' but you know I don't perform well I'm if being pressurised. I'm pretty self motivated as it is, as I take pride in my work - I know I can do the job & am good at it and I don't need to hear a whip cracking in my ear. Even though he hasn't been in the office all week I'm still getting it. So finally yesterday I cracked a bit & said that I had enough to get on with & could he please leave me to get on with it. And today he has. I only came in to one email from him requesting me to do something, nice as pie on the phone & little pressure.

DH has also had a tough time but for different reasons. Major disappointment, expectations dashed & all hopes lost. He's getting over it now but was really low for a while.

DD has a maths test tomorrow & don't I know about it! Maths is her best subject - she adores it. How many other children do you know who at the age of 6 used to go to bed with a list of sums instead of a bed time story??? Anyway after I had tested her on all the times tables, she said she was going to practise some more & could I test her again soon - sure I replied.

Soon turned out to be just as I was juggling dinner: rice on the boil, quorn fillets & mushrooms browning in the pan, brocolli steaming & salad being finished - not a good time. So mass explosion & door slamming as I couldn't add what is 7x8 or 9x3 to the mix. DH managed to calm her down later but the family dinner that I had planned didn't meet expectations & that's not because of the food.

So lets see what next week brings - including results of aforementioned maths test & some knitting....

Sunday, January 08, 2006

SP7 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

I'm afraid I am. I buy the best I can afford (in sales & other bargain offers) & try to avoid acrylic & polyester whenever possible. I do use fancy yarns for scarves but prefer not to. I like merino, cashmere & have some gorgeous silk sock yarn from my SP6 that I'll be using soon.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

I can't spin & don't plan to. I can do very basic crochet & have just finished my first project - a crochet curly whirley scarf

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

A pencil case in my knitting bag & a small wicker basket at home for those I'm not using.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I learnt to knit when I was 19, stopped for about 5 years & started again 2 years ago. I'd classify myself as intermediate - I've still got a lot to learn & am looking forward to it.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes - please email me & I'll send it to you.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I love citrus scents, ginger, coconut & other natural scents. I'm not that keen on rose or lavender & hate perfumed soaps etc. However I do use perfume but not every day.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Yes but am trying to lose weight so am not eating sweets or biscuits.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

Not many others but I do groom my own dogs if that counts.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

All our stereos & PC's play MP3's.

Fleetwood Mac
The Pretenders
Norah Jones
KT Tunstall
Joan Armatrading
Ella Fitzgerald
Crowded House
Scissor Sisters

Paul Weller
Talking Heads
Semi Sonic

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I love purple. Also reds, maroons, pinks, some blues. I hate orange & yellow & pastel shades.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

I live with my husband & 10 year old daughter. We have 3 elderly cats (eldest will be 19 in May '06) & 2 Airedale Terriers.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

I wear scarves & mittens. I have very thick, shoulder length hair so look awful in hats. Ponchos look great on my daughter but not me.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Debbie Bliss Cashmerino - both baby & aran.
Rowan Cork
Jamiesons Super Chunky

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Ladder yarns - used
Sirdar Firefly recently - the FO was lovely but I hated the yarn
Sirdar Snowflake - but I still have some in my stash & it's earmarked for baby blankets.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Baby clothes - it seems that everybody I know is having a baby soon.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

baby bootees

17. What are you knitting right now?

Jaywalker socks
Baby clothes

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Yes please

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circs every time.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Bamboo or aluminium - I hate plastic needles.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Yarn winder only - DH makes a good swift.

22. How did you learn to knit?

Aged 19 by a German friend with the aid of red wine. We had a great time & she taught me a lot. Sadly we've lost touch. I did try to find her recently & discovered that she moved to Turkey about 5 years ago - the trail has stopped there.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

Baby jumper somewhere in the loft - about 8 years - I think.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

Favourite animal - easy - dogs in particular Airedales.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas as we're all at home together.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Airedale Terrier stuff (have a display cabinet on the wall), addi turbo circs & yarn

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Interweave Knits but only from Winter 04 so any back issues would be very welcome.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Wrap Style or a decent beginners Crochet book.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Not at the moment - I've recently learnt how to felt & knit socks. I just need to perfect the latter now & work on my crochet.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes on 2 circulars - UK 7.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)


Saturday, January 07, 2006

More on bandwidth issue + use of my button

DH has ammended the code in the blueadt button on the side bar & the image is now stored on a free server. If you are using my button (many thanks) please recopy the code & update your template to ensure an image.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Bandwidth Theft

DH has realised that some people are 'hot linking' to my photos & using his bandwidth. Images used include this one of Llamas and a Paper bag!

So he has had to limit access to images on his server from 'certified' websites only. If you would like to use my button & don't have any way of uploading it yourself (most knitters can do this as they upload their own pics) please leave a comment & I'll sort something out. He has designed a 'leeching' jpg which replaces the stolen photos - should shock a few thieves I think

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Belated Happy New Year & various resolutions

I've realised that I haven't wished everyone a Happy New Year. I'm a bit late but there you are. We had a lovely Christmas. MIL came around in the morning & watching DD open her many presents. Favourites were a portable TV/DVD/game station/radio thing that DH brought from the States. It can be used in the house or car so will be great when we go away in the caravan & hopefully prevent the inveitable 'are we there yet.....' & general whinging because she's bored, Harry Potter Scene It & an MP3 player.

I also got an MP3 player & have used it nearly every day whilst walking the dogs. At one point when a jogger went past & I hadn't heard him at all, I debated with myself whether it was a good idea to use it whilst out walking. I then looked down at the large dogs either side of me & reasoned that anybody who attacked me would be an absolute idiot.

I'll use it mainly whilst DD is training as I miss reading but can't knit & read at the same time - so audio books are the answer. So far I've listened to R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton and am now half way through the first of the Philip Pullman His Dark Materials trilogy; Northern Lights. I also got Sensational Knitted Socks and 2006 Daily Boxed Calendar. My main present is a 2 day Rowan Workshop but I haven't decided which one to do yet. I wanted to do 'Finishing Techniques' but it doesn't look as if Rowan are doing one this year. DD knitted a scarf for me which wasn't a surprise as I had to cast on, cast off & fix problems but that's for another post soon.

Boxing Day was spent with DH's sister & her family. She has 3 kids so with DD, the excitement of Christmas, sweets & colourings it was a NOISY day. We finished the evening off with loads of games including Monopoly which I won with over £5000 - if only it had been real money instead of play currency.

We had a quiet New Years Eve as baby sitters are extemely scarse on this night as I'm sure most parents would agree. I couldn't drink as I was on medication but at least that meant I didn't have a sore head the next day

I've made a variety of resolutions for 2006 - some of which are too personal to list but others include:

  1. Using my stash as much as possible - already started with the crochet curly whirley scarf
  2. Do planned projects (yarn already in stash)
  3. Cook more home made food - see below
  4. Walk the dogs EVERY day, even if only half an hour late at night after DD's training - they've had LOTS of long walks whilst I've been off so has already been started
  5. Loose weight - already started
  6. Achieve loads at work

I spent about 3 hours last night & all afternoon & evening (until now) cooking. I'm often short of time when preparing DD's evening meal as she has to have a full hour between eating & training & if it's an early session that makes it harder as we can literally get in from school & have to be out the door an hour later. Our freezer is now bursting with food & I've made the following:

4 x 1lb Banana & Honey Tea bread loaves
12 large banana muffins & 12 small muffins - should have made 8 as they were too small
8 x Shepherds Pie
9 x Veggie mince Lasagne
6 x Black bean & Garlic Mushroom Lasagne
4 x Black bean & Roasted Pepper Lasagne
4 x Potato & Mushroom Pies
Vegetarian stew

All apart the baking & Potato & Mushroom pie are recipes that I've made up over the years. The stew has supplied us with dinner last night & tonight, my lunch tomorrow & enough for a meal for the 3 of us in the freezer.

It probably hasn't saved me much money compared to buying ready meals from the supermarket but at least this way I can control the ingredients. IMO there is far too much salt, sugar & general crap in prepared food & this is what I want to avoid. I used to cook everything from scratch (including all DD's weaning food so she's always eaten what we do unlike most of her friends who are faddy eaters) but recently have relied more on the supermarket too frequently for my liking due to time constraints. I also don't use the full amount of sugar stated in recipes when baking but DD has never noticed

    Banana cakes & muffins
    Banana cakes & muffins

    Hopefully I won't have to do another marathan session again as I intend to cook bigger portions as soon as there's a bit of room in the freezer & stock it up frequently.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Secret Pals

    I finally signed up for Secret Pal 7 last night. For weeks I had been in a dilema as to whether I should or not. I had signed DD up for Secret Pal Kids which finished a few months ago & she hadn't received anything. Every single parcel or package which came through the door she claimed as hers including the needles from Get Knitted last week.

    So you can imagine my delight when I got woken up this morning by the postman with a HUGE parcel

    Wrapped box
    Wrapped box

    She was still in bed so I left this on the kitchen table with no explanation whilst I took the dogs out for their walk - just to keep her waiting a bit longer

    No mention was made when I came back, fed the animals & had breakfast. DH was in on it & winked at me. I asked her what was in it & she said that I should know as nothing ever came for her

    She whooped with joy when I revealed that it was for her from her SP & dived in. By this time her best friend had arrived for the day so you need to imagine the parcel being opened by two happy & excited kids.

    inside the box
    Inside the box

    were beautifully wrapped presents in lilac tissue paper & hundreds of shiny shapes! The contents revealed:

    Bug Detective kit
    Bug Detective kit

    Indoor garden kit
    Indoor garden kit

    Dolphin paper punch
    Dolphin paper punch

    Little Miss Shower Gel
    Little Miss Shower Gel

    Photo holder & keyring
    Photo holder & keyring

    pretty card
    pretty card

    and her favourite pressie of all:

    3D Sequined Penguin kit
    3D Sequined Penguin kit

    plus something for mum:

    darning mushroom
    darning mushroom

    which got a raised eyebrow from DH!

    Thank you very much whoever you are - please reveal yourself (do you have a blog?) in the comments so that I can thank you properly. Best friend went home with half the shiny shapes much to her mothers disgust & I think I'll be finding them for weeks

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    More purple baby knits

    The sneak preview from yesterday is now a pair of socks for my friends baby in Canada:

    Baby socks in Baby Cashmerino
    Baby socks in Baby Cashmerino

    They're the Heel and Toe socks aged 3-6 months in 50 Baby Bootees to Knit knitted in Debbie Bliss's Baby Cashmerino on 3mm Addi Turbo 40mm circulars. These were purchased from Get Knitted & I was really impressed with the speedy service. I ordered them mid afternoon on Wednesday & they hit the doormat on Thursday morning! However I didn't start them until Saturday morning as I was finishing the Curly Whirley Scarf in the previous post. The colours aren't fantastic in the above photo but the main yarn used is 606 & the contrast is 607 which I 'borrowed' from the Entrelac Shawl. Each sock used 8g of the main colour & 2g of contrast so is a good way of using up left over bits. I liked the pattern but next time I do them I'll also knit the cuff in the contrast yarn as I think it'll look better.

    Herringbone Bootees in Baby Cashmerino
    Herringbone Bootees in Baby Cashmerino

    This pattern is also 3-6 months from 50 Baby Bootees to Knit & the main colour is Debbie Bliss's Baby Cashmerino in 606. The contrast edge in 101 was also 'borrowed' from a future project but I think it'll be able to spare 104 cast on stitches.

    They're now wrapped & waiting for the post office to open after the holidays before going off to join the other gifts that I've sent.

    Finally a pic of baby wearing the stripey bootees knitted in Regia 6 ply sent to me by my SP5.

    Baby in Stripey socks with Airedales Maggie & Groovy
    Baby in Stripey socks with Airedales Maggie & Groovy

    These bootees are aged 0-3 months but fit her as socks so as well as both living with Airedales we both wear Stripey Socks!