Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007

Well looking back it's been an eventful year for us: We sold our old house and moved. Had leaks through the kitchen ceiling, coped with a broken foot & flooding. I had to abandon our car due to the depth of the water & the roads were impassable near my office but fortunately
our new house is on a hill so we were ok at home unlike my poor SIL.

Knitting has also been evident this year but not as much as I would have liked due to all the events above. My favourite FO of the year has to be the Walking Socks that I designed & made for DH.

Petwise we said Goodbye to Vince & Monet & hello to Ginny & Lyra.

black & white kitten

Photo courtesy of Puplet who visited yesterday with Susoolu much to the delight of all the animals as these guests played with them! Ginny in particular loved posing for a new camera man & enjoyed the flash bouncing off her whiskers Thanks Pup

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas gift knitting

For ages now this blog has focused too much on the kittens & my DD's awful behaviour. Partly because the kittens are new to our lives & very cute and that her behavour has been so awful but also because I haven't been able to show any knitting as it was all to be gifted to other people.

So finally I can show what I've been working on. Firstly a pair of bedsocks for my 5 year old nephew:

blue bedsocks
Stockinette-stitch Triangle bedsocks

Pattern: Stockinette-stitch Triangles from More Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: James C. Brett Pure Merino in PM5
Needles: 2 x 3.5mm 60 cm circulars
Method: Knitted cuff down two at a time.

Then a pair his eldest sister my 10 year old niece:

pink bedsocks
Open Cable with Twisted Rib bedsocks

Pattern: Open Cable with Twisted Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: James C. Brett Pure Merino in PM2
Needles: 2 x 3.5mm 60 cm circulars
Method: Knitted cuff down two at a time.

Then a pair for the middle child my 7 year old niece:

lilac bedsocks
Bluebell Rib bedsocks

Pattern: Bluebell Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: James C. Brett Pure Merino in PM5
Needles: 2 x 3.5mm 60 cm circulars
Method: Knitted cuff down two at a time.

Of the three patterns the Open Cable with Twisted Rib was my favorite. I don't have any modeled photos but this one on my hand shows how the pattern might look on a foot:

Open Cable with Twisted Rib
Open Cable with Twisted Rib pattern

This yarn is so soft & squidgy that it's perfect for a pair of snuggly bedsocks. I've even started a pair for myself!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Festive misery

Ever since DD was born we've worked hard every year to ensure that her Christmas experience was fantastic. As a young child she saw snowy footprints from the fire place, left mince pies & carrots out for Father Christmas & his reindeers & always found a big pile of presents under the tree.

However she has done it again; just like Mothers Day she single handedly managed to ruin our Christmas Day. It was horrendous & I haven't had a worse Christmas since I was a child.

I've decided to ask her school for help as we're obviously doing something wrong & need an outsider to step in. So next year things will be very different.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


At least someone had fun!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007


We're now discovering what our new house is like in winter & it's not good. The previous owners, as well as being mucky & incapable of housework didn't do any maintenance hence the knackered bathroom & now we're discovering that the house is freezing. The windows are double glazed but are old & the seals have seen better days. The roof is poorly insulated & the cold air rushes down from the loft so we've got a series of dustsheets on the loft stairs trapping the cold air & trying to prevent it coming downstairs. We've got two duvets on our bed plus a quilt & I'm also using a hotwater bottle & bedsocks. To make things worse our bedroom is north facing and as soon as the wind picks up we freeze.

DH is planning what he needs to do to make the house warmer & to save our heating bills & wants to totally strip the roof the rafters & create a 'a warm roof void' using using this stuff. The windows will be replaced as we can afford them but the first to be done will be the bathroom & our bedroom. The latter will be expensive to do even if DH does the work as we'll need scaffolding to straddle the conservatory.

Knitting is continuing but as before I can't reveal what I'm working on yet as it's for Christmas so instead I'll redress the balance. Ginny has complained that her sister featured far too much in the last post so here she is looking pretty:

black & white kitten
Ginny showing off her whiskers!

btw as I wrote this post I was sat on the sofa wearing clothes (obviously), slippers, a blanket over my legs & a hotwater bottle between my ankles. I must learn how to use the sewing machine so I can make some wheat pillows........

ETA: I've just remembered to add that we still don't have a kitchen ceiling

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Kitten Catch Up!

Well the girls have been with us for 5 weeks now & what a difference those few weeks have made.

Lyra & Ginny

They're now well integrated with the rest of the 'pack'. The dogs adore them & Lyra is also very taken with them. She often jumps up to rub her face against them & we've caught her a few times flaked out on the floor batting at dog feet as they walk past.

Ginny on the other hand is smitten with Pam & often rubs up against her & tries to sleep next to her. Pam initially hated them both particularly Lyra but is getting much better & now hardly hisses at them.

kitten playing
Lyra killing a toy

They love the 'tree' that DH & DD built for them a few weeks ago:

Ginny & Lyra

They are very different to each other. Lyra loves a cuddle & loves nothing better than snuggling into my neck & nuzzling into my hair pretending that I'm her mum. Ginny HATES to be picked up as she's got too many things to check out & will push at you to get away.


Lyra posing

This photoshoot of kittens was also combined with that of updating my Ravelry pages with recent swaps & of course they had to 'help':

kitten sniffing yarn
Lyra checking out some Jitterbug

and then it all went wrong!

kitten falling

Friday, November 30, 2007

Biting the hand that feeds........

My 12 year old DD is testing me at the moment. Her moods & behaviour have been horrendous recently even more than usual. Her computer & mobile phone have been resident in my office for the past two weeks & she was also grounded from sport for a week but still it continues.

Whilst I was ill last month I asked her to make her own packed lunch for the following day. The reply I received was

"Why should I it's your work!"

I had up to that point made her lunch (along with DH's & mine) the night before & put it in the fridge so that mornings weren't so rushed but since then she has made her own with a lot of complaining.

Last night DH & I attending the first parents evening at her new Secondary school. Thinking that she would be hungry if she didn't eat until afterwards I made her a cheese omelette when she got home but insisted that the kittens were fed & tray cleaned before she ate. This act caused a huge row & objects were thrown & abuse shouted at the cook.

So she's going to have to get self sufficient pretty quickly as this mother has had enough of being treated like something unpleasant on the bottom of her shoe.

Can anybody recommend respite care for 12 year olds?


All her teachers love her & praised her behaviour. She's well mannered, polite, attentive & homework is always handed in on time. We both commented a few times that we didn't recognise the child they were talking about!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stash musings

Again I can't post information or photos of what I'm knitting due to the pending festive celebrations. So instead I'll talk about something close to many knitters hearts: STASH!

I have a big stash.

There I've said it upfront & am being totally honest with myself & you all.

The last four months on a Ravelry have also taught me just what that 'collection' contains. Some is much loved & others less & the latter has been weeded out & rehomed or is available for 'adoption' on my a Ravelry profile. DH is now fully aware of how big my stash really is & has imposed a yarn purchasing ban which I have to admit is fair enough as we don't live in a massive house. However I put my foot down at a swap ban as I explained to him that over time my 'taste' has changed & this the only way that I could try out a new yarn, fibre or weight without buying the yarn plus of course yarn has to vacate my stash go in exchange to make room. My stash inventory on a Ravelry is up to date apart from a few skeins received recently in swaps which are waiting for some daylight to coincide with DH's presence in the house & the camera being out.

So my Christmas list this year for a change includes NO yarn. That's right, zero skeins of the fibrey kind but instead the means to transpose it into something lovely; patterns that can utilise the yarn that I already have in my stash & that are challenging and interesting.

Also I've signed up to a knitters version of a New Years Resolution Socks from stash club as the following really struck a cord:

Have you ever been tempted to join a yarn shop sock club, even though you already have a stash of beautiful yarns you don't have time to knit?

I have been tempted to join sock clubs quite a few times but as I do have a beautiful collection of sock yarn I have been good & resisted. So I'll be dipping into it each month & creating something worthy. A few teasers include:

Socks That Rock
Socks That Rock in Undertoe

Koigu KPPM
Koigu KPPM

Koigu KPM
Koigu KPM

Regia Silk
Regia Silk

Regia Silk
Regia Silk

Lorna's Laces
Lorna's Laces in Berry

Best of Opal
Best of Opal DK

Knit Picks Essential Tweed
Knit Picks Essential Tweed

Most of the yarns above were presents so I'll be searching for the perfect pattern to do the yarn justice. Is it a bit obvious that I like purple & red?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The scurge of gift knitting

Anybody reading this blog recently will think that I've just been busy with cats, kittens & hedgehogs. Whilst they have been taking my time other things have been happening but sadly not all are blog-able at least not yet. With Christmas just a few weeks away I've been planning & casting on projects via Ravelry but none can be revealed here.

However I do a have a few non-Christmassy things that I can show:

First a project which was first seen when I was ill but now I can reveal a much better photo:

Sweater & Stocking Minis
Stripey Jumper dress

Pattern: Mini Sweater
Source: Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.
Modifications: I wasn't very well when I made this & I'm using this as the excuse for going wrong. I counted the stripes instead of the rows so I made a jumper dress instead of a jumper or sweater But it's still cute.
Yarn: Wendy Cotton Supersoft & Wendy Miami found hiding in my stash.
Needles: 4mm

A second attempt at the pattern fared much better:

Sweater & Stocking Minis
Two tone miniature jumper

Next a truly fiddly knit:

Little Sky Sock
Little Sky Sock

Pattern: Little Sky Sock
Source: New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi
Yarn: Opal Magic left over from my Garter Rib socks
Needles:2 x 2.5mm addi turbos

I'm glad I've made a miniature version of this sock as I really didn't like the shaping but I did like the next one:

Little Coriolis sock
Little Coriolis sock

and another shot from the other side to show the shaping:

BLittle Coriolis sock
Little Coriolis sock

Pattern: Little Coriolis sock
Source: New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi
Yarn: Opal Magic left over from my Garter Rib socks
Needles:2 x 2.5mm addi turbos

These little knits will be converted soon with the aid of a tiny bit of pink i-cord & a keyring & will be sent off shortly to a fundraiser to raise money for Breast Cancer Research which is always a worthy cause.

And the kittens?

They're continuing to cause havoc!

We're slowly introducing them to the dogs by bringing one dog into the conservatory at a time & having them lie down so that the kittens can get used to them. Both dogs are big (25.5" & 26" tall at the shoulder) & their heads are bigger than the kittens entire bodies) and are cat friendly & have never hurt a cat in their lives but they're both finding it very interesting to have two manic kittens run around at top speed and want to play.

Ginny looking 'big' because a dog dared to look at her

Wagging dog tails have been 'patted' at & games chasing tin foil balls & catnip mice taking place around the canines but we've got a long way to go before they can all be integrated together. It's made harder partly due to Annie's partial blindness; as she can't always see what's going on, she tends to bark in excitement when she hears a noise, which obviously scares the kittens & they then scoot back to the kitten nursery, aka the conservatory in it's former use, at high speed with tails like Christmas trees!

Sunday, November 04, 2007


Whilst I cast on a christmas present...

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Double Trouble

Thank you everyone for the kind words about Monet. I'm feeling very raw & emotional at the moment but it'll get easier with time.

We have however been brave & added two new members to the household already:

Ginny (l) & Lyra (r)

DH & I have had kittens before but DD never has so, even though we both would have preferred to get an adult cat, we thought that it was only fair to get kittens so that she could have the fun of playing with them & watching them grow up. We promised her some once Monet was gone as she really didn't like other cats & really should have been an 'only' but I already had two cats when I got her as a kitten.


I wanted to wait a couple of weeks but DH is off work for another week due to his surgery & it made a lot of sense to have someone here for at least the first week. I work part time so they won't be on their own all day and it seemed to work out better this way.


They are 12 week old sisters & came from the local animal rescue centre & had to be homed together as they're very close. So when we rang up requesting two kittens of the same gender the staff must have been cheering. We had already had a home check, as it were as the woman who brought us Spike works there, so we just had to have a vet check over the phone & we were allowed to take them home.

Ginny (l) & Lyra (r)

Poor Pam isn't very impressed & retreated to the loft at first but now she's got the rest of the house with her own litter tray. The kittens are currently housed in the conservatory with radiators & a heated bed until she learns to accept them. Hopefully DH can make progress with this next week.

The dogs however love their own cats (sadly they do think it fun to chase other cats that aren't part of their pack but aren't allowed to take part in this sport) & are far keener to spend time with the new recruits:

Airedales & kittens
Annie & Blue watching the kittens

Annie in particular will adore them & spent a good 10 minutes lying by the door with her tail wagging. In time the kittens will learn just like Monet did that these two big hairy things are actually quite good fun & nice & warm to sleep on.

I feel a bit 'unfaithful' getting them so quickly after Monet but they are making me smile!

btw I had a lot of 'help' writing this post & knitting around them is definitely not happening yet!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Goodbye Monet

It's exactly a year to the day that I had to have Tia put to sleep & now it's happened again as Monet was put down earlier this evening. She was suffering from arthritis & kidney failure & had stopped eating so it was the right decision to make albeit a hard one.

I first met her when she was an hour old as my friend owned her mother & she was an ugly kitten who grew into a very beautiful cat.

Monet & her siblings aged 4 weeks

Monet & her brother George aged 5 weeks

She was initially wary of my previous Airedale Terrier Libby but grew to love her & adored both Blue & Annie. She would often greet them with trills & walk between their legs jumping up to scent them with the side of her face.

kitten meeting dog
Monet learning to accept dogs

She has really enjoyed the last 7 months as she loved our new house & garden & spent a lot of time snoozing in the sunshine, catching mice and chasing birds & squirrels:

Snoozing on the lawn

cat sunbathing
Monet enjoying the sunshine

She was a very loving cat but wouldn't tolerate anything that constituted 'fiddling' including flea spray, the giving of tablets or any other unwelcome attention. So I had to smile when she managed to bite the vet as she inserted the 'lethal injection' despite having being given a sedative beforehand


3/5/1991 - 2/11/2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Our garden in autumn & an update on Spike

Thanks for all the comments & good wishes regarding Spike. At first we thought he'd moved on but now he's eating the food every night which is the only indication we have that he's still there as we don't have a infra red camera. DH has been very tempted but we can't justify the cost.

I'm going to try and answer all the questions his arrival raised:

Firstly he was nursed back to health & looked after by a wonderful woman who runs the local hedgehog rescue service entirely self funded & voluntary. She currently has about 80 'pigs' in & will probably have most of them until next year as time is running out to release them before the weather gets too cold. I found her by googling 'hedgehog rescue' & the name of our nearest city & suggest you do the same if you can offer a good home. Gardens must be pesticide free & all hazards including wire, dogs etc must be addressed first. If you have a totally enclosed garden (walls preferred) you might be suitable to take on an injured 'pig' as they often come into rescue with eyes & limbs damaged beyond repair but a healthy 'pig' needs the space of approximately 10 gardens to roam in.

That brings me to the next comment which quite rightly queried my dogs' reaction to them. As both my girls are terriers they'd love nothing more than to hunt & probably kill him but as you can see in the photo above DH built a VERY solid gate & fence earlier in the year in preparation for our temporary guests and because we didn't want the dogs to ruin the garden. They have the patio & top of the drive to lounge on & also get plenty of walks so it works well. For us we have a garden that doesn't smell of dogs & the flower beds & lawn aren't ruined.

For the wildlife who also live in our garden, they have safety, peace & quiet with a ready supply of food & water as we have installed two bird tables & a bird bath.

grey squirrel

Bryony you beat me to it! I took the garden photo on my phone & then wrote the rest of the post via my laptop & before I could publish the changes you had already commented! First prize for a speedy commenter!


Monday, October 22, 2007

Red cross on the door

DH had his operation last week + is recovering with feline aid. 
If that weren't enough I've got a bad chest infection + am on my 2nd round of antibiotics + feel as if someone is twisting a knife in my chest :-( not much fun.