Thursday, January 22, 2009


Lady, I know you're reading. You TELL me that you read what I write on my blog.
So leave a comment already, alright? Or should I just turn them off and do away with the pesky obligation often felt to comment on yet another knitting blog? You tell me... in the comments ;)

Tam Lin

Sadly, I got a second chance to photograph these beauties, which are the socks I knitted for the Tam Lin KAL on ravelry back in the autumn. Royal Mail ripped open a swap parcel (a magic ball for MDC, actually), threw the yarn and socks around a bit and then left them in Swindon sorting office for a few months to go nice and mouldy, and I only found out recently. I'm feeling pretty bad about this.
So, the pattern is Brigid and the yarn is Loveage DK wool/silk blend from New Lanark. It seems quite appropriate, as New Lanark isn't a million miles away from Carterheugh. The recipient is pregnant, as well. She's also getting the goodies below. as displayed so beautifully on our new scrumptious double sheepskin rug. Isn't it pretty? And yes, I dyed that.

I found this telling of Tam Lin when poking around youtube the other day, and I love it. What do you think?

Monday, January 19, 2009

This weeks obsessions (aka How to Keep the Kids Off Runescape)

My adorable brood are obsessed with Runescape, AdventureQuest and the Disneys Fairies website respectively. Should you dare to wish to spend some quality screentime with your offspring and actually spend some time with them*, may I recommend:

Making your own kaleidoscope

Classic childrens literature

Basic physics

Is it superman? No, but it's a spiffy kind of plane

Domestic Bliss

So, what are your kids up to these days?

*Obviously, it is possible to just unplug the computer and talk to one another instead, but that has never been a popular viewpoint in this house, smacking as it does of radical idealism and values and backbones and all that jazz. Your mileage, as ever, may vary.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Marilyn, I love you.

There are places in the world where you just feel immediately welcome- you get met with a smile, a friendly word, a verbal reminder of the last time you saw them. My local charity shop is one of those places, and it's largely because of one volunteer, a fantastic lady called Marilyn with a huge heart.

Today, Marilyn sold me this lot, plus a bit more. She and I have come to an understanding- that I find stuff I want, she adds it up, I look at her, tell her she's got to be joking and she's undercharging me, she laughs and tells me she'll get me next time. She never has, and I always round the total up to the nearest fiver and leave feeling like I've got the most outstanding bargain in the world.
This is how the haul above came to be in my possession, for the princely sum of three hundred and thirty pennies (plus rounding up because I always do. ) There's more- some flannels for the kids faces and a couple of board games, but that's the basics. I can't believe it. I am an exceptionally happy bunny right now.
Oh, and it's the Salvation Army in Gorse Hill, Swindon, if you're curious. It's also just round the corner from me, so feel free to drop in for a cuppa any time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On literature and sibling rivalry.

My 8yo, Isaac, is having a stonkingly awful time of it recently- and as kids do, he's dishing it out in return. In particular, he would really quite like it if he didn't have an older brother, but I don't see an easy way of making that happen.
What's struck me, though, is the way that the universe seems to be handing me messages. The last two books I've read (Anansi boys by Gaiman and Atwood's Blind Assassin)have both had messages about sibling relationships, and how what we see in them is often part of ourselves. In Charlie's case, Spider is quite literally part of himself, the gifts he inherited from his father, and in the case of the Chase girls one uses her sister's identity to allow part of herself to be known, to be seen, to be accepted. I didn't read the back before I bought but above all else what struck me was the strong emotional response I had- I really wanted to put both books down and run away at times, which is unusual for me. Neither was easy reading.
All of this is making me wonder what the reality is for Isaac, having a sibling so close in age to himself, being slightly younger and feeling (as I suspect he does) that he is always in Alex's shadow. We've been making a conscious effort for some time now to encourage him to have relationships and interests utterly unrelated to his brother and we've never consciously compared them- it's not possible. It's like wool and cotton. I've literally just ordered Faber/Mazlish's book on sibling rivalry from amazon, but any other ideas would be welcomed too.

The hat

I cast off my to-be-gifted article for the UK swap at the weekend, and it has to be said, I'm loving it- the pattern, anyhow. It's Rose Red by Ysolda Teague, available through ravelry, and an extremely fun knit. I think I'm going to cast on for one myself before next winter. Knit in Debbie Bliss cashmerino, smallest size, knitted from the top down and I used a sewn bind-off. There are going to be other handmade goodies to go with it, but probably this is it for knitting.

Oh, and my beloved Salvation Army came up trumps yet again with a vintage copy of Mary Poppins to use as a blocking tool. They've been very good to me recently- I sit here surrounded by someone else's half-finished crocheted doilies and some exceptionally vintage pillowcases for the princely sum of 50p. No teapot yet, but you can't have everything, can you?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

It snowed!

Christmas may be over, but it is getting incredibly cold here. We even got a few flurries of snow this afternoon which is unheard of here in Sunny Swindon- we mostly just get (acid) rain. The frost didn't lift from the rosehips lingering on in the garden for three whole days this week, and as all the kids have been poorly with a cold, it's been a quiet week here. Lots of hot toddies.
I'm knitting merrily on for the UKswap- this week Delle is talking about blankets, and frankly I have nothing to add. A cursory glimpse at the blog will show an awful lot of Lizard Ridge and nothing else blanket-related, because my sofa is currently occupied by a small girl and a bright pink fleece blanket with hearts on it that came from Tesco. I'm very close to casting off for my project, though, and being able to post a parcel out to my swappee.
The good news, however, is that I just found a pair of sheepskin boots in TK Maxx at half their original price, so at least my feet will be warm. I won't even need socks. I'm happy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Feet-first into the swap

Roo asked:
What is your favourite way of keeping your feet warm?Do you have a favourite pair of socks you reach for to keep your toes toasty?Is there a pair of socks/slippers you have been wanting to make for ages but haven't got around to?What is your favourite finished object that warms your feet?What is your favourite yarn to use for socks/slippers?

I have no effective way of keeping my feet warm :( Since we got the new flooring put down, they are always cold and I would love socks, or slippers, or anything along those lines. I do own a few pairs of handknit socks, but none of them are perfect.
I've had a pair of beaded felted mary janes in my rav queue forever, but they were recently joined by the prairie boots. Erm, would like to add more but the poo is quite literally hitting the fan here. Got to go.

Look, ma, one needle!

This is the starting point of the quilt that was going to be for Skye, is now destined for mum for mothers day, and is fundamentally just me trying to see what I can do with this machine. I'm really enjoying using it, actually (it's a Brother 2220NT, if that means anything to anyone) and I'm actually finding it a lot easier to use than my wonky old Singer. It goes slower, and the tension isn't mullered, and that makes a big difference. It's loosely based upon a pattern in Sew Hip, but I tidied the magazine so from now on I'm winging it. It'll be fine. Honest.
In other news, I frogged my article for the Winter Warmers swap because I decided I hated my left-leaning decreases and it looked ginormous. I'm nearly back to the point where I gave up, but I can't honestly say I like this lot of decreases any better. Ho hum.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas looked like this

The spinner-in-training thought he was in heaven when we erected a lump of plastic in the middle of the living room and decorated it in beads and baubles, tinsel and tat and even candy canes and biscuits. It was almost, but not quite, enough to distract him from my knitting.

It's been plague season here at the biscuit barrel, as both Skye and River have been down with colds- nasty ones at that. Skye's been running a bit of a temperature and was feeling poorly enough that she went back to bed for most of Christmas day, and River hasn't been sleeping- but then, what else is new?

Without intending to, this has turned out to be a bit of a handmade Christmas- I gave Steve a camera of his very own and one of every different selection pack on the market, and he, bless him, trashed the budget totally and gave me a sewing machine AND the Celtic Collection by Alice Starmore AND a beautiful pair of ebony needles from the lovely Doreen at Scottish Fibres AND
an itunes gift card. The boys got what they wanted- Alex wants money for a bike and Isaac wanted lego- and Skye slept through most of it. River got the aforementioned destructatree and was very happy with it, thankyou very much, but we also bought him a rocking horse.
We all got lashings and lashings of glitter and paint, thanks to Alex, who crafted all of his presents to people but also bought me a truly beautiful little ceramic mirror from the brewery arts centre in Cirencester: the perfect colour to go with our newly decorated living room, which is an intensely unfashionable warm violet and I love it. My father-in-law and I are both in recovery from 20+ years of smoke-dyed white anaglypta and DH just goes with it- after all, he and I met as a result of a hot pink and purple living room, so there's some sentimental memories there for us.
Appropriately enough, the question on the UKSwap blog this week is about neck warmers, and at the moment I'm working on Wabenschal in 2-ply cashmere from Plum Knits that I got in a magic ball swap on MDC. I'm knitting the goodies out of it (because I just couldn't be bothered to unwind and rewind that kind of yardage of laceweight and I've lost my ball winder somewhere) and I'm just getting to the good bit now- I'm literally about 10 rows away from a pot of handcream and trying hard not to cheat. Unfortunately, River loves this a lot and is obsessed with breaking the yarn (and this is exceptionally fragile stuff) or pulling my needles out, which is making it slow going. The colourway is called peacock, but I'd describe it more as a bottle green, if I'm honest. It's very pretty, and definitely one of my colours. Oh, and in the absence of a finished lacy cashmere scarf I've been wearing my clapotis wrapped around my neck a few times, which was knitted in hipknits silk in their pixies colourway.