Friday, December 08, 2006

More longies

How pleased am I with these? Now yeah, OK, its a trillion rows of stocking stitch but they're cool and beautiful, and the yarn was worth the wait. That's organic cotswold for the waistband and cuffs, and the main yarn is the organic merino from
I don't normally do close-ups of bums, but I am so, so, so chuffed with the way the short rows came out I figured it was worth it. I really hate them, really struggle with them so for me to create something that flows as well as this felt really good. I'll spare you the crotch shot, but that's even better :) Instead of casting on two for the legs, I increased by knitting into the stitch below the end gusset stitch, still in the round, and so- by magic- look ma! No holes!
They aren't destined for Skye, although she's kindly modelling. They're destined for a little girl on the other side of the pond, who is several inches taller- and hopefully, there's enough growing room in them to last her a few months.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Finished the longies!

The bleeding yarn was fixed, mercifully, the lanolising completed and they're all set and ready to post. I just really, really hope that they're long enough, and that the little boy they were knitted for likes them. There is a duff stitch in the back on one of the short rows, but it's not too conspicuous. I'm hoping to get a second pair finished in the next week, as well, so he can have one on and one in the wash. What do you think? If it was your boy, would he wear them?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Urgent help for yarn pron required....

If you're reading this, you probably care about knitting. Please, take a minute to give me your ideas on how to fix the problem of kettle-dyed yarn which is bleeding fairly badly and losing colour. Please?
It's dyed using vinegar and fibre-reactive dyes, is the one in the picture below and needs to be in the post to the US by the end of next week. At the latest. Please, please, help????

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Meet Samus

I can't believe it's finished- and blocked (badly) and just needs the zip applied. But, in truth, it is so. Thank Maude. I'm just hoping and praying that it fits my (absolutely minute) mother when she opens it on Christmas, because otherwise I'm going to cry.
Ideally, she'd like it as well. But as this is the woman who made me wear jumpers made from carpet wool as a child, and knitted me a stripy horse blanket not so many years ago, I'll live with the consequences if she doesn't. I know she'll appreciate the work and effort, even if she never wears it.
Oh, the sleeve does sit straight, I just accidentally bunched it up for the photograph.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Finished daisy cardigan

Knitted in parma violet DK alpaca merino from The Natural Dye Studio- unfortunately, it's not destined to live in our house. Instead, it's going on a long journey across the sea where it will be worn by another very lucky (and very warm) little girl. Isn't it beautiful? I just love the way that the stripes have balanced themselves out perfectly (which they have- I'm just absolutely crap at tying bows so it's not sitting straight on the coathanger. Given how random space-dyed yarn can be, I love, love, love, love, LOVE how the pattern has come out.
I have noticed the absence of daisies: I tried, and tried, but embroidery is just not one of my strong points. I can handle this , I really can. It's still a beautiful cardigan.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I figure every good spinning wheel needs a name: and honestly, what better name for a wheel who lives in such a household as ours? She was rescued from a skip by the secretary of our local spinners guild, and came to live with me yesterday. Isn't she beautiful?
I have been knitting this week, honest. I have a cardigan for a trade that is blocking downstairs, and half a pair of the most beautifully masculine longies on the needles ready for Holiday Helpers. Pictures will follow- oh, and the neckband on Samus is finished. I just have to complete the applied i-cord round the arms, and then wash and block it.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Yarn pron!

I won an ebay auction for 500g of very cheap BFL aran, and it arrived yesterday (Saturday.) I love this stuff, I really do- I've been petting it and stroking it. And, of course, tipping large quantities of vinegar and dye over it to see what happens!

The end result is a kettle-dyed blue/green yarn, destined to be a pair of longies for the MDC holiday helper appeal. It's kind of sad to think that for the cost of these 200g, I wouldn't be able to get even one ball of Rowan or Jaeger or something like that.
The best thing? I checked on ebay tonight, and there's another 500g listed. This could get expensive.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Skye at night

I love Bonfire night. I love the anarchy of it's history, I love the colours, the smells, the excitement, the opportunity to stay up late. I love it all.
This weekend, we've had lots of fireworks, and lots of bangs and oohs and ahs. Skye's new hat was finished on Friday night, just in time for me to make her wear it everywhere over the weekend (and I did. Oh yes, I truly did.) It's amazing- 27 people have told me how gorgeous it is over the last two days, and 26 of them told me how gorgeous my daughter was- NOBODY mistook her for a boy. Both the girl and the hat are very adorable though.
The socks are well underway- the short row heel is turned, the stripes jog less than Jordan in the run-up to a marathon, and they still feel fantastically soft. Back to Samus.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Knitting ADD

This is a very new and exciting experience for me, but I'm enjoying it. We went out to John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway today and I got some pretty new yarn to make Skye a winter hat. It's Soho, the replacement for Debbie Bliss maya and feels gorgeous- there was some lovely DK alpaca silk as well, but I resisted (desisted?) Samus is nearly there- one sleeve in, one sleeve on the needles, and I got a badful of goodies- leather and suede scraps and some gorgeous florals- from the local scrap store. Some of this will be a pointy kitty, some a pincushion, and the rest- who knows?
I've been working on a sock for Skye as well, striping pink RYC baby soft with the leftover fuschia alpaca from her cardigan. The sock is beautiful to feel, but ugly beyond belief to look at- the stripes are here, there and everywhere and the short-row heel looks more like fishnet stockings.So it will be frogged, and reknitted.

Monday, October 30, 2006


The boys have been a little, erm, hyper recently, so we took them out for a nice long Sunday ramble yesterday- at least, that was the plan. Instead, they dragged me up a steep, muddy and grassy bank, and down a steep, muddy grassy bank until I fell in a panting, breathless heap at the front wheel of the buggy and begged for mercy. Pretty much a typical day, then.
The banks were surrounding the largest stone circle, Avebury which is as breathtakingly beautiful and spiritual as I remember it. It's still one of my favourite places, and there's a beech grove just inside the circle where the boys could have stayed for hours, just sitting, under the trees, enjoying the crisp autumn day. Truly magickal.

And in knitting news, Samus is going well and now has one arm. Pictures will follow, eventually.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Dum de dum, dum de dum

As you know, Doctor Who is a BIG deal in my house. Having formerly been married to an obsessive fan, I have two small boys with an avid interest in the programme and a recreational hobby for the grownups is taking the michael out of it.
So, on the wettest morning of half term, we packed the children (and my mother) on a train to Cardiff- a whole different country- to go and look at Daleks. And it was absolutely fantastic. The boys loved the exhibition, daleks, cybermen and all, and the grownups loved Cardiff bay. And Skye, bless her, just sat and watched the world go by with big blue eyes.
If you're ever in Cardiff bay, I heartily recommend a little place called Kemi's (which is in the craft at the bay centre) for lunch. We had paninis, which were huge, or soup- tomato and butterbean- which was spicy, hearty, filling, and probably the best thing I've eaten all year. Absolute bliss, and a truly fantastic day out.

And so the end comes... with candy.

Well, my sock wars socks came today- or to be precise, they came on Tuesday. And I love them. They're soft and comfortable, and bless her, came with a packet of candy for the boys and some stitch markers. Absolutely fantastic.
I've actually really enjoyed doing this, and am totally up for another one, should I ever get the chance.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

A couple of FO's

So, first of all I managed to prise the knitting needles out of Skye's grubby little firsts and finish the socks. No kidding, I know now why Yarn Monkey calls them socks of doom. I love the colourway, regardless of what anybody else thinks. And THEN I whipped up a little hat for myself (a chunky lace cap, apparently) from a pattern someone linked to on MDC many years ago) out of the magic ball of yarn, trimmed with a little of my handspun.
And then I discovered that the faeries have eaten all of my stitchmarkers, and I need them for my next project.
BTW, my mothers birthday was Thursday, and Samus was not finished. It is her Xmas present instead, but this means that I'm short of knitting time for the next few days, seeing as I have to knit something else (less secret) instead.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An enemy in the ranks...

Well, sock wars socks mark 2 are here- and I have to say, I love this yarn. It's german, Schoeller and Statt (sorry for the spelling, the ball band is downstairs and I'm not) in very warm autumnal colours.
What I don't love is the honking great big mess that my adorable (hah) daughter made when she decided to pull the needles out of sock 2 and then crawl around the living room eating it. Bah, humbugs. It's taken me three days of perfectly good knitting time trying to get gauge on this blasted thing (its original knitter was a bit random with her gauge) and then this happens.
I really need a sulk smiley on here. Oh, and my socks are currently somewhere over the Atlantic- though where, I couldn't tell you. I reckon they'll be here by the end of the week.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The magic ball of yarn turned into...

a very pretty midnight garden peacock type of thing. I love it. It took a LOT of work (and some very purple cuticles) but the colours are exactly what I was hoping for- maybe slightly darker than I'd planned, but dark is always good. It's going to be a hat, and a cuff for a matching pair of mittens. Bonfire night is coming up, and that means that I need something to protect my hands from the sparklers. Hee, hee, I can't wait.
I hadn't realised, but autumn comes earlier to the west side of the country. I was looking for some interesting berries to dye some roving with, and almost everything has blown over already- there's only haws, hips and crab apples left, and a very few sloes. It feels very very autumnal today too- windy and blowy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Magic ball of yarn

Isn't it bonny? I wish I could spin like this- it may be thick and thin, but it's thick and thin with consistent wpi along the length (I checked) and really rather nice to touch and to play with.
It's a present from the Magic Ball of Yarn swop (wrap goodies inside the yarn, as you knit, presents fall out) on MDC from laprettygurl, aka Pauline, who spun it herself. I've used all of my Christmas present opening skills to remove everything possible from it- and eventually reskeined it, to find that the only thing I missed was three stitchmarkers. I NEED a ballwinder so badly.
The body of Samus is finished, and I'm on to the arms. I don't know if I'm going to finish on time, though- it may have to be an Xmas pressie.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Steady does it

Samus is going slowly. Very slowly. It's the acres of stockingette that are dragging on me, plus the fact that now my daughter is mobile, I can no longer go to the park, sit her in the buggy and get a couple of hours knitting time in whilst my boys play. That, plus the fact that there's 160 stitches in a row, and I knit more slowly on circulars: I don't know when I got into the habit of tucking my needle under my armpit, but I notice when I can't do it.
Life continues on here. My father-in-law is conscious now, but terribly confused and in a certain amount of pain- and the blood tests are still not showing better results, so we have no idea what to expect any more. The waiting is pretty hard on Steve- if you're reading, please keep us in your prayers.
We took the kids to Cotswold Wildlife Park last weekend, which was very very cool in a kitsch and camp kind of way. Imagine, if you will, a traditional English stately home, with impeccably kept front lawn. Then, if you will, imagine half a dozen zebra and a few rhino roaming around on the front lawn. Incongruous? You could say that. Despite that- and the weather- we had a wonderful time. Skye now has an infatuation with monkeys and penguins, Isaac was crying over the otters calling to their keepers, and we all got very very wet.
Other than that, it's a very quiet week. Oh- one other thing. My victim in Sock Wars is organising a knit-in the weekend after next. So check out her blog- lots of cool ideas for charity knitting- and if you're in the area, go along. That way, I won't feel so guilty about having sent her socks in the mail.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's the middle of the night

and I just finished the socks for Sock Wars.

So here they are. It's been a busy day (dad ain't so good) and now I'm off to bed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Two amazing things happened whilst I last posted.

More or less simultaneously, my FIL sat up in bed and started eating (or at least, opened his eyes and ate with help. He's talking too) and yarnmonkey sent me the sock wars pattern, two days before I'd expected it. For some reason I was convinced it started on Monday, aka today.
As you can see, I have finished a sock- and I'm loving the colourway. This is not a recent picture, but that's all I'm giving away. The goal is to have both of them on the way to Colorado by the end of today.
Oh- and for the record, I didn't swatch, but gauge is spot on.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

On cabling, knitting and life and death

The bottom band of Samus is almost finished.
For some reason, I'm actually really uncomfortable working on this now. It's intended as a gift for my mother's birthday (19 October) but I'm working on it with the phone permanently next to me, waiting on news of my father in law. Dad is in hospital with suspected septicaemia, malnutrition, pneumonia, probable liver failure and an awful lot more besides. Because nobody knows exactly what's wrong with him, apart from the very nasty varicose ulcers on both legs, they have no idea where to start treatment, so they're trying to address the symptoms. And because we don't know what's wrong with him, nobody knows what the prognosis actually is.
And in the midst of this, I'm working cables, woven in and out of another like a tightly knitted family. Somehow, I don't know how, it doesn't seem respectful: it feels like I should either be working on something for dad, or for the kids or myself, but not a gift for another. Does this seem weird to anyone? In a lot of ways, I'm going to be relieved when the Sock Wars pattern is posted on Monday, as it'll provide me with a distraction: well, at least for a while (n.b. must swatch.)
His 70th birthday is October the thirtieth. I have no idea whether he'll see it or not.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Assembling the arsenal

Am I ready for Sock Wars? Heck, no. My goal is to finish the first pair of socks, if possible.
I have decided not to go faffing about with socks on two circulars, or magic loop, but to stick to the technique that I know: the biggest advantage of which is that it will slow my killer down slightly if they prefer magic-looping. I'm loving the teddy-bear needle holders that came with me dpns.
And in happier news, I'm on repeat 6 of the band for Samus, and only need to do 7, not 9. So I'm very happy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Out of the knitting funk...

and cracking away on the band at the bottom of Samus. I'm kind of cheating somewhat: I may be a bit plus-sized, but my first venture into knitting full garments for grownups is for my mother, who is literally only half the woman I am: and also, really feels the cold. So this is a hug-in-a-box for her birthday (or Christmas, depending on how long it takes.)I'm now 3.5 repeats in, and I need 9, so it's going well. I really want to have the band finished by the time Sock Wars starts on Monday though.

Monday, September 18, 2006

As promised, pictures of the cardigan on Skye. The background is one of those kiddie cars or toddler taxis or whatever they call them- you know, a car on wheels- that my local shopping centre hires out. My back was breaking carrying her, and we didn't have a buggy with us so it was a real treat for both of us. See how big the smile is?
We've found another favourite shopping place: Cirencester, which is another Roman town, similar in many ways to the one we just came from. More importantly, it has a really cool toyshop which sells neither Barbie, Action Man nor things that require batteries. Total bliss.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Knitting under the influence

First, I'm sorry I'm being so crap at updating. Our new house has the computer upstairs, and no chair, so net time is spent standing up. It's done wonders for my resolve to cut down on the time I spend online.
Secondly, I discovered three cool and fun things tonight.
1) I can knit whilst drunk.
2) Knitting whilst drunk (OK, tipsy) is a good and painless way of sobering up.
3) I need to buy more yarn.

The cardigan for Skye is finally finished, and I love it. It needs a button for the inside, and a model, but hey, who cares? The pattern is Dolly from Jaegar book 29, knitted in Artesano Alpaca's inca cloud in fuschia, with Rowan beads. Incidentally, the inca cloud is now cheaper, ounce for ounce, than the standard 4ply merino over here, which is always a good thing to know.
The pattern, however, is a bugger to follow, as it assumes that you have proficient pattern following skills. I don't. I have mummy-brain, and therefore, some of the beaded rows are a bit wonky- there's lots of instructions to follow in pattern- which is great, but not if you need to take decreases and increases in and out of the equation. I am still incredibly proud of it, and desperate to find an opportunity for her to wear it.

Other than that, my stash has a new cupboard. Seeing as I just moved my peace fleece to the WIP bag, I now have a very small stash. It's a little worrying, to be honest, especially now I no longer have a yarn shop within walking distance. Must buy more yarn.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Progress shots, finished socks and a boy who looks like a Dalek

The move is over. We have a new home on the other side of the country (Wiltshire, if you're curious. On a direct line between the Uffington White Horse and Avebury) and don't even talk about the unpacking. BUT, because we're here and moved, I was allowed to get my knitting needles out.
First came the spinning: a little black shetland, which is mostly finished and just needs plying. Somehow, something about the permanence of spindling appealed, because no matter how much you mess it up, you can't go back and nips (spin backwards.) It just doesn't work like that.
Then came the cardigan- which has been in the waiting-to-knit pile for months now. It feels really good seeing it come together, and though I think there's a few errors in the pattern I love the way it's coming together (the pattern is Dolly from Jaeger 29, if you're interested.)
Skye's socks were finished, and are beautiful. They are also too big, but as they were knitted as welly socks, it'll be a while before she needs them.
And finally, we present for your delectation: how to make a child eat salad. Sit them at a table with a little gem and a tub of hummus, and see what they come up with (notice the complete lack of lettuce. He ate 4 that day- something he's never ever done before, and his brother ate 3.) Yep, more bally Daleks- it's verging on obsession.
And yes, true to form, Isaac requested the Doctor Who playset for his birthday, and received it, complete with a handful of figures. It's big, awkward, takes up too much floor space, doesn't dismantle easily, makes a horrid noise with flashing lights and he loves it. Gah.(So does Skye- she keeps trying to eat David Tennant.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finally feeling the sock love...

Unlike the Sandman characters, this sock yarn is going from delirium to delight. I'm feeling really chuffed with this little number- and it looks a lot better in miniature, it has to be said. Somehow the colours seem less abrasive and just plain old fun- though in many ways it reminds me of the stuff I used to wear 10 years ago, when I was trying so damn hard to be more-alternative-than-thou. Thank Maude I never have to be 19 again. These are, incidentally, destined to be welly socks- I think handknit socks are possibly a bit bulky for very new walkers.
Given that I am unable to knit anything other than socks until Sunday (and you better believe the stash is probably going to be the first thing unpacked) I'm pondering my knitting list.
For her birthday, my mother is getting Samus, knitted in Lena's Meadow peace fleece. An excellent first start on cardigans for grownups, because she's barely 5ft tall and weighs under 8 stone (how she had me, I'll never know.) My boys are getting the Knitting Pure and Simple Hoodies for Christmas: seeing as they won't be with me, I'm planning on just sending them with something handmade. Kind of a hug-in-a-box, because they'll get squillions of presents anyhow.
For Skye, I'm making longies, a beaded Dolly cardigan from Jaegar book 29 in fuschia alpaca, and probably more cardigans- I have yarn for Trellis, but I also have a lot of beautiful 4ply cotton that needs a use.
Steve is impossible to knit for. I'm not even going to bother trying, but he may wear handknit socks.
Then the whole family will be needing slippers for winter- and I was planning on gifting my very cool aunt a couple of skeins of handspun and the fibretrends felted clog pattern. Oh, and the Tour de Fleece yarn is to be Skye's winter hat, but that won't take long.
Have I missed anything? Yes. Me. Oh well, there's always next year.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Parenting like a penguin

Whilst dodging the packing this week, I finally got round to sitting down and watching March of the penguins, which is probably the best film I've seen this year. Absolutely amazing and inspiring watching everything they go through to raise their children, and the absolute trust that these penguins have in each other, and also, that ultimately, what will be will be.
For those who haven't seen it, emperor penguins congregate en masse in autumn and walk 70 miles to find a safe nesting ground where the ice is thick enough to be safe: then mummy and daddy penguin get together and start growing a baby. They then wait together until the egg is laid, when the fathers take over responsibility. From this point on, the parents juggle shared responsibility for their infants with the need to leave their children and meet their own needs, as otherwise the whole family will starve to death.
The point that struck home, though, was how the whole family just accepted independence as the time came right. There may have been power struggles and slamming of doors, but I didn't see them. Instead it came across as a graceful, but lonely, transition to maturity, and really hit home.
Maybe it's time to slacken the apron strings a little. My guys are having stresses, and I wonder if maybe it's time to give them a little more responsibility for themselves, their behaviour- even, maybe, their bedroom. Just pondering.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nursing in public

Well, you know your babies are growing up when you find a quiet bench on which to nurse, set the older two off on a calm and quiet game of hide and seek and the baby crawls off your lap and heads off to eat mulberries instead. I did't know whether to laugh or cry, especially as we had an audience.
This park has been my regular spot for the last 7 years: there's a big comfortable bench on which to nurse, lots of room for small people to run around in when shopping is getting too busy and too stressful, and it is absolutely perfect for the aforementioned game of hide and seek. It's right next door to Tymperleys museum, but frankly, we prefer the garden. Best of all? It's right in the town centre, so whenever the hustle and bustle gets too much for us (as it does frequently) we can run here and hide from it all.
I'm really going to miss it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The sockerfly

Well, I finished the socks. Look at me, aren't I tenacious? Why, nobody can accuse me of giving up on something because it's too hard (or too boring, or I hate the colour.)In fact, if I'm truly honest the biggest reason I didn't give up???

All of my knitting needles, spindle, sewing machine and fibre of all descriptions are packed away in a cardboard box, waiting to be transported to their new home. The ONLY things I have left out are 5 3mm dpns, a 3mm crochet hook, said sock yarn and amineko. And the one thing I hate more than knitting this pair of socks, is crochet.

But have I fulfilled my aims and objectives, I hear you cry? Let's see: the goal was:
1) To find out what all the fuss about handknit socks is about.
2) To successfully use dpns without getting that crease between the needles.
3) To get better at increases and decreases and structural knitting
4) Because my MDC mamas did a sock-a-long, and I didn't want to be left out.

There was a fifth point: to own a pair of socks that nobody in my house would steal. I think I've accomplished that.
And tackling them in order: yes, socks are addictive. And they're fun.
No, the creases are still there, right along the top of the foot. I figure a few dozen times through the washing machine and nobody will ever notice, though. I completely messed up the increases, and made what I believe is politely termed a "decorative increase", though it looks like a line of big holes to me. You decide.My decreases and encroachments (love that word) however, are much much tidier. BUT I now know what I did wrong, and how to fix it.
And yes, I got to play in a knit-a-long. And in the best traditions of me and knit-a-longs, I started 2 months before everyone else and finished shortly afterwards.

Like a muggins, I signed up for sock wars: I'm planning on learning how to magic loop before then though. My goal and target is to have completed the cast-on before I receive my socks in the post, though this may not be possible, what with having small people and stuff.

In the meantime, I have 45g of fluorescent sock yarn left, and someone with small feet to knit for.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wheels within wheels...

First, an apology for my companions on the Tour de Fleece. I am really, really sorry it's taken me quite this long to get a picture up: I only finally took it off the spindle late last night, after ds2 has spent lots of time in hospital with uncontrolled asthma attacks last week. It's really not been the best week of my life, but the attacks have generally been milder than some of his others and it's looking hopeful that he might outgrow it. One day. Until then, we're flying by the seat of our pants.
The spinning, on the other hand, I'm really pleased with. It's smoother and more even than I'd imagined - the singles, that is. The plying was a little rushed,and it's definitely a tad bumpy in places.I don't know if I made the loops too big, too short or what, but it's definitely something. There's 75 yards there, and it came out roughly aran weight. I inadvertently cheated though, as I found another handful of roving tucked away down the side of the sofa this morning. Despite this, I'm really happy with it and it feels like a major accomplishment. It also smells absolutely delicious- incredibly fruity.
And, on more related wheel-type news, my current employers (soon to be former employers) are instituting a cycle to work scheme, where the company gives employees a loan to help them buy the hardware. Unfortunately, they're doing it the week before I leave for Swindon, which does NOT please me.
Further news on Swindon- the hospital are discharging my father in law a little earlier than we'd expected, so he's coming home and we're living in a three-generation family house for a while. It's going to be bracing. I think this is possibly the point that sends me running back into full time employment.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Funny how much you learn by getting it wrong...

It suddenly dawned on me, midway through knitting, that the increases I've been using for the socks (oh maude, please make them stop) are not the increases specified in the pattern: and this is why I have the dinky little holes, that I actually kind of like. What the pattern (which is a generic pattern) actually calls for is knitting into the stitch below- and instead, I've been knitting into the float. Such a simple, elementary mistake to make: but now, I understand what I should be doing. And every time I make a daft mistake like this, I get better and better.
The move is on, for 5 weeks time. Flylady's moving tips has been set as my homepage in an attempt to inspire and uplift me and magically transport my clutter into boxes. In the meantime, however, I have a poorly wee boy cuddled up in my lap demanding hugs and attention, so packing is getting a little bit tricky. I'm not entirely sure what's wrong (a bad attack of sportsdayitis?)but he's really a bit flat. And the wee girl is eating the xbox.
Spindling is going well, but not too well: given the dental floss issue on top of everything else, I think that this is probably not the best time to make a first attempt at chaining singles, because it's going to come out seriously unevenly. I think the solution is probably to turn it into a 2ply: possibly with sparkly stuff involved somewhere.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sock singular

I have new respect for anyone who can knit these things for fun. That's all I'm saying.
So here is the sock of doom, which has taken me umpteen months. I fell badly out of love with the colours whilst knitting, but the lovely Amy gave me this pair of silver DMs, which NEED bright socks to set them off. Or at least, they look very well together. It's not blocked, by the way, because I don't have the patience for wetblocking and I came back from Swindon without my iron.
And somehow, I have lost the ability to spin. My beautiful fibre is turning into dental floss, and there isn't a thing I can do to stop it. So depressed it's unbelievable.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Is that a future in there? A whole future, not just a half?

This question was asked by Isaac, whilst watching Dr Who tonight, and it seemed to sum up the last few days.
In 5 weeks time, I am uprooting my family and we are moving 150 miles away to my husband's boyhood town on a wing and a prayer. We have a home to go to, and that's it. Friday, we had a few monumental strokes of luck, and within the space of an hour and a half found a new school and a new job. Suddenly everything has fallen into place, and I feel so relieved it's unbelievable. Literally, we feel like we have a future again- and also, that our lives are coming full circle. I'm happy.

Dr Who tonight really pissed me off. The Beeb have been running trailers all week with Rose saying "this is how I died" and therefore, having something of a literal mind and living with two small boys dealing with the death of a friend, I kind of assumed that they were killing off a companion. If you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it: but I think what they did was truly irresponsible and completely totally and utterly reprehensible and they should be ashamed of themselves. Five slapped hands for Russell T.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Little things make me happy.

Yesterday,my boys (plus one, we had friends for dinner) made me the worlds gooiest chocolate pudding. What's not to like? Apart from the fact that they left me the washing up, bless them.
The new Knitty is up, and in it is an article on how to make coiled singles which is something I've been wanting to figure out for a while. I suspect making coiled singles with a drop spindle is going to be a PITA, but hey, no harm in trying ;)This makes me especially happy because I was planning on buying a back issue of Spin-Off to learn this technique alone, and now I don't have to.
Another thing that makes me happy is that the dastardly sock is almost finished- in fact, it's on to the ribbing. We're away for the next couple of days, so I should get lots and lots of in-car knitting time in.
I got my package from the peace fleece co-op, in what's probably the fastest postage time ever from the US. By some strange coincidence, the dye lots match the stuff in my stash, so mum's cardigan (Samus) should be absolutely perfect. I have a couple of projects waiting in the wings, and can't decide which one to start with.
And finally: we're definitely moving. Steve handed his notice in yesterday, so we're off to Swindon in around a month's time. Mortgage free living, new life, fresh start-it terrifies me. Thank god for knitting.
Oh, and the picture is of my spindle. My mission for next week is to make a couple of CD spindles- one for plying, one for Alex.

Monday, July 03, 2006

She dyed, she did...

Day three of the Tour de Fleece and I've finally started. Yesterday I got the roving dyed, which came out in gorgeous pastel tones- it's KoolAid dyed, with pink lemonade (double strength), ice blue raspberry lemonade, arctic green apple and lemonade. I'm particularly proud of that gorgeous parma violet colour where the pink and blue have blended- I'm going to try and recreate that, even though I think the pink is possibly a bit brighter than I wanted. Even more importantly, I haven't felted it even a tiny bit, which is a first for me with dyeing.
The roving was soaked, spread out on clingfilm and had the dye squirted on in quarters, doing each side of each piece, going from yellow at the top, through green and blue and down to pink at the bottom. I then rolled it and sealed it in the clingfilm, coiled the sausages up to make tiny pyramids with the pink at the bottom, and nuked it in the microwave. I finished by dropping the whole package in a sink of fairly hot water and unwrapping it there, and then spun any excess out in the washing machine.
I'm spinning it up now, and so far it's an exercise in predrafting. I've split each length of roving down into 6, and then each 1/6 into a further 4-6 lengths before I spin it. Each piece is being joined at alternate ends, so the pink always joins the pink, and the yellow always joins the yellow and the colour gradations remain smooth and even. I've never predrafted this much before- I started off doing a modified long draw technique, and that's kind of stayed with me, but it has to be said that this is much easier and faster, and is giving really nice crisp clean colours. I'm hoping I don't end up with problems later on from having fibres lying in opposite directions or anything crap like that, but I don't see any reason yet for that to happen.

Friday, June 30, 2006


The finished blue yarn is all spun, and suddenly, somehow, it seems to be clicking. Drafting suddenly got much quicker, and easier, and the yarn was behaving itself. Practice? Maybe? Deadlines? Possibly that as well. I need a naked spindle in preparation for the start of the tour de fleece tomorrow, which meant that the spinning had to be finished.
In retrospect, I'm regretting not leaving the singles sitting on their coke bottles a while longer. This could be stunning with some fluffy white bits in, or possibly a bit of glitter. Ideally, even both. The colourway just needs something to pep it up, you know what I mean? Oh, it's exactly 50 yards from just under 2oz of fibre, which means that if I'd had a full 4oz of it, I'd have finally achieved the mythical 100 yard skein.
Suddenly everything is getting more productive. Her Highness the Princess of Cling has discovered that crawling is a good thing, because it enables her to eat a wider range of choking hazards (childproofing with children in the house is turning out to be increasingly difficult)and so life is much, much quieter around here. Alex is on a mission to create balls from wool, as opposed to balls of wool, so there will be a little light felting going on around here later today. Oh yes, and amineko now has hands.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


How the heck can you get salmonella in chocolate anyhow? That's just so wrong in so many ways.
Our favourite bars of chocolate aka the BIG bar of Cadburys caramel, the pregnancy craving, the stuff with the pornographic bunny wabbit advert- has been recalled. Smeg. And somehow, I have to stop my hypochondriac husband discovering this any time within the next year- mercifully he doesn't watch the news, read broadsheet newspapers, or read my blog.

Which leads to my other issue. It has come to my attention that certain people (you know who you are) have been reading the old blog, and even the new blog, and not leaving comments on it. So, if you're reading this, please make me feel loved and drop me a line to let me know you got this far. There could potentially be a bar of chocolate in it for you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A small vent

I understand that colonialism is a pain in the bum, and heck, even I don't want to be British- so I have no quibbles whatsoever with the Americans choosing to be independent. I don't have a major problem with any of the other things that they've done since, though it really bugs me that they don't see u in color
But now, finally, they've gone too far.
It suddenly dawned on me, whilst rereading The Happy Hooker, that the reason I had such difficulty getting this crochet project up and running again is because amigurumi aren't made in single crochet: they're made in american single crochet, which is the same as our double crochet.
Such a simple thing, yet caused so much havoc and destruction. Spinning is way easier. Heck, even socks are easier.
I have lost all will to master more complicated stitches- I think I'm just going to move somewhere quiet where they don't speak English, American, or even Canadian. Scotland would do nicely.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Work in progress

I'm feeling very down that I'm stitching away and achieving nothing, so here's the WIP to cheer myself up.
Skye is on a mission to conquer the world one mouthful at a time, and has discovered that she can even eat herself. The sock of doom (aka protosock) has been on the needles for months and months an months- this is the same sock that was originally started as part of the Knitting Olympics. Well, it's the same yarn and the same needles- but a totally different pattern. Does that make it better or worse?
Plus, in a moment's madness I decided to buy myself a crochet hook because I had a burning desire to make amineko The one problem being that I haven't crocheted since I was about twelve, and it's very, very slow going. I'm feeling incredibly proud of myself for having figured out the magic loop thingummy- which was admittedly way easier than a knitting style magic loop- and it all seems to be going along swimmingly.
Must knit more- spin more- crochet more- sleep less.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Loss of Innocence

Ten days ago, Bill was playing football when his ball went over the wall. He tried to climb over the wall to get it back, and the wall fell on him and hurt him so badly that he couldn't stay alive with us. He was six years old. So the goddess is cuddling him and looking after him now just like his mummy did, and Isaac's mummy does, until the time is right for Bill's mummy to go and be with him again.

This is what we've told Isaac. He is five years old, and watching someone so small struggle with something so big is breaking my heart. In the last ten days, he's both got very old and very young- asking for lots and lots of babying and cuddles and attention, yet also wanting his independence. He wants to play outside by himself- not only in the garden, but to go to the park quarter of a mile away by himself as well. Yet every night the bed is wet and he cries in terror, associating the sensations of his asthma attacks with the way his friend died. I haven't got the words to help him, but I so, so, wish I had.
The games he and his friends play so often have changed so much. I haven't seen Superman's red cape zooming round the house much recently, or heard of the doings of the Power Rangers. (Not the TV version- Power Rangers Isaac-stylee are way cooler. They have all kinds of superpowers, for one thing.) Instead, they've been obsessed with an ants nest and watching the way that the ants interact and work together, and trying to protect the ants from the other children.
Probably the hardest thing to see, though, is the way that he hasn't been taking risks. His ongoing onslaught on the climbing wall at the playground has been put on hold for a while, as has the battle with the monkey bars- because for the first time in his life, Isaac has realised that failure is an option. For him, it's no longer as simple as "I can't do it yet" because he knows that there's the possibility that a goal may prove too big and too dangerous for him. He now believes in "I can't do it." His innocence, his brave open-hearted sheer reckless stupidity is gone at 5 years old, and I don't think I can bring it back.
We love you, Bill.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


though that should probably be with a very small K. Because it's a fairly short top, on account of me forgetting a row or seven- but then it's for a fairly short girl, so that probably makes everything OK.
And it was a fun, relatively quick knit. I'm not sure about some of the measurements, because it is absolutely swamping Skye- and similarly, I think the i-cords are longer than they needed to be- but it looks really sweet on and I love the colour.
The next project on the needles is actually only on one needle. In a moment's madness, I decided to pick up a crochet hook again, inspired by the gorgeous amigurumi animals I see from time to time across the net. It's harder than I thought-and if I ever get to meet Debbie Stoller, I want to slap her for asserting that crochet is easier than knitting. It's really, really not.