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Saturday, September 30, 2006

This week I have...

Finished one pair of Fresh glovelets.

Knit one half of the next pair

Eaten the first ripe pepper from the garden

Bought some Tapestry from my local yarn shop and started knitting an entrelac stole (or possibly cushion)

The colourway is gorgeous, ranging from dusky rose, through tawny pinks and oranges to a steely grey. It's a wool and soy fibre mix which gives it such an unusual feel. I'm knitting ten rectangles of ten stitches and have done a provisional cast on so I can do a triangle border. I only bought two balls of yarn so I'm going to measure the stole after the first ball and if it looks like a stole will be way too expensive it can be a big square cushion. I think it would look great with the triangle edging and a reverse side in a deep slubby silk or something similar.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sock Wars Update

The Socks of Doom arrived in the post on Tuesday morning making me officially dead as far as Sock Wars goes. It was fun whilst it lasted. As a consolation I also received the excellent Knitting Bag of Doom from Lilith my assassin. Thankyou so much. It is very cool and drew much admiration at the Bluestockings meeting last night.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to you!

In honour of the boyfriend's birthday. The cake recipe is from Nigella's How to Eat (I find that a knife and fork generally gets it done for me!), the sparkly cake board is from Lakeland Limited and the impossibly cute candles are from Sylvester's.

Putting my feet up!

I finished the second sock at around 1.30pm (BST) on Sunday afternoon. This is me checking that the socks will fit—they're a bit big for me so I hope that means that they will fit a US size *. Tsarlingfeld's socks are in the mail! I was feeling a little guilty at the thought of sending out killer socks first thing on Monday morning but I needn't have been as she has also been knitting "like the wind"! I am, however, I little worried about my yarn choice as DK alpaca seems a little warm for California—does it ever get cold out there? I feel like I'm going to be an early casualty of war though. My assassin, tigerlilith, has got her socks finished and is UK based (gah!). I love the colour though and they're knitted in cashmerino (yay).

The only thing about this competition is that the socks take longer to post than they do to knit. Won't that mean that everyone will have knit a pair of socks and sent them off before anyone receives any? Clapotis wars anyone?

Friday, September 22, 2006


I've been spending the morning alternating between yarnmonkey's site to see if the pattern is up yet and the BBC to check the Ryder Cup scores. So far, no pattern and the scores are level at 1.5—1.5. I'm just waiting for the last four-ball result to come in. I've been passing the time by knitting a gauge tube. My gauge is usually the same as published patterns and I haven't yet had to use different needles from the ones suggested but you never know what tension the yarnmonkey will get from knitting with those tiny monkey paws. And no opposable thumbs either!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

S-day minus 1

I have the yarn, my needles are freed-up and I'm ready to go as soon as the pattern is posted. I finished knitting the toe of the first Pom mk2 sock at lunchtime today after knitting practically the whole of the foot whilst watching The Black Dahlia last night after the Bluestockings meeting. I just need to Kitchener stitch the toe this evening then I'm one sock down, one to go. I've cast on a further pair of Fresh glovelets - they're just so cute and I love the yarn. And I've actually bought a further ball of Cashmerino Aran after that for a third pair in cream. It's going to be handwarmers for everyone this Christmas!

The Black Dahlia (2006)
Dir. Brian de Palma
Scarlett Johansson
Josh Hartnett
Aaron Eckhardt
Hilary Swank
Plot complexity rating: stocking stitch in the round with the caveat that you may want something slightly bigger than a sock to hide behind during the grisly moments

From a knitting point of view the high point of the film was definitely Scarlett Johansson's wardrobe. Her character wears a fantastic succession of champagne and oyster coloured twinsets and her final scene is in a gorgeous white (either mohair or angora) mini-sweater.

Obviously I won't be taking on anything new until after Sock Wars. However, when it's over I want to knit
this. Last night Ruth announced that she would be knitting it when she had finished her current project, I wasn't familiar with the pattern so when I came across the link today I followed it. I think I'd like to make a striped version—something bold like red and white or blue and white (either that or I'll end up in my usual pink through brown palette).

Monday, September 18, 2006

Fa—a long, long way to run!

I still have show tunes stuck in my head from watching the final of "Maria" on Saturday, especially "Do—a deer" which I sung to myself for the majority of my 18 mile training run on Sunday in preparation for the Abingdon Marathon. I find that getting a piece of music on repeat in your head, especially one with a regular beat and simple lyrics is fantastic for helping to regulate pace and breathing over long distances. You can also judge how tired you are and whether you need an energy boost by seeing if you can remember all the lyrics. I tend to forget "La—a note to follow so" when dead-beat. As well as discovering the ultimate power-tune this weekend I also found this gem of a site Map My Run which lets you plots your favourite runs, add in symbols for water breaks and toilets and tells you how long the distance is. I'm particularly chuffed with the site as it informed me that I'd actually run 19.7 miles (rather than the intended 18) which not only means that I'm speedier than I thought (yay) but also that I don't have to think of another 2 miles to add on to my next long run.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Finished baby stuff

From the front with the Koigu bootees

Back view with i-cord tie.

Just the bootees.

I've finally solved a styling problem which has been bothering me slightly for some time. There are no attractive surfaces or backdrops in the flat. There's just yellow wallpaper (very
Charlotte Perkins Gilman) and brown carpet). Anyway, when laying out the latest lot of finished items it hit me. Wrapping paper! I had bought some gorgeous paper from )Sylvester's (the one stop shop for great presents) in order to wrap the items so i spread it out and weighted it down and presto! I love the patchwork elephants.

Fresh off the needles

Just finished the Fresh fingerless gloves during "Maria". I'm very pleased with them, they were good fun to knit, the cabled rib at the cuff is extremely cute and has great elasticity. I've just cast-on and completed about 4 rounds of the top ribbing of Pomatomus in the green cashmerino. I ground to a bit of a halt on the Koigu Poms midweek - partly due to a realisation that I was going to run out of yarn, partly due to not being able to work out how to make the heel fit me. It just seemed far too wide when I followed the pattern and I was worried about the instep and sole mismatching if I continued to decrease much further. This is as far as I got before starting to rip back (just to prove I can cope with Chart B)

I've cast on the second attempt with 3.75mm needles, which suddenly strikes me as rather a dumb thing to do since I'm going to need those to knit the International Sock of Doom. I've just been reading some of the comments on Yarnmonkey's blog. I'm slightly scared that people have been swatching. I generally don't for socks. In fact I just don't. I've decided on Artesano Alpaca in (I think) cream (soo beautiful) for my sock, hopefully it's not a lace pattern as lace patterns really don't show up in that stuff so I'll have to get down to the yarn store on Monday to check yardage. I'm so excited, by my reckoning it should all be kicking off on Friday!

Friday, September 15, 2006

More yarn than you can shake a hand-crafted birch pointy stick at!

I wandered into my somewhat infamous local yarn shop on Thursday evening with the fairly firm intention of buying a couple of balls of Alpaca Silk DK with which to knit the gorgeous Seaside fingerless gloves on the cover of September's Magknits. Instead I came away with a single ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a tea/turquoise colour, the simple reason being that they have expanded their stock! They have cashmerino aran in all the gorgeous colours and they have Rowan! This is very exciting for a girl for whom previously the nearest source of Rowan was eight miles away. They have wool cotton, and kidsilk haze and big wool tufty and tapestry and I'm so excited. They also have the needles out on display. Until now you had to know that they stocked needles and ask for them. "I've heard you stock knitting needles." " you want the police round here." It was like the prohibition knitting shop. Only the initiated got to see the good stuff. And it is good stuff. As well as the regular Pryms (in themselves fairly fantastic in a town that otherwise only sells Pony) there are Addis and Brittany's. See how restrained I was in only coming away with a single ball of yarn.

I was still keen on the idea of fingerless gloves though so I am knitting Fresh from the summer issue of Knitty. Like the intro says, these are a weekend knit. I cast on on the train this evening and am already one hand-warmer down and am nearly at the first cable round on the second.

They're very cute and I've already decided who will be receiving them for Christmas. I'm pretty sure I'll knit some more, possibly using two balls of wool and making them a bit longer in the wrist and hand.

Pottery goodies

Last week (thanks to Sara and Aliki) I got back my glazed and fired piggy bank and mug from our session at the Pottery Café. I'm very happy with the pig, a bit less so with the mug I'm OK with that as I kind of felt at the time that it wasn't going to be a great design.

The cake BTW is Nigella's Winter Plum cake from Domestic Goddess. This is a fantastically versatile cake which can be made with practically any tinned or fresh juicy fruit (i.e. not bananas). The great thing is that it tastes just as good (better maybe) with the tinned stuff.

Monday, September 11, 2006

@!*&#* &%# !*#?* Pomatomus socks!

My confidence that I would be able to knit a short row heel and then merrily return to the pattern at the start of Chart B appears to have been ill-founded. I hit snags almost immediately and ended up with far too stitches at the end of the needle. It was at this point that I discovered that these socks are an absolute arse to unknit, let alone rip out. I mean the ripping is easy enough, but getting the damn stitches back on your needles again... After much cursing and after going back about four rounds I finally managed to get 71 stitches. Freakily I was counting along one of the needles and saying "23, that's not enough" seconds before one of the code breakers in Enigma said the exact same thing—of course he was talking about U-boat contacts but the principle's the same. Between tracking down my missing stitch and trying to find the right place to start off again I may have missed some of the finer plot points but I did enjoy the film.

Enigma (2001)
Dir. Michael Apted
Dougray Scott
Kate Winslet
Jeremy Northam
Plot complexity rating*: easy lace

* i.e. the level of knitting you can cope with whilst still being able to follow the plot

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Finished objects - Patsy socks

It's really hard to take a good photo of your own feet. The pattern shows up quite well in this one though.

Fish & Flowers

On Saturday, after an uncharacteristically inexpensive trip to Hobbycraft (I spent 25p on ribbon for the bootees!) and before the big game, Mum and I dropped in on the St. Paul's Astley Bridge Flower Festival. The festival was to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Bolton floral group and part of the money raised will go to the Bolton Hospice. The church looked great with every possible surface covered with flowers. I loved the pillars which had been garlanded with hydrangeas and the pew ends which were decorated with lilies.

I also liked "Mary's Garden" in the Lady Chapel which was an installation rather than an arrangement.

My favourite piece was the memorial tree which had been arranged by the Bolton Junior club on which visitors could write a label and hang a red rose in an individual vase in memory of a loved one. I thought it was a lovely idea and the effect was stunning.

Also on Saturday I finally got the hang of Pomatomus after ripping back the first two rows a couple of times. It seems that actually reading the pattern carefully really helps. I'm a bit nervous about running out of yarn (due to the Koigu bootees) so I'm only knitting two repeats of Chart A for the cuff. I haven't decided yet whether to stick to the pattern for the heel. Short rows would be easier with just the four needles and use less yarn and I prefer the fit, but I'm a but nervous about going off pattern as Chart B looks very scary. I love the way the pattern is turning out too but the tension (due to the twisted knits I think) is still pretty tight so it's quite tiring to knit. It's never really a good sign when you can hear your wrists clicking alongside the needles.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Get these!

What every cool baby around town is wearing..Koigu bootees!
The pattern is the cabled circular seamless baby bootees pattern by Megan Mills which I have knit a couple of times now in its various incarnations with an added picot cast-on (a strange choice admittedly for someone who does not overly love casting-on with 2.75mm needles—so fiddly). They are a pretty quick knit (about 3 hours per bootee) which meant that I was able to more-or-less complete the second one on the train this evening. They still need a tie to weave in and out of the eyelet holes at the base of the cuff. Hopefully I can find some ribbon at Hobbycraft tomorrow, otherwise it wil have to be i-cord. Now I love making i-cord (who doesn't!?) as much as the next person but I have other plans for the remainder of my yarn which was after all bought with the original intention of making socks for myself.
Namely Pomatomus. I've cast on the 72 stitches (again with the tiny needles) and completed a couple of rounds of the twisted rib cuf but it's tough going. However, I will persevere, at least until I can prove to myself that I can master the charts. For some reason I have this strange sense of inadequacy which I suspect will linger until I actually knit one of the many intricte sock patterns which I have printed out from Knitty.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

3 days to Sock Wars!

That is 3 days until sign-up closes and yarn and needle requirements are published. I'm very excited about the whole thing. I've been checking out this gorgeous yarn online with a view to knitting my Sock Wars socks in it. The only concern is that it's just too pretty. How will I feel about sending off a pair of socks in this yarn with deadly intent to a complete stranger? How will I feel if I get 'killed' before I finish them and have to send them off unfinished to my assassin? It doesn't bear thinking about. The obvious solution is to buy a double quantity. One for Sock Wars and one for me. It saves on P&P in the long run!
Back to the yarn though, I especially love the Alpaca/Silk 4-ply/sock. The orchid colourway is soo lovely.
I've also been thinking about needles. Much as I loved the idea of Addis it turns out that I'm just not that comfortable knitting with them. I'll have to check with Katie (the guru when it comes to knitting two socks at once) that I'm using the right size but I find it so tight and uncomfortable, especially when I have to do anything more complicated than knit or purl. This puts patterned socks completely out of the question. I think I'll even put the socks I started on the addis onto DPNs as I'm just getting nowhere.

Friday, September 01, 2006

And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood..

He doesn't actually have a ring at the end of his nose, but he is excessively cute. And also definitely a 'he' despite the hearts and flowers. I really cannot recommend Pottery Café enough. The café is situated on the Fulham Road near to Parson's Green tube station. The studio fee is £5 and you pay for any items that you paint. They have some really great pieces to decorate from Bridgewater Pottery and from their pottery on the Isle of Wight and you can paint anything from a cat to a dinner plate. There is a wide range of colours and paintbrushes as well as thin tubes for piping and pencils for writing. Best of all there are sponges cut in many different shapes (stars, flowers, tractors, bumble bees to name a few) so even the artistically challenged can create a masterpiece. The only drawback for those not living in London is that the pots have to be glazed and fired so you can't take them away with you the same day, however, they will hang on to the stuff for several months if you can't pick it up immediately. The café serves drinks but you can also bring your own. The only danger is the recurring urge to dip your paintbrush into your glass instead of the mug of water!

In other news I have nearly (by which I mean about a hundred stitches to go) cast-off the double potato chip scarf. I actually think I preferred it as a single ruffle but I'll see how it looks when it's completely finished. Either way, there's no way I'm ripping out all those stitches!