Wednesday, 30 May 2007

But surely they would be a bit um, sweaty?!

I know, I know, I know...

...I really shouldn't post in the middle of the night when I have had too much to drink! Let me clean this post up...

...okay, I went into Borders on Monday afternoon to cheer myself up because the weather was so dire. It was also after buying some great buttons for the ballerina top in John Lewis that mean I have to reknit both front halves of the wrap again, don't ask...will explain in another post!

So elated yet discouraged, I ambled up to Crafts, where I plonked myself down, cross legged on the floor - a woman of almost 37, in a raincoat - I know, odd - and started to look through books.

Actually, the first one that I picked up, I remarked to a lady standing beside me, 'Oh good grief...knitted lingerie, WHY?!'

I put it back on the shelf.

So then I did the bookshelf rounds of Vogue Ultimate Knitting, various Stitchonaries, knitting bibles, designers (Erika Knight, Debbie Bliss, Jean Moss, the one who does a lot of bags) etc. in my search for:

  • a clear handbook that will help me get started on proper garment pattern creation, sizing up-down and all associated knitting techniques (really, I think I need to do a course: one like this and finishing techniques! Your recommendations please!)

  • something classic, simple, tailored cardigan for my Jaeger cream silk that I am failing to find elsewhere

  • summer things - as it is that time of year

In my search, I identified three potential books:

  • Vogue Ultimate Knitting

  • Erika Knight: Classic Knits. Not very exciting but some nice patterns. I could live with my silk cardigan being like the deep V-neck jumper on its cover!

  • Fitted Knits.

Are these any good, or should I consider something else?!

However, I assumed that Amazon could deliver at a lower price so made to leave, research done. Just beforehand though - I picked up the lingerie book again, just so that I could leave on a cackle high of 'Why why why - just who would want to knit and wear lingerie?!'

The very thought of knitted underwear...well, surely that would just lead, how to put it gracefully?! Itchy, sweatiness?! Also, I cannot see my gravity locked knockers being held up adequately by a layer of either knit or purl - surely the ease in stocking stitch fabric would leave me balancing them on my knees?!'

However, as I flicked through its pages, I started to look beyond the bras and pants. Hmm, some good summer tops and other garments in here.

Oh, it's by the same publishing company and uses the same photographer as Knitting Nature. I look at its title again: Knitting Lingerie Style. Hmm... much? £15.95 - okay, away home to browse Amazon.

However, it is new, so it is not yet discounted. I felt foiled! Well, that book has haunted me since Monday. (Yes I know that it is only Wednesday but a woman can get her knickers in a twist in less time, surely?!)

So today...I nipped out at lunchtime, in the pouring rain.

I passed a Borders on my way to buy shoes (I get paid tomorrow, was my shoe purchase justification). I tried to walk past Borders on my way back to the office. I failed.

So everyone, tremble in your shoes because I am afraid that it will be knitted bras and/or pants all round for Christmas this year! I am thinking that it could be a great orphan de-stasher?!

Trust me, I won't be knitting underwear for myself...

...not sure it would go with my new shoes (aside from anything else)!

I have the outfit and occasion lined up for this pair - the one night each year when I wear high heels, posh myself up (to surprise the people who usually see me without a scrap of make up) and socialise the night away!

Last year, I debuted a pair of 4" heels with a smart trouser outfit. Somehow (alcohol may have been the cause) I lost one of them on my way home (alone, just for the purposes of clarity).

Absolutely no idea: I retraced my steps the next day to no avail! What's worse is that for some obscure reason, I still have the other shoe.

So to the Prince Charming who may have picked up a stray shoe - if you are out there wondering who might fit that black leather and chrome buckle Faith shoe with a 4" heel...

...please may I have my shoe back?!

Monday, 28 May 2007


Please don't say that I didn't warn you but here they are, images of the one and only dessicated cat produced at last weekend's Craft Show!

I would like to point out that this feline is now known cheerfully as Roadkill - even to E, its 5 year old creator.

Frankly, to reanimate or not to reanimate? This is the question!

Interestingly M's cats were unperturbed by the new arrival.

Apologies for blurry photos but I need to confess that I was almost on my knees chortling with mirth at this point!

Now personally, I think that the Eygptians had a slightly more elegant solution to the whole issue of Cat Representation (or Body Disposal, as you prefer)...


For those of you who quilt - isn't this wrapping reminiscent of an American traditional quilt block?
Note for E: happy to help you make a cat mummy, just a bit worried that your cats might not sit still long enough for us to get the bandages on!

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Don't you just...

..hate it when this happens?!

Ignore the other errors in the button band (which came about as I changed my mind about a button hole about 3 times, putting one in, taking one out etc.) but I couldn't really let the even more obvious purling error!

Note to self: knitting or thinking through knitting when tired will lead to obvious errors - guaranteed.

The knitting pattern suggested that this knit was a weekend job - ho ho ho, my razor sharp knitting speed strikes again! I think that I have been knitting this during my daily commutes for almost 3 weeks now.

It is very lucky that I am knitting the 6-9 months size, as the gift recipient arrived safe and well almost two weeks ago...yes, I am behind - I know, I know! I am doing my best!

It is not the most photogenic knit in the world either...but here is a picture (albeit a bit fuzzy) to prove that I am actually working away in the background!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Sunday in the Sun...

The Great Big Plan last weekend was to head off to Wonderwool Wales - you know, just M, E and I, girls together on the open road, lured West by the attraction of yarn and the idea of meeting some of our favourite internet yarn sellers.

Well, that statement holds true for two of the travelling party. E is five.

While she does knit, I am not certain that she has reached the stage where she might travel miles to hunt and gather yarn. Clearly, in this - M and I are beyond help!

However, as with all good plans - it came unstuck at the last minute. Actually, I prefer to think that common sense prevailed over wool induced fever. Even if it was not until about 23:30 last Saturday evening. I peered at the route map - I rubbed my eyes and looked at it again. It hadn't changed:

Distance: 186 miles. Journey Time: 3.5 hours.

Hmmm. You see, I thought of Builth Wells as being just a little bit beyond where my mother used to live. That's no hassle: jump in the car, tank down to Wales - job done. In my head it was 2-2.5 hours. Somehow 3.5 hours is perilously close to 4 hours (with a short stop).

A day trip with 8 hours of travelling...on a motorway populated with Sunday drivers?

Cue emergency text correspondence:
G: How would you and E fancy a girly day trip to Brighton instead?!
M: How about the Henley Craft Fair?!
G: Done!

Now, while Craft Fairs might not be everyone's cup of tea, you have to hand it to those folks at Henley - they know their audience! It was set up well for families with all sorts of activities to keep children entertained while their parents shopped.

So instead of being cooped up in a car for 8 hours and then being hauled from stall to stall to look at yarn, E got to...

...make a cat...

...and make a crown with M!

Although both projects had merits - for me, the crown was the clear winner of the two. You see, by the time the cat had dried out in the sun (following its coating of brown tissue paper), it looked a little strange. I didn't dare comment but M did suggest quietly it looked a little like dried out roadkill...!

As for M and I, we window shopped and even though the closest I got to wool was this...

...somehow, M managed to find a stall with a small amount of Mango Moon recycled sari silk. So she came away stash happy!

I came away empty handed - mostly because I just couldn't persuade myself that I had money or space at home for this 5ft paper mache cockerel...

....a shame really.

It was ridiculous and yet, oddly magnificent!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007


1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment to tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My 8 Random Things
Thanks Toni! Hmm, what to write? I think that Dee put it very well in her post on the 15th May 2007. How much insight to share about the reality of my day-to-day life?! O.k. here we go:

1. I prefer savoury to sweet things - if offered a choice between a slice of cake or a slice of freshly baked, sliced and buttered poppy seeded, crusty bread, I would take the bread! If I eat cake, it is probably because I am being polite. That is, unless you are offering me brownies or fresh, buttered bara brith (served with a steaming hot mug of tea after a decent walk)!

2. I knit my way to/from work by train. My commute includes a walk between the station and my office which has become the highlight of my day. Every day, I get to:
· take in the view and skyline along the Thames;
· note or photograph the interesting, curious or funny things that I see; and
· wish that I could walk (in trainers) as briskly as the women overtaking me (in stilettos)!

3. I lived in Italy for a year when I was 17. I can get by in conversational Italian but noone could ever accuse me of being able to communicate in a grammatically correct manner!

4. I am lucky enough to count my father as one of my best friends - he is an absolute rock.

5. Am not a wine snob but I do enjoy good red and white moderation, of course!

6. I know that it is silly (as I have no issue with cooked onion or garlic) but I hate how the taste of raw onion and garlic hangs around...for days. So I avoid eating it completely - I don't like it on other people's breath either (shudder).

7. I feel empathy with the sentiments expressed by The Yarn Harlot about the Wings that she knitted for a friend. I got back into knitting properly when my mother started chemotherapy. I attempted to knit her hats - 'attempt' being the operative word as only two made it off my needles intact. I hope that I never ever have to knit my mother wings: she currently has a full head of hair and I am quietly crossing off the years to Yr 5 Clear with all of my fingers and toes crossed for good luck.

8. I feel incredibly lucky with the small circle of friends that I have (across all of the different areas of my life). Basically, my friends are supportive, tolerant (usually of my lateness...invariably I leave at the time I am supposed to arrive), kind, they share their lives with me and enrich my own in return.

I tag: Robynn; Roobeedoo

PS: I have knitted the back and sleeves of the ballerina wrap - I will be casting on the 1st front on the train in the morning!

Monday, 7 May 2007

Clash of the Cuties...

Well, I suspected that it was only a question of time before I caved in! Here it is - a tension square for a baby sweater (plus a pattern debate which I think I have resolved - sort of).

I did say that it might be difficult to keep on knitting for myself when friends are popping out children!

I was driven to this swatch by the 'shame' of turning up at Friend Number 1's house with a gift for her newborn son that I did not make.

When I handed the package over, it felt completely beside the point that it was a very practical summer baby gift and that, as Child Number 4, this baby might be very grateful to receive some t-shirts and trousers that no other sibling has worn before.

It didn't help that my friend gave a huge smile when she prodded the package and asked whether it was something that I had knitted specially...nggg. Gulp, no.

It is not a scenario that I wish to repeat when Friend Number 2 gives birth. She is pretty certain that she is having a little girl. is the start of a Baby Ballerina Wrap Type Top, Sort Of.
I have swatched for this pattern from the RYC Mother and Baby book.

However, instead of Cashcotton 4 Ply, I am using 4 Ply Soft. I knitted the tension square in 3.25mm and 3mm needles.

Neither gets to me the correct gauge.

Although both yarns have exactly the same stated tension and yardage, I seem to knit looser.

While I love the heart-like lace pattern, I am not keen on the bobbles or an edging that is knitted separately and sewn on at the end (I think). On my swatch, I have played about with/without bobble and adding an extra hole, just to see which effect I prefer.

Then, just as I thought I was there but reconciling myself to the fact that my top would be bigger than the pattern states. I spotted this pattern in a magazine supplement that a friend gave me. I did the yardage conversion and checked my gauge. My tension square is much closer to the stated tension for this pattern than the RYC one!

I really like the simple, clean lines of Debbie Bliss's designs. I also like the slightly ruffled edges on this pattern.

However, I have just finished knitting reams of plain sticking stitch and I am not sure abut the practicality of the ribbon tie finish so...

...I think that I am going to fiddle and come up with a hybrid of these two designs and a different type of closure at the front. If you are not chuckling yet, you should be - my bumbling progress could make an entertaining read!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

It just feels like acres of stocking stitch...

...but possibly only because this might be the furthest that I have ever got, knitting something for myself!

I am determined to continue but please note that my friend had baby boy last Saturday (no knitted gift is ready) and another friend is about to pop out a baby girl in another 2 weeks or so (no knitted gift is ready).

Hmm, how long can I doggedly keep ignoring the outside world and knit...for...myself?!

The first of two worries is that I stop, get distracted and this is as far as my very own jumper ever gets.

The second worry is that I started knitting the back of this jumper in January when I first got the book and was a chest size 46" (or so). I cast on the second largest size.

I have been dieting - I am on a very strict food waggon - chest size: 42". - I plan to continue dieting my way towards my recommended BMI. As we all know, in the manner of things diet related - my chest is likely to vanish (nay, implode) while my lower half refuses to thin out.

My worry is, is that I finish jumper, it swamps me (at least up top, while wedging itself onto my hips) and I find that I cannot get away with it as an outsized tunic (I live in eternal hope that I might shrink this much).

Now, that might not be a disaster. Although I might not end up with my very own, very first jumper (sob) - I do have a friend lined up as a possible recipient. However, while she loves the colour of the yarn, she is dubious about the pattern.

Frankly, it would break my heart to give my first full sized item to someone who takes it just because it is on offer, or because she doesn't want to be rude and sticks it in a drawer, never to be enjoyed.

If scenario two emerges, never mind the Knitting Nature Knitalong - I will be scouring the internet for a Knitting Nature Swapalong, to find another like minded knitter who optimistically cast on a phyllo-yoked pullover in the same or similiar Calmer colourway but has expanded outwards at approximately the same rate that I have shrunk!

Suffice it to say that this would take the existence of two knitters, who fell apon the same book with glee but were far too stubborn to look at the physical body clues and rip out before we got beyond the Point of No Return - partly out of astonishment that we have got as far as we have, partly as there is no bloomin' way that we are unpicking all-of-that-hard-work.

I will have you know that my index finger aches from all that yarn-throwing around my needle.

What was I thinking?!

If anyone can answer this, I would be grateful! The mind (my mind) boggles.

Let me set the scene - it was mid afternoon today. I had 5 minutes at my desk between meetings. Idly (and sneakily), I logged into eBay, just to remind myself when a cone winder end time was (a sensible purchase, surely?! All those skeins...I want a swift and a winder!).

Search crafts, knitting: top of the knitting list (almost): approx 350g pink angora. £8.49 current bid.

3 minutes remaining...
(Sensible head) Hmm. Why didn't you just go straight to your My eBay? Go look at the cone winder - what on earth would you knit with that?

2 minutes, 30 seconds remaining...
(Evil impulsive stashing head) Just have a quick look, see what the price goes up to, you've got 4 minutes til your next meeting. What can it hurt? It would be good value at that price?

2 minutes remaining...
(Sensible head) For goodness sake, just WHAT would you knit with pink angora yarn? It's the wrong colour for your Alice project.

1 minute 30 seconds remaining...
(Evil impulsive stashing head) Go on, stick a bid on at a tenner. If you get it, great, if you don't, no harm done.

(Sensible head) Noooooooooooooooo........stop.............

1 minute remaining....
(Evil impulsive stashing head) You've not bid enough...look someones put in a bid of £18.16. Typical. You are going to lose it. Loser. Such good quality yarn. Pink. There are endless things that you could use it for...if only you had bid enough.

(Sensible head) It's a sign. You were not meant to have it. Fortune has saved you from the rash folly of pink, fluffy yarn that you have no idea what you would do with. Isn't it time you went to your next meeting anyway? It is 5 floors away. Just think, the money that you have saved here, you could spend at Wonderwool Wales, on really nice things...from Posh Yarns. Or sensibly, on a cone winder.

30 seconds remaining...
(Evil impulsive stashing head) Hey loser! Where do you think that you are going?! It's telling you to put in a bid of £18.69 or higher...go on, stick in £20. It's completely the upper limit that you would spend on 350grammes of 70% angora, 30% lambswool - bound to be enough for a top of some description - even if it is in the wrong colour. You even like pink. Someone is bound to outbid you anyway and at least bidding again would be a proper effort. You try. and if you lose, you lose with honour.

5 seconds remaining...
(Sensible head) Heavens above...please let someone outbid me...

Bidding Ended: winning bid £18.89 plus £1.50 postage
(Evil impulsive stashing head) Hurray, hurray! You won, you won!

(Sensible head) groan...

(Evil impulsive stashing head) DO a dance of joy! We have won a glorious victory....

* a moment's silence *

....but um... that you have got it, aboslutely NO idea what you are going to knit with it.

* another moment's silence *

Er - isn't it time you got yourself up to your meeting, it is 5 floors away after all...

(Sensible head quietly bangs forehead against desk in despair)

So okay folks, I am open to pattern ideas on a comment! *

* I have tried to search for yardage but balls of this yarn appear to be advertised in both 20g and 25g (112m, according to a German ebay listing?) balls. No idea what these will be, am hoping 25g, which would mean that I would have around: 1568m.

Tina: *LOL* What a great idea! It's not look promising for this yarn, is it?!

Mind you - personally, I like the idea of the urban guerilla knitters who knit lampost warmers. If I were to make a public statement with this pink yarn, I would knit a pink fluffy top or a set of pink fluffy willy warmers for those Anthony Gormley scupltures that have just popped up all over London/the South Bank - they are naked iron, poor things. They must be freezing.

Just perfect for a cosy, pink, fluffy knit or two...?