Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Meanwhile, in London...

...I would like to acknowledge two awards, one from Knitter Bunny and the other from Quelle Erqsome:

- Nice Matters
- You Make My Day.

Thank you! I love it that people take the time to stop by my blog to see what I am up to. Mind you, occasionally, I do wonder whether I am interesting enough or my knitting is good enough. I ain't no Brooklyn Tweed or Ruby Wax.

I resisted having a blog at the start, believe it or not - I am now a convert as having a blog has encouraged me to start looking around more and made me take much closer note of my projects as they are in progress, documenting steps, errors and successes. I would never have thought about doing that in the past. It makes for a lovely record of work.

So anyway, enough of the navel gazing. I have grouped these two awards together as my list for each award would be the same!

I have left out the people who nominated me (else this blog post would abound with bunnies and moustaches) and instead, I have selected the other blogs and people I check on regularly, as they have influenced my knitting or enhanced my life one way or the other over the past year!

Please note that if you receive an award, you get to 'pay them forwards' on your own blog. Just make sure that you leave them a comment on the award recipient's blog so that they know. Be warned, you may get an award more than once (blahblahblah).

I've listed these blogs in alphabetical order:

  1. Brooklyn Tweed: for being influential, for stunning knits and photography.

  2. My Fashionable Life: for being influential and Anna's lovely writing style.

  3. Posh Yarns Dee: for beautiful yarns, lifestyle and commentary.

  4. Rabbitch: for being a laugh-out-loud funny and blunt fibre maven (I suspect her of being kind and supportive on the sly too)!

  5. Robynn: for getting me started on all of this blog madness, for introducing me to lovely knitting supplies (Purlescence) and for encouraging me to stretch myself in everything knitterly.

  6. Roobeedoo: for her many socks and personal fortitude in the face of adversity. I first came across R because she was another winner in a competition that I entered and is now, interestingly, one of the blogs that I check most regularly.

  7. Team Knit: for being themselves and thereby allowing me to live vicariously and pretend that I am a lot younger and cooler by hanging out at their blog from time to time! They have a keen eye for fashion and a good knack for selecting the most happening knits to make.

  8. Yarn Floozies: for being so kind and putting up with a jetlagged Londoner last October and taking her awkward butt along to some of Vancouver's best yarn haunts!

  9. Yarn Harlot: for dry humour and her specific take on life! Oh c-o-m-e o-n, don't pretend that you don't read this blog!

  10. Yogic Knitter: for being my key offline partner in knitting crime. She knits an awful lot faster than I do! In fact, if you could all get over to her blog and innudate her with ideas for really complicated patterns and knits for the yarns that she has in her stash, I would be very grateful - anything to slow her down! I reckon that she should be up for the Vintage Sock pattern challenge now that she has finished her Karenina, don't you? 34 knitted leaves, that'll sort her right out!

* * *

And now for something completely different...
(a little snippet from the Offline Life of O.R.K.)

Who Ate all the Cakes?
[Somewhere in London, Tuesday 29th January 2008, 15:00 GMT]

Enter Stage Left:
An excited person who has just become an aunt. She offers around a box of very expensive, exquisite looking, petit four type cakes from Pauls. In this way we are all able to share in her family's celebration. We each select a cake.

One very small, perfect oval of chocolate sponge adorned with apricot shreds sits enticingly on a cheap, square, paper serviette in front of me. It promises two mouthfuls of intense sweetness - I am entranced by it.

To my left:
Someone selects a cake, a little mini pie item, overspilling with chopped nuts and dusted elegantly with icing sugar. He quietly and carefully scrutinises his petite yet volumptuous choice. I assume that he is relishing its consumption pretty much in the same way I am going to relish eating mine. There is a moment of silence.

Stage Left:
Excited person continues to offer cakes around in the background.

To my left:
Quietly, yet very clearly, someone announces to the air in front of him:

There should be a minimum size for these things, cakes I mean, don't you think?

I tear my eyes away from my treat. I glance around, hoping that the excited person has not overheard him. Luckily, she is oblivious. I decide to ignore him. I return my gaze to the perfectly formed, visibly dense delight that nestles on the serviette in front of me.

To my left:
Someone bites into his mini nutty pie. As suspected, it turns out to be a confection of pastry containing sweet minced nuts, including almonds. There is a small pause while he chews.

I hate marzipan. This isn't nice at all. I picked this one because I thought that it looked like a mini-mince pie.
[Another pause]
Well, I hope I get offered another, so I get the chance to eat one that I like.

Stunned, my head does a 360 degree swivel, checking on location of the newly created aunt. She's gone from the room. I relax. I decide to speak.
Excuse me someone, please might I make a suggestion?

To my left:

Internal voice - learn to harness your inner voice. On the outside, if you do not like something someone has given you, say nothing, just be polite. Otherwise, you risk upsetting the person who made the generous gesture? You can't shove someone's generousity back in their face by stating that what they have given you is 'not nice'!

[I give someone my best attempt at a meaningful, knowledgeable look.]

You know what someone, when the excited person returns, if she has any cakes left to offer, I truly hope that there are only little pie ones left - it would serve you right!

To my left:
Actually, I'd probably take one - after all, cake is cake.
Hey anyway, whatever happened to feedback is king? (or words to that effect)

Good grief, in that case remind me never to knit you anything - I'd be terrified to be on the receiving end of such honest feedback! I can picture it now, "What's this? What did you make me this for, what am I supposed to do with it?!"

Then I can imagine that you would tell me that it's okay, you'll just take it home and add it to your dog's basket!

To my left:
[concilliatory tone] I am sure that I wouldn't be that direct. I'd probably say, "Oh, you made this for me?"

What...? That old chestnut, "Thank you, that's nice...[dramatic pause]....what is it?!"

To my left:
Oh no, it would be, "Thank you, that's nice...[dramatic pause]...did your child make it?!"

Copious laughter!

After all, can anyone imagine saying this to another knitter or crafter of any kind?! I doubt that you would manage to exit the room without a dpn jutting out of your neck at a jaunty angle.

My cake was utterly delicious. If I haven't lost weight this week then I know I can blame:

- my little oval cake; and
- the two little round cakes adorned with poppy seeds, citrus shreds and inside, filled with gooey apricot that I managed to disappear as well.

Well, I had to. It was greed. It was a public service to protect the innocence of the cake provider while someone was out of the room. There were no little pies left but....

...I couldn't risk him eating another one. What if he hadn't liked them? What might he have said?! The whole situation could have got very messy. I ate all the cakes. I saved the day.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Truly Scrumptious Scarf

Truly, truly scrumptious!

The yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious DK. 220 metres per 100g. 45% silk, 55% Blue Faced Leicester and is hand dyed in Wales by Jeni!

Without any exaggeration at all, this yarn is lovely to handle. I have no idea how it wears over time but after my recent Noro disappointment, it seems quite wonderful, as it:
- is lustruous
- is soft enough for me to wear happily against my skin (now that is saying something)
- is rich in colour, even in this muted colourway
- leaps off the needles, knit-o-matic style
- has lots of bounce once knitted.

I have seen photos of this yarn showing some colour pooling? I did not have this problem and I suspect that the two ball knit method would prevent this from happening on a larger garment?

Oddly, my camera cannot read this yarn colour at all well - it looks a lot more washed out in these photos than it does in real life.

To my human eye, the leaf colour in this photo was quite close to the yarn colour, just at its tip. Yet not in this photo!

I worked this scarf up in the same way I made the Noro scarf. It is not really a pattern but I have written it up below, just in case you are interested in making something like this for yourself.

4 balls of itchy, prickly Noro Silk Garden*
2 skeins of glorious, soft Fyberspates Scrumptious DK


Width: approx 8-8.5 inches
Length: approx 60 inches

Using yarn double, cast on 25 stitches.
Work 10 rows of garter stitch.
Row 11: knit
Row 12: purl
Row 13: purl
Row 14: knit

Repeat rows 11 - 14, until you think that you might start to run short of yarn to do the other end of the scarf. Stop.

Knit 10 rows of garter stitch.

Cast off (if you are British). Bind off (if you are not).

Weave in ends.

Wrap around neck and either:

  • look cosy but itch horribly unless you have a cast iron neck (Noro)
  • look cosy and smug (Fyberspates).
I am happy. All that is left to do is weave the ends in. I hope that my gift recipient likes it.

This scarf was a quick knit - I worked it up at I Knit (film night) last Friday evening and during coffee and meal breaks from sport admin over the weekend.

I'll see if I can secure any happy ending photos of my two recent scarf knits in simultaneous action at some point in February!

Personal Reflections on photos

Man, I mus' get me a tripod.
Damn, just how badly do I need to get my roots done?! (booked on Friday 18:30 GMT, phew!)
Good grief I look tired...!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
*Suggestion 1, if using Noro: wind all 4 balls into yarn cakes using a ball winder before you start work. in this way, you can see what colours you really have in your balls of yarn and where the colours occur - in this way, you can decide which balls you want to work together.

*Suggestion 2, if using Noro: if the colours at the end of Balls 1 and 2, do not match the colours at the start of balls 3 and four, then I recommend that you interleaf the yarns in a ball change over section of about 6-8 rows. Leave me a comment if you aren't sure what I mean and I'll try to find a moment to whip up a swatch to explain what I am getting at.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Garden in January

I was sitting at my desk this morning (glaring at my sports admin documents) when something out in the garden caught my eye. I went outside to investigate and I am really glad that I did. This is what caught my eye from the window:

I love this plant. For me, it is real reminder of the beauty that exists, even in the colder, grey months of the year. I stood there, admiring it, thinking this thought and feeling quite uplifted. Then I had a quick glance about my back yard, simply expecting to see the dead foliage that I still haven't managed to tidy up from the end of last autumn.

Instead, I noticed that my back yard seems to think that Spring is well and truly on its way. My hyacinths are starting to push their robust spikes up through the earth and in addition, both my narcissi and daffodils look well on their way towards blooming:

Then I spotted this little treasure, tucked away in a corner:

I am not sure but this seems a little early to me? That said, the Thames Valley is quite protected and it always seems to be 1-2 degrees warmer here in the London suburbs than it is in the surrounding countryside?

In a little girl sort of way, I have been feeling quite jealous of the people blgging about their snow filled winter. However, I cannot tell you how much better I felt for seeing this life and colour out in my garden.

Particularly on a weekend when all I feel I have done is stare grimly at documents on my computer. Hey-ho.

Friday, 25 January 2008

There is knitting...

...albeit, just a little background activity while I am plugging through my day job, trying to clear the decks of my sport admin (which I have had to prioritise over sorting out my Puss in Boots wrap template) and spending an evening sporting a drawn on moustache.

This scarf is just intended as a little time filler for something to do on the train. It is the Storm Water Scarf pattern that came with the yarn.

I have done quite a lot of big needle knitting lately, so it is good to get used to working with some 4mm needles before I need to pick up my 3.75mms for the wrap.

The wrap will be my next serious project. I have to accept that it will miss its deadline (12th February). However, I have my fingers crossed that it may still be alright if I manage to finish it by the end of February?

If not, then it is my own fault. However, it would still be good to complete it by then, so that I can get the pattern written up and over to Robynn. It is intended as a summer wrap, so if anyone would like to knit it - Spring would be a good time for the pattern to be available?

In the meantime, I guess that I should have picked something quick and brainless as a filler project, rather than something that requires me to count-count-count?!

However, the stitchmarkers that Dotty gave me for Christmas are helping immensely and as the yarn is beautiful, wonderfully soft Handmaiden Seasilk, I am quite happy to forgive the pattern for being a little bit fiddly.

Please enjoy your weekend: happy knitting!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Civil Moustachioed Disobedience

For some reason, it feels important to stand up and be counted when a decent human being is making a stand for the greater female good (sort of) - even though you know that this person already has very strong support and may not actually require your assistance!

Yet who on earth could pass up an opportunity to don an oversized hat, wig, shades, moustache and adopt a pseudonym?

Nope, not me:

Female Moustache Freedom Fighter
Lumpy Liverhead a.k.a Crusty Appletush

(lives her life in full technicolour)

West London is in - are you?!

I am equally happy for this blog post to stand as a very simple protest at the proposed, inappropriate behaviour of other human beings. Enough said. Lumpy Liverhead out.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Nasty Scratchy Noro - There May Be Hope?

Do you know, I have no clue when I last posted about this scarf?

I think that this happens when your days run into nights, run into days...?!

However, I did listen to the advice that I received about the use of hair conditioner on Ravelry.

Then, deciding that I was a bit too too chicken to leap in and go straight for the kill with the overnight bathing of this scarf in hair conditioner (my god was this yarn expensive and oh boy, am I scared of ruining it), I opted to use the test sample of Eucalan (did I spell that right?) which I received from the glory that is the lovely Alice over at Socktopus.

The yarn was duly dipped and the stench of dead, wet sheep was not encouraging. In fact, I have been living with that smell, since I last posted about this scarf (I am not sure, should the occasion ever arise) that I will ever be able to bottle feed a lamb ever again.

However, I have come home tonight and the all pervading stench of smelly, wet sheep has finally gone from the upstairs of my home - that alone, is a relief.


However, what is even better news is that the-scarf-is-amost-dry (I had no idea it would take this long). And do you know what? It feels softer somehow.


I am further bouyed up by my lovely fella who has seen the pictures of the scarf now and advised that he likes the colours.


It may not be a disaster, after all.



Ps: I concur with the comments about this yarn's scratchiness and the prescence of plant life. In my view, the self striping aspects of this yarn might be cool and well liked but surely this is no real excuse to create yarn that feels like it has been spun out of doormat factory floor sweepings, complete with authentic bits of straw?!

Monday, 21 January 2008

You know what? Stuff it all...

...I have done a full day's work and I am shattered - frankly, I am on my chin strap.

So I am going to make like a normal person/knitter on a Monday night - I am going to have an evening away from my PC (this follows a day in the office and a weekend almost exclusively glued to the damned thing, trying to catch up).

I am going to retire to bed with some knitting.

I am not going to feel guilty about my stack of office work or my mountain of unresolved sport admin or the knitting I am so dreadfully behind on - these things will all loom large for me to panic about in the morning (pretty much in the way I have been panicking about them on a minor or major scale for many weeks).

Speak to the hand, people - speak to the hand, as this woman's face is just too tired to listen!

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Get Knitted, Yarn Fatigue & Nasty Noro

Last Saturday, I picked up Robynn, Yogic Knitter and Erqsome and we set off for Get Knitted in Bristol where we spent the day browsing yarn, occasionally chatting to other Ravellers and members of GK's local knitting group. You may have seen scenes similiar to this on other blogs already over the past week:

GK's shop is very roomy and their staff were very friendly and welcoming. It has an area for people to knit, a small play area for children and a table close to the coffee area for non-knitters to relax. It was fun - I was delighted to meet Tussah Silk, Nonnahs and Tutley Mutley (who made the most delicious Apple and Ginger cake plus facilitated a Ravelry Quiz).

I almost met Woolly Wormhead (again). It's an odd thing when someone is a fairly well known blogger and handspinner, whose blog you read from time to time. Then, you spot them at a knitting event (Ally Palace; Stitch & Bitch Day and Get Knitted, in this case) but for some reason, a natural opportunity to say hello and introduce yourself does not arise - I am not the sort of person to push myself under someone's chin. I'd feel awkward about it.

Yarn Fatigue?!
Despite spending most of the day at Get Knitted, I came away with very little. They had plenty of lovely things to browse so when I first got home, I was worried that I might be suffering from yarn fatigue!

On reflection, I think that it was because I only had one project in mind that definitely needed a yarn purchase. So although GK had some very good yarns, including imports, I was not in the mood to buy things on spec?

It also helped that I didn't see any colours I fell in love with. In this picture, Erqsome is chatting to Nonnahs, clutching a skein of yarn that she kept trying to put back. Yet every time we saw her, she had picked it up again.

In my view, that skein of yarn was destined to go home with her - there's just no point fighting against something that appeals to you so strongly. Purchase and enjoy it - end of story!

I didn't have any of those moments. Nope, instead I found myself in the Noro section, thinking about my fella. Awwww...

Nasty Noro
Roobeedoo: surely it's a bit early to be measuring the fella up for a jumper? However, I must confess that the handknitted gifts are already a fact of life - he and his son got matching hats, in different colours last October!

Over Christmas and New Year, the fella mentioned that he needed a scarf. Now I know exactly what scarf I would like to knit for him but it requires me to learn a new technique, so that has to be put on the back burner until later in the year. We discussed an interim scarf.

We found ourselves in a little LYS in Wales at the New Year, where they had some Noro. There was a Noro Silk Garden colourway that he liked but the shop only had 1 ball in stock (#86).
So last Saturday, I searched GK's Noro section. Not there. I consulted their Noro brochure. Not there. So I think that it might be a discontinued colour?

So, after much dithering and worrying about whether the yarn was soft enough and whether this colour would suit the fella (or be better for his son), I picked out colour #47 instead.

Ok - Noro Silk Garden - it looks okay in ball form? Pleasant even? Hmm. The best that I can say is that it photographs quite well (all images in this post should enlarge, when clicked) but I have no plans to buy another ball of this yarn ever again.

Personally, I found it grim and scratchy to work with. It left prickly fibres between my fingers as I worked. To the point where I am now worried that the scarf will be too itchy to wear.

So can anyone explain, why do people rave about this yarn so much? I understand the colour and striping thing but surely that doesn't compensate completely for how unpleasant this yarn is to the touch? Why is it so expensive? More importantly, does it soften with wear?!

So, after the above photoshoot (for the fella to see how the colours turned out), I have soaked it in Eucalan (to try to reanimate the lambswool, despite the yarn saying dry clean only) and it is now blocking on my spare bed, giving off an almighty stench of ancient sheep. If that doesn't work, then my only hope is to line it with fleece, so it can be worn without exfoliating its wearer's neck.

I am still not sure whether the colours will work for the fella or whether they would be appreciated more by his son (they would certainly go better with his hat). Ho hum, perhaps they can fight over it, in the event that it dries soft enough to wear?

Okay, I must get back to my sport admin and Puss in Boots wrap template work...I am so behind on everything...I am trying to catch up, I am, I am.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Acknowledging Christmas Generosity

I appreciate that it is mid January (I am so behind) but I would just like to acknowledge some of the gifts that I received for Christmas in order to thank the people who gave them to me.*

You already know that I received a pair of Lantern Moon glass needles from Robynn before Christmas. (They are winking at my from my needle jar and I am itching to use them!

What sort of yarn would work best with glass needles, I wonder? Something not too slippery?

In addition, I received:

- a fridge notepad and stitch markers from a certain Yarn Floozy. The notepad has pride of place on my fridge and I am waiting for a good opportunity to use my stitch markers!

- a moebius scarf and a personalised sock kit from Yogic Knitter who koolaid dyed the yarn specially for me in colours that she knows that I like!

I have hardly taken off the moebius scarf since I received it but I do not wear it when I see Mel so she probably thinks that I do not like it. That is not the case at all! It is just that Mel has knitted the other half of the skein into an identical scarf for herself. Now as she knitted both scarves, I feel that she should have garment wearing precedence when we are out in public!

(Okay. Quick question - now why is it that everyone seems to want me to learn how to knit socks when I cannot even hold dpns without an apparent attack of Tourette's Syndrome?!)

Also in the picture are a few gifts from my fella:

- a 2 metre ruler. You need to understand that this is not just a ruler - it is, in fact, an important, international communication device (I tend to work in metric, while he works in inches)!

- a camera monopod for taking pictures of knitting in low light (out of frame for obvious reasons!); and oh, um

- not really presents but I do claim the two skeins of Indigo Moon Yarn in the picture as a present, even though they are simply a by-product of a gift purchase for Robynn! I did a 'recon' to 3 Bags Full back in October but I didn't have time to think about everything I wanted. So I asked the fella to go back on my behalf in December to pick up some things that I had seen for Robynn and Mel - a pink medium sized KnitKnow Pouch and 2 skeins of sock yarn for Robynn (in purples), so that she could make another pair of boot socks.**

Just to be on the safe side, he bought me over a selection of three colours (purple, green and blue) but he only picked up two skeins in one of the colourways, which is the one that he happened to like the best (green). Well, as the present was for long boot socks, this nailed down exactly what I wrapped for Robynn! Luckily, she agrees with the fella and the yarn is happily stashed in its new home..., this means that the fella has unintentionally added to my sock yarn stash too. Now if I do a mental count, I think that I am now in posession of between 5-8 skeins of sock yarn when I do not, or should that be cannot, knit socks.


So perhaps I do need to submit to lessons at some point during 2008?

People...I will try but I cannot promise success.

Or an absence of swearing.

* Christmas Gifts: I did manage to stick to my rule of 'no presents for over 18s' (in the main). A formal exchange of presents was dispensed with the majority of adults and both parties donated money to charity instead. To soften the absence of gifts blow, my fella and I also gave small gifts of gourmet ground coffee from the Monmouth Street Coffee Company or Canadian Sockeye smoked salmon, that the fella had smoked specially in Canada and bought over with him for family and friends to enjoy over the festive period. However, there are some people I knew would give gifts I reciprocated!

I hope that you all enjoy your presents as much as I am enjoying mine.

**Opps, note to self: reimburse fella for proxy gift purchases!

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Risible Holiday Knitting Efforts

Despite my firm assertion that there would be no ORK handknit presents this Christmas, two items lolled awkwardly off the end of my needles during the course of the holidays.

Item 1: Good Karma Barbie Basic
Why the name? Okay, so tell me. Be honest (if you have ever received any yarn in this way). Exactly what did you do with the yarn that came free with the magazine subscription that you signed up for at your local Knit & Stitch show?

In my case, I walked away from the publisher's stall without noticing that something pretending to be fibre was lurking at the bottom of the 'goodies' bag.

Oh yes, the albatross of all free gifts - perfectly good, functional, eyelash novelty yarn. It has been sitting in my home for 2.5 months batting its petrolum based eyelashes relentlessly at me.

Now, I ain't novelty yarn bashing here - really, I am not. There is nothing wrong with this yarn at all.

If you ignore the niggly knowledge that it was dragged artifically into life, resulting in a Yarn Frankenstein destined to be given away free to knitters, in the full knowledge that it will be either loved or hated (in equal measure). I could not even recycle it, as my council will not take plastic - if I had chosen to consign it to the bin, it would have gone to landfill.

No, nothing wrong with it at all. I simply objected to its perky, fluffy, pink, gold and orange existence. By the way, this aversion is very easy to explain: I am thirty seven and not seven.

Now if you happen to be seven, well then something bright, shiny, fluffy pink, gold and orange might be more your kind of thing? In fact, you might even be delighted with it? (At least that is what I hoped when I reached for the yarn and got out my needles.)

With this in mind, I am proud to present the perfect Good Karma, Barbie Basic scarf. Created and delivered as an extra, bonus Christmas present tucked inside another gift for a seven year old girl:

Gift recipient loved it! Now I might be truly ancient as far as this little girl is concerned but hey, I can remember being seven. Can't you?! I remember the deadly tacky gold acrylic and plastic pearl crochet style waistcoat that was my bling pride and joy. I was heartbroken when it was left behind during a house move...

... I am not so sure that my mother was that upset about its loss.

Good Karma: for vanishing novelty yarn from my house without it going directly to landfill
Barbie Basic: for the colours and the garter stitch used to gallop it off the needles.

Item 2: Baby Hat from One Skein (Leigh Radford)
I must confess that I do not want to spend much time on this as it has turned out to be rather ugly - it is the 12-18 month size.

I didn't like the pattern crown decreases, as they bunch rather than swirl neatly. Also, I knitted it from stash, hence the hat's two coloured aspect and extra eyelet mods to look the yarn changeover look more purposeful. I plan to rip out the seed stitch tie and replace it with i-cord ties. Generally, I acknowledge that I am poking about, trying to improve a sow's ear. This hat is not ever going to be a silk purse.

What am I on about? Well, I guess that it might fairly innocuous sitting there on an upside down vase? Hmm.

Ok, ok. So what? I used cotton and not the recommended yarn. (Hey, I was knitting from stash - it is the 'in' thing and the whole point is that you use up what you've got. Surely?)

And guess what?

Yep. It is huge. Absolutely enormous.

Looking on the bright side, I guess that the gift recipient will grow into it?

When she is about 40.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

A Rabbiting Good Yarn!

I am a long way behind on blog posts as a result of the problem with my PC and my holiday break with my fella. Yet somehow, it feels wrong to ignore some of the highlights from the past month and zoom straight into 2008. Particularly when one happy winter moment, happens to be all about yarn.

When I was in Vancouver in October, I hoped to catch up with Rabbitch who, apart from being refreshingly blunt, is an independent hand dyer - coffee, dry humour and yarn. Who would miss out on that?!

However, if you stop by Rabbitch's blog, you may spot that she works two jobs, runs a family and dyes yarn while enjoying a glass of Merlot - she is a busy woman. So sadly, it didn't happen.

However, after I spotted some of her fab colourways over at The Sweet Sheep, I kept an eye on her Etsy shop for yarn that might suit one of my projects (as I do not knit socks). With the result that I ended up purchasing some DK alpaca-wool (Red Red Twine, Anthem and Raspberries) and a skein of super bulky (Cranberry).

My yarn arrived on the 22nd December. In my package were three extra skeins (2 x Toe Jam Sock Yarn in 'To Make the Boys Wink' and 1 x Turquiose DK Alpaca-Wool) for me to show people, just in case they want to put in an order of their own...

...yarn enabler? Who me?!

Just on the basis that if someone wanted any of the extra skeins, then we could come to some arrangement where the relevant money was paypal'd over to Rabbitch.

So, what did I get?!

Super Bulky New Zealand Wool
Colour: Cranberry (top image truer to yarn colour)
Quantity: 1 skein, 14o yards
When touched: a little crunchy in hands but not scratchy against face
When smelt: no smell!
Purchased for a scarf project and I think that I can feel another Gaiter project coming on!
DK - 70% Alpaca, 30% Merino
Colour: Anthem (a signature Rabbitworks colour)
Quantity: 2 skeins, 400 yards per skein
When touched: lovely and soft
When smelt: no smell!
I am missing one of these skeins now - there's a story behind this, read on!

Toe Jam Sock Yarn
50% Rideau/Arcott, 30% Lincoln, 20% alpaca
Colour: To Make the Boys Wink
Quanity: 2 skeins, 375 yards per skein (7st/in)
When touched: slightly crunchy in hands but not scratchy on face!
When smelt: proper, real wool smell

This was one of the sample yarns!

DK - 70% Alpaca, 30% Merino
Colour: Raspberries
Details: as before
Project: baby knit (once baby has landed safe and sound)

I am really looking forwards to seeing how the Alpaca-Wool DK knits up.

I didn't manage to photograph the Red Red Twine and Turquiose skeins before they were snaffled up by Anne of The Small Gallery (1 Capuchin Yard, Church Street, Hereford). Anne is looking to gauge interest in them, in order to decide whether to submit an order.

So, if you would like to get your hands on some of the Rabbitworks yarn mentioned in this post, then you need to get in touch with The Small Gallery in Hereford. In addition to the DK Alpaca-Wool in Red Red Twine and Turquiose, Anne has one of the pink Toe Jam Sock Yarn skeins of my two Anthem DK skeins too.


  • you happen to be in Hereford
  • you decide to pop into the gallery
  • the Rabbitch yarns are still there
  • you like the Toe Jam sock yarn or Anthem DK but need two skeins for your project...

...then let me know. I am sure that we can work something out?! Even if I feel that I would rather poke myself in the eye with a dpn than relinquish my single, orphan skein of Anthem!

And, as this appears to have become a promotional post for Rabbitch and The Small Gallery, I may as well include some pictures of my trip to the gallery between Christmas and the New Year, so that you can see some of the other items and artisan yarns that were in stock, e.g. Knitwitches, Fyberspates and Artesano!

Friday, 11 January 2008

Christmas Ghosts in the Machine

Okay, I admit it. I have started to date someone.

He's lovely and very happy I am too!

Now the reason for this post is that my brother took some photographs us together on Christmas Day using 35mm film. Unfortunately, bad light and our mutual inability to keep very still conspired against us (unless my brother has started to suffer from a shaking disorder) and this has left us both resembling Christmas ghosts in the machine.

E.g. photo of me, mucking about in front of my brother.

As the photos are so blurred, I am not sure whether they are a write-off altogether or whether it might be possible to salvage them. Either using the original negatives or copying the photos to CD and playing with them digitally.

I got Boots to cut the negatives to CD for me so that I can have a play with them at home but does anyone have any thoughts on what I might do or try?

After all, it was our first Christmas together and it would be good to have a photo with us both in focus. All together now....ahhhh.

I am here...honest!

I am just snowed under with Other Things.

An update on my winter break (and its risible knitting efforts) will be with you very soon.

However, tomorrow morning I am picking up three other knitters and we are heading West to Get Knitted in Bristol for the day.

I hope that GK know what they are letting themselves in for? As, from the Ravelry discussion threads I have read, it seems that a lot of people plan to pitch up on their doorstep tomorrow morning from as far afield (in relation to Bristol) as Coventry, Cornwall and London?

Why? An opportunity to fondle yarn, do a bit of knitting/shopping and meet other Ravellers.

Oh and lest I is rumoured that there might be cake.

Knitters, it seems, will travel miles for yarn, cake, a bit of knitting and a lot of chatting?

In our case, over 110 miles. I will take my camera as I get the impression that it could be a bit of a bun fight for standing space, let alone sitting space?!

Friday, 4 January 2008

Happy Christmas? Happy New Year?!

I am back! Now, I do wish that I could say that this is courtesy of a thorough heart-to-heart with my wireless router.

However, the rather sad, more honest, truth is that I am only back online due to the discovery of a text file on my old laptop (hidden in plain sight) which contained details of my current router WEP key. Yup - I think that the less said about this entire affair, the better?

So very belatedly, I would like to wish you all a very heartfelt Happy New Year! Interestingly, I have been offline since the 19th December. So I have spent the last 24 hours catching up on email and blogs.

In fairness to all, there have been many worthy things posted over the festive season (2007 accomplishments and 2008 objectives etc.). However, there are two individual items that really stand out for me and should be celebrated properly:

  1. Roobeedoo wed her First Love on the Isle of Skye on the 28th December 2007.

    R, 2007 was a very difficult year for you and FL. I am delighted that you have both rounded off the year on such a wonderful high - I truly wish you and FL the very best of everything for your future together.

    (Just in case you are a dedicated follower of bridal fashion, please click here too.)

  2. Anna celebrated the first month of her little boy on the 24th December 2007.

    A, I am glad that the littlest Raitte arrived safe and sound in November and that one month in, he is adding such a large tablespoon of joy to your life.
On this uplifting note of goodwill to all, I would just like to share images of the three trees that dominated my Christmas and New Year:

Okay, it is a modest but this tree was the unexpected dense, bushy jewelled result of a frantic tree search late afternoon, the Saturday before Christmas Day (when every Garden Centre had sold out of anything that did not resemble a lonely desert cactus).

The owner of this tree commented that this was the best that anyone could expect if she was left to acquire a tree unsupervised, after it generated a certain amount of unkind hilarity.

(Please note that you cannot see from this angle that it is bald at the back).

This tree happened to be a lovely touch in a fantastic cottage that I stayed in over the New Year.

As you can see from the lit wood stove, the glass of bubbly and bowl of grapes...

...I did not suffer greatly in the beautiful, rural wilds of the Black Mountains.

Oh? What do you mean that this blog is supposed to be about knitting?

What? Does noone, except me, have time away from needles when family, friends and bloke descend?!

Nope - me either. I'll be back with relevant knitting info very soon!