Friday, 16 November 2007

A little brightness to cheer things up a bit

So the previous post was lovely muted greens, greys and blues. Well, how about this to brighten things up a little ...

Amazingly gloriously purple isn't it? This fabulous creation is from the International Scarf Exchange, from my lovely secret pal Rhonda.

But I'm getting ahead of myself ...

My parcel arrived earlier in the week, but due to the fact that the Royal Mail delivers to my street at 1045am (I mean, who is in then?) it veered off before it got through my door and went to stay with some other parcels in the Sorting Office. Unfortunately the sorting office is not in a nice part of town, so I had to wait until it was either light (unlikely at this time of year) or husband was available for driving duties before i could go and get it. but when I did ...

ooh, the dilemma. It was wrapped in christmas paper, and said happy holidays - should I wait until December 25 to open it?

nah! of course not! And look at the many reasons why I should have ripped open the packaging

... gosh, I am lucky aren't I? A loverly skein of Manos cotton yarn in the brightest of all reds, some delicious sounding herbal teas (to calm me down when I get too excited about my knitting - yes, it does happen), and look, look, some Bertie Botts every flavour beans - ISE5 pal you are marvellous. I still haven't found these in the UK, so I was so pleased (yes, I know, small things amuse small minds - hee!) - these will be saved until I spend time with my little (well, 25) brother, and then I think a game of jelly bean russian roulette might be in order ... earthworm flavour anyone???

You can't really see (unbelievably it was too sunny for photos. Mind you, it was also below freezing) but I also got a gorgeous little bird stitch marker, which is now helpfully marking the middle of my Kiri shawl, and a very cute ceramic sheep.

Oh, and I mustn't forget this lucky little chap

But now to the scarf, and what a scarf it is. It is in a gorgeous soft silky yarn, which drapes amazingly, and I absolutely love the viney lace pattern. In fact, I think lace patterns in thicker yarns are fast becoming my favourite thing, so Rhonda, you must be a mind reader. I could effuse about this beautiful object all day, but I have knitting to do, so I will go and wrap myself in it and leave you with a gratuitous scarf shot. enjoy!

Catch up post

Well, it's been a while, for various reasons, so here is a post laden with some yummy knitting goodies. I am in the middle of furiously knitting christmas gifts for various family members, and in fact the only thing I have on my needles for me is my second baudelaire sock. Sigh. Still, this will be remedied after christmas, when I shall knit myself lots of goodies (he he he).

My christmas pressie list is currently running at 6 WIPs, all, for some reason, in really muted colours. Perhaps this is because I am knitting for men, but it really is no excuse. Dad's scarf (don't look dad) is the closest to being finished, as I am running out of yarn. It's a zig zag pattern I picked out of Jan Eatons ripple book, and is turning out lovely, although I am still struggling with the whole 'carry yarn loosely up side of work' aspect of things - it always ends up looking messy so I think I will have to fold the edge under and seam it before I am satisfied.

Secondly, I am in the middle of making warm things for my little brother, who is off to Iowa in January to visit his girlfriend, and where I am reliably informed it will be -23degrees. Thus, we have the very warm hat (Zimmerman)
The outside (or inside) is Freedom Spirit wool in pale grey, blues and a little brown (not really shown in the photo, oddly enough it was rather too bright!). The inside is some lovely silky Wensleydale DK in a very dark navy. For DK it is rather thin, which mean that the knit lining will be quite loose gauge, but I think this will work nicely - don't want his head getting too hot. I do hope this fits - its quite a tight fit on me but I do have quite a large head. Blocking will be the order of the day methinks.

I have also decided (perhaps misguidedly) to make him some thrummed mittens. Thrumming is the process of knitting in bits of fleece (in my case combed Shetland tops) into a fabric See the yarn harlot for comprehensive information.

I'm using the Manly Mitts pattern from as my basic mitten pattern, but have added a few extra stitches to accomodate the thrums and the fact that the wensleydale needs smaller needles than you'd think for a DK (not that it isn't lovely, just slightly uninformative - no gauge or needle guide whatsoever on the ball band). So far, it looks like something from another planet, but rest assured I have not murdered some small space creature for the sake of my brothers paws.
We shall see. It could end up huge and ridiculous, but then, I don't think I have made the equivalent of Mark Darcy's cringeworthy jumper in Bridget Jones yet so something had to go pearshaped.

I also have a Kiri shawl (pdf) on the go for my nanna, in some glorious Drops Alpaca, but it currently looks like an crumpled mess so pictures will have to wait until I have blocked it.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Pay it forward

I have discovered that I really like participating in swaps and exchanges. Friends I have spoken to often scoff at the idea, because of the risk involved trusting someone you don't know, will never meet and is likely on a different continent to send you things in return for what you post out. In a way this is true, as my expenditure on the various exchanges has been quite high, and I am still waiting to hear from various people about returns. But this is not the point.

The point is that you can really make a difference to someone by sending them something you have made, or found out specially for them. I think that is the point. I really don't like receiving cash for a gift. Yes, I know it is easy, and some people like my nanna don't have the resources to go out shopping for gifts, which is fair enough, but I would much prefer to receive a handpicked gift worth 50p than a cheque for a lot more. So with the aim of reviving the art of gift giving, I am participating in a couple of 'Pay it Forward' exchanges.

Well, these are not exactly exchanges. I've signed up with a couple of people who will send me a handmade gift of their choosing at some point in the future. In return, I pledge that i will send handmade gifts to three more people, who in turn will pledge ... and so on.

Here is the first pledge:

Pay It Forward Exchange

The Pay It Forward Exchange, where acts or deeds of kindness are done without expecting something in return, just passing it on, with hope that the recipients of the acts of kindness pass it forward too.

I will make and send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment to this post on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I do not know what that gift will be yet, and it won’t be sent this month, probably not next month, but I promise that it will be sent (within 6 months).What YOU have to do in return, then, is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

I will now Pay It Forward to you THREE, I wonder who you will be?! Please, be a PIF! You will enjoy it just as much as we do!

And, have 6 months to get your gifts done! Come on, you know you would love to be one of my angels. Then, one day, but you don't know will get a gift that I have made especially for YOU!

Please remember, you don't have to knit or crochet to participate, anyone who can make a nice handmade gift is welcome to join.

ISE5 news!

So I got an email a little while ago from my ISE5 pal, saying that she might post my scarf out in the next couple of weeks. Now, is it just me or is that the most exciting news you have ever heard? No? just me then.

It got me thinking about sending my pal's scarf soon too, once I have finished blocking it (turned out that half of the scarf is longer than the other half if you know what I mean - I knitted until I had 50g left and then started from the other end, but I guess there must have been less/more than 50g in the skein. Sigh. Still, it shouldn't be toooo noticeable, unless my pal reads this blog!)

This is not a picture of the scarf I hasten to add. I would not be that stingy! This is the sample I knitted when panicking about the disasters that could happen when blocking a silk/wool yarn in a hard water area. But it all turned out ok, as is the real thing.

It'll be in the post today I think. Hooray!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Stitch markers!

Just a short post to say THANK YOU! to the two lovely Angelas (one American, one Canadian) whose stitch markers I received as part of an exchange in the last couple of weeks.

Not much sunshine here now, so here are some pictures of the lovely things (needed increasingly as my stash and pile of UFOs grow) on a dingy windowsill (note to self, encourage cat to learn how to dust after sitting on windowsills).

A weekend of knitting (I wish)

I've not been blogging much, so much time, so little to do, and so excuse me while I waffle.

This weekend, I suggested a walk in the park. Richmond Park to be precise, 2360 acres of Royal hunting park. It was a glorious afternoon, and we spent several hours wandering about in the woods and fields, getting really close to the deer (fallow and red) which was amazing as the stags are in full rut so had huge antlers.

Then we saw this, and I remembered about London's newest inhabitants:

Photo courtesy of BeardyMan

There must have been literally hundreds of parakeets in that part of the park, and all screaming and screeching at the tops of their voices. There have been some moves in the press to cull the beasties, saying that they are competing (and winning) with the local wildlife, but in my opinion, having the opportunity to see something that funky and exotic on a cold winter's day has to be a good thing.

Of course, in order to get to the park we had to go via Vauxhall tube, so I had the perfect opportunity to nip into IKL, which happened to be having a 'Crafternoon tea', celebrating the launch of Jane Brocket (aka Yarnstorm)'s new book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity. In true gentlemanly fashion, and on promise of a cup of tea and a cake, husband deigned to stay for Jane's talk, and he even bought me my tickets for the Stitch and Bitch day in a couple of weeks (he is very lovely).

Big cat and his ways

I found a lovely basket/trug in a charity shop the other day. It only cost £1.50, which pleased me mightily as I have been looking for one for ages, and next year it will come in handy for collecting all our lovely veg.

However ...

I was rather annoyed (although not altogether surprised) to find this scene in the bedroom late the other night:
He clearly doesn't realise that the basket is too small for him, and that he can't actually curl up properly in it, and that he looks rather silly. He spent the whole night there, on top of a snuggly cardigan that I had foolishly left in the bottom of the basket.

Sigh. I think I may have to go basket shopping again, this time for the puss monster.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Spinning (no, not knitting, in the slightest!)

I've been a little lax in blogging recently, primarily because I work at a computer all day and I am trying hard not to be tied to it at home too. But fear not, I have not been neglecting my blogworthy crafts, so today I bring to you my very first (well, this time round) bit of spinning wheel spinning.

The story goes something like this - a few years ago when i was working at york, I toddled along to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Harrogate, and was persuaded by some very nice Shetlanders (from Jamieson & Smith) that spindle spinning would be great fun, and here, have half a sheep's worth of Shetland combed top to get you going, and 500g of Wensleydale. So I gave it a go and thought it fun. Then a friend at work mentioned that she was in the local Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers and would I like to come along and have a go on her spinning wheel? So I did, and Lo! it was more fun and less hard on the arms (admittedly, after my first go on it one of the legs (of the wheel) broke, but that was apparently not normal and not my fault either!). Then the lovely friend moved to a remote scottish island, proclaimed that she had never got to grips with the wheel anyway, and bequeathed it to me. Hooray!

Then (are you keeping up?) I moved house, twice, and never seemed to find the time to get spinning again. Along the way I acquired a jacob fleece, a bog standard sheep fleece, and two from a Wensleydale/Jacob hybrid creature, all of which are sitting under the stairs smelling sheepy.

Finally, last weekend I was looking at the blogs of my ISE5 secret pals (as a hostess I feel obliged to look out for their blogging wellbeing, and came across this post. Well, there was nothing for it - I snapped. "Spin" I cried, "I must spin or be damned. Just call me Sleeping" (or something like that.

Inevitably, events overcame me (mostly housework, as per usual), but I finally got 5 minutes to myself, and reinitiated myself into the art of the humble wheel. And this is the result:

A small picture for a very waffly post, but I am quite pleased that having only had one spinning lesson I can produce something that, if you squint, could possibly resemble wool.

Roll on next weekend and I'll be churning out skeins of the stuff! (ever the optimist)

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Tuesday, 9 October 2007

I want I want I want!

Bertie Bott's every flavour beans

Only in the U.S. though - curses!

And how do they know what an earthworm tastes like?

Friday, 5 October 2007

mmmm chocolate

I've just had my first wispa in at least 5 years. I was so excited when I heard that they had reintroduced them due to popular demand that I went out this morning and bought 2 (including one for poorly husband - but as he is sicky poorly I'll probably get to eat that one too!)

Definitely the sugar rush I needed to get me to lunchtime.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Stitch markers for ISE5 Group contest

Here, as promised is a picture of the prize for my first ISE5 group contest. The winner can choose either the butterflies or the alphabet stitch markers.
As stated in my email, anyone from my ISE5 group who wants to enter should leave their reply to the following question as a comment on this post (signed please, or I won't know who you are).
"If you were on a sinking ship, and could only save one knitting/crochet/weaving project to take with you in the lifeboat to that desert island on the horizon, what would it be?"
For the purposes of this contest, a project consists of infinite amounts of yarn, needles/hooks/loom, a single pattern and associated important bits and bobs.

Prizes will be awarded on the basis of creativity, hilarity, practicality and other nouns ending in "ity".

Closing date is midnight GMT on 17th October, which gives you a week and a bit to have a think.

Good luck!

ps - non-ISE5 people are free to post, but won't win the prize ;-)

Holiday news (belated as always)

We've just spent a glorious week at Carsington Water (Derbyshire), where we rented a cottage/barn with 4 other friends, and then proceeded to spend the week eating, drinking, playing games, reading and knitting. Some of us even went sailing on the reservoir while the rest watched and chuckled (for sailing read swimming - photos withheld due to embarrassment potential).

Oh, and the men went all prehistoric on us and spent the week plotting against the resident mice with modified mousetraps (score when we left: mice 2 (pieces of chocolate bait), humans 6 (rather messily it has to be said)).

On the crafty front, I finished my second BSJ, with modifications from the [knit wiki] making it look more symmetrical:

So now I have to find some buttons and the first mayou baby pressie will be finished.

I also finished one of these:
Fetching from

Which turned into a pair over the weekend and are currently keeping my paws nice and cozy while I type.

Stash and thrift wise, we visited the amazing Cromford Mill, built by Arkwright (he of water powered cotton spinning mill fame). And totally by chance (honest!) this was the home of Quiltessential, a gorgeous quilt fabric shop run by a very friendly and helpful lady. We could have spent all day there (if it wasn't for the disapproving looks from all 3 other halves) but I satisfied myself with a selection of fat quarters for my stash:

And these beaties that may turn into a lap quilt now the nights are drawing in.
I'll drop in this photo too, for remembrance. These are stunning artisan cotton lawn fabrics, and the nice lady let me take a photo of them as I was dithering and couldn't really justify another expenditure at the time.
But with hindsight, I'm thinking handbag ...

Finally, a picture of the happy holidaymakers:
Dove Caves, Dovedale, after a trek through a jungle like ravine. We thought ahead and brought cake.

Secret Pal parcel

I received my first SP11 parcel in the post a couple of days ago - very exciting! I am now the proud possessor of the following:

A plethora of crafty books. Thanks again SP.

So, with the following, which fell into my hands when I was wandering in Waterstones the other lunchtime (they have a loyalty card now d**n and blast them) I am now all booked up for the winter with plenty to keep me amused.

Monkey sock swap spoilee you are very bad and naughty ...

Look what you made me buy!

I was searching high and low for your extra monkey yarn, and therefore I was thinking pink. Pink is definitely not my colour, or so I thought, until the above started calling to me across I Knit.

"Look at us" they cried, "Look at our luciousness, look how although we are both made of silk we are so different - I, Habu am rough and rustic, while my friend Fyberspates is soft and silky, look how our colours match and compliment each other, and look how perfect we would be knitted up in a wavy lacy pattern"...

So just to shut them up I had to buy them! The nice lady on the counter told me that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so pink was very 'in'. So that made me feel a bit better

I did get your yarn too though. Betcha can't guess what colour it is?!

Monday, 1 October 2007

Finally I can show you this:

lovely bagsket I made for Jen (she of birthday fame in previous post). I've been holding off posting this, although it turned out that she doesn't even read my blog so I needn't have bothered!

It was well received I think, but the next one I make will not be cylindrical - I have discovered that I am physically incapable of sewing a straight edge to a curved one - much sweating and swearing went into this pressie!

I love making pressies for people, there is something infinitely more satisfying than just nipping to the shops. And it gives me an excuse to create!

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Woo hoo!

I'm in ravelry! I'm going to spend the rest of the day at work trying not to look on the site!

My user name is CraftyLibrarian - look me up in a few days when I've put something worthwhile on there ;-)

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Scatterday #4: no pictures, just ideas

Oh deary deary me. There has been a small glitch this week, which means that I can't upload my scatterday pictures at the moment. For some reason my computer will allow me to upload pictures of cute cats, but not things beginning with Q. Sigh. But in the spirit of the thing, here is my entry for this week anyway, which I will redo as soon as my computer stops playing silly b**gers.

This weeks letter sent me running for the dictionary, which is always an exercise in education.

So, I have discovered that a Quadroon is a person who's parents are a mulatto and a white person, so is one-quarter black by descent; a Quaich is a traditional Scottish shallow drinking cup with 2 handles; Quartan is a mild form of malaria where the fever recurs every 3rd day; and a Quean is an impudent or badly behaved girl or woman.

All very fascinating, but not particularly helpful. However, after much deliberation I bring to you the Triplet of Qs:

  • A quaver from husband's latest piece from his piano teacher
  • A quadrangle (at Durham Cathedral)
  • And some rather dodgily drawn Quidditch robes!

Not knitting

I've been saving my blog entries recently, as I think I've been rather knitting obsessed and I wanted to wait until I had something else to tell you about. Well, on Wednesday I took the day off work, ostensibly to clean the house, actually to get some crafty things finished and phone up for Mark Ronson tickets.

Last thing first, I spent literally hours phoning the Roundhouse in Camden (amazing venue - its a converted railway turntable shed) and trying to get through to their booking line, and then once I had got through, I spent half an hour on hold, muttering through gritted teeth about what I would say to the booking lady if they had sold out. Fortunately, and remarkably for me, they hadn't sold out (guess everyone had trouble getting through) so in October husband and I will be bopping along to lots of rather funky cover versions. I'm just not going to look at the next phone bill!

Cleaning the house is better not mentioned. Small cat helped me clean the bathroom by sitting on the floor exactly where I wanted to stand and cleaning herself, but at least I'm not afraid to wash my face in the sink anymore.

Speaking of puss monsters, I had a rather large panic on Sunday, while husband was in Edinburgh on conference. All had been quiet on the cat front for a while, so I went to find big cat. He was fast asleep in the sun room, but with the distinguishing feature that his left front paw was twice the size of the right one - eeek! Now, I haven't had cats for a while, but even I know that this is not a good sign. He couldn't walk on it, and was a bit dozy (but this is not unusual). A frantic phone call to mother ensued, who advised soaking it in hot salty water and a swift trip to the vet, as she suspected it was a bite.

Of course, I do not drive, and was supposed to be at work on the Monday, and we had never quite got round to sorting out the pet insurance, so after spending some time getting very wet and salty, and being punched in the face by the good paw, I spent a troubled night waiting to see if the paw was better by the morning.

Fortunately, it was better, although obviously a bit tender, so I kept the mogs in all day (they were very affronted) and he seems right as rain now. Typical. We think he had dislocated or sprained his thumb by getting it caught in something (he does that a lot, and falls off things - sigh).

So here is the protagonist of this tale with a happy ending - he looks sweet as anything doesn't he?
And here is small cat, as she plots to take over the world (she gets jealous if we give big cat too much attention). Needless to say we may have to make some modifications to the bird table this year ...
Finally, crafty things ...

I've made a start on this year's Christmas pressies (yes, I know it is september). My first attempt was this advent calendar / bunting.
I'm thinking about doing a tutorial for this, as they are dead easy to make. But the next one won't have gold thread - the front looks pretty but the back is horribly horribly munted.

I'm going to make/persuade husband to make some little stamps out of wine corks, a la Craft Chi with Christmas themes to put in the pockets, with room for a chocolate or two should you be that way inclined. So far my tentative list includes (bearing in mind my drawing/carving skill level):

  • Christmas pudding
  • Angel
  • Christmas tree
  • Present
  • Glass of wine
  • Star
  • Holly
  • Mistletoe
  • Christmas bauble
  • Stocking
  • Penguin
  • Santa
  • Snowman
Any other ideas?

Saturday, 15 September 2007

computer's gone berserk

I've wanted to use the word 'berserk' in every day conversation for a while, but not particularly in this context. My computer is being awkward in every sense of the word, and while I can just about manage to surf, uploading photos is a definite no-no. Just now I am frantically trying to back up the 1000 photos husband has taken on his shiny new digital camera, while windows screams at me that it wants to go to bed.


So rest assured that I have a scatterday and a general crafty post lined up for tomorrow, when hopefully darling microsoft will have got its act together.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Secret pal parcel #1

All packed up and ready to go, this toddled off in the post on Tuesday. I hope my secret pal gets it - she is off in the wilds at the moment and emailed to say that something was waiting for her at home so fingers crossed (I'm showing remarkable faith and confidence in the Royal Mail to move a parcel from a post office in central london to an address less than 5 miles away aren't I?!)

Scatterday #3

Today's scattergories are brought to you by the letter R.

I nearly managed to fulfill all three categories with the same word, but was foiled at the final hurdle (more below).

So, for the Plant World I present my loverly Rhubarb in the autumnal sunshine (twice for some reason best known to picasa). Slow off the mark, this plant was nearly removed in favour of a larger raised bed, but in the end I relented and gave it one last chance. The result - last weekend we had home made rhubarb ice cream (yum indeed)!

The Childhood picture came to me in a flash of inspiration - my all time favourite in the days when children were allowed to eat sweets - Rhubarb and custards! I bought these in a fit of reminiscence, but can't eat them as I have two, yes 2 mouth ulcers! Can you believe it? I haven't had one since I swapped my toothpaste years ago and then 2 come along at once - tsk! Still, at least I won't be hyperactive!

Then there was the Arts - As I said, I almost managed to fulfill all three categories with the same thing, and if I had only been able to find a picture, the Arts category would have been filled by ...

Roobarb and Custard - a marvellously surrealist cartoon from the 1980s, narrated by Richard Briers.

However, I didn't want to borrow from elsewhere for this, and so instead I present my favourite piece of studio pottery, this gorgeous mermaid plate by Barbara Ross. Husband thought I was strange coming home from a charity shop with a plate with a naked lady on it, but she just called to me - I love the lilac and orange glazes on her tail and her face is beautifully painted.

Now then, Q .... hmmmm ... might have to get the dictionary out for that one.

International Scarf Exchange 5

Roll up, roll up for the 5th International Scarf Exchange. I (in my infinite wisdom and manic enthusiasm) have signed up to be a co-hostess on this exchange, and so I thoroughly encourage anyone reading this blog to sign up asap.

The basic idea is that you are allocated a swap partner, and knit, crochet or weave them a scarf. Someone else will return the favour for you. It is (as you might have guessed) an international swap, so you may find yourself swapping with someone on the other side of the world.

You have until September 19th, 2007 - 8:00pm central standard time (Canada) to complete the following questionnaire and email it to isehostesses @ gmail . com (eliminate the spaces) with Sign me up in the subject line. There are only 200 places, so you'd better be quick!

Head over to the ISE5 blog for more information


1. Name:
2. Email (for pal):
3. Email (for hostess):
4. Blog:
5. Mailing address:
6. Colours (like):
7. Colours (no like):
8. Fibres (like):
9. Fibres (no like):
10. Allergies:
11. Look [(like) ie: lace, geometric, colourful...]
12. Look [(no like) ie: asymmetrical, granny squares, too many different colours together...]
13. Length:
14. Holiday Celebrated:
15. Do you want a pal with a blog?
16. Anything you would like your pal to know about you that they can't find out from your blog?
17. Would you like to angel someone who doesn’t get their scarf?

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Blog review #4

Time for another blog review methinks. I do have loads of crafty things to show you, but that requires me to be in the same place as the sun and my digital camera, which hasn't happened yet. Fingers crossed for this evening.

Anyway, this blog review is for the marvellous Brooklyn Tweed.

This is the blog that inspired me to see yarn colours differently. The amazing Hemlock Ring blanket, which is knit using a vintage doily pattern, but in heavyweight brown wool sounds nasty when you write it down, but has actually turned out divine. Jared, you are a miracle worker, producing gorgeous garments out of unassuming yarn. Oh, and he spins too, of course!

  • Reasons to visit this blog: To make you think beyond the temptations of all the funky trendy yarn out there and take things back to basics.

  • Things to see: Lots of different knitted items, all lovingly presented and photographs

  • Favourite post at the moment: It is still the BSJ, which inspired me to make my own and I've not looked back!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

chaussettes, calzini, socken, calcetines, носки

I'm off to buy sock yarn for my monkey sock swap pal tonight - hoorah! And as the site I will be buying it from has a £19 minimum for free postage, I will just have to buy myself something too!

Monday, 3 September 2007

Secret pal parcel #1 nearly on its way

Y'know, Ias excited about sending my first parcel to my secret pal as I will be receiving one. I hope it makes the grade.

I love putting present packages together - bits and bobs on a theme, that kind of thing. And of course, once I'd put it all in the box, there were gaps, so I made a couple of extra little somethings to fill in the space (no point mailing air after all!).

I've included quite a lot of secondhand/handmade/recycled pressies (although she does have some brand new yummy yarn and a couple of other things, of course) as I've been given a pal who lives near me and wanted to buy things that she couldn't get herself. Does this sound reasonable? It seemed like I was being a bit of a cheapskate at first, but $60 won't go very far in the UK knitting wise, and I didn't want to be stingy with the parcels. Am I worrying too much? Probably!

I didn't get a huge amount of information from my pal's blog, as there aren't many crafty posts, so I've assumed she is open to anything (heh heh heh!). Now all there is to do is to finish wrapping it up (often the most fun part) and rely on Royal Mail to do the rest (ha! she might get it in a month or so given their track record!)

Now, what can I put in the second box ... ???

Photos (not mine, but nearly)

Husband has gone digital (hoorah!) and has started uploading his rather marvellous nature photos into flickr.

Anyone wanting to give him a little encouragement (for which I will be eternally grateful) please have a look at his pages:

Beardy man (yes, that was the best we could do for an anonymous name)

and my input? Several hours spotting wildlife for him to take photos of ...

Sunday, 2 September 2007

While wandering in Welwyn

I came across this magazine in WHSmiths:

Its the magazine equivalent of Craftzine, whose blog I read avidly when trying to escape from knitting (it can be all consuming you know).

So now I have instructions for making a "bitchin' birdhouse", a pirate outfit for my pug dog (er, perhaps not), candles, a macrame curtain and umpteen other funky items. This should keep me busy for a while.

But £7.99? Smiths really, have you not heard about the dollar exchange rate? Give us UK crafters a break please!

Scatterday #2

Oops, I missed the deadline - not great for a second attempt.

The only excuse I have is that a remarkably cute miniature kitten made its way into our garden last night, so I spent considerable time removing our cats into the house (they wanted to beat it up, poor thing) and putting out a box and some food for the kitten. I felt so bad about not bringing it into the house, but we've only had our monsters for a few months and they are still a bit insecure as they are rescue cats. It really was the cutest cat I've met (barring our lovelies of course) - a brown and grey mottled long haired puss, with black and white short hair legs, and a b&w spotty nose. A true mongrel. No sign of it this morning though. Hopefully it has made its way home, as if it turns up again I might not be so strong willed.

Anyway, Scatterday ...

My colour is Gold, which for me means my wedding and engagement rings, being the only gold objects I own. They are really chunky, and now rather battered. There's a story behind that though ...
Vehicle was rather difficult, as I do not own a gig, nor play golf. But then, while flicking through an old photo album I came across something perfect. So here, for your amusement and my embarrassment, is a photo of me (on the right, some years ago I hasten to add) and my babysitter Lorraine with our rather fabulous GO-CART!

Finally, for a household object I present my favourite Gadget. When we got married my workmates gave me a voucher for an expensive cookery shop in York, and rather than buy sensible house things we decided to spend the lot on a single silly funky gadget. So this is my marvellous kitchen timer, made by Alessi and costing all of £35!
You may notice that as a fail-safe there is a grater in the background, but I think this Gadget is funky enough to count as a G object don't you?

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Monkey swap 3 questionnaire

Monkey Sock Swap THREE Questionnaire

The basics:

Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep?
Beginner – have just finished my first pair (and am very pleased with them)

The measurements:

Shoe Size: UK 4 (Europe 37, US 6.5)
Foot circumference: 8 inches
Foot length: 9 inches

Yarn Preferences:

What colors do you love?
Blues, greens, “colours from nature”

Do you prefer solids or variegated?
Solids with a textured pattern, variegated for plain socks

Do you prefer wool, cotton or acrylic yarn?
Wool or cotton

What colors would you never wear?

What are your favorite brands of yarn?
I don’t have a favourite brand as such, I tend to prefer unusual, locally produced / spun / dyed yarns – things that I can’t buy in John Lewis (big department store).

Are there any new brands you would like to try?
I was interested to read about the new yarns with unusual components, for example, I’m knitting a scarf with soy bean protein in it, Bamboo is great for everything – yarn, needles, socks, chopping boards, dishcloths, floorboards … and I love the idea of Seacell (yarn from seaweed – ha!)

Cookie A. Patterns:

Which of her patterns have you already knit?

Which pattern(s) would you like to knit and don’t already own?
Rhiannon is lovely, but I love any sock pattern with cabling.

Other pertinent information:

Would you be willing to have an international Monkey Pal or do you prefer one in the US?
I’m in the UK, so don’t mind, although for swapping interesting things, a pal abroad would be good.

Do you have any allergies?
Nuts, but that’s not very relevant for sock knitting!

Will your knitting be exposed to smoke or animals?
I have 2 cats, who will try to get their paws on my socks, but I’ll do my best …

Are you on Ravelry yet? If you don’t mind having new friends, what is your Ravelry name?
Not yet, only 4000 people in front of me though …

Thursday, 23 August 2007


I'm posting this early as on the 25th I'll be in York, celebrating my birthday and trying not to fall into craft shops with my friends.

Random Applique and friend have challenged us to a blogging game of scattergories. This weeks challenge is brought to you by the letter L and the categories Animals, Food and Sewing. Miraculously I had some of these photos already (those are the ones with the good images - its been truly awful weather here, as it often is for my birthday - sigh). I've taken the categories quite loosely to make it more fun to investigate, hope this still qualifies!

Oops, I've just reread the rules, and I'm only supposed to post one picture per category. Ah well, the more the merrier I say!

So we have from left to right, top to bottom:

  1. Lemon thyme, which went into a lovely tea of garlic (from our garden) cooked slowly in lots of olice oil until golden and soft, then add the thyme, stir into cooked pasta and add crumbled piquant goats cheese - yum!
  2. Lemongrass - you can't see, but this is a packet of seeds, as I'm expanding my culinary horticultural experience - so it will be food in a few months time!
  3. Leeks - our first leeks looked like grass for many months, but turned out delicious, particularly shredded and fried with cooked potatoes, shredded sprouts, garlic and cubes of bacon
  4. A lorikeet, at Woburn safari park. Took a liking to husband's beard. I volunteered to be photographer rather than cup holder - phew!
  5. Lionel, the leopard. Nuff said.
  6. A Loghtan sheep (I think). This is a rare breed from the Isle of Man, seen in Rockingham Forest. The type we'd love to have on our theoretical smallholding ...
  7. Linen - waiting to be turned into number 8. This is from a shop called russell and chapple, and is gorgeous heavyweight linen, just dying to be turned into a hanging. It was pretty expensive, at £20 a metre, but as it's theatrical fabric it is over 2 metres wide, which means as long as you don't mind the herringbone going the wrong way it will make a perfect Tree of Life hanging for the firebreast
  8. My first crewelwork hanging (on linen). I love the simplicity of the stitches, combined with the medieval earthy colours.
  9. Leftovers (yarnwise) waiting for something exciting to happen to them. I wonder if it will?

On the needles

Well, the last proper post was rather vague and waffly, so I shall try to be more concrete with this one. I thought I'd better consolidate my 'on the needles' list, partly cos I don't actually have one, and partly cos it should jolt me into action to actually finish some of these d**nable things!

So, on various needles at the moment are the following:

Breeze socks from I've finished the first and have just turned the heel and picked up the stitches on the second, so just the 24 row lace/cable pattern repeats to manage and I'm done! This is my second attempt at socks, the first being abandoned due to sheer boredom and dispiriting holes round the heel. This pattern is much more exciting, and fits quite nicely, although next time I won't make these socks in a patterned yarn, so that the cable/lace pattern shows up better.

  • Update - see 'doh!' post below - sigh

  • FireBrunette's Candle Flame scarf , which is another 2nd attempt. This new scarf is loverly indeed, and much kinder on my loose/tight knitting (practice practice practice).

  • Another Knitty knit, this time mittens for mother. After my impulsive purchase of 6 skeins of Rowan Tapestry (it was the Soy Bean Protein, it drew me in), with the intention of knitting a nice wide scarf with a pattern, I realised that the wool was too hairy to make a pattern stand out, so I decided on a simpler scarf, which uses less wool, and leaves me free to make these Knucks mittens, and later a hat when she tells me how big her head is (v large apparently, but we used to take the same size riding helmet so I take that as an insult). These mittens were so quick - I started them on friday night and have nearly finished the 2nd one (it's monday)
    Finished! As of yesterday! Hooray!

    And here's the scarf, which is so easy to knit and very satisfying, so I'm going to add it to my stash of commuting knits This is of course separate and additional to my other stashes ...

  • Finally, a monkey, who looks rather forlorn at the moment, and not really much like a monkey, but he will I promise

  • Percent bars courtesy of Yarn Tomato btw - thank you!