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 knitty.com

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!