Monday, 24 December 2007

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings to you, if you happen to be reading this. May you have a safe and happy holiday period.

The presents are cast off, and wrapped, the mince pies are out of the oven, and Carols from Kings is on the television. Compared to last year, when at this time, I was on my way to Atlanta airport, hoping the flights would go smoothly, and I would be back in Newcastle on Christmas day (I made it back onto UK soil at 16:05) it's been a calm period of preparation, and all is back to normal - or as normal as things can be round here.

Looking forwards to waking up in my own bed on Christmas morning, and sharing the day with Jon and my family.

Here's hoping 2008 will be a good year.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Early Christmas Presents

My Harmony Needles arrived today - Well done - fabulous job - email yesterday letting me know that they were on their way, then that Christmas Eve feeling, and then, today, when I called Jon he said "you've had a small parcel from Get Knitted". I wasn't able to sit still for the rest of the day! They are every bit as lovely as the pictures look, and so smooth, and the colours so vivid. So far, I have unpacked them, and arranged everything in the lovely neat little case, exactly where it should be, and looked at it, and then taken everything out, piece by piece and looked at each one, then put them all back in, and admired them, and tried to get Jon enthusiastic about them, then given up on what is a bad job (he tries, but has trouble enthusing over a set of wooden interchangeable needles - after all, I have so many needles!). So I shall take some photos (I'm planning a photo shoot over the weekend) and post them. Maybe someone here will pass by who appreciates the multi coloured wooden lusciousness!

Honey's dress is now onto the sleeves, and Icarus is in the 4th of 5 repeats. I'm onto the foot of my first Jaywalker in Posh Yarn Lucia, and I have started Jon's Koolhaas. There was a Knitting Group (ok - pair - it's getting near Christmas) at Borders last night, and I got on with a few rows - again, it's in Posh Yarn - this time Victoria, a cashmere/silk aran, which is making me want to keep it all for myself, in shades of black. It is delicious, and I'm hoping it photographs well.

And I break up from work tomorrow until after Christmas! We didn't manage to go away this year, so I had a slight excess of holiday left over. Which means I get all next week to shop, knit, get the car MOT-ed and get my hair cut. But mostly knit!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Long Time... No Blog

It's ages since I last wrote a blog post... Mainly due to lack of photos - I've been wanting to take some, and somehow never got around to it... Maybe this weekend, I'll post some photos of FOs. I've been working on Christmas, having suddenly realised it's only a couple of weeks away (puts hands over ears, screams and runs away). Luckily, this year, my family have made the decision that we're only doing presents for the youngest generation, which cuts down that list from 10 to 3. But still... there's Jon, and Jon's family... and the three girls (my nieces). I have some clues, but not many - and I've been knitting like a loony to try and finish the ambitious present for the youngest, Honey - she's 6 months old, and I'm knitting her Debbie Bliss' Sheep Dress and Shoes. So far, the back of the dress is done, and the front is nearly up to the waist - but there seems so much of it for such a little one, and, shall we say that I have never really done any colourwork before, so the intarsia sheep have been a little time consuming (not to mention tangly). Then the cably pattern on the bodice (can babies have bodices?) has taken forever - so I have cast on Icarus as well, in Skein Queen's Merino Laceweight in Pegasus (it seemed fitting). And I've entered Sockdown for December via the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry...
I've been catching up on my reading as well - years ago, in school (and I mean back in the Dark Ages), I read Martha Quest by Doris Lessing for my English A/S Level. After Ms Lessing won the Nobel Prize earlier this year, I decided to re-read all of the Children of Violence series (of which Martha Quest is the first). Unfortunately, while I had a copy of Martha (I was reading it last Christmas - and considering it largely describes a difficult mother-daughter relationship from the point of view of the daughter, and some chickens came home to roost on my relationship with my mother - although there are big big differences, I abandoned it), I couldn't find the other 4 books in the series, and it looks like they may be out of print.
After a frantic scrabble around Barter Books in Alnwick (highly recommended if you are up in the North East and an avid reader - this place is second hand Book Heaven), and lots of Ebay searches, I now again have the complete series, and am working my way through them. In (ahem) years, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed these books, and wish I'd re-read them earlier. I have more experience under my belt now, and am getting more from them than I did at the age of 16.
So - just a shortie for now, as I need to return to my Christmas knitting. Maybe I'll finish in time, maybe I won't. Just as long as I finish this dress - after doing 2 sets of intarsia blinking sheep, she'll have grown out of it before the next chance I have to give her a pressie! Not that I'm not spoiling her anyway - she has a little pile of pressies here waiting for her - including the piece de resistance - a Guns 'n' Roses Sweet Child O'Mine babygro - she's already been to inspect her Daddy's bike, and I'm sure he'll appreciate it, even if no-one else does - am I an evil auntie?

Tuesday, 13 November 2007


Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeable and DPNs are now on pre-order at GetKnitted. I've been waiting and waiting for these, and have pre-ordered some...

Lucky, lucky me!

Although I wasn't thinking that until just now... This weekend, the kitchen tap jammed. Solid. All the wrenches, hammers and WD40 in the world wouldn't do. So Jon looked under the sink, and was a bit wobbly about well maybe he could, but then again... We had no hot water to the kitchen sink - this was not a disaster, there was hot water in the bathroom, we have a kettle - but then he took the cold tap apart, to see how it all went together, and then that started to dribble... And so we managed to fiddle on, and got back to just being the hot tap broken. So the plumber's been today and put two new taps on. Uck.

And then the car. I'm a proper girl when it comes to the car. I just drive it, and put petrol in when it needs it, and, um, that's about it. And it wouldn't start. Lights on, nothing turning. I think it's the starter motor, but I'm not sure. So my lovely man from CB Motors in Cramlington, who has kept that car going against the odds, and is fab, and doesn't overcharge me has been round this morning and took it away to try to fix. So I'm on the bus to work this week, which is icky. Crowded, smelly, noisy and slow. But only £10 for a week's travel... However, I need to be somewhere tonight where I could have been in an hour from work in the car. But can't, as it involves at least 2 buses, and they don't go from the same area of town - so there's a 10 minute walk in the middle. So to heck with it - I've taken a half day, which is why I'm here blogging, not working.

So how is all this lucky? Well - it's not been too much hardship - I've got working taps, the car will be sorted (this man works miracles), and the buses aren't too bad if I organise myself (I'm missing knitting group tomorrow, as there's no way I can get there without a car, as there are precious few buses after tea time, and I'd rather not wait at a stop on an industrial estate, in the dark - but I can cope with that). The wonderful, glorious, unbelievable thing that has happened is that I have arrived home to two, 6th row tickets to see Thunder in a couple of weeks! Yay! For some reason I didn't hear about the tour (boo) and by the time I did, the only tickets were right up at the top of the back balcony, where I'd have trouble seeing. So, desperate, I entered a competition on Planet Rock, and I must have won! I've seen Thunder many times over the years, and they always, always, put on a good show, bless them.

And I have finished Clapotis - just in time for the cold snap! And also my second felt ruffle bag for Christmas. Royal Snail is still holding onto all my parcels, though...

Friday, 9 November 2007

Tree News

I have good news on the trees! We contacted the head of arboreal services, and he has surveyed the area himself, and the trees are going to stay! Thank you to all who commented - we did feel a little alone at some points. I've also got a summary in writing which we can wave at anyone else who feels that they can just chop things down. He is going to do some pruning, which I can live with, and he will remove one stump, which again - I loved the tree, but the stump just reminds me of what was once flourishing there. It just goes to show that persistence, and pushing the right buttons (I went through the Tree Policy with a fine toothed comb, and raised a few points where reality differed from the published policy), things can get sorted out right in the end.
So we'll still have the birds around next summer, and when the insects come to the trees, the bats will come back, too. And I won't have to look at The Conservatory.
Clapotis is coming along nicely - there will be photos soon. I can recommend 100%Wool on Ebay - it is from Uruguay, but it arrived really quickly, (almost with more stamps than there was room on the envelope), and is beautifully soft, and knits up with good stitch definition. It is very clingy, which normally, if I were to drop a stitch, I'd love, but as Clapotis requires stitch dropping and unravelling to make ladders, it can be a little bit of a pain (the Long Nails help at this point, to wiggle the bars free). But I am very happy with it.
The Royal Snail is still letting me down - I've been waiting ages (more than 2 weeks) for some parcels now, so whatever they say, beware. It seems to be items I'm ordering from the North East for delivery in Newcastle, so it could be a double whammy if they're really backed up, but it's starting to really annoy me now (turns green and starts growing).
Been quiet this week, as we went to see the opening night of David Gray's tour on Tuesday, and I can't do late nights any more... He was brilliant, and I would recommend him to anyone who sort of likes him - he has a wonderful voice, and it's even better live than on record.
And finally - I'm thinking of anyone at sea level on our East Coast tonight - I do hope you don't get the sea in your homes - it happened to us 30 years ago (almost exactly - 11th November 1977) when we lived on the sea front at Fleetwood, and had a good slug of the Irish Sea come over and into the house. I was still at Infants School, so don't remember too much, except for being woken up in the middle of the night, and evacuated to Poulton le Fylde. It's not much fun - and I'm thinking especially of those of you who've already suffered the floods this year. I'm crossing my fingers for you, and hoping the surges pass you by.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Better Karma...

Well - Honeybee is hibernating. I have finished my Bonfire Night Scarf which was knitted in 2 skeins of Noro Blossom to this pattern. I'm really pleased with it.

I also started my Clapotis in 100%PureWool's Merino Worsted. Lovely to knit with, and available on Ebay, at very good prices, even when you add on the postage. I've just dropped my first stitch, which was one of those naughty feelings - I looked over my shoulder before I did it, and made sure no-one saw. But I can mention stitch-dropping here - you know I'm meant to. But I left it at work tonight - oops.

And I get itchitis. Where I sometimes need to knit. And I'm trying to limit the number of projects OTN at the moment. Mr Greenjeans is still awaiting a circular needle, which is ordered, but somewhere within the chaos that is the Royal Mail at the moment (I've been waiting for one parcel for 2 weeks now - I can get sniffy if I want to). So I had to start a new project. Only thing for it. I do have a Christmas present to knit, and the wool for it came yesterday (see - Dee from Posh Yarn knows how to charm the postmen into delivering her Pink Parcels of Joy quickly - all us addicts would beseige the sorting offices if not!). It's a pattern in Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 (if Jon isn't looking, click here), and I will be knitting it in Victoria - a Cashmere/Silk blend, which is beautiful. It's another yarn to sniff and stroke. But - guess where my IK Holiday 2007 is? Yes - in the post. So no guilt-free-gotta-knit-it-by-Christmas to assuage me.

Oh heck - I've had to start a handbag, for me, in Twilley's Freedom Spirit, from Freedom Spirit 455. Shame - but it had to be done.

And, get well soon, Meatloaf - I went to see him at the Arena last night, and he's not well. He stopped the show as it was coming up to the climax, and declared it his last ever show. I sincerely hope not - I just hope he can get himself well.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Pride comes before a fall...

... and I fell with a Big Bump. The Honey Bee has been frogged, and is awaiting a time when I am worthy to complete it. I took last Friday off, to block out my Hanami stoles that I have made for presents, as well as my Icelandic Shawl. (The latter remains unblocked, as Hanami took a loooong while to dry due to the unusually seasonal weather!). The other point of taking the time off was to relax and knit on with the Honey Bee. I developed a slight headache while pinning out the stoles, and stupidly continued knitting afterwards, noticing a dropped stitch later on. I managed to resuce it with a crochet hook, and it passed the Lady Godiva test, but I still decided Honey Bee needed a rest, so I put it away, and started on my Mr Greenjeans cardigan in my now favourite Posh Yarns Helena yarn. That has come on a treat, and all I need to do on it now is seam the arms (I decided not to invest in 5mm dpns, just for sleeves, so knitted back and forth), and, when my beautiful Czech glass button arrives from Pavi Yarns, knit on the edgings, and sew on the button.
I fetched Honey Bee out of the bag yesterday morning, after having a week's rest, and found lots and lots of dropped stitches. In my arrogance, I had not used life lines, so the whole lot has been frogged until I deserve to have another go. I need to take a wee break from it, so that I don't curse it when I return to it (if I think I'm going to be careless, I will be, and so I prove my own doubts). Instead, I started on a Felted Ruffle bag for a Christmas present, using Noro Kureyon. So simple, and so pretty. Number 1 awaits the washing machine, which I will do when I have Number 2 finished. It was good motivational knitting for me - instant gratification (I knitted it yesterday evening), very pretty, and another item off the to do list for Christmas.
Also yesterday, we went to Alnwick for the day. Now, I last visited Alnwick twenty-ahem years ago, when Larkholme Junior School's 4th year trip took us up here for a week. I have meant to go back (it's only 30 miles up the road from where I live now), but have never made it. I think recently, the whole Harry Potter as Tourism thing has put me off - I love the books and the films, and also love the way the series has made reading cool - and yes, I queued at Midnight for the Deathly Hallows, and yes, I did cry at one or more points in the book - but it is always a little disappointing to see a film location in the flesh for me, and realise that it perhaps isn't in the same reality I inhabit. But anyway. Alnwick was lovely. I spent way too long in Barter Books, and way too much at the Wool Shop on the market place. The Wool Shop is lovely. It has a really good range of the staples, at good prices. I picked up some Twilley's Freedom Spirit that had plenty of stock (at £2.79 a ball, pretty good value for something I don't see in most shops). And a limited, but lovely range of Noro - I bought 2 skeins of Blossom, which are currently being worked into a Diagonal Scarf. The sock yarns were also very nice to see - Opal and Trekking, in a wide variety of colours. I'll be going back, as good LYS are like hens' teeth, and the prices in there were equivalent to standard Internet prices, but without shipping, and with the instant gratification of being able to handle the wool the minute I was out of the shop! Thank you to the North East Knitting Fiends on Ravelry for the tip as well.
The Freedom Spirit is going to be a felted bag from the Freedom Spirit pattern book, btw. And, to get me back into Lace without tears, I'm going to have a go at Brooklyn Tweed's Hemlock Ring, sooner rather than later. Big needles, chunky wool!
And, I'm going to take part in my first swap. I'm a member of Cup A Tea on Ravelry, which is a group for those of us knitters who enjoy a nice cup of tea - so I shall have to find some tea, some yarn, and some other little bits, and send them off to my assigned tea drinker. I'm looking forward to it, as it will give me a chance to see what's out there for someone else's likes, and may put me onto something I may like!
So, as I depart for a nice cup of PG, I need to thunk about what's going to go over the Atlanic...

Monday, 15 October 2007

FO Frippery

I've been a busy bee this past week. Firstly, I finished my second Hanami stole. This is destined for a Christmas present, and is in the queue for blocking on Friday (I am taking a day's holiday to block my two Hanamis and my Icelandic Shawl - I will take pictures of the truly FOs and post then.

I went to my first knitting group as well on Wednesday - it was at Starbucks in Borders in Gateshead (oh dear - new magazines, books, coffee...) and I'll be going next month. A lovely bunch of ladies.

I've also finished my Tyrolean Stockings from Interweave Kits Fall 2007 in Posh Yarn Helena in Myrtle. I'd never worked in Helena before, and it's a dream. Really squooshy (if that's a word) and lovely and toasty for my toes. See photos as well!

And then... more FO - Artyfartykat had a picture of her Elisa's Nest Tote on her blog, and kindly published the link. I set to with some Patons 4 Ply cotton, and this was the result:

I think it's pretty good - and it saves all those horrible carrier bags. I'm working on a bigger one now (as it was a bit of a force to get a melon through the opening) as well.

Then finally, I've started my Honeybee Stole from the wonderful Anne Hanson's Knitspot. I'm getting on for halfway through the first section now (yes - it's Posh Yarn again - this time Eva 2 ply in Old Gold) - and it's a joy to knit. The pattern is very clearly written, and I can "see" the pattern in my knitting, which is helpful.
Isn't it pretty?

As for the trees - they are still there, and we're trying to find out who to speak to - it's a bit of a ping pong game at the minute, but I don't give up. Thank you for commenting - I appreciate it, as I did rant on a bit last time... but that's me - up and down like a seesaw.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Of Trees and Fighting

Tonight was going to be a nice blog post about how well the second Hanami is doing (onto the final cherry blossom chart now), and how much I'm looking forward to going to a knitting group for the first time ever tomorrow evening (it's at Borders in Gateshead - I'll give it a go, as they do have a great range of knitterly books and magazines, so even if I find it's not "me" I can go for a browse). However, I'm in a right paddywhack and all over three lime trees.

We live on a modern (about 25 year old) estate. And I've been here for 12 years or so. I like the area. One of the reasons I bought the house, is that while we both love the country, Jon doesn't drive, so being on good bus routes is a bonus - however the estate has loads of street trees around, which enhance the visual aspect. We're 20 minutes or so from the Toon by bus, about half an hour from the coast, and a short walk from local nature reserves at Sugley Dene, The Brickworks, Percy Pit, and Newburn Riverside Country Park. It's convenient, it's nice, and considering how some estates can end up as soul-less MacMansion collections, I find the trees break it up and make it appear more homely.

We have a small carpark in front of our house, for the use of the four houses in our block (if you imagine a big square, flat on the ground, we each have a quarter square of that). Until earlier this year, there were 6 mature lime trees along the side, adjacent to another house's garden. Earlier this year, the people who had lived there 12 months had a conservatory erected, all UPVC, and but for the trees, uncomfortably visible from our upstairs. They then had three of the trees cut down by the council, on the grounds that they were blocking out their light. It was a done deal - no consultation, or anything - and we were promised that no further trees would be cut. By the way - under English Law, no-one has a right to light per se - there are cases when the erection of a new structure can interfere with your light, but these trees to my knowledge had been here for 9 years longer than these folks, so they hardly sprung up overnight.

Today, Jon rang me at work, distressed to his wits end. He's prone to stress and has suffered its effects in the past. Apparently, the council were back and had an order to cut down the trees at the request of the same neighbours. Again - no consultation or anything - just what they want, they get. I told Jon to call our local councillor, who's a complete star - 100% for the area, and has so much time for everyone, I don't know where he gets it from, while I called the council. When I got through to the right person, I was lovely and polite, with my very best Bury Grammar Girl tones (Thank You Miss Batty for insisting we learned how to speak without the Lanky accent - even though I only ever get the elocution out for "posh" - normally I'm broader than a very broad thing). He explained the request was because of property damage (or its potential). So I asked him to not cut the trees down, as we think they contribute to the area.

So the work is stopped for now - we now need to try and get a TPO placed on these trees. Apparently Neighbour is threatening to "take" the council. So we need to hurry. And find out more about Lime Trees (lots of cases of applications for felling on the same grounds being turned down - but only where there's a TPO). And Tree Preservation Orders. And living with awkward wotsits. I think it's less of the "property damage" - there are loads of these trees closer to houses on the estate, and nobody's house appears to be falling down yet - and more what I heard a muttering about last weekend - which was what a pain it is when the leaves fall off, and what a mess they make.

I feel sometimes that this is trivial, but then, how many more trees need to be taken down one by one until we all live in Concretia? I know they can be a pain, but they're a feature of the estate. Don't buy a house next to a sewage farm if you don't like the smell - and don't buy one next to 6 mature trees, unless you're prepared to sweep!

That's enough for now - I need to do lots of stress-busting knitting now to calm myself down a tad. I'll be fine - just wrong woman, wrong day.

Monday, 1 October 2007

A Learning Curve

Firstly, I have learned that if Flickr isn't playing, it's wise to make sure that one is logging on with one's correct account. (ahem).
Newcastle also does not have congestion. That is Official. Even though it took me one hour and ten minutes to get 10 miles tonight, it is not congestion. That is why we will not be getting a congestion charge here. Which I would pay, as it's a pain for me to get to work by public transport - not to mention I'm not happy about hanging around dark bus stops on my own - especially not with Bonfire Night coming up). It would also be cheaper than moving house.
Someone is looking after me - I had got in too late for the Posh Yarn that I wanted (boo!) but Dee had a cancellation - and it was for the yarn I wanted - I was browsing and dreaming, and nipped on and got it.
So I'm feeling a lot better about things. I need to stop being grumpy, as with me, it just breeds grumpiness. I also picked up a Knitmaster Wool Winder for £4 + postage on Ebay, which is going to be great for winding all my skeins. And it's just like the one my Mum used to let me wind her wool with when I was younger, so I got a bit misty eyed when I was playing with it tonight. Small things and all that.
We had a pretty good weekend - Jon is from Walsall, and supports the football team - they were playing in Hartlepool on Saturday, so I drove us down, and we had a really good afternoon. Hartlepool's a great ground to visit - the fans are friendly, there's tonnes of free parking, the food's good (meat and potato pies - heaven for a Lancashire Lass), and there's a pretty good pub on Jackson's Wharf. Then we went to the local pub quiz last night (are we spotting a theme here?), and came second - which was much better than we expected. AND I got the yarn I wanted in the Posh Yarn sale last night.
Good things do happen to me - I should just notice them more. I'm cracking on with my second Hanami, too - I'm into the Transition chart now - and from now, the charts are all different, which will keep me on my toes. I've also been getting on with my second Tyrolean Stocking. Unfortunately, there's no pictures as yet - when I dug out the camera, I remembered that I needed to recharge the batteries... Silly me. Maybe I'll get myself together for next time.
But now I shall go, as Murphy's Law is on tonight, and Jim Nesbitt is a tonic for any female!

Monday, 24 September 2007

Rough Day

Bit of a whinge-fest today - I've felt a bit icky all day, and it's been raining, which never helps. Then I've had to cover late-ish at work, got caught up in what appeared to be a flash mob of cars in the City Centre (30 minute queue for about half a mile, then everything disappearing, without anyone appearing to have turned off) and now Flickr's not playing with me. So Grrrrrr!

But to try and look at some positives, I'd like to thank everyone who has left comments on the blog over the last few posts. It makes me feel better to read them, and it doesn't half perk me up and make me feel that the world's not completely full of twits (just the car in front of me ;-)). I knit, largely for me, and it's lovely that you think that I'm doing some nice work. I'm always a bit funny about posting photos - I think I'm "showing off" sometimes, and possibly showing myself up (especially when I see some of the work others do) - so thank you again for your comments and keep them coming (now I have an ego, I need to feed it!)

I've been poddling along with the knitting - I have finished one of the Tyrolean Stockings, and I love it. I've been wondering if I can get away with wearing odd socks, as I'm really getting a compulsion to wear it. It's the lovely cabled design, coupled with Dee and Tony's wonderful Helena wool in Myrtle - toning greeny variagated loveliness. But, it's twin is having to wait, as I've begun Hanami No 2 - this time for a Christmas present. I'm using the same Colourmart Cashmere as before, and have managed 2 repeats of the basketweave so far. I'm using the second Tyrolean as a motivator - there's 7 repeats of the basketweave, and I found on my first one that if I'm not going to muck up the pattern, I need to break every now and then, so it's one repeat of basketweave to 12 rows of sock at the moment, to keep the variation. It's not that I'm getting bored, but giving myself a little bit of a change every now and then is helping me stay fresh at it.

And I've been so good this week - I have not dipped into the Posh Yarn shop this week, as I am building up quite a stash, and think I should get cracking on using some of it up before I indulge again... I do try to be good - but sometimes my halo slips a little and there's something I've got to play Fastest Finger First for!

And - if anyone liked the Mystery Stole 3 - Swan Lake that's a couple of posts further down, but didn't get onto the sign up in time, Melanie has now relased the pattern, which includes the stole as knit, plus directions for a Symmetrical pointed stole, plus a divine double winged version. For us UK knitters, the pattern's on the good side of bargain at $6, and can be ordered via Melanie's Blog. I found it a challenge, but tackling one chart at a time, and not thinking about the final item meant I could knit it one stitch at a time. Melanie's directions helped as well - I found the pattern easy to understand.

So - back to Hanami - it's a lovely knit and it's keeping me sane this evening.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Thordis, Hanami and Finland...

This will teach me to update my blog regularly or pay the price with a long blog post... I have finished knitting the first of three Hanami Stoles, designed by Melanie. This one is knitted for a birthday present, and requires blocking out properly. I've used Colourmart cashmere for this, in Honeysuckle, a soft, warm pinky-peach shade, and it knitted itself. I've got plenty of the cone left for a second one (for a Christmas present) and will be knitting a third, for myself, in Posh Yarns Eva 2 Ply in Petal. All will be beaded on the cast on edge, as well. This picture is of the Cherry Blossom pattern:

And this is the Basket Weave.

The pattern begins with a beaded cast on, reminscent of light spring raindrops, and then moves into the Basket Weave, which is taken from a traditional Japanese quilting pattern, symbolising friendship and family. It then transitions into a pattern of Cherry Blossom falling. Hanami is the Japanese term for watching the Cherry Trees shed their blossom.

Next, I have finished the Thordis (Icelandic) Shawl. The pattern was from Piecework magazine, first published in 1996 by Interweave press, and was found by a member of the MS3 group, and has been Knit A Long-ed by a couple of Yahoo groups. Interweave kindly released the pattern via their Knitting Daily newsletter, and Sarah Siegel made up kits of Jaggerspun Maine Line. It was a very quick knit - just under two weeks from casting on to finishing the crocheted edge, and used a variety of lace stitches. I've been busy at work these past two weeks, with trips up to Aberdeen and Finland, so it's not been a time where I could dedicate myself to knitting too much, but I found the shawl very easy to pick up and put down. And I cannot recommend Sarah's Yarns enough - prices are very keen (especially now, with the dollar to pound exchange rate), and her service is exceptional - from Brooklyn to Newcastle upon Tyne in a week - during the UK's postal strike as well. Lovely lady, good range, and good prices - AND she'll wind you custom sized balls as well, which is great, if, like me, you're not very good at joins...

More Lace News - I won Piglottie's Lace Booty Auction, in aid of her friend Charlotte's charity trek to Peru for the Rainbow Trust. And what booty it is, too - a Fiber Trends Leaf Lace Shawl pattern, enough Fyberspates Laceweight in Ocean to complete the shawl, three fab Piglottie Productions cards, and a lovely little bag, which is the perfect size for a sock project. So thank you Piglottie, and GO CHARLOTTE!!!!

Finally on Knitting News, I've cast on again... I tried Pomotamus, I did, but have put them aside for now. I don't know if it's me, or the pattern, or the wool (not likely, as I love Fyberspates wool), but it's not gelling, so not for me for now. Maybe later, I'll be in the right mood. What I am getting on with, is the Tyrolean Stockings from Interweave Fall 2007. I'm using Posh Yarns Helena in Myrtle, and they're looking lovely to me - they look like snuggly winter socks, and the weather is putting me in mind of snuggles, and wrapping up.

And in non-knitting news, I've been somewhere I've never been before. I was sent to Finland for work, which was great - My main problem was getting there. I'm a very nervous flyer - I panic about it, and can't help it. But KLM and FinnComm looked after me without any drama. All 6 planes on time, and the flights were even quite enjoyable. But I have to admit that my favourite sound on a plane is "Welcome to Newcastle". I found the Moomin Shop, and now have Moomintroll hanging off my phone. I also discovered a new range of alcoholic drinks to enjoy - Finnish Vodka with Arctic Cloudberry Juice was very moreish, and I have brought home Licorice Vodka (yummy) and Tar Schapps (made from the sap of a tree in Finland, and tastes like alcoholic BBQ sauce). And Stroopwafelen from Schiphol (can't go through there without picking up a box - even though they do sell them in Lakeland, it's not the same). What I saw of Finland from the local plane looked beautiful - forests and lakes in abundance, but what I saw on the ground was largely hotel, factory and airport. I shall definitely book some holiday if I am lucky enough to go there again.

Then last weekend, I drove up to Eyemouth, and we had a lovely Sunday. Fish and Chips on the front, and a nice wander - and (the reason why we went) a chance to feed the seals in the harbour. I'll leave you with one of our new friends for now - if anyone's still reading the marathon entry!

Monday, 27 August 2007

Pictures of FOs!

So here we have some photos. The "model" has not done her hair, is wearing weekend attire, but is proud as proud can be of her efforts. Firstly, we have the Fir Cone Shawl, in Merino laceweight from It is in soft shades of brown and russet, and just suggested Autumn to me - hence why I used it for the Fir Cone. It has blocked to a beautiful soft shawl, which will be great for when the Autumn breezes start to bite (although to get Autumn, we're meant to have had a summer, and apart from one Wednesday afternoon in mid-May, we've not been getting that round here.

Next, we have Swan Lake, aka Mystery Stole 3. It is in Fiddlesticks Jaggerspun Zephyr laceweight in Ebony, (from the Knitting and Crochet Guild stall at Woolfest), beaded with black 8/0 beads from Pogles (also Woolfest) and I used Addi Turbo Lace circulars in 3.5mm. I love it. No other words for it. I keep unfolding it, and just looking and marvelling at it. I would like to thank Piglottie, who first mentioned the MS3 in her blog. She enabled me, and for that I am grateful. Artis-Anne, Artyfartykat, Arianwen, and Carrie Anne for their encouragement. Everyone who took part in the KAL for their advice, questions, encouragement, tenacity and humour. And finally, Melanie, who designed Swan Lake, and ran the KAL. Christine, who kept an escrow copy of the pattern, just in case anything were to happen to Melanie, and who co-moderated, and provided tech support (I twist my knit stitches too, Christine, and now, I too have stopped!), and Georgina Bow, mother of Melanie, another Keeper of the Pattern, and the designer for MS4 - starting sometime in Autumn 2008 - can't wait for that one now!
So - we have pictures - proof that I CAN finish something. I have learned so much on these projects - not least that I can do lace!

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Happy Dance Sunday!

Today's been a Good Day. So far, I have blocked out my Swan Lake (Mystery Stole 3) and my Fir Cone Shawl. Jon has promised to take pictures tomorrow, so I will post then, hopefully. Both are absolutely beautiful - I was in love with Swan Lake as I knitted it, went a little doubtful on the wing, but have fallen madly back in love with it once blocked. The Fir Cone has been well worth it, as well. And whoever first mentioned the Strimmer cable as a blocking aid has my heartfelt thanks. It worked like a charm, and was well worth the muttered curses as I threaded it through the straight edges of Swan Lake, and the straight edge and points of the Fir Cone.
Then, after arriving home nearly 2 hours late, the Helena I had my eye on on the Posh Yarn shop was still there, so I snaffled that as well, as a reward for my blocking.
Finally, upon checking my email, I found my Ravelry Invite! So Panperoxide is now officially there, and will be adding her stash bit by bit. This is going to be a revelation to me - all those skeins of wool I have hidden in nice little hidey holes are going to be forced out into the light for all to see. Ulp.
I've also got up to 5 repeats of the basket weave done on my first Hanami. It's looking very pretty - but I need a little distraction after each repeat so I don't start to get bored... Once I get off the basket weave, it's a new chart every 32 rows, so there's no chance to get bored - not a criticism, just I am a very impatient person, and I'm likely to muck it all up by thinking - well - six isn't so much less than seven, if I'm not careful.
So - more photos tomorrow. Off to carry on happy dancing...

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Back from V and under the 500...

Finally, I can see a Ravelry invite with my name on it! Now I need to get organised - only 436 people ahead of me!
We arrived back from the V Festival yesterday, and I immediately printed out the final MS3 clue - beads galore! I've knitted a few rows last night after driving back 250 miles (not a bad drive, but every time I blinked last night I saw brake lights). There were some good acts on this year we got to see the Goo Goo Dolls (I've loved "Iris" forever, and now find I like their other songs), Stephen Fretwell, a little bit of Mika, Cherry Ghost, a bit of KT Tunstall, James, Kasabian and the Killers. Then on Sunday, the Proclaimers, The Thrills, Paolo Nutini, Sinead O'Connor, Snow Patrol and Primal Scream. I've already booked tickets for next year.
So knitting has taken a back seat this weekend - we stayed with Jon's family, who live about 20 minutes from the Weston Park site, which is great for us - hot showers and comfy beds - I'm too nesh for the full festival experience now! I did do half a repeat on Pomatomus, but that was my lot. Still. Long Bank Holiday Weekend and Business Trip to Aberdeen coming up!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007


I am feeling a little frustrated at the moment. I have finished Clue 6 - the penultimate clue - of the Mystery Stole. It is unusual, it is beautiful, I am dying to see how it finishes. The final clue is to be published on Friday - when I shall be driving down to the West Midlands, 200 miles or so, and so won't be able to download the file until Tuesday when I return.
Oh well, never mind. Since I finished my Fir Cone Shawl (oh yes I did!), I've been knitting Hanami, also designed by the talented Melanie in Honeysuckle Cashmere by Colourmart, with Japanese silver lined clear beads. For a member of Jon's family - so that can't come with, as we are staying with the intended recipient. I think I need to think a little...
I'm now about 1300th in line for Ravelry - so maybe I shall be a little more organised once I am on there for everyone to see? But then again, maybe not!
Nuff for now. Photos soon...

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A quick giggle

Just a quick giggle from a fellow MS3-er...

And I'm now less than 2000th in the Ravelry queue - 1891 ahead of me in line!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Happy Dance!

I'm doing a happy dance today! Look what Anne at Knitspot has published today (please look, please do - NAYY) - her Honeybee Stole! Isn't it beautiful? I was tempted by the triangular shawl, but heard a rumour of rectangular loveliness, so waited patiently. Now what I need to do is find something to knit it in (hint hint Dee & Mr P - something in an amber-y honey coloured 2 ply Eva would be divine, if only I could get to it first!) Of course, this may test my new-found confidence in my ability to knit lace (I just typo-ed "knot" there twice - is my subconscious trying to tell me something?) - it seems most of my "To Do"s at the moment involve laciness - although a couple of them are for Christmas presents - so I think I may be excused...

I also treated myself to a couple of Posh Yarns last night, which has me happy dancing even more. Lucia in Garden Party (which may end up a Christmas present, once knitted, but then again, maybe not), and Emily in Beryl - what vivid greens! I nearly bought something with a similar green in it at Woolfest, but when I looked closely, it had lots of joins in it, which isn't really what I want in my socks. I know I can rest assured that my PY will be one long thread, which suits me much better.

And I'm nearly in the centre of the edging on my fircone shawl. Can't wait to finish and get it blocked out and worn! I must concentrate on that, and not on the future loveliness, or else my magpie brain will start thinking "must knit the pretty..." and I will neglect the poor shawl.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Clown Feet and Photos

Well - Jon's socks are finished. I used Regia DK I bought at Woolfest from Web of Wool, and their DK sock pattern, although I used the rib option, hence why the socks appear to be for someone with very skinny, long feet!
And I have some photos of my Field of Flowers Shawl - some from when it was blocking, a photo of the finished article, and some close ups of the stitch patterns. I used Posh Yarns Eva in Just Peachy, and it worked beautifully.
I'm loving how it looks and drapes, and am now so looking forward to using it for "Leda's Dream".
Talking of the wonderful Melanie, and her designs, I finally have my pictures of completed Clue 4. Lots of Cat's Paw, which I loved:
And, Ta-Da! I finished Clue 5 yesterday - the stole is now turning to make a "wing" shape, hence why it looks a bit bobbly. Some of the MS3-ers aren't keen, but I think I'm going to love it - and if not, well, someone's got their Christmas box sorted out already!
So - lots of knitting done, but still lots to do - my fir cone shawl needs finishing, then there's the Icelandic Shawl, then, Leda's Dream, then Hanami, and someday my prince will come with my Ravelry Invite (only 2246 ahead of me now - woo hoo!), and then that's my evenings gone for a few weeks, while I play! But loving it...
Claire x

Monday, 30 July 2007

Delayed Update

I've been meaning to blog, but have been putting it off as I've not downloaded my photos from my camera yet. And still haven't, but if I put things off any longer, I'll be writing War and Peace.
Jeff Fest was brilliant. Great bands, great night. The Quireboys were on top form to finish the night, and took me way back to a muddy field in Leicestershire in the early 90's. Got a kiss off Spike as well - and this probably isn't the place to mention I had a bit of a thing for him back in my youth...
I had the next day off work, supposedly to recover, and did my first ever blocking - my Field of Flowers shawl in Posh Yarn Eva "Just Peachy". I thought it was pretty to start with, but once I had it streeeeetched and pinned on the bed (see - had to get up early) the lace took on its own life. I'd heard how lace is transformed, and was loving the shawl in its unblocked state, but after a soak and a stretch, it looks fantastic (if I say so myself).
Later, I got cracking on my MS3 Clue 4. I broke off late that night to go and queue for my Harry Potter - which I had finished by Saturday teatime! Then back to MS3, with a quick finish on Monday night. Pictures will follow, I promise. This clue should have been the easiest for me - it was a relaxing repeating pattern I've done before, but I probably tinked this one more than all the others put together! I think I got complacent, and thought I could do it without concentrating. Clue 5 and Theme Reveal this Friday!
Then, I've started a pair of socks for Jon in some Regia from Woolfest. One down, and part way down the cuff of the second.
Finally, tonight, I've started the edging on my Fir Cone Shawl. And I'm finding it tricksy. I'm sure I'll get into it though!
Just a quicky - but proof I'm still here.
Claire x

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Another FO...

I got a little bit itchy the other night, and actually finished something off! I now have a pair of socks in Eva from Posh Yarn in the colourway "Harem", and I love them. I just knitted them plain so it shows off the variagation well. The socks are slightly different colours - they were from 2 skeins, which looked exactly the same skeined up, but knitted differently, but I love them. Slightly odd socks for a slightly odd woman! And as I tend to not be at my best in the morning I have worn odder! Will post piccies here and on the Posh Yarn group later in the week. And I'm now expecting some beautiful laceweight from Dee in "Morning Star" - so my fingers were fast enough on Sunday - that's already allocated to "Leda's Dream" which was the first "Mystery Stole" - I fell in love with the pattern on Melanie's blog, and as she says, I've fallen down the lace rabbit hole.
Still persevering with the Fir Cone shawl - it will be worth it, it will. It's just that I'm now 27 repeats in, and itching to start on the edging - but I want it to be big, and snuggly, and to wrap me up in, so I need to be patient. Not one of my few virtues, unfortunately. Little Miss Instant Gratification, me.
And I'm planning to block my Field of Flowers on Friday. I'm out on Thursday night, at Jeff Fest in Newcastle (The Quireboys are headlining, which makes me very happy), and have decided not to inflict myself on my work colleagues on Friday - gone are the days when I could fall into bed at 3, and still be up for work the next day. Not to mention the next clue for MS3 is out on Friday, and it's a biggie - and with the new Harry Potter out on Saturday, I need to start managing my time (or finding another couple of days to put on the week!).
Nuff for now.

Claire x

Sunday, 15 July 2007


I'm blogging tonight while waiting for the Posh Yarn shop to open. Dee is one of the nicest traders I've "met" online (and I have met some really nice people, and had really good service) and I keep returning again and again to play "Fastest Fingers First" on a Sunday evening. Dee has an excellent selection of yarns, all very reasonably priced, and in beautiful colours. Then, in addition to all that, she packages them up in pink, posts them out almost before you've finished paying for them, and is extremely pleasant and friendly to boot! This week, I've been drooling over laceweights since the preview went up, and am hoping to get my paws on one or two lots. There's one in particular I have in mind to use for "Leda's Dream" which was the pattern for Mystery Stole 1 by Melanie.

I am still knitting Melanie's third Mystery Stole, and have now completed Clue 3. The clues are nice and manageable (100 rows for clue 1, and 50 each for clues 2 & 3). Next week's will be a challenge - at 135 rows, it's designed to compensate for the Harry Potter launch, and should last us for 2 weeks. The real killer for me is that Clue 7 & final is due to come out on Friday 17th August - and as I am driving down to the Midlands that day to see Jon's folks, and go to the V Festival, it means I shall be clue-less until the Tuesday! (All funny comments on being clue-less to be swallowed, please). We should know the theme of what we are knitting in about 3 weeks' time, but at the moment, I'm enjoying the knit. Looking at the charts, it's not something I would have attempted if I had seen it all together, but I'm glad I signed up - it's introduced me to reading charts, Jaggerspun Zephyr, and beading - none of which I had ever considered before.

Short post for now. Here's the pictures of MS3 so far.


Claire xxx

Monday, 9 July 2007

Now tell me if I'm boring you...

...But I have Mystery Stole itis. I started Clue 2 a decent 2 hours or so after I printed out the clue on Friday, and had it done by about quarter past midnight on Saturday, despite having a bit of a busy Saturday afternoon. It's looking beautiful. Melanie is such a talented designer, and a great teacher. I've not done much in the way of lace before, and I am finding this a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. There were around 6700 knitters signed up to this by the time the group closed on Friday, which is an amazing number of people, all over the world, all knitting (or thinking of knitting) the same project. How Melanie keeps up with us all I'll never know - and hats off to this lovely lady who's allowed us to knit her beautiful design for nothing more than joining her Yahoo Group.
Hats off, in fact to all of those talented and generous designers who share their designs with the rest of us. I appreciate what you do - it's not something I've ever attempted, so I cannot share, and I would not have the talent (either from the artistic or the engineering side) to even be bold enough to try! It's your livelihood - and I know how ratty I can get when it's assumed I do my job for the love of it, so to offer it freely is so generous, and much appreciated.
Talking of talented and generous, I just want to mention that Annie Modesitt, who is another talented and lovely designer, has serious illness in the family at the moment. Please spare a moment to think of her and those close to her. Google her if you'd like to know more, but at least spare a thought.
I'm getting on with my Fir Cone shawl as well - 25 reps and still not on my second hank... will get there at some point. And if it's ever going to be more than that, I'd better love you and leave you. Take care,
Claire x

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Burble! **Pictures Galore**

Well, I went to my first Woolfest yesterday, and I am still recovering. It completely blew my mind - plus it was great to see everyone there that I saw, Carrie Anne, who has hardly changed in the past (ahem) years I have known her had told me how fantastic it was, yet I still wasn't prepared. What was great was seeing the animals, and being able to get to see stalls where unless I was prepared to drive the length and breadth of the country, I wouldn't get to see. In all my awe, I never got to take an overview picture, but did get some of the Alpacas and some sheep - although others did see me coming and hid!

I fell in love with the Angora bunnies as well, but Holly is a jealous cat, and would not be at all happy if other small and fluffy people came to live here.
In terms of purchases, I think I'm set for the next year or three....

What we have here is a failure to moderate my purchasing. From top left, going clockwise, we have Fyberspates sock yarn in blues / turquoises, Regia DK Sock Yarn for Jon, a Tiboodoo cardigan kit for my new niece, a couple of skeins of mohair, one in blues, one in greens, from MoBear, hand dyed Opal sock wool, and 10 balls of beautiful Cumbrian Alpaca.

Then next - oh yes, there is a next...

The Cumbrian Alpaca is still there, supporting Olaf, another Alpaca's, coat, which I plan to spin on my new Drop Spindle. Either side are a couple of grab bags of coloured merino to practice on first! And 10 balls of Rooster Almerino Aran.

This is not to mention that I also bought "A Gathering of Lace", for the beautiful patterns, and well explained how tos.

Finally, I bought my Zephyr in Ebony, Black #8 beads, a 0.6mm crochet hook, and 3.5mm Addi Lace needles so I could finally make a start on Mystery Stole 3. I started this last night when I got back, and I have now finished Clue 1.

So far, I think it's very pretty. There's still time to join - the list is open until the end of this week. So far, there's approaching 4000 people knitting this worldwide, which is pretty amazing.
I returned home last night, full of a headache to end all headaches, but happy.
That's me for now. Love to everyone x.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Counting Down....

I'm off to Woolfest for the first time on Saturday - I'm really looking forward to it - I've never been before, but from what other people are saying, it's going to blow me away. I'm going with an open mind, and an open purse (if my bank manager is reading this, I am very, very sorry). No real shopping list, except for about 1000 yards of nice laceweight something in black, white or a variation, in order to start on Mystery Stole 3. And anything else nice that I can think of. It's a lovely drive from here as well - straight along the A69 (A696 if the weather's nice, and I feel brave). I just hope this rain stops and no-one else gets flooded out, and everyone who wants to go can make it. We've been OK up here, but we were flooded out when I was little (Carrie Anne will probably remember this as well), when I woke up one morning to most of the living room furniture stacked in my bedroom, and the Irish Sea in the house. It was exciting when I was 6, (I got evacuated - first to Poulton le Fylde, then to my Uncle's in Stockport) but I feel for anyone affected. I'm thinking of anyone who's having to suffer it.

I'm currently up to 15 repeats on the fir cone shawl, and flagging. For some reason, I seem stuck with a fir cone neckerchief. Perhaps the knitting fairies will pop round and make it grow? Sometimes I seem to get stuck, and suddenly I get a burst, and my WIP comes flying off my needles. Other times, I end up with yet another UFO. And I've started a tie - first of a pair for Stuart Maconie and Mark Radcliffe - I suggested a song for "the Chain" on their radio show on Radio 2, and got on air - they asked what my hobbies were, and of course I mentioned knitting - so we had a chat, and I ended up promising to knit them a couple of ties. Which I've started, so watch this space.

And with Honey Florence arriving, I'm getting a yen to knit cute pink things. I've got my eye on a dress in Knit Today, if I can find a few spare days from somewhere. Hopefully, she's bringing her Mummy and Daddy down to visit soon, so I can dote on her in person, rather than by webcam. Not to mention Deb Barnhill's Coupling socks on Knitty.

Well, nuff for now. Another repeat on the fir cones to do...


Claire x

Friday, 15 June 2007

Back in the Land of the Living

Finally, my PC has come back home! It arrived back while I was in France, but got delivered to work, which was a pain, as Jon then couldn't start using it. So I'm busy catching up. Rouen was beautiful - although with the amount of training I was having, I never got a chance to go wool shopping (boo).

And, I also have a new baby niece, Honey Florence, born two weeks past Thursday. I sent a pile of little knitted bits up, only realising after the event that I hadn't taken any photos...

Photos of other items will be coming soon - promise.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007


Even longer with no blog - although I have a range of very good excuses - two weeks ago, my trusty 13 month old laptop lost power. Yes - 13 months old, as with everything that decides to go wrong, it does it the month after the manufacturer's guarantee ran out. From calling the "helpline" it looks like I may be without it for a little while. Despite the fact it needs either a new power lead, AC adaptor or motherboard, and it has complete cover, arranged with a company who tell me they're the biggest computer reseller in the UK. All I can say is last time we needed a motherboard replacing at work, it took 1 call, which was followed a day later by a lovely engineer, who had it sorted in an hour.

Apparently they're busy. Once it's returned to me in good condition, I may mention the name of the company.

I'm using my very very old computer at the moment, which is extremely slow, and therefore frustrating to do any more than read emails on. Let alone do anything with pictures. So I'm sorry.

I've also been a-visiting, to my relatives in Darkest Cheshire for a birthday party involving a barbecue, copious alcohol, fire, rain and thankfully no pictures!

And next week, off for some training in Rouen, France. I can't wait - I've been looking up yarn shops, and there are definitely two, so I shall try to fit in a little shopping. I just hate flying (OK - I'm scared), and it's an hour and a half from Newcastle to Paris, and my needles must be in my hold baggage. Looks like I'll be losing my nails, then!

So that's all for now - more blog, and definitely pictures, when my laptop returns home.

Love Claire x

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Long time, no blog

Deary, deary me... Please forgive me, it's been - oooh - ages since I last wrote anything. I made a vow to myself that I would do this regulary, but things happen, I start wondering what to write, get myself as knotty as my yarn on a bad day, and decide not to bother.
Thank you Carrie Anne - I did bung the Felted Ruffle Bag in the washer, and it's turned out great - so I'll be making a couple for Christmas boxes as well. As long as I remember, seeing as it's May, and I tend to get good ideas for Christmas, then forget all about them before the end of the summer.
I abandoned the Ripple Scarf, as when I'd done a few repeats, it didn't really look me. I wonder if anyone can guess what I'm planning with the yarn? Could it be snuggly socks?
I'm currently knitting the border of Fiber Trends' Field of Flowers shawl in Posh Yarns Eva in Just Peachy. I'm loving the knit, the lacy patterns seem very rhythmic, and the yarn is like knitting with the smoothest softest thing imaginable. It's a shame it's knitting up so quickly - I can see me wanting to do more - perhaps this will be my new addiction.
I will post some pictures soon I promise - I'm a bit scatty like that...

Friday, 4 May 2007

Of Flowers and Peaches...

I finished the Monkey socks this week, and love them to bits. I'll post some photos, but aside from a slight panic when the ball seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, yet the foot was stubbornly not growing at all, they went really well, and once I got into the rhythm of the pattern, I was knitting them everywhere (except when driving, although with the drive to/from work taking about an hour each way to cover 10 miles, I have plenty of time when the car is stopped... No Claire NO!

I also fell in love with Carrie Anne's Felted Ruffle Bag - it took me two evenings (I'm a slow knitter), but I now have a baggy bag, and am in a dither about the felting. I've never done it before, and don't want to ruin it! I may get the courage up to open the washing machine door this weekend, however I may use the excuse of too much real laundry to do...

So onto my most ambitious project yet - Fiber Trends' Field of Flowers Shawl in Eva 2 ply in Just Peachy from Posh Yarn - the yarn is beautiful to hold (I spent 10 minutes stroking it before I began to wind my first skein), and Piglottie is right - whatever Dee does, it smells delicious. I'm one pattern repeat of the central garter lace in, and so far so good. I want to tackle it in chunks, as if I think about the whole project, it will go to the back of the cupboard, and letting that yarn lie unused in the dark would be a sin! Of course, I may end up ripping it back, and thinking about something else less ambitious to do, but I hope not. I think I may punctuate it with a couple of pairs of socks - I have a hank of Fyberspates in Heather Mist, and some more Posh Yarn for socks, however I'm trying to resist the urge just now!

Take care,

Love Claire x

Monday, 30 April 2007

Rip it up and start again

Oh dear. Poor Monkey socks. I managed to turn the first heel, then had a panic that I had used too much of my wonderful wool. The fabric was coming out very close knitted, and I seemed to be eating the wool somewhere. So I weighed the remaining yarn and found I'd used getting on for half - I had a choice - either very short legwarmers, or back to the beginning, have a thunk and start again.

About half an hour later, with new needles (3mm), a slight alteration to the pattern (14 st per needle, instead of 16), I started again, and this time, it's working for me. I've got 2 pattern repeats to do on the foot of the second sock, then I can see the end, via the toe. They've knitted up so quickly, and I've enjoyed the pattern - it looks good, but it's quite easy for me to remember, which was good, as I had half an hour to spend in the dreaded Metro Centre tonight, before I had my hair cut, and the Monkey socks kept me company over a cup of tea.

My experience in the Metro Centre set me thinking - it's Europe's largest, yet there isn't a single yarn or needlecraft shop now that House of Fraser has dropped its Habadashery department, and The Wool Shop has closed (it's now a shop selling pink things). I find it quite sad, that in all this shopping extravaganza, that you can't even buy a knitting needle. Thinking about it, we seem to have a lack of real world yarn shops - or I am looking in the wrong places. Don't get me wrong - I'm well served by the wonderful world of the web, and there are many online stores I "visit" that would be well out of my reach armed with only my beloved old car and my trusty AA Roadmap of Britain (I fell out with multimap when it started telling me how far I had to drive up sliproads), however there are times when only a squidge will do.

I am quite lucky - we have two department stores (Fenwicks and John Lewis) in Newcastle itself that have decent ranges, but when hankering for something special, only Ring a Rosie in Whitley Bay will do - it's an Aladdin's cave, stocked with a rainbow of yarns, and offers such wonderful customer service as they call it these days - in other words, you can drop in for a natter and a bit of advice. I wish there were more shops like this - niche and friendly, and stocking some different bits and bobs. My poor father was despatched there for my Christmas present this year, and was soothed through his purchase with ease. I suppose I can't have the best of all worlds, but when I see the same identikit shops in shopping centres that sell the same old stuff, I do wonder why we can't have more interesting shops. But then I guess I wouldn't be able to shop on tinternet. I don't know what the solution is, but I'm so lucky to have Ring a Rosie, as well as the Internet for knitting support and essential supplies.

So it's on with the Monkey socks, and if anyone knows of a good yarn shop near to Newcastle, be sure and let me know.


Claire x

PS - Yes - the bag on the to do list is the bag Carrie Anne just knitted - I can't resist!

Monday, 23 April 2007


Just a short note as I'm off to see James in a short while (the price for Jon liking Rock is that I also like Indie...), but I finished the waffle socks (pics to follow) and have, along with what appears like half the world, fallen for Cookie A's Monkey Socks from They're currently OTN and going well.
The comments, and the having a blog has been very motivational for me, Queen of the UFOs to actually get on and finish things, so thank you all!


Claire x

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Some Progress - With Pictures...

Thank you everyone who's left me a comment, and thank you Carrie Anne for pointing people over here. I have finished Roza'a Socks from Interweave, knitted in Fyberspates sock yarn, and Jon has taken a photo of them, which I can proudly show...

The feet are all my own, and I'm really pleased with how the socks have worked out - I like the way the colours spiral down the sock, with the vertical (well - they would be if I pulled my socks on properly) lines of the rib pattern. It's my first pair of patterned socks - I've knitted a plain pair in Opal's self patterning yarn before, but never any with texture in them, like these.

So now I'm addicted - my order from Posh Yarn arrived a few days ago, and the Baby Camel in Flames went straight onto the needles. I found a "Blueberry Waffle" pattern I liked (, and set to. Last night, I realised, halfway down the cuff, that I'd been a little enthusiastic, and that I could probably get both feet in at once! That'll teach me to not knit a tension square, but the yarn was so inviting, I felt I had to get going... After casting back on, I've sped down, and am about to pick up along the sides of the heel flap.

The colours are subtle and beautiful, and the yarn's beautifully soft. I must stop buying yarn - I have a stash I could open a small local yarn shop with at the moment, and keep finding more.

Here's a close up of the waffle pattern (right side) that shows the colours a bit better.
So that's about all for now - I'm going to get back on with these socks, as the quicker I can reduce my stash, the sooner I'll feel less guilty...
Take care,
Claire x

Friday, 13 April 2007


Hello, and welcome to my wooly thoughts - mainly about knitting and crochet, but other stuff may creep in as well. I'm Claire, originally from Lancashire, but now exiled in Newcastle, and have been knitting and crocheting with varied degrees of success for a couple of years now, so I've still got my L plates on... And with regards to the blogging - this is my first, so please be nice to me.

My good friend, Carrie Anne (visit her blog at, and her website at has encouraged me to start this - I first met her when she was 11, and she's as enthusiastic and friendly now as she was back on that first day at senior school.

So, I love the knitting - I've just finished Louisa Harding's Jezebel jumper in her Kimono Angora Pure from the Winter's Muse collection, and while it is beautiful and snuggly (and very, very purple), it's also very fluffy, and much too warm for all this lovely weather. Planning was never my strongest point... I'm currently working on a pair of socks from the Spring Interweave Magazine - they're a simple brioche and rib pattern (it would have to be simple for me!), and I am working them in Fyberspates sock wool in pink and mauve, which has beautifully intense colours and knits beautifully ( I shall put some photos up when I get around to it...

So that's it for now - looking forward to a quiet weekend, and hopefully getting on with my socks - there's going to me more on the way using some Posh Yarn ( in irresistable variegated oranges.


Claire x