The prettiest girl in class

I think everyone knows her. She’s the popular girl. The pretty one who everyone wants to be like and be liked by. She’s the one that, with a flick of her hair and a little wiggle, can get the boys to do whatever she wants them to. And after that, they are hers. I’ve spent the past few months with that girl. She is beautiful, and that wiggle is very wiggly. I admit that I’ve fallen for her, been led on by her. She’s pretended to be my friend. But you know what? Underneath that she’s pretty boring, a little dull. There isn’t much to her really. She led me on for a while, but I got tired of her. When she realised I was starting to think about cutting her out altogether, she grabbed me by the hair and pulled me back in. I’m not sure what she gets out of the relationship, but I look damn good hanging out with her, and that might do for now.
I’d like you to meet her.

That’s not her true hair colour tho. The next pic, although blurry, is much more accurate.

Yeah, she’s hot, but she has no substance. She took months of my time, and bored the hell out of me, but thanks to Yahaira, she’s away. Free from my needles, she looks a lot more glamorous than she is. I will never fall for her charms again, but I’ll enjoy what I got from this particular incarnation of our relationship (5 and a half balls of South West Trading Karaoke in Forest. And she may be boring, but blimey she must have a good conditioner – she is smooth and swift move round the needles).
Thanks Y 😀 Your nudging did good things and helped tidy up my pile of WIPs! Now I just have to transfer something I haven’t mentioned being knit to the list… 😉
The next plans are for the argyle sock pattern, with test knitter(s) so that I can make sure I’ve not just written a big piece of incomprehensible crap (I’ve not written a pattern before, so I think it is a good idea if I get someone to play before I plonk it on the web for all to criticise), the completion of the magic loop socks (almost 50% there), and the knitting of the maddest thing I worked with, which will no doubt soon be known as the worst thing I’ve knitted, but at least it will be warm and soft (two words important in my knitting vocab). And ideas for lots of summery light knits. Today it was about 15 degrees, but for some inexplicable reason, it was 26 inside at work. I need to prepare by making lots of cotton garments in case it continues to be strangely over heated. By that point they will probably realise the temps aren’t quite right and make the place colder than the poles. Nice.
In other news, I have had a delivery. My final SP7 parcel arrived from the lovely Aileen.

She totally surprised me 😀 There was no warning that something might be on its way. She was also rather lucky – yet again the postie decided the bin was a perfect place to leave a parcel. On the day before the bin men come. Phew… Anyway, in the parcel was a very very cool collection of goodies! A lovely long letter from Aileen (Aileen petal, I’m going to write you a response rather than email you. And who knows what else I might have in store…), two Sandra magazines, two balls of yarn, a bar of soap and a bar of choccy. The yarn is native Irish, with one coming from her trip to the Aran Isles in a lovely creamy 100% pure wool, and the other a big ball of cream with flecks of black, grey and brown in a superwash 100% wool 😀 Yay! The soap is Elderflower and Apple, and is absolutely luscious smelling and full of natural ingredients. The choccy is sadly absent from the piccy as it is currently on the chair arm next to me tempting my nostrils. It comes from an Irish maker called Butlers, and is 70% cocoa. I thought Green and Blacks were good. This is better – it has a long lingering aftertaste and an incredible creamy buttery texture. Mmmmmmmmmm. Finally the Sandra magazines – full of more of that incredible cerise pink I showed you from the first she sent me, with some fabulous lace patterns, gorgeous cabling/aran creations, and one pattern that particularly caught my eye – a cardi constructed so that is diagonally shaped at the bust and straight below that, with long wide sleeves, so that it looks a little like a cross between a kaftan and an empire line (if that were possible!). Sadly I can’t take pics of that – it got too dark and the flash will reflect from the paper, but I’ll try and get one soon.
Thank you Aileen – you have been a wonderful pal, regardless of what you think of your timing, but you seem to always have managed to get things to me when I’ve been having a rough week 😀 (this week it was ‘back to school and time to shout at librarians for things I have done and won’t admit to being responsible for or pay for’ week. They get stressed at this time of year, and who can blame them, but still, no need to take out their overdue fines on us and shoot the messenger).
I haven’t signed up for SP8 yet – I haven’t quite decided whether I’m committed enough right now, as it will fall while I’m preparing to submit the dissertation (if I ever get there). BUT, I have signed up for the One Skein swap, which requires less time but still plenty of contemplation and consideration of yarn, and the opportunity to knit lovely things – what more could I need right now?

Finally things start to click

At last. I’ve just spent an hour on some of the questionnaires, just briefly reading and making notes, logging ideas and thoughts as I go on each one, and at last, I feel like I’m getting somewhere. What a relief. I’m a fair way from finishing, but things are going quicker than I imagined, and ideas and themes are emerging sooner than I thought they would in qualitative research. I might actually be able to write something soon! The sooner the better, I say.
Just had to get that off my chest! Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but I have hope in a situation that hasn’t had hope for some time.

A bargainous trip

Well, we went, we saw, we purchased. Saturday was a day of admiring others’ work and lusting after yarns. I suspect we would have got more if we had been braver, and Amelia hadn’t beaten us to the last area of stash before we’d even left the doorway 😉
First of all, before we get into all that coolness, thanks for the lovely (and very useful) feedback on the argyle design 🙂 It has been frogged from the Regia version, and will be knitted in something more defined and crisp. More on what I’m using in a sec. I promise Necia I will try not to use the f work again, or at least too much… Ooooh, and may be ruthless and sort some stash out for selling. Or maybe not! Anyway, I’ll have another go, but I may still need advice about sizing. The stitch pattern is pretty strict and effects how the sock will fit and shape up. Maybe it could take just a bit of changing the needle size for changing the sock width. We shall see, but thank you, thank you all! The cheques are in the post…
A friend and I went to the Knitting and Crochet Guild open day, with thanks to Amelia for pointing out that they had one and making several of us very excited 🙂 And thanks to SkipNorth too for putting up pics of the yarn mountain (or a very very small section of it). We had an ace time – we were welcomed when we arrived and given a history of the guild, and the mill where they have their displays and stock. The guild are trying to get to museum status, and they need a lot of support to do so, so go along to their next open day near Holmfirth and meet the lovely people. The displays are wonderful, but because they can’t get bigger accommodation until their status improves, they have a huge amount hidden away in boxes. But those they had on display – wow 🙂 A cave with stalagtites and stalagmites, wall hangings, supersized toy blocks, knitted village and gardens, and canal/waterway crochet were just some of the things they were showing. They had piles of old equipment and patterns, and spinning wheels and swifts all over the place. The guild members were uber friendly and really helpful and chatty, and we learnt a lot from them just hanging around. They did a talk on some antique knitting and crochet too (which we missed because we were too busy drooling over yarn). The yarn, oh the yarn! Yarn mountain is not an understatement. There were cones for sale everywhere, boxes piled with packs of yarn, more boxes piled up all over the place, more cones, more boxes, and those were just the cheapy 1p a gram yarns! In fact the cones were cheaper – £5.00 for a kilo. They had lots of big brand stuff too – plenty of Addi metal and bamboo circs, drawers filled with crochet hooks, kits for crochet flowers and knitted jewellry, shelves of fibre arts books. Ohhhh and that isn’t even half of it 🙂 It was all crammed into this little unit in the mill, but they really made the most of the space.
Soooo, what you are really waiting for are some piccies… Well, I was very very restrained after the shock of the stash the other day. And I don’t get paid till the end of this week too, which meant more carefulness. I got a lot for my cash though 😀

Here we have: one addi turbo (4.5mm 100cm long) to replace the evil crappy needle I’d been using on hourglass, two hanks of Opal sock yarn ready to dye up when I buy something to colour it, 3 balls of what I am 99% sure is RYC Cashcotton 4ply in a soft pale blue (it had a different brand name on the bag it was in, but still used cashcotton in the yarn name), a cone of very lightweight yarn for lace knitting, and the Baltic Sea Stole pattern (you can buy it online, but have to pay postage for it, so I got it while it was there in front of me). The two purple balls are most definitely RYC Cashcotton 4 ply, but from Up Country, a yarn shop in the centre of Holmfirth. The sock knitting theme is pretty dominant here! The blue cashcotton will be used to test my argyle pattern again, while the purple will probably be used on a sock pattern someone gifted me ages ago and I haven’t done anything with it. I’m going to see how the argyle pattern goes first to see how it knits up and fits etc etc.
The cone, I think, is around cobweb weight. It is very very light, and looks positively Nicole Richie next to the Angelina sock yarn. See?

Can anyone confirm this, or tell me what it actually is? Anyway, I have about 340g of this stuff, which I estimate is enough for at least two very beautiful scarf/stole things. I don’t do triangular shawls or anything like that, but a light airy wrap to use as a scarf does me very nicely, hence Baltic Sea. I also adore Eunny’s gorgeous Print O’ the Wave. And if I decide I hate lace knitting with tiny yarn and tiny needles, it doesn’t matter, because the cone only cost me £1.70… Woot!

Joy, guilt, and a few sins to boot

Ok, LOTS of piccies this weekend… But when depends on how much I can be arsed altering, saving and adding, and what happens as the weekend progresses 🙂
Firstly, I can reveal what I was doing for the gifty knitting. Sue received her parcel yesterday (in a super speedly less than 24 hours – if you want to post something in town, use a university campus post box), so here is what she found.

They are River Rapids socks designed by Sock Bug, knitted in Curious Yarns sock yarn, colourway Beach. Here’s a side view – notice the beautiful slip stitch design for the heel. I’ve not seen that on many designs (I may not have knitted all that many pairs, but I’ve trawled through a LOT of patterns :D)

Ok, so you guys already know that I have had issues with these socks. Sue also knows that, so I owe it to her and Sock Bug to explain why. Firstly the pattern is fab. It is easy to follow, easy to memorise, and is ultimately so simple yet so effective visually it hurts 🙂 Sadly, I kept forgetting what kind of decrease I was meant to do – entirely my own fault, and frogged both socks a few times each 🙁 Here is a piccie of the pattern close up, but it is a bit glarey – sorry 🙁

The yarn is nice too. I’ve not tried Curious Yarns before, but I’ve seen them mentioned a few times, and thought I’d give it a go, given it can be machine washed (always good for gifting). The colourways are just gorgeous and luscious and edible. BUT, when the yarn came, it didn’t have nearly as much blue as it shows on the website pic. On the website, the blue is really deep like the sea, with the sand and stone colours as they are in my pics. The blue in my yarn is more like a really pale cloudy sky blue. I was a bit concerned when I started knitting because the blue barely shows on the ribbing, and you only see it on the heel and sole, but in the end, it all worked out 🙂 Also note that the pattern calls for 2.75mm needles, which are few and far between/expensive in the UK, so I first went for 3mm judging by the yarn gauge, hit gauge, but also found the fit, shape and pattern too loose. I dropped down to 2.5mm and got a much better fit and shaping from them. So, in short, use Sock Bug patterns – they rock and have a sock bug at the top, and use Curious Yarns sock yarn, cos it is pretty and knits up well, but watch out for that hand dying batch/on screen colours factor.
And I have more! Here is what happened when I tried to design an argyle pattern and knitted a test version in Regia Silk Shine.

Either my design is off, or the yarn doesn’t do stitch definition very well. Here is a slightly better picture where the light is hitting the sock right to catch the purl diamonds.

I’m thinking it is the yarn, and that it would work much better in a flat, paler colour (like a nice dusty pink or pale blue). Incidentally, I’d love to do the cashmere thing with these socks, but I’m not going to use it until I’m happy with the pattern design. I figured the Regia would frog easily because of the silk content, while the cashmere is just too gorgeous to risk a frogging.
Anyway, your opinions on the pattern (what little you can see in the sock) would be much appreciated – is it me or the yarn? Oh, and the grey on the sock isn’t the light reflecting – that’s fuzz from the lining inside my toothy bag 🙁 Goodness knows how that happened…
Lastly, I decided to have a bit of a sort out of my knitting today. I got out all 7 of my projects on the needles. Yup, 7. 2 pairs of socks, 2 scarves, a cardi, hourglass, and the Vogue bolero (which even though it went in for frogging, I consider it on the needles because of it still sitting there taunting me). It was a slap in the face. I frogged the bolero all morning, then decided that I have not knitted hourglass because I hate the needle I’m using (a nasty metal and plastic cheapo circular, which is to be replaced asap), so frogged it too. I will still knit it, but only when I have a better needle. I then had to rejig my stash to fit the frogged yarn in it. Then I realised just how much stash I have. It still isn’t as much as a lot of people have, but enough to be embarrassed.


And that doesn’t include the box behind the sofa under the stairs that has 2 kilo of chunky black stuff, and the stuff I have in the ongoing projects box that I’m knitting with, and the other stuff in the same box that I’ve been planning to use for AGES. Please note that the sofa is a 3 seater.
It also doesn’t include my trip planned to the Knitting and Crochet Guild open day tomorrow, to their 1p a gram yarn mountain/volcano… This is why I have a lot of photos today, just in case I am tempted to buy tomorrow, or do buy and have a lot to discuss. Ohhhhhhhh baby…


I just wrote my first sock pattern 😀 Well, kind of. The lovely person I work with whose sister supplied me with some Knit Picks Sierra brought in a Knit Picks catalogue today that she’d sent her. One the first page is a sock pattern you can buy to knit in their plain coloured sock yarn, in a kind of argyle pattern, done in knit and purl.
I’ve just worked either how they’ve done it, or written and charted my own version. Which is the most appropriate way to describe what I’ve done? I started by drawing the chart. The pic isn’t quite clear enough to count stitches and rows, but I could see it was about 7 stitches wide for each diamond. I figured it would look best in a certain increment, and charted up the knit set of diamonds. Then I laid out another couple of sets, and played around for where the central purling stitches should go. Once I had my pattern looking ok, I printed off some knitting graph paper in the right gauge for my sock yarn, and charted up again to make sure it would fit gauge and repeat ok across it. I have it spot on according to the maths. Either I read the pattern in the picture a lot better than I thought or it is just really easy to make up/copy 🙂 After that, I knocked up a basic sock pattern based on the maths and on every sock pattern I’ve knit 😉 Luckily there don’t seem to be many ways of shaping a sock when you have a particular pattern to follow on the foot!
Anyway, before I get excited, I better make a sock following the pattern and see whether it works. The big question now is, what yarn shall I use to knit it – the new Hip Knits cashmere sock yarn, or the Regia Silk Shine I got a while ago? It has to be one of them as they are the only plain coloured sock yarns I have… But I have to say, I’m feeling a little pleased with myself (even if pride does come before a fall, but a knitting fall I can cope with). Wish me luck!

The big reveal

Well, there are no knitting pics today for two reasons. The first is that I’ve spent all week in a mad panic over the gift knitting. It is a very very good job that you couldn’t hear me swearing and getting stroppy over it. I can’t say very much at the moment – the knitting was only finished today, and has to arrive at the recipient’s house and in her hands before I’ll be happy posting pics and chatting about it, but let me just say this. She better like what I’ve made her. 😉 The second reason is nothing so exciting. The weather is miserable here and isn’t good enough to get decent light for true colour in photos. I was planning on doing all kinds of exciting yarn piccies, and I’ve knitted a pile on a garment that a) isn’t a pair of socks and b) has not really had any progress made on it for a long time, but the photos looked crap. I’m sure after another week it will look much more interesting (particularly given the long weekend we have for Easter – yay!).
But I do have pics of something very lovely.
It is time to reveal who has been spoiling me, and who I’ve been spoiling for Secret Pal 7. I’ve really enjoyed myself, and the hostesses have done a wonderful job matching people up and keeping everything going. Heather was the hostess for my group, and she has been tops, sending regular emails to us and making sure we are happy, reading blogs and so on. My spoiler has got my taste spot on, and having found out where she lives, I’m aware that she has further plans 😀 She is the very lovely Aileen from Knitting Neels. She’s done a fab job, especially considering that she has been working herself like mad for her degree and performances. Go see her, look at her supercool fair isle hat and give her a wave 🙂
I’ve been spoiling the also very lovely Philippa at Petulant Feminine. Go see her, even though she is very naughty and did some research to find out who I was before I’d even put together her second parcel. The hussy 😀 Although she has made up for that by sending me this:

and this

Thank you P 🙂 The mobile colour scheme matches the blue in our bedroom, so I’ll be getting something to hang it from by the window (it is temporarily hanging from a picture hook on the wall in the lounge so I can still enjoy it). The biccies are chocolate swirl shortbreads made from a Green and Blacks recipe book I bought her, and some 70% choccy (also G&B). I’m so impressed that they arrived in one piece! And they were just delicious. I ate one myself at lunchtime and almost ate the other one it was that yummy, but was very good and saved it for DB. He took one bite, proclaimed that he wasn’t a fan of shortbread, and gave the rest to me, so I was rather happy 😀 I wish I’d have just eaten it though instead 😉 Anyway, go say hello to her and look at how wonderfully creative and crafty she is.
Finally, but certainly not the least important of all these, I got a beautiful postcard from my spoiler in Secret Pal 5, Kimberli, from China! Bless her 😀 Thank you Kimberli! You said you’d been following me, and I’ve been following you 😉 Go and read her blog (if you don’t already) and see how exciting her life is, and how famous she is now that she’s been named in the same sentance as Madonna 😉
Ok, that’s enough now. Time to go plan my next projects…

A crafty weekend


Sew? I Knit! bag sew-along – a toothy Amy Butler Rural Messenger Bag…

Ok. First of all, the Elfines. For some reason, I just didn’t enjoy making them as much as I have other socks. The pattern is lovely (they were my first toe-up, and the pattern was really easy to follow), the lace section was beautiful and made it fairly quick in terms of measuring the sock out, the yarn was yummy (beautiful Fyberspates alpaca silk 4ply), and the needles fab (addis of course :D). The overall result is wonderful if I do say so myself, but for some reason, they just didn’t inspire me to work on them. I was determined to finish them though, because of the gift knitting I need to do, which, incidentally, has already begun, and is moving much much faster than I believed possible 😀 Anyway, they are done, and I am very happy. I would still recommend the pattern, and the yarn is just gorgeous to work with, if a little splitty (but I think that was because of using 2mm needles – a large needle would stop that from being a problem). And they are very very very warm and soft. So all is well that ends well.
Second of all, the messenger bag. The pattern was the most complicated I’ve made, but the instructions were pretty good. I had problems in two areas. The first was sewing the side of the bag to the front and back – I was rather worried that I hadn’t cut the strip long enough, but I never realised that the construction method would make the strip fit the way it did. The second was on the purse flap – I’m not sure whether I cut a part too small or too big, but I ended up with a raw edge showing on the inside, which I managed to hide when I sewed the top edge of the bag in the finishing process. I also had a problem half way through with some birdnesting, which took 3 attempts at re-threading the machine (by which time I was beginning to worry about the machine, which is not the newest one in the world). But the overall result I am very happy with, if only because of the fabric 😀 There is enough left to make a small handbag I think, if the pattern is right. I’ll definitely be using Amy Butler patterns again, and this one too in a firmer fabric (mine is a bit flimsy really, but I had to do it! And it was ironed, but the fabric creases really easily, so don’t think the pics of creased bag are me being lazy…).
Finally, my pal has revealed herself, but I won’t tell till she has given me permission… Needless to say I’ve been reading her blog and thoroughly enjoying it, so I hope she lets me reveal her to you 😀