The End.

The end of the competition. The end of Socktoberfest. The end of studying. The end of no holidays. The end of projects.
Let’s take these one at a time.
The end of the competition – well done to all of you 😀 Lots of lovely suggestions, with some very apt ones, and some completely giddy ace ones too 😀 I made a big list of suggestions with links to patterns for my mate Cherry, who spent far more than she should have looking through them and going ‘I want that one! Oooo I want that one too!’ She is a very slowly learning knitter, who while excited by fibre and needles and funky SnB books, tends to just squash the yarn a lot and admire it without getting round to knitting. She made a scarf. But she frogged it 🙂 She wants to sock knit too, but isn’t quite ready for it. She’s coming the the Knitting show too – hoorah! Only a few weeks to go! She has requested a couple of days to go through all the entries and pick out some goodens, and also requested to not just have to pick one, thanks to the fabbyness of them all. I have agreed, and there will be a second and third prize (don’t get too excited -something small from me, rather than yarns from lovely shops). You should hear about the winners by the end of the week 😀
The end of studying has brought about the end of no holidays. Tonight we booked to go on a last minute escapade to Europe in just less than 3 weeks 🙂 And spent a great deal of time doing it too. We got cheap flights to, and booked a hotel in Rome, near the Colloseum. The hotel is Tamara’s Suites in Trastavere, and looks stunning (yet is only 3 stars. I think it might be down to the size and thus the level of service they offer), with 5 rooms based around an artist’s works. There isn’t a restaurant or anything like that – just breakfast delivered to the room, and the beauty of Italy outside. I really hope it lives up to the reviews we saw (basic brekkie but fantastic accomodation). I’m so excited I could, well, perhaps I shouldn’t say 🙂
The end of Socktoberfest saddens me. I haven’t had enough time to do much more than make a dent however small in the stash, and then increase said stash by a good 4 hanks. But the are good ones 🙂 And one pair of socks and 2.5 inches of a second pair isn’t bad…
I made sicky socks:
Ok, ok, they don’t look sicky at all now. But they did before the brown and purple kicked in. The yarn is Regia Bamboo in the colourway Driving the Porcelein Bus Passion in the fabby lovely Amelia Raitte’s Nautilus pattern (which as usual is super fast and easy to make and is ace). The pic below should demonstrate why they had such a potential for puke – see that orange/red/yellow patch in the middle?
That bit that looks like beans and carrots and sweetcorn? Yuck. Thank goodness for that splash of purple and blue near it… The yarn, in spite of all my colour moaning, is lovely. Cool and soft yet warm and cosy and forgiving, if occasionally splitty thanks to the fibre blend. It has a sturdy feel to it that implies it will last a good few washes yet 🙂 I’m happy with them after all that fuss 😀
Next up, some gloves.
Ok, you can only see one. But the second is there too! They will be a gift for a friend, along with perhaps a couple more pairs, and some for me. Who’d have thought that something so loosely knit in such a fine yarn (KSH) would make something so warm. ME! I did 😀 I’m well pleased 🙂
Last up, the Knitting Pure and Simple top down raglan shaped cardi, in Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK (9 balls).
Yarn=gorgeous. Pattern=sometimes stupidly cryptic for a simple pattern. It’s the Brit in me – I can’t understand anything in US patterns really 😉
I love the yarn. I’ve worn it a few times now, and there is a little pilling in the armpits and near the cuff, but nothing serious. And it gains such gorgeous drape with blocking. Warm, soft and silky, like a cocoon. I’d probably make the pattern again too, but maybe change the tie for a button hole loop and leave it at that.
Ok, so now I’m tired. Need bed. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Stupid [insert IT related word here]

I’ve been waiting for days to be able to post stuff on here, but I’ve never been able to get into my post creation page 🙁 But at last! Here we are 😀

If you are planning to enter the blogiversary contest, hurry up! There are lots of you regulars who haven’t entered yet, so get your speedy knickers on and sort yourself out 😉

Anyway, I have loads of ace things to show you today. First up, my Sockret Pal, Gwen, sent me a parcel, and didn’t even tell me! It was a huge surprise (in all senses of the word huge) when I went to collect it from the Post Office depot! A big tasty purple box with my name on it was presented to me 😀 I had to wait till I got to work to open it, and when I did, I had to take pics of it with my camera phone because it was so beautifully wrapped, so please excuse the poor quality of the image. Gwen has put so much care into this.


How gorgeous is that?! My colleagues were itching for me to open it all up, and frankly, so was I. All these goodies!


Hoorah! Every one of them just lucious. First up, the fibres.


We have here a hank of Dicentra Designs Hand Dyed Yarn in Kingsfoil. The picture below is more accurate for colours, even though it is a little dark.


The yarn is beautifully soft, particularly for a superwash wool/nylon blend. As I said to Gwen, most of the UK wool/nylon sock blends are usually either really stiff or scratchy, at least until they’ve been washed a few times. This stuff is super tasty 🙂 And the colours are very me – Gwen picked out a colourscheme that I actually used to wear at college – tiedyed green dress with purple tights and green docs 🙂

The roving is Ashland Bay Trading Company 100% merino.


Again, a stunning choice. The colours are like oil on water, subtle yet luminous. As usual the camera won’t quite capture the colours, but this one is actually a little closer than the daylight one.

The rest of the package was just as lovely – a lavendar votive and bag (handmade by Gwen – see the little charm on it?), and some cute little pusscat stitchmarkers 😀 And a very cool little knitterly card 🙂 BTW Gwen – did you make the stitchmarkers too? You don’t say and I forgot to ask you when I emailed you.


Gwen has got me down to a tee with this package, and I’m really looking forward to meeting her formally in the reveal in, oooh, 5 months or so! Thank you so much Gwen. It’s a wonderful set of gifts – more than I could ever have asked for or expected 🙂

I have loads more to show you tonight, but I’ll do a separate post to make sure Word Press doesn’t hate me…

Blogiversary! And a competition…

Happy second blogiversary to me 😀 It timed itself beautifully, on my first free weekend (and I mean totally free) for over 3 years. I’ve been studying for longer than I’ve been blogging about knitting. A little surreal for me, that, but quite good too. I flicked back to my early entries on WordPress and marvel at how bad my choice of yarn was, yet how adventurous I was being for such an early knitting attempt even if it was just a scarf – I would never have thought I’d put two yarns together so quickly in re-learning. In spite of its vileness, it ended up with lots of people requesting some too. Funnily we’ve never worn them more than a couple of times 😉 So this is the first time ever in my blogging history that my time is MINE. I can knit guilt free as much or as little as I want. And I plan to knit a lot of things. I might even impress myself at how many things I start churning out.
So, in honour of this occassion, I’m having a little competition. The prize is a single skein of yarn from anything in the collections at Curious Yarns or Posh Yarn. Any yarn, any shade, whatever you want. Please note that the sock yarns they sell are sold as one hank making a pair of socks, so you should be ok. Go have a look, savour the colours, the yarn choices, the beautiful fibres…
BUT, naturally, yarn doesn’t come totally free. You have to work for it, and in the process you have to help me out. You remember my sock stash? I have sooo many sock yarns I can’t even remember all of them. And I haven’t the foggiest what to knit in them. Look back to the post here. See all those pretty yarns? Add a couple of balls of Regia Silk Shine in a choccy brown, and a 400g ball of mad colours and you get the idea. There is probably more than that even :/ Pick a yarn, any yarn. It doesn’t matter which it is, whether there are partial balls or not, whether I’ve mentioned a specific pattern or reason for buying it I care not. Pick one, and tell me what I should knit with it. You can be daft, artistic, or go with some ubiquitous pattern like some unmentionable Knitty/Magknits patterns that EVERYONE in the world knows about. Find me a way to use up all this yarn, because I need to knit it, and knit it fast – I’ve ordered more. News on that later just to tease you 😀
I will give you 10 days to decide on something – that gives you until Monday the 30th of October at 12 midnight UK time (remember the clocks change soon brits!). At that point, I’ll ask an impartial judge (one of my knitting mates, and I have a few, as long as they haven’t joined in the competition!) to select the one that she thinks fits me the most. Not my taste or anything like that, just me. At that point, the winner will be contacted by email and will get to pick something wonderful, which I will order and post out to them, perhaps with some other little freebies too 🙂
Now I know that I have 24 people who subscribe to this blog 😀 And regulars who come and wave at me in the comments and say lots of lovely things, but not 24 of them. I hope that this will encourage some lurkers to say hello… If you have any questions about the yarns, let me know, but please do use your brains too 😉 And to ‘Gwen’, my Sockret Pal – feel free to participate too if you think you can get me to post to you without revealing your secret batgirl identity! I don’t see why you shouldn’t be given the chance to try some fancy British yarns and dyers out 😀
That’s it for today – I will be back tomorrow after a hair dyeing session, a friend’s 30th party, and probably slightly worse for wear, with some pics of finished things, and of other goodies too.


Thank you for all your lovely comments 🙂 Again the knitting blogging community surpasses itself and opens its arms to self-obsessed spanners like yours truly.
Soooooo, what to do with the time I now have? Well, inevitably, last night I got pissed 😀 Drank half a bottle of M&S Cava, ate a very very large bag of Walkers Sensations as the main portion of my evening meal (which was the naughtiest thing I’ve done all week) and watched Only Yesterday (one of the few Ghibli films I hadn’t seen before). Cast on for sock two of the sicky socks, but got too involved in the subtitles of the film to concentrate properly, but I am determined to complete the pair for this weekend, and start the next pair. Two weeks today it is the beginning of November (I know this because we are stamping the books for then, and it scared the willies out of me to think that it is so close), and if I don’t have two pairs of socks to my name for Socktoberfest I shall be traumatised beyond repair.
Oh and yesterday I wore my new cardi 🙂 British weather (particularly Northern with a capital N weather) has totally prevented me from taking pics since it was dry :/ It is dark when I leave for work, almost dark when I get home, and foggy and misty as anything (even tho going out at lunchtime today without a coat was just delicious – crisp yet warm in that gorgeous Autumnal way). So, I’m afraid you will have to wait till the weekend before I can provide a picture. I did venture into the staff loos at an early hour to try and get a pic on my mobile, but the phone isn’t strong enough to cope with the bad lighting in there 🙁 Sorry 🙁
And remember how I bought lots of good food things in Holmfirth. I bought other things too. Whoops. And here is me booking the tickets for the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate at the end of November… Oh well! Maybe I’ll reveal them to you in good time (i.e. when sunlight hits the house while I’m in it).
Anyway, the point was, what am I planning to knit next? And why? And how? Weeeeell, I have all kinds of plans, but I can’t decide what order to do them in. A week into my new eating regime and apparently I’ve already lost some bloating and flab around my middle. Apparently. I’m not sure whether I believe it yet, but we will see whether the scales say nice things in the morning. And why does this matter? It matters because the sizes I make may need to change a little. I’m hoping so anyway. That means I won’t be making the Union Market Sweater yet. If I spend weeks working on a size with tiny needles that will be too baggy at the end, I’ll be sad. It makes sense to go with a quick ‘I’m meant to be wearing this as baggy and oversized’ if I lose weight/’This is meant to be reasonably close fitting even tho it is thickish yarn’ if I don’t.
I get the feeling I’ve had this conversation with myself several times before, over some years 😉 Either way, time to stash bust. Maybe I should pick a pattern according the stash I need to trash the most…

I finished (warning – naughty words contained within)

I only finished. About fucking time too. That Bastard.
Tomorrow I heatbind and post it out. Two copies wrapped in plastic bag to protect them from the Pennine to Aberdeen weather, with a CD-ROM and some bubble wrapping envelope stuff. I can’t believe it. I’m free. Or at least free until something really horrible happens to it all and fucks everything up. Or until the results are released on around the 14th of November. At that point I’ll be shitting ’em.
But for now? I am going to go and get absolutely totally stark raving pissed. And maybe I’ll eat bad foods (btw – Nomato Ketchup? Like ketchup made from carrots and onions, but it has that sweet/sharp quality that I’m going to miss a bit less from the real stuff now that I can have this. Should be good on the baked beans tho).
Signing off: Bryony, Master of Science to be. Or is that Master of Men’s Pants?

Nothing to see here

The dissertation is written. I have a little proof reading to do (hence it is 99.99% complete in the side bar), plus I have to print 2 copies and bind them, and put a copy on CD-ROM and post it all off, and I have a little pile of books that I haven’t returned to work yet. But it is pretty much finished. I’m knackered.
I’ve also finished something else. A cardi is currently blocking on a towel on my living room floor. Pics will come when it is dry, but today is too dreary and I have too much to do and the cardi is all wet and soggy and in a shady part of the floor near the radiator, and everything is too much hassle until I have posted the evil coursework and have officially relaxed. So there.
There will also be other lovely things. New bamboo needles from eBay, a Phildar magazine with English translation (see sidebar for my imminent stash busting yet new pattern knitting plans), and socks. Only one sock at the mo, but there will be a pair soon. And a pair of gloves. In fact the gloves will be finished in a day or two, so there will be at least 3 FOs on here within the next few days (and that will include the disseration 😉 ).
But until then, I’m hiding away. I’m sure I’ll have something to tell you about my madly behaving belly too. It better be good is all I can say 😉

How to make yourself feel better about not eating things.

Make wheat-free, dairy-free, tomato-free pesto. I just did, and I’m rather pleased – this batch was a little bland though, so I might stick a chili in it or more garlic next time.
100ml olive oil
100g pine nuts
big buncha basil
1 clove of garlic
Whizz it all up or mash it up or use whatever you use to mix things to a pulp in your house. Throw some in some pasta, with some tuna/fried courgette strips/whatever takes your fancy. Yum. Keep in in the fridge till next time – it will probably provide between 6 and 10 servings, depending on how much you like to have. And it is super quick. Always a good thing!
It felt a bit strange having something oily though – I hardly ever use oil in cooking, but I figure as I’m going to be reducing my fat intake from the dairy thing, a bit of oil will go a long way to helping me out with the good fats, and olive oil is better than most, including the naughty cheese thing. I’m not fond of that oily residue mouth thing though. I can’t help wondering though whether eating stuff that my body hates but I’m addicted to might have done something to add to my weight problems. Let’s face it, being addicted to cheese would never help, but even when I was being totally angelic, I had difficulty losing weight, and when I had bloating (see! I’m already talking in past tense about it! Too early to tell right now though) I could put on anything up to 7 pounds or so. I have to put the diet on hold if only because the demands of avoiding all the nasties will be enough to think about.
Thanks for the support and all that, and for recipe/book suggestions. Keep them coming! Did I mention Holmfirth has a rather good health food shop that I’ve been told stocks tomato-free sauces? And did I ever point out that Holmfirth houses the nearest ‘proper’ yarn shop? I did? Funny that… It would be a shame not to visit both at the same time seeing as the bus costs more than I’d like… A positive comes out of all things negative 😉 Not to say that beating my badbelly wouldn’t be positive, but let’s face it, it isn’t on a par with yarn shopping at all… (even if it is shopping for Christmas gift knitting for everyone else in the world but me).

An unexpected update

I went for food intolerance testing today, after a series of nasty bellies and horrid incidents. Good thing I did, or not, however you might look at it. I already had an idea that I was wheat intolerant, but I’m also totally dairy intolerant too. And one more thing. I am tomato intolerant! I didn’t even know that was possible! I have to cut all these things out of my diet for four weeks. If I have no more problems, then yay. If I do, I then have to start chipping away at a list that includes potatoes, prawns, cod, peppers, cucumber, olive oil and non-herbal tea. Trust me, there are more. There is a lovely lady at work who has all kinds of foody problems, as do her children, and she introduced me to a website that sells a sauce called Nomato, which is tomato free, but also costs £2.09 a jar. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, as I have tomato on my (wheat free) pasta, salad, ketchup, stir fry sauces and I’m sure I have it without realising in all kinds of ready made foods and sauces. If anyone has any lovely low fat tomato, wheat, dairy and meat free recipes, then please please tell me! I’m going to try and whip up a dairy free pesto sometime this week (possibly tonight), but I suspect that and Nomato might get a bit boring…

Still here…

But only just :/
I’m on the last week of the dissertation. The last friggin week at loooong last. I have almost finished. Today I made a list of things I need to do to it to make it ready to submit. It is a long list, but mainly of piddling little niggly bits that will probably amount to a few days work. Don’t expect to see much here until I’m done. Not that I’m that prolific a blogger! But just don’t expect my to respond to much until at least the weekend. Blimey. I can almost taste the freedom.
But please note that by the time I’m done on the course, I’ll also be done on a couple of WiPs. Don’t ask how. And I’m already booked in for 3 nights out for the two weeks after I finish, and have been promised a small gifty from someone at work as a congratulatory thing 🙂 I can see I’ll be a busy girl! Almost a shame, because I could do with some time to just sit and melt into the sofa and stare brainlessly at the tv/a trashy novel (or as trashy as I let myself get). And DB is currently having a major sort through some stuff in our box room (which is miraculously free of damp and nasties compared to my needle storing area), which means the rest of the house is a mess till we get some stuff to the charity shops/burn it (DB has been busy being a real man making fire today too).
All this amounts to nothing worth reading – I’m v sorry! There will be pretty pictures (hopefully), and the notorious sick socks are no longer very sicky. I almost like them. Almost.
Must go, I have wine after working the evening shift, and there are supercute white rabbits on Autumnwatch. Awwww 🙂


Yay! Time for beer socks!

Ok, so this post might be interesting for my spoiler in Sockret Pal… Be warned! I have already told you I have many many sock yarns and frightened myself with just exactly how many there are, but here is a pic…


So we have on the bottom row:
red leftover Nature’s Pallette, denim blue/purple Garnstudio Alpaca 4 ply, Storm blue Hip Knits sock cashmere, Summer Pudding Hip Knits sock cashmere, 2 balls of RYC Cashcotton in purple, two in blue, a Kool Aid dyed mad lollipop coloured hank of Opal sock yarn.

Moving up from the Kool Aid dyed Opal, we have two balls of Regia Bamboo (which I’ve just started knitting), above it, a ball of Kool Aid dyed green Opal yarn, to the left of that, 2 balls of Tivoli Luxury Tweed DK, a hank of Curious Yarns Heathertop, some leftover Curious Yarns Beach, leftover Fyberspates Alpaca Silk 4 ply, below it leftover Artyarns Candy in Sour Apple, leftover Lorna’s Laces Desert Garden.

At the top, a cone of Texere lambswool 4 ply waiting for me to pick a dye colour range, and those two balls of Opal that I mentioned before but never got photographed.

That’s a lotta socks.

Ermmm. This is where I feel a little embarrassed. But the cashmere I’ve been saving for something special, and at this point I feel that Socktoberfest + end of course = special enough to just go ahead and pick a bloody pattern, damn you girl! And the other yarns have just been waiting because of all the commitments I’ve had (apart from the recently purchased choccy and pink Opal). So what will I do for Socktoberfest? Which patterns will I knit with which yarns? I have a loooong list of patterns I want to make, from Knitty, Magknits, Socks Soar on 2 Needles, Knitting on the Road, Vintage Socks, Amelia Raitte and any others I’ve forgotten. Believe it or not, I may have more patterns than sock yarn… If that is humanly possible at this point.

The bamboo is obviously already claimed, and given that I’ve started I plan to finish this month! But what else to choose? How many socks can I knit in a month? Should I try some new technique or just aim to enjoy what I have and use up stash? I know I want to try the stranding for the herringbone socks, and I’d like to try a new toe up cast on – I’m stuck on figure 8 and should really try one of the provisional ones too given Cat Bhordi swears by them in ‘2 Needles’. And the yarns I have don’t always seem to go with the patterns I like, so I may need help deciding what to make with what. The oddments will go on baby socks for lots of pregnant people 🙂 The Cashcotton I’m thinking of using on the Bavarian Twisted Rib thingy in ‘2 Needles’ (well I have had that book the longest) because it will give nice definition and won’t go too out of shape on the cables. But what of the dk Tivoli? And the Garnstudio Alpaca? And the variegated stuff? I’m not sure whether I’ve used up all my variegated patterns now, but maybe one of the other Amelia patterns would work with the Heathertop colourway? And I still have a sock of my own design in the making, so I’d like to finish that this month too, but will I manage? I should ask for opinions on it before I decide that much! And if I do make it, I’m already thinking that nothing else but a blue solid or nearly solid will be needed for the final version, and again it will need superb definition for the stitch pattern. And I’d like to try a new sock yarn too for it, but that might be too risky. You see? This is all before I’ve even decided whether it would work! But I’d love to have a go with Socks that Rock and the Natural Dye Studio’s ebay shop has loads of gorgeous ones. And I’ve not tried Koigu yet either. ARrrrgh! This is all too much!

But soon I will have time to do all these things, and who knows – I might be able to achieve at least one thing in October from my list 😀

*edited to add* Gah! I just realised I have at least one other sock yarn that must be hiding in my stash – remember that choccy brown Regia Silk? Whoopsy…