A quick call for shopaholics

Three things really quickly:
1) There is a blogger in need of some help! Amber Moggie is having a sale of her stash as she is moving and downsizing and doesn’t have the space for it. She decided after buying sock yarn that is wasn’t for her, BUT, oooh what sock yarn! STR and Posh Yarn people! Go to her blog and see if you can help her out – she has a ton of bargains. I’d be almost giddy if I didn’t feel bad for someone having to clear out such gorgeous yarn…
2) Thank you for all your comments on the eco stuff. I don’t have time to reply to them all right now as there are too many things to organise before we go away, but you’ve said some really interesting stuff 😀 We’ll certainly be going through them all and working out what we can do after the trip. I would also like to slip in that we use Ecover products quite a lot too 🙂 Although the stain remover they do isn’t fab :/
3) I’m extra giddy kipper today as by a complete fluke I managed to get one of the Anya Hindmarch Sainsburys shopping bags on my way to work this morning 😀 The ones that say ‘I’m not a plastic bag’. Woot! I paid a fiver and they are selling online for anything up to £150 or £200-250 on buy it now. Goodness knows who would be desperate enough to pay that much, but you know 😀 And I got Bucks Fizz too! Shame they decided to get a wedge of plastic carrier bags out to put them in (most people refused them)… Maybe I’ll tell you more about that story when I have more time, but let me put it this way – we have two stores in town, and at the larger one people were queuing from 5.30am to get one. I hopped off the bus I normally get to work and found myself at a supershort queue at the smaller store 😀 Woot woot!

Belated Earth Day thoughts

I didn’t expect to be posting so soon again, particularly with the trip looming, but Lolly has been making me think after her post on going green. Being in the UK limits my energy supplier choices quite a bit – sadly I don’t think we have any electricity suppliers who work on wind or water supplies only. We do use those low energy bulbs and we’ll be getting a stove installed to cut our gas consumption, feeding it mainly with newspapers from work, so we will be smoke free while we burn. We don’t drive, which will help our footprint in one way, but as we live in the sticks, it makes it harder to transport items for recycling, and our council, while providing green wheelie bins for some residents, can’t supply our row of houses with one because of the way they are built (there is nowhere hygienic to store them, and the bins would have to be brought down a steep set of steps). They gave us a composter for free though, which doesn’t seem to be breaking down very well, so we ended up throwing things away more often than putting them in for compost. Plus there are a lot of fields here, and fields = rats and foxes, and a lot of cats, which makes it difficult to leave food around when they could probably lift the door on the composter and nab things they shouldn’t. Any tips on making composting work while deterring animals without harm? I’m growing potatoes this year, which I’m really excited about! I’ve heard that planting Marigolds (I think) can help reduce certain pests like greenfly or similar to help protect your plants, and I try to use green garden products at home. Luckily, some plastic stuff we buy is degradable (like sarnie and bin bags), and we use recycled kitchen and toilet roll. We gift to charity shops wherever possible, and use local suppliers for some foods like eggs, but again, transport restrictions mean we can’t always buy local veg 🙁 The farm shop is only 20 mins away, and yet we don’t shop unless we have some help from a car owner as it gets too heavy to carry back across the hills 🙁
My yarn consumption is hardly wonderful with overseas purchases too (although does that mean I should order big when I do order ;D), and travelling by plane to Barcelona on Saturday is naughty, even if it is ultimately for DB’s work.
Nobody ever said improving your footprint was easy, and DB and I are making baby steps towards it, which can only be a good thing. All we need is the gumption to decide to change something and my library school skills to find the help online to do it. And to stop being so lazy about carrying things from the shop ;D Thinking these things through in public really makes you think about whether ‘can’t’ actually means ‘won’t’ and how much power you have over yourself to change things. I’ll certainly think twice now about where I get my frivolous purchases from, and how I shop for food stuff…

Another post? Has the world gone mad?

Nope, just managed to scrounge the memory card and cable 🙂
Whiskers and Paw Prints socks by the Keyboard Biologist, made in Fleece Artist Sea Wool Rose Garden.
And the heel detail:
They are frankly, gorgeous. This is not down to me or my skills but the pattern design and the fantastic yarn. I love Sea Wool. It is a little splitty, and I have no idea how well it will wash, but it knits up beautifully and quickly and it is silky smooth yet the spin has texture to it. I don’t have enough yarn left to make socks for myself but I think there will be enough to make some fingerless gloves from the Marnie McLean site… For info, the leg was kept short (only three pattern repeats, and it reaches just past the ankle), and the foot is about UK size 5. That equates to a 5″ leg from cuff to the bottom of the heel, and 9.5″ from heel to toe with a short row heel (making it a bit harder to estimate the size). It is a tight knit too, which means it has to fit the foot perfectly with no room for stretch in it. It took up about 74g of the yarn, which comes in 120g hanks, so you could make a long leg, or a gents’ sock out of it, but there isn’t much room there for making a large size with a long leg I’m afraid. Although Roo managed it with 9″ of yarn to spare! oh, and please note that the colours are a little deeper then they show up in the photos – the light is bleaching my pics and I’m not clever enough to fix it 🙁
Ooo, and this is my 2 hours of work this aft – about 4-5″ of leg of Monkey before I start the heel, or the cuff and 4 repeats of the pattern. I’ve already used up 15g or so of yarn, so I figured to be safe I’d start the heel here and then I should have enough for the foot.
Who knows, I might have a finished sock long before I set off for Spain 🙂 We go next Saturday so if I don’t post before then I’ll send you a postcard ;D

Two posts in one weekend?

Goodness me! No pics though yet – DB has the camera cable and the memory card somewhere in his study and he’s working today in preparation for Barcelona so I can’t take any pics or upload any till he gets in the bath. BUT, I’ve spent all of a couple of hours on Monkey today, and have already reached the heel! Hoorah! Never have I knit a sock that moved so quickly 😀
Oh, and proof that librarians are ace lives here:
Librarian by Haunted Love
Have the sound on.
Pics imminent I promise!

The usual post night out randomness

Hello all 🙂
Just a brief posting at the mo. I need breakfast and to empty the washer so that I can get going on the Whisker socks and try and finish them this weekend. Sadly I have nothing new to show at the mo because 1) I forgot to take pics of some baby socks before I gave them away and 2) I’ve been getting ready for our trip to Barcelona next week. Oh and also 3) I’ve been reading too much on Facebook 😀
I’m inspired today though to write a little about some blogs though. I really need to update my blog list. I kept it short originally to keep things tidy, but I feel the need to add a new page and stick a list of the ones I subscribe to on Bloglines. All 75 of them. That’s probably pretty small actually, but it is enough for me to feel daunted by listing and commenting on them. Maybe I’ll do a regular update on the new ones. If anyone wants to nosy, I think Bloglines lets you have a look at the lists of ones people read, which a really funky feature. If you already have an account, you can see who I read because all mine are public, but I’m not quite sure how you get to me! I have lots of fun looking at who else subscribes to blogs too and hunting them out to see what they write (if at all) or what else they read.
I got linked to by someone who I think is a new blogger, but may have journeyed from another blog. It is always interesting and very very useful seeing who links to you, and in this case in particular, this person is worth pointing out (you better live up to this Mrs ;D). Tara D at Northwest Knitter already has a superb little collection of pattern and yarn links, articles, and a freebie pattern already too! I like her style – someone who has an eye on the world and spreads the word 🙂 And she’s inspired me to follow in her footsteps and regularly point out funky people/pretty pretty things etc. I’m a lazy blogger, and forget that doing this isn’t just about helping each other out with yarn and pattern reviews, but sharing the love and excitement of shopping around for cool stuff. And I loooooove shopping.
Hopefully there will be shots of socks blocking this weekend. And more on what I’m actually doing too. Maybe.

Finished thingies and a forgotten reveal

I hope Abigail forgives me for this one, but I’ve been so excited about watching her, Sockapalooza (I signed up – well Duuuh ;D), and as I mentioned before my Sockret Pal Brooke has had personal issues so we haven’t even finished our swap yet, that essentially I never pointed out that I’d been spoiling her! Or I don’t remember doing it anyway. Abigail lives at 1870 Pearl and she is a major sock knitting machine 🙂 Go see her and wave and be happy for the love of socks.
There are lots of piccies again this weekend. I finished the RPMs for Andrea on Monday night, and so took some really really bad pics early in the morning before I set off to work and gifted them to her. I mean really bad pics. This is the best…
Then this week I worked on a gift for someone who will get it tonight at her party 🙂 A felted brooch (made with help from Cherry for the knitting – thank goodness! It wouldn’t be finished without her. She helped massively with the design process too, talking through my ideas with me and helping to make everything clear, plus adding a lot to overcoming some issues), made from bits and pieces of leftover yarn in my stash, including Rowan Kid Classic for the leaves from my Kim Hargreaves hat, some Kidsilk Spray that hasn’t been used yet, but is intended for more gloves and scraps of KSH in other colours from other gloves, and some of the Ironstone (?) chunky yarn from Minneapolis.
Here are a couple of close ups:
I’m remarkably pleased about how this came out. The stitching and beading was just kind of ad-hoc this morning while I was playing. I kept thinking ‘I’ll try this, and if it looks crap I’ll pull it out’, but it always looked right 🙂 More will probably be on the cards… It was a fab way of using up small amounts of yarn.
Finally, I finished sock 1 of the Whiskers and Paw socks. I did take some pics of the heel and toe detail, but sadly they look much better after blocking/on the foot, so there isn’t much point in showing those yet, but here, just to remind you, is a shot of the finished sock. I still love Sea Wool. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Sea Wool.
Ok, time to get ready to party ;D


As promised, here is some eye candy in the shape of Fleece Artist Sea Wool 🙂
I bought two hanks from Ebay, the first as yet unknit in Moss:
Mmmmmmmm. So shiny and silky and mmmmmm.
Here is a work in progress. Not much progress sadly, as I’ve been worrying about Andrea’s socks (which it is officially agreed will not be finished tonight like I’d have liked, but should be done soon). Once they are done, I’ll be on these like a rocket 😉
And here is a better shot of the sock itself.
This yarn is just lovely to knit with. As yet I’ve not had any probs with splitting, but I can see where it might cause issues in complicated lace work etc. Mmmmmmmmm. I would normally not go for this kind of colourway but knitting it, it is just mmmmmm. Mmmmmm is a word that will definitely be associated with Sea Wool a LOT.
Hope that satisfies you temporarily Ruth ;D And it fits in beautifully with this month’s PS2.0 colours…

A BIG loser…

The stripey cardi has been scrapped 🙁 Here are some things I’ve learnt in the process of making it.
1) I can officially construct a garment that has stripes that line up when you sew it up, and make it look almost seamless.
2) Next time I design something with multiple colours in it, I will work a quick knock up to check the maths and sizing because:
3) If I don’t, my sleeves will end up looking like puff sleeves from the 80s – too baggy, puffed at the top trying to squeeze the colours in to match (even though I made the sleeves smaller than planned) and it would have worked out puffy anyway because the cap for some reason was too big for the shaping in the shoulder, too long on the arm.
4) This is partly due to the Handy Book not including row gauge in the factor, and me using the guidelines for matching gauge when you hit part of a stitch (i.e. 3.5 sts) without considering the potential risks.
5) I won’t bother weaving in millions of ends until I know that the fit is correct – I just did them while I was seaming so that I wouldn’t have to fuss. Also I realise that it isn’t really plausible to frog an item that is knit in stripes of 10 rows.
The good news is that because the yarn was such a chunky one, it took next to no time to knit, so I haven’t really lost too much time working on it, only sewing it. I’ve also not really wasted time, as it was a lesson. One that I probably won’t make again. My mate Sue, although she doesn’t realise it yet, will be getting the leftover balls with her birthday gift as she’s good at using up chunky yarn.
I don’t think the cardi can be saved unless anyone can suggest a way of fixing the puffs with a sewing machine to flatten them out. I know excess can safely be trimmed off after a trip under a machine needle, but I have no idea whether it is safe to blitz the sleeves in that way, especially with such a thick fabric. In spite of this, I still have an idea I want to action while it is in my head – a wide neck tunic with 3/4 set in sleeves with a puff at the cuff knitted in a lighter yarn (probably dk but it would look better in 4ply. I’m currently thinking of Garnstudio Silke Tweed). When I do this one, I’ll make the numbers up myself for the body and try and find another way of working out the sleeve caps.
So what now? I’ll be taking pics of the socks on the go before the end of the bank holiday weekend (I am almost at the heel of the 2nd RPM, so that should be done imminently, and yes, Ruth, there will be pics of the Sea Wool ;D Thanks for the gauge info!), and trying to decide from that long list what I can work on now. I’m not really sure what I want to work on. Chrissie is desperately in need of some work seeing as I have barely made it past the border of one side and it was for the last bit of PS2.0, but I also can’t decide whether to go for a simple st st garment or something a bit more challenging to try and capture my imagination a bit. If I go for something more challenging, that means I might neglect the socks on the go seeing as the Sea Wool ones aren’t totally straight forward and require lots of concentration for various sections. It would be nice to do something PS2.0 related, but that might not happen, especially as I have 2 Kim Hargreaves kits screaming at me to swatch up for them… 😉
Anyway, I’ll post pretty pics tomorrow once I’ve had a big therapeutic non-failure knitting session and maybe finished a sock/pondered my knitting future/hacked away at my cardi with big scissors for want of being able to do anything else with it. Time to catch up with some other blogs, but before I go, what do people think about someone of my figure in the Fitted Knits puff sleeved cardi? Could it work? But if it is top down, I can find out fairly quickly by trying the unfinished thing on I suppose. Just don’t know how Phildar Phil’Douce will frog. Perhaps a swatch is in order before lunch 😉