Friday, June 30, 2006

And the winner is .................

...... Dipsy Doodle!!!! Congrats, I hope you enjoy the yarn :-)

(draw courtesy of random numbers at

Thank you everyone who has left comments on the giveaway, it was great to see people from so many different countries!

Some knitting progress and pretty pictures tomorrow, or later tonight. We've just spent a while cleaning both cars inside, one of them had quite a bit of sand from Marazion beach in the boot - which has been there since this time last year :-D

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tulip progress

Part way in to the reverse stocking stitch section. I think I'm going to add an extra inch to the length before the armhole shaping.

After finding my original method of joining in a new ball wasn't really to my liking in the cotton (knitting a couple of stitches with both strands, to weave in ends later), I've been using the Russian Join today. Much better! I've used the felted join before which worked very well, I just didn't think to try this technique at first.

We were planning on doing some planting in the garden today but the weather has conspired to prevent that. Yesterday we had a few little drops of rain in the daytime, but overall it was a pleasant day. Today, I had literally just hung the towels out on the line when it started to rain, and has been doing so on and off since! It's not the fact it's raining that's a downer, more that it has gone so very dull. The sky is very leaden and it feels like the middle of winter when you look at it. The forecast (the work of fiction, as I call it) says it is going to be a lovely week so I will try to believe that :-)


Saturday, June 24, 2006

A quick yarn bargain alert

Progress pictures tomorrow, but I wanted to post this link up as it's such a great offer.

The Knit Tin have currently got some of the Debbie Bliss yarns at 50% off, including Cathay. I think they have been fairly inundated with orders so far! I snagged some Cathay in lilac, ordered late morning yesterday and arrived here this morning. I was suitably impressed!

Off to enter some of the Simply Knitting competitions now ...


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Are we sure it's Midsummer?!

Tomorrow is Midsummer's Day and of course the weather has been conspiring to turn nasty! It's currently windy and raining and I'm seriously considering switching on the heating for a while.

Never mind, we have some things to cheer us up. My Rowan membership pack arrived today, with the exception of the free gift which is sent separately. Also in the post, very rapidly, was this:

Sirdar Pure Cotton DK in shade "Carmine" from Kemps. It is currently on offer in a number of shades (including very pretty paler pink and pale lilac) at 1.50 per 100g ball (usual price is around 3.50). This makes it possible to knit the lovely wrapover ribbed jacket/cardi from Sirdar California Girls, for a shade over 10 pounds :-) You can't argue with that sort of price and you certainly couldn't buy a ready-made cardi for that! It works out at half the cost of using Sirdar Luxury Cotton, and the pattern book states categorically that any Sirdar DK quality can be used. I'm glad I checked the latest offers at Kemps as I've wanted to make this for a while.

Tulip is up to 6 inches of ribbing, and the third ball of yarn. Update picture when I get into the reverse stocking stitch. I've also started another Odessa, this time for me, in RYC Cashsoft DK Lime. The colour refused to photograph correctly, in reality it's a lot "limier" than this:

I'd signed up for an Odessa KAL on Caps for a Cure so this is why I've started it when I'm trying to finish Tulip :-) I enjoy the Odessa pattern, I'm not using beads as I don't think I really want beads on a hat.

Speaking of beads, the July Simply Knitting has arrived and features the 3 winning scarves from the recent competition. All 3 are great and I think I will knit Bronte's scarf at some point using the King Cole Anti-Tickle Merino (in lilac) and some contrasting beads.

A quick update about the possibility of working from home, I've had a couple of quick chats with my boss' boss, he is now going to the head of the organisation to see what they can do. Keeping my fingers crossed! (the head honcho works from home most of the time, apparently!)

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tulip progress

This is possibly one of the more boring knitting photos you will see :-) This was taken yesterday, I'm about halfway with the ribbing now (4 inches or so). Have to keep reminding myself this is knit in the round, so I'm doing the back and front together and am actually making more progress than I think I am!

The DB cotton is very good to knit with, and never ever splits. I'm using Denise interchangeables, the 19 inch cord with the 4mm needle tips. I started off with 4.5mm as my tension swatch (yes, I actually did one LOL!) told me that I got perfect gauge with 4.5mm. Once I started knitting in the round as opposed to flat I thought it was coming in too loose so went down a needle size. This is where the Denise set really shine, as you just take off the needle tips and replace them without disturbing the knitting from its cord.

My thanks to Rain and Hazel for your suggestions about lace knitting and decreases. A chart sounds like an excellent idea and is definitely something I'd do when I wasn't trying to knit to a deadline :-) I think I'm much less a process knitter, much more product-oriented. I see something I like a lot and want to make it, and don't always think too much about the difficulties that may be involved!

I probably won't try Pirate again but I have quite a few lacy-type patterns in shrugs, cardigans etc. that appeal to me, and I'm keen to have another go. It might well be in the autumn though!

Great to see all the comments on the Giveaway post, keep 'em coming :-) It's nice to see folks from lots of different countries too.

To finish here's a photo of one of the foxgloves we planted this year, taken yesterday in the fine warm weather. They aren't "wild" foxgloves but the colours are beautiful all the same. The flowers are more pale yellow when they open and turn pinker as they mature.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Birthday Giveaway!


In honour of my forthcoming birthday I've decided to run a little giveaway :-) Here is the prize:

One 100g skein of Posh Yarn "Lucia" 4-ply sock yarn in "Cosmopolitan", 30% cashmere 70% merino. This will make one pair of (posh) socks! There's more blue on the other side of the skein by the way, I showed the more "colourful" side! The yardage on the label is only for 50g, on the site it states 330m/360 yards for 100g.

All you need to do to be in the draw to win this is leave a comment on this post. This will run for 2 weeks from today, and I'll pick the winner on Friday 30th June.

I'm not a sock knitter (yet) but I know many people are so I hope this will be a fun prize :-)

EDIT - for those who have asked my birthday is 2nd July :-)


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Pirate - oh dear!

Thank you everyone so much for your comments on the Irish Hiking Scarf :-) I am keeping my fingers crossed that my dad likes it! It certainly does feel as good as it looks, it's hard to describe the "hand" of this yarn when knitted up. Very soft, excellent drape but with a great structure (I guess the rib helps with that too).

I have to admit that poor Pirate was frogged tonight. It almost hit the pond last night but I decided to persevere. However, it seems the combination of trying to keep the pattern "as set" while decreasing has ultimately defeated me! Working out where to start the row, I could do, but I seemed to "lose" a stitch on some rows, and this last row was the final straw as the pattern went wrong part way through. I've knitted lace e.g. Branching Out, but not with decreases either side before, and I have he sneaky feeling this pattern isn't the greatest for clarity. I don't make a habit of losing stitches either and if I had a dodgy stitch count on Branching Out I could work out what had gone wrong and fix it (and that's a much more complex lace pattern than this top).

In the end I figured I was really going to struggle keeping the pattern correct on this and frankly it was becoming demoralising! It bothers me that I can't figure out why it kept going so wrong. However I'm still determined to make a top to wear on holiday, so am off to look for either a Rowan Handknit Cotton pattern (same tension) or something else that I can adapt. The DB cotton is lovely yarn with a very soft feel to it so hopeflly I can come up with something else for it.

Thanks Hazel for the info. about the Rowan Club pattern books, I'll be ordering no. 39 from somewhere then as I've decided to make Jewel, the cardigan in Calmer. No lace involved LOL - but either stranding or intarsia or something along those lines. There may be further cries of anguish when I start that ;-)

EDIT - I've found the sort of thing I was looking for - Tulip. Even though I just had to look up how to knit reverse stockinette in the round (purl every row), obviously my brain was adversely affected by the heat this weekend as I'm sure I knew that ....


Monday, June 12, 2006

Irish Hiking Scarf

Finished yesterday:

Pattern: Irish Hiking Scarf by Hello Yarn
Yarn: Posh Yarn Cordelia aran cashmere-silk (50:50) in Mulberry
Yardage: 2 x 100g skeins purchased, each 230 yards - approx. 180g used
Length: 57 inches approx.

I could have added several more repeats with the yarn I had left, I'd say you could knit this to over 60 inches in length and still have enough yarn to add a fringe. This is really gorgeous yarn to knit with, I'm going to miss using it! The photo doesn't really do the texture of the cables full justice. Stitch definition is excellent. And it is so, so soft yet the finished scarf is very "springy" and stretchy too.

I started the Pirate top from the current Knitting magazine last night. Not enough to take a decent picture of at the moment though. The pattern gives you 4 rows plain knit, 4 rows pattern (1 repeat), then you start decreases while having to keep the pattern as set. Something I missed when I'd done the first decrease row (purl) then started the next pattern row, without taking away the first stitch! Had to tink back two thirds of a row but at least I realised that you had to work out where to start after each set of decreases. On the plus side the lace pattern itself is very easy. I have some really lovely green glass beads that I'm going to use for the beaded knitted brooch on this, can't wait to make that!

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

What was once lost, has now been found ....

Blogger has gone all "Lord of the Rings", and the post that I thought disappeared into the ether on Wednesday has now resurfaced, intact. Maybe it was at the bottom of a river, or in a cavern deep inside a mountain, who can say :-)

At least it saves me trying to recreate it!


I'm on the final strait on the IHS, and have been knitting today despite the rather intense heat outside. Downstairs in our house is usually fairly cool on days like this. The animals are less impressed with the fine weather and are flaked out! I'm hoping to finish the scarf tonight, am currently debating whether to put a short fringe on to finish it off. I think I will, as the cast-on edge is slightly flaring anyway so it will neaten the look.

I'm setting myself what is no doubt a crazy challenge once the scarf is finished :-) I'm going to try to make the lacy top in the DB cotton in the next three weeks, as I got a notion I'd like to wear it on our wedding anniversary, when we'll be away in N. Yorks :-) The reality may well be more like me still knitting it on that date!

The Bergere de France jacket is going on hold until later this year, probably late summer / early autumn. I don't feel like finishing it off in the warm weather and for once I'd like to knit something summery in the summer. I'm sure I'll feel much more like working on it in a few months' time.

Yarn offers

I've spotted a number of great yarn offers recently, you may well have already seen them but here goes:

- Get Knitted - 3 for 2 on Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK and Aran (very very tempting, it makes knitting one of the items from the AS books a bit more affordable)

- Em's Stitches - great prices on Debbie Bliss Cathay, Cotton DK, Sirdar Luxury Cotton etc. and free UK shipping

- Posh Yarn - a new yarn sale page! (and news of a new Posh Club coming soon which sounds intriguing)

- Kangaroo - lots of offers on discontinued shades in a number of Debbie Bliss yarns plus quite a few others

I love trolling around all the different yarn sites, seeing what's new and what's on offer :-)

Other knitterly things

Just had another email from Amazon saying that One Skein is still delayed. Has this actually been published here or is it a figment of my imagination?!

I joined the Rowan Club last night after thinking about it for quite some time. Does anyone know which pattern book I will receive first (no. 39?). Hope so as I love the short-sleeved cardigan from it which graces the back page of the current "Knitting". Looking forward to the free bag kit, I picked the green shade (green is the new pink here. No, I won't be changing the blog to "Knitty In Green" :-) I might change the name at some point though, when I have time to mess about with the template and graphics)

Birthday giveaway

As my birthday is coming up in a few weeks' time, I decided I would run a little giveaway in its honour :-) Much inspired by Erin's birthday celebrations, but I'm just running one prize drawing here. I'll announce the details next weekend which will give two weeks to enter the drawing :-)


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Yarn arrivals

Yesterday the postie brought this lovely yarn from Mandy, who has done a fantastic job with obtaining yarn donations from various firms for CFAC.

Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Olivette and Lovely Lavender & Heathered Fields of Lavender. It's 80% cotton, 20% merino and is gorgeous, and of course Get Knitted have started to sell it too :-) This lot should make 7 or 8 hats I think.

I also rather liked the sleeveless lace top in the latest Knitting magazine, designed in Debbie Bliss Cotton DK. I found the yarn at a very good price at Em's Stitches (who I have bought from before, the DB Cathay for Sgt. Pepper). They also offer free postage in the UK. I ordered the pale lime (shade 20) and it has arrived very smartly indeed:

I'm in a quandary about my subscriptions to both Knitting and Simply Knitting. I feel like cancelling them half the time, then I find something I like enough to want to knit ... hmm. Methinks I will end up keeping them, at least it gives us something to moan about knitting-wise :-)

I'm just over half way on the IHS, and was trying to complete a minimum number of repeats each night this week to hopefully finish completely by the weekend. No knitting was done last night, we found out my sister had been hit by an object thrown from a speeding car as she was walking down the road! Thankfully she is OK albeit rather murderous when I spoke to her! It sounds like stupid "kids" who have a car but no sense or responsibility. As she said, they might be 18 but act like 10 year olds (badly-behaved 10-year-olds as I am sure there are plenty of lovely ones around). The police came round that same night and took a statement, gave a crime number and will circulate the details of the incident as it's fairly likely this isn't an isolated incident. I just wish parents would think before bestowing shiny fast cars on their immature offspring!

In happier news, we have found what we hope is the ideal little hotel for our mini-break, it is near Rievaulx Abbey in the North Yorkshire Moors country park. It's ideal for visiting all the fabulous places around, like Castle Howard (where "Brideshead Revisited" was filmed), Fountains Abbey, Whitby, etc. And of course the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop! We've visited all the places I've mentioned before (apart from the sheep shop!) but that was a few years ago now. There are plenty of other historic attractions and of course gorgeous countryside.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

IHS progress

As requested by Dipsy Doodle! A progress photo of the Irish Hiking Scarf:

I've done a few more repeats since I took the photo. Last night I got the swift and the yarn winder out and wound the second skein of the cashmere-silk into a centre-pull ball. It's the first time I've done this and it's certainly a LOT faster than trying to wind yarn by hand! It also makes a great centre-pull ball that sits flat, no more yarn escaping under the sofa :-) Wish I'd bought a winder a long time ago!

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I was very surprised and delighted to receive this yesterday from Carrie Anne:

A personalised "hand knit by" rubber stamp and some fab pink ink! Accompanied by this lovely card:

I'll certainly make good use of the stamp, thanks again Carrie Anne :-)


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Current knitting exploits

I had a few days off work around the Bank Holiday weekend, and actually managed to do a fair bit of knitting! I also did other stuff like updating some of my websites (totally unrelated to knitting) and watch lots of Sherlock Holmes (Jeremy Brett version) on ITV3. The weather was hardly conducive to being outside, after all!

Here's an item I completed over two days, a loopy boa using Mary-Lou's pattern but not cutting the loops. This is for the craft fair that Hazel and others are involved with.

Yarns I used: Ella Narvik (boucle) 2 balls, Jaeger Grace (bright pink shiny-ish) 2 balls, Colinette Mohair around 60g, Stylecraft DK Wool (bright purple) less than half a 100g ball. All yarns from stash.

I don't think the picture really does justice to the colours, the mohair was some I got at the last mill shop visit, and turned out to be the Raphael shade when I wound it and found the most marvellous bits of bright blue and bronze amongst the purples.

Speaking of winding, my yarn winder arrived yesterday from P&M Woolcraft. It hasn't been pressed into service yet as I haven't had time, but the first customer will be the second skein of Posh Yarn. I hardly like to admit it but we got into a bit of a tangle with the first one!

I also ordered an Inox French Knitting Mill this week, as I find knitting i-cord to be quite tedious considering how long it takes to produce any kind of length! (thanks Hazel for posting about it!) It is currently back-ordered at Angel Yarns but I did receive (very promptly) 2 more balls of RYC Cashsoft in deep pink and the "Crush" shade for more chemo caps.

We have also been busy finishing organising my yarn. DH bought me 6 flattish clear plastic boxes that fit under the sofa and also under the sofa-bed in the dining room. I've relocated all the yarn that was stuffed into my second basket and some from the wardrobe, into these boxes. All the yarn is now entered onto the spreadsheet so I know where to find it! It also means when I use some, it gets updatated on the sheet, which I've set up to tell me total yardage where I have that information, and it converts to total metres too.

Other than that I've been working on the Irish Hiking Scarf too, which needs to be finished before the 18th. I'm finding it fairly slow going but I love the way it looks. I've also started a Rockstar-ish scarf for the craft fair. I'd have linked to the original pattern on Knitty but having just accessed the site, it looks like it may have been hacked. Something has certainly happened to it, hope it gets back online soon. The new MagKnits is up so I'm off to have a look at that after this posting.

I was considering having a rant on here about my employer and their Evil Planz to move us to a new set of buildings quite some distance away, with appalling transport links. I don't think they actually warrant more than a couple of lines of my time though! I've applied to work at home (again, I did so for a couple of years but have been back in the office for the past 5), so we'll see what happens about that. They can't say I don't have the infrastructure at least! Spare port in the broadband router just waiting :-) Speaking of which, we had to ring up BT tech support again and DH was mean with them and insisted they have an engineer test the line. This should have been done in the first place, as they found a fault. Touch wood it now appears to be OK.