Saturday, May 19, 2007


Yes, I've been eating lot more veggies this week, hence the post title! I've only been adopting the Food Doctor (low GI) principles in full since Thursday, as that's the day of the week the plan starts, so we have a way to go yet before seeing any positive changes. My guts are a little perturbed at the changes, but apart from that I've not experienced any other side effects. Not really craving sugar or chocolate either which is good. It has been lovely to try new things and also have recipes that include the likes of quinoa. I've used quinoa flour in my baking but wasn't sure what else to do with it, so now I know!

I haven't done much knitting this week as I've been concentrating on starting the new plan, and some extra cooking was required to prepare things like batches of soup, and smoothies. Flair is progressing but slowly, I now have the lovely olive wood buttons for her:

I also had my first yarn from The Yarn Yard this week, a new organic merino 4ply. This is two skeins in the shade "Egremont", from the one-off sale section:

This is beautiful soft merino and I plan to make some sort of shawl or wrap with it. I joined the Merino Club too, which runs for 3 months at a time, can't wait to see what the May yarn is like.

I've been tagged for a couple more memes in the past week, firstly one from Seahorse:

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

I didn't set out with a goal in mind, but I started the blog after encouragement from Lynne a couple of years ago. She had been blogging about her knitting for a while, and I'd just got back into the craft after a gap or 10-12 years. I've always been up for new web-based projects, and at first I wondered if anyone would ever read it! Happily I have been proved more than wrong on that account! It has become a way to share my craft pursuits with the online knitting community, and I have also made some lovely friends because of it.

2. Are you a spiritual person?

More so now than I was as a younger person. I don't hold with organised religion, but these days will admit that there may be some form of higher power in the universe, of what kind I wouldn't like to speculate! The power and the beauty of nature, or wonderful hand crafted items, these are the things that feed the soul. I do believe very much in the interconnectedness of things.

3. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you?

If we can assume basic food and shelter, then I would unfortunately have to say primarily my asthma meds! The very thought of being stranded somewhere without that is terrifying! I am also quite allergic to fish (not seafood) so there'd better be something other than that to catch and eat! I'd have to say yarn and needles, goodness you could always unravel it and make something different :-) Finally, a big pile of books, all the ones I don't have time to read at the moment.

4. What's your favourite childhood memory?

The one thing that stands out is annual holidays to the Channel Islands, in the 70s and 80s. A fabulous place to take children on holiday, the beaches are just gorgeous and you can walk to all kinds of interesting places. I remember saving up my pocket money, and would be thrilled if I amassed more than ten pounds. It went a lot further in those days! We would always go shopping and buy trinkets and the soft toys made in Guernsey. So many things to recall - the cafe we walked to that had a mynah bird, who generally refused to speak to you (don't blame him), and also had an amazing Victorian floral toilet! The awful Underground Hospital, dripping tunnels and a bad atmosphere (once visited, never again). The Little Chapel, the walls entirely covered in shells. Great times :-)

5. Is this your first meme?


I know a lot of people have done this already, but consider yourself tagged if you're at all interested!

I was also tagged by Franney for the 7 things meme:

The rules:

Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

1. I ate butternut squash (roasted) for the first time this week, it's fabulous.

2. Up until the age of 16 I played violin. I was in one of the county orchestras, which meant giving up every other Sunday, and also spent each Saturday morning at "music centre" where we had a small string orchestra. I still have my violin and may well pick it up again one day.

3. I'm growing my hair again after having it very short for the past 7 or 8 years. It is currently at the driving-you-mad-sticking-out stage :-)

4. I have a glass christening goblet inscribed with runes and other symbology from Middle Earth, I think this was primarily my grandad's idea. It's an incredible piece.

5. I was in the audience for the filming of the very last Vicar of Dibley, shown last Christmas. Richard Curtis sat right next to me on the steps for most of the evening.

6. I drive a black VW New Beetle, with black upholstery, tinted windows, and a black flower in the dash vase. Any resemblance to Disaster Area's stunt ship is purely coincidental.

7. I seem to have the "collector" gene and as well as hoarding yarn, I have collections including Toy Story, Lord of the Rings, and the Clangers. I'm now starting a Mr Benn figure collection, one of my all time favourite children's programmes.

Again please consider yourself tagged if you'd like to have a go, I know many people have already done this.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Flair progress, Charmed Knits, and playing with beads

Soundtrack for this post: The Very Best of the Eagles


I didn't post an update last week as I wanted to get a bit further along with Flair before showing a progress photo. In fact I've only knitted Flair for the past 2 weeks, not my usual modus operandi! As you're knitting the whole jacket including the sleeve caps at the same time, the rows are fairly long, and I figured it needs concentration to make progress. Add to that the large wrapover at the front, you have rows somewhat longer than for a standard sweater or cardigan:

The Blue Sky Alpacas organic cotton is a dream to knit with. It's very soft and doesn't seem to cause any aching hands like some other less flexible cotton yarns can. I'm just over 2 inches below where I joined the body under the arm holes. I think I'm going to add an extra buttonhole here too. The pattern relies on row gauge for a few things, and I think buttons would have been better placed with more intervening rows, not the 14 the pattern suggests (I'm getting 18/23 or 24 on average and the pattern asks for 18/22). The same goes for when to separate off the sleeve stitches, the pattern gives you a number of stitches which equates to a row number - I added four more increases (8 rows) plus another 4 straight rows before I did that. This is the beauty of knitting top down though, you can try the piece on as many times as you like and you won't get any nasty surprises! I can just add on extra lengths of cord for this, as shown, the Denise needles are working really well with this pattern.

Another modification I've made is 8 stitches for the front button bands rather than 7. Seed stitch, according to the books, should be done over an even number of stitches, and I was in danger of messing it up with 7. It sounds daft but sometimes the simplest things are the very things that can go wrong! I've ordered some olive-wood buttons from a haberdasher on ebay, I had a yen for wooden buttons for this piece and these look lovely, I should have them to show next week.

Beaded book thongs

I've been up to some other crafty things apart from knitting, during last week's Bank Holiday I got my bead stash out (acquired over several years) and made some knitting book thongs. I made some more a couple of nights ago too, they're quite addictive! Click on the photos to see the detail, apologies for the flash as we've got quite poor light this afternoon.

First we have a gothic version for DH on 1mm cord, with pewter bat and skull charms, silver beads and a glass "wingnut" bead; and a purple one using 2mm cord and various glass and wooden beads:

Next one uses green lampwork beads from a wonderful set, plus wooden and silver beads, on 1mm cord:

I have several more but these will be sent as gifts, so I won't put the photo up just yet!

Charmed Knits

This wonderful book arrived yesterday from The Book Depository:

I've been looking forward to this for months :-) Alison Hansel of the Blue Blog has put together a great collection of Harry Potter themed patterns. If you're a Potter Knitter you'll have seen some of them online before - the year 1/2 and year 3 scarves, the Quid-socks, Hermione's cable and bobble hat & mitts. However there are a lot of brand new patterns alongside these established favourites, including a Weasley sweater designed in chunky yarn to knit up nice and quickly! You can also find hats, gloves, Dobby socks, knitting bags, Mrs Weasley's housecoat, and more quirky items like needle cases, pointed hats and even Errol the owl! It's a very nicely presented book and a great price for all these patterns together. I was particularly pleased to find this:

The Quidditch Sweater! I've had a cone of yellow merino aran waiting for this for a long time :-)

Yarny goodness

A couple of weeks ago I was alerted to some wonderful laceweight yarn at You have to see the prices for yourself! The company's shipping policy is also very good, they don't ship right away to save undue cost, but my parcel arrived via DHL in approximately 10 days. Since shipping only cost a few pounds I was mightily impressed that they used DHL! I got three different colours in total, but as one is intended as a gift I'm only showing two of them here:

At left is "Mustard", a gorgeous bright green, and at right is Laguna Azul. The yarn itself is very soft and just incredible value. Each skein also has 850 yards in 100g. I bought two of each which gives plenty for large shawls or wraps.

This week I discovered Lane Borgosesia Cashwool, another lovely laceweight yarn. Here's a skein of olive from Pavi Yarns (ordered in the afternoon, arrived the next morning!):

Another very soft yarn, with an amazing 1375 yards per 100g. I can see more of this yarn in my future, at £8.95 it's an excellent buy.

In other news, it has been quite a busy week or two. We picked up our new (to us) car yesterday, another VW New Beetle :-) Our original one is in black, this one is a reddish colour - the colour of Pimms, I have decided after some thought! We went up to Windermere in it today to give it a run, and saw some interesting sheep along the way - jet black lambs, black sheep with white faces, brown sheep :-) I don't know the breeds but it's always lovely to see all the lambs bouncing around :-)

Yesterday we had to do some extra food shopping, as I'm going to be starting this next week:

I'm really looking forward to this, as I already eat a lot of the foods he uses in the plan, and it will hopefully help me stop snacking too much on chocolate! I can imagine it would be quite a wrench for many people to start though, especially if you are fond of tea or coffee (I don't drink either). Hopefully this will help me lose some weight and give me plenty more ideas on what to eat, and in the correct proportions. It's a sensible approach to eating and there is no rationing involved of the kind that would leave you hungry! I'll report back on my progress during the four weeks of the plan :-)

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"I Never" meme

I got this from Jacquie. Edit the list, bold for stuff you've done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you're not planning on doing.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

If you'd like to do the meme just copy it and leave a comment to let me know!