Sunday, 25 October 2015

Catch Up Post

Dear all, yes, I have been missing in action for a while.  Apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

There have been work related things, family related things and of course it's that time of the year when the Black Dog starts to make itself known more frequently.  So basically I have just battened down the hatches and waited it out until I felt sociable again.

However there has been progress during my absence.

Stitching wise, I have been concentrating on Crypt Club because Mum's birthday is less than a month away.  The chart is on two pages and what you see is mainly the bottom page.  I have a little back stitching left to do and there should be a martini glass on the table.  Mum doesn't drink martini, but a cup of tea might look odd - still thinking about this.  There is less to do on the top page, so fingers crossed I get it done in time.

I am still pottering on with Hitchhiker, which should properly be called Hitchhiker Plus now.  I have now done 49 points and I still have yarn in hand.  Point 50 will take me past the 200 stitches per row mark.  I really must get this finished before the end of the year, particularly as I bought the pattern last New Year's Eve.

This is a semi-unplanned new start - cabled handwarmers for Mum.  When I say semi-unplanned, what I mean is that I meant to do them, just not yet.  However I went to Knit Group yesterday, talked about doing them, then came home and cast on.  It is the same pattern as the cabled handwarmers that I knitted for myself (which are being really useful now), but in superwash merino DK dyed in the "Twilight" colour way by Truly Hooked.  I bought this at the Bakewell Wool Gathering last Saturday specifically for this project - it is black, white and purple, and feels very nice!  The intention is to get them done for her birthday if at all possible.

Progress on my Vanilla Latte socks remains slow, mainly due to the deadlines on other things.  Once Mum's birthday is out of the way, I will have more time for them.

Finally, a stash update for Leonore.  On the left, a skein of Colinette Calligraphy in the Aegean colour way, a bulky yarn, and a birthday present from Deb in my Saturday Knit Group.  Next come Opal sock yarn in the Secret Agent colour way from Wool Zone in Oakham, a present to myself on the way home from a job interview (didn't get the job).  At the top, a Crazy Zauberball in the "Der Lenz ist da!" colour way also from Wool Zone on the same occasion.  Below that is a ball of Juniper Moon Farm Findlay Dappled laceweight in the Macaw colour way which I picked up at the Bakewell Wool Gathering.  And on the right, also bought at Bakewell, is a skein of Natural Born Dyers Cobweb Lace in the Bluebottle colour way - 1200m of 50% alpaca, 30% merino and 20% silk - which will eventually become a shawl of some description.

Too many pretty things and not enough time!! 

Hoping that all is well with you and yours.  May the frog stay well away from your needles, and I will try to post more regularly from now on.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

A little gentle forward motion ...

It's been a busy week this week, going back to work and something on nearly every night.  However progress has been made, more on some projects than on others.

I went to Patchwork Group on Thursday night and got a fair bit done on the centre section of the bottom border.  I'm hoping that I might get that finished this week.

Progress was not quite so good on Crypt Club.  The 32 count fabric requires good light and the weather this week has been poor.  However I have got started on the lady's skirt, and I did buy fabric for the border/backing today.

Yesterday I went to Knit Group and finished the knitting part of the first Christmas stocking.  I intend to leave the Swiss darning and sewing up until I have done the second one.  That way I only have to get my needle out the once.

Progress on my Vanilla Latte socks has been very slow - just a few more rounds of rib.  I'm not in a hurry to get these done.  They are my travel and waiting project, so no deadlines to worry about.

And finally Hitchhiker!  This is what 42 points in lace weight yarn looks like spread out on a single duvet.  I have weighed the remaining yarn and I still have 36g left.  So if the original 100g was 600 metres in length, I should have just over 200 metres left.  I wonder how many more points I am going to get out of that - watch this space!

The physio was pleased with the improvement in my IT band, but wants me to carry on doing the exercises for another six weeks.  This is going to get harder and harder to stick to as the mornings get darker and colder.

All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well clear of your needles!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A week off work ...

And nose back to the grindstone tomorrow :-(

For most of the week, the weather was dubious, but that was only to be expected as it was Bank Holiday week.  It poured it down on Bank Holiday Monday, so when I had the girls for the day on Tuesday, they had to come equipped with waterproofs and wellies.  We went to Belton House and they had a great time on the adventure playground.  They wore themselves out and the fresh air was too much for me, so we all slept like logs that night.

One of the benefits of dubious weather when you have time off work is that you can easily justify to yourself time spent knitting and stitching, because of course there is no point going out in the rain.  So, progress pics:

Baby Express now has its first flower.  There will be a matching one on the other side when I get there.  The backstitch was straightforward so that got done too.  It only needs a couple of French knots for eyes, which will get done at the end.  Next up is the middle section of the border.

And then Hitchhiker - I am now up to point 40 on this.  The pattern goes up to point 42 (obviously), but there is still an awful lot of yarn left to work through.

Up next are three new starts.

 I know it's a bit early for the "C" word, but this is the first of two knitted Christmas stocking decorations for my girls.  I've finished the leg section and intend to work my way through the heel section this week.

Then some new cross stitching.  This is "Stitch Night at the Crypt Club" by Prairie Moon on 32 count evenweave stitched over 2.  When it's done, it will be a 70th birthday present for my Mum.  The deadline for this is late October/early November.

And finally, I needed something to do while the girls were running riot in the adventure playground on Tuesday.  So I cast on for Vanilla Latte socks in Sirdar Heart and Sole self striping yarn.  However I discovered that I had twisted it when joining in the round, so had to rip back to the beginning and cast on again, which is why there isn't a lot to see yet.

So plenty to keep me occupied and out of mischief, and only a few weeks to go until Yarndale :-)

All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well away from your needles.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

2015 WIPocalypse - August Full Moon

How is it possible that it is very nearly September already?  The year seems to have flown past, and I had hoped to have accomplished more by now.

However I went to Knit Group yesterday and I do have two finishes to show you today, so I am very pleased with myself.  

These are my Cabled Handwarmers which have been waiting to be finish finished since the middle of April.  They are a Pat Strong pattern from Issue 38 of Knit Now, knit in King Cole Baby Alpaca in the Heather colourway (666).  They are knit flat and then seamed on the thumb side.  And they feel just gorgeous when I put them on.

Finish No. 2 is my Toe Up Socks knit in hand dyed yarn by Jellybeans Yarns in their Autumn Leaves colourway.  There is a mixture of techniques here.  All of the first sock and the foot and heel of the second sock were knit with Magic Loop.  The leg and cuff of the second sock were knit on dpns.  The heel of the first sock was knit using  wrap and turn short rows, while the heel of the second sock was knit using German short rows.  Neither technique was very successful, so I had to darn the resulting holes on completion.  Both socks used the Turkish cast-on and Jeny's surprisingly stretchy bind-off.  So I learned a lot and have a very colourful pair of socks to show for it.

Moving on to work in progress, the first section of the bottom border of Baby Express is now complete.  There is a tiny speck of light at the end of the tunnel on this piece.

And last but not least, here is Hitchhiker.  There are now 38 completed points on this shawlette but still plenty of yarn left on the ball.  Progress gets slower with every point as there are now over 150 stitches per row, but I am looking forward to wearing it this winter.

In other news, I have a week off work!  Tomorrow is a bank holiday, but I have the rest of the week off to do what I want to do.  I have some plans in place - a day out with my nieces, a theatre trip with my Mum - but also some time for me, myself and I.  More information in my next post :-)

All the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your needles.   

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Next verse, same as the rest

Apologies for the lack of posts the past couple of weeks.  The mojo has been somewhat lacking for various reasons.  

I went for a job interview, but didn't get the job - although the feedback was positive and helpful.  And thank you to anyone who had their fingers crossed for me - apparently all the candidates were good and it was very close.

I went to the physio, who said that, because I am very flexible in my lower back, my bottom muscles aren't pulling their weight and so the muscles in my thigh have been overworked.  I am now rolling out of bed every morning (except Sunday, my day of rest) and doing exercises before I do anything else.  I hope that progress has been made, but have another couple of weeks before I go back to the physio.

In other news, there has been progress on the knitting and stitching fronts.

As you can see, the left hand border on Baby Express is now complete and progress has begun on the bottom border.  At the current rate of progress, I might even get it finished before his first birthday :-)

I have finally got round to blocking my Cabled Handwarmers.  The plan is to take them to Knit Group on Saturday, stitch them up and finally have them finished well in advance of the cold weather.

The second toe-up sock is nearly done.  Since this photo, I have finished the leg and started the ribbing for the cuff.  I am hoping that in my next post I will be able to show you a finished pair of socks!

And I am still trundling on with Hitchhiker.  The photo shows points 1 to 36, and I have done point 37 since then.  However there is still a lot of yarn left, so I am not proposing to forecast a potential finish date just yet.

There is not really anything else to report at present, so I will love you and leave you, and may the frog stay well away from your needles.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Keeping my fingers crossed!

I can't tell you any details yet, but if you would be so kind as to keep your fingers crossed for me on Wednesday morning, I would be very grateful.

There has been progress this week on all pieces as follows:

 Although my back stitching mojo has done a runner, I did manage to get it together this morning and start the last section of the left hand border on Baby Express.  Some progress is better than none, so I'm just going to carry on with the border for the time being and hope that when that's done, I can find the urge to finish the back stitch.

I'm also working my way up the foot of my second toe up sock.  I went to a different Knit Group on Monday evening within walking distance of my house, which was interesting and very different from my Saturday Knit Group.  I got quite a bit done on the sock that evening and will be going back this week.

Hitchhiker has now reached point 31, but there is still a lot of yarn on the ball.  I now have over 120 stitches on the needle, so each point takes longer to complete than the one before.  I'm not giving this piece any kind of deadline because I really have no idea when I am likely to finish it.

I have also knitted a swatch for my first jumper but I am holding off casting on until I have finished one of the other pieces.  Time is too tight to have three knitting projects on the go when I have deadlines on other things to keep in mind.

In other news, I went to the doctor this week  about on-going discomfort in my upper left leg.  He says I have a problem with my IT band and has referred me to the physio, so I have an appointment this coming week - watch this space.

Why are weekends always so short?  Back to work in the morning, so here's all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well clear of your needles.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

All the pretty things (especially for Leonore)

As the last of my Fibre East purchases arrived in the post this morning, and at Leonore's particular request, here are all the pretty things (even if some of the colours haven't come out too well in the photos).

This was my first purchase and I just couldn't resist.  Sock yarn by Sara's Texture Crafts in Watermelon Neon in her Oddsox - Line Art collection.  So one sock will be mainly pink with some green and the other will be mainly green with some pink.  She had quite a few different colourways but this was the one that grabbed me.

More sock yarn, this time from Unbelievawool.  This colourway is called Petrol Pot and yes, you can see silver sparkles in it.

Moving on, this is what came in the post this morning.  The photo is not good - it's more of a reddy pink than this.  From Native Yarns, three skeins of Clare Merino & Silk 4ply in the Astrid colourway which I bought specifically for this shawl, the pattern for which I also bought at Fibre East.

Then we come to the John Arbon Alpaca 2-3ply.  How could I resist - 1200 metres of 90% alpaca, 10% nylon in this gorgeous moss green for just £10?  Couldn't be done, but I have no plans for this as yet.

I took a couple of friends from Knit Group with me to Fibre East.  They usually go on the train, I was going to be driving there anyway - so a no brainer, and it meant I had company, which is always nice at these things.  Someone to say "Ooh, feel this!" to, and get a second opinion from.  So then they wanted to give me petrol money, even after I said not to be daft, because I would have gone anyway.  So I said to give me yarn instead, so my stash now includes two skeins of Garnstudio DROPS Lace, this one in the Purple colourway ...

and this one in the Red colourway.  We're talking 70% baby alpaca, 30% mulberry silk and 800 metres to a skein.  This should work out to two very luxurious shawls at some point and at a very reasonable price.

So there you are, Leonore, all the pretty things.  I am now on a yarn diet - no more new yarn until Yarndale in late September, but the knitting will continue and I will keep you up to date with that.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

2015 WIPocalypse - July Blue Moon Edition

Back again, but not a lot to show for it.  It's been a busy couple of weeks with the boss being off work, a funeral, Fibre East and something I can't talk about yet.

Fibre East is a yarn festival held near Ampthill, Bedfordshire.  After I started knitting last May, Fibre East was the first yarn festival I went to so I hadn't a clue what I was letting myself in for.  This year I went with two knitting friends and had a great time.  I was very good and only spent the cash I had taken with me, which was hard because I really wanted to buy all the pretty things.  And now I want to knit all the pretty things, but time is short.

Anyway, time for a progress report.  There has been so little progress on Baby Express since the last time you saw it that there was no point even taking a photo.

However I do have one finished toe up sock to show you and the beginning of the second.  I am going to use a different heel on this one in the hopes of getting a better result than I did with the first one.

And Hitchhiker now has 28 points to it.  There are now over 100 stitches to a row so progress is slower.  Basically I am now into the long hard slog part of it, but the colours are so lovely that I don't really care. 

Also I am now on a yarn diet until Yarndale at the end of September.  No more yarn until Skipton.  I went on Ravelry the other night and worked out how much yarn I have - nearly 39 miles worth!  I really do have to knit faster!!!

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day with the boss playing catch up after 2 weeks off, so I am going to love you and leave you, and may the frog stay well clear of your needles.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Ups and downs

So this week has been like the curate's egg - good in parts!  

Work was mega busy because the boss is now on leave for two weeks.  So at least the first half of the coming week will be spent doing all the little things that need to be done but didn't get done, because I was doing the big things that he needed to have done before he went on leave.  The coming week also means attending the funeral of the friend who died last week.

On the positive side, yesterday I had my hair cut very short so I no longer look like I stuck my finger in the plug socket and my fringe no longer comes below my nose.  I dyed it plum colour this morning, and so far the response has been very favourable.  Yesterday was also Knit Group day, so time spent with like minded people always makes me feel better.  And today I went on a workshop about knitted garments - the first knitting workshop that I've been on at which I never touched a needle!  It was all about the maths needed to change patterns to fit you, your preferred yarn and your gauge.  I think I understood it properly - I now just need the time to get started on a jumper.

However there has been progress on all the things:

I have stitched the middle section of the left hand border and started doing the back stitch on the engine.  I will continue with the back stitch this coming week.  Once that is done, I will go back to working on the border.

I am now up to point 19 on Hitchhiker.  I rather think that this is going to end up as Hitchhiker Plus.  The pattern is designed for 525 metres of 4 ply/sock yarn.  I have 600 metres of laceweight, and my intention is just to knit until I reach the end of the yarn.

Finally I have just started the ribbing on my toe up sock.  I shall be glad to move on to the second sock so that I can try out a different kind of short row heel.  It appears that on one side of the heel I have a tension problem with my wraps, so when you put the sock on, there are holes.  I have been told to try German short rows on the second sock as they might work out better for me.

In other news, Dad seems to be fine following his angina attack - presumably the new meds are doing whatever they are supposed to do - and the replacement for my colleague who left recently starts in three weeks' time.  And I have something really nice to look forward to next weekend, which I hope to tell you all about soon.

So all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well clear of your needles.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Can something nice happen please?

Last week was not a good week, so I did not make as much progress as I would have liked.  To put matters in a nutshell, my Dad had an angina attack and a night in hospital, one of my colleagues left the firm and one of the members of our Patchwork Group died.  We were on countdown for my colleague leaving, and the Patchwork Group knew that the chances of our friend coming out of hospital were slim to non-existent, but all the same ...  However Dad having a funny turn and getting whisked off to hospital was definitely not in the plan.  He's fine now, on some different meds, but we could have done without it.

So what progress was there?

I made more progress on Baby Express than anything else.  The engine is now stitched, but before I can back stitch it, I need to do the next section of border because there is an overlap between the two parts.  I've got a busy weekend coming up so I will only commit to getting the border section done this week.

Next up is Hitchhiker.  What with one thing and another, I only managed a further three points on this so am now at 12 of 42.  I just love the colours in the yarn and am really looking forward to wearing it.

It was only when it was too late that I realised that the best way to show progress on my Toe Up Socks was actually to take a foot selfie.  Knitting Magic Loop style means that the cable stops you presenting the sock in the same way as you can with double pointed needles.  I did do some sock knitting in the hospital though.

I'm going to finish here cos I'm tired and blue, so wishing you and yours all the very best, and may the frog stay away from your needles!

Sunday, 5 July 2015

2015 WIPocalypse - July Full Moon No. 1

Yup, I missed last week. Why did I miss last week? Because I lost my mojo!  And why did I lose my mojo?  Because I had to frog Hitchhiker.  I waited so long to start that project and then I bodged it and then I had to frog it.  It's a garter stitch shawl - you can't get much simpler - and I still managed to bodge it.  Depressing, huh!

However, this week my mojo is back and I feel good, despite the extreme (for my part of the UK) heat.  And here are some progress pictures.

Baby Express has come on well this week.  The whole of the rear of the engine, including the giraffe, is stitched, so I just need to do the front end and the backstitch before moving on to the rest of the border.
This is my re-started Hitchhiker.  I have done the first 9 points out of 42 so am slightly ahead of where I was when I frogged it.  I do think the colour is gorgeous and am looking forward to wearing it.

And this is what is making me really happy!  This is a selfie of my foot wearing my work in progress toe up sock, and as you can see, I have turned the heel.  I did it at Knit Club yesterday afternoon - it took a lot of concentration so I didn't do much talking.  Now I just have to keep knitting up the leg until I run out of yarn!  Plus I have new needles - those are Addi Turbos that I am using (and for Hitchhiker) - and they are so much easier to use.

And in other news, I went to Slimming World this week and I have maintained - so still 11 stone 8lb.  I am putting some of that down to the heat, because that always tends to affect my appetite.

Anyway, time is getting on so all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your needles.

Monday, 22 June 2015

So much for flaming June!

It rained on Midsummer Eve, it rained on Midsummer Day and it rained again today!  If anyone mentions the word "drought" to me any time soon, I may do them a mischief.  I know I go on about the weather a fair bit, but when there is a seasonal element to your relationship with the Black Dog, a soggy summer is not very beneficial to your state of mind.  I could quite happily ship all this rain to California, where it would be properly appreciated!

On a lighter, brighter note I have a finish and two starts to report.

The two headbands for littlest niece were finish finished the day before her birthday. When she opened her present, she put the first one (with the flower) on her own head and the second one (the lace one) on her sister's head.  So I'm counting that one as a success.  And my Mum really likes the leaves!

However, having finished Hermione's Socks last week and then the headbands, I had nothing left to knit.  I still need to finish finish my handwarmers, but I had nothing on the needles, which made me very fidgety (addicted much?).  So this weekend I started two new projects.

The first new project was my first pair of toe-up socks.  As it is just over 3 months since I did the workshop on these, I had some problems with the cast on.  My attempts at the Turkish cast on resulted in holey toes and my attempts at Judy's Magic Cast On resulted in bad language as I kept dropping needles and getting nowhere.  So I went back to the yarn shop where I did the workshop and got the owner to show me how to do it again.  And lo and behold we have a toe!

My second new project is "Hitchhiker" by Martina Behm.  I have been waiting to start this shawlette for quite a while now.  I bought the pattern on New Year's Eve but have only now found myself in a position to put yarn and needles together.  It's called Hitchhiker because when finished, it will have 42 points.  I'm using a lace weight yarn instead of the sock yarn it was designed with, so my shawlette will end up somewhat lighter weight.  The pattern is nice and easy and I'm enjoying the process as well as looking forward to wearing the product.

And finally Baby Express.  I think I've made some good progress on this since you last saw it and when the back stitching is all done, it is going to look very nice indeed.

I think that's everything for this post - I don't have any other news to tell you.  So all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay away from your needles!

Monday, 15 June 2015

June, Moon, Balloon, Monsoon!

It threw it down at the weekend, absolutely threw it down. Why am I having to wear serious wet weather gear in the middle of June? And it meant that our family barbecue on Saturday had to take place indoors, so not so much fun for the kids. Anyway, sorry this is a bit late but we had family visiting this last weekend, which was great. Baby snuggles with my cousin's 4 month old who we had only seen in photos before now - a lovely little boy who was very laid back about being cuddled by complete strangers. And she keeps the mittens and booties I knitted when he was born in the change bag! 

Anyway, progress has been made.  I have a finish and a part finish to report.

The finish is Hermione's Socks.  I grafted the toe of the second sock and tidied up the cuff on Saturday morning.  So I now have three pairs of hand knitted socks.  The next pair will be toe-up socks, but I need to get my part finish completely finished first before I cast on.

The part finish was the first of the two headbands that I am knitting for littlest niece's birthday.  Having blocked it to get the lace pattern to show better, I wove in the ends and sewed on the buttons.  Job done!  The second headband needs grafting together and the leaves and flower stitching on.  The deadline is tomorrow night cos the birthday is Wednesday.

And finally Baby Express - having now met the baby it is for, I really want to get this finished.  The engine is coming on nicely and I reckon I'm more than halfway there with this piece.

I didn't go to Slimming World this week because it was Patchwork Group, so nothing to report there.

I could really do with a good night's sleep, so I will love you and leave you, wishing all the best to you and yours, and may the frog stay well away from your needles.