Saturday, 21 May 2011

Birthday Cake

My son asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate eggs on top for his birthday.  In hindsight, he may have meant mini eggs!

I had to stick the cream eggs on with melted chocolate because they kept sliding off when I tried it with buttercream.  I like to think that it tasted a lot better than it looked!

Here is his real, shop bought cake.

Now, doesn't that look nice.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Lyme Regis

 A few weeks ago I went to Lyme Regis for the day with my son and here are the photos:

It is a beautiful town but somewhat hilly.  The car parks that I seem to find are always at the top of the hills which is great on the way to the beach, but much harder on the way back!

 We were really lucky with the weather and it was a great day.

No wallabies here!

We spent some time in the Jane Austen gardens which overlook the beach.  I think they are in the process of being revamped at the moment but they are lovely.

And we were able to find a bench so that I could do some knitting and watch the world go by.

All too soon it was time to haul myself, my son and my knitting back to the car and go home.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

FO - Citron

Here is my Citron shawl.   It took me quite a while to knit it because I didn't work on it consistently.  I have been trying to sort out my wool stash which is definitely beyond life expectancy!

Anyway, I did manage to finish it.  Alexandra from Wool and Cotton kindly shared her notes and tips which was really kind and a great help.

I did eight repeats of the pattern and used Malabrigo Lace yarn in Pink Frost.  I used two skeins and just a little of the third (for two rows only).  I think I would probably have used less but my Citron met with a bit of an accident.   My mother-in-law got so enthusiastic about having a look at it that she got all tangled up in the yarn.  She then panicked and twisted around, breaking the yarn and ripping the knitting off of the needles.

I managed to repair it (after much sobbing from both of us).  The photos are pre-blocking.

I am really pleased with it.  I will definitely knit another.  I really like working with the Malabrigo Lace yarn.  It is sooo soft.

My notes on Ravelry here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Boo Moo

 Look what I found hiding in my garden when I went to peg out the washing on Sunday!

It seemed that I scared her as much as she scared me.

My son, who is a lot braver than I am, managed to coax her back across into her own field.  What an exciting morning.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Wonderwool Booty

 Sorry for the prolonged absence again.  Sometimes life takes over.  Here is my Wonderwool Booty.  I wanted to get some laceweight yarn because I hope to knit Laar by The Shetland Trader.  I know it is a massive task to knit a cardi in laceweight but the pattern is so lovely.  I found the Fyberspates stall and bought some scrumptious lace in the colourway Water.

I also bought some in Teal because I couldn't really chose between the two.  Now I will have to make two cardigans or lots of shawls!

Then, to compound my lace knitting overload, I bought a Fyberspates sparkly laceweight just because I loved the colour.  Yes, it does have sparkly bits in.  I don't really know what possessed me because I normally goes for quite plain things but I was swept up in the occasion.  I am sure it will be lovely and, dare I say, a little bit disco.

Then I bought some Easyknits in a colourway called Swamp Thing.  Enough said.

Oh and I bought some Crazy Zauberball.  I think this one is one of the more restrained colours to make up for the glitterball Fyberspates.

Lastly I got a Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.  It is a lovely mixture of blues and greens.

I also bought some lovely buttons to add to my button stash.

Friday, 22 April 2011


 A couple of weeks ago I went to Wonderwool in Wales.  It was at the Royal Showground at Builth Wells.

I went with a friend and we had a great day out.  The photos are not very good I'm afraid.  I may have got a bit over-excited at all of the goodies.

I bought quite a bit of yarn.

I also added to my button stash.

There was lots of fibre.

But a limited amount of money!

We went on the Sunday and it wasn't very busy.  Lovely for us.  There was space to walk around and look at everything.  Twice.  The journey from Somerset wasn't too bad.  It was about a five hour round trip.  Fortunately we managed to talk all the way there and all the way back which definitely helped.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Swell Swap

Do you remember this yarn from this post?  I love the colour of this yarn but disliked the texture of it.  When I posted about it Vivianne of Kismet's Companion offered to give the yarn a good home.  I was so pleased that someone else could use it.

Look what came back in the post!  Some handmade soap.

I have a house full of boys here with an occasional visit from my daughter.  We tend to use just normal soap.  I am so excited about this handmade soap.  Thank you so much Vivianne.

The original post was written as part of the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  A big thank you to Eskimimi for organizing it and for all of her hard work.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Tense Times

I have been struggling with my tension or gauge.  I am a loose knitter.  There it is, out in the open.  My mother-in-law's partner even called me 'slack'.  I think he was referring to my knitting.

I am currently working on Jen by Kim Hargreaves.  It is knitted in Rowan Bamboo Soft.  I did a tension square on the right size needles and it was way out so I dropped three needle sizes and started knitting. (yes three!)

I finished the back only to find that it was 4 cm wider than it should be and 6 cm longer.

After much sobbing I decided to try to work on my tension.  I knew that the ribbing was probably a bit smaller than it should be so the problem had to be in the stocking stitch.

I am an English knitter or thrower.  I throw the yarn using my middle finger and wind the yarn around my little finger.  I have questioned everyone I know who knits as to how they do it.  All of them have had to pick up their needles to tell me!

I have tried holding it in my little finger and throwing with my index, winding it round my index finger and winding it round my little finger and throwing with my index.  It all felt very alien and didn't really work.  I cannot seem to get the flow of yarn through with more tension.

When I was much younger and first started knitting, my knitting was very tight.  It used to squeak along the needles and I have even been known to snap knitting needles.  As I got more used to knitting, it loosened up.

I thought that I should try to learn the continental method but it seems that it makes your knitting looser.

A Clanger with my knitting

Yesterday I came across an article in the latest Twist Collective.  It was all about getting gauge.  The article was an eye opener.  It showed the difference between a tension square knitted by the same knitter with the same yarn but one was with a metal needle and one with a wooden one.  The square knitted on wooden needles came out much bigger.  I had knitted my stocking stitch with a wooden needle and my ribbing with a metal one.  The article also said that everyone has a natural style of knitting whether tight or loose.  

For the last five days I have been a quivering mess about my knitting.  I couldn't make myself knit any tighter despite valiant efforts and it just made the whole thing unpleasant.  I went to knitting club last night and checked everyone out.  They all seem to knit tighter than me.  Oh woe, woe and thrice woe.  What can you do?

My main worry is that I use more yarn than the pattern requires.  Normally I would buy an extra ball to compensate (just in case) but I have a couple of Kim Hargreaves kits which have the required amount of yarn in.

I have decided to embrace my 'slackness'.  Where gauge is important I will use metal needles to try to improve it and also do a tension square.  I am also happy to go down two sizes of needles if that is what is called for.  Oh, and to try not to think of myself as a second class knitizen because I am loose.

If anyone has any other tips I would be pleased to hear them.  

Friday, 1 April 2011

And now for something completely different - Knitcroblo Week - Day Five

Here is something completely different.  This has been made mainly by my two sons with love and support from me.  The dramatic theme was by my OH.  A real family affair.  However, I did supply the props!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Where are they now? - Knitcroblo week - Day Four

Whatever happened to your ............? I must be honest, I struggled a little with this one. Firstly, I haven't finished that many projects and secondly, I am not sure that any of them are that old. Then I remembered the first pair of socks I knitted. It was probably a eighteen months, maybe two years ago that I made these.

I decided to start to make socks because two of my sons have larger than average feet. One is a size 13 and one is a size 17. I was tired of trying to find socks to fit and then having to pay a fortune for ones that didn't.

The yarn I bought was some Regia 6 ply. I had some 3mm dpns and away I went. I did the whole of the cuff but somehow it didn't look quite right. After talking to a friend's mum who is an avid sock knitter, I found that you don't actually knit them inside out. I know! How on earth did I manage that?

At this point most people would have given up. Which is exactly what I did! Well for the evening anyway. Then I started again.

Needless to say, after much moaning and gnashing of teeth, I ended up with a completed pair. I even managed to turn the heel properly.

As you can see, these socks have been loved and well worn.

They have been through forests.

And climbed mountains.

Battled strong winds.

And high water!

But they are tired now and their life is unfortunately over.
I shall remember them as leading the sock way. Because of this pair, I always have some socks on my needles in this pattern. Not always 6 ply, mostly 4, but the basic pattern is the same. I have done it so many times now that I know it off by heart.

I cannot link back to a project page I'm afraid because these were knitted before I found ravelry.

I suppose I could always learn how to darn but I'm afraid the motivation completely escapes me.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

"Tidy Mind, Tidy Stitches" - Knitcroblo Week - Day three

How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? Well, in truth, I don't. When my stash was much smaller, I tucked it by the side of my chair in the lounge. As you can see, there is still some hiding there now. Also here, in my very organised baskets, are my knitting needles. Shoved, I mean placed gently and lovingly in the plastic case they came in. I have some pencil cases with my notions in but the red one in the picture has hand creams in and nail files. Oh, get me!

This is my stash. It is no secret to those of you who visit regularly, that my daughter went to Uni a couple of years ago so I have surreptitiously moved my stash into a corner of her room. Do you think she will notice?

This is my sock yarn. I have given up trying to hide it and I have put it on her bed!

My books are stacked up in various places all over the house. This is a corner of my daughter's desk but they are also under the coffee table and behind my chair in the lounge.

I love today's subject. I really enjoy peeping into other people's lives to see how they organise their stuff. I must confess that I feel a bit disorganised and, dare I say, untidy. I will make the promise to myself that by Knicroblo week next year I will have my stash organised, in bags/boxes and all photographed and entered on Ravelry. Well, maybe not photographed but definitely the other things I said!

For those of you with very good eyesight that is, in fact, woodchip wallpaper in the top photo. Yes we have that in our lounge. It was here when we moved in. It is a very old farmhouse and we are a bit afraid that if we pull the wallpaper down, the wall will come with it. You hardly notice it if you keep the lighting subdued and close your eyes!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

"Skill + 1UP" - KnitCroBlo week- Day two

The excitement continues. Today we have to look over our projects for the last year and talk about any new skills we have acquired. Nearly every pattern I do now teaches me a new skill. Here are just a few. Most of them are not really complicated but they are new to me.

This is a Homin Shawl by the Shetland Trader. I loved knitting this, when I got the hang of the pattern and it uses yarn over at the edge of the pattern band to use to pick up the stitches for the main part of the shawl. Both this and the Scroll Lace Scarf taught me to wrap and turn. Also they both used a strip of lacy pattern that is then picked up along one edge and knitted. A new skill to me. And provisional cast on. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished Homin Shawl before I gave it as a present.

This is my first pair of gloves ever. They are Texel Gloves. I had only knitted socks on dpn's before so this was a new experience for me. And knitting the fingers was quite fiddly.

Here are some stranded mittens. They are Vector Mittens. This was my first attempt at mittens and stranded colourwork. The pattern was great. I think my tension was a bit wrong because it creased up a bit. It didn't block out either. What's that about? I tried this doing one colour the 'usual' way and one the continental way.

This is a sock I knitted and I was able to to cabling without a cable needle. And I was successful. Ta Dah! The pattern is Stonemason. I was determined to cable with a needle because that was what I had always done. It was just too fiddly for me. I even tried cabling with a matchstick! I then watched a you tube video and cracked it. I am really pleased.

There are two skills that I have acquired this year that have really made me wonder how I got on without them. One is blocking. I never blocked anything before. I got some spongy flooring squares from the early learning centre and had a go. It makes such a difference.

The other skill is using Ravelry. I have been on it for a while but wasn't really sure how to navigate my way through. I am still not 100% on it but I am getting there. I have started adding projects and stash, joining some groups and actually making friends. Result.

I am determined to keep pushing myself with knitting. I have just started a Betty Jean McNeil cardigan. I saw it on Roobeedoo's blog and completely fell in love with it. I cast on the other night and have managed two rows. Hardly storming ahead. As you can see, this pattern involves colourwork! Gulp. And, wait for it, steeking! Silently screams. Lots of new skills to learn this year too.

Monday, 28 March 2011

"A Tale of Two Yarns" - KniCroBlo Week - Day One

Welcome to my blog for the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. I started blogging last year just in time for the first blog week and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A tale of two yarns. I remember that someone asked the great gardener, Christopher Lloyd, which his favourite plant was. He replied that it was whichever one he was looking at at that moment. I confess to being a bit like that with yarn. I flip flop from one to another, loving most of them.

My favourite yarn of the moment is semi-precious by Babylonglegs. It is the softest, squishiest and yummiest yarn ever. It has such beautiful colours too. Now, I must admit that I haven't actually knitted anything with it yet. I haven't plucked up the courage. I would hate it if it ended up as 'a good yarn spoiled'. But in my heart I know that when I do it is going to be gorgeous. Until I am brave enough I will content myself with squeezing it.

Babylonglegs semi-precious

At the other end of the spectrum is this Stylecraft Sirocco DK . I think the colour is Pineapple. Last year I bought a book called Amalfi by Debbie Bliss. I fell in love with lots of the patterns but hoped that I could work my way around using the Amalfi yarn by finding an alternative. This was the one I chose. In theory it should have been ok. They are both a mixture of cotton and linen and both double knit. I knitted the back of a cardigan but I couldn't get on with the yarn. It is the knobbly bits I think. I really didn't enjoy knitting with it. In fact, I hated it. The worst part of this story is that I have the same yarn in other colours because I was going to make a few things from the book and the yarn was cheap from Kemps. What a Womble!

The Offending Article

Friday, 25 March 2011

Scroll lace scarf 1 and 2

This is was first Ysolda pattern and I love it. I made it with Manos del Uruguay silk. I really enjoyed using this yarn.
I liked the pattern so much I made another.
These were both gifts for others and I felt a bit sad to see them go. These have been finished for a few weeks but it has taken me a while to blog about them. I have some other finished objects but I haven't blocked them yet. I am trying to get back into the habit of blogging again. Thanks for hanging around.