Friday, June 30, 2006

Warning this post contains high levels of 70s knitwear

some readers of a sensitive disposition may want to look away.

Knitting the Black Purl Clapotis has reminded me that I'm always nervous about making things for other people. Everything I've made so far has been well received, but I'm always suspicious that they are just being polite. I think this stems from my childhood.

Both of my grandmothers were prolific knitters. My mum's mum was a handknitter whilst my dad's mum was a machine knitter. I'm certain that they were competitive over who made what for which granddaughter and how much it was worn. I remembered this photograph the other day and wanted to share it with you.

This is my sister and I in 1978 wearing an interesting hat and jacket combo that my maternal grandmother had knitted for us. Both the hat and jacket were knitted in some sort of ‘loopy’ stitch. I thought that there was some other technical word for this stitch but apparently not. I’m the one in red. My sister is the one that looks like a bumble bee. I have a clear memory of getting ready for this photo. Hats were jammed on heads; jackets buttoned up all the way and we were route marched to the end of our driveway. It was to be a public humiliation as some of the local kids riding past on their bikes, laughing. You may just be able to make out a shadowy figure in the doorway. That’s my mum standing guard in case we made a run for it.

I hope that I never put anyone through the forced smile and the ‘oh you shouldn’t have’.

BTW, I don’t want you to think that I am ungrateful for the hours of hard work that both my grandmothers put into the clothes they made for us. For years, my pride and joy was a ‘Starkey’ cardigan that my paternal grandmother knitted for me. Well, it was the 70s. I’m still looking for a photo of me wearing that cardigan. If I find one, I’ll share it with you.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Some actual knitting and why I don't watch the footy

Earlier today I decided to watch the football with Tony. So far he has watched all of the world cup watches and I have watched none. Despite this, every day he tries to engage me in conversation about England's performance. I thought I'd give it a go so I at least knew what he was talking about each evening whilst we're do the washing up and I'm trying to listen to The Archers. This is what I saw for the first thirty minutes . . .

so here I am updating my blog instead.

I promised actual knitting in my last post and here is it. When we went to Leeds a few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to take a more portable project than the Sirdar Luxury Cotton cardigan that I've been working on for a while. I decided to knit a bag that I could felt. I used Noro Kureyon colour 147 and based it on the Sophie pattern from Magknits. I managed to finish the knitting on the journey back. All I need to do now is sew the two ends together and felt it.

The Sirdar cardigan is progressing very slowly. I'm not the fastest knitter and get bored with projects very quickly. As you can see, I'm still working on the back.

I've decided to increase the length by 9cm as well so it's going to take even longer :-( Never mind, should have it ready for next spring!!

I've also been distracted by the Clapotis that I'm knitting for my mum's birthday in October. I ordered the Lorna's Laces (Black Purl) a while ago but I just couldn't resist the temptation any longer. I'm about half way through the increases at the moment. The yarn is so lovely to work with and I love the colours. I think I'm going to have a hard job giving this away in October.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

My Fat Cyclist

My husband Tony is taking part in the London to Southend bike ride and he's raising funds for the British Heart Foundation (he thinks he'll need them before he's 50!!). It's a 58 mile ride. He has been training hard and has already lost 23 lbs in weight.

If you would like to help the British Heart Foundation continue their excellent work in researching into heart disease and educating both the public and healthcare professionals, please sponsor Tony. You can do this online, or in person (if you know me). More lycra pictures are available on Tony's Fat Cyclists website, just for Tina ;-)

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I think I need a Hobbibot and this sweater-wearing squirrel is just madness!!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On Our Travels

Our internet connection is on the mend but is still a little temperamental. We had a great time in Leeds. The Royal Armouries Museum was a great place for Tony and Scott to explore. The Museum of Photography, Film and Television was well worth the visit. We saw sets from Wallace & Gromit, The Wombles and Morph. There was also a special exhibition about Ray Harryhausen. Tony even made a new friend!

We also managed to squeeze a visit to Texere and two visits to Coldspring Mill. Coldspring Mill was in such a beautiful setting.

Tony and Scott explored the camping shop whilst I was in the basement. There was so much to search through but I was the only person in there so I took my time.

I couldn't resist the two different colours of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk. I’ve no idea what I’ll use them for yet but they were both such a bargin. I bought a bargin bag of a beige aran yarn. It’s for a baby blanket I’m knitting for a friend whose baby is due in November. I think I’ll do another Big, Bad Baby Blanket. I bought some Sirdar Firefly which was cheaper than my LYS but probably the same price online. I’m planning a wrap or scarf for this. Finally there are two cones of mystery yarn that was very cheap. One is a dark brown and the other is blue. I think it’s an aran yarn but that’s about all I know. I'm pretty bad at guessing yarn weight and content.

I also got some bargins at Texere.

Again, it wasn’t what I was expecting. First you have to ring a doorbell to get in. I was expecting a shop but, as the person who let us in explained, there are two rooms and a corridor filled with various crafty goodies and then through a door is their warehouse. As you browse the aisles, the staff are also walking up and down picking orders. Again we were the only people in there so Tony and Scott chatted to the staff whilst I browsed. When they heard that we had to park in the pay & display car park because their customer car park was full, they even gave us our car park fee back. It also gave them the opportunity to clamp the cars that were parked in their customer car park as we were the only customers who had been there all afternoon!! I bought some black cotton 4 ply and some brown cotton dk. Again, I’m not 100% sure what I’ll use these for but I’m sure I’ll find something! I also bought a few bags of cotton cord for some sewing projects I have in mind.

Phew, well it's taken three attempts to post this with our ropey net connection so I think I'll leave it there. I promise actual knitting soon!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Quick Update

Just to let you all know that we had a great time in Leeds but came home to find big problems with our internet connection. I'm quickly typing this at work before anyone else gets in! When our net connection is fixed, I'll post with pictures of stash enhancements etc. Hope everyone is well and enjoying the sunshine.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I'm Still Standing . . . Just

I think the Americans call it being in a funk. The glass is definitely half empty at the moment. It's a combination of work and the madness of strangers. Thank you for your concern. It's half term at last and we're going away for a few days. I'm so looking forward to a rest. A chance to recharge batteries, spend some time with my family and the world will look a much nicer place.

On the knitting front, I bought the yarn and pattern for the Sirdar cardy from Em's Stitches. If you are tempted to try the Sirdar Luxury Cotton, buy it from their online store. The service was excellent, the prices are very low and it's free postage & packaging. What more could you ask for? The Luxury Cotton is ok. A little splitty but it feels so soft knitted up. I've only done about 15 cm of the back so far. All ready I feel apprehensive about the finished product. Will it fit me? Will it suit me? I think that's why I stick to socks, scarves and hats. Even if a hat doesn't fit, at least it only took a couple of days to make.

Thanks to the lovely Michelle giving me some Kool-aid, Scott and I were able to make our first attempt at yarn dyeing. Our initial goal was to colour the yarn so that Scott could have blue and yellow socks. However we both got a little carried away and the final product ended up pink/lilac/green/blue/brown/white combo. It was a great experience though. I learnt a lot.

  1. You need several packets of koolaid to get an intense colour.
  2. Painting the yarn will only leave blotches. I think I need to soak the yarn in jars ala Streets and YOs to get a more even colour distribution.
  3. Try not to inhale too much of the powder just before your nine-year old assistant suggests adding another colour.

These are the fruits of our labours. I'll definitely have another go and I'm trying to resist the temptation of buying the undyed sock yarn from Get Knitted.

Enjoy the rest of your bank holiday and I promise I'll post again when I get back from our holiday.