The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pride going before a fall?

I was doing so well at the weekend, knitting up a storm and doing housework, I really should have known better!
Sunday evening I dropped a stitch or two on the scarf in Wendy Cosmic - it's only garter stitch with a yarn round the needle twice every other row, but being fluffy I can't pick the rotten thing up right, I've frogged what seems like half a ball of yarn and it still isn't right, so I've abandoned it until next time I'm at home in daylight.
Monday night I got home and found that the freezer door hadn't closed properly on Sunday and had defrosted the fridge and the freezer and tripped out the motor so I spent an entertaining evening throwing away the food I'd planned on living on during December owing to a slight overspend on wool!
Tuesday my journey home from work was enlivened by pupils at a local school who decided to throw what looked like half a brick at my bus shattering one window.
I dread to think what this evening will bring!
On the knitting front the shrug is growing slowly, I cast on a new sock in a red/blue mix called red china and have reached the foot in my favourite cuff down pattern, I have done a small amount more of the old brown/cream sock but I may never reach the end of it - I'm trying not to think about it too much! I do have 2 complteed pairs and I love them dearly, I'm determined to have enough pairs by the end of the winter to wear hand knit socks every day of the week! I just may have to declare that winter lasts until July to achieve this ambition.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Now that's what I call red!

This, if my eyes don't protest too much, will be a shrug, I'm adapting a pattern for Eskimo to use Elle Plume and I'm not sure how well it wil turn out yet. It's in response to a request from someone so this is the only picture that will be seen until it's finished! It's one of the only 2 Christmas gifts I planned that I haven't finished yet so I'm happy! I may get more things done, but there are none I'm committed to.

I can't afford more of the expensive wool I used for the other shawls I made, so this is mine, 3 strands of different yarns twisted together, pale pink, dark pink and purple, I bought it from soemone on eBay, and I think it's going to work out quite well and cost me around a half of the price of the expensive yarn!

I'm trying to decide what to make with this - I have 620g of this, a mix of aqua slub mohair, silky acrylic in aqua, wave effect acrylic in aqua and lurex thread in turquoise, it's very soft and pretty, and I think need to be something pretty and maybe lacey.

Daisy, in reply to your comments about the Bolton wool shop, I'm not looking for somewhere fancy, where I live there is a small wool stall in the market and that is all, I don't like shopping in Manchester so somewhere selling ordinary wool rather than the fancy stuff I get online would be useful.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Second sock syndrome? not me!

Please note that I have finally overcome second sock syndrome, the second variegated blue sock purely awaits the grafting of the toe - something I can only do in daylight when I'm really wide awake!
This is another pair of ankle socks in pure merino bought from someone on eBay, I love the first pair I made from this yarn and have cast on the first sock of the next pair - I couldn't resist even though I have other things to do - I tell myself that with a bad winter forecast I will need more than 2 pairs of good socks!

The second sock of this pair has finally made progress - I'm struggling to finish them as they won't fit me - but I'm determined now to get the wretched thing finished - I've finished the leg and done the heel flap today - tomorrow I may get on with the foot - but don't hold your breath!
Once this is finished I'll be ready to adapt the pattern and start knitting the rest of the Opal yarn that I have - I can't wait to have tiger striped socks to wear!

This is the only completed thing this week, a scarf made out of one skein of Nimbus. the other skein will hopefull go to trim a hat and gloves to match - but that will have to wait as well, I far to many other things to do first. Despite the size of my stash I have nothing suitable to match with the Nimbus, I'm hoping to take a trip to the wool shop Daisy found in Bolton, I may find something suitable there.

I'm bad at replying to comments on my blog but I do want to thank Daisy for her congratulations - they're appreciated!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happiness is...!

Well, today, for me, happiness is seeing my doctor for thr results of all the tests she had me go through. ECG fine, and all the blood tests back within acceptable limits, my cholesterol is 5.4 (ideally under 5, my fasting blood sugar 5.6 (ideally around 5), but with my age and weight and the life style changes I've made she is happy to leave me alone on them. Even my blood pressure was a little improved and she has given me til we review in January before deciding whetehr or not to medicate me. She's had a glowing report from my physio and all in all the appointment I'd been dreading turned out to be a truly positive experience for me.

I came home so positive I even managed to frog the bit of the blue variegated sock that had gone slightly out and redo it - knitting stops now though as I just opened a botle of good red wine and intend celebrating just a litle!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Socking it to you!

I still can't bring myself to finish the brown an dcream sock, mostly, I suspect because it won't fit me when it's finished. I have, however cast on the other variegated blue sock and reached the heel flap - I love this yarn, bought on ebay, I have a stash of other skeins of this merino yarn that I intend making up for my own benefit during the forecast cold winter we expect. The slight problem I have is making them cuff down I still haven't quite worked out how long I can make the legs, currently I'm adding 5 rows each version until I get it right - the remains of each ball will eventually go to make either baby socks for friends who have them or silly socks for me or even sillier gloves!

Next on the sock producing list will be this yarn, I can't wait to play with it, I'm planning that in future rather than always having a scarf on the go for bus journeys I'll have a constant procession of socks, as I have enough sock yarn to keep me occupied just on socks for the next 12 months! My nimbus scarf is almost complete I think - one skein seems to do a scarf although I'm debating making a hat and gloves in plain brown and adding trim made of the nimbus - I think that will leave me with left over yarn to lengthen the scarf, so I may leave it on a spare needle instead of casting off until I attempt the other project. I'm still plodding along with the eyelash yarn scarves, they're suitably mind numbing and easy for tired moments. I,m steadily working my way through all the balls of eyelash I got cheap on ebay, stash reduction after a fashion, although as fast as I knit it I seem to add new yarn faster.

Tomorrow I see my Dr to find out the results of all the tests she had done on me, I'm not looking forward to this, I'm 40+ and overweight, do enough tests and you are bound to find something wrong!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Speed shawls

Now, I freely admit that this shawl is a quick and easy knit, but I cast it on Friday night and cast it off tonight - I'm very pleased with myself as I had it pencilled in for every evening this week, this is good news for all my other WIP's which have now moved up the to do list more rapidly than I expected. I'm still knitting eyelash yarn scarves on the bus to and from work, they're easy and need little concentration and I'm bound to find homes for them as everyone who sees them seems to want at least one! It was lucky I was knitting something cosy yesterday - I finally admitted defeat and turned the heating on, only to find a valve was stuck and nothing happened. After a certain amount of hysterical ranting I rang my brother who advised switching it on and off several times to see if it unstuck - on the 8th attempt it worked but I was so hot and bothered by it all I no longer felt cold!

This is the other finished scarf from last week - it's so long eyelashed I just did garter stitch - mind numbing but quick! I'm now working on my nimbus scarf - that's quick and easy, another eyelash scarf and I'm going to revert to the very first second sock in brown cream and blue - I'm determined that pair of socks wil be finished this month! At the weekend I will start the shrug again and cast on my brother's gloves, I'm all re-energised by the shawl I think but I do want to go back to some knitting with a pattern to follow!

In non knitting news I saw my physio for the last time and she had me do a couple of fitness tests - only easy things for the unfit overweight people but I was pleased. I did them last about 8 weeks ago, a minute each of step ups and sitting on a chair and standing up over and over. The steps had increased from 23 to 28, but the 'sit-stands' was up from 19 to 27, I was extremely happy with this - it's hard to judge if you're improving from day to day or week to week, this was a real measure of improvement and encouragement. Good timing as I see my Dr on Thursday for the results of all the tests she sent me for and this has given me some confidence I can demonstrate improved fitness and health.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A frogging we will go!

No pictures tonight, the shrug started then stopped then vanished back into a ball of yarn, it obviously needs coaxing to reappear as knitting! The Nimbus scarf grew and grew then I discovered that with only 20 stitches cast on I'd managed to mislay 4 of them, so that is now back to where it was last night. In desperatoin I've cast on the final mohair shawl of the year as I really know how to knit that and alternated between that and another infamous eyelash yarn scarf as being the only things I was apparently safe to be let loose on.

I did go out in the freezing cold and remove the dead nasturtiums from the garden - they'd survived until Thursday's cold snap when they froze, defrosted and went limp, I also made another loaf of bread in the bread machine - brown bread with sunflower seeds - very nice.

Today has felt like a complete waste of time despite the things I did get done, so I'm taking myself to bed with a book and will see if Sunday is any better, I think I may finally have to give in and turn the heat on tomorrow, unlkess I can think of something to bake in which case the oven will warm the living room and I don't mind the bedroom cold, I have 2 duvets!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Pictures at last

The blue shawl, finished and the last of these shawls for my mum to give to my eldest sister and her daughters, I've made this 4 times so far, one more to go for my neighbour - it was going to be for me, but I'm wildly overspent so she will pay me for the wool and I know she'll enjoy it. I've cast it on and done just a few rows as I'd like to finish it by Christmas but it isn't promised for then. I'm definitely going to have a go at making this for myself in a yarn I bought on ebay that is made up of several shades of purple/lilac twisted together, the ones I've been doing are 2 strands of slightly thicker yarn used togather so I think it will work and I should have enough for 2 for the same price as one of the originals. Luckily I do like purple as well so it's a winner all the way, one for me and one to give away at some point!
The next but 2 to the last of the Christmas scarves - or so I thought! i realised that although we had gifts for one of my sisters and her daughters we had done nothing for my other sister or her daughters. I have no intention of doing anything for my sister - I have no contact with her at all and have no intention of doing so again, but her 2 daughters both take the time to stay in touch with my mum so although I can't produce 2 more shawls for them I can at least make them a scarf each for her to send to them. Luckily I have enough of the eyelash yarns in each of the colourways to be able to do that for them. I just cast off the next to the last scarf - it just needs the ends sewing in before I take a picture of it so I reckon I can manage the extra 2 scarves - just knitting on the bus I can do almost a scarf a week so that's not a problem.

What is more of a problem - or could be is the new sock yarn from curious yarns - such a good idea, 75 g of variegated yarn with 25 g of solid yarn for toes and heels - I love the colourways, you can see some of them in this picture, with the scarf I just started in Kaalund Nimbus - which I will kill to keep - I swear this one is for me! What may at least slow me down is finding a non toe up pattern for a sock with a different colour heel or a toe up pattern that I like the look of (conveniently overlooking the fact that the cuff down pattern terrified me witless at first glance)
I stongly suspect that yet another pair of socks wil be started shortly despite all my vows to finish the 2 pairs I have started, what can I say? I'm not just obsessed with yarn, I'm fickle too!

The material is made up of velvet to use in patchwork, Christmas fabric for wrapping the pomanders in when they are dry, and the black with spiders webs and the irridescent fabric, just 'because' I fell in love with them. The red net will be used in Christmas projects or wrappings in some way that hasn't yet crystallised in my mind.

Finally some mohair that I want to use to make something for my mum, I'm just not sure what yet! It doesn't feel TOO itchy so it may go into a light wide scarf/stole concoction, she's very fair skinned with silver/white hair so I think it will look good.

Broken promises

I promised you pictures yesterday and they never happened, I have however pictures sat in my digital camera that really will appear tonight, not 1 but 2 FO's as the blue shawl is finished and some glorious new sock yarn and some rather nice fabric for some patchwork I have in mind.

Two more scarves and one pair of gloves to go - although I daresay I'll find other Christmas knits to make yet!

I have an idea of listing all my stash and linking everything with its intended project, I supect it may take rather a long time and not be of much use to me, this may not stop me though!

I also have in mind learning to make a soup that isn't chicken vegetable and pearl barley flavoured as I've been living on it almost exclusively for the last 2 -3 weeks. We did test my bread machine yesterday with a certain amount of success - I bought it years ago and accidentally threw away the instructions with the packing (or so I guess as I've never seen them) as a result I have no idea how it works and so tested it with a bread mix that didnt say 'suitable for bread machines' this may explain why it seemed rather heavy. I may start baking bread by hand as I used to, especially now I live somewhere warmer, I stil haven't had the heating on this winter and I'm NOT wearing my coat around the place despite temperatures of minus 3 this week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Another one done!

I'll have to add pictures tomorrow as it's definitely my bedtime! I finished another scarf - 2 more left to do and one of them is close to completion. I've also worked on the blue shawl, I've gone back and addded fringe as far as I've got and reckon I have at most another 10 rows to do to finish.

I'm reaching the point where I can see me finishing all the Christmas gifts that need to travel to their recipients by the end of November leaving me with a couple for local family and friends and an opportunity to finish some of the UFO's.

This was my plan of attack only yesterday
1) 3 scarves - this is down to 2 and will be 1 by the end of the weekend
2) 1 shawl this will be finished this weekend but I've promised to make another for my neighbour so will cast it on immediately or it just won't happen - I've made nearly 4 of these so far, the fifth will be the last unless I make myself one out of some cheaper yarn I got on ebay that I think may work OK.
3) 1 brown/cream sock - this can be done on the bus once I've done the heel shaping and gussets, so I'm aiming to do that as well this weekend (starting to sound a bit ambitious yet?)
4) 1 blue multi sock (second sock syndrome struck) I found the second ball of yarn, just need the first sock so the sizes match and I can start, maybe I should wait until the other second sock is done though??
5) gloves for brother - he drew round his hand for me so I can get a rough idea of finger length etc, I'm plan to knit a test swatch at the beginning of next week and see how that goes.
6) the funky chunky sweater - it takes a day of a weekend to knit almost a sleeve, I have a part sleeve and a whole sleeve to do then the polo neck and finishing off, I'm reckoning that as one weekend's work
after that I need to go back through all my UFO's and see if there are any 'quick wins' sadly I think that is unlikely!

UFO's to get on with
1) the pink funky fur trimmed hoody - it only needs fur trim doing and sewing up, I'm aiming at that being done fairly soon too.
2)I have 4 clapotis in various stages of growth, I would like to finish one soon so may add that into my rotation soon.
3)I want to do more work on the lace snowdrop shawl as respite from eyelash yarn but that depends on getting some quiet evenings.

Things to start despite the UFO pile
1) A red fluffy shrug for a friend, so far none of the patterns I found are the gauge I expect to get from the yarn, I'm gonna swatch then do sums on tatty bits of paper many times over , then ask my mum so I can blame her if it goes 'orribly wrong. I'm not sure how anyone can count stitches and rows very well with eyelash yarn, but I can try!
2) Something for my mum, possibly out of some glittery and pastel mohair I scored on ebay although that may be rather itchy

In amongst all this I plan on using an old knitting needle to stab small oranges and stick cloves in the resulting holes - I'm gonna make pomanders now I have an airing cupboard to dry them in, failing that I'll put them in a row on my desk at work which is a perilously dry place. I also promised to help my neighbours granddaughter to make peppermint creams to give as gifts, I have soem velvet bits to make into patchwork and some net to make into a frilly underskirt and I'm sure many other commitments that temporarily escape me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Weirdness abounds

You Are 60% Weird

You're so weird, you think you're *totally* normal. Right?
But you wig out even the biggest of circus freaks!
I couldn't resist doing this quiz - I bet a few people might say 60% is an underestimate! I, of course maintain I am totally normal - doesn't everyone knit on the bus and between sessions at work conferences? I do admit that the dream I had last night in which someone was teaching me how to make a mouse out of cheese which subsequently animated and ran away might be stranger!

Scarves and shawls

Firstly, anyone who wants to see the lasagne scarf pattern can find it at Several people have asked me about it, it is a very quick knit and one that I enjoy in a bizarre twisted sort of a way. I think it makes me a process orientated knitter, I'm fascinated by the way the knitting works.

The quick and easy fringed shawl is now half done and I've started adding the fringing - I ran out of fringe once so now I add it as I go along. The remaining 3 scarves for Christmasare all over half done now so it's gloves for brother and then I can move on to other things. I strongly suspect that I'll end up making more lasagne scarves and more eyelash yarn scarves as people see them but if I do make anymore I'll intersperse them with more interesting knitting.

I found a set of bamboo DPN's in the wrong size for the circular shawl and gave them a try but they seem to be varnished and were as slippery as the metal ones so I stil haven't found a solution to starting shawls in the round. I'm not sure now if it's worth buying more bamboo DPN's in the right size just to try. I'll give it some thought, there's no real urgency now I'm working on the snowdrop shawl anyway.

My order of work is now to finish the following:-
1) 3 scarves
2) 1 shawl
3) 1 brown/cream sock
4) 1 blue multi sock (second sock syndrome struck)
5) gloves for brother
6) the funky chunky sweater
after that I need to go back through all my UFO's and see if there are any 'quick wins' sadly I think that is unlikely!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

This week's update

I know I'd said I wasn't going to do any more of the snowdrop shawl until I'd finsihed the Christmas knitting, but I swapped to bamboo needles and wanted to test to see if it helped - that's my story and I'm sticking to it! I don't honestly like bamboos but they are less slippery with the lace so I think I'll stick with them. I'm definitely going to invest in some DPN's in bamboo to try and make a shawl in the round. You'll see from the picture that I've put in a life line and will continue to do so now as it does make me less nervous! This is almost the whole of the first pattern repeat, theer are 16 pattern rows alternating with K1, P to the last, K1 - those rows are lifesavers for me as I can see then if I've made any errors.

Part of the reason why I let myself do a small amount of lace is this, 2 more scarves finished, one in eyelash yarn bought on Ebay and the other from Wendy Cosmic, I had intended it as a gift, but I'm very tempted to keep it and give the grey lasagne scarf instead. I've done a small amount more of the blue shawl, that really does need finishing and I have 3 more scarves that I have to finish by Christmas, then I just need to make my brother's gloves. All 3 of teh otehr scarves are at least 2/3rds doen now and will probably get finsihed as bus knitting this week.

I'm pretty pleased with how much progress I've made with the planned gifts, so I took time out to make another lasagne scarf, they are so easy even if the last 2 rounds are a pain. This is some James C Brett arran that I had in my stash in excessive quantities so I started it on Friday. It's a speedy knit for me and makes what I think of as a spare gift in case I need one or two. This isn't quite finsihed, but I'm on the home stretch of casting off. I'm not planning any more of these in the near future, but then I hadn't planned on this one!

Apart from that, I've been sorting through more boxes and found some of my short knitting needles that I bought last time I had a knitting spree. I've also just made a huge pan of chicken and vegetable soup, pretty much enough to last me the whole week I think - it's the only soup I ever make but I like it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


It seemed reasonable as I was spending a night in Nottingham where the lace industry flourished to make an attempt at some real lace knitting! I had a quiet evening in the smallest hotel room I've ever encountered and produced this! 50 rows of the Yarn Harlot's snow drop shawl.
I realise white yarn would make sense but this pale yellow was cheap on ebay while I experiment! It'll just have to be a crocus shawl if it ever happens to get finished. For now I will put in a lifeline and leave it while I make Christmas gifts.

I had wanted to make a circular shawl but haven't worked out how to do 8 stitches on 4 DPN's - would bamboo slip less?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

One hoodie done

I cast it on last Sunday and just sewed 'he button on, I don't need it til Tuesday so I'm early! As stocking stitch baby coats go it's not bad, simply because you knit it pretty much all in one go, just picking up stitches to add the front bands and the cuffs. I just have the pink on eto finish (that's meant for putting in my reserve pile for babies I hear about late!

Also, I succumbed to the temptation of the lasagane scarf and produced the item you see here - it's made of Debbie Bliss arran which has left the fabric a bit loose although the ruffled edge has worked well. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this, it's very quick and easy to do, took me less than a day, but needed 3 circular needles and 8 double pointed needles as my other 5mm circular was in use. As an exercise in patience it was OK, I'm not sure if I'd make it again, but it ended up being quicker than my eyelas yarn scarves!

For the third night in a row the fireworks are destroying the peace and quiet, and I really want an early night - I have my blood tests first thing Monday morning then my Nottingham trip after that on Tuesday and Wednesday. I'm just deciding what knitting to take with me, something light and simple for the train so I think it maybe that I'll take the scarf planned for my best friend's mother, although I am very tempted to take one of my lace shawl patterns and soem laceweight to play with in my hotel room Tuesday night.

Christmas knitting progress, I have one scarf half done, one 2/3rds done, one nearly 2/3rds done and a shawl about 1/4 done. One scarf is about 2" long and one is 4" long! I haven't started my brother's gloves, nor a shrug I promised a friend. I have however finished evrything I promised to make for my neighbour to give as gifts and thw first three scarves and the shawl won't need to be done until the first week of December (although if I over run I can post them). I also now have a spare lasagne scarf and no idea if there is anything I can knit for my partner!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Frantic hoodie knitting!

Progress on the baby hoodie was delayed while I frogged 20 rows of the right hend front, I've managed to get some extra stitches on the sleeves (misreading the pattern) and have had to reknit the front, the pink hoodie is a smaller size and the picture gives an idea of what more I have to do. Finish the right front, make the left front and the hood then add the funky fur on both sleeves and on both fronts - the question is whether I can finish this by Tuesday given that I have brought work home to do this weekend!

My beloved and I celebrated our 5th anniversary together this week - time away from knitting - but well worth it! I can't be that obsessed with knitting, I did none for nearly 24 hours!

I'm resisting starting anything else until the hoodie and Christmas scarves are done, but I'm very tempted by this - am I mad to find the idea of knitting rows 1700 stitches long fascinating rather than scary?? It's knitted in aran and I have a cone full of grey Debbie Bliss aran yarn that would be ideal for something like this. At least with it being on a cone even if I cast it on it's never going to be a 'do on the bus' project unlike the Christmas scarves so it shouldn't get too in the way of their completion.

The scarves for my nieces and my sister have all grown this week, I'm taking the scarf for my friend's mother with me on a works trip to Nottingham this week as it's perfect for knitting on the train. Once they are all finished I can consider the 1700 stitch rowed lasagne scarf and experiment with cable on the Colinette Isis. The trouble is, I keep thinking of things I'd liek to make and people I'd like to make them for!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Makes you want to spit!

So, I find some material on ebay, just perfect for a small sewing project I have in mind, check to make sure the seller has good feedback, that they take Paypal as I have no spare cash this month and buy what I need, everything's sweet when they send me an invoice and inform me that 'due to a problem being investigated by Paypal they can't accept it at the present time' Now what do I do? do I cancel the order, or raid cash from somewhere else and pay a different bill by credit card? I am really really annoyed about this, possibly out of all proportion to the inconvenience, but no - one said I have to be rational!

Knitting progress is good, I cast on the baby blue furry edged hoodie on Sunday, it's knitted all in one piece and then the furry bits are added to the front borders and hood, I've done the back and half of each sleeve so far and the scarf for number 2 niece is well into the second of 3 50g balls. I've worked out that if I knit all the needed scarves to the point where they are at a minimum useable length then I can switch to the Christmas shawls, finish them then add to the scarves if I have time. My questions are whether or not the hoodie will be a) done by next Tuesday and b) be too girlie, it is in blue, but it does have furry fluffy bits!

Sorting the flat out is slower, although I have 4 bags of rubbish to go out when the bin men come on Thursday - more than double my usual amount, so I must have achieved something - mustn't I?

I gave my physio the scarf I'd made for her when I saw her on Monday - I just have one more seesion with her this month then I'm on my own and have to keep motivated to go to the gym without her invaluable encouragement. She seemed really surprised that I'd given her anything, but to me her help in getting started improving my fitness/health is priceless.