The musings of an obsessive knitter and stash collector

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The month end

Before I list what I managed to do this month in spite of the sore shoulder I have to show you what came in the post today! Look at Hecate on the binder! Sibille, I can't begin to tell you what such a thoughtful present means to this particularly besotted cat mummy! I'm just starting going through my patterns to organise them so this folder will be the start of the project. I promise you that I will do everything I can to prevent her from trying her teeth on it. I'm sorry the flash refelected on the picture but it was too grey here today to not use flash!

In addition Sibille sent sock yarn - 200 grammes to add to the stash that I have failed to reduce this month (my confession will follow later) Ritter Sport flavours that I've never seen before and a big bag of Gummi bears - as you can see Ms Nosey Parker inspected them to make sure they were up to her exacting standards!

I've been playing with a new stitch pattern for the afghan today and I love it - the close ups are a little blurred but I'm highly impressed. This is the right side, they call it tweed, but the next picture is the reverse and I like this too, I'm contemplating a reversible sweater at some point! I'm sure it must be doable.

On to my completed list for January, I'm amazed, I've finished 2 scarves, 5 hats and 10 squares, I'm pretty impressed with the numbers. Where I've done less well is in stash reduction, I reduced my stash by 1.3 kg, partly because I passed over half a kilo of mohair on, but I then added 3 kg for a net increase of 2.3kg. To be fair everything that I bought was for specific purposes and I haven't counted the weight of the afghan as I'm hoping to subtract that from my total all in one go but it isn't the decrease that I planned in advance of Skip North!
My plans for February are pretty fluid, I'm aiming at making at least 4 more afghan squares, finishing the green Irish Hiking Scarf plus I think I know what patterns to make for the squares for the charity afghan we're doing at the SkipNorth weekend, we can do up to 3 so I want to do them as well, I guess that is enough to be going on with!

Monday, January 29, 2007

It had to happen

Given how much my cat likes to climb - last night while I was wasting time playing a computer game I heard a scrabbling noise and saw this!

She was very busy climbing on a pile of paper back books that didn't fit on the shelves when I first moved here and that had stayed up there very happily until just after I took this picture. I'm not going to show you the devastation she caused when she jumped down, suffice it to say that as an asthmatic I beat a hasty retreat to somewhere less dusty and will sort the mess out on Wednesday when I'm on strike.

I can at least show you a finished article - knitting chunky yarn is fun for a change - the last hat I made was 4 ply and took a week, this is chunky and took around 5 hours. It has come out a little big and used 150g of yarn all except about 6 feet which was cutting it a bit fine, but it did give me a feeling of accomplishment on a pretty nasty day. I do wonder why 2 young women on my bus decided that it would improve anyone's day to spend half the journey home repeatedly screaming at me to tell me exactly how fat and ugly they considered me to be and how much they hated my hair, eyebrows and the fact that I existed at all - all this in front of a toddler that appeared to belong to one of them. Luckily they didn't get off at my stop!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mostly sleeping

For some reason Hecate and I have spent most of today asleep - I watched a DVD of Longitude and another of Under Milk Wood but mostly I dozed serenely with her ladyship sprawled next to me on the settee. The green scarf is currently 30" long - it will get shorter when I block it so I'm aiming at 60" before I cast off, that is of course dependant on how bored with the pattern I get! I reverted to hat knitting again, I'm testing to see if I can get something reasonable out of a pretty chunky yarn on 6mm needles, I have a feeling it may end up too stiff, I like the tams to be a bit soft and slightly drapey. It's all in the grand stash shifting exercise though. I weighed the cone of yarn that I bought and the full weight including the cone is 448g so I'm counting it as 400g in.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Busy kitten

I don't encourage Hecate to eat human food, but she got her paw into a plate with some pretzels on it - she was fascinated they're just the right shape to play with and carry around. She does tend to think that she is a retriever cat and trots around my flat with things clenched in her teeth - often balls if yarn I'm afraid!

I didn't manage to catch a picture of her leaving with a pretzel in her teeth, but I did get this illustration of the concentrating cat, a mighty hunter of the dangerous cheddar flavoured pretzel!

I spent a great deal of today trying to work out why my washing machine wasn't working at all - it isn't spinning properly on good days but today it sat and did nothing at all. Eventually I downloaded the instruction manual and realised that somehow I'd turned the power off and failed to notice! I know the solution was free but it wasted a great deal of time and emotion and left me feeing very stupid! I did at least manage to finish the latest hat off, I ended up switing to 3mm DPN's instead of 3.25mm but I don't think it matters, if anything it helped to pull in the decreases a bit more.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Busy busy!

First we have knitting, the scarf has grown and is now just over 2 feet long, I've got the pattern firmly fixed in my head and got a whole lot of it done while mother and I sat and chatted about nothing in particular, we enjoy the quiet times we get to spend together.

Before I start on what we bought today, these arrived yesterday back issues of magazines that I've been wanting for a while, Knitscene and two Interweave Knits, one of my plus points for American magazines is the wider spread of sizes for most of the patterns, this means I can find things to knit for me and also for smaller friends and relations. There are 2 skeins of Maya here - intended for hats as Christmas gifts, I'm trying long range planning this year, I'm aiming to make one item a month if possible towards Christmas!

As you can see, Hecate was determined to get in on the act - she doesn't like being left overnight and has been playing at 'Velcro-kitty' acting as if she's glued to me ever since I got back, she's delayed blogging by an hour because she had climbed into my arms and wasn't shifting!

My local newsagents where I work gets Vogue Knitting so in the brief moments yesterday when one of the 4 lifts in our building was actually working I collected this as well - I'm not totally convinced by some of the odder patterns in VK but there are a couple of patterns I quite fancy trying - provided I have something suitable in my stash as I'm trying to be restrained until SkipNorth.

Now, here we are with things bought today, these are pens that change colour or are erased if you write over them with the white pens in the middle, they were heavily discounted as a promotion at the exhibition we were at, I have a couple of projects in mind that will make good use of them.

These card kits each make 5 cards and were 6 packs for £5 - so incredibly cheap that I added them to my 'to do for Christmas' collection.

There was a stall selling bags of roll ends of fancy ribbons, I'll sort these out so that it's easier to see what a massive amount I have here, but the whole lot - 5 bags - was less than £10 amd will be shared with a couple of friends.

I hadn't intended buying yarn today and I did resist piles of gorgeous yarns but, I had the yarn in the top bag already and didn't have enough for a project I wanted to design for myself, the bottom bag of yarn was on sale - £30 a bag instead of £70, that was way too good to resist!

I'm not sure how much this weighs, I'll check and add it to my tally, but it was only £1 and again I have a project in mind for it. Apart from this teh only other things I bought were a pair of knitting needles for my neighbour's grand daughter who wants to learn to knit, 2 more cable needles as I've lost all mine again and a gift for my friend Trish! Considering how much gorgeous crafting stuff was there and how much sock yarn and pure wool in luscious colours I think I was quite restrained!

Melissa, we had a lovely time and Sibille - I'm still reading up on designing my own knitwear, at the moment I'm still at the adding different colours stage, I am definitely going to try taking a simple pattern and resizing it next though!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just away

I'm staying with my mother on Thursday then going to a knitting and craft exhibitoin to spend money I don't have on yarn I don't really need, I'll be back on Friday I expect with purchases to show you. For today, imagine the scarf from yesterday a bit longer and me reading this, bought second hand and full of colour ideas, I tend to knit plain shapes but add colour so this is good for new patterns and colours although the actual patterns are little use to me all apparently being designed for people with a bust smaller than 40"!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Look, I made a decision!

Yesterday I was agonising over what to do next when inspiration struck!
last year I started knitting an Irish Hiking Scarf that never got finished, mostly because I was knitting it from a cone and you just can't carry around a cone of yarn on the bus. I looked at what was left of the green yarn and realised I easily had enouhg to make a scarf to match the too small for me hat and I'd have a gift ready for next Christmas - how's that for planning ahead??
Anyway, I've remembered the pattern again quickly and this is currently ideal bus knitting, especially as my shoulder is slowly improving, I won'y promise it will get finished in one go but I'm enjoying it and I'm regarding it as limbering up for the cable patterns in some of teh learn to knit afghna squares.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Finished another

This hat is made from Debbie Bliss merino double knitting, I picked it up cheap some time ago and I don't like it much - it tends to be a bit splitty to me. For some reason although I knitted it to the same pattern with the same number of stitches as my other double knitting hats it has come out a bit smaller, it will be going into the gift pile I think. I'll try blocking it sometime and see how it turns out, it's by no means a disaster but not a triumph either.
I'm not sure what to make next, I know I should be doing UFO's but I'm unibspired by them all so I may attempt a scarf to match this hat as I have some more of the yarn. Thinking about it, that may be a good idea - I might get a 2007 Christmas present finished in January - how about that?
Fred, I'm certain that my Hecate is at least imitating your cat if not actively channelling her!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Filling in time

Lacking the DPN's I need to finish the other hat and being totally uninspired by any of my WIP's I found a couple of balls of Debbie Bliss merino double knitting that will make yet another hat. I haven't doen that much as I was sorting my stash cupboard out with the help of Hecate.
I slept very late today as well, the pain killers are knocking me out more and more and the shoulder is no better as far as I can tell. The hat pattern is, at least safe, I know what I'm doing and can do it on auto pilot.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Small stash enhancement

I'm trying to find a yarn I can afford to use instead of kidsilk haze which I can't afford> I have her 4 balls of Crystal Palace kid merino, very soft feeling and pretty and £4.25 a 25g ball.
Underneath are 8 30g balls of Ice kid mohair bought on eBay and coming from Turkey - £10 the lot. Clearly the latter isn't the quality of either Crystal Palace or Kidsilk Haze but it is cheap and cheerful and will work for the lacey scarf pattern I have in mind I think.
Knitting arrived yesterday and Knit Today the day before, neither have anything in I'm likely to make for myself - nothing in big sizes anyway although if I knit for any children of friends I may use them. I'm increasingly thinking of ending subscriptions to them both but, I can't get to any shops to pick up the odd one that interests me so I persist for now.
In teh mean time while tidying in my 'office' today I found 400g of bamboo yarn that I know I had plans for but I'm bothered if I can remember what they were. Still, despite sleeping through much of the day I have removed two big bags of rubbish and cleared the debris out of the front garden following the storms on Thursday - that may explain the lack of knitting!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hecate helps me blog!

Hecate is fascinated by screeens with things on, TV sets and computer screens rivet her attention. Unfortunately she wants to pit the PC screen which is an expensive no no!

Remember when madam fitted in the palm of my hand? Will you look at her now? She's not fat, she jumps athletically around, she still tries to climb the four poster corner poles and can still be found balanced on the tops of doors, it's just that she's a cat not a kitten now and she gets shockingly in the way when I'm on the computer!

The hat has got about as far as it can before the DPN's in the correct size arrive and I only ordered them today, I could loop teh circular for a bit longer but I don't want to wind up with unwanted ladders so I shall put it to one side for now and try and clear one of my UFO's (although knowing me I'll eitehr a) cast on another hat or b) finish another afghan square)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The windiest of times

We had gale force winds here today, several people killed, chunks of buildings flying through the air, my journey home took 2 hours instead of 30 minutes and the hat grew a lot for 4 ply!
You can see pictures of the weather here.
There are trees down here but Im Ok and so is everyone that I know.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Currently working on...!

For those of you who may be wondering how I'm
spending my time as I'm clearly not getting large quantities of my usual knitting done this may help to explain! This is the pile of squares I've finished so far for my learn to knit afghan! I'm currently addicted to the slip stitch two colour patterns and fairly cantering through them! They are absolutely ideal bus knitting and light weight so don't aggravate my dodgy shoulder. I ended up not going away on Tuesday and Wednesday, travelling aggravates the shoulder and despite the additional pain medication I have I can't cope with the pain.

Just to prove I don't only knit squares I cast on another hat in Cashoft 4 ply, this one is going to take much longer than the double knitting hats I've been making but should be wonderfully light and soft (in theory). Next week I'm going with my mother to a knitting and needlecraft exhibition in Manchester wheer I want to pick up some of the shorter circular needles to make the hat obsession easier to pursue! I'm notplanning on any actual stash enhancement as I'm saving up for Skip North, but I dare say a couple of balls of yarn may follow me home!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Unexpectedly quick!

I hadn't expected to finish this last night but I was having such fun I just carried on. I forget when I make this pattern that once you reach the decreases it is incredibly quick to finish, after all you decrease 12 stitches every other round. It left me free to knit afghan square today on the bus and in the queue at the Dr's so it's been quite a productive day. I have new pain medication from my doctor and have to play the 'wait and see' game as she isn't sure what is causing all of the pain, some may be explained by a trapped nerve but I have pain in more than one nerve path. I'm off on my travels tomorrow but normal blogging should resume Thursday - I won't trust Hecate to post in my absence!

Sunday, January 14, 2007


For the first time in weeks we had sunshine today - I use a light box in winter to supplement the light I get but on totally grey days I can't fit enough extra light in to compensate for the gloom. Today has been good, I got almost all the washing caught up with, did soem kitchen cleaning, made soup and washed socks. Despite this mad hectic whirl of pleasure I stil got some knitting done. I'm stuck on teh pattern for teh next afghan square so I got on with hat number 2 - I'm nearly ready to start the shaping, just another 6 rounds to go. Hopefully if I get to knit on the bus I'll finish it on Monday - it just depends how late my Dr's surgery is running and how much knitting time I get in the queue.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Still around - honest!

I'm afraid I have succumbed to the temptation of another hat, as usual when I find a pattern that I like I repeat it quite literally ad nauseum! I have this ball of yarn that came from Fyberspates that has been waiting to tell me what it wants to be, I think it wanst to be another hat so I'm giving it a whirl. I've lost one of my 4mm DPN's so I'm struggling with it on a too long circular, another couple of rows and it will fit fine though so I'll have it for bus knitting next week. This week I've been mostly focussed on my afghan and have nearly finished 3 squares - well on target for Christmas 2007!
I know I'm not posting as regularly as I was doing, but I'm not knitting as much at present because of the painful shoulder which is also stopping me using my computer as much as usual too. I'm seeing my Dr on Monday then hopefully I'll have a better idea - yet again of what to do next - just as long as I can still knit a bit at least ! It doesn't seem to make my shoulder worse when I knit, it's painful intermitently even when I'm doing nothing.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hats off

Hecate says she works very hard while I'm at work, mostly carrying balls of wool around and putting toys in my shoes I think! This is a relaxed and exhausted cat laying next to me on the settee, I can't think of anything that looks more relaxed and trusting than a cat with its tummy exposed and legs and head pointing in all directions whiel she sleeps!

Finished! One hat, it needs blocking but I suspect I'll be wearing it today as it's cold and windy here at present. I debated adding a pom pom like the pattern said, but the way the colours have turned out around the decreases looks too good to me to hide! I'd inetended the decreases to show as spokes of a wheel but misread the instructions and got a spiral effect instead, luckily I like it. It only took 63g of double knit yarn to make and even with my restricted knitting at present was done in less than 3 days. I have a feeling I may be making more of them!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Climbing cat

Hecate had lost interest in her hanging pockets, so I put some spare scarves into 2 of them to get them out of the way. This, of course meant that her ladyship decided today that she wanted to be back up there. Somehow she managed to squeeze herself into the top pocket where she slept in great contentment for several hours this afternoon.

I couldn't resist getting pictures of her, but as you can see, she looks much less than impressed!

In fact, if anything she looks snooty here, as if she is saying 'How dare you disturb my sleep'!

Her sleeping out of the way has allowed me to finish this fluffy scarf - 150g gets added to my running total, not bad considering I've done much less knitting since I hurt my shoulder and neck, it is still not right, I'm going to have to admit defeat and go and see my doctor yet again I think.

I finished the waistcoat with some yarn to spare, so I'm attempting my first tam o'shanter, the yarn knits up to the sort of pattern that 'works' for that style of hat in my imagination, I'm not sure how it will turn out, but I've done the brim and a little bit of the underneath part of the top. The DPN's are a bit full, I'm sure I have some more somewhere but for now I won't risk carrying this item around on the bus, I suspect I'd spend far too much time picking up dropped stitches.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

First FO of the year - and a stash buster too!

I'd had a request for a soft pastel coloured scarf so I dug through the stash and found I had some funky fur sat there , 4 complete balls and an oddment of pink, two of the balls were variegated and by using 2 balls at one I've managed to turn this out during the last week and pass it to the person who wanted it as a a gift just uin time!
I'm going to try and keep track of the yarn weight that goes into articles I finish this year, so thus far this year my running total is 210g! I'm not sure what sort of target I can set myself for the year as I've no idea what I normally manage to achieve. I suspect it will depend on whetehr I work on things in chunky or revert to 4 ply socks!
I've not done much knitting today, I seem to have been asleep with Hecate cuddled next to me for a good part of the day! She does like it when I'm tired and she sleeps all over me without falling fould of my knitting.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hecate helps

Part of my plans for the next 3 months is to sort through all the storage boxes full of 'stuff' to see what can be used, what sold and what kept for future projects, the trouble with boxes and cats is they go too well together!

I found some old knitting pattterns in this box and soem computer games manuals, nothing that I could put to use instantly though, but I did fill a carrier bag with stuff that can go out. Maybe if I review all the boxes I might get rid of at least a few bags of things I don't need. If I keep doing this eventually there might be room to move again?

One thing I found that I simply must keep, I don't have much that I made when I was a child, but here we have a 'sampler' that I made at school when I was around 8 years old, I'm amazed it has survived for over 30 years, as I'll have no direct descendants to pass it on to I must see if any of my nephews(unlikely) or nieces would like it.
No knitting to show you today, I'm still working very slowly and limiting the time I spend for fear of upsetting my neck and shoulder - I'm in danger of being sensible here!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Yummy things

There's less knitting happening than usual still, I'm still taking pain killers for the sore shoulder, although less than I was, but by the time I get home from work I sit down, have something to eat and fall asleep with Hecate, not much knitting time is left. I suspect that knitting less while it heals is a good thing so I'm not fighting it. These very lovely chocolates arrived this week having been delayed in the Christmas mail on their way from Germany, thank you Sibille, they are very nice, I'm rationing them to make them last and to try and prove that I'm really a grown up!

A friend who doesn't knit very sweetly got her daughter to buy me some fancy yarn as a Christmas gift because she knew I'd knitted lots of it as Christmas gifts. I didn't have the heart to say that I was knitting all that type of yarn up with no intention of replacing it! Instead of having at most 4 or 5 scarevs worth of eyelash yarn left I seem to have around 10 again. I'm still hoping to use up all of it this year, I'm sorting through all my stash including the oddments of this type of yarn and I will use it all or give it to my neighbour to knit.

In the mean time I dug this book out for inspiration - originally published in 1943, it's very old fashioned, but I think a little gem. I may not be able to knit as much as I want at the moment, but I can plan knitting and make spreadsheets of all my plans for the year - I make wonderful plans even if I never actually achieve them!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Kitten loves me when I don't knit!

  • Although I think the shoulder is a little better I'm still finding knitting much makes it twinge so I've spent most of today asleep with Hecate, she much prefers me when I'm not knitting as the needles are such a temptation for her to play with when I knit.

    I've been trying to decide what my knitting priorities should be this year, yet again I have to face up to and deal with my many UFO's.
    My aim for the first three months of the year is to finish off the bright green v neck toddler's sweater, the second cable rib tunic and carry on with the variegated lilac sweater that is currently on the circular needle. For bus knitting I want to keep on with the learn to knit afghan squares, I'm hoping to make one square a week and any spare bus time spend on socks as I've had a nice long break from them.
    My other aims for the start of the year are:-
  • learning to use the new microwave properly, I've used it as a microwave but haven't experimented with the oven and grill yet
  • sort out using the external hard drive I bought myself
  • start sorting through the stash, and get it tidied up
  • have another try at selling our stitchmarkers
  • sort through my stash of counted cross stitch kits and see if any can be sold
  • go to SkipNorth without buying ridiculaous amounts of yarn!
  • enjoy myself!!! and not guilt trip myself if I don't achieve any of my plans as long as I've achieved soemthing and had fun!