Thursday, 21 April 2011

Hats off to the Lads

Some of these hats date back to the beginning of the year though the last one was finished as recently as a few weeks ago. There is another one completed but was a gift and forgot to take a photo before I gifted it.
 They are all stash busters from part used balls in my leftovers basket, but the pattern I used for the two in the picture below is this . I'm fairly sure the yarn used for Luke's charcoal one is Robin Aran with wool, some leftovers of a huge 400grm ball that I've had knocking about in the basket forever. Hubby's version in claret and blue in honour of his football team Aston Villa. It is knitted in some Rowan that I think is Cashsoft that came out of the bargain bin without a label in House Of Fraser some time ago . A fantastic pattern, well written and easy to read as well as a great looking hat to boot. The hat in the photo above that Luke is wearing whilst trying to disappear at breakneck speed cos I welding a camera, is a DK version I cobbled together. I think it is knitted in Sirdar country Style in a silvery grey colour.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


My husband turned 40 last week (so congratulations to him) and although it wasn't the original plan honestly, I managed to pull off a corker and gave him yarn for his birthday he he!!
He casually asked several weeks ago for a Union Jack cushion for the back of the car, and I did indeed  give a not too committable answer that when I got chance I would make him one. Probably his not too subtle hint for a birthday present but it was noted and I decided that I wanted to do it in secret and surprise him with it for his birthday.

Unfortunately I had a few other things on the needles at the time, with plans for a jacket for me (that I really should be getting on with, that I want to wear for a wedding we have been invited to in 10 days time!!) Then the boys breaking up for the Easter holidays together with the fact that I knew I had all the yarn I needed in my stash but could not find the single ball of bright red that I KNOW is in there somewhere, it got to the point where it wasn't even worth starting it as I knew I would not be finished on time. I ended up buying shiny new yarn and wrapping it up with an IOU. I was impressed that he ended up with yarn for his birthday... but he wasn't. He is looking forward to having his cushion for the back of the car though!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Mothers Day Spoils

I had some lovely presents.and I was in deed spoiled rotten. I am a very lucky mummy indeed.

My favourite is a framed photo of all 4 of my children together in the same room at the same time!! It was taken at Christmas when all 4 children had a Nerf blaster each from Santa. Christmas 2010  will forever be known in this house as the Nerf Wars year! I also had this very cute teapot/cup set. Not sure if you can read what is on it but it says "Mothers are like Flowers, they brighten your day" Isn't that sweet.
It was also Max's idea and on his insistence apparently that I also had 10 Snickers bars. Yum Yum but bang goes the diet.

I also had some very comfy slippers. I've already gone to go "out" in them several times because I forget I've got them on. If you meet me in the corner shop grabbing some milk and bread whilst wearing them please excuse me, I probably haven't noticed that I'm wearing them still.

I also received some Mothers day tokens... that's yarn money to you and me. So on Tuesday I went somewhere I've been just itching to go since last November but have been resisting as a yarn shop with empty pockets is for me a form of Chinese water torture.
  Stitch Perfect is a new shop just outside Birmingham City center and I was very excited when I was invited to join the group on Ravelry. They sell lots of the lovely posh yarn until now for me only available on the t'internet, I was in for a lovely treat when I stepped through the door. In fact I was pretty overwhelmed by all the colour and fiber contrast available, so much so I forgot to ask the very friendly and extremely helpful assistant/owner her name in spite of the fact that I spent a long time in the shop chatting.

As you can see my 4 month yarn diet is well and truly broken (though in all honesty I had a blip a few weeks ago in Hobbycraft with some Wendy Mode in Chunky on offer, it was criminal to leave it there, and it was an allowed purchase ie, one I didn't have to sneak into the house and hide).
I'm very excited to have somewhere that sells Garnstudio Drops, beautifully soft yarn and brilliant quality for the price. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet, but for now I just wanted to own some.
I bought a new cable for my Knitpro interchangeable needles, I struggled with a project a few weeks ago when I needed to knit 2 sleeves simultaneously  and had to use a much longer cable for the one than needed. Magic loop is not my forte.

This very special Briganta (isn't the colour lovely), is to make myself a very (hopefully) special item to wear to the 4 weddings we have so far this year been invited too.
Right now I'm trying to finish a few little projects I have on the go so I can get started, I also desperately hope I have enough yarn to finish it as although I am planning another trip quite soon to Stitch Perfect, they only carry small amounts of each yarn and so trying to match dye lots could be a problem.

Thank you very much to Leigh-Ann, Luke, Zakk and Max and of course hubby for a fantastic day and my presents.

Monday, 7 March 2011

It's All About Moi...

Moi, moi, moi and yes moi! Selfish knitting aplenty here AND I found the camera cable so I have pictures (ok so they aren't good ones but I have em)!! Hold me down please, the excitement is just too much. I may explode.

First up, this is the first thing I knitted on my Signature needles that I had for Christmas.
The pattern is Silver Tunic (though mins is obviously in pink) by Sian Brown and it was taken from Knitting Magazine 084 Christmas 2010. Yarn used is Sublime's Cashmere merino silk DK (colourway 0053). I bought this from whilst I was at Harrogate. It took 10 balls pretty much exactly.
A fairly easy and quick knit, the lace pattern is an easy and short repeat that I didn't have to tink too much whilst watching TV at the same time. I've worn it a few times and it is comfortable. Yarn pills quite easily though. I hate that!

This pattern is Ava, taken from Let's Knit magazine 034, September 2010 issue. Yarn used is Sirdar Countrystyle colourway 0533 which is a pale silvery/blue grey. In fact on my monitor the colour likeness is coming up quite close. It took 4 balls with just under half a ball left.
I'm a little hesitant when knitting patterns from Let's Knit as they have a reputation for mistakes. There was a few typo's on the yoke part which might trip up a less experienced knitter but other than that I had no other problems with it. I do like the finished article a lot though.

This is Owl's by Kate Davies, Ravelry link here or the link to Kate's fabulous and inspirational blog is  here.
I fell in love with this a while ago as well as few of Kate's other designs. Beautiful colourwork that I am almost disappointed that spring is here so I know that I won't be knitting  much more winter stuff until the autumn. I am also on a serious yarn diet (aren't we all) and cannot afford to buy the yarns needed in the colours I want at the moment. 4ply in my stash is rare. Stash busting is the name of the game for me for now and this what I used the left overs from Leigh-Ann's heart pocket cardigan for. The yardage on this yarn is amazing, I used just over 4 balls for this. (421grms to be precise). The pattern template I'm sure I will use again, it is well written and easy to follow but there is a mistake on the short row stitch counts on the back of the neck . I coped OK by looking at the stitch counts of what I did have had to what I should have had, then comparing it to the smaller sizes. (the mistake happens after the extra instructions for the larger sizes), and I managed to work it out from there placing them just inside the back edges. I didn't realise that you don't have to do the short row shaping at first but I'm getting old and the warmer the back of my neck is by raising the back neckline the better.

For now more selfish knitting is happening although I have some small things to show you next time just to prove that I haven't totally forgotten everyone else.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

For Leigh

I'm an idiot. I am so full of dumb.
 I've managed to lose misplace the camera cable so, at the moment I cannot download any pictures. This is why there has been another blogging break, (sigh) and believe me it has been weighing heavily on my mind. I have quite a few finished projects too, typical.
 I've just had the idea to look at what pictures were downloaded before the cable went missing, and compare to what I did get around to blogging about during the catch-up period.. I hadn't realised that I hadn't blogged about this.

 This is a cardigan I made for my daughter Leigh-Ann. It was meant to be for Christmas but it actually got finished a few days after Christmas day, it was fine I hasten to add, she's a grown up so no melodrama..No pattern link I'm afraid, this was knittted and made up  designed by moi as I went along.   It was a requested item from something Leigh-Ann had saw online, a picture of something similar (which I glimpsed at once whilst trying to cook tea) but then she lost it and couldn't find it again. I don't think there is much to worry about copyright wise (I hope). I had the instructions of "a long (past her bum) chunky cardi, it has to have pockets and can you please put love hearts on the pockets. It also has to have a deep and wide V-neck".  The one online would have been machine knitted for a start and she thought that maybe it only came in one colour anyway (and that was dark brown, she doesn't like dark brown) so could I please make her one in a different colour.  It is knitted in a cheap acrylic bought from Harrogate for this purpose. Tawny family favourites chunky in a dusky pink. Money has been very short the last few months and I couldn't simply afford to use anything else. even for a present. Leigh=Ann doesn't mind (and being a very novice kntter knows no different). I did however totally over estimate how much I would need and have  had enough left to make something else for me, that is however another blog post for when I replace find the cable for the camera.
I am pleased with the outcome... though not half as much as Leigh-Ann is. She wears it constantly. She also reckons she has had a large amount of "OMG where did you get that cardi "s. Please ask your mum to make me one too. 
A few semi serious enquiries that I'm not committing to cos for the moment I'm busy, catching up on selfish knitting ;0)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Crimbo Catch Up

Ladies and gentleman, thank you very much for your patience during the interruption, normal catch-up blogging shall now resume.

Here's a few more items, Christmas presents for 2 of my favourite girls, Charlotte and Gina.

Firstly for Charlotte, I felt more than a little guilty because she had asked me for a jumper she'd found in one of her mum's pattern books a while ago. I also realised a while ago later that there was no way I would be able to do it in time for Christmas, even though I said at the time it wouldn't be a problem. So I was left to thinking what would make up for the disappointment of not getting the jumper she had requested. The girl is Eclipse mad, barmy for Edward the Vampire etc. and Looking on Ravelry I found these and figured they would be perfect..I think by the smile on her face I hit the jackpot with Bella's mittens. Yarn used was a last minute dash to a LYS and all I could get was King Cole value chunky in a mid grey. But they look pretty good and I was really pleased at how they came out. I also considered making myself a pair and I may still do that yet.
Next but not least we come to Gina's present. The hat started out being for myself, I found the yarn in a local LYS (the same as where I bought the above for Charlotte's present) way back in September and I fell in love with the colours. The yarn is King Cole Riot. So I bought a ball to treat myself to a new hat for the autumn, as well as do another test hat for the hat pattern I done for Luke .I was almost done when Liz and the girls popped round for a cuppa . Gina too fell in love with the yarn when she what I was working on. I made a mental note there and then to get some more and make her a present with it, but once I'd tried the hat on after they'd gone it was a tighter fit than Luke's version so straight away I put it was in the gift pile with Gina's name on it. Her head is a little smaller than mine so I knew it would be fine on her.

I knitted the arm warmers to match, although they don't match each other. I had to do them as fraternal rather than identical, but I think Gina quite liked that. The pattern is improvised, and trying to knit for someone whose arms are much slimmer that your own and trying to judge the length was fun!!!  They are just stocking stitch tubes with ribbing each end and a hole made  on each by casting off a few stitches on one row and casting them back on the next round for thumb holes.

Sunday, 23 January 2011


Ladies and gentleman, we bring you an up to date newsflash as a direct interruption to the never ending perpetual catch-up of this knitters activities that happen whilst not actually blogging. We thank you for your patience in this matter.

I am getting mildly obsessed with colour work. I keep dreaming about it. I'm loving all the Fairisle patterns out there at the moment, on jumpers, hats an even mittens. Mittens!! I live in a (supposedly) temperate climate (although the last 2 winters have been very unusually freakin cold), but I really want to knit not only beautiful, colourful intricate mittens I want to knit them with linings too! I think I am going more than a little mad.
After twice writing a rather lengthy post about how it all started (but they were both eaten by the soddin laptop, ggrrrrr autosave my piggin arse) it is now midnight and I am very sorry but I am not about to write it again. Not tonight at any rate :0(
It will have to be enough to say that Kate Davies, SpillyJane and Yarn Harlot, you three have a lot to answer for!
Now I'm off to bed dream some more about Herring Tams, Blue Hippo Mittens and what instructions I need to follow in order to make some beautiful FO's. Goodnight!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Thank You SS

Still on catch up, and this is a quick post so I'll keep it short and as sweet as possible.
This is the SS gift I received from Nelly who is a fellow member of Fekkers, a forum that I'm a member of and visit most days. She is the same Nelly who was also at Harrogate on my last posting, of whom I sat next to on the ever lasting but highly enjoyable ride home from the knitting and stitching show.

I received a beautifully knitted lacy scarf, made from Sirdar Blur. It is so light, warm and fuzzy and has already been worn a few times. As an extra bonus it goes beautifully with the new coat I had for Christmas. In fact the temperature outside has took a serious nose dive this morning so it kept me warm and cosy on the school run and walking my neighbours dog this morning.

These are a few pics of the SS present that I sent.

My recipient was the lovely Leigh and I knew she was Disney and Mickey Mouse mad and I definitely wanted to to do something to reflect that. Leigh also sent me my SS gift last year and she had hit the nail on the head by sending me a Christmas bauble filled with buttons. I'm sure I've mentioned my button fetish once or twice before....
I did struggle for a few days trying to think of the perfect gift to send when I had the brainwave of a cushion.

I used a chart from a copy of this book. I had it many years ago and lost it in a house move, but then found another copy on a car boot a few years ago. This is the first time I've ever actually used the book to knit from, and then I just used a chart for a design that was used for a jumper in the book. I had a nightmare in that the cover didn't actually fit the original cushion that I bought as I'd not allowed enough room for how much smaller it would be once the Fairisle was worked. That involved a last minute dash to the shops in order to purchase a smaller one. The yarn used was Sirdar Countrystyle DK for the main body of the cover and just some oddments out of my basket for the the characters. The lovely GG donated me a ball of black whist I was staying at her house for Harrogate, as I started the project on my way home. The very lovely buttons were from my stash, more than likely out of an Ebay bulk buy of a job lot.
Combined with the problems I had with the boys Star Wars hats I've come to realise that my colour work needs a lot of work and with some of the fabulous patterns I've come across the last few weeks it's something I aim to tackle in the next few weeks. But that will be another blog post!! ;0)

Friday, 14 January 2011

Oh Dear, Now We're On Catch-Up Catch-Up

I've done it again haven't I, gotten so embroiled in everyday life that blogging has passed me by yet again! Sorry folks, life was so hectic, busy and chaotic in the run up to Christmas and New Year (Happy New Year by the way) that time just flew by, and, before I knew it, we are are almost halfway through January.

I think last time I blogged I was looking forward to Harrogate for the Knitting and Stitching Show at the end of November. Did she get there I hear you ask????? To that, I answer yes I did. I travelled up to Yorkshire on the Saturday morning after a concerned week as to whether I would get there at all because of the weather. We had snow early this winter here in the UK, because it was a surprise and because we are so unused to it, pretty much everything can and sometimes seems to come to a standstill. There hadn't been that much snow at that point, just an inch or 2 in Birmingham and a little? bit more up north. Well there was enough to cause some minor disruption but the trains were still running and the weather forecast was OK, so after a few concerned conversations with hubby (who was a little worried)about me getting back or being stranded on a train or in a station Sunday night if the weather took a turn for the worse. After trying to reassure him of course as much as possible that it would all be tickety boo. I went !!!!!!

I arrived at GG's and HWN's fine, (the only delay was on the local line at the other end due to staffing problems, not the weather). I had a lovely time Saturday spending it with with my friends, I was made to feel very welcome, spoilt rotten, fed to bursting and looked after wonderfully. They are really a wonderful couple.
I also finished a hat which I'd started on the journey up. I don't travel on the train very often, and big stations like Birmingham New Street that are very busy and a little!! like a maze, make me nervous and panicky. I also had to catch a connection in Leeds (where I'd never been before so had no idea of the station layout) of which I had to wait a short time for, so I wanted something simple that I could pick up and put down easily, so I went ultra simple from my head for my head. The pattern started off as another copy of Luke's hat, but I knitted it in a odd ball of Rowan tapestry and I was having serious doubts about having enough so I altered the decreases slightly to try to make sure I wouldn't run out. I did have some left over but I'm not sure if it would have been enough for the original pattern or not.
I wore this hat a lot before Christmas, it fits quite well considering the accelerated decreases but, I had a new gorgeous dark green duffel coat or Christmas and it doesn't go with it as nicely as with my old coat. As the weather warms up I will wear it and my old coat again but for now it is languishing at the bottom of the hat basket waiting until then.
I wore my hat to Harrogate on Sunday. We got up early to a beautiful blue cloudless sky and so very cold of temps of well below -10, even in the car a hat was needed. GG's daughter, the wonderful M was going to Harrogate too, so after she arrived at GG's we set off to collect the lovely Nelly and lovely Jan (some fellow Fekkers) on the way. The countryside was very pretty with it's few inches of snow blanket a very bright white with the sun glistening in it.
We had a great day, even though the show itself wasn't as busy as last year, crowd wise or exhibitor wise. We thought the weather had a lot to answer for, and for the lack of visitors that must certainly have been true, but we were puzzled at some of the big company names missing, until we spoke to one of the organisations that were showing there. Apparently the stall fees had gone up a lot for that year so a lot of companies had pulled out or decided not to bother. It also explains why there much fewer bargains than the year before. Not only were there not as much knitty stuff this year but the amount of needlework fabric and notions as well as cross stitch available had gone up considerably. There also seemed to be a few more not related to craft at all stalls that had also crept in. But as much as I had gone up for the show, the real reason was to see friends that I talk to on-line pretty much everyday but are not able to see more than once a year. I have now managed to see some of them several times in person despite living so far from them. We also got to see the lovely Donna (another fellow Fekker) and her lovely daughter Rosemary who we met up with for lunch, a chin wag and a show and tell of what we'd all bought.
Now I did buy stuff honestly, not loads but I did buy some yarn and a few buttons etc but the next pictures are a bit of a cheat as I forgot to take some, both when I got home and after Christmas day. My spending money as usual came in the form of cash to buy my own Christmas presents from my 2 eldest children and my MIL, even though I bought the money from my MIL back home with me and bought my new coat the following weekend with it! So when I retuned home (eventually that is, and I'm getting to that bit) I had to hand them over where they would not be seen again until Christmas day. So my apologies that these photos weren't taken until a few mins ago after going on a retrieval hunt, I've had to dig them out of cupboards, from my stash under my bed and other bits from baskets and knitting bags. I hadn't realised they were all so scattered around.

This is pretty much my total haul, though reduced in that the pink Sublime cashmere merino silk (from Black Sheep Wools) was 10 balls but, as it is my WIP at the moment there is only 2 balls left and they will soon be knitted up pretty sharpish.
There are also some ball of pink chunky to the left of the pic, though bought at Harrogate they were for me to make a present for someone else rather than a present for me.

This beautiful silk mini project bag, I spotted first, sorry Nelly and Jan who both liked it too but it was the only one in this pattern., the other patterns were pretty but this one was lush! I can't remember where it came from, I did put a business card in the bag but it is now empty. If I come across it I will update and add it.

Just a little close up at the scrummy yarn. The Rowan actually wasn't quite bought at Harrogate. A little more about that in a minute!

Some vintage buttons that came from a stall that sold not only vintage buttons but vintage dress patterns and lots of other vintage equipment for stitching of all descriptions. They are surrounded by the contents of a bag of buttons from The Button Lady.

From inside The Harrogate International Centre there aren't many vantages to see outside, but on the morning had been beautiful, very cold for a soft southerner like me but sunshine and lots of it (and did I mention?) with not a cloud in the sky. About 3 pm we happened to notice some skylights, and the snow coming down very thick through those skylights! The thought crossed our minds that it may be wise to leave early, my train home from GG's wasn't until 7.30pm but if the snow carried on it may cause problems. We saw some more skylights 10 minutes later and the blue sky was back so we gave a sigh of relief and carried on looking for a stand that sold back issue magazines that we'd seen earlier but had disappeared. 20 mins later we still hadn't found the stand we wanted but we did spot that the sky had gone very dark and that the snow was coming down again, very heavily. We were in 2 groups to walk around the halls but we met back up quickly and decided to leave straight away. We were in fact out of there in minutes and were shocked at home much snow had come down in such a short amount of time and it was still coming down in bucketfuls of blizzard proportions. Put that with the snow already on the ground and the Arctic temps from the previous night and you have some pretty horrendous conditions for driving. The multi storey car park we were in very near to the halls has a very steep drives going into and out of it. There was also a queue of other people all with the same idea at roughly the same time of making an early move and getting out of the car park alone was something GG told us after she didn't think we were going to make without getting out and pushing. The car struggled to get a grip on the very steep incline to get back onto the road, the car in front was also struggling and despite a huge gap between them and us it was still hold your breath in case they slid back into us. We made it out of the car park and the traffic was already bad. As well as the Knitting show, it was also a lot of peoples last pay day before Christmas so lots of people had been Christmas shopping in the town centre, there was also another show on elsewhere in the town or so I was told. Down the road in York there was also a huge Christmas Fayre on, which also generated a lot of traffic. All this added together caused us huge problems. Over 2 hours later we were still in Harrogate sitting in gridlock traffic having moved no more than a hundred yards or so. At that point it was looking unlikely that we were going to get back in time for my train. 90 minutes later and again we were still in Harrogate, I had to phone hubby and tell him what was happening. I was safe, in good company (very good company, we spent most of that time stuck in traffic in fits of giggles) but I wouldn't be home as expected late that night, I would let him know as soon as we got back to GG's what would be happening. He wasn't very happy obviously but there was nothing any of us could do. I had joked about being snowed in at GG's for a week and that I was looking forward to it, but I never for a minute thought it would happen. My biggest concern was that I hadn't booked an open train ticket in an effort to keep the cost of my trip down. I had left plenty of time for getting back so as to cover what I thought would be every eventuality, knowing that the journey from Harrogate to GG's shouldn't take more than an hour or so and that she only lived round the corner from the train station. Silly me eh?? In the end we got back to GG's 5 and a half hours later. The only reason it was that early was because Nelly's husband came and collected Nelly and Jan from a service station which was at a halfway point, so GG didn't have to try and drive down rural lanes to drop them off. Nelly's husband obviously knows their local area well and which roads were best to use and where he would be least likely to get stuck. The weird thing was though, once we were a few miles away from Harrogate there was hardly any snow at all, in fact no snowfall at all for some of the journey home, and the snow from the previous fall had all gone! Apparently Harrogate is quite high up so the weather can hit there pretty hard! The problems we had were pretty much localised to the area and although Leeds and York also had problems I'm not sure they were as bad as we had.

Once back at GG's with a nice hot meal inside us was the problem of trying to sort out then how to get home???? Trains were far too expensive so close to the travel time, it would have been £50 of which ,quite frankly I did't have, National Express wasn't much better either at around £40. Whilst stuck in traffic , we had spotted a Mega-Bus, a company that offers cut price travel around the country. Jan had said that she had used this company to travel Birmingham on several occasions (she is originally from the same area of Birmingham where I live now and still has family that live, whom she visits) and were pretty good. M looked up the website for me and my fare home?? It cost just £9.00. I booked for it the following afternoon, if we had more bad weather I wanted to make sure that the bus would be running and that I could get to it to catch it as it meant getting to Leeds. If it snowed again overnight then I reckoned the roads would be easier to travel later after a certain amount of traffic had travelled through them, also give gritters etc a chance to be out. Also GG looked exhausted, it was hard work for her driving for that, being stuck in that traffic all that time and some decent sleep for her was much needed. An early get up for all of us to be honest the following morning was out of the question. The Mega bus went from Leeds which is still a fair bit of travelling from GG's house and although I expected and then offered to get the train to Leeds both GG and HWN insisted that they would take me by car get the bus. It was a good job they did, the bus stop wasn't in the main bus station, it was in fact very hard to find, but GG after remembering something Jan had said about where the stop was being opposite a pub, we got there with minutes to spare, and so I was soon on my way home to Brum. Tired and missing my family but happy from a lovely weekend.

The bus dropped me off in Birmingham city centre, just literally opposite the bus stop from where I catch the bus home in fact. Problem is I needed to use the toilet. I wouldn't use the one on the bus. I simply wasn't brave enough. So the necessity I had to venture into House Of Fraser to use the toilets after 3 hours or so on the bus was urgent, the pull on the way back down in the lift from the toilets on the 6th floor to the Haberdashery dept on the 4th floor was strong. The Rowan fine milk cotton on sale for £10 for a bag of 10x 50grms was screaming at me so loud it was deafening. Once it had my attention it lay there on the table whimpering until I relented and bought it home with me too. Well I had money left, so what was I supposed to do ;0)