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)