Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Xmas Curses

It's that time of year again. Yes I know Hallowe'en hasn't been and gone yet but apparently everyone needs to give us horribly gendered and ageist present recommendations! Yay for us!

Amazon thinks Mums like perfume, clothing accessories and easy listening. Dads just love bestselling electronics (illustrated with a Kindle - obviously a man thing), golf gear and whisky. Grandpas are the real losers, poor bastards, they get Crossword solvers, aftershave and socks. At least Grandmas get mystery books to enliven the umbrellas and foot care products. Umbrellas? Because every Grandma needs more than one. Stylin' it Granny needs one for every outfit.

Apparently as a Wife I like romantic comedy (you can fuck right off), earrings (ok, maybe, depending) and straighteners (er, no) and my Dear Husband would like a compact camera (only if he's allowed to take pictures of my arse with it), multi-tools (admittedly convenient for impromptu torture) and watches (er, no. Why does he need one when he has a mobile phone with the time on it? Who gives fuck if Pierce Brosnan is advertising it? Who the hell's Pierce Brosnan anyway?).

Hang on a moment...  it looks like Husband and Dad with their electronics are having a whole lot more spent on them than Wife And Mum. You bastards. Of course Grandma and Grandad can make do with stuff from the pound shop. They're old.

Fuck easy listening and romantic comedy. But not mystery books, they rock.


Please excuse me while I find a wall to beat my head against for a short while.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Day Trip. Another One.

This weekend Mara and I went to the Knitting and Stitching show with her new squeeze. MrK would have been bored out of his skull before we even got there but Mr. New Squeeze was interested and helpful and cheerful throughout. I may have to send MrK over for lessons. (Only joking. I don't really consider the inability to happily spend 6-7 hours at a knitting expo a flaw requiring correction.)

I managed to stay within budget by the clever tactic of leaving my card in the car and only having cash with me. This was my yarn haul:

Colour! Hurrah! I'm wondering what on earth to do with the gorgeous lace-weight silk in the bottom right that won't result in clown barf. Maybe I should keep the skein as pet yarn and just admire its lovely colours and stroke it occasionally, rather than knitting with it.

I also got a clever device called an umbrella swift which will take some, if not all, of the swearing out of winding yarn from the skein into a ball. For the non-yarnies among my readers a skein is what you see in the picture above where the yarn is twisted into a rope and round upon itself. When opened out that's like big loops of yarn and needs to be wound into a ball before it can be knit up. This process is not conducive to calm or air clear of F%&$!!!, at least not for me. The fancier the yarn the less likely it is to come already wound into balls like the one in the centre of the pic.

I need to buy a new yarn storage box. Again. Damn.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Lanesplitter skirt

I've finally finished my lovely red Lanesplitter skirt:

I'm really pleased with it, although it makes my little belly stick out a bit. Meh. I've made a fairly significant modification in my addition of the wide elastic waistband. The pattern says that you should pick up stitches from the top edge and knit a casing for elastic. I hate elastic casings with a passion - they are so monumentally unflattering even in a thin woven fabric. In a hand knit? Double yuck.

So I bought some extra wide elastic and measured round me so that it would be snug and a little bit cinchy (but not too much - I want to have space for pie and beer!) and cut it with a little bit extra so if I needed to undo it and expand it by half an inch or so later there would be space. I sewed it up on my sewing machine using a wide and short zig zag stitch:
Then I seamed the skirt using bodged mattress stitch. At this point I tried on my elastic waistband and my skirt to check there was nothing going horribly wrong. There wasn't. Hurrah! I then turned the skirt inside out and placed the elastic inside at the top edge. I decided against using my sewing machine on such a chunky, fuzzy and bumpy knit fabric so carefully handstitched the elastic to the skirt, easing the skirt to fit the smaller waistband as I went. I pinned it before sewing to keep the easing nice and even.
And that's it. Finished!

Although it's pictured here with the waistband on display I think I'll wear it mostly with a longer top. My waistband means I can wear it with a tight top if I want without having the wodge of a knitted casing at my waist. Now I want the autumn weather to return (we're having unseasonally warm weather here) so I can wear it with tights, my brown knee boots and a nice jumper or blouse. Or maybe combat boots... hmm... I'm off for a wardrobe rummage!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


Not quite sure that it's there
This ethereal lace
Insubstantial like air
Just a touch on the face

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Three jumpers in potentia

Last week I was browsing ebay, as I sometimes do when bored out of my skull. Clicking 'watch' on shoes and clothes and yarn I like but will probably never come back and buy. If I wanted it that much I'd bid on it right there and then, wouldn't I? I clicked through to my watch list and spotted something I'd put on there months ago from a yarn store, now on sale. So I got over 2000 metres of cherry red Aran weight Araucania Nature Wool for about thirty quid. Then Mara and I went into our local yarn store and, oh look they're having a sale here too, and so I got 12 balls of black Rowan Classic Cashsoft Aran and 9 of maroon Rowan Classic Extra Fine Merino DK too. Oops. The cash card breathed in sharply, but it coped.

I have an ancient black hooded cardigan I was planning on knitting a replacement for, but there isn't really enough of the black for that so my new hoodie will be BRIGHT CHERRY RED and I think I will knit myself a sexy jumper by Ysolda Teague which has been queued for ages from the black. As for the maroon... inspiration will strike no doubt but it's beautifully soft and squishy and a very 'me' colour (and machine washable!).

It's funny, this yarn purchase has pulled me out of a knitting slump. I have things to knit, things I want to knit, things I want to own and therefore need to knit, but there was nothing exciting me. But buying yet more yarn I don't really need has given me a spark. Why does that happen? Is it some symptom of the materialistic culture I've internalised?

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Last week MrK and I trundled off to Wales where my family had hired a cottage for the week. This cottage:

What do you mean 'what cottage?' The one snuggled in under the pine trees in the middle of the picture. That cottage. Behind the cottage can be seen the Glyderau, a group of mountains we conquered later in the week. Well, we didn't conquer them really, we got to the summit of one and between looking at wild flowers, collecting pretty stones, looking at the view, taking pictures, stopping to eat rhubarb&custards, not to mention my Dad's dodgy knees on the downwards path it took us about twice as long as it would take a group with good knees and bugger all interest in their surroundings. But what's the point of going up Glyder Fawr if you can't stop to collect quartz crystals and laugh at sheep on the way up?

My sister's an outdoors instructor. She's good at this stuff and kindly loaded her car up with five kayaks so we could all go kayaking and we spent two happy mornings drifting about on lakes saying 'why am I going in a circle AGAIN?' It was great fun. Pics later maybe if I can get them off my Sis who has a funky waterproof camera. I have to say - Kayaking gear is not the most flattering fashion wear ever although somehow MrK managed to look like a mafia hit man in a kayak. I understand how he looks like a mafia hit man any time he wears a DJ, but in a kayak? That's skill.

Between the mountains and the lakes we even had a little time to wander through the Gwydyr Forest:

In short we had a lovely time and I managed to finish MrK's socks on our very first evening there thanks to getting some serious knitting in during his share of the driving.

They're a mite short in the foot. He has broad and relatively short feet which make footprints exactly like yeti footprints and I overdid the shortness slightly, but not to an uncomfortable degree so he can put up with it. Also nothing, NOTHING would persuade me to work with that yarn again.

Hurrah for family holidays and socks!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Works In Progress

I have multiple knitting projects on the go at the moment. Some are mere moments away from completion, were I a speedy, dedicated and skilled knitter. If only.

My lanesplitter skirt....

... is about an hour from having the knitting done. An hour if I drink tea and chat and generally don't knit very much. Of course then there'll be elastic to wrangle. I've an idea for how to make it more flattering than knitting a casing up from the edge as the pattern calls for. Watch this space.

My boot socks for MrK are past the heel on the second sock. So at the rate I knit socks they're unlikely to be finished for our family walking holiday next week.

I might finish them while we're away assuming my Dad doesn't ply me with so much beer I'm incapable the whole time and it's a fair bet he will. Also: unexpected problem with using vintage yarn for these bastards? Lots of places where one of the three plies is broken. Or the yarn is just broken. Or there's a knot. So there are lots of ends to work away. Grrrr.....

The purple neckwarmer is more than half done, and the shawl has a row added now and again and is moving as fast as I'd expect something with lace to move when it's me in control of the needles. But what about Blue Love?

Erm... what indeed. I struggled through the left boob with lots of swearing and honestly can't be fucked to continue at the moment. I suspect (hope?) I'll finish it off sometime over the winter. It feels harsh to complain about a pattern that's free but... just... *sigh* I hope I can remember the alterations I made and the ways I fudged it so the fronts match just a little.Ha ha ha ha ha.

Oh and there's my Sunset Scarf:

I work on this now and again when I want to knit something pretty and fun but not difficult with lovely yarn. It's about a foot long now and I don't honestly care when I finish it. 2015 is fine by me.