Monday, January 30, 2006

Knitting Olympics

It's insane, but I've signed up for this, despite it starting a week before Textiles in Focus which swallows up the week around it, and being at SkipNorth for the second weekend. I'm going to do the Triangles within Triangles shawlette in this:

Cloud 9 from Heritage Yarns. It almost looks too pretty in the ball to knit.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

One week

... in which the joyous question of ISBN-10 to ISBN-13 "transitioning" took over my world. (And I do actually know that "transition" isn't a verb. I know that. Unfortunately the language gets "cascaded down". Interpret that as you will...). I also got a new job title and an Actual Job Description which more or less reflects what I do, for the first time in nearly 12 years; yay Richard.

... and some more knitting got done at the weekend. Two pairs of handwarmers. Please ignore the fact that I'm incapable of taking a picture of my own arm which doesn't make it look like something I've donated to science. Really quite weird. No humans were harmed in the taking of these photos, honest. Yes, I am this pale in the winter, but those are freckles, not some life-endangering skin disease... Honest...

This pair, which look even more Undead than the next ones, are in Jonelle Aran, bought years ago and Procion-dyed about 4 years ago. It's a rib pattern with horseshoe lace up the back...

This pair are a simple rib pattern in Gedifra Soffice - feels lovely. 51% wool, 49% acrylic...

Also made, a sweater for Ben(edict), 2 year old son of my college friend Dom and his wife Clare - AKA the newly-minted Deputy Ambassador to Spain and his eye-surgeon-wife... there are days I feel like a total underachiever... The darker yarn is a lot less purple and a lot more brown than this photo shows...

I'm always a bit freaked by knitting sweaters for toddlers - the arms are so much smaller than you expect from the bodies, and so on - but when I'm making things up I tend to use the general measurements from Tadpoles and Tiddlers from Rowan, and parents tend to be happy with that...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Some like it hot...

Ahh... Steve the plumber got the heat back on, courtesy one astonishingly, ruinously, expensive new circuit board. Have spent the weekend with the heat turned up way too high, knitting up a storm for the Textiles in Focus event at Cottenham next month. Some photos of FOs knitted over the last couple of weeks:

These are washcloths; they're about 11"/28cm square in different patterns from the first Barbara Walker book of patterns, in a Patons cotton blend which is washable and friends with kids tell me is hardwearing. Personally I don't use flannels, bath mitts etc. but these look extremely nice sitting in a basket, so I hope others will like them! They're also very nice to knit - take an hour and a half or so each and you get to try a different pattern each time... The Horseshoe Lace one (the red one at bottom right) is my favourite pattern so far - am currently knitting a bag in 9 strands of fine novelty yarn on 10mm needles with that one...

Then two scarves knitted on a circular needle so the stripes go lengthways.

I had fun with these two; all sorts of yarns picked up over the last few years; they're about 230cm long each so the Dr. Who effect is in full force. I'll have to make a couple of shorter ones too...

A felted bag. I have a few of these but this is the finished one so far... Rowan Magpie, Debbie Bliss Maya and some Lana Grossa metallic eyelash...

And then lastly a scarf knitted out of hand-dyed nylon ribbon; which would have been fine to knit in summer, but the various rough and broken skin on my hands meant I was pulling loops through on this one all afternoon yesterday... Pretty though and it's got a lovely drape. This photo doesn't do the colour much of a favour - there's more green in it then pictured.

Otherwise over the weekend

- while knitting I've watched 6 West Wing episodes (but only one new one as per self-rationing agreement - I only have 5 of the Sorkin-written ones left, sniff), listened to most of an Ann Granger audio book and listened to more Virgin Radio than the brain can comfortably accommodate.

- also watched 'The Fog of War' which was completely fascinating - I tried to see this a couple of years ago when it came out, then forgot all about it, and it turned up in the small but very quirky selection of films the Village Stores get from their suppliers. I know far too little about the internal US politics of the Vietnam War period, but it's given me the need to go off and read a lot, if only to work out why I came into the film instinctively prepared to hate Robert McNamara, and came away with huge admiration and respect...

- had a friend round for dinner last night, interrupted by a power cut when the pudding (apple cake) was halfway through cooking; it was somewhat... interesting... in texture when everything came back on an hour or so later, but luckily perfectly edible... Thankfully I could lay my hands on the mini hurricane lantern and gas canister...

- and tidied the kitchen and dining room properly for the first time since the Christmas holidays. A productive weekend...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Tagged again

.. this time by Mary

Four Jobs You Have Had In Your Life:
1. Classifying pottery fragments in the Auvergne
2. Au pairing a Hell-Child in Paris
3. Ferrying a wonderful study group from here around Cambridge
4. Cataloguing government documents, including scratch 'n' sniff posters from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Honestly.

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
1. Diva
2. East of Eden
3. The Blues Brothers
4. Withnail and I

Four Places You Have Lived:
1. Chester-le-Street, UK
2. Paris, France
3. London, UK
4. Cambridge, UK

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
No TV - but from memory...
1. The West Wing (current total addict of the DVDs)
2. Hill Street Blues
3. Inspector Morse
4. Moonlighting

Four Places You Have Been On Vacation:
1. Puget-sur-Durance, France
2. Florence, Italy
3. Carrollton, near Dallas, US
4. Grillon, France

4 Websites You Visit Daily:

Four Of Your Favorite Foods:
1. Duck confit
2. Melted mozzarella
3. Well-made chili
4. Pork from here

Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now:
1. Anywhere with heat - the boiler broke last Friday
2. Provence, in summer
3. In a pub with friends and a log fire
4. See no. 1 again...

So, I'm going to tag Jan and... now I find the other two I'd have tagged have already had this one... Jan, over to you...

Photos of some knitting will follow sometime! In fact, photos of some knitters:

This was at the Regal in Cambridge last week - we had a short-notice gathering. Carol, Lil and Rosie (L-R). And a scarf I was working on at the time in the foreground; came out nice....

And the other side of the table...

Niamh, and Rosie again from the front... The lighting had got somewhat 'atmospheric' at that point and people were having to concentrate...

I have close-ups of the scarf, but Blogger's only letting me post two photos tonight. Ah well...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Magi day

Happy Epiphany (or Christmas if you're Orthodox). The Christmas decorations came down here today; and I thought I'd blog the presents of yarn I was given at Christmas. So here they are: all stunning. And I can wind them into balls now...

From the back, clockwise: a whopping great skein of Heritage Yarns' Cloud 9 (50% cotton, 50% rayon bouclé), 832 metres of crunchy goodness. It's likely to become the Triangles within Triangles shawl....

Then a skein of Kaalund kid mohair, colour Tropical Berries; don't know about this one but there's 350 metres of that too, so it'll turn into something decent-sized... These were both from my parents who were primed with URLs...

And finally some Koigu KPPM (and I'd refer you to this cartoon for the appropriate reaction) - this is from Jan; utterly gorgeous stuff in rainbow colours. Until I put it next to the mohair I hadn't realised how good they looked together... Hmmmmm. Which is interesting; the Kaalund yarn I gave her was in the same colourway...

And here's some texture and maybe some better colour: Koigu on the right, Kaalund on the left and Heritage on the bottom; gorgeous stuff.

These haven't left the dining room table since I got them; just keep fondling them...

Monday, January 02, 2006


When I posted yesterday, I'd forgotten the ponchos I knitted for Christmas. Then late last night I got a mail from Suzanne at Heron Farm to ask me to lunch, so I was hoping I could get some pictures of the girls wearing their ponchos. Didn't have to worry too much - apparently they've hardly been taken off and also double as dressing-gowns. Here are Fiona (R, age 7) and Lorna (L, age 4) modelling their very bright items. I hand-dyed some Velvet Touch back in August for the main space-dyed part of this, and there's some novelty yarn and acrylic in there. Very good fun to knit and I have some lovely hand-made thankyou cards to bring home.

And here's the obligatory cat pic - this is Fiona with Smudge (age 9 weeks)...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Giving and receiving

Receiving first - I'll put up photos of yarn and stuff tomorrow but I received two Finished Objects this Christmas and it was so exciting!

In order of receipt - my friend Sue (who is blogless, sadly) stitched me this cat ornament (from this year's Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue) - this was absolutely my favourite from the magazine, and evidently I managed to convey this sometime-or-other!

And then on Friday Jan and I got together, and she gave me this!

(The throw, not the cat or the chair. I had them already. Took 13 minutes for Tilda to discover the throw, which was less time than it took me to hunt down the spare batteries for the camera). Isn't it beautiful? The flash has made the colours look a bit harsher than they are - here's another pic which gives a better idea of the colours in lamplight but is blurry

And here's a picture of the stitch detail. I don't know whether instructions for it will be in this book, but I'm hoping so...

Giving, next. Now that the final piece of Christmas knitting has headed to its recipient, I can put up some photos.

First, some socks

From left to right, these were for friends Jan, Stewart, Pete and Helen. They're all in Opal - Jan's pair is in Magic, Stewart's in Rainforest (Chameleon), Pete's in Lollipop and Helen's in Brazil.

Now some scarves. As well as these ones (for my aunt and mam) and this one (for my Dad), and this one for the lady at the cattery who both collected and delivered this Christmas, there was also a purple curly-wurly which can just be seen in this photo, and there were also these two

for my in-laws, who keep in touch (the left one is from the free Cloud pattern from Get Knitted in Cherry Tree Hill merino laceweight, and the right is the DNA scarf in Phildar Chiné, which is now discontinued). And yeah, for anyone with eagle eyes, that is a spreadsheet for tracking the progress of Christmas presents on the top left. I can be freakishly organised that way.

And there's also the bunny:

for my cousin Kevin. The yarn for this bunny is handspun angora; if that wasn't special enough, it was spun in the late 1980s by Chilean dissidents in internal exile (I'm actually not making this up; the dissidents in question were university friends of my French penfriend's parents, and a relative used to go over a couple of times a year and smuggle yarn back in for sale in France to keep them going). Last year I realised I was never going to wear the boxy 1980s sweater I knitted with it, so with much tribulation I unravelled it, and it's not suffered too much. I still have most of the yarn and will make something else with it...