Monthly Archives: November 2005

That Monday feeling……………

After another weekend where I failed to achieve everything I wanted to achieve (this is not unusual, my plans are too ambitious) the week has started very badly. Three lamps are now without bulbs/fuses and we don’t have the right spares until I can get to a shop – the fuse is going to be tricky as it’s a very unusual fuse, apparently. This means that I have to confine my knitting to daylight which is in rather short supply at the moment. As if this wasn’t bad enough, my car wouldn’t start this morning. I’ve had the car for nearly three years and it has never refused to start, even in last week’s very cold temperatures. The chap from Britannia Rescue (who arrived within 20 mins!!!) said that the starter motor is failing to engage so he bump started me and I drove to the local garage, who have said they’ll “have a look and try to get it fixed today”. The net result is that my visits for today must all be cancelled and rearranged and I have to hang around waiting for that phone call – y’know the one I mean – where they say “Well, we know what the problem is and we can have it fixed by three weeks next Tuesday, but I’m afraid it’ll cost you”, so I gulp and say weakly, “How much?” and they reply “about £16 for the part, plus labour, making a total of £6 million pounds. We don’t take American Express by the way”.
I HATE Mondays.


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I’ve managed to get the keyboard back from those two girlies after their debut blogging experience. I swear, I didn’t bribe or coerce them in any way to write what they did about me and I was very touched by what they said.
In addition to heaping the praise, they did this:
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Yummy choccy cake
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(Excuse the gratuitous second picture but this is a first in our house – a cake that wasn’t made by me!)
I can happily report that the cake tasted every bit as good as it looked although there was some doubt as to whether it would actually evolve from the curdled lump of stuff in the mixing bowl into an edible item. There was mass hysteria in the kitchen along with threats of violence and some actual bodily harm. ( In all my years of baking, it had never occurred to me that a food mixer was a weapon but apparently it is.) Anyway, the devastation of the kitchen was made good (yep! they even did the washing up) and now there isn’t a scrap of evidence left to suggest that the cake ever existed apart from the warm chocolatey feeling in my tummy.
The anguish of turning 43 (oh my god, I can’t believe I’ve admitted that in public) was made bearable by the lovely presents I got – lots of money (not sure yet whether it will be used to fund my habit increase my stash or go towards the object of my desire (ssssssshhhh, whisper it………a spinning wheel), a Johnny Depp DVD (thanks Lucy), earrings and an incense holder (thanks Bethany), new cosy slippers, chocolate, and a whole host of “Clover” accessories for applique, bias tape-making and patchwork (from Simon, my SO). I also got some lovely cards, which I should post pictures of, but they’ll get squashed in the scanner. Thank you, thank you, thank you, I’m such a lucky girl!

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*Happy Birthday Mum*

[This is Lucy & Bethany, and seeing as we have college and school tomorrow when it is actually her birthday, we’re doing a special birthday update for mum, today.]

What with Bethany and I being mum’s daughters, we think she is a wonderful mum, but when it actually comes to writing about her, it is actually more difficult than you might think.
Whilst we don’t always agree on certain things, we are all still very close.
Without wanting to sound full of ourselves or anything, we think mum has done a very good job raising us. She has taught us to be open-minded, individual and to excel in the things we enjoy.
We know that the vast majority of daughters will say that their mums are the best, but for us, we think it is actually true; our mum is caring, thoughtful, generous, understanding, kind, a bit untidy [in a good way], a wonderful cook, fabulous knitter [of course!] and an overall amazing mother.

Happy Birthday Mum, we love you to bits.

Lucy & Bethany

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[L-R: Lucy, Mum, Bethany]

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A quickie……….

…..just to prove I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth, although from the lack of posts this week I may as well have done.
I’ve been getting well stuck in to the dreaded aran chair cover and can confidently predict that the end is in sight (no photos though, battery’s gone dead). I’ve also done loads of swatches for MIL’s top. As it’s being knitted from some very fine cotton on the machine there is no way I could avoid doing a swatch. I have designed the pattern myself using Knitware Sweaters version 2.5 – it’s just a Vee-neck, three-quarter length sleeve straight up and down top with a band of lace around the bottom edge and the sleeves. The lace is proving a bit tricky though – I don’t really understand how punchcards work so the finished product is not quite how I imagined it to be. Also, when I’m doing the lacy bits, stitches keep dropping off and it’s a real pain to catch them. If anyone has any handy hints on how to avoid this happening, I would be very grateful.
I haven’t done any more to the sailmaker top, which is the only other WIP at present, as I really want to finish the DACC (see above); this hasn’t stopped me pondering what to make with the HipKnits cashmere I got at Ally Pally, favourite so far is a pair of gloves. I can’t help feeling that cashmere is too good for socks – if I make gloves, I’ll be able to feel them and see them (and rub them against my face whenever I like, which would be pretty hard to do with socks).
Trouble is, I don’t seem to be able to get as much knitting done as I would like. I used to take my knitting to work with me and fit in a few rows in the car whilst waiting for my appointments, but we’ve changed the way our appointments are organised and I no longer have gaps. I can’t believe the difference it makes, my progress is so slow now.
Anyway, that’s enough for now, I should have been in bed ages ago. Night, night x x x

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………….oh dear, this is a tricky one. It has made me use my brain (ouch! that hurts) and think about what I’m doing instead of just mindlessly going with the flow like I usually do.

Favourite yarn to knit with
Probably HipKnits silk – it is so soft and silky (hmmm, funny, that) and feels delicious as you knit with it. It has a slight tendency to come apart (especially during casting on), but the end result is sooooooo worth it. The only improvement I can think of would be if it was available in a finer yarn.

Favourite needles
Clover Bamboo – definitely a superior bamboo needle, beautifully smooth and warm to the touch. I also love my Denise interchangeables – it’s so handy to be able to add in a bit of extra cable as your knitting expands. I have only used Addi turbos once, for sock knitting, and they were pretty good, too. (Yes, OK that’s three favourites, but I’ve always had difficulty making decisions).

Worst thing you’ve ever knitted
A willie warmer (my own pattern). I made this when I was about 20 – my boyfriend of the time had to spend several weeks in hospital and I was very concerned that his willie would suffer from lack of attention. He was very embarrassed by it and refused to try it on when I gave it to him. The next time I went to visit, all the other men on the ward asked me to make willie warmers for them too, on condition that I measured them first! I seem to remember that it was made from pale blue acrylic DK yarn in moss stitch with the word “Spike” embroidered down the front…….too much information? Sorry.

Favourite knitting pattern
I don’t really have a favourite – can’t even think of anything I’ve knitted more than once. Patterns have to have some sort of pattern (cables or lace or texture) to keep me interested or be knitted in fabulous yarn.

Most valuable knitting technique
Short row shaping on shoulders, coupled with three-needle cast off = perfect shoulder seams (effect usually ruined by the bodge up under the arms or the crappy way I insert sleeves).

Best Knitting magazine or book
I like Interweave Knits, but their subscription dept stinks. As for books, my current favourite is “A gathering of lace”, as something to aspire to. I also want to read Elizabeth Zimmerman because I feel I need to shake off the boundaries imposed by commercial patterns and get more creative.

Favourite Knit-a-long
I’m with Kate on this one – I don’t like them. I’ve only joined one or two, and whilst I like the idea of a knit-a-long, I found that I don’t much like the reality. I would prefer a real-life knit-a-long, where we could all look at each others’ WIP and get riotously drunk have meaningful discussions about techniques etc.

Favourite knitting blog
As listed on the right; also You Knit What, and many many others. I probably spend a good hour every day looking at knitting blogs (thinks……………I wonder if that’s connected to current slow progress).

Favourite knitwear designer
This is really hard……… I see lots of designs that I think are really excellent, but never knit them ’cause they wouldn’t suit me. I like things that look as though they have been “tailored” or at least been influenced by tailoring, and also things that are unusual in the way they are constructed, but I don’t really have a favourite designer.

Knitted item you wear the most
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This was from Vogue Knitting Spring 2004. It was supposed to have been knitted in some Cherry Tree Hill yarn that I couldn’t get over here ( I even had trouble finding it on American websites) so I substituted Wendy Supreme cotton DK. Lucy is wearing it in this photo and it’s too big for her, but I wear it a lot and usually get compliments. It was interesting to knit and is very comfortable to wear. I want to try another one in SWTC Karaoke but it’ll have to join the queue.

Well, that’s yer lot. If you haven’t already done this and you want to have a go, consider youself tagged.

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Work in progress and other stories

I know, I know, it’s only a short while ago that I promised to try and blog more frequently and yet here I am apologising for the lack of posts this week………excuses to follow, but first, have a look at this. A very astute and considered piece about knitting and its “coolness”. The more I read Uknitty, the more I warm to the author, she just has a way of putting into words what I feel but can’t express properly. Yay! I’m cool!

Anyway………..the excuses:

1. My brother, his partner and daughter came to stay last weekend and I didn’t knit a single stitch! We looked around the sights of this little coastal town (it took all of five minutes) and had lots of drink meaningful conversations. We all (all nine of us) went out for Sunday lunch and had a lovely time just eating and talking and drinking. The simple pleasures are always the best. (Lucy says she “fatted out to the size of a whale” – must have been the home made banoffee pie that she was forced to eat.)


Yes, there has actually been some progress on the aran chair cover. The photo shows the piece that will go underneath the seat and up the fronts of the arms. Whether it will be finished by Christmas or not is debatable because of excuse number 3:

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I have started the Sailmaker top. It will be such a useful top to wear that I really want to finish it quickly. The chart is printed really small so I may not have any eyesight left by the time the top is finished, but it will be worth it!

Excuse number 4:
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This is 100% cashmere (the pink stuff) and some 100% (merino?) wool that was hand-dyed by my friend Joan. The yarn itself hasn’t been a distraction yet, but the Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing exhibition that I got it from certainly was.
I have also promised to make a tunic type top for MIL on the knitting machine but hopefully that will be a fairly quick knit (provided I am allowed to use the machine – Bethany doesn’t like the noise it makes and glares at me all the time when I use it).

Excuse number 5:
I have to go and look at this

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