Archive for January, 2010

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Socky Goodness

January 31, 2010

I’ve finished my not so toe socks.

I decided that I wanted them to be everyday socks as the yarn is so lovely – toe socks can’t be worn everyday. Its not good for the skin inbetween your toes so I used my favourite toe; the star toe.

I learnt this toe when I made Black Dog Designs Picot Eyelet Socks. Its a toe that fits my toes and stays comfortable and looks pretty too. The purl stitches and decreases do make a lovely star pattern.

I’ll try and take a picture tomorrow when the light is better but right now I think they are beautiful.

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Organizational Skills

January 27, 2010

There is some benefit to not being able to move about much. I’ve managed to hurt the remaining good ankle as well so have been doing some valiant hobbling. Yes, I am really that much of a klutz. Anyway, It’s forcing me to sit still and knit or write.

In the last day or so, I’ve got my belt bag is knit up and just needs sewing together and the buttons sewing on, my toe socks are already for the toe socks to go on them, if I don’t decide to just use the normal toe I use for socks as the actually getting the damn things to fit my feet properly is going to involve more thinking than I can really muster at the moment, one of my stories might actually have reached a point of moving forward…I’ve not so much had writers block as plot block. I couldn’t work out how to move it forwards.

I’ve been sorting out my yarn for my blanket project and put together a sort of work basket so I have my colours to hand:

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Its got all the colours I’m using:

Purple, Gemini, Raspberry, Highland Burn, Blue Mix, Orange Mix, Hazel, Vivid Blue, Pale Pink, Airforce Blue, Magenta, Plum, Grey, Chalk Blue, Twist, Dark Purple. There is also another pale blue I’m using, but I seem to have mislaid the skein for now. There is a couple of colours I don’t have that I’d like to use, but I haven’t managed to get hold of them yet. There is a shade called Garnet, and another called Damson, I’d like to use: and the black that I want to crochet round the edges of the hexagons with.

Yes, I need to finish learning to crochet first, I know, but I’ve read about making a decorative ridge along your joins by making a single crochet through a loop on each motif on the right side of the motif (wrong sides held together).I’ve got time to learn though. Its going to be a few months till I have enough hexagons done, and then I will be able to fit them all together into my blanket.

My hexagon obsession is again being fueled by seeing and hearing about a book that is coming out in April:

thinkoutsidethesox

Its going to be pricey; its preordering at Ā£19 – but I am so utterly in love with the socks on the cover I’m going to have to save for it. They are so unbelievably beautiful.

I’m also preparing a new journal as the old one is nearly full. It involves things like writing my favourite quotes and poems into it like Jenny Joseph’s Warning as well as a copy of the hexagon pattern – always useful as I’ve often got my journal with me, as it lives near me all the time.

Moleskine’s have a segment at the front where you write a reward for returning it if it ever goes astray.

Last time, I offered cookies, but this year, well I’m not sure what to put.

Hugs – No. I might have to hug someone weird.

Yarn – Only currency amongst yarnies?

Cookies – more likely to appeal to a wider audience?

Chocolate – It depends; are we talking a small bar, or a box?

Money – so passe.

Choices, choices.

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Monday Musings

January 25, 2010

I didn’t have a good week.

On top of my ongoing health issues, midweek while standing up normally, I turned my ankle badly and haven’t been able to put much weight on it since. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of hobbling about(I’m well practiced with the stick from previous issues), but stairs are posing a real issue at the moment.

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Wintry and grey, inhospitable and cold. Typical British January weather. I’m looking forward to spring. I’m even looking forward to the rain, and the flowers and leaves coming back.

Some of my simple pleasures:

Knitting, and chocolate. Incredibly simple pleasures but they are pleasing me at the moment.

On my bedside table:

My Mp3 player and some ibuprofen gel. No book at the moment surprisingly. I’ve been listening to audiobooks at bedtime.
I’m almost finished listening to Memory and Dreams,with only an hour or so left to listen to. Its a lot darker than some of his other books, but I’m enjoying it.

On my TV:

I’ve been watching Supernatural. A friend lent me the disks. Pretty boys and supernatural things, and so far, not an over reliance on vampires.

On my Mp3 Player:

Muse: the fella adores them and I am starting to get a taste for them too.

I’m looking forward to getting some Seth Lakeman at some point soon.

On the menu for tonight:

Probably what I’ve got left in the freezer and cupboard. Rice pudding with a side dish of pizza, anyone?

On my To Do List:

Finish my blooming tax return. Stupid forms!
More work on my blanket.
Finish my belt bag.
Get my ankle better so I can walk on it without my walking stick.

Done from last weeks To Do List:
Work on my blanket. A couple more done.
Work on my socks; The toe socks are at the point where the toes need knitting.
Do some writing. I’ve been working on it.

New Recipe I tried last week:

Haven’t been very good on the homecooking front this last week or so.

New Recipe Iā€™m thinking of trying next week:

Pan Haggerty from the Hairy Bikers new show. Its a sort of layered potato, onion,carrot, cheese,and bacon dish baked and then grilled so it gets a crusty top, and the middle is lovely and soft. Its a much better version of potato gratin.

I will however not be cooking it in the rain on top of the moors, like the bikers.

Looking forward to:

Being able to walk without the stick again.
Getting to knitting group again. I had to miss it last week and I’m going to miss it this week too.

Lesson learned the past few days:

That I can twist my ankle by losing my balance for no apparent reason. Yes, I am apparently really so incredibly clumsy that I can fall off the floor.

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Musing on Socks

January 24, 2010

Does a Sunday count for more than one blog post in a week?

I’ve been working on some socks and it got me musing…(yes, I muse about various things a lot of the time.)

Socks are an odd thing.

For most of my childhood I resisted wearing them in any shape or form. In the summers I would run a little wild,barefoot, playing in the garden and the woodland and allotments behind my parents house, climbing trees and when we were on holiday paddling in the sea, feeling the different types of sand between my toes; the hard packed sand of the sand banks, the muddy sand of the estuary banks and the powdery sand of the beaches. The feeling of warm paving slabs betneath my feet and thetickling of grass, the roughness of tree bark and the worn textured wood of my parents staircase.

In the winter, although I spent more times indoors I was resistant to wearing socks, used to having hard soles, and chilly feet. Socks were an incumberance to being light footed, but as I got a little older it meant that I delveloped the cold feet and hands problems of the rest of the family and started wearing them regularly, although I still have days were I prefer to go barefoot, especially in the summer. There really is nothing like feeling the warmth of the earth or the textures of surfaces beneath your feet. Yes. My family do have hippy tendencies, how did you know?

It wasn’t until the last few years that I developed a passion for socks. It started with a pair of stripy socks bought in my first year at uni, and a pair of toe socks given to me by my braintwin thene (apparently she thinks girls in toe socks are hot).

I got more pairs of stripy socks when I moved to York – theres an excellent sock stall on the market. I have special purple stripy socks for those days when you know you need that little bit of extra magic in your life, and a pair of exceedingly comfy grey stripy socks for those days where I know I’m going to need to to be comfortable.

And with my learning to knit it wouldn’t be long before I started knitting socks.

My first few pairs were rather disasterous. My first pair were far to big, as I’d knitted them to the pattern that came with the yarn (fortunatly it turned out that pattern fits the fella perfectly.) and they were somewhat loose on my little feet.

My second pair had a skein end in the middle of one sock and the colour repeats ruined by it, and then I forgot to do the interspersed plain knit rows on the gusset…one very fitted sock, and one really ugly sock. They get worn over other socks in bed when my feet are really cold.

After that I finally worked out what size sock would actually fit my feet, and at last count I have 3 pairs of handmade socks that fit just fine.

I’ve got a pair of beautiful toe socks on the needles (which are completed up to the point where the toes start) and will start working on the slightly complicated toes as soon as my tax return is finished.

I love toe socks, and I’ve been thinking about making them since I started knitting, and up till the toe its the same as standard sock, but my toes are a little strange – too many pointy illfitting shoes in my teens – so I shall have to keep trying them on to check how the toes are progressing.

And socks of the future?

Well, I’m rather taken with a stranded sock pattern I’ve seen, and I have a couple of colourwork patterns I’d like to try, but I’m also rather tempted with trying toe up socks again. Decisions, decisions.

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Monday Musing and some thoughts.

January 18, 2010

I’m not going to go on about Haiti, as many many people have said what I would of said, but I will say, if you can, donate to Medicine Sans Frontieres. They do good work, and they don’t care about whether you are rich, poor, your faith or lack thereof, and I think they deserve all the support they can get. If you donate you can chose to either donate to a specific area of the fund or add to the general fund with which they can then fund what they need most urgently.

Without the ability to actively do anything to help those poor people who have lost everything I’m clinging onto my own normality for that is all I can do.

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Last time I looked outside it was mizling (a cross between mist and drizzle).It makes the air sort of wet, and your coat gets wet,even though its not raining.

Some of my simple pleasures:

  • Marking off the hexagons I knit on the little worksheet I made, watching it slowly creep up to halfway and beyond. A very simple, but also thrilling little pleasure.
  • Using the Cath Kidston Wild Rose shower gel I got for Christmas. Its lovely, a luxury, and makes me smell like Turkish Delight! I rather enjoy smelling like Turkish Delight!
  • Red Apples. Washington Red Delicious to be exact:

reddelicous

They could almost be perfect shiny poison apples from Snow White, and I am enjoying looking at the beautiful red glow of them.

In the last week or so, I have had cravings for apples and have been taking great pleasure from eating these with a sharp knife, slicing people off and eating them.

This is partly a really nice way to eat them, and partly because my mother used to tell me off for doing so, because I might cut myself.

Rebelling still? Moi? Damn Straight šŸ˜‰

On my bedside table:

Little Grrrl Lost by Charles De Lint (Yes, he is one of my favourite authors, why do you ask?).

littlegrrl

Its an exploration of a theme he’s used previously in The Little Country, and written for a younger audience, but I’m enjoying it so far, and its worth it just for the beautiful cover artwork.

On my TV:
All the things we’ve recorded over the last few days and just haven’t quite got to watching.

On my Mp3 Player:
My new abney park album – From Dreams or Angels;One of my xmas presents which didn’t arrive in time. I’m really loving their music, and it has a wonderful steampunk aesthetic which is always going to appeal to me.

A new Charles De Lint Audiobook. I am so pleased I have an Audible subscription which allowed me to get audiobooks at members prices.
This one is called Memory and Dreams.

memory and dream

Issy’s art frees spirits;As a student she discovered she had the ability to paint her wildest fantasies to life, but this has side effects ultimatly hurting those she loves, and so she stops painting. Its a story about dealing with the past, and not letting go of your dreams and even recapturing them.I’m only about a quarter into it, but I’m enjoying it.

What am I wishing was on my Mp3 player?
Mark Vincent (discovered thanks to Rabbitch), Josh Groban and Seth Lakeman.
All new performers to me.

I know, I am hopelessly out of the loop.But there is a slight reason. For many years I’ve had a thing for listening to strong female vocals but in the last year or so, I’ve started really enjoying listening to strong male vocals too, but I have very few in my music collection.

Mark Vincent has a beautiful voice for one so young, and to me at least, has a beautiful rich depth to it and being only 15 his voice is only going to develop.

Josh Groban I could listen to for hours. He has a lovely voice.

And I have developed an instant crush on Seth Lakeman. A pretty boy who can fiddle AND sing. Be still my heart! AND.AND. He’s from the UK. Born and bred on the beautiful Dartmoor.*sigh*

On the menu for tonight:
Something simple, and preferably very quick cooking. Dinner was ruined last night by the gas running out halfway through cooking. It was edible, but I had to finish it off in the microwave.

I may be lazy and do ready meals from the shop…

On my To Do List:

  • Work on my blanket. As I mentioned, I’m taking pleasure in marking off the hexagons as I make them.
  • Work on my socks; I’ve toe socks and sideways garter socks on the needles at the moment.
  • Work on my belt bag.
  • Do some writing; I’ve got a story in my head telling me it wants to be written, and who am I to ignore it?

Done from last weeks To Do List:

  • Get rid of this non specific lurgy I have – working on it. Its still not gone, and seems to have morphed into something else.
  • Finish my accounts – Done. Waiting for info from HMRC before I can finish it.
  • Work on my blanket – 3 more hexagons made.

New Recipe I tried last week:

I tried a variation on Scrumbly Jumbley but it didn’t quite work.

New Recipe Iā€™m thinking of trying next week:

I’m seriously tempted by the Sweetcorn fritters from the new Hairy Bikers show. I just need to get organised to get the ingredients.

In the craft basket:
Lots of things. I spent some vouchers at Poppys in Pocklington at the weekend. I got some buttons for my belt bag, some yarn needles and stitch holders, some lovely deep purple Country Style Dk for my blanket and some lovely regia sockyarn which is literally begging to be cast on….which would be naughty but its calling to me…

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Looking forward to:

Feeling better again. I spend half my life looking forward to this at the moment, but its a good aim to keep looking forward to.

Lesson learned the past few days:

That peoples jealousy can drive your talent away.

I’ve been thinking about writing various posts over the last few days, but getting thoughts out of my head onto the page has been a little difficult the last few days. I’m going to work on it this week and get more posts up on the blog over the next fortnight or so. They will be on a range of subjects, from knitting, to clothes, to books, and just things I’ve been thinking.

Anyway, my body is screaming for a nap so thats where I’m going.

TTFN and I’ll see you soon!

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Midweek Musings

January 13, 2010

I had this post all planned out for Monday, but I had to chose between going to knitting group or blogging and so, I decided to take the much needed trip out of the house to knitting group. I’m not having a particularly good time healthwise at the moment, so I spent most of yesterday asleep so I haven’t got to this till today.

The weather in my neck of the woods:

Bitterly cold, but its finally stopped snowing here, and is thawing. The snow and ice is still lying on the ground though and its still very much wrapping up warm weather. My poor hands are hurting so much because of the cold.

Some of my simple pleasures:

  • Seeing the girls at Knitting Group
  • Getting the basic figures for my tax return done.
  • Getting a letter from a friend.

On my bedside table:

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale

the-suspicions-of-mr-whicher

Its incredibly interesting, being an account of a real case, and it has the additional attraction that I know the area in the book.

Trowbridge in Wiltshire; where the case is found, is the town nearest to the boatyard where my aunt keeps her narrowboat and we explored the area a couple of times.

On my TV:

Am rather enjoying the new series of Hustle, Lark Rise to Candleford, Heroes, Silent Witness, and Numbers that are on at the moment, and am watching Criminal Minds via Virgin1’s repeating it from the beginning.

On my Mp3 Player:

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett – Audio book; An Abney Park album,a whole mix of singles, Emilie Autumn, 3 Daft Monkeys, The Bangles, Ezio, Dar Williams and the audio books I already had on there.

On the menu for tonight:

It’s going to involve chicken and potato, with veggies, but I’m not sure what its actually going to be…

On my To Do List:

  • Get rid of this non specific lurgy I have.
  • Finish my accounts.
  • Work on my blanket.

Done from last weeks To Do List:

I didn’t make one last week so starting fresh with this one.

New Recipe I tried last week:

Again, I didn’t try one last week.

New Recipe I’m thinking of trying next week:

Hmm, either one from the boys new cookbook or from the Hairy Bikers new series.

In the craft basket:

All the projects that need working on other than my bloomers as they are now offically reserved for the Ravelympics.

Looking forward to:

Hopefully seeing a friend or two at the end of the month.

Favorite photo from last week:

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This one I’ve taken of my teapot cosy.

I made this badly needed teacosy over the weekend just gone.
I’ve loved the Tea mitten pattern since I first saw it and I modified it slightly. I knitted it on 3mm needles rather than 3.5 as I don’t have any 3.5mm, and I worked the pattern as written with black dk acrylic and a strand of my beloved glow sock yarn.

I followed the pattern as written using smaller needles and it was still slightly on the large side, so I am guessing my teapot is smaller than hers.

The buttons are from my button stash and were three I was saving for a special project šŸ™‚

Favourite blog post from the last week:

This one from the scent of water:

inspiration journal

Its all about keeping inspiration journal, which is something I’ve done since art college but how the inspiring pictures are covering negative thoughts. A rather nice idea I think.

Lesson learned the past few days:

That extreme tiredness is a sign of my not being as well as I think I am.

TTFN!

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A work in progress review – Jan 09

January 10, 2010

I’ve been busy taking photos, as promised last week and ready to show you all what I’ve been making.

Glow Yarn set

Back in November I fell in love with some yarn. Its called Trekking Maxima 908 – Glow.

It has 3 strands of black/charcoal and and one of a changing colourway; yellow, to rust/orange, to red/magenta, back to rust/orange, and into yellow again.

It makes me think of campfires, of flickering embers in the dark, of nights perched on logs around a fire with friends, drinking wine and mead. The laughing and joking, of autumn nights and autumn leaves, of warmth and comfort, of coal fires on winter mornings and of cosy evenings. It makes me think of wood burning stoves, of camping, and of fire gazing.

Yes, I am having a serious love affair with this yarn, and want to get more of it if I can.

I wanted to make myself a set of beret, fingerless mitts and a cowl and I scoured the Ravelry database to look for patterns.

I actually knitted swatches for this (don’t faint all at once!) and decided that this yarn is perfect for using with garter stitch, and garter stitch has a such a smooshy depth to it, so I went back to Ravelry and searched for patterns using that lovely, beautiful, textural stitch.

Mitts

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These are based on the Cratchit mitts pattern, and are currently temporarily sewn up using a whip stitch till I find the best method for stitching them up. I had ideas about crocheting the sides up, but my skills aren’t advanced enough yet to do it without making it look very messy.

Cowl

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This is based on the Scarf Cowl pattern, working in sock yarn rather than lace weight, and adjusting the length slightly to attempt to make the stripes match up as well as possible. Instead of winding it twice around my head I have taken to work it with the front folded somewhat like an ascot and then pinned with a brooch, which makes it lie comfortably underneath the collar of my coat, which is always a bonus! Again with this I’ve had some finishing problems and need to fix how its sewn up, but the cold snap meant I needed to be able to wear it, so I made do with what I had to hand.

Beret

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This is based on the Build a Beret formula, and I had to work out all the sums to convert it to sock yarn, making adjustments as I went, to produce a beret that actually worked the way I wanted it too. Its lovely and comfortable, and didn’t need blocking.

Toe Socks

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They may look like ordinary socks at the moment, but when they get down to the toe they will have exactly that; toes. They will be properly fitted to my slightly odd toes – too many years of wearing badly fitting shoes – using the instructions in The Twisted Sister Workbook for Piggy Toe Socks.

The yarn is more Trekking XXL; the sock yarn that seems to be my favourite. Its more like ember and ashes, rather than campfires but its as beautiful as it is in the photo.

Belt Bag

belt bag

I fell in love with this pattern the minute I saw it, and tracked it down. The example above is by Ravelry user Asti, and is the best picture I’ve found of the completed bag.

I’m making mine on 3mm needles using black acrylic DK to create a nice dense fabric. I’ve made the first of the two sides, so still have another side, and all the pockets to make, and buttons and a zip to buy.

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I got a nice new belt for Christmas and am looking forward to wearing it on it! I have a vague deadline on this one, but more about this another day.

Tea Cosy

With the last few days being so bitterly cold, keeping drinks warm has been heavy on my mind since Friday and I’ve been working very hard on a tea cosy, using the Tea Mitten pattern.

teamitten

I’ve been using more black acrylic DK and a strand of my Glow Trekking Maxima along with it to produce some beautiful fabric to help insulate my beloved Brown Betty Denby Teapot.

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Its almost finished already, and I’ll show it too you soon. Am seriously tempted to make myself a matching mug cosy to go on the rather good mug that Tsuki gave me for Xmas.

knitted mug

Blanket

As I mentioned midweek, I’d made 75 of the 179 hexagons.

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Well, I’ve added a couple of that total, but I got distracted by nerfarious teacosies! I’ll get back to it during the week and then I’ll hit that halfway mark before the end of the month. I definitely want it ready if next winters going to be anything like this one.

Oh and that’s Norman the Gnome, faithfully guarding the hexagons I’ve made so far. The gnome I mentioned making before the new year is to the same pattern and is going to be a companion for Norman. Norman was made by the fella’s sister for us and it must be lonely being the only gnome in the house!

Bloomers

I forgot to snap an in progress picture of these but they are on hold till the The Ravelympics/Winter Olympics in February so shall focus on them then.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago this project stalled sometime ago, as knitting for birthdays and Christmas became more pressing.

Well, thats everything actually on the needles at the moment; I’ll keep posting pictures, as often as I remember to take them and try and do a monthly catchup to show whats happening currently with everything I’m working on.

So, what do you think?