Sunday, 28 April 2013


Morning! It's Saturday and I'm up and at 'em. Well, I'm sitting with my pad and a cup to tea talking to you lot! That counts right!? I'm waiting for my painkillers to kick in. I woke this morning with a headache. I'm praying its a tension headache and not a migraine as I'm at a swimming gala this evening! Headache + gala = nightmare!

As the title implies its not been a great week. As each working day finished I thought the next couldn't get any worse. As the next progressed I realised that it could. I've had patients swear at me, accuse me of getting their prescriptions wrong, I've dealt with my computers failing, coped with my day being screwed up by the doctors' computers failing, all the while dealing with the fall out of stock problems while my wholesaler's computers failed!  All in all it's been a foul week and after that rant I'm drawing a line under it and starting again.

What time I've spent at home has seen me knitting and spinning. My energy levels have been low, but sitting and crafting have been a godsend. Feeding fibre through the wheel is soothing, the gentle clack of the wheel turning and the click of needles have relaxed my mind and eased my soul. It's weeks like this that remind me that my crafts are my lifeline, my therapy, my joy.

On a lighter note - I coach at the swimming club Ben goes to. It's challenging at times, but greatly rewarding too. I have a new "project", one of the lifeguards at the pool has recently qualified as a swimming teacher and asked if he could help out at our training sessions. He's shadowing me at the moment. I'm enjoying mentoring him, encouraging him to develop his skills and his teaching style. Is given me the opportunity to look at my coaching too. I have a Level 1 teaching qualification, and I'm thinking now that I'd like to do the Level 2 coaching course. I'll look into it and see what the club say.

Sunday morning - what a difference a day makes. Today is a grey, murky kind of day. I can't see the Pennines from my window the cloud is so low. Yesterday Ben had another Gala. It's the start of the Diddy League season. It's a team even for 9-11 year olds. Our club is small compared to the others we compete with, and sometimes we struggle to field swimmers for all races. It's usual for us to come last by a long way. We came last again yesterday, but I'm really please by our score. We've made a huge leap compared to last year. The number of races we were disqualified from was a lot less than previously. Speaking of disqualification, each team has to provide officials in order to run the gala. Time keepers, admin, and judges. Yesterday I had to be a judge. Normally you can find me at the shallow end herding the kids where they need to be and making sure they know what they're swimming next. It was an awful job! It was my job to make sure that the change over's were correct in relays, to make sure the finishes were correct, and that dives and strokes are legal. It's bad enough having to disqualify a kid, but when it's your own team it's worse!

On to the crafting.

FO's -

That'd be a big fat fail! Nothing finished.

WIP's -

I've worked almost exclusively on the Wisteria sweater. I thought that with it being an Aran weight project I'd fly through it, but no. I've completed the collar chart, and now I'm working through the yoke chart. The collar is a lattice pattern that involves a lot of cabling and the yoke sees that latticework become a swirl as the project grows. All that playing with stitches has slowed me down. That and the fact that my concentration levels haven't been great, so I've made a number of mistakes and had to go back and correct them!

The advent scarf hasn't made it out of its bag. I decided early on in the week, that this perhaps wasn't the right week to work on lace patterns!

I cast on another sock. I've called it "half a stone socks". I'm using Opal hairdresser 4ply. It's a lovely self patterning pink/grey/ cream yarn, 75% wool 25% nylon. I cast it on to celebrate losing half a stone. I figure that if I knit Azores for every half a stone I lose, I'll be set for Christmas knitting!

Spinning -

Last week I'd wanted to finish the second half of the Dark Wings batt. Needless to say I didn't. I did make some good progress through it though! I think I'm halfway there, about an ounce to go. With any luck I'll get that done this weekend and plying can commence

Goals for next week -

Finish the yoke chart on the sweater and start on the raglan shaping

Get the second ply of the Dark Wings done and maybe start to ply.

Work on the half a stone socks.

Work on the advent shawl.

Have a great week guys. X

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The things you do!

Morning! It's 6:30am on Saturday. In my opinion there should only be one of these on a weekend, but here I am awake and getting ready to go to a swimming gala with my boy. It's over an hour away from us and we have to meet the team there at 8:45. Dear lord this is early!

Back home now and I'm such a proud mum. Ben swam one race this morning he competed in the 50m breast stroke. He was a bit miffed because he just turned 10 two days ago which meant he was the youngest in his age group. He didn't have much of a chance of winning, but he did knock over 4 seconds off his personal best! Go Ben!!!!!

I'd like to drawn your attention to a post by Woolmakers. They are a company from the Netherlands who make lovely spinning wheels. They are offering 10 people the chance to try their product and tell the world what they think. So if there is anyone out there who thinks this could be for them, write to them and who knows.

I'd also like to tell you about an app I used for the first time this week. It's called Knit Evenly. It costs £1.49 in the iTunes App Store. I have to say that it could be one of the best £1.49's I've spent in a while. If you want to increase or decrease a certain number of stitches across a row or a round of knitting, it will tell you exactly how to do it. It gives you 2 choices, either one that's easiest to remember, or one that is most even across your work. It will even walk you through the row step by step. I used it on my Inspira cowl and found it to be a god send! I can't recommend it enough.

Onto the knitting.

FO's -

I cast off my Poetic Inspira Cowl this week. I'm really happy with it. My project page on Ravelry gives all the details of my modifications. I cast on more stitches than required because I'm significantly bigger than the models. If I'd cast on what was prescribed I would only have been able to use it as a leg warmer! Turns out though, 300 stitches still wasn't quite enough. I wanted it to fit over both shoulders and to be able to pull it up over my head when it's really cold. I can do this, but not if I'm wearing a winter coat. M only consolation is that we're heading towards spring, I'm unlikely to need it until the end of the year and hopefully I will have lost some inches by then. Fingers crossed!

WIP's -

I concentrated on the cowl for most of the week, but my 2012 Advent scarf came out of hibernation. I got further than I thought last Christmas. I kept up with the pace for 14 days. Rather worryingly I gave up half way through a spacer row though, so when I pulled the project out of its bag I nearly lost 20 stitches. That was a tad hairy! Note to self, finish a row before putting projects on hold.

Finishing the cowl has reduced my WIP numbers to one. I have got a sock I'm designing and a vanilla sock on the go, but these are handbag projects I work on when I've got a spare minute, so I'm not counting those! I had bought some yarn to do thePinery  sweater a while ago, I came to cast it on last night, when I realised it was reverse stockinette worked in the round. Eekk! All that purl! I know that I could work the sweater inside out and knit all the way, but I'm not nearly that experienced a knitter. So I spent a chunk of the evening trawling Ravelry for new inspiration. I wanted to use the same yarn, Hayfield Bonus Aran weight, and I finally landed on Wisteria. I cast it on last night and set to work on the collar. This morning (Sunday) I picked up where I left off and discovered a glaring error. My neckline looked nothing like everyone else's. when I re-read the pattern it says to repeat row 1 of the collar chart 12 times. I took it to mean work 12 rounds of row 1. What it actually meant was repeat the chart 12 times to complete one round. I felt a little silly until I was looking though everyone else's projects to see how other folk  had done the neck and realised that I wasn't the only one to have to frog and start again.

My progress so far! Sigh! Hopefully I can get this spaghetti knitted up tonight. 

Spinning - 

I finished the first single of my Nunoco dark wings batt. I'm pleased with how thin I'm getting it. I wonder if I can spin the second 50g this week? I'll give it a whirl. I need to clear some fibre out of stash to make room for Woolfest purchases. Is only eight weeks away now, so I need to get  a spin on! 

Goals for next week - 

I'd like to get a couple of days done on the Advent scarf each week, they're mostly 16 or so rows each, so I think that's realistic. 

I'd like to make progress on the Wisteria sweater. I'm setting no deadlines for this as it's my first ever one piece sweater. We'll see how it goes. 

And lastly let's see just how far I can get into the second half of the dark wings shall we!?

So until next week, happy crafting x 

Saturday, 13 April 2013

It is done!

Saturday 13th

As weeks go, it's been uneventful. The return to work was less painful than I'd imagined.  The only big thing that happened was that I got back onto the diet train.

Those of you who've read the blog from the start will see that one of my aims for this year was to lose some weight. I know I'm a quarter of the way through the year, but better late than never yes?

So, I'm following Weight Watchers on line. I usually like to go to a group, but the local meetings don't fit into my work schedule, so I'm using the Internet instead. So far it's gone OK, but Sunday is my weigh in day, so I'll see what the results are tomorrow.

Those of you out there who are also on the train to better health and fitness, feel free to comment and we can all help each other along the way!

Most of the week has seen me getting to grips with a new eating regime. I've tried to increase my exercise. So far I've swam 3 times. I was hoping to go today but my parents have been up visiting and once they'd set off home, the pool was shut for private hire! Anyway, I'm definitely going tomorrow.

On to crafting

FO's -

As you can tell by the title, the Evenstar is finished and wending it's way back to the Wirral with my mum.  It's dawned on me as I'm writing this, that I didn't get around to taking a decent photo of it! Doh!!! Here is a photo of it blocking on Thursday night

This truely doesn't to it justice. Next time I'm down at my mum's I'll take some decent photos and update my Ravelry project page.  I have to say, that it's taken some doing to give it away. It's so lovely. I have decided to cast on another though.  I'm aiming to find some new yarn at Woolfest in June.

I also didn't post a photo of my Ullswater shawl last week so here it is -

The top photo is a good representation of the true colour. I wore it to work yesterday as a kerchief around my neck. It's still chilly around these parts and it was lovely close to my skin. I was worried it may be a little scratchy because the yarn was over spun in places.

WIP's -

Since I cast off the Evenstar on Thursday night I've been working on the Inspira cowl. I've heavily modified the original pattern to make it fit a person with my ample frame! I also wanted it to be able to be worn over my head without being too wide at the top, so I've included extra decreases to make it fit more snugly around the head and neck.  I'm nearly up to the first decrease now.  I'm enjoying the knit. It's the first time I've used a single ply yarn. I'm using Superba poems, it's a lovely yarn, thick and thin in places, and the colour changes are making the pattern. I've never really done well with colour work pieces, but during this knit I've taught myself to knit with 2 yarns at the same time. I usually 'throw' the yarn with my right hand, but now I can do that with the contrast colour and 'pick' the yarn with my left. It's speeding up the knit no end. As well as that, it's given me the confidence to try fair isle. I'm not sure I'm up to a full cardie with steeks yet, but I'm seriously considering using colour work as an accent!

Other things on the needles are two socks. The first is a sock pattern I'm designing. I've been working on the sample on and off for months. I'm hoping that now my time isn't being absorbed by the Evenstar I can get some progress done on it.  The second sock is a vanilla sock, nothing special. I cast on the toe last weekend, when I thought I might be going to the cinema. As it is, I didn't go and I've done maybe 2 rounds while I was waiting for Ben to get changed after swimming last night.

Spinning -
None! In my defence, I've been focused on the Evenstar for most of the week. Hopefully Whenu and I will make progress this weekend.

Goals for next week -

Spin! Please lord!
Make progress on the Inspira cowl
Lose 2lb!

Have a great week guys!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The end is nigh

Do not fear trusted readers!

You shouldn't need to duck and cover just yet (Kim Jong Un not withstanding!) I'm talking about the Evenstar.  But more about that later.

I've had a week off on holiday this last week and its been hectic. I may have to go back to work for a rest. And that's saying something!

I've been to Hull visiting good friends, I've been to the Wirral visiting my parents and also my good friend who is a newbie knitter.

All this travel has given me a lot of time to knit on the car journeys. Is a good 2 hour trip to Hull and I rattled through a healthy number of repeats on the Evenstar border done. While in Hull it was great catching up with our friends. It's scary to see how quickly our kids are growing up. After a visit to The Deep which is large aquarium attraction on the bank of the River Humber it was time to set off home. Another 2 hour journey, but this time I could happily work on another project without guilt because I ran out of beads for the Evenstar.

I also had the chance to visit a yarn store. Black Sheep Wools is a great place. I found it tricky to find what I was looking for as I couldn't figure out how the store was organised. The same brand of yarn was in more than one place. I couldn't find any signage to direct me to weights of yarn. That said, it was great to wander aimlessly and revel in so much lovely yarn under one roof. I may have madesome  purchases!

In my defence, one of those bags isn't mine!

So onto crafty things - 

FO's - 
I have TWO! 

As I said, I ran out of beads for the Evenstar. I ordered more on line, but with the Bank Holiday weekend, they didn't arrive until Thursday. So on the journey home I cast on a new hat. I took a skein  my pen pal gave to me for Christmas. It's a gorgeous alpaca called Swizzle and it was a dream to knit.  I made the Beret de printemps. It's a good pattern, I did an extra pattern repeat to give a more slouchy look. I still have a about 40 yards left so I think I'll use it as an accent on some mittens.

My other half took the photo, and I don't think he really wanted to. Can you tell by the quality of the photo?

My second FO is the Ullswater shawl. I cast it off this evening and its blocking on my floor as I write. I'm happy with the result. Other than my fingerless mittens, it's the first thing I've knitted with my half decent hand spun. As I knitted it I discovered just how overspun it was in places. But I think it was the second skein I'd ever spun on a wheel so I'm happy on the whole. 

WIP's - 
My only WIP has gone back to the Evenstar. Mum's birthday waits for no man! So I'm hoping that when I write next week it will be finished. 

Spinning - 
I actually spun yesterday! I loved it. It's so calming. I'm still working on the Dark Wings from Nunoco. Hopefully, when the Evenstar is off the needles I can spin more. 

Goals for next week - 

Finish the Evenstar and pick a languishing WIP to work on. 

Have a great week guys.