Sunday, 17 November 2013

Attention Diverted

Ok, I know last week I said I'd get on with Christmas knitting. Wwwwwweeeeeellllll............ That didn't really happen. 

Don't get me wrong, Christmas is on my mind, but the desire to do obligation knitting has left me. Completely. Utterly. Oh! Pants! This is bad!

Week in review - 
As you may gather, Christmas is on my mind. I've been making lists and checking them twice.  I've got my parents-in-law (ish) over  for Christmas dinner. My other half, Matthew, has requested goose. Sure, no problem I said! Ever since I've had a mild panic brewing. It's just like a big chicken, right? How hard can it be to cook? I've got a list for the meal - what we're having. I've got a list for what I need to buy to make the first list happen. I've got a list of when I need to achieve things by. And then there's the gift list. That list is getting checked off nicely. Well, all apart from the hand knit section obviously! 

I made a purchase this week. I had an email from Future Publishing. They put out The Knitter magazine.  I subscribed to it from issue one. After a couple of years I thought that I'm never going to knit half of these projects, my money could be better spent on yarn, so I cancelled my subscription. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful magazine, and most of the patterns are lovely and knit-able but I looked at my priorities and something had to give. The email was an advert for a new, one off title - The Pro Guide to Knitting. At £9.99 I thought I'd give it a go. 

I have to say I'm a little disappointed. There are 18 advanced technique guides and 14 patterns. Of the 14 patterns I have at least 6 that I can immediately recognise from my Knitter magazine collection. I've got a funny feeling that all of the patterns have been published previously. The advanced techniques don't strike me as being overly advanced. One of them is how to knit in the round! I'm not impressed.  
It's a lovely magazine, beautifully put together, but if you already get The Knitter, don't bother. You've got this magazine already.  

Feeling the love - 

The star anise socks where finished last week. I'm really pleased with them. They match perfectly. The only other thing I've worked on is another pair of socks. I didn't cast on the silver birch socks from Pom Pom magazine. My itch for self striping socks needed to be scratched. So I cast on a pair using Sparkle Duck. 

It's their Sparkle's stripes sock base. There isn't a colour way name and this colour isn't on their website at the moment. I bought it at this year's Woolfest. It's a beautifully saturated purple (obviously) and green. I bought one of their spirit mini skeins in the green to make the heels and toes. This Sparkle's stripes is a lovely yarn. It's soft and the stitch definition is great. 100g gives you a good 425m of yarn which it seems will give me enough yarn left over to make a little stuffie of some kind. 

Again I'm a fail at all else. I'm completely obsessed with these socks. I've spun almost nothing! 

On the horizon - 

Again, I hope to get the socks finished by knit night. Then I'm not going to cast anything else on until I've finished a gift item. Honest. HONEST!!!! I won't! Cross my heart!!

The Christmas madness will start next week at work. Double pescriptions will start to appear to cover the Christmas period. Wish me luck. It's over the next month I start to lose all my Christmas spirit. It doesn't tend to re-appear until 6pm Christmas Eve when I finish work!

Have a great week guys 

Oh, and if you have any tips on cooking goose, PLEASE comment below! I'm having nightmares! 

Ellen x 

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Winter is upon us

Week in Review

It's been a cold one. There's snow on them thar hills! 

There has been little to share with you that's not knitting related. I've worked, I've taught and I've slept. There has been other bits and bobs, but none that you want to know I'm sure! 

One thing that did happen was the arrival of the latest Pom Pom Quarterly magazine. Once again the editorial team have done a great job. The photography is stunning, the projects are inspirational and the mix of knitting, crochet and cookery is unique. I tried in vain to eek out this edition. I wanted to make it last as long as I could. It didn't work. I sat down with a brew and read every word in one wonderful evening. 
My next pair of sock may well be the Silver Birch by Louise Tilbrook

Feeling the love - 

I've been a bad girl. I'm sorry. I know I should be working on Christmas gift knitting, but I cast on a sock instead. It's been great. It's ages since I worked on a sock and I realise now how much I've missed knitting them. Their almost instant gratification is addictive. 
I'm already onto the heel of the second sock

I'm doing a 64 stitch vanilla sock, using Opal sock yarn in the star anise colour way. This is my first time using the Fish lips kiss heel It is a thing of simple beauty. I can't recommend this heel highly enough. For $1 you get not only the heel pattern, but you get the recipe for socks that fit.... every time. If you're a sock knitter, you have to try this pattern. It's a revelation. 

Aaaaannnnnddddd that's all for the knitting!  I know! It's a bit pants! But it is a sock and a half in a week. And that's not too shabby..... right?!

On the spinning front I've worked a little on a braid from deep stash.

 It's polwarth from Dyespinknit in the One Year Older colour way. Considering it's been in stash for 2 years it's spinning up a dream. I'm using my Turkish spindle that I managed to break when I plied the Autumn Sky single from Nunoco. I took the shaft out of the cop and tried to take the arms out when I heard a crack. I broke the thinner of the 2 arms. But i was a girl guide (briefly!) and I've fixed it. Super glue and cotton thread can fix a multitude of problems. The shaft doesn't fit as far in to the arms as it used to, but it still spins well so all is not lost. My plan is to make a 4ply. Stupidly I didn't think on to split the fibre into 4, so I'll fill the spindle four times and hope for the best! 

On the horizon - 

I'd like to get the star anise socks done by knit night. 

I REALLY should work on the ballet wrap!

I'll spin on my wheel and spindle 

Will I cast on those silver birch socks? Probably!

Have a great week guys! 

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Half Term Capers

I've decided I need to go back to work for a rest. This week has been none stop. 

Week in review - 
Monday was an odd kind of day. Our electricity supplier needed to turn off the electricity to do some maintenance on our sub-station. It was supposed to be off for 2 hours from 1 to 3 o'clock. This in itself would have been fine, but I borrowed Ben's best friend for 2 days and two 10 year olds with no electricity is horrendous. I've seen heroin addicts withdraw and be happier!!! Honestly!! You'd think their world had come crashing down. To make matters worse, the weather was awful. And then the power didn't come back in until gone 4 o'clock!!! Disaster!!! 

Tuesday was a bitty kind of day and essentially I achieved nothing!!  I did make knit night though, I had a great couple of hours chatting. 

Wednesday saw Ben and I travel over to the north east to visit Beamish. Beamish is an open air museum which shows the history if the north. There are lots of living exhibits. There is a pit, a school house, a farm, a Georgian manor house, and shops. The staff all dress in period costume and will tell you what it's like to live in Victorian England. It's a great day out. We ended the day by staying at a hotel. It was a small country hotel, the decor was a bit tired, but I can't fault the staff and the food was lovely. 

 On Thursday Ben I went home. We set off early because my mum and dad where traveling up to visit us. We had a nice time catching up. 

Friday was a really busy day. I had housework to do before I packed for our family trip to Hull. We went to visit friends. We don't get over to them very often, so it's good to spend time with them. It was an epic journey. Ben and I set off at 1:45 to pick Matthew up from Uni in Preston. From there we travelled over to Hull. We arrived at 6pm. Phew. I did get quite a bit of knitting done though. Well, until it went dark anyway. 

Today (Sunday) we went for a walk down by the river Humber. It was so windy! I can assure you there are no cobwebs within a 10 mile radius! 

This weekend we've all just chilled and chatted. Good food, good booze, good company. What more can you ask for?!

Feeling the love - 

This week I've finished spinning some Numoco fibre on my Turkish spindle. It was a batt dropping from my smorgasbord box. The colour way is Autumn Sky and it's a blend of merino, soy, and silk. Yummy. I wasn't sure how I wanted to finish it. I put it to the Nunoco group. I asked them to vote. Either I could leave it as a single, fulled; I could 2 ply it from the cop; or I could chain ply it. Each option has its pro's and con's. Would the single felt enough with all the added extras in the blend? Would I make a hash of plying from a centre pull ball (I have done this on more than one occasion)? Chain plying would preserve the colour changes but I'd lose a lot of yardage. So I left the decision to the majority, and they said I should 2 ply it. And so I did - 

I got 90 yards and while plying I realised I'd done a really bad job of spinning the single. It was very thick and thin. Gutted. But it plied up into a lovely little skein. Soft and squishy

On the knitting front I've mainly been working on the hitchhiker. It's finished now. 

This photo washes the colours out. My hike was a little longer than Martina's. I got 52 points. I could possibly worked another repeat, but I was bothered I'd run out of yarn. It needs to have the ends woven in and a gentle blocking. 

I finished the hitchhiker yesterday so I started working on Sophie's ballet wrap. The further I work on it, the more convinced I become it won't fit. So I tried it on Kitty. Ta da!! It seems Kitty will be getting a ballet wrap for Christmas!! And I'll be going back to my LYS for more pink yarn!! 

On the Horizon - 
I'm now spinning my batt from Monica48. It's lovely. I'll continue to spin it up this week. 

I'm still working on Kitty's ballet wrap. 

When I packed to come away this weekend I realised that my sock drawer is sadly lacking hand knit socks, so I'll cast on a new pair for me. I can't remember the last time I knit sock for me!!

So, have a great week guys. 
I'll see you on the flip side.