Sunday, 19 October 2014

I need a rest!

Good evening good people

How the devil are you all?


I am, I could do with a lie down as I've hinted at already, but I'm well.

In a couple of hours I'll retreat to my bed and before I know it, it will be time to get up and get back on the hamster wheel of life.

Once again my weekend is a blur.

I finished work on Friday, went straight to the leisure centre where Ben does karate and did a 30 minute swim while he trained. Once he finished, we went home and had a very quick tidy around the house while we awaited our guests.

This weekend our friends the Fisher's came to visit. It's been ages since we've seen them, so it was great to catch up on. We had a wonderful night chatting and a smidgen of alcohol may have been consumed. I had a very productive night - more on that soon.

Saturday was an odd kind of a day. The boys went out to gather wood for our worryingly empty wood store.We ladies (and Ben bless his heart) mooched about the house, psyched ourselves up for a brief jolly around town before heading to the supermarket for something to eat for dinner. Once we collected supplies we then retired back to the house to start the roast dinner. The Fisher girls where rather surprised to find me with my hand firmly inserted up a chicken's backside (well, in actual fact I was loosening the skin over the breast, but that doesn't sound nearly as funny). Chicken suitably stuffed and prepared, it was unceremoniously dumped in the oven while we went to play in the pool.

Now at this point, I should clarify that when I take kids to the pool for a fun session, it is not my habit to get wet. To me the pool is for swimming in not playing in.  I swim up and down for an hour or so and get out. The idea of playing about in the pool is alien to me.  When I suggested taking the Fisher females to the pool I had forgotten that the junior-most Fisher is only 6 and therefore needs to be accompanied in the water. I gave serious thought to leaving Mrs Fisher in the water with her two girls and Ben while I sat in the spectators area and knitted.

REALLY - serious thought!!!

But in the end I decided that it wouldn't have been the most charitable plan to leave them all to it in the water while I chilled on a bench with a brew and a knitting project.

So I got wet. To my delight and the kids' disgust the inflatable which is usually present in the fun session was broken so there was less splashing and buggering about. The pool was still busy though. Ben and Mollie (the eldest Fisher child and a confident swimmer) did their own thing, racing, diving and generally having a whole lot of fun. Mrs Fisher, Sophie (the 6 year old) and I all hung out together. Sophie is not as confident a swimmer as her big sister, but she did really well swimming her first 50 metres! Go Soph!!!

At the end of a surprisingly quick hour we got out and the kids had a slushie each to refill their sugar tanks while Mrs Fisher and I had that brew I'd been fantasizing about.

Despite my reticence I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Once home preparations for dinner where in full swing and all went well. The evening was dedicated to wine and helping Mrs Fisher get to grips with crochet.  She is a fellow leftie and had struggled to conquer crochet in a predominately right-handed world.

She did fantastically! I think she's set to crack on by herself. She made a good start on a granny square and has a crocheted teddy bear in her sights.  I wish her all the luck in the world. Hopefully next time I see her that teddy bear will have many crocheted friends.

Feeling the love -

This week has been all about the crochet.  My knitting and spinning projects have been mostly ignored.

The wheel has had a couple of rotations. My socks have had a couple of needles filled.  My shawls have looked longingly from their bags at the outside world, desperate to feel the love.

My attention has been almost exclusively aimed at my sock yarn blanket. On Friday night it was finished.  I say Friday night, but in actual fact it was silly o'clock on Saturday morning when the end got woven in.

By later on Saturday morning the kids where already fighting over who was going to snuggle under it! I mean, there is no shortage of crochet blankets in this house! But the newest one is the favourite.

Saturday I faffed.  I faffed on my sock club socks, I faffed with my shawls (both of them!!) I even spun some. But my focus was on Mrs Fisher's crochet hook, so not a huge lot was achieved.

Today is Sunday.  I have mainly been doing the housework I should have done over the last couple of weeks. In between loads of washing I've been flitting over many of my projects.  I even felt my fingers twitching towards the bag which contains my Hana Hou remains!! Don't hold your breath, but it may get cast on again soon.

On the horizon -

Next week is a week to survive.  I am on holiday the week after, so I'm definitely on the countdown.  So is Ben bless him, it's half term while I'm off. To start the holiday we'll be heading down to my mum and dad's house for their 40th wedding anniversary.  After that, I'm not sure what we'll get up to. I can assure you that I should be catching up on the month's worth of housework I've been ignoring over the last few weeks (I'm a social butterfly! What can I say?)
However, I'll probably take Ben somewhere for a couple of days.  We'll see.

On the crafting front, it'll be a minor miracle for anything to get finished any time soon.  I'd love to get chart 3 finished on the In Dreams shawl.  I've made some progress on Leftie,wouldn't it be great to cast that off!?
Wouldn't it be a minor miracle to get a sock or two finished!

We'll see

Hopefully it's going to be a really short week, followed by a really restful one!

Fingers crossed!

Have a great week guys!

Ellen x

Monday, 13 October 2014

A blog post of Two Halves

Last weekend I wrote to you. Honest, I did!!!!

I saved it and neglected to press the publish button! 

There are days I worry! ;-)

So, here are last week's thoughts - 

Ailments are like buses-

You're waiting at the bus stop for ages, then two come along together.

My back continues to annoy me, then WHAPPOW!!! I get slammed with Ben's back to school cold! 

Where's the justice in that?!?

I'm not playing this game anymore!!

On the life from I have nothing to report. The boys are settling into the school routine and all is well. At work, the flu vaccine season has started and I've been stabbing anyone who'll sit still long enough ;-)

Feeling the love- 

Do you remember my cunning plans from last week? Finish Hapa and finish at least one of my opal socks? 

I've achieved neither! 

It's not that I haven't been knitting. I have. But not on those projects. 

Mostly this week, I have been working on the In Dreams shawl. It's a thing of beauty. I'm approaching the halfway mark on chart 3 of 9. The beading is time consuming, and given that it happens on what on other shawls would be the rest row, it makes for slow progress.  

Despite this though I LOVE it! In all fairness, I'd make faster progress if I didn't stop every couple of rows to admire my work!! 

I have worked on Hapa mind you. I'm now on the final stripe before the split. On reflection, I think I should finish it before I work any more on In Dreams. 

Then of course there's my sock club. Those poor Scalloped Tulip socks haven't even made it out of the bag this week! Bearing in mind Wednesday is the start of October, I should get motoring on them. 

So this week's blog is short and sweet, sorry about that guys, but virus DNA is affecting my crafty mojo and all I want to do is take a couple of paracetamol and go back to bed!

On the horizon - 

I'd really like to say that I'll put In Dreams down and work on Hapa and my socks. 

I'm not sure I can though! 

It's such a lovely project. 

Who knows. Maybe when you come back next week I might surprise you all with an FO. Maybe even a HO!!

But don't hold your breath!

Shamed into writing - 

This last week saw me conquer that evil virus. Not without taking casualties mind you. I'm still plagued by a cough. But I'm better. So I'm not complaining. 

Today during my lunch break I caught up with Mel over in North Carolina. I'm sure I've mentioned her new blog before, but just to remind you, Mel is no longer a single handed knitter and to reflect this she's focusing on her new blog WithMelDotCom. Mel mentioned my blog and I thought that I'd better write something quickly!!  

Thank you Mel for making me get my finger out and write again!! 

So onto the nitty gritty. 

This past week has been busy. Flu vaccinations continue apace. This weekend we joined friends for a jolly to Blackpool. For those not in the know, every autumn Blackpool puts on an illumination show down the promenade. It's a must visit at least once in your life. Let's just say that you can see all life there! Blackpool is something of a Mecca for hen and stag weekends. My eyes were opened I can tell you! 

Moving swiftly on!! 

We went to the Sealife centre, we went up Blackpool tower, watched the sun set in the Tower's coffee shop and looked at the Illuminations from the tram. 

While sipping my tea I chatted with a lovely old chap. He was also admiring the view, whiling away some time until he could enter the Ballroom. He had travelled all the way up from Cornwall to fulfil his dream of dancing in the Tower Ballroom. I hope he had a wonderful evening. 

While we ambled down the beach I took the time to google local yarn shops. Funnily enough, I found one! My good friend Steph and I couldn't resist. So with the aid of google maps we found Johnson's Wool & Needlework. An Aladdin's cave of yarn, buttons, ribbons, fabric and all things you could wish for. It's run by the lovely Suzanne Johnson. Her passion for her craft is obvious. Not only that though, she has a passion for her town. She's heading up a team of shop owners who offer niche poducts and services. Not to miss out we also visited a shop selling diecast models (Matthew bought an airfix Landrover kit) and a rather fabulous comic shop (Ben bought a Walking Dead Comic).

Me? What did I buy? Well restraint is my middle name as you all know! I bought 3 rather lovely balls of cotton and a tatting pattern. Once I got back to our room on Saturday night I soon realised that my tatting knowledge is not nearly good enough to be able to read a pattern. 

Note to self - invest in a learn yerself tatting book ;-) or bob down to Zena 's for a quick lesson. 

It is compulsory to buy rock in Blackpool. The North is the home of rock in my opinion. Rock must only be pink, mint flavoured and contain the name of the place you're visiting. No other flavours or colours or seniments can be tolerated!  There's a gent who uses my pharmacy. I'm sure he won't mind me telling you he's a grumpy old git with a heart of gold. He walks past my counter on his way to his doctor and shouts "Morning Ladies" regardless of the hour. He gives me dogs abuse and expects nothing less in return. Whenever I have time off he complains bitterly that I didn't buy him a stick of rock. Today I gave him a stick of rock and told him to get his laughing gear around it and quieten down..... I love the bones of him really ;-)

We left Blackpool early on Sunday morning because Ben had a karate competition. I must thank Hazel of Le Papillon Hotel for getting up at such a horrible hour to see us off with bacon butties. 

This was the first competition I'd been to where the whole club was participating. Before it had only been the youngsters. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the brown and black belts spar. The fights were astounding to watch. 

Before we get onto the knitting, here is a quick montage of the weekend. I hope you enjoy it

Feeling the love - 

In the first half of the blog, written a little while ago now, I wanted to finish Hapa. I did finish it but I ran out of yarn. So the split at the bottom of the shawl isn't nearly as long as it should be, but I love it. It's kept me snug and warm this past weekend. Winter is getting a grip on Cumbria and wooly handmades are becoming essential once more.

Huge apologies to Stephanie of Space Cadet Creations for the rubbish "bush" background!! In my defense I took this photo before I read your blog! - a must read by the way.

I have a HO too. I finished the first of my yarn club socks. 

If you recall I'm making my Scalloped Tulip socks. I knit the first one as per my original pattern. I do like it but I felt the urge to tweak it on the second sock. This time I'm adding  a slipped stitch detail to the central stitch. I'll see how I like it in the finished sock and update the pattern. So far, though, I'm liking it and the slipped stitch isn't proving to be a chore to work.

I'm not sure you can really see the difference in this picture, but from where I'm sitting it looks good - honest. 
The love has been liberally spread around over the past few weeks, so I thought I'd do a quick recap. 

My sock yarn blanket is perilously close to being finished. A long time ago I made 3 huge magic knotted balls of sock yarn. I'm onto my last one, and when it's run out I'm calling this project finished. It's plenty big enough to snuggle under while I work on it. There's no photo as it's currently living in my office and it's my lunchtime project at the moment. 

Once I cast Hapa off if felt the urge to work lace. So this week, I've added a few rows to both the Sun Ray shawl and the In Dreams shawl. 

Sun Ray is now almost halfway done. I'm at 800 stitches per round, so progress is slow but still very satisfying.

 As always lace looks like nothing on earth until it's blocked and sadly it's crushed onto a woefully short needle. 

In dreams is also progressing nicely. 

It's so pretty! I just want to look at it! The beading is slow going, but I do enjoy it. I'm loving watching the pattern emerge. A stunning creation 

Because I was travelling I decided to cast on a vanilla sock. I cast on using Opal Sweet and spicy 2 in the Star Anise Colourway. I didn't make huge progress, but it did serve its purpose keeping my hands busy while leaving my brain to socialise. 

Whenu has seen some action too over the last couple of weeks. She's had the second half of the Nunoco Jewel Bug Batts on her for months now. 
I chain plied it to preserve the colours and got a heavy fingering weight yarn measuring 170 yards out of the 50g batt. It's still waiting to be washed and thwacked, I'm hoping it helps it chill out a bit because right now, it's got a full twist worth of energy when you hold up the skein. 

The fact I've already agreed to give up the In Dreams shawl has been playing on my mind. I've been paying close attention to the Ravelry threads in my group and there are some stunning projects on the go. Some folk are spinning for their shawl!  This got me to thinking. What if I could spin for this shawl too? To that end I've put some BFL/silk I dyed ages ago on the wheel. I'm checking my consistency regularly. I'm going to spin the 100g straight through and then ply it with another nunoco product. This time it's top. It's a stunning blend of merino,silk and firestar in the Cobweb colour way 

I'm excited by the contrast in colour. I'm hoping that it will barber pole nicely and I'll get some lovely colours shifting throughout the piece. 

On the horizon - 

Well it seems that my WIP numbers continue to increase despite my best efforts!! Next week I'll probably focus on a couple of my projects in an effort to have progress to show you next weekend. 

Oh, by the way! My social butterfly status continues as we have guests next weekend. I'll write to goy as soon as I can. 

Have a great week.  

Ellen x