Thursday, December 30, 2004

I'm just back from celebrating the birthday of a friend whose birthday falls today. Instead of presents, she has asked that everyone give the money they would have spent on her to the appeals for victims of the tsunamis and earthquakes in Asia and India. This seems the right way to do things to me. We, who are lucky, can't stop celebrating important festivals and events, but we should find some way to think about those thousands of dead and thousands of missing, as well as the millions who are now suffering unimaginable loss and hardship.

If you can afford it, please give generously.

Disasters Emergency Committee

Friday, December 24, 2004

Deck the halls

Well, it's finally upon us. The presents are wrapped and under the tree. The turkey has been collected from the butcher, along with a lovely gammon which is currently bubbling away, prior to being baked this evening. Mince pies have been made. Wine will be mulled this evening. I was in Sainsbury's at 8am today to pick up the last veg and milk that we need, so now I'm feeling smug, as I went past about an hour ago and it looked like hell.

My present knitting is finished. ½ Clapotis is going to Toby's mum. I did a pair of socks for my sister's boyfriend, which I blocked last night and will wrap today. (First time I'd done a short row heel - and I liked it!) I did another flower washcloth, to go with some Body Shop smellies for Toby's brother's girlfriend.

After all that present knitting, I decided to do something quick and simple for myself. I bought some great eyelash yarn when I was in Norway a couple of years ago. If you are ever in Oslo, visit this shop - I guarantee you'll love it. I've been looking for something to do with it, as I only have one ball in each shade. Also, I ripped back the Elegant Gauntlet I'd knitted, as I wasn't happy with how it looked, so I had 2 skeins of Koigu going spare. Koigu, eyelash yarn - it just had to be Rockstar! I cast on last night and hopefully I'll be wearing it on New Year's Eve.

Happy Christmas to all of you that celebrate. Happy Holidays to everyone else. Have a good one. Now I'm off to have a glass of wine - well, it is Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Let it snow

Look what I made!

You can make one too, if you go here. Who says we can't have a white Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Oh come all ye faithful...

.. to the shops, or so it seemed today. Things have been remarkably low key re Christmas around here this year. Normally by now I would have written several lists, one of presents, one of food, one of everything else that needs to be done. Toby would have bought several cases of wine (only because of the 5% discount, of course). This year I think we're a bit partied out from the wedding, so can't summon up too much enthusiasm for another big celebration.

However, as far as Sam and Josie are concerned, it's getting pretty exciting. So today I ventured up to Oxford Street, armed with Christmas lists from them both. First stop was Hamleys. First thought when I got in there was, 'Why the f... did I come here?'. This is what I think every time I go there. Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely shop, but it's just too overwhelming for me. There's so much to choose from that I can't make any choices. I ended up wandering around for an hour, then leaving with an art set that I could probably have bought in Clapham Junction.

John Lewis was a bit better. More of a shop than a tourist attraction. Josiah is now all sorted, but Sam is proving more of a problem. He is desperate for some PS2 game, but we have declared a moratorium on PS2/computer games for the moment. I guess I'll be hitting the Clapham Junction toy shops to see what I can find.

While in John Lewis, I just happened to find myself in the wool department. Where else would I go carrying three large heavy bags? I have to say I prefer Liberty's wool department to John Lewis as I think the yarns are displayed better, but Liberty doesn't stock everything that JL do. I was sorely tempted by some Noro Transitions. Gorgeous stuff, especially Shade 02. But at £10.80 a skein, I thought I should wait until all the presents were bought. Our finances have taken a battering in the last few months. Still, it was hard to leave it in the shop.

One good thing about going to Oxford Street is the nice long bus ride home gives me plenty of time for knitting. I am doing a pair of socks for my sister's boyfriend, who is spending Christmas with us. I am almost ready to start the heel of the first one, so hopefully the pair will be done by the end of the weekend.

The rest of the Christmas knitting has gone well. I know I said I don't normally do it, but I think I might bet into it a bit more, as it's been quite fun working on lots of small projects. The scarves for my parents are done and posted. I finished my half-Clapotis, which I'm really pleased with; I think I will give that to Toby's mum. I ended up doing the Flower Washcloths from Weekend Knitting for Sam and Josies' teachers. I used oddments of DK Cotton rather than Chenille and gave them a little bar of soap with each one. I think that's probably going to be it, although I may squeeze in a scarf for Toby's brother's girlfriend, oh and maybe for his grandmother too...

Monday, December 13, 2004

Happy Clappy

If you haven't knitted this yet, then you must. Go on, you know you want to. I know I'm behind the times, as loads of other bloggers have long since finished theirs, but I'm loving knitting Clapotis.

I'm using a cotton/silk blend from 21st Century Yarns that I bought at Ally Pally this year. They only had one skein in the colourway I liked, so I'm doing a half size Clapotis, just 3 increase and decrease rows rather than the 6 specified. I started on Saturday and am just about to start the decreases after doing 12 sets of straight rows. The best thing about it is definitely making the ladders, there's nothing like dropping a stitch on purpose.

I know I'm supposed to be doing the children's teachers' presents and I will, I will - maybe tomorrow?

Friday night was my knitting group's Christmas do. We went to my favourite tapas bar and had lots of fun and did no knitting at all.

Sam is off school ill today, so I get to stay home from work and do lots of knitting while he rests on the sofa and watches videos. Bliss.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Santa baby...

So I'm starting to get back into the swing of things. And the swingiest of things at the moment is, of course, Christmas gift knitting. As a rule, I don't do a lot of gift knitting at Christmas time. Why? I think it's the whole knitting to a deadline thing, it just doesn't work for me. However, this year I was pretty organised and got a scarf done for my mother in early November - another version of Cloud, but in Touch Yarns mohair boucle - yummm.

Then I thought I'd better do something for my father as well, so I've started a scarf for him too. I dug out some Rowan Magpie Tweed that I was given a couple of years ago and am doing a simple, quite slim scarf, in a sort of mistake rib. It feels good to be knitting with a fairly heavy weight yarn again. Sadly, this has yarn was discontinued a while ago now. It's a shame, as it's one of those yarns that really lets the quality of the wool shine through.

So I had thought I would leave it at that, but then Polly blogged about a great idea for little gifts (see the entry on December 3rd ). Once I saw that, I thought these would be great for Sam and Josie's teachers. I have lots of oddments of DK Cotton knocking around in various colours. I think I might buy some bath bombs from Lush rather than soap, just to make it a little different.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Ding Dong

So, I came to the computer full of intent to post a witty, entertaining post all about the wedding and Rome, but to tell you the truth, I'm feeling a bit.. bleugh. The wedding was lovely, a really good day full of laughter and fun and good friends and relatives. Rome was wonderful. I've never been to Italy before and now I'm in love. But now I'm back; back to school and work and a flat with a leaky toilet cistern that I'm sure was fine before we left. Anyway, I'm very happy, but am just feeling a bit blue, so I'll just post some photos for you to look at for now.

Here we are after the event. Let me just say, I could never be a celebrity and face the paparazzi. There were only about 6 people taking photos and I started to freak out after about 5 minutes. Plus, I was doing the whole 'stand sideways, turn your face to one side' sort of thing that you read about for making the best of your profile or whatever. It didn't work, as you can see. Note Cloud - I had to get her in somewhere!

Us and the children. Josie suffered an extreme attack of shyness, so missed out on some of the family group shots, but she is all recovered here.

We had arranged for one of my sisters (it ended up being the youngest, as she got in the room first) and Toby's best friend to be the witnesses. When we got in the room, the Registrar asked us if we would like Sam and Josie to be our witnesses also. We didn't know they could do this, but thought it would be a great idea. So they got to sign the register too. I think this is my favourite picture so far.

Lunchtime diversion

Hooray, the new Knitty is here!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Mr & Mrs

We did it! I'm an honest woman now. Thanks for all your good wishes. We had a lovely day. I finished Cloud, although Josie spent more time wearing it than me. We're off to Rome tomorrow, so I'll give you all more details about the wedding when we get back.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Somebody stop me

Cloud is coming along nicely. I am about one third of the way through ball number three, so hopefully she will we done and ready to block tomorrow. While knitting away last night, I found myself wondering if I would have time to knit Josie a poncho to go with her wedding clothes...

Monday, November 22, 2004

The Long and Winding Road

No pictures yet I'm afraid. We converted to broadband on Friday, but then on Saturday our line was disconnected somewhere under the streets of London. Apparently it can't be fixed until Tuesday, so I am phoneless, emailess and internetless at home. So this is a short at work post - I don't think I can start taking WIPs out at work, take photos of them, load the photos onto the PC and upload them to my blog. I haven't actually checked with my boss, but I think I know what the answer will be.

So, less than a week to go until the wedding! Great time to have no phone, it's not like I would need to speak to caterers, the venue or even friends and family is it? Anyway, I thought this would be a great time to start to try to knit something for me to wear on the big day. So, I thought, what would be the best thing to knit quickly? I know! Why don't I knit something lacy, in a really fine yarn? This strange idea came to me on Friday night, obviously buying the dress had sent my confidence levels soaring into overdrive.

Anyway, I had 3 balls of Rowan KidSilk Haze in my stash. They were originally purchased for Birch, but I did that in Donegal Lambswool 4 ply so I had then earmarked them for Karis, which I love. However, even in my current state, I know that I cannot finish Karis by Saturday, so I got them out and cast on for this. I knitted the scarf version of this about a month ago, used some Mohair Boucle from Touch Yarns that I bought at Ally Pally, so I know the pattern is very easy to follow.

I was right, the pattern was a easy and effective as I remembered. However, KidSilk Haze lasts forever. I have been knitting solidly since Friday evening and have only used 1½ balls - the patterns takes 3 balls to make. I have five evenings left until I get married. But now I'm in too deep, I can't give up. I will finish it. I will also (in those five evenings) buy myself some shoes, buy Josie some shoes, buy myself some jewellery/corsagey type thing to jazz up the dress, go and pay the caterer their deposit, confirm final numbers attending (without access to my email due to problem mentioned above), take Josie for a haircut, make 2 costumes for Sam & Josie's school play, write to the school to let them know that Sam & Josie will be missing next week off school, phone the hotel in Rome to confirm our reservation and airport transfer (will be interesting to do this without phone or email) and of course, do the usual cook dinner, wash clothes, oversee homework, read bedtime stories sort of thing.

All in all, a nice quiet, relaxing week.

Friday, November 19, 2004

I'm so excited

Three comments! You wait a whole week, and then three come along at one. Thanks everyone - it's nice to get feedback, especially from lovely people like yourselves.

I did read them all yesterday and wrote an entry, but then Blogger went down and I lost it all.

I was full of gloom and despair as I hadn't been able to find anything for the wedding, after 5 hours traipsing up and down Oxford Street, around Selfridges etc, all on late night shopping day and in the rain. Fun, fun, fun! I did manage to get an outfit for Sam and some new pyjamas for him too. The pyjamas were pretty essential as he is going to a sleepover tomorrow and the ones he is currently wearing have holes in the knees (yes, I am a bad, slack mother). I popped into Liberty and picked up new 2.5mm dpns and some 4.5mm dpns for Hourglass Sweater. It was a mark of how depressed I was that I didn't even go and join the Rowanettes meeting in the cafe. Sorry girls, if any of you are reading this, I wouldn't have been good company.

Fi asked about the Hourglass Sweater. I don't think it requires an hourglass figure, it's more that it has shaping at the waist, which the book says,'flatters most women's figures'. So there you go. Digital camera is at work at the moment (actually it belongs to work, but I can borrow it sometimes) so I will take a picture on Monday, which will hopefully show the shaping.

Thanks for all your kind words about the wedding. The good news is that I did find a dress today! All that wandering around yesterday, today I went into this shop, which is very near where I do voluntary work on Friday mornings. An hour later, I was walking out with a new dress. I'll keep the details secret for now, but I'm very pleased. It's by no means a traditional wedding dress, but it fits in with the feel of the day, or how I want it to be.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Not much

knitting over the last few days.

Saturday was my Not-Hen-Party. Wedding is now less than 2 weeks away!

The actual meal was fairly sedate, but I managed to stay up very late with my sisters afterwards - putting the world to rights, as you do.

Consequently, on Sunday, I felt - let's just say, delicate. Luckily Toby looked after the children all day. I did get up for lunch, but then retired to bed to watch Pollyanna. Toby, meanwhile, had rented the children some totally unsuitable DVD. But heh, it was my Not-Hen-Party. I will return the favour for him next weekend when it's his Not-Stag-Night. My sister did make guacamole with them, so they had some sort of constructive activity for the day.

I managed to rise from bed Sunday night and finish Josie's 2nd sock and cast on the first of a pair for Sam. I finished the first one Monday evening and am about halfway through the second one. Once that's done, it's on to one of the sock patterns in Lucy Neatby's book for Toby - I fancy trying a short row heel.

Hourglass Sweater has stalled. I think I secretly am wishing for 4.5mm dpns for the sleeves, as I'm not convinced about the Magic Loop method. I am off to Liberty on Thursday night, if I'm not wedding dress shopping (did I mention I don't have anything to wear for my own wedding?), so will try and pick up some there. I also have a strangely bowed 2.5mm dpn - I didn't know bamboos could do that, so will have to get some replacements for them too, if I'm not wedding dress shopping.

Friday, November 12, 2004

OK, so now I'm confused. I'm pretty sure I posted the last entry - including photos, but it doesn't seem to be showing up. Maybe it's just my view? I'm not sure. It's too late at night to worry about it now. It's also Friday which is wine, takeaway and varying standards of comedy programmes on Channel 4 night, so I'll leave it there. Hourglass Sweater is growing - almost time to divide for the yoke. Then I just need to try and work out the magic loop technique, as I haven't got a small enough circular to do the sleeves. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's so Surreal

So Tuesday night was knitting night. My knitting group meets in a pub, as do lots of London groups. As pubs go, it's pretty good - not too smokey, nice comfy leather sofas and that bar staff are nice to us. There was a reasonably big group there this time - about 8 of us. For the last couple of months it's just been 4 of us, the 4 that started the group, at each meeting, so it's good to see more people coming along.

So there we all are, knitting away, talking about things, then Helen decides to take some photos to record the event. Then, suddenly a man sidles up and asks if he can take a photo of us too - 'why?' we ask. His reply, 'It's so surreal, to walk into a groovy bar and find a bunch of girls knitting'. Hmmm. The use of the phrase 'groovy bar' about a pub down a side street in Clapham on a Tuesday night was his first mistake. Anyway, he took his photo, we took ours and went our separate ways (he went to a table in the conservatory with his friends).

Here we are looking askance at the man having the 'surreal' experience

So, anyway, back to knitting (just ignore him).

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Bad day yesterday. The whole afternoon was spent dealing with grumpy 8 year old with Zoo Tycoon issues, namely his wanting to play it and my refusal to let him. Our moods can be summed up by these examples from his spelling homework:

My mum is horrible.
I feel terrible.
It is possible that my mum will become very angry.

He had to go to bed straight after his bath.

I then spent almost 6 hours sewing up a bloody elephant that I had rashly agreed to knit for someone. 6 hours sewing up - this is why I don't knit toys. The last toy I knitted was a teddy for my younger sister when I was about 10. Not a coincidence I think that this was the last thing I knitted until I was 26 and pregnant? No more toys for me. I was actually paid to knit this toy - but no sum would be enough to knit something that takes 6 hours to sew up. My own fault really, I should have said no.

After all that sewing, I did a little knitting while watching the final of The Sopranos, which finished at past midnight (why Channel 4?). I managed to do one more set of increases on the Hourglass Sweater - 14 rounds in total. Only two more to go before I divide for the yoke.

Off to my knitting group tonight. Details are on the
Cast Off website if anyone's interested.

Monday, November 08, 2004


So I thought I'd dip my toe into the world of blogging. Things didn't start off too well - the first two blogs I tried to set up have locked somewhere in the process, so here's hoping this one goes better. I certainly hope so, as I don't think I can come up with any more names for the thing! The house is, not so much a wool palace, as a wool shack, in need of some serious redecoration (and stash reduction), but that doesn't have the same ring to it does it?
No pictures today, as I don't think I can even start to handle that, but current WIPs are the Hourglass Sweater from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, which I'm knitting in Rowan Felted Tweed which I've had sitting in my stash for the last 2 years, just waiting for the right project. It's the first sweater I've knitted in the round, so I'll be interested to see how it goes. I'm using my new rosewood circulars from Scottish Fibres, which are lovely, better points than my bamboos and very smooth joins.
Bus/tube knitting is socks - almost always is. Current ones are just in a basic sock pattern from The Purl Stitch. I recently bought Lucy Neatby's book (I know it's been out for ages), so I think I will try something a little more interesting for the next pair.
Am also knitting the 'Elegant Gauntlets', again from The Purl Stitch. I am using some Koigu that I got from a while ago. I really like them, although husband thinks they, 'look like some Victorian thing'. I finished one this weekend - cast it on Friday night and finished it Saturday night. Hopefully I will get the other one done by tomorrow.
So that's it peeps. Welcome to my wild and crazy world!