Sunday, 30 March 2008

Random things

This morning I actually managed to remember to reset all the clocks for the start of British Summertime.

The only thing that I got wrong was to put them back instead of forward. I didn't realise until nearly 11am, when of course I thought it was 9am - it came up in conversation whilst I was talking on the phone to my mother, who thought it was hilarious. Me, rather less so.... I don't think I've ever done that before. Spring forward, fall back. Of course. What was I thinking?

Things are still going really well at work, and I still cannot quite get my head around the fact that I have this wonderful job. I have the pleasure of running my own little yarn department, and I only have to work three days a week. And I get to teach as well - I'm discovering that I really enjoy the teaching.

The sock class seemed to go well yesterday. I'm running it again on Tuesday, and before then I must pull back the heel turn and the pick-up along the sides of the heel flap, which I demonstrated in the class. And also pull back what I've done so far of the second sock, which I used to demonstrate the cast on and the join for working in the round. And then after Tuesday, they can become my travel knitting, along with Lenore.

Which I wasn't going to mention. I must get Lenore finished, this is becoming an embarrassment. It's not even as if it is second sock syndrome, because I haven't even finished the first one yet.

I remember saying when I started this job, that I knew I would eventually get used to the driving - and I think I've reached that point now. In fact I enjoy the drive, even when it is as windy as it was yesterday evening. I drive a small, very light car with an extremely short wheelbase, and a relatively tall profile. So when it is windy - and particularly when there is a strong sidewind which is gusting the way it was yesterday - I tend to zigzag down the motorway in the inside lane, rather than travelling in a straight line in the normal way. And I have to keep the speed down a bit too, of course. There was one point yesterday when I almost thought I was going to be blown right off the road. Interesting.

It's a pretty drive though - the non-motorway part of it, at least. And it is definitely spring now. There's one place where the road goes down through some woods, and on one particular bend there is a strong smell of wild garlic. Celandine at the roadside too.....

Podcasts are what I listen to whilst I'm driving. At the moment I'm catching up with all the back issues of Sticks and String. I listen to new issues as they come out, as well.

I like everything about the content of this podcast, and the way it is presented. There's usually an interview - David has met and talked with some really interesting people - and a book review as well, which again is always interesting. There's some music, which will invariably be something instrumental and easy to listen to - and an essay, usually read by David, sometimes by someone else. Sometimes there's a yarn review, too. David talks about what he's knitting, and how it's going, and what he's thinking of making next, and what's happening with knitting generally in the area where he lives. And there is 'from the bottom of the knitting bag' - which could be just about anything.

All good stuff, basically. Each issue tends to last between 30 and 40 minutes, so I get time for at least one issue each way, whilst I'm driving.

After I've got through all the back issues of Sticks and String - I've got about a dozen still to go - I shall return to Brenda Dayne's Cast On. I've only listened to a few of these, but I know that I like them. I'm looking forward to getting caught up with the back issues here, too. Longer programmes, these - some of them run to more than an hour. All good stuff, again.

What else - Mine.

Here it is looking curly and rather nondescript. I have only picked it up again this morning, other than this I haven't worked on it at all since I last posted a picture. I hope to get a good bit more done today and tomorrow. That's the remains of the first of ten skeins of yarn there, by the way.

I was wondering a little about the gauge for this. I didn't work a swatch, which I really should have done - I decided that I would just go for it, and if I needed to pull it all back and rework it, then so be it. But I think it is working out as it should. Maybe a fraction short on the row count, maybe not - I haven't worked enough length yet to be certain.

I'm prepared for this to drop a little in wear. The yarn is quite heavy - the finished garment will weigh half a kilo, even without the beads, and it is only a sleeveless top, let us not forget. But a little extra length will certainly not hurt.

What's next? I should finish Pia. And I should finish the Cobblestone Pullover too, or else my predictions of the weather warming up before I can wear it, are exactly what's going to happen.

But I think a Kidsilk Haze phase may be imminent. Because Spook is going to happen soon, in Anthracite, I think. Yes, I like grey.

And I keep thinking about another Birch, in Jelly, which is a gorgeous clear vivid lime green. If I dare. That's very bright indeed, for me. But before that, I really must finish the Smoke Birch that I have on the needles.

Also, I have completely fallen for Ghost. This is an unstructured wrap cardigan with belt ties attached at the side seams, and the two fronts worked sideways. It is worked with two strands of Kidsilk Haze held together - in two different colours. The illustration shows Anthracite and Smoke held together. I am thinking about Cocoa and Putty, or maybe Elegance and Jacob. The possibilites are endless. Imagine it worked with Blood and Wicked....

Right now, less talk and more knitting, I think!

Wrap Top errata (Wrap Waistcoat )

Before I forget it again, I must say something about this. There are some errors in the pattern - at least there are for size M, I haven't checked the other sizes.

Everything is fine for the back and the Right Front, but the Left Front isn't quite right. It is nothing very mysterious and the problem is very apparent once you start working the piece - or at least it is if you have your brain in gear, which I didn't. It took me several inches before I actually looked at the work on the needles and thought, hang on....

Anyway. When you work the Left Front, in order to get the rib pattern coming out the way you want it, you need to reverse the stitch order of the pattern for the Right Front, that's all. If you work the pattern for the Left Front as written, then the rib pattern doesn't line up across the front. Also, if you start with a WS row then the cast-on edges at the centre front don't have the same appearance. Not critical of course, but extremely easy to change.

What I'd suggest is this - and it does work out perfectly, I've knitted it this way myself.

For the Left Front, Size M:

Row 1 (RS) : k1, * k2, p2, k1, p2, repeat from * to the last 7 stitches, then k2, p2, k1, p1, k1.

Row 2 (WS): * k2, p1, k2, p2, repeat from * to the last stitch, then k1.

And all shaping is now done at the beginning of WS rows.

This is for the Wrap Top (Wrap Waistcoat) from All Seasons at the Mill, by the way. And I have only checked size M, because that's the size I made for myself.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Return of the prodigal sock

I've been working a little on Lenore.

But not much, unfortunately. These socks haven't been much in evidence for quite a while now - well, I have been knitting other things - but somehow it happened that I wanted a small portable project to work on the other day. So I picked it up again, for a while.

This is such a nice straightforward pattern, and will produce a really useful and wearable pair of socks. I don't know why I'm finding it difficult to work up any enthusiasm for them right now, but that's the way it is. I will get them finished, I will.....

Yesterday evening I also cast on a new pair of Kaffe Fassett socks for my husband.

This is going to be used in my sock class on Saturday, and I need to get the leg finished and work the heel flap, so that I can demonstrate the heel turn. I'll run a lifeline at the end of the heel flap, so that I can be very devious and use the same sock again for the repeat class on Tuesday. And I'll pull back what I work on the second sock during the Saturday class so that I can demonstrate the cast-on again on Tuesday.

It looks as if my husband may get a new pair of socks every time I run a sock class. He approves of this.

And here is what I actually want to be working on.

I've cast on for Mine.

This is Rowan Bamboo Tape, which I haven't worked with before. It is lovely and soft in the hand, and has a beautiful soft sheen to it. As you can see, I've already got the beads for this. They are really pretty, and I'm looking forward to using them.

This isn't a straight vest, it has an A line shape to it - really I suppose a trapeze shape, as it is very wide at the hem. I've decided to go with the size 14, mainly because I'm so pleased about the fit of the Wrap Waistcoat. I made the medium size for that one, to fit 12 - 14 (UK sizes of course!) and I think I could almost have got away with a size small.

You know, there is one factor that not much discussed when we consider the fit of a garment, but which is absolutely crucial to whether something looks good or not - shoulder width.

I think one reason why it isn't much discussed is that it is quite hard to measure shoulder width - certainly it is very difficult to measure one's own shoulders. Very nearly impossible, actually. And pretty difficult to measure someone else's, as well.

I don't have wide shoulders, and as I've mentioned before, if I make the size garment indicated by my bust size, then it is unlikely to fit well. Raglans make for a good fit, because they don't have a defined shoulder line, and I can just shorten the sleeves. And sleeveless is good too, because I can adjust the width of the neckline if I think it's necessary.

Over the past few weeks I've been looking through the galleries over at Knitting Daily, and as far as I can see, the amount of positive or negative ease doesn't always seem to be a critical factor with regard to how well a garment fits. Shoulder width, on the other hand, does.

Have a look here, and also here, and see what you think. And look here - the same sweater looks absolutely brilliant on three different people, fitting with positive ease of just 1/2" all the way through to 5". Which one has the best fit though? - look at the shoulderline, and look at the overall appearance. It isn't the amount of ease that makes the difference.

Finally - here you can see someone wearing a garment with a full 10" of negative ease - and it looks just fine, although the armholes may be a little on the tight side.

Shoulder width is key, I think. And negative ease is our friend. Well, mine, anyway..... I hope.

Monday, 24 March 2008


I finished knitting the Wrap Waistcoat yesterday evening. Today I seamed it and worked the armhole borders.

So, this is the Wrap Waistcoat, from Rowan's brochure All Seasons at the Mill, worked in All Seasons Cotton (of course), in black. The pattern says 8 skeins, I used 9.

This is an even worse photograph than I usually manage - well, it is black, and the flash has completely washed it out. But I am rather pleased with this, and I'll wear it to work tomorrow, I think.

Next, Mine. And some socks, for the Saturday class.....

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Sunday afternoon

Another nice knitting-filled weekend. I finished the crochet scarf on Friday evening, together with a stack of granny squares and a couple of hexagons for my last class. I'm rather pleased with the scarf.

I love this mix of neutrals. Brights have their place, too, of course. But this is rather good, and it is a colour combination that isn't going to date.

Three balls of Rowan Tapestry, if you're interested - and a 6mm crochet hook. This colour is 175 Moorland.

I shall do my very best to get the Wrap Waistcoat finished this weekend, as well. I want to be wearing it on Tuesday.

Then, I need to cast on for a pair of socks, despite the fact that I still haven't finished Lenore. This is because I'm teaching a sock class on Saturday, and I want to be able to demonstrate a heel turn.

For myself - I think that when the Wrap Waistcoat is finished (and when I've reached the heel turn on the first sock) I shall cast on for Mine.

I still haven't decided which size to make. The weight is still drifting slowly down - very slowly actually, but enough to give me encouragement that there is still more to go. Although I've been consuming so much cough linctus and lozenges over the last few weeks - I hate to think of how much sugar that must have been. I'm wondering if the rate of weight loss will increase again, now that things are getting back to normal.

But in the meantime, I need to make things that I can wear right now, and that will still fit me if I lose more weight. I have enough yarn for either size 14 or 16 - to fit bust 38" or 40". The actual measurement at underarm level is 39" and 41" respectively - and as this is made in Bamboo Tape, I am prepared for it to be fairly heavy and very drapy, with a degree of 'drop' to it, in wear. To fit right now - well, normally I'd go for the size 16 like a shot, as 41" would give me just about zero ease - but it does have a wide neckline and I'm wondering if the straps will want to fall off my shoulders.

The styling is good for me, though - the outline is A-line. With the size 14, the lower hem measures 53" around, and with the size 16 it is 55 1/2". So no clinging to the tummy and hips, which is good. Length is 21 1/2" for both sizes.... I think it is going to be the size 14. Maybe.

And yes, I'm going to include the beading. I think it is going to be beautiful.

Friday, 21 March 2008

In which I am not actually doing any knitting

You'll gather from the title that I haven't yet finished the Wrap Waistcoat. I have been doing some messing around with the pattern - more on that another time - and the net result is that I still haven't got the left front finished. I've done several inches of it, but I haven't reached the collar shaping yet - the fronts are worked sideways, remember.

I still love the fabric, but I've been working on this too long and I want to be wearing it. The back is done, the right front is done - there's just this one last piece, and then the finishing. Shoulder and collar seams, armhole borders, and side seams......

But I won't be working on it today. Today, I am crocheting. I am teaching a session tomorrow on granny squares, a follow-on session from one for absolute beginners, and this does mean - ahem - that I do actually need to have some granny squares made up to show people. So, today, crochet.

And I'm remembering why I went through a crochet phase some years ago, because these little squares are definitely rather fun. I'm going to make some multi-coloured ones in a minute, and I've been trying out hexagons too - I think they work quite well actually.

There is a twirly crochet scarf in progress, as well - Rowan Tapestry, as you can probably see. I love this yarn, it is so useful for all sorts of things, and so soft as well. Subtle colour changes, very much my sort of thing. This is shade 175 Moorland - soft gentle beiges and silvery greys, going through to a steely blue/grey like hills on the horizon ..... beautiful.

And yes, I know that twirly scarves have been around for a while now. I am a long way behind the times, that's clear. But it is still fun!

Monday, 17 March 2008


Remember all that flooding we had back in January? It's back. This is the view from our back windows this morning.

I shall be going the long way round to work tomorrow, I believe.

In which my knitting misbehaves

Well, its Monday morning, and I've had a nice knitting weekend. The back of the Wrap Waistcoat is finished, and the right front is done as well. I'm just casting on for the left front right this minute.

I don't think I will be wearing this tomorrow though, because I have a very unexpected problem. I think I may be short of yarn, and this is something that never happens to me. Never. In fact its been something that I've been quite pleased about - I don't run out of yarn, I knit to tension, I always get an extra skein just in case. Yes, right. It never happens to me - until it does, despite everything.

I will clarify. I am making size M, and the pattern says 8 balls of All Seasons Cotton. I bought 9 balls - just in case - and also because I had decided to add two extra rows to each side of the front, to give just a bit of extra fabric at the front where I need it, and not at the back where I don't.

So, I have the left front and the armhole borders still to work. I weighed the right front and the remaining yarn (out of 9 balls, remember) in my kitchen scales, and as near as I can tell, they weigh the same.

This is most annoying.

I have enough oddments for the seams, and if I hadn't worked the extra two rows on the right front (and I'll be doing them on the left front as well) then I'd have enough for the armhole borders as well, I'm sure. As it is, I might - just! - need a 10th ball of yarn. Its not a huge problem of course, I can buy some tomorrow, and I won't worry about the dyelot as the armhole borders are only narrow.

But you know, I cannot remember this ever happening to me before. Invariably I have yarn left over - this is why I accumulate so many odd balls of yarn. And yes, before you ask, my tension is spot on all the way through.

I know the answer to this one of course. I need to buy more yarn to start with.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Friday, probably

I started the Wrap Waistcoat the other day, as I mentioned. Here is the current state of play - I am just past the armhole shaping on the back. I'm using the markers, as usual, so that I don't have to keep counting rows.

This is not mindless knitting, unfortunately. First of all, it is black, which makes it harder for me to see what I'm doing. Then, the whole garment is worked in ribbing - and it is not an even ribbing. It is k2 p2 k1 p2. And that k1 is slowing me right down. I keep forgetting to pay attention to what I'm doing, and flying straight past it. I think that so far I have had to ladder back in three different places and correct a misplaced stitch. It is easily done, of course - All Seasons Cotton is an incredibly well behaved and forgiving yarn - but it still slows me down, and that is annoying.

Lovely fabric though. I'm looking forward to wearing this soon. I've even managed to get one of the large kilt pins to fasten it with - these seem to be in short supply, so I've been very lucky there. All I need to do now is get on with it!

A few points from the comments.

Ether actually has a knitted edging - the ties are crocheted, with pretty dangly leaves on them - but that is all. A narrow ribbed band, or a long i-cord, or indeed a twisted cord - all of these could easily be substituted.

Actually I think I have changed my mind about this one (yes, I am fickle) and I am now looking at Tulip instead. I hear reports on Ravelry that the edging is a little tricky - but I've been reading through the pattern and it looks ok to me. Interesting to work, I think - but ok. I'll find out soon. Also, I think that I prefer the little cap sleeves on this one.

Oats, and gluten free eating - theoretically oats should be absolutely fine for the vast majority of coeliacs - usually it is wheat, rye and barley that cause problems. There are just a few unlucky people who also cannot eat oats. However oats is not easily included in a gluten free diet, purely because of the problems that exist with cross contamination which can (and does!) happen routinely during processing, during transport - or even in the field where the crops are grown. This is a real pity, of course.

However there is a lot of variation between different manufacturers, so often it is possible to find a brand that is ok. I have heard very good reports about McCann's steel cut oatmeal in this regard, and we were going to try it - but unfortunately my local supermarket, which used to stock it, has just discontinued it. But I've since found that Jordan's organic line seems to be fine for me.

What else - podcasts!

A little while ago, I didn't really know what these were at all. Now, I think I am completely hooked. The ones that I listen to are David Reidy's 'Sticks and String', and Brenda Dayne's 'Cast On'. I've tried several others - some have too much giggling and squealing, and I don't find that pleasant listening - sometimes I find an accent a bit difficult to understand - and sometimes the author just doesn't 'speak' to me. Both David and Brenda however are very easy to listen to, and I really enjoy their programmes.

I get the podcasts from iTunes (free!) and put them onto my little Zen Stone. My little car has a cassette player in it - I have no cassettes these days, but I have bought myself one of those cassette things that you can plug in to an MP3 player, and so I can listen to podcasts whilst I'm driving to and from work. It is relaxing, and the drive goes really quickly.

Except - at the moment, my little car is in the garage being fixed. It was making a strange noise - exactly like an ambulance siren in the distance. I kept looking in the rear view mirror to see if blue lights were coming up behind and I needed to pull over. Not ideal, really.

Anyway, the garage tells me that the turbo needs to be replaced. It is all under warranty, so it isn't going to cost me anything. But a turbo? This car is tiny, and I didn't even know it had a turbo. I expressed my surprise - the garage man told me that without it, it would hardly be able to pull away from the kerb, with such a small engine. Hmmmm.

So I am driving around in a courtesy car at the moment. It's a Mercedes, and its very nice - but it doesn't have a cassette player, nor does it have a place to plug in an MP3. And I'm missing my podcasts.....

I could, of course, listen to them at home. Even, whilst knitting. Now there's a thought. But can I cope with k2 p2 k1 p2 at the same time?

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


Here is Chevy.

Summary - this is from Rowan 43. I made size M to fit 36 - 38", and it is a generous fit. The pattern is written for Rowan Damask yarn, and I used 8 skeins - although only just 8 skeins, I had literally only a couple of yards left from the eighth skein. The pattern requirements say 9, and I'd strongly recommend that you stick to what the pattern says.

The colour I chose is 049 Pyrite - this is a lovely melange of charcoal-y greys and deep blues mixed with a silvery natural colour.

The yarn itself is lovely stuff. The drape is absolutely brilliant of course, with the high linen content. It is beautiful to work with, although it has that dry touch that says 'linen' it is not hard on the hands at all, and I love the variegation, it is just right.

The pattern - I thought that the sleeves were going to be too small to ever fit a normal human being (let alone one with arms that are not small, ie me) but much to my surprise they are absolutely fine. No glitches at all, and the only thing I'd change should I make this again would be to work the centre stitch of the V neckline as a knit stitch with centred double decreases. But it is also nice as it stands.

I wore this to work yesterday, over a long sleeved fitted black tshirt, and with a calf length black skirt. Nice and comfortable, and not too hot - which is an important factor, working in a warm airconditioned store.

Interestingly, several people commented that they liked it and enquired about the pattern and the yarn, but not one person recognised it as being from Rowan 43. This is pictured in the magazine in a red colourway, and the change of colour really makes it look very different indeed. Also of course, it is being worn by me and not by a model!

Nice pattern. I like it a lot, and I'm actually considering whether to make it again right now, in a different colour, instead of using that yarn for Ether......

On the needles right now, the Wrap Waistcoat from All Seasons at the Mill, in black All Seasons Cotton. More on that next time.....

By the way - we had some excellent fish and chips yesterday evening. We've discovered that one of the local chippies has a gluten-free evening once a month. Such a treat! So if you need gluten-free, and you're within driving distance of Trowbridge, its The Oyster fish bar in Charles Street, second Tuesday of each month. Really good!

PS - told you I wasn't dieting!

Monday, 10 March 2008

Monday morning

What a lot of good advice in the comments on my last post! Thankyou everyone, I do read everything and I appreciate every comment - blogger doesn't give me your email though, so it isn't easy for me to reply individually. But I do read them all, I promise.

With regard to the amount that I may lose - to get my BMI to the point where it should be, that would be 40 lb. Yes, that is a lot. I've tried a lot of diets over the years - some good, some not so good - but they've all been less and less effective as time has passed, and I had reached a point where it seemed that the weight really was here to stay, and I was starting to resign myself to the fact that it just wasn't going to shift.

I'd like to emphasise that right now I am not dieting. I'm eating gluten-free, yes - and I'm being extremely careful about it - but I am in no way restricting the amount or the content of what I eat, other than leaving out the gluten. At the moment I'm just sort of observing with interest what is happening here, and wondering where it is all going to end up.

Socks and lace would indeed be a good solution - but I somehow can't get going on socks at the moment. I will have to very soon - I'm teaching some sock classes at the end of the month - but until that gets a bit more imminent I haven't got much motivation for socks. Lace - I do have Birch on the needles. And I am going to make Sharon Miller's Bressay Hap Shawl sometime soon, but I'm still waiting for part of the yarn. I should get Birch finished first, definitely - but somehow it isn't quite what I want to be working on right now.

Actual garments though, that's a different matter. I said last year that for me, 2008 was going to be the year of the sweater, and so far that is indeed the way it is working out, and I'm happy with that.

I think that until it becomes clear where my weight is going to settle, I shall just have to be careful with my choice of styles and sizing. I don't have wide shoulders, and if I wear a top that theoretically ought to fit me, based on my bust measurement, then very often it doesn't fit well because the shoulders droop and the sleeves are much too long. So I tend to go for a size M with roomy styling usually, rather than L - and hold the thought that negative ease is my friend. With luck, when things settle down - hopefully over the next few months - I will still be wearing a size M, but with the amount of ease that the designer intended. With more fitted styles, thought will be required.

You will not be surprised to hear that I finished knitting Chevy over the weekend. Yesterday I seamed the raglans and worked the neckband, and today I am finishing the seaming. I've done one side already, and I'll get to the other one very soon. So after I've ironed it a bit, there will be a picture.

I did try it on yesterday evening - I pinned it up all along the sides and put it on very carefully indeed, and it is going to be fine.

I've been planning Kaffe Stripe and Stripes Galore, as well. The Kaffe Stripe cardigan is not a problem - I will make the M, which measures 41" around. I'll be wearing it open anyway - no buttons on this, just a tie at the neckline. But Stripes Galore is more problematic. The size M on this one measures 40" around, and size L is 44". There is a little waist shaping at the side seams, but not a lot. The shoulderline is 14.4" on the M, and 15.8" on the L - and I know from experience that the L will be a bit wide on the shoulders, but will fit me with a comfortable and appropriate amount of ease around the body - so I would have picked the L. But if I lose even one more stone, then the L will really be too big, and the M will be the right choice.

I think I'll make the cardigan first.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The weightloss problem

So, I have a problem. Since I've gone gluten-free just over six weeks ago, I've been losing weight without actually trying to - and this morning I reached something of a landmark point, and it has made me stop and think.

I've lost a stone. No cheating, a full stone. (That's fourteen pounds to those reading this who don't use such antiquated units.) And yes, my clothes feel a bit looser and more comfortable. Also yes, it shows in my face already. Just a bit, but I can see it and I know I'm not kidding myself about it.

Most people who've had a problem with gluten actually gain weight when they start eating gluten-free, but there is definitely a sub-group who lose weight instead, and that seems to include me. It isn't because I'm eating low-carb, either, because really I'm not.

My problem is not the weightloss itself. I need to lose this weight - in fact I've been trying to lose it for years! - I will be healthier without it, and my BMI has a way to go yet before it reaches a point where I will be at a 'good' weight. And it isn't going too fast either, a couple of pounds a week. So that's all fine.

But - if I carry on losing weight like this, then soon my clothes aren't going to fit. I'm not talking about stuff that doesn't matter here, I'm talking about my handknits. Things with time and effort and care and love invested in them, things that I'm making at the moment, things that I'm planning to make.

If I get back to my 'right weight' - where I haven't been for more than twenty years - then I will be a nice standard UK size 12. Although I'd really like this to happen- it would be so good! - it is just so hard for me to believe that it is even possible. I've been trying to lose this weight for years, quite literally. And here it is going without any effort at all. So maybe it is possible. But will it really continue? Will it stall after a couple more pounds? Will it start to go back on again?

So what size do I make now, with my handknits? Do I stick with what fits me right now? Do I tempt fate and make a size 12 - 14?

It is a problem, you see...........

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Wednesday, and a new bag

Still here, still knitting, albeit slowly. I finished the back of Chevy yesterday evening, and started the front this morning. No picture - I haven't done much yet.

But look what arrived this morning.

I have a new and beautiful knitting bag. For a while now I've been using one of the original Jordana Paige bags, but mine has just about reached the end of its useful life, because the straps are going. Ok, I could replace them, and I was vaguely thinking of doing so - but then I saw this bag, you see, and that was that the end of that idea.

This is an Amy Butler Sweet Life knitting bag. The style is called Nolita, and this is the dark green colourway. I got mine from Rowan, and I love it to bits. This is a sensible, good quality, well designed bag - and it looks really good, too.

And look, it has pockets - good big pockets. And lots and lots of room. And straps the right length for carrying over your shoulder. And these gorgeous prints.

It is entirely possible that I may spend the rest of the morning simply admiring this, you know.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008


I haven't really been doing very much at all recently other than knitting and sleeping. Substantially more of the latter, though, so there hasn't been a huge amount of progress considering the amount of time I've been off work.

Here is the back of Chevy though, looking stripy due to the sunshine coming in through the conservatory windows. I'm working the raglan shaping at the moment, and still loving the fabric here. Sheeny, drapy, beautiful colours, and a well behaved yarn to work with. All good.

Today we are going out to the library. This will be the first time I've left the house for nearly a week, other than visits to the doctor of course. Looking forward to it! - and also looking forward to getting back to work later this week. I miss my yarnwall.

Saturday, 1 March 2008


I must admit that it does feel strange being at home for all this time.

The routine of my work days is definitely something that I am missing. I had been looking forward to starting my teach-in sessions, some of which have now had to be cancelled, and I am hoping that I will be back to normal again in time for next week's sessions.

Whilst I am housebound however, I've been knitting, and thinking about knitting.

Yesterday I finished both sleeves of Chevy, and started the back. Now before you think that sounds fairly amazing, let me point out that these are little short raglan sleeves - cap sleeves really, and they are about as small as an adult sleeve can get. So not really very much area involved there.

The back, however, is a different matter. I'm making the Medium size, and this is going to end up being some 28 1/2" long. So once I've finished this almost mindless ribbing there will be a quantity of totally mindless stocking stitch, of which I seem to be doing a fair amount recently.

So that's all good.

With regard to thinking about knitting - I can't remember whether or not I mentioned it before, but I am definitely going to make Stripes Galore. Also Truffle, in the Mink colourway. Now Truffle is very much in my usual style of things - as you may know, I like my neutrals. And I used to love working Aran patterns. This one is not traditional of course, but very beautiful, and I am sure it will be very easy to wear.

So why Stripes Galore? This is about as far removed from neutral as it is possible to get, after all. People have been - shall we say, surprised, to hear that this is going to be on the needles soon, and that I have every intention of wearing it.

Well, I could point out that there is a lot of black in this pattern, and I do wear a lot of black, but the real reason that I want this is because I've made a very bright - and very successful - Kaffe Fassett design before, for my husband. That was Arizona Stripe, from Rowan 33, and believe me it is very very bright indeed. But when it is worn, that isn't the first impression that comes to mind. Instead, the first thought is quite simply, how beautiful - and there have been many comments to that effect. KF knows his stuff. And I trust his judgement. This will be a beautiful and unusual pullover.

In the meantime, my priorites are simple. Knitting, and rest - not necessarily in that order.