Saturday, 29 December 2012

Rain, rain

Wild weather here, rain and wind....

Part of the fence in the back garden is trying to blow over at the moment.  What is really needed is the digging of a nice big hole and putting in more concrete, but that will have to wait until the rain stops and things dry out just a bit.  And that doesn't seem as if it will be happening any time soon, so we've got the fence braced with a piece of 2 by 4.  Not ideal, but it works.

It is interesting weather for walking though, very mild despite the wind and rain.  And you know what they say - there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.  Right now, woollen handknits are definitely appropriate.  (Also good boots, and waterproof jackets of course.)

The fields are pretty wet but we've seen it worse than this over the last couple of months.  And when the sun comes out, the light at this time of year is lovely.

That's my other half and Jess, the other day, when we were out walking over the fields.

Still knitting here, of course.  I must take some pictures of Periwinkle, at this rate I shall have it finished before it gets anywhere near the camera....

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Homespun Vintage

This rather nice book arrived in the post the other day.   It was a lovely surprise as I certainly wasn't expecting to get my own copy.

Here, as you can see, is Homespun Vintage, Jane Crowfoot's new book.

It is full of a quite wonderfully eclectic mix of pattern, colour and texture - homeware patterns of all sorts.  Some are knitted, some crocheted, and some are a mixture of the two.  There is embroidery and applique as well, and all levels of skill are catered for, so there really is something for everyone.

I was lucky enough to be one of the knitters involved, and there are two cushion covers that are my work - just the knitted backgrounds, not the trim.

If you'd like your own copy, Jane has some on her website - here.

We have had a lovely quiet Christmas here, and I'm feeling so much better now, as well.   Today I've picked up my crochet swatches again - I shall have to stop very soon, and wait for more yarn to arrive - and Periwinkle is still progressing slowly.  More about that soon...

Oh, and by the way - I have finally worked out why this is funny.  I may be slow, but I do usually get there in the end.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Not knitting

I've been a bit unwell for some days now, and although things do now seem to be heading in the right direction, I am a long way from being back to normal.

So I am going to stay quiet for a bit and just rest, and focus on getting some strength back.  For several days now I haven't knitted a single stitch, and even yesterday I only crocheted for about an hour.  But I did sleep a lot.

I was going to say something about that - the crochet, I mean, which is currently my main project.  I am making swatches of lots and lots of different crochet stitches.  I know it is for a book, and that's all that I know.  I'm not allowed to show any pictures, of course.

It is actually great fun though - basically, here I have lots and lots of little projects that are all quickly finished, all different and all in lovely yarn, using different colours.

Just what I want right now, in fact.

Thursday, 13 December 2012


I have today finished Thing A, folded it carefully, packed it up, and sent it back to Holmfirth by Special Delivery.  It is guaranteed to arrive tomorrow, which is my deadline.

This has been a pleasure to knit, and it has drawn admiring comments from lots of people who have seen me working on it.    The best thing about it, I think, is the yarn, which is something new.   I shall definitely be buying some myself when it becomes available, and I think it is going to be very popular.

This Thing has taken me three weeks precisely from start to finish, not really any rush, just nice comfortable progression from day to day.   If I hadn't paused to finish the Apple Tree Blanket - and if I hadn't started the little rabbit soft toy - then I'd have had this finished at the beginning of the week.

As it turned out, I did not get much done on Tuesday at all.  A bit in the car on the way down, yes, but none at all during the rest of the day.  The journey back was just atrocious, freezing fog all the way back in the dark - and of course I cannot knit in the dark.  On Wednesday I picked it up again and did the last of the knitting, and today I spent a couple of hours doing the last of the finishing.

I am really very pleased with it, and I look forward to being able to show pictures.

Next, some crochet, which once again I will not be allowed to show - although I can talk about it, and I will.  Also, I think that perhaps there will a quick project for myself.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Eight things

  • Still here, still knitting Thing A, which is taking a bit longer than I had expected.  I am on the last bit now.  When that is done then I will have about two hours of finishing work to do - perhaps two and a half hours, no more than that.
  • We are off to the dentist tomorrow, and visiting relatives after that.  This means quite a long drive, and so I should get a quite a lot of knitting done in the car.  Whether I will get this last bit of A finished tomorrow is questionable, though.  It depends, of course, how much I get done this evening.
  • Edmund the Bunny was sidelined at the weekend.  Next door's new little baby can have him for Christmas, which gives me lots of time. 
  • I've been reading a lot lately, as I like to read whilst I knit - currently I have nearly finished Dolly, by Susan Hill, which is as spooky as you'd expect from that author.  I just hope that the ending isn't going to be a let-down.  Before that it was Breakfast at Tiffany's, which I had never read; and The House of Silk, which is by Anthony Horowitz, and really is excellent.  I can recommend it, and I hope very much that there will be more along the same lines from this author.  (We've got a beautiful new library in Trowbridge, and I am making the most of it.) 
  • I have some more paid work lined up ready to start when A is finished - but it's not knitting, it's crochet.  More on that later.
  • I am feeling a strong (and rather selfish) urge to cast on something for me.  Something quickly finished.
  • Yes, I know that lists are a last resort, but I'm busy, truly I am.
  • I do not understand this.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Apple Tree Blanket

Finally, here it is.

The pattern is called Apple Tree Blanket, and it is from Rowan, written by Martin Storey.  The wool is some anonymous pale green merino, and it really is pale green, not grey as my pictures seem to always come out.  And having said that, I can see that the colour is true in the picture above.

The pattern used to be free from the Rowan website but seems to have disappeared.  However if you want to make it, I'm sure that you could get a copy from Rowan - they are very obliging about out-of-print patterns.

I did enjoy knitting this.  The pattern is impeccably written, and the chart is easy to follow.  In fact, much to my surprise, I soon had it memorised.  There is nothing complicated here at all, and there is always something happening to make it interesting for the knitter.  And the finished blanket is a good size, as you can see - this is more of a cot blanket, definitely not just for the cradle days.

Once it was finished, it was very bouncy and the fabric was not lying flat at all - basically, it was much in need of blocking.  My usual steam iron was not appropriate as the apple trees would be at risk of getting flattened.  So I gave it a quick wash and a bath in fabric softener, and let it dry flat overnight.   There was something of a transformation - the fabric became soft and drapy.

I printed out a little gift tag (thankyou Eskimimi!), and we went round to our neighbours' house yesterday morning, with this blanket, a card and a bottle of bubbly.   We have not yet seen the new little baby boy, but all is well, and I am sure we will meet him soon.

I did attach one of my little labels - I rarely use these.  Perhaps I should do so more often.

Overall, I am really pleased with this and I would happily make it again.

Friday, 7 December 2012

I should not be doing this right now

I am not knitting Thing A at the moment, lovely though it is.  I know that I'll pay for this later - knitting 'til midnight, knitting the next morning whilst the coffee brews, knitting while the water runs hot for the shower - knitting every spare second basically - but I have no choice.  It is not my fault, it is all down to Rowan.  More specifically, Rowan's pattern for Edmund the Bunny.  

This cute bunny is the perfect Easter gift for any child and can be knitted usin

I could not resist.  (Picture blatantly pinched from the Rowan website.)

I have one ball of wool left over from the Apple Tree Blanket. (More about that later.)  I had intended to make a little soft toy to go with the blanket, if there was enough wool - and there is - but I had overlooked the possibility that there might not be enough time.  Our new little neighbour arrived a couple of days ago, some weeks early, and there was a lot of frantic last minute knitting to get the blanket finished.   Anyway - Edmund the Bunny is on the needles right now, and I hope he will be finished soon, because I really should be knitting Thing A.

And on that subject, a couple of things.  Please don't imagine for one minute that when I said people were admiring the pattern, that I was passing the written pattern around the hospital waiting room.  No.  They were admiring the fabric - the pattern of the fabric.  

Also, when I say that I dropped my knitting in my handbag - there was a bit more to it than that.  I didn't just grab the needles and yarn and drop it all in the handbag.  When I am knitting for other people, I do take great care of the work - it isn't mine, after all.  I keep it in a resealable plastic bag, together with a soft clean cloth that goes over my lap, and in which the project is wrapped.  What I picked up and dropped in my handbag - and yes, it is a nice capacious bag - was the resealable bag with the knitting inside, wrapped in a cloth.

And no, the reference to the size of my handbag is not necessarily a reference to the size of Thing A.  After all, my husband says that I have the kitchen sink in there somewhere....

Thursday, 6 December 2012

All change!

I have had to stop working on Thing A.  Not recommended really, when I have precisely one more week to get the whole thing finished and posted, but outside events mean that this is a necessity.

My neighbour has just had her baby, some weeks early.  Babies arrive when they want to, of course, and they don't necessarily wait until people have finished knitting things for them.  And that includes the Apple Tree Blanket.

So I have set Thing A aside - I was just doing some of the finishing work, for a change, and very nice it was to be doing something different - picked up the blanket, and am now knitting apple trees like there's no tomorrow.    It won't be done today, because I do want to wash it - and of course then it needs to dry.   But it will be ready tomorrow morning.

No picture now, too busy knitting.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Knitting is good

I've just had a really long day.

It is never a good thing when you arrive in the hospital waiting room and discover a notice saying that your consultant is currently running with a delay of 90 minutes - and it turned out to be even longer than that, in the end.   However it does help a lot when you have your knitting in your handbag - and I'd taken along the plastic bag containing my Rowan project.   So there I was, knitting away happily on Thing A, and you know how it goes - people always ask about the knitting.

Is it a scarf? - no, not a scarf, it's actually a *****.  (Number of asterisks unrelated to number of letters in name of Thing.  And yes, I did just tell you that it's not a scarf.  But you probably guessed that anyway.)

Much ooh-ing and aah-ing - much admiring of fabric and pattern.  (Told you they were both gorgeous.  They are.)

One lady said she wished she'd brought her knitting, but it was nearly as good sitting and watching me knit.

Another lady said she'd stopped knitting because her hands and wrists had become too stiff due to arthritis.  Cue discussion about how helpful bamboo needles can be.  She said she'd have to try that, she missed knitting.

Questions about my choice of needles - my usual circs.  Was I knitting round and round? - how did that work? - no, I'm just working to and fro as usual - see?  Cue discussion about how this helps with painful hands and wrists, because the weight of the work is in your lap, not on the end of the needle.  And the lady with arthritis said she'd have to try that too.....

The time just flew by.

Knitting is good, you know.

Monday, 3 December 2012


I think that I am now about two-thirds of the way through Thing A, and I am still loving this knitting.  I do wish I could say more about it - the fabric!  the yarn!  the pattern! - all are equally gorgeous, and there is so much that I could say -  but I must not.  

There was, however, a moment of distinct panic at the weekend.

When I first looked through the pattern, I made mental note that the yarn quantity said 7 for the size that I was to make.  So I've been going by that, and telling myself that I'm a certain percentage of the way through, and knowing how many days I had been working it it, was able to feel reassured that all would be finished in good time.  I like having little targets, and being able to mentally tick them off when completed.

There is, you see, a degree of time pressure here.  I had exactly three weeks to make this Thing - the yarn arrived about midday on Thursday 22 November, and the finished Thing has to be back with Rowan by Friday 14 December, so I have to post it the day before, Thursday 13th.  So that is three weeks precisely, and not a single day more.

And then I happened to look again at the yarn requirements, and was horrified to see that it most certainly did not say 7.  It said ? - I had misread it.

This was very disconcerting, to say the least.  All my little landmarks had been wrong - well, possibly.  But then I stopped and thought, and looked at what I had done so far, and realised that no matter what the yarn requirements might be, I was still very much on track.

I think that 7 is still going to be correct - perhaps 8, I shall see.  Either way, I hope to be posting this off to Rowan at the beginning of next week.

But perhaps it is a good thing that I've got some new glasses now....