Thursday, 28 June 2007


Tomorrow afternoon Mr Knitbert and I are off to stay with some old friends in Southport, from where we are intending to head to Cumbria on Saturday, weather permitting, to visit Woolfest. I promise to take photos and post them when we get back. I have been wondering what kind of stash enhancement I should consider; I think I have enough sock yarn, I certainly have enough aran tweed! I am thinking laceweight is the way to go...

On the way back we are calling in to see DSoK, and to pick up all his stuff and bring it here for the summer. He muttered something about being fed up with where he is at present and being ready to come home, from which I deduce that he has run out of money and used up all his clean clothes.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Swatching in My Sleep?

Well, despite a rather hectic week in which I seemed to get home completely exhausted every evening, I have knitted another Mystery Stole swatch in the Cherry Tree Hill laceweight merino, blocked it and chosen some new beads to go with it. I have no idea when I did all this! Maybe I have finally learned to knit while I sleep. Anyway, here is the yarn now wound into a ball, and the swatch. I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn and I adore the colour, which I think is not too variegated to show off the lace pattern, so my choice is made. I ordered three new packs of beads from e-beads, some jet beads which are black and shiny, some rainbow beads which are light coloured, and some silver-lined amethyst beads which are just right!

Here is a close up of the swatch and the beads on a neutral ground. The beads look quite black in this photo, but in reality they are dark purple with a little flash of silvery purple where the silver lining is. They are absolutely beautiful.
I have an idea that I would like to use the jet beads with some grey laceweight. One day.
I have knitted another two inches of the Ribby Shell, but it still looks like a featureless tube, so I haven't taken another photo. I hope to get to the front and back later this weekend. And I have done precisely no sock knitting, I really have to do something about this as I will be expelled from the sockamania KAL if I don't join in this month, and I think I should be in line for the wooden spoon as far as knitting a sock a month is concerned. *Hangs head in shame*. So, Anni, I promise that I will at least start July's sockamania socks.

I was away from home again earlier this week, in Paris this time, and for once it was a sultry 30 degrees C and did not rain. While I was away DSoK the Intern tried several times to call me, and continued to leave messages on the answering machine. I avoided returning his calls as I was fairly sure he wanted to borrow money, but following a plaintive text message on Friday afternoon I decided I was a Bad Mother and gave him a ring. Well, how wrong could I be! He certainly did not need to borrow any money. However, he did want to arrange when we will drive up to collect all his stuff so it can be stored here over the summer. He also reported that he had been tidying his room for two weeks and it still looked a complete shambles. Mmmmm. I wonder if we have the same definition of the word "tidying"?

Saturday, 16 June 2007

In Which I Meet a Mysterious Stranger, I Mean Stole, and Mr Knitbert Completes a Gardening Task

Before any of that, I was reminded this week that I should never travel in June. Actually, I don't travel very much at all these days, which is by choice, but a few years ago I used to travel very frequently for work; at least one or two trips a month. June was always a peak time, as people want to get things done before the summer holiday season starts. For some reason, there often seems to be a sudden change in the weather around mid-June, from warm and sunny to wet and cold. Time after time I would set off, thinking that my destination would be warmer than the UK, only to find myself shivering in flimsy summer clothes as I disembarked from the aircraft, or picking my way across a sodden car park in the p*****g rain, in unsuitable strappy sandals, on my way to collect a hire car. One year I remember that the temperature in Paris all week was 10 degrees(C)lower than it had been in London. Of course I never had so much as a warm cardigan with me, let alone a coat or umbrella.

On Thursday afternoon, I had to go to Amsterdam to attend a training course on Friday. Guesss what? The weather in Amsterdam was appalling, so as soon as they had got us settled on the aircraft, the pilot announced that owing to air traffic delays because of the weather, we would be taking off two hours late. Normally this would not be a problem for me (see Last Train to Knitville) but can you knit on an aircraft? Well, that would be no. Luckily, I have plenty of knitting podcasts on my iPod to keep me occupied.

When we finally arrived, Amsterdam was swathed in a heavy curtain of rain under a lowering grey sky and it was freezing cold. Unsuitable strappy sandals? Oh yes. Flimsy summer clothes and no warm jacket? Of course.

As it happened I enjoyed my short visit anyway; I stayed in my favourite hotel, the sun was shining the next day, I met up with some colleagues I hadn't seen for a while, and I even had time for some shopping before I returned to the airport to catch the flight home. At which point I learned that bad weather in the UK had caused air traffic delays and the return flight was delayed by an hour. Aaaaargh! So I am seriously thinking of taking an emergency crochet pack with me next time I fly...

Last weekend I discovered Pink Lemon Twist's Mystery Stole 3 Knitalong. The Mystery Stole idea seemed so much fun that I joined up, and I have been receiving 200 mails a day ever since from the MS3 Yahoo Group; I have had to switch to receiving digests! There are 1800 odd knitters signed up at the time of writing this post, and going onto the group is like going into a huuuuge room full of people all chattering about the same thing, it has an amazing energy. At the moment, everyone is asking questions about what yarn to use and in what colours and whether or not to use beads.

For once, I am going to knit this from stash; I am using some Fyberspates kid mohair laceweight which I bought from Yarn Addict last year. It is in a colourway called Martian Sunrise. There is a swatch pattern already posted, and here is my swatch.

It has beads in two different colours sewn along the bottom edge, and I have decided to use the copper lined crystal beads from e-beads, which are on the left.
Or have I? Since writing this I remembered that I also have some Cherry Tree Hill laceweight merino in stash, in a lovely red colour called Wild Cherry. This morning I got it out, and here is the skein:

I have wound it (all 2400 yards of it) into a ball this morning, and now I really love the colour and I think I may have changed my mind, so I am going to swatch with this too. In which case I'll need different beads. Oh, well...

The first clue is being posted on 29th June, and the KAL is open to sign-ups until 6th July, but you can read all about it on her blog at the link above.

Well, it's not exactly a DIY project, but it's a bit more than mowing the lawn...
I planted a buddleia in our front lawn about five or six years ago when it was very small and spindly, and over the years it has grown rather large. In the summer, it had started spreading over the edge of the garden and intruding into the space where the neighbours park one of their cars. For the last two years, they have pruned it a bit and I have pruned it a bit, but it just kept on growing, and last week I decided that it had to come out.

We removed all the branches first (in some cases with a saw) and then started trying to dislodge the roots with a spade and fork. There was a tense moment when Mr Knitbert managed to spray earth all over me, including in my hair, which I had just spent hours styling. I explained, quite calmly and reasonably I thought, that I would probably have to go straight back inside and redo my hair. I'm afraid Mr Knitbert's reply can only be described as unsympathetic.

We continued digging, and after a while with little progress, Mr Knitbert decided that he would use the car to pull the roots out. This was quite exciting! We tied some old webbing jackstays around the shrub and Mr Knitbert attached the other end to the car somehow. The car inched forward, the shrub leaned over and then after a while the webbing snapped and the shrub sprang back to its original position.

We returned to digging, and this time managed to loosen, and then extract, the shrub and most of its roots. I am reasonably sure that even an inch of buddleia root will simply grow back to an enormous shrub in time, but for the moment the neighbours can park without fear, and Mr Knitbert can claim credit for finishing a gardening task.

And finally, here's my progress with the Ribby Shell. I have done 10.5 inches, so only 3 inches to go before I can divide for the front and back neck. I know it doesn't look very exciting yet, but it will...I tried it on and it fits well, which is good, so I am looking forward to completing it.

The next project (apart from MS3) is for Catbert, and it will be in this yarn, which is Lucy Neatby's Celestial Merino Dream in Fiery Fuschia. I must say I love the colours. I am going to be using Sivia Harding's Fantasy Shawl pattern, which can be done in a scarf size with one skein.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

Memory Lane, June

This month's Memory Lane, appropriately, is from the Glastonbury Festival. The photograph, which has a date stamp in the top left corner, is of me and Ratbert in front of the main stage on Sunday morning. A guy with a lot of VERY expensive looking camera equipment was wandering though the crowd, and in one hand he had a polaroid camera (remember those!), and for a reasonable fee you could get him to take a photo, so that's what I did.

I was introduced to the Glastonbury Festival in the early 90s by some friends who had been going for years, since long before it was famous like it is today, and I loved it so much that I went nearly every year it was on for about five years. I was there the year that someone was shot, with an air rifle I think, and even that didn't spoil it for me.

It is such a magical event; after the first year, I remember that when I returned, as soon as I was walking from the car park to the entrance and I saw the blades turning on the big wind turbine that powers the main stage, I felt as if the Festival had been there all the time since I left, in some kind of alternate universe, and I could just walk back into it.

We generally used to camp up on the hill, overlooking the festival site, so at night I could look down and see lights and people, and hear music, and it always seemed to me that there were great flares of magical energy rising into the night. I am the sort of irritating person who can sleep almost anywhere, and I find it relaxing to fall asleep to the sound of very, very loud music, only to be woken at four in the morning by the sound of people tripping over the tent pegs, giggling stupidly and then, more often than not, puking.

In the clear, early morning light there were usually sleeping bodies everywhere which you had to step carefully over to make your way to the toilets, and at that point I will say no more, because you either know what I am talking about or you don't.

The last time I went to Glastonbury was one of the years with mud, and I have another photograph of me standing in a sea of mud which I haven't scanned. I didn't find the mud very magical, and I prefer to remember the festival as it was for the other years. I guess it must have put me off a bit, because I didn't go the following year, and then after that I met Mr Knitbert, whose views on camping and being woken by people puking outside the tent are not printable, so I have not been again since.

Some years later, when DSOK the intern had just finished his A levels, he suddenly announced that he had got tickets for Glastonbury. Once I had got over being weirded out by having a son who was old enough to go to a rock festival, I began to think I would like to go again some year. This caused DSOK to be weirded out by the idea of his mother being at the same rock festival as him, so we have agreed that if we meet there we will pretend we don't know each other, although I have a pretty shrewd idea that if he ran out of money during the weekend he might change his tune.

Anyway, I have not yet managed to organise myself to get tickets, but DSOK went again the following year, which was the year that there was a great thunderstorm and some people's tents were washed away. This resulted in the following memorable phone call:

DSOK: yuuuuuurgh? (that's his normal phone answering phrase)
Knitbert: Hey, how's it going?
DSOK: uuuuugh? Oh,hey Mum!
Knitbert: There was a storm this morning, did you hear it?
DSOK: You what?
Knitbert: Was there a lot of rain?
DSOK: Whaaatimeissit?
Knitbert: Was your tent flooded?
DSOK: Naaa I don't think so. Ow, my head! Whassatime?
Knitbert: Did you see the flood?
DSOK: Er,my phone's about to - *beeeeeeeeeeeeeep!*

Well, writing about it has made me want to get tickets again, so maybe next year...

Back to real life and the present, and here are a couple of modelled pics of Charlotte's Web, as promised:

Slow but steady progress on the Ribby Shell in Calmer:

And here is a photo of me at Get Knitted, taken by the lovely Granny Smith:

I'm knitting a tension square by the way (she said smugly).

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Reminder - Sock Yarn Doesn't Count

I would just like to make the point that sock yarn DOESN'T count as stash, as someone recently reminded me.
Besides, that only brings me to enough yarn to make 32 pairs of socks. I think. Now so far this year I have made, and a half pairs. Let me see, that means at the current rate it will take me just under eleven years to knit it all up. If I were to be so obsessive as to do such a calculation.

And anyway, last year I knitted five pairs actually...

Sunday, 3 June 2007

A Grand Day Out

Charlotte is finished and blocked at last, here she is on the back of our settee. I promise to post some modelled pictures later; I have to wait for Mr Knitbert to wake up first. He arrived home at 7.30 am this morning, woke me up, trashed the kitchen (laundry everywhere), the bathroom (towels all over the floor)and the living room (open suitcase and clean clothes, bags, keys, little rucsacs), had two cups of coffee and a bath and is now sleeping off his jet lag upstairs. It's nice to have him back! The Glaziers (see an earlier post) are coming again on Monday morning to ruin his day off.

Yesterday I went to Get Knitted in Bristol with a group of friends from the Crafty Threads and Yarns Forum. I had a lovely time, and bought some much needed yarn stocks (yeah right). It is just so nice to spend time with other knitters and see what they are doing. I took the opportunity to get a second opinion on the Ribby Shell situation, and my fellow knitters were in agreement with me that the texture of the Jaeger Trinity at the correct tension was too loose and not elastic enough - which is, after all, a fairly key feature of the Ribby Shell design. I frogged it then and there, and the Trinity is back in the yarn cupboard for now. I have chosen two new yarns for the Ribby Shell; Rowan Calmer in this lovely coral colour (now OTN!)

I've never used Calmer before and OMG I love this stuff! It is very soft, a little bulkier than the Trinity, so the texture is just right at gauge, and it is lovely and stretchy and elastic. I think it is perfect for the pattern and if I like the result I will get some more in another colour to knit another one. I also got some Rowan Bamboo Tape in a nice purple colour to knit the Ribby Shell (I like this pattern, can you tell). It is very soft and there was a knitted swatch in the shop which made me think it would be lovely for this. It comes in some fabulous colours...

What else did I get? Well, I got some Noro Silk Garden and some Cash Iroha to knit Poppy from Yarnplay (the red looks a bit too red because of the flash - it is more of a dark russet colour in real life):

I got some Trekking XXL and some Lana Grossa Mega Boots:

I also got some Twilleys Freedom Spirit in Air, to knit a tank top, the Freedom Spirit pattern booklet, and a pair of addi lace circulars. Here's the whole haul all laid out nicely!

And why do I want to knit a tank top? Well, I saw this one worn by Eva Mendes in a movie called Hitch the other night. I will need to modify the Twilley's pattern a little (by dropping the neckline), or make my own pattern, but I think it is a great look, and would be fab in Air with a white linen shirt. What do you think?