Wednesday, February 28, 2007

KALs, Excel & pump

Today's will be a photo free entry, as I have nothing to show really. Plus Colin has run off with the camera to take some more office photos.

A couple of you have requested a pic of the "big hook" so you will have to wait until the next entry..............

I am going to start the Excel part of my ECDL today. I will write this and then go and get a cup of tea and settle down to that. I've no idea how easy it will be to understand but I'll soon find out! I thought I'd better get on with it, seeing as I'll be starting work on Tuesday, eek!

I also have to finish off Sheldon, now that I have the 2.5mm hook. Because tomorrow I am starting two KALs. The first one is the Simple Knitted Bodice informal KAL with a few bloggers. I am doing it with a fingering weight yarn which I got from the USA through ebay a few months ago and haven't used (I just got it because it was a bargain and I loved the colour!). I am using 2 strands together and then on the lacy panels i have got some metallic thread to knit together with it too. Oh, I do have a pic of the yarn on the computer already, here it is.

You can see that it changes colour through the ball, but if I knit 2 strands it should even it out a bit more. It is 100% wool. I'm still waiting for my Addis to arrive though so it may not get started tomorrow.

And the second KAL is the competition on the garnstudio forums using their Fabel yarn. I am doing the Dragon Scales scarf from a few posts ago. Okay, so I have already made a start, but I bet at least a few others have too!!

I did a bit of retail therapy this morning, and apart from the metallic thread from Hobbycraft (I had to go in to get a refund on something!!!!) I popped into Next and got myself a suit for work. Pinstripe jacket and trousers and a white shirt. Hmmm. It fits very well but being a "munchkin" I had to get one from the petites section and I think it makes me look even shorter!! Ah well, its better than the trousers being too long and me tripping over down the stairs or something! That wouldn't go down well with the boss, ha ha!

Yesterday the delivery man brought me a new insulin pump. I haven't set it up yet as I have to pick up a prescription later on. It is about a third of the length and a little bit wider than my old one but it has a few more functions. Hopefully I can get it up and running by tomorrow.

He also brought me my Mighty Boosh ModWolves patch but I don't think I'm allowed to post a pic until everyone has received theirs. Don't want to spoil the surprise of what it looks like for anyone.

Okey dokey, where's that kettle?

Monday, February 26, 2007

It's official, I am a Yarn Ho'

Ok, first things first. Mum, DON'T PANIC!!! This is a photo of your bag BEFORE it was felted. It is not this big or long anymore. In fact it has worked out perfectly, though I do say so myself. I attempted to take some mirror pictures earlier but they were awful so I will get Colin to take some outside for me if there is enough daylight when he gets home. (Edit: here is a pic of the finished bag too!)

And this is where he will be coming home from.........the new offices! The first pic is one of the consulting rooms, and the second one is the reception/waiting area. You can just see the edge of my desk, which I am not occupying yet, but we have set a start date for Tuesday 6th March.

Hopefully BT will arrive tomorrow to set up the phones.

Here is the heel of my first toe-up sock ever. I am really really pleased with it. Look, no holes!!

This is some Natural Dye Studio fine merino sock yarn that I just HAD to have. This is the brightest colour I have seen from them and I just couldn't let anyone else have it! It is definately thinner than their usual yarn but that is fine for summer socks. I am going to do something fancy for this pair of socks, not sure what yet though.

This morning I was eagerly awaiting the postman because I had been informed that my Mighty Boosh Modwolves patch has been dispatched. The postie was late, making it worse, and then when he did come, no patch. BUT he redeemed himself by bringing me this instead!! It is from the lovely T who has become a good blog friend recently. It is a knitted dishcloth/facecloth in a gorgeous colour with the words "Yarn Ho" knitted into it. Cool eh? I'm not sure if it means I am a yarn ho' or if it is a rallying pirate cry! I suspect the first ;o) It is a much brighter colour in "real life"

This morning I have been working on Sheldon. I got to the last bit and thought I was almost finished, but they have stuck in a bit of crochet right at the end which I didn't notice so I have had to order a 2.5mm crochet hook. Isn't ebay a wonderful invention? I won't post any progress pics as I want to show him all assembled and in all his glory. I was worried that the contrast colour I used for the shell wasn't enough of a contrast but I think now that it is a really good blend. Hopefully the hook will come tomorrow and I can finish him off then, as I believe the arrival of the intended recipient is imminent!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hook, toe-up & Vincent

My crochet hook arrived this morning so I can get on with the bag flap later on.

Here is my first ever toe-up sock, using magic cast on from knitty. The first couple of wrong decreases don't look too bad there but when you stretch the toe there are definate little holes. I was picking up the strand between the stitches from the back instead of the front, but I did it right after checking on the wonderful interweb. Nice colour? (Click the top pic to see the lovely silkiness in close-up.)

I don't know whether to just do a short row heel or a gussett heel. I might try the gussett, just cos I haven't done it before. A short row heel would just be the same as from the top down so no challenge, I like to have a go at something that challenges me.

Sad news from My Pwllheli Friend. He is not going to be writing his blog anymore. He has recently returned to full time work and hasn't got the time anymore. It was me that gave him the idea to do it in the first place. Never mind, you have to get your priorities right. So farewell VincentBlackShadow :o(

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Alpaca silk, sleep clinic and blogging

Well, I am still waiting for my HUGE crochet hook (10mm) to come, so no further progress on the bag today. But I did get another package today which contained this from Natural Dye Studio.

It is some of their 80% alpaca/20% silk sock yarn, which I haven't tried before. The colour is Jade Ice. Just feeling the skein, I wasn't sure if it was any softer than their alpaca/merino, but now I am knitting with it, it is lovely to work with and quite silky. I am using it for my very first pair of Toe Up Socks. I have used the Magic Cast On method from knitty, and it worked first go!! The first couple of rounds after the cast on are a bit tatty (I'll post a pic tomorrow when I can take one in daylight) but that is not the methods fault, it is mine. I found out today that the way I "make 1" is wrong, and once I got that sorted out the rest of the rounds look fine.

Well, I had a good old laugh last night. We watched a programme on TV called Sleep Clinic. It's about people with sleep disorders and showed people shouting, moaning and jumping about in their sleep. I was howling with laughter, but not in a nasty way at the people on the telly. I was laughing because I DO IT TOO. I kept looking at Colin and we both laughed because I am always chatting or screaming, or having giggling fits in my sleep. One night I sat up in bed and sang a chorus to a song I liked at the time, and laid back down again completely oblivious to what I'd done. Apparently I'd been completely in tune too which is something I can't do when I'm awake. Colin thought I was being murdered one night 'cos I just let rip, screaming at the top of my voice. So THAT is why this programme was so funny. Now I can't wait until next week.

I started my ECDL course today. The first thing you do is a test to see what your level of knowledge is before you start. I got 60% on Access (which I've used once), 65% on Powerpoint (which I've used once), 72% on Excel (which I've never used!!) and 80% on Word. When you've done the course and taken the exam, the passmark is 75%. Not too far to go then!!

Looking back at the beginnings of this blog, it has completely morphed from its original purpose. It was going to be about my writing, but that lasted about 2 entries. One thing that is good though is that all the writing books say you should write something every day, and although I don't do this EVERY day, I am writing regularly. And I'm enjoying it. And stuff the English teachers at school, I am going to use "AND" to start a sentence, so there!!!

Goodbye to the Normals

My Pwllheli Friend showed me this this morning.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Bag & Woolly Bullies

Just a short post today. I am well on with the bag for my mum. This is the main body of the bag, at the moment it is 25 inches wide at the bottom. I have just made the handle and sewn that on, but I am waiting for a 10mm crochet hook which I ordered today on ebay so that I can do the crocheted flap. I will probably see if I can find a nice big button to hold it closed.
And then the felting fun begins. I am a bit scared in case it all goes horribly wrong and it is £20 down the pan!!

I adapted the pattern a bit so that I knit it in the round and Kitchener grafted the bottom edges together. Much better than making 2 pieces and having 3 seams to sew.

I came across this YouTube film on another blog and had to post the link.
Very funny.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The to do list is getting shorter.

First things first, I finished Fiona's pink slippers..............

I was going to time how long they took, but I completely forgot while I was doing the first one. but the second one took about 2 & quarter hours, so that's about 4 & half hours for a pair. But I'm not making any more of those for a while.

This morning I took a flock of 40 sheep in to the Posh Yarn Shop and told them the bad news that I probably wasn't making any more because I was going back to work. They thought it was a shame because they are popular, so I kind of said I may be able to do about 10 now and again. I really didn't enjoy making them this time, and I still have 20 to do for the lady in the USA. She can't pay me for a couple of weeks though so I've got a bit more time. (Forgot to take a pic, sorry!)

A couple of stash enhancements.........

Garnstudio Eskimo for my mum's bag, I have 8 balls of this, it is a bit like camouflage colouring. It knits up like this (this is just a test square) and will be felted when it's made.

And the other one is a couple of balls of Rowan Tapestry that I couldn't resist! Hmm, no idea what to make with it!

I haven't frogged the Fabel sock yet, I used the 2nd ball to start this scarf. It is called the Dragon Scales Scarf from my Knitting Calendar. If you click the pic you can see it larger and will be able to see the "scales". I quite like it so I think this will be my entry for the garnstudio Fabel KAL competition.

And finally, one of my readers should look out for a little surprise!! I'll say no more!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rebate, Zokni socks & sheep

I had a surprise this morning. About a month ago I had a letter from Customs & Excise asking me to fill in a form about my employment since I left work in November 2005. I haven't worked since so I just ticked all the no boxes and sent it back. So postie comes this morning and I opened the letter thinking it was someone else trying to get me to have their insurance or credit card, but no! It was a tax rebate! £442. I was gobsmacked! When I told Colin, he said "Oh God, I'm not going to be able to get in the front door this evening because of all the wool piled up in the hall!" Hahahahah! That could be true! Actually, knowing me it will go straight into my savings account! It does mean I will now order the wool for the bag my mum wants.

I started using my red colourway of Fabel yarn to make a pair of Zokni socks but I think the patterning of the yarn is too much to show up the pattern of the socks. What do you think?

You can't see the holes in the pattern at all. So shall I press on, or shall I use the pattern with plain yarn? I'd like to see what a Clapotis might look like in this yarn but as it is sock yarn would it work? Would it be really small?

Today I shall be making sheep. I have had another order from the posh yarn shop for some of the coloured ones. I will also make the ones that Florence in the USA wants, and get them all out of the way.

So, Life on Mars started its new series last night. Very much up to its previous standard and an interesting story line too, with goings on in the present time affecting Sam in the past. I think it is going to be a good series.

I took my car in for its service yesterday, and wandered around town looking for office clothes. I hate clothes shopping, especially all the trying on. Ulgh. Anyway I managed to get one pair of trousers. And where did I get them? "TOPSHOP!!!" (wink to the Booshies out there!). There was also a very nice pair in Principles which I nearly got but I think I am an inbetween size at the moment. One was too big and the other a little too tight in the waist. I may go and try them again on Saturday. Anyway, I wasn't too happy with the garage, firstly because they had said it would be washed and vac-ed and it wasn't and secondly because they managed to lose my service book. They have now found it but it means going back to collect it. They said they'd post it but I don't trust them now, and it has also put doubts in my mind that they actually did all the things they ticked on the sheet. I suppose I have to trust them, cos I wouldn't know any different. Ho hum.

In case anyone wants the pattern for the fluffy slippers you can get it here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

2 FOs and 2 cards

I managed to get 2 items finished this weekend. Firstly I did the fluffy slippers for Sue. Every time I make a pair of these, I get quicker. It was definately less than 4 hours for this pair, though I didn't time it! I have another cerise pair to make for Fiona so I'll time how long those take.

And here are Heather's Fabel socks all finished and modelled by me. As you can see they are slightly too big for me, due to the fact that they are made for a normal size footed person and not one with pixie's feet like me!! (Size 2.5 UK!!)

And this is the card I made for L's birthday on Saturday. The scarf I made her went down a treat.
And a birthday card for my FIL.

So I can now knock 2 things off my "WIP & plans" list.

I watched Primeval on Saturday evening. The effects were good but it was obviously aimed at the kids market, like Dr. Who. It's one of those programmes I may or may not watch again.

Now, Top Gear just gets better all the time. This week they were in America and had to buy a car each for $1000 or less and drive it through 4 states and sell it at the end. With various challenges in between. The funniest bit was when they drove through Alabama and each had to decorate one of the other's cars in order to get them either arrested or shot at! Richard had Man-Love Rules painted on his by James, James had Hillary for President on his by Jeremy and Jeremy had Country and Western is Rubbish on his by Richard. Now this is the Deep South we are talking about and when they pulled into a petrol station the locals were not happy! The garage owner called in "the boys" and it all got a bit hairy. They all had to make a run for it, but James' car wouldn't start til Richard gave him a jump start. Even the camera crew were targetted. Anyway, they got away safely in the end but if you missed it watch the repeat, I think it's on Wednesday at 7pm BBC2. Genius TV!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dancing Polar Bear

Socks, scarf, bag, garage & Buzzcocks.

Here is the progress so far on Heather's green socks. As you can see the 1st one is finished. I started the 2nd one and part way in I thought the pattern on the second ball of yarn was completely different because I didn't recognise any of it. Turns out the second ball was wound from the other end so it is backwards to the first one. Interesting!! I'm not frogging, I'm just going to keep going and I think socks are cool when they don't match anyway.

The making of them was slightly interrupted by spending 2 evenings making this for L. It's her birthday tomorrow, and I have still to make a card!

Talking to my mum on the phone I told her that once all the items I am making for other people are finished I am just going to make stuff for me. And I am not taking any more orders. BUT she then told me she would like a nice bag, and I reckon this one is very nice! So when I hear from her that she likes it I will add it to the list, but then THAT IS IT!!

The details of the garnstudio Fabel competition is up on their forums (see previous post for the links). It is not limited to socks, it can be anything worn on the feet, legs, hands, wrists, neck or head. The criteria are that it has to be made in Fabel which has to be ordered from Scandinavian Knitting Designs. They are sponsoring the KAL and providing the prizes.

Well, I said yesterday that not a lot was going on here, but I wish I hadn't because someone broke into our garage last night. We were lucky, they didn't take anything, but the house across the road had 2 bikes stolen (ours were chained to the wall so they moved on) and apparently at least 5 places were done locally. We had some footprints left in the snow across our back garden but they had more or less melted by the time the SOCO man arrived but we did take pictures. He said they looked like the same as he'd seen at the other scenes. He suggested we cover up the windows on the garage.

Thanks to Tina and Dreamcatcher for a heads-up about the repeat of Buzzcocks. I didn't see it on Wednesday because of that bloomin' disaster of a football match, but I have now Sky +ed the repeat. I wonder how Julian feels about Noel's blossoming TV career?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Boobs, snow and knickers!

I have just spotted this on the BBC homepage. Now there's a novel idea for you knitters!!

Whhhheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!! We have snow today. It had all started to melt at lunchtime but it is now falling again. Its only quite fine tho' so I doubt if it will hang around.

I went out earlier and posted off my Simply Knitting competition socks. Fingers crossed but not holding my breath.

Not a lot going on today, I am carrying on with my green socks and also doing a quick fluffy scarf for one of the little girls up the road who is 8 on Saturday. I am looking after them on Monday afternoon as it is half term and their mum goes to college. L is a big fan of purple so I am using up some purple and black fluffy eyelash wool to make a stripey scarf. I'll finish it tonight in front of the telly-box.

Apparently my step-dad read the button on the left wrong and thought it said Sexy Knickers Club. I think he was quite looking forward to clicking through so this one is for you, Bill!! Happy anniversary, hee hee!!


Happy Birthday MUM!!!

Happy 29th Wedding Anniversary Mum and Bill!!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Fabel, sock along, and fish.

This is how my garnstudio Fabel is knitting up. I really like it because the colours seem to be completely random. I have found with Opal yarns that you get so far and the whole thing repeats itself, but this doesn't seem to have a repeat so far. And the other sock will be different because the ball starts at a different point in the sequence, and I'm NOT going to go through the ball until I think I've found the right bit!! Anyway these will be Heather's green socks.

I have finished one fluffy black slipper, but I'll post a pic when I have a matching pair.

If anyone is interested garnstudio are having a Sock Along in March on their forums. At the moment it seems like there are only going to be 2 of us doing it, everyone else is keeping very quiet, so if you fancy it, or know someone who might, go and join the forum - it's free - and we can all Sock Along together. The details of what is happening in March are not up 'til the end of this week but you can all have a practice during February and have a chance to ask questions if you are having problems.

3BTs for today:
1. Tina, another blogger, mentioning me in her blog and asking people who read hers to come over and have a look at mine.
2. The sky when it is still just foggy but you can see the beginnings of a blue sky emerging through the haze.
3. Paul, the fishmonger at the farmer's market, who always gives us an "NHS discount" even though neither of us has worked in the NHS for at least a year, and then bunging in a couple of freebies on top. Today he gave me some John Dory to try and a couple of homemade fishcakes.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Heather's socks

These are the finished socks for Heather, so I can cross those off the list on the left! They are made with Natural Dye Studio alpaca/merino, on 2.5mm addi turbos, with short row heels and toes. I prefer the short row method because whenever I pick up stitches I get a hole in the corner and I can't work out what I have to do to stop this happening.

I have started on the black fluffy slippers for my step-sister, but I couldn't resist casting on and doing a few rows with the Fabel that came yesterday, so this is 5 rows so far......

I went off to knitting club yesterday afternoon, and everyone admired my greeny-blue jumper that I was wearing. It was one of the ladies there who showed me how to do the crochet edging so she was very inpressed with my efforts. They also oo-ed and aahh-ed over my Lana Grossa in progress. I took that to work on because I don't need to concentrate or count stitches on that at the moment. Unfortunately I also took my Yarn Forward magazine and promptly left it behind, and although Bron (the group organiser) picked it up she has now gone away for 3 weeks so I can't get it back yet. Well at least it will stop me casting on for Ariel anyway, as the pattern for it is in that magazine.

I got a account set up, because the garnstudio forums only allows you to post photos that are on a photo hosting site. I don't know where to save all my pics now, I have several places to put them and will probably forget which I've put in which!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fabel arrived!

When we got back from town on Saturday, there was a note from the postie saying he hadn't been able to fit a packet through the letterbox. Hmmm, what could that be I wondered because I had been told my sock yarn wouldn't even arrive in the country till 5th or 6th Feb, then it had to be sent out. However, on investigation through the forum, I discovered that it was my sock yarn, so I dashed out this morning and got it from the sorting office. These are the two colours i have, the 3rd won't come till the end of the month.

The green is lovely in real life, much brighter than this pic. That will be for Heather's other pair of socks. And the red has red, orange, brown beige and almost black. (Click the pics for detailed views). Can't wait to see how they both knit up. Oh, the details... they are Fabel sock yarn 50g balls from in shades 672 (red) and 542 (green). Brand new in the UK. There is a free pattern printed inside the ball band but unfortunatley it is in a Scandinavian language!

I have almost finished the blue socks for Heather, and then I will go onto the fluffy slippers for my step-sister. I had an email which said "Please, please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please can I have some fluffy slippers for my birthday, please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please please, please!" How could I refuse such a plea??

It is the monthly Knit in Chester meeting today so I'll be off there this afternoon. I think I'll take the cardigan to work on because I don't have to count rows or anything on that at the moment.

There is someone locally who has one of those VW camper type vans. They have done a paint job on it, with the skulls from the Mighty Boosh. It's very cool, and I saw it twice this morning. I haven't had a camera with me when I've seen it, but it looks very much like this.

This one is the actual Boosh Van used in Series 2 of The Mighty Boosh, but the one locally is all grey in the background and the skulls are smaller.

I have to go and make a birthday card for my mum now, as I need to post off her present today or tomorrow. I have to be careful what I put on here from now on too, because my parents are now on the internet and have a link to this blog!!! Hahahaha!!! Hi Mum!!!
(Edit: Just made the card............

Friday, February 02, 2007

Card, Sheldon, and forum

A card I made for my mum & step-dad for their wedding anniversary next week. I still have to do a birthday card for my mum aswell. The colours look dreadful in this pic, they are much brighter in real life.

I have just finished knitting the body of Sheldon, so I have to do the shell next. I had to go and get some polyester stuffing, so I got some eyes while I was there. But thinking about it I am going to embroider the eyes because he is going to a new baby and I don't want to be responsible for a choking accident!! I will probably make other Sheldons so will use the eyes on them.

I joined the Scandinavian Knitting Design forum today and have joined in with their Sock-along. Cheating a bit really because I have already started the socks but it is just a practice run in February and the real SAL begins in March. Apparently there will be prizes!! Which reminds me, I must send off the Glam Rock Ski Suit Socks tomorrow.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lana Grossa cardi

I was so excited about posting my socks yesterday that I forgot the pic of the WIP cardi

And I am having a little go at felting this morning. I knitted this small swatch in fingering weight 100% wool, and it is at this very moment sloshing about in the washing machine with a pair of jeans. We'll see what happens...........

Wahey, how cool is that??!!!
I didn't measure it before, so I don't know how much it shrunk by, but you can get an idea from the spacing of my fingers. It is about 3 times as thick though at a guess. Hmm, methinks a little bag project may be ahead of me...........
I'm afraid I couldn't resist and I have made a start on Sheldon. I am doing him on 2.5mm needles with some of Natural Dye Studios sock yarn, and he is going to be pretty small, so I may keep this one myself and do another for Iain & Helen's baby with DK wool and larger needles. It's not due for another 6 weeks or so yet so plenty of time.