Thursday, October 30, 2008

For Becca

Sorry you couldn't make it to knit group last night, here is a summary of events......

I arrived at Borders a little after 7 and went to where our table is usually. As is quite common, even though they know we have a knit group twice a month, there was nothing set up, and "our" table was full of bargain books. I asked at the desk where the knitting group was going to be and was shown a table near the music and DVD section. He even quickly printed off some "reserved for knit group" notices and put them on the table. I sat down and got out my Good Luck Cowl and started knitting. No-one else showed up. At quarter past I was still on my own and decided to give it till 8 o'clock and then make a discreet exit!

Luckily Karen and a non-knitting friend arrived about 7.20 so I was able to go and get a coffee (thanks Karen!) . While I was gone Averil came so there were a total of 4 of us, and that was how it stayed. It was suggested that people weren't there because it was half-term, but what do they do with the kids the other weeks that they come?

So I worked on the cowl, Karen worked on her Ice Queen and Averill was working on a jumper. I showed off my two FOs, the baby cardigan and the mystery socks, and Karen showed us two versions of a hat she'd started in two different colour yarns but the same pattern. The first one was a dark green/teal colour and didn't show up the cabling pattern too well, BUT it was made from Mirasol Miski, and OOOOOHHHHH SOOOOOOFFFFFTTTTTTT. I have two different colours of this yarn in my stash and I felt like running home right there and then and just doing something with it. No idea what, just anything. Wow, it was gorgeous. The second version was a lighter colour and suited the pattern much better but wasn't as soft.

Averil had a shop bought cardigan with her that she wants to copy. She has worked out the stitch pattern but needs to get the gauge and yarn weight right as it has felted a bit since she first had it.

Conversation went from Stash's opening hours to writing novels and journals, how it's a small world becasue I knew someone that Karen's friend knows, karate, the lack of soya milk in Starbucks, New Zealand, plumbers and bathroom conversions and how cold it's been lately.

We had to share the other end of the table with a book group but I never did catch on to what book they were discussing, I was too busy nattering.

I got home just after 9 and that was that. Hope there are more there next time.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sneaking one in.

A Quick FO for you. The final clue for the Mystery Sock KAL came out today and I finished it in about an hour. It was a very simple toe.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now I really need an idea!

Whoosh! There goes another week! Which is a bit worrying as it is now only 3 and a bit days to NaNoWriMo.

In fact I'm going to have to be very organised on Saturday or I'll come unstuck. I have to write at least 1667 words, get a flu jab and knit like a crazy woman on a pair of socks. I think the flu jab is about 9.30am, so I'll do that first, then get the words done and the socks will be the least of my priorities. I'm not overly bothered about being the fastest knitter, it is just testing out the new Sock Wars system anyway, the real thing doesn't happen until next year.

But before that I need to get the final Mystery sock clue (tomorrow) and finish them. Hopefully it will just be a normal simple toe so I can work on them tomorrow night at knitting club. I have also started a cowl in Noro sock yarn. It is a Good Luck Cowl and I am doing it in the rainbow colourway. I felt that the Noro sock yarn was too rough and scratchy for a pair of socks.

Something quite interesting happened over the weekend. I had a message from a woman on Facebook who claimed to remember me from school. She said she had been in the year above me. I didn't recognise the name at all but messaged back to ask what her name had been back then (in case it was a married name). Well, turns out when she was at school she had a totally different name because................she used to be a boy!!! I'm afraid I still didn't recognise her previous name but did remember a couple of the friends she mentioned. Anyway, how brave to make the decision to change her life completely. She's had the complete op and everything.

Well, on that bombshell, I'll sign off. If I go quiet over the next few weeks it's probably because I'm locked in a darkened room, smoking cheroots and drinking bourbon and trying to be a novelist! Hmmm, we shall see what crawls out at the end of November!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Where do ideas come from?

Yesterday I started to get myself worked up over NaNoWriMo. The premise is that you write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. You switch off your inner editor and inner critic and just write until you hit 50,000 words. This is basically 1667 words a day. Don't worry about whether it is well written, well punctuated, well structured...... just get the words down.

All well and good, if you actually have even a slight idea of what you are going to write about!

I discovered NaNo nearly 3 years ago. In January. NaNo takes place in November. So I'd missed it. But I wanted to give it a go and didn't want to wait nearly a year to do it officially. I decided I would do it on my own for the month of February. I had an idea floating in my head from a dream I had had, so on Feb 1st I started. And somehow the words came. I made my target the first day, and the second and the third......and the story was evolving quite nicely. I hit day 14 and struggled a bit but made the word count. Then I stopped. I had no idea what to write next. I missed a day, I missed another day, and by then I was 3300 odd words behind! That was the end of my NaNo effort.

BUT I had written 25,000 words which was 25,000 words more than I'd had 14 days earlier. I still have those words somewhere.

This time I am signed up to the official website to start along with everyone else around the world on November 1st. And until an hour ago I didn't really have any idea what I was going to write. Unfortunately you can't use something you have already started as everyone has to start on a level playing field (although I'm sure there are some out there who bend the rules a bit). I'd convinced myself I couldn't do it and that I was going to look stupid after telling people, including my knitting group, that I was going to write a novel in a month. What was I thinking telling them?

But suddenly, from somewhere I have the inklings of a plot. I've written it down quickly just in case I forget it. The whole outline for my novel is 3 lines long. All I have to do now is expand it to 50,000 words!!!

Oh heck!!!

And just to make it a little bit more difficult I accidentally signed up for a mini Sock Wars called Day of the Dead. Guess when it starts? November 1st!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ahh, aren't they sweet!

Congratulations to Mel and Stu who got married on Saturday!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Puddin' and pie

Yay, how cool, I have 3 followers already!

Just a quick FO to show today. This is the cardi I made for George. I'm not sure whether to just leave it open or add one button as it says in the pattern.

I'm not sure what to do now. I can't do any more on the mystery sock and the other WIPs I have are just not inspiring me. They are at stages where something fiddly has to happen and I can't be bothered with them at the moment. But I want to knit this evening. I don't want to start Ice Queen because I can't work out the provisional cast on and I don't want to cast on 164 stitches that I can't get to later on. I think I'll go back to the Glacier Lake socks. I started them but ripped them out because they were too wide on the 2.5mm needles. I have 2mm ones now so I think I'll start those.

Of course I could always have a think about what my 50,000 word novel is going to be about, after all it is only 14 days to the kick off!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Follow me.........

See that new thingy under the NaNoWriMo button on the left there? You can add yourself to it so I know who is reading my blog. And you can put one on your blog too so you know who is reading yours. It's new in the "customise layout" section of blogger.

I've also added a photo to the "about me " section so you can all see my ugly mug!!

Mystery Sock clue 3 came out today and I've finished it already! It was just the heel flap and heel turn so I managed it in a couple of hours. Which meant I could concentrate on the baby cardigan I am making for little George. I have almost finished it, just one arm to do. It is knitted from the top down so no seaming, hooray. I did have a bit of a mishap with it though. The needle sizes on the pattern were US sizes and when I looked at my needle gauge to work out the metric equivalents I accidentally looked at the imperial sizes. So I used 5.5mm and 4.5mm when I should have used 4.5mm and 3.75mm. Hence the cardi is bigger than expected. At least babies "grow into" things.

The waistcoat is in the "naughty corner" at the mo, I'm not entirely happy with my picking up of stitches around the bottom, but I'll do a bit of fudging at some point and it'll be fine.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bag lady

Another spoiler alert: photo of the completed second Mystery Sock Clue (ravelry link) is at the bottom of this post.

My sock bags arrived this morning from stuckinillinois. They are pretty roomy. I have put two balls of sock yarn and two half-made socks on needles and the folded A4 pattern in one of them and it all goes in quite comfortably. These are the 4 I bought.

The dog & cat one is the one I am using, here is the detail. They are all fully reversible too, the inside of this one

has little paw prints inside

I got two with knitting words on the outside

one of which is orange swirls inside and the other has little skulls, and finally the blue and green spotty one is stripey inside. All very cute.

Just before I went on holiday a month ago, I bought Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I really like Wendy's blog and had been reading the build up to the release of this book, so when it came out I thought I'd check it out.

Most of the patterns are for top-down garments (yay no seaming!) and each one has a section where you can customise it in ways to suit yourself. There is also a large section on designing a garment from scratch and how to take accurate measurements etc. One little treasure I did find in it was how to do a long-tail provisional cast on which I haven't tried yet but need to know how to do for my next project, so that was a bonus.

Finally, the pic of my Mystery Socks up to Clue 2. This clue took longer than clue 1 but I still made it in plenty of time as Clue 3 is released on Wednesday.

The waistcoat is almost done, but probably won't be finished for knit group tomorrow. It is hard to work on it in the darker evenings and I have been distracted by the socks for the last week or so. It is almost there though. I think this evening i will try that provisional cast-on though and make a start on my Ice Queen or a little cardigan for our friends' new baby, George. I picked up some aran yarn in Ireland that may be suitable for that.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh cripes, what have I done?

I've only gone and signed up for National Novel Writing Month officially. I will now have the 30 days of November to write a 50,000 novel or get laughed off the face of the earth!!

Care to join me anyone?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bags of fun

I always have a pair of socks OTN. At the moment I have 2 pairs. As I am now using a ball winder to make centre pull balls, they do not roll around like they used to, but I thought it would be nice to have the yarn, needles, row counter and pattern all in one place.

I had a mooch around on and found this seller. Aren't they cute? What is amazing is that they only cost $10 each (about £5.50?). Scrolling down I noticed that it said shipping was free, but I couldn't believe she would send from the USA to the UK for nothing so I emailed her. Sure enough, she said it was free so I ordered more than one, seemed a waste of free shipping to just order one! (Becca - do not order any, I've got you covered!)

Yesterday I wasn't needed in work so I decided to tidy up my knitting stuff because it was basically scattered everywhere. I piled everything onto the spare bed and this is what it looked like.

And you can't see the 4 bags on the floor or the books and magazines! Anyway, I have now succeeded in getting all the yarn into 4 large tubs, all the straight needles in a bag, and all the circs in a binder of clear pockets. The patterns that aren't in books are also in a binder and I went through about 30 magazines and tore out anything I wanted to keep and binned the rest. (I kept all my Interweaves intact though!)

So now I can put my hand to anything I need, but curiously I never found the 2 stitch holders I know I have and which I had to replace at the weekend because I couldn't find them. I think they went down the black hole where things go in my house sometimes. Unfortunately I don't know where it leads so I can't get things back.

Now I can carry on with my Tweedy waistcoat and try to finish it before knitting group next Tuesday as I want to start an Ice Queen and need help with a provisional cast on.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Just a quick recommendation for a website today. is a site for buying and selling second hand books, all of which are priced at £3.75 each. The postage on an average paperback is free but on heavier books the seller can add a postage cost.

I have bought a couple of books from this site and they are always in good condition.

Shameless plug alert - I have just listed "Stitch'n'Bitch Crochet, the Happy Hooker" on the site. It is in perfect condition as I never used it, just couldn't get my head around crochet! (Edit: book has sold)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Stash enhancement (again!)

(Warning - Spoiler Alert - Do not scroll down this post if you are making the Socktoberfest Mystery Through the Loops socks and don't want to see what the first clue looks like)

Last weekend Andy at had an open day. It wasn't very big but Natural Dye Studio and Fyberspates had brought along some of their wares. Laughing Hens were there because they are under new ownership and have just moved here from down south. I only found two skeins of yarn that I fancied......

Natural Dye Studio Alpaca Merino sock yarn in Kumquat

and some wool/alpaca blend yarn that I think is Andy's. It wasn't labelled but it is about an Aran weight and hopefully long enough for a cowl of some kind.

On Friday I popped into Stash to pick up an extra ball of yarn for my waistcoat and Karen from knitting group was in there. She was buying a few bits including a ball of Kidsilk Haze to make an Ice Queen. When she said it only took one ball to make it I was tempted and bought a ball in this colour.

While I was there I bought a 100cm long 2.5mm Addi lace needle so I can have a go at Magic loop. I haven't done it yet but I have transferred one of my Mystery Socks onto it ready for the next clue. So I have one sock on two circs and one on magic loop. I wonder which method I will like best in the end. This is the progress so far, the next clue is released on Wednesday.

Oh, and I now have 10 shiny nails!!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Look at my mirror nails, see them shine!

I hate clothes shopping. I absolutely loathe it. I look at things hanging limply on hangers and my mind says "That'll look awful, that won't suit you, ulgh what on earth is THAT?" So that is where they stay, hanging limply on the hanger rather than me trying it on to find out that it is actually not that bad after all.

I need some work clothes at the moment and also something for a wedding in two weeks. Which meant a dreaded trip to the shops. I got into town at about 10.30 and made a start. I did try a dress on, and nearly couldn't get it off again! It was okay but it was all black, not really suitable for a wedding. The trousers were either too big or too small, and a top I tried was just plain wrong. By 11.45 I was frustrated and fed up (yes it literally only takes that long for me to have had enough). So when I was walking through Browns of Chester and was accosted by a tall dark and handsome Italian Vincent Simone wannabe asking about my nails, and offering amazing solutions to my ridges I thought, "Why not, let him pamper me for 5 minutes".

Now I am not a girly girl which I think is obvious from my loathing of clothes shopping, so I don't do all the primping and preening that some people do. I use a shower gel that is good for my oily skin, I don't use body lotions or fragrances, I occasionally visit the hairdressers and I very rarely do anything with my nails. When they get too long they break off of their own accord and I'll just tidy up the sharp edge at the time. BUT I have always wanted shiny nails. Which of course would mean looking after them and probably wearing clear nail polish which you then have to maintain and reapply etc etc. So I've never had shiny nails.

"Vincent" came to my rescue. "Can I show you something amazing?" he said. "Okay" I said. He proceeded to buff my middle finger nail with a cube with 3 different buffing edges - one of which was made of diamond dust and another of silk - hmm!!. This took less than a minute and then he said "Be prepared to scream when I show you". He showed me. I didn't scream but I was amazed! Look at the dfference......shiny nail vs. ridgey nail.

Of course the buffing thingy doesn't come on its own, oh no. There is a cuticle treatment, a glass nail file and some hand and body lotion in the kit, and has a special price today of £10 off!! "Bugger it", I thought, I haven't spent any money on clothes and I want the rest of my nails to look shiny too, so I bought the kit, but not until "Vincent" (his actual name was Robert) had exfoliated my wrists with dead sea minerals and tried to flog me that aswell - I declined.

I came home with a grand total of zero items of clothing but with a renewed enthuiasm for looking after my nails.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

October means......


I have joined the ravelry group and also the Through the Loops group where there is a mystery sock thread going on for Socktoberfest. The pattern is a mystery but part of it is released each Wednesday. So far just the cuff has been released (30 rounds) and I have completed 25 rounds so far. I'm not sure whether to do both socks or just do one and then the other after, but if I do this I won't have a finished pair by the end of October which is kind of the point. I think I'll have to start the second one from the other end of the ball.

I am using the Wild Fire Fibres Bambino that I started on the Bayerische socks with. Those got frogged as it was a VERY fiddly pattern and my Addis weren't pointy enough for all the cabling and twisting so the yarn is put to much better use on this mystery sock.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Ireland, to be sure.

Seeing as we have been back from our hols for 10 days now, I thought I ought to post a few pics which aren't Booshy!

The first place we stopped when we got there was Gorey, Co. Wexford. Some friends of ours moved back here from North Wales about a year ago so we stayed with them for 2 nights. These are their children. Do not ask me to spell their names, there are too many bs and hs in there to get my head around but phonetically they are Niall(l), Cweeva(r) and Derval(middle). Unfortunately Cweeva had her eyes closed in every one of the photos I have.
(Edit: the names are Niall, Caoimhe and Dearbhail)

From there we headed over to the west coast to Lahinch in Co. Clare where we had an apartment for 5 nights. This is one of the two streets there, the other is a main street with several pubs and shops.

The weather was pretty dismal for the first few days but we drove around looking at the beaches from under our rainhoods and through the car windows. One evening in Lahinch there was a surfing competition and between the rounds there was a husband and wife who went out on one surfboard and performed acrobatic feats for our entertainment.

On the Tuesday the weather cleared up and we were able to go to The Cliffs of Moher which is apparently the most popular tourist attraction in Ireland.

I thought this one was rather attractive too. She was called Bessie

and this was her owner busking at the Cliffs

Gratuitous shots of me and Colin at The Cliffs

On our last night in Lahinch there was a lovely sunset out of the window of the restaurant we were eating at

Oh I do have a couple more Booshy photos. Here you can see how high up we were from the stage

And this is a rather blurry shot of Noel. The pictures had to be taken without the theatre staff seeing as you weren't supposed to take photos.

I finally finished reading The Cure Of Souls by Phil Rickman last night. I can't believe it took me nearly two months to read this. That's the knitting habit for you! I do like this series of books but I felt it got a bit higgledy piggledy at the end. Maybe it was because I took so long to read it and lost the thread of the story. The next book I am gong to read is Storm Front by Jim Butcher.

In knitting news The Tweedy Waistcoat is coming along nicely, no pics yet! I have the back and one and a half fronts done. I didn't realise before I started that it was knit in so many pieces. I do like the two colours that I (and Anne at the LYS) picked for this, they do go well together and it will be quite understated but smart enough for work.