Saturday, January 31, 2009

All the other bits

Right I'm going to catch up with all the bits I've scribbled on a piece of paper to blog about.......

Knitting stuff first...... Issue 2 of the Knitter arrived in the post on Thursday. I wasn't expecting it until at least Monday. I subscribed to the offer of 3 issues for a fiver, then quarterly direct debit. This issue is all about intarsia and fairisle, not my thing at all. I don't think there is anything in this issue that I would knit, except maybe this for a cute little gilet, though where I would wear it I don't know. I was quite taken with this dress too but it would be completely impractical for me. As in the first issue, most of the patterns are from previous publications so as I said before if you have an extensive knitting book collection you may already have these patterns. I do still have high hopes for this magazine though so I'll stick with it for a few more issues anyway.

I have decided after knitting upteen pairs of socks from patterns I would like to design my own. I now have my Harmony Guides and have picked out a few stitch patterns I would like to use. It's not as easy as that though is it? The stitch patterns in the books are for flat, back and forth knitting, so in order to use them I will have to work out how to knit them in the round where there is no "wrong side". I would need to change all the knits to purls and vice versa and also go from the other end of those rows too. It's going to take some thinking about. However, one revelation I have had, is that I have now worked out how to turn a heel on any (even) number of stitches. I wanted to knit a quick pair of plain socks but only had the Opal pattern for 60 stitches. The socks are for a man so I needed more stitches (I've plumped for 72) but only knew how to turn a heel on 60 stitches. I laid in bed at 7.30 yesterday morning and thought about it, then got up and tried my theory, and it worked! I'm so pleased. Once I have written it down and worked out a formula I will post it for you. (You will probably all now tell me this already exists and I needn't have bothered in the first place!) Edit: Bum! Just googled it and found this - but I'm still chuffed I worked it out anyway!

Ah yes, a couple of stash acquisitions

Araucania Ranco solid in a browny green and a purple colurway, and Regia Silk in dark blue for my step-dad's socks. I was using some Possum yarn but I ripped those out becasue the yarn was driving me crazy. It was too sticky for the tiny needles, it needs to be knitted on larger needles and possibly usedfor something lacy.

Other stuff..........we had a murder in our garden during the week. I came home from a dog walk to find black feathers all over the garden and at least 9 magpies kak-kak-kakking on a nearby roof. I'm thinking it was probably one of our lovely blackbirds but there was no sign of a body, just all the feathers. Magpies - grrrrrr!!!!

A quick fact for you - I have now had my new car since Dec 13th and I have done a grand total of 182 miles in it!

Finally, I am pondering something. Last night we went to see some friends about an hour away - not a great success as the dogs didn't get on particularly well which was a shame - and on the way back we had the radio on in the car. Claudia Winkleman was talking to three female authors, can't remember their names, who have put together a book of erotic short stories by well known female authors using pseudonyms. No-one, including them, knows which story was written by each author so they are kept anonymous. From the sounds of it some of the stories are pretty full-on. So why is that called "erotic fiction" and not "pornography"? I'll leave it with you.

(If you are wondering, the book is called "In Bed With" and one of the editors names is Imogen something - I have NOT read it!) Oh, here's a link for amazon.

I'm being followed.

A couple of weeks before Christmas I had a comment on my blog from a complete stranger which said "I like this blog, it's summat different". So - as you do - I clicked through to see who this person was. It turned out to be Steve. He had found me completely at random by clicking on "United Kingdom" on his profile page. For some reason, out of the 480,000 blogs that this action threw out, he chose mine and is one of my regular followers and commenters and I am one of his.. But why? Why would a 25 year old, single guy, who likes to go out and get ratted and have a fight, who plays the field with the ladies and works for a radio station decide he wants to follow the blog of a 40 year old, married woman with 1 dog, who is tee-total, works (very) part-time for her husband and is obsessed with knitting and The Mighty Boosh?

I then joined Twitter last week and have gained another completely random follower in Barry Newsdesk, a redundant media salesman with ambitions to be a journalist, and a big gripe against Sky installers.

So my question to you today is, what is it that attracts you to a completely random person's blog? I don't mean ones where you have a common interest or hobby, but those where you have nothing in common at all.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Becca's Birthday BFFs.

I can now blog these........BFF socks. Becca managed to resist all of about 10 minutes when I gave them to her last night at knit group and eventually succumbed after gentle encouragement from a couple of other knitters. (Her birthday isn't until next Tuesday!)

Thank goodness she loved them. She even sent me an iPhone photo when she got home of her wearing them with some very high open toed shoes! Sexy!

I think the colors are represented best in this photo.

Pattern: BFF socks by Cookie A
Yarn: The Natural Dye Studio Nino, 100% luxury merino, ?colourway
Needles: 2.5mm Addi lace circs using magic loop
Mods: None.
Time taken: 6 days.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How did he resist?

The C word.

(No not the rude one, the scary one)

Eighteen months ago, it was a word beginning with a small "c". It was something you heard on the news that ageing celebrities had died from after "a long battle with". It was something your neighbour's, auntie's, second cousin's hairdresser had had, and was mortified because her hair had fallen out.

Then it came crashing into our life with a giant capital "C", when Colin was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma in September 2007. And it has been a part of our lives since. Happily he had it removed - it was a lump on his forearm - and after 6 weeks of radiotherapy in Nov/Dec 07 he was put on regular check-ups and "touch wood" he is fine. When his sister lost her battle in June 2008, he took it upon himself to raise money for Cancer Research UK and you can read about his efforts (and maybe sponsor him???) on his website and read about the gathering momentum of the publicity for it on his blog.

On Monday he took Susie to the vet to have her stitches removed, and the results of the lump were in. It was a soft tissue sarcoma! What are the chances? The report was that they believed they had removed it all, and that it wasn't the type of thing that metastisizes but may reoccur at the same site. They do not do radiotherapy so we just have to keep an eye on it and if it reoccurs they will remove it again. We wonder if her previous owners knew, but they hadn't told Labrador Rescue about it and they hadn't noticed it. It's not really something that you would miss on a family pet.

But the bright side for her is that she has us. We will look after her no matter what. We love her to bits already and we'll be keeping an eye on that leg. And, now the stitches are out, she can go off the lead again and have a jolly good run around at the park, chasing the ball and meeting her new friends.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


So over the last few days I kept hearing about and how Stephen Fry loves it. He's intelligent, so it must be good right?

I've just joined, you can find me there as electrogirl68. I already have a follower!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Back to the important things

Phew, I don't know what came over me there, maybe it was the fact that it was my 300th post and it needed to be significant. Anyhoo, back to the important things, knitting!

I have an FO and two WIPs but can't show any of them as they are for other people. One of them is a pair of socks for my step-dad which he knows about but I don't want him to see them until I have sent them to him. The other two are surprises but I think one person may have figured out what I am up to becasue I asked her for her shoe size!!!

As I hadn't worked on a pair of socks for over a month, I am all enthusiastic about them again. So much so that I have decided I want to design some myself. Whether there are any original sock patterns left to discover is another thing, but to help me along I have made a little purchase. Well, 3 little purchases but they only count as one really as they are a set of three books. The Harmony Guides to knitting stitches: Knit and Purl Stitches, Cable and Aran Stitches, and Lace and Eyelet Stitches. I have had these on my amazon wishlist for quite a while and when I saw them at £8.99 each (RRP £14.99) with free P&P I could resist no longer. Hopefully they will be here in a few days but not to worry because I need to finish these other things first.

Susie has had her operation to remove the cyst from her leg and after a week it seems to be healing well now, even though she managed to pop one of the stitches. The rest are coming out next week. The vet didn't know what the lump actually was so has sent it off to be analysed, but fingers crossed it isn't anything sinister, we could do without that, financially and emotionally. She has very quickly become part of the family and is very affectionate, especially with Colin, she won't leave him alone in the evenings and keeps pawing at him for attention.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Really Big Issue

So the USA has a new president - the end. Or it should be. But the main talking point of all this is that he is the first black president.

I'm not saying this isn't a really big deal - IT IS!!! It is a FIRST, like the first man on the moon or the first test tube baby. I will admit that I am totally ignorant when it comes to politics and human rights etc - in my own little country let alone the rest of the world - but I know that this is a momentous event.

My point is that it shouldn't be. He is not the first ever president. Putting political leanings and policies aside, the difference between Barack Obama and the 43 presidents who have come before him, is that he has dark skin. This is by virtue of chance. The reason he has dark skin is that his ancestors were from a country where the conditions meant that by the natural process of evolution and natural selection it was advantageous for the people to have dark skin. Can you imagine a bunch of freckly red heads running around in the searing African sun, they wouldn't have lasted five minutes. (Maybe they didn't and that's why there are none there now! (No offence to redheads, I am after all married to one.)) Obama's ancestors did not think to themselves, "let's deliberately make our skin black to annoy the hell out of white people".

Obama is an articulate, intelligent and clever man who has worked his way up in his chosen career like anyone else, the colour of his skin should be irrelevant. Sadly it is not.

However, all that aside I think everyone is missing the REALLY BIG ISSUE here.

***How on earth does Barack Obama think he is
going to have time to housetrain a puppy?!!***

Monday, January 19, 2009

You wait ages for one series to start.......

.........and three come along at once!!!

On Sunday night at 9pm it's the return of both Lost on Sky 1 and Supernatural on ITV2, and the beginning of a new programme called Being Human on BBC3. All at 9pm and all of which I want to see!!!

Luckily ITV2 have a +1 channel.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I finished my Ingenue jumper this morning and took the opportunity of daylight and Colin to get some outdoor photos.

Pattern: Ingenue from the book Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard.
Size: S.
Yarn: Drops Alaska, Aran weight 100% wool, from Scandinavian Knitting Design, 11 balls.
Needles: 5mm circulars.
Mods: Only did 7 repeats of stitch pattern for collar rather than 10.

As Diana famously said........

......there are three of us in this marriage!

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's not looking good!

I could survive for 35 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

The Knitter

There is a new UK knitting magazine out called The Knitter. I didn't know this until Ruth mentioned it at knitting group on Tuesday evening and was passing around a copy. I am reluctant to buy UK knitting magazines such as Simply Knitting and Knitting as they contain nothing I want to knit and their other content is very basic. I do like Yarn Forward though and will continue to buy this now it is available other than by subscription.

The Knitter is not like SK although it is from the same publisher. It is aimed at the more intermediate to advanced knitter and does not contain a section on how to do basic stitches which is a nice change. The patterns are definitely not for beginners and although there was only one pattern that made me think "I want to make that" some of the others were also attractive. I did notice that they weren't all original patterns for the magazine, they had been taken from previously published books or Rowan magazines so if you have an extensive knitting library it is possible that you may already have quite a few of the patterns. There were no "novelty yarns" to be seen and no Alan Dart toys!

Another positive thing about the magazine is the fact that the advertising is quite minimal. The pages are glossy and it is a well put together "coffee table" magazine. The price is a little steep at £5.99 but they do have some subscription offers at the moment where you can get three issues for £5 and save 30% by subscribing by quarterly direct debit.

On my needles I have my Ingenue jumper. I have finished the body and have made a start on the first sleeve. I tried it on when I'd finished the body and it fit just right, so as long as I don't have any disasters with the sleeves I think I am going to be very pleased with my efforts on this jumper. I'm really happy with the yarn too, Alaska from Scandinavian Knitting Design. I may even get some more and make another in a different colour.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A bit of knitting content

At Christmas I managed to get a couple of hats finished and sent at the last minute. Amazingly they were sent by me on 23rd December and arrived on the 24th! My mum then commented that she needed a scarf to go with her hat. So this is what I have made.

Not exactly a scarf, but a neckwarmer instead, much neater without all those flappy ends that have to be tucked in.

The pattern is the Margaret Necklets from the Winter 2008 Interweave Knits Holiday edition, and this is the shorter version. It was a pretty quick knit, it just took me a few days to get some buttons, which I eventually found on ebay.

I am now working on Ingenue from the book Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard. I am using Drops Alaska from SKD, a lovely thick aran weight yarn that is producing a really dense warm fabric. It is growing very quickly, (because I am off work settling the dog in for a few days, not that she needs it - see previous post!) and is knit from the top down on circulars needles, so no seaming, yippee!

Also OTN is a new pair of Jaywalkers as my previous pair died on me a few weeks ago when both heels went through at the same time. I am using the Regia Kaffe Fassett sock yarn in Landscape Fire for these.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Our new housemate!

In between Christmas and New Year we decided we needed a new housemate. Some of you long term readers will remember that we lost our old boy Podge at the age of 16 in October 2007, and our unsuccessful attempt with a puppy in January 2008. We thought we would wait until the spring to get another dog and not rush into getting something cute and fluffy. We decided to go for a resue dog because Podge was a rescue and a great success.

Anyway the subject came up over Christmas and we decided to start looking and went to a couple of rescue places. The first one had a couple of nice looking dogs but none of the temperaments were quite right. Then at the second one we took a border collie out for a walk but decided against him because he would have just had too much energy. We tried to think of a calmer breed and wondered about labradors.

We looked on the internet and there is a charity, Labrador Rescue with a branch in the north west so we had a quick look at their website. We had to register and have them contact our old vet for a reference before we could be approved as adopters. When they said everything was fine we waited to see if a likely candidate came up on their site. The next day I spotted a female, 4 years old and we rang them straight away. We were the first to enquire and we made an appointment to go see her on Friday.

We had to drive about an hour to Chorley up the M6, but it was worth it. She was unsure of us when she was first let out of her kennel, and barked and growled a bit but we took her around the garden and she was fine. We were a little wary, not wanting to make a mistake but we just couldn't leave her behind, so she came home with us.

And we couldn't have wished for a better dog. She knows loads of commands, if you put her food down and tell her to wait she won't touch it until you let her. And she stayed downstairs at night despite the fact that we didn't put up a stairgate and she could have come up anytime. She has been off the lead and played with other dogs, and she is very cuddly. We do have to get a cyst removed from her leg next week, and we have some drops for a waxy ear, but apart from that - SUCCESS!

Okay, so you want to see her now don't you? Here she is..........Susie.