Saturday, 27 March 2010

Been a bit norty!

A quick post to share with you my squishy parcel from Laughing Yaffle. I told you last time that I'd succumbed to some mini-skeins of Ali's beautiful yarn. The parcel arrived yesterday, and I am absolutely thrilled! The photos don't do the colours justice - they are so, so vibrant! Anyway, here they are. The first set is called Rainbow Brights.........................

Laughing Yaffle Mini Temptations 005

and the second one is called Moody Blues.

Laughing Yaffle Mini Temptations 006

I can't wait to get started on my sock yarn blankie again! Do you want to feast your eyes on all those tempting yarns once more? Go on, you know you want to!

Laughing Yaffle Mini Temptations

Each mini-skein is about 30g, so there's more than enough for several little mitred squares. Enough, even, I do believe, for sharing with a certain knitting pal of mine! Now I must away and finish my packing. This time tomorrow I shall be en France, so I shall bid you all au revoir for the next fortnight! Have fun!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

A-Roving, A-Roving........

Well, ( in the words of the folk song) I hope it won't be the ruin of me! I had to just squeeze in this post to show you the absolutely scrummy fibre that I received from my knitting pal across the Pond, Cathy. We got chatting on Ravelry over a pair of socks (as you do) and last year, you may remember me sharing with you the beautiful yarn that I received from Cathy in a sock yarn swap. As we have both just started to learn how to spin, we thought that the natural progression would be to swap some fibre. I sent Cathy some superwash merino from The Thylacine. Megan has some absolutely beautiful yarn and fibre in her Etsy shop. It's well worth paying her a visit. I chose shades of purple with a hint of deep pink. It's easy to choose colours for Cathy, because our tastes are pretty similar - if I like it, then she will too! Don't you just love the mix of colours?

fibre swap (5)

I received my parcel from Cathy last weekend, but didn't show you then, as my parcel hadn't arrived in Canada. I was thoroughly spoilt with not only some superwash merino roving, but also the most beautiful, luxurious Fleece Artist silk and seacell fibre. It feels just delicious, like butter, so will have to be saved until I can spin it well enough to show off its loveliness! Here's the Fleece Artist fibre.... prepare to drool!

fibre swap (1)

and here's the superwash merino, by a Canadian Dyer - it really is as soft as it looks!

fibre swap (2)

She also sent me a card, which expands to give a knitting pattern! Why don't we have that sort of thing over here?

fibre swap (4)

You can be sure that I'll show you both yarns when I've spun them. One thing I know is, it won't be for a while!
I've been finalising my knitting projects to take to Toulouse with me. I can't believe that I leave on Sunday. I'm excited, and also a little nervous. It's going to be quite daunting having to teach in a French school, in French! I'm just hoping that the first week of intensive French tuition is going to work wonders! I'm taking my newly re-started Ripple scarf. It's working out pretty well being narrower, so I'm almost glad that I made the mistake I did! I've nearly finished the first repeat of colours.

toulouse knitting 003

I'm also taking some super dooper bright yarn from the Laughing Yaffle to knit another pair of Monkey socks. Ali's yarn is absolutely gorgeous. The colours are so vibrant. I've just ordered 2 sets of mini-skeins for my sock yarn blanket - my will power is terrible! I've even wound the skein into 2 balls all ready to start.

toulouse knitting 007

My other travelling project is going to be another scarf, using some Colinette silk and mohair yarns. The colours are lovely, and it's a really straight forward pattern, so I ought to be able to manage to knit whilst speaking French!

toulouse knitting 008

It's my last day at school tomorrow for 3 weeks, so I've been really busy tying up loose ends, and sorting out all the work for the supply teacher to do with the children next week. I'm looking forward to a chill out Saturday, before my early start on Sunday morning. It's Earth Hour this Saturday, so Mr JK and I shall be snuggled up in front of the fire with the candles lit - heaven!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

A cautionary tale

Hello there! It's a lovely sunny morning here, I hope it's the same where you are. Mr JK and I were woken up by the dawn chorus just before 5 o'clock this morning. The bird choir were certainly going at it hammer and tong, and it was lovely listening to it. A real sign that spring is on its way! This pot of mini daffodils has burst forth this week too.

spring bulbs 2010 (1)

I finished my Half Century socks this week. They're a 50th birthday present for Mr JK's cousin Monika. She's always appreciative of hand-knitted socks. I used the Circle pattern, and am really pleased how the pattern and yarn worked together.

Half Century socks 002

I discovered my first sock casualty whilst sorting out the washing yesterday. One of my favourite pairs, Dublin Bay, in a Natural Dye Studio yarn, have got a hole in the heel. My mum would have got out her wooden mushroom and darned them. I've put them in my sock drawer to think about it!! These were the socks that the Yarn Harlot knit a few stitches of at I Knit in 2008, so I'm reluctant to throw them away. They hold too many memories!

sock casualty 001

Oh yes, talking of casualties, I have a tale of woe to tell you this morning. I've been trying to finish off some projects, and this week decided to concentrate on my Ripple scarf. I was just finishing the 3rd repeat of colours, a bit too late on Friday night, when I should have listened to my body and brain saying to me 'I'm too tired to concentrate'. But no, I chose to carry on, ignoring that little voice, and disaster struck. I came to change colours, and couldn't understand why I couldn't easily attach the new yarn and get the hook through the stitch. Nothing twigged, and I carried on trying to make a hole where there obviously wasn't meant to be one. Still nothing! I tried to unpick my last row - but couldn't, and ended up breaking the yarn. It still wouldn't pull out easily. Unperturbed, I carried on unpicking, one stitch at a time, to be left with a series of loops! It was only then that the penny finally dropped! I'd been trying to attach the yarn at the start of the scarf, hooking into the foundation chain! So my scarf, which looked a little like this, but 3 times longer

Just a little ripple WIP (1)

now looked like this, with lots of little loops where my first row of pattern and foundation chain had once been attached!

an even smaller ripple WIP 001

There was nothing else for it, I had to unpick the whole scarf, as I had no idea how to sort it out any other way. So my scarf then looked like this ....

an even smaller ripple WIP 002

Although you're probably not going to believe me, I think this disaster was actually a blessing in disguise. (Yeah, right!) It had already become obvious to me that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to make a scarf of any decent length, and I knew that it was going to be tricky to match up more colours to the mini skeins I'd already bought from the Natural Dye Studio. So what I've decided to do is to make a narrower Ripple scarf, and hook each block of colour for three rows instead of two (to minimise wastage on the yarn that's already cut). Hopefully it's going to work! Here's how it's looking so far.....

an even smaller ripple WIP 004

So the moral of this story is don't crochet when you're tired!! Have you had any knitting or crocheting disasters? If so, please share them with me, so I don't feel quite such a idiot! Have a good week!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Winning and losing

It's been a strange week - good and bad in parts. Bad because I've been so, so busy with school stuff that I've had virtually no time at all for knitting. It's only 2 weeks until I leave for Toulouse, so I'm trying to get assessments done and dusted before I go. Good because I found out this week that I'd won the first birthday competition of Phoenix Knitting Forums. My prize arrived on Thursday - a rather lovely skein of Violet Green Socrates Solemate in the colourway 'Philosopher's Pupil'. It's a mix of navy, indigo and blue shades, with the odd hint of a paler purple in places. I used the same yarn to knit Charlotte's purple socks, and loved how it felt, so knitting it will be a real treat. Also in the parcel was a bar of Lindt chocolate, and it was rather yummy! Yes, it's all gone - it's been that sort of week. You can't see the colours of the yarn that well in the photo, as the light wasn't great.

Phoenix birthday prize 003

I've been clearing out our little bedroom this weekend as I'm turning it into a craft room. I need to get some more plastic boxes with lids to organise my stash a little better, but it's starting to take shape. It's been fun going round the house, finding all the craft books from the numerous book shelves and putting them in one place. I didn't realise that I had quite so many!! Some were long lost friends that first inspired me to start knitting as a teenager - Kaffe Fassett, Susan Duckworth, Sasha Kagan, alongside new discoveries - the Yarn Harlot, Wendy Johnson, Debbie Abrahams. I'll show you how it looks when I have the official grand opening! Whilst sorting yarn, I came across a postal bag from Kemps. I ordered some Anchor Magicline at the start of the year, and then forgot all about it! I bought it for about 50p ball, and am hoping to crochet a couple of bags with it. I think it'll make a nice bag for the summer. One for me and maybe one as a present.

Anchor magicline

My 'half century' socks are progressing, and I will definitely have a finished pair to show you next time! I'm going to try and get a couple of other projects moving once they're done, and try to avoid the temptation of starting anything new. We shall see!!! In the meantime, with nothing else woolly to show you, I shall love you and leave you with this photo, taken in the garden today. I ooh-ed and aah-ed (a lot) and stroked and fondled! Spring is on its way!! Have a good week.

signs of spring 003

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Knitting a rainbow

Good afternoon! It's a lovely sunny day here on the north Norfolk coast, and although there's still a real nip in the air, the blue sky more than makes up for it. It makes me long for warmer and longer days, sitting outside in the evenings. Mr JK and I listened to the birds singing first thing yesterday morning, and that was another reminder that spring is on its way. I was even able to go outside and take some photos of my Rainbow cardigan this morning. I'm really pleased with it. The pattern was a free one from Drops, and from what I understand, is pretty similar in construction to the Baby Surprise Jacket. It's knitted in two halves, and then you join the back, side and sleeve seams. I used mattress stitch, and was really pleased with the neat seams I achieved. I'm getting better at it each time I try. I love the buttons too.

Knitting a rainbow

Whilst in the garden, I spotted these tulips just peeping up through the soil. They were planted so long ago, I can't remember what colour they are! Oh well, it'll be a nice surprise. The garden is looking a bit of a mess at the moment. We need a couple more nice weekends to get out there and sort it. Mr JK has got his spuds chitting, and is sowing sweet peas this afternoon. We had loads last year, and always had a jug of them on the kitchen table. They're one of my favourite flowers.


I did a bit of spinning this week with my friend Sally. I managed a bobbin's worth, so need to get another one spun so that I can ply them together. Once I get back from France, I'm hoping that I might have a little more time. I think it's definitely a case of 'little and often' with spinning, to really see improvements.

3rd try

As you can see, I'm getting lots of underspun bits, as well as overspun and ok-ish bits! It is good fun though, and I shall carry on trying to improve. My aim is to be able to spin yarn that is actually worth knitting into something! I've been pretty sensible about stashing fibre so far, and haven't bought anything special. I am doing a fibre swap with my knitting friend Cathy, in Canada, as she has just started spinning too. It's been fun searching out something that I think she will like. Once we've swapped parcels, I'll show you what I chose! In the meantime, I'm sticking to good old fleece! Have a good week.