Sunday, 22 May 2011

Purple spaghetti

I've been persevering with my Spriteling this week, and have knit clues 2 and 3 without any major mishaps! I think that I've been spurred on by seeing all the beautiful finished shawls over on Ravelry, and I'm determined that it's not going to get the better of me! I'm not especially keen on the large looped edging, so may well make it slightly less loopy when I get to the crochet cast off. At the moment, my knitting looks rather like a plate of purple spaghetti, but I'm reassured by looking at the finished photos of others that blocking will 'sort it'!

purple spaghetti! Spriteling WIP 003

My other knitting projects have grown during the week too. I finished test-knitting the sock for Alice, but won't post a photo, as it's for a not-yet-published book of socks. I will hopefully have some more impressive photos of other projects to show you soon!

I did receive the most wonderful swap parcel from Kim, in the USA. We have had such a lot of fun getting to know each other over the past fortnight, and have discovered that we share a love of fine yarns, chocolate and music, amongst other things. She is waiting (not that patiently!) for my parcel to arrive in sunny California! I was thrilled to receive my very first skein of Woolen Rabbit Kashmir yarn - it is beautifully soft, and I can't wait to start knitting it. I've lined up Anne Hanson's Budding Apple shawl pattern. Also in the package was a mint truffle bar, which only just lasted a few minutes longer than the photo took to take, a bar of milk chocolate almond toffee, also delicious, and a box of Choco Pods! It truly is a lovely parcel, and is a great start to what I know is going to be a Wonderful Time in the Knitspot Fall in Full Color Club!

clubhouse swap 001

The garden has been quite productive this week, despite our lack of any significant rainfall. We ate our first broad beans yesterday, with the promise of more to come! This is one of my favourite ways to eat them!

garden 22 may 2011 001

We also have flowers on our courgettes!

garden 22 may 2011 002

and on our cucumbers too!

garden may 22nd 2011 001

We are off on holiday to Cornwall this Friday for a week, so I may not manage to blog until my return in a fortnight. Whatever you are up to, I hope you have fun too! See you! xxx

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,
I hope that you're well. I wanted to write to let you know that I am fine.

When you first picked me out of your stash, I was very excited. I thought that I was going to become a new shawl or scarf, especially for you. But when I got shut in a dark box, I was very sad. I thought that I must have done something wrong because you didn't want me any more. Did I accidentally felt a little bit, or pill? Was I too splitty? On my long journey I worried and worried about what I could have done to upset you so much. When I slept, I had nightmares about being surrounded by a mass of nasty neon acrylic and fun fur yarn!

Dear Mom 003

But as soon as I arrived at my destination, I realised why you had chosen me. It was because you loved me so much, that you wanted other knitters to be able to love me too! My new Mom strokes me and cuddles me, just like you did, and tells me just how gorgeous I am!

I soon made lots of new friends. They were feeling a bit lonely too - one of their friends had disappeared rather suddenly it seems, so they welcomed me with open arms. They talk a bit weird, but I can understand them fine, most of the time!

Dear Mom 006

I found a familiar bag that I'm going to make my special cosy place too!

Dear Mom 013

And Mom, do you know what the best thing is? I've met someone that I really, really like! She's from Germany, so we're having a little bit of trouble communicating. But love conquers all!

Dear Mom 009

Don't you just think that we're a match made in heaven?! We might go off and knit some stitches together! Just think what beautiful yarn babies we could make!
Don't worry about me Mom. I am just fine!
I love you,

Your loving 'son', The Woollen Rabbit xxx

Dear Mom 007

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Sweet anticipation

I've been a bit of a busy bee this week. Not a huge amount of knitting to share with you .... it's still a melange of purple. Extra this week is a sock I'm test knitting for Alice Yu (Socktopus). I'm on quite a tight time schedule for that, and I'm having to knit it from a chart as well!! I'm at the heel, so should be able to complete it in time. Everything else has grown, but not significantly enough to warrant separate photos.

more purple melange 003

I met up with a bloggy friend this week. Minniemoll was on holiday in my neck of the woods, so we met up for tea and cake after school one day, and then she joined me at knitting group. It was lovely to meet her and we are planning to get together at Woolfest in June.

So if it's not knitting that's kept you busy, what is it then? I hear you ask! Well, remember I told you that Mr JK had treated me to membership of the Knitspot yarn club? The first shipment of yarn isn't until August, and there'd been so much activity in the clubhouse on Ravelry, that it seemed a shame to let it drop off. So I got in touch with Kim and Kat, two of the group's moderators, with the suggestion of a 'yarn and chocolate' swap, and a KAL using a Knitspot pattern, between now and August. Let me tell you, these two ladies don't sit still! Before you could say 'stocking stitch', swap sign ups had opened! Sixty five members signed up, and I had the job of matching up partners. Since then, I've had lots of fun getting to know my partner, Kim, and have sent her some of my favourite yarn and chocolate. I can't wait to see what she's sent me too, and then choose a pattern to knit! I can tell that this is going to be such a fun club to belong to!

The garden is doing well, despite the lack of rain in our corner of the world. This morning I spotted this ........

garden 15.05.11 001

and this ..........

garden 15.05.11 005

so it won't be too long before we are able to pick enough broad beans for supper, and have fresh strawberries on my porridge in the mornings! I shall say goodbye now, as I really must get on with that sock for Alice. Hopefully, by next weekend, I'll have received my parcel from Kim, and will be able to share its contents with you. What yarn would you send someone as a gift, and what would you like to receive? Please do tell me! xxx

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Entering a purple period......

I seem to have become a tad obsessed with the colour purple. This weekend I've cast on three new projects (just to make Snoopydog feel better about her mountain of WIPs of course!), and they all seem to be purple! Look!

Exhibit 1 - Infinity version of Monkey Bread scarf using Great Northern Yarns mink and cashmere yarn in radiant purple (it accidentally slipped into my stash, honest!) I'd forgotten quite how delicious this yarn is to knit with - a sheer delight. I know that we're coming into warmer weather, but I'm going to be all prepared for the cold winds next winter! I've done one repeat so far, but am already in love with it - it's going to be my best friend come December!

Infinity monkey bread WIP 003

Exhibit 2 - sparkly purple socks, using the yarn I received from Julia in our recent swap, knitting another Anne Hanson pattern, Tesserae. The pattern is amazingly simple, but looks great. You can't see too much yet, as I've only done one pattern repeat. Having sparkly socks seems a little decadent, and I like that!!

sparkly tesserae socks WIP 005

Exhibit 3 - stripy purple and pink plain vanilla socks using the Violet Green sock generator pattern. My Uni friends all admired my handknit socks last year when we met up, so I have promised them each a pair. Diane asked for a purple/pink colourway, and I think this yarn fits the bill nicely. It's a Regia Design Line Erica Knight Jazz colourway. I rather like it, and have enough yarn to knit a pair for me too!

plain vanilla sock no. 1 WIP 001

Add to the mix my Spriteling shawl, and I'm guilty as charged, m'lord! I took advantage of the quiet yesterday to get back on speaking terms with Spriteling. Mr JK went into Norwich to watch Norwich City playing their last match of the season (Premiership next season!!) and I managed to finish clue 1 and make a start on clue 2. So far, so good. Here's clue 1, done and dusted!

Spriteling clue 1 done! 003

I haven't done any more on my Aegean Ishbel, as I'm thinking of adding some beads. We are going back to Cornwall for a week at the end of May, and I remember visiting a rather nice bead shop, so I shall probably hold fire until then.

Also on the knitting front, I have two rather lovely things to look forward to. The first is Knit Nation, in July. Snoopydog and I shall be spending the weekend at Imperial College, London, immersing ourselves in yarny goodness! We're going to be taking a sock design class with Cookie A, which is rather exciting. The second thing is that Mr JK has given me membership of the Knitspot Fall in Full Color Club. Starting in August, there will be 6 monthly packages of exclusive luxury yarn, plus an exclusive pattern, and other goodies! I can hardly wait! Anne Hanson has such great taste when it comes to choosing yarns, and I'm a huge fan of her designs. It's going to be like getting a birthday present every month! Luckily we are on good terms with our postman. When he rings on the door to deliver a squishy parcel, he hands it over with a smile, and a comment - 'more wool?'!

Mr JK has been busy in the garden, making the most of the lovely warm spring weather we've had here today. I'll show you how the garden's looking another time, but I must just share with you this photo mosaic - clockwise from the top we have grapes on the vine, flowers on the tomato plants, great bunches of blackcurrants and strawberries. What great promise of delicious fruits to come.

Promised fruits

One more thing before I love you and leave you - also rather exciting. Today Mr JK and I visited a local cat sanctuary to make ourselves known and just to see what cats they had available. We're not going to rehome any until we get back from our week in Germany, at the start of August, but we've been approved as 'cat' people, so we just need to find the right cat(s) or let them choose us. We saw a gorgeous black and white female - so, so friendly and desperate for a home. I think we would have brought her back with us today if it was possible! It will be lovely to have little furry beings back in the house again. I'll catch up with you again soon. Have a good week! xxx

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Now is the month of Maying .....

Blimey! Where is the year going to? It's May already. Before you know it, there will be Christmas cards in the shops and you'll be wishing you'd started your present knitting earlier!

I thought that I'd pop in to tell you about our weekend in Bremen. We had a lovely time, and the weather was wonderful - warm sunshine the whole time. We didn't manage to escape the wedding however - it was being shown on 6 channels on German TV, and Mr JK's auntie really wanted us to watch it with her. So I sat with my sock, and knitted away, whilst laughing at the hats (especially Beatrice's monstrosity!) and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the right moments. I did enjoy the music that they'd chosen - I can remember singing Parry's 'Blest Pair of Sirens' when I was at school, and it's always been one of my favourite choral pieces. And the wedding anthem by John Rutter was truly beautiful. Over the course of the weekend, I managed to finish the 2nd of my Cinder Block socks. I do like the pattern, and think I might knit another pair in a solid colourway.

Cinder Block socks (1)

We went up to Bremerhaven on Saturday, and spent a good chunk of the day exploring the Klimahaus. It's a fascinating exploration of life for various people living in different countries of the world, but all on the 8th degree of longitude. We visited Germany, Alaska, Sardinia and Samoa, amongst other places. I found the lives of the Tuareg nomads especially interesting and thought provoking. It makes you start to think about all the things in your life that you take for granted, and how much more simply you could live and still be happy.

Bremen May 2011 007

Sunday was May Day in Germany, so we visited Fischerhude. It's a very picturesque village near Bremen, with lovely old buildings.

Bremen May 2011 022

Fortunately for Mr JK, the yarn shop there was closed (as are pretty much all shops in Germany on Sundays). We wandered through the village, enjoying the spring sunshine. We walked by the river for part of the time - it was as lovely as it looks!

Bremen May 2011 026

Of course, no visit to Germany would be complete without sampling a cake or two! I love streusel kuchen, and this one was made with cherries. Yummy!

Bremen May 2011 043

I'll leave you for now with a photo of my Ishbel shawl - I didn't take Spriteling with me, as I knew we'd fall out big time! So I managed to knit all the stocking stitch part of Ishbel, and am ready to start the lace section. I'm feeling especially pleased with myself because it's knitted with my handspun yarn. I think the colours look lovely! See you soon. xx

Aegean Ishbel WIP  (3)