Sunday, 29 June 2008

The toe up sock bites the dust

As you have probably gathered I was not happy with knitting the toe up socks. I would have continued with them but when I go to the Knitting Noras Knit Out today I discovered that there was something drastically wrong with the heel and I had the wrong number of stitches on the needles. I was counting and reading the pattern and could not find out exactly where I had gone wrong and Vicky said why not undo it and start again because you are not really happy with it. I bit the bullet there and then before I changed my mind and unravelled it. The sock is now a half inch long and the wool is rather ravelly as it has been undone twice now. I should hank and steam it but I really can't be bothered. It will unkink when it is washed.

The second granny square shawl is finished but I am not sure whether I like it now it is finished. It is rather bright bu maybe it will grow on me. I ran out of the purple and had to use a similar shade for part of the fringing but it is not too noticeable as I spaced it in and between the original colour and not in one block of fringe. I bought most of the purple and green so once again I haven't used up much of my stashed yarns. I still haven't made up my mind what I want to make next so tonight I will knit some on the socks.

It sounds like the ladies had a good time at Woolfest although the general opinion was that it was rather crowded and I would have struggled to walk through the people which was exactly what I was afraid would happen. It would have been nice to go and see the different wools and knitting paraphernalia. Maybe next year. I will check on Ambermoggie and Vicky's Blog later to see if they have posted photos of their trip. Vicky took her daughter Perran and Lisa took her daughter Storm so it looks like there will be the next generation of budding Knitting Noras blossoming sometime soon.

When Vicky kindly came to give me a lift to what might be my last Knit Out for a few months she brought with her some Knitting Books that she had read for me to look through. If I get bored with my sock knitting tonight I will browse through those. Maybe I will be inspired to start something from one of the books for my next project.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Woolfest and The Borrowers

My Knitting Noras group have gone on a coach trip to Woolfest in Cockermouth today. I wish I was going with them but I know that it would have been too much for me. I would have held everyone up with my slow walking and constant need for a seat. I will be seeing a lot of them tomorrow at the monthly Knit Out so hope that they all have wonderful tales to tell me and bring the goodies that they have bought. It is a yearly event so I will have to save my pennies for next year. There will be different dyers, spinners and wool manufacturers there. I think it's mostly the "little" people of the industry rather than the moguls but I will find more about it tomorrow. I am with them in spirit. You lucky girls.

I always read Doris Chan's blog
and today I dared to leave her a comment. No - not that kind of comment! I know I don't always understand her crochet instructions, as my former posts will tell you, but I do admire her as a designer. Her taste is not always exactly my taste but that is the whole point of designing. To make something different than the norm. To please everyone all of the time would be boring. I don't think Doris would be too unhappy with my adapting her designs anyway. I think she would be rather pleased that she has encouraged me to do my own thing using her themes.I always credit her with the inspiration when I make something.

Anyway today she was talking about the book "The Borrowers" by Mary Norton from her childhood. I have always been blessed with a vivid imagination and as a child I loved that book. I read it, and it's follow on books, until the covers wore off them. I also imagined that I had a family of little borrowers living invisibly in my house who made use of small household items like sewing cotton bobbins to make their furniture etc. As a 7yr old I would try to stay awake to see if I could catch them as they came out from behind the skirting boards on their evening excursions. I never did of course but that didn't stop me from believing they were there! Hey who am I kidding I still believe they are there. I live alone, apart from Buster, so who else pinches the little things that I leave lying about? I thoroughly recommend the book to anyone who has imaginative little girls - or if you still love reading children's books.

I had a wonderful afternoon yesterday. I got invited, with a couple of King's Arms knitters, Rachael and someone whose name eludes me ( I really am getting terrible at remembering names) to an afternoon of knitting/crocheting at Charlie's house. We were made very welcome and the afternoon just whizzed by and I was truly surprised to find it was almost 7pm when I got back home. I hope I didn't wear out my welcome. Her husband was unfazed by the sight of 4 crafters in his lounge when he arrived home from work eating a table full of nibbles. Now that is one good husband. My ex would have freaked out! Charlie has one of those kind of houses that make you feel at home from the minute you enter. I am very sensitive to atmosphere etc and I won't stay long in some of my friends houses. Not because I don't like my friends but there is just something about their houses that makes me feel uncomfortable and I cannot relax. I don't tell them of course. My mother brought me up better than that! P.S - Charlie don't ever throw that sofa out. It is far too comfortable.

Today I have food shopping and cleaning to do. I really hate the way cleaning eats into my crocheting time but Buster makes it a must. He is a very hairy dog who despite constant brushing and hoovering (please don't report me to the RSPCA - he loves it) sheds all over the house. I have thought of collecting his hair and getting it spun but am doubtful if I could wear a dog hair scarf as I think it would be very itchy. Buster is wearing his sad expression today as he gazes out of the window watching the rain. He didn't get a walk yesterday and boy did he let me know. He won an Oscar for sulking performance last night! I am trying to persuade my son to come and take him for a run with his dog on Sunday whilst I am out on the Knit Out. He really enjoys being with them for a few hours. I feel that he needs the companionship and exercise of someone younger and more energetic from time to time.

I have finished crocheting all of the squares for my second granny square shawl and so will hopefully finish that off later today. I still haven't made a decision on the next project but I need to make some squares for the Oxfam appeal and make some kind of contribution to the knitted chandelier that the King's Arms ladies have been working on. I thought perhaps some crochet flowers or a lacy trim for the edge. Everything they have made so far is a silver grey so I will have to search for something suitable in my bit box. Maybe a bit of very pale blue will fit in with the colour scheme. That will occupy me until I make a decision as will the toe up socks if I ever get around to finishing them.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Phildar shawls

Whilst browsing in the Phildar books that I retrieved from the loft I had forgotten how beautiful their shawls were. Every book has at least 2 crochet shawls in it. I have just photographed a few of them. I made a couple from the books at the time/ The bottom photo is what is left of the lovely shawl I crocheted (see the next to last photo) which was greatly admired until I washed it. It had taken me a long time to make it as it is huge. I had used the wool specified on the pattern Phildar Camargue if I remember rightly and although I am a very careful washer the shawl went limp and stringy and now looks like a badly crocheted spiders web made of parcel string. Nowadays I just chuck it in the washer as it can't get any worse. The damage was done in the first wash. I fold it in two when I wear it around my shoulders and it still manages to cocoon most of me.

I will take another look at the Phildar shawls in more detail later as they were all made in fine wool and might be more suitable for Christmas presents in stead of the thick Doris Chan ones.

I am still bravely soldiering on with the squares for my second granny square shawl. I am sewing in the tails as I go along this time but still have another 18 to make before I get to the edging and fringe. The socks are still languishing on the coffee table until I steel myself to pick them up again. I think they will be my first and only pair of toe up socks. I am just not as comfortable knitting them that way as I am with top down socks.

Today I got soaked through walking back from water aerobics. Buster was waiting for his walk so I changed into a second set of waterproofs ( the first jacket obviously isn't completely waterproof as my shoulders were wet) and I got as far as the front door. Buster is a walk in all weathers kind of dog but he turned tail and went back indoors and sat down on the sofa. I have never known him turn down a walk before. Eventually the rain slowed and we went out. The river which meanders through the wood had turned into a raging torrent and had flooded it's banks making the bottom path flooded up to a foot deep in parts so we had to retrace our steps back up the hill. Buster really wasn't happy and was just plodding his way along the path instead of tearing up and down searching for sticks as per usual. When I got to the gate I was intending to walk around the other part of the park but he just went and stood next to the gate as if to say - Enough mum I want to go home. I dried him off and he is curled up on the sofa now. I think maybe he is having a bit of an off day.

The rain is pounding down again so I think it's time for a coffee and sit and crochet a few more squares. I still haven't decided which project I want to make next. I don't want to start something I am not certain about as I know I will probably not finish it. It's unusual for me not to have the next project all lined up but I want something that I can finish before I go in hospital.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Nostalgia from the 60's

I have glanced through the McCalls Needlework and Crafts books but really need to set aside a whole evening to browse them properly. They are filled with all kinds of craft items. There is some knitting and crochet but the photos I have put on here are of the other crafts. The bag with it's 3D fruit. The wool embroidery that gives a chunky raised effect, The beaded bags in either the Victorian or the native American theme.

As I browsed the pages memories came flooding back of some of the things that I attempted to make from the books. Bearing in mind that in the 60's books from the US were very rare so I had no idea of any of the thicknesses of the wool nor the needles. There was no nipping on the Internet to check anything out in those days and wool was not imported from the US way back then (or anywhere else for that matter). It was all trial and guesswork. I was still in the learner stage of following patterns in the UK so the US ones were very much a challenge to me. I can remember knitting a rabbit from one of the books in red and white (why a red rabbit I can't remember) and due to the wool and needle guessing this rabbit finished up about 3ft tall and took bags and bags of stuffing. It finished up on the back seat of my dad's car and I was horrified to discover that he had given it away to my young cousin who had got attached to this rabbit on a car journey home with my dad. All he said was well she cried when I tried to take it away from her and you can always make another! My aunt said later that she slept with that rabbit until she was about 7yrs old and absolutely loved it. I didn't make another one.

There were some lovely bedspreads in crochet or quilting that I always said I would get around to when I retired. I don't really fancy them all that much these days although I think the embroidered throw is lovely but far too intricate for me to ever tackle now.

I didn't go to Charlie's for the Knit Out in the garden today as her builders turned up so it has been postponed until Friday. I haven't knitted any more on the toe up socks. I am not really enjoying them and so they have stopped my knitting mojo. I have crocheted a few more squares (and darned the ends in) but not really done much of anything today.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Oh no - I am at it again!

I went to the regular Monday night Knit Out at the Kings Arms in Salford last night. I was at a crucial heel turning moment on the toe up socks (is it just me or do they look like huge flat footed clown socks?) so decided not to take them with me. I just grabbed the proposed granny square colours and a hook and took that with me instead.

I am sewing the tails in as I go along this time hence the split stitch markers in the centre marking the right sides of my squares. I think I will go with the colours I have chosen although the one with the bright pink does look a bit startling compared to all of the others. I might have a re-think on that one before I crochet any more squares.

There was a lady there who had come visiting to try to get us to knit some squares for the Oxfam blanket appeal to raise awareness of maternal deaths through childbirth. Link below if you want to knit some.

She had visited the Knitting Noras of Bolton when they had their Public Knitting Day last Saturday. She tried to take my squares with her when she left! I said sorry no - these are for my project. I will make her some others but not in multi colours as I hate the stitching all the tails in.

Today is Charlie from the King's Arms knitters birthday and we might all be meeting up tomorrow for a birthday knit out on her lawn if the weather holds. She loves old and vintage knitting patterns so I have reached down my other patterns that were stored in the loft. The boxes that you can see are approximately a half of all of my patterns. The rest are stored in the pantry down stairs. The 4 magazines pictured here are some of the US ones that I pestered my mother to order for me from the newsagents. Ordering magazines from the US was not the norm in the 60's so I feel very privileged to own them. They date from 1964 - 8. My mother stopped the order when I got married much to my annoyance. The rest of the box has a selection of Phildar and other books from 60's - 80's I guess today I will be wandering down memory lane and reading these instead of getting on with my work

Charlie went to London at the weekend and went to I Knit London wool shop. She said it was her idea of heaven. The kind of wool shop that she would like to own one day. They have coffee and chilled wine that you can buy whilst you browse and buy or simply sit on the leather sofas and knit. I have seen the photos from I Knit London shop on Flickr. Sounds wonderful but I think more for the "in" places of London that here up North. Maybe I could have hung on to my shop if I had had a sofa and coffee! I doubt it as things like that have become more fashionable in the many years since my shop had to close. I do miss the life I had back then but my good memories are pre the money worries I had when the business slumped and I was desperately trying to save it. I often think if I had still been in business when e bay became so popular I would still have the shop as I had a massive stock that could have been sold online as well as in the shop.

Monday, 23 June 2008

My shawl is finished

The shawl is finally finished. The tails though will I fear be always with me. No matter how well I think I have darned them in little ends keep poking through her and there to haunt me! What surprises me the most is that I can make a shawl this large and not make even a hole in my stash. The main part of the of the shawl and fringing was made from 200 grams of Patons Symphony and 200 grams of James C Brett Marble that I bought from the charity shop for the massive sum of £2.50 for the 4 balls. The rest of the colours are odd 50 gram balls of Robin Diamante, Sirdar Silky look and Patons Classic cotton left over from past finished projects. The whole shawl is a mix of thicknesses and textures.

It is quite large and very warm when I tried it on last night. I have decided to leave the fringe uncut as I can never get it level anyway. I can;t even cut my fringe straight! My shawl has a distinct wrong and right side as you can see from the third photo showing where I have crocheted the squares together. I just cannot face sewing squares together. The tails are enough for me!

I have returned to the toe up socks and got as far as turning the heel. I don't think that I am as enamoured of the toe up as I am of the conventional top down. The shapings are certainly neat but because I am not au fait with the technique I feel like I am wrangling with the pointy sticks again just like I did when I first started knitting in the round on 5 needles.

My internet has been down all of the morning and I felt quite deprived. I could not check my e mails etc or have my daily browse of the blogs. I will have to go now and clear the 100 or so e mails from Freecycle and Realcycle although at the moment I have stopped reading them properly as I have no car to collect anything that I might want. I will browse the blogs when I come back from taking Buster for his afternoon walk.

I am off to the Kings Arms tonight for my couple of hours knitting. I keep thinking that I will buy one of those stick on lights as the lighting in the snug is very low and it's difficult to see stitches especially if my work is dark. I will take the socks and hope that I can see them. I still haven't decided whether to finish off the partially completed crochet cardigan or start another project as yet.

Sunday, 22 June 2008


I still have the edging and the fringing to do on the granny square shawl. I finally managed to sew in all of the tails last night. It was a marathon task. I am going to mark the right sides of my squares and sew the tails in on the wrong side as I go along on my next one. Hopefully there will be photos of the finished shawl tomorrow.

I have so many projects whirling in my mind and so much stash to choose from that I am really undecided what my next project will be. I am still on the first toe up sock for my niece so have those to finish before I go in hospital but I do like to have some crochet on the hook as well as knitting to give my wrists and fingers a break. Hopefully it will all come to me in a blinding flash as I do my housework or when I walk Buster. I work out some of my best projects in my head whilst dog walking. I have bought some colours to incorporate with stash for another granny square shawl but am unsure if I feel like starting another just yet. The colours I am playing with are in the top photo. Maybe I will finish off the cardigan I started a couple of years ago and then stuffed in a drawer and forgot all about. I have almost finished the back of it. Another reason why I should stay untidy and leave things lying around. For some reason I fell out with crocheting it and just pushed it into a bag. If I can find the pattern I might have another try at finishing it off. I like the way the stitch looks but maybe I didn't like crocheting it - I will find out later no doubt.

I am already trying to work out my Christmas knitting and crochet projects. Who would like what etc. I crafted myself into a frenzy last year so am hoping to take a bit of pressure off this year by starting earlier. I did buy 4 mugs from Dunhelm as stocking fillers but they only had 4 of our family's names so I could not get one for everyone.

The day is miserable and windy. I have pegged my throw on the line but had to use 8 clothes pegs to prevent it flying into next door.

I have coloured my hair today as my friend Caroline could not come to do it for me this weekend. My dark roots (well maybe they are grey by now - who knows) were making me look like a Coronation Street extra.

I just read an article saying that people who knit and crochet are happier and healthier than people who don't. I don't know about the healthier although apart from my back I don't suffer many other ailments that people my age do. Anyone who visits our Knit Out will vouch for the fact that we are a happy smiley bunch and there is always lots of laughter in our corner of Costa Coffee. I did try to post a link to the article on our web site but for some reason it would not work after I posted it. I will try it again on here and see if it works

if it doesn't work as a click link maybe you could copy and paste the whole title onto your search browser.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Bury Market - officially the best market in the UK

I braved the rain and armed only with my purse and trusty steed Ivy I went to Bury market. There are placards and streamers everywhere declaring that Bury market has been judged the best open market in the UK. It was thronging with people despite the rain.
I went to my stall called appropriately The Wool Stall to search out bargains. I am a cheap and cheerful kinda girl these days and whilst I do love the quality yarns my purse veers towards the other.

The ones I bought today were not the ones I went for. The thing about a market stall is that if you don't buy when you see the wool is gone the week after. I am happy with my purchases even if they are a substitution. The two packs were £5.99 each. The top pack yarn colours can be seen in more detail in the separate balls photo. I also bought 3 more balls of the lilac random James.C Brett that I had bought last week plus some balls of purple, lilac and olive green to incorporate into another shawl. 80p a ball for 100 grams. Of course it's acrylic and probably not good quality but it will be fine for a shawl. My total outlay was less than £20 so I am very happy.

The granny square shawl has now been crocheted together and is awaiting a border and fringe. The third picture is the nightmare one. I love making granny squares but it takes forever to darn in all of the tails! The first picture shows it pinned together without its half squares. The second shows close up of some of the squares plus the pins. For my next shawl I will try using circular plastic stitch markers or big paper clips as the safety pins entwined themselves into the wool and were a bit of a bugger to get out again.

I hope to get it finished off tonight if I don't get too bored with all the darning. To try and go back to do some more rows on the toe up socks - if the lure of my new wool doesn't grab me. I have decided no more trips to the market until after my op. The fish and meat market is another lure but I shall resist. Yeah right - Ha Ha - watch this space.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Car journey Sweet Pea

When I was in the car (as a passenger) on the way to and from Morecambe I got quite a lot of crocheting done on this purple Sweet Pea shawl. It is from the Stitch n Bitch the Happy Hooker book but I do a sort of frilled edging instead of the fringing as illustrated in the book. This one took 250 grams Patons Fab double knit and crocheted up quite quickly. I have made quite a few of this pattern and apart from a quick check at the pattern when I first start I can almost crochet it from memory now. I finished it of last night and sewed the tails in this morning.

I have also done a small amount of work on the new crochet square shawl but the 2nd pair of knitted socks for my niece have not had a row knitted on them for days so they should be my next alternate project. I like to have one knit and one crochet on the go and alternate to give my wrists and fingers a change of movement.

I am planning my next crochet project and have to decide which one of Doris's Amazing Lace designs to start next. Her designs are quite thick in what she describes as "exploded lace" and whilst I can understand what she means and why she has done it anything too thick is not to my taste so I will be doing some jiggery pokery to adapt her designs to be more "me".

I am really tempted to go back to the market stall in Bury market to get some more of the lovely yarn I got last week before he sells it all out. He tends to have job lots so if you miss it and go a couple of weeks later then there is none left. There were a couple of colours in the £5.99 Silky Look packs that I really liked. He is only there on Fridays and Saturdays so if I get up early tomorrow I might risk an outing.

When I came back from the Leisure centre I double checked everywhere to see if I had accidentally left my other sock at home and not packed it in the rucksack. Last night I noticed that somethings under the sewing machine table had slipped down and bent to tidy them up. What was there? My other sock!!! How on earth did it get there? I had not gone anywhere near this table whilst I was packing my bag.

I once went with a friend to see a woman who was Spiritualist and whilst I am not totally convinced I will go along to with people to different religious gatherings, tarot card readers, fortune tellers etc as I have a curiosity about all things in life. I never pay or go personally but will accompany other people. This lady told me that I had a mischievous boy who was my unborn son living in my house who liked to re-arrange things to tease me. There was no way she could have known about my 4 miscarriages so I just thought she had made a lucky guess. I thought no more about it but over the years I have misplaced things and have them re-appear in plain view a couple of days later. So I will put this down to a mischievous imp or wonder if a sock can play hide and seek. I am pleased to have a pair of socks once again.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Didn't we have a wonderful time the day we went to Morecambe

Yesterday Vicky came and picked me up (well not literally or she would have needed a fork lift truck!) and took me to meet Ambermoggie and Mr Mog. Vicky battled through horrendous battering rain to drive us there. I would have given up at the first junction! When we got there the rain had stopped and the sun was bravely trying to shine. It is so lovely to meet up with blog friends and have a good old natter and find you have so much in common. We later went for a lovely stroll along the sea front, saw the statue of Eric Morecambe (I am sure Vicky will post photos of him on her blog as I forgot my camera) and then nipped into Costa Coffee for a snack and a huge mug of mocha coffee. Such a lovely day out. Check out Ambermoggies's blog (link on the RHS) for more about our day out. Mr Mog drove all along the sea front to give me a recap as it had been many years since I had last visited it. I was amazed to find that a much loved Italian Ice cream parlour is still there and I believe still sells Knickerbocker glories and banana splits that I remember so well. If I ever make it back to Morecambe I must be sure to pay that a visit purely to see if they taste as good as they used to.

I had taken some mohair for Amber to craft into one of her lovely shawls and she made me a present of one of her shawls for me to wear whilst I am recovering. Needless to say I must have started recovering already cos I wore it all evening whilst watching TV! I got to choose one of her lovely elementals and I chose one with gorgeous aubergine and pink hair. When I got home I noticed that the charm on the front was of a naked lady closely resembling my over generous figure so I did chose an appropriate one for me. I hadn't notice that until I got home. I really must start wearing my glasses more although I only really need them for close things.

I had made Amber a short n sweet shrug but was a little worried in case it was a bit jazzy for her. When she had seen mine on an earlier blog post she said she would like to one day make one in purples or rainbow so I took her at her word and as I had no purples when I started the shrug I used rainbow. I do hope that she liked the colours.

The car journey gave me a chance to work some more on the purple Sweet Pea shawl and I have finished the main body of it now. Just the edging to do now. I worked a bit more on my squares for my shawl last night so that is taking shape bit by bit.

The last photo speaks for itself. I went to the Leisure Centre for arthritics water aerobics with 2 socks and somewhere along the line I finished up with only one. I searched around the lockers and my cubicle without success. I rang them when I got home to check if anyone had found it later and had handed it in but they told me to ask next week as it might be still in the ladies changing room. My first hand knit casualty. I always imagined having a mishap with one by accidentally putting it in the washing machine but never imagined I would lose one. I hope that I get it back - unless there is a one legged woman somewhere who took a fancy to my sock!

Off to walk Buster now. He is sulking a little as I left him yesterday for a few hours and then went out again this morning. His limp has improved so I think it was either a bit of a muscle strain or a touch of arthritis.

I am an ISFP - whatever that is

Thanks to looking at Life in the Zu I had to do this test to find out what I was and these are my results. I have many other things to blog but I will do those once I get back from water aerobics and have time to take photos etc.

You Are An ISFP

The Artist

You are a gifted artist or musician (though your talents may be dormant right now).

You enjoy spending your free time in nature, and you are good with animals and children.

Simply put, you enjoy beauty in all its forms and live for the simple pleasures in life.

Gentle, sensitive, and compassionate - you are good at recognizing people's unspoken needs.

In love, you are quiet and sweet yet very passionate. You love easily.

You have an underlying love for all living things, and it's easy for you to accept someone into your heart.

At work, you do best in an unconventional position. You express yourself well and can work with almost anyone.

You would make a good veterinarian, pediatrician, or composer.

How you see yourself: Sympathetic, kind, and communicative

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Incompetent, insecure, and overly sensitive

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

New books have arrived

As you can see from the photo heavy blog today my new book from Doris Chan has arrived. I also got a sock book but haven't even looked at that yet!
What can I say the photos speak for themselves. I love a lot of them but will have to adapt (no change there then) as I prefer my shawls to be more ethereal than chunky but that is my personal choice. Most of these garments and shawls appeal to be either in Aran thickness or chunky and whilst I love their design I don't think I would want the weight.
Nothing much to blog on craft wise except that my finger end has almost healed and I am back to my crocheting.
The hospital technician decided, without warning, to yank my legs skywards to put a cushion underneath my knees whilst I was lying on the MRI scan table. I think my yelp of pain echoed around the corridors and I could barely walk back to the car. thanks for that one mate - I will avoid you like the plague if I need another scan.