Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Postman Brought Books

I went to pre order the new Doris Chan crochet book from Amazon (even though it is not due out until April) and these two books sprang into my basket. Oops. The Crocheted Gifts book has a few things in it that I will probably make and I will take a few photos later in the week to show you some of the things in the book that I like. The front cover afghan is a favourite and guess who it is by - yes Doris Chan so it was bound to be a winner in my eyes. The Natural Crochet book, however, I have found very disappointing and I doubt if I will make more than one of the items in it. I try, wherever possible, to support UK designers but when the books are as lack lustre as this one is I find it hard to be enthusiastic. The designs are pretty mundane and don't seem to fit the children in the book too well. The front cover shrug appears to bunch up around the back of the neck which I am sure would annoy any little girl who wore it. Ah well I will just add it to my pile of books and think that maybe one day I will make something from it.

Charlie's 2nd aran cardigan has made some progress and now has two fronts as well as a back but as you can't keep me from crochet long I decided to start a crochet pram blanket with some Hayfield Baby Chunky that I had in my stash. Nice mindless crochet whilst I watch catch up TV on my PC. Today it was Piers Morgan in Hollywood and then interviewing Sir Cliff Richard. Then for some reason I found an audience with Kenneth Williams from years ago and watched that as well. It was that old that Matthew Kelly was in the audience with dark hair and a beard and wearing some kind of strange rainbow sweater! A lot of people in the audience have long since departed to the theatre in the sky along with Kenneth Williams.

Buster has settled down quite well apart from the fact that he seems to be super glued to my feet. Everywhere I go he goes. I have almost tripped over him quite a few times as he lies at my feet even when I am washing dishes or on the PC. We have just come back from a walk. It's funny but he wants to go out at exactly the same time as we used to go out when he lived here and stops for a stick throw in all of the same places. It's almost like he has never been away. I love him being here but I find it all a bit too much for my knee. I think I will be sad to see him go but glad not to have to walk him up hill and down dale every day.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Kings Arms Knit Club 2nd Anniversary

I took some mindless garter stitch knitting with me to the Knitting Noras Knit Out on Sunday as I have learned that I can't do an aran pattern and chat at the same time. This blanket is more of a pram or bassinet size 25" x 25". I used 200 grams of James C Brett Quick and Easy Fashion Chunky. Rather a misnomer as far as I am concerned as I had to switch my needles to wooden ones and change the size. With plastic needles the yarn made static and it stuck to the needles making it very slow going indeed. The second ball worked up better than the first as I managed to find the centre pull. I don't know why but I aways find yarn easier to use from the centre. I cast on 60 sts with 6 1/2mm needles. I decided to edge it in white crochet as it looked rather unfinished with just a plain garter stitch edge. I crocheted a circle and added ears to make some kind of animal. I think I was aiming for a Teddy Bear shape. I have not decided which of the baby boys will be the recipient of this blanket. I do have several more balls in the same wool and colour so I can make a second blanket although I may change the pattern stitch to something a little more interesting than boring garter stitch.

I have finished the back of Charlie's second aran jacket. I am making a 20-22 this time hoping that with the smaller size and less intricate pattern I will have enough yarn as I had slightly less than a half 400 gram ball left from his last jacket.

Buster is here and has settled in nicely. I didn't get any sleep last night as not only was my knee aching I had forgotten what it is like too share a bed with a bull boxer who likes to sleep spread out across the bed. His favourite position is with his head tucked in the crook of my neck breathing loudly in my ear which as you can imagine isn't conducive to a good night's sleep. He is, at the moment, ridding my sofas of every cushion so the front room looks like a pillow fight. He has a hatred of cushions and perceives them as enemies to be dealt with at all cost. He banished the throws to the floor within 10 mins of his arrival. Hopefully he will sleep whilst I am out. I managed to walk him this afternoon and he went back into his normal routine of stick throwing followed by a half hour in the stream chewing the same stick to shreds. No matter how long the gap is between his visits to me he follows the exact same pattern and the same timing as when he lived here.

Tonight I am going to the Kings Arms Knit meeting. As it is the 2nd anniversary of it's conception we are going to a Chinese Banquet instead of to the Kings Arms tonight. I don't think that I will be taking my knitting there unless I decide to start another mindless pram blanket. I doubt if much aran knitting will be done tonight.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Knitty Nora meets the Knitting Noras

First of all let me introduce this cutie pie. He is Fynnlay James who weighed in at 7lbs 7ozs on Thursday 24th Sept. His mum Louise is almost family. My niece and Louise house shared for many years before they each got married and so Louise was included in most things that my niece did and so I am known as Auntie Jan to her.

I have started another aran jacket for big brother Charlie with the remainder of the navy aran and will post photos of that tomorrow. I have chosen rib and zig zag cable pattern this time and am making a slightly smaller size to fit him now rather than a bit later.

Today I went to our regular monthly Knit Out with the Knitting Noras. We had a good turn out today and took up a few tables. Lisa came staggering in with her crate on wheels with some more calendars for the ladies to sell. I have paid my debts for the ones that I took earlier so they can take my name out of the window now. (For those of you who are not familiar with this expression it comes from the old days when people were allowed to run up a bill at the local shop (on tick) and would pay it off at the end of the week when they got their wages. Those who didn't pay were shamed by having their debts and names put on a piece of paper in the window!)

A Ravelry friend of mine Deedee (aka Knitnurd) sent me a message this morning to say that the Knitting Noras were featured on a podcast that she listens to. The lady's name is Knitty Nora. She went to I Knit exhibition in London and interviewed Lisa and Linda about the calendar. If you click on my blog title it will hopefully take you to her blog and podcast. It starts off with a song that I hadn't heard for a long time Arthur Askey and the Knitting Song. Took me right back to my childhood did that. I shall be reading/listening to Knitty Nora again as she is very interesting.

I had a bit of an experience on the tram on the way to Knit Out. There was a lady who was sitting near me who insisted on chatting to me and another lady all the way to Bury. She was a bit strange I think. She was dressed in one of those flowered wrap over overalls that ladies wore during and after the 2nd world war over a brown floral dress. She had a red felted hat complete with a bunch of cherries which bobbed about alarmingly as she chatted. She wore round tortoiseshell glasses reminiscent of a politician in the 40's (Neville Chamberlain possibly?) Her hair was a magnificent shade of red henna and she had old lady checkered house slippers on her feet complete with beige fur and pom poms. When she got off the tram I tried to avoid her but she followed me to the bus stop but thankfully carried on walking when I stopped. As she walked away she produced a wooden rolling pin from her bag and walked away waving it in the air and chatting away to herself. The people at the bus stop were all laughing and shaking their heads. I said it's OK for you I have had her all the way to Bury on the tram! I didn't answer her but she still carried on chatting away as if I was interested. Mad as a hatter.

My son is bringing Buster in a few minutes to spend the week with me whilst they have a bit of a break. So I am sleeping with a boxer all next week. I just hope that my knee holds out so that I can walk him as today it has been really painful. I think it is the change in the weather. I will have to reach the mint udder cream out again to rub on my knee and warm it up. It stinks of peppermint and the whole house smells of it particularly the bed linen but it's a small price to pay for a bit of relief.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Charlie's Aran Cardigan is Finished

I have finished Charlie's aran cardigan. I weighed the rest of the ball and I think there is just about enough to make another jacket or a sweater if I chose a less dense pattern stitch. The yarn is Woolcraft Aran 400 gram ball and 100% Courtelle. I appear to have used just a fraction over half of the ball on this jacket so I hope that I have enough for a second garment. The colour is slightly darker than it appears on my photos and is more of a light navy blue.

The Naked Knitting calendar continues to be well supported on Ravelry forums for which we are very grateful and Deb has chatted to the lady who owns Stash yarn shop and she wants 50 copies to sell in her shop and online for us. She has agreed to give us the full amount of each calendar price which is brilliant considering that banking charges would occur if anyone pays by credit card or Paypal as both of these charge a fee for their services. Bev and her husband have been a terrific team selling loads of copies so well done to them also. If sales continue in this way then we will be ordering a reprint soon! Stash don't as yet have any copies for you to buy so at the moment they are only available through our web site and listed shops in the Horwich area with one London outlet. Click on the blog title to keep up with the latest news about the Knitting Noras.

I am going up to Bolton tomorrow for our regular monthly Sunday Knit Out at the Costa Coffee. I missed the last one as I was away on the mystery weekend for my neighbour Julie's 40th birthday. Remember the mystery was ending up in battle scarred Hull? When I come back home Buster is arriving for a week. So next week I will be able to say that I am sleeping with a boxer! Don't all get too excited. I haven't found a Prince Charming. Buster is a boxer cross who is the family dog. Sometimes he lives with me but mostly with my son and daughter in law and their other dog these days as since my back and knee operations I haven't been able to care for him walk wise. I don't think it's fair to keep an animal and not exercise it regularly.

My knitting has been going wonderfully well since I changed from the energy saving bulbs to normal light bulbs. I have got an angle poise desk lamp but I find that the halogen bulb gets extremely hot and the light is so bright that it hurts my eyes as well as burning my hands if the lamp is angled over them.I have joked that I will buy a miner's helmet with a light on it especially for when I go to the Kings Arms Knit Club as the light is rather dim in the snug and I can only knit or crochet very light colours in there.

I am off to delve once more into my pattern stash to find another pattern for Charlie to use up the rest of the navy wool. I will start something for Fynnlay James after that but he does have plenty clothes at the moment so there is no rush for him. I have some pale blue Hayfield chunky that I might make another blanket with for him.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Chuffed to Bits - Calendar on Doris Chan's blog

For those of you who don't understand my blog title. Chuffed to bits in another way as saying pleased as Punch or really happy. Why am I so happy? Doris Chan has not only ordered one of our Naked Knitting Calendars but she has posted us on her blog ! (Click on blog title) and also left me a couple of messages. She has recognised her designs on the calendar's front cover and on my calendar page.Wow what an honour. For those of you who may not know Doris Chan is a world famous crochet designer who designed one of the most famous crochet shawls ever - Blue Curacao. As you know I absolutely love this pattern and have made it many times. Strangely I don't actually own one of these shawls so the next one that I make must be for me!

If you don't own a Doris Chan book then all I can say is why not? Her Everyday Crochet book has to be my all time favourite and I have lost count of the many garments I have made from it. The Amazing Crochet Lace book is home to the Blue Curacao shawl pattern. I must admit that I did struggle a little with my first garment but that was before I discovered the Doris Chan forums on Ravelry where everyone is so helpful and Doris Chan also steps in to explain things when people have queries. What better service could you get than that. A designer who actually cares if you understand her patterns or not. Her garments are worked top down and in the round and so it takes a bit of getting used to at first but now I love the fact that they are so comfortable to wear and the best part is no seaming and very little sewing in any of her garments plus the fact that I can try garments on in progress and make adjustments from one size to another size if needed. The bonus for me is that she gives adjustment rows for us boob heavy ladies to give that extra fit across the front.

Charlie's aran is almost finished now. Just got the bands to make and of course the stitching up. Then I think it's a blue baby blanket next for his new baby brother Fynnlay.

Thanks for your comments Lynn. Come and visit the Knitting Noras one day and there will be someone there to help you get started with your knitting.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

It's A Boy

I have had to put away all thoughts of girly pink crochet once again. Fynnlay James was born around 6am this morning. I don't know any more details except that Louise managed a natural delivery this time as she had hoped after the traumatic emergency C section with Charlie 16 months ago.

I shall be starting little blue things as soon as I have finished Charlie's aran cardigan. I have started one of the fronts. The sleeves were easily made as they are just in double moss stitch so I did those whilst watching Midsomer Murders last night. Getting rid of those energy saving light bulbs has been the best thing that has happened recently. I honestly thought that I was losing my eyesight or getting cataracts. I might make a little beanie or weigh the wool to see if I have enough for another plainer cardigan or sweater with the remainder of the big ball of Aran. Might as well make sure that Charlie has enough woollies for the winter.I will keep any other garments back and put them with his Christmas present as they will still be plenty big enough then.I always make aran designs on the bigger side so that the child can get at least 12 months out of it. They are sturdy enough to be used as a jacket for cooler days in the summer months. I always kept an aran in the car when Ian was growing up for the days when it went unexpectedly cold.

I went shopping this morning and just came back in time to see the couple across the road bringing home baby Zac (or Zak I must enquire) I didn't get to see the baby as by the time I had walked down the street they had gone into the house. I forgot to buy any birth congratulation cards so I will have to get them tomorrow. I will hopefully get a peep at him sometime later in the week once the family has settled down a bit. I don't believe is visiting a new baby until a few days have passed. I remember being bombarded with visitors when my son was born and being so tired that I wished they would all just go home so I always bear this in mind and just pop in and pop out with my first visit to a new baby.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

At Last A Baby

My neighbours have finally got their little boy. He was due on the 9th but he has taken his time. They have called him Zak (not sure of their spelling yet) and he was born at 3am this morning and weighs a little under 7lbs. I have just had a text to say my niece's friend Louise is on her way to the delivery room so it's all happening today. My neighbour's husband said there had been 7 babies born today before lunchtime at the hospital so if Louise give birth today then that will be one more plus any others born after lunch.

I have finished the back of Charlie's cardigan and started a sleeve. As you can see I have also started him a lighter coloured sweater to knit when I am in the lamp light. For a while now I have been having trouble with my eyes (or so I thought) Yesterday one of the bulbs in the lamp pictured started flickering and I had to replace it. Last night I was working away underneath it when the light bulb exploded and the room was plunged into darkness. As it was almost bedtime I decided to leave it until this morning to investigate what had happened. Today I found the fuse had blown so I replaced it but had to put in two normal bulbs as the energy saving bulbs had blown. I then discovered that there is nothing wrong with my eyes. It was the poor light that was coming from these energy saving bulbs that was causing all of my eye problems. Lord help us if the day dawns when all we can get are these bulbs. I think I will have to give up knitting and crocheting if that day ever comes. Not much point saving energy if we all finish up with bad eyesight!

The calendar has had a really good plug on Ravelry by Teresa (Skeinfest) in the Doris Chan forums. These are very popular forums and are read by hundreds of Doris Chan fans and Doris herself. Another lady on Ravelry has picked up the story and has featured it on her blog. All this extra publicity can hopefully give the calendar sales a US boost. Thanks Teresa for mentioning us. Teresa is the lovely lady who got me the Doris Chan leaflet (the one that I used for the grey shoulder capelet and the openwork black and red circular shawl with the flowers around it) when I could not find a UK stockist or a US stockist willing to post it out to the UK.

Thanks for your comments on the Paella and Cava party Bev and June. If both of you lived nearer I am sure we could have a similar garden party but with crochet! I am not sure whether we would crochet anything recognisable after a few Cava and Grenadine's but I am sure there would be a lot of laughter.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Back To Knitting Again

I am back to knitting for a while. I am making an aran cardigan for Charlie so that he won't feel left out when the new baby (when it arrives) gets presents. The colour is darker than it appears in my photo so my knitting this is restricted to the daytime when I can see what I am doing. Luckily Charlie is too young to realise that the pattern shows the cardigans on girls! Last night at the Kings Arms I worked a bit more on the never ending 4ply baby cardigan for his brother or sister to be. Louise went in hospital in labour on Friday even but by Saturday morning everything had stopped again and so she came back home. Apparently she is still in slow labour but no news yet. The neighbour across the road might have gone in hospital as there was a lot of activity late yesterday but I haven't seen anyone to enquire as yet.

I don't really have a lot of news today. A Ravelry contact of mine in the US has messaged me to say she wants to order a few copies of the calendar. I managed to sell one at the Kings Arms last night which is now on the wall in the snug where the knit club is held..Rachael says she will either put a sticker on it or a sign underneath saying it is for sale for Christies as it isn't apparent from just looking at he front cover that it is for charity. People in the pub thought that I was just selling it for the Knit Group. She said she will add where they can buy it from. Hopefully once they realise it is for Christies then they will put a few orders in.

I have put a photo of the front cover of Inside Crochet that I got for a bargain price of £3 at the Stitch and Craft show. I know that I should support a UK crochet magazine but so far I have found that there is very little in it that I would actually make and it has far too many features in it and not enough patterns. Maybe other people like reading about designers. their work and new wools etc which I do to a certain extent but I found it to be overkill on the features and light on the content. A Kings Arms fellow knitter likes the blue wrap so I have told her to buy the wool and I will make it for her. It is done in Jamieson 2ply and only takes 4 balls. I am looking forward to the latest Interweave Crochet magazine which is already out in the US so it should reach me sometime in September as UK is always a month behind.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Paella and Cava in the Sunshine

My neighbour's son and his wife to be are over from Spain and today Steve cooked up a Paella and invited me and Julie, my neighbour, to join them for Paella and Cava. As you can see we all got a bit merry in the sunshine drinking Cava with Grenadine. It was so good to have a laugh and a good afternoon out. Well it beats staying in with the TV and my crochet doesn't it? Getting merry once in a while doesn't hurt anyone.

I have finished off Jen's shawl. Luckily I had finished off sewing all the ends in before I hit the Cava and Grenadine! It has taken 18 x 25 grams of the unknown wool (possibly alpaca or merino) that Jen bought from Black Sheep at the Stitch and Craft show in Manchester. I do hope that no-one of Ravelry asks me for the adaptation of the shawl to Double Knit instead of Aran as I haven't written anything done. I just winged it "rack o' th'eye" as my Dad used to call it. That means that you don't measure or work anything out on paper you just use your eye judgment to do something. I don't think anyone on Ravelry would understand if I wrote rack o'th 'eye down do you? I think I have said before that I am very much a visual crocheter. I write very little down if I improvise or make up a pattern as I regularly do and I am sure that I annoy a lot of people when they ask how it is done. I really have no idea how I did it - I just did! I used to stand in front of shop windows and then go home and almost copy something that I had seen without a pattern. Some of my best work in the past has been patternless. It is only in recent years that I have used patterns on a regular basis.

Today I did start a baby aran cardigan for Charlie in navy blue but as the sun was shining and it was quite warm for a change I didn't last long with my knitting as the yarn was squeaking along on the needles. Yes, OK it is mostly acrylic I am using but I refuse to knit wool for a child of under 18 months who is still teething and cannot find his mouth with his food. Mum is expecting another baby any day now so I am sure she would not appreciate my giving her a hand wash wool garment for her elder child.

No sign of the neighbours overdue baby yet. He? is overdue by 11 days now so the dynamite boys are set to move in any day now. No sign of Charlie's brother or sister either. I think they are all hanging on for Christmas!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Phildar Books Are Classics

I have spent the whole morning browsing through my stash of Phildar books. They really are timeless and as old as they are they are still chock full of things that I could knit or crochet and wear today. I didn't do this on a whim. Since the I Knit show and launch of the calendar I have been asked a few times about the pattern for the half moon cream shawl and so I decided to find my copy so that I could at least tell them the origins of it just in case they can pick up an old copy on the net. The pattern is old and probably out of print but just in case it is from Phildar book No 42 (undated) and the pattern is Colombe (No 45 in the book) and was made in Camargue which was either a 3ply or a fine 4ply.The book has 4 shawls in it (as well as many knitted items) and they are all lovely.

I love the hooded poncho/shawls but don't know if I am brave enough to actually wear something like that to do the shopping. Maybe I will say sod convention and swan around Tesco wearing one one day. I did say I wanted to grow old disgracefully.

Don't you just love the brightly coloured T squares in the bottom photos? You knit them in different colours. or in stripes, but instead of stitching them together you tie them together so you can swap them around and have different colours for the front,back and sleeves by simply rotating them around. Good idea. 4 sweaters for the price of one. You would have to wear a T shirt underneath unless you were very bold but that idea appeals to me. I wonder if I could design something similar in crochet?

The photos are only of my adult Phildar books. I also have several baby books and a couple of children's books as well. I guard these patterns with my life and am very territorial about them. It would have to be pistols at dawn before I parted with any of them!

As you can see from the first photo I have managed to re-work the 3 unravelled balls into Jen's shawl and am hopefully on the right track for keeping the pattern straight and increasing. I do hope that no-one on Ravelry asks me for this adaptation as people have asked Doris Chan before if they can make this shawl in finer wool and she has said there is no way she is going to work it all out as she would have to re-write the pattern. As I don't write anything down, I just crochet on the wing, then they are out of luck with me also!

Still no sign of the neighbour's baby from across the road. Mum is still happily toddling around and is now 8 days overdue so I think it's going to be a dynamite job any day soon. No sign of the other baby either although that is only 5 days overdue. I think theses babies are hanging on for better weather.

A friend showed my calendar photo to someone and asked him how old they thought I was. He said late 40's or early 50's. That'll do for me. Ooh you're a nice man - are you single? (Bit of Dick Emery coming out there)

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

A Hint Of Calendar

I have got my copies of the calendar. Some of which are now on their way to the US and the Isle of Man as well as exotic Manchester. The photo is only part of what appears in the calendar- well you didn't expect me to reveal the whole me on here did you? I thought just a hint and then if you buy a calendar then you can see the full photo plus the other 11. All I will say is that I do cover a lot more of the page than the others but as a neighbour remarked "They get more for their money with you love" I do hope that he meant that in a complimentary way.

I haven't done much crochet or knitting as I went back up to Bolton today to pick up my calendars which Deb kindly got for me. Otherwise I would have had to wait until the knit out to see one. I must admit when I posted the calendar to the US I had to take a deep breath as even sending it printed paper rate it cost me £6.27p. Good job it is for an old friend. I have got a friend from Facebook ordering two calendars and a neighbour is ordering another two and this is only my first day of having a calendar to show!

Another shameless plug here - click on my blog title if you wish to support a good cause (Christie Cancer Hospital) and order a calendar for yourself or for someone that you think would like one. If the blog title doesn't work then you can always find the link on the right hand side of my blog. Please feel free to tell all of your friends. Order and tell them Jan sent you. It won't get you any discount but it does help us to find out how people found out about the calendar.

I have managed to crochet up the tangle of 3 balls of wool that I had to unravel and so am back where I was two days ago with the shawl. Hopefully this time I have kept the pattern and the increases straight. Wish me luck as I crochet away.

Time is ticking on and still not a pot washed so I had better get on with some chores before I pick up my hook again.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Oops - That Adaptation Didn't Work

As you can see my first attempt at making Jen's Blue Curacao shawl in double knit hit a snag. I have made the adaptation once before and swore never again. Basically the shawl was designed by Doris Chan for Aran weight wool. I have made it successfully (if somewhat larger) in chunky but the pattern does not adapt well to finer yarn. I thought that I had cracked the repeat pattern to continue to make it larger but as you can see crochet, pattern adaptions and watching TV don't exactly mix so I had to unravel 3 balls worth of crochet last night. Grrr I will have to take more care when I restart and lay the shawl flat after every row to make sure that the pattern is tracking and the increases are in the right place this time.

Last night I went to the Kings Arms Knit Club. We had a hilarious time as the Laughing Club meet upstairs and so far we have never heard them. Last night, however, they must have been on a roll as gales of laughter were coming from the upstairs room combined with a lot of running about and thumping. Lord only knows what they were up to but it did sound fun. I believe it is some kind of therapy group where they start off doing laughing exercises and finish up with genuine laughter.

I must congratulate Rachael (and Ben of course),one of the Knit Club founders as she has got engaged and was bringing some light into the snug by flashing her sparkler around! She is off to Germany soon for 3 months with her art. Her blog is ArtYarn and the link is on the right hand side. You should take a look as she is a very talented lady.

Today I am off to Bolton Market to meet up with Kath and Sylvia. Have a spot of lunch and a browse around the market. They have one of the best fish stalls in the North followed closely by the famous Bury Market.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

The Sun Didn't Last Long

Well the sun didn't last long. It isn't raining today but it's gone cold again. I managed to mow the lawn today. Well managed to mangle the grass with my lawn mower is a more accurate description. My lawn mower doesn't like grass that is even the slightest bit damp.It just chews it up and wraps it around the blades.

I am still crocheting the Blue Curacao for Jen but as the wool is very fine I am going to have to do a lot of adaptions as I am at the two thirds stage of the shawl according to the pattern but as you can tell the shawl would fit a 2yrs old at the moment and not an adult. I will have to work out how to keep increasing the pattern out to make it large enough. It will be a finer shawl altogether instead of the sturdy shawl it is meant to be.

I have seen the first photo of the front cover of the Naked Knitting Calendar with a photo of Linda wearing my pink crocheted coat. It was on Bev's Flickr site and taken at the I Knit in London. I won't get my copies of the calendar until Wednesday so I can't give you a glimpse of it until then. I must confess to being slightly irritated by the front cover as I hate it when Naked Knitting is written as naked knitting. What is it these days when people don't use capital letters? Is it supposed to be trendy to write everything in lower case? I am old fashioned and like to see things written down properly. I also would have liked to see Bolton Knitting Noras written on the cover to show who was in the calendar but I guess that wasn't trendy enough either.

Poppy is fast asleep at my feet. She has deserted her mistress (my next door neighbour) as she is painting her lounge and Poppy got paint on her ears yesterday and had to get bathed. Poppy spent most of yesterday with me also. I think she likes a break from time to time from Buddy the spaniel as he is much younger and more boisterous than she is. She is so quiet though I keep forgetting she is here and have trodden on her tail already today as she will tuck herself under my chair whilst I am on the PC.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

I Love A Sunny Day

Isn't it great how a bit of sunshine can lift spirits. Yesterday was sunny and I have woken up this morning to another beautiful day so sorry housework you are on the back burner. I am going to sit outside and relish the last of this weather as it might be gone tomorrow. I should be cleaning windows and hoovering today but instead I may mow the lawn before settling down to my crochet in the sun. That way I will feel that at least I have done one chore today.

I have almost finished off the duplicate sweater and cardigan. The cardigan just needs stitching together before I crochet the edgings.

I have started a Blue Curacao shawl for my friend Jen but as the wool is very fine for the pattern I am going to have to make adaptions to the pattern to make it large enough. At the moment her shawl is turning out child sized. The pattern should be crocheted in an aran type thickness and the wool that Jen bought for me to use is more of a double knit. I can't tell you what the yarn is as it was one of those bargain packs from the Black Sheep that is sold without labels. They guy did say that it had been £10 a ball which considering it is a 25 gram ball I think is far too expensive and no wonder it finished up in a sale. I can't remember if he said it was alpaca or merino as I really do have brain fade these days. The wool is very loosely wound and is splitting like mad as I crochet so I can foresee a bit of swearing going on this weekend as I have to unravel part rows when I see a looped strand further back down the row. Plus the fact that I am going to have to try to work out how to extend the pattern to make the shawl large enough. I have done this once before but as per usual I didn't write down what I did! I am always getting in trouble on Ravelry when people ask me what I did and I can't tell them! Why is it that the more expensive a yarn is the looser it is wound? I never have any trouble crocheting or knitting the cheaper yarns but anything expensive is a bugger to work with.

I am glad that you liked my mother's granny square afghan. I had to laugh at Ailsa's (Mad about Craft - not enough time to craft) comment when she said she thought I had made it in an afternoon.Now that would be something to put on my list of achievements. Something like that would probably take me years. My largest granny square project was the Granny Takes a Trip jacket that I made for Lisa and that had 70 something squares and took me about 3 weeks to make.

Beansieleigh and Mattenylou have actually made afghans and not just thought about it as I have. I think Matttenylou's comments about starting off using stash then having to buy more wool and finishing up with more stash sounds like something that I would have to do. Whenever I do a stash busting project I never seem to make a dent in my stash. Maybe it's because I am the same and buy more colours to make my stash buster more interesting ;)

June thinks that crocheting could be hereditary. I agree in certain respects but in my case it was from my aunt that I gained my crocheting skills. I remember watching her turn out the most amazingly intricate mats, gloves for church and handkerchief edgings without ever using a pattern. My mother used to crochet sometimes but as she was a hand and machine knitter it was limired to edgings on garments. In fact she saved up enough money to buy our first wool shop by machine knitting socks and garments for people. My Dad even erected a huge shed in the back yard for her to knit away into the wee small hours and not disturb anyone. We even had a telecom system of a series of bells and buzzers installed in there to attract her attention. One bell meant one thing and the buzzer another. My mother had her own sweat shop out there recruiting my Dad and myself to knit the plain bits on one machine whilst she did the shaped bits on another. Pleated skirts were all the rage for little girls back then and my mother made literally hundreds of skirt and sweater sets. We made the main skirt pieces and she made the sweaters. I think she must have shod half of our small town with the thousands of socks she made. She even offered a re-footing service when the holes in the soles and heels became too many. She had a customer in Scotland with very large feet who used to order a dozen pairs every year. He only ever had them made in grey or in lovat so that he could match up socks when one sock got too holey. I wish I had kept those industrial machines, her sock machine and especially her overlocker, swift and electric ball and cone winder. I don't think that the neighbours or the planning authorities would like me putting a huge shed in the bottom on my garden though.

Well I am off to get dressed and enjoy this wonderful day. Happy Birthday to my friend Mike in the Isle of Man. He is 21 again today. I doubt that he reads my blog but just in case I hope that you have a good day Mike. Any man who regularly tells me that I am gorgeous deserves a good day in my opinion. Hey I have to take care of guys like these as men who give me compliments are a little thin on the ground these days!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Is Granny Square Love Hereditary?

I think my love of crochet granny squares is hereditary. This beautiful granny square bedspread is adorning my bed at the moment as it used to on my Mum and Dad's bed many years ago. Anyone who knows me knows that I will turn out a granny square at the drop of a hat so have I inherited it from my mother? She must have loved them to have made this many (it is for a king sized bed)

What amuses me is that she started off with quite subtle colours for the centre of her bedspread and then went a little crazy, colour wise, around the edges with her vibrant colours. It is more amusing to me as my mother was definitely an all shades of beige kind of lady and bright colours were never worn. I love it though despite the fact that every wash time is filled with trepidation. My mother did not use a chain to start off her granny squares. She wound the wool around her fingers and crocheted into the loop to make a tighter centre and over the years the centres have started to unravel so I have to repair some squares every time I wash the bed spread.

I thought I would show you the bedspread rather than show you my duplicated crochet as I make another of each of the last 2 baby garments that I am making at the moment.

Today I went to the dentist for a check up and all is well. The rest of me might be falling to bits but my teeth appear to be in good shape so that is a blessing. I hate having toothache so try to take care of my teeth as best I can. Having said that I have once again forgotten to buy a new head for my electric toothbrush. I keep walking past Superdrug. Perhaps I should tie a knot around my tooth instead of my finger to remind me.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Pattern 55

This is another of Kay Jones's patterns. It is number 55 and is the second pattern from the top if you click on the link in the blog title. It is made with Wendy Lustre DK and has taken about 150 grams to make the 20-22" chest. The rosebuds are just balanced on as I don't have enough of them to put on this sweater and the one I have yet to make. The person I am making them for will finish off the trimming as she desires. I have to make a smaller size sweater and another of the cardigans from my previous post in s smaller size.

Today Kath and Sylvia came to visit along with Wilma the dog and the foster baby B. I took some beautiful photos of the baby with the dog but for obvious reasons I can't post them on this blog. The baby must remain anonymous until his future is decided.

Whilst I showed Kath and Sylvia the way to the bus stop I missed the friend who was coming to pick up the knitting machines by a few minutes. He came early. Isn't it always the way that you can stay in for hours and the minute that you go out for 10 minutes someone calls. Such is life I suppose. It is the same reason why your toast always drops butter side down! I have missed deliveries before today merely because I visited the smallest room for a natural break and could not answer the door quick enough. I have thought of wearing a catheter for such occasions or putting a sign on the door saying back in a weeeee while!

I have started the second cream sweater but if I post another photo then it will look like more photos of the same sweater so guess you won't see many project photos for the next couple of days! That's the only trouble with making two things the same.

I have seen on the Naked Knitting Blog site today a post that says the calendar should be ready tomorrow but I won't get to see it until the next knit out. It will be available for order from the weekend if you pop along to the web page (links on the right hand side) If they ask who told you about the calendar then please tell them that I did. If you are going to the I Knit show in London then I believe it will be launched and for sale there. I don't know, as yet, when it has it's launch in Bolton. I do hope that they have one after all it is a Bolton project and should be publicized in Bolton where more people are aware of us, and of Christies Hospital, through the Bolton Evening News and the Manchester Evening News articles that have appeared recently, plus local radio and TV appearances. It would be nice to get all the Calendar ladies plus the rest of the Knitting Noras together for a big launch.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

I Would Rather Be Crocheting

When I was younger I never really minded doing my cleaning. I used to rip around the house from top to bottom and then sit back in the evening and really enjoy a super clean, freshly smelling house. Nowadays I would rather be crocheting. I seem to have undergone a metamorphosis from Aggie the Queen of Clean into Woman in a Dressing Gown. Although I do like my house to be nice and clean it is such an effort these days to summon up the enthusiasm to wield the duster, mop and hoover. I tend to do part of it and then leave it for a couple of day before I finish off the rest. Consequently by the time I have done the second part it is time to do the first part again Sigh. Where are those house cleaning, dust busting fairies? They don't seem to know where I live.

Apart from a brief sit down for Loose Women and 60 minute makeover I haven't had time to pick up a hook today. I have started another of Kay Jones patterns but still have a sleeve and all of the edgings and stitching up to do. I hope to finish it off tonight if I can.

The knitting machine is waiting for be picked up tomorrow. There is a box of manuals and the blue plastic bag has some part machine cones waiting to be practised on. A friend is calling for the machine tomorrow evening. I think they will be really happy with the machine and it's ribber as it looked in quite good condition when I had a peek in the box last night. I haven't taken it out to check it over. I will let them do that. I hope that it has all of it's parts and is usable. If not then it must be something small that is missing as the obvious things seem to be in the box.

I have included another photo of the baby cardigan as it has now dried and is off the blocking board.

The rain is streaming down the patio doors in torrents. So much for the nice day that we had yesterday. I knew that it could not last after all I do live in Rainy Manchester!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Hurray for Mondays

I don't usually like Mondays much as a rule but today has been a good day. The sun shone. OK it wasn't warm but at least it wasn't raining!

I had a few phone calls in the morning, did a bit of washing and then had a visit from an old friend who brought me a knitting machine and ribber which belonged to his late mother which I am passing on to another friend. We had a chat outside and another friend who knows both of us joined in the chat. These are the things that you can do on a sunny day. It's no wonder that I feel better on a sunny day than on a wet rainy miserable day. I miss days like this when the weather turns cold and everyone huddles indoors.

I have finished a crochet baby cardigan. The pattern is number 173 from Kay Jones If you click n my blog title and scroll down it is the last pattern on the page. She is UK based and therefore writes her patterns in UK terms which for me is far easier to understand. I have to make another cardigan in the same colour and pattern but I am going to wait until this one gets tried on to see if the second baby needs one bigger or smaller than this one. The wool is Robin Bonny Babe DK and is basically white with little flecks of pink.lilac and lemon. The little flowers have pearl beads in the centre on the pattern but the person I am making these cardigans for doesn't want me to put those on. It has taken 100 grams.

I am now making another of Kay Jones baby patterns. A sweater in cream lustre. It may be finished tomorrow if I have any time to crochet during the day.

Tonight I went to the Kings Arms Knit Club. I was lucky enough to get a lift from Pam as I really don't like waiting for buses after dark. There were not as many there as usual. Nine if I counted right. Jane was there and for the first time since I have been going to the Kings she wasn't knitting her plarm (plastic yarn) bags. Her niece is having a baby so she was busy knitting baby clothes. Rachael is going to do a residency in Germany with her art for 3 months soon so I hope that the Knit Club will continue to be as popular whist she is away. It is the second anniversary of the start of the club soon and she is thinking of what to do to celebrate it this year. Last year we went to an Italian restaurant in Monton but I hope we choose somewhere more central this time.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Popo from Brooklyn

This is Popo, a travelling sock monkey, who comes from Brooklyn in the US. For those of you who have followed my blog you may remember Ladybird Murphy who made her TV debut with the Knitting Noras when we appeared on Channel M news some months ago. Bev, a fellow Knitting Nora, belongs to a Ravelry group called When Monkeys Fly on the John Deere Tractor Group forum. The idea is that people make a sock monkey and he or she then sets off on her travels around the world and in each place the sock monkey visits photos are taken and their wardrobe is added to. I am not sure what Bev has added to Popo but the last lady sock monkey that she fostered got a tiara and a ballgown and went to London to be photographed in various places including the Ritz and Buckingham Palace.

Popo was born (knitted) in Brooklyn to Lulu, then set off on her travels and is currently residing in Bolton with foster mum Bev for a little while before setting off on her travels again. Bev's travelling sock monkey is called Blathers but I am not sure where he is at the moment or when he will be back home to mum.

I made a sock monkey called Thelonius Monkey but he only travelled to Kentucky as he was a gift to a friend who is a jazz fan. Technically he isn't a travelling monkey as he has only made one journey!

I have posted photos of my new hair clip and its instructions as Beansieleigh was wondering how it fitted as she has fine hair. My hair is long but very fine and the combs really grip into my hair and they feel very secure. I also like the way that the clip lies flat to my head so if I am travelling in a car or sitting on the sofa then the clip does not stick into the back of my head as my others sometimes do. Once the clip is in place then you wiggle the comb so that the teeth interlock together and that makes the clip doubly secure. If you look at the instructions then you can see the method used. My niece called today and said she had a similar clip that she would give me. Her hair is quite thick and bouncy so she had not managed to get hers to work in her hair successfully. She says hers is shades of purples which is my favourite colour.

I am crocheting a baby cardigan from one of the new patterns that I ordered from Kay Jones last week. I will hopefully have it finished for tomorrow when I can take a photos of the finished cardigan. I have another one to make for a different child but I need to see which child this cardigan fits so that I can make the next one smaller or bigger.