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Archive for the ‘Bits and bobs’ Category

A bit of the other

So, I’ve knitted a jacket and done some spinning, but what else have I been up to? Well, for a start I attended the annual Yarn Yard gathering, which they very conveniently hold at the Bar Convent, here in York, so I just need to hop on a bus each morning to join them. Sadly I had to work on the Friday (we had an Away Day, which slightly bizarrely was held at a Buddhist Centre, so I had the odd experience of spending the day at two different religious centres without any religion being involved) but I joined up with them at five o’clock, so I didn’t miss too much.

I somehow didn’t manage to take any photos at all of the actual event, but much fun was had – apart from the Saturday afternoon event there’s nothing actually organised, just lots of sitting around and knitting and/or spinning, with chat that becomes more risqué in direct proportion to the lateness of the hour and the amount of alcohol consumed. We decided that the Marine in the Radio Times photo definitely wasn’t showing us his finger!

Food played a big part in the weekend as usual, there were fish and chips (with scraps for those who can’t get them in less civilised parts of the country), and Indian food with giant naan breads on Saturday night. It was good to meet up with old friends and make new ones – I particularly enjoyed meeting the Glasgow contingent, who were great fun!

As mentioned, the main event of the weekend is the Saturday afternoon yarn swap/gathering. Everyone brings something to swap, it’s all piled on tables, people wander round and eyeball things they like the look of until they’ve decided on a favourite, then at the signal try and grab it. It was more civilised than it sounds! I wasn’t going to get much, nothing really grabbed me, but somehow I ended up with a bag full after all…

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This was my haul – mostly fibre, with some yarn and a couple of books.

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My first choice was a set of batts from FeltStudio – unfortunately they had a lot of very tinsel-like sparkle in them, but it comes off quite easily, the ones at the top have been desparkled, and look much better!

In knitting news, I felt the need for something simple after the traumas of the moss stitch jacket, so I cast on for the only pattern that grabbed me from the Nature’s Wrapture book I got from the yarn swap – Raspberries.

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I found six balls of Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran in my stash (part of the great Kemps haul from a couple of years ago) and cast on. The body is simple – it’s done top down, with raglan increases, but you don’t split for the arms, just keep knitting straight. Unfortunately I think I tried to cram too many stitches on my KnitPro cables, and I managed to break two of them – the cables came out of the metal holders. Now I need to find some glue to mend them. I thought of superglue, but I think it might set before I could get the cables properly in, they take a bit of twisting to get in. I’ll ask at our local DIY shop unless anyone has any bright ideas – do let me know if you do!

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So anyway, the body was nice and quick, but then I hit the edging, which is in a variation of trinity stitch, on the right side rows you have to do a k1,ktbl,k1 all into the same stitch, then on the wrong side row you’ve got a p3tog to get the stitch count down again, which doesn’t make for speedy knitting! It’s taking well over half an hour to do two rows, and using about 10g per two rows – I think it might be just as well I’ve got an extra ball of yarn! There’s still the front bands and the collar to do.

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It’s not very easy to photograph the purple yarn, but the stitch makes little bobbly bumps. There’s a tiny red fleck in the yarn which is pretty.

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I missed the end of the Yarn Yard weekend due to general exhaustion, but I gathered from Twitter that there had been talk of bargain sock yarn from Kemps, and eventually I gave in and had a look – they’ve got Regia College yarn for £4 per 150g ball, it’s a DK weight yarn, so knits up quickly. Somehow seven balls have found their way to my house. I can’t think how it happened.

Oh, and it snowed. The cats were nearly as fed up as I was about this.

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It does look pretty, but my drive is long and steep, and if I want to have even a chance of getting the car back up it, I have to clear it every time it snows. The novelty soon wears off! Thank goodness it seems to have warmed up now.

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Right, I think that’s me more or less caught up. Phew!

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Inspired by Jane Brocket, I’ve looked through my photos from this year and chosen one from every month (mine are rather less glamorous than hers though!) I’ve not used any particular criteria, just picked one that seemed to stand out from that month’s photos, either as a memory of a good day, or as a pleasing image.

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January – a day out in Whitby with Lucy. The sun shone, but it was bitterly cold!

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February – I gathered together all my handspun, with a view to trying to knit with some of it. I think I’ve used one skein from that lot. I have spun more though. Hmmm, not sure that worked.

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March – knitting in the garden, in the unseasonably warm sunshine. Mollie helped me photograph these cosy socks.

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April – my socks got their spring wash before putting them away for the summer.

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May – I went to Norfolk. These lobster pots were at Wells-Next-the-Sea.

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June – seems to have been a month of sewing. I made my first quilt, with matching cushions and a bag.

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July – in London again, for Knit Nation this time. This is St Pancras station.

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August – weaving in the garden. This is probably my favourite of all the things I’ve made so far, my handspun, handwoven stole.

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September – in Northumberland with Lucy, this is Lindisfarne Priory.

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October – apples in the garden. The same ones which are now on the lawn feeding the blackbirds over the winter.

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November – Knaresborough. This was a post that never happened, perhaps I’ll get round to it yet.

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December – sheep heid!

Happy New Year everyone, and thanks for reading this year, stay with me for more of the same next year :)

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A Useful Thing

My lightweight shawls and scarves spent several years crammed into a drawer, with only the ones at the top being worn because it made too much mess to go down lower, but all that changed after my last trip to Ikea, where I bought a Komplement Multi-Use Hanger, and found a great use for it…

It’s a simple idea, 28 rings, crocheted together, with a hanger on the top, and it’s great for my scarves. I was a bit amazed that I managed to fill it instantly though!

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Ta-da! It hangs on a over-door hanger on my bedroom door most of the time, so I see it and smile every time I go past, but there was no light to photograph it there, so I moved it into the spare room with its handy hanging rail. I tried to colour coordinate the scarves as best I could, but I’ve found out that over half of them are shades of pink or purple, with some blues thrown in, and just a couple of oranges and a green for variation. Perhaps I need to expand my colour palette a little!

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Herdy heads for the hills

I’m getting on with my various projects – one quilt is done, and the other would be getting there if I hadn’t run out of thread. Sadly we don’t have a local sewing shop any more, so I’ll have to wait till I’m in town tomorrow to pick up some more. I’ve plied one bobbin of the red yarn, and done a bit more of the second sock – photos soon, but in the meantime a friend just sent me a link to this video, do have a look, it’s very cute :)

 

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Box of Tricks

I’d be the first to admit that I usually live in a state of chaos. I do try to keep my living room tidy, but as fast as I put things away, I get other things out, usually connected with making things (funny that…)

This, combined with the fact that most of my smaller knitting notions (stitch markers, safety pins, blocking pins etc) were kept in a variety of small packets and tins, meant that inevitably I couldn’t find the ones I wanted to use.

Stitch markers seemed to be the worst culprits, and just before I went away I had the bright idea of buying a small divided box to keep them in. Off to ebay I went, and found what looked like the perfect box (item number 270691454869). Sadly I only looked at the photos and didn’t actually read the dimensions, and the box that was waiting for me when I got home was about twice as big as I’d anticipated.

I contemplated looking for a smaller box, but then it occurred to me that whilst I didn’t often loose the tin I kept all my odd bits and bobs in, I did have trouble getting the smaller things out of the bottom of it, so I decided to combine the whole lot.

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This is the result, and it’s making me unreasonably happy. It’s big enough that I won’t be able to lose it without a considerable effort on my part, and everything’s in it. The only problem will come on the inevitable day when I fall over it on the floor and strew the contents all over the floor. Which will obviously be on a day when the carpet needs hoovering and has a good covering of cat hair…

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In other news, I can’t believe that I forgot to take a photo of this brilliant mug I found whilst I was on holiday. It has pride of place on the bookcase in the conservatory.

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Oh dear, the sun came out and my brain disconnected from the internet – I’m massively behind on my blog reading, I haven’t been on Twitter for weeks, and my poor blog’s very neglected :(

I haven’t been completely idle though, things have been happening. Mostly involving knitting, but also involving this –

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I had a windfall, courtesy of my lovely parents, so I’ve bought myself a new car. A Hyundai i20 Style, and no, I hadn’t heard of it before I bought it either, but Dad recommended it, and he usually knows about these things. I’m only interested in bells and whistles, and it has them in abundance – a bluetooth phone connection with steering wheel controls and voice dialling (no wires!), a lead for my ipod/iphone, climate control, mp3/wma playback on the cd player, and lots more I need to read the instruction book to find out about. It also tells me when to change gear, which is possibly going a tad too far. But it’s very shiny! My only regret is that I didn’t get the lime green version, but Dad was horrified at the thought, and apparently they’re harder to resell, so I settled for boring silver.

Oh, and that’s my parents’ drive, mine isn’t nearly so well kept!

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I’ve finished the socks I started a couple of weeks ago. They’ve got an afterthought heel, and it’s the first time I’ve done one, but it probably won’t be the last, especially with self striping yarn. There are more photos of the picking up stitches process on Ravelry, here.

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I’ve also made a shawl, but that probably deserves a post of its own, so here’s a teaser photo.

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The garden has been lovely over the last couple of weeks (apart from the bit where my neighbours had what sounded like their entire extended family to stay for three days over Easter, and spent most of their daylight hours in the garden – can I go and live on an uninhabited island now please?) and the spring flowers are looking beautiful in the sunshine.

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Some of my aquilegias, one of my very favourite flowers, there’s lots of them around the garden. It always seems like a miracle when they reappear after the garden has been under a foot of snow.

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Apple blossom. It was a nice change to sit out when it was falling – blossom snow is so much better than the real thing!

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And my lilac’s just coming out too.

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I’ve done a bit of spinning too, turning this lovely BFL/silk fibre from Wildcraft into this –

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400m of fingering weight yarn.

Yesterday I had a lovely time watching the Royal Wedding, I thought that Kate looked gorgeous, and so did her sister. Kate’s poise is amazing, she looked completely at ease all the way through. I could have done without the naughty bridesmaid though – whoever thought that having three year olds was a good plan? Poor child. At least she was too young to have known better, unlike Beatrice and Eugenie, who looked like they’d come as the Ugly Sisters to Kate’s Cinderella.

Now I’m about to start yet another shawl, this time it’s Aase’s Shawl, which I’m going to do in the merino/silk/cashmere I spun a few weeks ago. I may be mad, as the body of it’s in seafoam stitch, which I hate doing, but it does look pretty…

Oh, and I’ve just remembered, I’ve booked a holiday. I’m going to Norfolk for a week next Saturday, staying in a self-catering cottage on a farm just outside Blakeney, I can’t wait! Prepare for lots of photos of quirky buildings made of fling and salt marshes.

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Washing Day

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