Archive for the ‘Garden’ Category



I’ve finished my cape at last! What started as a nice easy antidote to the tediousness of the moss stitch and cables of the chunky jacket rapidly turned into an even worse task when I hit the ‘raspberry stitch’ edging – it’s a variant of trinity stitch, and was tedious beyond belief.


It ate yarn too – the body of the cape (without front edgings or collar) took three 100g balls of yarn, the lower border alone took a ball and a half of yarn, and the front borders and collar took another ball, taking me to five and a half balls in total, or 50g more than the pattern specified (I didn’t use the recommended yarn, but the yardages were the same). It could be that my row gauge was off, but since one wasn’t given in the pattern (!) I can’t really say.


But at last it was finished (although my hands are still recovering from all that increasing three stitches from one then purling three together). It doesn’t look as flattering on me as it does on the model in the book, but I’m reasonably pleased with it, and it’s used up some stash yarn (Rowan Scottish Tweed Aran, from the Great Kemps Haul of a couple of years ago), which has to be a good thing.


It’ll be a useful thing to put round my shoulders on chilly evenings, I think. I’m not quite sure about the raglan shaping, I think I should have changed to increasing every four rows earlier – there’s a bit of excess fabric at the increase lines. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the pattern or the book it came from (Nature’s Wrapture by Sheryl Thies), I’ve only skimmed it, but this was the only pattern which appealed to me, and some of the instructions seemed sloppy. Apart from the missing row gauge issue, the only measurements given for this pattern were the length and the bottom circumference, leaving you to guess whether to do the the sm/med or l/xl size. Also the buttonhole is written to be worked on the row before you cast off, which didn’t seem as though it would give enough support for the weight of the cape to me, so I did it a couple of rows earlier, then sewed round the edges to reinforce it.


The pattern is called Raspberries, but the purple looks more like blackberries to me, so that’s what I’ve called it. Talking of which, the back of my garden has once more been taken over by wild brambles.


I’ve made a start at chopping them down, I just need to finish off, have a big bonfire to get rid of them all, then put some weedkiller down to try and get rid of the blasted things. I say this every year, but somehow by the time I get round to it, the whole area’s waist high in growth again. I’m not one of nature’s gardeners. Thankfully the rest of the garden’s a bit better behaved, and does things like present me with these every spring, with no effort at all on my part.


There are huge swathes of snowdrops all over the place, and the occasional clump of crocuses.


Spring is on its way!

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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…


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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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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 –


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!


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.


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


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.




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.


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


And my lilac’s just coming out too.


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


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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And another one’s done! This was a very quick knit, only five days, but the yarn’s been waiting for the perfect project for much longer than that…


It started out life looking like this – 100g of English Tops from Mam a Mi on Etsy.


In November 2008 I spun it up. I can’t remember how I spit the fibre, but looking at it I might have split it lengthways then spun each half in the same direction, the stripes do match up quite well. But that might just have been a coincidence – it was one of my first plied yarns, and I think that at that stage I was just throwing things at the wheel and seeing what happened.


Completely accidentally the bobbins were just six inches different in length, which has only happened once since then!



I was very pleased with it, it was the first thin yarn I’d spun, and I had about 430m of it. Looking at it now, and having knitted with it, it was a bit thick and thin, and a bit overspun/overplied in places, but it wasn’t bad for an early attempt.


I carried on knitting till I ran out of yarn – it did get a bit hairy towards the end of the cast off, there was less than a metre left!


Completely by accident, I started knitting at the right end of the ball – there was a nice wide stripe of the pinky colour toward the end, which would have made an enormous stripe if it has come at the top of the shawl! The stripes are actually fairly consistent, which was a nice surprise, and certainly not planned!


What isn’t showing up on the photos taken in the nice warm conservatory is the difference in texture between the stripes, so I’ve just braved the bright but cold and windy garden (in my pyjamas! Heaven knows what the neighbours think of me…) to take a few shots on the washing line, against the sky.


There. Stripes.


The details – the pattern is Citron, a free one from Knitty, and the yarn is my own handspun. I had 430m of a light fingering sort of weight, and used 4.5mm needles. I had to leave off the last two rows of the ruffle, but otherwise I did it exactly as the pattern said. I may have blocked it a bit too enthusiastically, the stripes don’t really ruffle for me, but it’s still pretty!


And, talking of pretty things, these crocuses are making me smile – they’ve appeared in front garden, having pushed their way through the weedproof membrane and the slate chips yet again.


There’s not much else that’s pretty in the garden at the moment, but next door’s twisted willow tree always looks stunning against a blue sky in spring.


And my holly bush is handsome as ever (that’s a six foot fence next to it, for reference).


Less attractive is the back third or so of the garden, which is reasonably bare at the moment apart from the masses of prunings ready for the bonfire, but in a few weeks it will be waist high with nettles and brambles unless I do something about it. Every year I say that this will be the year I sort it out, sadly I never get round to it, it’s just too scary a job!

And – come back tomorrow to see a very old project finally finished! Here’s a sneak preview.


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