Friday, September 19, 2008

More countryside

Just a few more walkies pics. I know to other people who have lived in the country for years these probably aren't very interesting. Sorry.

Fruitful walking

I seem to be blathering away to myself, but I'm excited to be living here so it's nice to take pictures and post them. The hedgerows are full of fruit, most of it inedible unless you're geared up for making wine or jam, which I'm not yet. Even so, it's a lot lovelier than the (very nice) London park I'm used to.And here are a couple of pictures from the bedroom window, taken this morning.
Going to Julia's 50th tomorrow, in London. Bought a basket and some Shropshire-made stuff to put in it from this lovely deli, down the road. It's got some painting on the wall which is alleged to be medieval.
Nearly time for another beautiful walk, and the sun's still shining.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lions in the high street

It's the Michaelmas Fair this weekend. Unfortunately we won't be here (Ellen needs to be moved to her new student house in Canterbury, plus a 50th birthday party and 40th wedding anniversary party down there in the south). But Trevor has been helping with the preparations. I only took pictures of a few of the banners, but they're all the way up the high street. I don't know why so many houses have flag poles - including ours.
We're both working quite hard, but have to take our doggie out for a walk each day so we're discovering all the beautiful possibilities. It's a good time of year too. Today I found these windfalls. They'd fallen in some nettles so hardly any bruises and no maggots.
Also couldn't resist doing a bit wool-gathering out there in the fields. I can't spin but thought I'd have a go with a drop spindle. Also got some black Welsh tops because I thought it would be easier to be a beginner spinner with professionally prepared fibre, and a pair of mini-carders to prepare my gathered wool. I've made a start with the tops and got a little ball of about 3 meters - I'll take a picture when I've done a bit more.
I've been doing some knitting too. Rose liked her Cozy and has taken it away to Edinburgh.
Anticipating cold weather I've made some reversable (and double layered) hats, from Elizabeth Zimmerman. I did this one in sock wool so it took ages, but it's not as bulky as the others.
Finally here's my latest passion - an Anglo Concertina. After Shrewsbury Folk Festival I decided I really wanted to learn an instrument. I've been practising fairly regularly and I'm quite pleased with the way it's going. It's called Rochelle and it's a cheap Chinese job but it makes a good sound, and I love the way it feels when you push and draw the bellows - as if it's breathing, and giving voice.

Monday, September 01, 2008

New home

We've moved - now living in beautiful south Shropshire instead of less beautiful north London.
So far, so good. We are renting our house in London and renting here for now. The house feels great at the moment but it's huge, and probably very drafty and expensive to heat in winter. So I've been knitting busily - chunky sweaters, reversable double layer hats etc. In fact I'm wearing the chunky sweater today, and it's only Sept 1st - in Colinette graffiti. Knitted in the round, with Raglan sleeves, from Ann Budd's sweater pattern book.
Another FO is this - minimalist cardigan from Interweave Knits (photographed while still in London). I had to knit the sleeves twice, 2nd time with smaller needles and fewer stitches, as they came out much too loose the first time. The cuffs still aren't tight enough to stay up, but it's ok. I love the look of moss stitch but it's a bit tedious to knit.
I also finished Cozy in some red Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk aran from my ebay stash. No pictures yet - it's for older daughter Rose who is moving to Edinburgh later this month. She's travelling back from Spain today and due to arrive here tomorrow - her first visit. Hopefully I'll get a shot of her draped in it before she takes it away.
I know I've been a hopeless blogger lately, but it does seem to be something people come and go with. I've got right out of the habit of taking pictures, which doesn't help. But perhaps now life is a bit less stressful I'll feel more inspired...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I've been exploring Ravelry. I think it's brilliant that you can look up a pattern, and see dozens of examples of how it has been knitted up by different people in different yarns. And you get people's tips too.
I got past the first pattern repeat on the back of the tweedy aran cardi and then saw the minimalist cardigan on Knitting Daily, and felt it would give me a nice rest. I'm using Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk which I bought from Jannette's on ebay ages ago. It's finer than the yarn in the pattern, so I'm getting the right gauge but the fabric is a bit airier.

Finished one of Rose's jitterbug socks. I tried to do the toe up socks from Interweave Knits, but just couldn't decypher the cast on instructions. Anyway I've got more than half the yarn left by weight for the second sock so it shouldn't run out.

Also cast on my first lace project which is the Cat's Paw scarf from Northern Lace. I thought I'd be kind to myself and do my first project in 4 ply rather than lace weight.

And I've invented something! I liked the look of the so-called scarf and started knitting it up. But the fabric it made was very thick and cushiony, and I didn't think it would drape well. Also it had a distinct right and wrong side which also seems to me to be a disadvantage for a scarf. So I converted the stitch pattern for knitting in the round and made a headband. I loved it, so I made another, and another and another. Now I have five, and Ellen has already snaffled one.
I think it would also work well for a hat. It's very substantial but also stretchy in all directions.

Just back from another little trip to Bishops Castle. I really like it there, and we're now looking for somewhere to rent as we're not optimistic about being able to sell our house quickly. Ellen seems to have come round to the idea, and the girls will still be able to stay at their dad's who lives about ten minutes walk from where we live here in London.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Been busy knitting and frogging if not blogging. I succombed to temptation on ebay recently and bought 800 grams of sock wool from Germany. I'm really pleased with it - unlike most self-striping sock wool I've tried this actually feels and smells like wool. I like the colours too.
Here are Ellen's socks

And mine.

There's a bit of yarn left over so I've started a baby pair.

I like knitting socks, and wearing them, but for some reason I don't feel at all tempted to branch out into fancier sock patterns. I suppose this yarn is so fancy, anything other than a simple pattern would be too much.
I've just started a new pair in Colinette Jitterbug for Rose. The colour is Blue Parrot, which will match a jumper I knitted for her a couple of years ago and which is still going strong. Have read all the warnings about this yarn running our before the toes are done, so will do a short cuff - 4"?

I used up a lot of scraps on this shawl for Ellen. As you can see we're all quite into loud colours in our family.

This is Rose in her Wavy scarf and matching hat. You can't really see the waves in this picture, and because the yarn was thicker and I knit loosely anyway the design isn't as obvious. But I still like it and so does she. The yarn was from Handpainted Yarn.

The latest project is the Tweedy Aran Cardigan. I've got a few rows further on since I took this picture - now into the pattern proper, beyond the edging. Much harder than anything I've attempted before I think it will take me years and years to finish and I may well go mad or die in the process. I'm using Rowan Yorkshire Tweed which I got on ebay a while ago. It's thicker than the yarn suggested in the pattern and I'm a loose knitter so I'm knitting the smallest size hoping it will come out about 20% bigger. So far the measurements seem roughly ok.

I've also acheived closure on the project I was finishing this time last year - TC's cartridge ridge jumper. It never really fitted him properly and it has just been sitting on a shelf waiting for the moths so I frogged it. Read on Knitting Daily that the best thing to do was wind the yarn into balls as you rip it out, then wind it into skeins, then wash and dry it to get the curl out.
This was made in two yarns held together, and there's about a kilo of it altogether. I'd like to separate out the two yarns again, but can't think how to do this. Would very much welcome any suggestions.

Finally, first socks I ever knitted which were kind of bulky bed socks got accidentally put in the washing machine. Disaster. But the other day I was wondering how to keep the coffee in my mini-cafitiere warm while it brewed - and lo, my dear felted sock came to mind. With a slit for the handle, and a hole for the plunger, it's almost perfect for the job.