Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Anyone who hangs out in the knitblogoverse will have seen numerous posts over the last week giving thanks for various aspects of life. As a britblogger there's no thanksgiving to prompt these sentiments, but I wanted to join in for other reasons.

I'm Lucky. Lucky because I have a job, a home, a loving husband, an adorable son and all the material things which make life more than comfortable. I'm saying this for two reasons - firstly, because it's true, and secondly because I am engaging in a concerted period of positive thinking.

The reason for this is deeply personal, and if I explain it, then I will also account for my absence over the last month. 3 weeks ago I had a miscarriage, my third in 6 months - all of them lost in the earliest stages (5-6 weeks) along with the hope that they had brought. I had some time off work, I stayed at home and lost myself in domestic life - baking, knitting, shopping, tidying. It was a brief interlude in a hectic work schedule and I am glad that I listened to my husband and my GP who told me to stop and take some time.

For someone who researches for a living, it's tempting at these times to read and digest all that the internet, message boards, cranky organisations and the medical establishment has to say about recurrent miscarriage and its causes. Last night, it struck me that I should tackle this in the way that I - and many other women - tackled the prospect and reality of labour, by thinking positively about it. Hypno birthing and the words of Ina May Gaskin prove (to me at least) that physiological processes are affected by psychological ones, and that it's possible to use this to your advantage. When I was labouring with the bean, I used the mantra 'I trust my body' to reinforce a belief that I could birth my baby gently, at home in the way that I wanted. It worked well - my son was born under water into my hands, 20 hours after SROM, and I managed the entire labour without drugs, just TENS and water for pain relief. It was amazing, and I found the birth a very empowering event.

Coming back to the present, my mantra is still 'I trust my body' but I'm adding other thoughts too: 'I'm lucky' is another. I want to DO something to increase the chances that there wont be any more miscarriages, and this seems a good way to go. We're booked into the local hospital for tests in the New Year, but I'm hoping we won't need them.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Tottie Tank Tops Two

Winter is here - I'm chilly inside the house and yesterday DH had to work in the snow! I'm not sure what happened to autumn - I think it blew away in the gales. The crazy weather is no doubt a sign of the terrible things we are doing to our planet.
Regardless of the weather outside, my needles have been clacking away and I've managed to finish two stripey tank tops (age 3-4) from the Rowan Family Collection. Between the two I managed to bust almost 3 balls of Jaeger matchmaker DK (left over from DH's Celt) and 2 balls of Patons DK (I think) out of the stash. A modest inroad, but it was worth it. I love these tottie tank tops!
I knit both flat (as instructed) using 4mm dpns (not mentioned in the instructions), so that there was no need to cut the yarn in order to achieve the original stripe pattern. I also changed the shoulder shaping on the second tank - and rather than cast off 3 stitches on one row and the last 2 on the following row, I just cast them all off together. I dont think such refinements are required in this pattern or for boys of this age. The different stripe pattern on the second tank (light grey with dark grey stripes) was dictated (or inspired!) by the yarn available.

Both tanks are nestling in the gift stash ready for despatch. I tried the first one on the bean the other day - he's 21 months now - and although the tank was big on him, it was quite wearable. As a result I decided that the smallest size (3-4) would do for a 2yr olds birthday, and immediately cast on for the second tank. All in all I think the second one took about 2-3 evenings to knit and one to finish. The bean will get one too once I've got a few other things out of the way...!

Between tanks I managed a bit of WIP wrestling and finished the first sleeve on the bobble cardigan. One sleeve and one front to go, so the end is in sight (yoohoo). Yesterday I cast on for another gift project - some child's mittens from 'Hats, Scarves, Gloves'. I'm knitting both mittens at the same time, and I'm already up to the thumbs. Thumbs, is it hallowe'en yet?

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Autumn knitting & babies

Well, the autumnal air has done something to me, and I just had to pick up some odds and ends of copper coloured yarn and knit myself an autumn. I decided to go with the gift pouches in last minute knitted gifts, and turned out two in no time at all.

These are knit with an unknown yarn that I inherited from my grandmother. It's soft and light and has a slight sheen. I knit the first one as instructed, fastening the base with a 3 needle bind off. For the second bag, I decided that I preferred a seamless look and used good old Kitchener to close the base.

With those out of the way (filed in the gift stash) I started ferreting for another project (completely ignoring the current WIPs..). With various small birthdays coming up (one aged 3, 2 aged 2) I thought I would get started on a stripey tank from the Rowan Family book. It's proving to be a quick and addictive knit (I've finished the back, and I'm up to the armholes & neck shaping on the front). It's made much easier by knitting flat using DPNs - this means I can manage the one row stripes without having to cut the yarn. I'm already planning to knit another one or two of these - they look so good...

Finally, huge CONGRATULATIONS to friends Helen & Stephen who recently welcomed a new daughter to the family. Baby Iona was born at home in a pool - the same pool that her older brother Digby was born in, and the same pool that our little bean was born in! Welcome little one - cant wait to meet you!

Edited to add:
Congratulations also to Gayle - a near neighbour - who had a little girl on Sunday last. Her son Jack is a day younger than the bean and we shared many coffees and chats about baby things in the early months. We bumped into her on Saturday: she was ready to pop and slightly trepidatious about the prospect (Jack was a breech baby and born by c/s) but with a head down baby this time, she was all set for a normal delivery. Go girl.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Catch up #3: socks again

Despite the disappointment of the yarn shopping in Denmark, a couple of weeks ago I went to see my parents. Because of building works at home, the bean and I spent a week in the Marches where I grew up. While we were there, we nipped over to Hay-on-Wye - a small market town, nestling high on the banks of the river, and just across the border in Wales. Hay is most famous for its numerous second hand bookshops, and latterly its literary festival. I just know it for its crooked lanes and stone cottages - the same today as 30 years ago.

While we were there I stopped in at bedecked - which not only has scrumptious buttons, but also has Rowan, Colinette and other delicious yarns. I fondled quite a few things, but nothing asked to be carried away home. Just across the way on the other side of Back Fold, I stopped in at another shop - a cooperative of weavers, spinners and knitters, which has many wonderful things inside. Some handpainted sock yarn - an alpaca merino mix - looked rather good, was well priced and just had to come home with me.

Its from Jenny Cook in Gladestry, and feels lovely. I couldnt wait to wind the skeins. I'm itching to cast on for some new socks, but I must finish Other Things. humph.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Catch up #2: socks

We were on holiday at the end of August, staying with some very hospitable friends in Denmark. They live in a farmhouse at Selso, close to Skibby and less than an hour from Copenhagen. While we were there I planned to revisit a Copenhagen yarn shop I spied last time we were in Denmark, but events conspired against me and I didnt make it. I settled instead for the offerings of the local supermarket in Skibby, which had sock yarn with aloe vera, very reasonably priced too! Not bad for a dinky place in the Danish countryside - I dont think there are many British supermarkets with yarn, let alone sock yarn....

I bought 4 balls - two plain, two variegated. A couple of weeks ago, I cast on with the variegated yarn to make myself some (more) socks. As usual, I kept things short in the leg and kept my fingers crossed as I made the second sock. Bingo. It worked. A pair of socks in less than 50g.

To make things even better, I asked my mum to try the first sock on when I was visiting the other week. It fit, so rather than put the completed pair in my sock drawer, I've put them in the gift stash ready for you know what. Christmas.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Catch up #1: smitten

There's so much to catch up on that I'll have to pace myself.... Well. The ravelympics were a disaster. I didnt really get off the start line, and neither of the WIPs I was meant to be wrestling were. They are still WIPS. My excuse? The Olympics distracted me. A Lot. I was too excited/busy shouting to knit. It was fantastic - we were an Olympic house morning, noon and night. We cant wait till London 2012. It. Will. Be. Great.

One of the things that distracted me at that point in August were mittens. I managed to borrow a copy of Zoe Mellors 'big book of kids knits' from the library and set to work making as many pairs of mittens as I could from a large ball of lilac yarn that I bought in a charity shop. It ran to 4 pairs. Here are 3. Cute eh?

I also started knitting the bobble cardigan (but without the bobbles) from the same book for the bean. This is also charity shop yarn - and is knitting up fine (although I did have to change needle size to get gauge). But it does make me sneeze and give me itchy eyes, so I've come to a bit of a stand still. I cant decide whether to skein the unknit yarn and wash it before carrying on, or just carry on....

Friday, 1 August 2008


Today I received a stark email from the new economics foundation entitle '100 months'. The message is this: we have 100 months to stop climate change.


Friday, 25 July 2008

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

FOs & WIP: three hats and a jam sandwich

Maybe it was the eco-buzz that started it, but over the weekend I had the urge to cast on for another scrap hat. This one was requested by my brother sometime last winter, but other things (you know: socks... baby, things) have been getting in the way. I've been in a bit of a knitting funk with it, and have found it hard to put down, despite having to do mildly inconvenient things like go to work and sleep. Anyhoo, I'm now onto the crown shaping and will soon be at the top. I think - but I'm not sure - that my brother wanted his hat to come with a lining, so that will follow. Here's a sneak preview...

And here are the 2 baby beanies I mentioned last time, now safely filed in the gift stash.

Whatever our failings in the gardening department, our raspberries are a huge success. Day after day we pick the ripe red jewels, thanking heaven that something is growing and ripening in this confusion of a summer.... the bean has developed quite a taste for fresh raspberry, and now hangs about at the top of the lawn hoping that someone will pick some for him. At not quite 18 months he hasnt quite got the requisite skill or discernment required for picking rasps himself - but he knows how to eat them.

Last week we were running out of freezer space, so 2kg of berries were 'preserved' in the traditional way: as raspberry jam. Yum.

Shhhh......Can you hear it? There's a jam sandwich calling me. Better go.

Friday, 18 July 2008


For some reason reading the ecologist and greenfutures always invokes a feeling of urgency and a need to do something that minute. It's an energising thing and I love the eco-buzz.

Recently I've found a few corners of the blogiverse that share in this need to take action. Wardrobe Refashion and Sew Green are just two that keep cropping up. Perhaps I should take the wardrobe refashion pledge? I'm not far off it really - I havent bought any new clothes for about a year, although I have been given some new things for birthdays & christmas (thanks mum!) . But I have bought plenty of charity shop things, and I turned a ripped pair of my jeans into a cool pair of toddler trousers for the bean. I've also been making a conscious effort to wear a greater variety of the clothes that I own already.

Last week I had to go to London for work, and travelled on the train (>4 hours in each direction, and I went down and back in one day!). On the way down I worked and on the way back I knitted. I managed to finish one baby beanie and get most of the way through another (brim to start of crown shaping). As the stash of baby hats was almost gone, I thought I would use up a few odds and ends of yarn. I'll post the pattern sometime...

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

FO: Polka dot cardigan and the interloping scarf

She's finished (finally). The polka dot cardigan (Rowan Babies) with no polka dots. Knitted for little Harper Hope born on June 9th. Welcome little one, and congratulations to mum and dad Pam & Dan!

I think it looks fairly gorgeous even without the polka dots. The trim is knitted in a stash busting oddment of Jaeger 4ply, and the rest is knitted in Rowan's organic cotton (DK weight). The buttons are vintage from the button box I inherited from my grandmother.

It took a lot longer than I planned. First, I ran out of yarn and had to buy an extra ball of Rowan's organic cotton. Then, I came to the sewing up bit. It just seemed to take ages, and there was a project burning a hole in my stash, so I'm afraid I allowed myself to be diverted by yet another Purl Scarf (from last-minute knitted gifts), aka the interloping scarf.

I love these scarves - I think this is the third one I've made. It's gone into the gift stash (or long range planning department as the yarn harlot would call it), although I'm tempted to nab it for myself. I used 2 balls of Patons Soho (closing down sale, £1 per ball I think), one ball of mystery DK yarn and half a ball of turquoise lace-weight mohair (both acquired from charity shop raids). I've got a bit of a thing for bluey-turquoisey colours.
Now that the tennis (Wimbledon) is in full swing, I need some knitting to keep my hands busy while I watch (come on Andy!!). I ought to pick up the lacy shrug again - it's aged 3-4, so it ought to be quick, but I've already ripped back one front because I got the pattern wrong (doh!).

Finally, today is my 3rd wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary my love.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

FO: Irish moss socks

I've been wearing these socks for a couple of weeks now (not All the time... you know what I mean), and thought it was time to share with you. The pattern is the slip-up sock from Posh Yarn, and the yarn is from the Yarnyard ('olive' for the toe & cuff; 'grow' for the rest).

As usual I knitted a short leg - cos I like my socks that way - and reckon I have enough left over (from 2 50g skeins) to make another pair. Mods: I knit a plain k3 p3 rib at the top and couple of purl bands before getting into the pattern on the leg. I also finished the foot of the sock with a couple of purl bands before starting the toe decreases.

Because I started them in Ireland, I'm calling them my irish moss socks, it seems to fit somehow.

Hard as it was, once I finished these little beauties, I decided it was time to get on with Other Things. I picked up Deli again, and managed to finish the back (sleeves already knitted) over the weekend. I am pleased about this - with only the fronts to go (oh, and the endless knitted trim, but I'm overlooking that for now) it feels like progress, and it's good not to have something in the knitting basket which requires forensic examination to discover where you got to in the pattern when you last put it down.

Another (girl) baby is on the way - and should have arrived by now (c-section scheduled for Monday just gone) - so I cast on for the polka dot cardigan from Rowan babies. Only, there wont be any polka dots - it'll be plain and gorgeous anyway. [Just for the record, I made a lovely green and purple version about 3 years ago and didnt enjoy it much, although I like the shape and details. I hate intarsia and knitted it fair isle instead, which was okay, but still not v enjoyable]. I'm knitting with some Rowan organic cotton which I bought last week from a charity shop (50p for 2 balls) ... there was modest stash enhancement (all for £3).

This compounded the already overflowing stash situation, so on Friday evening I got it all out (that's a lot of wool, said my husband) and organised, tidied and put it away. The fabric which had been sharing stash space in this part of the house has been moved, and will have to find its own place to live. For now, the yarn can snuggle happily.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

FO: Shopping bags

I think I mentioned last time that I've been on a bit of a sewing bee lately. I made some bags - like this:

I made three, but sent one off to help celebrate a friend's birthday before it got a chance to do any modelling. Another bag has since been sent (and arrived) in the States to assist with the carrying of small items belonging to the recently arrived baby Chloe (congratulations to mum and dad, Suzanne & David! Chloe also received one of the baby beanies from the stash). One bag remains, waiting for a use or a home to beckon.

I would have made more, but I ran out of webbing for the handles. There are more cut out waiting to be sewn. The fabric came from local charity shops, picked up for a song. You cant see (sack the photographer) but the bags are lined with a matching plain green fabric. I didnt follow any pattern in particular, just copied the dimensions of a well used cotton bag from the drawer and made it up as I went along.

Monday, 19 May 2008

FO: Small Rainbows

While we were in Ireland I finished my second pair of rainbow socks.

For all their plainness I managed to make the whole process rather complicated. Knowing that I had a finite amount of yarn I used a provisional cast on and then knit 10 rounds before making the heel flap. On the first sock I knittted the toe using a solid red yarn from my stash. It looked awful and after knitting the second sock down to the toe I realised I would have enough yarn to frog the offending toe and reknit in the original rainbow yarn. So I did. At that point I still had some rainbow yarn left - along with a very small quantity of cherry red yarn that matched rather well colourwise. I divided the yarn into two equal portions and knit up from the leg in a rib pattern to make quite a short sock. I'm not wild about the red tops and have considered reknitting in a grumperina stripe, but they'll do for now...

Here you can see just how much sock I managed to squeeze out of one skein of rainbow yarn. Not bad eh?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The emerald isle

We've been on our holidays. To Ireland and the fair county of Kerry. We stayed in a lovely cottage, had lovely weather and got to spend time with my brother and sister in law, who live in Atlanta with their small boy (18 months). Our small boy (15 months) seemed to have fun following/chasing his big cousin around and we had lots of fun encouraging them to hug each other and do other cute things which we could photograph.

I did some knitting (FO to come) but not much, being content to relax in our lovely cottage and enjoy the views.

Inside: Lapin felt very at home

Outside: Ireland's highest mountains - Macgillycuddy's Reeks

WIP. I started this while I was there - it just seemed right to be knitting something lush and green (yarn from the Yarnyard). I'm still working on the first sock - not because it's difficult, but because the light and dry evenings we've had since we came back mean that I try to get on with gardening rather than knitting AND I've been on a bit of sewing bee too....I'll tell you about it sometime.

Monday, 14 April 2008

FO: Rainbow socks & baby hats

Finally, here are my lovely rainbow socks, knit with yarn from Natalie at the Yarnyard. They are just ordinary, plain jane top-down socks. I knit them quite short in the leg because I like them that way (and in the hope I might make my skein stretch to two pairs). Given the loveliness of the yarn I didnt think I needed to choose a fancy pattern. I love the mini rainbows that appeared magically underneath each heel.

I've also been busy in a frenzy of baby knitting. So frenzied that I sent two items without taking any photographs. One was a pair of 'tranquil' bootees from the Rowan babies book, sent to Australia to celebrate the birth of Charlotte. Congratulations to mum and dad, Angela and Damien. The other item was a small hat destined for baby Elizabeth, born on Good Friday, to Susan and Simon. Mum Susan deserves an extra special congratulatory mention for managing to avoid a c-section by persuading her midwives to let her have one last push. Well done you.

Inspired by the smallness and quickness of those items, I motored on with a couple more baby hats for my gift stash. We know of at least 3 more babies due this year to friends (and countless others to work colleagues and friends of friends). Another hat is on the needles.

This is just a made up baby beanie pattern, which can be knit flat or in the round. The stripey version was made following grumperina's instructions for stripey socks, and worked fabulously as a means of using up some oddments from my stash of baby 4 ply. I started with three colours - green, white and very pale green (it's very, very pale). Just as I got to the shaping for the top, the very pale green ran out, which is why the stripes change here.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

accepting the challenge

There are more FOs to blog, but today is about something rather more serious. Before Easter, I was at a conference in Belfast. One of the keynote speakers was Jonathan Porritt. He was an engaging speaker, and someone I have set a lot of store by over the years. The main thrust of his message was this - the implication of the recent IPCC (inter governmental panel on climate change) report is this: in order to limit climate change to a rise of 2 degrees celsius, we need to shift to a low-carbon economy within 15 years or so. You'd have to be quite old for that timescale to seem beyond your years. 15 years is soon. Really soon.

I've been reflecting on Jonathan Porritt's words since then. What does a low-carbon economy look like? What can I do in my personal and professional life to help bring it about? Can I shift my life to a low carbon existence?

Leaving aside my professional contribution, I am thinking about the other choices I make. Knitting and crafting can fit well into a low-carbon life, as they offer the opportunity to make bespoke garments (more likely to be used, looked after and given a long-life), to mend and repair existing garments/items; to recycle and reuse yarn and fabric. There are some other choices to be made for a low-carbon world - using natural rather than synthetic fibres (wool, cotton and other animal/vegetable fibres are intrinsically low carbon compared to synthetic yarns which originate from petrochemical sources); local and organic yarns where available (local just to reduce yarn miles and organic because this system does not rely on petrochemical inputs such as inorganic fertilisers and pesticides). Oh yes, and using up the stash. I think there is a lot to be said for that - making do with what we already have. I'm sure there are other things too.

What would you add?

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

FO: Dolly (3-6 months)

Here she is in all her glory. Dolly (3-6 months) from Jaeger book JB29 by Martin Storey.

It's a lovely pattern, although the finishing is a bit of a faff, because the neck trim is knitted separately and has to be sewn onto the neckline... (and you have to cast on 300 stitches to start it).

No mods worth mentioning. I used 2 balls of RYC cashsoft 4ply and not much to spare. It's a lovely yarn for babies because it's seriously soft and can be machine washed. As a mum myself, I know that handwash stuff is fine in theory, but really, why make things harder than they need to be when there's yarn like this available? I hope baby Bella approves. I knitted the second size rather than the first, because Bella was a well rounded 8lb 8oz when born and to she'll probably be thinking about wearing outfits (rather than just babygros) when she's big enough to wear this. [Edited to add: I hear that Bella slipped into her new cardigan on the day that it arrived! The girl obviously has a highly developed sense of style...]

I'm very pleased with the way things turned out because these were odd balls of yarn. Together they looked slightly different in colour - but knitted up you really can't tell them apart. (Dont worry I took the necessary precautions).

What's the weather like where you are? The UK is being bashed by gales at the moment - as we're on the East side it's not too bad, but in Scotland this windy weather seems to have been going on for months. When it's sunny it's good for drying the washing, but you do have to use LOTS of pegs! Today the sun is alternating with lashing rain, beating a drum on the window of the study where I'm sitting. Outside, I can see the trees in the street, whipping their bare branches in a frenzied jig.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

FO: Baby Tunic

Little Kirsty should have received her tunic top by now, although I expect it'll be a little while before she wears it, as 1. She's a tiny weeny thing, only 5lb 7oz at birth and 2. it's still summer time where she lives. I hope she likes it.

The front is flowery.

The back is stripey.

It's designed to be easy to put on (wide sleeves, stretchy neck, soft rolled cuffs and collar). Previous versions have proved popular with new mums (I even made one for the bean - and put it on him often. It went to the frog pond tho' but that's another story).

There seem to be babies everywhere at the moment. Another has arrived amongst our circle of friends: Isabella Rose born Weds Feb 27th at home in a birth pool after an efficient 3 hour labour. Huge congratulations to Rachel, Gavin and big brother Thomas! I am especially pleased because Rachel was influenced by the homebirth experience I had with the bean (see here for his birth story) and she did it herself with some style. 3 hours?! Way to go girl!

And in blogland, everyone's at it: Woolly Wormhead, Mind of Winter, Stash, Knit, Repeat (and I could go on...)

Anyway, not wanting to waste a minute, I parcelled up some super cute booties which I knit in 2006 and cast on the Dolly cardigan from Jaeger Handknits book JB29. It's sooooo pretty, and almost finished, so another FO is about to be born.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Wagon? What wagon?

Yesterday I took the bean to Handknit to see what was left of this fine shop before it closes down. It's still got lovely yarn and lovely pattern books & magazines. Just not very many.

I bought this:

oh, and some yarn. Yes, I know I know I was supposed to be on a yarn diet... well rules is made to be broken, and it's not every week that your localest yarn shop closes down!

the stash was enhanced by a moderate 7 balls of miscellaneous 4 ply mostly destined to become baby sweaters and tanks. I think almost half of the people we know are expecting babies this year, and the other half had babies last year, so there is great capacity for baby knitting.

I'm making progress with Kirsty's tunic top. As predicted there are stripes...

and the main colour is blue. It's very pale blue, and I've knitted some petals to go on the front to make it girly. Both lots of yarn came from charity shops and are 4 ply of unknown (synthetic) origin. The multi-coloured yarn was 25p and has thus far yielded at least one baby hat and stripes for another tunic top. It cant go on much longer!

As usual I've dispensed with as much sewing as possible with this project. The shoulder seams were done with a 3 needle cast off, and I have just picked up the stiches for the arms and am knitting down to the cuff. I've just got to finish the second sleeve (almost at the cuff now) and then can steam, seam and finish.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

FO: Hipknits Socks

Yesterday I finished my second pair of socks. Knitted with yarn from Hipknits I adapted the Opal pattern I used for the Christmas socks with lots of k2 p2 rib. They fit better than the Christmas socks and they look soooo much nicer.

I like them a lot. I can see sock knitting becoming a theme this year. On Friday I took the socks to work and knitted through my lunch break (whilst reading The Ecologist. If you're going to multi-task it might as well be worthwhile). For the first time I appreciated the smallness of sock dpns and the fact that I could slip them into my bag without having to make room or risk skewering myself on stray needle tips.

Today I finished the Bob tank I have been knitting for the bean. I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but hadn't got round to sewing up and finishing off. I'm not wild about it - the neck gapes slightly and it looks as though I forgot to use the correct needles for the neck and arm bands. I dont think I did, but you know what it's like when you've got a sock thing going on - other knitting is just a distraction while you think about socks, socks, socks.... Hmmmm, do I seem obsessed to you?

As soon as I finished with the tank top I cast on for a new baby sweater. It's for little Kirsty who arrived in the world on Burn's Night - welcome to you! (And congratulations to mum and dad, Fiona & Jason). I'm making a new variation on my tried and tested baby tunic which I have knit several (million) times and always seems to go down well. I did make one for the bean, but the yarn I used for neck, cuffs and stripes felted in the wash and - in the end - made it impossible to get said garment over the bean's head. I frogged the usable yarn and will reincarnate this into something else in due course. Kirsty's will probably feature some stripes too (I love stripey things). Watch this space.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

FO: Christmas socks (again)

Here are the christmas socks in all their glory.

They are a bit slouchy, but I guess that's one of the wonderful things about sock knitting - you can custom fit. I'm already planning some modifications with the next pair. However, given the rules for knitting in 2008, this could be some way off. After finishing the peg bag the other day, I did allow myself to cast on a small project for the bean (Bob tank top from Rowan babies). I'm knitting it plain as I have some cream coloured cotton yarn in my stash, and 2008 knitting rules mean No New Yarn.

I'm not one of those knitters that can only have one thing on the go - I need some choice! So, I'm trying to limit myself, and the Bob tank plus amendments to my husband's Celt (Rowan magazine no.??) are the current contenders. I'm just making the arms of the Celt a bit longer - he said it was perfect and then asked for longer sleeves. I've done one already, but the charcoal yarn is hard to work with in the evenings, so I need afternoon light to get the other sleeve started. I have got two other WIPs: both cardigans for me, and despite being 90% finished with one of these projects I have decided to frog it and start again with a different pattern. This will be the second time I have frogged this particular yarn... perhaps that's something I need to think about.

Talking of the yarn diet. I did sooooooooooooooo well the other day - I am both proud and sad that I managed to resist. Hanks and hanks of Noro, half price.... it did take me about 10 minutes to decide not to buy it. I am still torn. (sigh).

Monday, 7 January 2008

Snowy Monday

Today is Monday. The first day of term, and for many the first day back at work since Christmas (hey - I live in Scotland and they are serious about hogmanay here...). It was snowy - quite snowy by Edinburgh standards and enough to make the drive to work somewhat trying.

Perhaps this is an appropriate moment to show you 2008 first FO: the christmas socks.

It's fair to say that I would never ever have chosen this yarn for myself (ye-es), but as I was yearning for some sock knitting, it did the job. Clearly this is an 'in production' photo, but I havent yet managed to remember to photograph the real things and thought this might do in the meantime...

Friday, 4 January 2008

New Year: New Resolutions

A new year has begun and I have decided: 2008 will be the Year of Thrift.

I've suddenly realised that I'm tired of accumulating stuff and I want some time off from consumption and shopping. That means no new clothes, new shoes or new yarn (really). My stash is full - in fact it's overflowing, and it will do my head (and my marriage) good to use some of it! I like the feeling I get when things are in order; when I can put things away without having to cram them into their designated spaces; and when the house starts to look vaguely tidy.

I've also resolved to finish off current projects before starting new ones.

This is going well so far. Last night I finished knitting the peg bag that I 'gave' to my mother for christmas. Well I wrapped up two pegs and told her that a peg bag would follow. My excuse for this tardiness is that I was ill at a crucial point before christmas and lost a whole evening of knitting, and then my mother distracted me from the task by giving me some sock yarn and a sock pattern for Christmas. Obviously I had to cast on and get going with these - and then finish them off - before I could get back to the peg bag. I know, I know - but that was last year and this year It Will be Different. Here are some pics. I particularly like the way the fabric follows the curve of the hanger...

My final resolution of 2008 is to sort out my finances. They arent exactly in a state - I earn more than I spend, and I know roughly how much money is in my account at any one time. It's just that I've accumulated some of those policies and insurances that might or might not do the same thing, and I really should decide if I need them all....