Wednesday, August 20, 2014

WIP Wednesday

The summer holidays are a tough time for knitting - and for writing the blog.

This week I'm having the boys at home, which has been nice, but which has also meant that there has been precious little time to myself, resulting in a lack of progress on my knitting projects and a lack of blog posts. It's OK, I don't really mind. Instead, we've been to the cinema and we've  been to the playground, we've tidied their rooms, only to make them untidy again almost straight after. D has taken a bit of time off here and there, and today we had a whole day together.

We took the chance to go to Whitby on the North Yorkshire Moors railway from Pickering. What a fabulous day it was. We started off really early because not all the steam trains go to Whitby. A lot of them seem to stop at Goathland  (Hogsmeade in the Harry Potter films) or Grosmont but there isn't a lot else to see for kids apart from the steam train, so we thought it might be much more fun to go all the way to Whitby.

We had a great day. The boys loved the train, and despite the crowds, Whitby is lovely. I'd never really seen the town itself (I'd been before but mainly to the beach and to walk by the sea). It's so pretty, and the view from the old abbey is beautiful.

Walking back to the station we watched all the crab fishers by the harbour. Boy #1 was very taken with this so we may have to come back at some point and do some of that...

On the way back on the train I realised that it is Wednesday today, so I took a quick picture of the Lombard Street sock as it is right now. I'm almost at the right point to start the heel.

Despite the slowness of this project it's so much fun knitting this. Just complex enough not to be boring but not so complex that it becomes annoying.

This doesn't mean that it's flawless (my knitting, that is, not the pattern). Really early on I managed to twist a whole row of cables, and while I was knitting in the cinema the other day I must have managed get a bit muddled up with my rows but can't really detect what it was that I've done. All I know was that I was half a row out with the pattern.

Will I rip to fix these issues? Nope, I don't think so. The past few weeks of summer holidays with all their chaos and imperfection and fun have emphasised my natural pragmatism. Live and let live, right? If this was for anyone else I might have ripped straight away when I realised that the cables were twisted (I noticed that pretty quickly), but you know? It's all good. These socks are for me, and I don't mind the twisted cables, never mind the other mistake that I can't even quite see.

Shared with:

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Tiny FO...

A while ago I made this little fellow:

Birdie is a little crochet bird from a very simple and fun pattern published free on Attic24's website. I've been meaning to share him for a while now. He came into being on one of those days when you have plenty of jobs you ought to get on with yet can't make yourself actually start. I was at home, and I was supposed to tidy and clean, and this proved too much of a temptation for me - a new pattern, a new skill to learn, and it promises to be a quick job? I'm right there!

This was so much fun to make, and look what a cute little fellow he is.

He was immediately claimed by boy #2, and I didn't manage to get any better pictures of him before that happened. Still, I think it's enough to show him off. ;)

Shared with 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WIP Wednesday and Yarn Along

Late on Wednesday, but I was at work all day so I only now found time to quickly plunk all my knitting on the table after bringing boy #3 to bed. Boy #1 is doing his loom bands and boy #2 is watching Transformers on TV. D is tinkering with something he built in his workshop earlier. It's a typical summer break early evening scene. 

Knitting has been slow this week. I am still feeling the effects of the cold I picked up in Germany - to be honest, I'm not sure it's even still the same cold. It might be that it asked a few friends along, because this cough feels slightly different, plus I also have a sinus infection now. I'm also back at work of course, which means that daytime knitting isn't really happening at the moment. I have a day off on Friday and I might take the boys to the cinema so we'll see if that generates some knitting time...

Still, work has progressed. I'm still knitting along on the Garter Yoke cardi and am nearing the end of the garter section. All the shaping has kept this bit interesting, but it's also been a bit difficult to keep track of the rows while sneaking a bit of knitting in while sitting with the family. 

I've also knitted a little more on the Lombard Street sock. I'm enjoying the pattern but progress has been slow. I think I may knit a bit more tonight.

As for my reading, I've (slowly) been working through David Pirie's Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes books which are based on the Murder Rooms television series (which is excellent), which he also scripted. They are fiction, but have biographical elements to do with Arthur Conan Doyle's life and his friendship with his mentor Doctor Bell. He writes the fictional adventures and criminal investigations of the two as Doyle's inspiration for his fictional detective. It's really clever in mixing fiction and fact and it's well written, and I've really enjoyed the books. 

Sharing with 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Sorry if the blog looks odd - I was trying to figure out how to do replies to comments, and apparently my template was too old. I'm still in the process of getting this new one up and running. If the blog looks all wonky and wrong on anyone's server, could you please drop me a line so I can try to fix it? Thanks. :)

A Year of Projects - update for 10-16th August

I think it's time that I review my project list for this year. Some things were finished this month, others changed...

For example, I was going to knit either Conwy or Whitby socks for myself from my sock yarn stash - I've since realised that they are both book patterns, and one of my resolutions for this year is that I won't buy much (ideally I won't by anything yarn related at all, but we'll see how that goes...). I've therefore changed my mind somewhat and I'll instead knit:

1 pair of Lombard Street Socks, using the Patons Kroy Sock yarn that I have in my stash. It's a very pretty mottled grey/brown in colour and I'm realising more and more that I'm definitely a solid colours kind of a gal. I do like stripes, but again, it's the solid blocks of colour that appeal. Much as I like variegated yarns on the skein, knitted up they are often not quite my thing (although of course there are exceptions).

I'm also thinking about some quick DK socks. Perhaps a pair of Skyp Socks and a pair of Breaking Waves socks? Not sure about the yarn yet, but I have any number of DK yarns that might work.

So otherwise, where are we, regarding my projects list:

The Garter Yoke Cardi
Yarn - natural wool/cashmere yarn from stash
I've now started this:

Ink Flare
Yarn: that unruly purple yarn that never gets the correct gauge

 Ink Flare
Yarn: the huge hank of green Fleece Artist hand-dyed mohair that I've had for I don't know how long.
This is still something I want to knit - the yarn in question is this one:

Socks for boys
knit one pair of socks for each of the boys. They've chosen their yarn already, so:
Yarn: Regia Crazy Color self-striping 4-ply.
Yep, those are done!

Bulky Moebius Cowl
Yarn: Berry Handspun (by me)
I may knit another one with the 1-Hour-Herringbone pattern.

I love this yarn - I received the fibre in some swap years ago and I'm pretty sure it's a wool/silk mix. Sadly as is often the case with fleece candy, there isn't very much of it, so I spun it deliberately slubby, with a scarf or hat in mind as a potential project. It should work well as a cowl - I hope...

Shalom cardi
Yarn: Olive wool/cashmere blend
Yes, this is still part of the list! I have a shed-load of this yarn, and it refused to be the Garter Yoke cardi, because although it's supposed to be aran weight it was just too thick to get the correct gauge. I think it might work for the Shalom cardi.

Yarn: orange and yellow handspun
I'm unsure about this one, not because I don't like the pattern, but because I'm not sure I have enough yarn for it. This is what I have - enough? Do I need to omit sleeves?  The alternative would be Liesl. What do you think?

Yarn: sock-weight feltable yarn from stash
Yes, still part of the list!

Sideways Grande Cloche
Yarn: Single skein purple Cascade
Yep, same.

Easy Raglan V-Neck
Yarn: GGH Savanna
This is such an awkward project for me. I actually cast on for it ages ago, but I'm really not fond of the yarn. I don't like the mottled brown of it, and from the way it handles just when knitting with it I get the feeling it's going to wear really badly. On the other hand I can't imagine that anyone would want it, after it's been handled so much (I ripped another project, so it's been handled A LOT).

Granny Square Blanket
Yarn: all the left-overs and the single balls and skeins that I have lying around in dk and aran.
Yes, this is still happening. I'm slowly making progress, although it may take me a while. But then, since this is a left-overs kind of project it doesn't really matter if it takes me another 6 months, does it?

So what is new?

I decided that I fancy some Mermaid gloves. No yarn allocated yet, but I have enough single skeins lying around that it shouldn't be much of a problem.

I also want to knit a simple raglan sweater, using the beige cashmere blend yarn that didn't want to be a Garter Yoke Cardi. I'm thinking the Spring Forward Fall Back Raglan pattern might work because it asks for a heavy aran yarn.

I do want to add some more crochet, because I find the projects so nice and portable without all those needles! On the list are:

The Flat Circle Pillow looks really cute.

I also fancy the Attic 24 Mandalas. Would be pretty on the dining table with a jug of flowers on top...

Plus, I really want to crochet some pot holders.

One problem I have with the crochet projects is that I would like to use cotton for them (a bit of a necessity with the pot holders anyway!). I don't own any (!) cotton yarn apart from maybe a tiny ball of something somewhere. The closest I come is some cotton mix, but that's it!

I have a plan, though - rather than go out and buy some yarn I'll try to swap/trade it for some of my own stash of unwanted wool. I found some groups on Ravelry that look promising: The Completey Pointless and Arbitrary Swap Group looks good, and so does the Yarn Swap and Sell Community and the ISO and Destash of Yarn Community.

I'm now off to photograph all my unwanted stash...

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Monday

Well, happy Monday, everyone.

Despite a rather so-so weekend including a trip to the 7-day surgery because of my body's rather excessive reaction to a red ant bite (my whole arm basically became one of those balloon animals) and further exciting adventures in summer colds and sinus infections, my Monday was actually quite happy. I went into work and was quite content to be in my office, tinkering and getting things done, and this evening D went off for his Banjo lesson and I went up for an early bedtime. Boy #1 pounced on the chance of some mummy time (a rare commodity in a household with two younger brothers) and is snuggled up next to me, inspecting my knitting.

Which gets me to the image for today - the first tentative beginnings of the Garter Yoke Cardi! I cast on this weekend and have been knitting slowly but steadily. Even so, since this picture was taken I've already managed to misread the pattern twice (!), but I'm not ripping. I think both mistakes are sort of fixable/hideable, and the thought of ripping out all these hundreds of stitches (because this is a top-down cardi there are a LOT of stitches) fills me with despair. I'll just have to try and hide the mistakes.

Anyway, here is is, next to some more flowers from the garden. It looks innocent enough, just lying there... ;)  So flowers + new knitting project + pretty yarn = happy thoughts for a happy Monday, right?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Simple Things Sunday

I was thinking that I might show some pictures of the last few days of our holiday this week, but then we went to the allotment yesterday and so much has happened there these past two weeks while we were away, plus you've already seen a few holiday pics, so allotmenting is the theme I'm going with this week.

It always amazes me, the way nature immediately takes a patch of land back, as soon as you stop tending it. We were only gone a fortnight, yet when we got there yesterday the whole plot was overgrown with some - admittedly very pretty - yellow flowers.

Pretty, no?

As for what was happening within the flower beds... well, let's just say that I didn't realise that courgettes could grow from basically non-existent to full-on take-over-the-world massive marrows within the space of 14 days.

Just look at those babies!

Overall there was a mix of over-grown wilderness and cultivation that was quite charming in its own way - not that I think the allotment committee would agree with me there. They have some pretty clear ideas of what an allotment is supposed to look like. But look at those pretty Dalias and sunflowers!

Well, D took to cutting the grass between the beds, and I went into full-on weeding mode. By the time we left it looked pretty tidy again.

In addition to the aforementioned marrows I also carried away a huge basket of vegetables and flowers.

I'll have to process all those beans and freeze them. The flowers however, are ready to grace our tables. I love that throughout summer we can always have a fresh bunch of flowers from the garden and the allotment on the table. So pretty.

Shared with Simple Things Sunday

Friday, August 08, 2014

FO - Socks for Boys

I had this idea in my head of this perfect shot of all the three boys, lined up with their new stripey socks on, ordered from littlest to oldest. I was going to take a shot of their feet and you could all marvel at the cuteness of the socks on little boys' feet.


Instead you get to marvel at the discrepancy between said ideas and the reality of lining three boys up for long enough to take shots of their feet. 

They were happy enough putting the socks on -that much was no effort. They were thrilled that it was all finally done, so as soon as I suggested that they might wear them they were off to pull them over their feet.

So yeah, that was the easy part. The impossible part was to then keep them still to take pictures. Not even all three of them - just keeping one of them still was already pretty much impossible. D stood by and laughed at me as I futilely tried to motivate them to line up for my 'perfect' shot. 

In the end I got them to lie down on the grass with their feet together. They were sufficiently intrigued by the novelty of that to try it for at least 3 seconds so there you go - 3 pairs of socks for boys, completed. 

Shared with:

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Back home...

I'm exhausted. Somehow holidaying with the kids is less like a relaxing holiday and more like some kind of boot camp inclusive of hideously early mornings and random drills throughout the night. Ugh. Not that I didn't enjoy it, but I'm, well, a bit in need of a holiday now. 

Instead I am coming back to hundreds of work emails and various urgent work commitments that I will have to attend to this week. Today, though, I'm taking it easy. I am checking on the really urgent stuff, but we only got back yesterday, and one of the less lovely things that I've brought back from Germany is a nasty bout of summer flu and a hacking cough that keeps me up most nights. It's great stuff, really. So I'm on a sort of sick leave today. 

Which does give me a little bit of time to check in on the blogging world and post an update. 

Despite all the tiredness and exhaustion and illness there were lovely moments this holiday that I won't forget. My dad got married, 15 years after my mum passed away and it was such a lovely and joyous event. The boys threw flowers after the ceremony, which they were both exited and baffled by ("why are we allowed to throw flowers on the floor?!?"), and we even managed to squeeze in a few days of camping with just the 5 of us after the event. For once it didn't rain and we all had a fabulous time.

I even managed to get a bit of sock knitting done!

Still, I'm happy to be home now. Next on the (non-work) agenda is the Garter Yoke Cardi. Did I mention that I finally found a yarn with which I get the correct gauge? It's my trusty Rowanspun DK, this time in a dusky olive colour. 

I so love this yarn and the way it knits up (my Tea Leaves were knit with Rowanspun in burnt orange colour), so I'm more than happy to have another project on the go that allows me to use this yarn.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Monday Holiday preparations...

Apologies for the relative silence these past few days - I'm in the midst of holiday preparations. We are off to Germany to see my folks, and with three lively boys to pack for, and a house to put in order, and babysitters for cats and chickens to arrange, it's been a rather all-consuming task.

I started putting it all together this morning, and as usual it looks like we are moving house. By the time I've packed clothes for 5 I have filled two suitcases (and that's only the basiscs - we can wash things at my dad's house so I don't tend to bring too much), and then there are books, and toys, and bicycles, and all sorts of other things that little boys find essential for a two-week trip.

There is also my knitting to consider of course. What do I bring on such an adventure? Not the granny squares, that's for sure. With all the odds and ends of yarn that is quite a bulky project.

Perhaps some sock knitting? I'm currently on sock #2 for boy #2, so that's definitely coming.

But how about some knitting for myself? I really REALLY want to bring the Garter Yoke Cardi along with me - but will that be too ambitious? We've had holidays before when I brought three projects along only to find that I didn't have time to knit even a single row.

Decisions, decisions...

I'll leave you with a Happy Monday picture, and will check back in once we are in Germany.

This was the sunset a few evenings ago, seen out of my office window: