Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sometimes it's nice...

... to knit for yourself.

Progress on the baby-cardigan-on-toothpicks has stalled because even though I was following the pattern I managed somehow to run out of yarn. And not only that, I managed to run out of yarn about 3 rows before the end, or rather, 3 rows into the trim for the cardigan. Rather annoying. A third ball of yarn is on order (hopefully they will be able to send me the same dye lot), but until then I'm stuck with this project. Not that I mind too much, because instead I've been doing other things...

Like this:

This is the start of the Two-Tone Ribbed Shrug (well, in my case it's a One-Tone Ribbed Shrug) from the newly acquired Fitted Knits, and it's for ME!! After knitting for the bean and then for other babies, it feels positively sinful to knit something for myself. At least I am using yarn from stash. It's Knit Picks Andean Trasure in 'Granite', a 100% Baby Alpaca yarn that's sooo soft, I could fondle it all the time. I bought it off Amanda a few months back and have been itching to knit something with it ever since.

I have also started another quilt, also for the recipient of the baby cardigan:

The fabric is Alexander Henry, and the backing is denim. I made it extra thick by adding an additional layer of fleece fabric on top of the batting, just to make sure that my little girl is never going to feel a cold floor when she is lying on it. This is my second baby quilt - I made one for the bean a while ago that I completely forgot to photograph. It was made with another Alexander Henry fabric - this time with Cowboys on it. Might take a picture once it's out of the wash...

And lastly, today I got this in the post:

Isn't it pretty? It's a print by the talented Rachel Salomon that I ordered a while ago. I love it. It's going to be part of my growing collection of small prints that I am planning to frame and hang in the hall.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

More reasons to be happy...

#1 - Discovering that there are deer in Richmond Park:

We spent last weekend in London, visiting friends. Rather than a planned trip, this was more of an emergency solution that turned out absolutely lovely. What we had planned was something much less lovely, so I'm doubly glad it turned out to be such a fun weekend after all. Sometimes I wonder about D and myself, though - two PhDs, and at times we don't seem to have a brain cell to share between ourselves...

This is what happened: We had an invite to the naming ceremony of the little daughter of an old friend of mine on Saturday afternoon. The plan was to do drive down to the Midlands on Thursday, down to London from there on the Saturday morning, and back up to Yorkshire on Saturday evening after the ceremony. Quite OK in theory, but not so much in practice.

First of all, it took us almost 5 hours to get to our destination, all the while relying on the dubious navigation of Multimap. We were led right across central London, passed Westminster and Marble Arch, and you can imagine how crazy the traffic was. Bean had been asleep on the journey to London and chose this opportune moment to wake up and start screaming, we were tired and in need of food, drink, and the loo, and generally pretty frazzled by the time we arrived in south-east London. At least we were on time... just!

The ceremony was beautiful and it was great to see our friends, but clearly the last thing we wanted to do at this point was think about an even longer journey up North. Also, in order to arrive at a reasonable time we would have had to leave barely an hour after we'd got there in the first place. Honestly, what were we thinking, planning to drive back up on the same day?! We agonised over it for some time and then decided to pounce on some other friends and ask if we could stay with them. 5 minutes later, the life-saving SMS arrived - no problem at all, we are welcome to turn up whenever we want. Aren't friends great?

They put us up, moving out of their own bedroom no less, so we could put bean's travel cot up in the bigger room, and even cooked dinner. We had a great evening and the next day decided sensibly that we might as well take some more time and drive back in the late afternoon. We decided to have a picnic in Richmond Park.

I'd never been, so to discover wide open fields, forests and lakes, complete with whole herds of deer, all in the centre of London, came as a bit of a surprise. We had a lovely day and a good journey up, and arrived in Yorkshire just in time for bean's bath and bed.

Now why didn't we plan it like this to start with? Why do we need to always rush around?

~ * ~

#2 - going to the cinema with D:

We are going to see Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End tonight!! We will put Bean to bed and then MIL will look after him for the evening. Hopefully he will be asleep the entire time anyway. I'm ridiculously excited about this. We haven't been out, just the two of us, ever since LAST SEPTEMBER when the little Bean arrived!

~ * ~

#3 - almost finishing the little baby cardigan for my friend B's little girl:

This is the second sleeve. After that I only need to assemble the damn thing and add the borders... It feels like I've been knitting this for ages! I do like the way it looks, though. Hopefully B will like it too.

~ * ~

#4 - spinning again:

I've been spinning up a bit of the merino superwash that Tawama of Rooted in Knit-reality sent me for Yarn Abroad! over the last few weeks. I love the way it spins up and I am planning on Navajo plying it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

7 random facts...

I've been tagged by Baa Bonny Belle.

Here are the rules:
Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog.

OK, here goes:

1) I'm half-Korean but other than the words for grandma, grandpa, milk, and thank you, I can't speak any Korean at all. I can, however, sing an entire song in Korean - apparently it's a children's song about how pretty the dew looks when it catches in spiderwebs and blades of grass, but I don't understand a thing of what I am singing. It could be about anything...

2) I can't dive without pinching my nose shut. As you can maybe imagine, this is not particularly conductive to efficient diving and, during swimming lessons at school, led to various embarrassing incidents with me trying to retrieve items from the bottom of the pool, padding with one hand while the other was taken up by me pinching my nose shut. It also led to me failing most of the swimming proficiency tests.

3) I'm appalling at sports. During PE lessons at school I was ALWAYS the last person on the bench. I started to feel sorry for the team who had to put up with me in the end because really it was as if they had one person less on their team.

4) When I think of something that I find embarrassing, I start singing. This is something that I do completely involunatarily and I have no idea why.

5) When I was little, my dad used to tell me that there were what he called 'Shrunk Germans' who sometimes visited him when I was asleep. They were the size of a thumb and he managed to convince me that they were all around us and only hid from children because they were scared of them. For years I longed to see them and convince them to live in my doll's house.

6) I think and dream in both German and English.

7) I'm much better at starting projects than at finishing them.

I am tagging:
Union Centre Knits
Felt Like Knitting
La La La
The Woolpalace
Lixie Knits It

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Up for grabs...

This is a desperate attempt to rid myself of some stuff. As you may have gathered, I have rather a lot of stuff, and with most of the house still in a state of chaos this fact has been weighing rather heavily on my mind. Do you know that feeling that you can't think because somehow the clutter around you is getting into your head and you can't find your own thoughts anymore? Yeah, like that.

Anyway, I was thinking that I might offer some of these things up on the blog. I don't want any money for them, just the price of postage, so if you want any of them, just leave a comment or send me an email and I'll mail them to you, OK?

Right, here we go, one fibre item and two non-fibre shoes:

First on the list - a bin liner full of unwashed fleece. I bought this off ebay ages ago and it was sold to me as Bluefaced Leicester, but I'm pretty sure that's not it. The fibre is of very varying quality, some super-soft (and that could convince me that there is at least some Bluefaced Leicester content), and some quite coarse. It obviously needs washing, etc., and also sorting through to separate the very coarse bits from the good stuff. If I had the time right now I'd do this and I had already started to with a small amount, but let's be realistic - it's not going to happen in the next 5 years, so it's got to go. I have no idea what postage would be for this but if you are interested I'll walk it over to the Post Office and find out for you.

Second on the list:

A pair of very retro, very red shoes. I bought these a few years ago in the vain hope that what didn't fit me then would suddenly, miraculously, fit later. The picture is not very good, the shoes do not look quite so gaudy and (I think) more retro than kinky! ;-) They are size 5 / 38, made by Schuh, and as good as new. Again, I only want the price of postage for them.

Third and last (for now) on the list:

Another pair of shoes. These are a more worn, in particular around the buckle, but otherwise the story is very similar to that of the red pair above. What can I say - I have an issue with shoes that I like but that do not fit. These are size 6, made by Saxone, and way too large for me! I love the classic shape of them.

We'll see how this goes - there may be more in future.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Little treats...

I still don' t have much to show for regarding the baby cardigan, although I can report progress - the back is finished and tonight I have cast on for the first of the sleeves, so there is hope. I may even take a picture tomorrow because I am quite enamoured with the scallop trim...

Last Wednesday I finished some work, so I've been taking it a bit easy - I spent some time in the garden yesterday and planted some beans and tomatoes, and today we went to the local farmer's market and took a stroll around town. As I am typing we are watching the Eurovision Song Contest, which is always good for a laugh. Life is good. :-)

I've also been meaning to show a few little things that have arrived in the post since my last blog entry. First of all, I've treated myself to a book that I'd been coveting for I don't know how long:

I am so pleased with this - so far I've only had a quick look through it and there are already at least 3 things I want to knit.

The next thing is the Diaper Bag pattern I bought from Craft Apple. I saw the bag she made a while ago in her blog and I couldn't believe my luck when I realised a few weeks ago that she has now published the pattern for it:

I've been very happy with my Amy Butler Diaper Bag, but I'd love another one - for variety and also because occasionally it can be a bit annoying that the bag doesn't close. It would be good to have one that closes so that, if I overfill the bag (as I usually do) the contents don't spill out.

And lastly, a few weeks ago I received an email from a small start-up company who produces yarn harvested from British farms. It's called Farm Yarn, and they asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing their yarn. I agreed and a few days ago they sent me a small box with some yarn samples:

The yarn is lovely. Obviously it wasn't enough to knit anything, so I can't really say much about how the different types knit up, but they feel wonderfully soft and the natural colours are beautiful. There was natural Alpaca yarn in different weights and colours and also some organic sheep yarn - Llanwenog and Jacob, which isn't quite so soft but has a nice crisp texture to it. I've added a link to their website on my sidebar, so have a look!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

May is upon us...

... and isn't it lovely to see everything grow?

I was in Germany for a week, to let the relatives have a cuddle with the bean, and when I came back I was greeted with this spectacular growth in the veg patch:

Just because it's so lush and yummy-looking, here it is again:

Isn't it spectacular? I was only gone for a week and everything has grown so much! The potatoes, which you can just about make out in the back, have grown at least 15cm!

There is even some growth on other things - baby cardigans for example. I don't have a picture because really there isn't that much to show for, but I have finished both front panels now. Maybe there is a chance that I can finish this item before my friend's little girl ha finished school after all...

* The bluebells on the top picture have come up amidst the weeds by wall next to the kitchen door - it's quite exciting to see what this garden hides, now that most of the brambles are gone.