Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Secret packages and giving up

The only thing that made me get out of bed this morning was the fact that I was sure a package from my SP would be waiting for me at work. [The headache is finally gone now (touch wood) and I have been able to eat something other than toast. Always a good thing.]
There was no room for sock knitting on the train this morning, so I spent the time wondering what might be in the package. I didn't guess right at all but I certainly wasn't disappointed. Take a peek on the left and you will see (from L-R) there is a set of Sanctuary bath soak, scrub, candle and body balm. So luxurious. Some hand made stitch markers - some are little cat faces and other red stars - you can never have too many stitch markers (esp when knitting a Clapotis). Simply Noro pattern book by Jane Ellison. Brittany 4.5mm needles which are truely the most amazing needles I have ever held. I can't wait to try them. Finally a little card of the Mona Lisa knitting... very amusing. She is definately smiling :0) Thank you SP. It was a fab present.
Of course I was sold by the stripy throw on the front of the Noro book, but there are so many lovely patterns in there. I think the jumper called Earnshaw is my other favourite. Here is a little peek. I think making something from here will have to wait a little while as there are so many other projects waiting in the wings.
Talking of projects, here is the Clapotis after 6 drops. It is getting a bit unmanagable to take anywhere with me now so it will definately have to be "in front of the TV" knitting. It's going well so far and it is so gorgeous to touch. I know I am going to be tempted to buy some more of this silk at the weekend from Kerrie.

And what about the giving up? It's me. I am giving up 3 things for Lent. I'm not a religious person but years of living with Christians at uni and since have taught me that giving up something for Lent is a very good exercise in self control. There is a big debate on giving up things (esp alcohol) for Lent on the BBC Magazine today. I have decided to repeat last years effort and give up chocolate and chips. However I am adding alcohol to this list also. I don't eat a lot of chips and I don't particularly drink in excess (not anymore) but the two tend to go hand in hand. When I drink beer after work I want chips on the way home. I figure it will be easier to give up both! It is also a much needed health kick (as I do eat lots of chocolate). Wish me luck. With that in mind, I'm off to indulge in pancakes. I've never made them for one before so there are bound to be hundreds, but never mind!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Another sock

I'm feeling a bit under the weather so I will make this a quick one. For some reason my head won't stop aching, it has been doing it constantly since Saturday evening when I cried at "Million Dollar Baby". You'd think those beautiful flowers would make me better wouldn't you? A present from TT when he arrived on Friday.
He spent the weekend fitting skirting, architrive and doors and I spent it baking a belated birthday cake for him (see crumbs in flowers photo) and an extra special 60th birthday cake for his dad. The 60th cake is complete with a picture of him when about 20 in full mod gear made into icing. I haven't got a pic of it at the moment but I will have to get one. Unfortunately cake no.1 for TT's dad was a bit of a disaster (a little overcooked - and would compete well with the bread the kid throws at the ducks in "about a boy") but I have hopefully come up trumps with my good old Christmas Cake recipe. It did feel a bit wrong smelling Christmas cake cooking on Saturday morning however!
Here is a little picture of a half finished pair of commuter socks. I did cheat a bit and do about the last 3 rows last night but the rest of them were done on the train/tube. Something I am quite proud of. Certainly a good use of my time. They are made in the wool my SP sent to me using the pattern from the March edition of Simply Knitting. The heel and the bottom is knitted in twisted stocking stitch, doesn't come out too well in the photo but it does seem more sturdy than ordinary ss.
The Clapotis is coming along nicely. I have done 6 drops now. Photos tomorrow maybe. Don't think it will be ready to show Kerrie at her opening of the Hipknits shop this weekend. I am planning on visiting friends in Hertford on Friday night and then me and Kel will make the trip over there on Saturday. I'm very excited for her. She also has a pattern and an interview in the latest Simply Knitting which arrived today. I might make the Bolero for my friend N's daughters birthday at the end of March.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

More wool than you can shake a stick at....

Even if you are a man with a stick.
I have been a bit naughty this week. With the promise of my bonus next Tuesday and an early finish I have been doing a ickle bit of shopping. Oops.
I did a little ebay shopping at the weekend, well in fact I bid on a couple of things last week never expecting to win them. However 4 balls of Noro Kureyon, two in the shade of my Booga Bag and two in shade 40 (blues, greens and brown) arrived for a song. Also from ebay were the beautiful stitch markers Stacey made. I love them. So much so, on Wednesday after work I went to investigate a shop I had heard tales of in Covent Garden. I walked their from work, as Bank station was closed and I decided I needed the exercise. I was cold and tired by the time I arrived but boy, I was not disappointed. I came out armed with beads galore and some other stitch marker making goodies.

Here are my first attempts. After that I couldn't resist a little trip to John Lewis. I was shocked to find that they actually had some stock, usually when I go it is packed with people and there are about 3 balls of wool on the shelves. Anyway, I have decided to make a version of the Wild Stripes Blanket from Knitty for my friend Cath's baby (due at the end of May). She wanted something bright, and this sure fits the bill. I have been admiring pictures of it on other blogs and have decided it is the right option.

Here are the colours I will be using. I need to plan out what colours to use where, but there is plenty of time yet.

The other thing I bought was some more Noro Kureyon for another Booga Bag. This time it is planned as a thank you present to Kate for the print of her latest artwork she is doing for me. I think these colours are perfect for her as she spent the entire weekend wearing green and/or mustard.
Work on the sock is going well. Only 2 more rows till the toe shaping. All knitted on the train/tube/bus. They are really commuter socks. Photos tomorrow maybe.
The Clapotis now has 4 dropped stitches, it was nearly 5 but I got too engrossed in E.R. tonight and had to put it down. Time for bed me thinks, my last day of 5.30am wake up calls for 5 weeks. It really hasn't been anywhere as bad as I thought it would be. Fence painting this weekend, keep your fingers crossed for better weather than we've had today. It was snowing earlier.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Why do I still live in London...

When I could wake up to a view like this every morning? How beautiful is that? It is what I saw when I opened my eyes in Hebden Bridge on Saturday morning. A lovely weekend was had with some very good friends who I don't see as often as I would like to. We went walking, ate curry and drank beer, and even had a little culture at the Dean Clough gallery in Halifax.

The knitting on the train went quite well too.
On the left is a little bit of an upside down picture of the
Clapotis. I've done the first straight row and dropped my first stitch (which you can't really see but never mind). On the right is the start of my commuter knitting - a sock with the wool my SP sent me using the pattern from the March edition of Simply Knitting. I'm doing the early shift this week, so there is noone about to stare too much. However I am worried that as the week progresses and the knitting gets harder things may go horribly wrong if I knit at 6am. Maybe I will have to save it for the journey home. Hope all you Olympians are on the home straight.....

Friday, February 17, 2006

A big cheer to all the Olympians

Ooooh I forgot, I was going to send a big cheer to all of those Olympic Knitters for the week ahead. Go Team GB, go Team Clapotis, go Mary - they look like the most complicated mittens ever. And three cheers and lots of encouragement to everyone else - see the list of teams.

All set

Right, I'm all set for my treck up north... well not quite as I realised I have forgotten my toothbrush, but a quick trip to Boots on the way to the tube can sort that. I have the Clapotis; only one more increase set to go, I did some good knitting last night when Knit Club came to Mitcham again. This time we had 4 members as K came with a friend from work in tow. I also have the sock yarn my SP sent, along with the needles and also the pattern from Simply Knitting. How much do you reckon I'll get done in 8 hours (in total) on the train?
It's turned into a beautiful afternoon in London. I'll have to get a picture out of my office window as I am on the 17th floor looking out over St Pauls and the river. So much better than the London Eye! Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Le Clapotis

I have no idea if it should be Le or La or even if it is a noun at all. Any ideas K?
Here it is all 3 increase repeats of it so far in the yummy Hipknits silk. I am now tempted to buy some more stitch markers too after seeing these. Aren't they gorgeous. Thanks for the comment or I would never have seen your site!
Oh, and how are you liking my new sofa? Complete with my fluffy Mongolian fur cushion peeking in the background... a Christmas present from TT.
It was his birthday on Monday, unfortunately the only thing knitted was his bday card. I think I even forgot to take a photo. Oh well. One day I will think of something good to make him that he may actually wear (as long as it is not wool I will be safe). He has gone out for dinner with his parents and sister today. I am a bit sad that I am so far away that I don't get to go too; however I have had him to myself for over a week so i can't really complain. Plus we did go to "The Best Pizza Place South Of the River"TM to eat on his actual birthday. Go there. You will not be disappointed.
What else, oh yes, the wool I bought from Kerry Woollen Mills. Here it is. I bought 400g (two skeins) of cream (undyed) and 800g (4 skeins) of a gorgeous purple. The cream skeins are destined from my SP along with the wool fat soap but I am undecided on what the purple skeins are destined to become. I really want to make a tank top. However I think that I will probably make this from the alpaca I have placed with Yarnsmith. So I have to get my thinking cap on. Any ideas?
It is knit club at mine tomorrow, so maybe I'll have more photos for you. Then I'm off "ooop north" this weekend to Hebden Bridge to visit some good friends I haven't seen for far far too long; D&K. I told K about my socks today and sent her the photo, she thinks I am hilarious. It is good to be able to do something crafty as K is the most artistic person I know. Check out her fantastic works of art. Hoping to get lots of knitting done on the train, I think I might start on the socks from the wool my SP sent me with the pattern from the March Simply Knitting. I reckon the Clapotis might be a bit too big to try and transport around. Of course I am also very eager to start my next pair of socks. What is it about them?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Left Right, Right Wrong

Here are my first socks! As you experienced sock knitters out there can tell, the one on the right is a bit wrong. This was sock number one. I knew something wasn't right when I came to the toe shaping and I just didn't have enough stitches where I should. It has ended up with the shaping on the top rather than on the sides, like the second one. But really, it fits, it was my first attempt, I know where I went wrong so I don't care!

TT and I had a wonderful time in Ireland. Killarney and the surrounding area is beautiful. We were even blessed with some good weather, take a look at this photo. It could be summer not February. This is taken from Valentia Island right at the tip of the Iveragh Peninsula in Kerry. The two little islands you can see to the right of the picture are the Skellig rocks. In the summer you can take boat trips out to these; according to Lonely Planet they are "bird paradise".
There are some more photos here if you would like to take a look.

Coming home was a bit of a let down.The flooring people had made a bit of a rubbish job in places. After much complaining and everyone blaming everyone else they have come and made a decent effort at fixing the problems. I have no luck whatsoever when it comes to builders/tradesmen. So, if you are thinking of Karndean flooring, I thoroughly recommend it; just don't get All Floors in Croydon to fit it. However, I have to put it behind me. I now have flooring throughout the whole flat, and my sofa's came yesterday too (and they are every bit as good as I expected). It finally feels like a home I want to be in! Oh yes, there are more things to do but we are on the finishing straight.

What else? Oh yes, my next project. I have been working on some handwarmers in the brown ribbon twist to match my scarf/hat/bag. I have one done as they are so quick. Going to start the other on the tube today. Then it is Clapotis.... or maybe something of my own design cooked up from some very lovely aran wool I bought in Ireland from Kerry Woollen Mills.... more on that later.

Happy Valentine's Day (in a loving non-commercial type way)

Friday, February 03, 2006

New floor

Look look look..... I finally have some proper floor in my flat. Since the event known as "The Flood" over Christmas last year I have been living in a building site/half finished flat. However, at last I am at the stage where the end is in sight and there will be no more plywood to walk on. I am very exciting about this. It looks fab too... however now I notice more than ever what a horrid colour the front door. Another nice project I see. Hopefully when I come home from work tonight it will be all finished. (Touch wood, as I never trust tradesmen.... I have had so many bad experiences).
I think I need to go back to TK Maxx and check out their stripey doormats again. I think that is what it is definately missing :0)
On the knitting front, I managed the front of TT's birthday card last night, pictures later just in case he decides to try and find out what I have been doing with my time. Oh and I got this picture yesterday of little S in his pullover. Not the best picture as it is from a camera phone but worth sharing.
Off to Killarney tomorrow. We are staying here. I hope it will be ok. Wish me luck with the driving! (and the sock knitting). Off to print out the Clapotis pattern.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

A sense of direction

After a night out with my dad on Tuesday I have finally realised where I get my obsession with directions, maps and knowing where I am going from. I absolutely hate it if someone else is in control of the directions. I hate surprises when I don't have a clue where I am being taken. If I am going on holiday I am not happy until I have a map. It turns out my dad is the same!
He came down from Wolverhampton on Tuesday evening as he had won some tickets on Capital Gold to see his most favourite band ever, The Hollies, play at Cafe du Paris just off Leicester square. Mom hates London so didn't want to come which meant I got to go. Horay! They were the band I always listened to as a child, as my dad had their records on constantly. We met up in Leicester Square, he had been there for a while even though I was 10 mins early. He had already been to find the venue (this is just the sort of thing I would do). After the concert, which was really good in a tiny little venue, I said we should walk upto Oxford Circus as Dad needed to get the central line. Obviously I knew where we were going, but he insisted on looking at his map! Then I took him on a little detour up Carnaby street, and he insisted on looking at his map again. I know if it was the other way around I would have been itching to see a map to get my bearings. Like father like daughter eh?
Anyway, on the knitting front nothing has been done since Monday morning. Here is the sock so far... hopefully I will manage to finish at least one on holiday!
I have also decided that if I can find some brown tweedy like wool I would like to make a tank top.
I was thinking lots of ribbing at the bottom and big v neck. Needs some more thought.