Monday, 30 July 2007


Looks a bit shapeless at the moment! ignore that, and in fact it looks quite good!! I've enjoyed knitting with this yarn although its not easy to keep a grip on the needles and I think my tension is less consistant than I'd normally expect to achieve.
The back is complete and I've reached the increase (shaping) section on the front section. Rather worryingly I came downstairs this morning to find my knitting on the floor! hmm. I wonder which of the cats (BERTIE) that could be?

Happy Birthday!

Today is our son's 12th Birthday! with no special requests we decided on a mix of gifts which he opened this morning and seemed to appreciate!
As we'd played a lot of ludo on our holiday, we couldn't resist buying him a special 3D version signed "from the cats with thanks for putting us in the cattery!"
Tonight we plan to go out for a pizza to celebrate; later he has requested taking some school friends to see the Simpsons film but that will have to be planned carefully as I'm back to my normal weekend working routine this week.
From September we are having changes at work, and will now be on a rota which will involve fewer weekends and will be better for a more balanced family life.
I actually enjoy working weekends but it is hard to fit everything in and inevitably the entertainment of the children falls to Les!
Sponge cake chilling in the fridge for blowing out candles later when Les arrives home, we'll catch up with other family later next weekend I expect! Returning from holiday this close to his birthday has meant we've not been able to host the usual get-together.
Happy Birthday, Matthew!!

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Back to knitting!

Took my knitting with me and managed to get a fair bit done to my sirdar just bamboo top. finished the back and started on the front. I'll upload a photo later on.
Slightly concerned, however, with the yarn!
My very good friend, Ann, had reported a discrepancy with her yarn a week or two earlier in which she'd noticed one part was "thinner" and had her money refunded and the partially knitted garment sent off to Sirdar for inspection!
On my 3rd ball, I too suddenly noticed a distinct "lustrousness" (think I just made that up, btw) in the yarn and sure enough! it felt "thicker" than previous knitting.
I have decided to carry on with my project as I just can't take another one back for a refund! but I will email Sirdar and speak with their knitting advisor, Sue, and report back on their reply!

My Rowan membership pack arrived just in time for me to take and read on the holiday! I'm due for their magazine/booklet in August, I shall look forward to that! Read my Simply Knitting magazine from cover to cover too! and enjoyed a couple of library books themed on knitting!

I plan this week to settle down to finish my sirdar top and the socks too!

Miserable weather!

Not much to say about the holiday really. on account of the RAIN. miserable weather!
Miserable kids. too. it started off pretty miserably with the fiasco at the cattery! Lilly and Bertie suspected something was up when we started packing the cases and immediately disappeared and had to be grasped by the scruffs of their necks to force them into their cat carrier!
Our aim was to leave early and we'd made special arrangement for the cattery to receive the cats at 8.30am instead of the usual 2.30pm. on the dot at 8.30am we rang the bell! the Manager arrived 3 mins later and promptly put a dampner on the proceedings by asking for the vets certificates! yikes! left the yowling cats AND the lads at the cattery and dashed home. dashed back. one hour later we were off! in the pouring rain on our HOLIDAYS!
nothing. I thought, could be worse than travelling with young children. except, perhaps, travelling with OLDER children. at least when small they sleep. at rising 12 and 15 they just WHINGE.
still we made good time and passed through one or two flooded areas and the rain FINALLY (and briefly as it happens) STOPPED!
We'd gone with a positive frame of mind to make the best of it. taken books, games consoles and knitting and LUDO. After 3 days Les discovered we actually had more channels on the tiny tv! but by then we'd all decided books and ludo were more fun!!
Sadly the weather was pretty poor and we only managed the beach a couple of times.
Had a few nice meals, had one or two good walks.
Glad all in all to be HOME mind!
Couple of shots giving a general impression of our weeks holiday in one of Les's colleagues caravans in Skegness.

Summer Holidays! hurrah!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Getting to know you!

I'm thrilled to see that I have a few visitors reading my new blog! (and hopfully enjoying it!) Please do use the "comment" box if you'd like to leave any comments for me.
Perhaps if you too have a blog, or enjoy other blogs/sites you think I might, you would share those too?
I love polls!
Anyone who knows me KNOWS this!! do you? please do check out the polls at the end of the page, and vote - most are set to accept multiple choices too!
Recently I discussed with my long standing friend the interest "generally" in crafting, knitting and sewing in particular and we decided between us that it seems generally more "trendy" to knit than sew, and mostly those that DO sew, sew "practically" rather than "aspirationally".
Which I think is a shame! sew much fun to be had from enjoying a craft like sewing and I'd like more people to see beyond turning their families jeans up and mending clothes!
Spoke to to a lady who confessed her NEW sewing machine was STILL in its box after 5 years .. yes FIVE YEARS! now how someone could actually leave their super brand new machine IN a box this length of time is beyond me, and how they could AFFORD to do this is another! It does seem that some do!
Sewing and Knitting for me is more than just a leisure activitiy, it is a passion (perhaps even an obssession?) how about you?
Perhaps you'd like to comment on what your craft activitiy means to you?

Finally, the Sirdar Just Bamboo top is coming along nicely, the yarn takes some getting used to and requires a firm "grip" to maintain accurate tension but the drape of the knitting off the needles is rather nice and I like the effect of it, about 1/3 way up the back, plan to take it on holiday with me this weekend!
The socks are coming along nicely, I've nearly reached the toe shaping and starting to plan which I shall do next! I fancy trying a diferent pattern and can't decide yet which one!!

sigh. my email is causing me bother. again. somehow I'm blocked. annoying, as I know I have incoming mail from Carol with some info and embroidery files for a project and, hopefully, two replies from Sirdar and Rowan regarding queries!

Holiday starts this weekend! the cats are off to the cattery for a week, and we're off to Skegness for a week in a caravan! Clothes are almost ironed and packing is underway! Les announced that he's off to play tennis! tonight! as HE has "completed his chores". hmmm. WHY, is it, that men seem to think they need ONLY be responsible for THEIR clothes/packing? WHO I wonder made it sew, that WE are responsible for the family clothes/packing then?? Not to MENTION organising camera equipment, recharging plugs and sun cream!

Newest issue of Threads magazine arrived this week! hoping that latest ed. of Simply Knitting will arrive tomorrow too! that ought to sort my holiday reading! Selected 4 books from the local library too just in case the weather IS grim!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Trouble with knitting ..

The trouble WITH knitting is its a lot of time and effort to see IF its going to FIT you .. as compared to sewing, I mean. Although a cyber knitting pal DID point out is an awful lot easier to undo or "frog" and reknit. if one could be bothered .. that is ..
My very good sewing friend, Ann, has shared with me a very useful TIP! SHE knits up a "front" first rather than the "back" as its less stitches cast on to check for things like the fit, and has done a sleeve too for the same reason.
I thought this to be very excellent and sensible!!
Sadly she's had bad luck with HER knitting, also using Sirdar Just Bamboo; half way through her project she discovered that the yarn appears to be "faulty". Some of the balls are "thinner" and are not fully noticeable unless you (apparently) peer at it under microscope!
HERS has gone back to the shop! for refund in monies and the whole batch gone off to Sirdar for examination!
Which leaves ME wondering will I ever ACTUALLY finish a project? or am I doomed to be starting something I never actually finish!!
the OTHER trouble with knitting . is that one keeps getting sidetracked!
Today I received my "welcome gift" from joining the Rowan International Club! a rather nice pair of patterns and yarn in cotton which I shall knit (eventually) as a shawl. I shall look forward to receiving my magazine in August too!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Clothes shopping with the family

NIGHTMARE shopping trip on Saturday. normally I work at the weekends but on this occasion I booked a day off especially to take my children CLOTHES and MOBILE PHONE shopping!
Any of you who has done this with a pre teen and an actual teen will know just what I went through. Won't bore you with the details suffice it to say I wasn't the ONLY mum stood outside the changing rooms gritting teeth and hissing in sing song voice to disguise the threat, that this had BETTER damn well fit and suit you!!!
Had a nice pub meal afterwards as we couldn't face the trauma of moody faces over vegetables and had chips AND chocolate cake instead - besides with days to go, its hardly going to make any difference to my pre holiday diet, now is it?
Usually I attempt to lose weight for "the holiday" but this year, I don't know, is it the weather? the fact that is not a fortnight in the sunshine abroad? that its only a week? or just the thought OF a whole week stuck in a caravan WITH a moody and surly pair of teens, anyway I've not bothered to diet, particularly, and now is far too late of course to regret it!
We frightened the branch manager in carphone warehouse with our mobile phone requests, this man clearly has NOT got teens in his household. after 20mins he suggested that we let HIM go for a break and a quiet sit down to recover! eventually we left with a pair of phones and a £20 discount on account of stress. (his. we're used to it by now. and are mostly able to rise above it through visualisations of whats to come: ie LARGE gin and tonics).
anyway, the lads are sorted with new phones, and I've inherited Andrew's old one which looks rather "posh" to me but mostly because its silver and has a flip top lid.
I would take a photo of it, but have been advised to keep it well hidden and if caught actually holding it to pretend I've just somehow found it and deny all connections to it. I'm NOT, apparently, under ANY circumstances to lead anyone to understand this USED to be my son's phone. he has disassociated himself completely from it. I don't know why. quite. I mean it DOES look quite posh!

Summer Holiday Knitting Sirdar Just Bamboo!

How could I resist? a 25% sale included the yarn and pattern! and I need yarn and pattern (?) for my holiday! alright. I just NEED yarn and pattern! The Patons cotton went back for a refund and instead I selected Sirdar leaflet 8874 and Just Bamboo shade 0113 a beautiful soft blue!
An evening of tension followed as I attempted to get my tension swatch to match that recommended using sized 5.5mm plastic needles!
the plastic needles have been replaced with smart new bamboo pair! and I made a start last night after work having decided that, instead, I'll make up the next size UP and hope it fits!!
the yarn is SCRUMMY to knit up, wonderfully soft, its not like anything I've knitted with previously but the effect is lovely and not at all what you might expect.
This is a simple top and I hope to take it with me next week on our caravan holiday just in case the weather is poor!
the rather super little panel is one sent to me years ago from a cyber sewing pal and with my new interest in all things quilty, I practiced my free mot quilting and combined some decorative stitches and can't decide what best to do with it! I'm thinking of making it into a bag, perhaps? its too nice to not complete, but am not sure quite what to do with it!

Bags and lessons!

This week a very good sewing friend whom I nearly met! and should have met with! very recently but circumstances prevented it on this occasion, decided to run a lesson a basic bag making using a pattern of hers with a rather unusual base and an attractive lining finish.
Having made only a couple of rather ordinary bags, I decided to join in! Initially I felt slightly sick at the pattern drafting involved! but once underway, the bag came together SEW wonderfully that I was immediately inspired to make a couple more!
Carol promises to help me design my own version which I'd like a little larger and with a flap and once I'm back off my holiday I think I'll try and work this out!
I absolutely LOVE the method of construction and used a variety of my machine "feet" too.
Of course I had my "assistant" helping me!
its rather disconcerting to turn around and find your cat sat there with a mouthful of PINS! but he does SEW enjoy helping me!

Monday, 9 July 2007

NOT The Summer Holiday

Since we're NOT officially having a "summer holiday" abroad this year (tedious matter like FINANCES and new car and switching bedrooms!) thought I'd cheer myself up by looking through last summer's holidays snaps.

Well. I'm not particularly cheered. but never mind, there's always a hope the RAIN will cease and caravan week in Skegness will be just as ..
Taken on the last day, this is Les and I enjoying our marvellous icecream dessert with Matthew, just, in the corner! and the thumb is Andrew's who is taking the photo!!
The lads look nervously at the sea, its not going to be AS nice nor warm this year!


Remember school sports day?
As neither of my children were due to actually compete this year, I gave it a miss and stayed home instead! Andrew, however, was called upon to stand in for the 800m on account of his friend changed his mind and refused to take part! He came in 4th position, beaten, he said, by 3 French girls on exchange trip with classmates whom he said were "very fit! mum!"

(I'm HOPING he means their overall physical fitness. and not necessarily their fanciable fitness! on the other hand, at this stage of development, a sign OF interest in "girls" would be rather welcomed!!).

Joined the CLUB! (Rowan)

Overcame my anxiety about buying things from a pc in my own home and joined the Rowan International Club! sounds rather grand! their prices have reduced for a membership which includes free pattern/yarn and access for MORE free patterns!
I very much enjoyed knitting this beaded bag using a Rowan Cotton and their beads and have my eye on a pattern using their soft bamboo too! but I MUST resist!
For the coming winter, I have the marvellous self stripe sideways knit cardigan to look forward to, the colours are SCRUMMY and I'm assured are guaranteed to come out beautifully striped as per the pattern!
The kit, along with the socks previously mentioned, come from LYS exhibiting at the NEC - Sewing for Pleasure earlier this year, a very nice shop indeed!
My friend and colleague who is a Consultant for Rowan, Sally, often attends their knitting group though I've yet to visit in person, I keep this bookmarked for reference and subscribe to their email notices.

Yay! I added Val!

After years posting on various forums and groups, you'd think I'd be better at it!
At last I've managed, I hope, to add the link to Val's rather wonderful and very colourful blog!
I should, perhaps, curtsey? or perhaps offer to do the dusting?
maybe I'll uncork the wine .. instead ..

About the only dyeing I've ever done has been to fling some rather threadbare faded towels into the washing machine with a pack of dylon in rich shade of raspberry after 2 hours I managed to effect a shade I'd expect from a raspberry home grown in our household, but sadly it didn't improve the thread count .. never mind eh ..
All you might want to know or to experience is all on Val's website and blog!

Now to work out how to link some knitting blogs I enjoy.
I wonder. Am I supposed to "ask"? first? I mean. before shouting to the world I READ THIS! LOOK! and give directions to everyone to someone's blog?
If I break any blog rules, remember I'm new and as such exempt!
(and TELL me! please?).

On theme of furthering ones education and enjoying hobbies shared with others, with all local classes now closed due to lack of commitment on behalf of "the authorities" I now find myself joining in with "knitting circles" and "quilt clubs".
We're on our 3rd attempt to set up a successful local knit'n'chat now back into our local area after the city centre failed to take off it looks like just one or two rather sad but committed of us are resolved to being a pair of lonely knitters!!
It doesn't help that friends and family shriek and stuff their fingers in their mouths when you MENTION "knitting circles" before backing away ..

Happily the quilt club which meets monthly is very well attended and I've finished my "homework" task which was to trial a technique of sashing a mini quilt as I go as warm up to tackling my larger ongoing quilt project.

Summer holiday looms! and I must get organised and work out my priorities! on the cutting table currently are a bag lesson I'm committed to, a jacket I'm working on improving the fit of, a couple of trouser patterns I'm working up the confidence to tackle and plenty MORE sit in a box near the cutting table!

Busy .. busy .. busy ..

Pony Tales and childhood memories

Regretably I cannot get my printer to scan for me some photo's I wanted to share. While I wait for it co-operate I thought I'd list some thoughts and memories:

Candy was born on 5th May 1974 - final foal born to my first ever pony, Zillie, whom we had not realised was in-foal at time of purchase and was passed over to my now Late Mother as "her" pony. A dun Welsh cob type, she was a playful filly who became one of the family after an accident left her in need of round the clock care when she nearly ripped her eyelid off and Vets advice was to have her put down!
My Mother wasn't going to agree to this without exploring all avenues and we were put into 24hr rota's to "watch" her. All I remember, at the time, was NO SCHOOL! YAY!! OFFICIALLY NO SCHOOL!!
Candy has gone on to have a very full and useful life retiring out to stableyard/farm on behalf of a scheme that takes on retired horse/ponies for a riding for disabled scheme. At 33yrs she is the oldest retired pony they've had and the lady responsible for her wellfare currently, promises that she has been much loved and it is only out of kindness and following Vet's reluctant advice that she will be put down before next winter as it is not going to be fair on her to do otherwise.

I enjoyed my childhood very much in respect of our collection of ponies and horse over the years and indeed it is a time of personal reflection as we come to say our goodbyes to Candy in terms of, perhaps, a goodbye to childhood memories too! The photo's are a wonderful collection of our family and this afternoon I shall spend a leisurely hour or two looking through them before packing in their battered old suitcase where they "live".

For me, its a time of reflection and not necessarily sadness; such losses and upheavals are inevitable at "our" age - aren't they? I find myself protecting my OWN children where once I too was protected, which is what "mothers" do, after all! Life as they say, does indeed carry on around you!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The Patons Cotton went back for a full refund. (instead I've set aside 10balls of Jaeger "Aqua" in hot pink!). MUST focus on next project, tempted to start the Debbie Bliss.
This evening we ate Andrew's broccoli for dinner! (after I'd eaten my portion this information was relayed, I said I hoped it had been WASHED THOROUGHLY prior to cooking? yes. It had. apparently was covered in "slime". felt slightly queasy. somehow Tesco fruit and veg aisle is looking attractive again ..)

Plans next week include pre holiday clothes shopping for the family. I am dreading this. our 11yr old has informed us he wants "black". and belts/wrist strap things with studs. and could he dye his very fine and blonde hair BLACK.

I think we may have "issues" with our youngest son! who has become "moody" (moodIER). and I am reminded of my Late Mother's experiences with me! I hope, however, to do better than her which shouldn't be too hard to achieve!

Sadly we hear the news that our childhood pony who is a great age, is at the stage at which it is kinder by vets' opinion "put down". Rather sad to hear this. Plan to sort some "pony" pictures next few days and might scan some in and share here!
Candy was rather a "character" but has had a good and long life. End of an era! closure too?

Friday, 6 July 2007

Have you noticed how nothing lasts anymore?

Six months past its guarantee, the wash/mach broke down. New one is now whining at me in suspiciously highpitched whir during spin that I'm sure it didn't do last week.
All I need is my household appliances whining at me.
Wish the tv would break down (not).
We waited 11yrs for our old one to break down and finally, gratefully, it obliged! at last! we could rush out and buy a sleek widescreen with chunky legs and a dolby sound system! Just as we felt "fashionable" prices on plasma's and lcd's crashed! and now we're waiting for this one to go ..
Not just household appliances, food too, have you noticed it doesn't taste of anything and doesn't last long either!
Am I allowed to mention? I'm going to anyway. TESCO. I'm fed up with throwing out half a punnet of over ripe and mouldy peaches two days after I checked and they were yellow and hard as bullets too! In the bin half the cherry tomatoes and closely followed by several flaming grapes with mould on them!
Telephoned the supermarket to ask what they suggested I put on my plate for lunch as half my groceries were fit for the compost bin only! Customer Service assistant suggested a refund. next time I'm in. (I'm not sure I want to go back! as this isn't a one off). (I'm sure I didn't used to throw food out like this? have we stopped using preservatives and flavourings do you suppose?).

Dh would like us to use the local market shop. I would too. Only next time I'd like change from £30 for a few apples, pears and carrots! With a pair of growing teenage lads that eat fruit like it grows on trees, I can get through a general bag of apples in a day!

Whats in our garden?

aside from a load of weeds, rotting vegetables and highly unusual herbs and lazy cats. not much else. Except we DID buy a new set of garden furniture and a rather swish huge BBQ. Perhaps THATS why we've had non stop rain?
We're not gardeners in our family, though the children are attracted to the idea of growing "things". In the past we've had tomatoes and raspberries, this time we've got dodgy vegetables and unusable I mean unusual herbs (pineapple sage, what that is).
Still. the CATS enjoy the garden.

Family Celebrations

David's off to Prague to celebrate his birthday this weekend with his girlfriend and friends, handcrafted themed card on its way!
Happy Birthday also this month to our youngest son who will be 12yrs.

A little bit about ME! and MINE!

I aim to keep this blog as an area to share my passion for craft, but a little snippet about me and mine:
We have two sons now aged rising 12 and 14yrs, both generally good lads, doing well at school and getting on well with each other. We are a small family and generally keep ourselves to ourselves, it would be nice to have a larger or extended family particularly at times like birthdays or Christmas, but it doesn't half keep the expenses down not having zillions of relations!
I have four cousins with one married with twin daughters, and two sil's each with two grownup children apiece but no more "children" and none in the immediate family!
This disappoints me, I'd like a wedding to diet for! and I'd like a niece to knit and sew in PINK with FRILLS, but I don't think this is going to happen anytime soon!
Two brothers, each with long term live in partners, one male and one female, though not especially local they both live within easy reach and of course we see each other less than perhaps we "ought"! Having said that, we get on well and can count on each other's support when needed.
(my need, technically wise, is rather great which is probably dreaded in the main BY the brothers!)
I grew up with pets which included ponies as well as dogs and cat and one time MICE! (no really, they WERE purchased and not caught under the sink in traps!!) but with a husband less keen on pets having not grown up with any, we have not in our family until now had any animals.
Last year, ironically for dh's birthday! we were given the terrific news we were approved by the Cats Protection for adoption by two semi ferral kittens, Bertie and Lilly!
We don't know what we'd do without them now! they are little characters and we love them very much!
the pic above show Lilly, the smaller of the cats.

To The Future!

IN the future, I shall a/ pay more attention to what I WANT to knit and b/ not rush into something without checking FIRST I can do the pattern and also I like the yarn and shade! oh! and c/ that it will suit me and that I will wear it!
the NEXT project, I will wear!
Waiting for the pattern, on order, but in anticipation! here's a sneaky peek at my YUMMY SCRUMMY Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in colourway 27008 purchased on a half price offer WHO could resist! not me!!
My new thinking is that I have not, sew far, lost my excess weight despite years of trying and therefore covering up in shades of black, navy and grey as well as being DULL is also rather frumpish! choosing, too, dull and frumpy styles both in sewing and knitting is also going to CHANGE!
Do you like the colour? I think its lovely and will complement my greying hair I hope!!
the yarn is 100% pure silk and a luxury purchase for me!. BUT I'M WORTH IT!
The Assistant?
oh. thats one of our cats! Bertie! New to the family last year we finally decided to give in and get our children "pets"
More on the pets next!
Must mop up the drool from the YUMMY SCRUMMY SILK! blissssss!
I might be carrying too many lbs, I might have greying hair, but I'm still worth the luxury of a little yarn or fabric that IS luxurious!
(I'll let you know how I feel after I've knitted it!!).

On going and Future knitting projects

OTN but soon to be OFF and yarn back to store for refund! is my wrap lace patterned cardigan in Patons 100% cotton.
Originally unsure about this, I soon got into the 2row pattern, however hit a bad patch on the shaping for the "back" which unsettled me. Continuing on with the left front, and experiencing problems with the shaping here, soon made me feel like putting it down!
All knitters will know, that once a project is put down, its hard to pick back up! with any enthusiasm!
A good long hard talking to myself made me realise that a/ I'm not enjoying KNITTING this project and b/ I'm not thrilled I chose a BLAND colour (or non colour) and c/ I'm not convinced this style will SUIT me and therefore, concluded, I'm NOT particularly enjoying knitting it, I'm NOT particularly thrilled with the shade and I'm NOT convinced I'll actually wear it!
I shall take the remaining yarn back for refund and pretend it never happened!
btw, the fabric under the photo's is the backing to my ongoing quilt project which you'll see the FRONT of to the right by my profile (hopefully).
(this too is a project that WOULD go back for refund if it COULD ..)


After wanting to try sock knitting for some time I got the chance when attending a local sewing show where one of the exhibitors had a "sock kit" on offer!
I was hooked! the first pair, a tiger stripe, took me ages to work out HOW to use the tiny DPN's more like cocktail sticks than knitting pins! and all those tiny markers! and remembering where I was and when to increase and decrease!
Turning the heel was the turning point for me! that just DID IT! I was hooked! and after a successful attempt at the kitcheners graft toe to finish, I couldn't wait to start another pair!
My son announced them to be MARVELLOUS and requested a pair in blue stripe and as you can see, I'm already on my 3rd pair with another two balls of yarn just waiting!
I was lucky to find a local ebay seller just several minutes from home who is a passionate sock knitter - I spent a lot of money in a very short time!!

Finding my feet, sorting myself

After a lot of time spent THINKING about it, have finally decided to DO IT!
yay! I've just created a "blog"!
(I hope, sew, anyway! I pressed a lot of buttons which indicate I'm here! I've arrived!?)

I hope to use my blog as a personal space to record from time to time my progress and share some of the enjoyment from my knitting and sewing projects.
I'd love, also, to share with other like minded bloggers too!

I expect it will take me some time to get used to things, bear with me while I sort myself out and learn how to update and put photo's up etc!