Sunday, 31 May 2009

First BBQ of the summer!

Good old no.2.son! doing a fab job minding the BBQ (just watch the smoke, love! don't set fire to the house!)

I'll umm, just relax with a G+T and umm dish out the orders from this lounger ..

The men. Gathering by the BBQ testing it out for temperature - I left them to get on with it, it all turned out ok in the end! came round on his bike for an impromptu afternoon in the garden but was unble to as he had a friend round for a weekend of gaming, beer & blu-ray!

Weather has been glorious this last week which has been great for us as its been half term and the lads were both home. School commences tomorrow - back to *normal*!

Lots of knitting activity this week! Cardi in DB pure silk is coming along brilliantly, am already starting to see me wearing this! Sock on ML has hit a slight problem and I have to frog a bit and HOPE can pick up the stitches - I mean pattern! gulp! (A couple of nights sleep to think about this and I feel confident of having a go tomorrow after the family are out of the house!).

Having lost around 8" off my hips I've decided to have another bash at some dressmaking! However I have around 4 summer weight bias skirts that I'm hoping I can adjust satisfactorily at the waist (elasticated) to fit well enough to see me through the present sunny hot spell and I spent two days unpicking seamed, zigzagged AND overlocked elastic x 4 times! grrr!
Hope to get these done best part of next week.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Always wanted one ..

I've always wanted one of these! but at full price I couldn't really (afford!) justify it as predominantly I'd want it for fusing interfacings! (although it is a whizz at pressing laundry too!) An opportunity came my way to purchase a nearly brand-new and hardly used one for £50!
I'm SEW excited I'm still pinching myself to believe my luck!

Absolutely loving the magic loop method of knitting my sock! Have got into the swing of it and find it dead easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and I've checked! not even any gaps or ladders at the join from side to side! how whizz is that!?

Celebrated our 15th Wed.Ann. last night with a few G+T's in the pub - we'd both had less than satisfactory days "work" related and a timely reminder courtesy of my by way of a card was the final straw, I mean deciding point!
We don't generally celebrate, as such, mostly because we don't often remember! Of course we remember the sort of date but usually we can't agree on the ACTUAL date, when my Mother was alive she would send us a card on the day and we just relied on her for the prompt!
Anyway, not quite believing how could actually have remembered the month never mind the date, dh decided to once and for all dig out the paperwork and confirm the date which he duly did and promptly announced he needed a drink!
And if my maths is to be trusted, this will be our 23rd year of living together - in this same house too - which is a very scary thought! how did that time go? and where did it go to?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Hurrarh! I'm doing it! I'm magic-looping!

Well! these might not stay OTN for long! (they've been ON! they've been OFF! so many times I've had to untangle and rewind the wool into a sort of 2nd mini-ball!)
I started off with the 2xcircs but really at 100cm these are too long for comfort.
I knew this when I bought them.
But I still bought them.
And now I've got them, I ought to use them!
Decided to try knitting with ONE circular - Magic Loop! - hurrah! if I can crack this, its another new to me technique!
Finding it hard to get my head around it but after an hours reknitting this morning after ripping last night's efforts, I think I'm ready to go!
I've got 6" or so of k3,p3 so that ought to be easy enough to get me going?

OTN is Kai-Mei - 1x 2.5mm circular
YARN is Noro Kureyon Sock Yarn
COL is S164 LOT E
From Sock Innovation, Cookie A

Also progressing very nicely is my Debbie Bliss Vintage Style Cardigan - the left front is complete and will cast on for right front later today.
Sock.2 on DPN's are also progressing slowly, but nicely!
Still not decided on my next project, in two minds between a super looking cardi in this month's Simply Knitting OR super looking shawl in one of The Knitter magazines - yarn will be the KSH that was abandoned during the winter months and I'm hopeful now the light is better (and my shoulder is better able to knit with!) that it'll be easier!

Half Term next week! and a Bank Holiday this weekend, we've no plans but at least I've lots of knitting to keep me going.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The socks are finished!

Hurrah! the socks are FINISHED! After a particularly lengthy Hospital appointment yesterday I finished shaping the toes and then did kitchener stitch when I got home. Just a short pair, and a simple "plain" pair of socks more to trial the technique of knitting 2socks x 2circular needles, I had already knitted a pair of Monkeys in this yarn and intended using the leftover to knit a sample sock but enjoyed it so much decided to buy another ball of yarn and knit a pair! If you remember, which I don't suppose you do! I had tried and failed to learn this technique and originally knitted just one sock before pulling myself together, gritting my teeth and just GETTING ON with it! I ended up frogging the first sock and recasting on a pair.

I'm glad I did! I'm inspired now to knit a patterned pair next time!
Maybe! even! try magic loop!?

Tempted by the Salzburg Twisted Stitch sock pattern on page 62 in the July edition of Yarn Forward .. sigh .. but also tempted, still, to knit from my latest Sock Innovation book too - so many patterns! so much yarn! I need to get a grip!

Enjoyed reading this months Yarn Forward which was my treat for the appointment earlier, I was tempted to buy some Rowan Calmer reduced to half price to cast on for Morning Echo, page 24, too - but! I resisted! phew! (memories of recent stash tidying)

Slipped in to House of Fraser and stayed for the Knit'n'Chat session for an hour's knitting and showed off my socks! admired the fair isle scarf, yummy cardi and interesting cushion being knitted by some of the other ladies and we talked mostly about health and ailments and nightmare hospital experiences! My own, on this occasion, was quite fruitful! I am to have my gall bladder removed! at last! someone has made a decision! (admitedly it was the surgeon, and that is his job! and perhaps he needed have looked quite as though rubbing hands at prospect OF another job .. but still, at least, it was a decision!).

Sunday, 17 May 2009

A crafty tidy up and some welcome P+Q for the weekend

This is how my weekend started! with a glass of wine and some peaceful knitting! bliss!
Dh took the lads "home" to Newcastle for the weekend for the match on Saturday and they stayed over at his sister's house; I, on the other hand, stayed home! Variety of reasons, the main one being for some welcome peace and quiet!
Now, its been many years (more than 23!) since I've actually lived on my own, and I'm not saying I'd want to live on my own, but if I were to find myself ON my own, it wouldn't be that big a deal! The prospect of a whole weekend home alone, with no tv, no hungry teenagers was too much for me to turn down!
I thought I'd do nothing! just sit! and knit! but in fact I decided to sort out and declutter the bathroom cupboards and clean bathroom while I was at it which set me in the mood for decluttering and cleaning!

FIRST my magazines! Every year I try to sort them out and recycle a few in order to make room for new ones, having let my subscriptions to some lapse and retain only Simply Knitting and added The Knitter I thought it would be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! In fact it took me 2hrs to sort through my extensive collection and eventually I managed to sort into one large box all the mags I definitely want to keep (which include 18months worth of Threads and about 6-9months worth of Sewing World and several Patchwork & Quilting mags including a few overseas mags too).

Bunged under my drop-leaf cutting out table a pile of "don't want to recyle but not necessarily attached that much" magazines in the hopes that I won't mind in a few months time moving these on!
And sorted into two piles a stack to be taken off to various waiting rooms, starting tomorrow with another Hospital appointment.

NEXT I turned my attention to the yarn! I had thought I'd tidy the sewing room but decided to start with the yarn and move onto the sewing but as that took up the rest of Saturday the room will have to wait until next week. Bertie, as you can see above, decided to help me. Note to self: DON'T leave entire stash of yarn on sofa while eating dinner in the other room and expect it to remain safe!

Bertie hopped it when he heard me return, and headed for the radiator shelf and made do with watching proceedings thereafter.

My stash laid out across the sofa! Fortunately I've been pretty good at curbing impulse to buy at random having been largely cured of this some years ago following a competition on a sewing forum.
Even so I had quite a lot of yarn and even more notions accessories and books, not to mention needles!

Luckily I have plenty of boxes and bags! Above you can see the free gift that came with my recent subscription to The Knitter, my loose patterns are stored in the underneath bit, notions in the side pockets and inside are the two freebie bags that came from old Simply Knitting as gifts that house my sock knitting project and bits and pieces, the other my crochet hooks and cable/circular needles.

My Super personalised knitting project bag custom embroidered and made by sewing-pal-Carol, above, contain the remainder of my knitty notions and current WIP's which include a nearly complete dish cloth that I'd forgotten I'd started!

The box on the left has bag of yarn for my next planned project (more on that later when I've decided WHICH of the two choices!) and the rather super laundry box on the right house the oddments and the sock yarn. This was a bargain costing me just £2 from £22 and is rather floral and fun and far too nice for boring laundry/household products!

Below are the rest of the bagged yarns and projects which will go back into plastic box when I finally sort out my sewing room next week! phew! I needed another glass after all that!

Apparently the family are about half way! they are just at the service station about to fill up with petrol and refuel with coffee and cola and rang to advise are starving hungry and could I make sandwiches for them!

Well I'm about to make the most of my remaining time, might pour another glass of wine and finish reading my book! Its been a super weekend and even some rather unsettling news that will affect me personally over the next few weeks hasn't spoiled the benefits of some time out alone. I feel quite relaxed and rather virtuous! I might even save a glass for dh ...

Monday, 11 May 2009

Some crafty activity!

Sorry! it makes more sense to read my next post below this FIRST! why do I always forget the order when posting twice? duh!)
Well it was inevitable, really, that I'd find some crafty place to visit!
On Saturday around 5pm we headed out toward this shop! The family left me for 45mins to explore (I explored the shop! and they explored the surroundings and found us a pub to relax over my new book purchase with a large and welcome G+T in the still warm and sunny early evening).

Couldn't resist reading my new book! Though no.2.son was slightly puzzled by why anyone would want to buy a book on socks!

Dh didn't get it either and it took ages to prise the book back off them!

The meal was lovely, too! and I took rather a time to select from the menu

The purchases!
The book!

Sock yarn!

2 pairs of lace circular needles for a project I have in mind from this month's The Knitter (more, later!) a packet of lockable stitch markers and ..

2 pairs of 2.5mm circulars for my socks! I've transferred them to my current basic sock which is just an inch away from toe shaping. I couldn't get want I really wanted in the 2.5mm's and these at 100cm are a bit longer than I really need but they are miles better to knit with than the rather nasty and cheapie ones from the market at least.

Finally! on Sunday, a trip to John Lewis, Oxford Street, and I bought a ball of Noro sock yarn which I've wanted for ages and ages and isn't sold locally - by now the family were thoroughly fed of me a/ finding crafty places to visit b/ reading and fondling crafty purchases and c/ spending all our money on crafty purchases!

Super weekend! and now really looking forward to next weeks trip to Newcastle to see what craftiness I can get up to there while the family attempt to enjoy one of the last remaining fixtures for NUFC (before they are relegated!?)

Weekend trip to London

We had an overnight stay in London hotel, The Hilton Metropole, this weekend as part of another of works' trip organised by the social club within the place dh works. These trips always offer terrific value for money and are generally popular and this one was no exception. A full coach load of us travelled down early Sat arriving around 11am and leaving Sun around 4.30pm.

We didn't actually go on the London Eye although we nearly chose it as part of the package with a trip to Madam Tussaud's museum as we thought one event each day would be quite enough to fit in and we decided to try and fit in with no.2.son's preferences on this occasion for various reasons. We did have a lovely walk that way and all agreed we'd do it next time! On Saturday evening we found a nice restaurant this way and enjoyed a meal.

On Sunday we went to The Dungeons! very scary! dh was slightly worried after he inadvertently let out an "oh! dear! (gulp)" which was picked up by one of the presenters - a rather fierce looking woman and no.1.son was put in the dock and found guilty of "being from Birmingham!!" and sentenced to a horrid end!

The weather was great on both days and we enjoyed a walk around one of the many fabulous parks before going into the museum.

Couldn't resist, of course, a pic with Robert Plant ! - sigh -

We enjoyed both actitivies and managed to find a couple of pubs to relax and enjoy a few G+T's too!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Another (miserable) Bank Holiday

I suppose we're lucky (?) that our lads at rising-14yrs and 16yrs will still come out with us for the day! (without too much of a fuss, I mean! although no.2.son can be a bit picky, they generally like tramping about the mud and hills and we had planned to walk over the Malvern Hills, but as the weather wasn't brilliant we decided to stay home and pop out after lunch to the Lickey Hills which is considerably more local!

Bluebells in the little wooded area, we had to stick to the main bridlepaths as it was considerably wet and muddy and I didn't fancy the job of cleaning trainers!
no.1.son sprinted all the way to the top of this steep hill (below) (you might be able to make out a tiny speck of a person?) and then ran all the way back down at frightening speed! oh to be young and fit again!

When I was the lads' age I used to ride all over the Lickeys with my step sister, Ruth, and my Late Mother it was one of our favourite rides and very popular at the time with the other people we used to regularly meet up with while out riding. You don't see anyone out now on ponies/horses these days, and its changed quite a bit over the years.
My no.2.stepfather, Graham, arranged for a tree to be planted in one of the woods for my Late Mother and we also scattered her ashes here too.

no.2.sock is OTN's at last!

I had almost forgotten about this pattern! such was my excitement at knitting the two socks on 2x circs (still on the go! another hospital appt this week ought to see the foot finished, and another appt next week out to see my toes shaped!)
Cast on over the bank holiday weekend and am loving this very easy to knit pattern!
Ann Budd - Seduction Sock - free from Knitting Daily ages ago!!

My shoulder is behaving itself and I'm taking advantage by knitting like mad while I still have the effects of the recent injection as I don't know how long it will last!!

Vintage Style Cardigan - Debbie Bliss

NOT terribly exciting! nor inspiring! I agree!
Cast on and started "Vintage Style Cardigan" around the Bank Holiday weekend I have hopes for this to be a nice knit!
13 skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, shade 27008, purchased for half price in a sale a year or so ago.
Three projects caught my eye from the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk Collection book but I decided on this one as a practical addition to my wardrobe which is now mostly empty! due to losing loads of weight and throwing out most of said wardrobe.
Nice yarn to knit with, it twists a bit and then goes all slubby and thick but just feels soooo nice!!

ha! a FINISHED project! (at last!)

At LAST! a finished knitted project!
"Amaya" knitted in Rowan Bamboo.
I shall wear this. (but won't particularly enjoy it!) ok. its just a bit shapeless! and it bags and sags somewhat! but it is a nice knitted garment - casual! in style and rather loose fitting and I'm certain it is growing - sagging and bagging AS I wear it!
I keep having this awful thought, that it might end up by my knees if I were to wear it out! gulp! (or! worse! that it might unravel and I might look down and find myself standing in a puddle of bamboo!)

OK. I've got it out of my system!
I've knitted two bamboo garments now and not had my expectations met never mind exceeded by either BUT this only cost me a few ££'s as it was a tremendous bargain and it was nice to knit up - and very quick and easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy!