Friday, 29 January 2010


My startitis is causing a bad case of not finishing anything. Oh dear. The terrible thing is I still have it, I am still struggling with an overwhelming urge to keep casting on new projects and going nowhere with them. I have made a decision that on Saturday I will do AT LEAST 20 rounds of my Rose Red and will focus all my knitterly attention on that. I must get it finished. When that is finished I might make a start on Ishbel though I do want to work on my cardigan. I’ll have a think about that.

I need to learn how to say no. I am rather a selfish knitter, as much as I want to talk about it with people and show off my WIPs and FOs at every possible opportunity ultimately I like to knit for myself. I’ll make the odd thing for others such as scarves for my mum and MIL, socks for the husband and baby gifts but about 80-90% of my knitting is for me. Terrible I know but I will look after it and love and cherish it so I think I deserve to be knit for! Others might shrink things or worse never even wear them. I learned this lesson in knitting a cardigan for one of DH’s little cousins and never even getting a thank you from the mother of said child.

Anyway the point I’m getting at is that my knitting is mostly for me and I like it that way. My lovely mum is mostly a process knitter and thoroughly enjoys knitting for others, she recently made me a beautiful cabled cardigan and has made me a lot of things in the past. I have knit her a scarf. I have however promised to knit her socks for her birthday as it’s on the short list of things she has never knit before, well not daytime socks on DPNs anyway, she has knit bedsocks on 2 needles. I don’t mind so much, she only wears a UK size 3 so it shouldn’t take too long and I know she’ll love and appreciate them. Yesterday I was showing off my circle socks to a lady in the office who asked me if I’d knit a pair for her daughter if she bought me the yarn. This is an adult daughter, she’s quite small and wears a size 4.5 so they wont be huge socks taking ages to knit BUT I could be knitting socks for me…or my husband. Why oh why did I say yes? I shouldn’t be so selfish but I am. There’s just the whole problem that people who don’t knit don’t understand the time and effort involved. It’s not about just paying for the yarn, what about the hours to actually knit the socks? I’ve made a bit of a booboo I fear. I can’t now turn around and say no and I wont but it will be a one off.

Speaking of socks I am now on the foot of the first Germany sock, they’re progressing nicely though the cuff is probably longer than it needed to be and I think I’ll make my next pair of stockinette socks with a shorter cuff. They’re looking good though, I’m excited to wear them and can’t wait to wear them in Germany. I have my next pair of patterned socks planned. I’m going to join the herd and knit some Monkeys, the pattern looks great and I’ve seen them done in variated yarns and think they look great so I’ll be using my precious Lauging Yaffle yarn for those. My next plain socks will be the ones for my mum, I plan to cast the both on at the same time on two sets of DPNs so I can work through them together and avoid SSS…not that I suffer from that greatly but it will mean I avoid it and it will probably feel like I’ve knit them quicker.

I promise my next post will have photos of my progress.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I appear to have a severe case of startitis...or is it cast-onitis? I don't know. I just want to start so many things. Last knit I cast on and knit the first two rows (so not much) of the sleeves for a cardigan (pattern from a magazine, pictures will come when I get my act together and take the photographs!) I followed someone's suggestion of knitting them two at a time so they match and there you go, I started. The thing is I haven't finished my Rose Red yet and was supposed to be finishing that before starting a new project, particularly before starting a large project. I am also on the instep decreases of the first of a new pair of socks for me but am itching to cast on socks for my mum's birthday so they're done in time.

Then there's Ishbel, that pattern is just calling to me and I'm struggling to ignore. It's my first "proper" lace project (the other lace being in the Rose Red but that's only a little bit of it) and whilst I've seen lots of lovely yarn I'd love to make one with I'm doing my first with hand-dye effect Regia (yes more Regia, I may have a problem with that's not the most luxurious yarn but the massive variety makes it pretty much irresistable to me! That plus it's relatively inexpensive and it washes well) and I just want to cast it on and start, even though I should at least finish my hat first if not the cardigan.

Then I want to knit a charity baby blanket (I've done a grand total of one square) so I keep thinking I should work on that. I also found out that a family member is expecting and so I am thinking gorgeous little baby knits...ARGH!!

I don't feel particularly motivated to finish any of these things, I just want to start them.

Oh and I want to make some fetchings and a hat for my mum as she knit me a GORGEOUS short sleeved cardigan using Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, this was a belated Christmas present and there were 2 full balls and most of a third left over. She said as it was my Christmas present I can have the yarn but I want to knit her something with it.

I definitely need my husband to get a high flying, mega-bucks job so I can quit mine and knit full time as that's the only way I have any hope of finishing everything I have planned.

At least all of these plans involve stash yarn and aren't excuses for buying more. Paying £88.50 for a new passport (including check and send and my documents being returned by special delivery) put paid to my chances of affording more yarn this month. I must stick to my guns, only knit from the stash until we're in Berlin when I can buy more if I see something fabulous. THE YARN IS CALLING TO ME AND I FEEL POWERLESS TO RESIST!!!

Monday, 25 January 2010

New socks and the buying ban

On Saturday I finished another pair of socks, that's two pairs finished in 2010 though admittedly I started them both in 2009 but the ones I finished on Saturday were only started on the 30th or was it 31st they're definitely this year's socks. I'm very happy with them. I really like the pattern a lot and it seemed to knit up very quickly. Patterns always seem to knit up faster, I suppose doing something other than endless knit stitches adds a bit of interest. I will be knitting this pattern again, I have masses of self striping yarn and the effect is really good. I had 20g of yarn left over at the end of it which is wound into two little balls (I knit each sock off a new ball and I almost got them to match...almost!) I'm undecided on what to do with my odds and ends of sock yarn. Do I have the patience to wait the years to accumulate enough for a blanket starting now a square at a time?

Finished Circle socks

love hand knit socks so much, I don't think I'll ever tire of wearing them.

I am slowly working my way through my Rose Red, I'm on round 30 now and have finished increasing to the 180 stitches for the medium size. I love the pattern, it's so well written and it's already looking good. I feel pretty confident that I can move on to the lace for an Ishbel when I've finished this. I suppose the key to being successful with lace is a well written pattern and my first try was not with one of those. Look at me, setting myself up for a spectacular fall and messing up my hat entirely. I hope the knitting gods are forgiving and let me get away with thinking my hat is going well!!

I am saving today's page in my "Never Not Knitting" calendar for my husband.

"Knitting is better than video games because: You don't have to take turns with your sister, it never runs out of batteries, and you never lose three hours of work because you forgot to save your game."

He's rather fond of his computer games, I know this will amuse him. Sadly I fear you can lose three hours of work when you realise you've completely mis-read the pattern and made unfixable errors and have to rip back endless rows!! Knitting is still better than video games though. I'll agree with that one!

Having looked at my finances, realised I have to pay an installment for my holiday in June, buy my new passport and pay my quarterly subs to choir as well as having already paid my half towards our holiday in March (being a real jet-setter though to be fair March will be the first time I've left the country on holiday since 2005 and even then it was for a wedding and not a proper holiday) I simply can't afford any more yarn this month and probably shouldn't buy any next month either. This shouldn't be a terrible thing, whilst it's tiny compared to some my sock stash alone has enough for a pair every month plus some, this photo doesn't include the 6 balls of Regia which came from Kemps on Friday:

Sock yarn stash
I also have large project (such as a cardigan) quantities of Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran, Sirdar Peru Chunky, Rowan Luxury Cotton DK and Patons Pompero yarns not to mention 2 hanks of laceweight, 2 balls of Jamiesons 2ply, 3 balls of King Cole Aran (ready for a hat and mittens) as well as various odd balls of this and that and masses of baby yarn. I have enough to keep me in knitting all year if I am being honest with myself. I don't like being honest with myself though! Anyway...whilst nothing compared to some stashes I must admit that mine is well stocks and I must not buy any more yarn this month or next...apart from one skein when I cut the darling husband's hair as he pays for that in yarn...but he pays so that doesn't count.

I got a bit off track there. I'll repeat it for myself NO BUYING YARN FOR THE REST OF JANUARY OR FOR FEBRUARY. I may have to ban myself until our holiday in March even...I can't be banned then as we're going to Berlin and I've already got the addresses of several LYS. For now though I am BANNED. No buying yarn, no going to the LYS as that only ends in buying yarn. I must knit from my stash and be glad to have so much to keep me going.

My husband will be pleased...

Friday, 22 January 2010

Rose Red

I've spend most of today knitting my Rose Red...but in green

I'm loving how the pattern is knitting up and for my first real attempt at a pattern with lace sections (not counting a disasterous scarf attempt which I never got past row 2 of) it's going well. I'm on round 27 now and feeling good about it...fingers crossed it continues to go well.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Adding to the knitting list

I realise I already have an enormous list of things I would like to knit this year but I would really like to knit a blanket. Mr.Monkey would also like this and it’s his most frequently requested knitted item. Last night I got out my Debbie Abrahams book Blankets and Throws to Knit to have a flick and see if there was anything that caught my eye. There was an awful lot that caught my eye, there always is as her blankets are absolutely gorgeous. Just out of curiosity I thought I’d price up one of the blankets I liked the look of, it’s a baby blanket but I thought I could knit double the number of squares or maybe more than that and make a larger blanket, I could take my time and do a square or two every week until it’s done. Anyway I decided to price it up at the pattern size in the book using the suggested yarn (Rowan Wool Cotton) and well…it would have cost in the region of £210!! I know that Debbie Abrahams works for Rowan so of course all her patterns have that as the yarn to use but good grief! I do intend to knit the blanket but will be substituting for another, less expensive, DK yarn. Probably some sort of wool/man made fibre blend so it’s easy to wash. If I had £210 I’d happily knit it using the Rowan yarn though because that stuff is gorgeous! I am thinking of a sock yarn blanket from my leftovers but I don’t have lots of leftovers yet so that will take years and years!

Speaking of socks…

I am on the heel flap of my circle socks, this photo shows the finished cuff but I didn’t take one of the in progress heel flap:

I am also a couple of rows from the heel flap on my German stripe socks:

Both of these socks use Regia yarn, I do love it so. It comes in such a variety of colours and it washes so well and softens up beautifully once it has been washed once. I have put a temporary ban on buying myself Regia since ordering another 3 pairs of socks worth from Kemps, this is unless I see some in a particularly gorgeous colourway of course. I have loads of it in my stash (at least it vastly outnumbers other brands) and I want to focus on buying more yarn from indie dyers and particularly more yarn from Laughing Yaffie. I also need to do a bit of sock yarn stashbusting before buying more!! I’m banned from yarn purchases until next month at least.

I did make a little purchase yesterday, knitting related but not yarn (or more needles…may have slipped and bought more sock needles) I bought myself a knitting notebook. It has squared paper for if I think of some design ideas (not entirely likely but my mum did get me a book on designing my own knits for Christmas so a possibility) and it’s got 300 pages to keep notes on all my knitting on paper ready to be transferred to the blog or Ravelry but also just reminders to me like how many rounds for the foot of a sock so they both match and such. I’m very happy with it.

I am very happy that it’s Wednesday as I have choir practice on a Wednesday and I love to go and sing. I can’t wait for singing time to come round. I am also happy that it’s Wednesday as I am not working Friday meaning that tomorrow is my last working day and I’m over halfway through my week!

I have big plans for Thursday night and Friday daytime. My husband is away overnight with his work so I’ll have the house to myself and I foresee a night of glorious knitting without interruptions. I have the same again Monday evening when he’s away for another night (he’s home over the weekend) but I’m in work Monday and Tuesday so it wont be quite so luxurious as I am hoping Friday will be.

Monday, 18 January 2010


I had never looked much on Kemps before. I find the endless pages of the value wools quite overwhelming and my experience is that I get through the first 5 pages or so and they all seem to be novelty yarns I have no interest in so I close down the site and look elsewhere. After reading through back entries of Snoopydogknits I found that actually there are awesome bargains to be had, she got Regia sock yarn for £1.20 per ball. I’m a big fan of Regia. The colours are great, it feels nice to knit with and it washes really well getting softer after a wash. I am on my third pair of socks knit with it and also used it for some fingerless gloves (as well as having 2 further pairs knit with Regia on the needles) and I have plenty in my sock yarn collection (it’s not a stash!) I see it is a good staple to have in and I buy it when it’s on offer. Anyway…the promise of Regia on the cheap spurned me on to go through the full 13 or so pages of reduced yarn in search of bargains.

I may have gone a little overboard with Kemps. I didn’t spend a vast amount (I don’t think so anyway) but as well as 6 balls of Regia (for 3 pairs of socks plus leftovers…perhaps it’s time to start on a sock yarn blanket!) I got 10 balls of Patons Pompero to use with a pattern I saw in one of my magazines a while back which I really like and 12 balls of Rowan luxury cotton DK which I’m sure I have patterns for in one of my Rowan magazines, it’s a lovely purple colour and was only 99p per ball, how could I resist such a bargain?! Clearly I couldn’t…if only I had more knitting time.

I have a day off on Friday and the beloved Mr.Monkey is away overnight with work so I’ll be spending Thursday night and most of Friday day (short breaks for housework, if only I could afford a maid!) knitting. The luxury of a day to myself to knit is one I don’t fail to appreciate. Mr.Monkey has no problem with the knitting (providing I keep my yarn tidied away when not in use) but the peace and calm of no interruptions, no questions, no need for my attention to be given to anything but my needles and my yarn…I love it. He’s away next Monday night as well, I miss him terribly when he’s gone but hey…at least I have something to fill my time and keep me from getting bored!

I hope that when I get home the yarn for his valentines present will be waiting. He doesn’t know but I’m knitting him a Sackboy. He is rather a fan of gaming and whilst Little Big Planet isn’t his favourite and we didn’t get very far in our attempts to play it together I know he does think that Sackboy is very cute so hopefully this gift will go down well. I want to make him a weighted companion cube but the only pattern I’ve found involves steeking and I just don’t dare do it…perhaps that’s something for the future…that or pattern design to come up with my own!!

I need more knitting time, I have so many ideas and plans but with a full time job where do I fit it all in?! If only we could afford for me to be a housewife whilst husband worked…not that any housework would get done but hey…I could stay at home and knit!

Sunday, 17 January 2010


I finally finished my Irish Hiking Scarf today and am feeling reasonably happy with it. I say reasonably as it's 58" long and I prefer a longer scarf because I like to be able to wrap them twice around my neck. Unfortunately I did not have enough yarn to knit another repeat of the colour pattern so had to leave it shorter. I'm happy though. The cables look good, the yarn is beautiful and soft and it goes well with both my recently knit hat and my favourite coat. I am happy.
The yarn is gorgeous, it's Mirasol Qina, an alpaca and bamboo blend. It's soft and has wonderful stitch's a bit pricey for not a lot of yards BUT it's so gorgeous that I forgive it.

I am now desperately trying to get my circle socks finished before the end of the month so they count for the SKA challenge.

The whole disaster in Haiti has been making me feel very emotional. I have donated to MSF, the Yarn Harot has details on her blog of how you can donate. I have also made the decision to sponsor a child through World Vision , it's money I'd probably only spend on frivilous things and sadly that does include yarn, I have lots and it wouldn't hurt me to buy less. I just want to do a little, and it is only a little, I can't cope with doing nothing at all though.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Knitting plans

I'm trying to make some knitting plans, definite and ordered plans instead of just bumbling along with whatever. Not that there's anything really wrong with bumbling along with whatever.

I love love love my alpaca socks so much, they're just wonderful. I must finish my alpaca/bamboo blend scarf so I can wrap myself up in its super soft beauty, I think I need to set myself a deadline for that...Sunday? That seems sensible and not unrealistic.

I want to knit another hat, I downloaded Rose Red by Ysolda but need to get some perfect yarn for it. I've read a lot of good things about how this looks knit in Rowan's Felted Tweed which is looking like a possibility. I had hoped to buy this with money from my tutoring job (every Wednesday afternoon) but sadly it was cancelled again this week because of the awful, icy conditions. I get paid this week so could still buy some but perhaps I should wait for next week, that will also give time for the ice to thaw out a bit before attempting to get to my LYS which is currently a nightmare.

I fell on the ice this morning, it was awful. A full on comedy fall, legs out from under me and flat on my back winding myself and leaving me in considerable pain. The pain has eased somewhat through the day but I am still sore. I hate this weather. The snow last week was beautiful but the temperatures have raised enough to melt it a little before dropping again enough to freeze the semi-melted snow leaving streets like ice-rinks. It's now snowing again, just when it had started to thaw a bit. It's intense and not at all British!

Along with Rose Red I have downloaded Ishbel, also by Ysolda. I have covetted this for so long, I think it's beautiful. I haven't knit lace before...well I tried a scarf but kept messing up and gave up on it for a bit. That was with a laceweight though (jumping in with both feet) and I intend to try Ishbel with a 4ply first. I will have a go at a small lace project first though, I have a pattern for some little bags to keep lavendar in which I may do as a bit of practice first. I know Rose Red also has some lace...the best way to learn though is my doing so I shall do and I shall learn.

New yarn arrived last night. I cut my husband's hair to save him from going to the barbers (which he'd probably never do if I didn't cut it!) and he has decided that from now he will pay me in amounts enough to buy beautiful sock yarn. This meant that on Saturday when I cut his hair I got £10 and pretty quickly I got onto and got some of her gorgeous yarn in the Hummingbird colourway. I was delighted to receive it yesterday, that's pretty awesome service if you ask me and the little note and sparkles in with the yarn were a lovely touch, I am impressed and will be ordering again in future.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


I finished my alpaca socks :) They are soft and snuggly and beautiful. They are a little big on the leg and fall down a smidge but less so than my other socks and I'm dropping a needle size for my next pair of plain stockinette socks. I don't care that they're baggy because they're just so wonderfully soft. I don't think the yarn will survive too much wearing and washing as it's 100% alpaca but I'll try to be gentle and loving with them as I adore them so.

More photos are available on my ravelry I'm there as NorthernMonkey

I immediately cast on another pair of plain, top down, stockinette socks. This time I'm using 2.5mm needles and some lovely Regia yarn in a Germany colourway, perfect for my trip to Berlin in March. I do like Regia a lot, the colours are bright, it washes well, it isn't splitty or annoying and it comes in such lovely self-striping and other styles that I don't see what's not to love. It is also relatively cheap and easily available from a standard craft shop and John Lewis when I can't get to my LYS where they sell far more beautiful things...

I like to have plain socks on the needles at the same time as patterned ones, I'm working on my second circle sock at home but I stuff the plain stockinette ones in my bag and take them everywhere as they require no real brain power, no pattern, no trouble. Circle socks are not particularly complex pattern wise and it is easily memorable but I do like to be sitting at home where I can keep count for which row I'm on so I don't get distracted and have to unpick rows. I am seaching for the perfect pattern to move on to after finishing the circle socks. I'm supposed to be knitting Cauchy for SKA but I haven't got beyond the cast on so might switch to something different!

My scarf is progressing, I'm about half way done now but the snow is is still cold and I do need a scarf but I do think maybe I should have finished it whilst it was snowing!! When my scarf is finished I am going to cast on a cardigan for myself, first time knitting an adult garment of that size. Fingers crossed it goes well!

Thursday, 7 January 2010


Still knitting, freezing cold. I need more knitted socks, I can't wait to get the pairs I'm working on finished because I keep re-washing the ones I have as they're warmer than my regular, shop bought socks. Brrr it's cold...much colder than is usual for the UK. Glad I have knitting to keep me warm!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

One sock down, one to go!

On Sunday I finished knitting my first circle sock. I am very happy with it. The pattern was quick and easy to memorize and I finished it with no trouble. I have yet to cast on the second sock but will start it this week and hopefully it will also go quickly. Sock number one is an excellent fit and I do like this yarn a lot, I'm glad I got it when I saw it reduced in John Lewis.

I was somewhat distracted from my sock by working on my scarf using the free Irish Hiking Scarf pattern. This is my first attempt at cabling beyond a little swatch and I am very happy with how it's turning out. The yarn is Mirasol Qina which is a baby alpaca and bamboo blend, it's gorgeous and soft. I love it and can't wait to get it finished.

I also decided to do a quick, instant gratification project last night and made a hat which went from start to finish in about an hour and a half which made me very happy. I used the skein of Rowan Big Wool I had left over from making a scarf for my mother-in-law's Christmas present. I still have some left and am hoping it's enough for a little pair of wrist warmers as I want to use every inch of this gorgeous, super soft yarn.

Must get on with socks now...

Saturday, 2 January 2010

New year, new blog

I probably should have posted yesterday, the first day of 2010 but never mind that, here goes!

After being on-line for years and reading lots of blogs I decided to start my own. The primary focus being on my knitting but hopefully with bits about my day to day life

In 2009 I got married and whilst on my honeymoon I purchased a knitting magazine which came with free double pointed needles. I had already been knitting for a year (not including when my grandma taught me as a child which didn't go beyond endless squares of garter stitch on fat needles in cheap acrylic) but I hadn't really thought of knitting socks. I'd seen from Ravelry and knitting blogs that it was popular but didn't really get it myself. I then went into a yarn shop (my new husband waited outside patiently!) where they were selling some sock yarn that came with a free pattern, the other knitting project I had with me wasn't going very well so I thought why not? I walked out of the shop with a ball of yarn and a pattern then when I back to our cottage I cast on.

The first sock was done quickly, I learned new skills and felt immensely proud. I finished the second a little later taking about 3 months all together, I thought they were just wonderful and I knew right then I needed to knit more.

I asked hubby for a set of DPNs and more sock yarn for my birthday, very sure I was going to be knitting a lot more socks! I cast on a second pair and got knitting, this time with a pattern on them. I slowed my progress a little, knit other projects in between which included a pair of socks for my husband for Christmas but just after Christmas I finished my second pair of socks for myself having also knit a further plain sock for a third pair and my husband's Christmas socks.

I suppose the reason I am posting about this is that I am admitting I am becoming quite obsessed with knitting socks! I just love it. I have so much sock yarn now waiting to become beautiful socks and one of my goals for 2010 is to knit at least a pair a month. I am already on my way with this having cast on a sock on 30th December and today getting to decreasing for the gusset.

Part of this blog will be updating progress on my knitting 12 pairs of socks (for myself at least, I've also promised my mum some for her birthday which wont count to my total) and it will also be keeping track of my knitting generally. My other knitting goal for 2010 is to knit my first adult sized garment, a cardigan for myself. I have cardigan/jumper sized quantities of two different yarns in my stash and I want to at least knit one cardigan.

It is also a goal to keep up with my blog, I do have a habit of getting excited about things and being really in to them for a couple of weeks then just giving up, I will not allow my blog to be one of those things.

I hope 2010 is wonderful and full of yarn-y goodness or whatever other goodness keeps people happy.

Best get back to my knitting...