Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Instant gratification is not soon enough!

Once again I am without my usual camera, I have not seen it since we returned from our holiday last week, bad times. I fear I may have left it at the in-laws where we went on our way home from Wales but I am not certain, if I have then it’s not an enormous issue as we’re visiting them again this weekend and I can retrieve it. If it’s not there I’m not sure where it might be and am a little worried. I must apologise that my photos are of the camera phone variety today but I didn’t want to go another week with no pictures of my knitting.

I don’t have any finished objects to show. The shawl is still in the naughty corner and I don’t know how long it will be there but I don’t feel like picking it up again at the moment. I am slowly plodding along with my circle socks, the first was finished whilst I was on holiday and I’m working my way down the second though mostly this is bus knitting and is knit at a slow pace of a few rounds as and when I can fit them in.


I was getting bored of my circle socks, angry with my shawl and fed up of always knitting with fine yarn on tiny needles where progress just crawls. I needed to change things up a bit. I decided on Saturday to start a new project, something completely different to give me a boost and make me feel more enthusiastic about my knitting, something on slightly bigger needles with slightly thicker yarn (I’m also ignoring the cardigan for me I’ve been working on which is still two unfinished sleeves and nothing more!) so I went to my stash and my knitting pattern collection.

My cousin is having a little boy (so the scans say) which is due in September though the midwife has said it’s measuring big at the moment so may come sooner. I got some DK baby yarn out, just an inexpensive acrylic which I believe is by James C. Brett but I have lost the ball band. My cousin already has two children as it is never mind a new baby, she needs something that can be thrown in the washing machine with everything else! I got out one of my baby cardigan/jacket patterns from Sirdar, I LOVE Sirdar patterns, particularly the ones that go with the “Snuggly” yarn for babies. They are clearly written, the garments are so cute and I find the designs are classic ones that can be knit over and over, they just don’t go out of style. The booklet is 1569 and includes a pattern for a jacket with a hood, a jacket with a little collar and a hat with the cable pattern from the jackets running up the front. I’m knitting the collared jacket and if I have yarn leftover may make the hat to match. I do think the colours are rather lovely for this little boy but would suit just as well if the ultrasound was wrong and it’s a little girl. The yarn is also just perfect for the baby’s Grandad, Great-Uncle and Great-Aunt who are all determined that the baby will be a Leeds United fan! I love knitting baby things because it’s just so quick, the back was knit in a couple of hours and now I’m on the left front and it’s storming along. It makes such a change from the endless tiny stitches of sock knitting which I do love but sometimes you just need some instant gratification knitting!


I do need to have a look at my knitting notebook and remind myself of my knitting plans as I fear I am way off track. I am sort of on track for the 12 pairs of socks in 2010 plan, I’ve knit 6 pairs, have one and a bit circle socks and one of a pair for Mr.Northernmonkey so getting there, I do think I can achieve this goal. I’m not entirely sure what else I was supposed to be doing without looking. I must check!

The yarn has arrived to knit gifts for my mum and mother in law (for that evil December event) so I must get that wound and get started as they both want lace…eek! The colour for my mother in law looked rather more red on the website I ordered from but arrived a dusky rose colour, not quite what she had asked for (dark red) but I can’t send it back or afford to replace it so she’ll have to have a dusky rose pink scarf and not a red one. I hope she still likes it! It is a colour I’ve seen her wear a lot and it will suit her colouring (more than red in my opinion) so here’s hoping it’s OK!

If you’ve made it this far through a long and rambling post I’d like to say hello to the new followers I have gained recently, I hope my blog doesn’t bore you to tears and thank you for joining me here!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

I'm doing science and I'm still alive

OK so I'm not doing science but I am still alive. Yay for references for Portal also.

This is just a me dropping in to say I am back from my holiday, my unpacking still isn't quite finished and the whereabouts of my camera are unknown. Not a great deal of knitting was done whilst I was away but I did finish the first circles sock and start the second one. My shawl hasn't progressed at all, nor has the second sock for my husband or the never ending sleeves of my cardigan.

My knitting has been going so slowly as I have struggled to find the time to actually sit and knit, I aim to change that and fit in more knitting time even if it's just making sure I knit a round of sock or two whilst tea is in the oven. Everything has been so hectic over the last few weeks but aside from finishing unpacking I do feel like things are calming down a little.

We have got two busy weekends ahead but they don't concern me too much. Our house is in a maintainable state of tidyness and we're on top of the washing, the garden needs attention but it wont stop raining and as long as everything is wet it will continue to grow and we can't cut it back, this makes me sad.

Yesterday I ordered the yarn I need for the two Christmas gift knits I intend to complete, this is part of why I really need to get on track with knitting more frequently. Both my mother and my mother-in-law have requested lace (though I'll be using 4ply, not laceweight) so I'd better get started soon if I actually intend to complete these projects and finish some items for myself.

If only I had staff to do all the boring things like housework whilst I knit away happily...being a lady of leisure and not requiring a full time job OR having a full time job where I could knit at work would also help!

In an attempt to make up for the lack of pictures an amusing tale of yesterday when I went to see my mother:

Me: What are you knitting mum?

Mum: It's a cardigan for my niece but I don't think I'll have enough yarn, I've knit this much sleeve and still have one sleeve to go and the button/neckbands/making up but only this much yarn

Me: Get your scales out and weigh how much that is and how much your current sleeve weighs, maybe there'll be enough

>>>The 4 rows or so off finished sleeve and knitting needle were weighed, the empty needle was weighed and weight subtracted off sleeve in progress with needle and remaining yarn was weighed. What was done of the sleeve weighed about 20g and there were 45g of yarn remaining<<<

Me: You might just have enough but probably not, why don't you use a contrasting colour for the button bands? That could look nice if you then get buttons in the colour of the yarn you used for the rest of it. Alternatively you could pull back your sleeve and do short or 3/4 length sleeves, then there'd be enough yarn

Mum: I don't know how to do shorten the sleeves and wont different colours look stupid? It doesn't make sense, the pattern said 200g and I had two 100g balls of yarn so I should have enough

Me: Well how many yards of yarn are there in 100g? You're not using the same yarn as the pattern, it might not be the same length of yarn

Mum: What?

Me: Different yarns, even if they're both DK may have different yardages, you should check

Mum: Well they're both acrylic, I'm sure they're the same

Me: Did you check your tension?

Mum: My tension is always perfect, I don't need to check it

Me: Maybe your tension is out and that's why you don't have enough yarn

Mum: I've never checked my tension, I've been knitting for 50 years, how long have you been knitting? I've never run out of yarn, my tension is always right

Me: You never run out of yarn because you always get extra, give me a tape measure

>>>I measure to find my mum is knitting 18 stitches and 27 rows to 10cm instead of 22 stitches and 30 rows<<<

Me: Your tension is wrong, no wonder you're running out of yarn, also this is going to be bigger than it's supposed to be across the chest

Mum: My tension is perfect though

Me: Well maybe life is teaching you a lesson, you had to go wrong once at some point. You only have two balls of this yarn don't you? There is no extra in this colour is there? You've had it in your stash for ages haven't you?

Mum: Yes

Me: I believe you are experiencing what is commonly known as sod's law, it's all explained in my Yarn Harlot books, want to borrow them? They're good

Mum: ***things I will not repeat here because there may have been some swearing***

I believe the child's mother may be relieved that there is not enough of the shockingly bright yarn to finish this cardigan and I tried to sooth my mum by offering her some nice, subtle yarn from my stash in cream, lilac and pink with which she could knit a new cardigan with yarn left over and not in a violent shade of highlighter pen yellow.

I promise photos in the next post at least of the finished circle sock if nothing else.

Friday, 9 July 2010

This is where I throw a little strop...

Remember that pretty lacy thing I was working on? All green and merino/silk blend with such a lovely, delicate pattern...that thing I was almost done with the second repeat of the main pattern of? That thing I was so proud of?

Pride comes before a fall.

Here is my latest photo, you may notice that I have gone backwards since my previous photo.

knitting 137

Please excuse the blur, I suppose I was shaking with rage or too angry to check that I was in focus! Note I'm back on a proper digital camera and not my phone though it's not my usual, it's my bulky and old digital camera which annoyingly seems to take better pictures than my newer little one! ANYWAY. I messed up. I messed up badly. I noted my mistakes and tried to frog to my lifeline, I messed that up too. Then the yarn snapped. ARGH. So here I am, starting over, I'm not too angry. Honest.

There has also been progress on other, less frustrating, knitting projects. I am knitting my second pair of circle socks. I like this pattern, it is easy to memorise, looks really clever whilst being easy-peasy AND it looks good in self striping yarn which I have rather a lot of. This particular self-striping is Kaffe Fassett design line exotic colour in "zany" and I do rather like it.
knitting 136

I also finished (the toe isn't grafted in the picture but in reality it's done) the first of the socks I'm knitting for Mr Northernmonkey using the Opal yarn he bought for me whilst we were in Berlin. I don't know why I took so long on this (well I do as I was drawn away by exciting patterns and softer yarn but we wont talk about that!) as when I was focused on these they knit up quickly. I must get the second one done though in the current hot weather I'd say he isn't in such a rush for wool socks.

knitting 135

I have packed my knitting back for a little jaunt away next week, I have of course over packed in this area but the thought of not having enough knitting is just too terrible to contemplate! I've put in the circle sock (and the second ball of yarn to make it's friend) and my shawl as well as another 2 balls of Kaffe Fasset sock yarn (exotic colour pool this time, a bargain from Kemps of course!) should I finish the circle socks and want another mindless, sockish knitting project. We're going with 4 friends and two small children so I do wonder whether the shawl will be knit on at all, I fear it requires too much concentration for such a holiday! I am rather excited that for once I will not be doing all of the driving as we are sharing a car with two of the friends so I will get car sock knitting time, fantastic! I never usually get this.

I will be back with tales of our trip in just over a week, I shall try to hunt down yarn shops though technically I am stashing busting and not supposed to be buying more yarn. I am trying but I fear failing to convince my friends we should go to the wool museum!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Running down a dream

I’m not one to post non-knitting entries really, largely because my day to day life is pretty uneventful and doesn’t seem to be worth writing about. I don’t have any pets, I don’t have children, my job is mostly dull and when it isn’t it’s confidential so I couldn’t possibly discuss it and knitting is my primary hobby. This isn’t to say I am not happy with my life, I am, I just don’t think anyone else would be particularly interested in reading about it!

Here I am though with something eventful and interesting that I did and can post about, brilliant! On Sunday my husband and I ran the Jane Tomlinson 10K in Leeds. I have never run a 10K before and I must admit I never do any exercise to speak of beyond walking up the stairs at work and walking to the bus stop. I had planned to train but then never seemed to find the time and three weeks pre-race ended up having some abdominal surgery which really messed up any chances for practice and made me wonder whether I’d be running at all or if it might have to be a 10K walk.

I got up bright and early on Sunday morning and got dressed in my lovely running shoes (purchased when I signed up for the run but only worn once since!) and the sportiest clothing I could find. We went along to the mass warm up then got in position to start. When you run the 10K they give you a little plastic tag which fastens to your laces and when you run over a mat at the beginning and end of the race it records your start and finish time then you are sent an official race time. Mine was 1hr 14minutes exactly. I was very proud of this given the complete lack of training…admittedly a 7 months pregnant Paula Radcliffe ran it in 45 minutes but then she is a world record holding athlete! I did run/jog more of it than I walked though so that's an achievement.

I enjoyed the whole experience so much that I’m going to do it again and am signing up to the Abbey Dash (another 10K in Leeds) in November and possibly a 10K in Liverpool (Mr.Northernmonkey’s home town) in October. I’m going to train this time though, join a gym for general treadmill training and then try to get running on the roads (well pavement) once or twice a week so I can run the entire distance next time and hopefully know 5-10 minutes off my race time.

Here I am all dressed, numbered and ready to go!

The next post will include more knitterly progress, I have almost finished the second pattern repeat on my shawl and am nearly at the toe of my husband’s socks which I started some time ago and then abandoned in favour of prettier, patterned, not size 11 socks!! This does depend on getting my camera back from my mum of course, she still has it and without that all photos are of the camera phone variety.