Thursday, 21 July 2011

Fluffy orange fuzz

I am being incredibly well behaved and am currently working on finishing an older WIP. I felt motivated by finishing the socks that had languished in the WIP pile for some time and picked up my Citron again. This was started back in March when I went to Edinburgh with Mr.NM to celebrate our wedding anniversary. I whizzed through the first three sections whilst on the train there and back then put it aside when I got home. I've no idea why, something else will have distracted me with prettiness (it would seem I was very distracted in March, that's when the mystery socks were set aside as well!) and I didn't pick it up again.

Last week I did pick it up and I carried on. I'm glad I did. I'm now on the fifth section and in spite of the pretty massive stitch count I really feel I'm getting there.

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I'm not a big wearer of orange but after seeing a few on Ravelry I knew I wanted my Citron in Kidsilk Haze and couldn't resist this bright and cheery colourway appropriately named "marmalade". I'm not sure whether I'll use KSH again...I love the colour and knit up it's fuzzy and soft and lovely but it's not much fun to knit with. It tickles my nose and sticks to me, itself, anything else lying around...not fun at all...even worse if I make a mistake and have to attempt to tink...and I make A LOT of mistakes. Pretty though, so very pretty.

I'm hoping it will be finished soon.

I'm also hoping to manage to take some good photos of my finished cardigan soon, I bought and sewed on buttons but no good pictures yet. Ho hum.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

FO Friday - Cadence socks

Such a busy week, I'm incredibly glad that Friday is finally here! We're visiting our in-laws so it's not exactly a quiet and relaxing weekend ahead but it's better than being at work I suppose.

It's FO Friday and I actually have a finished object to share! It's not Maggie (the lilac cardigan) which is still button-less (but visiting the in-laws will include visiting John Lewis where buttons can be procured) but a pair of lovely socks.

I started these back in March when they were the mystery sock pattern for the Sock Knitters Anonymous group on Ravelry and in spite of thoroughly enjoying them and actually keeping up with the first two clues as they were released they were then cast aside in favour of something else...I'm not even sure what now.

Such a pity for such beautiful socks. Recently I picked them back up again, apologised for my bad behaviour and knit the feet which was all that remained unknit. Now they are done and I am thoroughly pleased with them.

This is actually shown in reverse order as I put them on the sockblockers for photos (as honestly it has been very warm for modeling woolly socks! Plus I'm rubbish at photographing myself) then I washed them in soak and put them back on the blockers to even out the stitches. Still I'm sure you don't mind me shifting the timeline around in the photos!

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They look like they are cabled but it's lace, a combination of yarnovers and decreases giving that illusion. I love this pattern.

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I'm also very fond of the colour combination, I love green and purple together. I couldn't quite capture the colour accurately but it's closer to the colours in the shots of the full socks than in the close-up of the pattern. The yarn is Laughing Yaffle sock in "Spring Fling" and as with all Laughing Yaffle yarn it's just gorgeous with fabulous colours.

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I think the combination of colours is just enough, a bit more interesting than solid or semi-solid yarn but not so varied as to obscure the charming pattern as you can see below. As I said these pictures were taken before the socks had a bath and I evened out my knitting whilst it was wet...the stitches look a little sloppy here.

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All in all I'm absolutely delighted with these socks and so pleased I got them finished.

For more details on yarn, needle size, just how long they took me (oh the shame) my Ravelry project page is here

I hope everyone who is going to Knit Nation this weekend has a wonderful time, I'm not jealous, not at all, not me.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Ribbit ribbit...I mean rip it rip it

I come to my blog with my head hanging in shame. A project and I were not getting along and I finally made the decision (after knitting about 10 more rounds...grr!) that it just wasn't meant to be.

It wasn't the yarn, whilst not the most exciting yarn there's nothing wrong with Regia, it's good solid stuff. The colours are vibrant, it doesn't split and it can be shoved in the washing machine so hardly something to complain about. It wasn't doing a new technique, I was coping quite happily with toe up sock knitting. It wasn't even the pattern, I've seen other peoples FOs for this and I really liked them. There was just something about it that I was not enjoying.

I think enjoying is the key part. I'm not one to rip projects out. I'll persevere through difficult patterns and with irritatingly splitty yarns (I'm looking at you Rowan Luxury Cotton), even when it seems a project will never end and I'm bored I may well put it aside but I'll come back to it and finish it off. I hate frogging, hate it. I feel like somehow I have failed as a knitter (though I know that's not true and would not think the same of other knitters who are quicker to frog than me) I do not like doing it.

This time though. I was not enjoying the knit. Whilst there was nothing in particular wrong with the pattern or the yarn every round felt like a chore. I couldn't see an end, I didn't want to, I knew even if I carried on I'd somehow resent these socks. They were not for me. I was also not convinced they'd be the right size anyway. They had to go.

Go they did...

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Right back to that magic cast on

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Until it was a ball of sock wool again.

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It wasn't my happiest knitting experience but it's done now. I will not be casting on again for the project either BUT I will try toe-up socks again as I'm certain that wasn't the problem. It was something else, I just can't quite put my finger on why I didn't enjoy them...but I didn't and knitting is supposed to be a hobby, hobbies should be fun and not a chore. I know I did the right thing.

It was made a little easier by having just finished some projects...but more of that another time.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A useful and economical housewife

In spite of it being far too hot to hang around in the kitchen I've come over all domesticated of late. Over the weekend I made pizza including making the dough from scratch, produced the pastry for home made quiche (which I actually cooked last night) and upon realising on Sunday that actually we only had 5 new potatoes (and realising this after the shops had closed) and no alternative to put with my planned Sunday dinner I made toad in the hole to stretch the meal a bit further…true Yorkshire style! Not enough meat and veg? It's OK, shove it in a Yorkshire pudding, no one will notice. I didn't take a picture of the toad in the hole (which was delicious but not very summery!) but have pictures of the pizza and the quiche.

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Also there was some pastry left over from the quiche and not being one to waste good food (can't really afford to…that's sort of the point behind the cooking from scratch and the yarn diet!) I quickly made some jam tarts to use it up. I go for a more organic approach to my cooking, nothing is particularly tidy or uniform but it tastes OK. It's rustic…or something like that, I'm sure it's trendy to have it looking so slapdash. They do look a bit pale in this picture but I assure you the pastry was fully cooked.

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Whilst I do own a lot of recipe books including ones specifically focussed on baking there is one that I go back to again and again, my grandma swore by it and her baking was fantastic so for basic recipes I stick with the Be-Ro book. I mostly use this one in the kitchen, it was my grandmas and it is well used and stained from being too close to the mixing bowl!

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Whilst I do use that one I have something rather precious to me in my possession, a 6th edition Be-Ro book. I don't know what year it is from but the first Be-Ro book was distributed in the 1920s and they're on the 40th edition now. I am guessing it's from some time in the 1930s and it was my great-grandma's then my grandma's and now it's mine. Every so often I get it out and have a read through and a little chuckle at the old fashioned ideas within.

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I love the description of how the woman who cooks well will have a happy home. I do agree being able to cook is fantastic and anyone who can should be proud of their cooking but obviously it doesn't really matter if it's the man or the woman who is doing it (though admittedly in our home I do all the cooking as I enjoy it).

The bit about mothers teaching daughers so they can become "useful and economical housewives" is just hilarious though. It's a good job I didn't rely on my mother teaching me to cook and bake! I feel very fortunate to have grown up with my grandma (I lived with my mum and grandma as a child) as she taught me. I think it was just a way to entertain me in the school holidays but when I got to university and knew how to cook whilst my housemates lived on supernoodles I was very grateful! My mum is very much of the "quick and easy" camp where cooking is concerned and she certainly doesn't bake! I'm sure my husband would argue my selfish knitting and yarn habit makes me neither useful nor economical but as I work full time I'm not a housewife either!

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Some other bits showing changing times…"an ordinary coal oven", useful hints for those with fancy gas ovens, taking the grocery order to the shop (and not forgetting to ask for Be-Ro of course!) and a reminder for those using this fancy self-raising flour that you don't need to put any baking powder in it.

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Finally a quick look at the recipes and the change from the black and white pictures to my full colour book, the pictures are changed, the instructions are step by step, the oven temperatures are more specific than just "a hot oven" and there are quantities in grams as well as in ounces but there are mostly the same recipes in the newer book as in the early one, they've just added more including a section on microwave cookery, gasp! What would my great-grandma think to being able to make a steamed pudding in 5 minutes?

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My grandma and great-grandma were also knitters but sadly I don't have any of their old patterns or anything they made but at least I do have this little bit of history on my bookshelf.

On other weekend activities outside of the kitchen…I now have a back, two fronts, a finished sleeve and a sleeve that is on the raglan decreases for my cardigan.

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There was a minor panic when I couldn't find the extra ball of yarn I knew full well I actually had somewhere but I stopped that panic in it's tracks and retrieved it from the depths of my knitting basket…no idea why it was there and I tried to ignore all the UFOs I had to push out of the way to find it.

I imagine I'll finish the second sleeve tonight then it's on to the icky bit…joining the seams, picking up stitches and knitting the collar and then seaming the whole thing. Oh joy. I can do mattress stitch but I still think my finishing is a bit rubbish, I'll just have to take it slowly as with all the effort that has gone into the knitting I don't want it ruined by sloppy finishing. Then there is the fun bit, button shopping!

Saturday, 2 July 2011

I can resist everything, except temptation

There may have been a little slip up in the yarn diet recently, just a little one though. I couldn't help myself.
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I mean look at it...soooo beautiful. It's OK though...we have big plans, the red laceweight and I, big plans. To everyone knitting lace projects at the moment, I'm blaming you!

Speaking of little red things...this came through the door yesterday.

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It's fabulous, so well written and I want to knit pretty much every pattern in it. I must, must, must finish some WIPs first though!

I was absolutely delighted to get a comment from this lovely blogger who has nominated me for a Kreativ Blog award. I was rather charmed that she described me as an "expert knitter" as that's certainly not how I see myself but it's lovely to get such compliments.


Now as part of getting this award I have to post 10 things about me...always tricky! I tried to think of things that have nothing to do with knitting so that I probably haven't mentioned in the blog before.

  1. I drink A LOT of tea. My last blog post with my mug suggesting tea be at the top of all to do lists is very accurate. I go through at least 8 mugs of tea a day, sometimes more.
  2. I sing in a choir and apart from a short break when at university have been singing with the same choir (though there have been slight changes to it's name and membership rules) since I was 8, the ladies at choir are like my second family.
  3. I think the combination of chocolate and orange is the devil's worth, the thought of eating a Terry's chocolate orange (other orange flavoured chocolate is available, unfortunately) makes me feel physically ill.
  4. As a child I fractured my skull, we only know because I had an x-ray for something unrelated and no one can work out how I did it.
  5. I own about 40 pairs of shoes, this is a massive decrease from how many pairs I used to own.
  6. I prefer savoury snacks to sweet ones.
  7. I'd rather watch action films than romantic comedies or chick flicks.
  8. I have possibly the worst co-ordination ever, I can't hit, catch or throw a ball and was always picked last for sports at school.
  9. I don't understand the rules of tennis no matter how many times people explain them to me.
  10. Strangely though I do understand the offside rule in football, my husband claims this makes absolutely no sense when I can't follow a game of tennis.
As you can see...I'm not the most interesting person, I need more guidance on what to write than just 10 things about me! Still I hope it was enlightening to some people anyway.

I'd like now to pass the award on to Rachel at Rewarding Memories who does lovely creative crafts as well as posting interesting things about non-crafty things in her life.

I'll be back soon with how I'm progressing knit-wise...I think slowly probably sums it up pretty well!