Friday, March 31, 2006

Lucky finds in Oxfam

The local Oxfam shop where I live in East Sheen in south-west London has become a bookshop and has just reopened. I went in to check out whether they had any knitting books and was thrilled to discover



As you can imagine, I was thrilled! I hope they carry on stocking such a good selection! I already had Debbie Abrahams' first book, but was pleased to find her second, although having looked through it in detail, I think I prefer the first book for the variety and ideas. The motifs book will be very useful and the Alice Starmore book has some lovely patterns and is quite inspiring. I particularly like Kilronan

At my knitting group in Putney on Wednesday, it was good to see what everyone was doing.

Nathalie (on the left) was wearing a funky new scarf she had knitted from Silkwood yarn and was knitting a double-sided scarf which looked great. Lesley (on the right) was knitting a Debbie Bliss cardigan and Linda and Jill were knitting away on their current projects.

It is great to meet with other knitters and I really enjoy my Wednesday mornings in Putney. The children break up from school today, so I don't know if I'll get to the group for the next couple of weeks - we'll see! I am looking forward to the Easter break from school as the children all need a rest, but I am also trying to plan what to do with them while letting them have the rest they need - a tricky balance to achieve!

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Happy Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day here in the UK and my children gave me some lovely cards. Edward and Lily made these at school - aren't they pretty? Here is Lily's card:

and here is Edward's

Yes, they are twins! Ellen had been out with her Dad and bought me a card she knew I'd like:

I have loved tigers ever since I was little, and she had seen this card in a shop window and then bought me a toy tiger to go with it, which I love! The detail on the tiger figure is amazing. So, the tiger can keep me company in my office at home while I work.

Then I got a beautiful bunch of flowers:

We all went for a bike ride in the morning and then went to Pizza Express for lunch, which was lovely, as there were so many other families there that for once we didn't have to worry about our unruly table! So, a great day - I feel lucky to have been given these special gifts and did feel appreciated (even though it was back to making packed lunches and ironing school uniform in the evening!). Still, we had this banana cake for tea, which was yummy:

Some progress on the knitting:

The front is nearly done and then I need to block it and do the button bands and neckband and sew it all together - getting there!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Bedtime reading

An unexpected treat this morning on my way back from the school run. I went into the local newsagent to put an advertisement in the window and found this new magazine.

I am always going into this newsagent to ask whether they have Vogue Knitting or Knit 1 and was delighted to find this too. So, I am looking forward to browsing through it once I've done some work today. I have a huge pile of papers to edit and need to get cracking before I have to go and get the children from school.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Progress (mostly on the domestic front)

At my knitting group in Putney yesterday I made some progress on the back of the baby Guernsey, having finished the sleeves before I went. I still have a way to go and today I was a bit bogged down reading some articles for work and trying very hard to be Nigella. At my children's school tomorrow they are having a fund-raising cake sale for Arts Week, an annual event which last year led me to try to teach the whole of Key Stage 2 (7-11 year olds) to knit! Never again - much as I enjoyed it! This year I'll be less ambitious! Still, at the end of a week we had this:

So, back to the bake sale ... out came my copy of

and out came my wooden spoon (no high-tech gadgetry for me - when Nigella says blitz the cake mixture in the food processor, that means beat it thoroughly with a spoon for me!) and two hours later we had

Apparently no one can quite match the particular shades of pink I manage to achieve with my red food colouring and my cakes are always very distinctive and go quickly (the girls love 'em) so at least I've done my bit (even though my knitting has suffered!). I plan to head off to my needles now and settle down for an hour or so with my knitting as I am impatient to move on to the next project!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Baby blue
I am currently working on some easy knitting - a baby Guernsey for a friend in Madrid. It is a Debbie Bliss pattern from Great Knits for Kids, which I think is a great book as it includes designs for children up to the age of 10, so is a bit more versatile and flexible than some of the publications around now, which often seem to stop at the age of three. I am knitting it in Rowan's True 4-ply botany, which I was lucky enough to find in a charity shop locally. So far I have done the back

and have nearly finished the sleeves

so just need to do the front and put it together, which I hope to get done in the next week as I seem to have been knitting this for ages! I really want to get this finished and move on to something else, maybe a scarf or some socks, or perhaps try to finish one of my many UFOs lying around (annoying my husband!). I am also very keen on knitting some wristwarmers and have seen some beautiful ones on Saartje's blog and also check out Caryn's great free patterns. The idea of a small but quite intricate project appeals to me, so I think that once this baby sweater is on its way to Spain, I might try out some wristwarmers, particularly as winter here seems to be never-ending this year and my hands seem to be permanently cold! Wristwarmers seem to be a common accessory in Scandinavian countries, so I reckon they must be good at their job! So, what to knit next? Decisions, decisions! I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Figuring out the system...
I'm going to play catch-up now. I started writing the last (only, so far!) post in January but didn't post it until now, as I took a while to decide to go ahead with my blog, which is why there seems to have been a few weeks' silence! So, here are a few more projects before I get going properly. The seemingly never-ending winter has made me decide that more knitting is the only way to go, so I figured Tales of the knitty was ready for its debut!

I have been caught by the curly-whirly craze and ad-libbed a bit, coming up with these variations on the theme:

I was really pleased with these. I was inspired by Ruth's website and once I understood the construction thanks to her great instructions I was able to curly-whirly at will. They were a fun, relatively quick knit and are great as gifts. You can vary the amount of curl as much as you like depending on the amount of increasing you do and I like the effect of the different twists according to how many stitches you make per row (I simply knitted into the front and back of each stitch, or every other stitch or every third stitch, and so on, to vary the twist).