Saturday, November 25, 2006

On schedule

Last night I finished the poncho for Lily to give to her friend today and I was pleased with how it came out. I knitted it using Rowan Big Wool, but had rather less than two balls so supplemented it with a bit of Colinette Chicago which I also used for the fringe. I think it is rather pretty:

And then I carried on with the 'Heartbreakingly cute baby kimono' from Mason-Dixon. I had a bit of a panic this afternoon as I thought I was going to run out of yarn, largely because I had amended the pattern slightly, knitting the back higher before breaking it for the fronts and making the sleeves slightly wider, as recommended by Jill and Dawn, which meant that I was using more yarn than anticipated from the original pattern. I had to keep on knitting until I found out whether I had enough yarn, and just had enough to finish it. And here it is:

I am really pleased with how this worked out and love the pattern, particularly the minimal sewing up!

It is now in the post to its intended wearer, so I hope it fits!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Busy, busy, busy!

I have been really busy, but in a good way!

On Sunday Kris, who I sent gifts to for secret pal 8, came to stay for a couple of nights. It was so great to meet her and to get to know her properly. She had come to London from Munich to do some Christmas shopping and shopping for her boys' birthday. While she was here, we went to Stash where we had a lovely morning and Kris enjoyed choosing some yarns to take back to Germany with her:

She also helped me a bit with my blog, putting some more links on, which was great! Now it seems easier to do and I won't be so daunted! I really enjoyed having her to stay and getting to know her in person rather than just through emails!

School stuff has been busy lately too - three costumes for the school plays to get together last weekend and now I am trying to organise the nails and temporary tattoos stall! But when not working or doing school admin I have also been knitting. The alpaca obsession is still with me and I have finished another couple of scarves, one brown and one in eggplant:

I just love their frilly ends!

So, five down, several to go (every time someone sees one they want one, so it is all getting a bit out of hand!). This weekend, I need to finish a poncho that is going to one of Lily's friends for her birthday tomorrow, and I want to finish this:

which is the baby kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, Mixed Berries colourway, which I am knitting for my stepsister-in-law who has just had her second child, a little girl!

If only there were a couple more days in the week, to get everything done!

Friday, November 17, 2006

More alpaca goodness

Yesterday evening I went round to a friend's house to knit. It is amazing what three hours' knitting can achieve!

Yes, it's another one off the production line, this time in a gorgeous baby pink! I had cast it on before I went but obsessive knitting while chatting yields fast results with this pattern. My friends thought the yarn was so lovely that I think they may start knitting this scarf too! What have Jill and Dawn started?!

Before going out last night, when the children came back from school we made this - the spiced apple cake from the mix sent to me by my secret pal. Even today the whole house smells divinely of apple cake and the cake itself is delicious - thank you so much, secret pal!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Soft and cuddly

Although I have been working the last couple of days, I have done a bit of knitting in the evenings, and last night I finished this scarf, knitted with one skein of Misti chunky alpaca, which I shall be sending off to my friend today. It is so soft - the perfect thing for a Yorkshire winter!

So, one down, five to go! (or maybe more, as they make great presents!). I think I'll start the pink one next...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yarn Tasting at Stash

Last night I went to a great event - Stash Yarns were holding a Lorna's Laces yarn-tasting evening. Here are (left to right) Jan, Dawn and Jill all discussing the merits of different types of Lorna's Laces yarn (among other things!):

When we got there, laid out on the table were luscious-looking goody bags filled with beautiful little balls of yarn. Drinks and nibbles were provided and we swatched:

Here we have (left to right across the top) Swirl DK (which was surprisingly nice to knit with, quite smooth and forgiving on the hands - I am tempted!), Helen's lace, Shepherd worsted (gorgeous), Shepherd chunky (a firm fabric, but a bit too bulky for my taste), Shepherd sock (fun and so soft!). The long stripey swatch is Lion and Lamb, which came out very differently depending on who was knitting with it. It was luscious to knit with, but I think you would have to choose your pattern carefully to avoid unintentional striping!

I was glad of a trip to the yarn shop because I am now in hasty Christmas present mode and, so taken am I with the Misti Alpaca scarf, I splashed out on several more skeins. (I have a long list of gifts!) First scarf off the production line will be a birthday present for a friend, though, which I hope to send her this week (I'd better get knitting!). I also couldn't resist a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd worsted in Gold Hill - just beautiful and very in keeping with the season!

What a great idea for an evening - it was lovely to meet some knitters I hadn't met before and to spend time in the company of other women, doing what we like doing best while exploring new yarns!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Super furry animals

On Sunday, for the first time in ages, I was clear enough of work for us all to enjoy a day out together. We decided to go to the Horniman museum to see Great White Bear, an exhibition of photographs of stuffed polar bears in the UK. This might seem a slightly macabre subject for an exhibition, but it was fascinating. The artists, Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson, spent several years trying to track down all the taxidermied polar bears in the UK and then photographed as many as they could. (And with a name like Snæbjörnsdóttir (Snow bear's daughter) I think I might have a slight obsession with polar bears too!) There are 34 bears in the exhibition (there should be 35, but the Horniman's own bear was sold in 1948 and its whereabouts is not currently known).

As you walk into the exhibition you are greeted by an impressive, fierce-looking creature standing on its hind legs, which towered above us all, making us realise how enormous these beautiful predators are. One photograph features a very sad bear, stored on a shelf next to a bicycle, but there is also David Puttnam's bear, who looks beautifully fluffy and furry, and who graces the Puttnams' London home.

Famous bears include the one owned by the Fox's Glacier Mint factory owner and who greets any house guests wearing a hat and carrying a bunch of tulip fairy lights. I wasn't able to take any photos of the exhibition, but Jill sent me this great picture of one of her holidays a while ago - she didn't see any polar bears, but this sign seems to indicate they might be around:

Other than polar bears, we enjoyed the museum hugely - the music room, where you can listen to a huge range of musical instruments, was particularly popular with the children. And I was even able to do some knitting in the journey across London and back!

Today I managed to post off my outstanding 'work-at-home' typescripts and now just need to catch up all all the housework I have been neglecting for the past few weeks (groan!) ... before going into the office tomorrow and Wednesday.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Diversionary tactics

To my relief, I finally got through most of my work (for the moment) today and will definitely be able to meet my Monday deadline. To celebrate, I took the evening off and made this pincushion as an entry to Alex's competition:

It is just made with felt (although the geometry was a bit of a challenge) and I hand-sewed the pieces together and stuffed it with a mixture of sawdust and lavender, so it smells heavenly!

And, I confess, there was some knitting late last night and tonight, when I finished this scarf knitted to a free pattern and made with one skein of Misti Alpaca chunky:

Jill was knitting this on Wednesday at Stash and I've seen it on Dawn's blog too so, not wanting to feel left out, I thought I'd get in on the action! In fact, I'm quite taken with the yarn and the pattern and feel some Christmas presents coming on...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Still no knitting

Well, I have been stuck in front of my computer for hours it seems and am trying to focus on the job in hand (now on to journal number two) while trying not to get distracted by thinking about knitting and reading all those fabulous blogs out there.

Even when I am not actually knitting I am thinking about what to knit next, and my fingers are itching to pick up my needles.

But I must concentrate on work for the next few days and once my work is finished, I will enjoy picking up my needles all the more. I did manage to send a package off to my secret pal yesterday as I needed to go to the post office for work and it seemed like a good time to get the first parcel off to her. I hope she likes it!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Remember, remember...

Not much knitting has been going on around here as I am very bogged down in work. I have two journals to edit and am still working my way through the first one. The deadline for both is looming! But, because I work largely from home, life must go on as normal and I have to fit work in around everything else! So, the weekend has been spent trying to work but still being interrupted to cook casseroles, take children out on Rollerblades etc. Oh how I wish I worked in an office sometimes!

We celebrated Hallowe'en on the 31st and went trick or treating along with most other children in the neighbourhood. Here are Lily and Edward looking a bit creepy:

And here's Ellen looking fierce:

And while we haven't been to a firework display tonight, Edward drew one all of his own, which gives a good impression of the sky right now:

Happy Bonfire Night!