Saturday, May 26, 2007

And the winner is ...

...Kris! Paul has just pulled your name out of the hat! Congratulations - Knitting Under the Influence will be in the post tomorrow! Hope you enjoy the read!

Friday, May 25, 2007

That was the week that was...

This week has gone by in a flash, with seemingly very little time for anything outside work and domestic tasks.

Last weekend we had a family celebration for my dad's 70th birthday and I had to bring pudding:

Yet another chocolate cake, this time with strawberries and blueberries (my dad's favourite). Delicious!

I have unexpectedly had more hours of work this week which has restricted my time available for everything else (although I am not complaining - it is good to be needed!), but I have been determinedly knitting on the scarf for ISE4 and finally finished it today:

I have now washed it and blocked it and it is just drying ready to send to my pal. I was very pleased with how it came out. The cashmere is so soft now that it is washed and I like the simplicity of the leaf lace pattern (rather washed out here because it was so bright, but you can see the lace really well):

I shall be able to send it off before we go away tomorrow for the half-term week. I have gathered together a few other goodies, which I hope she will like. How I love making surprise packages!

The children had an INSET day today so as well as getting together my scarf package, I have managed to get all their school uniforms washed and dried, get half-term haircuts done and vacuum the car ready to pack in the morning. I even got a couple of hours' work done this morning before they got up, reading the books pages for the magazine I work on.

The weather this week has been fantastic although with this coming Monday being a bank holiday, in typical British fashion it is forecast to rain! But this week we have had perfect weather

We are off to Devon and I am so looking forward to going to the seaside. The one thing I haven't managed to do today has been pack but I am sorting out my knitting tonight and plan to take my Knit Picks Options needles which I tried out for the first time today. Julie was fantastic in sending these on to me. I wanted to finish my scarf before I started something new so today I used them for the first time, and I have to say I am impressed. They are certainly very pointy and have a perfect weight in my hands as I knit. The cables seem well designed and don't seem to have much memory, which is good. I have chosen a project (secret for the moment I'm afraid, as Melanie, my secret pal I am spoiling, knows who I am) that will give them a good test run.

As well as my secret project I am taking a baby project, this time the Debbie Bliss jacket from the new Vogue Knitting, which is adorable:

The date for my friend's C-section is 15 June - do you reckon I'll do it on time? I am going to knit this at the same time as Sabine, my pal who is spoiling me for this round of Secret Pal, who also wants to knit it for a friend.

I doubt I'll be able to blog from where we are staying, so have a good week! I will draw for the book and post the winner before we go!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

We have a winner, and a new book on offer

My husband has just picked a name out of the hat and the winner of the draw for the Friday Night Knitting Club is Shelby! So, congratulations Shelby. Please send me your full mailing address and I will dispatch the book off to you!

Commiserations to everyone else, but do not despair. I have another book up for grabs:

Knitting Under the Influence is an enjoyable light read and a good distraction if you are a knitter. So, again, please leave me a comment on this post by Friday midnight if you want to be entered for this draw. Good luck!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Seven things

I’ve been tagged by Nic and Kris.

"Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog."

Here are my facts:

1. I love animals (especially tigers) and would love to have a dog (although my husband thinks I'm crazy!).

2. I am quite unlucky and accident-prone (major events include: I have been through a car windscreen (from the outside in - I cycled into a parked car when I was 16); my office was blown up by the IRA in 1996; I had a ruptured appendix which was undiagnosed for almost a week!).

3. Throughout my childhood I weirdly believed I was a twin (with no evidence at all!) and was not that surprised to now be a mother of twins myself.

4. I am very indecisive when it comes to big decisions.

5. I worry incessantly - about everything.

6. I don't eat meat. (I only eat what I could kill myself -and I am too squeamish to kill even a chicken, although I can kill fish!)

7. I love potatoes (in almost every form) - must be my Irish roots!

I tag Melanie, Brigid, Julie, Hila, Caroline, Sabine and Mandy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Richmond May Fair

Saturday was the Richmond May Fair, which is always fun for the children. Unfortunately, this year the weather was showery but we decided to go despite the black clouds threatening overhead. In the end, although it rained off and on, the children still thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

There was the miniature steam train, which is there every year, and which Edward absolutely loves:

They all had a go on this amazing bungee trampoline, and Lily even managed a few somersaults while up in the air! Here's Ellen flying through the air:

And there was Lily's favourite ride, the carousel (which I have to admit is my favourite too - I just love the horses!)

Here is Lily in her element:

And the helter-skelter provided a few thrills too!

I didn't have a chance to look in the craft tent, which was a bit disappointing, but this is always the first fair of the season and so there will be other opportunities during the next few months.

On my own craft front, I did manage to finish a few things over the weekend. I have been knitting another beret to Grumperina's pattern, again in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport, in the Flame colourway, and here it is in all its fiery glory:

I just love the nub - I kept knitting until I got that little maroon bit on the end!

And I have finished the Debbie Bliss baby cardigan, which turned out really well, although it was a bit of a pain to sew up:

I also knitted a hat from the leftover yarn I had, which is so cute:

So, I have just posted these off to baby Reuben in Leeds. I think he'll look gorgeous in them!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Friday night giveaway

This week I have been rather swamped with work (two days in the office followed by a very intensive two days of editing at home). My knitting time has been sadly limited, although I did make it to my knitting group on Wednesday, which was as relaxing as ever.

I have just put parcel tape around the journal I have been editing to send it back to the publishers tomorrow, so to celebrate I thought I would give away my copy of the Friday Night Knitting Club. Apparently the film rights to this have been bought by Julia Roberts (a keen knitter, as I'm sure you know). I have read this copy, and did enjoy it although I found the ending a bit surprising and rather abrupt. It is good to read if you like knitting but it isn't 'literature' by any stretch. So, if you hanker after reading it, leave a comment by midnight BST next Friday and I'll put your name in a hat for a prize draw! Please leave an email address where I can contact you. I'll send the book anywhere in the world, so don't be shy!

Have a good weekend!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Spoiled rotten

This weekend has been one taken up with ferrying the children to various parties and friends' houses. We had a bit of a treat on Saturday when both Ellen and Edward were with friends so Paul and I were able to go out with just Lily. It is so rare that we have only one child with us that it is a real treat to be able to give some undivided attention for once. We used the opportunity to go shopping for bunk beds for Edward and Lily and they are both very excited at the prospect! It is the only way to maximise the space in their room and should give them a bit more floor space to play. We took Lily to a cafe for a bit of a special time with us too.

I had a great weekend for parcels! First my package arrived from my ISE4 partner. Inside was this gorgeous scarf:

It is the Tiger's Eye scarf pattern knitted in Knitpicks dye your own yarn, which Michele dyed a rich purple for me. It is perfect and I love it! Thank you so much Michele.

And that was not all! Also in the parcel was this fabulous tiger tape measure (can you see a theme here?!), which I just love - it will be my tape measure of choice from now on! The tail is so cute!

And there was more! Michele sent me this book, which I have been wanting for ages - Nicky Epstein's Knitting Beyond the Edge:

Thank you so much, Michele, for your wonderful generosity - I am so thrilled with everything. You have been a great scarf pal!

And as if that parcel was not enough excitement for one weekend, this arrived from Sabine, my (not so) secret pal

I have been wanting this too and it was a complete surprise when it arrived on Saturday. I have been looking through the patterns and there is a lot of inspiration there! So much choice, so little time... Thank you so much, Sabine. I feel thoroughly spoiled by both of my pals!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Glamour girl

At the weekend I knit determinedly on Tiffany's and finished it at last:

I am really pleased with the fit of this - it is a great, slightly glamorous knit and I am looking forward to wearing it. It will be less of an everyday cardigan and more of a 'night out' knit! It is of course too hot to wear it at the moment, but it will be perfect if I am going out in the evening.

I am also making good progress with my Debbie Bliss knit for my friend and have done the back and one front and am on the second front. I really like the two shades of blue I am using (part of my haul from my trip to Get Knitted):

At the weekend my friend also brought round a very exciting bag full of these:

Yup, Knitpicks Options sets! He was fantastically kind and brought these back for me and some members of my knitting group from a trip to New York. Unfortunately one set was missing, but Julie has stepped into the breach and so my set will be arriving a bit later. We are all very excited about trying out these needles as we have heard great things about them. Knitpicks do not ship directly to the UK so trying to get hold of them is a real saga but my friend and Julie have been kind enough to help! Thank you so much!

On Saturday I gave the last class for the girls I have been teaching to knit for their Duke of Edinburgh Award and they gave me some delicious Neuhaus chocolates as a thank you gift - so yummy!

And the children were very excited this weekend to find their very own Charlotte's web in the shed. I couldn't get a very good photo but there were hundreds of baby spiders all making their way out into the big wide world!

On a more sober note, this week has been a fairly awful one for our school. Last Wednesday I was sitting at my desk before heading off to my knitting group and could hear endless sirens. I even commented to Fiona at the knitting group about it. It wasn't until I got home from work that evening that I discovered that a friend of mine, her mother and her 2-year-old daughter had all been hit by a bus at the 209 bus station near where I live. Her mother was killed and her daughter has had to have one of her legs amputated below the knee. My friend needs surgery on her legs although she has not broken anything, but they are badly damaged. We are all shocked at this terrible tragedy and I have been able to think of little else. Everyone in the area uses the bus station all the time and I walk past there most days. That three generations of one family can be devastated in this way is just too awful for words. We are all thinking of them and hoping that they will be able to come to terms with this terrible tragedy. Please think positive thoughts for them all.