Monday, September 24, 2007

Secret Pal

After a busy weekend I was again hoping to get loads done at home today but, having just spent two hours waiting in the doctors' surgery, I have had a very frustrating start to the day. I was hugely cheered when I got home to find that the postman had brought me a wonderful parcel from my Secret Pal. This is what was inside the envelope:

Ooh, what could it be? When I unwrapped all the goodies, I was thrilled to discover these:

Some wonderful Crabtree and Evelyn bath products in a sweet little handmade bag, a perpetual knitting calendar with a different stitch for each day, and a lovely lavender bag! Thank you so much, Secret Pal!

We may have had a packed weekend but we also had a long car journey so I had some knitting time. I am helping to make a group afghan and frantically knit away on my allotted squares for the lizard ridge afghan from Knitty. Although I don't usually like Noro owing to its unpredictable colourways, it is very effective in this pattern:

and I can see the appeal of the yarn:

Yesterday we visited Tunbridge Wells, and drank the spring water from the famous Chalybeate Spring:

The water is high in calcium and iron so is very good for you, although it does taste very metallic - we all quite liked it, though! The sun was shining on the Pantiles, and it was a lovely place for a day out:

And now back to the chores...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Headless chicken

This week, I feel a bit overwhelmed by everything that needs doing and hardly know where to start. So, I figured that I would write this entry and try to get some order in my life afterwards! I have had unexpected extra work this week, which means that my plans to sort things out at home have gone awry yet again and I am feeling as though I have so many things that need doing that I cannot start anything. I even feel that way about my knitting! I keep looking at my knitting plans for September and feeling like I am making very little progress. I have finished something, though. Nic has now received this, so here is the kimono (yes, another one - I can do them in my sleep now!) I knitted for Pete:

I did make it to Stash to knit this week and was delighted when Nic came in in person with Pete. I didn't have my camera, but Pete was surrounded by adoring women the whole time he was there - he is gorgeous!

I have also been playing around with ideas for the school Christmas fair and have just made these flowers which I think would be popular. I knitted these two in Regia sock yarn, which I think is so pretty. I have adapted them from a Nicky Epstein pattern. I have a couple of questions for you - do you think it is OK to sell them just with safety pins, or do you think I need to get proper badge pins (which will add to the expense of making them)? And how much do you think we should sell them for? Here they are on their own:

and on my cardigan as a corsage:

I have also starting teaching a friend to knit and while we were at the local yarn shop, I couldn't resist this Regia Kaffe Fassett yarn - it was great to see it in person and see the colours for real:

This week has been busy at school. After-school clubs have started up, as has homework, and I am struggling to fit everything in! Before the onslaught of the week, Paul was working last Sunday and I did manage some fresh air at the Wetlands Centre with the children. The flowers lend beautiful colour:

and I have always liked this slate:

The tranquillity such spaces bring make me wonder what I am doing in such a big city sometimes, but at least I have the escape of such urban wildness close by.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Circle of friends

The past couple of days Edward has been very under the weather and is off school again today, so not much knitting has been happening. I have today managed to get my work done which has been on an overnight turnaround and am now going to keep him company while tackling the ironing mountain that seems to have erupted while I have been working so much this week. As I haven't made much progress on anything the past couple of days, here are some photos I took of the blanket we knitters at Stash made for Nic's new baby, Pete (formerly known as Peanut), which I can safely blog about now that it has arrived (thanks, Jill!). We used the Joelle Hoverson Circle of Friends baby blanket pattern from Last-minute Knitted Gifts but didn't have enough of all the yarns to follow it exactly, so came up with this variation:

Mary crocheted beautifully around the edge:

And little Pete seems to like it! It was lovely doing this project with a group of people. We planned it and gave everyone a diagram and a little kit with the yarns they would need so that seven of us knitted seven strips and then sewed them together at Stash one Wednesday morning before giving it to Mary, who did such a great job of finishing it. A fun project and a lovely gift.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Oh the temptation!

I finally made it to Stash this week - on Monday night I went to do some knitting for Brigid's appeal. I took along all those kimonos I've been making and I didn't quite finish the final thing I was knitting, but have now finished my last hat and it is ready to be posted off to Brigid:

And yesterday I finally made it to the knitting group. There were only four of us there: me, Fiona, Jacquie, and Lesley, but it was lovely to see everyone and Michelle and Diane, and catch up with what was new at the shop. In fact, the new yarn was so tempting that I couldn't help myself and have bought yarn for three projects! I have had my eye on this pattern from Magknits and there was a new colourway of Koigu just in:

Buoyed up by the knowledge that I had my birthday voucher to spend, somehow I managed to justify to myself the cost of the yarn (it is so luscious, I didn't take that much persuading), and went a bit crazy:

The Dream in Color (on the left) is to make a shrug for my sister for her birthday and the Misti Alpaca (the red yarn in the middle) is to start my Christmas knitting - yes, more scarves beckon!

On my September goals I am making some progress although, in typical fashion, my plans have gone awry this week. I managed to finish the journal I was working on on Monday and then was in the office all day Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon and evening, and my grand plans to sort out the house post-summer holidays and catch up with the many tasks I need to get on with have been thwarted as Edward had a wakeful night and was feeling very unwell this morning. So, he is off school and my plans are still on hold! Maybe tomorrow...

The Koigu was so irresistible, and was calling to me from my bag, that I simply couldn't help knitting my tension square last night - and I might even have to cast on tonight, although I am trying to decide whether to change the bottom edge of the cardigan and have something different from the rolled edge...but here is how the yarn is knitting up:


I am trying to be good and, as they say, stick to my knitting (for September!), but the temptation might just prove too much. Watch this space!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Aaaaargh, spider!

The last few days of the school holidays have been spent making the most of our freedom, as well as getting haircuts, trying on school shoes and sorting out everything in readiness for tomorrow.

We had another trip to Kew Gardens where the lily pads were in flower:

and the Alpine House was looking lovely (I just love these plants and the rock garden, which are full of pretty flowers and beautiful leaves):

And the Bug Man was there with his creepy-crawlies. Ellen was feeling brave:

Taking a leaf out of Dawn and Polly's books, I thought I would start listing knitting goals for the month.

So, here are September's knitting plans:
1. Finish baby present for a friend (secret so no pix yet).
2. Start and finish another baby gift for another friend (due to be induced on 22nd).
3. Plan and start my sister's birthday present.
4. Complete 10 repeats of a Birch shawl for the school auction.
5. Finish fronts of Seville bolero for me.

Maybe this is too ambitious but I have a way to go if I want to finish some planned projects by the end of the year! I was longing to go to Stash tomorrow for Wednesday morning knitting (the summer has been tough to get through with no knitting company!) but have been asked to work all day owing to the Tube strike. So, it is time to pump up my bicycle tyres and be patient for another week.