Up Knit Creek

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I'b got a cowd ib de nose

Yep! Thanks to my lovely Lucy, I have now got the snottiest nose in the entire world. Not that I'm feeling sorry for myself (hang on while I get another tissue and some paracetamol) but I've sneezed so many times today that my nose is in danger of detaching itself from my face.
Anywho, the good news is that there has been real progress on Via Diagonale, and I only need to knit the handles and sew the lining. Yippee!
Here's the proof:
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Y'see, I don't make it up!
I bought myself a little knitting gadget today that I've never seen before - it's a combined tension square measure and stitch calculator. If you work out that your tension is 24 sts to 10cm, you slide the slider to 24 and it shows you how many stitches to cast on for anything from 1cm to 100cm..........clever, huh? I haven't explained it very well, but it will take the guesswork out of some of my experiments.
In other news, I have started my sunflower, but I think I need to make quite a few modifications:
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I'm thinking of fixing thin wire to the back of the petals so that I can bend them into a less flat shape.......not sure how to fix the wire yet, a bit more experimenting is needed.
No blogging for a few days as I'm going to my see parents for a long weekend. Oh the joys of the M25 & M1 on a bank holiday weekend....................why do I do it to myself? Hours of traffic jams and misery for a short stay. Why? Mum's Sunday dinner, that's why!!

Monday, April 25, 2005

No knitting

I can't believe it! Three whole days have passed and I haven't touched any knitting. This has to be a record, I normally knit every day without fail. Knitting is always something that fits in around other things except for rare occasions when I plan an afternoon or an evening to do nothing but knit. This weekend has been busy and any spare time has been taken up with my ExTex project.
I have made some felt and a small rag rug which are somehow going to be fashioned into...................that's right.............a sunflower. Obvious, isn't it? The basic idea is to use the rag rug as the centre of the flower and cut the felt into petals. The idea is one thing; putting it into practice is quite another. I have stitched most of the petals into place but the effect isn't really as I'd imagined. I'm trying to figure out a way to attach a stalk so the whole thing can be properly 3D. There will be photos when it is more recognisable.
Maybe I should use this piece as an experiment and make another one using the benefit of my newly-acquired experience.
Short post tonight - I'm knackered.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Needlework Festival

This afternoon I went to a Needlework Festival in Lewes. For some reason I had expected it to be a rather amateur affair and thought I would be in and out within half an hour. How wrong I was!
I saw some fabulous things on display: embroidered pictures, hats and headwear, silk paper objects, felted items, blackwork, handbags, knitting of all different kinds (love those little wire-knitted hats, Joan!) and of course, lots of things to tempt me into parting with my money.
I bought some lovely hand-dyed embroidery silks, some hand-dyed merino tops and some other hand-dyed sheep fleece (can't remember which breed, but it's all curly). All this is for my ExTex project, which has been started now.......kind of.............but I'm a bit unsure how to proceed with the next step. Maybe a bit of alcohol will result in inspiration!
When I can find a flat surface in this house that isn't covered in clutter, I will take piccies of the current works-in-progress, but there could be a looooong wait - can you tell that I don't really like housework?

P.S. I forgot to say a big big big thank you to my friend and colleague, Pat, who has very generously donated a big bag of lovely fabrics, many of which will be used in the ExTex project.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


I'm soooo angry! Lucy's school teachers worked hard to ensure that there was as little disruption as possible to the revision programme following the arson attack. The kids were all being taken to a school in Brighton that is about to close, and everyone was trying to make the best of a bad job, but now, thanks to a few mindless numbskulls, Lucy and all her co-students are back at home. They all had to be escorted off the premises by the police because kids from the school in Brighton have been threatening, violent and generally abusive towards "our lot". Half the kids in Brighton never attend their school anyway, so why should they suddenly take umbrage when other people use it? I was so incensed by the whole thing that I sent an e-mail to the local news website. Felt rather stupid when I found out there had already been an article on the local TV news, but at least I vented my spleen.

OK, rant over.
On the knitting front, progress on the Via Diagonale bag has been very slow - I think it's because it uses a slip stitch which seems to compress the rows more closely together. I'm about two-thirds through and quite bored with it now, which means that it is very hard to resist the temptation to start knitting a shrug that Lucy has requested.
Repeat after me "I will not start another project until at least one has been completed; I will not start another project until at least one has been completed"
I also have to start making stuff for the project I have to do on the ExTex course (see Kim's website in the "Stuff I like" list). I have ordered some materials and made a start on one teeny tiny piece but there is a deadline *sighs* I don't like deadlines and usually try to ignore them, but there really is no excuse for not getting on with it....... hmmmmmm.............. "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is on tonight..............one more night won't make much difference.................tomorrow would be good, maybe the stuff will have arrived..............I feel very tired today, don't want to muck it up...........
See what I mean? Any excuse.........

Monday, April 18, 2005

Retour du Bruxelles

What can I say? Brussels was great even though I didn't find a single ball of wool!The weather could have been better but a few drops of rain didn't stop us enjoying as much of the city as we could.
We were a bit worried as we walked to our hotel from the metro - we seemed to be in an area that was full of strip-joints and "adult" cinemas - but our fears were unfounded as the area was very pleasant and within walking distance of the Grand' Place and other sights.
We saw the famous Manneken Pis on our first afternoon:
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Every souvenir shop has replicas of this little boy; ashtrays, cork screws, bottle openers, paper weights, plates, beer glasses etc etc. We restrained ourselves and bought a fridge magnet.
Brussels has over 60 museums and we managed to see four of them.
Obviously, we had to go to the Brewer's Museum, housed in the cellars of a building dating from 1695. The free beer was excellent, and I don't usually like beer!
We also went to Autoworld which houses a fantastic collection of cars, from the old horseless carriages of 1896 right up to Audi's latest offerings.
On Friday we went to the Museum of Musical Instruments which was amazing. I saw instruments I had never seen before as well as wonderful examples of more well-known instruments. The collection of keyboard instruments was fantastic. The really nice thing about this museum was that they give you a set of wireless headphones to wear, so that as you go around, you hear extracts of music played on the instruments you are looking at - it really brought it all to life.
The last museum we visited was the Costume and Lace museum - again, it was incredible. I have never seen such intricate and delicate pieces of lace; some of it was over 300 years old yet looked as though it had been made last week. I was absolutely bowled over by the workmanship and the detailing; a truly memorable afternoon.
After all that museuming, we needed refreshment:
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A "Chokolade met slagroom" apparently - otherwise known as hot chocolate with whipped cream - just what you need after walking round in the rain.
I could go on about the beer and the chocolate in Brussels but there are lots of places on the internet that would be much more informative. Suffice it to say that both are pretty damn good and I can't wait to go again!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Getting away

I'm so excited!!
Simon and I celebrated (or rather, didn't) 10 years of unwedded bliss in February but for a number of reasons (i.e lack of dosh, children who need looking after etc etc) we didn't actually do anything.
We both booked a couple of days off work and thought we might go on some days out or even an overnight stay in London to see a show. None of these things materialised and now I know why. There was a reason for my indecision and it appeared on Lastminute.com.
We are going to Brussels for two days on Eurostar!!! It was so cheap that it would have been a crime not to partake, so off we jolly well go!
Must dash, have to look up "Yarn shops in Brussels" on Google.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Ow! I have blisters and my legs ache. I had forgotten that London is a big place. Distances on a streetmap bear no relation to distances walked. It said "1o-minute walk" from Kings Cross to the Craft Council in Pentonville Road. What it didn't say was that it was all up hill and that there would be a strong, cold, northerly wind trying to blow me down the hill as I walked.
It was worth it though. Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the gallery but there are some good pictures in the May issue of "Knitting".
I found the whole exhibition very inspiring and I'm glad I made the effort to go. Anyone who thinks of knitting as fuddy-duddy and boring would have to change their opinions after seeing this. I think my favourite piece was Veste Pour Oiseaux Migratures by Marie-Rose Lortet.

After I had finished at the Craft Council, I went to Liberty. I haven't been there for at least 15 years and I was shocked at how small the dress-fabric department has become. I remember going there to look for material to make my wedding dress and being completely overwhelmed by the choice. Now you can get either Tana Lawn or Crepe-de-Chine in Liberty prints or plain colours and that's about it. Very disappointing. In the knitting section though, they sell Rowan patchwork fabrics so I came away happy.
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This is going to be the "Via Diagonale" bag from the new issue of Knitty. The fabric will be the lining of the bag.
I have also started this:
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The Flower Basket shawl from Interweave Knits (autumn/fall 2004), so that's five projects on the go. Variety is the spice of life and two scarves, a shawl, a bag and a chair cover is pretty varied!

Saturday, April 09, 2005


I am off to London later on today to visit "Knit2together" at the Crafts Council. I might pop along to Liberty afterwards, just to see what they've got; of course *I won't buy any more yarn* because I have loads in my newly re-organised stash! It's no smaller since the re-organisation, but it is easier to see what I've got.

* If you believe this, you'll believe anything

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Just a quick one this morning - I haven't had much to write about over the past couple of days.
I am concentrating on the chair cover at present but it is rather tedious as the whole back of the chair is in moss stitch which is definitely not my favourite - I love the way it looks but I hate knitting it! Things will improve when I get on to the fronts, with cables and bobbles etc.

Lucy may have a longer Easter holiday than she was expecting - some nice young people decided to burn down the school yesterday, and there's a chance that it won't re-open on Monday. From what we can tell, it's the main hall, library and computer suite that suffered the worst damage, most of the classrooms are intact, though smoke-damaged. Fortunately, the block where all the art classrooms are escaped the worst of it - it would have been a complete disaster for Lucy if all her art course-work had gone up in smoke. Damage has been estimated at over a million pounds, and two teenagers have been arrested. I know school holidays can be boring, but surely they could have found something a little less destructive to do?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Long time, no blog

I haven't quite got round to blogging since I
went back to work on Wednesday. I had to move office and although I knew it was coming, I had hoped that if I ignored it (by not packing my stuff up or making any other kind of preparation) it would go away. Anyway, it now takes twice as long (at least) to get to work, there is no car-park on-site, no canteen, and I have to use every scrap of willpower to stop myself heading into the nearest knitting shop. At the old office, temptation was too far away at lunchtimes! On the plus side, I am now back with all my colleagues so we're a proper team once more. I would have blogged last night, but we went to the pub after work.........and.........well............you know how it is!

I picked up the first issue of "Simply knitting" today (that's four knitting magazines I've bought this week - I need help for this addiction) and I was quite impressed. It caters mostly for beginners, but there was enough in it to keep more seasoned knitters happy too. It will be interesting to see whether it can sustain its input over the next few issues. What interested me was a section near the back where the people who work on the magazine were talking about when they learnt to knit - most of them are very recent converts and look under 25. This makes me very pleased because only a few years ago I was beginning to think that I was some kind of fuddy-duddy freak as I was the only person I knew (in my age group) who knitted. It also set me thinking about when I first learnt to knit.
I think I was about 7 or 8 and my mum taught me after we did a bit at school. I never did more than a scarf or things for my teddy at that time, and didn't pick up the needles again until I was about 17. I knitted occasionally over the next few years but it wasn't until I was pregnant with Lucy that I really started knitting in earnest and I finally became obsessed/possessed about 2 years ago.
Reasons I love knitting:
  • I love creating something from scratch
  • unending possibilities of colour and texture (how will I ever find time to knit all the ideas floating in my head?)
  • originality
  • it's a great stress-buster
  • the warm, happy feeling you get when you give someone something you've made specially for them and they love it
  • the sense of achievement when a difficult project turns out better than you hoped

I could probably go on a lot longer but I have no wish to bore you all rigid; besides, there's dinner to cook and knitting to be done!