Up Knit Creek

Saturday, July 30, 2005


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(gratuitous Johnny Depp picture)

The girls and I went to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" yesterday as Lucy and I are both big Johnny Depp fans and Bethany seems to be a Tim Burton fan. We were not disappointed. I have read a couple of reviews that said the film is disappointing, just a string of visual effects and that Willy Wonka obviously hated children - wrong, wrong and wrong. Johnny Depp is excellent (as always), the film sticks pretty closely to the original story although there are some additions, and Wonka only hates four of the children who are pretty revolting anyway. I felt that the film captured the spirit of the book very well and that the effects just brought to life Dahl's vivid imagination. The girls told me off for laughing "louder than anyone else in the whole cinema" (it's a wicked lie) but we all agreed that Willy Wonka and all the Oompa-Loompas are gay - Wonka's hair is never out of place and the Oompa-Loompas have a predilection for PVC catsuits and bursting into song at the least provocation!
P.S. Willy Wonka has scarily perfect teeth which I found rather unnerving.

Not much knitting news 'cause I haven't done much. I'm waiting for Monday when the first clue for the Mystery Shawl Along is released but apart from that I have done a bit more to the aran chair cover and fiddled about with some of the patterns in "A Gathering of Lace" - nothing worth photographing though, so here's another picture of the Deppmeister:
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005


What's this? Two posts in one day? Yep! There's no escape!
The reason for this post is Peri (she of Knit and natter) who has tagged me. I've never been tagged before, so hope I'm doing this right.

Five Personal Idiosyncrasies:

1. Toilet paper: has to be the "right" way on the holder - i.e. with the free edge at the front where it is easily reachable.

2. I always eat apples in exactly the same way - bite right around the middle, then eat the top followed by the bottom.

3. When we go to restaurants, I always look underneath the table cloth to see what the table is made of. You'd be surprised how many posh places have tables made of chipboard!

4. I always put handcream on the backs of my hands, not on the palms.

5. I thread sewing needles (and sewing machines) with my left hand even though I'm right-handed.

Well, that's my five, now I have to pass the tag on to five other people. Being a rather sad and lonely type, I didn't know who to tag, so I have made my choice rather randomly from the UKnitter's Ring. I hope no-one minds; my sincere apologies if you do. I have tagged:
Float 'n' Purl
Spitting Yarn
Knit the Knits
Finally waking up.
Please list your own five personal idiosyncrasies and then tag five other people.

Finished object

My time at home has been used quite productively so far - I have finished the replacement for "Sonnet". "Sonnet" knitted in Colinette Giotto was not a success as the fabric produced was too floppy and prone to stretching, so I frogged and started again. I'm quite happy with the result:
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It's a top-down raglan cardi in mostly stocking stitch, with a bottom border of two rows of mitred squares - I got bored with plain stocking stitch - and a crocheted crab-stitch edging. The pattern is my own, using "Sweater Wizard" software.

The pattern for a test swatch for the Mystery Shawl Along was posted on Monday evening so I knitted two little samples, neither of them in the yarn bought for the purpose! (Well, a girl can change her mind, can't she?). I decided that the Filatura di Crosa yarn was just too fine, so it will now be used (probably!) for something from "A Gathering of Lace" by Meg Swansen.
I swatched using some alpaca left over from a jumper I knitted over Christmas:
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and some hand-dyed 4-ply wool of unknown origin:
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Those colours are just too much when combined with the lacy pattern so I have decided to go with the alpaca, which is soooooo soft and snuggly and shows off the stitch detail much more clearly.
I'm itching to start the actual shawl now, though I think it will be more difficult than I first thought. I know it will be triangular, but don't know whether it starts at the point and increases, or starts at the long edge and decreases. The only other lace knitting I've done was a mohair stole for my mum - the mohair was too thick so the stole doesn't drape as well as it should, but the pattern shows up nicely. Sadly, my daughters are not really "girly" girls so they're not interested in shawls or frills or lacy stuff - black stuff with holes in is more their style.
For some pretty staggering lace knitting, look here .

Friday, July 22, 2005

Magazine review (and potatoes)

I don't normally review magazines (usually too busy drooling to do a review) but "Simply Knitting" issue 5 arrived on the mat this morning and as I've got time on my hands I thought I'd give it a go. I subscribed to this magazine after the second issue, but I'm still waiting for my free gift, which was supposed to be a set of bamboo needles. I think this has probably coloured my views on the magazine, but I'll try to give a balanced picture.
I like the ideas section at the front - there's plenty of website addresses that I'll look up at some point and the calendar is useful.
The patterns -
  • White Shores - interesting to knit but I wouldn't wear it. My almost 17-year-old daughter liked it, but not in white.
  • Pompon fun - FUN? not my idea of fun.
  • Pure and simple - great first project or a quick "Ooops! I forgot you were pregnant" gift for a quick knitter. Don't like the yarn, though.
  • Bird mobile - I like the look but think it would be rather tedious to knit.
  • Raspberry Ripple - I would prefer this if it was knitted from the top down; I would probably try and adapt the pattern.
  • Summer Stunner - hmmmm, maybe if I was 2 stones smaller.
  • Green Daze - thanks, I'll just take him home now, shall I?
  • Have a ball - I like Kate's work (see her diagonal top in "Magknits") but this is unworthy of her, sorry.
  • Itsy Bitsy - oh, purlease. No. For Kate Moss, maybe; for the real world, no, no, no.
  • Crochet Bouquet - I will probably have a go at these eventually, although I suspect they are exactly the same as a dozen other easily available patterns for crochet flowers.
  • One pattern, three looks - why?

I like the yarn reviews and articles about designers. If I were a new knitter, I would be very pleased with the "how-to" section and this month's free book is quite useful. I don't regret buying a subscription (where's my free gift?) but I much prefer Interweave Knits or Vogue.

You may have noticed the appearance of a new button in the sidebar. I have signed up for the Mystery Shawl Along. I have never participated in a knit-along before but I was intrigued by the "mystery". I like the idea that I don't know what I'm knitting, though I could say that about a lot of my projects! I have bought some Filatura di Crosa Centolavaggi for this project, which arrived this morning from Marchmoon. It is a very very pale grey so I'm considering a spot of dyeing this afternoon. Start date is August 1st so sign up now and join in the fun.

The new cardi from Giotto is going well - I'm on the bottom half of the body section so not a huge amount more to do, thank goodness. Much as I like the yarn, knitting it up three times is no joke.

I have been back to the doctor about my migraines and have now been signed off work for at least two weeks. Unfortunately, I haven't coped very well with these migraines and found myself sliding back into the black hole of depression. The doctor thought a couple of weeks away from the stresses of work would perhaps stop a full-scale descent and I am very relieved. I can't help feeling like a complete wuss because I know people who have much more stressful lives than I do, yet they cope and I don't.

On a completely different note - potatoes.

I love potatoes - chips, roasts, baked, boiled, mashed, sauteed, you name it, I'll eat it (it's the Irish in me) and I have discovered a means by which I will never have to buy another potato. It goes like this:

Buy potatoes every week, regardless of whether you eat them all. Store them in a cupboard which is dark and damp because of an undetected leak in the plumbing system. Add to the pile of potatoes regularly, putting new ones on the top and ignoring the old ones. After several weeks (when the cupboard is on the point of collapse) dig out the old potatoes at the bottom of the heap - they should have sprouted new potatoes along with a tangle of scary white root-like growths. The perfect solution to the problem of carrying heavy bags of spuds home from the supermarket - just allow them to reproduce in the convenient location of your kitchen cupboard. I think I will patent this tried and tested method of organic potato farming - there must be money in it somewhere!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Busy week

10 days since my last post - how disgraceful! Well, a few things have happened over the past week which have made me unwilling or unable to post.

The bombs - I don't know anyone who was directly involved (thank God) but my heart goes out to those who have lost someone or have been injured.
There is not, and never will be, any justification for acts of this kind. It is reassuring to know that the perpetrators of this evil have been tracked down so quickly - a travesty that they will never have to face the consequences of their actions.

Part of the reason I haven't posted for so long is that I am dog-tired. For the past 10 days I have been on secondment to the local council and have been travelling around with one of the council's visiting officers. This means that I haven't been using my own car (I refuse to pay over £12.00 for the privilege of it sitting in car park all day) and have been "relying" on the bus or a lift to get home. The lift is no problem - it just means I'm not home till about 6.30 (which is late for me). The bus is a different matter. On Wednesday I had to wait about 30 minutes (although the service is advertised as being every 10 mins) and then sat in a queue of traffic for an hour and a half - the journey should take 45 mins max. There were road works and nothing was moving so I didn't get home till about 8.30pm. By the time I'd eaten and done a few rows, I was fit for nothing except my bed.

The other reason for not posting is that I have some tragic news - get your hankies and smelling salts ready and make sure you're sitting down - "Sonnet" is no more, it has shuffled off this mortal coil and gone to join the great stash in the sky (well, actually, the yarn is being re-knitted). It took two attempts to get the body sizing right but when it was finished I was pretty happy with it; however, after wearing the finished article a few times, it became apparent that there were problems. I'm not sure whether the yarn wasn't suited to the design or whether the tension was too loose for that style, but every time I wore the cardi, it fell off as I was walking! It was also distorting along the front edges and would soon have ended up with the fronts trailing round my knees. After much soul-searching and gnashing of teeth, I did the only reasonable thing under the circumstances - frogged, frogged, frogged. The lovely Colinette yarn is now in the process of becoming a top-down raglan cardi in stocking stitch on needles two sizes smaller - the resulting fabric is much firmer and will hopefully keep its shape. I like knitting top-down, it gives me chance to think about the bottom borders before I actually have to knit them. Haven't decided what to do on this one yet - can't decide between a flared edging or a horizontal cable edging; still, there's plenty of time.
In other knitting - I have had to frog part of the latest section of the Aran chair cover; I have no idea what happened, but the second of two identical pieces turned out about three inches too long, but with the right number of stitches! I tried bodging but it didn't work so I had no choice but to crawl back on my lily-pad and "rip-it, rip-it".

The last two weekends have seen me knocked out by migraines. I have suffered from these beastly things for about 10 years, but never very frequently. The last six weeks or so, I have had 5 or 6 migraines, including 2 that have lasted for most of the last 2 weekends and dragged on into Monday. I'm now taking some preventative drugs, so hopefully that's sorted - I can't cope with another weekend in a darkened room feeling like there's an erupting volcano in my head!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Not much to report really; since finishing the "Sonnet" cardi, I have tried very hard (well, quite hard) to stick to one project and see it through to the end - namely the aran style chair cover that I started back in January.
I have come to the conclusion that I have no will-power, no self-discipline and absolutely no staying power. I finished the cardi just over a week ago and duly got on with the sixth section (out of 10 or 11) of the chair cover. By the time this bit was half-done, I was bored with it so I started a little teddy bear out of some left-over mohair. He's really cute:
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and Mollie seems to quite like him too!
That didn't take very long so I did a few more rows of the chair cover but then had an overwhelming urge to try something else. What better than the "One Skein Wonder" from Glampyre Knits http://glampyreknits.tripod.com/glampyrephotos/id97.html.
I'm just finishing the edging on this, which I decided to do in moss stitch rather than ribbing, so that it matches the sleeve edges. I'm using some yarn which I think is aran weight, cotton/acrylic blend, bought from who-knows-where more years ago than I care to remember. I might take a piccie if it turns out OK, but I don't really think shrugs as small as this one suit me. It might be looking for a new home once it's finished - maybe I'll try ebay - oooh no! Can't do that, the pattern copyright doesn't allow for commercial use. Perhaps Mollie would like the shrug, as well as the teddy.
Until this weekend, I was an eBay virgin. I've often looked on there, and even made a bid once, but I've never really got into the whole caboodle. That all changed at the weekend when I found an old Rowan pattern booklet for sale. I won that one and arranged to collect the booklet from the seller who lives fairly close. I have since bid and won on two more items (another knitting book and some knitting looms) and am currently awaiting delivery. I am now having to restrain myself as this is yet another opportunity for me to spend what little dosh I have.......................as if all those on-line yarn stores weren't temptation enough. Now, who's the patron saint of lost causes?