Up Knit Creek

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Well, the knitting machine works - in less than a week I have made two lacy scarves and a jumper as well as a few bits and pieces to test out its capabilities. I managed to get hold of an instruction manual from a knitting machine shop in Brighton which I must have walked past hundreds of times without noticing its existence. The felting projects have not really happened yet as I need to find a way to stop the edges curling over and felting in on themselves, but I haven't really given it any serious thought yet. I think it could be difficult to get hold of 100% wool suitable for the machine - there seems to be acrylic in abundance, but that's no good for what I want to do. I guess it'll have to be online shopping again, but it's so difficult to show restraint when it's all "virtual" shops - my brain has come to believe that it results in "virtual" bills that are only paid "virtually" and don't exist in reality. If I had to hand over my hard -earned actual cash, I might think twice.

I know I said I was concentrating on the aran chair cover, but the machine seems to have taken over - must be something to do with the comparatively instant results combined with my impatience. I have done a bit more to the chair cover and am definitely on the home strait but it will still be a while yet before I can stand back and admire the finished article.

Time will be at a premium from tomorrow as I return to work after 10 weeks on sick leave. I don't know that I am completely ready to return and I'm not looking forward to it at all, but I feel that the longer I put it off, the harder it will be to return at all. I've also signed up for the next year of Experimental Textiles, so that's another night of non-knitting.

Still no photos of Bethany's top or the latest socks, this time I just forgot to whip the camera out and Bethany is now at her dad's until Tuesday night. I will try to remember because the top looks very effective so is worth a picture.

On a completely different note - Mollie has a double! I took her to the vet on Tuesday for her annual look-over and another cat came in who looked exactly the same as our very own Moll. He even had the same look in his eyes, the same white socks and white tummy, he was just missing the tiny white tip to the tail but they could have been twins. He was much quieter than Mollie who declaimed her displeasure to all who would listen! (although she went very quiet when a large dog came in). I wonder whether the other cat could have been one of Mollie's kittens - she had just given birth when we saw her at the animal rescue shelter, but the kittens had already been found a new home. I wish I'd asked now.

Monday, September 19, 2005


Almost a week gone by again!
Not much to report really; I have finished the "Accidentally on purpose" dropped stitch top from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation for Bethany. No photo yet 'cause the camera needs charging, but Bethany seems pretty pleased with it. I bought four balls of Patons 100% cotton DK, to make sure I had the required yardage, but I have used less than two. I often find that I use less yarn than is called for in the pattern but I daren't buy less "just in case". My stash is full of odd balls that shouldn't really be there at all.
I have also finished my two socks on one needle. I bought my very first Addi turbo to complete these socks and I have to say it made all the difference. The needles are so smooth and the cord is much more flexible than on other circular needles I have used. I would definitely try this method of knitting socks again - once you've mastered it, it's a doddle and if I can do it, anyone can!
I'm now trying to make a concerted effort to finish the aran chair cover that has been on the needles since January. I don't know why it's taking me so long - big needles, thick wool, staightforward pattern - there's nothing really to justify the slow progress. Must be all those other things that I keep knitting in between times, y'know, shawls, socks, tops, scarves, baby clothes etc etc. It will be finished soon.
I also have another new toy to distract me - I won a knitting machine on Ebay last week. I haven't been able to use it yet as there was no instruction book with it (how helpful!) but I have tracked down a place in Brighton that has one copy in stock so there'll be no stopping me. I used to have a very simple, basic machine years ago, but all the important bits seem to be missing so it's no use. The main reason for buying the new machine is that I have an idea for some projects that require large pieces of plain knitting to start with. I could do it by hand but it would take too long and the interesting part is what happens to the knitting afterwards. Can't really explain it yet, but will hopefully have piccies of the prototypes before too long.
I don't know when I'm going to have time to do all these projects, mind you, as I will be back to work on Monday next week. The doctor has decided that I am fit to go back after 10 weeks off, because I smiled for the first time!

Do any of you lovely readers live near Ally Pally? I will be at the Knitting and Stitching show all four days, and could do with a floor to sleep on!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Today is the seventeenth anniversary of the day I gave birth for the first time, in other words,
I was going to find lots of embarassing photos from when Lucy was a baby/toddler and post them on here but I know she would never forgive me. I have already made a birthday card with a nekkid 18-month -old Lucy on it, and the poor love didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So, no silly pictures but I will tell you about Lucy and why she is special (Bethany, if you're reading this, you're special too and I'll do the same on your birthday!).
Lucy arrived two and a half weeks late after a very short, sharp labour and I couldn't believe how beautiful she was. She was a contented baby and smiled at everyone. She was always eager to learn and couldn't wait to go to school - on her first day, she waved goodbye and told me to go home because she was going to be too busy to talk to me! No tears for her but I cried all the way home. Throughout her life she has faced all her trials and tribulations with equanimity, maturity and a stoic attitude. She is kind, thoughtful, caring, loyal, honest, funny, disorganised, talented, reserved in company but outgoing with her friends, prone to scruffiness ("Are you really going out in those rags, I mean, jeans?), constantly "borrows" my mascara, obsessed with Mollie the cat, likes disreputable-looking bands, indecisive about hairstyles, terrible channel-flicker (hide the remote), untidy and still beautiful.
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Happy birthday, sweetheart.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Very quick post today, just to show that eventually I made progress on the latest bag:

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It actually looks more felted in real life although it didn't felt as much as I would have liked. It was knitted in 100% aran weight wool from the Yarn Warehouse , used double on 6.5mm needles. The yarn is quite scratchy to knit with and when I tried to use it for some embroidery, it broke very easily. I think it would have been better to use slightly larger needles as it was really hard work to knit - it would probably have felted better if the fabric was a bit looser as well. Overall though I'm pleased with the result even though my bag is a bit bigger than it should be (more room for even more receipts, old bananas, bus tickets, hair bands, leaking pens, MP3 players, everyone else's mobile phone, etc etc).

Have also started the "Accidentally on purpose" top from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation for Bethany, who is not feeling too good today - big hugs, sweetie-pie x x x - using Paton's 100% cotton DK (or is it Sirdar? Can't remember!) as Paton's "Grace" doesn't appear to exist in the UK.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Where does the time go?

I can't believe it's almost a week since I last posted. My original intention when I started this blog was to post almost every day - failed again!

When we got back from my parents' last week, I had two new packages of yarn waiting for me - some Rowan woolcotton in pale pink and some 100% wool aran weight in a denim blue.
The blue aran is for a felted bag that I saw in "Cast On" magazine ('cause I really need another bag - No. 70, by the way). Anyway, I started it on Tuesday, thinking it would be a very quick knit - knitted in the round, 6mm needles, doubled yarn etc - but it is taking forever! I have done all the increasing around the bottom and am now on the straight body of the bag, which has to be about 7", and I keep knitting but it's not growing. I keep telling myself that it will soon be done, then there's a smallish flap and an i-cord strap to do before chucking it in the machine, but, honestly, I think I'm losing the will to live!

The woolcotton will probably be a "Picovoli" t-shirt designed by the fabulous Grumperina. (The pattern is also available through Magknits but I couldn't get the link to work - sorry). I just hope all that lovely waist-shaping doesn't accentuate my waist-shaping (or lack of it)..
The mystery shawl (as seen in previous post) was going to have an added border as I felt it needed a shaped edge as well as a bit more width. I found a suitable pattern in "Lace from the attic" and started knitting. After about a dozen repeats of the pattern, it then occurred to me that I might not have enough yarn to go all the way around the shawl so I frogged. Time for a rethink. "I know", I thought, " I'll just undo the cast off edge and re-do it with a much looser cast off, and then block it into scallops, just like the instructions said! What could be simpler?" What indeed!
I started unpicking the cast off stitches but it was a bit awkward so I just made a tiny little snip with my tiny little ......... sssh, whisper it!..............scissors. What was I thinking? Not only had I snipped the yarn, I had snipped it in the wrong place! When I had recovered from the bout of hysterics, I managed to sort out the mess by tinking back three rows and reknitting. The shawl now has a slightly scalloped edge and is quite a bit larger, having been blocked twice and attacked with a steam iron. All's well that ends well.

It is the time of year when education gets into gear after the holidays - Lucy is starting college on Wednesday, Bethany is back to school today and I must decide whether to sign up for the second year of ExTex. I really want to do it but the course has doubled in price since last year and I don't think I can afford it now - my car needs an MOT, both cars have just been taxed and so far I've spent over £100 on equipment for Lucy's course. It's also her (17th - eek!) birthday next week and we need a new boiler - why do these things always happen at once? Any quick fundraising ideas gratefully received................(no, I'm not shaving my hair off or doing a sponsored parachute jump, thank you.) Up Knit Creek t-shirts, anyone?