Up Knit Creek

Sunday, April 22, 2007

If only I had a memory......

... that worked. The one that currently resides in the space where my brain should be has gone on strike with the result that I cannot remember anything! Well, nothing useful anyway. I forgot about yesterday's meeting of the Spinners, Weavers and Dyers Guild so missed out on a potentially very interesting talk and the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people. It has also just occurred to me that I offered to take Peri along with me to this meeting, but I forgot that as well - if you're reading this, Peri, I'm really sorry.
I also forgot, in my last posting, to mention a couple of things that we did over Easter, so here goes.
Good Friday saw Simon (the much-neglected person who shares the Up Knit Creek house with me and my yarn) and me actually going out somewhere together, without children! We didn't venture far because there's lots to see and do in this little corner of Sussex, especially when the weather is as good as it was that day. First stop was Middle Farm where we had a lovely home-cooked lunch and sampled plenty of cider in the barn. This place is really good for kids as there are lots of animals to be patted and stroked and all the usual goings-on of a working farm. The farm shop is excellent for organic and fair-trade stuff as well.
After that we drove a little further along the A27 to Charleston, the country home of the Bloomsbury set. We had to take a guided tour (which I usually avoid like the plague at these sorts of places) and I am so glad we did. The guide was very informative and really knew her stuff. The whole house is a delight and I am ashamed to say that this was my first visit in almost twenty years of living down here. The tea-room does wonderful home-made cakes and the gift shop had some lovely hand-made felted items as well as some knitted and crocheted things too. All-in-all a very civilised and inspiring way to spend a day.

On the knitting front, we have a couple of new items:
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This is the "Seashore Sock", my own design, so-called because the yarn is Lucy Neatby's Celestial Merino in "Seashell" colourway and the lacy pattern reminds me of waves breaking on the shore. Its partner is not quite finished yet, but the pattern will be on the website soon.
Second up is this:
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A cabled bag, again of my own design, knitted in Jaeger extra fine merino chunky. I wasn't too sure whether the cables would show up once the bag was felted but I need not have worried. I hope to have the pattern for this on the website soon, but I forgot to write down what I did as I went along and now I can't remember! (See, it's that stupid memory again.) I do know more or less how it went, but I didn't write down any stitch counts or the pre-felting measurements. I have numerous little notebooks and pens (a particular weakness whenever I'm in a stationery shop) so there really is no excuse (except maybe my age. Yeah, that's it! It's my age). I suppose that even if I can't remember the exact details, a close approximation would do, after all, felting is a very inexact science anyway.
OK, I'm off to do.............to go.............err........something important's happening...............nope, can't remember!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Feeling pleased

with myself because I have finished a couple of things quite quickly. Also disappointed because a bag I was making for my website went disastrously wrong at the felting stage. I don't really know what the problem was as the wool was 100% wool, knitted quite loosely and really bashed about with boiling water and a couple of trips in the washer and dryer but it just wouldn't felt! I seriously mistreated this bag but it has ended up as a floppy, droopy, sad old thing (a bit like me, then!) with no shape and no substance - exactly the opposite of what I was trying to achieve. Still, I know the construction works so I will try again with different yarn that I know will felt - watch this space.

Any way, let's not dwell on what might have been, instead - the successes.
I recently bought some DK cotton variegated yarn at a real knock-down price so I decided to make a shapely tee so I could practise short-row shaping around the bust. Well, I did it but I think I may have made the wrong size - the shaping does not really make any difference to the way it fits as it is quite loose all over and has a tendency to fall off my shoulders. I may try again, making a smaller size but with more bust shaping, modified a bit now I have an idea about the principles. I will wear the top even though it isn't exactly what I had in mind, but it served its purpose as a learning tool and the directions made me realise that when writing patterns you really can't assume any knowledge on the part of the reader. It is very difficult, when you understand a process thoroughly, to know how much detail and explanation will be needed by someone who has no prior knowledge, and how much they will be able to discover for themselves - I guess that's why I'm not a teacher.
No photos of the finished article because honestly, I couldn't be bothered.

The other success, which I am really happy with, is these:
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I'm not really much of a sock-knitter - I don't mind knitting them but I'm certainly not addicted to them and would never, ever, join a "sock-a-month" knit-a-long or a sock yarn club. I still have a pair of Jaywalkers languishing around in a semi-finished state because I totally lost interest in them, but I am really, really pleased with these. The yarn is Trekking XXL, colour 110 and the pattern is my own variation on a toe-up, short-row heel thingy. I love the colours, the yarn has great yardage (only used about 53g out of 100g) and I managed the short-row heel without getting loads of gaps!

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Stitch detail

These socks will be going to live with a friend at work who has suddenly found that her feet do not stay warm on their own. As long as I have known her, she has wandered about with bare feet even in the depths of winter but has recently found that her internal heating system is not as efficient as it once was and confessed that she now finds it necessary to wear socks - well, what would you do? An opportunity not to be missed. The pattern is available here on the shop page

Monday, April 02, 2007

Busy busy busy

This past week has gone by so fast I don't know if I'm coming or going (nothing new there, then). A lot of the week has been spent indulging in my favourite activities, namely knitting, spinning and gossiping having deep, meaningful discussions with like-minded people. There may have been a teeny-weeny amount of alcohol involved, but we can just gloss over that - what's a dozen couple of drinks between friends?

So, Monday was spinning, or rather helping Peri to get to grips with her lovely new wheel. As is often the case with these things, there was one tiny little thing missing from the jigsaw, and once that was sorted (in this case, a miniscule adjustment to the scotch tension) she was off. In no time at all, the luscious fibre stacked around Peri's living room will be transformed into equally luscious yarn which she will no doubt knit or weave into something gorgeous.

If I could choose my ideal Stich 'n Bitch in terms of time and place, I would say "Wednesday evenings, quite early, at Borders in Brighton". Imagine my joy when I discovered that such a thing actually existed, and my grief at realising that I had already missed out on over a year of Stitchin 'n' Bitchin! I have redressed the terrible waste of all that knitting time and went along to my first-ever official Stitch 'n' Bitch! On Wednesday! Between 6pm and 8pm! In Borders! Perfect. It was a very select gathering on this occasion (probably due to the lovely warm weather which sent everyone to the beach) but I am told that there are usually about ten or so, the ideal size in my opinion. I may not be able to go for the next two weeks but really hope to make this a regular feature in my rather empty social calendar.

This was the next instalment of an occasional series known as "Work colleagues go mad in Brighton". The series relies on any one of a number of flimsy excuses - someone's birthday, boss is away, crappy day, it's exactly six months till Christmas, it's nearly Easter - you get the picture - to go out drinking and eating in one or several of the many hostelries and eateries in Brighton. This time, it was to celebrate three birthdays in two weeks and just about everyone in our team was there (except the boss, who was on holiday in the West Indies - this may or may not have been an influencing factor!). Anyway, the conversation was surreally funny, the food good and the drinks flowing so I think we can judge this instalment a success. Also, I had NO HANGOVER on Saturday, so a double success! (And my children have not disowned me.....).

Cake and knitting. Knitting and cake. Gossip. Yarns, yarns, yarns. The chance to meet people whom you've nattered to for ages in cyberspace. Cake. Knitting. sssssshhhhhh spending ssssshhhhh. Cake. Cake.
Yes, it was an Angel Yarns Cake Day.
I am in the happy position of living not too far away from Angel Yarns so I have been to every single cake day, a record I am extremely proud of. Not only did I sample some really scrummy cakes and buy some equally scrummy yarn but I also spent about 5 hours talking knitting to real, live knitters (and cuddling babies, something I thought I had forgotten how to do). Big thanks to Tess (aka Wonder Woman) and her staff who give up their precious free time to let us yarnaholics run riot through their stock.

This week is going to seem so quiet.....................