Monday, 21 December 2009

Still Busy

Despite the finishing flurry recently, I'm still busy. I have three projects on-the-go at the moment, and countless others I can't wait to cast on.

The project which is going to be on the needles for the longest is definitely an exersize in deferred gratification:

'House Colours' scarf for the Resident Radiologist. The yarn is Old Maiden Aunt 100% Merino 4 ply in the November colourways 'Put on the Day' and 'Midnight Owl' from the Previews Yarn Club. As soon as I opened the parcel, the RR exclaimed that the colours were his old house colours from school. That sealed it - they were destined for him.
I'm knitting the scarf on 3.5mm needles in 2x2 rib and it could take some time - I'm aiming for 60" long (if there's enough yarn) and I'm currently at 7"!

The next project is actually now off the needles and just awaits felting:

Chaton Minet Felted Cat Basket by Caroline Dlugy-Hegwer (Rav link). I've been knitting it in Lopi Roving from Twist Fibre Craft Studio in Fife. The current state of this project is floppy and huge, but I'm hoping it will end up dense and compact. I'm going to try felting the swatch before going for the whole thing. A fellow raveler has knitted the same project in the same yarn and had to put it through two 40C cycles to get it felted, so I'm not too worried about messing it up on the first run.

The last project on the needles is a pair of socks:

Leyburn byMintyFresh (Rav link). These were meant to be for me, but they've come up just too big and happily fit my sister perfectly, so once this singleton has a pair, they'll be winging their was east to keep her feet warm.

Finally, I'd just like to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

I'll be back on-line some time between Christmas and New Year.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Instant Gratification

I'm usually a process knitter and a long-time connoisseur of delayed gratification, but occasionally, a bit of instant gratification really hits the spot.

Two things I've made this week fall into this category:

A little blueberry baby hat...

The pattern is Baby Berry Hat by RandomStitches.
The yarn is Peaches and Creme 100% cotton by Pisgah Yarn Company.
I used 4.5mm needles throughout.
Total knitting time was less than two hours!

A lovely spiced apple cake...

The recipe is the Chalet School Apple Cake from Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer by Jane Brocket.
I swapped the ground hazelnuts for ground almonds and added some of the sliced apple through the mix as well as on top.
The results were delicious and didn't last very long!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Little Sister's Dress

All done - after the big decision making process with the buttons, at the last moment I found two little olive green buttons at the bottom of my button box and realised that they were perfect.

I crocheted round the whole neck opening and made two loops as I went for buttonholes.


The pattern is Little Sister's Dress by Tosa Froseth.
The yarn is RYC cashcotton 4 ply in citron (the colour is better in the second photo).
I used a 3.25mm addi lace circular needle throughout.
I used a 2.5mm crochet hook for the neck.
My row gauge was a little off so I made a few modifications to account for this.

This project has reminded me how much I love RYC cashcotton 4 ply. It feels beautifully soft and wears and machine washes well so should be good for baby clothes. It has been discontinued now so I've been online in the last week, scooping up as much as I can from the virtual bargain bins. I now have a nice little stash of it for baby jumpers and socks and the like.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Pretty Thing

The little green dress is now finished, but while it's blocking, here's another finished object hot off the needles...

'Pretty Thing' by Stephanie Pearl McPhee. This was a really quick knit and is great for wearing under my winter coat when I don't want the bulk of a scarf, just a warm neck!
I knitted it to match the Rose Red beret I knitted last year in the same yarn and which has become a staple for walking to work in the winter.

Forgive the wierd expression, I was trying to look at the screen of the camera in the mirror...

The pattern is Pretty Thing by Stephanie Pearl McPhee (Ravelry Link).
The yarn is Orkney St Magnus DK in burgandy (an angora / lambswool blend).
I used two 4mm circular needles and many stitch markers throughout.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Decisions, decisions

Since my knitting mojo came back at full-strength and I've cleared a few larger projects, I've been hankering to go on a stash-busting project-starting frenzy. I've already started a few projects:

Pretty Thing by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, using Orkney St Magnus DK (to match my Rose Red beret from last winter).

House Colours Scarf (a simple 2x2 rib with skinny stripes) using the latest installment of the Old Maiden Aunt yarn club for the Resident Radiologist.

Little Sister's Dress by Tora Froseth, using RYC cash cotton 4 ply (left-over from my Apres Surf Hoodie).

In addition to starting this last one, I've actually finished all of the knitting and just need to make a desicion about buttons before I crochet the neck edging and buttonhole loops.

This morning, in what passes for good light in Glasgow in the winter, I got out my button box and had a good search through...

I have a few choices - the mother of pearl buttons are lovely with the yarn and are my favorites, but I doubt that they'll stand up to repeated machine-washing. The mock-horn one looks good and would wash well, but I can only fine one and I need at least two. The ceramic ones on the card strip look great colour-wise but like the shell ones, I doubt they'll wash well, so I think I'm going for the sensible choice, the small pearly white ones that look fine and will wash well...

Next up - the decision for what to cast on now... My Ravelry queue tells me that Better-than-booties Baby Socks by Anne Budd, Entomology by Laura Nelkin and Baby Berry Hat by Michele Sabatier are all in the running and I have the yarn in stash, but I just can't decide!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Aeolian Resurrected

According to my Ravelry entry, I started Aeolian way back in June... I flew through the bulk of the knitting, then four rows from the end, I ran out of yarn (I was using the left-overs from my MIL's Hanami wrap).

From then until a week and a half ago, my Aeolian has languished, unloved in a plastic bag in my project box, with its needles, beads and tiny crochet hook. More than once, I considered frogging it and knitting something else and the only thing that stopped me was the idea of the beads pinging all over the place when I was ripping out!

The light at the end of the tunnel came in the form of a Fyberspates Trunk Show at K1 Yarns in Glasgow a couple of Saturdays back. Jen brought a huge pile of beautiful stock with her and in the boxes, I found the perfect skein of Scrumptious Lace.

Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Autumn Hedgerow colourway.

I hadn't wanted to buy another skein of the original Charcoal colourway because what would I do with another almost 1km of grey laceweight? Autumn Hedgerow fitted the bill perfectly though, as it contains small patches of charcoal in amoungst the autumn russets, so it complemented what I already had beautifully, whilst leaving me with almost a skein of something completely different.

The knitting was quickly completed, and blocking was immediate.

Yesterday evening I wove in the ends and I'm wearing it today. Yipeee...


Pattern is Aeolian by Elizabeth Freeman, published in Knitty Spring 2009.
Yarn is Fyberspates Scrumptious Lace in Charcoal and Autumn Hedgerow colourways.
Needles used were 3.25mm throughout (Addi Lace, 100cm).
I made the small version of the pattern.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Wow - this baby blanket just knitted itself! I laid out the cotton for it last weekend, as soon as I'd finished the Resident Radiologist's jumper, and before I knew it, I was three colour repeats in... I finished it in just over a week.

The yarn is Cookies and Creme from the Pisgah Yarn Company in the states. I've read about it on many blogs (especially Mason Dixon Knitting) but for some reason, had assumed that it might be a little hard on the hands for knitting with, especially before it was washed. I was wrong. It was beautifully soft from the off, and not at all splitty like some cottons are. I've got loads of each colour left over so can knit lots of other colourful baby bits and pieces.


The pattern is the Rainbow Chain Carriage Blanket by Erika Flory, published in Knotions. Slightly annoyingly, the pattern as written (even with the erratum included) does not make the blanket shown in the published photograph. There is a white stripe between colours, as written, which changes the colour flow and balance a bit, but it's still a lovely pattern.

The yarn is Peaches and Creme worsted weight cotton, available here in the UK.

I used a 4.5mm circular needle throughout.

I made no changes to the pattern as written (with erratum).

The finished blanket is quite small, perfect for a new baby, over a car seat and eventually as a comfort blanket.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Ta Daaaa

The finished, blocked and woven-in article.

This first photo shows the detail better...

while the colour is better in this one.


The pattern is Cobblestone by Jared Flood, published in Interweave Knits.
The yarn is New Lanark 100% wool aran in the colourway 'denim'.
I used 2 long 4.5mm circular needles throughout.
I made no modifications to the pattern as written!
I knitted the smallest size, but with my gauge and the fact that this yarn really relaxes when blocked, it came out at approximately 42" chest with 2-3" positive ease.

It fits the resident radiologist perfectly and he's even mentioned the possibility of wearing it to work so he must like it!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Just as my knitting takes off, my blogging grinds to a halt. The light has been so bad lately that I've not been able to take photos, and it would seem that photos are what inspire me to blog. I've got a few days off work starting this afternoon, so hopefully I'll be able to get some day-time shots.

I've mostly finished the Resident Radiologist's Cobblestone Pullover. It has had it's underarms grafted and a soak in the bath. All that awaits is for it to dry out completely for a final try-on, weave in the ends and it's done.

In the mean-time I've been flying through the rainbow blanket. I've finished 4 colour repeats out of 14. The Pisgah Peaches and Creme is lovely to knit with, much softer than I'd anticipated, and I've got loads of each colour left over so the baby might be on the receiving end of a few more multi-coloured cotton items.

I've also been on Ravelry, downloading patterns like a mad thing. The need to knit has just hit me in a big way again, so watch this space as they say...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The carrot that's keeping me going.

I'm still knitting away on the cobblestone pullover for the Resident Radiologist - I'm about 3/4 of the way up the yoke. It's been a fairly tough slog, yards and yards of navy blue yarn, but here's what's waiting for me at the finish line...

The Rainbow Chain Carriage Blanket by Erika Flory. The yarn is waiting patiently in the stash, I just need to finish a few more inches of blue garter stitch, kitchener stitch the underarms and give the whole jumper a good blocking (it currently fits neatly, so I'm hoping that it will relax by about an inch or two in circumference)...

Monday, 16 November 2009

Unexpected Visitor

I was sitting in the dining room finishing my breakfast this morning when I heard some soot dropping down the chimney. This occasionally happens, so I didn't worry too much until I heard a LOT more, followed by a scrabbling. The next thing I knew, a beak appeared from the grate and this little chap appeared. I think it was a starling.

He flew round the dining room. trying to get throught the double glazed window, then settled down to eat a bit of my orchid compost.

Then he moved into the kitchen, where I had the door already open and waiting, but he totally ignored the door and hopped around, trying out my cereal left-overs, the drying rack and the bread board...

before settling on the tap.

Finally it noticed the gaping doorway and flew off!

Friday, 13 November 2009


This is a very quick update as I'm about to fly out the door to get my H1N1 shot. The GPs in Glasgow finally have it available and since I'm in a high-risk group, I'm getting it now.

After that, the excitement starts. We've got tickets for the Proclaimers tonight at the SECC in Glasgow. The atmosphere at their live gigs is amazing and I just can't wait...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Stash relocation

As I mentioned in a previous post, my study is going to become the baby's room. In addition to merging my study contents with the Resident Radiologist's study, this change of use also involves relocating my stash which has resided for the last couple of years in a large chest of drawers in my study.

The drawers are staying, but in the future will house small vests, baby-grows and myriad other tiny items I've probably not yet become acquainted with.

My stash, on the other hand, is being relegated to the cupboard under the stairs. I have three big plastic boxes with flip-down lids left over from the house-move and these will work pretty well and stack well.

The top box has 4ply, sock yarn and lace-weight. The next box has DK and aran and the bottom box has fibre for spinning, my niddy-noddy, yarn I'm looking to swap or get rid of and my small fabric stash. I recently freecycled the bulk of my cross-stitch stash (keeping only the DMC and Anchor cottons - so useful for mending) so don't have to find a place for that any more.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Old Uppsala

On the last day of my trip to Sweden, the weather was beautifully cold, clear and crisp. Perfect for a good after-breakfast walk. The area my friend lives in is essentally car-free (there is a road round the outside of the development with parking and garages, but where the houses and flats are is only accessable by footpath). From her house, we walked through these paths, took a bridge over a main road and immediately found ourselves in a large well-mapped network of woodland paths. It was really well thought-out with notice boards illustrating routes of different lengths appropriate for jogging, walking or cycling.

We walked towards Old Uppsala, the original settlement in the area which is now about 5km from the centre of Uppsala city.

The views were stunning and our choice of direction took us up the only proper hill in the whole region.

In the above photo, the building is the church at Old Uppsala which is about 1000 years old. The three mounds just in front of the church are the burial mounds of the three most prominant Viking Kings.

The return journey was just as beautiful and the clear weather held out until we were back at the house. On our return leg, we found this little chap crossing the path...

Not a good time of the year to be a catepillar, mid October with the temperatures already heading below 0C! Somehow, I doubt that he was going to have a long and fruitful life but you never know - maybe catepillars hibernate?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Further Stash Enhancement

I realise that this runs contrary to my comittment to slim down the stash this year, but when I heard that Lilith from Old Maiden Aunt was going to do a limited edition, three-month sock yarn club, I couldn't really resist. There will be two skeins each month, hand-dyed in strong plain semi-solid colours. The yarns will be a different composition each month as well.

October's installment arrived a couple of weeks ago...

Strange Rock 'n' Rollers, a colourway that changes tone in different lights.

Bitter Bug, a lovely irridescent green...

And a lovely little beetle stitch marker.

The yarn is a bamboo/superwash merino blend and is far too yummy for socks. The rather clever Lilith has designed pairs of colourways each month that share some tones (and a base yarn composition) so that they should work well together in colourwork projects, if desired. I think that a lacey scarf might be on the cards for the bitter bug...

Monday, 9 November 2009


It would seem that I don't count weekends as days of the week - it never even occurred to me to blog! I can't imaging that's going to change soon, so I'm going to aim for 5 post a week for the rest of November.

The second full day of my holiday, my friend and I caught the bus down to Stockholm for the day. I was seriously impressed by the ticket system, we just went online the night before and bought the ticket and reserved a seat by credit card and a confirmation was text-messaged to us. The next day, we just showed the bus driver the text and he ticked us off the list he had on the touch screen computer in the bus! Efficient or what (and totally paper-free)?

I don't think that I really saw Stockholm at its best, as the weather was very cold and it rained on and off all day. Nevertheless, I liked what I saw.
I'd never fully appreciated that Stockholm is build on a series of islands connected by bridges and ferries. It was actually quite difficult to know which way I was facing (towards the coast or inland) because the water was all around.

Sweden currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, so this island, which houses the parliament is, for the time being, a Very Important Place. Despite this, there was no sense of it being off-limits or access-controlled as bits of London would have been when the UK held the post.

The next island over houses the Royal Palace and the old town. The Palace is very huge and square and stately. The old town, by contrast was very quirky with a warren of little narrow streets housing interesting little shops. It reminded me strongly of the Shambles in York.

Adjacent to the main shopping area is an open space that is in constant use in the summer months for picnics and street-performers etc. While we were there we saw a charity publicising Breast Cancer Awareness Week lighting a huge field of candles . The effect was really stunning as the light was starting to go.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Uppsala goodies

Since I've been making a concerted effort at stash reduction over the last year (and will now have to redouble those efforts as the baby is getting the room my stash currently resides in), I resolved only to buy yarn in Sweden if I couldn't get it at home. This cut down the options quite a bit as even Drops is available in the UK.

I did pick up some sock yarn (probably for the resident radiologist, but I do rather like it myself).

The brand is Marks and Kattens Fame and the blend is a standard sock yarn - 75% wool, 25% nylon.

I also picked up a card of darning yarn for a good jumper of the RR.

I've never seen darning yarn like it in the UK - there was a rainbow of colours and a good selection of weights available.

Finally, my eye was drawn by something I hadn't even thought about in years - embroidery kits. It might have been because my friend, in addition to being a great knitter, makes lovely cross-stitch tablecloths and pictures, so we were looking in that section. I was reeled in by the designs in the Permin of Copenhagen 'Scandinavian' collection and this beautiful kit for a tablecloth ended up coming home with me.

I haven't done cross-stitch for almost 10 years, never mind embroidery so it took me a while to get going, but bit by bit, stem stitch and satin stitch have come back to me and a little progress is being made. I'm not holding my breath for this Christmas though!

Thursday, 5 November 2009


About three weeks ago, I took a week off work to use up some of the annual leave that I still have for this year (I never seem to manage to take it all). My 'idealist brain' was planning on just hanging around the house, chilling out and relaxing when my 'realist brain' kicked in and informed me that all I'd really do was fret about how little laundry / DIY I was doing and waste a week. Sadly, my realist brain is generally right so I did a little thinking and realised that 1) I would be safely in my second trimester and 2) it might be my last chance for solo travel for a while, so I booked some plane tickets and flew to Sweden to visit a good friend who moved back there almost a year ago.

She lives in the city of Uppsala, about an hour north of Stockholm and we had a whole day in Uppsala, just walking around, enjoying the sights and sampling the food.
My friend is also an avid knitter, so our wanders happened to take us right past the doors of her favourite two craft shops, however the spoils will have to wait until tomorrow.

We saw the cathedral...

The old University library (Uppsala is first and foremost a university town)...

The castle (very different in style from anything I've seen in the UK)...

and the castle gardens.

The area around the river (some lovely individual little shops etc)...

and a very cool road-sign that has no explanation nearby but apparently is a reference to a famous children's story set in the cathedral area of Uppsala!

A very enjoyable first day to a holiday.