Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Everything changes but the fundamentals remain.

Very soon, sooner than you realise, it creeps up on us, I will be leaving work at RingaRosie and beginning a new chapter of my life. I am returning to University 25 years after I left to start a PGCE. I have loved working at RingaRosie and I have learnt so much and met so many lovely people that it will be a very difficult thing to say goodbye. Obviously as it is the very best LYS I will be a frequent visitor for my knitting supplies (like I don't have a spare room full of wool at all really). But it has been a home over the past couple of years and Barbara has been a very good and generous boss and I hope a friend, I will miss her!

The crochet blanket in king Cole Merino DK continues and these little squares are a fun carry along project to I expect to do some on the way to and from Uni in September. It's a nice pick up and put down project which I shall no doubt come back to over the coming month and years and it's now a nice size to work on with it over my knee keeping me warm. Actually it is a little cooler this evening than it has been and I notice the nights are drawing in. Summer isn't over by any means, I still have a week in Mum & Dad's caravan to look forward to after all!

The top-down garments keep coming and the third one is finished with the addition of it's buttons yesterday. It's based on the Custom Knits book instructions for Favourite Cardigan - I started the neckline higher and knitted it longer but apart from that it's pretty much as written. The yarn was in the sale too so a bargain knit!

Modeled photos to follow when it's not raining and DH isn't stressed by the summer holiday child care!

My other recent project has been some spinning of a merino cashmere and silk blend, no decent finished photo for this yet but a nice work in progress picture for you in the meantime. I am teaching a spinning class in Septemebr at Artison, so if you've a hankering for learning something new why not see if they have any places left? The food and friendly atmosphere are fabulous and I can think of few more pleasant ways to spend an afternoon that spinning!

Finally for now, another recent crochet project included just for it's bright colours and happiness. Do I know that Uni is the right thing to do? No. But I do know I will regret it if I don't try. Everything changes. Follow your bliss and do what makes you happy :) Wish me luck!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Finally Knitting Garments

I've finished a cardigan! My secret is top-down, knit in the round and therefore no sewing up, I foresee many more of this type of construction in my future :)

The pattern is by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Studio 24 and is called Stevie, I used Sublime Soya Cotton DK and it took 12 x 50gm balls. I think there's an error in row 40 so do check the Rowan website for errata if you're making one for yourself.

I also made a little top-down cardie with 7 skeins of Louisa Harding Willow Tweed recently - this is a lovely yarn, sadly discontinued now so going top-down meant I could use every inch of the skeins I had. Top-down raglan cardies follow a set method so it's easy to improvise a design using the basic formula.

My other big project recently has been a blanket by Kate Davies, I'll blog about that tomorrow as I need to get some decent photos to do it justice.

In other news my student finance is sorted out for September and my 'homework' arrived in the post today! Lots of reading to do, about how to teach reading...this is going to be a challenge and great fun too I hope. I shall need to find myself some study space so I can concentrate, I'm not sure I absorb new things as easily as I used to - teaching phonics ... hmmm... maybe I'll learn how to spell well after all this time of being hopeless.

Now I need to figure out how to study and knit at the same time :) the recent buzz of finished projects means I have cast on for a new caridgan straight away, I am going to need smarter clothes for teaching practice, this one os top-down too of course but Aran weight to make it knit up quicker - in theory anyway.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dads like long socks

I don't. Like long socks that is! Well, not to knit anyway, they go on forever.

 I like To knit ankle socks. But last time I was visiting my dad was wearing his a Hand knitted socks, admittedly he wears them as bed socks, not every day socks but he was wearing them. This made me very happy and I know he likes long socks so I decided I would make him some long socks. A little bit of what he likes is definitely called for especially now he is Mum's career and life has taken such an unexpected turn, so long socks are the least I can do and living 200 miles away there is little else I can do, is there :( ? I will have to post an image once I am home so for now here are the instructions for the socks,in case you want to knit some for your dad too! Toe up, Judy’s magic cast on from 16 stitches increased 4 every other round up to 64. Knit 3x1rib on the instep stitches. Short row heel turn. Calf increases: 3x1rib to 6.5” increased one purl stitch at centre back. Added 1 purl stitch in rib on either side of centre after 5 more rows. Work as set until leg measures 10.5” from base of floor as worn, increase a second purl stitch at centre back, work 5 rows as set, increase another 1 purl stitch in rib at either side of those already increased, the back section now knits as p2 k3 p2 k3 p3 k3 p2 k3 p2 . Continue as set until you loose the will to live, sorry Dad I know you like long socks but … Increase 2 further p stitches on final row before changing to 2x2rib and then knit in rib until you want to scream. Cast off using a stretchy sewn cast off. Repeat for second sock and never knit rib socks again except I know he’ll love them so I will be making more the longer the better as far as he’s concerned!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Spinning Again

Life is what happens when we're not looking and it's been creeping up and surprising me in a bad way for the last year. My mum's dementia has really thrown me and it's taken a long time to adjust to the news of her illness. My kids leaving home was also a big shock even though they are happy and busy and doing well, nothing seemed to go as I had thought it would. My head has been spinning.

Things seem to be assuming a new kind of normal. I have a plan again at last and things to look forward to. In September I return to university to begin a PGCE in primary education and meanwhile I have been teaching spinning again. 

Last Sunday I had a wonderful day at Artison where I worked with a group of 6 beginner spinners. It is a wonderful thing to be able to share your enthusiasm with people. A great day. Very affirming to have people leaving with their enthusiasm nurtured and enabled. It makes me want to spin! I have recently been lucky enough to buy an e-spinner about which I hope to blog very soon. Spinning without a ballooning ankle is very pleasant indeed although I don't think anything could ever surplant my Timbertops wheel, dear old lady sits in my living room, waiting patiently until I find time to spin.

I am still wandering a little in a wilderness of uncertainty, oh for the confidence of youth and the sureness of ones 20s. I wander with friends though and this helps greatly. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

just a small obsession

Lots of little pincushions.
Love them.

Pattern is in Danish here
and here in US crochet terms

and if you leave a comment I can send you the English crochet terms version I wrote up this evening ;) I think these will make great little gifts and I'm hooking up a storm :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Time for Tea...and Toast!

 Come in, pull up a chair, I have the kettle on, we'll have a cuppa :) I like mine so that you've just shown the tea bag to it, but I can make yours strong enough to stand a spoon in if you like it that way. Oh and hot buttered toast, of course. I'm having jam, plum jam. What would you like? I love lemon curd, it's my very best favourite but I've run out , it's top of the shopping list, so maybe next time?
How was your week? Mine was busy, as usual :) but full of knitting and enthusiasm and the fibre crafts I love so I'm not complaining. Working 6 days a week is tough but I love my job and my boss and our customers, I really do. Some lovely people and so many new and returning knitters that it is really encouraging to be there and to share the newness or their discovery of 'making things', or to hear them talking about the reasons they've started knitting again after years of not knitting and of thinking that they would never knit again. Many people have given away their needles and patterns. Often they are amazed at how things have changed and all the beautiful new yarns. But knitting itself is still, knit and purl, yarn over and knit 2 together, so I reassure them that it will come back to them and tell them that the internet as revolutionised the way we knit and made it an altogether more social activity than it used to be. We have 3 knit and natter groups at the shop and the place is always busy with people enjoying their hobby. Many people restart their knitting when a first grandchild is due and this is a lovely reason to share with them and for which we help them chosse something beautiful and fun to knit.

My oven baby is 9 this week and on Sunday we took advantage of the lovely sunshine to go to Penshaw Monument and take photographs for a school project. This was my first visit despite having lived here for 11 years now and being able to see it over the Tyne from my house. In the afternoon I took DD2 and her best friend to the cinema. Hasn't the pictures gotten expensive! There must be many children who are never taken, 2 children and 1 adult cost over £20 to get in and the 2 small hotdogs and 3 small drinks was £16! You can tell it's a long time since I went to the flicks! I think I'll stay home and eat toast! Mind you I have evidence now that it is possible to knit 2 points of a Hitchhiker whilst watching The Chipmunks 3 Movie!
Despite my tin covers still being naked of their flowers I thought I'd share my progress with you - the flowers are a work in progress, Barbara has been teaching me a different cast on today because I'm not happy with my flower centres, version 2 of the flowers is about to begin when I log off :) Never mind the Narcissi are pretty nonetheless :)

In other news I am buying an electric spinner - I haven't told DH yet, haha, well I've hinted at it. Ooops. I am working on my justifications ;) More on that one later. :D

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Filling In some More Missing Bits

Another jumper that I completed for Christmas was DD1's reindeer jumper.

 DD strikes a comedy catalogue pose on Christmas Day morning (still in her pj's lol). She's happy with this one and so am I. The original inspiration came from a Martin Storey pattern in a Rowan book where it was knit flat and seamed. Sadly those seams dissected the reindeer so I decided to put the whole lot into a knit in the round project and to knit the reindeer around the yoke. This one was knit in King Cole Baby Alpaca which we sell at Ringarosie and it is gorgeous soft yarn. I really enjoyed knitting with it and have enough left over for a little something for myself, I just haven't decided what yet.
I have recently cast on for another adapted pattern again from a couple of Rowan originals. I'm taking the shaping from one patterns and the stitch pattern/design from another and again putting it onto circular needles and knitting it in the round. This will be a new challenge as I am knitting a cardi this time so I will have to take the scissors to it and steek the front opening. The original has set in sleeves so I have to decide whether to go with this option or to work a drop shoulder and pick up and knit the sleeves down instead of just putting them from flat into a knit in the round version. I don't need to decide yet though as I am still working the wait shaping. This one is in Rowan Harris Scottish Tweed lovely yarn to work with in a soft heathered blue, loving it!

Another more recently finsihed project is the linen stitch scarf I have knit using a lovely gify or Noro Sock Yarn from A Ravelry friend. This fabric looks woven and we have it on display in the shop at the moment where it has prompted much discussion.

 The original idea came from a Ravelry pattern called "Mini Mania Scarf" which uses lots of mini skeins of sock yarn, as the Noro has long colour runs it worked well for this pattern and I will use the pattern again - 450 stitches on a 4.5mm needle makes a looooooong scarf - I might not do so many stitches another time lol those rows went on forever!
Sorry for the poor photos which were taken on my phone and emailed to my laptop - I'll get the hang of this technology stuff sooner or later - we have a new ipad in the shop - well it's Barbara's really but I am pretending it's mine too hahaha - and it is fabulously wonderful - I am saving up! Great for looking up yarn and finding substitutions so if you are coming to the shop looking for yarn bring your pattern with you and we can help find the perfect yarn to use :) I'd love to see or hear if anyone has good stitch pattern they've used for scarves, linen stitch is a new favourite! Off to work on that cardigan now. Happy knitting!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time for Tea

Look! A lovely charity shop find to cheer with the cup that cheers :) This little tea cup and plate, somebody tel me the correct name for these please, was a gem I found yesterday and went back to buy this morning. Well, I couldn't leave it behind, it's pretty!
Joyce set me off on the tea trail with this lovely gift of a tea pot, I will have to knit a cosy for it too. Anyway I had a cup of camomile tea from my new pot as a bed time cuppa last night, delicious and I swear I slept better for it. :)

As promised I am going to post photos of the finished projects from the past few months. I have been quiet largely due to being in the doldrums as my mum's health has deteriorated. We are coming to terms with the new 'normal' and my dad is coping really well with the hospital visits and day care and so on. We now have a probable diagnosis of frontal lobe dementia - I shall have to google that later tonight, but anyway the upshot is that I am back blogging and there's much to fill in from whilst I've been away.

Today's finished project is a jumper inspired by a television series, the Killing. This is my first attempt at knitting with Icelandic yarn, I used two strands of Plotulopi and knitting from the bottom up using Elizabeth Zimmermann's Easy Percentage System and a yoke. Voila!

He's hapy with it I think and I am very pleased with how it came out, definitely one to do again :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Life Goes On

Happy Valentines Day :)   

If flowers are more your thing then daffs can't be beat at this time of year, a promise of spring around the corner. It's too early for them in the gardens yet but a cheerful tin for the jar - details on the Attic 24 blog. I see Lucy has added some rather lovely buttons and such so I shall have to embellish!

 This was made using the Special DK leftovers from DD1's blanket, I'd love to do them in Rowan Handknit Cotton, like Lucy, maybe another time. Meanwhile I used what I had in :)
Makes for a colourful mantlepiece , but as well as a little crochet I have also been knitting since I was last here and have many projects to share. One of which, my sheepheid, helped to keep me warm in January when we went for a frosty walk in and around Cambo, Northumberland. Near the parking place there is a fabulous old water fountain which I will photograph on another visit, the light was in all the wrong places this time :)

Over Christmas I finished some jumpers and I'll show you those tomorrow, enough for tonight as I am off to look for buttons for my crochet tin covers :) I'm also just in to a DK cardi - but more of that when there is something to take a picture of. I hope the new year is treating you well so far, half way into February already? Time really marches on and we must march with it, onward and upward, hook and needles in hand :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where did those months go?

So long since my last blog entry and it's been a funny time. Not in a good way sadly. My mum has been diagnosed with dementia. They've decided it is not Alzheimer's but they're not clear which type of dementia it is. They are linking it to her head injury 18 months ago but actually she was already behaving strangely before that, repeating herself a lot. On the positive side she is very happy and finds everything very funny. On the negative she seems to be deteriorating rapidly and this makes it very difficult for my dad to keep up with the many adjustments he is having to make in order to care for her.

We have entered the weird world of social vs medical care and the support (or lack thereof) provided by the state. My poor dad is alternately strong, brave and overwhelmed. I am so sad, so very sad and writing about it, thinkig about it makes me cry. Nevertheless I will write about this more in the future no doubt. For now my world is upside down, I have done no dyeing for ages and I am slowly getting myself back into the swing of things and the new normal that life has become. Thank goodness for the routine of going to work at Ring a Rosie which has kept me sane and to Barbara who has been a constant source of support and sympathy.

Life goes on.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Alwinton Border Shepherding Show

 There were lots of classes in the tent and after the judges were finished we had a look to see who has won, this was the most surprising! Decorate a Wellington Boot - this chicken was fabulous!
 If you didn't have a boot to decorate, how about a potato? Something of a bird theme going on here :)
 Some beautiful flower displays, many more than I can show here I'm afraid.
 The walking sticks were something to behold, shame you can't get close enough for a really good view.

 What is a country show without a giant leek or two and in this case three.
 Great entries in the carrots too.
 Fabulous onions.
 Parsnips like you've never seen - I wonder what they taste like, I like parsnips :)
 And you need a certain vegetable growing skill to get 5 different veg to this standard.
 Don't forget the tomatoes!
Well, due to the weather the show looked better from inside the tents. It did get slightly better as the day went on but you can't expect too much at the beginning of October.

The local school put on a beautiful display and the children entered their own set of classes in handwriting.

 Mosaic pots and paintings all beautifully decorated and displayed.
 The standard of photographs and pictures was very high and very impressive.
 As were the quiches, scones, pies and cakes.

The lemon curd is a personal favourite but there were jams and pickles and marmalade too.

 Elsewhere even the dogs were dressed for the weather.
 The local spinning guild were there and taught Katy to make a braid which she found fascinating.

 More of those well dressed hounds, they were definitely ready for the weather as were their owners.
 Luckily a little rain can't stop a small girl from enjoying her hotdog.
 The pipers were playing up a storm of a different kind
 and they all looked the part and put on a great show.

 I only saw one pair of what looked like hand knitted socks, though I could be wrong, I hope.
 This little fellow looked like he wished he had one of those dogs coats.
 Happily there were plenty of sheep.

 Even if we couldn't get at the cake we could admire it.

 Of course the highlight of the day for me was the knitting and some surprising winners and runners up and sadly too many classes where only a few entries meant that every one got a prize.

 This one got a special mention with the information that it would have won but for the fact that it was a cardi and the class was for jumpers :(
 A knitted shepherd has to be a winner although Katy thought the dog just out of shot was a better choice!

 I also really liked the pencil drawings so I thought I'd show you those too.

There was some woollen and worsted handspun knitting and spinning yarns but my batteries ran out :( there were fewer classes and fewer entries. Later in the day there was Cumberland wrestling which I photographed a couple of years ago here -
I enjoy watching this but Katy was bored by now and the weather was still very wet so we came home. Next year I take 2 sets of batteries!