Tuesday, October 30, 2007


No new projects will be cast on in November *shock* Initially I said NO new projects apart from Christmas presents but that allows a lot of wriggle room so I am going to be strict!

So here's the beginning of a round up of Works In Progress (WIP) which I will be finishing off during NOvember.

Firstly the next project for the HipKnits Project Club is due out on November 1st and although Kerrie didn't need a test knit for these I have begun the first of the pair of socks to better be able to help out any new sockers of the blog. So far so good. It has been useful too as I have a few ideas that I hope will help knitters who are tackling their first socks with this pattern, and the yarn is lovely. It's not a colour I would have chosen but I am enjoying knitting it and using the chart, etc. but I mustn't give too much away before the launch date :o) so here is a picture of the sole of the sock to show off the yarn without letting you see the pattern (me? Tease?)

Next another pair of socks that I am making for my Support Worker who has been an absolute treasure whilst we have been going through the adoption process for little Miss 4 years. Her belief in us as the right parents for this child and her empathy with our feelings of powerlessness has been one of the few good points of the last year and 10 months since we initially said we wanted to be considered as little one's 'forever family'. So, the least I can do is knit er some socks! The yarn is PY Lucia from the sock club, please don't ask me what colour :o) and the pattern is from the summer interweave knits and is my first go at a toe up sock. I prefer toe up as I have no anxiety about running out of yarn. Just weigh the ball and cast off when I've used half. Simple. This is another great yarn to work with from Dee, soft and squoshy and beautiful colours, just my palette and SW's too I hope.

Finally I have found a pattern for the bootees in Debbie Bliss' Simply Baby book which I picked up for £4 in a remainder store. I also got a couple of other pattern books, well, they were a bargain so I couldn't leave them behind, could I? So although I haven't actually cast on for these yet (I need the Project Club sock's dpns) I am including it in WIPs as I have already done the hat they will go with (see? Wriggle, wriggle). Whilst talking DB I usually like the way she calls her yarns what they are, e.g. Silk DK, cashmerino Aran, etc. But this pattern calls for Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino so I am hoping (from the tension 27 sts & 36 rows to 10cm) that it's 4 ply because that's what I am using :P

As I type this the postman arrives with the kit for Tulip from Socktopus - am I doomed to failure in NOvember? VBG

I unpacked the Tulip Kit and I need more of this yarn, it is superb! Hmmmm! Yummmmmm! I originally saw the cardi on Yarn Harlot's blog and then Kerrie mentioned getting the pattern and it's so nice to see something on an overseas blog available here too. I wouldn't buy all those yarns individually but as they came in a kit, well I couldn't resist. I doubt that baby will be here long enough to grow into size 6 - 9 months (but you never know the ways of Social Services grind exceedingly slow) so I wonder if I can do it smaller? Or should I play safe and stick to the kit size? Hmmm! *ponders ability to resize project* I haven't taken the yarn out of the bag yet and I am already in love, it looks gorgeous and soft. I'll give it a cheek test and let you know.

A nice little surprise with my first Socktopus order was the addition of some sachets of fabric conditioner and a little luxury chocolate. Way to a girl's heart, or what! They know me so well, already VBG. So if I can't resist casting this one on I need to do it before NOvember so that only leaves me 2 days to get cracking :o)

Tomorrow WIP (not new ones *rolls eyes*) and btw my kids don't like posh chocolate - I have them well trained, this is gown up choc! Almost too pretty to eat? Almost!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

First Baby Hat for Ages

I found this yarn in my LYS, in Whitley Bay, and loved the colour. At that time I had no idea what I would use it for, but providence has seen fit to send a small person my way so it seemed only right that baby should have a hat. I will be collecting her (or him - with a different hat) from the hospital and it's turned a little chilly recently so yesterday I cast on using the Hambley Hand Painted Yarn - very informative label :o) It does say that it's 80 % wool and 20% Polyamide so it should wash well and indeed it has responded very nicely to being wet for blocking by blooming a little, just enough to make is soft and fluffy.

I used the Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns and two strands of the 4 ply so that it knitted to a tension of 4 st to the inch (approx.). Of course I had a false start as I didn't actually do a tension square but knitting at 5 st per inch it was going to be way too big, so I ripped that back and started again.
I did a picot edge and a little icord top knot and I'm pleased with it. It took an evening to make and I will add a set of mitts and booties to match.

I haven't knit anything so small for a very long time and it was fun to get such a quick result. sadly the book doesn't go down small enough for the mitts and booties but i am sure I have several patterns elsewhere, if only I knew where to find them. this morning a PY sock jumped in the way so i have to give that a little attention before casting on for the mitts. Anyone know the circumference of a newborn wrist?
I've googled Hambley Hand Painted Yarn and all variations thereof but can't find any info on the maker so I'll pop back to the LYS and see if they know any more. If anyone knows anything about these yarns please let me know as I haven't seen them anywhere else and I'd like to use them again.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hard Lace and it's Kerrie's fault!

First the hard lace, (btw that's Soo's fault)- it's Niebling. There's a yahoo group here trying to get the patterns published. In the meantime raid eBay and keep a check on your wallet - I've already spent a fortune and am yet to knit a stitch. The raineysisters are bitten by the bug too, so I'm in good company.

Talking of good company, it's all Kerrie's fault that I have just ordered the Tulip Kit from Socktopus. This will be for the new baby due to arrive any day now :o) Hope it really is a girl! Not sure about this 'knowing the sex before It's born' thing, seems a bit like unwrapping your presents before Christmas to me, but I guess I am showing my age here :o) I was buying up Mothercare last week and this led me to pondering, as you do, on the strangeness of the world where a yet unborn bub is due to come to me rather than stay with it's mum.
Anyway, such ponderings helped me decide to buy the expensive Moses basket rather than the cheap one! After all fostered babies should be able to have nice things too! I don't buy the best easily (apart from Yarn) after years of scarping by and making do. I even find bargains for car seats etc. now, though I don't have to. In fact all my fostered babies have had better and newer things than my own children did, when I had them I had no money. Seems a life time ago now. I worried about where to find the money for basics and my kids had no moses baskets, cheap or otherwise.
It's one of the really nice things about being a foster mum that I don't have to worry about the money to buy equipment. In some ways it is doing the parenting I would have liked to have been able to do when my big ones were little. All clothing food and everyday expenses - nappies, etc.- come out of the allowance I get paid each week for the baby whilst she is in my care. Big items like a new buggy, moses basket, etc. are paid for by the fostering service, I buy them and then claim it back on expenses. These items will stay with me and not move on with the baby and will be used for subsequent children and replaced as necessary. Fostered babies benefit from experience gained by making mistakes with your own children too ;o)
I can't give bub a 'normal' family (whatever that is) but I can make sure she doesn't miss out on the material things other children have, and I know she will get plenty of cuddles ... and cardigans :o) Not sure when I'll get a chance to knit lace though. VBG

Monday, October 22, 2007

Shoalwater is Finished

Pattern: Shoalwater Shawl from Fibre Trends by Evelyn A. Clark
Yarn: Middle Earth Yarn, Foamy Seas, DK BFL, 4 skeins
Needles: 6.5mm
Modifications: worked 3 complete repeats and didn't do the i-cord to the neck edge.
Finished size: 89" x 49 1/2"
Comments: I would use a smaller needle next time, but overall very hapy with the results and it's lovely and squishy and beautifully warm.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Good Day

I met up with Yarn Snob today to collect some gorgeousness from her dyepot. I was trying to take some photos this afternoon but the light was rubbish and these yarns are too good to photograph badly :o) so I have 'borrowed' Elaine's photos (but not her bandwidth) I hope you don't mind Elaine? First the gorgeous African Dusk Lace Weight 100gm 3.5 oz Approx 900yrds perfect for an autumnal project I have in mind.
Next is Grandeur Lace Weight 100gm 3.5 oz Approx 900yrds a stunning purple yarn which is just as lovely in real life as on the screen. Both are very lovely to touch as well as to look at. I am really looking forward to knitting with these.
The wonderful yarn was matched by charming company, how wonderful to spend 2 hours talking nothing but knitting :o) really just what I needed after a hard emotional week with lots of annoying issues around our adoption application coming to the surface. Maybe more on that another time, but today has been a very good antidote to bureaucratic incompetence as knitters are such lovely company.
As well as picking up my purchases we also brought our projects to show and tell. It's great to have the internet to forge our connections with other knitters but it is also great to meet the people behind the blog and see those blogged projects in person. The Hanami Stole Elaine knitted is gorgeous and much pinker than I imagined :o) We have both recently completed Hemlocks so they were introduced to each other, Elaine has now completed two! I was able to see how much I need to improve my photographs so that readers can see the true beauty of the yarns I use. I also had the opportunity to see the beautiful Sea and Shell Stole. Ah, good conversation and good company (and a lovely lunch, thank you Elaine). Now, get those projects blocked! VBG

A week off blogging gives me lots of sites to comment on and over at Annette's there is a link to Skein Queen. In the interests of research (you understand) I had to go look - you go look too - Ooooo, I feel a squishy testing may be required to confirm my initial reaction :o) Isn't it yummy that handpainted yarn comes in so many distinctive 'flavours'? So many lovely places to shop with different goodies on offer at each.
I had a large PY delivery this morning too - sorry that Sophia Sceptre from last week is mine, all mine, Mwahaha! Elaine and I agree that Dee's formula of listing at a set time is addictive and compelling - you know where to find us at 6pm on a Sunday :o) I also bagged the Cecilia Claret and some Laura Rapunzel, oh, and Elaine can identify PY yarn type by sight :o)
And finally, I have some more laceweight to look forward to from Cazza at Middle Earth Yarn with Ring Wraith heading my way along with these cuties - well, it is nearly Halloween :o)
Hope everyone has a happy and peaceful weekend, I feel much better about life the universe and everything today than I did yesterday, hope you do too. And I am probably getting a newborn bub to care for any day now so I'll be knitting my free time in preparation for having my hands full in a week or so and for the foreseeable time. Off to finish my Shoalwater :o)

ETA Forgot to say, Elaine's swatch with the naughty yarn is wonderful and she's doing a really interesting scarf with the very soft Malabrigio which is very pretty and I may just copy it :P

Friday, October 12, 2007

Shaolwater again.

My second Shoalwater is well under way, and speeding along.

Middle Earth Yarns BFL DK Foamy Seas, 6.5mm circs :o)

Obviously what I need to do with a growing pile of UFOs is cast on a new project, the Shoalwater seemed like a rest although I am beginning to think the only pattern I ever knit is Old Shale.

Shaolwater again.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Hemlock Love :)

The colour isn't right but I can't wait until daylight - I am in love!

I was worried it might not be big enough for my sofa - actually it's a tad too big, but I aint hiding it away.

Posh Yarn Emily (Magnus), 3 skeins plus 25 gms of Posh Yarn Emily (Peal) for cast off, needles size 4.5mm, 40" circs.

Which big doily pattern shall I do next?

It still has some ripples in it :o) but I didn't want to iron it.


Dee as a lovely post today with some beautiful photos of where she lives.

This prompted me into thinking about my local area and made me go and do something I have been meaning to do for weeks now. Go and photograph something whilst I still can.

The cranes at Swan Hunters on the north bank of the Tyne are coming down, they are being sold to somewhere in India. In the past when hard times came and the yards lay idel the cranes stood sentry until new orders came in and work resumed, but no more. This is the end of an era for Wallsend, no more ship building on the Tyne.

When I see these images I am filled with sadness; those large red cranes are the first to go, one is already missing several parts as you can see.

These giants are what I see when I come back into Wallsend, they greet me on my way home and when I see them I feel that warm feeling you get when you are nearly back to your nest. MY skyline will eventually be completely different as they currently dominate their surroundings. You can see how much smaller the other coloured cranes are.

I am told that the green one is staying as it is a listed structure, there are apparently plans to redevelope the area as a marina with posh houseing and eateries. *sigh* Somehow I don't see the 'riverside appartments' new residents being comfortable with that as a reminder of our industrial heritage.

Walking along by the shipyard today I was struck by how quiet it was down there> It must have been so busy and noisy in it's heyday. The warehouses are already cleared. Just 3 men were fishing where once thousands worked.

When I look at this red monster I wonder how many ships she has helped to build? What were their names and to where have they sailed?

Then as I was feeling all melancholy the men working to take the cranes down started to cut the bearings free - they are working on a very precarious scaffolding and they are very high in the air. My 300mm lens couldn't get any closer than this. Suddenly there was noise and life and action again.

I will miss my view, although I could never call it picturesque it is still home, well, my adopted home. I wonder how the people who grew up here and worked at Swan's feel to see it coming down? How will they feel about a swanky new Marina? And all the new houses going up in the place of industry, will their occupants know or care what came before them? Where will they work?

I hope they do keep the green crane, we shouldn't lose it all.

Look at the site at google maps , search for Swan Hunter and zoom in until you see the dry docks; the end of the largest dock is where the men are fishing in my photo, all the buildings have been leveled.

Hemlock finished

I did you a lovely post last night ...all about life the universe and everything and waxed lyrical, sorry you missed it ... the machine ate it!
Bah humbug! don't you hate it when that happens?

Anyway, it's done and still blocking - dry faster, damn you!
Took this photo last night with the aid of DD1 who was trying to 'spoil' the photo but I thought I'd leave her in as a aid to scale :o) It measures 54" across it's widest point, so I guess 4 ft when unpinned. Dry, damn you!

Monday, October 01, 2007

And the good news is ... is going home.

Many mixed emotions about this, I do think it is the best thing for all concerned (I hope it is).

Got the phone call this afternoon that I should drop him off at his house tomorrow morning. Warned all my kids to say goodbye and get their 'baby cuddle quota' filled tonight because when they come home tomorrow he'll be gone. Me? I've been kissing those baby cheeks and hugging and cuddlin' :o) He is the happiest baby I have ever had the pleasure of looking after and it's amazing how quickly they develop at that age, every day brings a new ability, another step in hand eye co-ordination, more gurgling and a wider smile.

No wonder his mum & dad have missed him and no wonder they are delighted that they get to have him back so soon. It's been a very long 3 weeks for them.

On the positive side I am planning lots of knitting in the next few days and weeks, time to get Della done, 2 long term projects that are nearing completion (one really only days away from the final stitch) Hemlock to finish, 2 Goddess Knits shawls to start, lots of socks to knit for Christmas. See? Lots to keep me busy and like Anne I should also sort out lots of junk and reorganise myself, paint the rest of the little room for our next visitor and generally get my life in order now that my 4 yr old is in full time school.

But on the negative side I will be doing it all with empty arms and he is the happiest baby I have ever met.

It can be a wonderful world, a world made beautiful by new eyes gazing on it for the first time, today was a rare beauty of a late summer/autumn day; and it can be a cruel and savage world because of the people in it, a world where babies are not safe.

Bonne chance, little one, bonne chance.