Thursday, 6 October 2011


Having found my camera SD card, which inevitably was down the back of the sofa, I’ve finally managed to take some pictures of my Shalom.
 I’m still beavering away on the yoke because, despite Autumn quite clearly arriving a few weeks ago we have been in the middle of a mysterious heat wave which is only just waning.  I hate to knit when it’s hot so I’ve been averaging about ¼ of a row per day for the last week or so.  Luckily it is starting to cool now, because at that rate I’d have given birth by the time this maternity cardigan is done.

Also on my memory card, much to my surprise were a whole host of photos from the summer, some photos of fibre I bought ages ago and forgot to blog about (I’ll catch up on that tomorrow) and also this:
 Which on closer inspection appears a strawberry shaped like a witches nose.  The strangest things amuse me.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Latest WIP

For the last 13 weeks I’ve been working on a super secret project, which hasn’t really left me much energy for anything else.  Here’s a pic of my progress so far:
Estimated date of completion is 29th March 2012.  That’s right, all being well I’m going to be a mummy!  To be honest it is really only just sinking in, it’s only been since the scan last week that I’ve actually been able to get excited about it, plus I’ve been feeling rather awful for weeks now which kind of takes the shine off.  Anyway so now I can tell people, it all seems a bit more real.

So, while I can see lots of baby knitting in my future the first thing I cast on was for myself.  A lovely plum coloured Shalom which will be just perfect as I get larger over the coming months.  Pics to follow when I remember where I put my camera memory card.  It’s been pretty simple so far, even though the going has been quite slow.  I think that might have something to do with the fact that I fall asleep every time I sit down for more than 5 minutes! 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011, remember me?!

My dining room to be!
Exciting things have been afoot in our little household recently, but as none of it has really been craft related I have been a bit silent in the blog department.  Our plan after we got married was to knuckle down and save every penny, so that we could afford the deposit on our own house.  After we got back from our honeymoon and opened all of our gifts we were absolutely astonished by the amount of contributions we received for our house fund.  Our generous friends and family gave us such a wonderful boost and even though we have still been saving unbelievably hard, we were quickly realistically able to start looking for a house.  Since then most of our spare time has been spend looking for houses on the internet, looking round actual real life houses and having long, long discussions about how much renovation and repair we were willing to undertake.  Luckily we’ve not been able to afford to go out anywhere for a while so we’ve had plenty of time for all this!  However we have finally found somewhere we like and had our offer accepted so the actual process of buying the place has begun.  It needs a fair amount of updating (see groovy carpet in the pic above), but no major renovation is necessary and I can’t wait to get going.

As an aside, here in South East England it’s starting to get a wee bit chilly and it feels a bit like Autumn is on the way.  This is the time of year when I start to regularly settle down for an evening’s knitting every day, so hopefully I’ll have some projects to share very soon.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Invisible tea

I wrote a post all about how my car knocked a cup of tea all over the sock I'm knitting.  When I went to take a photo the sock had dried and no trace of the team was visible.  Good news for the sock, not so great for the post!  Anyways, here's a nice photo of the cat responsible.  Good job she's adorable.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Oops more fibre

Because I am slowly working through my fibre stash, I thought I could do worse than to add a little more to it.  With a wealth of lovely stuff available on Etsy it was a difficult task to choose what I wanted, but in the end I was unable to resist checking out with these bits from Hilltopcloud.
These are lovely batts with merino, mohair and silk.  I love that they are subtle and dark with occasional flashes of purple, I’m really looking forward to these being yarn.  I’m so often drawn to bright flashy colours which can limit what I’d realistically knit with them, but this will be really versatile I think.
 These are little bits of roving with Shetland, merino and tussah silk.  I'm having a bit of a blue thing at the moment, which is quite odd for me, so this is perfect.  I’m anticipating that I will have an empty spindle very shortly, so now I just have to decide which of these fibres I spin up first.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

New kit

Yesterday I included a quick pic of some the Yummy Yarns fibre that didn’t get to come on honeymoon with me, although it is clear from the photo that I have now started to spin it up.  I was going to save it for a while, but when I got home from my holiday this lovely IST spindle I ordered a while back was waiting for me.  The next fibre on my list for spinning was an alpaca silk blend, but I only had to spin for a minute to realise that that was going to require a heavier spindle so I swapped to the merino bamboo instead.  I’m enjoying spinning with the spindle, it’s so delicate and refined and it spins for ages and the fibre is spinning up nicely too.
 The other fibre that I did take away with me was a small portion of the merino silk top that I got from Shunklies a wee while back (first blogged here).  I got most of this spun up on holiday and finished it up quickly once we were home and now I have this lovely colourful skein of 4-ply.  It is 68m long and weighs 23g.  I was aiming this to be fairly stripy and it sort of is.  Each section is certainly mostly one colour and I think that the little variations make it interesting.  I’m still rather amazed each time I finish a new skein that I have produced actual yarn that I can actually knit with, once I’ve decided what I want to make that is.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Back again so soon

Here I am, Day 2 of trying to be a better blogger and catch up with everything.  Yesterday I finished with my wedding and the shrug that wasn't, so a good place to pick up would be the honeymoon.  Obviously an important consideration before we went away was which projects I would pack.  Because I was no longer tied to the shrug I thought I'd enjoy some sock knitting, so I packed my plain simple socks which I'm knitting out of some of the first yarn I dyed.  I finished the first sock a while back, but aside from casting on I hadn't worked on the second sock at all.  I'm now ready to turn the heel on that sock thanks indeed to the near apocalyptic levels of rainfall which will forever define my honeymoon!  In all honesty neither of us were at all upset about the weather, to us the honeymoon was an opportunity to drop off the grid, spend some time alone and know that when we woke up in the morning we were free to do, or not do whatever we liked.  It was bliss.
The weather also afforded me plenty of time for spinning too.  I'd packed an ongoing project, which is now finished and will get it's own post later in the week, and as a little treat I'd bought myself some new fibre from Yummy Yarns on Etsy.
Rather nice merino soybean top

Pretty batts full of lots of lovely stuff
 I can highly recommend her shop, the fibre is lovely and I received a wonderful welcome into her group on Ravelry.  After some deliberation I decided to pack the batts to take away with me.  So far I've almost finished spinning up the first one, from one side of the batt to the other so i have three very wide stripes.  Because I could only really fit half of the batt on my spindle this resulted in a bit of jiggerry pokery, winding and rewinding so that I can join the right end of the second spindleful to the first spindleful, I really should think about these things ahead of time.  When I start the second batt I shall be starting from the middle so that when I wind off it will be the right end on the outside.  My problem solving skills know no bounds!

Monday, 4 July 2011


I have been a downright sucky blogger of late, I’ve really got out of the swing of things and it really is time to kick myself into touch.  I even have 2 FOs, an event which would normally have me firing up blogger with gusto, but I just haven’t got round to it.  I’ve also started new projects, purchased new things and made plans to get back behind the sewing machine (once I’ve moved the pile of socks that’s in the way) so I have plenty of stuff to write about.  Rather than doing a massive info dump and running out of steam again I think I’ll cover one thing at a time and ease myself back in.

So, first things first.....the wedding shrug, whatever happened to that?  Well, anyone who has clicked the link to my wedding website (that’s the button in the sidebar, helpfully declaring that I have been married for 31 days) will notice that it is absent from the photographs.  This is not because I didn’t finish it, I did.  I finished knitting it on the afternoon before the wedding and duly sewed it all up right away.  I tried it on, it seemed to fit and then looked in the mirror and horror of horrors I just didn’t like it very much!  This is one of those things which worries me most in knitting and luckily doesn’t happen too often.  We spend many hours making these things and then at the end they are just.. meh, it’s disappointing.  However, because I was far too busy worrying about other things this disappointment didn’t last very long at all.  Plus the day of my wedding was absolutely boiling, had I really liked the shrug I would have spent the whole day trying to find an excuse to wear it in weather when I really would have had no business wearing a shrug at all.  I guess everything happens for a reason.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

I'm back!

Just a quickie today, obviously I’ve been incredibly busy over the last few weeks but now I’m all married and back from honeymoon I can start getting on top of this blog.  But for today I’ll leave you with a few pics from my wedding.  It was an absolutely glorious day and everything went so smoothly, it was marvellous!

Yep, my bouquet is bound with Rowan Big Wool!

Friday, 27 May 2011


I had no photo for today, so here's a sleepy Billie for you.
Well, whaddya know, this time next week I'll be just an hour away from getting married!  For this reason I haven't really had much time to drop by.  Obviously once the wedding is over I'll have loads of photos and things to share, plus life will get back to normal again.  Today is my final day at work before the wedding, I'll be so busy next week it seemed silly to work.  My colleagues have been so lovely, all asking questions about the wedding and giving me great support.  Today they gave me a lovely card, a picture frame for my desk and a £50 voucher.  I'm so luckily to work somewhere where people are so kind.

Tonight is our rehearsal, Sunday is the stag and hen nights, I have the hairdresser on Tuesday and we need to decorate the church on Thursday and in between we will be working hard on all the million and one other things that have to be done.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, 19 May 2011


This week's spinning round up is a day later than usual due to a bit of a technical hitch with the finishing of my latest handspun.  I could have just posted yesterday anyway, but it was so close to being finished and I really wanted to have an FO to share so please forgive my tardiness.
I finished spinning up the last of my purple batts on Tuesday night but left it til last night to wind off into a skein.  I didn't start until quite late because I spent the evening at the church where I'm getting married planning the decorations, but once I got going it didn't take me long - even with the usual feline 'supervision'

Before the dunking
Next step was to give the yarn a bath, I plopped it in some hot water, wandered off for a few minutes and came back to find that the water had turned to ribena!  Slight colour seepage was not the word.  A bit of dithering later and I sprayed the skein with citric acid and water and stuck it in the microwave for a couple of minutes to try and set the dye.  It seems more colourfast now but I'm a bit disappointed with the blue spots that have developed where the purple has seeped in to the white.  I'm sure it will be fine though.  The yarn is all smooshy and bobbly and goes nicely with the pink I finished last week and that's all I was hoping for.  I guess now I finally get to knit something with my very own handspun - how exciting!
After dunking, the blue bits aren't too obvious here.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Just dropping by

Yet again I’ve been busy, busy, busy and have had little time for blogging.  This is a real shame, but with the wedding now 17 days away I can think of little else.  Not that there is too much to do now, my floral arrangements are now in the hands of my good friend Gayle at Bloomingayles, the venue is all organised, everyone has outfits and I’ve been practicing in my shoes.  All that is really left is for me to finish my wedding shrug, which is now two long rectangles waiting for a third to be complete.  I’m still not terribly inspired by the knitting of this pattern, but I am getting there slowly.

So that’s it, boring eh?  I have however managed to do a very small amount of spinning – possibly I may even have an FO for you tomorrow and I have a new spindle too.  So now I’ve dropped by to tell you how much more interesting tomorrow’s post will be I shall pop off again, ta ta!.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Spinning Wednesday

For the second week in a row I have an FO for you.  Quite frankly it’s about time because I feel like I have been plying this for months.  So here we are, 345m and 46g of 2ply merino tencel from FeltStudioUk.
This has turned out really lovely, smooth and shiny and the colours look great.  This was only half the top and I will start spinning the second lot soon, but because I like a bit of variety I started spinning this instead
 This is some top merino silk I got from Shunklies a little while back.  I decided to make this a bit stripy and found that if I split the top in a certain place I had two matching lengths with just a bit leftover that didn’t match anything.  I’ve therefore split that bit into four skinny strips and am spinning that separately, the idea being that I’ll have a little mini skein with much shorter stripes which I can use to accent the longer striping main skein.  Well that’s the plan anyway, who knows how it will actually turn out!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Dyeing to be yarn

A few months ago I bought 400g of undyed merino fibre to try my hand at dyeing.  It took me a while to be brave enough to actually try it but I have finally taken the plunge.  I’m not sure why I was so apprehensive, I had visions of coming out with a horrible felty mess but I did a bit of reading up to see how to avoid that and still I put it off.  Now I’ve finally got on and done it I think my biggest worry is that I’ve dyed something that looks perfectly fine, but it is only after it is spun and plied and knitted I’ll be able to truly tell if I did a good dye job.  Obviously the same is true with dying yarn, but without the extra (rather time consuming) step in there.  I guess this is something that will come with practice and I probably need the odd disaster to help me learn.  However, here is how dyed my fibre.
I’ll keep you posted with the progress of the yarn, so that if it turns out to be really fugly you can disregard any dyeing advice I may have given!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Birthday, spinning, FO!

Today is Wednesday, spinning update day and I actually have a FO to share - plus it's my birthday so I'm having a great day.  I took today off work and planned to spend it pottering around making bits and bobs and maybe doing some shopping until Stu got home from work.  Imagine my surprise when he woke me up with breakfast in bed this morning after secretly getting the day off work himself.  He even got up at the normal time and went off to the supermarket to get breakfast bits and flowers and make it all extra surprising.  I think he may be a keeper!

So, not much time for making stuff after all, but I did get to do some shopping so it doesn't matter.  I'm currently working on this
This is from the first of the purple karmic delight batts which I am now working on because I finished up with the pink ones - tada!
She was sitting still, I can't help myself!

I love how this ended up, it's really rough and ready and a bit knobbly but it is soft and pretty and I'm really proud of myself. The skein is 30grams and 98m long.  I'm hoping that the purple will spin up just as quickly so I can make something nice and stripy with them.  I'm thinking maybe a nice slouchy hat?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011


With a month to go until my wedding I was forced to assess my progress on my wedding shrug and had to admit that progress had been smidge slow.  Even with the wedding looming I was finding it difficult to motivate myself to knit more endless rows of stockinette.  So I decided to put a reward system in place.  For each 'pattern repeat' completed (i.e 23 rows stockinette, 3 short rows) I was allowed a short break to spin in.  This may have been effective had this not happened just before I finished my first repeat.
2 cats, 2 immobilised people!
Clearly I was not going anywhere, so I just kept on knitting and have finally finished the main body of the shrug.
I made a circle!
Now I just have to do the back pieces, the pattern has them half lace and half stockinette but as soon as I decided to knit this I knew that would bug me and would have to do all lace or all stockinette.  With time shortening I've plumped for the stockinette - boring but at least I can just knit and knit with no need for concentration so hopefully it'll be done in no time.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wednesdays are for spinning

Once again it’s time for a weekly spinning catch up.  Due to the glorious sunshine we have been having we have spent most of our time enjoying the weather with friends and family so I haven’t really done much of anything.  However the forecast for this weekend looks incredibly dreary and wet so hopefully I should have some time to create something worth blogging about.  This week I have mainly concentrated on two projects, the first of which is the sparkly BFL which is now ¾ spun.
 The plying ball is now looking nice and big and I’ve just started work on the last little bit.  You can't quite see but  I have put quite a substantial stop on the top of the spindle, the whorl of this particular spindle is particularly slippery and even with a one strand stop the leader still slips once the cop grows a bit.  I’m hoping that using three strands will do the trick.  I’m thinking I may have to get Stu to cut a notch in it once I’m done with this batch, I was hoping to avoid it but I think it will make things a lot easier.

My second project is a new one, which is exciting!  I got a new spindle, another Enid Ashcroft from this eBay store.
 Of course I had to start a project on it immediately, just to check it spins nicely so I dived into my little fibre stash and decided to try the little batts I got from KarmicDelight on Etsy recently.  I’d yet to try spinning a batt so I felt quite intrepid.
 All in all it’s going quite well, I’ve spun the first batt and have just started the second.  I plan to spin each of the pink batts separately and then ply them all together to make a 3-ply and then follow suit with the purple batts.  Because the batts are a total mixture of fibres and I guess because I’m not used to batts, my spinning is less consistent than it has been.  This is actually really good for me as I slowly learn to embrace the slub!  I’m hoping that this will become a slightly textured yarn with a bit of personality – at this rate I think I should actually find out quite soon – watch this space.  Oh, and the little Easter egg?  I was looking for little balls to wind plying balls around but all I could find was eggs, they do the same job though.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Time off

With a most fortuitous conjunction of Easter, a certain royal wedding and a little bit of annual leave I will be working for only two days until 5th May – hoorah!  I don’t have many plans, but it certainly gives me loads of time to spend knitting in the garden maybe I’ll even take my knitting to the beach.  Tomorrow I’m planning on having a barbecue for all my siblings, both actual and siblings in-law to be, which I’m really looking forward to.  With the wedding so close it seemed like a really great idea to get them all together, particularly as I think it will be really good fun too.  I must remember not to sit and knit my wedding shrug while to barbecue is going though, I don’t need to be going down the aisle smelling of sausages!

Other than that I am going to make the most of being away from here....
 And enjoy a bit of sunshine.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Spinning Wednesday

Just a quick post today as I have done next to no spinning this week.  So without further ado.....
I'm well along on my third spindle full of the sparkly BFL.  After making a plying ball out of the first and second spindle full I've decided to just keep adding to that ball until all the fibre is gone and ply it all in one go.  I did test ply a little bit of it and was really pleased with the results.
It's nice and soft and ever so slightly sparkly (believe it or not!)I'm really looking forward to having it all done.
I've also started spinning the merino/bamboo/soybean I got a couple of weeks back.  I've not done much but it is spinning nicely, it makes a strange sort of sound when I draft it a bit like paper tearing but very quiet.  It's interesting, but not off putting.  I've split the top into four and I'll be making 4-ply with it.

Well that's it folks, next week I should have a new spindle and therefore a new project on the go.

Friday, 15 April 2011

In potentia. Pt 1

The last few days I have been knitting and spinning as usual on several things at once, a few rows of my shrug here, a few rows of my sock there, 5 minutes spinning this, 10 minutes plying that and no real exciting progress to show on any of it.  In addition the weather has become rather gloomy so I can’t fill up this post with lovely sunshiney scenes.  So far, so dull, I wouldn’t blame you if you just stopped reading now!
So, for anyone still reading I thought I’d take a little look in my stash, pick out a couple of my favourites and lay out my plans for them.  This seems like something I can fall back on every now and again when I run out of blog fodder, because I do actually have a plan for pretty much everything in my stash.
Today I’ve picked two yarns, both of which I’ve had for a long time and have been destined to be a few things between them.  I’m pretty settled on what I want to do with them now so maybe they’ll actually get the chance to be knitted soon.
This is Regia Color 4-ply in Papillon which I've had 2 balls of since Jan 2009.  I remember buying it shortly after I started making my Flutterby socks thinking it would be a lovely yarn to use if I ever decided to knit that pattern again.  I’m sure I will knit it again because I really like it, but with so many sock patterns out there I think it will be quite some time before I get round to it, so I’ve decided that this will be the perfect yarn to try out the Skew pattern from Knitty.  I’ve loved this pattern since the day I first saw it and I love that it is not your usual sock pattern.
My second pick today is some Felted Tweed which I bought 7 balls of years and years ago to make Celtic (Rav link) from Rowan 40  I still quite like this cardigan, but years have gone by and I’ve never got round to starting it and I don’t think I ever will.  When I saw Olivia in Kim Hargreaves Thrown Together I immediately realised that this would be a much better use of my Felted Tweed.  Clearly I haven’t got round to casting on for that yet either, but I will.  One day.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Spinning Wednesday

Now I’m finally getting around to actually doing some knitting I’ve decided to just dedicate Wednesday’s to talking about my spinning.  Because I have so many projects on the go I very rarely actually finish anything so I think just one weekly update is quite enough.

So what’s been spinning this week?  Mostly I’ve been concentrating on a second spindle full of the sparkly BFL from FeltStudio UK.  I could see the end of the section of fibre coming closer and close and with 2 staple lengths left to go – disaster!  The piece of yarn that I use as a stopper when the spindle has no notch (tutorial here if anyone’s interested) snapped and I discovered that the edge of this spindle has no grab whatsoever and I could not get spinning at all.  I’m sure someone more experienced knows what to do for the best here, but because I’m planning on chain plying this I’m just going to wind it off as if it were finished and ply it as it is.  I’ve got another 50g of this to spin so I’ll add the last little bit to that and try to stop twitching every time I think about deliberately making one skein bigger than the other.  Yes, I have issues (don’t even ask me about people who purposefully wear odd socks!)
Other than that, I am making slow progress plying the first 50g of the merino tencel from FeltStudioUK.  It turns out that plying bores me so I have to do it in small batches.  I’m thinking that chain plying will go faster for me because it’s a little bit more involved.  I’ve started chain plying this black/white/grey merino but I’m going slowly because my toilet roll middle got all squished and it’s making things a little difficult.  I think I may have to pinch the toilet roll holder from the bathroom and see if that helps a little.
And, finally, because I just can’t keep myself away from Etsy I now have some new batts to spin.  Look how pretty they are.
These are from Karmicdelight found here.  They are lovely little batts, each around 0.5oz with loads of interesting stuff in there.  Alison is an absolute pleasure to buy from and showed a genuine interest in what I was planning to do with her batts.  I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Lucky old me

Stu and I both took yesterday off work and had a lovely long weekend, spent mostly outside and it had been glorious.  Apart from a brief shower of rain yesterday the weather has been unseasonably sunny and warm and we very much took advantage of it.  On Friday Stu picked me up from work and we went fishing.  Well Stu went fishing and I sat and knitted next to a lake.
On Saturday we behaved like good British people and went to some garden centres.  We got lots of flowers and six different types of strawberry plants and I got myself a lovely pink knitting lounger so I don’t have to sit on the steps next to the tumble dryer any more!
Sunday saw us risk causing a break in the good weather by buying a barbecue, but we didn’t actually use it so the sunshine continued unabated.  I took advantage of this by knitting while Stu worked...better than television.
Yesterday, while everyone else worked we went and hand delivered a load of wedding invitations before taking a little trip to Ikea and then coming home and doing some knitting.  I decided to take a break from the wedding shrug and finished off the first of my hand dyed socks.
Once that was done and ends sewn in I immediately cast on for the second one (if I don’t it will never get done) before putting it aside and casting on again for the second of my first ever toe up socks.  As I have documented recently all was going swimmingly with this sock the first time I started it until I noticed that I had been knitting the lace pattern all the way round, including on the bottom of the foot.  I’ve now knitted the toe again – great practice for short rows – and now all I need to do is find my fifth DPN and I’ll be off and running again.....about time too.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Phones, smarter than me.

After enjoying a nice night knitting away on my wedding shrug on Tuesday, I sat down last night to do the same again.  Assembling all my bits and bobs I quickly spotted a flaw in my plan.  I don’t need much, just the project, both needles, my notebook which has a simple breakdown of the bit of pattern I’m on plus a tally of how many pattern repeats I’ve done and my phone which has the row count on it.  Except I managed to leave my phone on my desk at work last night.  Marvellous.  Smart phones are a super idea, so many things you can do with them .....and so many things you have to do without if you leave it somewhere.  Mine also has my bus ticket on it.  Extra marvellous.  Luckily it is lovely and sunny here at the moment so a 50 minute walk to work this afternoon wasn’t actually all that bad.
Compare this to a picture of the same view in November.  Slightly different eh?  Because the weather is so nice I headed out into the garden with my sock this morning.  I found myself a nice sunny perch next to the old tumble dryer and knit away whilst dreaming of sunloungers and thinking that maybe it’s time we took that old tumble dryer to the dump!