Monday, August 25, 2008

Ravelympic Knitting

Thank you all for the messages you left regarding my Wedding Anniversary. We had a lovely evening out together.

Now then, haven't the Olympics been wonderful :-). "We've got another gold" has been a familiar refrain Chez Aknita this last fortnight, and I have to say that the British cyclists, swimmers, rowers, everyone, have been inspirational.

And perhaps now I can keep "proper" hours. I like my sport "live" and Paula - it was my pleasure to stay up with you last weekend and watch a brave and gutsy run.

This last fortnight has also seen the Ravelympics :-) and after a change of project, these are the two knits I started and completed while the Olympics were in progress.

Firstly, this little jumper for my friend Sarah's little boy's first birthday. It was knitted using Sirdar Snuggly dk, and I used UK sized needles 10 and 8, my old favourites.

Isn't the Birthday Boy just LOVELY :-)

He's going to be a real charmer!

And my second project, Monkey socks. I had to knit Monkeys during the Olympics, I have very fond memories of the TV show ( usually watched late at night with the aid of alcohol ) and as the BBC chose Monkey for their trailers, I have every reason to think I had made a good choice.
I tried so hard for a matching pair, alas it was not to be, but my good friend Gilraen has pointed out to me that by not matching they look hand crafted so I feel much better about them.
The yarn was lovely to work with. I was lucky enough to win it in a RFL auction ( thank you Noo and Gilraen ) and had intended it for Binty's RFL prize. But it had to be socks!
Monkey Socks
Yarn: Wollmeise Sockenwolle 100% superwash merino
Colour: Regenbogen
Needles: 2.5mm Lantern Moon dpns

I am left wondering what to make next. Off to investigate the stash for inspiration.

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's my Anniversary :-)

Today is my 27th Wedding Anniversary, goodness, I have been married for over half of my life!!!!!!!!!! I have absolutely no idea where the years have gone. I have three beautiful children, and Mr A isn't too bad either ;-)

It was a VERY windy day and after an age of getting things just right my veil blew right off my head when I left the house! Dad and the photographer did their best, but I had absolutely no idea what I looked like when I arrived at the church.

I thought I'd share one or two photos with you. Here I am with dad. Do you know, he passed away some seventeen years ago now, yet not a day goes by where I don't think about him.

The flowers are awful aren't they? Silk flowers were de rigeur back in 1981 and I do still have them of course, but don't they look dated.

The rest are all self explanatory really.

I don't remember ever being so young!

MIL and FIL to the left, mum and dad to the right.

I like this one in the car on the way to the reception. Five minutes peace and quiet on our own :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Grand Day Out

I took myself to London yesterday. A twelve hour round trip to the theatre, ostensibly to watch a play, but also to take my mind off today's G.C.S.E results.

The play I went to see was called "Her Naked Skin" at The National Theatre. Set during the time of the Suffrage Movement, it was a thought provoking and challenging play, at times bittersweet, at times very difficult to watch. There was, for instance, a prison scene which dealt with forced feeding which wasn't easy viewing, and yet there was such tenderness from the prison warder in the aftermath, just a small gesture yet it conveyed so much. There wasn't necessarily a happy ending either, but it was a play I took a lot from. And Lesley Manville was excellent.

I was able to take advantage of a £10 Travelex ticket too.

When I go the the National Theatre, I like to take the Bakerloo Line to Embankment and walk over the Hungerfod Bridge to the South Bank. This enables me to sit and knit a while in the Victoria Embankment Gardens, a wonderful oasis of calm in SUCH a busy place. I was lucky when I sat there, I was in a warm sunny spot, and I thought I really must take time just to sit like this more often.

Don't the gardens look lovely?

And what a lovely view to knit to :-)

It was quite murky however by the time I came to walk over the bridge.

But brighter again on the South Bank.

The view back to Embankment

The National Theatre is always a very busy place, with street theatre for the public

And a few views from a different perspective, the terrace of the Olivier Theatre bar

And the G.C.S.E results are here! 4 B's, 4 C's and a D. The B's are in English, R.E., Geography and Music, and should enable DS2 to take the A levels he wants to. I am so relieved as he did remarkably little work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dyeing to Show You!

Last Saturday (16th) I went down to Get Knitted in Bristol. I didn't get lost either on the way there or on the way back, so an auspicious occasion it was.

I went to meet with some fellow cyber friends from CTNY, and also to attend a Dyeing Workshop run by Jeni from Fyberspates which was great fun :-)

Time goes so quickly when you are having fun! The workshop was wonderful, I have never been particularly artistic or creative and so it was really liberating to be allowed to play with colour. Not all my efforts were successful, but I loved it.

We used acid dyes btw.

First up, what Jeni referred to as cr*p alpaca, which of course is a contradition in terms ;-) but was meant for us to practice with. It was alpaca intended for machined sock knitting.

Next, an Alpaca laceweight, the colours of which I'm not so keen on, but I am sure it can be overdyed.

This splodgy one is a merino sportsweight. I am sure I can make something with it. The yarn is beautifully soft.

This is a sock yarn, and I love this.

Another sock yarn, I am really pleased with this too.

Finally, this is what I bought at GK. Interweave Knits, Knitting, two pairs of Harmony Options 2.5mm 60cm circular needles, a pair of Harmony Options 2.5mm dpns, and some split ring stitch markers.

It was wonderful to meet up with so many friends, Linda, Jacky, Kathryn, Franney, Carol, Jo, Willow ( and her gorgeous baby ) and Kelly. The day went so quickly, and I am sure I didn't say all of what I wanted to say to everyone.
Never mind, see you all at I Knit day which I am sure will be here before we know it :-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Amy Butler and Other Stories

Another FCS - yes I know, it's getting boring now and I'm sorry. There are two more to come at some stage, one of which I have promised to knit, one perhaps for me, and then that will be it.

This one I knitted for Binty, a cyberfriend from Crafty Threads and Yarns. It was her reward for completing this year's Race for Life. It was knitted using Lochan yarn from the Yarn Yard in a colourway purchased at Woolfest. I used 4.5mm needles, there are two extra pattern repeats.

I'd like to indroduce you to a relatively new dyer. I am also delighted to say that having purchased this yarn at my LYS, I have subsequently met the dyer at my Knit and Natter group. The Yarn is Sweet Feet from Artist's Palette Yarns and is a supersash Merino/Bamboo mix. It's lovely stuff :-)

Co-incidentally I am going on dying workshop this coming Saturday run by Jeni from Fyberspates which is where Artist's Palette started earlier this year. Watch this space..............

I spent a lovely evening on Monday in the company of, amongst others, Amy Butler who was giving a talk at local hotel.

Amy shared with us, by Powerpoint, a snapshot of her life - from her influences as a child, at art school, her home life, her passion for creativity and design shone through, and although I don't sew I left feeling so enthused by her passion for colour.

She is a wonderful photographer who photographs anything and everything, from cows to flowers and having spent some time in the UK last month too there were some fabulous photos of National Trust gardens. I will never be afraid of colour again! Nature does incredible things with colour - leaves aren't green without good reason.

Amy sat afterwards tirelessly chatting to us all and signing endless autographs and was very generous with her time. She appeared charming, and quite simply a lovely person. A wonderful evening - and a bargainous £5:00 at that.

And finally - I have the lurgy. The unthinkable has happened and I have had two nights off sick. Considered opinion was that my voice was so husky it was more suited to answering the phone to one of those phone lines as opposed to an OHH GP service ;-)

I have had quite a formiddable temperature too and a hell of a painful throat. So if you are going to Get Knitted on Saturday, I promise not to breathe on you!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

And the Winner is........

Linda :-)

The draw took place at 2:00 am, and was drawn by my friend Sheridan. She said it was her pleasure to be asked to pick a name out of the chocolate mug!!

Linda - congratulations. I shall pop it in the post.

Nothing else to report - work has been and gone, miraculously they had survived for three weeks without me ;-)

I was told I looked rested and well, and someone even remarked on my delicate tan which was achieved by two weeks of liberal applications of factor 50 and every square inch of shade that I could find ;-)

Tuesday was a treat. After my chiropractic appointment I went down to The Knitting Parlour, where I had arranged to meet a blogging friend Wye Sue. Now Sue and I have met in Harrogate, London, Builth Wells, Woolfest, you name it everywhere except Malvern

We spent a very pleasant couple of hours at The Knitting Parlour sitting knitting in the window, then went to Ask for a meal followed by Knit and Natter at the pub!

Sue and I are going to "An Evening with Amy Butler" this coming Monday which the Parlour has organised - a bargain at £5:00 a ticket.

I bought some yarn for a very special project ( but it's a secret for now ) and some sock yarn from a very local dyer Artist's Palette

I am doomed......................

Sue also brought her extensive shawl pattern range with her and we chose a pattern - Luna Moth - and I not only crocheted a provisional cast on, I knitted the first fourteeen charted rows too. There's hope yet ................................

Congratulations Linda once again!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Memories from the Algarve

We have just returned from a wonderful fortnight in The Algarve. Mr A, DS2 and I flew out on the 19th July, DS1 and DD flew out to join us a week later. WE rented a villa in Sesmarias, just outside Carveiro in the Western Algarve, around an hour's drive from Faro Airport, and have all come back relaxed and ready for anything. It was the perfect antidote to all of our recent stesses and strains.

Here is our villa, cleverly constructed with the three bedrooms on the lower level so they were always lovely and cool.

The view from the terrace.

Monkey knitting going on here. Just the toes left to graft.

This little Italian restaurant was around 200 yards away from our villa, and lovely it was too.

A few sights around Carveiro. This view is from my seat at a fish restaurant where I ate sardines fresh from the charcoal grill - yummy :-)

The main square was very lively at night.

Mr A and I on the front terrace of the villa.

DD - I am very biased of course, but I think she is beautiful :-)

And of course, you wouldn't want a warm beer would you ;)

After a week of doing almost nothing, we went out for the day.

This is Sagres

Slightly out of order, this is Portimao taken from the car, on our way to Sagres.

This pretty little marina was at Sagres too.

Portimao again.

Danger - Brits on the beach!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Sagres on to Cape St Vincente - the most Westerly point of mainland Europe.

Stunning views

Of course there was the opportunity to purchase souvenirs. Nandos anyone?

Or a hot dog?

From the coast to the mountains of Monchique, a pretty little spa town.

This little fellow was growning in the grden of our villa.

Another day out, this time to Silves, an old Moorish town with Cathedral and Castle.

While we were at Silves, the children spent the morning at Slide and Splash!

Sooner them than me!

The Western Algarve really is a lovely holiday destination!

Finally, our favourite restaurant, The Island Cafe, the chef is from Arizona and makes the most delicious salads with fresh citrus dressings. His calimari salad is to die for.

I have never visited Portugal before and I loved it. We will definitely be going back.

Sorry to keep you waiting for the winner of the TDF shawl. I plan to put everyone's names in the "hat" for Wednesday evening and will take them to work. Winner to be drawn by my my colleague and I'll let you know the winner on Thursday!