Saturday, February 28, 2009

Om Shanti Bed Socks

These socks are the first socks from the Socktopus Sock Club this year. The yarn is Evolution and the colour is Peppermint Cheer.

The socks include such techniques as a provisional crochet cast on, short row garter stitch toes and heels, ( where the wraps are left in situ ) and with the heel worked over 60% of the stitches resulting in less strain on the heel joining points.

The stitch pattern is an Estonian 3-cross stitch pattern, and the cuff starts with another Estonian technique known as a Kihnu Vits braid. The rib is corrugated ( knit stitches in yarn A, purl stitches in yarn B so you are knitting with two strands of yarn in the same hand, and the finishing touch is a sewn bind off. Phew! Did I really do all of that? Well yes I did, and I am chuffed to little bits.

The sock incorporated several techniques covered in last year's Sock Knitting Retreat with Lucy Neatby, and are a testament to Lucy's kind, patient approach. I wish she could see these. Thank you Lucy.

Now then, the yarn does relax when blocked, but does recover a little. This photo is how my sock sized up after blocking and drying - yet it fits, and is so warm and snuggly.

A garter stitch short row heel.

And a short row toe in the making. Who would have thunk it ;-)

Friday, February 20, 2009

All you need is .......

..... love!

Apparently ;-)

Your Word is "Love"

You see life as possibility to form deep connections with a few people.

Relationships are the center of your world, and you always take time to bond with those you love.

You are caring and giving. You enjoy helping those you love.

And when it comes to romantic love, you feel passionately ... even in a very long term relationship.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Strictly Come Dancing Live

Last night my friend Yvonne and I travelled to the NEC to watch Strictly Come Dancing Live. After an interesting journey ( which took in excess of two hours instead of an hour due to an M5 closure and a search for an alternative route ) we still managed to arrive on time as I had, as ever, "allowed for traffic" in my timing. Leaving at 4:15 for a 7:30 start and an hour's drive seems eminently sensible to me ;-)

It was such a fun evening. Craig, Arlene, Len and Bruno were on top form. The band and singers were fantastic, and Kate Thornton made a good fist of the Tess Daley role. Eight couples took part. Tom and Camilla, Cherie and James, Vincent and Rachel, Ola and Kenny, Lilia and Julian Clarey, Jodie and Ian, Gethin and Flavia and Jill and Darren.

In the first round, all the couples danced a ballroom dance. Tom danced his classic quickstep, which was lovely to see, Kenny danced to Flower of Scotland, Flavia and Gethin danced a beautiful waltz and Rachela and Vincent danced their powerful tango.

The judges critiqued in the usual way ( the repartee between Julian and Craig was very funny ) Who was to know, for example, that Julian Clarey hailed from Ladywood!!!!!!!!!!! ;-) Diamante maracas are a sight to behold ;-)

From the interval onwards the audience were able to vote by text. In the second half, the couples performed a Latin dance. Cherie and James danced their beautiful rumba, as did Rachel and Vincent. Jill and Darren danced THAT jive and Kenny wore his kilt for the paso. There was a professional dance, with Matthew and Kristina dancing a breathtaking dance too, and a group dance. Gethin and Flavia were the eventual winners. All in all it was a strictly wonderful evening and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And The Winner Is.......

Thank you so very much to every single one of you. To say that I am overwhelmed by your collective generosity is an understatement.

I have used a random number generator, and allocated everyone a number corresponding to the order in which they sponsored me, so Katt 94 was No1. Rooknits was No.2 and so on to Glynis, who was No21.

I asked for 4 numbers, which came out as follows:-

9, 12, 15, 10.

Perversia, you were the 9th person to sponsor me, so you win the first £10 Socktopus voucher

Sussex Yorkie, you were the 12th person to sponsor me, so you win the second £10 Socktopus voucher

Blossom, you were the 15th person to sponsor me, so you win one of Ambermoggie's femmes.

Justine, you were the 10th person to sponsor me, so you win a skein of sock yarn.

I will be in touch with you all later, thank you all once again.

Virtual Coffee Morning

Kettle's on, coffee's perking and there's carrot cake. Help yourselves.

I am off to bed - only I could organise something to fall on the middle of two night shifts *rolls eyes* but please stay and chat amongst yourselves.

As well as two x £10 Socktopus vouchers and one of Ambermoggie's femmes, there is also a skein of yarn from my tiny little sock yarn stash up for grabs.

See you later - draw at 5:00 pm :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

p/hopping with the Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl

Here is my latest ( and I rather suspect my last ) Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl. It's a rubbish day for photos, so please forgive me.

I consider myself to be very fortunate in life. I need for nothing. OK, there are a few thing I might like that I don't have, but I need for nothing. If I want water, for example, I turn on my tap. I don't live in a war zone, I have been able to educate my children safely. If I'm hungry, I can eat.

I have a huge admiration for organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) who do so much for those far less fortunate then we are, and so shortly after I knit Day last year I asked Natalie could I knit a FCS as a fundraser for MsF.

Natalie told me she had PLANS afoot, and sent me a skein of her gorgeous Machair laceweight. I am sorry to say it took me ages to get my act together and cast on. I swatched - yes, I know, shocking isn't it - and decided on a 3.5mm needle.

I also had to resort to circulars. My knitpick options were well up to the job, and with the help of enough dental floss to circumnavigate the globe, here is a FCS all ready to be p/hopped. ( Edited here to add a link to the p/hop blog )

There are 12 extra pattern repeats, and also 12 border rows.

Gromit didn't want to miss any blocking action ;-)

Amazing, isn't it, that this amorphous lump could turn into a laceweight shawl.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Inspiration in Unlikely Places

One can find inspiration in surprising places. For example, when putting something away in Mr A's wardrobe yesterday, I found this sleeveless pullover.

I knitted this for Mr A while on maternity leave in the winter of 1982. I had wanted to knit something for him for some time, and this certainly filled those last few weeks of pregnancy.

I've been looking at some fabulous colourwork on blogs and on Ravelry recently and have thought "I could never do that" but it seems after all that perhaps I could! I have sock club socks to knit first, but watch this space...........!

Looking at it today, I find it hard to imagine that I knitted this. But I did. And in reality it perhaps isn't as hard as it looks - there are only ever two colours in use at any given time.....

.........and I appear to have stranded the yarn across perfectly well.
I am a little too fond of saying " I couldn't/can't do that" these days! One of my knitterly resolutions this year was to learn something new. Perhaps will also relearn something I once knew very well. This chance find has inspired me to better things - provisional crochet cast on here I come!

And finally, a modelled shot! Please excuse the pre-eclamptic facial puffiness that is still evident, DS was hours old here, and 11lb was one big baby! I think Mr A looks very fetching ;-)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Mr A's Secret Birthday Mansocks

It was Mr A's birthday on Tuesday. "Did you have a lovely romantic evening?" I hear you ask. A meal out perhaps? Or a quiet dinner in? After all, it HAS been snowing and it WAS very cold on Tuesday. A cosy evening in front of the fire would have been perfect.

Alas no, we spent our evening at the Pro Star Stadium watching Shrewsbury Town play Accrington Stanley. Never let it be said that we don't know how to have a good time ;-) At least The Shrews won, and no matter where you are there is nothing like the click of the turnstiles to get the adrenaline running!

Just as well then that Mr A's feet were as warm as toast in his new birthday socks. Knitted using Opal Rainforest 2 # Butterfly, and using 2.5mm neeedles, they are a 68 st sock and a UK size 10.

There had been much discussion at my knitting group as to the suitability of the colour - most of the ladies there were of the opinion that their husbands wouldn’t be seen dead wearing them.

But Mr A knows which side his bread is buttered, and pronounced himself delighted with them! And warm ;-)

I remain overwhelmed by your collective generosity. Thank you :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Raffle Update

Once again, thank you so much for your support. It means a very great deal

There are some lovely people in this world! I'm delighted to tell you that thanks to Alice I am now able to offer two Socktopus vouchers in the draw.

Ambermoggie has also offered one of her recent femmes.

Thank you both of you. I am going to do my very best :-)