Cute!

The best thing that happened to me today was when I was on my way home. The bus goes past a fishing tackle shop, and as it drove past, the shop door opened, and a little black and white cat ran in through the door :) We decided it was going in to buy waders, with special wide legs for it’s big catty thighs :) It wasn’t carrying a rod, so it clearly wasn’t returning anything, but the way it ran through the door suggests that what it wanted to buy was pretty urgent… Yay!

A little bit more grumbling

I’m sorry I’ve been such a morky bag recently, but I’m going to moan again. Having got over the stupidity of yesterday’s wrong purchase mistake, I started on the t-shirt I mentioned designed by Grumperina (how ironic for my current mood!). I cast on with just the right amount of yarn, knit the first 5 rows, and then stopped to count up and check. I’d done it wrong. I had too few stitches. So I ripped it up to start again, started to cast on, and didn’t leave enough yarn to finish it, by about an inch. So I tried to find the end in the middle to tie on and use to help me finish rather than going through it again. Out comes a big ball with no visible end in it. I hunt around, find it, and then realise that all I have to show for it is a big mess of knots, so I can’t even cast on to the end. I rip up again, and start winding up all the loose bits. I then spend about 30 mins de-knotting the bit from the middle to make a little ball, try stuffing it back into the ball, and realise it won’t fit because I wound the outside on too tightly. Queue some unwinding on the outside, stuffing the miniball into the middle, rewinding the outside, stamping feet and swearing profusely till DB comes running out of the bathroom with a towel round his waist wondering what is wrong.

I tried again this morning, and again failed to use enough yarn to cast on. But this time the extra bit from the middle was ready for me, so I used it and literally have 1cm hanging off the edge. The yarn is slippy, and keeps trying to unknit the cast on by itself, but after 5 rows I have some hope. Incidentally, I managed to cast on two extra than I should… I knit 2 tog twice to save me the shame of ripping again. You can’t tell. Or you better not say you can if I ever finish it… And I haven’t dare count to check my stitch numbers after the first set of increases. If I leave a trail of nonsense here tonight, don’t ask ;)

Poo

:( I’ve been a bit thick. The Patons yarn I bought to make t-shirts from Knitting magazine is DK, and not, as the pattern requests, 4 ply. Bugger. I can still use it tho, to make the ballet shirt here, which is something. The problem is that I really don’t feel like swatching up again for it. I’m also totally bummed out about the bolero. I’ve not received a reply from VK yet about my problem with the fronts, althought that might be due to the time difference. I don’t want to wing it for them, because I’m not experienced enough to do that, so I might end up frogging it, which means nothing finished and pretty and wearable for my night out this Saturday. Essentially, I’m no further in stash reduction, so that means that while it will save me money, I’m also going to be cluttered up for another few weeks at least.

On the other hand, I bought the cutest little lace wrap knitted cardis from Primark on Saturday in Manchester :) Buying them did not ruin my cash balance (but shopping everywhere else did!), so I bought two in different colours (one in a deep blue gray, one in a lovely green), plus a little brown shrug version, which I haven’t yet decided on whether to keep or not – I need to try it on with some stuff first. Just to put this into perspective for you yanks out there, Primark is like an ultra cheap Marks and Spencers. The shop in Manchester is HUGE, and you can get lost in it. We queued for nearly half an hour just to buy the stuff (don’t ask about the queue for the changing rooms – I tried stuff on over my jeans/vest in the middle of the store just to get an idea), but it is SO worth it! I bought the two cardis, shrug, two vests, a belt, an ankle length gypsy skirt, 6 pairs of socks (mens), 5 pairs of boxers and a messenger bag for 50 quid (about 90 US dollars). I know the US is miles cheaper than here anyway, but I hope that puts the prices in perspective :) Spending 50 quid in Primark is like spending 3 or 4 times that much in any other high street fashion store… Just thinking about it cheers me up a little :D I might post a pic later on, because you couldn’t make them for the price I paid in this neck of the woods, but I could make a pattern up if I lose enough weight for them not to fit (it would be a shame on one side, but not on the other, naturally!), and they are just so lovely!

Also, if you are wondering what I’m doing at home, I booked the day off, knowing that last night would be a late one. DB and I went out alone together for the first time in AGES. We went to Bradford to see Blackmail (the silent version of the classic Hitchcock film), with some live music to accompany it. Film, naturally, was fab, as only Hitch can be. Amazing ideas – he was way way ahead of his time. Unfortunately, the duet of Cipher for the music was awful. Music should enhance the story of any film, nevermind a silent one, but this soundtrack totally took over, and overpowered the images completely. They are kind of an ambient duo, using instruments and sampling them so that they add depth to the music, but flutes through an amp, so heavy that I walked out of the cinema with a headache and had to put my fingers in my ear at one point, that’s just wrong… It was hideous to listen to. When they finished, there was a pause enough to make me think that quite a few other people felt the same, then a round of applause. There were exchanges of glances, and whispers of ‘hmmmm’. The cinema was the Cubby Broccoli in the National Museum of Film, Photography and Television (an ace museum – if you are ever in Bradford, visit it. It is free, but warrants a hefty donation, and has loads of stuff to see and do, including the lovely Wallace and Gromit), which is a tiny one with onlyabout 8 rows of about 15 seats. Lovely little room, but sound carries across it, so the lack of discussion about the music implied to me a dislike for the accompaniment. Loved the night out tho, and the film. Went for a curry at the Kashmir, and burnt my mouth off, but found it quite tasty, even with the after effects… :S Still don’t think I’m converted to curries tho!

Anyway, time for some lunch, and some more swatching for the tivoli – if I don’t get a success soon with something, I think I’ll just scream!

A royle family moment…

Shopping with mum today in Manchester (I am now shattered and all shopped out/skint). We treat ourselves to a snack in the Illy coffee bar in Selfridges, and I’m looking for a snack on the menu that is wheat free, as I find it makes me rather bloated at best, and ill at worst. They don’t have anything on the menu so I ask and the girl says no. Mum says ‘can’t you have a sandwich?’. Nooooooo. ‘Here, have some scone. Don’t you want one?’ Let me see, are bread and scones made with flour made from wheat? Hmmmmmm…

Just reminds me of Grandma in the Royle Family, on the discovery that her grandson’s girlfriend is a vegetarian, saying ‘can she have wafer thin ham?’

Oh dear!

Well, I’ve been a bit slack this week. I started on the bolero in Vogue Knitting, and have the back done, but am having major problems with the front pieces. So I’ve posted on Craftster in hope of aid, and emailed the VK website for advice too in case the problem is size specific. I also asked a colleague at work who has been knitting for donkey’s years, and she came up with the same result as me – the decreases on the front do not add up to the number of stitches the pattern says I should have at the end. :( Poo. I’m working on the sleeves till I find out what is wrong, and I’ll probably have one done by the end of the weekend (not much time for knitting this weekend!).

The weather has been gorgeous this week – lovely and sunny, but also very humid, sticky and sweaty. Thank goodness for the air conditioning at work that normally freezes us (I wear gloves when working at the back of the counter, it is so cold in winter!). Unfortunately, there was no airconditioning in Greenhead Park last Saturday when I did Race for Life. I’m glad my mate was there – she’d been poorly during the week, so we made it a slow walk and I ‘kept her company’ while our work colleagues zoomed off! It was a fab day, and very emotional. It is so moving to do it with so many people in a similar situation or similar experiences. And of course we earn money for a good cause, while having fun. My face, despite having factor 15 on it (more than on my body) rapidly gained a glow on the nose and cheeks which is still hanging around… I still don’t look tanned tho – just ‘rosy cheeked’. The perils of being fair skinned. The upshot of it being so hot is that I haven’t knit much, as my hands get too sticky too quickly.

I have had time to re-think some long neglected projects too. I’ve frogged the lace cami from Weekend Knitting. A shame, but a good thing too, as I realised it was going to be too big and sacky for me. Instead I’ll be making something from my new pattern book – yay! I bought A Season’s Tale by Kim Hargreaves from Amazon while buying a gift for someone (thus saving money in the long term on postage). There is a gorgeous pattern for a tank made in KSH using 4 balls, which matches my stash perfectly, plus 3 different options for a neckline: slash, v or polo. The polo neck is a bit too ruffled for me, so at the mo I can’t decide between the slash or v. I’m leaning to the slash neck – after all the fuss and reknitting with the bolero, I fancy something a bit simpler, but not less interesting. The book is full of lovely classic patterns with a little bit of a twist to them sometimes. There is something about it that makes me want to make everything, even if it won’t suit me or I can’t find a man who is willing to wear it (DB has a phobia of cotton wool, so he hates the piles of yarn balls in the corner of the lounge and the knitting swatches and stuff, and he won’t touch the finished item unless I’m wearing it. The last isn’t a problem ;), but the rest can be). The cotton 4 ply from Lucky will now make a clover free Lucky – I really want a ballet wrap cardi, but can’t find a decent pattern in the right size, so I will swatch up a plain square and see how it compares with the lace one, and hope I can adapt it to make a nice plain version of the pattern. There is also a lush pattern by Debbie Bliss, but I need to shrink my chest first for that one…

I have been very restrained on the yarn front, and despite there being a sale on at Beatties, I only bought yarn on the request of a friend to send to her. It was a bargain tho! 500g of unlabelled yarn, which when you look and are in the know, is very clearly Sirdar Wow! in a dark navy – the same I used for the cushion cover that broke the camera memory card. 500g for £3.50 (less than you pay for one ball of it!). Yay! There were many bargains to be had – similar unlabelled 500g bags for the same price, while full packs of a kilo were 5.95. I was very strong. Aren’t you proud of me? :D Although I am saving myself now for a trip to Coldspring Mill not far from me. They apparently have a huge collection of discount yarn (inc Debbie Bliss) for 1p a gram. ooooooooooooooooooooo. Yummy…

I’m going shopping with my mum tomorrow in Manchester, but as yet haven’t found any exciting links to yarn shops in the city centre. We won’t be travelling out of the city except to go to the Trafford Centre maybe, so it will probably be a good thing. I’m planning to spend some tho – I need loads of things, and they all come at the same time as a birthday bash shared between myself and a friend. We’ll be going out in Leeds, and stopping in a hotel, so it won’t be cheap, and I will need a new outfit so that I am glam enough for the city… Yay!

Sunday I’m going with DB to see a silent Hitch film at Bradford Pictureville – an art house kind of cinema in the Film and Photography museum. If you are ever in Bradford, you should go to both – they are fab. The museum has original models of Wallace and Gromit, so that should be enough to tempt you :D I’ve booked Monday off, in case we are back late, so that should be nice.

I think that’s it for now! Back to some knitting…

Almost forgot!

I’ve been tagged by Vy for the book meme. Here goes…

1. Total number of books I own?
I own many many many books. I have no idea of the numbers, but I do know that they fill the shelves and spill out everywhere else, that the shelves fill the 3rd bedroom of the house (a boxroom, but big enough to house a desk and a bit more) up to the ceiling, and that some of my books are sitting in a pile in the lounge because I got them for my birthday and I haven’t found space for them yet. The knitting/sewing books live in the lounge too, but they have shelf space :) This is the problem with all libraries (space), therefore it isn’t surprising that librarians have that problem too…

2. The last book I bought?
That would actually be 3 books – Loop-d-loop and Ann Budd’s basic pattern books. Yum :D

3. The last book I read?
Right now I’m reading The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman (His Dark Materials no. 2), and The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan (a non fiction one with some of her memoires and meanderings, borrowed from a colleage at work, while she’s borrowed The Bonesetter’s Daughter from me). I also have A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but I can’t bring myself to finish it – I loved the first half, but it really has lost direction and I just can’t be arse anymore! Life is so much more than books that bore you. If you want the last book I finished, then that would be Northern Lights, the first Pullman book that I borrowed from a friend, and made me obsessive. I plan on reading the last book of the trilogy next, and The Time Traveller’s Wife (can’t remember the writer right now), which I borrowed from the same friend as the Pullman. After that, I haven’t a clue, but I need to read the book version of Totoro and the Miyazaki book DB bought me, plus I’m itching to read The Master and Margarita by Mikhai Bulgakov, which my brother got me. And the millions of others waiting on my shelves :)

4. Five books that mean a lot to me?
I hate questions like these! ;) This is more like essential reading by Bry. Errmmm, in no particular order:
-Any Jane Austen – well duuuh! Her writing is something I can turn to when I need saving. Remember when you were a kid, and nightmares woke you up? If you were like me, you read something till you calmed down, something that would sooth you and chase the nasties away. Austen not only entertains and stimulates me, she also manages to do that.
-A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. This book is just gorgeous. I can’t recommend it enough. Don’t be daunted by the number of pages (mine copy has 1000 ish, but I think there are some thinner printings). I could drown in this book. A soap opera for the intelligent (I don’t mean that soaps are for thickies or anything like that – I still rather like a bit of Neighbours when I can catch it :D, but it is a very high class, very intelligent and educated soap essentially). And you won’t guess the ending either…
-Halliwells Film Guide. Can’t live without it. I love films, and Halliwells is the best way to hunt something out, get a review without finding out the twist/conclusion (as the Virgin guide tends to do), or just prove that someone was in something crap (particularly when the web connection goes down and I can’t get to IMDB).
-The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter. The first Carter book I read, which made me fall in love with her writing, and inspired me to an A on the creative writing bit of my English degree. Carter can be difficult, and almost abuse the reader, but at her heart are fun and a wry poke in the ribs to get your brain and arse in gear. Sadly missed.

Finally, after much musing, here is the fifth…
-The Passion, by Jeanette Winterson. Another magic realist, but this really is a gorgeous tale of passion, love, webbed feet and chicken in Napoleonic times :) The first Winterson I read, and I still feel like it is the best. Another inspirational writer.

I think these choices, when I think about it too much, largely scream feminist in huge pink letters… I’m glad I sneaked in a bloke :)

5. Tag five people and have them fill this out in their blogs.
Ok, but I’m still young in blog terms, so I hope the people I pick don’t mind me scaring them – they might not remember me (I’m such a wee bairn), and I doubt I’ll reach 5 either. They’ll find out who they are soon enough, heheheheheheh!

Cheers Vy!

A change is as good as a rest

Yup, as warned I’ve had a shift from Movable Type to WordPress. This is largely because I wanted to do some stuff to my site and upgrade it to the latest version, only to find that MT have changed the licensing (ugh, I’m sure I’m spelling everything wrong right now!). DB did some hunting and found the lovely WordPress, which after playing around with it for a few weeks, I think it is rather good. No more rebuilding for me :D Also, WP make it miles easier to add pages and make pretty things, which will be rather nice when I get round to it.

It does mean that one or two things might have gone walkabout, so I’m really sorry if they have and you are hunting for them! Let me know if there is anything horribly wrong too – the site is designed based on my resolution on the laptop, which might mean that I’ve missed something and it looks evil somewhere else. Also I hope all the comments and stuff are still around :S

Anyway, since I went back to work, I’ve not done much knitwise, apart from start the bolero (oopsy daisy :D). I finished the back last night, and have literally only done the casting on for one of the front pieces. The back looks a bit big at the mo, as everyone has been saying, but I don’t think I’ll be able to tell properly until the front pieces are done as to what kind of fit it is. I won’t be posting pics yet, as the light has been rubbish recently (the weather has been gloomy as anything, but is supposed to be lush tomorrow and over the weekend. Hope so! I’m doing Race for Life on Saturday afternoon!).

Oh, and I got some of my grades back today, and I can now say that I am qualified to diploma level to be a librarian – hoorah! Naturally I can’t really say it till I get my cert and all that, and because I want to upgrade it to MSc next year, I won’t fuss much because the hardest is still to come, but at least I have a good grade for my research proposal in order to do next year’s work on it… Scary stuff…

Scrapping and umming and ahhhing

Well, after much umming and ahhhing, I decided to give up for now on Lucky from SNBN. I frogged it a while ago realising that the size I was making would be too big (although the way I feel today, nothing will ever fit me ever ever :D). Apart from the fact that I have tons of things on the needles and should be good and finish them off, I decided to give it up, because I’ve kind of lost motivation for it, and have a lot of other ideas for things to make which would use up stuff I have sitting around with no projects to go with. It’s a shame, but it might help put me on the straight and narrow :)

One of the reasons that helped me decide the above was that the Spring Summer edition of Vogue plopped on to my doormat today :D For once the sizes seem to be of a size that will fit me (woohoo! A big move from the maximum bust size of 36 to 38 inches, which is still quite common in it, but less than it has been). I quite fancy the lace trim bolero, and I think some of my Jaeger Aqua might work for it (I’m swatching up this afternoon to try it before I get too eager). Thing is, I have no idea whether it would suit me. I think it would look nice with jeans or smart black trousers (i.e. work), with something plain on underneath, but whether it will actually suit my bodyshape is another question… It has most of the right stuff – sleeves long enough to hide the worst of the bingo arms (for you yanks out there, that means the wobble when you wave at the top of your arm – known as bingo arms here because of the distinctive image of ladies playing bingo and waving their bingo card when they win, plus a bit more than you might want to see), the size that will accomodate me happily, and enough length to it to stop it from looking too cropped. But I am short and fat. That bit might not work. Soooo, before I get too eager, you guys have seen some pics of me in stuff, although they aren’t brilliant, so your opinions will help a great deal as to whether it is worth making. Be ruthless if you like :) I can take it! I have plenty of other options for the yarn because it is the kind you can use for loads of stuff at the mo, so it won’t be too great a loss to decide against it, but it just looks so pretty :D Even in the reclined position of evil that hides all of the shape and the way it hangs… Come on then, give it to me!

Another finished object :)

Woohoo! After many, many months, I have finally finished my first pair of socks. The second one is slightly bigger than the other, which is good because it has a better fit (I’m sure I mentioned that the first one I made was a bit baggy). Not massively keen on the pattern tho, as it leaves me with holes where the heel flap joins on to the rest of the sock (the bit when you pick up stitches). I think I’d rather pick up an extra stitch on each side and decrease twice as much on the first full round to shape the foot. Don’t know if it would work though.

pairofsocks.jpg

I still have 45 ish grams of sock yarn left, so I might try using it on the trainer sock pattern in the new edition of Spun

Next up is an action shot of me in Bloom (and not a very good one at that). I look rough in it – I must be starting to show my age :( Did I say I have one lone grey hair? That isn’t good for 28, although I’ve heard worse. But still!

bloominaction.jpg

It is rather comfy, and cosy, so a little too warm for summer, but it will work well on a breezy day. It also seems to sag at the neck a little after wearing it for a while (I’ve worn it a couple of days running, but it doesn’t smell – I promise!). I’m assuming it will go back into shape when I wash it. It better bloody do anyway!

I also have an extension to the stash (oops!). I got a lovely cone of yarn from Sue for a birthday gift. It is an eyelash one, but furry style, and so soft you wouldn’t believe! Most eyelash yarns I’ve seen are quite itchy or a bit funny feeling, but this is different.

suegiftpatons.jpg

The other one is Patons 100% cotton (a mercenised cotton), which I got 5 balls of. It’s to use for a pattern from Knitting magazine to make a t-shirt or a tank with a cowl neck. I haven’t decided which yet, but I discovered that it is supposed to knit to the same tension as the Jaeger I bought at Black Sheep – oops! Which means that I can knit both patterns, but just need to decide which to use first. I’m thinking the t-shirt is more versatile. Either way, I should really finish the shrug first (which is almost half done – yay! Just a few more inches and I’m halfway across the back), but I feel like making something to reflect the weather, and Kid Classic is maybe a bit much for when the sun comes, as it feels quite toasty when I try on the half shrug on one arm… Hmmm, not sure yet.

Anyway, here is a detail of Sue’s stuff that she got me from Uppingham Yarns. Yay!

Suegift.jpg

Teehee!

Yay! I got a message from my secret pal :D Very cool poem, so thanks pal :) I’m feeling giddy already! Am also v excited about buying gifts for my pal, and have bought loads already… I love buying pressies for people! It’s a shame I can’t see their face when they open it, but reading about it on the blog will be cool too :)

Also, thanks for the comments on Bloom and how to use up that Kid Silk Haze! For Lee’s attention, I made the largest size, but my row gauge was off so it came out wider (which is fine by me ;D). I don’t know if that threw off the shoulders, but I do know that given that it was knit side to side it shouldn’t have really made much difference. It looks fine while you knit it, but you can’t tell till you’ve sewn it up whether they are too big, unless you are much cleverer than me, which wouldn’t be too hard :)

I’m still not decided on what to use KSH on, and I still haven’t got an action shot, as the DB is away at a conference. I might wear it to work tomorrow though as the weather is awful at the mo, and I am seriously considering putting the fire on in addition to the radiators… Not good in June… I have to say I do like the idea of some little sleeves but I don’t think I’m clever enough to make something up like that yet. The best I can think of is maybe just casting on to match 3/4 of the arm hole size and decreasing on each edge to make a little cap, but the sleeve is a little bit capped anyway, so I’d have to decrease to follow the line of the sleeve. My brain hurts just thinking about it :)

Anyway, I just spent an hour making a list of links for someone at work, and another 15 mins veeerryyyy slooooowly composing this post, so I want to knit some shrug. The back is going quicker than I expected, and considering I haven’t done much on it, I think that’s pretty good. I’d like to get it done asap so that I can use it before it is hot, if that ever happens. Haven’t cast on for the second sock tho. I’m a bad girl :(