Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Silver Silk

The shrug was finished some weeks ago and contrary to my initial doubts about the shade and whether or not it would actually go with anything in my wardrobe it turns out it has become an essential part of my wardrobe.

Turns out it goes beautifully with several of my favourite dresses.

I do love this silk and this project was a dream to knit. Very quick and satisfying, the pattern came from the Erika Knight Classic book. I made the UK size 10 and there were no alterations necessary. I used Debbie Bliss Silk which was lovely to work with and I think I used 5 skeins (I say think because I have one after and am assuming I bought the 6 suggested in the pattern, but you never quite know for sure with me, I am easily distracted when in a yarn shop). The fully fashioned shaping is lovely and I may very well make another in the ripped Debbie Bliss silk from last year's disaster knit.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Books and more books

One of the things I particularly enjoy about reading blogs is the number of new books I come across. Reviews of new craft books are invaluable but I also enjoy reading about other books. I learned of Persephone books first from Jane and have since enjoyed reviews on her blog and others. Jane offers wonderful reviews of books as does Karen and I can't promise to offer anything so eloquent but it strikes me that thanks to a number of blogs I have read a few really wonderful books in the last couple of years, books that otherwise I might have missed so I will try to tell you about what I am read from time to time in the hope that someone else might benefit from something they might otherwise have missed.

Books are a constant in my life and books and I go back even further than knitting! I really enjoyed reading Simmy's recent post about the importance of books in the life of her and her family. As a child I was lucky enough to always have books to hand and remember when it was possible for me to buy a new Malory Towers or Famous Five every week with my pocket money, it seems to me that this would not be possible for my children, perhaps I do not give enough pocket money or books are more expensive? Bazaars and second hand shops were absolute treasure troves to me and indeed many of my books are still picked up in the same way. Actually come to think of it I don't give any pocket money although Dylan does earn 20p for practising his guitar (and I sort of resent that but it does seem to be working a treat). We are generous with books though and Dylan now romps through a wide variety of titles by himself while Tilly "reads" regularly and appears to have memorized quite a number of her favourites from cover to cover.

Nowadays I don't hang on to books the way I once did, I try to set as many as possible free with the exception of children's books, cook books, craft books etc. Moving to this small cottage was a considerable downsize and many books had to go (actually several hundred of them are still in the rented storage unit which we still cannot quite seem to downsize!). However, downsizing apart, it would seem there are still a few books in the house.

I love reading to the children although my heart does fail a little when faced with the prospect of "walking through the long wavy grass" for the 780th time. Consequently I frequently buy new books to read to them, Tilly still loves pictures but Dylan and I are more excited by adventure. Recently Roald Dahl has offered some form of compromise and we have a wonderful colour plate edition of Wind in the Willows which we are about to embark upon, it will be the second time around for Dylan but he is looking forward to reading it again.

Swallows and Amazons arrived today and I am looking forward to sharing this on the sofa, I haven't read this book, somehow missed it as a child so it should be a real treat for all of us. We love rhyme books too, Dr Zeus is very popular with adults and children and as for Spike Milligan, what could be more fun than to go exploring in the Ning Nang Nong.

I think perhaps I will "review" one book each week, perhaps the one I am reading or perhaps a children's favourite. I do hope I won't bore anyone too much but rather introduce you to a new book every now and again.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Still knitting

Oh dear, another week has scooted by, lately the time thief has been visiting this household and stealing great chunks of time which means less time for the pleasurable activities of reading and writing blogs. I should not of course be sitting here now, I am in the midst of cooking the Sunday roast whilst assisting on an Egyptian jigsaw which will have to be completed before we eat or there will be no table to eat at and of course there is always the continuing cycle of laundry, the background to every day.

One of my few disciplines is that I must respond to comments on the current post before writing a new post but this week I just haven't managed to do that so I apologise here and now and write a blanket thank you for the lovely comments on the finished daisy smock and linen dress. I really do appreciate when people take the time to comment, it is one of the things that makes blogging so enjoyable and I am really sorry when I am unable to respond personally to each one.

And now to knitting, it seems there has been a lack of yarn on this blog of late and project monogamy has been slipping a little, I have a bad habit of putting things aside when I get to a difficult bit, (actually picking up stitches normally has putting things aside, not difficult but not much fun either) so it would seem there are a couple of things on the go at present.

The yarn pictured above is RYC Cashcotton 4ply, the first time I have used any RYC and my goodness what lovely stuff. Very strokable, so soft and pleasant to use, this really doesn't feel like cotton at all and is knitting up so quickly. I am making this, from Rowan Babies, the pattern calls for 4ply cotton and this stuff knits to a different gauge so I am making the size down but at the longer length, I think this will be OK, fingers crossed, pattern altering is not my thing at all, it's the maths you see... I have always loved this pattern but been put off by the crochet but I have decided to just jump in and give it a go encouraged by all the other people out there who are getting to grips with crochet.

This tangle is a little raglan cardigan for Tilly, the yarn is Debbie Bliss Merino DK, seems nice to use and the colour was Tilly's choice of course, it has begun to grate on me a little but that is more the fault of the pattern and knitter because normally I can't say no to a bit of bubblegum pink in my day. You see I am using a Sirdar pattern and apart from being irritated by the lay out of this, one of those patterns with about 5 different versions that keeps sending you back and forth all over the sheet of paper, the button band and collar are knitted separately! I won't make that mistake again, it would have been a simple matter to work the button band at the same time as I worked the front and if ribbing gauge was a problem I could have changed to moss stitch or something, the whole knitting it separately and sewing it on is a very tedious business indeed and makes a lot of work for a quick knit everyday cardigan.

I am eager to show you my silk shrug which was finished weeks ago and has already enjoyed several outings but I have a photo shoot planned and need the right conditions and the assistance of The Technical Advisor (yes, of course there are better things I could be doing with my day but they wouldn't be nearly so much fun!). Hopefully photos will appear soon.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sunshine and sewing

The glorious weather continues over here and we all feel warmed and energised by the sunshine. Being able to throw open the doors and windows of this small cottage and migrate to the garden makes such a difference to our wellbeing. The children and I love to be outdoors and we are so lucky to live surrounded by beautiful countryside, the adjoining woods and fields provide us with a giant adventure playground and it is so nice to see the children play happily with twigs, grass and earth.

Of course all this early warm weather has caused me to examine the wardrobes, children do have this habit of growing don't they? I have had flurry of sewing for Tilly, dresses are so simple, but I find boys things much harder to do so nothing for Dylan really but I have promised to let him help put together his very own quilt instead.

The linen dress above was so simple and I have been looking for suitable place for Toe Tapping Tilly, this seemed just right.

The daisy smock is finished too and I am pleased with the way it turned out although Picperfic just sent me this fantastic link which I am wishing I had seen before. Guess I will just have to make another something else to embellish then...

We are off on a short trip tomorrow, a visit to my home city, Belfast. Hoping for just a little more sunshine, please.