Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Running on the spot

I seem to be in the middle of another one of those weeks that is running away with itself, I feel as though I am on a treadmill trying to catch up and trust me, a treadmill is not a natural place for me to be!

I have been writing posts in my head all week but the moment has now passed for most of them. I did make it to Wonderwool on Saturd
ay, I dragged The Technical Advisor and children with me, selling it as a good opportunity to give his new car a run and heavily emphasising the Food Festival part of it all. It was a beautiful day, and we took the A470 from North Wales down to Mid Wales (my apologies if the mention of a road immediately conjures up bad memories of being shoe horned into a corner at a party with someone who wants to tell you in great detail about the route they took to get there), I know there are people like that out there and I promise I am not going to turn the blog into my "you don't want to take that road, you want to take this one...." but really, the A470 is a road worth taking should you have occasion. The scenery is glorious and it is inspiring to watch as the very powerful, but bleak, harsh mountainous views become lush, rolling valleys.

Unfortunately the enjoyment of our journey was so
mewhat spoiled after the first 30 miles or so, spoiled by the aroma of sickness. Oh yes, the new car has been christened by poor Tilly who was horribly carsick. Twice. The second time was projectile. We had no wipes or tissues. It was at least 50 miles before we reached a shop. Anyone reading this who actually knows The Technical Advisor will now be sitting with their mouths wide open, knowing full well the full horror of this situation. The Technical Advisor has a bit of a thing about his car, he likes it clean, very clean (no, this does not extend to anywhere else, just the car), we are never allowed to eat in his car and he still has nightmares about the time he witnessed a friend put small children in the back of his own car and hand them a homemade jam tart each before embarking on a long journey.
Oh dear, just writing all this has quite brought me out in a hot flush, I must take a moment and gaze at some of the lovely yarn that came home with me.

Ahhhh, that's better, thank goodness for the calming effects of yarn.

Still, we got there in the end, The Technical Advisor did let his daughter back in the car, he even let her have an ice-cream (no, not in the car, silly.)

There was much beauty to be seen at Wonderwool
and I bought a little yarn of course but was quite reserved mainly because I was little overwhelmed I think. However it was lovely to see the yarn of many internet sellers, "in the fuzz" so to speak.

Oh, and there was this, decorating a table, isn't it beautiful? Made by someone's Grandmother, they think she used natural dyed yarns. The colours were gorgeous, so gentle and understated, unfortunately my picture does not do them justice at all, the light was not good. I have long coveted Moonstitches beautiful crochet work and this blanket reminded me very much of her work. Maybe this summer should be the one that I really sit down and master crochet.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back to the blog
So quickly one slips out of the habit of posting, a busy week kept me away from the computer and then before I know it this week starts passing me by too.

Firstly, thank you so much for all those thoughtful, kind comments on Ruby, I loved reading every single one.

I must tell you a little of what I have been up to. Last week I took a day out to myself and went to London. I felt a little selfish at the time but have since managed to completely overcome those feelings and have vowed to do it more often, talk about recharging and food for the soul (although the recharge bit was certainly not physical as I walked for miles and was absolutely exhausted on my return). I think I will call this "taking a Yarnstorm Day" as it was in many ways inspired by Jane, I love reading about her trips and travels and decided it was time to have my own day out.

I took the 7.30am train which got me to London in three hours. There was a time when three hours on a train would have been hell but now it is bliss, three hours to read a book, do some knitting, scribble in a moleskine, gaze out the window - heaven.
It was a perfect day, the sun was shining and it felt like the warmest day of the year so far. The streets were full of people and it felt good to be amongst the bustle of a city. I browsed and window shopped like a mad thing, soaking up colours, textures, smells. I slowed down a little in the Tate, taking some time to gaze and ponder.
I spent a little money in Liberty, fabric only although obviously I took some time looking and touching in the yarn department. In fact, Liberty is probably one of my favourite shops in London, even without the fabric and yarn. I often used to visit there after work, just looking and wishing, I love that beautiful entrance and it is such a pleasure to wander around the darkly panelled interior, so much to see.I sat a little and watched the world go by, enjoying lunch in little cafe with a window well situated to watch the world go by, I loved the exciting sandwich menu (so much more cosmopolitan than we get in North Wales).

When being carried by the throng along Regent Street during rush hour I enjoying feeling part of all the hustle and bustle and I enjoyed the fact that I don't have to do that every day of my life nowadays.

It was a wonderful day out, one which I hope to repeat rather more regularly.

Friday, April 11, 2008

ruby, ruby, ruby, ruby

Warning, the following post may contain gratuitous images.

Finished on Wednesday, worn on Thursday, worn again on Friday.

Ruby from the Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Collection, size small, knitted in Cashmerino Aran.

This soft, squashy knit has been my evening companion over the last couple of months. The soothing cables have meandered gently along providing comfort and pleasure. I love the clever construction of this knit, the entire body knit in one piece sideways and stitches picked up to create the collar and hem. The sleeves were reasonably easy to set in (although sleeve setting is never going to be my favourite occupation). The Cashmerino Aran is lovely to work with and although it is a chunky yarn it still makes for garment that is light and warm to wear.

I did have two issues with this knit. I could not make sense the welt increases at the end of the main body. The pattern called for a y2rn increase with kfb worked twice into the y2rn on the following row. I tried, tried and tried again but even going down a needle size still produced huge holes. Eventually I had to work out my own method of increasing which has apparently left my memory now but I think I ended up settling on kfb twice on the first row and knitted the second row as written.

My other big issue is the yarn quantity. This pattern comes in two sizes and the size I made apparently requires 20 balls with the larger size using 28 balls. I used 24 balls, I checked my gauge (anxiously) but it seems fine and the finished size is perfect. I think 4 balls is quite significant, especially given that this is quite an expensive knit. Luckily I had bought the yarn from my LYS and was easily able to get hold of the same dye lot but it did make an already expensive knit even more expensive.

In spite of two negative points this has been a really enjoyable knit and I am delighted with the finished jacket. It is soft, light and cosy, a joy to wear. I love how it drapes around me, I love how it hangs.

This jacket will see a lot of wear, it slots into my wardrobe perfectly and looks as good with jeans as it does with a dress.

As you can perhaps tell from all these photographs, I am rather thrilled with this one.

For you information, I was too impatient to wait for The Technical Advisor to take photographs so as soon as it stopped raining I dashed out with tripod. I do not have a remote to operate the self-timer, imagine if you will.......(and I took 26 shots in total). The strangest thing about all this is that the children observed all this madness and didn't even ask what I was doing?!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Quiet moments

Yesterday was full of perfect moments. Everyone was in the best of moods and other than a morning trip to the butcher and greengrocer there was no list of chores to be completed.

The Technical Advisor and children disappeared for a
few hours over lunch and I enjoyed the quiet of the day. The day was bright but with a sharp bite to the Easterly wind, inside the wind was kept at bay and each room was bathed in warm sunshine. One of those days when I love to be in my kitchen, I baked a plum cake ready for the return of my loves. A moist loaf style cake with a crunchy sugary glaze, the perfect way to use up some over-ripe plums and fill me with happy, domestic smugness.

Later in the afternoon I settled myself on the sofa while the children played outside (they are made of tougher stuff than I and seemed oblivious to the chilly wind whipping them). I love to sit on my sofa while the sun streams into the room and yet I so rarely do it, daytimes are always so full of chores or satisfying the demands of children, it was lovely to sit for a short while. I could here the muffled noises of a complicated game of pirates filtering through the window and the oldest dog joined me, sitting for once not on the sofa (her prefered seating) but in shaft of sunlight on the floor, stretching herself out at my feet, enjoying the stillness.

I drank my tea, ate my cake, knitted a few rows.

I browsed my way through a pile of books, enjoying the pictures, reading odd pages here and there, some images catching my eye for the first time, pausing to make a note or a quick drawing, inspired and refreshed.

Perfect, quiet moments.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Love Liberty

My sewing machine has been tied up for weeks and weeks (months to be quite truthful) by a quilt in progress. A log cabin style quilt for Dylan, to be precise. My goodness how I have dragged this project out and spent far too long procrastinating and ripping. The poor child has been waiting for such a long time for this quilt so eventually I struck a deal with my conscience and enforced a rule upon myself, no other sewing until the quilt was done. The quilt is a lot further on but still has a way to go however this week I just needed some instant gratification and was forced to break my rule.

Gorgeous Liberty lawn cotton, such a pleasure to work with.

Pattern from ISBN978-4-579-11132-9, some pictures here.

Beautiful fabric + Simple pattern = satisfaction

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