Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Casting off

 I finished a thing! In fact I cast off two things in one day, but only one is blocked. The fingerless mitts above (Dalkey mitts, pattern by Carol Feller, from her book Contemporary Irish Knits, wool is the Yarn Yard Clan) were my Project Rainbow item for September/October. They were quite fiddly for me - cables and lace and thumbs, oh my! But I learned a lot from them. Still can't do thumbs without getting a nasty gap at the base though (the knitted thumb, not my own - my own thumbs survived the process intact).

The same day I finally cast off my Spoots scarf - a long, long, long razor-shell lace scarf using Shilasdair Luxury 4-ply. I still need to block it though - not sure if I have enough pins...

And this bundle of sunshine is what you get when I'm thinking about what to do for Nov/Dec in Project Rainbow:

 The colour this time is orange - the buttercup yellow Clan and the naturally-dyed pale yellow (horsetail I think) are there just so as to convince myself that the oranges are actually orange. Generally speaking I do not like orange At All. But I'd forgotten I had that ball of the Yarn Yard Bonny (possibly? lost the label of course) in a sort of glorious saffrony colour. It hasn't photographed very well but it's beeeeeautiful. And then there's the two skeins of Bonny (Brushstrokes, the October Surprise)  which arrived on Saturday. Lots of orange but I like it!

 Better picture of the Brushstrokes here:

 Isn't that gorgeous? All autumnal!

 So I've gone from thinking 'oh no, orange, I'll have to take the Get out of Jail Free Card and do a neutral this time' to having a choice of two. I could even use both! But I've still to decide what to knit - and Orange starts tomorrow.  I was thinking of trying toe-up socks but after reading a few patterns I've got the feeling that the gains to be had from working toe-up are outweighed by the nightmare prospect of complicated toe-up cast-ons. In addition all the patterns I've seen call for using circs, which I hate with a passion - they have their place, brilliant for enormous shawls for example, but the idea of using them for small projects just leaves me cold. Give me dpns any day. It's not necessarily a big deal but using a pattern written for circs would involve me scribbling all over the pattern to keep track of where I am.

If you're not a knitter you're probably convinced I'm speaking in tongues by now.  Trust me, it all makes sense.

Right I'm off to make up bags of sweeties for tonight's guisers. Hope the weather is better by then!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Happy times


more cake:

 a trip to the frozen north:

 loot from the 'Glasgow School of Yarn' event:

 and finally, a picture and story by Miss Mouse:

'I wish I had a coin ov choclit.'

 I like the snails she's done at the bottom of the trees - click to embiggen, they're a cheery bunch and worth a look.


It's been the October break here - the kids went back to school yesterday. The holiday started with Miss Mouse's birthday party, then the next day on her actual birthday we headed up north to see my parents for a few days (hence cake picture no.1). It was cold but glorious there, and it was snowing lightly just as we left. The last chilly picture was taken mid-morning the day we left.

When we got home we had a couple of days lazing around and I made Miss M a birthday cake, cake pic. no.2. I always make the kids a chocolate sandwich cake with chocolate buttons on top on their birthdays - it's not an intentional tradition, it just evolved really. Of course we were travelling on her birthday, but although she had cake at my parents' she couldn't miss out on her own special cake could she? I think the chance to blow out candles may have something to do with it of course!

Then on Saturday I had some glorious time to myself and went into Glasgow for day two of the Yarn Cake's second birthday bash, the 'Glasgow School of Yarn'. I caught up with old friends, met some Ravelers (Ravellers?) in real life for the first time, bought some very nice yarn and generally had a brilliant time.  I'd been saving since last year's GSoY but actually I was fairly restrained. Possibly if I'd been there on Day One I'd have spent more as I imagine quite a lot had already sold by the time I arrived on Saturday lunchtime!

I've just realised there was something stuck to my monitor that kept making me imagine rogue commas - very distracting, I kept trying to delete it!

Monday, 8 October 2012


Knitting on my lap, feet on footstool and small cat on my legs - isn't that just the epitome of a cosy evening in?

I've gone back to my razor-shell scarf which I hadn't done anything on for a couple of weeks. I'm into the final slog now - it's about long enough to wear but I want a properly long scarf so although I'm actually getting pretty bored of it now I just need to keep going. And going..
I really love the look of it though and just want to wear it now! I'm hoping I'll get it finished before the I go to 'Glasgow School of Yarn' woolly event, a week on Saturday.

I had a great time at GSoY last year, despite feeling a bit rough (no, not a hangover, I'd had a cold and was still a bit feeble) so I'm looking forward to this year's. I'm not going to do a workshop, tempting though they are - I'm just going to meet up with people I've not seen for a while, eat cake, knit and peruse the stalls in the marketplace.  It's nice to have something to look forward to that's purely for me :-).

Sunday, 7 October 2012

haha! havedunnit! the bee photo

I've spent all summer trying to get a photo of a bee. The hoverflies have co-operated beautifully, but the bees have just been too quick for me. You think they're slow moving but before you can get the camera to focus they're away. But yesterday morning I finally managed it - several pictures in fact. The bees were contentedly buzzing around the last remaining lupins and with the weather being bright but cool (it's been perfect autumn weather for the last few days) perhaps they were a bit dozy. They were certainly less camera-shy.

Achievement unlocked!

Friday, 5 October 2012


I found the previous black-bean-dyed wool. That's it on the left. So despite the things I did differently, there's not a lot of difference - oh well! What to make with it though, that's the question..

I'll just include a gratuitous string shot, just for the sake of it:

Thursday, 4 October 2012


Not much to say today, but I'm trying to get back into the habit of blogging more often again, so here's a few pictures I took yesterday. Some of the trees are absolutely glorious just now, and some have hardly changed at all. And one that we pass most days has one branch that thinks it's autumn and is suitably colourfully attired, and the rest think it's still late summer and are a tired green.  Weird.  The leaf picture is of an (ex-)inhabitant of that one branch.

I liked the sky in the last picture - it was almost like three skies stuck together a bit randomly.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Wound Up

That's 4-ply wool on a cone. I love the way it looks when it's neatly wound like that. Also string:

A new ball of string is a thing of beauty.

The 4-ply wool on the cone was about to be un-wound into a skein, with help from a small cat of course.

I do the skeins on the legs of an upturned chair and the small cat frequently finds this too hard to resist. She's sitting on the underside of the seat there if you can't figure out what you're looking at.  But eventually, with the cat untangled,..

a 54g skein of 4ply waiting to be mordanted (alum/cream of tartar) ,

 .. and finally immersed in a cold black bean dye.  This time I added a bit of bicarb to the soaking beans because that's what somebody on Ravelry had done, and I wanted to see if it made any difference to the colour - it didn't I don't think. I've put the last bean-dyed wool somewhere safe  - by which I mean I have no idea where it is. 

What is different this time is that the bean solution did smell (it didn't last time), not terrible but pungent and distinct, and also you can see in the picture that the dye bath was a bit frothy too.

 And the end result - another nice blue. I dipped one end into a soda crystal solution to see if that affected the colour and it did. Slightly. It's a little greener and a little paler, but not enough to show up in the photos, which is slightly frustrating.

 And now it's in the process of getting would up into a ball. Got a bit tangled there. As usual!