Tuesday, 29 April 2008



3 skeins Posh Yarn Eva 2-ply in variegated bright green
2 skeins Posh Yarn Eva 4-ply in bright tuquoise/green
1 skein Posh Yarn Lei in a bluish colour
4 skeins Knitting 4 Fun linen/cotton blend in lilac
3 skeins The Natural Dye Studio DK in Barcelona (BFL Dazzle DK), Scots Pine (BFL Dazzle DK) and Deep Delft (Alpaca/silk DK) for my blanket project
drop spindle
flick carder
merino roving in dark red and two shades of purple
a half bottle of Penderyn single malt for OH

Nelli and I had a great time being seduced by beautiful, soft yarns. Among Nelli's purchases was this marvellously luminous sock yarn:


I was so overwhelmed by yarn and colours and Nelli breaking into The Llama Song every time we passed a stall marked 'alpaca' that I neglected to take any photos. Nelli and I purchased drop spindles with a view to becoming expert spinners. "How hard can it be?" we thought and off we went... well *ahem*. Let's just say the first thing I did when I got off the train in Edinburgh yesterday was go to Waterstones and buy a book on spinning. OH thinks he's got it sussed and we're going to have another go at it tonight.

The problem with Wonderwool was that we got to the 'I want one of everything' stage and decided to stop. Of course there are lots of things I regret not buying, but thank goodness for the internet - I can still acquire my dying kit and undyed yarn and Fyberspates yarn.

The problem with going to Wonderwool is that now I really want to go to Woolfest - the more you have the more you want. Woolfest is much closer to me geographically but it takes about five hours to get to Cockermouth using public transport. Realistically we'd have to stay for a couple of nights in Penrith which would make for an expensive trip.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that the metreage of yarn I bought will not be being added to my yarn non-diet tracker!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Tomorrow, Wales

Early start tomorrow. Urgh I hate early starts, and hate long train journeys even more but hopefully Saturdy's fun will make it worthwhile. I've narrowed down the crochet projects I'm taking with to four (two scarves and two stoles/shawls) and initially laid out about a weeks worth of clothes but then discovered that most don't fit any more, which definitely helps with narrowing it down to three days of clothing. I'm still deciding what books to take for on-train reading. I started with eleven and have narrowed it down to five so far but that's still too many.

Ho hum. Not much else doing so I'll leave you with 'Shiraz squashes a hat' and 'The lazy cat's guide to scratching post use' respectively.



Sunday, 20 April 2008

Learning from experience

I have learned two valuable lessons this evening:

1. Never ever leave a swift with a half-wound ball of yarn unattended, not even for a second, if there is a cat around. I have had both 2-ply and 3-ply snapped this evening as a consequence of briefly leaving my swift.

2. Never underestimate the value of understanding partners and their miraculous yarn-untangling abilities.

Why diets don't work...

Points at four figure number on right hand side. Admittedly this is because I've developed something of a taste for laceweight and sock/fingering weight yarns lately which makes it very easy to vastly increase the metreage of stash for relatively little money. I appear to be going to Wonderwool next weekend, as a kind friend invited me to stay with her and OH bought me the train ticket. I have been trying to be very good and cut right back on unnecessary spending so I can make the most of my trip. It was all going so well until I had to go into Edinburgh and buy a birthday present. That bit was fine, and I spent exactly the amount of money I intended etc. but it broke my non-shopping habit. This is what happened over the last few days:


They weren't all full price, that would be really silly. The fact that there is chick lit in that pile (I loathe chick lit) says something about my state of mind lately. I only read chick lit when I'm not feeling great mentally and physically. Of course, if I throw it down in frustration part way through I'll know I'm not actually as bad as I think. After a lot of deliberation about whether I could wait or not, I booked a hair cut for this week but the hair salon I go to has put its rates up. So that's another chunk out of the Wonderwool budget.

And why diets don't work...? Because everything should be in moderation, and in my case certainly, denying myself things or severely restricting them only makes me want more than I would have had I not tried to restrict them. Forbidding things only makes them more attractive. It's the same with food. Although I generally eat reasonably healthily, Ravelry and it's goddamn cake (Photobucket) icon has made me crave fondant fancies and Victoria sponge with buttercream icing.

I thought the Violas I bought last year were supposed to be annuals, but my garden currently has these:



It must be all the wonderful bokashi compost we made. The flowerbed does look a bit odd with bits of eggshell in amongst the plants. I see Gemini Knits has some handpainted yarn in a 'Winter Pansies' colourway. Ooo, I must resist temptation.

I have just finished my Thirds scarf in Posh Yarn Helena in 'Kingfisher'. Hopefully I have enought yarn leftover to make a lacy pair of wristwarmers. It's drying after a light wash, but here is a sneak preview of it pre-washing:


OH is in Switzerland this week, at CERN for a conference/meeting (his departure was accompanied by stress from him and floods of tears and wailing from me, as per usual). It doesn't start until tomorrow but I heard mutterings about 'meeting up for beer and food'. OH will be home on Friday, but he'll get back after I've left to catch the train to Wales, so I won't see him until next Monday which will be the longest time we've ever been apart :,( I've learned that the best way to deal with this situation is to keep as busy as possible. Last year when he went to Switzerland I cleaned the whole house. I'm not sure I wnat to do that again - I'm not a naturally clean and tidy person and I don't think my skin has forgiven me yet. I have lots of yarn to wind into balls as there are two projects I want to get started to take to Wales with me - I find it impossible to sit and watch TV now without crocheting at the same time.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Round-up (very pic heavy!)

It's been a bit of a tough week, interspersed with priods of insanity (not in a good way). This morning we got up to this outside the window.
(I wish I could have posted a nice photo of snow-laden trees and hillside, but no such luck as we live on a soul-less, vegetation-free new development). It's all melted now. Winters aren't what they used to be. This is my Granny's house in about 1991
(Sorry for the poor image quality - it's a scan of a rather kinked negative.)

Today I located my copy of Mrs Beeton in one of the boxes in the garage - 1992 updated edition, bought for a fiver in the Waterstone's sale a few years ago. My OH proceeded to be immensely amused by her (or rather the editorial board's, nowadays,) advice on choosing wine, laying tables and suchlike.

I also potted some cuttings my mother sent me from the roe that grew below my bedroom window at her (old) house. Roses have always disappointed me with their showiness, but frequent lack of scent. However the rose below my bedroom window was the most fragrant I have ever experienced, so I requested cuttings. Two of the five had had it thanks to being at the mercy of Royal Mail for three days. I would have preferred to use organic rooting compound, but they needed potting fast and I couldn't get organic locally so Baby Bio Roota it had to be. I just hope they take.

I started my blanket kit a few days ago. It's very satisfying since every square is like a mini accomplishment, and I'm being very disciplined about sewing in the ends as I go. These were the first two squares. I'm up to about six now.

I made a quick scarf from some handspun I bought from Daniela Kloppmann FeltStudio. I really liked the way it turned out, but it's made me desperately want to order a drop spindle and some roving/batts.

I appear to have acquired some sock yarn. I already have lots of sock yarn, but most of it is from Indie dyers such as The Yarn Yard and Posh Yarn and obviously far too beautiful to be used for socks. I don't understand the fascination for making socks - socks are functional and most of mine are plain or have flowers or other patterns on, and socks are hidden and get worn out. They're not on display, and special socks invariably lose their partners (probably to the drainage pipe of the washing machine, where they may may cause a blockage months later as they gather a protective armour of soap-scummy slime). Also, socks cost £3 for five pairs in M&S even if they are in boring black. Anyway, 'don't knock it till you've tried it' as they say, and I have acquired some Regia Sock Yarn, Kaffe Fassett Design Line in Landscape Caribbean from John Lewis even though I did get pounced on by a sales assistant who decided that I didn't look like a JL customer with my unwashed, unbrushed hair and scruffy fleece - as I said it's been a tough week (I don't shop in JL's yarn dept very often because of the recent increase in pouncing). Maybe I'll be converted to making socks yet. I just need to find a pattern that will fit my tiny feet, and good free crochet sock patterns are harder to come by in the first place, let alone for my midget feet.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


I ordered a blanket subscription.

Last night I finished the ruffley scarf of nightmares. I forced myself to sit and finish it as it was becoming an anxiety trigger:
(Link to pattern is in a previous post)

I've been sorting more of my stuff. To cut a long story short, my mother has moved 'down south' as we call it, or to fuckinglondon as I think of it. In a great hurry I had to pack up my stuff and am only now actually sorting what I want to keep. I've got the aran jumper my Granny knitted for me about 15 years ago (okay I'll need to lose about 30lbs in weight before it could be considered 'flattering'). I've put another dozen books on Green Metropolis and have brought my shawl upstairs (I've finally been deemed responsible enough to have it):
I believe I was given this shawl as a baby, apparently by an old woman who lived in an electricity-less cottage above Dunkeld, and dyed and wove yarns into shawls. I've always liked this shawl, but as a teenager I was not allowed to have it to drape over the end of my bed. I still find this insulting - I was a very unrebellious teenager. I had Laura Ashley bedlinen and wallpaper and I much preferred to go fishing with my Dad, do cross-stitch or sit in my room programming my computer than go out drinking or have friends round (well okay, I guess it was an unconventional rebellion). I'm currently wearing the shawl although it's a bit too warm. I've got that many crocheted shawls planned I decided I'd better see if I could actually wear one. I like it but I can't help feeling 30 going on 73. I've been trying to find out about the shawl, so far unsuccessfully. The label says "This is an exclusive Cally Cottage Product Handwoven and Dyed Dunkeld Scotland." I assumed it was made of wool but I'm not convinced - it's some kind of loopy boucle yarn, but feels almost artificial. I'm reluctant to chop off a bit of the fringe to do a 'burn test' to work out the fibre even though it wouldn't show as the fringe has a very handmade all-different-lengths look to it. Smell is no guide - it smells like my mother's linen cupboard where it's been stored for the last umpteen years.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Oh goodness

My Bessie's Blanket Starter Kit has just arrived from The Natural Dye Studio (a full week after it was posted, bloody Royal Mail. That's bumped the yarn metreage up a bit. I'm super-impressed with the contents of the blanket kit though and am resisting the urge to order a 3-month subscription until I've got at least a few squares done. Ooo, I can't wait to get started.



Well, as you can see, the Yarn Diet has been a failure so far. I have several projects nearish completion which should help, but yarn in the mail outweighs the yarn in use. Oops. Unburdening in other areas of my life has been slightly more successful - today I have listed another 45 books on GreenMetropolis bringing my total to over 200. Unfortunately most of the books I've added are either obscure textbooks or books that there are many copies of already on there.

We had my OH's parents visiting for most of the last week, and I have almost finished 'reclaiming the house' having removed/thrown away/tidied the random things left lying around. I have still to remove the meat products from the fridge (we're mostly veggie). I wonder if the 80p in the bathroom was some kind of housekeeping tip...? One of our recipe books is missing, and I have my suspicions.