Monday, 31 December 2007

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Happy New Year!

2007 has been a really good year for knitting. I've kept a list of everything I've knitted and can't believe how much I've done compared to last year - over 100 items so far! Admittedly, quite a few of those have been socks and afghan blocks, so that's cheating slightly, but still, not a bad little haul. ;0) I'll be posting some photos tomorrow of my favourite FOs.

My knitting this year has also become more sociable - I've met lots of new (and good) friends, via the Crafty Threads forum and by setting up a knitting group locally - The Bag Ladies of Wetherspoon's, Pontypool. At our Christmas meet, we worked our way through the cocktail list and we were soooo rowdy, I'm surprised we didn't get thrown out! We even managed to get some knitting done. *LOL*

To anyone who stops by and reads my blog (and leaves a comment) - I'd like to say thank you! It means a lot that you like to see what I'm making.

Anyway, a happy new year to everyone - I hope 2008 is a good one for you all. xxx

Monday, 24 December 2007

My Christmas Present to Myself

This is the Under Cover Club afghan I've been working on for the past few months. It's made with O-Wool organic 100% yarn on 6mm needles.

I did a row of single crochet around the edge to finish it off using Cascade 220 yarn in the Fern colourway.

I am soooooo pleased I managed to get this finished today, although I've spent all day sewing the squares together when I really should have been doing other things. ;0)



Sunday, 16 December 2007

Aunty's Afghan, a Hat for DS and some WIPs

I finished my Aunty's afghan yesterday and I'm really pleased with it. :0) It's going to be so difficult to give it away - ;0) - but I know she'll appreciate the work that's gone into it. I just hope she hasn't redecorated her bedroom in the past few days as it matches the colours perfectly!

I used about 9 balls of Cascade 220 100% wool for the squares and 1 ball for the border, with 5mm KnitPicks Options needles. Four of the squares came from the Great American Aran Afghan book, the rest came from stitch dictionaries.

I've been fed up recently with DS's hats not covering his ears so I searched on Ravelry last night for a pattern using Cascade 220 (I have rather a lot of it!) and found this pattern - the Norwegian Star Earflap hat - so made one for DS this morning. It took 3 and a half hours from start to finish! It was a very clear pattern and easy to follow. I made a child's size 21 and 1/3 inch hat on 5mm needles.

I fancy making one for myself next, but using different colours. I love Cascade 220 yarn because it has such good stitch definition. :0)

And finally the WIPs.

DH's friend wanted a sock for his PSP - the one he bought from Argos was very loose and his PSP kept falling out so he asked if I could make him a nice snug-fitting one.

I dug out some left-over Opal Tiger sock yarn, cast on 44 stitches and am now about halfway through. It looks *way* too small at the moment but stretches quite a bit, and fits nice and snugly so I think he should be happy with it.

And this is the second instalment of the HipKnits Project Club. These are the Moose Ridge Socks by Chrissy Gardiner and are a really enjoyable knit. I'm using 2.5 mm needles and 100% cashmere HipKnits sock yarn.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Ewwwwwww! (not even remotely knitting-related, sorry!)

Ewwwwwww! # 1 -

Why is it that even though German Shepherd dogs are supposedly mega-intelligent and extremely easy to train, Buster insists on sleeping on my pillow, even though I bellow "GET OFF MY PILLOW!!!" at least 10 times a day?!

He is a bit of an old man at 11 and a half now and so we are pampering him a bit,
but still ......................

.................................... lying on my pillow is just taking the mick!

It's no wonder I keep coming out in spots.

*rolls eyes, shudders and goes "ewwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!" *LOL

Ewwwwwww! #2 -

Why is it that when anything "yucky" needs to be done, DH is nowhere to be found?

DS, now 5, has been potty trained for years and independent on the toilet since I can't remember when, so why does he choose tonight to sit on the toilet and say ....................................

DS: Mam ....... I've got poo stuck to me ............. get it off ..............

Me: Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You'll notice I haven't included a photo of this one!! *LOL*

Come on, guys! Give me a break!!

Don't you know I've still got Christmas knitting left to knit!!
I haven't got time for ANYTHING else!!!!!!!!! *LOL*

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Oh Christmas tree ..............

Christmas is fast approaching so yesterday we decided to put up our Christmas tree. DS helped with putting the baubles on the lower branches. I've gone for a mainly red with a bit of gold theme this year. It hasn't turned out too badly so I'm pretty pleased. :0)

Considering I haven't blogged for over a week, I don't have a lot to show you I'm afraid. I'm halfway through a chunky jumper for Sirdar (2 sleeves to go) and I've just started the next instalment of the Hipknits project club which is a pair of cable socks in cashmere sock yarn.

Unfortunately, these are my "lunch time at work" project and that's where they are at the moment - in my drawer in work - so I haven't even got a photo of those I can show you. They are very nice though. ;0)

What I can show you is my aunty's afghan, which I'm making as part of her Christmas present. I've spent most of today sewing squares together - there are 16 altogether so it's getting a bit boring now to be honest!

This is where I was just before lunch - all the small squares joined, just the long rows in between to sew up now.

I'm using mattress stitch to join the squares as it seemed to give the neatest finish. I did try a crochet join but it didn't look quite as tidy. I'm hoping to finish the sewing this evening and then there's just the edging to knit. I'm really pleased with how this is shaping up at the moment and I hope my aunty will like it too.

And finally, here are some photos of Nibble - he's really growing now and has settled in with Toffee really well.

He's started to come when we call his name and likes to have a roam around the living room in the evenings.

Here he is checking out his surroundings ................

Sunday, 25 November 2007

More Mittens and a Mint Choc Chip Scarf

I think I'm obsessed with the Corazon mitten from *LOL* This is my second pair in less than a week.

I had a lovely relaxing afternoon watching the classic film It's a Wonderful Life (with James Stewart and Donna Reed) and knitting the first mitten.

I decided to go with black and cream (instead of black and red) because it will match my new winter coat perfectly. :0) Who knows, I'll probably knit a black and red pair as well, just because I love this pattern so much. ;0)

I'm making the 7.5 inch diameter ladies medium size and it fits me perfectly. I'm using RYC Cashsoft DK (again from stash *polishes halo*) as it's extremely soft and very warm to wear.

The only change I made to the pattern was to use 2 circular needles (Knit Picks classic circulars) instead of DPNs - I just find circs much easier to work with.

Hopefully I can get the second mitten finished tomorrow and I'll have lovely toasty hands on the drive to work. :0)

I finished my mint choc chip scarf yesterday, made with Bright Dyes pure merino 4 ply yarn.

I love how the garter stitch feels (very smooshy!) and the way the stripes knitted up nice and randomly.

I used almost every last bit of yarn and have a scarf that is approx. 5 inches wide by 60 inches long.

I used 3.5mm Knit Picks Options circs.

I was hoping to be able to show you the cute dog coats I made recently but I still haven't sewn the buttons on. (Been too busy knitting mittens!) Hopefully I'll get those done some time next week. :0)

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Another Competition Win and Fabulous Fair Isle

Yes, I've won another competition. :0) My luck has been *so* good lately - if only I could win the lottery!

At the beginning of November, I won 2 tickets to the craft show in Cardiff. Then on Monday this little chap arrived in a blue Bergere de France bag. Now, I can *vaguely* remember entering a competition (in Knitting magazine, I think) where I had to give the translation of Bergere and say what 'lamb' was in French. The second prize was a BdeF lamb. I won! YAY!

Now my first BdeF lamby has a friend - so no need for DS and me to fight over him any more. I've now got my own!! ;0) *LOL*

And on the knitting front, I'm obsessed with fair isle at the moment. I never used to like it but recently thought if I can do lace, cables and socks, then I can do fair isle. *LOL*

So here is my first "proper" go at fair isle. There is a second mitten but I forgot to take a photo before I sent it off (it's for a swap). Please excuse if this photo is poor quality - it was taken on my mobile phone.

Anyway, this is the Corazon Mitten from Knitty. I used 3.25mm and 3.5mm Knit Picks circulars - wonderful little things :0) - and RYC Cashsoft DK (from stash - how good am I?!!). These mittens almost didn't get posted - they fit me perfectly - but seeing as how I've got (lots) more Cashsoft in my stash, I've decided I will knit myself a pair in black and red. They are so soft and very warm, just the thing in this weater - it was minus 2 here last night when we went shopping :0( .

I was surprised at how easy this pattern is and I managed to strand the yarn without any puckering of the fabric. Each mitten took 2 days to knit - probably a maximum of 5 hours per day - so hopefully this time next week I'll be wearing my own. :0)

I'll be back tomorrow with some FO pics - dog coats and my mint choc chip scarf ...........

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Competition Now Closed

Blimey - you lot are quick! The correct answer was that I was going in the wrong direction on the 3rd triangle - my right hand edge should've been straight but it was way skewiff! I had 6 correct entries so I'm going to ask DS to pick 3 names out of a hat. Hang on a minute while we do this ................................



And the winners are .......................

Nautical Knitter
and Ladybird Linz

E-mail me your address at and I'll send you some 4-ply sock yarn and the pattern tomorrow. Try not to make the same mistake as I did though! *LOL*

Competition - Spot the (Deliberate) Mistake

Okay, here's a competition for you.

If anyone can spot the (deliberate) mistake on my mint choc chip multi-directional scarf, I'll send you enough yarn (from my stash - unused) to knit one of your own.

I am sooooo annoyed with myself about this. I've just had to undo everything I've done today. Aaaarrrgghh!!!

Entries close next Sunday - or before if anyone guesses the correct answer. :0)

Everything reminds me of food!

I went to a get together yesterday in Swindon for members of the Crafty Threads 'n' Yarn forum and had a fab day. Some of the members who own shops had taken along some woolly goodies to sell, others who couldn't be there had sent some in the post. While I was there I bought these gorgeous skeins of yarn - unfortunately, all the colours are reminding me of food!

First up is some 100% merino sock yarn from Yarn Addict Anni which reminds me of those Fruit Salad chews I had when I was a kid.

And this is what it looks like wound into a nice cake -

Next is a skein of Bright Dyes pure merino 4ply. In the skein, this reminded me of an autumnal woodland walk. However, now I've started knitting it, it reminds me of mint choc chip icecream!

I'm making a multi-directional scarf on 3.5mm needles and love the way it's striping.

I also bought another skein of Bright Dyes yarn - this gorgeous blue colour - which actually doesn't remind me of anything edible (yet!) but I just love the gorgeous colour.

And again, here it is in a nice little cake -

While I was there, I bought some Yarnimals which are just soooooo cute. :0)

Chicken stitchmarkers because DS (age 5) reckons I'm exactly like Babs from Chicken Run because I knit "all the time, everywhere"! *LOL*

And sheep earrings. Why? It's a Welsh thing! ;0)

I just love the expressions on their faces!

While I was there yesterday, I managed to finish the second November Blues sock for DS. It's made with Sirdar Town and Country sock yarn on 2 x 2.5 mm Addi Turbo circs.

I was so pleased because I managed to line up the stripes without much faffing about at all. :0)

And lastly I want to say a big thanks to Debz for driving yesterday and also for letting everyone have a set of her stitchmarkers *free of charge*.

I had these gorgeous red ones.

Debz - you really must get these on Etsy - now!! *LOL*

And another big thank you to Debz and Lane (her sister) for this gorgeous necklace which they brought back for me from the Hobbycrafts/Stitching show in Cardiff recently.

This is beautiful - just my colours - and I'll be wearing it to work tomorrow.

So a fantastic day was had by all yesterday. Thanks to Granny Smith and everyone who organised the food - it was delicious! Now, when's the next one? ......................... ;0)

Sunday, 11 November 2007


At last!! Royal Mail may be VERY slow - but they deliver eventually! ;0)

Back in September, I joined a dishcloth swap on the Knitting Haven forum. Unfortunately, Royal Mail *lost* the first parcel my pal sent me but she was extremely kind and sent me another parcel (see here).

Well, I came home from work yesterday to find a packet in my post box - yup, you've guessed - Audrey's first parcel has turned up.

And these were the lovely goodies waiting for me inside -

the first is a very pretty blue dishcloth with hearts on

and next is a hand towel, similar to the ones Audrey's aunt used to crochet.

I'm delighted to receive both - thank you so much Audrey. :0) And sorry to put you to the bother of having to send another parcel when RUBBISH Royal Mail couldn't deliver the first on time! *rolls eyes*

In other news, I finished my Sockamania November socks. They took about a week to make. The pattern is really easy to memorise and knits up quickly. I used Fleece Artist Sea Wool sock yarn in the Marine colourway. I knit the first sock using 2 x 2.75 mm Inox Grey circs but by the time I started the second sock, I had bought some Knit Picks classic circs in the same size. WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!!!! I've always hated the Inox Greys but they were the only circs I could get in the size I needed. I have to say that the Knit Picks are a pleasure to knit with - much quicker than the Inox Greys, which seemed to hold onto the wool more, somehow. Plus the join was atrocious!

I'm now waiting for more Knit Picks circs to arrive from Get Knitted so I can make a pair of these - I can knit fair isle but I tend to avoid it because I don't really enjoy it, but for these gloves I will make an exception. I love them! And I've got the perfect colours of RYC Cashsoft DK in my stash to make them with. Perfect!

Sunday, 4 November 2007

RIP Robbie the Rat

Robbie (the brown rat, in the front on the picture) died on Saturday, 27th October, while we were away on holiday in West Wales. He was about 2 years and 4 months old. It's such a shame that rats don't live for very long - most live to 2 and half or 3 years old - because they are such intelligent and friendly animals. Robbie was really affectionate and loved cuddling up under my hair.

I'd taken him to the vet the day before we left because he hadn't been well - he had breathing problems which the vet thought was maybe a tumour on his lungs secondary to a tumour he had removed in April. He was on antibiotics and Vitamin B and seemed to perk up a bit. He was fine during the car journey and on Friday when we arrived at the cottage but he went downhill quickly on Saturday afternoon. His breathing was laboured and he was very listless.

We were debating whether to ring a local vets in Aberaeron (to have him PTS - never an easy decision) when I went to have another check on him. He passed away peacefully just as I was smoothing him. DS (5) was devastated as it's the first time he's encountered anything dying. Toffee (the rat with the pink eyes) was depressed for the rest of holiday and was looking everywhere for Robbie.
Rats are social animals and are best kept in pairs (or more) of the same sex. Toffee (in the photo to the left, aged about 2) was definitely suffering on his own so we decided to get another rat to keep him company when we got home on the Monday, after burying Robbie in the back garden.

We went to the local pet shop, who had a single 10 week old male rat available for adoption from a litter which had been brought in 2 weeks before. He had been on his own in a cage for about a week and was very skittish. However, he took to Toffee straight away and they've bonded really well. Toffee has perked up no end.

So this is Nibble (named by DS), the newest addition to the family, who is now about 11 weeks old. He's getting easier to handle by the day and is definitely less skittish than when he first arrived.

And yes, I really do have a pair of pyjama bottoms with pink cup cakes on!!

On the knitting front, I managed to make this pair of socks for DS while we were away. The yarn is Opal Prototype which I bought from Ebay a while ago, knit on 2 x 2.5mm Addi Turbo circs. DS (age 5) is a size 10-11 shoe so these were nice and quick to knit up and only took about 36g of yarn, so there's plenty of yarn left over to knit another pair for me. ;0)

Then last Friday, I started these - the Sockamania (see link in RH side panel) November pattern - Ripples. As soon as I had the pattern via e-mail on Friday evening, I cast on. I had the perfect yarn in my stash - Fleece Artist Sea Wool sock yarn in the Marine colourway which I had for my birthday in July.

The pattern is very easy and quick to knit and looks really effective. I'm hoping to finish sock #1 tomorrow. I altered the pattern slightly to knit these toe up - I've been addicted to toe up ever since I knitted Anni's Falling in Love pattern back in February. I haven't made a top-down sock since!

Monday, 22 October 2007

A BIG thank you to Audrey

I want to say a BIG thank you to Audrey for sending me a second dishcloth in the Knitting Haven dishcloth swap when rubbish Royal Mail failed to deliver the first one she posted.

I received this gorgeous circular dishcloth in the post today along with a box of Fine Inuit Herbal Tea with Labrador, Crowberry, Ground Juniper, Arctic Blend and Cloudberry flavours. I LOVE herbal tea and can't wait to try them. :0)

So, THANK YOU Audrey, you're a star! :0)

Sunday, 21 October 2007

FOs - old and new

I'll start with the old. Well, there's only one. ;0)

This is the Slinky Shawl by Jean Moss. I made this about a year ago, maybe longer, but it's stood up to a lot of use really well. It's quite big and is lovely to wrap around yourself on a cold winter evening. Yarn used was Artesano Alpaca Inca Mist but I can't remember what size needles, sorry.

Now onto the new - I *finally* finished my Stansfield 27 socks from More Sensational Knitted Socks. I knit the first one in May but second sock syndrome set in and I couldn't face the second one. I eventually managed to finish it this month and I'm so glad I did - these are very snuggly warm socks, just right for lounging around the house today (it's freezing here!). Yarn used was Posh Yarn Emily in Carnation (shocking pink, IRL).

This sock is the first of my Falling Leaves pair knit using the Opal Autumn Song yarn I received from Jeannet recently (see previous post for details).

Although this is quite a busy yarn, I think the pattern shows up well. I'm using 2 x 2.5mm Addi Turbo circs. I managed to get quite a long sock out of 50g and still had a fair bit left over. Second sock syndrome will NOT set in on these socks - I'll be casting on #2 tomorrow and I can't wait to wear them. :0)

Finally, I made a start on The Bag Ladies knitting group Christmas project - we're putting together memory boxes for parents of stillborn babies and will be distributing them to local hospital baby units. We will knit 2 burial gowns - one for the baby and one for the parents to keep - along with a blanket, a teddy and will include a few other bits and pieces too.

This one took just a few hours last weekend to knit. Yarn used is Sirdar Snuggly 4 ply and 3.75 mm needles (Denise Interchangeables).

It measures approximately 10 in across the chest and is about 12 in long. I just need to thread a bit of ribbon through the eyelets to finish it.
This is so tiny - the ball of Opal sock yarn is there for size comparison.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

An FO and another present!

First of all, I want to say a big THANKS! to Debz who made these beautiful stitchmarkers for our Bag Ladies Knitting Group.
Unfortunately, our group meet was a bit crap for Debz yesterday because some thieving scumbag nicked her handbag from the pub we were in, took her credit cards and pinched money from her account.

Anyway - long story short and all that! ;0) - thanks to Pontypool Police for being on the ball and the duty manager in Wetherspoons for searching through the CCTV for anyone who might have gone into the ladies toilet with Debz' handbag - the thieving scumbag is now in custody, Debz has her money back and apart from the inconvenience of cancelling the cards and waiting for new ones, hopefully she's feeling much better now. So a big thanks again to Debz for these lovely stitchmarkers - everyone go over to her blog NOW and DEMAND she make you some of your own. She *really* ought to be selling these on Etsy, y'know. ;0) They're gorgeous.

This is my 'Ula' cardigan made with Colinette Iona, their luscious new aran weight yarn. It's not the best of photos (my excuse, anyway!) because my camera was refusing to play nicely and kept sucking the life out of every single battery I put into it! This was the best photo DH was able to take quickly before they ran out again. ;0) I deliberately asked him to cut my head off - "manky" just doesn't adequately describe how I look today! *LOL* Anyway, the fronts really do sit much better than this photo suggests.

I must be mad, but I stayed up until 1am yesterday morning sewing this up and then had a mad steam-blocking session at 9am yesterday JUST so I could wear this to our knitting group. ;0)

I used the recommended 4mm and 4.5mm needles and the only change I made was to add an extra 10 rows (roughly 2 ins) before the armhole shaping. It's now about 23 ins long, so only slightly longer than the pattern suggested.

If I had stuck to the length in the pattern, I would have been able to make this with only 6 balls (one less than the pattern called for). As it was, the extra 10 rows took a tiny bit of my 7th ball. However, as I always buy an extra ball (just in case) and had 8 balls to start with, I now have enough to make a scarf to go with. I'm on the look-out for a nice cable pattern, I think. Ravelry, here I come! ;0)

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Well and truly spoiled - times two

This week, I have been well and truly spoiled by two great swap partners. :0)

First of all, last Wednesday I received my bag from Fairynuff (aka Sue) in the Angel Yarns September Swap.

It's a felted bag in a lovely deep red colour which is a fab shape

and just look at this cute button - made by Jominx. How sweet is that?!

Also included in the parcel were 2 bars of Green and Black's chocolate (de-lish!), two skeins of Natural Dye Studio alpaca/merino yarn in Tangerine Ocean (I love alpaca) and the most beautiful silver stitch markers.

Which I think are almost too nice to use as stitch markers - I'm quite tempted to turn them into a charm bracelet. :0)

And then yesterday (Friday), I received a very large box which was postmarked "The Netherlands". My clue, on a postcard of Spaubeek, was 'feline knitting style' and my swap partner was Continental Cat (aka Jeannet).

These are the beautifully wrapped presents I found inside.

And after frantically ripping off the wrapping ;0) this is what I found -

A skein of Opal 'Autumn Song' sock yarn, which is the most beautiful colour and so 'me'. I cast on a pair of 'Falling Leaves' socks earlier and I think the yarn really suits the pattern. I like it when that happens. ;0)

I also had 2 skeins of Opal Rainforest 3 - Butterfly - which are both gorgeous colourways and again very 'me'.

Next was a pattern book - Denim by Lang Yarns. There are *heaps* of designs in this book - sweaters, cardigans, hats and scarves - and I can see myself making quite a few of them in the future.

On the edible front - ;0) - I had (from the left) -

a bar of real 'hot' chocolate (I discovered why it was hot when I took a bite - it's *very* spicy! But very nice. ;0)

a pack of spicy cinnamon biscuits (I love cinnamon) which are a local speciality, only available between end of September and beginning of December, to welcome the arrival of St. Nicolas, a glass jar (which itself is very cute!) of Hill Country Marmalade, which tastes of summer fruits, a pack of fruit tea (made with apples, cinnamon and almonds) and two blocks of chocolates on wooden spoons - a brilliant idea - you dip them in a warm drink and suck the chocolate off. Lush!

So thank you to Sue and Jeannet for my wonderful presents. :0)

The presents have been a welcome distraction this weekend because I'm full up with yet another cold. :0( It was only the week before last that I had another one - and I was off work for 4 days with it. If I feel like this on Monday, I'll have to drag myself into work - and hopefully pass out cold on the floor so they send me home ;0) - because if I call in sick again with a heavy cold, they're bound to think I'm pulling a fast one! Annoyingly today my ears have been blocked so I feel like I'm hearing everything through cotton wool.

Anyway, enough of me and my ailments - ;0) - I'm off to knit some more falling leaves ...............