Saturday, 30 June 2007

Swanky New PC

DH and I bought ourselves a swanky new PC yesterday. We've been thinking about getting a new one for quite a while - our last one was over 13 years old and getting really cranky! If you opened more than 2 windows at a time, it would shut itself down! Anyway, we finally bit the bullet and bought a new one. We were a bit concerned that we wouldn't be able to load everything we use on to it, but it couldn't have been smoother. Broadband, iTunes ..... you name it, it loaded fine. We had heard a few horror stories about Windows Vista causing problems but (touch wood) it's all working brilliantly at the moment.

I can't get over how fast this new one is - it has 160gb of memory. I'm not sure how much our old one had, probably about 8!, but it was extremely slow. It's also very, very quiet. You can hardly hear it running.

Well, I could rave on about my new PC for ages (and probably will, to everyone I meet!) but I won't bore you any more. Suffice to say, I'm a happy bunny! :0)

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Baby Knits, Snazzy Slippers and Cute Rats

These are some baby items I knitted for my cousin who had her second baby on Thursday, 21st June at 12.10 a.m. - a baby girl called Lucy, sister to Maggie who will be 2 in August. For the blanket (for Lucy), I used a very old King Cole pattern, so old I couldn't even Google a picture of it! The yarn is used double throughout on 6mm needles and it's such a quick knit, with a finished size of 20in x 27in. I used RYC Cashsoft DK in Cream and it feels lusciously soft, almost like velvet. I used about 4 and a half 50g balls. The mittens were also from the same pattern, in the same yarn. The bolero cardigan is for Maggie, knit using an unknown acrylic yarn (but I really liked the colour) - it's a Sirdar pattern #1721.

Most of my morning was spent at the local carpet warehouse with DH, trying to choose a new vinyl for the hallway. Whatever I liked, he didn't and vice versa! Eventually, we settled on this one and it really makes a difference. We had carpet in the hallway before and with 2 dogs and a 5 year old in the house, it was really showing its age. :0( We would have liked laminate flooring but the dogs find it difficult to walk on - we had this experience on holiday last year when Buster refused to walk from the bedroom to the kitchen because of the laminate floor and had to be practically carried from one room to another.

And while DH was fitting the vinyl, I did the sensible thing and went shopping. Well, DS needed new trainers. ;0) While I was out, I picked up some snazzy new slippers for myself - £6 in Brantano. They're a bit "Bet Lynch" and not what I'd normally go for, but they're really bright and cheery. Just what I need in this horrible weather. ;0)

I have done some work today though. ;0)

When I came back from shopping I cleaned out the rats' cage and couldn't resist taking some photos. It was difficult though because they just wouldn't keep still. ;0) I love the picture below - such a cute look on Robbie's face (he's on the right). Toffee refused to pose however. ;0)


And this photo was taken when their cage was all nice and clean. I'd love to have a few more rats but this cage is just big enough for the two of them and it wouldn't be fair for them not to be crammed into a small cage and not have enough room to run around. And unfortunately we don't have room for another large cage.

Rats have such wonderful characters and make lovely pets. :0)

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Sockapalooza Socks Finished

I finished these at the beginning of May but I've only just got around to washing and blocking them, so thought now would be a good time to post a picture.

They are made using the Sockamania May Day pattern, using 2 x 2.75 mm Inox Grey Circs and 100g (300m) of Fyberspates 100% Bluefaced Leicester sock yarn.

When I joined Sockapalooza 4, I was a bit worried that it would take me ages to find the right pattern for my pal. But I knew as soon as I started knitting these that they'd be just perfect. The combination of yarn and pattern was just right. A stress-free knit, that's what I like. :0)

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Happy Birthday, Buster

It's my gorgeous pup Buster's birthday today. He's 11 years old and still going strong. Even though his legs are very weak and he drags them a bit around the house, he's always raring to go when we get his wheels out to take him for a walk. And he loves just going for rides in the van - so long as he gets to look out the window. ;0) As he gets older, he's spending more of his time curled up by my side on the settee with his head resting on a pillow. Bless!

Not much knitting news to report. I'm working on a summer top in RYC Cashsoft DK (lush, lush yarn), Sockamania June socks in alpaca and some afghan blocks but no piccies until the weekend, I'm afraid.

Oh, and I've decided to go on a stashalong until Christmas (yes, you heard right!). I've officially reached SABLE proportions now (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy). I've got enough sock yarn to knit 38 pairs (that's just ridiculous!) and I'm not even telling you how much other yarn I've got, suffice it to say that it's bursting out of its custom-made cupboard. It's time for drastic measures.

So, if you see me buying yarn - slap me!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

WIPs and KIP Pics

First of all, some WIP pics, which I've been promising for a few days but haven't gotten around to posting. ;0)
(Click on the pictures to make them bigger.)

The little bootee I whipped up in an hour last night while watching Grease is the Word (glad Susan won, btw). The handdyed Blue Faced Leicester yarn came as part of my Secret Summer Santa pressie and is lovely to knit with. My cousin's second baby is due at the end of this month, so these will be given to her.

I've finished one side of the lacy bag we're doing as our "Bag Ladies" knitting group project. The main yarn is Debbie Bliss Pure Silk (which I received in a previous Secret Santa swap) and the contrast yarn is Colinette Tao, which I bought myself not knowing what I was going to make but just because I *had* to have a skein. *LOL*

Yesterday was National Knit in Public day and The Bag Ladies knitting group met in Pontypool Wetherspoon's, our usual meeting place. We had a new knitter join the group, Leigh, which was really good. Unfortunately Debz (one of our regulars) was unable to come because she was ill. :0(

In this photo, on the left from front to back is Lane and Kelly and on the right from front to back is Leigh and me, Linda.

Me and Lane made some Innocent Smoothie hats and then we went off in search of some Innocent Smoothie bottles to model them on.

Unfortunately, we couldn't find any so some Fruit Shoot bottles kindly offered to model them for us instead!

We had some VERY strange looks from the people in the shop while we were taking these photos, I can tell you!

I knitted a couple more last night, including the scary-looking snowman who's missing a nose at the moment because I can't work out how to get it to stick to the pom-pom! Again, no Innocent Smoothie bottles were available to model so some bottles of Shandy kindly stood in for them. They said they really needed the bobble hats because they'd been in the fridge all day and were icy cold! ;0)

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Secret Summer Santa, Competition Prizes and Kid Silk Lace

I must say a big thank you to Kai, who was my Secret Summer Santa on the Angel Yarns knitting forum and who has just sent me all this luscious loveliness!

In my parcel, which arrived yesterday, I had a gorgeous fringed scarf, a skein of Middle Earth sock yarn ('Beachball'), a skein of handdyed BFL from the BorderTart ('Puce') and 2 patterns, a ball of Artesano Inca Mist 100% pure baby alpaca ('Cinnamon') which is incredibly soft, a bookmark, a Bergere de France Lamb (aw, sweet!) and 2 bars of chocolate. :0)

I have been really spoiled and am very, very grateful. Thanks again, Kai. :0)

It's been a good week for goodies in the post. Today, I had 2 Patons booklets which I won in the Simply Knitting magazine crossword competition, issue 27. Sizes go up to 4 year old (27" chest) in the Play Days book so I'll be able to knit something for DS and there are some gorgeous girly patterns in Sugar and Spice which will come in very handy for my cousin's daughter for Christmas.

The best thing that arrived today though was this beautiful Posh Yarn - it's Dee's new Kid Silk Lace and I was lucky (and quick!) enough to get some in last Sunday's sale. It's the 'Snuggle' colourway and it really took my breath away when I opened the packet, it's so gorgeous IRL. This is destined to become something large and airy from the Victorian Lace Today book - I have no idea yet quite what it will become but I'm just enjoying petting it at the moment! ;0)

And in the midst of all this mad stash enhancing, you're probably wondering if I've done any knitting?! Well, I'll have a few WIP pics for you tomorrow. :0) I've finished the front of my silk lace bag for The Bag Ladies' group project. We'll be starting the second side this Saturday. I've also been working on a shawl for my cousin who is expecting her second baby at the end of this month. I'm not even halfway through yet but it may still be finished in time.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Anyone for golf?

I had my lower left wisdom tooth out yesterday and have now got a lump on the side of my face the size of a golf ball. I look like a demented chipmunk. ;0)

DH (helpfully) told me it's bigger today than yesterday. I'm still feeling dizzy from the anaesthetic, my mouth hurts if I open it too much (which starts the stitches bleeding again) and I don't feel like eating much so today has been a bit crap really.

We had a 4 hour wait yesterday after arriving - we got there at 8am and I finally went down for the op at 12. DH fell asleep in the chair which made me so glad I took my knitting with me. In fact, I almost finished one sock for DS with the yarn I Kool Aid dyed a couple of weeks ago, there's only the rib left to do.
I'm quite pleased with how it's turned out.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

I'm back

Well, I'm finally back to blogging - seems like ages since I was here last. ;0) - feeling slightly better than before but still coughing. Anyway, to cheer myself up while I was feeling grotty I had some retail therapy.

Firstly, I ordered a new knitting bag from Get Knitted along with a Know-Knits pouch for my sock WIPs and a lovely Ilga Leja Urban Goddess pattern. (I've got some Jaeger 4-ply alpaca in the stash for that). Also in the picture is my second sock in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock - Desert Flower - which I've now finished. (Lovely sock yarn and feels gorgeous when washed.)

This yarn arrived in the post yesterday morning from Posh Yarn. On the left is 'Farewell' - Lucia sock yarn, my last instalment of the sock club. On the right is 'Bluebirds' - Eva 2-ply laceweight and my last instalment of the lace club.

I had *another* parcel yesterday, this time from Get Knitted - 10 x 100g skeins of Cascade 220 yarn to make 2 afghans for Christmas presents.

The colours on the bottom row are for my dad - Mustard, Gooseberry and Fern - and the ones on top are for my aunty - Lavender and Cream. I've still got 2 x Oatmeal to come for my dad and 2 x Oatmeal and 2 x Ice Mint to come for my Aunty. I'm thinking at the moment of doing an Aran-type afghan for my dad and will be playing with patterns later today.

This is my first attempt at Kool Aid dyeing and what the skein looks like wound into a cake. DS has decided he wants this yarn for his socks so I'll have to dye some more for myself. ;0)


I was tagged by Knitting's Nice on 21st May and have only now got around to posting my facts - sorry. ;0) The rules are: 1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves. 2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules. 3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names. 4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment to tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog. I'm not sure if I'll be able to find *anyone* who hasn't already been tagged, but I'll post my facts now and worry about tagging others later. ;-)

1. When I was about 8, I won bronze medal at the Cheltenham Music Festival for playing "When the Boat Comes In" on the descant recorder. I was soooo chuffed. I do still play the recorder occasionally - not for long though because the dogs start howling and DH starts moaning!!

2. I have to have my feet covered with a sheet in bed, even in the middle of the summer, just in case someone (or something!) tries to grab my feet while I'm asleep. Irrational, I know .....

3. When I was pregnant, everyone told me that because both me and hubby are vegetarians, the baby would be underweight and not healthy and constantly tried to get me to eat meat. I stood my ground and proved them all wrong by producing a "bouncing" 10lb 5oz baby boy!

4. I have a strange taste when it comes to food. I'm mad about cheese and I have it with everything and my favourite thing at the moment is to put slivers of it underneath rice. I just love stringy, melty cheese! I also love salad cream and have that on most things too, even cooked dinner (without the gravy, though, I hate gravy).

5. I love to listen to music and have a very eclectic taste. On my i-pod I have a variety of music including country, classical, rock, heavy metal, pop and West End music shows. I like to have different music available for whatever mood I'm in.

6. I keep pet rats and have 2 at the moment, although a fews years ago I had 15 - one of our females got pregnant and produced 13 babies. DH wouldn't take them back to the pet shop in case they sold them as snake food, so we ended up keeping them. Didn't get many visitors after that for some reason ..... ;0) They make great pets and are so intelligent.

7. I've tried many different crafts over the years (cross stitch, embroidery, painting, scrapbooking, card making, beadwork) but always come back to knitting as my number one favourite craft and haven't put my needles down for the past few years. I find it very relaxing and therapeutic. My nan taught me to knit when I was about 6 and I always remember the times we spent together knitting with great fondness, and am very grateful to her for passing on her expertise.

8. Although I was born and raised in Wales, I live in a very 'English' area and never had the opportunity when I was young to learn to speak Welsh. I feel quite strongly about speaking the language of the country I'm living in - if I lived in Spain, I'd speak Spanish, or if I lived in France, I'd speak French - so about 15 years ago I decided I was going to learn to speak Welsh. After a few years of evening classes, I passed the GCSE exam (grade B) and then the A level (grade A) and eventually went on to to become a tutor for other adult learners, which I thoroughly enjoyed.