Saturday, 8 November 2008

Super Secret Santa, SEX and FOs

Get ready for a photo-heavy post. I've been gone a while and I have lots to show you. ;0)

I recently took part in a Secret Santa swap on the Crafty Threads n Yarn forum and I thoroughly enjoyed it. My parcel came from Franney and she did some spot-on stalking - I couldn't have chosen better for myself. Thank you Franney! :0)

She sent me a gorgeous project bag in scary Halloween fabric (which she made herself).

In this bag were 2 balls of Louisa Harding Grace - silk/wool mix - in the most gorgeous blue colour which is becoming a scarf as we speak. ;0) I'm knitting the Opera Scarf pattern on 6mm needles. Mine isn't as "open" as theirs but I love how it's knitting up - the sheen on this yarn IRL is amazing and it's very warm too. Ideal for a scarf (plus it matches my new winter coat perfectly).

Now, me and Franney share an interest - we both own pet rats - and so she made me a hammock for my ratties in the same fabric as my project bag. How fab is this?! It's lined with fleece fabric - and my 4 think it's the bee's knees - they're so comfy, I now have to physically remove them for playtime! *LOL*

This isn't the best photo, but I can assure you that this hammock is so well made, and much better than anything I've bought from a shop before.

Be warned Franney - I'll be sending orders your way in the future! ;0)

Just in case you were wondering, the dogs weren't left out either - they received a bag of Pedigree treats but being the big fat greedy pigs they are, they've eaten them already so I don't have a photo to show you! *LOL*

Right, back to me! ;0) I also had the most fabulous pair of mittens - again made by Franney (she's so talented) - to wear when I walk the dogs.

They have a flap on the back so I can whip my fingers out when I need them - how ingenious is that?!

They are very warm - and again match my new winter coat perfectly. :0)

Also in my parcel was this fab "knitted" mug - way cool! and I've wanted one for ages - some shortbread biscuits and some Green and Black's spicy chocolate, which unfortunately didn't last long but was absolutely delicious. :0)

Franney also sent me some buttons to match the yarn, a Ravelry badge and some stitchmarkers. Once again, thank you Franney - it was a wonderful swap!

I went to Get Knitted in Bristol today for a course on Professional Finishing with Debbie Abrahams. However, when I arrived at 10.05 a.m., I was told that the course had been cancelled because Debbie was ill and I should have had a phone call to let me know. Obviously I hadn't *rolls eyes*. But the day was not a complete waste of time because GK offered me 20% on any purchases I made to make up for any inconvenience. I wanted to buy some Knit Picks Harmony needle tips anyway and a "few" other things just happened to fall into my basket while I was there. *LOL* ;0)

I got some Mirasol 'Hacho' to make this pattern (Hawaii)

some Manos del Uruguay silk blend (luscious!) to make Hibiscus

and a ball of Sublime extra fine merino wool DK to finish of a pair of Corazon mittens for a Christmas present

and some needle tips, patterns etc. - "just because" - *LOL*

Now, just so you don't think I haven't been doing anything at all while I haven't been blogging, here are a couple of FOs - ;0)

my 3rd pair of Corazons - again for a Christmas present

I LOVE this pattern. :0)

It takes me about 6 hours to knit a pair of mittens and people think you've sweated blood making them! *LOL*

Finally, I made my son this scarf - from Morehouse Farm Merino - I still need to add some "smoke" coming from his nostrils but it's 99% done -

I'm Welsh, need I say more? ;0)

Sunday, 28 September 2008

The one where I finally update my blog

I thought it was time I updated my blog. I just don't know where the time goes lately - if I'm not in work, I'm out walking the dogs and I can't seem to find time for knitting, blogging or anything else really.

These 4 are keeping me busy at the moment -

The black and tan GSD is Sabian, 4 years old, who came to live with us last month. He's 4 years old and gets on so well with our other dogs - Chance loves playing with him and they spend loads of time rolling around the floor "yodelling"! ;0)

I have managed to do some knitting - I finished my Cassidy hoodie ready to wear to the iKnit day at the beginning of this month - you saw that photo in my last post.

I finished these socks for my dad at the end of August - I was soooo glad when they were finished because he's a size 10 shoe and they seemed to go on FOREVER! ;0)

Also, I made these Monkeys - I intended to give them as a Christmas present but I'll probably end up keeping them for myself! The yarn is from Skeins

bought at Wonderwool Wales earlier this year and is lovely to knit with. They are such a vibrant colour and I think they'll really cheer up what, according to the weather people "in the know", is going to be a very cold, snowy winter.

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Right, please excuse the cheesy grin but OMG! She touched my sweater! And she was so sweet! What more can I say?! She's a normal person. And a knitter! Fab!

DUDES! Honestly, I was shaking when I spoke to her! And all I could say ? .................

Hi, I brought you some beer. I'm not weird, honest! I just read your blog and thought you liked beer.

Honestly! What am I like?!


In true Mike Myers fashion - I'm not worthy!!!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Another sad farewell :0(

RIP - Toffee.

Unfortunately, another sad post about the loss of another beloved pet. :0( That's the trouble with having small animals whose life span is just 3 years max. :0(

Two weeks ago, Toffee went to the vet to have a wound stitched. I think it was an abscess that had become infected. Unfortunately, although he was eating and drinking and still running and climbing around his cage, the wound wasn't healing so I took him back to the vet last week. The vet said the wound was healing (slowly) and suggested re-stitching. Unfortunately, I had a phone call in work to say that Toffee didn't wake up after the anaesthetic. :0(

He was 2 years 8 months when he died and we really thought he'd make it to the grand ole age of 3.

Nibble has really been missing him. He spent the first 9 months of his life with Toffee as his sole companion and although he now has Smokey and Strawberry for company, I think he does miss Toffee.

Sorry for the depressing post. :0( I will be back with some knitting content SOON. :0)

Friday, 4 July 2008

Happy Birthday to You!!

a la Stevie Wonder.

Or Happy Birthday to Me at least! Because today is my birthday. :0) Yes, I'm 37 today.
And although I had to work today - until 5pm!! :0( - I'm feeling pretty chilled. ;0)

DS picked me a flower while on a walk with the dogs yesterday (what a sweetie!) and then bought me chocolates and wine (ably assisted by DH) at the local supermarket later the same day.

Yarn-wise, a package from The Loopy Ewe - what good timing :0) - a birthday present from myself ;0) - arrived today, containing the following -

Loopy Knit Notes for Socks (so I can keep track of who I'm knitting for, what size, what yarn, etc.), a Loopy Travel Mug and Fiesta Baby Boom sock yarn, although this is so squishy and lovely that I think it's going to be a Forest Canopy Shawl rather than socks - I just don't want to hide the lovely colours away. ;0) I'm really into blues and brown at the moment. :0)

Elsewhere in my knitting, I received an e-mail recently from Black Hills Wool asking if I'd like a sample pack of their yarns. Well, would I ever?! No need to ask me twice! I said yes, and a week later a sample pack of their worsted weight yarn arrived with me. I made this - the Binary Cable hat (link for those on Ravelry) or it's also in this month's Simply Knitting magazine.

It's lovely yarn, quite soft for 100% wool even before washing, and apparently shower-proof if you don't wash it, so what more could I ask for when walking the dogs?!

I also finished my first ever Monkey socks - for me. ;0) Using Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Ultra in colourway 'M' from Socktopus (although M isn't in stock at the moment). Lovely yarn - very soft and squidgy to knit with. ;0)

I can honestly say that I can now understand the obsession some knitters have with this pattern. ;0)

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern, it was a very quick knit, easily memorised after 2 or 3 pattern repeats.

I've now started a pair for myself in a gorgeous shocking pink colour, but more on those in a future post. ;0)

Finally, I thought I'd leave you with some pet pictures.

When we have a new dog join our 'pack', we know they've really settled in with us when they feel they can just jump up and sit on the settee without feeling guilty. ;0)

Well, here's Chance making himself right at home. :0)

I have to say that we've been lucky so far with the rescue dogs we've taken in. They've each had their problems but Chance has probably been the worst so far and definitely the most time-intensive.

He hates small dogs with a vengeance and lunges at them whilst on (or off) the lead. Needless to say, we don't let him off the lead while out on walks. ;0) He was starved in his former home and killed a kitten whilst there, so this has probably led to his hatred and lust for small animals. :0( Not really his fault, just a product of his poor upbringing. :0(

That said, in the 3 short months he has lived with us, he has learned to live with our rats - we have 4 and he now sits in front of their cage, happy to watch what they're doing without lunging at them. NO WAY, however, would I let them out for 'free time' in front of him, but it's a start nevertheless. ;0)

He has been attending basic obedience class for the past 5 weeks and is coming on really well. Last week, we started half obedience and half-agility and he has taken to it so well. He will also now sit before we give him his food and sits and waits to be called in and out of the Jeep when we take him out. In the home environment, he's so loving and is excellent with our 6 year old son.

He's still hard work, no denying that ;0) - but I'm sure he'll be worth it in the long run.

After all, how could you resist a dog that looks THIS handsome?!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

A trip to the frog pond

And a very enjoyable experience it was too, for a change. :0) I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. ;0)

Two years ago, I bought the yarn to make Minnie from Rowan Magazine 39 - I loved everything about this design - the wide, faffy sleeves, the lacy-ness, everything.

I ordered the yarn (Rowan HandKnit Cotton) in Shade 319 - Mango Fool - but I think I was the fool for believing that the shade I saw on my PC monitor was correct. It's actually nearer "Toxic Orange" than anything I saw on my monitor, but never mind, it was still a lovely pattern. *LOL*

Within 3-4 months, I had knit the back and 2 fronts. (including bobbles and yarn-overs galore)

I then discovered (maybe a year after buying the yarn) that maybe I didn't love it as much as I thought. *rolls eyes* Okay, no problem, I'd omit the sleeves and wear it as a slip over. TWO YEARS later, and it's still in my WIP bag, no further on. :0(

So last week I decide to bite the bullet and frog the yarn. I thought I'd be really upset - all that wasted time and energy - but no, it's actually a relief to have gotten rid of it. ;0)

This makes me wonder if I'm not more of a process knitter than a product knitter (I think that's what the Yarn Harlot calls it, isn't it, when you prefer the process of knitting rather than the end product?)

Anyway, whatever the technical term for it is, I've frogged the yarn and re-wound it into yarn cakes ready to be knitted into this -

Nerissa by Sarah Hatton from Rowan magazine 41 - I also have enough Rowan Hand Knit Cotton to knit another summer top from this magazine, but that can wait for another blog post. ;0)

(I said that yarn colour was 'toxic' didn't I?!)

Elsewhere in my knitting life, I have finally finished the HipKnits Project Club silk cardi, although whether I'm totally happy with it has yet to be decided. This is how it's supposed to look, with a button at the neck (I have yet to buy that button, btw ;0) ).

A friend on another forum suggested that for women with 'lady lumps' (*LOL* I love that description!) perhaps a button under the bust would be more flattering. So, here's what that would look like.

What do you think? At the neck ...... or under the bust?

Honest opinions, please! I'd like to hear what you really think, rather than what you think I'd like to hear! If you think I look like a fat and frumpy sausage, I'd rather know about it. ;0)

Thank you. :0)

Sunday, 18 May 2008

FOs and more pet pics ;0)

Firstly, as a break from all my pet photos ;0), here are some things I've recently finished.

This jacket is from Stylecraft leaflet #4205, made for DS (age 6) using just under 1 x 400g ball of Stylecraft Special Aran with Wool (80% acrylic, 20% wool). A quick and easy knit, finished just in time for last week's heatwave! *LOL*

And I finally gave in and made a Baby Surprise Jacket (by Elizabeth Zimmerman). I did not understand the pattern at all - before, during or after knitting it! *LOL* But it's very effective. I used Bright Dyes 100% merino 4ply on 3.5mm needles. I made a hat to match and think I have enough left over to make some bootees.

On the needles at the moment is a pair of socks, feather and fan comfort shawl, HipKnits project club silk cardi, and about 4 other things that either need finishing or frogging. I haven't quite decided yet but more about those in a future blog post. ;0)

Now on to the animal pics. ;0)

This is Chance, a 3 year old GSD who came to live with us (via German Shepherd Rescue UK) at the beginning of last month, just a few days before we lost Buster. He wasn't house trained, lead trained or very well mannered :0( but he's coming on in leaps and bounds now. We've been in touch with a wonderful trainer - John Bills of Gelert Dog Training - and he's now a pleasure to take out on walks and have in the house.

This is what he looked like when he came to us - a dirty, unbrushed coat, caked in mud and poo underneath him, and was petrified of anyone touching his legs/belly. You could see every single bone in his body. :0(

Within the first week he was housetrained, allowed me to trim away all the matted bits of fur and remove the dirt, and now he now loves to be brushed. Thank goodness for the Furminator I say! :0)

He's getting on really well with Lexi and Snoopy, although he can be a bit boisterous with them on times but Snoopy puts him in his place quickly enough!

And now on to furry creatures on a smaller scale. ;0)

We have 2 rats at the moment - Nibble 8 months old and Toffee 2 and a half years old. As Toffee is now quite old for a rat (they usually live about 3 years), we decided to get 2 baby rats so Nibble won't be on his own if/when the worst happens. After years of buying from pet shops - and suffering the consequences in the form of tumours and breathing difficulties :0( - we contacted a breeder in Cheltenham and was put on the waiting list. A few months later, these little cuties came to live with us.

They are about 8 weeks old in these photos.

This is Strawberry - a ruby eyed Himalayan Rex. His whiskers are really curly and his coat will become curlier as he gets older.

And this is Smokey - his coat is extremely silky and soft at the moment.

After some initial "argy bargy", they are now all getting on extremely well.

Their favourite place to sleep at the moment is in the top hammock, all piled on top of each other.

They are really friendy and love nothing better than coming out for "free time", running around DS's (well covered) bed and having cuddles.

Monday, 28 April 2008

A Tribute to Buster

June 1996 - April 2008

We had to make the heartbreaking decision to have Buster, my beautiful GSD, put to sleep on Monday, 7th April, just 3 days after we came back from holiday with him and only 2 months before he would have been 12 years old. :0( He had twisted his stomach that afternoon and although he could have had an operation, he would only have had a 30-50% chance of survival. I felt I didn't want to put him through it, as he probably wouldn't have had a good time post-op what with needing his cart to get around and also his spine was starting to fuse together in places (according to x-rays the vet took that evening).

He was a beautiful old dog and I'd like to share some photos of him with you.

Me and DH (then my boyfriend) had just moved into our first house together and DH decided he wanted a German Shepherd. He'd had one as a child and loved the breed. I wasn't too sure (my parents had always had Yorkshire Terriers) but I went along with him anyway.

DH chose Buster - but Buster chose me! What I mean is, considering he was supposed to be my husband's dog, he bonded with me instead. ;0)

This is Buster at 8 weeks old in 1996. He was a very good puppy, easily house trained, although slightly highly strung and very protective of the family.

I took him to training classes up until the age of 1 year old and he passed his 'final' with flying colours.

Don't be fooled and think he was by now perfect though, it didn't last - when the postman delivered his training certificate and rosette a week later, he chased him up the road!

He discovered his love of lying on the furniture at an early age -



One house move and a pregnancy later, Buster had appointed himself 'protector of the baby'.

When I was pregnant, my nan was extremely worried about having "such a big dog" in the house with a new baby and told us we should "get rid of him". I was having no such thing!

Buster was 6 when DS was born in 2002, and I spent a few days in hospital following a caesarean. DH brought home blankets, clothes, nappies, etc. which smelled of the new baby to get Buster used to the smell.

We brought DS home in his car seat, put him on the floor, Buster had a sniff and since that day we never had a problem. DS was taught to respect our dogs and knew not to tease, annoy, pull, climb on them, etc..

Buster loved the beach and I always remember the look on his face when we took him there the first time - I've never seen a dog 'smile' so widely or bound across the sand so fast! He loved it and looked so happy.

Although he was never keen on the water and refused to go swimming. ;0)

He loved to be close when I was napping, and in fact spent all of his 11 years sleeping next to me on the floor in the bedroom.

...... and on the bed (even my pillow!) when I was out. ;0)

When he was about 8 years old, he developed CDRM (a degenerative spinal problem). It didn't cause him pain but he did start to drag his legs around a bit. This didn't become a problem for him going for walks until he was about 9 or 10, when we decided to buy him a cart. DH and I were a bit dubious, thinking that there was no way he'd take to it and we'd probably end up sending it back.

But did he prove us wrong! The first day we put him in it, he raced off up the road with a big silly grin on his face. He loved it. :0)

He became a bit of a celebrity on holiday in West Wales (where we go regularly) with everyone wanting to know why he had it, where we got it from, etc.

And he went from being a dog who didn't like people approaching him, to actually going up to people so they *would* make a fuss of him. :0)

He was a wonderful dog - protector of the family,minor celebrity and giver of kisses and unconditional love.

He was my constant companion for nigh on 12 years and I don't know what to do with myself now he's gone. :0(

Buster, you are missed.