Thursday, June 29, 2006

summer sale time

I went to Oxford Street in my lunch hour to buy my sister a birthday card today (28th June). My sister is 30 this year - that makes me feel really old - though Ellen is a proper grown up as she is getting married this August. I digress... so, after I had purchased the birthday card along with the latest copy of Simply Knitting and a little something for my sister, I headed for Liberty to seek out some bargains. I always buy fabric in the summersale but I have two boxes full of the stuff at home, so I resisted this temptation. Instead I bought the last three balls of this stunning Gedifra multi coloured yarn at 2.25 GBP a ball - half price with a further 10% off as I have a Libery loyalty card. Destined for a scarf I think - suggestions for patterns welcome (6mm needles - gauage 16 x 20 rows for 10 cm square).

Saturday, June 24, 2006

the BIG1

As yet I have not taken on a BIG project and have decided that the pattern above will be the BIG1. A Vintage Vogue, sixties style jacket by Ruth Maddock. The pattern is from June Issue 16 of simply knitting.

This is going to be quite a challenge on many levels for me as:
my biggest project to date, material wise is a scarf, it required 3 balls of yarn and took 3 weeks to complete; the most complicated design that I have tackled thus far is odessa hat by Grumperina; I have knit socks and booties and picked up quite a few skills from those projects but I have no experience of raglan shaping, button holes or knit buttons.

With all that in mind I thought it would be wise to do a bit of research before embarking on the BIG1. I found a thread on angel yarns forums by a knitter also wanting to take this on as their first BIG project - whooppee. Needless to say I have registered with angel yarns. Already the forum has averted a near disaster after I spotted an error regarding ball weight and quantity in the simply knitting mag. I embark on the BIG1 nervously, but I am looking forward to tackling this pattern and contributing to the forum as I go.

Thanks Ellen....

A big thank you to my sister for these fab homemade birthday cards (thanks Ellen for not spreading my age across the front of them!).

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

30 flamin' five

I noted cfknits 30 things for Kerry yesterday, and very enjoyable they were to. Popping over to Kerries Place, I see that Kerrie was 30 at the weekend - so I might as well own up, I turned 35 yesterday - June 19th. So with that in mind I will try for 35 things about me >

My nan (my mum's mum) taught me to knit when I was a nipper. I started knitting again about 12 months ago when I noticed nan was using her needles to keep her pot plants straight. I now have all my nan's needles and have made three needle cases to store them in.

My nan (my dad's mum) was my sewing influence, she made me a pony and a womble when I was little. My nan had a cute sewing box on legs that I would love to inherit.

I have lots of hand made things around my house. My dad works in the forestry trade and my grandad was a joiner. As such I have various wooden plates and dishes around my home turned by my grandad made from trees that my dad has felled.

My partner and I have been together for sixteen years but we aren't married and don't have any children.

I have been an aunty for 18 months - it's great fun dressmaking for a tiny tot, especially a little girl - I have made my niece three outfits and knit her a scarf for Christmas with bobbles on.

I drink loads of strong milky tea. Put the kettle on...

I can't add up in my head - I have to do sums on my fingers, on paper or on a calculator.

I have observed a strict skincare routine since I was 13 years old> cleanse, tone and moisturise, ALWAYS

I own a Gameboy colour (bright green), a Gameboy Advance, a Gameboy SP and I am expecting a super slick glossy white Gameboy DS lite on Friday (my present from my boyfriend for my 35th birthday). I am such a lucky girl.

I can't sing.

I love having my hair cut and have had short hairstyles for most of my life. When I did grow my hair it flicked out at the back and conducted static so badly that I was scared to remove jumpers over my head.

I have a little stash of Snoopy things that I collected as a teenager.

I am hooked on Sat/Sun morning tv... current fav is double bill of Baywatch on Sunday from 9am, past favs include RAD and the excellent Max Steel

I have owned two ponies in my lifetime; Mr softy, a stocky shetland pony that nipped at peoples fingers and Flash, a geriatric horse who had seen better days.

I bite my finger nails.

I love fishfinger butties with lots of lemon juice.

I once made a sponge cake, but forgot to put the butter in the butter icing. It was a sweet dribbling mess that my dad named a spunwich. He always retells this story whenever I mention I have been baking.

I have flat feet.

I completed two Max Payne computer games over two weekends.

I am the queen at Super Monkey Ball boxing - you could say it is my supreme party game.

My boyfriend is proud that I have geeky tendencies and loves telling his mates my score from online geek tests.

I sprained my little toe when I was small after I caught my tootsie on my bed sheet.

At present I don't own a pair of black shoes or a black dress.

My fav hang-over cure is jaffa cakes and hula hoops.

When I was a child I always won the pass the parcel present at friends birthday parties.

I collected smurfs at primary school and I still have them.

I am a stationery junkie. I own loads of note books, and I have a stack that I haven't used yet.

I don't speak any other language other than english.

I don't tan - ever! I go a kind of honey colour but that's about it - and only I ever notice the difference!

I worked in a herb garden in Cheshire for a couple of years. The company won lots of gold medals at the Chelsea Flower show... I love growing herbs and now have my own standard bay tree.

My boyfriend bought me an olive tree for my 34th birthday.

I am rubbish at spelling.

I love teasing my boyfriend and family with stupid, futile games - I admit it I am annoying!

I was a bridesmaid in 1996 and my dad didn't recognise me!

Dancing philosophy - weddings don't count - go for it.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Reunited and reused

Odessa is finished.... I returned from my trip to Athens on Friday and completed Odessa on Saturday morning. I think my body clock was still running to +2GMT as I woke up at 7.30 and finished off the hat before breakfast. I am a bit disappointed with the tension across the decreasing rows - the pattern isn't consistent across the crown and there are visable gaps when the hat is stretched. Despite this niggle it does look pretty good on, especially if I wear it on the slant in a kind of flapper style. I will certainly have another go at knitting one before the winter, but in a deeper colour... order on its way for those 4mm addi turbos.

Today I visited the eco-design fair at Union Chapel in Islington. Here I met Annie Sherbourne who incorporates environmentally friendly materials into her textile work and business and has developed a new yarn for sale called eco-annie, a pure new wool made from recycled London textiles. Don't you just love the label. Annie mentioned that she had written a piece for Knitchicks. Here I found out that Annie has been awarded a grant by the Mayor of London to find creative ways to work with waste products, to add value and stimulate new markets for recycled products; bring on Eco-Annie. By providing the yarn in a natural colour Annie hopes to encourage knitters to dye eco-annie, using natural dyes of course. I must admit it was the first thing I thought of! Annie has worked with a spinner to combine recycled london textiles with 50% virgin wool to give the yarn its strength and basic good quality. Annie said that I am her very first sale for this product :-)

Annie has a shop at 126 Columbia Road, E2 open on Sunday mornings, the same time as the flower market. There are some beautiful yarns on Annie's website so hope to get down there soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Travelling without my knitting needles...

Mid Air, originally uploaded by bluezebra.

After enjoying a stint of knitting in public last week I decided that I should leave my needles at home this week as I am off to Athens for a few days on business. As much as I would have loved to have worked on Odessa that is currently on my needles, I just couldn't do with any potential airport security hassle. So alas I am here at the airport with nothing to do... and as luck would have it my olympic airlines flight has been cancelled and I have been booked onto the next flight this afternoon! I am really miffed :-( With over five hours to kill I could have finished that baby and ditched those pesky pony circular needles. Oh yes, then I would have had a really good excuse to treat myself to those shiny 4mm x 40cm turbo addi's.

I have my laptop at least, and I guess I should be doing business stuff during business hours - but hey this is my own personal laptop and I was working at home most of last night, when I could have been knitting!

So what exactly is the party line on knitting needles and aircrafters - now theres a good name for a blog ring!

Google Answers well no conclusive answers there then..

The US Transportation Security Adminstration
Good news for aircrafters USA - the TSA seem pretty helpful and actually concerned about wip..

Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage. However, there is a possibility that the needles can be perceived as a possible weapon by the TSA screener. TSA Screeners have the authority to determine if an item could be used as a weapon and may not allow said item to pass through security. TSA recommends the following when bring knitting needles on an airplane:

  • Circular knitting needles are recommended to be less than 31 inches in total length
  • We recommend that the needles be made of bamboo or plastic (Not Metal)
  • Scissors must have blunt points
  • In case the screener does not allow your knitting tools through security it is recommended that you carry a self addressed envelope so that you can mail your tools back to yourself as opposed to surrendering them at the security check point.
  • As a precautionary measure it is recommended that you carry a crochet hook with yarn to save the work you have already done in case your knitting tools are surrendered at the checkpoint.
An interesting article on Ask the Pilot, apparently even though the TSA now allow knitting needles (as per restrictions noted above) passengers can't take on board transfomers If anyone has any theories on why transformers are a security risk COMMENT NOW. You know, a little diddy toy car made out of plastic and metal doesn't really transform into a real working firearm.

What about us aircrafters in the UK, well apparently British Authorities have relaxed the rules to allow aircrafters to board with knitting needles in hand. But not on easy jet and I guess a few others...

So anyway I have bought my rip off, over priced btopenzone voucher and will spend the rest of my time commenting on my current fav knitting/sewing blogs.

more later in the week.

Friday, June 09, 2006

time for a cuppa

I picked these little sweet treats up at the camden green fair last weekend - aren't they cool! I bought them from Buzz Stokes who runs All the fun of the Fair. There seems to be a problem with the website but here's a link anyway. Apparently Buzz runs a stall at Spitalfields market every Friday - I must check it out. At the green fair Buzz had lots of sticky treats on sale, including iced doughnuts, chocolate eclairs and party cakes complete with a cherry on top.
ummmmhhhh Battenburg cake...

I am certainly in need of a cuppa, I have been busy with my needles all evening and have made good progress on my Odessa hat. I don't have a pair of 4mm addi circular needles, only 3.5mm needles that I used for the rib, so I am knitting on my plastic 4mm pony ones. They aren't as satisfying to knit with, but nevertheless I am really enjoying this project. It is basically a simple repeat of nine stitches. After the second round of the pattern I stopped counting as the stitches are easily recognisable and I could tell by the shape and feel of each stitch when to pull my yo or ssk. Knitting Odessa is pure joy :-) My confidence was such that I even took my needles to work to knit on the tube via the victoria and central lines. So, I am pleased to say that I won't be a virgin for tomorrows world wide knit in public day. I am going to Whitstable tomorrow for sea, sunshine and the Biennale. My needles will be coming with me.

Here is another peek at Odessa...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Odessa progress so far

Thought I better post a picture to prove I have taken up my needles again. I am knitting on my new addi turbo circular needles. Knitting in the round on circular needles is so therapeutic. Excuse me for this short blog but my specs are at the opticians and my eyes are watering! more soon...

Monday, June 05, 2006


The beads are on! There are 150 threaded onto the yarn, so now I can get started. Progress is slow as I am making a case for my DPNs - really need to get my sewing machine out the way as it is a constant distraction from my knitting.

The yarn is pictured on my new table cloth and place mat set, Moiramoira by Ron Arad for Alessi. I have never had a table cloth before, I bought it a few weeks ago discounted during a closing down sale at Purves and Purves. I am really pleased with it, the coasters are cool!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Odessa here I come...

I haven't quite pulled myself away from my sewing machine, but happy to say that I will be starting a new knitting project very soon. Yes, I know, I haven't attempted my first BIG knitting project yet, but for this project I will take up a pair of circular needles for the first time to attempt an unseasonal hat. I have my yarn, beads and needles and will start Odessa hat by Grumperina this evening. I have my gorgeous ball of Rowan Cashsoft DK (SH503) and some beads. This will be my first hat and I am looking forward to seeing how the bead thing works out. Grumperina has posted some helpful notes about beads and info on a couple of Odessa knitalong (kals). I have just signed up to join this one which began in February 06 when the pattern was first published on magkinits. I don't understand how to knit a guage in pattern circularly? I assume I don't join the ends, but what part of the pattern should I repeat and should I change to purl when knitting on the otherside - I am sure there is a trick to this. Anyway my gauage is pretty reliable so will start the project and just check the guage across the recommended number of stitches one I get going... any tips would be much appreciated.

The sun is beaming down on my balcony, its lovely and hot here, summer at last. I will be posting some shots of my plants on flickr as they benefit from this sunny spell. Fingers crossed the sun will keep shining. I wore my new sunglasses for the first time today :-)