Friday, December 22, 2006

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Mandyknits.....

Here are the rules:

THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the ‘6 weird things about you.’ People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

”Weird things about me:
  1. I have a wormery! Yes lots of wiggley little worms who eat my kitchen waste. I don't have a veg garden yet to use the casts on, but this year I hope.
  2. I love cold beans out of the tin. It come from being pregnant and needing to eat all of a sudden. I could not wait to heat htem up, so just had them right out of the can. Problem is, I still like it now!
  3. I'm a LARPer - yes thats weird enough for all 6. For years I have spent weekends playing or running fantasy 'murder mystry' weekends - great fun - see Whispered Tales for my lastest games.
  4. Some of my best ideas come to me when I'm on the toliet
  5. I've started 'Extreme Knitting' - #1 Giant knitting needles made from broom handles
  6. I love starting projects, but ne so good at finishing htem - maybe thats quite normal really with knitters?
My "taggees" are: Tammy, Patty, Rachel and Penny - the others have already done it

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Media overload

Well this week has been a wirlwind of Media for the Coventry Knit-Wits....

Monday - the Press Launch of 'Made in Coventry' and Knitting in the City Centre

Tuesday - Article from Monday in the Telegraph - see here

Friday - Article from Monday in the free paper

Saturday - Photos and an interview in the Liquid Bar by the Telegraph, who want to do a story on us as we meet at the bar that wone the Godiva Awards and is Coventry's only non-smoking Cafe Wine bar.

Then on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio with Coventry RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteers Programe) as part of their Christmas Knit & Knatter

This all must mean that 2007 is looking good for the group!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Secret Pal Parcel arrives!

well my SP has been very sneaky, or she was given the wrong info by her Post Office
I received an email 3 days ago to say that my parcel was in the post, but it may take some time to arrive - about 2-3 weeks. Imagine my suprise when it arrived this morning!

So inside there was:-
  • A treasury of Magical Knitting by Cat Bordhi - she's noticed that I was raving about hte second one. I can't wait to get started on a Mobeius scarf!!

  • Purple 100% wool yarn - this will go on a Mobeius 'Boot' or bag for me (I hope)

  • A Knitted Fet Bag book - Pursenalities by Eva Wiechmann - 20 yummy bags to knit & felt, too many to choose from.

  • The softest purple eyelash yarn I have ever felt!!

  • The knitters handy guide to Yarn Requirements - fab for whenI'm trying to work out how much of my handspun I need for a project

  • and finally - pretty delicate stitch markers perfect for socks knitting!

All I need now is the time over the Christmas break to knit for meeeeeee!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Post 100

Wow - I've been blogging for over a year now and here is Post #100. 3997 people have visited my blog since I put it up and the map shows viewers all over the world 2719 visitors since Jun 12th 2006!

So what am I currently working on:-

on the needles
  • Fred #5 - this will complete my current orders @ work, but 2 more have placed orders for after Christmas. It looks like I'll have to do a Fred a month to keep up with hte demand for next Christmas. I have not dared to take the Needle felted Gnomes into work or I'll end up making lots of them too.
  • Lily' Bolero - this has been put on hold while I worked on Christmas stuff, but it would be good to get it back on track as it only needs the sleeves and edging.
  • Bobble hat for Dad - Christmas present. I've spun the Jacob fleece in blends of white & grey/brown and then knitting a simple bobble hat. His current one is over 20 years old and showing its age.

Not quite on the needles yet

  • Fluffy scarf for Mum as a Christmas present
  • My contribution to the Spinners Guild Jacob Lamb - I have a body to do. I have some of the fleece spun. but brought more back from the Guild meet yesterday and have washed it ready.
  • A Red & Black beannie hat and matching scarf for Oliver - this would be nice for Christmas, but I think that I am going to run out of time.

Plans for next year's projects

  • A snuggly lap blanet/throw for our laounge. I'm thinking deep reds & golds
  • Plan the Octopus for the Seascape challege @ Coventry Knit-Wits - we need to get started on this as 'Made in Coventry' is coming up fast - more on this soon
  • Fingerless gloves for me - maybe out of the sock wool that I dyed
  • Socks for me
  • Baby clothes for Sally's little one - she knows that she is having a girl & due in April. I'd like to make the pretty matinee coat that I did for Lily

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fred Strikes again!

I created the first Fred last year. I sat him next to the TV to admire him and see how he would look ready for Christmas and forgot him. The next morning Oliver came down stairs and discovered him.

"Mummy, there is some-one in the lounge!", was the call.

I had to think quick and come up with the Christmas Gnome flange to explain.... This is a very special Christmas Gnome who has been sent by Santa to keep an eye on you and report back so that Santa knows how good you have been. Oliver decided to call him Fred and the name has stuck.

Fred sat by the TV all through December, with Oliver giving him updates each day on how good he had been, but also how bad his friends at school had been! He gave him note to Santa to Fred and the very next day had a reply which he thought was great! Fred was an immediate hit and Oliver was the best behaved child ever just because he thought Fred might be watching.

Am I a bad Mummy?

Well the story continues....

At work there are two new second time Mums with older children who have been, well not quite being perfect. So I told them hte story about Oliver and his Fred, which got the immediate response - 'I need one!' So needles out I set to work.

3 Fred's later and a fourth to go I got the report on Fred #2. Fred #2 has made his mark on little Charlotte. Each day Charlotte would give her Mum grief over getting dressed, especially putting her tights on. The day after Fred arrives with a special note from Santa and Charlotte is the best behaved child ever! She realises that she does not have to throw a full blown 'paddy' to get her own way, a polite 'Mummy that is not very comfortable' will do.

Fred #3 is going to Mitchell, who has yet to recieve him. Fred #4 is the Green & Gold one in the picture next to the original Fred (Grey & Red), who has a rustic appeal and will soon be joined by a Grey & Red Fred #5 who is still on the needles.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

More on Felted Gnomes

I have found a fab needle felting website and have put my gnomes into a competition - see here. they are amongst quite stiff competition though...

Seascape Challenge

I have been looking for a new challenge for the Knit-Wits in preparation for next Year's Godiva Festival and other knitting days that we may attend. I kept coming back to the idea of a giant Octopus that children could sit on and play with the tentacles. I had a vision of stripy tentacles being knitted by several people simultaneously and people could sit and knit a few strips so that lots of people contributed.

Then the idea moved onto fish and seahorses, then star fish and fluffy sea anemones. Then I thought, hey how about a seascape scene with lots of sea creatures and seaweed.....etc...etc. It would be so tactile and fab for children to play with. Coventry has just had a new hospital built, so it may be useful for the children's ward. I'll have to give them a ring. So I have set the group the challenge... more news as the plans form

Knit-Wits is a year old!!

Coventry Knit-Wits is a year old! I started the group in November last year, which has grown and grown each month. We now have 8-12 regular members each week and have great fun swopping ideas, knitting, crocheting and of cause drinking the legendary Hot Chocolate.

I you want to know more about Coventry Knit-Wits, then visit our blog

We even got National Press this month by getting into Simply Knitting, the UK's leading klnitting magazine!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Needle felt Gnomes

If you have been reading my blog for long, you will have worked out that I like to try out new ideas. One of these is needle felting. Since last Sept @ the Knitting & Stitching Exhibition in Harrogate I have been playing around with Needle felt and here are my latest two creations - Felted gnomes.

I love faeries, goblins & gnomes, so I had a go. They are made in sections then needle felted together. the Beard is fleece naturally that curly that has bee needled into place a tuft at a time to build it up - like Alice's hair.

I am so taken with this new obsession that I'm going to be running Workshops next year for the Spinners Guild & Knit-Wits.

Yarn to Dye for

I have been looking forward to this weeks Coventry Spinners weavers & Dyers workshop for most of the year. Toni took the workshop, which was to produce Self-patterning sock yarn, which has become very popular.

The idea was that each row of a sock takes approximately 1m of yarn, so a long skein could be dyed in 1m sections in a repeated pattern, this producing the pattern. Therefore most people wound 12m skeins, which was a scream to watch.

I did it a little different using a warping Board. The distance between the pegs across the board is approximately 50cm, so wrapping round gave 1m. What I did was todo 5 full wraps then move onto the next set of pegs, building up 3 sections, which I then dyed separately, using:-

Omega Dusty Punk – largest section
Omega Violet
Omega Indigo & left white sections

Each section was wrapped carefully in clingfilm and the whole lot put in a zip-top plastic bag, which was then steamed for 20 minutes. While I was rinsing the violet ‘bled’ onto the Indigo/white sections, turning the white a pale purple/pink – I quite liked this as I did not really want white as such. Toni said that if I had wanted white, then letting the skein dry out thoroughly after the steaming process it should prevent the bleeding.

Once I was rinsing I realized that balling up was going to be a nightmare as it was a tangled mess. Well it took hours to finally ball up all 100g, but the results I do think are worth it. I can’t wait to try it out on the pins…..

Lily's Stripped Poncho

Finished Lily's pink & purple poncho, but as you can see, there are no pictures. This is because the 'little Minx' will not wear it long enough for me to get one. After hours of crochet and an evening dedicated to the tassle fringe, she took one look at it and said that she did not like it!! How can a 2 1/2 year old come to that conculsion so quickly?

Its the right colour - she loves pink & purple.
Its the right design - she has another one in white & lemon

Well I don't know why she does not like it. We have tried not talking about it for a couple of days then getting it out again - the ungrateful little madam. Looks like I had better not start the next one for her.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Update on the spinning demo

The spinning Demo for the Rare Breeds was a wonderful success. there was quite a large turn out, complete with fleeces to demonstrate the sheep that they keep. I did a little off-the-cuff talk on how we prepare the flecce and spin it, as well as a display of some article we have made as a group.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Spinning prep

I'm doing a spinning demo for the Rare Breed's Association on Thurs, so I've been madly going round collecting up random skeins and bits that I've knitted/crocheted up. I am so glad that I made the freeform bag for the Spinners competition earlier this year as it does show off lots of different breeds of fleece - a real sampler of my first adventures in spinning. I've also carded some Jacob's to add to the stash that I've been building ready to make Dad a hat - its all blended bits of white & brown/black.

My wheel is out of commission atm.... after a little 'darling' decided that it was not working properly and so stamped on the peddle from the wrong side. The result was a split leather hinge strap. Aaron has fixed that for me and I picked up a mantanence kit from P&M Wools @ the Masham Fair, so I can replace the band and the Scotch tension.....but.... then I realised that it does actually need the wood treating, so its going to need a good rub down and oiling.

I think the drop spindle is looking appealing for the demo, besides it does demonstrate the ancient art.

More news after Thursday on how it went.

ohh - I've sneakily started a new project - a poncho for Lily out of the same colours I made her hat. It crocheted wonderful in 4-ply, so I must write the pattern and do the photos - it just needs tassles...anyhow more soon, I've just re-written the past 2 sentances twice to correct the spelling.. it must be getting late

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Masham Sheep Fair

Masham Sheep Fair - 30th Sept - 1st Oct 2006

This is a late post, now that I have got the pictures The family went all the way up to North Yorshire to the quiet town of Masham to stary with Aunty Eileen & Uncle Pat. The Town was not so quite that weekend as it was the Masham sheep fair, which was fab.

The farmers took the preceeding very seriously with sheep shows and racing. I was interested in the fleece and craft stalls.

Lily & Oliver loved the Dray horses and the friendly sheep. the Highlight for them was definately hte 'Sheep Show' where there are several different breeds who 'dance' to music - seeing is believing - their website

I picked up three fleeces, a Coloured Ryland, A soft brown Shetland and a beautiful Wendslydale.

While we were there we visited the allotment, and the children were in their element. Lily loved the fact that she could dress in her matching bumble bee boots and rain coat.

No Lily, its a flower, its not scary at all!

Keep working on it Oliver and you'll get one

There you are - carrot

Now Lily have a try......

Thank you Aunty Eileen & Uncle Pat for a wonderful weekend, we rosted all of the veg and had a feast!


Wow - I have been motoring recently, so the updates on progress are:-

My Coat - completed Thursday 19th Oct ready for the Exhibtion in the Central Library, well not quite, it still needs buttons, but the right buttons, so I'm happy to wait for those. Pictures to follow as I need Aaron to take them. I started this on 2nd Jan 2006 - see this post - for the start

Lily's hat - I completed the knitting way back on the 5th September, but it just needed the ends weaving in, so it was completed tonight

Lily's bolero - the back and two fronts are complete - just the arms and trim to go.

Lily's Poncho - a new project... yes I know I should finish the others, but I could not resist it, so I have used hte same colours I uesd for her hat to crochet a poncho in the same pattern as the lemon & white stripped one I did for her last year. It crochets very fast, but is produces a close fabric, with few holes. The picture shows what I've done so far - I started (but actually did very litlle) @ the Library today, but most was done this evening.

Booties - Oliver's teacher left for maternity leave this week, so I could not resist making some booties for the little one. Iam very proud of these as they are the first real colour work that I've done. I've knitted strips and blocks, but not a charted design. It was actually quite easy, so I expect that I'll be doing more of this work very soon.

Monday, October 16, 2006

My coat - nearly there

I started a coat for myself last Christmas - a project to keep me busy over the festive period and one that would grow quick and I could eventually wear. Well as its a garment for me, many other projects have come and gone over the past few months which has meant that it has been side-lined for a while. Pity really as it only needed sewing up and the collar finishing.

Only sewing - I've been sewing it up all night! So far the sleeves are in, one side is done and the collar is finished, well I'm about 95% of the way there now. All that is left is sewing one side, neatening the collar where it meets the button band, tidying the loose ends and buttons....

This has all go me thinking. In all the years that I have been knitting & crocheting this is the first garment that I have knitted/crocheted myself that has not been a costume. Normally I make things for other people, so this has made me all the more determined to finish this project and take great delight in wearing it all this winter.

Don't worry pitcures will follow and I will plan another one.... its about time I thought about myself for a change, well after Lily's bolero, Oliver's jumper, Aaron's jumper, several baby booties as there are more babies on the way (not mine though) and some Christmas gnomes... are well I can but dream.... actually I do have some rather nice sock yarn in purples that might start me off, but I'll probably save it for this Christmas.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Amazon Wish List

I've decided that an Amazon Wishlist is a must now that I've found a few books that I like

Lily's Bolero

With re-newed enthusasum for projects and not just flitting from one to another, I have completed the back for a pink Bolero for Lily from Debbie Bliss's book - Baby Style. Theyarn I am using is Busy Finger's own brand Mercia and is very soft. - Pictures to follow.

I have also finished a quick pink fluffy scarf ready for our Pink Day @ work - I think Lily will probably steal it as soon as she sees it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

SP9 Questionnaire

Wow, its come round quick. I had to look back to what I had written last time. some of the answers still stand, but it was good to know that I have 'grown' in my knitting since the last SP, so here we are:-

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibres do you absolutely *not* like?
I love all sorts of yarn & the yarn has to suit the project. I knit lots for my two children, so bright colours and softness is important. However I also do freeform knitting/crochet, so there I need interesting textures & colours

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I now have two beautiful rolls for my knitting needles and crochet hooks courtesy of my SP7 pal

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learnt to knit as a child, but did not really knit garments until I was expecting my first child. Since then however I have always had a project or 2, or 3 or many, on the go. I have done cable, and recently socks, but yet to do any Fair Isle, so probably intermediate really, with more skills to perfect.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
No, but considering one

5. What's your favourite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.)
Lavender and Rose

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Yep, I spin using an Ashford Traditional and a drop spindle. I love to spin the old English breeds. Also I have been playing with felting, both the traditional wet felting & needle felting, with two puppets (Alice & Bernard) in construction.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
All sorts really, very varied from Classical to punk & rock, stay away from rap, R&B, dance etc

9. What's your favorite colour(s)? Any colours you just can't stand?
I love colour, espeically purples and the warm autumn colours10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
2 Children (3 if you count the husband), 6 year old Oliver and 2 year old Lily. 2 Dogs, Timba & Pebbles

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Yep, all of the above12. What is/are your favourite item/s to knit?
The list is too long. Well I have recently finoished my first pair of socks and a hat for Lily. I like to have sevaral projects, some quick wins, but also big complex ones too.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Just started a bolero for Lily and a mobieus basket

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Love them15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
All, but the mobieus has caught my eye, so its circulars atm16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
Aaron’s jumper which is probably 3 years old now

18. What is your favorite holiday?

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Recently stitch markers and drop spindles- oh now I think about it Vintage Children’s knitting patterns

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Denise circular needles as they have so much potential. I also subscribe to Simply Knitting, which should feature Coventry Knit-Wits very soon.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Last time I wrote ‘Perfect knitting in the round using double pointed needles’, but I’ve done that now, so it’s the mobieus baskets & bags

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes – I have finbally finished my first pair, which hubby loves. I'm a regular UK 7

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
Devcember 26th – Christmas baby!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Socks Completed!!

I have finally completed sock 2 @ precisely 23.32 on September 30th 2006. I was @ the Masham Sheep fair in Yorkshire all weekend, so could not blog until now.

Here is Aaron modelling the socks. I purchased the yarn @ the 2005 Knitting & Stitching show in Harrogate. The first one was quite easy, but I struggled to get the second one going for a long time. It was the first row that gave all the problems. I think that I have it sorted now for further dpn projects.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Nearly there on the September Challenge

Well... nearly there. the heel is done and I'm working towards the instep, so fingers crossed it will be finished soon

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sock progress

I can't believe that I have cracked the second sock. I really enjoy the sock knitting once I have got going. Well its the 22nd of September and I have completed the first part and currently divided and working on the heel, so I do think that I will be on target for completion, without any unforseens that is - more pictures soon

Monday, September 04, 2006

I've Cracked it!!!!

I have lost count how many times that I have tried to start the Second Sock - it must be at least 10. Well I sat down, with few distractions, determined to crack it. 3 attempts later I had a ring that got past row 2! Infact here it is at row 15!!!! Thats the worst over now

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Thankyou Patty!

Wow - look what I have just got!!!!

I have received this from my SP8 - Patty!! - I love the pretty flowery jiffy bag - a great idea

Inside there was:-

  • A pack of notecards 2 fab balls of Knit Picks purple fluff
  • Potpourri air freshener - great for the car
  • Pack of 'Mall of America' playing cards - bagged by Oliver
  • Little 'Mall of America' bag- bagged by Lily to be her shopping bag - a perfect size for Puppy and Faerie
  • Body Jewel - stolen by Lily to put in her bag
  • Paper Aeroplane kit - fantastic - Aaron & Oliver are currently fighting over then (Aaron is 37 and Oliver is 6 - my money is on Oliver winning)

Thanks Patty - you have been a fab SP and I have enjoyed being spoilt by you.

Challenges all round

September is Make it Month, so I have laid down challenges for both the Kni-Wits and the Spinners.... So for the Coventry Knit-Wits the challenge is to declare to make something in September, blog their progress on the Knit-Wit blog and most importantly complete the item before the end of September. I first decided to make a Christmas gnome, like Fred. However it came to me in a flash (in the bath) that I really need to make another sock for Aaron, so that he can actually wear a pair. See the Coventry Knit-Wits to track the progress of these items.

The Spinners have a longer and a more co-operative challenge.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Alice & Bernard

Being a Froud Fan, I have had a burning desire to make a puppet/doll for a long while, one I can knit for and dress etc. Well I have been working on the needle felting and had some help from Cat & Adam, so here is ......

Alice - front and side views

They started off as bits of upolstry foam, roughly cut to shape. the noses were added separately held on by cocktail sticks.

Alice was started off using the wet felting method, which was fun, but wet and at one point I did not think it was going to take shape, but here she is.

The hair was added lock by lock and is hand-dyed Wenslyedale locks and the features were needle felted

Here is a side profile

This is Bernard, who has been needle felted from scratch usig Norfolk horn fleece. I did not bother to card it, so that it gave a natural 'knobbly' effect, which has worked a treat. Cat had a great idea with the eyebrows and beard. They are tufts of Hebridian fleece, just as it comes (well after I'd washed and combed out most of the straw)

The drunken nose was done by needle felting strands of red and purple, overfleted with more Norfolk Horn - we did not think he was going to be so good!

So - with heads complete its onto the bodies. I think I might give Alice a rather curvy well dressed look, with Bernard having a more Hobbit/farmer feel

Ideas please.....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Snake cirly Whirlies

found this on the Curly Whirly blog site - snake scarf

Friday, August 11, 2006

oosp - forgot this one...

How could I forget my dishcloth? This was knitted in bamboo stitch with a garter stitch boarder, using Lily cotton from the stash that Rachel sent me - it feels so soft.

This is a commissioned piece for a work colleague, who wanted a present for her Daughter to match her new kitchen.

The loop is simple I-cord sewn back so that she can hang it up. I thought about having a large press-stud instead of sewing the loop down so that it can be fasted to a rail if required.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ok - now the photo thing is working - lets add the ones from my SP stash

Knitpicks purple to make a fab felted scarf!!

Fluffy Autumn stuff - on the needles for a bag

Great mesh bags that have found a purpose already to keep my stitch marker collection in check

& finally - cute little pot-its to brighten my day.....

Thanks again SP & looking forward to the felting

Update blog

So, where am I on my projects....thats a very good question, so here are the pictures

Bags are the new scarves for this season... so I've heard anyway, so bags it is as they are quick to do and I get the instant hit of starting and finishing

Bag 1 - Purple Mix, inspired by Emma King's new book - Fun & Funky Knitting - I went to her workshop @ Ottakar's in Coventry a couple of weeks ago. She makes bags and accessories. So this bag is two strands of different purple 4plys, knitted on 5.5mm needles, to her pattern. I particularly like the top edge, which is made by kintting what would normally be a purl row of stocking stitch then resuming the stocking stitch. This creates a need top edge. This bag needs finishing with a lining and contasting flowers/rossettes and handles, so still a little way to go. It should be good for a 'quick trip' to hold a purse, phone and ony other small necessaries (3 times to upload photos and counting.....)

Bag 2 - Fluffy Autumn Heaven - thanks to my new Secret Pal for this fuffy Red Heart Symphony, which has just been begging to become a bag. This one is a Kellie creation, so very much a make it up as I go along and will hopefully have the circular handles I got a couple of weeks ago. Its 52 stitches wide and a boarder of 8 stitches either side in garter stitich and stocking stitch between. It may gain a gusset round the edge to give it width, but not sure til we get there. (photos still loading, fingers crossed & I'll keep typing or I'll start biting my nails)

Glove(s) - Purple wonder - using the Lorna's Laces from my last Secret Pal stash - its a lone glove so far with all the ugly hanging threads, but it will be joined by a friend and I will write the pattern down as I crochet this time! (Still waiting on picures......may have to post without them and add them later - anyone else have this problem with blogger?????)

Finally the pictures made it!!! In the end I had to put them up one at a time

Not fair....

Its been a week now and I feel I can blog again - last week we found out that my Brother-in-Law suddenly died aged 35 of a stroke. It has taken us all by suprise especially as he died on the same day that Aaron & Oliver scattered Aaron's Dad's ashes in the sea outside Torquay Harbour.

Family and friends have been brilliant and we have been taken back by all the offers of support. As you can imagine my knitting has taken a sudden dip, with the wind blown out of my sails. Its been a strange few weeks actually, as I have done lots of little things and not really been able to throw myself into large projects....

I'm gonna do some photos tonight and I'll probably find that I have done more than I think

....until later

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Freeform workshop tonight

Its my first workshop tonight!!

I am running a session on freeform knitting & crochet, a subject I love as I have had great fun with this in the past. You can really let your imagination run wild and try out new techniques. I'll probably start with crochet rounds and domes, then add some knitting, experimenting with different yarns, needles and techniques. Once the group have got the idea they we'll try a round robin where each of us adds to a project.

Can't is an example of freeforming and I will explain it all in more detail after the workshop.

This is the bag that I submitted to the Broad Weavers competition run by the Coventry Guild of Spinners Weaver and Dyers. It is entitled Undergrowth and inculdes samples of all the yarns that I have spun since I have started spinning, inculding:- Herdiwck, Jacobs, 2 types of Shetland, Soya bean, tencil, Tuscan Silt, Timba fluff (my doggie), cotton and Alpaca [I think thats them all]

Monday, July 24, 2006

Presents and baby Lotion

Wow - what a stash - my parcel from SP arrived this morning! - thank-you!!!!

Pictures to come as I'm still cramped in Oliver's bedroom

So I had fab purple wool and a pattern to make a felted scarf - I have done felting from fleece and needle fetlting before, but have not been brave enough to put a knitted item in the washing machine until now. There really is no excuse now is there?

Fab autumn coloured fluffy stuff - I don't know whether to knit it or just stroke it - It would make a great bag now I think of it.....

Mesh bags which I had to prize of Oliver & Lily cos they could think of lots of toys that might fit in them. They would be great for my ever increasing stitch marker collection, thats if I can find a good hiding place.

Ooh and wonderful sticky notes - best shown by a piccie, so I'll add one to this entry soon

You got me to a T and now I have some clues tofinding you - thanks SP the bundle arrived safe & sound and go creative cogs spinning, which i need as I'm doing my first freeform workshop this Wednesday @ Coventry Knit-Wits!

Baby lotion - so whats that all about you may ask?

Lily has worked out how to get out of her cot! This time comes to all parents when you can no longer corrall your little darling and have to 'trust' them enough to sleep in a little bed. Aaron took the bars off the cot to make a cute little bed and we made a big deal about how she was no longer a baby and now a proper little girl......

Proper little devil more like!

She went down for the usual afternoon nap. After about an hour I heard her calling me, so I went upstairs to be greeted by Lily head to toe in bright pink baby lotion! She had massaged it into her hair, put blobs on her face, it was somehow got into her nappy, smothered on the wall and the door, not to mention the bedclothes.

It was a perfect picture moment, but the camera was not at hand.

Needless to say all access to baby lotion, talc and baby oil have been removed incase she feel the need to repeat this little adventure.

one tired mother signing out in desperate need to escape into knitting

Monday, July 17, 2006

Godiva Festival - Coventry

Two hot and sweaty days, but great fun.

The Coventry Godiva Festival was The Coventry Knit-Wit's first official outing!

On Saturday we were quite cramped, but that did not matter as there were only a couple of us. On Sunday there were plenty more knitters, including some from the Coventry RSVP. We got lots of interest, so we will have to see how many come on Wednesday. Being next to the Spinners Guild was good too, so I could do a bit of both. I even talked to some Coventry 15th Century Re-enactors!!!!

Photos will follow as the computer is currently cramped in Oliver's room and it does not have a USB connection for the camera as yet.

Need to get it sorted as I have proof of a male knitter!!!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Secret Pal Questionnaire update

Here is the updated SP8 Questionnaire answers

1 - What is your favourite season of the year?
Definitely autumn – I love the colours and the crisp mornings…oh and the beautiful autumn sunsets

2 - Where is your favourite vacation spot?
Well this has to be the New Forest – the fact that you can camp in the middle of the woods and still be near the seaside too. The wild ponies visiting the camps are great for the kids to see.

3 - If you could visit any place in the world, where would it be?
I’d just love to go to New Zealand – all the different types of scenery and after watching the Lord of the Rings movies I want to go there all the more.

4 - If you could pick any job, and be paid well, what would it be?
Domestic Goddess – to look after the kids, knit & sew to my hearts content. Now I have the kids I realise how important spending time with them is. Before they came along it was career career career. Funny how priorities change

5 - If you were going on vacation for 1 week, and had to take ONLY one project with you, what would it be?
A pretty cardigan/bolero/shrug for Lily – I have been trying to start one for her for ages and not got very far.

6 - If you won a shopping spree to your favourite Yarn shop, what would you get??
A full set of wooden knitting needles and crochet hooks

Monday, July 10, 2006

I hate technology!!!!

Well the kind that does not want to work......

Here I am internetting away nicely, then about 6 week or so ago we had a power cut. Since then the internet has been irratic, going down several times...etc....etc.... you have seen the moans below. Well the diagnostic for our wireless router was saying that it had a signal, so we deducted that it must be a ISP (NTL)

Aaron finally took the machine upstairs to where the modem is..poor Oliver its in his bedroom!! Now its working properly and 125 emails (mostly junk) later I am back up and running. Not the best situation as I'm crapped up on a small set of draws and Oliver is trying to get to sleep as I type, but better than nothing.

Anyhow back on and guess what.................. I have a new SP!!!!! My old one quit and so a new one is on board and sent me a lovely interactive card .... thank you. Fingers crossed the tech holds out so I can keep you posted on whats going on.

This weekend its the Godiva Festival in Coventry and the Knit-Wits have been invited!! Ace its our first really public engagement, so its poster and flyer time. Will keep you posted on how it goes.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Adventures in Needle Felting

I have been fascinated by felt for some time now.

Wet felt is great fun, but messy and hard on the hands. Last year I almost rubbed the palms of my hands away while making Oliver's felt boots for re-enactment. It is good for constructing seamless garments, like waistcoats as well as bags and boots.

Needle felting adds a whole new dimension - quite literally. I knew the principle but had never seen it in practice. Being a very hands-on and visual person, what I needed was a demonstration. So when I was at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate last October I was pleased to find two stands dedicated to needle felting. The demo showed it to be even easier than I first thought.

I was so captivated that once I was back from the show I made my first teddy out of scraps of fleece. An instant hit and a good present for mum even though he was quite crude he was my first and I had great fun making him.

Since then I have made a Sky-gazing Hare, a unicorn horn and my latest a bearded man.

He has a loop on the back so that he can be hung. He would look quite good hanging on a tree, making a tree spirit or Green Man - actually he looks quite scary in this picture

This is a sample swatch I made to try out a raised dedisgn. The spiral is built up in several thin layers to create a ridge on top of which I stabbed red fibres to define the spiral - this could look good on a bag or pocket

Next I'd like to make a faerie, a sneaky twisted one like Froud draws or Spiderwick

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Update on progress

Baby Jumper - photo - the cheveron pattern worked really well and the whole thing only took a few evenings, but it is a small one. Its baby blue btw - photo is not very clear

Lorna's laces from SP7 - Rachel from SP7 sent me two beautiful skeins of Lorna's laces, so I balled on and tried it out - the colours are just amazing. I have not had this much fun in a tension square for ages. However..... I am just not getting this circular knitting lark. I canb cast on. but keep haveing trouble in the first row. After 4 attempts on this one and 3 on Aaron's Autumn socks, I have offically put circular knitting on the back burner.... not turned my back on it completely, just giving it a rest for a while and maybe when I go back to it I will have re-newed enthusiasm.

However the thought occured about lacy gloves for Yolanda, my Gypsy character in Whispered Tales (who sparked this blog in the first place) and came up with this.....

The cuffs do not stretch like rib in knitting, so I put glass bead on to act like buttons. Thedelecate colour changing work great on the lace of the palm. Originally I was not going to do fingers, but it really needed them to 'pull' on the lace to see the effect of fishnet stockings.

Now I just have to do the next one..... I really do suffer from first sock/glove/sleeve syndrone. Once I have proved to myself that I can do it, I want to march on into the next project, but Yolanda will get her matching gloves before the next game.

Lacy pouch - I used to crochet lots of pretty doilies when I was @ Uni - they made excellent presents for mum and did not cost me much in money, just time. Well I found a ball of crochet cotton and came up with this - must get round to putting the pattern down on paper. I find with crochet I can make it up as I go a lot easier than knitting. Very pleased with the results.

SP8 Stash

Look at what turned up on my doorstep this week....

In the package there was

CHOCOLATE - not your normal chocolate though, the GOD of chocolate - Green & Blacks Organic chocolate

CANDLE - fab lavender candle, my favourite scent. My lavender in the back garden has gone mental this year, so I'm expecting a good harvest.

FLEECE - well gorgeuos roving in deep mulberry colours. This is actually quite a good picture to show the colours. I'm thinking bag, apparently bags are the new scarves for this autumn. I discovered circular handles in my local knitting shop along with about 6 other varieties. I have been looking all over for them and now they are on my doorstep!!

(CARD - not smarites, just a picture of them)

Thankyou Secret Pal & I will keep you up-to-date on the spinning - I can see an evening infront of the telly, me & the spinning wheel one night while Aaron is on shifts - can't wait.

Fingers crossed for this post as I lost connection twice and had to reboot

Blogging back online

Great - that last blog worked.

My PC has been playing up - I tried several times on night to blog, but kept loosing connection to the internet. I'm not sure if its the router or my ISP, so apologies for an interupted service - it seems ok atm, so I'll do a blog-blast.

Sock...Sock I have a sock

Wow, finally after several months on the back burner, I have finally finished my first sock!! The colours are fab if I say so myself.

I'm not sure what it was that made me put it to one side because I really got into it and loved the way the colours were gong. I had conquored the heel and was heading straight to the toe and then... stopped.

Well I 've picked it up again, got confused by the stitchmarkers, but I think the end result is ok. The Kitchener stitch took a bit of getting used to but got the hang of it by the end.

So the burning question is when does the next sock get started? To be turthful - I've tried 3 times and keep mucking up on the first row. It has not helped that i have been distracted while doing this, so it needs a dedicated evening to get it started. I have promised Aaron the socks before Christmas, so I still have some time left....

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Fab card

My new Secret Pal sent me a fab Jacquie Lawson card - Lily loves them so much that I have had to play them over and over, especailly the ones with Chudleigh the dog.

Thank -you SP

Monday, May 29, 2006

Chocolate Hotel Heaven

My Secret Pal is quick off the mark! I had a great hedghog card last week and this week chocolate!

My camera has done a little trip, so you'll have to wait for the photos - look here for the delights of the Chocolate hotel!

I have had to fight Aaron off them - they are all mine (well most - Lily have not spotted them yet - if she does I have no chance!)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I really must blog more often

I always seem to leave blogging for a while and then have a blitz to catch up. Time, where does it go. What with a job, two childre, two dogs, a husband (who does shifts), a Knitting club to run each week, an online Medieval Spinners guild to run, Re-enactment, Spinners Guild (only once per month) and the odd Role-playing event it no wonder I can't make it to the keyboard very often..oh nearly forgot the Lutsk Oprhanage appeal.

So what have I been up to on the knitting & crochet front? - photos very soon

  • I have completed a beautiful jumper for a baby boy - for a friend who is extecting in the next couple of weeks - it is a boy (wellI hope it is?)
  • Started and finished (in one night I might add) a little crocheted drawstring bag out of white cotton for a First Holy Communion present. I'm not sure if I will need to line it - I do rather like it as it is
  • DISHCLOTH!! Dishcloth mania - Rachel its your fault! My SP from last time (the one I was spoiling) sent me some Lily cotton for dishcloths - I am so addicted - you even got the colour right for my kitchen! Several people thought I was made, cos you only knitted dishcloths when you could not afford to buy them. Not any more now the cotton comes in many funky new colour schemes at you can have trend dishcloths - the idea is catching on and they will all be at it soon.
  • started a cardy for Lily (finally - I kept using hte wool for other projects like cirly whirly scarves) I have chosen purple 4 ply and a great pattern with a lacy border - piccies to come.

On the Spinning front I have spun lots of my Jacobs fleece with the aim to make my Dad a new bobble hat ready for the winter (well thats if we have any summer, cos the weather is terrible atm). I have spun palin white, brown and bits of each to make it fun.

Claire from Knit-Wits and the Spinners Guild brought in some beautiful Alpaca. The other members have spun quite a lot of Alpaca, but so far it has passed be by as I have been focusing on the old English Wool breeds as part of my research for the Medieval Spinners Guild. However I could be convinced, it is sooo soft and beautiful to spin - darn what will I make with it?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

SP8 has begun

Its so exciting, SP8 has begun & I've had a cool e-card from my spoiler.....thank-you

Its Lily's Birthday this Sunday - my little girl is going to be 2! Time sure does go very fast. She is quite a little madam now, the terrible twos are definately here. Oliver never really had a 'terrible' - he had his moments, but not too many tantrums. Lily however can strop at the drop of a hat if she is not getting her own way.

So it present buying day and I'm not sure what to get her. At the moment its between a ride-on toy and a play house with figures..... we'll have to see what Toys-r-Us has to offer. Oliver is going to choose his present for her himself. It won't be long until its Oliver's Birthday too. No problem with present there - he has Dr Who mad! really it is the end of SP7

Rachel you loon - I was supposed to be spoiling you, not the other way around!

(Picture to come)

Thank you very much for my parcel. Inside there was:-
  • beautiful cotton to make dishcloths - I can see this becoming a new obsession
  • Purple (shows you know me) lorna's laces to make socks for ME (for a change - yeah get real Kellie as if you are gonna find time to knot yourself socks)
  • Lavender!!!!!! Bath goodies
  • Homemade stitch markers

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Finale of SP7

I have 5 minutes to myself, so can attempt to bring this site up to date.

SP7 was fantastice, I have met two great new friends in America through this - Rachel the Social Knitter whom I spoilt and Penny of Sith Knits who did a great job of spoilling me - Penny did drop hints about the Star Wars theme, but I missed her on the participants list -d'oh. Now I am an avid reader of both blogs and will keep intouch with both of them.

If you are interested in the next Secret Pal then click here for SP8

SP8 Questionnaire

1. What is/are your favourite yarn/s to knit with? What fibres do you absolutely *not* like?
I love all sorts of yarn & the yarn has to suit the project. I knit lots for my two children, so bright colours and softness is important. However I also do freeform knitting/crochet, so there I need interesting textures & colours

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I now have two beautiful rolls for my knitting needles and crochet hooks courtesy of my SP7 pal

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learnt to knit as a child, but did not really knit garments until I was expecting my first child. Since then however I have always had a project or 2, or 3 or many, on the go. I have done cable, and recently socks, but yet to do any Fair Isle, so probably intermediate really, with more skills to perfect.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Not at the moment

5. What's your favourite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Lavender and other essential oils

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favourite candy?

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
Dying and felting – both wet & needle felting and yes I spin with both a wheel and drop spindle

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
All sorts really, very varied from Classical to punk & rock, stay away from rap, R&B, dance etc

9. What's your favourite colour? Or--do you have a colour family/season/palette you prefer? Any colours you just can't stand?
All of them, but if I had to choose a single colour it would be purple. My favourite season is autumn; so warm earth colours are good too.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
2 Children (3 if you count the husband) nearly 6 year old Oliver and nearly 2 year old Lily. 2 Dogs, Timba & Pebbles

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
All of the above

12. What is/are your favourite item/s to knit?
Goosh the list is endless

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks (first sock), baby clothes as everyone around me is sprigging and trying to finish my own cardigan before it gets cold again!

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Coming round to the wooden side

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How did you learn to knit?
Taught by grandma and then through books

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
Probably 3 years

19. What is your favourite holiday?
Christmas, though I always seem to leave it to the last moment to get prepared

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Recently stitch markers and drop spindles- oh now I think about it Vintage Children’s knitting patterns

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to Simply Knitting and Knitting, both UK magazines – I love Childrens patterns especially bright, colourful & creative ones

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Perfect knitting in the round using double pointed needles

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes – but I’d rather knit my own – well that’s if I get further than the first one!

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
December 26th

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'm Back!

Not really gone anywhere, but have not blogged in a while because life has been very hecic and Oliver is addicted to cbeebies. So what have I been up to?

Lutsk Knitting Challenge
Well I have been working on the Lutsk Orphanage challenge, which has been fantastic. I publised (on the internet) the knit-a-long to make woolly things for the children in the Lutsk Orphanage and have been amazed by the generosity of the knitters who have replied. The parcels just keep coming filled with socks, hats, cardies and jumpers. Dominique is going out there in the next few weeks, so there will be pictures very soon of the children receiving their goodies. If you would like to get involved there is still time as we will be sending out parcels over the summer, so that the children have enough warm things for next winter. If you would like to pledge then either leave a comment on this post or go to the Lutsk Challenge website.

Knit-Wits is going well, with about 6-8 regular members and a total of 25. We meet each Wednesday evening 7-9pm in Liquid, Coventry's first non-smoking Cafe-Wine bar, City Arcade Coventry. We have our own blog site here. We are a friendly bunch who are all enthusiastic about knitting, spinnning, crocheting etc, of all age ranges and abilities. If you can't knit we'll get you started.

Knit & Knatter - BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
Today Claire, myself and Mandy from Knit-Wits joined the Coventry RSVP and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire in the firest Kint & Knatter session in the open centre of the BBC Coventry & Warwickshire radio station. Oliver & Lily came too and were even on the radio! RSVP the Retired and Senior Voluteer Programme encourage the growing number of those aged fifty plus to participate in their local area. We had a great time, chatting knitting, kiddie rangling and teaching anyone who sat still long enough how to knit & purl! They also have a knitting for Africa programme that the Knit-Wits will probably get involved in. The Knit & Knatter will probably be a regular event once a month and there are plans to do coventry's first Knit-a-thon in June, where we get as many knitters together and knit like crazy for 2 hours to make as amny squares as possible - sounds great - more details as I get them.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Felty time!

With the first Re-enactment of the season very close it was time to make some felty shoes for the children to wear

Here are Olivers - yes the red give it away. The last time that I made these type of shoes I worn most of the skin away from my palms, so I used rubber gloves this time.
The main fleece was Jacobs, carded on the drumcarder, but still raw. The addition of lots of soap and water cleaned the fleece bringing it up pure white.

These are Lily's and so cute & small.
Aaron will make leather bottoms so that their feet stay nice and dry and keep them from wearing out too quickly. These were so quick & easy to make that I'll be able to make new ones as their feet grow.
She was so good while I modelled the to her feet.

I got carried away and made some more felty balls - you can never have too many!

The large white & black is Jacobs fleece done in the washing machine. I just stuffed clean fleece into one of the nylon bags that you put the washing tablets in and put it in with towels on a 60 degree wash - saves my hands

Here is gourd to keep the balls in. Oliver & Lily love to throw them in. I used a circular piece of plastic about the size of a small dinner plate. Once the fleece had felted I cut a small slit and removed the plastic, then used my fist to shape the gourd as I fulled it further.

Again I used Jacobs White & Black, which gives a 'fluffy' felt.