Friday, 22 January 2010

Taking the 'Ruff' with the smooth in life...

We had to say goodbye to a dear friend yesterday. The house feels very empty indeed. If I'm a bit quiet for a few days, do forgive me, I'll be in a basket somewhere licking my wounds.

Monday, 18 January 2010

New Yarn!

I've just updated the shop. Here's my fave for this update...

It's called 'Bazaar'! It just reminded me of the beautiful colours in the Bazaars we saw on holiday in India. It also made me think of the Hindu festival of Holi, where you have lots of fun throwing brightly coloured pigments at each other. Would you get, perhaps, cake-throwing at a C of E party instead?! bah, our holy-days are so dull by comparison!
If you missed out on 'Carnival' last time, there's a similar one I've just dyed up:

It's called 'Northern Lights'. I've never seen those, except on the telly like. I'm not about to get all Joanna Lumley and go in search of them either. The cold was bad enough during the snow we had lately, never mind sleeping in a cave full of the stuff! brrr! Anyway, enough wittering. See you later!

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Knitting, flitting and wittering

Hello Blogger-readers! Thanks for joining me. I've changed from TypePad because *deleted due to the Boredom of Readers act 2010, clause 3* If you're stranded over at TypePad, I'll send a search party over later! Let the waffling re-commence!

I succumbed and snaffled myself a skein of 'Carnival' (see previous post). I dyed up a rejected skein (underweight, poor thing! but sufficient to make a pair of socks) and cast on. I love it so much it's going fast for me.

Yes, that's fast. I'm usually still in the ribbing stage for two weeks after casting on. I love the skein in its cake-state:

Yum. I love the rainbow of colours sitting inbetween the turquoise. I'm a sucker for colour. Although as an old school-pal on Facebook pointed out to me the other day, it is hard for her to imagine me in anything other than black - I was a hardcore Goth during my teenage years. All crimped hair and thick black and green Siouxsie Sioux eyeshadow ("what were Goths like in the 80s Gran?" - "Well my dear, sit down and I'll see what I can find in the dressing up box. Here's an armful of 5p bangles from the market. Ooh there's a pair of torn black trousers with stripey tights to wear underneath. But most importantly, look at this. Harmony Hairspray! You'll need lots of that after you've backcombed your frazzled, crimped black hair!"). I'm sure you don't want to see those images so here's a closeup of my sock instead.

Apart from knitting when I've had chance I've been making gradual progress on a new dress. I think I've had this fabric for about 6 months...and I've not had a minute to make headway into the pattern. Time is such a luxury don't you find?!

I managed to get the bodice and the skirt done. And added some puffed sleeves!

I love puffed sleeves - they are so pretty. A pain in the arm to execute but the result is worth the fiddling with elastic and seams and safety pins. I've been using my old Jones...but for Christmas my dear husband bought me a project to keep me busy. Here it is:

Ahem. Another. I love fixing sewing machines, and this was being nearly given now I have it to mend. And keep me out of mischief. Well, not exactly, as I've already tripped the electricity twice by using it. Dodgy foot control, which is a cinch to fix! I have an inkling that it's this man who is to blame for my mechanical fascination.


They're both pictures of my Grandad, hard at work maintaining the engines (and boiler I think, not so sure!) in Manor Mill, Oldham:

When I visited him as a kid, he used to take me round the mill with him while he worked. I was fascinated by the machinery but terrified at the same time. To a 5-year-old the engines are frightening! The noise of the machinery was overwhelming and I can still smell the cotton dust to this day. However, it's left me with a very real fascination by machinery and all things oily so I am very grateful to him! I only wish he could see me now and lend me a hand with my gears and cams ;-)

Right - I'd better go and re-skein some yarn. There are some new colours on the way. I got a bit behind this week with one thing and another so the update's scheduled for next week - I'll send out a newsletter when it's all ready!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Miles and miles of squares.

Admitting that a particular Idea is not of the Good variety is hard. BUT, rising like a phoenix out of the ashes of the Different-Sized-Squares-Blanket-Idea! Same-Sized-Squares-Blanket-Idea! After working out that I'd need to do, um, a lot of working out in order to make the different-sized granny squares fit together into any semblance of blanket-shape (and not Abomination shape) I decided to add a few rounds to each and be dull and practical.

Laid out

I can't bear sitting and working things out when it comes to knitting or crochet. I like mindless, therapeutic, stress-free yarn craft. Hence I've never managed to graduate past Grade 1 sock knitting (I passed with a distinction in Stocking Stitch). I can't concentrate on the inimitably witty dialogue in Corrie (sadly bereft of Blanche of course) if one of my lobes is wrestling with the 'beauty' of symmetry and other mathematical horrors. I can't follow subtitles if I'm fiddling about with cables and counting rows. So same-sized squares it had to be.

Crochet squares

Excuse the poor light. (brought to you courtesy of the last tungsten filament bulbs in the house). Even the dog is unimpressed. ("I'm positively sallow! The horror! Get me into Make-Up now!")


After hours and hours of crocheting squares, I then had to find a way to join them together. I couldn't bear sewing (a bit like: never mix the grape and the grain. Never mix the sewing needle and the crochet hook) so I hooked them together. It took me right through the Christmas holidays and into the New Year but here it is, finished, looking more like itself than it did under the tungsten light (hmm, I know the feeling):


It's in the snow in our back garden, although it looks like a magic floating blanket due to my impeccable skills in photography. Talking of snow, (and poor photography!) the only good thing I've found about it is that it's brought these into our garden:


It's a redwing! I usually only get to see these and their pals Fieldfares out in the distant fields in winter, but the snow's covered up their usual food supply and both have been forced to the Hamnett Bird Restaurant (an extensive menu featuring niger seeds and apples. Book a table early to avoid disappointment). I've been transfixed. My dyeing table is right next to the window so I've been spending lots of time bird-spotting in the warmth (the best type of bird watching!). Here's my fave from this week's dyeing session:


Carnival. It's so bright and cheerful...I want to cast it on now! The dyeing table is calling again so I'd better go and get some more bird watching more dyeing done now...!