Monday, August 07, 2006

Friends in nice places

Apart from Karin living it up in Switzerland, I've made a new friend Mr B. He is a model railway enthusiast whom I met at a BBQ recently- who just happened to have loads and loads of UPVC (I think) lying around in his work room not doing very much. Do you ever have those moments where the light bulb literally goes off in your head? Well I did. I thought mmm, flatboard stuff equals blocking board. With much fluttering of eye lashes, I managed to secure 2 pieces of board both A1 size. With more fluttering of said eyelashes (I'm told they are my best feature!!) I engaged the help of my neighbour and voila - we have a blocking board.

Blocking board is already hard at work.
2 of the items you see are for my Rowan exchange recipient. They go off tomorrow - slightly late
but better late than never. In the upper left corner, you can see the remnants of the tools used to make the board - glue and a stapler - very technical!!.

I'm going to experiment with the second piece of board. I used a double piece of thick wadding and covered it with gingham. The second piece I will do differently. Other blogs I've read, (mainly in the US) have used a blanket doubled and then covered it with canvas, so I'm thinking of using this method. They have also used a board base called Homasote - which appears to be a trademark name so I'm not sure what the actual medium is and have no idea what the UK equivlent would be. I think it is wood or pulp based, but I'm not too sure about that. I think it may be a form of hard board. My only hesitation with using a blanket is it becoming too soggy. I knit mainly in cotton which even when only slightly damp, can hold quite a bit of water. I'm concerned that the blanket will remain soggy or damp long after any blocked garment has been removed. The aim is to find the best method to make the blocking board and make 4 altogether. This is in preparation for projects like St Brigid. You may wonder why I'm going through all the tedium of making the board rather than buying them - simple, it appears I can't get hold of one in the UK. All my searching so far leads me across the pond to the US - and I'm feeling creative. This way, I get exactly what I want.

Above is Gwen from Rowan Mag 39. I have completed the back, left front, one sleeve and half the right front. I'm worried. I have 2 and a bit balls left. I'm very worried. Gwen is for my sister who is teeny weeny. I'm going to drag her over for a fitting. I may be able to shorten the first sleeve and squeeze a little bit more yarn out of it for the second sleeve. And you may have guessed, I've used a discontinued yarn. I will also add that I had one more ball than the amount specified, so something is afoot. Part of me is continuing in the vain hope that the extra yarn I believe I need will just magic itself up from thin air and all will be right with the world. Did I say I was worried. More on Gwen when I've finished panicking!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

We've been productive and creative

Well it's debatable whether I've been productive or if mother nature takes a bow for her good works. Veg is in bountiful abundance at my home. We have potatoes, onions, beans, peas, courgettes, spinach, chilli peppers, carrots, tomatoes and many more. I share an allotment with my dad. Can you tell who does all the hard work and who sends in the mob to pick and eat? When I've worked out how to transfer pictures from a mobile phone I'll post pictures in situ. For now feast your eyes on the produce remaining - i.e those that were not eaten on site or delivered to friends and family on the way home.

From these

to these, as if by magic!!

I see stuffed Marrow for dinner sometime soon

Don't you just love the colours?
In preparation of a few projects that have to be created and technically perfect (umm, yes, me who lerves to
cut corners) I'm making this:
More when it's finished.
I'm in need of technical assistance.
Apologies again if this post looks slightly squashed!!
We seem to have gremlins in the works.

Is this cool or what?

Do you think we have competition?
The lego knitting machine

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I'm still here!

We've Been Camping...
And we chose the hottest week on record to go. What a sensible thing to do, 2 adults and 6 children - actually it started off that way, we swelled to 3 adults and 9 children for 2 days and ended up with our original number - we'll just say that not everyone is suited to the outdoors, especially those who chase their children with antiseptic wipes and allow them to bring their expensive hand held computer games and bibi guns instead of a bike - to steal a phrase from across the pond - gimme a break!! Now I have rant number 1 off my chest I will move smoothly on. We enjoyed our outdoor life immensely. We were not far from home, it was a first for camping for my friend and her children. This was a trial run to see how things went. They loved it. We are planning a next trip further a field, say the Lake district later for next summer.

Knitting News
Still loosely linked to camping though. I took Gwen and the log cabin blanket with me. Gwen was not touched and I managed to finish one more block on the blanket, so I'm just about to start the 4th block. I know I'm not good at following instructions, but I came across my first problem or error on my part. The rules are pretty loose, as I understand it. For the most part you use garter stitch, you use the ridges as counters which means you have an even number of rows, which in turn means you should always cast off on the right side. You can be quite mathematical about the number of ridges so that your shapes look geometrically matched or you can just go with the flow and see what happens. I have been quite meticulous about row counting and making sure I cast off on the right side, in order to turn the work to the right so that the last stitch is in the bottom right hand corner ready for the new pick up of stitches. So why did I end up on the wrong blooming side (i.e. the left side instead of the right side) on my cast off row? I've asked my friend to double check what I did, more on that later.

Sad News
I'm not a fanatic about knitting and knitting accessories. I purchase yarn from time to time and buy the odd book when I can. I have limited my subscriptions to Rowan Magazine ( we went a little on the side of excess a while back and subscribed to everything under the sun) - I became an avid knitter because of Rowan and still consider myself a Rowan girl and my magazines are my babies (not to be confused with number 1 son of course) but yes they are my babies. They are cherished and loved. They are not in pristine condition, they are lovingly thumbed through and caressed on a regular basis for inspiration and the pure yum factor. I also pick up the odd Interweave or Vogue or what ever tickles my fancy when the occasion arises. So what was I thinking taking Rowan 39 along on the camping trip? Yes, I threw caution to the wind - in other words, I couldn't find the copy I made which was neatly placed in a plastic wallet for protection and robustness so that I could work on Gwen. The magazine taken of course in the knowledge that great care and caution would be excersiced at all times. The magazine was well protected and used only when necessary. Every night my baby came into the tent for a good night rest and relaxation. So how the monkeys tails was it left out in the open when we went out on a day trip to welcome an almighty thunderstorm? Granted it was under a tarpaulin protection - which dutifully collapsed under the weight of rain. I was completely forlorn at the state of my magazine. Fortunately I didn't bring a camera to record my moments of shame and neglect - with some TLC, and a gallant gentleman (thanks Brian) who tenderly separated each page, we have a slightly swollen, but still functional number 39. Lessons learned, just one. Never, ever think you can out smart Mother Nature, she will always kick you in the butt, no matter how smart or careful you think you are.

Exchange Gift
This year's Rowanette Exchange was Hearth and Home. This is better said in pictures - look at my goodies!!

These beautifully made cushions - in MY colours - are from Sue Powell. Note the flower power stitch markers - they are cool and funky and just what I needed.

This is a lavender pouch made using Regia stretch

The cushion is knitted in hand dyed Indian silk.

This cushion is made from Sari silk - the needle case is a gift for Shea - note the handmade stitch markers. He's already told me hands off!!

Sorry the photo's are not great we have grey skies at the moment and I managed to delete all the pic's of Sue's lovely wrapping.

Thank you , thank you wonderful Sue!!

Apologies about the layout, I'm at tantrum stage because the blog thingy won't stay in the layout I want!!