Monday, October 30, 2006

I thought this deserved a post on it's own. Like Amelia and Christine I too know Debbie Bliss and this situation is disgraceful. I normally keep out of poo and choose not to comment on general news. However, this is a knitting blog and this relates directly to knitting, people who buy yarn and those who appreciate quality yarn. I've always thought of handknitting as fashions poor cousin, but you still get the b"^"*"*s who have to behave like divas. I'm too much of a lady to say anything else (apart from the fact that it has been said perfectly by Amelia and Christine!!). I will however print Debbie's open letter:

"As you may know there has been some malicious rumours circulating in the USA suggesting that my cashmerino qualities contain no cashmere at all. On hearing about the rumours my distributors in the UK, Designer Yarns , who buy the yarn from a leading Italian manufacturer immediately started extensive retesting of all my cashmerino ranges in the UK and Italy,including DNA`tests. All conclusively confirmed the presence of cashmere in these yarns.
As you can imagine this has been an immensely stressful situation for me, not only does it bring into question my own integrity but also that my distributors, and the manufacturer, all who have had many years of experience in the business .I am a small outfit, not a impersonal, large corporation, and I rely on the loyalty and fantastic dedication of a small group of knitters and pattern checkers to make my projects happen.The potential damage that these attacks could have hurt us all.
I cannot emphasis enough that the rumours are untrue. Meanwhile I take great comfort in knowing that there are fantastically supportive knitters and retailers out there."

So much in so little time!!

We go away for one weekend and come back to so much.... In other words, we left so much and have come back to the same!! I didn't have time to post before the fated cub weekend - which was brilliant by the way. The weather held and we had 24 cubs playing robin hood and his band of merry men. Bivouacs gallor were built along with home made bows and arrows. And the socks, well they did not get finished but then they were not needed. The scenery was breath taking. We had plenty of opportunities for great walks and forest exploration. Autumn is a fantastic time of year. Being in the middle of (what felt like) nowhere surveying nature first hand was breathtaking. I'm sure I can't put it into fancy words that could convey what I felt and saw (and maybe much of my feelings of awe and wonder are drug induced - in order to go away I had to dose up in frightening proportions) so I won't try - it's been said by far better than me!!

Eat your heart out Jamie!!
We didn't go away this half term, too many things going on and I thought number one son would benefit from a quiet week at home. Thanks to my dad and his gift of a windfall of bananas, number one son put his thinking cap on and came up with Banana Shea:

I missed out step one which was a shortbread (homemade of course) base, on top of which came the melted chocolate layer, ontop of that we had the creamy chocolate and banana mix - so 3 delicious layers. As you can see, it didn't last long. It was scrummy and just what we needed!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


OK, so you make yourself a todo list. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to stick to it does it? Not quite sure where this came from.

Yesterday had me waiting around in dusty halls for a great part of the day. All of my projects are in the too big to carry around stage, so I had to take something portable - which meant a new project. There is method to the madness. I'm cub mum at the weekend on a camping trip. I think I deserve a pair of toasty socks to keep me warm since the weather is going to be cold and wet and I'll be in the middle of a soggy forest.

I have been a good girl though. Juno is nearly finished. I'm halfway through the collar, then there's the sewing up to do and buttons to think about. The sleeves seem quite long, they may have to be shortened. Sorry about the dark pictures it's all gloom and doom weather wise.

Karin I hope you are being pampered and spoiled rotten!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sods law

I waited ages and ages for just a glimmer of sunlight so I could take nice bright sunny photo's for the previous post, but nothing. As soon as I finish, what happens? brilliant sunlight, so here is my last photo of the back garden before it gets the chop in preparation for winter:

And because I'm bloody minded and forgot all about posting them, hers is a nice bright non flash picture of some booties/slippers I'm making for a lovely 5 year old who fell in love with them whilst looking through a Debbie Bliss knitting book (we like to get 'em young in my house).

M is often at our house and loves fingering yarn. I now have permission from her mum to go that step further and teach her to knit. Although young, she is intelligent and wants to learn!!

Get a move on!!

Allergies permitting (Contrary to popular belief, this is normally the worst time of year for me as an allergy sufferer. Leaf mold is rife, the last of the summer pollen is in the air and all over the place due to the rain and because it's damp asthma rears it's ugly head - so you can see why I'm more miserable than usual!!) and medication permitting (you know the type - it leaves you zonked out for most of the day) I find myself in the middle of just a tad too many W.I.Ps. In the left corner we have:

the Debbie Bliss Cable and Bobble jacket in the top left corner, then underneath it Gwen from Rowan Magazine 39 and centre we have Faye from Rowan 23.
They stare at me every evening as I begin my evening routine of 'me time' consisting of hair twisting, knitting, homework (mine) and the classic - falling asleep in mid (fantastic) thought - aside from baby sitting, hair plaiting counselling and magician.
And just for the hell of it started this about a month ago :

This is Trellis from Knitty
Oh, and then startitis set in and we have:

This is Sparkle from Rowan Classic Style

This is Juno from Rowan Magazine 40 in Rowan wool cotton.
Your eyes do not deceive you. There are two different dye lots - 2 very different dye lots. There is a strong possibility that this project will be frogged and started again . The pattern calls for double stranding of the yarn, so it might be better to combine the different dye lots instead of using the same dye lots for a separate piece. Oh and Mary.

So my mission is (and I have no choice but to accept it!!) to finish in this order:
  • Juno
  • Cable and bobble
  • Gwen
  • Trellis
  • Sparkle
  • Mary
  • Faye
This order is derived from the fact that I have the yarn for the top 4 (and the bottom 2), Faye is definitely for next summer so could very well be shelved until then, Mary is still my enemy although my oldest project and a 'must do' and Sparkle is my treat for finishing this lot. I'm giving myself a month to get these finished so that I can concentrate on my course pieces - that's that plan.

Things have been hectic over the last month with visits to secondary schools and parent consultation meetings. I won't go into the mine field that is the secondary school system more commonly known as the lottery - because that is what it boils down to - luck, pure and simple. But we always have time for these:

This is what happens when you don't pay attention . You have thoughts of afternoon tea and want to make scones. You measure out precisely then realise you used plain flour not self raising and it's too late to add a raising agent (much as you hate the very idea of it). Quick thinking produces mini jam tartlets instead of lots of goo in the kitchen bin and a wonderful afternoon was had by all.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lets twist again and again

A first for me... no knitting. Number one son is back and loving his new look bedroom - well I couldn't spend all week pining for him (he still hasn't noticed just how much is missing from his room whilst he surveys his new flooring). We've spent the weekend at the Knitting and stitching show in Alexandra Palace - a beautiful setting. Number one son and I spent time at the Relax and Knit tables, teaching people to finger knit and knit - I'm sure you can guess who was most popular!! I am the proud owner of ONE skein of hemp - yes, just one. That's all I bought - a record for me. Ally Pally is like the Harrods January sale to me. Normally I can't wait to snap up bargains and then take the rest of the year paying for them. The yarn just didn't do it for me this year - more on some of the stall I visited later. The beads did though....

Not bad for a beginner. These are my favourite colours.

However, still no knitting. I'm twisting my hair - hence the title of the post. I'm three hours in and not even half done. No sleep tonight!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

While the cat's away....

So what does a mum do when her offspring has departed for a week of fun with school? She sits at home for some unadulterated knitting!! Or so you would think. So far, one sleepless night and grouchy headachy day later.....

There's been more ripping than knitting!!
Can you spot the mistake with the bobbles? I took this picture after I had already ripped out 5 rows of pains taking knitting.

So what does one do when she can't quite concentrate on knitting. It's not as though she's missing her only child of course. Anyone with a sane bone in their body offered their freedom would be out there being human and doing things meaningful like visiting art galleries, going out with friends and such like. Me? Gone sewing!!

This baby jacket has been looking woefully at me from the corner of my living room for weeks begging to be sewn up. I had trouble finding matching or contrasting buttons for the cabled and moss stitch baby jacket. The green yarn is more mossy than grassy and none of the buttons I saw looked right. In the end I chose buttons with a yellow hue. The green reflects beautifully.

As has this cabled jacket. Well she's all sewn and was christened today. I was baked alive as a result. Although the weather is autumnal, it's not nearly cold enough for this chunky cashmerino nearly 2kg of loveliness!!

The shaping was done on the sides and once the fronts are pinned together the effect is very attractive. I'm on the look out for a decorative kilt pin, so if anyone knows where I can get one in London, let me know.

Update on out with the old

This is Air from the Rowan Calmer book. It is beautiful. I love this cardigan - but not the colour. It very quickly took on a washed out look which has become very unappealing to me.

I like the cable. In days gone by, this was how my work looked when I had gone wrong on a cable pattern. I think this is why the pattern appealed to me so much - it felt right to be wrong!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Goodbye to old friends

No knitting progress at the moment. I've been busy trying to work out how I'm going to condense a 2 year design and craft course into one year. Why? Because I'm impatient and want everything now!! So I'm returning once more to the micro world of knitting samples, squiggles and paper paste. At least this year I get to design my own garments. This coming from the Rowan babe who is used to just following the pattern. I'm creative but not terribly imaginative. Does that make sense? So far everything I can think of is already out there. I'm going for safe rather than far out. I also need to find my creative inner self and find the Sasha, Kaffe, Nicky, Debbie, Martin or Louise in me.

As the weather changes in London I'm completing the yearly swap around from summer to winter clothes. It gives me a chance to take a real good look at my wardrobe. After some hard thinking I'm saying goodbye to some old (and not so old) favourites:

All but one are Rowan patterns. The earliest in green from Book 17, the latest, Lucy from book 37. I enjoyed all of these patterns, but alas they are all way too big, in the case of Raw from 32 completely stretched out. Too big because good or bad, I tend to upsize patterns because I never think the largest size will fit me. Too late I learned a potentially good tip to tumble drying a summer tweed garment to help it bounce back to shape. Not owning a tumble dryer myself is neither here nor there - there is no mountain I will not climb for my craft (figuratively speaking of course). The zippered jacket comes from the Debbie Bliss Cotton knits for all seasons. I will knit it again in a smaller size. I toyed with the idea of ripping it out and redoing it, but decided against it. All that hard work and when all is said and done, there's nothing wrong with the garment, it has not stretched or bobbled , it was just too big from the start and does not fit me properly. Am I making a good enough argument?

Who's been in my kitchen?

Thank you darling son for a scrummy banana cheesecake!!

3 guesses who did the washing up - a clue, it wasn't me!!