Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Two days of Knitting, Crochet and TV

Hi everyone

Hope you enjoyed the last couple of days as much as I did. Christmas and I don't agree with each other too well. So I stay at home with my knitting and the TV and some good books. Just whats needed after a busy and changeable year.

So wracking brains about what to do for new baby niece Eloise - I recalled a big pile of granny squares my mother made for me years ago - that I intended to make into a big throw - but we ran out of yarn - Lightweight DK by Rowan - now no more - so they've sat around - as I didn't know what to do with them.

So this is what I did. Took 16 - crocheted together and then put the icing round the edge. I know that she will be inundated with new clothes and toys - so I did this for her - and am hoping that it will become her favourite - no pressure from Aunty Sue then gggg....

Then the other major achievement - I finished Beth's Moon. It was supposed to be made for her 4th birthday - I did bits here and there - but couldn't seem to get it finished. Well I just sat down with the beads and sequins yesterday and finished it. She will be 8 in February!!!

I know she will love it - she has seen it from time to time and I know she has a space for it in the newly decorated bedroom the girls will be sharing. Shes told me about that space frequently lately - a very polite child - not to just say 'Aunty Sue - FINISH IT!!!'

I have completed the inner square for my hap shawl - and am thinking about - note thinking... starting to pick up all the stitches around the edge to start the fun bit.

Well that's about it - looking forward to tomorrow - will see the kids etc and give them their pressies. Then Beth and I will troop off to Liberty for the Knitting evening (she hasn't been for a while and loves it so - seeing some of our knitting chums) and then on Friday we have a date to go and see Happy Feet at the cinema. Then the weekend spent writing my CV. I'm looking forward to 2007 - the last few years have not been great and 2007 I intend to make some long overdue changes.

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Socks that Rock Yarn

Lime green blog post to hi light the lovely yarn that I received last week in the post. My first two skeins of Socks that Rock yarn. One in a yummmmyyyyy Lemongrass and the other in Watermelon TOurmaline. I also got their fairisle book and was sent a postcard of socks part knitted which is a lovely to look at and drool over... and a great sticker - which I couldn't find for the photo.

I do have xmas socks for someone to finish - with bells on - thanks to Noonie at Harrogate for that idea. I know they'll go down well. But when they're done my socks that rock will jump to the needles - think I'll use my new knit picks to knit them with - and I'd like to try the Jaywalkers pattern that I found on Dawn's blog - a link to MagKnits - the pattern was from Sept 2005.

Here's the pic...

Making stockings

Hi I'm Sue's neice Me and aunty Sue are making stockings for Sue's friend Penny, Baby Eloise and me Beth.


  1. Draw a stocking shape on a piece of paper. Cut it out.!!
  2. With the stocking shape put it on the felt then draw round the stocking shape. You will need two stocking shapes for each stocking.
  3. Cut out your stocking shapes.
  4. Then if you have beeds or buttons you can put your buttons and beeds on the cuff of stocking on both sides.....
  5. Pin two stock sides together, wrong sides together.
  6. Zig zaground the stocking edge and leave the cuff part open.
  7. Find a nice present to put inside your stocking!!!!!!!!!
If you dou't know what I mean you can look at the pictures to help you...

Monday, December 04, 2006

SUCH a lucky girl!

Came home today to a HUGE box on my doorstep. (The door outside my flat - within the building). I am taking part in a sock yarn swap for the festive season.

I will spare the blushes of my new friend - she knows who she is and those others who need to know also know. Also not sure what the form is - so don't want to embarass anyone.

Two yummy lots of drinking chocolate, sesame snaps, two sock patterns and two lots of knit picks sock yarn - plus a natural one for me to dye.

A magazine and smarties and a pudding with two sundae glasses that have flashing lights:) Also a magazine, handcream and music.

I also get to try the famous knit picks circular needles.

Thank you very much for your generosity.

I almost forgot - a jar of Billy Bee honey for a certain young niece who loves the stuff - thank you too on her behalf - she will be absolutely delighted.

Isn't the internet a wonderful thing - it brings the potential for new friends almost on a daily basis.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More Knitting and Stitching AND the Jamieson's Groupies:)

Thanks to my friends I got to have my first dinner at Bettys on Friday evening - we had to wait for about 30 min - but boy was it worth the wait.

Such yummy food.

Wye Sue, Yvonne and I were joined by Ann from Scotland - Yvonne spotted Ann joinign the queue a few folk behind us.

It was a great evening as Yvonne had gone down with a nasty cold and was feeling
rotten - but thankfully Betty's helped her to feel much better.

We had gorgeous food and completely divine dessert. See Yvonne and Ann - and Those chocolate desserts...

Ann and Yvonne were slightly good but as you can see both Sue's indulged big time. It was one of the nicest meals with friends for ages - so relaxed and good fun and of course lots to talk about as we all have lots in common.

Went back to my B&B after dinner - which thankfully was warmer - but very noisy as someone in the flat upstairs was running up and down til after 11pm!!

But I retired to bed with the Shetland Hap Shawl book - THE LAST COPY that Jamiesons had on their stall - I succumbed to that late on Friday - thought they only had a sample copy and went for a look - but they had one left. It is fascinating reading about the history as well as method of knitting. I went to sleep buzzing as I felt I'd found a shawl I could cope with as a beginner.

I know many think I'm capable of it - but I am nervous to take on something like that as I find it very tough remembering pattern repeats in my head - and I do so hate pulling things out when they've gone wrong.

Saturday morning I was at the Jamieson's stall before Elaine - the stall holder.

Choosing yarn for my first shawl - a shetland hap. Elaine came along and helped with the very tough decision on colour. I tried many combinations of the pretty ultra colours they have (a blend of lambswool and shetland wool - that is lovely to knit with). We hit upon the cream natural colour with three shades of fawn for the edge. I would never normally use such colours but they do look so lovely together.
Then I went back to our stand and cast on the one stitch. I could not however grasp the wrap to increase at the beginning of each row. John to the rescue. He showed me with a flick of the wrist how it was done. As you can see in the picrure I've made a little progress.

We taught more finger knitting and even persuded a few people to have a go at knitting Sue's finger knitted ball of yarn with the huge needles lent to us by Wool n boat.

Here you see Nell - down from Glasgow - with her hubby Bob to volunteer - with the big needles. Theyre a great hit - but physically hard work. The tinsel that Sue had finger knitted into her yarn was very effective - if inclined to shed.

Here's how to have fun with finger knitting - these two young ladies had a race to knit to match their lengths.

Sue organised lunch on Sunday - from Bettys - I'll probably get sent to Conventry for posting this - but hey - what the heck - are they enjoying or what? Those cakes were delicious and I didn't need anything else for lunch. Thanks Sue:)

NOW! to dig myself into a deeper hole:) I present...

The Jamieson's Groupies with their acquisitions.

I hope that with my yarn for shawl purchase and the book i will be allowed to join the Jamieson's Groupies.

One small concern I have is that from what I saw of my two friends and their experience - their example shows that it takes an awful lot of time and dedication - I lost count of the number of times they were ' just nipping up to the Jamiesons stand... during Sunday. But the end results looked worth all that effort.

Helped pack up Sunday afternoon and then train to London. Finally arrived home at 22:30 and fell into my own bed. AAAhhhh!!!!

Please can I do it again next year?

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching

Well it's been a while since I updated. Been busy with a new niece - who is as beautiful as her brothers and sister. Also - just busy and often tired and couldn't face more time at the computer in the evenings to update. There - you have it - I couldn't be bothered...

But have decided to try again and what better start than a report on the great time the past few days at Knitting and Stitching at Harrogate - as a volunteer with the Relax and Knit gang.

I'd left it late to bok B&B - so ended up a bit outside Harrogate and was not impressed with the place - shall not be staying there again. Not the level of service one would expect - but hey the rest of the weekend made up for it.

Left home just before 06:00 on Thursday for the 07:35 out of Kings Cross - to Leeds. Off the train at Leeds and I bumped into Liz - from the blog Knitting on the Green (no I still cannot do links). We travelled along on the 'arrogate (well that is how the announcer announced our arrival) train together - a great start.

Then got stuck in. I liked the layout in smaller halls than the - everything crammed into one huge space - as at Ally Pally.Taught lots of finger knitting to school girls as well as more conventional knitting.

Met Kathleen, John, Anne for the first time. This is John - who knitted a couple of scarves during the weekend as well as taught lots of people - including showing me how to start my first shawl. Well it was early on Saturday and I was not 100% after two nights of not very sound sleep. John also is wearing a beautiful sweater he knitted himself - from gorgeous Wensleydale yarn - it's one of my favourite types of wool.

Also became reacquainted with Mavis and Janet - whom I'd previously met at
Birmingham. We had heaps of fun and Mavis made some lovely gold and silver finger knitted bracelets which many of us proudly wore all weekend. It helped enormously with the inevitable 'but what is it for?' question re finger knitting.

I had lunch with a friend who I hadn't seen face to face for a long while - in fact since the last time I visited Harrogate - but for the old Madeira show - which must now be several years ago.

Friday I did my main shop and bought far too many things:)

A couple of books - Folk Shawls and Folk socks - as both garment types are increasingly of interest. A baby pattern book and yarn for some bootees / knitted shoes for the new baby.

Yarn - far too much - but only one or two balls - sock yarn for myself and for a swap in which I am participating, some swedish yarn for a simple garter stitch shawl and some fine stuff from Renaissance for sampling.

I finished several things at the show. Including a sock - after one of the volunteers kindly showed me how to finsh the toe, also my hat - it has been knitted for over a year - but I hadn't managed to get the velvet ribbon from Mulberry Silks that I knew would finish it off.

Also my fab scarf. Crocheted with Baby Alpaca in aubergine in the middle and crystal palace violet blue mohair and little flowers to finish it off.

Also my angora fingerless gloves - which I cannot at this moment lay my hands on to photograph. They are a violent purple - so you will just have to imagine...

I learnt how to knit an icord, and a new cast on and edge courtesy of Sarah Lawrence needing lessons from Yvonne (and which lessons I gatecrashed).

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Last chapter - Bringing up to date

Have also been dyeing. I am taking part in a round robin on a yahoo group I belong to. The first two pictures are fabric that came to me space dyed. I struggled for weeks about what to do with it. I eventually decided - form expereince with my own pieces that a second space dye was in order to enrich the piece. The photos are not good - they just do NOT capture the colours etc. You just have to trust me that the results are gorgeous:) The fabric has been sent on it's way for the next layer.

The above lot are dyeing a rainbow - with my niece - don't they look gorgeous deep colours. They are wet in the pics above. However, I believe I may have got the short straw with the fabric - everything has come out relatively pale - and I believe the fabric may have been polycotton - but sold as pure cotton for dyeing. Got it mail order - lots of it!

Unfortunately I don't have time at the moment to try a test of dyeing a variety of other cottons I have and including this percale - to see what the result might be. I know of no other way to know whether the fabric has any polyester in it.

Disappointing to say the least. I do like pale colours - but for this exercise ie. dyeing metres and metres for a course I'm doing in October - this is far from a good result. Also a huge waste of dye - cos obviously it washed out!!!!!

Anyhow - most recently. Yesterday my sis and I visited the yummy yarn store 'Stash Yarns' in Upper Richmond Road - Putney. We went - cos I hadn't been yet - and also cos I will be an aunty again soon - 5 weeks time ish - and an aunt for the 4th time. My sis wanted some dk yarn for a friend to knit her some baby things. i don't have time at the moment - for anything other than a pair of booties or socks. i am behind with a few things including one very special project for someone else.

Anyhow sis bought some mission falls cotton - which is really nice - in pure white and also some rooster almerino in a lovely soft greenish blue. Also a mixed yarn hank to knit a scarf for herself in yummy shades of green.

Me - I got some sock yarn - a german one and a fleece artist one, a copy of interweave knits funky mag - knit scene, and one of those knitting row/stitch counters I keep meaning to buy... I tried to use an old one that fits on the end of the needle the other night - horrible nasty little thing...

Good to finally meet the two ladies in the shop and also to find an old friend sitting there - Jan and I met at Ally Pally last year. Good to catch up again.

We had a few bits to do in Putney - and as we were walking to the bus stop I asked if sis minded if we popped into the Sewing Room - a sewing shop in Lacy Road. I wanted to talk to the lady there about software for my new machine. I had understood correctly that the software is more or less compatible - the restriction is that it must be able to save designs in the file format that suits your machine. This is good - we had a long chat - she gave me some brochures - but it will have to wait a while - as it will be a bit costly - and as it doesn't work on Mac I will need a basic laptop for it.

Also they have some yarn in the shop - they have some adrafil and some gorgeous fine alpaca from garnstudio. Yes that's the other yarn in the pic that hasn't yet been explained. I spent ages last night on the net looking through the garnstudio website for the free patterns. You buy your yarn and all the patterns are free - downloadable from the website. What a great idea.

Clarence is the sleepy puss cat. It never fails to amaze me where cats will sleep:) She is my sister's family cat and now 16 years old - bless her.

Well that's enough to be getting on with - more or less up to date. Must go and iron and pack now - YUK!!!!! And TRY AGAIN - to get hold of someone at BA who can tell me if I can currently take my knitting on the plane...

Bringing up to date Chapter 2

Attended Festival of Quilts in mid August. Friends had entries - the only one of which I managed to get a decent picture of was Pam's wrap. Beautifully machine embroidered and beaded.

Leslie Morgan (picture) and Claire Benn of Committed to Cloth (where I attend a class one day a month) were there with the 'virtual studio' - which really is a fab idea. I also got to see one of the fused quilts made by Melody Johnson - whose blog Fibermania - is a must for me each day - I don't manage very well to keep up with all the blogs I'd like to keep up with. This quilt (pic is a closeup) is one of the Matchstick Moon quilts - I adore her sense and use of colour.

I stayed over at one of the hotels at NEC. Nice hotel - but prices for food were a disgrace! I travel a lot on business and have never experienced such high prices for room service meals. But at NEC you are more or less stuck with no options really. The alternative to travel back each day into Birmingham. Did that during the Sewing for Pleasure show back in April - but with the trains etc being almost every weekend 'up the creek' because of engineering works - that becomes almost impossible.

Aside from the food prices it was lovel to stay over and then be able to go along again the next day.

To bring things up to date

I'm off again this week for some intensive iron and steel business workshops for work - to China. I'm told that someone from our Australian office is also organising some touristy stuff fof the weekend that we're there - we might be off to the Great Wall of China. Also need to do more shopping:) I have requests for some pearls and knitting bags - and will be acquiring more of those cute little pin cushions with all the little people round the edge - I would like a couple more - for my different types of pins and one or two people I know would like one too.

I will be away for almost two weeks and want to have this more or less up to date
before then.

I have been to the British Museum - with my friend - who came to stay for a few days back in early August. We love the great Court - and also looked properly at the Parthenon exhibits - which are quite phenomenal.

love folds and pleats - like fortuny work - and have adored the pictures by Burne-Jones - whose pictures are often of garments with goreous folds etc. So I took some close up pics at the BM of the sculptures - as they might be useful for artwork development at some stage.

We also visited the Globe theatre in Southwark - and did the tour which was great.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Shopping Report

Further to the update re Shanghai etc. On my return and during my week off (we're back in July now...) the second nicest thing I did was buy a new Bernina:)

A 630 with an embroidery unit - and several different sorts of feet etc etc... as you do.

Also invested in a proper trolley suitcase for it. It cost heaps - but it's to protect my investment - and I do now have three machines (each one special in it's own way) and I have to say that I really wouldn't trust any of my machines to the vagaries of the other machine trolley I purchased a couple of years ago. It has not held up well - gone a bit wonky and rarely been used for a machine. But it is good for classes that I go to where only heaps of fabric etc is required - and no machine.

The nicest of all though was to stay for a few days with my mate Pam - up in Shropshire. Oh it was just what I needed. We gel so well together - can be in the same house, doing creative stuff - and not in each other's pockets - if you know what I mean.

Arrived on Thursday
evening (the trains were kind for once). We had yummy fish and chips for supper and then sat and chatted, and looked through books, discussed projects, ideas etc...

On Friday we visited Castle Court Quilters in Whittington - a shop owned by a friend of Pams'.

They have a very nice selection of quilting cottons. Also a nice big workroom where Pam teaches from time to time -
embroidery classes.

Basically - we both just chilled. Later when we got back home - sat about in the sunshine in the garden which is absolutely charming (all put together by Pam's hubby)and did ZILCH!!!! Neither of us could recall the last time we just were - without needing to rush and DO SOMETHING!

Saturday more sitting around sewing etc - and being served strawberries and ice cream whilst we sat in the garden - byt Pam's hubby. We had our strawberries and ice cream before dinner!!! Which included the yummy yummy broad beans home grown.

Sunday - home. A great few days. and ready for work again...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Been very naughty and not updated for a very very very long time – not since mid June.

Was away on business for the last part of June and early July. Bonus of this was I got to visit my favourite city - Istanbul. We stayed at the gorgeous Four Seasons - which to me is 'The' only hotel in the whole world. Sadly – only for one night. It's so gorgeous and right on the doorstep of Haghia Sophia. We had a very short time after business to do a visit to places so I took a couple of colleagues on a very superficial, fast whirlwind tour of the major sites of old Istanbul. They really enjoyed it.

Then a week in Shanghai for workshops and forums. Sounds fun you say... Actually it was - it's great to finally meet all the people on the phone list etc... Learnt a lot about where things are going with the company and found time for good food (I did not eat the jellyfish or the swordfin that was on offer) and good company.

Huge amounts of smog though. We visited a new container port – built on an island 35km off the mainland and joined to the mainland by a 35km long bridge and the smog went a fair way out to sea.

Did some shopping too. Got gorgeous pearls for embroidery and bags galore for my favourite bag ladies (sister, and nieces etc etc).

Here are a few pics of things bought.

On my return I had booked to have a week holiday. I did lots of things that had been outstanding for a while. Bought a new special mattress for my bed, new ironing board (one of those big brabantia ones – yes boring details – but with the ironing involved in all that fabric dyeing – it’s essential).