Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Finally finished this skein of yarn off at the weekend, it took a bit of spinning, but I wanted to spin what I would
call a useful, or even usable amount, this actually weighs in at 100g, and is 338m. I can't help but add up the
hours its taken me, but I don't want to put people off spinning. There's an almost perverse satisfaction in making something so labour intensive.
Grrrr and blogger is making me cross because no matter how much I move this text away from the above photo in my preview ...well its just not making any difference....just going to have to grit my teeth and move on! You will also notice its doing something weird with my text spacing, even adjusting the line spacing between these paragraphs and the later ones. Still I'm not the only one with problems, dear Mrs Knitingale (http://floknit.blogspot.com/) hasn't managed to get any photos up today.

Sunday morning I even found time to bake some orange and polenta biscuits, they serve them at The Rooms which is the cafe where we hold Knit Jam, and Calire was kind enough to write the recipe down for me ages ago, but its taken me a while to actually get hold of the polenta.

Knitwise things have been ticking over on the scarf that I havent taken any pictures of yet, well until earlier this evening when I suddenly noticed that I had suddenly started knitting the wrong side on the right side and vice versa, for about 20 rows.....thought I was going to be casting it off tonight instead of unravelling.

I have also managed to block all the other 'vintage vogue jumper' pieces so I'm hoping to have another completed project soon.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

As you can see I've completed my muse hat! Its very soft and airy being mohair, the pattern was only supposed to take 1 ball but I had to buy a second to finish it, instead of buying one ball, I bought 2, and I've already cast on a scarf. I'm not sure how warm it will be but my main incentive for knitting hats is to hide those bad hair days!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Saturday the 21st October, National Knitting Week, 2006, there was a gathering of knitters in the Priory Meadow Shopping Centre. It was an amazing adventure really, and I still can't believe that shy little me set it up, but it worked, we came together and we knitted.

This is our youngest knitter of the day, 7 year old Jack Sellers of Margate being shown how to knit by Shelagh Duffill of Battle Wool Shop.

We Knitted......

and we knitted....

in fact even Melita knitted....and throughout the day we were joined by a steady stream of knitters, it was difficult to put down once you started knitting, people came for 5 minutes and stayed for hours!

We had German knitters, even a girl from Columbia, who was at Cambridge University, just visiting Hastings for the day sat down and joined in. During the course of the day we had 50 knitters, all the photos will be up on the website as soon as we've finished constructing it.

Just a magical amazing day, we raised over £170 pounds for the

But it doesn't stop there, now I'm busy chasing up photographs from all the knitters who took part Saturday and constructing the website (www.bigsock/org) and making plans for the socks travels .

We Interrupt this blog......
The following are my answers for my surprise pal in Florence Knitingales special exchange

1. What is your favourite colour? My favourite colours are blues greens and greys!

2. Is there a colour you dislike? I like most colours,although I'm not really a pink person.

3. Do you have any pets? What kind? I have a cat called Willow (after Buffy's friend in the Vampire Slayer) and a chinchilla called Pichu.

4. Is there any knitting-related item you’re longing to have? I like antique/flea market patterns, Vintage Vogue Magazines, nothing in particular really.

5. Are you a sock knitter? Yes I am!

6. Do you have any online wish lists? I do have a small book list on amazon.co.uk, but would not expect you to get me anything on it.

7. Do you collect anything that isn’t terribly expensive? I hoard allsorts of weird and wonderful inexpensive things, usually the sorts of things people throw out. I have a paper bag collection which I started when I was about 18, sometimes in cardshops and stationary shops you're given these beautiful decorated little paper bags, and I suppose as an artist, I think its a shame to throw them out. I even have an envelope collection because I started to notice all the different designs that I received on the interior of standard envelopes in the mail, and I've been collecting them. Scraps of unusual fabric. Unusual buttons, or beads.

8. What would make you smile or giggle with delight to find it in your gift box? I think the surprise of receiving this package will be delight enough for me, whatever is inside.

9. Is there anything that would make you cringe if you found it in your gift box? Well obviously not red underwear for me darling....but seriously, no.

10. Do you have a favourite edible treat? I do have a terrible sweet tooth, I love chocolate, and sweets although nothing with nuts in....I'm not allergic just don't like nuts.

11. Do you drink coffee, tea, cocoa, or….? I do indulge in all 3 although not simultaneously!

12. Are there any dietary restrictions your pal should know about? Not really apart from the nuts.

13. Do you celebrate a winter holiday of any kind and, if so, would you like to receive anything holiday themed? We do celebrate Christmas and decorate the tree, etc, although I would like to enjoy my gifts all year round rather than something I will only see at Christmas. Unless its something to eat...of course!

Friday, October 20, 2006

So here we are all cast on and ready to go...sorry the picture is so awful but the kitchen floor was the only neutral space big enough to lay it on, still tomorrow we hit Priory Meadow Shopping Centre for the Knitaround.
It is about 7 metres round and it takes about an hour to complete a round at what I would call a moderate knitting speed.
I've had what I think is a bright idea, many months ago when I came up with this idea of a giant circular knit, I contacted the Guinness Book of Records to see if there was a record for the largest circular knit and basically they said they didn't have any interest in it because it was being done by many people. Anyway it suddenly dawned on me Wednesday, it was staring me right in the face, people keep asking me what is it going to be and I had tossed around a few ideas but hadn't come up with anything firm, I had thought about it becoming a giant sock, or stocking, its obvious really because its a tube, so I went to Guinness and searched for a record for the largest sock, they have a new scheme here in the UK where you can text them a question, so I did.
The world's largest sock measured 4.95 x 4.3 x 1.9 metres and was made by members of the sheep farmer association of Austria. It became a record on 28th March 2005.
This tube measures about 3.5 metres across, I think that's in relation to the 1.9 metres as the 4.95 and 4.3 are surely the foot and the leg, but I'm not sure and I have failed to find any other information, or even a picture of this sock. But still I think this could be big!! What better than a supersized record breaking sock, knitted around the world, raising money as it goes.
All I need is to capture the imagination of knitters so I'm off to see Lolly in Socktoberfest world and we'll see how it goes!

Monday, October 16, 2006

This is my restrained loot from Alexandra Palace!
From left to right....I was seduced by Habu of New York and could have gone wilder than I did, just enough there to experiment with and make a crocheted bag! The purple and green fibre lurking behind were too much of a bargain to leave, and what looks like a bright orange radioctive glow of burning wool is really a nice autumnal tops from the Finnsheep people Piiku. Behind that is a huge cone of single ply hemp, from www.houseofhemp.co.uk, I thought I would just experiment with this, just infront of that are more fibres, merino this time from the handweaversstudio.co.uk, and beside that is some dyed Wensleydale Longwool, beside that are six balls of debbie bliss chunky merino...doh, I meant to get aran weight so this may be appearing on e-bay soon....and last but not least a pretty ball of cotton sock wool, could do with a better picture of this as the colour is really nice but I was in a bit of a hurry!


So here it is.....so far 1,000 stitches over 6 circular needles....this actually reaches 4.5 metres!
My original plan was to cast on 2,000, and put 200 stitches on 10 needles but after getting this done this afternoon I've decided to cut back to a mere 1,500 stitches and put 150 on each needle, and the actual circle will measure about 7 metres(yikes!) hopefully will get the other half done tomorrow, then may leave it in 2 halves and join it Saturday morning when we have set up in the shopping centre, I'll make my mind up by the end of the week, I have so much to get done before then.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Its been one of those non stop weeks....that seem to pass in a flash.....stop the floor from moving I want to get off! I don't seem to have got much knitting done, but this is me at Gatwick Thursday morning for our surprise 4th Anniversary trip, surprise because until we arrived at Gatwick at 0630 Thursday morning I didn't know where we were going, and as it was a short trip with only hand luggage I had no knitting and dh confiscated my crochet hook aswell.

So here we are....but can you guess where....here I'll give you another clue.....

Neverland?! No just teasing how about this one....

Yes indeedy....that's the Swiss flag....we flew out to Geneva....caught the train from Geneva to a little place called Aigle and then caught the cog train up the mountain to Leysin. I've never been to Switzerland before and it was a spectacular trip which just flew by....in more ways than one.....

Thats me in a tandem flight after I jumped off la Berneuse, 2048 metres above sea level! Part of my present from dh who took the fabulous pictures.

So back with my feet on the ground and back in the UK, I'm off to The Knitting and Stitching Show tomorrow at Alexandra Palace.....and then its downhill all the way to my prestigious knitting event Knitaround Hastings....I'll try and keep you posted, but I am busy casting on the 2000 stitches I need onto 8 circular needles and joining them all together into the giant circle.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I had a productive day at the Hastings Week hobbies and crafts fair, with my trustee Ashford Traditional! Its not often that I have the opportunity to sit and spin for the day. It was very enjoyable, the Mayoress of Hastings stopped by so I took her photo, I'm not sure she understood the concept of blogging though.

The Girl Guides were intrigued by my spinning wheel and I talked them through the process, I wish I had learnt on a drop spindle and had the confidence to demonstrated that for them, I have brought one home to practice on for next time. This is what I did today....I've been mixing a small amount of coloured tops in with the fleece as I spin as a bit of an experiment with colour, its a blend of red with 2 shades of green, I'm thinking of calling it strawberries and cream.

I came back from the Craft Show and decided to knit a couple of rows of the muse hat, thinking I knew where I was in the pattern I blundered on, but I was tired and confused and I wasn't where, I thought I was, it wasn't looking quite as I wanted it to either so I've pulled it all out, in the infamous words of Edwyn Collins and Orange Juice....Rip it up and start again! I'm off to cast something on as an eerie panic sets in if there's no knitting to pick up at breakfast!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ok the images seem to be uploading today (fingers crossed, what is all that about, is there a secret picture limit I can't find or is it gremlins?), so I'll just take a little time to catchy uppy a bit..... there I was finally blocking this Thursday evening....

I should really have done a before and after picture, maybe I'll remember when I block the front, but the diagonal cables mean the sides start out like a slanty parrallellagram, and obviously I can't start to put it together till the sides have been blocked and are reasonably straight, luckily the sleeves are just an ordinary rib pattern. This is knitted in Noro silk garden, the pattern is in an old copy of Vogue Knitting, Winter 98, I think.

Bit of my knitting history here, I first started to knit when I was about 6, we used to knit squares for Oxfam when we were Brownies, my mum would have done all the casting on and off at the time.

My second experience of knitting was in 1982, I was 12 and post punk the fashion was for knitted jumpers done on one large needle and one small needle, I chose a green and black mix yarn, I think it may have been a birthday present and proceeded to knit my first garment, probably with alot of help from my mum but I don't really remember!

I didn't really take knitting up again till I was about 23, living in Wales, I used to work in a sock factory, and I don't know why or how but I suddenly developed an interest in knitting and proceeded to purchase some aran yarn and a pattern from Littlewoods, and knitted my first jumper single handed. From then on there was no stopping me, I knitted alot of garments for my nephew and niece (now aged 9 and 11), I attended shows, I subscribed to Vogue Knitting, I knitted and knitted, but come 1998 I just put down my needles,and stopped, I think I felt like I couldn't knit any more until now...now I feel like I'll never put down my needles, and now my mission is to get other people knitting too.

So this pattern has been kicking around since then, and some(most) of these old Vogue patterns just don't date, I'd always liked it but in those days it was much harder to find suitable substitute yarns.

Anyway thats me all caught up for tonight, last night I went to my first circus club night and learnt to spin a plate on a stick, spin a diabolo, and walk on stilts, but that's another posting, I need to go and knit a couple of rows as I'll be demonstating my spinning at a local craft show all day tomorrow, Tara!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Wednesday nights Knit Jam , went ok, its always nice to catch up although we were down to 3 again, hopefully things will pick up after Knitaround Hastings. I cast on the Sublime mohair hat in the end.

You can see Erica looking very glam in black here with Katherine, Katherine was refreshing her knitting skills, Erica had come to take some pictures of me knitting for the Castle Ward Forum Newsletter, to publicise the Knitaround more. (Castle Ward Forum is an area in the town of Hastings.)

The hat pattern required me to work back and forth on 4mm and 5mm needles and after casting on and working for a couple of inches I decided to start again on circular, I can't see the sense in working straight and having a seam to stitch up so I'm working in the round on 2 circular needles instead, so hopefully it will go ok, although last night I couldn't find another 5mm circular needle to work with, and the one I was using was too long to continue with, so I started to block my Vogue '98 sweater. Ok I've tried 3 times to upload the image of the sweater blocking , grrr and for some reason it's not playing ball so I'm going to try plan b....... post this bit then start again!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

This is Neo on the trampoline at this mornings Toddle Waddle for the Meningitis Trust, Shirley who did most of the organising, set up an obstacle course to make it more interesting for the children! I think we've raised well over £600!!

I completed the Lana Grossa cotton socks first thing this morning as I only had the kitchener stitching to do.

Just need to make a firm decision as to what to cast on next, it's Knit Jam tonight and I need to have something on the go. I have had a bag cast on hiding under the stairs, which was a kit I bought on e-bay, or theres the Sublime mohair hat that came in the post yesterday. Its the blue hat but I've bought a ball in the lightest grey called Tundra.

And of course there's still Socktoberfest, and I always like to have a pair of socks on the go, although I'm concerned the Snowflake sock
pattern is only CO over 52 stitches and I usually work on 60, of course the 52 stitches fit the lace pattern and I just can't decide whether to work the rib over 60 stitches and then decrease for the pattern or not and I don't feel like swatching, yet.

I'm also thinking of trying to knit some baby socks with left over sock yarn, so there's alot of options to consider. I just need to make a decision, pick up all the toys and cook some dinner, not necessarily in that order!

Monday, October 02, 2006

If only WYSIWYG was as simple as its supposed to be, I was having problems uploading these images late last night, there was a huge storm going on and the broadband connection was intermittent to boot! Its not just the computer which misbehaves and foxes me of course, another prime example is my watch which is only an old swatch which displays the day and the date (lest we forget). With the new month yesterday I needed to forward the date to the first, anyway it didn't get done, what with one thing and another so I attempted it myself this morning.

I managed to change everything but the date, at some point, and just as I thought it had me beaten it finally gave in, but the real trouble is next time I will be faced with exactly the same problem.

Still I'm progressing well with my cotton socks, should get them finished tomorrow and I'm already itching to cast on the snowflake sock.

I've also been battling the forces of flickr, yet again!! and came up with an idea to upload 365 photos, one a day to my alternate yahoo/flickr account as a 1 year photo project.

The trouble with this blog business is I'm taking alot more photos but thought it would be a nice experiment to limit upload to one a day into an online gallery.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The end of this week has been a blur of Knitaround Hastings posters. I visited a great exhibition in the SoCo gallery, Wednesday afternoon, whilst I was out putting up posters in the Old Town of Hastings. It was called Creative Routes II. 'Showcasing the work of 17 Hastings based creative practitioners who have been inspired and stretched by the Professional Development program provided by Hastings Borough Council's Arts Development Dept.' One of the highlights of the exhibition was these knitted Gladiator Helmets by Wendy Newell. Another highlight of the exhibition for me was a collection of 365 postcards....a one year art project by Annabel Tilley.

Its been a difficult groundhog day knitwise, I have knitted and unravelled the second sock at least four timesevery time something would go wrong, the first time it didn't look right, the second and third time I dropped a doubled stitch on my short row heels, finally I'm heading towards the toe, I've bought some regia jeans stretch to knit this lovely lace sock pattern I found here http://www.magknits.com/Sept06/patterns/snowflakesocks.htm

I have also managed to get some more spinning done, although I still havent started blocking the sweater, I think the biggest fear is finding its not going to turn out exactly how I expected , or maybe my tension was out, and its not going to fit quite right, the yarn is Noro Silk Garden so it was quite a pricey project, I'm just going to have to take the bull by the horns!