Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas

The past month or so has been pretty busy with a couple of trips away to Harrogate and also to a GTG with some stitching friends. There was of course, the small matter of leaving one job and starting another job. The new job is going pretty well so far but there's been a lot to learn so my brain is a little fried just now. Added to that was another delightful episode of sinus infection, which is thankfully settling down.

Its almost Christmas here, so I thought I'd share my Christmas tree and some other decorations. I have stitched a couple of ornaments for exchanges and received some lovely ornaments too. More on them shortly.

Behind the Christmas tree in the picture, you might just be able to see a very white coloured view out the window. The UK is having a spell of very snowy and wintery weather. Initially it was just cold and icy here but on Tuesday, we got about 3-4 inches of snow. Since then, the temperature hasn't gone above zero Celsius and mostly hovering around -6 so there's a lot of snow on the ground. These are views from my train journey home today at 3pm. We've been sent home early a couple of days running because the local train services have suffered major failures and problems due to the weather. In some areas of the UK, people have been trapped at work or out shopping.

I'm having a quiet family Christmas and really looking forward to my first complete Christmas off in 14 years. I'm off until Tuesday. I wish you all a safe and Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Life and other stuff update

I didn't really intend for it to be so long between updates. Thanks to everyone who commented on my recent finishes and also to those who gave me get well wishes. I'm fully recovered from the icky flu that I had and since my last post, I've been vaccinated for both seasonal and H1N1 flu.

Part of the reason for the gap in posting is that I've been very busy preparing for a big life change. In just over 2 weeks, I'm starting a new job. During the whole flu episode, I applied for a office based Nursing role working with a private medical insurance company with Cancer patients. To my great joy and relief, I got the job so I'm about to go from working shifts and lots of weekends to a Monday to Friday job with no more public holiday working. The role is also much lighter as its office based so will be much less stress on my back compared to my current job. Of late, I've struggling with back pain a little more frequently because work has been very physically demanding so this has been a very welcome piece of news. So for the past few weeks, there's been lots of form filling and buying clothes - I've always worn an uniform to work so I didn't really have anything suitable.

This week, I have some time to catch up as I have a weeks holiday. I've come down to Harrogate to spend a few days away and to attend the Knitting and stitching show. Kate of is attending the show as an exhibitor so that's really exciting as Kate has been a friend for some time. If you are at the show, please check her lovely fabrics out in Hall A stand 540.

To relieve some of the stress I've been under, I have been knitting a fair bit and have even finished some things.

A Grey Odessa hat for someone's Christmas

Grey Odessa

Another pair of socks in Regia Bamboo yarn

Bamboo socks

And Veyla fingerless mitts by Ysolda Teague in some Malabrigo sock leftovers.

Veyla mitts finished

I have quite a few more things on the needles - I've promised to knit one of my current colleagues a pair of Cranford mitts as she has admired one of my pairs for a while. I also have a few Christmas knits in the works too. With my new job, I will be commuting daily by train for 20 minutes each way so I shall gain a little knitting time each day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stuck at home progress

The past week has been pretty much home based for me as I've had a heavy brush with the flu. Not sure if its the H1N1 or regular flu but I do know that its knocked me for six. One week on, I'm still off work and feeling below par. I did the sensible thing and quarantined myself at home with plenty of fluids and lots of rest. Thankfully I'm getting back to normal and hopefully I will be back at work at the weekend. Which will be just in time for me to get my flu jabs at work as apparently the vaccinations start next week.

As I've started to feel better, I've been managing to knit and stitch a bit. Mostly still stitching as it seems to be calling the loudest. And I managed to finish something - Thanksgiving Harvest Fairy by Mirabilia. Its on 32 ct raw linen using the recommended Crescent colors threads.

Thanksgiving Harvest fairy

October is Socktoberfest in the Sock knitting world. My aim is to try and finish some of the socks I have on my needles. First up, the Pumpkin socks I started last September. I've finally managed to finish the first one and I've made a start on the second.

Pumpkin socks wip

Hopefully I can get them finished before the end of the month.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Secret knitting and actual stitching

Its been a busy time since I came back from London. The next weekend, I travelled down to Swindon to meet up with a group of stitching friends. Inspired by seeing lots of people stitching, I actually stitched rather than knitted. I've been spending a lot more time knitting rather than stitching lately and I'm starting to really miss stitching. I actually finished something whilst I was there - Pumpkins by JBW design using Sparklies thread in Titian.

JBW Pumpkin

This past weekend I was also at a stitching get together at Pat's in Preston. I did this GTG as a day trip as its only just over 2 hours away by train. It was a great day and we even had a very tiny attendee in Rach's new baby Henry, who is only 3 weeks old.

It meant I got the chance to give Rach the presents I had made for Henry in person.

2 pairs of socks in Lorna's laces Shepherd sock in Georgetown and Rainbow.

Georgetown baby socks

Rainbow baby socks

And a pair of booties - the pattern is Tiny Shoes by Ysolda Teague and they are knitted in Malabrigo sock in Abril and Lettuce.

Tiny shoes pic 2

Baby Henry has an older sister so I thought I would knit her something too - Poppy, also designed by Ysolda Teague.


Not all my knitting lately has been for gifts. I also finished a pair of fingerless mitts in lovely Merino DK that I bought at the IKnit weekender. The pattern is again by Ysolda and is the Cairn mitts from her book Whimsical little knits. I do knit pattern designed by other people honestly.

Cairn mitts finished

On the train back from the GTG on Saturday, I stitched for the whole journey so I've actually finished two more bits of stitching.

Happy fall to thee by Merry Cox.

Happy fall to thee

Brew by R & R reproductions.


Both these designs are from the Shepherd's bush retreat I went to in 2006. I'm thinking I will finish them into little ornaments or pinkeeps. Hopefully this is a sign that my stitching mojo is returning, its been very sadly missed here.

London Part 2, Iknit and the OMA trunk show

Finally getting around to blogging the rest of my London/Iknit trip. At the end of my last post, I had been sightseeing around London.

On the Friday, the Iknit weekender started. One of the big appeals of the IKnit event was the chance to take a class with Marjan of Yarnissma fame. Most of the socks I have knitted in the past are cuff down ones but I've been getting pushed into the direction of Toe up socks due to a combination of the Socktopus sock club and loving the look of Yarnissma's patterns. In the class Marjan explained the ins and outs of toe up socks and she also bought along all her sample socks. The sample socks were amazing to see - I have a couple of the Yarnissma kits so it was very inspiring. I completely failed to take any pictures of them however. I did finish my little sample sock

Sock from Yarnissma class

After lunch with some of the Gourock knitters and Catherine from the Glasgow group, it was back to shopping. Later on, I also got to meet up with Joy from Knitting goddess yarns and some of the other knitters from her Ravelry group. We all had a great chat and I got to catch up with Scully, who I have known for such a long time and haven't seen for a while. Some neighbouring knitters got enabled into Ravelry and Ysolda of Ysolda Teague designs wandered by too. I really love her designs so it was more than a little cool to meet her.

After all the shopping and chatting, I was only really up to relaxing on Ravelry and eating Sushi - two of my favourite things lol.

Relaxing after iknit

Saturday was yet another lovely day so I went off for a wander again before heading to Iknit. Piccadilly Circus was busy as always

Piccadilly circus

I had more of a wander around Whitehall and Westminister. Lots of statues to see but sadly very few were of women. I did find one of Florence Nightingale.

Statue of Florence Nightingale

And one to the Women of World War 2.

War statue with a difference

And then I was off to the Iknit weekender - the one and only picture I took there.

Outside iknit weekender

Once inside, I bought more yarn and some really brilliant buttons. I also finally managed to have a chat with Natalie from the Yarn yard who I keep missing at other events. Slightly ironic that we both travel from Scotland to meet there.


Speaking of the Yarn yard, I was also lucky enough to win some yarn in the P/hop raffle at IKnit. P/Hop stands for Pennies per hour of pleasure and is a fundraiser for Medecins Sans Frontieres, a rather excellent charity that provides health care in areas where its is really needed. I had a very interesting chat about their work that gave me a little to think about.

This is the yarn I won. Very me colours.

The yarn yard toddy blues/greens
On the Sunday, it was time to head home but before heading home, I met up with another Raveler and travelled out to the Old Maiden Aunt trunk show at Socktopus. I met Lilith of OMA in my knitting group. She doesn't get the chance to attend these days but I do see her sometimes so I really wanted to go the trunk show to support her as I knew she was getting stressed about it. Also I've been a customer of Alice of Socktopus since she opened her shop and I couldn't miss the chance to meet her too and visit her shop, especially as she is moving to within Stash. We arrived a little early and thankfully Alice and Lilith let us in.

There were a lot of people keen to get in.

Eager knitters waiting to get in

And then shop for mostly purple yarn

Purple yarn shopping

Carefully examine the yarn and eat Brownies and jelly beans

Lots of knitters

And just knit and socialise.

Shopping and socialising

The trunk show was fab and it was great to met lots of people who I only know via Ravelry. Also I got the chance to catch up with another Joy from Crafty threads and yarns as we completely missed each other at Iknit. Alice is so lovely and I'm so glad I got to visit her shop before she moved to Stash.

I bought some of Lilith's yarn at the show, which is a little ironic considering that I live fairly near to Lilith's studio. But holiday yarn is the best sort.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Catch up and London trip part 1

Currently I'm in holiday mode as I'm coming to the end of a fortnight off work. I've been keeping pretty busy with lots of knitting and a trip to London.

Right at the start of my time off and just in time for my birthday, I finished a second Ishbel shawl in Yarn yard merino tencel in the shade Lavender Water.

Purple Ishbel

I spent most of last week visiting London, partly for the Iknit weekender plus I added on a few extra days for sightseeing. Due to a bizarre coincidence, my parents were also in London during the same week so whilst I was down there, we joined forces for some sightseeing. On Wednesday afternoon, we all went on a tour around the Houses of Parliament.

House of Parliament

Inside Parliament

The only place within that you can take pictures is in Westminister Hall, where figures of state have lay in state prior to their funerals. Beyond this point, photographs aren't allowed, which is a pity as the buildings are gorgeous.

Westminister Hall

The guide we had was not so good. She said quite a few things which I knew where inaccurate and also let her political opinions cloud some of the things she said, which was pretty sad but the buildings more than made up for it.

On Thursday, I had plans to meet my parents later in day for a late lunch followed by going to see The Mousetrap - the longest running show. Given the beautiful weather that London was having, I decided to have a walk around central London followed by a open top bus tour. The hotel I was staying in was in Pimlico so I set off to walk towards Trafalgar square.

Trafalgar square

The fountains in the square

Nelson's column and square

At the moment, there is a public art project called One and other, where members of the public are getting one hour on the fourth plinth on the square to do whatever they want (within reason). I arrived just as a changeover was taking place.

Plinth changeover 1

Its all filmed so you can watch it on the internet at any time.

Around the plinth

From there, I went off on a open top bus tour and then it was off to lunch in Chinatown and the mousetrap. Rather than post all the pictuures, I thought I would link to a slideshow.

Monday, August 17, 2009

life and more knitting

Work is a little busy and stressful at the moment plus I've ended up on Facebook too in order to keep up with my extended family around the world. So its time for a catchup post. Over the past weeks, there's been a family party too - My cousin and her family are leaving the UK to settle in Canada. We are all going to miss them a lot but I am sure they will visit plus its nearly 20 years since I last visited Canada so it might be time to plan another trip.

As work has been a little crazy, I've been in need of relaxation and destressing when I'm at home. One of my favourite things about all the craft things that I do is that I find that they all help to reduce stress. I have a tendency to let things bother me and get me down so things that relax me are really vital. At the moment, its mostly knitting thats grabbing my attention. I've finished two projects since my last post.

Firstly Shur'tugal socks in absolutely divine Malabrigo sock in the shade Abril. The colour is even more purple in real life. These took a while to get done but it was worth it.

Shurtagal socks finished

My second knitting finish, on the other hand, just flew off the needles. 18 days from start to finish and I didn't knit on it most days. The pattern is Ishbel by Ysolda Teague. I've knitted a lot of her designs largely because they are so pretty and so well put together. She seems to put a lot of clever detail into her designs. The yarn is Habu naturally dyed laceweight cashmere. I bought this yarn several years ago when I first started knitting as I loved the colour but wasn't confident enough to knit it up into something that would do it justice until now.

Ishbel finished

I love this little close up in the window as it shows how light and airy the lace is.

Finished Ishbel closeup 2

I now know why people knit lace as it is so addictive plus blocking a lace shawl is just like magic. Blocking boards aren't available in the UK so following some advice on Ravelry, I used children's foam puzzle tiles which worked out fairly well.

Ishbel blocking

Friday, July 24, 2009

3 finishes

Life continues on its usual routine around me. Mostly work and sleep, although I have managed quite a bit of knitting of late.

First up, I finished Marigold from Rowan 45. I had originally intended to wear this to a family wedding which I attended recently but I didn't quite make it. The yarn used is Drops Safran, rather than the Rowan cotton glace called for as the colour was perfect.

Marigold finished

After finishing it, I thought I'd give some attention to some of my other knitting WIPs. I managed to finish the Red hat that I promised my mum earlier in the year. The pattern is ROse red by Ysolda Teague and the yarn is Orkney angora St Magnus in ruby.

Rose red finished

I gave it to my mum today. Its her birthday tomorrow so as I'm working this weekend, I took her birthday presents over to her today. Thankfully she liked it and the presents. My dad bought her a Wii recently so my sister and I clubbed together to buy an additional controller and some games. They are both rather obsessed with the Wii since they got it so I'm sure it will bring hours of fun to them.

Finally I finished my Over the garden wall socks from the Socktopus sock club. This socks have been a fairly challenging knit, largely because of the really different construction plus I'm not that experienced at knitting toeup socks but I really glad to have knit them. I actually kind of fancy the idea of another pair in a different coloured yarn, perhaps purple or red.

Over the garden wall socks

The sock knitting is fairly appropriate as the Summer of socks KAL that I took part in last year is running again just now. This year's theme is no stress which fits perfectly with how I feel about my knitting just now. My plan is to try and finish some of the socks that I have on the needles just now and perhaps start another pair or two when something catches my eye.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More Tiny! ten adventures

Tiny! ten has now left Scotland to continue on his travels but before he left, there were a few more photo opportunities.

This past week, Torchwood was dominating the BBC1 schedules so it was only natural to watch it with Tiny! ten. No spoilers here as I know its not been on elsewhere in the world. All I will say is that it was really, really good.

Tiny Ten watching Torchwood

We also went to knitting group and sat in the Conservatory with a variety of artwork.

Tiny Ten at the Lansdowne

There was also a little bit of Paisley sightseeing. Down by the old Anchor thread mill and the Hamills - a local waterfall.

Tiny ten at the Hamills

And back towards the mill from beside the river.

Tiny ten by the river in Paisley

And a rare blog picture of me with Tiny! ten.

Me and Tiny ten

Tiny! ten has now travelled to England to continue his adventures and I hope that Andrea has as much fun with him.