Not much to show really, just bobbles from my Surface by Norah Gaughan.

These are from the first sleeve which I still haven’t finished.

I’m not sure if I am enjoying the bobbles. Part of me really likes them and another part loathes them because they make my wrists and hands ache. There is also a part of me that wants them finished – I would love to wake up and find this garment ready to wear.

I’ve circled Christmas day as my deadline. Its a present for me, wish me luck!

For a very dear friend.

Life is just like a roller coaster sometimes, we have our ups and downs or our ebbs and flows or maybe we just experience the tide of life. Often with a rather gritty bottoming. I could even put into this little scenario not waving but drowning. Just sometimes there are good friends that pull you out of the mire, it must be tough for them to cope with the changes, but they don’t change and remember you, no matter how weird you look, just who you are.

And they are few, these friends.

And for this friend, well, he has been a good pal for many, many years. When I was in my darkest hour, (and there were many) he just sat and chatted with me – and for that I am very grateful.

So, when I noticed this autumn that he was without a woolly hat, (he has moved recently and misplaced his woolly hats) I became concerned. So, after looking through my stash and various patterns I knitted up a fisherman’s hat (that will keep his ears warm) in RYC Cashsoft Aran.

I could say this hat will keep him warm whilst he ventures out daily to shop for his organic vegetables and twice weekly line caught cod.

But the truth be known, its his twice daily jaunts to his local hostelry.

And long may that reign.

and no it doesn’t look that orange its a much deeper red, just poor photography on my part.

Oh the joy of beads!

I’ve finished the binding on my Christmas tree skirt. Hubby went to bed early last night and I spent a couple of hours hand sewing.

I was quite sad when I came to the end of it. Although I had a wonderful nights sleep, perhaps this is better for the soul than a complicated cable pattern just before bed time.

And the reason I have pushed on with the sewing?

Was this – the beading. I became quite giddy with excitement as I rifled through my stash of beads.

It is lovely to play like a child again, actually I think it is better than playing like a child as these are beautiful glass beads made for adults to enjoy, not plastic beads that become dull very quickly.

I haven’t planned every stage yet, but I have settled on some beautiful Rocaille Czech gold beads with silver linings in size 7/0 as a trim all the way around the edge.

So pretty, I’m sure these are really going to shimmer and dance with the lights of the Christmas tree shining upon them.

I’m a third of the way around.

A skirt for a Christmas Tree!

I’ve had to word my title in this way because after coming home with my Christmas Tree Skirt my family voiced disappointment and son no.2 in particular seemed quite sad that it wasn’t a Christmas Tree skirt to wear!!! Hubby just wondered why?! I would be making one, but was sure that I was making a party skirt.

Earlier in the day Carie and I had a conversation about just how many people thought that we were making skirts for ourselves, I mentioned that I was slightly worried that I really didn’t think I came over as a person that would wear a Christmas tree skirt but that my family see me otherwise. At this point I’m wondering who else I have told – Mother? – thinks I would look quite jolly with Scots Pines festooning a gaily decorated skirt.

To start at the very beginning, I saw a class on quilting that sang to my very soul. And I knew of the perfect companion, one who enjoys colour and texture even more than I do and who is always game for new textile adventures. After a flurry of emails Carie and I were booked and eager to take part.

Eventually the day dawned, a bright blue day, and off I trotted to The Quilters Den very much looking forward to seeing Carie for the first time in ages and what the day would have in store for us. I chose my materials which is trickier than it looks, I went for bright and loud Christmas colours, which will suit our Christmas tree decorations perfectly.

Carie arrived, chose her colours and so we set to work for six hours. Carie and I barely had time to speak to each other, as we raced through each step of the patchwork, eager to see how it would all come together. All too soon the day came to an end and we had this between the three of us, (another lady called Ros was part of our group)

Its rather lovely to see how different colourways come together.

I’d be quite happy with this under my tree.

and just a quick peek show and tell. Here are the matching socks, well mine match Carie’s or as Carie so eloquently put it, “Mandy was copying”, I laughed and felt like a naughty school girl who’d been caught peeking over a neighbours shoulder to borrow their answers. “I only copied because she egged me on” – and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. They do look good together, I was quite sad that Carie’s hubby wasn’t joining us as at some stage as he has a matching pair too!

I notice we have both reverted to our normal toe knitting pattern rather than what was suggested. I started on the patterns toes, thought ‘bleugh’ ripped back and knitted my normal toe.

I had a lovely day, it was great fun with wonderful company.

I managed to do some work on my skirt yesterday,

all pieced together,

and every tree has been zigzagged in gold thread three times, to make them stand out.

a quick peek at the back. Not too shabby.

and this is how I left it last night. I’ve managed to attach all of my binding.

Spey Valley Socks.

Having a skein of Peace, Love & Misti Alpaca Hand Painted sock yarn in your stash is akin to having a case of the finest port (hopefully of the year of your birth) stashed away in a deep cellar under your home. (a modern wine cellar fridge will do if the builders were remiss in digging out a cellar whilst building your home) You know its there, its gives you a warm comforting glow and just the thought of using it makes you shiver with anticipation. That stage of affairs can be enjoyed for a very long time.

Then, a friend knits with her Misti Alpaca in exactly the same colourway that was sitting in my stash. You mention this to her and she waxes lyrical about how wonderfully soft and gorgeous her new socks are and practically commands you to cast on. Well with that in mind and the amusement factor that it would be quite good fun to knit the same socks I cast on. Spey Valley Socks by Nancy Bush in Knitting on the Road.

I think its quite a nice idea to knit Spey Valley Socks that have the glint of The Macallan in them and certainly have the comfort that comes from a dram or two. Did I mention that the yarn is made from Alpaca, Merino, Silk and a touch of Nylon.

As beautiful as they are, there is a slight fault, can you see what it is?

A closer look.

You can see on the bottom sock that the striping of the yarn starts to reverse. I didn’t notice until I was half way down my second sock. So I turned my first sock inside out and discovered this…

a tiny little knot that must have slipped through my fingers whilst racing for the toe. It seems secure so I’m just going to leave it alone and see what happens.

Me, I love them and I can’t wait to wear them.

I’ve noticed that Loop in Islington have even more delightful colourways in this yarn, fortunately for me the colours that I favoured were sold out. I still have two more skeins in my stash to shiver in delightful anticipation over.