Bits and bobs.

I have been tardy about updating my blog of late, mainly because of lack of will. Apologies.

I finished my *summer* top a few weeks ago, just when the weather turned colder. Also its a little bit snug, what with the steroids I’ve been on for over a year the weight has galloped on. I have the metabolic rate of a slug, hey ho, lets hope slimming world does me some good.

It is pretty and I have high hopes for it next summer.

So may I present Amaya which also needs a light blocking, made from Rowan Bamboo Tape (bought from Kemps at a ridiculously low price) in Amethyst.

Thank you to the girls at knitting who helped me get my head around the collar, I had been fiddling with it for a couple of days before bringing it in and they quickly worked out the problems and helped me fix them.

Next I finished a pair of Christmas socks for my dad. (he doesn’t read the blog so we are quite safe)

These are Wollmeise 100% merino superwash in Zenzi.

They colours remind me of giraffes on the Serengeti, let us hope they make Dad as elegant and light footed.

Last but not least, I was sitting at my computer one evening when Eric came home and was extremely loving to me. This cat is quite amusing, he will completely ignore you during the day but come 7.30 to 8.00 p.m. he comes bumbling in at quite a rate of knots and it really doesn’t matter what you are doing, it is time for ear and belly rubs. I love this quality time almost as much as he does.

So as he was laying on my lap deliriously happy and purring louder than he can meow. (he has an extremely quiet meow) when I felt this gush of maternal, – caternal? – love and decided to look at cat beds on Ravelry.

And found this… Cat Bed. My heart sang.

Not least because of the use of Knit Picks, Wool of the Andes and it would give me a good opportunity to track some down. Which I did, and found some in France at Tricotin web site.

A couple of hours later with some help off the Tricotin’s on Ravelry because of my very poor school girl French, I had placed my order, full in the knowledge that I wouldn’t get hammered by customs this time as last time I looked France was in Europe. (Would it be that obscure to take up French lessons just because you want to buy yarn from within Europe? – I am considering it!)

And it arrived this morning.

I think its lovely.

I shall be casting on just as soon as I have finished my Lizard Ridge blanket only seven more squares to go!

1st hat of the winter.

As you all know, I have a bare bonce, and therefore my scalp feels the first finger like shivery caresses of autumn. I often shiver at the early part of September but what with a late summer and the odd warm day it seems too early to don a cozy warm hat, no matter how much I want to. October comes, and I feel very cool quite often, but I wait, as much as I can.

You see, there is one thing to be bald in public, but its quite another to be donning woolly hats in weather others might deem to be quite warm, they may still be in long shorts. It just means I receive even weirder looks and comments, (and yes, the public isn’t quite as friendly as you might imagine) than is usual.

And at this point I start to dress in warmer clothes, its the only reason I started to knit. I wanted to feel warm, with woolly items about my person, I needed to feel warm because I simply don’t have any hair, anywhere.. And that hasn’t changed.

Recently on a trip to Birmingham I found Silk Twist Rowan in a colour I will love, Ruby caught my eye.

I didn’t particularly like it on the ball, it didn’t look like it was ever so lovely but then I saw a garment knitted up with it, and instantly fell in love. I then hovered around the balls of Silk Twist until one particular colour caught my eye with which to make a woolly hat. It was Ruby 668, my friends most probably completely understand the colours that haunt my soul.

I used the pattern of Seaman’s Cap but I used the next needle size up. so. 4.5 and 5.00 and the size down from my head which would have been the largest to the middle size head. I felt that this yarn would be lovely and soft at that needle size and if the needle size were smaller it wouldn’t allow the yarn to be everything it could be – warm and soft and snuggly.

Fortunately I was right, it is warm and gorgeous and snuggly, pretty with a hint of tweedyness, which I also love. As I said to a good friend earlier, it is yum, there are so many factors about this yarn that I love. The silk and the merino twisting into tweediness, the brightness of the silk, the warmth of the merino and the slight haze of the mohair, which feels warm and cozy. It could almost make one giddy and when one wears it on a bald bonce, trust me it does… I will be buying more of this yarn, it is yummy. Depending on how this wears as a hat I am seriously considering sweater quantities.

So, photo’s to follow…

Isn’t that hat yummy.

And because my hubby is a rat bag and always takes photo’s just for fun, here are the outakes. Mandy at her finest!

Enough to frighten the children with!

The Crochet Club.

I have been meaning to blog about this for a while but this last month has been hectic. Trust me when I say it is not normal behaviour to cancel crafting days but I simply couldn’t fit in the Warwickshire Area’s Quilting Day, nor could I fit in the monthly meet of the Quilters of Forest of Arden, and I didn’t fit them in last month either! Looking at the diary things are definitely settling down in the next couple of weeks.

Anyway to get back to where we were, Jane Crowfoot came up to see Kenilworth Knit and Natter again (hurrah!) to show us a few techniques that might be needed on her Crochet Club course. I am afraid that I didn’t take any photographs this time, and I had my camera with me. When I say that I was burning the midnight oil to learn double stitch and treble stitch the previous week and half treble stitch the night before!, you might get some understanding as to why, just keeping up with the group was enough for me to think about. – which is why I completely forgot to take photographs.

We had a lovely time, and a lovely lunch!. Jane took us gently but swiftly through many of the techniques. I like the way Jane teaches, she is very intuitive when someone is struggling and has a very gentle way of sending them off back in the right direction.

Fortunately Jackie bought her completed and ends sewn in sample the next week. Mine is on the left and Jackie’s on the right. You can see how I didn’t manage to keep up but I did master most of the techniques, I am very pleased. And Jackie’s is lovely, – I am sitting next to her when we start this course! We are all eagerly waiting for the course to begin, the snippets we have seen look absolutely stunning.

So that left me burning with desire to make something pretty with my new found crochet skills. And there was one little girl that might (although not for long knowing her mother!) have a dearth of pink hand crafted outfits in her wardrobe.

Think Pink!

Firstly I looked for pink yarn in my extensive yarn stash and was shocked, shocked I tell you to find that I didn’t have one skein of a pretty pale pink in all of my stash. A journey was required to squish gorgeous wool so hubby took me to Shipston on Stour to the most wondrous of yarn and needlecraft shops, if you are ever in that neck of the woods it is worth a detour. And there I found the prettiest of yarns Cashsoft Baby DK by Rowan, which is buttery soft and machine washable. What more could a new mum want. I then found a pattern which would suit my newly learnt skills, i.e. simple. I can’t seem to link it from Ravelry, it is called Babies/Childs cardiganpatt No. 173

And immediately cast on when I arrived home and soon had this..

Actually there was a two day pause when it came to make the flowers. I simply couldn’t follow the instructions and paused whilst my brain had time to assimilate the information that I was indeed stuck. Fortunately whilst chatting to a lady at Ally Pally I happened to mention my problem and she suggested using utube, why I hadn’t thought of that before. So soon I was merrily crocheting away with utube on and a video of crocheting flowers being played backwards and forwards very slowly, until I had remembered it.

And I was able to crochet these pretty pink flowers which are adorable. One quick photo call later and I was able to hand the cardigan over to Mum of the soon to be Pink Princess, who gurgled away quite happily through our patchwork class. I must tell you that she is the prettiest of baby girls that I have ever seen, with lots of lovely dark hair, pretty rose bud lips, gorgeous chubby cheeks, a button nose, tiny pretty ears and huge dark eyes with lovely long eyelashes and the longest fingers I have seen. And along with that, if that wasn’t enough she has the most adorable snorks and snores and sighs to listen to whilst she sleeps. I am completely smitten by her.

Kenilworth Knit and Natter do Ally Pally.

As my local readers know I have been organising a coach trip since sometime in June for us to experience the Knitting and Stitching show held at Alexandra Palace in London. I tentatively started to take names at our group to see if we could get the numbers to break even. It was going going well and next Noelle my partner in this venture, enlisted the help of the WI and other crafting groups that she knows, soon between the two of us crafters from all around Warwickshire and the West Midlands were emailing and phoning to see if places were still available and come late July we realised that we could just cover the cost of the coach and entry tickets. At this point I phoned my bank, realising that Kenilworth Knit and Natter needed a separate bank account from myself, I knew it would prove to be too complicated to have money filtering into my account. The bank came good and offered us a bank account that was without charges, which was exactly what we need.

I started to take monies in and was able to book the coach soon after. As more names came forward and paid, I breathed a sigh of relief that all costs were going to be covered and booked the tickets, with the understanding that people will get a refund of what is left. I still have to work out exactly what monies can come back to everyone, (give a girl a chance) as our trip was non profit making.

This morning butterfly’s were in my tummy as I checked I had all the necessary documents and phone numbers in hand in case of emergency. Earlier in the week I had forwarded a full list of the names to Noelle who did a grand job of putting them into alphabetical order as she is the Prefect of our knitting group (and has a badge to prove it! given by me for previous endeavors) and is wonderful at organising people. My trust in her was spot on and she did a fantastic job, those in the know must congratulate her on her methodical way of ticking people onto the coach in both directions, we didn’t lose or leave anybody. (always a relief!) Along with her witty but very informative use of the tannoy system on the coach, she did a grand job and I am most grateful for it.

Our coach was due at 8.30 a.m. and I was at our meeting point shortly after 8.00 a.m. with Noelle coming up the rear soon after. Soon after everyone arrived and we were all there before the coach came and we started off soon after 8.30 a.m. Result!

It was a slow journey, we got to Ally Pally at 11.45. Ouch!

Fortunately we are organised women and I noticed that many of our ladies had decided to lunch early on the coach, to give them maximum time shopping, wise women that they are.

We bounced out of the coach and I took one photograph of Noelle in Ally Pally’s magnificent foyer and that was the last I saw of anyone for three hours!

Even though we arrived late I have a theory in life at shows, I walk to the furthest point and work backwards. This has stood me in good stead for many shows. And I managed to see and purchase from the first three rows in about an hour… I had noticed Jane Crowfoot and said hi and when I got back to her an hour later she said to me, “is that all you have done”, “yep” I replied, “I do like to see a show” of which she laughed and agreed.

And then I continued on my quest for lovely things around the show. I bagged a few items, I will share tomorrow.

What do I think of the show? It was magnificent, truly wonderful. It is just mind blowing. It was Not a disappointment. The only problem with this show is, your stamina lets you down before your mind is ready to give in. And so many workshops which I have never even tried, because even if you came at 10.00 a.m. as the doors opened, it only gives you enough time to look around and purchase, and then to look at the wonderful pieces of art. What you really need is a two day experience to enable you to take part of some of the lovely Learning Curve workshops, which are tasters, for an hour or two and are reasonably priced.

I managed to steer myself away from the shopping to look at the art. It was tough, so little time, but I did it for you.

Here is a snap shot, seriously, the art, well, you could just go for that. This is such a small percentage, but I ran out of time to look at all of what was on offer.

We left at 4.30 p.m. and got back to Kenilworth very late, the traffic was congested practically all of the way back home. Here are some of the girls, we had a coach load of 36 but as it was dark the idea of taking a lovely photograph was taken away from me and this is just a quick snap of some very happy ladies.

Project Completed.

I know there will be times when this project will need to come home to be washed and have the odd stitch straightened out. Maybe it will need to be blocked and lay down to sleep for a while to become whole again. But this is as good as I can achieve with the materials given to me oh so many years ago. And really is this type of project ever completed, it will always be something that I worry over.

Son no.2’s first day on campus at his chosen University.

He is off on adventures new and we are very proud of him. And yes I did cry for most of the journey home, it was difficult to leave what I still see as a puppy not quite grown into a mans skin. All big boned and not quite sure of himself.

I rang him today, I suspect I may need to ring him most nights if only to make sure he is ticking off the required things to do, registering with doctors, dentists, bus passes etc. etc. He seemed happy when I rang so I chatted for a while and then asked him about whether he had any fruit today, his reply, “Well I had some strawberry flavoured cider, does that count?” I laughed and said I didn’t think that would be included in one of his five a day.

And son no.1 came down to lend some brotherly support, although we ribbed him that really it was to see if there was any nice totty around.

I can’t tell you just how quiet it is here, its really very strange.