Tuesday, 29 March 2005

They finally arrived...

Aren't they pretty?!

Birthday welly boots - woo hoo!

And we can also view the fantastic efforts of my first real bits of crochet - ahem! It'll get better as time goes on. Everyone has to start somewhere after all.

First bit of crochet

Second bit of crochet

Monday, 28 March 2005

Been tidying up

We had a bit of a tidy-up sesh on Friday which has created a totally new space in the house. The last of the bogging carpets got thrown out the window in the upstairs bedroom along with the majority of the furniture. We've got a lot more firewood now! Robert has plans (!) for the room which mainly entail the creation of a games room but it's also turned into much more of a crafty corner for me. One of the few pieces of furniture that didn't get the chuck was my 50's kitchen cabinet that stores most of my wool, material, needles and photography stuff. Not letting that go - no chance. The sofa bed is in there so I can sit up there away from the Xbox if I feel like it. Mr Orc has moved upstairs but that is mainly so we could fit the pinball machine into the office. We have it on a long-term loan until Dennis can get round to selling it. I have been very good and not played it yet as I just know I'll get addicted to it if I start.

So I had a sort out of my stash and I'm now thinking what do I make next with what I've got. I also need to get some 2ply to make a baby shawl before mid-May for a friend's baby. So what with finishing Lucky Clover, learning to crochet (going not too badly now that Theresa has shown me a few places where I was going wrong) and making the shawl I should be reasonably busy for the next wee while. And I've still got some birthday pennies to spend to so more stuff will be making it's way to my house. What fun and jolly hockysticks to be had by all - well me anyway!

Some of the current stash

Thursday, 24 March 2005

Right front done

Finished the front this morning while watching the breakfast news. So pretty.

Lucky Clover - right front

Learning to crochet tonight with Teresa at SnB. That could be very entertaining!

Wednesday, 23 March 2005

Oh happy day...

And the birthday shenanigans have finally calmed down after all my running around. It was fun though. Mum did a pile of baking and took that up with her and then I spent a bit of time Friday doing another shedload of baking to fill up the table for Saturday afternoon. On the actual birthday (Thurs) myself and Mum just went into town, had lunch and played at dressing up in the shops (i.e. trying on stuff we can't normally afford). Robert made a lovely roast pheasant for tea and I was throughly pampered over all.

Saturday I was pampered all over again and got more pressies. I got a lovely bag from Vicki that has been designated a "knitting bag" plus a brilliant retro tacky crochet book. Dead cool!

Knitting bag from Vicki

Robert was a total star, of course, and did as he was told so I got two brilliant pressies from him. A Rowan membership and a set of Denise knitting needles. I can't wait to take the Denise needles to Stitch'n'Bitch tomorrow night. I think quite a few might want to play with them - being a new toy and all!

Rowan free gift via Robert

Denise knitting needles

Rhonda and Gus gave me a lovely bunch of tulips and there were more flowers from Andrea and the kids as well. Of course I couldn't say no to all the chocolate that came my way as well. I really was spolit which was lovely.

Pretty flowers from Rhonda

The girlies (plus Dennis and Vinnie) meandered off down the beach to get the appetite kick-started. A'body seemed to be quite impressed with my "private" beach. It is rather lovely. Not as nice as an Orkney or West Coast beach but it's accessible and you never meet anyone else there so it suits me just dandy!

Birthday beach walk

As far as knitting goes I've been storming on with my Lucky Clover Wrap and I've got the back finished. The neck decreases on the right front are storming away now as well so I don't reckon it should take too long to do the whole thing. I just can't get over how quickly it knits up considering the ply and needle size. And it's so pretty. When we had a "let's have a look at all Maureen's vintage clothes and crafty stash" on Saturday night (a few beers and wines had been consumed) I was getting quite a few compliments on things I'd made and things I was planning seemed to generate the same level of interest. I have booked myself a few more Clapotis as well I reckon after I said to Karen that I'd make her a wrap for Rhonda's wedding. Since it's so easy to knit it won't exactly be a hardship.

Lucky Clover - close-up

Lucky Clover - back

I can safely say I've definitely had the best birthday in years and feel the most positive overall that I've been in a I don't know how long. Things are happening, things are changing, and things are heading in a way I'm happy to go. Long may it continue!

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Slightly frustrated!

I finished adding my lacey extras to the leafy camisole I've been making, went to try it on and have discovered that unfortunately my bossums don't quite meet with the bust measurement created - bugger! It's not really possible to rip it back so I'll just have to sew in a couple of darts under my armpits instead. A pain but I'm sure it'll work just as well if I take me time over it. And what has one learnt from this episode? To measure more accurately as one goes. I do like the effect of the double leafy straps though as one stays up on my shoulder and the other one falls off and sits below my tattoos. So it's an almost there job and will be sorted shortly. Hey ho!

Feeling dead chuffed with myself that I'm getting the hang of adding all the little extras to my sidebar. The next thing will be to learn how to add photo galleries. The challenges continue...

Monday, 14 March 2005


Sometimes my boys can be cute...

Sleepy George

...sometimes they can be naughty...

Wally caught in the act!

...but overall you can't help loving them regardless can you!

I wish I could take credit for the photo below as it is from my second favourite spot back home in Orkney (the Bay of Skaill is my favourite) but I have to give all credit where it's due to Sigurd Towrie (www.orkneyjar.com)Of course I'd love to return home at some point but unless I land loads of dosh and Skaill House comes up for sale I don't think it's going to happen. One can but dream.


Sunday, 13 March 2005

Feeling chuffed with myself!

What can I say? I finally managed to figure out how to add buttons to my sidebar. Well pleased with myself. It took a bit of trawling round the internet to find out how to do it as it isn't intuitive in Blogger but now that I've managed to get them on there it means I'm closer to figuring out how to do lots of other slightly more difficult things too to make it all look very pretty and a damn site more interesting to those who have started to pop in to see me. And very pleased I am too that some other knitters are heading my way. I love going and looking at what other folk are doing - it satisfies my eternal noseyness which is kept in check somewhat due to the fact that I mainly work from home nowadays. It gives me an opportunity to see what things others are getting up to and gives me ideas for other things I could achieve - whether it's fancy little things to do with my blog or ideas to put into practice in my knitting or just general creativeness. I love it!

I did think it was about time I added on my pictures of my version of Clapotis. I must admit having done it I really want to make a few different versions in other colour combinations. It really is so fantastically easy once you get going with it and yet looks so effective when it's done. A fantastically clever and inspirational pattern design. My version was created using some Jaeger yarn picked up in a sale years ago (like about 10 years ago) that I was using to create a bra-top in the days when I would have worn such a thing. I'm more of a coward now! So I never actually finished the thing so when I found it I had great fun (!) ripping it back and I just carried on knitting Clapotis with it until there was sod all of it left. Now I just want to find a really soft pink yarn to knit it up in. I think a few balls of Kidsilk Haze would probably make a good job of it too. I shall wait to see what the birthday pennies bring...


Clapotis (close-up)

So what else have we got today? I've added a couple of galleries of my other creations from 2004. I was quite stunned when I got Robert to photograph all of my makes a few weeks ago to see just how many things I had made. You can tell the colours I prefer (and managed to get bargains on as well!) - you won't find too much blue in my repertoire, mainly because it doesn't go with my Scottish peely wally skin tone. This is a skin tone that has to to turn from blue to white before it even tans. Something I used to think was a pain but now it's something I try to make the most of instead as avoiding the sun (no other option in Orkney really) has meant that my skin looks much younger than most of my mates of the same age - bonus! Grey hairs can be dyed over but there's no way I want to have to fill in wrinkles with Botox - icky!

So what are my faves out of "last season's catwalk collection"? I love my long cardigan made with Jaeger Celeste. It was so simple to knit and whizzed up in not time. It's also one of the things that I get the most compliments for - folk actually ask where I bought it from, not if I made it. So cool! As far as my pink/red palette goes I would have to say that Peppermint Twist from the first Stitch'n'Bitch is my fave. I did some "interesting" raglan decreases the first time I did it which meant things had to be frogged and done again but overall it was a fantastic way of using up loads of pink leftovers sitting in my cupboard. I also really love my little capelet made from Colinette Isis. I just made it up as I went along but it's so annoying as I've had sod all chance to wear it. One of the downsides of staying at an old farmhouse rather than in town but it's a downside I can definitely live with.

Going green - completed 2004

Pinky palette - completed 2004

And what else can I add to a lovely day? Well when I downloaded my emails this morning I had a fantastic surprise from my Dad as he had ordered my a gift certificate from Amazon for £100 - ya beauty! I've gone and done some damage to it, and decreased the size of my wish list a peedie grain, and have ordered 5 books, 2 DVDs and 1 CD. How ace is that! I've still got about £30 left and it's not even my birthday yet. That's not until Thursday - St Patrick's Day. I'm leaving the celebrations until Sat 19th when I've invited a few folk round to go for a walk down the beach first - my 'private' beach, well nobody else is hardly ever there as it's too difficult to get to - then it's back to the house for afternoon tea with loads of homebakes. Suits me to a tee and since it's my birthday I can do it the way I want to. Happy, happy, happy! Long may it continue...

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

I feel knitty tonight...

I feel knitty tonight

Well the Lucky Clover Wrap is storming off at a pretty phenomenal pace considering it's 4 ply and 3mm pins. So chuffed with my wool, it's really pretty to watch it growing into something while I'm knitting it. Lovely.

Lucky Clover Wrap - progress so far

Lucky Clover Wrap - close-up

I'm still trying to finish off my leafy camisole at the same time as I'd like to get it out of the way so I can concentrate solely on the wrap. Think I'm about to go upstairs and veg along to Fame Academy and just knit away to my heart's content.

I've made my plans for my birthday treat. Folk are coming round earlier on the Sat afternoon so we can go a walk down to the beach - my beach! Well, it's not a section other folk make it to anyway. Then we can all come back to the house and have loads of cakes and other fancies (the Orcadian expression for homebakes). Why should I get myself all het up trying to find somewhere that does a proper high tea when I can do just as good a job myself - probably better than some. I get to bake for loads of people so that keeps me happy.

Just finished one of the best books I've read in ages - Stella Duffy "Parallel Lies". A fantastic twist to the plot that you really didn't see coming. Loved it. Och weel - time to go play with my wool...nighty night!

Monday, 7 March 2005

A poem for knitters...

The Praise of the Needle

To all dispersed sorts of ARTS and TRADES,

I writ the needles prayse (that never fades)

So long as children shall be got or borne,

So long as garments shall be made or worne,

So long as Hemp or flax or Sheep shall bear

their linnen woollen fleeces yeare by yeare:

So long as Silk-wormes, with exhausted spoile,

Of their own Entrailes for man's gaine shall toyle:

yea till the world be quite dissolv'd and past;

So long at least, the Needles use shall last.

JOHN TAYLOR, London 1640

Wednesday, 2 March 2005

Lots of things!

For some reason our boys, Wally and George, are still under the impression that they are 6 months old and can both fit into their bed on the radiator. We know that is not the case however it doesn't stop them trying and looking a mixture of cute and not particularly bright at the same time. Aaaaaah!


Mr Orc was very helpful and didn't moan at all about having to hold the wool while I wound it into balls. Five balls of approx 100g each and another 2 which are approx 125g. Absolutely ace. I've even cast on for the back of the Lucky Clover Wrap in readiness for the bus journey tomorrow. It looks so pretty already and that's only with one row knitted. Excited about it (how sad am I?).

Only 3 hours of winding

And to finish off today I thought I'd post a couple of pictures of the leaf edged camisole which I'm just kind of making up as I go along. It's turning out rather lovely and I think could definitely pass as a "posh" top.

Leaf camisole March 2005

The detail gives a better idea of the leaf pattern. It wasn't particularly difficult once you got going as long as I remembered not to count the slip stitch that was given in the edgings pattern book since I'm doing this on circulars.

Leaf camisole - detail

Off to see Mum on the way to Edinburgh tomorrow - snow permitting. Hopefully the bus will be fine and I can get a lot of knitting done on the way.

Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Mr Orc helping!

A good day for post today as I received my parcel of wool won off Ebay. The most gorgeous skein of hand-dyed 4 ply yarn - a whole 750g of it for £15 including the postage. It was made all the better when I saw the label on it with an orginal sale price of £38. Definite bonus! The only thing that was a bit daunting was when I saw the size of the skein as I was wondering how the hell I was going to wind it up into balls until I thought "wait a minute, here's a use for Mr Orc". Who would have thought that a character from Lord of the Rings would be so useful in a knitting capacity. The skein lends itself to lovely delicate things but I have to do a few other things first.

Mr Orc helping!

Finished my leftovers vest at the weekend - still have to take photos of it so I can add it. Robert was even quite complimentary about it and said he liked it (shock! horror!). So could I sit with nothing to do for even a day or two - nope! I've got 3 balls of Jaeger Albany (in cream) which I got in a sale so using a fancy border out of my Nicky Epstein book, and a bit of thinking, I'm in the process of making a delicate camisole-type top. My first design from scratch in ages. Could be a disaster but then it could be rather lovely. We shall see how it goes...