Friday, June 27, 2008

Because I'm just slightly obsessed



...and after

I am knitter, hear me roar

It has been an insaaaaaanely busy couple of days, and not in a planned sort of way.

The sign finally went up outside our house

and we're living out of boxes. The move is on.

The lack of choice, relatively, has given me a whole new outlook on my stash and my knitting. I have a fabulously clear to-do list, and for a change I'm excited about getting through the next few bits, as opposed to being a fickle, fickle girlie as usual.

Though I am totally buying that swift from GetKnitted when I move, cos, daaaamn

using a glass and a bottle of vitamins to hold the yarn as I wind is just a little too McGyver for my tastes. Still, the mother of invention and all that.

I got home to a very quiet house after SnB on Wednesday, as OH had departed for Dublin. I made some dinner of the kind that he wouldn't normally eat, stuck on some food network, and settled down on the sofa to get a section of the ClahPooTee done. I had some tea, and some rum and coke, and watched some forgettable movie or other, and finally cast off...and it was 3.15am.


On the plus side, ClahPooTee is done and dusted, and rather fabulous if I do say so myself. It needs blocking, but that will have to wait until I move. I'm coming up on the heel of the much neglected sock 2, and I'm very proud of the fact that I did not drop a stitch at the cinema, despite laughing my butt off at the movie.

I've also planned a super sekret project for my SP12 partner. I think she'll like it. I hope so, at least.

On that note....
SP12 WEEK ONE Question
Favourite summer drink is either an iced caramel macchiato, or a frozen margerita. I'll never say no to some pinot grigio either though, in fairness :)

I fully realise that we're up to week 3 already with the questions, but I shall endevour to keep up and not be quite so head-in-the-clouds after this.

SP12 WEEK Two Question
As a kid, what did you look forward to most about summer vacation/break/holiday?
I don't think there was really any one thing. Long evenings, not having to wear a school uniform every day, spending all my time outside, 99's, butterflies and ladybirds taking over the garden...I loved being a kid.

This weekend, for a change, I'm going to be in Belfast. As well as being a knitter, you see, I'm....a big ginormous nerd. I'm going to a games convention. There shall be pear cider and absinthe and singstar and slaying of monsters. Rocking.

I shall attempt to blog, depending on how my liver is doing. I shall start now, however, by packing up my laptop and making a b-line for the train. Possibly stopping for some chilly coffee goodness on the way.

Have a great Friday everyone! Mwah!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Fast and furious

ClahPooTee is going should be, considering I spent more time than I'd care to admit on it last night. My progress slows the more rum and coke I drink, plus I was watching "The Supersizers go...Regency" which left me giggling far too much to be able to knit.

I've restarted my second TOFUtsies sock. I discovered that I had a nasty ladder right up one side when I tried it on to see if I was ready for heel turning, and I'm just neurotic enough not to be able to live with the thing, so I frogged it. Frogging is a hella lot faster than knitting. I've restarted it, and it's going well, even though I'm checking for the first whispers of a ladder after every round.

Still loving the yarn. Am totally stocking up on it as soon as I get through my current sock stash. I realise that sock yarn doesn't count, but I currently have one pairs worth on the go, 2 more pairs worth wound into cakes and in a ziplock, ready to start...then there's 8 more skeins of Jitterbug and 2 pairs worth of Natural dye studio.

That is ten fricking pairs worth! I also need to add that this stuff is all for my own personal socks. (I don't give gifts of socks that can't get the "handwash cycle in machine then dry flat" routine unless they're going to a knitter/yarnie)
I have to break my yarn diet next week to get a pairs worth for OH, as he's getting rather fond of the idea of having all nice socks. I'm both flattered and...urgh...boys have such giant honking feet..

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The perfect storm

There's a storm coming in off the Atlantic today, which means that it's breezy, raining, and far too dark to take any decent photos of the clah-poo-tee for blogging with. Such is the nature of the Irish summer, I am afraid.

The weekend has been great so far, if manically busy.
On Friday, we attended the wedding of two of our friends, Eamon (aka Kindermord) and Lizzy. It was fantabulous, and much fun (and wine) was had by all. As a direct result, yesterday morning involved a very long lie in, followed by an artery clogging breakfast that would make most vegetarians swoon. We had tea and jam (jelly) doughnuts on the train, and arrived home for nothing more strenuous than watching Doctor Who and getting a repeat done on the clap.

Today, we're back in the swing of things in Belfast. Packing, packing and more packing. We are, for once, being very strict on ourselves in the decluttering and dumping of stuff, which will make life much easier when it comes to squashing it all into the back of a transit van.

To be honest, I'm mostly out of steam now. OH will get more done while I work and issue orders from the spare room tomorrow, and then we've got the first bunch of people coming to view the place tomorrow evening. Argh. I am on full cobweb alert.

I hate moving house, and I'm really going to miss this place when we leave. Belfast, that is.

Time waits for no man, eh?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

In ernest

The packing has started properly today. Before, it was just a collection of wedding presents that were sensibly left in their delivery boxes. Now, it's boxtacular here.

We have quite a lot of stuff, for people that have no actual furniture of a tables/chairs/beds variety. The vast majority is good stuff that we use regularly, and we've given a few bags of random bits that we don't use much or at all to charity. Including a bin(garbage) bag of yarn, which went off to Inga last night. Let me just say that I can be bribed into most things given enough caramel latte!

So the house is slowly but surely filling with boxes. We splashed out and bought a couple of boxes boxes, which has proven to be a very good idea, as everything stacks neatly, and none of them are so big as to let us go to the dangerous place. You know the one I mean...where you're making amazingly good progress at packing away your books and things, and are all chuffed with yourself until such time as you attempt to lift one of the fully packed boxes, and almost get a hernia.

My big news, in a sad and geeky sort of way is that all the "kids" are packed. There's no point in showing you a photo of boxes of books (though I may if we end up stacking them as high as I think we will) but I thought that someone might be interested to know what fifty*coughcough*thousand yards of yarn looks like when you've put it in a giant ziplock and sucked out all the air.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you

my stash!

It weighs....I reckon somewhere between 15 and 20 pounds, and takes up an amazingly small amount of space. Pretty good going as it used to fill 2 underbed drawers, a chest of drawers and random bags about the house. The bag in the picture is supposed to fit a winter weight double (feather)duvet and 4 (feather) pillows, plus the sheety bits with ease.


The hardest part was deciding on what to leave out, and therefore work on, while my lovelies are indisposed. My current stash,outside of the giant ziplock, looks like this

There's the rest of the yarn for my clah-poo-tee, some yarn for a super sekret projekt, and enough sock yarn for 2 more pairs after my current wip.

Should keep me going for a month, dontcha think?


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Four seasons in one day

There's a wonderful saying in this part of the world that goes

If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes

Yesterday was no exception. It was a generally bleh day, overcast with some sun peeking through the gaps in the clouds. At some point in the late afternoon, it got very dark in the space of a couple of minutes, and we had one of the heaviest cloudbursts that I've ever seen.

It may appear that this picture is out of focus, but no, it's raining that heavily.

The good thing about rainy days, to look for the silver lining, is that there is absolutely no justification required for curling up on the sofa with some knitting, chocolate and something interesting on the gogglebox.

Clapotis, or Clah-poo-tee (in honour of Lime N Violet) is coming along well, and I managed to take some spectacularly crap photos of it, and the stitch dropping bit, which have been sent firmly to the recycle bin.

The yarn is Lorna's Laces Lion and Lamb. Yup, it's rather damn expensive, considering it's a shawl and it takes 4 skeins, but the colour is fantastic, and I could just roll around in skeins of the stuff - it is positively lickable. Also, Kate Gilbert? Fricking genius.

I'm really enjoying the knitting of this piece. There is a lot to be said for using nice yarn and good needles. Knitting is such a tactile experience that one bad experience with squeaky acrylic or skin-peeling mercerised cotton can put someone off for years.

As lovely as clapotis/clah-poo-tee is, it's not really KIP type of stuff. Not once it gets past the first section or two at least. Hence my ever present sock project.

My second TOFUtsies sock is well on the way, and I even have a photo of the first one for you lovely people

Again, some very yummy yarn, and perfect for the Irish climate, as any day could involve showers and a heat wave all at once!
This yarn has the benefits of both cotton (but softer than most) and wool (but less sweaty than most). I can see myself buying several (dozen) more balls of this to make all my summer socks out of, while sticking to good old wool for the colder months.

Does anyone else have a summer sock yarn, and a winter one? Or am I just a weirdo as I do, yet don't live anywhere near the equator or Georgia...?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Karma, etc.

There have been two adorable booties sitting on the mantlepiece in the living room for over a month now, waiting for nothing more than a decision on whether to add a button or just sew the ties across like mary janes.
Finally, a decision was reached about 15 minutes ago to sew them across, as I wanted them done, and wasn't feeling patient enough to walk to the shop for some suitable buttons.

Today's post was going to be a slight rant about how I had very carefully wound up the remaining couple of metres of this yarn to perform said sewing, but how I am actually a bad knitter(tm) and can't find it. I was then going to post a picture of the booties, looking sad and unloved.

Except karma seems to be alive and well in my house, and eating booties. In less than the minute it took me to leave my chair and look in the top drawer of the adjacent chest, the little purple buggers have vanished.

Poof, gone.

While I could take this as a signal from the universe that I am rather too lax in weaving in the ends of my FO's, I choose to see it as the universe wanting the booties more than I do.

No doubt, they'll turn up in with the saucepans when we're unpacking in our new house.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I hate Mondays

I'm not sure how I got here, but it seems to be Monday again already.
Now don't get me wrong, I had a good weekend (and very productive on the sock knitting front) but it was far too short. We also made the mistake of getting on the train last night and congratulating ourselves on getting some good seats, before realising that the rest of the carriage was filled with 10 year olds hyped up on sugar on their way home from a school trip.

They got out half way to Belfast. There was rejoicing.
Any idea of mine to change careers and become a teacher have flown the nest. Drama teacher excluded.

My ipod came into its own on that journey though. Nothing like drowning out the sounds of crying/fighting kids in large numbers like a good podcast and some knitting. I didn't even drop a stitch.

I started this Tofutsies sock on Friday morning on the train to Dublin, and finished it on the train back to Belfast last night. Not bad, eh?
I'm trying to get through them as fast as possible, as they're part of my stash that technically doesn't exist, as it's not logged in ravelry.

This may not seem to be a cause for alarm, but if you saw the size of my logged stash, you might think again. I'm part of stash knit down, so if I can get these done and not claim for them, then it cancels itself out and I don't have to add it to my total yards either. Right?

I mean, it's not paranoia if there are knitters actually watching, is it?

Friday, June 13, 2008


It seems that I'm being vaguely productive these days, despite a growing workload, the cold from hell, and a general feeling of bleurgh that is refusing to go away.

When OH was living in Bristol, I spent far more time and money than could be deemed sane by any rational person in a store called HobbyCraft. It's the nearest that we have to a proper bigbox craft store in this part of the world..kind of like Michaels, I guess. Aaaaanyway, one of the purchases I made was two balls of this

It's Rowan Biggy Print in Thunder.

I fell in love with the colour pretty much as soon as I clapped eyes on the stuff. It's also fabulously squishy, which was the icing on the cake. I thought I'd make a very punk rock scarf with it.

I cast on the scarf. This stuff is 2 stitches to the inch, and after about 2 feet of ribbing my heart out, I was realising very quickly that I was going to have a contender for worlds shortest functional scarf on my hands. I made an executive decision, and frogged it, wound it into balls, and stuck it in a ziplock.

Nearly 2 years later, I found a pattern that wouldn't require another 15 balls, or make me look like the Michelin man.

Or mitt, as I was doing a little self portrait photography here. I'm quite proud of it, and it's much cooler in real life than the pic.

Hurrah for....hanging on to stuff instead of destashing!

The second thing I have off the needles this week are my Yukon socks!

Forgive the photo. It was late, and I was overtired. They are fab, and I love the yarn, which is Knitpicks memories.

Wow, an entirely FO related post!
The fantastic thing about this is that my WIP pile has shrunk, as has my stash.
I now have one hibernated item (moss stitch cardigan) and two wips.
One is my sofa knitting, my clapotis, and the other is a tofutsies sock that I cast on on the train this morning. Socks are great for travelling with.

I'm on the Ravelry Stash and Burn group knit down, and it's proving great at keeping the motivation going. Something like weightwatchers, I think, where each month we have to show our yardage in public. No one wants to be told that they've made no progress, and to lay off the

Have a great WWKIP everyone :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Old news but good news

Yesterday, I was in a funk. Not a break out your flares funk, but more the kind that makes you feel like a big, useless slug.

What better way to cheer yourself up than to sit down on the sofa with some snacks?

MmmmmmmBacon Crackers. Everyone loves bacon crackers.

But wait!!! What's that?? That thing in my cracker box?



Not only is it yarn, it's fantabulous handpainted and handspun yarn from DudleySpinner!!

A while ago I sent the lovely Deb a care package from Northern Ireland, as she used to live here and was experiencing some withdrawal symptoms for tea. Personally, I still think I got the best end of the bargain, which now sits in much better light beside my laptop**

It's the first handspun that I've ever owned, and it's just fabulous. It's also about to be turned into one of Stefanie Japel's One Skein Wonders - a pattern that I've lusted after for a couple of years, but only got around to buying last week.

So I get to use genius yarn with a genius pattern, and hopefully have some non-knitter (and perhaps even knitterly) types mistake me for a genius when I parade around wearing the finished product this summer! Can I have a w00t!, please?

**The ball may very well be completely squished out of shape by the end of the day. I dare you not to fall victim to its "come hither" stares! It's the best kind of stressball in the world. (Yeah, did I mention we're househunting? Bleurgh)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Times flies....literally

The last week was spent out of the country with work, which was both good and bad. Getting up at 4am to catch a flight is not my idea of fun, unless cocktails with little umbrellas in them await me on the other side. It was nice to see everyone though, and much fun was had.

Until my flight home, that is. Initially I was annoyed with myself when I woke up on Saturday morning, thinking that I'd overdone it on the wine and was paying the price. As it transpired over the next 48 hours, I actually had a stomach bug. Yay.

The airport in Amsterdam is great, and provided space for little old me to have a nap. This was a good thing, considering the way the day turned out, with one delay after another on both sides, and finishing in spectacular fashion as someone nicked my phone.

Again, the plus side is that I had it turned off and pin locked, so they've essentially stolen an expensive paperweight. I've lost my contact book, which is annoying, but fixable. Thanks to the nice man in the phone shop, I've also got the same number back, along with my credits, voicemails and all that jazz.

I got the sum total of zero stitches knitted, and purchased no yarn, which is an achievement. It really amazes me how sitting in a plane on a runway for an hour and a half makes you feel all McGuyver-like in the quest for potential knittable materials.

House hunting is also going on at the moment. OH has been doing the rounds all week, and we're going to another one today. We've actually found our perfect place. So perfect that we'd buy it tomorrow and move in as it is. There are, unfortunately, 3 other couples who want it as well, so the competition is on. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Looking forward to SnB this week. Have new shinies to show off :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

SP 12

Before I launch into my secret pal 12 questionnaire, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for their kind words on the demise of my ham. It's most appreciated.

Yes, I've signed up for yet another swap. What can I say, I love them. I have been lucky so far, as I've yet to receive anything approaching a dud package. This also reinforces my "knitters are just lovely people" theory.

Without further ado...

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Natural fibres. I think a small percentage of nylon is sock yarn is a wonderful thing, but I try to keep it at that. I mostly knit wool, as it's easily found, but I love Blue Sky Alpacas cottons as well!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

My circs stay in their little packets in a small box, all neat and tidy. My straights stay in their packets in a drawer (if they'll fit!) or a random corner of my computer desk, which is probably why I spend so much time looking for them.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I learned knit stitch in school when I was 6 or 7. Not casting on or off, just knit! I gave up completely at some point in secondary school, and didn't pick up needles again til about 3 years ago. I guess I'm mostly self taught, and I'd consider myself intermediate to advanced.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yup, I have one on Amazon. If you go to this Ravelry page and click on the link, Ravelry will get some cash for referring you :) My list is under my real name, and I'm the only one on the site!

5. What's your favorite scent?
Foodie smells...honey, vanilla, lavender. Perfumes on my shelf are Coco Chanel, Agent Provocateur Porcelain, and Ghost.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Milk or dark chocolate (especially Green and Blacks), and those chocolate covered mint patties in the silver wrapper that I had in the States and can't remember the name of.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I used to crochet, and intend to take it up again after I move house. I've also got a drop spindle and some Hello Yarn fibre in the post to me at the moment, which I'm very excited about!

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) MP3's are go! I'm not a pop girl, but I like rock, alternative, some jazz/blues and classical.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? Purples, reds, blues, greens...and black. Pastels and any shade of yellow or orange makes me look completely anemic.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I got married recently, and my hamster went to the big wheel in the sky last week.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes, yes, yes and no.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

I knit a lot of socks, as they're fabulous for travelling with.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Second sock of a pair in Knitpicks Memories, and a clapotis in Lion and Lamb. It's as near to project monogamy as I get.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes indeedy!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I love my Addis. I magic loop a lot, so I'm working on filling in the gaps in my needle sizes. I have a few pairs of straights in bamboo. I'm not a fan of metal straights or plastic.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yup! Got a bargain winder off eBay last year. I don't have a swift yet.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Errr......2 years?

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Halloween!!!!! Not in a Hallmark way though..

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Apart from yarn? Books, especially cookbooks. I have silly amounts of them, and love them all dearly.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I subscribe to Rowan and IK. There are a few knitting books on my wish list that I wouldn't mind getting my mitts on. Yarn-wise, I lust over the knitpicks website, even though they don't deliver to Europe. I'd also like to try some BMFA.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Fair Isle and steeking. I don't ever see myself using them on a regular basis, but it's just so that I can say I've conquered them!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Oh yes! Umm....I'm a toe up knitter, so I don't remember. 7.5 inches around the ball of my foot. After that I'll have to rummage for a measuring tape.

23. When is your birthday?
3rd of October

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?