Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Jack's Skull Hat finished

It's finished and sent over to him in Belfast and I got the sweetest phone call this afternoon saying "Auntie Debbie, I wuv my skull hat - thank you" - and I don't think his mum was in the background saying "Jack, say you love the hat!" Now remember, Jack's favourite colour is orange:
Here's the Skein Prince modelling it, but he's a bit older so it's a tiny tad too tight.
I did struggle with undo-ing the provisional cast-on and ended up just picking up the stitches, but I think it worked out ok in the end. And had to do a second dash to Hobbycraft to pick up a second ball of Donkey (the brownish colour) as ran out halfway through.

There will be a shop update later in the week and I've been reskeining away like mad with my new beautiful swift which I acquired from ebay for a very reasonable sum. I think it's antique (someone may be able to correct me on this) and works like a dream with my crappy skein winder and makes a very good substitute for my knees which I had been using up til now! Should have got one months ago - was just fussy about finding the right one.

Right, let's see if I can dig out any photos for this shop update:
And here's Sweetbird in Plushness

And in Mellow

And in Endure
I love seeing how the different yarn bases absorb the same colour. And why so much Sweetbird? I couldn't stop thinking about these wonderful creations by the talented knithappens of etsy:They're for sale in her shop as we speak and I'm so itching to click the Add to Cart button!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Honey Monster

After four weeks of searching newspapers, notice boards and online, we found a littly kitty and brought her home. She is a tortoiseshell and we called her Honey just because it looks like she broke into a honey jar and has is it smudged all over her little face. We are all in love with her - even Paddy and Jock, the old gentlemen cats of the house, are fascinated watching her and have been unusually tolerant!Kittens and yarn? Well, she's been tempted but sits in my lap while I reskein just watching. What a good cat she is. Guess I'd better put a note on my etsy site about presence of cats for those of us with allergies. God, I used to be terrible - my eyes would be streaming if there was a single cat hair in the room - until about 15 years ago, a doctor friend of mine who was studying homeopathy gave me some of her pills and I was as good as cured. Occasionally, I'll come across a cat that sets me off again, but basically cured.

As for knitting, I cast on my first pair of Monkeys with the Field of Flowers yarn from Sunshine Yarns (check out Dani's new website - a certain knithappens features heavily in the gallery with all her gorgeous mitts). I love everything about this pattern and the yarn is gorgeous to work with:
I brought them along to the Knit Happens in Newbury meeting in Borders last Wednesday, along with the Skein Prince and Princess who did a bit of finger knitting, and had to laugh when the lovely, and very amusing, Sue described me as knitting with four kebab sticks! Why they were my bargain bamboo DPNs from ebay, I'll have you know! We could only stay for an hour but we met some very lovely people and took over an entire section of Starbucks with about 20 knitters. There was also talk of a trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show at the Ally Pally later in the year which sounded good to me.

And a bit more knitting - I'm in the process of knitting a Skull Hat for my nephew Jack in Belfast whose favourite colour is orange. It was for his birthday, but that happened to be last Friday - oops, so better get a move on and finish it before the end of winter.
It doesn't look like much so far, but it's a clever pattern whereby you do a provisional cast-on, knit the inner lining, then fold it up and knit it in when you get so far up the patterning, so you get a nice warm, lined, professional looking hat.

For posterity, a couple of custom orders I've been working on this week:

6 skeins of Opulent cashmere in Lalique colourway

3 skeins of Opulent cashmere in Purple Turtle

2 skeins of Purple Turtle in large Blush cashmerino

2 skeins of Turtle Dove in Opulent cashmere

1 skein of Patriot in Plushness

And a little preview of the shop update this evening includes 100% supersoft merino (Divine):

Had a lovely cinema night out with the girlies on Friday - we went to see PS I Love You which I thought may have been too soppy for my taste, but actually really enjoyed it, and went from welling up with tears to laughing to crying to laughing - bit of an emotional rollercoaster. From a knitting and crochet point of view, couldn't help but notice the lovely scarves and hats sported by the main character, Holly. My mates were noticing her lovely bags, shoes and boots!

And finally, for a bit of fun, I got indirectly tagged by justclaire with this 4 Things meme, so why not:

4 Jobs I've Held:
Trainee accountant (hee hee! Me!)
Reservationist for the co. that runs boats to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
Bakery assistant

4 Movies I've Watched Over and Over Again:
Poseidon Adventure
The Great Escape
Loads of kiddie movies (not by own choice!)

4 Places I've Been

4 Places I've Lived
Hyannisport, MA

4 TV Show I Watch
The Apprentice USA
Location, Location
IT Crowd

4 Things I Look Forward To
Spending time with my children and holidays
Knitting time
The day I'm a size 10 (or would settle for 12!)

4 Favourite Foods (I like this one)
Potato scones
Baked potato with cheese
Mince, tatties and peas all mixed up with salad cream
Munchy seed mix (chilli flavour) - or more realistically, Lindt chocolate in any form
(Never gonna make that size 10!)

4 People I Email Regularly
Skein King

4 People To Tag
If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Some heart love

Happy Valentine's Day! I love hearts, and there are many, many of them around the SQ royal residence, so I thought I'd share some with you today - this is just a small sample!

And here's what the Skein Princess made in Art Club:

How cute are these? Some kind of magic inky plastic stuff inside shaped wire.

The SQ royal residence also serves as a veritable gallery for the work of local Reading artist, Tara Kennedy. She has been exhibiting and selling her work successfully for many years as Kennedy Designs and I was delighted to hear she's recently opened a shop on Etsy to broaden her customer base called Taratiara. You can see all her beautiful work which includes beaded pictures, wire work ornaments and tiaras there, but for a sneak preview, here's some from my Tara gallery, although check out her website for much better quality photos and to see her wider range which includes wedding stationery and jewellery.

My So-Called Scarf is finished:I think it's the best thing I've ever knitted - I love it and keep looking at the colours when I wear it! Slightly sadorama.

Shop update this week includes:

Dark Pink Champagne in cashmerino
Pink Champagne in cashmerino

Summer Bunting in Aran silk
Cherry Blue in Aran silk
Caran d'Ache in Wisp cashmere/silk

Finally, look what the lovely Skein King bought me for Valentine's Day - I fear he knows me too well:

Sunday, 3 February 2008

My So-Called Scarf, Pesky Fines and Pet Acquisition

If I hadn't devoted so much time to that blooming addictive Ravelry tonight, My So-Called Scarf would've been finished and I'd have been able to wear it tomorrow. Well, here's a preview:

I love everything about this project - the yarn, the stitches, the unevenness of the edges and especially the wearability. It will be finished this week. I came across this YouTube clip tonight, which shows an alternative way to stitch the knit rows (which I didn't use, but may be useful to someone.)

Knitting has been an expensive business for me this week - and I don't mean the buying of yarn and books. Firstly, after enjoying a lovely Knit Night with the outcasts in Reading, I came back to find an impertinent parking ticket stuck to my windscreen - my own stupid fault. Then, having ordered two skeins of yarn from The Sweet Sheep in Canada, I got slapped with a customs charge of nearly £12! The blow was softened by the beauteousness of the yarn:
This is a merino/silk by Sunshine Yarns in Field of Flowers colourway. I'd ogled this yarn ever since I saw it on Kerrie's blog in the summer and finally, it's mine!

And also this Colinette Jitterbug:
I also splashed out on three knitting books:

Traditional Fair Isle Knitting
by Sheila McGregor - as recommended by knithappens. I'm desperate to get back to some fair isle or intarsia work - just haven't found the right pattern yet. I'm thinking maybe the Ivy League Vest from Interweave Knits.

Favorite Socks by Ann Budd and Anne Merrow - bit of a long story about this one. Suffice to say, there's a good few patterns in here I want to knit.

The Rowan Story Book of Little Knits - my quest to find the exact pattern to make Skein Princess the perfect cardigan has failed, but she like the look of a lacy cardigan in here with crocheted flowers, so I used my John Lewis vouchers from work to order the yarn for this online (new for them to sell yarn online and free delivery!)

If you happen to be a pattern designer, I'm sure there's a market out there for pretty cardigans for girls older than 4-5! Just a simple v-neck, maybe with a picot edging and lacy or fair-isle pattern at the bottom edge. It's not much to ask!

And now to Pet Acquisition. We have two cats and a fish. I should say, we had two cats and a fish. As of today, we have two cats and three fish. We somehow managed to acquire the former pets of a friend's teenage son who had them festering in his room (apparently - not my words) and boy, these are two ugly fish. This from a woman who freaks out in the shop that sells pet fish - ok, I have a bit of a fish phobia - if I see too many, I start gagging! I know, it's mortifying and stems from a school trip where the class got stuck on an island when the tide came in unexpectedly quick - me, Linda Patterson and the nun in charge decided to head back to the mainland across a sewage pipe to get help and as the water was getting deeper and deeper, a fish swam between my legs and I wasn't keen on that at all! I'll never forget the holes in Sister Moira's stockings and a flash of her pantaloons! (Bridget Jones's Big Pants had nothing on these.)

And we are on the look-out for a kitten (the height of madness with all this yarn in the house - I know I'll rue the day when I succumbed to the puppy-dog eyes of the littlest Skeins and said "OK, you can have a kitten.") They're kind of hard to find at this time of year - do you think they'll forget in time?!!!

Finally, there will be shop update this week which will include more Aran silk and more of the guest yarn from a couple of weeks ago as well as cashmere/silk in Lavish and Wisp plus much more.