Friday, 30 May 2008

I died today... and then went skating

Well, the weapons arrived in the post today - a pair of Sock Wars socks all the way from Canada from the lovely Dawn who made my demise a lot nicer by including a copy of Things I Learned from Knitting Whether I Wanted to or Not by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. How generous is that!

The socks are lovely, just the right size and so soft. Dawn used the recommended TOFUtsies yarn which contains soysilk and chitin (made from shrimp and crab shells!)

This is how far I'd got with the Detonator socks I was knitting:

I just had the last toe to do! I lasted to the halfway stage (half of the 1000 and something warriors are dead) and it's three weeks into battle. Well, I wish Dawn all the best and hope she makes it to the end.

I guess I've been spending too much time over at the Skein Queenery group on Ravelry but it's a fantastic place to see who's bought what and what they've made out of it and just to have a good old natter. I'm so glad I started it up.

Here's a peek at the first installment of the Plushness Squee! Sock Club. The theme of the club is the British Social Season and this colourway is Sweet Pea inspired by the Chelsea Flower Show:

I love seeing the different socks designs started in this yarn - here's just one example - a pair of No Purl Monkeys by the lovely gilraen. (I used to think it was a real achievement to get a mention on her blog - now got mentioned on her Friday Yarn Pr0n a couple of times in a row - woo hoo! Thank you, gilraen.)

To see more finished projects by SQ customers, check out here - there's some GORGEOUS new ones added, so click, click, click!

And some recent custom orders for you to see:

Ambrosia - thick, creamy custard in Plushness

Gilraen's Choice in Plushness

Tangerine Scream in Plushness
Emmeline inspired by the Suffragette flag - one in Plushness, one in Endure

Lothorian in Plushness

I was struggling with my rubbish bamboo DPNs from ebay otherwise known as "the kebab skewers", so finally succumbed to a set of KnitPicks and very lovely to work with they are too.

Today, we went ice-skating. I was in total and utter agony after going for a run in the first time in over a year and ended up running four and three-quarter miles!!!!!! Furthest I've ever run in my life. I went with my friend and we were chatting so much, it passed by really quickly. But OMG, I paid for it this morning. Getting out of bed was like lifting one lead weight out, followed by the next and hobbling to the bathroom! So the prospect of skating was not enthralling me!

And it would be the day Skein Princess decides she's forgotten everything she once knew about skating and insisted on being dragged round for an hour and a half! I'm telling you, my biceps are something else after that! Guess which one she is in the photo of the five of us zooming round?!

Afterwards, we went over to the forest and had a mooch about checking out the ferns and the squirrel's dinner tables and building a bivouac (Skein Princess was put in charge of interior design!)

Granda Gerry's over from Belfast staying with us and he came skating and I have to say, he was the best skater amongst us! Almost 70 he is too! And I'm sure he'll thank me for advertising that little fact!

Then we came home and me and Skein Prince baked a cake.

And Skein Princess ate it (while Paddy the cat watched and drooled)

I am loving reading all the guesses for my little win free yarn competition on the last post - keep them coming - I need more, more, more - I really wish I could do some of those things!

And I'm planning a shop update over the weekend including lots of guest yarn and this:
80% merino 20% bamboo


Summer Bunting in Kimono

And finally, some flowers:
White Poppy

Pale Pink Roses

By which to remember my Uncle Gerald who died last week of liver cancer. A small tribute for my mum's brother.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

First anniversary coming up - win yarn

I've got yarn to show you and quite a bit of it. Wanna see?

This little lot plus a little bit more got labelled, wrapped and addressed tonight to be posted out tomorrow.

Sock Club yarns got posted out this week - international members on Tuesday and Wednesday and UK members on Saturday. Let me know what you think (did you squee?! Only jesting!) - but be a bit careful of spoilers for the first week or so in case others haven't received theirs yet.

And some of this week's custom orders in no particular order:
Poppy Fields in Aran silk headed to Greece

Ruby Ruby in Blush
Rose Red in Plushness
Flamenco in Plushness
More Plushness

Emmeline in Sumptuous

Poseidon in Bali

And with that feast of yarn, I couldn't resist a nibble for myself - shh, don't tell Skein King:

It's called Be Mine

Well, it's coming up for the first year anniversary of SQ and I thought I'd run a little competition to mark the event. It's in the style of one of those vague radio competitions they run on our local station along the lines of "It's round... what is it?" and the winner gets a free skein of yarn.

Soooo, my question is:

I am approaching a big, important birthday this year beginning with a four and ending in a zero, and I recently discovered a new ability I never dreamed I had. What is it?

It's nothing rude (ha! for once) and it's nothing to do with knitting - post your answer in the comments and the closest to the real answer wins the yarn. One guess per person. If two people come up with similar answers that are relevant, I'll put them in a hat and choose. In case I am unable to contact you through your post, keep an eye out on the blog for the announcement of the winner in or around 11th June.

Here's a first anniversary photo of the flowers which inspired the Fragrant Stocks colourway:

Onto knitting and Sock Wars is not going well for this warrior. I'm struggling with time and the pattern and my target must be rubbing her hands together in glee, though I haven't made contact with either my target or assassin yet. I'm most surprised I'm not dead yet.

I've got further than this but I'm not saying how much further:

Spot the deliberate mistake in the pattern in the next photo - it's all now frogged and fixed (not frustrating at all when one only has one evening's knitting to get it done in!)

As for family life, the dreaded SATs are over so Skein Prince got to select a restaurant of his choice and we all went out on Friday night to celebrate. They get to bring a pet into school next week and I'm thinking it's probably not a good idea to bring the kitten in - I don't know - what if she escapes and runs under a cupboard and I can't get her out!

Then when he was at the cinema on Saturday, I took Skein Princess to see Beauty and the Beast ON ICE! Wow! What a spectacle. I've never seen anything like it - it was a Russian company performing it and the skill involved was incredible. It was mostly like a ballet with very fast skating and some circus skills thrown in - for instance, one of the Castle Creatures was BOUNCING ON ICE with those bouncy stilt-things.

Today we spent on the common with some friends with the kids playing in the trees and on their bikes as the adults yik-yaked away - one of them is the man who will be good enough to turn our garage into a workshop which we've been talking about for some time and which we talked about some more.

And an update on my sister-in-law's progress. She had her operation last Friday and woke up minus a kidney and a tumour the size of a melon. She's slowly building her strength back up and most likely won't need chemo. That makes it sound simple but it's been a hell of a few weeks - the not knowing as each test result could go one way or the other. Life's a lottery in so many ways, but I'm glad she's on the road to recovery.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Sock Wars III: Battle commences

I'm armed with my 2.75mm DPNs, have checked my gauge, wound my yarn and await my dossier with details of my target at noon tomorrow. Sock Wars III - the battle is (nearly) on.

Though when I think I'm going to get any actual knitting done is another matter as the weekend consists of BBQ with friends tomorrow with two little people sleeping over followed by ballet and snooker on Saturday (for the little people), not to mention getting all the Sock Club yarn (yes, it's all dyed up and ready to roll) with accompanying bits and pieces for the Plushness club sorted out plus finish up some knitted bits for the last photo in my article for Yarn Forward, re-dye a custom order, get completed custom orders photoed and sent. Oh and a birthday party on Sunday (for the little people) - oops, haven't bought the present yet.

I guess I'm dead! Wonder who my assassin will be? A very, very slow knitter, I'm hoping!

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Not another Chevron Scarf!

I'm all antsy at the moment and can't settle down properly to any decent knitting. Sock Wars is looming and I don't want to start anything in my queue until I get started on that. I read that many participants have read the gauge, selected the yarn etc. Nope - not got that far. Instead, I frogged the Sparrow cardigan despite having knitted half of the back - it just wasn't working out and now I have about 12 skeins of Rowan handknit cotton that I don't know what to do with.

So I started yet another Chevron Scarf for a bit of mindless knitting. It's in Socks That Rock mediumweight Farmhouse and Watermelon Tourmaline and some may say that I'm copying Justclaire in her selection of colours and they'd be absolutely right! It's a winning combination and I love it.

I got the last of my hyperbolic crochet efforts in the post this week and I'm almost embarrassed to post a photo here, especially after I'd seen Sue and Lisa's excellent pieces from Knit Happens in Newbury. Sue made some brilliant ones out of video tape for the toxic reef.

Skein Prince did the red one and I finished it off with a bit of pink. What I learned was that the acrylic yarn worked much better than any luxury yarns. The one I'm most proud of is made of acrylic:At least it went hyperbolic, unlike some of the other pieces!

Tomorrow, I shall be dyeing up the Sock Club yarn. But for now, the shop update tonight includes lots of Plushness, Entice and a brand new 2 ply cashmere which I've called Sumptuous:
Apricot Plum in Sumptuous
Raspberry Sorbet in Plushness

Sugarplum in Plushness

Apple Cider in Entice

Just going to head over to Ravelry to see how easy it is to set up a group. Come on over for a chat! Updated to say: it's called Skein Queenery - just search under groups. Look forward to seeing you.