Thursday, 28 February 2008

leaping around

I've been motivated by the lovely Knitty Gritty to publish a lot more knitting on my knitting blog, if not the awe-inspiring daily FOs, then at least some wip.

The design for ailish with the rose motif is now this.....

Harsh, but true.

I had a middle of the night inspiration for this bag (!) and the plans are now...

The entire bag is going to be made of the Topaz 'Little Big Wool' (I've begun to notice that 90% of my projects are made of Rowan - note to self; must branch out) with a stripey fabric lining and either a really large navy/teal button or these small but absolutely gorgeous vintage buttons I bought from Zivile on Etsy.

I'm going to add at least two more rows to the strap, as in the original pattern, to make the bag deeper, and knit the bag itself. I think the edges of the front flap and inner front may curl in, so I'm thinking of a crochet band the same width as the strap as an 'edging'. The bit I'm most excited about is making a diagonal button hole(s) for the button(s). I guess it won't really show when the button is done up, but I'll know its there. I have some idea of how to do it, but we'll have to see. Anyway the rest of the yarn is on its way, so I have high hopes of having this completed in about a fortnight, being chunky wool and quick to knit. I really need to speed up my knitting rate.

I'm still going steady on Jemima, currently on sleeve one. I need to find buttons for this too, I wish, I wish I could find the Beatrix Potter buttons on the original design, that would be so cool.

I'm also, finally, about to start Weaverknits 'Nouveau Sack Hat' as soon as the instructions arrive in the post, I think for this I'm going to visit Get Knitted in person to choose some very soft yarn. Lastly, I'm learning to crochet in the round with string with a fervent ambition to make these crochet motifs from Romantic Style...

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


So my grandmother wrote me a letter, if you were wondering what she made of my gift, happily she likes the knitting (which is more than I deserve) but, she completely floored me with her plans for the teacosy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled that she loves it so much, but I wasn't expecting her to sew up the holes for spout and handle and turn it into.......a hat! Apparently it matches so well with the Fetchings...

Has this sort of thing happened to anyone else? I asked this on ravelry, but I know there are tons of non-ravelry-users out there too, have you ever made something for someone who has thought of a better use for it?

I have one complete ball and about 1/4 of another of the Rowan all seasons cotton (beige) to give away...if anyone would like them let me know. The Fetchings, teacosy and heart all took one ball of wool each.

Thursday, 14 February 2008 my imagination

A little while ago I finished the strap for, does crochet use up a lot of wool, but I guess every new crocheter says that...

Incidentally, its 93 inches long and 3 inches wide, 5 rows deep, which took two and a half balls of Topaz 'little big wool'. It should have been seven rows of treble crochet stitch, but you know, I'm not crazy. Its means the bag it going to be narrower, but what the hell. These photos really don't do the intense green any justice...

So, I was thinking there is no way I'm going to crochet the bag, the cost of the yarn would be astronomical, as much as I really love crochet now ( its so versatile, you can do it anywhere, even standing up!) its going to have to be knitted.

This will really be best because then I can work a motif like I originally wanted, and I had the perfect inspiration today; this gorgeous card from my homely hero...

I'm pretty much decided its going to be a deep, faded, navy blue bag, with a really subtle purple rose motif, with maybe some of the Topaz left over for some leaves. I need to research some flower motifs and get my squared paper out to work the pattern, it'll just be on the front flap. I'm thinking about some blue and green (muted shades) striped fabric for the lining, and inner hooks to keep it closed, rather than attempt buttons. Since the strap is also the gusset, it'll be visible all the way round the bag.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Happy Birthday Tate&Lyle

As I was wandering about the supermarket at lunchtime I stumbled upon this little piece of happiness...
I remembered that first, illicit, sticky spoonful of neat syrup in a school baking class, and realised how the green tins have always been in the background of my domestic life. The indispensable syrup was most commonly used by my mum for fruity flapjack, and it was always to be found in my grandmother's larder, next to the homemade blackberry jam and marmite. Then theres sticky puddings, pancakes, bananas, upside-down cake, its uses go on and on. I could wax lyrical for hours.

When I was about twelve, I began a lifelong mini-obsession with two periods of domestic British history; the Victorians, and the 1930s/1940s. All those books I pored over, those sepia photos of typical kitchens, those old-fashioned receipe books, in all those comforting novels, in each was a small, green, ever-present tin, a true staple that has spanned a century and more, That was what really got my imagination, how such a different, unrecognisable world, a hundred years ago, was lived by people just like us.
One day, one faraway sunlit day, after too much flapjack, that tin will be empty. I'll wash it, and fill it with pencils, or needles, or crochet hooks, and it will sit on my desk, because Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup means something to me, even if it's just sentimental nonsense.

Sunday, 10 February 2008


I had a great weekend in Wales, rock climbing, abseiling, archery, lots of messing around and games, neatly finished off with some Topgear-style racing to the M4. As a new volunteery-type person with GirlGuiding Bath I was invited by some very nice people to a 'getting-to-know-you' trip in the Brecon Beacons. We stayed at the Black Mountains Lodge and did lots of silly, not-acting-our-age, fun stuff, like team challenges and twister.

Absolutely no knitting, the closest I got to craft was meeting a student at Bath Spa Uni doing creative arts. The twelve of us went in our own four cars, so my vw really went through the wringer, icing mornings, mountain roads, the lot, but oh those morning misty mountain views were so worth it! I wish I'd stopped and taken more photos. The best bit was climbing the 40ft rock pictured above and below, then abseiling down it, a real 'just do it' moment.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


The last of the gift trio is done, the scented heart. I cabled the top side, but I thought it would be too tricky to carry it over the short rows of the peaks, so the back is plain stockinette stitch. The dimensions: the centre cable is six inches long, and the heart is six inches across at the widest point.

I stuffed it with some cotton filler and this sachet of scented rosebuds I found at the NT giftshop, which makes it 2 inches thick in the centre and gives it some weight. Its has a 'ribbon' of yarn to hang in a wardrobe or it can be hidden in a sock drawer, for rose-scented undies.

So, its been wrapped and posted with the teacosy and gloves, and that, my friend, is closure.

*the fabric pictured is from Ikea of all places, where you can cut your own fabric (is that supposed to be fun? or just less sales assistants? either way I like it), I might be musing on a beginners quilt.

Saturday, 2 February 2008


The fetchings are done. I got the thumb right this time, also I added an extra twist to the cables 2 rows before casting off, and added some more space between each of the picots. I'm quite pleased with them after all, and I'm definately going to make some tweedy 'dashing's for myself at some point.

The only thing left to do is get some scented 'stuff' to fill the cabled heart with and sew it up, then I can wrap the lot up and post it. I have one ball of the wool left, but have decided to hide it in my stash and ignore it.

I just put up my new kitchen clock that I bought in Cornwall, there were huge feathery chickens on the farm we stayed at, and I've been looking for an old-fashioned clock like this for ages. I've thought about naming the chickens...

My first Rowan magazine arrived the other day, amazingly the same day as my first wool purchases of the year. More Nightly for Jemima, and Topaz and crochet hooks to start Ailish with. There's nothing in particular in Rowan 43 that I'm taken with, it needs mulling over. It seems a little wrong to knit for summer doesn't it? I'm still thinking gloves and warm sweaters.

I began (learning) to crochet the strap for Ailish in front of the tv, this green is just gorgeous isn't it? I'm not going to do the whole bag in Topaz, but haven't figured out what I'm going to do. I may knit the rest of the bag (cue major sizing issues) and I'm trying to think of some original intarsia image for the flap. I really don't know what I'm doing. The crochet is huge fun so far, thanks to the very helpful instructions and images in the back of Rowan Country Escape.