Monday, October 27, 2008

Finishing and Starting

Well, I finished Gesta - what a super quick knit that turned out to be! It's going to be my football top from now on as it's sooo warm. And at least if I wear it to football matches, it will be under a coat, so no-one can see how enormously fat it makes me look! Have lots of yarn left over so will make a hat to keep my head and ears warm at said matches. Hmm, will it make my head look fat I wonder? But as anyone who's stood at the side of a football pitch in the winter will tell you, providing you're warm, fashion is the last thing on your mind!

Remember all the Noro Silk Garden I got from Ally Pally? Well it was going to be turned into Klaralund, but when I actually looked properly at the pattern, I decided it was a baggy, shapeless style which would just not look good on me (ie I'd look pregnant, perish the thought). So cue a couple of hours on Ravelry and look what I found.

I am loving this pattern so much more - the thing about Noro is that it grows very quickly because you just want to see what the next colour will look like. Which is probably a good job as my next cast on has already been decided and am hoping to get the yarn from here at the next sale in a fortnight. (I narrowly missed out on last night's sale).

But really, I shouldn't be casting on anything else should I? I still have mum's second diamond patch sock to do for Christmas as well as all the other Christmas knitting. But never mind eh, startitis is very hard to ignore once it takes hold.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Pudding.

Youngest son has gone on a sleep-over today, leaving just me and eldest son on our own in the house. An earlier conversation went along the lines of this:-

Me - What do you want for pudding tonight
Him - Don't mind
Me - Well you choose, we're on our own tonight, so I'll make something that you really like
Him - Ummm
Me - What's your favourite pudding that you've not had for ages
Him - tick, tick tick - you could almost hear the brain working
Me - I've got all day to make you whatever you want. Anything.
Him - Jelly
Me - Oh, will that be with ice cream or without
Him - Without thanks

So, dear readers, I am not going to show you a picture of today's pudding. It is not worth the effort involved in taking the camera out of its case. It has made me wonder though, why on earth do I bother slaving away in the kitchen at times when his favourite pudding in the world is b***** jelly.

But looking on the bright side, it left me plenty of time to just laze about the house knitting, making marmalade and chatting to the neighbours!

Friday, October 24, 2008

10 good reasons

Today we have reason to be very happy at the Stash Basket. Lots of reasons really. Shall we list them?

  1. Having had a dry few weeks on the cake front, 2 have been made and completed this week.
  2. Late nights decorating cakes have meant no knitting, so tonight I can knit.
  3. Late nights decorating cakes have meant very little sleep, so tonight I can sleep.
  4. Tomorrow there is no football practice, so I can lie in and knit or read in bed in the morning.
  5. Mr Stressy has gone to Wales for a party so I can slob about all day and not worry about housework.
  6. I've started soaking the fruit for the Christmas Cakes.
  7. Next week is half term - yippee, a whole week of rest and relaxation (remind me I said that will you?)
  8. We had pizza for tea tonight followed by banana splits, with chocolate ice cream, strawberries and hot chocolate sauce.
  9. Once I have surfaced tomorrow, I'm going to make marmalade which is one of my most favourite things to make.
  10. There is a family sized bar of Crunchie Dairy Milk in the cupboard with my name on it....
Oh lots of reasons to be happy today. If you're feeling stressed tomorrow, do call in, we'll be chilling in style here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


So you all know about the St Dunstan's blankets yes? You know, you knit one ball of yarn onto the top of the last piece of knitting then send it on to someone else? Well, I have 2 of these blankets on the go at the moment at different locations in the UK (Trashy have you still got one?) and they are coming on very well.

However, I also wanted to make another blanket like the Oliver ones from last year, but it's not going so well. In fact, it is barely big enough to cover a baby bunny, let alone a grown up person. So how about it then, oh wonderful people? Anyone fancy knitting me a 4" square or 2 - as you can see, I have 2 squares so only need another 98. Only - gulp!

The little man I've been dealing with at St Dunstan's is so excited by the whole project - they're really lovely people there. (I wonder if he is indeed a little man or some 6' 6'' giant).

Please dear Bloggers, I'm asking you very nicely, knit me a 4" square to help keep someone warm this winter. Thank-you.

Oh thank-you all so much! Looks like I won't have to knit quite so many squares myself then will I? Instructions for the squares are easy - 4" in machine washable double knitting yarn - any colour, any pattern. Actually, I say double knitting, but any yarn really, just as long as it's washable and measures 4". Most tension squares have to be 4", so if you're far better than me and make tension squares, just send those along. (Does anyone make tension squares?)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Late Saturday Pudding

Sorry I'm late - again (reason later). Anyway, Saturday pudding was determined by these rather over-ripe bananas found lurking in the fruit bowl. They were pretty smelly and just perfect for cooking with. So let me present you with banana and chocolate chip muffins with banana ice cream and hot chocolate sauce. Mr Stressy even had seconds!

I usually find that banana ice cream is too bananary if you get what I mean, so I only used half quantities of bananas and it worked oh so much better. A very good recipe from here using condensed milk and cream rather than an eggy base.

Anyway the reason I'm late is that after football and dinner and washing up and ironing, I decided to watch a film and knit. No kids. No Mr Stressy. No contest. Peace and quiet. My latest rental dvd had arrived yesterday - Deja Vu - so now was the perfect time to watch it. Anyone else seen it? Anything with Denzel Washington in just has to be good (so much better than that creepy Daniel Craig person who some people seem to like) and I really enjoyed it. Didn't understand it, but with a leading man like that, who am I to complain?!

As to the knitting, the Noro Kochoran is a dream to knit with but it has made me very cross - there has been at least one knot in each skein (not on for £11.75 a skein). The colours have not been joined up well and I'm not happy. However, it will all work out well in the end - just had to do a bit of extra work in trying to align the colours. Whilst the finished tank top will be wonderfully warm, looking at the Ravelry reviews, it appears to turn the wearer into the Michelin Man. Oh dear, as if I needed more help.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How much?

Now come on everyone, you didn't honestly expect me to own up how much I spent did you really? All I'm saying is that Mary Deb, you were very close (and quite honestly it seems an awful lot of money for just 15 skeins of yarn, one tape measure and a few buttons) being just 78p out. Damn, looks like I've told you now. £120.78. Just don't tell Mr Stressy OK?

Trashy, I so wish I could have spent that much. Infact in my dreams I did spend that much (the second guess) so perhaps I'll send you something too.

So Mary Deb and Trashy, send me your addresses and I'll see what I can find. Oh and Warren, I think I got it, you mean I have to send £1 to St Dunstan's for each guess? OK then, money on its way right now.

Come back later for Saturday Pudding. Haven't decided yet what it's going to be!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thanks Warren!

Wowee, that Warren's a bit generous isn't he? Doubling what I said to give St Dunstan's a much needed boost. He's suggested a sweepstake to see how much I actually spent at Ally Pally asking for a pound for each guess - I'm quite up for that, but unsure as to how to collect money in, so let's have a free competition. How much did I spend altogether - didn't buy any food there, so it was just yarn and bits. What do you think? Prize for the nearest guess - something as yet to be decided, but it will be nice I promise. Just leave a comment - answer in pounds please!

Now onto this Swiss Cheese scarf. I love the pattern and think it's so pretty and clever, been on my Ravelry queue list for some time now, but you know what, now that I've started, it just doesn't do it for me. Too wide, too holey, going to take longer than blinking Scribble, so there was only one thing for it.

Can you believe this? Me? I've actually frogged something.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Are you ready Warren?

Sorry Monkee Maker - Vera's mouth was being a little uncooperative on the day - she was eating toffee and drooling so much that I had trouble with her. (Here she is siting on top of the nearly finished back of Gesta the tank top, smiling in what I hope is a slightly more pleasing way.)

So now then Warren. Are you ready for the grand total? Just in case you don't know, Warren pledged £1 for every finished item I knitted between February and October, providing I didn't buy any yarn. I feel a bit of a cheat really because although I didn't buy any, people kept sending me yarn, keeping my addiction in check.

However, being the gentleman he is, Warren said that was OK. He also said that a pair of socks counts as 2 items and he is quite happy to give £1 for each and every little knitted hat. So here we go (running total):

1. Saartje's Booties - 2
2. Scarf from Emma's yarn - 3
3. Lizard ridge -4
4. Scarlett's hat, bootees and mittens - 9
5. Cable and Rib cardigan - 10
6. Flower hat - 11
7. Aleita Shell - 12
8. Trudie jacket - 13
9. Stripey scarf - 14
10. Little food - 19
11. Stripey socks - 21
12. Diamond patch sock (only 1 so far!) - 22
13. Somoko socks -24
14. Innocent hats - 44

So there we have it - £44 heading off to my chosen charity, St Dunstan's. Thank-you very much Warren. You are very kind.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh it was good, so very good...

Our arrival at Ally Pally was marked by the most enormous knitting that Vera had ever seen. It was much bigger than anything she had ever seen me making and was suitably impressed.

Then there was this freeform crochet hyperbolic coral reef. Or something like that anyway. It was very pretty and Vera pretended she was a fish swimming in the ocean currents.

And then we went in. I felt like running up and down shouting 'I'm home everyone, I'm back, did you miss me?' It was all glorious and in my very humble opinion, the best one yet for knitters. There was so much yarn, so much knitting. In fact it was all so wonderful that I only took this one picture.

Our favourite stand was Habu Textiles. Incredible fine Japanese yarn and we wanted to make every garment on display. The thing we really liked though was a mohair jumper made with only a few ounces of yarn. Beautiful - but they'd sold out of the colours we liked. So it's off to Internet land now...

Shilasdair Yarns was also a lovely place to visit - silk and cashmere in colours like you wouldn't believe.

Oh and you know I said that if you saw me and Vera to say Hello? Well someone did - read my blog in the morning and saw me so said hello. It really surprised me that complete strangers read here. But I have one question Minxxy - was it really you? I thought you had red hair (or is that just a very old photo?

We had a great day all in all and were absolutely shattered by the end - poor Vera was exhausted and just needed a lie down!

But anyway, onto my shopping. Here we have a skein of Hipknits wool and silk (oh so soft) which has already been cast on into a Swiss Cheese Scarf.

Noro Kochoran to make a very nice little tanktop - slightly annoyed by this purchase though as have since found it for half price on the net. (Could have saved £24 - ouch!)

I did of course cast on as soon as I got home!

And more Noro - silk garden this time to make Klaralund with. The colours look a bit horrid here, but they don't seem that ugly in real life. Honestly!

And how could I resist this tape measure in the shape of a cake. Wish now I'd bought 2 of these as this one is ear-marked for mum's Christmas present from one of the boys.

And just in case you thought I'd forgotten Saturday Pudding, fear not. Here's chocolate mousse (which was actually Sunday Pudding, got back too late to cook on Saturday - tea had been put in the slow cooker at 6.30 am and I made use of the timer on the oven - chili and jacket potatoes)


... but due to stressy husband, naughty children and football matches, time on the computer was very limited yesterday. Will show you my goodies later on (and to be honest, I didn't buy all that much really). Had a bit of a Noro fest though...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

And we're off...

Less than an hour until I head off to Ally Pally.

No yarn since February.

A purse stuffed with cash (well, not exactly stuffed, but there's a bit in there), cheque book and credit cards.

A big empty bag.

No husband to hold me back and say 'no'.

Oh sod this, I'm going early!

See you when I get back (if you go today and happen to see a woman in a green fair isle cardigan with a knitted monkee sticking out of her bag, do say hello).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hand writing

I have started doing some extra hours in school, helping some children write. I have so far covered the circular type letters (c, a, d, g, o) and b, e and t. They are naturally going to get bored writing out 'dog' and 'goat' endlessly, so I need your help. Can you come up with any simple short sentences using lots of these letters? I'm sure you can manage something far more exciting than 'go get a dog', which I'm not keen on as the grammar is not right!

I have so far only worked a total of 2 hours with each child and already the improvement is huge. Scribbly, illegible writing has turned into neat, correctly formed letters. To see their faces when they can tell it's going well makes my job all the more worth while.

I love my job and am so lucky to have it. And I even get to teach some of them knitting too! (Starting a sentence with 'and' - who was complaining about bad grammar?)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


I'm going to be a bit smug here and feel free to turn your back on me now (but come back soon, I'll miss you all).

My fantastic parents have been to see me today. When I got home from school at lunch time, my dinner was sitting ready for me on the table. Home made red pepper and sweet potato soup with bread to dip in. I went back to school leaving them to wash up. On my return at 3.15, mum had made a shepherd's pie for tea, done all the ironing and hung the wet washing out. Dad had hoovered the house from top to bottom and tidied up.

They are great, my parents, and I consider myself very lucky indeed. Oh, and did I mention pudding? Mum made this for some visitors who couldn't visit her after all. So we had to force it down. It's tough work being a daughter sometimes!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Nothing exciting

Do your children hanker after sweet stuff and persuade you to buy stuff like this? Mine do and I refused (oh muuuum, but whyyyyy?) - because I found a recipe for them which I felt sure would be cheaper and better for them. Whilst I now doubt that they will be better for the little darlings, they have said that mine are nicer than the Kelloggs ones. Ah bless them. As to cheaper, probably not because they love them so much that one tray full only lasts a couple of days, especially when like today we have a houseful of hungry school children round to 'play'.

Scribble finally got finished over the weekend and I did sort of block it just so you could see the scribbly bits. But once I hung it up, it shrank back so never mind eh. It's for mum at Christmas. Still loving the yarn - Hipknits cashmere - so soft.

I was busy over the weekend and made marmalade and chutney (look away now Trashy - how could you not like marmalade?) More presents are now sorted - going to make up little jammy hampers for everyone this year - well, jammy, marmaladey and chutney hampers - six jars fit nicely in a shoe box.


Here's Jenny (original name for a donkey) - the donkey in the field next to our house. The farmer doesn't do much in the way of buildings maintenance!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Saturday Pudding.

This was supposed to be today's pudding. No, let me re-phrase that. This was today's pudding. The only thing is that by the time I took its photo, all that was left was this

Steamed hot chocolate pudding with chocolate fudge sauce. Only several billion calories per portion and well worth the expanding waistline!

Oh and I sent 74 hats off yesterday to Innocent. But don't worry Warren, only 20 of them were made by me - mum and my neighbours have helped out with the rest.

I'm off now to watch Merlin - anyone else like it? So much better than Robin Hood (where Guy of Gisborne was the only half decent thing and Marion got killed off - I ask you, haven't these people ever read their story books? Marion does not die, Robin Hood is gorgeous and Friar Tuck is there from very early on!). But Merlin is still not a patch on Doctor Who. Not a patch I tell you.

And whilst on the subject of TV, did you see Lost In Austin? I loved it! Alex Kingston was the best Mrs Bennett I've ever seen (wasn't she great as Moll Flanders too?). So funny and so different. I'm a big Pride and Prejudice fan - go on, own up, is there anyone out there who hasn't read it? Apart from you Kathryn - I presume you've started it by now yes?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Have I ever introduced you to Scribble (from here)? Probably not because I've been knitting the damn thing for years and am so sick of it. I'm using smaller needles than the pattern says (because I didn't have any bigger dpn's at the time ) - really a big circular needle that is super-springy. Stitches keep falling off and who knows if they'll ever be found again!

The yarn is gorgeous (Hipknits cashmere - aran and cobweb weight) and whilst I adore the aran, the cobweb is just too darn fine for me. I like knitting that I can do without looking at it all the time, so I can watch telly, but do that and all of a sudden you've knitted 4 stitches together, 5 have jumped off the needle and you've not even realised.

But I am now so heartily sick of seeing this lying around that I thought I ought to ask your advice. Is it long enough? Can I stop knitting it now? Please? When I block it, will it shrink lengthwise but expand widthwise? I really do hate this pattern, but strangely enough, I love the finished product. At least I will love it when it's done.