Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No update

Sorry, but there's no Tipsy update today - progress has been very slow and the second front is too tiny to warrant a picture.

In fact there aren't any pictures today - I hate a blog without something nice to look at, but this post will be short and sweet.

- Thanks for the good vibes about the tree. It still hasn't been chopped down.

- Two days into this half term, and I've not had a shitty day. Yet.

- More squares have arrived at Kerrie's, but I still need lots more. And loads more money for raffle tickets please.

- The moth repellents appear to have done the trick, but they smell so bad I'm throwing them away and replacing them with cedar wood. Which doesn't smell too good either if I'm honest!

- Cake in the oven smells done, so I'm going and will save you reading any more waffle.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Pound House vs Horse Chestnut

This is the back of our house. Can you see the big tree with no leaves on? It is dead. It is about as dead as a tree can be. It has been dead for several years now. It is not on our land, but in the field next door to us. We have been asking the farmer to have this very dead tree chopped down for, ooh, about 6 years now. In fact , ever since one of his other dead trees blew down in a gale and squashed our 2 cars. Flat.

Saturday was supposed to be the day that it came down. Then when it didn't come down, it was supposed to be Sunday. Then it was definitely going to be first thing Monday. And look everyone - IT'S STILL HERE!!!

Now I'm not normally a pessimist. In fact I'm never one, but just look at the size of this thing. If it fell over, we would not have a roof - at the very least. Our bedroom would probably be a little draughty too.

We are also a bit concerned that when the tree man comes along with his chain saw, er just what if it falls the wrong way?

So if you don't hear from me for a while, the tree has either

1. Blown down in a sudden gale and squashed the house.
2. Been pecked so much by the wood-peckers that it's fallen down and squashed the house.
3. Become so rotten and fungus infected that it's fallen down and squashed the house.
4. Been incorrectly felled and it's fallen the wrong way and squashed the house.

Keep everything crossed for us please. Pray for a home victory.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Old Trafford

As part of the boys' football club, we went on a tour of Old Trafford - Manchester United's home ground (note to Monkee Maker - Man U are the Red Devils, Arsenal, several hundred miles away, are the Gunners. Apparently!). Vera of course came on the trip, much to my children's embarrassment. She had a good time and is looking forward to becoming the first primate to play for the team.

This was her going down the tunnel onto the pitch. Come on boys, where's that ball? I need to show you how it's done!

Now this big cup had a glass cabinet all to itself - someone enlighten me, what's it for? All I could think of was how long the blessed thing would take to polish. We all had a good time at Old Trafford, but 9 hours in the bus for a 3 hour visit was a little excessive. Imagine the horror of it all - a bus full of football crazy children all bored... the noise levels were quite high!

Returning momentarily to Oliver, I think we might end up being ok for squares - Kay over at Mason Dixon posted about it and the number of people viewing this blog have increased by about 10 times. Hello America! Nice of you to drop in. Get knitting please - and send any squares asap so I can at least have one blanket made by Christmas. Address is over in the side bar at the top.

The clocks have gone back today - am I the only person who really hates this? Why can't they just stay the same? It takes me ages to get my body clock re-adjusted, which is why I'm writing about football and monkeys at 5.15 on a Sunday morning.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I have just laughed myself stupid over a film - Anchorman, The Legend Of Ron Burgundy. Anybody else seen it? Is it really funny, or am I just as stupid as the film? I'm cooking at the moment (more Christmas Cakes) so am off to watch it again. Thank heavens for those little portable dvd players.

Got any good films you want to share? Do tell, my Amazon list is getting short and needs topping up.

Added later....

Deb in Kansas, and everyone else who hasn't knitted Oliver a square yet - for some foolish reason I extended the deadline - you have until end of November to get your 4" squares to me. And don't forget the raffle tickets - £1 or $2US each. There may very well be more in the raffle than just a blanket, the Stash Basket is over flowing and will need thinning out a bit...

Oh, and Kathleen, I have tried in vain to contact you - Blogger is not letting me view your profile. The address to send squares to is over on the right hand side of the blog --->


Not all my knitting is for me - most is (I'm greedy like that) but some is for mum, some for dad, some for the children, some for complete strangers and even on two occasions for my husband.

The first thing I ever made him was a lovely dark turquoise jumper, complete with collar, pocket and contrasting trim at the cast on edge. Very lovely - warm (it was an alpaca blend), cosy and a lovely fit. He didn't like it, so I undid the collar, re-worked it and made it so he did like it. He actually wore it. Miracle! Yes, but he wore it when creosoting the fence. It stank. So I hand-washed it and it still stank.

Husband - 'Put it in the washer'
Me - 'No way, it will shrink'
Husband - 'No it won't if you do it on a cool wash'
Me - 'Yes it will'
Husband - 'You never listen to me, I'm going to do it'

Readers, do not put your hand-knit alpaca jumpers in the wash. Not only do they shrink, but they go very fluffy and fill the washer with fluff for weeks to come.

The second jumper was made in secret for a Christmas present, using a dark blue Rowan chunky tweedy wool. Again lovely. He never liked this one, but wore it to please me. Then guess what? He creosoted the fence again, put it in the washer, and lo and behold it shrank.

So one year I decided that enough was enough and I bought him a jumper from a very nice gentleman's outfitters in Ely. He loved it. Hurrah! Wore it lots, got it dirty and then let me wash it. Tee hee!

Whoopsy daisy darling, your favourite jumper seems to have shrunk in the washer!

So I cut it up, knitted a flower, assembled the lot on one of those Sainsbury's jute bags and hey-presto, a Christmas present from the children to my mother-in-law.

Any suggestions as to what husband can have for Christmas this year?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tipsy Tuesday

Ladies and gentlemen - we have a front! I am so very excited. At this rate I'll have it done by next year - a first for me! Or shall I really stick my neck out and say I'll wear it on Christmas Day? Again it's blurred, but I say again, my photographic skills are rubbish.
I wish you could all feel how soft this is. It's knitted up more like a fabric than a piece of knitting, if you know what I mean.
Did I mention the bag-packing? If any of you are ever unlucky enough to be asked to do this in the name of fund-raising, run a mile. At least. And if ever any of you go into a supermarket where some poor souls are doing this particular 'job' be nice - offer them a sweet or piece of chocolate. Two and a half hours standing in the same place with not so much as thank-you from many. Admittedly, it raised lots of money, but blimey it was horrible!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nothing much to say...

I think the Stash Basket is getting a bit full - need to knit faster. Either that or find a bigger Basket! Vera, however is quite happy, more yarn makes for a softer cushion! She is less than happy with the chameleons though - has managed to shove one to the side and is busy thumping the other in the head.

Well it's now half term, and boy do we need the rest. Must catch up on some yarn projects. Note that I said 'some'. I'm lying. Tipsy is taking all my spare time. Not even thinking about all the other projects, which for me is most unusual, the fickle being that I am. Isn't anybody else out there going to knit this cardigan? It is really the most fun thing I've ever made (with maybe the Nautilus poncho from Nature Knits coming a close second) (but that was just in one colour). I'm itching to show you progress, but will be strong - come back tomorrow for more news.

Sorry if I've been a grumpy old bag lately, harping on about the 'shitty' days. I love my job, but when I say 'shitty' it really is meant quite literally. Teaching assistants have to do much more than just assist the teacher you know! I'd say that for 99% of the time, it's great fun, and the children are fantastic. They make me laugh so much - I was making pancakes with them once and they so wanted me to try flipping the pancakes. I explained that I wasn't very good at that, they always end up on the floor. One dear little boy proudly informed me that his dad was a great tosser. I can no longer look at that particular father without laughing. He must think I'm very odd. Me?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Two cakes

It's very difficult when you don't have the foggiest idea what to put on a cake. You don't know the recipient or if they're a laugh or if they're boring. Whether they like the colour green or detest it. All I was told about Frank - apart from his name - is that he likes steam engines, and in particular steam tractors. This is what I came up with - what do you think?

And Malcolm apparently likes going shooting. No idea what the poor guy looks like, but I guessed (I did this once for someone and guessed completely wrong - I gave the model a head full of brown hair when in reality he was bald. Quickly made a small bottle of miracle hair restorer - fortunately he saw the funny side of this!)

These cakes have taken a lot of time although it doesn't really look like it. I've not been to bed before 1am all week, up again at 6.30. As a result, I am now very tired in deed and starting to feel a tad poorly. No lie in tomorrow though, eldest son is going bag-packing in Sainsbury's and has to have a parent with him at all times. Trying to raise money for his football team.

The things you do as a parent eh? Three hours of packing other people's shopping into carriers. Then I have to go and do it for myself, otherwise it's stale bread and cheese again for tea.

Good luck in the rugby tomorrow England. Hold your heads high, whatever the score, you've done us proud (not that any of you will be reading this of course!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Little pile of squares

This is it so far. 33 squares. Not a very big blanket yet and certainly not enough for 2, but there are another 6 weeks left I suppose, so I mustn't get down-hearted. Hopefully Kerrie has a few over at the shop along with a bit of money. (Have you Kerrie? Do tell.)
As it stands at the moment, I've had money from just 2 people, so Sara or Pam, the odds are looking good for you to win a very small blanket!
Julie Cotton Rabbit is also doing a bit of fund-raising, so pop along to her site and bid for a wonderful big rabbit called Rose. Julie is doing much better than I am and already has bids of nearly £100.
Must go, late for work. Wish me luck for this afternoon - I'm getting fed up of Shitty days...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tipsy Birthdays

Well here she is then - progress on Tipsy is not as good as I hoped. I have pulled it back so many times - just a few rows at a time you understand (mind you, 20 rows of fair isle is heart-breaking to pull back!) The colour combinations have not been going well, and I know some people may still not agree with my choices (sorry Dee, the red and green combo just had to stay - I love it!) But if you don't like it, never mind, I do! I took this picture outside to try and get a good likeness of colours, but it really hasn't come out all that well. When it's all done, I'll try and get Marianne to take a reasonable one of it. Her photos are fantastic - go and check out her slide show from Ally Pally. And look for that one of the tree with the light shining through the leaves...
Happy Birthday today to my dad. He's coming over tomorrow along with mum - the boys have requested a big chocolate cake for him, so we bought lots of chocolatey things to go on top. Sadly we couldn't resist the temptation and have been eating them already. Oops, don't worry dad we'll get some more!
Don't ask me anymore about the price of the qiviut. I'm still reeling with the shock of it all. Suffice to say that I could have bought quite a lot of Posh Yarn Cashmere for the same price. Guilt. guilt, guilt. (But it really is very nice!)
News tomorrow on the squares (or rather lack of them) for Oliver's blanket. Come on everyone, get those needles clicking!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Oh, I was bad...

I was bad. So very bad. This is Vera at the bottom of the hill on our way up to Alexandra Palace entrance. It was too steep for her to climb up, so she hitched a ride in my bag. At least that was her excuse. I think it was more to do with the bag of chocolate raisins hidden in its depths.

My first stop was at Hipknits, of course. This is Kerrie and her dad Richard who really didn't want his picture taken with a monkey, a teddy or a bee. But I sneaked one quickly while he wasn't paying attention. (I explained to him that Vera's creator, Monkee Maker, was slightly mad - sorry MM, but you are, the truth sometimes hurts! - and he said that was like the pot calling the kettle black). I have said it before and I will say it again. I am the most sane person I know.

Vera loved all the pretty colours of silk at Hipknits. I stayed chatting with Kerrie and Richard far too long. Once I finally shut up and started walking round, the main hall was pretty busy (ok, packed) and photo opportunities didn't arise. But Vera had loads of nice comments - she sat in my bag, with arms and head poking out of the top. People did keep calling her a him, so Kerrie kindly gave her some pink silk to wear as a sash so everyone knew she was a girly!

We had a lovely time there and came back with hundreds of ideas of things to make. Bought some yarn too, most of which was from Kerrie. And some great buttons from Injabulo.

And then there is this rather unassuming cake of brown yarn. Now I have been wanting some of this for ages. Really ages. Qiviut. Like I said. I was bad. I feel very guilty that I've spent this much on a single ball of yarn (daren't tell you how much). But I now feel that my knitting life is complete. I will endeavour to be very strong now and be on the strictest of yarn diets. Remind me of that someone please when you notice signs of weakness...

PS Warren, yes Vera was riding on the passenger seat, but who on earth is Flat Eric?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Going on a trip

Vera and I are very excited. Tomorrow is my one and only day off in the year. No cooking, washing, ironing, shouting or arguing with children. And no standing at the side of a freezing cold or wet football pitch, valiantly cheering for whichever son's football team is playing.

No. We are going to Alexandra Palace. To the Knitting and Stitching Show. Sadly we will be without our trusty Navigator this year so will have to find our own way. But maybe this time it won't be foggy and we won't end up near Peterborough and we won't be chatting so much that we miss all the sign posts. It was a good round-trip last year wasn't it Kathryn?!

I was supposed to be having an early night tonight, but look at the time will you (nearly midnight). I've been busy getting things ready for tomorrow.
  1. Bag - check
  2. Purse, stuffed full with money - well, sort of check, at least I have my purse, although not very full!
  3. Dinner - check
  4. Water - check
  5. Big bag of chocolate raisins for Vera - check
  6. Camera - check
  7. Phone - check (this is just for effect, being such a technophobe, I've had to pinch son's old phone and have not yet worked out how to turn it on)
  8. Forest Canopy, just in case I get chilly (ha bloody ha, have you ever been to Ally Pally?) - check.

Well that's it folks. Think we're all ready to go. I'll come back with lots of pictures for those of you unlucky enough to be staying at home this weekend.

(Oh, and fingers crossed for England in the Rugby tomorrow. Please don't let us lose to France)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oliver and Clara

Oliver first and I'll try and answer some of the many questions that seem to be pouring - OK, trickling - in.

  1. Squares are to be 4", preferably knitted (or crocheted) in sock weight yarn (4 ply or thereabouts). Any pattern is fine.

  2. Leaving ends attached means I can sew up using a yarn that matches, if you don't sew them in, I don't mind, must have something similar that hasn't been moth-ravaged!

  3. Raffle tickets are priced at £1 or $2 US. If you do not want to send cash - and I don't blame you - please make cheques out to either me, M Rowlands or Oliver's mum, Emma Magnago-Prime. I am unsure about International cheques, so feel your best bet is to go to Emma's site and pledge directly to Oliver's fund with Paypal and let me know how much you've sent so I can allocate the correct number of raffle tickets. We prefer cash or cheque though. If you don't live in the UK, sweet talk anyone who's been here lately for spare cash. Notes or coins, I'm not fussy. It will all go to Oliver's Fip Flop Blue Wheelchair. Promise.

  4. I was hoping this would all be sorted by Christmas, but with the postal strikes am getting a bit doubtful. I will try my very best to get one blanket done and raffled by then and the other one ready for e-bay early in the New Year.

  5. Deadline for squares and raffle ticket money will be end of November.

Anything else, please ask! The squares are coming in slowly. We might have enough for a Vera-sized blanket so far.

And now to Clara. We met over a year ago on a Colour Swap thingy (strangely enough, following a link I saw on Emma's blog) and both feel that we are twins separated at birth! Today my internet twin sent me a fantastic package full of goodies. Now I know the whole blog present affair dictates that you photograph all the presents in their beautifully wrapped state, but sorry, after another bad day (yes folks it was yet another shitty one!) I just needed something nice and couldn't wait to rip open the whole lot. The first thing I saw was a bag of Swedish Fish - managed to save some for the photo, but half an hour later and they are all gone. Then loads of dishcloth cotton (you may remember that on a recent 'what type of yarn are you?' questionnaire, I came out as dishcloth cotton) some wonderful lime green fluffy stuff, 4 squares for Oliver (perfect squares in lovely yarns) and woo hoo, some of those amazing multi-coloured knit picks needles. They are everything they promised to be, and I now want to start something using 5mm circulars!

Thank-you so much Clara, my twin, you are very kind - xoxox

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tipsy Tuesday

Sorry I haven't written for ages - it takes some doing to get the children off the computer lately, and as husband forgot to buy a newspaper yesterday, he was on here once they had gone to bed.

So here we have the start of Tipsy's Fair Isle front, taken yesterday. It is now much smaller than this - I pulled it down! Me! Frogging something! All be it just 16 rows, but still, it really is a first! I just wasn't happy with the red and green band, too busy (which is saying something in such a busy cardigan) and I really think there's too much of the white, so back it went. Ah well, never mind...

I will post again tomorrow I promise, with a reminder and an update about Oliver's blanket. But tonight I have a cake to make, 2 cakes to butter cream, a couple of models to make, oh and the Christmas cakes to start thinking about.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Declaring War

Oh heck. Or words to that effect. I found 2 moth holes today in some knitted clothes - one hand knit waistcoat of mine and one bought jumper of husband's. I am in shock. What on earth am I to do? This little lot of death-sentences has cost me over £20 - a mere drop in the ocean compared to the contents of the Stash Basket. Does anybody know of any other cures or ways to murder said little moths? Vera is quaking in her shoes - well she would be if she had shoes - and Tipsy is getting worried.

Not half as worried as me though.

Send advice soon. I need help. And the man in the shop asked if the little blighters had started on the carpets as he had a lot of customers lately who were complaining of holes in the carpets. Yikes. We're being eaten alive.


Thursday, October 4, 2007

Home Start Cake

Haven't shown you a cake lately - probably because I haven't done one for a while. But here's one that was collected yesterday. Not sure about it myself - I don't like pale blue and red together and I think children should be children colour, not blue. But hey ho, if that's what the lady wants, then that's what I do. She seemed pleased enough though, so that's all that matters.

The squares are coming in very slowly. And now that dear old Royal Mail are on strike again, they'll be at a standstill until the middle of next week at least. Mum came over yesterday and knitted me a couple and I've been told of some others that are knitted but not sent. Hoping to get them soon so I can start sewing up! And on that subject, I've had the kind offer of help from a couple of people, so if I get inundated Kerrie and Marianne, I'll bribe you over with the offer of some cake (if not chocolate, then what do you fancy M?)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tipsy Tuesday

Just a little picture today as I promised you an update. This is the second sleeve, almost half-finished. I love everything about this, as I think I've mentioned before. It would grow so much quicker if I didn't spend ages after every row petting it. The only thing I'm a bit concerned about is the colour - I'm just not a green person, suit blues and purples far more. Never mind, I have so much Posh Sophia now that I'll be able to knit another one when this is done.

Now look, about these squares for Oliver's blanket. It would appear that I may have slightly underestimated the amount that we'll get. So maybe, hopefully, there might just be enough to make 2 blankets. If this is the case, how about I raffle one and e-bay the other? What do you think? I don't want to upset anyone, but I'm sure that like me, we just all want to raise as much money for Oliver as possible.

I had originally said that the money would go towards a new car seat, but instead it will go towards a new manual wheel-chair. It sounds fantastic - and Oliver has had a hand in the choice of this - it's going to be 'flip-flop blue'. I love the sound of that colour. I want something made from flip-flop blue.

So here's your challenge Dee - how about flip-flop blue Sophia ready for Tipsy number 2?