Friday, February 29, 2008

Diamonds are Forever!

So here it is at long last - Blanket Number 4 - Diamonds Are Forever. I hope you all like it as this is the very last English Blanket. I am now officially blanketed up! There's another American one on the horizon though.

I have thoroughly enjoyed doing these for Oliver's Fund. And judging by the number of tickets that I've written out, you've all wanted to win one! We've raised over £2,500 I think - unsure of the exact amount as Paypal take a cut and the conversion rate from dollars to pounds isn't exactly 2 to 1. However, suffice to say that Oliver now has his wheelchair! Yippee!!!

I have also discovered that there must be some very wonderful socks out there in the world - from fluorescent pink to dark grey, multicoloured to plain, soft to scratchy. We have a huge range of yarns on each of the blankets, I just wish you could all see and touch them in real life.

So now it's back to my own knitting. I am trying very hard to finsih a few projects before casting on, but not sure if I can be that strong. (But I still haven't bought any more yarn or eaten any chocolate, so I must be pretty strong don't you think?)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Ah, done!

The sun was shining, so I thought it was a good opportunity to show off Lizard Ridge. I love this blanket. I really, really love it. It has been great fun to knit (mostly done in the car or at football matches) and I would reccomend everyone to have a go. Even if you don't like Noro - believe me, it's great in a blanket!

This has been very much like a friendship blanket as so many people have donated a ball of Kureyon to the cause. Many, many thanks go to Kathryn (who actually bought me the first ball from her honeymoon and recently sent me the final ball for square number 20), Kerrie, Fran, Clara, Emma and of course my ever marvellous mum.

The border, which doesn't show up so well here is made with a bright pink kureyon and a dark green one. They go so well together...

Ah, but I love my blanket. Have I mentioned that before?

I am less in love with the Qiviut Mobious though and have broken with every moral I hold true and have frogged something. It took some doing, my heart was racing, I went hot and cold, developing a temperature and a sweat together.


But I was strong. I pulled those needles out and started to pull the knitting down...


It was only as I did this that I realised I had gone horribly wrong with the pattern anyway, so it would never have worked out right.


This little pile is all that's left that I couldn't wind up. It transformed into a big nasty knot that I just didn't have the inclination to untangle. RIP little mobious.

So now I need a suitable pattern for some very expensive yarn (I could have bought 6 skeins of Posh Yarn's Emily for the same price as this ball of brown yarn. Regretting my impulse buy? Yes, my friends, oh yes.)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Enforced absence

Sorry it's been so quiet round here lately but the computer has been playing up again. The little man took it away to fix and couldn't find anything wrong. But just as he was convincing me it was all the problem of the internet provider, the computer did it again to him. Froze. Completey frost-bitten.

Anyway, it has all been fixed now apparently (involving a new computer... well, new to us) so hopefully things will start to get moving once again.

Sadly I can't get the picture programme to work, so you'll just have to make do with no pictures for a while until I get it sorted.

The good thing about having no computer though is that I've had time to get on with the last Blanket. And it's nearly done. But you'll have to wait again to see it. And I've cast on something else. And - wait for it Clara - I'm about to frog the quiviut. I take it all on board what you said and have changed my mind. You are right. Why spend all this money (and damn, it was a lot of money) and not get the finished project right. So it's off to the lily pad for this thing.

Ribbit. Ribbit.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Busy needles

Sorry it's been so quiet lately but I've been frantically finishing off Lizard Ridge. It's still not done, but I'm going as fast as I can. I'm doing a stripey i-cord border and it seems to be taking forever - not helped by the fact that I'm using single pointed needles, so at the end of each round, I'm having to take the stitches off and swap the needle round. Still, life would be dull if it was all plain sailing eh?

As soon as this is finished, I'll be doing Oliver's Blanket Number 4 and I'm already planning my next knitting project. Finish something off? No. Cast on something new? Yes! Of course - was there ever any doubt? I'm very much thinking it will be the Aleita Shell from this season's Interweave Knits, using my stash of Posh Yarn Camel. So it will be stripey. I like stripes at the moment. Very ordered, neat and tidy. Just like me. (Erm, not quite like me then!)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day trip

Friday was a very exciting day for us - we went on a day trip to Wembley. The best football stadium in the whole wide world apparently (according to our tour guide!) And it was pretty amazing. It has to be said though, that it would have been even more amazing had there been somewhere for us all to eat our packed lunches. Not allowed to eat on the coach, or inside the stadium, so we had to make do with standing up in the sub-zero temperatures, in the howling wind and nibble at our frozen sarnies. Not a great start to a tour for 6o small children (and one small monkee). And another thing, why, when you pride yourself on there being thousands of toilets, Mr Wembley, did you only supply us with 2?

I'm not too good with heights, but Vera was in her element wanting to swing from the rafters. Only there weren't any rafters, another thing which Wembley prides itself on. The roof is held up by the arch.

Poor old Vera, not only couldn't she swing from on high, she wasn't even allowed to play a game of football on the grass.

Ah, but she did get to sit with the FA Cup. The most prestigious cup in the UK, the one every British Club wants to hold up high. She's thinking of putting together a team with 007 as Captain. Any other Monkee Volunteers want to join in? And how about a fitting name?

(Just to dig a little bit here - any Arsenal fans out there? We're Manchester United fans here. Bad luck people. We were just so much better on the day!)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

OK, so I'm a bit late in the day saying it, but I hope you had a good day (and the night is still young...) Here are the flowers that my husband - David - bought for me, in a jug that he bought last year. Very romantic! He's actually very good on flowers - buys me some every week and has done since we were first married (even when we're on holiday!). So despite the fact that he just doesn't understand the yarn business, he's alright in some respects!

For my part in the romance stakes, I made food. Chocolate mousse (and no, I still haven't eaten any chocolate, left this well alone and didn't even lick the bowl out!) and Valentine biscuits. I iced things like 'Love You', 'Hot Stuff' and 'Lover Boy' on them. David picked one and said 'Oh I'll have the one with 'Spaghetti' on.' Put your glasses on dear, it says 'Sweetiepie'. Men!

And a Valentine Present arrived for Vera today. She had read Monkee Maker's blog and knew it was coming and was a little scared to say the least. Brave Bartholomew came to rescue her though and took charge.

Those children just love ripping the paper off - be they people children or rabbit children!

And look who's here. Our very own muffin (cunningly disguised as a mushroom!) Think I'll call him Marvin. What do you think?

And I've been thoroughly chastised about linking to Monkee Makers very funny raffle draw. Don't go and see it. You won't like it at all. It really isn't funny. There's some strange woman shouting instructions in the back ground and a rather gorgeous man doing some bongoing. No, if you're feeling sad, this is not the thing to cheer you up. Go and watch the News instead.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

28 Jars

From left, caramelised orange, lemon and grapefruit; ordinary orange lemon and grapefruit; clementine; lemon and lime; tomato chutney.

It's been foggy all day today again (still got wet washing everywhere). So what to do when it's horrid outside? Make more marmalade! I love making the stuff, so relaxing! The only problem is finding somewhere to put it all now. I also made some tomato chutney with a punch (lots of cayenne pepper. Lots.) I am determined to make more presents this year so it looks like everyone will be having marmalade or chutney!

All the squares are now done for Lizard Ridge so I got the boys to help decide on how to lay them out. They had lots of ideas and spent quite a while rearranging them. Strange how even such a simple thing can get them arguing ('My way's better than your way'. 'Isn't'. 'Is'. 'Shut up you'. 'No you shut up'. 'Gonna make me?' 'ARGHHHH') You know how it is?

Nearly there.
Pretty poor picture - as ever - but I think this is the final choice. I think so anyway.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

No pictures today

Boring post because I haven't taken any pictures, so to keep your attention, I'll be quick.
  1. Lizard Ridge is almost nearly done, just the sewing up and the i-cord edging to do.
  2. I've lost 4 pounds in the 2 weeks (remember that competition?) so roll up Jacqui and Monkee Maker to collect your prize. Edible or non-edible cake or something to knit with?
  3. Cheesed off I've only lost 4 lbs, I was very hopeful when reading some of your guesstimates! But at least I haven't put it on I suppose.
  4. Made 17 jars of marmalade today.
  5. It's been foggy nearly all day and the weather man said it would be lovely so I did all my washing and it's still not dry. I have wet stuff hanging everywhere.
  6. Still haven't bought any yarn.
  7. Still haven't eaten any chocolate.
  8. Finished a scarf using mad curly wool Emma sent. Yes, you read that one right. Finished!!
  9. Going to cut up loads of felted jumpers tomorrow for a project in school.
  10. Planning on making loads of chutney tomorrow as well. So watch out for the boiling vinegar smells!

There we go. Thank-you for paying attention. Off you go and read someone else's blog now. Bound to be much more interesting than this one was. If you need a bit of a laugh, go see Monkee Maker's video of her raffle draw. It is hilarious - should win the Bafta for the best short film.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Have you won then?

I've just made the draw for the American Blanket, the Autumn Blanket and the Camelspin.

The winner of the fabulous American Blanket will be announced over at Mason Dixon.

However, I can tell you that Dawn Fowler has won the Autumn Blanket. If anyone knows Dawn (from Hampshire in the UK) please get her to e-mail me just to confirm where she wants it sending to.

And the winner of the Camelspin is Lise Ranger.

Well done ladies, hope you enjoy your prizes!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Look what Postie brought...

Normally on a Saturday, Postie brings us junk mail and bills. But not today. Today I love my Postie!
First of all he gave me a big package from Nathalie over at Stash Yarns. Nathalie - you may remember is the lady of whom we are all jealous - she won the pink blanket (which incidentally is now known as Elisabeth's Blanket in memory of her daughter). She has very generously donated a raffle prize - 2 skeins of this wonderful yarn - Hand Maiden Camelspin. Now call me a heathen, but I had never heard of this. And now I have seen and felt this, I want it so very badly. It is so soft, so very, very soft and the colours are just beautiful.
Thank-you Nathalie, it shall be won tomorrow along with the American Blanket and the Autumn Blanket. Believe me everyone, you really, really want this!
In Nathalie's package was also some lovely yarn for Emma (not showing you that one, it will have to be a surprise Emma!) and this great Hand Maiden sock yarn for me. Such me colours! But then all colours are me colours!
And in the second package was this other present for me - this is from Emma herself. Just look at it would you? Me colours yet again! I am so excited, going to cast on with this tonight I think! It came with a pattern for a hat and scarf - but I think I'll just make a bigger scarf. I love big scarves. I love pink and purple.

Oh how lucky am I? Thank-you ladies so very much!

See, Warren, all this new yarn and still I haven't bought any! And I keep forgetting to show you all the ball of Noro that Warren's wife Kathryn sent me last week! It's already been turned into a Lizard Ridge square.

I love Postie. I love knitters. And the sun is shining again!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sunny day

Here we are, this is a much better picture - the colours are far better in this one, much more true to life!

The weather today has been beautiful. Very spring-like. We even have a tree with blossom on in the garden. The daffodils are getting bigger and the snowdrops are all out.

It's amazing how good a sunny day can make you feel!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Number 3

I hardly dare show you this one after the amazing one over at Mason Dixon. This is a very bad photo (light is dreadful today) and the colours are not true. It's a very autumnal blanket and is the smallest one yet. I shall try and get a better picture later on in the week, but I just wanted to show you what it was like.

It will be offered as a (poor) consolation prize to Kay's marvellous Kaffe Tribute Blanket.

Oh how I want that blanket.

And judging by the amount of raffle tickets I need to write up, lots of you want to win it aswell! I have sofar written out over 1,700 tickets, and looking at the number of e-mails that Emma has sent me, I'll be doing a few hundred more tonight.

I am absolutely amazed at the wonderful generosity shown by all of you. Oliver now has his wheelchair - all money now will be going towards much needed equipment to help make his life a little easier. Like a pair of shoes.... anybody else have to pay £100 for a pair of children's shoes?

Thank-you all, it is much appreciated.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Shrove Tuesday

Happy Pancake Day everyone! Just to let you know that the diet is not going too well today. I've had 2 pancakes - both with golden syrup on. That was quite good for me though - I could normally eat about 8 and still not be full. (I wonder why the weetabix tin is still out. I don't eat weetabix on pancakes). I'm still eating loads of fruit and veg, but am still craving sweet stuff.

A friend of mine from work has been on a 'British Heart Foundation Diet' where you are guaranteed to lose a stone in a week. I liked the sound of that, so she gave me a copy. I am very dubious that it has come from such a reliable source though - a stone in a week is surely not healthy (however tempting it may sound!) Her husband managed it though and she has done 11 lbs in 2 weeks. The diet is severe in every sense of the word. It's more like a starvation diet - I think I could manage a couple of hours on that at most. I need more than a hard-boiled egg for breakfast and then nothing until my lunch of fruit and then tea of lettuce and tomatoes. Don't eat anything after 6 pm either. What about my mars bar at supper time?

Ah well, I think I'll just plod on, eating normally, but without all the cakes and biscuits, sweets and chocolates. Ah, but that is all I do eat normally.

Lent tomorrow - anybody giving anything up? I'm going to give up chocolate, and will try to stop with the cakes, biscuits and sweets too. Try being the very big word!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Nasty and Nice

Nasty first. This cake has to be the most horrid one I've ever done. It was ordered by Damon's wife. She likes purple so has apparently themed the party in shades of purple. So naturally she wanted a purple cake, and as Damon is a policeman, she wanted handcuffs and a helmet on it aswell. Hmm. No accounting for taste is there? I decided to pipe the ' You have the right to remain silent' thingy on it. And that, as it turns out, is the only bit of it I like.

And now onto the Nice one.

At a loss as to what to make for pudding tonight, I opted for a chocolate chip and orange cake, liberally covered in chocolate icing and maltesers. Much more in my line!

But I have decided that there is, quite simply, too much me at the moment, so I am insisting that I go on a diet. (Only had a tiny bit of cake - one malteser worth - talk about will power!) I actually started 'being good' on Tuesday, but with all the excitement of the Blanket, this is the first chance I've had to tell you about it. I got weighed - not good news so don't even ask - and intend getting weighed again after a fortnight.

So here we have a mini competition. How much do you think I can lose in 2 weeks? In pounds please - just leave a comment. The person nearest will get a little present, or in the event of a tie, I'll pull the names out of a hat. Present might well be something to eat or something wooly or maybe a little felted cake. You can choose! Just to help you along, I don't go to the gym, I knit. I don't exercise, I knit. I abstain from all forms of anything remotely energetic, I knit!

And if anyone dares to say that I'll just stay the same weight, I'll cry and refuse to send them a present, even if they're right!

You have until 11th Feb.