Friday, February 27, 2009


Now this is a tough one. Even my mum thinks so.

The March Mystery Blanket package arrived today. Not much yarn this time - have loads left over from the previous months' - but there are sequins. I have never used sequins before in knitting and am very keen to have a go. So do I start making my March squares?

The ever perfect Dee at Posh Yarn recognised my problem over not having enough yarn for the Sock Pattern To End All Sock Patterns, and sent me this fabulous yarn. So do I start making these socks? (It seems impolite not to cast on immediately!)

As I have previously mentioned, I have already cast on another sock as part of my Startitis Sock Club. Here it is. Very pretty, but not really enjoying this yarn - it's silk and cashmere I think and doesn't give or stretch at all. But it is lovely when knitted up. So do I finish this sock?

Decisions, decisions, help me please!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Socks and blankets

More sock yarn amazingly seems to have turned up at the Stash Basket. Did I really buy more? Well, it seems that Posh Yarn have done it to me again. Tempted me beyond all reasonable hope. This is Laura in Eclat. I had to wind it into a ball straight away, it is just too beautiful for words (but then isn't all Posh Yarn?). I wondered about the pattern, kept toying with how best to show this one off. And then I found it.

The sock pattern to end all sock patterns. I cannot quite believe this sock. It is so perfect for me, so subtle, so understated (well, maybe not!). I needed to cast on straight away. But there is one huge problem. Believe this or not, I do not have the right yarn to go with the above, to make the flowers. So oh dear me, I've got to order yet another skein. Life's tough when it comes to socks!

But look what I cast off last night...

... well actually, technically it was cast off this morning (12.30am) but it was before bed time, so I'm staying with it being last night.

I have already cast on for another sock, but you'll have to wait for another day before I show that one to you.

It has occurred to me that it is nearly March and therefore the next Mystery Blanket Package is due to arrive 'ere long. But I haven't shown you this month's squares yet. They are all knitted up and where possible sewn up.

The only down side of this month's package was the return of that infernal red lacy square which is an absolute horror to knit, taking as long as the other 4 put together.

This Fair Isle one has been my favourite so far to knit. Lots of ends to sort out afterwards, but really very pretty.

But then I like these 2 as well. Lots of beads this month. Next month it seems that we'll be getting sequins. Oh boy, very excited about those.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Startitis Sock Club

Are you ready for this then? Look here at the sock...

Now you may think and wonder what all the fuss is about, but just look will you? I only cast this on 4 days ago. Now I'm a slow knitter, but have already turned the heel. I am so impressed with myself. So impressed that I'm already deciding which pattern to do next and which yarn to use. I am NOT going to knit this sock's partner just yet. Oh no, that would defeat the whole object of the Startitis Sock Club.

I am undecided as to pattern - this one, this one, this one or even this one. Personally, I'm moving slightly towards Monkey - loving Ziggy but would have to buy Silk Garden Sock weight. Nutkin has been on my Ravelry queue for ages and as to Pomatomus, well, I can but dream eh?!

I also have lots of patterns in the books and Ravelry is coming up with a gazillion patterns, most of which I need to make. This is fun - anyone else having a good time deciding on patterns?

I have also been busy making a cake. A friend I used to work with asked for a retirement cake for Howard - 'he's Scottish, plays the saxophone and is retiring from work. Surprise us with something.' Gee thanks Carol!

So here's Howard on top - round each side is a little message and model based on the writing on top 'Now you'll have plenty of time to...' the saxophone, toss the caber, travel and try new sports and my own personal favourite...

See you another day - going to knit socks now!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday Pudding.

So I asked the family today 'What do you want for Saturday Pudding?'

'Dunno', came back the reply.

I needed inspiration as ever and dug out the recipe books.

As soon as I saw the picture accompanying this recipe, I knew I had found today's pudding.

A few progress shots to show you that I really and truly did make these from scratch. Can you guess what it is yet? To coin a phrase.

Bet you've got it now haven't you?

Profiteroles with chocolate sauce. Enough said. Very blinking good and the family were all in agreement for once!

Glad that so many of you are joining the Startitis Sock Club. More news on that tomorrow. And believe me, you will be impressed by the progress made on the first sock!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Warm hands and feet

One of the many great things about going away to mum and dad's is that I am waited on hand on foot and I can get on with some serious knitting. So serious in fact that I finished this mitten. They are very nearly - but not quite - a pair. The white stripe down the side of the thumb will annoy me forever, but not annoy me enough to frog the whole thing. Frog? Moi? Never!

Anyway, now that that is finished, I wondered what to make next. It did not take me long to wonder. I gazed at the top of the Stash Basket and spied lots of beautiful sock yarn. This is a mere representation of what my eyes beheld. So I decided very quickly that I would make socks. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is henceforth known as the Year Of The Sock.

I normally don't like making socks, rather I like making the first sock, but drag my heels over the second one. So I have come up with an idea that has left me feeling liberated, free, excited. I will make a sock and when I get bored of either that first sock or the second one, I will cast on another one. And if I then get fed up of that pattern, I will change my mind again and either finish the first or cast on for a third in a different yarn and different pattern.

I have decided that Startitis is an incurable condition, so rather than entering into denial, I will embrace the whole sorry situation. I will buy more sock needles. I will buy more yarn.... no, I didn't say that. I have plenty. (But a little Posh Yarn of a Sunday evening is always too tempting to refuse...)

So last night I wound this into a ball. It is not - for once - Posh. I was sent this over a year ago from Nathalie (the winner of the pink and blue Oliver blanket) and have stroked it ever since. Stroked it so much that it's probably wearing thin in places!

It is Hand Maiden Casbah, and oh my goodness, it's gorgeous. My little feet are getting very excited by the mere thought of being wrapped in this!

The next problem was pattern. I fancied the Embossed Leaves pattern, thinking it would be great in greens, but read the sizes and realised that my feet are much more humongous than the pattern. (7.5" circumference? my children have bigger feet than that). So I hunted around and came across this one.

Rib Fantastic from the latest sock book to hit the shelves chez Stash Basket. It's already got bigger than this photo (not done any housework today, but so what, I have a condition to embrace!)

Anyone out there fancy joining me on a sock fest? Come on, cast off your inhibitions, let's celebrate Startitis, let's recognise it for what it is (ie bloody good fun). Let's all go around with odd socks. After all, I'll be wearing odd mittens!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Here is another in the series of Stash Basket Cards. I knit the jumper, eldest son does the art work, I put them all together, he gets paid. Something a bit wrong there somewhere, but hey, it keeps him quiet. For about 5 minutes. Mr Stressy has asked for a big jumper like this. I have told him no way, he does not have a good track record with hand knitted jumpers. (Just to jog your memory, he creosotes the fence in them and then puts them in the washer on a hot wash to get rid of the smell.)

However, Mr Stressy has been very generous, he has bought me a beautiful silver necklace with a silver heart pendant covered in teeny crystals which sparkle like mad.

But I'm still not going to make him a big jumper!

And just in case you thought I'd forgotten about Saturday Pudding, here's one big plate loaded with calories. Chocolate almond cake, filled with white chocolate cream and strawberries and covered in chocolate icing. Believe me, it will go down well here! We do chocolate in a big way!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Three Socks Locket?

Please excuse these tiny pictures, but as the top one is a little rude, I'd hate for you to get upset.

Anyway, Kitty and I wondered why Mrs Locket needed 3 socks. Kitty, I have the answer! She must know someone like this!This is actually quite sad - it was the remains of the poor guy's twin . Can you imagine how awful life must have been for him?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fed up.

Is it just me, or is anyone else in the UK now sick of being cold? The weather is still freezing. The snow is slowly melting. The pavements are thick ice and it's far safer to walk on the roads. But it's not safe to drive on the roads as a near miss with a mini bus showed me this morning (I was driving the car at the time and found a large patch of black-ice). All the fields are flooded (including the one next to our house) and I really am sick of it all.

But I feel guilty complaining. Just looking at the terrible situation in Australia makes me feel glad I'm cold.

The cake this week is, well see if you can guess...

Porsche. Did you get it right? And the recipient chose the colour. Anyone ever seen a Porsche this colour?

Knitting news is almost non-existent. The next lot of Mystery Blanket squares have arrived - one is done but the other 4 are still not even on the needles. I am hoping that half term will bring more time to knit. I am also beginning to feel that I really want to make a pair of socks. This does not often happen. I love sock yarn and have plenty of it. I love sock books and have plenty of them. I even have some waiting on my Ravelry queue. But I don't actually like knitting socks. For something so small, they seem to take a very long time. Usually in the region of months. Please, Sussex Yorkie, send me some of your Fast Knitting Sock vibes.

And I suppose I really ought to get on with my second mitten before summer starts. Oh yeah, ha ha, bloody ha.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Red Noses

Vera loved Bartholomew's new nose from the other day. Loved it so much that she begged me to make her one too. And so here they are, both very happy with their new appearances!

This is, of course, all due to the impending Red Nose Day for Comic Relief. (Friday 13th March if you wondered). A day when normal, sensible people get the chance to be very silly and help raise a whole stack of cash for much needed projects in the UK and Africa. And for us who are already slightly silly, we just have to act like we usually do!

So I wondered what I could do. Mrs Locket came up with the idea of making something and raffling it off. Well at least I think that's what you said Lucy?

So my fingers started to get busy. Slaving away over the sewing machine - something that they do not normally do. And here is the result.

This is a fair sized blanket - about 4 foot squarish. It's made using wool and cashmere jumpers that have been felted in the washing machine. And you can win it. Yes you really can! All you have to do is donate something to Comic Relief. I thought this would be much easier than trying to organise the whole raffle thing myself - but it does rely on your honesty. For each pound you give to Comic Relief, I will give you one ticket. But please let me know how much you've donated so I can give you the right number of tickets.

Donate here - and don't forget, if you're a British taxpayer, click the Gift Aid button too.

What do you think? Fancy your chances? Draw to take place on Saturday 14th March.

And then I thought of another thing. I'm throwing the challenge out to you all. How about making something Red Nose related too? I mean, most of you are crafty people and it would be great to see what you all come up with....

If you make something and want it to join in the raffle, just send it along to me. Spread the word. Let's see how much we can amass yes? Involve as many people as possible. Do have a look at the Red Nose Day site. It is very humbling and makes you realise just how lucky we are.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Knitting News at last!

Now believe it or not, I actually have some knitting to show you. Rosedale is done! I love stripes in a big way - I know they really aren't very flattering, but hey, I still love them! This pattern has been brilliant. Clever, easy to follow and best of all free! The yarn - Noro Silk garden - is wonderful and the whole thing is so warm, it's just what I need on a day like like this.

Do not be fooled by the sunshine, I'm not sure if it's got much above freezing today.

Anyway, if any of you fancy a super-easy cardi, go for it. I love mine!

Now onto more serious stuff. Having watched the Comic Relief programme on TV last night, I realised just how near Red Nose Day 2009 is. I shall be buying my new nose from Sainsburys and whatever else I can find there to help this very worthy cause. I love Red Nose Day - do other countries have this? Bring on the silliness I say. The programme showed Billy Connolly streaking round Picadilly Circus one minute, then showed the horrors faced by people in Africa, all within the space of a few minutes. It did not belittle or patronise. It brought home the realisation that normal people born hundreds / thousands of miles away are suffering. People that could have been me, us.

Comic Relief do not just help people in Africa. They do wonderful work in Britain too.

Over at the Stash Basket, Bartholomew wanted to do his bit so I made him his very own Red Nose (in Posh Yarn cashmere of course - only the best for my little bunny!) It has left me wondering what else I can do. The Saint Dunstan's Blankets are coming along slowly so my charity 'work' is geared up towards that. I have decided to do a cake stall in school nearer the time (must check for permission first though!). But still feel I should be doing more...

What will you be doing? Any suggestions?