Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cranford Mitts

Over at p/hop on Ravelry, they're having a KAL for Cranford Mitts. Starting on November 1st - anyone feel like joining in? The pattern is 'free', but they request that you send a donation to MSF in exchange for it. Very nearly £20, 000 has been raised by p/hop. Seems like a win, win situation to me - uses up sock yarn (and heaven knows I have a fair amount of that!), MSF get more funds, I get a Christmas present sorted - if I can bear to part with them!

So go on, who's up for this challenge? Sign up now at p/hop - they'd love to see you there!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Sorry I've been away for ages - life has that nasty habit of getting in the way sometimes doesn't it? I have been very busy 'walking the dog' - strange how I was the one least keen on getting the poor dog, yet it's down to me to look after him. I was warned by all who know my children that the novelty would wear off, but I assured them it wouldn't.

I was wrong. But on the plus side, I am getting fitter than I've been in years and despite eating like a pig, I'm not putting any weight on. Hurrah!

Every day I write my blog when I'm out walking round the fields - I write it in my head, often several times a day. But when I get back home, the ideas and inspiration have all gone.

The Golden Wedding Blanket was given to mum and dad in York. They loved it, I cried. But then I do that a lot! (Such an emotional wreck!)

On the knitting front, I still am so very behind with the mystery blanket - I would like to finish it in half term, but that will mean knitting about 3 squares every day. Ever the optimist..

I have, however, finished Aspen Leaf. All I can say about this is that you really ought to make one. Lovely pattern - quick and simple - apart from the buttonholes which I just didn't understand (but on a side note here, I mentioned to Marianne in an e-mail that they were impossible and she sent me a reply straight away with a video link showing me how to do them - brilliant service). I know I will make this pattern again. I want one in all sorts of colours, all sorts of yarns. Cannot recommend it enough.

I really want to start using some of my delicious sock yarn and have a go at one of the many patterns lurking on my Ravelry Queue. I really want to knit lots of things on my Ravelry Queue actually, with sock yarn or not. I could do with finishing off a few projects too and even making some Christmas presents. Now then, anyone know how to squeeze a few extra hours into the day?

Haven't we had this conversation before once or twice?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I love my Postie!

My postie is the bestest postie ever. I love him lots. Just look what he brought me today. This first picture is some yarn I bought last week on a new-to-me place at Ravelry. P/hop. Ever heard of it? Put in very simple terms, designers donate their patterns and kind people donate their yarn and other things, then people like me come along and buy said things and give money to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). It seems like a very good idea to me - go and have a look if you've not been there before.

You know the love affair I have with Posh Yarn's Martha sock wool? Well, the ever fantastic Picperfic has designed a pattern that I just love and adore - Aspen Leaf. I needed some big fat yarn and didn't have any, so naturally asked Dee at Posh Yarn ... well, what was a girl to do? Buy some Martha aran weight of course! So tonight will be spent winding and casting on (just as soon as I've finished sewing up a cardi for mum and doing all the ironing. Sleep. Pah. Who needs it?!

A while ago I joined in with Trashy's swap. It was a complicated little affair where you had to chose 2 themes and your partner had to choose 1 of them and send 4 things relating to that theme. I went for, oh who knows what, but have been blessed with the following package today from the most splendiferous lady over at Ballarat Patchwork on the other side of the globe. Ribbons and braids and gadgets and thingies and fabric (OMG that fabric!) and a stuffy sewy thingy...... I was so excited. So very very excited.....

But that wasn't all, oh no, A Piggy, my very own Piggy. With trousers and a posh shirt, fancy trotters and gorgeous ears. Oh how I love my piggy! Think I'll call him Ronald.

I had never come across Tim Tams. They are similar to Penguin biscuits. You bite off opposite corners, dunk one end into a drink and then suck up the drink. Like a chocolatey straw, only far, far nicer. I couldn't wait to try one so had a go with a glass of milk. Can you possibly have more fun with a biscuit and a glass of milk? I think not. Gave one to the boys when they came home from school and they felt much the same as me! These things are brilliant. Ronald is now safely guarding the remaining Tim Tams from hungry dogs who would love nothing more than one or two to nibble on...

No mum, I'm not looking, I wouldn't pinch one of those biscuits, honest I wouldn't...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Well here it is then, the hamper is all ready and full and waiting to be delivered tomorrow. There is so much stuff in there, much more than you can actually see and it is soooo heavy. There are the normal things like golden syrup and golden pineapple, golden rice and golden sugar. But there are also the more unusual things - Fortnum and Mason gold dragees, a golden wedding cup and saucer (so delightfully naff, I know it will make mum and dad smile) there are all the fabulous Norwegian gold things sent by Marit, a Gold Club pack of playing cards and yes, even Palgraves Golden Treasury of Poems (thanks for that suggestion Ann B). Whilst I opted out of the goldmine idea Wonderwoman, I did manage to find a postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge!!!

Sally I ordered the Goldfish crackers from the site you mentioned and they were really speedy and excellent. Mrs Pao the golden coins were found as was a huge one from Fortnum's. Amberpearl, sadly the goldschlager wasn't to be found in these parts and the on-line delivery was too massive, so that remains out, but great idea. Catherine, Gold Diploma wool is in there too.

Thank-you all so much for the suggestions. Prizes were offered up and a draw has taken place.

Drum roll please.

Marit and Mama,

please step forward to claim your prizes.

(please send your adresses, I am rubbish and have lost them!)

Monday, August 30, 2010


The deed is done.

Hmm, wonder what I'll knit next! There is the case of a sock for September, but here I have a confession. I can no longer keep up with knitting a pair of socks every month and keep up with the other knitting projects. I am a slow knitter and have many other projects on the go. Very few of which are remotely nearing completion.

So I hereby close the Moogsmum and Stashbasket sock club. I shall still be knitting socks, but without the pressure of must finish by the end of the month. And I really, really must get on with this infernal Mystery Blanket (when all I really want to do is cast this on using a great many of the different small balls of sock yarn I have... mmm, stripey leftover cardi...) (anyone fancy joining me?!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Holiday knitting

Well, what can I say? I was going to get sooo much knitting done whilst on holiday. I was going to catch up with the Mystery Blanket. I have been sent yarn and patterns to get it up to this stage...

But sadly mine only looks like this.

In my defence I did manage to complete 5 squares in Wales, but sadly I am still 14 squares behind and of course with September 1st only a few days away, I am likely to be 19 squares behind before the week is through. I am not enjoying this blanket anywhere near as much as last year's. I'm not very keen on the picture squares (there is an option to do something different, but all the 'different' squares are just stripy and I felt the whole thing would just be stripes) and some of the colours are not nice at all. That ghastly coral pink makes me want to heave! However, I live in hope that by the end, I shall love my blankie, though I doubt it!

My other holiday knitting was the August Sock - Nutkin. I went up a needle size, knitted the entire top section, tried it on and nearly cried. It was tighter that a really tight tubigrip. So the only thing for it was to pull it all down, cast on 4 extra stiches and start all over again.

The yarn is gorgeous - Martha how I love thee! - and I really like the way it's spiralling, BUT, Nutkin, I do not love thee. The pattern is great to remember, nice and mindlesss, but it twists like mad, I have really had to tug this to get it remotely straight on the sock blocker, heaven only knows what it will do on my foot. Oh, and short row heels? Not for me. It was lovely and quick, but I wonder how strong it will be. Unsure if these will last much more than a few wears.

In fact I now wonder whether or not to even carry on with these socks. Do I waste such gorgeous yarn on a pain in the bum sock that will be worn out in a few weeks? Or do I pull it back again and knit a sock that I love, with a harder wearing heel? What do you think?

Pull it down or carry on. Answers please...

Hmm, think I'm already guessing the answer there

Friday, August 27, 2010

Blowing hot and cold

Cannot quite believe it's been so long. I used to blog every day. Oh those were the days before I discovered ravelry I suppose! (And before a puppy arrived in our house who likes 2 hours of walks every day)

Anyway, as you may have noticed, we have now returned from our holidays. We are very lucky - 2 different places in 2 weeks. And how different!

This picture is taken of my 2 boys on Barmouth beach (that's up in North Wales). Miraculously the sun was almost shining so they wanted to make the most of it and go for a paddle. Insane children. This is the Irish Sea and it's bloody freezing. They did not manage it for long!

But what a difference a few days can make. Well, a few days and a lot of miles! Warm water, clear sea, golden sand. Bliss! My feet enjoyed the cool water as they had just been burnt on the red hot sand - please note cool water, not bloody freezing water.

This is a rare moment when all of us had our picture taken together - we went on a boat trip to view the grottoes around the coastline of Lagos in Portugal. It was lovely.

Last holiday picture now - me and the boys at Sagres Fort. Unsure if I have ever been quite so hot in all my life than I was up there. Mr Stressy thought it would be a good idea to walk round the perimeter of the fort. Incredibly steep cliffs surround this place, a couple of buildings and very little else. Hot and to be quite honest it would have been a bit boring, were it not for the beautiful views of that turquoise sea. (Marit, please note the bag I'm carrying - it went everywhere with me).

The Portuguese people are so fantastic - really, really friendly and very helpful - and best of all, they speak brilliant English. We want to go back again.

Knitting did happen, but not very much. I fell out with Nutkin and I remain fallen out with it. But more on that another day. Now I'm sleepy and am heading off to bed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Back again briefly!

Just signing in quickly to show you my new socks - finally finished the July whatever you want to knit socks. I was knitting these on holiday and a lady saw them, was so excited by the fact that anyone could knit socks and offered to buy them from me. No way madam. These are made from Posh Yarn and they are mine, all mine!

About to start packing now to head off to Portugal and am wondering what knitting to take. Bought these 5 skeins of yarn and can't decide which one to use for Nutkin. Actually, I have already decided, I just wondered if you would agree with me!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The kindness of people

The kindness of people never ceases to amaze me. Remember I asked for some help with Golden things for the hamper? Well, Marit over in Norway put together a parcel and sent it over to me. Lots of goody golden things inside the most fabulous bag - you can't see it on the photo, but there are lots of little pockets round the outside to hold essntials like knitting needles and scissors. I know I shall never be able to work out what I ever did before I owned such a useful bag!

And look at all the Gold things! I am left in awe (actually I cried!) by Marit's generosity. Mwah! Thanks!

Tomorrow we are off on our holidays to Wales. Harvey was supposed to come with us, but due to his inability to travel longer than 5 mins in the car without throwing up, we decided to let him have a holiday of his own with mum and dad. An hour in the car to them, or 6 hours to Wales....

Already missing his wet nose and constant 'feed me please mum cos I'm starving' look!

Oh and just before I go, here's a cake I made a while ago but forgot to show you.

Bye all and happy holidays. See you when I get back.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Warning

Yesterday I took youngest son and a friend to see Toy Story 3. I did not think to take any tissues.

Big mistake.

Be warned people, when you go, don't forget the Kleenex. Brilliant film, but blimey, it gets the heart strings of a mother!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Finished! (Well, almost.)

So I only have the backing to put on - which should be really quick, yes? Having said the other day that I only had 3,000 stitches left to complete, I was suddenly consumed with the overwhelming desire to work out how many stitches are in the whole blanket. I'm a bit of a maths geek at times.

I've made it roughly 171,630 stitches altogether - but that doesn't count all the Swiss darned ones - the geekiness had got up and left by this stage!

It has to be said that I am not pleased with the way it was put together - those 2 green flowers next to each other on the 3rd from bottom row will annoy me forevermore. Why did I put them so close? However, just as I refuse to frog, I also refuse to unpick, so they will stay there now.

And if anyone complains, then tough!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Failed - but still optimistic!

OK then, so I still haven't sorted out the prizes for the Hamper suggestions. I still haven't finished the Golden Wedding Blanket, or the July socks or even got up to date with the Mystery blanket. I am going out this evening which gives me approximately 7 hours to do all the above. Yeah, no problem!!!

For those of you desperate to know what the August Sock pattern is, well look no further than here - it says the pattern is easy to memorise so will be perfect for those of us planning to knit on the beach in sunnier climes. I just need to see if I have any yarn suitable or whether I need to buy more...

Postie was very good to me yesterday and brought the next installment of the Posh Cashmere Club. It is Sophia 2-ply (that's pure cashmere) and is perfection in a skein. Dee has come up with some pattern suggestions and I'm going for this one. I don't normally do shrugs, but have fallen in love. Just need to find the time to get it done. Another one to add to the list!

I will post again soon, promise and will give you exciting pictures next time of the blanket - which is nearly done. Only another 3,000 or so stitches left to do!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Update on the Hamper

Well thank-you all so much for the brilliant ideas. I've been on-line and have ordered a few more things which I had never thought (or even heard) of. I shall work out a few prizes later on in the week.

Just as a matter of interest, Mama, how big a hamper were you thinking I could put together? Surely the Golden Gate Bridge would need a very big box!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Setting a challenge - prizes offered!

As well as the blanket, I have decided to put together a hamper for mum and dad's Golden Wedding. I want everything in it to have the word 'gold' or 'golden' in the title (gold packaging isn't enough, unless I'm really desperate!) This is what I've come up with in Sainsbury's today.

Pretty pathetic, don't you think?

Anyway, I'm now sending out a plea to you all. If you think of anything or see anything that may fit the criteria, please let me know. I shall try and hot foot it to the nearest shop. If however you live overseas, I may not be able to jump on a plane, finances will not permit. But if you would be so kind as to purchase said item, I would happily reimburse all money involved.

All ideas gratefully received - prizes offered in a names out of the hat type contest. Have yet to work out prizes, but am desperate, so it may even be in the form of something Posh...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Walkies, Harvey, Walkies

Knitting has once again taken a back seat. Today was the last day of term, normally a very emotional day for me (I just hate saying Goodbye) but today was even worse. Today was the day when I said farewell to my very first children I worked with. I have known them since they were 4, now they are 11. One of these children was my own son - obviously I shall still see him, but no longer will I be working in the same place as him. I have to let go. Damn it's hard.

I have said farewell to a lovely teacher too who has married a soldier and is moving to Hampshire.

My class that I work in has changed - no longer am I in with the littlies all the time, I have been moved to another class as well. The teacher I work with is fantastic. We have got on so well, work as a team, but the powers that be have decided to move me elsewhere. Never mind, I will rise to the challenge (it is only with class 2 rather than just class 1!) of working with a stranger, a new teacher and a bunch of children that to be honest have been a challenge at the best of times.

So when I got back home today, I felt I needed some time out in the open. Harvey had been inside for most of the day, so he too needed to get out.

So there was but one thing to do, shout "Walkies" and watch my trusty hound charge round like a lunatic looking for his lead.

This is the start of our walk - about 3 minutes from home.

At the end of this gravel path, through the archway of trees at the end, we come to the first wee stop - a field of only just cut yesterday wheat.

Yikes, just look at that sky Harvey, can we stay dry ?

Down to the end of the field to the little newish forest.

Right at the newish forest past a field of broad beans.

Alongside the long swishy grass... the uncut corn field.

Past the sugar beet (Tate and Lyle's finest!)

To another uncut corn field

Onto Hospital Road and past a field that has been left fallow this year

Big circle round the newish forest - oh you should see all the blackberries, rose hips, sloes and haws all waiting for autumn to come.

We then cross over a little bridge and end up back at the just cut yesterday wheat field. Back home for tea and biscuits, thus undoing all the good work of the long walk.

Oh and the black cloud? It duly emptied its contents all over us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A little bit of progress has happened

Rhodie Gus is at last finished. It's a lovely pattern, really easy and free. So what are you waiting for cast it on now will you?! And I know I'm always harping on about Posh yarn, but honestly, this is really the most wonderful sock yarn ever. So very soft and a dream to knit with - and with 400m per skein, very long too.

Progress of the rest of the list is, well, not progressing, so we shall skirt around that issue and talk puppy dogs instead. This is not a good photo of Harvey, he looks slightly drunk I think. In truth he is gorgeous, a very handsome dog.

He discovered a new game today while I was out and he was home-alone in the kitchen. I have a fabric tube hanging up in which I place all my carrier bags (not that I get many nowadays, preferring those tough recycled 'last forever' ones). Well Harvey saw one hanging out and pulled it. That then revealed another. So he pulled it out. And guess what? Another one then showed up... Well people, I soon realised on my return that I have a lot more carrier bags than I first thought!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nearly half way...

So we're nearly half way through the month... but I'm not even remotely near half way through my list of projects for July. Rhodie Gus remains unfinished. Golden Wedding Blanket remains unfinished. Mystery Blanket has not been touched for months. Tulip socks, well, I can't even remember where I put them.

Oh dear, this is not going as anticipated.

But on the positive side, I haven't cast on any new socks lately.

Despite being given new sock yarn and ordering a new sock book.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June and July socks.

Well, hands up everyone who has failed miserably on their June socks? Me, me, me! I really do quite like these socks, very easy pattern to remember and quick to do... but it would seem not quite that quick. Ah well, I shall get cracking with them now that the cake orders have once again dried up.

Which brings me to our July socks. Both Moogsmum and myself have recently bought fantabulous new sock books and we are keen to knit from those. But we can't do 2 pairs in a month as well as eat and do all the other necessary things in life. So we have declared July a Freestyle Month. You get to choose whichever sock pattern you want - but you have to own up and tell us which one you're doing! I have also decided that July must be a finish it off and get up to date month.

So here are my must do's
  1. Finish Rhodie Gus, the June socks
  2. Catch up with the Mystery Blanket (am hideously behind there - got 15 squares to complete)
  3. Finish the Golden Wedding blanket (3 squares left to knit, 81 squares to sew together and all borders to complete!)
  4. Finish the Tulip socks (they are my July pattern, already started, so a minor cheat there, but just don't tell)
I shall stop there because I'm realistic (yeah? since when?). This unfortunately means that I cannot cast on any new socks. That makes me very sad as I now have loads of sock yarn, all begging to be used. I shall try and keep you updated. Bets please as to how long it will be before I cave in and use some of the new yarn!

Perhaps another day I shall find all my sock yarn and take its photo. It might just scare me into doing something with it all.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wedding Cake - again

I've been a bit busy again this week - another wedding cake was ordered. And boy oh boy was this a tough one to do! All 4 tiers were of the sponge variety (plain sponge with homemade strawberry jam, coconut cake, lemon cake and plain cake with apricot jam). Future brides take note - sponge cakes cannot be left hanging around for ages and all decoration must take place at the last minute so to speak. Please think of us when you have these ideas!!

The bride was very specific with what she wanted - which to be honest makes my life a little easier. And here is the end result in all its glory, sitting on my kitchen table waiting for the bride and groom to see it. They were very pleased (still not heard from the last people in the previous post).

Well, I really wish I'd been invited to this wedding. The attention to detail was incredible - apparently less planning goes on for a Royal Wedding. The weather was glorious, the marquee looked stunning, the flowers incredible. It was all so lovely, I really felt like gate crashing for the evening session!

Here is the cake all set up on the table - thank-you Mr Stressy who helped me put it there - way too heavy for a little weakling like myself to lift!

So because very little knitting has actually taken place all week, I fully intend knitting until my needles are smoking! Someone get ready to call the fire brigade will you?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wedding cake

Of all the wedding cakes I've done, I think I liked this one best of all. Loved the simplicity of it - I think if I were to need another cake, I'd go for one like this! (Watch out Mr Stressy, you have been warned!)

Sadly I do not know if the bride liked it, how it went down or how well it was received. A taxi came to collect it, and neither the bride, or any of the family saw it until the reception. Mind you, perhaps by not letting me know if she liked it, I have my answer already. (The wedding was on the day of the first England World Cup Match, hence the flags.)

It occurs to me that I've not given you an update on Harvey the dog lately. Well here he is. Growing like I can hardly believe - I wonder if they put special growing things in that Pedigree Puppy Food! He loves food (particularly partial to stones, socks and ice cubes), sleeps loads, runs faster than eldest son, digs up Mr Stressy's lawn, barks at golf clubs and will not leave my side when it's near to tea time!

Looking at the sad eyes in this picture - they are not normally quite as sad as this- I can only assume he was late with his tea!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I seem to have done something to the layout of the blog - not sure if I like it, but am too stoopid to know how to undo it. so until I work it out, looks like we're stuck with it! What do you think?


Well I just borrowed a different camera so I could show you some of the week's progress. Here's the first Rhodie Gus. If you haven't already started this pattern, I can only suggest you do so straight away. Really pretty, dead easy chart to follow, perfect fit (but I did go up a needle size as even the designer said they were a snug fit). Love it. Maybe one day soon I shall have a pair. It will have to be one day soon won't it as it's nearly July. (Nearly July? How did we get so far into the year?)

I've had a go at knitting 2 socks at once on a circular needle. It appears to be working, but I do still prefer the 1 sock on 2 circulars method - mind you, no doubt I will love this way of knitting socks when I realise that the Second Sock is not waiting to be cast on but is in deed finished. I'm using a variety of Posh yarn scraps - I have quite a few you know!

I've done a retirement cake this week for mum and dad's vicar - the remit this time was 'he's a vicar, is Welsh, loves rugby and used to be in the Navy'.

Mum and dad are pleased with it, hopefully Father Graham will like it too.

(Just in case you wondered what he looks like, this is apparently a very good likeness).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What? No pictures?

Sorry it's been a long old time since my last post, life is hectic as ever. And I'm just too busy looking at Ravelry when I get on the computer to think about blogging!

It's not going to be a very pretty post today either - no pictures. Youngest son has gone on a school trip to the Isle of Wight for a week and has got the camera - we are not a fancy household that owns more than one digital camera. (Gulp, hope he doesn't lose it, smash it, drop it or cover it in ketchup as he seems to do with most other things!)

But without the camera, I can't show you my single finished Rhodie Gus which I love. Neither can I show you the Wedding cake which was finished and was collected last weekend. And I can't even show you the socks I have cast on since finishing RG. Please note 'socks' - I was so impressed by those of you who make 2 socks on one circular needle that I thought I'd have another go. By some strange method, I seem to have worked out how to do it and have 2 socks now on the go. They do seem to be growing quite quickly, but I think I still prefer using 2 circulars and making one sock at a time. Mind you, at least I won't get the second sock syndrome which seems to haunt me so badly!

Incidentally, another must have sock book for those of you who, like me, can never have enough of them... Think Outside the Sox. It's great. Really, really great. You will not be disappointed honestly!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June progress

I was knitting this sock yesterday in between matches - youngest son was in a football tournament - so progress is going quite well.

One lady asked me if it was 'proper knitting'. I wasn't really sure if she was serious - 'er, no, I'm just pretending to twist wool round little pointy sticks to while away the hours' or if she really didn't have a clue. I explained that it was going to be a sock when it grew up and that I was using circular needles. She went on to say that she knits scarves, so she's obviously not new to the craft and has just never seen circulars.

Personally, I can't imagine life without them. (Quick survey here - dpn's, 2 circs or 1 circ for socks?)

Oh and by the way, Posh Yarn's Martha is now my absolute, total, 100% favourite sock yarn. I never want to use anything else - after I've used up my stash of other sock yarns that is.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Changing my mind

So I was all determined wasn't I? I was going to concentrate on the blankets. I was going to finish something off before casting on the June socks. And when the June socks were to be eventually cast on, I was going to use the bright green Tosh Sock wasn't I? You remember me saying so?

Well this has just arrived in the post. I have swapped my Posh cashmere club 2-ply yarn for this.

Blues and greens.
Love, love, love, love, love.

So today I am not doing the wedding cakes. I am not doing the blanket (either of them). I am not making the model to go on the retirement cake. I'm knitting socks!

Well, you always knew I wouldn't be able to last didn't you? (And having knitted my last 2 pairs of socks in non-Posh stuff, I can't resist the temptation any longer).