Saturday, 22 December 2012

More Hats

December seems to have been a month for making hats.

A couple of weeks ago I met up with my older sister, Sonia, so we could sit down and have a cup of coffee in a local cafe as we hadn't seen each other for a while.  I wore my red, crocheted Lucy Cloche hat.  Sonia admired it and asked if I would make her one, in autumn colours, so I said that yes, I would.  A few days later, I went round to my parents' house and wore my hat.  My mother admired it and asked if I would make her one, to match her coat, which is navy blue and pink patterned, so I said that yes, I would!

I went home and ordered some appropriately-coloured yarn from Deramores and a few days later (because their customer service is so good) a package turned up. 

I started Sonia's hat last Monday at knitting group and by Tuesday night it was finished apart from sewing on the flower.  On Wednesday, I started my mother's hat and finished it off this morning.  Although I hadn't planned on making these as Christmas gifts (we don't exchange gifts between the adults on my side of the family), because they're both finished, I'm going to wrap them up in festive paper before handing them over.


I think they've come out rather well and I hope both ladies like them.

It's onwards to Christmas preparations now.  I'm sure that I'm like many of your out there who find the days leading up to Christmas rather busy and stressful.  There just seems to be so much to do and it all takes more time than I think it will.  I suddenly remembered this morning that I hadn't blocked the scarf I've made for hubby's stepmother, so that's now pinned out on mats on my bed and I hope it'll be dry by tonight.

There will be eight of us for Christmas lunch and dinner, so I'm busy making a shopping list, as well as a list of jobs that need doing.

Today is my husband's birthday and he got home from Manchester (where he's been working Mon-Fri for the last few weeks) two hours earlier than expected.  While it was lovely that he was home so soon, it did drive me into panic mode as I hadn't wrapped his birthday presents and they were lying on our bed with the intention that I'd do that job while the girls were eating their dinner.  Cue me rushing into the hall and giving him the rather startingly welcome of "don't go in the bedroom"!

Tomorrow is DD1's birthday (and I haven't wrapped her presents yet either) and I can't believe she'll be a teenager.  Where has the time gone?

I haven't wrapped Christmas presents either - can you spot a theme? - and I need to get on and do the ones for my nephews today so I can take them round to my parents' house tomorrow morning when I go and collect our Christmas Dinner turkey as my parents are at my sister's house on Christmas Eve.

I suppose I'd better get going and try and tick off some more of the tasks on my Jobs To Do list before I go off to work this evening.  Yes, I'm doing my usual two shifts at Tesco this weekend.  6pm-11.15pm this evening and 1pm-6pm tomorrow.  I'm anticipating that it will be very busy in the shop, especially tomorrow (it's a Tesco Express) as people rush about doing their last-minute shopping so they don't have to go out on Christmas Eve.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that Father Christmas brings you lots of knitting things.  I'm hoping that he'll bring me some Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn - I did ask hubby to pass on the website address for Loop London :D

Friday, 21 December 2012

Trumpet Blowing

I mentioned yesterday that I'd been doing some spinning.

I had 150g of some wool/nylon blend fibre (but I've lost the label and can't remember what breed of sheep the wool's from) so I took off 50g and put that away for future use:

I had a 100g 'bump' of some brown (moorit) Shetland roving:

I had 2 50g 'bumps' of Schoppel Fingerwolle pencil roving in Burnt Almond:

I spun each type of yarn into singles (bad photo due to poor light):

Then I put my jumbo flyer and bobbin on my wheel and gave my legs a good workout plying the three singles together (over the course of two days).  I'd intended to make two skeins of a similar size, but the bobbin looked like it might take the whole lot, so I kept treadling until the first single (the Burnt Almonds Fingerwolle) ran out.  I ended up with this:

It weighs 261g and is 303 metres in length and is a chunky-weight yarn.  After washing and whacking it, I squished it in a towel and hung it up to dry.  It wasn't completely dry the following day, so it got put into the airing cupboard to finish off.  It's going to be made into a scarf for me.

Having the two other singles left on bobbins, I then plyed them until the Shetland ran out and got 56 metres out of 26g.  I still had some of the multicoloured cream/yellow/orange/brown single left, so navajo plyed that and got a 12g mini-skein that's 20.5 metres in length.

The three yarns together:

The other 50g of the multi-coloured braid of roving I hand-carded into rolags, spun into two singles and then plyed.  I got what I think is a rather pretty two-ply yarn that's 125 metres in length and is sport-weight/DK.  I've got a ball of Cygnet DK in cream which I've used as an accent colour in a hat, so I might stripe the two yarns into mittens.

I'm really pleased with these spinning results.  I feel as though I've made a proper improvement in my spinning over the last 12 months.

I'm about to start on a big spinning project.  I've got 500g of North Ronaldsay roving which I'm planning on spinning into a sweater's worth of yarn.  A bit of a big undertaking, so wish me luck.

I'm hoping to get in one or two more blog posts before the end of the year as I've got other FOs to show off, but if time doesn't allow it, I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


The last few weeks have been somewhat busy!  In the run-up to Christmas, I decided that the dining room walls needed all of DD2's 'artwork' scrubbed off and then a fresh coat of paint.  As DD2 can't be trusted to not touch wet paint, my time with a brush and a tin of emulsion are limited to before 12 noon so the paint can be touch-dry for when she gets home from school, so it's taken me several days of fragmented painting to get it done, but now I've only got one wall to finish with a second coat of paint (hurrah!). 

I also wanted to put up a new curtain track and new curtains in the dining room.  I bought two sets of the same curtains and the ones in the bay window of the lounge have been up for months, but we'd never quite got round to doing the dining room ones.  After a fair bit of cursing, grrr-ing and frustration (our walls are plasterboard) on my part and hubby coming to the rescue at the weekend with his strength, it was finally up and, apart from shortening them by about 15cm/6", the curtains are now up.

All this has eaten into my knitting/crocheting/spinning time, especially when it's come to finishing things off.  DD1's green hoodie is finished and is now on a quick wash/low spin cycle of the machine.  Mother-in-law's scarf needs blocking (or washing, drying and steam-blocking; I'm really running out of time on this one).

I do have one or two things to show off though.

First off, a hat:

This is a simple 2X2 ribbed hat from the Patons Easy Knits booklet (it might not be called exactly that but I've put it away upstairs) for their wool-blend aran yarn.  I changed the pattern slightly to knit it in the round and avoid seaming and used some Stylecraft Life Aran in a nice blue shade that's slightly heathery.  The hat was made for my friend Martin (who's in his 50s and single, so needed something machine-washable!).  A few weeks ago Martin came into Tesco when I was working and was wearing what was/is a hideous hat.  A brown, acrylic, ribbed beanie.  It may be from Lacoste, but hideous it is, and will always be.  So, I grimaced at the brown, told Martin he needed a decent hat with some wool in it to keep noggin warm in the winter and that I'd make him one.  I saw him last weekend and gave it to him and he immediately took off the brown monstrosity and went off to a local cafe wearing the new hat!!

The hat took less than one 100g ball of yarn and although I seemed to be ribbing for England, I'm very pleased with it and would use this pattern again (the pattern booklet also has a hat variation where the brim's ribbed but the crown of the hat is in stocking stitch - maybe I'll do that one next time).

Here's our Christmas tree.  It got put up the weekend before last and is mostly the work of DD2.  DD1 and I put on the lights and the tinsel, but bauble placement is courtesy of my youngest.  She insisted we put the paper angel she made at school three or four years ago on the top of the tree, as we have done ever since she brought it home.  It's getting a bit tatty now, the wings are a bit curled up, her head is rather bowed and she's lost a lot of her glitter.  DD2 was also Director of Operations when it came to putting up the other decorations.  She stood there telling her father where each one was to be pinned!

I've been doing some spinning (as a bit of stress-buster really) so if all goes to plan I'll be back tomorrow to show you the resulting yarn. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Happy Christmas to Me

My husband is a generous soul when it comes to buying me Christmas and birthday gifts (my spinning wheel a couple of years ago is a case in point), but sometimes there are things that make me come over all 'wantie' and not have the patience to wait for gift-giving times of the year (I think he's already done gift-buying for this Christmas).

Kate Davies' book (released for sale today) was one of those things.  I've been reading Kate's tantalising posts on her blog over the last week or so as she revealed the patterns that are in the book.  So, I was all set to order a copy this morning after I'd got the girls off to school, Jess walked and my laptop booted up, so you can imagine my horror and disappointment when the book was showing up as sold out just after 9.10am.  This was followed by relief a few minutes later when I clicked the buy button again and a copy was in my virtual basket on Kate's website.  A few key-strokes to log into my PayPal account and a couple of mouse clicks and all was done.  A copy of the book will be winging its way to me in due course.

I'm a very happy bunny.  I'd be a bit of a happier bunny if my stash situation meant I could order some yarn as soon as the book arrives and I've chosen which item I want to make first, but I'll have to content myself with reading through it and knitting up at least a sweater's worth of yarn before that (unless I get some money for Christmas).

Here's a link to Kate Davies' website and blog (if you don't already read it).  The designs are featured in various blog posts - just scroll down.  Aren't the designs all gorgeous?  Am I being a naughty enabler? 

Must get knitting and knit down the stash!