Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pictures at last!

OK as promised, here are the long awaited piccies. This is the fleece I spun up and dyed with 'pretend' Koolaid(2 green, 2/3 cherry and 2/3 tropical(orangey)). J now wants this yarn for socks for herself!
This is the BFL I dyed using acid dyes. I'm really pleased with the colours and how they have merged. So I'm looking forward to spin these once I've finished the Presto Chango(see Shoeless blog for the pattern) and a cardi from 'Cheeky chinos' for the new baby's older sister...for my preggie mate from work.
A FO!!!! This is the yarn I was gifted from Angora Anne...she had dyed it herself. She did send me a lovely pattern to knit. I tried it but toe up socks are really not me, I much prefer to knit cuff down. Anyway these are my Monkeys on my brand new sock blockers. I had been asking around about these and decided to get them from Get Knitted as there was some 4ply soft there that I wanted to knit I Love Gansey sock from SixSockknitalong.
Here is Squeeze in his favourite place......the scratching post. He likes to play 'King of the castle' with it!
Here is Lily being cute. They never fail to amaze me, they've weaned themselves, learnt to drink water, regularly groom, used the 'big boys and girls' tray rather than their little tray and basically cause havoc!!!!!
This week has been really nice so far. Chris invited me to a Guild 'meet' at a lovely lady's garden on Tuesday. Apparently this happens once a year that she opens her garden for guild members. We had a lovely afternoon spinning. I managed to ply the sugared next time as it's drying at the moment. I managed to get 270yds Navajo plyed, so there's enough for some DK socks. The garden was beautiful, it was like something out of a novel. It was so quiet and sitting in stunning surroundings it felt like I was on holiday! A real secret garden.
After having a long day out on Tuesday, yesterday I was shattered to say the least. At lunchtime I had a wander to Abakhan and picked up some Welsh Mountain top....yes you read correctly Abakhans selling spinning fibres!!!!! It is pretty kempy and with the dark fibre you would expect from Welsh mountain, but it is softer than I thought it would be. So I thought at the very least I could do some dyeing with it!
I also managed to have a look around for SP11 gifts...........
Talking of which I had an email from my pal today. She sounds really lovely. I'm so looking forward to spoiling her!
I'm off now to have another stab at Presto Chango...the sooner it's finished, the sooner I can start the cheeky chinos cardi, the sooner I can start spinning my dyed fibre!!...That's saying that I stick to it!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

SP11 and dyeing!

OOOO it's the start of SP11 today. I've received the details for my down stream pal...I'm really pleased with the match. We seem to have an awful lot in common! I have lots of ideas of what to send.
Just waiting now for my upstream pal to get in touch.....I'm really looking forward to getting to know both people.
I changed my medication on Friday after an appalling week of pain. I decided to draw on my skin exactly where and when I got pain so the doctor could see what's going on. Well, I was covered in pen marks at work...I looked a real sight!!!! The doc has decided it is my tendons that are the problem due to the fybromyalgia :( So he's changed my meds and I'm now getting pain relief via a patch on my arm. It has made a difference and taken an edge off the pain so it's more bearable. Also I've not needed my other tablets as much and been more 'awake' so that is a real bonus!!!!
Today I've been playing with dyes! I received some BFL roving yesterday and thought I'd give it a whirl. I was very good and mixed all my dyes into squeezy bottles(no drips) and wrapped all the wool up once I'd coloured it. I steamed the cling film wrapped wool and now I have 100g of blue/green and 100g of red/blue/purple. I'm really pleased it's worked out well with minimal mess.
Sorry no pics as camera is still out of batteries.
I finished the felted bag for my sis. I love it but we will have to see what she thinks of it.
The monkeys are now onto the feet and I'm being very strict about not casting on for anything else before I finish them.
I've started spinning some sugar almond coloured wool/nylon. It's spinning like a dream. I've split each length into 8 and there's barely any drafting needed. I'd better finish it soon as I'm going to want to spin my newly dyed roving when its dry!!!
Update on the kitts.....they both know their names and will toddle over when called! They are really cute and their little personnalities are really showing thro'......Weaning next!!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Secret Pal 11 Questionaire

This is an updated version of the one I did for SP10.
Here goes....

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I love natural fibres wool, alpaca, cotton etc.
What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I'm not keen on acrylics although it comes in handy for the animals beds!!!! and 'fashion' tinsel yarns are a definite no no!

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
My long needles are in a very long red(with kittens on ...aaahhhhh) pencil case type thing that they came in when I bought them back in 1993. My short ones(20cm) and circulars are in a black magnetic closure clutch bag and my dpn's are in a narrow make up bag along with the rest of my bits and bobs I carry with me(sewing needles, scissors etc)...but I need to fix the zipper on it as it's decided to break...must be all that wear and tear!!!!

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
According to my mum she taught me to knit when I was 4!! So that makes it 28 yrs!
I'd say I was an advanced intermediate. I'm always up for a challenge!

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Unfortunately no.

5. What's your favorite scent?
Fresh smells...oranges..sea air.
Also relaxing aromatherapy...lavender etc. I do like vanilla but it gives me really bad headaches so I have to avoid it.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Ooo yes!! I absolutely adore Green and Black dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), I like ginger and orange things too!

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I cross stitch and I've got 2 sewing machines(even tho' they've not been used for a bit), I can crochet but have no idea what stitches I'm doing!..I must get my book out and rectify that!!! I can embroider and have been known to make the odd card or 2.
Yes, I do spin, with my Ashford Traditional called Audrey. I love it! I've had her since April of this year and I'm enjoying washing, carding and spinning fibre...I've even started to dye too! I love trying different fibres esp from rare breeds.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like anything from classical to heavy rock with a bit of punk thrown in to add colour! I used to be a goth if that helps? I recently saw the Scissor Sisters and Kylie in concert. The only thing I can't stand is the 'duh! duh! duh! duh!' dance(?) music that's around at the moment, as well as the cover versions they're doing.
I like to listen to Cd's when I'm driving.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love the darker end of the spectrum...greens, blues, purple, dark reds and dark orange....however I really HATE pink!!!! Although when it's in space dyed/hand painted yarn I like it. I absolutely love space dyed and hand painted yarns and fibres as well as semi solid ones too!

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my female partner and step son(17)....oh yes, do I have pets?!! I've got a gorgeous blue merle collie/jack russell cross dog with the most beautiful blue eyes ever called Poppy. She's my best friend. I also have 10 (yes 10!) cats...they're all so cuddly and purry and Poppy mothers them all!

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves, hats and mittens but not ponchos...I'm not really a girly girl.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks, gloves, socks..... I love knitting cables. Oh and lace too!

13. What are you knitting right now?
My first pair of Monkey socks in scrummy sock yarn a friend dyed and gifted to me. Also a felted bag for my sister's friends on going mitred blanket.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course! It means so much to me when someone has hand made something for's really special! Most of the things I knit are presents for other people.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'm a bamboo girl! They're so warm and they help my hands no end(if I haven't used them the day before I can tell as my hands claw and are very painful) I love to use dpn's esp for socks(not the really tiny one's tho' as they're too short and I have to use 3mm and above as my tension is very tight) but I will use circulars for garments at times(I own 7mm and 10mm addi ciculars that I use for bags).

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes both! In fact I have 2 swifts!!!! I use them all a lot.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
A blue acrylic cardigan my mum bought me the yarn for when I was 18...I used to knit in the halls of residence as a student but had to stop as I ran out of yarn!!!

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Probably Spring Bank holiday or May day as it usually means we are going on our first camping trip of the year!!!

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Yarn! Vintage knitting stuff and esp anything woolly or sheepy.....Oh and cats!

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I love trying new yarn(esp by dyers etc) and all the other amazing hand painted/space dyed yarn and fibre that's so difficult to get in the UK. I subscribe to Simply Knitting...I really like it as its very light hearted and the projects aren't always expensive ones.

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'm trying to improve my spinning at the moment so I can start knitting socks or gloves with 'practise' spinning is slowly becoming a mitred blanket for camping. I'm also trying to get to grips with dyeing techniques.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes,yes!!!! I'm a UK5 i think that's a European 38...not sure with US sizes tho' sorry!

23. When is your birthday?
29th January...I'm an Aquarian

24. I'm in the queue for Ravelry....So when that comes through I will update...

Phew! that's done.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I'm back after a very busy week!

First of all I'd like to thank everyone who has thought of us this week regarding Marley. It is been hard but we are trying to concentrate on the other two kittens.
So let me introduce Lily. She's a lovely little girl and loves nothing better than sitting on your lap just cuddling....this may change when she starts running around. (its Bella's whiskers on the pic)

This is Squeeze. He can be a very loud squeaker when he wants to be. He's destined to be a very loving and playful cat. They are both gorgeous kittens and it's lovely watching them grow up.

This week has been pretty hectic. Tuesday night J and I went to see the Scissor Sisters at the MEN in Manchester. They were absolutely amazing even better than last years gig!!!!

I booked Wednesday off work as I didn't think I'd have enough energy. So instead I had a lovely day with Chris. I gave her 'Nora', her fleece(I got it wrong in a previous post, Spot is my fleece) and some Wensleydale. I came back home laden with some yummy raspberry wool 4ply and black and white 4ply(for socks), aran cotton(for Presto Chango), orange Nova and Salsa!!!! As well as some pretend Kool Aid for dyeing. I started a pair of Monkeys while I was there. I must be one of the only people in Blogland that hasn't knitted any before! I'm doing them in some scrummy hand dyed yarn in blues, greens and yellows that was a gift from Angora Anne when I sent her a stretchy drive band. I have taken a photo but my camera batteries died on me before I could upload it.

Yesterday I decided to dye some yarn I have recently plied. Well, it started off that I wanted it to be green and something else but it ended up with a mix of green and cherry. Instead of being a pinky red it is a very strong red red. J has already informed me she wants socks out of the yarn. Don't know how it will stand up to being socks, but we will see. Good job I managed to spin 300yds ish...and we like ankle rather than longer socks!!

Today I took advantage of the warm weather and decided to wet block the Lunar moth shawl.
I did it outside using some spongy floor jigsaw pieces, I picked up from Asda a while ago, as a base.
I'm pleased with the results, just hope mum likes it as it's her birthday present(which was last Thursday!)
Boring bit.......knitted in Fyberspates Scrumptious(100g) on 8mm needles(suggests smaller but my tension is a problem) Pattern is Lunar Moth...sorry still don't know how to link. I'd def do it again as it's a nice quick, portable project.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Some sad news..

Thank you to everyone that has sent their thoughts to Marley.
I'm really sad to say Marley passed away on Saturday afternoon.
He was actually improving until Friday evening when he was fitting every few minutes. We didn't expect him to be with us by Saturday.
In the afternoon I picked him up for a cuddle. Bella was beside herself as she couldn't do anything to help him. He then passed away very peacefully in my hands. It was so good to see him relaxed. We already miss him so much...I'd even found Poppy cuddled up with the kitts looking after them! He is now buried under our apple tree, which is a favourite spot of the cats. He may have only lived for two weeks but he had such a lovely personality and touched our lives for the better. We all loved him very much.
Marley you will never be forgotten.