Monthly Archives: August 2013

Yarn Barf

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Why does this always happen to me? I am so not amused …

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Set Them Free …

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… Your knitting needles, that is. I’ve done the decent thing and finished my test knit for the fantastic Madeleine at Yarn-Madness, and freed up my needles for another project. In general, I don’t like to have multiple projects on the go, because I’d far sooner get a project finished in the shortest possible time, but I have found myself with three ongoing projects … though now I’ve finished the test knit that’s gone down to two – a jumper for Mike, which I have almost finished (just half a collar and some I-cord edging to go), and some socks for me. The socks were my holiday knitting, and I’m almost finished the first one. However, I suspect that they may be a tad too big, but I’m going to ignore that for now and put them to one side until I feel ready to deal with this possibility.

So, my lovely test knit is done and washed, and is currently drying here on the garden table while I write this, as it has turned out to be a lovely bright and sunny day today. Here’s a sneaky peek for you – the pattern will be released at the beginning of September, at which point I will share more pictures.

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Should I admit that I’ve already signed up for another test knit with Madeleine? My excuse is that it’s just far too difficult to resist such beautiful garments … but I suppose it would be closer to the truth to say that while I’m knitting I’m not thinking about things that I’d sooner not think about.

Despite my oft-heard vow that I am absolutely not buying any more yarn until I’ve made significant inroads into my existing stash, I found myself manically Googling to find the perfect yarn for this new project, and in a moment of weakness flexing my Paypal account to procure some fantastically beautiful Semi~Precious 4ply in a rich, deep purple shade (I’ll share a picture when it arrives). Semi~Precious is a 50% merino, 50% silk blend that knits up beautifully with superb stitch definition. I used a skein of it a few years ago to knit a shawl, and was incredibly impressed. I’ve also got two skeins of the DK version stashed upstairs, waiting for the perfect project.

And speaking of yarn, I acquired three skeins of Wollmeise DK while we were in Germany. Sean gave me a €40 gift voucher for Christmas a few years ago, so I bit the bullet and paid the extra €43 on top of that that it cost to get my hands on a cardi-worth of lusciousness. As it was cheaper to have it shipped to Eriskirch than to ship it to the UK, I thought it would be rude not to.

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Isn’t it gorgeous? This is Petersilie (Parsley), and I can’t wait to wear it. Though, let’s be honest, I doubt that’ll happen anytime soon!

Blogging On A Plane …

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I’ve been in Germany since Tuesday with Ethan and Mike, and I started writing a blog post on the plane, which I then promptly forgot about once we arrived …

‘I’m blogging on a plane … well, to be more accurate I’m writing this in the notes app of my phone as the WordPress app doesn’t work in flight mode! I’m currently on a plane somewhere above France with Mike and Ethan, en route to Stuttgart. We’re heading to Friedrichshafen to spend a week with Robert and Andrea, my ex’s dad and stepmum (that’s right, he whose name we don’t mention). Myself and Ethan have been many times before, but this is Mike’s first trip. Quite how he feels about staying with his girlfriend’s ex in-laws I’m not sure, but Robert and Andrea are the most friendly and hospitable people I know (unlike he whose name we don’t mention), so by the end of the week I’m sure Mike will feel like part of their family too.

We’re flying with Flybe, on a very small plane … and we’re currently going through a pocket of turbulence – eek! I’ve never flown with Flybe before, but I’m impressed with their staff, who I’m finding to be friendly and helpful, which definitely helps when you are a nervous flyer like myself and Ethan. This is a different route for us – when we land we’ve got a two hour train journey to Friedrichshafen – but given that Birmingham airport is a mere 10 minutes from home I can’t complain as ordinarily we’d have a 2 1/2 hour drive to Stansted and then an hour’s drive from Memmingem to Friedrichshafen, so I’m hoping that this turns out to be a much better route for us …’

So, that was our trip here. We had a couple of hours in Stuttgart before our 2 1/2 hour train ride to Friedrichshafen, which in itself was quite eventful. There was a horrendous thunderstorm with huge hailstones, which we were sure would smash the windows of the train as they smashed against them with such force. But we were quite safe, and arrived safely eventually.

We’re having a very relaxing time, which is just what the doctor ordered after the events of the last few months. I’ll try and blog more later, but for now I think I’m going to go and put my feet up for a bit …

Vanilla?

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Knitting away earlier this evening, I pondered the vagaries of test knitting. Over the past few years I’ve taken part in around half a dozen test knits, all of which I’ve enjoyed immensely. However, during some of those knits, it’s become apparent that my fellow test knitters don’t all necessarily follow the pattern to the letter. Why is that? Surely the whole point of the test knit is to test the pattern as written by the designer, not alter it to suit the knitter? I’m not saying there’s a right way or a wrong way, just that it seems odd to me to undertake a test knit and then not make what the pattern directs.

Perhaps the reason I think like this is because I am a strictly vanilla knitter. I read the pattern and then I do what it says, the only exception being to add a bit of length if necessary. I’m not sure why I’m like this – it’s not like I’m an inexperienced knitter, given that I was taught as a young girl (and I can remember winging it and knitting clothes for my dolls) – but I just don’t seem to have the confidence to say ‘oh, well this neckline won’t work for me, so I’ll do xxxxx instead’, or ‘hhhmmm, I need a bit more room in the bust here, so I’ll just add in some extra increases’. Not even ‘ooh, I think I should add some waist shaping to this, so I’m going to start decreasing now’. Nope. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla.

How I yearn to be able to decide to alter a pattern on a whim and then carry it off with conviction. I won’t even attempt colourwork, so afraid am I of discovering a lack of skills … ok, if its a simple effort where I change from one colour to another easy and simply, I might be persuaded to give it a go. I surpassed myself earlier this year and made Andrea’s Shawl in Rowan Bamboo Soft (I used the Jewel and Pepper shades).

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Here you see it modelled by Ethan, who longsufferingly humours his Mum and models various knitted garments for the purposes of my Ravelry project page.

Anyway, I absolutely loved knitting this, it was quick (11 days – good for me as I don’t always get lots of knitting time) and it was easy … and so maybe I should feel a bit more confident about my knitting abilities. I quite fancy having a go at something a tad more exciting in the colour stakes … maybe not quite as involved as fair isle, but a bit more complicated than vanilla single coloured projects.

We’ll have to see … I wonder if I can overcome that fear of anything more cinnamon than vanilla.

Finally and in the meantime (as it is now past 2.00 am and I should really be getting to sleep), I am pondering a one skein project to accompany me on my travels next week. Preferably 4ply and preferably using dpn’s, as we’re flying and I don’t fancy having my nickel Knitpro tips confiscated at check-in, whereas I’m sure my wooden dpn’s will get rough safely. I suppose I will end up knitting socks or gloves … or maybe a hat. I’ll even have a go at a crochet project as long as its not too complicated. I just need to find the perfect project!

Testing, Testing …

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This is supposed to be a blog about creative pursuits, after all, so let’s get to it!

Today I’m casting on for a test knit for the very talented Madeleine Nilsson, from Yarn-Madness. All I can tell you is that I’m testing a top-down pattern in DK weight yarn – and I’m using Sublime Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK in Button, a beautiful soft faded blue colour, which I got from Texere Yarns, one of my favourite places to buy yarn.

So, needles at the ready …

Good Times, Bad Times, and Some Very Sad Times

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It’s been a long while since I blogged … time has gone too quickly. It’s eleven weeks today that Dad passed away, and to be truthful i haven’t been feeling very communicative in that time. The last few months have been bittersweet, laying Dad to rest (the funeral was lovely, with a big crowd of people – so pleasing to know how popular he was), trying to stay strong and supportive for Mum and for my boys, and just generally trying to make sense of it all.

In the days after Dad’s death, I set up a Dropbox folder especially for photos of him, which the family have all contributed to. There must be almost 500 pictures on there now. I’ve got a huge pile more that I need to scan in, but I’ve been putting it off for weeks, and I must knuckle down and get it done.

People have been surprised that I went back to work on the Monday after Dad died – although I went back for one day and then took two more days off. Apparently, I should’ve taken more time – but why? Dad is gone and nothing can bring him back … and taking several weeks off isn’t going to make things any easier. I think keeping busy helped immensely, though maybe I should’ve taken the time to grieve then. The thing is, eleven weeks on, the enormity of it all has just smacked me right in the face – my lovely Dad is gone. I’m never going to see him or speak to him again … no more covering his face in slobby kisses and hearing him tell me to ‘feck off’. No more seeing the odd way he’d hold a fag. No more hearing him call Mum ‘woman’. None of it. But you know what, still I can’t grieve. I can’t let go of that incredibly tight hold I have on my emotions, because if I let go I might not be able to get control again … and that is so scary. So at odd moments when a thought of Dad comes to mind, I have to push it back and swallow it all down. But it’s getting harder and harder to do and I’m starting to feel overwhelmed.

I didn’t even cry at the funeral. I resolved that I wouldn’t, and I didn’t. Because you know what, I can’t let myself be shown at a disadvantage to anyone. All around me people were weeping, and at the graveside one of my brothers almost collapsed … but I kept it all in. That’s not to say that I didn’t feel it, I just couldn’t let any of it out. And that’s how it remains. This is going to bite me on the arse at some stage, I’m sure. And when I feel like this, when there is stuff that hurts that I can’t deal with, I create voraciously. Something to occupy my mind and my hands … so there’s been an awful lot of knitting going on recently, more of which I will save for my next post.

I’m never going to stop missing my Dad, but I’ve got so many memories to cherish … I will get through this, won’t I?

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Love you, Dad xxx