Saturday, May 27, 2006

I'm still not posting regularly enough but I have been so, so busy these last few weeks. I have taken on a project at work which my brain told me to turn down becaue it was too big but when you are self employed it is so difficult to actually say no and while my brain was shouting NO NO NO my mouth was in fact saying Yes, of course I can transcribe 310 interviews for you, no problem. Anyway it will be done but only by getting up at 2am in the morning - with the result that I'm fast asleep on the sofa by 9pm. At least Big Brother is passing me by this year as I'm sleeping through the entire thing!
Back to thing knitty: I have bought some South West Trading Bamboo on eBay for a very reasonable amount - I got 5 balls of deep red and 5 balls of black plus five skeins of Colinette Wigwam for £32. The Bamboo costs £8.45 a ball new so not a bad haul. If anybody has any ideas what I can do with the Bamboo let me know.
I also got 5 ball of Bergere de France Tulle in dark pink from another eBay seller at less than half retail cost. I am going to make a summer shrug which will be nice for the holidays.
More good news is that a new yarn store is opening in Putney, which is not too far away from me, on 6th June. They will be selling yarns like Lornas Laces, Malabrigo, Koigu - I'm drooling already.

www.stashyarns.co.uk

www.knitaround.blogspot.com

http://www.yarnhouse.co.uk/index.php?target=products&product_id=8

http://www.madknittingwoman.co.uk/Mad%20Knitting%20Woman%20Tulle%20&%20Tweed.htm

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Where did those six month go?
I can't believe I haven't posted anything for six months - I could use the excuse of being busy at work (and I have been) but it just isn't acceptable. Anyway, I am now signed up to SP8 and the One Skein Exchange so I have to keep things up to date.
So here is my new and updated SP8 Questionnaire:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Anything except very obvious acrylics - I love cotton and wool and silk and luxury yarns but also unusual novelties, metallics, anything really, I'm eclectic in my tastes. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? The above mentioned squeaky acryrilics.
2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Carrier bags, boxes, behind and underneath the sofa, I'm not very organised and often have to buy needles so I can start a project even though I have got 24 pairs secreted around the house.
3. How long have you been knitting? Since I was five, which is a very, very long time. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? Sort of advanced knitter, intermediate crocheter.
4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yes, on Amazon.co.uk
5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Vanilla.
6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Yes, unfortunately. Favorite candy? Very dark chocolate.
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I have done a bit of beading but not much. Do you spin? No.
8. What kind of music do you like? Jazz, rock, most things apart from hip hop and very folky folk. Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Yes.
9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? I like everything really - brights, naturals, metallics.
10. What is your family situation? Married to Tom, two kids, Tasha is 18 and Alex is 15. Do you have any pets? No.
11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Scarves and hats definitely, mittens no but would consider them, ponchos definitely not.
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Anything - easy mindless knitting and complex challenging knitting - I love it all.
13. What are you knitting right now? A pair of socks, a baby cardigan for my pregnant sister in law, a shrug, a sleeveless top for summer.
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Absolutely, yes.
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I prefer straights but am persevering with circulars. Have only used metal until recently but now have bamboo, birch and cassein. I just want to try them all.
16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? I got a yarn winder from Ebay but it never worked properly.
17. How did you learn to knit? My mum taught me.
18. How old is your oldest UFO? About eight years.
19. What is your favorite holiday? Usually the last one I went on, we went to Cuba in 2005, amazing place.
20. Is there anything that you collect? Piles of magazines, yarn.
21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Nothing desperately, just got One Skein which I love and Happy Hooker which is great fun.What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? Knitting, Simply Knitting, Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits.
22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Modular knitting.
23. Are you a sock knitter? Not until a couple of weeks ago, and it is fun!What are your foot measurements? UK size 3, I think that is US 6?
24. When is your birthday? 22nd July (big year this year, it ends in a zero!)
I would like to say A BIG HELLO to my SP8 and One Skein secret pals.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I've just returned from a lovely long weekend in New York that was my 18th birthday present for my daughter. We had a fantastic time mainly shopping and eating and walking plus a visit to Broadway to see Sweet Charity (fantastic) and an incredible night time view of the city from the top of the Rockerfeller Centre (newly opened to the public). I managed to visit two wonderful yarn stores - Stitches East and Suss Yarns. What a difference to most UK yarn stores - very friendly helpful staff, lots of tables where you could try out new yarns, bring in your knitting, get advice etc plus an amazing range of yarns. I bought a variety of black/gold yarns from Stitches East to use for some evening curly whirlies - I have completed one in Plymouth Mira Mira which is black wool studded with what looks like gold leaf. I have just also won some on Ebay in blue and green as it is such a lovely yarn to work with. Suss Yarns is a newly opened store in Nolita - an up and coming very trendy shopping area (North Of Little Italy) which was an absolute delight. Even Tasha who has no interest in yarn/knitting whatsoever was taken with it. I bought some Suss Yarns Feather in shades of rust/mustard/blue which has crocheted up into the softest, warmest curly whirly imaginable - a pure delight.
I have had so many compliments on the scarves whenever I wear them and lots of people asking where I bought them, then once they discover I made them, requests for me to make them one (or several) as well.
www.sussdesign.com
http://knit2purl2.com/mira_mira.html

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I've caught the Curly Whirly bug.
This is the latest craze from the UK Handknitters Yahoo group and started innocently enough with some knitters producing curly whirly scarves - knitted and crocheted. I have a WIP from Scarf Style which is a Ruffle Scarf using short rows and I was very pleased with the way it was going but got fed up with how long it took to grew. Then I saw that the new Curly Whirlies had the same effect but grew much, much more quickly. I tried my first crocheted one at the weekend and it was ready in a few hours - I used some Anny Blatt Angora and one strand of Muguet in the same sugared almond lilac that I found in my stash. I also have some Anny Blatt Victoria ribbon in the same shade which I may or may not use to edge it with, I haven't decided yet if that will be overkill or not. When the camera is working I'll put a photo up here but if you want to see what all the fuss is about - and to get patterns - have a look at the Curly Whirly blog at http://www.curlywhirlies.blogspot.com/
I have to warn you though - it is addictive.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I was at Ally Pally yesterday and am still recovering. It was an absolutely amazing day and it went so quickly. Thanks to wonderful public transport (why do people only criticise it? Well I am here to praise it) I was there, door to door in one hour and forty minutes which is not bad going as it is the totally opposite end of London to where I live.
I have been there for four years now but this year was the busiest and best. There was yarn from all over the world and I spent far more than I should have done and I'll regret it when the credit card bill arrives but think of all the postage I've saved compared to ordering online...
So what did I get and who got most of my money? Probably Habu is the winner - their stall, which should have been at least three or four times the size, was full of baskets full of the most gorgeous unusual yarns and the Japanese ladies there were so helpful - I got lots to make some scarves from Exquisite Little Knits.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1579905366/qid=1129387406/202-3149360-8949454
www.habutextiles.com
Then some Rowan Soft Lux in Lilac to make the short jacket/shrug from Classic Knits Woman, some Louisa Harding Kimono Ribbon to make a chevron scarf and also some Sari Ribbon to make a bag both from the Gathering of Roses Accessories Book.
Then on to Threads and More where I spoke to the incomparable Prudence Mapstone who is such a wonderful exponent of freeform knitting and crochet - she had some of her works of art with her - and it was such a pleasure to meet her. Her enthusiasm for her work is very infectious. See some of her work at http://www.eject.com.au/e-motive/prudence/ and some of the incredible yarns from Threads and More at http://www.threadsandmore.com.au/default.asp
I bought two of Prudence's books - one on crocheted bullions and one on crocheted bags. Plus some Trendsetter Aura and Noro Cash Iroha (cashmere and silk) to knit a beautiful airy top designed by Prudence which knits up in one ball each. Plus some Hamanaka Topping Mole to make a gorgeous scarf (how many scarves can one girl have!)
Then on to Debbie Bliss where I joined the Debbie Bliss Club and got a free copy of Simply Soft and also bought her new Home Book which has some lovely patterns in http://www.debbieblissonline.com/
I am well on with the Vogue Knitting Astrakhan jacket which knits up a dream - I have tried to get some suede ribbon for it but it doesn't seem to exist. However I did buy some gorgeous Indian embroided and sequined ribbon at the Bombay Stores stall which will really be the icing on the cake.
I also got one skein of Alchemy Yarns Bamboo to make - oh yes, another scarf. That was from the Knit Tin stall whose website is going live next week www.theknittin.co.uk plus some Lion Brand Incredible from Taj Crafts http://www.tajyarns.co.uk/ who sell Lion Brand, South West Trading, Opal and some gorgeous yarns called Giraffe Trading Magic Balls.
I think that's about it! There was a lot more I could have got so I suppose you could say I was restrained! The strangest thing I saw was the biggest knitting needles in the universe - just about as big as me - and an even bigger French knitting device! Puts my 12mm needles to shame!
http://www.sinfield.org/textiles/index.html

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I had a strange weekend. On Friday I was looking for something in my wardrobe when a camping gas stove that Tom had put away on the top shelf of the wardrobe last week decided to fall out and hit me on the head. I saw the proverbial stars and got a nasty lump but thought I was going to be okay. However an hour or so later I felt really sleepy and went to bed - fortunately Tasha was home from college early so she took any phone calls and was told sleeping not really a good idea. She tried to wake me but I didn't want to wake up. I slept more or less from 2pm Friday until 8am on Saturday morning when I woke up with what felt like the hangover from hell! I have been feeling a bit headachy since then but I am much better today. It must have been a bit of minor concussion I think.
On the knitting front - I finished the scarf exchange scarf and that is now winging its way to Australia. I hope the lady there likes it - she is a knitwear designer so that is a bit daunting.
The Vogue/Debbie Bliss Astrakhan jacket is progressing well, I have nearly finished the back. It knits up beautifully and I am very keen to get it finished especially now that the weather is getting a bit cooler.
Today I got some yarn from America - www.yarnia.com which came really quickly. I got some spiral cotton that was half price in black and stone - not sure what I'll make with it but it should make a nice hat or summer top for next year. I also got a grab bag scarf kit where you pay $16 and get their choice of yarn to make a ribbon/eyelash scarf. You can specify the colour your want and how long you want the eyelash to be. I just went for a total surprise one and the yarns are gorgeous ice cream pastels - Berroco Zen and pink eyelash Berroco Plume FX. It shouldn't take long to knit that one.
I have also recently received the Interweave Knits Crochet special - nothing much that has caught my eye on first looking. I also got the Autumn Rebecca magazine and that does have some lovely things in it. I have just pre-ordered a book from Amazon called Knitovation http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1931543828/qid%3D1128420192/202-3149360-8949454
It won't arrive until the start of November but it looks an interesting book.
I am planning to buy a coffee machine and I am quite interested in the Tassimo one that is advertised at the moment - does anybody have any first hand experience of them and is it worth getting?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The postman brought me a parcel from Las Vegas and I wondered what on earth it could be. Inside was a beautiful box tied with gold ribbon. Inside the box I peeled back the layers on blue and green tissue paper and found some ginger sweeties, some lavender bags and the most beautiful multi-directional scarf knitted in wonderful blues and greens. It was from my scarf exchange pal and with it came a card, written in calligraphy from Debi - this is what she said:

Dear Beverly
I hope you will enjoy this multi directional scarf. It is my very first attempt at multi directional short row knitting. You will no doubt see a few boo-boos. I offer them to you with honesty, like the wrinkles and scars on my body that each remind me of how much I've learned, and how each journey comes with both great pleasure and pain.
May you wear this scarf kniwing I held you in my thoughts, shared the birdsong in the early mornings with you as I knitted outdoors on the edge of Koi pond, before the desert sun became too unbearable to remain outside.
I thought about how cool and verdant the green must be in England and how blue-bonnets, forget-me-nots and other blue flowers bloom there in abundance, kissed by the dew and life-giving rain. Each stitch cooled me as I knitted in the hot dry air.
As I chose the yarn, I chose it not so much because I thought it would be the colours you might have chosen but because I knew in knitting with these colours I could hold you easily in my thoughts, and with each stitch, imagine you as you went through your day.
This has been a journey of learning and a labour of love for a friend I have not yet met.
Debi

Isn't that wonderful? It really has made me feel optimistic about life and how privileged I am to have received such a wonderful gift. Aren't knitters the best people in the world?