Yarn Diet Progress

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Review: Notes from a Small Island

Notes from a Small Island Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. Yes it may be a bit dated but hey, it mentions Prestonpans, what's not to love?
The author and in this case narrator takes us on an hilarious journey through England, Wales and finally Scotland visiting places of interest and none and regaling us with his take on what he finds. I found myself laughing out loud at his descriptions of some of the establishments he stayed in and some of the people he met. At times I could clearly see his bedraggled self lugging his rucksack around and just wishing the rain would stop for even half an hour to give respite.
This type of journey is one I would gladly undertake myself if I had the means but I will make do with listening and following along with the aid of Google Maps.

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WIP Wednesday

Wednesday is nearly always a WIP (work in progress) day.
Today I am working on the beautiful Wild Flowers shawl by Kitman Figueroa. I knitted this shawl last year for my best friend for her wedding and decided I also wanted on for my cruise next year. The pattern is a stunning mix of lace, nupps and beads.
The Wedding Shawl
It is a pleasure to knit if you have the time to concentrate and results in a stunning addition to a wardrobe. Just right for adding a bit of bling.
My shawl is a beautiful shade of Violet and is growing very slowly.
Beads and Yarn
The yarn is one I bought to knit something else but it lends itself so much better to this pattern.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A Finish and Two Starts

Why is it that when I finish something I get an acute case of startitis? This happens all the time and it just adds to the amount of projects I have on the go at any one time.
It has happened again this week.
I finished the jumper I was knitting for my Mum,
then immediately started Flax. I have now gone even further and added French Cancan into my projects.
But back to Mum's jumper. The pattern I used was Firenze by Drops. I have knitted this pattern three times now and it makes for a lovely cosy, comfy jumper. Although it is essentially a male pattern it looks just as good on a female and I wear mine all the time. The jumper is knitted totally in the round from the bottom up with just 8 underarm stitches to sew up on each side, a total bonus to someone like me who detests seaming. Drops patterns are free but some folk are put off as they seem very hard to follow. I can assure you though that they are not so don't be daunted. Just having a good read through of them first and breaking them down into bite size pieces makes them much easier to understand.
I used the yarn stated in the pattern which is Drops Alpaca, I used red, and Drops Fabel, I used Sunset. The two yarns are held together throughout and with the alpaca they feel gorgeous while slipping through the fingers. Using them together makes for a very quick knit as they form somewhat of an Aran or Worsted weight.
Now all I have to do is take the jumper off Brenda and get it parcelled up to post to Mum.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Digging out Some Deep Stash

Whilst waiting for Sunday to arrive to start the second sock I picked up the beaded shawl that I have been working on for a year. This was going well until a little someone decided that mum's lap was where she was choosing to sleep.
Comfy Abby

A change of strategy was needed as tiny beads, intricate lace and a snoozing kitty are not a good mix.
A browse through Ravelry and I saw something that would make perfect TV and kitty knitting and would keep me occupied. The pattern I saw that took my fancy was Flax by Tin Can Knits. This jumper is a perfect foil to tiny needles for socks and all the mental concentration of the shawl. It is a simple top down, knitted in the round jumper with a little detail on the sleeves. A great pattern for garment beginners or for experienced knitters looking for a relaxing knit. I knew immediately which yarn I would use.

This yarn has been marinading in my stash for about 8 years. I have absolutely no idea what I was going to knit with it when I bought it, yet here it was waiting just as the perfect project came along.
I cast on last night and completed the neck band.

The knitting is continuing smoothly today and I hope to have another photo to share soon.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Life Gets in the Way

Gosh, real life really slows down the knitting.
This week I had so much real life stuff to do that it is only this morning I have finished this week's sock which I will admit to starting on Saturday rather than Sunday.
A sneaky wee look
I will not show you the finished socks until both are done.
I have also this morning, (well I have been up since 2am) sewn in all the ends and bathed the jumper I am knitting for my Mum. It is now laid out and drying between two towels, (cats) on the bed. And I have knitted a few rows of my beaded shawl. I have been so industrious that I am sure a nap will have to be taken this afternoon which will be no hardship as if the forecasters are to be believed is not to be too nice at all.
My plan is to work on the shawl until Sunday when I can start sock two and hopefully by the middle of next week I will have a new pair of socks to show off.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Review: The Wedding Shawl

The Wedding Shawl The Wedding Shawl by Sally Goldenbaum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to the audio book narrated by Julie McKay.
Once again the Seaside Knitters took me on a journey through knitting and food to solve a murder which had been committed on their doorstep.
These four women feel like friends and no matter what happens in Sea Harbour I would love to be transported there to live and knit with the Thursday night knitting group.


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I Forgot

To show my latest pair of finished socks.


These were a joy to knit. The ice-cream colours truly brightened up some dull winter days.
The yarn is Knit Picks Felici in the Tea Party colour.
I found the yarn wonderfully soft and not at all splitty, which made for very smooth knitting. Sadly this yarn is not always available for purchase as Knit Picks only bring it out a couple of times a year but I for one will certainly be keeping my eyes open for it becoming available again.
The pattern I used is one I made up myself from various bits of other patterns I have used and it gives me a wonderfully comfortable sock to wear and some interesting texture whilst knitting which for some reason always seems to make my knitting go faster.

In the Beginning

There were no socks. Although I have been knitting for over 40 years it was not until 4 years ago that I actually learnt to knit socks. I was afraid and I could not see the point of spending hours knitting them as it was so cheap to buy multi packs in the shops. I just did not know what I was missing.
It was not until I had fully immersed myself into the world of Ravelry that it became obvious that I was missing something. Thousands of folk around the world were knitting and crocheting the most gorgeous dressings for the feet. There were fancy lacy ones, cabled ones, simple plain ones. There were colours galore! I really must be missing out.
Off I went to my LYS (Local Yarn Shop) and dutifully bought a set of DPN's (double pointed needles) to make my first pair. Well what a disaster that was! I kept losing stitches, dropping needles and generally making a dog's dinner of the whole thing. And that was before I even got to the dreaded heel turn. Nope, this sock knitting lark was not for me. The needles went in a box and the sock yarns became other things.
A couple of years later I had discovered a knitting technique called Magic Loop. This method uses one long circular needle in a loop to knit tubular fabric. After a browsing session on Ravelry I found out that there were sock patterns that had been written for this very method. Should I try? Could I at last really knit a sock?
My first ever socks
Yes I could!!!!!
I took it slow and followed the directions to the letter and was amazed when a totally wearable sock emerged from the needles.
From that day 4 years ago I have never looked back and have now completed over 60 pairs.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

A Name Change

The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that I have changed the name of my blog. This is because I have come to realise that when it comes to knitting, socks are my real passion. As I said recently I love to knit them and I love to wear them, so why not dedicate most of my ramblings to them? I also said that I would try to start a new sock each week on a Sunday, hence the Sunday Sock. This however does not mean I will be abandoning my other knitting, I will still knit shawls etc. it will just mean that I will attempt to share with you my latest sock knitting escapades along with my thoughts on the yarn I am using and the pattern, (if any) on a regular basis.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Dancing and Dryers

Knitting took a back seat yesterday evening as I went to my first ever Line Dancing class. Oh boy, there is so much to learn, not least a totally new language! I am sure I dreamt of grapevines and rocking chairs last night. Anyhoo back to the dancing. The teacher was great, she let us two newbies know that there would be dances we should not even attempt and she gave us her total attention when it came to teaching us the steps for ones she wanted us to try. I discovered that I can walk forward in steps of four no problem but going backwards and turning round by a quarter results in two left feet. At least I stayed upright although there were quite a few wobbles, just as well I am shaped like a Weeble so I won't fall down. I will admit I enjoyed the experience and will be back next Monday for more.

Now to my dryer, as you may remember I took delivery of a new dryer last Tuesday after having the option of the old one being fixed or a new one at a reduced price. Boy did I make the right decision. On the old dryer you had to choose an amount of time and just let the dryer get on with it. This one however you choose a programme, cotton, mixed or synthetics and it senses the moisture and adjusts the time needed to dry accordingly. I am amazed. Loads which I use to give over an hour to are drying in less than half the time. That can only be good for the fabrics and for my electricity bill.

Oh well time to get back to my sock which has just the leg to knit.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Dentist and Dancing

Monday again, where does the time go?
Today is a day of D's. I am just back from the dentist where the good news is I need no fillings :) I just have to go back for a scale and polish in a couple of weeks. I was also very good and walked rather than take the car.
This evening I along with some my neighbour and a couple of others will attend my first ever beginners line dancing class. I am looking forward to this with some trepidation. I have not danced in any form for many years and the only form of line dancing I have ever done is the Slosh. I am hoping that it will be fun and a bit of a giggle and not too serious. I wait to see.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sunday Sock

As I said on Friday I want to start a sock every Sunday this year to give me, in theory, a new pair of socks every fortnight for "Operation Sox Box".
Today is the sixth Sunday of the year and here I am about to begin knitting my sixth sock.
For this pair I am using Knit Picks Felici in the Tea Party colour.
I am not using any pattern as such, just a mish-mash that gives me a sock that I love to wear.
If all goes well by Friday I will have a lovely new pair of socks to share with you.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Operation Sox Box

I love to knit socks. I didn't used to, I was scared to, but I pushed myself into learning 4 years ago and I have never looked back since. The amount of beautiful sock yarn out there is just one reason I got hooked, the other reason is that socks are the perfect portable project. They can be popped in any bag and you can whip them out anywhere and knit a few rounds. I always have some socks on my needles.
Today I realised that my socks need a special place to live and I need many more pairs to choose from. Operation sox box was born.
I have a lovely box which would make just the perfect home for my socks
and my plan is to gradually fill it with colourful socks.
The first pair is already making themselves at home.

I am about half way through my third pair of socks this year and I have a wild plan to start knitting a new sock every Sunday to fit in with one of my Ravelry group's "Start Something Sunday" thread. If I can manage to keep this up then I will beat last year's 21 pairs of socks and end up with 26 new pairs this year.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Review: Saints of the Shadow Bible

Saints of the Shadow Bible Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not normally a fan of the Rebus stories and have not read one for many years. However this had me gripped from the off. Maybe it was the wonderful narration by James MacPherson, (Inspector Jardine in Taggart), his intonations really helped set the scenes and made me keep wanting to listen just a wee bit longer.
The story itself had just the right amount of twists to keep me guessing right to the end.
I will be sure to look out for more of the Rankin books read by this narrator.

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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

A Day of Deliveries

Today has turned out to be delivery day here at Chez Mary.
First to arrive was some yarn from the USA.. The package from Knit Picks, who at last deliver direct to the UK, had some gorgeous buttery soft sock yarn, Stroll Fingering in the colour Make Believe
and some more Gloss Fingering in Cranberry,
 with which I am going to knit a Hitofude cardigan (Ravelry link) for my cruise next year.

Next to arrive was something I have wanted for ages

a model stand to drape my finished shawls on. I have always struggled to photograph any shawls I have knitted in a way which properly shows their shape and beauty and I am hoping that having this will help.

Finally the big item arrived
our new tumble dryer.
Last November whilst watching the news I heard about a problem with certain tumble dryers which could cause a fire. I duly checked the model we had and lo it was one of the affected types. I put the details into the website and waited to hear back. At the end of January I got an e-mail saying that due to overwhelming demand it would be a while longer before our dryer could have the modification completed but if I wanted I could have a brand new dryer, delivered and installed within a week at a very reduced price with the old one taken away for free. Now our tumble was at least 10 years old and whilst it had given us no problems other than us having to replace the belt once it seemed a no-brainer to get a brand spanking new one. So here it is and a handsome looking machine it is too.