Monday, 29 March 2010


I may have done a bit of an oops. It started with three skeins from Laughing Yaffle, then my husband bought me three balls of Opal yarn when we were in Berlin, then I purchased yarn to make a little cardigan for a new addition to our family (my cousin's baby, due in September) and THEN my yarn from my Rowan International membership went and turned that's 6 pairs of socks, a baby cardigan and a long scarf or other item as I see fit from the Rowan Pure Wool 4ply (6 balls in a lovely colour) eek!! I shall post pictures of the haul later in the week when I get chance.

Sorry no pictures today, soon though...and a better post!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Happy Anniversary

Today my husband and I celebrate our first wedding anniversary. You may ask why I am blogging and not doing exciting things, well the exciting things are to come on Tuesday when we fly to Berlin on our anniversary holiday so today we're relaxing.

Mr NorthernMonkey you are wonderful, your acceptance of the yarn is very much appreciated. Here's to many more happy anniversaries to come.

A quick knitting update, I finished my Germany socks in time for our trip to Berlin:

I cast on socks to knit whilst we're there if I get any time, admittedly I've already knit to the heel flap, Monkeys go fast!! The yarn is from Laughing Yaffle in the Hummingbird colourway, buy her yarn it's gorgeous.

I am packed for our trip, I only have handknit socks with me. I managed not to read any of that magazine so I will have it to read, that may be moved to hand luggage but not until we set off so I'm not tempted!! Also those two Yarn Harlot books were part of my anniversary present, it's our paper anniversary you know, I got two other books as well. I bought comics for my husband, he has his vice and I'd argue it takes up a lot more space and is less useful than yarn, comics don't keep you warm!!

So entry should have exciting tales of Berlin, I intend to go LYS hunting!

Monday, 15 March 2010

Round and round and round...

Round and round and round I go… I am BORED with stockinette socks, my next pair will have a pattern. I'm thinking Cookie A's Monkey socks. Still, the endless round and round and round of stockinette was totally worth it when I gave my mum her mothers day present. She was utterly delighted with her socks, said she will buy me yarn to knit her another pair (eek pressure!) and even said she may have a go herself as socks are one of the few things she hasn't knit.

Here they are sitting on the dashboard of my car waiting for me to drive them round to my mum's yesterday. I'm quite jealous of these actually. Obviously I have a number of pairs of hand knit socks and am able to make them myself as and when I want (time allowing obviously) but I love the way this yarn knit up. It's a plain old Regia, I got it in the sale at John Lewis. There's nothing fancy about the yarn but I just think it's oh so pretty.

Unfortunately the stockinette isn't over just yet, I have to finish my second Germany sock. I have almost finished the instep decreases then am on to the foot so not far to go, they'll be finished on schedule to be worn when I go to Berlin next week.

I am very excited about going to Berlin. My husband has said he is willing to go LYS hunting whilst we're there and I have been on a yarn diet all through February and up to now so that I am allowed to buy some. I am going to take some knitting with me for the evenings, the aforementioned Monkey socks to be knit using Hummingbird by Laughing Yaffle. I ADORE Laughing Yaffle yarn, the colours are so beautiful. I have to make sure I don't look at her site when I'm trying not to buy yarn as the temptation is too much. Fortunately I am now allowed to give in to temptation, the husband has said so! I cut his hair and he pays me in sock yarn, last night was haircut night so I'm going to buy some yarn from Laughing Yaffle. I've got my eye on the colourways I want, I've even picked a pattern for one of them. Very exciting. Buying yarn from her does not mean I can't buy in Germany either but I do think it means the yarn diet will be back on until my birthday in May.

Nothing wrong with a bit of innocent stashing, what if something happens which means I can't afford to buy yarn and I only have enough for 3 pairs of socks…then what would I do? I clearly need at least a years worth of yarn in my stash…plus a little…just in case!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Busy busy

Busy at work, busy at home or rather doing things that leave me with no time at home to sit and blog. Busy busy busy. Mum's socks were not finished for her birthday due to unforseen events over the weekend. I'd worry I will never finish anything for a deadline ever BUT I finished all of my Christmas knitting so I know I can do it. Mum's socks will be a mothers day present instead, I will finish them tonight and tomorrow and take them to her on Sunday.

Have done no other knitting at all. Have the second German sock to finish, had better get cracking as we go to Germany in 11 days! Attempts to knit 12 pairs of socks for myself this year aren't going so well, I've finished two pairs and almost finished a third which sounds on track but two pairs are just plain old stockinette socks, do they really count? Also the first pair I finished was started in December, I hardly did any knitting this year. I'll do it.

Ishbel hasn't been knit on since the closing ceremony of the olympics.

My friend at choir is angling for a Rose Red as she loves mine, she hasn't a chance. So much to knit, so little time! I must also start work on my project for the swap on the knitting forum.

Busy busy busy.

Pictures next time, I promise.

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Testing blogging from my phone

Mum's socks WIP

My current primary project (the one I’m knitting on most frequently due to it’s time sensitive nature) is my mum’s socks. It’s her birthday on Tuesday and I promised socks. After a lifetime of my mum knitting for me I think it’s only right that I should knit for my mum. I think it’s particularly important that whilst my mum makes me beautiful cabled cardigans and the like which I haven’t the attention span for and have on my “to attempt” list I knit her something that she has never knit for herself or anyone else, socks. She picked the yarn from my stash (whilst I breathed a sigh of relief that she didn’t choose the beautiful green Cariad yarn which has cashmere in it (if she had then of course I’d have knit it for her, green is her favourite colour as well as mine, I’m just relieved that wasn’t her choice!) a rather nice Regia of a not self-striping variety. I’m loving this yarn though, not as much as the green stuff with cashmere in it but loving it none the less. I’m hoping that as my mum has teeny tiny feet (UK size 3) I might have enough leftover to make a little pair of anklets for myself. If I don’t make the cuff too long it’s possible, my mum doesn’t want a long cuff anyway.

This is my current progress, I’m at about 6 rounds behind this on the second sock. I decided to work on them alternately so I don’t get struck down by second sock syndrome. I’m actually liking this way of working and intend to do the same again in future.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Olympic failure

So Great Britain isn’t so great at the winter Olympics, probably in part because we don’t have a proper winter. I know there was a lot of snow this winter but in general we’re not a winter sports country evidenced by the one gold medal at the Olympics. Perhaps it’s just that winter sports and the possibility of competing in the winter Olympics isn’t pushed as much, we did have athletes there so clearly British people are trying, just not necessarily doing very well!

Anyway...I’m babbling.

This Brit thought I might at least be OK at the Knitting Olympics, that seemed like something I could manage. Clearly not. My Ishbel remained unfinished at the closing ceremony, so near yet so far. I gave in after row 4 of chart C and accepted I wasn’t going to make it. OK so that’s only another 11 rows plus the cast off to go. Thing is that those 11 rows is over 3000 stitches with lace and charts and concentration. I have a reason for not finishing, it’s very poor but let me share.

Last weekend I was feeling very much on track, I had finished charts A, had started on chart B and was even contemplating doing A, B, A for the larger lace. Pride comes before the fall right? I told myself I’d do a couple of rows every night, that would get it done and I could finish at the weekend. A couple of rows every night would have got it done, did I do a couple of rows every night? Oh no.

Monday night I came home from work, I thought about my Ishbel, I thought “hmm I did a lot of lace over the weekend, maybe I’ll just do a couple of rounds on a plain sock tonight, I still have time.”

Tuesday I did manage to knit…a little. I had Tuesday booked off work, my husband was working from a different regional office and I’d offered to take him to the train station bright and early for the 6am train. I had decided there was no way I was then going into work so I’d have a nice, relaxing day. I could do some housework and lots of knitting. Brilliant. I took him to the station then came home and proceeded to fall asleep and stay in bed until 11am. I then have to at least have something to show for my day off when I’d told him I’d do housework so I sorted out my wardrobe. I then sat down to knit. I finished chart B when Mr Monkey called to tell me he’d finished the work he needed to do and would be home by 6pm. He got home, we ordered takeaway, no more knitting was done…but at least I’d finished chart B right? I could do the rest by Sunday night no problems.

Wednesday night is my choir night, I’m always busy and rushing around and there is minimal time for knitting, for minimal read no time. I didn’t get home until after 9pm at which point I still had to eat and do some other bits and pieces, none of these included knitting. No further work done on Ishbel.

Thursday night, Thursday should have been a perfect knitting opportunity. My husband was off playing football, I came home alone to a quiet house with lots of knitting time until he got home later. Perfect. Did I knit? Of course I did, I knit quite a lot actually, was it Ishbel? No. The thing is that on Thursday I got a new mobile phone, a much fancier one than my previous phone with a touchscreen and everything. It clearly needed some kind of protective covering so I had to knit one right? I picked out some leftover sock yarn and cast on a little sock for my phone. Great, knitting, just not the right knitting. (we will ignore the fact that I messed up, didn’t cast on enough stitches so the sock was too small meaning I’ve pulled the whole blasted thing out and started again)

Friday night. Of course I could knit on Friday night, it’s the weekend. There’s no need to rush to bed early, I can knit to my hearts content on a Friday. The thing is our friends were going to the pub. I told Mr Monkey that I’d join everyone for one drink then I’d get the bus home and wait for him to finish and could get on with some knitting. Thing is one drink turned into two, then three, then four and then stumbling onto the last bus home with absolutely zero chance of me being able to knit competently. Oops.

Saturday should have been perfect knitting time. We had a little job to do at lunchtime which involved leaving the house but that was for less than an hour meaning loads of free knitting time to get through my second chart A. I sat down, got my pattern and my project out and prepared to knit. I looked at the chart and felt a bit confused, I tried to knit but continued to feel muddled up. Whilst I didn’t have a hangover I’d clearly killed off enough brain cells the night before to prevent any successful knitting on Saturday. Well I can’t say any, Mr Monkey bought himself an ipod touch during the week and requested a sock for it. That did seem to be about as complicated as I was capable so I knit that on Saturday, Ishbel remained at the beginning of the second chart A. Blast.

Sunday is a perfect day to knit, just perfect. I could still finish Ishbel, it was only 23 rows and the cast off from completion, totally do-able right? I’d get up early, have a tasty breakfast and get started whilst I caught up on things I’d recorded on sky +. No problems. OK one problem, I ignored my alarm and slept until 11am. Drat. I got up and got started, I successfully knit the first four rows of chart A but it was going painfully slowly, I know there are a lot of stitches to knit at this point but I’m still not sure it should have taken me 15 minutes to purl back across a row. Oh dear. I did some maths for how long it would take to finish at this rate, I remembered the ironing pile also needed dealing with, I felt a little ill. After lunch and some light housework I returned to Ishbel and finished chart A. I set off on chart C desperately trying to convince myself this was possible, I could do it, I would finish before the closing ceremony of the Olympics. I knit the first row of chart C without problems at a reasonable pace, purled back across and started the third row. I looked at my chart, then at my knitting, then at the chart. I thought about what I’d done for the last few stitches…well that didn’t match the stitches within the box for row 3…something was wrong.

The green marker is the point where I started knitting the wrong part of the chart, the point I am at in this picture is where I realised I was knitting the wrong part of the chart.

It could have been worse, I could have knit a lot further before noticing…I might not have noticed at all. Even so I gave in, that was it, enough. I tinked back to where the mistake started, re-knit until I finished the row, purled back across and shoved Ishbel back in her little project bag in a sulk. I gave up.

I’m proud that I did as much as I did, I do think I did quite well but obviously I know I could have done better. I stopped before it turned into a mass of mistakes and I stopped before I ripped the stupid, splitty yarn off the needles and burned the whole thing in the back garden.

I didn’t stop knitting. I cast on again for my phone sock and decided to give magic loop a go as learning that had been a goal for this year. It’s going well, I’m about halfway through and finding magic loop easy, also I am pleased to note that it doesn’t create the ladders I get when I use DPNs (which I counteract by moving the stitches around on the needles) which is good, I’d read this was the case but couldn’t believe it until I’d tried it. I’m not sure about knitting a full sock on magic loop, I still haven’t gotten my head round how the heel would work but I will give it a go at some point.

So I suppose that’s that. I didn’t finish my Olympic project, I’m not even sure I can say I gave it a good go as I was terribly lazy about knitting on it particularly if I consider people have knit whole jumpers over the two weeks. Still, I tried something and I’ve got most of an Ishbel out of it. I’ve learned to knit using a chart, I’ve taken on a larger lace project and feel like I could even try one in laceweight next time. It wasn’t a completely fruitless exercise.

Ishbel will have to be slightly on the back burner now though. I promised my mum socks for her birthday which is on 9th March. I have at least started them and am about half way through the cuff so I can certainly do this one and finish in time. I may be able to let myself down without too much guilt but I’m not letting my mum down.

WIP list:

Ishbel – no longer time sensitive though would like it to be finished for my holiday, we go on 23rd March
Mum’s socks – to be finished by 9th March, it’s OK, she only wears a size 3!
Phone sock – not time sensitive but should be done very soon as it’s a tiny project
My German themed socks – am on instep decreases of second sock so not too far to go, want them done by 23rd March…shouldn’t be a problem!