Sunday, 27 February 2011

Signs of spring

I had intended to post about how spring was coming last weekend, through the week I'd seen the signs on the garden and was rather excited. I got up on Saturday morning ready to take my camera into the garden, opened the bedroom curtains and was met with this

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at the back where the flowers were starting to peek through was this.

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Rather a backwards step towards winter! Fortunately the snow melted as quickly as it showed up and the week and this weekend went back to showing signs of spring to come.

I don't dislike winter but I wont deny that I am very fond of spring. My main issue with winter is the darkness so in the last two weeks when the sun has been almost up as I've left for work and still just about up when I set off home again was very exciting. The days are getting longer, it's not quite as cold and it's much easier to get out of bed.

I am hoping there wont be any more snow and that the weather gets it's act together and Spring makes a proper appearance. It's clearly making some attempts as there are flowers in the front garden

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Snowdrops and the beginnings of other flowers in the back

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I'm not a gardener so my ability to identify flowers is very limited but I can definitely see they're coming. I can also see some weeds are coming up too, the worst part of spring/summer being having to actually maintain the garden! I am just rubbish at it. I do like flowers though, so pretty. The other good thing about the beginnings of spring is it means it will be our wedding anniversary soon and we have an exciting trip away planned, I can't wait!

I gave the oven a little workout this weekend, one of my best friends visited yesterday as did my uncle and his wife. We don't often have guests but I did my best hostess attempt and made cheese scones. I didn't get a photo of them as they were all gobbled up before I go the chance! I did more scones today but fruit ones this time as Mr NM prefers those to savoury ones, I did get a photo. I have no idea where my round cutter has gone so I used a heart shape one! I could always just use a glass but I prefer to make my scones a bit smaller so they're not so naughty (Mr NM can always have two if he thinks they're too small but I really shouldn't!)

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A couple of weeks ago I won a competition on Josiekitten's blog. The prize arrived last week but I didn't get chance to take a photo. I got a lovely washcloth, some soap and a chocolate sheep, yum! I will be doing my part and "paying it forwards" at some point but as I've just had a little giveaway I'm going to give it a few weeks before I do.

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In knitterly news I'm struggling again with the almost uncontrollable urge to cast on for every pattern that takes my fancy. I finished my first of the gloves for my mum so I am making some progress with my current WIPs.

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It looks rather odd without a hand in it so I modelled but my hands are bigger than my mum's and the glove is too small for me. It's lovely and soft though, I love the yarn. I haven't sewn in all the ends as I need my mum to try it on and I may need to pull back the fingers and make them sorter, my friend tried it on yesterday and it was too big for her so I'm worried it will be too big for my mum.

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I wont be rushing to knit gloves again, it wasn't difficult but it was a faff knitting the fingers, I think where handknits are concerned I'm very pro-mitten!

The faffiness of knitting the fingers led to a burst of second-glove-syndrome, not unlike second-sock-syndrome. I was bored and I wanted to knit just about anything else. The anything else turned out to be socks, the anything else usually is socks, even with second-sock-syndrome I usually want to cast on a new sock in a different pattern instead of knitting the second sock in the first pattern!

I think the urge was enhanced by me packing off that skein of Jitterbug in the giveaway, I wanted to knit with one of the other skeins of Jitterbug I had! It has been lurking in my stash for ages so I wound it into a ball and got started on my second pair of Monkey socks.

This is quite possibly the most addictive sock pattern ever. I cast on the first sock on Tuesday evening, I didn't knit at all on Wednesday as I was at choir, on Saturday morning I had this much sock:

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By Saturday evening I had this:

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OK so it's shorter in the leg than my previous pair of Monkey socks (I did 4 repeats) as I was concerned about the possibility of running out of yarn. Jitterbug is quite short in the yardage department but even so, considering I'm not the quickest knitter and I only get a bit of knitting time on weekday evenings and had guests on Saturday that's not bad going!

Instead of casting on the second Monkey sock, something I could happily do as right now I feel I could knit all my sock yarn into this pattern, I cast on my second glove. I'm about half way through the ribbing on the cuff and am hopeful they'll be ready in time for my mum's birthday.

I hope everyone has a lovely week filled with knitterly goodness and other wonderful things.

Monday, 21 February 2011

We have a winner!

Evening all, thank you for all the entries in my little competition. I used a random number generator (as my first two comments were from the same person I counted that as 1) and it came up with number 19.


Counting through my comments that told me the winner was Mimi, I shall be in touch for your contact details and will send this lovely Jitterbug yarn your way


Thank you everyone for commenting, it was lovely to have comments from new people and to get some new blogs to have a nosey through. I am sure I'll be having more little giveaways in future as I do love to share the knitterly love whatever time of year.

Monday, 14 February 2011

All you need is love - a giveaway

After posting yesterday I noted that it was my hundredth post, combined with it being Valentines Day today I thought I’d “share the love” and have a little giveaway in celebration. If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by MIDNIGHT GMT on FRIDAY 18th FEBRUARY and this delightfully squishy skein of Colinette Jitterbug in the rich and vibrant colourway Jewel could be winging it’s way to you.


I’m happy to ship anywhere (of course sending overseas will take longer but hey, free yarn!) and will pick a winner with one of those clever random number generator things at the weekend. You don’t have to have commented before to win and it’s always nice to “see” new people commenting so I can come and check out your blogs.

Good luck and happy Valentines Day or if you’re not a fan, happy February 14th and happy hundred and first post to me!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Domestic bliss

I do hope everyone has had a wonderful week, mine has been rather lovely even if the weather has been wet and grey.

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my purple socks, I was pleased to see others liked them as well. I do love twisted stitches and tiny cables on socks, they add interest to the knitting and are so pretty, they also make people think you're terribly clever which I can assure you I'm not! In answer to the questions they do fit pretty perfectly, possibly the best of any of my hand knit socks and I'm sure it's the extended sections of twisted ribbing that cause that. I didn't use a cable needle, I hardly ever use one any more and for crossed over stitches like those in my socks I really don't think it's necessary. A cable needle is just something else for me to lose!

I thought I'd share my weekend activities with you, it wasn't just knitting! Monkey towers has been a picture of domesticity this weekend as I got my apron on and settled in for some much needed kitchen time. I used to bake a lot but haven't really felt the urge lately until the last week when I've felt the uncontrollable urge to bake lots of things. Mr NM is very pleased with these urges.



became this


Which became this on Saturday lunchtime




Became this


Served in Mr NM's favourite way, I must admit it's shop bought jam. They joke about me being in the WI at work but I only bake and knit, I've never tried making jam or chutney or anything like that...maybe something to try in future.


As it's Valentines Day tomorrow I treated Mr NM to one of his favourite things, home made pie with silly romantic decoration


I also made this (but forgot a pre-baking photo) a very simple tea loaf.


Worry not though, there was knitting. Mr NM's Valentines gift was finished and he has a new pair of enormous hand knit socks for his enormous feet. He even agreed to model them (as he couldn't wait until Valentines day and wanted to wear them straight away!)





Mr NM's socks were knit 2 at a time magic loop and were finished in exactly two weeks which I'm pretty pleased with as I'm pretty sure that makes these my fastest finished pair of socks. I'm sure the two at a time helped with that as (obviously) I didn't have a second sock to knit, when one was finished the other was finished. I don't think I'll be knitting all my socks like this but for plain stockinette I am sold. Ravelry project page is here for details of yarn, needles and such. He is calling them his space socks but I'm still calling them my levelling up socks as I have learned a new knitting skill and I am very pleased that I did.

I now don't have any socks OTN which will need to be remedied soon. I know I need to try toe up but that might wait as I have my eye firmly on my Knit. Sock. Love. book and the many gorgeous patterns within.

Have a lovely week all.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Tiny twisted stitches - FO Friday

As promised photos of my finished purple socks. I LOVE them. I love cables, I love teeny tiny twisted stitches, I love the purple yarn and the fit, I love the way the twisted stitches go down to a point at the back. LOVE LOVE LOVE. These purple socks make my feet very happy indeed.

The purple is slightly darker than it appears in the photos, some of the progress pictures on my project page give a more accurate idea of the colour.

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More photos and details are on my project page here but I'll give you the basics.

Cast on: 5th November
Cast off: 5th February (Christmas got in the way a bit!)
Pattern: Twisted Mockery by Lisa Stichweh an excellent pattern, clear and well written, I recommend it and I'm sure I'll knit other patterns of hers as she has some lovely designs
Needles: 2.75 & 2.5mm (magic loop)
Yarn: Ripples Crafts hand dyed sock yarn in Summer Sweet Pea

I am very happy with my latest finished socks and excited to be two pairs into my 12 pair goal for 2011 already.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

In case you wondered (because I would) I have them pulled up over footless tights, they were sadly hidden in boots but did a very important job of keeping my feet warm in our ice-box of an office.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Green gloves for mum - WIP Wednesday

Just a quick show of my new project today...yes another but I've finished my purple socks so I'm allowed something new on the needles.

The beginnings of my mum's birthday presents, a pair of gloves to match the Ishbel I knit for her birthday

A hastily taken photo from my camera phone as I forgot to charge the batteries for my proper camera, I really must do that so I can take some pictures of my newly finished socks. The gloves are from a pattern in one of my knitting magazines which my mum picked out. The tips of the finger and thumb of one hand are open to allow the wearer to turn pages in a book or use an MP3 player/touch screen device. I am going to attempt to make little flip tops though for when she's just wearing them as regular gloves, we'll see how that goes.

I am racing along on the feet for my husband's socks hoping to be finished for Valentines day but I don't have a picture. I really need to remember to take pictures of everything at the weekend when I have daylight. Fortunately the days do seem to be getting longer so hopefully it wont be long until I can take photos before or after work, roll on spring!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


I am terribly excited at the moment, yesterday I was asked a question I have never been asked before and I could hardly contain myself. My friend at work asked me to teach her to knit. I said I could provide the needles if she picked up some yarn (this is partly me being precious about my stash I'll admit but I genuinely don't have anything in that isn't either allocated to a project or beautiful sock yarn) and I'd teach her in lunch breaks at work.

I went hunting through my needles to find some I could give to her, I have a rather alarming number of knitting needles…not so many as were posted about on the Yarn Harlot blog yesterday but considering I've only been knitting for 2.5 years I may be well on my way to a collection like that if I don't stop buying them! I grabbed 2 sets of bamboo needles, a set of 4mm and a set of 4.5mm and I put them in my work bag. This may just be an excuse for me to show off my work bag but I do love it so...


Oh how I hope my friend enjoys knitting and gets into it. I'm not sure whether she will but I do hope so. Right now she's excited so I'm excited and I have high hopes that the knitting bug will spread across the office so people are genuinely interested when I show them my knitting instead of just being polite.

I also got rather over excited when walking for the bus after work yesterday. My LYS sells cotton bags with the shop name on them (also free if you spend over a certain amount) and I saw a girl carrying one. A knitter in the wild! Well possbily anyway…I gave her a big "hello knitting friend!" grin, she gave me a "you are clearly a crazy person" look. I really need to learn to contain myself when there are knitter sightings but I don't see many out and about so I just can't help myself.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

The universe heard me

I believe I mentioned previously that I'm on a yarn diet at the moment, I've been very good as well and haven't purchased any since my sale purchases at the end of December. Unfortunately in my attempts to avoid buying yarn which involve avoiding yarn shops both on-line and locally I've taken to coveting knitting accessories, they're not yarn, I can buy those right?

Not really. Whilst part of my decision to go on a yarn diet is motivated by avoiding accumulating a massive stash and actually wanting to knit the lovely yarn I have part of it is more general money saving. We'd like to buy a house at some point in the future which means cutting back on spending in other areas. Sad but a fact of life...perhaps when we do buy that house (years into the future) I can have a knitting room to make up for the hardships I'm enduring now buy not buying yarn!

One thing I've really, really wanted for some time was a new needle case for my interchangeable needle set. I'd been looking at some rather charming ones on Etsy and seriously considering a purchase on payday.

A couple of weeks ago a letter came thanking me for my knitting magazine subscription (well Mr.NM's subscription to The Knitter, it was my paper gift for our first wedding anniversary) and saying they were going to send a free gift, I love free gifts. I got a skein of Fyberspates laceweight for my first free gift from them so was hoping for something equally lovely.

Imagine my delight when this came through the door
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Isn't that lovely not to mention perfect? It's a Della Q needle case, more specifically it's a case designed to hold interchangeable needle sets, the Que-i, it's just what I wanted!

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The needle tips are in the centre and then there are little pockets for the chords and under those a zipped section for accessories.

I just love it. It's a gorgeous colour as well, green may be my favourite but I am rather fond of purple as well, especially such a rich, deep purple as this. It's gorgeous. It looks like the universe was listening to me, I wanted an interchangeable needle case and it sent me one. I wont be greedy though, I've probably had my luck for this year.

Another purple thing...just a sneaky peek, proof they're finished as they were top down socks...

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I'll show you more of those another day.

I hope the week ahead is wonderful for everyone and that you've all had lovely weekends packed with your favourite things.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

An appropriate project for the time of year

I've tried taking pictures inside and outside from all angles and I just can't capture the exact shade of green this lovely Felted Tweed Aran is. You will just have to believe me that it's a lovely green well described by the colourway Sage, a dusty, herby green with little flecks of cream and brown.

The yoke seemed to take forever but of course it didn't, I will not deny some boredom in the endless garter stitch but it was over soon enough. What it did take was A LOT of yarn. I'm on my 4th ball already but now I'm past that garter stitch and the stitch count has dropped the yarn isn't being eaten up at quite such a rate.

This is a great pattern, 10,258 knitters on Ravelry can't be wrong! The instructions are clear and so far I like it a lot. I'm already pondering the perfect buttons.

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Where the garter stitch turns into lovely lace. This pattern was pretty instantly memorable and I can knit and watch TV without having to focus too much on my cardigan, always a plus.

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The yarn is very fuzzy and leaves little strands of fluff all over me when I'm knitting with it but I don't care.

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I'm already 6 repeats through the lace and this cardigan really is growing quickly. Knowing the only sewing I have to do at the end is adding buttons feels great. I am a little disappointed with my button holes, I followed a great tutorial but they're still a bit sloppy so I'll have to find some way to reinforce those as well, I think I'll have to get a crochet hook out and work out what to do with that. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it though.

In other frustrating news I'm sick and feeling very sorry for myself, I'd better make a quick recovery as I am the worst sick person ever.