Tuesday, 12 March 2013

At last!

I have a finished thing!

But first I just want to say a huge thank you for the offers of help in response to my last post. We have had some very kind offers of help across the web and Jen is so grateful. She really didn't imagine that virtual strangers friends would help so greatly.I haven't posted in over a week as I wanted to keep that message up as long as possible but we have had so many lovely offers that i think I can safely allow to glide down the page. I will keep you updated with how things go :)

So back to the finished thing.
It started off like this many weeks ago:

The one on the left! ArwenMakes hand dyed sock

And then it became this:

The one at the top.

Two different sized needles started it growing:

The increase section moving along nicely

And then several weeks of a row here and there turned it into this:

Just one more icord edging to go

Before finally, last night, it became this:

Sallah cowl by Bristol Ivy

The whole thing is knit by using one 3.75mm needle and one 6mm needle alternating the rows. It is a lovely twisted rib pattern knit on a bias so there is an increase and decrease on every other row. The twisted knit is created by knitting into the back of every knit stitch so needs a fair amount of looking and feeling to make sure the stitch is taken up properly. The yarn itself is wonderful to work with. A splitty yarn would have had me tearing at my hair but this yarn is so smooth and quite soft. The twist is gentle so it runs through the fingers nicely and the colour....well, what can I say? The colour is amazing. A deep pinky red with lighter pinky orange tones running through, and a lovely silver sparkle throughout. You have to see it to appreciate what a great job Sarah has made of dyeing it. I am trying so hard to stay away from her Etsy store and splurging on gorgeous yarn that I really can't afford right now...or even have time to use!! In fact the only issue I have with the whole cowl is that it is not as drapey as the pattern shots imply, knit to gauge it is quite a snug fit with only a little drape, far less than it seems on the pattern page. Also it states after shaping to knit the main body until the left side measures 17 inches. Well my left side was almost that before I even started the main body! I did think of keeping on knitting until the piece seemed a reasonable length before starting the decreases but wonderful Ravelry came up with a Sallah cowl KAL group where it was suggested that working 64 rows (16 pattern repeats) made more sense as that would give a total of 156 rows, the same number as the amount of stitches to be picked up for the icord edging. This worked out just perfectly. The icord edging was a doddle to work and really sets off the finish on the cowl, it's definitely one I would use again.

Thanks Owen, for doing what your Dad didn't ;)

So that's another one for the gifting box then, time to knit up a couple of cardi's for the soon to be here baby bump, and some bits and bobs for Jen's stall. Oh and another Sallah cowl for the lovely man only in a darker shade and far less sparkle ;) Yep, he tried it on and loved it.He wouldn't model though so you'll just have to imagine a 40+ year old guy gruffly stating how great that would be for on the motorbike, whilst wearing a cherry red sparkly cowl......:) Apparently it's a nice snug fit so it will pull nicely up over his lips under the helmet.

I'll try to make it back soon, so taaraa for now.


PS - did I tell you I have a new addiction? Twitter and Instagram - who'd of thunk it?
I'm mamabex9 on Instagram and Bexmama on Twitter so please come and say hi. Because I want a real reason to be hanging around there, not just to randomly browse strangers posts and pics......


Tuesday, 26 February 2013


I set my own challenge right?
One pair of socks.......blah, blah,
So it's only me who can be disappointed, or not, if I don't do it, right?
So why did I fib about SSS? Of course I have it. I haven't even thought about casting on Old Joe number two. And the mystery knit? Well that's growing. But not as quickly as it should.
But I do have at least one finished object for this month. You know the one skein per month knit? The one that I planned on spreading through till March? Well I couldn't keep from rolling that last skein. Sock yarn is so hard on the fingers don't you find? So, well, thin! But the Manos Silk DK? Sooo soft, sooo silky, sooo lovely to work with. And once it was balled then I had to knit. And knit. And now?

One completed baby blanket blocking nicely. All ready for a spring grandbaby. Slightly envious that little babe will get to be snuggled in all that poor wool and silk squishy softness...... And Jen is under orders to let Granny wash the blanket when needed, well Jen is a bung-it-all-in-together kind of laundry person.
Of course Jen is less concerned about the blanket being knitted on time. There's still the pressing issue of pram shopping to complete. Or even start. Guess the man needs to dust off his wallet ;)

Hmmm, wonder if there's any yarn shops near to the baby goods shop.........

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Knitty reading

We found this book in the charity shop quite a while ago and rediscovered it whilst sorting out the bookshelves:

It tells the story of Mr. Nick, who loves to knit on the train in the morning with his friend:

 One morning his friend isn't on the train so he has to knit alone:

He discovers his friend is poorly in hospital so he goes to visit:

She doesn't like it there as there is nothing to see so he has an idea:

He knits their train journey up into a lovely blanket to cheer her up:

And then each morning they can knit together and enjoy the views once again:

Don't you think that's a lovely book?

We do :)


Friday, 22 February 2013


Not a lot of crafting going on around here!
Elastibaby is now developing into velcrobaby. You know elastibaby stage right? The one where you have that invisible elastic band that connects you both? The bands fine when you're both together. You can stretch it a little and pass baby to someone else, maybe even pop into another room? But stretch that elastic too far and baby lets you know with a yowl. Well velcrobaby stage is kind of like that. Only as you know velcro only has two steps - stuck and unstuck. And you know how velcro makes that horrible ripping noise when you unstick it? Well imagine the strength of a whole baby size strip of velcro, and the noise that would make if you separated the two halves........ Yes, we're definitely at velcrobaby stage.

So there, no bloggy updates. No knitting. No crochet. No getting on with the personal monthly challenge. Especially with February's shortage of days.....pfff! Instead I've faffed around, adding a little page at the top. Go see - all about me.Although it's not all that interesting, just thought I'd do one anyway ;)
Oh and I've updated my bloglist - see it over there on the left? If your names there, I read you. If it's not, I probably still do, but I probably lost you in the great computer crash and now you randomly pop up before I can pin you down with a bookmark. Which get deleted. Because it's not my laptop you see. As in aftereffects of the great computer crash. I have to fight for time on the very old laptop bought for a grown girl many years ago.......who can afford her own super sleek version these days.
Anyway, got to go, velcrobaby has noticed the separation.

Leaving you with a very pleased boy:

You wouldn't believe how long he's been trying this!

Well whats a blog post without a picture to look at :)

Monday, 18 February 2013

It's not SSS, honest!

Second sock syndrome - do you suffer with it?
I finished up the first of the Old Joe socks over the weekend. And immediately cast on..........something different! Not going to reveal what just yet, maybe you can guess:

The reverse side, very pretty tight stitch.

The right side,much loopier when gently stretched. This is more like it's true colour.

Love this texture, wouldn't it be great in silver yarn? A perfect chain mail singlet for dressing up. 
Hoping this is a quick make, although it is needing some attention whilst I get on with increasing AND maintaining the pattern.
Hmm, ten days of February left. One skein of baby blanket and one sock done. Plan was for a pair of socks, a skein of blanket, a gift make and a random piece within the month. I'm beginning to think that won't happen.......


Friday, 15 February 2013

Friday fun and fluff-ups


Looking beautiful in big sister's make up

Looking beautiful whilst blowing raspberries


Do you see that KNIT stitch right in the centre of the stocking stitch column...grrr!

OK so it's only one stitch, the photo's taken pretty close up to see it, and only I know it's there - but I KNOW it's there! Hmm, can I ignore it or do I look for a 2mm crochet hook to fix it? At least it's on a stocking stitch section so it'll be easy to do ;) Easier than threading the 140sts of the baby blanket BACK onto the circular needle. Well if you leave your knitting under a magazine, at the bottom of a project bag, at the back of the sofa, then you can't blame a little person for deciding to have a root around......just before she wanders off to do her make up....... :)

And seeing as I have a cherrypicker in my yard and a gang of men on my roof right now I guess a bad stitch and some picked up stitches are the least of things that could go wrong today.......


Thursday, 14 February 2013


quite literally!

Owen has been teaching himself to juggle the past couple of days. He quickly got fed up of eating bruised apples so moved onto these:

Oranges! Hmm, weird photo......

Fortunately for us, unfortunately for him, we go through many oranges a day for our breakfast juice so he needed to find an alternative. The soft balls were too big, the outdoor balls, well, they were out of doors, in the rain and snow, and the pool table balls, hmmm, have you landed one of those on your toes? So mama had a plan. We whipped out the sewing machine, cut out 12 equilateral triangles (maths lesson see?) and stitched them into 2 pyramids filled with lentils:

See charity shop-found Swiper? Heather is obsessed with Dora. Haha, did that distract you from my shabby sewing....
Only 2 pyramids from 12 triangles, is that what you're thinking? Haha, mama had to make a boobie stop halfway through and forgot what she was doing - sewing 2 triangles fully together doesn't make a decent juggling ball!!

Two is hard enough to start with ;)

Sew So there we are, maths, drawing, problem solving, PE,patience, and craft all covered in one day. We love homelearning :) And mama got to give the sewing machine a dusting over too.....


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Yarn along

Joining in with Ginny and friends.

This week I have been squeezing in a little knitting of the Old Joe socks. Not much knitting time really but the limited time I have I am enjoying this knit, the pattern is easily memorised yet needs a little attention throwing at it for the changes, chill out knitting at its best :)

Reading - with so little spare time knitting is winning out. The books are the same as last week, no change at all. I have been dipping into a selection of magazines though - The Mother magazine dropped through my letterbox a couple of days ago, and the Living Craft magazines came from a lovely mama, knitter and blogger. Thanks D.

Righto, going to try and squeeze in a few more minutes online time to check out more of your Yarn along posts :)


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Today, what else but......

Using these:

Pretty mixing bowl and original 1950's egg beater, both gifts from my lovely man :)

to make these:

Topped with lemon and sugar, what else......

Happy pancake day


Monday, 11 February 2013

Old and new

Today I will be taking these:

Very, very old mending thread gifted last year

together with this:

Old handpainted darning mushroom found on Ebay last year

and all of these:

Older handknit holey socks

and hopefully keeping the man in handknit socks for a little while longer.

At least until I finish these:

Socks won out, blanket will be my reward once they're done :)

What will you save today?


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Hmm, decisions, decisions

You all know the monthly challenge, right? 
One skein of baby blanket, one pair of socks, one gift knit, and one random knit. Well so far all I've managed this month is the one skein of baby blanket. Nothing else. So here's the dilemma. The baby blanket needs only half a pattern repeat and then the top border to complete it. 35 rows altogether. So do I veer from the challenge I set myself and complete the baby blanket?  Or do I set it aside for next month and the final skein? I could get started on the gift knit, or the socks. And keep to the February challenge. Maybe even come back to the blanket if I complete the other knits......(because this is sooo likely...not!)
However elastic baby doesn't know about the February challenge. I don't think she will negotiate mama time versus knitting time. Which means finishing the blanket results in one challenge less. Unless I finish the blanket and call it the gift knit too? After all, it is for Jen's baby..... Two birds, one stone and all that ;)

Well I'll have made the decision by the next time I post.
Time to squeeze in a few moments knitting time while everyone eats and Elastababy sleeps.


Thursday, 7 February 2013

It's going to be a long night.....

Heather has been poorly today.  Lots of time in bed with mama, nursing, or else, as now, curled up on the sofa making little mewling sounds in her sleep. Her temperature is high, 38.5C and higher, and this mama has given paracetamol despite her aversion to the stuff. The whole family worrying about our little girl, memories of her recent stay in hospital are still far too fresh in our minds. Hopefully lots of sleep and mamas milk will do the trick and she will be bouncing fit tomorrow....

Ivy is playing the "lets pretend to sleep" game, falling fast asleep at the breast and then throwing those beautiful blue eyes wide open the moment I lay her down. Luckily she's such a sociable little thing that she is happy to be with daddy or big sisters and brothers whilst mama lies with her poorly sister.

Helen is out on a first date. Only the cinema with an unknown friend, but still, mama waits for that key in the lock. No matter how old they are, mama worries over these things.

So yes, I'm definitely in fora late, late night....
Although there is a positive  - maybe I'll get chance to look through my new book:


Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I paid a visit to a local yarn store a couple of days ago ;) John was totally shocked - I came out with just the book and 2 pairs of knitpro tips! Not the teensiest bit  of yarn hiding itself in my bag. He checked. Twice.


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Yarn along

Joining in with Ginny once again.

This week I have had an elastic baby (see here) so knitting and reading time has been limited to the brief moments when she has been with Daddy or big sisters, or else taking the shortest of catnaps. This means that knitting has to be something mindless, an easy pattern held in my memory, soft silky yarn to soothe my emotions. What suits this purpose? The ongoing baby blanket. I set a target of one skein per month into this project and February's target will soon be met.

Reading? I finished The Woodcutter shortly after posting last week and so I picked up The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein. It's quite heavy going though so I have also opened up My Antonia on the kindle. Only thing is every time I settle to read the little elastic girl wakes up......

Hoping to find time for more knitting, reading, and checking out all the yarn along posts but now the little one is calling again :)


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The cure for startitis

I finally found the cure for startitis. No more barely worked pieces lurking in cupboards and baskets. None stuffed under the bed, or by the side of the bathroom chair (top tip - knitting whilst the littlies are in the bath, they're happy, you're happy....), or in the glovebox of the car. No casting on items that will be too small for the wearer before you even finish. If it doesn't have a deadline then it doesn't get started.

You want to know my cure?

Although it might not work for all of you....

Well here goes......................

Are you ready.......

Although warning you, you might just dissolve into a gooey mush.......

A beautiful, smiley, cuddly baby!

Since Ivy came along I finally realised that you can't spend much time knitting with an elastic baby. One that doesn't like to be separated from mama unless within complete eye distance, and still with a high level of communication going on. This baby means that what little time I get to knit needs to be spent productively. Think of item, cast on item, work on item, cast of item, use item. Two or three at a time is fine, more than that - no chance of completion....ever! 
So want to cure your startitis and knit more productively? Go get yourself an elastic baby.

By the way - the playmat? Nothing to do with me. Jen's partners mothers friend (or something like that) sent one down for Jens baby and when I professed how cute it was she sent another for Ivy. How kind was that? Acrylic yarns, DK and/or eyelash type held in 4 strands, and then worked up into a giant granny square. It's one of those things, you know, you look at it and know how it's done, but you're never going to do it. Granny squares - yeah. Giant granny squares with 4 strands of yarn and a mega sized hook? No chance! It is very cute though.

Oh well, the elastic baby is fidgetting once again.
Let me know if you try out the cure ;)


Monday, 4 February 2013

Today was all about......

turning these:
ArwenMakes sparkle sock, Wollmeisse We're different sock, Manos del Uruguay Silk blend DK

into these:
Rubbish colour representation, check above for shade :)
All wound by hand, think I need to get myself a swift and winder.....
but anyhow, now I'm ready for February!

Especially as I finished these at last:
Hard work trying to get a photo of your own feet, especially in slightly too long socks!

Basic ribbed socks in cheapo Cesana Zettl which actually looks pretty nice and feels ok 'ish although a little rough on the hands when knitting 90 rows straight.....

Loving them, nice and masculine, and with a good amount of stretch on my footballers legs! Think one of the males in the family are going to love these too. Now which male to gift them to......?

Sorry for the short and sweet post, bed is finally calling :)


Saturday, 2 February 2013

A February plan

So the plan for this month :)
Well the big knit/WIP is of course the baby blanket in beautiful Manos Silk, really itching to get back to that one. I think the enforced break has broken the "boredom" that bigger knits often end up in. I really wanted to keep going after that first skein but knew I would burn out the love pretty soon if I did. And anyway, there was those socks to contend with (which are up to the heel as I type, another day I think...).

The socks for this month will be OLD JOE'S socks, the new pattern from Stephanie Pearl McPhee, aka Yarn Harlot. Do you follow her blog, wonderful stuff. The socks are for my lovely man himself and after much deliberation,  which meant taking the skein out, admiring it, and putting it back in the box before pulling it out again, I have decided to go with my only skein of dark blue Wollmeisse sock.

 Did I mention I love sock yarns, especially handpainted, and especially less readily affordable available ones? I hope the man appreciates how lucky he is to be getting to wear THIS yarn on HIS feet! Why does his look so funny capitalized? HIS his His?

The gift knit is going to be the Sallah cowl which I'll put away for Helen.
Still deliberating over the yarn for this one. I was planning on the lovely ArwenMakes sparkly sock which I acquired over here, or the one skein of Fiberworks Spirit Trail Helen (see why - Helen for Helen, yes?). 

Although I'm changing my mind even whilst I type and now thinking Sallah cowl for Jen in the sparkly sock as she looks so good in those jewel reddish tones, and something else in the Fiberworks for Helen at a later date? Whatever, the Fiberworks is definitely Helen's, but I really want to get to knitting with the sparkle yarn.....

Instant gratification/to wear/pleasure knits? Well instant gratification includes instant decision making so no idea on that one yet, but I am leaning towards the February baby sweater from the Elizabeth Zimmerman almanac. Well it's definitely the month for it. And I do have a choice of two babies to knit for :)

Well I can't get started on these until I finish those pesky January socks can I? Although I will admit I kind of enjoy knitting them when I get past the heel turning, it's that final dash down the home straight isn't it? So anyway, there's my plans for the month ahead, anybody want to share there's?


Thursday, 31 January 2013

End of the month

So how did the month go? The plan was - one pair of socks, one gift knit, something for pleasure/wearing/instant gratification and one big knit WIP. Well, yay, I did it! What, you don't believe me? How could I possibly catch up when yesterday I said I hadn't yet cast on the second sock? You want to see? Well here you go......

The gift knit:

Multnomah shawl in KnitPicks Stroll Hayride
The big knit WIP:

One skein worth of baby blanket.
The socks:

Lacy rib socks
Hmmm, not quite got the colour right, try again:

Nice colour and fit don't you think?

The pleasure/wearing/instant gratification knit:

Tofino surfer hat.
What's that you say? I didn't mention working on a couple of those things? And those socks don't look like the ones I blogged yesterday? Well I did start late due to that awful flu illness we all had. And I did say I had a sneaky plan just in case ;)
The Multnomah shawl and the lacy rib socks were both longstanding WIP's found lingering during the stash sort out and relocation. Both cast on many months/years ago but both finally finished earlier this month.
The Tofino surfer hat was cast on at the beginning of the month as a quick make for Heather after her proper winter hat disappeared, although now it has been rehomed with the lovely granddaughter after she tried it on and "loosened" the knit.See how big it was when Heather got it back for a few moments?
The second of the actual January socks is cast on and at round 30 of 90 from the top down, so I'm going to carry on blasting along with them until they're done. Hopefully I'll be at the heel by this evening.....

So anyway, I reckon that's a pretty good first month for my year long goal, don't you?
Back tomorrow with February's hopes and plans.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Yarn along

Joining in with Ginny over here.

There is only one thing I'm picking up at the moment - the January socks. I think it's a losing battle though, no way I'm going to have the pair complete before the end of the month. Sock one completed last night, sock two shouting to me to cast it on. But as I said earlier - I have a plan......
Current reading - Woodcutter by Kate Danley. I love this book, which is probably why the socks aren't flying along. It's a tale of all the mythical Fae folk and fairytale creatures. A battle to take over the twelve realms of human and magic with only the woodcutter to protect them all. The reviews mention the one dimensionality of the Woodcutter and yet I feel that the lack of emotion and background makes him the ultimate hero, intent only on protecting the kingdom. The story combines all the characters we remember form childhood, Rumpelstiltskin, Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, but in a very much grown up setting, with a heavy focus on the "dust trade" and it's effects on the senses of human folk. I'm almost at the end of this book though and will be sad to see it's end. Any recommendations for similar tales would be very welcome :)