Category: knitting

KAL, A Beginning

So I started by KAL – Paris Toujours, but managed to read the pattern wrongly as part of the repeating was classed as Garter Pattern and Lace Pattern, but the first of the repeats was Garter Pattern x 6. As the pattern is two lines I wrongly presumed that this meant line 1 & 2 repeated 6 times, therefore giving 12 lines, then the next part of Lace Pattern being repeated 10 times, thus making 40 lines, but it should have been as they stated 6 lines of Garter, therefore just to repeat it 3 times, then the lace one repeat of the 4 line pattern 2.5 times.

With this error I frogged the lot and started again. The picture above is the mistake knit but only so far as the garter pattern.

I am enjoying it, but as there is no one else that I know who is doing it, it is not like a full knit along. I could be the only one doing it after all, I know that this is very unlikely, but one never knows.

More to come as it grows larger.

First KAL…

My Instagram account is ram-packed with dogs and knitting, and yesterday in the feed there was a post by Fiber Hustle advertising their latest podcast/videocast. Now YouTube is not a place I frequent that much and as for video podcasts, they are a hidden world really. However, for some reason, I felt I needed to watch. Luckily enough we can “throw” videos from youtube to any or our TV’s, which is a little more viewer-friendly than using a phone or tablet. This was the first time I have watched their “show”, and although it is not slick or like some of the ones I have seen in the past I felt I needed to watch it all the way, 1 hour 3 minute. The hosts Aaron & Chip are quite entertaining and you can see they have a passion for their crafts. Aaron announced that he would be doing a KAL, and I thought to myself ‘I’m joining in’.

The pattern is Paris Toujours by Isabell Kraemer which is a really nice Shawl/wrap. I had looked for yarn and found some beautiful ones in merino, but at £15 a skein and it requires 3, I thought better of it and decided to go for a more economical yarn. I doubt it will be an item that I wear, so the cheaper yarn is more favourable. If after I have made it I think I would wear it as a scarf then I will order the expensive yarn and make another one. The project doesn’t start until 18th January, and it finishes on 15th February, M’s Birthday. We are away in Prague from 9th to early hours 12th Feb, and I thought it would be fun to have it finished for the trip and take it with us and do a photoshoot with it which could be fun.

I have bought two different yarns, the first one is Hayfield “Spirit” at £5 a ball, which is a new one for me. I have used Hayfield in the past and it is a nice yarn to work with. This one is 80% Acrylic with 20% wool. Very soft and 345m per 100g ball. The second yarn is 100% Acrylic and is the Woman’s Institute Premium yarn at £1.15 a ball with 250m per 100g ball.

Hayfield Spirit Double Knit Yarn (80% Acrylic 20% Wool)
Woman’s Institue Premium Acrylic Yarn Double Knit
© mariakos – This is a photo of the finished item C/O Ravelry

As can be seen in the last photo (credit Mariakos on Ravelry). It is quite a masculine piece and I am looking forward to wearing mine in Prague.

WIP

Not the best photo due to the lighting.

So far so good. I am now on section three which is the bands. This consists of a round of purl in cream, a knit row in grey, and a knit row of brown. This has to be done 8 times, I have only done three rounds of this so far. What started with an 8 stitch round has now grown to 224 a stitch round and 18 inches wide (45cm).

Whilst knitting it the other night I was thinking of my next project and the colourway I want to do. So far I am thinking of dark grey, white and a bold contrast colour, but so far not sure what the final bold colour will be, but I have quite a bit of time until I get to that pattern.

More on the blanket as it grows.

So it begins…

Summer is long over and quite frankly totally forgotten about. It was a fleeting thing that we all loved for the few weeks, alas memories are fading along with the dropping temperatures. Today it was really cold, 8c outside, which is so far away from the other month when we had 32c. The weather forcasters say that this winter will be the worst in 30 years, which will be interesting as near 10 years ago it was -17c at night and a few feet of snow, so god help us. The joys of living so far north.

Anyway, less of the weather and more of this…

So it begins; knitting

Now the weather has turned my knitting is out and off we go again. I am doing a circular blanket which will be in three colours, cream, brown and grey. Cream being the major colour and grey will be mostly edging.

I love knitting in the round/circular knitting. My mum, who has been knitting longer than I have been on the planet thinks knitting in the round is some sort of witchcraft. I have tried to show her that it is just standard knitting with 5 needles until the circular can be used, but she just does not get it. Although I did freak her out with 9 needles just to prove it does not matter if it is one needle or nine, it works just the same.

The pattern I am using is Stephen West’s “A Bit of Iceland”. The yarn I am using is the Womens Institute Aran (Cream) and Hayfield Aran (Grey & Brown), all knitted on 5.5mm needles. This is the third “Iceland” blanket I have knitted. The first is on the headboard of our bed and is in the original Iceland colours. The second is in Ireland as I made it for M’s mum, and done in creams and greens with the edgework in a sage green hank of merino that was rediculously expensive, but was lovely when finished. This new one will be used in the bedroom too. When we decorated the bedroom I did it in suble greys and browns, so this should look really nice when finished.

I have an idea for a hat I want to make for winter after seeing it on a film. I have checked and it is not a commercially available pattern or hat, and was made just for this film and sold at auction for £240. Once I have worked the pattern out and got to making it I will share it with you all. Just have to work it all out as it is not just a standard hat.

6 weeks later…

I keep meaning to do a post, and then something comes up, and later I realise that I didn’t do my post, and think I will do it now, but manage somehow to get myself sidetracked and BOOM! Forgot to post again. I do not know what is going on with me. So, forgive me for my tardiness!

Fish…

Since last we “spoke” as it were, I finally got rid of my large tank in the lounge. Part of me was glad to get rid of it, and part of me was sad to see it go. The fish love their new smaller home and my Cameroon shrimp seems happy too. Although it was a great tank it took up quite a lot of room, being so massive. We have a unit that we moved into one of the halls when we got the tank, so that is now back in the lounge. My thoughts for getting rid of the tank was to move the smaller tank onto the said unit and get another small tank and finally do a nano reef tank. However, the cost of doing a reef tank is high. I have found a nano tank I like which is £150, but then I need a skimmer and a heater so that’s another £90. Add sand, live rock and all the other bits I need to get it started and I am close to £500 without even adding fish or coral. So, before I take the plunge I have downloaded and printed a book on the subject and intend to read it in full before I decided on what to do. Having spoken to a few people the jury really is out. Some say it is easier than tropical, some say get a large tank as a nano can have problems being small, and others rave on about nano tanks, so there is no real help chatting to others LOL.

I bought an external 12-litre canister filter for my other large tank which works like a treat, but today I added on an extra 2-litre filter canister to that. In essence, water is drawn out of the tank to the small sub canister then passed into the large canister and finally put back into the other end of the tank. I did manage to make a bit of a watery mess as I had not fastened one of the inlet pipes properly oops! I had lost a few fish over the last few weeks, so thought the canister filter would help sort the water quality out. It has UV inside so sterilises the water as it filters. The lighting I have on the tank also decided to die, only 6 weeks after it being exchanged after the first one died after 4 months. Thankfully the aquatic centre where I get most of my equipment and livestock were very understanding and spoke to Fluval who admitted there was a problem that they have now sorted out and to exchange it for me.

Dogs…

Harper with her Birthday monkey

It was Harpers 5th Birthday on Sunday. As always we took them to McDonald’s for hamburgers, then to the pet store so Harper could pick a toy, which this year was a rather large monkey, and two packs of balls. Needless to say, they both had a great time.

Knitting…

Thought about it, even mentally made a pattern for a hat for winter, but that was it, but it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Books…

I was reading The Massacre of Mankind which is a sequel to War of the Worlds and in the end, I gave up as it was so slow and the author was trying to write in the style of H. G. Wells but failed page after page. As most of my readers will know I love classical literature, so have no problem with ancient writing and old English, but this bad, if he had written it in current English it would have been a good read.

Outings…

I went to a joint Christening and Communion party a few weeks ago, got very drunk and had a ball.

Last week we went to Delamere Forest again, which for some reason driving there we managed to take all the wrong turns. I came off the motorway/highway onto the expressway in order to go over the Mersey Gateway Bridge, which when you get to the end of the expressway is straight over the roundabout, however, when you follow this, you end up in an industrial estate and nowhere near the bridge. It would seem the directions for the bridge do not exist, and when you get to the end of said expressway you turn left and ignore the signs. But as I managed to turn the wrong was we ended up back on the motorway heading in the direction of home. Time though was on our hands. My satnav said we would get there at 11:15 when we left home and although I managed to go on a long diversion of 20 minutes we got there at 11:22 thus proving that time travel can be achieved.

Education…

The degree is now on hold. I was so undecided about doing it that I thought it best to put the thought to one side until I was 100% committed to doing it.

General…

After returning from Ireland I had tests and a cardiac assessment done. My blood results came back reporting a lack of vitamin D, which is about right living so far north and the general lack of sun. But I also did not have enough of the good cholesterol either, but this could be due to coeliacs disease. The doctors’ office suggestion was to take vitamin D tablets and eat more oily fish etc. Luckily I found a company that sells vitamins on Amazon and they do a vitamin D that is 4000iu, and when you buy a product they thank you by letting you pick another one for free. I decided on Hemp oil tablets as they are for omega 3 and 6, so that’s the bloods sorted.

The scarecrow festival came and went, and I managed to take exactly zero photos of it. I mean, what is the point of having a great camera, living in the country, and having festivals if I do not record it? Answers on a postcard, please!

We bought new garden furniture, namely a table, chairs and a parasol, just in time for the monsoon season to hit us. Yes, my luck/timing really is in at the moment.

I have managed to have a few barbeques lately, between showers that is.

I finally took the leap into meditation after dipping my toes off and on into it over the last few weeks. I have joined Headspace for a year, and am finding it quite good and just have to add it into my daily routine.

In other news, I had a puncture in one of the rear tyres on the car.

So, how are you all?

Breakfast In The Regency Period…

It is just after midnight Tuesday, so, technically, its now Wednesday.  Yesterday (Monday) was a busy one.  Up early as the girls insisted I began my list of “Things to do whilst M is away”.  Apart from several walks for the dogs I never stopped.  First was a deep clean of the kitchen.  I knew it needed doing but as our kitchen is so busy as can be seen in the photo (I like busy, but please note, the walls are a light green, not yellow, the photo was taken whilst the sun was out) you tend to miss things.  But with all deep cleaning in a kitchen, all the appliances need to be done, the dishwasher and washing machine are easy, add the product and they do it themselves.  Apart from the detergent draw in the washing machine, which never gets used as the liquid goes in the drum, so I had to do that by hand, and it was disgusting I am ashamed to say.  The cooker I removed all the parts and cleaned each one, and stripped the ovens (two) of everything and cleaned them thoroughly, and having a “Stoves” cooker all the doors have removable glass, so easier to clean.  Every object on shelves and units were removed and cleaned and put back, then the rest of the room was dusted within an inch of its life.

Next, was to shampoo all the carpets.  Luckily I had bought a new carpet cleaner, which is excellent, and one by one each room was done.  The living room carpet, the newest of them had that new carpet smell again, which is quite the sensory drug.

Bathroom next, which was not all that hard as we tend to clean the shower after each use, and always swill the basin out, and the toilet is always clean, so it is an easy room to do.  The biggest thing was polishing the giant mirror, but even that wasn’t hard as again I tend to keep polishing it, as I hate mucky mirrors.

Next job was to tackle the ivy growing around the house, mainly cutting it back from the windows, and trimming around the security lights so no shadows were cast.  As I was in the garden I planted new flowers for the baskets, the summer ones looked worse for wear and being summer plants and flowers do not do well in autumn, now we have cyclamen in them, and I will be doing some troughs to go outside the front gate when more come into season.

Final job of the day was to install a new electrical socket in the hall by the front door so the repeater can connect to the garden gate camera.  I have fitted so many sockets and changed so many from two to three ports over the years I thought I would have finished with this, but no, there is always somewhere else we need another.

Today, Tuesday, Mazikeen had a vet appointment, she goes every month to get weighed and get her worming tablets and a check over.  She is just over a year old and has never had a season, but the nurse said today that she was a little swelled up in various areas, so it looks like she will finally have her first, that is if this is not a phantom season, which can happen.  After that and a long walk with the dogs, I painted the master bedroom, only the first coat, but it was a start.  I was doing the edging and discovered the brushes I had were shit, that’s really the only way I can put it.  Off to the DIY centre to get a good sharp one, and whilst I was there, some magnetic catches for the cupboards and a new electrical socket with USB ports.  Apart from putting up some frames and making myself a curry from scratch, I decided I had had enough, and my lower back, right-hand side, was spasming, which told me to stop.

Tomorrow, Wednesday (which is now today as it is 00:38) I will be finishing off the painting, then starting my knitting again, which is The Great American Aran Afghan.  I had started it the other day, but it is in American English, which is an oxymoron in itself, translating it into correct English is a bit of a bind, to say the least.  For example, it states three ridges, which means knit six rows, so, why not just say knit six rows.  If you were next to me when I sussed out what this meant, you would have heard my eyes rolling never mind seen them with the added slow shake of my head.  I do hate that in English there is so bastardised, and do not get me started on spelling.  Anyway, I digress slightly.  I had started it, but due to this quirk in language the pattern reads wrong, and with wrong the WS rows are not mentioned, so you have to work that one out yourself, which my test showed that you have to to the WS as a reverse of the RS.

That’s the plan anyway, but as with the best-laid plans of mice and men, one can never be sure if it will change.

If you were wondering, yes, it is raining again, battering against the windows in fact.

Summer Knitting…

So, here we are in the middle of summer, and soaring temperatures that are a little too much for us British.  Not complaining, as I would rather have hot than cold.  Anyway, I digress, “yet again” I hear you all say rolling your eyes.

Because of the heat and not being able to take the dogs out all the time I have become a little bored with day to day life and feel I need to do something to keep myself entertained whilst the pooches snooze in front of the fans.  I thought about doing some educational courses, but then I am not sure if that is what I really want to do, and if so, which of the thousands of courses do I go for.  I then thought I would concentrate on my reading and read more, but I get so comfortable I start to fall asleep, and it is not conducive to read with blaring lights and other stimuli so I don’t sleep, again!

Yesterday I printed out the Great American Afghan and thought to hell with it and I would start that, but then I thought I need to think about the yarn I want to use and what colourways I fancy.  But with all that comes the cost, which seems to mount up each time I find a yarn I love.  Also doing a large project like a blanket in this heat could be a a bit much, but it is a passion I have with large projects.  I think I want and need to do some knitting, but really do not know what the hell to do.  Over the last few years, well, three to be exact I had collected a knitting magazine (120 issues) which gave away yarn each issue and a pattern and I thought should I do them, but again, I cannot decide.  The yarn is acrylic, which is okay, but I prefer to use wool, alpaca etc as it is nice to work with, so back to square one.

I need inspiration from somewhere, or someone…

Rain, Rain, Rain…

Mazikeen at the window

Waiting for the rain to stop

Sitting at my desk, the lighting is low, not by my doing. The weather, although we were promised temperatures higher than Spain, has not stopped raining, so much so the roads were flooded in many places.

Well, I ought to leave but the rain it never stops, and I’ve no particular place to go.

Earlier I needed to go out and get the dogs a 15kg bag of dried food that I give them with the cooked stuff I make them.  I also wanted to go to my favourite northern supermarket Booths.  Now, from where we live to the supermarket is a 20 miles round trip, There is another Booths, but that is a 30-mile round trip, so all in all, it is quite a distance.  Not that I mine, when getting my unpasteurised milk, I have to drive 26 miles, but I am a bit of what we call in the UK, a petrol head.

My plans for the morning was to go to the dump/tip and get rid of some of the accumulated crap from the garden, and the old gas barbeque.  Take the dogs for a walk, then off to Booths and the pet warehouse.  Build the new barbeque, and give it a test run, because this is the law in the barbeque world, also on Thursday I could smell someone barbequing so that really got my juices flowing.  The other plans were to plant some more clematis and other climbers.  Of course, then to sit in the garden and enjoy this.  But this was not to be.  When letting the dogs out this morning at 7am I thought it was quite mild, I did not have a stitch on I do admit, but then, my garden is totally private and not overlooked, and I did have some hope for the day, however, as I pottered out there I could feel the spits of rain and knew that it was all about to change.

I decided to treat myself to a leather tape measure.  I have to admit, it is beautifully made, and the smell of leather is divine.  I had seen it on the wrist of a fellow knitter on Instagram and decided I just had to have one.  Along with the soggy post it was in the mail this morning, wrapped and sealed from China.  How many times have we all been there looking for a measuring tape, well now I have one to hand, pardon the pun.

So with the rain still battering the windows, I think I will watch a film and do some knitting, and of course, keep dry.

Fingers crossed for a dry day tomorrow.

 

WIP Hat…

Well, what can I tell you about my latest knitting item, you know, the hat for breast cancer, I ripped it off the needles.  Why? you may ask, well I was doing it on DPN’s then moved to circular needles, but when I got so far I could see that it really would not be big enough for an adult, and I was doing the medium size, so it had to go.  I take a large size in hats and it would not go anywhere near me, M is Medium and he struggled, and it was quite a loose knit, so really it should have been okay, but nope.  I also noticed that I had cocked up a few of the twist stitches.

Since we have the so-called Beast from the East 2 hitting us again this weekend I will start it all again, and cross my fingers that it works this time.  I was enjoying doing it as the rib is a twisted stitch and the main pattern was lots of YO, SSK, K2Tog and P2SSO, so it was quite rhythmical, even hypnotic.

I have a few weeks to do both and get one off to the charity, so fingers crossed we are snowed in and progress will be made.

Lunch…

pexels-photo-70497.jpegM and I went for lunch on Thursday with two of my cousins, and all our dogs.  We have a pub that is totally dog-friendly, even to the point of bringing a bowl of water for them to the table.  I had scampi, M lasagne, and the girls had nachos and chicken and bacon salad.  I was driving so had zero alcohol beer which was delicious and seemed no different than normal beer in taste.

Our topics of conversation ran the gamut from them being related to John Lennon (I much prefer Yoko Ono), my Nan’s crochet and embroidery, more of that in a later post, and my asshole father, again, more of that in a later post.

My dogs were very excited needless to say, but in the end, I had to put them back in the car (sunroof open and all windows cracked open too) so they could calm down.  Harper was overexcited, but she tends to be like that when she comes into some of the shops too, yes, we live in quite a dog-friendly place.  Where I grew up all the pubs were dog-friendly, but being int he middle of a farming community it was expected, sometimes people had their horses with them.  I digress.  Rosie the other dog was very well behaved, apart from having a growling moment at my dogs for no reason.  The had all been on walks together with no problem and happy to play together.

It was nice to catch up with them again, and more so that M got to meet them.  He has met one other cousin of mine, but as that side of the family is estranged most of my dad’s side are still standoffish, that is down to him, again, more of that in a later post.

One of my cousins has been undergoing breast cancer treatment, and now finished, she attends the hospital for follow-ups and treatment of side effects, pains in extremities etc., so it was a little surprising to get home and in my email box was one from LoveKnitting.com about knitting for Breast Cancer Haven.  100% of the sale of the patterns got to the charity, so I decided I would make two hats, one for my cousin and the other I would donate to Breast Cancer Haven for another patient going through treatment.  I decided to go for the Plum Tart Hat by Rosee WoodlandScreen Shot 2018-02-24 at 09.39.11I messaged my cousin asking what her favourite colour is and that all would be explained in time, she said mostly reds and a little lilac.  I have bought two shades of Willow and Lark Ramble yarn which is 100% merino wool, which I love to work with.  I have ordered two shades of red, one called Ox Blood and the other Cranberry.  When I have finished them I will give her the choice and the other I will donate.  I picked this hat out of all the patterns because it had more of a cable design to it, and I thought it quite stunning.  When I have the yarn I will take a pic of it to show you all, and of course, when I have finished each of the hats, do a show and tell too.  Oh, and if you were wondering, my cousin loves hats and wears all kinds, this being due to losing her hair.

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