Monday, 27 April 2009

Lazy Rainy Mondays

Today the kids have a holiday , not sure why they get this one , but I am not complaining. Its rainy and misty outside but warm and cosy inside so we are having a Pyjama day, well, morning really as we need to go out in the afternoon!
Breakfast in front of the television , mummy sneaking back to bed for a lie in , bliss really .
Yesterday , had a lovely afternoon at Tramwayknits . Heather was there too , showing us her gorgeous pink cashmere lace hoodie in progress , such a gorgeous shade and so soft (take a look here). She also brought some lovely squishy looking yarn in beautiful shades of purples/greys/blues and a lovely Skein Queen skein of aran in a golden/silver shade .... swoon!
Nan turned up yesterday with a big bundle of Glorias' gorgeous hand-dyed yarn , and we all dived in . Sarah and I nearly came to blows over the Hyacinth* colourway, but knitters as always come to a polite agreement , hehehe! Gloria had knitted some samples , and they all looked wonderful , she is a truly talented person , I'm hoping it will rub off on me soon!
The lovely Gloria was there too , knitting a gorgeous lacy top from the Knitted Lingerie book (forgotten authors name, d'oh!)
Many of the Tramwayknitters (or nutters as the resident waitress calls us!) were wearing their creations. Maggie had her gorgeous blue ripple cardigan on , the colours and design suited her so well . The yoke and sleeves are solid blue and the ripple effect bodice has stripes in brown and blue colours. Fiona had on her Noro short sleeved cardi in a gorgeous denim blue colour . Alice had her beautiful version on the Wedgewood blouse done in Twilleys' freedom yarn . Gloria was wearing her fitted sweater done in Rowan Escape yarn , two shades , one a grey variegated colourway , the other a pinky red. Nan had her lovely swing cardigan done in Debbie Bliss Soho yarn (buttons to match , she is so clever). Oh yes , nearly forgot I was wearing my Noro Kochoran shortie cardi too !
When Patsy arrived , she showed us her marvelous Charity (thrift) shop find, a beautiful angora cardigan , crochet edging with metallic yarn , and the loveliest buttons , little black chunky squares with diamonte` crystals set in the centre . I can't understand why anyone would have put it in the charity shop , it was so lovely , at least now, someone who likes it, owns it .
Patsy also helped Sarah wind her skein of yarn into a ball .... well almost . They started with Patsy holding the skein and Sarah winding on the ball winder , then they came to a big tangle, so , off the ball winder the yarn came , several hours later or so it seemed , Sarah was winding it by hand after several unsuccessful attempts at trying to put the yarn back on the ball winder !
And the moral of the story .... don't let Patsy near skeins as the end up in a tangle ! Hehehehe! (Thinking of the cashmere!) Only joking , Patsy!
Mary and Maggie (another one!) came along too . Maggie was making great progress with her sock having turned her very first heel , then the fun began with the gusset! When I last saw , she was making great strides with it. Mary was trying her hand at a crochet blanket in a lovely bright shade of red. Knowing how much baby Abby loved my ball of bright red yarn , I'm sure the lucky baby will love this blanket .
The afternoon was so enjoyable and passed too quickly .
But Pyjama day cheered me up ..... time to get the boys sorted for going out , wish me luck!

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Flavaknits Stories

It was a quiet evening on Thursday at Flavaknits , the girls from Dunoon were unable to come and Marion and Moira were otherwise engaged . Poor Sandy has given herself concussion so needs to take it easy for a while . I was feeling a bit under the weather , so there was not much knitting done . Still , the lovely Innes was able to come along this week and entertain us with her many interesting stories .
Innes belongs to a Gaelic singing (wauking) group (only ref I can find with wauking) , and they often visit schools to give demonstrations. She also takes her spinning wheel along to show how that is done too!
Both Innes and her husband have native Gaelic speaking parents , and one story concerned her Father-in-law who grew up in a street in Greenock where folk spoke Gaelic and Italian! When he went to school he spoke no English, only a Gaelic/Italian patois!
A big part of the conversation was on dialect and local expressions - Carrie was asked by her American friends to speak some "Scots" on her recent trip home . Which is funny because West Coast Scottish accent sounds as if you are having an argument !
The conversation deteriorated from there !
Kimberly had brought along her new skein of Natural Dye Studio cotton to start some new socks for her sister who is allergic to wool . Carrie offered to help Kimberly wind her skein into a ball , and they ended up making a side show of it ! The skein of cotton kept catching on Kimberlys' wrist piercings as she tried to hold it (on her wrists and not hands!!) ouch! Then the ball kept falling (being dropped) so they switched , but that didn't help . Meanwhile the Cafe staff were trying to close for the night , and cleaning round about them ! I think Lewis will need to buy Kimberly a yarn swift and ball wonder soon .
And it looks like we may have our first open air spinning day , with the lovey Carrie kindly agreeing to host, after our discussions on Thursday evening . Spinning is fast becoming another big hobby for our knitting group folk, as at least six of us spin now . Innes learned to spin by air mail correspondence with her Auntie in New Zealand , just after the 1988 Garden Festival in Glasgow (I think there was some spinning display there that caught her attention !) The rest of us learned more recently but are bitten by the bug !
Well the sun is shining , DH and DS1 are away to watch Partick Thistle play football at Firhill (I'll leave the football jokes out here !), and DS2 is watching his new Doctor Who DVD and refusing to come out to the garden. So I am just going to sit outside, drink tea and knit some more !

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Whatever the Weather!

Living near the river means that the weather is prone to great changes within a day , especially in Scotland!
We've had wonderful sunshine for a while now , although it has been very cold , but yesterday that big old Sun had HEAT! Wonderful!
Instead of sitting out the garden , or going for long walks , a mother of two children does lots of clothes washing and pegging them out to dry!
Today, of course the rain returned, but I am re-assured that it will improve later . Well it has already , especially since I saw this ... (ravelry link)
And for those of you without Ravelry , follow this flickr link to see Gloria's wonderful new hand-dyed sock yarn , its just beautiful .
Gloria is a very talented lady who comes along to the Tramwayknits group , and is marvellous at so many crafts , Knitting , machine knitting , crocheting , dye-ing , felting , lace-making ....... the list is endless .
So I am very excited to see that she has branched out into the sock yarn , and our good friend Nan who runs Stitching Time shop in Hamilton is the sole supplier just now .
There is just so much temptation for a girl who knits socks just now . I think next year , if I get up to speed, I may just have to knit a pair a week!
Ah well , time to get back to the ironing (the downside of a sunny day in Scotland after all that washing!)

Friday, 17 April 2009

Back to Front!

Well, I was feeling so proud of myself knitting up my Baudelaire sock and not managing to make too many mistakes. It was looking good and feeling good , but I was unsure about the size thinking it may be a wee bitty too big .
Then I discovered (thank you Irene! ) that I had been reading the chart BACK TO FRONT ! D'OH!
In knitting , charts are usually read from right to left , as you knit , but no , I had read mine as I normally read , left to right !
However , it looks okay.
Because , Cookie A patterns are generally mirror images , and the only difference is my ssk's and k2togs are the other way round and lie flat instead of a wee bobble effect.
Which leads me to another question ..... Did I knit my Marlene's back to front !
And do I have Knitting Chart Dyslexia ?
Thank goodness I'm not following a chart for my Kiri shawl , goodness , it may have ended upside down as well as back to front !
Ah well , at least the sun is shining . Although the temperature is cold enough to make a Penguin shiver !

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Felt Good!

Happy Easter - hope you all got lovely chocolate eggs, the easter bunny visited the knitting group today too! (Thank you Frank for the lovely Cabury's Creme Eggs!)
It was "Children come too" on Easter Sunday at Tramwayknits , and Gloria kindly brought her felting equipment to let us all have a try. DS1 was "bored" learning to knit so I suggested he watch how to felt fibre .
After some early success felting with natural fibre and pebbles , Alice then showed how to make a flower!
First she held his attention ( no mean feat!) and explained that after the initial laying out of fibre , making it damp then dabbing it, it needed a good roll!
Work those fingers , roll it well , make sure all the fibres are rolled including the middle!
Now when you've done that , take it out, turn it sideways and do it all over again!
After this was all done , shape into a flower shape and roll again, then cut round some petals. A small ball makes the centre!
Didn't he do well! Doesn't it look great , and its given us more ideas for further projects .
Thank You Gloria and Alice for such a successful and enjoyable day .

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Help is there a Doctor about!

There are monsters abroad , or more precisely at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum! The Dr Who exhibition has arrived , and we booked tickets for the day the Dr Who special is going to be broadcast on BBC 1 , good timing eh !
DS1 & 2 with Abzorbaloff monster , created by a 9 year old for a Blue Peter competition .
My eldest has been Dr Who daft since he watched it at his Grandparents house three year ago. He's an anxious child and we worried it might give him nightmares. We needn't have worried , the gorier the better, he loves it.
The Cybermen are a big favourite , we have all the toys including a very scary mask!
And now my youngest has caught the bug! He particularly likes the previous incarnations of the Doctors, starting with number one William Hartnell. When an actor dressed up as the fourth Doctor was entertaining the queue into the exhibition and offering them Jelly Babies , he cried out "I know you , You're Tom Baker !"
The Hath were fish like monsters who breathed bubbles into a glass tube! I do wonder about the folk who thought these creatures up!
A very successful day out indeed , lots of (bad) photo's to commemorate the event , DS1 even tried to dress up like the (Tenth) Doctor and complained that "David Tennant should have been at the exhibition, I mean, he's from Paisley so its not that far!" Its difficult to get children to understand that although an actor is from a local town , they may not actually live there anymore .
I have been doing some knitting , although I'm not managing to finish anything so far , there are socks on the needles , a sweater and now a shawl !
This is the start of my Baudelaire socks, Cookie A Pattern , and Old Maiden Aunt alpaca/silk blend yarn, colourway Neptunes' Daughter . I'm knitting them on 2.25mm needles , Langs aluminium double points , but unfortunately it makes my shoulder ache after a while (an old RSI) . The yarn is gorgeous to knit with , the pattern is a simple toe-up and looks very effective .... then you get to the gusset and heel and get confused (I am a woman of a certain age , its not hard to confuse me!)
However it will be lovely to wear them when I am done!
Below is the start of my Kiri Shawl , knitted in my Unicorn yarn (fibres unknown as yet , but I've made a guess so far!)
I wasn't sure if the yarn was suited for the pattern , but I'm feeling fairly confident it will turn out well . AND..... I am using my new Addi click needles ..... all I can say is .. FABULOUS!
And this is the front of my slant cabled sweater from Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2008. I'm using Rowan Classic Baby alpaca , a gorgeously soft yarn that I bought in the sale at John Lewis in January. Knowing how chilly Spring is in Scotland , once finished I'll probably be wearing it until July!
I am at the sleeves just now , which is really just increasing every alternate row at the sides giving a slight bat-wing effect which is rounded off with some ribbing. I keep holding it up against me to measure how much more I have to knit , and to give it a wee cuddle (its really that squishy!).
Well there is no time like the present , and I doubt Dr Who could knit it up quicker for me, so I'd best be getting on with my knitting !
"Avante!" *
* One of Dr Who's catchphrases , he has a fondness for Italian for some reason!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Your the best thing....

Had a lovely afternoon at Tramwayknits yesterday , and it spurned me on to greater things! After a conversation with the lovely Kathleen last week ,I decided to set up a group on Ravelry - the knitting website. A group for those of us who love Liliths fabulous yarns and fibres, also known as Old Maiden Aunt!
Lilith has a wonderful website which I am forever perusing , and occasionally buying from (its my story and I'm sticking to it! lol) , as well as a wonderful studio in the little weaving village of West Kilbride . She also does dyeing workshops , which I hope to attend one of these days !
At present I am signed up for a Cookie A sock Knit-a-long on Ravelry , organised by the lovely Theresa, and several of my socks will be done in OMA yarn, its so lovely, and the colours are so pleasing to the eye , and it feels fabulous . Cookie A , for those not in the know , is a fabulous knitwear designer who designs the most gorgeous sock patterns, several of these patterns are available free on At the end of this month (in the UK anyway!), her new sock pattern book comes out , and the Sock Knit-along starts in earnest. For present, we are knitting some of her available designs , and showing off our socks on the group forum .
Yesterday at Tramwayknits, Patsy asked to see my new Marlene socks, however I was wearing them , so had to put my feet up on the table to show them off properly . A couple of guys at the next table look horrified, and hid behind their Sunday Papers. Probably thought we had escaped from the asylum! Thank goodness nobody stroked them! hehehe!
Took DS1 and 2 to the Grandparents today, its a strange thing that kids can drive you mad , and yet when they are gone you miss them like crazy! Especially when they say the cutest things . On the way to their grandparents this song, one of my favourites by Paul Weller , was on the radio , hence the todays title, it says it all really!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Wee anecdotes

The Easter Holidays are upon us now , thank goodness, no yelling to get kids out in time for school , no making sure there are clean uniforms , change for snack money or the various other activities.
DS2 is looking forward to some play time , and has a list of toys he needs! On entering the local charity shop he spied a kids microscope, which he has been badgering me for, and asked if we could buy it. Being a wonderful mother (!) I said not now ,we will need to save up our pennies. He then takes matters into his own hands to ensure he gets this microscope - and promptly tells the Sales assistant not to sell it to anyone , cos we will be back for it , oh and to make sure no one steals it either, cos we need a microscope to look at germs on our hands !! The poor woman went along with it.
I fear his brother has taught him well
We may need to return for it at some point , if my life is to be made worth living , but I'm making good use of it to bribe him into good behaviour.
This morning at Church the new minister was getting into the swing of things , he asked the kids to go down the front and sit nicely to listen to the story (!!) As he is asking questions about things , DS2 in a bored and loud voice replies - "We already know that!" cringe..... Later he tries to kiss girls in the Sunday School class.
He's four years old . . . . . I've got my work cut out here!

Friday, 3 April 2009

Beautiful Sheep!

Thank You all for the lovely comments on my Marlene's , they feel wonderful to wear. I am still deciding on what to do with my Unicorn , a wee perusal of the patterns on Ravelry may be in order .
I had a wonderful evening last night at Flavaknits , except it was at Carries home for a wee change . Carrie had put on a marvelous spread (her coffee cake is D-vine!) , and Jo had brought a fabulous Victoria Sponge baked by her own talented Husband. A wee (not so) secret about me , I ADORE homebaking , I will elbow old grannies out the way at the local fete to get my scones and millionaire shortbread , even if it was me who baked it for the fete ! So last night I was in my element.
Innes came along for her first Flavaknits night , and brought lots of fabulous things , her spinning wheel , natural fleece and fibre , book and samples of British Breed sheep , the Beautiful Sheep book, some posters showing the different British Breeds and her gorgeous Handmade stitch-markers . There was not too much knitting happening , as we oohed and aahed over the different fibres , and Carri tried her hand at spinning (she's good , no really, she's good , we may just have to hate her for it! hehehe!)
We also got to see Innes' hand-dyed yarn , she uses natural plants and shells to get some wonderful colours and effects , depending on what type of pot she uses (aluminium or cast-iron) . She had also just spun some beautifully soft and lustrous merino , and one lucky baby will be getting a wee jacket made from it.
Sandy and I had a giggle at some of the pictures in the "Beautiful Sheep book" . These pictures show sheep all done up for show , so they have all been shampoo-ed and blow dry-ed . One in particular looked very haughty and aristocratic , on the following page the sheep looked rather unattractive , so we called the haughty one Blackadder and the plain one Baldrick !
One article in a book Innes brought explained how important sheep have been to human civilization , with a picture of some shepherds driving sheep ove the desert. From wool for clothing and bedding , to milk for drinking , cheese and meat for eating . Beautiful sheep indeed .
We also got to admire pictures of Marions' new grand-daughter , as she had just got back the day before , she is a wee sweetie .
Got home a bit later than I normally do , but the time just flew in .
This morning was DS1's school Easter Service , and what a lot of talented and hard-working children. There was a brass band playing , school choir singing Hallelujah * , an Easter Rap , and a piece on Pesach .
And the new Church Minister/School Chaplain recited some lovely poetry (beautiful lilting Northern Irish accent). So much talent , it was lovely ! It even took the edge of going to the Dentist to discover I may need a crown removed , root canal treatment and a tooth removed ! Yikes, but not just yet thankfully.
Time for some knitting I think !
* Second verse missed out , not quite suitable for the 7-11 year old age group really!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Unicorn has landed!

It was not looking promising this morning when I put a load of washing in the machine, so I hoped for a strong wind but got gorgeous sunshine instead! Fabulous, washing out to dry , kids out in the garden (for a short while) , and a package to open!
But first - my finished Marlenes' ! Aren't they lovely, I finished them late last night , and I added my own signature to them , can you tell ? Can you see anything ..... different about them ?
Yep! I made left and right ones - the toe gives the game away. To be honest, I was so tired last night I didn't notice I was making the toe different to the first sock , however , I was wondering how I would make them different, so I could have left and right socks! Brain was way ahead of me here.
Looking and feeling good though !
Of course , Patrick the cement mixer from Thomas the Tank Engine, had to get in on the act , here he is showing off the different toes !
And the package ? It contained this .....
gorgeous Unicorn yarn from QueenieAmanda at Natural Dye Studio. There are two riddles to solve which will give me letters, and these letters go to make up the name/s of the fibres that make up the yarn, one down nine to go!
I didn't quite get enough light when taking this photo, so here is a close up , it really is gorgeous, and feels so silky smooth .
I was going to make up socks with this yarn , but I don't know now, it feels too good! Perhaps a shawlette !
Got DS1's report card today , he did BRILLIANTLY! Which is great cos I've been a wee bit concerned about him lately, he can be so shy at times .
So now I will be forking out some cash for a computer game - which he fully deserves , Well done sweetie!