Saturday, 21 July 2012


Its this time of year that the Rowan Magazine comes out , as well as some new Rowan yarns/colourways . I gave in , I bought the book and oh what beautiful patterns , I am tempted by most of them . Sadly I don't knit that quickly or have unlimited funds , so I will choose my pattern/s carefully .
At the Thursday night knitting group , the colourwork patterns in the book got a big thumbs up . There was much oo-ing and aa-ing over them , working out colour combinations and so on . Then the resident Yarn seller introduced some new Debbie Bliss Yarn books too, that, and the sale of Rialto yarn was too much for some, who bought a whole sweaters worth on the spot - you know who you are Seona!
I am psychi-ing myself up to buy the latest Debbie Bliss Yarn Winter Garden and its book . There is a lovely chunky sweater I NEED to have .
There is also a lovely aran sweater in the new BFL Aran book too!
Ahhh! Too much temptation!
Talking of temptation , there are quite a few of my favourite indie dyers who seem to be bucking the trend and doing very well with their online shops . I am not surprised , the yarns and colourways are fabulous , they have well managed clubs every so often and they are just lovely people !
Obviously one of my favourites is Breagh - Indie dyer Innes from Inverkip who sells her yarn through the Once a Sheep bricks and mortar shop only. Innes does a fabulous kid mohair/silk range called Clyde clouds which is to dye/die for!
Old Maiden Aunt is another of my favourites . Lilith has her studio in the craft town on West Kilbride , snd her yarn range and colours are fabulous , you could quite happily drown in them . I knitted my sister a stole using the merino cashmere blend and everyone drools over it . I also love one of the latest colours which is similar to a blue Police Box from a certain programme . The annual clubs are also a sell out , and each month members receive two types of yarn in a secret colourway plus some special "extras" . The colours are then released for the general public at the end of the club .
Another favourite is Easyknits run by John Dunn-Ballam , who I first came across at the first Iknit event in London a few years ago . His website is a flash of bright colours , fabulous yarns and cooking recipes' as well as patterns . There are sock clubs , shawl clubs and fibre clubs at different times of the year . New colours sell out very quickly , and are bold , bright and a little bit brash . Its a bit like a sweetie shop!
Then there is my "oldest" favourite , Natural Dye Studio , who has recently re-located to Devon from Suffolk , and who has the most amazing naturally dyed yarns ever . The colours are gentle but bold , the yarns are so squishy and huggable , every newsletter is covered in pictures of temptingly dyed yarn crying out to be knit .
It can get too much for a girl - I think I'll go and lie down for a bit! Enjoy !

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

oh- oh ! Its raining again

So I am looking through my holiday pictures to remind myself of sunnier times! The photo below is an image of the moon which reflected the fiery red of the sun , quite magic.

The boys are visiting their grandparents , and DH is away on business , so I have a quiet house . No cleaning tonight , a night off and some lazy me time to knit and watch tv.
Sherman sock beginning to take shape , pattern needs a little concentration at this point as top of foot and sole have separate patterns , on different pages!
Still, am enjoying it immensely , just love the feel of squishy sock yarn on double pointed needles , seeing a new pattern take shape . Ah simple pleasures!
Have just seen the latest Rowan Magazine 52 - it is full of lovely chunky jumpers and colourwork cardi's , so come pay day a copy shall be mine . I am a relative newcomer to Rowan , having only started to collect their biannual magazine since number 28 . However even if I knit nothing out of them , I love to look at the gorgeous knitwear in them , especially if its by Kaffe Fasset .
I love the colours and texture of the yarns , I love knitting with them and wearing them .
Ah well , back to the socks!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Summer Reading

Summer Holidays are for catching up with some good reading , its one of lifes' greatest luxuries to lose yourself in a good book.
Now to quote a friend - certain books are not my thing but I am not judging - my taste in books is not always the usual summer reading.

Spending time in Spanish Majorca (also have relations who live in Spain) , I thought a book with a Spanish theme would be good summer reading , so over the last three summers I have read novels by the Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Starting with Shadow of the Wind , then Angels Game and finally this summer Prisoner of Heaven .
This books ties in with the other two , but is shorter and more humorous than the last two . The story revisits the characters , Daniel Sempere son of a bookshop owner and Fermin de Torres his protector, from the first book in a later era of post-civil war Barcelona , but includes their histories from during the Civil war in Spain . There are gruesome descriptions of prisoners lives , murder by the Police , disappearances of people , and the restrictions in life of this period , but there is also alot of gallows humour .
However the crux of the story rests on books , the writing of them , the good ones ,the bad ones , the good writers and the bad ones and the use of good writers to "re-write" the stories of the bad ones and so on .
I like this book , but found it too short , and the ending a little disappointing as there were more questions than answers .
Shadow of the Wind was excellent , Angels Game good but the body count was bordering on laziness on the writers part , Prisoner of Heaven good , too short and disappointing ending.

My other Summer book was a biography of Charles Dickens - which is better than it sounds .
I am reading quite a lot of Dickens just now - and enjoying it more than I did in my teens.
However the man behind the books is just as if not more interesting than them.
Clare Tomalin does an excellent job in making what should be an academic book very readable.
Dickens turns out to be a myriad of his characters in one man , generous and giving , cold and indifferent , affable and friendly , sharp and uncaring .
Towards the end of the book I felt exhausted reading of all his activities , his walking , his acting , his writing books , writing letters , setting up newspapers , his traveling on the continent , keeping up and entertaining family and friends , his good works, setting up a home to rescue street women , he was like a tornado who finally lost power .
His parents while loving were quite neglectful of him and never spoke of his time in the blacking factory , they also took advantage of his famous name racking up countless debts that he paid  .
He was a fabulous character who unfortunately didn't seem capable of encouraging his own children to do well.
Only one managed to get to University and persuading his father not to take him out of school age 15 years.
His poor wife , who gave him 10 children, lived in obscurity after he "separated " from her to carry out a secret affair with a young actress.
This was part of his life that the early biographies omitted , the affair had been kept secret in line with the mores of the time , and it was his daughter who finally wrote about it.

I am no book reviewer , but I do love books , so next stop this summer is the library.
Also , I have a ton of fabulous knitting books that I'll be referring to , as I want to knit up more socks and lace .

Socks to start - this pattern from Ysoldas' Whimsical Little Knits 3 , called Sherman.
It has a disappearing loop cast on at the toe (toe-up) and a shaped sole , so lots of new things to try.

And the yarn - this sportweight Regia yarn 150g of cuddliness - I started to knit another pattern with it but the sock was too big , that's when I found Sherman .
The yarn and needles for this pattern are slightly bigger than usual , sportweight yarn and 3mm needles - hopefully a quicker knit , but its the pattern and different methods I'm more interested in.

This is a link to the disappearing loop or circular cast-on youtube video - its simpler than I thought.
Putting the kids to bed a little earlier tonight so I can focus on my knitting in peace .

Monday, 16 July 2012

Holiday - ay !

Where to start ... have just spent a lovely morning with my knitting group Chez nous . My cookies turned out well (there are none left) my scones not so well (there were 3 left , they were like biscuits!) It was great to catch up with everyone , as some of us were not long back from holidays , while some were just packed up to leave later that morning.

The last few months have been a blur of fund-raising , event organising etc.etc. for the school PTA . My eldest is in Primary 7 , and he had his Leavers Service , his final school trip and his Leavers Party ALL on the same day. On his last day the whole school turned out to applaud them all as they left Primary School forever - it was all enough to turn Parents into an emotional wreck especially as the wee girls all seemed so overhwelmed and started to cry! They boys seemed to happy and would have preferred to go out to the refrain of "Schools Out for Summer" instead of all the applauding ,crying and so on . Although mine did go a bit quiet later on as the though of going to secondary school sunk in.

One of the Office ladies at the school is also our dear own sunday School Leader at St Johns Church , and she is retiring from Sunday School this year. The other teachers all clubbed together , and I headed to my LYS to purchase the necessary equipment to make this - Frill edged stole from Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace book - without the frill edge ! I also had enough to get a heart shape brooch pin for it too .

Sally had no idea what she was being presented with at Church one Sunday , and it wasn't until later when she opened it to discover what was in the bag. She was so delighted with it , and came over to thank me for it at the leavers service at school a few days later .

We have since been on our Family holiday , along with Gran and Grandad to Majorca - here is a selection of some of the photo's to give you a flavour - It was too short a time , but really lovely . The aparthotel and pool are just lovely , the beach and views are gorgeous , the town is lively enough but not loud and garish . The food and coffee were great!

I would go back tomorrow , but we'll need to wait and save up for next year .
Thankfully , I have invited the girls over most Mondays until the end of the school holidays - time to improve on my scones and get a little knitting done . Time also to blog a little more too .