Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Turning 30

I celebrated my 30th birthday yesterday and it seems like 1978 was a great year for knitting ;o) Here's to a great 30s.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Close...

...but no beret! Thanks for all the cheering on in the comments but despite the encouragement and the wonderful example for CSC from Carlos Sastre in the time trial yesterday, I haven't quite finished with the knitted on band.

Thank you so much to the organisers of the TDFKAL, to Teri our fabulous CSC knitting team leader and to my fellow riders. It's been a wonderful knitalong to be part of and has reinvigorated my love of Le Tour, sorry I couldn't quite make it, even at the back of the peloton, but thanks for having me along for the ride.

It's hard to be too upset though - deadlines are made to be extended, especially in the summer, it's been a blissful weekend and today it feels as if life is one long picnic.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The best medicine

Being at home immediately made me feel so much better and day by day I've improved this week. The jet lag has not been fun but I'm finally starting to feel a little more human just in time for the weekend :o) I will not be wearing my shrug as the sleeves are still very much a work in progress as you can see here. Ah well, life just gets in the way of knitting some times and I have a shop bought back up!

It's just too glorious for words to be at home, managing a little knitting but mainly just resting and exhaling all the tension from the trip. Thank you for all your well wishes.

I'm hopeful I might get my beret finished for the Paris parade, here it is as it was on Monday when I caught up with missed events from Le Tour with the review programme. We've got people staying from tonight but I think this pattern will be simple enough for me to follow and still be sociable.

Comforts have also arrived by mail - waiting for me when I got back was this delicious yarn which is my prize draw Sockamania yarn! Yes, the last minute dash was worth it and I won my choice of a skein of yarn from Anni's lovely Etsy shop. I went for this wool/bamboo blend and I'm delighted with the feel and colour - what a fabulously zingy green.

Today my replacement cube arrived so if I can just track down that yarn it will soon be as if that awful week never was!

Happy weekend :o)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Missing in Action

I have been, all week. Just hanging around now waiting to go to the airport to get on the tin can home and still feeling sick as a dog. Officially my worst trip ever, I've seen little but the inside of my hotel and for two days as we had no power I was lucky if I could see that!

I'm always a little bit anxious before travelling a long way as the travelling itself and being away from my normal routines can be very draining because of the ME; this time that was no problem but right at the start of the week some stomach bug totally wiped me out and is still doing its best to keep me down.
Then to round it off my poor knitting has also gone MIA - see that beautiful Silk Shine up there, I started a Spring Forward sock in it on the way over and somehow I lost it and my beautiful Schrodinger cube bag when I dragged myself out to a meeting on Thursday. Oh sob, when I could just have done with a break. I've got one ball of the yarn left and I'm not sure where I can get another - do any of you know of anyone selling Regia Silk Shine in shade 150? I've been searching the web and none of my normal haunts seem to have it. Maybe one of you knows of somewhere before I start messaging the peeps on Ravelry that have it stashed and start begging! Thankfully there was another matryoshka cube for sale in Schrodinger's shop, right now that feels like the only good news I've had in a week! I am officially as grumpy as I have ever been. Grrrrrrrrumpppppy.


So, I will be soooooo glad to be home after this trip. Vancouver, hopefully I'll be back some day to have a proper look at you, the glimpses I've seen have been good but never treat me like this again please. Thank you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Yarn, yarn, glorious yarn

Nothing quite like it for warming the heart! Some people like Queen of the Froggers understand an odd concept called destashing. It's not something that computes round these parts but I was happy to help out a blogger in need :o) Got my paws on a whole kit of Summer Tweed to make Glimmer.
Another summery yarn next from another lovely blogger. This is a skein of Giotto that the lovely Knitty in Pink offered me after seeing my plans for summery scarves like the Rose Garden one which I'm pleased to report was happily received by the birthday girl at the start of the month. This colourway is perfect for a friend with an end of July birthday if I can just fit in the knitting of it!
You could say that's the crazy thing about buying more yarn, when will I knit it? But hey, it cheers my heart just looking at it so here are some soft squishy ornaments in the form of rich, red sock yarn. This comes from a UK ebay seller called The Yorkshire Wool Lady who seems to have a source for bulk buying yarn which she then winds off and sells on. Too good a bargain to miss. As was this lot of undyed wool - well it was for charity after all. Have plans for dyeing this if I can get some Kool Aid. I've still got a little space left around the house so I'm sure I'll have more to show off on my return from Canada!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Slow starter

I've been slow at getting away on Verity as I was kidding myself that I could finish Iris to take away with me on a work trip tomorrow. This little shrug has missed two deadlines now just because I always like to imagine I can knit faster than I have any evidence I can. I'm eager to wear this as I have a lovely dress that needs it. Next occasion wear event will be end of July and even allowing for tour knitting I think that is finally a realistic deadline.

Here is Verity where I dropped her last night having momentarily ridden into a spectator who as per le chien is no help on the knitting front at all. I've messed up one row so a quick repair required before I'm back on the bike.I am so enjoying watching the Tour itself and after the disappointment for my CSC team in the time trial I was pleased to have a good cheer for the Brit yesterday.In honour of Mark's sprinting prowess I think I should enter the knitalong's first intermediate sprint. I'm not going for the knitting option as a beret as a project choice really needs no further explanation so ironically I shall go for the cycling entry and talk about my introduction to the sport.

I say ironically as I think it's time to admit something that I hope doesn't invalidate my tour entry: I can't actually ride a bike! I somehow missed out on this stage growing up and attempts to learn as an adult have been bruising and unsuccessful. However total inability to participate in what I'm watching has never held me back in the spectating stakes. I felt a great wave of nostalgia for Le Tour when I saw the details of the knitalong at Bells' place. Suddenly it was the late '80's again and I was sat with my Dad in the early evening at the end of July cheering Stephen Roche on for all we were worth. I think we watched every year till I left home, some of my strongest memories are of the indomitable Indurain as his glory years sit square in that time. I haven't watched the tour since I left home for university though I've always had a rough sense of what was happening. It's great to have found a reason to be picking it up properly again. There was another strong hit of nostalgia when I turned on the ITV coverage this year and found Gary Imlach, Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett still presenting the highlights programme in the same great format. If I close my eyes and listen to their voices I'm back in my parents old living room with my Dad watching the Channel 4 show. It's a truly special sporting event and I love that it is now also a terrific knitting event. I find the armchair so much more my style than the saddle!

As I mentioned I'm off on my work travels again tomorrow. To Vancouver this time where I am planning a visit to Urban Yarns following Martha's great review. Verity will be in the case and this simple travelling sock project in the hand luggage I think:
I'll be away a week or so and as I don't want you all getting withdrawal symptoms (I'm taking a laptop just to try and keep up with my blog reading :o)) and because I like to copy whatever Bells does I'll queue up a little post to tide you over detailing all my latest yarn collecting :o)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Talking of races...

The big one kicks off today, July 5th, time for le Tour. In France the cyclists will be pumping the pedals and around the world 108 knitters will start the needles clicking. I am very excited to be participating in this super fun knitalong - for the maillot jaune - so it is also part of my Project Spectrum contribution. So needles at the ready it's time to say - go Team CSC!
My chosen project will be Verity - un chic et joli beret:

Would you like some help with that? Those sticks look good:

My Mum's dog Poppy thinks that knitting and blogging is dull compared to playing with her.

Thank you all for your lovely comments on my Rainforest socks, it was super satisfying to finish in time and feels great to read all your nice words :o)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Move over snail this tortoise has a race to win

Well I'm not sure you could actually call the fabulous June prize draw from Sockamania a race or I would have lost by a mile and to be honest it was less slow and steady like a tortoise on these socks and more slooooooowwwwww and a burst of speed at the end but anyway I like that post title and I hope I win the draw :o)
So here are the Rainforest socks all finished, and I do agree that they are far more fabulous than any socks that could be bought for the money spent on the yarn and luckily I know my Mum will feel the same. It was a double deadline for these socks as it's her birthday on Wednesday. Two deadlines finally meant that I shook off my knitting malaise, stopped the evil business of calculating stitch counts (I agree never again until a project is finished - and maybe never again at all - too scary!) and buckled down and got the second one knit in three days. It was quite fun wondering whether I'd have to stay up to midnight last night to get it finished but I got four straight hours in when I got home from work and finished off just as Andy Murray tied up the tennis that he'd prolonged to keep me company! I thought I had a slight allergy to deadlines in knitting but turns out they can definitely work for me, it's just that Christmas gift one I've got to crack.

Pattern: Rainforest Socks from Sockamania
Yarn: Tofutsies - Get Your Feet Wet - 50% superwash wool, 25% soy silk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin
Needles: 2.25mm Harmony DPNs
Started: 9 June 2008
Finished: 30 June 2008
Notes: Love the pattern and the finished item (close up of the pretty stitch above) but I wasn't in love with the knitting of these. I'm putting that down to the yarn in the main, it also coincided with a general batch of feeling rubbish so I may be maligning the yarn a little more than it deserves. It's a very flat feeling yarn compared to say the Regia I just used, that may in part be due to the high cotton content, but the Lana Grossa cotton blend manages a really lovely springiness. The plies of this yarn are very loose and separate very easily. If you drop a stitch it's a pig to pick back up so I would go for a simpler pattern with less stitch manipulation if I were to go again with this yarn. You see I might be tempted again because the final fabric feels very nice and as if it will wear very well. The yardage is amazing, I think I could possibly get another smallish pair of ladies socks out of this one ball but when on full price this is an expensive yarn to buy in the UK - would be more than say Jitterbug or even the Shibui sock I had shipped from the US. So on the whole I think it's thumbs down for Tofutsies, nice to try it but I won't be rushing back for more.

Off down to Cornwall tomorrow to celebrate Mum and Dad's birthdays - which pair of socks to cast on for the journey is the main question???
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