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Showing posts from June, 2009

Never look a gift horse in the mouth

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Whenever I come up with some quaint phrase as a blog post title I feel an irrestible urge to Google it and read about the origins. Did you know that this saying is thought to originate from St Jerome? According to my interwebby research his words were apparently "Never inspect the teeth of a gift horse." This would be assessing the value of the gift rather than appreciating it in the spirit it was given. Makes sense now - I'd always thought it must be something to do with seeing something you wouldn't want, like the gift might bite back at you! All of this is because the yarn acquisition this quarter comes mainly in gift form from a destashing friend and gratefully though it was received I did wince a little at the addition to my stash. I take this as a good sign of the internalisation of my stash reduction philosophy, soon I'll be evangelising on the benefits of having no stash! Well maybe not so soon I did buy the beautiful kit from Cotton & Cloud - but th

Training Camp

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If athletes benefit from training at altitude do you think that my knitting speed will have been improved by knitting in the Swiss Alps this week? In truth not much knitting was done as that boring old thing - work - kept getting in the way - oh and don't feel too envious of the view - most of the week it looked like this: I am in deadline knitting training on these Sockamania socks which need to be done by the end of June to enter in to the draw: Should be good preparation for the two sporting knitalongs I'll now be participating in for July - when I read on Artificially Mythic that there is an Ashes KAL on Ravelry I thought I'd better sign on for that too. Nice and relaxed - just set your own goals for each test - should fit well with the WIP completion for the Tour KAL . Thank you for all the bee and garden love in the comments on the last post. Most of the plants are flourishing thanks to the 1TB who has been on watering duty for the week and pleasingly the little v

Bee Friendly

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My Mama has been here to play this weekend and we've been busy as bees in the garden. Following advice from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust we've been upping the bee-friendliness . This mainly consists of trying to ensure a long season of flowers which make bees happy - as a rule these are flowers with easy access to their pollen. As well as more lavenders and thymes we planted amongst other things a Cotoneaster : a Ceanothus : and some Hebes : In an ironic twist we disturbed a common carder bee nest in the mossy margins of the front lawn when tidying that up. Luckily I don't think it was damaged, just revealed to prying eyes which were both amazed to see it and sad to have upset them. I somehow forgot to get a photo in all the excitement and by the time I went to see if I could get one this morning they had pulled their mossy blanket safely back over. I'm so delighted to have seen the nest and know that my garden is already a home for bees and so glad that they

Just one more hill

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I've just signed up for the Tour de France Knitalong (on Ravelry this year) in the Polka Dot Jersey category: Polka Dot jersey = completion of languishing WIPs. (The more, the merrier: go for as many summits as you can!) My secret ambition is to clear the decks completely so at the end of July there should be nothing on the needles (although that might mean ripping rather than ascending the mountains for some things - yes mittens and Arisaig I am looking at you) . I don't know why but that sounds like fun all of a sudden, maybe because it's a state never achieved since I first started knitting! To make it just a little more of a bumpy ride I thought I'd start one more thing: I bought this beautiful kit from Kyoko recently and want it made up for my friend's birthday in early August. So while the cyclists are pedalling my fingers will hopefully be flying along with them. Who else is in?

I would be gloating...

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...about just how damn clever I am having executed my magic-toe-up heel-flap-adorned socky masterpiece. I would be looking forward to completing the pair for stashing in the drawer for colder days when I could take them out and think just how damn clever I am: if I hadn't overlooked the fundamental issue of sizing. To the present pile for these then, with little hope that the recipient will be a sock knitter who can marvel at just how damn clever the construction is. Good job that they are purty too! Off to channel some Cat B for the second magic toe and remind myself how damn clever I am :o)

National Portrait Gallery Kitchener Poster

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Having successfully brought chill winds and rain to bear upon UK knitters hoping to make the most of our outdoor knitting spots it's time to go underground. I had a meeting in London yesterday and saw a poster in the tube which caught my eye: Image from thedrum.co.uk It was the word Knitter that jumped out. Love this campaign from the National Portrait Gallery .

The View From...

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I seem to have adopted a new knitting spot and I think it has the feline seal of approval. The cats change 'their' place fairly regularly. They normally have a couple in rotation as a minimum, a daytime one and an evening one. If they can manage to get a hold on a seat that is disapproved of by their servants then so much the better; even if it seems like a hard, miserable surface, like say a table. My two knitting spots are normally snug on the sofa or the deckchair for a sunny weekend. Just lately the garden table and chairs seem right. Yep, I can see that if we get much dry weather this summer this will be the place to find Lil and I. The view from here is very lush and green at the moment. It's definitely been influencing the yarn choices for the three projects I've cast on in the last week or so. Angee , Lazy Leaves and Baktus . The scarf was an accidental cast-on, in so much as something so deliberate can be accidental. I was winding the Natural Dye Studios yarn

Saturday Night's Alright (for Knitting)

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Saturday night's alright alright, especially when I'm home alone with a knitting challenge to master. Sock Innovation has brought back the sock addiction with a vengeance. Using Anni's yarn I won from Sockamania for Angee inspired me to try and be a better Sockamaniac and actually join in. It's nearly a year since my last which won me the pretty green yarn. This month it's a beautiful toe-up pattern - Lazy Leaves. I've never embraced toe-up socks, my short row to es from a crochet provisional cast-on have never lived up to the toes done top down , but I don't want to miss out on (or have to rework) toe-up patterns. So, with a quiet evening to spend as I chose, I thought I'd try and best an old foe . Judy's Magic Cast-on . This time with Cat Bordhi on my side: I did it: Hurrah for the power of the knit ternet ! Seeing a demonstration of this technique and being able to follow the hand movements made the world of difference. When this clicks

For the love of yarn

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"Yarn is creation, consolation and chaos all spun together into one perfect ball." The Knitter's Book of Yarn - Clara Parkes I've just finished swatching with the green Felted Tweed in the picture above and I love it. The yarn's been in the stash for a while but it wasn't until I started knitting with it that I realised just how lovely it is. Soft and springy and very light. I thought I'd read up in one of my favourite books to understand a little more about the blend of fibres: wool, alpaca and viscose. Not a mixture I've knitted with before. I got The Knitter's Book of Yarn for Christmas and it is an absolute mine of information. I dip in and out of it - learn something then normally forget it again as yarn fumes intoxicate me - today's nugget of information (that I think I might actually remember as it surprised me so) is that viscose or rayon is cellulose based, it's normally made from wood pulp. I'd always thought it was a synth