Being Frank…

Accepting my failings

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An accidental participant in Me Made May

Seeing as I only have 4 sewn garments to my name, (one of them being a clothkit skirt and another being on its last legs) I didn’t sign up for Me Made May… but I do tend to wear at least something I’ve made every day… more so since I tried the 12 in 12 challenge as there has hardly been a day in the last 9 months where I haven’t needed a jumper or a cardigan.

It came as a surprise to realise as I was standing on the train platform this morning that I was wearing no less than 5 me made items…ok so by the time I was catching the train home I had discarded 2 of them and my coat (Yay ! It’s spring at last!!!)

So the 2 discards first…a bright pink hat (wurm…not yet blogged or photographed) and a great scrunchable scarf in a shade of teal  (hmmm maybe I should pay more attention to co ordinating my outfits…but then that would involve more co ordination of my wardrobe palette…maybe sometime…but not yet).

Knitted socks…because I don’t have any decent  shoes at the moment and I’m still wearing winter boots  (note to self: Buy some spring appropriate shoes…or shall I wait to see if the nice weather lasts)

A fitted tunic style jumper in lilac…well I guess that goes with the pink hat…and possibly the scarf  (incidentally has anyone checked out Catkin yet ? Isn’t it stunning yet simple…)…I can’t post a picture of it unfortunately as I am a long way behind with photographing things…

and finally a skirt… yes I have made a skirt that I am happy to wear to work…unfortunately I haven’t made any others…

So today I made my debut in Me Made May…and it is also my finale…. hey it was fun whilst it lasted…


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FO: Girasole (Jared Flood)

086This is one of the most beautiful things I think I have ever made…and it was fun to knit…even the edging

The pattern is Girasole by Jared Flood, Girasole is I believe french for sunflower.

It was originally intended for my friend the welsh goddess as a 40th birthday present…she is an august baby…I started knitting it in the July and had it finished by the november…it then sat in my WIP basket until the March when I finally got around to blocking it.

Blocking as you probably know involves drying it “under tension” you pin the wet garment out slightly stretched and when it dries it stays in the stretched position which has the joint benefit of:

a) you have a slightly larger garment

b) The stitch pattern looks better as the stitches have been “opened” out

The problem was that aside from my stepsons bed I had nowhere to block it and of course I always remembered it needed doing on a friday night when he arrived and had forgotten about it by the sunday when he left ! So it took rather a long time to reach the blocking stage.

Then…well…you see my friend the Welsh Goddess is an absolute Goddess of a woman, tall, statuesque with va va voom…lovely, but our limbs as a rule are in proportion to our height and yes the Welsh Goddess has quite an “ape index”  (ape index is a climbing term relating to the length of your arms) compared to a short a*se like me AND the va va voom factor means…well in short, my lovely shawl was too small…it makes a good scarflette, but not a good head and shoulders or even shoulders covering shawl…

I tried just before Christmas to reblock it to see if I could get some more stretch out of it, I did but not enough…

It was redirected  as a present for someone else, who seemed delighted with it, but who can really tell with handknitted  presents (or relatives) ?  I’m waiting for inspiration to strike again before August comes round again… or maybe I just reknit Girasole on slightly larger needles… because it is a really lovely pattern…

yarn: Regia Sock yarn(4ply)

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FO: Woodsmoke and Ripley

Sounds a bit like a firm of solicitors or makers of tabacco…actually it’s the name of two patterns I love  and have just made for 2 lovely people out of  yarns that  I love (well mostly)

Ripley has now headed off to Scotland (again, the first one I made went to Aberdeen) as a present for Travelling Ali. I learned from the last one I made and this time went for a much larger size but the beanie version rather than the one that looks a bit like santa’s christmas elf

Pattern: Ripley (Ysolda Teague)

Yarn: Toft Alpaca Aran (Chocolate)


New: Nothing this time except learning from previous mistakes

Woodsmoke is from Brave New Knits which is a collection of patterns contributed by knitters who have also kept influential blogs. Most of the photographs in their were taken by Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed) who also is the designer of this scarf.

When I first saw Woodsmoke I fell in love. in fact I fell in love with the whole book, but mostly with Woodsmoke.  But having now knit it I don’t think I will be making one for myself. Don’t get me wrong the final outcome is gorgeous but doing the border almost drove me over the edge into insanity…it is so tedious and there is SO much of it.

Pattern Woodsmoke (Jared Flood, Brave New Knits)

Yarn: Rowan Cashcotton 4ply (citron) and a sock yarn from Lidl

Needles: 3.25mm I think

New: If you knit a pattern you love, then for the first time out make it for yourself in case knitting puts you off knitting it again !

Woodsmoke is headed for another 40 year old friend, this one in Canada…once I have found her address from the chaos that is my home.

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FO: Freedom Ishbel

I work with a lot of wonderful people. Several of whom finished work today because they’d taken VERS (Voluntary Early Retirement/Redundancy). One of whom is a truly lovely lady who has spent the last few years telling me off for wearing so much black and leaving little gifts of purple on my desk.

She is also the person whose brush with breast cancer brought me back to knitting as I thought she might like a hat…a purple hat !

She found out just after Christmas that her application for VERS had been successful and just as I was about to get the needles out to knit her a goodbye present she said “Have you seen my new coat ? ” “No” “I must bring it in to show you, it’s red and happy and cheerful and I’m going to wear black accessories with it…”   Me: “Oh…”

So I spent the next month trying to knit something in black to go with her lovely new coat and you know what ?  I just couldn’t do it because black is so NOT what I want to knit for her. I wanted something that was bright and bubbly and truly amazing, something that screamed “Life, I love Life…” because she has definately got life by the S&C’s and is squeezing every last drop of joy out of it and sharing that joy with everyone around her…so I did this instead…

Pattern: Ishbel by Ysolda Teague

Needles: 3.75mm

Yarn: Wensleydale Longwool Sheepshop DK in hot pink

New:…I only made 1 mistake this time…

I will miss her but Regi is happy to go…sadly a lot of people are happy to be leaving because it’s no longer the place it used to be and I really hope that we can get that spirit, that happiness, that feeling of doing something worthwhile, back.

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A day off

Tomorrow I am having an impromptu day off. I would like to have spent it at the archives in Walsall researching bits of the family tree or finishing off Manu (another 4 hours and it will be all done bar a wash and block) or even  making a start on the Bag bible – I have done no more than flick through its pages…

But no, came home to another letter from the woman next doors solicitors which slightly ironically threatened me with court proceedings if I didn’t agree to go to mediation – why is it ironic ? Because virtually every letter I have written since December 2007  on the boundary has suggested mediation or a jointly instructed surveyor !

So tomorrow I’m gathering the papers together and handing it to a firm of solicitors because I can no longer deal with this and having redundancy hanging over my head…on top of everything else my wisdom teeth appear to be coming through.

I need something easy to knit, something I don’t have to think about…for those with access to Ravelry check out collinette’s Mulberry, beautiful but none taxing…my heart yearns for Manu but I have reached the “interesting” bit and I don’t want to mess it up…

Next week some things that I have actually finished…failing that there is a fabulous recipe for chutney on Appetite for Cake and my neighbour (Mrs 54 the Flapjack Queen) has just given me a jar of home made marrow and ginger jam ( yes the real reason I’m not going to work tomorrow !)

(Hello to the Knitted Bear by the way – fingers crossed that things start happening soon)

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FO: Lilly, or the unbearable longness of knitting

On April the 15th 2009 I started knitting something for me, on the 11th April 2010 I finally finished it. It didn’t have to take so long, there are people on Ravelry who have made some truly fabulous versions, in a fraction of the time and theirs are much longer than mine, but lets face it, beautiful though she is, Lilly is not the most interesting of knits.

Lilly consists of about 6ft of k2p2 rib with the occasional cable. It’s uninteresting knitting but it’s not mindless knitting and if you have used Kidsilk Haze of similar then it’s a real pain to knit back to correct your mistake – someone in the blogosphere once described knitting with kidsilk haze as like knitting with hairy dental floss…

Anyway this is my Lilly

Pattern: 02#Reversible Cabled Rib Shawl by Lily Chin

Yarn: Kidsilk Night in Starlite (5 balls)

Needles: 4.5mm

New: When I started I was new to knitting with dental floss, other than that this was probably my first time using stitch markers.

I am pleased to report that Lilly is both beautiful and functional as I used her last weekend on my birthday when it was too hot for a jacket but still a bit chilly (if you are a whimp like me) – wouldn’t recommend wearing it over black as it sheds fluff like nobodies business !

Verdict: Despite the fact there are some huge holes around my cables and that it is now probably too warm to wear it, I love it !

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FO: Purple Haze

We had a little visitor. He arrived in our bed at about 12.30am claiming “scary dream” so we let him in with his cuddly blanket and his dressing gown and he lay there until about 2am when Husband finally got fed up of his wriggling and carried him back to his own bed.

We were both awake at this stage. Husband dropped off soon after removing our interloper but I couldn’t turn my head off…shortly afterwards it was irrelevant whether I could stop my brain whirring as I was then kept awake by Husband’s snoring and then a headache. I got up and found a little red and yellow pill (cold and flu remedy but also deals with aches and pains). I’ve taken it for the headache, it’ll probably keep me awake even longer though as it has caffeine in it.

So here am I, awake in the middle of the night – can’t knit as that will definitely keep me awake and I’ll have to frog what I do in the morning as it’s bound to be full of mistakes…so here is something I made previously.

Pattern: Steam scarf

Yarn: Jaegar Mohair Silk

needles: 4mm

new: Nothing really. I have just spent over a year doing essentially the same pattern for the lily chin scarf as its a k2p2 rib with the occasional cable done over 16 stitches instead of 24.

As mentioned previously I blocked this scarf after soaking it. I soaked it to try and make the wool feel softer as despite being percentage wise more a natural fibre than plastic fantastic it felt rather harsh, I also wanted to try and control some of the fluff as it’s a very hairy scarf and to make it slightly longer which it now is but I probably overblocked it widthwise as the cables aren’t as pronounced.

First christmas present for this year, not sure which of Spider’s many girlfriends it is going to yet…maybe I shall keep it as payment for a night without sleep.

It is now 4am. Night world