You only had to ask….

Yes, apparently so.  “Rain, rain, go away,” I said.  And the next day, this:

Is it Spring?

Blossom!  Blue skies!  Just like in the ‘real’ blogs – you know, the ones written by people who don’t spend the first ten minutes at work every day trying to blow-dry their legs using the hand dryer in the Ladies’.

I am going to stay quiet about what colour the sky is today.  Suffice it to say I had planned a day of knitting and watching my Blakes 7 DVD collection and that is pretty much what today is good for.  I dropped off my new bike for its first little service this morning (just a general once-over after 5-6 weeks of riding) and will pick it up late this afternoon.  Apart from that, the day is my own.  And I am waiting in anyway for a little packet that may contain something interesting that once belonged to a very special American sheep….

Knitting

But more of that tomorrow.  Today I’m going to write about this:

Purple Rimini

Or do I mean this:

Rimini cardigan in grey

Yes, I am knitting another Rimini cardigan from the excellent pattern by Martin Storey in Jaeger Booklet JB16.  The yarn, once again, is J C Rennie Supersoft Lambswool in Silver Grey.

This is an entirely practical garment and the pattern choice was a bit of a no-brainer because my first Rimini cardigan is the garment I most covet on days when I want a light, but warm and cosy cardigan.  Everything about it is just perfect and it has become a bit of a benchmark against which the shortcomings of other patterns are measured.  If a neckline is too wide, or too low, then that is brought into sharp focus as soon as I put on Rimini which sits exactly right at the neck and keeps out draughts without being stifling.  If sleeves are too short, or too tight, turn to Rimini and they are just precisely how sleeves need to be.  Rimini is a gorgeous pattern.

I am making a couple of slight changes on this version.  The pattern is written with some waist shaping and button fastenings all the way down the front.  Instead, I am planning this to have buttons down to bust level then let the cardigan flare open and so I have left out the waist shaping.

I have just made a start on the left front of the cardigan, having completed the back a week or so ago.  As I’m on holiday at the moment, I’m hoping to get a bit of a move-on with this through the rest of the week.  I think that one of the really great things about knitting as a hobby is that however bad the weather, no holiday is a let-down.  So, it rains for a week – think how much knitting you can get done!

Speaking of which, it is high time I was heading over to the settee….

Oh, and by the way, if you happen to be a spider and you feel like coming to live in my bedroom, don’t.  I have cleared three spiders out of there this morning and, quite frankly, three is enough.  Thanks.

 

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Rain, rain, go away

I think in Norfolk it has rained for the entire month of April.  I may be wrong, but not by much.  When it hasn’t been raining, it has been windy.  The sun has put in an occasional appearance, but on the whole it has rained.  Anyone with any sense at all has either stayed at home or, if they have strayed, has made sure they have an appropriate coat.

Appropriate coats

These two, for example, are wearing the finest that Noro has to offer.  (You can tell it’s Noro by the vegetable matter.)

Knitting

You can be forgiven for thinking that, given the inclement weather, I will have been sitting indoors knitting up a storm, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I’ve had an aching arm and an aching knee which have conspired to make long bouts of sitting and knitting unfeasible.  That, coupled with the fact that I’ve been rather out of ideas of things to knit, has left me with little real progress since finishing Laccaria and that seems like ages ago.  However, some inspiration did arrive last Friday in the form of two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn, one in Bright Charcoal and one in Lilac.  The Bright Charcoal socks are already underway.

Colinette Jitterbug in Bright Charcoal

Jitterbug is pretty much my favourite sock yarn because I find it endlessly fascinating watching the colours come and go.  When a yarn has this much going on in it, the problem of pooling doesn’t seem to have any relevance.

Cycling

My lovely new bicycle has had to learn that in real life you get wet, very wet.  When you’re a bicycle there’s an awful lot of sitting around in the rain.  It has also had to learn that it belongs to a girly and therefore it is going to have to go through the long process of finding the correct bag for her needs!  I have tried it with a Carradice saddlebag and wasn’t happy.  Being quite short, and the bike having quite large wheels (700c) there isn’t a lot of room for a bag to hang from the saddle and still sit happily above the mudguards.  Also, I found it fiddly to get stuff in and out of it effectively.  Lovely bag, though.

The Carradice Junior saddlebag

After this experiment, I bought a “Back Bag” which would sling across my back.  That was okay, but I wasn’t totally happy with it.  It worked well with one jacket that I wear to cycle, but was dreadful with my waterproof jacket.  And I’ve needed the waterproof jacket a lot!   I generally don’t get on with carrying things on my back, and although this is better than most things I’ve tried it still isn’t a favourite.  I currently have a rack on the bike and that is my preferred option as it means I can use the lovely Basil bags which I have collected, but this isn’t the sort of bike that a rack is entirely perfect with.  Because it requires you to sling your leg over the rear of the bike to mount and dismount, you are limited as to what you can comfortably do with a rack.  The search continues.

Well, the sun has put in a brief appearance and it is time for me to cook my tea.  More soon, I hope, but in the meantime enjoy your knitting and I hope the sun shines on you.

 

Re:cycle

Hello.  I haven’t been blogging, have I?  Nope, I have been thinking, planning, purchasing, riding, and generally obsessing in every which way about my new ultra-steed.  Let me present the brand, spanking new, sparkling and delicious, Trek 7.3FX (women’s specific design).

Where all my time and money is disappearing to

This is a very sporty departure from my normal mode of transport, a sedate “lady’s” bicycle with rack, panniers, and all the general paraphernalia which makes life easy and pleasant.  Life on the 7.3FX is an altogether faster, headier experience.  I am besotted with it, but just a little sad that my old bike needs quite a few weeks at the health farm, being pampered with exotic unguents, before it can be ridden even a mile further.  Well, I tell the bike it’s going to the health farm.  In reality, I imagine the experience will be more like those Dr. Who episodes where you see the flashing blades descending as the Cybermen “upgrade” you!!

Problems with the old bike, the realisation that the old bike wasn’t going to be a viable option for the foreseeable future, and the search for a new bike, have all kept me away from my knitting a bit over recent weeks.  However, Laccaria is finished!

Laccaria is finished - one day there will be photos of me wearing it!

In some ways I am happy, in other ways not so much.  The fit isn’t the best in this universe.  In particular, I find the sleeves rather tight.  The choice of sizes, given the yarn I used, was always going to be between slightly snug and a bit too loose, so I went for the slightly snug option and now I wonder if I should have gone for a bit too loose.  I haven’t worn it yet and once I start wearing it I think it will either become a firm favourite or a live in the drawer object.

Please don’t think this is a negative ‘review’ because even looking at the photo I still love the design to bits.  Love the colour.  Really happy with the buttons (another big shout out for the wonderful Textile Garden – certainly came up trumps for me on this).  It’s all very positive.  Just need to wear it.

This is just a brief update.  Hopefully now the bike buying and associated squealing with delight and cycling round to show it off is all over, I will get back to some sedate knitting projects and get some photos done as I’m working on things.  That would definitely be extremely good.  And since I’ve spent my spring holiday budget on the bicycle, when I take my spring break from work I will almost certainly be doing little other than sitting on the settee knitting, occasionally wandering across to the computer to blog about my achievements!

Week 9 – Will it never be finished?

The sun struggles on a murky morning

My week has been a bit like this, good things struggling to shine through the general murk, and a feeling the week would never be finished.

Knitting

It is beginning to feel like Laccaria will never be finished.  I thought all I needed to do was source some buttons.  A browse online at Textile Garden sorted that out and their very prompt service delivered three sets of buttons to me on Wednesday:

A selection of buttons for Laccaria

Studied in daylight, and in place on the front band of the cardigan, the ones with the white flowers won hands down.  The other two sets will be an excellent addition to my button box.  So everything should have been in place for me to set to and finish the cardigan yesterday.  But, no, I don’t have a suitable thread to sew the buttons on.  No problem – this morning I went into Norwich to buy thread and some groceries and a replacement for the cereal bowl I broke this week.  Came home with groceries and the cereal bowl but no thread because I forgot all about it whilst I was in the city.  So, next week Laccaria will be finished.  Really.

I do have a new love, though.

Making a start on the big red jumper

I’m using the red wool which has steadfastly refused to inspire me in any project I’ve tried and now I’m making a big Sloppy Joe type jumper to throw on with jeans. It’s a pattern from “1000 Sweaters” which is a good book of basic DK weight patterns which suffers from a tendency to show some pretty dodgy styling.  And, I must add, not the only knitting book that suffers from that particular problem.

Anyway, I have found myself cracking on with this quite a bit since I cast on last weekend.  It is very enjoyable to knit.

Radio, radio

Whilst knitting, I have found myself becoming very keen on Radio 4 crime dramas.  So far I’ve listened to a Falco (excellent detective stories set in ancient Rome), a Adam Dalgleish (so-so), the iconic Murder on the Orient Express, and this week a Lord Peter Wimsey. Half an hour a day of escapism.  Lovely.

Time for a cup of coffee.  Have a lovely week.

Week 8 – There has been progress

Last weekend ambled by with me largely sitting on the settee nursing a cold.  This week the cold has continued and I haven’t knitted much and I expected to have little to report come this weekend.  Yet progress has been made which makes me wonder if the elves have been dropping in and knitting up Laccaria for me in the night.

Knitting

Yes, Laccaria is coming along nicely.  All pieces are knitted.  I enjoyed adding the twirly “flags” to the right front more than any other part of the construction, and oooh, about three million times better than the bobbles on the left front!  So, where are we now?

Laccaria Front Band

Shoulders are joined and the neckband and left front band are done.  This afternoon should see the right front band done, complete with buttonholes.  Then, at last, I will know what size buttons I need to buy and can order them.  I know this will put back the whole completion of the project, but you know me – I do like the buttons to be just right.  It’s hard to show the twirly bits to their best at present, so the right-hand side looks rather messy in this photo.

Next up

I have been pretty much monogamous with Laccaria the past couple of weeks as I want it finished.  However, I am preparing myself to move on and this week received a nice bundle of wool from KnitRennie.  First up, a full cone (900g) of silver grey:

Silver Wool

I am mulling this one over.  I currently have one grey cardigan which is soft and slouchy, with drop shoulders.  I want this one to be different in shape.  I am torn between something along the lines of the “Perry” cardigan by Michelle Wang which is in Brooklyn Tweed’s “Wool People Book 1”.  This is a long-line cardigan with a lace pattern at the hem and I am pretty sure the wool knitted double (as it is being for Laccaria) will suit this project.  I just have some slight misgivings over the shape, as it has a low v-neck and buttons below the waist and on some finished versions on Ravelry the buttoning seems to happen at the hip.  My hips aren’t my slimmest point.  Then again, I think it is a pattern which benefits from being sized rather looser than being form-fitting.

Another front runner for this wool is the “Leaving” cardigan by Anne Hanson from The Twist Collective Issue Winter 2010.  This is a more standard cardigan style with some nice details which looks like it would be enjoyable to knit.  This one would be a summer cardi as it has quite a scooped neckline.

I have by no means narrowed it down to just these two, though.

Looking further forward

Colour Wheel of Wool

This was my other purchase from KnitRennie.  10 “baby cones” in a variety of colours.  They range in weight from under 100g up to 200g, not enough of any to make a whole garment, but certainly enough to be the contrast in some colourwork.  I’m brooding on these for later in the year.  I’m thinking stripes, Fairisle, even a bit of intarsia such as Martin Storey’s “Elm” jumper from the 50th edition of the Rowan Magazine.

Well, it’s all about the wool this weekend.  Whilst knitting I have been catching up with previous series of The Mentalist and devouring Radio 4 Extra treats via iPlayer on my iPad.

Hope you are all well and getting along with whatever projects (knitting or otherwise) you are currently working on.

I’m off to grab some lunch.

Week 6 Can you hear it…..

…the silence of the Pam?

Oh, sorry, dreadful pun there.  I have been quiet, and now I’m all done with being quiet.  This week work has begun to slow down a bit and I have had a little more energy to do things that are relatively interesting to write about.

Knitting

I have to admit the knitting has been a bit sporadic the past few weeks.  Laccaria lingers on the needles and when I work on it, I work without a lot of enthusiasm.  I don’t know quite why I am finding this cardigan heavy going, and it’s a shame because I am actually very confident that I will love the finished product.  I am simply not enjoying knitting it.

Laccaria's left front sports these bobbles

These bobbles were part of the problem.  I hated working them!  Which rather puts paid to my long-held belief that I would one day construct a traditional Aran jumper.

Laccaria's right front will have a knitted ribbon worked onto these slipped stitches

I’m currently working on the right front with its slipped stitches (you may just be able to discern the two areas – one on the far right of the above picture and the other starting about halfway up the piece of fabric shown, in the dead centre of the photo).  Once the cardigan is constructed (or, alternatively, before I piece it together, depending on which seems most sensible), I will have to work a knitted “ribbon” which will twist its way up the cardigan anchored to these slipped stitches.  Although I will never want to knit this again, it does strike me that one could very easily adapt this, knitting the ribbon in a variegated yarn, for example, or a contrast shade, or even using an organza ribbon and threading it through the slipped stitches (or making eyelets for a ribbon to thread around).  Certainly there are ideas if one wanted to make a dressier version of the cardigan.

Socks and Laccaria

As a tactic for avoiding working on Laccaria, I have knitted these socks.  I bought the yarn in my local Lidl store (a rather cheap and cheerful supermarket which sells basic foodstuffs, some incredible rubbish, and occasionally has flashes of inspiration).  It cost £3.99 for four 50g balls and is a fairly standard sock yarn mix of 48% cotton, 39% wool, 13% polyamide.  This pair of socks took well under two balls and I will knit a second pair, probably in garter stitch which I think may suit the yarn quite well.  It was nice enough yarn to work with and a couple of pairs of everyday socks for under £4.00 is not to be sniffed at.

The best laid plans

Or, why I don’t shop on the internet anywhere near as much as I’d like to.

I wanted to order another Norah Gaughan pattern booklet and a copy of Designer Knitting from Loop of London.  Whilst browsing I also put a couple of cones of the exotic Habu yarns into my basket.  I proceeded to the checkout.  I registered all my details.  I went to buy the items I wanted and hit the familiar brick wall – they will only send the order to the address my credit card is registered to and they want a signature to prove it reached its destination.  But I work all day.  So to get a signature it needs to go to my office or to my sister’s house.  But my credit card is registered to my flat.  What this means is that I cannot buy the items I want.

I know that Loop of London are protecting me from credit card fraud.  I know that they have to guard against the constant danger of the Russian Maffia who are well-known for turning the profits of their drug trade into wool (some knitters say it amounts to the same thing anyway!).  But the fact is that Loop have lost out on the money I would have spent with them and I have resigned myself to knitting only those items for which patterns are more readily available.  Which all-round is a bit of a shame.

Better Plans

The disappointment over the impossibility of buying from Loop’s online yarn shop, together with my slight ennui over Laccaria has led me to formulating a bit of a plan for my knitting.  A couple of years ago I undertook what I came to think of as my “Year of Knitting Furiously” where I made updating my hand-knit wardrobe my main theme for the year.  Although ultimately my output was slightly lower than I’d anticipated at the start, I did knit a good selection of items which remain in regular use now.  And I liked having the focus that came with designating my time in this way.  So at the moment I am contemplating an over-arching theme for the coming year and I would like to make it my “Year of Knitting Storey”.  I have several patterns by Martin Storey that I have earmarked to knit, and I have been very happy with the Martin Storey designs that I’ve completed before.  I’m not even averse to the idea of using a few Rowan yarns where acceptable substitutes can’t be made.  At the moment this all just an idea, but I’ll keep you posted as to whether it comes to fruition.

Reading

The Eclectic Reader

Yes, I’m going to leap directly from “Five Go to Smuggler’s Top” to “1Q84”.  If you haven’t read any Haruki Murakami, go and do so now. And if you haven’t read any “Famous Five”, all I can as is where did you spend the 1960s?

Well, that’s it for now.  There are important things to be done.  Starting with tea and cake, I think.

Take care, and enjoy your knitting (or alternative hobby).

Week 3 – The Good, The Bad, and The Knitting

Well, it was another crazy-busy week at work and I’ve been too tired to do much knitting so there is a lamentable lack of progress to report.  But I have occupied myself in other ways which I hope you’ll find interesting.

The Good

We had a couple of frosty mornings in Norfolk at the start of the week and my bicycle decided to get all uppity about it.  On Monday my helpful work colleagues helped me sort out a ‘frozen brake’ with the helpful advice that what I really needed was a new rear wheel, but we got the brake and therefore the bicycle working okay again.  On Tuesday the brake ‘froze’ again and I took the bicycle to a local cycle repair shop in my lunch break and the bicycle did indeed need a new rear wheel.  How is this in “the good” section, I hear you cry?  Well, because the service I received from the cycle repair shop was exemplary.  The shop is Mandarin Cycles on Aylsham Road in Norwich; I had never visited them before but they are the nearest bike shop to my office so it was a sensible decision.  I took the bike in at lunchtime, they identified the problems, phoned through to their delivery driver/other shop and sourced a wheel to be brought back, and let me know that if they couldn’t complete the work that afternoon it would be done the following day.  At 4.30 that afternoon I got a call to say it was all sorted, they had replaced the rear wheel and the rear brake at a very reasonable price indeed.  I think good service should be praised and they gave an excellent service.  If you’re in the area (and you might be – they are a stone’s throw from Norfolk Yarn), check them out.

The Bad

Whilst I like WordPress on the whole as a blog host, they did annoy me earlier this week.  I thought I would check out some blogs on my iPad and was shocked to find the WordPress home page showing black thumbnails of blogs and “Censored” stamped across them.  The most obvious thing was to assume that they had been hacked, which caused me rather a bit of worry about the state of my blog.  But no, it transpired that WordPress had decided to make some political statement about anti-theft legislation which Barrack Obama is backing, although why the people running WordPress should believe theft is good is somewhat lost on me.  But the real point is that their actions amounted to nothing more than scaremongering.  Shame on them.

The Knitting

As I alluded to earlier, the knitting has amounted to very little.  So little, in fact, that I’m resorting to arty shots to try and make it look like more than it is.

An arty shot to disguise a lack of progress

Which is not to say that there has been no progress.  Indeed, I have made a start on the first front of the cardigan, it just hasn’t gone particularly quickly.  After my busy and tiring week at work, I had a busy and tiring Saturday so no chance to get on with the knitting last night.  Which has left this afternoon and evening, during which I must admit I made some progress.

Deadwood - a good way to make a little progress on Laccaria

I got the DVD of the second season on Deadwood for Christmas and have been saving it for a point where I could immerse myself in it.  I love a good Western, and this is a very good Western indeed.  It even got me to the beginning of the bobble pattern on this side of the front which seems to be going fine.

Reading

Apart from tiredness and babysitting, one of the things that has occupied me this week has been the fact that I’ve been off in sci-fi land.  I had a sudden yen to read some sci-fi as I’ve totally fallen out of the habit.  I had an e-book of Horizons by Peter W Prellwitz tucked away and it turned out to be a really good read.  And by that, I mean that I chose to read it rather than watch TV, knit, and in some extreme cases, sleep!  I’m going to search out some further books in the series if I can, and at the very least it’s reawakened my love of the genre which is a very good thing indeed.

So, having mentioned that I like Westerns and sci-fi, I should perhaps let on about my secret career ambitions.  For, if it so transpires that I cannot be a Yeoman aboard the Starship Enterprise, my second career choice is to be a bar room floozie.  Please don’t burst my bubble by suggesting that at almost 52 I am getting a little long in the tooth for either of these careers!

Now, I just have a little bit of computer geekery to undertake, then I might manage another few rows of the cardigan before bed.

 

Week 2 – Bonjour mes amis

This week I worked very hard at the day job for four days, then on Friday I accompanied my sister to London to The France Show at Earl’s Court.  It was a lovely day out and an interesting show; particularly interesting to me comparing it to the Knitting and Stitching Shows which I am more familiar with.

My sister very kindly provided me with an early birthday present in the form of a lined basket to use for my knitting projects.  I’ve been looking for a while for something pretty to hold my main project and this was ideal.

An early birthday present
Ah, sweet

On the needles

Both of the projects I started last week are progressing.  I’ve worked a little on the green sock and remain undecided about whether it will fit.  My plan is to complete the first one and wash it then check on the fit.  At that point I will know whether it’s worth going on with the second sock.  I still think it makes sense to find a good everyday sock yarn so if this doesn’t turn out well it’s no big deal.

Turned the heel of the first green sock

I’ve also done a bit of work on Laccaria and have completed the back.

Progress is being made on the cardigan

It seems quite long compared to some cardigans I have made in the past couple of years, but I think it should fit well.  I have made one change to the pattern so far – the back of the neck is supposed to be shaped to dip a little, but I really prefer the back of my neck well covered, so I carried on and just did a straight cast-off at the top of the shoulder shaping.  I think this evening I will get a chance to start on one of the front pieces.  These have a little bit of patterning so I shall have to disengage autopilot for a while.

Reading

This week my reading has been pretty much limited to dipping in and out of “The Cyclist’s Friend” by Chris Naylor which is a “miscellany” of cycling-relating anecdotes.  It is ideal reading for the bath.  I keep hovering on the brink of buying Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84” then stepping back again.  I love Murakami’s books, so there is no doubt that I shall buy it at some point.  The thing is, the first two parts were released as one book, and hardback at that.  Now, last year I read a hardback copy of “The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest” and it was so heavy that it made my hands and wrists ache.  So I will either wait in the hope that the Murakami comes out in paperback sometime soon or I shall order it as an iBook.  The only downside to iBooks is that I don’t like to take my iPad into the bath.

Writing

I would like to say that I have written religiously in my diary all week, but that would be a bit of a fib.  I have done a bit, enough not to feel like I’m totally avoiding it, but nowhere near as much as I intend.  I think it is purely a matter of making it into a routine.  Ah, if only routines made themselves without any effort from me!!

So here we are on the brink of another working week.  As well as working hard, I hope there’s plenty of time to delve into my knitting basket.

Full of the makings of a Laccaria cardigan

 

Week 1 – Back to Reality

It’s been a real back-to-work week and I have been rather lacking enthusiasm, not just for work but anything much really.  It was a windy week in the UK; fortunately in Norfolk I think we had things slightly quieter than a lot of the country, but it was enough to scare me away from cycling to work on Tuesday.  Walking to and from work, in turn, was enough to get me back on my bicycle by Wednesday!

On the needles

For the beginning of the year I have taken the opportunity to start two new projects.  I have mentioned that my knitting had slumped a little with nothing quite working how I wanted it to, so I have taken my favourite yarn and hope to make it work for both projects.

First, Laccaria, the Norah Gaughan cardigan from her Berroco Pattern Collection Volume 6, which I am knitting in J C Rennie Supersoft Lambswool in the Couture colourway.

Making a start on Laccaria by Norah Gaughan

I struggled a bit with the gauge on this and have ended up going for the yarn held double, knitted on 4mm bamboo needles and knitting a size 34″.  Usually I would knit a size 38″ but when I started that it was coming out unfeasibly large.  I keep measuring this one against a jumper I know fits well, but am still convinced it will be a bit too tight.  Well, time will tell.  One strange thing about this pattern is that you decrease to shape the waist, but knit quite a long while before starting the increases to the bust.  Again, I cannot predict whether or not this will fit me well (I am short-waisted – I can see how it would suit someone long-waisted), but I’m happy to give it a go.

My second project is a pair of basic socks, again in the J C Rennie Supersoft Lambswool, this time in the colourway Lush.

Green sock with purl stripes

I have chosen to add three “purl bump” rows at the end of the cuff before heading into plain stocking stitch for the rest of the sock.  These socks will be an experiment in durability as I don’t know how this yarn will hold up to wear.  I have been very pleased with it for garments, but socks are a whole different kettle of fish.  If it does work out well, I have plenty of yarn to slowly build up my everyday sock collection.  I am using my usual 2.5mm needles, but am working on 56 stitches, rather than my customary 60, as this yarn, whilst feeling thinner than most sock yarns, seems to knit up a bit bigger.

Reading

Over the Christmas break I galloped through a Josephine Tey detective novel which I received for Christmas.  Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  Josephine Tey wrote her novels mainly in the late 1940s and they have the smaller world charm of that era which contrasts with modern detective novels.  The idea of a “body count” doesn’t enter into it.  In fact, in “The Franchise Affair” no-one dies – it is all about a teenage girl’s allegation that two women in a small town had kidnapped her and held her against her will for a month.  One thing I particularly like about Ms Tey’s writing is that she keeps the focus on the main story.  Yes, there are little things happening around the periphery such as you might expect to occur in the lives of the characters, and some people are telling the truth and others are not, but I don’t get the feeling that things are being thrown in as ‘red herrings’.  In a good crime/mystery story you need enough complexity to make the story interesting, but no so much that it becomes clouded and unreal.

I have many more books sitting unread on my shelves, and am not entirely sure what to pick up next.

Writing

I enjoy keeping a journal/diary, but have fallen out of the habit.  I have been experimenting with various pads and books and also with electronic options for the iPad, but to no great avail.  I have kept both handwritten and word processed journals in the past, and have written reams in them, and I am a big fan of the therapeutic value of having somewhere to tuck away your angst; writing it all out of your system.  Not to mention how very much I enjoy going back and reading old journals.  Anyway, I think it is high time I got back into the habit of writing a diary and with that in mind I’ve bought some Moleskine Cahiers (or exercise books to you and me).  I was taken, most of all, with the size of these particular offerings – at 7 1/2″ x 9 3/4″ they give me more freedom than even a standard A5 book whilst being less cumbersome than an A4 size.  Needless to say, these are stay-at-home books.  It remains to be seen whether I am happy with the paper quality.

I have a vague plan to set up a paper-based system to record my knitting exploits too, but this is still in the daydreaming stage.

Ultimately, I hope to improve my handwriting which is suffering from lack of use.  Oh, and to use and enjoy my precious pens including this beauty:

Cross Apogee Fountain Pen

Now it is Sunday evening and I intend to get in some solid knitting whilst watching the next BBC offering of Sherlock, and perhaps downloading an audio book.

 

Out with the old

The tail end of the old year was a bit unproductive for me.  I knit, and I knit, and I knit, and I didn’t really produce a whole heap of anything.  Oh, there was a cowl which went as a Secret Santa gift at work.  There were several mis-starts on the Laccaria cardigan by Norah Gaughan which were undermined by indecision about size and colour.  The last major project that really worked was the scarf-front cardigan which was completed way back in the autumn and has been worn a lot, but never photographed.  So, to rectify that, here is a very wonky shot:

Scarf Front Cardigan from Norah Gaughan pattern

This cardigan is snuggly-warm thanks to that scarf front and the single button fastening makes it practical to throw on.  Also, for once, the sleeves are exactly the right length.  Of course, the boxy design does make me look even plumper than usual, but hey-ho!!

Another couple of projects managed to creep in before midnight tolled the end of 2011.  First, a pair of plain old socks, elevated by the stunning Malabrigo sock yarn into works of art, worthy of a colourway called “Turner”:

Socks in Malabrigo Turner colourway

In case you’re not getting the full impact of this yarn, here it is up close and personal:

Glorious Turner colourway of Malabrigo Sock yarn

I loved working with this.  So much so that I decided to knit a new liner for my iPhone case using the same yarn doubled:

An old iPhone case with a new liner

I recently replaced my old iPhone 3G with a new iPhone 4S which, being slimmer, didn’t fit well in the my existing case.  But the case was a present and I love it and I didn’t want to stop using it, so a liner was called for.  My first attempt was a little too thick, so my final act of 2011 was to replace it with this pretty little frippery.  I think the colours work well with the nut-brown leather of the case.

Now fits my slimline iPhone 4S

And now it’s 2012 and I’m ready to take the lessons learnt in 2011 and put them to good use.  First, experimenting with different yarns in the final couple of months of the year really brought home to me how much I had enjoyed working with the J C Rennie wool over the previous year or so.  I foresee a year of experimenting more with what in some ways may seem a very limited choice.  Whilst later in the year I will be buying new (and buying more sock yarn to allow me a bit of variety), to begin with I am going to use what I have to hand.

As far as patterns go, well I will get Laccaria done by hook or by crook!  I will probably return to a Martin Storey 4-ply cardigan or two to supplement my work wardrobe.  And who knows, maybe this year I will get around to knitting for my grandson.

My real ‘resolution’ as far as this blog goes is to post a little more frequently.  At the moment I feel like one post a week would be more pleasant than the rather irregular offerings of the past year and allows for daylight photography, so I shall aim for that.

I hope everybody who reads this has a splendid year and there aren’t too many hangovers around this morning.