1 October 2009

ahoy there, anybody on board?

It appears I fell off my blog again.

Never mind, let's just jump on again shall we?

It's school holidays here which means a whirlwind of juggling work and children, tagteaming with the husband and lots of picnics in the park with friends, movies, and special treats. And knitting, always with the knitting.

I seem to have fallen into a few informal swaps lately - not the sort that bloggers seem to love whereby a gazillion people sign up and there are deadlines and expectations (too stressful by half). These are more spontaneous, and generally begin with a random comment on Twitter, like the shawl and quilt swap from last month. This time I was the recipient of some absolutely beautiful stitch markers from Fresh Tea in New Zealand, in exchange for some blue dyed laceweight yarn. Look at these little beauties. Aren't they exquisite? I might have let out a small squee when I opened the parcel.

stitch markers

Now maybe I'll be able to knit the February Lady Sweater, which has defeated me five times with two different yarns in the last year, all for the lack of decent markers (yes, I tried bits of coloured wool, and safety pins, and plastic split rings but none of them worked - clearly they were just not pretty enough).

Fresh Tea was generous enough to include a second set as well, as she thought I might need contrasting colours. And if I knit the Laminaria as I'm plotting to do, I will need all the help I can get.

stitch markers

This week the postman brought me a box from Canberra filled with fabulous home made chutney, two kinds of plum sauce (thick and thin, with instructions for their respective uses), and the most divine quince paste, from Zoe at crazybrave. (You might know her from the collaborative foodie blog Progressive Dinner Party). I haven't photographed these, just consumed them.

In return Zoe requested some large olive green fingerless gloves.

olive Fetchings for Zoe

I used the left over green I dyed for my first shawl, and made the famous Fetchings pattern which I've now knitted six times I think. I modified this pair by adding another section of rib in the diameter, an extra cable at the top, and leaving off the rather fussy picot cast off, which always curls annoyingly anyway. I'm pleased with the extra cable at the fingertips and will do it again when I knit Fetching in the future - one row of cabling just looks unfinished. I'm very happy with these gloves overall, and hope Zoe is too.

olive Fetchings for Zoe

That photo was taken before they were blocked, and I see they're curling a bit at the top. Hopefully the blocking, and the being squished into a Postpak for two days will have fixed that. Also I hope they fit Zoe better than they do me. I have slender wrists, and Zoe has, in her words, "huge paws".

I've indulged in some more dyeing these holidays too. First up was some sock yarn ...

from the dye pot this week

Clockwise from top left: Denim, Yolk, Ink, Fire.

The Ink is already halfway to becoming an Ishbel for my mum, and the Yolk is sitting at my feet as I type, amid a sea of tiny sock sized dpns and swatches, as I ponder whether it will be the yarn I use for my latest sock adventure - Kirsten's mystery sock knit-along. Is anyone else doing this? Kirsten from Through the Loops releases a bit of the pattern on her blog each Thursday in October, and people all over the world knit along. Details at Through the Loops if you want to join in. I'm rather excited about it.

As for the other skeins, the Denim screams shawl to me, although socks would be glorious too wouldn't they, and the Fire, well I just don't know. The long neglected etsy shop perhaps?

The next major dye session was today, so no photographic evidence yet; the skeins are still dripping on my clothesline. I'm custom dyeing four skeins in two separate colourways for Sheeps Clothing, and believe me, replicating previous colourways is a challenge when your dyeing style is slapdash um, spontaneous and innovative.

What else? I had a day's work in the city this week instead of my usual location and spent a happy lunch hour in Morris & Sons and a brief session in Cleggs (no link because when I googled all I found was a termite removal company) after work. Also, I took the train there and back, which meant nearly two hours of knitting time all up. That was fun. I could get used to working in the city again. There are changes going on at work and there's a possibility that I might end up working a day per week in the city. I'll certainly be pushing for it.

Yesterday Stomper and her boys and me (I?) and my boys all went tenpin bowling together. That was fun too. I forgot my camera despite making all sorts of mental notes to remember it, but Stomper faithfully recorded our awesome bowling action for your viewing pleasure. Son #2 thrashed us all soundly, Cherub came second, while Son #1 who is our family's resident bowling champ, came a dismal last.

And now Sons #1 and #2 have been whisked away to the seaside with friends for four days, so it's just the littlest and I pottering about together. I think a trip tomorrow to the Pancake Parlour might be called for.

ps. The dog just stood up, turned around five times, and lay down again right on top of the skein of Yolk. Worse than a cat, he is.


Fe said...

Wow... your dyed skeins are beautiful! As are the markers!

Stomper Girl said...

But Son #1 definitely won the fastest bowling title. Cherub won the slowest bowl title when he had a go without the stand (?) thingie they have for little children, I think it took half an hour for his ball to reach the pins and only because the lanes have a slight incline. Thanks for a morning's fun, and your boys are lovely.

RW said...

Sounds like life just keeps happening. I am amazed at the colours you create.

I was glad you came back to give us an update.

Shirty said...

I've missed you! Not that you need another responsibility piled on your shoulders, but I've noticed that I'm much more likely to either shop for yarn or start a new knitting project after you've put up a new post . . . so my friends, family, and local yarn stores need you!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

So glad you managed to scramble aboard again ! I'm not sure what stitch markers are for ...not my kind of knitting , I feel .....but recognise the sheer superiority of these and particularly love the that green . And as for the Denim wool !
Bowling and pancakes .... the perfect half-term .Lucky sons .

Serena said...

Oooh, lovely yarn!

Please do make the Laminaria! I love that one, and you would make it up beautifully!

I reserved a copy of Wrap Style at the library so that I could start on a Shetland Triangle, but it was checked out, and I wanted to START, so I decided to make a Dane Shawl instead...at least for now. So far, so good! Thank you for the encouragement to try!

Penthe said...

The ink colour is absolutely beautiful. Well, so are the others, but the ink made me sigh with pleasure.

Prism said...

You inspire me to get around to actually trying dyeing--instead of just wishing! Also, my not-so SmallDaughter and my Exceedingly Large WonderDog CANNOT RESIST laying smack in the middle of any fabric or yarn that I have laying out (for instance, spread across the middle of the living room floor to lay out a pattern!).

Tania said...

I confess. I've been hanging around, waiting for you to clamber back on board. I may have let out a small squee when I saw it was a lovely long post to be back on board with.

Those stitch markers make me want to rediscover pierced ears. That yarn makes me want to throw in the day job.

innercitygarden said...

Cleggs do have a website, but it's awful.

According to the trick somebody (possibly my year 11 English teacher Mrs McGee of the Mean Red Pen) taught me, it's Stomper etc and I went tenpin bowling, because if you remove all the other people you would say "I went tenpin bowling", as opposed to "Stomper entertained the kids and me all day".

Now I am dejected on the matter of the February Lady Sweater, because I had almost got up the courage to try it, but if you've been unable to manage it I think I may try something simpler.

peskypixies said...

love those stitch markers!!!!!
and your dyeing...is well........to dye for!!ROFL!!!sorry am not well and not in control of silly impulses!!

note to self.must do some dyeing again soon.


lisette said...

oh!!!! the ink would make a wonderful damson too

and it would be lovely if you came to work in the city - just not on friday cos i don't work fridays!

michelle said...

ooooh! the colours. want, need, crave.

Damn you're clever Suse. :)

Fioleta said...

Beautiful, everything you do is beautiful, and the yarn is gorgeous.

travellersyarn said...

The yarn is spectacular - lovely, lovely work.

froginthepond said...

I'm just glad it's not me with a thing about the February Lady Sweater. I gave up after three attempts, all with different yarns.

sewjourn said...

So glad to see you back blogging!

Zoe said...

I'm so glad you liked the quince paste. Can't wait for the giant paw warmers to arrive ;)

And yes, these kind of informal spontaneous little swaps are much more satisfying than big group-think endeavours (although the individual results are usually divine)

floatingink said...

Such beautiful things. I would wear those stitchmarkers,the lot of them, like a pin.

floatingink said...

Such beautiful things. I would wear those stitchmarkers,the lot of them, like a pin.