Dolly bag

This is a very quick post but I wanted to do it because I know I haven’t posted any finished items for a while. I have just got round to finishing off this little bag. It is the Rowan Dolly Bag kit that came free with this year’s membership. I made it in Rowan Handknit cotton (2x50g) (shade: Celery).

I lined it using silk left over from making my wedding dress last year (extravagant as it was £50 per metre!). And I finished it off by threading some very fine silk ribbon through the ribbing, fastening it in a bow and sewing on a seed pearl. I think that it was actually this small touch that made the bag actually feel finished.

I think it is very cute but I’m not 100% sure what I will use it for. I’m tempted to hang it from the drawer handle of my dressing table with my hair clips and clasps in, as it is so pretty and girly. I was thinking of giving it as a present, but everyone I know seems to dislike knitted bags, so the one person who will really appreciate it is getting it... me!

Sorry about the bad lighting!

Delicious Autumn

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. “ George Elliot

The rain is hitting the windows and dripping steadily down the tiles of the roof, which I can see from our roof-top flat. The mornings are dark and misty as I walk to work, and when I walk home in the evening the street lights make patterns that look like fireworks on the wet tarmac. And I am happy, I’m an autumn person. The smell of musty leaves and the thought of damp walks in a park, where the fir trees drip gently with rain onto the grass, makes me happy and the slight chill in the air and the dark, dark, nights make me feel like something exciting might happen…

Anyway, here is what is happening to night… Monkey and I are very cosy in our flat, our gas fire is jumping merrily in the corner and I can smell baking! For my birthday I received this book from some lovely friends, Roast Figs, Sugar Snow: Food to Warm the Soul. It is a book full of delicious comfort food that is just right for this time of year and I want to make every recipe. So today I am making the Italian Christmas Cake (350g of dark chocolate!) and the Beef Pie (yum, yum!).

Knitting? There has been some, mostly of the stole - I really want to finish it soon, so that I can see whether it has worked out. But I have also been thinking about my new buttons (see previous post) and the jacket I want to make.

This is a photo of a jacket I have seen in Monsoon and I would love to knit something similar in moss stitch or basketweave in a raspberry colour or cream to use my new buttons on. If you know of anything similar please let me know… if not I might have to try and make it up, which could be very messy!

Monkey sticks

Firstly I have to apologise for the photos in this post but it is dark in the mornings and dark when I get home so there is no chance of getting a flash-free photo.

I have to show you my goodies from the Knitting and Stitching Show! I could have pawned all my worldly goods and I wouldn’t have had enough money to buy everything I wanted there. So I think I was very good just buying what I did - although I did have mild pangs of guilt when I added up everything I’d spent!

First up my Nichols’ buttonsI can’t tell you how much these cost because it makes me blush. But they were worth every penny, I’ve been stalking their website for ages now. I want to knit a nice jacket to use them on.

Secondly, two balls of HipKnits cashmere yarn. A lace weight in a duckegg blue that is softer than anything I’ve felt before and a sock yarn in a lovely mix of crimsons and school-greys.

Thirdly, MONKEY STICKS!! Yes, that is really what they are called and my Monkey insisted on buying them for me. How could I say no? They are beautiful rosewood DPNs in their own little wooden case - so sweet. I can’t wait to use them. I bought them from the Foreign Strand stall.

Fourthly, I bought Interweave Knits Fall ‘06 and Erika Knight’s Glamour which is a gorgeous book and I love it.

Now that I have shown off my purchases, I want to tell you all about my other knitting excursion. I went to a knitting group called I knit London last night. It was so great to meet other knitters in the flesh and to just chat with some nice people over a gin and tonic. I’m quite shy so I almost didn’t go but I’m really glad I did and I’ll definitely be there for the next meeting.

Champagne and flowers

There hasn’t been an awful lot of knitting happening in the past few days I’m afraid. I have done two more repeats of my stole but it doesn’t make for very exciting photographs. I have, however, been playing around with my blog. Please could you let me know what you think of the new look and whether there are any gremlins lurking that I haven’t spotted? It took much longer than I expected to make all the changes but it was fun. The colours from the little drawing of the mermaid I did, didn’t seem to come out that well, but I’m still quite pleased with it.

I can't go to Ally Pally on Saturday anymore, as I had forgotten that we are going to a friend's wedding that evening and I hadn't realised that it would take us nearly two hours to get to Alexandra Palace, but don't worry I'm going on Friday instead as our carpets aren't being delivered this week (long and very annoying story). I'm really disappointed that I won't get to meet Dawn though.

Last weekend Monkey and I went to see my family in Devon. It was lovely. We stayed for two nights in the hotel where we had our wedding reception. We decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary a bit early as we are really busy next weekend. Monkey had ordered a bottle of champagne and a beautiful bouquet of flowers to be in the room when we arrived. My whole family came for a meal at the hotel and we had a wonderful time. The photograph above shows the amazing view we had from the window of our hotel room.

It was lovely to see my parents, my gran and my brother and his girlfriend. I miss my family so much, as I don’t really get to see them much while we are living here.

On Monday we stopped at Stourhead National Trust property on our drive back. The gardens are truly magical and I’m going to bore you with some photographs I took (click on them to see them bigger if you like). I love the first of these, it shows a golden tree shinning against the darkness of the rest of the woods, and it is hard to describe how enchanting it looked in real life.

This last photo shows what our favourite neighbours had done to the front of our house (a beautiful Arts and Crafts style building in a conservation area converted into flats) while we had been away...

Once upon a time...

There are so many things to write about. Firstly have you seen this competition? What a brilliant idea - it has definitely got me thinking. The story this month that designs must be based on is Cinderella. I love fairy tales, especially those written by the brothers Grimm. I can remember being read these as a child by my Mum and I still have the old, hardback copy with its beautiful black and white illustrations. I recently bought a new edition of their complete work and I have been treating myself to a couple of dark tales before I go to sleep each night. My Mum is a wonderful story teller, she is a primary school teacher and I have a sneaking suspicion that one of her favourite parts of the job is holding the group of little people spellbound as she reads to them.

This week I started the Rowan dolly bag pattern, I’m really enjoying knitting this. The textures are so interesting and he wool shows them up really well. I also like the colour, it makes me think of cool, crisp apples.

My stole/scarf is still coming along well. I’m knitting this on the train and the bag at home so progress on both is steady rather than fast.

I’ve also just bought the Simple Knitted Bodice pattern. Everyone knows this pattern, it has taken blog knitters by storm. However, I had resisted, I thought it was nice but then I saw this version of it and I HAD TO HAVE IT!! The only worry I have is that I wanted to really blow the budget and buy the Tilli Tomas yarn but, after hearing about the current price fixing controversy on Lime and Violet, I’m thinking about substituting with something else. Actually, I’ve just found an update that says that Tilli Tomas have dropped their key stone policy - so I get to spend a fortune on yarn after all! Now I just need to save up…