This year I haven't been very productive but I think you will all agree that I've finally surpassed myself in making something really beautiful. Alexander was born on 27th November. Sorry for taking so long to post about this but Monkey, Bunkey and I have been spending some lovely days (and nights!) getting to know each other.
Thank you for all your messages over the last few months. I am hoping that eventually I will be back to blogging more frequently - as soon as the monkey and I get the hang of being parents!
By the way I have loads of knitting news to let you know but for now I'm just going to inundate you with pictures of my little boy!
Pattern: Rowan Magazine 39Yarn: Rowan Calmer (shade: Onyx 465) Needles: 5mm Addi Turbo circulars (yum yum)
I finished this a while ago but I’ve just not been able to get around to posting. It was fun to knit - the lace pattern added enough interest but was simple enough to be done while watching TV or chatting to friends. I didn’t make any changes to the pattern (other than to totally disregard the number of stitches they suggested to pick up for the button band – I’m just too lazy).
I’m sure I’ll get loads of wear out of this as the yarn is soft but easy to care for, it fits well (hopefully it will fit even better when my figure eventually shrinks back to match the dress dummy’s! Spot the difference in the photos) and I made it in a sensible, wearable black.
I’ve got some more WIPs and FOs to share but if I did that in this post it would be the longest post ever. Because I need to tell you all about Ally Pally!
Mum and I had a wonderful time, we spent hours wandering around. There was so much to see that we even sacrificed lunch in order to see more yarny goodness (just to stop you worrying we made up for it with carrot cake and chocolate fudge sundae later on).
It was my birthday and my family, knowing me so well, had all given me money to spend at the show. The only problem was that there were so many things I wanted to buy that I couldn’t make up my mind what to buy and actually left with some of the money still left in my sweaty little paws. Don’t let that give you the wrong idea though because I managed to buy a pair of Lantern Moon needles, some lovely lace weight merino from Touch Yarns (my Mum bought some Possum yarn from them), some Christmassy patchwork fabric, an embroidery kit and best (and most extravagantly) of all a namaste vintage knitting bag from Foreign Strand. Once again I have to say how lovely the ladies behind the Foreign Strand stall were, especially Forbidden Knitter who some of you might know from blogland.
Talking of meeting people from blog land at I Knit London this week I met emmms from Quelle Erqsome. It was nice to meet her and she really is as witty in person as she sounds on her blog. Luckily she had left for the evening by the time I embarrassingly ended up falling over in a big heap on the floor on my way out. Believe me it isn’t easy getting back to your feet in a crowded pub when you are seven and a bit months pregnant. Not my most glamorous moment, especially as I seemed to lose the power of speech when it happened and all I could manage to say to the surprised looking faces staring down at me was “I’m pregnant” – as if that explains everything. Actually, it usually does!
By the way do you like the Bunkey’s bedroom curtains in the photo at the top? I finally got round to making them last weekend. I love the little green monkeys.
I was going to come on here and moan about the long commute to my new office and how awful it is but then I thought about it and realised that really it isn’t all bad. It does take a long time but I’m getting lots of exercise and seeing sights on the way that tourists travel hundreds/thousands of miles to see (it looks like a postcard doesn’t it?). Plus I get to walk past a waffle stall. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm I love the smell of waffles.
So no complaints from me today, and tomorrow I’ve promised myself an afternoon of catching up on everyone’s blogs and I won’t feel guilty about not doing housework instead.
Something exciting happened this week. Lyndsey sent me a link to her finished Celtic Knot Stole. I love the pale pink she used. It is so nice to see one of my designs knitted up by someone else, especially when they have done such a beautiful job of it.
Another exciting bit of news it that I managed to persuade my Mum to come to the Knitting and Stitching show with me at Ally Pally. We’ll probably go on the Sunday I think. Anyone else likely to be there?
The last time I went home to my parents I went on a huge search through my old cupboards for a copy of Scrap Saver’s Stitchery, which I’ve had for years. It is a great book, full of the sort of patterns that make you want to put on your frilly apron and bring out the patchwork placemats. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it anywhere, which is really bothering me as I want to make the bear changing bag for the Bunkey. Anyway, during my search I came across my old crochet basket, when I was about 11-16 years old I loved to crochet lace. I used to hunt out the little booklets of doilies (I think they are still available in some newsagents!) and make yards of filet borders. This is the basket that I lined to keep all my yarns and hooks in. I love it so much, it really brought back memories (I must have been a bit of a geek as a teenager!). The lace has all yellowed and the hooks have gone a bit rusty but I’m not going to be abandoning it to a cupboard again. So expect to see some crocheted lace joining the knitted lace soon.
Talking of knitted lace I’ve completed clues 1 and 2 of the mystery stole 3 project. I’m so behind but I really love the pattern. I’ve seen the rest of the clues and I’m so glad I joined up because it looks like a really imaginative, unique design. I’m using Lane Borgosesia in white and some tiny transparent seed beads. The picture isn’t that great I’m afraid.
I’m also knitting Bliss from Rowan 39 to use up the Calmer I had lying around (thanks for all the suggested patterns you gave me by the way). This is my current no-brain knit. I’m hoping to finish it next week as I’m on holiday. We’re going down to Devon to cat sit while my parents are on holiday. So the only downside is that I won’t get to see my Mum and Dad while I’m there, but I will get to see the sea, which as you might have guessed I miss a lot here in London. Plus I might be able to fit in a couple of rounds of crazy golf – it’s as close to a sport as you’ll ever see me get!
Thanks for the comments on the last post. It was so lovely to hear about your children. And I'm glad to know that little boys like cuddles just as much as little girls because I've got a whole lot of hugs stored up and waiting for this baby!
These were going to be a beautiful little pair of plain cream bootees with tiny daisies sewn on them. I imagined that my baby might wear them with a little dress smocked and embroidered with more little, tiny, daises. That was because I was CONVINCED I was having a little girl, but today’s scan has conclusively shown that the Bunkey is a boy! And (after a little wistful sigh – only a very little sigh) I am delighted. I do love little boys, they always seem somehow more sensitive and innocent then little girls but maybe that is just the ones I have met. Besides, one day I will have a little girl to make dresses for and knit little lacy cardigans for. And in the meantime I’m planning on making a mini cricket jumper and some tiny but manly little jackets. I really am very, very happy.
Pattern: Zoe Mellor’s ‘50 baby bootees to knit’
Yarn: Jaeger Sienna 4-ply cotton
Needles: 2.75mm inox circulars
I know that I promised a picture of me and the bump in the Juno cardigan but I have been so busy lately and ill with a cold. The floods have been keeping everyone at work busy. Plus I’m in my dressing gown at the moment and I’m too lazy (and too comfy!) to go and get changed. ;-)
I almost forgot to say, Bryony asked in the comments to my last post about whether Juno was a bit chunky over the chest. It is fairly thick but the v-neck means it is still very flattering. I think that it would look great, regardless of how buxom one might be, as long as whatever you wear on the lower half balances it out.
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran in Gables (It took less than 5 balls, which at only 3.50 each from Cucumberpatch means the cardigan only cost £17.50 – bargain!)
Needles: 5mm Denise interchangeables
This pattern was easy and it was a quick knit. I know it has taken me months to finish but that is because I was just not knitting! In actual knitting hours this comes together very quickly.
I like the design, I love the cabling and I think this will look great with a pair of jeans. I ended up going down a needle size even though I got gauge with the 5.5mm because I preferred the fabric on the smaller needles. I made the smallest size and didn’t bother altering it to account for the change in needles because for some reason all my knits from Rowan magazines have come out bigger than expected. This was no exception: on the smaller needles it is the perfect size.
I think with knitting the real proof of how good a project is, is how much it gets worn. I’ll have to let you know on that!
Anyway, now that this is out of the way I’m really enjoying the mystery lace although I’ll have to catch up this week. I’ve only just finished clue 1! But it can be my train knitting now, so it will soon speed up.
I can’t tell you what a weight off my shoulders it is to have finally finished Juno. I was feeling a bit of a knitting fraud while it was gathering dust on my needles.
Maybe I’ll do a post later in the week with a photo of me and the little bump wearing Juno. I always like to see people wearing the clothes they’ve made.
Someone will love you.
I’ve been feeling unattractive recently: my clothes were all too tight, my hair is dry and my skin is bad. But today my Monkey took me out and bought me some lovely maternity clothes and then we went out for coffee and cake and now life is very, very good again. But really I know that it doesn’t matter that I’m not looking my best at the moment because he loves me anyway!
By the way I have given in and signed up for the mystery stole 3. My yarn is on its way. I just NEEDED to knit lace. Plus doing something like this will get me back knitting more again as I’ll want to keep up with everyone else.
And does anyone know of a (free?) cardigan pattern that I could use some Rowan Calmer for?
I’m feeling pretty relaxed after two weeks holiday but I’m not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow. I just hope there haven’t been any disasters while I’ve been away.
Monkey and I had a lovely holiday, we started off in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire, which is a truly beautiful place. It is how I would imagine the Shire would look in the Lord of the Rings, so it didn’t surprise me when I did a quick google search and found this article, which says that Tolkien was a frequent visitor to the area.
After a few days we moved on to Kilmarnock in Scotland and the next day went across to the Isle of Arran for two days to attend my friends’ wedding. It was really wonderful, Arran is just stunning - the perfect setting for a wedding.
We acquired a little hitchhiker along the way. I made it from the Lucinda Guy book ‘Designs for Kids’ as a present for my friend who bought me this book and another Lucinda Guy book when she found out I was pregnant. My friend knows me so well, I love all the patterns! Anyway since I made this I haven't been able to get the 'little mouse with clogs on' song out of my head so that explains the title of this post.
We came home via Wigan and Manchester and managed to catch up with relatives who live nearby. We saw my Aunt, Uncle and my cousins and their other halves. This was especially nice as the Monkey hadn’t really had a chance to meet them before and he really, really liked them which makes me happy because I know how lovely my relatives are and it is nice to share it!
We also went to see his Brother’s new house in Manchester which is by the Mersey and surprisingly quiet (I didn’t even realise the Mersey went through Manchester!)
Since we have got back we have been tiling, painting and generally decluttering in preparation for the baby. Who would have thought that it would already be so much work!! I’ve included a picture of the tiling - I know it isn’t that great but my Mum will want to see it because she received a panicky call from me when the tiles were sliding down the wall and adhesive was going everywhere on Friday (I’d applied way too much - oh well everyone has to learn).
On the knitting front, I’ve gone back to the Juno cardigan and have almost finished the collar so hopefully I’ll be able to finally post a proper finished item soon! About time...
These past couple of months I’ve been keeping a secret and it has been so hard because I’ve wanted to tell all of you. Finally I can - the Monkey and I are going to have a baby (or Bunkey* as it has unofficially been christened). We are so excited and happy, but also slightly scared! The baby is due on the 7th of December which seems very soon - how are we supposed to learn how to be parents by then! At least with the baby being a winter baby there will be plenty of knitting opportunity.
Anyway, this also explains the lack of knitting that has been going on here as I’ve not been feeling that great. Everyone tells me that I will ‘bloom’ in the second trimester, (how quaint!) so I’m looking forward to that. Expect to see some seriously speedy knitting to make up for the last few weeks!
In the meantime I’ve been knitting a Pomatomus sock in a leisurely manner…
I have also been tagged by Riggwelter for "7 random things about me"
I love doing these things.
The rules:"Each person tagged gives 7 random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write in their blogs the 7 facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog (I might cheat on this being a bit out of touch with blogs recently). You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and to read your blog."
1. I have never eaten an egg (other than in cakes etc) and nor do I intend to. They are just so white and yellow – it’s just wrong!
2. Kendra is my middle name. It means wise. My Dad loves Anglo Saxon names (my brother was almost named Beowulf!).
3. I hate eating in front of people I don’t know very well.
4. I’m thinking about applying for an allotment.
5. I have two goldfish (Raffles and The Professor).
6. I have loads of recipe books but much prefer to make it up as I go along - leading to some interesting meal times.
7. I’m pregnant!
I know it is a bit of a cop out but if you haven’t done this yet please consider yourself tagged!
*half Bunny half monkey…
I’ve finally finished writing up the Celtic Knot pattern. Sorry for the delay, I really have been so busy lately that it’s ridiculous. Thank goodness for bank holiday weekends.
The pattern is finished but in order to fit the charts into a document that would actually be printable I had to cut them up a bit. However, if you want to see the chart of the complete stole I have also uploaded an excel version of the chart. I’m afraid that the pattern is chart based, so I apologise for those who prefer it to be written out. When I have some spare time I’ll try and get round to doing this.
If anyone does knit this please could you let me know if there are any mistakes? I’ve checked through carefully but you know what those pesky little errors can be like!
1. Make a slipknot on the crochet hook.
2. Hold the crochet hook in your right-hand and the knitting needle in your left-hand. Hold the knitting needle on top of the yarn (which is held taut by wrapping it round the fingers of your left-hand and passing it over your index finger, I also find it useful to hold the short tail tightly between the middle-finger and thumb of my left-hand).
3. With the hook to the left of the yarn bring it over the needle and through the loop on the crochet hook forming a stitch on the knitting needle.
4. Take the yarn back under the needle to the left.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there is only one more stitch to cast-on.
6. Slip the loop remaining on the crochet hook onto the knitting needle.
7. Ta da! The method makes a nice knitting edge that looks similar to binding off. For lace try to keep the tension fairly loose (it helps to use a bigger hook than you would normally use for the yarn).
I’ve been knitting Juno in the Rowanspun aran I bought from the Cucumberpatch. This pattern knits up SO quickly - it’s such a relief! I’ll try and get it finished , so I can post some interesting pictures. You can spot it in a crumpled heap in the photo above.
The highlight of the photo above though is my new basket - perfect for carrying wool and needles. This was a present from my Auntie Kath and I really love it. I think that this picture of it with the Monkey’s briefcase could be some sort of alternative family portrait ;-)
Anyway, I’m afraid this isn’t going to be a long post as my brain just isn’t up to it. I have actual proof of this sad fact. Today I bought a beautiful little acceptance card for my friend’s wedding and when I got home from work, I merrily sat down to write it (I spent ages coming up with the perfect wording). I was just about to put the card in the envelope when I realised that I’d written it to myself. I mean literally ‘Dear Kendra, Thank you for the invitation…’. Maybe I need an early night?
I’m never sure what I think about horoscopes but sometimes there is a resemblance in people’s characters who were born in the same month, which is hard to explain. It’s my brother’s birthday in a few days time and when I heard about this baby being born, I remembered my Mum telling me about the horoscope she read when my brother was born. It said something like Aries is a happy, gambolling lamb. That certainly is the case for my brother - he is one of the most optimistic people and it would be rare to spot him without a smile. But it isn’t just that he is happy, he is one of those rare people who brings happiness wherever he goes. I can honestly say that I’ve never met anyone who dislikes him. Even in the worst moments of family life it will be him who makes people feel like laughing again. So, if I were to make a ‘fairy-tale’ wish for this new baby, it would be that they will share my brother’s gift for bringing happiness and being loved. But definitely not his untidiness or love of loud music ;-)
Needles: 3.5mm Inox circulars
Blocked measurements: 35” by 65”
I’ve seen a few posts recently about why people knit and this led me to start thinking about myself (Monkey might say that wasn’t unusual!). There are a lot of reasons but one of them is that it is a chance to extend the fantasy stage of acquiring an item of clothing. I’m sure that most women will understand this stage when I explain it. It is that period of time from when you first spot the article of clothing in a shop/catalogue/pattern book, during which you think that the said article will, for example, make you more popular, make you better at your job or make the guy you’ve always fancied at school finally notice you. After wearing the article of clothing a number of times, you usually realise that this won’t happen. However, by then you’ll have already seen that life-changing pair of shoes that will do the trick instead.
Anyway, as I was saying, knitting extends this stage for me and the fantasies I can build up about a particular garment can be pretty far fetched by the time I finally cast off. While I was knitting this stole, I pictured myself as the heroine of some Victorian gothic novel. Standing on the heathered brink of a lonely moor wearing a dove-grey silk dress and desperately trying to escape from some mad woman locked in an attic. But nope, here I am in my flat cooking gingerbread and modelling this in some rather crumpled old clothes. But I still love it and every time I wrap it round my shoulders I do feel a little closer to the windswept moors!
There is another reason I’m looking forward to this weekend and that is because I’m going to take some photos of my finished Celtic Knot Stole. Yes, I did say finished. Finally! I blocked it on Tuesday night using my new blocking wires from Heirloom knitting. I would definitely recommend using them, they made what would have been a very tedious task fairly painless. They also meant that I could get very straight edges.
By the way, you know I said how good I’d been resisting the Posh Yarn in my last post? Since then I have bought two skeins of Posh Yarns lace weight yarn, a ball of Opal sock yarn, 3 balls of Rowan hand knit cotton, two balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and a ball of cotton to make dishcloths…. Yes, I’m hanging my head in shame. Photos on Sunday of everything I promise!
I almost forgot to tell you another exciting bit of news, Hip Knits have got the details of their 2007 contest up on their website. It is £5 to enter and for that you get a 100g of yarn with which to make something with lace in it. I received some gorgeous lace weight yarn in bright pinks and purples (pictured above - badly!).
-a skein of Helena 4-ply (pure organic merino - 360 yards) from Posh Yarn in the colourway Drama;
- a box of bite size Green and Blacks organic chocolates (milk, dark and white); and
- a little set of Annarella stitch markers - not organic but very pretty!
The yarn is gorgeous . The colours are just beautiful and I’m sure will look stunning knitted up. It is so soft that I am having difficulty resisting stroking it too much. I was very good last Sunday as I knew I wanted to buy something for a prize so I went straight on the Posh Yarn website and just bought this - nothing else! How impressive is my willpower!
Recently, I’ve been concentrating on getting my Celtic Knot Stole finished. I'm almost there now - just one repeat and the borders to go. I’m really enjoying knitting it. I love the colour, I love the yarn (Posh Yarn 100% cashmere) and I’m quite excited about the design. The photos that I’ve taken are truly awful. It is just dismal here today and I can’t find a way of getting enough light to take a pretty picture. But the lace is in the ugly-duckling, pre-blocking stage anyway.
Crafty Granny, you were asking about my sharing the stole. I’d be happy to let you have the charts once I’ve finished drawing them up.
This week I gave a new knitting group a try. I went to the Liberty group that meets on he 1st and 3rd Thursday of every week. It is a great place for a knitting group: large tables, delicious cakes and coffees, and a knitting shop close to hand. I did enjoy but I do have to admit that I prefer the I Knit London group. I think this is just because at the Liberty group everyone knew each other and, understandably wanted to spend their time catching up rather than meeting new people. I might give it another try some time though because the people seemed really nice.
By the way, I have bought Victorian Lace Today. It is wonderful. I adore it. It comes out top on every point: great photos, great designs, great writing, great techniques section, brilliant information on yarn and substituting yarn. If you love lace you can’t really go wrong with this book (unless you don’t like charts).
Lovely lace weight Posh Yarn from the latest yarn club instalment. It is so soft and has a beautiful sheen. I’m going to be so sad when the yarn club stops. But I’ll just have to spend the money on some of Posh Yarn’s gorgeous ‘one-offs’ instead.
Next up some Rowanspun Aran in Gables. Now, to be honest at the prices the Cucumber patch use I think I’d feel more guilty if I hadn’t bought this wool ;-) I’m going to make Juno from Rowan 40. I wasn’t going to make this pattern until I saw this version on Knitting Betty and fell in love with it.
I also bought Fitted Knits by Stefanie Japel, and I’m so glad I did. It is a lovely book and I will definitely make some of the patterns. There is some really useful advice on how to fit your knits properly and the patterns all seem to be very well laid out, with detailed schematics.
Yarn: Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift in Old Gold and Plum wine (lovely names!) they took less than 1x25g ball in each colour!!
Needles: 2.25mm blue sky alpaca dpns and 2.75mm Brittany dpns
I apologise for my scarily pale skin in the photos ! I've included a picture of the reverse side of the knitting because I think the colour stranding method produces such a neat tidy finish!