Wednesday, March 29, 2006

F is for Finsbury Circus

Trying desperately NOT to succumb to the easy option, F is for Flower, I took my camera in to work with me yesterday and went for a little stroll at lunchtime.

Just round the corner from our office is Finsbury Circus. A little oasis in the midst of the bustle of the City.

So, the first thing I'm thinking is "I need a better camera". Yes, I know, bad workman always blames his tools etc etc but this shot was as close as I could get with the zoom whilst still getting the whole of the sign in the frame :(

The gardens are surrounded by some lovely architecture

There are wooden benches all around the gardens and I can see this is where I'll be spending my lunch hours on warm spring and summer days.

This was also an educational trip in that I learned that Finsbury Circus hosts the City's only bowling green - established in 1925

Can't you just picture a time when these gardens were full of Victorian nannies wheeling their charges around in great big prams - rather than full of City men in suits?


Having had a good sort through of my stash, I've put a load that is "surplus to requirements" on eBay.

If anyone is interested you can view the items I'm selling here

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fairly frantic

Life seems to have got slightly out of hand lately, hence this will be a quick and pictureless post!

Work has got quite frighteningly manic in the last couple of weeks, due largely to the end of the tax year looming. It seems that no matter how much my partners and I try to organise things so there are no last minute rushes to get tax planning done, we always seem to end up with too much to do and too little time to do it in!

I was supposed to go the Knitty meet up at Stitches 2006 yesterday, but instead had to spend a good chunk of what was one of the first lovely days in what seems like forever catching up with work. Mind you, I did manage to find some time to organise my stash, ready for Flash your Stash. Having heaped it all out onto the spare bed I was frankly stunned by the amount of yarn I've accumulated. I decided to have a ruthless cull, keeping only what I absolutely love and am 100% sure I'm going to knit (which is still a frightening amount). A fair proportion of the rest will be going up on eBay soon. Some of it is too hideous even for eBay (stuff I bought when I really hadn't a clue). That's been consigned to the blanket box until I decide what to do with it (charity shop?)

Today we held an open day for the village. We had no idea whether anyone would bother to turn up, but in fact had a constant stream of people - about 50 all told. A mixture of families with young children, who loved that they got to stroke a kid, older people and even a bunch of teenagers. Everyone seemed very interested in the goats, and I was relieved at how many people remarked that it didn't smell ;) "like most farms do". We finally closed the gates at 3.30 and we're both absolutely pooped - as are the goats. With an unusually early start (they'd forgotten the clocks went forward last night) and the regular arrival of vistors they haven't had the chance to do what they normally spend most of the day doing - sleeping.

On the knitting front I am making what can at best be described as "steady" progress on the Aran Pullover. The back is done, and I finally finished the sleeves on Wednesday (two knit at once, in seed / moss stitch - dull, dull, dull). I'm almost through the first repeat on the front. The cable pattern is really interesting to knit, and I'm pleased with how it's turning out so far but I can't help thinking about the fact that once it's off the needles there's still all the seaming to do. Having knit two sweaters in the round, and now this one flat, I'm really beginning to appreciate the benefits of having no seaming to do.

I always seem to find when I get to this stage in a project - about 3/4 complete - that I start itching to knit something else. I've tried having more than one project on the go at once but that really doesn't work for me, so I won't start anything else until this is off the needles (that's my cut off point - I don't count blocking and seaming as that's always something I do at weekends when I can devote a whole day to it ). There seem to be so many things I want to knit next - a 3/4 sleeve top down sweater in yummy Rowan Kid Classic; Eddie's socks with the wonderful Knit Picks merino my SP sent me; a shawl with some of my stash of Rowan KSH. The list is endless. Added to this week by another fabulous package from my SP which included a beautiful soft chunky alpaca yarn in a vibrant purple. It's sitting there screaming "wrist warmers!!" at me. Thank you SP!!

Hopefully I might get time to post some knitting progress pics during the week. I'll check in when I can!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Knittyboard ABC along - E is for "Exhausted"

"I was having a little snack, when suddenly I was struck by the overwhelming urge to go to sleep. This looked like a pretty cozy spot"


Do you ever get that feeling that life is a bit “bleahhh”, even though there’s nothing actually intrinsically wrong with your life? That’s the kind of week I’ve just had.

I woke up on Monday morning (5.15 ugh – one of my days in London) in a pretty chirpy mood, but by lunchtime I’d turned into the bitch woman from hell. I had a kind of weird out of body-like experience where I could see I was snapping at my colleagues, but couldn’t quite bring myself to stop. I work with 3 blokes and I did feel sorry for them – I’m pretty sure this was one of the times they were glad I’m only in the office 2 days a week ;) I could see the huge thought bubbles “PMT” above their heads (bless), but it’s definitely not that.

I put it down to the weather. Last weekend was so lovely, but then on Monday it turned grey and miserable, and that's the way it's stayed all week. It seems that just when you think winter might be over Mother Nature slaps you down hard.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More weather like this please

Today is a beautiful day. One of those late winter days when you really start to feel as though spring might be just around the corner. It's sunny and warm. The snowdrops and primroses are in full bloom. The lilac and the honeysuckle are in bud and the geraniums are just starting to poke their heads above the soil.

We've opened up the big shutter doors on the barns and the sun is streaming in. The kids are all lolling about basking in the sun's warmth.

It's been a pretty good weekend so far. I got round to taking photos of the finished Malabrigo scarf

I added a few random stripes of Cognac to the Pagoda my SP sent me and knitted a 4x4 rib on 5.5mm addis until I ran out of the Pagoda. It's just as snuggly as I thought it would be and I've been wearing it since it came off the needles (I really ought to wash it as it has that faint vinegary pong you get with this yarn). I love it. Thank you SP!!!!

I'm making what I think I can call "steady" progress on the Aran Pullover

This is one and two thirds pattern repeats into the back. So far, it looks like the photo in the pattern! The chart scared me a lot to begin with as it looked horribly complicated (there are six different types of cable stitch), but once I wrote each row out I felt a bit better and it is turning out to be a very logical knit. I do think though that this project proves charts and I are not meant to be. I am referring to the chart now and again, but I really need words rather than pictures and I feel much safer with having each row written on a separate page of my little notebook. The yarn (Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran Tweed) is a much darker green than this picture indicates and is nice and soft. So far so good. For one insane moment I considered doing this as my Olympics project - until the words NO and CHANCE sprang to mind. Just as well, since the above is progress after 4 evenings of knitting.

Talking of the Olympics, some of you foolishly requested a modelled shot of the Olympics Sweater so here you go

Apologies for the crap photo but I had to drag Eddie away from the rugby to get him to take this and he clearly wasn't in the mood for making me look my best. Incidentally, I did ask him to take a shot including my head as, believe it or not, I don't actually have a problem per se with my face being on the internet. After all half of the people who read this already know what I look like; I really don't think I have to worry about the rest of you on seeing my visage deciding to become my stalker; and I could care less about people I know professionally or otherwise recognising me. Apart from anything else, I actually know very few people.

No, the reason I don't put photos on here which include my face is simple. In every photo I have seen of me since I turned 18 I look like a cross between a 12 year old boy and my mother. When I happen to know that the reality is that in real life I'm the spitting image of Cameron Diaz. This is also why there are remarkably few photos of me in existence.

So there you have it. Pure. Vanity.

Moving on....

Yesterday I attended the grand opening of Kerrie's new shop and managed to score the following:

500g of Malabrigo Handspun Bulky wool in Melilla, which I think will become Eve.

Schaeffer Yarn which is a merino, mohair, nylon mix which is currently shouting "SOCKS" at me, and a lovely skein of Hip Knits laceweight cashmere, which I would post a photo of if Blogger would let me, but it is currently refusing to co-operate. (Blogger seems to have an annoying habit of doing this - uploads numerous images without any problems, then takes offence at one and refuses to upload it).

Kerrie has done a great job on the the shop and I'm sure it will be a huge success. Well worth a visit if you are anywhere near it!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

D is for...... Dyeing

My first attempt at Kool Aid dyeing to be precise.

Being a complete wuss I decided not to dive straight into the heady world of self striping, and stuck to a few solid colours to start with

This is the yarn Iris sent me which she spun from our fleece. On the left is Jacob wool in Cherry, on the right, kid mohair, silk & wool in Grape

Next up some slub wool I bought at Ally Pally from Texere Yarns in Tropical Punch

Feeling bolder, I felt ready for a two colour combo. Wool from The Handweaver's Studio in Grape and Lime

There was no stopping me now. I spread out the Knit Picks "Colour Your Own" merino, from my wonderful Secret Pal, furiously mixed up some Strawberry, Melon, Lemonade and Tropical Punch and Ta Da!

Throwing caution to the wind the mad scientist in me took over and I tried mixing my own colour. Using a mystery package of Kool Aid from my SP, which turned out to be blue, with some lemonade I got this

This is some mohair / alpaca boucle, again from Texere Yarns. I crammed loads of yarn in the bowl which has given the yarn a lovely "wash" of lighter and darker aqua. Eddie has christened this yarn "Mermaid".

Talking of Eddie, the bright ones amongst you will have worked out by now that the next letter in the sequence is E. Now, what could E be for I wonder? (insert evil cackle here)

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