Monday, May 29, 2006

A bit of a quandry

Green Gable #2 is finished.

This was knit in Cotton Fleece, shade Plum Patina, and I used 200g. I knit the size Small this time, spaced out the waist decreases, added hip increases, and knit 3 rounds before the ribbing on the sleeves. All tips I picked up from the KAL, and all improvements on the original pattern I think.

This one is a much better fit than the last one - which may end up being frogged...

My quandry now is that there is nothing I want to knit.

By that I mean no tops, summer sweaters etc. Apart from this pattern I haven't seen anything that really grabs me. I think part of the problem is that I'm not a great fan of knitting cotton, and pastels - which tend to be the predominant colours in the summer - do nothing for me. I love winter knitting. I love knitting with super soft wool, making snuggly sweaters and scarves.

Looking back to last summer I see I knitted socks and shawls. Well, I've a ton of sock yarn in the stash and want to knit more socks, so I'll certainly be doing that. I've also got loads of laceweight yarn, ideal for shawls. My problem there is that although I love the intricacies of lace knitting, and creating ethereal items from knitting cobwebs, in practical terms I don't really have a huge need for shawls.

I guess I need to mull, and in the meantime I'll knit socks. Maybe inspiration will strike when I least expect it. It's one of the things I love about reading blogs - it's great to see what other knitters are knitting.

We're off to Stafford tomorrow for the Staffordshire show. Thankfully the weather forecast is looking quite good. Hopefully this time I'll manage to get some shots of the goats in all their glory!

J is for Jolie

I've been waiting for some sunshine to photograph my J. Finally, it arrived yesterday.
Clematis "Jolie".

Friday, May 19, 2006

Socks are done

They fit perfectly, are lovely and comfortable, and I like the fact that they are almost but not quite identical. I have loads of yarn left over - I barely touched the second 50g ball.

Eddie has now announced that he thinks he would prefer to have some thick socks rather than sock yarn weight. It is true to say he goes through socks at a rate of knots, so perhaps thicker would be better? I'll have to raid the stash to see if I have enough worsted weight of anything I could use (excluding anything I want for myself :0 ). I'll need to find out how many yards of worsted weight I need for a UK size 8.

He can't yet decide on the pattern, if any, he wants (told you he was Mr Fussy), so while he's mithering about that I've started my second Green Gable. I'm knitting this one in the yarn used in the pattern - Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, in a fetching shade of plum. I'm knitting a size smaller than the last one as I have found that a bit loose now that I've actually worn it. So far I'm enjoying knitting with the yarn.

Eddie took this picture the other day. We're having a flock board made and he wanted a photo of a group of goats to go on it. It was only when we downloaded the pictures that we realised that it was a wonderful shot of the view from the field.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Good results all round

Thanks so much for all the good luck wishes for the show. We had a pretty good day.

Remember Smiley Miley (aka Tolcarne Gelos, named after the Greek spirit of laughter by Jess)? He's grown into a smashing little yearling buck (though he is a bit on the small side - he seems to put all his energy into his fleece, which is absolutely beautiful). Anyway, he won the yearling buck class, and was also Reserve Champion Male. We also won the adult doe class with Cobweb, and Reserve Champion Female. Plus we got 2 second places, a 3rd and two 4ths. In fact, all 7 of the goats we took were placed in the top 4. I'm really pleased with this as although we were beaten in some classes no other breeder there had the consistency of results with all their goats, so I guess we must be doing something right!

Unfortunately, the weather and the crowds weren't conducive to taking pictures but I will try and take some in the next day or two and post them.

I'm making good progress on the sock. Although knitting like this was a bit weird

Knitting a sock in profile! I'm really pleased with how the heel has turned out. I have never quite managed to achieve such a neat result before

I'm not sure if this is down to the 2 circs or the pattern (from Sensational Knitted Socks), but it did seem much easier picking up the stitches than it does with DPNs.

I've reached the toe now, and should hopefully finish it off this afternoon and get cracking on the second sock.

And finally, I know you don't come here to read about football but I can't end this post without mentioning the other fantastic result yesterday, which rounded off the day nicely! What a cracking match. This man is a god.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Wish us luck!

Tomorrow is the first show of the season for us, the Newark & Nottinghamshire County Show. We have 7 goats entered and they're looking pretty good, so fingers crossed!

Eddie has just left with all the goats and assorted paraphenalia so he can get them settled in this evening, before judging tomorrow. Judging is at 9 a.m which means I need to get there by about 8. It's just over a 2 hour drive and I have to see to the animals and walk the dogs before I go. Working backwards that means.... um, an early night for me!

As I must be home by 3 p.m on Saturday (and to see to the animals of course!) I won't have very long at the show, but hopefully my mum and dad are going to come and look after the animals for all the other shows so I will get a chance to catch up with all our "goaty" friends then.

On the knitting front I've had my first major disaster for quite a while. I've been trying to knit Mesilla (without the embroidery). Really, I shouldn't be having any problems at all - it's such a straightforward pattern, but I cannot get the neck to work. If I knit as the pattern is written, only picking up stitches for 2 out of every 3 rows on the neckline, and decrease as written a) it looks awful around the neckline, and b) I end up after knitting the various contrast colours with a hole I'd have trouble fitting my hand through, let alone my head. I've tried picking up a stitch for every row on the neckline instead, which looks much better, but I still end up with a small hole and it gapes at the front - I'm just not getting that nice U-shaped neckline. I can't for the life of me figure out what I'm doing wrong, and it's really pissing me off. I have to say it would really help if the pattern gave an actual stitch count at this point. These are given right the way through the pattern, but none at this stage. I know guage isn't the problem, I just can't work out where I'm going wrong.

I've put it aside for now and am knitting these instead

Baby cable rib socks, my first go at knitting socks on two circulars. So far, I'm finding it a lot easier than using DPNs. I don't have to worry about stitches dropping off the needles, and it just seems far less fiddly overall. The yarn is Knit Picks Sock Landscape in shade New England Foliage - one of the many lovely gifts I received from bryghtrose in SP6. I'm supposed to be knitting socks for Eddie ( something he points out to me often), but I didn't want to combine learning a new technique with knitting something for Mr Fussy - I'd rather make the mistakes on my own socks. Plus, I wanted a new pair of socks. Plus, I'm just plain mean.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I is for Incredible

Friday, May 05, 2006

All is revealed

Now that SP6 is finished I can reveal the identities of my upstream and downstream SPs.

Gifting to me was the incredibly generous bryghtrose - she was the most fantastic Secret Pal. I enjoyed a host of regular emails, postcards etc from her, and her packages were incredibly thoughtful and stuffed with goodies. She will always have a special place in my heart as the person who gave me my first KnitPicks yarn :0. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better SP.

I was gifting to cpurl17 (and her fabulous cats;) ). She's a true Aspiring Crazy Cat Lady knitter, and she was great fun to gift to. She really entered into the spirit of it, and I'm so glad that now I can leave comments on her blog without worrying about giving myself away!

Thank you both, ladies, for making SP6 such a wonderfully enjoyable few months.


Monday, May 01, 2006


We finally managed to get the goats out this weekend. They should really have gone out 2 or 3 weeks ago, but our landlord has been doing some work putting a new driveway in to the rear of the barns.

This meant that some of the existing fencing had to be taken down and hence the fields weren't stock proof, plus great big holes outside the barns where the drains were re-dug, kept them trapped inside! On Friday the workmen had reached a point where we could make a temporary fence with some field gates and let the does and kids out. The sheep and the bucks are still confined to their barn but all the work should be finished by the end of this week so they should be out by next weekend.

Letting the mums and kids out for the first time after the winter is always slightly traumatic for the kids. For their entire lives so far the world has consisted of an indoor space roughly 30m x 20m. To suddenly be confronted with the big wide world is a bit of a shock to their system.

The does on the other hand can't wait to hit the fresh new grass and they take off without a care for their kids. The kids are left behind in the barn with a gaping hole (open doors) where the world used to end and their mums have disappeared to boot. Much bleating ensues. Seriously, the decibel level is astounding. We have to gradually herd them outside, blocking escape routes back to the safety of the barn, and drive them into the field until they catch sight of their mums and run to find them. It can take a couple of hours to reach this point, but it's always worth it.

That pesky pygmy Henry always has to come and see what's going on ;)

Turning now to knitterly things, what's the most fun you can have with your clothes on? Well, I think this would make my Top 10:

A couple of months ago I treated myself to a new ball winder and swift, but this weekend was the first time I actually got them out to play with. Six skeins of Rowan Summer Tweed for my next project arrived Saturday morning, and within about 10 minutes I had these:

I was actually disappointed it took so little time to wind them, and had to resist the urge to wind every skein in my stash!

Saturday's post also brought me, all the way from the US, courtesy of, Barbara Walker's Knitting from the Top; Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks; and Ann Budd's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns.

I have had just a brief look through each one but already know these are going to become "bibles" I will refer to again and again. All three are incredibly well written and inspire me to create for myself rather than following other people's patterns. Now, I have no desire to become a knitwear designer, but to have the basic building blocks and guidance that will give me the ability to knit myself a sweater (or sock) incorporating a stitch pattern I would like to use / a certain type of neckline / a certain type of shaping, using whatever yarn I want seems to me to offer endless possibilities I can't wait to explore.

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