Friday, October 27, 2006

please, is it Friday yet?

Because this is the third day since Monday that I have been absolutely convinced that it is Friday, and I just can't be wrong three times, not when I have already spread my everlasting stupidity over a period of weeks.

Evidence of said inane mental babbling? Look no further than eternal gansey. (More examples of general must not be let out in the world alone - I have just not only missed my mouth with the coffee, but in putting the coffee cup down, I watched as in delicate, graceful slow motion an arc of black nectar landing on the keyboard. A tragedy because we are awaiting the next coffee delivery, and are on short rations until I get to mug our rather nice looking parcel delivery man - who has sweet little sideburns, and a dashing ponytail - which saw me close to just using my tongue as a mouth. Enough. Just be thankful that for reasons unknown I hoard keyboards.)

The eternal gansey, which has travelled and been petted by many, seemed to really be pushing at the boundaries of infinity. And the reason? One which you have no doubt already answered. 'Cos yes, as I gave up on the dangerous to myself and all others within a 5 metre radius long and pointy steel dpns, I managed to move down a needle size. And there was I thinking that the gansey was just doing weird things after the ribbing (yeah, 'cos knitting always pulls in after ribbing, and when you increase the overall stitch count). And who would have thought that there would be such a difference between 2.5mm and 2.25mm needles. And I would tell you how far off my tension is from the suggested, but I also appear to have misplaced the pattern. Yippee. But seriously, it was small already, and I'm now working at about 40 x 48, when 30 x 40 would have been fine. Ah, it will fit someone. Even if I have to perform surgery (on them, of course), it will fit someone.

And the worst of it - even though I checked all the ball bands, and checked the dye lots, they were lying to me. Because there is the most distinct colour shift. Look.

But at least it is accompanied by an almost complete sock.

And in other news - I bring you the Mouse Count. Mice caught: many. Mice caught and lost in the house: four. Mice caught and lost in the house and caught again: three. Mice presumed missing in action: one, which has got to be somewhere, and according the to cats is either up the chimney, or under the oven. Mice caught, lost in the house, caught again, lost again: one. And that one mouse, caught, lost, caught and victoriously lost again? That mouse which beat the system? It is the mouse which climbed the bedroom curtains, which caused kitten to spend all day, and all night sitting by the curtains, purring at the curtains, attacking the curtains, and climbing the curtains. It is the mouse, which caused me, at 2.30 am, to try and prove to kitten that there was no mouse in the curtain, by unhooking the full 8 foot curtain, shaking it out, pushing the kitten under the lining, and rehanging it. And then at 3.30 am, taking the kitten, holding it under one arm while crawling up the lining again (remember, curtain had been rehung by now), screaming and dropping the kitten as mouse was seen, frantically unhooking the curtain, again, bundling it up, taking it outside, going back in to collect kitten, chasing up other cat reinforcements, turning curtain inside out, finding mouse, showing cats where mouse is, preventing cats from killing mouse while on curtains (blood and pale green silk blends not a good mix), showing cats again where mouse is, preventing cats from taking mouse back inside (this is one smart mouse, the cats are not showing any great evidence of intelligent mouse catching), and then finally watching as mouse escapes. And I am sure that mouse gave a jaunty salute as he disappeared under the fence. Kitten has returned to just leaving half-eaten worms in my bed. Mouse is laughing at us all.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

so I went to Ally Pally too,

and all I got was this, and this, and this, and this, and some other things as well.... and I may have also fitted in a trip to the elegant and helpful Stash Yarns too. (And this is long and rambling, but if I don't show the haul, I know I will be mugged by some people. You know who you are.)

So first there is the sock yarn. And this year the theme is breadth - in a campaign to trial as many sock yarns as possibly, all different (and let us not mention that some may already reside in the sock yarn box, for they are in different colour ways, and yea, that does not count). From left to right, bottom to top, with names and all (because some people will insist), Koigu KPM, no.2, Lorna's Laces in Douglas Fir, Cherry Tree Hill in Water, Hipknits (cos it is cashmere, and after day 1 at Ally Pally, my feet were threatening a coup), Trekking XXL, no.66, and finally Fleece Artist, in the colourway without a name.

And then there was the must get things for lace and such like, and isn't some gift-giving season approaching, and of course I can knit up this much between now and then, and finish everything else too.
Lounging across the bottom, Cherry Tree Hill's Cascade Fingering, in Spring Frost. A pretty pastel 2200 yards (just about 2000 metres) laceweight, again from Hipknits, and again because it is cashmere - which I am strongly thinking should just be made into a portable pillow, permanently attached to my head, so any time I am out and about, and maybe feeling just a little stressed, I can just pet it and pet it and love it and pet it, and rest my weary head on it, and then everything bad will go away. And finally some more Fleece Artist, this time Handmaiden's Sea Silk, in Vintage, with a matching skein of silk Rumple. I see scarves in my future.

But then, I made the mistake of being a sheep, and visited Piiku, because Ruth said so, to get some grey roving and some undyed carded fleece. And because I will not be beaten by a spindle.
And I compounded the sheepishness, by following Yvonne to Catalina and their shawl pins, and then to Taj and their Wagtail mohair (which is so soft it would make anyone wag their tail).

You think this is enough, don't you. But I found the Habu stall. At which point a hazy mist comes down, and I come over all wonderment at what the Japanese spinners can do with cotton and silk and bamboo and wool and copper. And I have to have it, all.
(When even serious stashers were impressed by my Habu haul, do you think I should be worrying? And please don't ask what I am going to do with this, because I think it is rude to ask people questions when you know they don't know the answers.)

And yes, there were some other bits and pieces, including knitting needles, because I am stupid enough to go to a show, in order to buy yarn, in order to facilitate yet more playing with yarn, and then remember that in an effort to pack light (more room for yarn, you see), I had decided to leave all needles at home. Well, faced with a week away from home, brand new and interesting and gorgeous yarn, and no needles, what would you do?

There was much to do, and much to see. There was helping out on the Relax and Knit stand (where I did try to be helpful, really I did), and the strange refusal of a ball of Possum yarn from Yvonne, who is truly a goddess of all things good and fibre-y (I have no idea what happened, I think I had just shut down by then). There was the meeting of many, many people. And the meeting of many, many bloggers. (What is the collective noun for bloggers, by the way? And is there a separate noun for that strange sub-group, knit-bloggers?). I finally met Mary-Lou, and have solved the mystery as to why I knew I liked her (well, I like her for other reasons, but she knows what I mean), bought some of her stitch markers - which arrived home before I did, and in considerably better shape - and generally discussed all matters of the world with her. I finally met the absolutely irrepressible WyeSue, who should have been a gibbering wreck, after all the shows she has been at recently. But she wasn't, and I don't think she ever is, and I think under her direction short people should rule the world (cos I'm short too, and we rock).

I met Jan who is extraordinarily generous, and a wicked hat fighter, and another Sue, who sat there all composed and helpful, despite sacrificing some of her crochet hooks to Relax and Knit beginners, and despite being tormented by a certain yarn manufacturer's fashion show. And there was Fred, who would come and tell us we were all knitting too slowly, seeing as he was supervising the Speed Knitters. (And I saw the fastest knitter, who works continental and on circulars, though on straights for the trials, and it just shouldn't be possible.) And I know there were many others, and at this point I would just like to remind you that I am useless at being organised to keep a track of names and faces (and I would refer you to those who are far more together), in the presence of so much fibre, so many knitters, and so, so many people with inexhaustable supplies of good humour. It may not be considered the coolest pasttime, to play with fibre, but it surely makes those who do deeply happy.

Finally, my heartfelt thanks to Ruth, who took me in, got her angel partner Tom (a handsome angel too) to rescue us from the train station, fed me pizza and wine and coffee (real coffee, proper, real, thick, strong coffee), let me play with her cats, let me sleep on her sofa, let me talk fibre until far too late in the night (she talked, and I listened - she knows what she is talking about, I am just very, very good at the bs), showed me her cat and dog hair blanket, but wouldn't let me steal her Hitchhiker, and all while all she wanted to do was play and experiment and design new and beautiful hats.

And now I have to go and finish with the laundry.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


*It* has arrived. My nemesis, my humbler. The mechanical, electrical thing that both reduces me to a quivering, jibbering wreck, and yet enables the spending of vast amounts of money. Oh, yes, even though it actually arrived last month, it has taken until these last few days to get it out, and play. And then realise there are only so many old sheets that one can play on, which means a trip to a local haberdashery, which means causing chaos as everyone in the department has to help me (can I have 5 metres of 10 different ribbons, and no I have absolutely no idea what I need 50 metres of assorted ribbon for), and answer my really, really stupid questions (including which scissors to buy), and then cause further chaos and much seething, and reducing small children to tears, as I hold up the queue at the checkout (not my fault the store wouldn't open another checkout, and the small child started crying because small children sometimes do for completely unfathomable reasons, and I did apologise...)

And I even drafted in reinforcements to show me how to work the thing (many, many thinks Piglet), and try and convince me that the thing is not evil (though it tried to bite me when I was tenderly following the instructions and cleaning out the lint), which I'm not entirely sure of yet. And so what is my first sewing chore, with all that fabric, and ribbon, and needles and thread and scissors and bobbins and yes even velcro and zips? Why, taking up 3 pairs of trousers. Things which are easier done with that clever, clever iron on bonding tape. Something has gone wrong in the state of machinery.

But there has still been some knitting - and, as usual, not of all the things I should be doing, but of something completely new. But you see, I needed a present, to take to my Aunt, who would be putting me up in London, so I could go to the Knitting and Stitching Show (where Ruth has promised to look after me, so I'm sure I'll be safe, unless someone waves a BFL fleece at her from across the way!) So a quick moebius scarf, in Lion and Lamb, with a picot cast-off edging which actually worked. And though I know alcohol is a traditional and much appreciated house-guest gift, surely a luxurious, one-off, made of silk and wool, keep you warm and chic in London scarf will be just as appreciated. (But I'll get her a bottle of something anyway, because she is a good Aunt.)

And later, if you are really good, I have a story of mice and cats, curtains, and 4am trips to the garden to tell.