Thursday, September 27, 2007

ripple mania

Here we are: two more ripple scarves since Saturday...

I wonder whether this obsession might not be getting a wee bit out of control?

When not either at work or rippling madly, I've spent most of the last few days with my friend Tamy, in Cambridge on a flying visit from Singapore. Here she is wrapped up against the elements

as we explored the Botanic Gardens

Lastly, I found this over at Shona's blog. As I'm generally sound asleep at midnight and don't strike myself as even remotely eccentric, this was a real surprise. (Others may beg to differ).
You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's a hard life...

First you strain to catch that elusive thought...

then you catch it and put it on paper...

then you have to recover!

(Graham at The Orchard Tea Rooms, Granchester on Sat 22 Sept)

ecquinoctal stroll

Yesterday, with the year poised between summer and autumn, we headed off to Granchester to sip iced tea and work on our current projects (an article on Coleridge in Graham's case, yet another ripple stitch scarf in mine) then we wandered back to Cambridge through the meadows, past the cows,

spotting signs of autumn,

as we ambled by the river.

Even once we were back in Cambridge the cows were out in force (this one was on Laundress Green!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

are teenaged knitters the key to the future?

Graham spotted this in The Telegraph a couple of days ago. (I was rather staggered to note that "mums over 45 constitute the biggest-growing group in the games playing market". Are they craftily stealing playstations as their kids pack for uni? )

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

caught sitting

We get a box of organic veg delivered every Tuesday. The idea is that as the new boxful is delivered, the previous (now, of course,empty) box is removed. But someone seems to have taken a shine to this week's box:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Meet the Unidentifiable Finished Object

(NB, kindly focus your gaze upon the knitted object and not Graham's very smart measuring tape!)
It was supposed to be a tray for displaying my crocheted corsages, but, well, goodness; does Rowan Tapestry felt, or does it felt? (Clue: the answer is YES).
It went into the machine at 14" diameter and came out (one 60 degree cycle later) as 7" diameter. It is the thickest, most plumptious felt ever. The combination of soy and wool (each felting at its own rate) has created a fluffy, boucle fabric.

But what's a girl to do with an under-sized tray?

Option 1: the frisbee. (unphotographable) I discovered this option when I removed it from the washing machine and, so angry with the drastic shrinkage, flung it the length of the garage. Not sure whether this had more to do with the strength of my rage than with the item's inherent aerodynamic potential...

Option 2: the exceptionally silly hat (photos censored out of consideration for model!) Would need addition of elastic for true functionality.

Option 3: the wallhanging. Just add beads and embroidery and....nah, too pretentious by half.

Option 4: fold in half, and use as a knitted cornish pasty.

But, then again, why???

Option 5: teapot mat.

I think this will have to be what it becomes. Unless anyone else has any ideas?!!!

Since completing this I've made something which I love (and with which it will be most difficult to part.) But it is a secret surprise, so I'm not showing you!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

this week's FOs

This week I've been using some of my stash of yarns that I've dyed recently and whipped up a few items to sell via the country market. (Not that any of them actually did sell today, but there's always another week).

First off, a ripple stitch scarf.

The stitch is Gary's Ripple (from Jan Eaton's 200 Ripple Stitches) and it has to be the most addictive stitch pattern ever. This must be about the 10th scarf I've made using this stitch since July! The yarn here is the awful Jaeger Como that I jolly nearly shipped off to a charity shop. It nearly drove me mad when I tried to knit with it (splitting and puckering) but it behaved really well once coupled with my 6.5mm Susan Bates silvalume crochet hook.

Then there are 3 pairs of bootees (2 pairs in DK and one, the green one, in 4-ply).

They're worked in one piece, from the sole up and are distantly related to a yellow, lacy pair in a pattern that Patons published many moons ago (and which I've long since lost.) I'm particularly pleased with the 4-ply yarn, the softest lambswool that I got from Texere and which I've dyed in all sorts of unisex colourways (green with russet and blue; green with red and turquoise; green with purple; green with we see a pattern emerging here?)

knitting and dreaming

Decided to have a really lazy day yesterday and headed off to Cambridge Botanic Garden.

I found my favourite seat

which gives these two wonderful views

and knitted away for ages, with only the odd passing squirrel to distract me. Once I'd cast off I went for a stroll and fun taking pictures of reflections!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Just a perfect day...

Yesterday started off well, with Radio 3 playing my absolute favourite piece of music, Farewell to Stromness by Peter Maxwell Davies. (Sadly I couldn't get the youtube code to embed, so you'll have to click on the link! Also note, the youtube performance is on a guitar, it is even better on the piano.) I've been totally hooked on his work since I saw the premier of Le Jongleur de Notre Dame at the King's Lynn Festival in 1978 (Based on a medieval French story, and performed in St Nicholas Chapel, the cast included a rather stunning juggler.)

But back to yesterday! Next I had the wonderful task of choosing which of my handpaint yarns to work with next, then the carpeneter turned up to put a much-needed cabinet in our bathroom! Leaving him working, Graham and I headed off to town (Graham to the University Library and me to browse craft markets and bookshops)then we met for a half at The Granta, followed by lunch at The Rice Boat.

Obviously, we had to walk off all this indulgenece, so we wandered over Granchester Meadows (famously celebrated by Pink Floyd, another favourite track) and then came to rest in The Orchard Tearooms.

Lemonade was consumed,

ripples were hooked

and then (now totally overcome by waves of laziness) we reminded ourselves that it was a whole week since we'd travelled on a double decker bus (yes, we are both big kids at heart) so we decided to do the 2 miles back to the centre of Cambridge by bus! We were beaten to the upstairs front seats by two Japanese visitors but still had an exciting ride. As the the bus tore through country lanes it was ripping off leaves from overhanging boughs and the leaves landed in our laps. Huge fun.

Friday, September 07, 2007

the costs of being a hooker

After a mammoth dyeing session (er, that's mammoth as in "huge" as opposed to mammoth as in "extinct mammal"!) on Wednesday I now have lots of Jaeger Como in wild colour mixes inspired by (a) the blackberry bush next to which I did the dyeing (on a pasting table in the garden) and (b) a somewhat Gustav Klimt palette of golds and oranges, with flashes of greens and turquoises. Since I'm totally hooked on croceheted ripple stitch scarves at the moment I think I'll use the yarn to make more. But, big but, I realised that I'd need some large hooks. The ball band specifies 8mm, but I like drape, so I've decided to try 9mm, too.

Alas, I couldn't find any in my supplies bag. So off to town. And the awful discovery that the only large crochet hooks available in Cambridge at the moment are Pony hooks. AARGH. I hate Pony hooks. The hooked end is all catchy and splitty! After several months of intensive crochet I've realised that my top favourite hooks are susan Bates silverlume aluminium (and not just because of the gorgeous colours), followed by Britanny, followed by any other hook that isn't Pony.

Worse was to come. Not only did I have to buy Pony hooks, but in these large sizes they cost £3.30 each. Ouch.

End of rant!

Monday, September 03, 2007


I'm in. My user name is caughtknitting. Not sure whether I'll be able to do any knitting or crocheting this evening, though as I've gone and cut a finger whilst at work. Not a bad cut, just an awkward place.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

the ultimate throwaway line?

Hooray! Radio 4's Pick of the Week has just included an excerpt from a programme broadcast on Radio 3 last week, about the discovery of the original manuscript of Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur. And it included what has to be the ultimate in thowaway lines, speaking of somebody "betrayed by his wife, who made him seven years a werewolf". And that's all. No further explanation! Mind you, Malory himself had a colourful (if werewolf-free) life as you can read here.

Whilst on the subject of literature, here's a poem by that prolific poet Anon:

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can't we all be like that wise old bird?

And here is Crazy Big Owl, he of the crazy eyes (and stuffing session) I mentioned last night:

He's based on the "Cute Little Owl" pattern from the latest (Sep/Oct) issue of Crochet Today. This was, unbelievably, on sale in W.H.Smith, complete with an insert suggesting suitable Patons yarns for each project. (Mind you, since many projects use worsted weight yarns the list virtaully read "Washed Haze Aran, Washed Haze Aran, Washed Haze Aran" and so on and on and on). Needless to say, I did not use the recommened yarn for this project (guess what, Washed Haze Aran!) but raided the stash basket for super chunky and chunky-weight yarns. And, well, let's just say that I had my own particular vision of how the eyes should look!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

gizmo heaven

Today has been spent happily playing with two new toys (I didn't really want to admit that they are toys but have no idea whether a pluralised gizmo has an "e" in it or not).

Gizmo numero uno cost a mere £1.25 and is a teeny little plastic device for winding embroidery floss onto bobbins. I'm using it to transfer Anchor Perle onto bobbins. It is a wee bit ricketty (and has to be clipped onto one of those dinky little boxes used for storing skeins of floss) but costs even less than a half of cider. Remarkably it came from a cycle shop. But not just any old cycle shop. No, Ely Cycle Centre is the most unexpected store ever. To start with, the bikes are upstairs, which strikes me as crazy (especially as this is a steep, twisty, staircase). But as well as bikes you can find: model kits, DIY equipment, toys galore (I very nearly bought a stick-on party moustache but there were so many to choose from that I gave up!)and an enormous craft section. Strictly speaking, there isn't much for knitters. But with crochet yarn, buttons, beads, fabric (and more) you're bound to find something that you need (even if you didn't realise it when you set out).

Whilst in Ely

(NB this picture was taken on an earlier visit; yesterday was decidedly overcast) we also visited the Cathedral and Topping Books, where Graham bought me this gorgeous tome as an anniversary gift!

The other new gizmo is an Ashford Niddy Noddy from Scottish Fibres (exemplary service, as always!). It is supplied unfinished, so Graham kindly smoothed it with fine sandpaper and we both had fun waxing it with some ancient beeswax polish. Now (at last) I can create consistently-sized skeins and it is such fun to do. When I went into the interstices of the garage to hunt the polish I spotted 7 balls of Jaeger Como (an impulse buy that I regretted) destined for the next charity shop run. I looked more closely: 90% merino, 10% polyamide... Suddenly I saw it with new eyes: dyers eyes. Yes, it may knot easily and pucker as you knit. But I can convert the off-greige colour into rainbow loveliness and it should be good for corsage-making, if nothing else. No prizes for guessing what the niddy noddy has been skeining!

And now it is owl-stuffing time (not to be confused with this ) and I must crochet some mad eyes. All will be revealed. But not today.