Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Final Frontier.

Yup, my Ravelry invitation came yesterday afternoon. Even Hubby was getting vaguely interested by this time so even though I`d already checked twenty minutes before he came in, I checked again. Bingo!

I`m registered as...guess who....Spinningfishwife. I couldn`t be Spinning Fishwife because you`re not allowed more than 16 characters in your name, it seems, including spaces.

Hmm. Well, it`s not quite what I expected. The database facility to search yarns, patterns and what people have done with both is fantastic...I`ve been poking around in that, looking at everything anyone has made out of the more obscure yarns in my stash and inspecting 70+ pairs of Falling Leaves socks etc. Very useful, nothing else quite like it out there on the web. I think it`s a total winner.

Forums? Do I need to belong to more forums? No I do not, but I`ll probably join in at some point. Ditto the Groups thingie. Both duplicates of things we have plenty of already. Nice to have it all in one place, I suppose.

It was a bit like first day at university, really. Vast place, not sure what`s going on or quite what you`re meant to be doing, too much choice and not enough time. I`m sure I`ll get round everything in time and 75% of it won`t be of the least interest or relevence to my preferred sort of craftwork, but I will look of course. But if that`s what it`s like now, Gawd knows what it`s going to be like when 5,000 folk per week start arriving!

Anyway, the Falling Leaves socks? You`ll be pleased to hear I conquered the crochet cast on short row heel on the fourth try, and am now on the lace section. Pity I can`t carry a 12-stitch repeat pattern over three repeats in my head with any great reliability, but that`s the challenge, no? At least we have Post-It notes!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


You signed up on June 21, 2007
You are #10468 on the list.
54 people are ahead of you in line.
18664 people are behind you in line.
35% of the list has been invited so far

The suspense is killing me........

And this short row wrapped toe crochet cast on sock is doing my head in....first time round the gauge was too loose, second time round I tried a few "improvements", third time round I discovered I can`t count past thirty with any reliability. Oh well, fourth time least it`s passing the time while I`m waiting in the Ravelry queue!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Ravelry and socks.

Am I sad? I`ve been checking my position on the Ravelry waiting list every day. Today??

You signed up on June 21, 2007
You are #10468 on the list.
184 people are ahead of you in line.
18414 people are behind you in line.
35% of the list has been invited so far

(And just to prove I`m really sad, I`ve organised my sock stash and started taking pix of it. I`ve opened a Flickr account as I`m ready to go to the Ravelry ball!)

Socks. Umm. I finished the Purple Iris socks. I used the plain vanilla sock pattern from the Violet Green Sock Pattern Generator, which is a greatly useful little site. (Nice yarns too.)I`m knitting them in Lorna`s Laces Shepherd Sock, two skeins of 215 yards each.

Except...when I`d finished the first sock, there still seemed to be a lot left of the first ball. So out of interest I weighed the sock and the remains of the ball. Sock weighed 33 grams, 25 grams left. Um. I weighed the second ball. 58g.
Now this was nice...obviously, the yardage is crucial to LLs, not weight. I approve. And admittedly The VG pattern is not a long leg one...the leg measures 6" to the start of the heel shaping.
So I used the 25g remainder of the first ball plus (I checked) 8g of the other. I weighed the socks and they weighed 33g each, unsurprisingly, given that the sizes matched.

Thus...I used 66g out of 116g, and I`ve got 50g left over. I find this annoying. 50g is most (not all!) of another pair of socks. Shepherd Sock yarn is expensive here..£6.50 plus postage per skein. This is not left-overs...this is wastage. As in wasted money. I like the colour, but not enough to knit another pair anytime soon.

Incidentally, that 8g I used from the second ball translated into 25 rows of 60 stitches, plus 18 rows of toe shaping and cast off. What does all this mean? It means that if I`m mean, then I sould be able to knit myself a pair of socks out of one skein of LL`s Shepherd Sock, no? 29g per sock. I`m short 4g per sock on this pattern, ie 13 rows of 60 stitches each plus half of the toe shaping. (Check me here if I`m`s late in Scotland as I write this!)I could make shorter socks, or I could put in a contrast heel/toe/cuff. Goody.....

(Or I could work it all out in yards, but another day, okay???)

Finally, you may have noticed that I said I had finished the Purple Iris socks? Sometimes I amaze even myself. I had decided that finishing them by the end of the month was my goal, and here I am with four days to spare. So I can start a new pair now, yup? September Socks, but four days early. So what to make?

Okay, I looked at Monkey as Yvette suggested, but somehow they didn`t ring my bell. Nice socks but.....anyway, I kept looking around the other Knitty socks and I decided on these, Falling Leaves.

Why? Well, the pattern includes several elements that I haven`t tried before...crochet cast on, toe-up construction, a short row heel AND they`re in lace. And I liked the name of the pattern of course. I`m not quite brave enough to try them in a varigated yarn though...I want to be able to see where I`m going wrong. The only plain yarn I had in stash was a ball of Opal Uni in a very bright pink however, so leaves it is.

I`ve cast on (urgh, I`m not good at crochet, my preciousesss...) and got up to...well, not quite sure where, but I`m sure it will all make perfect sense soon. I`m not gifted with the sort of mind that can visualise a shape from knitting instructions, so I tend to follow patterns with blind faith and count my stitches a lot!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Not yet, alas, but I`m thrilled to see that I`m now down to 888th on the list, as opposed to the upper 3,000th that I was a month ago. I get the impression that a lot of forum members and bloggers are spending most of their PC time there, because everywhere in knittingwebland is still so quiet. I want to see what`s going on in there!

Yup, now it`s the end of summer and the kids are back at school, my thoughts are turning back to woolly things again. Socks, mostly. What is it about knitting socks? I love (compared to a sweater), easy to carry around, don`t have to worry about the FO making you look fat and even quite quick to knit. (For most folk...) If I had picture capability I would show you the sock I`m currently knitting...just plain vanilla pattern, but in a gorgeous Lorna`s Laces SS colour called Purple Iris. Nice sock. And I`ve been buying sock wool like there`s no tomorrow...

So, given that I have a couple of years worth of sock knitting materials now stashed, I decided to set myself a little challenge. One pair of socks per month. Pathetically easy? Not for me...I need motivation. It`s a fact that I managedto knit myOlympic Jaywalkers in two weeks, after all. (I knit three, almost, what with all the frogging of mistakes! So plain, or simple lace/rib socks, should be do-able in a month, no?

So I`ll finish the Purple Iris socks by the end of the month (I`m on the heel of No2) and then choose something suitably Septemberish to do next. Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wet day and girl things.

It`s peeing it down here today. I did think I would take Mairi to the allotment and she could pick blackcurrants while I did some weeding, but it looks like that`s out, alas. Pity, because there`s about 20 lbs of blackcurrants needing picked and it`s one of my least favourite jobs, because it involves bending down and that goes for my creaky old back. Oh well, perhaps I`ll take a stool up next week.

So it`s another day of home improvements. (Plus Tesco and laundry, but that goes without saying!) Yesterday I pulled the parts of the old single bed down from the attic to set it up in Mairi`s room. She was still sleeping in her old junior cot bed, and as she`s a tall girl it was a case of head at the headboard and toes curled up at the footboard. Too small... Anyway, she was extremely dubious about the "big" bed (she actually wants Duncan`s bunk beds) but fortunately I recalled that this bed was actually half of a set of bunks from my sister`s house, and the other half was still being slept in by Big Girl Cousin Nicola. Mairi adores both Big Girl Cousins, so that was fine by her, and she was totally happy when she found where Nicola had scratched her name into the varnish on the foorboard, lol.

Anyway, that`s now up in her room, after an interval of cursing when I discovered that Hubby had unplugged the charger for the electric screwdriver and it was flat. I don`t suffer from female incompetance when it comes to DIY, but I have a heavy dependence on power tools because of my small hands. BTW, why don`t they make power tools for folk with hands smaller than gorillas? I`d love a really good rechargable drill that I could hold with only one hand.

I`d repainted the section of Mairi`s wall too, where the old radiator had been removed, and the whole room is looking rather nice, though untidy. That`s our mission for today...tidying up, throwing out a few old things and getting her school uniform etc out to the front again for term starting on Monday. She`s also starting a new gymnastics class tomorrow morning, going for her rugby try-out tomorrow afternoon, swimming classes start again on Monday and ballet on Wednesday. Phew! I`d better get the piles of kit in order...and for Duncan, because he`s got just as many activities too.

Rugby for Mairi? Yes, why not? She`s been standing on the sideline watching Duncan play since she was a baby and she`s keen to have a go. There`s not many girls play at our local club but there are some, and mixed rugby is allowed up to the end of Primary 7 (age 12) under the SRU rules. She`s a big girl for her age, very strong and very fast, plus having a big brother like Duncan she`s pretty used to rough and tumble so I think she`ll do well. Also, starting at P2 (age 6) instead of the more normal P3 (age 7) means she`ll get a lot more time to find her feet, as P2 rugby is mostly just getting used to the ball handling and such. They don`t do full contact rugby at that age either...though I expect Mairi will quite enjoy the chance to legitimitely terrorise a few boys, lol.

Bah, back to domestic stuff, I suppose. All of this is made worse by the fact that 25 miles away the Broughton Gathering has just started, a big annual meeting of all the local spinning groups for chat, coffee, events, competitions and worst of all, shopping opportunities. I can`t go though because I have Mairi to look after here...I had foolishly neglected to mark this down on the calendar and before I knew it Hubby had booked this weekend off to go to Wales with Duncan, to see a friend. Humph. I`ve tried taking Mairi before to spinning events and though I know she`d manage for an hour if she had a quiet corner, some colouring books and a lot of snacks to keep her busy, it`s basically too fraught trying to keep an eye on her over several halls. And frankly, I`m not that keen on taking grumpy small kids to events where adults are trying to have a nice quiet peaceful relaxing day away from their own kids, you know? Not fair on anyone, including me.

I do regret the shopping opportunities though. So I have promised myself a couple of hours tidying up the stash this afternoon, to remind myself that I`ve got more gorgeous fibres and yarns waiting to be used than I can possibly cope with! Anyway, I need to find a couple of UFOs that I`m determined to finish this autumn and to see if there`s anything that really should go on ebay. Plus plan my next spinning project...I`ve got some lovely Gothland fibre somewhere, and some grey angora. I fancy a cardigan from that, I think....

Have a nice Saturday, folk.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Yes, I know I`ve been on holiday. I`ve been on holiday twice, in fact. Photos? Well yes, lots, some even fibre related. But can I blog them? Nope...because when Hubby last did an upgrade to my PC he did something funny to my photo software or something. I`m just going to have to wait till he both gets a moment spare and the spirit moves him to fix it.

Second holiday? I was in Aberfeldy last weekend, camping. Lovely place, if damp. Proper Highlands...well, enough to impress this Lowlander, anyway! The sort of place you feel you might like to go to the summer, that is. I would think it would be a bit dreich in winter, and the nearest Tesco is a 60 mile round trip, eek!

We were up there because one of Hubby`s work friends was having a joint stag/her party with her soon to be husband...this wasn`t your normal boozy knees up, you understand, but a weekend full of outward bound activities. Pity it rained so much, but Hubby took our ten year old Duncan out on a canoeing trip in a double kayak...Hubby was a mad keen canoist when he was younger. he told me though that he rediscovered muscles that hadn`t been used for 25 years on that trip! Duncan took to the canoe like the proverbial duck to water (doesn`t surprise me) and was soon paddling himself around in a solo. I can see another expensive, time consuming but oh-so-worthwhile hobby coming up, methinks.

(Imagine here photo of Duncan solo on loch, paddling around like a pro and grinning from ear to ear. In the rain....)

We also had a family trip to The Scottish Crannog Centre, a very interesting day out if anyone is going up that way. It`s a reconstruction of a Loch Tay crannog dating from 600BC. There are the remains or sites of 18 crannogs in Loch Tay, so it must have been a bit of a busy place back then!

There was a lot of textile stuff in both the exhibition and in the reconstructed crannog....fibres and yarns from plants like nettles as well as sheep wool, natural dyeing, several reconstructions of stone weighted looms and of course stone whorl spindles. There was also a place at the end of the tour where you could try your hand at Iron Age activities such as fire making, stone drilling, grinding corn and of course spinning. Guess who made a beeline for a stone whorl spindle and then proceeded to show off? Well, it`s got to be done!

Good weekend, really. This weekend is going to be quiet, however, as Hubby and Duncan have gone to Wales. Not quite sure why Mairi and I didn`t go along, now I think of it, but we`ll have a nice girly weekend here. We`ve already been to Ikea to look at kitchens and rugs and curtains etc, as part of the planning for the Great House Redecoration.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I was in bed, half asleep, and I heard this noise out in the hallway, like a squeaky rubber toy. "Eek eek!!"

Son had a friend here for a sleepover, so I assumed it was one of the kids. But it was past midnight, so I went out to shussh them.

Daughter`s room....silent except for breathing. Son`s room the same.

"Eek eek!!!"

I put on the hall light and there are our two 14 month old cats. And a very small grey furry thing.

"EEKKKK!!" (No, not me, the furry thing....)

Now, the cats do occasionally bring things in, but usually the things are dead. I poked the furry thing and realised it was trembling. (As any small furry thing would do, in the presence of two cats.) So I went for a jar or something....

....came back, it had gone. So had the cats. I went looking. Found Girl Cat (the brains of the outfit.) No furry thing. Found Boy Cat...on top of the dresser. With Furry Thing in mouth.


Up I climb (this is me in my nightie at 1am, you understand) with the jar and glare at Boy Cat. He glares contest, really. I take Furry Thing out his mouth and put it in the jar.

It`s a very small not-mouse, a vole I think, about an inch long. It is still trembling, but it is no longer making a sound.. It seems to have all its legs, tail, whiskers, head etc and there is no blood, so I shut the cats in a room and take it down to the garden, where I put the jar on its side in some long grass. Not-mouse will have to take it from here, I think to myself, and go into the house again. I shut the door out to the garden and the upper door into the hall, then take the collars off my two cats. Not going out again tonight, chaps! And then I go to bed.


They are sitting by the door, both of them, yowling to get out. To play. If they are fast, they imply, it will not escape again. Their toy.

Cats can be pretty horrible sometimes, no?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Summer v. Winter.

Yup, I know I`ve not been blogging. Sorry, all. But you know, I think there`s always a general downturn in postings in Blogland at this time of year. We all go from being curled up in our caves with the curtains tight shut against the cold and dark, to bright warm days, sunshine (a bit, anyway!) and outdoor pursuits. Who`s got time to blog?

What have I been up to since April then? Well, the central heating did indeed get finished and I then called a halt to ALL home improvement stuff until after the summer school holidays. I spent the next few weeks clearing up a bit, doing allotment work and getting packed for our long holiday. We went away on 23rd June to France, and we got back ten days ago.

Spinning? Knitting? Fibre stuff? Well, I`ve knitted one and a half pairs of socks, finished the main sections of my Noro Shinano jacket and spun up a few bobbins of this and that. I did a couple of Spin in Public days with the Haddington Spinners at the Haddington Gala week and the Three Harbours art festival and....well, not much else. Not a lot to show for three months.

Anyhow, I`m back but still snowed under. The kids don`t go back to school till 20th August and I`m running around after them during the day. The allotment is like a jungle, we`ve got one more camping trip to get organised for and of course, I`m starting to gear up for Phase 4 of the house improvements ie the new kitchen. (I just don`t even want to think about this just now, okay?)

You know, the general perception of summer is long lazy days lying around doing not a lot and listening to the bees hum in the garden. Um. Not here. I`m knackered. Does anyone else find summertime the most exhausting season of the year? Roll on January!