Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thank you.

Thanks to all who left comments or sent me emails about Missy. It was comforting. I know it's a reasonably common occurance for pets to die for whatever reason, but she and Theo her brother were actually the first two pets I've had since I left my mother's house, and when my mother's cats died I'd been away for years and it didn't have the same impact. Funny how the little gits get under your skin, whilst still managing to ignore you half the time, eh? Theo is also managing fine, though he does have a somewhat puzzled look on his face when he sees only one food bowl on the tray. We're giving him a lot of fuss and treats, but there's no denying he's not the brightest twig on the tree and it's quite possible that he just thinks she's off catching a particularly agile mouse or something.

On a brighter note, I just wanted to show you a photo I took of my kids, Lad and Princess, on Christmas morning. (Pre-accident.)

Pretty well sums the two of them up, really. The slogan on the t-shirt is a World of Warcraft joke, btw. No, I don't understand it either. Hubby bought it for Lad. But most of Lad's friends find it hilarious, so presumably it is. Oh, and Princess doesn't usually look this red eyed, it was just that she got some play make up, including pink eyeshadow. Not a girl that really appreciates the concept of less is more when it comes to warpaint. But the expression? It says it all, really. We are NOT amused!

PS. Seen Kerrie's blog today? I'm proud to report that she saw it here first. Ohh, if there's one thing almost as good as being able to buy 3,000 packs of yarn for yourself, it's enabling someone else to do it. I do so hope she posts photos of it all on the Open Day!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


This is Missy, one of the brother-sister pair of kittens we got from a friend 18 months ago.

Yesterday she brought home a blackbird. A live blackbird. I was out shopping, but reportedly the blackbird wasn't going down without a struggle and managed to fight off Missy, Theo and my Hubby round most rooms of the house before Hubby caught it and took it down to the garden to free it. Minus about half its feathers, but still capable of a wobbly flap. I missed this drama, but one of the things I said was that I was SO glad Missy hadn't brought it back during Christmas lunch, bad cat. Bad cat just curled up in a drawer and went to sleep on top of the teatowels.

She managed to go one better when it came to ruining our Christmas lunch. Just as our guests were arriving today, she got hit by a car just outside our house. Two passing neighbours alerted us and after a frantic hunt by them, our son and myself we found her under a tree, unmarked but obviously badly hurt. I brought her back to the house and was just phoning the emergency vet when she died, very quietly. She didn't seem to have ben in obvious pain, but was very, very shocked. Internal bleeding? I don't know, though the neighbours said that when she was hit, there was a very loud thump. I don't know if the driver even saw her because the angle of the sun would have been in his eyes going up our hill. He didn't stop though, and he must have known he hit something. She ran off into a garden. Maybe he thought she was okay.

Anyway, she's dead. It was a horrible Christmas lunch and my son especially is very distressed. We're all very sad. She wasn't a lap cat, she liked to be outside watching things and killing small beasts but she did like a scratch and a cuddle from all of us and as she got older she was rounding into a lovely personality of a cat. We all loved her very much. However the kids have decided she's gone to live with their big brother Robbie in heaven. I like that idea. He always wanted a cat as a pet and he'd like her, I'm sure.

Christmas is officially cancelled here, folks. Hope you all had a better one.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


It would be best for me to stop thinking about this, yes?

(It's only a three hour drive away. How big a van do you think I'd need?????)

Edit: Well, I could hire a monster great van for a weekend for around £150 so transport would not be a problem. But Hubby has pointed out there is the additional problem of storage for one and a half metric tons of yarn. And while the attic is almost certainly big enough volume-wise, the rafters might not be quite up to the weight.


Thursday, December 13, 2007


Hand-dyed 100% wool fibre from Mo-Bair, SECC Glasgow, 2006.

Spun on my Mazurka, Navaho plied to preserve the colour runs.

I did try to add in some extra texture during the spinning and plying, with varying degrees of success.

Pretty, isn't it?

Pattern is the One Row Handspun Scarf, from Yarn Harlot.

But really, it's all about the colours, which I can take no credit for. Aren't they fabulous!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Craft update.

I think I need to do a craft update more regularly, just to remind myself what I'm doing and where I am with things. This is supposed to be a blog with knitting and spinning content after all!

1) Finished the back of the Iro waistcoat/vest/jerkin. Srill not totally enamoured of the bright blue stripe but it's going to be warm at least. I've decided to make it high necked with a small ribbed stand up collar and the zip running right up to the top, given that this is supposed to be a for warmth garment.

2) Made a little Christmas gift bag.

3)I've got to the heel of the second Regia Cotton Color sock. No, not fast progress, but this project lives in the car and I only put knitting time in on it when I'm waiting for the kids at school/sports events/etc. Once I have finished 4) I will bring this upstairs and finish it here, because I'm getting bored with it and want to cast on some other socks.

4) The Dead Parrot. I am on to my third ball of yarn, which will also FOR DEFINATE be my last. Just remind me to poke my own eyes out with a spare needle if I ever even think about using this stuff again, will you?

5) I have finished spinning the two bobbins of singles of Aspen, the October (?) Fiber Club fibre from Spunky Eclectic. Can I just urge you to click across and look at her fabulous fun fur wreath? I tell you, it almost makes me look at the spare ball for the Dead Parrot in a new light. Almost.....

6) I am on the last 10% of the November fibre from Amy as well, the Goblin Eyes.

I am planning a big plying session this week, to do the above two sets of singles. I my humble opinion I've been waiting for a new piece for Old Man Louet my Louet S10 to arrive. Old Man is thirty years old next year and it's been becoming increasingly obvious that one of his important joints was wearing out. The older Louets have a bolt arrangement at the top of the footman, where it joins the drive wheel, rather than the newer push-fit sealed-for-life bearing. This bolt was wearing badly and even copious amounts of oil at every session couldn't eliminate the increasingly loud banging and clattering noises as I spun. So I emailed Louet Nl (The USA people have their own site...this one is for the other side of the Atlantic) and explained my problem. I got a reply almost immediately to tell me that there was a spare parts kit availible that was designed to sort this exact problem and just to order it via my nearest Louet Dealer.
It just so happens that my nearest dealer (and pusher of fibre, books and other all too tempting goodies) is Doreen of Scottish Fibres, a person who I see most weeks anyway at one or other spinning group. So that was easy to do and I got the kit on Saturday. The kit comprises a new footman rod , with the relevant connectors at each end plus the rest of the bearing assembly section for the drive wheel. It took five minutes to fit, assuming you have the right size of Allan key handy. (The ones from Ikea flat pack furniture fit perfectly). There are no instructions, but it's pretty self-evident. And now the new assembly is fitted Old Man Louet is...totally silent! It's like he got a new knee fitted and he's spinning like a frisky youngster. No idea how much the kit was, btw...Doreen hasn't got the invoice yet. I'll let you know. But given that Old Man is now spinning like new again, I think it will be worth every penny. And IMHO there's few better plying wheels than the bobbin led Louets, with their huge bobbin capacity and the way you can pull plying samples in and out with total ease.

What else?

7) I've been working on making the house a bit fancier for Christmas. There's not much that I can do to improve the look of the bare/flaking/falling off plaster etc,not in two weeks, but I have been recovering the the scatter cushions for the lounge sofas. I bought a pile of wool tartan mill ends from The Scrap Store a few weeks back and am using these. Hopefully the effect will be eyecatching enough that no-one will notice the scruffy paintwork, lol.

Oh well, on with Christmas tasks. Two weeks to go, urgh. Better vacuum the lounge sometime soon!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Festive" Inspiration.

I suddenly realised yesterday morning that I hadn't got round to making a small Christmas gift for the Guild gift swap. Ah. General panic and wimping out thoughts here. It just so happened however that I was reading Diane's blog around the same time, and the pattern for her cute little "Sweet Stranding" knitted gift bag was there in front of me, like inspiration from heaven.

No time to mess around with stranded patterns though so I reached for the recently bought sock yarn by The Yarn Yard, in Festive and knitted up this....

I filled it full of little chocolates, and am happy to report that the person who recieved it seemed very pleased. So thanks, Natalie and Diane!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Last Year, This Year....Next Year?????

You'd think that a year was a long time in the life of a cat, no? Especially if it's the difference between 8 months and 20 months. First one you're still a kitten, second one you're a grown cat that gets out at night and can kill things, even be a mother of your own kittens. (If your owners hadn't opted for you to have permenant birth control.)

Apparently not. Missy, aged 8 months.......

Missy, aged one year eight months. And the difference is?????

"What are you moaning about, Ma? You put it here for me, didn't you? Merry Christmas!!!!"

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The November Storecupboard Challenge.

A few of you (probably very few) might be wondering what happened with The Storecupboard Challenge I signed up for at the start of November? Did I do well? Did I manage to do any of it?

Well, yes and no. Yes, I used up a considerable number of the more long-time residents of the pantry and freezer. It's surprising what inventive recipes you can come up with. But are the pantry and the freezer now nice and empty? Well, no. They are still pretty full because November is the month of the Stock Up Now For The Christmas Season special offers in the shops. Some of the offers are too good to miss. So now I have the small freezer (I have two, a small chest one and a very useful "tabletop" extra one) filled up with all the Christmas food that can freeze and the other about 2/3rds full of day to day things.

And my main home shopping delivery has just arrived, with all the bulk basics of booze, cat food, loo rolls and such. Stuff that I don't want to shop for over the next three weeks. And it's vanished into the cupboards with no effort whatsoever, which is amazing.

(Actually, the pantry seems to be full of cat food now, rather than groceries. You really don't want to hear the very long and convoluted tale of how Tesco gave me four weeks x two cats supply of cat food, but belive me I enjoyed this.)

So overall I've used up a lot and as the idea was partially to free up space for Christmas catering, I've succeeded there. It was an interesting exercise and saved me a lot of housekeeping money over November...which I have of course now spent on booze and such. I think I'll do this again in January to help with the twin financial attacks of the sales and the post-Christmas credit card bills.

Knitting? Oh, okay....back of the Cold Weather Corset. (Without lace-up bit.)

The colours of the Noro Iro are, as is usual with Noro, a constant surprise while you're knitting it. I'm not totally 100% enamoured with that very electric blue, but am going with it on the principle that the Noro colour master is probably better at this sort of colour choice than I am.

This is one of a pair of lovely stitch markers I recieved as a gift from a lovely Canadian
Ravelry member called Knittergrl. (No blog, which is a shame. I like reading blogs of people I know in one way or another.) She traded me some Socks That Rock in Scottish Highlands and in the parcel came these stitch markers which went so beautifully with my Iro that I put them on straight away. Thanks, Knittergrl! I hope you enjoy your parcel too, if the Royal Mail ever gets it there.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Kureyon.

I bought this at SkipNorth 2007. It cost me not a lot(under £15 if I recall correctly) considering there was 650g of Noro Kureyon there.

Or was there? I fished the nice neat pack of wound cakes out of stash on Friday night and started to think about making
Rosedale from Knitty. And like a good fishwife, I swatched.


Nowhere near what I expected. I usually have to go down a needle size but this was ridiculous. Tried again. And again. But to get the pattern tension/gauge, I was ending up knitting cardboard. Eh? After much thought, a suspicion occurred. Who actually said it was Kureyon? Noro cone, sure, but no other info. Lets go look on the yarn search on Ravelry....Ah. Noro Iro. No wonder I was going wrong.

So now I had a different find a pattern I liked that I could make from 650g/850 yards of Iro. Clearly, a sweater was not a possibility. So I am making the Cold Weather Corset, also from Knitty, but with a zip up the front rather than the slightly ahem lacing. And ribbing rather than eyelet. And perhaps a higher neckline....really, it depends on how much yarn I have left. But definately not the lace-up bit!

I've started, and I have to say yet again how much I love knitting with Noro wool yarns. (Iro is 75% wool 25% silk.) There's nothing quite like knitting with good wool yarns in general, actually. (Sez she with the worlds largest stash of Summer Tweed in the attic.) Wool is stretchy and cushy and flows on the needles, and the finished fabric is warm and cuddly. Iro, like many Noro yarns, is a tad scratchy in the ball but the swatch I have washed is cuddle soft. So all in all, I'm not regretting the Kureyon.

(I am however now wondering about the other two cones I bought. One was for definate Silk Garden, but the other? I thought it was Kochoran. It's definately got angora, is aran weight and is plied, anyway. Oh well, will find out eventually!)