Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Holidays are coming.....!!

I just booked our summer holiday, whoo-hoo!! Four weeks and two days of camping in France, in Brittany, the Loire valley and Normandy. Plus a couple of days in Legoland on the way down.

Camping? CAMPING???? FOR FOUR WEEKS? Well yes, we likes camping, so we does. There`s no better type of holiday for kids, IMHO. You just unzip the tent in the morning and throw them out the door and they whizz off to do manky muddy things with their new found pals while you get to sit around and knit. Yes, of course we do other things like go to chateaux and cycle and stuff ourselves with French food, but we don`t have to sit mewed up in a concrete hotel room at night.

"But in a tent for four weeks," I hear you ask? "Not for me!" Well, I can see the point of not wanting to spend weeks in a tiny pup tent, but we take our fabby old trailer tent. Double beds, fitted kitchen, electrics to run the fridge...even our own en suite bucket, I`ll have you know.

Yes, I know, not tidy campers either, are we? That first picture was taken four summers ago, when Mairi was not quite two, on one of the French campsites we`ll be revisiting this year. At least we won`t have to take a travel cot and highchair this year.

Yeah, holidaaaays!!! That picture puts me right in the mood. Better go blow the dust off the tandems and the snorkling gear, and buy some suncream............:-D

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Foul English germs.

Okay, who gave me the foul English germ? I`d barely got home before I started a cold...sore throat, sniffle, headache etc. My ancient menopausal body can`t take these things any more....minute I get any sort of infection I fall apart. Chronic fatigue and vertigo are auto add-ons.

So it`s been a fun week, not enhanced by the fact the joiners and plasteres etc are in and out at odd moments, doing this and that and forgetting the other. Me and the boss builder...we have this List, you see, of things that still need doing, but it appears to be top secret and information is only released on a need to know basis to the actual workmen. So when a plasterer arrives to finish the front door surrounds, for example, and I ask him if he`s going to be doing the window surrounds today too ...well, blank amazement. Window surrounds? No, Missus, don`t know about window surrounds. Or they turn up at 2pm unexpectedly to finish something and the necessary previous step hasn`t been done....oh well, the list IS getting shorter, I suppose.

I think the most exciting thing I`ve done all week is wind off two of my Noro cones. Now, this has been an illuminating experience and I have learned a couple of things. Firstly, all the balls of any Noro I`ve used has had at least one knot, so I`ve been expecting the cones to have a few knots. You know how many knots I`ve found in the 1700 yds approx I`ve balled? One. Yup, one. In the equivelant of 34 balls. Of course, whatever I knit will have more knots now, since I`ve split the cones down to balls, but I think the lack of onboard knots is weird.

Also....I`ve been winding off in completed colour sequences so I don`t have to think about messy colour joins between balls. This confirmed something for me that I`ve long suspected...Noro Silk Garden (and from this one cone, Kurayon also) is dyed in runs that are approximately 80g long. Now this isn`t a problem when winding your own, as you can wind an exact sequence or you can number your balls to ensure that the colours run sequentially, but given that Noro is sold as 50g or 100g units, if you want the sequence to match, you`ll have to make a lot of joins. And that means more knots, dunnit?

Good thing I love Noro so much....and no, I`m not particularly anal about it matching, but I did make the stripes of the Bettna jacket match across the two fronts (using Noro Shinano) and I think I`d prefer most two part fronts like this. Its not possible to match the back stripes to the front, btw, unless you`re prepared to do a lot of fiddling with two identical balls, because of the number of stitches.

Anyway, it`s still been fun playing with the Noro cones, if only because the two I`ve wound have looked totally different to what I expected from looking at the outsides. The Kurayon in particular metamorphosed from being quite a black/royal blue yarn to one full of dusky pinks and purples on a background of slate blue and grey. Still no idea what to make with it though!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

SkipNorth...the Stash.

Okay, here`s what I bought...


1800 grams of wool/cotton aran blend, at 1p per gram.

Ultra soft alpaca/mohair blend. It was £1 per ball but I only bought three.

Cone of fine pink glitter thread, for plying.

At ColdSpring Mill...

One kilo of Noro mill end Silk Garden, £25 per kilo.

700g of Noro Kocharon.

700 g of Noro Kureyon.

And a 500g cone of what Nic tells me is Sirdar Velvet Touch...100% synthetic, but most definately Mairi colours!

At The Skep..

Silk roving in yummy blues.

A kilo of 75%wool 25% acrylic Superwash aran. Mairi colours again!

At the Knitting & Crochet Guild...

Opal Uni and (*splutter* ) Jaggerspun Zephyr. I don`t knit lace, you understand, but this sort of stuck to my hand.

Nine balls of this really astonishingly coloured mohair, from the 1p per gram mountain.

More astonishing yarn from the Yarn Mountain. I foresee some sort of shrug or bolero in this for Mairi.

Cone of 2-ply from the Yarn Mountain, because I liked the pretty colours and at 70p for the cone I couldn`t bear to leave it.

Set of Susan Bates sock needles, and another of my No1 favourite row counters.

Winghams.. Mini carders for sampling and flick carding.

Three skeins of sari silk.

Angelina fibres for blending.

I made up some bags of colour mixes in the colour shed. I want to try some fancy colour blending so went in with a few themes in mind. For this mix I was thinking "Parrot".


"Indian Spice".


And some white fibres...merino, Lincon, Texel and Dorset Horn.

Quite a haul, I admit, but I didn`t go over budget, no. I had sold one of my wheels a while back and what you see above was bought from the proceeds of this, plus clearing out some unwanted stash on Ebay. Also, no Woolfest for me this year, so I had to stock up while I had the chance.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Back from Skip North.

Got back from Skip North last night, after a very wet and windy drive. Four hours to drive down, five hours to drive home. Bahhhh.....

Anyway, I had a fabulous time, met up with old friends, made some new ones, ate far too much non-diet stuff, put on two pounds and shopped like crazy. It was great. Many thanks to Nic and Lixie once again for organising things!

I`ll post my stash pix later this week, once I de-silt the house. Hubby didn`t do too badly in that the kids were alive, clean and fed at regular intervals, but...well, lets just say that the house isn`t even up to my fairly minimal standards, as I am finding things like Friday`s school uniform under the sofas and plates and cups in the loo. Plus food that I left for the weekend has rotted in the fridge while we have simultaneously run out of everything else. It all needs sorting toot sweet. I can live with dust and clutter, but I can`t stand dirty things strewn over the house! Stash pix can wait.

I`ll just leave you all with one teaser...coned Noro Silk Garden/Kochoran at £25 a kilo, anyone?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Away for the weekend.

Well, the Louet S40, my Hatbox Louet is packed, my knitting and spinning bag ditto, I`ve got wine, rice crackers, mineral water, spare knickers and a toothbrush. Plus my cheque book and credit cards. Do I need anything else for Skip North?????

Probably not. So why do I feel I`ve been preparing for a family holiday this week? I have got all the washing up to date, cleaned the bathroom, shopped till the fridge and freezer overflow with food and made the kids do their homework early. I`ve got school uniform ready for Monday, packed lunches ditto planned, food for....well, why am I doing this? Hubby is off tomorrow, he`ll be home for three days. He`s an adult, he can look after two kids for three days, no?

Well, anyone who was at Skip North last year and heard the conversation when he phoned me to ask where the egg poaching pan is kept knows the answer to that. No...well, kids yes, house, no. Think three kids at home, one of whom has the domestic competence of a sixteen year old. A sixteen year old whose mum makes all his meals and does all his laundry and keeps track of where his socks live. Hubby may be a very fine teacher etc, but when it comes to domestic stuff...well, it all goes over his head. I`m doing all this advance work out of self defence, to be honest. If I don`t, the house will be reduced to a guddle that will take me a month to sort out. If the drawer/fridge/cupboard doesn`t have whatever is required RIGHT THERE, centre front, exactly now, then all hell will break loose. Cupboards will be ransacked at random in an effort to find the "missing" object. I just don`t want to come home Sunday night and find a worst mess than is absolutely necessary. The kids will be fine (though possibly a bit grimey) and happy with the somewhat looser routine and the excessive amount of chips, but the house? Oh well....

Kids are good. The kids both have helped me write a list of chore reminders for each of them and they have stuck them on their doors. One of the reminders is "Remind Daddy to make vegetables." I can`t wait till Duncan is old enough to take over more cooking!

Anyway...I`ll face Sunday when it comes, suitable armed with yarn. Skip North, here I come!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

SkipNorth #2.

I`m off to SkipNorth again this weekend, for three days and two nights of knitting, spinning and fibre crafts, talking about knitting, spinning and fibre crafts, meeting knitters, spinners and fibre craftswomen (and man) plus, of course, SHOPPING!!!!!!

I went last year and had a great time. I also did a lot of shopping, oops. Now to be perfectly honest I`ve still got some of this left to use, but then again, I went to Woolfest last year as well, where I bought nearly as much again. This year however I`m not going to manage to go to Woolfest, so this is my main shopping and stock up trip of the year. There are lots of bargains to be found at the shops we`re going to visit, so I`m going in with an open mind, if not an unlimited cheque book. Watch this space.....

On the home front, the scaffolding is down. I`ll say it again...THE SCAFFOLDING IS DOWN!!!!! For the first time since October I can wander around my house in various stages of undress and not have to close the curtains. I can sit at my desk, look out the window and see daylight, not just the green gloom of safety netting. The tap tap BOOM BASH noises of hammers and drills on every surface of the house has ceased. Yeah!

Of course, it`s not over yet. There is some internal joinery work to finish, front door to replace, bit of stone pointing round the front door to do and some plaster to be mended inside. And then of course there is the central heating to be renewed and the kitchen to be gutted and replaced. And after that we have a ceiling to be replastered plus the whole house to redecorate. (We=Me, actually, when it comes to the redecorating thing!) Also our back gate needs to be widened and replaced, and the attic clad. I`m assuming that this will all take about another year, given the speed I work. But I don`t care. The scaffolding is down and the light is streaming in our huge, HUGE new windows. Happy days.......