Friday 30 December 2011

FO Friday 67: Karise Redux

So here it is, another lie exposed .... last Friday I told you all about my likely final Finished Object of 2011, the Karise Shawl I made for Mini Diva's BFF:

But it took a mere 2 skeins of King Cole Merino 4ply in 'Lilac' and odd moments stolen throughout a 4 day period, to knit up another Karise:

Actually, I ran out of yarn with about 80 or so stitches left to bind off .... so I cheated and finished with a bit of Stylecraft DK in a very similar lilac that I had hanging about. You can only notice if you know where and what to look for.

This Karise is destined for my Auntie Vera ( my great-uncle David's 2nd wife: his1st wife Una Jean was my mother's Aunt) in Scotland, as a thank you for her many kindnesses to me.

I am cogitating my New Year goals .... and will likely share them with you soon - but I wouldn't hold your breath.

Meanwhile, over at Tami's Amis, you will find more end-of-year loveliness .....

Thursday 29 December 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name .....

..... does not smell as sweet. Shakespeare was wrong.

I have stolen downstairs in the middle of a wind-tossed winter's night to tell you all about my gift, while polishing off the sad remainder of a box of Turkish Delight ...

DH has spoiled me terribly, and by that I mean he has actually spoiled me far too well, and has been most wickedly extravagant on things that I cannot return to the store. One of the things he gave me, having consulted with Destructo Boy, was a bottle of this:

And oddly enough, the topic of perfume and men's buying of it had just been a topic explored by my Twin Ania both on her blog, and her Facebook page.

After a misspent youth wearing Opium and Obsession, I achieved some subtlety, and grew up into the très très chic scent that is Caleche by Hermes. I have worn nothing but Rose perfume for about the last eleven years or so. Firstly Crabtree & Evelyn's 'Damask Rose', until they stopped making that and replaced it with the somewhat inferior 'Evelyn Rose', which I have continued to use even though I live in the provinces where it is impossible to find; it looks as if it is going down the same forlorn path. I have also used the RHS Rose perfume, which, again, is proving somewhat challenging to find.

My DH and Destructo Boy, knowing all this, went on a mammoth hunt through everywhere they could think of, and the closest thing they could find was this 'Very Irresistible' by Givenchy, which says it uses 5 types of rose in its manufacture. Bless their cotton socks, I love them dearly, and I so wish that I could say that this smells of roses. But it doesn't. It smells like expensive French perfume.

And now, so do I.

Friday 23 December 2011

Stick A Fork

..... in me and call me toast - cuz I am DONE. 

DH is already on holiday, Belo had the kids, so yesterday was spent in a frenzied whirlwind tour of the town's most exclusive retail establishments. 

Well, actually, it was far more like a well-organized and brilliantly executed military campaign through ToysRUs and late-night shopping at Asda-of-the-Empty-Shelves, but that doesn't sound half so interesting. There was only one failure: there was not a Tech Deck to be had for Argos or money. Still, I think that the loud guns will make up for that.

Today I have to pop into town to collect DH's gifts (pre-ordered), there is a little housework to be done, a dog to be walked, and I have a manicure session planned with Mini Diva. For half of those I will definitely be in my trackie bottoms.

I also have what I think may be my final FO of the year:

This is Karise. The pattern was generously gifted to me by Steph, and I had the yarn from a de-stash Ewenique did some while back: Knitpicks Shadow in the colorway 'Petals'. Although this was laceweight, there was yarn enough for 4 repeats of Chart A, 3 repeats of Chart B and one of Chart C. The pattern was lovely, easy to read, thorough instructions and no errors; the stockinette contrasts so beautifully with the lace sections. I'll be knitting this again quite shortly, I think. This version has gone as a Christmas gift to Mini Diva's BFF.

That is probably also the final post before Christmas unless I manage to get up hours earlier than anyone else over the weekend, which seems ...unlikely. Do remember to have a relaxing and joyful Yule.

Friday 16 December 2011

Little Things

Final day of term over. Done with. Everything brought home, and already washed. Dog walked and fed. Cats fed (numerous times throughout the day). House clean. Husband still at work until tomorrow afternoon. Children at their Belo's for a sleepover.

Hence my choice of Chamomile from the Druid Plant Oracle for today's post, indicating a time of calm and rest. I really like the detailed artwork of this deck, and I am familiar with all the plants used for their own practical herbal sake, rather than a 'Druidic' connection. I wish someone would commission the artist Will Worthington to do a proper English/European herbal deck - I used to own the Herbal Tarot some years ago, but it didn't resonate so well because many of the herbs were specific to the USA.

So my plan for this evening consists of staying up late - just because I can (no alarm clock, no kids) and knitting 3 extra repeats of Chart A of Karise ... seeing as how I am using laceweight and it is written for fingering/4ply. I am sulking at it a little bit right now as as there are 108 stitches on one side (correct) but only 107 on the other (incorrect) ....

But then, this cheered me up:

Yes, rubbish photo but it's been dark and snowing/sleeting/raining all day. It is Destructo Boy's deceptively simple Xmas sweater. Here's a far better photo of the buttons:

Aren't they just fabulous ? I got them from Mollimoo on Folksy - do have a look, she has some very pretty things, and with friendly service too.

And on the back:

Because as Mr.Kitten said on this blogppost, nothing says Christmas like a skull and crossbones.

And do you remember me wondering about the somewhat odd buying system of the Garn Studio/Drops website ? Luckily for me, my friend Mags offered to act as my pusher dealer facilitator, and thus procured for me some yummy alpaca 4ply, and 2 skeins of laceweight just for the heck of it, which arrived this morning.

What's that ?

Yes, one of the laceweights is black. 

What'd  you say ?

You're absolutely right, I don't know what I was thinking. Probably I was caught up in the rush of actually being able to get hold of some Drops stuff.

Now, do you see the small crinkly looking package on the right ? No ? Try now:

Next to the lovely Xmas card is a pack of jenuwine Stroopwafels. Read 'em and drool, Hestia - they're MINE !

Please do check out other lovely FOs at Tami's Amis.

Tuesday 13 December 2011


So this was me today. Calm, chilled, relaxed, focussed. Believe that, believe anything.

Actually, this was far closer to the truth:

I had looked at Moonheart, and I really think that she had totally the right idea about how to spend the day - especially since it was very cold and blustery outside:

Yes, the radiator is on, and that is a rather unusual and hard-to-come-by spider plant that she is crushing, next to the very expensive cutting that came from Kent that she has her paw in. Buddha also took a header not long afterwards.

However, as I was just about to settle down to Karise (thanks so much again, Steph) with a cup of tea, blankey, hot water bottle and Dr.Mark Sloan, I saw this:

Irresistible, isn't he ? A mere hour and a half of running around chasing squirrels and big leaves in the park turned him into this:

I need to figure out how I can be more productive during this time.

Thursday 8 December 2011


Not mine, I hasten to add - because I never do anything wrong so never have anything to confess. Except that one time when I was dating DH and admitted to squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle ....on purpose. Our relationship survived even though I still do that.

But I was speaking with Uber-Cool Brother yesterday. If you are psychic like what I am and have a memory, like what I do not, you may remember that this year he was the recipient of two, yes, count' em, TWO, hand-knitted scarves, for his birthday.And you will already know where this story is going.

Number One was this one:

Flame Chevron stitch, using BFL 4ply from Abstract Cat in the colorway 'Sunday'.

This shade was not quite in Uber-Cool Brother's personal color wheel; so I was happy to make another in a color he himself selected:

German Herringbone Rib stitch, using Skein Queen's 'Squash' 100% merino 4ply, in the colorway 'Aunt Betty's Pond'. This was apparently perfect: the right color, the right stitch, the right length ....everything.

You need no tarot cards to know that he wore it once and then lost it. The poor old reprobate is having to make do with the first scarf. So seeing as how I wuvs him, and I have a lovely friend who will order from the bizarrely random Drops website for me (their byzantine ordering/purchasing methods brought me to a hissing point non-plus this week) so I can have some delicious - and discounted - alpaca ....he may have yet another scarf. Although it certainly won't be in time for Christmas ... there is a skull & crossbones sweater with that deadline nailed to it ....

What I had been trying to order from Drops was their light cotton DK, to make a sweater for my youngest nephew - who will be 2 years old in February. I found the pattern in the Woman's Weekly Knitting & Crochet Special of January 2011. I can't believe I just put that right out there in the public domain: me, and the Woman's Weekly ..... the only reason that my life isn't over is because I didn't have one in the first place ....

 But anyway. The recommended yarn was Rowan Denim. I just laughed out loud when I saw that - and worked out the cost as approx. £40 ($63). For a toddler's sweater. Like that was gonna happen. Having been defeated by the Drops ordering process, eventually I found a good substitute in James Brett's Kool Kotton from Texere, delivered this morning for the comparatively measly cost of £14.30 ($22.45). Far more affordable, and practical too - the dye doesn't bleed as it does with the Rowan Denim. This will be one of my only two 'must' projects for next year .... more about that theory another time.

Monday 5 December 2011

A Clean Christmas

So it's the 5th of December, 20 days til the Big Day itself. Nanny having come up to go to Mini Diva's special school assembly, has returned southwards bearing Xmas gifts for the youngest nephew and niece, plus the niece's birthday present for January, and her own Xmas gifts from us. I excel myself in terms of organization as far as DH's side of the family is concerned this year.

A stash has been collecting for Mini Diva, but the stockpile for Destructo Boy is sadly lacking. Mainly because I have been trying to find things that he will like and play with, that do not have wheels, or any vehicular connection, as his room is overflowing with petrolhead toys already. So that means there is one Mickey Mouse T-shirt in his stash. And nothing else, so far. Panic not, I am known far and wide for my ability to magic things on the hoof, and thus will have discovered plenty of Fun Wheel-less Things for Boys before Xmas morning.

In a - hopefully - not too tenuous link, just in case you too are searching for a gift for the difficult-to-buy-for, might I just point you towards my Folksy shop ? Where you will find the most deliciously scented, luxuriously lathering, interesting looking, skin-friendly cold process soaps .... including this year's seasonal duo, Melchior and Balthazar:

Balthazar is enriched with a dollop of shea butter and fresh honey, and is scented with Frankincense, sprinkled with frankincense resin, and the top is dusted generously with gold mica.

Melchior is scented with Myrrh, a slightly sharper and lighter scent, and contains a generous helping of cocoa butter; sprinkled with myrrh resin and also dusted with gold mica on top.

Both soaps are wrapped in gold-flecked mulberry paper, with a full ingredient listing, and are available as a pair in a gift basket, together with a new 100% cotton flannel, a sprig of silk poinsettia, wrapped in crisp cellophane and tied with a seasonal ribbon:

Dear Americans, you can order up until the 10th December and still have them in time for Christmas. Fellow Brits, you have until the 20th December.

Thursday 1 December 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

This colorful 6 of Pentacles from the Tarot of Trees is to exemplify the kindness of strangers. I have been very fortunate to receive some lovely things this year - sometimes simply for the asking, and at other times, wished for but unasked - from people I have never met except online.

Quite some while back my Alabama friend Sara of Lazy Knits & Purls was having a clear out and, amongst other things, was getting rid of some Brittany knitting needles; tongue-in-cheek, I suggested that I was a worthy beneficiary.  Lo ! what showed up in my mail a couple of weeks later:

At around the same time, my Fen friend Susie from Useless Beauty was itching to jettison some Malabrigo Lace in a lovely colorway, . She didn't like the feel of it: I know ! Not in her right mind, obviously. D'you think I took advantage ? Why, yes, yes I did - I nominated myself as being is dire need of it, and Lookee ! what my postman delivered a bare few days later:

One skein of which was sent much later to my friend monkey Mimi so as to share the love, and the other I transformed into the Waves of Leaves shawl (blogged about here, here and here):

My Good Twin, Alison of Hestia's Larder, sent me - apropos of nothing - a deck I'd been quite keen on for a while, the Fenestra:

 My Evil Twin, Ania of AniaM, sent me a bunch of ebooks, mainly crime - murder mysteries. I wonder what she's trying to tell me ? By the way, I have actually met my Twins in real life.

And just this week, mi amiga Janine of Where the Nodding Violets Grow not only emailed me with a lovely comment about my last post, but said she'd found one more ball of the Sirdar Sirocco she'd gifted me, and would I like it ?

Also this week, I was surfing my Ravelry friends' activities, and noticed that m'amie Steph had posted pictures of her completed Karise shawl. Why yes, it is green (again) - why do you ask ? Since her alter-ego's name must be Kermit ....

I asked her if she might lend the pattern to me, and - Whallah ! - there it was, gifted to me and sitting in my Ravelry library ! 'Course, that means that now I really do have to knit it.

So take that Bainbridge Scholars Mister Kitten, for all those posts where your thrift shop finds made me weep and wail.