Friday 30 January 2015

FO Friday 5/15: Derailed

Twilight Realm: A Tarot of Faery

So I slithered out of bed this morning just like any other day, poked toast and jam into the gaping maws of the children before shoving them out the door to school, pottered aimlessly about the house a bit wondering what I could blog about for FO Friday (the backstory of the saying sweet FA was a bit of an eye-opener), trundled off to the park with Sebastian, still pondering ....

Came back to find a friend had posted a link, which of course - curiosity killed that damn cat - I had to click on: Guardian of the Memory.

I have chosen to remember Chaja Pinkaszovics, who was only 9 years old when she was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944.

Destructo Boy is 9 years old.

with thanks to

Wednesday 28 January 2015

StitchAlong Wednesday 4:Hobbled

Tarot of the Cat People

I feel like I haven't much to report today - I have been distracted by Real Life and Leaving the House type things like indoor cricket training for Mini Diva  .... only an hour, which I spend chatting; but it's 30 mins to walk there, and another 30 mins to walk back, so that's 2 hours out of my day ....

But I have re-started the Tru Wuv Shawl that I ended up cutting apart, this time using the lovely smooth and slinky Drops Lace in 0100 'off-white', together with size 8/0 silver-lined glass beads:

I don't want to jinx myself, but so far no errors have been made. 

There has been no further progress in the Lily Go Lightning Thief MKAL as there was no clue last week - but one is due tomorrow. In the meanwhile, I have started a tea cosy, and am writing the pattern down as I go - so watch this space.

There is just too much to be done and too few hours in which to do it ... so I am legging it, leaving you to browse other yummy things over at Life&Yarn ....

Monday 26 January 2015

The Suicide Blender of Death

Housewives Tarot

My regular reader will already know, and commiserate with my family, that I hate to cook. I can cook, but I think too many years where it was part of my job has ruined it as a pleasurable experience for me; in fact - whisper it very gently for you know not who listens - I know lots about it, and am rather good at it when I don't walk away forgetting all about what's simmering on the stove.

But in fact, I am here to declare that I am the Nigel Mansell of kitchen blenders - he didn't become the Formula 1 World Champion until his engineering team managed to build a car that could withstand his abuse assertive style of driving, and I have 3 broken blenders in my immediate past because I haven't had one that can take what I give it.

No, it isn't from dicing up raw mangelwurzels or ignoring the warnings in the booklet and crushing ice for my strawberry daiquiris: I use a blender for smoothies, milkshakes and soups. Well, yes, and the strawberries for the daiquiris, of course.

I know, right ? Just I am super unlucky in having 3 consecutive machines that were obviously not fit for purpose.

Just as well then, that Titch was asked what we would like for Xmas, and I said ' a decent blender'.

the actual model; except with fresh fruit

And Lo ! A blender arrived and all was well and there were many smiles of satisfaction and anticipation. Even more so because it looked like a Ferrari of blenders: friends, according to the label, there is nothing this machine cannot do. It has a bazillion different attachments and fittings, it can grind your coffee beans and blend your soup; it can juice green leafy things and it can chop and mush and ... oh, all kinds of exciting things that I would never ordinarily think of.

So I thought I'd try it out with a nice simple home-made Pea & Ham Soup (that is the actual recipe I used). But without Ham because of veggie Mini Diva.

Yes, I do remember the joke about Kermit and the liquidizer, thank you.


The one startling omission from this amazing piece of machinery equipped with super-sharp blades (2 kinds !) that cut, slice and dice and that do that cutting by whizzing round at faster-than-light speeds is .... an On/Off button.

To operate this equipment, you simply plug it in to the wall socket, and off it goes. As did my heart attack. Luckily the lid was on, so at least I was spared having to clean the ceiling and walls of green paste.

I could not believe it.

I spent quite some time searching through the manual, and the machine itself, searching for the location of the 'Power' button. I even asked the kids to check for me - you never quite know how senility might affect one. What I did find were several repeated warnings on many different pages of the manual about the danger posed to one's fingers by sharp blades. Ya think ??

The chance of random digit mutilation is just not a risk I am happy to take, especially with a Destructo Boy in the house, so I am looking up old-fashioned 'proper' blenders while this one sits abandoned in the shed. I know, but I'm afraid party-pooping is a hazard of getting older, and this is too close to the Raggedy Edge for me.

Monday 19 January 2015

MKAL Monday 2: Bling-a-Bling

Tarot of Durer

Remember I told you I had chosen to make the medium size of the Lily Go 'Lightning Thief' MKAL ?  Even that involves 1242 size 8/0 beads, apparently. After Clue 2, this is what it looks like:

And a close-up, just for effect ....

And since it's Monday, I should tell you of my rookie mistake - while I wait for the next clue, I can't start on the next in my special series of 6 shawls for 2015, because like a complete dodo I forgot that I'd need to ball the skein of Drops Laceweight I bought to replace the disappointing Violet Green Merino Lace which I shuffled off donated gifted to my Eviller Twin. Anyway, I have a ballwinder (oh yes, I've made ALL the jokes) but no swift, so I need another person to hold the skein, but there's only me and Sebastian here.

I'm also on the hunt for white or ivory laceweights available without hassles in the UK; silk and alpaca and/or blends thereof are most welcome as is anything else on the luxury end of the scale - if you have any suggestions or recommendations for yarn and websites, please let me know ....

Friday 16 January 2015

FO Friday 3/15: Roosevelt Cardigan

Tarot of the 78 Doors

So, as we're talking about things we made for Christmas .... well, no, you're right, we weren't. But I was thinking about it, and that's almost the same, right ? 

Anyway. My MIL was our Secret Santa recipient this year, as you may remember, and because she is a MKWO (Member of the Knitworthy Order) I wanted to make something for her that was not only a bit spesh (as she would say) but also usable - which means for someone who can't be faffed with handwash ... squish out gently ... dry flat .... shape while damp.... all that folderol. Us normal people just want to bung it in the machine on a cool wash and have faith that what comes out will look somewhat the same as when it went in. 

This most certainly does not happen with pure wool Aran sweaters, by the way; certainly not my father's which I machine-washed and shrank so it would have fitted a 2 year old. Absolutely YONKS ago, but he has not let me live it down. In mitigation, it was well before I was a knitter and/or had paid any attention to actual informational labels in clothes.

What ? You don't like tangential ? OK .....

yep, that is a pinned piece of paper to tell me which is Right and Left

So the pattern I found was the Roosevelt Cardigan. It is brilliant - clearly written instructions for unusual construction: the pockets consist of the cables, and I loved the cabled saddle shoulders; knitted in the round, grafted underarms, short row shawl collar ... I just really liked it all.

I wasn't so keen on the yarn, Sirdar Wool Rich Aran, in the colorway 313 'Powder Blue' which to me seemed on the scratchy side even after washing and fabric conditioner; and it seemed to knit up a bit unevenly, a bit lumpy and bumpy somehow. I have 2 balls left .... 

It fits my MIL far better than it looks on me, though the sleeves are still a tad long on her. She said she was delighted, and we will accept that at face value as otherwise the heartbreak might render us into a droopy lump of depression ...

Go and see what others have achieved by popping over to ChrisKnits .....

Monday 12 January 2015

MKAL Monday: First Lily Go

AnnaK. Tarot

So it's another grey Monday, very blustery and somewhat mild - but heavy rain is forecast just in time for the school pick-up, and will remain right through walking to Cubs. Yaay.

Instead of being miserable, let's focus on something new and interesting and mysterious instead - the Lily Go 'The Lightning Thief' MKAL, for which the first clue was released last Thursday - I had already posted about being ready here. You'll be happy to know that with age I am sometimes maybe getting a bit more cautious, which means that this morning I ordered some more of the size 6/0 silver-lined crystal beads, just to make completely sure that I shan't run out. I also ordered some more size 6/0 ivory Ceylon beads, which I definitely would run out of on another current project ....

Seeing the quantities of beads required by the pattern is all well and good, but when you begin to see them actually on the knitting, and you only have 28 rows so far , it brings home how many there actually are .... a bazillion. Or so.

I like to start shawls on straight needles because I find it easier, but I'll be switching to circulars soon, not only because of the amount of stitches, but also because it's easier to see the flow of the pattern.

If you're participating in a MKAL, pop the link in the comment section below ...


Friday 9 January 2015

FO Friday 2/15: TLDR

Hanson-Roberts Tarot

I'm feeling a bit like the chap in the card today - droopy and tired. Destructo Boy has kindly shared his bugs and now I have a heavy head cold along with a cough that makes my chest burn. I had caught a cold from Mini Diva towards the end of last term, too, the first in absolute ages. So if I've had one from each of them that should be me done, right ?

But before I retreat to my boudoir to sniffle, hack and use up all the tissues, I'll just tell you about a hot water bottle cosy I made as a Christmas gift for my eldest niece.

She has dodgy heating and feels the cold, and I knew she uses hot water bottles; plus I had some yarn in my stash that her Mum (my sister) had given me that was just the sort of jewel tones that she likes; it had no label, but I'm fairly confident that it was James C.Brett Marble Chunky:

That was it before my kind MIL unravelled and reballed it for me. Now it looks like this:

I used 5.5mm needles, seed stitch for the edges, a cable stitch pattern I found somewhere, and Bob's your Uncle. 

No, I totally didn't even write down how many stitches I cast on, let alone put it into a pattern form that others could use. Did I weigh the yarn before I started so I would know how much I used ?  No, of course not. Whaddya think I am, organized or something ? I don't know, as I get older even the most obvious basics seem to be beyond me, though I can just about manage a witty blogpost title linked to yarn color. Go figure.

Anyway, I wished I had made one for myself, as it's just what I need right now, along with a good dose of Lemsip. Pop over to ChrisKnits for far more enthusiasm and way less whinging ....

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Stitch-Along Wednesday: False Start

Tarot of Durer

Well, here we are with the first WIP post of the New Year - Titch is back at work, the kids are back at school, the house is almost back to normal after the holidays, it's super-frosty and cold outside - must be time to knit, right ?

Well, almost.

I'm waiting for the Lily Go The Lightning Thief MKAL to begin - tomorrow. I shall do the Medium size, for which I am all wound up and have beads galore: 50g of size 6/0 and 50g of size 8/0 clear silver-lined seed beads, which I had for a very reasonable price from Nicola at Chromabeads on eBay, whose service is fast and friendly. Yes, I am afraid I have bought there far more than once now, and thought I should share my good fortune with you.

I know, you're wondering if I have enough. I was too, actually. But 50g of size 6/0 is about 450 beads when the pattern calls for 468, and 50g of size 8/0 is approx. 1400 beads when the pattern calls for 1242. Oh yeah, that's me, living life on the Raggedy Edge again.

At least I have plenty enough yarn - I have 724m of GorgeousKnits 4ply superwash in the colorway 'Mallard', otherwise known as a dark teal that Mini Diva loves. She's also a huge fan of the Percy Jackson books, having read them first on her NintendoDS a few years ago, so there are 2 obvious reasons why I'm doing this MKAL.

While I have been waiting, I thought I would start Tru Wuv (who doesn't love a Princess Bride reference ??)

 using a skein of Violet Green Hand-dyed Merino 2ply, which was undyed and so a nice shade of cream, along with a ton of beads. Here is what happened:

Yeah, looks like a major malfunction to me, too. What it actually is is the remnants of the first two sections after all the beads had been cut out. No, this isn't some super-insane form of steeking gone wrong, this is what happens when you try to tink back and you can't because the centred decreases (I chose to do S3K2P rather than K5tog) had sort of felted in this sticky yarn and were impossible to unstick, separate and generally return to a yarn status. I couldn't even unravel the plain stockinette part.

Swearing ? Oh yes, lots. And lots. 

And then some more.

So I've ordered some nice smooth alpaca and silk Drops Lace, and shall start over. But not immediately - you can imagine the pattern and I circling each other like boxers right after the bell to start the second round has been rung ....

Pop along to Life & Yarn to see what else is being stitched this Wednesday .....

Friday 2 January 2015


Spiral Tarot

This really doesn't even count as a post today, I am merely providing a link to the TABI Blog, which today is ALL ABOUT ME !