Sunday, 5 March 2017

Weekend FO

The first FO of 2017!

Pattern: Cable Yoke Jacket by Kyoko Nakayoshi
Yarn: Sublime Chunk Tweed, 19 balls
Needle: 5.5mm, 6mm
Mods: A few. I didn't measure the body, just kept knitting until it was right, so it has come out longer than it is meant to I think. I did a full band of buttons, too. I decided it would be annoying if I had my hands full and the bottoms kept flapping open. It meant I was able to use up a whole set of black glass buttons.
I also added a small phone pocket, which has turned out to be a little too short, in spite of my knitting it to what seemed an inch too long. No matter. I just need to remember not to bend over while my phone is in it. Famous last words.

I can't believe how long this took, but I was away for so much of February, by which point it was huge and heavy, that it's not really a surprise. I have been wearing it all today and it is snug without being overwhelming.

This has (a) been in my queue for donkey's years, (b) used up two stash items, one extremely bulky and (c) been my first go at mitred corners and this type of construction: knitting the yoke, picking up and knitting down. That puts it in at least three categories for this year's knitting challenge.

I have a bit of malaise about what to cast on next, though.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Where I am

Today last year, at around 6.30, my current boss rang me to offer me the job I started in September. It was fateful, because Mr Z had just suggested I open a bottle of prosecco so that he might have some wine with which to make risotto. "No, I don't want to jinx it," I replied, "although actually, I could just take a picture of it and put it on Facebook, and everybody would wet themselves." Within seconds, the phone rang and the prosecco became a necessity.

Just realised I shared this in a post last year; isn't it funny how some moments stick so vividly in the memory?

I jumped up and down whilst on the phone, to the point where Mr Z was doing the Ross-squeezy-hands gesture and mouthing CALM DOWN at me.

Well, it was a scary day because I had to quit the job of my adult life, but I can report that it is working out swimmingly, and I am having a great time. Today particularly, because I went to the pub with my colleagues and was plied with free tequila, because the live-in pub manager is observing in my history department at the moment with a view to becoming a history teacher. This is probably partly the reason for my feeling particularly pleased today, but only a small part.

I skipped February blogging, but in my defence, I was working every weekend. I managed to end up on the ski trip! Go me. More on that tomorrow, I expect.

Happy one year anniversary of taking the plunge to me.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Weekend WIP

The end is in sight with the cable yoke jacket. In spite of barely putting a stitch on it this past fortnight, I added two balls to the length at knitting group/just after yesterday, by which point the body measured a generous 42cm to the pattern's 38cm. Now I am in the process of knitting the button band, which is done using the unusual method of keeping the body stitches live and knitting them together with the button band in the round. I don't even want to think about how many stitches I currently have on the needles. No pictures, because it is all bunched up.

Think I'm going to use these buttons for it:

They are quite heavy so they need a heavy knit. The pattern only calls for a few buttons at the top and, after much dithering, I have decided I will go with the pattern, on the basis that I can always add snaps at a later date if I want to.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Weekend WIP

The black-or-is-it cabled jacket is growing.

I stopped knitting the body last weekend and did the sleeves so that I could be sure I had plenty of yarn; but then I found two more balls of it when I restashed so I don't think I have any worries on that score. I've got around seven balls left. I think I will carry on with the body for another two balls and then that might be it. We'll see.

This weekend I picked up and knitted the entire second sleeve, then ripped back and added length to the first sleeve, which was mysteriously shorter than I recalled when I tried it on. The sleeves are now the perfect length, which indicates that they will grow when I block it, but I can turn the garter edging back if that happens.

I have added a quick pocket, just by putting 14 stitches on a holder and casting on 14 more, which you can see in the picture. I'm edging this pocket with 10 rows of garter stitch so that it matches the cuffs,

It is very, very warm. Delightful to have snuggled in my lap. It is quite heavy now, though.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Operation Stash Organise, Christmas 2016

aka "Operation Make The Spare Room Presentable".

The poor old spare room is crammed with:
  • All spare bedding - blankets, pillows, sleeping bags etc - plus big pieces of foam that I use for blocking.
  • Leftover boxes of stuff from when we redid the kitchen. Eight years ago.
  • Remaindered craft supplies from when I used to do other crafts.
  • Clothes I don't wear anymore but don't want to get rid of.
  • Knick knacks I have bought on holiday and don't have a place for (the spare room is where I unpack).
  • Board games. 
  • All knitting books and magazines.
  • And, of course, yarn.
For guests, I think it must be quite a scary place to sleep. There's a towering shelf against the bed and precariously-stacked hat boxes of yarn, and nowhere really to put anything down. 

I tidied it up a bit ready for Mother Hand's visit; I had, earlier this year, been through the boxes of stuff she had been secreting in her loft since I moved out at the age of 17, of whose existence I was unaware. That cleared out a lot of stuff, but there were a few leftover bits I couldn't bear to part with so I had to find places for those as well. A lot of stuff went back into the manky plastic chest of drawers I had almost entirely cleared out.

As an aside here, the cat helped a bit in my endeavour by spotting the one photograph in amongst the stuff on the bed that I had put aside to keep, and vomiting right into the middle of it. Alas, that picture of me with my Guide Captain on the night I was awarded my Baden Powell is consigned to distant memory. 

So anyway, here was the stack of stuff after it had been tidied (I know):

This is just clothes and yarn, really. It took me two days, done a little at a time, but here is the resulting stack:

For a true comparison, I should put back the boxes of clothes but I am hoping to get rid of most of that, too, so I have left them down for now.

The great news is that I have managed to completely empty the enormous clear plastic box of yarn, plus the several bagsful that were balanced precariously on top of the mountain. As I resolved in 2016, all my yarn now fits into the hidey hole (which is only half as big as it looks, on account of sitting on the slant of the stairs) and the hat boxes. Also, one of those hatboxes just holds leftover yarn from projects I have previously knitted and delinquent WIPs, so that's not too bad. It basically all fits.

Well, ALMOST. Of course, only almost. I have not put away the Moonlight gradient kit I bought at last Wonderwool; I bagged up two carrier bags for swaps and donating; the enormous stash of Rowan Herring Tweed is still being wound by my heroic in laws; and I haven't counted any of the yarn downstairs. While I'd like to think this isn't a massive amount, I know that I have at least a bagful stuffed behind my chair that I'm trying to ignore.

But, anyway, progress. I was very strict with myself and made sure everything put away here was listed on Ravelry. Even the Cascade. This has had the depressing impact of increasing my stash by 6500m but I keep reminding myself that it was already there, I was just pretending it wasn't.

So. The challenge is going to be to keep it like this. For a while, I think my knitting choices are going to need to be informed by what is taking up the most space, rather than what I want to knit the most.

Full, brutal disclosure: my stash stands, according to Ravelry, at:
173 items (29 of which are buttons)
102,895m of yarn (ouch)

Realistically, at the rate I knit, this little lot would keep me going for about 15 years. I'd be quite bored by the end, but still. I might have reached capacity.
To try to keep myself accountable, I will update my stash at some point with the rest of the yarn I own. By the end of the year I would like to have it back into 5 figures. 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

Today has been full of knitting, Harry Potter, naps, turkey melts, Mario (now suffering from that old ailment, Nintendo Thumb), leftover chocolates and fireworks. My view for the second half of the day at least was not unlike this one -

Which is uncanny, because this one was taken on Thursday. Different socks/film/cheese.

Tomorrow is for yoga, marking, stash organisation, question writing and making resolutions. But now is time for more gin and more fireworks. Happy 2017!

127 all over again. Thank you for reading. It still astonishes and pleases me that anybody does.


It has been a good year for gin. Back in May I went to a gin festival at the Paintworks...

...which was a delightful occasion. I nearly subscribed to the monthly gin box but held back, because there are times when I go right off any sort of drinking and I envisaged a time when I had twelve bottles of gin lying around, waiting to be quaffed.

Funny I should have thought that:

I picked up a bottle of pink grapefruit gin during the trip Parpy Jo and I took to The Most Middle Class Services In The World, a week before Christmas. Upon returning home, I realised I had run out of space on the booze shelves and that the piano, too, was starting to fill up. Closer inspection revealed 10 gins, and shockingly, none of them were Hendricks, so I had to up that number to 11 the next day.

It's nice to have variety. I have a few flavoureds - gooseberry, grapefruit, homemade sloe, rhubarb, and elderflower. Then I have the Mallorcan gin Mother Hand brought back from holiday, Bombay Sapphire (everyday gin), Sipsmith, Heston's lemon and Earl Grey (very drinkable) and my current favourite, Halfhitch. This one's made with bergamot and is completely delightful. That was my find of the gin festival. I keep asking for it at the gin bar in Bath and they keep telling me it's on order. I've stopped believing them.

I suppose I should really make an effort to drink some of them, but it is nice to have such a variety.