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.

Gins

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.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Knitting Resolutions: 2016 Review

I wrote this post about what I hoped to achieve in 2016, knitting wise, back in January. I had it in the back of my mind that I would try to wind down as much of the stash as possible. To this end, I turned out about three bags for the charity table at Wonderwool and tried to prevent myself from buying too much.

I bought yarn twice this year: Wonderwool and the John Arbon open day. This amounted to roughly 10,000m of yarn in. I have knitted up (officially) 7,600m and I gave away 4,500m, so I have managed to get rid of about 20% more than I brought in. Not TOO bad. Not as good as I'd hoped - definitely not one third - but not too bad.

I did make some very specific resolutions:

1. Knit up all of the Cascade I have hanging around for roses for the rose chair. This might actually be enough roses to cover the chair. We'll see.
Nope. Not even one. Didn't even look out the pattern. I did carry around the 12mm needle tips for some time - one is still in my handbag. I don't know where the other one is. This is about as big a fail as it is possible to get, short of destroying the flowers I have already knitted. I'm currently sitting on the chair that needs upholstering, on a sheet, because the seat covering is worn so thin it might need professional attention if drastic action is not taken.
On the bright side, I'm starting a knitting club as an after-school enrichment from January and I intend to use it for this. We're all going to knit flowers.

2. Knit up all the single skeins of Lion and Lamb I have into hexagons for the epic blanket of gorgeousness. That's six skeins; seven if I count Bated Breath which is the colour I am currently knitting. I use the word 'currently' under advisement there.
I finished the Bated Breath, a partial skein of Georgetown (which wasn't part of the original count) and managed three more. I'm at 24 hexagons now, up from 2. Not a complete win, but not a complete fail either.
This isn't counted into the total above, because I decided that yarn only counts as used in the year that the project is finished. This adds another 1000m to the year's total to pass across the needles, though, which makes it easily my most productive knitting year ever, especially considering that everything I've FO'd this year was started this year - another first, come to think of it.

3. Knit another Central Park Hoody out of the black chunky tweed I bought from Emma's destash. That takes up shedloads of room.
Not a CPH, which calls for aran weight instead of chunky, but this yarn is currently being knitted into the cable yoke jacket. I fear the cable yoke jacket might be too warm for me to wear, ever, but that's another story.

4. Knit up the shawl kit I bought from Knitpicks in 2013.
Nope. I got it out and realised I'd lost the pattern, bought the pattern again online, found the original pattern immediately afterwards, carried it around with me for a while, but never started it.

5. Knit two other projects that use multiple yarns and that I have plans for - a several-coloured shawl for several blue DK skeins, and a variation on Ravello in an aran weight.
YES! I have done both of these things, of a fashion - the two-coloured blue shawl and the stripey cardigan.

Here are my completed projects, as per my Ravelry page:


...and the associated Flickr set, if you want to see them all in glorious detail, alongside many pictures of various buttons I was agonising over.

Liking the fact that some of these projects have a strong memory attached to them. Everytime I look at that red feather and fan sweater, for example, I think of watching War and Peace on the beeb.

Stourhead

Mother Hand and I went to visit Stourhead yesterday. It was a gorgeous, crisp, sunny day and I have wanted to go to Stourhead for ages, so it seemed like the perfect choice for a wintry tramp.



#mumandselfie

We saw so many robins. There was a small group of people clustered around one that appeared to be posing for his own photoshoot at one point on the lake. This one was in a bit more of a hurry.



I didn't realise there was so much tie in with classical mythology. Definitely going to have to read more about this.

 


If it was this pretty in the depths of winter, I can't wait to go in the spring.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Throwback Thursday

This time five years ago, I was skiing in Serre Chevalier with some faves.

We had some great bluebird days...


And some snowy days...



And there was the day when the weather was so bad, the wind was so strong, that we couldn't make it home via our usual lift and had to ski down to the valley (I think past the hotel where I'd stayed on my school trip as a child) and catch the bus back to Briancon. We definitely earned our time in the steam room that day.

Epic night out, on the 30th...


They gave us a free shot after dinner. Stu refused to drink his. Louzle tried to get tough with him and he told her not to use her teacher ways on him, which was funny. It wasn't Stu's holiday, really. He had said he was a really good skier - lots of difficult runs completed during a three week trip to Whistler - but he struggled with the portion of the red run on the first day. Hence, we didn't really ski with him.

New Year's Eve...



And New Year's Day.


During this trip, I skied a natural half pipe and conquered a button lift I had fallen off as a child. It was a great resort and epic amounts of fun. 
Louzle hurt her shoulder doing a ski cross though. She tried to overtake me, dropped a distance off a lip that didn't look like a lip, skied into unpisted snow and crashed through two fences. She has only skied once since then, I think, and that was on the school trip four months after this. This might be why I have never been able to convince them we should go again.