Tuesday 21 May 2013

Tuesday Ten: Wonderwool 2013

This year's Wonderwool was extra special, because I got to share it with a lot of very lovely people. The Knatterers had a weekend in a bunkhouse and attended the show on two days. This was the view from my bed: sheep and pigs and hills and blue skies. I've never enjoyed getting up before 7am so much - in fact, it heralded the beginning of the new habit I mentioned last week.


Going for two days meant there was less of the must-buy-now-because-we're-leaving-soon purchases. I'd like to say I bought less overall, but I don't think that would be entirely truthful.


PSYCHE! It's not all mine....this is the haul among the eight of us, after the Saturday. Most of the bulk is fibre and April's massive tweedy balls (tm). Here's my slightly more restrained stash addition.

Now for the Tuesday Ten: my purchases.

Wonderwool 2013

From the left, this is -

1. Five skeins of Easyknits Deeply Wicked DK in a beautiful shade of turquoise that I just can't capture on camera. My very first purchase: I knew I would be sorry if it had gone when I returned. This will be a jumper with a big collar, I have decided.

2. Two skeins of fivemoons angora blend 4 ply. This was an impulse purchase at the end of Sunday. I found it very busy on the Saturday - to me it felt busier than last year although nobody else seemed to think so - and I completely missed this stall until I was walking back to where we were sitting, having collected my goodies from the Scotch egg man. There were four skeins marked down. I bought two and dreamed of knee socks. When I got home I realised that almost nobody knits angora socks, so I went online and bought the other two skeins. I'm not even sorry. I have picked out a pattern for a cabled cape. Bunny cape! Will this make me Superbun?

3. One skein of plain sock yarn. I have forgotten where I got it: somewhere selling plain yarn and dyes.

4. Two skeins of Artisan linen/silk laceweight. I walked away from this at the end of the day on Saturday and made myself think about it overnight. I think it will be a tunic top I picked out of Interweave a few years ago.

5. One of the 10 skeins of Laalbear BFL worsted. I have fond memories of a brown v neck jumper that belonged to my uni housemate's mum, which I borrowed a few times and hoped to hang onto permanently. Now seems like a good time to have a go at recreating. The lady on the stall packed this tightly into a sealed bag for me and told me to smell it when I opened it up. April and I enjoyed that when we got back to the bunkhouse. Sheepy!

6. A ball of Jawoll Magic Degrade. Having crocheted a cowl out of this I then decided it would be perfect for a pair of colourwork socks, the pattern for which is in the new sock book I bought at Wonderwool. It will go along nicely with number 3.

7. A cone of pink Texere linen 4 ply. An utter bargain - I think it was £6; I am nearly halfway through the camisole pattern I picked for it and it barely looks used yet. It is pretty rough to knit with but there's a lot of talk of it softening up considerably when washed/ironed.

8. Two skeins of Bigwigs angora/merino blend. I couldn't resist. I want to knit a scarf out of it to replace the red angora scarf Mother Hand bought me when I had my tonsils out, which I wore until ti resembled a scraggly bootlace. The lady also let me pet her wool bunny which made me wishfully consider my only wool bunny ranch. It would have to have alpacas too, though.

9. At the front, a skein of silk. I don't know much more about it than that; it came from Wingham's. The colour got me. I have no idea what I am going to make with it.

I felt very pleased with my purchases and not at all disappointed that Knitwitches didn't have the three skeins of cashmere silk 4 ply I had been saving up for. I am absolutely insistent that it will all (mostly) (partially) be knitted up before next year though. 

Number 10 is all the buttons. Naturally I spent the largest amount of time at the button stall, happily seated in a deckchair, looking through the box of vintage glass I had asked to see. "I hope you don't mind if I just take a look at this one," said a random woman as she reached over and hoiked one out. She nearly lost her hand.

All The Buttons

There's a definite deco vibe to this year's purchases. I love the angled MoP ones and the one with the cube thing on reminds me of a Fascist symbol of some kind, though it is purportedly Victorian and therefore predates all that nonsense. The ones in the top left are mirrored; the one below is a smaller version of one I bought last year; I intend to put three of the four along the bottom on the same garment - bronze, silver, gold. Not the big flower, that will go somewhere else.

It was a truly lovely, relaxing weekend. We laughed a lot and knitted a lot, with some spinning in there. We saw a little lamb scramble back through the gate bars to its mother when we drove past it on the wrong side of the fence, and two pastel coloured Lambourghinis, and some runaway ponies by the side of the road, and an army truck smashed in a ditch. And there was a lot of cake, of course. As always.

I hope we repeat it next year! I have grown accustomed to a knitting weekend away in the spring. 

Monday 20 May 2013

Weekend WIPs

I have been productive on the old knitting front of late. I think this is partly due to listing things I want to work on in the British Banter forum on Ravelry. Last month I achieved my goal and was drawn as the winner, receiving a new pattern to help me work down my queue (which now stands at six pages). Here's what I'm working on this month.


I swatched for this wrap top over a year ago. Shame. The pattern was passed on to me by Jill at knitting group who won it and the yarn required for it from a magazine, but she didn't care for the pattern so I bought this gorgeous blue alpaca (Artesano, sadly discontinued now, although I do keep coming across frayed bits in the skeins which might explain why) and then waited around for a long time before knitting it. The positive is, it now counts as a stash project.

It knitted up quite quickly - just a couple of weeks. Now I need to pick up around the armholes and all the way around the neckband and then do the picot cast off. I'm not thrilled. I already decided to skip knitting the 2 38" ties for it and will instead be adding ribbon, or a button. Or maybe some snaps, because in spite of careful measuring I don't think it is big enough. Why do I never remember that the correct bust size is never going to be the correct hip size?


I cast this on last September, knit an inch, then didn't touch it again until February. After that it went quite fast (who knew that actually knitting on something made a project go faster?)

This is in the scaredy pile. I need to sew in the other button band, but I am scared to iron it flat because my iron is a bit grubby (having been a gift for my 18th birthday) and I don't want to mark it. I am scared to sew the snaps on and discover that it doesn't fit, or that the button bands which I modified and have turned out longer than the rest of the cardigan look stupid, because that would require a lot of ripping back and cutting stitching. Jenny from Knatterers pointed out I could just block the rest of the cardigan to the same length. This is perfectly logical. I am scared it won't work.


This is my current favourite project to work on. It is a camisole I'm working in the Texere 4 ply linen I got at Wonderwool.It is very interesting construction, but the largest size is considerably smaller than I, so I am planning some mods. I am doggedly slogging through the 1x1 ribbing for the second strap; then I will finish the other points of the star. At this point the top may also enter the scaredy pile as I worry that my planned mods won't work and what I should REALLY have done is continue knitting in the round and increasing until the centre motif was wide enough and adjusted the decreases thereafter to fit. Yes, I could rip it back. No, I'm not going to - then I'd just worry about running out of yarn. I am pretty sure it will work.


I began this shawl from a kit in 2010. I put it away because it was so time-consuming to add a row, and I have to count every row. Now I am sorry I didn't finish it sooner. I have been trying to add two rows a day to it but that has fallen off over the last week. I blame the linen top. Still, if I am industrious I might finish it in time for my summer holiday. It's double stranded laceweight and it's very warm. It will be just the thing for the misty Pacific coast mornings.

The rabbit is super-impressed by all this; you can tell.


Tuesday 14 May 2013

Tuesday Ten

Ten Thoughts of the Moment

1. I resent not having enough time to knit all the things I want to knit. I mean, more than usual. I have about a dozen projects I want to cast on immediately so it's not just work getting in the way - it's the knitting I am currently doing! Must. Knit. Faster.

2. I've started getting up half an hour earlier and trying to get to work for 7.15ish, which is usually the time I leave. I am way more productive first thing in the morning and it makes me go to bed at a reasonable time.

3. When I do go in at the normal time, though, I get REALLY annoyed by the traffic.  There isn't any traffic at 6.30.

4. I've given up on the idea of getting a new job for September; of the jobs that have been advertised there have only been two that I had any interest in, and I had an interview for one and didn't much like it. I was disappointed when I wasn't offered the job, but only in my own performance. And it was my first application and first interview in 10 years so it was probably a good idea to get back in the saddle.

5. I've now started to get quite excited about the new school year. New head - I was on one of the interview panels for him at the end of February, which was really interesting. New responsibilities, because my TLR has been scrapped so they have to give me some duties to earn my protected salary.

6. I successfully gave up suagr for Lent. It was interesting; I was eating fruit and had some things with sugar in, like baked beans, but on the whole it wasn't too difficult and I felt a lot better for it. It has made me a lot more thoughtful about the sugar I eat now. I try and save myself for the really tasty things.

7. This is not always successful.

8. This time in two weeks I'll be in sunny Lisbon with my work friend Tutty! We were a bit horrified to discover how many hills there are there, but it will be just the ticket after this very long term.

9. ...and this time in three months I'll be camping on the California coast with Mr Z. Feeling very lucky to have so many wonderful things to look forward to.

10. They don't half eat into my knitting time, though.

Monday 13 May 2013

Crafty Photo Scavenger Hunt: April Favourites

It's always a really special month when I get to pick the topics for this because I really love seeing what everybody else picks to match my ideas, but it does make picking favourites really difficult! But here goes...

Something I Made
I loved the look of Emma's book and the foodie offerings from Ruth and Serotiny, but it had to be Rachie's green monster smoothie. I have been off the green monsters for the past couple of weeks because I've been leaving home by 6.30 for work and I don't want to use the blender so early for fear of disturbing my neighbour; so I am living vicariously through Rachie!

I'm such a sucker for a beach! Here's Serotiny's -

...and here's Ruth's!

Emma's lovely red and white spots inspired me to rummage out my red and white spotty scarf this week.

I really love Rachie's hat -

Thanks for playing, everyone!