Archive for February, 2008

It’s not news that spinning is meditative, relaxing and even possibly the new yoga. I find it very calming and although I enjoy experimenting with new techniques, most of the time I spin to a standard no-thinking-required grist and finish as a 2-ply. I usually end up with about a sport to DK weight yarn which is one I consider most useful in the types of things I like to knit.

Tulips BFL

Not every fibre likes being this thickness of course, but it works fine on my two favourite fibres - BFL and Polwarth - and funnily enough, that happens to be what I have most of in my stash. I like that I can spin this kind of yarn pretty much without looking or thinking. It’s great when you’re chatting away at spinning group or watching TV or demonstrating at a show. I used it here for the Emerald City yarn, and here again on Nathalie’s Deep Sea yarn (I think I did all of that on a LOTR marathon).

Tulips BFL

Again on the no-thinking thing, I like to choose colours which blend and tone together. This is not the kind of spinning where I want to be fiddling around with matching colours in plies and worrying which end of the strip of tops I should be starting from. I love the way in the Emerald City I get green on blue, and dark blue on blue and bright green on green and more, making it exciting to watch the way the scarf is coming out with each new colour variation.

Tulips BFL

Yesterday I grabbed the bag of Tulips colourway from the Spunky fibre club which has been kicking around since last June. I couldn’t figure out how to place the colours and I have been fussing over it for ages wondering what to do. In the end, I realised it was the black that was the sticking point - I just don’t really like red and black together. So I pulled it out, and most of the yellow and just spun red with a teeny hint of orange. I love it! It’s fiery and really red but has depth of colour due to the slight variation the orange adds. There’s only a little over 50g so I will probably stripe it with something or perhaps do a colourwork hat.

In between spinning, of course, there were muffins. And Ali’s lemon cake. And Jan’s cheese biscuits. In fact, I’m surprised I got anything done at all!


Banana Choc Chip Muffins:

2 cups plain flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 cup chopped banana, 100g good quality chopped dark chocolate, 1/4 cup vegetable oil.

Beat wet ingredients, stir in dry and add banana and chocolate. Bake at 180 C for about 20 mins or until golden. Makes 12.

* Aussie measurements: 1 cup is 250ml, 1 tsp is 5ml.

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Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments on the mag. Kate and I really hoped that what we envisioned would be the kind of thing people wanted and it seems we were right for the most part. Feedback has been wonderful and inspiring and we have been trying to respond in person to as many people as we can.

We really tried to listen to potential readers and create a site that would meet the needs of people out there. We had great ideas and feedback as we were building the magazine and some of the most welcomed features (e.g. the printable pages) have been ideas from you guys out there.

We will continue to listen, and although we know we can’t please everyone all the time, we will always keep in mind that this is a magazine for you and it should reflect the needs and preferences of the public readership. So please keep in touch!

As a result of one email I received on Wednesday I headed out last night to meet up with Helda and the London Crochet Meetup group. Kate and I decided from the first that we didn’t want the mag to be exclusively for knitters and the crochet crowd has responded positively to the inclusion of their art. It was a good night, I met a lot of new people and we talked about ways that crochet’s image can (hopefully) change. Knitting still attracts flak from many sources and crocheters get at least a quadruple dose. I really hope that the Loop can help to let people know that it’s not all sparkly thread and granny squares out there (although I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the awesome granny square).

In honour of the occasion (although they certainly don’t ban knitting at LCM!) I thought I’d take some crochet along and decided to start Treenah from the mag. I chose Blue Sky Alpaca Silk and I’m loving it!


I’ve just started the trellis pattern at one end - have I ever mentioned how FAST crochet is?! I’m going to be finished this one pretty soon and I’ll leave it on display at Stash for a while until it gets shipped off for an antipodean winter birthday.

I sound like I’m on a bit of a craze here I know but I have always enjoyed crochet, I have never used icky acrylic and hardly ever skinny thread. There is definitely a place for it and it deserves a better wrap than it traditionally receives. Why not dig out a hook this weekend :-)


P.S. Who’s going to be at Spinning Group tomorrow morning :-P


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Go check out the first ever issue, and let me know what you think.

The Inside Loop

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The last few days have been filled with common-or-garden madness with a little knitting thrown in on the side.

I have been doing this.

I have managed a couple more pattern repeats on the Bayerische, but now my brain is way too fried for that. I’m going to drag out this tonight I think (and yes, that’s a Ravelry link and if you aren’t in Ravelry yet, why not?)

Tomorrow. Make sure you come by and have a look, you can start clicking refresh by about 9:10 :-D If it’s not up by 10am then you’ll know that something has gone pear-shaped and you should start sending a million positive vibes. (Really though, Grit and Kate are internet geniuses and they have all my trust. Don’t forget to send those vibes.)

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Thank you to everyone who helped me decide, advice was pretty unvarying (except for those few who suggested I start everything at once!) And I have been enjoying Bayerische with bier and Central Park Hoodie (also with beer actually).

Here’s some progress on B:


This was a few days ago - I am now up to the heel on this sock. There is a huge advantage to having small feet!

I am on the second sleeve of the CPH, which sounds incredible except that, unlike most people, I knit the sleeves first. This is because I am way too lazy to knit a gauge swatch, I prefer to measure my first 4 inches of sleeve and rip if necessary :-P I’ve also knitted and blocked Dream in Color Classy before so I’m not embarking on this completely blind.

Beer (or Bier) incidentally has featured rather a lot in the last week, mostly if not wholly due to Alice. I have attended three secret sewing-up events and one Big Reveal at which the Socktopods handed over the blanket we made for David and Alice as a wedding gift.

Without the beer we may have needed fewer sewing-up events. Without the beer there certainly would have been fewer moustaches. Last night’s do rocked, you can see photos here.

And this is the strip I did for the blanket, also in Classy in the Deep Seaflower colourway.

One day in March

I’m still waiting on yarn for Venezia but there’s no great rush - I’d like to finish the CPH before I start it. When I have finished Bayerische I am casting on straight away for this. This is going to be the year of knitting-for-a-challenge :-D

And finally, happy Valentine’s Day! Thanks Neil xx

Valentine's 08

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With a good afternoon’s knitting today I will be able to finish the … (hah! nearly said it) that I’m knitting for a special person. I have been in a finishing kind of mood lately and at that point I will have whittled down the wips list to something almost approaching empty!

Therefore, it’s time to embark on a new project (or several) and I have the resources. Even though I have pledged to save instead of spend this year (see sidebar) I am well stocked in project ideas and have pattern/yarn pairs to keep me going for a good few months!

Here is the shortlist (in no particular order):

Central Park Hoodie stash

Venezia stash

Print o the Wave stash

Bayerische stash

Flower Basket stash

Being generally a realistic person, I feel it should be narrowed slightly further or I may be announcing my next FO in September. It’s a toughie though. These are all things I want NOW! With the exception perhaps of the Stole, which I thought I should include due to the guilt of having purchased the yarn in 2006(!) I want it, but I doubt I’ll have a chance to wear it until the posh parties come around at the end of the year. Top of my list would be Venezia but I am still waiting on a couple of colours - I could knit the hems though…

What do you think? Launch in on something big? Or knit socks while I wait for Spindrift to arrive? Is this warm spell actually spring and should I leave the CPH (which I desperately wanted all through January) for next season?

Decisions, decisions…

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I know there are many of you out there - more than usually say boo in the comments (I read the stats you know) - and while I’m not going to go into details just yet, I have a request:

Please send your prayers to Australia this week for my mum, my stepdad and my sister. I know it will help.

Thank you.

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How did that happen? The other day I was in the bank having my passport copied and the girl happened to mention, “Oh yes, your visa’s fine till October…” October!! This is a two year visa - where did it go?! I mentioned the matter to my SIL last night and she was equally flummoxed. It really feels like we just arrived.

In a smidgeon more than 16 months there have been many life changes. Exactly 11 months ago I rebelled against early Monday mornings and the horror of British school children and quit teaching (I found the post I wrote that day here). It was quite a while before I stopped calling myself a teacher but it took no time at all for me to discover that I could relax, enjoy myself and really love my work as I attempt to make it as a writer/designer/anything that will bring in money.

11 months on, I am about to launch my own online publication with a dear friend, and I have managed to get myself published in print and online a few times.

I discovered I make people’s day :-D


Thank you so much Moggle and Alice!

And I can only imagine what the next 11 months will bring. I have decided to aim high - why not!

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Karanina was the first mailout from the Socktopus Sock Club. As I was away when they were sent Alice kept my parcel waiting safely for me here in London and I arrived home to it exactly one month ago.


Designed by Jane Lithgow, the socks are worked in two vibrant colours in a slip stitch pattern called Russian Stitch - hence the name. I’d never tried a slip stitch sock, and never dreamt of buying yellow yarn, but I launched in with both feet (so to speak) and loved every minute of the pattern.


The yarn is from The Knittery, wool/cashmere/polyamide blend, and although I had some in my stash I’d never knitted with it before. I found it a bit splitty but I definitely recommend it and only prior commitments are keeping me from immediately casting on another Knittery sock.


I worked the pattern pretty much as written, only changing the depth of the heel flap (to accommodate my small insteps) and adding a slip stitch line of purple down each side of the foot. I also knitted in the hems as I’m too lazy to come back and sew them down later!

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