It’s A Knitting Trap!

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My ability to buy yarn is an open secret, but the amount I buy is a closely guarded secret (more people know my body weight than my actual, complete, all of it, none still hidden, yarn weight). This is directly linked to my ability to find yarn shops either through careful research or through spooky co-incidence.

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It is a co-incidence that my dentist is located a couple of doors down from my main LYS (especially as I found my dentist by phoning around not by cold calling). It is a happy co-incidence as I don’t really like going to the dentist (who actually does?) but I can soften the blow with yarn.

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But it is plain spooky that I found a new yarn shop in Long Melford (Suffolk) just by parking my car. Mr LouBug took this photo after stepping out of the car, exclaiming with spluttering horror and claiming conspiracy. I hadn’t even finished getting the sat nav away.

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We went for a day trip deep into biscuit box country and decided to poke around the high street while there. Last summer there was a lovely little bead shop there (sadly gone but apparently still online) so I went with a bead buying plan. But after hunting for a space and eventually parking, I stepped out of the car and glanced over the road to see “The Woolpatch” shimmering at me.

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It is a lovely little shop (delicatessen rather than supermarket) with a good stock of my favourite nibble – sock yarn! And what is better than sock yarn? Discount sock yarn! I managed to get 3 socks’ worth of yarn for the same cost as one ball of full price Regia. Happily, I have also found out (from my lovely knitter ladies) that it is 40 degree wash/felt proof and wears well (as I was paranoid cheap could equal dodgy).

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So the real question is what does a knitter call “spidey senses”? “Yarn sniffing” just sounds a bit wrong, “sheep senses” also sounds odd. Perhaps it is more “dousing for yarn” (with your knitting fingers twitching the closer you get to a LYS)? Maybe we all have a small part of our brain fine-tuned to spot the signs of a yarn shop and then prod your motor-cortex into idly wandering in the right direction.

So next time Mr LouBug boggles at my yarn finding, I can say that it isn’t my fault. I am just wired/weird that way.

LouBug

Knit, Knit, Knit

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Ah, yes – what holiday is complete without the essential purchase of composting toilet bags? I’ve just ordered several for our family summer trip on the high seas. Apparently the Scandinavians don’t dig pumping raw sewage into their waters, which is fair enough. The thought of dealing with bags of sewage, however, and the ever-present threat of “Boy Overboard” is enough to send me over the edge, but one must soldier on. I have great faith that my seafarer father will stop any disasters – after all I survived, along with my siblings, many a voyage. Tethering my sons to the rigging wearing miniature life-jackets should do the trick – for their safety of course, not just for some quiet time drinking in the sun.

For the moment though, thoughts of our watery-camping style holiday will have to take a back seat – there are still many glorious child-free weeks to savour before The Summer Holiday.

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As you can see above, my knitting efforts have been bounding along. I manage about 8 rows a night, which includes one black stripe and one coloured stripe. At this rate, I’ll be done by the time winter sets in, hurray!

The colours are great, and I’m feeling so confident that I’m going to attempt knitting whilst watching Borgen, my latest Nordic Noir pleasure. Not since the days/lost hours and hours of watching The Killing (another Danish subtitled delight), have I attempted such feats of brain power.  All of this must be achieved in the upcoming crucial four weeks, before everything grinds to a halt and one must spend the long summer days herding, entertaining and hiding from ones children long enough to micro sleep. Better crack on then.

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KnitWit

Winter Is Coming!

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Fooled you! No it is not winter yet, not even close, but I have been knitting blankets anyway. I have no idea why I seem to knit heavy, hot and large blankets in the summer, but it does seem to be a bit of an annual pattern. Granny’s Garden was last year’s effort, Rainbow blanket before that, yoyo throws before that, I could go on. This year, filled to the brim with “Game of Thrones” (a must-have viewing), I have decided to name Mr LouBug’s new blanket “Game of Throws”

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Made from two big balls (200g each) of James Brett’s Marble Chunky, which I managed to get half-price in the high street, I cast on 100 and knit until it was all used up. It worked out at just over a metre by about 70cms, which is a good length for keeping laps warm and drafts out in our Victorian built house. I have already planned to make myself one in a different colour-way, but as I prefer narrower and longer throws I think I will cast on 80 for mine. Drum roll please, and I give you “Game of Throws” (guarded by a terrible dragon).

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And guarded it needs to be. Cat decided to move in to the blanket (as possession is nine-tenths of the law) while it was still on the needles. In true Game of Thrones style, I thought that the armies would start massing for war and the banners would be called.

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So far, this mighty battle of wills was only narrowly been avoided by the hot day, but Mr LouBug will have a fight on his hands when the temperature drops.  Don’t tell him, but my money is on Cat winning!

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I am really pleased with how it has worked out, the pure acrylic is quite soft and the colour wash is nice and autumnal. Perfect Mr LouBug colours!

Now time to slay a dragon and win the north!

LouBug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slush Puppies

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Well, the crazy dash to the end of the year continues, but here is one more over-the-line and in the “win” pile. Ladies and gentlemen I give you my “Slush Puppy” socks.

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Just like real Slush Puppies, they are sweet, chock full of colour and made me go hyper at the mere sight of them. Made from the surprisingly bright Regia Fluromania yarn (which I love so much I have now got it in every colour-way I could find). It was made in my standard “booty” sock pattern.

Perfect for when the winter months make boot wearing a must and bright enough to banish the winter blues. Oddly, I noticed that I had accidently co-ordinated my socks to the octopus bag (I will admit that I was so pleased that I felt the need to point this out to everyone who came within a four block radius). Proof that I can, occasionally, match an outfit!

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Looking at my remaining bright babies, I think that the purple and pink version of this might need some kind of lace going on (as the colour blocks are a good 20 rows long). I am already looking thoughtfully at something with hearts or zig zags. But that will have to wait as I am determined to cut the number of active projects first, let us see if I can resist casting on until the end of term!

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The “Timey Wimey” socks for Mr LouBug are next up on my finish list (as I am one sock down and next one already cast on), so I shall resist the siren call of the Fluromania. No, seriously I will. I am my own woman. I can do it. Really?

LouBug

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s My Birthday & I’ll Knit If I Want To!

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Yes, it’s my birthday coming up – 25 again (kind of…). Luckily I have a sister who has a hawk eye and noted in her brain the things I saw in the knit shop when we were both together last, but was too tight to buy for myself. Here they are, wrapped up for my birthday, hurray! Well, not exactly wrapped up…hastily unwrapped before the Big Day.

I have deemed the etiquette to be that it is better form to open the presented gift in front of the giver, rather than wait. This is a rather handy piece of (made-up) etiquette, as I happen to be a very impatient person.

My last foray into Lumio light reflecting yarn was back in the new year, and resulted in a hat with a mutant bobble. It was so large my poor child had a job keeping his head upright.

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I have plans to make one of my trusted snoods out of this new Lumio, perhaps one with a cable. And what better way to create this new delight, but on my brand new Knit Pros! These Knit Pros appear to be the gateway to the world of expensive knitting paraphernalia. I can stop any time, of course.

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Next on the hit list is this:

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From the look of it, I think it would be best knitted into a woolly hat. It appears to be a magical mystery tour of black knitting, then bright pink. I just have to close my eyes and knit away and see what comes out at the end.

None of these are lovely light-weight summer knits, but although they don’t challenge my poor brain, at least they don’t send me into a rage. Surely this is the what knitting should be…especially at my age!

KnitWit

Zokni’d Out

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I am proud to say that I have now completed one of the first (could even be the first) sock patterns I ever printed out. Flushed with the success of the famous ‘first ever socks’ (and already in love with sock yarn) I plundered Ravelry like a starving student at an “all you can eat” Chinese buffet. A whole new world of patterns and ideas had suddenly been opened to me and I dived right in.

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But these socks defeated me before I even attempted to cast them on. The pin prick to my balloon of puffed-up pride. I adored the look of the socks, but felt my stomach drop at the mere sight of the lace pattern. What were these crazy things called YO, SSK, K2TOG? What the sock did the symbols mean? How on Earth could you possibly follow a pattern AND knit a sock? What crazy talk is this?

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So I sighed, and focussed on easier, self-striping patterns (I finally cut my pattern sock teeth on the ever popular “Monkey” by CookieA).

A year or so later, the lovely American lady at my knit group did a yarn run for us, on her holiday trip back to the States. This gorgeous pale super soft green yarn was my prize and I went back to my pattern folder to find it a friend. Zokni (by Pepperknit) seemed a perfect match (it even looked like the one in the picture) but yet again I bottled it.   The yarn was just too nice (and irreplaceable if I mucked it up). The pattern was still too hard. But the pattern was also too perfect a match to re-purpose the yarn. Big sigh, and back into the stash it went.

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And then, earlier this year a lightning bolt struck me. I realised that I was trapped in the pattern of buying nice yarn but then failing to use it, which basically left me a dream stash full of unusable yarn. I either needed to stop buying the good stuff or start using it (or failing that, accept my place on hoarders TV). So I got the lot out and consciously broke the mould and knitted a plain sock with my much coveted Jitterbug. Lightning didn’t strike, the Monty Python foot didn’t squash me and the world’s sheep didn’t suddenly go bald. Nope, all I got was some damn fine socks. So I re-examined the Zokni pattern and realised that it wasn’t as terrible as I remember. Its moment had finally come.

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I have been power knitting through these (with a brief brain frazzle that meant a side track back to plain and pink socks) and now they are done. The scary ten row repeat is actually very logical and I can see it creeping into other projects as it was fun to make.

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Lace socks can be hard to photograph (so bear with me) but trust me that their beauty and glory would make a poet cry. I just hope they don’t felt…

LouBug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Bear From Let’s Knit

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Here he is. George. Taken from a free pattern in last month’s Let’s Knit. I’ve given him a slightly “office loon” look with his improvised bow tie. He’s like one of those colleagues whose dedication to the firm has reached double digits, perhaps even adorning their desk with a little sign “you don’t have to be mad to work here, but it helps!”

Life clearly is not as fast-paced as it should be – I am now making up personalities for my knitted teddy. This is very bad. Very, very bad.

George plus Eggberts

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Still, the sun is shining and the temperature is hovering around 25 degrees – so clearly a great time to be ploughing on with my chunky knit lap blanket!

I’m aiming for one black stripe and one (6 row) colour stripe a night (before I merrily collapse snoring in front of some terrible Sky Living programme). As I said, a fast-paced life indeed.

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I’ve completed the three colour stripes that I’m planning, so I’m back on the pink next. It’s all garter, which basically means I’m far more likely to tackle it during my prime knitting time (fatigued at the end of the day).

All the other patterns I’ve seen are all light-weight lace knits. How I’d love to churn out a delicate scarf or shawl, and how tempting despite my many failed efforts and clear lack of skill. I’m more likely to be chosen as a last-minute substitute for the World Cup team than I am to successfully complete one of these wonders. Lace knitting has become like a bad relationship, I know 4 ply is not my type, but I can’t help thinking it’ll be different this time!

KnitWit

 

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