Okay Jill, I owe you an apology.
Cows ARE dangerous. I shall cease forthwith my mickey-taking on that subject !
My friend Lis made me think tonight. Twice.
She has challenged some of us to Knit Out of the Box and work alongside her (virtually of course) to reduce our stash mountains. That made me think about what qualifies as genuine stash and what is a WIP ?
And does a WIP that's only barely been started and hasn't been touched for months eventually qualify as stash again - kind of like when you were a teenager and if you left your favourite shirt lying on the bedroom floor for long enough it magically became "clean" again next time you wanted to wear it . Or maybe that was just me ??? ;0) ..... Honest, I'm not quite such a slob now, really.
Anyway when I counted up my WIP's (we'll talk about untouched stash another day !) I needed a little sit down afterwards. There are ..... a lot ..... a heck of a lot ..... and in the last week or so I just volunteered for the Bucket-along with Becky and the Rowan Forum Extremities Exchange as well.
Clearly, I'm just a gal who can't say No.
So undaunted I have accepted Lis's challenge and I'm going to attempt to clear my two main areas of WIP storage by COMPLETING them before I get into anything else new. Honestly there's enough variety of WIP's down the back of my couch and the side of the bookcase that even I, with the attention span of a gnat, should not get bored and feel the itchy fingered temptation to cast on something new.
So watch this space for photos and progress on those projects you've already heard about - and one or (ahem) two that I haven't owned up to yet.
Lis also made me think by mentioning this.
I really enjoy poetry but haven't had room in my too busy life for it for quite a while, so it was fun to think about what poem I would carry in my pocket. I decided on this one as it's kind of how I would like to live my life. Right now.
And now for some gratuitous knitting content . See what I got in the post today.
This and this
I couldn't quite get my head round the fact that I ended up having to order the Filatura Di Crosa Spring/Summer 2004 brochure from the States given that it's an Italian company and the UK (last time I looked) was alledgedly part of Europe. But you can't keep a keen knitter down you know and I really like this so I'm prepared to go the extra mile .... or 3,000 miles in this case.
Of course now I won't be able to start it unless I get some of my other stuff finished first. It could be my little treat for completing one of the projects that's been around for a while and best of all - no sleeves ! HURRAH !
Why, No ..... it's a mystery package winging it's way to Kay at last ! My small contribution to Kay & Ann's "Afghanalong for Afghans" - plus some goodies from "yer grannie's heilan' hame" just to keep them going :0)
I LOVE mystery packages so I was pathetically excited to get a plain brown cardboard box from Alan at Christmas. No, it's not what you're thinking and yes, I DO know Christmas was four months ago - but I love this package so much that I can't bring myself to "unpackage" it and put it into something more easily stored.
All that lovely yarn is destined to be this eventually, but do you know, I don't really want to disturb the box. There's something about beautiful yarn wrapped in tissue and nestled in a box - I think Virtual Yarns have the loveliest presentation of any company I've bought yarn from and presentation's important to me. The motivationally challenged need all the inspiration they can get ......
I also recently treated myself to a full set of their shade cards and they sent me 2 small skeins in different shades and weights to let me see how they knit up - if it's a marketing ploy it works for me ! Now where's that credit card ......
Life this week has been particularly hectic - Rosie pulled the "oh my god, I can't go to school I have this agonising stomach pain !" trick on Monday but miraculously was fully recovered by lunchtime. Ever feel you've been taken for a ride ??
Hazel had a sore throat and ear on Wednesday - and in between acting as a combination of Florence Nightingale and Genghis Khan at home, this was one of the busiest weeks of the year at work for me. Sorting out nursery admissions - 2,000 of them, bleuch !
So knitting has been limited to the 20 rows I cranked out on the Tillie sleeve before falling into a coma on the couch.
I think the lace is working out okay now though I'm not finding it particularly relaxing to work.
Spot where I dropped a stitch ? - I think I've saved it though. I'll just catch it in afterwards as the thought of taking it back to that point is just about enough to push me over the edge ...
But I won't be beaten .... I will see this through ... all the way to the very end ..... of the sleeve.
The asymetric, only one sleeve, 80's look is so in right now, No ?
Yesterday was practically perfect in every way.
Rowan woke me up a little earlier than normal (6.20am to be precise !) but I didn't mind because it meant I got a whole hour to sit in the sun at the front window and knit before anyone else got up .... bliss :)) The babe was lost in Teletubbie land so I took the opportunity to make friends with Tillie again - we are now officially back on speaking terms, just.
And the day got better.
India had invited a few of us round to "knit'n chat" late afternoon onwards. "Knit n' chat" of course, is a euphemism for horsing down enormous amounts of food and enough wine to float a boat whilst knitting, nosily exploring everything that everyone else has brought and holding forth at length on any subject you care to name .... bliss :)))
Seriously, this was major fun. India had apparently decided there was significant danger of us expiring from lack of cake and, not wanting to have to dispose of the bodies, had addressed this by baking enough to feed the entire population of central Scotland.
Unusually though, these cakes came with Rules. Those who were present will know for evermore that India shall be known as "The Scone Police" - I have to say though, they were worthy of proper treatment. These were the cakes to end all cakes and I can only say that the somewhat blurry picture is due to me being overcome by - Cake Lust !!
Before, during and after the cakes quite shameful quantities of wine were consumed (Sorry Peter - you'll need to order more, eshpeshcially of tha' las' one t'was realllllllly good, hic !) But I managed to catalogue the knitting events prior to anyone imbibing too much to safely handle sharp implements - so meet the rest of the gals .....
Kathleen and Jill (that's Scottie Jill to you Lis) were both impressively busy knitting away. Kathleen was working on a scarf (I think ??) to use up some Opal sock yarn and Jill was working on Cookie from Miss Bea's Rainy Day in All Seasons Cotton.
Spot the purple lace bag on Kathleen's lap ?? This is what some people do with their lace knitting mistakes - clearly Kathleen's definition of a mistake isn't quite the same as mine ..... it's gorgeous !
Emma was working away on Arabella from Rowan Book 35 ........ more lace, mmh.
India's project was the Kidsilk cowl from Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick. Really delicate and ....... lace again !!
Now me, being nothing if not indecisive, I took no less than 4 projects with me. None of them lace.
Taking Becky's advice, I took a break from Tillie and decided to work on either - Persian Tiles (not very likely with several glasses of wine in hand !), Elfin (well maybe ..) Granny Squares (no, too warm by the time it's finished ..) or AUDREY !!
Yep, I swatched for Audrey - much to the consternation of India and Jill who never swatch - brave or foolhardy, you decide ??? :0)
Sadly, my swatch was way off so I'll need to work on it again but that left me free to start a new Afghan square for Kay & Ann - yay !! And I promise, this month I WILL post them to you Kay ....
It's such a pleasure to have found friends who knit. Tales of knit ' n chat and eat 'n drink may well return soon to the pages of this blog - I hope !
I've been a bit pre-occupied this week .... I've umhed and ahhed .... I've sweated and toiled .... and finally remembered there was a reason I don't knit lace - I flippin ' hate the stuff ! Not the final effect you understand, its the process I can't cope with. And I know that in terms of learning and progression, "process is just as important as end product" but when you've knitted the same 6 inches of sleeve 3 times and still can't work out what the ***** !!! you're doing wrong , I think you're entitled to feel a bit aggrieved.
I've started on the first sleeve for Tillie. I really LOVE this pattern. I've loved it since it first came out however many years ago (it's in Rowan Book 25, so a while back). I've thought about knitting it for years but could never be bothered on the grounds of sheer bone idleness ... and my lack of finishing commitment meant that nothing finer than DK weight would ever be completed.
But I don't know why, 2 years ago I saw the light and now I really like fine yarns and little pins - and one day I may even finish something in a fine yarn (watch out for that flying pig overhead ...) - possibly not Tillie though.
I'm fine for the first 20 rows.... then I hit the increases. First increase, no sweat, second increase - yep got it, pattern still looks okay, 3rd increase - all hell breaks loose ! Pattern goes wonky, a stitch completely disappears into thin air. This is the Bermuda Triangle of knitting. I start the row with 50 stitches and by the end I've got 49 - and it's supposed to be getting wider !!!
So what happens - does the knitting bad fairy come and steal a stitch in lieu of my first-born child ??
Is this row sucking in a stitch so it doesn't look fat in the photos ??
And the trouble with lace is keeping track of it. I've practically gone cross eyed counting yarn overs and knit 3 togethers. And as for taking it back ! Forget frogging, I am talking stitch by stitch unpicking for rows and rows .... and still getting it wrong and having to start again at the beginning !!
Anyway, I've decided I simply don't care any more.
I knit that row for the last time and at the end I made an extra stitch just to show it who's boss ! And you know, it looks okay - there's a wee squinty bit in the middle - and the edges are a bit wobbly but a severe talking to and a stiff blocking should sort that out. But now that I've got past that bit I need some motivation to keep going - someone please remind me why I want to knit this ?
You see I also have extreme temptation calling out in the form of Audrey. After holding every single colour of Calmer against first "the skirt" and then my face the decision is made. I'm going with this It's quite cool, calm and collected compared to my usual palette but I think I'll like it.
So I might just abandon Tillie for a while and make a start on Audrey - except of course that part of the reason for starting this blog in the first place was to motivate me to finish projects. A kind of public naming and shaming when I didn't get it together ... the Weight Watchers weigh-in for knitting projects ....
Oh I wish I had more stamina !
Okay - I've been suckered in. AUDREY KNITALONG IS GO. ( You can stop smirking now you know it alls who never doubted it would be !) And thank you to all who persuaded me so effectively.
Now though I'm struggling with the colour dilemma. For those who know me in the flesh as it were, they'll know that I am normally a red-hot mama / lipstick pink / purple passion type of gal but I think I'd like a change.
Plus in a moment of madness, I bought this skirt
last week and my usual colours are just not going to work with it. This is definitely in the fruity pastel zone for me - so what's going to go with it ?? Should I go greeny / bluey / pale purpley ??? Answers on a postcard please !
In other knitting news from the home front, I can report slow progress with Tillie ....... largely because I've not been at the home front. We had a few days away at the seaside and I kept crashing out in the evenings (it was the sea air I tell you and NOT the red wine ...) so I didn't get much done.
Enough, however, to finish the back ! Hurrah ! I've started on one of the sleeves just to try out the lace pattern but no photos yet.
I've also been reading about Emma's under the counter, unofficial St**more-along. And I have just the WIP to go with it !
I'm halfway through working the Persian Tiles cushion by St**more Junior I'm doing it in Red Deer & Sundew.
This will be my strictly surreptitious, Secret Squirrel, a nod's as good as a wink knitalong entry. Partly because even I can't justify joining in with another knitalong (even surreptitiously) in the one day - but mainly because I'm too overwhelmed by what the others are doing. Whoa there horsey !
Mine may be St**more but it's only 2 colours and my head's still birling !!
Big deal I hear you saying ? ... ah but, it was the final two balls I needed to let me knit
I decided to knit this a few months after half of the colours had been discontinued (naturally !) so I've been collecting them for a while. But this shade (it's Rowan 4ply Botany in Strawberry btw) has been elusive.
I could have bought 10 balls from Up Country - but I only need 2 so it seemed a bit excessive !
Now I just have to decide where to start ?
Audrey ? Strawberry ? Tillie ? Elfin ? Persian Tile ?
AAGH ! Excessive, who me ?
We Scots are a proud nation. Proud of our heritage, our culture, our land and our sons and daughters. A poll of the top 10 icons in Scotland was published yesterday by the BBC.
Guess who came top ?
TOP 10 SCOTTISH ICONS
1: Oor Wullie
2: William Wallace
3: Sean Connery
4: Kenny Dalglish
6: Jock Stein
7: Ally McCoist
8: Billy Connolly
9: Ewan McGregor
10: Rob Roy
"Oor Wullie has been appearing in the Sunday Post newspaper since 1936 and has legions of fans around the world. The comic strip hero from Dundee, famous for sitting on his bucket, came first in a survey marking this year's Tartan Day festivities on 6 April." - BBC Scotland, 5th April 2004
What interests me is that out of the 10, we have 3 football related figures, 2 actors, 2 historical leaders, 1 comedian, 1 singer and 1 fictional cartoon character - oh, no, sorry 2 fictional characters - with an accent like that Lulu can't be for real can she ???
Now what does that tell you about the state of the nation ? No great leaders who haven't been dead for hundreds of years, no giants of literature, art, invention or enterprise ?
But hey, I'd probably have voted for him too .... I like his bucket :0)
I've spent the weekend in a quandary. I really love this design
AND this fantastic knitalong has just started ..... but there are things to be considered.
5 Things I know to be true :
1. I already have at least 8 unfinished projects on the go.
2. One of those is Elfin another knitalong started way back in October by Lis - and she's finished ! Hurrah for Lis !
3. I've just found the yarn I need to complete my Elfin. I'm doing it in Rowan Wool Cotton in Inky with Dewberry & Poison Kidsilk Haze ruffles.
4. One of my other unfinished WIP's is a cardigan I started for my sister's birthday LAST year - and her next birthday isn't all that far away now.
5. I have at least another 5 projects worth of yarn in my stash already - and that's just the stuff that I bought with a specific project in mind. Don't ask about the rest ...
5 Reasons to Ignore "What I know to be true " :
1. I was meant to be around in the fifties - by that, I don't mean my mother was pregnant for 7 years (she wasn't an elephant you know !) - but in style terms it should have been my era. I am shaped for the 50's .... but instead I got the 80's at the height of my fashion conscious teen years - ruffled shirts, knickerbockers, ra-ra skirts and big hair, yum, mmmmmh.
2. I LOVE knitalongs. For someone as motivationally challenged as me when it comes to finishing things, they are the closest thing to having a cheerleading squad jumping up and down next to the couch as I knit.
3. Some of my favourite knitting people are in on this one and I want to play too !
4. I LOVE Calmer to knit with. I used it to knit this for my sister-in-law's birthday in February (hey, a finished project ! WOW!) and fell for its kitten-softness, its stretch - and the fact that it knits up quickly on fairly big needles, always a plus. :0))
5. When has having umpty unfinished projects stopped me before ?? I have severe starteritis and I'm getting the shakes. Quick, call the knitting doctor !!
So, I've reached a compromise with myself. IF I can find some Calmer on sale somewhere / going cheap on eBay AND in a colour that works for me, I'm going for it. And if I can't meet those conditions, I'll know it's not meant to be .... and knit it later in the year !
In the meantime, whilst pondering all of these things, I made some progress on Tillie
over the weekend. I'm up to the armhole shaping on the back and I think I'm going to do a sleeve next as light relief from the fairisle. The back and fronts of this design are in fairisle and the sleeves are lace - if I can persuade my husband to show me how use the scanner I'll let you see a picture sometime !
Plus I'm trying to fit in another square or two for Kay & Ann - I keep going to send them over but then thinking I may as well wait until I've done some more. They're coming girls, honest !
Okay if you look really close you can see the rain dripping off my poor little flowers but am I down hearted ? :0( NO ! :0) The Easter holidays start today and I'm off for a whole week and a bit with my girls and we have plans ....
Rosie, my eldest
wants to go here.
Little middle, Hazel
wants to go here.
Now me, I really want to go here ... no ulterior motive of course, mwah ha ha ! Seriously, it's only a short drive from here
so we could take a picnic !
If the rain keeps up I may even manage to get back to one of other WIP's, the Persian Tile cushion by Jade Starmore. I started at Christmas and I'm halfway done but I really have to concentrate while I'm working this - hence it only gets touched during holidays when I'm not otherwise distracted by the office, school, childminder, gymnastics, choir, swimming, ballet etc. Maybe it'll be done by NEXT Christmas ....
And maybe by the time of my next post I'll have worked how to do the photos better .... or maybe not.