Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Wool gathering

In case anyone has missed it, Saturday 15 June will be the day of the Basingstoke BIG Knit!  You can find us on Ravelry, Face book, and Twitter .  In just two weeks there will be people all over Festival Place Basingstoke knitting.

Its part of World Wide Knitting In Public Week  At the BIG Knit we are planning to knit a blanket in a day and raise money for our local hospice, St Michael's.  We need lots of yarn and it's started to arrive from the generous knitters of the town

A bit of a jumble but I have begun sorting them out into colours

blues and greens

reds and pinks


yellows and creams

I'm beginning to see themes here.  It would be fab if we could make three blankets in these colours.  They are not going to be huge, lap rugs really so perhaps its doable...

If enough people turn up!


I also found some knitters treasure in amongst the bags.  If  you have an eagle eye you may have spotted it already.  Some lovely old (1950s or 1960s, I think) Patons 4 and 3 ply 80% wool in some great colours.

As a spin off from the BIG Knit we are thinking of making a really fabulous afghan for the hospice to auction or raffle at their winter fundraiser.  This yarn might just be the right stuff to use

What do you think?



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A New Book

A little while ago those very nice people at Quadrille sent me a copy of Debbie Bliss' new book Knits for You and Your Home

The book,which was published on March 28th, arrived several weeks ago; but if you have read any of my reviews in the past you will know that I like to try out a project before passing an opinion.  And what with the BBK and other knitting projects, although I chose what I wanted to make,  it took me a while to actually get it done.

I suppose it is no longer strictly necessary to make something each time I receive a book to review, particularly when it is one by Debbie Bliss.  Her books are always beautifully presented - a joy just to browse and the patterns well written and turn out just like the illustrations.

As always the book is full of things I would love to make, some projects are ideal for small amounts of stash yarn, for others you can get really extravagant and buy 9 balls of Party Angel (for a pretty pink shrug to wear over a floaty Summer dress).

The book is divided into four sections, Indulge, Cocoon, Pamper and Detox.  The big difference is that, unlike many project books, it really is for YOU as well as for your home.  There are some great original ideas, including one or two pretty things to wear and only a couple of cushions - I know I have said it before but, how many cushions does a home need?

I love the bath bag in the Pamper section

And the Hanging Pockets in Detox

I decided to make the keepsake box from Indulgence, modifying it slightly to make it into a picture frame.  My first problem, the frame I had in stock was day-glow green, no good at all with the soft colours I had chosen for the fairisle background

So it needed a lick of paint

The fairisle stocking stitch panel for the background turned out fine, though the usual curly tube needed some firm handling

Using some double sided sticky tape I fixed it in position to the back of the frame and used another tiny bit of tape to hold the picture in place as I reassembled the frame - Et Voila!!

A lovely book, I'm definitely going to make more of the things in Detox to organise my study



Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Displacement activity

Very early on Tuesday mornings it is my habit to lie in bed just as it get light (sun rise, birds cheeping and all that) and consider what I might write about here.  It is a rare occasion when I plan much ahead, ideas usually come to me in that land between sleeping and waking on the day I write them up.  I always have some project or other on the go - new yarns to chat about or a discovery of a new technique.  But this morning nothing...  It's not that I haven't got something 'on the needles' or plans for a big project and I even have something that I have finished and is waiting to be sewn up,  Its just that I'm not yet ready to go public on these and I don't love the FO enough to rush to sew it up (does anyone else make things from time to time that they don't like?).

No it's simply that I am blocked.

Then listening as I do to Radio 4's Today Program with half an ear,I heard a debate on whether writers block really existed.  One person saying that writers were just being precious and self indulgent, if they had children and only limited hours in which to write they would just get on with it, like any other job.  The opposite view was put by a man who quoted Joseph Conrad who seemed to be in extremis with writers block 'and he was a father of children'.  To which the woman retorted 'I bet he never had to pick them up from playgroup'  - Touché

After listening to this and identifying more with the busy mother (even though the children are grown and two of the four have flown) and not a real writer but a blogger to boot I cannot allow myself to indulge in the fantasy of writers block.

So it boils down to the fact that I don't know what to write about, so instead of sitting down at my PC straight after breakfast I DID THE IRONING!!!

 Then I made soup and now I seem to have begun generally nattering!  Displacement activity?  I'm afraid so

The soup is very good - here is the recipe

1 litre of ham stock (Sunday dinner left overs in this case)
2 onions
2 large potatoes
1 large celeriac
chopped ham left overs
chopped parsley (as much as you like)

  • Peel and roughly chop the onions, potatoes and celeriac and sweat in a little olive oil to which you have added a knob of butter
  • Add half the stock and simmer till all the vegetables are cooked
  • Put the vegetables through a mouli, sieve or liquidise
  • Add the rest of the stock and adjust the seasoning
  • Dilute with milk if too strongly flavoured and add the ham (don't reboil once you have added the ham or you will just get a stringy mess)

So what am I knitting at the moment?  It's color affection in the Countess Ablaze Donegal that I mentioned earlier.  Everyone says it looks nothing like the finished object until its blocked and I certainly hope so

The yarn is soft and delightful, I know the purply/blue will be more dominant once the shawl is finished with a two inch border in it but at the moment I have to admit it just looks like a load of baggy garter stitch!