Category Archives: Waffle

Woolly Wormhead 10th Anniversary Blog Tour

Today I have great pleasure in being part of Woolly Wormhead‘s 10th Anniversary Blog Tour. This is the first time I have ever been in a Blog Tour!

For this stop on the Tour Liz and I did a little question and answer about the work we do on Woolly’s patterns and books. Liz very kindly hosted and organised this, so pop over to her blog to read a bit more about Technical Editing (me) and Copy Editing (her). There are prizes too!

It turns out I spoke a bit soon on the feeling better front, but hopefully soon!


A nephew, a workshop, a conference, and some mittens

I do still exist! As you have probably already guessed August and September have been rather busy, so time for a bit of a catch up with what has been happening.

First and most excitingly, we have a new nephew! Aaron is now 6 weeks old and we have waved to him on the skype several times, and he has made the grumpy face back at us. I had better get a move on with designing his Christmas stocking, especially given the speed of my knitting.

At the beginning of August I helped Jill Brownjohn to run another Patchwork knitting get together. Here we all are getting a bit of direction from Jill:

This year we went for a more relaxed get-together rather than a formal workshop. We had a discussion about joining techniques for pre-knitted shapes, and those who wanted to had a go at the methods that interested them most. It was lovely to catch up with everyone and see what they had been making over the last year, and I think the format seemed to go down well. We are not sure what will happen in 2013 since the hall we have been using for the last several years in Marlow Bottom may be closed for renovation.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the In The Loop 3 conference at Winchester. A wonderful three days, full of interesting and varied speakers and a lot of cake ๐Ÿ™‚ I completely failed to take any photos at all ๐Ÿ™ I am looking forward to having some time soon to see if I can decipher any of the notes I made. Over-excitement and terrible handwriting are not a good combination. It is a good job there is the conference programme to at least tell me who was speaking so I can always google them when my writing of their websites is incomprehensible. I really hope they will run another conference in a couple of years. I thought the programme was very well thought-out and included a lot of different angles on knitting. Lots of food for thought.

And finally I have finished some fingerless mittens:

The pattern is Wrought Mitts, and I used 2.25mm needles and some orange merino/silk handspun that I had left over from making a couple of pairs of socks. In the end I used about 37g which is about 142m. I still have a tiny amount of the yarn left over which I think will be going in the bag for making City and Guilds samples.

My hands are right at the top of the size range of what the mittens would fit. They are ok, but I think if there had been a larger size I would have knitted that. Over all I am very pleased with them, and think they will come in handy now that the weather has turned a bit cooler.

As well as everything else we have been having a bit of a go at tidying up the garden. It has been biting back, in some cases literally, but luckily the latest batch of nasty insect bites are getting much better. I think I need to find a way to make me taste less nice, I manage to get bitten even when I am covered in insect repellant! Today I had a bit of a go at the pond, clearing out some of the mass of weeds. I managed not to fall in but did get covered in smelly black mud. The poor washing machine will be on overdrive tomorrow.

More cycling and a hat

It was the Olympic cycling road time trials yesterday, so I popped along to a stretch of road about half way round the course, between Cobham and Esher. I took my chair with me this time since the whole thing lasted about four hours.

Here are some highlights of the time trial. First the ladies, here is Lizzie Armitstead, Emma Pooley, Judith Arndt (who won silver) who has just overtaken Marianne Vos, and Kristin Armstrong (who won gold):

And here are the men. Chris Froome (bronze), Tony Martin (silver), and Bradley Wiggins (gold):

There is excitement when Chris Froome arrives because he has just overtaken Sylvain Chavanel.

I had a lovely time. It was a very festive atmosphere, a group a few hundred yards up the road had brought a big gas-fired barbecue and were making quite a party of it. I had a bit of a walk to find my spot, but once there I had a nice picnic, and read some of my magazine and did a little bit of knitting. As you can probably hear on some of the videos there were some people with a cow bell on my right, and others with what sounded like the kitchen sink on my left. The kitchen sink lot started off with the cacophony approach, but actually became more musical (or perhaps I became immune) during the day.

It was a great fun day out, and I have enjoyed seeing some of the Olympics in real life.

I recorded the telly coverage of both this and the road races so that I could watch the whole thing later since although you get a lot of atmosphere actually being at a race you really have no idea who is winning. It has been fun and slightly odd seeing them riding down roads I know very well, particularly in the road race. Today I drove on part of the road race course to go to the tip ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been doing a little bit of knitting, and am getting on with the Christmas presents! This year I am going to be organised!

Here is a hat for my new nephew (due next week):

The pattern is Doodie by Woolly Wormhead. I used 3.5mm needles and Artesano Superwash Merino. Baby hats are excellent instant gratification knitting.

This is the first time I have used this yarn and I really enjoyed it. It is a very nice soft squashy yarn which feels lovely to knit with and makes a very nice fabric. The only difficulty I had with it was that it turned my hands turquoise. I thought it would not be the mark of a good auntie to turn my nephew’s head turquoise for his first Christmas so I have given the hat a nice wash before it is wrapped up. Turquoise can often be a difficult dye colour.

Ballet, Cycling, and Socks

It has been an action packed weekend! On Saturday we braved the crowds in London and went to the ballet to see Swan Lake. It has been more than 25 years since I last went to the ballet, and it was lovely. We had great seats, and the seats in front of us were unoccupied so we had a fantastic view.

We caught up watching the men’s Olympic Cycling Road Race in the evening, and then yesterday I braved the weather and went out to watch the ladie’s Olympic Cycling Road Race on the road.

At first it was sunny, this the direction the cyclists will arrive from:

and here are two lovely ladies I met while walking down to the race, Sue and her mum Win:

Sue is seen here in contact with base camp (her other half) giving us updates on where the race was on the telly.

We had about an hour to wait and then the cars and motorbikes leading the race started to arrive:

And then the heavens opened, and the lens cover on my camera got jammed. I am not going to win any prizes for my videographic skills, but here is the breakaway, with Lizzie Armitstead (GB, Silver medal), Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia, Bronze medal), Marianne Vos (Netherlands, Gold medal), and Shelley Olds (USA, she had a mechanical later in the race and so wasn’t in the breakaway at the finish). Shortly followed by the peloton, lead by the German team:

Next came a Dutch rider, and a German, chasing the peloton:

And then another group of three riders:

Then the rain became really torrential, but I did manage to un-jam my lens cap, and the main chasing group came through, lead by the Australian team (I do like their yellow skin suits, very nice and easy to identify), followed by more support vehicles:

Then another smaller chasing group:

And then the final rider of the race, and the last of the support vehicles. I’m not sure if you can read it on the rainy video, but the last car helpfully says “End of Race” on it.

It hailed on us while we packed up and got ready to walk back to the car. Also it was the kind of bouncing rain that not only soaked you but also covered you in grit. All of my clothes went in the wash when I got home, my shoes and bag got a wipe and are now drying in the porch. Great fun though!

If you want to watch all seven videos in the right order (hopefully!) here is the playlist:

With the train journey into London and back for the ballet I finally finished my latest pair of socks:

The pattern is Guitar Man Socks, I used 2.5mm needles, and the yarn was some rather old and wobbly hand spun left over from my Cirque Socks. There were actually 4 small balls of yarn which varied a bit in colour, which explains why one sock is a bit darker than the other. Also as you can see I ran out of yarn on the second toe and so used some left-over mill-spun yarn I had hanging around. I think they are rather fun, and the variations in yarn give them character ๐Ÿ™‚

The pattern was fun to do. I have altered it a bit, only doing 8 instead of 10 pattern repeats on the leg (although this still makes a long sock on me), and doing 5 1/2 pattern repeats on the foot. I also extended the patterning onto the toe. I think this heel is a bit pointy for my foot, but it has been fun experimenting with different heel and toe shapings.

La Rochelle

Today we went to La Rochelle, our nearest large town,immortalised by the French books I learnt from at school. Luckily Fiona had a map:


So we all followed her to the yarn shop ๐Ÿ™‚


We managed to find three yarn shops selling a variety of French and foreign yarns.

We also managed to fit in a bit of sight-seeing. It is an interesting old town, beautiful on such a lovely day. There were quite a lot of people around, some locals but quite a lot of tourists, particularly English. Here is the harbour:


And there were several interesting buildings. The lines on this aren’t timber but are actually slate tiles, which seems to be a local style.


Here we all are at the harbour side, looking very pleased with all our new purchases.


Speaking of purchases, I bought two balls of Bergere de France Sport, which is a DK weight washable wool and acrylic mix. I am planning a hat for my niece for her Christmas present (or possibly her birthday in September if I am fast enough!) I hope she will like the colour.


In the Phildar shop I bought four balls of Terre Neuve, which is a chunky wool, and will be a hat for me. I think the colour is fantastic!


The third knitting shop sold Pinguoin and Anny Blatt yarns but I didn’t buy anything there. I was saving my cash for a very nice creme brรปlรฉe ice cream, no photo I’m afraid, I ate it too quickly ๐Ÿ™‚

London Surrey Cycle Classic

Today was the day of the London Surrey Cycle Classic road race. They were testing out the proposed route for next year’s Olympics, and seeing as it passed only 2 or 3 miles from our house I thought I would pop out and watch the excitement.

It was all good fun. I arrived nice and early (I was the first person to park my car at my designated spot – I had picked a place which isn’t too close to where people live so it was quite nice and quiet), set up my chair and my knitting, and sat down to knit a couple of rows while I waited for the action. Here is my little encampment, the yellow bag contains the knitting:

As you can see from the view up the road:

And the view down the road:

I pretty much had the place to myself when I arrived. A few more people did come later, but it wasn’t exactly crowded.

After a bit of a wait, in which a couple of safety cars went by, and then an info car telling us a bit about how the race was going, the leading motorbikes arrived:

Shortly followed by the breakaway 2 riders, and first section of peloton:

Then the second section of peloton:

And the third section of peloton:

Followed by a little bunch of stragglers (you can hear the people up the road cheering them on):

Then came a couple of groups of cyclists who I don’t think had race numbers on, and they weren’t followed by hoards of cars, so I think they were keen amateurs:

Then came some more amateurs, and a couple of lorries collecting up any rubbish that had been thrown by the cyclists:

My camera isn’t actually a video camera so the videos aren’t terribly good, you can’t zoom while you are in video mode, but I enjoyed making them ๐Ÿ™‚ A fun day out, and I managed to knit about 3 rows ๐Ÿ™‚

Free Concert on Friday

For anyone in the Barnes (South-West London) area who would like to hear some fun music for free on Friday (8th October), the band I play in, Barnes Concert Band (I play 2nd trombone), will be doing a joint concert with a Swiss brass band called Fanfare de Gryon at 7.30pm at St Michael and All Angels Church, Elm Bank Gardens, Barnes, London. More information here. We would love to see you, and if you do come, then come up and say hello.

We will be playing the first half, with the Swiss doing the second half, and then we will join together at the end. We are playing a variety of fairly recent music, not particularly well known stuff, but a good variety of classical style and big band style, and they have nice tunes ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not sure about the Swiss band’s program but think there are doing several marches, and some songs from the shows. We are playing the Liberty Bell for our joint piece (if I am remembering rightly that was the Monty Python music).

Scotland, Loseley, and the start of a baby blanket

Back at the beginning of September we had a lovely week’s holiday in south west Scotland, with a few days staying with my parents in North Yorkshire on our way up and back again. I have finally got round to downloading the photos from the camera and having a sort through.

The weather was a bit variable, but in general pretty good for the time of year, although it did rain on us horribly while we walked up Roseberry Topping whilst visiting my parents. You can see the wall of rain approaching from the distance in this photo. We had high winds and hail too! Luckily we also had somewhere to dry out and warm up once we had finished our walk, and that makes all the difference ๐Ÿ™‚

One of the fields we could see from the top of the hill was full of fairly recent hay bales, and rather reminded me of beads on garter stitch, or possibly rib.

Up in Scotland we stayed in a lovely B&B in Castle Douglas. We had a lovely holiday, pottering around, taking nice walks, going to a few second hand bookshops, and visiting lots of Historic Scotland sites.

This is Sweetheart Abbey:

and this is Dundrennan Abbey:

We also looked round the gardens at Castle Kennedy, and saw this fantastic lichen, which made me think of Rosie ๐Ÿ™‚

On the way back to my parents we stopped at Jedburgh Abbey, another spectacular building.

Then with my parents we went to Rievaulx Abbey.

Quite a cultured holiday ๐Ÿ™‚

With all those busy days I needed some nice restful knitting for the evenings, so started a baby blanket for the new niece.

I am using Sirdar Snuggly 4ply and 4mm needles. It will be a hap shawl style, like the mini one we did in Chris’s Lace class, but square this time rather than triangular. The centre square is all garter stitch, knitted on the diagonal, and was excellent holiday knitting. Especially when it was small it was easy to pull in and out of a bag and work a row or two of even when I was a bit tired and brain dead. Since taking that photo it has grown a bit, I shall photograph it again when it finally stops raining! Around the garter stitch centre, there will be a feather and fan border, and then a simple zigzag edging. It is a very enjoyable project to knit, but progress has slowed now that it has got a bit big to drag around everywhere. Still I am hopeful I will get it finished soon, particularly since I am hoping to send it out to my new niece with my parents when they go to visit in a couple of weeks. Nothing like a deadling to give one a spot of motivation ๐Ÿ™‚

Continuing on the theme of sometimes inclement weather we had a rather cold and wet day out last Sunday demonstrating spinning with the West Surrey Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers at Loseley Park, for their country fair.

Luckily Rosemary was a life-saver and dashed out for hot chocolate half way through the afternoon which did well to defrost us.

Due to the weather there were definitely a lot fewer people than there had been at the same event last year. Although one bonus of this was that we had more time to talk to the people who were there. I am trundling along with spinning the merino / silk. The end is definitely in sight!

She’s here!

My niece, Jennifer Anne, was born on Thursday! They got home yesterday afternoon and mum and baby are both doing fine, though have been a bit busy so I haven’t spoken to them yet.

Auntie Heather

I’m going to be an auntie! My sister is expecting a little girl at the beginning of September. So I thought I had better stop procrastinating and actually cast on for the baby cardigan I had been planning. I started at the beginning of last week, and it is coming along quite well.

The pattern is a free one and is available from here, but I am doing icord edging and ties. I am using 2.5mm needles and KnitPicks Comfy Fingering, 75% cotton, 25% acrylic. The main colour is Hollyberry, with icord trim in Ivory. I am making the 1 – 3 month size just in case she is big and doesn’t fit the newborn size at all, or I am slow and miss the newborn size! I decided to do some of the edging before embarking on the sleeves to check how it would come out. I had a bit of a moment earlier this week when I got a bit clever for myself with the front shaping and had to undo it all, but apart from that it is coming along well ๐Ÿ™‚

I had better get a move on with it, it feels like a bit of a race whether my niece will arrive before I can finish her cardi and get it posted! I have already sent her an elephant though so I am not a total failure of an auntie ๐Ÿ™‚