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Showing posts from 2010

Goodbye 2010, hello 2011

I've spent a fair bit of the last week knitting and also mulling over 2010.

I've had a pretty good year. I haven't made as many large items for myself as I'd have liked to but I did do some sample knitting which I enjoyed as it makes me knit things I wouldn't normally knit for myself.

Here's a quick list of my 2010 highlights:

Meeting internet knitters in real life. I met loads of you at shows with p/hop, so many that I got very bad at remembering people's names, which is something I am normally good at. A few knitters came to stay at ours which was great (look at my stash) and I stayed with a few knitters I have known for years on Rav but finally met in real life (I looked at their stashes).

Going to Stitch London meetings. Similar to the above with the added enjoyment of teaching someone to knit for the first time. You can do this too but you'll have to wait for me to be at a better PC to add links.

I learned a fair few new techniques this year, my favorit…

Ho ho ho

We sort of postponed Christmas this year as we both have horrible chest infections.

Today we've spent most of the day under duvets in the lounge watching Christmas TV, sleeping and eating what we fancied. It hasn't been that bad and I seem to have perked up a little this evening, so much so that I did some knitting.

Mr Gingerknits gave me this very appropriate card with glittery knitted sprouts...

... and I found this wee bear knitting in a box of old cards.

I've been making socks over the last few days. The blue sock is using some On-line sock yarn (superwash + bamboo)I bought in Berlin last summer. I'm using a simple slip stitch pattern to break the colours up and am pleased with the fake isle effect it is creating.

The orange and khaki sock is using another sock yarn I bought in Berlin (I can't remember the name of it right now) and Yarnyard Toddy which Natalie had started a sock in but abandoned it, luckily for me as I got all the yarn.

I'm going to try an…

Christmas Ham

I don't remember our family having a "Christmas Ham" when I was a kid. I think we did have ham at Christmas but never called it the Christmas Ham so when I came across the phrase a few years ago I was amused by it and it's become a bit of a meme in our house.

We've been trying to lead a very green Christmas and use newspaper to wrap each others presents. I found these pictures of festive ham in a supermarket newsletter and couldn't resist using them to wrap some chocolates for Mr Gingerknits.


Got draughty old windows? We do. I normally push crumpled newspaper in the cracks but this year used old scraps of roving and felt I've made. It works brilliantly and I can cram it into the smallest of cracks (using a baking spatula) making my flat that much cosier.

Yet another great reason to love wool.

Snow cat

We had quite a downpour of snow this morning. For those of you who live in snowier climates this won't look like much but it is quite unusual for London. The Black Cat didn't quite know what to make of it and oscillated from wanting to be inside...

to dashing outside to chase snowflakes (and eat snow!).


I just picked up a  tinned meat comment on my blog which goes as follows...

"Why have you deleted my post? It was very helpful information and i assure atleast 1 person found it helpful unlike the rest of the comments on this website. I'll post it again. Sick of obtaining low amounts of useless visitors to your website? Well i want to share with you a brand new underground tactic that makes myself $900 each day...." blah blah blah

Well at least the spammers are getting more creative.

I deleted the comment.

Laceweight & Owls

I did a little bit of shopping at The Bothered Owl Christmas Party.

There was lots of beautiful yarn available so considering the circumstances I was very restrained.

The yarn is from Indie Dyer Sweet Clement. I spent most of the evening trying not to succumb to her beautiful colours but I could see her yarn from where I was sitting at the p/hop table.

Sadly all the red sock yarn had been snapped up by the time I decided to treat myself so I bought some laceweight. I don't know why I do this. I am definitely falling into the category of yarn collector rather than knitter when I buy laceweight as I have never knitted anything with laceweight but I now have a few skeins of it in my stash after a year of visiting festivals. I am determined to knit with it so need to overcome my fear of it, I just need to find the right pattern.

I'm a big fan of Kieran Foley's patterns but they are a little too tricky for me at the moment. I've tried making High Seas a few times but need to wo…

Paul Smithesque

I'm currently making myself a pair of socks using some left over Mist Alpaca yarn in 2 colourways. I love the way the colours are working together as I alternate the yarns and the stripes remind me of Paul Smith colours.

While Browsing the Paul Smith website to find something similar to illustrate my point I came across this.

Image from

I'm emulating Paul Smith who is imitating granny squares. I think I prefer mine to his. At least when I make granny squares they are real!

Lashing and lashings...

As well as talk of Clementine Cake on twitter there has been talk of brewing Ginger Beer. Ginger beer is my drink of choice and I'm always in search of a good one. I find many commercial ones too sweet. Once on holiday in Brasil I had a ginger beer made with freshly squeezed ginger which is the gold standard at the moment and a tough act to live up to.

@eskimimi (who has a lovely blog) linked to this River Cottage recipe last week. I had to hunt around for brewers yeast as the brewer's yeast you can buy in chemists and health food shops is deactivated so won't work for brewing, despite the name. (trade descriptions act anyone?).

I ended up buying my yeast online after consulting my brewing guru Bioniclaura. As well as knitting Laura brews her own beer, which I got sample when I stayed with her and her lovely dog and husband in Dublin when I went over at the end of October. More on that later.

I couldn't wait to get started but had to wait til we returned from Hastings to …

Windy Snow

We spent last weekend in Hastings with a group of friends. It was rather wintry so we didn't make it to the battle site but did stroll along the beach. I'd given a couple of friends Cranford Mitts I'd made as part of the p/hop Mitt-a-long which went down well, though I ended up borrowing one pair which makes me a bad gift giver. Here you are, lovely bespoke mittens, which I will immediately take back and use.

I made these Cranfords using some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino which I p/hopped last month along with some from my stash. The mittens are slightly different in colour due to different dyelots but I think I'm the only person who has noticed. The brown edging is a wool/silk blend mystery yarn from my friend Montyknits, I suspect it is Blue Sky Alpaca yarn.

A lot of Hastings seemed rather forlorn in a run down British seaside way, like a forgotten favourite teddy bear left on a shelf. The pier had burnt down which added to the post apocalyptic feel.

I did admire the way…

A Weasel for Ouisel

There's nothing like a deadline to make me finish a project. My best friend Lou is off travelling round the world next year after finishing her job. Her nickname in our circle of friends is Ouisel (take the first letter of your name and put it at the end), pronounced weasel so when I saw the crochet pattern made by Jennifer Reeve in the LSG group on Ravelry for a weasel I had to make it for her.

Lou coordinated a research study into Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm repairs using stents known as EndoVascular Aneurysm Repair or EVAR for short and we also refer to her as the Queen of EVAR so the weasel had to be holding an aneurysm and have a crown.

I started this project about 2 years ago but other things kept on getting in the way. As Lou was heading off for the year and finishing her EVAR job I had to finish the weasel. It didn't take me long to finish and I enjoyed knitting the aneurysm using i-cord. I can't quite believe I've finished this project. It's been hanging aroun…

Happy Birthday p/hop

Hello blog

This another one of those, whoops, I've not blogged for ages but I will catch up sort of posts.

I've been here, there and almost everywhere with p/hop this month but will hopefully have a bit more me time in November which will mean more blogging.

The p/hop birthday blog along is this week (and maybe next week), which is open to all. It's a great way of raising awareness about the project so if you'd like to take part follow the simple steps here.

My first phopping

Wordless Wednesday.

Yarn swap & very appropriate card from Nancyflowers in aid of MSF.


The weather is miserable. It's perfect fibre crafting weather. It's also good baking weather so here is the Obligatory October Baking Blog post.

I'm going to Loop's yarn swap for MSF tomorrow and have made some biscuits to take along. Of course they are gingernuts, my signature biscuit. Here's my recipe, adapted from The Cranks Recipe Book.



60g Margarine or butter
175g Plain flour
60g brown sugar
100g Golden syrup
2tsp baking powder
1tsp Bicarbonate of soda
2tsp Ground ginger

For the icing
Icing sugar
Ginger cordial

Rub the butter and flour and baking powder together until you have a crumbly mixture. Stir in the sugar. Warm the golden syrup and add the bicarbonate of soda and ground ginger. Add the ginger golden syrup mixture to the flour and butter mix. Knead them together to form a dough. Roll small ball of dough, flatten them slightly and place them on a greased baking sheet leaving a good amount of space between them as the dough will spread.

Bake …


I didn't get many photos of the sheep or the sheep judging competition at Masham yesterday but this blog post has loads of excellent photos.

In other news, my knitting mojo is creeping back. I've been tinkering with some chunky yarn I bought yesterday and have done a few rounds on a sock. We'll see what happens.


We had loads of fun at the Masham Sheep Fair today, my mojo might be creeping back after a lovely day chatting with knitters. I'll need to wait til I'm back down south to blog about it and upload my photos. If you're near Masham do go along to the Sheep Fair tomorrow. It's a fun day out and well worth a visit.
In the meantime here's a crocheted AT-AT from Soggy-Wolfie which my other half found on Deviant Art. Take a look at the other things they have crocheted such as a sea cucumber, sad zinc, and an axolotl. Nifty eh?

Has anyone seen my mojo?

Do not fear dear reader, I have not turned into the groovy 60s spy, no not that sort of mojo. It's far worse than anything Austin "Danger" Powers had to contend with. I've lost my knitting mojo!

I suppose it's not bad going. It's the first time this has happened to my in the five years since I discovered 15mm needles and Big Wool and churned out a basic yet passable shawl in two evenings, banishing my awful memories of 80's knitting hell as a teenager grappling with acrylic and excessive intarsia.

I have spent a good part of the summer at knitting festivals with the wonderful p/hop and a good other part knitting professionally. Now I have a bit of time to knit for fun and for me  I just can't face it. When I was on round 100 and something of the never ending commission project I fantasised about whipping up a pair of socks (ahem, don't mention the 52 sock pick up or knit 52 pairs in a year challenge I so optimistically signed up for back in June),…


Remember the Black Cat? He sometimes brings his friends round to join in the human staring.

Normal knitting service will be resumed shortly.

20 Books in 20 Minutes

This is one of those Facebook things that comes around every so often. While I'm not keen on most FB quizzes (inane) I appreciate this one as it can be a good source of inspiration for new books to read.

Here's my list:

The rules: Don't take too long to think about it. Twenty books you've read that will always stick with you. List the first twenty you can recall in no more than twenty minutes. Tag some friends, including me, because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose. (To do this, go to your Notes tab on your profile page, paste rules i... etc etc.

1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

2. The Twits - Roald Dahl

3. Regeneration Trilogy - Pat Barker

4. Lord of the Rings - Tolkein

5. Red Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson

6. 1984 - George Orwell

7. Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell

8. Mill on the Floss - George Elliot (Still not finished it but loved it so far)

9. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver

10. Cry the Beloved Country - Alan Paton?

11. Cat…

Round & round & round

I've been knitting. A lot. I can't tell you what I'm knitting as it's top secret, just keep an eye on Montyknits blog and all will be revealed in a few weeks/months time.

What I will share with you is the brilliant Bothered Owl stitch markers which bring some light relief to lots of rounds of stocking stitch.

Squids in

I'm going from my damp flat to The Depths of the ocean on Friday night. I'll be teaching tiny squid knitting along with other Stitch London Stitchettes as well as marvelling at the bizarre creatures that live in the depths of our seas at the Natural History Museum.

I pestered Stitch London to let me knit something for their specimen jars and they said yes. Here is my creation along with other woolly beasties of the deep!

My fishy knit is a coelacanth (far left). You can read more about them on the Stitch London blog.
I'm a natural history geek and have always loved the story of the discovery that a presumed extinct species was living in the depths of the Mozambique channel. If you're interested in enormous old fish with anal fins I can recommend this book.

I'm pretty sure they sell it in the NHM shop. If you're at the museum on Friday night come and say hello. Lets hope the Bone eating snot worms haven't eaten the giant sloth by then.

Putting things in perspective

We arrived home from Yorkshire today to find half our living room and kitchen were flooded. Our table, futon, PC (I'm writing on our dinky laptop), carpet and ceiling are damaged as well as some minor bits of electronic kit.

This is very annoying but when I see images of the flood in Pakistan it really is nothing. Yes, it smells funky, yes, my favourite old, well travelled address book is damaged but no-one has died, we're not at risk of cholera or malaria and I doubt either of us is going to starve. Even the errant Black Cat wandered in safe and sound as if nothing had happened.

MSF are working their socks off in Pakistan, setting up Cholera stations, proving shelter, clean water and medical care to some of the 14 million people (yes 14 million, hard to imagine isn't it) affected by the floods.

This MSF water distribution truck provides water to victims of the floods who are displaced and in need of clean drinking water. Nowshera, 27th July 2010. Photo by Ton Koene/MSF Pho…

On the Road

I've been here, there and everywhere this month. First was up to Edinburgh, then Stirling taking p/hop to Knit Camp. Then back to Edinburgh to visit friends and enjoy some of the fringe festival. I'm now in North Yorkshire spending a few days with my parents. Blog posts with pictures will be coming when I return to the big city and can upload photos.

I'm having fun but do occasionally wonder if the Black Cat is still yelling outside my back door. I should set up a web cam to see what he's up to.

Knit Nation

I've been busy over the last week taking p/hop to the Knit Nation festival in London. It was good fun but I'm still a little dazed from 3 full on days of talking to knitters. It was fab and I've met some brilliant people so I will share it in photo form.

Here's our stand, manned by yellowpurplezebra and cybil.

Bad pub photos from Friday night with Stitch London Stitchettes, WoollyWormhead,@julietillyflop (who makes fab knitting tea towels) Babylonglegs, @knitterbird and Bionic Laura (who stayed with me and brought me some gorgeous Aran yarn from Ireland)

There was a grout baby and also some tipsy yelling at Ysolda and Sazknits and Jess and Casey the marvellous people who made Ravelry when we spotted them on the way to the tube.

On Saturday I made sure I had time to shop and bought some sock yarn from Renaisance Dyeing...

... creepily fabulous stitch markers from The Bothered Owl...

As well as a fab needle roll with Mexican Day of the Dead pattern

I also bought some Old Maiden…

Too busy!

I see this advert on the tube quite often and keep on meaning to get a photo of me knitting in front of it. The problem is I'm usually too busy knitting to do so.

Catch up No.2 - Goodbye Mini Me

A couple of weeks ago all the stitch selves were transported from Stitch London's HQ to the Science Museum. I helped the team set them up which was great fun sorting through all the little people. Some were brilliant, some were downright scary though they were all endearing.

Yet again the brilliant Stitch London folks have blogged about it. See if you can spot me on their blog, as well as enjoying all the other mini mes.

I had a fun night at the Science Museum grown ups only evening. A few friends came along and it was so much fun being able to play on things in the Launch Pad area without having to push kids off things first. (Before you get all hot and bothered I am joking, though if you've ever been to the Science or Natural History Museum during the school holidays you'll understand the frustration)

There were quite a few imaging gadgets so here I am in thermal imaging...

...and on some dot display contraption.

The frozen ice crystals were beautiful, I spent about 10 minute…