Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Exterminate !

I've moved into weapons of mass destruction.

Just in case you're not familiar with the Dr. Who series - this is the famous Dalek.

The Doctor hasn't arrived yet ... if he's an NHS doctor it might take a while...

The Dalek was a present for my step son which is collecting EVERYTHING related to this Dr. Who thing.

By the way I was quite disappointed with the last episode. My partner had a different opinion. Maybe because he likes Kylie?

Friday, December 07, 2007


Last Saturday we went in London by car and came back home by rescue truck.

According to this guy in the photo above, we need a new radiator. What's 300£? Three kits from Virtual Yarns?
Apart from this 'great' event, the weekend was kind of all right-ish.
My main target in London was the Japanese Center which is located in the Piccadilly Circus area. Unfortunately I only needed 5 minutes to browse the whole lot of 5 knitting and crochet books, mostly dedicated to accessories. And hugely overpriced. Disappointing.

Then I decided to take a walk on Regent Street, in order to discover the Liberty Store. Forgot to say I was on a special yarn shops quest.
Well, in Liberty I was in for a treat.

The building itself, built in a very authentic Tudor style, is absolutely magnificent.

The rear part was built in 1924, from the timbers of two ships: HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan. The frontage at Great Marlborough is the same length as the Hindustan.

Here is HMS Impregnable before becoming Liberty:

More about the store from their website:

'The shop was engineered around three light wells that formed the main focus of the building. Arthur Liberty( the owner) wanted to create the feeling that you were walking around your own home when you came to his store, so each of these wells was surrounded by smaller rooms to create a homely feel. Many of the rooms had fireplaces and some still exist today. The wells created a wonderful environment in which to drape exotic rugs and quilts, whilst the smaller rooms allowed the display of smaller items.'

That's a picture inside the store, taken from the last floor.

The yarn department is the Rowan empire. Every single yarn,every single colour, every single book you could imagine.

At the back of the room, an old glass window ornament, 400 years old.

I didn't buy much (a few buttons and some soft 4ply for a swatch) but I spent hours in the store just browsing and walking around different rooms on all levels.

I usually hate big department stores. Takes me less then five minutes to get a headache from the bad energy surrounding these kind of places. What's different in Liberty I wonder. Maybe it's its past, or its history or the beautiful items on display ? Or is it the love and passion which was put into this store for centuries now? Or all these together. Liberty is a store with a heart. I will definitely visit again.

Back to knitting.

I am on a program of stash reduction so I'm doing this as a fast knit - my own pattern - if you want to called it a pattern. Really I should have put a bit more effort into designing something a bit more elaborate - anyway ...

I might just have it finished during the weekend. The weather is atrocious and this might help to keep me indoors.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekends and flu

Two weekends to report and a case of bad flu in between. I feel much better now, but still very tired.
Needless to say I didn't achieve much - only finished the body parts for Martha. Sleeves are quite short - I should have them done hopefully by the end of this week.

This is the previous weekend - took an easy walk in Hardcastle Crags forest - as my flu had already started to kick in.

Hardcastle Crags is famous for the bluebells in the spring, but we went on a different quest all together.

This huge nest, which is built out of pine needles, belongs to the rare species of Northern hairy wood ants - and it's half of million of them living in one single nest. Did you think you live in a small apartment ? Think again.
I will skip the week report as I've got nothing to report apart from stuffing myself with tons of aspirins and paracetamols.
I felt better by Saturday, so we went out for a meal in Pack Horse Inn. Windy and cold and miserable weather. The small white house on top of the hill, in the middle of nowhere - that's the inn.

The meals are nice and reasonable priced. Best Yorkshire kidney pie.

And lamb ribs. On my wishing list for the next time.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I've got shelves

It started like this: a few months ago I bought a Rebecca magazine and after a while could not find it anymore, no matter how hard I've tried looking for it.

So, last weekend, in a moment of deep frustration, went in Argos and bought two shelves units which are suppose to organise all the knitting related things that I kept for years on the sofas, under the sofas, in the bathrooms, in huge piles of papers hidden everywhere around the house etc.,etc.

This is 'trying to collect some of the items together in the hall' stage.

This is the 'DIY cursing stage'.

I have to be fair here and rate the Argos furniture and instructuctions way above IKEA's.

I've got the shelves ready now - I wish I wouldn't have deleted the image though. I'll do the upload again on Monday. And everything is on the shelves - obviously all I do all day long is admiring them.

Here, found the picture.

By the way, still did not find the magazine !

Oh, and I'm swatching:

More here:

Monday, October 29, 2007


Marsden is a small village near us, and it is famous (at least in my agenda) for two things : the annual Jazz Festival and the high moorland surrounding the place.

In term of jazz, our pick for this year was Liane Carroll. We started the evening in our usual tradition, first stopping in a local pub famous for brewing their own local beer - then finally arriving in the Mechanics Hall for the concert itself. The concert was definitely a ten out of ten. I am not a big jazz fan but that was a beautiful live performance.

I heard the Local Council wants to stop this Festival due to whatever reasons. Just shows their level of competence and the level of understanding their own community traditions. Fingers crossed somebody will wake them up. Or vote them out.

One week later (last weekend - not yesterday, but the one before) , we've decided to go for a(nother) walk on the Marsden moors (surprise, surprise) along the three big reservoirs. Dedicated to a glorious autumn which definitely did not disappoint us.

Knitting wise I am only stashing all sorts. I feel lazy and can't decide on anything. Too many UFO's floating around. Bought some Silky Wool and some Noro Silver Thaw which was on sale.

I was close to start Lizzy then I've seen a few Lizzys on Ravelry and didn't like any of them.

Great thing this Ravelry.
I can easily see a few features I'd add or do them a bit differently - I guess I should try to write a nice intelligent feedback to them one of these days.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Spot the difference

How more stupid can I get?
No, it's not one repeat shorter - just in case you were going to count them.
It's the wrong needle size !!!
I am trying hard to get over it - wanted so much to get this out of the way - I feel like throwing the whole thing in the box again - FOR EVER.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Martha is coming along

The back is successfully finished with only 2 balls of yarn.
I've changed the pattern a bit, by inserting a 2-st cross on each side of the cable pattern. The rest is the same as the original. I will change the front parts as well - simply because I hate picking up stitches on edges - so we'll have different borders.

Anyway, I'm going to stop Martha for a while and try to sew the green cardi, which is floating around the house for a few months now.

Remember this?

And it needs buttons as well - I guess I'll have to take the train on Saturday and go in Leeds - I might find some nice ones in the market.

The past two weeks have been totally and absolutely hectic - I've been traveling non stop between several Universities for the Open Days. At least we managed to finalise a list of five - and now it's up to them to accept us or not. I would love to see my daughter going to Edinburgh - I was so much in love with the place - but it's only down to luck now I presume.

On top of all the traveling I've managed to pile some walking as well, on Sunday morning. I'm known to be restless.

This is the famous Stoodley Pike and the views from the tower, over the Calder valley, are really rewarding. I feel I've got full batteries again for a while.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Edinburgh and Martha

This is Edinburgh Royale Mile street, on a sunny Sunday morning.

We decided to travel up north during the weekend, in order to attend the University Open Day. Hopefully, fingers crossed, we might have a student there next year. Can't believe I am now sending my child to the University.
Arrived there right on time on Saturday afternoon, and went straight through half day of lectures, presentations and tours around the campus.

We loved the University and most of all we loved the city: majestic, vibrant and cosmopolitan. Since Sunday I keep thinking about relocation :)...
Knittingwise, I'm still not able to get over the past failures - so I'm not touching those yarns for a while.
Started Martha instead.
A good, healthy, relaxing stockinette portion. I hope this will get me back on tracks.

Voila, this is Martha from Rowan Studio Book 2, and this is where I am now, after one good session of knitting in the car, ripping, and knitting again. The pattern required to start with 4 repeats not 3.
I wish I could be more oriented towards understanding English language.

The Yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed in Melody, very nice and soft, but do not trust the color in my picture as it's obviously totally wrong, due to my stupid camera.

Monday, September 24, 2007

More Japanese Stitch Dictionary Books

Japanese Knitting And Crochet Patterns Books

I compiled this list for the Knitting Elegance KAL, and posted here by mistake. Then I thought I might as well leave it here as well - just in case somebody feels like becoming interested in Japanese knitting.

Knitting Patterns Book 250

Knitting Patterns 250 in

Knitting Patterns Book 300

Knitting Patterns Book 300 in YesAsia

Knitting Patterns Book 300

Knitting Pattern Book 300 in

Knitting Patterns Book 500

Knitting Patterns 500 in

Knitting Patterns Book 1000

Knitting Patterns 1000 in

Knitting Patterns Book 100 - Aran Patterns

Knitting Patterns 100 in

Knitting Patterns Book 250

Knitting Patterns 250 in

Crochet Patterns 300

Crochet Patterns 300 in

Crochet Patterns 200

Not available in

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Weekend report

No achievements to report on the knitting front.

My St. Brigid it's turning out to be too small - the yarn is lovely but this is not a pattern for a DK yarn - unless totally redesigned. So that's one going back in the ball. Actually it's not in the ball yet as I like to watch it every morning. And I strongly think of doing another repeat and framing it. We'll see.

Now the next disaster. The new sock I started on a Japanese stitch pattern is too small as well - this one really went back in the ball.

Were you going to suggest it might be me growing bigger? Heard it a lot these days. It's already answered in the FAQ list. The answer is NO.
So I just frozen any new ideas waiting for my luck to change and got an old UFO from the UFOs box - hopefully I'll try to finish it during the next weekend. The weather is turning colder so I might as well spend Saturday indoors. It's the green cardi - made out of cotton yarn, on 6mm needles, and it's all rows of bubbles. It is absolutely killing my hands !!! but the good news is that it's almost finished.

A bit of progress on the garden front, as you can see, WE've done the baskets, plus a few other tubs.

and since then, my gardening partner moved her headquarters on the fence, watching them.

The weekend report on trips - just enjoyed what probably were the last summer days. The itinerary was Saturday in Lincoln and then a great Sunday in Felixstowe.
The main reason to go south was to visit some relatives, but all together it turned out into a good trip.

First stop - Lincoln Cathedral

then a stop on a popular street in Lincoln.
Had a smashing English breakfast in the Tea Rooms on the right, just have a look at the cakes. Didn't help my diet at all.
Should I stop complaining my sweaters are going smaller?

and that's Felixstowe on a windy Sunday afternoon.
Fish and chips - and seagulls. And lots of people around pretending to sunbathe in the crispy wind.

Monday, September 10, 2007

My first pair of socks

Anyone left on the this planet that never did socks? No? Well, I thought so.
Anyway - finally, here are mine. Aren't they gorgeous?

The truth is these socks were waiting for grafting for about three weeks now.
Somehow on Friday evening I had the sudden impulse to finish them. Went straight home, straight at the computer desk, googled for a grafting tutorial and did the grafting. It was really easy.
I never imagined it's such fun to knit socks - somehow I was never tempted to try. Maybe because in the back of my mind I was really intimidated by the whole folklore around the heel and toe shaping. Mind barriers are terrible things. I should stop reading knitting forums and just GET ON with the patterns.

Oh, yes. Another cycling weekend. We try to use every single nice day left - very soon there will be no outdoor activities till next spring.

A bit of gardening - more plants for the tubs.

And guess who's patiently waiting for the planting session?

Unfortunately, in the end, the rain started so the plants and the cat are still waiting.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

St. Brigid

I've got three major UFOs around the house. Two cardigans and a pair of socks only waiting for grafting.
So just take a guess - which one am I doing? That's correct: none.

I've started St. Brigid (from Starmore's Aran Knitting).
Just loved the pattern since I first saw it, early in the year bought the book (and got bankrupt) then kept the idea hidden in the back of my mind till this last weekend.

The yarn is Jaeger extra fine merino DK (no, of course it's not from the stash :). Just ebayed it, a few days ago.
Simply beautiful to work with - 10 out of 10. Maybe a bit too thin for this pattern but I'm sure it will look great in the end.

Saturday morning swatch.
our Saturday afternoon cycling intermezzo along the canal

and Sunday afternoon first repeat ready.

The main challenge was to figure out the Celtic knot - finally somebody from Knitting Review pointed me to the original book explanation and drawing ( page 92 - Infinite lines), which are very clear, and this definitely put me on the right track.
Thank you wonderful people at Knitters Review.
I wish I could subscribe to Life Review as well and get all my real life problems sorted in the same manner.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Romanian Vacation

Nothing beats a good five weeks holiday in the sun, in the mountains, while living in your own house.

This is Poiana Brasov - main ski resort in Romania. The wide road winding down under the cable car is actually the most used ski slope in the winter : The Red Road.

And here are the Caraiman Mountains - 30 minutes drive from Brasov. These mountains make a fantastic climb - had no luck though to find somebody to go with (running out of friends interested in walking :), but I am becoming more and more obsessed to climb them at least once more in this lifetime.

Well, there is also the alternative to have a barbecue with friends, in less higher places.

Another very nice surprise while being home was going through my old wardrobes and boxes, and finding my 20 years old knits.

In those days, knitting meant a totally different thing then it does now. We had no yarn shops or written patterns. It was hunting for old wool sweaters in charity shops first, then recovering the yarn and wash it, then trying to replicate patterns based on magazines covers or any foreign patterns we could share.

The last step was the most interesting one: creating the charts.

At that time I was working as a computer engineer in the helicopter factory and we were using the huge digital plotter we had in the design department to draw the charts, mostly in the evenings, after the working hours. Knitting charts at the aviation standard :).

None of this excitement is left in our days. We buy ready made patterns and then go for the identical yarn in order to avoid a bit of math. Then the madness to get the gauge. And some of us would not even read a chart but knit after written words.

Where is this world going ?

Anyway - back to reality. I finished my second sock while being in Brasov. I'm just waiting to get inspired to decide to learn grafting. I am a bit intimidated by the idea but we are slowly getting there - I found a few links about it.

No, I am not cheating - that is the second one.