Monday, 29 October 2007

Time flies like an arrow....

...and fruit flies like a banana (as my old PhD supervisor used to say!).

The Resident Radiologist and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary this weekend (though we're not entirely sure where the time has gone) with an overnight stay in Kingussie and dinner at The Cross, a fabulous five star restaurant in a converted mill in the village. It was a very relaxed way to spend the weekend and I can heartily recommend both the B&B where we stayed, and The Cross restaurant, which sources most of its produce locally.

On the way home, we stopped at the Hermitage, off the A9 near Dunkeld for a walk up past Ossian's Hall, up to Ossian's Cave. It was an absolutely beautiful autumn morning with a blue sky and the Black Linn Falls were in full flow.

These are a few of the sights though nothing can really capture the force (or noise) of water flowing from a broadish stretch of river, over falls about 20 feet deep then squeezing through a gap only three feet wide to another broadish stretch on the other side.

The knitting has gone kind of quiet again. I've almost finished another pair of socks for the RR and have cast on in alpaca 4ply for a tank top. The jury is out on the potential sucess of the tank top at the moment, I've done a provisional cast on then picked up the stitches to begin knitting under the bust - I'll go back and finish down to the waist once I'm happy with the top section. I cast on the number of stitches indicated by my swatch but it's looking fairly large at the moment. Perhaps this is just the provisional cast-on creating mischief, but then again, perhaps it will need ripping out and starting over again. Only time will tell!

Friday, 19 October 2007

Friday Eye Candy

Just look at these! Aren't they really cute?

I've seen them before at Woolfest, little baby balls of sock yarn for little baby socks, but managed to resist. At knitting night however, all resistance failed. Katherine, the owner of our local LYS brought them along so that we could knit voodoo dolls to ease the anguish of (or at least cheer up) one of our fellow knitters who has been accused of something so preposterous that I won't even give it blog-space here.

On the dwindling-stash front, I've visited the storage unit that my yarn currently resides in and extracted (to the not-inconsiderable amusement of the guys working there who probably don't often see random women raking through boxes of yarn outside one of the units) three skeins of Catalina Baby Alpaca DK, two skeins of Colinette Jitterbug and some Rowanspun 4 ply.

The DK and the Jitterbug are both going to be swatched with a view to becoming a tank-top (yes, I'm still worrying away at that idea) and the 4 ply is for an un-bloggable project. This is a new thing for me but suffice to say that I'm aware that some close family members have been known to lurk in the vicinity of this blog...

Finally, I'm now on Ravelry. For anyone wanting to visit me there, I'm known as MaryD in those parts!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Still here...

... but not really knitting much. Things have gone crazy busy at work at the moment - new grant to establish a project for and new PhD students to settle in and teach where to find things and how to do things.

On top of this our house-move is rolling along with the moving date set for the 30th November so I think that by the time my students have found their feet and I regain a bit of time for my own work, the move will be on top of us.

On the plus side, Glasgow is beautiful at the moment. The leaves have turned autumn colours and are falling off the trees and the weather is crisp and clear.

I have a pair of socks on the go for the Resident Radiologist but they're just my usual pattern and nothing much to look at yet so no photos until they're done I'm afraid. Tonight is knitting night so there might be some significant progress made - on the other hand, I might just eat the fabulous scone, drink the hot chocolate and natter about knitting, life and the universe instead!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Welly-boot weather

Well, it's that time of year again when walking up the hill to work means wearing welly boots to prevent my trouser legs from being soaked half-way to my knees. You'd have thought that sometime in the last four years, the council would have realised that if they cleared the ditch at the side of the path, then the water from the field drain would not run straight over the top of the stuff in the ditch and down the pavement in torrents! It's been happening for so long that there is actually a water groove worn into the tarmac.

Sadly, this very wet weather doesn't mean that it's cold enough yet for this...

or this...

or these...

I'd finished the hat and scarf with a ball of yarn left over so I improvised some mittens, then ran out of yarn with one thumb left to knit! I had to unpick the cuffs of the mittens to get enough yarn to finish off, something which was much trickier that I thought it would be and which I don't want to have to repeat.
The hat and scarf are from the Twilley's Freedom Spirit Book and the whole set is knitted from Twilley's Freedom Spirit in the Force colourway. I used 5 balls of yarn with NOTHING left over.

Finally a little tastey bite that I made for the group meeting today at work. We have a system whereby whoever is giving the seminar provides the snacks and today is my turn.

Blueberry and raspberry muffins and banana, nut and seed loaf.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

In the meantime...

It looks like it could be a while until I'm going to get my invite to ravelry:
  • You signed up on August 9, 2007
  • You are #24190 on the list.
  • 2331 people are ahead of you in line.
  • 14406 people are behind you in line.
  • 56% of the list has been invited so far.
... so while I'm waiting, here's another pretty picture.

This is Wisp in her fully finished state. I'm not entirely pleased with the blocking - the sides are meant to be straight but I didn't have that many pins and anyway, I think that anything stretched out with pins is going to come out a bit peaked. I think I'm going to need blocking wires for this sort of project. I don't know where I can buy these over here but my father is an engineer so some 1.5mm round stainless steel rod should be fairly easy to come by! The buttons are very lightweight shell ones from the Button Lady at Woolfest this year. She can be buttoned up as shown, short side to long side to form a wrap, or wrapped round the neck and buttoned short end to short end to form a muffler. She can also be folded in half and the eyelets on one side laced together with ribbon to form a hood. A very versatile piece of lace indeed.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

Well, it certainly isn't a tank top!

This doesn't happen to me very often, but I just couldn't get gauge and didn't want to have to start recalculating the pattern to a different gauge (knitting is my escape from thinking at the moment) so I had a flick through the pattern book and found a couple of patterns for which I was hitting the gauge perfectly and for which I had enough yarn.

Introducing the beret...

and the multidirectional scarf...

The beret was really fun to knit. The pattern gave directions for knitting it flat and then sewing it up, but this didn't seem to make sense for something so essentially round, so I worked it on circular needles, then DPNs once the circumference was reduced enough.

I couldn't really see how the scarf worked initally but since the pattern made no mention of picking up stitches (something I avoid if I can except in socks) I gave it a go. It's actually really simple and good fun. Whenever I'm making something with such simple but effective design, I'm always left wondering how it was worked out in the first place. The finished solution may be elegant and simple, but I would imagine the conception was fairly involved!

Finally, the Twilley's Freedom Spirit yarn (100% wool) was lovely to use, if a bit splitty and isn't at all itchy. I do think that it might be a bit warm for a layering jumper though.