Monday, 22 December 2008

Merry Christmas

I'm going off-line from now until some time after Christmas, so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

I hope that you've all got your Christmas knitting finished and can relax and enjoy the holiday.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Winter Warmer

I love cuddling up with a hot-water bottle and over the last year, hot water bottles have become a permenant fixture for me in the colder months. Last November, the Resident Radiologist and I moved into an oldish house which had been sitting empty for the best part of a year. There was no residual warmth in the place from the comings and goings of previous owners, the boiler was inefficient and expensive to run, and to top it all we had to get woodworm and damp-rot treated in the attic which necessitated the removal of all the loft insulation (not that there was much) in early January and we didn't manage to install more until the spring.

There were quite a few evenings in the first year when I would be sitting with my feet on a hot-water bottle, hugging another go try to get a bit warmer. While we have made several improvements for this winter, including more insulation and a super-efficient boiler, the house is always going to be on the cool side and I still love my hot water bottle.

My favorite hot water bottle only had a temporary cover which I'd made from a bit of polar fleece about five years ago, and which was very effective but was getting a bit tatty. Finally I've got round to making it a new jumper:

The pattern, as I mentioned in my last post, is based on Jessie by Kim Hargreaves for Rowan. I've looked for a link to this pattern on the Rowan website but can't find it any more but here's a Ravelry link. I've used some left-over Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (not quite two balls) in a grass green with pale yellow for contrast.

The cashmerino aran comes up perfectly to gauge but I know from a cover I knitted for my sister that it was a tendency to grow, so I took a couple of stitches off the totals for the front and back.

I also fancied a cabled cover so I ditched the intarsia heart motif and added four chunky cables down the front. These should also pull in a bit and help the cover stay snug.

I've yet to get round to finding the right buttons, but the cover has already been pressed into service.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008


Apologies for the break in service - I've spent the last week trying to get my head around Proteomics Bioinformatics on one of the Wellcome Trust's Advanced Courses at Hinxton Hall in Cambridgeshire. Needless to say my head now hurts but I think I've learned some useful stuff.

Before I left, I suffered from a spate of Startitis, something I don't usually succumb to but which I have a bad case of at the moment.

First I cast on with the Fyberspates Aran for a February Lady Sweater...

This is a great pattern and I think that I will adapt the top-down raglan for my own patterns in the future as it ensures a great fit with little guess work.

I also cast on for a hot water bottle cover with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran...

The pattern is loosely based on Jessie by Rowan (which I've used before as written) but I've ditched the intarsia heart this time and added some cables. I'm also using a contrasting colour for the edges.

Finally I cast on for some baby socks for a friend...

The yarn is some left-over Regia Bamboo Colour sock yarn.

Not content with this plethora of projects, I took some yarn and needles with me on the course and started (and finished) a forth project - but more on that another time.

A little after-thought... an incident from the course I went on just goes to show how universal patterns have become due to the internet. I was walking from the dining room to the teaching room one morning thinking that the sweater being worn by the girl in front of me (a scientist from New Zealand) looked very like a Central Park Hoodie and that her hat looked pretty like Odessa. The more I looked, the more I was sure, but was unwilling to ask as non-knitters can take it pretty badly if you ask if their jumper is hand-knitted. The next lunchtime, I had just resolved to ask her when she came up to me to ask if the scarf I was wearing two days earlier was Clapotis! Apparently I'm not the only knitter to go round pattern spotting!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Brown Paper packages...

... not quite tied up with string in this case. Brown paper nevertheless.

I was very excited collecting this from the post office a few Saturdays back - I wasn't expecting it to be quite so big. I had taken advantage of the Fyberspates sale (Jen was clearing out old stock before her house move) enjoyed the following beautiful sight when I opened the packaging...

Ooooh yummy!

There was some aran weight Blue Faced Leicester in the Spring Greens colourway,

Some Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn in the Lagoon colourway for the resident radiologist,

And some Blue Faced Leicester sock yarn in the Fiesta colourway (fabulous name - really captures the look of the yarn perfectly) for me.

I've been pretty good with knitting from stashed yarn lately so I didn't feel too guilty about this little haul. Also, the aran weight was bought with a particular project in mind and is on the needles already so it's not even going to make it upstairs to the stash storage drawers!