Thursday, 26 November 2009

Ta Daaaa

The finished, blocked and woven-in article.

This first photo shows the detail better...

while the colour is better in this one.


The pattern is Cobblestone by Jared Flood, published in Interweave Knits.
The yarn is New Lanark 100% wool aran in the colourway 'denim'.
I used 2 long 4.5mm circular needles throughout.
I made no modifications to the pattern as written!
I knitted the smallest size, but with my gauge and the fact that this yarn really relaxes when blocked, it came out at approximately 42" chest with 2-3" positive ease.

It fits the resident radiologist perfectly and he's even mentioned the possibility of wearing it to work so he must like it!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


Just as my knitting takes off, my blogging grinds to a halt. The light has been so bad lately that I've not been able to take photos, and it would seem that photos are what inspire me to blog. I've got a few days off work starting this afternoon, so hopefully I'll be able to get some day-time shots.

I've mostly finished the Resident Radiologist's Cobblestone Pullover. It has had it's underarms grafted and a soak in the bath. All that awaits is for it to dry out completely for a final try-on, weave in the ends and it's done.

In the mean-time I've been flying through the rainbow blanket. I've finished 4 colour repeats out of 14. The Pisgah Peaches and Creme is lovely to knit with, much softer than I'd anticipated, and I've got loads of each colour left over so the baby might be on the receiving end of a few more multi-coloured cotton items.

I've also been on Ravelry, downloading patterns like a mad thing. The need to knit has just hit me in a big way again, so watch this space as they say...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The carrot that's keeping me going.

I'm still knitting away on the cobblestone pullover for the Resident Radiologist - I'm about 3/4 of the way up the yoke. It's been a fairly tough slog, yards and yards of navy blue yarn, but here's what's waiting for me at the finish line...

The Rainbow Chain Carriage Blanket by Erika Flory. The yarn is waiting patiently in the stash, I just need to finish a few more inches of blue garter stitch, kitchener stitch the underarms and give the whole jumper a good blocking (it currently fits neatly, so I'm hoping that it will relax by about an inch or two in circumference)...

Monday, 16 November 2009

Unexpected Visitor

I was sitting in the dining room finishing my breakfast this morning when I heard some soot dropping down the chimney. This occasionally happens, so I didn't worry too much until I heard a LOT more, followed by a scrabbling. The next thing I knew, a beak appeared from the grate and this little chap appeared. I think it was a starling.

He flew round the dining room. trying to get throught the double glazed window, then settled down to eat a bit of my orchid compost.

Then he moved into the kitchen, where I had the door already open and waiting, but he totally ignored the door and hopped around, trying out my cereal left-overs, the drying rack and the bread board...

before settling on the tap.

Finally it noticed the gaping doorway and flew off!

Friday, 13 November 2009


This is a very quick update as I'm about to fly out the door to get my H1N1 shot. The GPs in Glasgow finally have it available and since I'm in a high-risk group, I'm getting it now.

After that, the excitement starts. We've got tickets for the Proclaimers tonight at the SECC in Glasgow. The atmosphere at their live gigs is amazing and I just can't wait...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Stash relocation

As I mentioned in a previous post, my study is going to become the baby's room. In addition to merging my study contents with the Resident Radiologist's study, this change of use also involves relocating my stash which has resided for the last couple of years in a large chest of drawers in my study.

The drawers are staying, but in the future will house small vests, baby-grows and myriad other tiny items I've probably not yet become acquainted with.

My stash, on the other hand, is being relegated to the cupboard under the stairs. I have three big plastic boxes with flip-down lids left over from the house-move and these will work pretty well and stack well.

The top box has 4ply, sock yarn and lace-weight. The next box has DK and aran and the bottom box has fibre for spinning, my niddy-noddy, yarn I'm looking to swap or get rid of and my small fabric stash. I recently freecycled the bulk of my cross-stitch stash (keeping only the DMC and Anchor cottons - so useful for mending) so don't have to find a place for that any more.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Old Uppsala

On the last day of my trip to Sweden, the weather was beautifully cold, clear and crisp. Perfect for a good after-breakfast walk. The area my friend lives in is essentally car-free (there is a road round the outside of the development with parking and garages, but where the houses and flats are is only accessable by footpath). From her house, we walked through these paths, took a bridge over a main road and immediately found ourselves in a large well-mapped network of woodland paths. It was really well thought-out with notice boards illustrating routes of different lengths appropriate for jogging, walking or cycling.

We walked towards Old Uppsala, the original settlement in the area which is now about 5km from the centre of Uppsala city.

The views were stunning and our choice of direction took us up the only proper hill in the whole region.

In the above photo, the building is the church at Old Uppsala which is about 1000 years old. The three mounds just in front of the church are the burial mounds of the three most prominant Viking Kings.

The return journey was just as beautiful and the clear weather held out until we were back at the house. On our return leg, we found this little chap crossing the path...

Not a good time of the year to be a catepillar, mid October with the temperatures already heading below 0C! Somehow, I doubt that he was going to have a long and fruitful life but you never know - maybe catepillars hibernate?

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Further Stash Enhancement

I realise that this runs contrary to my comittment to slim down the stash this year, but when I heard that Lilith from Old Maiden Aunt was going to do a limited edition, three-month sock yarn club, I couldn't really resist. There will be two skeins each month, hand-dyed in strong plain semi-solid colours. The yarns will be a different composition each month as well.

October's installment arrived a couple of weeks ago...

Strange Rock 'n' Rollers, a colourway that changes tone in different lights.

Bitter Bug, a lovely irridescent green...

And a lovely little beetle stitch marker.

The yarn is a bamboo/superwash merino blend and is far too yummy for socks. The rather clever Lilith has designed pairs of colourways each month that share some tones (and a base yarn composition) so that they should work well together in colourwork projects, if desired. I think that a lacey scarf might be on the cards for the bitter bug...

Monday, 9 November 2009


It would seem that I don't count weekends as days of the week - it never even occurred to me to blog! I can't imaging that's going to change soon, so I'm going to aim for 5 post a week for the rest of November.

The second full day of my holiday, my friend and I caught the bus down to Stockholm for the day. I was seriously impressed by the ticket system, we just went online the night before and bought the ticket and reserved a seat by credit card and a confirmation was text-messaged to us. The next day, we just showed the bus driver the text and he ticked us off the list he had on the touch screen computer in the bus! Efficient or what (and totally paper-free)?

I don't think that I really saw Stockholm at its best, as the weather was very cold and it rained on and off all day. Nevertheless, I liked what I saw.
I'd never fully appreciated that Stockholm is build on a series of islands connected by bridges and ferries. It was actually quite difficult to know which way I was facing (towards the coast or inland) because the water was all around.

Sweden currently holds the Presidency of the European Union, so this island, which houses the parliament is, for the time being, a Very Important Place. Despite this, there was no sense of it being off-limits or access-controlled as bits of London would have been when the UK held the post.

The next island over houses the Royal Palace and the old town. The Palace is very huge and square and stately. The old town, by contrast was very quirky with a warren of little narrow streets housing interesting little shops. It reminded me strongly of the Shambles in York.

Adjacent to the main shopping area is an open space that is in constant use in the summer months for picnics and street-performers etc. While we were there we saw a charity publicising Breast Cancer Awareness Week lighting a huge field of candles . The effect was really stunning as the light was starting to go.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Uppsala goodies

Since I've been making a concerted effort at stash reduction over the last year (and will now have to redouble those efforts as the baby is getting the room my stash currently resides in), I resolved only to buy yarn in Sweden if I couldn't get it at home. This cut down the options quite a bit as even Drops is available in the UK.

I did pick up some sock yarn (probably for the resident radiologist, but I do rather like it myself).

The brand is Marks and Kattens Fame and the blend is a standard sock yarn - 75% wool, 25% nylon.

I also picked up a card of darning yarn for a good jumper of the RR.

I've never seen darning yarn like it in the UK - there was a rainbow of colours and a good selection of weights available.

Finally, my eye was drawn by something I hadn't even thought about in years - embroidery kits. It might have been because my friend, in addition to being a great knitter, makes lovely cross-stitch tablecloths and pictures, so we were looking in that section. I was reeled in by the designs in the Permin of Copenhagen 'Scandinavian' collection and this beautiful kit for a tablecloth ended up coming home with me.

I haven't done cross-stitch for almost 10 years, never mind embroidery so it took me a while to get going, but bit by bit, stem stitch and satin stitch have come back to me and a little progress is being made. I'm not holding my breath for this Christmas though!

Thursday, 5 November 2009


About three weeks ago, I took a week off work to use up some of the annual leave that I still have for this year (I never seem to manage to take it all). My 'idealist brain' was planning on just hanging around the house, chilling out and relaxing when my 'realist brain' kicked in and informed me that all I'd really do was fret about how little laundry / DIY I was doing and waste a week. Sadly, my realist brain is generally right so I did a little thinking and realised that 1) I would be safely in my second trimester and 2) it might be my last chance for solo travel for a while, so I booked some plane tickets and flew to Sweden to visit a good friend who moved back there almost a year ago.

She lives in the city of Uppsala, about an hour north of Stockholm and we had a whole day in Uppsala, just walking around, enjoying the sights and sampling the food.
My friend is also an avid knitter, so our wanders happened to take us right past the doors of her favourite two craft shops, however the spoils will have to wait until tomorrow.

We saw the cathedral...

The old University library (Uppsala is first and foremost a university town)...

The castle (very different in style from anything I've seen in the UK)...

and the castle gardens.

The area around the river (some lovely individual little shops etc)...

and a very cool road-sign that has no explanation nearby but apparently is a reference to a famous children's story set in the cathedral area of Uppsala!

A very enjoyable first day to a holiday.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Making the best of the worst

This week promised to be a pretty bad one at work... On Saturday morning, I had to throw two fairly big experiments in the bin as the transfections looked wierd. Then, on Monday morning, when I went to plate out more cells to replace the experiments I'd abandoned, I discovered that the parental cell-line had also died (probably why those transfections looked wierd). While the situation was not un-recoverable (I've got more cells in cold storage, they'll just take a little time to get going), these two problems left me with a big hole in my week where experiments would normally sit, and since we're madly busy at the moment, trying to get results before my boss goes off to Harvard to collaborate with a couple of pretty big names in our field, this is not a good thing.

Now, two days later, I'm appreciating the flip-side... While I'm still going to have to work like a mad thing over the weekend to make up time once the new cells get going, I have some time on my hands now... and a lecture that I've still not written for a honours virology course in three weeks' time. I was planning on checking the reading material (grudgingly) this weekend and then putting the slides together next week, but now I've got time this week to do the reading properly and make the slides, and I'm really enjoying it.

Even better, when I got home yesterday, there was a missed delivery card through the door - so by the time I get to the depot on Saturday morning to collect the extra yarn for the Resident Radiologist's jumper, the lecture will be written and I'll be able to knit in my spare time without the guilt of the unwritten lecture hanging over me.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Cosy socks

Here's a project that's been finished for over a month that I never got round to photographing until now. The Resident Radiologist loves hand-knitted socks and always seems to look forward to a new pair. I finished the kitchener stitch on these once evening and they were on his feet the next morning!

Details: My usual pattern, 68 stitches on 2.5mm needles with a deep slipped-stitch heel flap. These fit the RR so are about a UK size 12. The yarn is Opal sock yarn and the colourway is the Hundertwasser 'Silver Spiral' design that I got in a yarn swap about 18 months ago. I have a second ball of this yarn - not sure what to do with it, maybe a baby jumper?

Monday, 2 November 2009

I'm back - with NaBloPoMo

OK - I realise that I'm already a day late with this, but in an effort to kick-start my blogging again, I've decided to participate in NaBloPoMo - an annual event encouraging bloggers to post every day for the month of November.

I guess that I'll start with the good news... the downturn in knitting mojo of the last few months caused by my feeling pretty 'bleugh' throughout my first trimester (my latest big project is growing a human being!) has passed and knitting has resumed.

I've been knitting a jumper for my husband, the Resident Radiologist, which is on hold temporarily while I wait for more yarn which could be a while due to intermittent postal strikes. While I'm waiting, I've been brushing of my, long-unused, embroidery skills to decorate a tablecloth for Christmas.

Now I've taken the first step to getting the blog back on-track, I just need to get the camera out and get back into the habit of taking regular photos...