i knit because i can ...

Thursday, 26 February 2009

oh b**her!!!***!!!

I am typing this very a.m., for me that is, sitting in my dressing gown quietly fuming while I wait for the utility floor to dry. Why? Because our American fridge is going to that great white goods home in the sky (although actually it was a very fetching stainless steel). On Tuesday we callously went shopping, leaving it home alone, so it blew a fuse, as we discovered when we went to store said shopping in its capacious interior. We replaced the fuse, and all seemed to be well, but the freezer was quietly defrosting all the while, as I discovered when I stepped up to my ankles in water in the dim light of early evening.

So we switched it off for a rest, poor soul, and next day the fridge-mending genius came round to minister unto. Hmm. He said the something-or-other had gone, and quoted a price to repair it which I cannot repeat here, because I would have to swear, and this is a family blog!!

Now this is particularly annoying at this time, because we are hoping to move to the country, and have been nursing all our white goods, and indeed a great many other things, on the basis that 'we'll get a new one for the new house'. Of course, in the present economic climate, this could go on for a very long time. Already we are having to kidglove the dryer, which is very testy. And we have to have a dryer here, because we can't hang washing on the twelfth floor of a tower block. And it has to be a cash-eating condenser monster because we don't have an outlet - so all the more reason for not buying before we go, blah, blah, blah!

So nothing for it but to ditch the big American and buy a little Brit!! Just to tide us over, until we know what we're doing, I mean where we're going, because I don't think we ever know what we're doing. This will cost us a quarter of what it will cost to repair the US monster.

So then the saga of putting the old fridge out for collection began. Which went like this: turn off the water supply (it had an icemaker and water fountain), disconnect without drowning myself again. Push out through utility door. ???!!!??? Utility door narrower than fridge. Hmm. Right said Fred, have to take the door off ... Which door though, kitchen or fridge (two doors)? Fridge then. Because a) they don't matter any more, and b) we won't have to put them back on - genius, eh? First door comes off without a problem, so can leave husband to it and get on with my blog, which is way overdue. 3 screws and we're done. Second door also only 3 screws, so no problem ... I continue blogging happily. An hour, many interesting words and some dozen spanners later, several large hammer blows sound from utility and door cedes. I stop blogging and go to the aid of husband, now huffing and puffing and in a muck sweat. Realise have to sever a pipe. Realise that this will cause a leak. Realise we will have to put plastic bags under fridge outside to catch any drips. Realise must move fridge back to get at plastic bags. Mutter, mutter, mutter (more words not suitable for family blog). Finally succeed in parking fridge, doors and all, on landing.

So that's why I'm up at the crack blogging. In an uncharacteristic bout of houseproud spring-cleaning, I have determined that all shall be pristine to make the new fridge feel at home. Thus here I am, having stripped and rinsed the Amtico, waiting for the utility floor to dry, so I can add floor dressing. And then go and have my bath. And then start my day, already knackered. Grrrrr ......

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

too busy to blog ...

Between visits to and from grandchildren and assorted family, I have been knitting apace, hence no time to blog.

Which means that I now have three beautiful things to show. The first is my Princess Shawl. I have finished the first of four borders:
This is a detail of a feather:
And here is the sprouting seed motif:
No. 2 On top of that, I have been working busily on the beautiful Diagonal Kimono:
The pattern is from from Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book 1, using their lovely shetland double knit. It is interesting to knit, because it starts with two triangles, which are then knit together, mitring the middle and increasing the edges until it is gradually decreased from both sides to make a rectangle out of two matching pieces of diagonal knitting.
My final beautiful thing is the Big Retro man's sweater I am knitting for No. 1 Son. The pattern is out of the Men's Knits supplement from the January 2009 edition of Knitting magazine, using 4 mm needles and Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK. My son chose the colour, Mocha, which is a pale-ish brown. I think he's got really good taste, but then, I would say that, wouldn't I! ;) The yarn knits up in an interesting fashion, because it has a twist in it, which makes the right-hand side of the stitches look somewhat like a rope, while the left-hand side forms a simple line. I'm still trying to work out why!? ;)

I'm off again tomorrow, so probably no blog until next week, but I'll be taking some of my knitting, and seeing the lovely Ellie, so I'm happy bunny! ;)

Sunday, 15 February 2009

I can want apple ...

Very busy this weekend entertaining my young grandson Luke and his parents. At 2 years 2 months he is really getting into his verbal stride. Two weeks ago most of his language consisted of one and two-word utterances, not all of which were intelligible. Now he can do sentences, as, when in the bath wanting to finish his fruit, he said 'I can want apple!' Which I think beautifully sums up his feelings:

Some time earlier, his cousin Ellie, a little older and also on a visit, was not to be outdone when she showed off her beautiful new hat:

My son-in-law Andy, Luke's dad, cooked us a sumptuous Valentine's Day meal of scallops on pureed cauliflower, followed by Beef Wellington (the beef fillet supplied by his local farm shop - delicious) and then panna cotta. How nice to have a son-in-law who is an excellent chef!

As a third beautiful thing I offer a poor thing, but mine own. The hat I designed and knit from some left-over yarn (i.e., stash - yay!!) for Ellie's Pooh bear. Well, he seems to like it, and Ellie is very pleased. Who else matters? ;)

I should perhaps point out that the excellent trousers were knit by Ellie's Danish grandmother, who is called Beste. Now as this is short for Bestemor, which could be translated as 'best mother', I think that is a very fine word indeed for grandmother! ;))))

Monday, 9 February 2009

still away ... so just three beautiful things ...

I am staying with daughter Imogen and granddaughter Ellie still, but can blog on the Mac there.  I must say I do like the Mac.  Its lovely clean lines, and the keyboard's so comfortable.  It doesn't have a nasty plastic feel about it, and the keys feel really responsive.  Mmm, maybe next time a Mac???

So today I am going to do three beautiful things, and the first one is my daughter's Mac.

The second one is my lovely granddaughter, although I can't show you a picture today, but she is really chatty now and we have wonderful conversations about why the snowman has melted, and we haven't!

Third beautiful thing, although again no picture, but I have finished the second page of my Princess border on the first side and am therefore effectively on the home run!  Pictures later in the week.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Rugby comes first!

No time to blog today, because I shall be knitting furiously while I watch the England:Italy 6 Nations match, with everything crossed! ;) (now that should be interesting, knitting with fingers crossed - I know sometimes they get that way when attempting something complex, but actually to knit that way, hmm - will report back later! ;))

They have never lost yet to Italy in a 6 Nations match, but the way they played in the autumn internationals ... still I live in hope of a good start to this year's competition.

More tomorrow.

PS.: the snow has cleared from here, but the forecast's a bit iffey still. I must say, I rather like the snow. It brings a hushed beauty to even the most ugly urban sprawl. Also it serves us humans with a well-timed reminder that we are not completely in control. I know that's a point of view that's likely to make me unpopular, but there you go! :)

'Swing low, sweet chariots ...'

Friday, 6 February 2009

still not just the Princess ..

I finally overcame my reluctance to block the Cap Shawl, so here it is:

I realised that my tardiness was born of my puzzlement as to how to block it, because it has 9 segments. In the end I just got down on hands and knees with the pins and did it by eye. I really love how the patterns have turned out. Here the centre, which turns out like star points:

Here a close up of the lovely six-pointed stars that arise within the star points:

Finally the leaf pattern that fills in the segments between the star points, which I absolutely love:

The shawl came out at about 67" diameter, slightly smaller than the original in Jane Sowerby's book, but that's because I deliberately used a smaller needle. I love everything about this shawl, but especially the wonderful merino lace weight yarn in emerald from Heirloom Knitting.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

not just the Princess ...

Although the Princess is demanding most of my attention at the moment - as a Princess should, of course, sometimes I do other knitting. Lately I have completed another little scarf for my mother, with the remaining ball of yarn she acquired for the extravagant sum of 0.69 pence!

She required something not too long, nor wide. This blocked to 14 by 40 inches. I wanted it be fairly easy, with few joins, so I kind of adapted the Orenburg shawl idea, by starting with knitting the bottom border. I made up a very simple pattern and knit an appropriate number of points, including some to turn the corner:

Then I picked up the stitches I needed for the centre, keeping the border going at either side. For the centre I took the Fishtail Pattern (Kalasabakiri) from Nancy Bush's wonderful book, Knitted Lace of Estonia:

Finally I knitted the top border, knitting in one stitch from the centre with every second row, and grafted the two ends of the border, giving this as the result:

Now I wait for the final verdict from its recipient, my sternest critic, my mother! ;) (I confess the final corner is a little wonky, but I plead running out of yarn!)

BTW.: please don't think for one moment I put myself in the same class as either the Orenburg knitters, or Nancy Bush. But I sit at their feet and learn.

My cap shawl is blocking as I write - watch this space tomorrow.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Now I know that there are people out there who often have snow. Real, heavy, long-lasting snow. Six months of the year type snow. Feet deep drifting snow. Still, this much snow in London really does seem worth mentioning. Never mind the moans and groans about insufficient gritting, buses not running, etc. I give you - The View from my Window in the heart of the City of London:

Pretty, isn't it? Even the dolphins seem impressed by their snow 'caps' and their frozen pond:

The bare tree branches take on a new beauty against the stark concrete outlines of the tower blocks, which are themselves edged with white icing:

Someone has built a pussy cat snowman, complete with twig tail, photographed here with Peter in his winter anorak, hoping I won't make him pose for too long in the still falling snow:

Daughter Kathy tells me grandson Luke, two years old, was unimpressed and preferred to return indoors to Thomas the tank engine. Imogen's daughter Ellie, two years seven months, however, was keen to play out for a little longer, until she decided it was altogether too cold. And my son Jos in Killarney was mocking us with bright sunshine! What a pity there's never much when I visit them.
But hey, the snow's great, I love it. Everything to its season! ;))