Tuesday, 28 October 2008


On November 1st NaNoWriMo starts (that's National Novel Writing Month) and I am taking part. The aim is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month: so roughly 1600 words a day.

Now I have talking down as an Olympic sport but writing? Well that's a whole new thing. I have to write reports for work and I splurge every now and again on here but that's about for my writing output. I saw the link to the site a few months back and thought that it might be fun so signed up. Then I persuaded my fella to do the same with the idea that we would gee each other on to the finish. Boyfriend duly started forming the ideas for his story, creating characters, the things that writing is meant tobe about. Me on the other hand kept putting it off. Boyfrind bought me a lovely book to write notes in and it has never been used. But at least I now have the basis for a story.

When I did thikn about this, the story was going to be quite Generation X ish. A bit bleak, a bit sour, a bit grrhh. But on Saturday I suddenly realised that I was going to be writing about the Scottish Islands in the 1880s and the main character is a woman called Sarah. I have more details and I am beginning to research things like religion and crofting and at the moment I'm not sure if I have enough to sustain the story over 50,000 words but I have a start which means that it will have to end somewhere.

So I think that for the next month I shall be blogging more about my on-going novel (and fella's too) than about knitting because I can't quite see how I'm going to fit everything in.

If you want to keep up to date with my progress then check out my profile

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Trapped by knitting


I have got too many things on the go, in the fire and I'm adding far too many string to my whatsit. Why can I not just slow down and STOP adding new project to my even expanding list of things I want to do?

I bought a ball of yarn yesterday (even thought I said that I was not going to BUY any more) so that I could swatch for the lovely Snow White by Ysolda Teague. When am I going to find time to knit my way through that. It's a lovely pattern with a darling neckline but I have to stop.

My list, off the top of my head without looking at my ravely WIP list is:
Orange Boheme - I had to frog it back a way and then found something else to interest me
Helena - needs the sleeves but I forgot what needle I used but now I have remembered so it shouldn't take that long to sort
Pinky Socks - can't be bothered as I don't like the colour and I know that they are not for me but still can't be bothered
My lovely Lizard Ridge blanket - I've done 2 squares but have limited myself as the yarn is a bit pricey
Baby Jacket - again just the sleeves really and the sewing up
Smackdown Stole - my poor target must be wondering what has happened with this one. I kept thinking that I was going to come home and find a lovely stole waiting for me and then I wouldn't have to finish it but so far no luck.

That's the list then (I think) and that doesn't include all those that I have hibernating in various parts of the house. Someone please slap me if I start anymore without getting rid of at least 2 of these beauties. That way I will at least be working my way through them, slowly granted but at least I will be on my way.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Day of the Dead - Sock Wars

Well I have registered for a new knitting battle - Day of the Dead. It is being run as a sort of test for Sock Wars 4 and Helen Waittes is looking for 100 test knitters to see if the new system works.

The last Sock Wars had quite a few problems but and this is a way to try and avoid flakes and missing SIPs and all the other hassles that go along with this type of thing. Instead of having a round robin killing spree each knitter is drawn against another in a head to head battle and once they have socked their opponent they are given another name. well that's my understanding of the rules. Anyway I have signed up and on November 1st I start knitting socks again.

Wish me luck ;-)

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Been away . . . again

Well I am back from another exciting and thrilling work at the archaeological coalface. Okay, I was standing around watching a big yellow jcb dig a slot trench in Gloucester which amounts to the same thing. It's dull work: we uncovered a Victorian cellar, a cobbled surface and a 1930s drain but (as everyone is saying at the moment in this weird economic climate) IT IS WORK!

Anyway this has meant that I have not been able to blog and really I haven't had as much time to knit as I would have liked. But I did manage some knitting so hurrah for that at least. I started a sock last Saturday and have now finished it. It was my first attempt at doing the heel flap last and it looked very odd but it worked and I now just have to get the other one done.

I didn't really have much time for looking around Gloucester but did manage to find the market and they have 2 yarn stalls in there. Granted much of the yarn is acrylics and others oddities but there are some interesting bits too. I bought a couple of skeins of unknown green, pure wool that was quite scratchy and which had the lanolin smell but also that greasy smell that comes from coned yarn.

It's a bit of an experiment and at 69 shiny new pence it was a bargain even if I use it only for making felted bowls or something like that. It looks like a 4 ply so I thought might bloom to a double knit but after knitting a swatch on 3.75mm needles and then soaking it before washing it it has blossomed to a rather lovely, but slightly thinner than normal, aran weight.

It's still a bit scratchy but I am going to knit another swatch and drop a little bit of washing up liquid into the bowl and let it soak a while, then add some conditioner in the final rinse to see if the itchy factor can be reduced.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Setting up the shop

Well I have this massive stock of vintage knitting patterns - mostly from the 1940s and 1950s but there are many that are either side of that era too. I am not every going to knit them up so have decided that I will be selling them. There are 2 reasons for this: firstly since I am not going to be needing them I thought that others might like the chance to enjoy them and secondly I need the cash.

I have registered a domain name - www.knittingpatternsgalore.co.uk and the shop will be called Knitting Patterns Galore. I've been looking around and have found an ecommerce site that seems to have what I want - a fresh looking site that does all the hard work for you. I can customise it and put on photos so people can see what they are getting. I was thinking of offering pdfs of the patterns rather than photocopies as it avoids the hassle of posting things and them possibly getting lost. But for the moment I'm just trying to get stuff sorted out.

I am going to be spending a couple of weeks getting things up and running and working smoothly before announcing the grand opening to the world but call back here or leave a comment or drop me an email if you want notice when I finally get the shop open.

Thursday, 2 October 2008


Well it seems that I am the last knitter standing from the UK and Canadian competitors in Summer Yarn Smackdown. I am waiting for SIPs to be shipped from Canada and then I am not sure what is going to happen. I have emailed the organisors and shall wait until she gets back in touch but I'm really quite excited by it all.

Like many of these knitting competitions, it's generally a matter of luck whether you stay in or not. I managed to get 5 kills in Sock Wars III but only because I have two flakey assasins which gave me plenty of time to crack on with the socks. This time with Hat Attack I have made my initial kill (in Canada) but my assasin is in the UK so it's likely that I shall be killed by her hat before getting another one cracked off. No matter though - it's all just for fun.

But anyway . . . the Summer Yarn Smackdown final battle thingy could be fun and who knows I might even end up winning it.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Back from Skye

Phew that was a tough week - I have just spent the past 10 days yomping through the peat and over the beaches of the beautiful island of Skye (off the west coast of Scotland for those that don't know). The weather was okay - some brilliant days and towards the end of the week a few squally, wet days but that's what the Scottish Islands are all about - their unpredictability.

I managed to get the Advanced Socks off to Toffee's Mum . They were finished off on the train going up but I didn't manage to get to a post office until a few days later. And I have started the stole for advanced smackdown again too. I had previously tried it with a super slinky black DK but really couldn't get into the pattern so I changed the pattern from the Weekender Lace Wrap to the Sea and Shells stole. I changed from the slinky black to a lovely green 2 ply lambswool merino. I'm holding 2 strands together and it looks fab (well I think so).

The pattern is very appropriate for starting on Skye as I was looking for old, old shell middens in caves on the raised beaches next to the sea. I've got quite far and am now back and will continue to knit as fast as I can.