Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Z is for...


Seriously.  This blog has been in hibernation mode and for that I give you many apologies!  Snoozing has occured primarily because I was on tour, then back here in Scotland for the Festive Season.  Sadly, I have no way to download photos here, so I have no freshly minted piccies of my newly-finished WIPs (that were victims of panic-completion-mode just in time for Christmas - nothing like a dead-line to make you appreciate every single hour there is in a day) to show you.  I think I'm going to have to trawl my flickr account to see if I have anything left to show instead...  Methinks we may have a miscellaneous grab-bag of a post in the offing...

Ah, well, I've found one already!  Not long ago, in the Very Longest Thread on Ravelry, we were discussing heraldry.  Well, actually, I believe it stemmed from my posting of the VLT Pledge in Latin.  (Remember - the VLT is in a group called the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group, so there are usually no reasons for the a lot of things there...)

Actually, it's best not to ask.

Anyway, comments came back about how excellently the last line (sic succurro mihi bob or so help me, Bob) would look on the CPaAG heraldic shield.  Which led me to thinking.   (A dangerous pastime at the best of times...)  This thinking led me to google.  (Huzzah for Knight Google.  And yay, verily, etc.)  And then onto my cheap-ass Compaq poor-relation of Photoshop.  Actually, I couldn't figure out how to take shapes and transfer them to other pictures, so a lot of this was filled in 'by hand' as it were... (particularly noticable on the cat.  On the right.  Mind you - the cats in the middle aren't that hot, either, but I digress...)
cpaag heraldic shield aka one coffee too many

So, what else?  (Apart from the fact, yes FACT, that blogging using Internet Explorer is a royal pain in the behind...)  Oh!  The Bebeh Munkeez for Baby E.  I forgot to post about them when I was posting about the bootees...  Such a cute design, based on the marvellous Monkey Socks by Cookie A.  This was by Nikkiana and named 'Baby Monkey Socks'.

bebeh munkeez in a&e sock yarn in sea spray

Aha... and here's another photo...  a montage of some squares I knit up for some super seekrit skware, erm, things.  Yeah.

the loveghans project

Can't say any more about those, or your computer would have to self-destruct in 5 seconds. 

OH!  I never blogged about my visit from the CPaAG Cake the Nellyphant, who is currently on a whistle-stop tour of the world!  I hosted his tiny multi-coloured self in August this year and it was fun to show him the sights!

cake in (and on) tour(s)

Actually, I have a whole lot of photos from that visit, so I may do a proper Cake blog post some time next year...

And talking of next year... May I take this opportunity to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009 when it arrives! 

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Y is for...


What with travel, concert and rehearsal days to take time away, I only have 4 real days left to finish my Christmas knitting...

Things still to finish (or, indeed start...)
  • unmentionable pressie for DS
  • fish hat for J
  • golf club socks for DB
  • toy for DS's cat
  • hot water bottle cover for Mum
Why, oh why is it that all I really want to knit right now are socks for myself?
:: sigh ::

I have no knitting to show.  Nada.  Zilch.  Rien.  I'm a failure!  But my friends are not... In the space of the last two days, I've received a parcel from the US and another from Norway FILLED to the gunwales with goodies.  I am a lucky so-and-so, that's for sure!

nomilicious bounty

G, aka the lovely dizzybea, kindly sent over her pattern for some felted clogs, the pattern over which I have been drooling for a while... She also included two skeins of lovely LOVELY Knit Picks lace-weight yarn - 'Alpaca Cloud' in Peppermint and 'Shimmer' in Morning Mist and a tonne of chocolate... oh MY!  The yarn is so soft!  I'm now beginning to understand the frenzied love of Knit Picks I read about in teh Rav!

E, aka itisalwaysraining, sent me some of her home-dyed yarn. Can you believe she used beetroot for those marvellous pinks and oranges?  She also sent some Garnstudio Drops Alpaca in a beautiful deep purple, a divine little note-book and some more chocklit! 

So yes, in fact I can blame these two for my lack of finished pressies... I'm too busy savouring the delights of the cacao bean, thank you!

Thursday, 4 December 2008


I am obsessed.  No, truly, I am.  I don't know if it's the cable pattern, or the chunky yarn, or... or if it's just my addictive nature coming to the fore, but I just can't stop myself...
denimesque cabled glovelets

I know - I KNOW!   Yet ANOTHER pair of glovelets?  Well, I saw the yarn, you see, and I knew my life would not be complete without it adorning my person in some form or other!  It's Phildar Ondiaflamme in the Islande colourway. 

I think I fell for the yarn colours because I'd been playing with the macro setting on my camera that morning and had some interesting photos of denim in close-up.  (What do you mean, I was really trying to figure out how the damn thing works and accidentally took some shots of my skirt?)  The colours - I was entranced!  Blue, yes, but also green and purple and cream...  Very pretty! 

obligatory arty-farty close-up shot

(Of course, I just happened to shoot a close-up of the cabled part with the most colours showing!  Cunning!)  I decided to go for a more in-tune coloured bead for the inside of the cables - a pretty purple faceted glass bead that picks out the purple in the yarn.

Oh, but that's not all...  I saw a hat pattern.  Just a basic watch-cap thingy with ribbing all the way up... I got to wondering, as you do, how that would look if I added a cable or two from the glovelet pattern.  Told you I was obsessed.  And maybe not just a tad crazy.  Why?  Well, 1) because I've never knit a hat before, never mind try to make one up, and 2) did I tell you I really don't suit hats?  Really, I don't - I just look silly in any and all styles.  I know this as I think over the years I've tried on every style known to man.  And beast.  (Best not to ask...)  But I just couldn't let it lie...

Fingers twitching, I finally decided to use the green Madil Iceland yarn, mainly because I am vain about having red hair and know that the green will set it off nicely!  Oh, and my green eyes!  Heh!  If I'm going to make a hat that I probably won't suit, I may as well try to get it to highlight other decent stuff instead, no?!!

woohoo - matching set

And now, I think I can safely say that I'm cabled-out...  Erm, until the next time...

Monday, 24 November 2008

X is for...


Um, well now... Let's see...  No, there's no choice - I *may* have to cheat on this one...

x marks the spot: home
planes draw a saltire cross above DS's house in Scotland

So, yes, X...  The twenty-fourth letter of the Roman alphabet.  A tricky one... I have no broken bones to show off, I am not a player of any type of wooden tuned percussion, nor am I a carpenter bee, a Persian king from 500 B.C. or from a city in China.

I think I'll go with a combination of 'x marks the spot' and ex-pat.  Because I can.  (Or at least, because I shall...)  For me they do seem to fit hand in glove.  As a jobbing-travelling-singery type personage no longer living in the country of her birth, I do seem to live an 'x marks the spot' kind of life... Indeed, for a long time I had a map of the world on my wall and placed pins on all the cities I'd sung in.  To date this encompasses 17 countries from The United States of America to Japan.  The money can be crap, but boy, if you're lucky, you don't half get to see a lot of the world! 

 koi carp in tokyo, japan
Of course, a lot of that world is taken up with views from hotel rooms and the insides of concerts halls, but still...

beachside hotel in las palmas de gran canaria, spain

somewhere in new york, usa

market square in poznań, poland

trolley car ride in san francisco, usa

casa de mateus, portugal

thessaloniki opera house, greece

bilbao opera house, spain

... it could be a lot worse...

Sunday, 16 November 2008


HUZZAH!  I've finished one of my wips!  (I know, I know... who'da thunk...!) So, without any further ado, may I present unto you my Verdant Glovelets!

cabled glovelets by meg white
madil yarns iceland in olive green

Woohoo!  Am I chuffed with these babies?!  I modified the pattern slightly from the Noro glovelets I made last week by doing only 6 of the 8 repeats to make up for using the chunkier yarn.  I also added a few more increases in the upper arm part to accommodate my tendency to cast-off a little on the tight side.

a decadent touch of pearl

I couldn't decide on the beading for the centre of the cables and tried out some black bugles, but they were too dark and got slightly lost in the shadows...  gold beads looks dreadfully tacky and I even contemplated gold sequins (but not for long).  I wasn't sure if the pearl beads would be a bit too big, but I think in the end it worked out.  I'm rather fond of the juxtaposition of the chunky, country cables and the refined look of the pearls. (Plastic though they be!)

silk purse? sow's ear?

And boy, are they warm!  I have enough of the yarn left to maybe make some kind of hat/beanie/whatever, but I'm not sure I'd add the pearls... then again... maybe I would... Watch this space! 

And keeping the mitten theme going, I began (yes, yes, even though I have contracted finishitis again I'm still no further in getting rid of the startitis...) some Endpaper Mitts from a marvellous (and muchly used) design by Eunny Jang.

pattern lurve: stained-glass endpapers
angels and elephants  4-ply sock in maisie
cheap black acrylic that does the job nicely

I've been wanting to do these gorgeous mitts for months, but the thought of the colour-work scared me off on more than one occasion. But when I did start, I knew what colour-scheme I wanted: black ironwork around variegated yarn to give a stained-glass effect.  I picked up enough courage the other evening to start these, and am quite pleased with the look of it!  I say 'the look of it' advisedly, because the inside resembles what can only be described as the aftermath of a yarn tornado.  Well, no, I may not actually be using an official 2-colour knitting technique... how did you guess?

But to alleviate the stress of untangling yarn and unpicking stitches I knitted-up these wee pretties:

bootees for baby r
saartje's bootees by saartje de bruijn

Baby R № 2 should be arriving any day now... in fact he's due tomorrow  eek - today.  He'll be (when he arrives) the second god-child of my DS and if he's anything like his big sister, he'll be absolutely adorable!  I can't wait to meet him at Christmas when I go home. 

But back to the endpapers... I don't think we're in Kansas any more, Toto...

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

V and W are for...

Viral WIPs

zombies - the return
angels & elephants 4-ply sock  yarn in maisie

It's serious.  I'm very ill.  My Startitis has flared-up quite badly this week, and I'm worried there's no cure...  I can't seem to stop starting  new knitting projects.  Then again, I can't seem to start stopping old ones, either.  My Finishitis seems to have cleared-up completely.

The yarn I'm using for the Return of the Zombie Socks has undergone a fair workout this week...  It started out as the cuff and 1st two inches of a pretty lacy sock.  Or so
the pattern title informed me.  Alas, alack, it was not to be as I couldn't make out the patten when it was knitted up for love nor money, so it was frogged.  But I had balled that skein of maisie and I was determined to use it.  I tried a couple of inches of a test pattern (that shall remain nameless until it is a) announced to the world by the designer and b) actually knitted up properly by yours truly) but the yarn wasn't quite solid enough for that job either.  I needed something with a bold pattern, something a little on the weird side, something that didn't need semi-solids for the pattern to show... And then I remembered the Zombie Socks I made earlier this year.  Dropped stitches everywhere and a very clear design.  HUZZAH!  Perfetto!  Knit, knit, knit... but there was something nibbling at my conscious...

housglass socks
angels & elephants shetland sock in sea spray

This poor little Hourglass sock has been sitting on my shelf watching me start things all week.  Salty tears of abandonment would be shed if it could cry, I'm sure.  For some reason I've just not been into doing weeny cables recently...  Big chunky b*st*rds, hell yeah, but what goes around comes around, and no doubt I'll be ignoring all my lacy things next week and weaving teeny tiny cables like there's no tomorrow.

muscari socks
angels and elephants 4-ply sock in pentillie

But the hourglass socks are not the only things not getting finished, oh no... These Muscari socks are (or should I say will be) gorgeous to the nth degree.  The pattern is simple enough to memorise yet complicated enough to keep you from getting bored.  I think this pattern will also work with a more variegated yarn too, as the the rows are all different amounts of stitches each... Yes, I admit it - I nearly started these in another yarn this week, but I valiantly managed to stave-off the infection.  Kind of... instead I started another pair of Cabled Glovelets.  See?  I told you it was serious...

verdant glovelets
madil yarns iceland in olive green

Nom nom nom - this yarn is so very chunkily gorgeous and warm.  What's that you say?  They look like the ones I posted about last time...? Heh, well, yes indeed... erm... this virus is very contagious...  I have some little extras to add to these when they're finished - a touch of decadence, perhaps.  Well, you'll find out soon enough, as these babies are nearly done.  Or should be... soon...

Maybe when I've done some more to the next viral wip...

bandwagon jaywalker socks
opal sock yarn in shades of milka cow

I'm trying to decide whether these will be a disaster or not...  If they are, K, dear sister mine, you're getting them for Christmas!  Bwah hahahah haaaaaaah!  Seriously though, I'm never too sure about these kinds of variegated yarn - they are of such a Goldilocks type - sometimes too blah, sometimes too ARGH, sometimes just right...  I guess it's too early to tell at the moment, but this close the colours smack slightly of a combination Friesian and Milka cow...

I need to be thoroughly infected with Finishitis again... I have baby booties to complete, a secret something for DS, a log-cabin bag for myself, oh, and a myriad of other things...

oo - look over there - shiny...

Friday, 7 November 2008

Running the Gauntlet(s)

Once upon a time there was a little yarn shop in the middle of a medieval town. They had lots of pretty wool, but they were very dear, so Little Red Fraggle-Hood could only press her nose against the window and sigh with lust after the myriad of marvellous merino and mohair...  Then one day she saw IT.  Yarn the colour of all the berries she could think of, yarn which called out to her over and over until she had to go in, shyly proffer her next month's rent allowance, and then, finally, take two little bundles of joy home with her to make into these:

berry glovelets in noro kureyon 124

Seriously - I never buy these colours... Pinks and reds?  I like them, yes, but I never wear them, so, well... I never buy them.  But that was before I'd been drooling over a pattern by Meg White called Cabled Glovelets.  Big luscious cables, chunkily knit toastiness, all-around gorgeousness...  It needed something distinctive, something special, something beautifully coloured.  And then I saw the yarn. Noro? Scratchy, coarse Noro for next-to-the-skin snugness? Well, I’m as shocked as you are!  Even more so, in fact, because it seemed I had bought the only 2 balls of already soft and squishy Noro that exist in the world…  I know... I had to take a moment, too...  But the colours... the colours...

raspberry, bramble, redcurrant, strawberry, blackcurrant, 
cranberry, mulberry, elderberry, gooseberry...

To add an extra bit of definition I sewed some wee pink beads to the centre of each cable... I used thin, invisible plastic thread, so it took bloody ages but now at least those wee beads should stay on and not gurgle down the drain when I have to hand-wash them... 

beads of the wee and pink variety

But not content with ONE pair of mittens/gauntlets/wristlets/fingerless gloves, I made these wee Gothic ones, pattern by Robin Melanson from the book 'Knitting New Mittens & Gloves', published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang.  (A great book, by the way!)

channel island cast-on, no less!
(version: messy)

I couldn't for the life of me figure out the directions to make the diamond at the top, so I cabled it instead.  It looks the same as the pattern, so that's good enough for me!  I may add a little beading in the centre of the diamond at some point...

So, Mr Winter, do your worst... with my hands warm and my feet toasty (thanks to the incredibly and smooshily calescent fluffy slippers my DS sent me) I am armed (ugh - sorry about that) and ready...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


I have been!  Aspinnerated, that is...  By Jesh, of fine spindle-making fame... (She's out of spindles at the mo, but is working on more! They are delish!)
little drop-spindle of joy

No, no - it's not another made-up word... you find it all over our favourite knitting website... :: shuffles feet :: Okay, so it is made-up, but you can find it all over the knitting site...

Okay, okay...

Aspinner [ah-spin-er] - noun.

  1. A person who, responsibly or otherwise, gives a spindle (or any kind of tool with which to spin fibre) to another person, thus aspinnerating them.
  2. Slang. A derogatory term for a person who has introduced you to something that has the potential of relieving you of any bit of spare time you have left.
 Aspinnerate [ah-spin-uh-reyt] - verb.
  1. The act of giving a spindle (or any kind of tool with which to spin fibre) to a person who has not as yet been introduced to the marvel that is spinning.
  2. To cause to turn around rapidly in feelings of joy, as on an axis; twirl; whirl on receipt of a spindle (or any kind of tool with which to spin fibre).
Aspinnerated [ah-spin-uh-reyt-id] - verb.
  1. To have received a spindle (or any kind of tool with which to spin fibre).
  2. To have been introduced to the joys of spinning with a spindle (or any kind of tool with which to spin fibre).
Aspinneratable [ah-spin-uh-reyht-uh-[buhl] - adjective.
  1. An object or person with the potential of being involved in aspinneration of any kind.
(Extracted from the RedScot Dictionary of Made-Up Words OUP 2018)

purple resin whorl and silver findings

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Home Sweet Home II

So, where was I before I rudely interrupted my musings with news of the impending destruction of the village pillagers? (HUZZAH!)  Oh yes...

 home - behind the delphiniums

Well, the garden was still looking in fine fettle when I was home.  My Dad was particularly pleased with the dahlia show and rightly so, they were beautiful:

I'd missed the sweet-peas, of course, which are always spectacular, and also the livingstone daisies and all the lovely Summer border flowers, but witnessed the addition of the Winter pansies just before I left, which are ever so pretty.   The tomatoes in the greenhouse are mostly past now, and the cucumbers and peppers are long gone, but there were 5 rather massive marrows there awaiting a time when my Mother will turn them into marrow and ginger jam.  NOM.

Well, in addition to pretending to be a tourist and taking all sorts of arty-farty shots of the ancient buildings, I also indulged in a spot of nostalgic piccie-taking of my old school...  Although I use that word advisedly...  I know the word nostalgia means a longing for the past, and invokes feelings of warmth, of golden, happy times and I shouldn't really use that word in any sentence pertaining to my school years (as I have very mixed memories of secondary school... well, to be honest, I have mostly bad memories of secondary school) but I could never complain about the aesthetic beauty of the senior building and its wonderful, if very draughty, quadrangle... Sadly I couldn't take pictures of the quad, as the school was closed for the October holidays, but, although the building is only 180 years old or so, I remember the quad appearing very old indeed.  I guess that's what happens when you combine the local sand-stone used for building most of the old structures in the town, and the sharp, salty sea air...

madras college - senior building

I do, however, remember enjoying lunch-times when I would stay in the music house and practise the piano, which is where the real nostalgia comes in...  I learnt my first Chopin nocturne on the piano of the room above the bowed windows, on the first floor...

the music house in all its autumnal glory

The buildings of St Mary's College, part of the university, was also a must on the 'got to photo' list.  St Mary's College is the home of the teaching of Divinity and was founded in 1539 and is still housed in its fine sixteenth-century buildings, and I have to say, they are beautiful!

Do you see the thorn tree to the left of the bottom picture?  Legend has it that it was planted by Mary Queen of Scots during one of her visits to the town...  Okay, okay - a 500+ year-old tree?  Well, the chances are that if it's not the original tree, it's certainly a descendant, so it's still rather on the WOW side!

Another ancient structure to be found is the West Port which was originally built in 1589 and is, I think, the last remaining civic gate still in existence in Scotland.

west port

I must have walked through the port a thousand times, but I have to admit that I've never really looked closely at it before (you know - that thing about familiarity breeding... blindness), but have camera, as they say, take close-ups...

king david and his lance... don't ask - i have no idea!

To finish with, I'll show you the LYS - it's situated in one of the wee closes (pronounced with a sibilant s and not a z, meaning a narrow alley to a courtyard) opposite the school. The building is itself a great example of the typical mediaeval house that was found in the area, with the dwelling spaces on the upper floors and the ground floor used for housing livestock. Inside it's all wooden beams, creaky floorboards, rough walls and yummy yarn!  I can think of worse places to drool over wool!

Oh, and yes, I did take photos on different days... although anyone visiting Scotland will avow, it is possible to have sun, rain, fog and snow within a few hours of each other.  And that's just in Summer!  Heh!

Mair Bloag Weejits

Footerin' Aboot

Footerin' Aboot
Heh! I'm so funny!

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