Saturday, May 31, 2008

just in time

although i haven't been blogging much lately, there has been some progress on other things. april's shawl, alas, is not one of them. about two weeks ago, when i was starting to run out of yarn on my second skein of posh yarn cashmere laceweight, i unwrapped the third & final skein to wind it into a ball - & discovered that the third skein had a area of dark blueish-green that wasn't evident in the first two skeins! now, being a hand-dyer myself, i should be well aware that sometimes this happens - even if all three skeins are from the same dye batch, the colour doesn't always take to the yarn in precisely the same way, & there can be variation from skein to skein. and, being a hand-dyer myself, & aware of these things, i should have checked the skeins before starting the project to see if there were any colour variations, so that i could spread these variations out throughout the project (for example, by working from two skeins at once). alas, i'm just not that clever sometimes, and so instead of being thoughtful & planning ahead, i've ended up with two full skeins knitted, twenty rows to go in the shawl, and a skein of a slightly different colour to finish with.
it's not a glaring difference; in fact, probably no one would notice it but me. luckily, dee at posh yarn understands the yearning for knitterly perfection, and has taken the skein back so that she can try to match the colour for me - without the offending blueish-green - so that i can finish the shawl (isn't she fab?). alas, they've run out of the base yarn & are awaiting a new shipment - so april's shawl, already a month behind, still isn't finished.
may's sweater, though, is nearly there - i have ten rows of the collar to complete, plus about twenty rows of the bottom edging, and then (apart from weaving in yarn ends, but that doesn't count) it will be finished! which means that i have a lovely big comfy wooly jumper, just in time.......

for the summer. sigh.....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

amazed & astounded

seriously, i'm absolutely speechless. & if you want to see why, go look at the running total (no pun intended!) of the donations so far, in the sidebar of my running blog - i can't believe it. most of the donations have been sent by people i don't even know, who have seen postings on ravelry or other people's blogs, and who have responded with incredible generosity. i've been struggling with training lately, and the huge response is definitely spurring me on!
& earlier this week, when i was feeling particularly down, this arrived:

swap goodness!!

a swap parcel full of lovely treats from martha - it initially started out as a small yarn-for-a-tshirt swap (she had the natalie dee tshirt at the bottom right of the picture, & i was going to send her some yarn for it) but quickly evolved into a full-on swap-fest. i wish i'd thought to take pictures before i opened everything up (i was too excited!). this little parcel was like the tardis - more & more things kept coming out, tucked in every nook & cranny of the package, until i had a whole table-full of goodies (clockwise from top left: a sock-knitting pouch handmade by martha, some scented body scrub & scented candles (also handmade - the woman's a genius!), the tshirt that started it all, a big bag of reeses pieces, a skein of mmmmalabrigo merino, a frog-shaped "crafty critter" notions case, and some chocolate!). we'd agreed on a swap value, but both of us definitely went overboard - again, amazing generosity, and it arrived at just the right time to cheer me up.
now, if only i could get the sock problem under control:

sock carnage

that's five - yes, FIVE - pairs of handknit socks that had to go in the bin last week, & here's why:

sock carnage detail

sigh. at least the summer of socks is coming, to get me going with some replacement pairs!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

oh my goodness

it's a truly shocking day today!! first, check out all the amazing prizes that are building up for my race for life fundraising prize draw - i can't believe how generous people are being, and how many gorgeous prizes are on offer (including a habu sweater kit, some gorgeous posh yarn, a hand-knitted cashmere/silk shawl, and a skein of the elusive wollmeise sockenwolle). every £5 you donate to my fundraising run gets you one entry to the prize draw - if you've already donated, you might want more chances, and if you haven't donated, go see what you could win for £5, and get all the info on how to donate & win!!

and, even more shockingly - the old maiden aunt yarn shop is actually running!! after battling with the-free-but-hideous-shopping-cart-software-which-shall-not-be-named (ok, is was zencart) for what seemed like forever, i decided to buy a not free, but fabulous shopping cart software instead. & seriously, why didn't i just do that a month ago??? it's so easy - all i need now are some more yarns to put in the shop!! there'a only afew things up for sale at the moment, but everything seems to be working ok (famous last words, as my mum would say, but oh well). phew!!

so, to sum up - go look at gorgeous prizes, donate & win!! then, go look at lovely yarns, and be in awe of my shop-fixing skills (or, be in awe of the fact that this software is so easy that even i can figure it out).

Friday, May 02, 2008

a severe shortage of socks

while the year of the sweater has mostly been going well, it's been taking up a lot of my knitting time, which has had an unexpected consequence - a serious lack of sock knitting. when you combine that with the fact that quite a few pairs of my hand-knitted socks are now over two years old, and have begun to succumb to age-related complaints such as bald spots, worn patches, and even, in a couple of cases, HOLES (gasp!), it's clear that unless i do something drastic, i'm going to have a severe shortage of socks. the answer?


the "summer of socks" knitalong, with contests & prizes for the most number of socks knitted between 21st june and 1st september, as well as bi-weekly prize draws and a special prize for the best "take your socks on vacation" photos (to all you non-knitters, taking photos of your socks on vacation is pretty normal for sock knitters - just ask the yarn harlot). & if you're on ravelry, there's a group there for it as well.
so far this year, i've only knitted a couple of pairs of socks, which is well below my usual sock knitting standards (& only one pair was for me, so i'm not making much progress towards refilling my sock drawer!). maybe the summer of socks will be the impetus i need to restock my socks...