Friday, 25 February 2011

Playtime Dress - A Cautious Tale of A Tension Square

I've started knitting Mary-Jane a playtime dress. I'm using Robin Paintbox and 4mm needles. The tension of this yarn is not the same as the given pattern. Which, by the way is a freebie from Lion Brand. But I thought it might not make too much difference. I cast on, and managed to do a couple of inches before bed time. A night or two later I carried on. At 9pm, I only had four and a half inches to go till I got to the yoke. I knitted furiously, and watched the third part of Stephen King's Rose Red (don't go rushing to watch it).

I got to 8 inches and decreased for the yoke, being very pleased with myself. Only then did I think that I mught just check my tension. Even my knitting against the ball band. The ball band says 22 stitches and 30 rows. My tension was 22 stitches and 27 rows. Hmph. Instead of being 14 inches wide, it was only 12. This would have made a difference, especially after the decreasing for the yoke. Only one thing to do. Well two things really. One is obvious - frog it all.

The second thing was to take the tension measurements and adjust the pattern. Thankfully the shape of the dress is straightforward. So I worked out how many stitches to cast on, for each of the three sizes. I'll decrease the same way for the yoke, (k1, k2tog) all the way along. I've not yet worked out the stitch numbers for the shaping, but am sure that it won't be difficult to do (as long as I'm not tired as I make stupid stupid mistakes then!). Plus I've got my workings out written down in one of my trusty note books. I'm thinking that I will like this garment. I'll like it even more if I can pull it off.

I cast on the second time, feeling more confident. I did a couple of rows and started feeling tired. I also started feeling that something else needed to be done with this pattern. I hate having this feeling, especially when I am tired as I can't think straight. I hate sewing up, a topic already visited. I don't really hat sewing up, I'm just not that good at it, surprisingly. And it doesn't appeal to the Lazy Knitter in me.

With this in mind, I looked over the original pattern. Circular needles, is what I thought. This garment can be done on circular needles, no sewing up. The top of the yoke, from where the arm holes start will have to be done backwards and forwards. But no sewing up.

I've now done a couple of rows on circulars. I have however, forgotten how to do garter stitch in the round. I did the first round as knit, then two (or was it three) rounds in purl. I know this is not the answer, but it will do for now. I shall have to remember how to do it. Soon. This pattern has Adaption Potential.

Package from New York

I recieved a surprise Package from a dear penpal in New York. Cecelia has kindly made Mary-Jane a beautiful pair of bootees. The photo doesn't really do the colour much justice - it is a gorgeous burnt orange - I'm sure there is a very posh name for it! Here is MJ, posing in her new bootees. Also in the package was some tea from Hawaii, some candy and a New York City vest. I was thrilled with the vest. Wathc this space for a pic of MJ wearing it x

Pompon Blankie and Scarf

I finished Mary-Jane's Pompon Blankie last week. I'm pleased with the finished result. The pompon knits up well, and easy, once you get the hang of it. MJ seems to like it as well, although we've not road tested it properly and used it in the pram MJ posing with her new blankie on her playmat
I bought two extra balls of the pompon. I used two to do the blankie and one to do my new scarf.
For the blankie I cast on 46 stitches. One cast on stitch between one pompon, then after that, two stitches per pompon. Knit till the end of the yarn. For the scarf I followed the pattern given on the ballband - cast on 12 stitches, one between each pompon, then knit two stitches per pompon and continue till the end of the yarn.
The finished fabric is very warm and very snuggly. I would be very very tempted to do a big blankie for me, either a lap blankie or a bed size one, recommended!
Oh in the picture I haven't weaved in the end of the yarn, that's why it's hanging down......

Chicken and Rice

There was some surplus rice, that was earmarked for the chickens. As usual, the chickens were free-ranging all over the garden. They do, however know the sound of the back door going and of the tapping of fingers on their food container. So here are the chickens running for their rice. Chickens getting closer. They are very comical to watch when they are running. It has to be seen!
Making enquiries as to what todays tidbits are!
Chickens in regular chicken pose - head down, bums up! The white one is sunday, a very happy chook. It took them less than minutes to finish off the rice

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Bed Time

Well, I was all geared up to write a couple of blog entries and I have just realised the time..... bed time and I'm feeling tired. I've even got the photo's sorted that I'm going to post. Never mind, will try tomorrow.

I've just read my good friends blog - King Arthur and Creaky Knits - and have just found out that she has have a shoulder replacement, so my thoughts are with you at the moment, Sal. At times like this, I wish 200 miles was closer!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Pompon Blankie - Part 2

The blankie was frogged today and I have ordered two further balls.

It's Valentines Day Evening and I'm on the promise of an early night........

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Pompon Blankie For Mary-Jane

I've been cracking on with Mary-Jane's pram blanket in the Rico Pompon. I've knitted to the end of the 200g ball and come to the conclusion that I don't like the dimensions. I think it should be about another 6 inches longer. I've had a trawl on Ravelry and am thinking stronger that it should be bigger. The more I look at it the more I think it should be wider as well. What a ball ache.

I've had a quick look round t'internet for places I can get it from and found somewhere that seems to be the best price. I am a little tempted to ring the shop in Penrith where I got it from and ask if they have anymore. They might have the same lot number.

But it's nearly midnight and I'm far too tired to make any decision at the moment. Plus I'm going to get told off for going to bed late again.

I'm just a wee bit peed off that I stayed up to finish the blankie off, only to be dis-satisfied with the end result. Don't get me wrong. It knits up lovely and the colours are right up my alley - I'm even thinking of doing me a skinny scarf in it. It's just the dimensions of the currently finished article. Why do I hear the sound of frogs?! If I had tons of dosh, I'd drive through to Penrith tomorrow (weather permitting) and get some more yarn. Oh and go to that rather wonderful fabric shop. I must stop. I am day dreaming. It's off to bed for me and will re-assess in the cold light of day! Night night! xx

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Kitchen Saturday

I have done my first baking in the new house. Two lots of cookies - triple chocolate and toffee & banana. I made them from mixes. It always feels like cheating when I bake this way. (I have previously droned on about this, so won't again, well not at the moment!). The results are fine, so I don't mind too much. After the cookies - and lunch - I made a ginger cake. It tastes good, especially with a bit of locally made vanilla ice cream. Oh and the cookies are nice with a cuppa!
I have finished the tank top for MJ, no pictures yet, I forgot. Last night I started a pram blanket for her. I'm using Rico Pompon. The colours are cool, I'm quite tempted to get another ball and make myself a scarf. Or get yarn in colours similar to the royal purple and lime green and make something stripey for MJ.

Anyhow, I'm using 4mm needles. I cast on 38 stitches and am doing two stitches between each pompon. It is very soft and very touchy feely. I can see why this yarn may be popular. Plus it doesn't take too long to get used to using it. I'm sure I've got something similar, but smaller in pink and white to make Mary-Jane a blankie with. When I am re-united with my stash, it will seem like a whole new stash. I see it in the boxes in the barn and my tongue is still hanging out.

Mary-Jane in her high chair in the kitchen

Mary-Jane had some time in the kitchen today, in her high chair. She appeared to enjoy every minute of it, and stayed in her chair for well over an hour until she got a bit restless and tired.
Mary-Jane was very interested in what was going on around her. She had already had her Farleys and bottle.
Mary-Jane enjoys sucking on a piece of soft bread with butter on - and getting very independant by holding it herself. However I do have to watch her extremely closely.
Here she is having loads of fun! MJ loves Mr Bee as well. MJ has had that much fun and excitement today that she didn't want her naps, despite my trying to put her down a couple of times. However come 6pm, she was on her chin straps, so when I did lay her down in her cot she did not protest, just pulled her duvet up and started sucking on her fingers - the next thing she does after that is close her eyes and sleep!

Mary-Jane is quite sociable, she loves company and being in the middle of things. She also loves nothing more than sitting on Momma's knee. And cuddles are the best, especially when you are stood up.......

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

New Groups

The weather the last week has been a little unsociable, so I've not been able to get out or really take Mary-Jane anywhere. The wind has been upto 70mph. I shouldn't complain, it's not exactly as bad as Queensland, Austrailia, have had. There was a break in the weather yesterday and HK managed to spen a good deal of the day in the garden.

I have been out twice this week, and am now a member of The WI and The Wyndham Ladies - Ladies NFU. I shall see how this pans out. I have never been in a group like these. Well, you can't really count the Knitting groups, they are a lot less informal, and not quite the same thing. Oh to bring Knitterati here!

Talking of knitting - I am on the way to finishing Mary-Jane's tank top. I have picked up the stitches round the neck for the ribbing. I hate picking up stitches, probably because I'm no good at it. I'm not too bad on a straight edge, but a shaped edge, tsk, blooming awful! The pattern is a Debbie Bliss one. I've also got another, very similar one, in a pattern booklet. I am trying to devise one that has no seems. I know it is do-able. Perhaps the body is done in the round and the shoulders grafted may be the easiest way. Doing garments with the least seams has been appealing to me for a month or two. I've translated a couple of patterns in my head from individual pieces to an all in one. Just need to do it with yarn and needles. I may even look out for 'The Opinionated Knitter' as this may shed some light. Ebay here I come!

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Mary-Jane and Rooms with Views

Mary-Jane is growing and developing every day. She has always been alert and taken interest in what is around her. Now she is getting more interactive with what is around her, what she can see, what she can touch and what she can put in her mouth. Mary-Jane is still mastering sitting up, but it is fun when you're discovering books! This is the view from Mary-Jane's bedroom window. In the distance is Cold Fell.
Mary-Jane having tummy time on her play mat. She is a little way off crawling yet, although early signs are there. She sometimes pull her knees up under her bum, in readiness to crawl. She is learning that when she rolls over on to her front, to move bothe her arms from under her. She holds her neck up very strongly. Mary-Jane is doing very well!
The view from our bedroom window. You can't quite see the sea in this one, but it is there!
My Mary-Jane. Another one of her on her play mat. You can see how her face is loosing its total young baby-ness. She is beautiful. She makes my heart smile.

Nursery Road to Beckermet

Mary-Jane and I took a walk on a beautiful sunny, spring like day, down Nursery Road to Beckermet. Nursery Road runs along the back of the house. This is the view from where we started, but looking the other way! The brick wall is the side of the barn and the junction is with the A595. This is about half a mile into the walk, looking in a general easterly direction.
Taken from more or less the same place but slightly different direction, looking towards the way back.

Mary-Jane, all very well wrapped up, despite it being a lovely sunny day. She seemed to enjoy the walk.
When the weather is a bit better, I want to see what is down this lane, or how far I can go with MJ in her pram. In the distance is Sellafield.
A pretty view. I'm looking forward to talking this walk throughout the seasons.
Once I got into the village, I followed my nose to the play area. It is a lovely place to sit. I can't wait to see MJ, in time, playing here. There is a bench, by where I stood to take the photo. It is very peaceful to sit there. To feel the sun on your face and to listen to the babbling beck.
The clouds were starting to gather a little as we were heading back.
The village is only about a mile or so. Even though the walk is along a road, there is very little traffic. Much quieter than the walk to Calder Bridge. The village is down on the list for further exploration!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Another Walk Along Whitehaven Harbour - The Last Place of an Attempted Invasion of Mainland England

Sunday saw us go out for a walk. HK suggested that we go to Whitehaven Harbour and have another look around. Apparantly there is a walk above or along the left side of the harbour. So this is where we headed. I shall start mentioning at this point how cold it was. Flipping cold. The car temp said 3 degrees. It was the coldest 3 degrees I have ever experienced.

HK surveying the harbour at the start of the walk. The sea looks cold and dark. It was. Not quite as black as Wasdale. I certainly wouldn't want to take a dip in it. Not on your nelly! Part of the shore of the harbour. At this point I was regretting not wearing my scarf.
Stood in the same place (nearly) as above, but looking in a different direction. Now I was wishing I was wearing a big wooly hat.

A bit further along. My chin was getting numb. It was as cold as it looks!
At the end of the harbour wall, you can climb up the steps and get to the very top of the harbour wall. People fish from here. Even on cold days. Nutters in my opinion. I don't care how much they like to fish or how wrapped up they are. Nutters! I thought I'd go to the top of the wall and get some good photos.
By the time I got to the top of the steps, I chickened out of going any further. I was proud of chickening out. Besides, I don't think my knees would have carried me much further as they were rapidly turning to jelly, a sure fire sign that they feel unsafe. And if my knees feel unsafe, I feel unsafe. Simples.
So this is the top of the harbour wall. I will walk along it one day. But not when my whole face is going numb with cold and my knees are like jelly.
HK doing the sensible thing with MJ and sheltering inside the harbour wall.

We returned back to terra firma post haste. Even HK said he was cold, so it must have been. I was glad that Mary-Jane was very well bundled up. Needless to say we went straight back to Ellercroft. I still hadn't thawed out by then, but a mug or two of tea did the trick. Plus lots of cuddles from Mary-Jane. And HK.
In fairness, Whitehaven and it's harbour have seen a lot of history. Did you know, in the 1770's it was the last failed place of invasion of mainland England? (Hitler didn't make it to the Mainland). This invasion attempt was led by John Paul Jones, who was originally from Kirkbean, Dumfries, and did his apprenticeship in Whitehaven. His first voyage was made to America, the country of his after adoption.
John Paul Jones led the attempted invasion on 22nd October, 1778. I'll not go into the ins and outs of the invasion. Loose talk has it that the main reason it failed was that Jones's men were in the main local men to Whitehaven and area, so when they landed they ended up going for a drink with old friends. I'm sure it didn't quite happen as simple as that, but......contrary winds have a play in it somewhere as well......
Between his death, at age 45, and 1913, Jones was buried in an ?unmarked grave in Paris. In 1913, his remains were removed to the crypt in the US Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Farleys for MJ and a Completed Scarf for Me

Mary-Jane is growing in leaps and bounds. She is very alert and inquisitive, not just looking at everything, but wanting to touch. She has taught herself an upside down back crawl, where she arches her back and uses her legs to move herself around the floor. She can cover quite a distance - and quickly if she wants to! Mary-Jane has started on Farleys. She is up to two a day (lunch and tea) and seems to love the banana flavour rusk - almost as much as what HK loves to feed her! Mary-Jane can also hold her own bottle, although we do most of the holding!

A few days ago, I finished my Yarn Gathering Baktus. I'm very pleased with the finished outcome. It is a very sentimental piece of knitting, and will be a constant reminder of Jeanette and my Yarn Gathering of Stone Knitty Friends.
It was made in Begere de France - Barisienne. It takes only one ball, and could be done a bit longer, but I wasn't sure how much longer so erred on the side of caution. Despite it being light weight, it is very warm!