Thursday, 23 June 2011


Turns out I've had quite a good few days and I'm desperate to show off and I'm feeling dead chuffed with myself.

Firstly I passed my grading yesterday with 76% (above 60% is a pass, above 70% is good). I was expecting it to be my lowest grading, but actually that's one of my highest (lowest was 72%, highest was 78&), so I was really pleased with that score. I messed up a lot at the beginning, but as I got into the flow things got better. I did get cracked over the head by one the other students who was punching in for me - I was doing a foot lift and body drop takedown on him and as he fell his elbow caught my head just behind me ear - but things went better after that, so maybe it helped.

Then today, I got in from work to find that the scores had arrived from the judging exam I sat a month or so ago (the instructor had told us that the scores would be sent off the British Gymnastics for moderation and they would then send them out with our certificate and log book to log the competitions we judge at).

For the Practical section (watching clips of gymnastics routines and writing down our scores) I got 94%. For the Theory section I got 100%. This means I got an overall score of 96% and a distinction! This gives me a lot more hope that I can progress to National and maybe even International judging! Maybe I will get to the Olympics someday!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

All the stuff, none of the time

I NEED to be finishing off the giant purple Aeolian that I should have given to a friend in March. Unfortunately, after waiting a while for the yarn to arrive from the States, I have used it to create this:

I find yarn tangles to be a mix of glorious satisfaction and enormous frustration. I get to a point where I think 'I've been here for six and a half hours, my arms ache, I can't feel my back and my stomach is threatening to eat itself if I don't feed it soon, I really need to...oooo what about if I pull on this bit...'. It's quite addictive. And this tangle got so big I had to move it upstairs to my spare room (the blocking room) for the space to spread it out. This is the aftermath. However, I really don't need mad tangles when I'm on deadline.

I NEED to be knitting on the Wisp stole that I randomly decided to cast on for a week ago so I could wear it to the school prom (wow I feel 16 when I write that) with the dress I ordered which may or may not arrive in time for the dance in a week's time.

I WANT to be knitting on the blue shawl of doom - having ripped it back and fixed a few bits and bobs I didn't like from the first attempt, I started again, did the first lace row and was four stitches over. I think this shawl might be my knitting nemesis and I really want to be working on it and kicking into shape and teaching it who's boss.

I WANT to be casting on for a second Pomatomus before another sock goes two years without a friend.

I WANT to be winding this:

into a lovely ball and casting for a pair of Nutkins because it's so very pretty and I want it and that's all there is to it.

Instead, what I'm going to go and do is work on a work in progress that has been going on for longer than I've been knitting. I am on my way to go and grade. I am currently a grey belt in Kung Fu. If all goes well tonight, I will be a grey belt with a black tab. When I've got another two tabs, I will be grading for my black belt. But for now, I have this hurdle to jump. And I'm bricking it. Although I am bored on my belt and I am desperate to get this over and done with and I have chosen the date to grade (and chosen to grade at all - my current sifu offered to let me move onto the next level without grading, but I am meritocratic to a fault), suddenly I don't feel ready. I'm worried that I'm not going to pass with a high enough score to make me happy. And I'm nervous in general.

So for tonight, with all the stuff I want and need to be getting on with, it's kung fu that is my work in progress.

For more works in progress, see Tami's Amis.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Record Breakers

I've had a bit of a crazy weekend. On Friday, I went to my friend's house for our usual craft night. Sadly, it was just the two of us, but we had a great night anyway. We set the world to rights over a few glasses (bottles) of wine, got lots done, watched films, ate popcorn and generally got quite squiffy.

I may have walked home again at 7 the next morning.

But while I was there, we decided to set a World Record on the Sunday.

So we did. Two in fact.

Well, ok, so we went and joined in with an existing world record attempt that someone else had entirely organised. But I feel we were instrumental in bringing this achievement to Norwich. Well, ok, us and the other 860 people who turned up. Still, I think it's impressive. (please note - I did not zumba for twelve hours - I zumba-d for one and a half).

I feel I should mention this amazing feat of mine (whaddya mean I just turned up and wiggled a bit, it was hardcore effort I tell ya!) since all knitting is rubbish and making me angry. Well, ok, just my blue shawl. But I have to rip it all out and start again, meaning a weeks worth of knitting is down the pan. Apparently my inability to do maths is a major problem when it comes to knitting and means I miss entire sections of chart and end up grumbley.

But I least I did something right this weekend.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Not My Favourite

Spring Leaves is all finished:

And I have to be honest,

I'm not a huge fan of it.

I don't think it's a fault with the pattern at all, I think it's all me.

It started with the ordering of the yarn. I didn't have a project in mind when I ordered it, just knew that I was loving dying. When I received the parcel, I realised that I had misread the information. I thought it was a heavy laceweight with almost 700 yards to 100 grams. Turns out it was a light weight yarn with almost 700 yards to 50 grams.

Never mind, I thought, I could still use it for something, so I set about dying. I have been wanting to try using Dr Oetker food dye for a while. Not only did I have a lot of it in my cupboard from baking, it's easier to get hold of in the UK than Kool Aid. It worked well and the colour is really saturated. Only problem is, it's not the colour I was looking for. I wanted a more bluey-green and this is more mint. I tired to over dye it with a blue, but it just wouldn't take.

Still, when the Three Countries Shawl KAL group on Ravelry decided to use the Spring Leaves pattern as their April - June KAL, I thought immediately of this yarn. I thought the green would work well with the leaf-y pattern and it was spring-like.

Trouble is, I still can't get over that colour. I'm sure it's a nice colour, I just can't get over it not being what I wanted.

For some FO's people probably do like, have a look at Tami's Amis.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Getting my mojo back...

Pomatomus the first is finished!

Ta da!

I was worried all the time I was knitting it because it seemed so long - especially the heel, but I was assured that this was normal and I'm pleased to say that it fits pretty well. It's a little loose, but not baggy, and I think the looseness is as much to do with the stretch of the pattern than it being too big.

However, Pomatomus the second may have to wait a while, because I got my lace mojo back!

Uh...ok, so it doesn't look like much at the moment and is, primarily, stockinette rather than lace, but when it grows up it's going to be a Magic of Spring Shawl.

I cast on on Sunday, so really it should be bigger than this by now, but I hit a bit of a stumbling block when I realised that I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do after chart 1. I had an idea of what needed to be done, but for some reason I couldn't make it make sense in my head. I checked everywhere I could for the answer, but this shawl hasn't been knit that often (about ten times) and apparently everyone else understood it all just fine. So, I sucked up my pride and messaged the designer for help. I go a response today, basically telling me that what I thought I had to do IS what I have to do, so now I'm back on with it and hopefully I'll have some lace to show off soon.

The Spring Leaves shawl is finally off the needles as well, so I'm going to grab my blocking wires and break them out! Quite excited about this...

For more WIPs, see Tami's Amis.

Friday, 3 June 2011


That's a Finally Finished Object.

I cast on for a Muir Shawl in September 2010. I actually finished it a month of two later, folded it nicely and sat it down where it stayed, unblocked and with ends sticking out, for about six months.

I'm really not very good at finishing. It's the most boring part of knitting in my opinion.

But, last week, I sucked it up, decided I wanted to wear it out of my birthday meal and started soaking.

Blocking it was an absolute nightmare. It was quite late and I was very tired - this was the day in which I worked for eleven hours and had to deal with a child protection issue as the last thing of the day (so I took it home, of course), followed by my belly dance class (I can't even remember what we covered I was that tired) followed by a well needed glass or two of wine - so I just wanted to pin it out quickly and head to bed. I had convinced myself that because it is rectangular and has no crazy points or similar, it would be easy. You'd think I'd never blocked before or something!

Instead what happened was that the edging was happy to be stretched and pulled all over the place, but the middle section did not like this at all. I don't think it helped that because the laceweight I'd used is very very delicate, the thing was drying very quickly as I attempted to block.

Eventually I gave up trying to stretch it and just pinned it into a vague rectangular shape and went to bed feeling defeated. I was even more disappointed when I checked on it the next day and found that where I had pinned, the shawl had pulled in around the pin leaving little spikes (you can see them in the above photo). These have more or less worked themselves out now and I decided I could wear it to my birthday meal.

This is, without a doubt, the hugest and most delicate shawl I have ever made. I mostly want to frame it and never wear it for fear with will get snagged on something and unravel into a million ends of thread. It's 30 inches wide and about 6ft long (my tape measure doesn't stretch that far, but I'm 5ft7 and it's longer than my arm span).

Two days after my blocking woes (there may have been a slight temper tantrum somewhere in there too), I drove down to London to visit my family. When I got there I was presented with my birthday present and I could have cried.

A set of blocking wires.

For more stunning FO's, visit Tami's Amis.

p.s. I just read this through and noticed it didn't make much sense in places. I've corrected those I picked up on, but there may be more. I am on day two of an epic headache, so I think I'm just babbling now.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


I think summer is finally, officially here. I can say this with some certainty since today I spent about three hours sitting in the garden knitting and now I am a shiny red colour. I blame A Playful Day since I was absorbed in her latest podcast and didn't notice how long I'd been out.

Having not blogged much lately, I have not shown off any of my current WIPs or really talked about them at all. So here they are:

Pomatomus sock the first is starting to resemble an actual sock what with it's heel and everything. I'm using some Lorna's Laces that I've owned for ages and were originally going to be some Outside In socks. It's a strange taupe-y kind of non-colour. I'm really enjoying the pattern and I'm finding the texture of the knitted sock quite odd. Normally knit socks are quite stiff, or at least that's how I find them (not a big problem since they go on my feet), but these are super stretchy and very soft. I think I've managed to get a good match of yarn to pattern for once, though I am slightly worried by the length of it - my sister assures me this is normal for this pattern though, and for Cookie A socks in general.

(On a slight aside, last night my sister and I sat in the living room knitting, me on the Pomotomus sock and her on her Rock Island shawl. This is quite a reversal for us since normally I knit the shawls and she knits the socks.)

Variegated scarf is moving along. I think this may be an on going project and I will attempt to do a few rows each day to build it up. It's not the most interesting of patterns, as scarves often aren't (or rather, scarves that have two rows repeat until done), but ti's more or less working with the yarn. It's a little pool-y in places, but I think it's bound to be and there's not much that can be done about it (other than cutting the yarn every other row or something else that would be too much effort). I'm getting the hang of using the straights again, though I do keep jamming them in to the sides of the armchair.

The Spring Leaves stole is going less well. Whilst it should be more or less done, in fact I'm about two inches away from finishing it, I also only have about two inches of yarn left. This is hand dyed, so it's not going to be easy to get a match and so I think the only thing for it is to tink back a repeat and then do the finishing chart, but the idea of having to do that and then undo the other end to tink back that repeat so that it mirrors (yes, I am a perfectionist and no I cannot just leave it unbalanced) is hurting my head right now.

If you want to have a look a other people's WIPs, check out Tami Ami's WIP Wednesdays. Meanwhile, I'm off to moisturize.