Frog in knots

Knitting, knots and frogging.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Out with the old...

I've seen a few of these end of year round up thingies so I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to do my own.

I think 2006 can only be summed up as 'the year of the baby' in my world, with the safe arrival of Sol, Scarlett, James, Niahm, Alexandra and John. Baby knitting was plentiful here at Casa Rain and you all patiently put up with my rambling on about all things tiny.

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I have to admit to really enjoying making little things and to feeling just the eensiest, weensiest bit broody. It's the shoes, teeny tiny shoes get me every time.

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Once friends and family had ceased breeding, it was time to move onto bigger and better things. I managed to turn out a few sweaters for myself and about a billion pairs of Mrs Beetons (ok, 4, but it felt like it). There was a whole host of other bits and pieces that were sent out as gifts that I completely forgot to take photos of, something to remember for next year.

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I really feel like my knitting has come on in leaps and bounds this year, I learnt a whole heap of new techniques and consolidated a lot of the old ones. I've ironed out a lot of bad habits too. My favourite knit of the year has to be Scarlett's flying suit, I loved seeing her in it.

I'm only carrying over a few several UFOs into next year which I am determined to finish soon, they are...

Jedi coat (still needs a lining sewing in)
Green cabled cardi (half the sleeves and the button bands to go)
Lily Chin Reversible Rib Shawl (it just goes on and on...)
Scarlett's garter stitch hat (awaiting the top part)
Fetching (awaiting thumbs)
Serrano (please don't make me finish it)
Braided cable cardigan (awaiting sleeves)
The sample for my Sensual Knits submission (how I wish I could show you)

All in all it's been a very productive year. Hang onto your hats for the next one...

You can make your own mosaics here - Flickr Toys

Saturday, December 30, 2006


This scarf was inspired by the gorgeous Lily Chin Reversible Rib Shawl (which I still haven't finished). I desperately needed a brown scarf and fell in love the wonderful cinnamon colourway in Wendy Fusion that was a perfect match to many of my things.

I am delighted with the results and wanted to share the pattern with you. It's quick and easy to make and would look great in any chunky yarn. While it's not a particularly long scarf you can thread it through one of the cables for the 'keyhole' look if that's what you prefer.

Yarn: 2 x Wendy Fusion 50% wool/ 50% acrylic (single plied), 50g, 88m (96 yds) per ball
Needles: 6mm / US 10
Tension: 16 sts x 20 rows = 4" square.
Dimensions: 10cm (4") wide x 132cm (52") long

2x2 rib = *k2,p2. Repeat from * to end.

Cable row: k2, p2, C-rib24B, k2, p2.

C-rib24B = slide 12 sts onto a cable needle and hold to the back of the work, (k2, p2) 3 times from the left needle, (k2, p2) 3 times from the cable needle.

Cast on 32 sts

Work 2x2 rib for 19 rows.
Work cable row

**Work 2x2 rib for 29 rows
Work cable row
Repeat from ** 6 times more

Work 2x2 rib for 19 rows.
Cast off in rib.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


I have been tagged by CraftyDramaQueen and Lisa L to reveal 6 weird things about me. Of course by the very virtue of being English I am perfectly normal because only in this country is eccentricity bordering on sheer madness a celebrated national characteristic. If I'm slightly odd it's more than hidden by the many nutters that also inhabit this green and pleasant land.

If only that were true. My friends could testify that I'm actually one of the few that even the total crazies think has lost it.

Confession time

1. I don't eat anything green. Nope, nothing, nada. No, not even whatever you're thinking of right now.

2. I used to be a vegetarian. See number 1.

3. I am terrified of the toilet monster, you know, the one that comes up and gets you when you flush the loo. I agonise over whether to hold the seat down while I flush or whether to just flush and run. It depends where I am and how far away the door is. Having a door more than three steps away from the seat would really test our friendship.

4. I have a tattoo of a stickman pushing a lawnmower across the top of my *cough* hair. Why? Because it makes me smile every time I see it. I have a good old grin every time I go to the toilet until... see number 3.

5. I never go to bed before midnight, not even when I've had to get up at 5am on a regular basis. I just can't do it and feel like I'm missing out on something.

6. I don't care what I look like when I leave the house, even my friends often don't want to sit near me in the pub. I won't let fashion dictate what I wear, I just throw on what I like. These days I mostly sport the 'dragged through a hedge backwards look'. I like it.

There are rules to this which state I'm supposed to tag 6 other people. I've never been very good at doing as I'm told...

Huge thanks to Lizzy for the sock monkey hat. I shall wear it with pride... probably sat on my own in the pub.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I know who Santa is...

...and it's Nanatoo!

I was involved in a Secret Santa Swap with a small group of my knitting friends. It was huge amounts of fun and I finally got to open the packages yesterday despite them arriving weeks ago to taunt me.

I have only one thing to say


I was absolutely spoilt to death with such loveliness I was a gibbering idiot for hours and couldn't stop showing everyone. There was a beautiful scented candle and some delicious chocolate which has long since gone. The first package contained 5 balls of Twilley's Freedom Spirit which is 100% wool and absolutely gorgeous. She got my taste down perfectly and chose the Earth shade which is the one I've been fondling in my LYS. It's single plied with all different shades of greens and browns and oranges in it. I absolutely love it and plan to make a tank top out of it.

In the second package there was such a lovely surprise that I can't hardly believe it's mine. Some DK weight cashmere from Posh Yarns. It is simply stunning and in my all time favourite colours. It's my new pet, I can't stop hugging it and stroking it. It's the softest, nicest yarn I've ever seen or fondled in my life. I daren't even contemplate knitting it just yet because I don't want to use it on the wrong thing. It's just too lovely for words.

Thank you so much Nanatoo. You are a wonderful secret pal and I love everything to bits.

This was my first swap encounter and it went really well, I really enjoyed spoiling my pal Hazel. Did I hear mention of a summer swap girls?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Cold Comfort

It's been a long time coming but after rescuing my yarn from those naughty pixies Viveka is finally finished. I fell in love with the pattern (Knitty - Fall 06) from the moment I saw it.

The knitty gritty - worked in Woolcraft Aran 75% acrylic/25% wool in cream with lime, brown and orange flecks. It took 600g (the leftovers from my Starsky) so cost £6 (about $12) to make. I used scraps of brown DK (doubled) for the contrast and worked 2 rows fewer than stated in the pattern. I worked it in the round to the neck decreasing at the sides as I went to give the body a bit of shape, I split for the neck and worked flat and then worked the back and fronts simultaneously. I added in an extra inch of length to the armscythe as it was a close fit and after a short break (bloody pixies) added the sleeves. Although I liked the crocheted neckline in the original pattern it was very low on me, especially given the extra length I added. It also felt a little unfinished so I picked up around the neck and added 2 inches of rib and cast off in the contrast yarn.

I really wanted to use stash yarn for this. I'm not as brave as Wendy and co in declaring no more yarn for 9 months, but I am trying to use up what I've got where possible. I love it, it's the perfect 'comfort' jumper - something you can pull on on a cold day and snuggle up in, or walk the dog in. It's not the neatest knitting I've ever done as I decided to experiment with combination knitting partway through, couldn't get the hang of it and switched back to English so it's a a bit untidy, but in the words of Catherine Tate - Am I bothered? I can see this becoming a firm favourite.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

In Vogue

It appears I had a bit of an accident when I last visited Amazon, my finger slipped... um... three times and I ordered all of the Vogue stitchionaries.

They arrived a few days ago and from looking through I've been really pleased with them. The first book deals with knit and purl based stitch patterns including a section on lace, this one only contains written instructions for the patterns with no charts. Book two is all about cables and contains both charts and written instructions. Book three deals with colourwork and contains just charts. Each book contains around 200 different stitches grouped in chapters of similar types in increasing difficulty to make them easy to navigate.

Presentation wise I couldn't fault them. The photographs are clear and you can see the whole swatch, not just a closeup of part of them meaning that you can see how the pattern would behave at the edges if you wanted to use them for something like a scarf. The books don't waste space with 'how to knit' sections and are a wealth of information. I don't think they are a definitive stitch guide and the only one you'll ever need (depending on what you want them for) but for what they do contain they're excellent. They're a joy to just flick through as well as a useful reference work and will certainly get a lot of use at Casa Rain.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Take That Pixies!

Hahaha! Lookie what I've got. It appears the Pixies thought I was having a bad enough time without them interfering so they gave me my yarn back. They even put it away where it belongs, in fact it's the only yarn in the house that was tidied away in the right place which is probably why I couldn't find it in the first place...

It appears things really have been going my way this week. I put in a last minute submission for another book and have just heard that it's been accepted. I can't tell you anything about the design itself, but I can discuss the book. It's tentatively called Sensual Knits and will have 25 high-fashion, sophisticated designs inspired by runway looks. All will be created with noble fibres like silk, cashmere and merino. There will also be a Sensual Crochet for the hookers amongst us ;) They're scheduled to be out in Autumn '07 so be sure to take a peek when they come out.

As for knitting that I can show you - ta dah!

I know, how many times can one girl knit the same thing? I think this is my eighth, but I really like making it as it's super quick, it's also the most liked item by people that have received them. It's Tassle Tops from Kids Knits by Lesley Anne Price - chunky yarn worked all in garter stitch. Jenn was so gutted when Scarlett outgrew her first one that she asked me if I could make her a bigger one. This is a 1-2 year old size and as she's so tiny it will fit her for a while. I keep threatening to make myself an adult sized one, who knows...

Speaking of nose - it's doing really well, thanks for all your get well wishes. It's a lot less painful now and despite picking up a mild cold - air goes in, air comes out! It's amazing. I've been so chuffed with my new function that I've been wandering around the house like some sort of phone sex pest heavy breathing through it.