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Here's one I made earlier...

I finally got round to blocking my Shoalwater Shawl this morning. The blocked size is 105cm x 190cm and it's taking up a lot of the living room floor.

Shoalwater_blocking    Shoalwater_blocking_detail

I'm really pleased with the shawl and look forward to wearing it when the weather's cooler - pattern/yarn details are here. I think I'll have to splash out on a set of dressing wires before the next shawl needs blocking.

More stash from Stash

Met up with Liz yesterday for a trip to Stash Yarns. Liz had a pretty awful journey getting to Putney from Waterbeach; I got in some extra sock knitting while waiting for her at East Putney tube.

This was Liz's first visit to Stash and she agreed with me (and countless other bloggers who've already been there) that it's a terrific shop. We sat on comfy chairs, fondled yarn, nattered a lot, did some knitting of our own, swatched a couple of new yarns and generally had a great knitterly time. After Stash, we had a rather good pub lunch and, er, nattered some more. I restrained my usual impulse to buy everything on the shelves in Stash and came home with just two skeins of this.


Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Pin Stripe colourway. I love grey, especially shades of grey which are cool, blue-toned ones like these.

30 things

Kerrie of Hipknits is running a '30 things about me' contest in honour of her birthday. Here are my 30.

1 I'm an only child.

2 According to others, being an only child has made me somewhat self sufficient and inclined to be a little secretive. No, really?

3 Both my parents were schoolteachers and I never, ever wanted to follow in their footsteps.

4 I was born and brought up in Yorkshire.

5 I did textiles and embroidery at Goldsmiths after a foundation course at Leicester College of Art and Design and year or so of graphics at the London College of Printing.

6 I have been married twice - never again!

7 My son Chris is the community gardener at The Phoenix Garden.

8 I live in a 1930's flat overlooking the A23 London to Brighton road and there's always something to watch out of the window.

9 I hate, loathe and detest hot weather and feel happiest in the winter.

10 My favourite perfumes are Guerlain's Mitsouko and Lancome's Attraction. They're both fairly light; heavy perfumes give me a headache, especially those based on roses.

11 I like cats and only have one right now. I've thought about getting a kitten to keep Flossie company, but she likes being an only cat and at the centre of any attention that's going.

12 My Dad died when I was 21 and I still miss him.

13 Since I got older, I realise that I'm gradually turning into my mother. I didn't think I would!

14 I read a lot. Crime fiction, historical fiction and non-fiction, biographies, fantasy and Sci Fi, labels on jars and packets, anything that has words on it.

15 I harbour a secret desire to be an Egyptologist.

16 I wear a lot of black clothes; have done since I was at art school. Just call me the Henry Ford of fashion.....

17 I don't own any shoes. I wear Birkenstock sandals in summer, Birkenstock clogs in winter and get them rebuilt when they start to wear out.

18 Unlike shoes, I have lots of bags. Mainly black, but I occasionally sport a bright pink Kipling bag.

19 I eat more or less anything, apart from seafood with tentacles.

20 Favourites in the fruit and veg line are blood oranges, bananas, nectarines, seedless grapes and cherries; potatoes, shallots, fresh broad beans, carrots and parsnips.

21 I eat and enjoy any kind of cheese as long as it hasn't come from a goat.

22 I was a strict vegetarian for about 12 years until the idea of eating a bacon sandwich became irresistable.

23 I have the same breakfast every day - homemade muesli with fruit and natural yogurt.

24 Even though I love the sea, I can't swim.

25 I've known my oldest friend for nearly 50 years; we talk at least twice a week.

26 I knit and crochet.

27 I'm a football fan, but I try hard not to bore friends with my obsession.

28 I hate being late for anything and spend a lot of my life waiting for people to turn up or events to begin.

29 Since I've started knitting socks, I realise that time spent waiting has now become valuable knitting time.

30 I don't have a television. Life's too short to spend it watching a box.

Book centric week

This week has been rather bookish. I'm working on a new book (my lips are sealed) and an advance copy of the US edition of this arrived (below, left).

New_crochet_book    Philip_reeve

I've been enjoying reading the two books on the right; sequels to Philip Reeve's wonderful first book, Mortal Engines.


The new-in-paperback book from one of my favourite authors, Laurie R King, also arrived this week. This is the latest title in her Mary Russell series and is accompanied by another pair of socks; finished except for grafting the toes. I got a lot of knitting done on these during another visit to Stash Yarns last week. It's a great place for hanging out with your knitting and the shop has wonderful yarns to fondle, comfy chairs and air conditioning; what more could a knitter want? As you all chorus 'more money to spend on yarn', that goes without saying....

Sock_book    Cth_fall_foliage

Above, left, is Crazy Toes and Heels by Mary Ann Beattie (aka Queen Kahuna). I rather like the idea of knitting two socks at the same time and this book looks brilliant - easy-to-follow instructions and masses of illustrations. Above, right, are three skeins of Cherry Tree Hill Superwash Merino in the Fall Foliage colourway from Gill at The Woolly Workshop. The yarn was lingering in the Oddballs and Orphans bit of the shop and needed a home.... It's DK weight, 280 yards per skein; plenty to knit another Clapotis. You may notice a slight change from my usual purple/grey/black theme, but look closely at the yarn - definitely purple in there!

I haven't mentioned what I've been listening to on my iPod for a long time. I seem to be listening to the same few albums over and over this summer; they sound good in hot weather and work well for knitting on the bus. Fave of the moment is This Town, Lark Watts closely followed by Road to Freedom, Grayson Hugh (in spite of the awful photo on the cover!) with the odd foray into Cheap Trick's backlist (people of a nervous disposition music-wise should turn the sound down before visiting this site).


It's hot today. I don't do hot weather very well.


Once the studio reaches 30C, it's time to go sit somewhere cooler. A few pictures first, though. I KIPed on Saturday to mark World Wide Knitting in Public day and worked on a sock during the bus journeys to and from Clapham Junction. This was a rather, erm, sweaty experience, given the weather, but at least I've finally finished the socks that made a previous appearance here. I'm fairly happy with the heels and the socks match (not by design, have to admit that this was purely accidental).

Finished_socks    Bargain_birks_1

Next to the socks are a pair of Birkenstocks; 20 quid from TKMaxx in Clapham Junction and they're a rather nice shade of purple leather. Woohoo!


Flossie's too hot as well. She's spent most of the day stretched out trying to keep cool in front of a tower fan; now she's skulking behind the curtains. She's an expert skulker.

Floral interlude

I love scented pelargoniums. As well as being easy to grow indoors or outside, they have the dual bonus of having pretty flowers as well as scented foliage. My favourites are those with rose or citrus scents; the balsam and mint ones are a bit too niffy for me.

Peters_luck    Candy_dancer

Attar_of_roses    Copthorne

Top row, left to right: Peter's Luck and Candy Dancer. Bottom row, left to right: Attar of Roses and Copthorne.

Balcony_left    Balcony_right

This is what they look like in situ. I can't really call this a balcony; it's a narrow strip of concrete outside my kitchen door - four floors up the fire escape and overlooking the car park.

Stash and stash

Stash Yarns opened today in Putney, so I couldn't resist going over there to have a look add to my stash. Just feast your eyes on all this yarn...


That's Nathalie (left) and Michelle (right) standing in front of rather a lot of Koigu. They own Stash Yarns; lucky ladies being surrounded by all that glorious colour! More pics of the shop below.

Stash_2    Stash_3_1

I can't show everything I bought as some things are intended for presents. Below (left to right) are a Susan Bates Knit Chek, two colours of Koigu, some cashmere DK and Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted. Lots of purple again; I'm so predictable at times!


I can't believe it's Sunday already!

Had rather a weird week or so; been really busy but I don't seem to have achieved much. Flossie (that's Madam there on the left) spent a couple of days at the Vet having tests, all of which came back negative, thank goodness. Flossie doesn't do Going to See the Vet very well; she's an indoor cat and gets freaked out with the noisy six or so minute journey down the main road and then there's the Dreadfull Scent of Vet (sort of a floral, slightly disinfectantly clean smell) to cope with when we get there. She's OK now and is happily wolfing down her one-a-day antibiotic tablets concealed in tinned food; a treat since she usually gets the same all-in-one dry stuff every day.

On the knitting front, I've finished my first sock. It's not bad for a first go, but I don't like the heel very much; rather thick and ugly. The grafted toe is fine - I used Lucy Neatby's 'toe chimney' method of working several rows with waste yarn, tucking them down inside the toe, grafting the stitches then pulling out the waste yarn. On the left is the sock, ready to graft.

First_sock_4_toe_ready_to_graft_1    Socks_awaiting_heels

On the right, are a pair of new socks (same yarn as the first sock; I bought a bag of it really cheaply a while ago) waiting for me to make a decision about what sort of heel to knit instead of the one out of 'Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles' that I used for the first sock. Lately I've been using very narrow ribbon instead of waste yarn to hold stitches; it's stronger than yarn, slippery and doesn't break at inconvenient moments. I have already knitted several different heels on one of the socks and ripped out each one as none of them have been, er, quite right. Perfectionist? Me? Hmmm. Back to the drawing board...

Leaf_lace_shawl_with_pattern    Leaf_lace_shawl_detail

While I'm getting round to making heel decisions, I've started another shawl. This is the Leaf Lace Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark from Fiber Trends knitted in Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, colourway Blueberry Hill. It's a mixture of purple, rusty maroon, teal green with a touch of blue and the yarn knits up beautifully.