Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

We were lucky - we had sun on Saturday. In fact, so much sun I have pink arms. And, I knitted a goodly chunky of TSTTITHOTWE so it was all worth it. Sitting in the sun knitting - and I could still call it work!

Tomorrow I'll have photos of the festival but today I've been madly entering Baby Bamboo patterns. It takes some time as they're available as loose leaf patterns and in books. For all Baby Bamboo colours in stock (and you can see all the patterns down the left hand side) click here.

If you want to see the first Baby Bamboo book, click here.

For Baby Bamboo Too (clever name - we like it!), click here.

Baby Bamboo is a standard DK so you can use Snuggly DK (or indeed any DK) instead. You can use the yarn convertor for quantities in other yarns.

This is a brief note as it's now 7.45pm and I'm going home! All the men are in the gym so the house will be peaceful when I get in, which is always a treat. Although, of course, it's threatening rain and thunder so I'll probably have a very noisy 3-legged cat demanding attention!

Tomorrow I'm doing a recorded radio interview about the history of knitting in Cornwall - better start swotting up on that then!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Day 2 of migraine .... magic tablets working well but didn't expect it to come back today - yuk.

No knitting.

Big street festival in Penzance tomorrow - pray for sun, please.


Thursday, 25 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Answer: 1 row.

Yup, that's all I managed - 1 measly little row (and it's a 2 row pattern so I didn't even manage to complete one pattern repeat which always irritates me and messes with my brain .... not so much as to keep me awake last night [far too exhausted] but enough to leave me ill at ease but without enough energy to do anything about it).

Tonight I'll have to start with row 2, which will mess with my brain again (I know I'm sad, please don't remind me).

I got the 2 neighbours' boys fed, bathed and in bed in good time, organised animals (little white hen is back sitting in the only nesting box so the others lay their eggs in with her every morning. The eggs she's sitting on are marked with big blue crosses so every day we have to remove the new, unmarked eggs otherwise, in 3 weeks time, she'll be sitting on a small mountain of 65 eggs! The boys usually do this as a 2 man affair - one lifts her off [which she doesn't appreciate] and one checks the eggs. I did it on my own and just rootled around underneath her and pulled out all the eggs and then pushed the marked ones back - she was remarkably calm and just gave me a resigned look). My men (plus one random boarder) got home just after 10pm last night so at 10.30 I was cooking sausage, bacon and eggs for 3.

Interestingly, this morning I got the youngsters off the school and cycled to work before any of the "athletes" were out of bed. I also had a migraine (not surprising, I know).

Oh yeah - and - the technical problems I had last week with router configuration, card machine etc, etc which I thought I'd solved? You must be joking - solved? - ha! Approximately 6 calls to the card machine company today and probably the same number to my broadband supplier - is it all working properly yet? ............ what do you think?

I think I need a holiday ............................

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

G & T about 13 years ago (they are going to kill me!)

........... last year.

My boys (G&T) are both at the Independent Schools' Athletics Championships at Birmingham today, having qualified to represent the South-West when competing in a competition in Yeovil last month. I am very proud! G is running the 1500m (always tricky as it's such a popular and tactical race) and T is jumping in the triple jump (I know - not your usual first choice of discipline but T loves it).

They were up at 4am this morning (one of the joys and tribulations of living in Penzance - we're a b****y long way from everywhere - apart from Land's End and The Isles of Scilly, of course). They left at 5, picking up one of the boarders en route and made good time. Apparently it's a glorious day up there.

Neither of my boys attend an athletics club or train specifically for either of the disciplines they were doing today. They both play rugby, as you know, and T plays hockey and they both train in the gym but they also have a life and friends and party!

I am, therefore, incredibly proud to announce that G came 5th (which is astonishing) and T cam 3rd - bronze medal! Now, of course, we're going to have to get T into an athletics club as he wants to win gold next year ................... the problem in T's life is that he really does have to sleep at some point!

They are due home at about midnight. Ha - I hear you cry - you've got a whole evening free to knit that darned tank top - no excuses now (and I haven't yet had time to collect the beads Tine)...........

Don't be so ludicrous - my life (as you're probably realising) doesn't work like that - firstly, I have to cycle home (FB has our car in Birmingham), secondly, I have all the chickens in their various locations to feed and water and thirdly, our neighbours are away and we have their boys staying with us at the moment - they are 8 and 12 - so I have to go home and feed them (and the 8 year old doesn't eat!) and then somehow persuade them to bathe and go to bed. Then, and only then, will I be able to relax with TSTTITHOTWE.

How many rows tonight do you reckon?

Monday, 22 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

The animal saga continues - little white hen decided to get up and have a bit of a walk yesterday morning so T assumed she'd gone off the idea of hatching eggs and brought them in for breakfast. Broke one into the pan and - move on to the next paragraph if you're a tiny bit squeamish - you could clearly see the beginnings of a "turn" in the egg, shall we say (being polite). He didn't eat it.

Little white hen is now back sitting on a new clutch and we won't be moving her eggs again until they're hatched. In theory we could have about a dozen babies in about 3 weeks (just at about the time we're planning a few days off camping - wonder what MinL will think?!)

As if hens weren't enough, FB had to rush out mid-supper on Saturday to help a cow which had fallen and done the splits. This is not uncommon in cows (they are, after all, big heavy beasts) but the last time it happened Mrs Cow was distinctly out of sorts and turned on FB and, literally, chased him around the farm. Both he and the farmer were convinced she was going to kill him and, had she got to him, she probably would. Fortunately, FB is quite quick on his feet despite his size(!)

This Mrs Cow (different one), whilst clearly in pain, was more placid and had to be picked up in a digger bucket and then taken up to a field where she could recover and, hopefully, regain her feet. At this point the farmers put chains on their legs so they physically can't do the splits again, which allows the muscles, tendons etc to heal. By yesterday she hadn't got up but had broken her chains - you try and help them and they just don't thank you.

I bet you never knew that you'd learn so much about farming and hens on a kntting blog!

In knitting news, whilst FB was farming I cracked on with TSTTITHOTWE and I've now only got 20 rows to go before I split for the v-neck - oh yes - and (or perhaps that should be "but") I've just been phoned to say the rest of the beads for my beaded gorgeousness:

are now in stock in the bead shop. I have a dilemma: do I

a) go and collect the beads, thereby putting the likelihood of finishing the STTITHOTWE in jeaporday for at least a couple of months; or

b) ignore the call of the beads and crack on with the STTITHOTWE;

or c) collect the beads and then try and ignore them - yeah, right, ha, ha.

Oh these knitterly decisions.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

A day late again with my blog - apologies - but I have no entered the gorgeous Baby Bamboo on the site - look here. Tracey whipped up a little baby cardigan last night (yes, she really is that quick) and reports that it's lovely to knit with and has really great stitch definition - can't imagine it'll hang around for long. I'll scan and enter patterns next week - entirely baby patterns, I think but it is a standard DK so you can use our yarn convertor and convert your quantities for adults.

In answer to Tinebeest's comment, I've checked the Sirdar website and they now have a range of new colours in Snowflake DK. It's also been re-branded in 25g balls (like the Chunky) and is something I'm sure we'll get in for the autumn/winter - are there loads of others of you out there waiting for it? If so, drop us a comment and we'll see how much interest there is.

You may, or may not, have heard that G&T's school (The Bolitho School in Penzance) has hit the news as we had 9 confirmed cases of swine flu this week. The students (all VIth formers) are making a good recovery and it's reported as being a "mild" strain. I'm now checking the boys for sore throats and fever like a clucky mother hen. G has responded by going to camp at a mate's for the night! You may remember that I had a nasty bug back in mid-May - maybe I had it first!

In chicken news - as promised - little brown hen

front left in this photo

has now gone broody and is sitting on about 6 eggs. Obviously, the 3 original babes (reckoned to be one boy and two girls by our local farmer so we'll see) are in the new run on the lawn and are too small still to move into the big run. Little brown hen has, therefore, been moved into the rabbit hutch in the hen house (I hope you're keeping up there at the back, there'll be an exam on this later). Following on from that move, one of the white girls is now sitting on a clutch in the nesting box so she's been moved in an old guinea pig cage in the hen house. The whole situation is insane - added to which, we're only getting 3 eggs a day, which was definitely not the plan when we bought them.

If little brown girl hatches hers in 3 weeks that'll mean the original babes will be 8 weeks old which is a bit young to be going into the main run but we won't have much choice. If white girl also hatches hers at the same time then the 2 mums and their babes will all be in the run on the lawn together.

If they all have girls we'll be getting a dozen eggs a day next spring and will be egg-bound. If they all have boys, that'll be a lot of coq au vin ...........

FB and T caught tonight's supper again (mackerel and pollock again) - I am very proud!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

It's been a frantic couple of days so I'm in the shop late to bring you up to date. We had a big Sirdar delivery yesterday and it takes a while to pack it all away, reorganise the display shelves, update the site etc, etc. I now have a mountain of patterns to scan in for FB to format and still have some new yarns to add to the site (which will be tomorrow). For now, we have:

Lots of Snuggly - 2ply (now only available in white, sadly), 3ply (perfect for summer baby shawls), 4ply (and we have a good number of patterns for this and some more coming) and, of course, the really popular DK with loads of patterns and, I think, something like 32 colours currently in stock. More patterns to follow so keep checking as I'll be updating daily.

We also have practially every colour (if not everyone) in the really popular Snowflake Chunky. I understand from several customers that you've been having problems finding this so grab it now before it goes!

As it's summer we have new colours in Luxuty Soft Cotton 4ply and DK. I don't have images for all the new colours yet but am on to Sirdar so keep watching this space. Also new patterns to come!

We are also now stocking Baby Bamboo but I need to input that one on to the site so look out for it tomorrow.

In the midst of all that, I've had major technical troubles. Anyone who's been reading this for a while will know that I'm not Mrs Technical so, when I had a letter from my Broadband supplier saying that they were upgrading my Broadband service which would mean reconfiguring my router, I knew there'd be trouble. It was all supposed to be so easy. Come in this morning, turn on your computer, press Internet Explorer and "this" screen "should" be displayed. Needless to say, "this" screen didn't display on my computer and there were no instructions for what to do under these circumstances. I phoned the helpline number and, amazingly, got a helpful man who talked me through the whole thing (I think he could tell I was clueless when I couldn't find the Serial number on the router).

However, all day we've had problems with the card machine and for about 7 customers we've had to phone through to the Authorisation Centre for an authorisation code. Let me assure you that this is just as embarrassing for us as it is for you.

So, after the shop closed I phoned the card company to see if the problem was with me or them. The long and the short was that the refiguration of my router had completely £*@$%ed up my card machine. An hour later (with a poor lady from India having to phone me back on my mobile as I only have one phone line into the shop) we had then completely refigured my card machine as well. I am now completely refigured, exhaused and bedraggled. When she asked me to unplug the card machine and I was grovelling under the shelves to find the plug I nearly gave the whole thing up.

All appears to be working now and you'll be pleased to hear that I did phone the Broadband provider and told them (very politely) what had occurred and, wouldn't you just know it, apparently I'm the only person this has happened to but they are keeping a record of it for future reference.

I am now going home for a stiff swifty livener and some knitting (all the men are in the gym - bliss).

Tomorrow I'll update you on hen house activities - slightly more complicated than refiguring broadband routers.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Sadly, Daphne (the pigeon) died - Deidre is in disgrace.

My men went and did their hunter/gatherer "thing" on Saturday afternoon and came home with this:

G with 3 mackerel and a pollock (which is supposed to be called something else now but is still a pollock in my house).


which was rapidly converted into this:

Absolutely delicious!

I do love a free meal in these straightened times. I say "free" but, in reality, they actually cost the price of the outboard engine that FB bought for our little boat (which we've got on long term loan from friends so at least that bit was free). It'll take quite a few more meals to cover the cost (as I keep reminding FB) but let's just say, it's a start - and it was delicious! And, more to the point, it gives them another hobby which leaves me at home to knit (or, in fact, do paperwork - which is what I was doing yesterday).

However .... the STTITHOTWE has grown! Oh, yes - finished the front rib and 2 pattern repeats of the colours - I'm on a roll!

The chickens have also grown. Here's an "aaagh" moment for you:

Five weeks old and already abandoned by their Mum.

Altogether now ........... aaaagh.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Well ..... the last 24 hours in my life have been dominated by our varied menagerie of animals (specifically chickens but lately a cat and a dove - I kid you not).

Mummy chicken (and 3 babes) are currently living in a separate home on the lawn (so we can see them and go "aagh" at regular intervals). The others live in the hen house at the bottom of the garden and are allowed out to wreck ours (and our neighbours') gardens and veg patches in the afternoon. Mummy has learnt that, when they're being fed, if she's quick she can flap like fury and make a bid for freedom to roam with others in the afternoon (and renew her liaison with Bernard the cockerel which got her into trouble in the first place). He, clearly, is in cahoots with the plan (as all red blooded cockerels would be) and dashes up to see her as soon as he can and parades in front of the wire until she makes her escape.

Getting her back into her cage after her roamings and liaisons is slightly trickier. She's grasped the theory of flapping up but can't seem to flap back over and in. On more than one occasion she's been caught, mid-air, by G&T - thank heavens for rugby training.

Wednesday night was one such occasion and, in the confusion, of getting her back in we forgot to shut the others into their house. They were in the run so, relatively, fox safe but we realised our error at 5.45am yesterday when Bernard flapped out of the run (over 6 feet high) and started crowing outside our bedroom window. Now I quite like a cockerel's crow and, frankly, it's the right way to be woken up in the country but right outside your window at 5.45 isn't funny. He then started to roam the hamlet so FB (whose language was unrepeatable) staggered out of bed and cajoled him back into the run with the aid of leftovers from supper.

Bernard - who is as loud as he is beautiful.

So I got home at 7 last night after a long day and my uphill cycle ride and all the men (all 3) were off to the gym. That roughly translates into two hours of quiet knitting time in front of the telly with no shouting, arguing over the channels, remote control etc, etc - in short, 2 hours of bliss. The Slowest Tank Top In The History Of The World Ever was really going to know what had hit it. My only condition was that the chickens must be in the respective runs before the boys left. Simple. Ha Ha.

As G was feeding Mummy and babes she did her usual frantic flap and hurtled into freedom. Bernard sensed this and did his mega-frantic flap and shot out of the big run and they met for their evening tryst. We ran, we cajoled, we bribed with food, we shouted, we almost wept (and now I'm talking about my Mother-in-law and I as the boys had, of course, gone to the gym regardless). After two hours I'd got Bernard back with the other girls (4 sitting on a perch good as gold so he's not exactly deprived) but Mummy wouldn't play ball. In the end I shut the babes in and left her.

Needless to say, when the boys came back she followed them meekly, as good as gold, back into the main run into the arms of her man. I could have quite cheerfully put her in the pan with a good bottle of red.

This morning she's completely forgotten her babes and is flirting with Bernard in a most unseemly manner and putting all the others in their place. Between you and me I think she's a big of a "goer".

So, where does the dove and cat fit into all of this? Well, about a month ago a racing pigeon (we assume as he/she/it has a ring on its leg) landed on Mother-in-law's (aka MinL) window ledge. She is pure white and was christened Daphne and she's become a real star - she flies around following the MinL and gives great flying displays when we're having a barbecue and has even flown into MinL's conservatory and wandered round the table. MinL has built her a dovecote (known as the Dafcote, obviously). In short, she is very sweet and we are all very fond of her ....... so is Deidre:

Deidre - recent stroke victim, now clearly recovered.

To our horror, as I was making lunch today, FB found a pile of white feathers outside our back door. We rushed round the house and back in the other door and discovered Deidre under the kitchen table with Daphne in his mouth. I managed to grab him and FB, literally, half choked him until he let Daphers go - if you ever want to hear a cat growl then this is the method I recommend. Daphers is now in a cat box in MinL's spare room and, so far, is doing well although she has a bald back and teeth marks which we're treating with Savlon.

Animals ......... I've had my fill of them for a while .......... and TSTTITHOTWE is no bigger than it was yesterday .... perhaps tonight?

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

One day late with my reveal - apologies - life got in the way. No, we didn't stay in Cornwall or go to Spain - we were in the magnificent Cape Verde islands which are here:

Pretty much in the middle of no-where and, therefore, very un "touristy", very warm and very windy (in a nice cooling way).

We stayed on the main island (Santiago) in the capital (Praia) - pronounced pry-er - in a very nice hotel (lucky us!).

I love travelling and I love seeing how other people live so Cape Verde was wonderful. We hired a car and travelled around and even the roads are interesting - no, really, they are. Look:

Every single individual piece of stone is cut and laid by hand and these roads go all over the island, round the coast, up the mountains etc. They're an incredible feat of engineering. The only problem is that when one stone "lifts" you very soon get a pot-hole so we saw several "gangs" repairing the roads - mostly women, I have to say.
A lot of the men work "off-island" in Europe (Cape Verde is now independent but was part of Portugal) so the ladies (and children) are left to do pretty much everything else and the biggest burden is the daily collection of water. It only rains for 2 months a year and, for the rest of the year, the water is either pumped or bowsered up to water tanks. It really, really makes you think:

There are a few beaches:

and the fish was fantastic!!

On the knitting front, I didn't knit a single stitch whilst away but, since getting home, I've finished the back of The Slowest Tank Top In The History Of The World Ever and have even cast on the front and knitted a few rows or rib - hoorah!

The animals survived fine without us (thanks Granny), the boys thrived without us (thanks Granny, Mads and Jane) and I lost 5lbs in weight whilst we were away so, frankly, my dears I'm thinking of going back - not sure what the Bank Manager would have to say about that though. Actually, I do, and it's unrepeatable.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Fret no longer - I am back! Apologies for lengthy radio silence but the FB and I have been away for a week's holiday and, what with G's 16th birthday celebrations (which went through the night and into the next day) and the general pre-holiday organisational chaos I didn't get a chance to warn you all.

We had a wonderful time and, apart from a 1am departure - finally arriving home at 5pm the same day - which has left us totally shattered - we had a great rest! We went here:

spectacular - no?
OK - another hint:

beautiful, yes - but, where are we?

Answer tomorrow. In the meantime, if anyone guesses correctly there may be a little knitterly prize for you.