Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mazey Day

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Saturday was our annual Mazey Day in Penzance - lots of stalls and a huge number of people in town, which was very good to see. This was my 7th Mazey Day at Knit Wits and, once again (amazingly), the rain held off. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was warm (it wasn't) but at least it didn't rain! We had a good day and it's always good to sit on the street and chat to people (and knit on a sock):

Our lovely banners are staying up for the summer as, due to Council cutbacks, we have no hanging baskets this year!:

FB managed to avoid the entire event (bar the clearing up) as G was at a cycle race:

(he's in red, white and blue in the middle):

I can't believe my baby looks so professional!

After Mazey Day we went to the pub and finished off with fish and chips. Perfect!!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Things I Don't Understand About Teenagers

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

1. Why are they happy to spend an hour weight-training/circuit training in the evening but pulling the bath plug out is just too much effort?

2. Why are they physically unable to turn lights off when they leave a room?

3. Why do they need the computer, play station, stereo and laptop on all at the same time?

4. Why can't they turn any of these off when they leave the room?

5. How can they get dirty washing to the floor around the dirty linen basket but can't get it into the basket? Is lifting a lid really that hard?

6. Why is it so easy to get the bread, butter, ham/chicken/pate/cheese out of the fridge but absolutely impossible to put it back?

7. Why is it so easy to finish a pack of biscuits but impossible to put the empty pack in the bin?

8. Who told them that wet towels are best stored in a heap on the floor? Hint: It wasn't me.

9. Why is cycling 60 miles on a Sunday a doddle (or, indeed, cycling from John O'Groats to Land's End) but popping 3 miles down to the local shop for a pint of milk absolutely impossible?

10. Why is lifting the toilet seat and using the little silver handle to flush so unbelievably, impossibly, difficult?

11. Why do really quite intelligent people find putting a duvet in its cover nigh-on impossible?

12. Why is it absolutely essential to shout, argue and (often) fight prior to emptying the dishwasher?

These and other questions will, no doubt, be answered when they have teenagers of their own (and, oh boy, how I'm going to enjoy watching that experience!).

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Miscellaneous Saturday

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

The GCSE's are finally over - yippeeeee! T gives very little away about how they went so I guess we'll have to wait until August to find out. How lovely it would be to be one of the few lucky parents who are sure of straight A's!!

We bought 5 new chickens this week - good 'ol bog standard layers. They are so tame and un-frightened of people it's really very sweet. 2 wandered into the house the other night and G picked one up and put her on the perch to show her what to do. Aaaaagh!

Bad news - Mr Fox arrived this afternoon and has taken off at least one chicken. Not sure which one but he was seen with one in his mouth. G is currently strimming the whole field to get rid of hiding places. T is strategically placed with a gun. For anyone reading this who likes foxes, I apologise but - trust me - as soon as you have chickens foxes are the enemy and as soon as a fox has taken one he'll be back for more.

One chicken (not Ginger) is sitting on 8 eggs. She was shaken but unstirred by Mr Fox's arrival. We're now relying on her for replacements.

The stashbusting jacket is progressing:

We are taking the boys out for a celebratory all-you-can-eat-Chinese tonight but can't leave, of course, until all chickens are safely in their house. At the moment they're too scared to go near it. All being well, Mr Fox's days are numbered.

Tomorrow I shall be mostly knitting.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Stashbusting Jacket - first sleeve

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

The stashbusting jacket is progressing ............ the pattern called for 6mm needles and the jacket ends up about 40" round. I'm only small so I've brought the needles down to 4.5mm - also because I wanted a denser fabric and not one that was going to sag. This will, inevitably, mean I'll need more yarn so I chucked in a couple of extra skeins. First sleeve is going well (G says I'm going to look like a gypsy):

From top to bottom we have:
- a hint of Aracuania sugar cane yarn (free sample, can't remember its name)
- Noro Kureyon sock
- Colinette Tagliatelle
- Colinette Art
- Noro Kureyon Sock
- Noro Kureyon
- Katia Samba
- Noro Kureyon
- Colinette Giotto
- random wool from New Zealand (bought a million years ago)
- Katia Samba
- Sari Silk
- Noro Kureyon
- Noro Kureyon Sock
- Noro bought from Hong Kong - never seen in the UK
- Katia Samba
- Aracuania - something - not sure!
- Noro Kureyon
- and, finally, Colinette Giotto.

A couple of things:

1. I won't be giving a blow by blow account of every colour change for the entire jacket (that would be silly);
2. There's a lot of Noro Kureyon and Kureyon sock in there but, of course, the colours change and I'm just knitting one colour section at a time at the moment (this will change when I get to the body);
3. I may well regret the narrow colour bands when it comes to sewing in the ends.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

My Stash

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Some time ago (like about a year ago, or more) I talked about the size of my stash and the need to do something with it and the pattern for a stash busting jacket that I'd been given. Finally, finally this weekend I got the stash out and sorted it. It was a lovely sunny day so I put a sheet on the lawn. This, people, is my stash:

I sorted it into colours:

and I ended up with a pile in the middle of multi-colours:

and it was from this pile that FB said I should choose my yarns for the first jacket. By a happy coincidence, therefore, this pile includes quite a lot of Noro, Mirasol and Colinette yarns as well as some sari silk and other lovelies so knitting this jacket is going to be pure joy. I needed about 1200g so I weighed off a lovely selection:

Eric the 3-legged cat thoroughly approved and gave them a stroke. (Fortunately Eric isn't a cat who is interested in balls of wool - good thing as we have it drying round the house the whole time.)

The chickens also lent their support but weren't as involved as Eric:

That's Bernard with some of his girls. Ginger is on the left - she wasn't interested in her eggs so we let her go back with the others. Bernard is a very fine young man:

I've started the first sleeve - it's delicious. I'll post the progress as I go.

I think I can feel a bedspread coming on!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Britain's Got Talent

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Tonight is the final of Britain's Got Talent so I think now is a good time to tell of our trip to Liverpool earlier this year - remember this?:

and this?:

and this?:

well - yup - this was all done for BGT. We were invited onto the show just before Christmas (Tracey took the call and came up with the classic, "Julia - it's Britain's Got Talent on the phone - and I'm not joking"!) and these photos were taken in the [freezing cold] school gym over the Christmas holidays when we knitted up the huge piece in Help For Heroes colours.

We travelled up to Liverpool in January and spent the most extraordinary, interesting, exhausting and, ultimately, humiliating day of our lives being filmed. All of which, it appears now, ended up on the cutting room floor which, I guess, is always the risk.

When they say these programmes are manufactured, I now understand what they mean. You start off with a plan of what you want to do and, by the time you get onto the stage, you find yourself doing exactly what they want you to do and you've been there so long and you're so exhausted by this stage you just do it for your five seconds of TV time which may, or may not, come. It was absolutely fascinating to see how these programmes are made and, if that last sentence makes me sound bitter, I'm not - cynical, yes - bitter, no!

When I finally made it onto the stage, I was asked what I did (by Amanda) and when I said "I knit" 2,000 audience members, in unison, shouted, "OFF, OFF, OFF, OFF ................". I think even the judges were taken aback and David Hasselhoff actually turned to the audience and told them to "give me a break". Sadly, from then on I stood no chance but it's really interesting to think of such an aggressive and unpleasant response to such an innocent past-time as knitting!!

Having regularly knitted in public with the giant needles I was really amazed by the reaction as previously I've always had such a positive response - people usually stand back with their mouths gawping and the usual comment is, "watch out you don't drop a stitch"! Sadly the Liverpool audience weren't so discerning but I do wonder now how much of that response was manufactured as well. If you watch some YouTube videos the audience are definitely primed to shout "Off, Off, Off" at times. (FB has been doing his research!)

So we came home having learnt a lot and (for me in particular) having been through the most humiliating experience of my life and waited to see what happened as the memories (thankfully) started to fade.

In the very first episode on TV, right at the beginning, there's a tiny clip of me saying, "knitting is a talent" and that's it! We actually had Ant and Dec holding the needles whilst I was knitting (and being shouted at!) and, sadly, there are no photos of this (cameras weren't allowed) but I suspect this may be why we ended up on the cutting room floor. Perhaps Ant and Dec's "people" didn't want them being shown holding unfeasibly large knitting needles whilst the audience yelled, off, off, off!! or perhaps they didn't want the piece as it was in H4H colours or perhaps I was just really, really bad(!) - whatever the reason, we were cut out.

Having been invited up there and having discussed exactly what we were knitting and having agreed who would hold the needles, all in advance, and having spent quite a lot in wool and getting there I can't decide whether to be relieved or annoyed!

Never again!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Ginger (pronounced jeangee)

Knitwits Yarns knitwitspenzance.co.uk

Ginger seems to be settling - I consulted our friend Google last night and, apparently, this can take 2-3 days. Therein lies a dilemma - we've put some eggs under her (from the other hens) - do we leave them and hope that her intermittent sitting of the past 24 hours is enough or do we, once she's really sitting properly, replace them all again? Decisions, decisions.

Last night I cracked 13 of the 17 she'd been sitting on. Not one would have made a baby - they were fertilised OK but, with her abandoning them every night, nothing had progressed. We turned them into a delicious omlette with bacon, fried potatoes, green beans, peas and cheese. Thanks, Ginger.

In other avian news the eggs in the M-in-L's letter box have hatched. They are blue tits. Very pleased to see some wool in the fantastically constructed nest: