Blame it on the boucle

To the tune of that famous Jackson 5 number:

Don’t blame it on the needles,
Don’t blame it on the tension,
Don’t blame it on the knitter,
Blame it on the boucle

(You have pao to thank for that little ditty).

I have just completely frogged a whole morning’s work when I realised that I had come acropper somewhere and had started knitting the wrong side on the right side. I had to rip back to where the confusion started and will start again once I’ve rekindled my love affair with the shawl.

I confess that this isn’t the first frogging occasion related to the boucle and yesterday I even went as far as sewing in a life line. I was a little cocky today since I hadn’t needed to frog at all yesterday even with the boucle and I now regret my little foolishness.

It is like trying to knit with Ophelia’s tummy hair. Click for a bigger picture:
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PS I didn’t arrange the cat in that position – that is how I found her!

To answer Carrie K’s question from yesterday – all the walks I have chosen are 3 or 3.5 miles long so around 4-5kms. You still have time to vote if you haven’t done so already – just leave a comment with the post!

Voting time

Back in June, I was meant to go on a sponsored walk in aid of Cancer Research but I was quite ill at the time with a nasty virus which clung on and on and on.  I have promised that I would do this walk and now the summer has passed and I still have 12 days left of my holiday, it is time for me to make good my promise. I am going to let you choose from the following walks – just leave me a comment and tell me which is your favourite and I will put on my trainers and walk the most voted for.

Walk 1: The Holy Maid of Aldington
This walk traces some of the places frequented by Elizabeth Barton born in 1505 who went to work for the Thomas Cobb, Archbishop of Canterbury at the now ruined Archbishops Palace in Aldington. Elizabeth started to have fits and was branded a visionary causing hundreds to flock to see her. She would probably be diagnosed as an epileptic by today’s standard but in those days she was revered. The church was in a state of turmoil and Elizabeth was manipulated into saying she had had a vision that Henry VIII would lose his kingdom if he divorced his wife Catherine of Aragon and married Anne Boleyn. Elizabeth was tried for treason in 1534 and executed when she was just 28.

Aldington is also famous because it was the headquarters for a notorious gang of smugglers who were probably soldiers returning from the Napoleonic Wars.

Walk 2: In Search of Elham’s Secret Stream
The Nail Bourne (an ancient stream which only flows during the wettest of winters) is crossed twice during this walk. This stream has strong associations with the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons in 597AD when the country had been suffering from a prolonged period of drought. It is said that St Augustine kneeled in this spot to pray and a spring miraculously appeared in what is now called the Elham Valley.

The man who Baroness Orczy modelled the character of the Scarlet Pimpernel used to stop at the Rose and Crown staging post in Elham before he galloped off to France to save aristocrats from the revolutionaries.

Walk 3: Orchards and Perfick Villages around Pluckley
This walk takes in some of the countryside made famous in H.E.Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May. Originally from Northamptonshire, Bates and his wife moved to the village of Little Chart when they discovered a run-down barn near the village which they converted into a house. As it is now autumn, the apples will be on the trees ready for picking.

This walk shows off why Kent is often referred to as the Garden of England.

So the choice is yours, which walk should I go on? I’ll give you til Friday to decide and announce the winner on Friday evening and I’ll go on it the following week whenever it is dry enough to do so.

First Felt

Now that my Sock Kit Swap partner Rebecca has received her package – I can post about my first ever attempt at felting.

The bag was a quick knit using Lamb’s Pride Worsted in the Coffee colourway. I used Polly’s French Market Bag I made it a little longer in the body and the handles were a big longer too as Rebecca had requested a bag which she could hang on her elbow. I had also read about her catchen liking to sleep in bowls and thought that this bowl shaped bag might become very attractive.

I pretty much took this bag anywhere and everywhere. When it was extremely hot, the bag and I went to the beach where it was cooler to knit. Ariel was very fond of this bag and took every opportunity to sit on it when I was knitting it.

Eventually I ended up with this:

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Check out Ariel for scale – she isn’t a small kitty either!

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There were some tense moments as I put the bag in the machine on a 60 degree wash. I’d never felted anything before so I was more than a bit nervous.

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Thankfully it came out alright so I didn’t have to think of a Plan B in a rush.

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I decided to use some of the techniques we’d learnt in Nic’s class. The needle felting we’d been doing gave me the idea that I could embellish the bag a bit. Unfortunately soon after I’d started, I had a bit of a casualty but luckily I had a felting needle from when I created my Project Spectrum card to Alicia.

Here is the finished bag:
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It was a really nice knit and quite quick despite the heat. I used some lovely Addi Turbo circs on most of it but started off with some Brittany Birch DPNs.

Now go and see Rebecca and wish her well as she is recovering from a horrible series of sinus infections and is feeling rather groggy and grotty due to heavy drugs.

PS: Neutrally beautiful

Now I’ve downloaded the photos from girlie cam, I can proudly present my neutral project:

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The ribs and ruffles scarf. The yarn was a birthday gift from Lynne, do check out her shop as she has just put some exciting new colours on sale. The pattern was a one skein pattern called Ribs and Ruffles which was intended for alpaca. I was supposed to use size 13 needles but I only had size 11s.

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I knit up quite a bit until I realised that it was too thin for my liking so I adapted the pattern a bit to make it more chunky. I cast on 108 and decreased to 54 then did the repeats on rows of 27. It was heart-wrenching to rip it all out but I figured it would be better to make something that I really loved.

Here is a close up of the ribs:
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Progress Report

Lizzie asked about what I bought at Medieval Madness – well, it took great restraint to gather up all the wool and run off happily to another tent to cuddle it.

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pao will probably post some photos somewhere of me cuddling purchase right after parting with the paltry amount of cash for it. It wasn’t expensive so I was muchly happy. I don’t know what he is doing with his photos – I think he is plotting something like mrspao’s knitting place of the week or other such ridiculousness.

I’ve been working on my Yummy Shawl and now have a bit of progress to show you. I made a bit of a false start on Friday night when I got home and was tired so I frogged the lot and started properly on Saturday morning.

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End of Day 1 (Sat)

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End of Day 2 (Sun)

A couple of closeups of the lace pattern:
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I took the shawl to the Cathedral cloisters for a bit yesterday.
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And knit for a bit whilst pao was playing with blokey cam. I have given pao his birthday and Christmas present two months early so he could have some time to appreciate it on our holiday when the weather might be niceish still. We haven’t made any firm plans for our time off so we’re going to take it as it comes.

I doubt that I’ll make a lot of progress today as we are going to be madly cleaning the house. I looked out this morning to find it had rained overnight so it will be indoor rather than outdoor work today.

Oooh the lights have all gone out. We have a strange house where a light bulb blowing trips the fuse board (it is supposed to do that). It is tipping it down outside now with a dash of thunder and lightning and pao has a horrible cold which means he is sleeping it off so it is lucky I have indoor jobs to do!

The Ariel seal of approval:
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SRP Book 16

I know I was reading Alistair Cooke but I spotted this in the library and read it last night as

I needed my Ranger/Morelli fix. Besides, it would be rude to run up a library fine, wouldn’t it?

SRP Book 16

Twelve Sharp

Stephanie is back at her Cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds office again and the FTAs are mounting up. Stephanie is disturbed when a woman called Carmen Manoso turns up claiming to be Ranger’s wife. Ranger is out of town not answering his voice mails and Carmen keeps threatening to kill Stephanie. The pressure mounts up when the news reports that Ranger has kidnapped his daughter from her mother and step-father in Florida.

(320 pages)

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I laughed when I spotted this at Bluewater on Thursday evening.

Medieval Madness

Whilst pao and I were in Sandwich yesterday, we couldn’t fail to spot the big banners advertising the Medieval Madness fair this weekend so we got up early and headed back down there.

I thought we had arrived too late for the parade as we set off from Canterbury at the time it was meant to start but when we found a parking space and the meadow the fair was meant to be in, we caught the end of the parade.

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This was the head of the procession.

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I am amazed at the huge figures.

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I did see that some of these had strategically placed head-sized holes disguised as belt buckles etc to help those inside to see where they were going.

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Some of the stalls were very interesting. This stall had foraged food.

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Look at the size of that mushroom.

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I was hungry by then so tried out some of the mushroom and purslane in an omlette which was delicious.

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I was most excited and pleased to see a basket of fleece outside the next tent.

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Some handspun and handdyed mini skeins of wool.

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I was excited to see a basket of yarn.

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Or two.

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But especially interested in seeing the different natural dyes.

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This is my favourite colour. (Which won’t surprise any one)

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There was a woman with a spinning wheel.

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And another a woman was demonstrating the drop spindle.

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Even more fleece.

Devoured

I meant to post these pictures last week but as you know last week was not my week. When I got up Saturday morning, I found that my normally lush green leafy beans, looked like this:
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Thankfully the slugs decided that they wanted that particular set of bean plants and left the other two sets aloneish (e.g. only a few nibbles) but that did mean I had to get the big bottle of slug pellets out. Note to self: it said sprinkle lightly on the side of the bottle so don’t sprinkle when you are furious.

I digress. This is what the plant should look like.
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At least the runners are going for gold. I can’t remember what kind they are but I think they are the ones with the salmon pink flowers – you and I will just have to wait and see.

We’ve had strong sun and lots of rain this year which has been fantastic for the garden.

It is now raining hard so I’m going to knit a bit more of my HipKnits shawl – photos soon 🙂

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Badger says he is too chilled to eat slugs like Merlin does. (No, noo, noo, we don’t have another cat – this guy hangs around a work and came in one evening for a snack when I was working late. ;))

Patience is a virtue

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This loveliness has been waiting for me to cast on since July 6th and today was the day. I spent the last couple of days winding it into balls and photocopying the pattern just in case I lose it. On Wednesday night, I looked through my needles as I thought I’d just cast on to find that I hadn’t got the right size needles.

So I got on the web and put an order in for a lovely pair of Brittany Birch with a company I’d used before and knew were very prompt about posting orders. I duly got my confirmation and knew that they would be likely to be here today. So I got up at 7am and waited for the postman. And waited. And waited. I even asked my neighbours if they had received any post just in case because I knew that the postman would have to knock on the door as the package would be a funny shape. My sister-in-law called up and invited us to come out for lunch as it was her birthday today – Happy Birthday, Suze if you read this so we were forced to leave at 11.20. No postman. Off we went.

When we got back tonight, I thought we might have a card through the door saying they had left it with a neighbour or took the package back to the depot which is what I was expecting. Instead, it was sitting in plain view on the doorstep and miraculously no one had stolen it. Phew!

Another photo of yarn before I go off and start knitting:
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Free at last

In the words of Martin Luther King:
“Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

The most prevalent thought over the last four days was only 4…3…2…1… more days. Now I just have to get rid of this awful headache.