The Knitting Sailor


Once I get started
April 22, 2014, 4:38 pm
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Once I get started I sometimes can’t stop.  In fact I get a bit carried away.  So much so that I have gone on a bit of a sock bender.  Like many people with an addictive personality this has taken the form of looking at a lot of socks, imagining socks on my feet, feeling sock wool and going for quick mini-hits of socks when I think no one is looking.  So my friends children have had an influx of socks.

How cute!

How cute!

I’ve tried them for the dog but she just pulls them off in disgust.  They are so cute and you can knit one in an hour.  That’s right – an HOUR.  And that’s for the bigger ones.  As an achievement junkie this is a totally new and amazing discovery.  And I can use lots of different bits of sock wool so the variety is a big plus.  The additional benefit of knitting something so small is that you can try out and learn lots of new techniques – and then translate it to big ones!  So these are toe up socks.

Starting with Judys Magic cast on there is no longer any need for looking for my tatty photocopy of kitcheners stitch.

This is using Jenys suprisingly stretchy cast off – fantastic alternative to the traditional and helps get all of those wriggly toes gathered up in one go.

2014-04-22 16.11.34

And these are toe up two at a time socks using magic loop.  I LOVE this – because you get two socks at the end of it!

These were actually a bit of an experiment as I tried to just upsize the baby pattern, which completely didn’t work and the toes were square, but after a bit of trial and effort they are looking like they are meant to.  I have also done a version of the short row heel rather than a heel flap like I usually do on proper socks – the sock is definitely a better fit and I think looks just as lovely.

But now to the bad bit.  They don’t match.  NO really – look at them – they don’t even look like they were from the same wool never mind a matching pair.  They joy of these socks is that they are being knit from one ball – one end from the middle, one from the outside.  But they have come out as what is commonly known as ‘fraternal’ rather than matching.  It’s messing with my head more than a bit – but it’s not stopping me knitting more…

Orange and Green - kind of troll colours

Additional feet required!

 

NB – Apologies about the lack of photos – I lost all my ‘in progress’ shots on changing my phone :(



“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” – William G.T. Shedd
March 5, 2014, 9:23 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

It’s taken me a while to write this post because in some ways it has nothing to do with this blog – in others – it has everything to do with it.

So many of us are treading a fine line and trying to find a ‘work / life balance’.  I’ve never really been sure about that – I mean surely your work is part of your life too?  And for a little while I have been feeling that maybe some of the makeup of my life is wrong.  Not in any evil, crimebaron, serial killer type way, just, wrong.  It’s felt uncomfortable and itchy, something I can’t quite put my finger on, and the more I have tried to ignore it the more it seems that certain events have happened to thrust it in my face.

So I handed in my notice and as of last week I no longer have a job.  If you say it really quick it’s fine!

I’m not really sure what that means – I am now completely outside every frame of reference I have.  I’ve had a job since I was 13 – and I understand delivering the papers isn’t running a multinational, but the disciplines that go with that have been consistent ever since.  Equally I think so much of our self image and values about who we are is tied up in our job – but possibly that was the itchy feeling?

My new plan is to work for myself.  Now while there are inherent advantages in this – I know how my boss takes her coffee, what she’s going to moan about and I can get an answer to any important question immediately – there are also disadvantages – turns out high expectations and a lack of taking no for an answer just being the start of them!

Everyone else thinks this is a genius plan.  I, on the other hand, feel a bit like a kid who has just had the stabilizers taken off her bike.  Wobbly, scared and sure that I am going to end up with scabby knees down the line , but with people behind me who can see exactly how it can work and know it’s just a wobble and then it will be fine.

In the meantime, I think there might be more knitting.  And sailing.  And possibly, if you’re really unlucky there might even be more blogging about it.  Thanks for reading x

Keep Calm and REMEMBER WEEBLES WOBBLE BUT THEY DON'T FALL DOWN Poster



Finished
October 26, 2013, 11:19 am
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For our tenth anniversary I thought I would do something really special.  This is a bit of a big deal for me – I am hopeless with it – as is the Mr – primarily due to when it falls.  We got married between Christmas and New Year – a genius time to get married… the year you get married.  Everyone is in that ‘I’m-a-bit-bored-of-sitting-in-the-house-and-eating’ mood and desperate to get away from the relatives.  So a small wedding with a mahoosive party was a brilliant idea for all of our seasonally affected friends and family.

The years after it’s not so phenomenal.  As an anniversary it does, in fact, suck.  You are ‘eaten out’ so can’t be bothered to go out for a posh meal, and even if you could it would primarily consist of turkey.  You have forgotten to buy a card and of course everywhere is shut now, even if you could muster the willpower to crawl across your front door and battle your way through the wind and snow.  You would love to buy a ‘significant’ present – you know, like all those people you know on Facebook who got married in the summer and have nothing impeding their celebration of not having killed each other for another year and go on picnics and the sun shines and they buy ‘cotton’ and ‘tin’ presents and stuff, but you on the other hand have used up your one and only idea on the Christmas present – how are you meant to think of, and produce a second one after only a couple of days?

But I was determined that knitting was going to make it different.

Everything would change now that I could MAKE a present.  It was our tenth anniversary – it was important.

So I covertly cast on a pair of socks.  I had huge aspirations – I would buy a card, I would knit some socks, I would present them to him wrapped (and not in Christmas paper) and they would show just how much I cared.  I knit them on the metro on the way to work, I knit them in my lunch hour.  I knit them when I couldn’t sleep and the Mr was in bed, I knit them at the lake when he was at the pub.  But then it was Christmas.  And we were away.  I only had one and a half socks.  And a pit of despair – I had essentially failed.

The anniversary was no different – apart from that I had bought a card.

I didn’t knit the socks any more as I felt sad when I looked at them and the anniversary slipped by.

I found them last week having buried them on more than one occasion.  And yesterday I picked them up and finished them.  And it felt no different.

We have been together nearly twelve years and we are happy on more than one day of the year – so does it really matter they weren’t ready?  It turns out probably not.  And I think that there will be plenty of time for me to knit some other ones over the coming years – maybe just not with the deadline of an anniversary looming.

Don't you just love self-striping yarn?

Don’t you just love self-striping yarn?

 

Toes!

Oh yes – its a turned heel and everything….

And however long it took to knit them, it didn’t make them fit any better.

 

 



Just keep knitting…..
July 30, 2013, 7:57 am
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The baby blanket continues.  I can’t tell you how long this is taking, it is occupying my every waking moment.  And i have made myself promise not to go near the bag of lovelyness from Woolfest until its finished.

Currently it looks like this and I think this ball of wool will finish it…..

Giant Baby Blanket

Giant Baby Blanket

My husband has started helpfully calling it the toddler blanket, and suggested that by the time it is finished it may even be the teenage blanket.

But this aside I am really pleased with how it’s coming out – the lace pattern is actually super easy and I think when blocked will look really special.

Gull Lace

Gull Lace

In hindsight I think the stripes on top of the lace may be a little overkill, but then, when can too many stripes be a bad thing really….

 



Woolfest 2013
July 18, 2013, 8:17 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , ,

It was totally epic!  This year I took my mum who hadn’t been before and it was even busier than last year.  Stuff that was exciting this year -

  • Rare breeds show – this actually seemed to be ‘breeds that you may know and love in the British Isles’.  They all still really looked like sheep to me.  Apart from the Alpacas.  Obviously.
He struggled with the goat.  He'd lost his notes about that one.

He struggled with the goat. He’d lost his notes about that one.

  • Re-visiting the scene of the crime.  That’s right – this is where it all started last year, and I was determined that Kate got my mum hooked this year.  Think she succeeded….
I got a hug when I told her I now had my own wheel and everything....

I got a hug when I told her I now had my own wheel and everything….

  • Look - its like real wool - and she's only been doing it for three seconds!!

    Look – its like real wool – and she’s only been doing it for three seconds!!

  • Going to the fleece sale (I was SOOOO good – I didn’t buy anything (From the fleece sale.  OBVIOUSLY I bought stuff from Woolfest…)
All of the fleeces had names and sometimes photos of the sheep on them - they were gorgeous and I was very restrained not to add to my herd....

All of the fleeces had names and sometimes photos of the sheep on them – they were gorgeous and I was very restrained not to add to my herd….

  • Admired the wool-art.  This was actually made really close to where I live by a group at the Linskill Centre – it’s always the way that you travel to see something that’s local to you…
Millions of hours of work!

Millions of hours of work!

They're not real

They’re not real

  • Found this amazing display and blog – Land Keepers - please go and have a look – the photos of the farmers on their land and the beauty of the Lake District in rain, snow and hail are all there.  I’m not showing you a photo to build the suspense.
  • Took an excessive number of photos of sheep.  You will be thrilled I am going to share with you.
We're all sheep

Grumpy looking sheep

DSCF2355

Curly looking sheep

DSCF2330

Giant fringe sheep

  • Took the bag of goodies I bought and hid it.  I have a baby blanket to knit.


Could you not have given me another six months?
July 6, 2013, 6:10 am
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My friend has just had a baby.
Now this is a beautiful and joyous thing – so much so I promised to knit a blanket – you know – something they could use forever and would be really special. Yeah right.

That was six months. I have essentially spent this time looking at millions of patterns and suffering from knitters block.

I looked at this

20130618-161810.jpg

Link to pattern here

This was in contention for a while

i know - SOOOOO grown up.

Link to pattern here

And I eventually decided to do this.
It looks really exciting!  And flower-like!


Link to pattern here

I also decided to knit it in purple acrylic. That’s right ACRYLIC. I think I may have been drinking at this point. It made total sense, it would be pretty much indestructible and I could knit it in purple.

One petal in I realised that this was the ugliest thing I had ever knit. I contemplated keeping going – after all it might look better if there was more of it (yes because a big pile of crap always looks better than a small pile of crap). But eventually I just left it in a discarded heap and glowered at it from across the room.

Literally. WHAT.  WAS.  I. DRINKING.

Said child has now been born. I haven’t got a blanket to give her. So in desperation I have started to knit this.

Lace.  In stripy wool.  Not sure its a winning combination....

In proper wool. It says ‘baby’ on the label however, so hopefully it will be vomit proof.

Only one problem.
So far it just looks like a scarf.

Its a marvel of scarf-alike-ness



It’s not a scarf
June 11, 2013, 8:08 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , ,

It’s a hat and obviously perfect for June.

The back complete with rouching stuff

IMG_0244[1]

The front with cables

Put out the bunting (or might that be a little scarf like?).

20130706-060655.jpg

Exciting cables

20130706-060704.jpg

The scrunchie bit at the back – inside out so you can see how it scrunchies up!

20130706-060712.jpg

Twissly top – I really want to put a bell on it

Its Walnut Whip by Ysolda – I know – we have history with a certain cardie – and would you know – I had to knit this twice – the first time I knit it up it was big enough for a basketball – nearly as big as my cardie – so having downsized the needles and also used the smallest pattern size I reknit and then had something that actually fit on my head. But I think I’ve learnt my lesson – nothing with sizing again from this particular knitter!

But there are some interesting techniques – it starts with a provisional cast on which is then picked up at the end of the ribbing to give a firm brim and the cables are an unusual style which really gives a different feel. The rouching at the back is created by picking up and knitting in stitches from 12 rows below – and gives a really nice fit. The little nubbin on the top is crying out for a little bell however – it really is just a matter of time before I find one to add. But the nicest thing has been the yarn – this is Fyberspates Scrumptious and is the most lovely yarn – and I have enough left for mitts (also not a scarf)! Maybe I can get those done for August…

Places I have so far worn the new hat

  • The Lake – it rained – saved me blocking it
  • Kelso races – it was Ladies day, so a hat was compulsory
  • While sitting on the train to Norwich. It made me feel happy. Looked a bit odd with my work suit, but I didn’t run into anyone I knew, so think I got away with it….


What I did on my holidays
April 25, 2013, 11:12 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , , , ,

So its been a while!

Since I last posted I’ve been to Ecobuild – great fun as always, and I even got to get there on the new Emirates cable car – its amazing so go visit if you get the chance!

Wooden

You too could live in a house like this

He was there again... a true celebrity he didn't give autographs

Meet the Dulux dog

There was a sheep as well

It spelt ‘WOOL’!

Scary!

Arriving by cable car

I survived the dual of the gennakers at the Spring Splash, primarily because I never got mine up.  The third week at South Shields was glorious. The sun was out, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky -in fact it turned out the weather was so good there wasn’t enough wind to sail against the tide. Racing abandoned. So we all tinkered instead!

It was hot too.....

Apparently no wind and tide are a bad combination

I fitted my new thinner main sheet, an extension to my outhaul and in a final touch of knitterly excellence some fine laceweight camel hair yarn to my shrouds – excellent tell tales and super attractive. I discussed this as I was doing it with my rival Vareo sailor. He seemed a little disinterested….

In pink of course

New outhaul for actual sail adjustment

Not pink.  The man in the shop was unimpressed when I stated this as a purchasing requirement.

Thinner main

Also not pink.  I don't understand why I bought it in blue.

Blue camels donated this beautiful tell tale

After a cup of tea I emerged from the clubhouse to identify why. HE WAS LEAVING!  I literally chased after him only to discover that he was finished and heading back to his home club – despite there being another 3 races.

I was – quite literally gutted. And therein lies a lesson. Don’t tell people how you are making your boat better – you will only scare them off.

The week after, everything changed – the wind howled, it rained, it was freezing.  Racing was abandoned.

Week 5 I couldn’t go as I was at Kielder for a committee meeting, and sailing did take place – damn!

Week 6, well between the snow and the sub zero tempratures and the artic wind… racing abandoned.

So effectively I sailed two races. On the plus side? I beat a topper!
On the downside? Everything else beat me!

So not a roaring success, but holding up there with last years significant development (not being last).

You might be wondering what hardy geordies are doing wimping out of sailing in too much wind. Honestly – the weather has been horrific. It’s been across from Siberia and basically meant everyone is sitting in their house eating chocolate (ok, maybe that last bits just me…)

In other news, the NSRC (Non Sailing Rear Commodore) has bought a boat.

He’s even sailed it (once!)

His next plan is to race me in it.

It’s a Supernova. Think he thought it came with champagne.

We went on holiday in the middle of the worst weather for as long as we can remember to north Northumberland.  It snowed every day at least a little and we used the time to tour lots of castles.  We came to the conclusion that not building these any more was why Britain is not so great anymore.  Couple of castles would sort it out.

Only one of lots of castles on the coast round here

Lindisfarne – so much colder than it looks here

Should we have an identify that castle competition?  I've loads more photos....

Bamburgh

So we stopped with the castles and started with these... all downhill from there...

Tank Defences

I also did some knitting, finished a shrug, knit a headband to keep the wind off and knit and then pulled out a hat.  I don’t want to talk about this too much though as you will identify that they are essentially all scarves that I have sewed together….!

What every good knitter needs

My own design and everything

There’s a lot of other stuff gone on in the world, the Boston marathon, factories collapsing in Bangledesh, earthquakes in Sichuan.  I’m not qualified to talk about any of that stuff, other than to say that it makes you appreciate what you’ve got.

So I’m off to reknit that hat, and polish my boat ready for the May Open.  It won’t change the world, but it makes me happy – and life’s too short to not be.

 



Fooled
February 5, 2013, 6:33 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

As we know, scarves are off the menu, but I have got really excited about knitting a little shrug this week – it’s a really pretty lace pattern from Ewetopia (don’t you love yarn shop names!), and its knit side to side which really shows off the graduated yarn.

It was all going well until my husband spotted it.

Isn’t that another scarf?

No – it’s a shrug.

Looks like a scarf.

Well to be fair you knit a big oblong and then sew up the ends so I can see his confusion.  In fact I don’t understand how I have ended up knitting another oblong – even when I was really trying not to.

It gets worse.

 

It’s got sequins on it.

Sorry.

It just LOOKS like a scarf



Knitting Lipstick
January 29, 2013, 6:06 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

 

Have you ever wondered why women have so many lipsticks?  We all have millions of them.  Even I do and I don’t wear lipstick, finding that I find it irresistible to chew off as if it is some strange new food group.

Well a lipstick always fits.  Doesn’t matter how bad the day, if you feel like a blob or have not good hair – a lipstick will sort all of that out.  And it’s easily concealed, so when going ‘cheer me up’ shopping it pops in your bag – no tell-tale shopping bags to take home.

Scarves are exactly the same.  As a knitter they tend to be the first thing you learn, and I have just realised that I now officially have more than I can wear.  There are some great things about knitted scarves – they keep you warm, they are really versatile, they make great gifts, they are quick, they are a fantastic way of trying out new stitches and wool to get a feel for them before you do something bigger.  Gosh the excuses just keep coming.

But do I really need to ONLY knit scarves?  This phenomenon has crept up on me since the cardie incident.  At the time of this disaster I already had a tank top on the needles, so this was finished in a fit of defiance (and ironically was perfect despite no swatching, blocking or measuring), but since then I have not knitted a single thing that actually needs to fit.

Let’s look at my current range of scarves.

 

Ermmm… do I admit there might be more upstairs?

Seeing a pattern here?  Or rather not a pattern…..

I believe I am a knitting chicken.  This cannot be allowed to continue.

 

So – I’m starting a hat.  Well I need something to match all those scarves.

 




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