The Knitting Sailor

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


The front with cables

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


Exciting cables


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


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….

Now we are One

It turns out that it was a year ago today I posted my first entry on this site.  It was a bit random and primarily in response to ‘I couldn’t do that – could I?’.  Well so far it’s been a lot of fun – I think!  And looking back over the year, it turns out there are lots of things that I couldn’t have imagined at the beginning of this!

Things I have learnt from this year

  • Everyone hates running (apart from Tillerman – but I don’t actually believe him)
  • That the inventor of the Crow’s Nest was born in Whitby
  • Spinning is really hard
  • How to taste wine (sort of – it all still tastes like wine really though)
  • Trying to teach kids anything without the benefit of chocolate is basically a waste of time
  • You actually can buy ANYTHING on E-Bay
  • How to be a better OOD!
  • We all like Dinosaurs (maybe I imagined this?)
  • Woolfest is awesome
  • Not every 50p is worth 50p
  • The Internet definitely thinks I should get a sheep

Amazing things that happened this year

  • I ran the Great North Run– who knew?!?
  • I came third in an actual proper sailing race – and got a prize to prove it
  • It was the Mr’s last year as Commodore
  • I learnt to spin
  • The dog qualified to drive a powerboat
  • We didn’t move to the country
  • I met a real life alpaca and fed it a carrot
  • I got a spinning wheel AND a knitting machine called Jeremy
  • The Olympics and the Jubilee!  Go Britain!
  • I qualified as a Dinghy Instructor
  • The Solstice at Stonehenge – kind of amazing
  • I learnt how to felt… OK it was by mistake – but let’s take it as a positive!
  • I wasn’t last at an open event

I also found some amazing people and blogs out there in the ether of the Internet – I have added a new page so if you would like to go and visit some of them then check this out.  Be warned – some of these people actually know what they are talking about!

But most of all it’s been fun to chat with you all – so thanks for dropping by…. it’s appreciated!

So what about this year?

Well I have a plan.  I need to get better at sailing and knitting.  I also need to delete the email suggesting that I take part in the Sunderland Half Marathon in April.  This is a foolish idea and no amount of looking at the email is going to get rid of the cake and beer induced wobble prior to April.

So I am going to be doing 3LT – this is the name for my new recipe for success.  Every idea needs a good marketing slogan.  And maybe a logo.

Look, Learn, Listen; Turn up, Take part and TRAVEL!

That sounds really exciting doesn’t it?

Small child required
July 24, 2012, 6:17 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , ,

“Some of us learn from other people’s mistakes and the rest of us have to be other people.”

Zig Ziglar, Author


So this weekend – I was other people.

My husband decided to resolve the issue of the cardie by putting it on a 60 degree wash.  It now looks like this.


If I just pop it on I’m sure it will stretch

T o be fair it is lovely – if tiny – and I just don’t happen to have a small child who will fit into it!

Things that you can learn from this.

  • Always wash / block your swatch ( I know – I was proud I’d even done one… it’s just not enough)
  • Be kind to other people.  Huffing about the fact that someone else put something in the washer that you were going to anyway, and then it shrinking will not help matters (in fact you may end up with a very bruised and possibly broken toe from huffing about right into the fire pit in the garden in just your flip flops)
  • People WILL laugh – despite your mournful expression on showing a shrunken item of misfortune – so you’re just going to have to man up
  • When people try to put item on to see how small it really is…. they are just doing this to laugh even more – not because they genuinely think said item will fit
  • You should hurry up and knit something else – then you can forget about the tragedy which was six months knitting
  • If you are going to embark on a risky endeavour… wine should be taken prior to the embarkation (or in this case taking said item out of the washer)

As they say – deep breaths – pink in, butterflies out…..


It’s a disaster of titanic proportions
July 18, 2012, 8:44 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , ,


I have gone very quiet on the subject of my epic cardie.  I have not posted photos.  I have declined to mention any further, despite said item being completely and gloriously finished.  There is a reason for this.  When you last saw it I was just after blocking it and it looked like this.

You can tell this was a long time ago – there was sunshine

I then tried it on and it then looked like this.

That’s right, by the mere application of a dab of water my cardie had gone from fitting perfectly (and me feeling really smug about it) to quadruple the size.  I couldn’t actually speak about this for a little while.

People would ask me about it and I would say ‘long story!’ and move on.  I hid it in my spare room – occasionally popping in to just look at it in dismay.  Eventually I asked a fried for advice.  She came up with two options.  So I tried the first.


That’s right – I really did take a photo of my washing machine

This is me putting my beautiful hand wash only cardie into a thirty degree wash in a vague attempt to shrink it.  This is what it looked like afterwards.

So essentially no discernible difference except dying the pillow case I had washed it inside pink.  I tried again on a forty degree wash.

It really is no better.  So I am left with either risking a 60 degree wash which I am too terrified to go for, or going with option 2 – friend or charity.

And just before anyone asks – yes I did do a gauge swatch.  I just didn’t wash it.  I know I know…. but it’s really boring and who would have thought washing mattered?

RIP dear Cardie – I will mourn you while I knit something that doesn’t need to fit.  Like a scarf.


Summer Attire
May 23, 2012, 12:20 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , ,

It’s definitely the start of the summer – for the first time I wore a wetsuit by choice this weekend.  This time I only got wet by jumping into 8ft of water while attempting a lee shore landing (I was like a foot away from the bank!  Why oh why….).  That lake has it in for me.

Today the sun is shining and people are smiling, the summer wardrobes have been broken open and I’m even wearing white trousers.  So it seems like an ideal time to finish what I started inspired by the Yarn Harlot. That’s right – my cardie is finished.

Just when it has become unwearable I have finally had a last spurt and it’s done.  Here it is blocking.

Marvel at the ‘mazing pattern.

Admire the adorable hood.

Gaze at the georgeous snugglyness of it.

Wonder why it took me 21 balls of wool (pattern called for 13 – don’t mention the g word…).

Laugh your head of at the aran winter weight of it as the temp soars.

Expect to see me wearing it from now on in.

Justify your knitting
April 5, 2012, 6:56 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , ,

I’m sometimes asked why I knit.  This is often from someone vaguely surprised that I do something ‘crafty’.  I suspect I don’t come across like this.  In fact let’s not go into what I think I sometimes come across as right now.

I usually say that it’s very relaxing, but actually this isn’t really it.  The reasons I knit are complicated

  • You can’t drink at 9am in the morning.  Well you can, but there’s a name for that.  Retired.
  • When your head is full of complicated stuff it can be very therapeutic to spend a little time focusing on how to make a bit of wool do something funky.  Won’t solve the complicated thing in your head – in fact may just add an additional complication (why have I got 358 stitches when I should only have 73?  Yes this has actually happened. There may have been wine involved) – but at least it gives you something a little more solvable to deal with (pull it out, pull it all out, see now its just wool again and can’t hurt you with naughty extra stitches).  See – one problem solved!
  • I’m a glory hound.  So I just love wearing stuff I knit so that people can compliment me on it and I can go ‘I knit that’ and they can be astounded. The fact it is actually something really simple and has lots of mistakes in it remains a secret known only to me.  And my husband. And the dog.  And frequently the neighbours if there are a few mistakes.  And sometimes the cold-caller from India who would really like to talk to me about making sure I am getting the best deal on my gas and electricity.
  • It’s like being in a secret club – you can always spot a fellow knitter – usually down to point 3 – and then have a perfect in for getting talking.  Actually on reading that back it makes me sound like a weird knitting-stalker.  I’m not I just obviously don’t get out much.
  • It takes the edge of all of those dull telly program’s that you sit through with your needles – trust me – Glee is better with knitting and long car journeys are transformed into a knitting assault course as you juggle the stitches round corners and over unexpected bumps.


What I also love is the wool you can buy just to have and hold and stare at and imagine the possibilities of all the things it could be.

And then put it away mindful you have a cardie to finish.

Second Sleeve Stress!
February 28, 2012, 8:53 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , ,

Good news!

I have finished the second sleeve!!  And I only had to pull it out and re-do it twice due to it ending up a different size to the other sleeve – specifically the cuff.  Turns out *slightly* stressed around product launches is not the time to knit an item to match with relaxed glass of wine knitting.

Now that it’s finished I feel a huge burden lifted… but that just leaves me the next problem – that it is going to end up too short if I don’t get some more wool.  So I reckon I have three options

  1. Spend the foreseeable future throwing myself upon the mercy of Ravelers who have this in their stash.  This is something I have held back from currently as
    1. I need more than one ball
    2. I need less than 20 balls
    3. I am stingy and don’t want to pay shipping from Australia (like how did it get there????)
    4. Amend the pattern and finish the cardie short.  To make it look like it’s meant to be.  To be fair I am sick of the sight of it, so this may well be the quickest solution.
    5. I could knit till I run out and then knit in a different colour of the same wool and make a feature out of it.

Currently two is winning.  If I do that I may also have the opportunity to wear it before we actually get to what passes for summer up here!

Things I have learnt from this project

  1. I am unable to make things that match – must investigate double knitting and magic loop for knitting matching things at once
  2. It is actually possible to not buy enough wool
  3. I knit loose, so size patterns down – even when you get the gauge
  4. Wine is always good and will get you round most things in the end!

Giant Cheating
January 10, 2012, 7:51 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: ,

So did I manage it?  Well – sort of!  To be fair I cheated a bit – I knit the obligatory flower brooch which we can all knock up in ten minutes, but it was really a last resort as I couldn’t face the failure of being unsuccessful at another resolution so early in the year.

Resolutions to already hit the wall include

1.  Go running twice a week – complete fail (its COLD outside!!!)

2.  Have a immaculate house at all times – my family turned up yesterday and I had to sweep everything off the coffee table behind the sofa, ‘stack’ the dishes so it looked like there were less of them and randomly throw some bleach round the bathroom, so that’s not been a success

3.  Leave work at 5pm – I can’t believe I even set myself up with that one

So I have emerged from week one with my ego bruised, but intact(ish).  I really need to plan this, so I am intending on queuing up some weekly projects tonight so I have the chance to make a better fist of next week!  I also think that when I finish something ‘big’ that item will count for the week involved otherwise I am going to end up with 52 flower broaches by the end of the year!  I guess it might sort Christmas.

I have however got some great knitting done this week in the van on the way up to Kielder to check how our boats were surviving the recent weather. This is our pride and joy – we went in the van (named ‘the Exception’ for reasons I might get into at some other time – but for the moment just run with it!) for no other reason than that my hubby loves to drive it and lord it over other smaller vehicles, and the fact that it’s just cost us an absolutely fortune to have some light on the dashboard fixed so we felt we had to get our monies worth…

I like to travel in the Exception however, as it is ideally equipped for ‘travel knitting’ and in the couple of hours of driving I cracked on with my cardie.  The passenger side door has a drop in pocket which will handily hold your ball of wool, there is a net just in front of your knees for the pattern and as it’s a double seat lots of arm room.  This extra space is becoming increasingly important as the cardie I am knitting is becoming enormous.  I still think I am going to run out of wool.  I finished the first sleeve and it took just under two balls of wool.  That means by the time I have knit the other sleeve I have only three balls left to finish the body.  This is not enough.  I therefore spent some of my time in the van imagining what knitters what know what to do would do, I then wondered if there was a hall of fame for ‘great knitters through history’ and if not, would this be a good idea.  I then spent at least twenty minutes trying to work out how you would identify things knit by a great knitter if they hadn’t put a name tag or similar in.  I think it was at this point I realised I really needed to get back to the job in hand…..

I have debated cutting off the (giant seeming) hood and re-knitting it in a smaller size and then grafting back on, but this could spell total disaster and I have no idea how to work out how much actual wool this would provide.  I might go to all the effort for a half a ball – still not enough and the possibility of just ending up in a giant pile of unravelled wool and cardie is just too high.

When we finally got to Kielder the wind had dropped to marginally manageable levels, but some of the boats had definitely suffered from some of the brutal winds that have been through here – our boats are fortunately fine, but one boat was off its trolley and others were full of water, so a bit of emergency remedial work was needed.  I was entirely inappropriately dressed for this having built my whole wardrobe selection around a lovely Möbius scarf I had knit last year – gorgeously warm and really pretty, but doesn’t match anything but my best coat – which I had therefore worn… and is therefore now covered with mud and what I think is actually slime – urgh.  It was good to feel that we were moving towards the new season however and we are now planning a weekend of fun towards the end of the month up at the lake in which I plan to fit my new (Christmas present) toe straps and get wet!

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