The Knitting Sailor

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


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
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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….

What I did on my holidays
April 25, 2013, 11:12 am
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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!


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’!


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....


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.


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.


It just LOOKS like a scarf

Knitting Lipstick
January 29, 2013, 6:06 am
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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.


Tinsel would have been cheaper
January 3, 2013, 7:44 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , ,

Back in the office today, and the end of the holiday is truly over.  The tinsel is hanging limply, decorations have fallen down over the break, the Merry Christmas sign is a little dusty and the whole place has a slightly abandoned air about it.

With no decorations up at home due to decorating, I have vicariously lived my Christmas through other people’s Christmas trees and by touring houses with exciting lights on them.  But essentially I have had a sparkle deficiency.  This had led to a difficult period of knitting in which I have got a little over excited about knitting with sparkly stuff as I can’t decorate the house.  Lots of it.  Constantly.

Some people can be a little sniffy about sparkly wool – in fact I remember when I first started knitting and wanted to buy a lovely (for ‘lovely’ read scratchy, sparkly, acrylic…. I know…) ball of silver.  The lady in said knitting shop not only was unimpressed by this (it was her stock? Surely she bought it for people just like me?) and I ended up leaving with some blue sock wool.  It’s still at the back of my box (OK, OK, boxES) of yarn.  I have felt scarred by the brutal dismissal of this beautiful yarn which has gone on to attain god-like unattainable status in my eyes.

But this Christmas I have shown no restraint at all.  It all started with these.


Most exciting and sparkly

They are little fingerless gloves from a knitting magazine, knitted out of despair when I was stuck down south.  As a one off they were quite sweet.  But this was only the beginning.

I then went out and bought pink sparkly stuff.  I was knitting it covertly – when asked what I was knitting I would brush over the subject and say ‘oh nothing special – a scarf’ – expecting the kind of judgement I had previously expected once what i was using was discovered.  When finally forced to admit what it actually was, other knitters were surprisingly supportive (at least to my face?) – which is lucky as I love it.

I know you want to dash out and knit one

The pattern is beautiful and so simple you can remember it and knit it without a pattern, but it’s so effective that it looks like a lot more special.  It’s ‘Crest of a Wave’ – you can find it here – I will definitely be doing it again.  The original pattern is in a more substantial wool, but I think that it works really well in the lighter weight and I may well be trying it over a smaller number of stitches to make a skinny delight as well.

Look at how wavy it is!

Over Christmas I then cast on a hood and scarf – in this (it’s sparkly stuff from Yarn Addict)

You can’t tell how sparkly this actually is…

I know I know – but I don’t seem to be able to stop.  In addition I have gone back and bought the pink sparkly stuff in green.  (It’s Rico Creative Reflection)

Did I really need it in green as well?


I also decided to add beads in a fringe to the pink scarf.  At least next year we won’t need a tree.  I can just wear my beaded beautiful festive scarf.

And for now I hope everyone has a very sparkly start to the New Year!

New Plan
November 14, 2012, 7:04 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , ,

Get a sheep to live in the back garden.  Reasons why having a sheep in my back garden would be a good idea –

  • It would save me lots of money on wool
  • It would be locally produced, organic wool and of the finest quality
  • I would not have to mow the lawn again
  • The sheep would be a friend to the little dog and the fishes in the pond
  • It could be a business investment as I could spin the wool and then sell it for lots of money to pay for the sheep’s upkeep
  • I could knit it a scarf and then sell photos of it wearing the scarf for Christmas cards
  • It would feed itself on grass so would be very cheap
  • In the winter it could live in the Mr’s shed – so it would have the added benefit of getting the shed cleared out
  • It would mean I could find out what sheep nuts actually are
  • We could take the sheep for days out to Kielder and it could play with lots of other sheep
  • People would visit and make a fuss of the sheep so it would become a talking point

Thinking about it, maybe I need two?


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