The Knitting Sailor

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?

Vive la Revolution!
December 10, 2012, 7:42 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

At this time of year, knitters everywhere are frantically knitting away to create hand crafted presents created with love for those about them.  Every year I set myself up for a fall here.  I get stressed and don’t enjoy it and then feel guilty about what I can’t finish.

But everyone loves something made by hand.  I truly believe that the most precious thing that any of us has to give is time – be that at home, at work, with friends, or on knitting a scarf.  When I give you something a bit loppy and holey what I am actually saying is ‘I care enough that I spent this long making something to show you I care’.  When you don’t wear it because it’s green / the wrong size / got holes in it / you don’t even know what it‘s meant to be – I’m hurt.  So for this reason many people will only knit or craft for people who will truly appreciate it.

I truly appreciate – and one of the gifts I received this year was this.

The dog looking extra cute - she's still angling for a sausage

Note the whole family trying to get in on the kudos – they too can stand next to a gorgeous blanket….

I know – hours right?  My Mum made it for me and even colour-coded it to the van – love it.

So I am really on board with crafting to show you care.  Go onto any knitting blog at the moment and everyone is powering through Christmas presents, hats, socks, even jumper are all rolling off needles across the world.  Spreadsheets and lists are created.  Sleep is lost, curses are flung and the desire to strangle someone with your yarn increases.

Not me.

This year I have come to the conclusion that I am going to reconsider the whole thing.

I’m not knitting anything for anyone.  It just makes me feel unsuccessful and lots of people don’t like it anyway.  So I have decided to buy all my gifts this year.  But I am working on the basis that really this shows I care just as much.  After all I will be spending money that I earned by going to work, which is an amount of my time I have spent earning money (instead of knitting), to spend on buying you a present.  It’s just a different route to the same thing.  Honest.

And you can take it back if it doesn’t fit or you don’t like green.

I’ve totally cleared my conscience with that one.

Pass the mulled wine while I go do some random stress free knitting with no deadline….


What to do with a punctured tyre
October 3, 2012, 9:19 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: ,

Friday night a contingent of the knit group from work I go to went to a crafty / sewey / other stuff workshop at the Shipley Art Gallery. It’s the first time I’ve been to something like this and it was great fun.  There were loads of people making braided cords, embellished buttons, jewellery out of inner tubes, darning and lots of other stuff. Out of the seven workshops I made this.

It’s a brooch – not a broach

Other people made braidy things and necklaces out of inner tubes.

Too difficult for me

I then got a bit tired so spent the rest of the night drinking wine and looking at this woman.

Don’t you love the British aristocracy?

This was a fantastic idea as I then had the opportunity to learn how to taste wine. This wasn’t part of the night, just someone in the group who knows how to taste wine. I was quite excited.  So I swilled it around and did some smelling of it.

Smelt like wine to me.

Put a little bit in my mouth and breathed in – WITHOUT spitting it out or choking on it.  My mother would be proud.

Tasted like wine too.

Tried the rest of the bottle with the same result.

It was a great night.

Genuine art crafty-ness made specially for the wine tasting bottle


I’m not doing it for fun
September 15, 2012, 7:22 pm
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , ,

Tomorrow is the big day.  55,000 of us will be running the 13 miles of the Great North Run.  I have to admit that I am not feeling great about this at the moment.

I got my pack through about a month ago and having opened it and seen what it was my immediate reaction was to go ‘I’ll just look at that later…’ and then put it in a pending pile.  I don’t actually have a pending pile.  It’s just a pile where I put things that I just hope will go away.

Turns out it didn’t go away.  I was finally forced to read it last night.  Turns out it includes things that you should do from a month prior in the run up to the event.  None of these were to drink wine or eat cake otherwise I would have been onto a winner.

To be fair, I have actually been training – I’ve got up to about 11.5 miles, so I may actually manage to finish, but it has become incredibly obvious that this is a serious race for serious runners – the pack had a number in it and everything.  It also had an invitation to a Pasta Party taking place today.  My initial thoughts were that this was an opportunity to go to a party dressed as spaghetti, but actually its about eating pasta and ‘carb loading’ whatever that means.  Like I said – it’s all a bit serious.  You need to put medical info on the back of your number.  There is a sweeper bus and if you fall behind it you are out of the race.  Drop out points are from 8.5 miles onwards for those who can’t continue.  You have to put a microchip on your shoes.  I’m not starting from the back of the pack, but in the middle-ish – how the heck did that happen?

Among others I know who are doing it there is much talk of motivational playlists.  I’m a bit worried about this one as well as I had anticipated getting through on the podcasts I’m currently listening too – The Knitmore Girls, The H2O Show and The Knit Wits.  There’s nothing like hearing about how someone’s jumpers going to cheer you up.  But now I’m thinking I should be lining up something more motivational as everyone has told me this won’t be enough – maybe I should see if I can find a really hardcore podcast – one where they bring up the sheep, spin its wool, knit a jumper and then wear it in a really reckless way.  Like near a fire or something.  Or maybe wash it with no reference to the washing instructions.

When it comes to what to wear, we are of course at the mercy of the flighty North East weather – but at least I have some proper kit now – who knew trainers wore out?  And the RNLI have helpfully provided a ‘subtle’ bright yellow top.

I can’t lie – I am terrified and feed a bit sick every time I think about it.

And I still hate running.

Is that a bandwagon?
July 25, 2012, 7:55 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , ,

The Royal Mint is offering the chance to buy a 50 pence piece (that’s right – a piece of coinage that you can buy 50 penny chews with, or put with four shiny pound coins and buy a glass of wine).  You can buy this coin for £2.99.

Am I missing something?  Apparently you can buy these from the mint – for quite literally a ‘mint’ – or you can see if you get one in your change as they are also in day to day circulation.  So how much are the ones in my change worth?  £2.99?  Or are they worth 50p – as is written on them.  I’m a bit confused…..


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.


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.

Working party. There wasn’t wine.
March 21, 2012, 6:43 am
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: , , , , , , ,

So there are many sailing and also knitterly things to tell you about.  First off my most special of special things arrived this week.

It looks like this –

It is a new and shiny sail for that most beloved of all boats Diagonelly*.  No, not like the Harry Potter books, like a boat that is called Nelly and goes diagonally.  The long winter nights just fly by….

*There is a story here.  It could be long and involved….. so I’ll save it for when you have been drinking wine….

But I am super excited.  This was purchased at the boat show and I didn’t’ quite think it was real as the boat show is an unreal and magical place, but both my beautiful sail and scrumptious boat cover have now arrived and I am a very happy bunny.  I am sure with this and my continuous toe straps of delight I will be triumphant in winning SOMETHING other than the wooden spoon or the ‘turning up award’ this season.  In fact I am thinking about getting quite serious about the whole thing and maybe practicing and getting fit and stuff – and as someone who is definitely thinking about getting off the bottom of ballast and doing like running and sit-ups and pretend spinnaker hauls I think people should be very afraid.  In fact I am quite exhausted by the thinking about it – I must be fitter already.

I have not even dared to unwrap it properly – I have quickly and neatly transferred it into its official sail bag and will be moving it to the boat fixer to add my numbers.  I could do it myself, but I am just too scared of spoiling the magic.

My cover however is fully fitted and looking glorious.

I know this as this weekend was the working party.  Turned out there was no wine.  Not much of a party in my view….

As it was on Mother’s day I did the decent thing that every daughter does and went on the Saturday instead – thus allowing me to multitask and help the club on Saturday, and have the family for mother’s day on Sunday.  That’s right, I cooked, it wasn’t toast, and no one died – all round a win.  A further win was booking the pair of us onto a sock knitting class at the Knit Studio next week – super exciting!

So the best thing about Saturday was that having managed to track down two more balls of the requisite wool on the internet I managed to knit nearly all the way there in the Exception – only one pocket front and the hem pattern to go on the cardie.  Problem with this is…. I’m going to run out of wool again.  I am sure the cardie has turned into a wool black hole as there is no way on the yardage and gauge it should be taking this.  At this rate it will have cost so much I will be forced to live in it for the rest of my life to get my money’s worth.

The worst thing about Saturday however was arriving to the most beautiful day in the world.

Note lovely sunshine, light breeze, jetty beckoning all sailors to launch.

And having purposely not having brought my kit having to do boring things.  I did cleaning of spiders and grot from the outside of the club house and washing of all the windows.  They look like this – so you can now actually see things like the racing through them.

I felt like a perfect wife… all the way up to the point that Michael reminded me that to be a perfect wife I would have washed the windows at home as that is where he actually lives and would most benefit from being able to see out of the windows of.  I feel this is nit picking.  After all you can’t see boats from our windows – so what’s the point?


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!

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