Monday 25 March 2013


You recall I started this aran patchwork cardigan some time back but discovered as it progressed that I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish (I know you've seen it before but I'm so pleased with it, its worth a second look). 
I contacted the wool manufacturers, who do sell direct, by email I think 4 times and by phone twice, though was only ever able to leave a message. The only response I got was that they didn't have the batch I used, 504, and that their current stock was batch 71111 or something like that, which told me absolutely nothing.  Anyway the yarn was out of stock and though I kept checking the website it never came back in stock and eventually the website closed for reconstruction, this will be the third week it has been down.  
So frustrating.  However, I tried ebay and lo and behold someone was selling 4 balls, not of my batch number but better than nothing.  I was prepared to buy 4 balls but once the price went beyond the retail price I ducked out.  I was then tempted to sell the balls I hadn't used and forget the whole thing.  Every time I saw the finished back and one sleeve of the cardigan I wondered if I should start pulling it out, order some nice soft cotton and start again.
I did a check on Ravelry and a few people had one ball in their stash but no one was selling.  I was tempted to contact them and beg but fortunately I couple of people had posted where they bought their yarn.  One was a National Trust gift shop in the Lakes, I emailed them over a week ago and am still waiting for a reply.  Confirms my opinion of the National Trust, I cancelled my membership when they started closing the little houses and building vast new visitor centres to sell tat and mass produced food.  
I also saw someone had bought their yarn at Iriss in Penzance, I sent off an email and next morning there was a reply saying yes they had two balls of 504 and if I emailed my phone number they would contact me for my details.  I was on the phone straightaway though I was impressed that they actually offered to call me.  Mr FF was already asking if we should set off to drive the length of the country to collect the yarn, 550 miles each way now that's devotion especially as I hadn't at that stage cleared the drive of several inches of snow
David at Iriss took my details, explaining how he had found just the two balls of 504 in a box but had plenty of more recent batches.   When he told me the price I said I'd pay anything and he laughingly suggested £25 per ball.  I paid £14.23 including delivery for 200 g of pure Yorkshire yarn or realistically a finished cardigan.  Amazing service, restores some of my continually diminishing faith in business, lets face it two out of the three companies I've been in contact with didn't bother to reply.
So I'd better stop knitting the little socks that I've been making with spare yarn and I must finish Amelia's ballet wrap.  Then I shall put my concentrating head on so that I can complete the cardigan because the yarn arrived within two days, apart from a different label, the shops own, it's identical, its just what I wanted.
Happy days thank you Iriss.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Heavy snow and light shopping

More snow equals more knitting.  Fortunately we had plenty of rugby at the weekend to justify time in front of the stove watching the white wet and weighty stuff drifting down outside.  It keeps coming down, I keep sitting knitting.
I went into Edinburgh last Friday, first time this year and I have to say I won't be rushing back into the centre of town.  Mr FF took his car in for its MOT, ie diagnosis of lots of problems that will need to be addressed before we drive to Italy but at least it passed the test.  We dropped the car at the garage early and with our bus passes took ourselves off separately.  Mr FF for a hair cut, to collect some paint for the continuing home maintenance and to eat a curry. I went into Princes Street and wandered past the rather depressing run of the mill shops for a while.  It seems to me as an out of town person much easier nowadays to shop on line than travel 40+ miles to be greeted by some dismal department stores and cheap clothes shops.  I know a revamp of our high streets is on the agenda but its such a pity they have been allowed to become so tired, in these difficult times its going to be hard to attract people back unless more interesting venues appear.   Apart from John Lewis of course, always a pleasure to be in there and I bought Rowan Studio 30 knitting book, which has some gorgeous patterns for the little ones.
After walking the length of Princes Street I got the bus into Morningside which has a good range of individual shops and cafes, proper traditional hardware stores, lovely florists, even a family run cinema.    Mr FF collected the car and met me in Waitrose where I did our main provisions shop, what a treat.  He said I looked extremely happy with my trolley though he'd had a bit of trouble finding not realising I was wearing my wool and cashmere coat instead of my usual mac, one has to dress the part.  Even the daffodils in Waitrose are special
and I found this pattern in a charity shop, the child model doesn't look very happy but I think I could make quite a nice poncho for Esme.
More snow forecast this week, it is becoming a bit tedious, that's the trouble with winter it never knows when to stop.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Little dancer

In the new year my great niece Amelia started dance class and recently her school put on their first show.  I wish I'd been there to see it, her Mum said she was so enthusiastic and has continued to dance not just her own routine but the whole show at home.  Here she is backstage in her beautiful costume, calm and confident
and at practise earlier, I can see by the hairband she's taking this very seriously
She looks adorable, how could I not start knitting her a little ballet top, pink of course.  
 especially as it looks like this outside so I can't get into the garden
4 balls of Freedom Gorgeous 75% bamboo ordered yesterday, arrived today, thank you Black Sheep great price, great service and a lovely pattern from Melissa Allen.  Just a pity I won't be finished for this Saturday morning's class.

Friday 8 March 2013

I turn scarves into socks

Whilst waiting to find out when the aran yarn to finish my cardigan might come back into stock, and getting extremely annoyed that companies cannot be bothered to reply to their customers even in times of recession, I have kept busy knitting socks with some of the Regia Creativ I bought recently.  I didn't expect to get a stunning result from the colour change so I added a bit of pattern for interest, these first ones are Cherry Swirl by Fleece Artist.  I managed to produce a matching pair by knitting from one end of the scarf then winding the yarn into a ball and starting from the opposite end.  
The yarn is a little bit thin and splity compared to other Regia I've used, these socks turned out smaller than I expected on a 64 stitch pattern so I looked for something with a few more stitches for the next attempt.
I am now knitting Jules by Kate Blackburn, a pattern based on 68 stitches that I've used previously to knit socks for Mr FF.  Again the colour patterning is rather predictable but these shades are so me and the size seems about right. 

The price of this yarn was excellent and I'm going to have an interesting mix of left overs that I hope will make me a wild pair of socks as the spare wool is all from the centre and brightest part of each scarf.   There is the added and unique benefit that when we next fly out to Italy I can wear my holiday knitting yarn rather than pack it into my hand luggage.  I could even wear it in the car when we drive to Italy in the summer, the scarf reducing appropriately the more I knit and the further south we travel.   Creativ indeed.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Lady in waiting

In a state of limbo here.  I'm not just waiting for spring to arrive, the bulbs to flower, life to return, unusually for a girl with such a stash I'm waiting for wool.
I finished the back and one sleeve of my cable cardigan which allowed me to calculate that I have enough to knit the fronts and need two more 100 g balls of Swaledale aran for the second sleeve , assuming that the new batch will tone with the existing or at least not be noticeable if its just one sleeve.  However, the yarn is currently out of stock and I'm reluctant to knit the fronts in case I can't get a decent match.  So back to socks rather than twiddle my finger and thumbs though if I cannot finish this attempt I would definitely knit this cardigan again (in the proper recommended yarn), it is gorgeous.
Then I'm waiting for action.  Last year we had new solar glass installed in the conservatory and this year Mr FF sanded and re-varnished the woodwork, cleaned up the brickwork and gave the floor a good clean.  The latter part has been a long and complicated business, he had to strip down the tiles, re-impregnate them with some sealer stuff and finally apply a polish but unfortunately times have changed and the new products aren't necessarily compatible with the old ones.  He's been on the net, on the phone, into Edinburgh with his bus pass and generally spent a long time sorting out the various problems.  
Hopefully the end is in sight and the polish will go on soon because this is our kitchen table and I am heartily sick of eating perched at the end of all the clutter.  I've tried to redistribute the plants around the house but some of them are here plus an assortment of fittings and cleaners and diy accoutrement.  Miserable.
All the conservatory furniture is in the morning room, it looks like an old folks home with chairs all round the perimeter.
Fortunately the weather is gorgeous at the moment, we've had lots of sunny days and the new glass in the conservatory is working a treat.  We are getting temperatures into the mid 20s with no heating at all, and its barely March.  If only I and the plants and the furniture could get back in.