Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Sadly, two days ago, we lost our beautiful dog, Amber, after a brief (thankfully) illness. She started to go downhill about 3 weeks ago and by Sunday we had to face the inevitable and call the vet to her. We were priveledged to be in her pack for over 13 years and we've had so much fun with her. If you could make a dog to order, we'd have made Amber! I'd like to thank the staff here who cared for her during the last week of her life. Hers was the gentlest soul I have ever encountered and her passing has left a huge gap in our lives. Sleep peacefully Amber - we'll always remember you.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Losing it

This morning, Mr.Diviknitty couldn't decide what he wanted for breakfast. He originally thought boiled egg and toast would be nice, but there wasn't enough bread for both of us, and toast being my breakfast of choice and he being forever the gentleman left the bread for me. He eventually decided on bran with a chopped banana, and got as far as pouring on the milk before noticing he was making his breakfast in the dog's bowl. I shall say no more....... my case rests......... he's lost it!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Recently Stashed

I know this looks bad but I haven't broken my yarn diet, honestly! I bought these from the wonderful Wibbling Wools in Bury St Edmunds just before Christmas; I've only now got around to stashing them officially. I felt a bit guilty buying them, it certainly hadn't been my intention to leave with yarn, but you know how it is! You walk into a yarn shop vowing to be virtuous and determined not to be seduced, then this happens! Money that was intended for presents somehow gets spent on two skeins of Natural Dye Studio lovelies. The top skein is merino/bamboo sock yarn, the bottom skein baby alpaca, cashmere & silk laceweight. It's probably good for my bank balance that I don't live too close to Bury, especially with stuff like this to tempt me!

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Catching up

During the few weeks in December when I didn't blog, I was knitting - perhaps not as much as would have liked, but at least a little. I've shown you the completed possum sweater so here's something else that I did a bit of work on. I started it a couple of months ago; it's a Debbie Bliss pattern which I downloaded from Prima magazine, but now I can't find the link - apologies - but I believe it's called Catriona and it's been Ravelry'd a few times, so there may be details somewhere. I much prefer working in the round these days - fewer seams to sew! - so I've had to modify the instructions somewhat but it's working, and I just love those cables! It's a v-neck sleeveless vest, the neck shaping starts before the armhole shaping, so it's worked in the round to that point then the stitches adjusted to enable changing to rows without disrupting the pattern. I'm up to the armholes now and have divided for back and front, which'll now be finished back and forth in rows.
I have to confess that the yarn is, well, slightly less than wonderful. I rescued it from my mum's stash a while ago (it was about to be made homeless so I took pity on it) and I think it must be many years old. It's called "Abigail" and it's a Woolworth's special buy according to the ball band, 75p for 100g - when did that last happen? And the biggest confession - it's 100% acrylic. But what the heck?! It doesn't look too bad and they tell me that cables are BIG this winter, so I shall continue and show it again when it's an FO.

Friday, 9 January 2009

First FO of 2009

And it is.......the possum sweater, draped casually over the sunlounger in the conservatory. I'm pretty pleased with how this had turned out. It's a loose fitting design with very little shaping in the body; I picked the smallest size with finished measurement of 42.5" and it fits well. Modified drop shoulders, and I knit the sleeves about an inch longer than normal and they just cover my wrists, so success there too. Its very light weight, but extremely warm - you know those moments when you've just completed something and you just have to try it on and parade in front of the mirror and unsuspecting family members? Well, those 5 minutes wearing this sweater had me gently perspiring. So it was perfect to wear out last night to the Ely ktog, where it was passed around and cooed over! Perhaps I should say at this point that I was wearing it over a polo neck underneath, so there was no baring of flesh in the bar of The Lamb! I'm not 100% happy with the shawl collar - it's turned out a bit floppier than the leaflet photo appears, but I think I may have over blocked it and ended up a bit too wide. Also, even though I undid and resewed the crossover at the front neck, I just couldn't get a neat seam. But the good ladies of the Ely ktog made approving noises - thank you all!- so maybe I'm being a bit too self critical. So, yes, I like it. It's a fairly neutral colour so it'll go with lots, good to wear alone or layered, and the yarn has a beautiful halo which doesn't shed too much - and it's very soft too.
So, the knitty gritty:
Touch yarns Possum, wool 40% possum fur 60%, 100g skein approx 420m, knit on 3.75mm needles so I guess it's around a 4ply weight. Cost around £11 per skein, bought at Ally Pally last October and worth every penny!

Monday, 5 January 2009

In a dark, dark corner....

....of a dark, dark cupboard I found three folders full of patterns I'd collected, mostly fron the 1980's. They weren't lost or forgotten, just languishing, because I hadn't given them any thought for so many years. Over Christmas I decided to dig them out and look them over. What a treasure trove! It was great looking at the fashions of 20+ years ago, remembering the things I'd made, or hoped to make.
Many of them were so dated - huge baggy sweaters, completely shapeless, and the shoulder pads!! Those patterns have no place in the 21st century! It did make me realise though how things have changed and how lucky we are now to have so much choice and so many beautiful fibres to choose from. These photos show some of my favourite designs from my trip down memory lane. The first is a design from a Patons leaflet that I fell in love with al over again. All the designs were quite innovative for the time - highly textured and assymetrical. I made a close fitting DK cardi in 2 stitch patterns with a front closure from the left shoulder acoss to the bottom right side of the welt - very trendy! The sweater in the photo is dk, the jacket chunky, and I think they both still look great.
The crew necked cable sweater in the 2nd photo is another of my favourite knits - I made it in peach brushed dk and I loved the deep ribbed welt which buttoned at both sides.

The last 2 photos were made in Hayfield Lugano, which was a beautiful mohair yarn. I never got to make these because then as now, I really cannot wear pure mohair. It drives me crazy! Fortunately, 25 years on, we have mohair blends that knit to the same tension on the same size needles.
I want to make all of these sweaters as part of my 2009 knit from stash challenge. I've got yarn for all of these - plenty of smooth dks for the highnecked textured design, some Rowanspun chunky for the jacket, which has been waiting for just the right project to come along; some brushed dk in pale blue for the side buttoning cabled favourite; and many balls of Sirdar blur for the 2 mohairs.
So, no skeletons in my cupboard. Just several hundred semi-vintage knitting patterns, which will now take pride of place on the bookshelf!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Possum blocking!

At the risk of sounding a bit Dame Edna, my possum sweater is blocking. All the main pieces are finished - the sleeves are all pinned out too but the photos I took of them were worse than this one, but you get the idea. I'm about halfway through knitting the shawl collar, which is a band of 5x5 rib some 70cms long, good to work on whilst watching tv. I want to finish this project before starting on the Ravelry stash knitdown; it wouldn't be fair to count it as part of the challenge as most of it was knit in 2008. I'm sure a couple of days won't make much difference over the course of a year long count!

Friday, 2 January 2009


This morning we had a ride over to Huntingdon garden and leisure centre; Mr.Diviknitty had birthday money burning a hole in his pocket so he had to go out and find something to spend it on. "Haven't you bought a coat?" he enquired. "Why would I need one?" I replied; as we were going from door to door, it seemed a bit pointless. About a mile from our destination, a red warning light appeared on the dash accompanied by a worrying engine noise. "That doesn't sound good" I commented. "What does it sound like?" asks Mr.Diviknitty. I should point out here that he's deaf in one ear and currently has man flu so what little hearing he does have is more impaired than usual. Have you ever tried to imitate engine noises? This one sounded like a bucket of bolts was rattling around inside it. I paused, then attempted to impersonate said noise, whilst beginning to regret not having bought a coat - I had a feeling things were going to get cold!
Fortunately we weren't too far from a petrol station, and this one had a nice machine that dispensed a reasonable cup of hot chocolate, which only just made up for my lack of outdoor wear. Mr.Diviknitty, ever the gentleman, did give up his jacket, despite the man flu. We read the Hunts post (the only newspaper on sale) and did a couple of crosswords from the latest edition of Puzzler; then a lovely man from the RAC turned up within the hour, diagnosed the problem and towed us home again. Nice morning out!!
Mr.Diviknitty still has birthday money to spend, I must remember always to take a coat even on the shortest of winter excursions, and if you ever need anyone who can make the sound of a broken oil pump, well - you know where to come!

Thursday, 1 January 2009


Happy New Year! Wherever did 2008 go?!

We went for a walk around an old orchard that we're lucky to have right on our doorstep and here's a photo of the birthday boy! Yes Mr.Diviknitty has his birthday on New Years Day. Not a great day to have a birthday on because nobody wants to celebrate and everywhere's closed so we always try to do a little something, even if it's just a walk in the Cambridgeshire countryside. It's looking a little bleak today, but we'll blame it on the mist that hasn't lifted properly since last weekend.

Amber enjoyed the walk too; it's her favourite route - lots of rabbits and muntjack deer to smell, I think. Not to mention the opportunity to add another stick to the ever growing collection outside our kitchen door!

I don't make too many resolutions but I have made a couple this year. Firstly, I resolve to knit from stash! I joined a new group on Ravelry - Stash knitdown 2009 - which I think will give me continual inspiration to complete this task! The nice thing is you don't have to go on a yarn diet, even though I need to and have resolved not to buy yarn in the foreseeable future, but at least I don't have to feel guilty if I do succumb to any yarny delights. There are a couple of challenges within this group which appeal; first, to knit 100 balls/skeins during 2009. This might be more difficult than it at first appears; it works out to 8-9 balls every month, and I don't think I come even close to that. Looking back at my 2008 output, I need to increase my knitting 3-fold! The realist in me tells me it can't be done, but at least I have a goal. Also running is the personal sweater club; I like making sweaters and they take up many balls of yarn, so this might help in the knitting of 100 skeins.
My second new years resolution is to do more dressmaking. Now, I made this one last year too, and only made a pair of trousers in the whole of 2008, so we'll see. I really want to draft my own patterns and I got a book for Christmas totally dedicated to showing you (simply) how to go about it. I've got a few tools to buy, which will have to be done online as nowhere in Cambridge sells French curves and pattern notchers. Looks like 2009 is going to be busy!