Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year, New Projects

Yay! I managed to finish two projects before the end of 2006, and here they are fresh off the needles. I finished the milk chocolate merino cardigan for my Mum and the Opal Magic socks for my Dad. Both projects need to be blocked and the cardigan needs to be pressed before handing them over to the recipients:

I'll be trying my best to knit twelve pairs of socks in 2007 for the Crafty Threads ‘n' Yarns Sockamonth Challenge, as detailed here: crafty threads 'n' yarns forum
This is what I want to start tomorrow for the January knit-off, a pair of socks for my oldest son in Four Seasons Hot Socks on two circular needles. I've only knitted socks on DPNs before, so I'm knitting smaller than average socks to try out a new technique. There are prizes to be won each month; Natalie of the The Yarn Yard and Terri, the moderator on the Crafty Yarns 'n' Threads forum, are donating prizes each month and at the end of the Sockamonth Challenge next December

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year to You All

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Diamond Wristwarmers

Yay! My diamond wristwarmers are complete:

I've really enjoyed knitting these ~ quick and easy on DPNs and very little finishing to do; I'd like to knit them again using Artesano Alpaca sometime in the New Year, maybe in a rich plum colour.

A quick current WIPs count reveals that I have finished three out of ten WIPs this week, those being the Big Wave scarf, a hat for Dan and my wristwarmers. The next two WIPs to finish have got to be the dreaded millstone socks for Dad and the bands of the merino cardigan for Mum.
I had to completely re-knit the back of the cardigan as I decided to undo the ribbing at the bottom and knit it downwards instead to counteract the flipping outwards. It was only after I'd started to unpick the welt that I remembered (too late) that ribbing can't be undone from the bottom up :-?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Six Weird Things About Me....

Terri tagged me good and proper, so here we have six weird things about me; some of them are not that weird to be honest, but here goes:

1 ~ at a children’s party, I’m more likely to be found with the kids than with the grown-ups

2 ~ I have a Bsc Special honours degree in Genetics and Microbiology from the University of Sheffield (yes, really!)

3 ~ I’m actually quite supple and can sit cross-legged on the floor with the kids at pre-school, although I don’t have double-joined elbows!!

4 ~ not really that weird, but I usually wear contact lenses and refuse to wear my specs

5 ~ I prefer to write with a sleek fountain pen and ink than a biro, not that I get to do that very often in my job

6 ~ I can’t read a map to save my life

Now then, six people to tag with the same question... who shall I choose? I'll get back to you on that one when I've finished my brekkie.....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Stash Reduction Time!

Okay, I have things to sell, so I might as well see if anyone-who-reads-my-blog wants any of these knitterly items fresh from my yarn stash:

11 x 50g balls of Rowan all Seasons Cotton in shade Slick. Ten balls in an unopened pack and the other ball loose but unused. £20.00 for the pack including First Class postage to the UK:

10 x 50g balls of Sirdar Country Style 4 ply. Unopened packs of cream, denim blue, and navy up for grabs, one full pack of each. £9.00 per pack including First Class postage to the UK:

All my yarns are stored in a pet free environemt and we are a non-smoking household. You are welcome to drop me an email at if you're interested in any of the above yarns, or want to ask any questions *big smile*

I am also offering these yarns for sale in the Craft Market section on the Crafty Threads ‘n' Yarns forum (<-------- link to the right on my sidebar) so it's a first come first served basis for the yarns and the first person to say they want the yarn has first choice on it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Busy and Browsing

I was browsing through the Jaeger cotton booklets the other day and was thinking how lovely it would be to knit a few of the designs in Trinity DK. Then lo and behold, through the Crafty Threads ‘n' Yarns forum I find that Janette's Rare Yarns has Trinity DK on special offer in her eBay shop. How's a girl to resist when fate plays a part?

If it's possible I've been even busier this week than I was last week having gone to several evening meetings, children's paties, just generally been out of the house or just plain busy with work admin. I have managed to cast on for the first sleeve of my Grace project, and it seems to be knitting up beautifully again. I have made adjustments to the frequency of increases due to my difference in tension (albeit slight), but at least I will get all the increases in before I get to the sleeve head shaping this way.

I've been so tempted to start knitting a project in Patons Cotton DK thanks to the Jaeger cotton booklets, so I chose four designs that I wanted to knit and asked the boys for their votes on which one they prefer. So far, no-one has voted for the same one, but then there are only three boys :? I'll just pick a colour and start one I think.

Eta: I cast on for the V neck version of the fitted sweater from Louisa Harding's Modern classics book last night. I'm knitting it in variegated lilac Wendy Supreme Cotton DK and it's working up a treat. I must get some of my old WIPs finished though. Maybe I should make that a New Year resolution... hmmmm.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy

This week has been an extremely busy week, and there has been very little knitting time unfortunately. Last weekend was my turn to plan for the forthcoming two weeks at preschool , so I was busy with that; I somehow managed to plan myself to spend the whole week making gingerbread biscuits with 30-odd preschoolers....

I helped with cookery club and helped in class 1 at the local primary school on Wednesday morning and lunchtime, then went to have my hair trimmed in the afternoon. Thursday morning saw me at work again, and then in the afternoon I was back in class 1 helping with a sewing project for Christmas. With all this sewing and cooking I sound like a Domestic Goddess don't I? :-? On Friday it was work in the morning again, and then I took my oldest son and two of his classmates to a Cross Country meeting against other small local schools; Matt did very well and finished half way down the field, so I was a very proud mummy considering that he's probably one of the youngest runners for his academic year.

This weekend I have been catching up with all the inevitable washing, ironing, food shopping, cooking and bathroom cleaning that I haven't had time for this week - oooh and I made a fancy dress costume for a friend's son yesterday. It's amazing what you can make out of a piece of black fabric!!

I have to write end of term reports this weekend and ensure that everything is up-to-date for the children in my Key worker group who are moving onto primary school after Christmas - I'll be doing that this evening no doubt.

So in all, there has been little or no progress with my current WIPs this week, but I've done a bit more on the teacher's Big Wave scarf that I promised to show last time then didn't. I did however, start a mini project that is quick and easy to do and this is one of a pair ~ the Diamond fingerless mitts, or handwarmers, by Ruth of KnittingBloggyBlog ~ and my progress on the Big Wave scarf in Sublime Merino DK:

Ruth's pattern for the Diamond Handwarmers is here

I'm knitting them in Patons Diploma Gold DK in a gorgeous denim blue colour, and they are knitting up nicely. The pattern is extremely well written, and the finished mitt is a superb fit. The only problem is that I can see myself wanting more of these mitts, and one ball of Diploma will be enough for one pair. A little while ago, as I was clearing more yarn stash out, I eBayed just one solitary ball of Jaeger Matchmaker Merino DK in black and sold it for 99p. I'm regretting that now, as it would have made a fab pair of Diamond fingerless mitts :(

Lastly, a quick peek at what the postie brought me from Stash Fine Yarns this week:

Quite honestly, the Jaeger Natural Fleece was something I've wanted for ages and in this colourway (Bordeaux), and at 3 for the price of 2 I'd have been silly not to buy it, wouldn't I? The 'Modern Classics' book by Louisa Harding is so wonderful that I've read it from cover to cover every day since it arrived I think. There are some gorgeous designs in it and there are only around three that I wouldn't knit for myself. An excellent bargain considering the price of individual knitting patterns these days.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Catching Up

Oh dear. Well I managed to break my Stashalong for November when I bought some luscious yarns from my LYS last Saturday. I just couldn’t resist buying a pack of Sublime Meino DK in Redcurrant and a pack of Sublime Kid Mohair in Smoke Blue. I've been thinking about buying some of this yarn for a while to be honest, and actually seeing and feeling it in the shop tipped me over the edge. I also bought three balls each of Sublime Merino DK in Grape and Alabaster to knit Christmas presents for the two Class 1 teachers at my son’s primary school, which is what I went into the yarn shop to buy in the first place! I originally bought the Pistachio colour in the Kid Mohair, but decided that the colour was too pale and just wasn't me. The owner of the shop was very kind in letting me exchange it for the Smoke Blue - thanks Gwyn!

The Sublime Merino DK is gorgeous to knit with and is beautifully soft and squidgy, but it’s loosely twisted so I have to be careful knitting with it or it splits slightly. This is the progress so far on one scarf:

The Sublime Merino book says that the scarf can be knitted over a weekend, but does that mean 48 hours straight knitting without going to bed? I've almost knitted the first ball of the first scarf, so I should be finished in time for the end of term.

I also bought the new Louisa Harding book "Modern Classics" this morning from Stash Fine Yarns. I can’t wait for it to arrive as I’ve had a quick squizz here and the designs look exactly the type I love - classic pieces with timeless appeal. I’m so excited, I can’t wait for it to arrive!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

New Beginnings

A new era has dawned for both myself and Jacquie from Jacquie’s Journal. We launched our new message forum for crafters of all types on 5th November 2006, and the forum is so new that we are still within the first twenty-four hours of its launch as I write this. It’s an exciting time for both Jacquie and myself, and we are both excited to have got the forum off the ground so quickly. Our special thanks go to Paula for giving us the chance to make this happen. Thank you Paula.

It’s a forum where people who enjoy different crafts are invited to come and chat about knitting, crochet, embroidery, paper crafts, dressmaking, tailoring, cross stitch, tapestry, jewellery making, weaving, spinning, and ... the list is endless!
Why not come and see for yourself - we are at:

crafty threads 'n' yarns forum

and we’d love to hear from you!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Ooops! I tripped while I was going up the stairs on Friday evening and fell awkwardly onto my left wrist. Result - one wrist in a splint for a week. I haven't tried knitting yet, but it hurts to move it so I don't think there will be much progress on any WIPs this week :(
I'm not supposed to go into work either, but we'll have to see about that tomorrow...

Now if someone who works in the medical profession could just send me an NHS splint for my right hand, I'd have a lovely matching pair of NHS issue, velcro wristwarmers for winter *wink*

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Did Someone Say Story Sacks?

I'd never made a story sack in my life until a couple of weeks ago. Now the preschool where I work has asked me to make some story sacks for them too, and some PE bags for the children who are leaving to go to school at Christmas, as presents from preschool. I'll have them down to a fine art soon! I brought a sack of fabric home from work last Friday, and have already spotted some fabric that I can use for the gym bags, and some plain white fabric to stitch onto the bags as small panels so that we can ‘write' the children's names on the individual bags. I'll be going into production at this rate!

Anywhoodle - knitterly stuff:

I managed to complete the fusion knit jacket last weekend, and sat and knitted the last bit of the collar in bed last Sunday morning. Well, it has been half term this week!

And the body pieces of the machine knitted merino cardigan for Mum are done too. I only have to knit the ribbing and bands on and that becomes a TFO as well. I have decided to frog the ribbing on the back of the cardigan as it flips outwards and I think it's due to handknitting the ribbing first, increasing stitches in the last row and then hanging the stitches onto the machine needles, so I'll frog it back and knit it downwards. That should work. And I'll finish the rest of the pieces in the same way to match.

With two WIPs out of the way, or very nearly, I have to decide what fusion knit projects should take their place. I definitely want to knit another fusion knit half ‘n' half jacket as it turned out really well - I especially like the way the collar ‘falls'. I definitely want to knit another merino cardigan in a different colour too, since it's so quick and easy to knit. I really enjoyed the designing part of this project, and drawing the block to knit from.
To fill the place of the WIPs just completed, I cast on the stitches to knit the Celandine vest from Lousa Harding's first book 'Gathering Roses', using a Country Style double knitting yarn from my stash. I've only had the yarn for about eleven years, so it's about time it was used.... *wink*

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Knitted Dishcloth Cuts Cleaning Time in Half!

Yep it's true! I knitted this little baby last week and washed it straight away to ensure its absorbency. It had been mopping up spilled tea and coffee all week on kitchen duties, but I decided that it should be put to the test with the Big Kitchen Clean-Up

I usually clean the kitchen with antibacterial spray and one of those blue and white stripey J-cloths, a sponge scrubby thing, hob cleaner, paper kitchen towels, Fairy Power Spray, and a lot of elbow grease. And a little squirt of Cif on the sink.
Today I cleaned the whole kitchen, including the work surfaces, cupboard and drawer doors, tiles, hob and sink with this little beauty, using only a solution of normal household bleach in hot water. And a little squirt of Cif on the sink.
I was amazed how little thing held up to the rigorous test I put it through. The hob was covered in oil splashes and the dishcloth made short work of getting it gleaming clean again; the sink wasn't looking its best and once again Clothy didn't fail and the sink came up brilliantly shiny. Helped out by a little squirt of Cif, of course.

And the most amazing thing was that it took under an hour to do the whole kitchen. I think it must be the garter ridges that give Clothy super cleaning powers. And of course, it has to be better for the environment than all those other sprays and cleaning agents that I would normally use.

Now for a little promotion for two knitting chat forums that I frequent. Both forums are extremely friendly and are both fairly new. The first one is the Knitting Connection forum which is run by Paula, and the other one is the Knitting Haven forum which is run by Holly. The Knitting Connection forum currently has a yarn auction which is running until 21st October to celebrate National Knitting Week, and there are lots of knitterly goodies on offer. Why don't you pop on over to both the Knitting Haven forum and the Knitting Connection forum? I'm sure that you'll meet people you already know on there!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

One of My Personal Irritations

I don’t know about you, but I find online stores and mail order shops that advertise products and don’t actually have them in stock excessively annoying. I ordered and paid for a couple of (knitting) books from a mail order company last week, only to receive a letter yesterday to say that none of the books were available. And a few weeks ago I ordered and paid for some yarn from an eBay seller only to find that one of the colours of yarn I ordered was out of stock even though there appeared to be over 900 balls of that colour in stock. Why advertise them and take my money from me if they are not available to buy? But at least these sellers were honest enough to admit that the products were not in stock; for a supplier or online store to say that the product has been sent out but has been ‘lost in the post’ while waiting for the product to come back into stock is downright dishonest.

Get Knitted appear to have the right approach. The item is displayed on their website but the customer is informed on the webpage if the item is out of stock, so at least the buyer can decide to shop elsewhere for the product or wait until it comes back into stock. By advertising the product, paying for it and finding it to be out of stock the customer does not have the flexibility to shop elsewhere. Which is, of course, why the less reputable online stores do exactly that.

And this is why I won’t shop with certain online shops in the future. I can always find the products I want at a more reputable store, and support them with my loyalty and custom.

Monday, October 09, 2006

WIP Update.

First some great news - I won a competition last week, to guess how many grandchildren the owner of the Knitting Haven forum board, Holly, has. I did a bit of detective work on the message board and posted the correct answer first. Look what I was able to choose as my prize!!

IRL the yarn is a beautiful mix of pale green, pink and light blue colours and I'm just itching to make some socks for me!! I'm never good at competitions and never win, so this came as a total surprise!

I'm very good at posting the start of projects aren't I? But rubbish at posting piccies of completed ones. So here are my current WIPs in their raw state. We have, in order of appearance, all the current WIPs for me which are: a cerise half ‘n' half fusion knitted jacket, ‘Grace' jacket from Rowan magazine 27 in a lovely lilac shade of Rowan All Seasons Cotton, and the start of this, the Ribby Cardi from ChicKnits in Jaeger Extra Fine Merino aran which I cast on last week at Wendy's house:

Next we have WIPs for other people - notably the mink coloured merino cardigan which I'm machine knitting slowly for my mum and the Opal Magic socks for Dad:

The final picture is of my Raspberry Splash mohair cardigan that I finished knitting several weeks ago, but still need to find the impetus/time to stitch it up:

I've chosen Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Aran from my yarn stash to knit the cardi in, as it matches the stocking stitch tension exactly. Denver Jon sent the yarn to me last year, and I'm using Nero Navy; I think it will make a very warm and smart Ribby and I need a navy cardi or jacket to wear for work. So far the yarn is working beautifully and is slipping over the Brittany Birches a treat - it is glorious stuff to work with.

I'm so close to finishing the cerise jacket, with only the front bands and collar to knit, but they're the fiddly bits aren't they? Hopefully I'll be able to finish this by the end of this week. Then I'm finishing the projects where very little work is needed to complete them.

I've also managed to overcome for desire for the Sirdar Salsa I was talking about the other day, and found some navy boucle DK yarn in my yarn stash which might be a good subby for the Celandine tank

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Story Sacks

Apart from being badly tempted to buy some Sirdar Salsa DK yarn on special offer in the colours I love (Flamingo and Sapphire) I'm doing pretty well on the new Stashalong; but then it is only the third day in! I did think about bringing my Day Off stashalonging to the 3rd of the month, but thought it was taking the you-know-what really.

To alleviate my desire for yarn, I made 23 story sacks for my sons' school over the weekend, and finished them off yesterday afternoon:

there are 16 larger ones and 7 smaller ones. There would have been 8 smaller ones but I got a bit scissor happy as I was cutting them out of the fabric.

In case you're wondering what on earth a story sack is, it's a fabric bag with a drawstring top that holds a story book, a cuddly toy associated with said story book and a card that shows the parent or carer what sound the child should be learning when reading the story with a simple question to answer on the text. It was great to have my sewing machine and overlocker back in action again!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Five Month Stashalong

First off, a piccie of some bargain Rowan 4 ply Soft that I bought from Get Knitted and which arrived on Thursday, along with the new Louisa Harding books and the books in the Sublime range:

and two lots of Patons 100% Cotton DK which arrived this morning, complete with piccies of what I hope to knit with the yarns. I want to knit this cover-up in the black cotton DK, from the new Jaeger booklet and the ribbed collar cardigan from Debbie Bliss' "Simple Living"

I can't wait to get started on some of those glorious designs! Although it was a bit daft of me to buy scrumptious new pattern books and then announce that I was starting a five month long Stashalong exercise.

Yep, you heard right. Or you heard correctly, as we'd say in the UK. I've announced it elsewhere on a knitting forum that I belong to, and I'm officially announcing it here too.

From Sunday 1st October 2006 I'm Stashalonging until the end of February 2007.

There, I've said it here too.

No more yarn purchases for me until 28th February 2007. That's five months in total.
"But why Deb?" I hear you all shout. Well, let me tell ya....

I was wearing my Tickled Pink T shirt yesterday that I bought recently in aid of the charity Breast Cancer Awareness, and I said in a fit of madness that I would join Stashalong until the end of February and ‘sponsor' myself a tenner per month if I didn't buy yarn. So every month that I don't buy yarn, I put a tenner in the kitty. More if I've been good and haven't bought myself any clothes either that month (wow, this is gonna be TOUGH!!) At the end of February I should have at least fifty quid (which converts to around $100 for friends across the Pond) to donate to Breast Cancer Awareness - a very worthwhile charity.

My own rules for this are that I can still buy needles, books and patterns, but absolutely No Yarn Whatsoever unless it is purchased on a day off from Stashalonging, which I plan to have once per calendar month. I don't have to buy yarn on the day off though, it's not compulsory. No bargains, no reductions, no sale items on any other day except days off.

Of course, I'll still be reducing my yarn stash through other sources too, and knitting up what I have to aid the Stashalong cause.

If you'd like to sponsor me, then the more the merrier! I manged to raise £40 by selling off some of my unwanted knitting books earlier this year and I donated the cash to the NSPCC, so I know that it can be done. I'll be posting my success (but hopefully no failures!) on my blog at regular intervals, so you can keep a track on what I've been doing too. I promise that I won't cheat! *hand on heart*

Off now to buy some yarn for a couple of projects before midnight on Saturday..... *wink* I'll show you piccies of yarn as it arrives next week Chez Melody. Put it this way, you won't be seeing any new arrivals for a while.....

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Visit to Town

I have to go into Loughborough this morning to pick up a book voucher as a birthday present for one of my son's friends. It's her birthday today and he wants to get her a voucher for a book as she loves reading. I HATE shopping with a passion, so I've been trying to put it off for as long as possible. But it's her party this evening after school, so I can't wait much longer.

My idea of shopping is to whizz into a shop, buy what I need and whizz out again - I dislike the browsing and deciding business so much that I'll plan what I need before I go shopping and visit only the shops I need to. A trip to town purely for shopping purposes is absolute torture for me. Unless we're talking yarn shops of course - that's entirely different *wink*

I had planned to clean some of the house today, and get on with some machine knitting on the 4 ply merino cardigan that I'm knitting for my mother this afternoon. But as I have to go into town today, I may be pushed to do both of those things before 3pm. Maybe if I shoot into town really quickly and run to the bookshop and run back, and avoid browsing in Quorn Country Crafts at all costs, could I do it?

edited to add: the shopping trip went well and I got back home in one piece. Not only did I buy the book voucher that I wanted, I also found some plain socks for the boys in school colours in their sizes (a miracle in itself!) and also bought some extra plastic mailing bags for my eBay shop. I was on such a roll that I popped into the British Heart Foundation charity shop thinking that I could be lucky and bag myself either a knitting book or knitting yarn bargain, but to no avail. I'll just have to be content with the boys' socks.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I'm completely in love with the new Sublime yarn and pattern books from just seeing them on the Get Knitted website see

Some glorious colours and some luxury fibre combos which will give Debbie Bliss yarns a run for their money I shouldn't wonder.


I want to order some more Patons 100% Cotton DK, this time in the gorgeous Orchard Green colour, from one of my favourite eBay sellers this week so that I can knit myself the Debbie Bliss cardigan from Simple Living. Then I'm saving my pocket money like mad to buy a Kim Hargreaves kit, probably Charlotte or Tender. I love so many of the Kim Hargreaves collection kits that I've made a list of the ones I'd like to buy. I'd have to rob the bank in the village to be able to afford them all though *sigh*

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Morning of Chat and Boxes of Yarn

This morning my old friend Wendy came over for a coffee. I haven't seen her for some time, but we carried on chatting like I'd seen her yesterday (well, okay - I did see her yesterday too, but you know what I mean......). Wendy is one of a kind and never changes, she tells it how it is and you always know where you are with her. That's what I love about Wendy. That and the fact that she saved my life several years ago by getting me to hospital in the nick of time, but that's another story altogether. We got out a boxful of yarn and knitting patterns and went through them over a coffee or several. A jolly good morning's chat and coffee all told. Plus Wendy went home with a sackful of rehomed yarn and patterns, so more stash reduction for me *wink*

While she was at our house, the postie arrived and brought two packages for me from Hector:

Hector sent me a ball of absolutely gorgeous mohair mix yarn in a stunning red and and orange shade that is just so me it's unbelievable, and not one but TWO sock blocker key rings! The piccie only shows one of them ‘cos I wanted to show everything including the hilarious card, and blogger has been working at a snail's pace this afternoon and evening :-) I was overwhelmed by the pressies that arrived, and am totally knocked out by them. Thank you so much Hector!

Wendy did help me to open the packages though - I had to let her really, you just can't stop her when she gets going....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sports Clubs and Homework
It seems like an age since I last blogged about anything...... I’ve been very busy back at work and getting Danny off to school in the mornings, and then back home for lunch and back to school in the afternoons - it’s been all systems go in the Melody household this week. Plus my oldest son Matthew who is now in Year Three has an increased amount of homework and lots of after school clubs that he wants to attend now that he is in Key Stage 2. He has joined the football club and the cross country club this week - he excelled in cross country, coming second in a race where all the Key Stage 2 children were running, and he is the youngest KS2 student in the school. Well Done Mattie!

First off on the knitterly stuff I managed to finish and sew together my bolero which I knitted in James Brett’s Marble DK. It knitted up to be a lovely soft cover-up and reasonably priced too! It’s obviously not a Noro creation, but I can wear this at work when the weather gets chillier:

I also managed to finish off the raspberry mohair cardigan which is a total modification of an All Seasons Cotton pattern, but that has yet to be stitched together.

My Patons Cotton DK arrived from Kemps woolshop yesterday - well worth the wait too as it’s a gorgeous colour which is calledFoxglove. Unfortunately the light was poor when I took this photo and it's a touch wobblesome, but you'll get the general idea:

And I also received two books that I ordered from Amazon - Nancy Bush’s "Knitting Vintage Socks" book, and the other Ann Budd book, "The Knitters Handy Book of Sweater Patterns" that deals with sweaters only. John the Brit had several David Baldacci books in the package too, but I’ve no idea what the titles are or what they’re about. Heh heh.

I like the Nancy Bush book - not as much as Sensational Knitted Socks that I bought from Kai - but it’s a lovely resource book to have. The Ann Budd book? Hmmm. I’ve heard so many rave reviews about this book that I was desperate to get hold of it, but at first glance I’m disappointed in it and I’m sure that the Ann Budd book that Denver Jon sent to me for my birthday will have much more use than this one. The example sweaters in the book appear to be very dated to me I’m afraid, and look quite ill-fitting. ‘1000 Sweaters’ by Amanda Griffiths is a book based on the same principle where there are modular bodies, sleeves, pockets, etc but the designs have a bit more pzzazz; they’re more classic designs than in the Ann Budd book albeit that the sweaters are in DK yarn only and in a smaller range of sizes.
Just my opinion of course, but I think I’d rather stick to my little electronic knitting-shaping gadget rather than use the Ann Budd book, so I don’t think that this particular book will be used much if at all. I’ve already decided to knit Danny a pair of mittens for the winter months from the other Ann Budd book :)

Maybe this weekend I’ll be able to have a few hours worth of knitting or sewing, or maybe both. The past few weekends have been filled with children’s birthday parties, either hosting them or being invited to them, and we’ve already started inviting friends to play after school this early on in the school year. Why is it that all Matt’s and Danny’s friends want to come and play at Melody House?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

E Kemps Woolshop
A big thumbs up to E Kemps Woolshop today; the lady there was lovely on the phone when I rang to enquire about some Patons Cotton DK that I ordered from them a few weeks ago. She was friendly and efficient on the phone, and was able to tell me the progress of my order immediately. See E Kemp Woolshop on my sidebar or click here.... E Kemp Woolshop which brings me nicely to...

I'm coming to the end of my three months Stashalong stint and I have 24 days of my pledged three months left. I did really well for the first two months, but things have gone drastically wrong these past few weeks unfortunately, and not only have I bought yarn from an internet shop, I've won auctions for yarn on eBay too - and it wasn't on one of my days off!

Stashalonging has been an excellent plan for me though, and I'm very pleased that I joined in. I've been destashing with a vengeance and have managed to redeploy plenty of unwanted yarn from my stash. I know how much yarn I've destashed in monetary terms, but unfortunately not in weight or meterage terms (although I'm sure I could work it out if necessary!!) The cumulative purchases have come nowhere near to matching the weight and height of the destashed pile though, so I can confess my purchases with a clear conscience. I will certainly continue my destashing process as there are more yarns wanting/needing a new home in my rather large stash mountain LOL!

I found it so hard to continue on Stashalong with all the new pattern and design books being released for the Autumn and Winter months, and slipped quickly and easily off the wagon so that I could buy yarn to knit some of the new designs. It's certainly patterns and designs that make me want to buy yarn, and not the yarn itself that tempts me. Maybe I should start Stashalonging again until February next year when the next set of design books is released.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Summer is Over

The baby cardigan was well received by my friend; so much so that when I saw her the afternoon after giving the cardi to her, I saw her at school with the baby wearing his cardigan. She said it was perfect and it fitted him now (although it was a 3-6 months size) as he has a long body. I'd already handwashed it before wrapping it up for her, so the babe could wear it straight away.
I was dead chuffed. Even more so since other mums have commented to me on how lovely his cardi is :)

I had some surprise packages in the mail today - the wonderful "The Knitters Handy book of Patterns" by Ann Budd from Denver Jon, and some hand made stitch markers in a funky little knitted box and a Burt's Bees hand care kit from Jacquie. Thank you so much guys! What wonderful birthday presents!

We took Matthew for his belated birthday bash yesterday - a trip to the cinema to see ‘Over the Hedge' and then on to McDonald's for burgers, fries and nuggets all round. The children were so well behaved they were a real pleasure to be around, and there were nine of them altogether so it could have been mayhem. The cinema and McDonalds were excellent in their children's party hosting, a big thumbs up to McD's especially as they only knew yesterday morning that we were all turning up at lunchtime; the cinema were given advance warning of the impending assault, and gave the children excellent value for our money. Brilliant day.

It was back to work for me today - we had a meeting on Friday to discuss the term's topic which is "Myself". I had a few extra bits of paperwork to do over the weekend, but apart from that it was back to work as normal today at 9.15am. It was like the staff and children had never been away. Uncanny.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

First Day of School

My littlest son Danny had his first official day at school today. I say ‘day' but a half day is more like it. When he knew that he had to come home for lunch he was very dischuffed

"Well I'll go back in the afternoon then" he said. Little pippin.

He ran straight to the dressing up rail in his new classroom and looked for an outfit to wear. He's so pleased that there are more dressing up costumes at school than we have at home :) He had a good morning, enjoyed his first day at school and was awarded a sticker for his hard work. Well Done Dan!

I spent all yesterday afternoon stitching in goodness knows how many name labels into school wear, and putting kits of one kind or another together for school today; I had sewers cramp at the end of my stitching marathon! I did however get the baby cardigan sewn up to pop in a parcel for my friend's baby, and here it is along with a baby rattle/soft toy.

I've been working away on a new project seeing as some old WIPs are completed or near completion. In the quietness which was this morning I've drafted a block for the back and fronts of a neat little cardigan that I'm intending to whizz up in 4 ply merino for my Mum, and I cast on for the back rib this afternoon. Not much to show though, just a line of cast on stitches so far!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Shoes for School

We went shopping for school shoes for the boys yesterday afternoon, and they had their feet measured in Clarks. Matthew’s feet hadn’t grown at all, so he didn’t need new school shoes, but he did need a new pair of trainers as he has to take trainers to school for PE this year rather than plimmies. He’s taking his old pair of trainers for running up and down a muddy footie pitch and keeping his new ones for ‘home’ wear.

Danny’s feet on the other hand (or other foot!) Have grown one and a half sizes since his shoes were fit checked eight weeks ago..... ONE AND A HALF SIZES!!! I was stunned to say the least. So he’s had new school shoes and new trainers, and new plimmies for school too. The whole lot cost me £91. And that’s a lot of school shoes.

My knitting is cranking itself out very well at the moment, and I completed the first sleeve of my mohair cardi over the weekend. Only one more sleeve and the bands and it’s done - hurrah! I seem to have got over the feeling of complete exhaustion and unwellness from my two bouts of strep throat that I’ve had recently, and the glands in my neck are finally down and staying down, so I’m feeling like getting some knitting done. (In the week the GP thought I could have Post Viral Syndrome, but I very much doubt that :-?) I don’t know how anyone else fairs with their knitting time, but I fit mine in around the family, work, house, husband and children, and sometimes knitting doesn’t feature very high on the agenda.

I’m thinking of finishing the back of the Tide cardigan though, and then putting the project on hold for a few months. I don’t think we’re going to have an Indian Summer judging by the cooler weather we’ve been having recently, and I’d like to get some cosier cardis and jackets knitted for the Winter months. Something with longer sleeves might be good and I already have some ideas floating around in my mind :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Glossary of Terms

Just for Denver Jon I give you a glossary of terms from the previous posting:

Lairy - overly confident, arrogant, cheeky, loud; especially applied to youngster or adolescents

Rucksack - Could also be called a 'backpack' but a large bag wot you sling onto your back when walking in the wilds to hold all your essentials such as flask, knitting books, knitting, waterproofs, snacks, etc. But mainly for knitting purchases at large knitting exhibitions and trips to Chester, etc :)
Others are designed to carry a baby or small child, see here:

baby carriers

*NB - No longer required in the Melody household*

Fell walking - walking on the fells. Self explanatory :)

Knitterly Stuff
I had to frog 7cm worth of knitting on my Tide cardi as I could see a distinct mark where the knitting had been sitting idle for a few weeks on the needles. I thought it better to frog a few cms now than have it plagueing me for ever more. I think it was Maggie Righetti who said that mistakes in knitting are not like vintage wines - they don't get better with age.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Arguing over the Argos Catalogue

You can tell that it's getting towards the end of the school holidays - the boys are getting bored with each others' company and are finding it difficult to get along together without arguing or needling each other, even to the extent of arguing whose turn it is to look through the Argos catalogue. I ask you.

We have things to do over the next few days, such as visits to the dentist, collect school uniform, sewing name labels into articles of school clothing and finish off bits of work before we go back to our respective schools, so that should keep us busy and out of mischief.

Danny has his first half day at school on Wednesday next week, and I'm actually looking forward to it although I didn't think I would; it means that at last this holiday I may just have a couple of hours of peace and quiet. Bliss.

Nah then - knitting related thingos.....

A cyberfriend of mine, Jackie - I do hope I spelled her version of Jackie correctly, there are so many ways to spell it, and I always forget who has which version - bagged herself a scrummy knitting machine from a charity shop last week, and she has set it up and knitted some plain knitting already. She got the main bed, ribber, knitting shaping device, table and a lace carriage and cost just twenty quid! Twenty quid I tell you!! What a superb bargain!! Spurred on by her amazing find I decided to unearth my standard gauge knitting machine from the depths of the cupboard. We have a huge walk in cupboard that is accessed via the ‘guest' room and all sorts of stuff is stored there including all my knitting machines, so I had to move rucksacks, rucksacks that you can stuff a baby into the back of and carry around when you're fell walking, boxes of the children's paintings and school work, sleeping bags, spare duvets, packets of real life photographs taken before we had the digicam and other assorted stuff. I had a great time last night looking through all the old photos of our oldest son taken when he was born up until he was around eighteen months old; he was always smiling and so happy and full of life, now he's a lairy seven year old . Happy memories.

I'll have to give the knitting machine a good overhaul before I can use it properly again, as it looks quite oily and yuck, even though it's been stored well since the lid was last put on it. I have plans to revitalise my wardrobe of woollies with some new ones, and the machine will come in very handy for that. Some fusion knitting is on the horizon methinks. I already have a fusion knitting project in mind for this machine I just need to get the yarn out of the stash and knit a tension swatch.

One last thing, I bought these amazing precious jade stitch markers from Claire at The Claire Knit Project and they arrived the other day. Aren't they just beautiful?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

WIPs Wipeout

This is what I managed to produce on Saturday afternoon whilst my oldest son was obsessed with his new birthday PS2. I started out with two lots of ribbing and ended up with two complete sleeves for my cerise half ‘n' half jacket:

I've also completed the baby cardigan for my friend's new baby boy (saw him this afternoon - he's gorgeous!) so now I just need to sew the cardi up, and the front ribbing on the bolero is half done, so that will be finished this week too. It's great when you have several projects on the go as they all seem to be finished at once.
Prolific knitting or what?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The last piccies from the Holiday in Wales...

I give you:

Knitting on the tram going down the Great Orme in Llandudno, and knitting at the bottom of the Great Orme in the tram, just by the ticket office. Did you know John the Brit used to live in Llandudno? Bet you didn't. He and Helen from Stash had a chat about how they both grew up there when I popped into Stash in Chester to buy books *shakes head*

Ah yes... knitting outside Dolbadarn Castle. I sat and knitted in front of the castle while the boys climbed to the top:

Knitting on the miniature steam train at Betws-y-Coed:

Knitting on the Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu, then back again to Caernarfon

Don't suppose you've spotted the train connection yet, then?

You know I mentioned a little while ago that I was really, really bad at remembering birthdays? Melody strikes again as I forgot to post my Uncle's card off to him yesterday. It was a funny one too. He'll just have to have giggle on Monday morning instead.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Dongled At Last

I would have updated my blog earlier than today, but I've been waiting for John the Brit to dongle over holiday photos from his laptop. He finally got round to doing it last night *rolls eyes*.

I had a humungous migraine headache this afternoon, probably something to do with the red wine last night. As I don't usually drink because alcohol and I just don't get on together these days, I was amazed that I didn't have a dodgy headache this morning - so I paid the price this afternoon instead. Strange. I feel like my body is falling to bits at the moment, my birthday is on the horizon and I think I must be preparing myself for feeling the age that I'll be in two weeks time or thereabouts. It's on the 31st August if anyone wants to send me Ann Budd's Knit-Any-Sweater-You-Want book for a surprise pressie. No? Well, no harm is asking... *wink*

Okay, here are some knitting piccies from hols - you won't want to see the other holiday type photos, they're too boring for words!!

Knitting on the Llanberis Lake Railway - exactly what it says on the tin. Knitting a sock on the little train that runs round the Lake at Llanberis....

Matthew and I venture into Stash in Chester. This would have been a better photo except Matthew decided to dash into the piccie uninvited at the last minute, and I'm looking particularly chubby with a bright green bag for holding all my knitting projects slung over my shoulder. I have no clue who the lady is looking in Stash's window as the photo is being taken, but that little lad with the back of his head to the camera and in a bright blue top is The Dink himself. Here it is anyway:

And the final piccie of holiday knitting shots today - I sit and knit the holiday sock by Gellert's grave at Bedgellert. I wondered aloud whether if we were to move the stone, would we find the remains of Gellert the noble and brave dog underneath it. John the Brit dragged me away before I could hop over the railings to find out..... spoilsport.

More pics 2moz maybe.

On to more home based stuff.....

I went to Dunelm Mill again this morning on the way back from an appointment for our youngest The Dinkster with both the lads in tow; I bought six cushion innards to make some scatter cushions for our living room along with 2 metres of tasty, ‘non-gender specific' (the NVQ3 rears its ugly head again) fabric to make a few more story sacks for reception class at the boys' primary school, so I must get the sewing machine out.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

So, What Did You Get Up to on Your Holiday, Melody?
Holidays didn't start very well...... my strep throat started to reappear on the second evening of our holiday, about 36 hours after I took my last penicillin tablet, and although I tried to ignore it, a high temperature, a vicious sore throat and swollen glands, and an inability to swallow yet again threatened to ruin the holiday before it had begun. I realised I was plummeting downwards when I could hardly swallow a bacon sarnie at Pete's Eats so a swift trip to the local medical centre in Llanberis on Tuesday afternoon and a prescription for yet more penicillin sorted the nasty little strep bacterium beasties out and I was as right as rain after that.

And talking of rain...... this is what we woke up to on our first day of holidays:

The weather did perk up a bit eventually though and I managed to get a bit of colour on my shoulders whilst I knitted at Dolbadarn Castle. There's a piccie of me knitting with Dolbadarn Castle in the background, but it's on John the Brit's laptop at the mo and I have to dongle piccies across from the laptop, so piccies later on of that.

I Visited Stash!

I continued my Stashalonging in exceptional style, only buying a few balls of sock yarn when I visited Stash in Chester. We travelled to Chester so that I could buy Rowan magazine 40, and I phoned them beforehand to check that it had arrived in stock.

Steve at Stash explained on the phone that the shop could be closed at some point as they were expecting a huge delivery of Rowan yarns which had to be put in its respective places in the shop, but added that if the shop was closed I could knock on the door and explain who I was and what I wanted, and they would open the shop so that I could buy the mag. Top marks to Stash for offering brilliant customer service to a holiday maker/tourist to North Wales and Chester!! They've been added to my linky bit at the side there for special endeavours with respect to holidaying knitters in Cheshire... *big thumbs up*

Not only did I buy Rowan 40, but I also bought these luvverly books and needles from Stash - the first photo shows what I bought on the first visit, the second photo what I bought on the second visit to Stash the following week:

We only went back to Chester a second time so that the boys could visit the Dewa centre in the city centre, honest.... a ‘hands on' archeology/ Roman museum which the boys and I thoroughly enjoyed. *big grin*

A line-up of the sock yarns that I bought at Stash. I bought the grey/blue one second from the left to knit Dad another pair of socks but as it's cotton/wool mixture I think I'll need more than one ball. Hmph!

I also managed to track down a copy of Debbie Bliss' "Easy Knits" book (which I've been looking out for for months)in WHSmith in Chester, so I had a good shopping trip all told. Trouble is that now I'm too tempted by all the new patterns in all the new books I bought to contemplate even looking at my' old' list of things I wanted to knit before I bought the books, if you follow my drift.....

Vacation Knitting Progress

On the evening before our departure, I still couldn't decide which new projects to take with me and in the end took a load of half finished projects that I thought I could give my full attention during the fortnight. In the two weeks in Llanberis, I all but finished the bolero knitted in James Brett's Marble DK with just one part of the front band to pick up and knit, finished Dad's first Opal Magic sock with just the second one to complete, and knitted a good part of the double moss stitch yoke on the back of the half-and-half jacket that I'm fusion knitting.

My knitting had a rather eventful time in Wales, as I challenged myself to knit in as many touist-y places as I possibly could. I think I did quite well under the circumstances, and managed to knit on the Tram going up and down the Great Orme in Llandudno, on the Llanberis Lake Railway, on the Welsh Highland Train from Caernarfon to Rhydd Ddu, by the grave of that very brave Medieval dog Gellert *ahem*, and under the watchful eye of Dolbardan Castle. My knitting and I had fun. Enjoy the piccies as I stick ‘em on the blog over the next few days....

Saturday, July 29, 2006

We're Off!
Singalong now!!
"Oh this year we're off to Sunny Wales
Y Viva Espana!"

We'll be leaving as soon as we've packed the stuff into the car - this could take some time.....

I'll see you when we return..... be good!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two Large, Blue Packages Arrive
Early yesterday morning the Parcel Force chappy drew up outside our house to deliver these two humungous parcels of yarn:

Don't worry, I didn't break Stashalong! I have a virtual yarn shop on eBay and this was the delivery of yarns I needed to restock my baby yarns. NONE of this yarn is for me, I promise. I have my work cut out for me in updating all my listings today though, but by early tomorrow afternoon today they should be done.

Knitterly Stuff
I'm desperate to throw out all of my tatty fleece jumpers and cheapo knitteds that I bought and wore for work last year and the previous year, and want to knit myself some quick, easy and reasonable knitteds to go to preschool in. I daren't wear luxury yarns at work, much as I'd like to, in case they get covered in unmentionable children's stuff like...... oooh can't mention them sorry..... and paint and glue.

So I've also cast on yet another project and am knitting the ribbing of a cardigan jacket that's plain stocking stitch on the bottom half with moss stitch yoke. I'm knitting it in Sirdar Country Style DK in a lovely crushed strawberry colour called Cerise, and want to knit another in Sand.

Piccies tomorrow!

I'm glad to see that my blogging cyberknitter palsy-walsy Denver Jon of Colorado Knits fame has updated his blog and is telling us things that happen in his life that he considers to be boring and mundane, but which we consider to be a good read. And he gives me good make-up tips too *wink* Probably one of the bestest buddies I have.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday, Monday
Well the penicillin is indeed working and I can swallow again now without folding up in pain. I still can't blow my nose or cough without my throat hurting tho'. In fact, I feel better than I have done for weeks, so I'm wondering if this bacterial infection has been lurking round for a while, ready to jump in when my immune system was feeling a bit urgh.

So what else has been happening in the Melody household?? Erm.... not much really! We're off to North Wales on holiday on Saturday morning - I'd like to say ‘bright and early' but in reality I'll still be faffing around getting stuff into the car on Saturday morning just before we leave. Last year I was ironing all our clothes to take on holiday at 10am and I still hadn't packed.....okay, so I'm not good at packing and leaving on time *grin* but we all have our weaknesses don't we?


We're off to Llanberis, the village at the bottom of Snowdon, where we've been for the last - ooh let me see - five or six years except the year that Danny was born; we'll be staying in the Coach House if you click on the link above.

It's the type of holiday that changes every time we go with the boys as they are one year older each time we go, and their interests change in what they want to do on their holiday. This year I think we'll be swimming, walking, travelling on a few steam trains, making sandcastles on the beaches and going to the cinema lots. Oh, and knitting, reading and playing with our Superhero figures. I'll leave you to figure out who'll be doing what....

Sunday, July 23, 2006

My Purchases from My Day Off Stashalonging
On my day off Stashalonging I bought this beautiful shade of Patons 100% Cotton double knitting yarn from yarnsmith It's shade Azalea, and it's just the colour I wanted to knit the Ribbed Collar Jacket from the Debbie Bliss book ‘Simple Living'

As I'm going to use 4mm needles for the body of the jacket rather than 3.75mm that the pattern calls for, I decided to order myself a pair of 3.5mm Brittany Birches for the ribbing as the pattern uses 3.25mm so I've gone up a needle size throughout. Oh, and I also ordered Brittany cable needles too.....

I'm doing quite well with Stashalonging this time round and have only bought the yarn above for a specific project on my Day Off. It's probably something to do with the fact that I'm not now on the computer almost all evening knocking out college stuff and I can't wander off into websites selling yarn and feel tempted to buy :)
What a virtuous Melody! *wink*

Other News
I've not been too well of late, spending most of Friday evening, all of Saturday and Sunday morning in bed with bacterial pharyngitis. I felt so ill that I didn't even knit in bed, and I haven't eaten for three days and have been on cold water rations as it was all I could swallow. A second trip to the walk-in centre on Saturday morning and the doctor diagnosed strep throat, and gave me penicillin. Amazing stuff! My glands under my chin started to go down yesterday afternoon but it's taken until Sunday afternoon to swallow half properly. So I've just eaten two bags of Walkers Steak and Onion crisps, with fizzy water and Peach and Grape cordial.
Just what the doctor ordered.