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.