The new blog

Please come and join me at - the new blog is going to be much better, I promise!

I've decided to reinstate the blog - according to my stats I still get visitors every day, and now that I'm knitting again, I thought I may as well start posting again! Things have changed quite a bit in the year since I last blogged - I've become a mum (the little tyke is asleep just now) and have moved back in with my mother-in-law for the year while I'm off work. I now spend most of my time washing/changing nappies, feeding the baby, knitting and going out for walks or shopping (occasionally with amusing results when the boy wakes up screaming in the middle of a shop).

Re: knitting, I for some reason lost my enthusiasm for it while I was pregnant, probably a combination of working hideous hours and being too tired, and back ache if I sat upright for too long. Besides which, nothing was gonna fit me anyway so there was no point in finishing things. So I am now finishing off projects that have been in hibernation for 6 months or more. Here is #1 - the Twinkle Best Friend Cardigan:
FO: Best Friend Cardigan from Big City Knits
Yarn: 2 skeins Cascade Magnum bought in NY
Needles: 15mm

As you can see, no buttons as yet. I did buy some online but the colour turned out to be royal blue and clashes horribly. It fits well, but the yarn was getting eaten up so fast I was worried I would run out, and so made the sleeves and collar a bit shorter. I also thought it looked better without the bobbles so left them out.

There were a few mistakes as people have pointed out (also in the Chelsea Sweater I started last week) but it is a fun quick knit and fits surprisingly well for something that looks so small. I'm going to buy the buttons at the K&S show in a couple of weeks and will take some photos.

Other UFOs which I am working my way through are Cherry, Clapotis,Thermal and the Cable Luxe Sweater.

1) Cherry - all done except for setting in sleeves and doing buttons. Still doesn't quite fit though, so may end up giving it to my sister (the erstwhile Bikey, who sadly no longer blogs)
2) Clapotis - a few more repeats (I want it really really long - its going to be gorgeous wen its done)
3) Thermal - the killer knit - what possessed me to make a jumper in sock weight yarn? Even so, its all done except for one measly sleeve, I've GOT to finish it after getting so far.
4) Cable Luxe Sweater - gorgeous pattern, gorgeous yarn. I'm using GGH Cumba, which is a really lightweight aran, very soft and light and warm. I knit the whole of the body, but tried to increase the size of the cables down the body - didn't work. As Jughead said, they just looked 'squirmy'. So ripped out the lot up to the yoke and started again - I've got 10" more to go I think but it looks so much better.

It's Ramadan so everyone around me is fasting, but its hard to get the spiritual benefits when you're not fasting and can't get to the mosque in the evenings. By next year he should be in a nice routine (asleep by 7.30!) so I can do more, but then again I'll be working which will be another challenge.

I'm going to blog about craft shopping in London - I've discovered a few gems while out and about. Also I'm starting a dressmaking course in October which is very exciting - not touched my sewing machine in 3 moonths and need a kickstart!

Winter pattern round-up

There are some amazing new knitting patterns coming out this season, which I'm dying to try. Here are my favourites:

1) Cable Luxe Tunic from Lionbrand

This is a completely brazen knock-off of a lovely Pringle jumper from last winter which caught the eye of many a knitblogger. No-one actually came up with a pattern from what I remember, until this came out. I saw it first on the incredible Posie Gets Cozy blog, and she's knitting it in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. I was thinking of either Rowan Pure Wool Aran or some Jaeger Matchmaker Aran that Jannette has on sale in her Ebay shop. The jumper has quite an interesting construction - the cable yoke looks seamless but is knit a different way round to the garter stitch and body and sleeves. So what you do is knit the cable band and seam it at the centre back, then pick up stitches for the body and sleeves, and pick up stitches for the garter yoke. So simple, yet ingenious!

2) Tangled Yoke Cardigan by Eunny Jang

I absolutely loved this, even from the very intriguing first glimpses on the blog. Jug and a couple of others I asked think it looks 'granny' but the few I've seen finished on Ravelry look great, especially in Felted Tweed. I have a whole cone of Jaggerspun Zephyr DK which sits on the shelf and looks at me, willing to be made into this. However, I am quite put off by the number of people knitting this on size 3 needles - after Thermal, never again. Or at least not for a very long time.

3) Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang

Something small, interesting to knit and comfy to wear. That's all I ask. I have some Cashsoft 4ply in the stash in dark purple and beige to make these.

4) Drops Cardigan, according to Flintknits

My goodness this girl is talented. Everything she knits is gorgeous, and I especially love this cardigan - functional, textured, and stylish. I was thinking RYC soft tweed.

5) Cobblestone Pullover by Jared Flood

This was going to be Mr C's only-getting-one-in-a-lifetime jumper, but maybe he won't be getting even one so far. He does have half a jumper, but as I have sold the remainder of the yarn I think that one is heading for the frog pond. The Cobblestone looks good, but the miles of stocking stitch are definitely putting me off, although it might be the only way of forcing me to master continental knitting, I suppose. I actually bought some dark brown Kilcarra Tweed to knit this, as I was led to believe it was quite soft from other bloggers. But its pretty scratchyand will make my fingers sore when I'm knitting, so I thought I'd rather cut my losses and send it back. Maybe some Cascade 220 or Rowan Pure Wool Aran would be better.

I have some miscellaneous baby things to get on with, as well as my Pomatomus and Clapotis, both of which are in various states of incompleteness.

Btw, am I the last person to discover the wonderful Yarnstorm? She bakes, knits and writes books called 'The Gentle Art of Domesticity', besides having the most gorgeous blog ever. And she made a hot-water bottle cover in the right colours for the publisher of Persephone Books, who hardly anyone else seems to have heard of. Liz Hunt wrote an incredibly mean article about Jane in last Sunday's Telegraph (not a newspaper I buy) but she appears to be one of those embittered, cynical women who ridicule anything the least bit quaint and old-fashioned. Jane will be at I Knit on the 20th of October for a Crafternoon tea, if anyone is interested in coming along.

I'm heading for a seriously stressful weekend - 3 days on call on an empty stomach! I was on yesterday as well, and while fasting wasn't too much of a problem, it does tend to make me a bit more intolerant of the usual ridiculous referrals to orthopaedics without x-rays, bloods or even a proper clerking by A&E. I even went to the great lengths (for me) of berating an A&E Middle Grade for sending me a patient that needed a cannula put in, which the nurses refused to do. On the other hand, I saw the sweetest old lady yesterday, and when I left she insisted on giving me a kiss on the cheek!

I am also the proud recipient of my first IRIS form - I'm not sure what it stands for, but it's basically an incident reporting form, which is used to report accidents and near-misses. My crime was just that I didn't answer my bleep twice, to put up a drip in a patient who couldn't drink and hadn't had any fluid the whole weekend. Instead of calling someone over the weekend, they had left it until Monday afternoon to be sorted out. The whole thing is a bit complicated and involved, but I think I have managed to prove myself innocent after all, so it should be ok.

Jug and I didn't blog about the Knitting and Stitch Show in Birmingham - that could be because it was a sad disappointment to us. We made the pilgrimage from Manchester only to find a fairly meagre selection of yarn shops and most of those the hippy handspun itchy wool or even worse, squeaky acrylic variety, so we mainly interested ourselves in the workshops. Despite owning a vintage Bernina, I haven't managed to use my vast supplies of embroidery materials yet so regretfully didn't end up buying much at all. I may get a chance to visit the London show instead, which is (from last year's experience) another show altogether. We did see some incredible felted art by Jeanette Appleton (who was very nice to us) - she makes lovely huge abstract landscapes by building up layers of felt in different colours.

On that note, I bought a painting for my flat. i'm not really a pot-of-flowers kind of girl, so I got something a bit more abstract. Unfortunately, Mr C is not at all keen on it. What do you think?

FO: Butterfly

Pattern: Rowan Butterfly (short version)

Book: Rowan 37

Yarn: Kidsilk Haze in Smoke

Pattern notes: I knit thesecond smallest size, and threaded size 9/0 beads (I think) on to the yarn before I started. I didn't bother with provisionally casting on and then grafting the sides of the edging, but it would probably have been better to have had an extra stocking stitch on either end to make it easier to sew up, as other people have observed.

It fits pretty well after blocking, but after seeing everyone else's Butterflies I'd probably like to knit one in a burgundy non-mohair lace without beads.

Not much else to say that's not been said already, it's a lovely pattern and not really too hard (saying that, it took me three attempts to get the edging right!). I didn't touch it for a couple of months after knitting half of the second side, but picked it up again weekend before last to finish it in time for Jug's Knitsoc stall at the Freshers' Fair. I didn't quite get it done, but it gave me the last push I needed. I still have two straps to do before I can say it's really finished.

I worked over 90 hours over the past week. Last night, I saw 9 patients in A&E, with broken arms, legs, fingers, wrists, spinal fractures and crush injuries. Before August, I had never done any orthopaedics. What I learned at medical school was negligible, and I was terrified of doing nights. Firstly, because I knew so little, and secondly, because I had no idea what it would be like to essentially be deprived of sleep, or to work completely alone with no support in a specialty you have very limited knowledge of. I dreaded the morning traume meetings, where you sit in the hot seat and present each patient to the consultant, and wait for your management to be picked apart.

I was really fortunate though, in having a couple of nice A&E SHOs on call with me, who I could discuss patients with, and being able to get a couple of hours' rest in between most nights. But I still feel proud that I survived as an Orthopaedic SHO - who would have thought it. And I have ten days off - which is fantastic during Ramadan - I don't remember when I last had such a long break whilst fasting. And Jug and I are off to the Knitting and Stitch Show in Birmingham tomorrow! I think I'd better get some sleep before though.

10 weeks

Wow has it really been ten weeks? I was heartened to find that I'm still getting visitors to my blog, and thought it would be worth starting up again. To be fair, I've never been so busy in my whole life. I'm so busy, that until last week I didn't even have the energy or will to pick up my knitting needles. I moved house, entertained hosts of visitors, started a new job, learned a whole new specialty of medicine, my sister got married...I think I have enough excuses there. Oh, and my laptop died. The nice people at John Lewis gave me a new motherboard - it pays to keep your receipts.

Anyway, the wedding was lovely (I look horrible in the photos though - so tired!) and the bride and groom are enjoying an extended tour of Turkey. I'm on nights at the moment - funnily enough I have far more free time than I had working normal days, which is not at all what I was expecting. The weekend was much quieter than I thought it would be, to the point I was almost hoping for an interesting admission in A&E! I even managed to get some sleep AND leave on time, compared to the night SHOs in other weeks who have ended up staying til past 12pm (after starting at 8pm the day before). I shouldn't speak too soon though - it's supposed to be worse during the week.

Mr C is away on his MBA residential course - he's really been looking forward to starting the course, although I can't imagine why because the course material looks incredibly dull to me! I decided it would be nice to buy him a shiny new laptop, so I went for the Dell XPS M1330, which research tells me is a good one to go for at the moment. I got the red version (it's so pretty!) and Mr C firmly believes that I am buying it for myself really, and will hand him my scratched up old one in exchange as soon as it arrives.

His next-in-command has just had a baby girl so I have been doing some knitting at last, leaving more UFOs in my wake! It's just in the finishing stages now, so will take a photo and post it as soon as it's done. I've also made a start on Mrs Darcy using Sublime kid mohair, which is going relatively fast (compared to Thermal!).

General Ravelry and Merriment

Ravelry is a fantastic concept. The very act of documenting all your projects (finished, unfinished, hibernating etc) and the horror that is the stash makes you look full in the face of your crazy obsession and actually take stock to some extent.

For example, I added my Lotus Blossom Tank to My Projects. I spent much of our South Africa trip knitting the thing, and it drove me mad. (And Mr C, he had to keep chanting 'Look up! Look up!' in the car so that I'd actually take in the scenery) I knitted and frogged the first few rows at least 3 times - because I kept twisting it. Then the lace stitch got me. But eventually, I got the hang of it, and it fit, and I finished the knitting part. But then, I couldn't really work out how to seam the arms up without messing the whole thing up, so I just left it. Ravelry made me realise I was being dumb. And so I finished it! After 6 months, it just took 2 days to complete. Here is the FO (and I even wore it to work yesterday):

Knit using South West Trading Company Bamboo, which is my least favourite yarn, I think. It was rough and made my fingers horribly sore after a few days of knitting. It does drape nicely after washing, but is still not beautiful and glossy, like some other bamboo yarns I have seen. Shame really, as I have a whole ball left.

In Spain, I knit my first Pomatomus. The pattern is easy to memorise (with a bit of checking the chart) and it was so MUCH easier to knit with bamboo dpns than the metal knitpicks ones! I'm using the metal ones for the interminable thermal sleeve and they keep slipping out, and you have to grip them to stop them falling out of the stitch as you knit and they are so painfully pointy....on the other hand the takumi needles are very comfortable, strong and have a nice point without stabbing you as you knit. Commiserations to Jughead for losing her Pomatomus, thus forfeiting the competition we were having for the fastest Poms.

Decorating the flat

I have yet again taken a long leave of absence, mainly because I usually come home from work totally shattered and am not really prepared to apply myself to anything too strenuous. Also, as Mr C will testify, I have become obsessive about interior decorating, and finding things for the flat. I collected some photos in a file (some of which follow) but am frustratingly very limited by lack of space/money and is it really worth all the effort if we're moving in a year? I'm not really sure. But as this may be the only year Mr C and I have living alone, we may as well make the most of it.

We don't have a great solicitor and she's really dragged her feet all the way through, which is why the earliest we'll move is next week. That gives us 3 weeks to get everything ready before we move in! You're all welcome to pitch in! (Jug/Cow - you don't really have a choice in this)

Also congratulations to Bikey for graduating this year! After 3 years (and a year abroad) filled with delightful escapades she finally emerges from the cocoon that is Cambridge. I'm going down this weekend for the garden party and will also meet up with a good friend of mine whose sister just happens to be graduating from the same college. And there's also Esma's wedding to look forward to Sunday - should be fantastic, especially as most of the old uni guard will be coming! Fun!

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