Tuesday, 31 July 2007

And the Winner is....

As you might be able to see in the photo, Thomas' rain collector collected 2.7 inches or 66mm of rain during La Tour. The official weather station for our village recorded 91mm so some of the rain must have been horizontal and didn't make it in to our tube!!!

Well done Phoebe - you get to choose one of the following as your prize!

Washed and Softened Recycled Sari Silk - 200g, enough for a tote, shawl or scarf.

Schaefer Ann Sock Yarn (not a bad likeness of the colour on my monitor as least) Merino/Mohair/Nylon blend.

500g of Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate in any of these flavours.

Or a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Almanac (new copy).

Thanks to everyone for joining in, the kids enjoyed watching the rain and counting up the days and the Weather Station is now permanently attached to our fence post!

The winner of La Lanterne Rouge is 5elementknitr
and she wins Une Parapluie! Let's hope she has some use for it over there in Colorado (or perhaps she can take it on holiday with her to somewhere wetter).

Tour De France KAL

I can't quite decide whether to be proud or not, after all 'Skin of the Sea' is still in a ball awaiting a decision on over-dyeing, hand painting or 'try another colourway instead'. The back of Glade is up to its armpits but no further and I am a few (about 15) rows off completing Clue 4 of MS3. I've worked on this so hard that I have RSI in my right hand again so even though it isn't quite there yet, I'm taking a break from it until after Clue 5 comes out .
I was right about it being a boring slog - all those repetitive motifs in the middle and the cable motif up the sides which I still need to refer to the chart for...... the pattern should change for the next clue so I'm looking forward to Friday and finding out the theme and what that lifeline's for.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Le Competition

Number of days on which it has rained during the tour


There are two people with the correct answer - Debby and Phoebe.
Here is your tie-break question (you can all join in!) - How much rain fell on my house during La TDF? Answer in Millimetres or Inches whichever you prefer - nearest answer gets the prize.
Clue: it was ALOT - over 2 inches/50mm but we weren't flooded so don't go over the top with your guess!

Friday, 27 July 2007

Mystery Stole 3 Update!

Clue 3 is now finished. Now for the boring slog up clue 4 - unfortunately I saw a picture of a Clue 4 stole on somebody's blog and I know from the photo and also from looking at the Chart, that this is where it gets repetitive. There is some Mystery left in the Mystery Stole however, we have have been instructed to put in a lifeline at row 287 which is in the middle of clue 4. Nobody know why and we've got to wait until at least August 4th to find out!
Glade has reached the armhole shaping so who knows, I may be able to sprint my way to half a Glade and Half a Stole by the time les cyclists arrivent a L'Arc de Triomphe a dimanche!!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Picked up the Needles again....

the knitting diet lasted about as long as one of my 'normal' diets and as soon as I could park the kids in front of a DVD, out they came. Glade is now 35 rows tall and as soon as they go to bed, MS3 will come out of its plastic bag. Tonight I will knit until my eyes close for tomorrow I have another day of 'Mommy Hell' to face - 3 children and the school holidays!

P.S. On the subject of Swap Etiquette...
If your swap partner failed to send you anything at all in a swap and you happened to find out who she was, would you a) 'name and shame' her on your blog b) boil quietly and wait for Universal Karma to restore the balance or c) something else? Your input would be appreciated - I just can't decide how long to be English and Polite!

Not Much Knitting Going On

Because of this...... Miranda was 2 on the 24th of July and here she is after her 'party' in Pizza Hut (her favourite food after chocolate) opening her presents. No Knitting needles were picked up in honour of her birthday.... Tour de France KAL you will have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, 23 July 2007

Tour De France Mystery Stole

I just can't face re-knitting the back of that Glade so here is my new Tour De France project - Mystery Stole 3! I know I've started very very late but here I am at the end of Clue 2 now. It's easy enough to knit but it can't be done at the same time as looking after children as they interrupt my counting.... Hoping to start clue 3 tonight and be caught up to the rest of the group by the time the next clue is out on August 4th.
Knitted in Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool/Silk in Ebony colourway with size 8 beads that I am now threading on using the 'dental floss' method but using thread instead of dental floss!!!
Wish me luck!

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Ribbit Ribbit

It seems a little frivolous to be laughing at the number of days it has rained when people have been evacuated from their homes, trapped in their cars overnight on the Motorway and had their holidays ruined.....but the rain just doesn't want to stop - it's raining as I write this. There were two days this week without rain and we managed to get the grass cut and I got sunburnt but on Friday the rain started all over again and it hasn't stopped since......

As far as Le Tour is concerned 'Les grenouilles sont arrivee encore!' I completed the back of Glade and whip stitched it to the two fronts to check for fit. It's a good size and length and I'm happy with the sizing. Unfortunately I had forgotten that cotton doesn't knit up neatly after it has been frogged and the stitch sizes were horribly uneven. So, reluctantly, I frogged the back for the second time, skeined up the yarn and dampened it. Now the skein is dry and straight and 'all' I need to do is knit the back for the third time. I'd better get cracking - I've only got a week and at this rate I'll finish Le Tour with NO finished objects to show for my trouble. To add to all that, the postman just delivered Harry Potter...............

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Are you getting 'antsy' waiting for Ravelry?

then check here and you can see exactly where you are in the list..... I only have 384 people ahead of me in the queue and they send out about 1200 invites a week so I should be getting my invite SOON!!!!!

Monday, 16 July 2007

Back in the Race

Betcha any money I don't win a prize in the TDF KAL draw this week but I'll keep mentioning the knitalong and keep hoping that as I'm offering such LOVELY prizes in my competition, the yarn fairies will smile on me and I'll finally win something....
This weekend I wasted a whole day trying to dye the silk for my 'Skin of the Sea' only to discover that neither Food Grade nor Acid dyes will give strong colours on silk - what I need are Cold Water Reactive dyes so 'Skin of the Sea' will have to wait until I get hold of some.
So I decided to find an 'old bike' aka Glade and finish it.

Here's the story so far - I knitted the fronts, back and both sleeves in record time before reading about all the problems other knitters were having with gauge, getting the edging to fit and using too much yarn. I blocked and measured and measured again and weighed the yarn I had left. Conclusion? My tension had loosened after blocking so my pieces were too big, the length of the arms was way too long and I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish.... I frogged the back piece and put Glade in a plastic bag upstairs.

I had already endured one evening with no knitting and it was terrible - I suffered real withdrawal symptoms and drank too much alcohol. Glade was resurrected on Friday 13th and I have re-knitted almost the whole back. This time I am knitting two sizes smaller to compensate for my tension and I was hoping that this would also generate some extra yarn with which to complete the edging. Looks like I was wrong..... The amount of extra yarn required for a Size 14 vs a Size 10 is almost zilch so I will have to consider a) frogging the sleeves and knitting them shorter (at least that way they won't be too long) and/or b) shortening the edging on the sleeves so as to use less yarn.

Either way Glade could take until the end of the Tour de France to complete so it is now my official Green Jersey project. I will also be dyeing my silk though and my Zephyr Laceweight has arrived so I must catch up with Mystery Stole 3 - there is no clue this Friday in honour of Harry Potter and although I pre-ordered my copy and it will be delivered on SATURDAY morning ( if the Royal Mail decide to deliver on time this week of course) I must take advantage of the spare week to catch up. With all these projects on the go maybe I should swap to 'King of the Mountains' group instead...
Keep checking back - the competition statistics are updated daily along with a new photo every time I take one that's amusing or interesting enough to warrant being posted.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

I Think I've Crashed.....

Allow me to start at the beginning (that's a very fine place to start....)

I ordered this - Aran Weight 100% Silk - Colourway - Vibrant - just look at those wonderful rich colours; a deep red, pale aqua, a little dark orange and maybe some grey/purple. Breathtaking.

I received this.....

Yes I know the photo is upside down but you can see what the colours are like can't you; Bright Orange, Fuschia Pink, Purple and Blue. That orange is scary. I rewound one skein to see if I could make it less scary....

Well that's a whole lot less scary now, in fact it looks great, I'm going to join the Tour De France KAL and knit a Skin of the Sea waistcoat - won't I be the bee's knees in it????

Last night at 10pm I finished the back of the waistcoat, I'd used less than one skein so I was feeling pretty damn smug. Not only was I going to finish way ahead of those pesky cyclists but I was even going to have enough yarn!!! THEN.... oh b*******ks (and lots of other words that are far too rude to type here) There was a mistake in my knitting.

Now really ladies, this mistake is huge, I mean HUGE and you can plainly see it on the last photo I posted - so why didn't any of you tell me before I carried on knitting?? Call yourselves knitters? Can't you see what I've done???? The knitting was banished to the back of the sofa for the rest of the night under the 'Sleep On It' rule of frogging decisions. When I saw it again this morning I just knew I couldn't live with the mistake - it has to be ripped, frogged, undone or whatever.

And another thing, I just can't wear these colours. I held it up against my face and against black and against white and I held it this way and that way but the bottom line is:- I just can't wear these colours - it needs to be more like the photo on the website, I just can't tolerate fuschia pink and orange.

So I've really crashed my bike - now the decision I have to make is this; Do I try to repair my Bike and get back on to finish the race (aka overdye the skeins to make something more acceptable) or do I Buy a new bike (aka start a new project for the KAL). What shall I do???

P.S. Yes it really has rained every day since the Tour started. So far 3 people (including you Meg!) are out of the running and there are still 31 of you still in the race. Keep checking the blog - the top post gets updated every day!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

I'm in a huge rush today......

I have to go to the Supermarket
Wrap 6 or 7 books that I sold on eBay and post them
Update the competition
Blog my Tour de France progress
Aattend my eldest's School Production of the Wizard of Oz
Sneak out of that before the end to pick-up my younger son from Nursery
Sneak back in to the Wizard of Oz before the end and clap like mad

and all before 3:30pm

Here's my 'Skin of the Sea', I'm about half way across the back piece and I apologise for the colour changes - that's the electric light.

Here's a close-up of the stitch pattern, which I am really enjoying, although after knitting socks for a couple of weeks this is like knitting with string and broomstick handles and I can't believe how fast it's growing!

Right that's all I've got time for - gotta earn that Green Jersey today!!

Sunday, 8 July 2007

L'echantillon.....The Swatch

L'enchantillon est finis!!
Got gauge too so I'm chuffed. The colours are very scary - a lot brighter than I would normally choose but I'll go with them for now.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Il Pleut - Le Competition de La Tour de France

In honour of the Tour de France KAL I am holding my very first Blog competition......

It has rained here every day for the last 14 days - I don't mean that it is raining all the time, just that every day we have had some and I am getting tired of it. So let's add some fun to the rain!!!
All you have to do to enter is guess how many days, during the Tour de France race, rain will fall on my house....

The Prizes
For some lucky people in the world it is not raining, in fact it is very hot so you may choose one of the following as your prize.....
1. Green & Blacks Organic Chocolate in 2 flavours of your choice. Absolutely gorgeous.
2. Schaefer Ann Sock Yarn in Burgundy/Wine colourway.
3. 200g of Top Quality Sari Silk - washed and softened and NOT smelly!
4. A copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitting Almanac.

Et 'Un Prix pour La Lanterne Rouge'....as suggested by Meg for the person who gets it most wrong. Une parapluie!!!

The Rules
1. Email your answers - whole numbers only please, there are no fractions of rain - to me at Nikki[at] greengreenplanet [dot] com. Entries by July 7th Midnight BST (British Summer Time- that's 11pm GMT)
2. My children will be keeping a chart from 3pm July 7th (start of the race) to July 29th (whatever time the winner crosses the line) logging the rainfall. At night they will be leaving a 'Rain Collector' in the garden in case it rains during the night.
3. My eldest son's word on whether or not it rained is final!!
4. In the event of a tie there will be a tie-break question also to do with the weather.

Friday, 6 July 2007


Allow me to introduce you to my friend's home made Swift. She made it herself out of pieces of softwood from the DIY store and some tools. It all comes to pieces so it can be stored flat. She lent it to me because I was dyeing and having to hand wind the skeins round the end of my kitchen table and it wobbles a bit but it works and I think it's great.

So when my husband saw it he said "I can make you one of those" and I said, "Thanks, that would be fantastic." So a few minutes later he came downstairs with this hilarious offering.......

Made out of the kids' Meccano. It isn't a square - more a trapezoid but it does actually work and the spindle in the middle rotates really smoothly and it doesn't wobble. Both boys thought it was hilarious and took it upstairs to play with it, winding some of my cheap and nasty acrylic round and round.

But then yesterday I received a package from my SP - she'd said it was going to be small and after her brilliant, way over the top 2nd package I wasn't surprised. After all everybody has a budget and sometimes bills just have to be paid and you can't spend money on your stash or on your SP. But the postman brought a bulky, heavy package and in it was this...

A truly generous, totally unnecessary, brought tears to my eyes gift - A handmade Swift from Sublime Spindles. Made from ethically sourced hardwood with a brass spindle, felt on the bottom so it doesn't slip across my table, the arms even fold up so I can store it neatly (although I don't belong in the same sentence as the word neat).

And there was chocolate - real plain dark organic chocolate and a handmade card she had made herself. Words fail me, I can't thank her enough for her generosity. I've emailed her on both her email addresses but she must be offline - so WanderLust Knits, if you are reading this a) check your email addresses, b) I nominated you for Best Pal and you so deserve to win and c) I've sent you something in the post as a thank you, it doesn't come anywhere near what you've just sent me but I'm hoping it will make you happy for a little while.

P.S. Can you see how dark and dingy these photos are? They were taken next to a floor to ceiling window in what passes for natural daylight in these parts - yes it's raining again!!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

SP11 Sign-ups are Open!!


Swapping starts in September so it won't clash with any Summer Activities I might organise.
SP10 has been great although I still don't know who Secret Squirrel is and I haven't tried very hard to find out either as that would spoil the surprise.
I'm guessing that she's American as she uses phrases that are definitely not 'The Queen's English' e.g. gussied up and there is something about her written English and handwriting that just says she's not a Native Brit. She does live here though as her parcels come by Royal Mail from London.
Secret Squirrel is good at taking close-up photos of flowers - she has sent me some great ones.
Secret Squirrel doesn't have kids - she hand embroidered my needle case with complicated Celtic knotwork and it must have taken hours - far longer than knitting something so she must have 'time on her hands' (lucky lucky person).
That's about all I've managed to come up with and she's done a good job of hiding her identity so WELL DONE Secret Squirrel. Can't wait until her last gift arrives and I find out who she is.

And my own Secret Pal? Well I can't say just yet as her final package hasn't arrived yet.....

Joining In

I'm not one of life's 'Joiners'. I prefer to do my own thing.

BUT I have joined two KALs for the summer so I have something to do on the knitting front.

I'm in the Tour de France KAL as a Green Jersey - this means that I have undertaken to start and finish a project during the race. I'll be knitting this......Skin of the Sea by Ilga Leja
in this..... Hipknits Aran Silk - colourway Vibrant.

I have also signed up for Mystery Stole 3 after Knitting Nanny (my Secret Summer Santa) suggested it. I made a 1.5hr round trip in the rain yesterday to fetch the beads and a crochet hook from Hobbycraft but almost cried when I got home and found that the hook won't go through the beads. The size of hooks being used by others in the group varies through 1mm, 0.9mm and 0.75mm - all with 8/0 beads and having no problems - others are having to use 0.6mm hooks. If the size of the bead is fixed at 8/0 why aren't the holes the same size for every bead? I've been in Manufacturing all my working life - making parts for cars (amongst other things) that are measured in MICRONS and every part you make has to be exactly the same. So why can't the bead manufacturers do the same thing????? Today I'll be making my own hook out of fuse wire and ordering the Jaggerspun Zephyr in Ebony as I want a black stole.

Sign-ups for both close 6th July so get in quick if you want to have a little KAL fun.