Sunday, November 27, 2011

Scottish Sundays: Drifting towards a goal

As any knitter will tell you, it's very difficult to move purposefully towards a goal when there's a lovely soft skein of yarn eye-balling you from the top of your stash. I *know* I should be more structured about planning, lists, setting goals and sticking to them. Startitis is really just a symptom of an underlying problem: lack of finishitis or fear of the unknown.
Even though this is not a WIP-post, any progress towards any sort of goal has been delayed by some cashmere/angora/lambswool mix, some Shetland and some random other things from stash. 

I made a list of things to do. I could have done some things on the list, but I just couldn't get myself to do it. I'm not sure it's all just me, but I dare blame the weather and lack of sunlight a teensy weensy bit as well. I just can't be bothered to leave the house, to "go and do" or to be torn away from my craft area, my podcasts and my yarns. I've more or less prepared a few things I can do during lunch break at work (like taking the expensive leather shoulderbag to the mender's again, or getting the battery of my watch replaced) because I'll be around there anyway. 
Instead of finishing off some to-be-sent-off SWAP thingies, I'm in the process of re-knitting the Mystery KAL (halfway there). I tidied, some. I laundry-ed, some. I started another Christmas Knit. All stuff that needs doing at some point, just maybe not exactly now. 

Instead of striding towards a goal I'm more or less drifting towards it. I'm hoping for some rapids to be honest...

In pictures this week, some boats we encountered in Bonny Sunny Scotland.

I know exactly where I took this picture. There's a little harbour near the Gaelic Whiskey Distillery on Skye. The sun was out, as you can see. As you will also have spotted, this boat is sitting on the grass. I'm not entirely certain it's still in use. 

I mentioned this boat in the last instalment of the Scottish Sundays: the turn-table ferry that takes you from a tip of Skye over to Glenelg. I try to take it whenever I can because I adore the thing. It's a lot like being taken onto a play toy, with dogs running around where they shouldn't and if you're lucky a seal or two popping up out of the water to check you out. It's not really breaking the bank, and it takes you to an area of the Western Highlands I love. What's more to want? Oh, right, there's only one of them left in operation, so I don't mind spending some of my hard-earned money on it. There appears to be a donation button on their website, so if you're looking to spend some cash, you might want to think about the Skyeferry. It even has a blog!

Couldn't leave you without a picture of Scotland's! Only! Floating! Pub! ('t was the sign that took us onto a side road). The Eagle Barge seems to have a Facebook page which makes this floating pub even more impressive. It's situated by the Laggan Locks. Locks always intrigue me. I think they are wonderful things, and I think I want to experience one from inside a boat once. I'll put that on my bucket list...*

Anywho, must get on. I think I'll treat these lists like I treat candy. Eat it all in as few sittings as I can so it's gone the next day. Hats, balls, etc. 

* we all know by now how Great I am at following lists... Any tips welcome. Or you can come and finish them for me.**
** ultimate wish: someone to finish my lists for me. All applications welcome. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Frogs*

[insert sad face here]

Oh yes, I took some pictures. Some essential knitting got done, and some more knitting got messed up.

How sad is that? My lovely dear Chawton mittens by the quite impressive Annie Bee** which appeared in Jane Austen Knits by Interweave Press (she blogs about it here). Not quite gone, but also not quite as great as they were. I had to give in and admit that either my gauge was enormously off (even at a smaller needle size) or my hands are freakishly small compared to a normal medium sized mitten wearing hand. Either way, I was going to end up with a lot more mitten than my hands can fill, so I gathered up courage and devised a cunning plan. As this isn't an organic sort of piece, there is rhythm to the colours. All I had to do is go back to a similar repeat and start the cameo there. I'll probably end up with a giant sized thumb either way. We'll see. 

You would think that would be the end of the misery. No such luck. In my effort to hurry along the mystery KAL hat B by Woolly Wormhead***, I figured "almost 3.5"" would be just as good as "exactly 3.5"" in order to create a slouchy sort of hat. I haven't frogged it back yet, but that's just a matter of time. It barely covers my ears when I pull it down. No amount of blocking will save that, and it's not really acting like the shape I see in other samples of the species. I daren't even show you a picture, even if I had one I liked. More later, as they say.  

In good news, I love knitting the zwartbles. No more progress pictures on that though, as there isn't any actual progress as such. 

I will leave you today with some pictures of a finished thing!!!

Okay, breathe. yes I finished a thing. I knit my cousin an arm warmer for her birthday. It looks a bit like this, but with her hand in it, rather than my freakishly small one.

It is made out of handspun 2-ply fingering weight grey Shetland wool and unspun, undyed silk mawata's (or hankies). I knit it inside out, or rather, liked the inside so much I prefer it over the outside. 

It is 1x1 twisted, so there is a lot**** of stretch in it. While sitting snug on my freakishly small hand, I could insert the other freakishly small hand and have room to spare. I witnessed her trying it on, and it seems to sit okay against the skin. Hope it keeps her warm. 

The outside, now dubbed "inside", appears less interesting to my knitting eyes. I'm rather pleased with the final result actually. A fitting object! Unfortunately it has left me, and my muscle memory, with a distinct dislike of 1x1 ribbing. Twisted or not. 

I would end on a high note, but I've just found out that one of my knitting podcasts, CaithnessCraftCollective by the lovely loopy Louise, is not yet publishing a much anticipated section. In good news, it means the rest of the episode will load faster. Small blessings. In the mean time, I'm catching up on multicrafting Martine of iMake fame's back catalogue of podcasts, so all is well. You should check them out if you're that way inclined!

*no actual frogs were hurt during the making of this blog
**not an actual Bee
***not really a head of Worms
****an enormous amount

Monday, November 21, 2011

Scottish Sundays (or mondays): On the Road Again

On. The. Road.

There was a time when I explored Scotland on foot and by train, under water (unplanned) and by postal service. These days I see a lot more of the country, because I get to drive on little country lanes which are too far away to reach by foot or train and possibly even by postal service. Even better, I get to choose when to travel and when to stay. I know it's not the best thing for the planet as a whole, but then again, I camp, leave no litter and inject what little I have to spend in the communities I reach by this mode of travel. Plus, I really like driving through Scotland. Open roads, mountainous tracks, glorious skies, I love them all.

Whenever the Photographer and I get to spend any amount of time together, a large proportion of that time is spent in a car. In a month's time, I'm off on a road trip, as it happens. This road trip will not take me very far, only about an hour and a bit, if traffic allows. I will then continue my journey on foot, by plane, some more footing, and a "bit" more flying, even more footing and a 2 hour road trip. After all of that I get to collapse on my own bed. I haven't slept in that bed for 2 years. It'll be an experience...

As this trip is in the future and I *still* don't own a Tardis (HINT, Photographer, HINT), I can't show you any pictures of it yet. Instead, some images from our last Big Scottish Road Trip.

Ah yes, roller coaster road. Twist and turns and ups and downs. Absolutely the best way to drive all the way up to the north coast, drive wise. Also probably sunshine wise. And a soft verge to land in. 

Why yes, that IS the late Queen Mum's royal car park. Sort of. It's the car park at the Castle of Mey. Which happens to be the late Queen Mum's castle. So what I'm a little obsessed with it? There was a basket of sample balls of yarn for HM the late Queen Mum at the entrance. Sheep! 

You might recognize the view from a movie. Highlander. Filmed in, you guessed, the Highlands. They probably left the road out though. I'm sure it wasn't there in the times they were trying to depict. We got muddy and climbed up a hill for that, you know?

The Cuilins, creating their own weather system. Just because they can. One of the great landmarks of the Isle of Skye. If I were an old God of some kind, I'd pick that as my home. Totally.

On the way to the little turn table ferry, I think that might be a distant view of the Five Sisters of Kintail. Correct me if I'm wrong on this. Lovely road to drive on, as the ferry can only fit a few vehicles at a time. A maximum number of vehicles coming towards you. Not counting the locals....

A better and positively certain view of the Five Sisters, taken on the road to Ratagan from the little ferry. I walked around there once, it's a stunning place. Also quite muddy at times...

Not, I repeat NOT ROAD KILL. 

There, I hope you enjoyed a few of our road trip pictures. 
Next month's road trip will look a little different, but I'll make sure to show you then. In the mean time, let me know: 

What's your best road trip ever?

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Due to Blogger being rather silly about pictures uploaded through Picasa3, tonight's allocated blogging time has been consumed by re-uploading last posts' pictures. Please enjoy the bird until this bird works out how to make orf's into jpg's more quickly. Or tomorrow, whichever comes first.

Thank you for understanding

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Regular Schedule Interruption - A Message of Importance

Would you?

I would, have and will.

Thank you Sweetie, for 5 of the most wonderful and weird years. Ever.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday, fibery, knittery, but not so much finishery-ed

Or how I knit a lot of stitches but didn't *actually* finish a thing.

Above, Sangria. Last week I posted pictures of the 3 plies, and this is how she spun up. A lovely 3-ply, and I'm almost certain of what she might be. Mittens. Possibly. Or maybe a hat. I need more hats, my ears get cold on the way to work each morning. I blame the glasses, and the freezing temperatures. Wasn't it just last week we got to prance around in shorts? (not really, but close enough)

Above is one half of the next instalment of the Diva Dosis Fiber Club, called Doctor. (House, md) It is in the process of being turned into a thread of yarn, together with the other half. There is an amazing amount of yarn in this batt.

Ah, yes, the Shilasdair luxury 4-ply. It's turning into a Mystery Knit-A-Long Hat, which means I can't show you. Ha. I'm on schedule with this one.

Louise gave me some zwartbles when I visited her, in exchange for some alpaca that I appear to be allergic to. The coloured bits are Dutch Wool Diva minibatts, spun in colour sequence. Together they are turning into something else.

Manu, earlier this year. Still not done. Weather commands I finish it soon. Maybe.

 This has turned into a short sleeve cardigan. Can't actually find a picture for it. I know I put it somewhere...

Same with that. Lovely fingerless mittens, I wear them a lot. I just don't have a finished picture...

Next week should be all about finished things, with actual pictures of the finished items. Maybe... Maybe I'll even get to terms with this new camera. Maybe...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scottish Sundays, not so very wild

As you *might* have gathered, I'm a bit of a fan. Of Scotland, I mean. I've never managed to be a fan in the way my friends at school were. I managed to cut up magazines and glue pictures into a folder, but I was never all that enthusiastic about it. Come to think of it, although many conversations were centered around New Kids on the Block, I manage to only remember the Wahlberg dude, because his brother went on to become an actor. I fear I must've given away my age, but that's ok. A few weeks ago I celebrated two threes. Yes, I dare say it out loud, I'm 33 years old. Already. What happened?

Anyway, back to fan-dom. I'm sure I only get to see the nice bits of Scotland, and that's why I love it so much. But, I did wander around in mud and snow, I've slept in freezing conditions (indoors, would you believe) and I've been rained upon a number of times. I've taken unexpected dips, pushed myself beyond my limits to reach mountain tops and driven the deathy road of deaths and lived to tell the tale. I have outrun, swathed and screamed at millions of midges. And I still love being there.

Today, I thought I would share a few pictures of animals we took on our last trip. The Photographer happens to also like Scotland a lot. Which is why I like him so much. Duh. He also took most of the pictures.
We didn't spot many or any deer or seals or otters or interesting birds this year. I'm not sure if this is because of our locations or the time of year, as we went a little later than usual. We did catch a few more 'garden' animals as you can see below. And before you ask, yes, those are the late Queen mum's Angus'.





Over the next weeks I'll pick some pictures with a different theme. How would you like to see a mountain create its own weather system?
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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

WIP Wednesdays, or how I didn't forget...

...Though I would understand if you thought I had.
As it turns out, I didn't forget. I just happened to be living in a parallel universe for a while. Glimpses of that universe turned up here, and then it went quiet. No more of that, I'm back!
I'll tell you all about that odd place I lived in for almost three months in a later post. Mostly because any visual proof is stuck on an external harddrive in a format not supported by the Internets. You can blame the Photographer for that.

Since being back on this planet, a herd of newborns has arrived as well. Hence the boots below. There's another Tometen in the making, it only needs finishing and buttons really. There has also been some spinning. What there has not been is the finishing of the elusive Manu. Three pocket sides, armpits and ends. Truly a never ending cardigan. I hope it fits...

I'll be back with more, later. It's good to be here
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