Sunday, December 31, 2006

Who Ya Gonna Call?

I've received an advance copy of the February issue of Simply Knitting (lovely stitch markers as the free gift!). I'm delighted to see how well my crocheted Stashbuster Serape has been staged and photographed. I was really in two minds, when I sent it off, about whether it should be shorter and wider. It looks most luxurious on the model, however, and I'm glad I left it as it was. It's designed as a project for which you choose your own yarns from stash (obviously). Just in case anyone wants to know what yarns I used for mine, here they are:
  • Elle Monet (278 – Pisarro)
  • Texere Recycled Yarn (discontinued)
  • Red Heart Plush (9536 Lt Purple)
  • Wendy Precious Moments (197) (discontinued)
  • Rowan Calmer (484 Lucky)
  • Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (502 Pea Green)
  • King Cole Merino Blend DK (69 Olive)
  • Cygnet Wool-Rich 4-ply (0268 Olive)
I also supplied an alternative knitted pattern for this, which is something I'm considering doing in future in my more simply constructed items. If a garment is made out of basic shapes, then it should be just as easy to make those shapes by knitting or by crochet. Of course the crochet will take more yarn (about a third as much again seems to be the accepted wisdom), so the crochet versions will drape a little differently; but I like to give people the choice...

Still on the subject of using what you have, instead of buying new, I have to share with you a few lines from a book which my sister found for me on her bookshelves. It's from 1943, and is called New Life For Old Clothes by Gertrude Mason. I imagine it would have been a remarkably popular book during the War – with clothes and yarn both being rationed. This comes at the end of a description of how to create a bath robe from a bathing wrap and an out-of-date swimsuit:
Remove the skirt from the swim suit and cut the lower part of the sleeves from it. Cut the facings for the lapels from the body part of the suit, using the front of the pattern as a guide. The trunks should provide sufficient material for belt and pocket, and a small back collar if required.
I know that bathing costumes used to be more decorous, but it sounds like this one was positively Victorian :)

The other book she brought for me is rather battered. It has lost its cover and the first and last few pages, so I have no idea what it's called or when exactly it was published. Judging by the copious photographs, it looks as if it comes from the 50s. It also contains advice on unravelling sweaters to use the wool for something else. I particularly enjoyed the child's pixie hood, made from a cut-up felted sweater!

I used to love pixie hoods. I looked like a gnome in them, but I still loved them...


"You did want it unravelling, didn't you?"

Friday, December 22, 2006

Comfort and joy

First, a newsflash: Santa's toyshop has been shut down, following inspection by Elfin Safety. Boom boom! I thengyow....

I know it's a little late for this year, but may I pass on my top Christmas tip? Don't send cards. Not that I don't like getting cards - I do - but since I've been ill, it's been an even bigger problem to get them all written and distributed than it was when I was well. So, a few years back, I announced that I would no longer be sending them. Instead, I donate the amount I would have spent to the Salvation Army, and it pays for them to supply a hamper and some presents to a family who wouldn't otherwise get them. Plus, of course, it saves resources!

Anyway - Happy Christmas to all my readers, and I hope Santa brings you all the things you asked for. Personally, I know it's unlikely that I will get David Tennant, but a girl can dream...


Tigger says: 'Don't drink and drive, just drink and nap...'

Monday, December 11, 2006

Zap! Kaplow! Blammo!

Thanks to everyone who left a comment last time. Getting comments is a bit like getting applause when you're on stage - it reassures you that there really are people out there, and you're not just whistling in the dark. (Good to see another Floyd fan, Steelbreeze!)

I want to give a little plug to a new craft zine, Proud to be Crafty. It's edited and produced by Alexandra Byrne, who blogs as LittleLixie. The current edition is the second; the first was limited to 50 copies and sold out in gratifyingly quick time. The new issue costs £1.50 and is available at

It is an endearing mixture of fun and interesting articles, including a fascinating piece on the online publishing service It also comes with an attractive length of Taos yarn to play with :)

I'm considering working with Richard to produce some video podcasts for the Knitting & Crochet Guild, as I can't go out to groups to run workshops and pass on my hints, tips, and expertise. Would anyone like to suggest a topic or area of knitting or crochet that particularly needs to be covered? Obviously I want to do topics that people are going to find useful, as well as entertaining, so I don't want to go off into areas in which nobody is interested.

I had hoped that I would get a bit of peace and quiet to concentrate on my knitting from last Friday onwards. Friday was the launch date for the new Nintendo games console, the Wii, and Richard has been telling me far more than I ever really needed - or wanted - to know about the damn thing for months. He'd preordered one at a shop in Durham, so he was able to go down there at 11:30pm on Thursday for their midnight launch. Of course, once he brought it back, he had to set it up to make sure it was working.

I think he got to sleep at about 4 o'clock...

Now, to be fair, I must admit that it is jolly good fun, although rather strenuous for those of us with puny muscles because its big selling point is its motion sensitive controller, which allows you to swing it to hit the tennis ball, roll the bowling ball, and box your virtual opponent. The one thing it can't do, however, is make Richard shut up about it. Instead of telling me how amazing it was going to be, he's now telling me how amazing it is.

Still, it could be worse, he could have painted his bedroom black and been listening to death metal...


Tigger says, "Nobody ever asks me if I want to play on the Wii..."

Monday, December 04, 2006

Happy Second Blogiversary!

Yes, gentle reader, it is two years to the day since the Doodles blog burst on to the stage. Well, it was more a tiptoe on in the back row of the chorus, but you know what I mean.

I missed last year's Blogiversary, because I was convinced, at the back of my mind, that I had started it quite a way into 2005 and by the time I realised, I'd already missed it...

So, you have my permission to eat twice as much cake, get twice as drunk, and sleep with twice as many ugly people as you would normally do when celebrating. Balloons, streamers, party hats, jelly and ice cream, pass the parcel, and being sick into your goody bag are all recommended.

I know that I have readers all over the place. I think it would make a great celebration if every reader (yes, this means you) left a comment, no matter how small. I'd love to hear from you all!


Tigger says, "Ooh! Did someone mention cake?"