Today I’m making… The Eren jumper

Good morning. Here we are again at Sunday and a nice long day of knitting ahead. It absolutely tipped down with rain here all day yesterday so that would have been a perfect day to make some progress with this jumper but I had a few things I needed to go to the next town along for so I spent the day getting drenched in between getting a hair cut, shopping (boring household things) and going to the post office.

So today the skies are clear and I’m staying indoors with YouTube, podcasts, Jewellery Maker and Sewing Quarter for company. Lovely. I’ll probably nip out to Costa later for a black forest hot chocolate but I really like a nice day in so I’m not that bothered if I don’t.

So here we are with today’s main project – the Eren jumper that I’m making for The Mister. I only have a female stand so please excuse the breastiness. Let me tell you, putting this on the stand still on the needles was not my best move. Getting it on was not easy and getting it off was worse. Even though I was careful I pinged the end caps off my needles and about 15 stitches came off. Thankfully alpaca yarn isn’t eager to unravel itself but it was a hairy moment.

Not that I’m not capable of picking up dropped stitches but I’d rather not. The yarn is locally produced at the fabulous Pennybridge Farm, they get it spun locally somewhere and sell the yarn in their farm shop. I bought five skeins and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that will be enough because I the chances of getting the exact same shade again are pretty low I would have thought. I’ll see where I am when I’ve finished the body before doing the rib, if I have to get another skein I’ll do the ribbing and neck in with that.

I would say the spinning of this yarn is generally excellent but there are the odd nubbly sections which we’re choosing to see as enhancing the natural beauty of the yarn, but best to let you know if that sort of thing bothers you. It is the softest most beautiful yarn and the colour is such a beautiful blend of pale faun. I’d happily knit with this again and again.

Can you see here the the colours? There’s a biscuitty beige, a taupe an almost yellow tone and also an underlying greyness that looks much more pronounced in this photo that in reality. Its beautiful. I cannot stress enough how enjoyable this is to knit with and the handle is a delight. We’re both in love with it.

I think they sell it for £14 a skein or 5 for £60 which is a very good price for alpaca. Its all undyed with very high welfare conditions.

This is the rear view, its going to have raglan sleeves and I’m pretty sure the neck will sit much higher than this, its just rolled a bit. Excuse the rumples, I’m using quite a small project bag to store it because it squishes up really small but it won’t fit in there much longer, certainly not when I get started on the sleeves. I estimate I have another 13 rows on the body to go, that will mean it will sit about hip length on The Mister.

There’s my Little Wren yarn bowl. That was also nearly a casualty of putting this jumper on the stand. At the point where the end cap pinged off I also nearly knocked the yarn bowl off its perch which would have been the end of that because we have hard floors and that’ how the last one went. Though you can buy kintsugi kits on Etsy and if I’d thought of it I would have got one to repair the last yarn bowl. That’s definitely what I’d do if I broke this one. I’m not going to break this one. I’m not.

Between bouts of knitting I’m reading this excellent book. A woman at work lent it to me, she said she couldn’t put it down and even thought about booking a day’s holiday to finish reading it. I can absolutely see why. Its so gripping. I’m going to buy The Mister a copy, he doesn’t get a lot of time to read so he’d need to have it for too long really and to be honest, it’s such a good book I feel bad for denying the author the royalties.

I can’t really tell you too much about it without giving any spoilers but basically this absolutely lovely guy has his world turned upside down on a spur of the moment decision. I said to my friend the other day that I know it’s not real, but I’m really worried about this guy. He’s such a nice person and I want things to be alright for him but I don’t think they will be.

As usual I’m limiting myself to 50 pages a day but I can completely see how you’d want to read the whole thing in one sitting, the descriptions are so evocative I can really see the characters, they seem so real its excruciating. I really think you should buy this book.

Rainy day reading

It’s raining again today so I’m having a lovely day indoors all snuggled up with lots of coffee, crafts, coursework and reading.


I’m only on page 58 of this book so this is in no way a full review, I’m terrible at book reviews anyway. This book was a recommendation from The Mister who heard William Sampson being interviewed on the radio – The Jeremy Vine show – and said he was really interesting. He read it on holiday years ago and loved it, it’s one of his all-time favourite books.

Basically, this guy is working in Saudi Arabia and gets arrested suspected of terrorism but it’s all a complete fabrication, bombs have gone off but the authorities tactics are that they’re not too bothered about investigating the crime, it’s more about finding a person to blame and then make up evidence to suit and get confessions using torture. It’s terrifying stuff.

What happens is awful but my first impressions are that these people all opened themselves to arrest. The people that have got in serious trouble are not from Saudi Arabia, they’re mainly Europeans and Americans who have chosen to live and work in a country that has very strict rules about behaviour, most obviously alcohol is illegal but also there are very strict rules about modesty and interaction between men and women. The author says most of the people he knew had gone to live and work there to dodge taxes, so to my mind these are people with a pretty dodgy moral footing to start with. We pay our taxes so that we can support a kind society. If you dodge your taxes you’re sticking two fingers up to social care, education, justice etc etc. Back to the book. These people then thought that it was ok for them to brew their own alcohol and even open illegal bars and clubs selling booze because they’re ‘ex pats’ so expect the police to turn a blind eye.

It’s not ok. It’s massively disrespectful. You can’t pitch up in another country and pick and choose which laws you think are appropriate. Sure campaign for change, absolutely highlight injustice but the arrogance of going to a ‘dry’ country and then engaging in a piss-up was always going to end in tears. Especially when you suspect the police and security to be corrupt and brutal. It’s a dangerous gamble to take for some crappy home brew.

So things start to go wrong. Someone has let off bombs and has injured some people so the police start raiding homes and arresting people when they find alcohol on the premises. I think terrible things are about to happen to this man and his friends and of course it shouldn’t have happened and their treatment is a disgrace to Saudi Arabia, but so far I don’t like these people.

I’m not confident that I’ll read this to the end, if the descriptions of torture are too graphic for me I’ll stop reading. The Mister wants to read this again so it’s a keeper but not something I would have chosen to read.

Sunday’s crafts – 6th October

Another nice long Sunday of crafts this weekend, because I’m doubly blessed with a rainy day and engineering works on the trains. I went to the next town along yesterday to watch Judy at the pictures. I’d really like to see it again but its only on for less than a week. I’m telling you that is the best film I’ve seen this year, its so sad but Renee Zellweger is incredible and the ending… my god if you’re not in tears at the end you’re a stone. I’ve also decided I want Judy’s last hair cut. So we’ll see how well taking a picture of Judy Garland into the hairdresser goes…

Anyway, that’s yesterday. I’ve been fairly productive this weekend.

Two large snoods listed in my Etsy shop and another off in the post,

I’ve been neglecting my Etsy shop quite a lot this year because I’m supposed to be concentrating on my City & Guilds in Hand Embroidery but I’ve managed to be behind with that all year too. Another rod to beat myself with.

So here is today’s entertainment. I always start at bottom left and work my way round clockwise. I’ve done one full round of these today already which is pretty good going for me, because I’m typing this at about half two and I’ve been up town to do a bit of boring shopping. I’m wandering off track.

First is the Eren jumper that I’m making for The Mister out of pure local alpaca yarn. It comes from Pennybridge Farm which is about a 15 minute drive away from where I live. The yarn is beautiful, its so soft and has a lovely halo without being at all prickly. I think its going to get even softer with washing. I can honestly say this is one of the nicest yarns I’ve ever knitted with.

I don’t know how well you can see it in this picture but the yarn has very slight tonal variations that don’t show in the garment but you do notice as you knit with it. Its just delightful, there are just once in a while little slightly darker patches in the blend, only for a stitch or two. Beautiful.

Maybe you can see it better here. Its definitely going to benefit from a blocking when it’s done because my tension changes from knitting in rows to where you knit the body in the round.

I’m really enjoying knitting this, this is the first garment I’ve made for him so I really want to make a good job of it.

Next is my current read. It’s been a while since I read F but that doesn’t really matter with these books. To be honest I think it’s better to leave a bit of a gap in between them or they’d get a bit samey. That’s not to say they’re not great books, they are. I’m loving this and I’m rationing myself to my usual 50 pages a day or I’d have this finished in a day or two. Its such an easy read and perfect for commuting or when you’ve only got time to read a few pages. A lot happens and there’s not much quiet time for Kinsey.

Here’s my cross stitch sample for my City & Guilds in hand embroidery, my own design. I’m really not a fan of counted thread embroidery so this is a right pain in the bum for me. I’m just not into all that counting and repeating the same stitch over and over. Oh and yes, I do know I shouldn’t leave my needle like that. I’m a low level rebel.

I am more than a bit worried I’m not going to complete this course in the time given.

Here’s a source of self-inflicted pain. I signed up to the Joji Locatelli sweater KAL because I’ve wanted to make the v-neck boxy forever (feels like) and so here it is. Or isn’t because I’m about to frog this for the second time. I’ve stuffed up the short rows and I want to switch from wraps and turns to German short rows. I’ve seen loads of pictures of people that have finished theirs and I’m starting again from scratch and haven’t made it to the shoulder ribbing yet.

This will be October’s GinPoodle. I haven’t cast it on yet. All I’ve done for this so far today is choose the yarn. I have a lot of donated acrylic to get through, I know it’s plastic and therefore bad but its better to knit what I have than let it go to landfill. I want to stop buying acrylic yarn in the future so one day the GinPoodles will be all natural but I don’t think that will happen for quite some time. In the meantime here is the current line up –

That’s all from me, I’ve got a massive stack of ironing to get though, a full laundry basket to wash and I want to move house this year so I need to clear out my wardrobe and cupboard and tidy up thing like my yarn stash because right now this place looks like it’s full of my stuff and I need to get it all out of sight. Its not a task I enjoy but I’ll feel 10lbs lighter when I’ve done it.

Today I’m making… fisherman’s rib scarf

I’m up to date with Etsy orders for snoods and I finished my Hermione’s Everyday Socks lady night so I can crack on with finishing one of my (literally) dozens of WIPS.

Course I’m not going to do that am I? Not when I have vast amounts of yarn just waiting to be cast on and a head full of ideas.

So I’ve cast on a fisherman’s rib scarf. Really simple, 4mm needles, 63 stitches and 100g of mystery light grey yarn from my enormous stash. I think this is acrylic 4 ply but the band is long gone so I can’t be sure.

Fisherman’s rib is just the most gorgeously squishy and soft stitch, perfect for a snuggly scarf.

I might knit 50g of this and see how long a scarf that gives me, if it looks like that’s not going to give me a really luxuriously long scarf I’ll add in a contrast but if it’s looking good I’ll carry on and finish it with either neon pom-poms or fringe.

My super stylish friend Michele (Yarn Aloud) has laid down a 2019 challenge to work through WIPs and stash yarn at a rate of 2 projects a month, I’ve signed up to that and I’m starting early with this. My aim is to avoid buying more yarn next year (but… Unravel….) and user up as much as poss so I can move on to buying from only no- kill flocks.

Also in this pic is my much loved green sheepy pyramid bag from I Knit (former home of my Hermione socks) which this scarf is going to live in and the next book I’m going to read which I think I’m going to live because I read his Wimbledon Poisoner book and loved that.

Today I’m Making… Hermione’s Everyday Socks

I’m always very behind on knitting trends but I can remember when everyone was going mad for these socks and I have been meaning to knit a pair. Do you like my bright purple fishnets? I wear them to work sometimes when I feel like alarming some Greys.

Now I’m not usually a pink loving woman but when West Yorkshire Spinners brought out their floral range of sock yarn I had to have the pink. I’d really like the peach shade too but I haven’t seen that in stock anywhere for ages.

I feel like this yarn and pattern are just made for each other, I love how the texture works with the dye pattern to make a sort of spiral stripe. I have heard of people not enjoying that little phenomenon but I think it’s a delight.

I might do a contrast heel and toe next time I make these. Hark at me! Next pair? I haven’t even finished one sock yet.

I’m finding this yarn is going a bit thick and thin and there have been some fluffy patches but nothing too alarming so far. I’m really hoping that I have a nice amount leftover to use as a contrast heel and toe on other socks, I should do because I like to wear quite short socks so mine are much shorter in the leg than the pattern says.

I’m also still reading Elmore Leonard’s Freaky Deaky which is very funny considering the story so I’m trying to eke it out a bit to make it last. It’s not at all what I thought it would be, I was worried it would be a hard nosed gangster book but it couldn’t be further from that.

Having said that I might end up finishing it tomorrow because I have no intention of leaving the house tomorrow, I went out twice today and it was cold and horrible. I’m not making that mistake again.

Today I’m Making… all the snoods

Today I’m making several snoods all at once, a Gin Poodle and a 1940s sweater.

The snoods have several days grave before they need to be posted to customers but I to post early if at all possible so I think I’ll have them all done by Tuesday at the latest.

I’ve already finished two snoods from this order, look at how little teal yarn was left! That was a slightly hairy moment, I can tell you. Sadly my supplier had stopped dying this shade so this is the last teal snood for the foreseeable. I’ll keep my eye out for a replacement, I really liked the teal but never got around to making one for me. Berk.

The sweater is the Pretty as a Picture 1940s sweater, all I need to do to finish it is finish the swag shown, sew it up and knit the neckline so I want to get all that done today if I can.

The Gin Poodle is just for my own amusement and because I only have three of them in my Etsy shop at the moment.

The book is my current read and to be honest I’m not that engaged with it. I’ve started skipping descriptions of dinosaur skeletons for instance. I think if you can skip bits of a book it’s not the book for you. I’m using it to give my wrist a rest now and then from crocheting snoods.

My best reads of 2017

Yeah, I know it’s March 2018 and I’m only just getting around to talking about my favourite reads of 2017, but you know I have a full time job and Etsy and so I don’t have as much spare time as I need. Plus who cares? No-one but me is setting the deadlines.

Last year I set myself a target of 33 books to read over the year on Goodreads’ reading challenge, but in the end I only read 24 but I choose not to care too much about that either because all that means is that I had more Etsy orders last year which is fantastic.

Out of those 33 books, I marked 13 in my book journal as being great reads, so here goes – sometimes when I look back over these I surprise myself..

January

I read three books in January and only really enjoyed one of them.

How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position by Tabish Khair
This is basically a modern comedy of errors, really good fun and the cover is larks to flash at the Daily Mail readers on the morning commute.

The worst book I read in January was one that was loaned to me by someone at work and was an anti sugar healthy eating book. Dullsville.

February

I read three books in Feb and only really enjoyed one.

The Foreshadowing – Marcus Sedgewick. Oh my that was a great book. It is written for young adults but there wasn’t anything childish about it. Really definitely recommend this one, its about a girl who suffers premonitions (its set during WW1) and no-one really believes her, its also about the limited freedom of young women of the time. I passed this one to Andy to read after me and he really enjoyed it too.

April

Oh no it took until April for me to really enjoy another book, but that was only two books so not so bad really.

The Glass Painter’s Daughter – Rachel Hore. Now this is one of those books that is passed on to you and you would never have read otherwise but it turned out to be a real page turner. Its about a woman who takes over her dying father’s stained glass business and gets a massive crush on the wrong man. Classic airport read stuff but don’t dismiss it for that, its well written and very enjoyable. The descriptions of the stained glass and processes are really evocative and beautiful.

May

The Hand that First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell. I won this book in a book swap game at the UK Bookcrossing Unconvention back whenever that was… Loved this book. Its about a woman who leaves suburbia as a very young woman looking for thrills and ends up drowning. Its all about the people she leaves behind and them remembering her life. Its such a good read, I was so glad to have read it and passed it on to someone at work and it made her cry. Sorry about the crying part but its a thrill to pass on a great book that chimes with other people too. Must read more Maggie O’Farrell.

June

Two great books in June!

Dangerious Liaisons – de Lados One of those rare books where the film adaptation stands on its own and one doesn’t spoil the other. The book of course is much more nuanced and has much more detail and depth but the film is just non-stop thrills – it’s actually my favourite film.

Mommie Dearest – Christina Crawford. Now this one I liked for all the wrong reasons. What a bitch. Poor Joanie. If ever a woman had a rough deal in life… Christina comes across as a spiteful, spoiled cow. No surprise to find she is ultimately cut out of the will. Serves her right. By the way, did you watch Feud? Wasn’t it just fabulous? I cried at the end.

July

Dead Kid Songs – Toby Litt. I am pretty sure I have read another of his books and didn’t like it so I wasn’t expecting to think much of this but I was so so wrong. Fantastic book about childhood and childhood allegiances and friendship. I loved this right up until the terribly clunky end which was crap but not so bad that the rest of the book was ruined. A close run thing though.

August

Four good books in August! No surprise that we went on holiday in August last year.

To the Edge of the Sky – Anhua Gao. Fascinating memoir of life in communist China. Not the most cheerful of poolside reading but I love books about life under communism. The unspeakable cruelty and fear, it fascinates me that people can actually want to cause that much unhappiness. Its extraordinary – what on earth do they get out of it? I know money and power and all that but really, the weight of the misery caused. Surely it isn’t worth it.

Driving Over Lemons – Chris Stewart. Great memoir about a guy who relocates to Andalucia, firstly on his own and then his wife joins him. Its so interesting, their lives are beyond grim to me but they love it. The characters in the area they live in are so colourful and all the plumbing problems and what have you they have to get over… really uplifting book in a ‘not in a million years’ type of way. When I finished reading this book I left it at the train station at Fleet and I’ve just found out its travelled on to South Africa! The person that read it after me really enjoyed it too.

The Palace of Curiosities – Rosie Garland. I definitely read this one in Bulgaria too. Pretty sure I left it in the ‘library’ at the hotel too. This is a magical realism book about a girl who is born covered in hair looking very much like a lion. She ends up being married to a sly pig of a travelling circus type and is completely taken in by him. Its about her waking up to the reality of her life and the people around her.

E is for Evidence – Sue Grafton. What do I need to say about the mighty Sue Grafton? Love these books, even though I’m only up to ‘E’ I fully intend to read the rest. They’re great light quick reads and yes I know the stories can be a bit silly but that’s a big part of their charm.

September

31 Dream Street – Lisa Jewell. Oh looks like I enjoy light reads more than I thought I did. This one is like a soap. Woman lives across the road from a shared house and becomes intrigued by the people that live there and disillusioned by her own life. It all comes right in the end.

Yarn Harlot – The Secret Life of a Knitter. You do have to be a knitter to get the most out of this book, its a riot if you are into knitting. I thought that her experiences would be somehow very different to mine because she is in America and has kids and all that but turns out there is a universal very funny truth of experience for knitters worldwide. Love her.