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A Write Maniac…

This is one of those days when I’m so incredibly relieved that I wrote the majority of this blog yesterday.  I’m currently in a nanowrimo induced walking coma.  You see, I was away this weekend visiting the lovely Jeni of Fyberspates and having a fantastic catch-up with her. I did manage to write 2000 words while I was away but there were still more to go last night. Tonight I have passed the 10k mark. I would be incredibly pleased if I wasn’t so exhausted!

Now to the crafty and visity stuff.

I had to rip my last project. I’d doubled two strands of worsted to knit a chunky pattern and had created a yarn that was far too thick. So it was basically a bit like knitting with cardboard and the resulting fabric wasn’t that dissimilar to cardboard either! So rip rip it went and I’m now knitting in Scrumptious chunky instead. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait until next week for pictures.

Jeni introduced me to the crack that is Burford Garden Centre. This place has magical properties over your wallet. It will effortlessly divest it of cash.

I bought some bulbs! Blue tulips and giant Alliums. Hopefully I’ll avoid what happened the last time I bought blue tulips. I bought some from a stall at the flower market in Amsterdam, planted them in some nice pots and then forgot about them. It must have been at least a year later when I remembered the blue tulips and realised that I’d not seen a single one. However I did have loads of yellow ones! Hopefully this lot will come up blue.

The mobile signal around Jeni’s cottage is non existent so my battery was eaten up quite quickly as it searched for a signal. As a result I didn’t take any pictures of Jeni’s unit and the many wonderful yarns inside.  Instead I offer you some pictures of Minty, Jeni’s lovely black and white cat sleeping before the fire in her cottage.


Minty is very fond of the wood burner.



Finished – Edinburgh Rock

I’m really pleased with how this turned out


Detail of the leaves


I’ve never blocked a scarf before but I’m tempted to block this one so that the yarn over design shows up


Another view


Unfortunately I don’t have anything new to show you this week. I’ve had to stop and start a few projects including, Wild as the Wind, where I’ve ripped everything out and changed the yarn and needles. Most of my energy this week has gone into decluttering, again. Yes, again. I seem to do this a couple of times a year. Well, I say that but what I really mean is that I take some things from one room and put them in another. This time I’ve been taking things to the tip and recycling centre instead. I have some bookcases on my landing and they used to have boxes of crap, sorry, I mean vitally important things, in front of them. They don’t anymore. This has brought the added benefit of my no longer having to do contortions in order to switch off the landing light. This is good.

My plan is to finish off the reorganising before my birthday on Saturday. I have next week off and hope to make another dress, watch a few fillums and possibly do a bit of cooking or baking. 🙂


Oh and my friend Shea Wong has an article in the Huffington Post today.




Not much of a Making Monday…

A short post this week because the shoulder pain I wrote about last time was the beginnings of shingles.  I’ve never had this before and assumed only older people suffered from it. Not true!  I’m dosed up on anti virals and two different painkillers but it’s not helping the pain a great deal. Shingles can’t be cured it just has to run its course. I hope that happens quickly!

So not much done but a little on Edinburgh Rock

Main body of Edinburgh Rock


Making Monday – Almond Comfit

An actual FO (finished object), my first in ages. It’s the Almond Comfit beret from Saturday Treat by Ysolda. It’s an usual pattern in that unlike others I’ve knit which begin at the crown or the ribbed brim, it begins at a point on the edge and the beret slowly builds up in the same way that a shawl does. In fact it was some time before it actually began to resemble a beret!

Once it did, it knit up quickly. The hardest things for me were the cast on which is in the figure 8 style – After reading comments on Ravelry I cheated and used Judy’s Magic Cast On – and grafting the last 12 stitches at the end. It was my first ever attempt at Kitchener stitch and I had to do it in two different patterns. But it was lovely to finish it and then block it on a dinner plate.

Here’s a picture of me wearing it in Cheddar Gorge yesterday.

Me wearing my new Almond Comfit beret in Cheddar Gorge

There’s a triple leaf design at the front which would have a been a bit more noticeable had I done my yarn overs properly, but I still like it. One other thing was that I knit the middle size and still had 40g of yarn left over afterwards.

We were hoping to see sweets being made at the Cheddar Gorge Sweet Kitchen but arrived too late for a demonstration. We’ll just have to go again which is fine by me as I love their choco limes! 🙂

Today was a Bank Holiday in the UK so I spent time of my time working on lining the bodice of the sweetheart dress as well as working on this – an Edinburgh Rock scarf in my remaining Empire Biscuit. I’m doing my yarn overs properly now 😉

Overexposed picture of Edinburgh Rock in Empire Biscuit in progress


Making Monday – WonderWool

On Saturday we went up to Builth Wells to the Royal Welsh Showground where I attended my first ever WonderWool.

As well as all of the yarn I was really pleased to see some sheep

Sheep tucking into some lunch

and my favourites, the Toft alpacas


Toft Alpacas


You Looking at Me?

There were also some Angora rabbits there but I didn’t see them.

I also recorded a couple of audioboos while I was there, you can hear the first – an interview with Chrissie Menzies, one of the organisers – here but the second one that I did with Lynne Seymore of Calon Yarns seems to have been eaten after it failed to upload a few times 🙁

Of course I bought a few things while I was there including this fab WonderWool charity bag in aid of the Air Ambulance



I’d been after the new Ysolda pattern book for Fyberspates Scrumptious yarns for a while so I got that plus three skeins of the aran in Empire Biscuit and one skein of aran in Sugar Mouse.

Delicious goodies from Fyberspates

I’ve already wound one of the skeins and cast on for the Almond Comfit beret.

A set of stitch markers and some lovely new darning needles


Some buttons which didn't photograph well


Pulsar sock yarn in shade Hyperspace by Sparkle Duck

and a very cute little something

A cute toy alpaca

It was a great show and so big! It’s just really nice to have something like this in Wales rather than having to travel further afield.

Fyberspates Open Weekend

I’ve still got lots of catchup posts to write but on Saturday the lovely Karen drove Doug and I to Jeni’s unit for the first day of the Fyberspates Open Weekend. And what a fab day it was filled with knitting, conversation and the eating of cakes!  What more could you ask for?

This was the first time I’d been to Jeni’s unit and look, there’s yarn every where!

Even bears love yarn.

Doug used to spin as a teenager and I had been hoping for ages to persuade him to try again. Alas spinning takes a lot of practice and letting more than twenty years pass doesn’t help.

Jeni’s mother Mary is an amzing baker and baked some lovely goodies

Some of Mary’s fabulous baked goods. I was able to get the recipe for the chocolate cake from Mary and hope to bake it soon 🙂

I managed to get Jen and Mary to pose for the camera but it was a bit difficult!

I had resolved to be strong around the lovely yarns and not purchase any since I do have a wall of yarn. But this lovely skein insisted on coming home with me. It’s and is rather difficult to capture the shade exactly. Be assured that it’s a rather rich, vibrant purple with a beautifully soft hand. I haven’t decided what this will be just yet but I feel that it is calling to be knit in a cabled design.

At one point Jen found some perspex yarn bobbins which I joked looked like knitters throwing stars! We tried to get Jen to pose as a knitting ninja for photos. I got her to wear a skein Lara Croft style but she wasn’t playing yarn ball 😉

It was wonderful to see Jen again, it was over a year since we’d last seen each other, and even better to see her in her element amongst her work 🙂 I need to do another interview with Jen sometime since the last time she was on KnitCast was five years ago. I’ve seen Jeni’s journey from the first time she began dying, to selling skeins on eBay, to giving up her old day job and working at Fyberspates fulltime. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see my friend do so well. And my god, she works so very hard. She deserves every success she gets and more.

Crafting a room, fraternal socks and “warning – contains health issues”

This has been a busy week again. I’ll write a proper post about it later this week, but in short, I had a fantastic time on Wednesday! It was wonderful  to meet Heather and Dianne and to see Amy, Brenda and Tonia again. And then in the evening there were so many knitters packed into Dempsey’s! It was just fantastic!

Doug and I have been busy turning what was my crap room into my craft room.

Yarn Stash!

I’ve wanted one of those IKEA Expedit Units for years 🙂 Still have a bit more work to do in the room though before I can start making things in there again.

I also managed to buy some yarn from King Becky.

King Becky's Halloween Yarn Candy

I’ve wanted to buy some of her yarn candy for ages now. I love the way she’s photographed some of her skeins as though they were lollipops. This yarn is called Ombre and it’s a two tone yarn. It’s half Black Cat and half Spellbound. I can’t wait to knit this! But I also can’t quite decide what to make from it. I’m veering towards gloves at the moment.  Since the black shade is caled Black Cat I’m hoping to get a picture of it with Emma soon. 🙂

Meanwhile two fraternal socks from Fyberspates sock yarn.  I can’t remember when I started knitting the first one but it lay in a bag on its own for many years before I decided to cast on for what would be its sibling rather than its mate. I knit the second sock from the outside of the ball rather than from the centre as I normally do and I think that may be why the shading is so different.

Purple Fyberspates socks

I realised too late that the first sock had a ribbed cuff rather than the rolled cuff I prefer now. So the second sock is now too long to start the cuff. My options are to try and fix some of the stitches by turning them into purls with a crochet hook or frog down and begin the cuff again. Think I’ll try the crochet hook method first. In the meantime, while I was tidying the craft room I found another Fyberspates sock in progress so that’s now on the needles instead.

Now, I’ve had some health issues recently and I’m going to write about them here but there’s a warning just before.

If you’re of a nervous disposition, easily squicked out or don’t want to read swear words then I recommend that you stop reading RIGHT NOW. Go and look at Jeni’s or King Becky’s yarns or something.

Ok. Sure you want to stick around for this? I wasn’t sure about posting this tonight but I had to write about it as part of trying to process it.

A few months ago I developed what appeared to be some eczema on one of my breasts which just wouldn’t clear up. It became a wound that wouldn’t heal. Because of where it was located I was referred to the local hospital. I was told that this was a routine measure.

And then I found out that I had to have a mammogram because of my age – ie I’m an oldster at being over 35. I started to panic a bit about that. I hadn’t felt any lumps or anything but I was nervous that some would be found. And I’d also heard about how you got squeezed which sounded awful. They basically flatten you out so that they can take a good image of the tissue. They FLATTEN you! The radiographer was lovely, really she was and understood how awkward it was. But my god, when she asked me if I’d heard of the “squish”!  Yeah, I didn’t look forward to that. A mammogram is a pretty painful procedure.

Today, a week after the mammogram, and I have my appointment with the consultant who looks at the area and tells me that although it resembles a type of cancer – at which point my head explodes because I had no idea that was such a thing – he doesn’t think it is that particular condition. They’ll have to take a skin biopsy. Ok, it’s not great but I was expecting that since they have to rule everything out. I’m told I’ll need a scan too. I go for the scan and the doctor there finds a dark area that she’s concerned about. I see it on the monitor and she says that it’s probably just inflamed tissue but she needs to take a biopsy too to rule things out. A deep needle biopsy. Suddenly I wish I’d had breakfast before I left the house earlier. As she explains what they need to do and that the biopsy needle device makes a bang like a stapler I  start becoming concerned that I may faint. That, since I’ve had to budge over so that she can sit on the bed to do the scan, I will faint and fall off the bed. “Do you understand what I’m saying or have you gone somewhere?” she asks. I’ve taken every word in but dear god if I could have gone somewhere, anywhere, I would have.

They give me two doses of local anaesthetic and that’s the most painful part of the procedure, really. Everything else is in my head. I try and distance myself, try and become detached, try not to think of the fucking big needle I’ve just seen. The needle that’s going where no needle should. I focus instead on bits of the room, looking at the ceiling. “It’s going to make a bang now” “Safety switch off” and the first stapling sound which once the needle is in me is a lot quieter and less scary than when they demonstrated the noise to me. The nurse is lovely, the doctor is very nice too but I focus more on the nurse. I had mentioned to her that my surname is Iranian, that it’s all I have of my father and that I’ll probably never be able to visit the country in my lifetime. On either the second or third biopsy she says “I bet you wish you were in Iran now.”! I don’t think she realises what she’s actually said! Bless her, she’s trying to be nice. I point out that that what happens to people over there is probably a lot worse than these biopsies.

I go back to the waiting area and rescue the stitches of my sock that have fallen off one of the needles. I try and focus on knitting but my mind is racing, my head’s everywhere. I go from thoughts of how it’ll be fine and that I’m a strong person, to wanting to cry. It seems silly since it’ll probably be ok. I hate sitting in that waiting room. Really, really hate it. Earlier I heard a woman talking to her friend about how she’d found two more lumps in the same breast where she’d previously had a tumour removed. She’d decided that this time she would have a mastectomy. That does not add to my comfort levels. I wait and eventually I’m called for the skin biopsy. In the cubical it feels like an age before the nurse and consultant arrive although I’m sure it wasn’t that long. I’m freaking out in my head thinking of that darkened tissue. The anaesthetic injection seems more painful this time but this biopsy is a lot easier and is over very quickly.

I get my results on Thursday. I’m still veering between things being fine and worrying. I wrestled over whether to tell my mother about the procedures. I didn’t want her worrying about them but it would also have felt quite wrong to withhold the information. She won’t see this post because she dislikes using computers. I  was told some women go to the clinic end up having biopsies and don’t tell their husbands. I really can’t understand how they wouldn’t be able to notice though.

I can’t think how to end this blog now. I don’t want to leave you all on a downer but I can’t be super positive about it either. I still feel very up and down about things and will do so until I get my results on Thursday.

When knitting goes bad

So, I’ve developed a very recent addiction to knitting berets. The problem is that so far they’ve gone very wrong.

My first Rollin’ Beret from some Fyberspates Scrumptious that Jeni gave me a few years ago, was a joy to knit. That is until I finished it & found that it was more of a hat than a beret.

This is the Rollin' beret in comparison with the page boy cap I wear most days

I next cast on, using the same pattern, some Colinette Skye. I knit the medium size and was speeding along after the increases when I suddenly realised that my knitting was twisted.

Twisted knitting

There is always a risk of this happening while knitting in the round but it’s still really frustrating. It doesn’t matter how careful I am either after casting on to not twist the stitches while joining the knitting into a circle, it still happens. Happened twice with the first beret.

Now I’m deciding what to do next. Frog the silk beret and try again in a larger size? Try again in Skye? I need to be knitting something while on Radio Wales tomorrow morning so I have to decide tonight.

Well, since I originally posted this I’ve begun casting on in another Skye colourway. I wasn’t sure if I liked the one that became twisted. Hopefully I can keep this one straight but we’ll see.

Tomorrow I’m on the radio during the first hour of Jamie and Louise. It should be about 9.15, maybe just before. It’ll also be available to listen again after the broadcast on the BBC iPlayer Radio