Saturday, 31 January 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of the Weeeeeeek

Here we have a new weekly feature. I'm going to try and post them up every Saturday. Just me, having a chat about a pattern and the yarn to do it and any difficulties you might face. Plus a video:

This week we're talking about 4189. A brand new pattern brought out with the King Cole Opium Palette and it also includes the Opium and the beautiful Cosmos. The needles are mainly 5mm and 4mm but for some you'll need 3.25mm and a 5mm circular for the Twirly Scarf because it's got so many stitches. Also, there's a little cable version in there so don't forget your cable needle.

Now, I wanted to talk about this pattern because of the sheer amount of inspiration you get. Ten different ideas! TEN! In one pattern. That's madness. Essentially, there are six different patterns but each one is shown in different yarns/colours/combinations and that adds up to ten. I was a bit blown away when the rep showed it to me.

 I'm going to talk you through my three favourites. I've got to show you this one first - inspiringly called 'Wrap 1 (Mesh)' (thanks for that King Cole...).

 Why do I have to talk about this one first? Because it's the one that made me pick up the yarn and knit the bloody thing, that's why. It was a toss up between this one and the next but I'll explain my reasoning on that in a second. This is a really simple lace repeat. Four rows and two of those and purl. The other two are so simple it hurts and do you know what? In this yarn, it works! I was a little worried when starting that I'd be bored soon and never finish it but I can't see myself finishing this - in fact it's about half done already and given that I've knitted a shawl and beaded a necklace and half an earring in between (aswell and running the shop, yogaing, tidying and blogging like I've never blogged before apparently) that's pretty good going. I am thrilled with it. Thrilled.

 That is, in fact, the photo that I showed you t'other day (on the blog introducing the Opium Palette) because, in the interests of all honesty, it looks the same all the way through so there's no point me taking any more photos - it's a good ten inches longer now though! Anyway, this would be a really good introduction to lace. I do say this about a lot of King Cole's lace patterns and it's simply because they work. The repeats are never the monstrous 40 row things you sometimes get, nor are the charted (which I adore but scare a lot of newbie lacers) and they're made to appeal to the masses. This does mean that if you're a bit more experienced it's probably not the pattern for you unless, like me, you need something simple, repetitive and rewarding right at this very minute. Luckily - if you're not in that mood - we've got something else for you:

This beaut! This is the one I nearly did and the reason I didn't is because I was desperate to use the Carib Blue (a.k.a. the Mermaid) both because I love it and because the rep gave me a free bag of it. There is a version of this wrap (inspiringly named 'Wrap 2 (Lace)'....) in the Opium Palette and it does look good but the plain colours of the original Opium really allow the stitch pattern to shine don't they? Don't let me turn you off if you've got a need for the Palette and this Wrap 2 (Lace) though - what do I know...?

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a horrifically difficult lace pattern. It's 20 rows long but actually it's 10 rows long because it's the same repeat just shunted along a bit. Hang on, I'm gonna try and draw that for you...

I really am a true artist.

But can you see that the green and red diamonds are just the same thing but you start the green ones further along the row (and perhaps knit either a half a diamond or a bit of plain knitting until you get to where you start the full diamond). The key to a pattern like this (here's your top tip for today) is to find where the motif starts. Mostly these things start with one stitch and you increase in or around that stitch until you get to the proper width and then you decrease either at each side or in the middle of the leaf until you get back to the one stitch. Whilst you're increasing on that leaf you're decreasing on the leaves beside it and whilst you're decreasing you'll be increasing the stitches on either side leaf. Yeah? So the key is to find that initial stitch - you might keep that stitch going throughout the pattern or you might decrease it completely out and have to reform it on the first row of the pattern repeat but there will always be that one little stitch in a pattern like this. Does that help at all?

Anyway, the next one I wanted to talk about is this little beaut:

Which is a cabled scarf! Guess what they called it...

 'Scarf 3 (Cabled)'. 

Well done King Cole... 

So, I wanted to talk about this because I'm always like 'you can't do anything much with Opium, just let the texture, colour and good times rooooooooll' but what King Cole have proved to me in this pattern (and this one) is that cables CAN work! Simple ones. Not the ones that veer all over the place with moss stitch inside and fancy hearts and diamonds but a good bog standard cable looks BEAUTIFUL! How did I not know?!!?! I'm gonna call it that if you haven't ever cabled before, this pattern with this yarn is probably not the way to go. It takes people some time to get their head around the thick and thin bobbly nature of the yarn in the first place and then adding cables and working out knits and purls is probably a bit much but if you've cabled before and fancy something simple and repetitive in a beautiful, soft and squidgy yarn then this is the one for you!

We're coming to the end of this in depth look into the pattern and I wanted to let you know that these don't necessarily have to knit these patterns in the Opium or the Opium Palette. They're clever little things that would be amazing in any yarn - probably a DK and probably the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyootiful Cottonsoft! Oooooooooooooweeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Love Eleanor. xxxxxx

Friday, 30 January 2015

A Truly Classy Yarn

I stole the title from yesterday's blog because apparently all we now stock is bloody classeh yarn! Ahhhhhhhhhhh laceweight how I love thee! I am a MASSIVE fan of laceweight and I've been looking for a long time for something suitable for the shop - in terms of colour, texture and probably most importantly, price. I was introduced to Navia when I went to collect my award (for Best Yarn Shop in the Midlands as voted by you, thank you very much *smug look*) and we happened upon their stall. Such an array of colours! Such a deep, crunchy hand! Such a lovely bloody woman! I took some details, she took some details and then I forgot about her. She didn't forget about me though - she sent me a big old book of colourways, patterns and a couple of free balls of yarn. I couldn't not get it once I'd got my greasy mitts on it - the problem was, which one? They do a 4ply and a DK/Aran too. But we have a lot of those. There really was only one answer.

Now, there really is a lot that you can do with laceweight - not just shawls - have you seen the Featherweight Cardigan?

 Don't be scared of laceweight garments - it's unlikely that you'll use the 'proper' needles for the yarn - more like a 3.75mm or a 4mm to get the drape, so it really is more similar to a DK. That's the way of it for shawls too. This one here:

was knitted on 5mm needles. This is the Ethereal pattern, free from Ravelry in the Red of the Navia Uno. I got a bit caught up in the main body pattern and didn't end up being able to do the edging (which is the part of the pattern that I think really stands out) because I definitely wanted to do it in one ball, just to show what could be done with one measly little ball. I think I'll redo it at some point with two balls and get the full effect of it. Lovely. 

 I also took some photos for you to show the effect of blocking. We talk about how important it is but it's never more important that working with wool and lace:

Neither particularly good photos but - same bed, same shawl, same day. Look how different it looks. And when you unpin a blocked shawl done in wool it should stay where you put it. 

Just beautiful isn't it? Amazing. I can't believe that this came out of my little fingers. Imagine. Anyway. Part of what makes this so amazing is the yarn - most of what makes it so amazing actually. So, I suggest you grab yourself a ball or two of this beautiful Navia Uno and smash out something small and lacy and see how amazing you can be too.

 I must admit, not all of the colours that I ordered turned up which is a bit frustrating because it doesn't create such a beautiful visual rainbow on the shelf. But each colour that has turned up is a stunner. I have a particular fondness for the Red obviously, but the Fir is also calling to me:

 The Pastel Blue (second in from the left) has been the biggest winner in the shop so far and the Charcoal (hidden towards the right - brill photo!). Here's a better one for you:

I'm pleased we've ended up with all of the 'main' colours and I've got a real hankering for something that includes all of the top line in that order. Haven't you? Come back in a couple of days and we'll discuss something.... ;)

So, in conclusion, we've got the best yarn ever. It makes amazing lace. The colours are stunning. It's a proper wool with defined breeds. And it's only £5 a ball. That's ridonkulous. We're too good to you.

Navia Uno - the yarn of my heart.

Love Eleanor.   

Thursday, 29 January 2015

NeW yArN nEw YaRn

There's a variation on the 'new yarn' title. Really, I wanted to call this 'A Truly Classy Yarn' because it actually is. I don't really know when my love affair with Cottonsoft started. It wasn't when it first came in funnily enough, although I loved it as I love everything in the shop. Maybe it's when I first made a shawl in it? A long departed Fantasm in black (I hope whoever has it now loves it as much as I did). But by the time I made this beaut:

(My version of the Sophia Loren from Knitty) my love affair was well and truly underway. And, as if I couldn't love it any more than I already do, they've now upped the colours so that we have a RAINBOW!!! Praise be for King Cole!!!

It may look like nothing in a little line like that (though, I defy anybody to not fall in love with the Hibiscus - ooooowee!) but when it's on a shelf it is HOT STUFF!

 See the rainbow. Taste the rainbow. Bloody knit the rainbow! IDEAS FOLKS! IDEAS!

Anyway, they've released four brand new, a not necessarily easy patterns. The beauts:

An easy to wear top with a stunning little lace pattern. 4156. Not my fave though. 

Another easy to wear top with a gorgeous lace pattern. This one has DOUBLE DECREASES! Get in King Cole - welcome to our world! :) 4157. A contender for a shop sample but not my fave.

The pattern that I can most see myself wearing - less slouchy, a bit more formal but still easy on the eye and absolutely wearable and it's got a cheeky little cable. 4158. Not my fave though. 

MY FAVOURITE! 4159. And how frustrating that you can't see the bloody lace pattern. Hang on. Let me try and get a better photo for you. 

Talking of cheeky little cables... ISN'T THAT LOVELY! It's like a faggoted lace interspersed with a little polka dot of a cable. The rest of the pattern needs changing for my liking - not least the colour (to each their own and all that...). Also, there's picot everywhere - overkill.  And I'm not utterly convinced about the neckline. BUT THAT STITCH PATTERN THOUGH! Got my heart racing a little.  

 Having said that there are four patterns in the range, they've actually brought out a lovely classic bloke's pattern:

There's no reason that men should miss out on the beautiful softness of this yarn is there? And the model is better than the last one - even a hint of facial hair - not quite there yet though King Cole. Try harder next time. :) 4161.

I still have to finish my stole in the Opium Palette that I told you about yesterday, but in the interests of all honesty, I'm literally writing this half an hour after I published that one so I've got no further. Haha. Hopefully tonight, after the second episode of Wolf Hall I'll have got a bit further with it and then maybe over the weekend I can start something in these new colours?!?!! PLEASE?! MAYBE?! But, I've also found something to make in the stunning yarn that I'm introducing tomorrow so I may be persuaded elsewhere. SO MUCH TO KNIT SO LITTLE TIME (especially when you're writing three days worth of blog posts in one go...).
That's it, one more time for the google rankings - that's King Cole Cottonsoft and you can find the patterns by clicking here.

Love Eleanor. xxxxx

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

New Yarn New Yarn

I really need to think of a new title for this kind of post. They're always called 'New Yarn, New Yarn' or 'NEW YARN NEW YARN NEW YARN' or some variation thereof and to be honest I think it's probably because by the time I come to write these blogs I've either spent all day putting yarn on the shelf and tidying around that (harder than you think) and then getting everything on the internet or, and this is the case today, I've had far too many patterns to get on so I spent yesterday tidying and sorting and the whole of today internetting. It's a slow process - much quicker than it was now I've found my own little shortcuts.

[This post was started on the 23rd of January. It's now the 28th of January and I've only just got round to finishing it off. That goes some way to describing how busy we've been over the last week or so. BOOM! Anyway... back on with the blog...]

So, I have three (THREE) new yarns to talk about now. I'm going to take it one at a time because I love each and every one of them and they all deserve some time and attention. I'm going to start, just 'cos I can, with the new Opium Palette. Now, we all know and love the Opium don't we? It was one of the real success stories of 2013 and one of those amazing yarns that reignites people's passion for knitting - similar, but more tasteful (imho), to the scarf yarns. When the Opium first came in, it was out of stock for MONTHS. Seriously, months, so I've put a big old disclaimer at the top of this because I suspect this will be the same. In fact, by the amount I've already sold, I think it's almost definitely going that way. Wahey! Anyway, ignore this - let's look at the colours:

Aren't they great? One thing that I love is that they've moved away from the more pastel colours. Opium is one of the yarns that opened up my eyes to pastel colours and how subtle and beautiful they can look but I
must admit I am pleased that they've brought in the Ruby and Jade - I'm much more comfortable here.

Happily, they've not tried combining the plain and the prints together in the patterns - I do think that with a yarn so textured, you need to keep patterns plainer. However, they have started introduced basic cables:

3179 - beautiful yes?  

 And lace:

4182 - I am doing this for me. No doubts. 

AND! They've released this MEGA pattern - with TEN different patterns (well, some of them are versions of the same pattern but ten different inspirations shall we say?).

4189 - On some of these they've held together the Opium and Opium Palette with the amazing Cosmos AND IT LOOKS DIVINE! Because I really need to get something knitted up in the Palette - given that it's such an unusual yarn and people can be scared of that - I cast on one of the lace stoles from there and I've been knitting it slowly ever since. 

I'm so pleased with it! I chose this stole because it was knitted on the same needles as the cardigan that I've got on the go (that's not in Opium and nowhere near finished so I won't talk about it here, maybe another time. In fact, if it ends up as beautiful as I think it should then definitely another time) for me and I can justify knitting for me in the shop if I'm also knitting for the shop at the same time. I desperately want to cast this on:

The jumper that is. 4183. It's got a very simple knit and purl pattern throughout it and I can see my wearing that day in and day out. I also like the fact that they've started using the Bamboo Cotton DK for the ribs - I think it neatens everything up and it's been something that a lot of people have taken and used in other patterns. I'll cast that on once the stole's finished and I'm ready to cast on a shop sample jumper/cardigan in the Cottonsoft that I'm going to talk about tomorrow. Again, justifying knitting for me by knitting for the shop too.

Anyway, you can find all of the patterns for the new Opium colours and the Opium Palette by clicking here, if you've discounted it then I urge you to give it another chance. It's a pleasure to knit once you get past the initial 'omg, thick, thin, what do I do???' and it really does look something special doesn't it? Ahhhhh.

Love Eleanor. xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Can't Make New Beginnings...

Without finishing some old stuff. I am by no means finishing everything I've got on the go before starting anything else - that would be stupid - but after finishing the Pi Shawl that featured in the last blog post I must admit I'm a little bit inspired. Yesterday was my day off but I had an appointment for my ear mid afternoon which is the most frustrating thing isn't it? Can't get stuck into anything then, before or after. I woke up early because I'd promised the Boyf eggy bread and he can't cook eggs to save his life (amazeballs at pastry though so swings and roundabouts), did my yoga, had a shower, cleaned the kitchen and then what? There was a piece on This Morning about a transgender teen that I wanted to watch desperately and I never like to miss Loose Women - both of which need full, undivided attention because of heavy brain power needed you understand. I finished my socks on Saturday evening:

And still haven't sewn the ends in. This next photo's closer to the colour though: 

Isn't it beauts????? It's the Icing Sugar colour in the Kaffe Fassett Regia Design Line sock yarn and, as I explained on the Facebook group, it's been the least popular colour so I took one for the team to see what it was all about and absolutely fell in LOVE! Isn't it gorgeous?!?!! I've already washed them so I can wear them again but they weren't dry this morning so I'll have to wear them on Thursday. Hard Life.

So, I'd finished them. But because I didn't think I would finish them (there was a particularly good programme about Henry the Eighth and his wives so we stayed up past our bedtimes) I didn't have anything else to make. Apart from this quick cat bed: 

The lovely Sue posted this blog to my Facebook on Sunday. I tried to resist, I really tried, but by Sunday evening little one had a new cat bed and it appears that she actually likes it! Which is not like cats at all is it? Although, we had to rub it with cat nip and deposit Dreamies inside to get her in in the first place but one she was in she was in! Ahhhh. I didn't actually follow the pattern (it's in English down at the bottom), I just kind of made it up and mine used a lot less yarn that hers but perhaps her yardage wasn't as good with it being a t-shirt yarn? Anyway, I used the Cygnet Seriously Chunky in Magenta - just over four balls. I am planning to come back and do some proper photos, maybe a walk through of how I did mine, which I'm sure is very similar to hers but doesn't involve reading every line...

Anyway anyway anyway. Basically I didn't have a project. I also didn't have any milk. So I went to the freezer to get some out and low and behold in the top draw was a bloody dress I was half way through! Let me explain...

You know how I love mohair? And I loved my dress?

Well, I loved it so much I bloody felted it didn't I!?!? I am SUCH A TIT! But I do have a knack for felting - it's a blessing and a curse. So. I have tonnes of mohair - loads and loads and loads. Enough to make a dress (or two or three...) but no oomph. That is until the lovely Sarah came in with five balls of the most beautiful turquoise stuff you've ever seen! I tried to make a full dress with just that but it became apparent, when I was most of the way down the dress and half way down the sleeves, that there just wasn't going to be enough. So I thought about it for a bit, consulted with a few people, and decided that my best bet was going to be to rip some down and do the skirt in multi colours. I found all the colours I loved best, put them in a bag and promptly put the dress in the freezer. Why?


But I've read time and time again that putting it in the freezer makes everything easier and would you believe it?! It does! It still took my the whole of This Morning, Loose Women and half of Judge Rinder to get it to where I needed but I got there without too much swearing and with only about five small balls rather than a million.

Once it was ripped back to where I needed all I had to do was crochet it back. I was determined to take that slowly but I got it into my head that I might do it in time for the dinner that me and Chris were having to celebrate my ear'ole success and I did (kinda). I set out my balls thus:

Bear in mind that that was a working document not intended for the world to see... And got to it! I used the same principle as the previous dress, three working colours, random amounts of each, no particular order but making sure that over all each colour covered every stitch on a round even if it was over different rows. I wanted to use up all of the balls that no longer had a label attached which meant that I actually didn't get to use the funky blue or the greys. Ran out of space at the pinks.

I crocheted before the doctors. Crocheted whilst waiting (for an hour... blurgh...) for my appointment. Crocheted whilst waiting for the eardrops for my newly created eardrum. Crocheted whilst having a sneaky coffee at the coffee shop. Crocheted whilst waiting for the bus and whilst on the bus (in a traffic jam... yeeeeeah). Crocheted whilst Chris finished some bits and bobs of work. And finally! It was done! And it was good! Only, it was a bit too short in the body and sleeves. I didn't get Chris to take a photo of the dress because I knew I'd make adjustments but he did take one of my ear that I adorned for the occasion for the first time in weeks: 

Dinner was amazing. Baked Camembert cooked in bread dough and hunter chicken. Just like cheese, cheese, bread, meat, cheese, meat, bbq sauce. Best. Dinner. Ever. And good healing ear food if I ever had any!

Anyway, this morning on the bus I lengthened the sleeves by two rows each - should be just enough and then I used every last scrap of the pinks and purples to finish off the bottom of the skirt. This was what it looked like earlier today:

Now it has an inch or two of the dark pink colour too and IT'S DONE!

I'm gonna wear it tomorrow and I need to get a photo of me in it so any regulars that pop by are going to be pestered until they give in to my demands.

And that's that.

Love, Eleanor. xxxxx

Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Final 2014 Post.

Ahhhhh. All the reviews have got to come to an end. It's finally time to admit that it's 2015. No getting away from it. In some ways I've loved 2014 and in some ways I've hated it. Lots of personal good bits, lots of personal shit bits but all in all for the shop it's been pretty damn good. I've not done a personal update-y one for ages (apart from explaining the bad bits that happened at the end of last year and that doesn't count does it?) and I think it's about time. So, I was going to leave these up to the computer to order but I'm cheating because it made no sense, so I'm grouping photos together but the themes are computer ordered. I like the surprise element...

Ooof. This is quite a picture to start with. It requires some explaining. This is my favourite part of a new shawl. I bought the yarn for this project back in May when I went to Weston-Super-Mare and visited Bath. It took a long time to choose these colours but this was important. It was to replace my very first Pi shawl that my mum accidentally felted not that long ago. I couldn't find the exact same colours - one of the yarns, was spun and dyed for me and one of them was discontinued back when I first started knitting. If I couldn't exactly copy it then I needed to choose yarn that made my heart sing in the same way. There were a few options but I settled on this and I can't remember exactly what it is and I am happy. Not overjoyed, I must admit, in the same way as I was with the first one but I've worn it lots - it's warm, comfy and much bigger than the last one. Somehow this little triangle at the top is so neat and tidy and full of hope. It's my favourite part.

Can you see how it's just as extended version of the Sailing Pi shawl? I do wish I'd have made the purple stripes smaller towards the end but I forgot and bugger it. The edging's different to the pattern too, more like the original, I must admit I prefer this one but it just didn't work in the Bamboo no matter how hard I tried - too slippery. I'm literally wearing it as we speak and I just love how versatile a size it is. I've worn it variously as a scarf, shawlette, shawl and blanket throughout the week so I can see it's going to be a big favourite over the years. Just got to keep my mum away from it... 

EEEEEE! NOW THIS IS A GOOD PHOTO! (Computer, are you listening - start with the obvious photos first...). This, THIS, is a cake and a half. You can tell that by the decoration (bear in mind that this was well after Christmas, those little dec's are cheeeeeeap) but more important than that is the inside of it. I'll show you later. 

Hehe. I'm dead good at cakes me. Can you tell? The next photo shows exactly why but the cake ended up slightly under and over baked in different areas and fell apart a bit and had a hole in the top. Haha. I'd vaguely seen, somewhere perhaps on GBBO, about heating up jam and making the surface smoother for icing - I also used it to fill up the holes to be frank. AND THIS IS WHY!

Can you see what it is?!??! It's a bloody heart!!!! The other end of the cake showed the heart much better but this was well enjoyed by the time I'd remembered to take a photo for you. What I did was make a basic pink sponge; wide and flat. Once it had cooled I used my heart cookie cutters to make lots of hearts. I made a basic batter, put a thin layer in the base of a loaf tin and placed the sponge hearts carefully but firmly along the length, like little soldiers. Then I filled up the spaces with the rest of the batter and shoved it in the over. Unbeknownst to us at the time, Chris's oven was on the brink of collapse, so I don't know whether that had an effect but I couldn't get the heat right - too hot or too cold and I had to do a lot of messing about which isn't good for a cake is it? I like to shove it in and leave it until it's done but I couldn't do that with this. Oh well. It also shows the icing which was just bloody divine! I used the juice of a lemon and made icing, then I added more water and more icing sugar until I had enough. Then I spread it carefully. The jam underneath wasn't quite set so it went into the icing so I had to try and hide it by doing some marbling with pink icing. Didn't work that well but was hidden by the Christmas and Halloween sprinkles. GOOD JOB ME!

Me. Drunk. Christmas Eve. The boys sat behind us apparently kept tutting at how loud we were and eventually left. Snort. Good jumper. 

CHRIS DID WELL THIS YEAR! He bought me Hama beads! Apparently, months ago, after reading about it on Attic24 I guess I'd mentioned that I'd like to do some and he went right ahead and bought the buggers! Ha! I really enjoyed doing them but I wanted to do them snuggled up in bed or under a blanket on the sofa and it doesn't really work like that... Only one major spillage though. Seriously though, I am a genius! You get little peg boards to put the beads on, then you iron over them and the beads melt together and once they're cool you can take them off the peg board. So, Chris got me a pack of peg boards with a dragon, a toad and a star. Dragon and toad I ain't interested in. Star I am! So I made one star - the 'C' and then it struck me that I could make more than one, leave the very edge beads off, put the very edge beads from the original star on those spaces and iron over to make, what I'm sure you'll agree, is a stunning piece of visual art. I haven't done any more than this. I feel I really outdid myself here and perhaps used a little too much creativity. I think I've worked out a way to use the toad though so gimme time.

One thing I enjoyed about this holiday was all the stuff we got did between us. Here he is hanging my art work. What a man. 

Biscuits. I don't make biscuits, I make cakes, but a couple of days after doing my ear I had a hankering for easy baking that we could get done quick and really enjoy. I settled on these simple biscuits - a Good Food recipe - bought all the ingredients that we need and some glace cherries. I did forget the vanilla essence though, mostly because I never put it in cakes but they always tell me to put it in, but that seems to be what actually binds it together? I ended up using milk and they were delicious thank you very much.


Here's the proof that I don't bake biscuits. Apparently, biscuits get soggy when you bake them on a wire rack. Chris's house is not set up for baking so we ran out of baking trays pretty early on. I genuinely though that it wouldn't make a difference - it did. Still tasted good though.

There was loads more knitting!! This is a pair of socks that I've since finished and worn and enjoyed. I started it the day after my op and finished it last Sunday I think. For some reason I decided to do a short row heel - lots of drugs and a glass or two of fizzy booze definitely helped with that. I took this photo because I hated the way it looked, like an add-on or a growth but since then, when I tried them on, I LOVE IT! So much, in fact, that I've done one on my next pair of socks and I hope I love it just as much. If not, I'll just revert back to a heel flap and turn. Or maybe a fish lips and kiss or a sweet tomato or or.... choices! I do want to try a different kind of short row though - perhaps German or Japanese. Maybe next pair. I'm desperate this year to chuck out all of my old shop bought socks. I'll get there.

We enjoyed the cat. She was so happy to be home. She's back to being haughty and trying to escape now but for a few short weeks she was the sweetest, neediest cat that you've ever met. Here she is enjoying Opium and Frozen. Good cat. 

Ahhh. We took the nephew sledging the day before my op. He loved it! This is Rushcliffe Country Park and as we approached the carpark I was a bit worried that there'd be nowhere for him to go and we'd be stuck dragging him all day. Happily though there's a lovely little hill just next to the playpark which was big enough to be fun and small enough to not give me a heart attack and it was near the railway line and that's where an old fashioned steam train was making it's way back and forth most of the day. Slight meltdown on the way home when he had to get out of the sledge to walk across the carpark but a snooze in the back seat on the way home sorted that out. 

I MADE A JUMPER! And modelled it yesterday beautifully - one day I'll be able to take a good photo. Here's a bigger one for you: 

 Ever since Dawn finished her Copper Suprise - Behind My Back I've been obsessed with having a cheeky different coloured back panel. You can probably tell that if you've been into the shop to buy yarn for a jumper because I'll have been all like 'oh, have you thought about doing this....'. I thought I might be able to live vicariously but it appears not, I had to knit one for myself. It's knitted in the ABSOLUTELY AMAZING (AND EVEN MORE SO NOW I'VE KNITTED AND WORN IT MYSELF) King Cole Chunky Tweed roughly to pattern 4037 but I made it a little shorter (should have perhaps stuck with the pattern), didn't do the neck as high and instead of casting it off and leaving it to fold at the end I folded it over and picked up stitches at the base of the neck to cast off with leaving me with a permanent rolled over edge - I made the neck shorter too because I don't like things all up in my face and I know lots of you feel the same. It's a lovely simple little pattern, I just liked the pockets to be honest but the sleeves are a gorgeous fit especially around the armholes. The pockets drive you a bit mad to be honest because they're knitted in so for how however many rows you have like a million stitches but once they're cast off it's plain sailing. Good pattern. I knitted it whilst waiting for my surgery, I also took this photo:

BEAUTS! My support stockings - wish I'd kept at least the slipper socks. Moving swiftly on: 

Apparently I don't have many hats. I know I have them somewhere but I couldn't find them when I most needed them. Since the surgery I've had packing in my left ear and not only does it look grotty but I'm trying to protect it a little from getting bits in or whatever. So I decided on the way down to the parents in law that I needed one. Happily, the lovely Sue had spun and dyed the most amazing yarn for me for Christmas. I slipped it in my bag for the journey and forgot about it until we were nearly there when I took it out tried and failed to ball it up and decided to free-skein. That is where you work straight from the skein instead of making it into a ball first. I don't recommend it for finer yarn or for bigger projects or for when you've got to pick up and put down your work but this sort of thing, where you're in a car and likely to finish within a couple of hours - boom. 

This is the finished thing. I started at the top, with trebles, made a circle as big as I thought and then started doing ch3, sl-st into the 3rd st all around, into those petally bits I worked 3tr on the next row and then did the ch3 sl-st in between the 3tr all around and so on. Bit of dc when I got towards the end. Bish, bash, bosh. I didn't plan it but it was the  perfect amount of yarn for a hat. I love it when it works out like that, don't you?

And here's me modelling it, mere days after my op, looking bloody great! I've been wearing it ever since though so I'm sure you'll see it on me in the shop although on Monday I'm having my packing out! I can't wait! I am going to wash my hair like you would not believe - Chris won't see me for days - I'll stop stinking. Ahhhhh. I can't wait! 

I haven't got a photo for this but I can't not mention it - I've taken up yoga! With my hair being unwashed I was starting to feel a bit 'blurgh' last week so I tried to do some yoga from my memory. Couldn't remember it so I looked up beginners yoga on t'internet and found the lovely Adriene:

I didn't actually do this one - I did a 40 minute sequence for two days running and then her 30 Days of Yoga series caught my eye so I've started doing that. I was late to the party but I've done two sessions a day a couple of times so I'm only a little behind. I have really enjoyed it. Sometimes I've ached for days afterwards and sometimes I've not felt it at all. Sometimes I'm sweating and out of breath and sometimes I'm all floaty and dreamy afterwards. She allows you to go at your level and explains everything really well, she makes you smile (literally, tells you to smile) and she's dead funny. I recommend it absolutely but it might help if you've done some before. She also does yoga for headaches, depression, backache, winter blues, relaxation - all sorts. She's bloody great!

And that's that. That was my Christmas, New Year and sick week. Dead good time. Dead pleased to be back and you'll be pleased I'm back next week when I introduce you to the brand new lines we're having in...

Love Eleanor. xxx