Wednesday, April 30


Just as some yarn is cursed, and after three attempts and three froggings should be burned or banished, some yarn just aches to be made into felt and will stop at nothing to achieve its dream.

Recognise these?

Yes, the Express Lane socks I finished a couple of weeks ago, now transformed into a pair of rather dainty little felted boots.

They were rather nice in their original form, and fitted very well.

But this yarn has wanted to be felt right from the start, I see that now! When I dyed it, it came out of the hot bath a little bit felted - but I managed to salvage it with some careful winding.

It seems I was wasting my time. After a few wearings, and plenty of admiring comments from sock lovers, they managed to conceal themselves in the washing basket, and smuggle themselves among the rest of the washing into the drum for a hottish wash and plenty of agitation. Almost all of the other laundry was black, so they must have been very carefully hidden!

I dread to think what would have ensued had The Curse been responsible for this particular outrage - as it is, I have no-one to blame but myself! Arses indeed!

Sunday, April 27

Mrs Overall

Not a lot to report at the moment, I have spent the last week doing a very good impression of Mrs Overall from Acorn Antiques. I'm not talking about answering the phone before it rings, or spilling cups of tea willy nilly, I'm referring more specifically to her hunchbacked stance.

I'm not sure what sparked the back problem, but it is a week since I went to get out of the car at the Blackheath Farmers' market and found myself barely able to shuffle round the stalls. It' s now more or less better - I've even been on my bike today - but it has been a painful week that has seen me on the floor by the desk, on my back and clutching my knees to my chest (stretch manoeuvre) and doing a Mrs Overall each time I had to get up from the chair and go to the printer or the loo!

The good news is that Dad's socks are finished, washed and blocked, ready to be sent off for his birthday, and I have also managed to wash and block this little beany I made up from some handspun camel and silk. I hasten to add that it's not my handspun, but some I got from the box of random handspun at Vauxhall City Farm; the spinning group is making up some items to sell at our sheep & wool day on 14 June.

I hasten to add that it's not my handspun because it was so damned badly spun! I intended to make some socks with it and started on the toe, but I came across so many breaks in the yarn that I decided knotty socks were not going to cut the mustard. Even in camel/silk! So a beany it was. There's some vague stripes across it, there were two balls of the yarn, so I alternated them to produce stripes rather than risk running out of one and having the top bit change colour.

Incidentally, if you are interested in the properties of nettles; medicinal, for dyeing or spinning or otherwise, pop along to the Natural History Museum in London on 17 or 18 May for Nettle Weekend. There will be an exhibition of items dyed using nettles, which is being put on by our group of spinners and dyers from Vauxhall City Farm, along with many other nettle-related demonstrations, sorry but I'm a bit vague on any more details of this!

Thursday, April 17

New things on the go!

Socks for Dad (Yarn Yard porage oats sock yarn, my own simple pattern); his birthday is early May, so I'm on a deadline. This one is actually finished now, so I'll be starting the second one later tonight.

Here's the fibre I got from Yarn Yard earlier this month, and forgot to post a picture, it is sitting patiently waiting for me to finish last month's before I can get started on it!

And finally, what would the Knit Nurse Chronicles be without a gratuitous kitten picture? Well make the most of it, they will soon all be off to make their way in the world.
Three of the kittens and mum went last weekend under what were not exactly ideal circumstances. I always suspected that this situation would not end tidily, but it hopefully has now been resolved and we are going to put it down to experience and move on.

The house is now relatively sane with just three kittens, although they still make enough noise running around at 11.30pm to make it seem like there are still half a dozen! But there are now less chores, and it is much quicker to do the head count before shutting the front door!

Sunday, April 13

Here's one I made earlier

On a grey, rainy Sunday in London, what else to do but show you something I forgot to post a couple of months ago. How about this Ipod cosy for Dan, my Cornish colleague? Made with some sock yarn, using (I think) 2.5mm circulars, and knitted toe-up using the magic cast-on. The Cornish flag (St Piran's cross) was a regular pain in the ass to apply - couldn't get it to look right using either intarsia, or stitching it on afterwards, so I resorted to knitting it separately and then sewing it on. At least it adds extra padding! The tab at the top is closed using a bit of Velcro (originally a button but this proved a bit fiddly for Dan).

More recently, here's some rolags of fleece I brought home from the spinning group at Vauxhall City Farm yesterday. Apparently it comes from a sheep that is a cross between Shetland and merino, I will need to check the name but couldn't find anything about it on the internet.

It was great to spin with some raw fleece again - although it was quite dirty, the lanolin leaves your hands really soft, and the stickiness of the fleece is a real contrast to the smoothness of processed fibre. I can't say if I prefer one or another - the processed, dyed fibre gives a quicker fix to yarn addicts, but I'm also quite excited to see how the grubby, sticky yarn I've spun is going to look after a good wash!

Incidentally, for those who asked, the Sheep & Wool day at Vauxhall City Farm is going to be on Saturday 14 June. We are intending to have a sheep-shearing demo, an indigo dip for dyeing fabric, drop-spindles for kids and adults to try, carding and spinning demonstrations, and yarn, knitted, dyed and woven items for sale. It's 10.30 till 4pm.

Oh, and there will be cake, natch!

Thursday, April 10

Calling all Ravelers

If you are a Raveler, I'm sure you're wondering how your fibrecraft life survived before Ravelry came along! What's not to love in the fact that in Ravelry, you have everything at your fingertips.

Wondering what that pattern in Knitty looks like on a size 16 model or in a different yarn? Got two skeins of Malabrigo and need inspiration for a gift for your mum? Looking for a free pattern for a neck warmer? Or do you just want to sound off about problems with a particular yarn or talk about your knitting tattoos?

Well it's all there in Ravelry, and much, much more besides. I've been on the site since last September, and still haven't managed to do half the things I intended to! The most amazing thing is that it's all FREE! It was set up by the wonderful Jess and Casey in their spare time at first; they are now working on it full-time, and although they are earning money from advertising and Amazon sales, they still need money for things like buying a new server to store all our yarn and project pics on, since the site is growing and growing.

Julie of Fricknits has set up a fundraiser for Ravelry; for each $10 you donate, you get one entry into the prize draw. She has loads of great prizes on offer, donated by spinners, dyers, designers, yarn companies and so on, and so far has managed to raise almost US$30,000!

If you are a Raveler, get over there and put a little bit back. If you're not a Raveler, get your name on the waiting list as soon as you can! You don't know what you are missing out on!!!!

Wednesday, April 9

Kitten drawer

This drawer is only big enough to store scarves or gloves. Or for four kittens to sleep in!

Sunday, April 6


What a great way to start a Sunday, particularly when I have no commitments today, except for the knitting group this afternoon! Looking out of the window and seeing this means:

1. A great excuse to stay in bed for a few more hours
2. An even better excuse to spend the rest of the day indoors, knitting and spinning!

This is the snowiest I have ever seen London, the sky is still heavy and grey and it looks like it could snow for some time yet. As a northerner I know this hardly counts as snow, but please indulge me!

This was my great start to yesterday - a parcel from the Yarn Yard, arriving Saturday morning at home, just as predicted. Thanks Natalie!
From the top clockwise; porage oats (socks for dad's birthday); olive (might be heel and toe for a different pair; bunny (probably socks for me).

And here's the bargain Rowan Classics I snapped up at Get Knitted; eight balls of silk/wool for a Clapotis, and a couple of balls of cashmere/wool 4-ply. Er, probably more socks ;-)

Yesterday I went along to Vauxhall City Farm to try out their Saturday spinning group; turns out I lowered the average age by at least 15 years, so the wealth of experience and knowledge on offer there for a novice like me is incredible! The women who attend are not only experienced spinners, they knit, quilt, embroider, and do natural dyeing too. And they make excellent cakes!

The group has its own spinning wheels and other equipment, which are all stored at the farm, so if you don't have room or resources for your own wheel, it's a great place to go and practice. They have lots of raw fleece there too, and run dyeing courses and so on. I was made very welcome - and my Louet S45 proved of great interest to the other spinners, many of them commenting on its compact size, very handy for inner city dwellings!

They have just got a grant of a few hundred pounds to run a 'sheep and wool day' at the farm, at which they hope to have a sheep shearing demonstration, and to show carding, spinning, knitting and so on. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute to the event, seems I am the new sock-knitting expert!

Saturday, April 5

Latest FOs

Express lane socks, knitted on 2.25mm needles using some plain 100% wool sock yarn from Texere that I dyed with Dylon. I can't helping thinking of it as Chelsea blue, much as I try not to! (Obviously the subliminal influence of The Curse.) Got the hang of the alternative short row method after two heels and two toes!

A kitschy coaster for the Curse's morning cup of coffee. Can't have nasty ring marks on our new bedroom furniture, can we? Crocheted in some leftover Paton's mercerised cotton, colour goes quite nicely with our decor too.

Finally, my first attempt at 'hyperbolic crochet' as seen on the Crochet Reef. Looks nice, but it's a bit boring after the first few rows. (Note to self: use chunky yarn next time!)