What the heck is Wings of Goose?

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Under the Apple Tree

We've reached the stage with our house where we're running out of projects and looking for what to do next. It's funny when doing up your house becomes a hobby and you start to think, "What shall we do when we've done everything?" Of course, that will never happen, however, we have made two new projects for ourselves, both rather large, though one more so than the other. The first is that we are going to replace the bathroom. Only the suite and the floor, as the whole room is tiled and it would be a mammoth and expensive job to replace them. They are large and white with bevelled edges, and there is a row of coloured mosaic tiles around the centre. Perfectly inoffensive, and plenty of potential for improvement.

The other, somewhat larger job is that we have begun to strip the paint of the front of the house. It began when Marno, after a few weeks of saying what a bad state the paint on the bay windows was in, took a chisel out to the front garden to see how easily the paint would come off. Low and behold, it stripped off like wallpaper over most of the surface, revealing very well preserved sandstone, typical of the majority of houses in Cardiff and one of my favourite features. We are hoping to be able to keep the sandstone bare and just treat it with a weatherproofing finish, but I want to paint the sills, which are currently black gloss, a nice matt charcoal grey, rather more period I think!

Here's a progress shot;  it's not particularly clear, but you can see where we've removed the paint on the bottom bay (n.b. not all of it came off like wallpaper - there's still a fair bit to remove from that one!)

So what was I doing under the apple tree? Well the point I was getting to with the above is that, what with all these projects suddenly piling up around our ears, you'd think we'd make the most of the weather and get on with it, but it's been so gorgeous here, we spent a lot of Saturday sitting on the picnic mat in the shade of our beautiful apple tree, chatting, (me) knitting and reading, and generally chilling, followed by a lovely barbeque at a friend's house in the evening.

 View from the picnic mat

 I made a little progress on my Shellseeker, which is charging along, for me. I'm so glad I changed my technique, it's made such a massive difference to my speed, and the alpaca couldn't be more perfect for this project.

So all in all, a rather pleasant weekend with far too much relaxing and certainly not enough work, but you just have to make the most of these rare moments of warmth and sunlight I think.

There's what I'm reading - The Help. A fantasic book, which, on this very rare occasion, I'm glad to have seen the film of before I read the book, because it's written in the accent of the narrators of the story, and it really helps to have that fresh in your head. I can imagine it would read rather peculiarly otherwise.

Last Friday I was due to have some friends over from our church with their little ones. There were supposed to be four of us mummies and six babies and children, but in the end, only one friend could make it with her two - a seven month old and three year old. Anyway, in anticipation of such a crowd, I hastened to the kitchen to make a gargantuan chocolate fudge cake. There would be plenty for all for us, but hopefully not too much left for Marno and me to have to finish. Unfortunately, as I was in the process of making, which was the day before, the friend who did come texted me to say it would only be her. Oh dear! I foresaw myself wrestling inside for the next week until the chocolate cake was finished, as there was no way it was going to be demolished the following afternoon...

 Several slices later, I packed it off to work with Marno yesterday, to remove the temptation once and for all. It went down very well with his boss!

xxx Sam

Friday, 18 May 2012


It seems like Wonderwool was months ago now, as we've got so back to normal since our little holiday in Pembrokeshire (of which more in a future post), which we planned to coincide with the weekend of Wonderwool. We went to Pembrokeshire for a week and returned the Saturday of WW, so did a slight detour home through Builth Wells, the town in which it's held, to stock up on yarn for projects for the coming year. Ok, so I only bought yarn for two major projects, but we all know I, shall I say, take my time, over large projects. However, I'm hoping all that is to change as I've drastically changed my knitting style in the last month or so, intentionally, as I'm fed up of taking so long to knit jumpers which I want to wear, like, now! Like I've said before, my knitting is neat and consistant, but the reason I take so long is the method I used to create the actual stitches - I would take my right hand off the needle and kind of physically wrap the yarn around to create the new stitch; a method which requires much more time per stitch (ok, we're only talking mili-seconds but it all mounts up) than the new way which I've been working on, and which now feels like I've always used, of tensioning the yarn with my little finger as I used to do anyway, but then resting the yarn on my forefinger and holding it taught so I can just pass it over the needle tip without having to remove my grip of the needle. Sorry if that is rather impossible to visualise! I assure you though, it's made a huge difference to my knitting speed. I thought, after the Apres Surf, that I wanted a simple (but bot boring) project which was mainly stocking stitch so I could improve my new technique and speed up considerably. I chose Shellseeker by Heidi Kirrmaier as yes, it certainly complies with the request for lots of stockinette, but also has two colours, in the form of stripes, which is another new technique for me. So far in my knitting career, I've only worked with one colour, though I have a kit waiting for me for the Fiddlehead mittens, which the Midnight Sheep kindly put together for me quite some time ago, but which I've always found a little forbidding. I'm certainly fearful of all those colours!

Aaanyway... here is the lovely yarn I bought for Shellseeker. Its by UK Alpaca and I bought a cream and a muted lime green.

Actually, a more accurate description would be a mix between lime and mustard, which sounds rather revolting but trust me, its gorgeous! I've cast this on now, using yet another new technique - magic loop - which I wasn't sure about to start with, but it's turned out rather well. I was going to post a progress shot here, but I've only done seven rows so far so it may not be particularly interesting yet. I'm also not a huge fan of progress shots. One or two perhaps, but I like to save it all for the big reveal.

Ok, moving on. A few weeks ago, my friend Lorna showed me this beautiful pattern by Gudrun Johnston. It is rather reminiscent of something you may find in my very favouritest shop in the world (obviously I realize there is not such word as favouritest, in case you are wondering) - White Stuff. It reminds me of a cardigan I bought in there when I was pregnant actually, a size too big to accommodate growth (!). I couldn't get it out of my head, and found myself accidentally purchasing some gorgeous yarn from the most fantastic Jill of Jillybean Yarns. I bought her Knot Another Granny Yarn in Staying Calm.

I realize the colour looks different in each of those photos, but its somewhere between them all. Hopefully you can see why I couldn't resist it, and lovely Jill gave me a discount as well, so I couldn't refuse :)

I also bought some fibre for spinning. This gorgeous rhubarb pink, which I'm hoping to spin into yarn for a short sleeved, button up cardigan - well, it's in my head at the moment. Then the plain white to practise with and maybe experiment with some dye, and the bit of blue just because it was gorgeous!

Again, none of these colours are true. The top one is taken with the toy camera setting, and the bottom one on vivid. I'm looking forward to messing around with these though.

Time to go, as I've been trying to squeeze time out of my lovely boy, but he's fed up of me writing now and keeps dragging my arm away from the keyboard. I'll leave you with this photo of me enjoying some fibre.

x Sam

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A Turn About the Garden

Yes! I've been so excited to finally write this post. I've been leading up to it shamelessly, which could have been dangerous as there was always the chance of stalling again, but I have, in fact, actually finished the Apres Surf Hoodie.

I was debating whether to knit the hood or not for a while, as I don't generally get on with hoods, I find them rather cumbersome and awkward to place when wearing a coat over the top. This is probably just me as I realize it does sound rather ridiculous as I write it, but nevertheless, a valid consideration since I'm going to be wearing it myself.  But after having scrutinized many, many Apres Surfs on Ravelry, I concluded that the hood is more like a light piece of additional fabric, rather than a huge bulk, and it does finish off the design beautifully, so I went along with it and am glad I stuck it out.

The yarn I used is Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply sport superwash, which I bought at Wonderwool last year (more on this years WW coming soon), and it has proved the perfect choice and was a really pleasing yarn to work with. The skeins are pretty generous so I have a reasonable amount left to stash! Man, that hood though. It really was a work of patience to work my way through it after feeling like I'd finished the jumper when I completed the three needle shoulder bind-off. Speaking of that, I did use three new to me techniques including the three needle bind-off, plus provisional cast-on and i-cord bind off. I found them all really enjoyable to use, which may sound peculiar, but that is whan I love about knitting - the ingenuity of it. It looks so complicated to the untrained eye, but makes so much sense when you understand how stitches work with each other to create such a variety of effects.

Here are a few more gratuitious photos of the hoodie.

I think overall, it fits really well and the colour and yarn are perfect. The only thing I'd do differently is change up a needle size for the i-cord bind-off on the body and sleeves. I did for the hood, which has come out perfectly, but the cuffs and waist are a tiny, tiny bit tight but probably only noticable by me.

After ripping out my Spring Forward socks at the end of my last post, they have been re-cast-on and are going somewhat speedily for me. I've just printed out my next project, purchased on Rav, so lots in the pipeline, but I'm going to save that for next time as well, as I bought the yarn for that at Wonderwool.

Well, goodbye lovely readers. Leave me a little message. Have you knitted something which has just taken months and months, or even years? I have to say, the thing that attracted my to this project in the first place was the juxtaposition of a hoodie, usually associated with beach bums or chavs (!), with the use of lace to create a garment which is both beautiful and casual. What attracts you to a project and makes you want to give your time to it? I'd be really interested to know.

xxx Sam

Disclaimer: The beach bums and chavs comment was entirely for effect you understand. I do possess a couple of hoodies myself, though generally only wear them snowboarding on on outdoor activities - I can't deal with that hood problem too often!