14 February 2007

£££ Yarn money - how to boost your budget £££

Do you know the pain of having to restrict yarn spending? Read on.

I don't think this is common knowledge - YET - but the whooping charges banks charge us for occasional... let's call them "instances of financial misbehaviours" (read "bounced cheques/direct debits, going overdrawn without prior agreement, late payments"). Well, they are not allowed to do this as it is considered unlawful. Strictly speaking they can only get us to cover the actual administrative costs, which are next to nothing. However, general unawareness made it possible for banks and credit card companies to make it a common practice. As a result we are all being taken for a ride - a rather costly ride, as the charges used to vary from £25 to £40 a pop. Well, you can claim it all (6 years back precisely) back, if you know how. Just follow this link. BTW, Motley Fool website is worth a read, if you care to educate yourself a bit about the traps awaiting us all in the financial jungle out there.

And if you're wise enough you might even choose to put this money to a better use than blowing it all on yarn, no matter how nice that would feel. (The Mother in me speaking - I have to keep up the appearances :)

With love,

Foolish Gosia.

12 February 2007


I went to I dream of the sea yesterday and was struck by Kendra's post on Acceptance.
It lingered on my mind in my not-so-deep sleep last night. When I read the post I thought to myself "I think I'm good at accepting things as they are, with all their imperfections." It's not always easy, but I can do it.

But than, I am quite upset with myself and at the bottom of it is not accepting myself as a parent. I think/feel (just to include that nasty sensation of tightness in my chest) that I am not doing good enough job of parenting. I am really challenged by my children's difficult behaviors sometimes and finding that a lot of the time I am simply not patient enough. And it does get worse - I find that some of the time I'm not loving enough.
Underneath this impatience and "insufficient" love I know that at times I'm not accepting my children as they are. And (external signal) things get difficult.

All of Kendra's thoughts on this subject fell onto fertile ground, as I read it after I "flipped" yesterday. Dropping the parenting ball in a way I did is just so horrid and inexcusable. I'm upset with myself for not knowing better.

I felt so battered that all I could handle was to snuggle up on the sofa after children's bedtime and knit L's soft angora scarf, which mirrors the colour of his eyes, and seek consolation in a gentle click-clack of the needles.

I woke up early brimming with bitter feelings, hence I'm in the kitchen now pouring out my sad thoughts, and wanting to make up.

The bottom line is that ACCEPTANCE = LOVE.

07 February 2007

The Warmest Yellowest Evening Gloves Ever

Debbie Bliss 80% Alpaca & 20% Silk DK, 2007.

04 February 2007

An Original Technique?

I love seamless knitwear. The very essence of its superiority over flat knitting is the fact that it is much neater than anything with seams, no matter how hard you work to make the seamed garment impeccable on the inside.
Whenever I design a new thing I think really hard how to structure it so that it can be made seamlessly and the making process can be as "flowing" and "uninterrupted" as possible. This is how I came up with a number of techniques, which I arrived at by pure experimentation. Quite often I stumble upon such an original technique of mine in some obscure Art Deco pattern or other, and I say to myself with a smile: "Ooops. This looks familiar." It is hardly surprising that this happens. In the many thousands of years of knitting on Earth everything imaginable about how it can be done must have been covered thoroughly.

The point is that whilst making the gloves for the book I had an idea about closing the tips of fingers and running the thread inside to the base of the next finger where it can be picked up and used to knit another finger, or - as it is in case of a thumb - the palm of hand. It is very straight forward, if a bit fiddly.

Basically when you set up for working the finger/thumb make sure that the working yarn goes through the little hole, so that it runs through the finger as you knit it up. When the finger is finished close off all stitches using crochet hook and push the loop inside through the tip of finger. Turn the finger inside out and pass your ball of wool through the loop, secure by pulling and you're done. Now push the finger out and pick up the thread at the base of next finger. It completely does away with weaving in or having to put up with loose threads on the inside.

Original or not, I like it a lot. It is worth trying. Be aware though! When doing it once I lost my concentration only to notice that I knit up half a finger forgetting to run the thread through the finger hole. Dah!

03 February 2007

Silk Hose

There was something about socks in the brief. I looked at it and thought to myself "Socks? What fashionista would care for socks? They're good for lounging and such, not for turning heads." Stockings is something else. Loaded with references and romantic appeal. Little did I think how much more work is involved!

Before soaking.

Special feature is padded (Dutch) heels and toes for extra durability. I was struck by the need for synergy of comfort and elegance here. You know, love thy feet.

Ornamental panels.

Lace at back.



I got to use the beehive when I was working on the garters, and it was much fun. I was promenading around the house with the beehive dangling off my wrist, and actually got to take it on a bus whilst traveling to the yarn shop to get some supplies.

The yarn is Debbie Bliss pure silk in aqua and coral, and I loved to work with it - it's so flipping fantastic to touch! 2 mm needles, my ladies, hence it took full 5 days to make those beauties.

PS: I've got dates confirmed for a spring run of knitting course for beginners - downloadable PDF file with more details to be found in the COURSES section.

02 February 2007

Knitting equivalent of Mission Impossible & Silent Poetry

I have spent 7 days knitting - without any breaks other than for sleep (very much diminished), snacking (on things that don't take more than 5 minutes to prepare), occasionally pulling Oliver out of the freezer or out of the fireplace (actually, to be perfectly honest caring for a 1 year old involves more than that, and for benefit of those of you who haven't had the pleasure of being in charge of such a small, delightful AND demanding person, they are not terribly patient either), and making myself numerous and delicious cups of strong coffee.

Just before Christmas I submitted a couple of projects for knitting books and both were chosen, due to be published this autumn.

This is how I got to work on this crazy deadline. I bit the proverbial bullet and committed to making a pair of over the knee stockings and a pair of long evening gloves in 7 days. Both fully fashioned and fiddly. The surprising thing is that despite the pressured circumstances I really enjoyed both projects and am proud to announce that I am pleased with both (this is such a relief, especially that I am so difficult to please myself).


I promise to publish separate posts for each item over the weekend, as there are stories to be told about each project. And I have taken lots of pictures.

Also, huge thanks to Jill at Designer Yarns for furnishing me with gorgeous yarns for both projects. Very much appreciated.

I just realised it's Second Annual Brigid in Cyberspace Silent Poetry Reading.

I could not pass this opportunity to share one of my favourite poems with you.


Stand still, The trees ahead and bushes beside you

Are not lost, Wherever you are is called Here,

And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,

Must ask permission to know it and be known.

The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,

I have made this place around you,

If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.

No two branches are the same to Wren.

If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,

You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows

Where you are. You must let it find you.

An answer to the question, “What do I do when I’m lost in the forest?" Given by a Native American elder and rendered into modern English by David Wagoner (Chair of Poetry, University of Washington, U.S.A.).

01 February 2007

Close up

The crazy yarn is Magic Ball by Bee Sweet. Sleeves are turquoise Bouclé Baby Mohair by Bee Sweet also. Underskirt is Patons cotton in vintage pink. For the "bustier" I used Rowan's 4-ply soft in dark green.