Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Foster Boy

I brought my new foster boy home on Monday - an enormous 9-year-old greyhound. His name is Dice and he's a model of politeness and good behaviour. He doesn't go anywhere in the house or get on any furniture without being given permission first. If he were a person, he'd hold doors open for you and take his shoes off before coming inside.

9 is not especially elderly for a greyhound, but Dice has had a hard life, and seems much older. He has Irish racing tattoos, but I couldn't find any details of his races. He may have been bred for racing, and failed to make the grade. I think he must have been hit by a car (or something) at some point. Half of his tail is missing, his hips are all misaligned with bones sticking out where they shouldn't, and he's a bit unsteady on his legs. He's also quite alarmingly skinny, but we're fixing that.

The first couple of days were - forgive the pun - a bit dicey. Freya wasn't impressed with the enormous interloper, and growled and barked if he so much as moved in his sleep. On Tuesday there was an awful (but unrelated, I think) incident when Freya got carried away running in the fields, and went missing. After 45 minutes of frantic searching, calling and sobbing, I came home to grab my bike, and found her waiting on the front lawn. I think she must have run after a rabbit, and lost us. Clever girl, working out that if she navigated her way home, she would find me eventually.

Anyway. A week later, Freya is being much more tolerant, and Dice has really come out of his shell. He's gone from spending 99% of the time lying on his bed, to following me around the house, coming to me for cuddles and even playing with his toy a bit. I hope we can find him a nice home.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Flea Market Finds

My first ever Flea Market Finds contribution comes from a delightful shopping trip with my good friend Gemma. We'd both been feeling a bit stressed out with work, and thought that a day browsing the charity shops of Shrewsbury - and drinking large quantities of tea - would be the perfect tonic. It certainly did the trick for me!

Lots of people seem to be having babies at the moment (is there something in the air?), and I thought the little cardigan would be a nice gift for a new baby. Being a vintage pattern, it is of course all done the proper (read: difficult) way. No circular knitting or short-cuts to be found here! I also got some cute purple beads, and a Dixie Chicks single (which was actually a gift from Gemma, thank you hun!)

I did rather well on the clothing front, too:

I was really taken with this lovely lace-edged waistcoat, which I picked up for £3.50. It wasn't until I got home that I noticed it still had the original tags on, including a £26 price tag!

I liked the colours and shape of this shirt/dress.

This jumper is possibly my favourite find of the day. I love everything about it: the colour; the gorgeously soft fabric; the asymmetrical neck; the covered button; the flared sleeves... literally everything. It is as if I imagined my ideal jumper and it materialised in front of me with a £3.50 price tag. This is what charity shopping is all about!

Finally, I picked up a few non flea market bargains:

Cheap and cheerful acrylic yarn to finish a crochet cushion cover I've been working on; beautiful half-price sock yarn (including Kaffe Fassett Regia!); three pretty Paperchase postcards; some basic black leggings and a basic yellow tank top.

It was a really lovely day, and exactly what I needed to de-stress. You can find more flea market finds here.

Tomorrow is kind of a big day for me. I've volunteered myself as a fosterer for the local greyhound rescue branch, and tomorrow Freya (my greyhound/whippet cross) and I are going to meet potential foster dogs. It's something I've wanted to do for a few years, and now the time seems right. I keep looking at the dogs on the website and wondering which one will be coming to live with me - it's very exciting and a little daunting! I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Latest FO: Sock Commission

Last Christmas my Mum asked for a pair of hand knit socks, and I was only too happy to oblige. That particular pair of socks was my first attempt at a short row heel and toe, and the result was... well... let's just say that short rows and socks are not a good combination for me. Fortunately, the gorgeousness of the yarn was enough to divert the eye from the too-visible short row wraps.

Mum, bless her, was nevertheless delighted with them, and wore them all winter long. During some kind of social gathering, her best friend noticed them, and asked where she'd bought them. Finding out that I'd made them, she said something along the lines of: "ooh, if I bought the yarn, would she knit some for me? And I'd also like a pair for [daughter], and a pair for [friend]..."

I'm not sure she quite understood the amount of work she was asking me to undertake, but I'm all for spreading the sock love. So of course I said yes. And then, obviously, I had to go to the yarn shop and buy beautiful sock yarn with somebody else's money - such a tedious chore! *cough*

This week, I finally finished the last pair of socks. And because I'm incredibly anal, I also blocked and made packaging for them. This is the end result:

I hope she loves them. They are definitely prettier than the short-row attempt I made for Mum. (I plan to make her some new ones this Christmas.)

So, what am I planning to knit now that I've completed four pairs of socks in quick succession? (I made a pair for my sister too.) Why, more socks of course! I definitely need to make another pair of Monkeys, because I only got to wear my first pair once. They were beautiful, and they got wrecked in their very first wash. Sodding Adrafil - superwash wool is not supposed to felt at 40 degrees!

I also want to make some Jaywalkers, because I believe they are the perfect pattern for the ball of King Cole Zig-Zag I currently have in my stash. I get horrible pooling with that yarn when I do a regular stockinette sock, unless I deliberately make it too big. I'm hoping the extra stitches involved in the chevron design will compensate for that.

Incidentally, my 2.5mm DPNs are the only needles that don't ever get put away, because there is always a sock on them...

Monday, 1 August 2011

July Finds

July was an unintentionally spendy month - I feel like I singlehandedly propped up the British economy for a while there. Fortunately, most of it came from charity shops and sales, so my bank account isn't weeping TOO loudly about it. Still, I must be more restrained in August!

This came from one of my favourite charity shops in town:

I paid £2.99 for the fabric, and there must be nearly three metres of it - more than enough to make a summer dress! I'm not sure what it's made from, but it has a nice drape and a bit of a sheen to it - rayon perhaps? The black buttons are for a baby cardigan that I will post about another time, and I just thought the purple spherical buttons were fun. They'll be cute on chunky knit mittens or a neckwarmer or something.

A few days later, my friend Gemma and I decided to pop into a new charity shop that recently opened, and I found this:

It was £8, which seemed a bit steep for a charity shop dress, but I loved it so much that I couldn't bear to leave it there. Besides, when I went to pay for it, the shop assistant knocked it down to £6, leaving me with a nice clear conscience! It's a very flattering dress, and really, you cannot have too many polka dot items.

Then I happened to be in Shrewsbury with my parents while the Next sale was on, and Mum wanted to go in and see what was left. I swear I had no intention of buying anything, but then my eyes locked onto these beauties:

HALF PRICE YELLOW WEDGES OMG. Mum said I should get them, and my arm didn't need much twisting. They look great with the polka dot dress, so it was obviously meant to be, right? RIGHT.

I also bought quite a lot of yarn. Our local yarn shop has been sorely lacking in bright acrylic lately, and I'll be darned if I'm going to make a chair cover from £5-per-ball merino. Gemma and I had a tip from one of the Stitch and Bitch ladies, and ended up driving out to a superstore in pursuit of cheap and cheerful yarn. This is what we found:

Not only are the colours fabulous, it's also one of the nicest feeling acrylic yarns I've ever found. My chair cover is going to be AWESOME.

Finally, my MIL came over from the States to visit, and we spent a few days in York. After we'd visited all the museums, I managed to persuade partner and MIL to let me run off to the yarn shops for a while. Seeing how excited I got at the prospect of yarn, my MIL gave me £20 to spend on yarn as an early Christmas present. A yarngasm ensued!

*Drool* Sock yarn is like crack cocaine to me.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this yet, I just loved the colours. Maybe a cowl?

I'm selling a bunch of clothes on eBay to try and make up for all this profligacy, and fund my sock yarn habit. I have high hopes for my old purple Doc Martens.