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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Birthday Goodies

First of all, thanks for all the kind words and encouragement in the comments to my previous post. It's these that are really keeping me going with my Olympic knitting.

It was my birthday recently and I thought I'd post about the knitterly related gifts I received so it wasn't just me admiring them!

As you can see from the photo above, I got two books: Alice Starmore's 'Celtic Collection' and Alison Ellen's 'Handknitting - New Directions'.

There are also two greetings cards from other knitters. The bear one on the left in the photo above is from Jan and the concertina type one (below) is from Katie and illustrates a virtual visit to a museum.

Each fold brings you to a different part of the museum with pictures appropriate to "where you're at". The text which travels along with your walk through the various galleries reads, "Pass through these portals and muse on an amazing array of collections, catalogues, cabinets of curiosities, dazzling treasures and unexpected pleasures to delight the senses."

Then there are bear buttons from The Button Queen, again from Katie. These are just so cute! Here's a close up!

Next, some Swarovski Crystal 4mm beads (200 of them in different colours). I won these on eBay for £8 and they're my birthday treat to myself.

And these beautiful handmade stitchmarkers were given to me by Mary-Lou. Here's a close up so you can see how special they are.

There are a couple of other things in the photo at the very top which aren't necessarily birthday related but, as they arrived today and they're from other knitters, I've included them.

There are two more of those wonderful Hikone Screen postcards from my secret pal and two sets of double pointed needles (dpns) that Penny of UKHK kindly sent to me as they were surplus to her requirements or, rather, they were a bit short for her liking. As using dpns is my next challenge, they've arrived at just the right time.

DH is also on a promise to buy me a knitting bag from Purlescence when their new stocks arrive. They have a fabulous array of knitting bags on their site if you want to take a look!

Thanks so much to all for the kindness and generosity shown. I feel thoroughly spoiled.

I'm really taken with the book by Alison Ellen. This book was on my Wish List and was also mentioned by Fred on UKHK recently. It has not disappointed. In my opinion, it rates alongside Debbie New's 'Unexpected Knitting' in terms of inspiration. To give you some idea of what's in the book for those who haven't seen inside, it starts off with a discussion of how the basic stitches actually work and this leads to sections on such things as multidirectional knitting including spiral squares, Mary Thomas's circular medallions, hexagons, octagons, short row circles, double cloth knitting, interlocked diamonds - the list goes on! Then, when it comes to colour knitting, fair isle and intarsia are, of course, discussed but then there are also diagonal stripes, diagonal fair isle technique, different stitches stripes, short row stripes, zig-zag, lacy, wavy and slip stitch stripes and slip stitch mosaic, etc, etc. There's a section on designing and calculating, too, including calculating stitches for a jumper and a chapter on projects illustrating some of the techniques in practice. This is just on a browse so I can't wait to have a proper read!

By the way, what is going on with the weather?? I awoke to a snow storm this morning!

I'll leave you with a photo of a couple of items my MIL picked up recently. These are little oval tins (about 3.5 by 2.5 inches) with jellies inside and I'm thinking once the goodies have been consumed, they'll make fantastic little containers for stitchmarkers and such like.

How does she find all these items that feature bears??? She always picks them up for a song, too! She waits until sale time (e.g. after Xmas) and then seems to pick up radio signals via her bear searching radar and zooms in on these unsuspecting little creatures. So, however much they try to hide, they end up in her bag and, eventually, find themselves with the rest of the huddle (or should that be cuddle or hug, perhaps) of bears here!

Well, now I must get back to my office work and then, this evening, as I've got nothing planned other than to stay in where it's nice and warm and do my Olympic knitting, I'll start the fourth broad border of the shawl after which there'll be the edging and sewing up to do.


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