Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Catching Up

Firstly please let me apologise for another lengthy gap in posts but we are still not quite out of holiday mode here as the littlest Magpie doesn't start school until next Tuesday and there have been lots of other things happening around the nest.

September rather than January always feels like the start of the year to me (will I still feel that way when the pattern of our lives no longer revolves around school days?) and here at Magpie HQ we have been in a sorting out and re-arranging kind of mood.

Having admitted to ourselves that middle son was not enjoying the drum kit he was pleading for only two years ago, we decided to sell it to free up some room. The kit was in the attic, along with another instrument that has been massively underused. Make that completely unused. My Christmas present from last year, which Mr Magpie ordered me to sell and to buy with the proceeds something that I wanted instead, although not wool apparently (??).

Now that the attic room is no longer a music studio, it has been decided that my our lovely dining/craft room should be transformed into a dining/computer/train track room and me and my 'crap' (his word, not mine) are to be shifted two floors upwards.

It doesn't look it from the pictures, but there is actually loads of floor space in this room and I'm thinking that my long white table will fit alongside the one you see with the computer on it, which is the same height and width. The computer will be going to live downstairs, so I will have loads of table space, and when I've re-arranged the space under the eaves I should be able to fit everything in neatly. I will be having a clear out though. This week I have bagged up two big bags of old clothes and sorted out perhaps half of my books to go to charity. It feels quite cathartic, so I will seize this mood to keep streamlining my possessions. Keeps Mr 'Neat Freak' Magpie happy too ;) .

I used to sew up here when I first started sewing regularly and it's actually a peaceful, sunny space to work in. The main reason for me moving into the dining room was to be on hand for the family, but as come November all the children will be at school full-time, I can cloister myself up in the eaves without having to navigate the ladder every ten minutes to answer demands for drinks, snacks, refereeing or bottom-wiping.

The room itself is in need of some sewing treatments. I promised the Mr I would make curtains to cover the eave spaces which run along both sides of the room, and we have actually bought the fabric for it. I also need to make two more blinds, like this one which I speedily constructed before the Magpie cousins came to stay, so as not to blind our guests with morning sunlight.

The dining room is going to get a make-over of it's own in due course when all the downstairs sashes have been winter-proofed and I have painted the exterior woodwork at the front of the house. So, it may be a while yet, but I will share the pictures with you in due course.

Knitting-wise, after a few false starts on projects where I just couldn't seem to get the perfect mixture of pattern and yarn, I have started a new shawl/shawlette with some yarn that was originally going to be used for a lace project, but didn't work.

The pattern for this shawl comes from Ravelry and is called La La's Simple Shawl, and it really is very easy to knit. The yarn I'm using is called Poems, by Rico and it changes colours gradually, instead of being flecked like my Hitchhiker.

I was making fairly good progress to begin with, until my cheap-o bamboo circular decided to separate itself while I was pulling my stitches up and I had to make an emergency dash to the wool shop for a rescue operation. Work saved, I decided I couldn't wait for Ally Pally to buy new needles and ordered an Addi Turbo needle online.

I am so glad I did as this needle is just so much better than anything I have used before. I am a tight knitter and always struggled to move my stitches along the bamboo needles, and even on my ordinary straights it was challenging. The Addi needle tips are highly polished metal and my stitches really glide over them, making my knitting quicker.

Now that I am knitting more, and think that going to SnB will push me to challenge myself further, I am considering whether to get a set of circulars, perhaps like these? I was just wondering what other people use and how they rate them. I'm not sure whether to get metal or wooden needles so any advice would be great.

I seem to have experienced a little flurry of new people following the blog, so I would just like to welcome you all along and thank you for stopping by in my little corner of the world. All of my readers help to keep me motivated to craft and blog, for which I am thankful and when I am followed by other bloggers I get a chance to peep into their corners too, which as a nosey person is a great treat.

I hope you are all well and enjoying the change of seasons. Thanks for reading,

Beth x


  1. Oh I'm totally loving (in a very jealous way!) your new craft room...what I wouldn't give for somewhere quiet to shut myself away in! :D Loving the rainbow shawl!! I've been thinking of knitting myself a shawl for a while now, a poncho style one to throw on over pj's and vest. I may get round to it one of these days...

    As for needles I replaced all my metal for bamboo as i had the opposite problem of finding the metal too slippery and accidentally losing stitches! I've yet to use it difficult?? I figured it's just the same as straights but needing a stitch marker to show when to turn them over?? DPN's are something else I've yet to have a go of...they look complicated but I've bought a set and am looking for a good, clear tutorial! :) x

    1. It's not difficult to use circulars and you can use them to knit anything that you would knit on straight needles. You knit from one needle to the other and your work is flat. The stitch markers you see in my shawl are there to remind me where to do my yarn overs that create the shaping.

      The beauty of using circulars for ordinary knitting is that the actual needle is short so you don't have to tuck it under your arm and kntting becomes much more portable. It is also safer if you need to stop half way through a row (less chance of stitches slipping off). It is personal preference really but I know a lot of knitters who never use straight needles.

      I've only tried knitting 'in the round' once, to make the infinity cowl that I had to give up on due to a yarn shortage, but it wasn't difficult to do and yes, you need to mark the end of the round.

      I haven't tried DPN's yet either, but I believe you can knit small things in the round on two small circulars instead. Sock knitting is on my list!

      B x

  2. Hi Beth - Looking forward to seeing the transformation of your crafting space. We are in full transformation mode too with some changes in our dining/computer/crafting/homework space. Can't wait for it to be finished as all my 'crap' has been spread around the rest of the house whilst the Mr builds a huge new built-in cupboard.

  3. The colours in this are gorgeous! I love your blog, it always makes me want to get my pins out! (knitting pins, not legs.)



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