Three cheers for the Internet!

Thanks to Frappr, I met another Cambridge knitblogger this week, Mary from Knitting on the Cam! She very bravely met a group of entire strangers (partly Stitch and Bitch, partly office-mates) in a pub at lunchtime on Wednesday, and it was great!

I have been knitting – loads – but don't currently have much in the way of visual proof. For ages, my camera charger was packed ready to move (no, we still haven't moved), so my camera went flat and I took no photos. Now, I've rescued my charger, but my laptop refuses to acknowledge the camera's memory stick until I take it out of the laptop again. At which point it tries to explore the files on it, and gets very confused that it isn't there any more. I'll try again this evening.

I have, in fact, completed my Mum's Christmas present (sweater dress in Noro Silk Garden), the finished the front of Mask and started on one sleeve (Stu's Christmas present), knit almost two more Dadsocks (but in different yarns. Hmmm.) and started Ice Queen from Rowan 30 for myself (in the discountinues Polar, shade Arctic). I've also bought *more* Polar, for Andy's Christmas jumper – and another one for me, too.

Also complete is a piece of gift knitting – and it has now been received by the giftee, so I can post pics of that. It's been finished for about two months now. I am Bad Gifter, now that the post office five minutes from work has closed. I finish things on time, but it takes forever for me to get them in the post.

Good lunch!

Mmmm, I've just finished a big bowl of homemade carrot, parsnip and ginger soup with a chunk of malthouse bread. I made it from NOrma's recipe, which really like; despite the fact that carrots are on my 'not very fond of' list, and parsnip actually makes it on to my list of about 3 foods that I actively dislike. (Though I always feel I should like them. They're so autumny and earthy and home-croppish).

But with loads of ginger, and a healthy addition of black pepper and possibly a dollop of yoghurt, it really works. Actually, what it*really* wants is a dollop of harissa and a dollop of sour cream.

Trust, and how to lose it

Events yesterday royally *sucked* – remember that J and I are selling my flat and buying a house together. The transaction has been ongoing for over 3 months, as the guy who is buying my place has re-organised his mortgage twice! Yesterday, we were supposed to exchange contracts up and down the whole chain – and the wretched guy turned round and said he didn't have the money available till 16th December! (Last week, he said it was all ready to go) Oh – and could we exchange and complete all on the 16th, please?? Uhh, no.** So we've given him until COP Friday to come up with the money and exchange contracts, or the deal's off.

In the meantime, we are applying for a second mortgage ourselves, so we would simultaneously own my flat and the house. The payments would be seriously large, but we could cope for a while. It's also the only way we can see that we can keep the purchase alive – we both really, really want this house. After a first viewing, we walked out, looked at each other and said "I want that one!".

Wish us luck!

Alison

** Notes for people not familiar with the wonderful British property system: When you want to buy a house in the UK, you make an offer. If it is accepted, both parties instruct solicitors to start making arrangements. Nothing is legally binding at this point. You apply for mortgages (which you may have to pay to do), start paying solicitors, and get a valuation and/or survey (expensive, but required by the mortgage companies) carried out on your intended property. Nothing is legally binding at this point. Then, solicitors do all kinds of 'searches' at the Land Registry office on your behalf. This takes weeks (their database is clearly crap) and costs money. Nothing is legally binding at this point. Just expensive. Other stuff happens. If you are selling a property too, your buyer has to do all this as well. It's not legally binding on him, either. You also have to fill out an enormous form stating what is included in the sale, and, in the case of a leasehold property (like my flat), you have to provide all kinds of documentation about service charges, ground rent etc. You also have to demonstrate typical charges for water, electricity etc. However, you simply have to *believe* that your buyer actually has a mortgage and the money to make the transaction.

Eventually, after everything is signed, you are ready to 'exchange contracts'. This is where the sale becomes legally binding, and where you can sue if someone pulls out. You have to put your deposit on the house you are buying forwards at this point. You also agree a 'completion date' – the date on which the money and property deeds will actually exchange hands. It's worth noting that if you are both buying and selling (aka 'in a chain'), you technically have to sell your property before you buy your new one – because you need the money out of your property to send to the current owners of your new property. Which means that you have to have all your posessions out of your place before you have anywhere to put them. This is where removals companies become really, really useful (but expensive).

To summarise: By asking us to exchange and complete on the same day, in a month's time, our buyer was not only asking us to wait yet again, he was asking us to hire removals people to take all our stuff out of the house BEFORE the contract was actually in place, BEFORE anything was legally binding, and in a situation where he could do EXACTLY THE SAME to us again, except worse. I don't think so. He has now clearly lied to us, and he doesn't get that trust back. Certainly not where the risk is so large. Hmmph.

Otter warm-paws

Natalya gauntlets (high key), in Calmer. These feel great to wear, but I didn't enjoy knitting them much. They were a little on the tedious side, and cabling with the cotton (even such lovely, squishy cotton) made my arms a little sore.

I made a few modifications to the pattern – the gauge of Calmer is finer than called for in the pattern, so I added a pattern repeat at the cuff end, which I decreased out a couple of inches before starting the gusset. I like the effect as viewed from the decrease/gusset side:

but it causes the other cables to spiral round the arm at the underarm (the cables lie straight along the back of my arm:

In addition to the 15 thumb stitches, I picked up another three where the thumb meets the palm. This accounts for the gauge difference, and seems to have eliminated the small hole otherwise expected in that location:


I also added 4 rows of ribbing to the top of the thumb, after only 3 rows of stockinette. This snugs them in to my slightly odd-shaped thumb, and matches the top of the mitt.

These will be lovely in the office, where the air conditioning manages to freeze my hands whilst simultaneously making it too warm to wear a sweater. Again, many thanks to Cari for pointing out that they can be made with a single ball of Calmer!

Started: a week or so ago
Finished: this morning

  • The first project I've cabled entirely without a cable needle
  • I learnt both the backward-loop increase and the lifted increase in the course of knitting them. The gusset on the second one is noticeably more even than the first.

Thumb socks

I have two pairs of sandals that I bought this year that started out *incredibly* comfortable, and which have slowly, over time, started chewing holes in my feet, and, last week, left blisters. (Odd- it's usually the other way round…) Anyway, the sandals are cute, and I have no intention of throwing them out yet. This seems like an excuse to display hand-knit socks (which I haven't actually made any of for me, yet), to me. Only catch is, these sandals are *toe-post* sandals. Tricky to wear with socks.

So clearly, I need socks with a separate thumb compartment. I've just completed one Natalya gauntlet, where I learned how to make a thumb on a glove. I was thinking of adapting the technique to socks. (Thanks go, by the way, to Dogs Steal Yarn for informing me that you can get 2 gauntlets out of 1 ball of Calmer. Thankyou. I am happy.)

Next, I have to thank Purly Whites for posting a very topical entry about making fingers for gloves. An i-cord method? That might work. Or a Turkish cast-on and knit in the round… Hmmmm…

I see experiments in my future.

Eye magnet

I've just been for a walk into town, an eye test, a quick jaunt round the market and a walk back. Throughout, I have been consistently stared at by all and sundry (mostly those with a Y chromosome).

So either I'm either exceptionally cute today, or everyone else thinks it's sweater weather. Me, I'm wearing a knee-length skirt* and a sleeveless top.

*Yes, I did check it wasn't tucked up into my knickers. Why do you ask?