Thursday, 4 October 2012

My latest work, Snow Leopard, pastels on velour.

I've given the old knitting needles a rest as I venture into being a portrait artist. As I gingerly step into the world of networking and promotion I can't help but feel I SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS SOONER!!! I love working and I love the response it provokes in my customers.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The problem about blogging when one is a knitter is that one would rather be knitting. However, I've torn myself away from my recent project (a funky baby coat using King Cole DK Riot) to update you on my latest finished project, a deep red Lore Hoodie, from Vampire Knits book, modelled beautifully by my good ol' mum. I knitted it a couple of sizes smaller than me as I am successfully losing weight, something that I have now called 'wishful knitting'!

It took me three weeks to complete and I loved it. It was quite easy but initially challenging as it was the first time I've knitted a lace pattern and used DPNs for the sleeves.

I had a bit of a Brittany Spears type breakdown and cut my long hair off... and dyed it purple! The comments I get are great but it does take some maintenance (redyeing it every couple of washes) and it is imperitive that I stay out of the rain!

I have a thing for purple. It's not just my favourite colour, it is an obsession. Obsession and Bipolar go hand in hand, and I go through different seasons of being totally addicted to things. My name is Stella and I'm a purpleholic. That and a yarnaholic. My phone is purple, my bag is purple, my jacket is purple, my decor is purple, my clothes are mainly purple. Interesting to note that my least favourite colour is yellow... the opposite colour to purple on a spectrum wheel!

Well, fingers are itching to get back to my knitting.

Toodles! xxx

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Hello again!

So I've been quiet. One marriage break up and a few breakdowns later and I'm once again ready for action. I joined 'Ravelry' yesterday and it inspired me to blow the dust off this blog and start using it again. So a lot has changed, I've gained many pounds and lost a few, I've moved house but one thing has remained the same. My love of yarn and all that it implies.

My current project is from the book 'Vampire Knits', its the Lore Hoodie. In the photo it looks pink, but it's not. It's red. Aptly, blood red. I've got this fab black and red fur yarn that I will use to trim the garment. It's a project I call 'wishful knitting' as I hope to fit into it later as it's a couple of sizes smaller than I am now! I've successfully lost over 20lbs these past couple of months, so I believe it is achievable.

The sleeves were my first attempt at using dpns and I'm thrilled with the result. I also have learnt ssk stitch and I am yarning over for the first time in years. The pattern is coming out a bit bumpy, will have to ask my new friends at Ravelry how to remedy that.

Laters! Stay safe. x

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


I couldn’t help myself. When I saw they were selling Sirdar Escape (colour 180 'Fury') for £2 a ball in the Agora, Bletchley, I had the ‘quickening’. The term is taken from the film ‘Highlander’ when another immortal’s energy is absorbed, but in my case I use it when I find a yarn I fall in love with. I find my energy is increased, my eyes grow larger, my pupils dilate and pulse increases and I become a little breathless, brimming with creativity and life!!! No thunderbolts and electrical surges though, which is good... my hair's frizzy enough. Had I just left the yarn in the bargain bin, I would have been haunted by it’s beauty and a still small voice saying 'buy me... buy me..' until I’d finally given in and make an extra trip back to the shop. The colours got me…. Beautiful, rich, changing… **swoon**. I like to knit using circular needles for large projects, so ordered 4.5mm this morning but couldn't wait to get started!

The pattern is taken from the book ‘Viking Patterns for Knitting’ by Elsebeth Lavold. I’m changing it slightly, adding an extra ‘St John’s Cross/Happiness symbol’ to make it longer, and exchanging the ribbing for erm, something else… tassels maybe or something crocheted, I haven’t quite decided. The sleeves with be a complementary purple, as the yarn is unpredictable in it's colour changes and I didn't want the sleeves to be too different. I'm changing the shape of the sleeves too, I'll do a flared design with knotwork in the Escape yarn. I'm going to use a piping by a knitting nancy (pic:) around the neckline too instead of the ribbing.

So that’s five unfinished projects going on at the moment! That’s my limit.

Sunday, 26 April 2009


So my first two blog entries contained stuff about winter blues and having a poorly colon… not wishing to sound like a moaning minnie, I’d better start uploading some nice creative stuff that’ll make you smile!

I’m an artist at heart, but having a little one means it’s not always practical to get messy paints out. Some of my artwork takes ages to dry, and it’s just way too tempting for him to sabotage! So, as a compromise I ventured into some serious knitting! Easy to put up out the way when little fingers are about! I also found it extremely relaxing to do whilst pregnant.

Here’s some I made earlier!

Tee hee, bless him! My youngest modelling a simple cardi design, using old yarn from my mother's stash (about 20 years old!):

Finished! Robin DK in brown, and the mixed colours are three yarns together; the DK, ladder yarn (gives a nice twinkle in the light) and Wendy's Frizzante. Extremely soft and tactile. Yum!
It's even lined! At last I can use it!

Not sure about this flower, it's a bit twee for me:

Handspun yarn from Lofty Lou's Yarn shop in Placerville CA, mixed with Paton's Baroque. Dragonfly was made from scratch; threaded beads and wings made from angelina heat-sealed between two sheets of acetate:
I wore this chunky knit to death, it went beyond bobbling, but it was only 3 years old. Bad experience of yarn:
I knitted this shawl with only one ball of ladder yarn… showed my bump off lovely!:

After doing a search on ‘celtic knotwork knitting patterns’ I came across this photo of an Alice Starmore design called ‘St. Brigid’and instantly fell in love. My heart rate increased, pupils dilated, knitting fingers itched and I started to drool. I wanted the pattern bad:

After some searching visiting sites and forums, it appeared the book was quite elusive, now out of print. I begged virtual for a copy of just the one pattern, but was told ‘no’. Grr. Second hand copies of the book ‘Aran Knitting’ sell for around £180 no less! Stuff that, I thought. I rolled my sleeves up and was up for a challenge. I learnt, quite easily, how to cable for free online. And I plotted a chart myself. So ner. It’s not exact, but close enough!

Now, for my husband, the original pattern is too fussy, so I simplified the look by only doing one panel of the cabling. I figured that seeing this was my first try at a cabled pullover, I could be forgiven for not jumping in the deep end and doing all the plaits etc, in the original!

I'm knitting this using Patons Diploma Gold DK in Airforce Blue 6169, 4mm bamboo circular needles. Using circular needles means there's no weight to carry on them, it slides down and the work remains light. I often use circular for larger work.
I've nearly finished the frount now and will start sleeves soon. I have two other projects (childs chunky knit pullover and an arty mixed yarn poncho) on the go, so it'll take a while! I like to have 'easier/quicker' projects to break up a large timely project.

I do want to endeavour to make a similar one to the original at a later date for me. In a nice dark green, me thinks!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Love Your Colon!

Tonight’s dinner I enjoyed a nice jacket spud (perfectly crunchy on the outside, fluffy in the middle!), broccoli with green lentils and tomato. Seasoned with garlic, a magi cube and thyme, it was rather scrumdillyicious. As my men of Torr tucked into their meat-filled jackets, I decided that tonight’s bleating would be about why I eat veggie most days and encourage my men to eat it some days.

Hoping not to sound too much like I’m quoting from the gospel of St.Gillian McKeith, it is my understanding that we, the human race, were not created to withstand the western diet without complications. Our digestive system was not designed to cope with all the cow’s milk, wheat and red meat we have been brought up to feast on day in, day out. Wheat cereal for breakfast, meat sandwich for lunch, maybe pasta bolognese or pie for tea. When you add water to all that wheat flour, it sticks down the villi in the colon, and any nutrients can’t pentrate through the thick walls of what is essentially all the ‘glue’ being eaten! Also, meat can take up to 3 days to pass through the digestive system, slowing things down. Eeeyyeww . The Japanese eat the closest thing to a ‘perfect’ diet, although they can keep their fermented bean goo, I don’t care how good it is for us.

My proof of this knowledge rather than the theory of it, is the years of agony from my now diverticulated colon.

The weakness in my tummy is not only inherited (my father has only half of his colon left and my mothers isn’t in full working order either… eek!) but from years of abuse from eating whatever I wanted like (seemingly) everybody else does.

I was diagnosed with diverticular disease 4 years ago. Before that diagnosis after an uncomfortable laparoscopy, it had the umbrella term ‘IBS’. I was cursed with skin rashes, spots, bloating and a pendulum swing of runs /constipation and mood swings, aches and pains and the worst of all: The Debilitating Fatigue.

There was a brief respite from these symptoms when I was expecting my second child and a year after he was born. All the infections and ulcerations had left internal scarring which tugged at nerves whenever I ate, but as he grew inside, he stretched things out a bit and ‘freed’ things up. By the time he was born, I felt extremely well and indulged in all sorts of ‘forbidden’ foods without reprimand except for a few extra pounds. Well, I did have umpteen years worth of pizzas and ice cream to make up for….

A couple of viruses and tummy bugs later, I’m back to square one, popping back three mebeverines a day.

Somewhere inside is a self-destruct button, and when I stray from my ‘safe’ foods, I may as well shoot up heroin, as to what damage it does to me! And the cravings? There is no mercy!

I am at my happiest, healthiest and pain free(iest!) when I eat vegetarian, lactose/gluten/caffeine/alcohol free food and beverages. What a tightrope! It’s not easy, and I am not going to create a health-freak fa├žade on this blog to fool you into thinking I’ve got it all sussed. I love milk chocolate. I love fresh crusty bread. I love ale and a glass (or two) of wine now and then. I like meat. I just wish the aforementioned self destruct button never gets pressed and I loved my colon more.

There are some holy grails to be found on my shopping list though: Green and Black’s Dark Cherry Chocolate, Swedish Glace Ice Cream and Fry Light Buttery spray on my popcorn. All Stelly-friendly and indulgent. :oD Life is worth living after all.

My second post has an apt reference to number twos. How about that.

Monday, 20 April 2009

My First Post

Wow. As I gingerly dip my foot into the pool of blogging, I consider all options as to how to start… I think of all the things I could download (upload?) here and I’m overwhelmed with choices! Knitting? Oo, oo, music I like? How about a picture of the vegetarian dinner I made that was absolutely yumski…. I think I’ll start as I mean to go on. Ad hock, totally random and the amount will be based on how much longer I can stand the coldness of my study (I live in a drafty, spooky old house that is falling down faster than we can fix it.) So before my fingers go blue, which will totally clash with my nail polish, here is my first attempt of sharing anything to anybody who’ll take notice.

I am a lot like Wall-e. I recharge every morning with my light box as the dull English weather just doesn’t do it for me. I have found, after many years of hibernating in the winter being utterly miserable and eating like an absolute pig, that all I needed was a bit more light hitting the back of my retina. Ta-da: a happier, slimmer, more energetic Stella. Amazing what a little light can do, huh?!

I also collect things that most people would throw away, just so I can play with it later. Influenced by the Wombles, I don’t think twice about reusing wrapping paper and I have a huge bag of egg boxes in my kitchen ready to become caterpillars. You’ll see…. It’ll happen here. I also reuse old cards… cut off the front cover and stick it to a new piece of card, then all I need to buy is envelopes. As most cards cost over £1 these days, I save a bundle! I can also make them from scratch, but I don’t always have the time.

So I squidge things close and as I do they become something new…. Just like Wall-e and his blocks.