Monday, December 31, 2007

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to

Yes, today I'm 26. No, it's not old. Since I plan to live to be at least 100 it is only just over a quarter of the way there. But, as it's my birthday it does mean that I can spend a few moments thinking about what has been good about the last year - what I have managed to achieve in one form or another. Sometimes achievements are simply managing to get round to things we should have done ages ago. Sometimes they are learning something new (or something you've been afraid to try).

My achievements in the year are some selfless, some personal achievements, some demons beaten (I can drive!) and some simple things which have changed my day-to-day existence.

There's lots more I want to do, and while my "to do" for next year might still be about hanging pictures and baking, I'm beginning to distil a sort of idea of what I want from the future. To be honest it's not really what I expected, and I don't know whether I can do it. However, one thing which will never change is my desire to prove I can do things, especially if other people don't think I can. I want to iron this out into a plan (which will probably begin with sorting out the money, again!)

So anyway, here they are:
  1. Donated to a charity each month by DD
  2. Learnt to knit
  3. Joined pilates classes
  4. Recommended Leon for his job
  5. Bought a new computer (when the old one blew up…)
  6. Knit my first pair of socks!
  7. Bought another car
  8. Got back down to a size 12 for my holiday
  9. Learnt to crochet
  10. Learnt to drive
  11. Played frisbee on the beach!
  12. Hired a car in the US!
  13. Joined ravelry
  14. Ran in the Race for Life again
  15. Went to Florida and visited the family
  16. Discovered sweet potato and smoked mackrel (not together)
  17. Got a promotion at work
  18. Participated in Secret Pals
  19. Came 2nd in the PTH
  20. Read a poem at James and Rachel's wedding
  21. Completed the "medium" level on Guitar Hero 2
  22. Created 24 knitted items, including 9 gifts
  23. Discovered the joy of wearing flat shoes sometimes
  24. Fancy Dress twice (or 3 times if you count the overdressed Xmas curry)
  25. Got measured for a properly fitting bra (trust me ladies, it will change your life!)
  26. Learnt what a "French seam" is

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Knitting Update!

So, Christmas has happened, and therefore I can reveal my knitted gifts!
You'll have to go to my Knitting Blog where you can see the three Irish Hiking Scarves, One-Skein and matching gloves, Garden Scarf,Two stripes and stripes forever and another One Skein

Oh, and it's my birthday tomorrow, so expect some sort of "in my 26th year" type post tomorrow (or maybe early Jan if I actually go and have fun on my birthday. Unlikely as I'm at work...)

I'm casting on the Manly Sweater tonight I think, I've read the pattern and distrusted it, but now I realise it's okay because it's the back not the front that I was reading. :)

Happy knitting!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hamster on Sunday

I've been promising pics of Aston for a while. I can't promise there will be more soon, because he's a funny so-and-so and really doesn't like the camera. I think it's because it's shiny. The photos are a little orange too, because the flash is also scary to a little tiny fur ball like Aston.

Anyway, here he is, little Aston:
Aston by Hayzee C, on Flickr
Isn't he sweet? He did do some hiding while we were photographing him too...
Aston in sawdust by Hayzee C, on Flickr
He loves to burrow in the sawdust you see!

I think he looks cutest on this last one... but I must apologise for Leon's thigh being in the shot :)
Aston and Leon by Hayzee C, on Flickr

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas is coming!

I’ve begun bribing myself in order to complete my Christmas knitting. Never again will I fall into the trap of knitting three identical items for different people (in different colours, but still…). In fairness, this third one is coming out fantastically, even though I buggered up the edge made an interesting pattern change for the first pattern repeat. It actually looks pretty nice, so I’m keeping it and I’ll do the same on the last repeat too so that it’s identical.
I showed mum what I’ve knit for dad. She seemed, not impressed but pleased. I know that she’ll love her knitted gift(s?). Yes, even now I’m adding more things to the list of things to knit before Christmas creeps up on me. I’ve worked out that one pattern repeat on the item I’m knitting for the third time takes me approximately 16 minutes. I need 55 pattern repeats (at least) to complete the item (you knitters will know what this is!) and I have done three. So, I need to do 52 more pattern repeats at a shade over a quarter of an hour each. That’s 13.86 hours (I’ll round up to 14 to allow for weaving in ends and un-knitting and re-knitting etc.) so, I need 14 hours to complete this item. I will knit this evening for at least 2, possibly 3 hours, but let’s say an average of 2 hours to err on the side of caution. That means I need a week to complete the item (just that item mind you). I can do that. The trouble is that I timed myself while sitting in bed concentrating on the knitting. Not while I was watching CSI. This could be a different matter.
I also have the second of two very similar items to complete in crochet. That’s much nearer to being finished now that I’ve sorted out the yarn issues. It’s looking (as does it’s sibling [hint for ravellers]) pretty nice now. I miscalculated the yarn requirements for these so had to order extra, which is difficult when a yarn is discontinued!
But, I was telling you about me bribing myself. Yes, so I set myself a target (based on the number of 15 minutes there are before 10:45) to knit a number of repeats on the item I mentioned. Once I have completed that number of repeats I can knit two rounds on the gypsy socks (which are for me). This has many benefits for me.
I have an aim, knit this much before you stop.
I have a reward, pretty sock yarn and teensy needles, allows finger flexing after all this on 5.5s
Okay, that’s just two (or three, if you count the second one as two) benefits, but they say a change is as good as a holiday, so…

I’ve decided that I need some flip-flop socks. Okay, maybe need is a bit of a strong word. If I’m wearing flip-flops it’s usually because I’m on the beach or by the pool. (probably should replace “the” with “a” there, since I have neither a local beach nor do I wear flip-flops to the swimming baths, only to pools on holidays). I just like the idea really. I’d love to knit toe-socks like the ones my sister buys sometimes (each toe has it’s own little section, like gloves compare to mittens, toe-socks compare to socks, sorta). I dunno. I should work out whether I have enough yarn left in my half-ball of Opal Feelings to do anything of use.

The OH is off on a course right now, so I’m on my own in the house (except for Aston, who may make an appearance on the blog when I clean him out). I’ve remembered to eat and stuff, I’ve been going to bed at a sensible time (not like last time he was away when I stayed up until 3am or something playing games online!) and I might even do some washing up and take out the compost!

After having flowers in the house (thanks again Jimbob) I decided that I liked it, and so I’ve bought myself a (cheap) bunch of flowers. These ones are pink and purple. The purple ones almost match the bathroom towels! I’ve put five-or-six in the bathroom vase (though I’m worried about the water level) and the rest are on the mantel. I have photos; they’ll be on Flickr eventually. (As will the Christmas Party photos, promise!)

Roll on holiday time! I’m really looking forwards to getting away for Christmas. It has been a hectic year; we haven’t managed to go on any “get away from it” breaks. Florida, as fantastic as it was, was not relaxing. However, Christmas at the GMIL’s will be relaxed. I’ll have lots of time to knit (though all the knitted gifts should be complete by then, there is a chance of end-weaving) and we’ll go for walks in the woods there (note to self: take walking boots). This year (touch wood) I don’t have a cold, which I have had the last twice we’ve been. I am actually well! Woo! I’m going to recommend that we see “The Golden Compass” as our holiday movie. We do have a few gifts left to buy, which is beginning to stress me out as we’re getting a bit close for postage, then you have to go to the shops and it’s always more expensive there.
I’ve been very restrained and not looked at my own Amazon wish-list for some time. This is because you can see if someone’s bought something for you and I don’t want to ruin the surprise! I already know about one or two of my prezzies, and so I want to keep the rest secret!

Anyway, I should be doing other things than this. {sigh} Maybe one day I’ll have a job that’s so interesting that I don’t get way-laid with other things. Maybe.

Monday, December 10, 2007

So you think you're a fan?

1. As I said before, my secret pal (downstream) is revealed (she worked out who I am): Fluffy Knitting!

onto the real post

I was having a bad day today…
I forgot to turn on my alarm, leading to a frenzied rush to get ready in less than forty minutes.
Work is, well, as usual
And then I read this article on Why Star Wars Fans Hate Star Wars I giggled. I agreed. I felt slightly silly.
I’ve watched the movies. So has my other half – see this post. I have read some of the books (mostly Timothy Zahn) and I have played both of the Knights of the Old Republic (which I enjoyed, but then I do like RPG… and being a Jedi…) and I agree.
The only thing I’d disagree with is the reference to trekkies (or trekkers or whatever they/we’re choosing to be called these days.) I don’t love all of Star Trek, nor do I only love the Gene Rodenberry bits. I just really dislike Enterprise. It’s inconsistent the same way that the “new” films are for Star Wars. They should know better. Do your research, know your (future) history!

Okay, that’s enough for now.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

To My (no longer) Secret Pal

Well, SP11 is all but over, I have one parcel to post tomorrow for my downstream.

I have loved this exchange. It’s been so much fun getting gifts through the post, and also lots of fun finding and sending gifts for my downstream pal.

Secret Pals works because of people like my pals, both up and downstream.

I’ll let “the blog” know who my downstream is once she has worked out the clue. (which is an idea I pinched from my upstream!)

My spoiler, Crafty Drama Queen has been a brilliant spoiler. She clearly took time to get to know me from my blog and bought me things that have been both exciting and (will soon be) useful!
Highlights have included:
The handmade stitch markers, which adorn a couple of projects already
The sari silk, which is now a bag and there’s leftovers. (It is rough on the hands so a good hand cream and patience are needed. I have both, but only in small quantities…)
The beautiful yarn, especially the alpaca sock yarn. I love alpaca. I love socks. {big cheesy grin}

It’s been great. I only hope that my pal feels as spoiled and that I have managed to understand her as well as my pal has me. It’s been a great adventure, and I hope we’ll stay pals (at least on Ravelry!)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Secret Pal Parcel Three!

Well, I finally got to the post office just before it closed to collect my parcel. It was a fairly heavy, well taped up, box.

And inside...

Were many wonderful things.

Where do I begin? There's a Rowan Newsletter (which includes a pattern), a funky card with my secret pal's identity clue in, the pattern for monkey (I'll go visit Knitty to keep their site hits up) some beautiful alpaca-merino sock yarn in "Sherbert Glow" from Natural Dye Studio (I've recently purchased yarn from them too and this yarn is also lush. There's a "fat quarter" of material (that's the pink and cream thingy) which is screaming out to be a cushion. There are two clear zippy wallets with pink trim (pink!) and fab contents of a notebook (pink!) a pen (pink!) some fat-head pins and some wide-eye needles (very useful!) - I'm thinking that the pink notepad is the perfect size for keeping a list of all the yarn I want to buy in, in my handbag. There's also the 2008 Stitch n Bitch page-a-day calendar! Woo - I've been lusting after that! I've told my boyf to tell my family I have it now. Last, but not least, is a kit for making a tiny felted tote. It includes - can you see - addi turbos! AND some soy-and-wool yarn which I've been meaning to try for ages! And it's red/pink!

Anyway, the clue inside the card is a picture of some yarn, plus some theatrical masks, plus a crown. After I hunted on the participants list for "knitting masked queen" and similar nonsense, I had the good sense to go to Ravelry and type in "drama queen" and then again, without the space. There's only one drama queen in the UK, and she's in Yorkshire (I'd gathered that about my pal) so, it's got to be her! My Pal was: Crafty Drama Queen! (Or, at least, I think so!)

Thank you so much, Secret Pal! It's been great. I've loved everything you've sent, and I'm looking forwards to doing lots of "me knitting" once Christmas knitting is done!

410 times

This is my 410th post.
I was looking at another blog, Knitting and Sewing and all forms of procrastination. . . where they are running a competition because it’s their 100th post. (Yarnies check it out, lovely yarn on offer – and I get no bonus points for saying so, I’m just nice!) which got me thinking…

My blog is over 3 years old. In fact, it’s 1210 days old today. There are a grand total of 410 posts (including this one) which makes an average of almost 1 post every three days.

I’m sure I could figure out some more stats. In fact, here we are:
In 2004 (146 days of it) I blogged 58 times. That’s one every 2.5 days
In 2005 I blogged only 47 times (wow) that’s a bit less than once a week. (Was it something to do with a slow internet connection and the computer being in the smallest box room in the world?)
In 2006 I blogged 143 times, back to once every 2.5 days roughly.
In 2007 (so far) I have blogged 158 times. There have been 334 days in 2007 so far, so that’s roughly once every two days.
In 2007 I blogged most often in March (19 posts) and least often in February (only 7 posts) assuming that I post more than 7 in December of course.
In 2006 the top posting months were July and September with 19 each. The least blogged month was February again with only 4.
In 2005 I posted most in January with 7 posts, and least in February, April and August with 2 each. (February is looking like it’s not a good month to read my blog!)
In 2004 I only have August to December – unsurprisingly my first month of blogging was the most active with 18 posts in and December was the losing month with just 8 posts (still more than the best February score!)

So, in summary, I post frequently (usually about knitting these days – there are 87 posts tagged with knitting and crafts, the next closest being 35 for health and fitness (also ranting about being fat) and then 32 for holidays! However, don’t expect a lot from me in February!

I do know why I post less in February though; we like to go on holiday then for Leon’s birthday.

And, I have a card from the postie telling me that I have a parcel. I like post!
I’m waiting for my SPs gifts, I’ve ordered online for them again. I’m quite excited about the things I’ve ordered too. I may have to purchase a box to ship this time instead of padded envelopes.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


So, some pics as promised, and the story about the flowers...

I went to the post office to pick up what I thought was a gift from Play for Leon. However, it was not. It was, in fact:

How odd - who has bought me flowers? Hmm
Anyway, I got home and realised something crucial. I don't own a vase. Nobody has ever bought me flowers before.
Okay, now that you've recovered from that shock, can you guess what I did?

You guessed it. I went and bought a vase:

And then another, as I liked buying vases.


And for those who are interested, here's my team from the PTH.

and me

My SP has commented that she's left a clue in the last parcel about who she is in case I haven't guessed. I still don't have any idea, so I'm very excited to get the clue! And also reminded that I need to sort out my parcel for my downstream!

Monday, November 26, 2007


I still haven’t uploaded the pictures of my pretty flowers. Ho hum. Will do soon.
Party Time is Almost Upon Us
So tonight I intend to try on my ball dress (the black one from last year) and see if it needs altering before this year (which is on Saturday)
Then I have a mass panic (still to come, it’s not often I get to plan to panic!) to have about the other Christmas Party which is on the 5th. This is bad. No time to make the dress for that one, methinks. So I have to either: reuse one of the previous ball dresses (not an issue really, I have loads) or go buy a new one. This has to be decided before Saturday so that the buying can happen on Saturday. I’ve seen one I like in New Look, but chances are that it’s sold out or that it will not fit. (It not fitting isn’t the end of the world though, I have a sewing machine! Unless it’s a size 20 or something)
Leon and I also need to tidy our house (you would not believe the state of it – it’s untidy even by my standards) before the weekend as I’ve offered our sofabed to blogless Jaq. In fairness, we need to get tidied up anyway.

I have been knitting and crocheting and I have a problem…
I have run out of the yarn I have been using for the items for some people. It’s my own fault, I mis-read the patterns. So I am contemplating what I can do to rectify the situation. Currently the plan is to introduce some extra colours which would not have otherwise been there. It would be fine if the yarn in question wasn’t discontinued.
I have finished glove one for my sister though, I’m pleased with that! It looks pretty good. I will cast on for it’s twin soon.
The Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate was on Saturday (now you know why no blog or photos). Leon and I went with bloggless Helen on the train. The weather was absolutely foul. Anyway, I got see some lovely things while there.
I visited the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop from whom I bought some beautiful sheep pin-badges. I very nearly bought a felted bag kit too. We moved on, past a lady who was spinning on an actual spinning wheel. She also had a niddy-noddy which I correctly identified having seen one on Yarn Harlot’s blog.
I also visited Knit n Caboodle where Leon treated me to a drop spindle kit as well as some nice sock yarn. We also bought a card for my SP package three which really needs to be going soon!
I bought some dpns for one of the Christmas gifts, I think from Pavi yarns. Perhaps.
At the knit-picks stand I bought the three back issues of Yarn Forward which are pretty good, though I haven’t had chance to properly read them yet.
I also bought a light box for my card craft – it was only £5 which was a bargain!
I spent all of the money I allowed for the day, bar about £1.50 which I used to buy lunch today!
We’re off to the gym tonight, before pilates. It will either be great or a complete disaster. As I have a very long meeting on Wednesday, it might be Thursday before we go again. Which is pants.
Well, I’m off to continue hunting for a good pattern/yarn type combo for my SP, I have bought some accessories and need to complete the parcel.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thinking about it

But I’m not sure.
I can buy some Trekking undyed sock yarn and then dye my own. Then I have completely 100% unique socks.
I am told that you can use food colouring to do this, but will it “stick” or will it just wash out again?
I guess I could try to find Kool Aid to do it The Knitty Way maybe. It doesn’t seem difficult.
Oh, no, Knitty have a food colouring one too - they are so fab.

I will post about the lovely flowers I was sent, which I received yesterday, but probably not until tomorrow (PTH tonight) – I have taken pictures and there is a little bit of a story to it, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Something new to think about.

Yesterday I went to a meeting at work about a new project that’s changing our department.
The idea is to be better, faster and more efficient. It’s a good plan. However, there was an interesting part of the presentation where they replaced everything my team do with a database. I can see their logic and reasoning. It makes perfect sense. It does leave me wondering what my job will be when it’s finished. On the face of it, my job might not be there any more.
Of course, this is a two year plan, and lots of things can change in two years. They may decide to do things in a different way, or simply change the role of the team I’m in. Until we get more information, and more definite information, there’s not much more to say. I am not sure how to keep the morale of my team up though. They all saw the presentation and drew their own conclusions.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow night’s debauchery, the PTH is always interesting. As I have mentioned we’re going as the French. I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going for a saucy French-lady look, or a more blokey version. I have tried on my costume and bought some nice black jeans for the event. I may wear my saucy red peep-toe shoes, but I might not. I haven’t decided yet! (If I do, I’ll need to paint my toenails!)
The costume is made by Smiffy’s of Gainsborough (my hometown) – if you search for “French man” you get it. I guess I could have gone for “French Maid” instead, but that’s a bit too saucy (and cold) for a November PTH. The shirt is pretty baggy on me, but I think I’m going to wear a vest underneath it and then tie up the shirt to the side. I will probably not wear the ‘tache.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Minor finger issue

So, as I mentioned I’m using the Web Generated Hand Knit Gloves pattern to make Gayle’s gloves with.
So, last night I picked up sticks and continued on the index finger. The pattern generated said: continue until the finger is 1.5 inches (6 rows). Hmm. This didn’t twig at first. When I got to 1.5 inches I looked at the finger, I looked at my own finger, I tried on the glove again (I love being able to do that). No, 1.5 inches is not long enough. I should have spotted that (especially since the middle finger was to be 2.5 inches!) I guess my chunky yarn must have upset the generator!
So, being the risk-taker that I am, I decided to knit a few more rounds; another 5 in fact. Then the three decreasing rounds leaving me with 3 stitches to sew up at the tip. And I’m happy that it fits me, with a bit of a nail too. Gayle doesn’t have especially long nails, so they should fit her too, I hope.

I really need to get on with some of my Christmas projects though. I still have one-and-a-half crochet and three knitted things to finish and only 33 days to do it in, of which one is the Stitch n Craft, one is the Railway Ball and one is the Racecourse Ball. Only eight are properly free days, and two of those can only be used for knitting for Leon’s family as I have to drop off my family’s gifts by the 21st when we see my parents before we go to Leon’s folks’.

I don’t think I’m going to have time to make a new ball dress for the second ball though, so it’s going to have to be either a new one, or a re-used one from a previous year. Hm.

Monday, November 19, 2007

This week I are bin mostly...

It’s raining, cold and miserable. Ick.
And I haven’t blogged in ages. Sorry about that.
I don’t really have an excuse. I got half-way through writing a post about something or other, but got way-laid. So, here I am.
This weekend, being one with nothing “booked” in it was scheduled to be Christmas shopping. But, I booked into the hairdressers first, and that took longer than anticipated. However, we got some prezzie shopping done. I still have to think of something for my mum and sister, and for Leon. I’ve bought two things for him so far, well – three if you count the thing he knows about!
I usually enjoy Christmas shopping, though town was even busier than normal. And we were paying a darned fortune for parking! I decided to pay using my mobile, you just text vast amounts of information to this number and they debit your bank account. It’s quite a good method, except that they cheekily charged extra! Poo.
The good bit, though, is that they text you when your parking is about to run out, and if you reply you can extend it; which is handy if you’re in the middle of having a cuppa at the time!

Anyway, other than getting a new hair-do (->) and a bit of Christmas shopping, I also bought some yarn. I bought seven balls of beautiful praline coloured rowan pure wool aran. Okay, it’s brown. It’s for the “Manly Sweater” for Leon. I thought that I had enough of the contrasting colours (Ivory and Sage) but it turns out that I need two balls of the ivory, so to make sure that they’re the same dye-lot (it’s very slightly off white) I’ve had to order two more. Still, I’m sure I can think of something to do with a ball of almost-white pure wool aran weight yarn! :)

I know, I am not meant to be buying any yarn until the S&C in Harrogate, but I do like to have the yarn I want for a project. I’m planning on casting on my Urban Vest as soon as I finish the last of my Christmas knits (although I really should go back to Gypsy Socks first) I’m also inspired to knit more gloves.
My sister asked for gloves rather than mittens for Christmas, (she’s the only person who has asked for specific knitted items!) and so she’s getting some. They’re in a really funky colour (I’ll be updating the finished items blog en-masse after Christmas with all the gifts I’ve been making!)(If you’re on ravelry you can see the yarn already) and I’ve used the pattern for Web Generated Hand Knit Gloves by the Knitting Fiend - she also does socks and the like. Anyway, I am really enjoying knitting the gloves - I’m up to the index finger on the first glove (so I have not just four dpns but also three stitch holders and a stitch marker in play - I’m considering an extra stitch marker too to mark the beginning of the round on my 9-stitch finger!) I’ve been intermittently trying them on (no pun intended) and they’re slightly too big for me - by only a teensy bit. I figure that’s good though, as my sister has slightly bigger hands than me. The cuff is big on me too, but I have unnaturally skinny wrists! So, I’m confident that they’ll fit; I like the simplicity of the pattern and I am seriously considering making a full hat-scarf-glove set for myself, if i can find some suitable yarn!
I’m currently lovingRowan Tapestry, it’s 70% Wool and 30% Soybean Protein Fibre. You get 120m per 50g ball and its tension is 22sts and 30 rows to 10cm on 4mm needles – so I guess it’s basically DK. All the balls look so nice, and I think would make lovely gloves. I’d think about doing the Argosy scarf from knitty. They did it in Noro, but I think that it would work in Rowan Tapestry. However, the gloves are plain old stocking stitch, so a posh scarf might be a bit much – but all that in just stst would be sooooo boring! Hmm. I guess I could add a cable or something to the gloves, and then add the same cable to the scarf and hat. – eek, we’re back into design-it-yourself type territory! But I do enjoy that, hopefully the Gypsy Socks will be a testament to whether I’m any good at making up my own patterns (sort of) or not. Taking a basic pattern and embellishing it is not really designing, is it?

Well, those of you not into yarn will probably be bored stiff by now.
In other news… umm. I do have more craft news, but I guess I’ll save that for now.

We went back to the gym yesterday. I now ache. Anyway, it was actually not bad. My cardio sucked, but then we haven’t been to the gym for a month! (Except for Pilates) I plan to go either Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

Thursday this week is the bi-annual Pub Treasure Hunt! Woo! Bad Data will once again be competing in rounds of dressing up, drinking, answering questions on random topics, and collecting treasure. We usually score about mid-table, though we have in the past won the fancy dress part of it. Depending on the organising team we could end up carrying large fruit items, balloons or eggs and have to find monkeys, light bulbs, photos and the like. The theme this time is “stereotypes”. One could argue that any dressing up contest is usually about stereotypes.
In the past, Bad Data have dressed as:
Batman Villains
Pop Idol Judges
Captain Scarlet
Wacky Races
Dukes of Hazzard
Witches and Wizards
And now… The French.

I was hoping for a more interesting theme, but still… sadly “geeks” had already been taken before we entered. Shame, how could any team make better geeks than programmers? Oh well, I bet the team doing geeks will accidentally end up dressing as nerds – haha, then we’ll laugh. Ahem.
Really though, we’re being the French. Complete with berets and striped tops. I haven’t yet decided whether I’m going to wear the ‘tache or whether I’m going to try to do “la resistance” a là ‘Allo ‘Allo.
But, I will be taking the camera, so look out for the pictures!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh Dear

I just surfed into Stig’s blog, and he referred to this article in the Manchester Evening News.

I am astounded that people can be so innumerate that they do not know that -5 is a higher number than -6. I can understand how people find this confusing, but you just have to remember that if there is a minus sign it works the other way. Do these same people see a temperature of -15 on the weather and think – ooh, it’s going to be lovely, I’ll leave my coat at home? If so, here’s a message for them: never ever go to the Antarctic (that’s the one in the south with the penguins) or the Arctic (north with polar bears) – it’s not as warm as you think.

If we’d have stayed with fahrenheit we would still have this issue, but not until the temperature was a bit lower (0 fahrenheit is about -17 celsius [or centigrade, I gather that they’re the same])

Weekend Away

We had a lovely weekend away in Derbyshire this weekend. We left on Friday afternoon, spent a while on the M1 and then turned up near Burton on Trent by late afternoon. The “cottage” was lovely, it was nice and big, the only let-down was that the dining room was smaller than would be ideal. Leon and I had a nice room, a double on the ground floor which was en-suite. There was a log-burner in the lounge too.

We did some walking on the first day (Saturday), which didn’t involve any evil waterfalls, and only one scary bit. There were also alpaca, although they were a long way away. The weather mostly held, only mild drizzle at one point. We had an excellent pub lunch too.
On the second day (Sunday), Leon and I went to Chatsworth House with one of the other weekenders. We looked around the gardens, which were fab even at this time of year. We also looked around the house which is already decked out for Christmas. They also had some lion-mane bunnies which were so sweet. We also saw some pretty ruffle-back doves and other birds which I forget the name of. They also have the “Mr Darcy” bust from the movie of pride and prejudice. (The movie, not the BBC adaptation. Personally I prefer Colin Firth’s Darcy, though the film version was good.)
Since we’d taken the Monday off work Leon and I travelled up to another stately home, Hardwick Hall. Sadly, it’s owned by the National Trust and so was shut. Bother. We should have called ahead. So, we detoured, towards Sutton Scarsdale Hall – a ruin. It turns out that one of the signs was pointing the wrong way and we got horribly lost. So we headed off. We stopped at a garden centre somewhere with a farm shop. No animals though, but some nice food.

I went to the chiropractor again to get my report. She recommended several visits over the next few weeks which would have been quite costly. I took the report to my pilates teacher for a second opinion. She said it wasn’t that bad really. I decided not to continue going to the chiropractor on the grounds that I can’t really afford it, and if I hadn’t gone in the first place I wouldn’t have known that I'm a bit off kilter. Equally, I’m not suffering from backache recently and most of what she recommended was lifestyle (drink more water, eat 5-a-day, sit up straight and don’t cross your legs) as well as the horribleness that is being adjusted (it’s not pleasant. I’ve been putting a brave face on, but I really don’t like being clicked!) So, no more of that.

I’ve also ordered some more sock yarn from a UK based hand-dying company. I’ll let you know what it’s like when it arrives. I’m thinking about using it to make some jaywalkers if it’s striped or broadly variegated, if it’s not then I might try some other sock pattern. Nothing too complex, I want a nice simple knit. I have to decide whether to risk trying to make some socks with the 50g of Opal I have left too.
And, I didn’t find any yarn stores this weekend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Been busy at work and busy knitting, so haven't really blogged.

Last weekend was James's wedding - check out my Flickr site if you're my friend on Flickr, if not you can't see them, sorry.

You can see some of the ones from the zoo though :)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Oh no! I'm barred!

I can’t view my own blog at work today, it tells me that “The Websense category "Emerging Exploits" is filtered” which isn’t ideal.
I have no idea why! I think they might be blocking blogspot (though they haven’t told us that they will be, which they did with facebook) because I can still get to wordpress based blogs.
Oh well, I guess that I’ll have to make do with just posting and hope for the best that it looks okay! And I’ll have to do my blog reading at home rather than on my lunch breaks.
This is probably a good thing, as it will make me want to go away from my desk and do other stuff at lunch time, like read a book or knit. Much better than staying at my desk, which generally means that I’m at my desk for the full 7 hours, minus any loo-breaks.
Ho hum.

Still, Ravelry is still alive for now! Perhaps too many people are spending too long on blogspot blogs or something. I imagine there may be other ravellers at work, but I wouldn’t expect it to be as widespread as blogspot.
I am relieved too, because I thought maybe a naughty word had crept onto my blog that caused it to be barred.

So, I’ll have to catch up on everyone’s blogs when I come back from the wedding in Edinburgh this weekend.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Someone's calling you, but they can't get through.

Briefly, Knitting…
When I got home, though, there was a small parcel waiting for me. It was some lovely mink coloured sock yarn. I’ve ordered two balls of Cygnet Wool Rich 4ply to make the Earl Grey Socks by theYarn Harlot

I now have a work mobile so they can contact me any time of the day or night. [sarcasm on] How fantastic is that? [sarcasm off] Well, they would be able to, if it worked. Rubbish thing. It’s a properly snazzy phone, but it’s not working, at all. Some updates are meant to have come through or something, but they haven’t. So now I can waste large parts of my day getting it set up. It’s a Sony Ericsson K530i

I will be turning it off as soon as I leave work though. There’s an answer-phone function, which I’ll set up if it EVER starts working properly. Pah.

On the other hand, the time where it’s not working properly is time where people can’t call me on it. I dread to think what the ring tone is, or the message tone. I might go hide in the loo and have a play. It’s annoying to have people doing that nearby and I don’t want to be one of those annoying people!

Friday, October 26, 2007

magazines to cobble dogs with*

Hooray! My long-awaited expected post arrived last night! Woo!

The item I was waiting for to post to my SP arrived just in time; I was going to post it today regardless! Hooray! So, the parcel is completed and will be in the post after work today.

I also received my copy of simply knitting. Unfortunately yesterday I had reached my threshold and had bought those other magazines. Now simply knitting has it’s place, and as a real beginner I loved it, but now that I’ve seen some of the other publications (American, granted) I know there is more! Anyway, I’ve subscribed until next May on SK, so it might improve. In the meantime I’m looking forwards to seeing copies of the new UK magazine, Yarn Forward. I’ve read good things about it on Ravelry (especially compared to Lets Knit!) and I hope to pick up a copy in Harrogate.

Today they’re moving the furniture around at work, which means we all have to leave at 4pm instead of 5pm. What a shame. And it’s payday. This is a dangerous combination! Anyway, I still haven’t decided about the shoes to go with the blue dress for the wedding, so I’m not buying them yet. They will get at least one more outing, as I plan to do silver for one of the Christmas parties. I’ve planned the other outfit already; it’s a modification of last-year’s outfit. Last year I wasn’t very well and so I wanted to get full enjoyment out of the dress. It’s a 50s style dress with a square neck and halter ties. Last year I wore it with a red belt and red shoes. I don’t think that there are any pictures! This year I plan to buy a gold belt and wear the same dress, gold belt and my gold sandals. I need to see if I own a gold bag – I’m sure I do.

The silver outfit might not be silver, I don’t know yet. I might have a dig through my material bag before I do anything else and see if I have any material suitable for the occasion. I have been considering transforming the long gold dress I made a few years ago, but that’s gold again. Hmm. I’ve seen lots of sequinned dresses, risky but could look fab. Ooh, I have an idea for a split skirt with silver sequins underneath (inspired by a wedding dress would you believe) – I’ll have to have a look in Boyes at material, and also do some sketches. Hmm. I’ll let you know how that goes anyway.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading both of the knitting magazines I bought yesterday (and SK, in fairness!) and I want to make items out of all of them! Woo! I haven’t had chance to add them to Ravelry yet, sadly the Vogue Knitting site is down right now, so I can’t show you the patterns I like. But, if you go here you can see the High Neck Pullover I quite like (#11) – there’s loads more though! Also, if you go here you can see the Britney Top from Knit in Style, which I like. It has a matching bag, but I’m not sure about that. I’ve never matched my bag to my top before.

I thought it was about the “magic triangle” of shoes-bag-coat (or shoes-bag-hat) that should be coordinated. Even then, I wouldn’t necessarily want my shoes and bag to match my coat, but I do try (for balls especially) to have matching shoes and bag. Sorta.

Anyway what are my thoughts on Vogue Knitting, now that I’ve read the features and looked at the patterns? Well, I liked it. The articles were interesting and written with a touch of cheekiness to them. The patterns are about half-and-half, some are just too high fashion, I don’t want to knit something I wouldn’t wear. However, the others are all pretty, and some I might even be skilled enough to knit!

My thoughts on Knit n Style? There are plenty of patterns I like in there too. I don’t know whether all of the patterns in there are “new” though, I’m sure I’ve seen some of them elsewhere (the Britney top and the Peppermint Twist socks, for example). I guess that’s the risk of buying so many magazines!

* no magazines were thrown anywhere near any dogs in the making of this post. I wouldn't throw a magazine at a dog either, what's the dog ever done to you? Huh? So it's just an expression meaning lots of magazines, before anyone thinks I'm a crazy dog-pelting sadist.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Post postal-strike post

I am still waiting for both my secret pal parcel item and my copy of Simply Knitting.
I have to wait until the 31st October (21 days after shipping) before I can lodge a complaint with Play that it hasn’t arrived. What’s annoying is that other items posted at around the same time have got through. I don’t know what’s happened to these two bits of post.
I think that if the final item doesn’t turn up by Friday, I’ll just have to post the secret parcel without it, and send my apologies but that it will be in the next parcel. How annoying. It goes well with the rest of the parcel too. This is my first “themed” parcel.
In my impatience to devour more knitting text, I’ve bought myself two more American imported magazines. The first is Vogue knitting. They do an “adapted” version for the UK, but I don’t know what the difference is. The adverts are all still American! I’ve also bought Knit n Style. I haven’t had a chance to have a look through that one yet. I’ve read the first half of the vogue one and I am quite impressed so far! The articles are quite interesting, long enough to have information in them but short enough that I don’t lose interest! There’s a special article this month about UK knitters (The British are Knitting!) which is next for me to read. I ran out of time on my lunch break (blogging is more discreet than reading a magazine!) and so it will have to wait until this evening. I’ve looked through the patterns too, there are some pretty things I would like to make. I didn’t expect that from Vogue knitting! I thought it would be all crazyness, so I’m quite pleased. There are some crazy patterns too though.

I did my first bit of Christmas shopping yesterday lunchtime (don’t shoot me). it was mainly because I was in town buying something for my sister’s birthday. I saw something that I thought Leon would like, and something that I thought my dad would like. I bought some not-necessarily-Christmas paper too, gold with stars. I used the last of last-year’s paper to wrap the gift for Leon and wrapped my sister’s birthday gifts in the gold star paper. I haven’t wrapped my dad’s gift yet. We need to get our usual stock of wrapping paper in, then I store all the Christmas gifts until there are enough to merit wrapping (Leon’s gifts notwithstanding, they have to be wrapped so he doesn’t see them) and then I wrap everything. Okay, it takes hours. But at least then it’s all done, and honestly I enjoy it. I love putting on the Christmas music (in my case, Girls Aloud’s Christmas songs CD) and singing along while I wrap. Spot on. but I don’t like wrapping the gifts until the tree is up, and we don’t put the tree up until December.

Well, this weekend we’re off to visit my sister and deliver her birthday presents. I’m also treating her to a sports bra – she’s just joined a gym, and it’s my opinion that a good bra is as important as good trainers. Also then you’re not getting your nice bra all sweaty and icky. Of course, it’s also a good excuse to go shopping. Which I shouldn’t, because I should be saving my money and paying off the mortgage and stuff.

We’re busy for quite some time now, it’s nice and also not nice. it’s nice because we’re doing interesting things and going places to have fun. I like that. it’s less nice because there’s the whole issue of not being at home. That issue is multifaceted for me. I have issues. Not being at home means I’m not able to slob around so much. That’s probably a good thing though. It means I get less knitting done. That’s a pain especially with the deadlines. Not being at home means that when I do get home and the place is a mess (as usual) I feel grumpy. I worry about leaving Aston on his own, even for one night. There are goof sides to the awayness though. This weekend I get to see Gayle, which happens less than it should. The weekend after involves train journeys, which are a perfect time to knit. Woo! Also, weddings mean nice frocks and new shoes (maybe). The weekend after that we’re going to get to go to Chatsworth. It’s forever since I’ve been there! I’m hoping that the house or gardens will be open, but if not we might just tramp about in the park. There’s also the chance to maybe go to Matlock, and hopefully some knitting time in the big old house we’re staying in. after a weekend off (!) then it’s the Stitch and Craft show in Harrogate, which I'm excited about. I’m doing my best to not buy yarn in advance, just in case. However, I do also need to organise myself. Then it’s the first weekend in December, and we have the Gymcrack Christmas party, followed midweek by the other Xmas party. Currently December is reasonably plan free, until the 21st then. Hopefully we’re off to Speen via Cottenham via Gainsborough. I also hope to pick a weekend to do some more looking at the archives, depending on how the knitting has gone by then.
I set myself a target of finishing each gift item within 10 days. I was ahead of schedule with the first few, but I’m about on-target now. At least the crochet ones take a bit less time. I have to stop adding extra bits though.
I’m making the Manly Sweater for Leon too, though probably not in time for Xmas. I might get chance to cast on over Christmas, depending on how my tank top goes, which is my next project after the Xmas gifts. And working on the Gypsy Socks. And my two scarves. The zig-zag bag is looking more and more like it will be forever in the UFO pile. And I keep seeing new things I want to knit. (my own fault, keep buying magazines and browsing ravelry.)
I am thinking about rearranging my blog too, but I am not sure yet. It depends on whether I can find (or make) a template that I like. I could adjust existing templates but my web-coding skills are somewhat rusty. I'm sure I could work it out, but…
Anyway, step one will be to design myself a nice banner header thingy. Which will be uploaded onto my blog possibly via my webpage (which I never use, but it is there!) We will see.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Home Grown Shop

We went to the supremarket tonight.
I tried to buy only things from the UK. Lamb (Wales), a Leek (Yorkshire), Mushrooms (Yorkshire), etc.
Then Leon bought some Danish bacon.
Oh well, almost all UK grown :)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Secret Pal Parcel 2!

I had a card in the post yesterday telling me that they had post that they couldn’t fit through my door, so off I trotted to the post office this morning on the way to town. It wasn’t the missing part of my parcel for my pal, but my second parcel from my secret pal!
So, we did the shopping as planned, and then went for lunch at Gourmet Burger Kitchen – yum!
While in there, I took a picture of all the goodies, before opening them (I couldn’t wait until I got home!)
 Parcel Contents 1
So, there are fantastic things, I am so spoiled!
There are two kinds of yarn, needles, card-making stuff, one-skein patterns AND a lollypop! Excellent!
 Opened Contents
Where to begin? The yarns are two materials that I’ve been working with a lot, and are in one of my favourite colours – red; they are Merino (from James C Brett, W.Yorks) and Cotton (Wendy Supreme) I’m dead chuffed – thank you pal!
 James C Brett Merino DK  Wendy Supreme Cotton DK
Well, there are some lovely needles, which are habico twist needles. They’re clear plastic (much nicer than the grey stuff) with a twist of pink through the middle. They’re also 5mm, which is spot on, I use that size most I reckon! Especially as it’s good for both DK and aran.
 Natty Needles 1  Natty Needles 2
There’s a pattern leaflet from “Stitch Diva” for one skein patterns. Very exciting! Hopefully I can make something from that with one of my red skeins. Woo!  Stitch Diva
There are goodies for making cards, including some cards, envelopes and stuff-to-stick-on. I will have a better dig through the contents very soon, but it looks like there’s lots of bits I can use for my card-making. [I’ve made three cards now, all of which have been sent. I’ve gone a bit less mad on the glitter on the recent one.]
 More Card Goodies  Card Goodies
There’s some hand-made soap from Thailand in lemongrass scent. Ooh, yum! I love that scent, and it’s so fantastic. The little bag that the soap is in will make an excellent stitch marker (or other bits) bag when the soap is gone. It’s small enough to fit into my lush tins too, so it may become my travel soap for the Christmas holiday.
 Soap in bag  Soap
I’ve saved this one until last; it’s a hand-knit stitch marker bag. In red. It’s brilliant; I’m impressed that my pal has spent some time to make me something so useful. Thank you so very much! Anyway, in the bag there are some stitch markers, I don’t know if they’re also made by my pal, but they’re just wonderful too. Also, I shouldn’t lose them because they’re on a clip.
 Stitch Marker Bag  Stitch Markers
Thank You Secret Pal – You’re an absolute star!
Thank you for picking things which are so me! Thank you!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Me again…

Yes, it’s been nearly a week! Gosh.

What have I been up to that I haven’t blogged? Well, let me tell you.

I have been knitting. I have finished the [gift hidden] for [recipient hidden] and have started on the next gift. I have also received strict instructions from My sister not to knit her mittens or she will kill me. I wouldn’t want to spend hours making something she doesn’t like, but gloves are so much more complicated. Oh well. (And don’t worry, she does know about this, I decided to reduce my risk and ask her about mittens/gloves. She’s getting stuff she doesn’t know about too)

I have also been waiting for the postman to bring me my post. I have received one out of three things that I am expecting. I’ll talk about that in a moment. I am still waiting for my copy of Simply Knitting which has been in the shops for a week! Cruel! Though I don’t intend to take up another year’s subscription when this one lapses because it’s less and less what I want. I’ll probably keep my eye on it, and maybe buy it if the patterns look nice. I am also waiting for a part of my secret pal’s parcel, which is frustrating since I wanted to post that this weekend. Unless it arrives today or tomorrow, that idea is out of the window.
As for what did arrive? Well, it was my yarn from Cucumberpatch who not only sent me the 10 balls of coffee coloured yarn that I ordered, they also sent me a Jaeger shade card for the DK, Aran and Chunky yarn that they sell. Woo! I like them. And, there was an added bonus in that the new yarn is the same dye-lot as the old yarn of the same shade. Excellent!

Also, a friend of ours was up in town recently, so we went for a night out with her and I drank too much gin.

Another friend of ours was celebrating leaving town, so we went for a drink with her too. (I did manage to knit 4 rows of the item I’m presently knitting, but didn’t bother going on to the computer.)

So, I have also been busy at work (sucks doesn’t it) but I’ve been trying to maintain a positive attitude (and I have a new look for work, which I dig) so it’s actually not been that bad. It’s amazing what a new pair of trousers can do for your confidence. Especially if you’re buying them coz the old ones are way too big!

Alas, we’re apparently out tonight too (whoops) which is again limiting my creative time.

Well, that’s all for now I think.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

For my Secret Pal: The Knitting and Stitching show is at Alex.Palace (so that's what Ally Pally is) in London this weekend. However, there are two more to come, one in Dublin (1-4 Nov) and one in Harrogate (22-25 Nov). For information on the event including tickets, go Here, the Twisted Thread website. As I said, I'm still awaiting my tix, but with the postal strike who knows!

So, if any of you have been watching the ticker, it's Leon and my anniversary tomorrow. We've been together for six years now. So, Leon's booked us in to a nice restaurant in York for tonight, and we're maybe off to the pictures after.

The haircut happened, it's not especially different than before. I'm growing it at the moment into a choppy chin-length bob-type cut. My hairdresser is fab about these things, I told her roughly what I wanted to do with it, and she made a couple of suggestions and off we went! I'll get it coloured next time too. I'm thinking of going back to red again. But I don't know.

I've ordered some more yarn from Cucumberpatch - I found out that the nice yarn that was on sale might be discontinued (Jaeger) and I really like the Aran that I've been using for some of the gifts I'm knitting, so I have ordered 10 balls of it. I really only need a couple for a gift where I bought too little and then 7 for the "Urban Vest" Jaeger Extra Fine Merino - Coffee
I like the look of this, but I am not knitting it in angora (though that would be lush) or in grey (grey doesn't suit me) so I'm knitting it in "coffee" colour which is a pretty shade. I like so many of the colours though, peacock (a nice green) is also very pretty. Well, perhaps if I manage to not spend a fortune at the stitch and craft I'll treat myself to some more if it is still in the sale! And if I pick something to knit, I like to have a plan for my yarn.

So, enough, I have stuff to do today I am going to watch telly :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Been a couple of days...

Because I’ve been working at work for a change, and also going to pilates and the pub (not at the same time)

Anyway, I had a night off knitting on Monday. My back isn’t as bad as it was (I still haven’t booked the chiropractor) but I couldn’t face it. You know, some nights just aren’t knit nights. Well, that meant that on Tuesday after the pub I was rejuvenated (not just by the fentimans dandelion and burdock). So, I did some more knitting. I’ve made it past half way on the gift I’m presently knitting, and have decided on the colour order for the crochet gift(s) I am making. I might alternate between knitting and crochet for a while because repetitive patterns need breaking up a little, although they’re soothing and can be knit during CSI

I still haven’t managed to find [item concealed] for my secret pal, which is a bit irritating. I’ve looked near enough everywhere in the real world, so I might have to check online. I have bought some nice things for her though, (I covet them) and the thing I can’t find is the last thing on my list. Unless I think of something else! I’m probably going to have to post a little early due to all the strikes for the Royal Mail. But I am also waiting on the post for one of the things I have bought for her.

Speaking of post, I haven’t received my tickets for the Stitch & Craft yet. I know that the leaflet will not arrive until nearer the time, but no tickets yet either. I hope that they turn up soon! I like being in advance.

Oh, my haircut. It was due to be yesterday but my poor stylist was sick, so it’s now tomorrow. So I may post pics if it’s good. I will not bother if it’s only adequate.

I was knitting in the lunch room at work when a lady exclaimed “Oh, it’s lovely to see someone knitting, you don’t see that much these days.” She then asked what I was knitting and asked if she could take a closer look. I was surprised, but also pleased. She didn’t comment on my knitting style, but did say it was nice, and also a pretty colour. Yay! I’m glad it was complicated-looking enough, with my cable needle too! I prefer that to the looks which are the same sort of looks you’d get if you were dressed as a Klingon at work, I think. Most people have been pretty good so far though, so I may continue lunch-room knitting as an aide to get the Christmas projects finished. I managed to knit two repeats, roughly. I was also almost late back from lunch, got carried away!

Lastly, I have decided that I might try knitting the sideways socks with the Opal yarn. I didn’t win the ebay sock yarn I was watching so I’ll have to buy some more, or talk nicely to the family about what I might like for Christmas and my birthday.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Stop whining

Yes, I should. However rubbish work is, it still pays the bills. And actually it’s pretty cushy. I have a shorter week than most and time to go online during the day. okay, it’s not perfect, but nothing is.
My SP commented on that post and it’s nice to know that other people are doing jobs not because they love them but because they like who they work with. Yeah, working for the money means living for the weekends a little, but it could be so much worse.

At least I have time to knit!

At the risk of sounding like there’s always something wrong for me, I do have a bad back at the moment. It was worse yesterday (my fault, pushed it too hard at the gym) than today. However, I’m reporting this because of a good thing which is that my gym instructor has given me a voucher to get a chiropractor to look at my back for near enough half price. Fantastic! So, I’m going to book myself in (I don’t know whether it’s something that should be during the day or after work, it’s a good walk away from work.) and see if they can make me feel better. Yey! I feel quite upbeat about it, despite the sore back!

The knitting is going pretty well. I’m around half way through my second secret-Christmas-gift. As this one is knit, rather than crochet, it’s not as fast as the first one was. It’s so relaxing though. Even when I accidentally didn’t do the cable and had to un-knit a whole row, it was okay! So, once this one is finished I am meant to be casting on for another matching one (his-n-hers?) though I might sneak one of the less urgent crochet ones in just for fun. Those of you on Ravelry will be able to see in my queue what I’m currently making (it’s the one in Jaeger) and what I have planned. I need to add another “stripes” to my queue, possibly two. I haven’t decided about the second one yet.

in other knitting news, I want to make some more socks. I’ve added the Jaywalkers to my queue, although I have promised Leon a pair once I finish the gypsy socks. I’m getting there, just not spending enough time on them I guess – I’m on the foot, I think I’m still gusset shaping.
I might have enough yarn left in the Opal that I have for the jaywalkers, but I suspect not, so I’m angling for some more. There’s some good value 100% wool sock yarn on ebay that has caught my eye, I’ll let you know if I get it. it’s probably not as good as the Opal stuff, but you never know. It’s cheap, which may mean nasty, but may not. Previous yarn I’ve bought from this seller made The evening star shrug which was lovely! So fingers crossed.
I’ll still have to buy a plain or garden colour for Leon (quite literally, plain browns are most like, I don’t really want to do black.) and I’m considering the Earl Grey pattern by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (Yarn Harlot) but I’m not sure if I can deal with even more needles when knitting in the round, five is plenty enough already. We will see.
I am keen to make some taller socks for myself to go under my boots that I wear for work. The boots are great, but I don’t like having them touch my legs – and the zip-tops can rub a bit too. I do have two pairs of knee-highs (not knit) but I’d love to have some nice tall hand-knit socks to wear with them. I’ll have to think about reinforcing the toes and heels if I'm using pure wool, and the joy that it handwashing (I don’t do that at the moment, even for my hand-knit socks. I haven’t washed the evening star yet… perhaps that would be an interesting experiment?)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Knitting A.D.D.

not content with the gazillion projects I'm knitting as gifts, I'm adding to them every day.

Self control? Nope.

Friday, October 05, 2007

New Song

I was listening to Cast On, and Brenda played a song called "Code Monkey" by Jonathan Coulton in the podcast.
It rocks, go listen.
Or, if you know me, ask me next time you see me, it's on my ipod and will probably soon be on my phone.

Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer...

I need to decide what I want from my career. I’ve spent plenty of time trying to figure out what I want in life, which turned out to be a lot more rural than I thought. I did an exercise from the “What colour is your parachute” book, where you draw a picture of your ideal home-life, one of your ideal holiday and one of your ideal job. The holiday was a piece of cake, it was palm trees and sand, sunshine, a cocktail and a good book (possibly also to include something to knit). The home was a little more taxing, but generally not hard. House, garden, pond, a dog, a sheep/goat, chickens, that sort of thing. Rural, like a smallholding really. Work, however, I struggled to represent. It’s meant to be the ideal, so you should show something that in an ideal world you’d be doing. I guess my first thought was that in an ideal world I wouldn’t have to work. As much as I love knitting, I’m not sure that it’s career material. I probably wouldn’t love it anymore – after all, I used to love computing, now it’s just a means. I admit, too, that I can be pretty lazy. (don’t scoff) I don’t know whether I would get on with anything outdoorsy, I do tend to get cold. However, I am prepared to wear thick sweaters and lots of layers. I wanted for the longest time to be an archaeologist. I doubt that there’s much money in that either. Yes, I confess once more: I am quite materialistic. I’m a child of the 80s and it’s hard not to be! (That’s two confessions in one post!)
So, I still don’t know what I want from work these days (aside from to be well paid). I have to start saving up though, that gives more options in the longer term, doesn’t it?
People tell me that I’m quite ambitious. I don’t know about that. I know what I want and I go for it (or I did, but now that I got what I wanted I don’t know what I want next) so, I guess that all I have to do is figure out what I want.

Well, I do know that I am going to want to be doing something which is flexible. More so than now. I don’t like being constrained by “key periods” as to when I can take a day off or whatever. Some things should be sacred, but aren’t. I’d like to not work on my birthday, perhaps I was spoiled by never being at school on my birthday (it being Dec 31) but I don’t think that’s such a difficult thing. Yet, with that being “key” (so I'm told) the chances are that I’ll have to come in to the office and do nothing with the sparse smattering of other workers who don’t have the day off (it’s not usually many).
I guess I sort of knew that when I was first employed – though they never mentioned having to work the 31st Dec, only the 1st Jan. but I do know that it comes with the territory now, so I might as well get used to it. I still think that it sucks, but I’ll not work in a team that I'm not interested in working in just to get away from one day being irritating.

There’s something out there, and I’ll probably not find it straight away, but I will eventually find it if I look. If I look, that’s the key isn’t it?

I have to commend my sister who does look for new work if she fancies a change. I wish I was so proactive about my career, but it’s pretty scary too. I don’t think that Gayle’s fazed by it at all. It’s the thought of all the things that I’d have to do. You see, the problem with living in a small city is that there are less employers, so the chances are that you might have to go elsewhere if you want to get different work. I don’t know where.

I’d love to work abroad, somewhere warm. I wouldn’t have as much use for my handknit scarves then, but I could learn lace-knitting and have dinner outside sometimes. I just don’t know what I really want to do. Did I rush into work too soon – should I have travelled the world first? Nope, too sensible – where would the money have come from? But that said, every time I think I have some money together I end up having to spend it, which sucks.

So, anyone – any ideas about what I do to decide what I do?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Quick one

Just a quick post, the various gift knitting is going okay, I wish I could say more.

Today I had my second (?) KIP experience, on the bus on the way to the other office. I got most of a repeat of the pattern I'm working done!

We've discovered that Aston likes defrosted sweetcorn and peas. Bless.

I'm off shopping again on Saturday for more SP11 gifty things, I'm still undecided on the exact nature of this parcel. I know my third and final one can contain a reveal of who I am, which is nice too. That's got to be one of the coolest bits.
Sadly the post over here is going to be flakey for a bit as the Royal Mail are on strike over pay (I think) which means pretty much no post for the next week. :(

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Secret Shenanigans

Yes, it’s getting close to the time when I need to parcel up some more goodies for my downstream SP. I have found some fab [can’t tell you] and have ideas for some other bits.
Our group had a lovely message from our hostess (or group mum?) reminding us to keep in touch, but not to worry if our pals aren’t very talkative. I am pretty talkative (as those who know me in real life will testify) but I’ve tried not to bombard my downstream pal with too many emails.
I should probably mention here: Thanks Jenn for being our hostess! because without the hostesses, SP wouldn’t happen.

Anyway, in preparation for wrapping stuff and sending it to my SP, I have been packaging up the yarn I put on ebay. I have four parcels which I hope to take to the post office this lunchtime. I sold the yarn for a song, but as long as I’ve covered the postage fees I don’t mind – otherwise it would have gone to charity (or for free to a friend).
So, it felt a bit like Christmas last night!

Speaking of Christmas (ahem) there’s a new ticker ---> over there, which counts down to Hallowe’en and to Christmas. I’m sorry. However, it does show that there are only 70 shopping days left until Christmas! 82 shopping days (including Sundays) left until Christmas. That’s also only 82 days on which one can knit/crochet if one is making gifts.

Well, I'm enjoying all the thinking about gifts part, but I’m not enjoying the thinking about paying for it all part. Hmm. I have a bunch of other things I need to pay for first too. What a pain that is. Still, as Vic and Bob said, there’s no pleasure without pain. (Do you remember that ad for yoghurt was it?)

Oh – and I finished “A Tad Plaid” last night, but can’t post pictures of it until after Christmas.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


WARNING: This is a politically inspired rambling post.

No, not the Star Trek kind, the party political kind. We’re on the third one, of three. We are finally hearing some policies from the Conservatives this time round too, though it has taken the threat of an impending election to kick them into gear.

They had Schwarzennegger on a big screen (he couldn’t make it) and it looks like they’re going for the green credentials too, though I am not convinced about using the green taxes to pay for reducing other taxes. Okay, stamp duty is way too high – it should have increased in line with the increase in house prices – bad chancellor Brown.
While I don’t relish the idea of paying more for my holidays than I presently do, I can see that something needs to be done about the amount of flying we do generally. I don’t know whether business miles are a big contributor to the number of flights there are. I suspect so, and with the benefits of teleconferencing and videoconferencing, I don’t know why anyone (like some of the Head-Ofs in my organisation) would insist on flying here there and everywhere. Yes, face-to-face can be better in some situations. Telling someone in a teleconference that they’re redundant, for example, would be a little harsh. But surely they have people high enough up in the abroad-places to tell people good/bad news? So, I’d tax the business flyer before I’d tax the holiday flyer. I would probably still tax the holiday flyer. Perhaps the charge should be per aeroplane rather than per passenger (making it less expensive if the plane is full – more people per plane = less planes)

David Cameron did say this morning that he would like to adjust the benefit system so that couples aren’t better off if they split up. (I believe that this means couples-with-children) This makes sense to me, they claim to be family friendly, so they need some policies to show it.

I find it all incredibly confusing and in some cases dull. The Lib Dem conference completely bypassed me – though I recall that they were all telling Menzies that he is too old [not in so many words…]
Labour last week didn’t say much – or if they did I missed it.
I hope that before the election we get another version of the “who should I vote for” tool, for a laugh if nothing else.

And now, for the knitting content So, as you saw on yesterday’s post, my big parcel of yarn arrived, thanks much to Cucumberpatch who I will almost certainly order from again. Very good packaging and quick delivery (Royal Mail notwithstanding, and actually they were pretty good)  Rowan Plaid - Sea Thistle The purple balls of yarn in the middle row on the left are Rowan Plaid yarn in Sea Thistle. I’m using these to make “A Tad Plaid”. I can’t say any more about it, due to the item in question being a Christmas gift. It’s a lovely yarn though, I’m really impressed with the texture and the colour. I don’t know whether there will be enough left over to make a hat of some sort too, but that would be nice if there is.

The many many balls of Jaeger are also for Christmas gift knitting, as is the Rowan All Seasons Cotton. They’re on sale at Cucumberpatch you see, so I’ve got lots of yarn for much less than normal – couldn’t resist. I’ve got my fingers crossed for some leftovers though, but I'm willing to bet that the leftovers will be too sparse. I love the colours though, and I think I have made the right choices for the gifts. I certainly hope so.

Once I'm done with the gifts, I want to make a tank-top I’ve seen. It’s a V-Neck and is very pretty. I might put the yarn that I want for it on my Christmas wish-list, but it depends on how long it takes me to make all of the Christmas things.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Yarn arrived!

I collected my parcel from CucumberPatch today. Look at the amazing yarn I bought!
Loads o' yarn!
Lovely, is it not?

Excellent Weekend

This post is dotted with pictures of flowers, read on and you’ll understand. If not, just look at the pretty pictures. This weekend we were visiting Leon’s parents. We had not seen them since our Florida holiday, so it was really nice to go down there. Friday night was a quiz, we didn’t win though. We did have some nice wine and some nice chilli on potato. Yum.
One of the rounds was to name all of the administrative regions (counties) in France. We did get a map. I was quite pleased with knowing Normandy (both of them) and Brittany. I often end up feeling like I don’t know anything at all at many of these quizzes, especially when everyone else seems to know stuff.

On the Saturday morning, Leon took his dad to fetch a new car, so I managed to get a little knitting done. We’ve decided that the colours in the scarf probably wouldn’t suit Leon’s Grandma, so I'm rethinking that one. The scarf will now probably be mine. [part of me is rather chuffed about that, it’s a lovely colour and so soft as it’s 70% angora bunny fur. Lovely]

After that, Leon and I went into town. The main aim of this was for Leon to get a haircut. We also had a look in some shops, but didn’t buy anything. I tried to buy [item censored] for my secret pal, but couldn’t find any. I’ll look in York.

On the way back from town we bumped into some of Leon’s friends, so we organised to go out with them in the evening. We planned to go for spicy chicken at Nando’s but the queue was huge (apparently, I never saw) so we had a curry instead.
After the curry we went to the pub for a quick drink. It was generally a pretty good night. I was a bit cold though, I need a bigger coat.

We got up a bit later than planned on Sunday, but we still had time to fit in all we wanted to. We started off in a local garden centre. They had some small animals there, varying from some giant snails to parrots to big bunnies to Robrovski hamsters. I enjoyed watching the rabbits (there were normal rabbits and lops, and also a lion’s mane rabbit) and I loved the guinea pigs. There was one especially scruffy one who was adorable! One of the rabbits had escaped, which was fun. I’m really looking forwards to one day having a garden big enough to have a rabbit/guinea pig run in it. I think that I’d prefer to keep them outdoors when possible, with a nice indoor space too. You do have to watch for the bunnies burrowing though.
Of course, when I have room for bunnies and the like, there will probably be room for a dog, and I can’t miss that opportunity! I’d love a really big dog, but perhaps something a bit smaller than a Great Dane might be an idea to begin with! We will almost certainly rescue whatever it is that we get. I suspect that it will depend on how much exercise time we can spare, after all going for a long walk every night is quite a commitment.

After the garden centre, we headed off to Anglesey Abbey for the rest of our day out. There was a Dahlia display in one of the gardens (hence the pictures) which were so beautiful that I couldn’t resist taking some pictures. There are actually more on my Flickr Page
There was a formal garden with Dahlia bushes as well as the Dahlia garden which was very pretty. We also walked around the winter walk, though it’s not quite sorted yet – many of the plants have beautiful stems of one sort or another (coloured or nice texture) and so until they have lost their leaves it’s not quite as pretty. We did see a really nice plant which I call “pink grass” but I didn’t take a photo of that.

We headed off and had some lovely dinner before we loaded all of our stuff into the car and set off back home. I drove as far as Peterborough were we stopped at the services. Then Leon drove the rest. I’ve still not got my confidence back since driving in the US. I’m sure I will though. I might drive us to Pilates this evening.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Some fears realised...

The big load of yarn was delivered at 11:55 – about 45 minutes before I got home. The card says wait 24 hours. Bother.
Clearly, I’m not going to wait, I’m going to go down there early (like when we set off just after 2pm) and see if the yarn is there. It might not be, but it’s worth a try.
In no way is this the fault of the shop it’s all the Royal Mail. Perhaps I should have had it delivered to work…

On the other hand, yay to Get Knitted who posted my small parcel and it arrived today! AND it was small enough to fit through my letterbox.
They even sent me a pen and a lolly, as well as a leaflet for the stitch n craft show I’m going to!
 Get Knitted Package
Also, the yarn.
 Louisa Harding Angora (colourway 9) Wow. It’s so soft and smooth and pretty and I want to keep it and not give it away.
But I do at least get to work with this beautiful yarn.

Waiting (im)patiently

Knitting and Craft Related
So, a mere two nights ago, on Wednesday evening, I ordered a big load of yarn from cucumberpatch. They say on the site that usually parcels arrive on the next working day. Now, I’m not so harsh as to expect the yarn on Thursday – the order wouldn’t have reached them until then. However, I am hoping that it will arrive today. It requires a signature, of course – I wouldn’t want them to leave my yarn with some random person who doesn’t appreciate it. However, I’m stuck at work not able to wait at home for it. As we only live 5 minutes away from the post office sorting office I don’t mind walking down there to collect it, so I am hoping that it is delivered early enough that the little card that the man puts through the slot says “please leave 1 hour” or some other short time. It will be annoying if it is delivered 15 minutes before I get home and if the card says “please leave 24 hours” because I’m not going to be here, so I can’t collect it until Monday if I can’t get it today. How depressing.
I promise to photograph and blog it as soon as I get chance.

I also ordered a small amount of yarn from Get Knitted which I would expect to fit through my letterbox, unless they have a very peculiar way of packing. So I will at least be able to begin my Christmas knitting marathon. I can talk briefly about the Get Knitted package because it’s yarn for making a nice scarf for Leon’s Grandma. I’m planning on a pattern from one of the Stitch n Bitch books and using some very posh Louisa Harding - Kimono Angora, which is 70% angora. I’m quite excited about using it, and it’s an excellent price at Get Knitted at the moment as it is on sale.

I know that I should relax, some yarn should be there when I get home.

I also made a sad discovery last night. I bought some lovely yarn from Sheepish which is my LYS. [They have been very good in there] However, in my excitement at buying Rowan Pure Wool Aran, I accidentally bought only one ball of each colour I wanted (two balls total) when I actually wanted two balls of each colour. Oh dear. The chances of me getting more of those two colours from the same dye lot is pretty slim I think. This means that I can’t make the cusion covers just yet, which is a shame. However, it also means that I have one of the seven balls of yarn needed to make Leon’s manly sweater. The cream ball will make the cream stripes (the thinner one, I believe) so now I only need to buy 2 balls of green (or was it another colour?) and 4 balls of brown. I'm thinking about using the other ball I bought to make the newsboy cap, though I need some plastic stuff for the brim. I fancy a green knitted hat.

In Other News
I’m thinking about growing my hair again. It’s gone a bit mullet at the moment (!) because it’s been too long since I last had it cut. It needs colouring too because my roots are showing. I’m probably going to go for something a bit warmer now it’s coming in to winter. I usually end up with a gingery colour in winter. I don’t want it to be a horrible mess for the wedding in November, so I’ll have to get it trimmed at least again then. Growing out this very layered and choppy style could be fun.

Aston is still well. I see other bloggers posting “dogs on Thursday” and “Yarn Pron Friday” and I wonder whether there should be something similar for my little hamster. Bless him. He’s been quite grumpy since Leon cleaned him out on Wednesday night. The new sawdust isn’t as nice, it’s much rougher. He doesn’t seem fussed though (Aston, not Leon, Leon was quite worried about the sawdust). So if anyone knows of any “Hamsters on …” rings (I’m thinking days of the weak, not toast here) let me know. If not I might just make it up, pick a day and go for it. He deserves a little limelight.

Lastly, I need a new winter coat. Some days haven’t been too cold so it’s not the end of the world yet. Anyhow, I’ve seen a very pretty coat in New Look which is so nice, but a bit more expensive than I usually go for. It is a wool blend though, and has an attached hood with fur trim. I’ve seen some nice ones in Next too, about the same price, but not quite as nice, and black. I don’t really want a black coat, too miserable. Lights and brights cheer me up in winter.
In a move to keep cheerful today (half day at work!) I’m wearing pink-and-brown which is a brilliant combo and matches my allstars. I like pink.
On that note, I’ll sign off, leaving you with that statement once more:
I like pink

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

S.E.X. (Stash Enhancement eXpedition)

I’m ordering a massive package of yarn online. Not really an expedition, but still.
I’m making some Christmas gifts, that is all I can say. I’m not telling who they are for, or what it is that I’m making. I have a short time limit to make anything though! It’s less than three months ’til Christmas!

I’m also thinking about treating myself to some of the Lane Borgosesia Cashwool that I’ve seen at Pavi Yarns. This would be to make “Coastal Shades” from a recent SK. It’s a lace scarf thing. Pretty, in two colours. They used pale blue and cream, but there’s scope for others there. (Nutmeg and Ecru might work…) but anyway, I’ll probably hang on until either Pavi have a sale on these or next payday.
Oh, wait – next payday I’ll be saving up for the Stitch and Craft show in November. Poo.
So, I’ll be waiting until that sale happens.
Never mind though, I have lots of other knitting to be doing, and my progress on almost all of my projects is pathetically slow at the moment. In fact, for one item it’s negative. Yes, I’ve frogged the Spiderweb Capelet. I got to the last row, looked at it and thought oh no, that looks nasty. I think I might have used an inappropriate yarn, a solid colour would have been much better. Still, I have balled the yarn back up to use for something else nice.

This weekend we’re off down to Cambridgeshire to visit Leon’s folks. We have not seen them since before our holiday. It’s usually a pretty relaxing weekend for me, I get to knit and we have lots of cups of tea. We sometimes go on daytrips to see things, we went to a farm last time which I liked because I like the sheep and goats, and the chickens actually. And Pigs. In fact, everything except for cows. [on a side note, I’ve been trying to figure out if you could knit from the hair of a highland cow – anyone know?]
We’re going to a quiz of some sort in the evening, they field a family team.

Well, I’m off to do some knitting. I have still got a scarf, socks, bag and blanket on the go. (is there such a thing as knitting ADD?)

Monday, September 24, 2007


I'm getting rid of some of my yarn.

No, it's not a joke, I've listed six lots of yarn on ebay (stuff I can't think of a project for, mostly crazy or baby yarn) and I've also chucked some into a charity bag (less nice colours)

So, there's a big box of yarn on my dining table which is for sale, and hopefully I will be able to get rid of it.

That does have an up-side, as you know! 4 balls in the charity bag and 22 on ebay - that's up to 26 balls of yarn I can buy! In theory anyway. I feel free once more!

On an unrelated note, there was a big old rant here about me not looking nice in photos. I've decided to delete the rant, because it's both foolish and self-absorbed.
Happy thoughts!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Needles

I meant to post yesterday. This is what I bought from ebay on Monday night...
New Needles
Aren't they lovely? They're wooden, hand made and so nice to work with.
Yey! New toy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Later than intended post

I will be posting again this evening to show off my new needles…
I can buy needles without getting rid of other needles, as long as I don’t already have that size! Woo!

Yesterday lunchtime I was in Borders looking at the magazines. I was looking to see if Simply Knitting was out yet (it’s been delayed so that is why it isn’t) and I stumbled across, what’s this?, an American Import! Well, the magazine is called Knitter’s (the apostrophe annoyed me, until I spotted the sub-heading, it’s Knitter’s Universe. While I could still argue about that, it’s better enough for me) by/for XRX, whom it seems I should have heard of. Although all the adverts are clearly American, I am in love with the patterns. It’s up to date and trendy in a way that Simply Knitting isn’t. I do like the patterns in SK, and the various freebies are fantastic. This was just different in a really surprising way. There was lots of text in the first half, new people in the knitting world in the USA, history of fashion in the USA – exactly the sort of thing I’m interested in. Then the patterns; lush doesn’t cover it. the low-V tank top I’ve been lusting over – they have one which I could knit! A lacy shawl, simple but elegant? You betcha. Anyone want a knit-and-crochet table runner?
Anyway, the theme of this one is lace and lightweight yarn, there’s one pattern which calls for something of weight 0! (1 being 2ply, makes 0 cobweb?) and most don’t go higher than DK (3 if I recall correctly)
I’m so excited!
I have to knit a bunch of things to be able to begin these though.
Also, as I was about to pay…Knitting, with a free pattern book; another magazine. I think that one was called “Knitting”. It has some nice patterns in, though I’m not sure whether I’ll buy it again. I liked the cardigan in the supplement. (well, I liked the one view of the cardi that they gave, come on people – how can I tell if I like something from a wonky side view, puh-lease.) I like the look of a couple of the items in the main bit too, but it was a bit like Simply Knitting. I don’t know what it is. Perhaps it’s just not trendy enough, after all, I may be a beginner but I’m not into knitting things I would not wear. (Or in some cases, not be seen dead in)

 first handmade card I am also branching out. I liked crochet (as you saw with the scarf and bag) and so I’ve picked up some mini make-your-own-card kits. I used them to create this card; I crocheted the circle in the middle. [I do need to improve my photography skills, as you can see this is all blurry] I really enjoyed it, and I am now scheming to make one for some upcoming birthdays. Anyway, I'm thinking of using some vouchers I got a while ago to buy another set, with a few more things in it. I’m not sure though. I’ll think about it.
But there’s no question: knitting is still my favourite!