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.