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.