Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SP12 – Q' of the week! (w/c 23 June 2008)

What would you consider the perfect amount of stash?

Well, the perfect amount of stash eh?

There should be enough for you to be inspired by it, but not so much that you’re overwhelmed by it.
Ooh Pretty not Oh my God I have more Yarn than I could ever possibly knit!

There should be enough to keep you going for at least three months, in case you lose your job (a bit like savings in the bank)

There should be enough that non-knitters can’t figure out why you need all that yarn but not so much that your OH wonders why you need all that yarn!

There should be enough that you need additional storage for it (otherwise it’s not a stash) but not so much that you find yarn everywhere.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


All has gone well on the Music with Sox In sock knitting front! I have successfully completed both socks in pattern. I even made some mistakes which I was able to fix. I am so pleased with myself! As I mentioned before, this is the first pattern that I have designed myself. I’m so pleased with how well it has turned out!
So, I plan to wash (they’re in with the wool load – my slippers and OH's socks, 30 degree wash, wool-wash liquid) the socks and block them tonight, then photograph them tomorrow for the pattern pdf I will be making. I’m probably going to make myself a pair too, but as I prefer my socks to be more snug, I will almost certainly adjust the pattern to be either less repeats or smaller needles or something.
And now I can cast on the second Jaywalker! Woo! Though I will probably take the sweater to knit night. It needs to be worked on. (Don’t even mention the other projects I have OTN, there’s only so much time in the day and I am forced to spend 7 hours of it in the office where I can’t knit because I am meant to be working.)

We’re thinking about getting a craft worktable to put in the second bedroom. It will mean getting rid of the sofabed that my parents gave to us, but since everyone refuses to sleep on it I don’t see that as such a hardship! We’ve seen some nice tables in Ikea (oh no!) which are adjustable in height. One of the main problems I have with using the sewing machine on the table is that it’s a bit low and so it makes my back ache. Other problems with using the sewing machine on the dining table are:
  • The table is oval, not good for square material cutting
  • We’d like to eat at the table, not easy when there’s a bunch of sewing stuff on there
  • Last time I ironed things on the dining table (don’t ask), I marked it (boo) and so now we need to polish it
  • When the dining room is in the “tidy and not in use” state, we fold the table down, so the sewing machine has to go away, so then it’s a rigmarole getting it out, setting it up, getting settled again
  • Accompanying the sewing machine is:
    1. A sewing box
    2. Book(s) on sewing
    3. A dressmaker’s dummy
    All of which could go into the second bedroom
  • The iron is upstairs (if you sew, you’ll understand)
So, we’re probably going to go to Ikea to buy this table set up. It’s not that expensive and it really does look useful. Maybe if I do that I will actually finish making all of the curtains we’re meant to have! (I’ve only managed the cream open-and-closeable curtains, the linings, nets and brown decorative curtains are all still waiting to be sewn. Shocking. And it shouldn’t take long, they are only rectangles! Grr.)

But first we have to buy a new print-head for our printer which is going to cost more than some printers cost. Darnit. I guess it is five years old though, which is old for a printer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A productive weekend

I have had a productive weekend.

On Friday we went to see the York Rising Stars’ production of Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. It was pretty good, and I was entertained. Even OH liked it and he hadn’t read any of Pterry’s books.

During Saturday we tidied up so that we could have people round on Saturday evening for a song-filled evening playing on Singstar. Which is way more fun than it should be, and we should have switched to guitar hero at some point. I blame Lint for winning too often. OH and I have our work cut out to re-win some of those high scores! Haha!

I felt rubbish on Sunday, which is odd because I hadn’t drunk much G&T at all. So I mostly knit the Sock-swap socks. And OH helped me to compile the music to go with it. (It’s the “music with sox in” swap, so requires music and socks)
The socks, well, I have just the toe on sock 2 to complete. I’m so pleased with them! It just goes to show that with the help of a stitchonary and a basic sock pattern anyone can design a sock! I intend to knit another pair of the same pattern for myself, perhaps after I finish the jaywalkers, as long as I don’t get too way-laid with other things (like the new design of socks I’ve been scheming about)

In other news, I have set myself a challenge. The challenge is to lose 1lb per week until we go on holiday in August. That should take me back under 11st, which would be nice. I know, I know, if I put on muscle it weighs more than fat but takes up less space. Trouble is, I am meant to be getting rid of the fat first! Ho hum. So, I think I’m about at the end of the first stage of the weight-lifting program from the book that OH got me. I have one week of workout 2 left to do. Then I need to email my instructor with the new program. I’ve been toying with the idea of signing up for personal training, but I am not sure whether it will help or not, and it’s not cheap!
Still, a good part of this is not to do with the gym, but requires me to eat more sensibly. Not eating cake (whoops) and chocolate so much. We do have some nice beef, which technically isn’t the leanest meat in the world. Sod that though, I like beef. I’ll just have smaller portions! I’ve been good today though, it’s 16:14 and I have only had the muffin I brought to work with me (I baked at the weekend for the party) and my sandwiches. I have had two cups of tea and about 100ml of water (don’t even go there, I drink enough water for me)

Well, that’s all folks. See you again soon.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SP12 – Q' of the week! (w/c 16 June 2008)

As a kid, what did you look forward to most about summer vacation/break/holiday?
I don’t really remember the holidays as a young child. I think I probably missed my friends and the learning which I enjoyed.
As a teenager, though, things were different. I didn’t really fit in at school, so the holidays were a relief for me. I didn’t have to listen to the taunts about my looks (or lack of them), my ten-to-two feet and my knock-knees, my big bum and small boobs, or my lack of fashion sense (my jeans were never Lee or Levis, my jogging bottoms were never Adidas or Nike, my trainers were rarely even Gola*) All school based activities were an opportunity for me to be mocked**
So the relief from the teasing and taunting, the chance for me to once again be secure in myself.
Also, I looked forwards to (and still do) not having to get out of bed so early! As a teenager I would regularly sleep in until noon or later. This was partly because I was tired, partly because there was nothing to do and partly because I then stayed up until 2am or some silly time!

* Actually, the whole brand label thing was me trying to make a statement. Some of my friends would turn up entirely clad in Adidas or Kappa as though it made them cool, I refused to wear any of the trendy brands, the closest I came was some Umbro trousers with the poppers down the side, and that was because the ones from the cheap shops wore through too quickly!
I still try to stick to my “no brand names” policy, but it’s more complicated these days. If I think that you get what you pay for then I don’t mind paying a bit more, but I will not pay silly money (£40/$80) for a t-shirt just because it says “Adidas” on it.

**Actually, I guess almost everyone is either mocked, or else they have to conform. Conforming isn’t something I do easily. Okay, so I’ve done the “middle England” lifestyle of school, college, university, proper job but I’ve done those things with pink hair, too-short skirts, hobnail boots and sleeping through class. Rebel without a cause?

Lots to say...

Since I have so much to write about today, I’ve split this post into a few subheadings. Feel free to skim through to the bits that might interest you, and skip over the bits that you find dull.

Thank you everyone who left comments about Aston, despite his small size he is much missed.

The weekend just gone
At the weekend we went down to Cambridgeshire to “Livestock” which is a mini-festival that one of OH’s friend’s family put on. There is live music, barbeque and optional camping.
Last year I drank an entire bottle of pink wine and was then quite grumpy. This year I pre-mixed some gin and tonic instead, and was much more sensible. I was still cold by the end of the evening, but nowhere near as grumpy! The music was okay, I’m not really into live bands to be honest. The company was pretty good though, OH’s brothers both chatted to me, as did several of his friends. That was nice! I do quite like most of OH’s friends, which is good.
I always find it quite surprising when people in general are still in touch with lots of their old friends from school, university or whatever. Without wanting to be mean, I’m not really bothered whether I see my old school friends again (with one or two notable exceptions, you know who you are), I can see whether they have jobs, houses, babies, husbands etc on facebook without actually having to talk to them! But lets not get started on facebook…

Fantastic Beef
While at the farm where “Livestock” was happening, I was informed that we could buy some nice beef from said farm. So we headed back the next day to Barton Ley Farm to pick up some beef. We got several joints and some steaks, some stewing beef and some mince (yum to all!). Last night we tried some of the rump steaks we had selected, and mine was the best steak I have ever had, ever. It was big, juicy, tasty and the sliver of fat around the edge was soooo flavourful! If I was asked to choose only one meat to ever eat again, it would be beef from this farm.
So, if you’re in the Cambridge area and need some beef for the freezer, call by Barton Ley and get some beef. You will not regret it!

CSI Swap Package
Remember the CSI Package that went to Athens, Greece? Well, it arrived in Athens, Alabama! Woo! I’m so glad that it got there, now I can stop worrying about it and get on with my other swaps!
Oh, and I can’t claim back the cost of the original postage because I don’t have a receipt to prove I posted it. Poo.

Becoming a designer
I have designed some socks for my Discworld “Music with Sox in” swap. I’m knitting the second one now, and then I’m going to publish the pattern for the socks on My Knitting Blog as a free pattern. I haven’t decided whether I’ll just write it up or whether I’ll make it a downloadable PDF (or whether I can do that on blogger) but it will also be available on Ravelry for those of you who want it and can get there.
I will not be publishing it until my swap partner has received the parcel though, as I want the socks to be a surprise for her. If I’m feeling really exciteable I might knit them again in a different colourway for myself, then I can see how adaptable they are (they’re made for UK size 7 medium feet, hopefully!)
If all goes well, I intend to design more patterns. I might then start submitting some to Knitty or other online knitting magazines. I don’t know what the rights for such patterns and designers are, but it’s something I’ll look into.
And hopefully the hat will be finished and up soon/eventually!

SP12 continues. I’m beginning my scheming for the first parcel. I have an idea for what to send, but I need to track down appropriate items in appropriate colours at appropriate prices!
I have no idea who my upstream is, which is good, though I haven’t done much digging to try to find them. I’ve still managed to resist checking my blogger stats, but I’ve come close once or twice!

Well, that’s all for today I think.

Friday, June 13, 2008

SP12 – Q' of the week! (13 June 2008)

What is your favourite summertime drink??

What do I like to drink in the summer? Well now, that all depends on what I’m doing! If we’re talking a nice refreshing drink while I’m sunbathing in the garden then it would have to be real lemonade - you know, the kind that is pale yellow and not fizzy. Yum.
If I’m relaxing in a pub garden with some friends on a warm summer evening then I’d probably opt for a gin and tonic (slim line, no ice) which is summer in a glass!
When I am on holiday I like to drink cocktails, so I’d have a tequila sunrise or margarita (anything with tequila in!!)
However, if it’s your typical British summer, I would probably want to cosy down with a nice cup of tea preferably Yorkshire Tea (you can get two cups from one bag, you know) or some nice Earl Grey.

Sad News

Many of you who read this blog will know that about two years ago (on July 17th 2006), OH and I bought two Dwarf Russian Hamsters who we named Aston and Martin.
Almost a year ago, after a brief illness, Martin sadly passed away.
Last night, when we came back from the gym, Aston was laying in his house very quietly. He responded to my voice, but only in the slightest of movements. We left him alone in peace, and as we suspected would be the case, he died overnight.

As you can imagine, OH and I are quite sad. But Aston was around 2 years old (which is the life expectancy for Dwarf Russian Hamsters).

As with when Martin died, I’d like to share some of my favourite pictures of Aston with you.
Image Heavy Post from this point!

Here he is not long after we got him with his brother Martin (Aston is the dark one)  Aston and Martin This is one of my favourites, he’s so inquisitive!  Aston He loved to burrow in the sawdust  Aston in sawdust And he was always on the lookout for food!  Aston We’ll miss him.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Shh, it's a secret

Well, SP12 has started (Well, officially it begins on the 15th). The chatter, on Rav and on some blogs, is already going. Brilliant!
My hostess seems great; we’ve already had a lot of contact from her. I’ve had the cutest e-card from my upstream with some cute doggies on. (How did s/he know to avoid cats?) I’ve also been trying to behave myself and not go hunting for someone who could be my pal. I have even decided not to check my blogger stats because there might be something there that gives him/her away. Oh, okay, I’ll probably look. But not yet.
I’ve been fascinated by the information I have found on my spoilee. S/he has good taste, which is cool but makes it all the more daunting for me. I’ve also had an email back from him/her (de-gender-ised in case s/he is reading! If you are, you’re a cheeky so-and-so)

I have a couple of ideas about how to keep secret for longer. We’ll see how they work out.

In other news………actually there is no other news. Life is just happening at the moment. I’ve got a bunch of books on spinning and business (not linked) on order, and I’m scouting out a couple of sewing books I am interested in. I still have some money off at WHSmith so I will have to check there before I buy elsewhere.
No, we are going to “Livestock” again this year. Hopefully I’ll get less drunk than last year (I drank a whole bottle of pink wine and then several cups of random cider. I was grumpy) and hopefully I’ll have my legwarmers ready by then, even if I don’t have any more of an outfit! (eek)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Thinking about a hair cut again.
I know, it’s not that long since I had it re-styled, but to be honest I am not getting on with it. If I don’t have at least 20 minutes to dry it in a morning then it goes all over the shop. It curls in silly directions; it sticks out, if I tuck it behind my ears it still sticks out. So I clip it back, in which case I might as well not have it this long! The fringe is a waste of time because I just brush it off to the side. I do like having enough hair to curl it, or whatever, but if I am honest I really don’t do that sort of thing often enough to merit it! I always prefer it when it’s short.

I look back through the pictures I have of me, right from the blonde curls I had on my holiday in Spain in 1999 (I look very odd then!) to the long black hair I have in my picture with PTerry. and I always think that I prefer the pictures where I have shorter hair. I do have more pictures where my hair is short, but – well, I prefer those.

Because Flickr and Blogger aren’t talking, there’s no more pics – grr.

So, I guess when you think about it, I’ve always had short hair! Part of the reasoning is that I really can’t be bothered with ages of styling, I like to be able to get out of the shower, scrub my hair with a towel, perhaps comb it and then leave the house! Once it gets past a couple of inches long it needs a much longer routine! Dull! And, short hair doesn’t go flat, it doesn’t matter if I dye it a silly colour because it will not be that way for long.
Perhaps I should take in the picture of when I liked it so that I can show them what to do, because finding the style in a magazine is like finding rocking horse poo.

Monday, June 09, 2008

So Much Coolness!

On Saturday we made a trip to the Farmer’s Cart, one of the local Farm Shops. It’s my favourite of the two we go to, and we had extra reason to go because they were shearing the sheep there this weekend. The weather was pleasant and we stayed for lunch (I had one of the best carrot and coriander soups I have had ever!) and dessert, and then we did some shopping too. We bought some lovely local free range chicken, some pork loin and some minced beef. Easily enough for the week!
We also got to see the guinea pigs and rabbits, the piglets (aww), goats, sheep and the pony. I think the donkey that made the nasty mark on my other jeans was also there, but he wasn’t being friendly.
Ans we had a go on a tombola. OH and I both got a winner, some bucks fizz and a painting of York Minster from on the wall outside where I work!

The trip to see the sheep shearing inspired me, and I actually got out my “learn to spin” kit from Nancy’s Knit-nacks. It came with a little bit of fibre, a drop spindle and an instructional DVD.
First I tried “worsted” spinning. Then I tried “woollen” spinning. I got on better with the second way, but that could be because I had already done some spinning. In any case, I now have 4.3 yards of what could be described as Yarn Barf (or “Designer yarn”), plus a further 8.6 yards of what is almost decent yarn. (and a bit more on the spindle still)
And I’m hooked.
Completely, I spent most of Sunday (once I had spun all the fibre I had) searching the internet for online suppliers of not only fibre, but fleece and even spinning wheels. I think I will hang fire on the wheel until I get to grips with the spindle properly. Then I’ll save up and buy one of the cheaper wheels (I quite like the Ashford Kiwi, and it’s not the most expensive!).
Of course, that means I’m researching fibre and looking for good books (Spin to Knit has been recommended so far, I’m considering that!)
I also have been knitting some legwarmers (which seem to have warded off the bad weather so far). I’m using the random Greek wool that I used for the Evening Star shrug (all that time ago!) because I still have loads. It’s knitting up really nicely! It’s a 50% wool/acrylic mix, which I don’t usually go for – I prefer to get a higher wool percentage, and possibly superwash. However, this is soft and smooth and pretty! I don’t know how it washes yet (I haven’t dared wash the shrug!!) but with a fairly high man-made-fibre content, it should be fine.

Secret Pal 12 has begun! I am quite excited about it! I had lots of fun in SP11, and I hope that this round is as much fun. Which reminds me – I am planning on donating something for one of the contests, I just have to decide what, and get it in the post!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Dead giveaway for my CSI Swap Pal

So, I found out what happened to my CSI Pal’s parcel! Yey!
My CSI pal lives in Athens, Alabama. That’s in the USA.
The parcel was sent to Athens, Greece.
It clearly says on it Alabama, and some idiot has crossed it out, circled Athens and then it went to Greece.
It’s now some well travelled stuff!

How irritating.

So, for any of you sending packages to the United States where the town/city also has an address in Europe, putting the state and zip code is not enough - you will also need to put the country. I thought it was obvious that Alabama was in America, but clearly it is not.
So, if you need to send packages to Athens Alabama (not Greece), Birmingham Massachusetts (not West Midlands), Manchester New Hampshire (not Lancashire), anywhere in Georgia USA (rather than the ex-Soviet state), and no doubt thousands more, make sure that you write, in MASSIVE letters that you’re trying to get the parcel to the USA


And, annoyingly, the box has been a bit battered, so I have to buy a new box.

UPDATE: I’ve posted the parcel in a nice new box, and I’m off back to see the man at the Royal Mail about getting a refund for the first one, tonight…

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Oh No!

It looks like my CSI swap parcel may not have made it to the recipient. I posted it on the 12th May – so it’s been three weeks and two days. It is going to the USA – does anyone out there know how long it takes for parcels to get from the UK to the USA normally? Is over three weeks longer than usual? I feel so bad, I put so many nice things in the parcel, it would be such a shame for it not to arrive.
What would you do if you sent a parcel which got lost in the post? Would you make a new parcel?

I’ll keep hoping for a little while longer – my OH has ordered things from Ebay in the US and it’s taken four weeks or more to get those sometimes. I’m still waiting for an Ebay purchase I made (though only about a week ago now) which is from the US. My first international purchase!

I will have to consider getting some kind of tracking or insurance for my SP parcels when that begins, though I don’t know yet whether my pal(s) will be in the country or not.

So, please all cross your fingers that my CSI pal gets his parcel, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed too!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Jaywalking and a Swap…

Remember a while ago I may have posted about being in a CSI Swap? Well about a week ago my package came and I’ve been a bit busy (see previous post) so, here’s my swap package! CSI Swap Package Thanks Cnyttan!

Also, I’ve half-finished my Jaywalkers Jaywalking 1 But I’ve had to move on to my swap socks for my “Music with Sox in” partner, otherwise they might not get done!

Not dead, just busy.

OH’s parents were down for the bank holiday.
We went to Harrogate,
 Moor Chicks 5 by Hayzee C, on Flickr Knaresborough,
 Sarah, Me and Tony by Hayzee C, on Flickr put up a gate,
visited the castle museum in York,
went shopping (at least once),
bought and put up trellis,
painted said trellis,
went to a sheep shearing demonstration
 Sheep Shearing 9 by Hayzee C, on Flickr and saw lots of young birds.
 Goslings 3 by Hayzee C, on Flickr
Then this weekend we said goodbye to the Welshman,
I worked on Saturday (boo)
and we painted the gate,
then yesterday we did shopping, went to the gym and went to watch Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull