Sunday, 28 October 2007

Pride comes before a fall...

... and I fell with a Big Bump. The Honey Bee has been frogged, and is awaiting a time when I am worthy to complete it. I took last Friday off, to block out my Hanami stoles that I have made for presents, as well as my Icelandic Shawl. (The latter remains unblocked, as Hanami took a loooong while to dry due to the unusually seasonal weather!). The other point of taking the time off was to relax and knit on with the Honey Bee. I developed a slight headache while pinning out the stoles, and stupidly continued knitting afterwards, noticing a dropped stitch later on. I managed to resuce it with a crochet hook, and it passed the Lady Godiva test, but I still decided Honey Bee needed a rest, so I put it away, and started on my Mr Greenjeans cardigan in my now favourite Posh Yarns Helena yarn. That has come on a treat, and all I need to do on it now is seam the arms (I decided not to invest in 5mm dpns, just for sleeves, so knitted back and forth), and, when my beautiful Czech glass button arrives from Pavi Yarns, knit on the edgings, and sew on the button.
I fetched Honey Bee out of the bag yesterday morning, after having a week's rest, and found lots and lots of dropped stitches. In my arrogance, I had not used life lines, so the whole lot has been frogged until I deserve to have another go. I need to take a wee break from it, so that I don't curse it when I return to it (if I think I'm going to be careless, I will be, and so I prove my own doubts). Instead, I started on a Felted Ruffle bag for a Christmas present, using Noro Kureyon. So simple, and so pretty. Number 1 awaits the washing machine, which I will do when I have Number 2 finished. It was good motivational knitting for me - instant gratification (I knitted it yesterday evening), very pretty, and another item off the to do list for Christmas.
Also yesterday, we went to Alnwick for the day. Now, I last visited Alnwick twenty-ahem years ago, when Larkholme Junior School's 4th year trip took us up here for a week. I have meant to go back (it's only 30 miles up the road from where I live now), but have never made it. I think recently, the whole Harry Potter as Tourism thing has put me off - I love the books and the films, and also love the way the series has made reading cool - and yes, I queued at Midnight for the Deathly Hallows, and yes, I did cry at one or more points in the book - but it is always a little disappointing to see a film location in the flesh for me, and realise that it perhaps isn't in the same reality I inhabit. But anyway. Alnwick was lovely. I spent way too long in Barter Books, and way too much at the Wool Shop on the market place. The Wool Shop is lovely. It has a really good range of the staples, at good prices. I picked up some Twilley's Freedom Spirit that had plenty of stock (at £2.79 a ball, pretty good value for something I don't see in most shops). And a limited, but lovely range of Noro - I bought 2 skeins of Blossom, which are currently being worked into a Diagonal Scarf. The sock yarns were also very nice to see - Opal and Trekking, in a wide variety of colours. I'll be going back, as good LYS are like hens' teeth, and the prices in there were equivalent to standard Internet prices, but without shipping, and with the instant gratification of being able to handle the wool the minute I was out of the shop! Thank you to the North East Knitting Fiends on Ravelry for the tip as well.
The Freedom Spirit is going to be a felted bag from the Freedom Spirit pattern book, btw. And, to get me back into Lace without tears, I'm going to have a go at Brooklyn Tweed's Hemlock Ring, sooner rather than later. Big needles, chunky wool!
And, I'm going to take part in my first swap. I'm a member of Cup A Tea on Ravelry, which is a group for those of us knitters who enjoy a nice cup of tea - so I shall have to find some tea, some yarn, and some other little bits, and send them off to my assigned tea drinker. I'm looking forward to it, as it will give me a chance to see what's out there for someone else's likes, and may put me onto something I may like!
So, as I depart for a nice cup of PG, I need to thunk about what's going to go over the Atlanic...

Monday, 15 October 2007

FO Frippery

I've been a busy bee this past week. Firstly, I finished my second Hanami stole. This is destined for a Christmas present, and is in the queue for blocking on Friday (I am taking a day's holiday to block my two Hanamis and my Icelandic Shawl - I will take pictures of the truly FOs and post then.

I went to my first knitting group as well on Wednesday - it was at Starbucks in Borders in Gateshead (oh dear - new magazines, books, coffee...) and I'll be going next month. A lovely bunch of ladies.

I've also finished my Tyrolean Stockings from Interweave Kits Fall 2007 in Posh Yarn Helena in Myrtle. I'd never worked in Helena before, and it's a dream. Really squooshy (if that's a word) and lovely and toasty for my toes. See photos as well!

And then... more FO - Artyfartykat had a picture of her Elisa's Nest Tote on her blog, and kindly published the link. I set to with some Patons 4 Ply cotton, and this was the result:

I think it's pretty good - and it saves all those horrible carrier bags. I'm working on a bigger one now (as it was a bit of a force to get a melon through the opening) as well.

Then finally, I've started my Honeybee Stole from the wonderful Anne Hanson's Knitspot. I'm getting on for halfway through the first section now (yes - it's Posh Yarn again - this time Eva 2 ply in Old Gold) - and it's a joy to knit. The pattern is very clearly written, and I can "see" the pattern in my knitting, which is helpful.
Isn't it pretty?

As for the trees - they are still there, and we're trying to find out who to speak to - it's a bit of a ping pong game at the minute, but I don't give up. Thank you for commenting - I appreciate it, as I did rant on a bit last time... but that's me - up and down like a seesaw.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Of Trees and Fighting

Tonight was going to be a nice blog post about how well the second Hanami is doing (onto the final cherry blossom chart now), and how much I'm looking forward to going to a knitting group for the first time ever tomorrow evening (it's at Borders in Gateshead - I'll give it a go, as they do have a great range of knitterly books and magazines, so even if I find it's not "me" I can go for a browse). However, I'm in a right paddywhack and all over three lime trees.

We live on a modern (about 25 year old) estate. And I've been here for 12 years or so. I like the area. One of the reasons I bought the house, is that while we both love the country, Jon doesn't drive, so being on good bus routes is a bonus - however the estate has loads of street trees around, which enhance the visual aspect. We're 20 minutes or so from the Toon by bus, about half an hour from the coast, and a short walk from local nature reserves at Sugley Dene, The Brickworks, Percy Pit, and Newburn Riverside Country Park. It's convenient, it's nice, and considering how some estates can end up as soul-less MacMansion collections, I find the trees break it up and make it appear more homely.

We have a small carpark in front of our house, for the use of the four houses in our block (if you imagine a big square, flat on the ground, we each have a quarter square of that). Until earlier this year, there were 6 mature lime trees along the side, adjacent to another house's garden. Earlier this year, the people who had lived there 12 months had a conservatory erected, all UPVC, and but for the trees, uncomfortably visible from our upstairs. They then had three of the trees cut down by the council, on the grounds that they were blocking out their light. It was a done deal - no consultation, or anything - and we were promised that no further trees would be cut. By the way - under English Law, no-one has a right to light per se - there are cases when the erection of a new structure can interfere with your light, but these trees to my knowledge had been here for 9 years longer than these folks, so they hardly sprung up overnight.

Today, Jon rang me at work, distressed to his wits end. He's prone to stress and has suffered its effects in the past. Apparently, the council were back and had an order to cut down the trees at the request of the same neighbours. Again - no consultation or anything - just what they want, they get. I told Jon to call our local councillor, who's a complete star - 100% for the area, and has so much time for everyone, I don't know where he gets it from, while I called the council. When I got through to the right person, I was lovely and polite, with my very best Bury Grammar Girl tones (Thank You Miss Batty for insisting we learned how to speak without the Lanky accent - even though I only ever get the elocution out for "posh" - normally I'm broader than a very broad thing). He explained the request was because of property damage (or its potential). So I asked him to not cut the trees down, as we think they contribute to the area.

So the work is stopped for now - we now need to try and get a TPO placed on these trees. Apparently Neighbour is threatening to "take" the council. So we need to hurry. And find out more about Lime Trees (lots of cases of applications for felling on the same grounds being turned down - but only where there's a TPO). And Tree Preservation Orders. And living with awkward wotsits. I think it's less of the "property damage" - there are loads of these trees closer to houses on the estate, and nobody's house appears to be falling down yet - and more what I heard a muttering about last weekend - which was what a pain it is when the leaves fall off, and what a mess they make.

I feel sometimes that this is trivial, but then, how many more trees need to be taken down one by one until we all live in Concretia? I know they can be a pain, but they're a feature of the estate. Don't buy a house next to a sewage farm if you don't like the smell - and don't buy one next to 6 mature trees, unless you're prepared to sweep!

That's enough for now - I need to do lots of stress-busting knitting now to calm myself down a tad. I'll be fine - just wrong woman, wrong day.

Monday, 1 October 2007

A Learning Curve

Firstly, I have learned that if Flickr isn't playing, it's wise to make sure that one is logging on with one's correct account. (ahem).
Newcastle also does not have congestion. That is Official. Even though it took me one hour and ten minutes to get 10 miles tonight, it is not congestion. That is why we will not be getting a congestion charge here. Which I would pay, as it's a pain for me to get to work by public transport - not to mention I'm not happy about hanging around dark bus stops on my own - especially not with Bonfire Night coming up). It would also be cheaper than moving house.
Someone is looking after me - I had got in too late for the Posh Yarn that I wanted (boo!) but Dee had a cancellation - and it was for the yarn I wanted - I was browsing and dreaming, and nipped on and got it.
So I'm feeling a lot better about things. I need to stop being grumpy, as with me, it just breeds grumpiness. I also picked up a Knitmaster Wool Winder for £4 + postage on Ebay, which is going to be great for winding all my skeins. And it's just like the one my Mum used to let me wind her wool with when I was younger, so I got a bit misty eyed when I was playing with it tonight. Small things and all that.
We had a pretty good weekend - Jon is from Walsall, and supports the football team - they were playing in Hartlepool on Saturday, so I drove us down, and we had a really good afternoon. Hartlepool's a great ground to visit - the fans are friendly, there's tonnes of free parking, the food's good (meat and potato pies - heaven for a Lancashire Lass), and there's a pretty good pub on Jackson's Wharf. Then we went to the local pub quiz last night (are we spotting a theme here?), and came second - which was much better than we expected. AND I got the yarn I wanted in the Posh Yarn sale last night.
Good things do happen to me - I should just notice them more. I'm cracking on with my second Hanami, too - I'm into the Transition chart now - and from now, the charts are all different, which will keep me on my toes. I've also been getting on with my second Tyrolean Stocking. Unfortunately, there's no pictures as yet - when I dug out the camera, I remembered that I needed to recharge the batteries... Silly me. Maybe I'll get myself together for next time.
But now I shall go, as Murphy's Law is on tonight, and Jim Nesbitt is a tonic for any female!