Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Goodbye 2008... Hello 2009!

So this is my last post for the year. I hope anyone reading this has a happy, healthy and successful 2009. 2008's been neither the best nor the worst year for me... Sort of middling. Although I have started learning to spin, which has been amazing.

For 2009...

I am joining Project 365 - so I will be taking a photo every day for all of 2009.
I will publish my first pattern. It's a sock. It's nearly knit up and written up, and will be released soon.
I will start my little Folksy trinkets store - I'm making my own beaded jewellery, and have had positive feedback so far from people I trust to tell me when things aren't right. So I am working on creating stock, and will be photographing and stocking the store hopefully by mid-January.

I think that's enough to be getting on with...

For now at least.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Books Meme

From the Big Read, via Carrie Anne and Dreamcatcher's blogs...

This one is originally from the Big Read. Apparently they reckon most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.


1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read. - underline's playing up for me... going to put a note instead...
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger - Will Read
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy - Will Read
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy - Will Read - if only for the knitting!
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini - Will Read
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown - so what's the opposite of Italics?
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel - will read
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt - Will Read
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton - just rebought the 1971 un-pc-ed versions...
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad - Will Read
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

H'mmm 61... Maybe I should get out more.....

Thursday, 27 November 2008

I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll...


Last night was The Night - I still didn't truly believe that I was going to go to the meet and greet until I picked up the pass from the Box Office. I actually went with mixed feelings, as Harry James, the drummer, had kidney stones, and I'd had an email that he wasn't going to make the tour. Now Thunder are great, but our 'Arry - he's special. They say all drummers are a bit, erm, eccentric, but Harry is a character and a legend in his own lifetime. His performance of George Michael's Faith is fantastic (including the bum wiggles), and I still remember seeing him do his turn in Aylesbury Civic Hall in 1990, when he donned a blue nylon wig, and crooned "Blue Moon".

However, I didn't care as the AC/DC track played, and the chant of "Thunder... Thunder..." rang out. We'd got seats central to the stage, third row. The band opened with "Backstreet Symphony" and were on absolutely top form. The set favoured the earlier songs, with the first album contributing its classics. The main set finished with "I Love You More Than Rock 'n' Roll", and the encore was "Higher Ground" and "Dirty Love". Just fabulous, bluesy rock, with the singalongadanalongalaughalonga performance.
After the gig, we were allowed downstairs for a drink with the band. It was great. The guys just circulated, and spent time with everyone. I got my CD signed, and Jon took pictures of me with Ben:
Harry James - Drummer and complete trouper.
Well - it wouldn't have been a Thunder gig without our 'Arry, now, would it?

And Luke kissed me as I was leaving... I'll let you know when I'm down off Cloud 9.

Oh yeah - knitting - that's what I'm meant to be doing here. In the last few days, I've finished Meret, the Mystery Beret from Woolly Wormhead in Posh Yarn Amelia, colour Pleasantry.
And my first stranded colourwork - Cat Mittens by Jorid Linvik - in natural brown Alpaca and Jacob. I love these.
And another hat - this one a present for Jon's mum. It's the Starcrossed Cabled Slouchy, and it has come out lovely and smooshy in Posh Yarn's Helena Aran in Cherry:
Starcrossed Slouchy
I'm going to finish off a pair of Waving Lace socks for Jon's sister, and then do another pair of the cat mittens, this time in red and black Jawoll sockwool for Jon's mum. Before Christmas. EEK!

Monday, 17 November 2008


It's been a mixed few days... First, the good - I'm off work! Loads of knitting and spinning time! I'm also going to sort out my stash, and possibly have a cleansing destash, or possibly not.
On Friday, I went to my friend Carrie Anne's house for a play evening, and had a lovely time. Four of us were there, and we knitted and spun and chatted, and petted Willow and Ash the cats, and ate pizza and nibbles. Carrie Anne had her wheel, and had set up her Heddle Loom. The wheel I was hopeless on. Great at "unspinning", but it was a bit too much like patting my head and rubbing my tummy! I think I'll stick with spindles! The loom was a different story - I found it very hypnotic and relaxing, and was really pleased with my contribution to the woven cloth. It was just a lovely evening, and Carrie Anne was a great hostess.
Then today, I visited Ros for a morning of knitting, spindling and chatter. Patti was also there, and it was just nice to relax over a cuppa tea. And Ros' daschunds are absoloutely gorgeous - Millie and Maisie. If only Jon wasn't allergic to dogs, and if Holly wasn't psychotic, I could be very tempted.
But as always, once I start to enjoy myself, the rain falls. I had a letter from the hospital today. And I quote:
"Your MRI cervical spine does show a small disc which probably accounts for your symptoms. It is likely that only conservative management is appropriate as usually in these circumstances things settle on their own, but perhaps I could review me myself in clinic to discuss things further."
After reading it a few times, Jon and I have translated it to mean "Yep - there's something out of line in there, but I'm not the one in pain, and if you ignore it, perhaps it may go away. I may have a little time to patronise you if you care to ring".
Oh boy. Is he in for a shock. I am in pain. I am not sleeping without prescription painkillers. This has been going on since April. I am paying him, via my NI every month, so he can firstly, stop talking down to me, and secondly, give me some constructive advice on how to sort it out so it doesn't feel like someone's going to rip my arm off. If he had cared to ask, in the 4 months since I have seen him, then I would have told him that the situation has deteriorated. And he thinks it will resolve itself? I am steeling myself for a frustrating conversation on the phone tomorrow. And then for a face off in his office. I shall be perfectly polite, however, he will have to do something. One card I have up my sleeve is that my company does private health care. So I can play that one, and also the one where I am persistent as heck, and have no fear of bureaucracy - yes - the NHS Complaints Procedure.
To Battle!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Posting Madness!

My goodness... I've never posted so much!
I have Arm News. Last night I took one tiny Codeine tablet and two paracetemol. When I lay down, there was no pain. When I rolled over, there was no pain. I slept. Soundly. Right through to the alarm. I was prepared to give it a few days, but it's helped already.
OK - so now my body has slept, it's thinking "oooh - I LIKE that idea", so I've felt really sleepy all day, but I'm off next week, so I'll spend all that time sleeping, knitting and spinning!

Monday, 10 November 2008

A Post! With Photos!!!

I’ve not been wasting my time… Finally there was 10 minutes of light yesterday, so I took some photographs. Here we have three handspun yarns. The top one is the End of September club yarn from The Yarn Yard (Bramble Crumble). The second one is also from The Yarn Yard, and came un-named – as I was spinning it, I realised it made me think of Refresher sweets with all the lovely sherberty colours – so I have named this BFL Superwash Refreshers. Finally, there is Lafant Glas – Falkland from Mam a Mi. You may notice that there are only 2 skeins – more on that later. I got 300 yards or so from each 100g, using my Golding Cherry Tsumani for the singles, and then my Louet spindle for Andean Plying.



Lafant Glas

I’ve also been a bit busy knitting. Firstly, the reason why I only had 2 skeins of Lafant Glas left to photograph - my Spiraluscious. I love this neckwarmer. I love the yarn, the pattern, just everything about it. It’s an Anne Hanson design, and wow – that woman can design good looking but straightforward lace, can’t she? (Yes - I cast on Friday, and grafted the edging together Saturday - have noted in the "omigoditschristmasnextweekandIhavenothingspecialfor..." file!)


Then, I snaffled some Helena Aran from Posh Yarn a couple of weeks ago, and turned it into a Darkside Cowl by Sarah Fama, and a Woolly Wormhead Spring Cap (wishful thinking!).


Spring Cap

And, a pair of Aran Island Slippers from Interweave Knits Holiday 2008 for my MiL knitted in Rooster Almerino Aran.

Aran Isle Slippers

Oh... and I got them off my hands long enough to take a photo! My Cranford Mitts - from The Yarn Yard Kit I bought at Woolfest.


Busy, busy, busy.

On the spindle at the moment is 2oz of Gotland that I got as part of a Spinners Set from Spindlefrog. The Spinners Set is a brilliant idea - 2oz each of 6 unusual fibres all dyed in the same colourway. I love it, as I get a chance to play, and can decide before I commit to a load of something which may be quite expensive, and which I'm not keen on. The Gotland is lovely. Very silky with a long staple.

On the needles are the Estonian Lace Christening Shawl, my Guess at Tess’ Shawl, a pair of Undulating Lace Socks in Wollmeise Suzanne for a Christmas Present, and a Booga bag (adapted slightly by using smaller needles and more stitches to accommodate finer yarn) in Kauni.

In Arm News, there is little news - still waiting for the MRI Results, however things have Deteriorated, and after having negligable sleep for nearly a week, I went to the GP this morning. So I'm on Codeine, which isn't the best, but it has to be better than lying there, tossing and turning, and trying to find somewhere to put my arm where it doesn't hurt!

Busy, busy, busy… But Fun, Fun, Fun!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Good News!!!

So... I've loved Thunder for years... Have seen them a dozen or so times, and am doing so again later in the month - I've just found I'm going to meet the band after the show in Newcastle!!!!! Excuse the happiness, but this has just made my day!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Go See Littleberry

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But no cancer restricts itself to one month per year. Go and see Littleberry and pop a bid in. And let others know.
And check. You know you should.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Just a Quickie!

I need some decent light! I have a nearly finished Forest Canopy in Noro Sock Yarn, a chunky scarf in Colinette Point 5 (knit in one evening!), a swatch of cables lace and general playing in a new yarn from Linzi, the Alpaca Spinner, which I am so going to stalk her for, a little progress on the Estonian Lace Christening Shawl, and 4 lovely skeins of my very own handspun to show off - but when the light's been good, I've been elsewhere, and when I've been here, the light's been non-existent! Ah well - it will come.
In other news, it was a mad week last week... Monday off, Tuesday normal, Wednesday and Friday covering earlies (yawn) and the MRI Scan on Thursday. It's not an experience I want to repeat in a hurry. There was no pain involved, I was seen on time, the scanning team were brilliant - as well as being very capable and experts in their field, they radiated a reassuring confidence - but I did not feel good. It was being out of control in a confined space that did it for me. I was strapped in, with a shield over my torso, and while I had hold of a buzzer, I was in a tube where it felt like the roof was an inch or two above my nose. If (and yes, I know this is a Big If), anything went Really Wrong, and the buzzer didn't work, I was incapable of escape. There was no way I could have wriggled out. But nothing went wrong, I'm here, I'm fine, and now I need to wait for the Registrar at the hospital to interpret the results (I've been told 6 weeks, however when I was told 2-4 weeks, it took 7 and a lot of pressure from me to get them, so I'm not holding my breath).
That's it for now. More if we ever see daylight again while I'm in reach of a camera and my little doings!

Monday, 6 October 2008


Well... More tomorrow I said... Oh well. Our computer decided to die on us last week, so unfortunately I've taken a little hiatus from being online. We now have a new computer, and I am getting to grips with it (I love it, actually - it's lovely and fast compared with the old one, and the colours on the screen are a lot better) but that means that I have no photos to share.
I have been spinning - I received my Yarn Yard fibre on Friday, and have spun up about a third of it - and it is beautiful. The Shetland seems to have spun itself on my Golding Tsunami, and it is the most even yarn I have spun. Completely yummy. I love being in the Fibre Club - for a start, I love surprises, and the anticipation once Natalie says she has posted is great. Then when it arrives, I read the letter, and try to guess what the fibre will be like. Then I open the pack - and it's even better! As a beginner, it's giving me the chance to try different fibres and find out what happens with fibre dyed in different ways. I have just finished plying the first of this month's (when it arrived on Friday, it was so lovely that the pack of fibre and my Golding went straight into my handbag and came with me), and I love what I have spun. I need to skein it, but I think it's about a fingering weight, so I'm thinking a delicate scarf...
We've been away this weekend - Jon's dad turned 60 on Friday, so we drove down to Cannock on Friday (it took us 3 hours to do the first 40 miles, thanks to an accident on the A1, but we got there eventually). When we got there, it was great - we'd got his dad a digital photo frame, and Jon had scanned a load of slides from when he and his sister were little - his dad was very touched with it all. Saturday night was his party - which was great. I have now found I am skilled in the art of balloon arch making! Everyone had a great time, and we tootled back up the road yesterday afternoon. 6 hours 30 minutes to get there, 4 hours to get back (and that included a big stop for a cup of coffee, so that was good going). Today, I have been plying my yarn (amazing how much I managed to spin, given how busy we were), am catching up on the 'puter, and then I will be settling down with the last episode of Tess, which I recorded last night (I watched the Harry Potter film, which was just what we needed) and my Estonian Lace Christening Shawl while Jon's out at college.
Back to work tomorrow, and hopefully some photos (maybe).
ETA - I am now booked in for my MRI Scan - this Thursday at 9am - so credit to Alliance Medical who operate this for the Trust - at least someone round here seems able to shift their stumps and sort things out. The good news is, I may know what on earth's going on in a couple of weeks.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Falling Sideways

This post was going to be about my progress with the Estonian Lace Christening Shawl, and a little bit of spinning and gawping at my new Golding Cherry Tsunami spindle. And a little about how my left hand is getting on... That will all come, but sometimes, Stuff Happens.
Firstly, and importantly, READ THIS POST on The Yarn Yard Blog by Natalie. Go on, scoot over there and have a look. I'll be here when you get back (and if you happen to slip and anything falls in your shopping basket while you are there, I take no responsibility - but if you've never been there before - yes, it is all even better than it looks!).
To my shame, I used to be a blood donor. I started when I was in my first job - they put on a mini bus, and took you to the local power station, where you had a wee bit of time off work, a lie down, a cup of tea, and a biscuit. In return, you had a needle stuck in your arm and had to play with a squeezy ball. And possibly, someone lived. Or at least was given a fighting chance.
The statistics are horrifying. At current levels, in England and Wales, there are only 3 days of stocks of some blood groups. If, for some reason, blood donation had to stop tonight, by Thursday, people who were having operations, having babies, or (heaven forbid) were in an accident, would have reduced options if they needed that blood group. And, if there was a major emergency somewhere, those stocks would disappear very, very quickly.
I stopped giving blood after I was on a medication for a short while which meant I wasn't allowed to. And, to my shame, I never went back.
That has changed. After I read Natalie's posting, I went to here, entered my postcode, and found when the next session was, near to me. It turns out it's on October 17th, so I requested an appointment (you can do it all online, it's very quick and easy) - so I'm back. Heaven forbid I or anyone I know needs it, but I've been and gone and done it.
I appreciate not everyone can give blood, and not everyone wants to. That's fine, but if you're OK with the ethical side, and reasonably fit and healthy, and all that's stopping you is that you've never got round to doing it, please give it a go. And I'm speaking as a squeamish person who has a fear of needles (shall we say that when I had to have a General Anaesthetic for a minor operation, they gave up and gave me a tablet after 3 people were having trouble restraining me - I find it proper scary) - when I have given in the past, the person setting me up has distracted me.
Let me just get off my soapbox...
And now to my poorly hand. I have been getting Rather Annoyed in the past few weeks. I had a nerve conduction test on August 12th (I remember it well - it was my birthday, however, I took the appointment, as they're busy people). I should have had the results within 2 to 4 weeks. Nearly 7 weeks later, after 2 weeks of chasing and being Rather Annoying, I have a one paragraph letter dictated by, but not signed by, the Registrar who saw me in July, and was absolutely convinced I had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The good news is, I don't. My test came out as normal. The bad news is, he now thinks it may be in my shoulder or neck, and I am going to be booked in for an MRI.
Speaking to his secretary (a lovely lady), I found out the delay was due to him being on holiday. And being behind with his work. Charming. I have got progressively worse over the past two months, to the stage where I am not sleeping, and am in a reasonable amount of pain and discomfort. I didn't book a holiday, as I thought that I may have an appointment that clashed, or that I may get worse, and didn't want to ruin it all. I am keeping all the letters, and notes on my treatment, and shall be complaining bitterly when this is all sorted out. I know that the NHS is overstretched. I know I am small fry. But it ain't free. I've paid my stamp, as has my employer, and let's face it, if I had to wait for a mail order delivery for nearly twice as long as I had been told, and had had no communication from the vendor, I would have cancelled the order. What annoys me isn't the time it takes, it's the attitude.
All I can do is knit and spin, and keep my powder dry. But they've upset the wrong person now...
Hopefully, some pictures of knitting and spinning tomorrow...

Friday, 29 August 2008

Feast or Famine....

It's definitely feast or famine round here... I have finished Edgy by Susan Pierce Lawrence (yes, the lady who brought us the Forest Canopy Shawl), and it is blocked and photographed (insert smug look here).
And a close up of the lovely laciness!
It's a lovely pattern to knit, and is available for free via the Knotions magazine which is well worth a look - mine's only the second live project on Ravelry after Susan's! I knitted it in Posh Yarn Lei, colour Peacock, which is lovely iridescent deep blues and greens. It doesn't show up too great in the photos, as the light here has been rubbish since I unpinned it. This is version B, which is for 4-Ply (a DK version is available).
So now that my Ravelympics projects are complete, what's next? Baby things - that's what! My Auntie's friend is due to have a baby in November, and that baby will be kitted out in a BSJ in Colinette Jitterbug in Mardi Gras (mad bright rainbow colours) and Hazel Roots' Estonian Lace Christening Shawl, which I am knitting in the lovely undyed laceweight from Andy at Bluefaced, which is now available from Nicki at Laughing Hens in single skeins (look under Bluefaced, then Angel). 1200 yards per skein is pretty good value - it's cobweb weight, but with a slight halo, and is feeling so soft and snuggly as I am knitting it.
Oh yes - and MS4 is starting next week - sign up now via the link on Pinklemontwist's blog. For this, I'm going to be using Fyberspates Nef Lace in Lilac, together with some transluscent opal seed beeds (the beads are an integral part of the pattern this year, and so not optional. Pretty, pretty colour:
OK - so you're probably all linked out now.... so I'll go.

Monday, 25 August 2008


Well - thank you Ravelympics! During the Beijing games, Ravelry's been inviting members to knit a challenge, the start time being the opening ceremony and the end time being the closing ceremony. I committed to 4 projects - to finish my Slow Bee shawl in WIP Wrestling (I was really enjoying the pattern, but with over 800 stitches per row, I was really flagging by the final 2 clies), to knit a Whisp Wrist Warmer from my own handspun, to knit Anne Hanson's Orchid Lace Scarf from Knitspot, and to knit Susan Pierce Lawrence's Edgy Scarf.
So how did I do? Let's see the evidence...
Ravelympics 002
This is the Slow Bee 1 - a Faeroese Mystery Shawl by Monika Eckert. Lovely pattern - using over 2000 yards of laceweight and nearly 2 large tubs of Gutermann 9/0 beads. I've not blocked it too hard, as I wanted a snuggly winter wrap, rather than a gossamer weight wisp of a thing. It's massive - I'm 5' 7", so you can probably get the scale from the photo. I used 100PureWool Merino Lace from Uruguay, bought from Ebay.
Ravelympics 001
This is my Whisp - pattern my Mazzmatazz, and published in the Guardian newspaper (although I am currently having some issues with the Guardian - it seems to be using knitting in a peculiar fashion at the moment). The yarn was some merino fibre from Shunklies on Etsy, which I span myself to about a DK weight on my spindle from Whorl Drop Spindles, then knitted up. This is my second handspun that could be called yarn, and since then, I have joined the Yarn Yard Fibre Club, and bought more lovely fibre from Mam a Mi, so I can quite safely say I am addicted. This may only be a teeny tiny knit, but I am so proud of it.
Ravelympics 003
Finally, my Orchid Lace Scarf from Knitspot. I knitted this with Posh Yarn Eva 2-Ply in Faraway Tree, which was a deep, dark forest green with paler flashes. I love the pattern - simple and elegant. Anne Hanson designs such beautiful patterns that are a joy to knit.
I "failed" on Edgy - I am currently 21 repeats through out of 30. I am loving the pattern, and am looking forward to finishing it in the next few days.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud!

This is going to be a short post, for reasons that will become clear as I type... It's been an interesting month or so. I've had pins and needles in the fingers of my left hand for a while, and when it hadn't gone after a while, and was pretty irritating, I took it to the doctor, expecting to be told that it was OK, and rest would be just the thing to sort it out. Unfortunately, she had a good look, felt my wrist, asked me to move my fingers and bend my wrists, and grip her hand, and came out with the scary words "neurological deficit". Really scary, until she started to speak language I understood, and told me she thought I may have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, when things started to click into place. I'm careful, but I've worked with computers for a lot of years now, and have quite possibly developed this through working over a long time. So. I've been to the Neurology Department at the hospital twice, and have had tests, including an EMG last week (on my birthday, no less, but at least being out of work early, I got to see the climax of the Eventing at the Olympics - every cloud etc), and I'm now waiting for the results of that. If it indicates CTS, I will be discharged to my GP, then referred to the plastic surgeon for the release op (apparently they don't do BOGOF, so my nose will have to stay bent). So it can be painful and annoying to type. It is going downhill visibly - although I now wear a wrist support, I am getting more pain and less pins and needles, and the pain is travelling up to my shoulder. But, all being well, it's fixable, and OK - I know there's going to be a period after the op when it's painful, and I can expect weakness for 6 months to a year, but at the moment, it hurts, and it's embarrassing when I drop things.
So why the mud? Well this week, Jon and I went to the V Festival, conveniently situated 15 miles from his dad's house (so we don't have to do the cold and damp camping thing - clean and warm bedroom and bathroom for me Thank You), in Staffordshire. We had a great time - Saturday was overcast most of the day, and we got to see The Stranglers, Squeeze, The Feeling (fab covers of Video Killed the Radio Star and Take on Me, as well as a great set of their own), Travis, The Kings of Leon (and was I proud when I recognised their intro music - Mozart's Lachrymosa from his Requiem - and yes, I did know all the words, and sang along), Echo and the Bunnymen (perfect as always, AND included People are Strange in the set) and The Verve, who I first saw 10 years ago when they played V98 in Leeds, and who were magical. Unfortunately, during The Verve, and on the way back to the car, the heavens opened, and we got wet through. The rain didn't stop all night, and by the time we arrived for Sunday, the site was deep in mud. When I say deep, I mean that when I was trying to dance, my feet moved, but my wellies didn't! But the weather was warm, and I wouldn't have missed The Futureheads, Maximo Park, Paul Heaton (I must buy his album - the songs are just fab), The Stereophonics, and Muse, whose stage show was amongst the best I have seen - lasers, lights, and over 90 minutes appearing to be over in 90 seconds. We missed the accident on the A5, so managed to be back in the house by midnight as well - where we promptly undressed on our waterproofs, and put the horribly muddy clothes into a black bag. Jon was a hero this morning and washed it all!
So that's it for now - with my knitting, I have finished the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl, and the Slow Bee 1 (a WIP for the Ravelympics), and am on with 3 more Ravelympics projects... Then I will be knitting Hazel's Estonian Christening Shawl. And that's about me. Photos and more soon, promise....

Monday, 30 June 2008

What I did at the weekend....

I went to Woolfest, and had a fabulous time. I met a lot of people in person, and spent a lot of time squinting at Ravelry badges... I won't namedrop, as I'm bound to forget people but it was lovely to meet you all, and was a fantastic day out.

I bought loads, and won't post too many photos... let's face it, it's all beautiful stuff, but some of my highlights were the lovely laceweight from Andy of
This is going to be the baby shawl that I really need to start swatching for...

And I fell in love with the Cranford Mitts kit from The Yarn Yard...
These are so pretty. But need to be added to a ever-growing list of projects.

Then there was this fella, who seemed to delight in covering himself in his straw...

Finally, for now - I took a Hand Spindling workshop with Spindlers 2 (no website that I can find, but fantastic people - I spent an hour being tutored by very patient people, had fun, and came out with my very first handspun:
I may spin finer, more even, longer yarn, but I will never spin yarn I am more proud of.

And with other purchases under my belt from Fyberspates, and a Kool Aid Dye kit from DT Craft and Design and fibres to practice my spinning with, I shall toddle off to roll in my ever increasing stash...

Monday, 23 June 2008


I'm having a busy week this week - not much progress on the knitting front - I'm working away on Moni's Slow Bee Mystery shawl - although it's designed for slow bees, I'm still having to pedal very hard to keep up. I've also started the Goddess Knits Anniversary Mystery Shawl - I'm just onto Clue 2, and it's my first Pi Shawl, and I'm loving my pattern - I'm saying "my" pattern - Renee of Goddess Knits has designed a "choose your own adventure" shawl based on the theme of a Mandala - signups are still open until June 30th, so if you haven't, go on... you know you want to... go to the Yahoo Group and sign up... Go on...

I'm also working on a Cobblestone Sweater for Jon - I'm using New Lanark Mills Donegal Silk Aran Tweed for it, which is smashing value (whole sweater will be knit for under £20) and lovely to work with. It's knitting up into a good hardwearing sweater, and I'm up to the armholes on the body, and am approaching the end of the first sleeve. It's a Jared Flood pattern, and I'm sure he won't mind me saying that it is welcome, mindless knitting - round and round and round with very few fiddly bits. It's my first sweater in the round, and with my aversion to sewing up, it won't be my last.

Jon's mother and sister came to visit for the weekend, and here's where we get to why I've titled this blog post as I have... We took them up to Seahouses for the day on Saturday, and went on a Billy Shiels trip over to the Farne Islands. I love this trip - out on a little boat around the islands, with stops on the way to see the seabirds on the Islands, the seals hunting, and the site of Grace Darling's rescue of the Forfarshire survivors, and then an hour on Inner Farne. There were some lovely birds to see - Eider Ducks, Shags, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, and these little fellas:
single puffin
Everyone loves Puffins, don't they?
And who would have thought this little critter would turn into an Attack Tern - but he will - once he is old enough to have his own chicks, he will rattle like a machine gun, and attack anyone who he sees as a threat. But for now, he's just fluffy cuteness itself. Everyone go "aaah"...
baby tern


The one....

The only....

The money shot....


Jon had it worse than me... but we were both blessed as you can see. We were looking at a Shag nest, with 4 fluffy chicks in it, clinging to the cliff edge of Inner Farne, when the parent lifted its tail, and the wind did the rest. Oh well - it washes off.

Next stop - Woolfest...

ETA - No Handknits were harmed in the creation of this blog post. Jon and I both make sure we wear old clothes when visiting birdy places!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Now - I'm sure I've forgotten something....

I'm back from Darkest Cheshire where I went for the weekend for my "baby" cousin Jenny's 30th birthday party. The lilac Swallotail in Posh Yarn was for her present, and I remembered it. I remembered all the bits for my outfit for the party (it was a Wild West theme, and I was a cowgirl, complete with pink sequinny cowboy hat - it's amazing what you can pick up at a major supermarket these days). I remembered my knitting (but was having such a good time, I didn't knit a stitch ALL WEEKEND!). I remembered my 12p for the toll bridge into Lymm. I remembered my way - which is hard for me - I have the sense of direction of a spinning top. What I didn't remember was my camera - so I have no photos, which is a shame, as the weather was beautiful, and Jenny looked absolutely beautiful dressed as a saloon girl. She loved her Swallowtail, and wanted to wear it, but didn't, in case of spillages.
It was lovely to spend a couple of days with my family - I feel comfortable there, and it's great to see them all again. My Aunt has also asked me if I will make a shawl for her friend - so I am going to attempt to make up my own pattern. I'm not "designing" - what I am doing is compiling, I think. I have Traditional Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman, which has a lot of traditional patterns in for Shetland Lace, and what I'm doing is a little bit of swatching. I'm not sure, so I'm doing a 40 x 40 stitch swatch of the centre, then popping on a border, and maybe an edging. That way, I'm not committing to something I'm going to be unhappy with. It also means I can play without frogging. My rules for this are to go with something I think I like, and see how it looks. No frogging unless I make a boo-boo. That way, something I'm maybe not keen on to start with may do an ugly duckling on me.
What I probably will get is a lovely set of lacy dressing table mats! I'm horrificly indecisive, so I'll probably knit 10-15 swatches by the time I decide (or give up and go and buy a ready made design). I'm only on swatch 1 at the moment, so I will post swatch pictures as I get them.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Best Laid Plans...

Oh well... I was going to try Baltic Blossoms, or Melon, honest, but it's my niece's first birthday soon, and so I'm ploughing through a cardigan for her. It's a Tiboodoo pattern, and it looks lovely, and it's an easy knit, but I'm finding it slow going.
And I'm having an Anne Hanson thing going at the moment... I've knitted one Cardigan sock, and I'm itching to start its mate. Great pattern, and it looks fab - pictures when I have a pair. Then in the past few days, my Cranapple laceweight's arrived for my Whispering Pines triangle, and today, my Blue Moon Fiber Arts Haida arrived, for Irtfa'a... And they're calling to me, seductively, from their gentle squooshiness...
Not to mention I scored with Posh Yarn this week too - with three skeins earmarked for the Wallis Cardigan from the Summer Interweave Knits.
So, like, yeah - I'm really going to knit all this, aren't I?
Well maybe not this week, but yep I am.
And it's my cousin's 30th this weekend, so hopefully I can get some pictures of Jenny's Swallowtail in action!

Friday, 25 April 2008

Blocking Day

Today, I have been mosty blocking...

I have upstairs, drying, a Spiders Web Shawl in Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace, Winterberry (could not get a decent photo); two Swallowtails - one in Posh Yarn Eva 4 Ply, Frock (a lavender / silver one), destined for my cousin's 30th birthday present, and one in Knitpicks Alpaca Lace.


Budding Lace

I've loved this pattern. It's such an impressive knit, and once I had my head around the nupps, really straightforward. The Posh Yarn one was part of the Posh Yarn Swallotail KAL on Ravelry - if you're on Ravelry, and love Posh Yarn, or think you may, pop along to the group - it's one of the friendliest going (except for Sundays at 6pm, when it's every Poshite for her/himself).

I've also blocked out my Gust by Anne Hanson of Knitspot. Again, a very well written and straightforward pattern, with lovely results. I've got wool for two of Anne's other designs, irtfa'a and Whispering Pines (both shawls, both stunning) on order, and I'm itching to get going on them.


It was a little difficult to get the photo, but I couldn't resist the contrast of the wispy warm earth tones of the Posh Yarn Sophia against the green of the new growth in the "garden". It goes beautifully with my new shawl pin from Leslie Wind - absolutely beautiful in its simplicity. I was spoiled for choice amongst her designs, and have already mentioned to Jon that I would love the heart shaped one for a special occasion pressie - such as my birthday, maybe?


The closure is a pair of long tabs - so no pins, and it sat on the wispy cashmere laceweight like it belonged there. It's going to get well worn!

I'm working on Victorian Ruby from Victorian Lace Today at the moment, and am about halfway through the bottom border - after that, it's either going to be the Melon Shawl in Kidsilk Haze (nothing if not ambitious, me) or Baltic Blossoms by Evelyn Clark (more nupps!) in Posh Yarn Lucia... Nice decision to have to make...

Monday, 17 March 2008

Freedom tastes so good!

Finally, after 6 weeks and one day, I am off Jury Service. I appreciate that people need to do it, and that we need a cross section, rather than those for whom it may be convenient, and that everyone charged has the right to a fair trial, but sometimes, you wonder who is on trial. I have had 6 weeks at right angles to my life, with things going on as normal, but where I have been sitting with different priorities. Without going into details, the trial has been complex, and we can't forget that this is not a logic puzzle; that the people accused, giving evidence, and referred to are all real people, and all have a lot hanging on what the Jury eventually decides. It's taught me a lot about myself - I thought until very recently that I was quite good at dealing with things, that I could divorce myself from what was happening, but that has proved impossible. I became emotionally involved, and have really felt under a strain. I have spent a lot of the afternoon crying, which came as a surprise to me.

Now I am finished, I need to pick up my life and put the pieces back into place. It's going to be hard to click back in. It's as if I have to forget about this, and let go of the last 6 weeks of my life, where I have eaten, slept and breathed nothing but this trial, shared with 11 other people who I became close to, but will now probably not see again. It's Jon's birthday tonight, so we will be celebrating quietly, free of this hanging over us, which is good. The support I have had from Jon, my family and my friends (both "real world" and "online" has got me through this - so thank you - if you are reading this, you probably count in one of those categories).

So - I can let all the detailled data ooze out of my mind, and get on with making honey and lime glazed chicken for Jon's Birthday Tea!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Confessions - from right at the bottom of a rabbit hole...

Oh dear. Please will someone stop me, tie my hands, hide my purse, anything to stop me from buying even more yarn? After a quick enable from a couple of members of the North East Yarn Fiends on Ravelry, I visited Woolaballoo in Crawcrook. It is amazing - they have beautiful yarn. They are lovely people. They have Colinette, Noro, Regia (including the new Galaxy yarn), Artesano, Ranco. They are good value. The displays are lovely - I can see what things look like, and feel the luscious yumminess of the yarn. They are sitated 5 minutes in the car from my house. They are too near...

5 Skeins of yarn, 2 circulars and a book later, I am at home, and I am torn. I have a Local Yarn Shop which is local, and beautiful. I also need to discipline myself, else I may as well ask for my wages to be paid to Woolaballoo each month, and I can then just go and pick up my goodies! I shall be back, and I shall be buying. Again. What a lovely shop!

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Knocking one off the list

So - I can prove that I have tackled Magic Loop. I've decided to use it with a couple of old favourites - Monkey Socks by Cookie A (although I have done the version without purls), and Posh Yarn Emily in Pretty Young Thing. magic loop monkey
This is the second sock - the first is all done:
no purl monkey
I'm nearly there, and can't wait to wear them - and there is nothing to fear from Magic Loop - I used a You Tube video to see how it was done, and it took a few rounds to "click", but when it did, I found it straightforward. I will use it again - probably for socks with a regular pattern, until I get a bit more used to it.

And my Marilinda, again by Cookie A are finished.
marilinda I used Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Sock in Imagine for this, and for such a complex looking pattern, it was really straightforward to knit. I loved the pattern, and really recommend it. The "sock blocker" is actually half a dozen carrier bags - I wanted to be able to show the pattern, and this was the best option I had!

Still in court... but nearly halfway there now!

Friday, 15 February 2008

It's oh so quiet....

I'm sorry I've not been posting much, however these past two weeks, I've been on Jury Service. And shall remain so for the next four weeks or so, unless something unforeseen happens to the trial I've been assigned to. As I'm not allowed to say anything about the trial (but what I will say is that thankfully it is not one which is upsetting to sit on), and I am shattered each day, and I have to fit the rest of my life in sideways around the court, there's not much to blog about at the mo - although I am ploughing through some good socks - Melanie, at has a new sock pattern out - well pair of sock patterns, as she has bundled one complex sock with travelling stitches (Scarborough Fair) with a more straightforward pattern (Caledonian Mist). I love the concept, and I'm loving the pattern - two for the price of one! I'll post some progress pics soon...
And, I am confronting my fear - I have tried looping the Magic Loop - one No-Purl Monkey down, one to go (and yes, proof will be forthcoming). I still love my dpns, but have confirmed that there is nothing to be afraid of, and will be using it again - especially when travelling about.
Off to court to be one of the 12 good men (and women) and true....

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Being Fearless

So. I have signed up to Knitting Daily's Fearless Knitters, as I am guilty of sitting in my comfort zone. Too many projects have passed me by because "I could never..." 2008 is going to be a year where that is banned. I can be fearless. I can! I hate heights, yet have abseiled down both the Dental Hospital in Newcastle (100 feet) in the snow - including ending up hanging upside down on the end of a rope because I was listening intently to what the very nice gentleman at the top was telling me, and he hadn't said anything about moving my feet - with a medial ligament injury to boot, and also the Baltic Art Gallery in Gateshead (150 feet). On the Baltic, it actually didn't feel as scary - there was scaffolding up on the edge, so I climbed on that, then I could hold onto that, and feel the rope take my weight before I went scooting down (and scoot I did - Jon has the video evidence that what goes up, does come down - fast!). The Dental Hospital was a leap of faith - stand on the edge, and lean back, and go. The funniest bit of the video evidence is when Jon doesn't realise our camera does sound - on the Baltic, there is "Don't die on me" which is sweet, until you realise the batteries were low, and, more like him, over the Dental Hospital is something about needing a wide angle lens as I drop into view, bottom first.

But, you see, I am avoiding the topic. So. How am I going to be fearless?
  • I will "do" a sock with Magic Loop. Never tried it before, and been avoiding it, just in case I can't.
  • I will knit something ambitious from A Gathering of Lace, which so far, has been a "look book".
  • I will design and knit a pair of socks - and show the results on this blog.

I have just received the right yarn for this as well - 2 skeins of delightful "Fearless Fibers" sock yarn, one each of Lust and Imagine. Anne Hanson often mentions it, and wow - it's worth waiting all of one week for it to arrive from the USA (a WEEK - it can take longer for stuff to be posted from the next town - does Deb use a tardis for a post office?). And I also have some lovely sock yarn in "Wicked Vampirella" from Gemini Knits, and also some Blackcurrant Lacweight - again from Gemini Knits. The lovely Piglottie enabled me here - she has mentioned Gemini Knits before, and I went to look - and I KNOW you look with your eyes, but I ended up looking with my credit card... Both Gemini Knits and Fearless Fibers are on Etsy, which I love.

So - hold me to my fearless pledge - or make me take the button off my blog!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

FO Eye Candy

You know I've been a busy little bee lately - well I finally got a Round Tuit (feel free to groan - this is a reference to many holidays in the Lake District...) and got busy with the camera...

First, we have Jaywalkers:
Yarn - Posh Yarn Lucia 4 Ply/Sock
Colour - Garden Party
Needles - 2.75mm DPNs
And a quick edit - I have "fluffy" ankles (12" when measured around from the point of my heel in a diagonal) - I knit up the "large" size Jaywalkers, with a cast on of 84 stitches, and they fit me perfectly.

Next, we have Nutkin:
Yarn - Posh Yarn Laura 4 Ply / Sock
Colour - Gypsy
Needles - 2.75mm DPNs

Then, we have a Bonfire Night Scarf in Noro Blossom...
Bonfire Scarf 1

And in more Noro loveliness, a Felted Ruffle Bag in Kureyon:

Clapotis in 100%Wool's Merino Worsted:

And Jared Flood's Koolhaas in Posh Yarn Victoria Aran, colourway Cavern (yes - I finished it, in secret, for Christmas for Jon!)

Finally for now, a WIP - the wonderful Jon bought me Victorian Lace Today for Christmas - what a beautiful book that is. And I couldn't resist. I have my Knitpicks Harmony Interchangeables, I have a ball of Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace, and I have a photo of the Spider's Web Shawl (Half Hexagon) in progress:
Spiderweb 1

It looks a little scruffy at the moment, however it will block beautifully.

I had a lovely Christmas - I spent the week before running round frantically, before heading down to my Uncle's in Cheshire for a family get together the Sunday before. We headed back on Christmas Eve, and I got my Mince Pies baked and Carols from Kings watched.

Christmas Day was quiet - we spend most of the day together, just the two of us, opening presents, cooking and eating a mountainous Christmas Dinner, and listening to Christmas music. Jon excelled himself with knitting related goodies for me - VLT, Interweave Scarf Style, and a teddy and a Shaun the Sheep kit. Plus lots of little surprises. All good. No stinkers (there never have been, in nearly 15 years). We went to my Dad's in the evening, for a warm cuppa and a natter, then relaxed for a couple of days.

Saturday 29th was Jon's Mum's birthday, so we headed down to the West Midlands for a tour of his family, which lasted through until 2nd January, when we headed back up via Salford, so I could visit the family grave on my Mum's anniversary.

In short, I've done everything I wanted to. We've relaxed, and had a warm family time, which is what I wanted from Christmas this year. Last year was shocked, upsetting, confusing and most of all, busy, with me never being in the right place at the right time - my Mum was seriously ill in Atlanta, so I flew out there at the last minute, booking and changing flights like a professional Travel Agent, then flying back into Paris, on the last leg, I found out Jon's mum had been taken into hospital. All the plans we had were swapping and changing, and neither of us know if we were coming or going. It got sadder, however, we're through it now, and have been able to celebrate and commemerate this year, and spend some time with Jon's mum as well (although she was home by the time we got to Walsall, she wasn't well, and so we didn't want to add to her woes by staying over).

I shed a tear this New Years - mainly because this year has to be a better bet, and I was wrapped up safe and warm with Jon's family.

And - he'll probably kill me for this - but this is he - "posing" in his Christmas present...