Friday, September 30, 2005

Secret Pal Goodies!

My Secret Pal is ace, she has definitely got me sussed. These are the lovely things I received earlier this week:

Burt's Bees body lotion, which I have been eyeing up in Planet Organic for a while. Now I get to try it as I would probably never have got round to treating myself (how did my SP know that?!). The card is from a project local to her where the Bible is being done in calligraphy and with new illustrations (see what I mean, she's definitely got me sussed!).

The box was full of tissue paper, making it really exciting to open, as there was no way of knowing what/how much was in there! Next out were these three things. Little metal charms for me to make stitch markers with. These are really cute - little metal balls with needles in, flowers, leaves and tiny jumpers on needles. The sheep is lovely - BAAAAAAAA! And Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reason soundtrack CD (from my Amazon wishlist!). Another thing I'd been waiting to treat myself too. I've been listening to it all afternoon whilst working. :-)

Then out came this gorgeous yarn - Artyarns Supermerino. Very very tasty indeed. I'm going to make socks with it. Has anybody else made socks using this? The needle size on the ballband suggests US 7 (4.5mm) but I would have thought about a 3mm would be about right for a sock? This is a really groovy colour - great choice Secret Pal!

And finally, Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. Again, this shows how sussed my SP is, it combines my sock knitting addiction with my love of history! The patterns in the book are updated/adapted from Welden's Practical Needlework, a monthly publication between 1886 and the 1920s. Nancy's new version contains a brief history of knitting stockings. I found it fascinating that so many of the patterns still look totally cool today. The book contains a variety for men, women and children and I can't wait to get started, especially with my Artyarns Supermerino sitting there too.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Please work Blogger...

Yay, finally Blogger has agreed to upload some pics. Thanks to Mary Anne for pointing me in the direction of the Help files about this problem. I have a lot of catching up to do. These are the pics I took at the weekend, intending to post them then! Here is the very beginning of Clapotis, accompanied by the large blobs (!) of yarn. This was from Coldspring Mill, via Ebay and I have loads of the stuff (it was very cheap). It's 4ply and I'm using my size 8 (US) Denise needles with the longest connecting cord. After the large amounts of time I've had on trains this week Clapotis is a lot bigger, and I'm well on the way into Section 3 (where you get to drop stitches. So much fun. Tee hee hee.)

Clapotis is fun, and very good for knitting on the train as it's fairly repetitive but with enough interest for a longish journey.

Also at the weekend: here is Pretty in Variegated Purple, all sewn together! It still needs attacking with an iron to do something about getting the picot edging to lie flat. I also need to acquire some ribbon to tie the front together. But I'm very pleased with this - it actually fits!

I nipped into John Lewis on Oxford St today and had a look at their ribbon, but should really have taken some of the yarn with me to compare colours. The haberdashery dept there has been moved around so I had some fun working out if there was anything new, or not (I don't think there was!). Also managed not to buy anything!

Have I posted before about going to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace? I can't remember. Anyway, it was going to be my birthday treat, as it's on just before my birthday, but I've decided to wait until it moves up to Harrogate in November. The Ally Pally venue sounded far too overwhelming and crowded for my liking, and I don't think I'd have enjoyed it very much as I hate crowds. Harrogate will also be busy, but it's a smaller venue so there won't be as much to take in. I will also have been paid by then (a very important consideration!)...

Assuming Blogger is being cooperative over the weekend I'll upload some more pics very soon!

Has anyone been into Selfridges on Oxford St recently? I was trying to find the People Tree concession but the whole experience was so dreadful I gave up. Horrible big shop with clothes in all directions (I'm not keen on clothes shopping), most of it v. expensive and shop assistants who were all too "busy" to do anything helpful. The signage was bad too. Went straight back to John Lewis (much more pleasant experience). Supposedly People Tree was on the second floor, but I got hopelessly lost. Which is a shame as People Tree has some really nice clothing: fair trade and organic cotton and I wanted an opportunity to try some on, instead of just looking at the catalogue (see, I like SOME clothes shopping!). Grrrr.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Finishing things off...

Pretty in Variegated Purple is just about finished. I do have some piccies but Blogger is not playing fair so I can't post them at the moment. The bobbly picot edging needs blocking again, to make it stay flatter. I think Andrea had the same problem with hers. Mine seems to fit OK, I just need to find some ribbon to tie the two sides of the front together.

I have also cast on for a clapotis, and had a pic all lined up along with my big blob of yarn for it, but yet again, Blogger isn't playing, so you'll have to wait. I'm off again to London for part of the week, for yet another conference, and I thought a beginning clapotis would be perfect for the train. I still have part of a fingerless mitten to do, but that's not enough for the whole time I'll be away. At this stage the clapotis is still reasonably small... I'm using my Denise needles for it. Wish I had the nerve to sit and knit at the conference, but I think I'm supposed to look Professional, and be busy Networking. Oh and I got a bursary for it so I need to make lots of notes so I can write a report later on! Can't make notes and knit at the same time. :-(

Thankyous to Andrea (above) for advice on the bolero sewing up and bobbly bits. Also to blueadt who sent me the poster for her knitting group in Hull & gave me some advice about publicity for Knit Lincs. Woollywarbler also gave me permission to use two little knitting emoticons she has on her site - thank you! I can't do anything about putting them up yet, as Blogger is being stupid.

I've been listening to Word 4 Word on Radio 4, it's all about dialects. This isn't exactly a dialect, but talking about a large blob of wool above reminded me. I scandalised a group of (male) friends when I lived in Exeter by saying that I couldn't come out that evening as I was going to "blob around". Now in my terminology "blob around" means to lounge around reading/listening to radio/watching tv/not doing very much. I couldn't understand why they all looked so horrified, until later on one told me that to be "on the blob" is Exeter-speak for the time of the month! Anyone else come across that one?! The other one, which I haven't come across outside Lincolnshire, is to "mash" the tea. That's the bit when you leave it in the pot until it's the right strength. I suppose you could use "brew" instead, but has anyone come across "mash" used in this context?!

Also, I've had an email from my Secret Pal (*wave*) to say that a parcel is on the way! This is SO exciting. I must get my act together and get something organised for my spoilee. It won't happen this week as I'm away...

Anybody else tried lurking on the Knitty Coffeeshop? I read a very amusing thread yesterday where people were complaining about how their LYS labels yarn with prices (either on the ballband, on the shelf or making you ask the shop assistant). Some people were saying that they didn't like having to ask for prices (which I can understand) and that for that reason they'd decided not to use a particular LYS. Oh, to have the choice! But then as I understand it the new knitting wave started earlier in the US than here, so maybe we'll catch up and have loads of LYSs too some day! Drool, drool, dribble, dribble, drool... There are so many knitting boards/forums/lists out there. These are the ones I know about:
Knitty Coffeeshop
Angel Yarns Forum
Livejournal SP 6 (this is really helpful if it's your first SP!)
I've also briefly been on Knit List (got a bit overwhelmed). Anyone know of anymore? There's sure to be loads. There are some smaller ones too, like knitnchat and UKStrictlyknitting, but they're quite quiet.

Hmm. A bit of a boring post without piccies. My apologies. Hope everyone has a good week and I will be back sometime (hopefully with plenty of knitting completed!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

This is how it all started...

Good grief. This is my 63rd post! What on earth did I do with my time before I started blogging?! Or knitting for that matter. How did all this madness start?

The mobile jumper on the left has the answer:

My sister-in-law, Sarah, and "Bump" made it for me for my birthday last year. I became fascinated by Stitch n' Bitch (from whence came the pattern) and decided to teach myself to knit from it. Quite a few mobile jumpers, scarves, tops, socks later the rest is history... Hard to believe that wasn't even a year ago. What on earth DID I do with all my time before knitting appeared on the horizon? Babies also help, the transformation of "Bump" into "Noah", my nephew-sprog, got me started on baby hoodies and baby aran things.
The mobile jumper to the right is another FO (really on a roll at the moment!) and is for James, whom I met at the conference in Cambridge. It was his birthday last week and he is a month older than me, so has been telling me about all the dreadful things that happen once you turn 26... Eeeeeek.

I had a chocolate parcel this morning from Frances (she of Wavy scarf fame). Aren't they cool! Hope you're impressed that I managed to restrain myself from tucking in until after I'd taken a photo!

Amazingly I had to go the dentist today for my 6 month check-up and didn't need any fillings! Considering the amount of chocolate and cake I normally consume this is nothing short of miraculous!

I have also just joined the Scarf Style Knit-along, which Mary Anne told me about. I haven't been part of a Knit-along before, but this sounds very non-scary, with no fixed finishing date, so I decided to go for it. Only problem is, I can't decide which pattern to start with...

More knitting pics will be posted soon. I have completed one of the Sarah Bradberry fingerless mittens, using what's left of the Hand-dyed Opal sock yarn. When the other is finished I will post. Pretty in Variegated Purple is also coming along nicely...

Anne has tagged me with a meme, which is below. I'm not going to tag anyone, but please feel free to put it on your blog if you feel so inclined - it's quite a fun one!

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

This is mine below:

"If I'd known they stocked Noro I'd have waited to get my Kureyon - I'd much rather support a local independent store than John Lewis (even though John Lewis is very fluffy and ethical)."

Note to self: write in shorter sentences in future!

Also, I had an email and comment on blog from my SP. She/he has been collecting stuff and will soon be posting a parcel to me. This is SO exciting. I'm going to have to take up postman mugging all over again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Hooray, ebay buyer has paid up and I've despatched the parcel to her! Now I wonder what feedback she'll leave me...?! I hope everyone who left comments or emailed who was also having ebay woes gets everything resolved satisfactorily too.

Also, whilst browsing away on the web, as you do, I found this new hand dyed sock yarn at Angel Yarns - very very tasty indeed! Hmm. Am not giving into temptation. Do not need more yarn at the moment. OK, I'll rephrase that, am not buying more yarn until I've knitted up some of the stuff I've already got. The only purchases allowed are for my Secret Pal. But I do love Colourway 11, and as for the "unique" ones. Gulp. I will be strong. I will be strong...

There are so many gorgeous sock yarns around. Fyberspates and Koigu over at Get Knitted. Gulp. Tasty. So tasty. Lucy Neatby Celestial Merino. Gorgeous. Drool. Dribble. Lorna's Laces (although I've got some of that on its way via surface mail so I can't really covet it at the moment).


Monday, September 19, 2005

An apology...

The ebay non-payer person has apologized! She replied saying she would pay on Tuesday (which I thought was a bit much as she was supposed to pay by Sunday, but at least she said she was going to pay!) so I replied telling her that I wouldn't be able to get to the post office later in the week (which is true) so she really needed to pay me quickly - and she apologized for being late with the payment! Funny how an apology makes you think so much more of a person...

Also, has anyone tried/heard of Skype? I've been looking at their website and the free calls thing sounds too good to be true. They also describe themselves as "like a big group hug"! In a way it's like the Talktalk thing from Carphone Warehouse. I can talk for free to any other Talktalk customer, but do I know anyone else signed up for this? No!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Ebay Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrs

Anybody else experienced the buyer who doesn't pay up problem? This is someone who won four of my auctions last week and still hasn't paid. I say in my item description that I allow 7 days for payment, which I think is fair. That time is now up and there has been no communication from them at all. The weird thing is that their feedback is 99.5% - most say things like "excellent communication", "prompt payment" and "credit to ebay" but every so often there's a neutral or negative with "never paid", "didn't reply to emails" etc. Weird. Looks like someone who likes bidding but doesn't actually want all the stuff they've bid for! I'm not the only person who's sold multiple lots to him/her and they've not been paid for. I've started the unpaid item process but am really annoyed. I scheduled the auction specifically for when I had time to go the post office and when I needed the money. Grrrrrr. It seems such a shame - the yarn people I've bought and sold to on ebay have, until now, all been really nice & friendly.

OK. Rant over. :-)
I have a FO to show off.

I have finally finished Noah's baby socks! Aren't they cute! And I still have some of this yarn left, probably enough for another pair for him. That 100g of Sirdar Town & Country has been enough for one pair of adult and probably two pairs of small child socks!

It was FREEZING in my attic at work on Friday, although the view out of the window is very pretty:

I have decided to use Sarah Bradberry's custom fit fingerless mittens pattern to make myself some mittens - I'm going to use 4ply sock yarn so I should still be able to type!

It also seems that we are in for a very very COLD winter. Looks like we'd all better get knitting thick woolly jumpers, socks, hats, scarves, nose warmers and ear muffs. Although I quite like being indoors in cold weather all snuggled up with a pile of knitting or a book!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Knitting in London

I've entered Hazel's competition, on her Knit Speak blog. The aim is to illustrate one of the knitting terms featured there. I love Tari's pic to illustrate "frogging". I have submitted "Second Sock Syndrome":

The prize is a skein of Hip Knits silk so go and get taking pics people!

Except I think I may have invalidated my entry, as I, er, took the DPNs and yarn with me to London today & the second sock is beginning to exist! I was going to attempt to illustrate both "DPNs" and "KIP" on the train but couldn't find anyone nice to take my pic. It was all boring businessmen having intense conversations on their mobiles ("I'm on the train!"). Usually at least someone wants to talk about knitting on the train. Huh. :-(

One good KIP moment if I'd remembered my camera at that point would have been at Stitchcraft at the British Library. Lovely friendly knitting group & it's so nice to meet people during the day in London. We sat in the terrace restaurant (as the rain poured down outside) and knitted away. Bliss. :-) I love the British Library generally. Not only is it stuffed full of librarians (obviously all very nice people) but it has a droolsome bookshop and yummy exhibitions. Today I managed not to buy anything (it's my birthday soon and I don't know what people are going to get me, so don't want to pre-empt anything! This is assuming that anyone gets me anything. Hmm...) but had time to go round the Hans Christian Andersen exhibition. If you follow that link you get to the online version of the exhibition.

Also, I have heard from my Secret Pal (hello Secret Pal!!) and have been told who my spoilee is so I've emailed him/her/it. This is very exciting. As I'd hoped they're both in a different country to me (not giving anything else away).

Oh yes, I've also just cast on for a clapotis. Watch this space.

Nearly forgot. New job is fab! Lots of stairs to climb (I have my very own attic) but very very cool. Cuts into knitting time terribly though...

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Create your own art collection

Have just found this on the Tate Britain website. You can either choose to follow one of their guides - including "I like yellow collection" and "I've just split up collection" or you can make your own! Enjoy.

Monday, September 12, 2005


This is a post with various FOs, which have already appeared in earlier posts, only here they're featured with their recipients! The first is Monkey's cousin, MJ, sitting in his garden with his banana. The banana was constructed from various bits of toy yarn from a pattern in one of Jean Greenhowe's clown books.

I spent a large part of last week in Cambridge, at a Rare Books conference at New Hall. The conference induced large amounts of brain ache, although I think I managed to follow most of it. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with some friends and shower them with knitting! This is John and his banana (bit of a banana knitting spree last week). The banana was intended as a good luck present as he's leaving for Rome shortly for a few months.

I stayed with Hannah and Lee (also ex housemates, most of the people featured in this blog seem to be!) and here we have Hannah holding their teapot, which is modelling the Kureyon Kozy whilst Lee hides as he didn't want his photo taken.

By Friday afternoon I was very bored at the conference so sneaked off to go yarn shopping. I found Sew Creative (a shop I'd been past a few times, thinking "that looks interesting"), a very cool shop with plenty of wool (Sirdar, Wendy, Rowan, Regia plus some others) and other things like beads and sewing machines. I, er, acquired two balls of Regia stretch 4ply there. I hadn't seen this in a shop before (only online) and was totally unable to resist.

Then I honestly thought I'd wander off towards Robert Sayle (the Cambridge branch of John Lewis), which had moved out of the centre, then go to a library visit later that afternoon. Except I got totally drowned in a thunderstorm and didn't feel like stomping all the way over to the university library in the downpour. John Lewis' haberdashery was much the same as other John Lewis stores, ie very yummy. I acquired a copy of RYC Home and 4 balls of RYC Cashsoft 4ply to make Mum's Christmas present (a hotwater bottle cover).

I also got the socks finished that I started at Greenbelt:

They've turned out slightly weird, as I did the heels differently, but I've decided that I do like them after all!

This blog seems to be turning into a nationwide review of yarn shops. I didn't think I'd been to that many, but now I've counted up that's Lincoln, London (John Lewis, Liberty's, Loop), Marple, Cumbria (5? shops) and Cambridge all visited. Hmm. Am thinking about reconstructing my sidebar to have more yarn shop links...

I start my new job tomorrow, so less knitting time available (but more money for yarn!). Wish me luck! I'll take some pics of the place where I'm working to see if anyone recognises it!

Secret Pal 6 participants should hear about matches today. I'm really looking forward to this getting started & seeing whom I've been matched with. I said I didn't mind where they were based, although I'd love it to be someone in a different country because of finding out about new yarns etc. But then even someone in a different part of this country is going to have different stuff available locally and a different perspective on life. How many times can I put "different" in one sentence?! I'm constantly amazed by other blogs, where people seem to have several children to look after, jobs doing all sorts of things and still manage to do more knitting than I do! Also just realised that I don't know which time zone SP6 is based in, but it must be somewhere in the US, so I might not hear about my Pal until tomorrow (which will be their today). Now I'm getting confused.

Haven't done anything about books for a while either. At the moment I'm reading "Knife Edge" by Malorie Blackman. It's the second in a trilogy and is ace - very moving & quite difficult in places. I don't think it's as good as the first one though, "Noughts and Crosses". It's supposedly aimed at teenagers (books like this weren't around back when I was a teenager!). I'm also still dipping into "Zen and the art of knitting" which is also ace, but in a different way.

Hannah & Lee also had a DVD of "All Gas and Gaiters" and we watched a couple of episodes. I hadn't heard of it before, but it was quite famous in the sixties I think. Anyway, it's hilarious and still oh so true today!!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Secret Pal 6 Questionnaire

This isn't really of interest to anyone but my Secret Pal but I need to post it so here it is!

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
Um, I'm not sure what Red Heart and Lion Brand are, but I'm guessing something cheap and acrylicky? I prefer natural fibres but do use manmade stuff in the funky yarns and for stuff that needs to be machine washable (eg baby clothes).

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

4. How long have you been knitting?
Since about December 2004/January 2005.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, go to and then search under Wish List for "Daisychains"

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love lavender, bergamot, honey... I prefer stuff the more "natural" the better and won't use anything that's been tested on animals.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Definitely! I don't like things too sickly sweet though.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I sometimes do a bit of cross stitch and I've just started making stitch markers.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
A bit of an eclectic mixture - bands such as the Cranberries, Iona and the Corrs, singers such as Dido. I also love classical music such as Allegri, Tallis and Warlock. My computer doesn't do MP3s though!

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love colours in the purple/burgundy/plum range of colours. The only colours I really hate are lime green and orange!

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm single and live in what was a granny flat next door to my Mum's house. She has a cat (Sooty) who visits me regularly!

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
Actually, I've just achieved them as I've just qualified as a librarian! Seriously though, I would like to do work that I find interesting and fulfilling (and pays enough to cover my yarn purchases!).

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Erm, so far I've loved some of the sock yarn I've used (Opal and Regia), the Wendy Supreme 100% cotton which I'm using at the moment for a bolero top and the Rowan Polar I used for my first jumper. I love variegated/handpainted yarns, but there's not much choice here at the moment. :-(

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
There's nothing I totally hate, but I'm not that keen on Rowan Summer Tweed (something about the texture).

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Socks, definitely! Have just got a copy of Cool Socks Warm Feet and I LOVE it.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Did I mention socks?!

17. What are you knitting right now?
Just finishing off an adaptation of the Knitty "Crusoe" stranded socks pattern. I'm also doing a bolero in variegated purple cotton DK and a baby jumper for the Feed the Children appeal. I'm about to start a jumper (for me) in Jaeger Chamonix and a clapotis (oh and some Christmas presents!).

18. What do you think about ponchos?
Yuck, yuck, yuck.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Depends on the project, I'm happy using both and also DPNs. I have a set of Denise Interchangeables.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Depends on the yarn. I use all types.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
Oooh yes definitely! And I hoard sock yarn!!

22. How did you learn to knit?
From the instructions in various books (Stitch n' Bitch, Handknitters Handbook, Simply Knitting Magazine).

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
About 3 months.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I like horses and cats!

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Youth hostelling or camping in a beautiful part of the UK with plenty of walking and trips to yarn shops (and time for knitting) thrown in.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Does my yarn stash count?

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
I don't have any subscriptions but I often get Simply Knitting Mag and Knitting Mag. I've also just seen my first edition of Interweave Knits and thought it was fab!

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Ooooh yes lots. See my Amazon wish list link above!

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??
I don't think so. A lot of the patterns I like are available freely online...

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like?
I'm a UK size 5.5 (with very very very narrow feet, AA width!). In inches this translates into:
7.5" ankle circumference (just above ankle bone) and 9.5" in foot length. I love all socks, especially colourful ones. Don't like them to come too high up my ankle though!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Pretty in Variegated Purple

Here is the promised post about knitting! First of all is the item mentioned in the title. This is a pattern from Simply Knitting issue 3, called "Pretty in Pink". It's a bolero pattern which Andrea also made a while back. Daft title though, I thought, as as soon as you change the colour the title no longer applies to the garment! Andrea's was in lime, mine's in the variegated purple, Wendy Supreme Luxury 100% cotton that I got from the Designs sale a while ago. The pattern is meant to use Sirdar DK cotton, but the Wendy comes in variegated and also feels a lot softer than the Sirdar (which I used for Fondant back in June/July). I have done the back, both front bits and nearly one sleeve so am nearly there! I'm making the 3/4 length sleeves so will have a lot of Wendy Supreme left over (2 balls?) I think. Anybody either want it, or got any ideas for what to do with it?!

Next up is the KSH wrap, finally blocked. I pinned it out on an old sheet and squirted it with an old handwash bottle filled with water (too lazy to walk to DIY store to get water sprayer). I should admit though that I wore it last week before blocking. I took it to London with me for post dissertation celebrations and it was great - perfect for round my shoulders when it gets a bit colder in the evening. The cast off is a bit botched, as it's tighter than my cast on was so the ends don't match!

Then we have a sock. This is Crusoe which I took to Greenbelt last weekend and got finished on the train on the way back. I've altered the pattern a bit, first of all to make it fit me! Then I decided only to do the stranded pattern on the leg part and not continue it onto the foot as I wanted to see the yarn knitted without the pattern too. I like it again now (I went off it last weekend), partly because it reminds me of some parts of Greenbelt. The wonky bits of the stranding are due to changing trains on the way and I turned the heel during Karen Armstrong's talk! Only one more to go, then I can start knitting Christmas present socks.

I also still have a charity baby jumper on the go, which I must get finished soon. This weekend I've been knitting bananas from a Jean Greenhowe pattern. One is for a good luck present for a friend, the other is for my godmother's Monkey. I can't put a pic of these in production though as they look rather rude. Kind of phallic. They do look like real bananas when finished, it's just the production phase. These will be like the one I made ages ago for my Monkey.

I had a bit of a clear out last week (MA notes in recycling crate. Hee hee!!) and have listed some stuff on ebay. There's some Colinette, Rowan and Anny Blatt in there if anyone's interested. The idea is that I clear some space and raise some money, then I can sort out what I'm making for who for Christmas!

Did anyone hear Weekend Woman's Hour on Saturday afternoon? I think it was a repeat from earlier last week, but there was a debate between two women about the rise in interest in "traditional" things amongst women (no mention of men!) - eg cooking, knitting etc. One woman was going on about how there was no need to do any of this as you can buy clothes and cakes in the shops. She couldn't see the point of making a cake. I wondered if she had ever made one?! Anyway, she seemed to be missing the point that not everyone wants (or is able) to spend the whole time pursuing a career or whatever and that the cool thing now is that we have a choice to be creative. I'm sure I enjoy knitting socks because it's what I want to do, rather than the only way to clothe my children (not that I've got any!). And most shop-bought cakes are a bit synthetic and you miss out on the fun of making and the satisfaction of then eating what you've made. Am having a big think about all of this at the moment as I've just started reading "Zen and the art of knitting" by Bernadette Murphy. It's really really interesting.

Also, I've signed up for Secret Pal 6 and am really looking forward to getting to know & spoiling another knitter! Only problem is, I can't work out how to put a button on my sidebar. Do I need to save the image from the SP6 blog onto my computer, then upload it as an image to the sidebar? Anybody already succeeded?

I'm also thinking about signing up for the year of Living Generously. At the moment I'm lurking on the website, thinking "but I do a lot of this already", but I think it would be good to link it with what other people are doing and to find out more ideas etc this way. And it's easy to get lulled into a false sense of security, thinking, "hey I do my recycling every week, that's doing my bit".

Also, Gary (Penny's husband) has just emailed me a link to a radio show from BBC7 featuring Bill Oddie singing about knitting. It's very very funny, but I don't know whether you'll be able to access it after a week so listen now if you want to! Scroll down until you get to "I'm sorry I'll read that again" 14.30-15.00. The knitting song is about 13 mins into it.

That will probably be it for posts this week as I'm off to Cambridge for a (work) conference. I should be able to check my email fairly regularly (so please leave plenty of comments!) & will take my camera so I can post on my return.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


I've handed it in!! WOO HOO!! I did think about getting a photo at the dept. office when I handed it over, but everyone was already looking at me as if I was totally dotty anyway. That's probably because I had to get a year's extension to get it done, so I haven't been sighted in the office for about 18 months. Anyway, 'tis out of the way, which is an enormous relief, but a bit unreal still. I also managed to choose Wednesday (possibly the hottest day of the year so far?!) to go to London. Phew was it hot. I don't normally go on the tube anyway (too expensive) but the buses were just as bad then. The tube is terrible in hot weather as the only ventilation on the trains is the open window at the end of each carriage!

So, how did I celebrate? Well. First of all I climbed on board the no. 30 to go to Loop (virtually a door to door service between UCL and Loop on this bus!).

I thought Loop was quite small but I loved the layout and the "feel" of the shop. I'm not normally a boutiquey shopper (!!) so probably small is to be expected. The pic above shows the yarns and books there. I enjoyed seeing and feeling Colinette yarn in a shop for the first time, as well as GGH and a nice selection of Opal sock yarn. Downstairs there were some lovely cuddly cushions and a large pile of needles etc. It's probably the librarian in me but I find a box of needles annoying, I like to see them all laid out so I can see straight away if they've got what I want! I bought a Colinette pattern book, La Bella Vita, which has some droolsome patterns, two balls of huggable GGH Colorado in pink (for a Christmas present) and a ball of Opal sock yarn. Plus some more DPNs, another set of 2.5mm aluminium ones and some 2.5mm bamboo to try.

These are some of the ceramics by Annette Bugansky, which Mary Anne had mentioned on her blog a while ago.

Then I bussed over to St Paul's to meet up for tea and a chat with Lucy. Hadn't seen her for about six months so there was a lot to catch up on.
Then it was out to the East End to stay with David & celebrate handing the dissertation in.
David is a fantabulous cook, but refused to have his photo taken, so I took a pic of the cooking instead:

This is my favourite risotto recipe and was very very tasty. (Didn't Mr Bean take pictures of his food in Mr Bean - the Movie?) Then we attempted to watch The Truman Show, but the DVD wouldn't work, so we switched to Donnie Darko instead. I loved this film - I'd avoided watching it when it originally came out as I thought it would be scary, and I don't DO scary. But it wasn't (well, only a tiny bit) and was really fascinating instead. I'd like to watch it again at some point. I'm still trying to think my way through some if it...

There hasn't been a great deal of knitting content in this post, but I will try and do a knitting update tomorrow or Monday. There is some more to show off, as I got one sock finished in London.

Oh, yes, on the way home on Thursday I popped into Waterstones and picked up a copy of Scarf Style by Pam Allen - very groovy patterns and perfect for Christmas present ideas. But watch out if you're shopping in this country for books published in the US (or elsewhere) and which only have a price in $ on the back. Waterstones had stuck price labels in GBP on the back of the book - but the two copies of Scarf Styles had different labels on the back! One was £11.99, the other £12.99, so no prizes for guessing which I went for!