Tuesday, August 30, 2005


What a weekend! I am TOTALLY knackered. Got back last night (Mon) and have spent today printing out the dissertation (deathly deathly boring) and doing the washing. How does 4 days of camping produce so much washing?!?! Weird.

Anyway, on to the more interesting stuff. Greenbelt was fab. It was a huge site - covering virtually all of Cheltenham race course.
This was taken from the top of the grandstand - a space normally used for a panoramic restaurant but given over to "Soul Space" for the weekend. This was my favourite place - very quiet and chilled and very good for knitting in. Greenbelt was SO much bigger than last time I went (10 years ago). The site was humungous and there were about 17000 people at the Sunday morning Communion service:

(there was about the same size crowd behind where we were too!) I went to several talks - including Karen Armstrong (whose book, the Spiral Staircase, I blogged about a while ago) talking about Fundamentalism and Michelle Brown (from the British Library) talking about the Lindisfarne Gospels. I also did plenty of sitting around drinking tea and catching up with the large number of people I seemed to know. I went with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew sprog (camping with an 8 month old is hilarious, he was so fascinated by everything!). Then I bumped into a couple of school friends (Rachel & Em), Lizi (an ex housemate from my first degree) and her husband & sister, Jo (an ex housemate from my MA), Anne (whose blog I read) & her family and Penny, who I used to do Guides and Rangers with:

Penny and I managed an impromptu knitting meeting outside the Christian Aid tent. I think we represented both extremes - her jumper was on 10mm needles, my socks were on 2.5mm! I saw several other people knitting at the backs of talks and films.

The Crusoe socks are beginning to take shape. I found the pattern frustrating as the sizing was very strange. I converted the US shoe sizes to UK and started but that was way too small, so I worked out the stitch numbers myself after measuring my ankle. The stranded pattern is easy, but seems to reduce the stretchiness of the socks, making them harder to fit. I also wasn't sure if I liked it or not so decided to knit the feet in stocking stitch. I still keep changing my mind about them now. DPNs were also probably not the best idea for a festival either. I should really get some rubber bands or corks to stick on the ends after spending a lot of time over the weekend picking up stitches!

There were plenty of stalls and shops to look at, and a particularly good bookshop in one marquee. I got two books that are kind of the Christian version of Bridget Jones - "Theodora's Diary" and "Dear Bob". I read Theodora's Diary on the train on the way home & it's very very silly but an entertaining read! I also picked up a Rowan Williams' book "Why study the past?" which I thought looked interesting. Ah, the bliss of being able to find interesting books to read & knowing I'll have time to read them now the dissertation is finished!

Greenbelt is very big on fair trade and organic type stuff so there were some excellent stalls with all sort of things on that I normally only see in catalogues. I bought a People Tree top from a stall called Arkadash - they were really friendly and you could take stuff over to the loos to try on and then bring it back, without a deposit! There was also a large bead tent for people making jewellery etc, but I picked up some beads for stitch markers, including some groovy fishy ones:

Anyway, the dissertation is now printed. Tomorrow it will be bound and I'm going to London to hand it in & visit Loop! Hurray!!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I'm going to Greenbelt!

Phew. The dissertation draft finally arrived this morning so I've spent the day frantically putting apostrophes in the right place, putting the bibliography in alphabetical and date order and rewriting some of the original codswallop. And it's done!! HOORAY!! That means I can go to Greenbelt tomorrow!! Then be back in time on Tuesday to get the thing printed out (it's 95 pages long) twice and down to the binder's.

Now all I need to do is pack. Have already packed the knitting but nothing else yet.

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend (for UK readers) and the normal weekend (everybody else).


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Interweave Knits & keys to the library

I'm having a bit of a thumb-twiddling day. My dissertation draft should be back from my supervisor by now, I've spent the last 3 days sitting around waiting for the postman. Yet again, only bills were delivered this morning, and they'd been dropped in a muddy puddle! If it doesn't come soon I'm in trouble, as I've now only got Thursday and Tuesday next week for a re-write, printing and binding. In fact if it doesn't come in tomorrow's post I can't go to Greenbelt. :-( :-( WHERE IS IT?? Have emailed my tutor in desperation but she hasn't replied yet. It's so frustrating as I could have done 3 days of paid work in this time...

However, all this postman mugging has resulted in some very fluffy parcels:

This came from Penny yesterday (Penny learnt to knit a couple of weeks ago, already seems to know more than I do & is coming to Greenbelt!). The chocolate (it was a complete bar when it arrived) is to help with my dissertation and is Green & Black's Butterscotch - VERY VERY YUMMY. :-) The pic on the card is the key to the library at Iona!!

Then two copies of Interweave Knits arrived on the same day! I'd ordered the Spring one from Angel Yarns a while ago and they'd had to back order it. The Fall one is from Heather of Doodles fame, via Ebay. I am really impressed with Interweave Knits. This is the first time I've seen it, and it is SO much better than anything published in this country. It's not much more expensive than an issue of Knitting or Simply Knitting magazine, yet there is so much more content & it's published at a more sensible interval. There are loads more patterns and interesting articles & I loved reading all the adverts. Anyone reading this in the US - you are SO lucky to have all those shops and lovely yarn on your doorsteps!

And here we have another FO! I'm on a bit of a roll at the moment. This is the Kidsilk Haze wrap from Simply Knitting issue 2. It was a bit of a boring knit, but a good way to start with KSH I think. It hasn't been blocked yet, but I thought I'd hang it up on the curtain rail for the photo in an attempt to emulate Hazel's elegant photo of River. Somehow mine hasn't quite hung in the same way, but I think you get the idea! The colour used for this was Liqueur. I'm now thinking of making my own River using some KSH in my stash.

I've done quite a bit of my thing using the Wendy variegated purple cotton. It's knitting up quite fast. I was going to post a pic of that too but it's next door at Mum's for TV knitting and it's pouring with rain at the moment! (I am such a wimp).

Thought you might like to see some garden pics. This shows the grapes on the vine on the patio. We are too far north for them ever to ripen but they look nice (until they fall off and make a squishy mess). There is a vineyard on the slopes just below the Cathedral, which somehow manages to get grapes to ripen. It's quite a sheltered spot though and faces south.

Meanwhile, the edible fruit in the garden is going mad. There are apples, plums and pears everywhere. I spent some time last night picking up all the fallen fruit , only to wake up this morning to find just as much lying there again!. We are giving it to people who come round, we've left a basketful in the staff room at the Cathedral and Mum even took it to her bereavement group at the hospice last night! Meanwhile, Mum and I are eating plums, stewed plums, plum crumble and some tasty oat and plum slices. Am beginning to go off plums a little. Although I might make some jam later today cos I hate wasting all that fruit. I'm going to freeze as many of the apples as possible to make apple pies and crumbles through the winter.

Whilst waiting for the postman, I also acquired a Flickr account this morning, and you should now see one of those photo gallery things in my sidebar with all my finished things in (scroll down, it should be between the UKHandknitters button and the hit counter). Please let me know if you can't see it, access it or it starts throwing wobblies! I have decided to do my photos in posts on the smallest size, to make it easier for people to view. If you want to see a bigger pic you should be able to click on the picture for an enlargement.

I'm off to brave the rain and rescue more plums... Byeeeeeeee

Monday, August 22, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

Phew, looks like there'll be quite a crowd of knitters at Greenbelt so we'd better look out for each other!

It seems other people share my, ahem, Pride and Prejudice obsession. Whilst obviously no one could surpass Colin Firth as Darcy (excuse me whilst I pick myself up off the floor), there is a new P & P film version out in Sept. I thought it was the 16th, but I looked somewhere else and it was 23rd? Hmm. Anyway, they were filming it last year at Chatsworth when I was on holiday there. We did quite a lot of driving very slowly past the set/actors' caravans but didn't see anyone interesting. :-( Chatsworth is supposed to be the "real" Pemberley, as Jane Austen based the appearance of Pemberley on the place. It's a wonderful place to visit and easily fills a whole day. The gardens are beautiful and there's a farm shop with loads of incredibly YUMMY food.

There are also some of pics on the Visit Pride and Prejudice Country website. Amazingly some of it was also filmed in Lincolnshire (the county no one has ever heard of). Burghley House, right way down in the south of the county was used as Lady Catherine house, Rosings. Funnily enough another Lincolnshire house was used as Rosings for the BBC P & P. Starring Colin Firth. Excuse me whilst I pick myself up off the floor, again.

I've just found this blog, which has lots and lots of Austen stuff on. Bliss.

Maybe the subtitle of this blog should be: "where I rave about Colin Firth and occasionally mention knitting"?!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Anyone going to Greenbelt?

Is there anyone out there going to Greenbelt & who would like to meet up for some knitting whilst there? I had quite a few comments and emails when I posted the pic of my Greenbelt wristband, with people saying they were going. I have sorted out what I'm going to take with me, in terms of knitting (haven't done anything yet about tent, sleeping bag, clothes etc etc. You know, priorities!). This large lump of pink/purple/yellow hand-dyed Opal sock yarn and my DPNs:

which will be used to make this pattern from Knitty. I'm hoping the colours will be bright enough. They haven't come out too well in the pic above, so here's what they looked like before winding:

It had to be a sock knit, as I'm going on the train and haven't got space for much stuff! So, if you're going to Greenbelt look out for me and the psychedelic sock yarn! Would be great to have a knitting meet up whilst there. :-) I was the only person (again) at Knit Lincs this afternoon. Sob. Gulp. Sniff. Suspect this may be due to the school holidays.

Also, I think I really need a man in my life. To get that skein wound up I had to use the chair back, and I'm sure a man would have been more helpful. How does "would you like to help me wind some yarn" sound as a chat-up line?!

Or maybe one of those ball winder things I've seen on other blogs would be more use? After all it wouldn't leave the loo seat up, or pick its nose or fail to do the washing up/clean the bathroom, or come home drunk three hours after it was supposed to etc etc.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


A pile of Finished Objects is beginning to materialise. The first is my dissertation. Technically it's not finished. But I have just posted 12777 words of the last draft off to my tutor. Hopefully only a bit of tweaking will be required, then it's done. Ha! I have also had some fun trying to make it as ethical as possible. I have ordered new print cartridges from Actionaid Recycling and bought some recycled printer paper from Natural Collection. Of course, the really ethical thing to do would have been not to write it in the first place, thus saving lots of resources!

Then there is my Kureyon Kozy and baby sock. Both are done. I'm particularly pleased with the Kozy.

I really enjoyed knitting it, the pattern is fun and it was great watching the colours (Kureyon 134) emerge from the wool as I knitted with my Denise needles! In the pic above it's being modelled by Mum's tea pot. The colours are a little brighter than they appear here. I think I'd like to make another one...
The baby sock was experimental, to see how big it turned out. It's too big at the moment for Noah (who is only 8 months old) but he will grow into it! I will make it a pair, then try smallifying the pattern a little. Some lovely people from the Socknitters Yahoo group have been really helpful about sizing and patterns. Their website has got SO much on.

Thanks to the Socknitters group my yarn diet has been discarded for the month. I have a bargain package on the way from Black Rock Creek - a mixture of sock yarns and only $3 for postage here! This is meant to be for Christmas presents. So it'll probably come by surface mail, so it'll be here next month - so actually it doesn't interfere with this month's yarn diet, does it?!

I have also decided what is to be the next project:

500g of Wendy Supreme DK cotton in variegated purple (brighter than this photo appears). I think I'll do a swatch while watching Neighbours at lunchtime.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Fitzwilliam Darcy

Not a lot of knitting going on at the moment I'm afraid. I don't need to go to London during August so my sock knitting is suffering from a lack of train knitting time. Progress this week:
  • Baby jumper - the body is nearly complete although I ran into problems running out of yarn (I was using up bits from charity shops). There were also loads of ends to sew in :-( but most of them got done yesterday.
  • Kidsilk Haze wrap - over 2/3rds of the way there now. I got some more done at Knit Lincs yesterday, although I was the only person at the meeting! Think the heavy rain put everyone off. I got drenched walking there! Luckily had put all knitting into plastic bags inside my rucksack so it was fine!
  • Kureyon Kozy - the knitting part is complete. I just need to work out how to put it all together! The stripes look fab, and I got both sides to match. Tried to take a pic for the blog but it's always too dark (see comment about rain above). Am very tempted to make one of these for myself. Although I'll need to buy a teapot to wear it...
  • Baby socks - I like this pattern, it makes more sense than my adult Opal socks one. I got the heel turned last night so there should be something to show fairly soon.
All my projects seem to be at the almost completed stage so it's time to think of the next ones! I picked up the latest edition of Knitting magazine yesterday, and liked some of the patterns this time (although there was ANOTHER bikini pattern! What is going on? Does anyone wear knitted/crocheted bikinis? Has anybody found somewhere with suitable weather to wear a knitted/crocheted bikini?!). I liked the twinset, although wouldn't be able to wear the parts together, unless I also put my glasses on a chain and hair in a bun (to complete the stereotypical librarian look). It's OK to look like a librarian if you're not one, but I will be qualified very very soon so need to cultivate a different image.

I have done a lot of reading though. After getting all wound up and upset by "Harry Potter" and "We need to talk about Kevin", I decided to play it safe with books at the moment. The dissertation will not get anywhere if I have too many sleepless nights! So, enter Fitzwilliam Darcy- Gentleman! My friend Penny lent me these & they are excellent. Much much better than the usual Jane Austen sequels/spin offs. The first, "An assembly such as this" covers the first part of Pride and Prejudice, until the point where the Bingleys shut up Netherfield and return to London. It's written from Darcy's point of view, but is SO much more realistic than the terrible "Darcy's Story". The second volume of the trilogy is "Duty and desire" and covers the time when Darcy is absent from P & P, before he and Lizzy meet again at Rosings. Pamela Aidan has obviously done some research (unlike some other sequel authors!) and really gets into the style of writing. She has a very humourous approach - creating a wonderful Shakespeare quoting valet for Darcy. She fleshes out the Darcy we already know in a very creditable way. The third volume will be called "These three remain", but unfortunately hasn't been published yet. :-(

Oh, and I've just despatched a birthday scarf to my friend Kim:

Her birthday was actually in June, but she went home to Trinidad for a holiday and has only just returned. It seemed a bit silly to send a scarf to Trinidad... I knitted this back in May using 2 balls of Adriafil stars - really really soft and much brighter colours than they appear in the pic!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Forgot to mention last night...

that the lovely Helen (everybody wave to Helen) from Celticove is opening a yarn shop in Chester. And it's going to be called STASH!! Ah think of all that yarn to stroke & feel... Helen said it's about to open. Of course, in some ways it's very good for my yarn diet that it's the other side of the country. But I'm definitely going over to have a look/feel/drool at some point!

Good luck with the opening Helen!!

Just checked on multimap. It's 117.3 miles from where I live. Huh.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Guilt, guilt, guilt

Oh dear. Guilt all over. I haven't done any work today. I went into Lincoln and had a flip through the new RYC Winter book - some lovely patterns. I'm very tempted by "Firth" (because it makes me think of Colin?), but I also like Arran and Barra. Barra is already well into production over at One Ball Short of a Dyelot.

To compound the guilt my yarn diet for August is not going well. So far I've had (ahem) to buy the Chamonix (obviously as needed to make sure I got enough to make Honey!), and some baby yarn ( knitting for charity doesn't count in the yarn diet.) Then of course I was given some yarn, so that doesn't count either. Then the postman was back this morning with 3 balls of Kidsilk Haze in "Lord" (navy blue) from Celticove. This doesn't count either as it was in the sale, had free postage and is intended for Mum's Christmas present. Oh and the colour name is the same as my surname so obviously it was meant to be. Oh heck. And it's only 9th August.

The postman will be back tomorrow (maybe I should knit him a Christmas present too, as he's delivered at least a ton of yarn and books to me recently?) as I had an email from Greenmetropolis to say that Spiral Staircase has come into stock. This is an ace book - I heard it read on Radio 4 ages ago. It's excellent when life is getting you down. Not that life is getting me down at the moment, but the dissertation is.

The other reason why I didn't do any work today (guilt, guilt) is that I was knitting away on my NEW Denise needles :-) at my Kureyon Kozy. It's such a cool pattern - totally addictive and I love it. The Kureyon is gorgeous too. Ah. Sigh. I like yarn. I should assure all the people who commented on the last post that I should cuddle my yarn on their behalf too, that I have been doing. My yarn is very loved and well looked after, but I shouldn't let it reproduce any more this month.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Yarn everywhere - and some of it was free!

Wow. Yarn keeps materialising all over the place. The postman thinks it's hilarious when I keep getting soft squishy parcels!

This is my (now) large pile of Jaeger Chamonix and the jumper - Honey - which I'm going to make with it. This was a bit of an epic hunt. I got my original 5 balls from the John Lewis sale and was on my way back there the next day to get some more when the bombs started going off on the tube. Yarn-buying was swiftly abandoned for that day. Then I ordered some from Jimmy Beans Wool in the US, but they didn't have any left and their inventory system had problems. Finally (having contacted Rowan and various John Lewises) I found some at Ethknits and they posted them really speedily! Ah problem solved. :-) Thank you for the Colourway suggestion Sally, that was next on my list to try.

Then this morning the postman reappeared with another large parcel, which I definitely hadn't sent for. This one was from my great-aunts in Marple who had sent some of their yarn over for knitting into baby jumpers for Feed the Children. A lovely surprise!

They are pictured with my wonderful new Denise needles from Hazel!

Then at Knit Lincs this afternoon Debbie had brought along Rowan 38 to have a look at and also a pile of FREE STUFF from Laughing Hens. We've registered as a Knit Club with them (which is free) and therefore have our large pile of FREE STUFF and 10% off any future club orders over £100!!

This is the lovely stuff we got:
  • Various patterns and leaflets (including a Debbie Bliss book & Regia stuff)
  • Rowan, Colinette and Artesano Alpaca shade cards.
  • Stickers that say "Expert Knitter" and "I knitted when I was 10".
  • Some 5mm Addi Turbo circular needles.
  • 1 ball of Jo Sharp kid mohair in shade 611 (Ice tea). Yummy.
  • 1 ball of Kidsilk Spray in 574 (Regal). Yummy yummy.
  • 1 ball of RYC Soft Lux in 007 (Amethyst). Wow.
  • 1 ball of Rowan Soft Baby in 003 (Princess). Phew.
  • 4 balls of Debbie Bliss merino chunky in 140505 (Green). Oof.
Drool drool. Dribble. Drool. Excuse me.

Phew. Let's return to earth (well feet anyway) and see a photo of Jenny's finished thank you socks. Thank you socks 'cos Jenny let me stay with her the day of the bombs in London. I've just posted them off to her so I hope they fit OK.

I have also had a play around with some beads and wire and made these stitch markers:

I need to find some bigger rings for the next batch but I enjoyed making these & like the look of them. I used a mishmash of the instructions that had been suggested to me.

In the middle of all the drooling I have been doing some knitting but no photos yet, as there are already rather a lot on this post. I will leave you with the V & A Museum's knitting website. I hadn't realised that this is a specifically online exhibition. Some of the stuff can be seen in the museum, but this is the only place where it's all together. There are also some 1940s knitting patterns - including a balaclava with holes for the ears!!

I'm off to contemplate all this yarn...

Thursday, August 04, 2005


I wanted to put "Bouncy" as my mood for this post, but it isn't on the Unkymoods list at the moment, so I've requested it and in the meantime we're making do with "Bubbly".
This won't be a long post as I made a miraculous discovery last night - if I go to bed at a reasonable time I can get up the next morning in time to catch the bus!! Why has it taken me 25 years to work this out? It is, of course, rather boring doing this - I miss some interesting stuff on the TV/radio and it rather cuts into my knitting time...
Meanwhile, the bouncy/bubbly mood is because I think I've solved the Chamonix problem. More will be revealed tomorrow, when hopefully I should have a pic of it. The search has involved in-numerable yarn shops across two continents, lots of phone calls and some disappointment (what is the point of having an inventory system that shows you've got some in stock when you haven't?!?!?!)
Also, I've got some Denise Needles - they're fantastic, like knitting meccano. I got them from Hazel, from UKHandknitters who was wanting to sell hers. Thank you Hazel!!
Pics will appear in due course.

And now to bed...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Being very silly

I am being incredibly silly today. I just got an email from my tutor, saying that he was "scribbling all over" the chapter I'd sent him and would send it back later this week. Result - total paranoia. Then I realised that this is the first draft, and it would be a bit strange if there wasn't anything to change about it. Ugh. I hate getting work back and sitting there with my breakfast when the post comes while I debate whether to open it or to pretend it's not there. When I got the results from my first degree it took me about 2 days just to open the envelope.

On a happier (but still fairly silly) note, my WIPs are increasing in number! On the needles I now have:
  • a child's sock, using up some sock yarn with a pattern I found on the Angel Yarns website. It will be way too big for Noah, but I thought I'd do this one then smallify the pattern. Or something. Maybe I just like knitting socks!
  • The Simply Knitting kidsilk haze wrap - now 60cm long ie halfway there!
  • Feed the Children baby jumper #2 - now back in production after I got some 60cm 4mm circulars from ebay. However, these will soon be unnecessary as I have some Denise needles on the way! :-)
  • Mum has just gone into Lincoln and I asked her to get some 4.5mm DPNs so I can get started on the Kureyon Kozy. OK. So technically this isn't "on the needles" yet as I haven't got them but the idea is there! There are some more tea cozy pictures on this blog.

Ha. That makes two projects for each house. Yippee!! But no trains or London this week so my knitting productivity will be right down...

Also, does anybody happen to have any Jaeger Chamonix lying around looking for someone to cuddle and love it? I need 5 x 50g balls of Biarritz, shade 904 - a sort of lilacy/lavendery colour. I was VERY VERY SILLY only buying 5 balls of it in the John Lewis sale when I need 10 for a jumper... I've already posted this request on UKHandknitters, UK knitswaps, angelyarns forum, upcountry things wanted etc etc. And this shade isn't on ebay. :-(