Friday, July 28, 2006


So, of course, I decided to do some baking. These are apple and raspberry oat slices (an adaptation of a Delia Smith recipe). And intended as a thank you present for a friend, they were very well received, and even survived the journey to London relatively intact! It's a good recipe, originally written for plums but you can use any sort of summer fruit. And there's a fun, squidgy dough bit when you get to squidge it into the tin!

It was my last Thursday trip to London, so after my meeting I trundled off to the Science Museum to have a play (and to plot where to take the nephews once they're a bit bigger). I spent most of the time on the fifth floor where there are history of medicine and history of veterinary medicine displays. Partly because I took a module in medical history during my first degree and it was fab, and partly because it was nice and quiet and air-conditioned at the top of the building!

Then it was off to Liberty's for some knitting and tea. And enormous (and VERY expensive) scones! I got a little worried on the way as Regent St was having a power cut, and I was most distrissed at the thought of missing out on some knitting. Fortunately Liberty's was open.

I met up with Yvonne (on the right) again, Nickerjac for the first time, two girls whose names I'm not sure of and Kirsty. Kirsty and I had a bizarre conversation as we knew we'd met before but couldn't place it. It turned out that it wasn't knitting, Guiding or book collecting related. Last time we met neither of us knitted at all!

Liberty's had some fab knitted tea cosies on display too:

Back home my tomato plant had a present for me:

The heat and then sudden large amounts of storm rain have made lots of weeds come up through the gravel in the garden. I've tried to cheer the garden up with plants in tubs, but I'd love to get more done, like shift most of the gravel. There's still a lot to do in the house though...

Here's my PMT attempt to put up the bathroom mirror. Not one of these holes is usable!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Reply to all the comments!

Ooh, lots of comments from the last post! I have definitely returned to the world of blogging!
I'd better attempt to answer the various questions posed: (this is the order the comments arrived in my inbox, but it might be a little skewed as I had BIG problems with Yahoo this weekend. Typical. I get broadband. Instantly my email goes down!)

First of all thank you for all the comments admiring my slippers! They are indeed very very toasty to wear. Which is why I haven't yet!

Monkey is still beaming with pride over his plumbing skills and so I did go out and buy him (and me) a freezer last week so we can have ice cream once it's been delivered. (Warning, the freezer is being delivered on Friday so the weather will probably become immensely cold from then on just to spite me). He is also threatening to take his vest off as it's SO warm here. Do you think I should let him?

Mary Anne - I haven't got any more pics of the swift I'm afraid. They did have one set up with a ball winder and it was SO groovy watching the yarn whizz away into a ball!

Anne - why not invite a spinner along to your knitting group so you can all have a demo and maybe a go? That's what the other Lincoln group have done (was madly jealous as they meet when I'm at work!)

Various people - about the slipper size and felting. The pattern came in a number of different sizes (US shoe sizes) so I just made the smallest size which seemed to come out fine. I wouldn't worry if you're a person with large feet etc as the pattern takes that into account. I'm a UK 5 1/2.

Piglottie - I thought the Crystal Palace bamboo circs were quite pointy. Certainly pointier than my straight bamboo needles (cheapy ones off Ebay). They were fine for doing SSKs and KTogs on double stranded yarn that was quite tight.

And I was going to write about making Anne's groovy sock pattern but I can't get Blogger to upload pictures (Grrrrr) so instead you will have to admire all the pics of them on Anne's blog. And wait for Blogger to start behaving itself.

It's my last Thursday in London this week so I'm going to celebrate by going along to the group (Rowanettes?) that meets at Liberty's on Thursday evenings. I know Yvonne will be there, but is anyone else who reads my blog? It would be great to meet some other knit bloggers!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Resumption of normal service?

WHOOOPEEEEEEEEEEEEE I now have broadband! And a box in the living room with twinkly lights so I can take my laptop anywhere in the house or garden (bit hot out there at the mo) to go online!
Now I'm going to attempt a post about last week's felting course which I went on with my friend, Penny (we were the ones knitting together at Greenbelt last year).
This was making Felted Shoes and Hats, at the Old Kennels in Devon. A fantastic venue, set in beautiful countryside. As it was a nice sunny day (and not quite so hot that week as it has been this week!) we were able to sit outside.

I was astounded by the before-and-after-felting slippers they had as an example. I hadn't realised the size diffence was going to be so spectacular:

Taffy, the tutor, had brought along loads of yarn from the US for us to use. It was mainly Brown Sheep Company Lamb's Pride Worsted (which is available from Getknitted now in this country), with a little bit of Malabrigo around too. Plus some delectable Crystal Palace bamboo circular needles. The patterns were from Fibertrends.

And we sat outside in the sunshine and chatted away over the knitting. It was a big improvement on being at work for the day (the course was on a Wednesday!)

Admiring the baby alpacas in the next door field.

And talking to one of the many cats around.

I got to have my first go with a swift, and was totally smitten. A swift is now on my wish-list! I'd brought along two skeins of Debbie Bliss Maya (from my stash, hah!) and bought a skein of Lamb's Pride so I had enough for the slippers. I know I'm on Stashalong, but I decided that skein didn't count, as there's not much point going on a course and not being able to make the item, is there?! Plus I used two stash skeins at the same time!

Back home again I set Monkey on with plumbing in the washing machine:

So I could get the second slipper finished (making slippers for apparently giant sized feet did raise some eyebrows on the train back from Devon!)

Monkey and I then stared mesmerized at the washing machine. Would the slippers felt? Would the washing machine leak all over the floor? Would the rest of my wash be covered in bits of fluff?

The pattern instructions were written for US washing machines, which sound to me like the ones you get in a university hall of residence here - enormous and top-loading so you can lift the lid up. I just had to put the slippers through a complete cycle cos it can't be stopped once it's started a wash cycle!

Getting them out was a little scary. I'd put them in a mesh laundry bag to save the machine from becoming too fluffed. And they'd turned into two balls:

Which fortunately straightened out into a pair of slippers perfectly sized for my feet!
I'm really really pleased with them. I think they'll be very comfy to wear this winter (it's far too hot at the moment!) as they have a double thickness sole). I've never been able to wear this sort of open-at-the-heel slipper before either as my feet are so narrow they don't stay on. But these do cos they were made for my feet!

Fingers crossed blogger will let me post all these pictures. Still to come in future posts:
knitting over the last month (apart from on courses!) and bits of my new house. The tidy bits. I'm trying not to think about the other bits.

Monday, July 17, 2006

New knitting magazine?!?!

Just read this on the Angel Yarns forum. Wouldn't it be amazing to have a UK Interweave Knits equivalent?! Has anyone else heard any more about it? I haven't seen any publicity or anything...

AAARRRGGGHHH meant to be driving to work, not writing posts about knitting magazines (especially on dial-up!)

Friday, July 14, 2006

Finishing Techniques

Thought I'd attempt a post about the Finishing Techniques course I went on, oooh, nearly 3 weeks ago now! I'm going to attempt to upload all the pics I took, but as I'm still on dial-up I might give up if it gets too boring waiting for it all to happen.
The course was at Yarn, in Beeston, so I got to spent a couple of nights with my nephews (and their parents!). Noah was particularly entranced by my tape measure. Who needs toys when Simply Knitting provides freebies?!

The course itself involved knitting a tiny little garment from start to finish. The garment was from a jumper pattern, sized for teddy bears and small children and the idea was that we would spend the two days of the course knitting all the bits, learning stuff as we went along and then sewing it all together.

Debbie Abrahams, the tutor (on the left in the pic above), was excellent. She had the pattern ready annotated and showed us what to look out for - things such as checking the ribbing will match up once it's sewn together so you don't get an odd section and doing all increases and decreases at least a couple of stitches in from the edge as this makes sewing up much easier. One bit I found particularly helpful was being encouraged to check my row gauge, and then to work out from the measurements in the pattern how many rows it would take to finish each piece. This made it easier to make the pieces the same size as they had the exact same number of rows and avoided the risk of misreading the tape measure/ruler when measuring the length! This was the point when most of us ended up buying Kacha Kacha row counters too!
(look at my mattress stitch in the pic below - it's SO cool!)

We got most of the knitting done on day one (with a bit of time in the evening too!), and learnt things like the three needle cast off. On day two we started with blocking (something I'd not given an enormous amount of thought to before) before moving onto sewing the garments together. This was the most amazing part, I think. Our perfectly matching pieces of knitting were SO easy to sew together with mattress stitch (which I'd never really managed before) and it was easy to see exactly how it was supposed to happen.

There were also loads of hints and tips about knitting and sewing etc. It was also great to meet some other knitters, and I found one lady who is about to move to Lincoln (maybe a new Knit Lincs member?!)
The food was also splendiferous - from the Flying Goose cafe down the road, we had yummy organic veggie lunches, plenty of tea to drink and fantastic cake for the afternoon.

including a luscious chocolate cake on the last day!

Miraculously my yarn diet managed to survive intact, although I did purchase a couple of bamboo needles and a few notions (having left my bag of stuff at home I needed sewing needles, and of course, the Kacha Kacha row counter!).

On the subject of my yarn diet - I successfully completed the month I signed up for (WOOO HOOO!!) and promptly went out that day to the closing down sale at the shop in Lincoln. But I bought stuff for my SP so that doesn't count! I'm now planning to sign up for another couple of months of Stashalong as it seems to have prevented me getting too carried away so far!

I'm still really behind with posts - there is some knitting progress to report, Monkey's exploits plumbing in the washing machine (plus introducing his friends) and the felting course I've been on this week in Devon! Broadband is due in a week's time. Phew. Think I can last that long?!?!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I found my camera cable!

Finally the camera cable has reappeared. I'd packed in it a suitcase with all my essential items (underwear, toothbrush etc etc) for the first week in the new house. Then promptly forgotten about it (don't ask about the underwear, toothbrush etc etc).

These are the pics which would have decorated my previous post:

The enormous lorry (think how much yarn would fit in there!!) and Monkey who retired swiftly off to bed with his chums as soon as we arrived.

Monkey had also accompanied me down to London and Kent the week before. I went to work whilst he lounged around in bed all day (so what's new) but we did have time on the Saturday to have a picnic in Russell Square:

Nic made me the bag for my knitting, but it is also the perfect size for Monkey transportation purposes. (Nic sells them through Fibrelounge if anybody else wants one too!)

Then we trotted off to St Paul's Cathedral where John (who used to be a housemate of ours when we all worked at St Paul's) was being ordained. Monkey was relatively well-behaved throughout the service - he liked the African drumming best.
He even got to have his photo taken with John on the steps outside afterwards:

I enjoyed the service and catching up with people at the pub afterwards, although I didn't much like being back in the cathedral itself. I had a miserable time working there (not because of the majority of my lovely housemates) but because of a couple of demonic housemates/work colleagues, a member of clergy who was worse than useless (how DID he get ordained?!?!) and the way it was all dealt with. Grrrrrrrrr. Anyway, I didn't really want to go into the place, but I did. So yah boo sucks St Paul's.

This post seems to have taken forever as dial-up is SOOOOOOOOOO SLOOOOOOOOOWWWW. Only about 10 days now until I get broadband. There are still hundreds of blog updates to read and I dread to think how many podcasts to download once I get broadband.
I will post about the fab finishing techniques course at Yarn as soon as possible. This week I'm off down to The Old Kennels, in Devon, to go on a felting course. And I'm going to work some days too. Monkey will probably remain in bed.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Move

Well, I was all primed with plenty of photos of an enormous lorry full of yarn, driven by Monkey, moving from my granny flat in Lincoln to my new house in Newark. But I can't remember which box I packed the camera cable in.
And Monkey can't remember either.

The removal company did indeed send an enormous lorry (the size of a double decker bus!). My stuff filled about a third of it, so I think I have a long way to go yet in terms of stash enhancement (more of that later!). Getting the removal people to do the packing is definitely
the way to go, although it did feel a bit bizarre on the day. There wasn't much for me to do other than force the removal men to drink loads of water in the heat! Everything seems to have arrived in one piece, there are still all my book boxes and a few kitchen boxes to unpack but all the furniture is where I want it and my bedroom and the living room are sorted. (The bedroom had to be as Monkey declared himself totally stressed out and went straight to bed when we arrived!). The yarn has also been unpacked...

I did apply for the job I'd been thinking about. I was shortlisted and went for interview down near Warwick the day after the move. I didn't get the job, a colleague with more experience than me got it, which is what I thought would happen. But I'm very pleased I went for it, as being short-listed was a big confidence boost and the interview itself was really good fun! I know that sounds unlikely but it was.

Meanwhile my yarn diet has been very successful. I've been on a fantastic two day course at Yarn in Beeston and managed to avoid buying any yarn there. I went very close to Web of Wool
en route to the interview and didn't go there. I've been very close to Loop, John Lewis and Liberty (all of which have sales on) and didn't indulge. I did buy some notions and things at Yarn, which doesn't count and I also took plenty of pics for a future blog post. The course was excellent and I'm planning to devote a whole post to it fairly soon, once the camera cable has reappeared.

Think that's all for now. I've just been to Homebase and bought a drill, tomorrow Monkey and I are going to have a go at using it!
Thank you for all the comments wishing me luck with the move. I'm afraid that I didn't get time to reply to most people. I'm also very behind with blog reading (there are currently 414 updates to read on my Bloglines list) and I'm on dialup at the moment whilst I get broadband sorted so I won't be catching up with those anytime soon!