Friday, April 27, 2007

Let's squish some library users...

Now this is what every library needs. A nice fluffy cat. Although it still horrifies me that declawing is legal in some countries.

And I've stolen this, which is well well worth watching, from Knihovnik, who originally got it from Phil Bradley:

(how does she shelve without looking at the book, the other books or the trolley?!)

And, yes, I have often longed to do that to some library users... Thank God I don't have to deal with too many of them these days.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

So what have I been doing?

Latest research says PowerPoint is pointless. HALLELUJAH! Now please spread the message around so I don't have to sit through any more ****** awful presentations... or even worse, do one myself.

I started putting together this post with the intention of filling you in on what I've been doing instead of blogging regularly for the last six weeks or so. I did think I hadn't done that much, because there is still loads that I want to get done, but I've reached the conclusion that that's just the way I look at life. I have a tendency to fill every minute with things to do (I always have done, I wasn't one of those children who ever complained of being bored cos there was way too much to do all the time!), usually underestimate (a lot) how long everything is going to take, don't take into account things happening on the spur of the moment (roadworks delaying journeys, the totally unseasonal (but nice) weather that means the plants need watering every night or bumping into people I know who want to chat) and the result is that I feel like I haven't done everything I wanted to. That probably makes me sound like a work-a-holic, but the things to do list includes things like making curtains, and doing some particular knitting, and making cushions, and cooking large yummy meals to put in my freezer and trying to make my garden into something vaguely resembling a garden, and reading all the books I've got out of the library and watching the DVDs I've got out on rental. They're all fun things that I'm looking forward to doing, but it needs about 100 hours in every day. So, that's the way I am (a control freak who doesn't DO spontaneity), but the fab thing is that I have actually got quite a bit done recently, and here it is...

1. I knitted a boob. After reading this post of Anne's, after she'd read this post of the Yarn Harlot's, supporting a breast-feeding support thingy seemed like a good plan. It also seems a bit odd, after all, I haven't got children yet, so I haven't tried it (despite Noah's best efforts as a very tiny baby when he thought anything remotely resembling a bulge would produce milk), but I would like to be able to breast-feed when I do have children so supporting projects that support people who support Mums who want to breast-feed seems like a good plan... Still with me? The pattern is here:

Yes. I know it looks like a cake. And, you see, the base is crocheted (although it can be knitted), so I ended up learning to crochet too. So

2. I learnt how to crochet. With the help of a booklet called "How 2 crochet simply" and 2 balls of Cotton Rope (from stash) I now have a scarf.

And a couple of crochet books. One is from the library and is called "Simple Crochet" by Erika Knight, and the other one is from someone very nice (Darbyrose) from the Knittyboard who heard I was learning to crochet and had a book with the British instructions in which she didn't need, so she sent me it! It's called "New Ideas for Crochet" by Darsha Capaldi. Both book have very clear illustrations for newbies like me, plus some lovely patterns (oh gawd, like I need more things to make?!)

3. I applied for a job. Which I didn't get, although I did get into the final 4 and over 40 people applied. I'm sort of relieved I didn't get it though, as some things about it were a little odd - like the job description saying there was "some" Saturday working, which, when I asked at interview, actually turned out to be "every other" Saturday. Hmm. That's not my definition of "some" and made me wonder what else they were trying to hide! Of course, not getting the job means my Cat Acquisition Plan has had to go back onto the backburner again. And I could have done without the four evenings it took to fill in the application form - don't they know I have Things To Do?!

4. I knitted another square for the Skip North charity afghan, as they didn't have enough with the ones we took to Skip North. I've liked doing the squares, it's been a good chance to try out some stitch patterns. This one's called "Giant Garter Stitch" and is really quick to do as there's lots of slipped stitches. It's from Simply Knitting issue 24 (Feb 2007) and I used Rowan Cashsoft DK (from stash!!)

5. I've done some of the things I had thought of for New Year's resolutions, back in January.
a) I'm now registered for Chartership, and have had my first meeting with my mentor, which went well. I now have to produce something called a "Personal Professional Development Plan". Gulp. All of that has been slightly chaotic as I'm self-employed so even the simple bits (eg, filling in my job description) got more complicated (I don't have a "job" so don't have a job description!).
b) That also had a knock-on effect on my attempting to spend less time online. Yes, I have done considerably less blogging and much less aimless browsing, but I have also discovered a whole new world of things to explore - Chartership blogs (which I'm not linking to, as I want to keep that part of my life separate), librarian blogs and other such goodies. I then developed a new obsession, with Zopa, which is a sort of money-ebay and works a little like a credit union and fits in well with what I'd been thinking about ethical banking and similar things.
c) Knit From Your Stash is going well. I used my get out of jail free card at Skip North, and otherwise have knitted up some stash. I bought a couple of balls for a charity project, but that's all. Only five months to go!

6. I started knitting a baby blanket for the premature baby dept. at Lincoln County Hospital. This is the yarn I bought for it - James C Brett Marble DK. They provided a basic pattern, which I've modified with a stitch pattern called "Spaced Checks" from the Harmony Guide to Knitting Stitches. I'm glad I did, as knitting stocking stitch for 25 inches might have driven me insane...

7. I rediscovered the House of Eliot. Lots of DVDs to work through. Great! It's much clunkier than I remember when it was on TV, but I was only in my early teens then and can't remember it that well.

8. I pruned my lovelife. Which is good. Look, I pruned this fuchsia at the same time and now it's sprouting little pink things (although my lovelife isn't sprouting little pink things (yet))! In case anyone is worried, no, there isn't a man wandering around with some bits lopped off, I didn't take the pruning quite that far...

9. I got a place on the summer school at London University that I applied for a while ago. So I'll do one module (1/4 of a postgrad diploma), which is normally taught over a term, in four days. What was I saying about filling my time up?! It's also costing me £150 extra in fees to write a 5000 word essay afterwards and have it assessed, but I can't see the point of just doing the course and then not having anything really to show for it, plus that would be 1/4 of a diploma completed should I decide in a moment of madness that I want to do more studying and complete the whole thing...

10. I attacked the garden. This really is taking ages to get done. I've been painting the fence and doing a bit every evening when I get in from work whilst jacket potatoes etc are in the oven (hence the need to make something big and freeze portions. I have mentioned to Monkey that it would be nice for dinner to be on the table when I get in from work but so far none has been forthcoming and he just demands more bananas). I also forgot to stir the wood preservative gunk stuff when I started so the first couple of fence panels are very pale and it gradually gets darker the further along you go...
*edited to add - Claire's managed to paint her fence in a yarn colour, so any ideas what mine might be?!

I have five different sets of next-door neighbours due to the way our gardens are laid out. And I've now had lengthy chats with all of them over various bits of fence! So nice and friendly, but not conducive for plenty of fence-painting. And there's still the trellis to go (have been putting this bit off) as it's going to take FOREVER. Fortunately the clematis I've ordered (special offer in the Guardian!!) aren't coming until June...

11. And I knitted a tanktop for Dylan's 1st birthday next month. This is the "Tom" slipover from the Patons "Nursery Days" pattern book and is in Patons Washed Haze Aran. I altered the pattern slightly to make it less bulky.
And since when has a tanktop been called a "slipover"?!

Phew. Maybe I should blog more often to remind myself how much really has been going on? But, of course, that would take up time... ;-)

Monday, April 16, 2007


So, I haven't updated the blog for a bit. (did you know around 1.5m posts are written every day?!) I've been busy doing LOADS of things in the meantime, which I shall woffle on about in some future post, because this one's about the holiday I've just been on. To Keswick. Again. Like last year. And the year before that.

I've stolen the exciting new way of playing with photos from Anne, cos I think it's cool. Just click on the little pics to see all the pics in each set.

This is St Kentigern's (no, I hadn't heard of him either) church, where we went on Easter Day. It's a lovely, busy church, with a choir that sang in tune and which was crammed full of people (some of them under 50!), and just look at the setting, the scenery is breathtaking. They also had simnel cake and coffee in the church hall afterwards where we met loads of other visitors (wonder how many they normally get at services?)

We went for a walk up part of Latrigg, with some spectacular views over Derwentwater.

You could tell it had been a very mild winter as there were still holly berries on the trees. In fact it was incredibly warm and sunny all week, more like summer than the beginning of Spring. Although, as it's further north than home the spring flowers were a little further behind.

These are some photos of Skiddaw, which is near the cottage. We didn't actually climb it (although I'd like to some day. Mum has climbed it before ("in her youth") but claimed her knees were no longer up to it).

Some alpacas were sighted in the distance on the walk up to the Whinlatter Forest Park. Unfortunately the ospreys hadn't arrived yet, but you can watch out for them on this webcam.

We visited both the Wool Clip and Indigo Knits at Penrith. These photos show Indigo Knits, which was fab, with lots of naturally dyed yarn. I bought the crochet bag kit shown in one of the photos, it's Herdwick wool in two different (natural) shades - so I'm not breaking my yarn diet as this is supporting local farmers and a local business and not the sort of thing I can buy at home!

And we went to Grey Stone House Farm (near Penrith) for tea and cake at the farm shop and to see some lambs!

And I'll be back sometime soon (hopefully) with more of an update about knitting and books and things like that.