Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Happy Blogiversary!

It's two years today since I started blogging! How weird is that? I'm not sure what I set out to achieve (I wasn't sure then either), and managed to post 3 times on the first day as I didn't know how to upload photos, so they were done separately. Of course, in those dim and distant days Blogger didn't let you upload them directly so it was a little more complicated...

Back in those days, I'd just completed my first pair of socks, and was VERY VERY proud of them. Knit Lincs didn't exist, our first meeting was documented here. I was only working one day a week and had yet to start venturing out for working away from home and had only just started driving again (strange to think that, two years ago, I'd never stayed in a B & B - now I live in them!). Some things haven't changed much. Two years ago I was attempting to wean myself off Neighbours, and I'm still trying. Going out to work more does help, but when I'm working from home, guess what happens at lunchtime? (and what's with the bizarre London story-line at the moment?!)

I'm not really sure what I expected when I first started, the blog has documented the ups - the arrival of another nephew, completing my MA, graduating (under protest, but with knitting!), buying a house (and having a knitting party in the garden), going on various knitting courses, events and weekends (intarsia, finishing techniques, Skip North, the Knitting & Stitching Show, felted slippers in the Devon sunshine and Knit Lincs outing to Yarn), the Knitting Olympics and loads of holidays, and all the downs - having tonsillitis over and over and over and over again. Getting my tonsils archived, finally... How much progress I've made knitting wise. And the mundane (why did I feel the need to blog about porridge?!) And documenting the books I've read (discovering LibraryThing has also been a great help with this!). I don't think I expected to meet (and "meet") so many people - all the other bloggers in the sidebar plus some others, some of whom I've got to know in person too - meeting Anne (who I've only met 3? times but it feels like I've known forever), Blueadt, Andrea, Nic, Alex, Ruth Yvonne, and all the Skip North crowd. And of course the Knit Lincs gang: Nic, Kat, Claire, Dawn, Sara and the others who are blogless.

Golly. Do I get an award for most number of links in one post? Anyway, it's been a good two years. Here's to the next two!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Some book stuff

I've finally (only taken 10 months!) found a reading group to join. I've been on the waiting list for the one at the library for ages but never moved any further up, finally someone at the local bookshop put me in touch with a group that meets in a village about 5 miles away. Only problem is that I can't get to a meeting until July because of work!

Their May book was "Little Children" by Tom Perotta.
An enjoyable read. The novel follows a variety of characters, who act like small children in their selfish behaviour. It follows the thoughts and actions of a small group of parents and a sex offender living nearby who is living with his mother. Supposedly the novel is a cross between "Madame Bovary" and "Desperate Housewives", but as I've only read half of "Madame Bovary" and have never seen "Desperate Housewives", I wouldn't know! The characters are mainly in their thirties, and have discovered that life isn't quite all they thought it was going to be - there are frustrations with their work, their love lives, that they haven't quite got all that they thought they would - even the "perfect Mum" is revealed at the end to have enormous cracks in her relationship. All of the characters make bad decisions, the danger appears to come from the sex offender, but in reality comes from each one of them. I found some parts hard to understand - some of the characters play American Football and there are great long descriptions of matches (games?) which I couldn't make any sense of at all! The reading group gave it four out of five stars, which I think I'd agree with!

I've also just finished "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan. An excellent novel. And short enough to read in one sitting (176 pages). The novel follows Edward and Florence on their wedding day and to their wedding night when they fail to consummate the marriage. The reader gets drawn into what is going on in both Edward's and Florence's heads, and how they appear to each other, plus explaining the background to their inability to talk to each other and express their needs and desires, and how that fits in with the atmosphere of late 50s and early 60s Britain. It's an incredibly sad novel, if the characters had been born slightly later (or, indeed, slightly earlier?) they would probably have been fine, but the novel portrays how they both become victims of their age. And, as usual, I love the way McEwan uses words, the book just flew by!

And "Practically Perfect" by Katie Fforde. Which was enjoyable, but typical chicklit really - woman buys house, does it up, find best friend living next door (nope, that doesn't happen in real life), ends up with a greyhound by accident, gets yelled at by Greyhound Trust man (who has "twinkly" eyes, so you know she's going to end up with him), gets yelled at by Listed Buildings man (who is also the Greyhound man), a couple of people end up in hospital to facilitate woman and Greyhound/Listed Buildings/Twinkly eyes getting together. And that's about it really. Why doesn't somebody write chicklit that has some grounds in reality?! Although at least this heroine isn't as idiotic as some of the others out there...

And, finally, "The Wonder Spot" by Melissa Banks. Sophie (the main character) just floats aimlessly through life - the book is divided into sections, but none of them seem particularly linked together. Sophie doesn't seem to get anywhere or do anything, I felt like wanting to throttle her by the end. I wish I hadn't bothered to finish it, it was a waste of time

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Some knitting stuff

Recently I've been working only about 20 miles from where my brother's family live, so I've been able to see much more of my nephews in the evenings. If my bro's on a night shift I've been helping my SIL with bathtime (which is great fun!) and also babysitting as I've arranged to stay in a B & B not far from them. And one time I managed to get a photo of the first knitted garment I made (I made it before I had a digital camera so couldn't photo it at the time!). It was originally made for Noah (I thought it would take 6 months to make; it took 10 days, so it took him a while to grow into it!). Now Dylan can wear it:

It's a Sirdar cabled cardi pattern, using Sirdar Snuggly Aran and the wooden buttons are from the Button Queen, on Marylebone Lane in London. I'd been knitting for about 6 weeks when I started this, and didn't know any other knitters, so there was no one to tell me that a plain stocking stitch garment might be easier than cables and bobbles for a first go... I knitted it in the final fortnight of Dad's life, so most of it was knitted in a very dimly lit living room at Mum's house whilst I was sitting with Dad (what was I thinking - navy blue with hardly any light, as well as all those cables?!). But it looks cool now (just don't look at it too closely, especially the seams) and both the nephews turned out with blue eyes so they look really sweet in it!

I've also been trying to teach Dylan how to catalogue. It's never too early to recruit future librarians - 11 months old, why not?

And I've finished my Helter Skelter socks (anyone who was on Skip North - you saw me start these off!). This was one of the patterns from the Fyberspates sock club, and the yarn is the January yarn from the sock club - 90% alpaca, 10% nylon. They're lovely and soft and squishy, and will be very warm! I used 2.5mm needles for the cuff and 2.25mm for the heel and foot.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Any veggies out there?

Masterfoods have, for some inexplicable reason, decided to limit their market by making most of their chocolate unsuitable for vegetarians by using whey from animal rennet!
I cannot understand their logic, but presumably this sort of whey is a lot cheaper, as decisions like this usually end up being about money.

Anyway, you can see a list of what is and isn't veggie-friendly here (it includes things like Mars, Snickers, Maltesers, Galaxy, Bounty, Milky Way...). You can email them to tell them what you think here.

As I already boycott Nestle products due to their dodgy approach to baby milk, I now can't/won't eat most mainstream chocolate (with the exception, I think, of Cadburys?). Oh well, thank goodness for Green & Black's!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Two Memes

I seem to have been tagged by various people. So Kat and Sue both tagged me with this meme, and Claire tagged me with this one. I'm not going to tag anyone, as I'm totally confused about who's done which meme, but feel free to have a go if you want to!

Seven Things
Each player starts with seven random facts/habits about themselves. People who are tagged need to write their own blog with their seven things as well as these rules. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. Remember to leave a comment for them letting them know they have been tagged and to read your blog. (I'm not doing this bit!)

1. I've only been knitting for just over 2 years, something which seems to amaze people when they ask. For some reason a lot of people seem to think you have to be an expert knitter to start a knitting group - heck, no, I'd only been knitting for 3 months when I set up Knit Lincs with Debbie. Ulterior motive - I needed to meet people who could help me learn to knit!

2. For most of my life I've been fairly "clingy" and hated being on my own - I loathed being left at home to keep an eye on my Gran when I was 16 and my parents went on holiday with my little bro. (Not that I told them this). I also loathed it at uni after eating tea (dinner to all the southerners) in the dining hall and traipsing back to my room to do some work and knowing I'd be unlikely to see anyone until the next morning. (Although actually I often ended up drinking interesting flavoured tea in Farli's room!) I could never have imagined even wanting to live on my own. And now, nearly a year down the line, I LOVE it. In fact, I usually end up having a space crisis when I do have someone in my space (and my space is getting BIG these days!)

3. I get really pissed off with the (many many) people out there who can't believe I live on my own. From some patronising dingbats who seem to assume that a woman on her own can't possibly have bought a house, to the people who call and ask to speak to my husband/partner (hello?!?!) to the people at no. 24 who sent a Christmas card addressed to "the family at no. 1"! Has nobody heard of feminism in this neck of the woods?!

4. I seem to be addicted to studying. It's not so much the gaining qualifications, it's the having something for my brain to be doing, otherwise it goes to sleep. The current total is a bit scary (I don't work it out very often, and there's too many to fit on my CV, so I just use whichever ones are the most relevant.) Each time I'm approaching finishing one, I think, this is it, I'm not going to do that again, then 6 months down the line my brain starts bouncing and away we go again. Yep, the next one starts in July (OK, it's only a week, but after the email I got last week that confirmed I could then go on to a postgrad. certificate, diploma or another MA, I found myself thinking...)

5. I got my midlife crisis out of the way aged between 24 and 25ish. Some people are embarrassed if you tell them you had a breakdown, but I don't see why - it was total hell, but I learnt a lot about myself and I wouldn't be where I am now if it hadn't happened.

6. I've always known what I wanted to do in life. Which scares a lot of people (maybe I'm just a Really Scary Person?). I didn't officially decide until I was about 15, did work experience and decided I really was going to be a librarian. Then I sat down and worked out that I'd need GCSEs, A Levels, a degree, experience and an MA (I didn't know what a degree or an MA was at that stage). But aged 10 I had a little badge that said "Librarian" and was running the primary school library at lunchtime - there was no hope for me really, was there?!

7. I hate the usual "girlie" activities. I loathe clothes shopping, particularly with other people in tow, which probably explains why my wardrobe isn't that large. I also hate having my hair cut (which is why it stays long, short hair needs regular cutting) and the idea of having a facial gives me the heebie-jeebies. I did once have a manicure and couldn't really see the point of it so I'm not doing that again. I do like eating chocolate though (that's a girlie activity, isn't it?). Weird - I like massages and reflexology so not sure why I hate all the others!

Untitled Meme
Does this one have a title at all?

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

Goodness. I don't know. Looking back at my first blog post (2nd blogiversary is approaching!) I don't seem to sure then, either - I just woffle a bit about chocolate, Addi Turbos and the book I've just finished. Oh, and wonder how to upload photos. I think I had some vague idea about it being a good place to burble about what knitting and reading I'd done (bearing in mind I'd only just started knitting) and everyone else had one too so I was jumping on the bandwagon a bit.

2. Are you a spirtual person?

It sounds a bit big-headed to answer "yes" - like I've got all the answers worked out or something? Because I haven't. But yes, it's a big part of my life. I've been a Christian (Anglican flavour) since I was 15, when I discovered God on a sleepover with some school friends (one of them left their Youth Bible lying around, and I ended up staying up all night reading it, during which I discovered God wasn't an old fart with a big beard sitting on a cloud, as I'd always thought, but someone who was very relevant to me). But God is definitely not just about Sunday mornings (especially not for me, as I usually get sidetracked by the chocolate muffins in Tesco Express on the way to church) but about everything. And I get annoyed when Christians (not just Anglicans but the whole caboodle, although the Anglican Church is particularly good at tying itself in knots) get all het up about stuff like women bishops and homosexuality and don't seem to be doing much about the things that are really vital - poverty, community, education, all the people all around each one of us, protecting the environment, love etc etc.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you want to have with you?

Chocolate (and somewhere cool to put it), a tent/shelter (if it's likely to rain) and something to light a fire with (maybe I could do that with my glasses?)

If food and shelter is assumed then I'd like a very big pile of yarn (probably laceweight as it'd last longer, and I don't think I'd need a chunky jumper on a desert island), Radio 4 cos I can't live without it and a big flare thing to let off when a ship goes past.

4. What's your favourite childhood memory?

Oooh, so much stuff! Erm, probably building dens in the garden out of old curtains, bamboo canes stolen from Dad's shed etc. One summer holiday I slept outside in the garden every night, just because it was fun.

5. Is this your first meme?

No, not by a long long way...

Friday, May 11, 2007

A knitting list meme

I'm registered with various job alert emails things and this is what came up as a suggested job earlier this week: "Senior Scientist - Prison Infection Prevention Team". How can that possibly match any of my search criteria?!?!

Before anyone asks, I'm not actively job-hunting as I'm happy to pootle along as I am. It's just a little weird as this is the first time I've been doing something that doesn't have a fixed end point (I've always had fixed term contracts, usually a year, before now), so I thought it was worthwhile to see what was out there and if anything interesting comes up I can apply for it, don't want to miss any opportunities as my field is a small one. And otherwise I'm in danger of just carrying on doing the same thing forever... Well, until I retire, which I think will be at 68 as they've upped the limit. So a while to go there then.

I saw this meme over on Nickerjac's blog, so have a go too if you feel like doing it!
Edit the list, bold for stuff you’ve done, italics for stuff you plan to do one day, and normal for stuff you’re not planning on doing.

Garter stitch
Knitting with metal wire
Stockinette stitch
Socks: top-down
Socks: toe-up
Knitting with camel yarn
Mittens: Cuff-up
Mittens: Tip-down
Knitting with silk
Moebius band knitting
Participating in a KAL
Drop stitch patterns
Knitting with recycled/secondhand yarn
Slip stitch patterns
Knitting with banana fiber yarn
Domino knitting (modular knitting)
Twisted stitch patterns
Knitting with bamboo yarn
Two end knitting
Charity knitting
Knitting with soy yarn
Toy/doll clothing
Knitting with circular needles
Knitting with your own handspun yarn
Graffiti knitting (knitting items on, or to be left on the street)
Continental knitting
Designing knitted garments
Cable stitch patterns (incl. Aran)
Lace patterns
Publishing a knitting book
Teaching a child to knit
American/English knitting (as opposed to continental)
Knitting to make money
Button holes
Knitting with alpaca
Fair Isle knitting
Norwegian knitting
Dying with plant colors
Knitting items for a wedding
Household items (dishcloths, washcloths, tea cozies…)
Knitting socks (or other small tubular items) on two circulars
Olympic knitting
Knitting with someone else’s handspun yarn
Knitting with DPNs
Holiday related knitting
Teaching a male how to knit
Knitting for a living
Knitting with cotton
Knitting smocking
Dying yarn
Knitting art
Knitting with wool
Textured knitting
Kitchener BO
Knitting with beads
Long Tail CO
Knitting and purling backwards
Machine knitting
Knitting with self-patterning/self-striping/variegating yarn
Stuffed toys
Baby items
Knitting with cashmere
Knitting with synthetic yarn
Writing a pattern
Knitting with linen
Knitting for preemies
Tubular CO
Freeform knitting
Short rows
Cuffs/fingerless mitts/arm warmers
Knitting a pattern from an online knitting magazine
Knitting on a loom
Thrummed knitting
Knitting a gift
Knitting for pets
Knitting with dog/cat hair
Hair accessories
Knitting in public

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Giant Glove

Someone has knitted a giant glove. Isn't it fab?!

And of course:

You scored as wine. you are mature and up class, and only like the best
of things.





















what alcoholic drink are you (pictures)
created with QuizFarm.

But oh dear:

Your Mind is 70% Cluttered

Your mind is quite cluttered. And like most clutter, it's a bunch of crap you don't need.
Try writing down your worst problems and fears. And then put them out of your mind for a while.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Thought I'd show what I've been up to in the garden. I moved in (July last year) too late to plant anything summery so had to make to with some containers of things pilfered from Mum's garden. This is what the garden looked like on the day I completed on the purchase (June) last year.

And this is what it looked like last weekend!

All that stuff about gravel being low maintenance is total cobblers. OK, so you don't have to mow it every week. But weeds grow through it (this is with a plastic membrane thing underneath, which is meant to stop the weeds). The weeds grow along under the gravel and have roots that reach for far enough. And they grow like nothing I've ever seen so it looks **** if it doesn't get weeded every week. I had the raised bed in the corner put in in January (me, lift a railway sleeper or two? I think not, have you seen the size of my muscles?!), along with a new side gate as the old one was rotten.

The outhouse still needs sorting out. This is it emptied (it's usually full of my bike, assorted garden tools, various boxes, my veg box delivery and other random things). When the house was built (sometime between 1902 and 1909) it was the loo as the house wouldn't have had a bathroom. Fear not, I do have a bathroom now (one was put into one of the bedrooms upstairs) but my Mum grew up in a house without a bathroom and only an outside loo so we're not that far off those days. I need to get a shelf put up in there, but I'm not very good at drilling holes in walls so am going to wait until I find someone who can help.

These are potato plants, which have done what the instructions on the BBC gardening website (excellent for the completely clueless) said they would. One of the tubs is a birthday present for my brother, who has got a similar "low maintenance" garden and therefore can't grow much.

The neighbour at the bottom of my garden gave me some leftover cabbage and sprout plants. I'm not convinced they'll grow in tubs, but we'll see what happens. These tubs have a water reservoir thing in the bottom. I'm not sure how my garden's going to cope over the summer if the weird hot weather continues and I'm away most of each week so won't be able to water.

And I had LOTS of fun getting through the gravel and plastic (how come the weeds get through it but I have trouble?!) to plant three miniature fruit trees. This is the pear tree, with a lilac in a pot behind it. I added the log roll (after going all over the place to find an FSC certified one, they have them at Homebase in case anyone else wants one) to keep the gravel (grrr) at bay and then added bark chippings on top of the soil to act as a mulch (does it sound like I know what I'm talking about?)

And I've planted some things in my mini greenhouse and look, something green has appeared! It might grow faster if I didn't keep going outside every half hour to look at it. Ah, the joys of working from home...

This is, er, a Thing, which I pilfered from Mum's last year. I like the way the leaves are starting to grow.

And my fuchsia (as pruned at the same time as lovelife) is going great guns now! I won't mention the lovelife... And the Azalea (pink thing to the right) is flowering rather early - hmm, global warming in action again?!

And Blueadt saw my last post about painting the fence and how Claire had yarn to match her fence (scroll down to bottom pic) - and sent me a skein to match mine! Thank you!! This is Rowanspun DK and it's very yummy and soft. It doesn't look like a very good match in this pic (well, on my monitor anyway) but it is!

Oh, and I have been knitting. This is my first attempt at lace, and I'm totally addicted!