Saturday, November 29, 2008

Where did November go?

Eeek, it's the end of November and I'm not sure where the time went!

We've been frantically busy at work this month. In fact, I've hardly done any of the Thing that is supposed to be the Main Part of my job. I've really enjoyed (almost) every day, there is so much happening and so much that's new to try out but it's only just dawned on me that the reason I'm no longer capable of staying awake after 10pm may have something to do with all this! Anyway, things should calm down fairly soon. One of my colleagues was off sick for 10 days so I've been covering for her. I also got to courier Something Large to an exhibition at the Bodleian. Which was also fun. I'd never couriered for an exhibition before and it was really cool watching them get all set up and watching my Large Object being installed. And I got to travel in the courier van (I was a bit sad it wasn't a lorry as I was hoping to up my street cred with the nephew sprogs by showing them pics of me in a lorry) . The exhibition is called "Hallelujah, the British Choral Tradition" if anyone has an urge to go and see it.

And I finished my portfolio! That's what's been taking up time in the evening and at weekends. It's currently being proofread by one of my colleagues so sometime this week I'll get it back, make some changes, print out three copies, get them bound, parcel them up with a cheque for a ridiculous amount of money and post the whole lot off to CILIP to be assessed! Does CILIP not realise that there is yarn out there to be bought with money, rather than sending it off for some stupid assessment?!

I'm very behind with blog reading (again), mainly caused by people doing NaBloPoMo, which appears to have been designed to make me feel guilty about keeping up with blogs (but then I have enjoyed reading the NaBloPoMo posts I've read, I've just got a lot to catch up with), but also by my laptop, which has taken to crashing at every possible opportunity, and not just when using Yahoo and Flickr as it did before... The laptop replacement fund is in action though, and I am busily working out the cheapest time to buy a new one. Fortunately, when I had my car serviced this month, it didn't need any new tyres, which I had been anticipating having to buy, which means the laptop can now be bought sooner!!

Unfortunately the two projects I'm working on at the moment are for swops, so I can't really post pics of them. I also haven't taken any pics of them anyway as the light is so bad. So there aren't any pics to see. I did just try to upload a picture of the basil growing on my windowsill (on the grounds that a pictureless post is boring) but the laptop crashed Again, so I'm giving up on pics for the time being.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Finishing things off

Yes, at last, proof that Slough really is on another planet. A planet that has eight day weeks...

I've had my Mum to stay for five nights and have been busily finishing things off (knitting that is, not my Chartership portfolio, which is still lurking in the living room). The problem at the moment is finding enough light to photograph things. It's now dark when I leave work, and pretty much dark when I leave home in the morning. So I have taken to using the table in the Reading Room at work as a photographic backdrop:

So exciting is this table that I managed to miss the yarn (almost completely) and take a pic just of the table. Fortunately my colleagues seem to have accepted that I am Totally Stark Raving Bonkers so they don't bat an eyelid at lunchtime when I spread knitting all over the place and take photos of it.

This is my finished Irish Hiking Scarf. I altered the beginning and end to three rows of garter stitch instead of launching straight into the cable. It seemed to give it a better border. That took 2 skeins of Lamb's Pride Worsted, as purchased from Get Knitted back in March.

And I finally finished my Greenbelt socks! I made quick progress on these actually at Greenbelt, but then got distracted once I got home so the final sock half took considerably longer! This is Welt Fantastic by Charlene Schurch, from Sensational Knitted Socks.

Thanks to blogs and Ravelry I've been doing some swops n' stuff. I swopped some yarn from my stash with Dee in the US, who very kindly went shopping for me and brought back 3 skeins of Wildfoote Sock Yarn. Michele first introduced me to this on the Monkey swop, and it's YUM!

Then Alex had used some Noro sock yarn, wasn't sure about it so offered the remains to whoever left a comment asking for it. There's enough here to have a trial go, which is great as I've admired it in the shops but wasn't sure how it would knit up or whether I'd like it!

And Kat sent me this skein of Lorna's Laces as a birthday present! Don't you just love the colours? She says I should be able to get a pair of trainer socks out of it.

Otherwise not much is going on here in Slough. Surely if we have eight day weeks here I'd have more knitting time? I'll leave you with a pic from a walk I went on with Mum last weekend. This is Burnham Beeches (yes, again, although I promise I don't live there) just as the leaves are turning. It looked absolutely beautiful, but was very squelchy under foot!

Monday, October 20, 2008

My birthday!

I am now so old my nephews can't count as far as my age (they did try). That is REALLY old. Fortunately they were on hand to help me blow out the candles on my (first) cake:

This year my birthday fell on a Saturday, so I hopped onto (several) trains and headed up to Nottingham for the weekend. On the Saturday we walked in Bramcote Hills Park where there were plenty of leaves to play with.

and some beautiful views.

Afterwards some of us may have been accidentally diverted into Yarn, where we bumped into a crowd from Knit Lincs on a shopping expedition. The nephews had gone home with my brother (for some reason they don't find yarn shopping an exciting prospect?!) so my SIL, Mum and I had plenty of mooching time.

I bought seven skeins of Mirasol Hacho, to make Suri, from the Mirasol Collection Book One. Yarn diets don't apply on your birthday, right?

And then, when I went into work this morning, one of my colleagues had made this:

Birthday cake no. 2!! This one is lemon (the first was chocolate). Between the two of them there were 16 candles so I have declared that I am 16 (again). And I'd booked the afternoon off work, so spent it having lunch with friends, then showing them round the area. Oh, and maybe eating some cake too.

I've been making impressively fast progress on my Irish Hiking Scarf:

I seem to be knitting much faster these days. I also seem to be developing a thing about cables as I've finished off Noah's tank top for his birthday in December.

Thank you for all the birthday greetings I've received - in the post, by email, on Facebook and on Ravelry. I've been a bit overwhelmed by the number but I *think* I've managed to reply to everyone. Apologies if not...

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Yes, finally, after only TEN MONTHS of living in this desert-of-knitterly-activity I found a local(ish) group!! After making good use of the Buckinghamshire knitters forum on Ravelry (I don't technically live in Buckinghamshire, but I'm only just over the border, and it's closer than any of the Berkshire groups, which is where I technically do live). So off I drove to Marlow on Monday evening. Marlow is supposed to be really nice, but as I only saw it in the dark and mostly just a pub (plus a petrol station that had petrol 5p a litre CHEAPER than in Slough!!!!!) I can't really comment on the niceness of Marlow. But it was a very nice knitting group. Sue, who I "met" on Ravelry looked out for me (very scary walking into an unknown pub in an unknown place to meet an unknown group of knitters at the time of year when your glasses steam up as you walk into places) and there were six other knitters, whose names I mostly can't remember (not good with names, even when I haven't got steamed up glasses) but one of them was Wendy who came and found me on Ravelry the next day. Everyone was nice and friendly, and it was SO nice to be with some normal knitterly people for a change. And now I can't wait until next month for the next meeting!!

Then, the next day I had to go into London for a meeting at probably my least favourite place (not giving much away, but it's got a big dome on top) and then wrestle with the British Library to get my reader's pass renewed (more ID needed than to open a bank account...) before I headed over to the Royal Horticultural Halls (yes, the Iknit day venue!) to meet a friend for coffee and have a look at the Autumn Harvest Show.

OK. So the apples aren't a patch on the Yarn Harlot, but they're still pretty cool?! The pears are pretty cool too.

And these are the biggest onions I've ever seen. In a moment of extreme madness I volunteered to cook the Harvest Lunch at church at the weekend (80+ people...) and I'm thinking with an onion this size you'd probably only need one to feed everyone?

And then I walked back to Waterloo station via Iknit and bumped into Liz! Yay, lots of nice knitterly people!!

We have news from over the Pond! Big Monkey, who came to stay a couple of weeks ago, has arrived safely in his new home and is making friends already:

And Michele sent me some fab honey and yarn in exchange:

Wildfoote sock yarn. Yum. Which currently seems to be unobtainable in the UK as Get Knitted don't seem to sell it any more?

And this gorgeous skein, which is from Ranch of the Oaks and is called "zoo" yarn as it's a mixture of alpaca, llama and silk. And it's sooooooooo lovely.

And finally, these are the socks I knitted over the summer:

They're Cross-over Rib from Sensational Knitted socks, using naturally dyed yarn from Indigo Knits. I'm a bit sad as I knitted them for the Secret Prayer Sock Swop, and, although I know they've arrived (the swop organiser let me know) the recipient never got in touch to say thank you, which seems a bit off really. I'm trying to be charitable and think that something probably came up to stop her emailing, and, hey, the important thing is praying, not knowing what happened about it, but I can't help being a bit annoyed. I sent them off six weeks ago, so decided it was high time they got a picture on here anyway!

And I think that's all for now. The tank top for Noah is steaming ahead so I might even have a finished pic next time!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


I just rediscovered my Greenbelt post! Bit out of date now (it was the August bank holiday weekend) but, hey, at least it'll prove to Anne that I was there really! ;-)

Greenbelt was a bit muddy.

Fortunately it mainly only rained during the night when I was safely tucked up in my sleeping bag. And we did civilised camping involving fruit bowls, cafetieres...

and porridge.

I was volunteering in the Angels Lounge, but only for two hours a day. And the Lounge was conveniently situated right next to the Divine Chocolate Fountain:

And Prue's cafe, with their cream-smothered-hot-chocolate.

I got loads of knitting done, this was started two days before Greenbelt, and I finished the first sock not long after I got home from it!

The pattern is Welt Fantastic, from Sensational Knitted Socks, on 2.5mm needles. The yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Cotton Festa, from the sale section at Get Knitted. The DPNs ended up in the mud a few times, but it's machine washable yarn so I'm not too worried...

The Greenbelt knitting group "Purls and Wisdom" met twice (although I missed the first one due to some slightly convoluted car driving which I'm going to blame on Monkey) and it was great to meet some more knitters, including Mandy (*wave*), who's in the photo below. They were knitting hats for sailors, more info here.

And I got some more bootees finished for another ex boss' baby.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Me, right now

Sitting in front of the laptop eating my tea (roasted squash risotto) and reading blogs at the same time. Not only do I have wonky shoulders, but one eye is bigger than the other. The hair can be blamed on my cycle helmet as I'd cycled 6 miles a couple of hours earlier. The doorhanger behind me says "Wild unpredictable female inside". Which I think describes my appearance perfectly...

Sunday 28th September 2008. 19.23

This is what you do:

1. Take a picture of yourself right now.
2. Don’t change your clothes, don’t fix your hair…just take a picture.
3. Post that picture with NO editing.
4. Post these instructions with your picture.
5. Add it to the Pool

You don't have to do the following bit, but this is my first attempt which involved waving the camera in one hand and the forkful of risotto with the other.

Thank you!!

First of all to Bianca, who was my Secret Prayer sock swop partner. I received my parcel a couple of weeks ago but various things got in the way of me blogging (chartership portfolio, trip to Lincoln/Newark to rent house out, my laptop refusing to talk to the internet for a week...) about it, until now! Thank you so much Bianca! The idea of the swop was to pray for your partner at the same time as knitting them a pair of socks, and meanwhile someone else would be praying and knitting for you.

Aren't they cool?!

The yarn is Opal Rodeo and the pattern is one Bianca designed herself - and they fit perfectly!

Close up of the stitch pattern:

Her children helped her choose the yarn - the purple is because it's my favourite colour, blue for water (a blessing), yellow for the sun, green for the apple tree in her yard, white for the clouds and peach, her children's favourite fruit!

She also included a copy of the pattern, a notebook and pen and a ball of Opal so I can have a go myself:

I haven't heard back from the person I was praying/knitting for yet so I'd better not post a pic of what I knitted for her yet!

Also, thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post when I asked for advice about my wobbly cables. I tried knitting the last knit stitch TBL for a few rows, continuing on, and it made a dramatic difference:

So I frogged all of it and started again, knitting the last knit stitch TBL all the way along. It looks SO much better:

The back is now finished!! Thank you for all the advice everyone! I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to reply individually - my broadband went even wobblier than the ribbing...

I've also been up to other exciting things. I'm loving my veg box and having lots of fun cooking the contents. It included stripy aubergines one week...

We also had a guest staying for a while. Big Monkey was delivered to work, and proved very good at cataloguing (until the IT manager saw him and said he didn't think the Elf and Safety people would be impressed with the distance from the keyboard for him as it wasn't ergonomically sound and he'd have backache before too much longer).

So he came home to the flat to spend some quality time with his brother, Monkey, and nephews (I think the other nephew must have taken this photo, as he isn't in it).

Big Monkey is now en route to his new friend, Michele, who lives in the US and was desperate to get a Monkey but nowhere was prepared to ship overseas. Which is where I came in...

Fortunately we'd just got some new bookrests at work and the boxes were going for recycling so I said I could use them instead. One was just the right size for Big Monkey, and the rest will be perfect for stash Sorting Out!

Hopefully he'll have a safe journey.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Knitting advice needed please!

I've just started a tank top for Noah's birthday (yarn and pattern bought from Sew In in Buxton, but I know I haven't blogged about Greenbelt and going away yet!) but I'm not pleased with how it's going.

The pattern is a Sirdar one, and I'm using Rico Baby cotton soft DK.

but on my ribbing the last knit stitch before each purl looks kind of wobbly. You can sort of see it here.

and see how it's a lot worse here.

and here.

and then I saw Abrazo in the latest Knitty, and it appears to have the same thing going on, although not quite as wobbly as mine. So, any ideas about what to do about it?!?! On the ribbing at the bottom it doesn't appear to be happening...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Iknit Day

My posts are now going to be out of order. There is a half written Greenbelt one, but I thought I'd post the Iknit day stuff first, as that's what I've just returned from!

It was held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London and featured lots of stalls (which I forgot to take photos of as I was too busy running round squeaking with excitement), giant knitting

workshops and the Stitch in Time fashion show.

I bumped into Heather and Rosie as soon as I arrived and saw Yvonne on the Knitting & Crochet Guild stand who I waved to in passing. Then I fell over Anne in the loos and tagged along with the Cambridge knitters to the Lindley Hall where the Yarn Harlot was speaking and where we queued in very British fashion in the pouring rain to get in!

She was a fab speaker - read her post here about walking round London and you'll get the idea of the things she notices and the humour. And maybe it made me appreciate London a bit more, I don't usually think too much about it, it's just a big place I live close to now and lived in for a couple of years. I actually loathed London whilst I was growing up and declared I would never go there for more than a quick visit, then somehow ended up with two University of London degrees and living in the centre of it, in zone 1 right behind Waterloo station...

And it was so amazing being in a room full of knitters - virtually everyone was knitting:

This was the row behind me, everyone knitting away and listening. I wish I could have done that through an Extremely Boring Meeting in a Big Hall I had to go to at work on Tuesday. I hardly took in a word there... It would have helped if they'd been talking about knitting rather than the Financial Situation.

I queued up for the Yarn Harlot's book signing with Anne (who was finishing off a wash cloth with this country on to give to her. She finished it just before we got to the top of the queue)

and Liz, who somehow managed to graft the toe of her sock whilst standing in the queue. As I'd missed lunch I wasn't capable of much more than standing in the queue by this point.

The Yarn Harlot signed a copy of the Secret Life of a Knitter for me.

I can't believe I didn't get more photos of stalls. Exercising supreme amounts of restraint I only bought a skein of Dazzle - Blue Faced Leicester 4ply sock yarn from the Natural Dye Studio. And that was for a present. This is a small flat so I'm on a book AND yarn diet at the moment...

I also bumped into Diane, on the Socktopus stall (VERY yummy) and Gemma and Sue in various places. I think that's everyone I met? Although some other people wandering around seemed vaguely familiar. I could have spent large amounts of money at Socktopus, Natural Dye Studio, Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop, Loop, Bowmont Wool and Fyberspates, amongst others. And I loved the Herdy stall too, after seeing the shop in Grasmere back in April.

So, am I the first person today to blog about Iknit?!