Sunday, December 20, 2009


The WIPs on my Ravelry project page are gradually reducing in number. I seem to be so slow at the moment at finishing things off, but I suppose there's quite a lot going on, so it isn't really surprising.

The Jitterbug gloves that I have so far failed to picture on here are finished. Just in time for the snow on the journey to work. I was very glad I had them then as they're lovely, warm and squooshy.

Narvik is also finished (the last few knitting group meetings I've just been sat sewing in ends and sewing things together). But I've only just got round to blocking it. I cheated and blocked it after sewing it together, as recommended by Debbie Stoller in Stitch N' Bitch.

I can't decide what to do about the wrapover cardigan in Freedom Spirit that I was knitting. I started it when I was living in lodgings nearly two years ago and was feeling very miserable so it has some bad associations. Plus I've put on weight since then so I'm not convinced it will fit. But how life has moved on in the space of 18 months!

On Friday we completed the purchase of our new home. It needs a lot of work doing to it, so we won't be moving in for a couple of months yet. But it was still very exciting to get the keys and have a wander round planning things (and panicking when we couldn't initially get the boiler to do anything!). It needs a new boiler.
It has an absolutely enormous L-shaped living room/dining room, with a lovely parquet floor.

The amount of space is amazing! Just think how much yarn I could fit in here! (did the OH read that bit?).

It needs totally re-wiring and the bathroom is a real 70s avocado delight.

If you think those tiles are interesting you should see the downstairs loo...

There's a small garden too, although we're a bit hampered at the moment by the sudden snow. The flat roof has a leak and needs replacing but is currently hidden underneath all the snow! But there should be room to grow some vegetables and have a compost bin.

I'm won't be online over Christmas and, as usual, I'm massively behind with blog reading. I hope everyone has a great Christmas!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Missing In Action

Oh God, I haven't blogged for a month! Absolutely typical. You get a lovely new camera for your birthday, for the first time ever you can take proper piccies to put on your blog, and you promptly start running around like a headless chicken with no time to blog and play with the lovely new camera.

A lot has been going on. Not only the small little things like trying to plan a wedding for next year and getting settled into a new town and starting a knitting group (We have 20 members already on the Ravelry part of the group, even if that many haven't actually shown up at a meeting yet), and minor inconveniences like going to work and cooking meals.

There has been a bit of knitting. I test knitted the Arwen Cloche Hat (as modelled by Monkey) for Tabitha.

I have also knitted a glove. Its friend is still in progress. The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug, bought from Get Knitted last year and the pattern is a free adult basic glove pattern. The yarn is lovely and squooshy knitted up on 2.5mm needles. And I think I've forgotten to download the pic of it from the camera.

Then I've been doing a driving course. After last year's infamous panic attack on the A1, and then taking various circuitous routes to get to places (such as Slough to Chelmsford via Amersham, Watford, Hatfield, Hertford and Harlow or Staines to Lincoln via just about every small village in the country), as I was still feeling very panicky and it seemed to be getting worse, I decided the time had come to Do Something About It. So I found a company called Ride Drive who do courses for people who are nervous/panicky/phobic drivers. And it's really cool. They teach you advanced driving techniques (the instructor is an advanced police driver) as well as gradually confronting your fears. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm loving learning all the theory bits and I'm feeling more confident now. Most of the time. When I'm not actually thinking about the next session...

We went up to Edinburgh for a week, but before we did that we suddenly found a house we want to buy. So things started hurtling very fast as we managed to get through two viewings, three offers (the last accepted), instruct a solicitor and arrange a survey all in the six days before we went on holiday. It's the house stuff that has been taking up so much of my time, as it needs a lot of work doing to it so we've been doing a lot of research into things like re-wiring costs and having a new bathroom as well as having an incredibly lengthy and dull meeting at the bank getting the mortgage sorted out.

So no house pictures yet, but we're hoping the sale will complete before Christmas, although we won't be moving until next year once the work is done on it.

Edinburgh was fab. We did a lot of the things that I've wanted to do for years and never had a chance to, including:
Climbing Calton Hill:

Visiting the K1 yarns shop, 

where I bought a skein of K1 yarns sock yarn in Teal (made by Fyberspates), and the book "Sock Innovation".
The yarn shop is really close to Edinburgh Castle, which we also went round. Unfortunately the lovely HK Handknit shop which I visited last time I went to Edinburgh seems to have shut now.

Visited the Scottish Parliament, as well as the Palace of Holyrood.

And climbed Arthur's Seat to look at the fantastic views out over Edinburgh.

We also went round the National Museum of Scotland, which didn't impress us too much (it did lots of jumping around in history whilst attempting to be thematic), took refuge from the rain in John Lewis for a while, went round the Museum of Edinburgh (much better and we actually learnt some stuff). Oh and John Knox's house, where they'd got all the same books on display as I'd just chosen for an exhibition about Calvin back at work, and where there's a nice cafe in the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Plus a trip to Peebles on the bus when we got totally drenched and very fed up. But I did get a pair of boots and some shoes from the narrow shoe shop, so all was not lost.

On the way back down to London on the train we stopped off with Mum to spend a night at her new house and to see how she and Sweep were getting settled in. Sweep seemed to be completely at home.

I am also massively behind with reading blogs (so what's new?!?), Bloglines is saying something like 200 posts still to be read so apologies that I haven't been leaving comments on blogs much recently. Life has been hectic and is showing no signs of slowing down...

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I am feeling spectacularly old and wrinkly (and don't mention the sagging bottom) today as I've just turned 30. The horrors of wrinkledom/sagginess etc were somewhat assuaged by a great day with the OH and some rather groovy presents! Although he did refuse my request to get cracking with the birthday cake at midnight last night (he seemed to think sleep was a better idea?!) I did get a chocolate cake with a candle for each decade!

And the best present! A digital camera! I'd been using the camera on my mobile until now. He took me out for lunch after church this morning and we went for a walk afterwards so I had a chance to experiment with some camera settings. Close up plant things:

It's got different aspect ratio settings - so I can take pictures of things and use them as my desktop background picture. So I had an experiment with some yarn pictures.

And played around with taking pictures of the water as we walked along the Thames.

And other presents? Well, a Mamma Mia DVD and Diarmaid MacCulloch's "A history of Christianity" were among them, both of which I'd been coveting! The OH must be able to read my mind. Actually, he wants to read the book too so we might need to take it in turns. It's got about 1300 pages so this might take a while.

Knitting pictures will resume shortly, once I've finished playing with the camera settings.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I have been knitting (a little bit) but where does the time go?! And what on earth have I been doing with it?

I've just found a recipe website that's a little like Ravelry. It's fun and seems useful - great potential for looking up veg box type recipes, or things to cook with meat when you don't know what you're doing (= me). There are separate US (or North American?) and UK/Irish versions, I assume because of the different ways of measuring ingredients. Anyway - it's called All recipes... And it will probably end up being as time-consuming as Ravelry.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

In which many houses are sold, a book is given up on and someone gets stuck in a wedding dress

The OH and I (and the rest of my family) have just finished a completely mad round of house moves/sales/purchases. My Mum sold her house last week, which was the home I lived in until I was 18 before I left to go to university, and where I temporarily lived again for a while in my mid-20s. This is the last bowl of pears I'll have from the pear tree that was planted in the garden when I was born.

I wasn't there when she moved out, so the last time I saw it was in August, when we were up in Lincoln and got engaged. So it feels slightly odd knowing that it isn't there any more to go back to.

And to add to the chaos/stress/impending feeling of a little bit too much going on, the OH completed on the sale of his flat on the same day as Mum sold her house, and I completed the sale of my house five days after them. So a bit of a manic whirl of solicitors, estate agents and utility companies, not helped by the Royal Mail going on strike and holding half the correspondence up. But all is now finished! We'll be looking round for a house to buy now that we've sold both places and, of course, this means that wedding plans can inch slightly further forward too.

Before anyone gets too excited, wedding plans so far have consisted of me reading various insane books about wedding planning and getting very annoyed with them. Oh, and trying on a dress last week in Monsoon and getting stuck in it.

And speaking of books... I've just been attempting to read "A short walk in the Hindu Kush" by Eric Newby, and I can't get into it at all. I dragged myself through about 100 pages, as it's my next reading group book so I wanted to show willing, but just had to give up when I realised I was actively avoiding picking the thing up. I'm not sure what annoyed me so much. The jolly hockeysticks feeling of the writing? The slightly fuzzy typeface? The blurry maps at the beginning (it's a travel book, surely the idea is you can see where they're going?). Anyway, not the book for me, so it'll be interesting to see what the rest of the group made of it when I see them next week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Possibly the strangest looking cauliflower I have ever seen showed up in yesterday's veg box. I think this one beats even that purple one from a few years ago that perfectly matched my knitting.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cambridge - the return trip

After last week's incredibly dull conference trip to Cambridge it was nice to return yesterday for a more relaxed visit to meet some of OH's friends. We wandered along the Backs and watched the punts going past on the Cam.

The friends came equipped with small children, which also necessitated a trip to the park to play. Both the OH and I got dragged into playing on the train (as we had real train tickets from our journey to use) but I very cunningly managed to avoid being photographed on the train, unlike him:

Slightly ironically, we came across a "real" steam train when we returned to Kings Cross that evening!

I also found time in Cambridge to disappear briefly into Sew Creative (their website still has loads of stuff about sewing machines and virtually nothing about yarn on it!) and emerged with four balls of Sirdar Crofter DK to make a tank top for Noah's birthday. Since when did I become old enough to have an almost-five-year-old nephew?!

Knitting has been progressing reasonably well. My train knitting at the moment is the Sunday Swing socks from Knitty. This is the first one:

I'm loving the Lorna's Laces sock yarn and my Knit Picks DPNs.

and I've finished both the fronts of Narvik and am now on with the back. This seems to go SO quickly as it's on 7mm needles!

Reading wise, I've just finished "Bones in the belfry" by Suzette Hill, which someone at work lent me. This is a completely crazy book, featuring the Rev. Francis Oughterard who accidentally strangled one of his parishioners in the previous book. This one follows him as he attempts to cover his tracks, involving hiding two paintings for the person who provided him with an alibi for the murder. A large chunk of the action is narrated by Oughterard himself, but sections are by his dog, Bouncer, and his cat, Maurice. It's very funny but I'm not sure if I'd classify it as a mystery or a crime novel, more as totally insane.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Iknit Weekender

Yesterday the Iknit Weekender beckoned. I was worried that all the yarn would have already disappeared as it started on the Friday, but I needn't have been anxious. The Royal Horticultural Lawrence Hall had plenty of stalls with plenty of yarn left, plus plenty of room for plenty of knitters to sit and knit. I may be wrong, but it felt like there was more space to sit and knit this year, although it might be that there weren't as many people around as it was spread over two days?

I'd wanted to get a proper Ravelry badge to wear, but they were all sold out, so I recycled the badge from the Immensely Dull Conference with Horrible Food and Uncomfy Beds (the one redeeming feature was bumping into Rosie as I wandered through Cambridge avoiding going to an evening reception) that I went to last week:

and the OH drew a sheep on it for me. Apparently it's a Lincolnshire Long Wool that's recently been shorn.

I met up with several people, including Littlemy, who I met for the first time after several years of being in touch online! Also, Faeroes from my fledgling knitting group here in Staines, Quitecontrary from back up in Nottinghamshire, Babylonglegs on the Fyberspates stall and Greensideknits who I had a cup of tea with. And I did see Woolly Wormhead in the distance but not close enough to say hello!

I bought two gorgeous skeins from Fyberspates. These are Faery Lace in colourway "Regal", it's 90% merino and 10% nylon and feels gorgeous.

I was fairly restrained with my purchases this time, but I couldn't resist two balls of Zauberball as I've wanted some for ages. On the left is the original Zauberball and the one on the right is the Crazy Zauberball. I got these on the Knitting4fun stand.

And I also couldn't resist a Herdy mug. In fact, I'm drinking tea out of it as I blog!

My OH met me outside and we trotted off to do some shopping, went for a cup of tea in the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, wandered across the Thames and along the South Bank (wondering where all the people came from, turns out it was the Thames Festival, not just people from Iknit) and then went for a meal before heading home.

I arranged the yarn on the train seat, partly because I wanted to admire it and take a photo of it, and partly to stop anyone else sitting there (!!) but the OH seemed to think this was embarrassing behaviour. Can't think why.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Lincoln adventures

Well, now I've calmed down a bit from the BIG Lincoln adventure - the getting engaged bit of it, which was definitely the MOST exciting part. And got fed up with answering questions about dates (no idea), wedding dresses (don't care, but I do want to knit a shawl), where it's going to be (not in Lincoln) etc, it's time to blog about the other bits of the Lincoln adventure. Thank you for all the comments on my previous blog post - I think that was a record number received! I *think* I've managed to reply to everyone I had an email address or a blog address for.

Ever been back to the place where you grew up, and viewed it as a tourist? This visit to Lincoln was a bit like that. We did lots of things I'd never have done on my own, like wandering up to have a look at the cathedral at night.

And wandering around Castle Square. And going for a drink in one of the pubs around there - can you believe I've never done that? I didn't go to secondary school in Lincoln, so I've never really socialized there at all, despite living there for about two thirds of my life.

One day we went round the Castle, something I haven't done since I was a kid. This is the cathedral from the top of the Observatory Tower.

And the view from the entrance turret into the castle, with the Crown Court in the centre and the old prison buildings to the left.

Another day we went round the medieval Bishops' Palace, again, something I haven't done since I was extremely small. There was more to it than I remembered, and it was once an incredibly important building, bearing in mind that Lincoln diocese, until the mid-19th century, stretched all the way down to the banks of the Thames, close to where I'm living now.

Above is looking up what was a hallway towards the entrance tower, with the cathedral in the background. Below is the inside of the Lower East Hall, at ground floor level, which was built between 1186 and 1200.

Another trip we made was to Belton House, near Grantham, which is where some of the BBC Pride & Prejudice was filmed (Belton starred as Rosings Park) and is also where I once worked. I actually got the phone call inviting me to the interview for my current job whilst standing in the cupola on the roof here - the only place I could get mobile phone reception!

The OH enjoyed all this immensely - he'd never been to Lincoln before and is even more history-obsessed than I am so he had a whale of a time. This is him looking at the fountain at Belton. We also enjoyed visiting Jew's Court in Lincoln, where the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology have a bookshop stocking loads of local history.

Another view of Belton, the lake, which was always a little bit too far away to reach on a lunchtime walk!

And the Arboretum, where we went for several walks.

Oh, and on the way back from Belton we had a slight run-in with a 4x4 after a moped appeared out of nowhere at a junction and I couldn't stop in time. If we'd hit a normal car nothing worse than a dented bumper would have resulted, but as it was a 4x4 Oxo's radiator was punctured by its tow bar, the bonnet and bumper damaged and the number plate smashed. And we hit at less than 5mph as the airbags and seat belt locks didn't activate! Poor Oxo had to be loaded onto a truck and returned without us to Staines (we still haven't got her back from the garage over two weeks later!) and my Mum had to transport us south the next day with all of our stuff. A bit of a pants end to a lovely holiday.

We've managed quite successfully without a car for the last two weeks. Fortunately we both go to work on the train, and there's a supermarket within walking distance, and my church is only 15 minutes walk away. But it will be nice to have her back again!

I'm off to Cambridge for some of next week, attending a conference, so not sure when I'll next be posting. And next Saturday is the Iknit Weekender!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shiny sparkly

Just got back from a week in Lincoln with some exciting news - the OH proposed whilst we were away and I accepted!

It was all very exciting and very romantic. Unbeknown to me he spent some time thinking about the best place in which to propose and when we went into Lincoln Cathedral on Monday evening he waited until all the tourists (and my Mum) had disappeared from the cloisters, before getting down on one knee and proposing!

He couldn't actually have chosen a better place - not only is the cathedral a really special place for me, but he also proposed underneath the Wren Library, which is where I decided on my rare books librarian career (which led to me meeting him) whilst doing work experience aged 15!

The ring was his grandmother's and is absolutely beautiful. And also fits me perfectly!

I will post more soon but thought I'd post the exciting bit now!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cuddly yarn

See, person in recovery from swine flu experiences a rapid easing of the symptoms on receiving 15 balls of yarn in the post. And also starts wearing a slightly silly grin.

Thanks to the sale at Celticove these did actually arrive a fortnight ago when I'd just gone back to work after swine flu and was totally out of umph. They really helped to cheer me up. 15 balls of Mirasol Sulka in sage (which is actually green, even though it looks blue in the photo below). It is SO gorgeous and soft and cuddly. I think I want to make Lima from the Mirasol first collection with them, but as I've got various other projects started now that won't be just yet.

I've finished off Suri (also from Mirasol book one) and the OH photographed me wearing it. The knitting isn't wonky, it's my shoulders, they always come out wonky in photographs.

I loved this yarn (Mirasol Hacho), it's very soft and squishy, and the way the pattern came out. It was easy to remember but more interesting than just doing plain stocking stitch!

During my swine flu recovery we visited Ham House one Saturday. We took the train to Richmond and walked along the Thames to the house about a mile and a half away.

The house itself is beautiful but there was something we couldn't quite put our finger on. We had lunch in the Orangery restaurant in the gardens, then went round the house.

before heading off towards the shop. Where we saw a large pile of DVDs on sale. Of course, this was "Kensington Palace" in the Young Victoria film, which we'd only just watched. No wonder it all looked very familiar. When I got back home I discovered that Yarnstorm had also just been there too.

By the time we'd been round the house I was getting rather tired so we had to get the bus back to Richmond before getting the train home!

I have some new commuting knitting started.

Don't worry, I didn't accost a total stranger and demand to have my photo taken on the train. My OH caught the same train to work as me one day so I got him to take it! Look at all the empty seats - plenty of room for knitters! These are the Sunday Swing socks from Knitty, and I'm actually using the yarn in the pattern - Lorna's Laces, as I had some in my stash. The colourway is "Valentine" and it's been hanging around in my stash for at least three years now. The groovy needles are my Knitpicks DPNs bought at Get Knitted back in May. And I LOVE them.

I've also started another project to knit at home. Narvik, from Rowan 42 - I bought the yarn at Get Knitted last year when I did the learn to crochet course. The yarn is Rowan Cocoon, another beautifully soft, cuddly yarn, although it does tend to "fluff" everything it comes into contact with.

I won't be around for a bit and I won't be reading blogs for about 10 days now as the OH and I have got a week off work to go up to Lincoln. He'll be meeting my Mum and we'll also be putting my house on the market whilst we're up there, but we should get some time to relax and do some touristy things too! And if you know anyone who wants to buy a house in Newark do let me know...