Monday, August 23, 2010

Sorting out the stash

Being a good librarian I decided to re-classify my stash. It was originally stored according to cotton, wool, acrylic and oddments but had long since outgrown this, combined with my Ravelry tags for it which date from when I was living in two different places so I still have yarn labelled "Slough" and "Lincoln" on Ravelry! This was very frustrating to my librarian brain, plus I could never remember where anything was and had forgotten I'd got some stuff. So I got the whole lot out and, with some assistance from Monkey, spread it out on the spare bed. This is the 4ply pile, verging into laceweight at one side:

I've divided it into laceweight, 4ply, DK, aran and chunky, plus an oddments box and it now looks a lot better! And it all fits into one wardrobe...

And it made me feel all inspired to start even more projects. I haven't indulged myself. Yet.

The two projects I have got on the go are coming along nicely. I've nearly finished the first Owen sock. I was going to keep going until I'd used up half the yarn but, after weighing it on the kitchen scales (cue very funny look from the OH) I'm nowhere near that point and don't really want them going much further up my legs! More piccies on Ravelry.

I have also been flaunting the Owen socks on the train as I totally freaked out a couple of men having a very dull conversation about sales targets on the train to work last week. They kept getting distracted by my knitting. In fact, they couldn't take their eyes off it.

And I've finished the front and back of a nephew's Christmas jumper and used the three-needle-bind-off to join the shoulder seams. I've also finished both sleeves so just the hood and a whole other jumper for the other nephew to go now. Heck, it's still August anyway. Oodles of time.

The goodies I ordered at Knit Nation arrived - a matching set of Babylonglegs sock yarn and Vampire on the bus knitting bag from Nicsknots! Aren't they cool?

Yet another colleague had a birthday so I made a chocolate beetroot cake this time. Then forgot to take a picture of it at home so had to take one with my mobile at work! Chocolate beetroot cake is highly recommended, not only is it very tasty, but it's also obviously incredibly healthy as it has vegetables in. We'll ignore the sugar, butter, chocolate etc. Ignore the array of biscuits behind the cake. Another colleague had just returned from holiday and it's obligatory to bring biscuits back from holiday in our department.

And the rose project is continuing apace. All six seeds germinated and have now been potted on into individual pots with seed compost in!

That's it for now. I was going to write up a couple of book reviews too but this is already going to be lengthy. I'll save them for another post.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The rose project

One of our wedding presents was some named rose seeds so with some trepidation we followed the instructions and planted them, and crossed our fingers some would come up. We had six seeds and the instructions were to plant them in a tray of vermiculite and keep moist and between 20 and 23°C (how do you manage to keep the temperature that exact during a British summer?!).

Vermiculite looks worryingly like cat litter! Nothing much happened indoors so we decided to give up on the temperature thing and moved it outside, keeping our fingers crossed again that no local cats would decide to investigate the new toilet facilities. Lo and behold, a seedling emerged within a few days!

Closely followed by four more!

I will post more pictures soon once the seedlings are a bit bigger. We also constructed this over the weekend. A cold frame for my cuttings to go in and to help things acclimatize to outside temperatures - bought in the Lakeland sale.

And some of the free bulbs I got have been flowering. This gladioli is one of my favourites:

 Oh, and I came home from work and discovered the OH had bought me some SHEEP socks. Isn't he sweet?!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Knitting and baking, a bit of reading and some TV

I finally finished Thermal last month, but haven't blogged about it yet. This was my long term project intended to keep me going through house-building-work, moving house and wedding preparations, and it certainly did the trick!

The yarn is unknown 4ply probably wool that I bought way back on Skip North. There's still loads left, so I could have made it longer - I didn't dare when I started off as I thought I might run out as I had no idea of the yardage! I'm really pleased with how it's turned out (ignore dreadful photo of me above with the usual wonky shoulders) and think it will be a useful top.

I have started a couple of new projects. I had this overwhelming urge to get knitting and felt all inspired - which I hadn't felt for ages, probably as a result of just having one project on the go for so long! This yarn was given to us as part of a wedding present, it's Five Moons Selene in the "it's a jungle" colourway and it's gorgeous and soft as it's a merino and bamboo mixture.

And I've got a bit of a thing about cables going at the moment (my other project is the cabled jumper for a nephew) so I chose Tabitha's Owen sock pattern. The cables are big enough to show up well with a variegated yarn, as you can see below. And I love the way the pooling gets broken up by the cables. It's been a while since I did toe-up socks but I wanted to get the most out of this gorgeous yarn so it seemed sensible! It's also a great pattern for in front of the TV or on a train as there is one round where you have to be careful for the cable, but the rest is very easy to remember.

Otherwise I've been busy gardening, baking and reading. I've made a couple of cakes for colleagues' birthdays, the Victoria sponge nearly didn't last much longer after the OH spotted it through the hatch between the kitchen and the living room!

Reading-wise I read Edith Wharton's The house of mirth for reading group in July, which proved to be an interesting choice, especially immediately after getting married! After spending most of the book being puzzled about what it's got to do with mirth (it's not exactly, erm, mirthful), and not doing something sensible like looking it up on Librarything, I discovered that everyone else at reading group had a different edition, and that edition included an helpful introduction which included an explanation of the title! It comes from the Bible - Ecclesiastes 7: 4 - "The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth." That makes a whole lot more sense! The book follows Lily, who is basically on the shelf at the age of 29 and becoming increasingly desperate to assure her place in society by getting married to some suitable man. Whereas she was once at the centre of society she is now heading to its outer edges. She does love a man, but he isn't really in the right class so not an option. The society revolves around the social niceties and not putting a foot wrong. Lily slowly sinks further and further. At times I got very frustrated with her - why didn't she just get a job and support herself? - kept creeping into my mind. But it does become clear that she was never brought up with any idea of having to do that and has no skills or talents other than being an ornament. It is hard to identify with her as she is SO far removed from the world we're in now, but it's only 100 or so years ago (first published in 1905)! It also made me very glad that I do live now, especially with the life parallels, having just got married!

And, as there isn't anything at all on TV worth watching at the moment (other than the rather good Rev, which I've really enjoyed), we've been working our way through some DVDs of Rome, which I managed to miss when it was broadcast on TV. What exactly was I doing between 2005 and 2007 to miss it?!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Knit Nation

Saturday meant a visit to Knit Nation at Imperial College. After much cogitation about my ability to get up and into central London for a 9am class (the OH and I both agreed that this was an unlikely scenario) I decided just to get a marketplace ticket. In the end I'm glad I did, as I wouldn't have made it in for a morning class - I only just made it into London for lunchtime and it meant I had plenty of time to look round the marketplace and chat with the pleasantly large number of people I knew. This is one side of the marketplace room.

Babylonglegs and Nicsknots were sharing a stand with Woolly Wormhead and Atomic Knitting, which gave me lots of people to talk to. I also kept bumping into Nickerjac on that side of the room. As well as various other people! And I know there were some who were there who I missed in the crowds.

I was tempted by a copy of "Twisted Woolly Toppers" from Woolly Wormhead, as well as a Big Button from Babylonglegs. And I bought something else too, but it's an order so I have to wait with great excitement for it to arrive in the post.

Round the corner we came across the Wollmeise stand, which was heaving with people when I first saw it. We went back later on when it was quieter so I could take a photo of the pretty pretty yarn colours.

And the gorgeous laceweight in big baskets. I was very tempted by the laceweight too, I've hardly ever bought any before and I never seem to see it in yarn shops, although I've seen loads online.

So I bought a 300g skein of the laceweight. Not sure whether it will be lace or something else yet, but it's very pretty.

Imperial has a lawn outside the library where we could go and sit and knit. The library also had a café with the biggest pain au chocolat I've ever seen. I think all libraries should have cafés with pain au chocolat in. The library I work in doesn't even have anything to sit on during coffee breaks. Not that I mind sitting on the floor, but as I advance forwards into old age I'm sure my creaking joints won't want to be on the floor.

Obviously some Imperial students are so desperate to get into the library that they plunge through the flowerbeds en route:

It would really take some effort to get through that flowerbed.
I spent most of the afternoon with Penny, who I hadn't seen since the wedding, doing some knitting outside with cups of tea. It was a little windy, which resulted in me having a fantastically Bad Hair Day. Penny had also brought the next two Maggie Sefton knitting mysteries for me to borrow!

And a final purchase, from Krafty Koala, where I found some gorgeous purple sock yarn in the sale bin!

So, all in all, a really enjoyable day (I then met up with the OH and we went out to dinner before heading back to Staines). I'm glad I didn't do a class in the end, as I'd have had trouble fitting it in, and wouldn't have had as much time to talk to people and wander round the marketplace as I did.