Thursday, 30 December 2010

Have I fallen off the deepend?

Save Meeee
This is the question I am asking myself. Jess the cat from Postman Pat has it right someone save me from myself. I was going meh about doing socks but still wanted to do at least one pair a month to sort myself out with socks.  As my good friend MMMC  recently observed with knickers you always seem to be short of them. Well in my household I have some sock thieves and the main offender is about 14 and has a real thing for stealing his mother's socks. I am so glad that neither kid fits my knickers or they would be at risk as well. I lose enough clothing to both of them that it is not funny.  Hello daughter that was my new coat etc  fill the blank (YKWIM). I even started to get organised to set myself up a self imposed sock club knitting project ala yarnharlot with a bunch of other ravellers.

Pattern: Haruni 
In the mean time, I resigned up for 11 shawls in 2011 group who are continuing the 10 in 2010 shawl challenge cause I have so many shawl patterns in my knitting pattern queue and yes now that I have conquered lace I have been bitten by the lace bug. My knitting queue is longer that my estimated life span but hey ho that is the breaks. I am hoping that shawl projects will help my pressie stash and to get some of my yarn stash back under control.  It would also help with the odd job issues and the need to do some xmas pressies (member of the xmas list knitters as well). I was even a good little knitter and finished up a new citron shawl, Limoncello, that I started on Boxing day for the next year which is currently blocking so I will get photos when I get the combo of light and model in the same place and time.

A Belfry
But then then some insane idiot known as Puddytatpurr mentioned something about the A to Z KAL. After a bit of fishing on Ravelry I found that there were a bunch of insane individuals in the UK sock knitters group who are going to attempt to knit 26 patterns matching the alphabet over the period of a year. Yes that is a pair of socks every two weeks. While I have the 26 patterns, I am full aware that I have absolutely nope hope in the time space continuum that is my life to do all of them. This KAL recognises that life happens so you can dip in and out. I know that there some other insane fools like Wyndwitch who are also attempting this one so I am not alone in my insanity.

So the plan challenge wise for 2011 is:
  • 11 shawls in 2011
  • Self imposed sock club
  • Stash down -  get that stash down to a manageable size
  • A-Z sock KAL 
  • Xmas List knitting
  • Odds and ends clean up including finishing up some outstanding creative projects
So it appears that somehow I have managed to create my own 52 projects in 52 weeks and I am totally insane because my projects are not small scale easy to complete tasks. I admit that there are several brick short in my bbq and I have bats flying round in my belfry.  

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

End of Year Review looking for ideas

Each year I like to challenge myself creatively and it is that time of year again to identify the challenge for the next year. In 2009, I did the 52 things in 52 weeks challenge. This year I did the 10 shawls in 12 months challenge. I sort of did all of the lace shawls in about 6 months. I learnt to spin and I now have two wheels so that long held challenge has been done and dusted in 2010. All in all I would say that this year has been very successful and I have certainly developed in my skills and knowledge. I still have a long way to go but I am not scared of lace anymore. I even competed in my first Tour de Fleece and of course the Winter knitting Olympics in February.

I am looking for ideas for 2011 as I am sort of wondering where do I go next challenge-wise? Hubby suggested that I do a small project a week or a pair of socks per month and I sort of went been there done that. I can see why he said socks as I need some but I am sort not a regular sock knitter as they are filler projects for me between others a bit like that book you have in bag that you have read several times but keep it there to be occupied when you have a long wait. In November, I brought "The Knitter's Year" by Debbie Bliss which while a lovely pattern book there are several projects in there I would never knit cause it just ain't me and I have already done the 52 projects in 52 weeks before in 2009. I am also a bit of a flippy giblet who has the attention span of a gnat so doing one project per week out of this book would just be too constraining for me.

One thing I would like to do is reduce my stash a bit as I like to keep it to one plastic container. I also want to spend more time in my coal shed / bunker. I have some fabric stash that I want to use up. I also want to be more prepared and get some spare pressies in the cupboard for emergencies cause my backups have all been used this Christmas. I have already started to address this with some shawl knitting for Xmas next year. I think no matter what I will be doing I will have to do a Xmas pressie per month so I have enough pressies in the cupboard but hopefully spacing them out with other items will help relieve some of the xmas knitting boredom that could occur. This year may be the year of the Odd Jobs ie finishing up a load of Odd Jobs round the house to help make the place more homey.

Any Suggestions out there?

Monday, 27 December 2010

We Made it

Well we made it through Xmas.  As some may know the Hubby & I survived Cyclone Tracy in 1974.  J was evacuated out and I was kept in the rubble with my Mum.   Mum was very persuasive with the army when she fired a warning shot  announcing that
  1. she would consider them as looters
  2. she was essential staff for reconstruction and recovery 
  3. she was armed and therefore was not going to be forcibly evacuated. 

Christmas while a great family holiday for many; for us as parents can be very very stressful not only with the demands of children, extended families, work and other commitments. Please take the time to remember those who do not have their families and are less fortunate than you.

If you have a chance remember others who still need our help at this time of year.   The 2004 Tsunami survivors still need help and so do the 2010 Haiti Earthquake victims please give something to the various charities such as MSF who are trying to assist with the on going issues these locations.   It took Darwin almost 20 years to recover after Tracy the Tsunami countries still have missing infrastructure such as water supplies.

If you are a knitter please consider Knitters without Borders / Tricoteuses Sans Frontières  or if you are in the UK please consider Pennies per hour of pleasure (P/HOP).

Wishing you all safe and well.

Friday, 24 December 2010


‘Twas the night before Christmas and all around me 
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree. 
The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care 
‘cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds 
but I had not finished the caps for their heads. 
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all, 
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 
I put down my needles to see what was the matter. 
Away to the window, I flew like a flash, 
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow 
Reminded me how much I still had to go. 
Out on my lawn, I heard such a noise, 
I thought it would wake both dad and the boys.
And though I was tired, my brain was a bit thick, 
I knew in a moment, it must be Saint Nick. 
But what I heard then left me perplexed-ed, 
For not a name I heard was what I had expected
“move, Ashford; move, Lopi; move, Addie and Clover Move, Reynolds; 
move, Starmore; move, Fraylic--move over” 
“Paton, don’t circle round; stand in line. 
Come now, you sheep wool work just fine! 
I know this is hard semi, it’s just your first year, 
I’d hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer.”
I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing, 
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a’grazing. 
And then, in a twinkle, I heard at the door 
Santa’s feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet, 
And as I turned round, Saint Nick, I did meet. 
He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe 
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back, 
and his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack. 
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace, 
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf round his neck could have stretched for a mile, 
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle. 
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable, 
And suddenly on one I spied a small label.
SC was duplicate stitched on the cuff, 
and I asked “Hey Nick, did you knit all this stuff?” 
He proudly replied “Ho-ho-ho, yes I did, I learned how to knit when I was a kid.”
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man, 
And I laughed to myself for I’d thought up a plan,. 
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air, 
And the next thing he knew he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap 
Where I’d laid my needles and yarn for a cap. 
He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two; 
For the first time I thought I’d really get through.
He put heels on the stockings and toes in some socks 
While I sat back drinking Scotch on the rocks!! 
So quickly like magic, his needles they flew, 
That he was all finished by quarter to two. 
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free, 
And over his shoulder he looked back at me. 
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon 
“Next year start your knitting sometime around June!”
Author unknown

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Lunar Eclipse

Start of Lunar Eclipse last night
Well we have had some very hard winter weather here in Lancashire starting with almost 2 foot of snow on Friday night.  Normally we are sheltered by the Irish Sea but we got some of the spin off what hit Ireland and landed 30 inches of snow in some places. We have had some snow here before in the last couple of years but generally it is just a quick splash and that is it.  This time we has 12 continuous hours of snow fall. Over the weekend we got daytime temperatures topping out at -10C. Such lovely weather. It has been the perfect weather for sitting at home and knitting but unfortunately I have had to do some university work and paid work so I have been tap tap tapping away on the keyboard.  

I trudged into LJMU today taking 2 hours to do the normal 45 minute commute to have student after student cancel after I had got in there. At least the hubby and I had lunch together in peace for the first time in ages before we turned around to make the 2 hour commute home. 

The downside of the weather has been the effect on my sleep pattern but the upside has been I got a lovely view of the lunar eclipse this morning.

So take care all, may you all have a lovely Christmas and Yule time and I will probably not be posting again until the new year.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Happy St Nickolaos the Wonderworker

St Nicholas or St Nickolaos day is the 6th of December and many around the world celebrate this in conjunction with Christmas. I have some Germanic or Northern European ancestors in the family so I was brought up with St Nicholas and Zwarte Piet. While it is not a politically correct story I do like the idea of leaving sticks for the beating of bad children.  We used to get given a bag of gold chocolate coins if we were good on this day. We could of got the tradition from the Scottish part of the family as there is an association with St Nicholas on the North East coast due to the fishing industry.

Now living in Liverpool I am surprised about the lack of recognition that they make for their patron saint, yeap he is the patron saint for the city. St Nick is the patron of sailors and with Liverpool's history as a maritime town you think there would be more of a hoopla.  

So today we will be having ginger biscuits with our coffee and I will sending a little prayer his way cause I certainly need it. St Nick is also the patron of students and this student most certainly needs some divine help with the amount of writing she has to do in the next week or so. I also need his help with getting some of the Christmas stuff done.  Knitting wise I am so behind it is just not funny so I just dont want some sticks for a beating from Zwarte Piet rather some extra help with everything I need to get done this week.  I need St Nick the wonderworker badly.  I hope you all get gifts you want rather than piece of coal and swatch of sticks.

Friday, 3 December 2010

You know it is cold when

Your milk delivery is frozen solid in the glass bottle.  We have only have had a light dusting of snow much to the chagrin of the children who have been plugging for a snow day. We have had temps in the range of -8C to -10C on a couple of nights and some of the day time temps have been below 0C.  It made it to 1C yesterday. At the moment we are hovering at about -2.54C and I am feeling particularly sorry for the milk man who is dropping off bottles of milk from his electric milk float. He would not be able to deliveries if we were getting the snow that Kent and Surrey is.  

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Another Dear Santa

Dear Santa

Yet another late Christmas letter cause I am a totally disorganised bugger who has failed at Motherhood 101 yet again. I failed last year when I sent the begging letter and you could of helped out more cause many of the same requests are on this year's letter.

Could you lend me a team of your elves for the next 12 months as I still have a long list which are very similar to last year's request?

If the elves come they can help me with the following:
  1. Find the floor of my children’s bed rooms
  2. Do the house work that I am so behind with
  3. Help me to clean up the house and put everything away in an organised manner so I can find things when I am looking for them.
  4. Select, shop or make and then wrap the Christmas presents
  5. Make the Christmas cake and plum pudding that I normally do in the October half term and  for the second year in a row did not do cause I was totally disorganised in this case too busy earning dosh to pay the household bills which was better than last year with the lergy.
  6. I still need the attitude adjustment from last year cause I yet again giving the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge a run for their money in the Bah humbug stakes.
  7. Let the family understand that I am going to decorate with yarn on Xmas Eve cause I can not find be arsed  to locate the Christmas ornaments  (again) and no I wont be putting our tree up on Xmas Eve. See I am a little bit of traditionalist and I do maintain the 12 days of Christmas. No I am not going to change my mind I have not in the last 20+ years we have been living together J so it aint going to be happening this year.
  8. Give me enough breathing room so I can actually retain some of brain functions or is that a semi balanced mental state and not keep losing personal items such as car keys, work passes, purses, eye glasses and diary due to being stressed out to the max which causes a complete loop failure in my working memory.
  9. I need a time turner gadget like Hermione has in the Harry Potter books cause I am so behind in my xmas knitting that I need to distort the time continuum. If not Hermione's gadget the Tardus would do.
  10. Can we have some peace in our world but I would settle for some calm in our household were we are not lurching from one crisis to another.
Yes I have started to turning into that deranged mother and wife, who is terrorising her family and the rest of the community with her continual emotional meltdowns which are now on looped repeat. Yes I am doing my role play as an inpatient at the local maximum security psychiatric hospital and I am sure people are starting to talk about my tick.

Bah humbug


Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Oh it is shiney.

When I finally came through the front door this evening after leaving the house some 18 hours earlier I reminded my dearly beloved that it was a bad bad thing to let me loose any where near a yarn provider when I had craptastic work day when he commented on the additional parcels I had under my arm. The instinct to comfort shop hits me especially when the yarn pusher has something in one of my favourite jewel colours in one of my favourite yarn brands and at half price.

I can not say what this yarn is for but... but ... but I just had to have the soft pretty 50% silk and 50% merino wool yarn. It is soft and slinky and I have enough meterage for a garment. I was good in one way cause I could have come home with another three packets but naughty in another as I have enough yarn in my stash to last me at least a year not including the amount of fibre I have to spin into yarn. I really don't like having my stash box over flowing as I try to be reasonable about my addiction. This year since I have taken up spinning I have had to add another plastic box to store my fibre and fleece issues (4 fleeces from Scotland) so I have been trying to maintain my stash addiction at a semi-reasonable level.  Well what I consider reasonable for me.  I have tried to limit my yarn to one plastic crate since I have completely failed in the past with fabric.

The coal bunker stash
My failure of managing the fabric stash can be seen in the picture above of the coal bunker stash cupboard. Two large plastic crates live in that space behind the chair is normally where I keep my yarn and fibre stashes.  I probably should not have told you that considering some of the yarnies I know who know where I live.  

Monday, 29 November 2010

Mini NaNoWriMo in academic writing

The weather has got colder and since Friday I have done over 27,000 words in academic writing. I am now knackered out. Daughter you have well and truly been supported and I just have to get through one more day of NaNoWriMo. I have just got to survive tomorrow and a couple of tough gigs at work and then we can say this month has been done and dusted.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Mini NaNoWriMo

Daughter made her word count and is heading towards 70,000 words again this year. At least this year it was not 70,000 words over a weekend. I have been doing NaBloPoMo this month to support her. This weekend though I have been very busy with work and assignments. I have had to do some assignment work.  This weekend I have a goal of 14,000 words. After 7 hours work on Saturday I am at the 8,000 word mark. I have to get cracking today. 6,000 on assignment plus probably another 4,000 in other work tasks. So it will be definitely be a day of head down and typing at a great speed of knots.

Running like a duck swimming

With all this work on I am bit like a duck swimming at full pelt.  My little feet will be going like the clappers as I glide through the assignment and work tasks.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

All hale our Hero

Tyson the wonderful mouser
We have had a suspicion for a while that we had some vermin who had joined us in the kitchen. A couple of traps were laid but no luck. During the last week the dog kept going on alert in the kitchen and today he struck. One mouse became cactus and he duly trotted out and presented it to us. Nice and neat with a clean break to the neck. It looks he has been learning from the old girl Furzy the cat was very proud of him.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Frosty Friday

Frosty footpath and road (last year)
We have had a very cold night last night and this morning it is a balmy -4C at 5am.  There as been a light dusting of snow but I expect that to melt as soon as the sun actually hits it but that will sometime after 9am long after I have gone to work.  The kids are still hoping for snow day sorry that is not going to happen today.

Knitting wise the Ruby Ruby is sitting and looking at me with pleading brown eyes saying "pick me up, you know you want to knit".  Sorry I have to do a couple of thousand words first.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

It is the start of the Christmas manic panic

You know it is almost Christmas when the kids start doing the count down and the number of days is under 40 to be specific. Happy Thanksgiving for those in the USA. Both the Ry and Rh have started their campaigns for Christmas.  Ry reminded me that it is exactly a month today to Christmas, typical girl.  I was just looking at the work load, study assignments, parent tasks like parent teacher evening, the knitting present list, Christmas task list and making the conclusion that sleep will be an optional extra for the next couple of weeks.
Wish I was driving this little car.
I have to write a 4,000 word assignment in the next couple of days in between supporting someone who has to write about 10,000 words on the PhD discussion before they fly home to visit their family. So while I am driving a keyboard I wish I was  doing a road trip in the little classic citron like the photo above which was taken on a Driving holiday through Belgium. I will be glad when this month is over but I have several tight deadlines before the end of the month. Daughter has passed the 50,000 word count for her NaNoWriMo and I have been a goody two shoes for the last couple of weeks with my daily posts.  See yah I am off to read a couple of articles and write my first five hundred words.  See how I do it I break it down into manageable chunks.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A chance of snow

This week we have a chance of snow. Driving home from knit night last night there was ice on the roads to the point there was a serious accident and a police redirection. The gritters were out in one district so their roads were covered but my local district has only sent the gritters out this morning. Not much help to those who have to go to work early.

Kids are hoping for a snow day
 like last year.
From the various weather reports we could have a deep flurry come Thursday through to Sunday. Both the kids are watching the sky and the weather reports with the thrilling hope of another snow day like last year. It is cold enough for everyone to be looking for all their hand knit items. Daughter it is probably on your floor. Yeap she is doing that teenage thing at the moment where her floor is her cupboard. The downside is the son is now replicating his sister's habit.  We officially have two teenagers and I just don't go into their rooms so I don't freak out at the mess.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Road to Scotland

A dear member of our Tuesday knit night is leaving Liverpool and heading back north to Scotland. Hubby has won a great job there and they needed to go as it was an oppertunity for them. So tonight we said bye bye to Scottish Anne.

You take the road to Scotland...
We will see her when she comes down to visit the hubby's family and I am pretty sure she will have visitors up in Scotland.

Monday, 22 November 2010

A welcoming light

When it is dark when you leave for work and dark when you get home it is so nice to see a welcoming light.

St Margen Nativity Scene 2007
The wood carvers of the Black Forest region create wonderful items. I have admired the various Nativity sets that I saw when we visited there but we are not made of funds.  Tonight I was the first home so there was no light on.  It is now and hopefully as the rest of the family comes home the light welcomes them home on this cold blustery night.

At the moment knitting wise I am working on the Ruby Ruby while the elbow protector is still in the time out corner work basket.  I ended up swapping the pattern of the Ruby Ruby Ruby project to a sideways gilet by La Droguerie.  Hopefully this gilet will give me a little je ne sais quoi.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


A peaceful scene
A peaceful scene is not something that we have had in the last couple of weeks due to the drama of life, work commitments and a lack of ability to distort time and space. Unlike Doctor Who I do not have the ability to bend temporal continuum or the time space vortex.  Today was a case of knuckling down to do all the boring chores so I will leave you with a peaceful scene which we have not had for quiet a while in this household.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Rerun Saturday

Today was one of those days were you watch reruns and snuggle up in the doona (Australian for duvet) to avoid the cold, foggy day. DH had to work today so I was home with the kids. The boyo went out with his friends to the pictures while daughter stayed home NaNoWriMo-ing. Since it was just us girlies we watched a couple of chick flick reruns.
Ruby Ruby Yarn
I love the colour and feel of this yarn but I have not had much success with this Ruby Red version that I have in my stash. I have made a Komon cardigan by Vicki Square in it and frogged it back twice cause I just was not happy with the final garment. Loved the pattern texture but the garment just did not work for me. I had blocked it and still I felt very disappointed in it so the last attempt was tossed into the time out zone while I worked out what I was going to do.

Since I was watching rerun movies I frogged it again back into skeins, dampened then to relax the knitting kinks out of it. This time I decided that while keeping the work cardi idea in my head I would look for another pattern and use it. Part of the problem I have had and why it sat in time out for so long is that I have only so many skeins of the dye lot and I would not have enough to do a long sleeved version.

The elbow protector may become an actual elbow protector. I have started the toe decreases twice and stuffed it up twice. I have had to rip it back twice so you can see I am seriously having a rerun day. The elbow protector is in the time out basket so I don't do a serious hissy fit with it.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Thank God/ Goddess or Sacred Spirits it is Friday

What ever divine being/s there is in this world I am thanking her/him/it/whatever cause it is Friday. It has been another one of those weeks  for so many with the inclement weather and the dramas of our individual lives.

Life has been a bit of a sinking ship.
But the thought of the weekend and getting some space has made me think about the bright side of life and the fact it wont be that long to spring and summer. Yes I am starting to count the days to the warmer weather.

Summer Calm
I am using positive thinking here we only have to get through the next 6 weeks and then the day light will start to be longer. The elbow protector from the Quacks is almost up to the toe section but I just need some concentration enough for straight stockinette.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Mainstream media making foobars

In the last couple of weeks we have had some mainstream media foobars. The NY Times decided to run an editorial which insulted participants in NaNoWriMo and then decided to have a sideswipe at knitting and knitters in particular those who participate in NaKniSweMo. Excuse me this event is encouraging people to write and then dripping your disdain you poke at the participants. Reality check without a writing gig the author of this editorial would not have a pay check

The tone of the editor indicates that participants in NaNoWriMo are laughable. Excuse me my daughter participates in NaNoWriMo she has been quiet successful in fan fiction and she is only 16. This is not her first NaNoWriMo and she wants to go on an be a writer when she leaves education but she acknowledges that she will have to find another job to fund her writing.  She has already flicked journalism to the side lines cause of hacks like this editorial. Check your facts. I would suggest they visit Shannon aka knitgrrl blog for some details and the response from knitters and writers to this editorial.

Then The Huffington Post in an article on the 9th November decided to class Ravelry which has 1,000,000, yes 1 million, users as one of the strangest Social Networks. To add salt to the wound Rob Fishman from this site goes on MSNBC to again throw his disdain about again about handcrafting as being a bizarre act. Think about 1,000,000 knitters armed with knitting needles getting a chance to express their disdain for the attitudes expressed.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A day at the Quacks and is that an elbow protector?

Doing this NaBloPoMo blog post thing every day for a month is very hard as I look at our life and think it is very very mundane.  We get up, we go to work and we come home. So I am going to do a boring post today about the trip to the Quacks also known in non Australian English as the Doctors Surgery.

Every so often, about every six months, I get to spend the day at the Quacks.  There are some days that you want to stay at home in the warm and dry, and today is one of those days it has certainly been a lovely day for the ducks puddle wise but even they are hiding away due to the cold blustery wind that cuts through you.  I thought since I have had real problems with the knitting for the last couple of months that I would take my boring don't need to think sock knitting with me.

Didn't I manage to create a stir while waiting between the various appointments with the vampire (phlebotomy nurse), asthma nurse and GP.  Even the student docs were surprised about someone knitting a sock.  Dont you just love being the entertainment in the doctors' surgery  Ok I admit that I am using a small circular (9" long Hiya Hiya which I scored at fibre flurry) and knitting is not the norm for someone of my age according to the general population but when I can quote the age of the magazines in the waiting room and the potential number of germs that they may have collected you can understand why I needed something as I waited the 30+ minutes between each appointment.  The youngest magazine was 2004 and I won't gross you out with the potential number of germ infections.  Is knitting really that odd an activity when you are waiting around?  

I was asked was I knitting for a new arrival and when was I due.  Sorry I know I am plus sized but I did not know knitting was a special social marker that indicated I was expecting.  Plus my fat does not even make me look like I am preggers.  It got me thinking as I was listening to the same CD of music for the fourth time (they had some delays) that thank god I do knit or I could have been going nuts in the waiting room to the point that they ship me down the road to the local high secure unit.

The best comment of the day came from an about four year old who asked if I was knitting an elbow protector.  Considering how active this little one was and the number of tumbles he had while mum and new sibling were waiting for the district nurse appointment I could see how he could need one or two elbow protectors, shin guards and a crash helmet for his noggin.  So my sock could be an elbow protector which makes it slightly more interesting than a standard stockingette stitch sock in size 9 for the boof (buffalo sized) foot.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The complete gall

It appears that the knit camp dis-organiser has recovered. Some miracle there who has done a cure for you.  Would you like to share the name of your miracle worker? I am sure suklycat and I would be most appreciative of a miracle cure.

I am absolutely spitting chips this woman who has screwed staff and tutors over a large amount of money is back in business. We are talking tens of thousands. Hello how can she still be operating?? What planet are we on if this sort of bad trader is still getting away this crap? Get your pitch forks out cause I most certainly be protesting about this. Guess what ebay complaints about this trader will be made? Paypal?

What about an apology to all people and organisations you have screwed over then?  Are you going to pay them from your sales on ebay???  Do the people on Ebay realise that they have been very fortunate to have a "nice smooth transaction"?  So many of us, yarnies, have experienced transactions which were definitely not smooth or super fast.

I am so galled that she even thinks that she can continue to trade and use her website which was off line for a while with a please note the mobile phone number is no longer in use message.  How can this woman even think she can continue on her merry way and not do any sort of restitution?

Come on Karma! It is time we stop being polite and nice brits and bite back hard.

Gossip!!! New Flash

There is going to be royal wedding next year. Prince William and Kate Middleton are finally going to get hitched. I can see all the collectors tat coming out and I am already sick of the news coverage.

Some cheery news while it is a very horrible cold day here in Lancashire.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Feminism is not a dirty word

Ok I am admitting that I am a Feminist but that does not mean all those stereotypes. I don't burn a bra unless it is an excoriating uncomfortable instrument of torture.  

For me Feminism is about the fight for equality for all. My Great Gran and Gran won the right to vote in 1901 when SA gave women the vote. They received their franchise then and yet almost were disenfranchised in the very next year with the Federation of Australia. The NT was a part of SA at this stage. My mother fought for the right to stay in the public service after she married and when she had children. Mum held the first executive position equivalent to being the Under Secretary of a government department in the independent NT civil service during the late 1970s. Yeap, she broke through the glass ceiling before the glass ceiling was a common term.

Men and women have been knitting for generations but why is it seen today as a feminine trait or a unmasculine activity? Hello Nelson's Navy knitted most of their uniforms and where do you think the soldiers/sailors of this world got their socks before cheap mass production. At one stage men were master craft men who knitted.  When knitting was a profession it was man's work. When it was no longer valued it became women's work.

So what is Feminism - it is really about creating fairness between all genders including trans-gender individuals. Should we relabel it an call it Equality-ism.

PS.  Doing these NaBloPoMo blog posts each day is actually quiet hard.  Daughter is past 26,000 in NaNoWriMo so she is still on track for her writing plan. 

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Making Pasta

Well it was not yarn, spinning or knitting but we gathered together in the kitchen to make fetticcuine di zucca this evening. It was funny and of course we made a mess with three cooks, flour and pasta machine in our galley kitchen.

Ours was more orange cause it had
pumpkin in the dough mix

We had a lovely time but I kept looking at the pasta and thinking it looks like tangled yarn. A couple of my online friends like to de-tangle yarn but sorry we were eating this yarn.  

Saturday, 13 November 2010

It is Saturday it is Saturday!!!

Do you ever have one of those weeks which you can not wait for it to end?  This week it was one of those for me with lots very over long days.  I swear the poison dwarf has attacked me again and I can not see a clear surface for miles.  Even doing a blog post in the NaBloPoMo to support daughters' Namowrimo effort has been very hard.  She is ahead of her writing plan on about 20,000 words.

Chores to be done first.
Today I have had a haircut, visited the parcel postal centre to pick up my packages and set the family a chore list. So we will be doing everything on the list while we can to clear the surfaces in this house.  Once that is done I fully intend to play in some yarn or wool.

Peace and relaxation in wool fumes.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Don't call me stupid!!!

Last night we as the family watched the Kara Tointon documentary on BBC3 called "Don't call me stupid". It was certainly a bonding moment for the kids as it made all the stuff I had been saying about the various "dys-es" we have in our household more believable. Daughter who is dyspraxic finally understood some of the things about her mum and brother that she had never got and actually asked some very good questions. We had tried to explain it but probably because it came from a close relative it did not gel in her comprehension.

Hopefully some of the things we talked about afterwards will stick in their brains and we can do the things to make our lives easier. My kids in the past and some of my friends have described some of my habits as OCD. Sorry no, it is how I cope with my brain wiring and the weak processing links that I have.

Now I can not change my teenagers' pre-programming to use the floor as a filing cabinet but I might get some more tolerance from them when I go off the deep end about it.  I need order and organisation cause I have a shocking short term memory and I would not find anything at all.

The more disorganised or chaotic my life and environment is the more stress it creates for me.  We plan this weekend to have a bit of a clean up so that we can sort out the tip that is this house at the moment.

Daughter is recovering really well from her attempt to be Mr Wobblyman from Noddy or a road bollard according to her father.  When looking at some yarn tonight that I was considering for a project she made an observation - "You can see all of these colours in the black of my bruises."

You can see all these colours
 in the black of my bruises.
I thought it was strange that she did not mention that in some places there is also a hint of green. It could be due to her favouritism for green she was not going to mention this. The ice has been working really well in getting her to colour up and to ease some of her pain.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Burr it is Cold

What is it about a sudden temperature drop that it inspires us to knit winter items we don't usually use?  Tonight when I came home from a late night finish at work I had to look at my temperature gauge twice cause I did not want to believe the reading.  It was 2C but I was looking at it and wondering where was the minus sign cause it was - 2C to me.  I could see my breath and I was absolutely freezing.

While waiting for dinner to cook I had my fleecy trakkie dacks on, 2 jumpers and 2 pairs of socks and 3 blankets but was still freezing.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


While there are some parts of globalisation that I love such as the web and the access to blogs from round the world there are other parts that worry me.

Today in the UK there is an unrealistic expectation that cheap clothing will be relatively available and accessible to all.  What happens if we actually start paying living wages to the workers who produce these clothes?  Hello could we afford to buy the clothes we buy today and would we be looking down on those men and women who have the traditional skills of sewing, knitting and general crafting.  Could we afford to buy the status goods like the ipod and ipad?

Would the knitted garment or object made with someone's love and effort be more respected?  Would my daughter actually stop using the floor as her storage locker - Nope she is a teenager and what would be surprising is if she actually picked up her clothes. 

Why do we today not value handmade and homemade unless it is from elitist fashion brands?  What about the ethics of Fashion Brands?  Do we really need to be global consumerists?  Do we really value the labour of those who make the clothes and objects in our homes to pay them the value for their labour?

Ebay mentions that there is some 50 something shopping days left to Christmas.  Is it really necessary to have all those new gadgets and items?  Think about your Christmas expenditure and the true meaning of the season.

Monday, 8 November 2010


When I was a kid and learning to drive my dad made us learn basic car 101.  These basics were important and we had to pass them before we were allowed to drive on our own.

Tonight I pulled out my basics which Dad taught me and used my knowledge to rescue a couple of women at hubby's work.  I dont know who was more surprised the women or the security guards who did absolutely nothing to help but watched in complete awe at woman who did not need to call the AA or RAC man.

Black to Black and Red to Red when you cable up for a jump start.

The football playing security guard admitted he did not even know how to change a flat tyre. So women are useless when it comes to cars.... 

The surprise of everyone was a little shocking and it is a bit like the shock people have that someone under 70 knits for pleasure or knits full stop. Hello what happens we have a cataclysmic disaster and turns the world back fifty years. My grandmother had to make socks for her children.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sleeping In

There is one thing they forget to warn you about when you have kids - they dont forget,  they just dont tell you - that you wont get a sleep in until they have left home and then only if for some parents.

I have been knackered all week with daughter stunt so I tottered into bed early last night well before the kids and I actually got a sleep in. I got to past midday, yeap I did that teenager thing and sleep in past midday.

I am so sleepy today that it is possibly all the stress of the last week catching up with me. Daughter I am still working out if I will let you out of the house without me.  So this a little post for nano writing month and back off to bed I go.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Nanowrimo and NABloPoMo

So to support daughter in NaNoWriMo I thought and planned to do NaBloPoMo but life got in the way big time. NaBloPoMo is where you blog every day for a month. This week after a lovely weekend event and break from the workplace I ended up with major drama which threw a spanner in the works.  I can not seem to get away from drama.

This weeks drama included the Daughter on her way home from school college early in the week playing chicken with a taxi on a zebra crossing.  She managed to get knocked down by a private hire taxi on the zebra crossing out the front of the campus. I was in the City Centre of Liverpool and lets just say I was not doing the correct speed limit on my journey to Royal Preston Hospital up the M58 or M6 motorways.  She is so lucky that she is alive.  Somehow she did the family trick and bounced out of this accident - she has cuts, bruises and concussion. Bruises included the taxi bumper and grill shape on her right leg.  Thanks to all those who helped me keep my sanity and the well wishers.  She is home now but we are very very thankful that it was any worse especially given the family history of pedestrian mvas.  We bounce so many times and then we dont - dont ask we have lots of accidents blame the dyspraxia and jonahism.

So between daughter and work I have had a bit of horrendous week and have been so shattered that I have not got anymore spinning done from my fibre that I brought at Fibre Flurry but I plan to rectify that tonight as I think a little spinning might help me wind down from the frantic pace of this week.

Daughter has made me feel very very old this week and I am blaming her for all the grey hairs which have turned white with fright. I might be able to get my granny card based on my looks soon if she keeps these antics up. Does that mean that I am automatically a master knitter? Cause everyone knows only Granny's knit. xP

Monday, 1 November 2010

Fibre Flurry

So it was very early when I got up on Saturday morning as it was a case of being  a little hyperactive about going away for the day to Fibre Flurry and catching up with other yarnies including some of Knit camp Survivors such as Nic ala talesfromtheplain. I want one of the t-shirts when you do one!!!  Nic keeps talking about getting a shirt which says "I survived Knit Camp 2010" or something like that. At the start of the trip down there was a slight hiccup when the husbeast disappears down to the shops in the car just as I am need to get into it to travel to pick up my co-yarnie, Mrs Magic, in Prescot at our prearranged time.  I was about 20 minutes late to pick her up and we made it down to Brummyland in about 2 hours on the M6. Not bad for the nightmare stretch of the motorway.

While in Brummyland I caught up with Bec, Kate and lots of others.  I also got to see Sarah (aka mamalonglegs on Twitter) and get some more of her babylonglegs' yarns and fibre  for my stash.  As promised I took the Goblin yarn shawl, the April Leaves, down to Brummyland so she could see it in person.

Before I left in the morning there was a mad call up the stairs  to the daughter at about 7am for her shawl.  She did not like the wake up call but I think was good payback as this hand knit was in the typical teenager's storage space again - on her bedroom floor.  The super wash and lovely nature of babylonglegs dye was what attracted me to Sarah's skeins in first time and I so wanted some more for my stash.  This time I actively stepped away from her greens cause I want it all for ME as daughter automatically assumes if it is green that I am knitting for her and if not will drop a paddy about not getting the green knitting.

Fallen Leaves in the lovely Goblin by Babylonglegs.
In one part of the marketplace rooms it was a North West Lovefest with the Krafty Koala and some other locals and of course I had to support them. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it although Krafty your fibre has no storage staying power.  I am currently spinning some lovely Falkland Merino from the Krafty Koala it really did not stay in the stash for very long. It was a grand total of about 15 hours from when I brought home and put it in the stash to breaking it out and starting the first bobbin.  I will get some photos of my goodies up later in the week when I get some daylight to do photos in now the clocks have gone back an hour.

While the drive down was ok the trip back was a little slow due to the traffic. So it was very tired Mrs Magic dropped off in Prescot and I was home in the dark.  The clocks went back on Saturday night so my crash into bed and sleep in was actually an hour longer than the official clock time. I had a very lazy Sunday and did not move much other than petting the new pretties. Some how the one of the new fibres ended up on the Wendy wheel so I did do something constructive but not very much.  At this point in time I am saying that any spinning I am doing is going to be for Xmas swaps and other pressies.

Do you realise we have 52 days to go to YULE (XMAS)? OMG shoot me now I am so far behind I think I will not make it all this year.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Spinning around

I have been spinning like crazy this week. I am officially on my last yes my last roving. So stash wise the fibre cupboard is pretty bare.  What do you mean bare? :hubby questioning and pointing to large bulky bags: Ok, Ok so I have four fleeces in the cupboard but I have to do the preparation before I sit down to spin with this wool. After this roving I can not just jump on the wheel and start treadling to my hearts content.

The last roving is Merino / Tuseah Silk and since it has the silk component I am trying to do lace weight. It means intense concentration and the added benefit of making the roving last longer. Most spinners have default spinning weight that they do and in my case this appears to sock weight. I wont put a photo up of it just yet as I have to do a couple of Secret Santas. If my spinning turns out like planned I think I will have a nice gift for a lace knitter and I know quiet of few of those.

Fibre Flurry is tomorrow in Birmingham and I am looking forward to it. I don't think the husband is looking forward to it but hey ho.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Purple people eater

Monday night I plyed the Bramble that I had missed and I thought I had some BFL in the Fibre stash but I found another purple toned roving and went that is what I want to spin tonight. I ended up spinning some Downland which the dyer called "Crush". It has some very Berry tones. I certainly must have been on a purple jag cause I appear to have a lot of purple tonal fibre in my stash I think you can call me the purple people eater cause I certainly being flying or my little wheel has been flying. So the Crush was spun and plied.

Tuesday night again it was a case of keeping off the knitting needles and getting into a bit of a spinning jag. So the little wheel and I went out to knit night and I think I may have kick started another spinner. I have a done another couple of singles in the Frangipani and some Sugar Plum Fairy. I plied up the Frangipani at knit night and also came away with the raffle for the second week in a row.  I now have a very nice booklet that I need to make sure that the children and in particular the green monster ala daughter does not get her beady eyes on. There are a number of items including a hat that I can see daughter going please mum for.

Berry Crush
Tonight I think once I finished plying the Sugar Plum Fairy I might be looking for something else to spin.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Spinning on Squeaky

After the recent disasters of knitting I am putting myself on a knitting break so today after getting all the mundane chores done, the kids homework done, and the roast dinner on I settled down to spin. My squeaky wheel is not so squeaky anymore it appears it was mainly a lack of maintenance and use which had caused the squeak. My renovation of use including the oiling of all the possible moving parts as well as actually using her has probably worked the squeak out of her.

Lovely Wendy Wheel

I finished two bobbins off today which I will have to ply together another night.  I had thought that I had finished all of 4oz of Bramble but I found 1 oz in the bag that I brought back from Scotland.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Inset Day Baking

Today the boyo stayed home and I ended up home early. I was having one of those days when you should never leave your bed let alone go through the your front door out into public. After one too many bad things I listened to the omens and returned home while I was still in one piece. So since I was home I got the brown eyes from the boyo he wanted to do some baking.  He is still not allowed to do baking with no one home. He can do a reheat or put prepared meal on but I just don't want to admit that my youngest is almost fully grown up so he can not bake without supervision.

Getting the flavourings ready for crock pot
So we got the crock pot going so we can let it bubble away. The boyo is a good cook so I ended up being the executive chief and he was the demi doing all the work. So the Moroccan Chicken was put on which was a lovely meal tonight with cous cous some 8 hours later. Then after doing the backlog of dishes.We got the ingredients out. At this point the boyo asked a question about M&M which we did not have in the house and suggested that we do M&M cookies. He even volunteered for the shop and being one not to look a gift horse in the mouth I handed over the cash and a small shopping list (Bread, M&Ms, orange juice) and he was off, out and back before I could even drink the coffee that I had  brewed when I sent him out the door with the list.

Batch waiting to go in oven
The first tray were eaten before they cooled. I think the boyo likes rainbow cookies quiet a lot. Since he did cookies I did another batch of cup cakes so Ry would not get upset when she got home from College today. She is not a fan of cookies but has a real cup cake fetish.

Ended up with 24 of these.
The boyo and the rest of the family this afternoon and evening have steadily working their way through the cookies. We now have a grand total of two left. I can see a fight coming on for the last cookie.

Mine nope it is MINE!!!
Knitting wise I have not really got anything done. I think I need a complete break from knitting and then I might be able to pick up the needles again.

Pottering in the coal shed

Sunday afternoon the daughter and I were pottering in the coal shed.  I think I have created a monster as at one stage I was kicked out of my crafting shed as daughter wanted to use my sewing machine and really mother there just not enough room for the two of us in here. : said with 16 yr attitude:

Not enough room for two 
adults sized people here.
She was bugging me about wanting to make something so after some dicussion with me attempting to gain clarification about what she wanted to do and some ratting through my fabric stash she decided that we would make some Christmas stockings.   So after quickly drafting up a rough pattern on the back of a piece of handy card board (back of a note pad) we had a pattern.  We did not have enough of anyone piece of Christmas fabric to make a whole stocking out of it so it was time for creative extending.  Using some of the ubiqutious calico which I have miles of in the stash.  I always buy calico as it is my go to resource - makes toiles, school costumes that need to be dyed you can never not use calico in this household.
Crazy Patchwork
Crazy patchwork here we come if you want to do some. 
  1. Cut out your shape in calico in our case it was the classic Christmas stocking shape.
  2. Cut your fabirc into 2inch strips. Have about 5 different fabric selections.
  3. Take one strip and cut a five sided shape out to start your patchwork this will be your centre. Pin to the stocking about the ankle location.
  4. Work round your shape a strip at a time to set the next patch and this create a crazy patch effect.  When you have sewn along one edge. Iron or in mycase finger press the seam open and then trim to match the next edge shape.  Use the next strip to alternate the pattern.
  5. If you  need to due to the shaping you can cut a new edge in if you find that you are starting to get stripes or arrows. 
  6. To finish you can top sew  the seams by machine or hand with embrodiery stitches.
  7. Sew your front to your back and trim 'n' grade the seams.  Dont forget to clip your curves and points and pull through and adjust into shape 
Don't you just love
the concentration
Ry is starting to become more confident with the sewing machine and there were only three times she called on me after kicking me out. Twice with loading a bobbin and rethreading it and once with threading the needle.  She had a minor tension problem thanks to top needle rethreading but she worked it out once she found out where the threading picture on the machine was located.  Her stocking is a little distorted but it will still be usable.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

A strange week

This week has been a strange knitting week thanks to time scales and not getting very far on the knitting front.

It has been bleak.
Well I have an excuse as 2 PhD students handed in their theses and then another post grad student couple worked on their other creative research project which arrived at midnight on Thursday night - a baby boy.  

No name yet, Mum and Dad are discussing it.
This  student couple had a tough time last year when they lost a baby during delivery.  So during this pregnancy Mr and Mrs Postgrad Student had been highly anxious and very concerned about the pregnancy and the delivery. Due to the family history the consultant brought Mrs Postgrad in Thursday at 9am for an induction. Baby arrived at midnight and looked absolutely adorable in the special care nursery when I visited them on Friday after work. All going well Mrs Postgrad and baby will be back in class on Wednesday next week as a baby is not an excuse for stopping a Masters.

Looking forward to graduation next year.
Baby knitting wise this week I have had a complete fail just the continued fallout for the last eight weeks.  I think tomorrow I am going to spend the day pottering in the coal shed and may be I will get some of mojo back. This is the longest mojo disappearance that I have had in a long time we are talking years since it has been over 8 weeks without knitting regularly on a project.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The start of Autumn

This week has had its up and downs but on Saturday I had a lovely trip into my favourite deli in the sunshine.  The deli is on Bold Street not far from Central station.  I had to go in to do some work so it was a 2 for 1 trip - work and deli. The trouble with where we live is that we don't have specialist food suppliers and the variety of world food in the local shops you can write on a postage stamp.

Our Cherry tree flashing a lovely
colour before dropping its leaves.
As a result of the supply run we are now stocked up on some of the essentials of life in our house, spring roll wrappers, a couple of tins of Milo, couscous, polenta, Thai fish sauce, and lots of herbs and spices that we go through at a great rate of knots.  Dinner last night was a breakout of the new package of spring roll wrappers.

Some of the Thai vegetable spring rolls
made and waiting to be fried.
Today it was another nice day of business in the sunshine. I now have another of post graduate TESOL students and this takes some of the pressure off with work and the cash finances but I will still be looking for a more permanent solution to the hourly job contracts. Came home from to town to the gorgeous smell of a crock pot full of French Onion Soup welcoming me in as I opened the front door.  

Old pic of duck socks but now at repeat 4
of 2 at time duckie socks
I seem to be back into the swing of knitting. Knitting wise for the last couple of 7 weeks or so has been a complete disaster. I have had my 15 minutes of fame but I wish it had not been over such a terrible thing. I have managed to get to the fourth repeat on the duckie socks during my trips to and from Liverpool Central on the train over this weekend. So things are looking up knitting wise. Thank goodness as I have a baby pattern test knit to finish and some time constraints for new baby items. One of the babies is scheduled to arrive this Thursday so I need to be knitting like the clappers. Nothing like a tight time frame.