Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A new curve ball

Life has done that thing of kicking one or pitching a curve ball.

Flight path of my curve ball.

Like all curve balls there is also a period of time when you have to adjust to the news and I am taking my time. Where I go from here is still unknown but give me sometime to think and process. It will help if this is a kinaesthetic process like some knitting.  Still working on daughter's scarf on the loom so will keep on plodding on it.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Harvest Time

The season is definitely turning. We have had some cool nights and days. Today on the way round town doing that football mum thing I noticed that some of the hedgerow crops are almost ready to harvest. My friend K's Dad has just moved into a new house and he has an apple tree that he can not keep up to.

Apple season

I think I can see apple chutney on the hob in the near future if it lasts that long. K's Dad has promised us a bag of apples and we could be doing Tarte Tatin, Baked Apples with Golden Syrup Dumplings before getting to apple chutney. It all depends on the sprogs and what they feel like eating.

Apple Prep

The apple chutney would be a good thing as it could help with the Christmas present issues that I have.  At the moment I am scratching round for ideas and it looks like more baking and cooking is going to be done this year.

If I had this many jars done
 I would be happy.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Clearing the mind of the Knit Camp drama.

I have been trying to clear my mind of the chaos that was UK knit camp but I keep being distracted by the continuing drama. I had wanted to distance myself from the drama and bad karma that even saying the name of this event now creates in my presence. I tried to step out of the drama and issues by distancing myself. Due to the drama that was occurring while at Knit camp I decided not to attend the Saturday classes, market place and evening event that I had booked including not collecting the four meals I had paid for as I was going to take the family. I should of chased the money I was owed for cancelled classes but took the decision since the reason these classes were affected was out of the control of the tutors they should be reimbursed. I would have been better off getting the money back and paying the tutors directly. I was exhausted by the continued stress and strain of the repeated frustration, anger and drama that was effecting individuals including myself. I made some new friends and I put some faces to names I knew from blogs and ravelry. In the end I felt that one more day of chaos was not the best idea for me or for my family. As a result of this decision I ended up spinning Saturday away so I progressed with myself imposed challenge of a mini tour de fleece in Scotland.

Commando memorial with the
motto United we Conquer
Yes I had some great times at knit camp but it was only thanks to the attendees and the tutors who gave their all to make sure it was a best it could be.  The Dunkirk or British Blitz spirit was there and it was purely by the professionalism of the majority of the tutors and the combined will of the participants that we got through it.  We united together to make the most of the situation we were in. There was some nastiness and while it was not directed at me I did have to deal with it. I cannot walk away when someone is suffering. Don't speak to people who have volunteered their time like they are dirt due to your incompetence, JW. (Yes I called her on it in person.) I was particularly horrified by the highhanded abusive attitude of the so called manager, JW.  There were two or three tutors who I was not happy about and this is probably because I thought since they make their living as a professional tutor they would be a) prepared, b) organised and c) have some sodding tact. manners.  (Hello Dunblaine was less than four miles away)

It was the tip of the iceberg
It is a month or so since we returned home and as time has progressed the greater the awareness of the cluster FCUK this event was has been developed by the knitting/crochet/spinning world.   I am horrified to find out that the many of the tutors and staff have not been paid for their services and there are some serious financial implications. Vendors have also been shafted. There are people out there who are struggling to put food on the table and pay their mortgages.  Yes this event caused financial hardship to many individuals.   There have been personal verbal attacks on bloggers and ravlers who have dared to mention the lack of professionalism by the so called manager, JW. At this point I can no longer ignore the situation.  Don't attack those who are whistleblowing.  They have a right to be paid.

There are a tangle of various company entities that JW used involved in UK Knit Camp. The further details about the owner's business past and practices has been exposed but this does not help the tutors / staff members who have not been paid the income that they should have received. Labour by rights has to be fairly remunerated or it is slavery.

A bleak outlook across the moors.
The final fallout of this event will probably affect knitting events in UK and other events round the world for the next 10 years.  Many people have been burnt and this means we will all be super cautious in the future. Potentially international tutors may not want to travel or participate in newly established events. Established events may have to provide greater financial incentives increasing the costs for the participants and thus in the long run making it harder for some knitters to participate. Within the UK it could means that events will have to focus on the critical mass locations such as London. The issue with travelling for some will compound participation issues.  Some of the readers may not be aware that the further north of London you go the greater the difficulty to travel becomes for potential participant.  A 100 miles in the south may be relatively easy but in the North you may have to travel 200 miles to do the 20 miles as the crow flies.  Potentially events may be come London centric or southern centric. So people like some of the Scottish knitters I met will find participating in southern events impossible.  If you have to travel 5 or 6 hours including an expensive flight just to get you to the mainland to get to Stirling you might be priced out of attending more southerly events.

Some places don't have a ferry
shortcut available to them
I can see further litigation in the future for JW over her bad business practices but this does not provide remuneration for those who have not been paid.  We need to reimburse the tutors and staff so I would like to suggest that if you are considering a new purchase you visit SaumariKnitter's blog and see the list and make a purchase from one of the various shops/sites.

Light at the end
This post has taken a while to draft and the more I worked on it the more I have come to terms with the situation. I am now calmer about the situation hopefully my knitting will reflect this as everything I have knitted since the end of knit camp has gone tits up and had to be frogged. I think my knitting mojo issues have been because I bottled my anger and frustration.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Hump Day

We are halfway through the week and I am so looking forward to the weekend. This morning was a particularly cold autumnal morning and according to J it is just going to get colder as we head through the rest of the week.

I will have to start knuckling down and get going with Christmas list as I have 13 weeks and 3 days.  Time to get organised. One of the things I hate about Christmas is the commercialised tack especially some of the cards and wrapping paper.  I found a tutorial the other day which I will be using as part of present wrapping and I think those of us who are slightly disorganised will like it - how to make a present bow from How about Orange. It saved me in a last minute present wrapping emergency.

It is a slightly green option you can use as you can use up magazines.  For those with little ones or not so little ones on a wet day I can see a creche or kindy crafting session here we come.

Image from How about Orange.
It looks flash but the tutorial breaks it down into easy steps that even this instruction challenged clot can make one.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Tip you are it

Another Blogger, MakeMineMid-century [MMMC] in her infinite wisdom has tagged me.  She is a petite mastermind and the mother of four lovely children. Thank you for the award and I don't know when she has the time to blog so I must assume she has got multitasking sorted or it really is just Child 4 being put to work.

As part of the award rules this is where I have to drop seven items of information that you never want known about you and you are supposed to tag another 15 people to do the same act of disclosure.

So here are my seven nuggets of gossip blackmail material information which I'd not sure you want to know.

1. I can fall over my feet and have fallen up a whole flight of steps on more than one occasion. I do this quiet frequently, it is not my most elegant moments and it is so embarrassing when I am observed going up stairs. When I walk I watch the floor due to my frequent trips.

2. I am short waisted and I have disproportional long legs to my body which is a 15" (38.1 cm) square lump, shoulder to waist = 15" shoulder to shoulder = 15". Standard length trousers (29 to 32" / 73.66 to 81.28) just don't reach my ankles. Sorry MMC I have the same problem as you finding trousers but for the opposite reason.

Too short trousers

3. Thanks to crap sinuses and mouth breathing I snore when I doze off. I could raise the roof and you never want to share a room with me.

4. I was proposed to by the husbeast at the kitchen while washing up dishes. Yes I broke a dish and left the rest of the washing up for him while I went and had a stiff drink and sat on the back steps to work out what was going on.

Not exactly romantic?
5. I am a total scaredy cat.  My gruff bluster is normally hiding my bundle of nerves. I am absolutely terrified of needles and dentists. I ran away from the army nurse who was giving out needles in the rubble of Cyclone Tracy, she had to chase me down through half a suburb round the rubble to give me a batch of inoculations. She was not gentle after having to rugby tackle me. In Boarding school they use to have to give me the flu jab first after the drama of the first needle in Yr 8.  They would get me to help set up at 7:30 am so as soon as the Doctor would arrive at about 7:45 am I could be given the shot or I would run away. When I did a runner I did it seriously we are talking about running away from the school grounds. The official start time for the rest of the borders would be 8 am. No I don't want to hear how much you hate needles or how sore your arm is or will be. Rabbit on about needles at me and that is it I am off and I will be bolting at top speed out the nearest door. Just don't pussyfoot around if you have to get me a needle, give it quick and don't work me up but telling me things like small prick now.
    Screaming hebiejeebies
    6. As a small child I used to de-seed strawberries.  I mean it, I would pick all the seeds off the strawberry skin before I would eat it.  My poor mother would despair over my issues as I was a picky and difficult eater. Truth be known I still could be classed as one now. Psst dont tell my kids.
    Yes those tiny seeds.
    7. My father was distracted during taxing after landing at an airport and ended on the grass off the runway due to my cousin and I fighting in the back seat of a four seater single engine aircraft. I still don't get on with her and this is some 30 years later.

    Now I am supposed to dob in nominate 15 others.  Sorry but some of my blog roll is uncomprehensible to muggles ie they talk in this foreign language called fibre or like MMC in Swedish so I have only stumped up four blogs.

    1. Yarnfloozies - A tag team who do great pooling work.
    2. A Sulkycat - met this lovely lady in a spinning class at UK knit camp 2010.
    3. Babylonglegs - this dyer extraordinaire keeps making yarn skeins that I desire 
    4. Kelly-handmadeathome - to prove that not all the blogs I read are knitting, crochet or spinning related.  It is sewing this time although she does knit too.

    Return to Normal

    It is the start of the academic year for us.  The modular students are back this week and we are heading back to the grindstone. Life is still disorganised so the timetable at this point of time is a tangle web of threads.

    Tangled Yarn

    It will be interesting at work for the next couple of weeks as the new students learn to wear their badges.  Daughter did not have a lanyard so I got her a student one from work and see seems to be so happy to have a university lanyard.

    Student card Lanyard

    Sunday, 19 September 2010

    Avast, International Pirate Day Silliness Aye.

    Ahoy an' greetings all 'tis international gentleman o' fortune tidings.  It be th' tide when we drop into th' brogue an' speak de nautical lingo. For yea Land lubbers it is International Speak Like a Pirate Day.  Ye be silly bilge rats 'ere.

    Happy Birthday t'S an' we wont mention how many candles thar on top o' th'cake.  We jus' survived th' orientation tides o' th suvy teachin' starts next high tide. Here we be off it be th' start 'o th' teachin' year. I be lookin' fore t' th' start o' teachin' cause we will then get into regular watches.

    Yo ho ho you scuvy dogs I am off to get loaded to my gunwhales.  Good Bye me mateys

    Saturday, 18 September 2010

    A Wet Saturday

    Normally I have to do the dreaded four letter thing - work - on a Saturday. After which I then normally come home to do the dreaded never ending house chores.

    If we had hills the
    weather would look like this.
    Today I had a rare Saturday off, it was not planned but my appointments were cancelled by student illness and it was too late to reschedule new appointments in those blocks. So this morning we did chores round the house -  my washing machine habit has to be met it is a strange day when I don't get at least two loads of washing done. We all then tootled up to the market to do various errands. It has been a particularly wet day so we were not mooching but rather doing a quick dash for specific items. The boys went one way and us girls went the other.

    Brown for weaving.
    I took the girl and we to the LYS. I had a mission to find the warp yarn for my next weaving project. I wanted something to suit my project so it was a case of take the hand spun up the street to see what was available. The problem with taking the daughter with me is I should realise this by now she is going to cost me money. Since I was getting some yarn she had to have some yarn.

    Ry's yarn selection
    It was then we had a quick dash through the market to get additions we need to finish off the leftovers crock pot. Ended up picking some mushrooms, stewing beef and a some pears. We are going to have Beef Burgandy as it uses up the leftover bacon, onions and that 1/2 bottle of red in that I had in the fridge.

    Beef Burgundy
    So while the kids and James are off at the Vigil mass the kids are serving tonight I am going to sit and knit.  Bella, the toy dog, is wearing my first go on the cricket loom a little piece using one skein of Honey Gorse from the Scottish Tour de Fleece spinning.

    Bella modelling weaving 
    The first piece of weaving is not enough for a scarf.  A Toy can wear it as a scarf but as Ry models it just enough as neck tie.

    Mother take the photo.
    I may end up using the weaving as part of a sewing project. It turns out now that the rest of the family are scheming to use my new loom. The yarn selection by Ry is so she can weave a scarf. She has already started to warp up so I will continue to knit on my latest pair of silly socks that I am doing as a two at a time thing using the magic loop technique.

    The latest batch of silly socks are triggering ideas in certain members of the family so I might have solved some of Christmas present issues.

    Friday, 17 September 2010

    School notices

    What is it about kids?  Why do they give you a stack of school notices just as they are running late to get them to school.

    Daughter had to run for the train and she shoves a notice in her father's face as he is eating his weetabix. Of course she is doing the selective parent option. You know the scheming of a girl-child using her guile on her father. Oh the innocent wide blue eyes, the fluttering eye lashes and that tight grip she has on his heart strings. 

    "Can I pleeeaaaaseeeeee (please) go on the Greece trip? It will help with Ancient History".  

    Manipulate? Who me? Never!
    We will think about it!

     The cheeky boyo.
    If it is not that kid it is the other one. He is already 10 minutes late ie you are supposed to leave at 8:45 and it is 8:55 my boyo. They take the register at 9:00. I know we are only 10 doors down the street but there is no way you will be able to get down the street and across in the traffic in less than 5 minutes. He promptly hands you a stack of notes, demands the lunch money and expects you to cover another text book while juggling the telephone and the mechanics of getting yourself to work.
    They are all MAD buggers in this house

    Then just after you have said nope cannot or yeap can do x or y, read the 10 pages of notices, filled in multiple reply slips and got him out the door to school you notice that he has left half the sodding urgently required slips behind along with the lunch money and PE Kit.  You then have to get yourself up to the school front reception desk and she is laughing at you cause you look and sound like a screaming banshee. 

    Days like this if you are anything like me you would rather turn around and go back to your bed or sit in the sun and knit or spin.

    Wednesday, 15 September 2010

    The mystery of the unexpected Parcel.

    It was a quiet morning in the town of Ormskirk and the Atok family was out. So the postman, Mr Postie, left with Tyson (the dog servant)  a lovely postcard from gphigirl (ravlery name). It had a very nice picture of Atlanta and the knitter explained on the back of the card that this was her workplace view. 

    Ormskirk is a village like
    St Mary Mead at times
    There was also one other interesting piece of post and this was the noticed by the mistress of the house, Madam Kota Atok, when she returned to the house after running errands in the city. It was a red and white printed slip that provided the information that Mr Postie had a parcel which was too big for the letter box and could be collected for the local regional sorting office.

    The official postal slip
    The mystery of the slip was who was sending the Atoks a parcel.  They were not expecting anything in the mail.   So with the company of Master Rh, Madam Atok visited the regional sorting office to collect this parcel.  It was an interesting package as Master Rh required two hands to carry it and other than the address there was no other indications about who had sent the parcel or what it contained.
    A Brown paper parcel
    Master Rh was concerned about opening the package early as he postulated that this could be an item for Monsieur Kota since it was directly addressed to him. So Madam Atok was made to wait and wait and during this time her little grey cells postulated a range of solutions and hypotheses about the contents of the parcel.

    Madam and Monsieur Atok
    Monsieur Atok returned from his deliberations at the local university and considered the parcel on his desktop. After inspecting the parcel he peered over the top his prince nez and declared to his wife... "I think you should open this parcel yourself".

    It was a parcel inside a parcel as it had two layers of wrapping. After battling the packaging which had an excessive amount of brown paper and bubble wrap Madam Atok was left pondering a cardboard box with a label from the Schacht Spindle Co Inc. The logo had a picture of sheep milling together.

    Opening the box there was a jumble of parts and number of explanation booklets.

    The confusion of parts inside the box
    Following the instructions pedantically Madam Atok unravelled the mysterious parcel contents and discovered that it formed a wondrous object called a Cricket Loom.

    Instruction Manual
    Madam Atok deduced that this parcel had been organised by her lovely husband as a birthday gift for her.

    One Skein of handspun Gorse honey
    on the spindle.
    She methodically followed the instructions and after a couple of hours she had her first sample of work from this lovely gift.

    This is an addictive activity.
    I hope that you have enjoyed this post in the style of Agatha Christie. It is her 120th Birthday and as a bunch of Poirot and Marple fans the family are celebrating her birthday which is so close to mine. Even Google is getting into the Birthday celebration with a doodle logo on its home page.

    Lovely Chocolate Cake yummy.
    I must say Happy Birthday to another knitting Virgo, Christine from Knits in the City, who shares the same day as the famous mystery writer. It is a busy week at knit night for the birthday greetings this week.

    Sunday, 12 September 2010

    Sunday in the Coal Bunker

    It was a lovely sunny day so I spent the afternoon in the coal bunker sorting through my stash and making some project bags. My crafting room is the old coal bunker and it has a window added to it. It is not very big or very wide but it does me as a broom cupboard.

    Stash Cupboard
    It was an enjoyable afternoon pottering in my shed. Daughter actually showed an interest in sewing this afternoon so we made some project bags. She also did some modelling for me. Here she is with the newest hair colour and length modelling a swap shawl that I was sent.

    Mummy can I have this please.

    As per normal she has put a request and seeing how sweet it was I have of course given into her. The Sunday afternoon mother daughter crafting event may be come a regular activity if she gets her homework done.

    Silly Socks

    During my stay in Scotland I made a pair of silly socks and then I had a thought  hang on I would like to make another super silly pair of socks. I know the concept of me having a thought can be a dangerous situation and can have earth shattering dangerous consequences.

    Chart 1 of the Rav Tav Socks

    So feeling emboldened by managing to get one pair of colour work socks done. I felt that I would design another pair of silly socks based on the gang in the Rav Tav. So for the last couple of weeks when ever I have had an opportunity to play in meetings where knitting is frowned upon I have been doodling with a purpose. Normally I doodle in meetings without a purpose and manage to total zone out thanks to not having the knitting to help with my concentration. Some people actually complain about by constant movement and my high distractibility.  Hello sunshine I knit for a reason..... something about being in perpetual motion...  

    Chart 2 of the Rav Tav Socks
    So now that I have done the charts I am gearing up to do the test knitting of the pattern and to make sure my first draft of the pattern is up to scratch enough to get a couple of sock test knitters to give it a go.

    Friday, 10 September 2010

    Calendar Turnover

    It is that time of year when I realise that we are closer to end than we are to the beginning of the year. When it gets to September I look forward to my birthday but I really get upset about the Christmas decorations in the shops. Christmas decorations can not go up until after my birthday. Yes I have a September Birthday not that my lot remember it very often.

    Christmas presents
    Each year I notice that decorations go up earlier and earlier and now it appears that the first week of school is when the decorations start to go out in the supermarkets. Every couple of years we have a completely home or handmade Christmas and this year is our next scheduled event. So looking at the recent decorations in the shops I have realised that it is time to get my Arse into Gear and get cracking with the Christmas gifts. Our concern is that we don't have long to go as we have 3 months or according to Ry we have 104 sleeps to go. Rh advised that Christmas this year is on a Saturday - trust my kids to be doing the count down already.

    Thursday, 9 September 2010

    Camels in Chorley

    The likelihood of seeing camels in Chorley is very very slim or so I thought until we drove by some in the field while on the Motorway.

    circus camel
    It turns out they are part of a circus act and the circus is set up some where near the motorway. All I could think of was ...I wonder what they do with the camel fibre and wouldn't it be wonderful if you were a spinner to have access to this fibre. You know that you are spinner when .... you think too much about spinning............

    Monday, 6 September 2010

    Stash diving like a Bush Turkey.

    Since the last disaster of the cardi which could fit Hagar the horrible and a couple of his closest cronies in it, I have been stash diving. It has  definitely been an Aussie scrub or bush turkey scratching effort through the stash and repeatedly redistributing the skeins and balls of yarns. If you want to know about the australian love hate relationship check out makeminemid-century's various blogs (in the bush turkey link) about these animals who many gardeners consider as vermin. They are not bad BBQ-ed and they do rotavate the ground pretty well.

    the Marvellous toy

    It is amazing how calming spending time in the winding zone is for me.  So what is the winding zone I hear you ask. This is where you set up and wind up ball after ball on this marvellous toy becoming hypnotised by the rhythmic rattle of the cogs and gears. It can be a bit like the whirling dervish effect were the repeated movement and actions send you into an intoxicated trance like euphoria that has the beneficial cause I now have lots of little nicely wound yarn cakes and my stash has been sorted out into various categories.

    Some of my hand dyed yarn caked up
    It is amazing how order can bring calm to the distressed mind and individual.

    Sunday, 5 September 2010

    Nah I dont Want to!!! I want to do this instead.

    I have been working on the Ruby red work cardigan for me for the last couple of weeks.  For once in my life I have been pretty monogamous project wise in an effort to try and get another cardigan done for me.  I just hate how the best laid plans go pear shaped.

    So on Saturday night I was working on my cardigan and was thinking that there is something wrong here.  I thought it was the time of night and tiredness.  So I reassessed it on Sunday morning.  Ok lets wet block to see what is going on.

    OMG god it would not even fit Hagar the Horrible.  He would label it has weirdly misshaped. Snert would have done a doggie action comment on it.

    Dik Browne Comics.
    So it is time to potter in the stash box and walk away from the cardigan before I do something completely insane like put it through the shredder so I can compost the yarn. Remember that comment about jinxing myself I think this qualifies as a certified jinxed moment where karma is slapping me round the chops. Yeap it is that good I am not even going to show a picture of this gnarled distortion of a cardigan that even the Hunchback of Notre Dame would struggle to wear comfortably.

    So just ignore the bush turkey impersonation that is going on as I go stash driving as I think I have a dose of startisis.  I can see lots of things getting cast on this evening.