Sunday, January 31, 2010

Stop and start

It's been that kind of a week. All go or all nothing - weird.

Very little progress on anything much.

I started a shawl as a gift got to 200 hundred stitches (started with 4) realised I hated it and the yarn was too dense, so frogged it. Everything else is pretty much where it was last week. Oh, I also frogged the Harriet cardigan, again got so far up the back, realised it wasn't working for the yarn so into the frog pond it went.

Boy's went swimming with buddies yesterday for a large part of the day so I got some spinning done and cast on for some fancy socks as a replacement gift for the frogged shawl.

Read a little, listened a little but again little progress. Just been busy but with stuff that has nothing to show for it. Just one of 'those' weeks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Not that I'm obsessed or anything but

I just have got so back into my weaving, I had to warp it up again. Also a certain bearded gentlemen coveted my green scarf so I donated it to him.

So this one, finally, is for me. Every bit of weaving, except for our bathroom mat, that I've ever done I've gifted away, about time I did something for myself.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Looming large

on the horizon. One day on, a finished scarf.
A couple of minor errors. I am out of practice.

But in general I am very happy with it. Just needs a wash and it's all done.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Time warp...forgotten

Revived an old friend today. In fact it's been sooooooo verrrrrry long since I did any weaving, I couldn't remember how to warp her up! I had to to resort to getting out the book - shame on me.
But with lots of rude words and quite a bit of back ache - I warped her up. Did two double warps at one end to give some relief and texture, thought about doing it all across but it was too much like hard work.

Progress so far. I am a little rusty. I haven't used my loom since I bought my first spinning wheel. However I'm getting there slowly - it is like riding a bike.
Nerdy Stuff.
Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom. 10 dpi 40/10cm heddle (600mm).
Warp is Opal sock yarn - using leafy green, purple and turquoise.
Weft is hand spun merino/tencel in shades of green/cream interspersed with turquoise merino fibre.
I also did some........wait for it........can you guess?........yes.........spinning! I decided to listen to Women's Hours on Radio 4 this morning, as I actually had an hour to kill, so while I listen I sat and spun. Go me.

Peas in a pod

M alias Daddy went out without them. The above is how they waited for him. Cute.

Sometimes you just need flowers. Sometimes you need some red roses in your life.
Sometimes M just knows this.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Have you seen the muffin man?

Nope? Neither have I.

Had kid mania here yesterday. Two boys, lots of very silly behaviour, daft noises, video games and maniacal laughter at nothing at all. Lottie and Bogey love cousin A, especially Bogey who went all gooey over him.

Today is quieter. A slow start. A nice walk. A roast dinner. Maybe some down time with some knitting?

Finished K-Pax book one. Am already a 1/4 into book two. It's as good so far. I am really enjoying the mix of human mental frailty with extra-terrestrial possibilities, it works and is very clever.

Got a much quieter week this week. Am pleased about that as last week was just a blur of stuff, my head is still spinning (at least something round here is - lol.)

Might be able to catch up with some sleep too. Fergus is a lot better and managed all night without an accident, first time in 6 days! Mind you, Lottie knocked herself silly Friday afternoon, seriously, it was really scary, she was tottering around all unstable, her eyes were twitching and her head was at an angle. Scared the living poop of out me. Emergency vet trip, thorough exam and an anti-inflammatory jab, £40 - but well spent for the peace of mind etc. She's fine and dandy now - phew.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Descriptive phrase for this week.

'Like standing on the top of the Beacon and pissing against the wind.'

Apt, very, very apt.

Boy has banged heads with everyone this week. I'm putting it down to hormones and growing pains but the truth is he's an A-hole, but then with M and I for parents etc. It's a phase, it will pass. On some levels he's great, it's just that his mouth is growing much faster than his brain.

Fergus has been poorly. He's eaten something, somewhere and it has upset his bum, and I mean seriously. He's on a light diet, lots of rice but every night this week he's had an accident and we've had middle of the night clean-ups. It's so hard to get back to sleep afterward.

Reading - book stylie am reading K-Pax by Gene Brewer. Love the film, both Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges are brilliant in it. The book is better though and it's the trilogy. I'm on book one as I have been listening more than reading. Ayala's Angel by Anthony Trollope, it's my favourite Trollope and I have read the book more than once, but I loved it even more on audio book. It's a LibraVox one, but the lady who read it was really good (thinks she's called tabithat or something like that). Last night I downloaded The Warden - another favourite - hope its telling is as good.

Spinning - nil.

Knitting - 1/2 a plain sock and lots on my lace stole.

Housework and chores - mountains of them, never ending.

Weekend - hurrah! J has a sleepover tonight - so lots of silly noises will ensue.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Love is?

Two new balls of sock yarn. Kaffe Fassett Mirage Sock Yarn for Regia. I love this yarn for plain boot socks, it's colourful and hard wearing and with the colour changes I don't get bored. Perfect knit night/TV/audio book knitting.

Finished lace socks.

Bogey and Lotsie snuggling in the sunshine on a fluffy (now rather dog smelling) rug.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Round em up, move em out.

It's been a relaxing week for some.
And there has been some knitting. I don't often post WIP's so I thought I would just for a change.
Above is the start of the latest big garment project. I normally have one of these on the go, so this is the Klaralund replacement. This is Harriet from 'A Fine Fleece' by Lisa Lloyd. I cast on for this on Monday and haven't had time really to get very far. I'm using a 4mm circular and Jo Sharp's Silkroad DK Tweed in a dusky mauve colour.

I love this pattern. It's a Cocoon Stitch Half Circle Shawl, the pattern is from 'Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls' by Martha Waterman. I started this over Christmas and it is a slow grower and I need quiet to knit it - so a long term project then (lol). Knitting on a 2.5mm Addi lace circular using Touch Yarns NZ Merino in 4 ply. The colourway reminds me of 70's random yarn, the shawl pattern kind of suits it.

Tessellating Lace Socks by Kat Haines (free pattern on Ravelry). This pair is for me, the last ones I gave to my SIL. Knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Embers on 2.75mm circs. The progress so far is all from 1 skein. I balled up skein number 2 last night and then didn't knit a stitch, got caught up in watching the directors cut of Amadeus.

Crap photo sorry - J has the decent camera clogged up with his stuff so I had to use the old shitter. This is the Upstairs Shawl by Michaela Behrends (free pattern on Ravelry) this is my pick up and put down knitting. It is growing and I love it but I abandon it often for months. It's knit in very fine laceweight kid mohair blend from Nimu ( that I got from the 2008 Knitting Safari. It is a lovely blend of pinks and lilacs much more subtle than this picture shows. This isn't for me - I will gift it somewhere - I can't wear mohair but I just loved the colour and wanted to knit it.
Finished reading ' Fruit of the Lemon' by Andrea Levy - really good book. Enjoyable read, enough humour to lift the more serious aspects and surprisingly un-put-downable. Not sure what to read next though.......have lots to choose from.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I have angry eyes

Not literally. I am not Mr Potato Head.....or maybe I am? Who knows? Who cares?

Yesterday was a crappy day. I hurt my shoulder as mentioned, then realised that all I had was two paracetamol in the house. "Don't worry" says M "I bring some Rhino Tranqs home for you."
"Hurrah!" says I "You won't be late will you? I could go to the chemist but it is so painful, I'm worried if I slip on the ice that I'll make it worse."
"No." says my hero "Me bring, me big Hero, you snuggle."

You guessed it. The shit hit the fan at M's work and he was seriously late home. By 5.oo the pain was making my eyes water. Not his fault, shit happens. But OMG of all the days to be late. To top it off. I'm downstairs whilst dinner cooks, knowing that M is now on route with aforementioned Dinosaur-Stoppers when Ma pipes up....."I have some Nurofen if you need it." She was only about 4 hours too late with that little snippet, bless her.

Today I have painkillers. Today it isn't as bad. Today I can forget the pain, then I move, forgetting the pain and it's like someone stuck me with a hot knife in my left elbow, left shoulder and the left side of my neck.....and it hurts to knit! I can't walk the babies either cos Lottie thinks she's a train and Fergus thinks he's a tank. I can't even get pissed to forget all of this cos I'm on painkillers (plus I've nothing to get pissed on). Mind you, this could also equate to being unable to push the hoover and lift a duster? But without being able to fill the time with knitting - what is the point?

Tomorrow will be better.

Monday, January 11, 2010

About bloody time.

1) It's starting to melt!

2) Finally off the needles, sewn up, blocked and lovely.
Klaralund Take 2. Pattern by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, yarn Manos Wool-Silk blend, needles 6mm. This was started March 09 finished yesterday. I can't remember how many skeins I bought at GK last January but I have two and half left. This is the most boring knit, it is even too boring to be TV knitting and I had to make myself sit and finish it because I couldn't stand it lurking in the corner anymore. It's Take 2 because I've made one of these in the required Noro Silk Garden a few years back and I've worn it once, tried it on a million times, it fits fine but it is sooooo itchy to me, even with a T-shirt under it, I can't stand it. I am too lazy to frog it, plus I hate unpicking Noro, so every now and then I admire it, try it on, rip it off and put it away. The Manos is not itchy, it is soft and drapey and I likes it.
Woke up this morning 100%, firing on all cylinders, got up, went to bathroom, went back to bed to drink coffee - made something pop out in my left shoulder. It is total agony. Now slathered in red Tiger Balm and moving in a lopsided manor. Ow ow ow!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Birdwatching in bed

One of the best things about my bedroom is that it enables me to lie in bed and watch the birds fly past. Our upper floor looks across open sky, no buildings are as high or near enough to interrupt the view of the Downs one way and the sea across the Downs the other.

On Sundays I like to open the blinds, take my coffee back to bed and watch the birds. Right outside the window we have a large climbing rose and that's over run a crab apple tree and this is full of Sparrows, Finches, Tits (lol), Starlings, Robins and occasionally one of my most favourite birds, the Wren. In a distant tree I watch the Rooks, Carrion Crows and Magpies. Whilst on the flat roof we get Collar Dove and Feral and Wood Pigeons. But my favourites to watch wheel around are the Seagulls or as they are known in this house 'Charlies'. I think Gulls are majestic birds, close to they are beautifully marked around the beak with pink eye sockets and flappy feet. They sit on flat roof and calling then chatting making a Ba-ba-ba noise, if you make this noise back to them, they often answer and will come closer, cock their head on one side and beadily peer at you. The youngsters are speckled and call for their parents with a shrill whistling call - they are known (to us) as 'Whistling Willies', they run around the flat roofs, necks straining forward, calling and calling like demanding toddlers, it takes the parents longer and longer to come, till eventually they don't.

In the summer they wheel up high with the summer sky as a bright blue backdrop but with the sunshine you can't always watch them for long or see them clearly. The last few days the Charlies have been almost invisible against the snow laden white sky but this morning the sky was a leaden military grey and the Gulls look so beautifully white and graceful against such a dull backdrop. It was breathtaking and wonderful. I know lots of people dislike them and they can be a pest etc but to see such a large wild bird close to arcing across the sky is a sight to behold, such wild freedom and grace. I also think that we should allow for the fact that they were here first and we've encroached on their territory and they are coastal birds, if you choose to live by the sea on the coast then they are part of the deal. They've dive bombed me, shat on me and on my clean windows, laundry, car but I still marvel at them and feel happiness when I watch them winging across the sky.

Friday, January 08, 2010

What happens on snow days?

Lots of reading. This week I have finished 'Turn of the Screw', it was an OK read but didn't set me on fire. I found myself reading it to get it finished. The TV adaptation on the Beeb was much better than the actual book. Finishing that I moved onto 'A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian' by Monica Lewycka which I absolutely loved. I was given this book ages ago and buried it in the cupboard, I dug it out and read it in two days. It is a funny, moving and absorbing read. The title had put me off but although there is a history of tractors within the story it fits and works well within the narrative frame. I enjoyed the alieness (for my background) of the characters but still felt a connection with them. The storyline has a nice pace which kept me turning pages long after I had resolved to get off my arse and make a cup of coffee!

I have also been knitting and finished a lace sock that I cast on for on Sunday - including the afterthought heel and the grafting! Picture when its mate is knitted, I cast in for it last night. My Klaralund sleeve is growing very slowly as is my shawl. No spinning still.

Yesterday we made Peanut Butter cookies - the only thing we've run out of is biscuits - M has tea and many biscuits so that is why we needed to refill the barrel. Hopefully M will get into work today and is back on call for the weekend.

Dogs and boy still loving the snow. Me? I've had enough thanks. I miss my long walks and the colour green. The wildlife watching is good though. So many birds including a lovely Mistle Thrush. We've also had an albino squirrel and this morning two young foxes. So there is an upside I suppose.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Cozy dogs, crazy icicles.

The babies have the right idea! Though this was taken after a very long snow adventure. Poor Fergus was weighed down with snow balls in his fur. Lottie's coat is a double one so she doesn't feel the cold as much and doesn't get snowed up. A quick rub down with a towel and she's back to normal. Bogey has to be stood in a bowl of warm water to melt the snow off him and them have a severe rub down. He loves the snow then kills the towel.
A rather large icicle.

J took this the morning. Quite pretty but OMG I wish they'd go. Snow makes life complicated our Close is snowed in and this morning iced up. M has to get to work via a the worlds biggest ice rink...nice.
I don't have to be anywhere therefore I am going to continue to hibernate with a few chores and plenty of knitting.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Going, going, nearly all gone.

Every year M's older sister makes him a Christmas cake. Above is this years, with lovely handmade poinsettias. The reason she makes him a cake is mainly due to the fact that she makes the best cake and also due to the fact that I don't really like fruit cake. This particular Christmas cake is the only one I've tasted that I quite like, however, I have had one bite out of the first slice that M cut, that's it. J has had nibbles a few little bits of icing, all the rest have been scoffed by the household cakemeister!

The last few cm's are being used up, each day in M's lunch box. It's days are numbered. Mind you, he still has a couple of mini Christmas puds (his other passion at this time of year) stashed away in the store cupboard, they have a date of 02/11, I very much doubt they'll survive that long.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Tell me why I don't like Monday?

Actually, I don't mind Mondays really. Just thought it was a good title. Shows my age though. quoting a Boomtown Rats song.

I finished reading a book yesterday that I started months ago. It was just one of those that got put down for other things and then left, then picked up again, then abandoned etc. I normally devour this type of book, living in a hovel abroad type thing, and the other two by Chris Stewart, I've loved. But this one,' The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society' just didn't manage to grip me in the same way. The humour is still there, I just felt it lacked the something magical the other two had. I have a Peter Kerr (another author who writes in a similar vein) sitting on my to read shelf but may leave it a little while longer until I read it, I'm worried I'll have the same problem. Perhaps my taste in books is changing.

Today is quiet. All the chores are done, even the massive pile of ironing! Made homemade chicken soup for lunch which Ma and boy helped me eat. The house is clean and tidy, the dogs are groomed and walked - even with the massive blister under my big tow -which is cracking and very painful. The afternoon winter sun is shining in the room and making it quite warm. J is beavering away reading about earthquakes so I have an hour or so to spare.......reading or knitting. Ah, audio book (Ayala's Angel or Wuthering Heights - am listening to both) and some sock knitting I think - two birds, one stone :o)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Sundays are for Sundaying

Finished 'Girl with the Glass Feet' yesterday. Not a difficult read as such but very (maybe even too) descriptive at times. He paints wonderful word pictures, with great depth and detail, but it slows the story down. Also he introduces bits that lead nowhere without adding to the narrative. Still that aside, it's a good book, very unusual. I didn't engage with any of the main characters because there wasn't anything (IMHO) to engage with but due to the weirdness of the story that wasn't really a problem. I would read his next work with interest to see how his style develops.

Am now reading 'Turn of the Screw'. I enjoyed the BBC dramatisation of this story over Christmas so decided to read the book. I've not read much Henry James and what I have read previously hasn't done a lot for me, so it will be interesting to see how I get on with this.

The Quest

High, hollowed in green
above the rocks of reason
lies the crater lake
whose ice the dreamer breaks
to find a summer season.

'He will plunge like a plummet down
far into hungry tides'
they cry, but as the sea
climbs to a lunar magnet
so the dreamer pursues
the lake where love resides.

Denise Levertov (b.1923).

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Berfday socks and other stories

A day or maybe a year late, depending on your perspective. But here are M's berfday socks. Very plain ole sock, deliberately mismatched (sorry Jan) on the strips.
Sleeping or laughing Lottie or maybe both? You decide.
What's been going on? Not a lot. Dog walking, relaxing, enjoying have M home and off call - it has been very nice. Too much food and booze. Watching movies - some really bad ones too. Dr Poo, DT goes bye-bye - did anyone else think it was a bit self indulgent or was that just me?
Quite a lot of knitting. Started a new shawl - loving it. Knitting in NZ merino 4 ply a very traditional pattern but it is so addictive. Over the holidays I finished 1 sleeve and cast on for the 2nd, also finished two pairs of socks. Frogged a couple of WIP's too. Now have only 4 projects. My Klaralund take two - just awaiting its 2nd sleeve, a stole, a shawl and 1, yes 1 pair of socks -that's it - oh apart from my crochet squares which is an ongoing thing I dip in and out of.
No spinning at all.
Reading - The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw - good but weird. Also reading Great Expectations with J and quite a lot of poetry.
Been listening to a lot of classical music. I love Radio 3. Also quite a bit of retro stuff. Yesterday I rediscovered Gary Numan's Dance album - forgotten just how much I love Mick Karn's fretless bass - dated but cool.
Planning a quiet couple of days - 2010 starts with raging PMT and a period - nice. But that will pass and it means the last couple of days of M home can be spent being lazy together.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Step over the threshold

To make changes or to resolve to do or be something doesn't require a change in the year - after all - like everything else a year is just a number or another measure of time. The concept of a new direction doesn't need a 12 monthly threshold, a challenge you decide to take can be made on a new day, a new hour, a new minute or just on a whim 27 seconds into a minute. I've never understand this idea of resolving to change stuff just because a number has got one bigger. I also don't understand why change happens because it is felt it should because a number has changed, time has creaked a little further forward - what would we do if we hadn't come up with the concept of time? Perhaps everyone would resolve to change when the apples trees came into blossom? Or maybe people would just do stuff when they felt it was the right time to do it not just because of a tick of a clock or because every other silly sod is doing it.

Maybe, now here's a wacky concept, we'd all just accept who and what we are at this time of year and not try and set ourselves a 100 impossible goals in the middle of winter? Why is acceptance so much harder than change? Why does changing something make the future seem more positive and better?

We are very strange creatures if you ask me.

For what it's worth happy new number, happy new time measurement. But remember a number changing doesn't necessarily change you.