Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sundays are for .............

 Long walks across the South Downs.
 Wool winding and other knitting pursuits.
Snoozing (this is an old pre hair-do Fergus piccie.)

Now just looking forward to some lovely haddock for my tea and watching Being Human.....perfick!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Madhouse - Shoes.

A few years back one set of friends called me 'Imelda' with good reason. I had a staggering shoe collection that seemed to grow and grow. At that stage my feet had not grown since I was 12, I had remained a UK size 4, and still had shoes from my teens in my wardrobe. My shoes were so crowded in that opening the closet always set off a footwear avalanche! I even had shoes I had never worn and was 'saving' for best - how much of my 70's upbringing does that reveal?

I had trainers, sandals, fuck-me shoes, boots, loafers, comfortable shoes, killer shoes, flip-flops. I had black, brown, blue, red, pale green, pink, grey shoes. I had expensive designer shoes right down to a £1.50 pair of falling apart espadrilles.

So what changed?

Motherhood - pregnancy! My feet grew by 1/2 a size when pregnant and another almost 1/2 a size after J was born. Nowadays I have awkward feet; a 4 kills me, a 4.5 can be a bit like hens teeth and if found a little tight and 5's quite often flop off as I walk....there is no such size as 4.75!

This has curbed my shoe buying and that has curbed my desire to buy shoes.

I still have between 15 and 20 pairs - of which I wear 2 or 3 regularly - I won't buy new walking boots for example because I love my tatty faded (yet still waterproof) old ones - I haven't bought a pair of shoes in 2 years. I don't even surf for shoes online these days.

I do still find shoe surprises in the bottom of wardrobe - you know- shoes I'd forgotten about - I put them back with the idea of wearing them again and promptly forget them again.

In fact the only part of my shoe mania that remains is my need to have my leather shoes properly polished before I leave the house!

I think I might be cured.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

52 books - numbers 5 and 6.

Bookie wook number 5 is 'No one Noticed the Cat' by Anne McCaffrey

This book has been missing for a while - I found it in J's book case. It has been an awful long time since I read it (it was published in 1996). Like a lot of McCaffrey's books it is set in another land and has strange beasts and a fairytale feel to it. The two main characters, a young King and his extraordinary feline, are well rounded for a fairly short book.The only thing is that if I say to much about the storyline then it would ruin it for anyone who fancied giving it a look.  I like the story, it definitely isn't a taxing read but is enthralling enough to keep the pages turning. For me it is a sit and read in one session book being only 127 pages. A jolly entertaining way to pass a winters evening when there was nothing on TV.

Bookie wook number 5 'A Study in Scarlet' by Arthur Conan Doyle.

After my mammoth Sherlock Holmes binge last winter, I thought enough time had passed to revisit Holmes and Watson. I downloaded this as free audio book via Libravox and was lucky to find it a really good version with just one narrator (who had very few pronunciation issues). I had never read this one before so although episode 1 of the recent TV series was based loosely on it, the majority of it was quite new to me. I enjoyed the growth of the relationship between Holmes and Watson - though not knowing this hadn't ruined the other SH books  that I read and the plot was complex enough to intrigue. I have a feeling I may have read a shortened version somewhere that missed out the whole centre section that takes place in Utah - I had never come across that before and at first thought my recording had gone wrong and I had part of another book. It made the whole story have a greater depth and explained the reasoning behind the murders very well.
I do love Holmes so am biased  in the pleasure I get from this sort of audio book and it passed a good few hours knitting time for very quickly indeed.

I think Librovox on the whole have a really good choice of titles and once you find a few good narrators then it is a service that also being free is wonderful. I have the app in my iPod Touch and it downloads quickly and plays really clearly. Brilliant.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunset Socks

 Off the needles (finally) this weekend are the sunset colour socks that I've been knitting as a little giftie for my Mum. She is a knitter but her hands have been playing her up and she's not been knitting because of this and is always in need of new could I not?

The pattern in the Embossed Leaf one by Mona Schmidt from the book 'Favourite Socks'; the yarn is Superba Poem (or something like that) and the pattern was knit over 64 stitches on 2.75mm circular needles.

I made an extra pattern repeat on the leg as she likes her socks a little longer than I normally do them and a little longer in the toe for her slimline tootsies. They fit fine.
Also off the needles sock 1 of a plain pair in Regia World Circus sock yarn. Shorter leg for spring and an after thought heel. Sock number two has the rib done and a few rows of the leg.

I need to get stuff moving off the needles this week - so I have the plan to finish (g)nomeo mitt number two, make another headband and move this sock on a laid plans etc *insert crazy laughter here*.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Just perfect for cold ears

 This is a great quick project from the archives of Knitty - the pattern is called Nakiska and it is basically a knitted cable headband and I knit this in a few hours yesterday evening. The cables aren't too challenging just enough to keep you occupied.

Quite often when we are out with the dogs I get way too hot with a hat but then end up with cold ears, especially if it's windy (and with my sinus issues this can lead to ear ache too) this little knit is perfect for those days.

I used a 3.75mm 12" circular needle (love the mix of  metric and imperial that inhabits my world of knitting) and the remains of a ball of Handmaiden Casbah sock yarn which is very soft being a blend of merino, cashmere and nylon. I can't recall the name of the colour but it is mix of black, brown and purple so will really go with most things.

The picture below is my previous one of these - made from Louisa Harding angora yarn - it has seen better days and it is all stretched out - I still wear it and love it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

52 Books - book 4

Moon Watchers Companion by Donna Henes
'Everything you ever wanted to know about the moon'

And it does exactly what is says on the tin.

An interesting little book - from global folklore and poetry about the moon to the phases of the moon this book has the lot. It is a pick up and put down sort of read as opposed to a cover to cover one. But there is something for everyone. I like the 'Encyclopedia of Lunar Technology' which explains everything from the original meaning of honeymoon to what a moondogger is.

The format is easy to read with some lovely black and white illustrations. You come away from reading it with a deeper insight to the our lunar neighbour and it does make moon watching (something I love to do) a lot more interesting.

Well worth having a look at. It will be a good one to refer back to as well.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Off and on the needles

 I finished my fishy mitts on Saturday. Had a brief tussle with the right hand thumb,due mainly to lack of concentration on my part. I am still fuzzy headed from this never ending cold (2 weeks today and counting). I love these mitts. Spillyjane (link in a previous post) writes really good patterns with nice clear charts that are fun to knit.
I have another one of hers lined up for the off.
Current (non plain) sock project. Photo does not do colours justice at all. Yarn is Ricco Poems, it is a little splitty for a single ply but I just adore the color progression. Pattern is a slight adapted version of  the Embossed Leaves Socks.

I have other projects underway our awaiting attention - just not enough hours in my days at the moment.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wet, foggy and windy

The weather that is.

I can't see the house that backs onto our garden or the road that our close is on.

I can't get Lottie-bo-bo to do wee-wees.

I can't  keep the floors clean due to Scottie and kitty paw prints.

I can't be asked to go out in this - unless I really have to. The damp plays havoc with my sinus anyway.

I can't remember what sky looks likes.

I can't see the sea or the downs.

I can't believe that it's been like this almost all week.

I can't think of anything else to add to this.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Books 2 and 3.

Book 2 is 'Coraline' by Neil Gaiman. I bought this for J for Christmas as he had seen and loved the film and wanted to read the book. He read it in a day and I managed it in an afternoon over the New Year break. The fact that it is a quick read isn't in anyway detrimental to it. I love Gaiman's storytelling, whether for child or adult, and I found this book entrancing. It differs to the film (which I also love) on some levels but the base of the storyline is the same. It was a lovely way to spend a lazy afternoon and I'm really glad I got around to reading it finally.

Book 3 is an audio book of 'Fragile Things' by Neil Gaiman - going for a theme here.

I often use audio books to revisit old favourites and this is the case with this book. I love the fact that it is read by the author and it gives more meaning to the explanations of how each story and poem came in to being. I find this so interesting that I wish more authors did it.
There is nothing better than a comfy chair, some knitting and a good audio book especially on a winter evening. Mr Gaiman transports you to all sorts of places and ideas and I adore the fact that this book revisits Shadow from 'American Gods' and Mr Clare from another short story in a novella.

I have a thing for short story books - especially by favourite authors - it is nice to dip in and out of their worlds now and then without the commitment of a whole novel.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wednesday Madhouse - Sexy.

According to The Oxford English Dictionary - sexy - sexually attractive or stimulating.

The thing that gets me with this word is the when it is used in relation to an object. I have heard it used in relation to "Oooo sexy shoes". Does this mean that the look of the shoes makes you fancy them or that they actually turn you on? That a pair of shoes gives you that little frisson in all the right places. Now, I like shoes, but to be honest they just don't do 'it' for me.

Another example of this I've come across is in cookery shows on TV -"a sexy little pudding". I've yet to see a pudding that makes me want to whip off my knickers and jump into bed with it! I've eaten puddings that give me pleasure, that have that wonderful melt in the mouth "ooooooo" moment but I can say, hand on heart, I've yet to find one that has made me orgasmic.

I think that the word 'sexy' should be reserved for proper usage and no longer used for items that cannot turn you on (unless you are a little kinky), otherwise where will it end? "Look at the sexy washing up brush?" or maybe "That is one sexy tin of beans!" or my personal favourite "I can't wait to wear those sexy socks."

Let us resolve to use the word sexy for the right things (imho) - that look that almost turns you inside out, the curve of a well formed buttock or breast, the voice that sends a shiver up your spine and the touch or kiss that melts you the second it connects - those are my idea of sexy.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Even when I'm ill.....

 I can get a little distracted by things.........hence the above obsession that I've been in throes of since Saturday.
The pattern is Swedish Fish by spillyjane (also on Ravelry). It is knit on 2mm dpns and I am using stash yarn. I've altered the top so my fingers aren't enclosed and the thumb likewise (the pattern is a traditional mitten shape). It is a brilliantly written pattern with a lovely clear chart. The thumb was a tad fiddly but apart from that it was an interesting knit that wasn't too taxing.

Mitt number two is cast on and ready to go - once the light improves - navy yarn + electric light = brain ache.

p.s Blame the yarn harlot for this one - I saw the link on her blog - saw the gnomes, the strawberries and the fishies and I was lost.....I have a feeling the gnomes might be next on my very long 'to do' list.

Looking good.

shampoo and set 007
Originally uploaded by loobles2002

While the illness hampers my creative thought processes (lol) I thought I'd post this picture of a newly groomed Fergus.

We took him and HRH to the groomers on Friday. We keep his body fur short, no long Scottie skirts, as his fur matts - even though I groom him everyday. The groomer did a great job and kept the Scottie face shaping, which we love.

His coat is very soft like velvet and we're amazed how much brindle colouring he has on his back.

He now has nice tidy paws and claws and neatly trimmed bits and bobs and he even smells nice too.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Not much to report.

We've all had really, really bad colds. J is over the worst of his. I am still in the throes of mine and M is catching up at the back. Stuffy heads, snotty noses, hacking coughs and disturbed sleep make for a boring week.

I am so very tired.

I've read - a bit. I've knit  - a bit. I've sat staring at the wall like a zombie - a lot.

Back to regular service when I feel a bit more human. x

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Christmas Mystery - Jostein Gaarder (book 1).

I've decided to attempt the '52 books in a year' for 2011. There is a group for this on Ravelry which has some interesting posts etc and is worth a look at. But I think I will fly solo and just blog each book I read here. I'm am including books that I am revisiting and audio books in my list.

My first book is 'A Christmas Mystery' by Jostein Gaarder - which I did start at Christmas 2010 but finished on January 1st 2011 so I'll include it.

I have read this book before but not since J was a weeny baby. I only remembered the bare bones of it so it was nice to visit it again and it is perfect seasonal reading.

Set in Norway it tells the tale of little boy and his magical Advent Calender - this is the outlying story but there is a story within the story within the story. You also get a nativity story - but with a twist - a mystery of a missing girl. All interlock and unravel together with a very clever narration, the stories have good pace and they translate well. It is the kind of book that, although it isn't a compulsive page turner, left me feeling satisfied when I finished it.

I've read other books by this author and so far they have never failed to intrigue, interest and entertain me.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Wednesday Madhouse - Expectations

This almost totally slipped my mind....blame a heavy head cold for that.

I have unreasonable expectations of everything - but most particularly of me.

I expect that as most things I have attempted in life have come quite easily to me and in a way I want, that everything I attempt will be the same.

Life likes to throw you a curve ball now and then though.

I expected to fall in love, get married and have a family. I expected to be expecting within 6 months to a year of starting to try. My expectations were very, very misguided.

I could get pregnant but I couldn't stay pregnant - one early miscarriage followed another - in fact I've lost count and over time I think this is my minds way of dealing with it all. Nine years it took and finally I was expecting. Not that it was plain sailing, either being pregnant or giving birth.

I expected after having one, big healthy baby that number two would be a doddle - pah to expectations - I never fell pregnant again - and after a further 6 years of trying called it a day. I had my reasons for not going the IVF route - all of which are personal and still valid.

But I had the family that I had had expectations last.

I expected to find being a Mum fairly easy and that I'd be quite good at it. Another mistaken expectation. Being a Mum is the hardest thing I have done and TBH I don't think I'm that good at it, it just doesn't come easily or naturally - I have to work hard at it and practice a lot. I have got good at apologising though - so it is also a learning process.

My expectation of being a Mum were that I would (with ease) inspire, teach and be patient with my child. I expected that my maternal love for him would change me from an impatient, short tempered being to a calm, chilled out and cool parent.

You see I expect to be good at everything all the time. I think I may be a little deluded. I am learning not have impossible expectations of others (it isn't easy - ask M) now I just have to learn to cut myself a little slack.

p.s. As I was typing this J asked me what I was writing, so I read it to him - he disputes that I am not a good Mum and told me I was the best.......wonder what he's expecting?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


So, it is 6.11 am Tuesday 4th January 2011 and I have been awake since 2.30 am. At 4.30 am I gave up on bed and got up. It is not my cold that woke me up and kept me awake, it is a crippling pain in my shoulder and collar bone. I don't know how it happened as it occurred in my sleep. Tiger balm, soluble strong pain killers and a wheat bag have not eased it...much. The pain pulses to a stabbing intensity every 15 seconds then every 5 and that isn't long enough between bouts to allow me to doze off. Right now, I am very, very fed up.

I have read, drunk tea and now have put the laptop on to try and take my mind from the pain.

Nothing is working.

I hate hearing the sounds of others sleep when I can't.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Lottie's new year celebration.


Nuff said.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Off to a good start.

 The lovely flowers that M bought for me yesterday. I love flowers and these are a gorgeous mix of colour and texture.
 First FO of the year! Ishbel by Ysolda Teague pattern can be found here. I've wanted to make this for ages and finally got around to downloading the pattern the week before Christmas.
This is the smaller size. It took 68g on a 3.75mm circular needle. The yarn is The Knittery sock yarn in colourway Moses Fire. It has a percentage of cashmere so is lovely and soft. The only downside is it's a little splitting to knit with, but the colours (not done justice in the pictures) are lovely.