Monday, July 30

Tea cosy revisited

I made this for Em some time last year - it never got posted on the blog because it was before Knit Nurse's time. So here it is in situ, as seen at the weekend when I paid a visit to Em's house for her birthday party.

As I walked into the kitchen, there it was in all its glory in the middle of the table. If wasn't for the tea stains down the front that evidenced how well used it was, I would have suspected she'd posed it there specially for my visit!

Nice to know that one's gifts are being used and appreciated, it really means a lot!

Current status

I am now number 999 in the queue for my Ravelry invite! Apparently they are inviting about 1200 people per week, so I should get my invite this in time for the hectic seven days I am anticipating, starting on Friday!

My folks are coming to stay on Friday, we are going to have a jam-packed weekend with concerts, eating out, visiting the local sights and generally having a good time!

They go home on Sunday, and then I've got a former school friend coming down for a few days in the great metropolitan. We are planning a double helping of pampering, along with some art galleries and perhaps even shopping.

So you might see me appear on Ravelry before the week's out, but don't expect me to be around much. I'll be out having that life I was on about!

Monday, July 23

Tea, cakes and advocacy for older people

Some time ago I was very kindly sent a box of hand-dyed yarn by Kerrie from Hipknits, for our knitting group Meantime Knitters. Rather than try to distribute the yarn, and risk arguments and unseemly behaviour (only joking!) I decided it would be better to try and raise some money.

So on Sunday we gathered at Lucy's very lovely flat for tea and cakes baked by some of our members, and a raffle in aid of Advocacy for Older People in Greenwich - a local charity which pretty much does what it says on the tin, so to speak.

Cathy, a volunteer for the charity, came along and told us what it involves, and enthused some people with the desire to also take part.

Thanks to everyone who came - we raised just over £60 which is not bad for only nine of us. We also ate lots of cake and had a very pleasant afternoon and everyone went away happy with some luxury yarn!

By the way, that's raspberry, blackcurrant and lime cake. MMMMM!

Biorhythms from hell

Stupid/avoidable things I have done this weekend.

1. Accused The Curse of losing the potato peeler. I looked and looked in the cutlery drawer but couldn't see our turquoise-handled potato peeler. Which was because it was lost a couple of years ago and replaced by a black-handled potato peeler which was staring right up at me. But the Curse, used to being in the doghouse for losing/breaking/forgetting things, gamely emptied the whole of our 30 litre kitchen bin with his hands, rotting fruit and all, in search of the elusive potato peeler which he was convinced he'd thrown away with the peelings earlier in the week.

2. Tipped a pot of diluted PVA glue all over myself and the bedroom carpet. This was stupid because I was carrying it around on the top of an open stepladder, and as I was trying to manoeuvre it past the bed, I was thinking 'oh boy, that pot looks a bit precarious, I guess I should take it off and carry it separately...oops!". I was lucky because I was wearing my decorating clothes, and our bedroom carpet is acting as a stand-in dust sheet until we finish the painting anyway.

After finding the potato peeler a day later (just by opening the cutlery drawer) and hearing about the glue incident (he wisely stayed downstairs during the expletives) the Curse just said "Your biorhythms must be out".

This is a salutory lesson and reminder of the fact that I give him too much of a hard time sometimes. I can't imagine that I would have said anything quite so kind to him if the boot had been on the other foot!

Saturday, July 21

Generation game

My gran and I had a bit of quality knitting time together on Friday, when I went to meet up with her and my parents who were staying in Southwold in Suffolk. It rained most the day (what's new?!) and although we did get out for a walk, we also did a bit of sitting around and knitting.

My gran is in her nineties and although she finds it difficult to get around now, her mind is still sharper than many people I know who are half her age. She puts it down to the crosswords that she does every day - whatever it is, it seems to work wonders! She knits squares for blankets that are used by the Red Cross for refugees or people who find themselves temporarily homeless for whatever reason. She knits prolifically, mostly while she's watching the tele, but even so her stitches are extremely neat and even.

Here we are, demonstrating our generation gap - granny with her straight needles and acrylic yarn, me with my Addi turbo circulars and some extremely pink 100% wool, making a swatch ("a what?" was my gran's reaction when I told her...!). It's the cursed handbag - finally gave in to the nagging suspicion that the best thing to do would be to felt it, so had to go out and purchase some feltable yarn.

We do have something in common - neither of us can remember who taught us to knit. Even my mum couldn't shed light on who taught me - although she did remember my first major project, an extremely difficult fair-isle jumper that came out looking fabulous! One day I will dig out a photo for the blog..I've always liked a challenge.

Slight change of subject, look at these two charmers!

They are part of the Southwold Pier water clock, which was designed by Tim Hunkin. On the hour and half past, various comical things happen - two chaps in a bath rise up and spit water out at the spectators, these guys pee (totally missing the toilet, what a surprise!) and a row of tulips grow up out of a trough at the bottom.

Tim also designed a lot of funny coin-operated machines for the 'Under the Pier Show' which is in a little building on the pier. Some of the machines used to be at the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre when it was in Covent Garden in London (way back when I was a student!) but he's added a lot more new ones, designed specially for their new location. If you find yourself in Southwold, make sure you take a look at it - much more fun than the traditional slot machines!

Tuesday, July 17

Ravelry - tension mounts!

Thanks to the new Ravelry list checker I have discovered some Very Important Facts.

1. I DID sign up. I was beginning to wonder
2. The bad news is that I'm still 2,340 people away from being invited
3. The good news is that I'm not any further back! There are 9,348 people behind me in the queue!

I'll confess I'm not too sure about Ravelry. While I think it's a very exciting idea and I'm sure I'll get drawn in, at least at first, I'm not sure it's a good idea to have anything else to keep me welded to the computer in my free time as well as my work time.

I'm worried it will reduce my knitting time even more than my two blogs, emails, ebays, etc do already. My Ravelry space will consist of an ever-lengthening list of stash and items I want to make, and very few FOs!

Life may be too short for housework, but it sure as hell should include time for socialising, reading, country walks, films, trips to the beach (erm, hopefully we'll make it some time this 'summer') and other things that don't involve computers!

Like I said, I'm not too sure what use I'll make of Ravelry. On the other hand, that's exactly what I said about my ipod.....

PS Apparently some people are getting a bit upset about the fact that they haven't had an invite yet. All I can say is: get a life!

Saturday, July 14

Hurrah for Brittany!

Received in the post this morning: two replacement needles for those that suffered at the hands of the Baudelaire socks!

I WILL be buying Brittany again in the future, I'm impressed by their customer service and delivering on their guarantee, no questions asked (although a short reply to my email would have been nice...)

And thanks to everyone who suggested that it was worth following up on!

Monday, July 9

Not much to report

The cursed pink handbag. I mentioned this in the last blog, it's a prop for our Ally Pally film posters and I tell you THIS YARN IS CURSED! I was listening to someone podcasting about cursed yarn the other day (sorry I can't remember which it was of the many podcasts I listen to..) but it's true. Some yarns are just cursed and you will have to cast on and frog many times before you break the curse. This one took about six different attempts, I think. Hopefully I've made it now, but I'm not holding my breath!

Meanwhile, a couple of photos I should have posted after my trip to Bremen last week. Had the chance to nip into Karstadt department store and picked up a few balls of this intriguing Gedifra Korella, which is a linen and acrylic mix, and two balls of Regia Canyon Colour, which is a self-striping, washable sock yarn. Nothing too exciting but then not all of my socks need to be exciting....!

Thursday, July 5

Busy, busy, busy!

Now that the Sockapalooza socks are done, I seriously need to do a bit of grafting on all the (other) things I've got deadlines for. And that's not grafting as in Kitchener stitch, that's grafting as in getting my head down and making a bit of progress. The fact that it is still peeing down outside will probably help. Any readers over the other side of the pond probably don't realise this, but in the UK we are having the WORST summer EVER! It rained for the whole of June, and now looks like continuing for most of July. Gah!

Anyway, back to the grafting. I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but the knitting group that I run, Meantime Knitters, is involved with Stitch n Bitch London in organising the champagne bar 'learn to knit' area at this year's Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in London. Again, for those overseas readers, this is the UK's BIG show for all the knitters and crafters - it's held at four different locations around the British Isles over the space of a few months, and it's a MUST DO for most UK knitters. That's where we really splurge.

So, we are having a Hollywood theme - I don't want to give too much away right now, but we are currently knitting props that will be central to our knit-themed film posters. We will have simple patterns for visitors to try, a red carpet, fairy lights and various other fun things. My list of things to do relating to this event is as follows:

1. knit a handbag out of the rather lairy pink acrylic yarn I've got
2. design a film poster along the lines of 'coming soon' for all our knit-themed film titles that didn't make the grade (one example: Free Woolly!)
3. design some simple knitted items (i-pod cover, wristband etc), knit them up and write patterns for them
4. source some illustrations of 'how to knit' (casting on, casting off, knitting and purling) so that we can make some crib sheets for beginners to take with them. I was going to try and find something on the internet I could use (with permission, naturally) but now I've decided I can probably do it myself as long as I can get someone with photogenic hands to pose!

ER..that's it.

But not quite. I've also set myself the task of designing and printing some flyers to promote our group at this weekend's local arts festival. They are designed and 'pdf'd, now I've just got to overcome the operator error I'm experiencing with the printer, which keeps trying to cut the bottom off the print area.


Tuesday, July 3


Check out this knitted animation by Max Alexander. It is truly dark, funny and just plain weird, but in a nice way! Thanks to the Glitty Knitty Kitty for pointing me to it!


These are the Socks that Block! I am totally chuffed with my sock blockers - not only were they desperately easy to make, I just LURVE the hooks on the top, perfect for hanging up the blocking socks to dry! They took about 5 mins (total) to make, and work perfectly.

Here's the finished items. I am sure my sockpal is going to enjoy! I have kept the label from the original yarn so that it can be attached back onto the socks (it's 'locally-sourced' yarn from the Yarn Yard).I'd just like to take this opportunity to apologise to Natalie at the Yarn Yard for the fact that not one single photo I have taken of this yarn does full justice to the richness and beauty of this colourway. If you want beautiful sock yarn (or even laceweight now, I believe) please consider buying from the Yarn Yard. You won't be disappointed with the yarn, and Natalie's customer service is second to none!

Meanwhile I'm racing along with this ever-so-easy item, something that has been requested from me for christmas. I'm not showing the whole thing just in case the intended recipient is looking, but do I get a prize for the earliest start on christmas knitting?!

Monday, July 2

Sock blockers

I don't own any 'proper' sock blockers since I usually block my socks by wearing them. But now the Baudelaires are finished (*phew!*) I think it's probably only polite to block them before I send them to my sockpal. And DEFINITELY polite to use something other than my feet!

Anyone got any suggestions for household items I could use instead?