Sunday, October 28, 2007

Out of the dark

Finally, the day before I have to go back to work I'm starting to feel better. I can walk without coughing a whole lung out and can sometimes breath through one of my nostrils. My family have become immune to the coughing and can now sleep through it. I would feel guilty about our neighbour having to put up with it if it wasn't for the noisy sex that we have to endure when he has a willing participant. Have you seen Fight Club....?


Just about finished a cardigan for Evie Alice. It's a variation of the Mason Dixon baby kimono - but I prefer these sleeves. Just needs buttons and blocking. Can you believe this took three and a half skeins of Alpaca Silk? How does anyone afford to knit an adult (ok, me...) sized garment out of this stuff? It feels gorgeous though.

A new yarn on the block for me - Claudia's Handpainted Yarn in Boot Camp and Desert Dream. Absolutely gorgeous and with me only thanks to the blogless (I think) Yarn Doc - a fellow Raveller. This will be a Chevron Scarf eventually. I chose the yarn colours as I was looking for something Autumnal. Not that we seem to be getting much of an Autumn here. Last night the wind brought lots of leaves down, but they aren't getting much beyond yellow.

Although it was 15 degrees C on the beach this morning, we've had some frosty nights. So J has "wrapped" the deck for the winter. The sheets of plexiglass go up and then all the tender things come in from the cold to shelter against the house. It means he can grow lots of things that wouldn't normally survive this far north, but without having to lose ground to a greenhouse.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Little projects

I finally got around to making my sock blockers - following the tutorial from Little Sesame Knits.

Two plastic table mats will make 4 blockers. All for £1.58. Bargain!
I tested them with my Harvest Sock Swap sock. It looks very nice now it's blocked . I have the goodies ready to put into the package and it will be on its way across the Atlantic in the morning.

I may have developed a crush on washcloths/dishcloths. I must admit I didn't really see the appeal, but I've made a few as gifts this week in preparation for Halloween. They are very satisfying as they knit up ever so quickly - usually in the space of one TV drama. I've been using a few balls of Calmer, which seems like a real extravagance, but there aren't enough to make anything substantial and the purple colour is perfect for Halloween.

Can you see the bat on this one? Tell me it does look like a bat...

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Today I was at the optician with my 16 year old son, j. He was 16 in September, which makes him one of the oldest in his year at school and still has the whole of this academic year to do in Year 11.

We've been going to medical appointments for most of his life - it's thought that some 'trauma related to his birth' (described by the hospital as 'normal', incidentally) has caused him some problems. These don't impact him in enormous ways but they're there nontheless.

Today I had to face the fact that he isn't a child any more. My role was to sit in the waiting room until it was time to pay for his contact lenses and glasses. I didn't need to sign for any of his examinations, didn't need to give any information and had to wait for him to tell me what the opthalmologist said. I know I have something of a reputation in our house for being 'involved', but it's hard to sit back and be on the fringes. 16 seems so young.

During the summer I had a very upsetting time when he told me he had obtained details and costings of courses, accomodation and travel for a University in...wait for it...Tokyo. All without discussing it with me or J. He wasn't being hurtful - just didn't see how it affected us. How it affected us???!!! How it affected me, was that I went through a couple of weeks of real grieving at the thought of him moving that far away. Daft I know - he isn't going anywhere for at least another two and a half years.

Then he did it again last week. Filled in an application for two colleges - to do A levels - without discussion with us. Then didn't see why I was surprised...

Possibly I should celebrate the fact that he's so independent and confident. There is a precedent for this in the family. J celebrated his 16th birthday in Mexico after having joined the merchant navy at 15. It just doesn't seem 'right' to me. I'm sure it's more about me than j though.

What was I like at 16?

I was a goody goody. A bit of a swat. I did what my parents said. But I led a secret life in my head. Later I cut loose a little. Between 16 and 18 I did all sorts of things I wouldn't want my parents to know about.

Did I consult them about colleges? I'm not sure. I can't remember. What I do know is that 16 didn't seem young at all then.

Maybe I do just need to chill out and trust him.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Stop or my dog will shoot

A Simpson's episode I haven't seen before. Chief Wiggum talking to the Simpsons about how he cope with the stresses of being a cop: "I like to knit violent imagery".

Half term break at last

and a little knitting.

This is the start of a cardigan for Evie Alice, who is now in special care as she isn't feeding very well. Our thoughts go out to Lisa and Rob. This was going to be the baby kimono from Mason Dixon Knitting, but I didn't like the way it was turning out, so it's an improvised (I mean designed) cardigan of my own. They yarn is Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk and it's gorgeous to handle. So soft.

It's all about alpaca today. This is the start of something for me. It started life as a cardigan, but as it's straight rib so far with no shapings, it really could become anything. I'm quite interested in the idea of a tank top to wear over shirts. It's alpaca on a cone from a mill. Forget where. I've had it a while.

It's the half term break at last! It feelas as though we've been waiting for this for ever. It's only been 8 weeks, but I've got another cold - an opportunist cold that sneaked in while I was recovering from the viral flu I had 2 weeks ago. It's left me with a hacking cough that disturbs my sleep and has been making me feel a bit depressed. j is the same. Fortunately J has had a flu jab and has only had a mild runny nose.

Still - some chance for rest, knitting, cooking and movies this week. All curled up on a sofa with the heating on all day :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

In response to all the searchers

If you have a blog and have a visitor-tracking system, it's interesting to see what people are searching for when they arrive at the blog. Some of the search strings have me totally perplexed. How did a search for hampswaite bloomers lead to me? And why are people Googling this anyway?

Anyway - a common search that brings people to me is NPQH Final Assessment. If you are a person searching for information on NPQH you will know what I'm on about, if you don't, don't worry about it. You probably won't ever need to know.

So here's the deal. you may have arrived here because I posted a couple of years ago that I'd had my final assessment. Later, that I'd passed. I can't tell anyone the details of the final assessment day activities because that's how it works - on integrity - no-one is supposed to tell. It's how I imagine the Masons might work, except I can tell you that I didn't have to roll up any trouser legs and there were no pinnies involved.

When you reach the Final Assessment day, if you've done the work to get there (which you must have done to get there) and you've survived the residential without getting pissed and sleeping with one of the tutors and without throwing coffee on that irritating secondary ICT adviser who is in your group and hasn't ever managed a school but thinks he knows it all - well, you'll be fine.

If you can remember the rules of negotiation, work as a member of a team, listen carefully and speak clearly, prioritise and have a soul, you'll get through.

I did.

With no development points.

Good luck!

Finished object reporting in

This is my finished My So Called Scarf, ready to be sent off for ISE5 when I have the goodies bought.
It's in Debbie Bliss Maya and I love the way the texture and colours have worked together.

Another Finished Object!

My friend Lisa gave birth to a 5lb 4oz baby girl - 2 weeks early so the knitting I had planned hasn't even been started yet... Welcome Evie Alice

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where do I begin?

Rowena's owl arrived today! What an amazing parcel! Just look at the goodies. I wish you could smell and feel everything. A picture will have to do. Or pictures!

Fabulous - almost like Christmas.
The edited highlights:
Gorgeous stitch markers; a beautiful bracelet and matching earrings in a lovely little box; bath treats; sweet treats; gardening gloves; a scarf; coffee and tea; Badger Balm products and Burts' Bees kit. These wonderful socks:

J, j and my neighbour have all fondled these so far. They feel amazing and I couldn't be happier with the colourway. Also these:

I fell in love with these when someone showed them on the Hogwarts Sock Swap 2 blog.

I'm also intrigued by the two sachets of Soak she included. I haven't seen this here in the UK. Maybe someone will correct me.

Thank You Rowena!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Harvest sock progress

This is my Harvest Sock swap sock waiting to be blocked. Now I must find some interesting goodies to post off with it.

On Sunday J and I had a drive down to Whitby. We didn't time it right as there were still too many people there for our liking. We'll go again in about 4 weeks and have it nearly all to ourselves when the colder weather descends for real.

Coffee Swap Questionnaire


1. Whole bean or ground? - beans
2. Fully-loaded or decaf? - with caffeine please
3. Regular or flavored? - regular only. I don't like flavoured coffee. I do like to add cinnamon on top though.
4. How do you drink your coffee? - espresso, latte or cappuccino
5. Favorite coffee ever? - blue mountain from a family member in Jamaica
6. Are you fussy about your coffee or will any old bean do? - usually buy high roast, rich and dark varieties, but open to anything!
7. Favorite treats to have with your coffee? - biscotti, cinnamon bun, candy treats that we can't get here in England.
8. Anything else about your coffee preferences? - that's about it, I think.
9. Yarn/fiber you love? - prefer finer yarns, sock-weight for example. Love wools (especially merino), alpaca, silk. Most natural fibres
10. Yarn/fiber you hate? - not keen on acrylics, eyelash-type yarns, yarn with glittery bits
11. What's on your needles? - My So Called Scarf, baby knits, socks
12. Favorite colors? - sea colours, autumn colours, purples, sage greens, like red too.
13. Allergies? - nothing
14. Anything you really love, really don't like, or just need to get off your chest? - Nope, can't think of anything

A terrible photo (bad, hat-hair), but the most welcome cup of coffee. Cafe Camelot, in Krakow. We'd just spent the day in Auschwitz and needed some breathing space and caffeine. It's surprisingly hard to get good coffee in Krakow, but this place - and the staff - was wonderful.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

In the groove again

Got my knitting groove back in time for the Autumn/Winter and seem to be getting some things actually finished.

This is my Noro Silk Garden Entrelac Scarf. I love the colour combinations in this yarn and I really enjoyed the entrelac. Much easier than I thought. It's out of my system now, as it actually got a bit boring as I hit the fourth ball.

While I was getting J to photograph the scarf I thought I'd ask him to do me a picture I can use as an avatar on ravelry. This is a closer shot of the new autumn haircut and one of my new pairs of specs.

This is my swatch for my International Scarf Exchange knit - My So Called Scarf. I'm going to knit my scarf wider than the pattern as I think it looks a little thin. I think I'm going to go for 36 or 38 stitches instead of 30. I've got 4 skeins of Maya so I should have plenty of yarn.

This is my Harvest Sock Swap sock. Twinkletoes Sock Yarn. It's coming on well.

Finally, a gratuitous picture of my pheasant. Should really say, J's pheasant. He feeds her twice a day and she comes right up to him when he appears in the garden. It's still a really odd site in an urban garden. "Oh, that - that's just our pheasant..."

J update: we went to see J's cardiologist today as he's been having some aching in his chest and we were anxious about it and worried that he, perhaps, had angina. Everything's fine and the pains are likely to be muscle tension.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Well, I can tell it's becoming Autumn again by the cool of the air in the morning, the chestnuts in the shops, the darker evenings and the fact that I've got my first cold of the season!

I love the Autumn. My thoughts turn to winter yarns and winter recipes. Soups, stews and scarves.

This is the yarn for my ISE 5 exchange scarf. It's Debbie Bliss Maya - which has been discontinued, but they still have it at Bobby Davison's in Hartlepool. I just wish it had been reduced along with the discontinuation. It may become a My So Called Scarf.

And this is the sock I am making for Harvest Sock Swap. It's a modified version of a pattern called Heatwave I found on Ravelry. Oh, Ravelry! How many hours have I lost in there since I got my invite?

I was blog hopping from the Hogwarts Sock Swap blog the other day and found a link to some Harry Potter fan fiction. Now, as someone who regularly has to plough through 11 year olds' reworking of the series handed in as original work fan fiction is somewhere I don't usually go. This one was good, however...if you like Severus Snape...and if you are prepared to believe in his humanity...