Friday, August 31, 2007

Colour therapy

I think one of the things that I love most about knitting is the use of colour. I loveputting stitch after stitch of different colours into a piece of work and feeling myself soothed or excited by the combinations. This would explain why the stash has so many variegateds and mixed colour yarns.

Today's post is brought to you by the colours green and purple.

This morning we drove over to Yorkshire Lavender, where we hadn't been in 9 years. Last time we were there we found it on the way back home from Castle Howard - they had just opened and there was a hill and a portacabin. They've changed a lot.

I wish I could share the scent here. There is some lovely planting and it all appeals to the senses. Very relaxing. We had tea with lavender scones with lavender and blueberry jam. Although it was interesting, I'm fairly confident that I won't be eating lavender again in the near future.

We drove home through Bilsdale and stopped several times to just enjoy the colours.

This is why North Yorkshire is so purple - heather.

J and I have decided we should learn from the sheep who inhabit the moorland. They never seem to stressed about anything.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I was tagged by lazy lol, another Northern Lass.

The challeng is to tell EIGHT interesting things about me. Hmmm, eight....?

1. I love tattoos. I love to look at them on other people and have a couple myself.
This one is on my right leg and it took 12 hours to finish (in 3 sessions), during which I had to rely heavilly on my ante-natal breathing exercises. A few years ago I broke this ankle and it has never really settled back into a 'normal' shape.

I can't show you pictures of any more ;)

2. I am addicted to University Challenge, which is slightly older, even, than I am.

3. I used to spend my summer holidays taking part in archeological digs. I was attracted by the idea of all that delicate trowel work, but I am more the kind of girl who gets to wield a mattock...

4. I am frightened by spiders, heights and edges, but have a real anxiety about the idea of amputation. I run cold at the idea of trapping a limb in a door - especially a glass one - and am not very comfortable around knives. No idea where this came from. I managed quite well working in theatres as a nurse. It's the idea of it happening to me.

5. I have traced my family tree on my father's side back to 1700. Then it gets tricky as we didn't seem big on getting married...

6. Following involvement with a particular church a couple of years ago I am now confused about my faith.

7. Despite my Women's Institute sympathies now, I loved to go see punk and new wave bands when I was younger. I saw the Sex Pistols and the Clash, the Buzzcocks and many more when I was 13 and it took off from there. While I was pregnant with j, J and I went to see the Pixies. Strangely, j is a big fan of them and Frank Black now.

8. I have been knitting since I was at primary school. One of the first items I made was a yellow and white acrylic scarf. I knitted quite happily throughout the 1980s, becoming a big fan of Patricia Roberts and Kaffe Fassett. The worst thing I ever made was a beaded mohair sweater dress that I wore with thick patterned tights. I loved it.

Now to find some victims.


I've been enjoying making these trading cards/ATCs. I hesitate to use the word 'artist', but I'm enjoying the process. Hope the recipients enjoy the product. For every set I make, I keep one.

These are for a Brown Paper Bag ATC challenge. They are autumn leaves cut from a plain brown bag and coloured with pencil, mounted on a background from a Starbucks paper bag which had lots of shades of brown and just said' Autumn' to me - hence the theme.

Forgot to take photos of the rest of this set. This is the least attractive of the Stained Glass ATCs I made.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Childhood summers

When J was a lad, his family would drive over to Cotherstone in Teesdale to visit his Auntie Nina. She wasn't his Auntie Nina, she was too old, but she was somebody's Auntie Nina.
She lived in a tiny cottage and he remembers it as being like stepping back at least two centuries. It was one of those stone cottages with an alcove bed in the kitchen, a range and outdoor toilet.

J and his three sisters would ride their lilos down the rapids and J would disappear up river towards Barnard Castle without seeing a soul all day. His parents never worried.

We were down there today. There are safety warnings, life preservers and keep out notices everywhere. He was a bit disillusioned.

It's still beautiful, though the currents look too dangerous for lilo racing.
"Would you let j surf down there on a lilo?' I ask.
"Would you let him wander off into that forest alone?"
"He's 6ft 2 and a big bloke!"
"Well, yes, but when he was younger...?"

Is the world actually different or is it us?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Some actual knitting

that I can actually show! So much of my knitting at the moment is 'secret'.
I've been working on a few small projects for me too.

Here are a pair of Fetching fingerless mittens, from Knitty summer 2006. I made them in a spare skein of Silk Garden I had left over from something else. They will be useful for holding a coffee cup outside at work in the winter (or summer, as things are going...)

Next up is half an alpaca hat. The flash has washed out all the colour - it's a pale lilac, not pink. It's my first attempt at adding beads, which was much easier than I had anticipated thanks to this tutorial on Debi's blog. I shall be using beads more often in the future.

Finally, a scarf in Handmaiden Sea Silk in the Woodland colourway. It's a simple lace pattern as so many I tried got lost in the colour changes. It doesn't look much now, but I have faith in the blocking process. A little of this yarn goes a long way.

I have joined another swap too: Harvest Sock Swap '07. Participants are asked to knit one sock and send it, with the rest of the yarn and pattern, to their partner along with some other goodies.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Every year we like to go to Danby Agricultural Show. Last year's August blog entries were full of sunny pictures of the dales and the livestock we saw at Danby.

This year's should really just feature umbrellas! To give you some indication of our summer, I'll tell you what my lastest wardrobe purchase is. No, not a new linen tunic or even a tankini - a new Berghaus 'performance' (read waterproof) jacket.

These are our pictures of Danby last week:

j forgo his nocturnal holiday existence for the day as well.

Add to the mud, the fact that the recent foot and mouth outbreak has resulted in a ban on the transporting of livestock, including attendance at country fairs, and you can guess how short our visit was.

There's always next year.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pay it forward Exchange

A goodwill exchange based on the 2000 movie with Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. I like the sound of this and leapt into an opening in the comments on Grace's blog. Having done that I have promised to post this here.
This is what the PIF Exchange is all about……(Taken from Grace's blog, which was copied from from JenW's blog which was copied from Megan’s blog, which was copied from… get the picture)
“Here is how it works! I’ll send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange! I don’t know what that gift will be yet, and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week…LOL… but you will receive it within 365 days, that’s a promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog…”

So the next 3 people who leave a comment on my blog - there are treats in store!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Finished object

Finished another Shapely Tank. I love this pattern as a Summer basic. This one is in Wendy Supreme Cotton in Desert Print. I've added a dozen mother-of-pearl buttons for a touch of interest. It will go with suits and casuals and works with black and brown.

My Knitted/Crochet Scarf Swap scarf arrived safely in Taipei with Flora today. I'm glad she likes it as I am in awe of the crocheted garments on her blog!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Respect for the elderly

I'm very excited about my find of the day:

Got any ideas? No? Here's another clue:

Yep! It's an American, 1920-ish Royal (10, I think) Typewriter. Complete with glass vision panels and spare ribbon.

It came from an old farmhouse out in the countryside. The owner was clearing out her attic and found it. It's mine now! I had intended to rip its keys off and use them to make jewellery. However, now I've met it in person, as it were, I'm a little in love and wonder if it might restore. It could look like this you see.

Knitting news:
I have finished my Ravenclaw socks and am beginning the hunt for the perfect pattern for a scarf in Handmaiden Sea Silk.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sock-knitter's block

No, not an inability to move forward with my Ravenclaw socks (in fact I'm about to decrease for the toe on the second one!), but my current internal debate about whether I can justify buying a pair of wooden sock blockers.
I really want a pair of these, but also covet these.
Then I found this tutorial.

A couple of garden shots:

The white agapanthus we put in last year is flowering for the first time.

This verbena self-seeded from last year's crop. It's about 7 feet high!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Just a peek

The Hogwarts Sock Swap knitting is going well. I'm very happy with the socks I'm making. Hope Rowena agrees when she gets them! It's very frustrating not being able to show what I've done so far (I'm turning the heel of the second sock). So here's a sneak peek:

Don't think that gives anything away...

Mini Health-rant:
I saw my GP today as I want to stop taking one of the drugs I take to manage my FMS. It has done nasty things to my weight which seem impossible to reverse even with a really healthy diet and 40 minutes brisk exercise a day. My BP is elevated now too. And I have to have a full range of fasting bloods done in the morning. Aaarghhh.

Still, I'll keep going with the eating and exercise programme. I don't drink alcohol any more, I don't smoke, PLEASE don't make me give up my one latte (skinny) a day. What else is left to me? Actually - I guess I could become allergic to wool. No, surely...?

J update:
J is doing really well. It looks as though he's not going to have angina or any other after effects of his heart attack. His cholesterol is reducing, he's strong and healthy looking again. His skin is cold all the time now though as a side effect of one of his many daily drugs. He's managing to relax and not think about work. The really worrying thing is that he has developed a taste for Dickinson's Real Deal! As long as he doesn't decide to emulate the Duke himself and get an orange tan...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Knit 1 Tea 2 Color Swap

Knit 1 Tea 2 Color Swap Questionnaire

Do you like loose tea or bags, or both – something you want to try? - Either. I like teabags as they give me the chance to buy smaller quantities and try more types of tea
What is your favorite kind of tea (Brand, flavor, variety, etc)? - I like the English Breakfast & earl Grey kinds of tea. I've always wanted to try the Bush Tea that Mma Precious Ramotswe drinks in The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books.
Favorite color in regards to tea or one you would like to try? (black, green, red, and white) (keeping in mind that this is how this swap is set up). I'm interested in exploring green
Would you say you were a tea pot kind of person or just a hot water heater kind? Both! On my own I'm a bag in a mug kind of girl, but for two or more...a pot
What tea accessories would you like but have never purchases for yourself? Anything - we're more heavilly weighted towards coffee things here at home
How do you prefer to be pampered? (examples: mani/pedi, bubble bath, yummy treat, etc). Love pedicures and reflexology/aromatherapy. Also love yummy goodies
If you were a kind of yarn what would you be and why? Hmmm... probably alpaca - soft and strong or maybe recycled sari silk - a mix of allsorts with some exotic and some grotty bits thrown in!
If you had to knit/crochet baby booties, a fun fur scarf, or a fair isle sweater, which would you choose and why? The fair isle any day. I love the interplay of colour in fair isle and the sense of making something really special
What other event would make you skip a tea party? (A garden party? A book club meeting? A yoga class? Opening night for a new action thriller? etc?) Garden party - any opportunity to poke around in someone else's borders...
What treat would you consider essential at your tea party? (Sweet? Salty? Scones? Those petite pastry trays with a couple of all sorts of things? Little crust less sandwiches?) cucumber sandwiches without crusts, warm scones with butter and home made jam, Nigella Lawson's lemoncurd cake
When buying yarn for a project how do you choose - do you buy the one called for or do you substitute? Depends what I like best
What do you carry your knitting/crocheting in when on the go? A small, portable project - like a sock
Favorite movie to watch while knitting/crocheting? You've Got Mail
Are you a traditional tea cup kind of person or a mug type of person? Do you care if they match? Both, but rarely matching
Favorite childhood birthday party? The one where I wore a white lace dress with a blue sash. I was 5, I think.
Favorite type of scone and jam? Fruit scones with just a hint of spice and home made raspberry jam
If you use candles, what is your favorite scent? cinnamon
If you could choose 3 people to have 'tea' with, who would they be and why? (famous or not, living or dead). Mum and Dad, both sadly dead - Dad never got to see my son. Mr Hislop, my Junior School teacher who pushed me to read interesting and challenging books.
You've been invited to a tea party, what 'props' will you wear (formal or casual)? Smart Casual - long skirt with a handknit stole or shawl
Any allergies/preferences you have or are willing to admit to? Nothing
Anything we missed that you want your pal to know?That I appreciate the time and trouble they are putting into this.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

At last, some finished objects

Really hot and humid here (by North East England standards, at least) today. I feel swollen and irritable and achey :( But, on the up side, I finished blocking scarves to send off to swap partners in the swapbot Crochet/Knitted Scarf Swap.

So, if you're in Halifax, Nova Scotia and you like greens mixed with purples this will be on its way to you on Monday:

Seafoam lace stitch in Cherry Tree Hill yarn with a crocheted edging.

And if you live in Taipei, Taiwan and you like light grey-green this is coming to live with you:

It's Kidsilk Haze in Rowan's Froth pattern (second one of these I've made after swearing I would never knit a ruffle edging again!)

This evening feels a little cooler, but the sky is dark and it feels thundery. The boys are watching A Clockwork Orange downstairs and I just don't fancy it. I'm going to put my feet up and work on my Ravenclaw sock for Rowena Hopkirk. The sock is coming along nicely. I'm turning the heel and a little anxious about the yardage I'm getting from the yarn I've chosen, but won't worry too much yet. No pictures for obvious reasons.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Rievaulx Abbey - arch heavy post

Founded by St Bernard of Clairvaux in 1132, Rievaulx Abbey became one of England’s wealthiest monasteries before its dissolution by that architect of medieval destruction, Henry VIII in 1538.

We're very lucky in that, although we live in an industrial town, we have a wealth of North Yorkshire treasures within half an hour's drive. Today we drove to Helmsley, down to Rievaulx, and up into Rosedale.

Alice Cox

Heard some really sad news today. Alice Cox died suddenly on Sunday. Alice was my 'spoiler' in Secret Pal 9, a generous heart and a vibrant member of the fibre-blogging community.