Saturday, January 26, 2008


Oh my! Charlotte's Web is causing me some real problems! I keep ending up out on my row count. I must be missing some yo's or something. I've frogged it THREE times now and I'm tempted to just give up. Is this the revenge of the penance sweater? Am I not supposed to be working on anything else?

I sought refuge among my stash. I was ruthless today, jettisoning all the odd balls of baby wool and dodgy acrylics and oddments I'd been keeping 'just in case'. They are now in two sacks to go to the charity shop and recycling centre. I feel so clean :)

HSKS Hufflepuff Quiz

1. What does Mrs. Weasley do when she is angry? She can be rather overbearing and tends to explode!
2. Who picks up Harry for his visit to the Burrow? Ron Fred, George and Mr. Weasley

3. What did Moody give Neville? A book on herbology which mentions gillyweed
4. When is Hermione’s Birthday? 19th September

5. Who does Snape have pickling rats brains for detention? Harry and Ron
6. Are Dobby and Winky at Hogwarts at the beginning of term? No they arrive after the start
7. Where do Harry, Ron and Hermione pick up sock for Dobby? In Hogsmeade at Gladrags Wizardwear.
8. Who helps Harry figure out the egg? Moaning Myrtle and Cedric

9. Where does Harry have his first meeting with Sirius? In the hearth in Gryffindor Tower's Common room

10. Who interrupts the above mentioned meeting with Sirius? Ron

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I ♥ the weekend

Well, what a successful day!
I have completed a number of minor repairs around the house that were causing ongoing domestic irritation. Small stuff, but very satisfying.

In celebration I baked a dozen cupcakes, then j got up and ate most of them...

As an antidote to the penance sweater (see below), I have cast on Charlotte's Web. I've started off with the skein of Claudia's Hand Painted Fingering I had left over when I decided to make the Chevron Scarf shorter. I plan to choose the next yarn from my (larger than I expected) stash of sock-weight yarns.

This will be my first shawl. I'm not sure I'm really a shawl person, but they always look so nice on other people and I know I'm definitely a scarf person and it doesn't seem a million miles from one to the other, so we'll see...

On the Hogwart's front:

I have sent for the yarn for my Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap partner. She's in Ravenclaw and there are some lovely colourways out there. I'm still trying to decide which bag pattern to use, but I'm leaning towards a sock project-sized bag, maybe with a drawstring and some charms...not sure yet.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My dragon ate my homework


This week's assignment was to post this link here. Wonder if Miss Wartwobble will believe that my dragon ate my homework...

Rediscovering Filey

No, not the seaside town on the Yorkshire coast. I've never actually been there, believe it or not (for all of you who are familiar with the area), although I have been to Flamborough Head.

This Filey is a sweater I started for J over 2 years ago. We bought the pattern and yarn from Bobbins in Whitby. I cast it on and then abandoned it after and inch and a half. While I was confronting the magnitude of my stash, recently, I rediscovered it. It seems like the right thing to do now is to pick it back up and finish it. Maybe that should really read start it.

Trouble is, it's a horrible experience: I hate the way the yarn makes my fingers sore; I hate the way the yarn makes my fingers blue; I hate the way my eyes struggle to see the stitches in anything other than bright daylight; I hate the fact that it will take so long to knit, particularly given J's height and the fact that it has to be knitted a third longer than the required finished length to allow for shrinkage.

I feel like I'm doing penance for something.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

After I had given up hope

and decided that the Christmas Post Monster had eaten my package, this arrived from Canada:

It's my Coffee Swap package from Natalie in Ontario and it smells gorgeous. Mmmm...dark-roast coffee...

The gorgeous yarn is Sea Wool from Fleece Artist.

Thank you Natalie!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Comfort Inn Kensington

Don't Ever Stay There!

Been in London again for a couple of days at the Bett Show. It's an enormous technology in education show/conference. It's exhausting and when you get finished for the day you don't want to stay in a hotel that has:

  • tiny, shabby rooms

  • cramped, dirty en suite bathrooms

  • disaffected, uncaring staff who speak inadequate English (- probably on minimum wage, but employers should learn that they get what they pay for!)

  • smelly corridors

  • inadequate and noisy room heating

  • dangerously overloaded electric socket adapters

  • The spoils of conference...

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    First FO of 2008

    Well, technically my pratchgan square was the first but a 6 inch square doesn't seem to count really.
    So here is my Pistachio Bomb:

    It's Cherry Bomb from Big Girl knits, done in James Brett Merino wool on size 4mm needles. I made it 2 inches longer than the pattern directions and it's still a little short for wearing with trousers. It will work well with a skirt, though.

    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    buggrit, millennium hand and shrimp

    Terry Pratchett apparently came up with Foul Ole Ron's fantastic catchphrase by feeding a random text generating program with a Chinese takeaway menu and the lyrics to They Might be Giants' song Particle Man. Works for me.

    I made it the theme for my square for an afghan (or Pratchgan) being lovingly made by the Ankh-Morpork Knitters' Guild. (Sorry, it's a ravelry link)

    I've tried to make the lettering as chaotic as possible and to work within the 6 inches square and washable constraints. Does it count as a finished object? The first of 2008!

    The finished article will be sent to Terry as a "we're thinking about you" gesture.

    Friday, January 04, 2008

    Even a single hair casts its shadow

    It's not on the list, but it's on my bedside table:

    Who could fail to love Gok Wan?

    I'm sure that, in his days as a hair stylist, he never gave any woman the experience I had this morning! It's all my own fault. I usually go to a certain hairstylist who has her own salon - well, she is the salon as she is her only stylist. I missed my last appointment through changing diaries when I changed jobs and now she's gone to Thailand for 3 weeks... To cut a long story short I decided to have an interim trim until she gets back. I booked an appointment at the place j has his hair cut. He likes it there and I always like his hair so I thought I'd be safe.


    The stylist started her consultation by running through the products she would be using - just in case I wanted to buy them at the end, I guess. Then she shampooed and massaged - nice, I thought - but kept up a running commentary on the products used.
    then she trimmed microscopic amounts off my hair ends and blow dried.
    "Is that enough off?" I asked.
    "Yes, I'll straighten it and then see if I need to thin out more."
    "I don't have it straightened." (My hair is soooo straight. If it were thicker it would be orientally straight).
    "I need to straighten it into shape."


    Some straightening, waxing, thinning, tweaking, spraying and teasing later, I realised what she was aiming for:

    I had to force myself not to start laughing - the alternative to crying.

    I admired the back in the mirror, paid my money and headed for the car, stopping only to try to run my hands through my hair for a bit of diy distressing.


    I have never had such rigid hair since the 1980s. It was a cold, windy day and I had to walk across an overpass bridge to get to the car in the multi-storey. Not one mm did my hair move.

    Finally got home and washed it. I've managed to style it back the way I like it - windswept and interesting and with a chance of looking like I'm under 80.

    A valuable lesson about the value of a well-organised diary.

    Thursday, January 03, 2008


    We had a flurry of snow today - only light when I took these pictures of some of our more tropical plants withstanding the cold, but it got a little heavier as the day wore on.

    The local media got really excited and the local new featured pictures of 'terrible driving conditions' in East Cleveland. It's all relative. I visited Calgary in Alberta, Canada one late Autumn and there's no comparison. J spent time in Nova Scotia - nope, still no comparison.
    Nevertheless, just in case, BBC Tees have produced this handy 'snow survival guide'.

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Happy New Year

    ...albeit slightly belatedly.

    We stayed home for New Year's Eve. J was tired and under the weather so we just chilled out in our pyjamas, which was nice enough. The street was quiet so I guess others had done the same.

    We're not making resolutions or saying silly things like "Let's hope next year is...." Every year brings it's ups and downs. 2008 sees me starting a new job and J continuing to improve in health. The person with the greatest number of challenges and changes this year is j. He will sit his GCSEs in the Summer and has some AS levels too, this year (1 in January, he informs me). He also becomes old enough to drive so that means getting a car that he can practice in. Our second car is a Fiat Punto that I've had from new. It's 12 years old this January and has done more than 100000 miles. It's a miracle on 4 wheels and J uses him for work. Ooops, does that 'him' give it away? I've anthropomorphised it. His name is Paolo - Paolo the Punto. Unfortunately, Paolo is a temperamental old chap and has a tricky gear box and no power steering (although he does have electric windows - he was top of the range at the time). I don't think it will be a good idea for j to practice driving in a car like this, so 2008 is the year we face retiring Paolo and getting a newer second car. Can I face it?

    Work is going well on Pistachio Bomb. I've finished the front. I'm a bit anxious about the way the bottom is rolling. Hopefully, it will block out flat and stay flat.

    I've made a start on the To Be Read Challenge.

    I love Sam Vimes.