Sunday, April 12, 2009

Testing mobile blogging

I do love my iPhone - so now let's see if this app really does work for blogging. Hey you never know I might blog more often and load up lower quality pics taken on the go with my phone.

Anyway, happy Easter all. Hope yours was good - I'm working on the second sock and the pattern for Pudding Lane Socks.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


It has been tooooo long since I last posted. I keep thinking "Ok I'll make a post this weekend" then the weekend comes and before I blink, it is over.

So a quick post with a very fast round up of what I've been doing:

December: 6th December saw me head up to Kircudbright (pronounced Cur-Coo-Brie) in Scotland for a knitting weekend. My boss lives up there, and his wife was doing Christmas knitting. He invited me at the last minute to take a trip up and spend a weekend just knitting.

It was pure luxury. My boss brought me tea in bed every morning (he never makes tea in the office so it was quite a shock!), he did all the cooking (I didn't know he could even cook) and at around 3pm every day he brought his wife and I a nice glass of Baileys Irish Cream followed by wine and anything else we wanted.

It was very indulgant! You can see pics from my trip here on my flickr page.

January: I went to the Midem music conference in Cannes with work, this was quite good fun but not as fun as previous years. Clearly the recession was biting hard and the numbers of delegates was vastly down.

Also in January was Parcel one of the Socktopus Sock Club 2009. Beautiful yarn from Chameleon Colorworks Evolution in colours that looked just like Bagpuss! The socks were unianimously named "Bagpuss" socks by members of the club.

Here are my Om Shanti Bed socks aka Bagpusses:

February: Was my birthday month. Very early on we had a Snow Day, which brought the UK to a complete standstill. Totally silly but lots of fun and you can see the pictures from Snow Day on my flicker

Another good thing in February was the start of the second series (or season as they now seem to be called) of Damages. Oh my I LOVE LOVE LOVE this programme. Glenn Close, lots of intrigue and as the box for season 1 says "The sopranos with a law degree" - I am avidly watching it and we are now halfway through season 2. It is gripping!

I decided during this month to complete the socks that were not to be and give them to my brother for his birthday coming up in March.

He was due to be in court the day after his birthday for the final court hearing on the division of his marital assets. Clearly he was stressed and I figured, you know, nice bamboo yarn socks, some foot soak and a card wishing him well might make things even a teeny tiny bit better. This was not to be.

He decided to throw the present, still wrapped, somewhere and he couldn't remember where he'd put it. He said he would celebrate his birthday on the 13th (the day after the judgement hearing) with his girlfriend on her birthday.

Fair enough. I had hoped that the socks and the foot soak would act as an olive branch after the nastiness last year. I figured I would wait till after his girlfriends birthday and maybe ask him again about them.

The day came and went, he popped over with his girlfriend a week later. He thanked me for the socks, and my mum asked him if they fit. He said "I dunno I've not tried them on" - 18 months ago he would have put them on straight away. I guess the olive branch failed.

In fact I know it failed because I am still cold shouldered and uninvited to everything while my mother is bullied into going to things she really doesn't want to go to. She said no to something for this weekend, was told "don't be silly, you can come along and bring your hearing aids and meet my girlfriends father" - she really doesn't want to go. So last night, he brought the big guns in and knowing she would not say not to his girlfriend (a stranger and mum wouldn't be impolite to a stranger) got her to ask mum. Mum said yes. When I asked mum if she had managed to tell them she didn't want to go she told me she couldn't say no even though she desperately wanted to.

It annoys me how mum is bullied and he doesn't see it as bullying.

March: Cookie A is in the UK! Oh yes the wonderful Cookie A came for a visit to Socktopus and did a fabulous workshop on sock design. It was an amazing day, you can see the pictures from the day here on my flickr.

I can't wait to get my hands on Cookie's Book - I preordered from the lovely Alice at Socktopus and will pick it and my second Sock Club parcel up on Sunday.

In light of doing the workshop, I'd been reading on Ravelry about some people doing a City & Guilds in Textile Design in Hand Knitting. I had been interested in this but underconfident. A week after the Cookie workshop, and progressing nicely on my own sock design (Pudding Lane Socks - named after the place the Great Fire Of London started because the socks are covered in flames licking your legs!)

I was pointed in the direction of a fabulous tutor called Loraine McClean of Knit Design Online - I had some email correspondence with Loraine and very quickly made my mind up to do Level 3. I signed up, and my education into knitting design will begin at the end of this week.

Another thing with March, the clocks went back. Oh my word how lovely it is to get home from work when it is still light outside! Yippee Spring has finally Sprung.

And finally, today I got confirmation that I'm in the Woolgirl Wizard Of Oz Sock Club. I love the Wizard of Oz, so this sock club grabbed my by the throat and screamed "Join my pretty, Joiiiiiinnnn" but I was a bit late in signing up. I was sure I wouldn't get in but today the lovely email arrived to say I was in! Yippee!

OK thats my catch up and once again I pledge to be more up to date with the blogging.

I figure short posts more often is probably the way to go. I don't want to hit you with huge walls of text too often!

- M


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Best Little Knitting Gift In London

I happened to be browsing around Ravelry when I came across a lady who looked quite interesting - Susan Crowe. I clicked on her blog link when BAM the most amazing picture popped up on the screen.

Susan had found the perfect knitting gift for the season from the lovely Sainsbury's. Of course I had to have one! I packed my mother up in to the car and took her to our local Savacentre. First stop was Marks & Spencer, where I accidentally ended up buying a dress, skirt, trousers and jacket all in the same style. A suit if you will. Woops.

Off we went into Sainsbury, did our shop then right at the end I suddenly remembered (distracted by clothes buying) the mug! I HAD to have the mug. I searched high and low until eventually I found a staff member to ask. I was dragged to the relevant aisle and there the mug winked at me from the shelf. Mum said "that looks nice" to which I replied "yeah and it's coming home with me! Those buggers at work won't be able to nick my mug anymore as there will be no doubt who owns this one!!!"

So here is the mug in question:

Isn't it just awesome!?!!

It keeps the drink nice and hot as it warms through and the ceramic manages to keep the heat in. Not only that, when you stir the hot drink in the mug it creates a strange looking swirl because the mug is a funny many sided shape. Feels strange drinking out of a 2x2 ribbed bit of the mug but its lovely. I am super happy I have one.

I missed out though - they apparently were on a 3 for 2 offer. I didn't notice that yesterday when I got it, so today I ahem well err I popped to the local Sainsbury near work and bought three more. One will be gifted, one kept because the buggers at work will probably break my one so I need a spare and the third? Welllllllll maybe I'll run some kind of a competition here some time next year when the season is over and the mugs are a rarity :)

This past weekend I've suffered a bit with stress related eczema on my hands. They have been rather sore. However I managed to join in with a Ravelry group for 10 mins a day. That is 10 mins a day spinning. I had some lovely alpaca tops from Forest Fibers which just span up like a dream. I spun two bobbins worth - then plied the yarn which has been soaked and whacked and is now drying.

Here are my spools before I plied them together:

This stuff is so soft. It is like fluffy little clouds cuddling up next to your skin. This home spun yarn is going to become Diane Mulhollands Amy from her Spin series. Can't wait for it to dry.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Spin, Cook, Knit, Rawr!

So I accidentally ordered, paid for and took delivery of a new spinning wheel. Oops! I had been to Diane Mulhollands Superspin class and it renewed my interest in wheel spinning. I had a go on the Joy wheel and it just felt awesome. Afterward my mother said to me "keep an eye out for a cheap one then" when I talked about the Joy. I said "I don't need one I have a wheel already" and her reply was "when have you ever made do with just one of anything?"

I thought "I'll show you - I don't need no stinkin Joy wheel!" then I just happened to search and came across Wingham Wool Works which upon enquiring had a double treadle version in stock. They had the bag in stock too. Somehow my debit card took a beating and two days later this arrived:

I love it to pieces and have already spun my first 100g of Corriedale. Pictures of that to follow - it isn't great but its Okay. It will be used to make a slubby beret by the gorgeous Ysolde :)

So getting right into the spirit of making things, I had been chatting to Natalie over at The Yarn Yard and discovered she had a recipe up for Oatmeal Biscuits. This recipe is the one I have been searching for! I had this recipe years ago but lost it - I've been searching for it ever since then I came across The Yarn Yard and the recipe! Oh my god it has been YEARS since I tasted these. Mum used to make them and they were just delicious - she would throw in some museli to make up the batch and it would just add that touch of yummy.

So I set out to make my first Oatmeal Bikkies in a long time. They were too chewy, I'd added too much Bicarbonate of Soda and I had not baked them long enough. They had an aftertaste which was the bicarb - still I said to mum "I'm going to make several test batches till I get this right, we'll eat them all - test batches and all" and she said "thats the best way to find the perfect combination" so the first batch were prepared:

Butter, Sugar, syrup melting in the pot Mmmm

The oats ready to go into the melted mixture and some Museli thrown in for added taste n texture:

Raw Biscuits on the baking sheet:

The end result, melted into eachother and ran all over the pan but boy even with the Bicarb aftertaste these were good. Comfort eating at its best!!!

So in keeping with that, mums friend Kathleen came around and showed me how to make Soda Bread! Yummy rich brown soda bread made in the Irish traditional way. I'll write up the recipe and post it here but for now, here are the pictures of the Soda bread in the making:

Adding buttermilk to the mix:

Preparing the tin for baking:

Putting the bread on the pan before scoring it and baking it:

And the finished, baked, hot yummy Soda Bread:

So we paid for Kathleens time with a barter system - two fresh organic corn cobs yum! :)

I needed another quick project to do - I finished the dream in color shrug and had yarn left over. So I tackled Calorimetry and was surprised to find this thing finished in just one evening. Needs a button adding but here it is - it reminds me of a big cheesy grin!:

After all the cooking, I took a little break and who did I spy in the garden stalking along? The lovely Miss Kitty! Rawr!:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Squeeeeeee Cuteness cuteness cuteness!

I should have posted this two weeks ago! I finally received my Karatstix in the post. Unfortunately I had to pay import duty of £13 before they would hand over my little parcel but I was so excited when I opened it up. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the lovely bamboo things, and here they are on my desk:

What is more, Karen threw in some extras! Check out the delicious stitch markers and knitting bag charm. Super cute!

In knitting news I've been working on the Dream In Color Shrug using Visual Purple colour. I have loved this pattern - just enough of a challenge to get me out of the "must do zombiefied easy knits because brain not functioning" mode. I've finished it but have yet to upload the finished pic to flickr. Here is it's progress. I love this yarn and the colour, I now want to make a sweater with it. I know that the dye lots are vastly different on every skein but I think that will make for an interesting look on a sweater. I have a pattern in mind too.

Next up I'm making another flower scarf. The last one will be given to my mother, this one will be for me and I have to make a third one for Mums friend Kathleen. Kathleen will be mentioned more in the next post once I upload the pics of what she helped me learn at the weekend!

Here is my flower scarf in progress. I'm using Evolution again but this time in Peacock. I love this yarn and I love the splashes of colour in the way this is dyed.

New laptop will arrive some time in November - sigh a long wait for it. In the mean time my friend Kev lent me a Sony Vaio to play with at home. This at least means I can play Warhammer Online with the rest of the guild! It is tons of fun too - I am quite surprised at how much I'm enjoying Player vs Player combat. Can't wait for the new laptop - it should make the screen freezes disappear :)

More soon once I upload more pics to Flickr - plenty of news to give :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Knitting news

So I started Baby Cables and Big ones Too a little while ago - right when the pattern was published. I've done the body and started on one arm but I must finish this. I keep looking at it and realising I need to be able to have time to concentrate on this. It has been a crazy few weeks and the panic attacks don't help with my finishing things off. My head is still fuzzy and I'm all over the place in terms of where my head is at. Here it is so far - so close but so far away:

I needed something simple. I was also working on the Waterfall Lace Scarf from Katinka Knits which is an easy and straight forward knit. I was using Posh Yarn for this and it turned out very well - I hope you agree! It needs blocking (as does the Chevron scarf) but I've no room to block right now. We are getting furniture delivered so the room I'd use for blocking is full of the stuff from the lounge while it gets decorated etc.

After I finished Waterfall I found this charming little pattern for Flower Scarf by Robyn Diliberto (look for it on Ravelry) . It was a very quick knit using Chameleon Colorworks Evolution in Jacaranda colourway. Unfortunately I sewed the flower and the button on the opposite sides (grr) but it still looks ok and is very comfy! I'm making another one also in Chameleon Colorworks Evolution but this time in Peacock colourway.

I've also dusted off my spinning wheel and have been practicing spinning. I'm a long way from being good at it but I'm going to keep on practicing till I get better. Then I'll take on Diane Mulhollands "Amy" hat from her spin 1 class.

The Damage

I promised to post pictures of the damage the hoodies did to my car and show the parking post they smashed through the window with.

I have finally worked out that I can sort out synching my iPhone on an old laptop that is iTunes store authorised, and then get the photos off it. So here below are the pictures from that fateful night when I wished the Dark Knight had come to my rescue after seeing the movie at the Imax with friends.

This is the parking post they put through the window. Better than that around my head I guess:

Glass on my lovely leather upholstery!!!

Scuff damage and mashed in plastic fascia around by the passenger air bag where the pole hit it as it came through the window. You can see the force they used. Fuckers.

May the laptop burn the jibblies of whoever gets to use it, and may the hoodies be infested by the fleas of a thousand camels. And crabs. I hope they get crabs. That is if they don't already hve them.

I am still taking sleeping tablets and even with them I wake in the night in the middle of a panic attack. I've not had panic attacks this bad since I was first diagnised back when I was 28.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Something Nice

To rise up from the shit storm of last week, today I received a message from Karen she of Karatstix fame to tell me that my custom order was ready.

Check this out. Cuteness of cuteness - I requested a set with my kitty Missy on, and paw prints because she is naughty and puts paw prints all over. She plays with my yarn while I knit and I often wrestle with her to stop her eating it all! So she seemed like a perfect theme for my Karatstix.

Super cute eh?

Another nice thing this week? Sunday was super spin class 2. It was, of course, awesome. Diane gave us different fibers to play with including some super soft alpaca. We worked on flick carding, full carding, spinning with the wheel and of course our spindles.

So thank you again Diane and Alice for the fantastic Superspin Class. I can highly recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn about spinning.

There will be an advanced class in November, I think I shall be going to that!

Again it was hosted at Alice's home, but she hinted that the next time it might be housed in her own shop! How exciting. From little things big things grow, and Alice has certainly created something very gorgeous in Socktopus. I'm SO glad I was there for the launch =D