Thursday, June 29, 2006

how it strikes a contemporary

No, this is not post about Robert Browning (although anyone who can write a line like "treat of radish in April" is going to be near the top of my must-read-and-reread list). Instead this is going to be one of my digressions on the shifting nuances of the English language. (Hmm, perhaps blog should be retitled "caught thinking", which does happen once in a while).

About 4 years or so ago, I noticed that it was no longer, er, "a la mode" to say that something was (or, indeed, wasn't) "fashionable". Rather, one could say that--should an item be "cutting edge"-- it was "edgy" (sounds painful) or "directional" (sounds confusing, which direction?*), and if it was merely "trendy" (now there's a word that's dated!), it would be "contemporary" or, possibly, "funky". More recently, publications like Vogue Knitting, have favoured the "fashion forward" touch (at least that "forward" indicates direction). But now, in these days of politicians being "on message", it seems that we are required to be "on trend", as this rather erratic collection of garments shows.

No way! I've decided to be "behind trend" and have been crocheting myself a curly whirly scarf, using a rather nice DMC kit that I found here on Saturday. For £9.99 I got four balls of Senseo wool/cotton in luscious shades of purples, plus a soft yellow/green as well as the pattern and a crochet hook. What a bargain. My only gripe is that the kit says "takes about a week" and mine took 3 days (OK, so I was off work for 2 of those days, but still...). And just a tip for fellow UK hookers (especially fellow newbies), the instructions use American crochet terms (so read "treble" for "double").

*Many years ago my friend Felicity gave me a wonderful patch saying "don't follow me, I'm lost too" I stitched onto my favourite rucksack of the time (made in Hong Kong, purchased in France, it had an inaccurate stab at a Union Jack as its logo). Was I a mixed-up teen or what?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

knitting at the blue

What a way to spend a warm summer's evening: knitting in the beer garden of the Cambridge Blue with fellow Cambridge KTog members. See here for *the* most spectacular FO to be acheived at one of our meetings. It was the subtle way that Bekki did it ("anyone got any scissors that I can borrow?") and then suddenly, since there was no seaming to be done, there she was wearing a new garment. And Emma-Jane's blog shows something rather stunning that Liz brought along with her. Liz was recovering/exaulting after the journey from hell was followed by a trip to heaven (aka Stash yarns in London). She had the wonderful Mason Dixon knitting with her and I simply had to visit Amazon once I got home. It was a fantastic end to an amazing day, much of which has been supressed owing to secret stuff, which a certain SP will be receiving in assorted mailings over the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What goes around, comes around

Ha! Cosmic balance struck back on Friday morning, when I arrived at work to find that (a) the shop front had been covered with flour (thanks to one of the students in one of the rooms upstairs, who was proudly looking down and surveying his handiwork) and that (b) I didn't actually have my keys with me (having left them inside the previous afternoon) and was therefore locked out. If you read my last post, you'll be able to picture the assistant manager's glee when she spotted me sheltering from the flour in a nearby shop door. To fill in the time before Clare arrived I got on with my secret project for my secret pal, which is why I was being ultra-careful to shelter from the flour. Hmm, cookie crumbs in Norwich, flour in Cambridge, what else will befall this project before it reaches its recipient, and will she ever suspect the adventures it has been through?

I had hoped that today would finally be the much-anticipated day when I went to buy a digital camera but, no, too much wine last night, and too much copywriting to do today put paid to that! Last night was a wonderful evening, though. Two of our neighbours host foreign students, and two of the students are returning to China, now that they have completed their 'A'-levels. So this was a farewell party (or, rather, an au revoir party, as they intend to come and stay for a few days before they go to uni in the autumn). We were treated to an authentic Chinese meal cooked by the students (with Di ringing his mother for instructions at every turn!), which we ate al fresco in the balmy evening air. The wine, like the guests, came from all over the world, so no wonder I have a hangover of global proportions. Managed to knit my way through the worst of it, however.

Now I must dash off and put my glad rags on, as we're hoping to go to an open air concert at King's College tonight.

Monday, June 19, 2006

you *know* you're tired when...

Have been working late, late, late the last few nights (like 10pm) getting a major sale launched today. In my exhaustion, I asked the assistant manager to cash up for me, so that I could get home by 6.30pm for a change. She agreed, I checked that she had her keys to get out with later, locked the door behind me and went home on the 6.10pm bus (that's a whole hour and 5 mins earlier than usual, bliss). Got home to Graham saying "you've got to go straight back to work". To cut a long story short, I'd locked not just the usual lock on the front door, but also one that is "blind" on the inside. Cue mad dash back to bus stop, only to find no bus back into town until 7.30pm. Had to order a taxi, weeping tears of exhaustion. And only when I'd rescued the poor woman (it didn't help that by that time I suddenly found it all terribly funny...I've always warned her that secretly I'm evil bitch boss) did I think of a way that she could've got out... Still, I was able to get my usual bus home, and at least she has a day off tomorrow, whilst I have *still* got to get the goods repriced, properly displayed, shelves dusted and a gazillion and one other things that should have been done by 9am today attended to. But I get a day off on Wednesday when Tamara, Graham and I are off to Norwich for the day, where we also plan to meet my ma and pa who are travelling there on the bus from King's Lynn. It is Dad's birthday, and his big treat is going to work in the local studies archive. Ma plans to hit the shops and Tamara particularly wants to see the Castle, which has a wonderful museum (and a pretty good cafe, too). Should be fun!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Secret stuff

Would love to show my latest wip, and rave about an amazing new yarn, but it is for my SP, so my lips are sealed. But whilst on the subject of secret stuff, I've finally altered the blogger settings, so anyone who so desires may now comment, anonymously if desired, whether or not thye've a blogger account (as e-j has already spotted).

Friday, June 09, 2006

Knit a river

Found this amazing idea on
Bekki's blog and know how I'll be spending some of the next week. Will need to go foraging in the deepest recesses of the stash first, as I've not used much blue yarn of late...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

June KTogs

Fancy knitting in public in Cambridge this month? Take a look at
the Knit Cambridge blog
As you can see, I'm bravely attempting to add a link for the first ever time! Special thanks to Liz and to my SP who have both kindly sent me instructions on how to set links up in the past...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

summer on the Cam

So what do you do with a Sunday when you're meeting a friend, the sun is shining, you're craving fields and rivers but you are totally exhausted, hayfever is making you sneeze and you have twisted your ankle? Oh, and you don't want to waste a moment's knitting/crocheting time? You pretend that you're a tourist, fork out £12, and take your seat on a punt for a leisurely 45 minute trip along the River Cam. The route is short (Mill Pond to Magdalene Quay and back) but the scenery is superb. Plus there's plenty of legroom for that pesky ankle.

So, all comfy and relaxed I reached into my bag for my essentials (sun hat, crochet hook, yarn, bottle of water) and then realised that before I could do anything else I needed to cut my yarn. Had I remembered my scissors? Had I heck. Ah well, there was nothing for it but to soak up the sun and admire the view: college buildings ancient and modern, hidden gardens, fields with cows grazing down at the water's edge, ducks, geese, dragonflies, cow parsley (well on the way to fading now). Really reminded me what a beautiful place I live in. And seeing students revising really reminded me why I'm so glad to have left behind the competetiveness of academia!

Once back on terra firma, Tamy and I decided that we wanted to eat by the water's edge, so we headed to the Granta pub which is a bit of a dive, but has the most amazing balcony that just out over the mill pond. So we sat there, ignoring the intrusive music, and watching the fish gliding through the shallows. Eventually we tore ourselves away and I headed home planning to get plenty of crocheting done. But I'd forgotten one of life's immutable equations: Tiredness+sunshine+gin+tonic(yes, even only one)=an afternoon asleep...

Now I've woken up again, I'd better find the scissors and make the next flower of my skinny scarf. The scarf wasn't going to be skinny, but in the end I was defeated by trying to crochet with boucle yarn and just grabbed the nearest yarn to hand: marble (DK weight) in blues. The end product is, shall we say, interesting. I've certainly not mastered the instructions for crocheting one flower to another. And note the trademark ends swirling out in every direction. I *do* stitch my ends in neatly, honest, but it never looks like it from the scans on this blog, does it?