Sunday, July 30, 2006

thank you, SP

Hmm, Blogger seems to have eaten the pictures I've just scanned in! This is supposed to show you scans of my amazing gifts from my SP...Twice it has told me that my pictures have uploaded and twice I just seem to have text. Grrr. Will try again later...

Update 5th August: yay! we have pictures. One lantern moon needle case and card with the most excellent cat illustration that I've seen in a long while; and one totally fantastic case for circular needles, beautifully made by my SP (which I could machine as neatly as she does) from provencale fabric.

I blame Borders

Naughty, naughty Borders bookshop. Not only have they placed their Cambridge branch within a minute's walk of where I work, they've also somehow arranged to get new influxes of knitting books on the very day that I am paid. Bad, bad Borders. It is, therefore, entirely Borders fault that I left yesterday £16.95 lighter (wish that was 16.5lbs lighter, but that's another story) clutching a copy of Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan. I've been in love with tesselations ever since I was a little girl, fell in love with Fibonacci, sea creatures and (ahem) slug genitalia in my 20s and then, whilst doing my MA, developed an obsession with Pangolins
Another armored animal--scale
lapping scale with spruce-cone regularity until the
form the uniterrrupted central

and paper nautliluses (nautilii?)
for she is in
a sense a devil-
fish, her glass ram'shorn-cradled freight
is hid but is not crushed

for which Marianne Moore is entirely responsible.
Add to that my passion for short rows and modular knitting, and just one look at the skirt composed of hexagons on the front cover sucked me in to this book. I've hardly pulled my nose out of it since. I don't think I'll be making many exact replicas of the patterns in this book, except, perhaps, the Ram's Horn Jacket, although all the fun knitting there is in the collar. But I can see endless possibilities spiralling out from the basalt tank and spiral scarf: in crochet, as well as knitting. So, money well-spent. Mind you, some of the garments do rather seem to have elevated form over function (don't think you'll be finding me in the nautilus poncho but it has major possibilities for making a cushion!). I'd also have liked to see more photos of natural objects, a bit more background on the maths and some choice quotations from Marianne Moore but there is a reading list at the back...
Now I must get back to work--the great post-carpet laying reorganisation: dragging files back into the study and stash back into everywhere I can possibly cram it; copywriting which I should've done on Friday afternoon but it was too hot; and my latest curly whirly scarf (yes, more slug genitalia, this one is turquoise cotton, may feature a lace panel, and will definately be finished with a scary stand-out eyelash edge.) Watch this space!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Calling California

I've just received the most wonderful package from my SP. She'd tipped me off that something was on its way and warned me that it would come under the name and address of a friend of hers. So I must begin by saying "thank you" to "the friend of Thersa Robinett". Theresa's friend has already sent me fabulous yarn that she spun herself. Now she's sent me a needle sheath from Lantern Moon and, better still, she's made another gift herself, a wonderful needle case for my circular needles. Words can't do either of these items justice, so I'll try to get some pictures sorted out somehow but the care and attention that have gone into the case for the circulars is astonishing. I've really got a wonderful Pal here!

Also on the SP front, Bobbi, our group's hostess, has sent us a question to answer:

Someone has stolen your stash and all your books: now what are you going to do? Well, I think I'd sit down and cry, but I suspect that husband and step-daughter would throw a party to celebrate suddenly getting about 25% of their house back. (I exagerrate but only slightly...)I think I'd have to put some music on and dance the fury out of my system. And then I'd see whether my drop spindle and wool tops had gone too. If not, I'd set to work with those, even though I'm totally rubbish at spinning. Actually, felting might be quite theraputic, too.

Bobbi goes on to ask ;What would be the first thing you'd replace? What would you live without? I think that I'd have to get some needles and yarn first (surprise!) but, more specifically, some short wooden needles (peace fleece/brittany) and some Kureyon or Silk Garden yarn. Watching all those colours unfurl would cheer me up and destress me in no time. And what would I live without? Think it would have to be extra-chunky yarn and big needles,as my fingers are starting to find these painful in anything but short doses. Oh, and if any of the stolen books relate to how to do a PhD the burglar can keep those. They didn't help me but might give him/her something better to do than going round pilfering yarn and books!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chaos Central

Well, guess which household has chosen the hottest time of the year to replace almost all the ground floor carpets?! Spouse has spent most of w/end moving furniture and ripping up carpet from the hallway and spare room but today we have to get to work on the study. This means that I have to clear my foot-high stack of random paperwork (some crucial, some rubbish) off my desk, and the foot-high piles of paperwork off the floor. And I have to disconnect this computer for a couple of days (so you will experience blissful peace and quiet).

First of all, though, I'm going to remove my little cache of SP goodies and put them somewhere both safe and obvious! Not only do I have a couple of packages lined up for the person I'm spoiling but I've also just received a card from the lovely person spoiling me. I started to open it last night and then remembered that she'd emailed me asking me not to open it until a parcel arrvies as the card mentions what's in the parcel. This is *very* exciting.

And now I must go into removal mode and start excavating the desk. Last time we had to turn this room upside down was when our darling kitty bought a mouse in. speaking of said cat, we were joking the other evening about how she's given up briding and mousing during the heatwave. half an hour later we had a freshly-killed mouse on the patio. Jiminey had obviously taken our comments to heart!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

anniversary gifts for knitters

Here we are, Rosie's cut-out-and-leave-lying-where-your-partner-will-find-it guide to what to buy on that special day! No partner right now? Take the age you'll be on your birthday and divide the figure up into smaller numbers then persuade your best mates/mum/cat that as you'll be 46 (well, I will, anyway) that makes 4 (linen) times 10 (tin) plus 3 (leather) plus 5 (wood) minus 1 (paper), so you'll give the wrapping back, and (on reflection) possibly check your maths! But you get my drift...

I've used the list of anniversaruies supplied by Wikipedia:
1 year: paper... a year's subscription to Interweave Knits/Selvedge magazine (that way you'll get gifts throughout they year, yay!)
2 years: cotton... enough choice cotton yarn to make a stunning garment
3 years: leather (wow!)...enough pliable leather thonging to knit a belt/make bag handles/a bag
4 years: linen ...that has to be more yarn, I feel
5 years: wood ... needles, the selection should include birch, surina and rosewood
6 years: iron ... how about a steamer to help with blocking (OK, so it isn't meant to be *that* kind of iron)
7 years: wool ... yes, oh yes, oh, yes, oh,oh (moving swiftly on...)
8 years: bronze ...this calls for a specially commissioned piece of jewellery with a knitting theme
9 years:copper...more jewellery
10 years: tin (or aluminium) ... a tin trunk bursting with yarn, or a selection of aluminium needles, preferably in gorgeous colours
11 years: steel ... traditional steel knitting pins (dpns) with a knitting sheath to anchor them (hey! you could have the sheath for your leather anniversary)
12 years: silk ...even more yarn, I'm loving this!
13 years: lace ...lace patterns/books with accompanying laceweight yarn
14 years: real ivory here, that's cruel, but how about some ivore casein needles (Boye make them, I think)
15 years: crystal... more knitting themed jewellery. Actually, no, I think it is high time to go for the champgne flutes (plus the champagne, of course).
25 years: silver ... silver-plated needles, silver stitch markers...
and, unblievable as it might sound...
80 years: Oak ... personally, I'd go for a mega-comfy rocking chair but if you've got offspring, how about a trunk for all those heirlooms you've knitted up over the years? (Have just realised that at this point I'll be 124 and my husband 145, so we're probably talking coffins, though actaully I want to go for a green burial in cardboard when my time comes!)

Please add your suggestions!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

bad start, better finish

Only had to go in to work for a brief bit this morning so (given current astonishing heatwave) decided not to lug large bag full of knitting, book etc with me and took just cards, keys, bus pass, 'phone and sun block. So guess whose bus broke down?

But I got home to discover that there is a new UK knitting magazine in the offing, offering more advanced designs and srticles. You can read the gossip here.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

You Had To Be There

I really struggle to put into words the sheer delight of the Cambridge Knit Togethers (our local S'n'B). Today the extraordinary temperature seems to have cut numbers right back, though Avril, Emily and I had a wonderful time knitting whilst basking in the sun. Avril was at work in a cardi in the most luscious shades of green and burgundy and Emily set to work on her first-ever sock (her first-ever go on four needles, too). But it was the Tuesday meeting that I shall never forget! I'd gone feeling rather world-weary but am so glad that I did. It wasn't just the knitting (socks, socks, more socks, a baby's bolero and Jackie's ultra-gorgeous-I'm-going-to-have-to-steal-it Koigu shell) it wasn't just the helpfulness of other knitters when someone is bogged down in the finer points of an abstruse pattern, it wasn't just the, it was the conversation. Monogamous knitting, the links between modernity and fundamentalism and creative ways to overcome insomnia...To get an idea of what the evening was like, head here. I think that I'm going to have to give it a go!

It was also the last time that Mary was able to knit with us, as she's off home to Canada. We first found Mary when four intrepid members of the KTog group ventured outside Cambridge to go to this little outpost of paradise en route to this amazing event. Whilst in the yarn shop we overheard someone saying something about "train from Cambridge", so when we spotted her again en route to the big event we introduced ourselves and got her email. And Mary, in turn, put us in touch with various knit bloggers around Cambridge, and she was instrumental in creating Team Cambridge during the Knitting Olympics.

Who needs to network when you belong to a knitting group?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

seven year itch

The older I get, the more shallow I become...was in the corner shop yesterday (hunting out suitably cute birthday card for my lovely Auntie Joyce) when I saw a wedding anniversary card, that pictured all the "themes" for the first 10 years of marriage (you know the sort of thing, 1st year: cotton depicted by a reel of cotton, 2nd year, er, something else, depicted by something else) and I saw that 7 years = wool (depicted by a ball of pink yarn with some nice bamboo needles speared through it). So now I want to celebrate seven years of marriage (have notched up nearly 11 months since last year's nuptials) and I think I understand what people mean by "seven year itch": it is (obviously) the insatiable desire to have been married 7 years and to be showered with balls of wool by one's loving spouse. And, in the spirit of being "21 again", I can see knitters everywhere celebrating their 7th anniversary over and over again.

Enough: I'm off to feed my neighbours' very affectionate cat. (Graham drew the short straw and has to water their kitv=chen garden, which doesn't mew, purr and generally *adore* in the same way).

Sunday, July 02, 2006

hot, hot, hot

wouldn't you know it? the temperature soared yesterday, so the aircon broke down at work (lots of other electrical equipment was affected, too, including the lights, but not the till so we were still able to trade). I now know far more about "phases" and power cuts than I ever wanted to! Luckily everything was up and running again by 12.15, so I went down to the basement and calmed down with some short rows (my ultimate meditation practice). I'd have done that earlier if it weren't for the fact that all the basement lights were affected, too (but not the CCTV screen, which glowed eerily). And big thanks to Open Air (neighbouring outdoor activities store) for lending us a torch so that we could visit our basement to use the "facilities" when required...). the day took an even better turn when I got home to an email telling me that my amazon order is on its way. yay! Mason Dixon knitting for me and something top secret for my secret pal!

On the hooking front, curly whirly is finished and looks very fine. Graham says it is more like jewellery than a scarf but also says that it looks like slug genitalia...(I have only myself to blame as those of you who heard my comments whilst working with Wendy Knitit will realise!)

Finally: anyone got any recommendations for digital cameras? I want something that will take knitting pix for blog, glorious landscape shots and general mugshots. also, is there anything that can edit out my double chin?