Monday, January 29, 2007


With several birthdays this week, I have been doing a bit of cardmaking. Whadya reckon? All my own designs and hand-cut. I love making cards, I always do it for family at christmas and birthdays. I was thinking I'd try them on etsy. Do you think they'd sell? Be honest with me, I can take it. I think perhaps they look a bit too *handmade*. If you know what I mean. Not at all professional, like these, or these. I suppose the price is what cuts it isn't it? I was thinking they were probably worth £1.50? What's that, $3.00? Or £6.00/$12 for 5? People seem to do that a lot, put them in packs. All wrapped in cellophane of course. Seems the right amount of pounds by maybe it's too many dollars compared to other sellers. I suppose the exchange rate's not in my favour. I have lots of other designs in mind, but for SP security I can't show you!

Sorry, I realise these are not the best photos!
By the way, can you all see my hyperlinked words? Do they appear as a different colours to you?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The snow and some sunny fleurs

It snowed!! Ok, so it's not real snow, it'll be gone by lunchtime. But, I had to scrape it off the car, so it counts for me!!
That is not where I live by the way, but where Monty lives. I love that funny blue light when it snows. Needless to say I am wearing two knitted items today. A shrug I made last spring with Colinette Prism, in Jay, and the ever faithful Little Icarus.
James came home last night from being away and bought fleurs (as he calls them) with him. He even tried to get my favourite, Gerberas, but Sunflowers were the closest they had. He's a darling.

And, inspired by Sarah's post, I thought you may like to see my desk at Uni, where I frequently post from. I know I know, it is covered in very interesting books. It's OK, its OK, form an orderly queue, there are enough copies of World's Poultry Science to go around...... :)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Anyone need a witch murdering?

Our chimney is falling down. Isn't that how the wicked witch dies in The Wizard of Oz? So, if you know a witch that needs despatching, send her our way. Yes, you guessed it, when the aerial came down in the winds, it took part of our chimney with it. When the aerial man came down from the roof, he did not look impressed. It's an emergency to get it fixed, apparently. It needs pulling down and putting back up. Joy. Luckily our insurance company will pay but the hassle. Bugger. I thought Victorians built to last. But then again, Victorians didn't have TV aerials.

Also speaking of Victorian architectural engineering, I had to perform major surgery on the house this morning. We have an (original, not converted) loft bedroom, which is the highlight of our little house. It has a small dorma window. Which is on it's way out, its been jammed shut until now, the hinges are rusted. It's on the list of thing to replace. Well, anyway, this morning, it was hanging off. And rattling. Loudly. It was scaring the life out of the cats. So, I had to half hang out of the window and take it out of the frame. I tied it to the inside with string(!) so I didn't lose it down onto the street. Then wrestle the one remaining screw. It was touch and go, believe me. Who said owning a (victorian, with some origianl features) house was easy???

But here's one of my favorite places in the house. And not for the reasons you may be thinking ;)

It is comfy and warm with the sun shining in. And even better when it includes kitties, a new pattern and beautiful yarn just itching to be cast on. Perfect.

Amanda, I hope you can see from these pictures that the cats like my (generously gifted) Boye needles as much as I do? Although I don't feel the need to lick them.

And proof that you can't leave a sleeping cat with yarn for 5 minutes, even to open the door to the (very late, but he was bringing yarn, so I'll let him off) postman.

Said about-to-be-cast-on project now looks like this. I love the way the stitches keep changing direction. The yarn (Noro lily) is actually a rich jade green and is lovely to work with. It's woven rather than plied (have I got my spinning lingo right?) and is quite like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, only a bit softer. Its not quite as stiff, must be the silk content. It does have a very crisp texture though, great for stitch definition. The pattern has a great feature at the start involving a crochet cast on, which means there is eventually no cast on edge.

And what's this? Is that sock yarn? (Sssshhh, its a secret!)

Friday, January 19, 2007

My Domestic Endeavors

So, today I'm at home, waiting for the aerial man. The aerial (yes, the six month old, £200 aerial) blew off the roof and is dangling from the side of the house. No TV. No, none, not a smidge. My nosy-but-nice-avon-lady-neighbour asked why we didn't have Sky. Freeview is enough channels for us I said, and it's free. Well, she said, if you had Sky or NTL cable then they'd come and fix it for you for free if the dish blew down. I know she said, I have both. BOTH??!! Who needs Sky AND Cable???? Anyway, I digress. I'm at home today, so I'm taking the opportunity to tidy. Our house is a tip. Well, OK, it's not too bad, but nothing seems to have a home, and there is a lot of stuff just floating about. And look what else...... I bought a sewing machine (thanks for the christmas money Grandpa!!).

I've been taking in the waist on James' christmas Pyjamas. Which he hasn't worn much yet, since I seemed to have made a mathmatical error on the waist band. He professes to love them though. Bless. The machine and I don't love each other yet, but I'm sure we will. The foot lifter thingy is in a totally stupid place for a start. It's not at the back of the needle, but to the right, around the side. How awkward would that be if you were left handed. Which I'm not, by the way. Maybe it's not odd to have it there, it's just not like any machine I've ever used. It is only a basic John Lewis machine (apparently made by Janome though), and I'll probably have to crank up the old Jones (of James' grandmother) if I want to do heavy stuff, but for my day-to-day needs this'll become my friend, I hope. So Ok, you and I know I don't sew everyday, but you get the picture.
And, here's an update on the 'designing' front. I'm keen for 'it' to include some colourwork, so I've been experimenting, with different techniques and ideas. I love the three colours, a sagey green, cranberry and baby blue. As balls, they go really well together, with the grey-brown background. But, knitted up into various patterns, well, not so much. I love the green and the blue together, but add the red, and it's christmas all over again. So, I'm going to put this away and have a re-think. Maybe some orange in there instead. I'll keep you posted.
As for other knitting, I think I've found the pattern for the Noro Lily I bought in the States. I'm going to cast on for this, the Sun Ray shawl from Although it will be a scaled down version to rival my Icarus. I've never realised what great free patterns this site has. Watch this space.....
So I sound really domestic don't I. Before you start shouting, it's 2007, not 1957, I have to say this. James had a day off yesterday, and he spent it running my errands, doing the coming week's shop (he even wrote a list and remembered to take it!) and then cooking supper. Above mentioned neighbour said 'What you don't cook?'!. So, all's fair in our house. And anyway, if I was a housewife, I'd be rubbish. I mean, it's taken me a month to take in the waistband on a pair of PJ's.
Happy weekend all.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thanks and the first FO of 2007

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments on my last post. I appreciate you taking the time to make me feel better. Alma, you are right, the tea bag needs to be removed before it becomes bitter. So true, I'll remember that. As you say Sarah/Bez, I'm young and I have a lot to be excited about.

I have contacted several people in the last week, and although the response isn't entirely what I had hoped (no immediate job offers!!) it was all positive. Mum reminded me not to let go of the academic stuff just yet (I have every intention of submitting my thesis, of course, I've come too far) and to keep looking for jobs in this field. She's right, as usual. I'm so lucky to have James who reminds me all the time, that he'll love me whatever.
I feel a lot better, I took last week slowly, and I'm more cheerful this week. We had a lovely weekend too, with my Dad's side of the family. Look where we went!!
My beloved Grandpa was 90, so we went to Norfolk (near Wroxham, as you were interested Sarah!) for a small party. It was nice, my Dad's family is small, and we don't spend a lot of time together, so it was nice to get together, and in such a lovely place. There was the notable absence of my aunt (dad's sister), her husband and son, dispite them living in the next village. This is due to their rather bizarre, bigotted views and opinions on my cousins sexuality. They have choosen to ignore her completeley. We clearly do not hold these views. It put a cloud over the weekend, but only in a distant way. We all enjoyed ourselves anyway! I'll not go into it (maybe you can guess the rest) but we'll never understand how people go through life with so much bitterness. We were proud of Grandpa who told my aunt, No he was'nt going to go out with her for supper, he was having a party, to which she was invited, she just chose not to come. Go GP!! There was lots of delicious food, and thanks to my dad's careful decisions, lovely wine. I don't know my cousin Cath very well, she's older and my dad has never been that close to her mother. But she's lovely, very very witty and sharp as a tack! Great fun. Here she is (on the left) with her Partner, Leigh.

And here's Grandpa, looking nowhere near 90, with my sister and Cath. We're all very proud of him (he goes travelling all by himself and his favourite drink is Sambucca).

Here's my dad (aka the Somellier) and James, looking thoughtful. It was rather late by then!

This is dad's partner Kate, who organised a beautiful cake, and my sis and her boyfriend Ryan.
Grandpa loved his scarf too, my first FO of 2007. Although as I predicted, one of his first questions was 'So what colour would you call this dear?'

Pattern: Sirdar Leaflet - can't remember the number!

Yarn: The recommended Town and Country DK, Acrylic and wool

Time to knit: Two weeks

I'm not sure this is a good photo, the mock cables aren't too clear. I liked this pattern, easy with enough interest not to die of boredom. I did modify it to make it wider, and it could have been even bigger. The original pattern only has the cable at one end, I carried it all the way through. And this my favourite acrylic, nothing wrong with it at all and not squeaky. The whole thing cost me about £4! And best of all, he really appreciated having something made for him!

Monday, January 08, 2007

'Designing' and women are like tea bags

So, as a bit of a new year resolution, I'm getting around to trying a bit of 'designing'. I use that term in the loosest possible sense - making it up as I go along may be more accurate. This, my friends, is all you're going to get for now......
Also on the needles is a Scarf for my Grandpa, who is 90 on Sunday. We're going over to Norwich on Sunday for a bit of a Party. He's colourblind and so has little appreciation of colour. I am hoping that this is nice and texturised to make up for it. I like the ease of mock cables.
As for the rest of my life. Well, the New Year isn't proving too fantastic so far. Unusually for January, I don't have major money issues, somehow I didn't massively overspend at christmas. I have however, been seriously considering my career and it's upsetting me quite a lot. It's something that has troubled me a lot recently, and the new year has brought it all to the surface. Why does the start of a new year have that effect?
My worries hinge primarily on not enjoying my work at all. I don't technically work, as many of you know. I'm studying for a PhD and I'm coming to the end - my funding runs out in September. I've nearly finished the lab work I have in the pipeline and I'm coming to write my thesis. Most people find this daunting - I find it a relief - it's signalling the end. I don't in any way regret the decision to take on this project. I know I was unbelievably lucky to be given it, with funding already in place. I appreciate the oppertunity to have the highest possible education at a leading institution. I have spent the last thirty months working with the most wonderful people who will be friends for life. I don't spend every day dreading going to work. But, I can't go on doing this. I am a rubbish scientist. I don't work at weekends, and I don't read in the evenings and I don't clamour to go to conferences. In my opinion, good scientists are passionate. I'm sure this mainly is to do with choosing the wrong project. I cannot bare the specific tasks I have to do any more, it's wearing me down. I have a specific area that I would love to work in. I guarantee that I would be passionate about it. But departments that specialise in it hardly exist. I would love to work in equine nutrition. Dearly. I have tried to build up contacts and find people to talk to. Those few I have found get in to discussion about it then forget about me - I clearly don't stand out as a good scientist. This kind of work does not exist.
The other reason it bothers me, is that I did an awful lot of temping in between academic commitments. I loved it. Most people don't. I did all sorts of stuff and I was good at it. I did two weeks for a large international firm near here, just before I started my project. They tried to persuade me to not go back to uni for my PhD and work for them in marketing. They really tried. He even said to call him if I ever wanted a job. It crossed my mind at the time, but I was sure my academic endeavours would lead me to the job of my dreams. They haven't. If I knew then what I know now I would have taken it.
So, the conclusion is, I know what I don't want to do. Clearly. And I suppose that's a start. But what do I want to do? I have no idea. I certainly don't want to be an eternal temp but I have no idea how to move out of Science. I need to talk to my supervisor, who I know will be sympathetic, but I don't know how. I am terrified of being stuck in a job that I don't even like because I've been caught in a snowball.
I've just read something that Eleanor Roosevelt apparently said:
'Women are like Tea bags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water'.
Now, I don't think my situation counts as hot water, but I like it. I'll tear it out of the magazine and put it in my book, maybe it'll inspire me.
Anyway, this blog is about knitting, not being a moaning minnie. Normal service will soon be resumed. Thanks for listening.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Not much has been going on here that is blog worthy really. I haven't done a load of knitting since it was such a rush to finish Dad's socks. I have lots planned so I must get a move on! I picked up RYC's Moonshine last night and realised how much I have to do!
Also on and off the needles recently were some hats for Annie. Here is a sneak peak for you Annie. The two colourful ones are for small children and the bigger, turquoise one is a beret. I love this hat, I made it for myself a few months ago, and thoroughly enjoyed making it, DB Alpaca Silk is one of my favourite yarns, in this case it was given to me for my birthday by James. However, the style looked dreadful on me! And it was too small. As some of you may know, under no circumstances am I an unpicker. I very rarely frog something that is finished. Especially if I enjoyed knitting it so much (and this was knitted watching Lucky Number Slevin, and we all know what I thinkof Josh Hartnett don't we!!). More fool me really! Anyway, I thought it would be perfect for Annie's cause! I hope it is suitable for someone in Boston, perhaps a pre-teen girl? I had to check with James if he minded me giving it away, I felt a bit bad, since he had carefully picked out the yarn for me. He didn't mind, it's for a good cause and he said as long as I had fun knitting it he was happy. I loved packing these of to Annie, I really enjoy putting little labels on. I hope they are the kind of thing you were looking for.
Actually, in knitting these hats, I bought a ball one wool, (the rest was from stash diving) and discovered some yummy acrylic. Yes, you heard me!! The multicoloured hat is Wendy Peter Pan DK print Yarn. I fell in love with the colours and had to buy it. It's 100% synthetic ( a blend of acrylic and nylon) and mega soft! Its absolutley fine to knit with too. It is a tad 'squeaky' and looks a little bit synthetic (it doesn't try and hide it). It's intended for babies, and oddly this doesn't mean just white or baby pink, the range of colours includes some great brights. I'll definately think of this next time I'm knitting babies.
So anyway, waffle waffle. I also had a yarn clearout, and offered it as gifts in Knitty, for the first four people who emailed me. It turned out I needed 6 names, I had more than I thought. It was quite cleansing - a good clearout always is. I hope they are all happy with their packages, I tried to tailor them to the individual by asking what their least favourite colour is. I really enjoyed picking out all the colours and reading blogs to see what people like. There was some nice yarn there, DB, rowan, jaeger and some everyday acrylic and some vintage stuff, mainly oddballs. It has made room in our top bedroom, which I'm going to start decorating and moving into soon. I haven't told James this yet, he does know it's going to be an office (stroke craft room, hee hee!). It makes sense to start decorating from the top, right? And this is an easy one, only cosmetic stuff to do, and only three of the four walls are woodchipped!!! Anyway, here's what the pile of packages looked like ready for the post office.

And last but not least, Daphne was in the bath again last week. Although, this time we saw her do it and she JUMPED, she didn't fall. What's wrong with these cats?? Velma has taken to eating the bubbles!