Saturday, September 30, 2006

Finished and partly done...

Contrary to the impression given in recent posts, some knitting has been going on... enhanced by having had a foul cold all week and no inclination to do things other than knit and sleep...



First a couple of squares for Grandmother Purl in cottons; patterns taken from Jan's 200 Knitted Blocks book and sized up for 8" squares. These were mailed off yesterday.

The Gryffindor scarf is also finished. It was a breathtakingly boring bit of knitting, but it's done and looks good... Here it is with the present I have yet to deliver to Baby M...


Here's a closer pic of the fringe, because there's an absurd amount of it...


And finally, the back of St Brigid is done! I've been working on this for about a year, but using 5 charts simultaneously doesn't make for portable knitting... However, the St Brigid KAL group picked up again at the beginning of the month, and I bought an Addi needle the right size... Two photos of this one - the first shows the colour but flattens the cables, the second has nice poppy cables but no idea of the colour... this is Jamieson's Soft Shetland in colour Pagan which was a special offer last year...

Feeling almost human again today, and am off to Stash with Jan... Am taking Icarus to start on the train...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Look! a shiny thing! And cats!


An attempt to distract from the lack of knitting content. A beautiful shawl pin from Chrissy at Scotts Mountain Crafts, my first Etsy purchase - I actually got an even prettier one but that's a present (I don't think the recipient reads this, but better safe than sorry...). The pin is 11.5cm long, as an idea of scale...


And what happens when you bring in 10 large boxes containing exhibition pieces, and take your eye off them for a minute or two. Instant cat furniture. And the house pecking-order is maintained with Tilda getting the taller position as usual...

I have two nearly-finished things - will take pics when they're done.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The damage...


Pretty things from the NEC - in the red corner, two balls of Socka Limbo in rainbow colours; on the left three balls of Twilleys freedom Spirit in colour Fire

And in the blue corner, on the left two balls of Adriafil Quarzo in blue/green/golden brown, and on the right a ball of Fortissima Colori... No idea why everything was pinky/red or turquoise this time, but hey.


And some buttons in a pack - I think all of these may be used on one item, just haven't decided what yet...

I also picked up less photogenic items - four 1 lb cones of dishcloth cotton and one of blue flecked lambswool DK at Uppingham Yarns

And here's a better colour impression of the Handmaiden with the Icarus pattern - it looked a little bright in the photo the other night...

The phoenix at the NEC

Some photos from the NEC, then... We were in stand F24, which was just about central in the hall. Here's a view looking from the entrance


and one from the back of the hall.


I haven't asked for permission to blog other people's pieces yet, so I'll just show some pics of mine. The group challenge was to make something to a particular size (and we commissioned steel shelves to that size) which was based on an idea of recycling, and used mainly recycled materials. It had to be accompanied by a sketchbook (the shelves on the left in the second picture).

Mine was based on the Phoenix myth, and the general cultural consensus that a Phoenix lives 500 years; which is the lifespan of a plastic carrier bag in a landfill site.

I used knitted plastic for the 'nest', a Fanta bottle neck as a stand for the 'egg' (velvet from an old skirt), and turned sweet wrappers from a colleague's leaving do and some shiny purple tissue from last Christmas into feathers when combined with food wrap. There's some reclaimed electrical wire in there too.

The photo above shows the colours more accurately, but the distance shot using flash didn't work with the toplighting and spotlights in the building...

Another detail of the 'egg'...

I ws going to blog the stash acquisitions tonight, but the photo upload problem has struck again; maybe tomorrow...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Back from the NEC


Got back from the NEC an hour or so ago and am currently waiting for the oven to heat enough to throw in a pizza - haute cuisine this evening chez stroppy-cats. Amelia is, however, obligingly eating any daddy-long-legs within range... Quick pic of my show knitting; the view from the stand, and a Gryffindor scarf (PoA/GoF version) for a small friend's 8th birthday... she's got heavily into all things Harry Potter this summer and has a birthday in late November...

The show was very good fun if relatively quiet compared to Ally Pally and Harrogate. We chatted to a lot of people who hadn't been to that sort of thing before; and that was great. I got a natter with Gill on Saturday, and caught up with Fred on Sunday; he brought Noonie along later and I met her (but had completely failed to realise this was the weekend she was doing a skydive; well, evidently she survived!) ... The knitting content was wonderful; there were a couple of notable omissions because they were off elsewhere but I came, I saw and I spent (within budget). Then we broke down the exhibition like insane, driven women, packed it all into Sue's car and came home...

Haven't sorted out the 73 photos I took over the weekend yet, most of which need rotating and otherwise mucking around with, but will blog some tomorrow - I wisely took the day off to recover. However, one rather blurry pic.

Spot the difference puzzle for objects lounging around: one blob of Hand Maiden Angel Hair mohair (colour Vintage); one blob of cat.

Hint; although essentially the same shape as the cat, the mohair doesn't look pissed off...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Meme break

Again off topic, but so many friends have had this on their blogs recently and they've invariably been interesting, so snagging this one for myself and apologies if it doesn't measure up... I'm off to the NEC (Knitting and Stitching show) this weekend, anyway...

One book that changed your life Le ventre de Paris by Emile Zola. Worth it for the stunning descriptions of Paris, and food; changed my point of view on both. There's a plot there too if you're reading the whole Rougon-Macquart series. Read during a truly miserable year abroad in Paris in 1988/89, it restored my faith in many, many things.

One book you've read more than once: The one which springs to mind is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I re-read this every couple of years; the combination of Southern heat and righteous anger always keeps me hooked. I also have this as a DVD and my mam and I share an admiration of Gregory Peck.

One book you'd want on a desert island I'm assuming the Bible and Shakespeare are included. If they are, I'll take one of Barbara Walker's Treasuries of knitting stitches. I'm sure I'll be able to find some form of sticks and fibre somewhere, even if I have to derive fibre from seaweed... Otherwise, I'll choose the Bible, preferably in the first Jerusalem translation as that's the one I'm used to - complete guide to humanity at its best and worst.

A book that made you laugh Most which fall into that category these days are political and therefore cynical. But the Christianna Brand Nurse Matilda books, every time; I can laugh just thinking about them. Molesworth has the same effect.

A book that made you cry For some reason, biographies do this more than novels these days. The first couple of pages of Bill Clinton's My Life are shockingly sad. And there are chapters in Julian Clary's otherwise-hilarious A Young Man's Passage which make me teary thinking of them...

A book I wish I'd written Apart from the Harry Potter books, which would keep me in yarn for life, I'd love to have written the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide; such a brilliant idea.

A book I wish had never been written I'd probably prefer that Mein Kampf had never seen the light of day, but obviously as a liberal I can't oppose it. However, I do nominate Proust's A la r├ęcherche du temps perdu. I hated it; it sucked out my soul for the time I was reading it and for a long time thereafter...

A book I am currently reading Anthony Bourdain's The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Useable Trim, Scraps and Bones. He's probably the only chef who can genuinely get away with dedicating a book to the dead Ramones. God, he's good: the combination of the high-octane, mucho-macho, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas stuff and the incredibly delicate, almost ethereal, descriptions of the food. I was reading this book on the train earlier, after writing the first half of this several days ago, and Bourdain cites Le ventre de Paris as a must-read, too; and I'm really not surprised; it's the same combination of breakneck speed and delicacy, total sensory overload and incredible precision...

A book I've been meaning to read Bryan Garman's A Race of Singers: Whitman's Working-Class Hero from Guthrie to Springsteen. Got it for Christmas and it's working its way to the top of the pile.

A book I wish had been written Not so much a book, a section of a book; there's a 7 year gap in Margrave of the Marshes, John Peel's autobiography, between the point he left off and the point he met Sheila and she was able to carry on with the story...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bridge art and the phoenix

There's not been that much knitting going on here, and this post is a bit random. First, photos of Mill Road Bridge in Cambridge, which has been repainted thanks to the Castle Project (which helps vulnerable 16-25 year olds with housing and work) and the Cambridge Youth Forum. I cycle over this twice a day and until now it's rained every single time since they repainted. Today it didn't, so this is the north side

and this the south side looking towards the station.

It's just tremendously cheering. So far it's stayed untouched by the attention of vandals or anti-war protestors, unlike most public spaces that size along the road.

The main reason I'm distracted and seriously sleep-deprived (and not knitting) is due entirely to my own almost zen mastery of the art of procrastination. Until Sunday night, this was what I had for exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Shows (Birmingham and Harrogate iterations)

which would be fine if it didn't have to be a piece 9" by 12" by 18" consisting mainly of stitching by hand or machine using one of those needles with a hole in one end. However. This is the nest for my Phoenix piece, knitted out of fine strips of carrier bags and parcel ribbon and melted round a Pyrex bowl using a heat-gun. I spent 20 hours on Monday working on the rest of the piece (culminating in a particularly poignant moment at 3:15 on Tuesday morning when my machining on water-soluble fabric did the inevitable and completely dissolved on contact with water.... I went to bed; I got up 2 hours and 45 minutes later and embarked on a replacement) and eventually, 6 minutes before my lift to the selection meeting arrived, it was finished. So, it is done, and I did it. Still have the sketchbook to finish and post to the group leader...

I can't show you the finished piece. I'd like to say this is because it's confidential until the shows, but that would imply that anyone who cares was reading this, or because I'd rather leave it until it's sitting on its rather beautiful display thingy; and there are good reasons why both of those are true; but actually, I didn't remember to take a picture before it was transported off to be seen again at the NEC in a week or so's time.

And one final random thing. I distinctly heard Jennifer say "Mrs DeSouza came out one day and found a Gloucester Old Spot nibbling on her sarong" in The Archers this evening; am hoping this was some form of exhaustion-induced auditory hallucination...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Nature notes

It seems to have been a stunningly long week, although I only did 3 days at work. I'm learning small amounts of new things but mostly feeling foolish...

When I got back this evening though, I met this lovely thing attempting to scale the side of the house... Aren't those colours amazing?

It's a Privet Hawk-Moth (Sphinx ligustri) caterpillar. This one was about 12cm (5") long so presumably somewhere near fully grown. I went in to find trapping materials and the neighbour-with-connecting-garden wasn't at home (and has a lilac tree which is one of the main foodplants), so I rehomed the caterpillar there...

Also went off and entered things for the Village Show this evening (because you do; well, because Sandra threatened and begged, and she's show secretary this year, and it was her Civil Partnership day when she did the begging/threatening, so how could I refuse...) so I now have to round up some knitting/crochet (!I have a curly wurly)/needlework/jelly/savoury flan on Sunday morning... Coming back from that, I spied Amelia being Mistress of All She Surveys. Centre of photo (that black-and-white smudge on the ground), average-to-large cat. Rest of photo, territory she strenuously defends. She looks so cute trying.

And also, while gratuitous cat-shots are going - double-decker cats. Tilda (aka Pig) above; Amelia (aka Bug) below. Sofa 0-cats 1, I think.