Monday, February 27, 2006
ONE cuff, ONE button-hole band, SIX buttons to sew on, pocket flaps to finish sewing down and yarn ends to tidy. Sounds like quite a lot when I put it like that.
I've challenged myself by making it up as I was going along - it was funny to be making the neckband and wondering when to stop, wether to fold over and stitch down and not knowing quite how it would look until I was done.
I also perfected provisional casting on so I could graft the seam on the sleeves. And I got the dam thing nearly finished when it's been languishing in my cupboard for the past two years. My mother's away at the moment. I reckon it might even fit her!
BIG WELL DONE TO ALL OF MY MATES ON TEAM GB WHO DESERVE ALL THOSE GOLD MEDALS! and all the OLYMPIAN KNITTERS AROUND THE WORLD - fab work everyone. And thanks to Yarn Harlot for the inspiration. I've enjoyed it.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
My son is a HERO!
I've just got to tell you all this: RAFLMAO! My son is on holiday for the week - I didn't know this because he moved out before Christmas and I haven't heard from him for about 10 days... Anyway, he's been out boozing the night before, so he decides to take a stroll down by the River Exe to clear the cobwebs. An old lady comes up to him, frantically windmilling arms and shrieks "Help, please help my little dog!" - she points out to the middle of the swollen river where a small poodle appears to be giving up the will to live and is fast being carried away. Without stopping to consider the consequences, my son rips off his shoes and shirt and plunges in. He scoops up aformentioned poodle and swims back to shore, where he is now sopping wet and shivering. The daft b****r! Old lady thanks him profusely and exclaims at how treacherous the waters are - presses a fiver into Seth's hand (which is cramped with the cold) and departs. His jeans and underwear were still sopping when I picked him up from the busstop a couple of hours later - he only came home for the bath and bacon butties.
Hero or fool?! You tell me! I reminded him of how many people have died trying to rescue dogs - he said the river was quite flat and there were no dangers downstream and he didn't have time to stop to think about it, as the dog was being carried away rapidly. I was quite proud of him really. In between shaking with mirth that is.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
OOO things be slowing down! I thought this was looking like it wouldn't fit my ample mother, but she called in today and it will fit - just not be very loose. Obviously I didn't allow extra 'ease' when I was calculating from swatches. I've nearly finished the back. I've done both fronts up to armholes. I've finished one sleeve (which I've knit sideways on and done several short rows to make it slightly shaped) and cast on (provisional/loop cast on) for the other sleeve and knitted a couple of inches. You can see there's a lot of colour pooling in the fronts. That's Colinette for you. I think it's going to be OK.
I've got to knit the cuffs, pocket trims and neck and button bands. I've leave them till last as I'm still not sure how the yarn is going to last so if I need to, I can knit these in another colour (probably plain blue) and make it a 'design feature' - whaddya mean? OF course it was deliberate.
Heard this today. What is the fastest cake in Devon?
"scone". (s'gone - geddit?)
Friday, February 17, 2006
Phew - thank goodness that's all over and done with - and the funeral was as good as it could be - the family were all pleased and that really is the most important thing. I read my pome, and didn't stumble over the podium or crack up and run out screaming or even cry - so that was OK too. I cried when the children did their bits - 'specially Phil, as he's the same age as my son and I kept imagining how Seth would be in his place.
The vicar did his best to sell Christianity - but with my buddhist leanings, I've decided to let my body go to science when I die - there's a shortage of cadavers for medical students to cut up, apparently, and they do a lovely memorial service afterwards - very cheap funeral! See Dead Interesting for some really thought provoking stuff...
The Olympic project? Shh. I'm keeping very quiet. I just might have enough yarn - but it's looking a bit small. Maybe fit me instead???
I've half finished the back and left front and I've only got to pick up and knit the cuff on one sleeve (knit sideways and grafted together). I've still got one whole sleeve and 3/4 of the right front to do.
Now I really ought to go to bed.
[I would have been back blogging much sooner, but work got in the way. Shame].
I organised a walk last Sunday, from the small village of Belstone, a couple of miles from Okehampton on the North Moor. There were six of us intrepid types and three dogs, and it didn't rain. I don't know the North Moor as well as the South East (where we all live) so I (attempted to) follow a route from Adventurous Pub Walks in Devon which my mate Cath got me for my birthday (ta muchly Cath!). It might not have rained but it was a really blustery day -
This is Belstone Tor: Irishman's Wall begins at the foot of here, and runs up over the top and down the other side towards the River Taw. We followed this route...
Irishman's Wall has an interesting history: Dartmoor has always offered common grazing for locals, but under ancient tradition, farmers had the right to enclose up to 8 acres of moorland for their own use. Towards the beginning of the 19th century two farmers hired a group of Irishmen to enclose a much greater area on Belstone Common. They had built about a mile of this wall before other local farmers realised what was happening. The resulting enclosure would have restricted their access considerably, so they gathered en masse at the wall, and at a given signal, pushed it over! The Irishmen departed not wanting to be involved in any fight, but parts of the wall remain - even if its name does seem to credit just one Irishman for its existence.This is the at the top looking down over the river Taw (and some ponies sheltering in the lee of the Tor, away from the wind. This is where we could have flown if we'd flapped our arms just a bit harder. We clambered down over the clitter to an ox bow type loop in the river where there is a ford - this is Cath trying not to get her trousers and boots wet... I won't tell you what she used to dry her feet, but the woman has ALL sorts of useful items lurking at the bottom of her bag.
From here we could see Cosdon Beacon. We walked across rough moorland and boggy bits to South Zeal and the welcome warmth of the Oxenham Arms Pub - couple of pints and a roaring fire. It was then only a mile and a half back to Belstone along the river through Skaigh Woods. Didn't bother with any more photos as there wasn't enough sunshine to make them interesting (and I haven't included the ones of my mates because I haven't asked them and they might be just a bit surprised to see themselves on the net!). T'was a 7 1/2mile hike and a good distance to amble along in no particular hurry. Couldn't resist taking this pic of a cat (in the window above the door) eyeing us up as we got back to Belstone:-
I've to read a poem at my friend's dh funeral tomorrow.
What is life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare,
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows,
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass,
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night,
Not time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance,
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life is this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare."
William Henry Davies
"Easy, peasy", I thought, "Piece of cake". So why did I bawl my eyes out trying to read it out all by myself earlier?
Sunday, February 12, 2006
You will be sucked dry by a leech. I'd stay away
from swimming holes, and stick to good old
cement. Even if it does hurt like hell when
your toe scrapes the bottom.
What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
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Saturday, February 11, 2006
About the prospect of a new stitch and bitch group in my local town! I've been thinking about this for AGES and wondering where the best venue would be - I'm such a clot - Bovey Tracey hosts the one of the finest (and most expensive, but lets not quibble) craft shops in Devon with a lovely sunlit cafe with roof terrace and disabled access and all - the Devon Guild of Craftsmen and it's open 7 days a week, so I reckon one Sunday a month, 3-5pm will be perfect. Now all I've got to do is suggest it to the manager. I talked to a waitress yesterday - and got my first member. Linda has been knitting for years and gets teased by her dh because it's an 'old ladies' hobby'. What is he on? And the more expert knitters there are, the more we can pass on skills to beginners!
I've also started and frogged my Herculian cardigan, 'Boulder':
I'd somehow managed to get my sums wrong and not cast on enough stitches. *Sigh*. All sorted now. I'm going to knit the back and fronts to the armholes only to see how the yarn lasts - I still don't think I'll have enough to finish :-(
Thursday, February 09, 2006
I had my mother around t'other day and measured every bit of her I could think to measure, and then sat down and adapted a pattern torn from a magazine circa 1979 (am I really that old?)(Do I hoard things?)(see I KNEW it would come in handy). Question - if you change the yarn, and therefore the tension, and the needle size, and make it shorter and fiddle about until the instructions are totally different, does the pattern become my own design as the original was only used as a reference, as an inspiration? The original was called 'Pebble' - so I've called mine 'Boulder', because it's bolder and also because of the matriarchal tribe from Lijiang in China called the Naxi. The Naxi minority's matriarchal influences extend to their language: Nouns enlarge their meaning when the word for female is added, and conversely, the addition of the word for 'male' will decrease the meaning, eg. 'stone' + 'female' = boulder, 'stone' + 'male' = pebble. Good innit?
OK - the Pattern, which I will scribe here so it will not get lost on the scrap of paper I've scrawled on and I can print it off when I like.
'Boulder', to fit my mum, bust size 54"/138cm.
knitted in Collinette Prism, Blue Parrot - please let there be enough yarn because I won't be able to match the dye lot and the shop I got it from no longer sells it.
needles size 4 1/2 + 5 1/2 mm
Back With 4 1/2 needles, Cast on 101 st, rib k1,p1 for 6cm
last row increase 9st evenly along row,
(rib 10, inc 1 by picking up loop between st and twist and knit)x9, rib 11, (110st) Change to 5 1/2 mm needles.
Knit straight in stocking stitch until work measures 34cm
Armhole shaping: Cast off 17 st. at beg. next 2 rows (76st)
Continue without further shaping until work measures 22" (56cm)
Shoulder shaping: cast off 10st beg next 2 rows, leave remaining 56st on stitch holder.
Pocket linings x2 : Using 5 1/2 mm needles cast on 24st. Beg. K row, st st 26 rows. leave st. on stitch holder.
with 4 1/2 mm needles, cast on 47 st and rib k1/p1 for 6 cm increasing 4st evenly along last row: rib 10, inc 1, (rib 9, inc 1)x3, rib 10 to end (51st)
change to 5 1/2 mm needles.
Beg knit row, st st until work measure 20cm,
Pocket opening row: k 15st, place next 24 st on a stitch holder and with right side facing, k 24 st of one pocket lining, then k last 12 st.
Continue in st st until work measures 34 cm. ending p row.
cast off 17 st beg. next row.
Continue straight until work measures 19 1/2" or 50cm ending K row.
Neck shaping: cast off 12 st. beg next row, purl to end
work 1 knit row slipping last stitch without knitting.
cast off 2 st beg next row. purl to end.
then dec 1 st at neck edge every row for next 4 rows.
Work until front matches back - cast off.
work same as left front but reversing all shaping. (cop out ay?)
Using loop method from 'The Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques', cast on 73 st with 5 1/2 mm needles.
row 1: knit all stitches
row 2: purl 47 (k2, p4)x4, k2
row 3: knit all stitches
row 4: purl 47 (k2,p4)x4, k2
row 5: (k2, cable 2 forward)x4 k40 TURN
row 6: Purl 40, (k2,p4)x4, k2
(I thought the short rows might give the sleeve a bit more shape. Be interesting to find out and might mean a bit of frogging).
continue as set until sleeve measures 49cm (ensuring finish on 6th row of cable pattern) and then graft stitches together to form a tube.
Using 4 1/2 mm circular needles or dpns, pick up and knit 24 stitches from around cuff end - rib k1/p1 for 16cm and then use single rib castoff technique like shown in earlier post because I've finished my socks and that cast off is really elastic.
Right sleeve same as the other one, but in reverse (so the cables go the same way).
Take the 24 stitches along tops of pockets and rib (for as long as you want!) cast off - sew down edges and pockets.
Sew cardi together.
Pick up and rib neck.
Rib button and button hole bands and sew in place. Sew on half a dozen buttons.
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a
piece is the plan, you still love the
process, and can't imagine a day going by
without giving some time to your yarn.
Packing for holidays involves leaving ample
space for the stash and supplies. It can be
hard to tell where the yarn ends and you
What Kind of Knitter Are You?
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Poor Lady Mondegreen, thought Sylvia Wright - how poetic to die with your true love. When she discovered some years later, that the actual line was "and laid him on the Green", Wright was so distraught by the sudden disappearance of her heroine that she memorialized her with a neologism... Wright gives other examples of what she says "I shall hereafter call mondegreens", such as:-
"Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands
Oh where hae you been?
They hae slay the Earl aMurray (sic),
And Lady Mondegreen."
"Surely Good Mrs. Murphy shall follow me all the days of my life"
("Surely goodness and mercy…" from Psalm23
The columnist Jon Carroll of the "San Francisco Chronicle" has long been a popularizer of the term and a collector of mondegreens. He is probably the chief link between Wright's work and the general popularity of the notion today. He points out that the overwhelming majority of Mondegreens come from song lyrics. Examples include the Bob Dylan song with the memorable refrain: "Dead ants are my friends, they're blowin' in the wind", the great Crystal Gayle song "Doughnuts Make Your Brown Eyes Blue" and the not forgetting the equally wonderful Maria Muldaur song "Midnight After You're Wasted." (I'm showing my age - I can remember all these songs!).
Maybe my downfall is following these diet rules too slavishly:
1.~If noone sees you eating something, it has no calories.
2.~Food eaten for medical reasons does NOT count (eg hot chocolate, toast, cheesecake, vodka, wine) (Definitely a BCUKer one that).
3.~Biscuits have no calories because breaking the biscuits causes the calories to leak out.
4.~While you are cooking, food licked from knives and spoons has no fat content.
5.~Food eaten from someone elses plate has no fat as it rightly
belongs to the other person.
6.~If you eat standing up the food has no calories because of gravity.
7.~When you eat with someone else, calories don't count if you don't eat more than they do.
8~You will look slimmer if you fatten up the people around you.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
My friend's husband died yesterday, after a long illness. I went to see her today and she is, as you might expect, in need of huggles. Her dh died at home, surrounded by friends and loved ones, which is as it should be. We all deserve to be born at home, to die at home.
Well I dithered and I procrastinated and I dithered some more, then I decided at the penultimate moment (near as dammit) to join in YarnHarlot's Knitting Olympics . The deadline for late entries is tonight at midnight (in California I guess).
I have decided to finish what I've started. I promised my (ample) mother I would knit her a cardi. This is no mean thing - years ago I knit her a mohair polo neck tunic type jumper in k1p1 rib which took me AGES! I don't think she ever wore it before she left it in storage and then abandoned the stuff in storage. Took me a long while to forgive her that. So I'd started this TWO years ago (I kid you not) and adjusted the pattern so I thought - well, not only would the sleeve fit your average gorilla, but at that rate I'd run out of yarn. So I must frog the lot. and start again. So my challenge is to work out how to get this cardi to fit, and finish it in 16 days. Who am I trying to kid? This is a Herculean task! We'll see.
My socks are nearly finished - and I'm well pleased. They even fit. For only my second ever attempt at adult socks and first attempt at toe up I've done good. Enough bragging.
Here's another technical tip coming up. I was worried about using my usual cast off on the rib that would be trying to fit around my thick ankles, so I looked in 'The Encyclopedia of Knitting Techniques" by Debby Robinson, and lo, I found this - the 'elastic method for single rib' - it's worked out perfectly...
Holding the yarn on the left hand (LH) needle cut the yarn end so that it's four or five times the length of the row to be cast off. Thread up a blunt tapestry needle with this end and use it to cast off.
- *Put tapestry needle thr0ugh the first stitch knit (K) wise and slip it off LH needle.
- Ignoring the next purl (P) stitch, put the needle through the next K stitch purlwise. Return to the ignored P stitch and put needle into it P wise, draw the yarn through and slip it off the LH needle.
- Take the yarn behind the stitch still on the needle and bring it through to the front of the work. Put needle into next P stitch, K wise. Pull yarn through, not too tightly, then start again from *.
Robinson says, "This method is not half as fiddly as it sounds and produces a neat, very elastic edge, once you get into the swing of it. It can be used whereever a really stretchy edge is required." eg polo necks, or SOCKS!
bookcrossing n. the practice of leaving a book in a public
place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.
The "3 Rs" of BookCrossing...
Read a good book (you already know how to do that)
Register it here (along with your journal
comments), get a unique BCID (BookCrossing ID number), and label the book
Release it for someone else to read (give it to a friend,
leave it on a park bench, donate it to charity, "forget" it in a coffee shop, etc.), and get notified by email each time someone comes here and records journal entries for that book. And if you make Release Notes on the book, others can Go Hunting for it and try to find it!
And so there were a dozen of us, with four dogs walking and one dog going straight to the pub with his mum.
Walking down Hunter’s Path is quite awe-inspiring – even with the trees across the valley reduced to a violet, green smudge and the river invisible but audible in the depths below. Craftangler thought it very atmospheric but had left his camera in the car. WE discussed bookcrossing names on the way down – Joshua wants to have his own bookshelf but all the names of Egyptian gods are taken. The possibility of Anub1s was mentioned or Anubis2 but Msoma wouldn’t want to be second at anything :-p
Drogo Castle seen up the valley
We made it down to the pub in one piece and got the books out. Diane’s mum was there with Gizmo and reading her newspaper in the sunshine. Joshua was kept busy throwing sticks into the river Teign for the dogs who were all in doggy heaven. Diane’s books hadn’t been registered yet – so we all took them away to make sure they ended up with a BCID. There was even a copy of the famous 'Wild Animus' (who had that???). In fact all the books disappeared!
Diane and her mum went back home at this stage (as the car was at the pub) and Malcolm and Europea had guests coming for dinner so took off before everyone else too. The rest of us were ready to set off back along the river – when mistake number one occurred: Craftyangler said he would catch us up and disappeared off to the loo. With the benefit of hindsight we should have waited for him. Or at least made sure he knew which way we were returning to the castle. Never make assumptions.
About a quarter of a mile along the river – only one path, difficult to get lost – Anglersrest decides to go back to get Craftyangler. Mistake number two. We walked on slowly then stopped to wait for them both in a patch of sunshine. There were lots of other walkers out that day – the footpath was quite crowded, but no anglers two came along. The river is beautiful down here, clear, flat and trout filled in places, tumbling over granite boulders in others. After quarter of an hour of chat, still no anglers. We collared the next person who was walking back and asked him to tell the Anglers that we had gone on. The guy was wearing a sheriff’s hat so I thought he was probably reliable. I figured the way was well signposted.
ON we trudged – the way back is more gradual but still definitely UP. The path swings around the bottom of Drogo Castle – The castle was built in The Castle Drogo was designed by the great English architect Edwin Lutyens for Julius Drewe, the founder of the Home and Colonial Stores. He had made his fortune and retired to Wadhurst Hall in Sussex in 1899. After researching his ancestry, he assumed a relationship with the Norman baron, Drogo de Teign and the land at Drewsteignton in Devon became his chosen site for a grand castle (and beautiful it is too). Lutyens' original plans show the ambition the commission inspired; it would have been three times the size of the present castle, but practical building problems and the shortage of workforce caused by the First World War meant that a smaller castle than was originally intended was built. Lutyens didn't give up his grand design easily however, and at one stage built a full-size timber and tarpaulin mock-up of his proposed Barbican, a four storey gate tower. Photographs of the construction and plans of the castle are displayed in the subterranean Gun Room next to the Chapel.
Castle Drogo is built of granite and resembles a medieval castle with Tudor embellishments. It is stark and unornamented on the outside, with mullioned and transomed windows lighting the higher status family rooms, smaller, deep cut windows for the servants’ rooms. The walls are battered, inclined to increase the sense of height, and without external guttering and down-pipes. At the entrance, a working portcullis is operated from a winch in one of the turrets. (got this last paragraph and pic from http://www.heritage.me.uk/castles/drogo.htm). Despite all this, Alison and Sufiboy thought it resembled a concrete observational post left over from World War 2! Alison hails from Northumberland where it is (apparently) overrun with all manner of castles and fortified mansions. She knows a castle when she sees one, and Castle Drogo isn’t. This debate took us merrily to the top where we met with Craftyangler who had come back the same way we went DOWN (giving himself terrible indigestion while doing so) – and NO ANGLERSREST to be seen. Disaster!
We swopped mobile phone numbers (no signal down in the valley) and organised search parties. Craftyangler took his car to check back down at the Fingle Bridge pub. He soon returned with the news that she wasn’t there. Sufiboy and Alison decide to go at this point as there was no point in all of us hanging around in the cold (and Sufiboy was a closet trekkie and guess what was on telly?). The tea shoppe was still closed (how inconsiderate of the National Trust). Just as we were splitting up into various groups – Craftyangler’s car screeched back into the carpark – Anglersrest was back! She was very bemused too. She had made it to the top of the path, the same way we had come, only to see her dh take off in his car and leave her there! His thought was to stop us driving off to search for her when she was already found. HUGE sighs of relief and huggles all round.
We all agreed that we would do it again – but not lose anyone next time. I made mental note not to assume that everyone knows where we are going. The Anglers and I retreated to pub in SandyPark to warmup and debrief.
Thanks for coming, everyone.