Sunday, January 27, 2008

In the pic: the computer geek whose name I can't remember, (I'm not being rude: she had it written on her T-chirt!) but she was an architectural student, Rainie and Wyesue.

Was it really two whole weeks ago?

Before Christmas, I'd suggested to the monthly Bovey S'NB group that we have a winter outing - maybe to 'Get Knitted' in Bristol. This was met with general enthusiasm. I then posted the suggestion on the Ravelry WestCountry forum and before I knew it, the outing had become a RAVELRY outing!
Sue, the manager, promised us all CAKE and a 10%discount off all non sale goods. What more could a knitter ask for? Get Knitted is a converted supermarket with a huge range of yarn, plush pink sofas and glasstopped tables and help yourself to coffee and tea. (Shame there's no bar!)

That's Mytilus hiding her face with a bag, with Anniken (yarnaddictanni) laughing at her, and (Mynameis)Clare studying 'Victorian Lace Today' with intent.

A trainload of knitters joined us from London, and folk came from as far away as Nottingham and Cornwall - there were so many ideas flitting about, and lovely garments being worn and knitting on the needles, it was truly inspirational. Much stash was bought, much cake was eaten.

WyeSue brought her trusty spinning wheel along and was letting folk have a go as well as showing me how to navajo ply and SarahW was showing several youngsters how to use her beatifully light and delicate drop spindles. Woollywormhead was there sporting a lovely shaped bump (action shot to the left) - there were several copies of her new hat book, 'Going Straight' with probably the best illustrated sections on kichener stitch inside that I've yet to see, but she hadn't brought any extras to sell, mores the pity. I 'specially enjoyed meeting Quitecontrary (Mary) who is mutton jeff like me, and wears gorgeous purpley/blue coloured hearing aids - (not at all like the pink slugs that I've got, though I did impress her with the sparkly bits in my ear moulds!) and she got them from the NHS too...
That's Rain's lovely circular cardigan being displayed in a batman like fashion in the picture below - with Mary, quite contrary down in the right hand corner...

And off the top of my head there was also Mytilus, YarnaddictAnni, MyNameisClare, Ork, Noonahs (who I was pleased to meet as she was the generous sender of the Bluefaced Leicester sockyarn I got in a Ravelry swap), Robynn, Yogicknitter, Erqsome, Museinmeltdown, Knittingpixie, Rainie, TussahSilk, Angua, Cupoftea and Custard and Silk910 was also there, I think. From our S'NB there was Ruth, Kathryn and Chris who haven't made it on to Ravelry so go by their ordinary names. Apologies for anyone I've missed out and I know I didn't get round to talking to quite a few Ravellers.

I had put together a quiz - not that anyone needed entertaining, but in the unlikely event that conversation flagged...

A mere 26 questions.


1) Name the pair who set it up.
2) As well as various groups which you can choose to join, there are main boards in the ‘forums’ section: Patterns
For the Love of Ravelry
Needlework on the Net
And a) Scraps
b) Offcuts or
c) Remnants

3) Who or what is Bob?
4) Just when DID the two who made Ravelry start tinkering around with ideas and computer codes?
Was it a) January 2007
b) January 1997
c) January 2005

5) Just how many hits/page views per day does Ravelry clock up? (according to the Ravelry Blog entry on January 4th) is it
a) 100,500
b) 1.5 million
c) 5.5 million

Get Knitted

1) Before Christmas the team at Get Knitted posed a riddle: “What’s multi-coloured, eagerly awaited and comes from the other side of the Atlantic?”
It’s arrived, but what is it?
2) A fairy was getting plumper while the rest were trying not to. Who is expecting something pink and cuddly in the Spring?
3) Beginning of February, Penny Santer is running what kind of workshop?


1) “Schoolhouse Press was founded in 1959 by British-born masterknitter, Elizabeth Zimmermann, who wanted to supply handknitters with pure wool and circular needles (both a rarity in those days), as well as books, tools, and original designs. Elizabeth’s humour and unique approach to seamless garment construction gradually attracted followers through her semi-annual Newsletter, a steady stream of designs in magazines, two television series’ taped for PBS-TV, the annual summer Knitting Camp and publication of her four books. Elizabeth’s philosophy was received with glad cries by knitters who were eager to think for themselves and, through EPS (Elizabeth’s Percentage System) were able to achieve perfectly-fitted garments while applying their own ideas to their knitting.”
What’s the name of her daughter?
2) Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is better known as what, to knitting bloggers?
3) Who wrote the New York Times best seller “Stitch ‘n Bitch”?
4) What is the name of the former Bishop of Leicester who wrote “The History of Handknitting”? 5) Marit Guldseth Ernstad, born 1841, was known as “The mother of Selbu Knitting”. Selbu, in Norway, is renown for the knitting of what garment?
6) He’s just brought out a new book called “____ Knits Again” – the guy with the amazing sense of colour, who is he?
7) Of what is Amy R Singer the publisher/editor?


1) What’s another name for the tension/gauge square of knitting that should be done before starting any knitted project?
2) “ 3 stitches on a double pointed needle (dpn). Knit those stitches – switch the needles in your hand without turning the work, and slide the stitches to the other end of the needle. With the yarn still hanging from the left of the work, knit across using your second dpn. Be sure to pull the yarn tight when you make your first stitch so that the fabric rolls in on itself.”
What has just been described?
3) Sewing over the top of knitting to imitate a knit stitch is called what, commonly?
4) A flat, slow growing fabric – sometimes called ‘plain knitting’ – all rows are knit (or purl) when you are knitting on two needles. What stitch is this?
5) Row 1: *K1, P1* continue to end of row.
Row 2: knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches of the previous row.
What stitch pattern will this make?
6) Colour knitting in which separate balls or bobbins of yarn are used for large blocks of colour and the yarn is not stranded across the back – sometimes also called picture knitting, collage, geometric or patchwork knitting. What is the common name for this technique?


1) Angora yarn comes from what animal?
2) A tool used to aid skeining after spinning yarn. It is a rod which has bars each end, set at right angles to each other. What is this commonly known as?
3) What year was the Knitting and Crochet Guild of Great Britain established?
a) 1978
b) 1958
c) 1908
4) How would Americans refer to sock/4ply yarn?
5)On what piece of equipment would you find the ‘mother-of-all’?

And here are the Answers:
Ravelry: 1) Jess and Casey 2) c) Remnants
3)A Boston Terrier DOG 4) a) January 2007 5)b) 1.5 million
Get Knitted: 1)Knitpicks Harmony Options
2) Jules (and bump) 3) Wet and Dry Felting
People: 1) Meg Swansen 2) The Yarn Harlot
4) Debbie Stoller 4) Richard Rutt
5) mittens (or gloves) (the winning team also said jumpers, shawls etc etc and since their leader is from Norway I didn't argue!) (waves at YarnAddictAnni!)
6) Kaffe Fassett 7)
Techniques: 1) A Swatch 2) swiss darning
3) garter stitch 4) Moss or seed stitch
General: 1) the angora rabbit (lots of folk said 'goat'!) 2) Niddy Noddy
3) a)1978 4) superfine/fingering
5) a spinning wheel
And to finish, here's the recipe for Ginger Applecake that I brought along to share - I didn't eat any, (smug b****** that I am) because I'm off sugar (and caffeine and alcohol) for January after the excesses of Christmas and the New Year. Blimey, what self restraint!

Ginger Applecake can be served warm, with cream or custard, or cold and gloopy.


175g/6oz self raising flour

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

76g/3oz caster sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

6-8tbs milk

1oz melted butter, cooled.

Topping: 500g/1 lb cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly

juice of 1 lemon

75g/3oz demerara sugar (I've used raw cane or molasses sugar)

1tsp ground ginger

50g/2oz melted butter.


Sift the flour into a bowl with the ginger, baking powder and salt. Stir in the caster sugar. Add the egg and 6 tbs milk and the melted butter and beat to a soft dropping consistency, adding more milk if the mixture is too stiff. Set aside.

Topping: Put the thinly sliced apple wedges in a bowl with the lemon juice, demerara sugar and ginger. Fold gently to mix (I usually just use my fingers for this - verrry gloopy).

Now put the cake mixture into the bottom of a well greased 35x20cm/12x8" swiss roll tin and level the surface. Arrange the apple wedges prettily on top - overlapping and layering in rows so it looks like those posh french tarts (no euphemism intended). Pour over any liquid left in the bowl then drizzle the melted butter over the top of that.

Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven (200 degrees C/400 degrees F/gas mark 6) for 35 minutes until the apples are golden brown on top (or singed black if you're as scatty as me - it still tasted good!). Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Cut into wedges or squares - freezes well.

I usually double the recipe and bake it in a roasting tin.

Courtesy of the 'Seasonal Freezer Cookbook' by Jeni Wright et al, Octopus books.

Friday, January 18, 2008

As you all may know, I'm mutton jeff.
A joke I gleaned from the UKHPL mailing list I lurk on:

patient -- "Doctor, doctor, I think I'm going deaf."
doctor -- "What are the symptoms?"
patient -- "They're a small yellow family from America, but what's that
got to do with my hearing??"

tee hee.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Thanks Chocolate Sheep!

I've been waylaid by 'Ravelry', like thousands of other knitters, crocheters and spinners... More than a community, it's a way of crossreferencing patterns and yarns and keeping track of projects. I joined the Almanac KAL forum and offered up my spare Almanac - Chocolate Sheep took me up on it - and look what I received in return! (Yep - that's Cherry Tree Hill yarn). Which just goes to reinforce my opinion that knitters are just the nicest most generous group of people in the world. Isn't that a lovley picture of a chocolate sheep?

Reading the Wisconsin Wintersock booklet brought back memories of just how cold Wisconsin winters can get. (lived there from when I was 16 to when I was just about 18yrs). I can remember running home late one night, when it was 16 degrees below freezing and the windchill factor was even chillier, and pulling my jumper collar up over my nose. I knew it was that cold because the Bank of America had one of those signs that flashed up the temperature alternating with the time in neon bright digital figures. The condensation from my breath froze the neck of my jumper solid before I made it home. The men used to shave off beards and moustaches because they would freeze too. Ouch.

Saying hullo to an old friend.

I haven't paddled the Loop for a couple of years, so I was a tad apprehensive when old buddy Colin invited dh and me to paddle the 'Loop' last Sunday. The Loop is an intermediate section of the River Dart, about 4 miles long, and called the 'Classic SW paddle' by the UK rivers Guidebook. It's on our doorstep, not far away from Ashburton and the A38. The 'put-in' is at New Bridge where there is a large carpark which looked like boat city. (When I started paddling, I thought people were talking about a PUB when they spoke of the put-in!). The 'Get-Out' is now just below Holne Weir.

See that little blue boat on top of the silver car in the photo below? It's a little 'open boat' rather than a closed cockpit kayak - those gnarly paddlers went off to paddle the Upper Dart.I was relieved to see that the water was barely reaching the top of the slab by the bridge - which is a good guide to water level on the river. Roughly translated this meant that the river was a medium level, despite all the rain the week before, and easy enough to negotiate even for rusty old me. The Loop (as do many rivers) has delightfully scary names for its features like "Washing machine", "Lover's Leap", "Triple drop" and the "Spin Dryer". The latter is little more than a big eddy which has a high fence which is difficult to climb out of at high water levels, so you end up going round and round and round and...

The carpark was full of old friends from Teignmouth Canoe Club (TCC)- here's Chris and Sally, with Jude to Chris' right and their son Alex's legs in the background.

We also caught up with Ben May's mum Sally, who isn't paddling at the moment after injuring her knee and shoulder/arm in a serious car accident in Chile. That's dh by the boats, and Colin in the middle, talking to Sally. You can't see it, but I brought my knitting - it's in a little red bag, sitting in front of the large dry bag in the middle kayak. I've got a Dagger RPM - not the most up to date little boat, but reliable and a good all rounder - IN fact me and DH have matching kayaks - like tweedledum and tweededee! The trip down the river was great - the weather was a bit grey and watery, but at least it wasn't raining. The paddle itself was like saying hullo to an old friend. There was no need to be apprehensive - once you get past a drop, you look round and say to yourself, "Oh, is that all it was? - wheeeee!" or something like that anyway. Must do more paddling. If you want to see pics of paddlers on the river itself, see here, as my camera isn't waterproof.

And finally - a rather less than flattering pic of me, showing off a lovely orangey red tideline across my forehead which came from the dye in the hat my sister gave me for chrimble. It kept me warm underneath my helmet anyway. That's not ALL my hips you can see - that's the spray deck. Honest.

Sal encouraged me so I've signed up to join the TCC in Tintagel next month- bit of kayak surfing, some walking, cycling, good company, mmmm. Shame DH doesn't want to come too. He reckons it'll be too bleak.