Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bob's House

I did BSL level 1 several years ago, which is the equivalent of how to get by on holiday in Deaf world, eg "Hi, what's your name?" and "where's the loo?". I started level 2, but you really have to be part of Deaf (with a capital D) culture to get anywhere - like learning any foreign language - and, despite crap hearing, I'm very much part of the hearing world. But anyway, I think this ad is great.

How ironic is it, then, that Pepsi's other ads during the American Superbowl didn't have subtitles? Bit of a mixed message there, methinks.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Above and Below the Waves

Alison Murray is an amazingly imaginative, talented knitter with oodles of energy and ideas and she just happens to live in my home county of Devon, and it's been a privilege to meet her (and her mother Ann Murray who is also a great knit). Alison's day job has been working as a chaperone for young people, children and sometimes even babies in the music, arts and media world for the past 15 years. This involves residential work all over the country and abroad working with TV, film and theatre companies.

When she's not doing that, she works as a a textile designer and has knitted items on commission including a full English Breakfast. Alison also make installations for theme parks in the South-west, ranging from life-size polar bears for a Christmas grotto to Elvis Presley aliens and a cloning machine for a science-fiction ride (none of these were knitted).
Over the last few years she has been the driving force and brain behind two enormous community projects, encouraging and inspiring everyone to take part. This includes her family, with mum Ann, brother John Murray and uncle John Garrod all lending a hand. A 60feet high Christmas tree and a giant gingerbread house have raised over £20,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Alison loves to paint and read and relax at her home here in Devon when not rushing around the country. Her favourite colour is green, and she loves chocolate eclairs and all things ginger.

"I want to show people that knitting is not something that granny does," she said.
If you'd like to join in her latest project then read on...

"Dear Nautical Nutty Knitters,
Thank you for your interest and support in our latest adventure in all things watery. The theme is “Above and Below the Waves” and it will be our most ambitious project so far.
We are hoping to construct a tunnel that will make it possible to walk under the sea, while above there will be rocks, a lighthouse, boats, beach etc. As this is more complex project we are still working on the technical details and because of this the completion will be in 2010.
However, we can start knitting and crocheting now, and the following patterns are a rough guide to what we may need. As before there are simple patterns for rectangles and SQUARES, fish and coral, but feel free to improvise and make shells, starfish, seaweed etc.
Because of the theme we are aiming to raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). The project is already booked for a national tour in 2010-2011 and we will keep you posted.
We are also aiming to produce another book, as we did with the Knitted Gingerbread House. This will be called ‘Fishy Tales’ so we would love to receive any of your recipes or stories connected with the sea.

The following patterns are just a guide to get you started. Feel free to make whatever you feel inspired to do: Starfish, jellyfish, Seaweed, Crabs, Shells etc.
Please send all knitted items (or contributions to the fishy book) to
Alison Murray, “High Rising”, Northdown Road, Bideford, N Devon EX39 3LP
Patterns, September 2008

8” wide x 20” long,All shades of blue, white, grey, black, turquoise, sand or brown.


Make 2 pieces the same:
Knitting needles – 1 pair 3.25mm (UK10, USA3)
using A (main colour), cast on 13 stitches.
1st row (Right side): knit

2nd row: P1, *K1, P1 rpt from * to end

These two rows form pattern.

Keeping pattern correct dec 1 st at each end of next and following 2 alt. rows. 7 st remain.

Work 1 row.

Keeping pattern correct, and working in stripes of 2 rows in B (contrast colour) and 2 rows of A, inc 1 st at each end of next and every alt row until there are 17 st.

Work 5 rows straight, thus ending with 2 rows in B.

Keeping stripes correct dec 1 st at each end of next and following alt row. 13 st remain.

Work 1 row. Break off B and using A only continue to dec. 1 st at each end of next and every alt row until 5 st remain. Cast off.

To make up:
Using black, embroider an eye on each piece. Sew the two pieces together leaving a small opening. Stuff firmly and close opening.

The fish can be plain as well as striped. Size can be altered by using larger needles and thicker yarn.

Crochet Coral

Foundation ring: using double knitting wool and a 4.00mm crochet hook make 5 into last chain to form a ring.
Round 1: 3 ch (counts as first tr) 14 trs into ring.
Round 2:3 ch (counts as first tr) 2 trs into next st, (3 tr into next stitch to end) ss into top of 3rd chain.
Round 3: as round 2. Fasten off.

To make a larger size repeat round 2 as many times as required.

(I'm not a crocheter so I'm hoping I transcribed that last pattern correctly).

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ravelry taught me something new today. I learned that 'colour dominance' in fair isle and stranded knitting can have an effect on the finished garment... Although I generally knit with both colours held in my right hand and usually carry one consistently below the other, I'm not at all consistent about it (just as I'm not that consistent about anything in my life!) - it can be a little haphazard. What I didn't know is that it can show up in the finished product.

See this linky here for the details. Fascinating, Mr Spock. I love Ravelry.

I have a hankering to knit clapotis. I can FEEL a Stash EXpedition coming on. Roll on SKIPNORTH! I also learned today that the SKIP in Skipnorth stands for Spinning and Knitting in Public. And I didn't even realise it was an acronym.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bosnian Slipper Socks...

I'm giving the old bod a holiday after the holiday overindulgences...

With moral support from my ds, am following a vegan, wheat-free, alcohol-free diet for January... and have yet to shake off this stinking headcold. Haven't particularly missed anything yet, even chocolate. Must have really over indulged at Christmas.

Now I'm off to tempt myself at the pub- parentcraft reunion!

(mind you, have been invited around to friends' for supper on Saturday, and I promised to make profiteroles for dessert - ho hum).

Back home, finally, and seven couples turned out into the cold, with their babies. Noone wanted to go home! I love seeing nervous mums with bumps metamorphose into confident mums with babes.

One particular couple I cared for antenatally had come over from Bosnia where they are involved with community voluntary work, to have their baby here. Being the avid knitter that I am (really? Yes really!) I commented on the mum to be's beautiful handknitted slipper-bootees. So I was really chuffed when they presented me with a pair of Bosnian handknitted slippers tonight, as a gift.
These are different from the booties I'd admired, but still fascinating - I've been trying to work out how they're constructed - I'm even tempted to pull one apart and reknit it! They appear to be knitted in segments with the sole going a different direction to the instep/top. The cuff is definitely knitted last, in the round. The heel appears to be a standard dutch heel, but with really long gussets. This is they:
Whatcha think? Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Think I did this meme, or one similar, last year. But having spotted it twice now, once on Helen's blog and again on Spinning Fishwife's blog this will cover todays blog nicely.

This meme is originally from the Big Read. Apparently they reckon most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. (!?)

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Post your list so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them.

1.Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible Well, some of it.
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare.
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (well, most of it - I tossed it aside when she threw herself under a train because I couldn't bear to read on)
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (started it, never finished)
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (on mount toobie!)
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

My favourite read of last year was "I know this much is true" by Wally Lamb. covers everything, war, peace, relationships, politics, religion, therapy, you name it, it's in there! Now I'm waiting for his new book to come out in paperback.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


I wasn't called out last night, which was just as well, as I spent the night tossing in bed with aching limbs, streaming nose and sore throat. I stayed in bed with a book (Affinity by Sarah Waters) all day and didn't knit a stitch. I'm sure it's just a bad cold and not a dose of the virulent bronchitis/flu that's doing the rounds.

I got a letter from Carolyn Hillyer about an interesting weekend jaunt I'm signed up for, coming up at the end of January: "The Hollowing" a special all womens' retreat up on highest Dartmoor.

Sister Moon comes but unseen, time dissolving through her eyes,lonely witness to what has been as the circle road moves on…

Within the silent stillness of the hollowing woman, caught in the marrow of ancient bones and far inside the cauldron of crows, rests one seed that holds the key to the restoration of life. So we create a journey of germination and renewal as we pause before the last out-breath of winter, held at a turning point within the protecting hands of the oldest guardian, and guided by the visions that wait behind our eyes. A time for mending, dreaming, tending fires and travelling gently, supported within the circle of women and nurtured by the ancient land.

I've been told to bring the following items:
  • A piece of yarn approximately 3 metres in length, that I have filled with the energy of my journey and my land between now and the gathering - washed by rain, blown by the wind (frozen solid if the weather continues like it is!) lain at my hearth, worn around my belly.

  • A small simple gift that I've made, (out of wool, bones, something from nature) to carry and offer when we make a ceremony of remembering fire.

  • A few words to share with the circle on our first night to describe my winter journey so far.

  • A personal totem, piece of nature or item of significance to me, to represent me on the central shrine for the duration of the weekend.

  • Since I can expect to spend some time in the roundhouse (an amazing building built as our ancestors must have done, by Carolyn and her partner Nigel - that's Carolyn in the entrance in the picture above) I must bring wellies and shawls and blankets to wrap up in and drums and rattles and torches to keep the night at bay.

  • Women who came to the first workshop (I didn't) should bring their spindles and death totems (which sounds rather alarming!?)

The yarn and small gift and spindles are no trouble - but words to share? Death totems? What have I let myself in for?

Monday, January 05, 2009

STASH BUSTING FAIR ISLE TAMS in aran weight yarn.

Just a quickie (not that this daily blogging lark is becoming a chore yet, oh no!) - as I'm on call tonight and I should be in bed.

I sold a hat today, for £15. I was knitting a third tam down the pub (at our midwives' christmas do, as one does) and the landlady ooohed and ahhed over it. Quick as you like, Nigel, the landlord, nipped over and asked me if I would knit one for remuneration. Not normally, says I, as you wouldn't want to pay what I'd ask, but I might make an exception. So the deal was done and Fiona got the hat.

These are they - a quick, stashbusting, aran knit - see those long, colour changes that noro is so excellent for! And the pattern is a free download from GrammaK on Ravelry, to be found at Gramma K's Fair Isle Tam by Kathleen Taylor

This is the first one I did (front and back): it was rather large, so I knit the second one with one less repeat of the pattern and a bit of bodging. This first one went as a birthday present to Carolyn.
Here is the lovely Kate (a new and so young midwife who has just joined our Team and wun my hat fair and square in our annual 'reveal or steal' christmas party game) modelling tam number two.
And this is the last hat, with the same number of repeats which went to Fiona the landlady...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Today was the first meetup of the East Dartmoor Tea Shop Knitters in the Terrace Cafe, Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Bovey Tracey. There were 15 of us! Going clockwise from me there was Emily, Mary, Chris, Jane, Jill, Thelma, Vicky, Jae, Yvonne, Kathryn, Christine, Kim, Hanneka, Trudy and me. We grow.

I took my Mimbres Vest along, as I'm up to the neckshaping, and the time approacheth when I will soon have to advance upon it with a pair of scissors. EEk. Yes, my first ever STEEKS.

I was originally going to knit this pattern for the Ravelympics. I'm glad I didn't, as I never would have finished it in such a short time. And after I've gritted my teeth and cut the steeks the pattern calls for a double row of icord edging. Another first!

The Mimbres pattern is fascinating, and is by Meg Swansen (daughter of Elizabeth Zimmermann) from her book 'Knitting'. She tells this story about it:

She and her husband Chris were headed South West from their home in Wisconsin to Sedona, Arizona, to film a 'knitting vacation video' (part of a series). Meg had in mind a vibrant patterned vest in red and cream colours to match the sand and red rocks she remembered from previous trips to Sedona. They flew to Phoenix, hired a car and headed north. As they climbed into the mountains, a gentle snow fall rapidly became a blizzard and they reluctantly turned back and headed south instead, to end up filming in Saguaro county.

The design she had doodled on graph paper was inspired by a small drawing she had seen on a South Western Calender - the main crisscross had a hiccup in the middle and this appealed to her. Starting from this X, she charted outward, diagonally, in four directions. When she reached the edge, she mirror imaged the pattern in all directions. Soon she had lost sight of the original pattern, like victorian bedspreads, or ceramic tiles which form a new pattern from the union of the smaller ones.

You can see the results in the picture.

By now, the couple had reached New Mexico and decided on a whim to visit the Luna County Museum. In the Mimbres Room, she was stunned to see 'her' design painted in the centre of a small bowl. Most of the other bowls in the room were painted in black paint on a sand coloured background - this one was painted in red on a sandcolour. Spooky ay?

Nearly all the other bowls in this room had holes punched in the middle of the bottom - perhaps to release the souls of the potters who had made them and with whom they had been buried - Meg was told later that the bowl without the hole, the one she was knitting, was 'her' bowl and that its spirit had not been released at her death and that was why she was knitting it.

Anyway, my Mimbres vest is much more subtle :-)

I had the grey garn studio yarn left over from the failed Astrid's Knitalong that I dropped out of last year, which I wanted to use up (very prosaic compared to Meg!). I've been fascinated by the randomness of using long colour change dyed wool like noro to get fairisle effects, so I wanted to try it out again with this pattern. The tone in the noro is so similar in places that the pattern almost disappears - but not quite. I like the effect.

I'll take some more photos when after I've machine sewed the steeks and I'm ready to cut.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Wasn't called out but had a lazy day with few visits...

At one of the postnatal visits I was astounded by the completely illogical advice given to the mum on her discharge from the hospital: she was advised to 'keep the baby indoors for 48 hours as she's small and it's cold outside". Reasonable enough, you might think, as baby Alex was only 2490grams, born at 37 weeks gestation, and it certainly is frosty cold today. But hold on there one cotton pickin' moment, just how exactly is this baby to be taken home if she shouldn't be taken outside?

And then, because the ward was busy and the mum didn't want to stay in a moment longer than she had to, she was asked to bring the baby back to the hospital the following day for the paediatric check. Let me see now, that's THREE trips outdoors into the cold. You get my gist?

AND I'm qualified to do the paediatric check...

But I had a very gratifying visit to another postnatal mother later on. I'd been to see her in the morning: 10 days postnatal and she's still expressing milk to give her baby with a bottle because she says baby Grace won't latch on, cries, refuses the breast when she tries to feed her directly. This mum burst into tears during my visit because she's so frustrated and tired - well, she would be, with twice the work of feeding the baby - all the sterilising and pumping as well as sitting down to actually give a bottle. Only once had the baby latched on since she'd brought her home, and that was when my colleague had assisted, so mum was very lacking in confidence and it's a well known fact that a baby's cry is designed to jangle every nerve in the body.

Since the baby was asleep during my visit I promised I would return this evening when Gracie woke up ready to feed. I was summonsed at 16.30hrs and hot foot round to her house: "Ok", says I, "show me what happens". So she gets her baby, positions her beautifully, and on she goes! HA! Sometimes this job is just so good. We laughed at Grace's contrariness and I congratulate mum on her breastfeeding prowess. Job well done and off I go.

Friday, January 02, 2009

And so to the second post of 2009, and I'm on call 'till tomorrow morning so I'll keep it brief.

One of the myriad resolutions I want to keep this year is to get fit and trim - I am furiously envious of my little sister who has had the audacity to get down to a size 10, the smallest and trimmest she has been in over 20 years... She's in love (which might have something to do with her fabulous new figure) but I think mebbe it's more to do with the mountain biking she's been participating in religiously, at least every Sunday.

Soooo, I've dusted off the old running shoes, and I'm eyeing me old bicycle (a hybrid with a verrrry painful saddle!) in the shed with trepidation.

With this new, trim, fit 'me' in mind, I went back to hashing last Tuesday - walk, run, walk, get hopelessly lost, find way again and arrive FIRST back to the pub because I missed the regroup(now THAT'S more like it!) - in the 'words'* I read the following:

Answers to last week's riddles:

1. Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door.

This question tests whether you tend to do simple things in an overly complicated way.

2. Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door.

This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions.

3.Open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the dorr.

This tests your ability to think through the repercussions of your previous actions. (sic)

4. The elephant. The elephant is in the refrigerator. You just put him in there. This tests your memory.

Now, even if you did not answer the first three questions correctly, you still have one more chance to show your true abilities.

worldwide, around 90% of professionals they tested got all the answers wrong, but many pre-schoolers got several correct answers. Anderson Consulting says this conclusively disproves the theory that most professionals have the brains of a four year old.

Now I found the above all the more interesting because I didn't go hashing the previous week, and I boggled trying to think up the questions. I've since seen them (try googling 'giraffe, elephant and refrigerator' and it'll come up) and my guesses were far more fun. The repetition for answers 2 and 3 were mistakes. The repetition for answers 2 and 3 were mistakes.
The hasher who scribed them was, with no doubt at all, under the influence of something whacky.
*The 'words' are the single sheet of diary (a usually fictitious account of the previous week's hash by a reluctant scribe who agreed to write it up whilst under the influence) and events listing that Ashburton Hash House Harriers distribute every week.

Six minutes into the 2nd of January and I have technically failed in my new year's resolution to blog every day. Whoever guesses Zero days gets the prize!

What of 2008? A knitterly round up:

It started in January with the extreme knitterliness got off to a great start with a trip to ‘Get Knitted’ in Bristol – about 36 of us knitters converged on this converted supermarket in Brislington (on the Bath road) for tea and cake and much knitting and spinning and general chat…
And that set the tone for the rest of the year.
At the beginning of March I set out for Yorkshire by way of Hereford and WyeSue's to ‘Skip North’, joining 18 other knitters and crocheters at Haworth Youth Hostel (once a Mill Owner’s beautiful mansion) to spin and knit and chat and eat cake and drink wine. Lixie and Nikerjac (erstwhile organisers) hired a coach so we could visit Winghams and the yarn mountain at Lee Mills amongst other such fabulous places of no interest to anyone but another fibre enthusiast, and a wonderful time was had. I donned white gloves to examine the collection of 18th century reticules and even older lace shawls…

May heralded Wonderwool: a trip up to Builth Wells to attend the fibre show at the Wales National Centre And the Welsh food festival on at the same time. Yum.

In June I ran the Knitting and Crochet Guild Stand at the Contemporary Craft Show in Bovey Tracey: Imogen brought along her Victorian sock knitting machine and proceeded to knit the longest sock ever: it stretched from the entrance to the main marquee… Sue had her knickers on display. That’s a handknitted silk thong, a fancy lace 1940’s set of briefs and a 1950s style pair of sensible school knickers – not the one’s she was wearing.

IN July came the Knitting and Crochet Guild AGM in Winchester where I was duly elected a member of the board of Directors. Hmm, what HAVE I let myself in for?
The AGM involved MORE knitting, eating of cake, drinking of wine, and invariably much tinking (knitting backwards) as wine and complicated patterns do not go. There was a fascinating slide show of Montse Stanley’s collection, now housed at Winchester University library, and another talk by a woman who knits articles for war re-enactments from the original patterns. Who’d have thought that soldiers from the First World War were so SMALL?

IN August I participated in the Ravelry knitting Olympics. I opted out of watching the Real ones because of 1) our lack of a telly and 2) in protest of the continuing presence of the Chinese in Tibet.
I was sidetracked somewhat from finishing my ravelry project (I reduced my ambitions from knitting a steeked waistcoat to knitting a moebius cowl from my handspun instead) by applying for a new job – which I didn’t get. There was a strange mix of relief and disappointment at this, though I acquitted myself well at the interview apparently (my first in 18years!) I did manage to finish the cowl in good time. My sister nicked it a couple of days ago.

August also saw me participating in a natural dyeing workshop on a wonderfully sunny day at Joyce (humble proprieter of SpinAyarn)'s beautiful, traditional thatched farm near Manaton. The kitchen window looks out on Bowerman's nose, and several pet sheep, goats and a pig.

The workshop wasn't as hands on as I would have wished but the results produced by the various dyepots were truly stunning.

September brought Iknit London, and the yarnharlot as well as Jane Sowerby. Couldn't hear either of them (being deaf is a major pia) but I enjoyed the atmosphere and the visuals, and meeting up with so many of the online knitting world.

October was Knitting Week and started with Ally Pally (my first time ever at this amazing show). I was working for Touch Yarns - helping Marnie sell her colourful merino yarns - I learned more about possums than I ever thought possible over the three days I was there. We were so busy I hardly got any time to spend any money.

I also had the quote of the year from Kim Thittichai:

"Where have you BEEN that you don't know you can't paint on Wundawebb???!" - needless to say, I was gobsmacked and bought the book.
I was knackered when I returned from the festival, but no rest for the wicked coz our East Dartmoor Tea Shop Knitters Group had a KTOG (the second) the very next weekend. Over 120 fibre enthusiasts managed to find the Scout Hall, (including Sandra all the way down from the smoke and Jen up from Cornwall). We raised enough to pay our workshop organisers some petrol money and send £66 to Bliss, and £20 to the UK knitting and crochet Guild And put back £50 for next year.
(If we do it again).

In and between all these knitting events I have attended regular East Dartmoor Tea Shop meetings, which have now grown to become weekly events: WE meet the first Sunday in Bovey Terrace Café, the 2nd in Café Green Ginger, the 3rd in the Walled Garden. Dunsford and the 4th in Exeter Boston Tea Party. The 5th (if there is one) we have OFF. Then on alternate Tuesdays there is the Packhorse Knitters in South Brent (though I’m slowly sneaking back to hashing) and monthly there are two groups in Spin-a-yarn.
I haven’t even mentioned the Spinning group in Tedburn and the Devon Guild of weavers, dyers, spinners in Exeter on the first Saturday of every month.

Lots of FOs: Bettna, Rogue, moebius Prickle, baby hats and bootees galore...

I finally put one design for a hat out there, for free, and have been gratified that someone, somewhere has downloaded it from Ravelry just about every day since it was uploaded.
Speaking of which - Ravelry! Ah, Ravelry. What can I say about Ravelry?

I am obsessed. Just a little.

And THIS year I’m booked up for a knitting cruise round the Baltic Ocean – From Rotterdam to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, St Petersburg, Germany and back to Copenhagen (via the knitting centres of Northern Europe!). Roll on August I say.
Many Happy New Years to all of you!