Friday, 22 June 2007

My Blog is Quiet

More or less because quiet reflects how I feel myself.

It's my friend's funeral on Monday. Between work and doing my best not to think about it (I have tried various diversions this week), I have not progressed magnificiently on very much:
  • I have not sewn up the baby ballerina wrap yet. Simply because I do not want to make a mess of it - it is small yet it requires space and concentration; and
  • In starting the wrap, I seem to have lost my place on my Knitting Nature pullover. That needs me to sit down quiet and work out exactly where I am.

So instead, I am knitting some test samples to try to work out some stitches and shaping techniques. Nothing worth showing but quite easy on the brain.

I have noticed that my unfinished projects are starting to pile up around me though - I need to be disciplined and take a weekend where I do not touch anything other than the things that I need to complete. I think.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Ravelry, Winder and Swift

Ravelry: my invitation has arrived - I am delighted but clearly rocking on my heels from the sad events of this week. I will endeavour to sort out my account and investigate it properly at the start of next week.

Winder and Swift: both arrived safely. Photos to follow. I sought refuge at Mel's house yesterday afternoon and we test wound a few skeins with some success. I did take my eye off my first ball which resulted in it getting caught up around the bottom of the ball winder and putting a snap a skein of hand dyed 4ply cashmere - I guess that taught me a valuable lesson: don't practice winding with expensive cashmere?! My general opinion is that they were a worthwhile investment - I suspect that I will soon wonder how I ever coped without them.

Have a good weekend everyone - I plan to spend mine with my family, friends, some therapeutic knitting and hopefully sew up the baby ballerina wrap.

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The World Does Not Make Sense

A friend I have known for many years is no longer here - he appears to have removed himself from this life in a very definite manner. I am upset and I feel extremely sad about his lonely, quietly planned exit.

I do not know what prompted him to feel that there was no no other way forwards but somehow what he has done is entirely at odds with my knowledge/memories of him and his character. It is my hope that his inquest will clarify what pushed him to it.

I cannot fathom that I will not see him again, nor hear his voice, nor open an envelope and see his amazing handwriting, nor joke with him that he and my father were twins separated at birth.

Once I am past the shock, I am just going to miss him terribly.

Monday, 11 June 2007

A Landscaped Tale of Underembellishment

Is that even a word? It is now!

Some time ago I blocked my Landscape Scarf. I loved the way that its colours transitioned quietly into one another but I was worried about it - it was a bit short, very plain and it had a definite, front and back.

It was intended as a present for a colleague, who as it happens, is pretty damn cool and straight talking. If she didn't like it, I suspected that I would know.

Actually, she is one of those people who does not take any nonsense from anyone - I admire that.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided that the scarf wasn't happening enough for her, so I decided to embellish it with velvet ribbon and beads.

I got my colleague to pick out the beads for it on the pretext that I needed her 'to help me look for beads for a birthday present I am making my sister'.

However, when I got home, I looked at the beads and the ribbon.

I looked at the scarf.

I practiced laying out the beads and the ribbon onto the scarf - I simply could not find something that worked.

So I put it to one side on the basis that there was no deadline so I could wait until inspiration hit me between the eyes. You see, this was a present to thank my colleague for being so kind to me when I first started my new job and we sat together.

She often wears browns and had admired the scarf I knitted my brother in the same colourway, so I resolved to knit her one too - however, as it was Spring - it wasn't an urgent knit!

That is, until last week. Three weeks ago my colleague, handed in her notice to move onto a new job. Suddenly she was leaving. Suddenly, I needed to finish the scarf.

In a panic, I took the beads, ribbon and scarf around to my partner in knitting crime, Mel. She was polite, admired the components but queried why I was thinking of embellishing it - surely it was alright as a simple scarf?

"It's just not funky enough!" I wailed. "Please look at all of these bits and pieces again, how can I make it work?"

Mel wisely said nothing more and went to put some coffee on while I sat and scratched my head with a knitting needle. I took the components home with the problem unsolved.

I later spent a further three hours pinning, arranging ribbon and beads in various ways all over the scarf.

In the end I gave up, having convinced myself that the scarf was a lifeless thing that my colleague would hate. By this time, it was about 1am and my colleague was leaving later that day.

I quietly folded the scarf, wrapped it in tissue paper and used the beads to embellish the parcel instead!
Sorry that these pictures are not the was late at night!

I shlepped bone tired into work that morning and handed over my present, packaged with some other bits and pieces - then I begged a camera from another collegue so that I could get a photo of my colleague in her scarf for my project records.

Okay, now look at this!

The moral of the story is that if you lucky enough to have a friend or colleague who is this cool, then nothing you give them requires embellishment.

Hand on heart, my colleague opened the package, flipped the scarf on just like so in the office and said, "No one's ever made anything for me before. [That comment alone made every minute of the making worthwhile] - right, where would you like the photo?"

"How about outside?"

My colleague sailed out of the office, leaving me trailing in her wake - scarf perched just as it is in the pictures.

Naturally, she was oblivious to the background drama and completely unaware of the fact that when she put her scarf on, it completely brought it to life, as simple as it is. So yes, Mel, you were right - it didn't need anything!

PS. Afterwards my colleague made me rewrap her present exactly as I had first time around, so that she could take it home intact- somehow, I suspect that it will stay firmly wrapped until the weather turns in the autumn.

Friday, 8 June 2007

The Official Book Swap - Volume 1

Chelsey has had an excellent idea... here to find out more and join in!

I found it very hard to come up with a I went for a very very very old book that I read a long long long long time ago (because it gives me a chance to read it again). Apologies in advance if you end up with me and wonder what on earth I have sent you (and why).

Um, Chelsey...are we are allowed to include anything knitterly at all in our swap...? Or send audiobooks for knitters who cannot read and knit at the same time (me, for example!). I keep seeing all those secret pal photos on blogs and I am a bit envious!

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Tagged Again!

With thanks to Roobeedoo!

4 jobs I have had in my life:
  • Co. 1: Office job 1 (summer job to kill off student debts)
  • Co. 1: Office job 2 (4 years, flying by the seat of my pants)
  • Co. 2: Office job 3 (10 years, gaining seniority quietly)
  • Co. 3: Office job 4 (9 months, gathering moss)

What? I should be more specific?! Actually, I thought long and hard about what to share and when I reflected on my professional life, it was clear that I have not done any particularly unusual jobs. This made me feel quite uninteresting - an ordinary Josephine.

So I thought about my life in general and realised that (despite the amount of time I spend at work) my friends, my interests and social life are all based on the things that I enjoy and do outside the office! Surely that is not such a bad a place to be?

4 films I can watch again and again:

  • Sliding Doors
  • Simply Ballroom
  • Bed of Roses
  • Leon

I am not sure how committed I am to this list - I am not sure that it really represents my film tastes at all! These are just the titles that jumped out at me when I opened a cupboard - you see, the problem is that once I’ve seen a film (even if I loved it) I rarely want to see it again.

4 places I have lived:

  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Italy

My parents moved house almost as regularly as other people’s families went on package tour holidays (itchy feet - following their ideals and their hearts, rather than their jobs) so I moved about quite a bit when I was growing up - usually from one end of the country to the other, both urban and rural. Off the top of my head, I think that I lived in 11 different houses before I left home. Italy is the odd location out - I spent a year studying in Italy when I was 17.

4 TV series I watch:
  • Heroes
  • CSI Las Vegas
  • CSI Miami
  • Life on Mars

Look at that list: complete Candy Floss TV consumption! Nothing highbrow in that little lot! Actually, I only watch one hour of TV a week at the moment: Heroes. I am on a diet and it seems to me that every other advert is a food advert - it’s torture! I’d rather knit and listen to music or an audio book (very pleased to read that I am not alone - Dee does the same)!

4 places I have been on holiday:

  • England
  • Wales
  • France
  • Italy

You are unlikely to stumble across me on a beach, unless I am exploring rockpools and looking for fossils! I am no good at 'veg on beach with a book' holidays as I get restless, easily burnt and my brain cannot cope with the idea of lying about somewhere, doing nothing - or doing things that I could do on a wet weekend at home! No, I want to be off exploring and investigating. So - if someone tells you that I have gone abroad on holiday - look for me in the ruins, art galleries or even better, in the mountains - skiing. I'm not good at it, I do not get to go every year but I absolutely love it!

4 things I do every time I am on the Net:

  • Check email
  • Read favourite blogs (Please update regularly - my lunchtimes are dull!)
  • Google or Ask for inspiration, patterns and information on techniques
  • Resist stash, tools and accessories enhancement
Isn't this what we all do?! Mind you, I sucumbed to temptation this evening - I have given in to the allure of a cheap swift and a standard ball winder - just on the basis that if the worst comes to the worst and my purchases are a mistake - I can eBay them!

4 things I would NOT eat for anything in the world:

  • Any fauna still alive, moving or generally, unacceptably raw
  • [Insert collective noun for offal and sweetbreads] I'm not eating anything's brains, innards or nads. Sorry.
  • [Insert collective noun for sweet things that are spread on bread] e.g. jam (jelly), marmalade or lemon curd *dry heave*
  • Any non-food stuffs
Any argument with any of that?!

4 places I would love to be right now:
Everything I wrote was unutterably naff - so I am going to spare you 'the wince'!

4 people I tag, if they have not been tagged already:

However, if you would like to join in - please leave a comment and go right ahead!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Finished Knitting!

I have finished knitting the baby ballerina wrap. As I type, the pieces are laid out on my ironing board drying (it has donned its black bin liner again) all spritzed and neatly pinned.

At least, as neatly pinned as I could manage.

Here are some of the photos. I have decided that I like blocking - there is something much calmer, more gentle and controlled about spritzing, pinning into shape and allowing to dry, than ironing something to death through a damp tea towel and hoping that you cannot smell burning.

Friday, 1 June 2007


There are times when only an inarticulate noise can really sum up how I feel. You see, technically, I have made progress. Technically, I can confirm that my baby ballerina wrap has a back, two sleeves and 1.75 fronts. Technically, I am almost finished.

Except I am not - almost finished, that is.

What did I say about not knitting or thinking through design alterations when tired?! Those moments when I very carefully and deliberately make decisions that in retrospect are, in all frank honesty, really quite stupid.

Like not noticing (until after I had cast off one front) that I'd started the heart pattern two rows earlier than I did on the back - and it shows.

Fizzle! There goes a week's worth of train knitting in one little, damp squib pop!

Like not putting a buttonhole in where I planned one (twice, actually - on both fronts) because I persuaded myself that I wouldn't find the buttons I wanted, so I told myself to compromise and knit up some i-cord.

Then I found...great buttons. In John Lewis.

Oh you hear that?!

Pop! Another little damp fizz-pop, as the knitting done in front of Harry Potter last Sunday evening (three quarters of the second front) must vanish into thin air, so that I can increase the size of the button band and add a buttonhole. this rate, this child will be too big for the wrap by the time that I have finished it!

Yet I c-a-n-n-o-t help it - I want my decision to alter the design to work out.

I want this top to look the way I planned it at the very start. Uh oh, does that make me a perfectionist? Or just very stubborn?!

So my apologies gift recipient: you will have to wait a little bit longer. I need to bite the bullet and start ripping!