Sunday, August 30, 2009

30 August: Bank Holiday (now with photos)

Avoiding both the poor weather and the traffic jams, we stayed at home today.

At breakfast I was leafing through a book of Fair Isle patterns. There was the start of a hat in my knitting bag - the top was done, but 2 attempts at working the sides in a drop stitch pattern had been disappointing. One of the all-over patterns had just the right number of stitches in a repeat to fit this hat top, so that was chosen.

It was super to knit; although it took a bit of sorting out to draw the chart, it was much more logical in knitting, and the stitches flew along. By tea time the sides were finished, and just the bottom band left to do. I've never tried I-cord as an edging before, so that seemed a good idea. It turned out fine, and (a bit) less fiddly than 2 colour ribbing.

The hat is too small for me, but would probably fit a child - I don't have one handy at the moment to try it on.

Carried away with the success of this, I actually finished the big thick rib jersey for my Dear Husband that has been on the needles since May!! It was started, top down, and grew quickly, with ball after ball of handspun vanishing into it. It looked as if there was not going to be enough yarn, so it was put aside until I could get a fresh supply of fibre at Woolfest in June.

Having stalled, it was hard to get started again, especially as it was getting heavier and heavier to hold and work on. Cast off at last, it went on the scales - 958 grams; that extra kilo wasn't necessary after all.

Photos will possibly follow - both hat and jersey need blocking first.

Edit, 31 August - here are the above-mentioned items, washed and spread out to dry:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

26 August: Indoor pursuits

The weather has not encouraged us to go out much lately, but I've been amusing myself indoors.

I've been playing with tablet weaving; with a warp set up and attached to a door handle at one end and my belt at the other, I realised the vital instructions were out of reach. Never mind, said my Dear Husband, you'll be ignoring them and doing your own thing in a few minutes anyway.

It was great fun, and very instructive. A first attempt should probably not be made with hexagonal cards and thick woolly handspun yarn, but I feel interested enough to be looking out some other yarns, and getting hold of some square cards. And no, there will not be a photo of today's experiment.

There is a photo, though, of yesterday's dyeing. 3 skeins in the stash keep getting passed over because the colours no longer appeal, so they got over-dyed. And a skein of undyed sock yarn has become suitable for dark husband-socks -

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

19 August: Fingers, bone, hot stove.

Today I have been mostly making marmalade.

17 lbs of it.

Because of a slight miscalculation back in January when I bought marmalade oranges, there were 2 large bags of fruit pulp in the freezer, awaiting a supply of empty jars and some cupboard space. Before I found the marmalade oranges, I had already bought a tin of Mamade (fruit pulp ready for the addition of sugar).

So this morning out came the jam pan, and into it went all the fruit, plus 4.8 kgs of sugar. The jam jar collection had been supplemented by a trip to Lakeland, where we found only small (half-pound) jars were available. Four were needed as well as the 15 large jars.

Then when we were out for a walk this afternoon, we met someone who had a bag full of blackberries; the best place for them locally has only green ones so far. But when we can get some, they would go in the freezer until the jars and shelf space are empty again, and then I can play at making bramble jelly.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

18 August: Green?

We are responsible citizens - we recycle. Have done for years, taking loads of stuff to the tip - sorry, household waste recycling amenity - and putting it into the various bins and skips.

The local council brought in a scheme for recycling paper, tins, and glass. The large and ugly green box was a problem to keep in a modern house, designed with hardly any cupboard space except in the bedrooms.

Then the plastic and cardboard recycling scheme required an even larger, uglier and more awkward green bag. But we are responsible citizens; as there is not enough room to get a car into the garage (even when the garage is otherwise empty, and the car will just fit in, there's not enough room to open the door and get out of the car....), the recycling bag and box can go in there. It's a hassle, taking all the stuff out out of the front door and into the garage, but we are responsible citizens.

The recycling wagon has just come to collect the tins, glass, paper, plastic and cardboard. The operatives picked their way through the jungle of boxes, bags, wheelie bins (everyone now has 2, one for garden waste for recycling, and one actually for rubbish), and threw the stuff into the wagon.

But the wagon was full. We are not the only responsible citizens. So the operatives have the solution.

They empty the recycling bags and boxes into the wheelie bins for rubbish, and depart.

Monday, August 10, 2009

10 August: Small projects

The current large knitting project is a jersey for my Dear Husband - this has been ongoing for a looong time, partly because it's a big item and I'm making it up as I go along, and partly because it was obvious soon after starting that there wasn't enough yarn to complete it. So it sat aside for a few weeks until we went to Woolfest and bought another kilo of fibre, and then that fibre was spun.

Meanwhile, the smaller projects continue. Here are a couple that are just finished - perhaps they need names?

These gals are fun, though the pattern is rather fiddly to knit. The stitch patterns are from my collection of notes, where I store ideas picked up in passing through books, the internet, and other people's knitting.

I liked the stitch pattern on the grey and green puppet so much that it's also become a hat -

Thursday, August 06, 2009

6 August: Incidents oral and aural

The visit to the dentist was dreaded - a large filling needed re-doing, and the choice was either a (definitely) distressing injection or a potentially distressing drilling without injection. In the end, the non-anaesthetised drilling was completely smooth and stress-free, and there had been far more suffering in the prospect than in the actuality. Another lesson in living in the present moment rather than the past or future.

More annoying has been the regular visitations from the ice-cream vans. One plays "The sun has got his hat on", and seems to do the more distant streets all round, so that when sitting in the garden you are subjected to the 'tune' over and over from different directions and at varying volume.

The other one plays the theme from Blue Peter, and plays it until somebody comes out and buys an ice-cream.

And I'm not too sure about the name - or am I just getting old?

Monday, August 03, 2009

3 August: Of bus passes and books

In the Good Old Days, back in 2007 or 2008, an OAP was able to stroll down to the local district council office, where the person at the reception desk used a digital camera to take a reasonably flattering photograph, and after a brief chat about the weather, handed over the completed and laminated bus pass, complete with photo, which had just emerged from a machine on the counter, and the OAP walked out to the nearest bus stop for their first free ride.

Then in April the district councils were abolished, and in the interests of efficiency and improved service (which of course means vastly increased expenses for the councillors - and increased council tax) we are left with just the County Council.

Now a bus pass seeker strolls down to the local council office, the person at the reception desk takes a digital photograph, and informs them that the bus pass will be issued from the County Council offices in "7 to 10 days", presumably by post, with the extra cost of an envelope and stamp.


Recent reading has included an excellent book by Geoffrey Moorhouse - The Last Office: 1539 and the Dissolution of a Monastery. Lots of fascinating detail about the Benedictine monastery in Durham (the cathedral was part of it), the Prince Bishops, and local and national history.

The medieval theme continues with the current book, Britain in the Middle Ages, an Archaeological History, by Francis Pryor. A different approach to the period, which gives a bit of an insight into everyday life, which is always far more interesting than battles and kings.

And there's been a book about knitting - Invisible Theads in Knitting by Annemor Sundbo; this one was obtained from the author at Woolfest. It has a couple of irritating places where a sentence is unfinished at the bottom of a page or section, and the end of that sentence just never appears. But it's got lots of really interesting stuff about Norwegian knitting; much of the information comes from garments that were sent to her wool recycling mill. There are lots of illustrations and a few patterns along the way, though I haven't tried any of them - yet.