Blimey!

So did anyone else feel the tremor last night? Yeah yeah they are ten a penny in the US, but earthquakes in the UK – BIIIIG news!
I thought somone had broken in as it sounded like someone running down the hallway – Joe cat and I both heard it. DB appeared to sleep through the whole thing. It was only this morning when I saw the time of the tremor on the news that I realised what it was. Blimey indeed!

I'm back! And rant free! But maybe some rambling. And no photos.

Weee! Ok, after yesterday’s fun and games, I’m in a much better mood. That might partly be down to the loveliness of finishing projects 🙂 Unfortunately I have no photos though – you’ll have to wait till next week at least before I can show you anything. Most of what I’ve finished is to be gifted so I need to keep it quiet till the recipient has got them. I’ve also set the spin in my first spindle-worth of Yarn Yard BFL and it is currently drying with a big towel in it to keep the stretch. I’d had it wound on the swift for nearly a week, and that seems to have helped the yarn settle a little too although the hank spun around itself before washing.
I’ve also been knitting this weekend 😀 And I’ve knit what in comparison to before is a substantial amount! Woot! I’m back! Almost! I feel like I’m learning again – I can’t work with finer yarns yet, although I’ve knitted half a fetching mitten and a bit of a sock in a heavier weight (6 sts per inch, so closer to dk weight than fingering weight). I would never have thought even last week that I could knit 3 inches of mitten and 2 of a sock in the space of one weekend. I just have to hope that I don’t ache tomorrow from it now, but last week I had to stop knitting fingering weight yarn after 4 rows. Compare and contrast people 😀 Cross your fingers I’m not jumping the gun here please. If I’m not I’ll have at least a mitten picture 😀 If I am I’ll have some spinning instead probably – thank goodness for spinning using different muscles 😀 I’m not sure when this happened, but my pilates instructor noticed my clicking shoulder socket and said that it was loose in the socket from physio, and the looseness? It came from my spine and arm improving in condition and suddenly relaxing the muscle tension, so even though my shoulder is making a nasty racket sometimes, I can build up my strength with the pilates classes and some simple exercises at home. I have to say it is amazing what a difference pilates has made in such a short period of time – I highly recommend it to anyone who has any dodgy limbs or stiffness or anything. In a few short weeks I’ve built up my biceps to a degree you wouldn’t believe from the timescale and my posture is massively improved to the point where I look like I’ve gained an inch in height. I officially love pilates, even if it can be a bit of a difficult decision before setting off – pilates or chips and beer? Pilates has won so far, even on a Friday night 🙂 Are you impressed yet with my commitment to it?
Ok, you can go now 🙂

Angry

Just have to get something off my chest here so do bear with me, and if you don’t fancy reading a rant (a non knitting rant at that too!), click away now!
I’m a polite, considerate person. I say please and thank you, and stand up if someone needs a seat more than I do. So today took the biscuit when I caught the bus home. 3 elderly people talking about how this country would be a better place if we stopped letting ‘them’ in to this country, and, hoorah hoorah, the bus driver agrees with them. Because, of course ‘them’ make everything terrible here, and it is ‘them’ who bring up their chavvy kids so that they have no respect of authority or consideration of other people and swear every other word, and leave us with no hope in the scientific future because they don’t care about education (although let’s face it we’ll have plenty of manual workers in a few years time even if we don’t have any doctors). Great. In fact prior to that I saw a bunch of skinheads straight out of ‘This is England’ too. Must be the bigot’s day out. Or does that make me bigotted too? Probably, I’m sure, but I’d rather be bigoted against the real problems in society than against people who by and large do most of the jobs that residents aren’t prepared to do. Shouldn’t we be addressing our own attitudes to work and bringing up children than whether immigrants are ‘taking all the jobs and our benefits from our tax’ when they are in fact working their backsides off in jobs that are being advertised abroad because nobody here will do them? And yeah, the odd bad person gets away with stuff and gets in the news, but don’t residents do that too? Isn’t that why we have all the benefit fraud and tv licence ads on tv, and, you know, a police force (which probably existed prior to anyone entering the country from Europe when the EU was formed. Wonder what they did before any one started coming here from other countries? Probably told school boys off for using their slingshots…)?
Then, I ring the bell to get off the bus. The driver asks me whether I’m headed ‘up that way’ and I say yes. He says ‘yes?’ and I say ‘yes’, because it is true. He says ‘yes please very much don’t you think?’ and stops the bus before my stop. I was gobsmacked. I always say thank you when I get off the bus so I did this time, but why should I be accused of being unthankful when I wasn’t actually asking to be dropped off where he decided he should let me off? I didn’t ask him to let me off there, and wasn’t planning to. I was just agreeing to what he asked me, and he certainly didn’t ask me if that was where I wanted to get off. The bus stops have higher curbs to make it safer to get of the bus and he dropped me off at a point where the curb dropped to let cars go up a driveway, so it was a good 8 inches lower than the bus stop curb – is that safe? Is it even legal for them to do that? Probably on that one too. I’m not catching the bus on that company again. He’s dropped me off before where I didn’t ask to be dropped and I’m not going to put up with that attitude if he thinks he’s doing some kind of great service to me. I’m debating whether or not to make a formal complaint about him, but that leaves me at risk of being at his mercy should I need to get their version of the service again. But it also leaves other people at risk from his arrogance and attitude too. Am I being too easily annoyed by this?
People are rubbish. Well, most people I meet on a weekend if I leave the house anyway.
Thanks for that – I feel better now.

Help!

Ok, rather than pick on one particular person, I thought I’d do a call out!
My other half is a huge Hitchcock fan, and the March 08 issue of Vanity Fair is the ‘Hollywood Issue’ with a big section on the rotund chappie. We are going to try in town to see if a big newsagents has the US edition, but would anyone be willing to buy us a copy if we can’t find it? I’ll gladly pay/do a swap with something English for any willing shopper (e.g. the wonder that is Marks and Spencer Percy Pigs, some small yarny goodness, Charbonnel and Walker chocolate, stitch markers, handmade brooches, music etc etc etc).
Any help would at least be greatly appreciated, if not by me, then certainly by the man… 😉
Cheers y’all! Real stuff later this week hopefully!

Productive.

Well, I’m on leave with DB this week to make up for the miserably ill Christmas break. Even if we did nothing at all I’d be happy, but I’ve been making up for lost time and tidying and sorting and cooking and crafting and going to pilates class. Pilates is just fantastic. After all the pain and immobility while trying to be mobile for so many weeks, I’ve found that even after very few classes I feel enabled, more mobile, more aware of what I can do and how I can make things easier for myself. I’ve never known an hour of exercise fly by so quickly either! And, what’s more, my pilates teacher tells me that if I do short blocks of knitting and watch my posture I’ll be fine 🙂 Obviously I need to attend classes regularly, and there are some exercises I can do at home, but I have to avoid looking down for more than 20 mins ish, which sadly will include laptop use too. But I’m fine with that!
So what you really want to know is what crafting I’ve been doing. Well, some of the sorting involved the yarns in stash. I reacquainted myself with some yarns I forgot I had. I went through my projects and decided to rethink what I’m making. The secret knitting has been revised slightly to reflect my limited blocks of time (i.e. the baby stuff will be reduced and a change of pattern has been selected to minimise head lowering for the apres swap), and obviously it will take longer to knit individual items. To counter this, what have I done but cast on something else 😉 I felt the need for comfort, and because the revised plan will make the baby stuff quicker to finish (i.e. a day of knitting at my new pace at most), I kind of feel justified. I’ve finally cast on for Cosmic Pluto’s top down cardi with the Malabrigo merino worsted I bought forever ago from Pure Knits. I’m knitting it with a moss stitch border in Velvet Grape, and boy is it soft! No wonder everyone loves it! I’ve never felt a merino yarn so soft, although it might well pill lots. I don’t care. For the now and the here it is perfect self indulgent knitting, whether I knit 1 row or 100. Mmmm.
I’ve also purchased two new drop spindles. Two? Yup! The one I got originally was part of a kit from Fyberspates, was cheap and was perfect for me to see if I enjoyed spinning. Now it has splinters on the dowel, and the hook is working loose and won’t stay screwed in when I work it back in. So I emailed Sublime Spindles via the Posh Yarn site asking for an apple spindle to be made up for me, but didn’t receive an email back 🙁 I spotted a lovely hand made spindle on ebay so I pounced on it, went into my paypal account, and found an invoice for the apple one! There must have been something wrong with my hotmail as I didn’t even get an email from Paypal about the invoice :/ I’ve honoured the payment though, and I figure that 1) you can’t have too many spindles when you have multiple fibres to spin up 2) I’ll probably manage more spinning than knitting this week and 3) they are different weights so I might find one easier to use for thinner yarn.
So here is the one that I bought from ebay, also available from here (the Sublime Spindles one is being made for me from scratch 😀 so won’t be here for a week yet):
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It’s made from sycamore and sapele, which I’ve not heard of before. From a 30 second research though, sapele is apparently like mahogany, so I’m assuming the whorl is made from that. It is just beautiful, and I was spinning with it on the day it arrived (as you can see I’m using it right now 😀 That’s Yarn Yard BFL incidentally, varying in weight at the mo…). Here are the finished results (in the snow):
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Doesn’t it look like the surface of a bubble or oil on water? The fibre was the one gifted by Brooke many moons ago (well, sometime last year). It’s merino, and I found it quite difficult to work with, even with predrafting the fibre. It was only at the end of spinning that I got used to joining the fibres, so there are lots of shoddy slubby and fluffy bits where I joined really badly. I’ve got about 28 and 1/2 yards of this, so I don’t know what to use it for. It varies in weight, but is probably mainly about dk weight, and the colours are so beautiful that I want to make something to show off (as opposed to the ring most people make to hold the fibres away from the spindle when spinning). Maybe I’ll just cast on a few stitches and try and make a strip long enough to go round my neck or knit some squares to make hand warmers or something. Not sure 28 yards is enough for that even! But I am already planning more spinning projects 😀 I have lots of alpaca/BFL blend left, and 100g ish of the BFL from the Yarn Yard in the top picture, which I’d really like to spin up to make some socks (albeit mad slubby heavyweight socks probably!). I’ve been predrafting the BFL so that it is relatively even, even if it is coming out between dk and fingering with the occassional lace weight patch! But even if I don’t get sock quality yarn, as long as I can knit with it, I don’t mind 🙂 And I’m surprised at how quickly the yarn builds up on the spindle too (in the top pic there is about 20g spun up, which took up about an hour or so) – if I look at the time to make the merino up, it was probably only half a day including faffing with drafting the fibres (the roving was very thick and dense, so the time spent predrafting and tearing strips off was quite heavy – probably as much as the spinning in the end. I have no idea if that is normal in spinning or not, so do please enlighten me!)
Finally (but certainly not least), Ruth at Roobeedoo has nominated me for the ‘You Make My Day’ award 😀
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Thanks sweetie! She nominated me because, as anyone worth their salt knows, Ruth and I are sock twins. Less so recently thanks my haitus and her ability to wear the most gorgeous knee highs, but we ARE sock twins. So there 🙂 So I believe I have to nominate some other bloggers for this one.
I’m going to nominate Ruth back, even though she nominated me and already clearly has the award, but I wanted to make it clear that the feeling is reciprocated. She’s already nominated two of my other essential reads (the ‘other’ Ruth and AmberMoggie – go read them. They rock), so my list will be a bit short, but I have others (and hopefully I’ll introduce you to some of the lesser known bloggers too while I’m at it! I have 130 knitting blogs in my bloglines feeds…) 😀
Erin at Knitting RN. Erin has gorgeous yarns, spins up a storm and is a real enabler when it comes to sock and garment knitting.
Aileen at Knitting Neels. I met Aileen through a secret pal session, and I’ve been reading her blog ever since. She’s a fab knitter, to the point that since I met her she’s started offering classes and has been designing and selling patterns. She churns stuff out so quickly I can barely keep up! She always inspires me, and writes wonderful posts. Go Aileen!
Finally, I nominate Heather at Love me, love my caribou because any woman who will listen to my rambles about knitting and mouldy bread on Facebook and thrash me at scrabulous, while also doing the ravelry queue discussion needs an award 😀 Heather – you may have finished the legwarmers, but get your arse into gear and get some deep v done now 😉 Or I’ll come round and thrash YOU instead, and bring chocolate and dog bubbles.
Ok, I’ve officially posted myself out – it took a week to get this thing out into the world!