Friday 11 September 2015

I'm back, or am I?

I left blogging some time ago as I wasn't dedicated to it, and thought that I might like a microblog better.  Truth was, I didn't take to the micro blog at all and didn't really use it.

I do like musing, and looking over my old posts, it's a bit like having a semi public diary.  I might give this another go...

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Going, going, gone ...

I've found that I prefer the ease of a Tumblr microblog, and I've pretty much moved there.

Monday 5 April 2010

A Casual Cyclist

Last year I stopped to think about the things that I like doing. What were they? Do I allow myself enough time to do them? Do I have the right tools to do them? I realised that these days my hobbies seem to be reading, photography, knitting, cycling (I hardly swim any more so may have to strike that off the list), and surfing the web on my computer. I made a decision that if I needed to take a class to get better at what I enjoy, then I would do so. That I would read more about photography, knitting etc. To that end I finally bought myself a digital camera and took some photography classes - what a difference to how I use my camera. I also took a knitting class which really helped me to read my knitting far better than ever before. I also bought myself a bike.

After spending several years in Belgium and Holland cycling around the refinery, I realised that I really like the upright position of Dutch style bikes. I also liked the rear coaster brakes (i.e. pedalling backwards to engage the rear brakes). I decided to get one. After a lot of research on the Internet, I finally bought a blue ladies Batavus Entrada. It does not look like a traditional Dutch or Pashley style bike, but it is a joy to ride. It has been out of action over the winter, but now that spring is almost here, I'm thinking about those Sunday morning/lunch time rides with the camera in the pannier, and a glass of wine at a country pub. Hurry up spring!

Travel Bug

I love this little widget showing places you've been in the world:

Not bad, but I have whole swathes of Africa and South America that I haven't visited, and the picture is too small to really see the Caribbean countries.

On the knitting front, I've been trying to knit a rather beautiful pattern called Misty Blossom for a while. That pattern has been kicking my butt all over the place. I've had to rip back hours of work when I finally noticed horrendous and very visible errors several centimetres back. After much gnashing of teeth, and some advice from Ravelry folks, I laid it aside and started working on another lace project. This time, Woodland Shawl is going a lot better and faster. I think this is because it is a repeating pattern. On advice, I'm not using stitch markers, and I haven't used a life line. This last is contrary to all advice, but I found that when I put in the life line, I spent two hours knitting and tinking the row above the life line. I became so disgusted with this that I took out the life line, and guess what, no more problems! Whilst this may work for my current project, I will be using life lines when I go back to Misty Blossom. I'm just waiting for some Enchante yarn in Glasshouse to arrive. [Mini rant: I hate it when people advertise that they have something on their website, when they don't, and then take your money for it... that's all I'm saying]

Sunday 28 February 2010

Unravel 2010

What is it about going to Knitting events? Why can't I go along enjoy the show and not spend money? Why am I always drawn to the softest most gorgeous coloured yarn?

Unravel 2010 was on this weekend at the Farnham Maltings. I went last year: it was good in 2009, but they outdid themselves this year. It was more than double the size in terms of stalls available. In addition to the regular yarns stalls, there was crochet, weaving, buttons, dyeing, final year graduate displays, spinning, a knitting competition, tea and cakes, a place to just sit and chat, classes, talks, etc. There was the usual friendly hubbub: I think it's great that when you go to knitting events, people are generally polite - even when they are trying to get their hands on the same stuff as you...

Remembering that last year, stall holders only accepted cash, I made a point of going to the cash machine before I went. I set myself a budget, and figured that at least I was exercising some control. If I was really trying, I wouldn't have gone in the first place, huh? Well, I saw this fabulous cashmere yarn which had been organically hand dyed by Elizabeth Beverley (no online presence). I couldn't leave it last year, and I didn't leave it this... Budget busted with one purchase.

Plant Dyed Knitting Wool from Elizabeth Beverley, 100% Cashmere in Madder, 180m/50g:

Whilst I didn't get the this one from Unravel, I couldn't resist it either. It's so silky with a soft sheen...

Handmaiden Fine Yarn, Sea Silk in Ivory, 400m/100g:


Wednesday 12 August 2009

A Prisoner of Birth - Jeffrey Archer

This month's book club choice was a predictable but pacy holiday read. I read it in two days. I won't give a synopsis of the story as that amy spoil it for you.

It was entertaining, but not thought provoking. Throughout my rather fast reading of this book, I had an image of Archer plotting out all the inter-connections and the twists and turns on a single sheet of paper. A times it felt a little clunky, as though he thought to himself, "I must just add this bit here, so book 4 or book 5 later on makes sense". It also felt as though it had been writen with the idea that it might be made into a film at a later date. The last section of the book was written like a kind of Dickensian serialised novel - every chapter had a cliff hanger ending, which I found wearying after a while. There are only so many times that you can leave your reader gasping for more...

This is not a book I'd recommend to someone who is an avid reader; rather I'd recommend it to someone who only reads whilst on holiday and is looking for summer escapism.

Not my favourite book by a long stretch.

On the knitting front, I've started working on Misty Blossom Stole by Asami Kawa. I am using some 2-ply silk/cashmere Eva from Posh Yarn. right now this seems to be a match made in heaven. A beautiful, elegant pattern made with sumptious yarn.

Friday 5 June 2009

A lovely surprise...

In my profile I think I list reading as my first hobby. I am a prolific reader, and my house is bursting at the seams with books (okay so I exaggerate, but you know what I mean). I'm a fairly tidy person: lots of clutter everywhere becomes "visual noise" to me and I start to feel faintly uneasy. Despite my parents calling me "The Minimalist" behind my back, I don't like that look. My home needs to be cosy and comfortable but not cluttered or "noisy".

I have one of those spare bedrooms that has multiple personality disorder. For such a small room it serves several purposes. It is where I have a squishy sofa so that I can read away from the TV. It has a big desk so that I can work from home when I need to. It houses most of my stash and also my cross stitch patterns (I don't do much cross stitch any more: I love the process of cross-stitching, but I don't want to hang it on my walls... What do you do with it when you've finished stitching anyway?). It also houses the majority of my books. There are way too many books on my bookshelf, ... and on the floor in my bedroom, and in all the bathrooms, on my dining table, the side tables in the living room, and, and, and...

In a fit of "Minimalist" tidying up, I decided to throw out a few books, well quite a lot actually. I know that I should "release them into the wild" ala BookCrossing, but to be honest it was too many and I wanted them gone, now. So there I was, sat on the floor deciding which of my university textbooks that have sat there untouched for more than twenty years to get rid of when I come across...

"The Celtic Collection" by none other than Alice Starmore, published in 1992!

I have absolutely no recollection of buying this book, and none of anyone giving or lending it to me either... If I truly bought it in 1992, I can't imagine what I was thinking at the time since although I could do cables back then, there is no way on God's Green Earth that I could have done the pattern that I suspect caught my eye. Even now I would hesitate to try knitting it. I thought about selling it on eBay for a nanosecond as so many of her books are difficult to find, but then I came to my senses. Who's to say that I won't develop the skill to knit Cromarty one day? Truth be told, I love her Dunadd wrap, and if it wasn't prohibitively expensive, I'd probably be knitting that instead.