Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloggiversity contest results.

Here's the Bloggiversity contest results at last. (And about time, I hear you all say!)

Turns out I have less than I hoped, but more than is decent.

13 balls 845 (Khaki green.)
8 balls 817 (Sort of toffee shade.)
8 balls 846 (Indigo blue.)
6 balls 850 (Sugar almond pink.....who's that for then???)
2 balls 852 (Sort of dark raspberry pink.)
2 balls 835 (Pupleish.)
1 ball 830 (Lilac grey.)
1 ball 825 (Maroon.)
So that's 41 balls in 8 colourways, yup? And after much perusal of the answers (Tip here...never base a contest on two numbers of anything!!) the winner is
BabyLongLegs, because she got the right number of colours and pretty close on the number of balls.

(And by some minor miracle I've still got a note of your new addy, Sarah so I'll post you a little parcel out as soon as I can escape from the clutches of the kitchen refitters.)

Edit. Just came back to add that the (very nice) joiner and pal have left for the day, leaving me with an anxiety-inducing hole where there used to be a wall, a vast pile of rubble and a half-inch layer of dust everywhere. I know of course that things always look terrible in the first destructive phase of any alterations, but I still don't like it. Two weeks from now it will be lovely, but for now? It's a horror story.
I've got basketweaving class tonight though, so I don't actually have to sit here thinking about it and watching the dust particles ooze out round the frame of the shut door, like a vampire trying to escape. I expect I'll dream about the back of the house falling off or something though, even though I know this house is built to solid 1930's standards and has survived a lot worse from builders than this. (Like last year at this time....)


Want it finished.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This is a hob....

Powered by gas (in this case, but you can also get electric or induction ones) and designed to be recessed into your kitchen worktop. I would like this one because it has a wok ring but given the miniscule proportions of my kitchen I think I'll end up with a four burner.

So what is it called in American, then?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


You know how you can get lulled into inertia about some things? Thinking that yup, this or that is going to happen, but not today or next week, so you don't need to think about it for another wee while? Well, so it has been with our new kitchen, the one that hasn't been built yet. The last time I talked about it with our joiner, he said that he would be away for the first few weeks of the year and he'd phone me when he had a timeslot free. Given that the kids are on holiday mid-march, I was vaguely thinking April for thhe kitchen. Plenty of time.

Until last Monday. Joiner (henceforth to be known as "C", because you may be hearing a lot about this man) phones. For various complex reasons he did not go away as planned, and therefore has a quiet workbook over the next couple of weeks. How about doing the kitchen, then? Argh.......panic.......! Nothing has been ordered. Nothing has been planned. The kitchen is a swamp. Oh, okay then. (Argh.....)

So C comes round yesterday and within twenty minutes I have agreed to have part of a wall removed and a water tank, plus committing myself to obtaining all the units and appliances by next week. He is going to start on Monday next, to take down the wall and tank, drill off all the old tiles (from the '50s, and bedded into solid concrete) from the other three walls, put in all the new electric, water and gas piping (aided by his band of merry other-trades men) and replaster. Then we can start on the rebuilding. Two weeks or thereabouts, he thinks. Hubby had been absolutely convnced that C would be "In and out in under a week", lol.Even C laughed at that one.

So today I have been in IKEA, ordering a kitchen. I wonder how many folk they get arriving five minutes after opening and saying they want the whole lot (except appliances), NOW, every last piece, and make it snappy, here's the credit card? Amazingly though, they did it, and even in the right colour. It's getting delivered next Thursday. Extractor hood comes on Wednesday. I just have to order a cooker, hob and dishwasher now. Oh, and clear the kitchen, set up a temporary cooking area, fill the fridge and freezer with instant meals and seal off the dining room, because the kitchen opens into it.I am BUSY!

Which is why I haven't posted the
Bloggiversity Contest results yet. Much grovelling about this, sorry, and I promise to get it done by the weekend. I am in a bit of a spin at the moment. Not so much wool-for-pix as wool-for-brains. But I'll get there.

Off to buy a cooker. It's amazing what you can do with a computer and a credit card these days!

Friday, January 18, 2008


This was posted over on the Knitty Coffeeshop.....

Still time.

Still time to enter bloggiversay contest, folks. Entries close at midnight GMT.

Not much to report this week on the crafty front. I am feeling a bit icky and achy, and suspect I may be about go down with whatever the current winter lurgy is. Not before this time tomorrow though I hope....I'm off to the Edinburgh Guild of Weavers, Dyers & Spinners, to take part in a crochet workshop. (Which is not weaving, dyeing or spinning, but who am I to quibble?)It's being run by Carol Meldrum, so I hope I don't make an absolute prat of myself! I haven't crocheted anything more than a border or two since...err...1978? So I bought a book (coincidentally, one of Ms Meldrum's that was on 75% discount at Jenner's sale last week and have been practicing. I remember how to make the stitches perfectly well, but it's what they're all called that I've forgotton. I don't want her to say "Now make a base chain of 20 stitches then go back making a treble stitch in each one to make a foundation row" or something like that, and me have to surreptitiously have to look this up in the book under the table.

I'm just not used to being the bemused beginner at the end of the table, you see! However in the two years I've been a member of the Guild I've somewhat accidentally taken part in needlefelting, wet felting, basketweaving and dyeing workshops, so a crochet workshop is just one new experience. Actually, I'm looking forwards to it. It's good to stretch your brain a little, no?

Results for the contest will be announced on Sunday, I hope. I've got to go and track all the Kid Classic in my stash down first!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Looking forwards to spring.

It was sunny this morning so I was intending to go to the allotment. However by the time I did some chores, sorted out the dinner (we have a tight schedule on Mondays at teatime, so I depend on the microwave!) and got was raining. Even I'm not masochistic enough to take my creaky back out into a January drizzle to mess around with half frozen mud, so I did the next best thing...sorted out the seed box and revised the planting plan.

Now I've got allotment software and I can use spreadsheets after a fashion, but somehow they never work for me. What I've used for years is a big shallow plastic box with dividers, and the seed packets sorted out into "Plant Jan/Feb/March" etc at the start of the year. I only need to look into it to see what needs planted next, and once I've done this I either move the packet up into the next month, if I'll be sowing this particular variety again, or I'll put it at the very back, at the "Sown for year" divider. I've got seperate sections for salad crops that get sown over the whole growing season, plus a seperate "Propagator" section. Good airtight lid on the top and the box is both portable and mouseproof, if I forget to bring it home and leave it in Mouse Mansions, otherwise known as the allotment shed.

As for crop rotations, I'm sure there's a rinky-dink piece of software out there that would handle my raised bed system crop rotation beautifully, and perhaps even in 3-D time lapse photography. I have never heard of it though. So I use a series of venerable ring-bound notebooks, one for each year, and a pencil/ruler. I've got 26 raised beds, all four feet wide and ranging from fifteen feet long to six, and they are permenant so the basic layout does not change. I keep a master diagram of the allotment layout, and four times a year I mark up a copy with the current crops in position. So I can tell exactly what I've grown over the last eleven years in any particular bed. When I'm planning out the next year's planting plan, I really only need to check the previous 3-5 years of crops, of course, but it's interesting having a record.

All very low-tech, but it works for me. And I can mark things up while sitting on the wobbly old ex-park bench I have by the shed. It's quite nice to be able to sit in the sun (Sun? Whassthat???) and write up my notes. Oh yes, as a one-time scientist I always keep a notebook. One per year. It's nice to be able to remember what I did, whether it's some recycling....

...or what I grew that year...

...or what the kids do when they come up.

I'm looking forwards to spring.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bloggiversary #2

It's my second Blog Anniversary today. Wow. I certainly did not think I'd be still doing this two years later! But it does become part of the general crafting routine to blog, same as keeping the stash tidy and...err, shopping. And I have made many, many friends through keeping a blog and being part of the internet community, both in the UK and abroad, and been fortunate enough to meet several of you in the flesh. So for me, blogging has been a life enhancing experience, and you can't have too many of these, no? So thank you all. *love*

And seeing it's a bloggiversary, there has to be a contest, no? I was at a bit of a loss as to what to use as a contest question, especially as I had a big contest only a few weeks ago, but a comment left by Helen of the amazing scarves and jigsaws (look in the sidebar for the jigsaws) gave me an idea.

If you're a regular reader, you know I have a weakness for Rowan Kid Classic.

I first came across a ball of this in a mixed bag I found in a charity shop, and have been a devotee ever since.

There have been a LOT of good sales recently, like the 50% off one at Jenners, the 50% off one at John Lewis....

And 30% off at the soon-to-be-deeply-missed HandKnits.

So, easy contest, not requiring the intense mental input of the Glass Spinning Wheel Contest. How many balls of Kid Classic do I currently own, and in how many different colours? Remember, I hoover up odd balls when I see them at a good discount, because I like stripes and colour blocks. It's not just in sweater sized quantities.

Prize(s)? Well, not sure yet. It may be sock yarn, or if I have something suitable that I know you'd like there may be larger quantities involved. There will be a fibre option for spinners if you prefer. We'll see! (But it won't be Kid Classic, lol.)

Just leave me a comment giving me your best guess. Contest will close on Friday midnight GMT. Have fun!

Friday, January 11, 2008

HK Handknit.

I found out a couple of days back that HK Handknit is closing down.

I'm very sad about this. It was our last "destination" knitting shop in Edinburgh, really, our last shop that even visitors from abroad had marked down on their list of must-visit places. It came through troubled times a few years ago when the last very delightful owner (whose name I have shamefully forgotten) died most unexpectedly and very young, and the current owners Janette and Carol took it over and made it even better, if that was possible. It was bursting with unusual and exotic (for us, anyway) products, the atmosphere was lovely, Janette and Carol were lovely...well, it was a great place. I would have liked to go there every week, but frankly as every time I went I spent far too much money I had to ration my visits.

I don't think that they're shutting down through lack of business but rather due to ill health, according to the word on the street. I don't want to pry about this, of course, so no idea otherwise. I wish them both well for the future, however it goes. And I will miss HK.

It just so happens though that I had a visit to HK planned for yesterday, with thereyougothen. She wanted needles, I wanted needles and a nose round the sale. I'm supposed to be on a yarn diet till SkipNorth but, you know, a sale is a sale! And once I found out that they were closong their doors PLUS all the yarns that were not already reduced for the sale were 30% ...well, no hope for it, really. I bought a sweater's worth of Kid Classic in "Bear" and some odd balls of Felted Tweed, to go with some other reduced balls of this I already have. (There's some sort of striped Felted Tweed sweater in there somewhere but I haven't quite made up my mind on this yet.) I could have bought a LOT more as they had Silk Garden in a yummy colour, plus lots of nice sock yarns, Louisa Harding yarns and lots of Rowan Scottish Tweeds but...well, I don't have £200 to spare, the stash is reaching a silly level and there is of course SkipNorth and Coldspring Mill coming up.

Tomorrow is my 2nd year Blogging Anniversary, btw. Shall I have a contest?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

First of 2008.

A small FO, first of 2008.

Pattern is Super-Natural Stripes by f.pea, knitted in an aran weight wool/acrylic mix (I had no ball bands) bought at The Skep last SkipNorth. It was really fast to knit and simple enough that I knitted most of the body in the cinema last week when we went to see The Golden Compass.(Good film, btw. Recommended.) As is the pattern, if anyone is looking for quick baby patterns. There are a couple of other very cute ones on the same site as well. The photograph doesn't show up the purl ridge details that well in the variagated yarn but in real life they add a very nice bit of texture to an otherwise plain cardigan.

This is for the new daughter of a work collegue of Hubby's. In true Hubby style he hadn't mentioned that a gift would be required when the friend was still pregnant, but waited till two weeks after the birth and the evening after I had just come back from a major shopping trip to tell me about it. Fortunately for the baby concerned this was also the start of the Christmas break, so I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted to make, and to produce it. Otherwise she would have been getting a one-hour hat. I hope the mum likes it. It's always difficult knitting for folk you've never met, but relentless questioning of Hubby eventually extracted the information that she dresses in bright coloured hippyish clothes so hopefully she's not going to have a pastels and white baby.

Which means I now have ONLY TWO WIPs, the Noro waistcoat and the beaded lace handspun scarf. No socks, no big project, no...well, I was about to say nothing waiting to be sewn up or frogged when the vision of my Bettna jacket rose before my eyes. Only the ends need sewn in. Do you think I can get it done by the March SkipNorth????

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2007 and all that.

Happy New Year to you all! I hope that however bad or good 2007 was to you that 2008 is as good, or better. :-)

2007 was a pretty average to grotty year for us, starting with five months of ongoing house repairs and ending with the poor cat getting killed. I hope that 2008 is better, though I know for a fact there are going to be more house repairs!

I did do a post back at the start of January last year, laying out my Resolutions for the year ahead. It's been quite interesting looking back on them and seeing which ones I had sucess with.

1) Lose 2 stone (28 lbs.) Yup, did that. There's been a bit of backsliding over the last month, but I've lost a total of 35 lbs in all. So in 2008 I intend to go for another 28 lbs.

2) Knit and spin from stash. Ahem. Don't make me laugh here over the non-sucess of THAT one! So for this year, I'm just going to try and do this up till SkipNorth, which is at the start of March this year. Two months of knitting and spinning from stash, okay?

3)Dump another 10% of contents of house. Well, I think I did. Trouble is, we just keep buying things so there isn't much visible difference in the total mass! So this year I'll aim for another 10%, just to keep the status quo.

4) Spend 10% more time (non-craft time, that is) on me. Actually, this one was a resounding failure. I'm still sitting here with unshaved legs and unpainted toenails! Will try harder this year.

5)Spend more time at allotment. Nope, this one didn't work well either. I'm still considering giving the allotment up totally if I can't crack this one this year. It's a waste of time keeping a badly run allotment when someone else could be using it. So I here declare that if I can't get this one under control by the next AGM, in November, I'm going to turn in my keys.

6) More exercise. Hmmmm...not a great sucess either! Will try harder.

7)I resolve to improve our recycling routine this year. Yup, did that. Plenty room for more improvement though.

8)Finally I resolve to cut down my spending by 10%, on both the household shopping and my own personal budget. Yes, I think I managed that for most of the year, except over the last couple of months during the run up to Christmas and over the sales. I had a great budget sucess with The Storecupboard Challenge in November even though I didn't keep to the strict criteria I first laid out. I am going to start that one again next Monday, when the kids go back to school. Plenty of Christmas leftovers here to use up.

I didn't make any resolutions on the knitting front, but over the year I did set myself a couple of small challenges which I have managed to succed with. I did my NaKniSweMo sweater, and I also decided to knit one pair of socks per month, which I am currently on track with.

So for 2008? Well, the Resolutions last year were good ones, and I'm going to keep them ongoing ones. Plus I'm going to make one more.

9) I am going to become a faster knitter. Well, it's the only way to deal with The Stash, no? Part of that will include trying to improve my actual knitting technique, from being a slowpoke thrower to ...well, a faster style of throwing. I can do the Continental technique already, but it's a step too far for this knitter, sorry. It mucks up my "reading" of the knitting too much. So a faster version of my usual is in order, I think.
Also I'm just going to be more organised about what I'm doing. I find one simple small project (socks!!) in the car/handbag very useful for spare moments, and having one complicated + one autopilot project to choose from in the house also works well. So three in all. Currently I have a lace scarf, a Noro waistcoat and an almost finished baby sweater on the needles. Quite enough.

I need a January Sock pattern though. I want to use the yarn Yvette sent me for winning her sock Contest, as it's in suitably frosty January colours. Then I can cast on as soon as I finish the baby sweater. I have to finish the baby sweater for Hubby to take to work next Monday (it's for the baby of a work collegue) so plenty of time to finish both it and start the socks.

In the meantime though, it's the first Laundry Day of 2008. Some things never change, do they?