Friday, December 22, 2006

Adios 2006...

Well, this was meant to have pictures of the extraordinary ice & fog we have been living in for the past 3 days...but unfortunately I have run out of time, what with the packing for holidays, and packing to move, and cleaning the house to move out only...2 hours left!! Oh dear - so I shall be brief - wishing you a relaxing, enjoyable Christmas and an exciting and debauched New Years (if that is your thing). See you in January - I promise pics!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Moving Memories

So we are packing up again! After about 10 months in our apartment we are heading now to Oxford, seeking brighter lights and more doings. Life here has been great - it was the perfect easing in to a new country - not too busy, town not too big, quiet house full of stuff, no need to have to rush out & buy things that you forgot you need in life - bottle openers, matches, shoes. But now everything is back into boxes (thank goodness we had a spare room to keep the old boxes in!) but this time moving in a van.

It makes our time here in the UK feel already very long - the memories of accepting the job, resigning from the old job, packing the house, having wisdom teeth pulled - it feels so long ago. And all the people feel so far away. Particularly at Christmas - I have never been one much for Christmas, and have spent Christmases away from family before. But I think that England is much more traditional in the way that Christmas is spent, and everyone seems to be so much more family and friend oriented at this time that it reminds you of all the things you left behind. It also makes me determined that our new house, our new town and our next move will be the one where, having settled into our jobs & our life, we make friends, meet people, and live life a bit more. Despite the cold, we both have to get out there and do more things where we meet folks. So my early new years resolution is to meet new people and hopefully new friends.

I don't tend to post this kind of stuff on my blog, but I am hoping that with the public announcement will come some extra motivation in the form of peer pressure!

On a different matter, I have knitted a Fetching Fingerless glove on my new needles! Having never knitted with anything other than metal or plastic needles before, they are lovely! I am totally convinced. Initially, my tension was all over the place (not helped by teh fact that I had inadvertantly bought Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK, not Aran!) but after ripping it out & starting again (by the way, much easier to do with this yarn than with the Rowan Tapestry!) and reducing the stitches, I have one good looking glove. And the needles are warm and light as air in my hands, I don't seem to get aching hands as I do with metal, I love the sound they make, they smell good, and the stitches don't fall off (actually, they even need coaxing along sometimes). The tension issue resolved very quickly too. They are great. Except you can't put them in your mouth cause they taste nasty. I know this is a dirty habit anyway, but what habits aren't? Also, check out new yarn! Rowan Felted Tweed in watery - photo is actually pretty good representation of the colour although a little lighter in the sun (yes, there was sun the other day!).

I would be keen to hear any other NY resolutions that folks have - might help me keep to mine a bit more?! It is all a bit scary, this big new world stuff, but thats why I am here, right? Right!

PS it is winter here now. Car said 0 degrees at 10am, and 1 degree at 3pm. Brrrr.

Monday, December 18, 2006

My Nan is Great!

While I am procrastinating from more packing...

this is a little jumper & hat that my Nan recently knitted. It is a Sirdar pattern, but I know no more than that. Except I think it is great that she is still knitting (not to give the game away, but Nan is in the later part of her 80's) and I think that this is beautiful work.
Knit on!

Christmas delights!

I know this is naughty but we had a very good excuse....

as we are in the process of moving this week, and then going on holiday the day after we move (whose idea was that again?!) Simon & I had a little celebration meal last night. We are not big into Christmas, but I do like to celebrate the end of a year, particularly one that has been so ...big! Also, my parents had sent a box of gifts, which was very naughty and very very nice! Some lovely lovely things but I have to show of these...

Handmade knitting needles, from my home state!! wonderful stuff. There is a website, and I will keep you posted with how they go. Also a beautiful calendar from Tasmania, guaranteed to make me homesick!

Thanks mum & dad!
Also - scarf is done, just being washed. Pics soon. And Rowan Felted Tweed has arrived, and is even more beautiful than in the picture (as usual!)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Knitting without Borders

Very quick post - I don't think anyone actually reads this blog, but on the off chance that I am wrong, and you are reading this, take a quick detour over to Yarn Harlot's blog & consider supporting the Knitting without Borders challenge. Yarn Harlot would like to double the donation that Knitting without Borders has made to Medicine Sans Frontiers this year - that means turning $120,000 USD into $240,000!! As usual, Stephanie is eloquent and articulate in pleading her case, so have a read.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Slowly slowly, winter is creeping in. Apparently it has been the warmest everything here since records began, so we really haven't seen much to date. Which is fine, generally, but seems also to have affected Europe, so we were worried about the lack of snow for our Christmas Ski Extravaganza - but finally it is snowing! Looks to be more man-made than actual snow to date, and after all this worrying it will probably snow so much while we are there that we won't get onto the slopes, but it at least looks like we will be able to ski a bit, even if nothing else happens! Yay!

Which means that all this knitting is not for naught! My pack is getting filled with hand knit jumpers, socks, scarves & gloves - it is lovely! The Rowan Tapestry scarf is nearly done - will post soon, probably will get finished on Monday or Tuesday. The new wool has the post depot! Will go to pick it up tomorrow - it is Rowan Felted Tweed in Watery - am hoping that my screen represents the colour ok! Always a bit nerve racking buying yarn without having been able to touch/smell/feel/see it in person. But being Rowan it is probably gorgeous. It is for a vest pattern by Fable knits - I have one (shop bought) vest, which turns out to be great for work over here so I thought i could do with another.
Also, anyone with any interest in knitting (Mum, this means you!) should check out the See Eunny Knit website if you don't already know it... astonishingly gorgeous stuff! One day....!!!

(Also, I love this pic! I know it looks a bit plain, but it has a really neuronal, organic look to it!Maybe it needs to be bigger to get this effect...anyway, I stand by my selection! Taken on a walk in the Chilterns the other weekend).

Sunday, December 10, 2006


As hinted at before, I have further progressed on my plan of persuading Simon that knitting is a worthwhile activity. First there was the Pirates hat (see previous blog), and then there was the Far-Fetching Fingerless Gloves! Now, these were finished a while ago, but haven't been photographed due to lack of light & opportunity. But, we had a quiet saturday and while the light was still pretty shoddy (& thus the pictures aren't great) I was sick of waiting! So...
These came up because I made a pair of Fetching Fingerless Gloves for my Nan (they are on the other blog). Simon decided that while they looked very girly in baby blue, they may form the basis for something that he was looking for - a garment to connect up his gloves & his sleeves when cycling. Due to the long arms & the leaning forward on the bike, Simon reckons his wrists are always cold, & given that he will be cycling almost all winter, I felt a little sorry for him. So these were designed to be hard-wearing, warm & long, as well as resistant to falling down! So, I used some left-over undyed NZ wool for the main part, and some Dale Hauk for the hands, as it is Teflon coated & thus water resistant. Contrary to initial plans, these are now intended to go over a pair of thin wool gloves & under his jacket sleeve. In the end, I just used the Fetching pattern almost intact, with extra cables down the arm length to try and make it tight enough not to slip down. Simon's arms aren't particularly big, so I thought that just using slightly larger needles witht he existing number of stitches would be fine - and it was. I also made the thumb a bit longer, added an extra cable around the knuckles so it was a little tighter, & did a super chunky picot edge to bloke it up a bit more (you can't see this very well in the pics sorry!). So, a very successful project which has further confirmed my theory that knitting is useful. Now he has a million ideas for snazzy things I can knit him!
Unfortunately, there is still the odd mistake, but I do quite like the little black bits at the top, which Simon thought were going to be fiddly, but I think it links the hands in with the rest of the glove more.

Far-Fetching Fingerless Gloves

Pattern: Extended and brutalised Fetching Fingerless Gloves

Yarn: Undyed NZ wool (sorry, the label has long-since disappeared) and Dale Hauk in Black

Apparently they go well with beer.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Eye Candy Friday!

Thanks to Sundara for this great idea - a little bit of visual delight for dreary Fridays (check out her great pics from the last few Fridays too). Here's my contribution - Enjoy.

This pic is actually from my Mum of her garden in Tasmania - check out the huge climbing things on that deck! And those irisis in the foreground are beautiful. Ok, it isn't the most technically brilliant photo, but I love this picture because it is of the home I grew up in, because it looks sunny and warm (!) and because it is from my mum! Thanks mum!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Blood Meridian

Well, after several library fines I have been sufficiently chastened by various folk, & have decided to do some re-reading of my own library for a bit until I can learn to be a bit more responsible. Also, it has been about a year since I read any Cormac McCarthy. So I have gone back to Blood Meridian, which is the first McCarthy that I read. I find that with his novels I have very strong image-based memories of them, so there will be two or three clear visual images associated with each book, but the more detailed, textual aspects tend to be not so memorable for me. This isn't unusual for me, and is why I tend to re-read alot, because I often find I don't remember the text all that well. However, I feel like I know these books, without factually knowing them, if that makes sense. Anyway, I am really enjoying it. His prose is slightly different and less extended here than in the Border trilogy, I think, although less direct than No Country for Old Men, which feels very different again. But you can't escape the visual clarity of his prose - I understand why people want to make films of these books, but I have no idea how you could capture even one sentence-worth of complexity in two hours of cinema. Try this as an opening paragraph:
"See the child. He is pale and thin, he wears a thin and ragged linen shirt. He stokes the scullery fire. Outside lie dark turned fields with rags of snow and darker woods beyond that harbour yet a few last wolves. His folk are known for hewers of wood and drawers of water but in truth his father has been a schoolmaster. He lies in drink, he quotes from poets whose names are now lost. The boy crouches by the fire and watches him" (p. 1).
McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meridian or the evening redness in the west. Picador, 1989.

Anyway, McCarthy is slow going, and requires a sturdy mood, so I will probably end up blogging this book again before I am done, but I can't recommend this writer enough.
If you are interested, there is more stuff here at, here at the New Yorker and here at Amazon. Go crazy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Ta Da! My first pair of socks! Now, they're not fantastic, and there are a few (?!) mistakes, and the stripes line up at the top but not at the bottom cause the first one was too short, and...well, as I said, they aren't perfect. However, they are cosy and snuggly and I have a new love of self-striping yarn, and I learned so much knitting them. Mostly that socks aren't too scary, and that if you are going to knit from a pattern, you should knit all of the pattern, not just the bits that you remember to read. But I think definately not my last pair of socks!
So anyway, details: they are from the pattern that came with the yarn, which is Lana Grossa Colourtweed in colour 1006 (kind of blues & greys). I bought the yarn from Angel Yarns, so I figure the pattern is from Lana Grossa or Angel Yarns or both!
So anyway, next time another pattern - one that actually fits me, rather than 'adult medium' (which apparently I am not).
In the meantime, scarf is coming along swimmingly...although a bit slow