Saturday, January 28, 2006

Inspiring others to ...

This has been a good week for inspirations, both for me and friends all over the country.

On Wednesday I emailed Kerrie a picture of periwinkle from my garden, and that may have inspired a new yarn colour.

Visiting Nic in her studio on Thursday, we had a feast of colour as ever.

I came away with new ideas for ceramics, spinning, knitting, enamels, you name it!

Nic kept saying "No, I musn't start anything new!".

Then, yesterday, I went to the monthly CamTAD volunteer meeting, held at the DRI in Derby.

After the usual business meeting, a member of the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service spoke about smoke alarms for the hearing impaired.

I barely said anything during the two hour meeting (due to my whisper).

As I was about to leave I got into conversation with three other volunteers.

They had spotted my Moebius scarf (knitted from the centre out with leftovers of my handspun).

They particularly liked the way that it pops over the head, and lies flat once on.

As a result of the ensuing conversation about knitting, one was going to Strand Wools in Derby, on her way home, to buy a pattern for a cardigan.

She has an aran sweater that was nearly finished some years ago, and now intends to frog it and remake it into a cardigan.

If I had only had enough voice, I would have given her more hints on how to go about it.

Another volunteer was so thrilled by my gloves, that she wanted to go out and buy some self-patterning sock yarn to make a pair for herself.

It turned out that she had seen the WebOfWool
stand at shows at the NEC, and loved the yarn but didn't want to knit socks.

Just think what other projects I could have enabled if I had been able to speak!

Travelling tales ....

On Thursday I headed off down south to visit Nic in her studio.

I took a circuitous train journey round London, via West Hampstead and Richmond to Barnes, arriving shortly after 12.00.

I just wish I could shorten the distance between Long Eaton and Barnes.

Having said that, it only took 3 3/4 hours door to door, and I had long waits at Luton Airport Parkway, West Hampstead and Richmond.

Still being near speechless, I was pleased to find that an impromptu "whiteboard" had just been delivered to her studio.

I had with me some of my current knitting, and samples of my recent enamelling and porcelain output.

We "talked" for a while, and then took off for the nearby L'Amandine patisserie for lunch.
The soup and Earl Grey worked wonders with my throat, and I was able to whisper comfortably for the rest of my visit.

Now, having worked out the geography of the neighbourhood, I strolled across Barnes Common to the station, and all went well until I got to West Hampstead.

By then it was 16.25, and I arrived at the Thameslink station to find that two trains for Luton had been cancelled. The next one was running late, which might have endangered my connection.

However ... when the train arrived, it was pretty full.
Typically, all the seats being taken, the remaining passengers were clustered by the doors.

I had no voice to ask people to move down into the carriage.
An older couple just made it on, and the train took off leaving me to wait for the next one at 17.25.

I took myself off for an expresso before resuming my vigil on the platform.
The train came in with plenty of room to stand, and after the next station I got a seat.

The two men next to me were chatting away in German.
After a while, they realised that I was making sense of some of their conversation.

The coffee had eased up my vocal chords enough for me to find out that they had just flown in from Dortmund for the day.
They bid to build LIDL stores in Britain.
This time it was somewhere south of London.

One of them was quite excited, as he has got to know Edinburgh, Glasgow and South Wales this way. Recently while working near Bristol, he had a chance to visit Stonehenge.

I got home an hour later than expected.
The Chinese takeaway arrived minutes later!

All in all, an inspiring day but frustrating in parts!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Getting my timing right

Still near speechless, I cycled down to a satellite surgery in order to book an appointment with a doctor on Monday.
My GP was working there that day, and I couldn't rely on having any voice to make a phone call.
Having obtained an appointment a couple of hours later, I cycled off to do a few errands.
Back to the doctor's, where I was able to knit a few rows on a lengthways knitted scarf in very fine yarn.
Since I have now been without voice for over two weeks, the suggestion is to try penicillin, in case an opportunistic infection has settled in the throat already weakened by the virus.

I am supposed to take the tablets four times a day on an empty stomach, an hour before food.
My current regime is 12/18/12/06.
So, here is my dilemma.
How am I supposed to fill that hour after taking the tablet when my stomach is growling?
Much more important, I was so tired last night that I went to bed round about 22.00, and then managed to stay awake, reading, until 23.15.
At that point I took the tablet, and tried to settle down.

Any suggestions gratefully welcomed.
Time for lunch now!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

... and finally, some knitting content!

Not the standard knitted piece for most people, but definitely typical of my knitting.
I made this a year ago for the "Spring into Summer" competition organised by BHKC.
A better view can be seen on the National Design Award page.

It had been displayed in the least well lit part of the competition stand at the NEC.

Much to my surprise it came second.

As with so many knitted wire pieces it is devilishly hard to photograph.

It is even worse if you want to try to draw it.

Other more conventional knitting recently has been a scarf and hat each for two of my young nieces.
A couple of year's ago when we were in Alberta, I ventured into the local Walmart, and found some Bernat eyelash yarn.

At the time I had not tried knitting with it, and thought that it was worth the experiment.

I knitted it in conjunction with some Rowan 4 ply (Botany and Donegal Brights) that has been in my stash for a long time.

For my other niece I was inspired to overdye some beige wool boucle that had appeared in my stash a while ago, most probably from a charity shop.

Together with that I used some more Donegal Brights in a deep purple and some lilac Patons Bouclet (also a charity shop find).

Both were very well received.
It turns out that the lilac set is just right for wearing to school.

The other set was being cuddled as soon as it was received.

Friday, January 13, 2006

A mixed day...

Well, I've never bothered with worrying about Friday the 13th, but today has been a rather mixed day.

I woke up once more to find that I only had a harsh whisper.
That is getting to be normal.

In the post I had a letter from UWE (Bristol) to say that the coloured porcelain beads workshop at the end of the month has been cancelled due to lack of numbers.
Then I was thankful for not having a voice, as otherwise I would have been able to book a B&B for the nights before the workshop dates.

I'd much rather it ran, to have the chance to meet with other people working in a similar way.

Then this evening I found what I think is just the yarn to go in a project for my sister-in-law.
I e-mailed Gill at Woolly Workshop to ask about it.
She rang me back, and surprise suprise, my voice was just about normal.

I am still keeping as quiet as possible.

Then an e-mail came asking if I was still interested in becoming a sp7 Angel.
I had messed up the dates, and realised on the 5th January, that I had missed the boat.
I had been convinced that sign-up was to be by the 7th.

So now here I am with a blog that has so far failed to show any knitting, about to take part in sp7 after all.
This should be fun!

Secret Pal 7 questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?

I'm not sure if I am snobby, but I don't use artificial fibres for clothing.

I do knit sculptural jewellery with fine wire and other odd yarns/fibres.
I don't like thick yarns (that means DK or thicker) unless it is my own handspun.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

Yes, I spin (but not often enough), and ocasionally crochet.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

All sorts of things, such as the cardboard tubes that whisky bottles come in.
I have separate needles for yarn and wire.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I could knit before I started school, aged 5.
So, since that was back in prehistoric times to a lot of my friends, I must be advanced in some things.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Not at the moment.

6. What's your favourite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I like natural scents, rosemary in particular.
I shower, rather than bath, so am not interested in bath oils etc.
I don't like scented candles either.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

I only like plain chocolate, preferably 70% or more cocoa content.
I tend to snack on apples.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I attend weekly pottery and enamelling classes.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

I have an eclectic taste in music, but usually listen to the radio rather than CD's.
Bach, Arvo Part, and Jan Garbarek are favourites, along with jazz.

10. What's your favorite colour? Or--do you have a colour family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

Purple, magenta and other similar bright colours, and (in small amounts) the acid greens and ochres that complement them.
I don't like pale pastel colours, particularly yellows.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

The goldfish all died of old age, so that leaves me, my husband, and nephew (17) at home.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Scarves - yes
Hats - rarely, as they flatten my curls too much
Mittens - I prefer gloves
Ponchos - never have and never want to (they wouldn't work with a bicycle and backpack)

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Anything fine, as I can always double or triple it up if necessary.
I'd like to try more laceweight silks and wools.
I haven't had a chance to lay my hands on any Koigu yet, but their yarns look good.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Almost all novelty yarns.
Any yarn with more than a small percentage of synthetic fibres.
Anything thicker than 4ply.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

I'm back to knitting socks.
As a teenager I knitted many pairs of knee length grey school socks.
That put me off for a while.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Whatever my latest idea is!
As I tend to design all my knitting, sometimes starting with designing the yarn, this varies a lot.

I do like the challenge of knitting a new piece of jewellery to wear for an occasion.

17. What are you knitting right now?

Socks, and a scarf using Kaalund ClassicTwo (fine merino) together with other suitable oddments from my stash.
Also some pieces of jewellery, using fine wire with fine wool.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?


19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

I use circulars or dpns, as I often need to get to the other end of a piece if I am not knitting in the round.
I never use straights.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Ebony or other hard woods for dpns.

I do like the look of the Susan Bates sock needles, all colour coded for size, which I assume are coated aluminium. They go down to quite fine sizes.
I haven't seen them, so don't know if I would enjoy using them.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Two of each, I'm not sure why so many.

22. How did you learn to knit?

From my grandmother and mother as a pre-school child, and I've been knitting ever since.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

I'd hate to know.
Possibly dating back to the early '70s, in which case it ought to have been finished or frogged or handed on long since!

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

No favourites, apart from the birds that fly around our garden and feed on the seeds and windfall apples we leave for them.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

A chance to explore new places, and meet old or new friends.
Any time off from the daily grind.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

Any small thing that takes my fancy, and that might become jewellery.
Recently this has been small seed beads and sequins in single colours.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

I subscribe to "Spin-Off".
I also won a subscription to "Knitting".

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?

Elizabeth Zimmerman's "Opinionated Knitter".

I haven't yet tried spinning ingeo.
I'd like to give that a try.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

No, I'd rather invent them!

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Yes I knit socks in 4ply, and take a size 39 (UK6)

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)

12th June

Monday, January 09, 2006

silenced .... again

December 2004 was a very quiet month for me.
January 2006 seems to be following suit.

I woke on Sunday with a sore throat and a stiff neck.
I had known for a couple of days that I was getting some sort of cold.
Anyway, it came as no surprise to me that I now had no voice.

No voice again today, but at least I'll be on my own, so won't need to test it.
In '04 I used a whiteboard and marker to communicate at home.
Out and about I carried many sheets of A4 in my pockets and engaged in frantic writing.
At times it was quite comical.

The worst effect was that other people faced with a silent me became near silent themselves.

So today I have time for re-arranging the location of books and plenty more time for knitting!
Back to my normal routine tomorrow, maybe with pen and paper!!