Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jenn's SP11 contest answers

To get her group started, Jenn has asked us for answers to the following questions.

1. What is the one knitting accessory you could not live without?

A pocket calculator for working out quantities of yarn needed/stitches from gauge etc.
It takes so much longer just using pencil and paper.

2. If you're heading on vacation, do you take knitting with you? Ifso, how much and what type of project?

I most certainly do, but it is mainly socks.
I travel light, and aim to take only carry-on baggage when flying.
On occasion I have put my sock needles into my pencil case to disguise them.
Last year at a small French airport there was a long discussion about my then current pair of socks as they were still on the wooden needles, and showed up on x-ray.
I also aim to bring home at least one ball of sock yarn as there isn't usually room for more.

3. Where have you travelled to that you'd consider your favourite spot?

The best places I have travelled to were the Yemen (1992), and South Korea (1999).
A night camping on the beach east of Aden was magical. We arrived after dark and had to pitch our tents by moonlight. There were so many stars in the sky (I didn't bother to sleep in the tent), and we saw dolphins frolicking in the sea in the morning.

4. What is your favourite knitting book at the moment? Do you own it?

Montse Stanley's "Handknitter's Handbook", which I have had since it was published.
I used to live in Cambridge and knew Montse.
Sometimes I had the pleasure of an afternoon at her house talking about knitting and looking at her some of her vast collection.

5. Do you listen to podcasts? Which is your favourite(s)?

I haven't done so yet.
I listen to the radio when on the computer, as it helps to mask my tinnitus.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

SP11 questionnaire

1. What is/are your favourite yarn/s to knit with? What fibres do you absolutely *not* like?

I love fine yarns spun from wool, linen, silk, hemp, you name it, as long as it is natural.
I have no use for eyelash type novelty yarns or acrylics.
I do like my sock yarn to be 4 ply, and to have up to 25 % polyamide or the suchlike to strengthen it.

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

Various items, including a beautiful needle roll given to me in the most recent round of secret pal.

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

I could knit before I started school, and have continued to do so.
In some areas I am advanced, in others merely a beginner.

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

Yes, but not accessible.

5. What's your favourite scent?

Rosemary or ginger or other natural single fragrances like seaweed for soap.
I don't use bath oils etc, or candles

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favourite candy?

I only like chocolate with 70% + cocoa content.

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

I make ceramics from porcelain, anything from a small bead upwards in size.
I spin, and particularly like blends of wool with other fibres such as silk.
I sew occasionally, but frequently recycle clothing from charity shops for that.

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

My taste is all encompassing, it depends what is on the radio at the time.
Otherwise, how about Jan Garbarek, Arvo Part?

9. What's your favourite colour(so)? Any colours you just can't stand?

I love purple, magenta and other jewel colours, and small amounts of the complimentary colours like acid yellow/greens.
Pastels are only good for overdyeing.

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

We are three adults here now, all the goldfish died long ago!

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
Scarves and gloves; and a hat when it gets really cold (but I have a handspun one anyway).
Never wore ponchos, and can't imagine taking to them now.

12. What is/are your favourite item/s to knit?

Anything that will satisfy my curiosity, which means lots of socks ( I work in a place with a concrete floor, and heating from above).
Otherwise small creations from fine wire, possibly with beads or sequins too.

13. What are you knitting right now?

Socks, and sampling for designing a cardigan.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
I love to, and give them too.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminium, plastic?

Sets of 5 sock needles, especially ina hard wood like ebony.
Circulars for the rest.

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

2 of each, and 3 niddy-noddies!

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

I'm not sure, sometime, I'll have to root around and find a Shetland type sweater that I started long ago.

18. What is your favourite holiday?

Any time away from work, appointments etc.

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Yarn, fibre, fabric, seed beads, sequins - should I go on?

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Jane Sowerby's "Victorian lace today", especially after hearing her talk at the Knitting and Crochet Guild AGM.
I'd like to try out Fleece Artist Sea Wool, as it sounds interesting.
I like the idea of casein needles, a 2.5 mm set of dpn's would be just the job.
I subscribe to Yarn Forward, and Spin-Off.

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

I'm much more likely to work them out for myself!

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

Yes, I knit socks all the time as they are so portable, and invariably get people talking to me.
Continental 39

23. When is your birthday?

June 12th

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Waiting for my invitation, 2388 people to go first.
Mind you there are 15, 242 behind me in the queue.
This will give me plenty of time to work out an ID!


Monday, August 20, 2007

Grandmother's footsteps - or how it all creeps up on me!

Do you remember that playground game?

We went away for a week, to the AIA (Association for Industrial Archaeology) annual conference in Preston, and now I am catching up. More about that later, not to mention posting my replies to the SP11 questionnaire.

Everything in the garden romped away while my back was turned.
Yesterday between showers I tackled some of the foliage trying to make it across the pavement to the kerb.
We have a beautiful Cotinus coggygrria that puts on a lot of growth.
In the past 5 weeks it has grown over a metre in every direction.
This is how it looks from the garden side, leggy and a glorious colour:

We also have an ivy twining around the gatepost.
Two or three times a year I trim it back, but leave enough for the car to bounce off if necessary when backing on to the drive. I discovered that it is much easier to trim when it is dripping wet.
Between these two is a berberis that also sticks out, ready to poke out the eyes of passers-by.
This is how it all looks after my ministrations:

All this was after hanging out the first load of laundry.
As I went in to fetch the props for the lines, the heavens opened and it all ended up wetter than when hung out.
Today I tackled the remaining laundry, and it is all hanging outside, drying slowly.

The back garden revealed all sorts of goodies too.

A while ago, near the back door we cleared some pink geraniums away and scattered some seeds. And for a while it looked as though we might have some young hollyhocks although neither Ian nor I had knowingly sown any. Today I cleared away more creeping lengths of the geranium, and found this:

Not a hollyhock at all, but a courgette or marrow. I would have preferred hollyhocks! It takes a lot of effort to eat courgettes before they get too big. At least we won't have far to go to pick them.

Most of the other vegetables are down at the bottom of the garden. Opposite these is our plum tree. Here it is with a good crop of ripening fruit:

I've already eaten about 6 of these today.

A little closer to the house is our pear tree. When we saw the house in 1995, the previous owner proudly pointed out that it had 2 pears on it. Once we bought the house, we had his row of conifers (the dreaded leylandii) removed from alongside the pear. Now we have alternate years of enough and then glut. As you may be able to make out this is a glut year.

The big problem with the pears is that they all seem to ripen together. And even worse, they don't keep well, and they ripen from the inside out. So you can get some idea of our diet at the moment. And I never even mentioned the beans, potatoes, salad stuff and tomatos!

Plenty to share with the slugs and snails this year!


Friday, August 10, 2007

Lavender laundry .. and other missed opportunities

No pictures, as it is a shameful thing to do!
I took a short cut, and washed some purple things in with whites.

I thought that the purples and one black item were colourfast, and only found out later that they weren't.

That came at the end of a silly day, when I had gone into Derby to run a few errands.
I had plenty of time to go to a fantastic needlework shop to browse.

The previous time I had been in Derby was three weeks earlier to have my eyes tested.
During the test they put drops in my eyes, which left me extremely sensitive to light, and unable to focus properly until the evening.
I even had to find and buy a pair of sunglasses in order to walk back to the station to get home.

So here I was this week all prepared to explore Textile Art Studio in depth, but when I got there I found that it had shut down, the previous week.

Living halfway between Derby and Nottingham means that I often have to choose where to shop for items unvailable here in Long Eaton.
During university term times, I go to Nottingham on a weekly basis.
As a consequence I had been completely unaware that they had an 8 week closing down sale.

It is such a pity when specialist shops close down.
I suppose that I should be thankful that I did visit it, if irregularly, while it was trading.