Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Earth moving

The kids were full of the earthquake this morning. Lots of them said they'd been woken up in the night and there were tales of beds shaking and wardrobes rattling. I am a really light sleeper, so I don't how I managed to sleep through it, especially considering how neighbours were woken by it. My Grandma felt it and said it was frightening. My Mum, ever the optimist, thought the Nuclear War had started. She says that's because she is reading a book about this stuff, but don't be fooled, that's her assumption every time.

At our house, even Granby didn't notice it, but that's probably because he was asleep in the wardrobe last night. This is his latest hidey-hole and I'm pleased for him to sleep there because it's dark and he doesn't start mioawing as soon as it's light.

I've been knitting more socks again recently and I've also bought some more sock yarn from Lucy (Littleblue). It's the very gorgeous Regia Nation and I cannot wait to get started on it because I love the colours, the width of the stripes and know that Jaywalker is the best possible pattern for the yarn. At the moment all I do when I log in to Ravelry is look at other people's Jaywalkers in this yarn and I think they look fantastic. When I first started knitting I loved the idea of having something unique, and with some of my own dyed sock yarns and Ezzie's 'Pot Luck' socks, I have achieved that. But this time, I am definitely following the crowd. How can I not?

Lucy (Littleblue) and I met up for coffee and cake at the weekend and had a lovely chat about this and that. We started out at John Lewis and she helped me (along with the other Lucy [Knitbird]) to choose this gorgeous Kidsilk Haze for my new jumper project. Yes, you did read that correctly; I am going to knit something other than socks. And what's more, I'm going to finish the knitting and do the sewing up. Inspired by Lucy's (Knitbird) Twisted Jumper, (called Portia), I am assured by her it is easy knit and does not take too long to sew up. Both Lucys (Lucies?) have promised to help me with the sewing up. The colour I have is a gorgeous purple and the light wasn't great when I came home, so this is the actual colour. The name is Splendour, which is enticing in itself.

I really hope I can complete what I set out to because even I feel I shouldn't just be knitting socks. In fact, if I do and get to wear it at work as I intend, the earth really will have moved.

Thursday, 21 February 2008


Today there is an aniversary of sorts at our house because it is a whole year since we got Granby from the Cat Shelter. I really cannot believe that he's been here a year. It doesn't seem two minutes since we met him, fell in love with him and then had an action plan to get him. When I came home that first day he was hiding under the bed and wouldn't come out. Today he was waiting for me and gave me lots of attention when I came home from work. I know that I'm biased because I'm his mum, but isn't he cute? I made sure I chose the picture in which he looked least rotund.

My friend Julie was really pleased with her recent sock gift. She loves the colour green so I used Peakwool's Nether Green colour way of Lorna's Laces and I think they look gorgeous. The wool was spiralling at first so I alternated rounds with the centre and outside of the ball to get a more variegated effect. This worked really well and is something I will do again at first sight of any sprials. She has been showing them off at work and telling everyone they are the most comfortable socks ever. This has meant requests for socks have increased again. This is not the usual Shepherd Sock yarn, but instead Shepherd Sport. It's slightly thicker to knit with but so soft and it feels really durable. I would definitely knit with this yarn again.

Ezzie's Pot Luck socks are coming on nicely. He was fearful I had Second Sock Syndrome as I finished Julie's socks between his first and second sock. I'm back on with them now and hope to finish them this evening as I'm going out knitting. I've done really well to make them look like a pair, and this isn't easy using seven small balls of leftover sock yarn. He loves them and it feels as if I'm getting something for nothing because I had kind of written off the leftovers.

Going back to work on Monday was awful. I just couldn't get out of bed. I had got used to a week of staying in bed until nine o'clock. I'm not a parent, but I would like to complain about some of the parents I have to deal with. There are some pupils at school whose behaviour is unacceptable, yet when you try to deal with that behaviour the parents are on the phone complaining about what you've done and assuming you are wrong and their child is right. Why are some people blinded by their own kids? I've had a nasty phone call this evening where a mother has completed backed up her son's poor attitude and behaviour and told me how to do my job. I feel it should be me telling her how to do her job.

Shona came to stay at the weekend and we had a great time baking, making and talking. It's her birthday shortly and I'm taking her with some friends and family for a meal at Pizza Hut. No doubt I will come to regret this suggestion, but at the moment it seems like an idyllic idea.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Super Sunday!

Well, yesterday I had a fantastic day. I was knitting with some friends in the morning and early afternoon and then went to watch Strictly Come Dancing in the evening.

On the knitting front I have finished the socks I call 'Horizon' which Caroline spun for me, and the yarn has not disappointed. They are the most warm socks I own and I love the colours, especially the oranges and blues together. They are the first pair of obviously non-identical socks I have ever made and I am actually fine with them not being identical. Ezzie says they look 'related' and that's enough for me. In fact, I found it liberating not making sure the socks were completely identical.

Caroline recently did me a big favour and sought out a ball winder for me. A while ago I was pretty obsessed with these and I have been borrrowing other people's. I don't have an ebay account, so it would have been difficult to get one without using ebay. I don't think I can quite handle ebay at the moment, so I am really grateful to Caroline for her efforts. I recently bought some of Lorraine's Lorna's Laces in Nether Green for present socks for a friend and I really enjoyed winding the yarn into a ball. It was really satisfying.

At the moment I am venturing into new territory by using up lots of odd balls of sock yarn to create a totally unique pair of socks for Ezzie. By my reckoning I've used four different sock yarns so far and am going to use two new ones for the toe shaping. They will be pretty identical to one another in the end, but they are completely unique and a friend suggested they be called 'Pot Luck Socks', which I think is a great name and this approach may inspire others in the future. The intention was to come up with something like Caroline's stashbuster spirals but the colours are not so well blended and I overestimated the amount of yarn I started with. In the end I have decided to shove loads of stuff together and hope for the best. I probably wouldn't give these as a present, but Ezzie likes them because he loves bright socks and it is satisfying to get rid of all this remaining sock yarn. I particularly like the part on the foot with an Opal faux fair isle yarn and my own hand-dyed yarn and I will combine something like this again.

I didn't let the side down at Strictly last night because whilst we were waiting and during the interval I got out my sock. Some young girls a couple of rows in front of me were obsessed with me knitting and told everyone in their large family to have a look at me. I felt like a superstar.

The show was amazing. The standard of dancing was spectacular. I loved every minute. Darren Gough won overall, which was excellent and I am sure I had my part to play in his victory because I was screaming 'Darren' throughout the night. Ezzie got embarrassed on a number of occasions and kept telling me off because I was spoiling it for other people. I don't think I did spoil anyone else's night because one couple near me just couldn't stop laughing. I loved his Paso Doble and screached alsorts in Spanish at the end. It was brilliant and it felt like a real privelege to see him, Lilia and all the other dancers as well. Today I've booked tickets for next year and this is good because it gives me something to look forward to, and next year we are further forward.

Today I've been to the hospital about my eating trouble. I thought I was having the camera down but that's happening nearer to Easter. What a faff it was though. I felt like K in Kafka's The Trial, going from here, there and everywhere with bits of paper and asking questions which never seemed to get answered. I'm not looking forward to going again in a few weeks. I know hospitals are not nice places, but what I couldn't cope with was the vastness and lack of decent signage. I just kept getting bewildered. Thank goodness for my knitting. It really helped with all the tedious waiting. I'm glad that's all over, now the holidays can begin in earnest.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008


This post is not going to have any knitting content. Don't feel obliged to read on, but there are some things I need to air and this is the best place for me.

Firstly, yesterday on Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show there was some discussion about the election for the next London Mayor and there was an accusation about the British media taking too much interest in the US Primaries and Super Tuesday. Some guy was complaining, saying that the country should be more interested in the London mayoral elections. I heard this for two minutes in car as I travelled to primary school but it infuriated me.

Firstly, the primaries are more interesting because the candidates are more engaging and in the case of the democrats represent a new era. Which other Western country has a black guy and a woman as possible electable leaders? The London mayor crew...who are they? Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson? They don't exactly set the world on fire, do they?

Secondly, whoever is voted to be the president has a greater impact on the world than any cruddy London mayor. I never go to London. What they decide there has no bearing on the country as a whole, whereas what goes on the other side of the pond does impact this country. I know it pains a lot of people to acknowledge that, but it's true.

Thirdly, this is typical of introspective London folk who think that everyone has a paper boy delivering the Evening Standard to every home in the land. Congestion charge in London? So what! Olympics and that cruddy logo? So what! London low emission zone? So what!

I am now going to take even more interest in the US elections and none whatsoever in the mayor thing. In fact, if it even turns up on Newsnight (my favourite programme) and Jeremy Paxman's presenting it, I'm going to make a point of turning it straight off.

The next thing I turn my attention to is David Beckham. Have you seen his latest tattoo on his left arm? If you haven't had the pleasure look here. He is such a good-looking guy, he doesn't need all that ink. I think his kids will be embarrassed when they go to parents' evenings. Do tattoos become addictive? He's going to run out of space at this rate.

I know that with Ofsted you wouldn't think these would be the things occupying my mind. It's all over now. I marked all the books I had to, planned brilliant lessons, had the kids on top form and I never saw a single inspector. All that was for nothing! But at least the marking's done and I won't be doing that in the holidays.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Solitary confinement

Today is going to be dull. I haven't had a really bad cold since July when I went to Germany, but the last couple of days I could feel it coming on and today I have a cold in earnest. It has snowed over night quite a bit, so the two things combined have convinced me to stay inside all day. Ezzie has gone to the allotment for the day. He has projects galore on the go there and all of it is DIY, so it's not really for me.

Being in means juggling my time between two things: knitting and marking. I love my job in many ways but I hate marking. I think I teach the kids way too much because there is just too much work to mark. Even in four weeks they have done loads. It is mind-numbing so I've just done a good two and half hours and am now going to reward myself with a bit of knitting.

I know I am supposed to be saving money at the moment, but I used some birthday money from my Grandma to buy some gorgeous hand-spun yarn from Caroline. It is gorgeous, really soft and I love the colours. I've called the yarn 'Horizon' because it reminds me of the different colours you get on a clear day as the sun goes down. Caroline saw the 'fluff' (as she calls it) and the orange made her think of me. How could I resist? The yarn is merino so it won't be very hard-wearing, so these are going to be nice bed socks for my coffin-cold feet.

Lucy has dyed me some gorgeous alpaca yarn in bright colours as well. This was custom-dyed to my specification and she has done an amazing job. This yarn doesn't have a name yet, but it will in due time. I know some really talented people.

I went knitting with the forum gang on Wednesday and had a really great evening. I made good progress on my toe-up spiral socks and was well on my way up the leg on Thursday night when I made another mistake with the spirals and decided to rip it all the way back again. Once again I am left with this:

I am seriously wondering whether this yarn will ever make it into a pair of socks.

I would like to praise Granby today because he went to the vets yesterday and was really well behaved. He was having his check-up and jabs and stuff. Ezzie and I were cooing over him like doting parents on parents' evening because he did himself proud. It made the expensive bill easier to swallow.