Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Early morning worry

So far these holidays I have been awake at stupid times in the morning and have yet to have that lie in that holidays are famed and designed for. As soon as things are on my mind, my sleep vanishes and I have to get up and do.

Yesterday I was up at 4am writing a CV. Today I am up wondering about the CV and covering letter I have since handed in. It's all out of my control now, but here I am wondering and worrying. I know when you go for another job, it should be something which is great if you get the job, and alright if you don't. I know this is the rational and sensible way to go about getting a job, but I have spent so long thinking about this job and drafting the covering letter that it's become a big thing in my life and I'm putting too much store on it all.

I'm also worrying about the hospital appointment I have today. To be honest, I don't understand what today's examination is all about, but it's another don't eat or drink anything test, which makes me think it can't be much fun.

The car is also going to the hospital (garage) today because it is not in a good way. I was so relieved when last Thursday came and the car managed to get me to and from work because each and every day last week I was never sure it would start up. The whole car situation is another worry and also linked to the possible new job because if I get the job I am definitely getting a better car. I could get a better car now but in my mind I can't justify it because I need a better job first. The irony is, of course, if I got the new job I really wouldn't need a car to get to work because it is so close to home.

I reckon tomorrow I'll be up at the crack of dawn again. But that will be more a Christmas Eve can't sleep excitement because tomorrow I'm learning to spin.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Easter message

Easter has seemed different this year. It has felt just too early in the year to be Easter and the bits of snow yesterday confirmed this further. Usually we see Shona over Easter, but not this year because I've not had chance to fetch her, so all in all it's been a little odd. I didn't get dressed or leave the house yesterday. Instead I pottered around, knitted a bit, watched some tv, did some reading. It was nice to do nothing in particular and helped me to recharge my batteries.
The camera at the hospital was alright. I'm in no hurry to do it again, but at least it's done.

I've been up to all sorts since I last posted. Once again, I've been buying sock yarn and extending the list of people I have to make socks for. I have some blue and white stripes for the Wednesday fan in my life, but I am most excited by the two 'Same Difference' yarns by the Knitting Goddess. The skeins use the same colours but in different quantities. I'm going to make some photographic negative socks in these yarns. Both socks will be different. The cuffs, heels and toes will be knitted in the contrasting yarn to the main body of the sock, and the other sock will be the opposite way around.

I am knitting a pair of socks for me at the moment in some unique yarn dyed and spun by Caroline. This yarn is gorgeous and the colours are sublime. This yarn is perfect; all the stripes are the same width and colours consistent. I cannot quite believe Caroline has done this by herself with her hands and a spinning wheel. This yarn serves as inspiration for what can be achieved, but in the meantime it makes my spun yarn far too embarrassing to post here. On Thursday Grandad and I are having lessons about spinning and we are both excited about the prospect.

I have finished another pair of socks recently. These are the Lorna's Laces Mountain Creek socks. The recipient remains unknown as these are a prize in a competition.

On Thursday I went around to Mara's and did some yarn dyeing with her and fellow yarn junkies. We were dyeing alpaca sock yarn and I am very excited about the outcomes because it's all drying at Mara's. Afterwards we went knitting at Cocoa and enjoyed ourselves immensely. There was even a boy (well, man really) knitting and I got him started on the road to perdition by starting him off with a sock.

On Good Friday Ezzie and I went to the cinema to see 'Love in the time of Cholera'. Obviously I would have liked the film to be in Spanish, but it was a good film despite the English and we enjoyed it a lot.

Yesterday I started a cardigan for a baby for a friend. I don't like knitting baby things usually, but I'm going to see this as an opportunity to perfect my sewing up, which is usually far from ideal. I want to get it finished in the next fortnight.

All this activity has been good because I've felt quite down in the last week or so. Work has felt extremely stressful during the last couple of weeks and many things have felt unresolved and it's been a negative place to be. I'm hoping that the holidays will allow the dust to settle. Whichever way I know how I feel about things and hope that some things change for the better.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Practice isn't making perfect

I've had the spinning wheel almost a week now, and I've done a little spinning every day, but at no point has my spinning improved. The last lot looks as bad as the first. I'm not giving up on it, but I realise this is something I need to be taught; it's not the sort of thing I can just pick up.

I'm not giving up on it though, despite it being difficult. I really was inspired the other day and Caroline has sent a photograph of the wool she's dyeing and spinning for me. The colours are gorgeous and I'm so excited by the prospect of some really unique yarn, custom made for me. I chose the yarn, the colours and she's going to spin it to my requirements (socks, obviously).

Ezzie's Grandad came over last night, and he was fascinated by it. He was working out how it works and he spent a good couple of hours thinking it all through. He is now wanting a wheel and lessons himself now. It's my job to investigate the possibilities and arrange some dates. I've got a feeling he'll end up with a wheel before me now.

I am still doing some knitting. The Jaywalkers for Rachael are finished, and are fabulous. I'm sure she will love them. I know I always think my latest pair of socks is my favourite, but these really are my most bestest favouritest socks ever. The only thing I don't like is that 76 stitches a round take longer to knit. I did the Jaywalker pattern before Christmas and this pair is better, especially on the foot, because last time on the flat part I still had 19 stitches, which was wider than the 19 stitches on the top pattern part, so this time I decreased further for the bottom of the foot for a nicer fit. This was pure chance, but the orange part ended up on the cuff, heel flap and toe, and I think this adds to the sock as well.

I've started another pair of socks. These are Lorna's Laces in Mountain Creek. I saw we had spirals from the beginning, but thought I'd counter that by using both ends of the ball. This hasn't stopped the spirals, just made them bigger. They're not for me, they are for the female winner of a quiz at reading group. Last year the winner got a jar of pickle. This year it's socks, but we will have two winners as I'm making a pair of socks for the male winner.

I'm actually waiting for a taxi at the moment; I'm off to the hospital for the camera down my throat. I only got the appointment on Thursday, so I've not had long to dwell. I feel like a gremlin because I wasn't allowed to eat or drink after 12am. It doesn't mention if you can clean your teeth, but I've decided it's best not to, so I am really self-concious about my breath. I can be awake or sedated, so I've decided to let them put me to sleep.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Beware the evangelicals!

Last Wednesday I went knitting to the Baa and had a great evening. I chatted, I knitted, my sock got a lot of attention and I showed off the beginning of Portia so that people realise I can knit big projects and can think beyond socks. At this meeting, I invited myself to join some spinners (Caroline and Lucy) on their trip to a special spinning place. I was more curious about what the place was like than anything else. I certainly did not go with any intention of becoming a spinner.

Anyways, Sunday comes and we all go there and have a go at feeling the different wools, and admiring the different colours and I was decidely unsure of spinning until we went in this shed with different types of wool from different sheep and it was at this moment that I suddenly 'got' the appeal of spinning. You start with a product and can taylor it to whatever you want. I particularly liked the Wensleydale stuff because it had a really strong and different texture. It's not soft like Merino, but has some property I just loved. Caroline pointed out it is 'shiny' and as incongruous as that might seem with the fleece of a sheep, she's right; it is shiny.

Now, I've always known Caroline to be an evangelical of the knitting world. Afterall, she got Louise (of the infamous sock denial) into knitting socks. But, I didn't realise that she was working her magic on me and had a grand plan. "I'll spin you some Wensleydale sock yarn and you can spin me something, " Caroline said. "Ok," I said, thinking I would be spinning with the drop spindle I borrowed from her some time since.

Little did I know there was another plan. Later on, we went for a nice drink and it was at this moment that I was being converted as Lucy and Caroline talked about spinning. Caroline said, quite innocently, "I've got a spinning wheel in the back of my car, you can borrow that." I thought about that and decided to give it a go. I didn't question that Caroline might have a spinning wheel in the boot of her car, afterall I have lots of yarn in the boot of mine. It seemed plausable.

It was only when we went to Caroline's car and saw it strapped in the back of the car like a child that I realised someone had planned this all the time, and that someone had purposefully put that wheel in the back of her car, thinking that I might be going home with it. And I'm so glad she did. Lucy set it all up for me at my house and I've done a bit of spinning every night since.
In fact, as this spinny place is near my work, I've been back and bought over 300g of Cheviot because I ran out on Sunday.

I'm no good yet, but I'm getting the idea and I like the idea of dyeing and making my own sock yarn. I think that would be cool and I love the idea of something completely original. I'll post pictures of my attempts next time (all batteries in camera dead at the moment, sorry). I have dyed wool before, so that doesn't scare me, and Ezzie said he would buy me a wheel as a belated birthday present, so my outlay would be minimal. Caroline, I promise you, I will spin and dye you some yarn some time this year.

Saturday, 8 March 2008


I spelt Barnsley wrong in the heat of the moment.


Barnlsey 1 Chelsea 0

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Old dog, new tricks

So far at work this week it has been rubbish. Staff off sick, me running around like an idiot, kids carrying on. It's like this sometimes, but I am tired out. My knitting is my relaxation this week and I just love the calm I'm having with the needles and yarn in my hands. I'm going out knitting later and I'm really looking forward to it.

I've made some progress with the Jaywalker socks. They are intended for Rachael and I showed them to her on Monday. She loved them, so I want them finished by next Monday when I see her again. I think I've knit about forty pairs of socks now but on this pair I have done two things differently. Firstly, I have knit the cuff with a different rib. Lucy suggested K1 (through back of loop) and P1, and I think it looks more effective. As the Jaywalker pattern is leg hugging, the lack of support this has is not a problem. With a regular pair of socks this cuff would not be so good, but with these it's just right. I've also done a sturdy heel and I love the way this heel works out. On the picture it's inside out and it really does feel more sturdy and supported. As on the knit rows you slip every stitch, there's less knitting and you can finish it sooner. I like this and it might become my staple now.

Believe it or not, but I have actually made a start on Portia and I'm now liking working with the Kidsilk Haze. It knits up quickly because it is fine but on relatively large needles, and it is beautifully soft. This is one project I am determined to finish knitting and sew up.

The picture doesn't do the yarn any justice because it's come out rather dark. But, I love the colour.

At school we have a cleaner, Kath, who knits and she is retiring in May. I love Kath because she is so friendly and we talk knitting. She helped me with my first garment (which incidentally I did finish and sew up). She says she wants to see me wearing Portia before she leaves. She says she can't believe how into knitting I've got from being a complete beginner and having no experience. That is inspiration enough.

Things are a changing around here. I'm no longer just a sock knitter!

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Happy bithday Shona!

Yesterday was really hectic for me. I did not stop all day and when I eventually put down my knitting and got to sleep I was exhausted. I had a lovely deep sleep last night and was only woken this morning by Granby's constant demand for attention. I know it was nine o'clock, and that is a long lie in for me, but that cat really has to develop some consideration.

I went to town in the morning, practised knitting with Kidsilk Haze with Lucy (she is spot on when she say it's like knitting with air), went for my Spanish lesson, visited the other Lucy and felt some llama wool for bed socks I'm contemplating, came home and went to see my gang in West Yorkshire for Shona's birthday and enjoyed a nice (but noisy) meal at Pizza Hut.

There were eleven of us in total and we were all stuffed by the end of the meal. I think the kids enjoyed themselves, and it certainly was a change for everyone, although everyone was sick of Pizza Hut and food and pop when we left after two and a half hours.

For those of you wondering what the state of nursing is like in the NHS at the moment, don't worry, it will be another ten years or so before they let Shona loose on any patients.

We set off back home at about 9pm, and the journey usually takes an hour. I was driving and completely missed my turning on the motorway and ended up going in the wrong direction completely. We ended up in Huddersfield and I felt sure we were on the right road, but started to panic when we went up a really desolate road and the fog and rain and wind was made visibility poor. I should have figured I was on the wrong path when I passed a sign saying not to continue if the lights are flashing, but I carried on regardless and only stopped when I got to the summit of a hill with a crossroads to either Holmfirth or Manchester. It was at this point that Ezzie decided enough was enough, took over the driving and took us into Huddersfield and eventually found the road home. We were back home at 11.15pm, utterly exhausted and sick of being in the car. I 'phoned my Grandma when I got back and she thought we were late because we had stopped off for something to eat. Clearly she hadn't realised the amount of food we had consumed only a few hours earlier at the hut.

I have never been so scared driving. Whenever I looked into the rear view mirror, I couldn't see a thing. At first it was black because there were no lights or cars, but gradually it became grey and white as the fog got thicker.

Today I've not left the house. I have pottered around the house, done some work, done some knitting, done some household chores. I like Sundays like this from time to time. I've made good progress on the Regia Nation socks and the Jaywalker pattern has never looked better.

These socks were originally for me, but I've decided to give them away to my friend Rachael. She got a pair last year of socks last year and loves them. She has done a lot of things to help me, so it's only fair that she is treated. I think I might have to buy more of this yarn for me because the rainbow colours are just too divine. Lucy, who originally sold me the yarn, has since told me she just had to buy more. I think she was intending to reduce her stash this year, but faced with such gorgeous yarn, realised that parting was not too easy after all. This is so often the way with yarn.