Tuesday, December 29, 2009

bleak midwinter

in the bleak midwinter
frosty wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone

(christina rossetti, 1872)

it's cold here. so cold, that we've had our first "white christmas" in more than five years (even if it snows elsewhere in the UK, it doesn't normally snow much where we are, and it definitely doesn't stick). well, it stuck this time, and then the snow turned to freezing sleet, which turned to ice, and the ice has stayed for a fair few days now. our little under-insulated sea-front flat is icy - all heaters are turned up to full blast, there are blankets & duvets on the couch to huddle under, and i'm surrounding myself with (equally chilly, i'm sure) furry creatures. around my comfy chair in the living room, i'm collecting lots of cozy knitting projects to work on - if i keep everything within easy reach, i can stay in my blanket-nest as much as possible. & since i've taken to wearing two pairs of wooly socks at a time in an attempt to keep my feet at least semi-warm, i clearly need to keep knitting more socks as fast as i can.
embarrassingly, this pair (they are both finished now, although there's only one in the photo) have been on the needles since january 2009 - i have no idea why, since it's only taken me a couple of days of holiday-tv-knitting to finish the second sock. i'm wearing them now (over another pair, of course) & they're lovely.

handspun socks
plain toe-up sock in sewknitnbeads2 handspun, colourway "lazy daisy"

i'm also finishing up some plain toe-up socks in my own merino/cashmere/nylon 4ply (colourway "bramble" - no photo, sorry!) which have been on the needles since about may 2009, as well as these brainless socks, also in my own merino/cashmere/nylon 4ply (a dyepot-accident-colourway), which have been in progress since july 2009 (blush).

& more brainless socks
"brainless" socks by yarnissima, yarn by me

i'm a tiny bit annoyed with myself at letting these projects sit for so long - i'm getting through them quite quickly (now that i'm actually working on them!), and i'm very pleased with the finished socks (especially since it's sooooooo coooooooollllld...). but at least it means that i've got lots of interesting little projects piled up around my blanket-nest to keep me occupied through this bleak midwinter. if i get bored of one, i can pick up another, and i may not have to leave my cozy spot until the spring....

(...now, if only i didn't have to go to the loo...)

Friday, December 25, 2009

merry christmas

whether you celebrate it or not, whatever you're doing today, if you're a knitter, the message is still the same....

sheep & wool

may there be sheep on earth,
& good wool to all

i hope you & yours are having a lovely day - merry christmas!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

strangely bereft

last batch

the last batch of this year's yarn club parcels is off in the post! i'm so happy with how everything has gone - it's my first-ever time running a yarn club, and the response has been fantastic. it's quite a worry, this yarn club business - essentially, you're asking folk to fork over a fairly substantial amount of money in advance, without seeing any of the yarns or colourways that they're going to get, on the expectation that you're going to send them something good!! the potential for unhappy customers seems quite high - but the yarn club members have been wonderful, and everyone seems to have liked what they got (& if not, i haven't heard about it yet!!).
& i'm especially relieved that the colourways have had such a great response, considering that they're my 2010 collection (otherwise i would have had to spend my christmas holidays coming up with a new batch of colourways for next year, instead of knitting & eating chocolate...). but now that the parcels have all left the studio, i'm feeling strangely bereft - there seems to be so much more room in the studio now that all the little stashes of club yarn & club extras are packed up & shipped out. and my work schedule is suddenly wide open - no more big batches of club yarn to dye, skein, & label up!
however, there's no time to rest on my laurels - after all, since the club was a 2010 preview, that means that i need to dye up some more of the new colourways quickly, & make sure that there's some in the shop for the start of the new year (which is alarmingly soon - have you noticed?). i'd better get going.....

Sunday, December 06, 2009

sweet adeline

adeline coat 1

project specs:
started: 1st november 2009
completed: 3rd december 2009
pattern: "adeline coat" (bust size 42", test knitter for lucy sweetland's upcoming pattern)
yarn: rowan harris tweed aran, shade 018 "thatch", 1100 grams/2050 yards (ravelled here)
needles: 4.5mm addi circulars
modifications: the pattern as written has a knitted tie belt & also has pockets; i knitted the pockets but decided not to add them on yet as i quite like how it looks without them. i'm still undecided about the belt, so i'm just using a shawl pin to close it at the moment (& i quite like the look, so i probably won't add the belt either). other than that, as a test knitter, i knitted the pattern as written.
there were points during this knit that i was a bit skeptical - with the number of stitches i had on the needles, and the amount of knitted fabric that was piling up on my lap, i was convinced i was actually knitting some sort of wooly yurt.

adeline coat 3

but i trusted the pattern, and kept going - and i have to say, i think this is probably my favourite finished project so far. once it was off the needles, sewn up, and blocked - i was sold. the dense cabled bodice, the drapey long skirt...

adeline coat 4

...the perfectly proportioned sleeves, with a cabled cuff that echoes the bodice pattern & stops the sleeve from riding up....

adeline coat 6

...and the incredibly cozy, immense shawl collar (very warm, even in the face of the brisk sea wind we were dealing with during the photo session!).

adeline coat 5

i love everything about this coat, and i'm so happy i got to be a test knitter. the level of detail & thought in this pattern is fantastic, and lucy was very helpful with any small questions that came up. i've been saving this yarn for ages for the "perfect" pattern - and i'm so pleased that i kept it for this stunning knit.

adeline coat 2

(the photographer's assistant was also impressed).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

my 15 minutes

here's the excitement for today - a crew from newsnight scotland was filming in some of the studios in west kilbride, for an upcoming item about crafting in scotland, with some of us crafters in the west kilbride craft town. i wasn't super-excited about being on tv, but had agreed to be "background" - i thought this would mean a few quick pans over the dyed & drying yarn, maybe a shot or two of the spinning wheel, something nice & colourful that they could use as background for a voiceover, and then they'd move on. alas, i was quite, quite wrong - they were in my studio for about 45 minutes of "could we get some shots of you spinning?" (good thing i wore my nice socks!) and "could you stir this dyepot?" and "could you stand over here & skein up this yarn?" and so on, and so on....

.... and then they asked me to talk. on camera. faint...

so, just in case you need to know when not to watch newsnight scotland, i'll be embarrassing myself on tv at some point during the week of 14th december (i don't know the exact date yet). please avoid all screenings of this show during that week, just in case - i know i won't be watching!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

making progress

thing are gradually getting back to normal over here - the new floors are down, the new bedroom furniture is built, and some progress is being made in reorganising & returning all our bits & pieces to their regular habitat (although there's still a surprising amount of things crammed into the spare room). & we even have all our doors back on (they had to come off when the new floor went in, and the RSA spent a lot of time & energy cutting bits off the bottom of doors to get them to fit over the new floor). & although there's still some things to be done, i no longer feel like i'm living in the middle of a building site, and can get down to some serious knitting at last (for most of the past week, my brains's been good for nothing but 2x2 ribbed socks).
& since i've fallen behind a little on the adeline test knitting, that's my focus for the moment - i've made it up to the armpits and split for the fronts & back, and have just finished one of the fronts. & now that it's no longer bunched up on one circular (i've put the parts that i'm not working at the moment on some waste yarn) i can really spread it out & see what's what.

adeline body
(cat for scale)

& seriously, this thing is huge - i may be knitting a ranch house *. i mean, i knew it was big when i was working on it - it is, after all, a knee-length knitted coat - but i didn't quite realise how much i had knitted until it was all laid out before me. & when i look at the pattern & how far i have to go, it seems like nothing compared to how far i've already come - i think i should be putting the finishing touches on this by the end of the week. & just in time - it's starting to get pretty chilly here, and i think i might just end up living in this all winter.

* "Jose brought up the blueprints for a new ranch house... I have this strange feeling that the blueprints and the knitting instructions got switched. I may be knitting a ranch house." - Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn, "Breakfast at Tiffany's")

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a fugue state

i'm sorry for the blog silence - things have been pretty chaotic around here, and i haven't really had much time to myself. we're in the midst of a great big DIY mess - most of the laminate flooring in the flat is being replaced, as well as most of the bedroom furniture, not to mention tearing down old wallpaper, skimming walls & ceilings, and repainting....
in the past couple of weeks, i've spent more time that i care to recall doing things like pulling up laminate flooring & carting it to the dump, taking apart old furniture & getting rid of it, and building new things from ikea (which i'm now fairly certain is actually swedish for "satan", such is the diabolical nature of their near-indecipherable so-called "instructions"). in the past few days, i've made more trips up & down our two flights of narrow, winding stairs than i normally would in a month (carrying heavy things up & down & up & down). and i've managed to cram just about everything we own into the small spare room, to clear the way for the new laminate flooring to be put in. i'd take pictures, but it's just too depressing.
i'm utterly exhausted, & wouldn't be at all surprised if i suddenly succumbed to a fugue state - the idea of completely forgetting all the chaos & heading off for parts unknown seems incredibly tempting.
alas, i think i'm doomed to stay here & suffer the clutter & disorder - thankfully, the new flooring is being put in this week, and the rest of the new furniture is arriving on saturday, so everything should be more or less back to normal by sunday evening.
and happily, i've got something lovely & new to distract me...

fugue tam

i'm extremely excited to be working in collaboration with the amazingly talented kate davies, who has created this fantastic new design especially for old maiden aunt yarns - fugue, which will be available in kit form, in a variety of colourway combinations, with an option of either tam or mitts.

fugue mitt

kate's designs are utterly lovely, full of incredible thought, planning, & attention to the minutest of details, and i'm thrilled that she's created such a gorgeous design using my yarn. the base is a new one for me, a 4ply pure welsh wool from bowmont braf. this yarn is beautiful - soft & squishy, fluffy & light, yet wonderfully warm & durable when knitted up into the dense fabric of this design.
the pattern & yarn is off to the test knitters & tech editors, and i'm just waiting for my batch of base yarn to arrive (this year's clip of the bowmont braf wool is currently off at the mill being spun & should be with me within the next couple of weeks) - with any luck, the first batch of kits should be available in the web shop by mid-december. the kit will include kate's pattern and enough of the luscious bowmont braf to knit either a tam or mitts, and will be packaged in a lovely little "old maiden aunt" project bag (a new product for me as well, which will also be available in the web shop soon!).
if you'd like to be added to an email list to be notified when the kits start to become available for purchase, please drop me an email. until then, i'll be working away at home, trying to restore my wee flat to some kind of normality...

fugue kit

i'll see you later!!

(all photos belong to kate davies & are used with her permission)

Monday, November 09, 2009

chilly days...

... call for cozy things.

porridge with raisins, brown sugar, & homemade applesauce - yum

a comfy chair & a warm blanket

some excellent entertainment

adeline cardigan
& some seemingly endless knitting

snoring pup!
(snoring pup optional)

how are you planning on keeping warm this winter?

Thursday, November 05, 2009

france thinks i'm a tory

or, to be more precise, the french minister pierre lellouche thinks that the tories are "autistic". in an interview published this morning in the guardian, he says of the party's approach to the EU; "they have one line & they just repeat that one line - it is a very bizarre sense of autism". later on today, he clarified: "In French, the term autistic has been totally trivialised through overuse. President Sarkozy is called autistic every day. I understand that in English that this word could shock. That was a glitch. It was a misunderstanding." oh, ok then.
now, i don't normally get into the political (or the deeply personal) on this blog - it's usually chats about knitting & other topics of the light & fluffy variety.

finn closeup
(look, a puppy!!)

however, as an autistic person (i have asperger's, an autistic spectrum disorder), this language usage has made me pretty uncomfortable (& i'm fairly certain it isn't just due to an extreme aversion to having any association, however slight, with the tories!). i've been thinking about it all day, and i'm still not 100% sure how to articulate what bothers me about it.
i suppose the major problem is the use of "autistic" as an insult. some of us have moved on from using terms associated with other disabilities as insults - "lame" & "retarded" spring immediately to mind. i'm not sure if these are mainly north-americanisms, but wherever you are, i'm sure you can think of more/others - i was horrified, when i first moved to the uk 10 years ago, to hear someone use the term "mong" in casual conversation (short for mongoloid, a word of truly sketchy origin & usage). there was also an accompanying face. luckily i haven't heard that one in years, so maybe it's fallen out of use as well (fingers crossed...).
but is that just because they're being replaced with new insults, taken from words used for other, newer minority/disenfranchised groups? things like autism, ADHD, OCD and other neurological disorders are relatively new discoveries (previously, it's probably likely that someone like me would have simply fallen under the now-defunct umbrella of "retarded", "mentally handicapped", or simply "crazy"). apparently, the word "autistic" has become popular in recent years in colloquial french to refer to anyone who is stubborn/doesn't listen, & is used every day in the political world and media (according to the times online article linked to above). nice. so, is "autistic" the new "retarded"? i'm not sure what to think about that.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


please take reassurance in this fact:

test knit supervisor

the test knitting is being properly supervised at all stages.

Monday, November 02, 2009


sometimes, i think i like the preparations for a new project even more than i like knitting it. printing out the pattern, choosing the yarn, carefully selecting needle sizes, and winding all the yarn into sturdy, squat yarn cakes.

adeline preparations

but then, seeing the project taking shape is pretty fun too - especially when it's as beautiful as this one is (check out the amazing cabled section!).

adeline sleeve

i've been chosen to be a test knitter for the gorgeous adeline coat (ravelry project page link, but lucy has a beautiful photo of hers on flickr), a new design from lucy sweetland designs (a black pepper). i'm pretty excited about this project - it's a stunning design, and i'm quite honoured to be trusted with the test knitting, and to be among the first to make it. it's a great combination of the simple & the intricate, and despite some initial gauge issues, i'm almost done the first sleeve already, even though i only cast on for it on saturday.
i've got a "deadline" (not officially demanded, but politely requested) of 3-4 weeks, which seems manageable, so expect to see a lot more about this project over the next while, as everything else will be taking a back seat! it's no hardship, though - this project is making me very happy.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

o'keeffe cardigan

the seasons are changing here, and fall/winter is definitely edging in. the skies are shifting to gray, and it's getting dark quite early here now. one of the things i found difficult in my first year in scotland (and still find difficult now) is how dark & gray the winters are here. it never really gets that cold here in the winter, but the lack of light & colour is something i struggle with year after year - so it's important to find things to combat that grayness that starts to settle in this time of year.

fyberspates merino aran
merino aran in "limes" from fyberspates

something bright & vivid, in a soft & cozy merino, is perfect for chasing away the grays. this yarn was my one & only yarn purchase from this summer's ravelry day in coventry (i ended up being far too busy to browse the other vendor's stalls, and just snatched this up on my way back from the loos - the colour shouted out to me!) i've been knitting with fine-gauge yarns so much lately that i'd forgotten how quickly an aran weight knits up, and it's rapidly becoming the tilted duster cardigan from the interweave knits fall 2007 magazine.

tilted duster front
interweave fall 2007 cover shot

the only problem with this project? i can't get georgia o'keeffe out of my head. & here's why - before i cast on for the cardigan, i had this conversation with the RSA.

me: (holding the interweave magazine so the RSA can see the cover shot of the cardigan) what do you think about this cardigan? i think i'm going to make it.
the RSA: hm... are you going to change it, or knit it just like that?
me: well, i'm probably going to knit the bottom "skirt" section plain, instead of having the ribbing at the fronts, and make it a little wider so there's more overlap.
the RSA: oh, ok!
me: why do you ask?...
the RSA: well..... knitted like that, it kind of looks like..... ah..... well, it looks like a..... vagina.
me: oh.

(scroll on back up & take another look at the magazine cover shot - you know you want to.)

well, what can you say after that? i'd already planned to change the ribbing at the bottom, because it draws a lot of attention to the belly area, & i don't really need any extra attention there! (weirdly enough, lots of folk on ravelry have knitted this as a pregnancy cardi, so i'm clearly not alone in thinking it's a style that draws focus to the belly). but now, all i can think of is georgia o'keeffe's flower paintings:

"well, I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flower you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower - and I don't."
(georgia o'keeffe)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

yarn club - october!

yarn club - october!

the first yarn club mailing is all packed up & ready to go! unfortunately, i'm still waiting to receive a couple of the little things i'd planned to include as "extras" in this mailing. but since the postal service is going on strike for 48 hours at the end of this week (thursday/friday), i decided it was better to get these parcels out as soon as possible - even though i don't have everything that i wanted to include - in the hopes that the UK ones would be delivered well before thursday, and the non-UK ones would at least have cleared the UK before any strike action! the missing few little things will just have to go out with the november mailing instead, so everyone will get extra "extras" next month. i went back & forth on this a lot, and in the end, decided that it was better for everyone to get their yarn on time and include the treats in next month's mailing than to have this month's mailing be delayed.
it will all go in the post first thing tomorrow morning, & i'm really nervous - it's the first time i've done a yarn club, and it still boggles my mind that so many people have been willing to hand over their hard-earned yarn money to me, without knowing anything about what they'll be getting, and just trust me to send them something good. so fingers crossed - it's all heading out to you tomorrow, and i hope you like it!!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

national poetry day

cashmere cowl
"the kind of work that keeps you together" - basic cowl, handmaiden cashmere

How to Knit a Poem (Gwyneth Lewis)

The whole thing starts with a single knot
and needles. A word and pen. Tie a loop
in nothing. Look at it. Cast on, repeat

the procedure till you have a line
that you can work with.
It’s a pattern made of relation alone,

my patience, my rhythm, till empty bights
create a fabric that can be worn,
if you’re lucky and practised. It’s never too late

to pick up dropped stitches, each hole a clue
to something that might be bothering you,
though I link mine with ribbons and pretend

I meant them to happen. I make a net
of meaning that I carry round
portable, to work on sound

in trains and terrible waiting rooms.
It’s thought in action. It redeems
odd corners of disposable time,

making them fashion. It’s the kind of work
that keeps you together. The neck’s too tight,
but tell me honestly: How do I look?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

and another...

...just to let you know that i’ve sent out an email to let people know that they’re in the club! i ended up having 40 people interested (help!) so everyone who emailed me has been offered a place - if you emailed me & didn’t get an email back offering you a place in the club & telling you what to do next, please check your spam filters!
thank you all so much for all your lovely support - i’m really excited about the way the collection is coming together, and i hope you are too when you start getting parcels out at the end of the month!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

just a quick one....

...to remind you that time is running out to sign up for the 2010 yarn preview club!!! i'm still taking names up until 1st october (which is alarmingly soon!) & have already started dyeing up the first batch of new colourways. so if you want the be part of the preview club, please send me an email in the next couple of days - or else you'll have to wait until next year!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

all that i'm capable of

so far, wednesday isn't going that great. right from its very first minute, things weren't good, and we were very rudely awakened at about 12.01am (after only having gone to sleep about half an hour before). i'll spare you the details, but let's just say that the dog is as sick as... well, as a dog. and that the way this sickness was -ahem- manifesting itself, none of us got any sleep at all, and that over the course of the next 8 or so hours, there were many, many throw-coat-on-hastily-over-pajamas-grab-dog-and-run-outside-at-full-speed moments. sigh. fingers crossed, there seems to be a lull in the -ahem- "activities", and the pup has been convinced to eat something, drink something, and nap on the couch, so hopefully the worst has -ahem- passed.
unfortunately, i'm not a person who does well on no sleep, so i'm more or less non-functional today - in fact, if any of this post makes even the least bit of sense, i'll be quite impressed. i've decided to close the studio, just in case things don't improve (i normally take the pup in to work with me, which just doesn't seem like a good plan today - but then, neither does leaving him on his own at home!) - maybe if we both just rest & reboot, things will be ok again tomorrow.
& since i'm ridiculously low on brain-power today, this is all that i'm capable of...

parisian fluff

it's the short-row cardigan from la droguerie in paris (or, as it's more properly known, the "gilet à rangs raccourcis") & it's a work of utterly simple genius - worked in garter stitch, side to side, using basic short rows to shape the yoke and the sleeves. i bought the yarn & the pattern together when we were in paris this summer, and it's knitted in their own 4ply 100% alpaca held together with a strand of their own laceweight mohair - essentially making a fine dk/sportweight yarn, but worked on 5mm needles for a lovely light fabric. i'm not normally a mohair fan, but the yarns worked together are so soft & luxurious, and the knitted fabric is so fluffy & squashable, that i may just have been converted. the pattern uses the same four-row repeat throughout, so it's perfect for a day like today - completely & utterly mindless, and just about all that i'm capable of.

p.s. so far, 25 people have signed up for the yarn club - is it bad that that's completely freaking me out??!?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2010 colourways preview club!!

as you might already know, the Old Maiden Aunt 2009 “homecoming collection” colourways have been going down well. alas, in a few short months, it will no longer be 2009, which means it will no longer be the year of homecoming! so, i’m planning a new collection of colourways for 2010, and am having lots of fun dreaming up new ideas. (don't panic - some of the "homecoming" colourways will be sticking around - but not all of them).
then, something occurred to me. maybe some of you don’t want to wait until 2010 to see the new colourways... maybe (just maybe) some of you might like to get a look at them ahead of time, over the next few months, before they make their way into the Old Maiden Aunt shop? so, i've decided to set up my first ever yarn club - the 2010 preview club! here's how it will work:

  1. it will run for three months, with parcels being mailed out at the end of october, november, and december.
  2. each parcel will contain two skeins of sock yarn in two different colourways (i’ll be sticking to the superwash merino/blends for this club, so by the end of the three months you will have received two skeins each of 100% superwash merino, superwash merino/bamboo, and superwash merino/cashmere/nylon, with six different colourways in total) plus a few extra little treats (no patterns will be included in the club).
  3. each of the colourways will be brand-new, never-seen-before-in-the-web-shop, and will not be available for general purchase until january 2010, at which point they will form part of the new 2010 colourway collection. i would ask that you not sell on any of the yarns during the three months of the club (trading is ok).
  4. the club will cost £75 for UK/EU members and £85 for non-UK/EU members, and includes six skeins of sock yarn & all postage costs (plus a few wee treats!).
  5. the club will be limited to 50 members (although i’m not sure if that many will even be interested, but hey, who knows!).

if you’re interested in the yarn club, please send me an email with “2010 preview club” in the subject line, and your name, country, & contact details (email and/or ravelry name) in the body of the message. i’ll be taking emails up until 1st october 2009 - if i get more than 50, i’ll pull 50 names out of a hat; less than 50, & everyone who emailed me will get offered a place in the club. at that point, i’ll send out an email to let you know how to purchase your club membership, and i’ll start dyeing up a storm! (please note that sending me an email doesn’t mean you absolutely have to purchase a club membership - if circumstances change & you’re no longer interested that’s ok.)
if you have any questions or comments please let me know - i’d love to hear what you all think about my idea! if there’s anything i haven’t covered, please ask & i’ll do my best to answer. & if you know anyone else who might be interested, pass it on - the more the merrier :)

p.s. i can’t tell you yet what sorts of colourways you might be getting, but i can tell you that if you’re a fan of deep, dark, rich colours, this might be right up your alley ;)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

in recovery

i'm safely back home after a crazy weekend, doing an old maiden aunt yarns trunk show at socktopus in london. & even though i was seriously delayed getting back (my 2pm flight home was delayed, then cancelled, then i was bumped on to the 5:30pm flight, which was then delayed for over an hour, & i finally made it home 5 hours later than planned!) it was totally worth it.
there were delicious brownies made by ali, and the best deli sandwich ever, and candy galore. (click on any pic to embiggen in flickr!)

socktopus 1

i shipped a big box of yarn down ahead of time, & we filled up the shop with colourful piles of sock yarn.

socktopus 3

the trunk show was set to open from 12-5pm, but at 11:45am, this happened (good thing the door was locked!).

socktopus 4

well, we couldn't keep them standing out there, could we? but someone who arrived bang on time (12:01pm) felt a little left out...

socktopus 5socktopus 6

...especially when she found out that someone else had already scooped up most of the purple colourways...

socktopus 7

(it's not my fault - i was bribed with wollmeise - & managed to hang onto it, despite the presence of a would-be wollmeise thief!!)

wollmeise theft!

... & that lots of other folk already had armfuls of (purple) yarn as well...

socktopus 9socktopus 10

i think everyone was happy with what they got in the end, though.

socktopus 8

thank you so much to alice for having me, and to all you mad london knitters for being so fab & welcoming - and for buying lots of my yarn (i'm shipping back less than half of what i shipped down - hurrah!). i'd come back anytime - but next time, i'm taking the train!! & for today, at least, i'm in recovery - some simple knitting, my alias dvd box set, and a big box of chocolates (from the RSA, waiting for me when i got home, yay!).

Monday, September 14, 2009


... in luton airport after the socktopus show weekend. more about that later - for now, i'm waiting for a 2pm flight home which has been delayed till 4:30pm!!! boo.

at least i have a few wee things here to keep me going...

(oh no - it's worse than i thought! my flight is now cancelled, & i've been bumped to the 5:30pm flight instead - bah.)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

to sum up

1. i have somehow managed to pull a muscle in my - erm - posterior. this injury is at once utterly ludicrous (try telling someone - without laughing - that you have, in effect, sprained your ass. it's not possible.) and ludicrously debilitating. currently, i can't comfortably do any of the following things: stand; sit; lie down; get in or out of a chair or bed; walk; climb or descend stairs; bend at the waist or knees; step in or out of the bath; put clothing on my lower half; etc. don't worry - i'm still doing all of these things (especially that last one, for everyone's sake) even though it hurts. & thankfully, it seems to be starting to get a little better already. unless, that is, the washing up needs done.
2. i have also somehow developed a twitch in my cheek (the one on my face this time) which makes it look as though i'm winking lasciviously (in an exaggerated "carry on" sort of way) at random passersby. add to this the occasional absentminded massaging of my - erm - injured part, and the overall effect is one that may well see me getting arrested before the end of the week.
3. the above-mentioned twitch (as well as the absentmindedness) may possibly be related to the (approximately) 27 pints of coffee that i have managed to ingest today while waiting for the courier to pick up this yarn:

stocking up...

(packed into a big box, naturally). it's on its way down to london for a trunk show this sunday at socktopus, and the courier company gave a pickup window of 8am-6pm today (helpful, no?). i was at the studio at 7:45am "in case they were early", having pretty much rolled out of bed, put a bra on under my pajamas, dragged the still-sleeping pup out to the car, and whizzed out to the studio. the courier arrived at 4:30pm.
4. the above-mentioned twitch may also be due to the fact that up until last week, i was blissfully unaware that this coming weekend is also IKnit London, a massive annual knitting event/yarnorgy, which essentially results in almost every knitter in the UK (& lots from other places as well) turning up in london simultaneously. turns out that many of them are also staying on for the sunday as well, and planning a visit to my socktopus trunk show, which is more than a little intimidating. especially when one confirmed trunk-show-attendee is also one of my favourite sock designers, whose sock pattern "brainless" i had planned to knit as my travel project this weekend - although i may rethink that, as it seems a bit like going to a concert wearing the t-shirt of the band you're going to see.
5. to sum up - aching, twitchy, overly caffeinated, and a little freaked out - london, here i come! (think they'll let me in?)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

where have i been??

le tour eiffel
ah, paris....

paris, je t'aime
je t'aime toujours.

Friday, August 14, 2009

unlucky for some

all this time, i thought it was friday the 13th that was meant to be the unlucky day - but as it turns out, friday the 14th might not be that great either. driving in to the studio this morning, i slid gently & gracefully around a curve in the road.... and the back end of my car kept on sliding (not so gracefully, though). it's been pretty rainy today, and there must have been a slick patch on the road - the slide turned into a skid, and my car performed a neat full circle before shooting off the side of the road (backwards), down a small embankment (still backwards), and came to rest in some brush, stopping just before we reversed onto the beach & into the sea.
i guess it could have been worse - the road was fairly busy, and the slide could easily have gone the other way, into heavy oncoming traffic. the tide could have been in (!!). i could have been badly hurt - as it is, i feel mostly ok, apart from a sore right shoulder (probably due to some pretty intense wrestling with the steering wheel!). the pup (who was in the back) could have been hurt - he's ok too, and doesn't even seem to be that worried about it (he's passed out snoring in his bed like nothing ever happened). and the car will hopefully be ok as well - there didn't seem to be an awful lot of damage (although i'm still waiting to hear back from the repair centre, so cross your fingers for me!).
even so, it was pretty scary - so, after waiting about in the pouring rain for the tow truck to show up, i've pretty much given up on the rest of the day. gone is the plan to head into the studio for a day of hard work (i've got a ton of stuff to do, but it will just have to wait). instead, i'm planning an afternoon of hot baths, hot drinks (& stiff drinks too), good books, bad movies, and knitting. & here's what i'll be having for tea...

c is for cookie
C is for cookie...

...that's good enough for me.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

new love

it's true - i move on quickly. none of this sitting & pining over things lost - nope, i've moved on to something new before the dust even settles.

brainless socks
new socks, in the "reclaimed" yarn from the pair that didn't work

just because things didn't work out between me & my monkeys, doesn't mean i'm living a life without socks - sometimes, you need something a little brainless to get over an old love.

(p.s. i realised belatedly that some of you took my last post to mean that things were not well on the home front! don't worry - i only "broke up" with my socks, not with the Resident Sock Appreciator!!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

it's not you - it's me

have you ever been in a relationship where, although you've been together for some time now, you can't quite shake the feeling that something just isn't right? you seem to be putting in all the time & effort, and your other half just isn't pulling their weight. and although you try to keep going, there finally comes a point where you have to admit it - this just isn't working.

midnight monkeys
one entire monkey sock... which doesn't fit.

sure, you can try to ignore the obvious. you can try to distract yourself with other things.

noro striped socks
lovely noro striped socks, which do fit!!

but eventually, you just have to come clean - you just don't fit. you're at a stage in your life where you really just want some time on your own. you need to spend more time on your career. you just don't feel like you have anything left to give.

goodbye, monkey...

it's not you - it's me.....

Monday, July 20, 2009


happy birthday 33

once a year we celebrate
with stupid hats and plastic plates
the fact that you were able to make
another trip around the sun
and the whole gang gathers round
and gifts and laughter do abound
and we let out a joyful sound
and sing that stupid song

happy birthday! - now you're one year older
happy birthday! - your life still isn't over
happy birthday! - you did not accomplish much
but you didn't die this year, i guess that's good enough

so let's drink to your fading health
and hope you don't remind yourself
your chance of finding fame and wealth
decrease with every year
does it feel like you're doing laps
and eating food and taking naps
and hoping that someday perhaps
your life will hold some cheer

happy birthday! - what have you done that matters?
happy birthday! - you're starting to get fatter
happy birthday! - it's downhill from now on
try not to remind yourself your best years are all gone

if cryogenics were all free
then you could live like Walt Disney
and live for all eternity
inside a block of ice
but instead your time is set
this is the only life you get
and though it hasn't ended yet
sometimes you wish it might

happy birthday! - you wish you had more money
happy birthday! - your life's so sad it's funny
happy birthday! - how much more can you take?
but your friends are hungry so just cut the stupid cake

(arrogant worms, "the happy happy birthday song")

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

monkeys everywhere

phew - i'm back. i actually got back last week, but have been busy dyeing like mad to try & restock the shop (lots of yarn mysteriously disappeared while i was gone - i'll be checking what my shop volunteers add to their ravelry stash listings, as i certainly have my suspicions as to where it's all gone...).
the trip was great, but exhausting - it's nice to be home. & i did manage to plow through quite a lot of knitting while i was away, what with all the sitting about & chatting that we did - but it's not gone quite how i expected it to.
i thought i'd get a lot done on my paper crane - a super-fine stockinette knit that goes on forever, which would be perfect for a holiday with a lot of sitting/knitting/chatting time. but then something else happened.
first there were these - i just about finished one on the plane, and the other grew quickly during my first few days in canada.

monkey scum!
socks that rock lightweight in "pond scum"

then, there was this - i bought the yarn (in a very familiar colour!) in my next few days in canada, and wound it up at the shop so i could start straightaway.

somoko monkeys
fleece artist somoko, can't remember the colour

then, before i could even start the second one, this happened (at least it's a different colour...?).

monkeys at midnight
my own merino sock yarn in "midnight"

i don't know what's going on - i'm mad for the monkeys!! i think this may be my sock for the summer - i've now knitted the pattern so many times that i don't even need to look at the charts anymore (& the leg of the last one is accidentally one pattern repeat longer than it ought to be as i was too busy chatting & just kept knitting).
and as if that wasn't enough - guess what i'm going to make with this new acquisition?

koigu kpppm p860
a small part of my koigu purchases at lettuce knit

would that be so wrong?