Monthly Archives: September 2008

A resolve, a complement, and a meme.

The Resolve:

Thank you for all your thoughtful, helpful and funny comments about Christmas gift knitting. I now feel that my loins are well and truly girded: I will remain strong in my resolve to knit as little as possible for anybody other than myself. I’ve decided that most of the items on my Christmas gift list are going to be transformed into birthday gifts, and will thereby be spread out over the year.

The Complement:

I am extremely flattered to say that both Susan and SweetP have nominated me for a Brillante Weblog Award. Thank you so much guys!

I need to pass this award on to seven bloggers, and this is where it gets hard. There are so many blogs that I love! I’ve decided to nominate people whose blogs I read and admire, but who I don’t think I’ve mentioned before. Check them out, they’re all excellent.

The Meme:

Susan also tagged me recently for a fun meme, and I thought it would be a good idea to combine the two.

Here are the rules:

  1. Link to the person who tagged you.
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Write six random things about yourself.
  4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
  5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
  6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

So, here are six random things about me.

  1. I am terrified of heights. Or rather, I combine being terrified of falling off heights with an almost magnetic attraction to the edges of high places.
  2. I know all the plots of all of the Sherlock Holmes stories off by heart.
  3. I met my husband in the London Dungeons.
  4. I am ambidextrous.
  5. I have genuis-level spatial awareness. Seriously, I do. This ability has absolutely no practical use in my life except when packing the boot of a car, or when reading maps.
  6. I can put both big toes in my mouth at once – look, see how proud I am of myself?

And finally, the people I’d like to find some random things about are:

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Christmas Gift Knitting, or How Not to be a Selfish Knitter

I think I’ve overextended myself with my plans for Christmas gift knitting. This is what I’ve either told the recipient I will make, or have planned to make:

  1. 2 pairs of socks
  2. 1 pair of fingerless gloves
  3. 1 beret (in photos)
  4. 1 Knitted Babe, plus accessories
  5. 1 sunglasses case
  6. 1 scarf

The thing is, I know that all the people I plan to make these things before will really love to receive them. When I mentioned to Will (son no.1) last night, that I was thinking of not making socks this Christmas he said ‘Oh no! Christmas bed socks are a tradition! We’ve normally worn out the pair from last year so it’s a really good time to get them!’

But that list of seven items, each of which probably represents two weeks’ worth of available knitting time, will take me fourteen weeks to make! If I started now, and only knitted gifts, that means I would finish these items half way through December.

Umm, no. It’s not going to happen.

I mean, I love my family, all of them, but fourteen weeks of knitting? Are you kidding me? There’s a reason I’m a member of the wonderful Selfish Knitters group on Ravelry, and that is that I like knitting for myself! This is my hobby, and I knit for my pleasure!

On reflection I have decided drastically to reduce this list. There are only two people who know that I am making something for them – these are the people for whom I am making the beret and the Knitted Babe. I think I will make these two items, and then if I have time, and if I feel like it, then I might make something else from the list. But only might, mind you. I am, after all, a card (well, badge) carrying Selfish Knitter.

So tell me, how much Christmas knitting are you planning to do? How do you manage to balance knitting for yourself and knitting for others at this time of year?

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Iknit Day, and the Yarn Harlot

Yesterday Amanda, Lily and I had a fabulous time at the Iknit Day, housed in the beautiful Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster. There were yarn and craft stalls, charity knitting events, workshops, talks, and the chance to spot many wonderful knitted shawls, cardigans, jumpers and socks. It was fun spotting some people who I recognised from their blogs – I wish I’d had the chance to say hello to all of them!

As we ate our lunch we watched the gorgeous fashion show for Jane Waller’s soon-to-be-republished book A Stitch in Time, which features beautiful patterns from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. There were so many that I would love to make! Details included gathered yokes, tucked waists, puffed sleeves, interesting stitch patterns, velvet bows, ruffled necklines satin shoulder straps … I could go on forever about them, but instead here are a few images:

My main purchase of the day was membership of the 2008 Socktopus Club – I’ve been waiting a few months for membership to open, and I was excited to get on the list! Socks will undoubtedly be featuring here over the next few months…

The only actual yarn I bought was some incredibly lovely pure English cashmere from Devon Fine Fibres. I’ve said I will make my mother a beret for Christmas, and I thought this yarn, and the pattern that came with it, would be perfect for her.

The highlight of the day, of course, was seeing the Yarn Harlot speak. She is even funnier in person than she is on her blog; her deadpan presentation and comic timing were flawless. But I was kind of expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting was how thought-provoking and interesting some of her talk was. A good chunk of her hour-long speech was spent discussing neurological studies of trauma victim and Buddhist monks, outlining different brainwave-states and how they relate to alzheimers and brain health, and weaving all this information to the act of knitting.

It felt good to sit in a room with around 500 other knitters, maybe half of whom were knitting, listening to so many reasons why our hobby is not only great but good for us too!

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Green Tomato Chutney

There’s not a lot of cooking to see here – this blog is about the things that I love, and cooking doesn’t tend to be one of them. But I’m making an exception today, because I have been making chutney from tomatoes grown in our garden, and that feels kind of special to me. If you’re in the UK you will understand the reason why our tomatoes have not ripened this year: there just hasn’t been enough sunshine.

Anyway, here’s what I did.

The ingredients are:

  • 2 1/2 lb green tomatoes
  • 2 lb onions
  • 2 1/2 lb cooking apples
  • 1 lb raisins
  • 6 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tblsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tblsp salt
  • 2 dessertspoons ground ginger
  • 1 lb 6 oz brown sugar
  • 1 oz pickling spice
  • 3 pints malt vinegar.

Chop everything up small, put it all in a great big pan, simmer for about 3 hours.

When almost all the vinegar has evaporated and the chutney has thickened to a soft consistency, it’s ready. Pour into jars, seal, and leave somewhere dark and cool for three months before eating. That’s it!

I’m off to the Iknit day tomorrow with Amanda, and we’ve got tickets to see the Yarn Harlot’s talk. I’m so looking forward to it!

Anyone else going?

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Stockings! Malabrigo Sock yarn! Happy days!

So, my Malabrigo Sock yarn arrived yesterday, and I am officially in love with it.

It seems to be yet another colour that my camera is struggling with though, so let me describe it to you.

This beautiful yarn, colour Arauncil, has the effect of an antique black. It has a creamy base, overdyed with black. This leaves the cream showing through, more in some places, less in others. It is akin to faded denim, only much, much nicer.

With it, I’m making myself a pair of Lacy Cable stockings. Here’s how far I’ve got:

Sometimes knitting is pure happiness!

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