Tuesday, March 20

Nec show and Wroclaw trip

Well, I had a delightful weekend. Friday I was helping out on the Guild of Machine Knitter's stand - we were well-staffed, though, so it afforded ample opportunity to browse the lovely stands. There seemed (to my mind) to be more fabric stalls than last year, and only 3-4 yarn stands (Toft, Black Sheep Wools, Neil the Knit and Stash Fine Yarns). I succumbed to two lengths of some gorgeous fabric from Lintons, and three Kwiksew patterns, and a pack of Noro yarn (it's not Kureyon for once, this one has silk). And then, my main purpose - to buy a new overlocker. I settled on a reasonably priced Juki and am excitedly waiting its delivery. Only disappointment - no exhibitor's lounge area this year despite there apparently being a bar space available in the "crapbooking" hall...


Friday night I joined some work colleagues on a short break to Wroclaw (Poland) - we were delayed getting out due to snow at the Polish end so it was 2am before we dropped into bed - very swanky executive apartment with three double rooms. I had my own (snow-covered) balcony - not sure if all that snow fell at once, but it didn't thaw all weekend as it was the wrong side of the building to get much sun. We spent a cold morning dwarf-hunting and trying out pirogie, cocktails and cake, then made a trip to a supermarket to stock up on nibbles for tea. Two of us went to a nightclub, I decided to stay in and natter with A and we went to bed around half 11 - K and L didn't roll in 'til 4am apparently! Which wasn't a problem, except that I awoke around 5am - yeah, my bodyclock doesn't care WHERE I am or WHAT day it is! By 11 I'd gotten itchy feet, so struck out to find more dwarves alone. Of course, didn't clock that no data/wifi meant no GPS and I got a bit lost - we'd taken the tram back the day before (it was only one stop) so I wasn't entirely sure of the way back on foot. Sunday night we visited K's relatives - three families on three floors in one house (sounds snug but it was a good size house) and then went straight to bed by the time we got home. All the food and chatter (most in Polish) was a bit much for my poor ears which gave up around 9pm.

Monday we managed to book ourselves manicures / beauty treatments and wandered over to find the cat cafe - not bad except for when two of the cats got a bit agressive with each other. A quick climb up to the Penitent's Bridge - one of the churches has two towers with a bridge between them and back for shellac - got a cut cuticle which is still a bit sore - then a late lunch, Polish donuts, and back to the airport. Liking the purple sparkly nails but the sore finger, not so much! Well, I think I have ugly hands anyway... :)


Current mood: enthralled

Tuesday, March 13

FO: Deformed toddler sock and fingerless mittens


One deformed toddler sock - tried knitting EON on the CSM at the tightest tension, but it wasn't terribly happy about that - but T3 seemed ok (it's usually T6 for every needle anyway). Completely forgot to work a toe so they are rather square. Oh well, it was my first attempt!


A room with a view - an early Sunday morning shot of the fingerless mittens (yes, there are two!) which I finished sewing up Saturday night. A very simple mitten knitted over 40 sts with a short-row thumb. If I can find the notes I'll post the pattern (quite easy to figure out anyway).

Current mood: working

Monday, March 12

Circles 2018 (Kegworth)

I spent a lovely weekend with my fellow CSMers (Circular Sock Machines) in a hotel in Kegworth. Got there straight from work Friday night, with only a small delay in the traffic. One fish and chip dinner later and I was pretty much ready for bed. That, and there were some rather annoying "hens" with an "impersonal stereo" aka a smartphone playing tinny dance music. There are pubs that play music, you know - you only have to google them.

Saturday I was down to attend Hilary's fairisle class - but got carried away making a toddler sock (came out somewhat misshapen because I'd grafted the toe before I realised I'd forgotten to do a short-row toe - oops!) and managed to miss her class completely. Luckily, she gave me a mini demo of the ingenious two-colour mast she'd developed. Of course I had to buy one!

I then had a class with Matt where he demonstrated polka dots, fairisle worked using the holding position - and a class with Mary - dragon scales ie pointed flaps and lace. As I'd written notes up for a class on cables, which had been left out of the programme, I gave her my handouts and a sample to show everyone. Three techniques for the price of one class! To be fair, teaching more than one class is a bit much because I want to learn stuff too, and that's a push in two days because you can't be in two places at once. In the late afternoon I gave my talk about starting a sock with the ribber - this year I'd manage to borrow a projector so that helped, and Mary borrowed it later for her history talk.

Sunday I did wedge toes and short-row spiral shapes with Steph, and I managed to knit one of a pair of tube socks in WYS blue. Yes, the Wool Wagon was there again and yes, I did succumb to some Stash Enhancement eXperiences. Loving the cashmere mix, hoping it feels as nice as socks as it does in a ball.



Sleep was in short supply - the room too warm and the bed very hard - but I'm not sure I'd sleep well anywhere these days, seeing as I can't even get a decent night's kip in my OWN bed - so I can't entirely blame the hotel for that. All too soon it was over and people were packing up and drifting away - the saddest part for me! I'm sure if we had five days we still wouldn't haven't have explored every topic these machines bring up.

Highlights for me? Steph's class (I've been admiring her socks on Facebook) and especially her "naughty" weights (soft sock weights with faces on), seeing a very simple Co-Op CSM machine and some beautifully painted CSMs. I guess perhaps you have to be an engineer to understand the attraction and wonder at beautifully-machined metal contraptions.

Lots of pictures here. Many thanks to Mary H (from Ruddington museum) for her endless patience in putting this convention together and putting up with lots of hassle, and the Wool Zone for replenishing my supplies!

Current mood: exhausted

Monday, March 5

Non progredi est regredi

Well, the funeral went off ok - as well as might be expected I mean. We got there very early as it was a very cold, crisp day, and our most direct route was country lanes, so we sat in the car nursing hot coffee purchased en route. When asked, "Did it go ok?", the mischievous part of me always wants to say, no actually, they dropped the coffin, or, I went to the wrong chapel. I'm afraid I had to walk away from one relative at the wake - life's short enough, without listening to repeated bitterness about events that took place, that cannot be undone or apologised for (I had 90 minutes of it earlier in the week anyway). I probably should have said something, but I'm very English and hate causing a scene. My grandma wasn't perfect by any means - no parent, no human being, ever is - but she will still be missed nonetheless. It is done. She is at peace now. It's time to let it all go and move on - revisiting the hurt of the past will never bring release. The whole point of a funeral is to remember the good stuff, the fun times. There were lots of those too.

But what really brought it all into sharp perspective for me? Surprisingly, it wasn't the first funeral of the day at 9.45am. The first hearse that arrived contained a tiny wooden coffin, not much bigger than a box of A4 paper. I didn't see any other cars or mourners around, just a few gardeners heading off to their travails. That poor little mite probably never even got the chance to draw breath, or if it did, there were precious few of them. So often we forget what a dangerous process being born is - that all of us are lucky we are even here at all. So to waste a moment of that precious gift of life seems incredibly ungrateful, in the grand scheme of things.

We had a small amount of snow at the end of last week - not enough to cause serious problems, but enough drifts to block some local roads and cause travel problems. So my busy weekend of helping someone in Bromsgrove and then onto Birmingham for drinks with a friend got postponed - leaving me plenty of time to start some actual machine knitting. Yes, you might well faint in surprise - I decided to make another handkerchief hem skirt, this time in a beautiful turquoise Grigna. The weekend was further disrupted on discovery that the Cog's battery was dead as a doornail, thus meaning he had to be picked up for a gig on Saturday night, and thus stranding me at home (not enough room in the car for me, and no way to get my car out either). Oh well, them's tha breaks - the chap from Green Flag was pretty good and managed to get the fancypants Kuga going again on Sunday morning, albeit with some minor surgery to get the dead battery out of the car long enough to get it jump-started. It was really hard to get out, being half under the windscreen drain. I'll stick with my little Fiesta, thanks - no fancy computer and gadgets to drain my battery. The Cog is now obsessively measuring his voltage. I think it was just a blip (the car is not yet four years old). The theory is that some snow got into the car a bit and drained the battery - entirely possible.

I also cast on "Sigh" - a simple cable-fronted jumper in Rowan Colourscape chunky - a discontinued yarn that cost too much to give up on. Some yarn is decidedly bad at telling me what it wants to be - this is one of them! :)

Still struggling somewhat with the black dog. Fed up of winter now - it's gone on entirely too long. Couple that with work and other issues, and I'd be quite happy to go home and just sleep for a few months hoping things are better when I wake up.

Current mood: thoughtful

* To not go forward is to go backward

Saturday, February 24

Literally doing nothing..

I feel I ought to apologise for the paucity and lack of posting lately. The family stuff knocked me for six for a week or two - the continued winter encouraged the "black dog" a little. Luckily I am just too bushed to do anything really silly - the insomnia continues so I can't be bothered to think of ways to top myself. Well, it's nice to have SOMETHING ya can rely upon! :(

The thing about sudden deaths in the family is that, somehow, they bring back previous ones - my father, my aunty, Thomas the beloved cat and surrogate baby. One questions one's own situation and realises that time here is finite. I don't know why that is - when I go to a wedding or christening, I don't hark back to previous ones. I've been keeping busy, helping redistribute / dispose of Nan's belongings and collecting photos digitally to be used in a slideshow after the funeral. Debating on whether there's time tomorrow to bake some cheesy biscuits for the wake. Digging out HDMI cables and trying to figure out how to turn colour slides into digital pictures (luckily I've had some offers for that). Turns out it feels pretty weird going through someone else's stuff - vulture springs to mind. Most of the stuff I took to various charity shops. The clear out seemed pretty quick, but she was renting a lovely little retirement flat. On the positive side, we got her cat Tudor rehomed in about 4 days - because the alternatives for a 17 year old tabby weren't looking good. Bereavement is not an illness! He went to a friend of a friend and is doing very well in his new home, having spent four days mostly hiding behind the tv.

Anyroad, I'm 50% through making a simple Chanel-style jacket from some fabulous pink woven fabric I acquired some time ago for free. It's a beautiful woven check, but a very loose one - the fabric is threatening to dissolve at the edges, despite my zigzagging the edges in an effort to prevent it. Yes, I've given up with using the overlocker, it serges the edges fine but turns everything into ripply seaweed edges, which is disconcerting for a novice sewist. It's been kind of fun using the Brother LS14 - the teacher's machine - though my shoulder seems to have healed well so I am cautiously thinking I'd like to either go back to my own machine or buy a basic lightweight one for class. The LS14 has straight stitch and zigzag and not much else really - but like the very complex tumbledryer we bought (now depositing oil and eating shirts, thankyou Hotpoint for your Friday afternoon machine! Pah...), 14 different settings but you only ever need a few really. Straight and zigzag is actually more than enough. I think on my washing machine I use 5 (synthetics) turned down to 30 degs mostly. The only other setting I ever use is Bed and Bath, for sheets. And it's the same with sewing machines, as it turns out. I'm also using black cotton because (a) it was easier and (b) the fabric is so loosely woven that the stitches are disappearing into it anyway (and the fabric includes lots of colours, one of them is black, so...)

Anyway, that's all for now folks. It's 7.44 and I think I'm ready to wake himself and start some brekko...

Current mood: apathetic

Tuesday, February 20

FO: CSM mobile phone cozy


Just to say I took part. Medals to follow I guess!!!

80 rnds 1x1 rib, 5 rnds stocking stitch, graft the stst end and catch the hem down. Simples!

Sunday, February 11

Probably not knitting...

cartoon skiier

Yeah, this is probably the first time I won't be taking part in the Ravellenic games (which run alongside the actual winter olympics). Knitting mojo is sorely lacking at the moment - the continued cold weather, aches and pains, and various other situations all contributing to my not really feeling up to it this time around. Never fear, I'm fine, just not really in the mood right now.

Good luck to all my fellow online ravthletes, though, and may you challenge yourself in whatever yarncraft you decide to compete with! Zippy the cartoon knitting machine wishes you good crafting!

Current mood: apathetic