Thursday, November 30, 2006

No one who knows me will be surprised:

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
Literate Good Citizen
Book Snob
Fad Reader
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

Saturday, November 25, 2006


This is a bit of a filler post: I haven't had much time for reading blogs, and so I haven't been planning blog posts either. (You wouldn't believe the number of blog posts I normally write in my head or jot out in text-edit, which never get that one step further to blogger. I haven't even got any of those lined up.)

On Tuesday I met Ferret for lunch, and as we were walking to our cars, we saw a sign for a digital photo exhibition. We had a very quick look at it. The one that stood out most for me was taken in a canyon. You could see through gaps in the canyon wall into another part of the canyon. The walls of the foreground canyon were shadowed (but not in darkness) and the colour of the stone was yellowy-brown stone. The other canyon was brilliantly lit with stone that looked pinky-orange in the sunlight. It deserves to be part of a fantasy novel.

I got to S'n'B on Wednesday: it was Chris's birthday, and there was plenty of cake to go round. I started a second pair of Fetching (the first pair was started after my last post and needs to have some thumbs). Tracey told us about the discussions for the book she is currently illustrating: if I told you what it was about, you might think Stash Enhancement eXpeditions, but you'd be wrong...

Iris has done a round-up of the one-yard fabric swop. I sent to Amanda - parcel here - and received this from Caitlyn. I enjoyed this swop: it was fun choosing a load of little things for someone else, and I especially liked the fabric shopping. Amanda's questionnaire, and her blog, gave enough clues to her colour preferences that I was confident she'd like mine. The nicest thing was that she said in her questionnaire that anything she was sent would be lovely.

Check out Iris' post for a full list of participants.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A yard of fabric...

I'm pleased to announce that Amanda has got the one yard fabric swop package I sent to her.

This was a fun swop to do. Part of the enjoyment was chosing one that was quite different from the type I buy myself. It was fun to go to a fabric shop and browse the shelves with a purpose: I don't seem to do that as often as I'd like. I enjoyed creating a selection of goodies that I thought she might enjoy.

Oh, and if any other non-Brits would like to try Marmite, the little sachets I sent her are easily available here and quite cheap. Leave me a comment, and we can sort out sending one to you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mobile Phone Case Design

Inspired by Jane's photo of quinces, I have been looking at the luminousity of the yellow leaves on the trees around me. They almost glow in the dull November daylight.

I can't get a photo which captures the colours, although those give a hint of the effect.

My mobile phone case, looking a bit like a small furtive furry animal:

Pattern: made up as I go along
Yarn: from a scrumble pack by taj yarn, bought at Ally Pally - unknown fibre
Begun: 10th Nov 2006
Finished: 14th Nov
Hooks: Mostly 3.5mm hook, beginning chain 5.5mm hook
Notions: Toggle
Stash reduction: counts as zero balls

Design process:

I had a mental image of how I wanted my mobile phone case to look, and as I crocheted, I added stitches that made the case look right.

I choose light coloured yarns so I could see them at the bottom of my handbag. The fun fur was used so I could find it by feel. They came in a scrumble pack I bought from Taj Yarn at The Knitting and Stitching show in October: the scrumble pack has a variety of different colour-coordinated yarns with different textures weights etc, suitable for free-form and other experimental work.

(Note all terms use British notation: ie double crotchet is US single Crochet.)

My starting chain was slightly longer then the width of my phone and made using a 5.5 mm hook. I always find my chains are quite tight, hence the use of the large hook.

Changing to the smaller hook, I made a double crotchet into each chain except the last one, where I made two, then worked back making double crochets along the starting chain, back to the beginning. On the second round of double crochet, I made two stitches into the two stitches at each end of the piece, and one stitch into all the other ones: this was the base of the case.

I then did three or four rounds, making one double crotchet into each stitch of the preceding row.

At this point I added the fun fur: the fun fur looked finer then the other yarn, so for this round only, I alternated making 1dc into a stitch, then 2dc into the next stitch, then 1dc, then 2dc etc. I then worked two more rounds (three in total) in fun fur, followed by two in the plain yarn. Next round: fun fur, followed by three rounds plain yarn, followed by one of fun fur. After this, I stopped using fun fur. The effect I wanted was dense fur, gradually getting sparser.

I continued in rounds, until the case was two-thirds the length of the phone. I wanted to be able to answer the phone as quickly as possible, after fumbling for it in a bag, hence the pouch finished where the phone buttons started.

For the flap, I worked in straight rows, which were the width of the case plus two stitches. The last stitch of each row was a single chain for the turning chain. When I got to the row at the top of the phone I shaped it very slightly, by making a slip stitch into the last stitch of the row below.

I carried on like this until I'd got to the right place for the buttonhole. The rows were 12 stitches wide, and for the buttonhole I made 4 double chain, 5 chain in the air, and missed 4 stitches, then made 4dc into the last four stitches. On the way back, I made a dc into each stitch in the row below - ie I'd increased by one stitch, 13 in total. Next row, a dc into first 4 stitches, missed a stitch, 3dc into following stitches, missed a stitch and 4dc into following stitches (11 in total). Finally I made another two or three rows, then finished off.

I sewed the toggle into place, and finished off all the ends.

As I haven't done much crotchet, I'm particularly pleased with it. This is the first time I've managed to get an even edge.

I found it very easy to crotchet what I was visualising, much easier then with knitting. Knitting produces a flat fabric, but with crotchet you can make three dimensional objects.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

Today is my one-year blogoversary. I feel like I ought to write about How Blogging Changed My Life, and All The Cool Bloggers I've Met.

However, blogging hasn't changed my life, and I haven't met many people through it. I think I've only met one person how I wouldn't otherwise have met, and that's Caroline. I feel like I should have met Ferret through blogging, but I met her the old-fashioned real-life common-interest way.

That's not to say that the Internet hasn't changed my life. I've been posting on the Internet for over a decade, on usenet and other discussion boards. Impossible to use something for so long and remain unchanged by it.

It's only in the last year or so that my off-line life and my on-line life have started to mesh. For a very long time, most real-life acquaintances didn't really use the Internet, now with some of them we communicate most often using the Internet.

I've been thinking about doing a blogoversery give-away, but I don't know what to give away. I feel, as this tends to be a crafty-blog, it should be craft related, but what? I don't want to go and buy anything, because I am trying to destash, so that means something I've got already. But the things I have come into two categories:

  • Stuff I want to use
  • and
  • Stuff I don't want to use which must be, by definition, tat

I don't want to give away tat, because no-one would want tat. So I'd have to give away something I want, but because I want it, I don't want to give it away...

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mobile Phone Case finished

The mobile phone case I started last week is now finished.

I haven't had any finishes for ages, and now they seem to be coming one after another.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Template Colours Improving

I've nearly finished messing round with the colour, just want to replace the pink stripes, but that is either more css then I know or graphics editing.

If anything I've changed is having a disasterious effect on viewability, could you let me know please.

Two finishes, and blogoversary giveaway to come

As I'd got up to seven knit WIP on Friday (excluding sewing WIP), I'm rather pleased to announce some finishes.

On Friday, I finished knitting a potscourer, made from an old plastic carrier bag (I might tell you how to do it later, OK). I'd started it on Wednesday or Thursday, so I think that was pretty good going.

Yesterday, I finished knitting a mini-Clapotis scarf for DD. She made sure the dropped stitches were dropped, and really enjoyed doing it. I can see the appeal of this bit, but basically, I found the knitting side of things rather boring. It is slightly complicated stocking stitch: on the knit side of the fabric, the pattern is two thirds knit stitches, one third twisted knit stitches. The purl side is all purl, but you have to move the stitch markers over. It is too complicated to read and knit, but you can knit it and watch TV (except Torchwood). On the other hand, the pattern is extremely well-written, and it would show off a beautiful yarn to perfection.

The seventh knit WIP is actually crotchet. For years I've used DH's old work phones, after he upgrades: by the time I get them, they are well-used, so I've always just left them lurking at the bottom of my handbag. DH was given a flash new phone at work by one of his suppliers: however it wasn't compatable with some other system he needs, so I got the phone. This one deserves a case, so I have been crotcheting one for it. It is a very simple pattern I am making up as I go along, even though it involves changes of yarn and going in rounds, and three dimensional bits all of which I have never done before. All in all, I'm very pleased with it.

I'll upload photos, later, possibly.

As it is coming up to my blogoversary, I've decided to do a little giveaway. Check back in a day or too for details.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Breakages and Breakdowns

Yesterday was a day of breakages and I didn't get to S'n'B because of one.

It started with Kiddo dropping a breakfast bowl in the morning, which shattered across the kitchen floor.

In the afternoon, Kiddo switched on a light: there was the sound of something dropping and breaking, and the entire house was plunged into darkness as the electricity tripped off.

The landing light bulb had broken in the light fitting, and scattered shards of glass over the stairs, and also the pile of clean clothes I'd ironed earlier yesterday. If you know how frequently I ironed (hint: dh has ironed his own shirts since long before we met), then you'd know what a tragedy this was. The stairs were vacuumed, the washing shaken out, hung in the garden and now re-washed.

I could have still gone out, had dh not rung up on the route home from work. He'd got a puncture, and had to perform a road-side tyre change in the dark. Luckily, he carries a fluorescent yellow fleece in his boot, so at least he could be seen.

I decided to do something about cleaning the kitchen instead, and cast on my 6th knitting WIP, a non-stick pot-scourer.

I'm at home still this morning: dh has taken my car to work, and I'm in charge of getting a new tyre. Unfortunately, it is an unusual type, and nowhere has it in stock. Luckily our local tyre service can get it in for this afternoon.

NB Boot in British car lingo equates to trunk in US car lingo: the only clothing dh has in his footwear are socks.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Just like friends don't let friends knit drunk, I'd recommend that you don't watch Torchwood (episode 4) and try to knit. I dropped a stitch...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Off with a bang

The family has just been to the fireworks display on the village green: a huge bonfire, the smell of wood smoke, burgers, candy floss, and lots of fireworks.

It struck me how uncommercialised the whole event was - the whole tradition.

Halloween in my part of Britain used to be a minor adjunct a few days before Guy Fawkes night: I went to the occasional Halloween-themed party, but it was never the focus.

Compare it to recent years: in the supermarket on Tuesday were racks of horror-themed costumes, orange trick-or-treat buckets, pumpkin cake moulds, ghost ice cube trays etc. Next to the sausages - bonfire-night food - was no mention of any associated event. There were toffee apples on sticks - another food which goes with fireworks - again no mention of an associated event.

On Thursday, the staff were removing the Halloween themed products and replacing them with Christmas crackers etc. But still no mention of fireworks.

It annoyed me: a traditional English event glossed over by English retailers. Instead they were focusing on imported traditions, simply because they could make lots of money on products that would either be eaten or sent to landfill in a few days.

However standing on the Green, watching the fireworks go off, listening to the bangs, I was glad the retailers were ignoring it.

There was nothing there because some marketing department had decided it would be good for their profits. Admittedly there were things to spend money on, but not a lot. Burgers or hotdogs - simple fare to eat outside on a cold night. Glow sticks, for the children to play with: some people had brought sparklers. A couple of fun-fair rides, bright in the darkness. Popcorn, freshly made, and candy floss, the only food available that could never be made healthy.

Everything was there because people would enjoy them, nothing was being pushed on us. Enjoyable it all was.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The fabric swop package has arrived

I got my one-yard fabric swop from Caitlyn, and it was a wonderful package.

First I saw the yarn:opened parcel

Then a peek at the sweets: some expresso chocolate, some sweetie frogs, and a bottle of body lotion.second layer of parcel

And the two pieces of Amy Butler fabric at the bottom.

Caitlyn had picked yarns that are hard or impossible to get here. The colours were chosen because I'd said because I said I liked autumn colours.

The Knitpicks yarn is laceweight alpaca and is wonderfully soft. In artificial light it is a reddy brown, but in daylight it is much richer with hints of almost gold. I'd have definitely have chosen this myself. Knitpicks yarn

There was also a skein of Manos del Uruguay. It is quite bulky, and has an amazing array of colours ranging from toffee to turquoise.

The other yarn was Cascade 220, which you can't get in the shops here.

Everything in the package was lovely: Caitlyn obviously thought carefully about what she choose. Thank you, Caitlyn, very much.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One Yard Fabric Swop

This ought to be a post with lots of pictures showing the contents of the one yard fabric swop box from Caitlyn at Knot Without My Knitting which I got on Monday. I can reveal that I spent several minutes saying "wow, oh wow" when I opened it.