Thursday, December 24, 2009

Woohoo! Squee!

I was waiting for written confirmation, but the post van containing the letter seems to be stuck behind Father Christmas's sleigh, so here goes;

The result for my A297 Latin course with the Open University was a very good Level 1 pass with a Distinction!

As you can imagine, I am very pleased.

Now back to wrapping presents and making mince pies.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waistcoat - done

At last my waistcoat is finished and I am extremely pleased with it.

square of

The kit was bought from a charity shop some time ago: at the time, it looked very dated, but I loved the colours. So into a cupboard it went, waiting for the perfect project.
square of

And then, about this time last year, I went into Next (a UK clothing retailer) and was surrounded by garments in the colours and styles of the waistcoat from the kit. The perfect project was for it to be itself.

Yes, it needed a little bit of work to be the self it ought to be. The dark brown was wrong for the twenty-first century: when I piled some other yarns near it the red Rowan felted tweed livened up the other colours, and made it more modern. The kit waistcoat was too short, so I lengthened the ribbing (8 rows instead of 4) and made the body a lot longer. This had the effect of using up a lot of the main yarn, so I changed the colours above the yoke, and also the armhole.

There were lots and lots of ends to sew in, but I finished on Sunday. It was looking good.

On Monday I put it on, and it was instant love. I was hoping to like it, but instead it is gorgeous. Modern and retro and rustic, in colours I love.
square of

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Return of the Advent Candle

A year ago, I was commenting on the silent ending of a family tradition.

I'm happy to say that about a month ago, Middle Kiddo and I bought an advent candle from a pre-Christmas fair in Milton Keynes shopping centre, and it lights up our evening meals. square of

There is a change to the tradition though - I don't light it any more. The kiddos take turns. Young Kiddo uses extra-long matches and blows them out immediately but Old Kiddo uses normal length ones and sees how long they will stay burn.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Craft of the Week: crochet

Last week was crochet week.

I designed the following flowers - the colours come from the use of variegated yarn:
square of

Then I went onto another block in my never ending Learn-to-Crochet Blanket. The stitch pattern was based on one I half remember from Magknits, a now defunct knitting magazine that used to be run by the owner of Yarn Forward.

square of

It's currently about twice the size of this now: however we have started watching the DVD of the TV series 24 - we missed it when it was first broadcast, so are finding it compelling viewing. But it is also not the kind of program you can crochet through, too many things going on.

The closure of a bookshop is a sad event, but it does enable a reader to buy a now of books at reduced price. Borders bookshop was extremely busy on Monday lunchtime, but I managed to get Amigurumi and 201 crochet motifs, as well as a selection of other books. Plenty to keep me going for a while!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Flooding in Kendal

It's a bit wet up there. The cottage where we stayed is not actually in the flood warning area, but it is very, very close to it ....

ETA: It's not our cottage: we stayed there for two weeks in the summer (and took the photo, which is my current blog-header).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plans - fourth blogaversary

I'd planned to post that my new header is a photo of the baktus scarf: I hung it on the drystone wall where we stayed. However this is not that that post.

I'd planned to show photos of the finished collar on my waistcoat, except it is just waiting for the final grafting together. So this is not that post.

I'd planned to find something particularly nice to make as a blogavarsary giveaway, but I haven't. So this is not that post.

However, it is four years since my first post on this blog. I've met people in cyberspace that I wouldn't have without it. I've met people in peoplespace. I've made things because of it. I've enjoyed it. And driving to work yesterday I thought about stuff and decided my life is good, and I am happy.

This is the post that says those things.

PS Thanks for the nice comments about the new header.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Waistcoat update

The Latin exam has been and gone, but it has taken a while to get back into blogging. Even crafting was neglected: no knitting, no sewing, no crochet. Possibly I might have extended the break for longer, if it hadn't been for my forthcoming blogaversary coming up in mid-November.

Yesterday however I got out the waistcoat again to see what I was doing. There had been a difficult decision to make about the collar - I'd got up to the place where the collar needed to bend round the neck.

Now that it had been left to ruminate, the decision was quick to make and easy to put into action. The collar is seven stitches wide and instead of knitting back and forth, I added some short-rows.

It is hard to find instructions on the web, so this is a simplified version of what I did: the collar is seven stitches wide. In reality, the inside stitch also picks up one of the waistcoat edge stitches, thereby joining them together, and the outside two stitches are garter stitch

*Row 1: K7
Row 2: P4 W&T
Row 3: K4
Row 4: P7*
Repeat two more times.
Two rows stocking stitch
Two more short row sections.
Continue in stocking stitch.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Abilities of a fictional eight year old

Young Esk has been discovered after stowing away on a barge. The owner is deciding whether to let her stay with them.

Esk ... said " 'I don't mind sleeping in the fleeces. And I can pay my way. I can do - ' She hesitated; ... discretion made a successful bid for control of her tongue ' - helpful things'.
' What sort of helpful things?' he asked. 'Washing and sweeping, yesno?'
' If you like,' said Esk, 'or distillilation...; I can spin, card, rett, flallow, and weave on the hand, frame, harp and Noble looms and I can knit if people start the wool on for me...'
'And can you play a musical instrument?'
Esk returned his steady gaze, not batting an eyelid. 'Probably.'"
From "Equal Rites" by Terry Pratchett

I loved the way that Esk knows her limits: she is extremely confident about her ability to do almost anything, but the one thing she can't do is to cast on.

This is from the third book of the Disc World series, a humorous fantasy series. Knitting crops up on a number of occasions in the books.

Monday, October 05, 2009


sub - takes the ablative, under
mergo - meaning to sink or cover over, 3rd conjugation

submerged - from the Latin: what happens when one studies hard for an exam (next week!) and has no spare brain power for blogging.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

iSo iPod case

Just a quickie, the iPod case I made for Kiddo. It is from Debbie Bliss Rialto, and is all (UK) double crochet. The body was done with the yarn doubled, on a 4.5mm crochet hook, and the flap was a single strand with a 4mm crochet hook. According to my Ravelry notes, I started in March: OTOH, I did frog it and restart, because it was too snug.
square of

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thame show

When last seen, our heroine (that'll be me) was debating whether to go to the new quilt shop in Buckingham the following day.

I didn't - I went to the Thame show instead.

Several members of our knitting group had entered the domestic items competition - here is the display. display of knitting

The shawl at the back won first prize and was made by Sue. Yvonne won second place, with the dark purple tank top at the front. Also made by members of our group was the red hat and the multi-coloured sweater at the back. (Picture is clicky, if you want more details).

I took a number of other photos of various animals, but you've seen pictures of cows and alpaca and sheep before, so just mentally insert them here:

My favourite sight was the queue through a small wood to the entrance:
queuing through the wood

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Red square again

The red square of fabric now looks like this:
square of red fabric

Not a lot different I'll admit, until you compare the positioning of the bias binding today:
square of red fabric

with yesterday (the green lines show yesterday's positions, the black line as it today):
square of red fabric

At the moment, however, not all the binding goes over-under-over. I might leave it like that, I'll decide tomorrow. I am also debating whether to go to Buckingham and see if I can find the new quilt shop there. There is no street address on their website.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A morning's work

Producing this took me most of the morning:
square of red material

It is far more complex then just a red square of fabric with a few pins in it.

I took two pieces of red material - the same fabric range, but different dyelots. Following the instructions in Ferreting Around, I made one piece into bias tape. Next I searched through my other books for the right celtic knot for what I had in mind, and marked some of the intersections using pins. Then without marking the whole of the knot, I pinned the bias tape onto the material:
square of red material

The knot shape is a bit lopsided and uneven - due no doubt to not marking the material first. Here, I used the Gimp to draw a line following the lines of the pinned bias tape. I'm still thinking how best to alter the shape so it looks more even.
square of red material

Maybe I'll do that tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Festival of Quilts Photos

A small selection somewhat delayed:

I love these two landscape quilts by Jenny Bowker. I'd seen them in pictures, and it was marvellous to see them in real life.
two pictures of Australian landscape

The colour on this quilt was entirely done by embroidery: it was made by Veronika garden of good and evil
I love the bursts of colour in this panel

detail of quilt panel

several quilt panels
A miniature quilt by Kristien van Schalkwyk: the smallest squares had sides of 1/4 inch.
miniature quilt, pattern snail's trail

My own creativity is taken up with my last bit of Latin coursework, and my crafting by the vast numbers of nametapes associated with a new school.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Home Again!

At last, I'm home!

Yeah, we've come back from our trip to Kendal, near the Lake District.

OK, I didn't tell you about it in advance: posting to the entire internet that the house is empty for a week or two does not seem a wise thing to do. So I go to the other extreme, although I did let the people I met at the Festival of Quilts know. (That is why DH was such a star - he was incredibly supportive of my decision to abandon him with the children when we were supposed to be on holiday.)

It's also why I could only blog by email: we have a mobile broadband dongle, but our settings were incredibly strict parental, which allowed me to log on to my spare email provider, but not blogger's dashboard.

Over the next few posts, I'll put up some more details of the Festival of Quilts (with photos!), pictures of the house where we stayed and details of our walks.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Later

Right now, I'm not able to get onto the Internet normally, but can post via email.  So no pictures of the Festival of Quilts yet.  I didn't realise how tired I was, until I was on the train from Birmingham.  Then I collapsed.  I was so pleased to see DH waiting for me at the station  - he was a real star.

It was fun to meet some of Ferret's friends - Sally, Tet, Cy and Nic.  I also enjoyed helping her on her gallery.  My viewpoint was different from Ferret's: it wasn't my work, so there wasn't any personal pride/worry about people's reactions to it.  Funnily, it wasn't until Friday afternoon that anyone asked about me, and then several people did.  My answer, "I'm not a professional quilter, just a slow amateur one".  They liked that: they could relate to it.

Anyway, I'll post properly later, with a fuller description of what I've been up to.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Festival of Quilts - quick review

I've had a good two days at the Festival of Quilts.  I did spend a lot of time at Ferret's stall - pictures on her blog ( It was fun to help out.  I ended up wearing a quiltart t-shirt, so I wasn't mistaken for a random stranger, and then added a badge which said "I'm not Ferret", so I wasn't mistaken for her.  For some reason, if people assumed I was Ferret, they were much less embarrassed when I could point to the badge to correct them.  I felt a bit like Slartibartfast - "my name is not important".

If you go, do have a good time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On turning heels

"I kicked off my shoes and flopped on the sofa next to Gran, who had fallen asleep over a sock she was knitting. It was already a good twelve feet long, because, she said 'she had yet to build up enough courage to turn the heel'."

From "The Well of Lost Plots" by Jasper Fforde.

A very good book from a very enjoyable series. They are impossible to describe, without spoiling the plot, beyond perhaps saying they are to literature what Douglas Adams is to science fiction.

PS Festival of Quilts tomorrow and Friday. Yay! I should have my stripy bag and I'll spend some time at Ferret's stall - E29.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Festival of Quilts - all booked

At long last, I've booked a hotel for the Festival of Quilts and ordered the tickets. I'll be there Thursday and Friday, not sure when I'll get there on Thursday but probably be around for most of Friday.

I'm hoping I got the last room at the Novotel. After I rang them and reserved a room on the phone, I checked their website and there were no (more) rooms available on the Thursday. This was the third hotel I tried, so if you are thinking about staying overnight, you probably want to book soon.

I'm planning to hang around Ferret's stall (E29) for some of the time, I'm sure she won't mind if you want to meet me there.

Friday, August 07, 2009

One, two, three, four

Due to the magic of scheduled posting, there is a chance that this post appeared at 12:34:56 on 07/08/09. But it probably didn't.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

In-laws staying...

'nuff said.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New Ruler

Today I bought a new ruler.

Not just any ruler, but a special ruler.

It's not special because it is green.

square of

It's special, because one side is completely plain and unmarked.
square of

Just what I need for talking to youngsters about ancient Greek maths.

(75p from Tescos. Bargain)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Scarf Progress

Thanks for the comments on the last post. I'm not the only slow-crafting Latin-reading blogger out there then.

When knitting a garter stitch scarf, progress should be smooth shouldn't it, and not require frogging much? The only complex bit of the Baktus scarf was that during the first half of the scarf, you increase on occasion, and for the second half, you decrease. However progress was in fact slow, and involved three lots of frogging.

It went like this

  • Tuesday: cast on a swatch to choose the right needle size
  • Wednesday: frog swatch, start knitting
  • Thursday: realise that yarn-over increases create holes, and there is no easy decrease which will make holes at the other end: frog knitting completely
  • Friday: realise that the scarf is coming out quite triangular, rather then a crooked rectangle. Decide to change the increase frequency, hence frog half progress to date.
  • Saturday: knit lots
  • Sunday: knit a bit
  • Monday: don't knit
  • Tuesday: knit a bit
  • Wednesday: knit a teeny bit, blog

Unfortunately, I haven't got a good photo of the scarf at the moment. This picture was taken when I was trying to work out whether to change the rate of increases:
cutting mat and scarf

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Confessions and Comparisons

I have a confession to make.

I am not a prolific crafter. I knit slowly, I sew slowly, I have too many WISPs. When I compare myself to other people on the 'net, they are all finishing stuff far faster then I do.

It's not even as if I have numerous commitments: other prolific crafters have far more the I do.

That's why I've been a bit quiet recently.

But comparisons are pointless, aren't they?

I haven't posted about all my successes, like the marks I got in my Latin TMAs - the first two were so high that I have passed the coursework component even before I submit the last two TMAs.

I haven't boasted about DH, or Kiddo's SATS results. I haven't talked much about the KS2 Ancient Greek maths sessions I've run.

So what if someone makes three quilts in a week, or churns out jumpers at a rate of knots! Let them be prolific, and I'll draw circles and knit direct from the hank. If I'm enjoying what I do, does it matter how long it takes? They might be about to spin a fleece fast, but I can say "I sheared a sheep today" in Latin.

However, in the light of this post, just why did I start knitting a laceweight scarf at the knitting group tonight?


WISP == Work in Slow Progress
hodie ouem totondi == "I sheared a sheep today"

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ferret's Book - preorder now

Just a quick note to say that Ferret's book will be launched at the Festival of Quilts, but you can pre-order it now, via her website. She'll even sign it for you!

I've seen some of her student's quilts, made using the pattern, and they are really good. It is a world away from the sampler quilt I started as a beginner's project.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Ancient Greek Day - the Next Gen

I've got some news! But first you have to read the rest of the post :-).

The children seemed to enjoy the ancient Greek maths I talked about in the last post. I was a bit thrown by the boy whose dad had already shown him how to draw equilateral triangles. However, my book about maths showed you the next proposition from the Elements - how to copy the length of a line from one place to another, and the two of us worked through that together. He seemed to enjoy it.

What really impressed the children at the end was showing them how to draw a hexagon, using only ruler and compass.

There were several people helping and teacher organising the day mentioned that her mother (she is a young teacher) would be having a similar day at her school. So I muttered something about being willing to be run a similar session if the mother was interested.

And here is the news:

I had phone calls from people at two different schools.

One was from the aunt of one of the pupils. She was wondering if I'd be willing to a similar session for her school. (I was willing, but there has been no follow-up from there).

However the teacher's mother got in touch as well. It's all arranged: I will now be doing a similar session for a completely different age group at a completely different school.

This could be the start of something!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Koine Greek

One idea I've toyed with for a while is the idea of learning Koine Greek so I can read the New Testament in the original. This is slightly (very slightly!) less daunting for someone with a maths/physics background, because so many of the letters are used to stand in for various parameters - lambda (λ) for wavelength, pi for 3.14, etc. Alpha, beta and gamma particles come in to nuclear physics (needed in astronomy), delta is a variable in calculus and so on.

However, I'd put that aside because it is more necessary to learn the seventeenth century language of Science: Latin.

This weekend I'd gone back to Greek, for tomorrow I will be teaching a session on ancient Greek mathematics for Year 5 (9 - 10 year olds). I couldn't find all the notes I'd made last year, so I was checking up Greek maths words still in use today. I stil get a small kick out of the fact that the modern words for parable and for parabola are the same in Greek (which came first? I wish I knew).

The topic I will teach is the Elements, the famous Greek geometry book used for 2000 years as the basis of geometry. And in my surfing, I came across this website, about learning Greek to be able to read the Elements. The text of the Elements that we have is written in the literary koinh/ typical of the 1st century AD it said.

So now comparing the Elements (second most published book) and the Bible has another strand: it uses the same language.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Translucent in the sun

Now that it is nearly used up, the ball of Kid Silk Spray glows translucent in the morning sun.
square of

But will there be enough to finish the sleeve?square of

As I get closer to the end, with six rows to go (and the casting off), it is looking uncertain...
square of

Monday, June 15, 2009

My new purse

Having shown you some of the material, I ought to show you the resulting purse (that's purse in the UK sense of coin purse):
square of

Opening it up, you can see several of the pockets. The front pocket and the one behind are from the material shown here - the back of that fabric is completely plain.
square of

The pattern was the Lazy Girl Designs Wonder Wallet:
square of
(I didn't use all the material in the background)

Firstly it is simple to make: it took me less then two hours, and I was going quite slowly, admiring it at intervals. Secondly, the pattern is well-written. You have to read it through first, but there are no places where the instructions are unclear. I think if I made it again I might make the opening for the change pocket narrower (you'd see what I mean if you had the pattern in front of you). Also I'd consider a popper to keep the back pocket shut.

So over all, a thumbs-up from me.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mystery of the Missing Knitting Needle, Part II

I found my missing knitting needle. It was in the door pocket on the driver's side.

I have not yet worked out how it could have got there - if I'd put it somewhere in the car, I'd have put it on the passenger seat. But I'm just glad I found it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Woe is me

This will be me this morning: there is a planned electricity outage in the village this morning
song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

Secondly, I thought I'd nearly finished my waistcoat. That was until I tried putting it together and it became obvious the armholes were much to big. However because I'd changed the stripe pattern on the back, I needed to frog back to that and change it back. Lots of knitting, but it was also the s'n'b night. By this point, there was one needle upstairs with my knitting, where I had been trying it on, and one downstairs: I took everything downstairs and made sure I put the downstairs needle in my bag.

I got to the knitting group, did my frogging, and went to start my knitting. But I only had one needle. They are an unusual size, between 8mm and 9mm, so no-one else had one I could borrow. I had no alternative project, and no-one had brought along any spare magazines. It was this project or nothing. Luckily the wool was quite 'sticky': so I did a rather convoluted thing of putting the stitches on a (borrowed) smaller needle, knitting onto my needle, pulling the needle out and putting the stitches onto a small needle again.

When I got home, I looked in all the places where my needle might be, it wasn't there. I think I must have taken it to knitting, and while I was frogging, it dropped silently to the floor and rolled off. Normally when it is time to go home, I stay and help tidy up the hall, but last night there was someone going early and my car was blocking her in. Seeing as I had to move my car, I drove home anyway (the space is constricted, and parking again would have been a complex process). Hopefully someone spotted it and picked it up, and will return it next time. In the meantime, I'll just have to continue with the removing stitches marlarky.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

It makes me happy

This picture makes me very happy for two reasons.

square of

1) Firstly, I am making the purse pattern bought on Friday. The intent was to make it using oddments different stash fabrics, so I selected some stash to make it with, photographed the fabric and ironed it. But when I unfolded this L-shaped piece, I realised that the fat leg was exactly 6.5 inches wide: I have a long-term project that involves squares of fabric that have sides 6 to 7 inches long.

Reviewing the sizes needed for the purse, I could cut out two pieces (marked 1 and 2 in the picture), the 6.5 inch square (marked 3) and that would leave me a selvage piece (marked 5) and a single other piece which was approximately 14 inches by 2.5 inches (marked 4). Having such neat pieces left over makes me feel happy.

2) Secondly I now know more about using the GIMP graphics program then I did this morning. (Noted here for future reference.)

To draw the straight lines, you go to the Tools menu on the image pane and select "Paths". Click on the original image for the first end, and then again at the other end. This effectively shows the ruler you are about to draw along.

Then go to the edit menu, and select "Stroke Path". This gives a pop up window, allowing you a variety of options for the line. I selected "Sroke with a paint tool" and my tool was pencil.

The numbers were added using the text tool.

Friday, June 05, 2009

More pansies

Remember the pansy fabric I bought on the shop hop?

Well I bought some more.

At the shop hop, they were handing out 10% off voucher for June as the shop is moving at the end of the month. So I had a day out today, taking in the nearby garden centre and Ikea as well.

I bought to the end of the bolt of the small pansy fabric - 1.45m, so not too extreme. I got 1.5 m of the large pansy fabric. There was also a fabric with just purple pansies, so I got a metre of that as well.

The other purchase was a pattern for making a purse, and the velcro necessary to finish it. The pattern isn't on their website.

Unfortunately the weather today was not conducive to washing and drying it rapidly. And tomorrow I have my Latin tutoral.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gardens, and buttercups

Whenever I try and take photos of our front garden from our front door, we get a wonderful view of a neighbour's car. It's not their fault, it is just the way our houses and garages are laid out. From other different angles, the photos have our other neighbour's garden providing a beautiful backdrop, but fooling casual viewers into thinking they must be part of our garden. So, much as I love our front garden, I've never put up pictures.

Today, however, the neighbours opened their garden in the National Garden Scheme. Of course, I went to have a look, and I got a quite reasonable view of our front bed.
square of

The wall is the boundary between our garden and the shared driveway. The roses are in our neighbour's garden: the two little beds you can see clearly make up half our front garden: the other half is very similar, but hidden by the rose bush. The paths with the wide paving slabs go round our house, although you can just see where the path changes to gravel. You can't see our lovely statues: two Easter Island style heads (bought ten years ago, when they were unusual) and a rock with a Celtic Cross carved into it.

We didn't just visit one garden but walked through the village and utilised a sneaky footpath. This led us through a field completely full of buttercups.square of
It put me in mind of Wordsworth's host of daffodils.

Monday, May 25, 2009


During the weekend, the whole family painted the summerhouse. It had been plain wood, both outside and inside: now the outside is "wild thyme" and the inside "country cream", like the colours of the arbour in the link here. Suddenly it has become a place for the children to hide away in, to flop on the chair in there, to read, to chat, even to take the laptop.

There are on-line transformations as well.

I might over-think things, but I feel that my avatars and blogger profile pictures must be personal and unique. This can be tricky: I can't use a picture made by anyone else and I can't use a picture of an object made by someone else. Hence no balls of wool, or knick-knacks of any type. No matter how lovely a photo I could take of my favourite material, it's a no goer as far as avatars are concerned.

My blogger picture features a bag I made some time ago, but by the time I needed avatars for Ravelry, the bag was worn out and no longer in regular use. So I used the photo I had taken of the fabric pieces which Kate sent me a while ago and cropped the background out. I've been using it every since.

edges of fabric

However, I've been wondering whether it is time for a change of picture. Not any old picture but a specific one. This specific photo has many meanings for me. It is of a place that is specifically connected with the future I want to create, it is the actual place where an exciting future will be forged.

However, it is also a symbolic picture. It reminds me that when you look ahead at an apparent dead-end, it might just be that you can't see the way out. It reminds me that sometimes the path is all you can see. It reminds me that the other possibilities and the destination are unknown and unexpected. It also reminds me that just because the path looks constricted, there can be choices at the end.

But to change it all at once, I feel, would make me unrecognisable. So yesterday evening, I experimented and played and finally came up with a series of images which enable me to slowly change my old avatar for my new one. The new look is only slightly different, just like dying your hair is only a slight change in appearance:


PS I did want to have this picture as my blog header, but the one I took is fuzzy and out-of-focus on the large scale. It looks fine in the small scale, such as a 100 pixel square (or the screen on a camera), but not on the large scale. Well, I took two, the fuzzy one, and the badly composed one.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I've done quite a bit of wooly destashing recently.

First to go was a pack of 10 balls of Sirdar denim tweed. I bought them years ago. However, nothing happened with them, and they became the Stash I Must Use Soon, slightly guilt inducing but with no obvious project. I put them on my Ravelry trade page, but never got as far as advertising them.

And then out of the blue, someone contacted me to buy them. So now they are gone.

The second lot went at a tabletop sale held in the village hall. The children had grown out of several bags-worth of children's clothes. As they get older, clothing gets harder to pass on to friends, so I usually take small quantities to charity shops. However, this collection included the Brownie jacket which had been worn for the first time on the evening when Brown Owl suggested Kiddo could go up to Guides. Kiddo was the youngest of the eight Brownies due to go up "soon", so I'd been expecting her to get a little bit more wear out of it.

Anyway, the sale started with a table full of children's clothes in good condition, and a few balls of wool and other odds and ends underneath. Unfortunately very few clothes went: the Brownie uniform did. Also a new Dalek sweatshirt (present, never worn) was bought by a boy who put it on immediately - seeing someone who loved it so much really made my day.

At the end of the sale, one of the other stallholders asked about the wool: she got an absolute bargain, especially as I had forgotten there were two balls of Louisa Harding Kimono Angora at the bottom.

The last destash was a novelty yarn scarf kit: a present with sentimental value, but I couldn't see myself using it.

So that was over 21 full balls out of the house, plus some partial balls.

But this is the part which is best: earlier this week, a website was having a one-day only sale, with 18% off everything. They sell Hanne Falkenberg kits, and I would love to make one at some point. Probably Mermaid. Or Ballerina. So with all my destashing, I had a good excuse to buy one.

But I didn't.

I can get one another time, and my stash is so nicely contained at the moment.

Twenty-one full balls gone, no new ones.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two out of Three Aint Bad

(If you have come from the school reunion, hello and welcome to my blog.)

At last I have :-

  1. a working internet connection
  2. my photocard reader for uploading pictures
Unfortunately I do not have
  1. time to post
right now.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Three Hours

I don't wash fabric in advance. I'll wash it before I use it, but usually only a day or so in advance.

Today was an exception.

pansy fabric

At 2.30 I was debating whether to get any of this fabric, and if so how much of it to get. It is gorgeous (if you like purple and yellow pansies), a riot of glorious colour. But I didn't know what I would do with it, I just really wanted to own it.

By 5.30pm, I had bought it, driven home, started to make soup, washed it, hung it in the garden to dry and ironed it. A total of three hours from bolt to ironing board.

What I hadn't done then, (and still haven't) is decided what I will do with it - I have 1.25 m of the small pansy fabric and 1m of the large pansy fabric.

It came from Threads and Patches, one of the shops in the Shop Hop. This shop seemed to have a fairly whimsical style, and a range of interesting kits. They also had a reasonable amount of fabric, as well as embroidery stuff. The shop itself is moving soon, although not very far.

Patchwork Corner, the other shop I visited, has mainly quilt stuff, lots of kits, and a new machine for cutting out fabric. This machine was being demonstrated (as well as lots of other things).

What was really interesting to see were the quilts made by Ferret's quilt class. They were mostly made by beginners, but they look much more complex then you would expect (quite different from the sampler quilt that was taught at my beginners quilt class). Seeing the same quilt in different colours is always interesting, and these were no exception.

Oh, and did I just buy the pansy fabric? Don't be silly :-).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shop Hop on Friday

Craft blog? I've heard of those, I'm sure I left one lying around somewhere. All my crafting is rather dull at the moment, it all seems to be mostly acres of stocking stitch.

OTOH, there is a shop hop on Friday/Saturday. Patchwork Corner in Hemel Hempstead, Threads and Patches in Fenny Stratford and Art van Go in Knebworth are taking part.

I have plans to go on Friday. I'll be going to Patchwork Corner and I expect to go to Threads and Patches as well. Maybe I'll see you there??? (Maybe I'll wear my ravelry badge, that would be a good way of spotting me.)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Picnic Photos

At last, the bloggery picnic photos. All pictures clickable, but they download slowly.

Some of the people who came. Also, note the pockets in the chair - balls of yarn and knitted rabbits.
square of

Kate's quilt, and a lovely insulated picnic bag.
square of

Moogsmum's quilt
square of
Detail of quilting - isn't it cute?
square of

Kitty's quilt
square of

Before the Egg swop
square of

Child in tree
square of

PS Sorry for the uninspiring prose, but I wanted to get these up.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The bloggery picnic report

Full marks to Lucy Locket for organising the bloggery picnic. It was fabulous.

square of

Even though I'd never met anyone there, I felt like I knew them all. We arrived at Millet's Farm early (it was closer then the route planner implied), so the kids and I spent 15 minutes looking round. At the alloted hour of 11am, we approached the swings, hoping to find the right group. And we did - Jane and her daughter. I think we were both relieved not to be alone, but we soon spotted more bloggers. Introductions were made, people swopping name, blog-name and craft.

Then we found a spot on the grass. Picnic mats - including some home-made ones - were unfolded, and we settled in for hours of chatting, eating, watching kids play, more chatting, cups of tea from the restaurant and even more chatting. Children played together, teenagers chatted or ignored each other.

After lunch, the Easter Egg swop happened: a pile of Easter Eggs on the ground, and the youngest got to pick first. Eve (a lovely person) had brought some little packets of mini-eggs as well. Then the grown-up swop. I got a pretty fish picture from Emma (no blog as far as I know), and the bag I'd made went to Julia.

(The pattern came from Village Fabrics: it was part of a kit, but I used different fabric.) And there was more chatting. And some people got out sock-knitting, and the people who hadn't brought any sighed, and wished they had got theirs. Did I mention, we all chatted?

I'm not going to do a roll-call, because I always worry I'll miss someone out. But Lesley and Lucy were just like their blogs. Ali (big sister) is less bossy then might be supposed. Julia (little cotton rabbits) is a lovely person, Kate makes gorgeous bags. I didn't spend nearly long enough talking to Kitty or Jane. And Ali and Trash were there too.

(Pictures are waiting for DH to find the memory card reader: he had it at the weekend.)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

That was fun

I'm just back from the bloggery picnic organised by Lucy Locket.

It was fun to meet such a lovely group of people. The saying "a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet" seemed so true. Photos and more details later.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


bloggery picnic image

I'm busy looking for the green stripy bag in my profile picture - it has been honourably retired for some time, and may be sunning itself on the Riveria or something.

(You really thought I looked like that? Oh.)

PS Ferret, if you haven't got an email from me, its 'cos I haven't sent one - but I can't do Thursday.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Lanarius - person who does stuff with wool

lanarius - wool-worker

One of last week's Latin words was lanarius. It may not surprise you, but I wanted to find out exactly what a "wool-worker" was supposed to do, and so I've spent far too long on the 'net trying to find out exactly what a lanarius did.

The typical translation seems to be "you know, the person who does stuff with wool". An alternative - in an old English-Latin dictionary - was "wool-draper", probably using "draper" in the sense of "fabric seller". Eventually it turned out that the suffix "-arius" did in fact signify "person who does stuff with...".

The English-Latin dictionary also had a translation for woosted: woosted being the old form of "worsted", the spinning term. The Latin it suggested was "lana subtilior contexta", which when translated back into English is "wool finely/simply woven/connected". Not being a spinner, I don't know whether that is a reasonable description of worsted - perhaps some of my readers know?

My investigations also led me to a phrase from Pliny - "lanae et per se coactae vestem faciunt"

If you search out where it came from (Pliny's Natural History, Book LXXII, a copy here,) the whole sentance reads:
"lanae et per se coactae vestem faciunt et, si addatur acetum, etiam ferro resistunt, immo vero etiam ignibus novissimo sui purgamento"

I'm inclined to translate this:
"Wools and forces-it-against-itself makes clothing and, if bound with vinegar, they even resist iron-swords, but truly as well, the newest way of cleaning them is by fires."

If you are an RPGer, you will recognise cloth armour in that description, and if you are into knitting, you will recognise the burn-test for checking whether something is wool or not.

Pliny has more about sheep, but translating that will wait until I know more Latin words.

By the way, day's blog post is brought to you by my Latin TMA - the tutor called it "an excellent start", and I'm generally feeling smug.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Waistcoat worries

Do you remember this? That's the waistcoat I'm knitting from a charity shop kit. It's been my watching TV knitting, and has been chugging along nicely. I've made some changes: for instance there is more ribbing at the bottom, and the body is a bit longer. square of

I'd long been aware there probably won't be enough of the main colour to do the pattern as shown.

So I'd been hopping around a bit: the back up to the top stripes, then each of the fronts to the top stripes. Above the stripes, I'd planned to continue with the very pale colour to the shoulders.

On my second front, with two rows to go to the start of the stripe pattern, I had this much main colour left:
square of

And then I looked lower down, matching the stripes earlier in the pattern:
square of

And I looked higher up:
square of

There was a definite difference in length! Only two rows, but when each row is about 0.6 cm, two rows difference is a lot.

So I frogged - lots - and knitted it again, and forgot to take any photos. I just had enough of the main colour to finish that side, with about 30cm to spare. All is well with the world.