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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A bloggy meetup, and a forum move

link to bloggy meetup

Look what Lucy Locket has been arranging - a bloggy meetup on the 8th April, at an open farm, south of Oxford. It should be a fun day out in the Easter Holidays.

The other thing of note is the mass exodus from the Angel Yarns knitting forum at, to Phoenix knitting forums at The full story is a bit muddled, and probably the best place to get the back story is in the angel/phoenix forum on ravelry. I'm not going to speculate on motives etc, but it seems to me that a load of kerfuffle could have been avoided with a bit more communication.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A woman in technology

"I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same."

The woman I have chosen is Steve Shirley. Steve is a woman, short for Stephanie.

I chose Steve because she created the F1 group in 1962: it was a company which specifically employed only women as computer programmers. If that shocks you, it is because we have come so far since then - she talks about the prejudice of the past here.

In the early 1960s, discrimination against woman in the workplace was overt and blatant. Even professionally qualified woman could be told that they could only work in certain parts of an office and that they could not be allowed to meet clients. It was not in any sense subtle.

Steve chose to be known by that name because of the prejudice against women: it kept open doors for her. Now that she is a dame, she uses the name Stephanie again.

She was also a founding member of the The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, the 100th worshipful company to be formed (some of the others date back before the fifteenth century).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Surprise Conservatory

You didn't know we were going to be building a conservatory last week? Well, nor did we. I mean we'd ummed and arred about getting one and finally decided to sign on the dotted line. Maybe we would have somewhere to sit by the summer holidays.

On Wednesday the builder and the conservatory salesman came round to sort out the final details. At least, that's what I thought they were going to do. And then they said "we could start tomorrow if you want". "Oh" I said. "OK then".

Hence Thursday and Friday last week involved skips, and pickaxes, and wheelbarrels of rubble, and cups of tea, and paving stones. Today involved the pouring of cement, the arrival of bricks, and many more cups of tea.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mothering Sunday

Some people get flowers for Mothering Sunday.

tree blossom

I get holes in the ground:

building site hole
garden hole

(One hole is the footings for a conservatory, the other is now a pond.)

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Festival of Quilts

Some years I don't get to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC. It's in August, the middle of the school holidays, and hence I'm quite likely to be away with the rest of the family.

But this year, as I've told the rest of the family, I'm going to it, no matter what.

For there are two major attractions and I can't miss either of them. I knew about one - Ferret will be having a gallery there. I'll be there to support her - she's my friend, and a great person.

Also Jenny Bower is having a gallery. I really want to see some of her work in person. I've loved this one (the first version) since I saw it in the advert.

On to blogging things. The Wednesday giveaway isn't working for me. It's not that I don't want to give away my unwanted things to people who want them, it is just that the format seems to be dominating the way I think about my blog. I've found myself not posting because I'm about to, or have just posted, the giveaway, and that's not the way I want to run my blog. A regular giveaway seems to make sense from the point of view of people coming to look for them, but if it is up for a week then a specific day is less relevant.

OTOH, maybe I could just take it all to my knitting group, but that would only really work for yarn. I'm just not sure what to do about it - some things can go to a charity shop, but for others that option is wrong. I haven't quite decided, I do want to carry on with the giveaways, it's just knowing what format they should take.

In other news: Kiddo has got a place at the school she wanted to go to. Hurrah!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Through the hedge: image resolved.

Near us, the fields are full of fat, pregnant ewes.

However, today I went to the town the far side of the nearby hills and drove past a field of sheep there.

Through the hedge, I thought I could see a load of sacks in the field. They were scattered about, all over the field. White sacks, tied at the top to create two little handles. Small white sacks, tied at the top, with ewes very close to them.

And then the image resolved, and the field was full of ewes, and little baby lambs sitting next to their mothers.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Oxford Snippets

unusually shaped window

A young girl, perhaps no more then ten years old, gets a violin out of a case which she places on the pavement in front of her. Two older women are close by, perhaps her mother and grandmother.

Like a rank of soldiers, six employees of Boots in white shirts and black trousers stride across the road. When they approach the shop entrance, the rank dissolves into a small group.

The job agency window advertises vacancies for "temporary chemists" and for "scientists of all types".

I was in Oxford on Saturday, for the annual Research in Progress Day given by the British Society for the History of Maths. I planned to do a blog post, like this one from last year, with a series of "scenes from Oxford". However the editor of the BSHM's journal asked me if I could write a review of the day. I agreed with alacrity, and from that point on I stopped thinking about writing blog posts and started thinking about writing academic journal reports.

These bluebells are nestling at the roots a very old wisteria (I think) in Queen's College.