Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Last Week...

Last week was a week of restless crafting. Pick up project, do a few stitches, put down project, pick up other project, do a few stitches, put down project, repeat while more projects undone.

(Alas, no pictures today, sorry)

Between Monday morning and Wednesday teatime last week, I had done the following (in spite of spending a major amount of time out of the house each day):

1) stitched some of the elephant silhouette embroidery kit
2) Cast on right front of Kidsilk Haze jacket
3) added a few stitches to my travellers tales scissor keep
4) cast on the two sleeves for my Limbo jumper

Most of them had been languishing at the bottom of the projects heap for a minimum of two years, UFOs waiting to become WIPs again. Only the Loden jumper was at all current, and even that had it's Ravelry profile set to "hibernating".

But this wasn't some kind of impulse to get going on old projects. I had really wanted to start the following:

1) "Pax Vobiscum" cross stitch from Country Stitches, but I couldn't because I didn't have the right threads or background
2) Beret from a 1960s pattern, but none of my yarn was quite right
3) Something, anything new.

It was only the lack of supplies and time to buy something new that prevented me from starting a dozen new projects. The UFOs were sufficiently old that they seemed almost new.

However, without new supplies, I continued on with what I had. The elephant silouhettes has been worked on every day, and is nearly finished. The sleeves, aided by time at Knitting Group have grown well. The front of the scissor keep is finished. Only Loden has been ignored.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beginnings of toolbox - or of clutter?

Just recently, the BBC and the British Museum have started a radio series called "A history of the world in 100 objects". Episode 3 was on last night, but all the ones broadcast so far are available as podcasts here.

They are each 15 minutes long, so ideal to listen to if you want a crafting break from whatever useful stuff you should be doing. The second episode talks about an "Olduvai stone chopping tool", described as the oldest human object in the British museum.

And then the presenter said:

Lots of animals use objects, particularly of course apes, but what sets us apart from them at this moment in our evolution is that, unlike them, we make tools before we need them. And once we have used them we keep them to use again. It's the beginning of the tool box.

"No" I thought, "it is the beginnings of clutter. Humans have been collecting tools since before we were humans."

And then I thought of the prehistoric person making tools in advance, like some of us wander round the various craft shows buying shiny new tools just because one day we might want to make our own bias tape, or do whatever else it is that the manufacturers of the gizmos think we might want to do. We might not live in the veldt of the African plains, but the similarities are there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From the Imperial War Museum Trip

I bought a postcard of a poster urging people to knit socks from the Imperial War Museum.

If you search their image library with the keywords "knit", the images are mainly of people knitting during breaks. The images found by a keyword "sew" shows people sewing as work.

I thought it was of interest.

PS Thank you for the comments on my last post - much appreciated.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Not ready

This morning I was not ready to open the curtains, and discover that the garden was green: but I did. It was still covered in white when I went to bed. Now there are a few tiny patches of snow, but most of the garden is just very, very wet.

Yesterday I was not ready to settle my remaining parent into a care home: but I did. It is clearly the right place, but I feel this is the kind of thing I should be doing in my 50s, not now. I felt a bit like I was letting my baby start at playgroup, with all the worries of whether they would look after them.

On the way home, I bought a magazine (not a craft one, a general woman's magazine) and a packet of ginger biscuits (it seemed more indulgant then chocolates) and did nothing useful all evening.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Data - retrieved

Remember this post?

My tech support guy (aka husband) has retrieved all the data, including one set of specific photos I really didn't want to loose. I am, as you can imagine, very pleased.

I need to reset access to the website where I keep my photos, so although blogging can continue, it will be without pictures for a while. I also need to convert a bunch of files from one format to another, but at least I have them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Starving Birds

Like lots of the rest of England last week we had snow: 7 inches deep in the garden. This is a lot for our part of the UK, and it still covers the garden in a thick layer.

I came across a plea last week for people to put out food for the birds. With the ground covered or frozen, they can't get at their normal sources of food.

For the crafty among us, feeding birds does not have to be just a case of chucking out a few birdseeds: we can cook some bird cakes. These are definitely not "people cakes", but a mix of nuts (not salted), dried fruit, and biscuit crumbs held together by melted lard. There are lots of recipes on the web (and another one below).

We don't normally get many birds in our garden: there are too many local cats who cross through it, and anyway the countryside is over the fence. But in the last week there have been lots of birds: the crab apples which I felt guilty about leaving on the tree are all eaten now, and this means that probably there is very little food for them.

This morning, we had four pheasants come into our garden. We sometimes get one or two, but I have never seen more then that. But today, there were four.

As a craft-blogger, I know you will have fun making bird cakes. You may have the ingredients already - lard left over from making pastry for mince pies, the open pack of dried fruit that looked a bit too iffy for Christmas baking and maybe a pack of out-of-date walnuts. (Or is that just my cupboard?) Melt the lard and mix in the other ingredients. (I soaked the chopped apricot in boiling water for a few minutes first, because they were completely dried out.) Meanwhile prepare some yoghurt pots by making a hole in the bottom and threading string/wool through them: as I didn't have any yoghurt pots availble I lined a ramekin with greaseproof paper through which I'd threaded my string. Tip in the mix and leave to harden. When ready, tie to a tree.

Ideally, you will keep doing this til spring: the birds' reserves are spent, and they need to keep going until the breeding season. But even just a few times will help.

PS Please consider publicising this if you have a blog. Thank you.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

What not to do with coffee

My waking-up drink of choice is coffee. Few things are nicer then a cup of coffee drunk sitting up in bed while I slowly wake up.

Alas, a cup of coffee in the morning is not what my laptop likes. This morning's cup was not drunk, but dropped and spilled in equal parts between my laptop and the duvet.

The laptop is drying in the airing cupboard: DH is hopeful that the data might be retrivable...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

It's a bit snowy...

square of

It might only be a few days into the new year. However I've already started four new bits of knitting since Christmas, finished two of them (admittedly they were tiny), and finished an 'old' project as well. Pictures to follow...