Monday, April 28, 2008

KAL, house manoeuvres & The Book Thief

This weekend I started the Bainbridge Scarf KAL. I have more or less finished it, just the ties to do which I will probably finish this evening. I have used Rowan Bamboo Soft and it is REALLY soft!! I also started a pair of Tidal Wave Socks after I finished the Zoknis, using the Opal Neon I have in my stash. The Joma jumper is moving along slowly, it is quite a boring knit, loads of stocking stitch. Pics will be in the next post (whenever that is because the computer will be moved tonight to make way for the decorating!!!)

On Tuesday evening I met up with Becca at Borders. She started a Clapotis while we were there, and she is using a gorgeous yarn in a pale bluey colour, I'm rather jealous of it actually! I think it is this one. It will be lovely when its done.

George is getting on well with the decorating. At the moment we are sleeping in the back bedroom and we have now been turfed out of the living room as he is starting that today. Poor Colin ended up moving all the books yesterday because the dust really got to me and I spent the day sneezing and with a streaming nose. The living room needs to be finished by Wednesday because the new carpet is coming then.

I had wanted to go to Wonderwool Wales this weekend but Colin was due to be on a course all weekend and I didn;t fancy driving down through deepest darkest Wales on my own for 3 hours each way! But Saturday luchtime he abandoned the course so we could have gone. However, with all the removals needed its a good job we didn't. But he has promised to take me to Woolfest instead at the end of June. Mel and maybe Chris are going to this too so we may be able to meet up. I think we are going to make a weekend of it and stay over for a couple of nights in a nice hotel. It is in Cockermouth in Cumbria, somewhere I've never been before.

I have just started reading Grave Doubts by Elizabeth Corley. I'm only a few pages in so no comments on it yet.

I finished The Book Thief yesterday. I really enjoyed it even though it was set in WWII Germany. It was interesting because you get some idea from the German perspective of life during the war on a normal street. They were just ordinary people same as everyone else, running to shelters when the air raids went off etc. There was a slight Anne Frank-ness to it, with the family hiding a Jewish man in the basement for part of the book but the main character is a 9 year old girl called Leisel who is sent to a foster family after her brother dies and her mother is "sent away". She comes to love her foster parents and settles into the local community. They are very poor and she takes any opportunity she can to get hold of books which she reads over and over, finally writing her own book in the basement. The narrator of the book is Death, who comes to carry away the souls of those who don't survive for various reasons, and who takes a special interest in Leisel throughout her life. If that sounds interesting, get yourself a copy! Another bonus is that there are short chapters!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Soup and a sandwich anyone?

We've just had a busy week really.

On Tuesday my car went back to the garage, and guess what? They could find nothing wrong with it. Maybe its just me then because Colin drove it yesterday with no problem either. I'm still going to look to change it though.

On Thursday the decorator came to start giving the house a new lick of paint. He works on his own so will probably be here for another couple of weeks. We are getting new carpets downstairs due to Charlie's lack of house training (!) so we thought we'd have a freshen up of all the walls and woodwork too. And new laminate floors in the dining room and kitchen. Those were done on Friday so it was a bit mad here with the fitters and George (the decorator) trying to work around each other.

Also on Thursday we headed off to Oswestry for Colin's latest scan results. And it was great news. The tiny spot that was seen in his lung 6 months ago hasn't changed at all so they have concluded that it is more than likely some kind of calcified something that is totally benign. They are not going to need to do any more CT scans on it. We were both very relieved. A great birthday present for Colin for Friday in fact. Yep, he is another year older!

On Saturday some friends, Jon, Verity & Molly came over for a visit to the zoo. This is Jon and Molly who is two and a half.

She was really taken with Colin, I think there was some kind of kinship going on between two redheads!!

As it was so cold the animals weren't that active but there were a few out and about, we even got to see a Spectacled Bear which is very unusual, they usually hide away.

The penguins were out and the flamingoes were looking particularly pinky-orange.

The tigers had their lunch and had a little doze indoors.

Then we came back to our house and had something to eat and watched Mary Poppins. I was very jealous when Jon announced that their Boosh tickets are FRONT ROW!!!

Because it was Colin's birthday on Friday and it is our wedding anniversary on Wednesday we decided to treat ourselves to a cooked breakfast on Sunday morning. We went down to the Blue Moon Cafe on the Groves and had a full English breakfast each before heading over to Winsford to look at cars. There were 2 possible Polos so we asked for the keys to have a look at them. The first one had a deposit on it so we couldn't look at it, but the other one looked promising. From the outside it was fine but once we were inside we noticed a cigarette burn on the leather bit round the gearstick which then made us notice the smell of stale cigarette smoke. Yuck, no thanks. Colin then started noticing a few cars he quite liked so we ended up sitting in a Mercedes and a BMW too!

On the way back I mentioned lunch (you can see life revolves around my stomach!) and Colin said "We could go for soup and a sandwich somewhere if you like." Does this make sense to anyone? The way I see it is you have soup with bread or toast, OR a sandwich. Not soup AND a sandwich. The whole point is that you dunk the bread or toast in the soup. You can't dunk a sandwich in because it has a filling. How yucky would that be? Am I wrong? Anyway, we decided that we had enough stuff at home so seeing as we had already had brekkie out, we went home instead.

On knitterly things, I ripped out the six inches I'd done on the Joma sweater as it was so obviously going to be too small. I have now acquired another 5 balls of the organic cotton so I have started again on a larger size. As for the Zoknis, they got a bit of attention while I was waiting to make sure I could get more cotton for Joma. So I have 8 more pattern rows left until I can do the toe decreases and cast off the second sock. I hope I can do that tonight so I can take the finished pair to show Becca when I see her tomorrow. The Clapotis is getting quite big too, I have finished 3 straight section repeats and have dropped three stitches so far (for those of you not familiar with Clapotis - is there anyone out there? - you drop stitches on purpose!). With the possibility of having only two WIPs later on this evening I think it is time to scout out a new project. Oh hang on, I'm doing a quick KAL next weekend with the Coconut Lodge group on ravelry. We are making a Bainbridge scarf in honour of Dixon Bainbridge!!

Monday, April 14, 2008


As this yarn was so reasonably priced in the indoor market, I went back on Saturday and bought 10 balls which is hopefully enough to knit this for Colin.

The pattern is Joma from Let's Knit magazine issue 4. I made a start over the weekend and have used one ball already. I'm just hoping I bought enough, it could be tight at the end! I am making it shorter though so it may be okay.

A few posts back I mentioned that I was having a "I have to buy something" day but didn't explain why. The reason was that we said goodbye to Charlie aka The Gorgeous One the night before. We had contacted Westie Rescue and they were happy to take him but it would have meant us driving him over to Doncaster to a foster home. So in the meantime we placed an ad in Pets at Home and we had a phone call from a couple who came round to see him. As they left we had another phone call from a friend of a friend of the lady who runs the puppy classes we had been to. She was desperate to see him so came round the same evening. Over the next few days we went to both houses to check they had secure gardens etc, and just to put our minds at rest that he would be going to a good home. In the end we chose the family in Ellesmere Port. They were absolutely delighted to have him and came straight round to get him. It was all over so quick. We heard from them the next day and he had had a good night so that was good. They have promised to send me a photo of him when he is fully grown as I'd like to see how he turns out. So it was all very sad but I think it was the right thing to do for him and us. He will get lots of attention where he is because there are practically 5 adults in their house (2 grown up children and the son's live-in girlfriend) and there will always be someone around for him. They had to change his name because their next door neighbour has a dog called Charlie so he is now called Alfie which shouldn't be too different for him to get used to.

So here are a few pictures I took of him the afternoon before he went.

We are going to wait at least 12 months before thinking about a dog again, and then we won't get a puppy. We totally underestimated the amount of work you need to put in and we let Charlie down on that front. So we would go for a rescue dog of at least 2 years old I think.

Onto other things........I gave up on Stephen King's Cell, it was a bit of a gore-fest at the beginning. So I am now reading The Book Thief. For some reason Colin gave up on this after a few pages but I think its okay. Nina, I shall review it when I have finished!

My car is going back to the garage tomorrow cos the gear stick is really giving me problems. I am struggling to get first and second gear. I am also thinking of changing the car anyway because the service at the Ford garage is very poor. I test drove a VW Fox and a VW Polo yesterday and I think I prefer the Polo. So we will probably go out to Fords of Winsford next Sunday and have a look cos there are a couple on their website. They have all kinds of makes though so I may look at something else too.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Borders knitters

Well here we are, the motley crew of Borders knitting group!
These two were taken from opposite ends of the table

These are 3 new members who came last night, I think they were (l-r) Gaele, Kerry and Clare - (and that is my 2nd Clapotis taking shape in the foreground)

and this is (l-r) Becca, Karen, & Anne (who works at the LYS).

I did notice a member of Borders' staff taking a photo too so I'm not sure if that is going to end up on their website.

So we had a total of 18 participants last night. Some missing faces from the first meeting but the new people more than made up the shortfall (we had 13 at the first meeting). Chris came down and so did Mel who I hadn't met before but killed in Sock Wars in the autumn. We felt like we'd known each other for ages from reading each others blogs and emails. We are both signed up again so I hope we don't get each other as targets again this time.

We had to ask for a second table and more chairs to accommodate everyone! We were told that we wouldn't be able to have more than 20 so we will have to work out how to limit the numbers a bit. It goes to show there was a demand for a knitting group in the Chester area though.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Little acorn

I was going to take this project to do at knitting group tomorrow, but I started it yesterday and it grew so quick that I finished it off this morning after sewing up the Drops cardigan. I think the knot in the top is so cute, it looks like the cap of an acorn. I think Jambi is modelling it very well!

The yarn is really soft, I always thought cotton would be quite rough but this is lovely. I think I need to make a larger item in this yarn, and it was only £2 a ball at the market. And organic too. I only used half a ball on this hat.

Drops 88-4 finished

Here is a dodgy ole photo of me in the finished Drops 88-4 cardigan. I had literally just finished sewing on the sleeves. It is a bit gapey across the fronts so I'm going to pin it out and block it within an inch of its life to try to stretch it out. Hopefully it will dry by tomorrow evening.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

New yarn

A couple of new yarn aquisitions from this morning's trip to town. 2 of each.

It was a "I need to buy something" morning, I'll explain later.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Repairs and a book review

I can't believe it is already only a few days until the Borders Knitting group meeting. It is next Tuesday. I have been in to the LYS and they have had more interest so who knows how many people will come this month. I have sent reminders to last month's attendees.

My Drops 88-4 is almost finished. I have to sew seams and do the neckband. I could probably finish it by Tuesday if I put my mind to it at the weekend. I'm just dreading picking up a hundred and something stitches around the neck and making it look neat, as the fabric is quite loose and holey. I am still working on the Zoknis, no progress on those lately, and I also want to cast on an Umbilical Cord Hat from the Stitch& Bitch book for a friend's baby due in May. There's a lovely one here. That may be my Borders project for Tuesday as it's small and portable. I'm going to use some Twilley's organic cotton.

So my car got fixed under warranty. The gearstick is still a bit stiff though so I don't know what they did. You just have to trust that they did something and didn't just leave it sitting in the corner of the garage for two days.

The Sky+ box had to be replaced in the end too so I lost 2 episodes of Supernatural, 2 of ER and the Boosh documentary that were saved on the hard disk!! Drat!!

And now especially for Nina - a review of The Keep. The story is about Danny who as a kid leaves his cousin Howard in a cave, and he isn't found for a few days. Years later Howard is renovating a castle in Eastern Europe and pays for Danny to come over to help. The castle is all spooky and you are expecting a lot of supernatural goings on. Then there is the part where Danny and Howard end up in some dark tunnels, and relive the experience from when they were kids. In the meantime there is another story going on which is the narrator of Danny's story who is a prison inmate called Ray who fancies his writing teacher. The book had a lot of potential which it didn't live up to. I didn't get the point of the narrator part of the book. And the reliving of the tunnel/cave thing was over and done with in a few pages. Then at the end you get at least 30 pages of the story of the writing teacher which I thought was completely unnecessary. If there had just been the castle story it could have been expanded and made much better, there were too many unfinished threads. The book has now gone off to a Bookmoocher in the USA.

Looks like we are going to see the Mighty Boosh live tour twice this year. Colin's nephew has two spare tickets for Dublin on 17th September which now have our names on them. Woohoo, that's a whole two and a half months before we see them in Manchester.