Friday, October 30, 2009

Best foot forward

To celebrate Soctoberfest 09, I have been participating in the Mystery Sock KAL on Through the Loops' blog. The idea is that you don't know what you are knitting (well you know its a sock) until you knit it. One clue is released once a week in October, and you knit that clue and wait for the next one. The final clue was released yesterday and here are my finished socks.

I made a bit of a boob by using such a variegated yarn so the pattern is a bit swamped but I'm not sure I would have used it for anything else so at least its out of the stash now.
Pattern: Through the Loops Mystery Sock 09
Yarn: Wild Fire Fibres Fantasia - colourway Lammas
Needles: 2.5mm circulars using magic loop from each end of the ball at the same time!
Mods: only the length of the foot to fit.

I also made the black & white kitty in a few hours last weekend, but didn't get round to the face for about a week. I'm still not entirely happy with it! I tried green and blue eyes but ended up back with black again.

Also last weekend Colin took part in a 10K run for Cancer Research UK. It was along the seafront in Rhyl and there was a hell of a wind blowing!

Susie decided to help him do some stretching before we left

and we met up with some others who were running it. On the left is Frederika who always looks stunning even when she has run 10K. This is before they set off

just after the first bend

and Colin crossing the finish line. This is the only picture I got of him finishing because although I got in a great place to see him come towards me, another runner was in front and blocking him from my view all the way! They only moved out of the way at the very last minute, I was a bit annoyed!

and this is the four of them at the end.

Colin's personal fundraising pot is now over £8,000 and collectively the 365challenge participants have raised over £24,000. Anyone fancy having a go? Check Colin's site for details.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

And in the purple corner........

I'll freely admit I have a thing for purple, but I'm starting to think its getting a bit over the top!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amazing what you spot on TV

On a Friday evening I am just about able to stay awake until the end of Friday Night with Jonathon Ross. After this Colin usually stays up to watch Later with Jools Holland but puts it on Sky+ anyway in case he can't stay awake to the end! When I got up on Staurday morning, he was watching the recorded episode and said, "Come and look at this interesting piece of knitwear on Jools Holland last night".

Wondering what on earth I was going to see - Jools can have some quite obscure artists on his shows sometimes - I watched as he interviewed Smokey Robinson. Nothing interesting to see there, but then........the camera panned to the audience and who did I see but a rather rough looking Noel Fielding! Ignore the sourpuss look on his face, ignore the mountain of beer on the table, look at his BOHUS!!!!

I may now have to re-consider stranded knitting!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Big Blue Test

I have just found out that it is World Diabetes Day on November 14th, and there is going to be a global event called the Big Blue Test, which will involve testing your blood sugar level at 14.00, then exercising for 14 minutes and then testing again. All the details are here:-

The Big Blue Test on World Diabetes Day

So if, like me, you have diabetes, why not join in?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

And today's new yarn is...........

........this month's Wild Fire Fibres sock club yarn, Venezia in colourway Samhain.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Kitty number 3

Robitussin's cousin (kitty number 2) was delivered this morning and is currently being taken on a walk along the Sandstone Trail. Mel was very enamoured with him.

Now I have had a request for another one, this time in black and white, so I made a swift purchase this morning.

So I now have two more kitties to make, and then hopefully that will be it. At least they are very quick to make, a few hours at the most. And I love the look on the recipients' faces when they get them, its worth all the effort.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Robitussin's cousin!

I finished this little fella last night but just had to do the face this morning. He is for some friends of ours who are having their first wedding anniversary on Sunday. Mel asked me to make her a kitty when she saw my previous one, but has probably forgotten all about it so I thought I'd surprise her. Their real life cat is called Robitussin, hence the name of this one. Perhaps they will call it Benylin!

Pattern: Knitted kitty by Lilian
Yarn: Louisa Harding Nautical cotton
Needles: 3mm
Mods: two colours, changed every two rows.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Some knitting content!

I was really disappointed in the lack of yarn shops in the Lake District. There was a tiny shop in Ambleside above a cafe called Hannalin Crafts, where I bought two balls of her own handspun DK from her Herdwick sheep. But the shops in Penrith and Keswick were almost exclusively crackly acrylics and I spent probably a total of one minute in there between the two. (Yes, I'm a yarn snob!) You would think there would be a decent yarn shop in a place with such a lot of sheep.

Did I ever put up a finished picture of my red cardigan? I don't think I did. Well here's one. According to Ravelry I finished this on September 19th. That's 3 weeks ago!! Yes, I remember I did finish it before my holiday and that is long gone now.

Pattern: Drops Jacket with Rib from Garnstudio, pattern 100-2
Needles: 5.0mm and 5.5mm
Yarn: Drops Karisma superwash DK
Mods: Don't remember any!

While away I got on with my Baktus scarf which I will be donating to Seasalt for the Bees Conservation Trust

Pattern: Baktus by Strikkelise
Yarn: Lana Grossa Cool Wool Big
Needles: 4.5mm
Mods: increased until there were 58 stitches across then started decreasing again.

I am now casting on for another knitted kitty which my friend Mel requested a while ago. She has probably forgotten but it is their first wedding anniversary on Sunday so I thought I'd give it to her then.

I am taking part in the mystery sock KAL hosted by Through the Loops again this year. It started on 1st October and you get a clue each Thursday. I have completed the first two clues using some of my WIld Fire Fibres sock club yarn.

I'm not sure I like the way it is pooling though. This is after clue 1. It is kind of swamping the actual lace pattern.

Well at least I will wear them and this will get that yarn out of stash.

I have also finished the gift for my friend's new baby. It is another Drops pattern but looks suspiciously like the Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Here is a friend of mine modelling it!

Pattern: Jacket in garter stitch b18-25
Yarn: Drops Fabel colour 901
Needles: 3mm
Mods: made the smallest size and added 2 rows to the collar.

I finally caught up to date with the LimenViolet podcasts so had to search for some more. I am trying Stash and Burn, ElectricSheep and the Sassy Sheep at the moment. The woman on ElectricSheep is quite English and posh and sounds just like Melinda Messenger!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier

Rebecca Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
You can find my thoughts on the first half of this book here
I felt this first half was a bit slow but once you find out what really happened in Chapter 20 it all hots up. The tension builds and you wonder what is going to happen in the end. Will Max get away with what happened? Are there any witnesses? Who will try to trip him up? Will the second Mrs de Winter stand by him?

I enjoyed the second half of the book, but I was still frustrated that the second Mrs de Winter (it would be so much easier if we knew her name!!) didn't speak up at times. The author was clever in leading you to think one way about why Rebecca was in London that last day, when it was something else.

I'm not sure if I want to tackle another period novel again for a while though.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, October 09, 2009

Rebecca readalong week 1

In the past week I have been reading the first 16 chapters of Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier as part of a readalong hosted on You've Gotta Read This. I must say I almost didn't make it but luckily I wasn't working yesterday and got it done. It takes me to just over half way through the book, and these are the questions posed by Sandy to start off the discussion and my answers to them.

1. "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." This is quite possibly one of the most famous opening lines of a book. How do these words set the tone for the rest of the story?

I recognised this opening although I didn't realise it was from this book. I'm not sure that it set the tone for me really. I had no idea what the book was about before I started it so this sentence only made me wonder what Manderley was and why this person was dreaming about it.

2. Du Maurier obviously chose not to name the second Mrs. de Winter (referred to as DW2 from hereon). How did this affect your perception of her?

I found it slightly irritating that we do not know her name, and that she is only referred to as either Mrs de Winter, or "my dear girl" or "you silly child" by people. She is a lot younger than her husband but she is a married woman after all. I would have at least liked to know her first name.

3. Do you think the character of DW2 was believable?

I don't read a lot of historical fiction, mainly because I get frustrated at the women. DW2 is very subservient and will not speak up for herself (so far, maybe this will change). When she first arrives at Manderley, even her husband doesn't tell her what she is supposed to do and she is uncertain of her role in the household and she creeps around the house like a servant, frightened that she is doing something wrong. The spectre of Rebecca is hanging over her all the time, Mrs Danvers (the housekeeper) doesn't respect her and I'm not really sure why Maxim chose to marry her. She is possibly a believable character but not having lived in those "olden days" I can't be sure.

4. What was your first impression of Maxim de Winter? Did you like him? Did you trust him?

He seemed okay when we first met him, but has obviously got a troubled past. I'm wondering whether the death of his wife was a pure accident, and the dodgy cousin-in-law has a story to be told I'm sure. He also has a strange relationship with Mrs Danvers, I still haven't worked it out yet. He can change moods quite quickly and there is a hint from his sister that he can really lose it now and again. I've a feeling that is about to happen in the next chapter.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Llys Tryfan RIP

Ok, I have a huge mug of tea next to me, I suggest you do the same, we could be here for a while!

22 years ago today I was 2 days into my first year at university. It was still "Fresher's week" - we started later in those days - and I was aimlessly hanging out of the kitchen window of my Hall of Residence when my attention was drawn to the soft Irish lilt of someone below saying hello and asking what I was up to. As I was (and still am) totally besotted with Bono, the sound of an Irish accent did it for me. "Oh nothing much" I replied, as he disappeared through the door two floors below and into the building. A few minutes later the kitchen door opened and there he was. And 22 years later we are still together.

A couple of weeks ago we went back over to Bangor and it happened to be the day that all this year's students were arriving. We went to the Halls but sadly our Hall (Llys Tryfan) had been knocked down and replaced with a new building of the same size and shape in the same place. This is the old building - my room was on the end, top left, Colin was on the ground floor, 4th window from the right down the side.

and this is it now, it doesn't even have the same name anymore. We talked to one of the wardens and told them we had been there 22 years ago and he agreed to show us inside. It was all very shiny and new, all the bedrooms are now ensuite whereas we had 3 loos to 17 people on each floor! Ah we had some laughs there.

Ok, here are some touristy pictures from London, all the usual stuff.........

Marble Arch

The London Eye

The Victoria & Albert Museum

The ceiling of the cafe in the V&A

and of course Big Ben!

Two days wasn't really enough time, I felt like I missed a lot.

We then went up to The Lake District where we had a lovely little flat right in the middle of Ambleside. On Sunday Colin went and climbed a few of the Wainwrights so I pottered around the village, read and knitted. On Monday we went on the boat along Lake Windermere to Bowness. The weather was a bit grey and drizzly so no photos I'm afraid. Tuesday we drove around looking at the scenery and Wednesday we headed home. I think of the two, I preferred London as there was lots of stuff to do and as I'm not a walker looking at one hill is much like looking at another!

In between the two trips Becca had a Jamie at Home party. She invited all people from knit group so we all knew each other and her mum was the consultant so it was a lovely relaxed evening. I bought some lovely mugs, a matching milk jug, and a new apron!

My ex-work colleague and friend Iain and his wife Helen had their second baby last week. A little girl, a sister to their two year old boy, so congratulations to them. Here's a sneaky peek at something I am making for them.

On our last holiday day we went to see The Invention of Lying starring Ricky Gervais. It was okay I guess, a couple of funny moments and a great cameo from Steven Merchant and "Barry from Eastenders".

Well I think I'll stop there. I do have knitting stuff to show but I'll put that in a separate post.