Thursday, 10 December 2009

My brain has been eaten by zombies - oh, and I have some pretty things to show you

Argh, I haz been attacked by zombies whilst on the bus. I couldn't escape- they cornered me behind a side aisle seat and ate my brainsssssssssssssssss.....
Luckily zombiehood is both infectious and practically unnoticeable in these modern times of heroin chic. It's nothing a little a Maybelline flawless foundation won't cover up anyway and as long as I remember to wear a hat no one will ever know.
Unfortunately however, along with mah brains the zombies also stole everything in my pockets which included no less than 56pence, a quarter of a packet of fruit gums and my list of really important things to talk about on my blog. And as they also ate my brains I am not unable to recollect what was on that list with any accuracy.

So after my long absence I am now going to be hastily back filling in a random and haphazard way. I went through my photographs on my computer to see what I had been up to over the last couple of months. After getting over the shock of how much time has past and how little of that time I can recollect I decided that the first thing that I should share is news of a recent(ish) swap that I have been in. I should have done this ages ago really- my buddy deserves the public accolade as I got a butt-ton (my current favourite saying by the way) of awesome goodies. I was utterly spoilt. I seem to have done really well with all of my swap buddies. I'm not sure what I have done to deserve it I have to admit.
Anyway, picture of box contents:

Can you see how much stuff is in there? This all came from America as well which is pretty amazing- the box was absolutely stuffed to the limit. There's two lots of lace weight yarn in there (black and raspberry in colour), two skeins of Cascade 220 (one grey, one variegated grey/blue), a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock (I have been dying to try this), a skein of DK weight silk blend yarn (dark raspberry), some smaller skeins are round the edges including the one that I made the tiny whale from, two books , circular needles, crochet hooks, chocolates, fabric pieces, stitch markers (wow this parcel had everything!) and finally, the result of the ultimate bit of internet stalkage- all the quarters that I needed to finish off my collection!!! (you may remember this from an earlier post- I going to come back to this on a separate occasion).

All this was for the Detritus swap that the AMKG (Ankh-Morpork Knitters Guild) group ran on Ravelry so theoretically this stuff was all detritus that the owner no longer wanted! My mental image of what their stash must look like has me dribbling.
I have already gotten stuck in and used some of this wondrous stash. I have been having a great time playing with the Cascade 220 which is swiftly becoming my next favourite thing. I was sent 2 skeins of this magical yarn and so far I have made a pair of 'Fetching' for a work colleague, a 'Who?' hat for me and a 'Turn a Square' hat for my husband AND I STILL HAVE YARN LEFT OVER!
More pictures:

Slightly out of focus fetchings. I was inspired to make some of these after a friend tried out the pattern and said lots of good things. They were a super quick knit in this yarn and make an excellent last minute gift for anyone. I particularly like the picot bind-off.

My Who? is my favourite knitted thing in the whole world right now. I love it to pieces and wear it everyday regardless of whether the weather calls for it or not. Whenever I am wearing it whilst walking down the street I am convinced that all the people I pass are staring at my hat and thinking 'where can I get me one of those awesome hats?'

Finally, I don't yet have a picture of my husbands finished hat but I do have a group shot of all the things I have made with the cascade and you can see the nearly finished article in there. It was my first experience with doing jogless stripes and whilst I didn't quite get the first one right all the rest worked beautifully. I also really like the way the decreases work for the crown on this hat. The husband was of course completely unconvinced by the whole thing right up until the minute he put it on his head. Now he wears it all the time ~eyeroll~

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Should have put a sign up

I've come down with a case of computer-itis. Hence my blog has been languishing in no mans land. It's not like I haven't had anything to write about, in fact, I have plenty of things that I could share. But the computer just ain't doing it for me right now. I have spent too much time on it at work me thinks.
The busy period is now over though and I can feel myself picking up again. So I hope to have a decent entry for you sometime in the very near future.
I hope.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I found something fun to play with

morphology of a snail - Visual Dictionary Online

morphology of a spider - Visual Dictionary Online

I came across a new website today- well, at least new to me anyway. I use the Merriam-Webster dictionary quite a lot whilst at work but today I discovered that they have a visual dictionary as well. It has all sorts of stuff in it (not just natural world stuff) including a section that explains the definition for each of the names used in the diagrams. The best bit however has to be the pronunciation guide. If there's a word on there you and you don't know how to say it then does it for you. Only problem is that the pronumciation of many of these words varies between country and even between person.
Much hilarity ensues.

Don't mind me- just had to share.

Monday, 5 October 2009

AKC (Actual Knitting Content)

Hey, lookit me, I learnt a new acronym :)
I felt it was about time that I put a post up that actually had some knitting content to it. I had a look at my recent posts and realised that I have avoided this subject for about a month now. I'm not entirely sure why though it might have something to do with the fact that I have mostly been working on getting some old WIPS finished off rather than starting anything new. Though that is not entirely true as I recently started and completed these in just over a week:

The pattern is Sarah's Slip-Stitch Socks (Ravelry link) which is essentially just a basic stitch recipe rather than a sock pattern BUT having said that I do think that it is wonderful. I used some Knitpicks Multi in colourway Jester that a friend gave me for the main part of the sock and some leftover plain green for the heels and toes (so that I can replace them when they wear out). The little bits of slip-stitch repeat break up the variegated yarn in such a way that I don't get all twitchy about the fact that the socks don't match perfectly.

After finishing those socks I started on my next pair:

These are going to be a gift for my mother at Christmas. I got the yarn (Colinette Jitterbug) through a trade on Ravelry and yes, it really is that bright. The pink is almost neon but is balanced out nicely by the pale lilac and blue sections. I wasn't at all sure that I liked it when I started knitting with it but it has grown on me and now I think I'm sold on it. The pattern is 'Pyewacket Socks' by Kristi Schueler (Ravelry link). I picked it out because my mum is a big fan of dogs (she has four) as well as cats so paw prints seemed appropriate. I'm not entirely happy with how it is all coming out so far. The paw prints look untidy to me. The large hole is created by a sssk which you then knit-purl-knit on the next row around. It's the purl stitch that bothers me as it forms a tiny bobble at the bottom of the hole. I guess I'm just being picky really and it might be that once they are finished, washed and put on real people feet that I will like them a lot better. Until then however I am reserving the right to be a bit 'meh' about them. Unfortunately this means that I'm not spending enough time on them- they keep on getting buried at the bottom of the knitting basket.

My final thing that I want to share is a little sneak peak at a shawl that I am working on:

The pattern is Queen Anne's Lace by MMario (who writes wonderful shawl patterns- I'm sure that I will be making more by this designer). I'm not going to say much more as it is intended to be a gift for a friend. I have loved every minute that I have spent working on it. It has gotten to the point now where each row is over 700 stitches and takes 20-30 minutes to knit and I still can't put it down. I think I will make another one (for me) at some point in the future but I'd better not get too far ahead of myself. I know what I'm like- something shiny will distract me before too long.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Pretty yarn

I have no other reason for posting these pictures other than the fact that I think that the yarn is pretty. I love looking at yarn whether it be in real life or pictures I'm that much of a yarn junky, and I assume that everyone else is too :d
This is my haul from the iknit weekend. A modest one I feel. The Peaches and Creme was the only thing bought on impulse. I just love how nice it is to knit with and this colour was pretty enough to catch my eye. I'm not sure what I want to make with it- probably some kind of washcloth or shopping bag. It matches the colours in my bathroom pretty well so instead of making things for other people (which would be what would normally happen with something like this) I might try and pick something out for me.
The two browns are Cascade 220. I want to make this pattern (Ravelry link). I want it to go with my new green dress that makes me look a bit like an elf. It seemed appropriate somehow. It will be the first time using this yarn- it's one I have heard a lot about what with it being quite popular in America so it will be nice to finally get to some first hand experience of it. The two photos don't really do the colours justice. They are much richer and a little more chestnutty.

My final purchase was of some Malabrigo. I got my first skein of this in a swap earlier in the year and it's just so nice that I had to have some more. This was the one thing that I had plans to purchase before I left. I got a sock weight yarn- mostly because I am addicted to socks. The colour was one that I have had my eye for a while. Totally enabled by my friends in America, horrible enablers that they are.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Guild Swap parcel & iKnit weekender

Last weekend was the iKnit weekender event that was being held in London. I hadn't been down to this event before. It is the fourth knitting event that I have been to this year- I think that if I want the full set then I shall have to go to Alexandra Palace in October as well. I'm still in two minds about that event as I do by now have quite a large stash of yummy yarn to play with and just recently I have been aware of my resolution for this year to not buy so much yarn. A resolution which I have quite obviously not only broken but dropped on the floor and stamped on as well.
On this occasion though, I was going mostly out of curiosity rather than for the yarn buying opportunities as I had heard a lot about both the shop iknit and the weekend show. I also knew from a previous swap that it is one of the few places that has a good stock of Malabrigo yarn in this country so I wanted to see that too. And maybe buy a little bit :D
Before I show you the yarn that I got though I want to rave about something else entirely. Whilst I was in London I managed to meet up with my buddy from the Ravelry group 'Ankh-Morpork Knitters Guild' (who is just wonderful) who gave me part 2 of my 'Guild Swap' parcel.

OH MY GOSH! I cycled between speechless and stunned to squeeing madly. Wow! I was totally spoilt in this swap. Here let me show you:

Picture of all the things that were in the bag (above) and a close-up (below):

Contents from top left:
  • Yarn holder in the shape of a dung ball (heehee),
  • x2 skeins of sock wool from The Knitting Goddess (enough for one pair of socks)
  • Peeking out in yellow the amazing dung beetle bag (another photo of this in a moment)
  • Great A’Tuin tape measure which matches my bug bag and is so much fun to play with
  • Tiny elastic bands for holding needles (already in use in my sock knitting bag)
  • Some SOAK for keeping fibres fresh
  • Felted sheep keyring (on keyring at work)
  • Some black beads to go with other ball of yarn
  • Buttons! see next pic
  • A skein of Schaefer Yarn Anne in red, purple and brown (beads go with this)
  • Finally, and not pictured anywhere, two patterns- one for the Entomology Shawl (Schaefer Yarn + beads for this one) and for ‘Cut your Teeth’ socks (red & black sock yarn for that).
  • Also, I just remembered- there is a lovely ladybird pin brooch as well that didn’t make it into the photo as I was wearing it at the time :D
I’m going to have to take another picture of the bag as well as these ones just don’t do it justice! My buddy did an amazing job of it. The clasp looks like bug eyes, there are little legs attached, handmade cord for the strap and all of the above underneath its elytra- pocket for dpns, pocket for yarn cutter, pin cushion and in the pocket under that there are some embroidery needles. And on top of that it has all been embellished and intitalised. ! ! ! and did I mention !

Here are all the wonderful buttons that I got. I was so pleased to see the little wooden ant ones. Some of you may remember that I bought some of these when I went to the UK Ravelry day in Coventry- well, I finally found a use for them but I didn't have enough :( Now I do however! :D
I'm making a long sleeved shrug (well, made by now, I'm a little behind on the posting here). Here's the link for Ravelry if anyone wants to see though I haven't managed to take photos yet as I need someone else to take them for me- or model the shrug for me though I'm not sure anyone is going to want to do that. All my friends are a bit camera shy.

Anyway- WONDERFUL swap package as I am sure you can all appreciate. There will be more things to tell y'all about just as soon as my ball winder arrives. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago and I'm expecting it to be here soon. As soon as that happens I can cast on for my Entomology shawl (woohoo). Though this will distract me from the Swallowtail shawl that I am supposed to be doing for my mum for Christmas. I can see that my 'dung ball' is going to be well employed over the next few months.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

A proud moment

I recently participated in another swap through the Ankh-Morpork Knitters Guild on Ravelry. The theme for this one was A-M Guilds- we each had to pick a Guild that we felt best represented us and then build our packages around our buddies theme. I picked out the Guild of Cunning Artificers for myself though I really wanted to be in the Assassins Guild I knew that I just wouldn't have the stomach for it. My buddy on the other hand, picked out the Guild of Sandras which is for real seamstresses. The Guild of Seamstresses in A-M is a rather euphemistically named guild which has little to do with the guild members real occupations.
However, I digress.
My buddies choice of guild gave me a few problems at first, especially as it transpired that they don't actually do all that much sewing but then it occurred to me that this might just be the perfect moment to make a little something that had been rattling around in my head for a while.
I wasn't sure if it was the quite the right thing to make but it was too good an opportunity to miss- that and it made me giggle at a mile a minute.
So after much prepping and planning, testing and retesting this is what I came up with:

Yes people, it's a cross-stitched "buggrit millennium hand and shrimp". If that doesn't make any sense to you then you need to read this Wiki entry about Foul Ole Ron, one of the beggars of Ankh-Morpork as it's his catchphrase.
The little shrimp design came from somewhere on the internet- I wish I could remember where. When I was designing this I scoured the web and made a ton of notes and then just picked the best bits when it came to the actual sewing. I didn't keep decent notes though hence the fail.
I have to admit though that when it came to putting it into the swap box it was a bit of a struggle to let go. I was super chuffed with how it all came out. I think this will keep me going for a while and it definitely counts as a proud moment for me. Out of all of the things I have crafted this has got to be one of my favourites.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


I've been having a bit of a tidy up and clear out over the last few weeks. I have picked through (almost) all of my clothes and packed up the ones that I don't want so they can be given to charity. I have sorted through all of my yarn and posted most of the unwanted items off to various parts of the world where I have friends lingering that said they wanted certain items. I even found homes for all 24 balls of fun fur if you can believe such a thing. I have tackled 'the back bedroom' which is basically a dumping ground for anything that doesn't fit into any of the other rooms. I went through all my craft stuff- condensed, disposed, re-homed where ever I could. I managed to shrink my holdings significantly just by finally admitting to myself that there are some things that I am never going to be working on again no matter how long I keep them for.
Of course this all turned into a reminiscent journey through stuff from the ages of my life. Most of it was nice and 'ah' worthy. I only had a few shudder moments. Finding old diary entries is always a bit horror worthy, especially if I think back to the boy that they were (inevitably) about. I skipped past most of it quite quickly. One of the things that I did dig up though was my quarter collection. The DH and I started this when we went on honeymoon to the states. As with most places they have sort of special edition coins in the states- these ones have little pictures on representing the state that they are from along with that states motto or slogan. We got 16 different states in all as well as some other assorted change:

Not that you can actually see a lot in that photo. But you'll be pleased to hear that I got very geeky and coloured in a map for y'all:

Of course, if you are completely 'state blind' like I am this won't mean an awful lot to you so here's the list too: Alabama, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia.
And because the picture really doesn't show you how cute these are (yes, I know- I'm a complete and total geek and america-ophile (or whatever the word is). I'm not even going to bother trying to defend myself on this) here are my two favourites:

Monday, 24 August 2009

Fibrefest Weekend

I was ill again for all of last week. Well, I don't know about again- I guess it was more just a continuation. I finally went to see the doctor about it all though and they have decided that the pain comes from an over production of acid in my stomach. Read 'stomach trying to dissolve itself', hence the hideous amounts of ouch that come with that. So they've given me some tablets to try which seem to be helping a bit and they told me to try and have a restful weekend. Unfortunately for me this was the weekend that I was scheduled to be going to Fibrefest at Coldharbour Mill in Devon. What I should have done was tucked myself up in bed, had a good snooze and tried to recuperate a bit. What I did do however is go to Fibrefest :)
Yes, I am a yarn addict.
The DH and I decided to do it all in one day though. We had the choice of stopping over somewhere for the night on Saturday but it was within driving distance (between the two of us) and it would just have been an extra cost. Plus we would have had to find someone to cat sit us as well which is a bit difficult. So we decided to go hardcore and get up at 5:30 on Saturday just so we could fit everything in.
First stop was at The Amazing Maize Maze which is in Bickleigh. This years theme was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing and so incorporated a rocket ship and an astronaut. You can see the design in the top left of this link. I love mazes and I hadn't been to this one before so it was a real treat. The people who set it up had really gone to town- adding in placards with interesting facts, little teasers questions that helped you out a bit if you were getting stuck and making each of the nine points that you had to find within the maze, one section of a word search that you put together by making individual brass rubbings. The DH and I met up with a few other people including my wonderful best friend and one of my old school friends who I hadn't seen in years. Great fun was had by all.
After that we made our way over to Coldharbour Mill for Fibrefest. It was about the same size as UK Ravelry day but with a different kind of crowd. Many of the stalls had finished items rather than piles of yarn for purchase. One of my favourite producers was there though- KraftyKoala. I bought some beautiful green lace weight yarn from them which I have forgotten to photograph for you all. Rest assured I will do this soon however!
I spent a long time staring at the alpacas again. I had to be dragged away from their pen by the best friend. They were making such cute noises though- I hadn't heard alpacas 'talking' before and was delighted to find out that they make a sound like a kazoo :D
By 4pm we were all tuckered out however so started to make our way home. The DH and I arrived back at the house to find two hungry kitties sat on our doorstep. Not that we were all that late back but regardless of this we were made to pay for our absence in extra cat biscuits and scritches.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Summer Sundae

So despite the fact that I got sick again last week I still managed to make it to Summer Sundae this past weekend in Leicester. It was close though- I had really bad pains again last Thursday morning and had to go home from work and spend the entire day asleep in bed. I felt better the next morning so decided to go up to Leicester but that was mostly because the tickets had cost us something like £100 each and we couldn't really afford not to go. All my friends where really nice and looked after me though. They made sure I ate appropriate food and came and sat in the shade on a blanket with me despite my protests that they should all go do more fun things.
We saw some great sets by people. My favourites where Ash Grunwald, Maybeshewill, Woodpigeon and Monotonix. We also saw Idlewild who are a long term favourite in our house. They were meant to be on at about 6pm on the Friday but due to a cancellation by the Streets (rumour had it that their bassist had caught swine flu) they ended up headlining which is a much more appropriate spot for them. Another good act was The Airborne Toxic Event though I have to admit that I found their violinist a little annoying when on stage which detracted from it all for me. I may just have been being grumpy about it as really it shouldn't matter if the music is good but her antics irked me.
Speaking of on-stage antics- the Monotonix are officially INSANE. They put on one of the craziest acts I have ever seen. Correction, THE craziest act I have ever seen. The whole set was played with the band on the arena floor rather than the stage. They wore nothing but skin tight pants and one of them jumped off the upper circle balcony. The drummer played part of the gig with a bin on his head.
Insane I tell you.
And summed up rather well by this photo I took (of which I am very proud!):

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

London Film and Comic Convention

Gosh it seems like an age since I went to this event. I have rather been neglecting my computer of late- or at least, the on-line things that I do on my computer.
I've been meaning to put these pictures up for ages. I had great fun at the London Comic con. The DH bought me the cutest little toy Totoro and we did lots of celebrity spotting. Mostly from a distance I have to admit as it was quite expensive to get signatures and the place was rammed. There were lots of people dressed up in some great costumes- some who I think must have been paid to be there, others who had just obviously done it for the love of the thing. My favourite was the guy dressed as Hellboy and his accompanying friends dressed as Liz and Abe. Second favourite was the girl dressed as Kiki, complete with stuffed Jiji. The DH took a few photos (I was feeling all shy) though he's not so good with a camera so the people generally aren't looking in the right direction.
Anyway, cool pictures here:Next year I'm going to take my brother along. He will probably choke himself through over excitement and hyper-ventilating. I almost had a complete breakdown when I spotted Darth Vadar in the queue for the sandwich bar. I was sooooooo intent on joining the queue behind him that it didn't matter one bit that I didn't actually want to buy any food. Too funny to miss.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Friendship Chain of Yarn

It's been a long time since I last posted, naughty me, and now that I am back all I want to do is promote something rather than give you any interesting pictures or talk about knitting. Well, it is knitting and it is interesting, it's just not about me as such. Maybe that's a good thing...

So the project I'd like to tell you all about is the Friendship Chain of Yarn. This is mostly going out the ladies in my knitting group who I have asked to participate so that they can have some more information rather than having to just rely on my uninformative mutterings BUT for anyone else who reads this and has access to Ravelry then there is a Rav group which will also give you a ton of info.

The basic premise of the project is thus:" In this Project we’ll be adding links in a round robin by mail to a single Chain, hoping to create the longest fiber chain in the world. Moderators and members will be using the Project to raise money, support, and awareness for suicide prevention, while making friends on the board."
So the idea is that each person knits or crochets another link in the chain. There are several mini chains out traveling the world at the moment which will all be returned to the group administrator who will in turn connect each of these pieces together to form one long chain.

It's hoped that this project will have a two fold impact- that not only that the knitters and crocheters that work on the project will come together as a group and form new friendships thus forming a human chain as well as a fiber based one, but that it will also be a useful tool in educating people about suicide. By that I mean all people, not just those at risk or who have been affected by it in some way already. Also there are many aspects to consider when thinking about suicides; from prevention, to helping those at immediate risk and dealing with the aftermath for those who are left behind.
There is a project blog that can be found HERE if you would like more detail. The following information is taken directly from the blog and is based from statistics from North America:
"More than 32,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year. It is this country's 11th leading cause of death, and is often characterized as a response to a single event or set of circumstances. However, unlike these popular conceptions, suicide is a much more involved phenomenon. The factors that contribute to any particular suicide are diverse and complex, so our efforts to understand it must incorporate many approaches."
"The above quote is taken from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website. Over 32,000 successful suicides take place each year in the United States alone. For myself, in the population group that I belong to (white females between the ages of 25-34), suicide was the third leading cause of death in the year in which the most recent statistics are available. It followed only accidents and malignant neoplasms. If I were older, the statistics would be almost as bad, as white females between the ages of 35-44 had suicide as the fourth leading cause of death.

In 2005, more than 17,000 people committed suicide by using a firearm, 31% of these were women. Each year, approximately 750,000 suicide attempts are made. An estimated 5 million living Americans have attempted suicide, and more females attempt suicide than males."
This is only part of a very long and informative post.

So that's the why of the project. From a personal perspective I am engaging in this project as it touches on a few experiences that I have had in my lifetime. I am fortunate not to have been confronted with anything firsthand as such, though if I think back over my life there are two instances that I would like to share with everyone here.
The first happened when I was very young- I must have been about 6. It is the first time I can remember being taken to London. We were standing on the platform of one of the old underground tube stations. I was holding my fathers hand and we were trying to spot a 'tube' mouse when an announcement came over the tannoy to say that the train would be delayed as there had been some kind of incident. I didn't understand what had happened until I overheard grown ups around us discussing it- it transpired that someone had committed suicide by throwing themselves in front of one of the trains further up the line.
For me this was my first experience, albeit a distant one, of suicide and to this day it remains a great reminder to me of the social impact that suicide has. Many of the people around me that day went into a kind of shock. I remember the quietness around us, the sudden cessation of movement and the way that my fathers hand gripped mine just a little bit tighter.
The second incident comes from my teenage years. I was 13 or 14 at the time when my grandmother died. At the time I didn't really understand so well what had happened. I was aware that she had committed suicide though in her case it was suicide by degrees. It was slow and for her, quite painful, but it was suicide nonetheless. For the family it was quite quick- she lost weight over a year and half which everyone thought was a good thing as she was a big lady and we were worried about her having heart problems. Then she got really thin over 3 months and suddenly it was obvious that something was wrong. The doctor diagnosed terminal lymphatic cancer. She passed away approximately six weeks later.
From the outside this may seem like a coincidence or maybe just an unfortunate occurrence but both myself and my parents believe that she knew she was dying and that she deliberately chose to keep her condition from all of us. Looking on her life I can now see why she made the decision and I believe that she thought she was doing it for a lot of good reasons. She loved her children and her grandchildren very much and I think one reason was that she was just trying to save us from the pain of watching her go through treatments and being in and out of hospital.

And so it is, that without much thought, I can think of two instances that have touched my life and remained with me. There are others which I won't share with you now but I do think it highlights just what wide ranging effects there can be, not only for the person directly involved but for those around them, distantly surrounding them and for society as a whole. I was shocked to read the facts and see the figures that are behind this project- not at the figures themselves but mostly at my own ignorance of them.

I will leave you with the following information which is taken from the MIND website:

"Although the overall rate of death by suicide is falling, more than 4,300 people still die by suicide in England and Wales each year. Many more suicide attempts are made. At least one person in every 100 who ends up in hospital after a suicide attempt will succeed within a year, and up to 5 per cent do so over the following decade. A study looking at figures for attempted suicides from several European countries, including the UK, suggests that the figures might be higher - possibly as many as 2 per cent of people who have attempted suicide will kill themselves within a year of the previous attempt. The study also found that about 7 per cent of people in the study died by suicide within the next decade. A British study found that women who have a history of deliberate self-harm (including overdose) are 15 times more likely to die by suicide compared with other women. The risk is particularly high during the 6 months following deliberate self-harm."

Monday, 13 July 2009

Things have happened

Like me forgetting to post pictures of Cumbria to go with my Woolfest photos. Ooops. Next post then but there are other things that I wanted to share in this post that will be much quicker (I am at work at trying to get this done in the last ten minutes of my lunch break...). My things are share are also 'reasons to be proud'. I'm not very good at singing my own praises or maintaining that good of an opinion of myself so in an effort to stop this habit here are some things that have made me happy recently. Yes they are simple things but sometimes just getting the simple things right is what can lead to the greatest happiness and contentment, especially when they are focused around the home.

1) I made gooseberry jam. This is the first time I have ever made jam and it came out really well. I had to have a bit of a scrounge round for jars and I didn't do anything sensible like check I had enough sugar before starting (just- we were left with enough for four cups of tea). The gooseberries were a gift from a work colleague who grows them in his back garden so it is all round wholesome jam- plus its really yummy. I got 5 jars in the end, two of which I am going to gift. The rest I shall hoard and keep all for me :D

2) My orchids have been doing really well recently. I get a great deal of pleasure from growing them and seeing them flower. More than I would have thought possible. I recently got given some Interflora vouchers with which I purchased the orchid below. It's huge and completes my purple set (I now have 3 of varying sizes and colour patterns) which occupy my bedroom window. They look fantastic together. I still have some vouchers left so I will be getting another orchid at some point once I decided what colour I want. I think I have about 10 orchids at the moment but I'm not sure what colour they all are (some were gifted to me and they have yet to flower) so I'm going to wait for a bit. I told the DH that I was worried about being too geeky over them and he told me that I had passed that point ages ago...

3) I got my first harvest of potatoes last week. I found some time to get out and do some work in the garden when it wasn't roastingly hot and it was really fun. Harvesting my first home grown potatoes was immensely satisfying- as was eating them later that day with a home made steak pie.
And here's the difference six weeks has made to my vegetable patch:

This is my garden in May after we had planted every thing out

And here it is about six weeks later

Notice that not only have all the plants grown but the fence has too! The man next door finally got around to putting it up. It's not finished but it's enough to give us some privacy.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Shiny things

My mum has been suffering from the 'creative bug' recently and has made a ton of pretty things for me. She sent about 8 pairs of earrings and two necklaces to me in the post (yay, I love getting post)- all of which are wonderful. I know she doesn't read my blog. In fact I would be very surprised if she even knew I have a blog but I just wanted to thank her publicly anyway as it was very sweet of her to make all these things for me. Each set is just lovely and you can tell that mum knows her market as they are 'nature' or 'natural world' themed. I only have shots of the first few unfortunately and I'm not sure that I can remember all the others that she sent but as well as the earrings below I know that there was also some dragonflies, lizards and butterflies.

The other necklace has a big silver dragonfly charm on it and the chain part is made of purple ribbons. The one below however is probably my favourite piece out of everything- it's made of purple beads and fish vertebrae. Yeah, bone necklace :D

Monday, 6 July 2009

Woolfest 2009

I only got a few photos of the event itself. Hopefully no one will mind if I have accidentally taken a picture of them. It was quite hard not to get peoples faces- in retrospect what I should have done was gotten the DH to run down the far end of the aisles and make some kind of scene so that everyone was looking away from me but I didn't think of that at the time.
The shots I did get are of the animal pens that were situated in the far right aisle of the humongous storage shed we were in. I didn't want to take any of the stalls that were there as some people had signs up asking that no photos be taken but that's okay, as this area was full of cuteness.
Far end of the pen area. I was standing next to these fuzzy wuzzy things when I took the shot. I probably took more photos of the alpacas than anything else actually. One day I'll own one- I will, I promise!

Other end of the aisle where they had the fleece sale and lots of fun things for spinning:

My favourite sheep from the show is below. They had pens with different breeds in but these ones made me laugh the most- boucle straight from the sheep :)

This is a Wensleydale sheep- after clocking the name I laughed twice as hard as 'wensleydale' just makes me think of Wallace and Gromit and I have a terrible urge to just shout 'Cheese!' all the time.
What you can't see- well, you can just in the very left hand side of the first photo, is the stall with the angora bunnies on which I must have visited at least 5 times. They had two bunnies with them- I want one soooooo badly at the moment. My mum used to breed them as pets when I was a kid and I loved them. Obviously I had no idea at the time that I should have been collecting all the fur up. I can remember my mum cutting their fur back when there was a really hot summer and just chucking it in to the bin! Oh, the shock and horror when I think of that now.
The day at the show was great- it wasn't quite the same without the best friend in tow though the DH did a good job of looking interested. He even managed to make a pertinent comment or two and lasted about 4 hours before demanding that we leave (which is an all time record). Next year if I go again I think that I will try and take knitters with me though it is a bit of trek from Oxford so I'd need at least one other person to share the driving with me. Unless I actually took time off of work and made it into a great big road trip- that might work.
Anyways, I guess you want to see what it was that I bought... :D
I was relatively restrained and only bought 4 skeins of yarn, one of which is a swap gift so I am not going to post it here just in case it gets spotted. I wouldn't want to ruin the surprise after all. For me though I got a couple of things from The Yarn Yard which was a new shop to me. It may prove to be a fatal move as they had some beautiful yarns AND they are organised and proactive enough to have got everything onto Ravelry- yay!
For a real treat I bought myself a skein of lace weight cashmere:

I could only afford to get 470ms of this (that's the one skein) but I plan on making something small and pretty from the soft fuzz.
I let the DH pick out some sock yarn for himself from the same place:

Who would have thought that he would go for a Boston Red Soxs colourway?
I also stopped at the Wild Fire Fibres stall where I picked up some shiny sock yarn- it's 50% tencel and 50% merino and has a wonderful shimmer to it. In truth I didn't need anymore sock yarn- and had in fact promised myself that I wouldn't buy anymore but I just couldn't resist.

And that's it other than the mystery skein as far as yarn buying goes. I did pick up a little gift for the person who was house sitting all the animals for me and a little treat for the best friend (hah, I taunt her with the knowledge that there is a gift but shall say no more...) as well as some roving for myself. I have never been tempted by roving before but the best friend taught me a bit more about spindling the last time I saw her and I enjoyed it much more. I figured that as it was an incredibly cheap price it wouldn't matter if I bogged it up completely but that the long fibres might be slightly easier to learn with than the stuff I had been previously using- oh, who am I kidding? It was pretty and soft. THAT'S why I bought it :D

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Woo hoo!

Don't ask me how this happened or why it works because I JUST DON'T KNOW! The video is a little clunky (the original is much smoother) and this may well be as good as it gets but look! it works!

Friday, 26 June 2009

Just a quick update

Things at work have been scary busy for the last week- hence no blog update or comments on anyone else's. I just haven't had the time! Though it is not all down to work being busy I must admit. I have joined and volunteered to moderate a new Traveling Scarf Group and setting that up has sucked away some of my time. I also signed up to do a Baby Blanket swap- well, bits of blanket really as we are knitting strips and then exchanging them amongst the group and as we are each using a different colour it will eventually end up being a rainbow coloured blanket once all the exchanging is done. Only problem is that what with work, TSG and this, PLUS all the other stuff I am committed to doing I have no time for things like my blog, reading books or any of those other little things that I would gently have filled my time with. I think I'm just a bit over committed on things at the moment.
Ah well, it's only a month or so of hard work and then it should all be out the way and I will have a ton of stuff to share with you all. I'm going to try and keep on top of things as I go- I already have a post backlog here so it would be a good idea to not just let everything slip but no promises. I have much knitting to do after all!
One thing that you will be hearing about though is my weekend away. The DH is taking me to Cumbria for the weekend today. It's a long way to go I know but what with attractions like 'Cars of the Stars' (seriously, they have cool things such as Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, The A Team Van, Herbie, Bat Mobiles and a ton of James Bond cars amongst other things. Yes it's geeky I know but I'm really excited about going), the second biggest stone circle in the country and WOOLFEST! I hadn't even realised that is was this weekend until a few days ago. I'm going to Woolfest! How cool is that? Not quite sure how it happened or why the DH is taking me as he hasn't ever really shown any interest in fibre related fun before but who am I to question his decision? I have a few short hours in which to clean the house, get all my stuff packed and then run into town to meet the wonderful person that is looking after the kitties this weekend so that I can give them the keys to my house.
So really I shouldn't be sat here at all but getting ready instead. Unfortunately there is one other reason for my prolonged absence recently and that is the deluge of headaches that have been plaguing me for the last 2 weeks. I've had some kind of headache pretty much every day ranging from 'migraine' to just 'dull ache'. This morning I've had 'might be a migraine but if not it's going to be pretty bad anyway' headache. Argh. I really really need to get going. I tried sleeping for a bit- didn't work. Tried getting up and doing some gentle housework etc- didn't work. Am now trying 'taking lots of pain killers and coffee' route. Thankfully this does seem to be working. Not ideal but I have to be places and doing things today so no choice really.

I guess the over riding message is bear with me and it will be worth it. I have lots of fun things to share with you all and I do so hate getting out of touch with people. My posts may be short but I will try to make them often enough that you don't end up thinking I have dropped off of the edge of the world :D

ETA: Oh, and apparently Micheal Jackson is dead. Which has completely weirded me out. I always find surprise news like this in the media tends to bump my brain off of track- similarly when Heath Ledger passed away. Which is odd really, as I don't know any of these people, I just know of them if that makes sense but I still find the news of their deaths shocks me. It's like part of my brain just can't believe that it could have happened and I spend all my time listening to it going 'nah, it's not true' 'it'll turn out to be misreported' 'it'll be some sort of sick publicity stunt' etc until about 3 days later when it really does have to accept that yes, that person really is dead. This one in particular I think will be quite a strange experience as there really will be a global mourning- and overloading of the media with all aspects of his life, trials, times etc. It's going to be an odd weekend in that reaspect. I think I might try and an avoid the tv for a bit...

Friday, 12 June 2009

UK Ravelry Day 2009

So UK Ravelry Day was last Saturday. It was held in Coventry in Central Hall- and out of Central Hall as most of the stall holders where in a open air market place outside the church. This was a bit unfortunate as it rained and rained and rained.... Not that this put off any of the shoppers but it did mean that everyone got quite soggy. Because of all the rain though I didn't take any photos of the event itself. Even the pockets of my coat where filling up with water by the end of the day and I just wasn't willing to risk getting my lovely brand-spanking new camera all soggy.
Inside the church hall there where several stalls and displays that I completely failed to see. I did whizz by the Alpaca Select one right at the very end of the day just when people where starting to pack up and pick up some more of the purple alpaca that I have been using for my mini crochet squares project:

I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't find the time to visit that area- or the one upstairs where the spinning displays where taking place. Having said that though it's is a good thing that I didn't find the Alpaca Select stall earlier- I love their stuff. It's the best alpaca that I have used and fills the 'soft and squishy' bracket 100%. The balls bands may be lacking in helpful details like tension/gauge etc but the weights of yarn they do are pretty straight forward (e.g. DK, 4-ply) and consistently fit to what you would expect of that weight stitch wise. It's the choice of colours though that really gets me. I asked the best friend to run and grab me some of the purple DK weight and she came back completely confused. I didn't understand until I saw the stall and realised that there were about 7 different purples to choose from alone.

The majority of my time was spent going around all the stalls in the marketplace. I turned up wanting lace weight yarn but quickly got sidetracked into other things. One stall had some great prices for undyed yarns. I picked up a skein of undyed sock yarn for £2.50 which seemed like a good bargain to me. I hadn't planned to get any undyed stuff but I figured that getting some kool aid sachets wouldn't be too hard and I could have some fun playing around with this one afternoon. They also had other undyed yarns and I pitched in with the best friend to get some aran weight yarn so that we can have a KAL on the Jayne Cobb hat. We both got a bit over excited to find that the other wanted to make this pattern the evening before- we had come to Firefly independently and at different times. It led to much squeeing. The original plan had been to buy dyed yarn in the right colours but we only found one stall with the right colours and it was over £5 a ball.We worked out that we would need a whole ball of each colour each and that the hat would thus end up costing us over £15 (each) to make. Eeek. So we bought undyed yarn instead as the best friend is on a bit of a dye kicking at the moment and wanted the fun of turning it all pretty colours.
One of the biggest draws of the day though was The Knitting Goddess stall. Both the best friend and I got sucked into this one and could have happily have stayed there for hours and hours. It was also the stall that broke us. We had originally planned to be sensible people and go round all the stalls first before making a purchase but this one just blew all that out of the water. They had sock yarn to die for! ~nom nom nom nom nom~ We were practically drooling. How I managed to restrain myself and only buy one skein of yarn I will never know:

This is one shop that I will definitely be revisiting! I have a funny feeling that they will be getting much of my sock yarn money for the next little while. I couldn't resist the yellow above. I was just so pleased to find awesome variegated yellow sock yarn.
Another shop/stall that was completely new to me was KraftyKoala. The best friend was drawn to it because they had plaits of roving in pretty colours and whilst she was browsing I spotted their selection of lace weight yarn. This was probably the best priced lace weight yarn that I found. I think I paid about £10 for the skein and it is approx 13oo yards which is great. The only down side is that it contains some silk so I had to remain deliberately ignorant on that point until after I had bought it- I just loved the colour so much I couldn't resist. It's called Mayfly lace and can be found here on Ravelry:

I was treated by a friend of mine to a skein of undyed alpaca lace from the John Arbon Textiles stall as a thank you for giving her a lift to and from the event. It is beautifully soft and fantastic at £5 for 1300 yards. I am going to be going to another show called Fibrefest in August that is being held at Coldharbour Mill in Devon (happily the parents live not all that far away so I can double up on things and see them as well as getting free room and board) and I know that John Arbon Textiles will be there as well so I will have a chance to buy some more of this :D

My final bit of lace weight yarn that I got is really the gem of the piece. There was absolutely no question as to whether or not I would be buying this- the second I saw it I knew it was destined to be mine:
The one other stall that I had really, really been looking forward to getting a chance to stop at was the Fyberspates one. I have been eyeing up their yarn over the Internet for ages and ages but had refrained from buying any as I wanted to have that experience in person and my-o-my was it worth waiting for.