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."