Monday, November 30, 2009

Philip Pullman

licking around t'interweb after looking at Philip Pullman's site found this: À Outrance. The battle between the polar bears... The rest is out of my price range well and truly, but I might have to find £50 for a print of the bear fight. I struggle to decide on a favourite character, but Iorek is in the top three, maybe even top two.


Blog has been quite of late, a combination of busyness and lack of
inspiration (laterly), I feel like the inspiration is starting to creep back in though. It's been an interesting couple of weeks gadding about London town. Saw the Brute Chorus at the Bath house, Philip Pullman at the Southbank and Malcolm Middleton at Bush Hall. Tomorrow
nights activity is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at the Brixton Academy. Malcolm Middleton is responsible for the current desire to make Dan some Red Traveling Socks. Plain red with cables of some description I reckon.

Yesterday I managed to put together a decent attempt at a pattern for gauntlets to match my blue silk Ishbel. The 2nd full attempt with some adjustments along the way, but even so, very quick to make up. They'll need some serious blocking I think, but I'm going to crack on with the second one ASAP. I'd still quite like to develop this pattern further into two-part mittens, but that's not going to be before the wedding in question - there's not really time and I don't have enough blue silk yarn either, and honestly, I think a mitteny version should be woollen.

gauntletmit the first

gauntletoriginal dicey preliminary sketch

Friday, November 13, 2009

And America, Seems an awful long way to go

(It’s so many miles and so long since I’ve met you
Don’t even know what I’ll find when I get to you
But suddenly now, I know where I belong
It’s many hundred miles and it won’t be long)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

more lessons

Continuing the theme: Things I've learnt since yesterday evening.

One, I quite like having bright red nails, almost as much as I used to enjoy having permanently black nails when I was 18/19.

Two, my theory about territorial spraying killing one of my new plum trees (and almost killing the other) proved correct. All my plants in that area have been badly damaged and look sickly. I heard the distinctive sound of foxes screaming at each other last night and when I flicked on the back light there were two of them in the garden looking straight back at me, obviously having an argument over territory which they get into at this time of year. We watched each other for a little while and as they jumped over the wall one of them took a good long sniff of the dead tree. The die back started off as just damage to the leaves but then the whole lot went very quickly not to be recovered. The graft was slightly open and I think their sent marking went into it, killing the top half very quickly. (nails to tree grafts in less than a paragraph, how north london am I....)

Three, The Wedding Date is indeed a terrible film....

Four, my new fabulous boots from Clarks I bought at the start of October are in this months Glamour magazine and are now completely out of stock. I have worn these non stop since I bought them and I'm very glad to have them, spending another winter without vaguely appropriate (waterproof) footwear was not an appealing thought and I've not seen anything else I liked so much as these. Well, except maybe these that I found today... Now, where to find £109 from? *sigh*.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

losing my head


Not entirely sure what happens to my brain when Dan leaves town. I seem to excess on girl things I couldn't usually give a fig about whether I get to do or not. This evening I painted my nails bright red whilst reading Glamour magazine (a guilty pleasure of some magnitude, is it okay if I only look at the pictures? I don't like the words...) and I have chocolate ice cream in the freezer (it's okay love, I am eating properly - yes I know you're reading, you're the only one who does - I had baked aubergine with our tomatoes, garlic and chorizo for dinner but it wasn't as nice as yours and I'm sulking about that). I've an awful feeling the evening is going to end with me watching 'The Wedding Date', no doubt one of the worst films in history, simply because it's on telly.

Last nights evening was somewhat more productive. I finished my Ishbel (rav link) during a marathon of Merlin episodes (which I've now decided I like, but does not compare to the excitement of the new doctor who episode this week) interspersed with an episode of Spaced (not the same watching it without you, love). Sadly the pictures of the finished product are pants because of the terrible light that's been around the last few days. The shawl is in fact a deep bright blue with one row of contrast edging in a sort of turquoise-y shade I don't have a name for.





Two important lessons were learned during this sprint to the finish line. The first: I wanted to wind two centre pull balls to finish this, but my current loo roll method was too slow (very pretty wound balls though). Ten minutes with google yielded the thumb method, so me and my swift got to work. This also has the unexpected side benefit of giving you a giant comedy thumb like a cartoon character. The second: underfloor heating makes your wet blocking dry really really quickly, definite unexpected bonus for wintertime knitting.

ball winding

ball winding

ball winding

Right-O, time to crack open the ice-cream....

Monday, November 9, 2009

links to interesting things

Some interesting things that have caught my eye this morning. Firstly the Persephone Post (the blog of Persephone Books - a great book shop which is situated 5 minutes from where I work and which I am yet to frequent despite reading their blog, and in their own words "prints mainly neglected fiction and non-fiction by women, for women and about women.") had a great picture from the City of Edinburgh Museum and Art Galleries called The Fair-isle Jumper. Dan's been getting into his fair-isle recently, he wants a fair-isle jumper. The hat in this picture is pretty killer too though, those pom-poms are awesome....

Other interesting finds - I had a flick through "blogs of note" on blogger. Last time I did this it didn't yield anything to my taste, but this time I got Darkmatters, a stop motion animation blog which is home to some very cool stuff. Cool in my world anyway, possibly a bit dark and creepy in other worlds, but I enjoyed my visit.

Friday, November 6, 2009

purple spuds


I'm just trying to distract myself from the horrendous (and unjust) bank charges I've just discovered in my bank account (which, rest assured, someone will be getting an earful for on Monday), so I'm going to think about potatoes instead. The front garden of our terraced flat was basically a weed patch. I'd optimistically installed a hawthorn hedge when we moved in (3 years ago), and a few other scraggy bits of hedging have found their way onto the patch since then, but basically it was heavily compacted complete with some serious clods of clay. It annoyed me that the land was wasted (and ugly), but at the same time it was a tough habitat to start with and not very relaxing to work on, being on the road. I concocted a plan...

We spent a considerable amount of time weeding the patch and something had to be planted to keep the weeds down so our work wouldn't be wasted. Because of the compaction though there was really only one candidate - potatoes. They'd break up the soil and hopefully keep the weeds down a bit, who knows, we might even get a crop (not that we got anything out of our new potatoes on the veg patch after the cats dug them up and killed them).

So I went down the new fangled minituber route - grown in a lab. Three varieties: 5 tubers of Fortyfold; 5 tubers of Champion; 10 tubers of Congo. The patch isn't great, doesn't get much sun, and the spuds were almost entirely neglected once put in. No extra watering, no fertiliser of any kind and only one attempt at some half-hearted earthing up. However, surprisingly enough, we did get crop! 2.02kg of Fortyfold (the star performer), 1.16kg of Congo (0.58kg relatively) and 0.85kg of Champion. Unclear whether Fortyfold was so good because of plot position (getting the most sun) or variety, but I'm pretty sure Congo is not a high yielding variety - it's more for the intense purple colour, which runs right the way through.

spudsstraight from the ground.

spudsin the pan, turning the water bright green.

spudsa better view of the spectacular blue-green colour. Sadly my inexperienced clueless dying experiment with a scrap of unbleached muslin (shoved in a pot of the water) yielded no stain.

teeny tiny baby

Cycling home through London last night was a bit like cycling through a war zone, a great many bangs and whistles and flashes of light. Fireworks have certainly been going off a lot round here in the metaphorical sense. It's never bloomin' quiet round here it seems. My brother's wife had her baby ten weeks early on Wednesday, but things are going well it seems like and baby and Mum are getting stronger. Baby was so early Mum and Dad hadn't got as far as names for her, so she is just Tiny Baby at the moment, all 2lbs 6ozs of her. I've just about managed to stop feeling incredibly anxious about the whole thing and started to feel excited about having a new niece, gonna crack on with some teeny tiny baby hats and boots asap.

The Ishbel shawl is whizzing along nicely. I hate hyperbole, but I do love my new Knit Pro symfonie wood interchangeable circular needles I bought this year. Expensive, but brilliant to use: very smooth and light and just the right kind of pointy-ness. They literally make me smile as they slip through my fingers. I'm using Debbie Bliss Pure Silk, which I'm kind of undecided on as a yarn generally. The deep jewel tone colours are very tempting, as is the overall gloss of the skein. It's nice to work with certainly and drapes very well, but it seems to lose some of that magic as you work with it and it develops a light fuzz.... hmmmm....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

here the Wild Things Are was out in the US while I was over there. I convinced myself that it was out here too, so I was bummed to discover I can't see it till December. I've been consoling myself over at Terrible Yellow Eyes instead.



So it's been a little while since I posted, mostly due to a hectic work schedule that had 10 days in Chicago, IL in the middle of it. The photo at the head of the post is from the Signature Lounge at the top of the John Hancock building last Saturday evening (pretty spectacular).

I   got back to London town on a massive wave of relief. Chicago was nice enough and I had fun, but I haven't been that homesick since I was about 10 years old on a week long Brownie camp. Dan met me at the airport and kept me awake for the day to help me avoid a bad bout of jet lag (though honestly I don't think I ever really converted to Chicago time, I slept so badly while I was out there). The week since then has been a bit crazy - I had exceptionally good work related news on Wednesday and I've kind of been bouncing around kind of elated since then. For the first time in about a year and a half I don't have something to feel incredibly anxious about (as a consequence my overpowered, stress fueled, immune system took a holiday over the weekend and I finally fell prey to a cold).

Not that there haven't been things to talk about: purple potatoes, pumpkins, a slightly random conviction that a had to make a crochet blanket right now, the start of an Ishbel shawl (rav link), OCD bookshelf tidying and sloe picking. Enough to keep me out of trouble for a bit at least...

the view across grant park from our 49th floor apartment