Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Wandering the Blogs

Although I don't have as much time as I would like to do this, I do enjoy wandering the blogs to see what people have been up to. It's a great way of getting ideas for patterns, though I'm trying to restrain myself with regards to dashing out to buy the yarn. ;-)

So, today I have discovered that Diane and Kate's wonderful new magazine has been published - The Inside Loop at

If you haven't seen it already... go there now. I'm especially taken with "Maude".

I've also discovered that Kay has been writing some lovely new patterns too - especially these "Raspberry Mitts". I have to make these!

And, elsewhere... Helen says I make her day:

*Blushes* Aw, shucks.

So, I'm nominating everyone who comments here and everyone whose blog I comment on or link to, because.... I appreciate anyone taking the time to leave a word or two here... and I really enjoy the blogs I read and get a lot from them. So thank you all, very much - you make my day.

Bits and Pieces

I am currently an attractive picture of ill health. The BF passed his Man Flu to me over the weekend and my face has been leaking since Sunday - a euphemism for much snot. Of course, if it was just a bit of cold, I'd have probably gone to work but every time I stand up I feel dizzy... so I'm not exactly going to be a safe driver.

To show how ill I really am... I haven't been able to knit! Or read a book, so it hasn't been fun.

Enough whinging.

Before I became lurgified, I finished off the gloves for Jeanette, Peter and Diane - three lovely people at work.

I finally got around to adding a purple trim to these 'Left for Lilacs'. You can only just see the lilac yarn around the wrist of the glove on the right ('ironic' positioning for the picture).

The more astute observer will realise that these are just the "TSF" gloves with a lilac trim - around only one of them. My best friend Debbie has a shockingly bad sense of direction... this is just an attempt to help her tell her left from her right... when she's driving.

I also rattled off a strawberry hat for a workmate's baby - just a good way of using up yarn from the Dreaded Box of Oddballs and Orphans.

Hasn't really made a dent in the collection but this baby blanket might.

I think this is going to use two balls of "Baby Ull" in lemon (Dale of Norway") and two balls of "Sirdar - Cotton DK" in turquoise. I'm not sure how clear this photograph is but this is a diagonally striped blanket.

Needles: 3mm (oh, yes, it's going to take a while)

Pattern: Dead easy Fairisle - i.e. couple of glasses of wine and it's still possible to do.

The main part of the blanket is knit in stocking stitch and is bordered with a moss stitch edging.

CO 150 stitches - five rows of moss stitch in lemon
Row 6 - Moss stitch 5 stitches in lemon then join the turquoise yarn...
...Knit 140 stitches in alternate colours for all of the stitches i.e. turquoise, lemon,
turquoise, lemon, etc...
...until there are five stitches remaining - moss stitch in lemon to the end.
Row 7 - Moss stitch 5 stitches in lemon, then purl the alternating colour pattern again.

Continue until you run out of yarn, but make sure to leave enough lemon yarn to finish with five rows of moss stitch.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

The Perils of Penelope Pitstop

When we last saw brave Penelope Pitstop...

... She was fleeing the Midwich Cuckoos...

...but as she escapes one Village of the Damned, she enters another...


Where the men are plotting diabolically fiendish schemes...

...And it's already too late for this lady... formerly a Feminist Punk.

Even the Hooded Claw would be appalled!

The Caked Crusader Strikes Again

The Caked Crusader (blog link at the side) - whose lovely site is a mouth-watering treat of cakes and deserts - has tagged me. Here are the rules:

Write 5 facts about yourself, tag 5 people, and link back to the person who tagged you.

Here are the facts:

1. I was once Barbara Cartland's body double. (I'd like to point out that I look nothing like the Dame).

When I studied journalism, I was sent to London Village to work (unpaid) on a magazine, for 'the experience'. Here, I found myself writing about G-Strings, one night stands and Peter Stringfellow. For the Valentine's edition, the publication ran a spoof photo-comic about a girl trying to find love according to Barbara Cartland's rules.

Muggins here agreed to be the body double for Barbara Cartland - a picture of her face was photoshopped onto my picture. So, one January morning, there was I, standing on a high street in Fulham, in front of building site wearing a fairy costume and silver slippers, three sizes too big.

2. Just because I'm tall, doesn't mean I have big feet. I'm 5' 8" with size 5 feet. The smallest in my sixth form.

3. In the pursuit of a good story, as a journalism student, I once went for a "job interview" with a brothel keeper.

Our phone number was one digit different from an escort agencies. Six journalists in the house and how long did it take one of us to think that there might be a story in it? Months! You can see why I went into public health.

Anyway, I trotted off to a very nice hotel where I met the lady and her friend. It was an odd experience to say the least, but I had six of the biggest lads from the course on stand-by, just in case I ran into problems. Everything ended well and my fellow-students were more shocked that I told my Mam what I had done... rather than the fact I had 'gone undercover'.

4. Anyway, I got out of journalism because I thought health promotion was more interesting and decided to focus on sexual health - mainly teenage pregnancy and delivering sex education in schools. This was not related to my brush with the madam!

5. My first job with the NHS was in Hull.

So, I'm going to tag... Cinders, Soo, Vixx, Kai and Carola because I don't think I have tagged you before.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Ethical Campaigner of the Year

If you find yourself short of things to do over the next couple of weeks... I'm encouraging people to vote for my friend Anna in the Observer/Guardian Ethical Awards. I've known Anna for years and she has always been committed to living as environmentally-friendly as possible. Last year, she actually made it to the shortlist, alongside the likes of Al Gore and George Monbiot.

Anyway, this is what her hubbie, Nathan has to say on the subject

"I'd like to ask a massive favour (again) which is to spend a couple of minutes of your time voting for her a second time in the 2008 Observer Ethical Awards as campaigner of the year.
We got the feeling last year that we caused a bit of an upset in that the Observer had been hoping for another star nominee.
"There is rumour that she could be up against Leonardo Di Caprio for his film the 11th Hour and Sheherazade Goldsmith for her book ‘A slice of Green Life’.
"She was voted last year for her work in setting up the "Sound Impact Awards" with the inspirational Jamie Agombar and it's now in its second year. It is an environmental awards scheme for Students’ Unions and I attach the guide so that you can see the excellent work that has been done as a result of the scheme. Here is link to one of the press stories about it from last year to give you an idea of what went on.

"This year over 60 Students’ Unions are signed up. The inaugural ceremony was held last year and Ray Mears was the host.

"To enter the yearly award, unions have to set up and adhere to a strict set of environmental criteria. She set them up after ticking her students union off for using Pizza boxes and finding out that they and a large number of students didn’t care. She thought that an awards ceremony and a bit of competition might do the job and it has. To give you an idea of the numbers involved, over 1 million students this year would have seen some of the environmental best practice in place as a result of these awards and over a five year period that then becomes about at least 5 % of the UK population. Lets also not forget that HE students and typically officers in the unions go on to become major decision makers (Gordon Brown, Jack Straw..) so getting them on board is crucial.
"The Observer has just launched their third ethical awards and I, and a number of others, have started voting for Anna for SECTION 3 -Environmental Campaigner of the year.

"If you could vote for Anna that would be great and please pass it on to your friends so we can perhaps see a local campaigner in place this year. We know that there were just over 6000 votes last year so we really need all hands on deck.

"Even by coming in the top 3, the exposure has meant that more publicity has been gained for the awards resulting in an increase in attention and support for them and the Sound Impact Awards now has it’s own full time staff member, Catherine Dishington.
"I’d also like to point out that Anna does all this and her Journal work for free.
"To vote for Anna is very easy and takes 2 mins max , go to
You don’t have to fill in all questions and can just click next, go to question 3 and type in: Anna Heywood and put Sound Impact Awards as the reason and click next etc through the other ten questions.

"You do have to fill in your details to make the vote count but I promise it takes less than two minutes.
Deadline is March 2nd 2008."

Before you make any decisions about whether you want to vote for Anna, here are a couple of links to have a look at:

Anna's campaigning with The Journal
Sound Impact Awards - some info -

Roman Blinds

I've also started my biggest sewing project. Am I nervous? Oh, yes *nods vigorously*. This is a Roman Blind for our bedroom.

Since starting the soft furnishings class, I've learned a lot and the fact that I have willingly selected a patterned fabric is astounding. My motto three weeks ago was 'stick to plain, or straight lines'.

Of course, if you have good eyesight you will notice that there are straight lines running vertically through the cirles... I'm not quite as daft as I look... and these made cutting the material much easier. I even managed to cut it so that the pattern is balanced at each side of the blind - one of the cool tips from this class, that is common sense but somehow need someone to point it out to you.

After sewing the lining to the patterned fabric, the whole thing needed to be ironed.

The next step is turning the hem at the bottom - folding it to make a sleeve for the weight, so it turns from this... this.

There's obviously more work to be done and this is now my class project for the next couple of weeks... To be continued.

So, where am I up to?

Sorry I haven't been to people's blogs for a while - things have been busy.

To answer Cinders's question about the "Sirdar - Peru Naturals"... It knitted up beautifully. It's similar to "Twilleys Freedom Spirit" in that if you pull/knit too tightly, you will pull the yarn apart. It's very slubby. One thing I found surprising was that I actually used the required amounts given in the pattern. I usually use two balls less - I'm never as 'bang on' as I was with this top.

On the knitting front...

... these lovely "Twilleys Freedom Spirit" gloves for Jeanette. She once mentioned that she likes Autumnal colours and I think these fit the bill. They just need sewing up.

The BF has been nagging me to knit things for myself (bliss!) so I started this "DB Cathay" ribbon-edged cardigan.

The photograph does the shade of purple no justice at all... taking pictures in the evening despite good intentions, oops... It's a really rich shade of purple and the yarn is knitting up beautifully - the stitches all look nice and even and I'm looking forward to wearing the finished cardigan.

After the Sirdar wrap (6mm needles) this is rather fine (3.15mm). It's good to vary but I briefly lost the ability to differentiate between 2.5mm and 2.75 mm needles - but that's just because I was knitting a ridiculous number of socks!!