Sunday, November 26, 2006

Knitting in public fun

There were 4 of us at the Bolton Knitting Noras knitout today, me, Bev, new member Caroline and my work colleague Julie aka "the sock mistress". (She makes beautiful socks all the time, even working on them when we're evacuated from our building - now there's devotion for you).

Caroline is keen to learn to knit and seems to think we're the people to help. Bev gave her some needles and I gave her some mauve wool that had been donated to me.

Bev showed her what to do and Caroline proved herself to be an excellent pupil, mastering the slipknot, casting on, garter stitch and casting off within 2 hours.

She has a natural talent.

We were also more than impressed than the magnificent socks Julie was working on - I forgot to get a photo but will try and take one tomorrow at work.

Lots of fun for everyone today in fact.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Legend in my own lunchtime...

Just spent a lovely day in the company of my local Bookcrossing pals and the Manchester Vegan Society; 2 meetings in one day - no wonder I'm knackered.

I haven't been to an MVS meeting for about 3 months so it was wonderful to see everyone again.

The famous Jay Dave graced us with his presence too - he hosts a cookery programme on Veggievision so he is a star of screen, if not stage. I've met him several times but was still ridiculously gratified when he pointed at me and shouted "veganknitter!"

The charming Caroline who works at the Art Gallery also revealed herself as a fellow vegan knitter - hoorah!!!!

I decided to get the bus to Manchester and back, thus laying myself open to aural bullying at the hands of the local feral youth.

What is this thing of playing music on your mobile REALLY LOUD so that everyone sitting near you has to listen to it? I wouldn't mind so much, but why is the music that people insist on playing through their mobile phones that rubbish tinny Kevin techno? Why can't they play something with a decent tune, like the Sex Pistols?

Having listened to this stuff all the way from Bolton to Manchester, the same thing happened again on the bus home. I finally cracked after 50 minutes of being forced to listen to it and asked the young woman in front of me if she wouldn't mind turning her mobile phone music down, adding "Don't you have any Ramones?" (I thought this was a witty touch).

(There were several other people on the bus and I think the music annoyed them too but being English, no-one said anything.)

Bless her, she was very polite back, commenting "I'm listening to me music on me mobile" but turned it down a tad. However, the over large chav on the backseat decided to stick his oar in, shouting at me that "Her music is class and we don't want to listen to old people's music that you like, no-one else has complained."

I reasonably commented "I love music of all kinds, but I don't impose my taste on everyone else, I use my headphones" which just encouraged him to say more of the same but at a louder volume.

Young people today eh.

Today was also Buy Nothing Day (the idea apparently originated in Manchester, factfans).

Well I didn't buy much, just my bus ticket, The Guardian (don't know why I bother and will give up completely when Posy Simmonds stops her cartoon Tamara Drew), some vegan cheese and stuff at the Basement.

This doesn't count, as when not buying essentials I was supporting anti-corporate organisations, so there.

And my new copies of Knit 1 (featuring DR RUTH!) and Knitting were waiting for me when I got home.

(Now aren't you glad that you read this far?)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Crafty book frenzy

My good friend Bernie gave me some knitting and craft books the other month and I am just going to register them on

I have asked knitters and crafters in the Bookcrossing UK Group if they would like a free, random knitting book and I have had a great response.

As it is likely that I won't have enough books to go round, I will have to draw names from a knitted hat.

I aim to send each book with a free minibadge from the stash of stuff I got from Knitty.

Hopefully, in the spirit of Bookcrossing, the books will be able to travel on to other knitters and have exciting journeys. Or maybe not, it's all part of the Bookcrossing serendipity.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The world of one project is not enough...

Pathetic attempt at a James Bond pun there.

The baby blanket is coming on very well but I think I may start another couple of quick projects as well.

I think I will make a scarf for my NSSFC (Not So Secret Father Christmas) Bookcrossing partner. Several of us UK bookcrossers have volunteered to send a complete stranger a secret parcel containing at least one book and probably some choccies as well.

While I was at the Bookcrossing Unconvention at Birmingham in June, we exchanged goodie bags and quite a lot of people got knitted gifts. I thought this was a lovely idea so I shall make a fluffy scarf to go into my recipient's parcel.

My god-daughter Evie also asked me to make a scarf and gloves for her and as I already have some Elle Plume from the poncho I decided not to make for her I will make her a scarf for Christmas as well.

She may have to wait for the gloves though...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Make me a Supermodel...

well not ME, obviously.

Having just wasted 2 hours of my life watching this on Five I can only agree with Adam Faith's dying words, uttered while watching the channel: "It's all crap, isn't it".

The programme was horribly compelling though - the only person who came over as likeable and real was Rachel Hunter (but then I might be biased as she appeared in the video for Stacy's Mom by the great Fountains of Wayne AND survived marriage to Rod Stewart).

One of the finalists was Jen, who was apparently a "normal" woman of "normal size" and thus had huge popular support probably because she also spent the whole series being attacked for being "too large" by the panel; eg the 4 people in charge, 2 of which no-one has ever heard of.

Of course she is about a size 12 so they all proved themselves to be bodyfascists of the highest order. They didn't even show any remorse when the poor girl collapsed in a faint after starving herself (only Rachel rushed to help her).

Anyway, the worthy winner was the lovely Albert who seems much too nice and intelligent to be successful in the world of fashion.

Throughout the final I was obsessed by one of the judges, called "Theramin" or "NooNoo" (or something) who wore enormous shades throughout which even Roy Orbison would have rejected as too over the top.

It's a sick, sad world alright...

But it beats watching washed up "celebrities" inflicting daily torture and almost certain death on invertebrates on "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here" or Steve Strange nearly taking someone's ear off with his clippers in "Celebrity Scissorhands".

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

And it's going back...

the love affair was short-lived...

Having taken the phone home in it's little plastic bag I noticed that some of the paint was coming off on the front cover.

This just won't do for a fashionista like me so I'm going to send it back.

As it's one of those phones you push up to open and turn on and that's where the paint was missing, this problem would only get worse with time.

I'm a bit disappointed and don't want a new one.

It wouldn't have happened in the 1950s when they made things properly.


Can I also add that this experience was not helped by being put through to 3 people when I rang, each one of which asked for all my details again. I was eventually advised to take the phone back to my local branch, which I did. One of the so-called customer services staff in the Bolton Branch of Carphone Warehouse was completely arsey with me when I asked them to send it back, even saying when shown the damage "Well, they're all like that".

Once a (charming) woman took over and sorted it out, he then spent 10 minutes rampaging around behind her shouting "I've lost my mobile".

Buyer, beware...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hoorah. Le phone nouveau est arrive

I was good at French at school, me.

I finally got my mitts on my Cath Kidston phone today; it's been a saga.

I missed the delivery dude on Friday and then rearranged delivery to my workplace for yesterday.

Unfortunately, the guy who signed for it in the postroom used a name no-one knew (he's called George but signed "E Wins" (!!) and also didn't record it in the book and put it in the wrong pigeonhole.

You just can't get the staff...

I went down there today after giving the delivery people a blast on the phone and after a bit of searching my friend Sylvia found it in the Hair and Beauty Department pigeonhole. Get off you hairdressers!

I've now charged it up and put my new SIM in and it still says "No SIM card found".

It looks cute although it's a bit plasticky and you need teeny tiny fingers to get the SIM card in and a degree in physics to work out how to put the battery in.

However, I love it even if I can't actually use it yet.

So now I have the phone to match my Cath Kidston ironing board cover, tablecloth, tent and yards of boat fabric (which I haven't decided what to do with yet).

Friday, November 10, 2006

'Enders - they're all at it...

Instead of going to the pub last night to meet my veggie / vegan pals, I decided to stay in with my knitting and was thrilled that there were two (count 'em! - two) references to knitting in Eastenders last night.

In the cafe, Pauline said that she was planning to knit a jumper for her poison dwarf grand-daughter Rebecca "for Christmas". She'd better get a move on, especially as she doesn't even know how to knit but was going to get Dot to teach her.

I also think that gorgeous dimmock Honey was discussing knitting with her auntie, who is played by Una Stubbs; but whenever Honey is on screen my mind goes numb so they might have been discussing cavorting with Cliff Richard, The Shadows and Richard O'Sullivan aboard a double decker bus for all I know.

I also found some Patons Cotton Splash in my stash which will be just the thing for my Heirloom Blanket.

All this excitement has helped me get over the crushing disappointment of missing the delivery man with my new phone.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blimey! I'm famous!

One of the lovely members of the Yahoo! Group Veganknitters sent a link to a competition hosted by Peta2, the youth wing of PETA.

Once I'd entered it I looked again and realised that this humble blog is listed as an inspiration.

Have a look at the link on the right for details - it's a wonderful competitionee, and as they say:

"We are firm believers in the fact that everyone is a vegan knitter at heart; you just have to start."

As I'm supposed to such an inspiration to all and sundry, I'd better get on and actually finish something then.

Being famous has it's drawbacks...

I'm sooooo Cath Kidston, darlink

When I was in London I popped into The Carphone Warehouse to have a look at the much touted Cath Kidston phones.

They had a few on display and while I was having a play, two other women came flying in and had a good old go too; we were really laughing, going "These are so girlie" and lamenting that they weren't made of bakelite or something else appropriately retro.

Anyway, I now have ordered a Cath Kidston Nokia 6111 phone online! Hoorah!

It's the same one as the one pictured but in the red Pop Flowers pattern instead and I can't wait to get my claws on it.

The good news is that it seems to be on it's way.

But I may not be in to take delivery of it though. Bah.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Spent a frustrating couple of hours last night working on the Heirloom Blanket, redoing it 4 times.

I couldn't work out why I seemed to have one stitch less after 3 rows of the pattern.

It's because on the very first row of the pattern, I knitted 2 together and did the yarn forward bit to make another stitch but not at the very end of the row before I knitted 2 at the end.

I blame the wine...

I should be OK now and hopefully get it finished this year at least.

I also went and collected some Knitty goodies which I treated myself to. I had to pay an extra £10 Customs and Excise fee which I wasn't happy about and which blunted my delight in the badges and cards I got.

Monday, November 06, 2006

London trip a success

I had a very enjoyable trip, apart from being bored senseless at the Airport because I didn't have my knitting with me and my iPod decided to die as well.

I went to the Holbein in Britain exhibition at Tate Britain on Saturday - the textiles in the paintings were beautiful. He was a very skilled artist; the pictures look like real people; his drawings are exquisite.

The gallery was full of those annoying people who have the audio guide clamped to their head so stand right in front of you or move around like a load of sheep. As a lot of the pictures were tiny little miniatures or otherwise quite detailed, I had to hop about to get an unrestricted view of the pictures I liked.

I hadn't been to Tate Britain for years and was very impressed with the new layout. It was full of kiddies and parents too which was good to see (apart from when I wanted a seat in the Members' Room!)

I did toy with the idea of going on a boat trip on the Damien Hirst boat down to Tate Modern but decided to squeeze in a trip to John Lewis on Oxford Street.

Of course going on Saturday afternoon, along with all the world and his wife was not one of my more brilliant ideas.

The knitting department was bulging with people and buzzing - great to see! While I was there I peeked at the Rowan Studio booklet - some impressive and trendy designs but not many that could convert to vegan friendly versions I'm afraid.

I got some 4 ply Baby Snuggly wool in white and some cream / sand coloured Jaeger Siena cotton for the edging of the Heirloom baby blanket.

I have since changed my mind though and may get some Rowan Calmer for the edging instead; might be a bit softer for baby.

Knitting on the tube on Sunday, on the way to my mum's for lunch, I got talking to a charming pensioner who told me about knitting socks for her brother during the war to help him with his chilblains. She was off shopping at Petticoat Lane; must try that myself next time I'm down.

Friday, November 03, 2006

As one door closes, more open...

Firstly, I would like to apologise for the lack of blogging activity during October. This because my dad died on 18 October after a short illness.

He was a wonderful man, lived life to the full (at least until this year) and survived to the great age of 86.

This meant I spent several weeks away from home and away from computers and also did not feel up to blogging the trivial details of my life.

Thank goodness for knitting though! It kept me busy through a difficult time and I have more or less finished my Cotton Tape cardi (apart from the sewing up part, hmmmm).

Ironically, the day my dad went into hospital my friend Isobel announced that she is expecting her first baby, due in the Spring.

So in her honour I have decided to make a few baby items. Her only stipulation is "no lemon yellow cardies"; not sure if that's for her or the baby...

I think I will tackle the chunky satin edge blanket from Erica Knight's Baby Bloom book but in a soft cotton not that real wool stuff - much too scratchy for baby although the cute model on the cover seeems to like it.

She also wants me to teach her to knit as she wants a "pregnancy poncho".

My good friends Caroline and Pietro are also expecting their second any day now - the blanket I made for their first born Sofia took longer than I thought it would as I didn't follow a pattern but just made loads of squares and sewed them together. It also got absolutely enormous!

So this time I am going to make them the heirloom silk shawl from the same book. Being a good vegan I'm not going to use silk but Rowan Cotton Glace or similar instead.

I'm off to London tonight to catsit my sister's kitties for the weekend so will go to Loop in Islington if I can find it (or maybe just John Lewis on Oxford Street) and stock up.

Because of course I don't have any suitable yarn in my stash.