Saturday, 30 June 2007

One more step......

Madison Square Gardens and the Flatiron building, New York. The first triangular shaped, iron framed building in NY. Quite amazing.
Went into Glasgow today to meet a friend, and traveled by train. I love traveling by trains, looking out the window, seeing little surprises , like the deer eating some leaves off a bush on a precarious slope by the side of the tracks. I like the steady rhythm, as it passes through towns and countryside, and I like hearing the familiar names of the various stops .
Took along my knitting, just some plain old garter stitch, but the familiarity and rhythm felt comfortable, reassuring .
Then I got to thinking about all the people I knew who knitted, like my Gran. Whenever she was knitting something for us (not very often I hasten to add, she was like me, a bit slow!), she would tell us she was knitting for a little girl. There would then follow a story of epic proportions as I asked questions. What was she called ? Diane , What age was she ? only 6, but very small as there wasn't much food in her house. Why was Gran knitting for her ? Her mummy asked cos she couldn't knit, and needed something to keep her warm. It would always be such a melodramatic, pathetic story, that we would be feeling so bad about this wee girl, who didn't even exist (it was probably Gran recalling from HER childhood!)
Then there was my aunt and her gorgeous aran sweaters - always the aran sweaters, so by the time I was 5 years old, I was a bit "oh no , another aran sweater!" .
On Saturdays, it was a treat to visit the Fabric or Yarn shops, I loved flicking through all the patterns, looking at all the fabrics or yarns, and joy! if something was chosen to be made for me! Or if I was allowed to make something myself . My aunt taught me how to sew and knit (oh , and make a cup of tea for her from scratch! ) when I was 5, along with my Gran! It made me feel very important and grown-up .
And when they knitted or made something for me, I was clothed in love .
There were lots of people I knew who could knit beautifully , it was taken for granted in a way, nobody was paid for it, people were frequently asked to knit things, and very little thanks was given. Recently, shopping in a few yarn stores, the owners said they knitted items and only charged for the yarn, as people found it expensive ! One lady had knitted items, then the person who asked for them decided they didn't want them ! This made me so angry, and sad.
Sometimes the crafters , were their own worst enemies - my mother and Gran were often saying "I'm not paying that, I could make it myself!" , which, no doubt they could, but what about praise for the item someone else had made, and the service they were providing for others who couldn't "make it themselves".
Which is why I love my knitting groups, where everyone shares, learns from each other , and praises each others FO's. I've met so many talented , generous people and one of these days, I'm gonna name and proclaim!
So to Knitters past and present, I just want to say "Thank You!" ( and to sewers, crafters etc....)
On the comments : - Thanks Tash, I didn't notice that the Organic cotton clothing in New Look has no affiliation to a certified organic body, its certainly food for thought. I may try and contact New Look after my holiday to see if they have any further information about this . I compared the "feel " of the organic T-shirts to the non-organic ones, and they do "feel" better, but thats not to say they haven't been made in a sweatshop . It certainly isn't easy being green !

Friday, 29 June 2007

Happy Birthday to Christopher!

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to Christopher
Happy Birthday to Youuuuuuuu
To my Godson Christopher, have a wonderful birthday - your card and gift are winging their way to you!
How time has flown since you were a tiny baby , and now you are nearly the same height as me.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Schools out for Summer!

Its officially summer, and school came out early today! 6 weeks of fun fun FUN! (I hope!)
Had a lovely afternoon at Tramway Knits on Sunday, it was a full house, with lots of lovely knitting, reading and chatting going on. Gloria had brought a book about knitted underwear - it was very, ehm , unusual. I wouldn't personally knit bra and knickers using kid mohair, or an all-in-one from angora, but I can see how it may!
Nan had brought a book about Victorian Lace (a more appropriate use of kid mohair), and some of the designs were absolutely stunning. I must resist. I. MUST.RESIST. Lots of beautiful items were being knitted, India had some of her (very soft and lovely) blueface handspun and was knitting it into a sweater. Sarah had her gorgeous "Socks that Rock" in a bright pink colourway, and Gloria was knitting a mohair sweater in Jade . And my memory fails me now, so I can't remember what everyone else was knitting , which is bad because I distinctly remember ASKING people - my brain has officially turned to mush .
What I do remember is Julia's recommendation of several "ethical" shops in Glasgow, one that sells People Tree clothing. I've written the names down in my notebook, trouble is I can't find it! Aagghh!
Nice surprise in New Look today - found several stands with Organic Cotton Clothing, and although the prices were inexpensive, they weren't so cheap as to indicate sweatshop labour! Jeans were £30, T-shirts £10, dresses £20 .
Thank You for the lovely comments you have left, Its always a nice surprise to go into my blog and find them. No photo's today - I'm so disorganised, I'm supposed to be preparing for our holiday to Majorca - oh well tomorrows nother day!

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Normal Service is almost resumed.....

the sun decided to show its cheery face today, and boy what a change that makes. Last night I was wrapped up in woolly clothing, today I'm in my new People Tree Sun dress, made from organic cotton (bad photo, please excuse!)
Too impatient to wait for hubby, and anyway the flash hides my bad hair! Had a great time the other night perusing different yarn web sites , and have found some great ones - more of that later.
Just to prove that I am actually knitting in 4-ply cotton, here is the result so far...
I love this yarn, I'm not far off the arm shaping now, and thats after having to rip some of it out (OUCH!), I may not have it ready for my holiday in two weeks time, but I'd like to think that perhaps I'd get to wear it this summer!
My comfort knitting last night was the cushion cover in a lovely boucle merino yarn called shipwreck'd. Its almost done, and is knit in garter stitch, due to its "bumpy" nature. It is very soft and cuddly which makes it perfect for a cushion cover or throw.
Talking of comfort, my DH got a long lie in bed today for Fathers Day (but no breakfast in bed, instead he got dragged out of his bed for that by two small boys!) - and is now enjoying his Fathers Day gift down at the Golf course. Our eldest child did ask when was Childrens' Day - we said that was every day!
At present I am winding up the banana yarn and the lycra into balls - I think I have found a patter for a shrug that suits, but its when to fit it in - I've also signed up for a knitalong (Pinwheel sweater, elann .com - its all Elaines'/Lynettes' fault, really!) Ah, so much yarn so little time !
And now for the gree bit - I'm really excited about this site, its Deytheur , and it sells camel yarn, amongst other things, take a peek, its basically fair-traded yarn and accessories from different parts of the globe.
Closer to home, and just as exciting is the British Breeds Yarn site here, the even have a yarn spun from Beatrix Potters Herdwick sheep (mixed in with a little something softer). The prices are reasonable too.
Then there is the Shetland Wool from Jamiesons (I think there are two companies bearing similar names, bit confusing), their wool is fabulous for felting (my friend has a gorgeous felted bag she knitted from this yarn).
And last but not least, there is Garthenor Organic Wool from Wales, using rare breeds.Most of it is undyed, and can order fleeces, roving, unwashed/washed, carded etc. It looks like beautiful yarn.
And to prove there was a blue sky today, here is the evening sky!
Edited later : Thanks Tash - updated web links , so they should work now. thanks for the Web Site, I shall have a good look (see comments!). And yes, Sarah - that is my view!

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Back to wool!

So, the weather remains miserable, and not only am I wearing woolen socks and jumper, I'm trying to finish my cushion cover - What ? where's the 4-ply ? Its still there, and hopefully when the weather improves, I will get back to it, but just now I need something warm and cozee!
Now tomorrow is Fathers Day, so the Father in this house decided he needed a new golf club, and could that be his gift, thank you very much. So off we go, en famille , to American Golf shop, to choose such an item. Junior and JJ have a shot of some putters in the little putting area, except they think the clubs are really whackers, and attempt to whack! After all, they've just seen Daddy do it in the whacking area (you can tell I'm up on the jargon , right?)
But the clubs are on a BOGOHP offer (thats buy one get one half price for those who do not visit large supermarkets!), so we end up with TWO clubs . TWO clubs, for FATHERS DAY (did he give birth??) I have ammunition for next Mothers Day (and a visit to SEVERAL Yarn Stores!)
Saturday is Dr Who day in our house, from about 4pm , every 10 minutes its " is it nearly time for Dr Who " . Tonight Captain Jack Harness is back, the best looking Gay bloke since Rock Hudson (and Franklin Habit, of course!). And the piece de resistance was Derek Jacobi (as the Master, an evil Time Lord), regenerating into John Simm (Life on Mars), the last two episodes are going to be GOOD!
I should get out more on a Saturday Night - but that would be missing knitting time!

Friday, 15 June 2007

A Blustery Day!

Its been a bit grey and windy these past few days, great for drying the washing (apart from the day it lashed down for hours!), but quite depressing after the beautiful weather last week. On days like these its time to get out the baking bowl and wooden spoon , and do a little baking . First were the pancakes, excuse the bad picture, the camera was feeling a glum!
The dozen or so pancakes made lasted, oh, about an hour! My youngest disappeared into the kitchen, then when he re-appeared in the living room, he had pancakes for everyone! Next came the muffins - raspberry and white choc chip, they disappeared instantaneously , hence no pictures.
Just now there is Pizza Dough proving in the kitchen, and the tomato sauce is cooling.... mmmm lovely smell. The flour came from a small organic mill in Cumbria . They grind the flour the old fashioned way, and some of its flour still have the husks as well as he whole grain! I bought some plain and self-raising and loved it .I bought it from the Village Bakery in Melmerby, famous for its Bread making courses and delicious bakery goods. The restaurant there is marvelous, we visit every year when we go on holiday to Center Parcs .
Am steaming ahead on the 4-ply - almost at the arm shaping for the back (believe me when I say I do NOT DO 4-ply, so I must really love this yarn - it is a Rowan one after all! No pictures yet - the camera is charging up (probably feels a bit like myself just now, low on batteries!)
And for the Banana yarn , well I think a shrug to go with my new dress, but hey, there is still plenty in K1yarns, and I DO have to visit again next week - Katharine has ordered the Annie Modesitt Ruffled Roses Scarf pattern - its only given to Yarn stores and you must pick it up in person, but it is free (and lovely!)
Thanks for all the recent comments - I have to agree with Tash, that I've enjoyed watching Springwatch a little more than last year, perhaps its because I watched more with my wee ones, especially on the Cbeebies. And I had a giggle at the Ladybirds mating - ladybirds and Bumble Bees are big in our household just now, had to explain about them "hugging!" I like that Nan thought I was talking about a family in Glasgow (and not as I wrote, a family of foxes). I think perhaps "Chewing the Fat" might do a sketch of that one! We had foxes near us when we lived in Glasgow, just now its more likely to be deer eating out our garden. Mind you the nest in our roof is now empty of its wee baby birds, they've all grown up and flown away (or eaten by the Magpies, c'est la vie!")
Right off to get my pizza from the oven - love to eat, and when the weathers' bad, love to eat more.
Edited later: Pizza was great - rain came lashing down on my washing!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Bananarama - part 1

So I head up to the Westend today, stopping by Katherines shop after a lovely lunch at North Star - the Celeraic soup and soda bread was D.I.V.I.N.E! - and I found the Banana silk. Its made entirely from Banana fibres, is a slubby chunky type fibre with a wonderful sheen - How could I resist?
However, across from the Banana silk was some new fyberspates in some gorgeous variegated colours, spun from Bluefaced leicester and silk - boy its so SOFT! I'm in love. In the end the Banana silk won - will be back soon for some gorgeous fyberspates . Also bought some of the Mango Moon lycra yarn to give the BF some "memory", ,as it could grow and grow with its weight .
The 4 ply is still coming on well - will be getting back to it after this, or rather my Perthshire strawberries and jersey thick cream (its so thick and yummy it looks buttery )
Will be taking in a bit of the BBC's Springwatch - watch the kiddies version of this on Cbeebies, and now I have the grownup, violent version. One wee moorhen chick ended up as dinner for a buzzard chick. There is a family of foxes in Glasgow being filmed too - its very entertaining, one wifie feeds the old fox some dog food as it stands on top of her car!
Well back to the knitting.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Here Comes the Rain again....

not sure if summer is over here, on the West Coast of Scotland, or just been temporarily suspended! Just knew if I hung out a washing to dry, yep, down it would come! Still it was that lovely fresh summer rain.
Well , tonight is just one of these evenings for a good cup of tea and some knitting - enjoy!

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Hey, I've got some new shoes on..

and suddenly everything's fine! Well done to all the girls who took part in the Race for Life - Pats on the back all round! I took the lazy option of just sponsoring, but one of these days.....
Spent a lovely afternoon at the Tramway, knitting and chatting. Poor Maggie turned up later due to problems with her car, then proceeded to have problems with her yarn. Heather was knitting some beautiful socks, and Catherine was crocheting away what looked like a lovely shawl. Nan was knitting with some gorgeous pink tweedy yarn (forgot to ask what it as), and Fiona was knitting with Rowans Bamboo tape .
I'm still knitting away on the 4-ply, and getting on a bit better than I thought I would. I took it out for "Knit in Public" day, where a few of us from Flavaknits met at Gourock front . Unfortunately it was so hot (yes you read that correctly HOT!), that we all decided to return to our cool shaded gardens ! Still we got a few comments and remarks! I think the Smoothie hats may have to wait until the cooler weather .
Off to do a bit of knitting and watch the BBC's Edwardian Supersize me with Giles Coren and Sue Perkins - boy, the food looks good!!!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Coffee and Cables

Last night at Flavaknits night, there was a good turnout. We were discussing the Knit in Public Day - Karen had received some patterns/coupons from Rowan Yarns, the patterns are for beanie hats for Innocent Smoothie drinks, to help raise money for "Help the Aged" . Weather permitting we'll be sitting out at the front at Gourock, may even pop into the outdoor pool, otherwise we'll be in one of several cafes'. If you'd like to join us, give us a shout.
My pal Kathleen will be putting together a slideshow of photo's given to her , showing us Knitting in Public, on her blog .
Today was the first time this year I took Junior Jnr to the Gourock outdoor pool - it was a wee bit cool to start with , but we soon warmed up, splashing about, jumping in and out and trying to swim (JJ that is, I was just the support for him!). The pool is normally very warm, but because it is closed on a Thursday (until Summer Hols), it had gone a bit cold. I was feeling a wee bit teary today, JJ was registered for Nursery, and although I know he's ready and able, still ,he's my baby. So the splashing about in the pool was just the ticket!
My friend Gale brought in the Inspired Cables book last night, it is really lovely, I got a chance to look through it at my leisure . And Kimberley had visited K1yarns and spent spent spent! Habu yarn with steel core (can't remember the name) Hip knits Silk , Colinette Tao silk, plus a lovely Colinette pattern book .
Had a look at Tigerliliths blog the other day, and she mentioned another blogger Claudia who is doing a sponsorered bike run (150 miles - respect!) in aid of MS . If you visit Liliths blog you'll get all the details how to donate, and perhaps a chance to win some donated yarn! Claudia is hoping to raise $30k - she's already raised about $20k, and there is only 2 weeks to the bike run.
Hopw you all enjoy "Knit in Public Day" (or weekend or month......)

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Going Green and going Banana's

While in NY, I bought the "green" issue of Knit1 - and read up about eco-friendly yarns. Most natural yarns with the exception of cotton are "green", and the closer to home the yarn is made the better. It also touched on recycled yarns (sari yarn) , and frogging old sweaters to use the yarn for something better .
There are a few organic cotton yarns on the market just now - Angel yarns sells one, and the Annie Sherburne site sells several - and there are probably plenty American sites that sell it too. Ordinary cotton is a bit of a no no - the pesticides and chemicals required to grow it, as well as dye the finish product are a bit of an environmental disaster area. Also, many growers are not offered fair trade prices, and end up living a hand to mouth existence. One article I read in the newspaper quoted a cotton farmer explaining how his cousin, another farmer, died after spraying his fields with the chemical pesticides - very distressing .
So going forward, I will be trying to use eco/grower friendly yarns - I still have some local Wensleydale yarn in my stash produced in the Isle of Arran (the scottish island, where Jack McConnell is from!). And its Organic, or the sheep are anyway.
I will try and list some good sites (note to self - get blog site updated for this!) at the end of this post, for anyone who may be interested. I am sure some other bloggers will have some other great sites too.
The K1 yarns newsletter had some excellent news - they will be stocking banana yarn - Yes, thats yarn made from banana fibres! (which is another "green" type yarn). I think a little visit to K1yarns will be made soon .
On the knitting front here - still progressing with the Parisienne shawl, and have started the cotton 4-ply (must be mad) - have a look below .
Yes, thats all 8 rows of the 4-ply cotton - the shawl is still more of a kerchief just now too - maybe have a few nights without TV/Mac access to knuckle down!
The colours in the Parisienne are gorgeous tho' - I do like this colour .
Well off to do some more knitting - sites to visit are listed below - also if interested have organic/fairtrade fabric sites too.
Annie Sherburne (does recycled material yarn!)
Angel Yarns - organic cotton
Email Penny Hamilton for some Arran Wensleydale - good for sturdy sweaters/blankets etc. 50g ball casts about £4, good value.
K1yarns in Queen Margaret Drive Glasgow, stocks Sari yarn, SWT Bamboo and now Banana Yarn .
Stitching Time in Hamilton also stocks a good selection of Jamiesons Shetland Yarn and addi turbos (I'm digressing!)
Organic Cotton Fabric here
And some Hemp material here
Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Crabby Days !

Now this blog was really meant to be about my knitting, and a little on family life, but something I read in the newspaper this morning really fired me up. Yes , I am feeling a little crabbit this weather, but as my friends know, nothing fires me up quite as much as sexism. And nothing quite fires me up as much as sexism, as sexism with violence! So today when I read an article on Women broadcasters in Gaza, I was outraged.
A text send to one broadcaster read " You are without shame and morals, we will cut your throat vein to vein if needed to protect the spirit and morals of this nation" Can anyone spot the contradiction ? Apparently, if these women do not wear the hijab they will be beheaded , no doubt by these "spiritual and moral" men!
One lady said she refused to wear the hijab, and would not bow to pressure, even with the threat of death - what courage and presence of mind. Unlike this cowardly group of pathetic creatures who "have no shame or morals"!
Knitting chat resumes tomorrow .

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Tig, you're het!

Okay , Nan has tagged me (I received this information after a morning spent playing games and doing craft -the Franklin type- with the under 8's!)
I've to list 8 interesting things about myself, which is hard, I'm not that interesting a person. *groan*,
1. I have only ever taken part in Karaoke once, at a "fun day" for work - I had just started the day before, and here I was singing in front of my Director (and I won a bottle of wine!)
2. I have worked in a Psychiatric unit as an auxiliary nurse during summer holidays when I was 17/18 - I grew up during those summers .
3.I was nearly arrested in California (hope you're having fun Thea) for driving the wrong way down a one way street - FIVE police cars came as backup to the first one, I got off with a warning ! I'm not sure if the earthquake I experienced the next day was in any way related .
4.I am scared of heights, but have managed to fly in a hot air balloon, and go up the London Eye!
5.As a child I was incredibly shy, and I still have moments where it is hard work not to be shy. With people I am relaxed with, I can be very social.
6.I have gallows humour, sometimes I just can't help laughing at things I know I shouldn't - the scene from the film Small Faces, where the guy wakes up just in time to turn off the gas fire that is slowly poisoning him, then lights up a cigarette! Or the guy who was awoken by the noise of an earthquake, thought it was an intruder and got his gun, accidentally shot himself in the foot and when the police accompanying the ambulance turned up , they discovered the gun had been stolen so arrested him on the way to hospital!
7. I used to play five aside football when I lived in Perth -, we played against other (female ) teams and also took part in the company five aside tournament (got to play with, I mean against boys!)
8.I love sushi - I would love to learn how to make it and go visit Japan, just like my pal Elaine , I have a soft spot for most things oriental .
Now its time for a cup of tea, and a wee peek at Franklins' new niece, she is sooo cute. I am not passing this on to anyone, as I think most folk I know have done it anyway .

Friday, 1 June 2007

Here comes the Sun

Well it took its time, but finally, about 6pm this evening the sun came out - my two were paddling about after dinner in a new paddling pool. We had spent a lovely afternoon over at Lomond shores, toys were bought from Jenners, and much fun was had at the Playground. Didn't see many ducks today, perhaps next time.
Had a lovely evening at Flavaknits last night - we were trying to assist Evelyn with her lovely aran sweater which is.... ten years old. All would have been well if there had been enough yarn to finish it, or if she could have got an exact match - unfortunately she didn't ! I think the contrasting colour was the preferred solutionin the end!
Kimberley and Lewis were back from their Honeymoon, along with some photo's, and CAKE! They had a lovely time, and the photos showed it. And not a pirate in sight! Gale had finished one of her winter sweaters, and is almost done on her mohair. The first sweater had some lovely knitted flowers around the base of the neck - she hadn't been too happy when picking up the stitches for the neck, and redid it 17 TIMES! Thats prefectionism . I wish I had got a photo as it looked wonderful (n.b. to myself, must try and pick up MY mohair sweater again!)
Thank you all for your lovely comments on my postings about my trip - it seems like ages ago now, and I must say, NY is a keeper - will definitely be going back - but it is lovely to come home - here are some pictures of my pals street!
Nan has sent out her monthly Newsletter - still can't get into it. Tried and was successful last month, but have forgotten what I did to open it.Oh, well , maybe get a copy at the next Tramway Knits - best get on with the ironing now (by -product of a sunny evening, dry washing!)