Friday, 30 November 2007

Oh when the Saints.....

A future member of the Tartan Army , perhaps ?
Today is Saint Andrews day, patron Saint of Scotland (besides some other countries!) The Scottish Parliament passed legislation enabling folk to take the day off , by swapping it for another public holiday! Hmmmm , I think 500 years of Presbyterianism is hard to shake off - Scotlands not very good at doing Saints Days .
I guess today is also the last day of NaBloPoMo - or National Blog Post a day for a month. I didn't sign up for it , but have tried to post more frequently - its help shake the inertia I feel during such a grey month. It also helped push on the knitting - no point having a knitting blog and not post about knitting . Can't show everything just yet - its for Christmas !
Had a lovely evening at Flavaknits last night - hadn't been feeling too well but it certainly cheered me up . Got some knitty gifts finished , and we pulled names out a hat for a knitty secret Santa .
Had a funny conversation about meat - Marion mentioned that one farmer used to have pictures of the cows hung on his stall , before they became the produce on his stall , and it was a bit off-putting . I actually liked the idea , that you could see that the animal had a happy , healthy life before the great stunner intervened (it comes from growing up opposite a farm!) And before I forget, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is on the Jonathon Ross Show tonight on BBC2 at 10.30pm , and publicising his Chickenout campaign. He is trying to get public support, and lobby parliament to change the way chickens are farmed - that is, make sure all chickens are farmed free range, and put an end to battery farming . Go have a look over at
Back to the knitting - now I've knitted a few gifts , its back to DHs' sweater . I've been a bit slower on the knitting this week , as I've been stuffed up on with a cold . I also keep getting distracted by knitting other smaller items . And I'm desperate to get started on the Noro Silver Thaw , so many projects , so little time !

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Lets have a party!

Saturday , children having fun with their grandparents , and DH and I go into Glasgow. A perusal of the shops , and a couple of glasses of Chardonnay in Roganos' followed by a meal at Dhabba , and I felt like I had been away for a fortnight at a spa! Roganos'Oyster Bar (to give it its full name) is a Glasgow institution , the inside is like the restaurant of a large Liner, as it opened not long after the Queen Mary Ship was launched , in the 1930's . And it is STRICTLY for the grownups! Dhabba, is a wonderful Indian restaurant (No Chicken Maryland or Gammon steak served here), and the food is DIVINE .
We were invited to our friends daughters Baptism on Sunday . The service was lovely , short , and full of the noise of children, which is how it should be . Although the parents requested no gifts , a few knitty items did find there way into a bag for them to take home . It was another lovely day, catching up with friends , and seeing DHs' God-daughter, who is still undergoing treatment at Yorkhill. A very brave two year old indeed.
The little Kimono jacket (Debbie Bliss) knitted by my sister for little Jo, for her christening. The Hat is knitted in fyberspates alpalca/merino , by me, for her big sister Ellie .
Little Jo with Dad on her special day.
Ellie with wee cousin Rory and pal Junior jnr.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

A bit of a Blunder , Darling!

Well I finished the back of DH sweater, measured it against him, fits well , then started the front. Did I read the pattern , no of course not , I had looked at it previously and thought I knew what I was doing. Well I didn't, so I had to rip and evenings' worth of knitting ALL the way back to the second row - ouch!
The great thing about knitting is that mistakes can be made and sorted over a day. Today, I made much better progress , keeping to the pattern.
Perhaps if those responsible for the Child Benefits fiasco knitted , things would have been sorted before they escalated into chaos and terror. Twenty Five million people (including the Prime Minister , and Leader of the opposition!) have their personal details burned onto two MISSING discs'. Our life literally in their hands. As if fraud and virtual fraud is increasing enough already , the fraudsters have been handed and early Christmas present.
Quite frankly , its a bit of a blunder, MR Darling!
I am "fit to burst" with anger .
Still , a nice cup of tea and Satsuma (chocolate eaten first!) to help calm me down . And some more knitting later .

Monday, 19 November 2007

Boom Boom !

While DH was in a state of despair after Scotland losing to Italy on Saturday (thank you Tash for your kind commiserations!) , my two wee rascals were watching an old favourite on Kids TV - Basil Brush - the fox puppet and his friends. Junior jnr says Boom Boom (Basils' catchphrase) as soon as he sees Basil Brush now, but I'm not sure he really understands the programme (meant for Big Brothers age group) , as Basil now lives with a (young) adult and two older children. Actually , I'm not sure I understand it either .
Still working away on DHs' sweater , although am knitting up some smaller gifts in between . One of the smaller gifts requires felting, which I've not done before - it will either turn out fine, or as a gift for a small doll.
Had a fun afternoon at Tramway knitting group yesterday afternoon . Julia had her Argyll scarf (still under construction) with her , the one from Debbie Stollers new book for men(son od Stitch 'n Bitch) . It is being knitted in Organic cotton (from Banyan Tree Yarns ) , and I must say , it is looking great .
There was a new face (whose name I never caught , because I'm terrible with names ) and Nicola of the multi-coloured hair fame joined us again. I'm takine the knitting group time to continue knitting for ME , and the other spare time for the Christmas presents.
And now for some pancake making with junior jnr - or rather I make it and he eats it !

Friday, 16 November 2007

Strip for Scotland and Bear all!

November is THE big charity month , if its not Radio Clydes' , "Cash for Kids" its the BBCs' Children in Need with its mascot Pudsey Bear.
On the way to school we listen to Radio Clyde , and they have the Strip for Scotland to raise money for Cash for Kids - its not really what it sounds like , its WEARING the Scotland football STRIP today , in anticipation of the Scotland/Italy game at Hampden Park tomorrow . Our wee school is having a Children in Need day , so everything is Yellow, and they take their bears to school. Junior jnr also got his face painted like Pudsey Bear , when at Nursery this morning .
My face is not painted yellow - I just look like that ! lol
Was window shopping in some of the local Arts/Craft shops this morning - so many beautiful handmade things , the jewelry in particular was lovely . Last night at Flavaknits , my friend Gayle brought me some lovely handmade soap from the Scouts Christmas fete .It is made by a local teacher , and the scent , which is lime and lemongrass, is absolutely gorgeous. She also gave me some beautiful cards, the paintings on them are by her friend , another talented teacher, who has her own little company - Art Card Co
The picture really doesn't do them justice , they are so lovely and the detail in the designs are wonderful. I also noticed that the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh, is selling Handmade gifts, showcasing local talent , persuading folk to buy the individual over the mass produced .
And now back to the serious business of making Christmas gifts myself - if only I wasn't so distracted .

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Chain Reaction

Being a rational sort of person I am not really superstitious, I have nothing against it per se, but it never made sense to me , I mean who REALLY benefits from these things . One of the more twisted types of superstition is those connected to Chain letters - i.e. wealth and happiness are yours if you send this on to everyone in the world, otherwise you'll be a miserable woe begotten person forever , you know the sort of rubbish.
Sometimes these chain letters (or emails) look like innocent "oh this is just a bit of a laugh , but pass it on to 25 people anyway" kind of thing. And its really hard when friends send these, thinking that they are passing on a bit of fun etc. , to get annoyed. But the thing is, when they send these emails , my spam folder fills up . So I guess the people who benefit from these emails are....the spammers.
I was particularly upset the other day when I received a no-holds bar chain email. It basically said if it wasn't passed on, terrible things would happen. I was upset because it was from a pal , who obviously hadn't read it through, or I'm sure she wouldn't have sent it . I did to it what any self respecting Cyberman would do . DELETE DELETE DELETE!!! Anyone else send me a chain email, I'll be sending the Cybermen over - You have been warned.
Here is a wee peek at DHs' sweater - black is not the easiest shade to knit with , but its doing great .
Was over at Kerries' (Hipknits) blog the other day , and found this , which encourages people to make the Handmade pledge, that is buy handmade or make yourself I suppose. Now, I will be making many of my gifts this year, and not all of them will be handmade, but about 75% is what I'm aiming for . There are a few local jewelry shops which stock handmade jewelry , which is great , the rest will be knit or ordered from Oxfam unwrapped , (with exception of toys - but then Santa Claus sees to those, and I'm sure they are handmade by the elves!)
And I have all my lovely yarn to keep me happy while I am knitting - can't show it just yet.
Oh , and before I forget - Happy Birthday Shirley, don't look a day over 21 !

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

How to avoid shops at Christmas

unless they are yarn related!
Have been going through my stash and also my One Skein Wonder book/ Rowan books, in an attempt to make some Christmas gifts to avoid visiting soulless shops for cheap unethical gifts. Also thought about using Oxfam unwrapped too , its quite fun buying someone you love a goat , or a classroom! Anyway I now have a list, and the yarn laid out, and various ideas noted down. Of course, I had to get just one or two more wee skeins....
So I visited K1yarns - there is some gorgeous Tait and Style yarn from Orkney , some beautiful Colinette Iona (Wool, alpaca , silk mix) and the ever gorgeous auracunia yarn from Argentina/Chile .
DH sweater is knit 15 rows , rip out 12 due to mistake I couldn't see due to colour (charcoal black!) , but is progressing nonetheless. It WILL be finished by Christmas
My friend Karen sent on an email from a lady who is looking to write a Sit-com about Knitters (do for knitting what Vicar of Dibley did for female Vicars) , oh there is so much material we could provide , but more about that later .
Thank you Judy about your comments , on the Sausage Stew - I don't add beans , but may try that as it sounds delicious .
Well its supposed to be frosty here tomorrow , and its feeling very chilly just now, perfect knitting weather in fact . Let it snow , let it snow , let it snow!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Still Tired

That Monday morning feeling! It was very cold this morning, and the first frost of winter, so out came the scraper for the car windscreen. The upside was that it was a lovely clear and sunny day, however I'm definitely in hibernation mode (or still recovering from Saturday or both!)
Have started DH sweater - no photo's yet , and I need to get a move on with my sisters' Noro sweater. This morning I discovered that my hat is well and truly lost, and I really need some nice handknitted gloves. Now, my good pal Kathleen knitted some fingerless mittens last year, but I think I need the type with fingers. I saw a lady knitting a lovely pair in a pale grey yarn on Saturday, not sure what the yarn was, but there was a lovely sheen to it. So if anybody reads this (hint hint sister dearest!) I would love a handknitted hat and gloves for Christmas .
Gone are the days when it was expensive perfume and designer clothes!
And my mum has got the new Nigella Express book - it looks wonderful , but I'm thinking I must divest of some of my Cookery books before I get anymore , or perhaps I should buy a new bookcase .
Sausage stew with leeks, parsnip and carrots tonight - better start cooking I've got two grumpy little men giving me those looks.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Something I forgot

to say thanks to Karen and Gayle!
Karen organised the whole trip, even down to booking the flights , and Gayle baked the gorgeous muffins that gave us sustenance for the whole day.
And so to bed... the early start and late night have caught up with me.

The Day after.....

the SnB day down in London!
Fabulous , lovely , gorgeous , exhausting , fun fun fun ! Just a few words to describe the wonderful even Craig and Gerard from Iknit London put on yesterday. It was lovely to meet many different famous "knitty" people , as well as seee all the wonderful knitty things.
Apart from the early start, and wandering around Euston road trying to find the hotel, the day was a big success. Managed to meet up with Julia, who was lucky enough to get into the Debbie Stoller workshop, where she learned the secrets of knitting the two-sided Argyll scarf from Debbies' new book, Son of Stitch and Bitch!
Never got to meet Indias' pal Brandon Mably as he came down with 'flu the night before, but met Yvonne again, who had her Guild hat on that day, and was raking in the donations .
The stalls were amazing, all that yarn and fibre and patterns. And all these people wearing their gorgeous handknits .
Instead of me going on and on - I'll show you a few pictures instead , apologies , the quality isn't that great.
Jane Waller showing us some of her Vintage Handknits - they were beautiful.
Another post-WW2 sweater, knitted from remnants of old sweaters .
The Shellac Sisters with their 1920 Gramophones, and 78's - see the lady looking like something from WW2 - thats a knitted dress! Its gorgeous, and she knitted it herself.
Son of Stitch and Bitch Fashion show headed by Debbie Stoller herself, followed by some of the Iknit worthies - don't they look handsome in their handknits (all patterns from DBs' new book!)
And a few items from the day, the main one being the SIGNED copy of Son of Stitch and Bitch - Knit On!

Friday, 9 November 2007

And the Hosts of the 2014 Commonwealth Games are...

Glasgow ! Hurray !
Radio Clyde is having a party at the Fruitmarket in Glasgow - although they started early this morning before the announcement. My husband called me at lunchtime to say Glasgow had won the right to host the games.
I'm thinking of getting Junior jnr in training now for the long jump, 100/200/400/8000m sprint, or if he's a bit naughty, the High Jump! He is practising this as I write!
Its been very cold , wet and windy of late, the mild Autumn weather has turned. One of the things about living close to the sea , is the strength of the wind when it gets a bit stormy. A whole section of the main road was closed , due to some tiling being blown off a roof, and this caused major traffic jams. When we all headed to Cafe Flava for our evenings' knitting, we were almost blown away by the gusts, but it did eventually calm down a little.
The "prize draw" yarn from Simply Knitting magazine finally arrived, 25 balls of gorgeous Bergere de France yarn. There were 5 balls of each type , so we did the British thing of " Oh no, *insert name* , I INSIST you have it (while stabbing each other in the back! lol). Only kidding. We all had a look, chatted a bit , had another wee feel, chatted a bit, flicked through books, before splitting up the yarn quite calmly.
Because the REAL yarn scramble will no doubt happen tomorrow - now I'm off to work out my battle plan for the market at SnB day!

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Look what just pop(py) 'd in

So I waste half the night trying to knit Poppy here, and even sleeping I was dreaming about knitting it. It was all going pear-shaped which is not good when its Poppy shape you are wanting. Sitting in the window seat with my latte at Cafe Flava, it all came together, literally. Thank You Val for the yarn! Now , I know its not the best looking poppy, but it has to be better, and longer lasting then the paper ones, and I can always make a few minor adjustments (like... knit another one! lol)
Poppy has got a new friend too - Kiwi ! Kiwi is recovering in my bedroom, after Junior jnr thought he was Rumpelstiltskin !. Strict orders have been issued, and the door locked. Santa will be informed if there are any breaking of these rules . You've heard of yummy mummy, slummy mummy , alpha mummy - me, I'm "threat and bribe" mummy, and you know, most times it works! But it won't be long before Kiwi is busily burring away with some roving, and although it won't be spun into gold , it will hopefully be something better than that , Yarn .
Ginger is the cooks secret ingredient du jour in the house just now. This has been added to the beef casserole and the Winter Warmer soup (the ingredients of which change to suit whats in my veg drawer in the fridge - but safe to say its usually root veg). Tonight, I'm splashing out and making prawn and avocado spicy couscous - and the kids will be getting soup and chicken dippers because...."it smells funny, and I don't like the colour". And its Flavaknits night tonight , so I like to keep everyone "happy" (read quiet!) And we'll be discussing Saturdays' plans for SnB day - can't wait .
Finally, the above picture is Tuesdays' Sausage casserole, with the sausages hiding under the winter squash and leek. It was delicious, and Junior scoffed it down in 30 seconds flat. Now, that was yummy mummy!

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

You spin me right round...

Well, Santa came early for me today, as I picked up a special item from India - no photo's yet, its recovering from its journey in the bedroom. I have given it a try , but will need more peace and time to do it properly !
I have to say I would have been tempted to steal Indias' cats away as they are GORGEOUS, Isis kept coming over to lick me - I think that meant I was okay! And on the subject of animals - as I was driving up to Paisley this afternoon, a wonderful looking bird of prey (buzzard I think) flew over. It looked so beautiful flying against a bright blue sky . I've been looking out for Birds of Prey at the roadside ever since Juniors falconry session last October Hols .
Proper knitting is being put aside tonight so I can knit my poppy. Karen has adjusted the pattern so that it turns into a corsage style poppy and not a wreath, and her mum was kind enough to buy yarn for us all to share. I shall put more cash in the Poppy appeal box tomorrow .
Well apart from being the installation art in Cafe Flava (knitting in the window seat , well it does have the best light), I have been trying to cook wholesome warming dinners . Last night was sausage casserole, with leek and winter squash - big success. Tonight was beef casserole with green pepper and ginger , another success, in fact I just put all the ingredients together because I fancied them! And I love ginger.
I used stewing steak (British of course) , browned it, fried some leek, celery, pepper and mushrooms, added some veg stock, simmered for a while (45 mins), added chopped ginger, simmered again (20 mins) , then served with mashed potato and steamed broccoli . Delicious .
Photos' tomorrow, better get knitting that poppy .

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

More Knitterly things!

Firstly, thank you Judy for your comments - I will indeed try the squash in some soup. I also thought about putting some squash in a sausage casserole, we will see! It does appear to be quite a versatile veg .
One sleeve and a neckband to go - my cocoon cardi is shaping up nicely. I really do enjoy knitting with it, so I am looking forward to starting DH sweater.
A while back I visited my pal Nans' shop and was admiring one of the knitting books - Montse Stanleys' The Handknitters Hanbook. As luck would have it, Nan had a spare copy and kindly gave it to me. Its a super book , great for reference, and guess whos' picture I found in it ?
Never see this picture in the tabloid papers - nice fairisle Kate, what no MOSS stitch. (bad pun, I know)
And as I write, Junior jnr is re-arranging the sofa, its a slide, its a bouncy castle, its FUN!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Ode to Autumn

The weather is still quite mild for Autumn, there have been no good frosts here yet. Visiting Finlaystone Estate on Saturday , the Woods were full of midges having a final ball before winter. They even drove the kids away from the Wooden play areas, which is a first. The colours of autumn are in full swing now, all the trees around are different shades of red , gold and brown , and they compliment the red and blond sandstone tenements and houses. Even my modern little box of a house looks good in Autumn, when the Cherry Blosssom tree leaves turn red.
My bright orange Halloween pumpkin is sitting in my kitchen window looking quite majestic - pity its one of the tasteless ones grown for size over taste. So today I bought winter squash to make soup. I have never tried it before, so I'll want to get a good recipe that uses it to its best. Any ideas ?
And now, I'm going to try to order my yarn from K1yarns - yet another Christmas project .

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Tramway Knits

Had a lovely afternoon at the Tramway Knits, it was so nice to see some new faces, but me being my usual unsocial self didn't manage to have a chat or get their names, with the exception of Jennifer (Indias' mum) and Sido. Instead I had a "California Dreaming" chat with Thea (who hails from San Jose). Well its grey November and it is a subject that cheers me up.
There were so many lovely projects going on at the table, only a few I can adequately describe. India had brought her new Spinning Wheel , a lovely looking portable wheel on which she was spinning some gorgeous roving into laceweight - go have a look here
Gloria had her "broomstick" project, which involved a very large knitting needle and a crochet hook, and was making a gorgeous scarf from some lilac coloured Mirasol yarn. Catherine was wearing her lovely crocheted cape , which she had recently made , and Thea finished the scarf she was knitting in time to wear it home. Julia was knittings something gorgeous in Bamboo, and Fiona in a variagated pink shades yarn , although I did see some socks at the table a little before that . In fact several people were knitting socks, including Sido who was knitting them as a gift.
Talking of gifts , DH has said he will buy something, our India is selling - more later!
I gave the pinwheel sweater sleeve a few more rounds before going for the cocoon cardi sleeve - sleeves are never my favourite part to knit, they seem to go on to long, especially if you have extra long arms like me!
Well, back to the knitting - there is another one to go !

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Remember, Remember

the 5th of November, Bonfire/Guy Fawkes night. The local "celebrations" include a fireworks display at Customhouse Quay in Greenock, with a 25 foot/12m high wicker figure depicting Auld Dunrod ( a famous local witch/wizard, who may or may not have been burned for his activities), anyway he got a hill named after him , probably where he carried out his evil deeds! Not sure why he's the "Guy" this year - something to do with a local Myths and Legends festival .
The fireworks have been going off haphazardly as usual, some people not able to contain themselves until the 5th.
And talking of dates to remember and not being able to contain myself (of the excitement) , next Saturday I'm off to the first ever SnB day down at Iknit London, Yippee! There appears to be loads going on with Brandon Mably, Debbie Stoller and her new book , different knitting stalls, shows , AND my friend Gayle (fabulous cook) has offered to bake the breakfast muffins for the plane trip down ! What more could a girl ask for .
But the real biggie date to remember in November is obviously Remembrance Sunday, which this year actually falls on 11/11 . Knitonthenet have come up with a brilliant idea , they are asking for donations to the British Legion, and in return you will get a pdf document of a pattern to knit a poppy. My knitting buddy, Marion, started to knit one the other evening, but it was nearly the size of a wreath ! Karen suggested we knit them in wool and felt them to make them more "poppy" size. Anyway , its a good cause to donate to, as the British Legion helps ex-service men and women and their dependents, those who pay the ultimate price for our Governments decisions.
And November is also the month I start the Christmas Knitting - please don't scream! Although I have my Christmas projects set out, yarn bought, patterns at the ready, I still hear the siren call of some extra quick Christmas projects that I'd like to do. Looking at K1yarns website I saw this Colinette Point 5 Which would make a lovely scarf!And i also saw this Lima yarn But which one to choose ? Or should I take both ? (Hopefully DH isn't reading this - it may give him the nervous twitch)
As if I didn't have enough projects on the go - at least the Rowan Cocoon shortie cardi is going well (one sleeve and a neckband to go ) , the Pinwheel sweater is slowly getting there (one more sleeve and edging to go). No photo's until next week, I'm going to save it all up until after the Iknit event.
Tomorrow I'm off to my Tramwayknits group, one of our number is upping sticks to Zurich (the lengths some folk go to get more yarn!), so we're enjoying her company while we can! And I guess we'll need to start saving for a group trip to Zurich in the summer (do easyjet go there?)
There is so much going on this month that before you know it, IT will be here, you know , ST ANDREWS day - lol!