Wednesday, December 24, 2008



This was my favourite picture of the year - taken by the boy, during the Olympics, as I tried to finish Honeycomb Vest before the Olympic torch was extinguished.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I'm still here ...

... but I'm spending all my time in Azeroth - it's not addictive, not a bit ...

In the meantime, the Women's Institute is conducting a survey on violence against women - it'll take about 15 minutes to do - if you're female, click here to take part

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!

I'm having a yarn-gasm! Due to the fact that there is no daylight anymore in Glasgow for the rest of the autumn & winter the photos just can't illustrate the extreme softness and beauty of this yarn. The girls at my knitty meetup had a good feel though, and they can back up my claims of yarny heaven, I'm sure!

The pattern is Leaf Lace scarf, by Ann Budd. Rav says it was from Interweave Knits Spring 2000, but I got it in a later Interweave scarf pullout booklet. It's a great knit because the lace is simple enough to do while watching the tv, it goes fast, and you can't get further than a few stitches without being made aware of any mistakes that have been made, so there's no need for lifelines really.

I also got a hot tip at last week's knitting meetup to - the UK etsy. I went straight on and bought exactly the same item, because it's just too cool. A project bag from Plain Jane Textiles - so well made, and with a lovely personal touch.

I'm sitting here this evening updating my blog to the sound of about a million fireworks. It's been quite a good day - spent my day at work (in an academic library) updating the "US Elections" display with the happy news. Whether it was the complete media overload of the election I don't know, but the mood today has been quite infectious - even though it isn't our election. A general sense of excitement and relief that a new improved time may be on the horizon, which will hopefully impact positively upon us all.

Ooh, bang! whizz! I love Bonfire Night in Glasgow. There's so many fireworks displays; big 'proper' ones in the city, smaller 'proper' ones in the parks around Glasgow, and tiny ones in people's gardens. From our flat we can see across the fireworks and smoke covering the whole city.

Unfortunately the cat is now utterly terrified of all the noise and banging. This time last year he
watched the fireworks from the window with me, but in the Spring some wanna-be nedlets thought it would be hilarious to throw mudbombs at our windows while he was napping on the ledge. It gave him such a fright, and he's lost his nerve ever since.

We also went to the Necropolis at the weekend for a wee wander - and got some pretty shots. This was about 4 o'clock when the sun was just starting to set. We hoped to see some deer, but it wasn't really the right time of day. A sparrowhawk nearly crashed into us though!

The gravestones and tombs were really ... wow. You can tell this is the final resting place of richest members of Glasgow, and the view up there is amazing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I just can't stop ...

Despite the fact that it has rained for 40 days and 40 nights, we decided to go to Lochwinnoch today. M&S had a deal on roast chicken, tatties and apple pie so we felt the best way to appreciate a yummy Sunday roast was to precede it with a bracing walk in some sleety rain.

It rained worse yesterday so as you can see above, the last part of the trail was abruptly shortened by a wee flood...

One of the resident Herons looked quite content with the weather though.

This is me outside one of the hides. You can see that it's standing in water, where usually it's standing on land ... It was a rare 5 seconds when it stopped raining and the sun came out - I didn't have time to take down my hood before it darkened and the rains began once more.

More flooding - I had a great plan to take some 'action' shots of Garter Stitch Mitts IV, but it was so cold that there was no way my hands were coming out of the thick fleeced-lined (and shop bought!) mittens. All the shots are curtesy of the boy, as mittens this big render any attempt to use my hands pointless.

So instead, here's a couple of shots; one from the watch point in the RSPB reserve, and one at home. The yarn is from the Teoshandspun in Skye. A handspun, handyed pure silk that it so loverly! I modded the dk garter stitch mitts pattern for this aran-chunky weight yarn, using 4.5mm needles to get a good dense cosy fabric. I'm very pleased with them.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Not much going on in the world of knitting for me as I'm a wee bitty addicted to Civilization IV right now. I've still been shopping for yarn though, and found this utterly droolsome (what? it's a word!) shop o' joy: Twisted Fibre Art, whose colourway make me actually hungry for yarn.

However, I just stopped by to pass on this hilarious cake wrecks blogs - it's so funny!

Also - I pressed a button on Blogger, and accidently updated something, and now I've lost my Clustermaps. Clustermaps (which I pay for) fills me with much joy as I see all the places in the world that view my blog - now I'm lost. Does anyone know how to fix this?

Monday, October 06, 2008


Well, we made it; we were on TV tonight (UK readers click here to watch - about 4 mins in) *gulp* I can't believe how cool it looks - everyone looks great! I'm so embarrassed, but so excited too, that we were featured.

In other knitty news, Rogue is going well. I'm so stunned that I made this cable - I'm knitting blind really, as I'm not experienced enough in the cable chart to know what's happening. It's a bit like one of those magic paintings that you paint with plain water, and all different colours appear as if by magic. Wonderful cables are appearing; twisting and turning over each other.

I've also been knitting more of my Ker-azy, madcap Kool-Aid-dyed hot water bottle cosy. It fits a treat, and it's fun to knit something in this fizzy neon.

In the spirit of kitchy bright fun, I also got a pressie from the boy - this fabulous Kawaii charm bracelet, with Gloomy Bear*, Hello Kitty, a little deer and all kinds of plastic joy. He got it from a collective of designers, who have a virtual eBay presence here.

*link not child friendly

Finally, a thank you to everyone for their comments to my last post, in person, and in my blogs. And thank you to Kirsty for her response also. The whole thing left me feeling a bit blah about my blog for a bit - but I'm back again, and have plenty more knitty joy to share I'm sure!

And finally, finally! I have no idea what's going on with the formatting of this post - it's all over the shop and I'm too tired to fix it! Ravellers who come in via the friend blog bit of your notebooks; everytime I publish, change and republish does this appear as multiple blog posts from me in that list?

The last finally, I promise! There was to be a cool pic from our gardening sunday but the boy has forgotten that he promised to retrieve it from his camera phone because Call of Duty 4 on the Xbox has temporarily removed him from reality...

Monday, September 29, 2008

A response

I thought I would make a new post to respond to a comment left in my last post.

I had posted this: "
I'm Scottish, but due to moving around a lot when I was young I have an English accent. I don't like my accent at all - this is not to say that I think there is anything wrong with being English, but I'm Scottish, and it bugs me that I always sound like a visitor to my own country. "

I dithered about posting this in the first place, because I was anxious that it would come off in a bad light.

Kirsty's comment reads as follows - and I would like to say a thank you to her for posting. I would rather someone posted their opinion and gave me the opportunity to clarify something I've posted, than they walk away thinking I'm narrow-minded.

"I would just like to point out that lots of people without Scottish accents actually like to consider themselves to live here, and not just visitors, but ingrained attitudes like that certainly make us feel less than welcome and remind us that some people are making judgements about us as soon as we speak."

I feel we are perhaps coming from the same angle, however I struggle to write with clarity on an issue that is quite an emotive one for me. I, as you, are aware of the judgements that are occasionally made as soon as I open my mouth.

However, that is not say I make those same judgements on people, and perhaps my choice of words made it appear otherwise. (I love to post my knitting life on my blog, but don't profess to being a 'Writer')

Perhaps a little more information about my past would be useful; When at school in England I was bullied for being Scottish, when I moved to Scotland I was bullied for being English.

It can be tough to feel that you don't 'fit' and so, from a young age I have longed for a Scottish accent so that I could 'fit in' with my family - who all sound Scottish. I think it is natural to want to have an identifying accent with your family and home country. Moving around a lot (inside and outside the UK) in my life has left me feeling that I have no 'home' and so my accent is one thing I feel that places me.

So for me, it is about my identity with my family/Scotland, and my struggles to come to terms with this.

I have never felt that someone without a Scottish accent shouldn't
"...consider themselves to live here, and not just [a] visitor ...". Glasgow in particular is a diverse city, with many, many people from all over the world living here, and this is one of the reasons I love living here.

Because of my experiences, I feel that I am more aware of the judgements that can be made on anyone who doesn't 'sound' like those around them, whether they sound English or Scottish (or Irish or Welsh for that matter). I've been at the receiving end of many hurtful comments in my life.

I certainly don't make that judgement myself with people, and I'm quite worried that it would come across that way in my blog.

OK, I've typed, and retyped, deleted and edited! I do hope that this hasn't come across as defensive, or negative. I'm a bit upset, so perhaps I shouldn't post quite yet, but I'm not going to be able to do anything else today with this in my mind. At the moment it's reading a bit like 'A Statement' or something, but I would rather just post it than say nothing at all.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scottish Television

STV filmed my knitting group last night for the Five Thirty Show. I managed to get a shot of the cameraman filming 'The Force Scarf' that I knitted for the boy's Christmas.

I couldn't use the flash as it would disrupt the film (and he was having a hard enough time trying to get the heavy camera at the right angle to see the shadow knitting!) so it's a bit blurry.

It was interesting seeing how it filming this type of thing worked, and the host Vicky was great fun - very enthusiastic and said it was the best feature that she'd filmed - go knitters!

She wanted to interview me about the scarf *gulp* I hadn't considered that I'd actually talk. I'm Scottish, but due to moving around a lot when I was young I have an English accent. I don't like my accent at all - this is not to say that I think there is anything wrong with being English, but I'm Scottish, and it bugs me that I always sound like a visitor to my own country. So anyway, I didn't plan on talking, because I didn't want to hear my accent on TV.

But suddenly there was a camera and a bright light in my face, and Vicky saying 'just look at me, and talk natural'. It's just that easy!

I've always had on my report cards at school; 'doing great, but needs to stopping chatting so much' ... and it's true, I do like to chat, and chat.

However, I've learned yesterday that if you stick a camera in my face, not only do I become as verbal as a newborn baby, I can also suck my own hair into my mouth and almost choke while talking...

Lynette says that I'm overthinking this, and she's probably right, but I don't expect my interview to appear on TV - maybe a shot of the scarf - which would be cool. A library is the worst place to work sometimes because all I want to do is be distracted, but working in a quiet environment makes my mind recall Vicky commenting on my Yaarnn pirate t-shirt, and me getting excited and shoving my chest into the camera. Doh!

Should be coming out this week, or next in case anyone wants a laugh at me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Identical hand twins ...

In the last fortnight I've gone a bit mitten mad. I've made Ysolda's garter stitch mitts with some Orkney Angora that I bought at K1 Yarns - it's so utterly soft.

I love LOVE this pattern! It's perfect for work because the mittens don't cover too much of my hands. At a glance it might look like I've got longer sleeves. They also keep my hands nice and toasty, but free for knitting.

And they're quick, quick, quick! Which is good because I want to make them in every colour and fibre.

Then I made some giant cable mittens - this is the first pattern I've designed from scratch. I've just got to get a wee bit more Paton's Jet so I can finish the other one. Then I might see if I can get some test knitters to try other sizes and maybe get a pattern on Ravelry!!

I'm in the middle of making gloves with a sockweight yarn using Anna Tillman's glove pattern. The yarn is Fyberspates merino/tencel sock weight that I bought at Woolfest. The colourway makes me drool a little bit - it reminds me of winter berries.

I also used Fyberspates Scrumptious DK in spring green, kindly given to me as a birthday pressie by Lynette, to make more mittens and a hat.

The mitten pattern was Ysolda's garter stitch mitts again, and the hat was 11th Hour Hat by Amy Florence. The garter stitch brim is knit sideways, which makes it easy to knit the perfect fit. Then it's grafted together, stitches picked up along one side, and knit up to make the top of the hat. The spiralling decreases look great.

I got both out of 1 skein of Scrumptious, with about 3 inches left over.

And finally, I made some fingerless mitts from the Noro Designer Mini-Knits pattern book by Jenny Watson. I used 2 skeins of the same colourway but different sections to make a striped effect.

They look great, but the pattern was knit flat so it was a bit of a footer to seam up all the fingers. I changed the pattern by adding an extra stitch to the pinkie finger. After seaming the pinkie was a bit too narrow otherwise.

And a close up shot of the kitty to remind myself that he can be an angel sometimes, when he isn't getting tangled in the spagetti of wires behind the tv causing it to nearly fall off the unit. Or sitting on the laptop when it's on pressing buttons that make the laptop speak the screen, turn the screen upside down, and other commands that I don't know how to undo. Or mieowing incessantly from about 4am, 'just for kicks and giggles'

And a pretty sunset from a couple of nights ago, outside the front of our house.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Granny's Heiland Hame

The boy and I are just back from a lovely weekend in Elgin. We stopped on the way, just past Carrbridge for some FO shots of the Honeycomb vest. I finished it the day after the Olympics, but had to block it. I'm quite pleased, but I picked up too many stitches around the arms, so it's sagging a bit - I think I'll try weaving some elastic into it and reblocking, before taking the drastic action of reknitting.

It was quite a hard pattern to follow - there's an expectation of a knitting level I feel. Luckily I managed to grasp the pattern, and how to adapt it when waist shaping leaves the stitches out of sync with chart pattern. I modified it to knit in the round (notes here)

We also popped up North to Brora to see some relatives. My granny mentioned that she had aquired some Hunters of Brora yarn and I've been desperate to get my hands on this for some time.

Sadly, this yarn was found in bags out the back of Hunters after it closed. They threw out bags and bags of it. I wish we had known and we could have hired a moving house-sized lorry to remove it.

The 2 shades I got are stunning though - a 4ply, enough for 2 cardigans or jumpers - yay!

On the way my mum mentioned a traditional song about the area from her childhood Granny's Heiland Hame. I've never heard it, but found the lyrics online.

We hadn't meant to travel that far North, and had only popped out to try spotting some dolphins at North Kessock and Chanonry Point at Cromarty. I really really wanted to get the yarn though, and the boy hadn't been up to see where my family are from.

We set the sat nav from Cromarty, just to see where it would take us (even though we know the route) and it took us a different way... 'take the next left, and then take the ferry'. Ferry!? What?!

The sat nav alerts you when your route will include toll bridge, so it never occured to us that it would take us on a ferry route without warning us first.

And a ferry? On a Sunday? We were doubtful, but sure enough, there was a two car ferry, every half hour, every day. So we thought why not (after checking on ye olde-fashioned paper atlas that we weren't about to go on an island-hopping detour)

It was state of the art ... well perhaps not, but it was totally cool to find this adventurous detour. If we hadn't been using the sat nav we would never have come across it - and we shaved a good hour or so off the trip. The pic above is of me trying to keep my balance.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

when I'm counting it means don't speak to me...

So close ... I only had 11 rows to go.

I'm so tired that I have no words - I've been knitting frantically all weekend and am a bit disappointed that I failed this Olympics too.

Ah well, there's always Vancouver

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 8

Day 8; Things are going well - finished the waist decreases, and the increases. I made a mistake below - One of the cable crosses went the wrong way. But as I discovered this about 3 inches later on, I can live with it!

I had a lovely day today - we went through to Edinburgh to see Lilith's Trunk Show at K1 Yarns. SHe had made a seriously large bundle of sumptiously yummy yarn! I spent enough to get a pretty emergency yarn keyring.

Here's Lilith's legs spinning away - she didn't want her photo taken but Ysolda didn't mind. The Edinburgh shop is really nice, and has lots of comfy chairs to sit and knit. There's even tea and cake!

Here's some shots of Old Maiden Aunt Baby Alpaca, Silk and Cashmere blend laceweight - it's so beautiful!

And some Noro Silk Garden Lite, and Orkney Angora for gloves and hats. I know I shouldn't have spent so much, but having to stay faithful to one project made my eyes wander onto yummy yarns!