Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hemlocks and Festivals

Well, Hemlock is finally finished and blocked and, I have to say, a bit of a disappointment. Considering how much I loved knitting this, it hasn't come out as amazingly as I had hoped. It may be to do with the fact that I used cheap yarn, so it may serve me right. I blocked it, then read a comment from Lin which said don't be scared, stretch it out big time, so I re wet it and did that.

Anyway, thank you so much to Stacey, who sent me the pattern in easy to understand format. I loved knitting it. And sometimes the process is better than the result, and that's fine.

This last weekend, we lost 4 days at a festival. An absolutely fantastic time, with the most friendly and fun crowd of people (well, 9000 of them) and the most amazing music from The Hoosiers, Morcheeba, and GRACE JONES!!!!!!

I was at the front for that, I could have touched her leg I was so close! What an awesome woman. Considering she is 60 this year, she has legs I would die for and a body of an 18 year old. She was as controversial as I remember her, laying on the front of the stage with her legs waving in the air, late to start and then finished really abruptly when she's had enough. Lots of people moaned about that, but I was just blown away by seeing such an icon in the flesh. I spent many a night in my teens, in a darkened room, listening to Nightclubbing, with the bass turned right up!!!!!!

It was a really relaxed weekend, with great food, amazing music, a lot of laughs and plenty to look at. And hot sunny weather as well. What more could a person ask for?

There was a guy on a bike he'd built a frame round, so could do a forward roll on it!

The lights at night were beautiful

Haybales to sit on and watch the world go by

Check out those amazing dreads! She had a beautiful tattoo on her arm, too, and I not generally a fan, but that one could convert me. Their dog and Flossie liked each other!

A bubble slide down the hill into the stream

My posse!

How cool is this? A sand sculpture, ready made for sitting and knitting on!

Me and Floss chilling out

Rob in a tricycle downhill onto a ramp at the bottom (which he still has the grazes from!)

Main stage


I received a parcel this weekend, from my UK swap pal. Thank you so much! I was rubbing one of the skeins against me cheek, when I read the cards, which said, "I hope these goodies survive the cheek test!" Well, they did! Beautiful colours, and the Mirasol baby alpaca is my MOST favourite, I could sleep on a bed of that stuff. Thank you so much!

Mary is now a lot better and home. She has finished some absolutely amazing mosaicing on her garden furniture, and if I can only work out how to import the photos she sent me into iPhoto, I shall wow you with them. Her work is truly stunning.

I am feeling a whole lot better and more confident about becoming a weight watchers leader. From speaking to a couple of social worker friends, they said it's like being a social worker to people who have a food problem, instead of drug and alcohol problems! Which is what I did in a previous existence. And they're right. It's the same skill base that I will be using. And I have really missed social work since I gave it up. I don't miss the politics, but I do miss working with people, so I am feeling that this really is the right path for me to be taking! And I shall meet some interesting people too, and I am hoping it will lead to a lot of other things too. What, I don't know yet! My mm used to say life was a corridor with a lot of doors off it and I feel like I am in a corridor now. And it's a nice feeling. A change is what I need and it has come at a great time for me. I just need to summon up the nerve now to stand up in front of a room full of people!!

If nothing else, it will help me stay at my goal weight!!

I am waiting for a pattern to arrive in English from Phildar. I can speak pretty good French, but not knitting pattern French! In the meantime, I am knitting Portia, which is boring as it is all st st, and trying to finish my patchwork bag. I have a good idea for a blanket, too, wich came to me on the way home from France and was inspired by the journey!!

I hope it's warm and lovely wherever you are!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Swap Questions Catch Up

UK Swap first..

Question 4
What is your favourite thing that you have knit?

My first Debbie Bliss bag, I just loved that it knitted and felted and came out so well.

What is the worst thing you've ever knit?
My malabrigo lace scarf that I am still dreading picking back up.

What are your favourite knitblogs?
Look down my side bar. I love them all!

What is the most amazing knitted thing you have seen
The knitted wedding

What is your favourite knitted item to wear? Post a picture if you can.
My Phildar swing jacket

Question 5
1. Stop or go? Go
2. Going out or Staying in? Going Out
3. Small town or big city? Small town
4. Happy or sad? Happy
5. Straights or Circulars? Circs
6. Red or Blue? Blue
7. Seaside or countryside? Seaside
8. Fish or chips? Mushy peas
9. Surprises or plans? Plans
10. Wine or beer? Diet coke
11. Sweaters or cardigans? Sweaters
12. Pizza or Pasta? Pizza
13. Chopsticks or fork? Chopsticks
14. Early Bird or Night Owl? Both
15. Knitting or crochet? Knitting
16. Hot or cold? Hot

Question 6
Of all the bands/artists in your cd/record collection, which one do you own the most albums by?What was the last song you listened to?
Massive Attack
Listening at the moment to Morcheeba

What’s your favorite local band?
Don't know of any

What’s the worst CD/record/etc. you’ve ever bought?
There's always something even about the crappiest cd that I can love! But panpipes christmas was a challenge!

What was the first single/album you ever bought?

Siouxie and the Banshees Staircase Mystery with 20th Century Boy on the B side! Still love it!

OK now, Secret Pal 12 questions.

SP question 4

1) What yarn (that you don’t have/haven’t used) would make your stash “complete”?
I would love to try Habu

2) What yarn do you never want to be without?

Debbie Bliss cashmerino aran or dk. I know it's boring, but it's beautiful.

SP question 5

1) Where is your favorite place to go for vacation/holiday?

Anywhere that is hot, calm, with a pool and a good book!

2) Where is one place you’d like to go?
I think I did this one...the Cook Islands!

SP question 6

What is your favorite type of project to take along on holiday/vacation?

Having just come back with it knitted, I have to say the Hemlock Ring blankie. A joy to knit. Some hard bits, some easy bits and watch that baby grow in front of your eyes. And hope the madame who owns the villa doesn't ask YOU if it is going to be a lampshade.......

SP question 7

What is(are) your favorite place(s) to knit?

I love to knit early in the morning before anyone else gets up and knit either in the study at the back of my house which is south facing and so warmed by sunshine all day, or in the garden.

What supplies (besides yarn & needles) make the setting perfect for knitting?
Comfy chair, peace and quiet, a drink and somewhere to put my feet up!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Holiday Post! Warning-lots of pictures..(and a Hemlock!)

Hello all, I am home!

We had an amazing time in France. I am glad to report that, thanks to the help of a bored 16 year old, all the holiday washing is washed and ironed and put away even!!

I took Hemlock Ring blankie with me and cast on on about day 2. It grows really fast and is a real joy to knit. Rob and Lily soon realised I had rows where I couldn't talk (every 5th for those of you who have knit it!) and rows where I could. I knit it on magic loop on 2 circs and as it grew I had to restrain it with elastic bands! The only thing with it, I found, was that, as my needles were a little short, I could never see what is was going to look like. I knitted the whole thing to row 121 and am nearly finished the bind off row, which is taking forever. Some pics of me in knitting progress!

Now, I know that second picture looks like I am NAKED KNITTING, but please be assured, I am wearing a bikini!!! I never thought, pre weight watchers, that something I was knitting would be bigger than me!

You'll have to wait until the end of the post to check out the blankie!

We had a really lazy time, reading books

just a few! My absolute favourite was one my sister Rozi bought e for my birthday

Such a good book, it made me want to open a yarn shop on the coast!!! I would definitely recommend reading it. It is, at the moment, winging its way to the Cotswolds to Mary, who is back in hospital with an infection. Get better soon, Mary x

I bought some yarn
from the tiniest little shop, which also sold Triumph bras. Yes, work that one out!!!
And some buttons from the market

which turned out to be a bit expensive but I didn't realise until I came to pay. I'm too much of a wimp to barter, so I'm just glad Rob wasn't standing within earshot!!!

The first place we stayed in was near Montpellier, and was a rambling old place in the middle of nowhere and down a track that caught the underneath of the car every time we went down or up it. It was good for me, as I couldn't bear it and so would walk to the proper road with Floss and meet the car there. A small amount of exercise being better than none, you understand!!!

As you can see, it is a truly amazing place, with vaulted ceilings and stone floors and a real rustic French feel to it. It was open plan downstairs, with French doors all around the kitchen and dining area, and outside, really bohemian with hammocks and chairs and so on. Beautiful.

The second place we stayed was near Beziers, and much more modern and smaller. But a proper flat road to it. It was in a hamlet in the hills near a small town which served the best Camembert Au Four. That's baked camembert with a load of cream, tomatoes and bread to you and me and obviously very slimming.Especially when followed by a dessert you can hardly see over the top of due to the whipped cream and sauce chocolat. Deeeelish!

Look where the doors from our bedroom opened onto...

Sigh...I could cope with that view from my bed every day. Rob of course, had to spring from the bed into the pool to wake up! It's the fastest I've seen him move within 30 minutes of waking up!!

Flossie had a great time too..

Beziers, where Lily bought a great bag and I resisted extortionately priced shoes..

And this is Olargues, one of the prettiest towns in France (apparently) but not a shoe shop in sight, which lessened its attraction for me. Although nice ice cream!!

There was a great river there too, which Flossie thought was amazing. We all had a paddle...well, some of us had a swim!

And now the grande finale!! My hemlock ring blankie so far...

I have about 120 left of the 600 sts to bind off and then it will need a really good blocking. I am hoping to do that tomorrow.

Other news, we are off to the Secret Garden Party Festival this weekend. Grace Jones and Morcheeba are playing, amongst others, so we're really looking forward to that. I am off out tonight for a leaving do as a friend of mine is off to work in Saudi for 2 years. Me and a few other pigs are going for a chinese meal so my holiday eating is going out with a bang tonight!! Speaking of diets, I had my second and formal interview yesterday for the Weight Watchers leaders programme and they called me this afternoon to say they want me to come and work with them!!!! I even had to do a psychometric test, but even that didn't put them off!!!!!! I am booked to go to a swanky hotel in August for 3 days for the training workshops, so it is looking like I will be doing it!! Help!! Well, with Lily getting older, and probably being able to drive early next year, I will be in less demand as a taxi and so I get a bit of freedom back in terms of not having to be so flexible. So it will be nice to be back in the job market again, but this time on my own terms and as my own boss.

Plus, I'm thinking I will have to keep a load of Weight Watchers sweets and biscuits as stock so I'll never run out again!!!!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Off on my hols.....

We are off tomorrow for two weeks in France. I can't wait, I am really ready for a break. I have decided to take Hemlock Ring with me. I tend to get up before everyone else, so I thought I would have the opportunity to concentrate on it even if it is difficult, for at least an hour early morning before the rabble get up and before it gets hot enough to lay in the blazing sun. For that time, I have Portia. See-perfect combination!

I am going to attempt Babette upon my return.....gulp!!!! Secret Pal, you had better be on hand!!!!!

See you all in a couple of weeks!

Happy and productive knitting in the meantime, I am expecting FOs!!!!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Can't Decide...

What to take with me on my hols on Friday. We are off to lay in the sun (hopefully) for 2 weeks and I need to take knitting with me. I will take and hopefully finish Portia, as she is nearly done now, but I need something else too. I was thinking Hemlock Ring Blankie. It looks a bit complicated, and I need something I can do while playing Rummikub in the evenings. Yes, I said that...Rob takes about an hour to decide where to go with his tiles and so you tend to need another interest or else the game is extremely boring!!!!! So knitting is good, but I need something I can pick up and put down when it's my turn, and I'm quick!

I just had a look in some afghan books I have. I thought it might be nice to knit a balnket or the winter that started by a pool in the summer. I found Floor Coverings and Denim Hearts in the Debbie Abrahams book, but then when I did a pattern search, I found Flower Power Afghan. Check it out, it's beautiful. A lot of yarn in those things though, and will I get it in time? Will I have enough in my stash for Hemlock? Will I get stuck on the pattern in the south of France and have no computer to get help from you guys?

Maybe I should just knit a st st scarf...........