Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Midweek blues

Finished my pair of Fetching over the weekend - my fastest ever knitted item yet and one that wasn't driven by a dead-line. I normally throw myself into knitting overdrive to finish a project because i'm meeting the person in 5/3/1 hours time and it MUST be ready otherwise it'll be summer when they finally get their woolly gloves/scarf/hat.

Fetching was such a joy to make as the exhilaration of doing the 'cabley thing' just got me on a roll. I'm trying my best to temper this new obsession because it might just wear me out and I'll quickly reach saturation point. It's happened with the Knucks - having now made 4 (2 of which were back to back), I must confess that the prospect of making yet another pair fills me with a little dread. I was so thrilled with the pattern that yarn for 2 more Knucks have already been bought,... oh dear, perhaps I should find some other use for the felted tweed. Hmmmm,.... in the meantime, I've given myself a bit of a break from gloves with a baby beret hat as a surprise 'Thank you' present. I'm making it with DB Pure Cotton in pink which is a welcome change from the blue, blokey coloured stuff I've been making of late.

But speaking of the blues, I was saddened to read about this. So much of it seems driven by simple economics yet the long term reprecussions of gender demographics and the intrinsic devaluing of a person's life just makes me feel so angry and impotent. What makes it aggravating is that there are a whole host of contributing factors and no easy solution is in sight when it's a result of a firmly entrenched, pernicious cultural belief. Midweek blues indeed.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Goodness Cables Me...

Have been struck by the cable virus - my thoughts have been twisting and spiraling around a pair of grey fingerless gloves I'm knitting. Started on my first cable with some trepidation at this Wednesday's K's & P's and it is so addictive! Will try to post some photos soon although I still haven't really got the hang of my new digital camera which continues to produce fuzzy photos - the fact that I've got shakey hands reminiscent of an ex-junkie has obviously got nothing to do with it. Hmmm, maybe I should cut down on my tea and sugar intake.

The other exciting event this week has been rediscovering the joys of cinnamon (the word istelf sounds so yummy, cinnammmmmmmmmmon). It's a crucial component of my morning porridge but last night, my obssesion with it went one stage further. I sprinkled a little bit in some fried onions and potatoes and I kid you not, it was yummy-licious.

Funny how my 2 favourite things this week both start with C - there's also the double whammy of the Chocolate Cake we had at Wood's birthday on Saturday - yum, yum! Unfortunately, all this goodness invariably brings me unto the nastiness in my life which also start with C. Yup, it's the CA-LOR-IES and Cross-trainer,... booooo, hissss!!

But back to cables (see how the subject keeps coiling back?), I can't wait to finish the gloves so that I can perhaps start on this or this! My cabley ambition clearly knows no bounds.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Kicking back!

The movie was fantastic plus it featured some kick-ass knitting to boot. As Pip's declaring his love and pouring his heart out to Estella - she is calmly knitting a sock next to the evil, wretched Miss Havesham, her needles flashing as she tells him she's marrying someone else. The small tiny gestures signalling how she's pierced and wounded his heart repetitively through the years. Must go back to the book to check if it was Dicken's idea (Knitting features in 'A Tale of 2 cities' that I know). What does that say about us knitters I wonder - we're femme fatales moulded to break men's hearts? Cool ice queens with the potential for good and light? In the 'Happily ever after' between Pip and Estella, I imagine her knitting and churning out socks and jumpers for Pip, the good old Joe Gargery and kind Biddy in contented marital bliss. (My eagle eyes also spotted the scarf that young Pip wears later reappearing around Herbet Pocket's neck... hmmmm, looked like a double-ribbed, worsted yarn CO 25 perhaps?)

But I can finally breathe now that all the tat is off the shop shelves and obscenely expensive dead roses aren't being sold on street corners. Funnily enough, there was one V. Day that actually did involve continuous projectile vomitting on my part. I'd long suppressed the memory just simply because it was so embarassing. (There's a great blog on Valentine's Day disasters).

My traumatic experience occured some years back when I should have known better - went with my shady boyfriend to a top-notch restaurant owned by a celebrity chef (all the alarm bells should have been ringing by then). We'd left it a bit late and therefore could only get an early table which meant we had to be done by half-9. The meal was so-so, far too over-priced for what it was and packed with couples trying to be intimate in what was esstially a canteen. Pretentious, urban chic trying to be coolly romantic - that description befitted the eatery and our relationship.

What ensued when we got back to my flat was the ultimate barf-o-rama, an orgy of puke - I chundered as I had never chundered before or thought humanly possible. At one point I thought my entire being was going to get flsuhed away - I was staring death in the face as I clung to the rim of my toilet bowl, peering down its watery, smelly depths with my glazed eyes. Each time my 'lover' tried to look at me to tell me how special he thought I was, I had to run to the toilet to empty my guts. It happened about 20 times the whole evening.... I think my body was wholeheartedly rejecting the whole tackiness of the evening's proceedings and was nauseated to the core.

Needless to say, that 'relationship' did not last - I'd always thought there was something insincere and shifty about the guy anyway but I'd been thrown off track with his oily charms. The moral of the story is to stick to nice and simple and ignore all the pressures to declare your love - it ain't no one else's business!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Amazing Grace

Had a cultural binge which started on Friday all the way through to Saturday evening. Even managed to squeeze in a visit to a gallery and Bikram yoga in between. As I was walking from Bikram to the gallery, all I could think about was the grace of the previous night's dancers and how my name means Graceful, my full name being 'Graceful one of the family'. I'd always thought it was pretty naff and never bothered to invest it with much thought. But this weekend, I really pondered its significance (or lack of) in my life, how my parents must have agonised about the choice of name and how perhaps I should redirected my life towards living gracefully - specifically not pigging out so much, pulling so many childish & silly faces and generally being more disciplined. How I'd like to have more grace and poise and how giving grace and being thankful would make me less dissatisfied with life.

I thought about an aunt of mine who was also called Grace and how that word is so linked with the 'Hail Mary' (ies) that people recite verbatim. (Learnt once in poetry class that the last word in a line of a poem is always the most magnified).

Then, eerily enough at the exhibition, as if to cement this recurring thought in my mind - one of the rooms contained footage of a little old biddy singing 'Amazing Grace' on loop in a wispy voice. It was just far too much, every time the song played, I seemed to hear the words afresh discovering a new emphasis each time. It's one of those songs you've always known all your life but it was almost as if I was actually listening to it for the first time- 'Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound (??) that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. A pretty simple ditty with an obvious choice of sensory words to rhyme with each other but it also made it very human and visceral - the song is also of course loaded with significance as a paen to slavery and suffering that promises redemption, enlightenment. Hmm, definitely food (chocolate) for thought.

On a another note, i've been sickened by all the crass, distasteful displays in shops cashing in for V. day. - it's enough to induce projectile vomitting. Do these marketing men actually think that heart-shaped bears in vermillion red somehow reflects the state of romance or is an appropriate token and sign of one's affections?? Do they all think that the combined waft of gorgonzola cheese encapsulated in their stupid teddys will elevate us to a higher state of ecstacy? Any alien descending upon earth right now would think that all humans were infantile retards with purile fantasies. I know it shouldn't make me so angry but it just smacks of how people have such limited imaginations and how they're high-jacked emotionally.

And before you wonder, no - i'm not single but if I were, i'd hope that sheer tackiness of the whole affair would make me choose a lifetime of celibacy rather than such obvious and contrived gestures. In fact, if I get a Huggy Bear from Gruff, I will tear it apart from seam to seam and yank out the stuffing to shove it up his jaxxy.

Ok - tirade over,.... one day I will learn how to rant gracefully. I'm honestly not a bunny boiler ... hee hee. (Man, that just makes me sound even more deranged!)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

First photos - hooray!

Made this little Kimono Top from a 'Quicknits' book bought off Amazon. A bit of an impulse buy but it was a case of yarn greed - and my eyes being too big for my.. err.. stash? Also has some yarn that I bought from Loop on a whim when I had delusion about making a big blanket. Notice a trend here? Anyway, I know the top looks a bit like a small straightjacket but my nephew Alex is very little with long ape-like arms so this will definitely fit. Plus, the straightjacket functionality might come in handy when he's being particularly naughty - which is more often than not! Made a few adjustments to the fastenings because I couldn't be arsed to make 6 Icords plus naughty Alex squirms and wiggles whenever you try to dress him so tying up 3 cord-like things will be next to impossible. Not sure what the consensus is with toggles and babies but I thought they'd be much more practical and easy to fasten.

The 2-coloured scarf was inspired by one I saw at The National. Kept staring at this lady's neck and was itching to ask her if she could take it off so that I could examine its construction more closely. Thankfully, restraint was exercised on my part but this is the result - a present for my friend Kartini. I like the fact that she can choose to change the way she wears it from day to day and according to the whims of how she feels that day - optimistic and looking forward to spring (limey) or warm and flushed with life (pinky)?. I know that it if it were me, I'd be racked with indecision every single day so it's good that I haven't got one of these (must confess though that I was sorely tempted to make one for myself!).

Now that I can load on photos - i'll have much more to share - bring on the Ks and Ps I say!!

p.s. also found a long lost friend - Lisa who runs the divine U-Handbag! I met Alan and her on a idyllic, remote, diving island in Indonesia when I was on my year out. Bumped into her last year then promptly lost touch again. But I was looking at some comments on a crafting blog last week and chanced upon her again - I love the little moments of serendipity that Life throws up.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Haven't been blogging much about my knitting lately so here goes;

My 'Beer & Duck' Knucks were finally completed - all I needed to do was sew the lettering on but I had too many UFOs on the go. Plus I had to frog Gruff's hat as it was too fluffy for his liking although I still think that it made him look ultra sweet and adorable, anyhoo the point was to make something he would actually wear so it was reworked over the weekend and now has a grey stripe on it - Gruff has a thing for stripes, add in that and he'll wear it. The fluff in his first hat was caused by the mixture of kidsilk haze with the RYC soft tweed - that's now been used in my fluffy legwarmers which were inspired by Sarah hats.

Lost my big darning needle over the weekend whilst finishing Alex's kimono top - it's in the bed somewhere as I had a very lazy, lie-in blissfully reading and knitting in bed. So I HAD to pop into Liberty's to get a replacement and picked up some striped sock yarn inspired by Gail and some more Felted Tweed to start on another pair of Knucks. I looove Felted Tweed, it's so nice and soft to knit with plus I've promised Sara a woolly gift, hers are going to say 'Snow Babe' on them. (Thanks to Gail, I've learnt how to put links in - hooray!)

I have also joined a gym!!! Having ranted and raved in the past about how they're for sad-masochists, I've finally relented due to a growing necessity. Although it's not actually near the flat or work it is kind of on my way home if I take a detour. The main thing that swung it for me was the 'no joining fee or mandatory 12 month contract' promise. What it lacks in convenience it more than makes up for with the great view of the Houses of Parliament - a deciding factor obviously besides the state of the changing rooms or equipment. Have a look!

On the entertainment front - it was Nigel's birthday so we went to the Bavarian Beerhouse and THEN ended up in a strip joint! My first ever time, it was also one of the seediest, according to our guide. It was Gruff's first time too but ladies get in free - (special discount - i like it) here's an email account to P about the night;

'went to my first strip-joint yesterday (it was Nigel's birthday and we all got very drunk - I'm still a little bit hungover). Anyway, I take it that you've never been to one so this is what happens (in a nutshell) - nice ladies old and young go round with a collection - they're obviously a little poor because their undies have gotten quite tatty and skimpy. They then show you how cold they'd get if they were naked and how they'd need to rub themselves warm with the help of some poles. You then donate some more money so that they can buy some decent coverings. Gruff got told off by some ladies because the only loose change (har, har) he had on him were coppers, it obviously goes against Strip-joint etiquette. Useful information to know when you go there for your stag-do!'

P doesn't fancy ladies so I doubt he will ever have to experience the poles. I told Gruff that if I ever had a hen-do, it'll be guys in various types of jumpers, maybe some woolly Y-fronts with exotic yarn wrapped around their bodies, they'd have to twirl around to unravel it and perhaps cavort around huge giant knitting needles - maypole dancing styley.... I think it would go down well just on the novelty factor, I could call it 'Tingsters Stringfellows'? Genius!