Monday, 27 June 2005

We had a visitor...

We had a visitor this weekend - my little brother, David. To give Dad and Caroline a bit of free time on Sunday we babysat. Plus I remember what it was like to be little and dragged around furniture shops and garages - boring!

First we had to decide where to go to play.

Where do we go now?

So we ran round the house.

How about round here?

Somebody really enjoyed playing with the hose after helping Robert wash down the cars. Of course we believed him when he kept saying "Come closer, I won't squirt you". Yeah right! By the time we finally got the hose off him (we said the water tank had run out of water!) both him and Robert were soaked.

Hose monster

I like hosing!

Somehow I think walking across planks and digging in the dirt seemed to keep him happy for quite a wee while.

Building bridges

I can see him wanting to go rock climbing with Robert once he gets a bit bigger.

Walk the plank

So what else did I do this weekend? Watched Glastonbury on the telly while knitting the baby shawl. A great way to pass the time - in comfort (no mud), great music and loads of knitting done.

Wednesday, 22 June 2005


My Secret Pal certainly knows how to press my buttons and get me to go "woo hoo!" After all how can a girl refuse Green & Black's chocolate - dark, bitter and extremely satisfying...just like me in fact! Or am just bitter and twisted?


She also put some lovely stitchmarkers in the parcel. I'll just have to make something to use them - that wedding shrug from Knitty is still shouting my name. That, or another Clapotis would suit them just lovely. I really need to get my arse in gear and sort out some treats for my Secret Pal. Work has kind of gotten in the way but I might nip into town tomorrow night for a couple of hours to see what I can find that I think she might like.

So pretty

I thought it was about time I updated the knitty content as I have been doing a few things. First on the list is the baby shawl. That has come to a bit of a standstill but I have every intention of getting it done before the baby goes off on a wee tour of Europe next month. Should help keep her cosy.

Baby shawl

Reveal is the only pattern I fancied out of this Rowan mag (is it no.33 or 34 - not sure) and isn't this shade of Cork absolutely scrummy. All purpley and pinky. Shame Rowan are discontinuing this yarn as it is lovely and soft. I'm just waiting for the sell off so I can pounce on some reduced price stocks.


Now this is something I'm attempting in Rowan's Cotton Braid that is being "developed" as it goes along. It could turn out lovely, it could be shite! Who know's but here's hoping it turns out quite lush. It looks quite lush knitted up.

Fantasy in orange!

And finally this is what I took with me offshore. If I'd known how long I was going to be out there I would have taken the shawl but c'est la vie! This is a lovely shade of Rowan Kid Classic (I seem to be having a bit of a Rowan spree at the moment which is not like me at all) and is so soft. I'm already thinking how cosy it's going to be when it's finished. When I was knitting this in the Rec Room offshore it did cause quite a few double takes as the guys came through the door but it also broke the ice and got them talking to me. There were a few requests for jumpers and socks after that but funnily enough I didn't take them up on it!

Turtleneck Shrug

Better go see how my man is getting on with his blockwork - the patio continues to take shape at a great pace. At the rate he's going we stand a good chance of getting to use it while we still have a summer! Fandabydoosie ye dancer!

Friday, 17 June 2005

132 miles east of Aberdeen

It's Friday and I'm fogbound 132 miles east of Aberdeen on the Shearwater. I haven't a clue when I'll get home so it's just as well I took my knitting with me to keep me occupied. I just hope I don't run out of wool before I get home. Of course it's an absolutely gorgeous day back on the Beach (that's what the offshore boys call Aberdeen) - Robert said it's the best day in ages. Sodding typical isn't it! However there's nothing I can do about it so no point stressing.

It's definitely been an interesting trip doing all these stress presentations. The groups that gave the highest overall scores in the evaluations were the ones that had the biggest moan sessions. I think it was because I let them get stuff of the their chest and that helped them feel they had somebody on their side. Still need to make a lot of changes before the next trip but I have a few ideas.

Can't wait to get back home though as I just want to get back outside. That's what you miss when you're offshore - the chance to walk around the garden or nip out to the shops if you want to get something. I think I miss not being able to help myself to what I want to eat whenever I want it. Folk think it must be brilliant having your food cooked for you the whole time but considering that most places still tend towards the fatty, Scottish, male diet, i.e. unhealthy, it's not really best.

Time to get back to Teva Durham's Turtleneck Shrug. Real purty wool in a real purty colour (deep burgundy and so soft). Keeps me calm.

Monday, 13 June 2005

My Secret Pal has been nice to me!

I like this Secret Pal malarky. Look what I got in the post today. I've already been reading it and giggling at some of it while nodding sagely (!) in agreement in other bits. Titter away...

Secret Pal

Considering it has been a pretty shit day weatherwise it was rather fine to get my trugs delivered. If pink doesn't cheer you up in the garden then nothing will and you're obviously a miserable git. Pink trugs, pink wellies - Barbie in the garden, that's me!

They're pink!

And of course the boys have been having a great time exploring the big hole that Robert has dug out for the patio. It's amazing what can happen at the bottom of a hole when you're a cat...

Cats in the hole...

Of course a hole isn't as cool as the stuff that comes out of it. Admit it, if you were a cat you would think this is the biggest litter tray in the whole world. They love it.

The biggest litter tray in the world!

And now I have a picture of our house from the air. I know it's all a bit "Big Brother is watching you" but it's pretty smart all the same. It's very similar to the view I get when I fly overhead on my way to some salubrious oil rig in the North Sea. A view I must admit that I prefer on the way back home rather than on the way out. Once I fly over the house I know I'm not far from home...and my knitting!

Findlay Farm from up above

Friday, 10 June 2005

A poem

I haven't had much spare time this last week for updates (work and DIY have got in the way) but I did just come across this poem in a book I'm giving to a friend for her birthday. We went to see him give a reading at the Word Festival a few weeks ago and he was absolutely brilliant.

"In hospital

I like seeing nurse frieda knitting
as I like watching my wife knitting
as I liked watching my mother knitting
though she was more of a dabber
(plain and purl, plain and purl)

it's not
'women being in their place'
or knitting the chains that keep them down


the future, knitting the future
the present peaceful, quiet
as if

the same woman knitting
for a thousand years"

Tom Leonard (Access to the Silence 1984-2004)

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Secret Pal 5

I'm so excited. And I just can't hide it. I'm about to lose control and I think I like it.

My Secret Pal has emailed me so I thought I'd better put my questionnaire up so she can see all my secrets (to get hold of the really good secrets money will have to exchange hands in darkened car parks)! I'm still waiting for my match to come through but hopefully it'll be in the next few days.

Secret Pal 5 Questionnaire

1.Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I don’t like anything scratchy but it doesn’t have to be a natural fibre. I’m more swayed by the colour and feel of the yarn rather than what it say’s it is on the label. Soft against the skin is good.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
Learning to crochet, very badly at the moment, so that I can add pretty finishes to various knitted items. Never spun in my life and not ready to learn yet.

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)

4. How long have you been knitting?
Since I was 4 or 5, so about 32 or 33 years. Way scarey!

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Of course. There are work-related books on it as well as fun things. Better go and update it...

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Something smelling of the sea or rainwater. For flowers it has to be honesuckle – I have 5 different types in my garden.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Most definitely. I’m trying to curb it but chocolate has a terrible hold on me. The only sweets I don’t like are liquorice, aniseed, turkish delight and nougat.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I love photography and I’m getting into gardening as ours starts to take shape. I also adore cooking and baking (bit of a gadget princess in the kitchen). Our house is the biggest DIY project ongoing at the moment - when we moved into it our friends described it as having lots of "potential"!

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
My music tastes are rather eclectic to say the least. Bjork, Beth Orton (female folky singers), musicals (Cabaret is a particular fave as is Les Miserables), classic ‘60’s rock, bluegrass and some country (Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss), White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, dance music (Hard House). My DH has an MP3 player but I don’t and I haven’t a clue what to do with them.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Pink, pink and more pink (apart from florouscent pink). Also love purples, reds, chocolatey browns, and greens (more on the sea green side than the luminous side). Muted tones are preferable to neon. Not a huge fan of yellow or blue (except for turquoise) and black’s too boring – it reminds me too much of my waitressing days when I had to wear black and white.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Live with my partner, Robert, for the last 7 ½ years – the last 2 ½ of them in an old farmhouse near the sea. The only other members of the family are Wally and George, our two extremely dim, but loveable pussycats. They may not be the brightest but they are highly entertaining and efficient mousehunters. Other wildlife frequenting our garden include deer and pheasants but they’re not our pets – just visitors!

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
Just to be happy, creative, to love and to be loved back. It's taken a long time to realise that's what I really want from life - career, money, travel?! They're just things you bump into along the way. If it makes you happy and doesn't upset the folk you care about then that is what is important to you.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
I love Colinette, variegated yarns, Rowan All Seasons Cotton, Soy Silk - Oasis. I prefer cotton and silky fibres for touch, thick wool types for warmth.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I really don’t like those fun fur/eyelash yarns. They feel okay in the skein but I really dislike them when they’re knitted up. Not a Noro fan either.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Lace things: cardis, shrugs, tops, etc. Variegated yarns.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Things for me! I tend towards cardis and jumpers; chunky for winter, more delicate for summer. Not that there’s tends to be much difference between the seasons in Scotland – it’s either wet or not so wet!

17. What are you knitting right now?
Lucky Clover is just finished, a Shetland shawl for a friend’s baby that’s due very shortly and a summer cami that I’m kind of making up as I go along.

18. What do you think about ponchos?
Bleuch – done to death. They don’t really work in our climate.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I’m a definite “pit knitter”. My faves are a pair from the charity(thrift) shop that I got for 60p (about 40c) – they’re purple with silver tips.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Not bothered. The pair that comes to hand first usually wins. I do like my Denise needles I got for my birthday.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
Not really. I prefer to use the sock yarn to make fingerless gloves.

22. How did you learn to knit?
From my Granny when I was about 4 or 5.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
There was a bikini type top that I ripped back to reuse the yarn for a Clapotis a few months back. It was about 12 years old.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
I love the Powerpuff Girls, Cow & Chicken and my favourite animal has to be the cat family, especially tigers.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Lisbon was pretty cool and Vancouver I love. I really, really want to go to Iceland.

26. Is there anything that you collect?
1960’s/1970’s coffee pots – the tackier the better.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Knitting Magazine (UK - I like the articles but the patterns really need some help!), Vogue Knitting International and Rowan Knitting magazine. I also love online.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
See the Amazon wish list!