Sunday, December 31, 2006

Books, Books, Books.

Apologies for the lack of book news recently. I shall endeavour to make up for it now.

I finished reading Saturnalia by Lindsey Davis. This was a proof copy that I had to review for Eurocrime, and I've written the draft of the review now, so it will be with you in a couple of days, Karen. Sorry for the delay. I did enjoy the book, but was slightly dissappointed by the ending. I shall post a link to the review on the Eurocrime website once it's up.

After that I read A Stain on the Silence by Andrew Taylor. I loved this book, thought it very well written, a wonderful evocation of a life unravelling, deftly written in 2 time periods. Andrew is a great writer, and doesn't get the recognition or popularity he deserves. If I had a criticism at all it was that I wanted the "crime" committed all those years ago to be more shocking somehow, although I can see why he wrote it the way he did. I can't say more without giving away the plot, which I don't want to do. Let me just say that I sat down and read this in 2 days, could not put it down, something that rarely happens to me now.

The Andrew Taylor was a book for Reading Group, although I'd had it in my TBR pile since it was published, waiting for the chance to read it. Anyway Reading Group is on Wednesday night this week so I thought I'd have time to fit in another book from the list. My choice was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and Desert Places by Blake Crouch. Now, while the Lovely Bones is really a book I should be reading, I'm just not in the right frame of mind for it at the moment, so I chose Desert Places. That'll teach me!

It starts with an author who gets a note telling him that the body of a local missing woman is buried on his land, covered in his blood. Now, apparently, because he's a famous writer of suspense thrillers, he gets this sort of stuff all the time, but there's something about this letter that makes him keep it. But does he do what anyone in their right mind would do, and call the police? No, no, because he knows how they work, and he knows he'll get arrested!! Oh, really. So, of course, what he does, is he goes off and looks for the body and finds the place its supposed to be and digs up the body to check, and then he reburies it. Like you do, when you find a body. Hasn't this man ever watched any horror films? So then he rings up the writer of the letter, who, like, really has his attention now, and starts to do what he's told, including flying across the country and checking into a strange motel. That's as far as I got. I managed 21 pages before I metaphorically hurled the book across the room. (Only metaphorically though, because it is a library book, though I am tempted to stick a post-it-note inside warning others not to bother reading this.) Perhaps if the beginning had been a little more plausible I might have persevered with this, but I can only suspend disbelief so far.

Now, I have another book to review for Eurocrime, but in order not to taint my view with bad thoughts about the previous book I shall read something completely different first, so I've started March by Geraldine Brooks. This is the story of the Rev. March, father of the girls in Little Women, while away during the Civil War. See, I do read books that are not crime fiction, well, sometimes anyway....

The link in this post are all to for convenience, but as usual I would urge you to support your local independent bookseller if (while) you still have one.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Greetings of the Season to All!

Merry Christmas, or the seasonal greeting of your choice, to everyone.

I had a wonderful Christmas Day with many many knitterly gifts, and a wonderful lunch cooked by Pete.

I think I can safely say that I've never had such a relaxing Christmas Day, as all the cooking was done by Pete. There was no stress, no hassle, just lots of lovely food. Thank you to both Pete and the Evilpixie for a great day.

And there were gifts too! Lots of wonderful knitterly things -

The fantastic Stitch 'n Bitch Calendar, with hints, tips, patterns etc for every day of the year.

The very funny, Not Tonight Darling, I'm Knitting by Betsy Hosegood.

Mason-Dixon Knitting, which looks really great, from my SIL, Beryl and her husband Roy.

I've already seen several things I want to knit from it.

Spin to Knit by Sharon Okey. I really can't wait to get stuck back into trying to learn to spin, so I can attempt some of the projects in this book.

Greetings from Knit Cafe. This is real eye-candy stuff. Now why is my LYS not like this. Probably just as well as I'd never ever leave.

And just to show that I did manage to get the Christmas knitting done - here is Pete modelling his new Camoflage Dog-Walking Socks. I also managed to finish the Evilpixie's stripy hat. Photos tomorrow.

And just in case you thought that booky things were not received too I also got this - 501 Must-Read Books. I'm quite pleased to say that I've actually already read 65 of the books listed. I'm determined to try and read a few more over the next year. I was a little disappointed with the few crime novels that were selected, not what I would have chosen as ones that must be read. But that's a whole other post.

Finally, just a little postscript, which is in memory of my father who died five years ago today. He was a lovely man, with a wicked sense of humour. I still miss him loads. I got my love of books from him, which is probably the best thing anyone could ever give their daughter. He introduced me to The West Wing (which is my favourite TV programme ever) and I introduced him to the novels of James Lee Burke. I'd say that was fair exchange, wouldn't you?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tribute to my Mother

Just a short post today, as it's Christmas Eve.

Today's post is in tribute to my Mother, Ethel Patricia Duncan (nee Garden), who died on this day seventeen years ago.

She was a wonderful woman, with a great sense of humour, and she taught me the most important thing I ever learned - that life is more important than housework.

Thanks for that, Mum, and for everything else you taught me along the way.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I Have Pictures.......

It's my last day off before Christmas. And for once there is enough light to take a few photos.

So we have -

Things that came in the post today (both bought on eBay) -

That's the first issue of Yarn Foward (new UK-based knitting magazine) which looks great, a vast improvement on what was available before. And 100g of navy blue Online sock wool so I can knit Pete a replacement pair of dog-walking socks.

Large bowl of Chicken Liver Pate with the clarified butter on top still waiting to set (artistic swirl done by Pete). Ready for Christmas. Diet? What diet?

Amorphous mess. Still looks a bit messy, still not sure all the holes are in the right places - just could not seem to follow the pattern right. Anyway I'm hoping it will look better when blocked. Still loving the colours. The manufacturer has given this yarn the rather uninspiring name of "Green / Pink Mixture". I'm tending towards calling it "Blood in the Trees". Is it possible I'm reading too much crime fiction?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

New Knitting

I finally succumbed to boredom with the socks, and with some other secret knitting I'll tell you about later (in case the recipient should read this), and cast on something new.

I realise this looks like an amorphous mess at the moment but it's going to be this. At least I hope it will be, I'm having a little trouble with the pattern. I'm knitting it in Marble from James C Brett, colourway MT6 which is a lovely combination of pinks and greens. It is acrylic but it feels really soft and knits well, so I'm forgiving it its man-made origins.

The rest of the day has been devoted to housework and other such chores. Any fellow Golden Retriever owners will know only too well the struggle it is to keep dog hair to a minimum, especially when your dog is moulting, like Bubba. As I've been working a lot recently the situation was becoming desperate and the dust puppies of dog hair that tend to collect under the sofa and behind the door were beginning to grow into Great Danes and starting to roam the house in ravening packs. Today order has been restored and the dust puppies have been banished. Already however stray tufts of dog are beginning to lurk on the living room carpet. It's like painting the Forth Rail Bridge - as soon as you get to one end of the house with the hoover, it's time to start over again at the other end. What I think I need is one of those robot hoover thingys that goes around by itself perpetually sucking up dog hair - trouble is it would need emptying about every half hour or so. Mr Dyson, if for some strange reason you should happen to be reading this - I see a gap in the market here - please invent me something to help. I want a self-running hoover that empties itself and doesn't scare the dog to death by sneaking up behind him when he's not paying attention. That's not too much to ask is it???

I guess in theory you could spin yarn out of all this dog hair and make a jumper but if you got caught in the rain you would smell awful!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Knitting and Books - sheer heaven

I've had a day off today - they were forecasting this to be the busiest retail day of the holiday season so quite how I managed to score a day off I'm not sure, but I wasn't complaining. I'm off tomorrow too so will get some serious knitting done, and will take photos, honest!

I got to go to S&B in Birmingham, and I went to the remaindered bookstore and bought a couple of books, and I even bought a little bit of wool (Who, me? Wool? No, that wasn't me!). Photos tomorrow I promise.

There's not much to blog about apart from that but I wanted to point you in the direction of yesterday's great post by Ms Knitingale. It had me giggling all day, thinking about it. She's so funny. I wish I could write comedy like her.

Talking of writing, my short story didn't win the WWC competition, but it was a close contender apparently. If anyone would like to read it send me an email and I'll forward it to you as it's way too long to post on the blog.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stay Safe Out There

Something is rotten in the county of Suffolk. The events unfolding in Ipswich are terrible and my heart goes out to those poor girls, their families and friends. For those not in the UK, I should perhaps explain that in the small town of Ipswich, five prostitutes have been murdered in the last month. The population of Ipswich is only about 100,000 and it has maybe 30 or 40 girls working the streets in its small red light district. For five of these girls to be killed in one month is just terrible. The people of Ipswich must be terrified, especially the women. I hope the police catch whoever is doing this quickly, before anyone else is killed. Then I think we need a debate about whether or not prostitution should still be illegal in this country, forcing these women to work in badly-lit streets and dark corners. Take care everyone who is out and about this Christmas.

OK, rant over.

On to knitting now.

Jill asked about the Opal wool for the socks. It's Dreamcatcher in colourway 1237 and I've finished the first one and am progressing with the second.

Pete has worn completely through the lovely 100% wool ribby dog-walking socks I knitted him so I need to get hold of some tougher wool/nylon mix yarn to knit him another pair pronto.

I forgot to tell you last week but Bubba lost 2kgs in the first 2 weeks of his diet so that seems to be working, though he's still not very keen on the kibble - it's the first time ever I've seen him walk away from food.

I finished Echo Park by Michael Connolly, and while I enjoyed it I didn't think it was his best work. The plot didn't really grab me, although I did like the further revelations about Harry Bosch's past interesting. I am now reading a proof of Saturnalia by Lindsay Davis, not due for publication till next year, but I'm reviewing it for Eurocrime. So far, so good, a great romping, hilarious plot in typical Falco style.

I'm working Thursday and Friday and then I have the weekend off so I shall hopefully get to Stitch 'n' Bitch on Saturday.

In the meantime, stay safe, whereever you are.

Friday, December 08, 2006

An Evening In

I'm looking forward to a rare treat this evening. Everyone is out, so I will have the house to myself. This means a nice relaxing evening with a film of some kind (probably some sort of chick flick that Pete would never watch), a glass or two of wine, and a bit of knitting.....sheer bliss.

I rather expect I shall need it after a day at work. People are definitely starting to get that look of Christmas panic in their eyes, and we are much busier in the shop now than we were. I can relax, safe in the smug knowledge that I have done all my Christmas last minute dashes to the shops on Christmas Eve for me. Well, not unless I realise that I've completely forgotten something desperately vital. This is entirely possible.

I must respond to some comments. I'm very bad at that. Maxine, I'm afraid I have to shatter the picture you may have of me - much as I would like to claim that I am sitting here day after day dilligently inserting the stripes and patterns into my Opal sock, I have to confess that all the beautiful work is done by the wool. This is what is known as self-striping sock yarn. All I have to do is knit row after row of plain jane knit stitches and the wool is cleverly patterned so that it comes out looking stripy or mottled or fair isle-ish. Self-striping yarn is one of the many wonders that have happened to knitting since I gave it up way back in the early 1990s - and I think it's wonderful. Someone remarked at work that I was doing "clever knitting", to which I could only reply - "not clever knitting, just clever wool".

Hi Jo, welcome to my blog. It's nice to meet fellow knit swappers and I've been looking at your blog - you're doing some seriously lovely work there, girl. I have to admit that I've had to put progress on the spinning to one side until after Christmas as with working 4 days (or more) a week I'm just not finding the time to be able to focus on it. Come January however I shall start to go to our local spinning group and will have more free time to devote to practising.

There are no photos this morning as it's still dark, and as it will be dark again when I get home from work don't be holding your breath for some later either. I totally forgot to take my camera to the reading group party (see I told you I was an idiot), but we had a good time, even if some of the quiz questions had us stumped. I came back with a huge pile of books. Some from Karen to review for EuroCrime. Thank you Karen, I will get the reviews off to you as soon as I can. On the reading group list for this month is the new Andrew Taylor - A Stain on the Silence. I already have this on my TBR pile and have been looking forward to it. Andrew is a great writer and a lovely man too. Also on the list is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I've been meeaning to read this for a while but haven't found the time yet. Sooooo many books..........................

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Day Off

I've got a day off today - well that's a day off from the part-time retail job anyway. Still have to work in our own business, so that's what I've been doing this morning. Then I went to the supermarket and now I've managed to get some photos taken even though it is still grim and dark here - at three o'clock in the afternoon.

First there is the progress report on the Opal socks -

Going has been slow on these as I'm only really knitting them in my breaks at work, though I did a couple of inches last night while watching "Cathy Come Home". Great vintage TV drama with Carol White and Ray Brooks (who I had forgotten was in this).

Also there is the now completed Sideways Gilet which I absolutely love. I wore it to work the other day and got lots of compliments on it (which is nice.)

It's fastened with a hair stick thingy from Claires Accessories which has beads and wire wound round one end. The wool was a jumper bought at a car boot sale and frogged so I've no idea what it is but the colours are wonderful. The gilet itself is a simple garter stitch knitted from edge to edge as a large rectangle with armholes in the relevant places. I'm really pleased with the end result especially as I spent so long trying to make it a cardigan - if had gone wrong again this time I think I'd have given up!

Tomorrow is my reading group Christmas party and quiz which should be fun. I'll try and remember to take my camera to record the festivities. I'm very bad at that - I never remember the camera until I'm out somewhere and see something I want to photograph for the blog.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Grim, Dark Saturday Morning

It's still dark here, so there are no photographs today. I'm working all day today but I thought I'd better blog just to show that I'm still alive.

Knitting news -

I'm still knitting the Opal socks. Still on the first sock, but I've done the heel turn and the gusset decreases now so it's a straight run to the toe. Progress is slow on these as I'm only knitting them in my breaks at work.

I have finished the sideways gilet that I started with the wool that used to be the wrap-over cardigan. I finally figured that it was trying to tell me something - it just didn't want to be a cardigan. I took me about 8 failures to get the front the way I wanted it before I realised this. Photos will appear later this week when I finally get a day off (not until Tuesday!).

Reading news -

I finished Sharpe's Fury by Bernard Cornwell, which was exactly what it said on the tin. You can rely on Cornwell for a rattling good plot. He's very good at putting in the historical detail without it reading like he's trying to teach you something. That's a great skill. I am indebted to Mr Cornwell for almost all the English history I know. The Sharpe books are not my favoutite series by Cornwell, I really like the Starbuck Chronicles, but as he's said he's not going to write any more of those until he retires, the Sharpes will have to do in the meantime.

So back to the present day and Echo Park by Michael Connelly. I'm a big fan of Harry Bosch so I've been looking forward to this one. It was a little slow to start with I thought, but that may have been because I came to it straight from the Sharpe which just belts along. Anyway it's picking up now and I'll report on how it proceeds when I get a bit further in.

Writing news -

As usual there is no writing news.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Look What I Got in the Post....

... from the totally lovely Jill all the way from Canada.

There is a ball of Sisu yarn (I am so going to be making socks with that) and 2 balls of a beautiful turquoise cotton called Mandarin Petit, and a sweet little tin of maple syrup - I love maple syrup - and maple sugar and there's more.... there are chocolate covered coffee beans (has this woman met me somewhere - how does she know these are my absolute favourite), 3 of the most beautiful stitch markers and a little thing you hang on your zipper that's a tiny knitted jumper.

Are they not just the sweetest things you've ever seen!

And to cap it all there's a little gift of some treats for Bubba too from her dog Cindi (who's another big yellow dog). I'm going to put those aside for him for when he's a little less portly.

Big thank yous and a large hug to you Jill. What a wonderful package, I am quite overwhelmed and think you have done brilliantly, especially as we have never met or even corresponded. I don't even know if you have a blog. If you have, email me and let me know so I can read about you.

This is part of Ms Knitingale's Holiday Care Package swap, designed to help us knitters through the traumas of the holiday season. So another big thank you to Ms Knitingale for organising the swap.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We have knitting

OK, so today I have managed to photograph some of the work in progress. This afternoon is sunny and bright, if a little on the chilly side, so photographs were possible. Unlike yesterday, when it was barely daylight all day.

First we have the new Opal socks in colourway 1237 (no idea what that is but I like it). These are my current carry-around project for knitting in my lunch break etc. I love the colours. I'm on the gusset decreases of the first sock.

Next we have a lovely scarf / shawl called Kevat (apparently this means Spring in Finnish). I got the pattern from Knitting Pattern Central. The yarn is Filatura di Crosa Angora in black. It's 80% Angora and 20% Lambswool so it's wonderfully soft and slightly fuzzy. This is going to make it very difficult to knit I expect. I started this yesterday at Brum S&B, where the light is quite good and I was struggling to see what I was doing. I may be totally blind by the time I'm finished this. It's quite a simple repeat but I still think it may be beyond my rather limited knitting intelligence.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


There was just one word to describe Bubba and I when we got back from our walk this morning - drookit. This is an old Scottish word meaning a tad on the damp side.

Of course being a retriever there is nothing Bubba likes better than a wet walk so he was in his element.

You will note that there are no pictures of me doing my world famous impression of a drowned rat.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dog on a Diet

I've been working for the last 4 days so there's been no time for blogging, knitting or reading really. I have started some new socks but it is too dark now for photographs so I'll do photos in the morning.

Bubba is a dog on a diet. He is not very happy about this, but we took him to the vet for his boosters and to get his legs checked out. He had a TPLO operation on his cruciate ligament when he was 18 months old and now he has an arthritic knee. Anyway being a tad on the heavy side is not good for the knees so he has to lose some weight. This means no treats, special diet kibble, no scavenging for food when he's out walking (particular favourite of his!). All in all he thinks maybe life is not worth living at the moment. It's no use trying to explain to a hungry retriever that it's for his own good and he'll feel better once he's shed a few pounds.

I'm off tomorrow (and the next few days) so I shall get to S&B and then to the Knitwits group at Perry Common Library. A day full of knitting....bliss!

Monday, November 20, 2006

In Praise of American TV

I've just been watching "Heroes" which is a wonderful TV show from the US. It's about a group of totally unconnected people, who all start to display super-hero type abilities. Slowly the plot is connecting all these disparate people and I am loving every moment of it. I am especially fond of Hiro, who is a young Japanese guy who can bend the space / time continuum.

People always used to say that British TV was the best in the world, but I'm afraid nowadays we come a pretty poor second (or even lower) to the US. When I think of the TV series that I love best, that I look forward to the most they are all American - Deadwood (sadly discontinued), The Shield, Lost (just love the silly conspiracy theories) and of course, my all time favourite TV series ever - The West Wing.

And there are so many more. Now of course I'm not saying that all American TV is wonderful, I've seen some shocking examples. But apart from the odd historical drama and the BBC's wonderful wildlife series (like Life on Earth), we seem to have lost the ability here to make quality TV. So much of the schedule is filled with inane celebrity vehicles where you vote people off each week. I'd be very surprised if a series like Heroes could ever be made in this country where almost all drama series are a vehicle for a former soap-star.

Even in the genre of Cop Shows we are being out done. America gets The Shield, Thief, Cold Case, Without a Trace etc and we have Blue Murder and endless series of Frost or Midsomer Murders.

Recently we've had Vincent with the wonderful Ray Winstone, and last year there was Life on Mars (original but flawed) and I am hard pressed to think of anything else outstanding.

The over-reliance of the networks on series made by the production companies formed by former soap-stars, and on writers who had a hit series many years ago and have done nothing since, is killing British drama television. The networks need to take more chances with unknown writers, unknown actors and please, oh please can we have some original ideas - the thought of yet another prime time TV detective series just makes me want to bang my head against a wall (and I'm a fan of detective fiction).

I just have one more thing to say. Bones the TV series (absolutely dreadful), is based (very loosely indeed) on the books by Kathy Reichs. Now you can buy a spin-off novel of the series, by Max Allan Collins. So, this is a book based on a TV series based on a book! What is that all about?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

We have progress!!

I've been practising my spinning over the last few days, since the Spinning Wheel Maintenance Kit from Twist Fibre Craft Studio arrived in the post. So I got the spare con-rod strap I needed to fix the wheel. And I've been trying in the odd spare moment over the last few days and today I have finally made some progress. Today for the first time I managed to keep the wheel spinning and feed the fibre through at the same time, for more than a couple seconds at a time.

Now I'm not saying that the resulting yarn is pretty or even or anything you might want to knit with. But it does bear a passing resemblance to yarn so I am pretty pleased. While it is by no means perfect it is getting better and I am finding it easier all the time to get my hands and feet to do what they are supposed to do.

I got to the S&B meeting in Birmingham on Saturday, which I expected to be the last time before Christmas, but I find I'm off next Saturday too so I shall try and go then as well. I had a lovely morning in Birmingham, with a trip to market to buy fish for dinner, then over to the Pallasades where there is a new bookshop which sells what looks like publishers / distributors returns. Anyway they had some good stuff at reasonable prices so I bought one or two. All in all what with the knitting and the books and the fish pie for dinner it was a pretty good day.

And today I realised that I'm not actually working on Monday as I thought. I don't start work again until Tuesday. An extra day off that I wasn't expecting - how good is that!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Some WIP and some other stuff

I've got a day off!!!! WoooHooooo. Actually I have 3 days off in a row and am not not in work again until Monday. So I may actually have time to read, knit, do the washing, iron some clothes and all that other stuff that needs doing. And I shall get to the Birmingham S&B tomorrow too.

I have some work in progress though.

The green stuff on the DPN's is another pair of Fetching from Knitty. These are for me.

The other stuff is the front (again) of the wrapover cardigan, (no pattern, flying my the seat of my pants), which has been on the needles for way too long, but is suddenly needed urgently as the weather has taken a cold turn here. I'm still not sure it's right, so it may yet be frogged again for another attempt. The yarn is something completely unidentified, frogged from a jumper bought at a car boot sale (that's a flea market, if you're in the States). I don't know what it is but I love it - it's got streaks of purple and brown and cream and every so often it has a little bit of turquoise as well, and it's very soft and has slubby bits in it too. I just wish I could get the front to look how I want it. Anyway here's a close-up so you can see the pretty colours...

I am reading Sharpe's Fury by Bernard Cornwell. I'm reading it very slowly as I only seem to be able to manage about two and a half pages before I fall asleep (usually with the book still in my hand). I have only been reading it in bed, not on the bus or at work, so that's not as bad as it may have sounded. I should point out that this is not a reflection on the quality of Bernard Cornwell's plotting which is as usual admirable.

Have you been watching the new BBC series of Robin Hood. It's quite enjoyable in a Saturday tea-time, light and fluffy sort of way. Good clean escapism where no-one ever gets killed. However I got a bit distracted on Saturday by Marion. She was wearing what looked to me like a machine knitted sweater. I will have to admit to having completely lost track of the (somewhat flimsy) plot, while I tried to get a better look at what she was wearing. Now, I'm not a history expert, in fact almost all of the English history I know comes courtesy of the afore-mentioned Mr Cornwell, but I'm fairly sure they didn't wear machine knitted garments in the Middle Ages, did they?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

I have been relaxing today after the first week in my new job. No knitting has been done today though as I have been finishing Pegasus Descending by the wonderful James Lee Burke. I just love the way he writes, the way he really gets you inside the skin of Dave Robicheaux, which is not always a pleasant place to be, but is never, ever dull. Complex characters, complicated plotting and wonderful writing - if there was ever a crime writer I would like to be able to emulate, I think it would be James Lee Burke. Well, it's something to aspire to anyway.

So, now I have a dilemma. Pete picked me up a couple of books in a charity shop yesterday, both of which I want to read right away. I have a choice of Echo Park by Michael Connelly or Sharpe's Fury by Bernard Cornwell. I could also read any one of the many books in my TBR pile, but I love Harry Bosch, and I haven't read a Sharpe in quite a while so I'm torn. I think maybe I'll read the Sharpe first as the style is so different from JLB, and I try not to read similar types of books one after the other if I can help it. While Connelly and JLB are very different writers they do both feature American detectives, both Vietnam vets, both a bit maverick. Richard Sharpe is of course none of these things, so I guess I'll start with him.

Of course because I very rarely read only one book at a time I am also reading Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey. This is a blackly comic crime novel set in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, bit like a Gulf Coast Carl Hiassen. Very funny, ironic and twisted. Also its a paperback and therefore suitable for carrying around in my bag for a spare ten minutes reading at lunchtime.

I am currently between knitting projects, which always makes me a bit twitchy. I could re-knit the first crenellated toe-up sock, or re-start the front of the crossover cardigan I started way back in about May (I've knitted the front of this about 4 times already and can't seem to get it right - maybe I should use a pattern instead of just busking it). However none of these is grabbing my attention at the moment. Some time this week I'm going to have to delve into the stash and find something I want to knit. My next day off isn't until Friday though so I may have cracked by then....

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I'm sorry, but I'm back and I have FOs

Apologies for the lack of blog for the last few days. I started a new job on Monday. I won't tell you much about it but it's with a well-known high street store. Anyway this is my first day off so this is the first time I've had either the time or energy to blog.

So, in order to placate the Gods of Blogdom I have lots of FOs to show you.

Firstly the Toe-Up Crenelated Sock

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted that there is only one sock in this picture. This is because this FO is a slight cheat. There are indeed two socks but they do not match, one is longer and wider than the other and the cuff is shorter. They are not quite a pair. The other sock, which is condemned to the workbox downstairs as punishment, needs to be frogged and re knitted from about an inch after its highly illogical Bosnian Toe Square - those Balkans sure know how to have fun.

Nextly there is a pair of fingerless gloves in luminous colours - these are for me, but are destined to be felted before wearing as they are a tad on the baggy side.
I am pretending that I meant to knit them that way. Anyone who knows me better might suspect that this is due to my complete inability to knit swatches before starting. I have only one thing to say to them - it's a pair of gloves - a swatch would be bigger and take longer - it's not like they even have fingers! Anyone who remarks that only an idiot would knit two gloves which are both too big will be sent to their room with no dinner.

Finally, we have something that I am really chuffed with. So chuffed in fact that even though these were knitted for the Evilpixie I want them. As there is a snowball in hell's chance of the Evilpixie letting me keep these I am going to have to knit myself a pair.
These are the totally wonderful Fetching from the summer issue of Knitty. They were knitted in some Rowan Designer from the stash and the good news is that I have more of it and I have it in blue and green too so I can have three pairs if I want. And do you have any idea how hard it is to take a photo of your left hand wearing a glovey thing with just your right hand while trying to not stand in the way of the last few rays of light coming in the window?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

First attempt at spinning

Well, I had my first attempt at spinning this afternoon. I was hoping everyone would be out - Pete was at the Villa game, but the Evilpixie was lurking about as teenagers do and was under the impression that watching her mother's first attempts at spinning was in some way helpful. Trust me it wasn't.

Let's just say that I haven't quite got the hang of it yet. I could do the foot pedalling bit - I'd been practising that bit all week, but I had a bit of trouble with the drafting - couldn't get the hands to move right and was having a few technical issues with the wheel. Just when I thought I was beginning to get the hang of the drafting (though i was still having problems getting hands and feet to move independently), the leather con-rod joint thingy broke. So that put paid to any further attempts today. I can get a replacement thingy from Twist Fibre Craft Studio, though. They are in Newburgh in Fife and sell all sorts of lovely fibre as well as wheels and stuff.

I find the fact that they are in Newburgh an amazing coincidence as I used to live there, although it was many years ago - I don't think they were there when I lived there (I'm not going to tell you how many years ago that was - I was still at school), or possibly even the last time I was there which would be nearly five years ago. My father lived in Newburgh, he was the village pharmacist until he retired, but he died five years ago this Christmas. Of course I wasn't even a knitter then so the shop may have been in existence and I wouldn't have been the slightest bit interested - now you'd have trouble getting me out at closing time!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

We have photos

So, finally Blogger has relented and here are the photos I promised you yesterday.

First the Juno cardigan with its buttons.

And a close up of the Celtic brooch.

And finally the spinning books I've been reading.

There are no books for reading group this month because next months meeting is the Christmas Party / Quiz. So once I'm finished the James Lee Burke I'm hoping to make some headway with the TBR pile. Can't quite decide what to read first...Mark Billingham, Laura Lippman, Jeffrey Deaver..... so many books, so little time!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Not a Lot of Knitting Going On

There hasn't been a lot of knitting going on for the last few days, so if it's knitting news you're looking for, then you'd best move along. Nothing to see here.

The Juno cardigan finally has its buttons, though. I really wanted some kind of celtic buttons but I couldn't find what I wanted on the web and it has suddenly got cold here so I bought some plain brass buttons from a little wool shop in Cheltenham when I was there on Monday and they will do just fine. I've had a little difficulty getting the collar to sit right. For some reason the pattern / design calls for it to stick out 2 inches past the edge of the button band. If I'd thought about this properly when I was knitting it I'd have knitted it shorter so it was flush with the button band so it would be less flappy. Anyway the buttonhole on the collar didn't seem to be in the right place when I tried to place the button, but the problem has been solved with the addition of a celtic brooch in the middle which complements it nicely.

I got the books on spinning which I bought from eBay and have been reading them. The first one to arrive was The Craft of Hand Spinning by Eileen Chadwick. This seems to be a good basic guide, not too complicated. Next in the post was Hand Woolcombing and Spinning by Peter Teal. I'm glad the other one came first. This one is very in-depth and complicated and involves much maths, formulae, calculations etc. I shall be going off after this post to have a play with my wheel in an attempt to work out the wheel to bobbin ration and the twist per inch. (If that's wrong and I have offended spinners everywhere I'm sorry - I'm new at all this). Wish me luck!

My other excuse for not knitting much is that I have been entirely seduced by the new James Lee Burke - Pegasus Descending. It is so beautifully written, I just want to keep reading it forever.

Apologies for the lack of pictures today - I took photos of the cardigan and the spinning books, honest, but Blogger just won't play. I'll post them as soon as Blogger gets over its hissy fit.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

One busy day and one quiet one

Yesterday was very much a knitting day. I went to the S&B at the Central Library, where Kath volunteered to teach me to spin. I'm not sure she knows what she's let herself in for. Anyway I've bought a couple of books about it from eBay so I shall read them and have a play about with my wheel before I take her up on her kind offer.

Then I went to the Knitwits meeting at Perry Common Library where we had some new faces, all very nice (but then knitters always are). So a lot of knitting was done yesterday but not a lot else.

Today has been a quieter day, sitting reading and doing laundry and other such pursuits. I am feeling virtuous and domestic as there is vegetable soup bubbling away on the stove and a chicken roasting in the oven. No knitting has been done today, but I shall probably do a few rows later if there's anything on the TV.

Bubba was attacked by another dog this morning while out for his walk. He seems to be Ok but he was very shaken. I do wish people who can't control their dogs wouldn't let them loose in public places. It's not the first time this has happened to him - but then he's not very good at standing up for himself. He's just a big wuss really.

I have finished Snow Blind by PJ Tracy. I enjoyed it very much and although I had worked out the plot well before the end, I didn't mind. I like the relationship between the detectives and I hope we see more of Sheriff Iris Rikker in subsequent books. I thought she was a great character. I liked the fact that the case threw up several moral dilemmas and that everything was not cut and dried at the end. I hate books where all the little loose ends are neatly disposed of, much preferring a few nagging doubts at the end. After all in real life how often does everything wrap up neatly.

I've just started Pegasus Descending by James Lee Burke. He's been a favourite of mine for a long time, mainly because the writing is such high quality. I'm only a few pages in but reading his books is such a pleasure, his prose needs to be savoured, slowly.

Friday, October 27, 2006

A Sockful of Firsts...

I have finished the first of the socks I started last week.

There were many firsts in the knitting of this sock. This is my first toe-up sock. This is the first sock knitted from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks, Warm Feet book. I had to learn how to do a provisional cast-on, which was OK - I can learn new techniques. They have a Bosnian style square section in the toe - not sure about this, it doesn't seem to be the right shape for my foot. They have a Turkish heel - this is apparently a type of heel-shaping invented by the devil himself for the torment of knitters. I will never do another one - I am so set against the Turkish heel - which was a complete pig to knit, doesn't fit my foot and leaves big holes at the point where the heel section meets the ankle - that I will be trying something else for the second sock. Also this sock has no gusset shaping in the foot so it's too loose and I like my socks snug.
There are things I like about this sock though - I like the wool which is hand-dyed from Get Knitted. And I love the crenellated, picot edging to the cuff (though I should have knitted the ankle a bit longer). I just need to rectify all these other faults in the second sock, then re-knit the first one to match. I can do that, right?

Book News

I have finished The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr. I liked it, it seemed to me to be true to the Sherlockian originals, but I'm not sure I would read another one. Of the two I had for reading group, I'd have to say I preferred the Laurie R King one which was Locked Rooms. I was surprised at this. I'd definitely read more of the Laurie King series, in fact I've already added a couple to the TBR pile. Anyway, I'm now on Snow Blind by P J Tracy. I've enjoyed the others in this series and I like the detectives, Maggozzi and Rolseth. In this one they team up with a rookie sheriff when someone starts killing cops and leaving them in snowmen. Ooooh, I like a good serial killer.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sometimes the UK is not so bad

England can be a frustrating place to live - it's too crowded, it's expensive, it's cold, I could go on (and on), but now and again you read something that reminds you that England's still better than some places.

Take Romania for example. They have a new Highway Code coming into effect soon which bans cycling in Bucharest except in cycle lanes. From December cyclists in Bucharest can only use the cycle lanes or they will be fined. Great idea, I hear you all saying - the traffic in Bucharest is terrible, much better to keep the cyclists out of the traffic. There's just one small problem - Bucharest only has one cycle lane and it's less than 1km long. I guess it's going to be very busy!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Miss Knitingale's Holiday Exchange Thingy

The lovely Ms Knitingale has organised a holiday care package exchange. I put my name down right away as I love receiving surprises in the post, but now I'm worrying that my surprise gift to my giftee won't be cool enough. Anyway here is the questionnaire from her all duly filled in with my details.

What is your favorite color? Has to be bluey green – the colour of the Gulf of Mexico on a good day!
Is there a color you dislike? I’m not a great fan of pastel colours – I like bright, vivid colours.
Do you have any pets? What kind? I have a Golden Retriever called Bubba
Is there any knitting-related item you’re longing to have? I’d love some more stitch markers, I love sparkly beaded things, or unusual sock patterns (I'm conscious of the fact that this will have to be posted to England so I'm trying to think of light things that don't cost much to post)
Are you a sock knitter? Oh, yes, I’m a definitely a sock knitter, love knitting socks
Do you have any online wish lists? No, that would be just too time consuming – and they would be very, very long!!
Do you collect anything that isn’t terribly expensive? Not really, I’m not a very collecting sort of person, the only thing I collect is crime fiction (and as anyone in my family will tell you I have way too much already)
What would make you smile or giggle with delight to find it in your gift box? Anything knitting or spinning related, or connected with Golden Retrievers.
Is there anything that would make you cringe if you found it in your gift box? American chocolate – sorry, I love chocolate but it has to be good old Cadburys for me!
Do you have a favorite edible treat? I love all sorts of sweet things (except American chocolate – see above)
Do you drink coffee, tea, cocoa, or….? I love coffee, love fresh coffee beans, don’t drink tea or cocoa.
Are there any dietary restrictions your pal should know about? No, nothing I can’t or won’t eat at least once.
Do you celebrate a winter holiday of any kind and, if so, would you like to receive anything holiday themed? We celebrate Christmas but in a very unreligious and heathen way, as a time to spend a few days together and relax. I’m not averse to Christmassy things but am not a religious person at all.

So there you are, I hope that helps!!

Now I've been really bad at answering comments and some are way overdue so in reply to Maxine, no it's not a purse or a sporran (but did you know that I am Scottish) - it's yet another pair of socks (yes, I know, I'm a sad, sad individual).

Also you do seem to be harbouring the delusion that I am some kind of super knitter when in reality I'm not at all. I've only been knitting again for six months after not knitting for about 15 years. I make loads of mistakes and am forever cursing and swearing and ripping things back. Trust me, you would not want me to knit you a jumper.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Look What I Got........

You remember a couple of weeks ago I bought a fleece at a car boot sale and I said I wanted to try my hand at spinning sometime.

Well, yesterday I was at an auction and they had this

I couldn't NOT bid for it, could I? It was very naughty to buy it really as we're not exactly rich this month, but it will be my Christmas present, and it was an absolute bargain. It's an Ashford wheel from Kitcraft in New Zealand, in beautiful condition (though it squeaks a little) and it has the lazy kate with it as well.

I am chuffed to bits - but now I really do need to learn how to spin, don't I?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Don't you just hate it when....

you work out who the killer / psychopath is half way through the book.

I was very disappointed in Thorn by Vena Cork. I don't think I was even halfway through and I began to think "No, surely not, she can't mean it to be him, that's way too obvious". So I read a bit further and the feeling grew and in the end I just lost interest and did something I hardly ever do - I skipped to the end just to check that I was right (and I was!).

Now I've been reading crime fiction for a long time, so I can forgive an author for not being able to fool me all the time, and I don't mind that as long as the plot is interesting and the characters intriguing, but this was just too easy. I though perhaps there was going to be a huge twist at the end and it was maybe going to be someone else - but no. The author had telegraphed exactly who the nutter was from less than half-way through, leaving nothing to surprise me at the end. A major disappointment.

So, now I'm on The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr. This is for Reading Group (theme - Sherlock Holmes) and I'm enjoying it so far, but I'm not very far in yet so we shall see how it pans out.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

New knitting

I've finished the dog-walking socks.

And I've cast on this -

Can you tell what it is yet?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

History Matters

Today the History Matters website are asking people to take part in the Biggest Blog in History.

They want everyone to blog on their site about their day so that they have a snapshot of our lives on this one day that they can use for research in the future. They are accepting entries up to the end of the month so why not get over there and leave some knitting blogs for posterity!

In knitting news - I am almost finished the dog-walking socks for Pete. Just the toe shaping to do which I will finish during CSI Miami tonight. You know I didn't particularly like this series until recently, much preferring the original Las Vegas one, but David Caruso is beginning to grow on me as Horatio Caine in this series. I always liked him in NYPD Blue but thought him a bit stiff in the early series of CSI. Now, if only the plots were a little more believable!

Writing news - yes, finally, there is writing news. Last night I finished the first, very rough, draft of a short story which will be my entry for my local writing group's annual competition. This is for a 1500 word story on the subject of "Taking a Chance." I've spent ages mulling over this and trying to come up with an original story and finally think I may have cracked it. Can't discuss too much yet but I'll let you know how it's going.

Sorry there are no photos today - Blogger says "NO!"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Perry Common Library Knitting Group

I went to a lovely new knitting group on Saturday afternoon. It's going to meet every 2nd and 4th Saturday in Perry Common Library. That's in Kingstanding, North Birmingham. Next meeting will be on 28th October and it's from 2pm to 3.30pm.

They have a lovely community room there with great comfortable chairs for knitting in, and the staff were really nice and friendly and even provided coffee and biscuits.

It was a small start as there were only 4 of us, plus the lovely Eileen who works there, but hopefully it will grow. Of course I forgot to take my camera to record the meeting for the blog. Duh! I promise I will take it next time and hopefully we'll have more knitters too.

On the book front I'm stil reading Thorn by Vena Cork which is intriguing but not moving very quickly at the moment.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A Hound on a Downer

Bubba is a miserable dog today. And he was miserable yesterday too. This is because Pete had to go out early on Thursday so I took Bubba for his morning walk. Now I don't see what the difference is - it's the same field, just about an hour later than normal. But Bubba is not a dog that likes his routine to be disturbed in any way, so he has been moping around the house for the past two days like he was being beaten with big sticks!

Here he is looking about as hang-dog as he can muster. You will note that my rule of no dogs on the new leather sofas is being blissfully ignored as it has been since the second first day we had them.

On the knitting front I have started Pete's dog walking socks - plain ribby socks in Rowanspun DK in navy though it looks black on my monitor. This is from the stash I scored back at the beginning of September - they had it on sale because it was being discontinued so I bought lots of different colours in both DK and 4ply for Christmas knitting.


I have finished Locked Rooms by Laurie R King....and I loved it. I'd been resisting this series because I thought "she's a Californian, how can she write about Sherlock Holmes, this will be dreadful". OK, I admit, I was wrong. I really liked this, I liked the characters, I liked the plot, I liked that they met Dashiell Hammett (my hero since I was about 18). I even liked the thing that I thought I was most going to hate - Sherlock Holmes in San Francisco. I shall now have to go back and start at the beginning of the series and work my way through them all - curses, don't you just hate when that happens :)

But anyway not before I've had a fix of something modern, so I've started Thorn by Vena Cork.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Goodies from the Weekend.

As I said before I am a second-hand book dealer by day, so I spend a lot of the weekend at car boot sales (that's fleamarkets for those of you across the pond) buying stock. This also gives me the opportunity of sometimes adding to my stash with the odd bit of wool.

This is Sunday's haul - that's 1300g of lovely grey/greeen tweedy pure wool that's just crying out to be socks, and some Twilleys Karisma which is a loopy sort of yarn 70% wool and 30% acrylic - not sure what to do with it yet. There are thirteen balls of the creamy colour and three of the purpley one.

Plus - I'm not sure quite what possessed me but they also had a whole fleece - she said it was Jacobs - and it was only £2, so I bought that too - I've already packaged it up and stored it away (to keep dog hairs off it) so I can't show you.

Now I can't spin, and I don't have time for yet another hobby, but I couldn't resist it. So now, added to the stash I have this fleece. I guess at some point in the future I will have a go at spinning - but don't hold your breath!!

In other news - I've finished the Opal socks (my first completed pair for Socktoberfest).
I've also finished the soul-draining red garter stitch scarf for the Evilpixie, apart from adding the fringe.

Next project is a pair of socks for Pete as he has been sadly neglected on the knitting front so far.


I have finished The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. I really liked it, despite it's not being the kind of thing I normally like. It's a fantasy tale about a little boys journey towards adulthood and also towards acceptance of his mother's death. It certainly keeps you reading right to the conclusion, and I found it unexpectedly moving at the end. It is also very funny in places - John Connolly can really do funny - who knew? I particularly liked his take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Anyway I am now reading Locked Rooms by Laurie R King. So far it is really good, now that I'm coming to terms with Sherlock Holmes in San Francisco. This is for reading group this month so I'm glad I'm enjoying it as I sometimes find myself struggling with the selected books (like last month's Peter Tremayne). Anyway it's going well so far - more on this later no doubt as I get to the meat of the plot.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

New books to read.

The books for this month's reading group (subject - Sherlock Holmes) are Locked Rooms by Laurie R King and The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr. (links to Waterstones website for easiness, but you should support your local bookstore if you can)

I've not read any Caleb Carr, though I did once try The Alienist, but got distracted and didn't get far with it. I've read some Laurie R King and like her Kate Martinelli series, but I've not read any of the Holmes & Mary Russell series before. They should both be interesting.

The sock knitting has been on hiatus for the last couple of days as the Evilpixie wanted a long red scarf. Just a plain garter stitch scarf with a fringe on the ends. Not very interesting to knit, no interesting design features - just miles and miles of garter stitch. I used some Jaeger red wool that I bought on a car boot sale a few weeks ago. I'm nearly finished but it's so dull that there probably won't be photos!

I finally managed to get to the Birmingham Stitch 'n' Bitch meeting today for the first time. Lovely knitters, nice people, great knitting. I shall definitely try and make it again when work / time allows. There's going to be a new meeting at Perry Common Library next week on Saturday afternoon which is a more convenient time for me, and not so far to go (also avoids having to go into the centre of Birmingham which is always hell on a Saturday).

Sorry there are no interesting photos today so here's a gratuitous pic of Bubba doing what he does best.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Juno is finished!

Well almost. It dosn't have any buttons yet but the stitching up is complete. I just can't decide which buttons I want. I think maybe something subtly Celtic to go with the cabling on the coller. I just can't visualise them yet. So it will have to sit for a while till I think about it. I guess I'll know the right ones when I see them - suggestions welcome!

I hate stitching things up. Maybe that's why I like socks. Once they're finished, they're pretty much ready to wear. I finished sock #1 of the Opal Elemente pair and have started sock #2.

I'm determined to not start anything else until these socks are done, despite the Evilpixie requesting new legwarmers which I have some lovely bright red Jaeger wool just sitting in the stash that will be great for them.

Reading group is tomorrow and I will have to confess my failure with the Peter Tremayne book. I'm getting on much better with the new John Connolly. More about that once I've read a bit more.

I managed to pick up the new James Lee Burke in a charity shop at the weekend - Pesasus Descending. I'm a big fan of Dave Robicheaux so I think this might be the next one on the list, unless there is something very tempting in the selection at reading group this month.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Socktoberfest 2006

Socktoberfest 2006 kicks off today so I'm going to try and finish the socks I've been working on for ages first before I move on to something more interesting.

They are the standard sock pattern that came with the Opal sock yarn kit with a few minor alterations - shorter in the leg and with a heel stitch to tighten them up a bit as I have a narrow heel. They are Opal Elemente in colourway 1077.

I didn't think I was going to like this colour - I bought it from eBay a while ago and it wasn't quite the colour I was expecting, but as it knits up it's growing on me.

This is only the first sock so there's a way to go yet.

In other news, I have abandoned the Peter Tremayne (sorry, it was inevitable really) and done as I suggested I might and moved onto the new John Connolly which is called The Book of Lost Things. I'm really enjoying this so far. It's not a crime novel, more a weird fantasy but I've always like John's books, most of which are mysteries. His detective Charlie 'Bird' Parker is a great character (he's not in this book but I gather he will return in the next one).

I did a review of See Delphi and Die by Lindsay Davis for Karen who runs the wonderful Eurocrime website and the review is now up on the site if you would like to read it. The Falco series is a great favourite of mine and highly recommended. It's a fantastic website with lots of reviews and book news.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm not going to make it.

I'm only on page 125 of Master of Souls and there are 176 to go. (link given to Waterstones for convenience but you should support your local independent bookstore if you can). So far it has taken me three weeks to read the first 125 pages - how much chance is there of me finishing it by Wednesday?

I'm finding it really difficult to read. Everytime I start to read it in bed I fall asleep. I just want to plot to move a bit quicker. There's an awful lot of explanation and loads of Irish words. I keep having to look them up in the pronunciation guide at the back. Actually that doesn't really help as Irish spelling doesn't seem to bear any relation to how it's pronounced and it just confuses me more. Sorry if this offends the Irish, but couldn't you use phonetic spelling or something. All these words with odd combinations of consonants are doing my head in.

But I hate abandonning a book half way through, especially when it's for reading group. I feel I have to at least try and finish. So the question is this - is struggling through 125 pages enough of a test to discover that I don't like this book (I suspect there are others out there who will love it for all the reasons that I don't - gentle pace, historical detail, Irish language and culture) when I just want to hurl it across the room and go read the new John Connolly?

The Juno cardigan continues slowly, but I've done the button bands and there are by my reckoning (always a bit suspect) only 1.5 pattern repeats to go on the collar. I'd show you a photo but there's not that much difference from the last one, just the collar strip is a bit longer.

I'll hopefully finish the knitting tonight and can block it on Saturday and finish the sewing up on Sunday. More photos of the FO then.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How I became a knitter!

Progress has been sloooow on both the Juno cardigan and the Peter Tremayne book so I thought I'd tell you how I got back into knitting.

As I said before, I'm a second-hand book dealer so I go to a lot of general auctions to buy stock. At this one auction there were all these boxes of wool. Sealed packs of pure new wool, mostly Falcon and some Patons. Always looking for things to make a bit of money on, I thought "hey, wool is expensive, I bet I can sell those." So I bought 4 large boxes.

Well the wool sat around in the house for a little while and then I started to list it on eBay. And we sold almost all of it - just a few odd balls left over. I duly posted it all off to the buyers - but it was too late - the sight of all that wool stacked up around the office had worked its woolly magic on me. I started getting the itch to knit something. I hadn't knitted since my daughter, hereby known as the Evilpixie, was a small baby.

I was a working mother, running my own business, with hobbies (reading and writing) that I already didn't have enough time for. I wasn't looking for another hobby! But there was no escape. I wanted to knit something, I wanted really badly to knit something. And I didn't have anything - no needles, no pattern, nothing.

Off I trotted to the local charity shop where I bought a little selection of needles and I knitted a woolly hat. Then I started to look on the web for patterns and found the whole web community that surrounds knitting now - all the pattern sites, and the blogs and the stitch and bitch groups. I was completely blown away. I went in search of wool shops for more wool (because I'd sold all that great pure wool - what was I thinking!) and I discovered all the absolutely fantastic yarns that are available now. I was hooked.

A year ago I was quite happy, I didn't even know there was anything missing from my life. And now...I'm an addict. Are there any self-help programmes out there for obsessive knitters?????????

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Welcome to Mysterious Yarns!!

This is a blog about crime fiction and knitting (although not neccessarily in that order) as well as all the other stuff in my life.

I'm Pat and I live in the West Midlands of England with my husband, daughter and golden retriever.

I'm a second-hand bookseller by trade, and I love books, crime fiction in particular, so there will be regular updates on what I'm reading and what I think of it. I don't just read crime though, I also like historical fiction, and all sorts of other things that catch my eye as they pass through my hands as stock.

Knitting is the other obsession in my life so there will be similar updates on work in progress and finished projects etc. I'm not an expert knitter, having only recently come back to it after not knitting for about fifteen years, so you can expect much gnashing of teeth and frogging of erroneous knitting. I'm loving all the new, fantastic yarns available now and have already amassed a considerable stash and a growing list of projects I'd like to knit. More on that as we go on.

What I'm reading now -

Currently I'm reading Master of Souls by Peter Tremayne. This is the first Sister Fidelma book I've read, and I'm only reading it because it's one of the set books for my crime fiction reading group. Medieval crime is not really my bag, but I did join the reading group to make myself read things that were outside my normal comfort zone. I'm not really enjoying Master of Souls. It's taking a little while to get going - I'm on page 65 and there's a lot of explanation and not a whole lot of plot movement going on. Still, I shall persevere with it and perhaps it will get better.

What I'm knitting now -

I'm getting to the end of the Juno cardigan from Rowan Magazine 40. I'm knitting it in Rowanspun Aran, shade 962, as the recommended yard (Rowan Wool Cotton, knitted double) was just too expensive. (I'm a knitter on a budget!) . The Rowanspun was on special offer as it's been discontinued. I got it at Knit2together which is a wonderful shop in Wolstanton, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Anyway, the body of the cardigan is done, which is a great relief as it was allover rib and very slow.
I just have the celtic cable collar to finish and the button bands. I'm really pleased with it so far, despite the soul-sucking rib (note to self: you hate knitting rib, please remember this in future).

So the end is in sight, which means I can start to think about what to start next. I've promised my daughter a beanie hat so I guess I should do that next, then the way is clear for Socktoberfest

This is first time I've signed up for a knit-along thing so I'll let you know how I get on. I'm looking forward to it. I just love to knit socks and I got the Lucy Neatby - Cool Socks, Warm Feet book last week at the Knitting & Stitching Show at the NEC and some great hand-dyed sock yarn so I'm all set.

Ok, I think that's it for now. Hope you enjoyed my first attempt at blogging!