Thursday, 30 October 2008

A belated thank you to Amber Moggie

Amber Moggie was my "spoilee" in Secret Pal 12 and, at the end of the game, she sent me my very own wee parcel containing: A moebius scarf/neckwarmer, knitted by her own fair hand and...a ball of Rowan Felted Tweed in a lovely rusty red (the photo looks more strawberry!) called Rage! What a treat. Thank you, Amber Moggie!

Ali the Artist is struggling

I've been wanting to work on some artwork for over 4 weeks now and have made not one iota of a start on anything. Life gets in the way too much. I've been really sore, aching and tired for several days and just can't clear the space in my head or my life to do anything.

However last night, while doing some work on Shrink Yourself, I committed to (at the very least) working out a plan of action and taking the first baby step.

Today, when I was walking the dogs, I took some photos in the woods. It was a bright sunny day today and actually quite warm in the sun (though cold out of it and it's freezing again tonight) and the sunlight on the trees was amazing:

I have promised myself to make a start on a watercolour of this, my favourite little bridge, sometime either at the weekend or on Tuesday next week (I committed myself to Tuesday then remembered I'm free all weekend!):The shadows are perhaps a bit too strong to deal with in a painting but we shall see (I might try to leave them out!). Watch this space!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Secret Pal 12 Final Parcel - wow!

Here we go with my final parcel. What a whopper!
3 purple tissue paper parcels, 4 white tissue paper parcels and one green silk bag with something in it! It feels like... so much generosity! I'm a wee bit overwhelmed.

First parcel unwrapped:
It's a very bad photo but I think it's clear this is a pawprint paper punch! And green!!

Second small purple parcel (funny how I went for the purple first!):
I squealed with delight. Buttons. Stars, of course, I always love stars.

Then the mysterious long thin purple package:
It's a Namaste Cali needle Cozy! I've never seen such a thing before. What a great idea and such a gorgeous colour!

Ok, onto the white parcels, clearly something soft and interesting in each. Left to right, here's number one:
Definitely a big squeal with this one! Socks That Rock yarn!!! Yipee!! Wow, I know I'm going over the top but I am so thrilled to get some yarns that I've only heard of. Thank you SP!

White parcel no 2:
Gosh I was touched. Knitted by my SP herself, especially for me. Lovely thick yarn in gorgeous colours. Lovely wristwarmers. Gosh I'm still touched! And, having checked my SP's blog (see below) I've discovered they're made in Manos del Uruguay 100% wool. How lovely to see them being knitted!

Here's a photo of my left arm with one on!
Ok, onto white parcel no 3:
Lovely sock yarn. This time a name I've not heard of. Gosh when will I do all this knitting? I can't wait!

White parcel no 4: Aurancia Atacama! Oh yummy! I've always wanted to try their yarn! Oh the joys of having a Secret Pal from the States! Isn't this yarn gorgeous? I'm gobsmacked by all this. And there's more to come!

The bag turns out to be a Della Q Eden silk project bag. Another glamorous name! Such a treat, all this is. And inside:Oh huge whoops of delight! Noro Iro, wool silk blend! Oh oh OH! What will I knit with this?! Oh!! The photo makes it look much browner than it is; in reality, it's a gorgeous blend of pinks and purples and browns and turquoise and... I can't wait to knit this up and to scour the internet looking for a suitable pattern! Maybe a Moebius cowl... Yu-mmy!

I am really overwhelmed by the amount of yarn, it is such a luxurious treat to be given so much, especially yarn I've only heard of on the internet or in Ravelry.

So who is this wonderfully generous woman who's sent me all this gorgeous stuff? Her name is Mia, her blog is here. Mia, thank you so very very much for all your lovely and thoughtful (purple and green!) gifts. I really am blown away by your generosity and the care you've taken in choosing for me.


Sunday, 19 October 2008

Sirdar Donegal Tweed

I'm adding this photo in order to give the shade chart a url.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

I forgot to mention Ùlpan!

There was a meeting last Saturday with Susanne, who trained on the Ùlpan course I took part in, and Morag, who trained earlier in the year in Portree, about regular Ùlpan courses in Skye & Lochalsh. There were only 5 people there out of the 13 on my course, with interest expressed by another few. Most of the people there hadn't done Ùlpan before and were keen to start. The most likely class looks like a morning one twice a week in Sleat. Some of us post-beginners wanted an early evening class, others wanted a Friday night/all day Saturday ever 3 (or maybe 4) weeks. I can the pros and cons of both. Twice weekly is a big commitment and life (and work) will inevitably get in the way. However regular drip drip feeding will be more effective than a blast of it on a Friday and Saturday every 3 (or 4) weeks, but could be more manageable in terms of planning. I don't care really, I just want it to happen. As they need 8 people to make a class viable, I'm not sure we'll have enough of us post-beginners. I would hate to have to wait the 12 weeks it'll take for the beginners to catch up, as I'm quite sure I'd lose a lot of what I've gained in the first 24 units. Watch this space as something is definitely going to happen!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Knitting in Gaelic

This is a paragraph on the BBC Alba website, based on part of an episode of Beul-chainnt (which possibly means word of mouth), a programme about Gaelic language and sayings. I've attempted a vague translation working with online dictionaries... One day I will be able to understand it as I continue with my Ùlpan Gaelic classes. Imagine my delight to turn on the tv programme and see a picture of a gansey, knowing that this was the opening for some Gaelic words about knitting.

A' fighe (knitting)

Le ceithir bioran (with four needles), no stannd bhioran (or "stannd bhioran"), agus bascaid leum-chrann làn snàth (and a honeysuckle(?) basket full of yarn) tha thu deiseil airson tòiseachadh air stocainn fhighe (you are ready to start on knitted stockings). Feumaidh tu an t-àireamh cheart de lùban a dheilbh an toiseach (You will need the right number of stitches cast on at the beginning) agus cuairt an dèidh cuairt fhighe (and knit round after round). Cuimhnich gun toir thu (Remember without fail?) cumadh air calpa na stocainn le guiseid no dhà (to shape the calf of the stocking with a gusset or two) (gus nach (or else) bi i a' tuiteam (it will fall down) mu do chnàmhan-beaga (about your ankles)!). Feumaidh tu cuideachd (You will also need) an t-sàil a thionndadh (the turned heel/to turn the heel). Cuimhnich gu-tà gum biodh na seann Ghaidheil a' creidsinn deilbh shunndach Shatharnach cha robh rath a-riamh oirr'. (I can't work out an accurate translation of this last sentence but it's something about the old Gaelic women believing something wasn't lucky - I think!)

Other Gaelic words I managed to catch from the tv programme are: stailean, long thin needles (I think!); plean, plain (knitting); ceàrr, purl; fighe, knit.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

I think this blog must be really boring...

I read others' blogs and they're much more interesting than mine! It's difficult to get the balance between interesting and not exposing too much of your personal life.

I'm out of batteries so my camera's down. :-( The rechargeable ones aren't lasting any time at all, it's infuriating.

I've made some progress on the Rivendell socks (which I can't photograph!) but am a bit concerned that, with the gathered stitches, they won't fit my fat ankles...! I'd give them to my daughter but lime green isn't her colour.

My grandson has inherited the Fibonacci Sequence hat from Hat Attack 2 (and the Hallowe'en goodies). We managed to get a photo before the batteries died.

Look at those eyelashes!

Big turn-back, of course, as it was knitted for an adult!

I have yet another cold. It's in the early stages and I'm hopeful it won't get too bad. A throaty thing. There's a lot of it going around. Caught at work, ironically, considering I might have to stay off work (again!) if it gets too bad...

I'm waiting for the rain to go off before I walk the dogs but I think it'll be dark before it does that today!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Frogging and Rivendell socks

I've decided to frog the Francie socks I started recently. I like the pattern on the sole but I have plantar fasciitis in my right foot and I'm concerned the pattern may be too uncomfortable for it, as it gets swollen and sore. Also the leg of that sock pattern isn't very interesting(!) so I've changed over to the Rivendell pattern. I'm finding it hard to find the time to knit at the moment but I will try!

I'm plagued by restless leg syndrome at the moment, it's driving me nuts. I suspect it goes beyond my legs as I had to get up and move today at work but only because I was sitting still listening to a talk. I really struggle with this. I've been referred for a sleep study to investigate sleep apnoea and am hoping this will be identified as the problem and a solution found. My legs really ache a lot these days...

No movement on my car yet...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Walks, views and dogs

I took the dogs for a long walk today, up to the viewpoint on Balmacara hill. I wrapped up for the cold but it was sheltered on the path up to the viewpoint and positively hot in the sunshine!
Here is a panorama I took from the top. The sun was shining so brilliantly down Kyle Rhea and the air was so fresh and clear, it was a lovely walk.

Panorama of Balmacara viewpoint on

Thursday, 2 October 2008


My ex had a look at my engine today. As he thought, the timing belt had not broken (I'd been assured it was new when I bought it in April) but had slipped because the water pump had broken - a common problem in Vauxhall Vectras, apparently. He checked the valves and only 4 appear to be damaged. He's of the opinion that they were only just knocked before the car cut out. This is what he'd always thought - that the noise could have been the water pump and not the valves, as it went on too long and the engine should have stopped long before it did if it was the valves. It still means a bit of work - either refurbishment of the valves, or of the head, or a replacement head, or a full replacement engine. He can't do any of this, but a friend has offered to instead. It'll still take some time before I'm back on the road while we source the parts without spending too much or being ripped off! The local (70 miles away) breakers didn't have any cylinders heads for my car, unfortunately...

Nothing to report on the knitting front!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Hat Attack 2 and cars and new socks

I am dead. Here is the weapon that killed me, all the way from Florida, USA:
I love the colours but it's too narrow for my big head, unfortunately. It's not in Therapi either, which is a shame as I really liked it.

My death was eased by the inclusion of some very thoughtful goodies: As a born-again Christian, I don't celebrate Hallowe'en but I'm sure my daughter and grandson will appreciate them! I succumbed to eating the marshmallow pumpkins though!

My car is still dead. Progress is slow. My ex (Nigel) is coming over from the other side of the country to do the investigations on it for me so we can find out exactly what the damage is. I'm looking forward to knowing so I can have some kind of idea of how long it's going to take to get back on the road. Getting messages is becoming a bit of a tricky maneouver!

Last week I started on a pair of Francie socks in the lime green Tofutsies from my lovely SP. The new bamboo dpns are such good quality, lovely and smooth. I'm also using her lovely stitchmarkers too!