Archive for May, 2007

It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.? What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again?

I’m not really answering this question but it made me think of something - it also ties in with a couple of questions I missed while I was away: Where do/don’t you read?

I like to think I read on the tube. I have two 20-minute journeys each day and I always have a book with me so of course I read on the tube. Except I don’t. It’s one of those times when I just don’t feel in the mood to pick up a book (see it does have something to do with this week’s question) Why not then? This has been intriguing me a bit. I want to read, I have a book, I have time, so why do I sit there and gaze around?

I sometimes think it’s because I like watching the people. I had a very lonely, single-driver-by-car commute in Melbourne and it’s still a novelty to be able to sit back and not worry about traffic all the way to work. I realised after I came here that I saw very few strangers back at home: My life was work, social activities (with friends) and shopping (where I knew all the sales assistants). Here I see, and still marvel at, the never-ending flow of different, interesting people who hop on and off the Wimbledon line.

Occasionally, in my more cynical moments, I think it all stems from my need to be alert. London is a big, scary city and who knows what might happen if I lose myself in a web of words.

Bedside Table: ‘La Jeune Fille a la Perle’ by Tracy Chevalier (second time)

I only took one book with me on holidays (The Game - It was great) but I was well-supplied with knitting. Trouble was, I didn’t feel like knitting much and thus finished my book in less than a week with 13 days of holidays still looming ahead! We were in St Tropez at the time and I couldn’t find any English books in the one bookstore. I spent a looooong time choosing a French one while Neil hovered grumpily at my shoulder. I’m pretty fussy about my French reading - mostly cause I’m not that good at it ;-) I want something that I know I will understand easily as I don’t want to have to lug a dictionary around with me, but I have progressed beyond children’s books and Agatha Christie in translation, which means that the choice lies among a wealth of authors many of which I’ve never heard of (and the ones I have heard of, like Albert Camus, I’m not sure are suitable for dictionary-free beaches).

I decided on ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ because even though I’ve read it in English, that was a long time ago so it pretty much seems new. There’s the occasional word I can’t figure out from context but I’m getting most of it and enjoying the reading. Have you read it? Why not take it out for a re-read :)

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It gives me great pleasure to share with you….

The Blue Sky Cardigan

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Begun: mid-October last year; Frogged completely and restarted: February; Finished: April 19th 2007.

The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca Silk and is a dream to knit with and to wear. It stood up extremely well to repeated froggings and is showing no signs of fuzzing after several wears. I used just under seven skeins in the end but hadn’t anticipated it being quite so long at the back.

Why is it an epic? To begin with, this was my first full-sized garment ever, and my first design project reqiring shaping. I did mammoth calculations for my first design, which was much more shrug-like, and reworked the pattern many times. Partly making it up as I went along, partly planning ahead. However, work ground to a halt over Christmas after I’d finished knitting about 3 skeins worth.

I finally realised that there was no way I was going to finish this project because, deep down, I knew I was going to hate it once done. It brooded at the bottom of my knitting bag for a while until I finally did what I had to do, and wound the whole thing into neat balls.

I started again full of renewed inspiration with raglan style shaping and knew immediately that I’d made the right decision. The knitting was enjoyable, the small pattern meant there were constant changes to keep the interest going, and I survived the 720 stitch edging!

I long ago gave up on the idea of publishing the pattern: there were way too many alterations and fudged bits. But people have been encouraging, to say the least, so I may have a crack at it one day.

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… is the kind you forgot you ordered :-D

A mystery package was waiting for me when I got back from holidays: I poked it - it felt like squishy fibryness. I couldn’t remember ordering anything… I had to read the note inside for memory to receive a successful prod. It was my first delivery from the Spunky Eclectic fibre club which I signed up for pre-holidays and promptly forgot about.

I did have a great photo of a pile of squidgy fibre but it turned out to be blurry and I am too lazy to take another one. Here, however, is my swatch: the April fibre is Corriedale, colour: Strawberry Fields

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I am spinning it DK weight and this particular baby is destined for great things! More on that later in the week.

Btw, did you know that although in normal rib purl curls in and stst curls out, in sideways rib it’s the opposite. Just a little useful information for you there. (grr - as she begins again inside out)

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Where do I begin…

The holidays were amazing, but I won’t go into details here as it is all over on the travel blog (or will be by this evening!). To summarise, we had lovely weather in Provence - completely abnormal temperatures of around 28 degrees for the first week! We went to the beach and Neil swam. I had some encouragement from him to follow French sunbathing traditions (ahem) but managed to resist ;-)

Italy can be summed up in two words: food and shoes :-D. I was very restrained and only bought four pairs.

Here is my favourite pair:

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Note the low heels which were readily available in Venice where everyone walks two million miles per day up and down steps! The food was awesome and I ate lots of cool stuff like squid with ink sauce (yum) Neil ate lots of spaghetti carbonara - at least 75% of his meals.

On the knitting front, I finished the Blue Sky cardigan just before we went away. It was an epic journey however, and deserves its own post later today. I also finished a pair of socks for a commission but managed to send them off before remembering to take a photo *blushes* so here is a clue:

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Since finishing the epic cardigan I allowed myself to start a new design which has been rattling around in my head for a while. I began it in Cathay but didn’t really enjoy the knitting - I have been forced to admit that I’m an animal fibre gal all the way. So I exchanged the Cathay for some purple Rialto and I’m lovin’ it! I have almost finished the first sleeve which means I must make a start on the body today. It is, however, the prospect of eight inches of close-set cables that is causing me to seek out alternative activities. Just think - if I were a size 0, how many less cables I’d have to knit!

On the writing front, I contacted the publishers this week having heard nothing back about the book propasal after four weeks. They protested innocence of having ever received anything from me… so I re-sent it, got confirmation from the secretary, and am now one month behind schedule. I have had good/bad news from Knitty - “Not this issue but maybe winter”. Which means I only have to wait another six months before I find out whether they like it (do you start to see a trend here). One of the bloggers I check in on regularly is a craft writer and often mentions (or writes at length on) the happy lot of writers in spending all their time waiting. I have decided that the solution is to put so many irons in the fire that I don’t have time to wonder about sleeping commissions.

Which brings me to the Fall Knitty submission date: June 15th (yes that one snuck up on me too - I must get a calendar). I’m thinking something small and quick …

This post is getting alarmingly long and I have travel stories to write and purple cables to wallow in. More later.

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Sorry about the lack of news - hotel wifi let us down in Italy and I couldn’t post anything. Then as soon as we walked in the door my dear puter went on the blink and is still in computer hospital (on Neil’s desk) so I’m afraid it may be a weeny bit longer before I can catch up.

But I have tomorrow off so I will get up early while Neil is still in bed and commandeer his computer to write lovely stories about pizza, beaches and Italian shoes :-D

Ciao, Diane

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