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Showing posts from 2012

Strolling

MrG and I went out for a nice stroll this afternoon, along the Thames from Wapping and its expensive warehouse apartments to Tower Bridge and St Katherine's Dock. We had fun trying to stick to the Thames in Wapping, including turning down a side street heading down to the river to discover steps leading into it. A bit too much Thames for our liking!



Our reason for heading to St Katherine's Dock was a replica pirate ship was moored there and was free to visit. According to MrG it was featured in Hornblower and the crew would try and sell you onions? - can you tell I wasn't paying much attention and was just along for the ride? Anyway, just as we arrived at the dock the ship was leaving so while we didn't get to poke around the galley and splice the mainbrain (or somesuch pirate speak) we did watch it carefully manoeuvre out of the dock back to the Thames.



 We also discovered The Honesty Shop housed in an old routemaster.



There was a little bit of British merino yarn, k…

Winning

I went to Stitch London's Christmas meet up on Monday night. As well as catching up with old friends and meeting some lovely new knitters there was a raffle.

Now I used to run lots of raffles when I organised p/hop and as I was the organiser I couldn't enter. I din't mind this as the money we raised helped MSF's incredible work, though I did covet some of the prizes we were donated. So it was with some excitement entered Stitch London's raffle buying a few tickets as the money was going to Great Ormond Street Hospital, my old workplace. I'd entered their raffle last year too but didn't win anything so wasn't holding out much hope.

Low and behold my name came out of the hat bag not once, not twice, but a cracking seven times, including drawing my own name three times. While I was pretty pleased by this it did seem excessive so I turned down some prizes when I drew my own name out plus gave one away. However, with some encouragement from Deadlyknitshade,…

Orange

Wanton abandonment

One of the things I enjoy about living in London is the easy availability of ingredients from all over the planet. Just off Leicester Square is Chinatown, home to a fantastic supermarket with three floors of Asian delights. If I'm in the area, usually at one of the independent cinemas or National Portrait Gallery, I'll pop into the supermarket and browse with a mix of intrigue and bafflement at the range of ingredients from Japanese carrot milk to Thai galangal to wanton wrappers.


In summer 2011 I went on holiday to China. Our fantastic hostel in the hutongs north of the Forbidden City in Beijing held a dumpling night which was free for guests, where they demonstrated how to make dumplings/gyoza/wantons. We mucked in and after a few messy attempts were proficiently wrapping parcels of veg, egg and pork for the meat eaters.



 See the look of concentration on my friend's faces.



I had a go at this when I returned home but making the pastry was tricky, so the next time I was i…

Four born - part one

I've only seen one dead baby real life. That sentence, even as I type it, is shocking.

Not that I've only seen one dead baby but the fact that I have seen one at all.

Here in the UK, where we have good and universally available healthcare infant and maternal mortality figures are very low. Remarkably low, a happy testament to what we can achieve. Of course, they could be better and there is always room for improvement but watching my friends raise and nurture their children with the stresses and strains that accompany bringing a new human into the world is in stark contrast to what many women face.

I've just watched Four Born Every Second, a BBC documentary following women's birth experiences around the world. It reminded me of the dead infant I'd accidentally seen when I worked at Great Ormond Street Hospital. I'd been taking my usual route through the hospital from one department to another when walking past the morgue entrance I saw a nurse holding a baby. …

Look! Knitting!

Look! Gasp in awe and wonder! I've finished a knitting project!

I am excellent at casting on, enjoying the first half of a project, then being distracted by a shiny new pattern like a dog spotting a squirrel, dropping the first project and casting on a new. 

So yes, this was made on 5mm needles, and yes, it knitted up very quickly, but look, I got to the end, grafted the ends together (I like grafting) and wove the ends in (I hate weaving ends in). Part of the impetus for finishing this is it was a present for my MIL. Here she is modelling the cowl - which I named Simon, geddit? - when we went to visit her in France. 

C'est tres chic, n'est pas?



Another part of knitting I am excellent at, is coveting the things I've made. I like this cowl, which means I'll have to make myself one, however without the impetus of gift knitting the question is will I finish it? Knitting details
Pattern: A Very Braidy Cowl
Yarn: Malabrigio Worsted 
Colourway: Tuareg Lighter blue 98 
Amount…

What did you do in the war Grandad?

I entered a competition on my friend knittingtastic's blog a few weeks ago. She posed the question:

Tell me your favourite knitting figure from history and why they top your list. 

I didn't win but think what I wrote about is worth sharing here:

My OH’s grandfather was by all accounts was a thoughtfully lovely chap. He was stationed in the Falklands during WWII as the islands doctor. Luckily for him life there was relatively quiet so he picked up his knitting needles and knit his wife a dress. 

I’d love to ask him which yarn he used, was it from local sheep, did he bother with tension swatches, you know, all those knitterly questions. I remember my OH’s gran recalling with fondness the dress he’d made, which he gave to her as a gift when he returned home at the end of the war. 

Apparently it was a very good fit and well made, which I am a little bit in awe of as they were half the world away from each other and he didn’t use a pattern. 

I trot out this story when people make inane c…

O.B.E.

While I didn't like my GCSE English and English lit teacher very much, he did introduce us to the war poets of the first world war, for which I am very grateful. I hadn't studied history much at school but studying the likes of Owen and Sassoon gave me some insight into the horrors of war.


I worked as a care assistant for a year after I graduated from University and many of my patients had lived through the Great War, so I learnt more from them and also from survivors of WWII, including some people who had been interned in Auschwiz, their tattoos an indelible testament to the worst of humankind.

I hadn't intended to find the poem, Glory of Women by Siegfried Sassoon, but was browsing through my book of his poems to photograph something for here. The last three lines might strike a chord with some of us:
O German mother dreaming by the fire While you are knitting socks to send to your son His face is trodden deeper in the mud

I have mixed feelings about Remembrance Sunday.  Yes,…

Cheers Bill

I came here to write something completely different, but as I was signing in I heard that Bill Tarmey has died. Bill played long-suffering husband and pigeon fancier, Jack Duckworth in the classic UK soap Coronation Street, which I've watched since I was knee high to a grasshopper.

My mum used to let me stay up to watch the cat in the opening sequence before I was packed off to bed. I think the only times I haven't watched Corrie is when I was at University and didn't have a TV and when I've lived overseas. Even then I would get updates on what was going on from my mum.



Now you may be groaning, thinking soaps are a load of crap, which yes, a lot of them are, but there's something a little bit different about Corrie. There's a real northern warmth about the writing and a heck of a lot of humour. Whenever I catch glimpses of miserable Eastenders, seemingly filmed in grey, the only expression being a downturned grimace or tedious shouting of "leave it aaah, …

Velodrome

I'm still not knitting as I've been watching...



... and photographing...


... and cheering ...





























... and sometimes missing


Olympic London

I am failing at the Rav Games as I am too busy enjoying Olympic London. The atmosphere here is superb - friendly and polite, welcoming and quirky.

On Sunday myself and a few friends went on tour visiting national houses. Some countries have commandered buildings in London to showcase their culture. Most of them are free and they are good fun.

We started off in Casa Brasil aka Somerset House, where we saw some artwork, plus plans for their games in 2016. I think I'll go back in the evening and enjoy a caipriniha or two and pretend I'm on Copacobana beach.

To keep this linked to the fibre arts they had this fabric wall



and these freaky crochet dolls in part of an art exhibit.



We watched a little bit of the women's marathon



which to be honest was a little tiring so we mooched along South Bank, stopping off at the Tanks at Tate Modern, taking a break from sport and enjoying some culture



I think Swiss House was my favourite as it had cheese and chocolate



and we got to see a Ma…

Rule Knitania

I'm still on a bit of a high after our awesome Olympic games opening ceremony last night. We had our neighbours round as they don't have a TV, plus its nice to share these experiences. They're from Singapore and America and their Canadian friend was over too so we represented three continents between us.

As a result my knitting went out the window.

We did have cake, Olympic cheesecake...

Plus British beers and international snacks.

It was really interesting watching the ceremony with non-Brits who looked blankly at some of the in-jokes such as Michael Fish's 1987 weather report and The Archers theme so we were happy to explain the nuances of British culture.

I'm nursing a bit of a sore head today thanks to our neighbour's Italian-Chinese walnut liqueur they brought from Beijing where they used to live (it was also fun comparing the Beijing and London ceremonies).

I have done a little bit of knitting on my WIP wrestling entry which happens to be in Gamesmaker c…