Monday 30 April 2012

Weekend FO

Stripey Spring Cardigan

compote (7)  

Pattern: Compote - a typically brief Rowan pattern
Yarn: Rowan Natural Silk Aran - now discontinued, probably because Rowan found themselves incapable of producing at least one ball without knots in it (sigh)
Needle: 4mm and 4.5mm
Mods: I did the shoulder seams in a three-needle bind off, and I only used three buttons instead of the recommend four because they are so big.

compote (1)

Inspired by all the stripey garments in the last Knitscene, I came home from Saturday knitting group in the middle of March and hauled out this yarn I bought in a sale a few years ago for a stripey garment, and quickly found this pattern to go with it. It was quite a quick knit, all things told. It took me 6 weeks according to Ravelry but the fronts took me about three days in total so that should give you some idea of how quick it can be when you set your mind to it. It's got a lovely drape and it's pretty warm; I love the way the stripes turned out and then finding natural material stripey buttons in Get Knitted was the perfect end to the story.

Now...could the rain please stop so I can actually wear it, please?

Sunday 29 April 2012

Wonderwool haul

In spite of the fact that I have not yet knitted up everything I bought when I went to Wonderwool in 2010*, I merrily toddled off to Wonderwool 2012 yesterday with some lovely ladies from Saturday knitting group. This was the first knitting show I'd been to since my last foray to Wonderwool, thanks to my weird ebb in interest in knitting during 2011, and it was very exciting. I went with two purchases in mind: vintage buttons from Brimstone (no website yet), and enough hemp for a summer top from House of Hemp.

Let's begin with the buttons. The lady at Brimstone, when she saw me poring over her Victorian black glass selection, gave me her entire stash and cleared a space for me to sit on her sofa. I was overwhelmed! I came away with some lovely bits and pieces -

button collage

I think my favourite is the top left - so very unusual. The little ladybird buttons are from the Button Lady, and I have not included in my slightly inept collage a set of 9 smaller Victorian black glass buttons; the haul was definitely a good one. Eagle eyed long-timed readers might recognise the black star button as the very same design to the one I bought at Wonderwool last time and used on my Christmas hat. I sadly broke the one on my Christmas hat using it to hit my friend in a lift (long story) and although I glued it back together I fear I may one day have to replace it; now I can, though this is a smaller version of the design. 

I did buy some hemp, too, though not enough for a garment. I should have been a bit better planned as I had intended to buy a 500g skein but they didn't have any in the solid colours and I didn't know how much I would need so I bought a skein of 2-ply and another of 4-ply and intend to do some swatching. 


So, that must be all I bought, right?
Oh dear.

We started, of course, at Knitwitches where I instantly fell in love with some silk the colour of the Mediterranean in the sun, and some cashmere in a deeper blue, but I made myself come away with just this Merino-Angora blend which was in the sale bin, and which Eirwen calls a light chunky but which would be worsted in any other language, I think. I want to knit some kind of bulky cowl with it; I don't have a red scarf.


Sorry about the blurry picture, but the colour is quite true and that's the main thing, right?

Continuing with the red theme, I bought some Merino DK from Knitting By Numbers. They had an enormous range of shades and a great display - most saturated of the colours at the top with paler version in the rows underneath. Naturally I went for the top row but had trouble deciding between my usual bright blue and a very fetching red. In the end I remembered I had some bright blue mohair I bought last year still waiting for its project, so I went with the red. I have ear-marked this for a Flutter Sleeve Cardigan.


Then, on my way to buy some buttons, I saw this winking at me from the edge of a stall. It was quite a splurge but it's OMGSOSPARKLY and I really couldn't leave it behind. The colourway is Deep Water and it reminds me a lot of Lorna's Laces Blueberry Snowcone, which I intended to buy in the Lion & Lamb but the colour's now discontinued in that yarn. And it came with a free pattern. Yes, I am trying hard to justify my splurge. 


Finally, a last-minute purchase of some sock yarn from I really liked the subtle sparkle in this yarn but discounted it because, you know, I don't actually knit socks and also the idea of white sock yarn is anathema to me. But then I was peeking at my queue on Ravelry to try and find a good hemp project and I remembered that the Apres Surf hoodie is knitted in sock weight. SOLD.


I also got some very cute stitch markers, some earmarked as gifts.


That is quite a haul. Looking at it is very enjoyable, as is thinking about what I will knit with it. It also inspired me to finish up a project I had OTNs made from stash yarn today: out with the old and in with the new, so to speak. Though if I want to go to Wonderwool next year I had better get a move on with getting this lot knitted up. At least I didn't succumb to the Knitwitches.

* Let's be honest here - having looked back over my haul from last time, I realise I haven't knitted up ANYTHING I bought when I went to Wonderwool in 2010, much to my shame, though I have used the roving for thrums on the first of a pair of mittens.

Friday 27 April 2012

Weekword: Travel

Welcome to this week's Weekword, and please go and see these lovely blogs to read their take on my pick of word, Travel -

Sally at Sow and Sew
Peggy (welcome back!)
Jen at Timballoo
Emma at the Gift Shed

I'd like to tag Peggy for next week's word because she has been away so long! Hope that's OK, Peggy.

Last year I posted a list of the places I visited throughout the year. There were a lot of places. I like to travel and have no reason not to; Mr Z is very tolerant of my itchy feet, although it did work out that I spent a little over two months of 2011 out of the country which is a lot, by anyone's standards.

This year will be a little different; I intend to spend most of the summer in this country, what with the Olympics and everything (as most people are getting fatigued, I am just getting more excited and inspired by the whole shebang), but I hope to get a fair bit of travel in within the country. And, as it turns out, I have already managed to get about a fair bit.

View Travel, 2012 in a larger map

I do so enjoy it! I like the act of travel and the associated places - airports, train stations, ferries; I even like the long coach journeys of the school trips - nearly 24 hours for skiing, though it was less this year thanks to some amazing coach drivers. I think it's because when I'm travelling, I don't have to worry about being idle, because I am already busy - travelling.

Plus I like to see lots of new things. Some things more than others.

Speaking of travel, I am off to Builth Wells tomorrow for Wonderwool, so I had better close this entry here. I will keep adding to my map as the year passes, so keep checking in if you so desire!

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Tuesday Ten

Ten Things I Have Learned Recently

1. The phrase "Hoist with my own petard". It means injuring onself with a device you intended to use to injure others.

2. That students LOVE finding out new facts if they are presented as QR codes, even if the facts are not especially riveting,

3. My calm acceptance of people's resistance to new technology may be something I have developed over time. I wonder if the people saying, "I don't see the point in the Kindle - what's wrong with a real book?" are the descendants of the people saying, "I don't need a modem" or "What's the point of email? I can just write a letter" or "I will never need a mobile phone" in 1998. I don't argue with people when they reject technology these days; sooner or later technology will win them round.

4. My hair really appreciates good shampoo. I really didn't think shampoo made that much difference.

5. Green Monsters may not taste very nice but they do give me lots more energy. May have actually gagged on this morning's version though. Note to self: must be made fresh daily, as the spinach flavour develops when left overnight.

6. My book is available for pre-order. I am extraordinarily proud of myself, even though it's not all done and dusted quite yet.

7. I can knit fast when I want to, and it's aran weight yarn. I am a button band away from finishing a stripey cardigan.

8. Good CPD can be as refreshing as a summer holiday. We had some inspirational inset before the Easter holidays and I feel like I am starting a whole new school year. There aren't enough hours in the day for me to complete all the work I want to. Also I was filled with the urge to shop in the last week of the Easter holidays.

9. Plagiarism is sadly not limited to sixth form students. A year 9 turned in a book review this week - late - that he'd lifted verbatim from a website. He tried to tell me he didn't know what all the words meant as he'd used a thesaurus. I think some kids think they invented the internet (they certainly think they invented Twitter) and that no adult is going to be able to Google search for something in quotes. Derbrains.

10. Steps is every bit as good today in concert as they were in 2000, though I can't quite pull off the same look I rocked back then, even with much more expensive make up at my disposal. (I have got one hip deliberately stuck out here. I'm not deformed/8 months pregnant).

I can still drink a pint of cider like a good 'un though. Some skills, you just never lose.

Monday 23 April 2012


This week's Weekword is one very close to my heart: TRAVEL.

Capri in February....I kept waiting for the half naked man with the washboard abs to pop out in his rowing boat and invite me to film the new D&G advert with him but there was only an aging fisherman on a boat seemingly propelled by a chugging cloud of diesel smoke, and I was not desperate.

Regular readers will know just how spoilt I have been in the past couple of years with travel opportunities, and I thought it would be nice to read some other people's views on travel, in whatever form it takes.

So, if you would like to take part, please leave a comment on this blog before Friday, make a post on your blog on Friday about the word TRAVEL, and I will post a list of participants together with my response.

Saturday 21 April 2012

Weekword: the Tardy Edition

Predictably tardy posting this entry, too! I had a very early night yesterday so, even though this was written, it didn't make it to the published stage. Please go and read these entries on Tardy too:

Emma at the Gift Shed
Jen at Timballoo

Congratulations, ladies, on creativity under time pressure!

I hate being late. I am the person who is three hours early for the flight. I get to school half an hour early in the morning because I insist on leaving by 7.15am in case there's traffic. I can be spotted hanging around outside a shuttered Get Knitted on the first and third Saturdays of most months, because I turn up for Knatterers before they open. Awkward.

It wasn't always this way. I was always late for school as a child; I couldn't imagine being a teacher and having to be there early - quelle horreur! Mother Hand runs to her own times and was late for my wedding because she insisted on eating a sandwich first, much to the incredulity of my in-laws (it was OK though, I was 15 minutes late also, for reasons which I can no longer recall). But I think the shame of having to walk into places in front of everybody flicked a switch in me some time in my very late teens and now I make the effort to be early.

I wish I could say the same for completing tasks, though I am better in this respect than I used to be, also. I am pleased to say that I managed to mark all the GCSE assessments in the Easter holidays which is fully a month before the deadline, thanks to a little regular weeknight date online with some colleagues for a shared marking experience. It's also easier to make myself do the marking when I know I'm going to have to see disappointed faces the next day, if it's left undone.

It is something that comes later in life, though. Perhaps after enough humiliation. One of my A2 students was 7 weeks tardy with his essay, and I had to bring out the big guns to get him to complete it. Alas, he had left it so late he resorted to copying and pasting large chunks of text from Wikipedia. Awk. Ward. After a shaming like that I think I'd never leave anything to the last minute again.

This post was brought to you by weekword. To play next week, please check back with my blog on Monday when I will post a new word on which you should ruminate by Friday. I hope it's OK for me to pick two weeks in a row!

Thursday 19 April 2012

Weekword: Tardy

Oh noes! I totally dropped the ball on Weekword. I went back to Emma's blog to see who was doing this week's word and it's me! Egg, all over my face. Oh, teh shame.

Therefore, I am picking the word TARDY, which seems apt. Though I shan't be surprised if none of you post anything at all, thanks to my own lateness. My blogging really seems to ebb at this time of year; I *am* very busy with work things but I also don't seem to have the creative urge to write, for some reason. Tuesday passes me by with no ten. I bake on Sundays (butterscotch banana cupcakes, this week) but can find no motivation to share. I set mental monthly goals but don't post them here. Where has my blogging mojo gone? Perhaps it takes it vacation in the spring.

Thank you, Emma, for picking me, and I'm sorry I didn't notice sooner. I might cheat and pick another one next week because I had an idea for next time but it will take me a bit longer than I have this evening to put the post together.

If you would like to write about being tardy, or any other aspect of the word, please comment on my post and tomorrow (for shame) I will make a new post with the links in it.

Friday 13 April 2012

Weekword: Chocolate

Emma is hosting this weeke's weekword. She picked a great one! I had grand plans for it. But unfortunately, I am off to Cardiff now to see Steps in concert (last seen May 2000, after my finals) and I don't have time to execute my grand plans. So here is the song that popped into my head as soon as I read the word chocolate.

Thanks for hosting, Emma!