Thursday, 30 August 2007

A pair of wee beauties

Just wanted to share this wee lovely with you!

Gardening is another passion in the Blethers household - though at times, this year, it would be hard to tell that from the state of my somewhat 'freeform' back garden! Instead, I've settled for gardening of the indoor variety!

I love orchids! I love the exuberance and vibrancy of the colour ... their deceptive fragility (they need to be pretty robust to survive here!) ... the variety of the flowers ... their sophistication ...

A couple of summers ago, we went on holiday to Devon with the entire brood (DD1, DD2, SS1, SS2 and SS3. We should, perhaps, have released an early warning so that the local population could have prepared for our arrival and vastly increased decibel levels!). We found an absolutely fantastic orchid nursery, Burnham Nursery (Newton Abbot). I can't describe the colours and scents of the huge range of orchids they raise - and could happily have spent hours there, had the BlethersBrood not been champing to set off for the Marble factory down the road!

Anyway, MrB recently bought me this one - and, so far, I've not managed to kill it!

Next, surely a case of mis-advertising by TKMaxx!! The store are selling this container as a WINE caddy!! DD1 and I were browsing around the store on a general mooch when I spied this wee beauty. Wine caddy??? Surely not! It absolutely shouted 'NEEDLE CASE' to me. And yehhhhh, it holds loads of 36cm needles perfectly....

[There are a few knitters out there who have had the mis/fortune of observing my knitting style first hand... Yes, of course, I always use 36cm needles - how else would I master the art of being a needle tucker;) !!]

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Snuggle in - we're schmoozing!

I've been Schmoozed!
"Schmoozing is the natural ability “to converse casually, especially in order to gain an advantage or make a social connection. Good schmoozers effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogsphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship".

I'm so touched to have been nominated for this award by the lovely Riggwelter( Pop over to her blog and you'll quickly see why I feel that she's in a different class to me. I view myself as a 'maker' ... I can follow a pattern and produce reasonable results. However, Riggwelter is a crafter/artist. I love the scope of all the crafts she undertakes and how she 'sees' potential, whilst I am still stumbling around searching for the blessed pattern!

In turn, I'd like to nominate the following blogs:
  1. Notwithstanding Nicola ( Nicola, like me, returned to the knitting fold whilst studying (or in my case, avoiding studying!) for her Masters. Her socks are to die for!
  2. All fingers and thumbs ( I've just newly discovered Sarah's blog but will be visiting often to catch up on our shared love of socks and Norah Gaughan's patterns. And just check out Sarah's plum cake!!!
  3. Skein Queen ( A fellow ex-pat Scot ... which is grounds enough for nominating;) But have a look at the gorgeous yarns, SQ makes in her Etsy shop! Just stunning!
All of this has really made me reflect on the importance of the camaraderie of the knitting and blogging communities and just how much I value having you in my life - both in terms of inspiration and support. I've mentioned my health issues in a number of other posts and feel that these have made my contact with fellow bloggers even more significant. As an OT, I spend a lot of time with clients looking at the well-being benefits of meaningful activity, social supports and a healthy work-life balance... The chronic fatigue that is a part of my conditions impacts my own ability to do those things for myself - most nights I come home from work and then am in the land of nod within 15 minutes of walking through the door (NOT a helpful strategy in terms of maintaining a social life!). My contact here with warm, creative folk who share similar interests ... who inspire me and help keep me motivated and focused on things other than joint pain and tiredness (here, I'm selling myself well in the 'cyber mate' department, amn't I???) .... helps keep me sane (even if I do 'chat' with you in the middle of the night!).

Sunday, 19 August 2007

On the needles...

Sirdar Click DK Pattern 8954
Sirdar Click DK Yarn - shade 0147
Now that MissBlether's (DD1) future is secured at university, she has decided that she needs a new wardrobe to go with her student role. This from the girl who growled she would couldn't be seen in anything I'd knitted in this lifetime :)

The pattern is one of the new patterns released by Sirdar for their Click DK range, following the success of Click aran. The DK yarn is soooo soft and has a real sheen/glisten to it. It should be a dream to knit with - but I'm struggling with it a little. My slightly (???) obsessional traits leave me with a preference for having almost meticulous consistent tension, with repetitive even texture ensuing (eek, I can't help it ... honest!!). However, I just cannot get that with this yarn! And, given the fact that the pattern involves endless stocking stitch (22.5 inches ss with a pit stop of 3" of 1x1 rib), you can imagine my anally retentive struggle! DD1 has been snorting with laughter at my frustration with it...

Anyway, the back is now complete and I need stop avoiding casting on the front! If I don't crack on, she'll be graduating by the time I sewing it together:)


Thursday, 16 August 2007

DD1 in emotional crisis;)

DD1 and I went to hair dressers today for a Blether-grooming session and the poor child is now in crisis;) Recently I had my hair re-styled from my usual bob to one of the slightly trendier, jaw length graduated bobs (longer at the front and close cropped at the back). DD1 agonised over an image re-vamp herself and what has she ended up with???? The shoulder length version of mine! Poor girl is traumatised and fears that she is morphing into her 44 year old mother! Don't we all remember what a fearsome realisation that option was when we were 18 too!

Hopefully, some of the trauma is abating - aided by a relaxing movie session. The two of us tucked up onto my bed with chocolate and watched 'Miss Potter'. What a lovely film! I had no idea about how ahead of her time Beatrix Potter was - she challenged the females roles and norms of that time and championed conservation of rural life with a vision that would not be out-of-place today. DD1 and I recommend viewing if you get a chance....

Back to DD1 briefly ... please keep your fingers crossed for her later on today. She is due to get the results from her A levels exams and will then know if she can access a place on her preferred course at University. Like all parents, I am biased - but she sooo deserves to get the grades she needs. She too has been diagnosed with a form of arthritis (she was diagnosed with 'Juvenile arthritis' about 2 years ago) and has struggled to keep up with her studies in her usual committed way. She had wanted to study for a Criminology degree and then join the police but had to reconsider as, with her health issues, she would have been unlikely to have got through the police recruitment process. Instead, she opted to apply for a Business Excellence degree. Poor lamb is spending a restless night tonight and fears that she has not got the necessary grades for that and has spent the last few days rationalising that a return to college to upgrade her marks 'would not be the end of the world'.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Turbulence is a FO!

from Knitting Nature Book
Pattern by Norah Gaughan
Knitted in Debbie Bliss cotton DK
Turbulence is finally off the needle and strangely, I'm going to miss it. This is one of many beautiful patterns in this stunning book - patterns based on forms and shapes found in nature, by Norah Gaughan. What a visionary and creative designer Norah is and I just wish I had a smidgen of her talent! I love the 3/4 length sleeves, the twisted ribbing and the cabling around the neck. I already have yarn to make another - though this time in the recommended yarn, Berocca Soft Twist (a lovely soft, silky yarn) I ordered from the States as could not find a seller in this country. The only modification made to the pattern was I lengthened the body by a couple of inches to save the embarrassment of unleashing my 'middle' to an unsuspecting world... My next 'must-do' from this book (and there will be more!) is Ogee ... I love it and fingers are itching to cast on!

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Sunday, 5 August 2007

Waiting patiently:)

Found you!
You signed up on July 29, 2007
You are #21491 on the list.
13474 people are ahead of you in line.
1595 people are behind you in line.
33% of the list has been invited so far
Ah, Ravelry ( ... I found you ... though at least 13,474 other fibre obsessed individuals found you first! I live in hope that you help me gain some sense of control over the never-ending list of WIP's, the extending stash .... However, I fear that seeing the beautiful projects others are making or planning will merely add to my 'to do' lists!!