Tag Archives: blogtober

:panicflail: #2

I think I have a problem.

I told a story the other day about not being able to find the rest of my yarn.

I’m now faced with an equally terrifying prospect: I might not have had enough of it in the first place.

For probably the first time in my knitting life, I trusted a pattern. From sizing, to yarn brand, down to the exact quantity of yarn. Seven of the base colour, two of the birds, one of the leaves. Easy. Fine. None of the other project pages said anything about stingy yardage allowances.


I’ve done the body.

Little Birds, first chart done. #knitting

I’ve done a sleeve.

One sleeve... #knitting

Actually I’ve done a sleeve and a half, but I haven’t taken any pics of the second sleeve because I covered it well enough with the first one.

Half a sleeve. #knitting

But… I’m on my last 25g skein of the base colour. I have half a sleeve, the shoulders, and the not-button band to finish. I am bricking it. I really don’t think I have enough. I searched the house for all the ball bands (hurr) to make sure I had counted right and hadn’t lost a ball (hurrr) somewhere around the house. I have, haven’t, and this really is all I have left.

I know there’s nothing to do but keep knitting and deal with the situation as it comes, but it’s really nerve-wracking.

Do you have any comforting words for me? Please?

November is Coming.

2013 NaNoWriMo Participant

It’s that time of year again.

As soon as October rolls around, the NaNoWriMo machine lurches into action. Eventually, I see an email, and I think ‘huh, I should probably think about that’. I then ignore the issue, wait until the morning of 1st November, come up with a half-assed plot and then stress over that for a month.

It doesn’t seem to be happening like that this year.

For a start, when that first email came round, I thought ‘huh, if I end up doing it, I should probably donate.’ I donated in my first year, but not since then. And I love NaNo, and I want them to keep on doing what they’re doing. So I went on the store, and saw the NaNo power-up mug.

November is coming. #nanowrimo

+20 buff to hyperactivity for 30 minutes. SOLD.

Then I was like, well, I’ve bought a mug, so I may as well participate. I’ll think about it later, though, make a proper decision when I’m better able to do so.

Then a couple of nights later I dreamed my plot. No joke. I’d had no proper sleep for weeks, and then the first night I actually sleep long enough to dream, I come up with some batshit crazy plot which is part dystopian future, part psychological thriller, part metaphor for modern life. I have two ready-made, reasonably interesting characters, a full world, and a reasonable premise around which to build the whole thing.

So, the preparations are beginning. I have multiple files of brainstorming notes, across DropBox, Evernote, and my snazzy red notebook. I’ve switched onto movie soundtracks for running so I can drift off into plot points while I tread the promenade. AND I just realised that I booked a week off work in November.

brace yourselves: November is coming

Anyone else in? I am whoopscareless over there, and I am open to buddies if you tell me where you found me. 😀

What to do with a thousand eggs?

Last weekend, DG was away with his friends for a stag do. He took the TV, the Xbox, and most of our soft furnishings. I saw some of their adventures through Instagram, which I think might be against the rules of stag events. I think it’s just as much against the rules for me to talk about it now, but who’s counting? #nofilter #nolifer?

Anyway, in preparation for the weekend he, or someone like him, over-estimated the amount of breakfast ingredients that would be required. Maybe they’ve become more wise and sensible since their student days, perhaps they can look at the second full English and say ‘no’, maybe they just didn’t drink enough to need so much beer soaking. Whatever the reason, we’ve ended up with a fridge *full* of eggs. Seriously, I’m having digestive terrors just looking in there.

The beer is pretty much gone, though. I helped. 😀

So I’m trying to think of the most painless ways to get through at least 20 eggs before they go off. I’m not afraid of using elderly eggs, so I suppose I don’t have to really power through them. But as I usually end up using the last egg of the half dozen several weeks past the sell-by date, I should probably start planning now.

First on the list is, naturally, cake. I made some spiced banana cake the other day, as they also had a couple of manky old bananas left. It was ok, if you like banana cake. Which I don’t. I always do this. I hate the idea of wasting food, so I use more expensive ingredients to make something I like even less than bananas.

CAEK  #cake   #caaaaaaake

Next one planned is a lime and poppy seed cake, just because I was in the supermarket and saw a lime. Somewhere I have a default cake recipe I use as the base for all of my cakey experiments – I shall have to dig that out and have a play.

Other than that… hard-boiled eggs to have for lunch. Omelettes? Yorkshire puddings? Pancakes? The possibilities are intimidatingly endless. I need an adult.

First person to make an egg pun gets fired.

New project.

Notice how I totally didn’t post yesterday? Yeah. Didn’t wanna. I liked my Sunday post so much I wanted to leave it up a bit.

Back in the game.

I started a new project last weekend, at precisely the wrong time. Mid-afternoon on Sunday, while working through the washing, and with an achey hip from an earlier run. Just in time for the evening, for the week of work, and then DG being away for the nwxt weekend which is my cue to crack open a box of wine and eat potato 24/7. Too greasy for sewing.

Anyway. Back in the mists of ancient time, the USD:GBP exchange rate was great, so I bought a number of patterns direct from the US. I’ve used most of them, but this one has been sat in my pattern file forever.

I decided that this set was a great deal as it could provide an entire wardrobe. If, that is, I wanted an entire wardrobe made out of cotton jersey. One never knows.

I’m making the dress, but with the short sleeves. I have a grotty old wrap dress in a very similar style that I wear around the house on weekends, so it’ll be nice to have something similar that I can actually wear outside. 😀

My only concern was that I’ve not worked with knit fabric before. I spent about ten minutes researching before I began, and came across this guide to conquering knits. After reading that, I threw caution to the wind and began.

Being good and transferring my markings. #sewing

I’m going to have to knuckle down and get this done pretty sharpish. I have another Super Awesome Potential Project to be thinking about, so this can’t be hanging around, harshing my creative mellow.

Sunday is Run Day

Not all of you will know this, but I am a runner.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to evangelise about running. I’m not going to tell you about my mile time (embarrassingly slow), I’m not going to tell you about all the races I’ve entered (none so far, not looking likely to change).

I might just tell you a tiny bit about it, though.

I took up running about three years ago, maybe a bit longer. I was feeling unfit, unhealthy, and suddenly got paranoid about heart disease and dying alone being eaten by cats. DG (my other half) volunteered to take me out and train me, and as he’s an experienced runner, I said yes.

After the third ‘just run to this tree, oh no, I didn’t mean this one, I meant that one’ I fired him. I found the NHS Couch to 5k podcast. I discovered RunKeeper. At some point I discovered Fitocracy and that was that.

I kind of bobbled along, but running never really stuck until I was working on my Masters dissertation. It was nice to start my day with something that, even if it went badly, could still be spun as A Positive Thing. I might spend the rest of the day weeping into my keyboard, staring at a blank screen, but at least I’d done something good for my body.

Running in Birmingham was fun. There’s a surprising amount of green around.

Rainy walk.

My finest moments came after dark. I distinctly remember one evening, listening to the Dark Knight soundtrack, hitting the ‘sprint’ section of the training program and belting along with my arms outspread yelling ‘I AM THE BATMAN’. The road was not deserted. I have no shame.

Brighton, though, I tend to see at dawn.

Can't get over how awesome it is to run with a view like this. :D

I spend half my time running along with a dopey grin on my face because it’s so pretty. That’s when I’m not chortling at a comedy podcast, or gritting my teeth as I try to run directly into a ‘bracing’ sea ‘breeze’. Sometimes, if I come across a flock of seagulls and pigeons devouring trash from the promenade, I run into the middle of them, throw my hands in the air and yell FLY, MY PRETTIES.

I go a bit mad when I run.

Last week, actually, I had my favourite experience ever. A big shaggy dog, fresh from the sea, lolloped up to me just as I was turning round to start the homeward trot. “Hello, dogface” I said, my standard greeting for every single dog that comes within a hundred paces. It then ran alongside me for a few paces, accepted an ear-scritch, then disappeared back off to its owners. Made my run. Week. Hell, probably month.

Today, I ran six miles. I have new shoes. I have Dark Knight on the playlist again (NaNo is coming). It was a glorious day and I have such a runner’s high I can barely sit down.

One hell of a day for a run.

Totally worth it.


I just had a truly horrible experience.

I’d just finished the first chart on Little Birds, and was about to start on the first sleeve. ‘Hmm,’ I thought, ‘I know I only just started a new ball of yarn, but I should probably go check how much I have left.’

I couldn’t find it. I knew it was still in the mailing envelope, a rather fetching blue metallic number. I knew that there should be at least one ball of Heron and one of Laurel left in it. But I couldn’t find the damn thing anywhere. Not beside the futon. Not beside the bed. Not in my work bag (I didn’t think I’d taken them to work, but you never know). Not in the office. Not – and I don’t know why I checked, but I suppose it’s good to be certain – in the bathroom.

I spent about twenty minutes searching before I started to get teary. I wondered whether DG or I had absent-mindedly thrown it away. That’s obviously crazy talk, because that would imply either of us had done some housework. But not crazy enough to stop me gingerly examining the contents of the kitchen bin.

By this point I was pretty much tearing my hair out. I tried to convince myself to sit down and relax, maybe post an ‘I lost my :insert object:‘ tweet, which normally causes missing objects to re-appear. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t even tweet. It was too serious a situation. This was wool, man. I cannot relax or spend time sending frivolous messages while wool is missing.

Eventually, I went back in the office, and in a moment of inspired desperation, rummaged deep in a box of miscellaneous wires and adapters for random electrical devices we probably don’t own any more. And there was my bag of yarn, sitting happily on top of a file of sewing patterns I didn’t even know was missing.

Why in the hell it ended up there I may never know. But at least now I can relax, and get started on my sleeves.

Little Birds, first chart done. #knitting


It is Friday. It’s past wine o’clock. And I’m going to take a detour from my planned blogtober post to sing the praises of GIFs.

I’m still pronouncing it with a hard ‘g’. Do you know what I think about what the inventor says?

I don't caaaaaaaaare.

GIFs are my favourite thing about the internet. I love memes, I love cartoons, I love being able to interact with other people around the globe without having to interact in real life. But I absolutely adore GIFs.

Sometimes they’re funny.

predator trolls alien

Sometimes they’re adorable.

doggy plays hide-and-seek

Sometimes they’re like looking into a mirror.

sobbing under the desk

I love reaction gifs so much that I actually have a bookmark folder dedicated to them.


They are synced between all of my devices. And you’ll notice that it appears before ‘essentials’.

I never watch videos, but I’ll scroll through 1000 pages of /r/gifs. They’re just so much more digestible and fun. I was so excited when I found gifvine and could make my own gifs.

What do you think? Do you have any nifty sources of GIFs or do you want to click away in disgust whenever you see them?

knitting in public

Casting around today for something, anything to write about (totally not panicking yet, totally), I spotted a forum thread about knitting in public. ‘What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever knitted?’ asked the OP. Other posters dutifully replied. In the park. While fishing. During a medical procedure. Barely scraping the side of weird, if you ask me, but whatever.

Knitting in public is a big thing. Stitch and Bitch. Stitch ‘n Pitch. There’s even a day for it – World Wide Knit In Public Day, June 8th-16th. That’s stretching the definition of ‘day’ but I’m sure they’re just saving up for the ‘wwkipweek’ domain.

But despite this ‘totally not weird’ thing, I have been reminded recently that knitting in public is kind of odd, at least for non-knitters. Knitting on my lunch break, on two separate occasions I’ve had colleagues laugh out loud and incredulously ask ‘are you knitting‘?

In Birmingham, nobody batted an eyelid. Is it because Brighton is full of hipsters who sew – when everyone’s self-drafting, sewing from vintage patterns, and upcycling the living shit out of every charity shop in a twenty mile radius, I suppose knitting might seem a bit unfashionable. I don’t know.

But, nothing can stop me now. I knit where I want. I knit in the garden, with the aid of HelperKitty:

Hahaha no.

I knit in the pub, particularly if I can coordinate my drinks to the item in question:

Knitting at the pub.

I knit on the beach. I suppose that is a bit odd, particularly in the middle of a heatwave. But far easier with pebbles than sand.

Little Birds on the beach. #knitting

And at my desk, and on the train, and walking around my living room while I attend to the laundry, and while playing computer games, and and and…

Top tips for successful knitting in public:

  1. Consider the environment. Smoke? Sand? Low lighting? You may want to leave the knitting in your bag. However, a bright day outside is the best opportunity you’ll get to really see what your black laceweight is doing. Just don’t let the sun bleach your yarn.
  2. Consider the materials. Don’t take dark yarn to a dingy pub unless you want to spend most of the time unraveling your work. Equally, don’t take light yarn if you’re likely to drop it on a sticky floor. Take a yarn that knits up nicely, and doesn’t throw a hissy fit if you have to do any tinking.
  3. Consider the pattern. It’s fun to puzzle through a difficult pattern, but if you’re ignoring everyone and shouting loudly and incoherently at your hands, you’re not going to make any friends. Save the tricolour stranded work until you can really concentrate on it.
  4. Finally, consider your audience. Many people will not care if you knit in front of them. But some just don’t understand that it’s possible to make something and listen to them at the same time. They will think you’re being rude, and if you continue to knit in front of them after they’ve told you they don’t like it? You are being rude.

That last sentence is contentious and I know it. I’d love to know what you make of it. 😉

What’s the weirdest place you’ve ever knit? Any other tips for adventurous knitting?

WIP Wednesday: Little Birds

An easy one to start Blogtober proper.

I’m currently knitting on a version of Little Birds, by Ysolda Teague, from the Twist Collective, Fall 2008. It is the beautiful.

My getting the pattern actually has a nice story attached to it. I saw it when it was released, and I really wanted to get it, but first I was too cheap, then I was a student and too poor, and then I was unemployed and even poorer. I kind of resigned myself to the fact that I would never get it.

Then, Ravelry. One of the groups in which I’m active had a RAK thread. The Fairy Hoarmother (don’t ask) tapped me with her sparkly wand of beneficence and granted me the pattern of my choice, as a gift from another member of the forum. I cried a bit, because I’m paranoid and assume that everyone hates me, and I hate when my assumptions are challenged. But I picked Little Birds.

And here’s a nice thing: after I received this gift, I decided to pay it forward, and sent a gift via the Fairy Hoarmother… to the exact same person who’d sent Little Birds to me.

#indescribable emotion


Another fun fact about Little Birds is that the suggested yarn is Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift. Well. When I was a teen, I actually visited the Shetlands. Not only that, but I was given a tour of Jamieson’s of Shetland, the mill that produces the yarn. Check it out:

April 8th, 1997: touring the Jamieson's of Shetland factory. The *exact* moment that my love of yarn was sparked. Look at me, I'm transfixed. <3

April 8th, 1997, Sandness. That’s me in the red. I’m transfixed by yarn. I’m pretty sure that’s the *exact* moment that all of this knitting madness began.

So. Hoarmothers. Shetlands. Yarn. Anything else? Well, just one more thing.

First awesome find of the pre-move #UFYH: wee Shetland birdie.

This is one of the souvenirs I brought back from the trip. You can see how it’s all piling up, right? So I bought myself the yarn as a Christmas present (direct from Jamieson’s of Shetland, obv), and I finally managed to start in September (heh). I’m really enjoying it. I took it out onto the beach at lunchtime.

Little Birds on the beach. #knitting

I took it into work to act as a social anxiety security blanket at a recent social event. There’s something about knitting that really helps me deal with the screaming heebie-jeebies, and when I’m working on something as awesome as Little Birds, it’s even better.

Almost identifiable as birds! #knitting

And here is where it’s at now. One more repeat of birds and leaves, and I’m into the arms. And one step closer to my first steek. Eek. This is going to be awesome.

Going much faster with a yarn in each hand. :snerk:

Ravelry project page for Little Birds.

Anyone else have documented proof of their first encounter with yarn?

Blogtoberfest ’13

I’ve been doing some tidying-up of the old website recently. Fancying up my sidebar, tidying up my menus, cleaning up the tags. In the course of this very satisfying process, I noticed a long-forgotten event: Blogtoberfest.

The year was 2009. I’d had my blog for three and a half years, if we include the Geocities ‘zine which started the whole thing off. And why wouldn’t we? It taught me everything I know about HTML, most of which is now deprecated. Anyway; somehow, in this year, the notion of Blogtoberfest crossed my desk. ‘Write a blog post every day,’ I said. ‘How hard can that be?’

I made it two days. To be fair to myself, I did end up posting a lot that month, after the usual summer lull. And I was also participating in Socktoberfest, though I only posted about that in the initial OMG SOCKTOBER post so who knows what actually happened.

This year, I don’t need socks. I have a job that I like. I have at least one weekend away. So I probably won’t write every day. But I am painfully aware that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and I have forgot how to write. To that end…

My logo for Blogtoberfest '13

You see, it’s orange, which is totally October-y. And knitting, very autumnal. And… ZOMGSPARKLEBUTTONS. I can’t help it, I love them.

So yes, I don’t know if I’ll post every day. But (to paraphrase Carl Sagan, possibly) this blog has never been in perfect harmony with my ambition.

I do hope to:
– get a bit of wording practice in before NaNoWriMo
– write several panicked list posts at 11pm
– make at least one graphic designer cry at my slapdash logo
– get some data into my Foofle Analytics account (I got a certificate, you know, but I have so little traffic I can’t do a damn thing with it :D)
– re-learn how to express myself through the medium of blog

Anyone else in?