Category Archives: knitting

Deadline

I’m knitting to a deadline  – 4pm tomorrow. Between now and then I need to knit half a sock, get a good nights sleep, get up early with Rusk, take a picture of the completed knitting and upload it to the internet.

Something tells me there aren’t quite enough hours. I find it somewhat amusing that I can even struggle with deadlines for my hobbies (and this post comes to you at 23.52, sneaking in under the wire. Ridiculous.

It is possible…

… that the sock knitting may be getting out of hand.

Do you remember a while back I wrote about Sock Wars? That was my first foray into competitive knitting. It was fun. Now, a sock takes me about 13 hours of solid knitting (more if it is complicated or if there is something interesting on tv). A pair of socks is therefore more than a day in a perfect world where no sleep or breaks for food, family or work were needed. Funnily enough, I don’t live in that world. I think that with Sock Wars I achieved a personal best of a pair of socks in three days, but I had cleared a lot of things off the schedule in order for that to happen.

There was another competition running at the same time as Sock Wars. It is called Iron Knitter. Six rounds of sock knitting, against the clock and against other people. In this competition, you get to keep the socks, rather than posting them around the world. Well, back in January I thought this was well beyond me so I kept out of it. Something changed, however, when I saw that the second Iron Knitter was starting in September, so I signed up.

For each round a puzzle is posted that you (and your team – up to four other people) have to solve before you receive the knitting pattern. Then the knitting begins. There is a specific deadline to meet (usually about 2 weeks after the puzzle is released) and a certain percentage of competitors that go through to the next round.

These are my socks from round 1

It was a fairly simple pattern. The wool is from The Knitting Goddess and was a birthday present from my lovely sister-in-law. I started them on the 2nd of September and finished on the 12th, taking in a trip to Northumberland with Mr F and Rusk and having 5 days to spare before the deadline.

The socks bring me one step closer to being able to match my socks to the liturgical colour of the day (no – I don’t know why this is something to aim for). I may need to do a few more purple socks to cover the whole of Advent and Lent, although I can probably manage the Sundays with these.

Anyway, that was round 1. I am currently knitting the socks for round 4, so there is much more to come.

Greenbelt musings

This year, my Greenbelt was mostly about the people. My weekend centred on meeting up with lots of different people from across the country. Hot beverages were drunk, cake was eaten and the world was set to rights for another year. I also took some time out to go and see a few items from the programme – seemed only polite since the organisers work so hard to make it interesting.

I discovered Jude Simpson and spent the rest of the weekend trying (unsuccessfully) to get the Mango song out of my head. Possibly the most bizarre 90 minutes of the weekend were spent watching Zic Zazou – a troupe of french engineers making music from everything. Apart from being a little repetitive, it was amazing. I’m sure there will be some clips on YouTube. At one point one of them drilled some holes in a metal pipe, then picked it up and played it like a flute!

John Bell was there, of course, leading the Big Sing and doing some talks. Turns out he isn’t a big fan of the internet, Facebook, mobile phones or television – he pointed out a lot of the bad effects they have on people who become dependent on them, but was kind enough to suggest that we should use our own judgement about whether it is a problem for us. Francis Spufford was interesting, on the subject of British people doing Antarctic exploration (Scott etc.). My sister went to his other talk, on his book “The Child that books built” – turns out he grew up in the house 3 doors down from my childhood home, but moved out the year before I was born. One talk I was not planning to see, but went along to with some college friends, was a talk by Padraig O’Tuama about hell, particularly the effect on children of teaching them about hell. Very interesting. I did go to some other talks, but I forget which ones. My list of ‘to be downloaded later’ talks is quite long.

Beer and Hymns was a highlight, but we didn’t get anywhere near the front  of the queue for the beer tent, so we went to And Hymns instead. We (my sister and I) had Pie and Mash and Hymns – almost as good, but not as easy to wave in time to the choruses. A useful reminder was given to those wanting to start Beer and Hymns sessions in their home towns: Beer and Hymns is not just about introducing beer to people who like hymns, but about introducing hymns to people who like beer.

The thing that made me smile most over the weekend were two people dressed as angels, complete with wings and a Hallelujah soundtrack, on Segues gliding up and down outside the Tiny Tea Tent. Just watching the reactions of people was lovely.

Segue Angel

There was quite a significant knitting component to Greenbelt. I went along to one of the Greenbelt Angel knitting circle sessions. There was also a learn to knit session that I helped with where we all knitted beards or moustaches (inspired by Life of Brian) – I understand that there will be pictures somewhere.

One of the things I realised at Greenbelt is that I have a good memory for faces (and sometimes the names that go with them). I recognised a lot of people over the weekend who showed no sign whatsoever of knowing who I was. There were people from churches I was on placement at several years ago, people I sat in lectures with at college. There were random people (like some of your good selves) from the internet. I think there was someone I went to school with half my lifetime ago (she was coming out of a loo cubicle as I was going in and I didn’t have the presence of mind to greet her – I was wearing a hat, so she probably didn’t notice me). There was one woman who looked really familiar and I saw her a few times before I figured it out: Clare Short. Good thing I didn’t go over to find out how I knew her. Then as I was sheltering from the rain in the Church Times tent (marvellous cartoons by the way) I saw another real famous person…

Yes, it is Tom Hollander from Rev. My only camera was the one in my phone, so it is a little bit blurry. I liked how he had two minders, presumably to protect him from potential hordes of angry/over-exuberant clerical types.

All this, of course, now fades into the distance as I am back at work. My two essays were not completed before I went away in July, so I had a frantic couple of days typing – all done now. I also came home to find Mr F addicted to the Definitely Last Ever mini-series of Big Brother. Very disappointing, but a horribly easy thing to happen.

In other news… A knitting competition started yesterday that I am taking part in. It is a race to knit 6 pairs of socks, but before each pattern is released you have to solve some puzzles. Very good fun. I am in a lovely team for the puzzle solving, but the knitting is all individual. I don’t expect to progress much beyond round 2. I really would like to finish round 1 – I have until 17th September or until 90% of the participants have completed it.

Miscellany

  1. My Greenbelt ticket has arrived!
  2. I’m going to Taize in a couple of weeks
  3. By which time I will have written 6000 words on essays for the MA module I am doing as part of my work training
  4. The second sock is past the heel and only the leg left to do – 55 rounds and counting
  5. Deanery chapter is this afternoon
  6. I can wander around the village chatting to people and it is part of work
  7. I’m preaching on Mary and Martha this Sunday (a triple bill – hopefully by the third time I’ll have got it nailed!)

Got to go. My lift will be here soon.

Fickle, fickle, fickle

So my sister is not getting a pair of socks on her birthday. Thank you for your comments – some very good ideas. I have one complete sock and two inches of toe. This will blatantly not have transformed into a completed sock by morning, so I am going to keep them until I can give them to her in person (about 3 weeks time). Three weeks to complete the sock will still take some fairly serious concentration, so why do I feel the need to start a new scarf? I’ve spent the evening watching The Devil Wears Prada and knitting in a rather lacklustre fashion on the sock.

I have diagnosed the problem: a serious case of second sock syndrome. This is a well known knitting malaise, here combined with an oncoming attack of startitis. You see, I’m what the Yarn Harlot calls a process knitter. Knitting for me is all about learning new things, figuring out a new technique and mastering it. Why knit something twice? Am I going to learn more on the second sock? Perhaps – it has the slight interest of having a mirror-image of the spiralling pattern of the first sock, but I’m not sure that is enough. The finished object is rarely of great interest.

I have another single sock completed – this one being a complicated multi-cable-stitch pattern. I decided to postpone casting on the second one so I could meet the deadline of my sister’s birthday. Who was I kidding?

Fickle, that’s what I am when it comes to knitting. Can’t the world understand that the Moebius cast-on is much more exciting than plain knitting in the round with the odd increase here and there?

In other news, I am having a bit of a children’s literature theme. I’m loving reading Winnie the Pooh to Rusk and I’m also reading the Chronicles of Narnia ‘for work’.

Knitting to a deadline

A long while back I picked up some sock wool off an internet site, thinking it would be good for something for my sister’s birthday. Yesterday I finished the first sock. I fear it may be too loose for her legs (these are the first long socks I’ve knitted – she insisted on at least a 10″ leg), but it is done.

One problem: the birthday is on Monday. I have the rest of today (a work day) and all of tomorrow, plus an hour or two on Saturday if I am lucky before it has to go in the post. The first sock took me two weeks. Admittedly I wasn’t really focussing on knitting every spare second of the day, but I have knitted every night this week.

What do you think? Achievable? I think if I can get the foot done today then I might make it. I’ll cast on over lunch.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new…

DECADE!

I often wondered how I would feel about turning 30 and now I know. Any possible distress at no longer being in my twenties has been assuaged by lots of goodies and a really nice day (so far).

Rusk gave me a new mascot, but seems a bit confused about who actually owns it. We may have to share. Still no name for it. I’m sure it will come. Rusk has been lobbying for it to be called ‘doggie’, but there are several items in his possession already called this so I’m holding out for something else.

knittedcharacter

There were lots of knitterly goodies:

newyarn

Including lots of reading material. I’ve already read most of Yarn Harlot, laughing out loud many times, but only being reduced to tears twice. You thought knitting was dull? Seriously, it is an emotional roller coaster at times.

newbooks

This evening I am off on a diocesan training course. A compulsory one. Don’t worry, that is not how I would choose to spend my birthday evening. I’m going to take my knitting. Cue – “It’s my birthday and I’ll knit if I want to”.

A Miscellany

First of all, thanks Ian for your comment on the previous post. I can’t really recommend a good place to start with Thomas Merton, since The Seven Storey Mountain is the first thing I have read by him. It is, my comments from the other day notwithstanding, very readable and interesting.

I’ve had a really busy couple of days in the parishes, so did not see twitter at all for 48 hours or so. Lots of interesting things to read. Here are a few of them.

It seems there was a Panorama programme about chocolate, more specifically about child labour within the cocoa trade. The fairtrade chocolate people have been responding (here and here and probably elsewhere as well), pointing out that the part of the programme showing a fairtrade producer was dealing with how the fairtrade organisation stops child labour when they find it happening. Good. I shall continue to eat Dark Divine.

An incredible knitting project has finished. Most people knit one sock at a time. Some knit two at a time on one long needle. This guy knitted 14 at a time on one humongous needle. One pair for each day of the week – makes sense when you think about it. His knitting bag is even bigger than mine.

I don’t often blog about maths but, given I studied it first time round at uni, I feel the need to reassure Joe Taxpayer that their contributions were not in vain and I am still interested in the subject. A famous mathematician (yes, there are others) has apparently refused or is about to refuse another big prize for his work solving the Poincare Conjecture. He is Russian, and some Russian charities are asking him not to refuse the prize, but to accept it and donate the cash to good causes in Russia. Interesting. Should charities hold people to ransom like this? I don’t think so. Should people turn down legitimately earned money because they have enough? Maybe if the money would then automatically go to support another mathematician and further the course of human knowledge. Maybe not, if they can see a better use for it that they can influence. I’m in danger of siding with the charities here, and I’ve not even started in on the relative merits of academic work and child poverty.

Finally, I’m very excited about this software. Openshot: A non-linear video editor for Linux. I’ve looked at video editing stuff for the Mac and rather liked the look of it – this seems to be a start for Linux. I’ll install it after my next Ubuntu upgrade. Why do I always seem to have a hankering for upgrading a month before the next release? The end of March/beginning of April seems to send me into software envy every year. It is worse this time – I didn’t upgrade to Ubuntu 9.10 since I was too busy when it came out. I’ve since tried it on a live cd and found that the touchscreen on my laptop works! I cannot overstate how cool I find this to be. My laptop has a turny-roundy screen that folds down so you can use it like a piece of paper. I’ve never actually used it because it only worked in Windows up to now and I only use windows once in a blue moon and have no data on that partition at all.

In other news, I’ve nearly finished the book my book group started reading in December. Villette by Charlotte Bronte. I read it 10 years ago and loved it, but could remember nothing about it. Loving it even more this time. I suggested a Jasper Fforde book for this month, on the grounds that I have read it and so get a month off! I hear it is being quite well-received.

http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/news_and_events/news/panorama_response

A day with Rusk

This is a very dull post – don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Lent marches on. Today has been a day off, spent almost entirely with Rusk, due to Mr F’s continuing battle with the lurgy.

Rusk decided that we would play with tractors today. There is a large box in his bedroom with about half a dozen tractors of various sizes. Some make noises, some travel by themselves, one has a track to travel on and makes appropriate animal noises as it goes past the sty, duck pond etc. The one I find most bemusing is the tractor and trailer with a sheep attached. If you hold the sheep and the trailer firmly and pull apart, then set them down on the floor, the sheep retracts into the trailer, a hook between the sheep’s legs pulls up the gate at the back of the trailer and the whole shebang sets off across the floor, to market presumably. Rusk doesn’t quite have the strength to pull it so there was a lot of asking Mummy to help.

During his afternoon nap, I played a level of The Settlers:Rise of an Empire – the latest in my favourite series of computer games.

Late afternoon saw us headed for the beach, or rather the promenade at the local town. There is a long stretch of prom that has reasonable barriers on either side (i.e. no sheer drop to the beach) so Rusk was able to run about without reins or holding hands. This means he can run further than I have to walk = tired toddler and not so tired Mummy. We bought an ice cream and shared it. He doesn’t really like the coldness of the ice cream so only had a bit. Marvellous! There were only a few encounters with large dogs. I was under the impression that leads were to keep dogs away from danger, frightening small boys etc. Apparently not, although it is ok because “he (the dog) won’t hurt him”.

At teatime, he ate marmite on bread. This is a real breakthrough – he has refused spreads or toppings of any kind on bread or toast for the last two months. Looks bad when you give him dry crusts, but really that is all he will eat usually. Hurrah for marmite (bet he doesn’t eat it again for weeks).

After his bedtime, I finished the Settlers level (and another one) before a spot of catching up online before my bedtime (now a couple of hours ago – ah well).

So that, in case you were interested, is what the clergy do on their day off, at least this clergy on this particular day off. I cannot guarantee that the next day off will be the same. Nothing too exciting.

In other news, I am knitting another sock, having ripped a complete sock back to nothing. Oh, and the foghorn is going so I’m guessing the weather has reached us.

Quick round up

So, last time I blogged was the end of half term. A couple of busy weeks later and here we are. I’ve just got back from Mums and Tots (who knows where the apostrophes are meant to go in there?) group and have about half an hour before evening prayer. Rusk loves being around groups of other kids. Today there was only one big tumble, two sharing er incidents and one hand covered in orange ink from the rubber stamp set. Successful I think. There are a couple of new families there so a fairly full room. I do like that it counts as work for me. So many things I do for work I really enjoy.

I’m off on a training day on Wednesday – preparing for priesthood. Not quite sure what it is going to cover, but it should be interesting. It’ll be nice to have a reunion with all the people I was deaconed with last year. Our diocese is quite large and we don’t see each other very often. After that (and Lent group in the evening) on Thursday I’m going back to school for the day. I am doing a bit of work in school regularly with collective worship, but I wanted to get more of a feel for how the school day works, hence spending a day there.

Today the task is to get the bulk of the work for Sunday done. One sermon – to be used twice – and one all age talk. Mothering Sunday – should be able to find something to say for that. Tricky to know how to strike a balance between Mothering Sunday being a celebration and yet being a very painful experience for the bereaved or those who had bad experiences of mothers.

In other news, here is what I did for the Ravelympics, the knitters’ attempt to justify lots of sitting in front of winter sports:

olympicsocks

They were completed by the end of the olympics and so I qualify for  medals:

The first one is the team medal for completing a project.

The second one is the event medal. I competed in Sock Hockey with some crochet socks. I also attempted the Lace Luge with a lace stole, but this will be a longer term project due to the faffiness of lace!

In case anyone was wondering, they aren’t meant to be a matching pair as far as colours go. Who said socks have to match anyway?

I’ve now moved on to making a scarf and am currently at the black hole stage of knitting, where you knit and knit and knit for an hour, yet the piece seems no longer. Ah well, it will pass eventually.

Back to the sermons I think.