Monday, December 31, 2007

Still accepting squares

We received a package today from Chicago - a bag of knitted squares for our next blanket. Thank you!

That Yarn Store is still accepting squares, however the final recipient for the next blanket has yet to be determined. We will have an update on that in the next few months.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Blanket 1, Sweater 0

I didn't end up getting my sister's sweater done, but I had a good excuse. Instead, I stitched together a blanket for an elderly person at the Solheim home, made with squares donated by our lovely customers.

I am almost finished with the sweater though, it's just seaming at this point, and possibly some ripping out and reknitting of the sleeve cap since I of course decided not to pay attention to the pattern. It should be finished tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm back

I'm back home, got back very early on Tuesday/very late on Monday. I had been up for over 24 hours, which some people might be used to, but I'm not. Jetlag doesn't seem that bad fortunately. I might be at the store on Sunday if anyone wants to say hi.

I'm about half way done with Hana's sweater I promised her two years ago (don't worry, I've verified that she doesn't read the blog) and I'm 90% sure I can finish it for Christmas.

ps. for Jessamy and whoever else isn't in LA that might be reading, it's raining right now, apparently just for me too. I can't see my breath though, so I'm happy with the situation.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Crap apartment

I'm really not liking our apartment right now. During the summer time it was convenient and cheap, but it's really not a cosy place to live during the winter.

We've received a letter from the landlord saying that we need to keep the apartment at 10 degrees Celsius while we are gone on vacation so the pipes won't freeze, thank goodness they sent the letter too, it would have never occurred to us. Unfortunately it's going to cost us a lot, but better a £100 pound gas bill (just a guess) than a £5,000 bill for burst pipes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Frosty the car park

There was frost on the sidewalk again this morning, the first of the frost started yesterday. For a second after I first saw the layer of whiteness I thought it was snow, but then I realized there would probably not be a mini snow blizzard that would just cover one parking lot, I mean car park.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yesterday one of my coworkers mentioned it looked like it was snow weather. It hasn't happened yet, and I'm actually hoping it doesn't snow before I leave - I really don't have snow clothes. I also found out that the snow season can sometimes last until April.

Here are some pictures of our day trip to the Tynemouth priory (it was last month, back when it was warm enough and we didn't mind leaving the semi-warmth of our apartment)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hello internet

Hi! We have an internet connection at last, and boy was it more complicated than we thought. Jessamy bought our modem at Carphone Warehouse where she was being helped by someone named Mr Trainee. So instead being able to access the internet the next day we've had to call tech services twice (we gave up after 15 minutes on hold the first time), call the manager 4 times, and stop by the store an extra time in the last two weeks before it would start working...and according to the manager this sometimes happens when you order online and pick up the modem at the store. hmmmm. Perhaps if this was a know fault they could have placed a warning on the website, or put some sort of system in place to take care of the know fault. Or maybe not.

Anyhow, lots of emails from the last two weeks to look up (I'm not supposed to look at personal email at work, they actually go so far as to block yahoo), but I'll write about my job tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rants about teflon

Unfortunately there was no yarn store outing this weekend. It was raining, and I'm afraid we've been spoiled by the up-to-now dry weather. Hopefully this isn't the start of the 100 days straight rainy season. Instead of wandering about in the rain we stayed home, Jessamy worked on her homework and I curled up on the couch with a book about climate change, ya know, some light reading. I won't get into the details of the book as we've all heard the gist of it before (it was the No-nonsense Guide to Climate Change, if you're interested), but I will rant about my arch-nemesis: Teflon.

I understand that non-stick coating isn't dangerous until it gets 500 degrees, and that unless you're stir frying the contents of the pan, you should be fine, and really it's just me be being paranoid again, but still, the stuff's scary. For goodness sakes, the EPA, who only bans really horrible chemicals as opposed to just mildly carcinogenic ones, has called for a complete ban on PFOA, one of the chemicals in Teflon, by 2015. I had heard about this ban last year, and of course heard for years about pet birds being poisoned, so when it came time to find a cookie sheet (for scones, soon to be a topic of another post) on Friday I had already made up my mind to not buy a non-stick pan. But it appears the world isn't as paranoid as I am. My first stop was Wilkinson's, as their prices are always really good. They had about 15 metal pans and sheets to choose from, all of them, as in 15 out of 15, were non-stick. So I went to another store, they also had about 15 metal dishes to choose from, 13 of which were non-stick. I was left with 1 thin roasting pan and a sheet with raised grooves to choose from. It was getting late, so I went with the roasting pan.

Less than 24 hours later I came across a list of six major gases as listed by the Kyoto Protocal. One of them, Hydrofluorocarbons, is a replacement for ozone-depleting substances, but are ironically 12,000 more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Among other things, Hydrofluorocarbons are used to manufacture the plastic PTFE, more commonly known as Teflon.

Have I already mentioned that about half of the laundry detergents here contain 15-30% Phosphates, aka fishy killer. We were actually running out of detergent because we didn't know what to do, but fortunately we found out that if you can't pay 5 pounds more for detergent you'll always have about 5% Phosponates, and should look for ones with 15 - 30% zeolites.

Perhaps laundry detergent will be another thing on my increasingly long list of things I should bring back from the US (including cranberries and marshmallows (we have a grill, and I really want some smores, but of course there'll be the question of how to be ecological when you're sending ashed into the air))

This turned out to be a longer post than I thought. Next time I'll post some pictures on the scones, assuming of course I manage to remember to buy batteries.

Pattern Suggestion

Interested in trying your hands at socks? Feel like felting? In love with Brown Sheep? How about some Felted Slippers!

These may be from the Winter 02 issue, but I've noticed felted slippers cropping up more and more on blogs and yahoo groups lately.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Lego knitting machine

What more could you want in an invention - it's made of legos, and it involves knitting.

Yarn list updated on our website

Our list of yarn manufacturers has been updated with a few more links to help you with your special order requests.

As far as news from this side fo the pond, I'm currently at the computer lab at Jessamy's university, trying to concentrate. Trying being the key word. Since I grew up with five siblings I can usually ignore noise. But there is a point where sounds take on a life of their own and what ever I am trying to accomplish becomes less interesting than the prospect of well placed glares. There are exactly 20 people in this computer section including me, I just counted them, and I'm the only female. Aren't women supposed to be the noisy chatty ones, or am I mixing up my gender stereotypes? Now that I'm looking around at the other computer islands, guys outnumber gals 10 to 1. What does it all mean? I don't know. At least when cell phones are ringing it's the theme song to "The Good the Bad and the Ugly" instead of Spice Girls. Oh, never mind, another girl has sat down opposite to me... and now she's decided to sing some no-doubt popular but uninteresting pop song just loud enough to annoy me. Hmmm, I'll take it as my cue to visit the mobile library (always fun) and check out some books.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All right?

The most common form of greeting around here is "you all right?" The first time I heard it I was at a temp agency. Up until that moment I was fine, but I was soon making a mental list of why I was not 'all right'. I think I managed to mutter 'ok thanks' though he had already had his back towards me at that point, which I thought was just rude, but I've since learned it's not always meant to be answered. The second time was again from another temp agency, and I responded 'fine thank you, how are you.' Her response suggested that was not the correct thing to say on my part. At that point I had figured out that it was a greeting, and that I shouldn't freak out when asked if I'm "aayt". But I had forgotten that lesson at a day-temp job which was truly stressfull, and I became increasingly more stressed as people repeatedly came in asking if I was allright. What do they say when they are trully interested? I have no idea. I had suggested to Jessamy that she ask a classmate how to resond, but she's forgotten, and I've been to shy to ask the grocery clerk.

Thanks goodness for the internet.
One site suggested that you say absolutely nothing, another said that 'ok' was also not a good response.
Here's the most comprehensive answer so far:
A contraction of "All right": a (usually friendly) British informal greeting, not always accompanied by the word "mate". It can be used (and this is not an exhaustive list) on its own, followed by the word "mate", or followed by a name: this latter usage is usually more friendly than the others, as it implies that you know that person well enough to use their first name in a cheerful and informal greeting.

It can also be used when questioning the wellbeing of another. However, this will almost always be preceeded by a word denoting that it is a question, e.g. "you".

N.B. If someone passes you and says "Alright", do not respond "Yes". There are a number of accepted responses, such as a simple "Alright", often followed by the person in question's name, the phrase normally spoken in a more assertive tone, as it is a response, not a question.

1. Alright mate
2. Alright Alex
3. Alright
4. You alright?
All right.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Brown Sheep is here!


Famous for it's wide range of colors and feltability, Brown Sheep Co. is the largest producer of natural fiber knitting yarns in the United States.

Here's their list of yarns and colors, if we don't have it in stock we'd be happy to order it for you!


Had a good job interview yesterday, despite the fact that I was getting over a cold. The second cold in fact that I've gotten since coming here. I made the mistake on Thursday of going out to see a movie that ended at 10 pm and was ten minutes away from a metro stop. I like to think I'm slowly learning - right now I'm wearing four layers of clothes, had to take my jacket off since it's warm in here.
In yarnee news I'm hoping to go to a real yarn store over the weekend - it's been too long since I've knit some socks. I'm getting absolutely nowhere with my sweater, I keep changing my mind and frogging parts of it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sock knitalong

Socks! That's right, you know you have always wanted
to try knitting socks...knitting socks on 2 circular needles...
knitting socks on one circular needle...knitting socks from
the toe on up! We all have our own unique way of knitting
a sock, or we are trying to find it. So come share your
techniques and learn someone else's.
Saturdays at 3:00

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

knitted bangle covers

Someone posted this link in a yarhoo group, it's for a knit covered bangle and it's a great way to get rid of leftover yarn.

http://mimsie. knitting/ 2007/07/so- a-few-days- a.html

I had a cold, I think it was last week, maybe two weeks ago? what month is this? But, I'm better now. The same week I got a cold the weather changed. Even the locals were discussing how cold it was, jumping up and down for warmth, and wearing mittens. The day after that sudden change in weather all the manequins in one of the big department stores were clothed with scarves and coats. Hot water bottles showed up in all the department stores too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hadrian's Wall

We visited the Segedunum museum over the weekend (I keep catching myself saying Segundo museum) and saw a bit of Hadrian's wall and the ruins of the first fort in the long line of Hadrian's wall forts. The whole stretch of the wall, from coast to coast, is something like 80 miles, and we learned it was errected to be more of a symbolic seperation (us v them), then an actual wall meant for defence (sound familiar?). They have a newly opened walking/bike path that runs more or less next to the wall for the entire stretch. I think it would be fun to rent a bycicle and explore, Jessamy, who's usually the one making those kinds of suggestions (whereas I'm the one reluctant to do anything that involves walking except if there's a close destination) isn't to keen on the idea, though she won't really say why.
A picture of the fort, taken from an observationt tower:

The whorl of a roman spindle.
Our lunch:
We ordered a chicken tika sandwich because it sounded exciting. Didn't know it would be pink. The person making it asked us if we wanted 'salad' with it, we didn't no what that meant, so we said no, obviously not the right response since it was no pickes, lettuce, etc., in it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Great North Run

We saw the Great North Run over the weekend. It's the world's most popular half marathon.
So popular that this is the start line about 10 minutes after the official start of the race. They are jogging on a highway, by the way. Pretty cool.

There were tons of crowds, so we couldn't manage to get a shot that didn't include other people's cameras.

This is a shot of one of the 4 bridges along the Tyne. If you look closely you can see the red umbrella of a certain religion. Just like home.

Monday, September 24, 2007


The front of our building (we're in the back).

Our kitchen/living room. Notice the couch is facing the 'fireplace,' which is of course not a real fireplace, but a gas heater that's surrounded by plaster painted (but not very well) to look like mahogany.
Duracell bunny.

Look, English sheep!

The old part of the city centre. There's also several streets with newer buildings and trendy shops, but all the billboards and shop names don't really make it photo worthy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I've arrived

Hi from England.

I've arrived safe and sound, though the first two days I had trouble keeping my eyes open. The flight wasn't bad, it was non-stop and took a mere 10 and a half hours, just enough time to watch Pirates of the Caribbean, that dog movie with Molly Shannon, eat plane food, and pretend like I could sleep on plane.

The flat is big, 2 bedrooms and a kitchen/living area, it came furnished with 2 love seats and a small washer. Washer meaning washing machine. One of the benefits of having no long term memory is that it's apparently really easy for me to replace American words with English. So far I don't think twice when saying post code or cinema (instead of movie theatre) and now I get to put washer down on the list.

We live right next to a metro station, literally right next it (the real reason why we can afford a two bedroom). It's only a 7 minut ride to the city centre, which isn't bad. The city is big, not like LA or new york big, but there's basically everything you need here, three shopping centers, all the famous English shops like Marks and Spencers and H&M (half of the tops there are A-lined, interesting ...). There's even a 'chinatown' which basically means a block with 5 or so restaurants and two small shops.

And now it's time for me to go job hunting, and after that, home. My umbrella is in the other coat, so I hope it's not raining.

Friday, September 07, 2007

New yarn!

We have new yarn.

This one is a wool/nylon blend.And self patterning sock yarn (wool and nylon) with aloe vera.

I've already snagged brown/red yarn for the "store sample."

Some pics of my recent projects will be posted on Saturday (we have a concert tomorrow night so it's going to be a long day!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Jessamy is in england

Just got a call from Jessamy, she's in Newcastle, alive and well, and it's raining.

It was my mom's B-day yesterday, and I did manage to get her table cloth done, although the edges were a bit damp (she didn't seem to mind) from the starch I put on at the last minute. I tried taking a picture, but the cameras in our house at chronically out of batteries. Basically, it looked a lot like the unfinished pictures, but with a strip of white double crochet and a shell border of the same pink/purple border.

I'm to the armhole decrease on my sweater. yay. It's going to look absolutely nothing like the sweater I had intended to do.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Baby sweater is finished

The baby sweater I was making for a baby shower and didn't finish in time is now done. Baby sweaters do take no time at all to make, only things is, you have to actually knit during that time, and not continually rip things out for your project to ever be complete. The sweater is an updated version of EZ's baby surprise jacket, this one is in one of last year's Vogue knitting, except for a few changes of course.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Got Visa

I got my visa in the mail yesterday, booked my flight for September 10th. England here I come.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

New Sock Book in

We now have Cat Bordhi's New Pathways sock book. It's the first in a series of three awesome and unusual socks. This book is cool, really, some of the socks have the heel flap on the bottom of the sock!

In other news I did not make the August 4, at 4pm deadline for the baby sweater. All I had left was sewing and seaving and making the tie, but I can't work under pressure. Jessamy was able to complete her gift though (show off), it was a cute dress made out of the rowan denim.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Visa's sent off

I sent our Visas off yesterday. Yes, it should have been done last month, but it's very difficult to get a straight answer from anybody.

I also got my first pair of glasses yesterday. For the majority of my life I've had clear vision, and not having to squint to read signs is what I emotionally actually associate with my vision, so it feels as if I'm wearing fake glasses, just the rims but with no glass.

As far as yarn store news, we had a huge shipment of encore and have restocked on bamboo.

Nothing of importance to report about my knitted projects, but I might be changing the sweater pattern yet again.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Summer Sweater?

Yes, I am working on my sister's sweater right now. No, it's not a summer sweater, though it is made out of Encore, so it's not as silly as knitting a wool sweater at this heat.

I haven't gotten as much done as I would have liked, but this is mostly due to the fact that when my hand start sweating I stick to the yarn.

I already have two thirds of the front done, and a third of the back done. I've decided to work up to the sleeve decreases on both sides, then do them at the same time.

Mom's table cloth is coming along, as I said last week (or was it two weeks ago already?) it's growing exponentially, so each row is taking longer and longer to complete.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Left over party tonight

Left over party is tonight.
Here are some pics of what you can make:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More stuff

Why hello! It's time for me to go to bed, but first! We have a new shipment of Denise interchangeable needles and have restocked on the recycled silk. yummy. Must go to bed now, long day tomorrow. Hopefully I won't have nightmares about ripping out projects (ripped about 10 inches of knitting today Found out it was the wrong guage. oop.s

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Closed for 4th of July

See you on Thursday!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

New yarn!

I literally squealed when I opened a package and saw this:

Merino sock yarn by Rio de la Plata

Natch! I immediately grabbed a skein of blue for myself and lamented the fact that I didn't have any #1 DPs in my knitting bag. About an hour later someone bought two skeins of blue, and I knew I had to put mine back. The sacrifices I need to make for the store...

We also have a new color of their hand-spun.

And ... a nice arrangement of bright Cotton Licous. I'm want to do a diagonal striped (so there won't be any threads to carry along in the back and snag on the baby's fingers) with the light purple and white (we do have white and black, it just didn't in the pic). Just watch, someone's going to buy my yarn ...

Monday, June 25, 2007

New Project

I've been working on this project on and off for about a week now, and I think I'm doing decent progress. It went extremely fast for the first 2 hours, then I realized that each row grows exponentially, which kind of dampened the whole excitement.
I'm also still working on my linen shirt, just did another gauge swatch this morning, will most likely measure it and make final pattern decisions tomorrow.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Feeling like it's summer

Yup, it's feeling like it's summer. Most of my knitting lately has been concentrated on my linen top,

it's almost done.

What I think I'll do to avoid getting frustrated by gauge swatches is to not make armholes, and to copy this pattern on Interweave.

oh ya, my most recent finished project is a dishtowel for Jessamy's mom.

I'm still pondering a top made of bamboo, but I think I'll start on a table cloth for my mother instead. Her birthday is in August, but I'm guessing maybe if I think of it as a Christmas present rather than a birthday present, it might get done on time.

Friday, June 08, 2007


I seem to be on a linen kick.

Jessamy's mother has a birthday coming up and Jessamy's making her some felted slippers. So I won't seem like a totaly selfish person I decided to start (and I intedn to finish) a discloth for her (she doesn't use sponges, just dishcloths).

I've also decided to just go ahead and do the back of the linen shirt, hoping that by the time I get to the top portion I'll have figured out what I want it to look like. Lets see in a week or two or three if that plan really works.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fiber continued

So, as I was saying, I was putting the roving into the washing machine when I looked behind me and noticed four large boxes of roving just sitting around in the laundry room. We had acquired them last year, and I had entirely forgotten they were there despite the fact it had been in plain sight everytime I did my laundry.

I also found this:

carders. caching. They might also be dog hair combers, I heard you can use that as well.

In any case, I took out some of the dirt and hay and other undesirable stuff, then washed it in the washing machine with a little bit of soap. I just put it on rinse and spin cycle, so it didn't felt. It's still a little gummy, but I think it's ok, I'm letting it soak in kool aid as I speak, or write. I'm thinking of maybe using it for some needle felting experiments.

The other roving, the one which led to this discovery, did seem to felt, or at least the fibers looked a whole lot different once it was washed. It still seems to spin just fine. Now I'm fiber content.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Back again

So I used to be a happy knitter. Then came the crash, then the vacation, then the craft fair, and now ... nothing. Call it knitting ennui, call it the summer knitting blues (doesn't summer start next month?) But whatever you call it, I have not been motivated in the knitting department.

But I have been itching to spin. Unfortunately I've lost my roving and my good spindle. Lost it. Completely. It is nowhere in my room, nowhere in the living room, dining room, poof, it's vanished. Jessamy lost her glasses too... is it the Borrowers?...

So, finally I got off my rump and decided to brake out my less superior spindle and dig through the closet for harder to spin roving (a birthday present from many months ago). I found that roving, but it was a little sticky/gummy. Not as in sticky from food or gummy from gum (gum isn't really considered a food is it?), but from natural fiber aging. Or at least I think it's something fibers naturally do.

Anyway, I went online, couldn't really find any remedies, but I did find something that seemed to suggest you wash it, then I looked around for another hour (I was determined) and found what seemed to be washing instructions from someone who knew what she/he was doing.

And then, I found something in the laundry room. More on that tomorrow for now I must go to sleep.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

new yarn

On Friday we received new colors of Jeannee (ok, so I can't remember to spelling). It's a cotton and acrylic that sells for $4.

We also have the new Interweave Knits. This issue has an interesting off the shoulders number and instructions on toe-up socks.
And here's an added bonus. I have no idea who made it, just found it on my desktop.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New yarn colors

New colors of Jeanee. It's a cotton/acrylic.
I'm thinking a off-the-shoulders top thingie out of the blue.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pictures for Newsletter

that yarn Store - Special Slae
One of the many samples of Mobius baskets. We have 3 others at the store, if you care to see them.
Boku. Our new yarn from Plymouth. It's supposed to be similar to Noro, self striping, feltable, and has a touch of silk.

New Outback Wool color.
One of the new Alpaca Grande color (flash is annoying).

New Encore colors. Still in their bags, all shiney and new.

had a crafty time

Thanks to those of you who came to our craft fair!

I wish I had taken pictures, especially of the mime, the quintessential bad-party sign, but alas I was either running around trying to do things and help people or eating all the candy and sweets our vendors brought to share. I had a stomach ache by the end of the night.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

This was one of the thing I had done on my trip to Orlando.

On the first full day I was there I had been walking around with my heavy purse and my shoulders, still delicate from the crash, were hurting.

So, I sat down that night and started to make the purse, by the time we arrived at the next day's theme park, it was done. It was just big enough to hold my wallet, a crochet hook, and enough yarn to make a preemie sweater.

My mom and sister (non stitchers) were astounded.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hawaiians like it

I've been gone so long the blogger thought this was a spam blog and temporarily suspended my account! Spam, I don't even like spam. tastes yucky, I guess they like spam even less than I do.

Anyway, please come to the spring fair, it'll be fun. I'll have more news on vacation, new yarns, etc. later.

I heard there might be a mime there.