Sunday, 13 December 2009

keeping warm

I wanted to knit a gilet type garment - my desk at work is by a north facing window, which is leaky (water splashed on my desk when the window cleaner came, even though it was 'closed').

So I get cold, but I am at an age when my thermostat is unstable, so I need clothing that comes on and off easily.

I couldn't find something I liked so I had to make it up as a go along. Modular knitting is ideal for this - add a bit, hold it up and see whether it needs another chunk.

So I have knitted this.

The image is a little dark - my house has only a northern aspect, with the light not really getting into the house or garden, so tricky to take daylight photographs.

But there has been some lovely morning light this week, our local church looked great this week in the low sunlight.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

On the road again

Before I came to York I was teaching, before that I worked as a freelancer in Science curriculum development.
At that stage I spent quite a lot of time travelling and Cambridge was a commone destination.
I was back there this weekend. They put me in a hotel across the town from the meeting.
That meant a walk across Jesus Green, Midusmmer Common and Parker's Piece in the morning. What's not to like about that?

I watched James May on the Moon this evening. It reminded me of this photo I took last week on the way to work. Morning Moon

Thursday, 26 November 2009

reflections - a year of p/hop

Hmm the link doesn't seem to work. Click here instead.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Hanging on

This oak tree has been hanging on to its leaves despite the wind and rain of the past week.

The people of Cockermouth and Workington have not fared so well.

They have had a terrible time - many of them will have lost almost everythign as the water levels rose to 2.5 metres in places.

Sadly a policeman died as he warned people not to cross a dangerous bridge.
Last weekend I suggested to MrBeanz that we go to Woolfest next summer - now it seems even more important to go and support the businesses in this stricken community.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Feed the birds ...

We bought a bird feeder for the York garden this weekend. There are so many hedges close by, I thought we'd be sure to attract some birds.

The starlings found it first and were queuing up to eat the fat balls.

Their noise attracted the great tit in to the nuts and then I began to see other birds hovering in the hedge the other side of the wall - including blackbirds, a bullfinch and a wren.

My camera will now sit by the window waiting for more pics - I need a longer lens.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Why do I knit?

The Craft Council wants to promote crafts in the UK.

I'd have thought that was their raison d'etre?

So they have a campaign going at the moment and you can register your support.

Here’s the text from their website:
If craft is important to you, we want you to let us know. The Crafts Council believes that Craft Matters and we want to show that it matters to thousands of people across the UK as much as it does to us. The government’s own data tells us that “17% of the population took part in a craft activity in 2008/09” – we want to show what that statistic looks like in real support so that everyone can see that craft is highly valued. So, sign up today and pass this email on to friends and colleagues. Together, we will show how much Craft Matters.

Why do I knit?

Knitting gives me an opportunity to be creative in a busy day; provides moments of calm for thought or meditation; allows me to make beautiful things for my family and friends; has given me the opportunity to make new friends.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Making connections

A couple of weeks ago I picked these up and they have been sitting on my desk, gradually drying out and losing their glorious gloss.

Today I made the connection with this, which is also sitting on my desk, maybe sold as an 'executive toy', but also called Newton's cradle. You may be familiar with it, if not watch what it does. It was always a fascination to someone in a physics class.

But what about this - a newer physics toy and don't blink when you press play or you will miss it.
Superficially it is similar to the above both have ball bearings, and you might expect it to behave in a similar way, but in fact it behaves very differently.

Come back tomorrow for more on this.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009


I don't know if you have been watching David Attenborough's latest series Life, but t is full of amazing photgraphy. It is about survival and adaptation. But surprisingly DA does not use the word evolution because, apparently, according to reliable sources, it would be much harder to sell the series in the US.

Last night's programme Birds had a particularly wonderful sequence about Clark's grebe and its courtship behaviour. The sequence was filmed with a background music trackand just a few words from DA.

You can see it on iPlayer (maybe only in the UK?) at about 35 minutes into the programme - it follows a gruesome section showing pelicans eating live gannet chicks! I suspect it will be on YouTube soon - currently YouTube just has the finale of the dance in a trailer.

Sunday, 8 November 2009


This is a late post for Saturday.
It was a glorious morning and I had to walk down to the Post Office to collect a package. I took my camera, wondering what the theme for today would be.

As I walked along ther road it became obvious resulting in a strange woman taking photos of blank walls!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Modular Knitting

At first sight modular knitting might seem the complete antithesis of the freeform knitting I did last week.
But because modular knitting happens in little chunks it is possible to make decisions as you go.
So my sock yarn blanket (also in my avatar) is made of lots of little squares knitted from many different yarns, I have been using colours semirandomly.

The modular waistcoat (left) I am now building is from just one yarn and I have been just adding squares and seeing how it goes - actually that isn't quite true, I did sketch out a design on squared paper, and am recording how what actually happens.
I need to finish it as I want to wear it at work. And then I can get on with other projects!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Local Hero

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The gunpowder treason and plot,
I know of no reason
Why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
Thanks to local hero, Guy Fawkes we went to a great Bonfir Night this evening.
Guy Fawkes was born and educated in York, so no Guys on the bonfires here!
There was a fire juggler - with his lovely assistant who had a fire hula hoop!

And a bonfire.

And fireworks.

And the safe alternative to sparklers - the led whirly thing.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

there and back again

I set out early for work but paused to admire the avenue of trees, just sycamore but still they look good - I wonder who planted them for my benefit?

The leaf litter is appreciated by blackbirds, I counted at least eight rooting around as I walked along - plenty of hedges for nests around here.

About three minutes later I realised I had left my work keys on teh shelf at home. So I turned to walk back and had the view back along the avenue towards my house.

I continue to marvel at my luck at having such a pleasant walk to work.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Travelling = knitting

I've spent a lot of time on the train today - an ideal opportunity to knit. I can listen to music, or a book or a podcast or simply reflect on the day.

The fact that I use the time productively makes me resent the long day much less.

The current on the train knitting is a minimochi scarf. The combination of a luscious yarn and a simple pattern makes for a very effective scarf.

The photo does not do this justice - I haven't seen much daylight today to take better picture.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Autumn colour

Last week I was walking to work on gloomy mornings and thinking I'd missed the chance to take any autumnal photos this year.
The clocks went back, the Sun came out and it all looks different.
It can't be bad when the path to the office goes this way.

After the workshop last week I am going to be a little more systematic about keeping images whose colour might inspire a knit. Here is a good start - a beech tree on my route.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

a blog a day keeps a blogger alert

Apparently November is blogging month, so I am going to try and blog each day.

It may not always be thoughtful but will include a photograph taken that day.

I have had a few days leave this week and took the opportunity to go to a knitting workshop. Jane Thornley from Nova Scotia has an amazing eye for colour and has a style of knitting called 'freeform'.
So take some yarns you like and knit. The class was in a yarn shop, skeins in Glossop, and of course Carole had lots of beautiful yarns that would enhance my wrap.

This is where I had got to at the end of the day.

And close up:

Like a lot of knitting, it is strangley addictive; just few more rows, another repeat of the pattern, another colour. So when I came home I continued the knit and this is where I am up to today. It will be a jewel wrap.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Out and about

Back on the road (actually rails) again as I travel to meetings with teachers and colleagues.

On a trip to Sheffield on a sunny day I saw this water feature for the first time. We had arrived in the dark and travelled by taxi the previous evening, so seeing this the following afternoon was completely unexpected. It lines one side of a pleasant open space, Sheaf Square, in front of Sheffield Midland Station.
There is a cascade of water

and a steel wall, appropriate for Sheffield, over which water runs. The wall reflects the Victorian station opposite.

A few days later another trip to London and an early train gave me some time to kill on the way to my meetings. This building just off the Euston Road has an intriguing label over the door - "20th Middlesex Artists RV" Googling reveals they were a brigade of Rifle Volunteers for the Boer War.

Another building in the same area, dwarfed by its neighbours is Flaxman Lodge.

Tavistock Square includes a number of memorials to people including Virginia Woolf (well we are in Bloomsbury)

and Gandhi

And on to Bedford Square, which has a private garden at the centre, around the perimeter ar the ubiquitous plane trees, the lungs of London. The Post Office Tower, just visible is an important navigational aid on my wandering through this part of London.

The sculpture Driftwood is still in Bedford Square, and now slightly more weathered than back in July.

Eventually it is back to St Pancras and my heart always lifts when I see that great building, getting better on every visit as the scaffolding comes down.

Of course all this travelling means plenty of knitting time on the train. I have finished a lacy baktus, knitted in High Twist Haze from the Natural Dye Studio:

And I did finish my moebius cowl, but decided it was not long enough, so frogged the border to add some more depth. It really is a moebius loop and quite magic!

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Still here

I hadn't realised quite how long it has been since I blogged.

Much has changed.

I am now working in York during the week and going back home at the weekends.
I have a new bike, which fits me much better than my old one and am comfortably cycling the mile or so to the gym for a swim. I am aiming to do that at least two or three mornings a week while in York - so far I have done 1, 1, 2 times. And increasing the number of lengths as I go.
I am living in a little microhouse - a living room with kitchen and a 'mezzanine' bedroom and small study area. And a small garden whenre I need ot do something about the weeds. Enough for me and my knitting. The house is only a mile from work so a brisk walk in the morning is so much better than the 40 minute drive in the last job.
The job is going well, working with lovely people, some I already knew and some I had heard of but didn't know.

I am still knitting.
I knitted 30 squares to go into a couple of large blankets which were raffled for medicin sans frontieres.
The top one on my pile is showing on the blanket at iKnit.

In the summer my Mum had a hip operation and spent a week or so keeping her company and helping her recuperate. I began to knit a blanket of my own, with scraps of sock yarn.
The first square was this one.
And now many more squares have been added. My new avatar at the top is a close-up.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Cropredy 2009

I have enjoyed Fairport Convention's music over the years but never been to Cropredy. Fortunately we have some good friends who have been several times before, so we were guided through the experience. We just went for the Saturday this time, maybe longer next year. There is just one stage so the plan is to get your pitch and stay there for the day, with occasional wanders to buy t-shirts, food and other goodies.

Its a great place to people watch of course:

The music was diverse, including golden oldies such as Ralph McTell and Yusuf .

With 12 hours of music there was plenty of time to knit of course:

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Relaxing at the seaside

We've been to the seaside and I took loads of pics (of course).

Southwold is a very genteel seaside resort, and so relaxing.

For words and many more pics you need to go to flickr.