Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cashmere / Nylon

Knitted with 80% Cashmere 20% Nylon 2x 2/26 yarn. Tension 4* on the Silver reed 830(fine gauge). This is fully machine washable and tumble driable. No shrinking. Feels beautifully soft. The colour is not that well represented here, but is a pale, pastel lime.

The width is 56cm(22") in total, length is 51 cm(20") with sleeve from shoulder to cuff end is 53cm (almost 21").

Double stocking stitch neckline, joined on the machine.
Fully fashioned sleeve head and body shaping. I moved sts 4 and 5 from out outer edge onto needles 6 and 7 and then moved the 3 edge stitches in by two sts.
A shallow 2 x2 rib on hem and suffs. Tension 1/1. 17 rows.( I start knitting rib from left after cast on and 2 cric rows, ending on left. My final row, rwo 17, is knit at MT which makes it easier and neater when transfering back to MB.)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Wet Women

It has been a very wet month here in the UK.

John and I were driving to the shops today. It was pouring. Ahead of us was a large lorry(semi trailer). On the left side of the road stood a group of women waiting for the bus. the semi drove past, a huge wall of water rose up from it's wheels and drenched said women. Completely. Absolutely sodden wet. The look on their faces is not one I shall forget in a hurry.

I know it was terribly ungentlemanly, but i almost wet myself from laughing so much. Even now, it's set me off giggling just recalling it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bleedin' Bamboo

First of all, I hate the way the shop wound off the bamboo yarn. A bit difficult to wind ready for use. I managed.

I also gave up with my electric winder by Hague. Damn things are far too temperamental. I found an old hand winder and it was fast and gave a neat cone for using.

I tried it on the Brother standard and even at highest tension, it was too tight. I then tried it with the GC. This was a good tension and looked good but the GC doesn't like it and kept dropping sts.

Finally, I had no choice but hand knit it. I am knitting it in rice stitch which gives a nice texture and a good drape. One row knit, 1 row of K1tbl , P1. Easy to do. Main body is on 3.25mm Rosewood circs. I cast on continental with 3.5mm. I then knit 2 rows in pattern with 2.5mm Addi's and then 4 rows with 2.75 Inox, 4 rows with 3mm Addi's and then continue with the 3.25mm Rosewoods.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Big Brother

I can't believe I am going to say something about this, let alone that I have watched it!

I can't recall the last time I felt this angry. I am angry over the appallingly cruel treatment of Shahbaz, especially by Richard.

What Richard did was downright cruel and evil. It was apparent Richard did not like Sahbaz from the moment Richard walked into the house. I suspected it was because Shahbaz was so camp. Even tho Richard himself is gay and also camp, his problem with Shahbaz was plain to see.

Yes, Shahbaz was difficult but he was not mean or malicious. He just doesn't understand about boundaries and stuff. He has issues he very much needs to deal with. However, this was no excuse at all for the cruelty shown to him. Richard's idea of the group ignoring Shahbaz and refusing to acknowledge him was cruel. Very cruel. It showed Richard to be a nasty human being when he feels threatened. The rest of the group were like sheep, just following. Not one of them seemed to have any insight whatsover.

In the diary room Richard confirmed my suspicions - he went on about how much he disliked Shahbaz and how he hated the idea that people would think that Richard, also being gay, was like Shahbaz and that he wanted Shahbaz out because he did not want people to think all gay people were like Shahbaz. Richard's own internalized homophobia is what made him act so cruelly. It didn't seem to cross his mind that the rest of us may not wish 'people' to think gay people were like Richard!

Perhaps this whole thing was a set up and an act. If not, I think the makers of this program should have been much careful of their choices of housemates. I fear for Shahbaz now and wonder how he will deal with this and only hope he can get the help he needs to deal with this past.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Our Trip To Munich

I don't know what the problem is with Belgium. Every time I have to drive in Belgium, the traffic is appalling. Totally screwed up. They have roadworks. Usually with no warning. Not only that, but they don't seem to get it right. Hours and hours are spent in traffic jams.

This trip was no different. When we left Calais, bright and early, it was a lovely day. Plenty of time to get to Saarbrucken. yes, I am a positive thinking soul, and I reassured myself that Belgium would behave itself today. It didn't. Sure enough we hit roadworks. 3 hours later, we managed to get into Luxembourg and from there there were no more hold ups.

Now in Germany, there are always roadworks but no hold ups. Why?

The weather was really weird. When we started in Calais it was about 19c and sunny. Somewhere on the Belgium/Luxembourg border, it dropped to 0c and we drove thru a snow blizzard! By the time we got to Saarbrucken it was 16c and sunny again.

Almost every trip I have taken, or we have, the weather has been odd to say the least. A hurricane in Chambery, France. Very bad thunder/rainstrom in Barcelona, 100 mph winds and snow in Sweden. More about that later.

Friday, May 19, 2006

We brought Charlie back from Munich. John found him asleep in the market square and thought we should give him a home. He must have been exhausted as the poor thing has been asleep ever since.
We rescued reefer from the local drug den. He still hasn't 'come down'.
This is Mouse, the daughter of Alice. Looking regal.
This is Mouse laying it on with a trowel.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Improved Sock

This is what i did: I cast on with 3.5mm over 72 sts using continental cast on. I knit 24 rows with 2mm needles in 2x2 rib. i changed to 2.25mm and knit 2 rows, increased 4 sts in round 3, knit 4 rounds and increased 4sts evenly. Now 80 sts and knit to row 60. Did Sherman Heel, leaving 16sts at pivot row. Finished heel and knit 66 rows before I started to decrease 4 sts each round, first with 3 rows between, 3 times, then 2 rows between twice and then every other row till 22 sts remained, turned inside out and did a 3 needle bind off.

This is my best fitting sock. The yarn is Opal 70% wool 30% silk.

97 Trip

I wrote about a trip I took in 97 on an email lsit and thought I'd reproduce it here.

I did a two week road trip on my own in 97 throughout New England, New York State and Canada.

I was shocked to discover thtat we speak different languages!
Whenever I stopped to eat to I learned to tell the waitress ' surprise me' when she started to tell me all the different ways I could have my burger cooked or the 1000 different dressings and salads etc. I didn't have a clue what she meant. I was so tired and stressed most of the time, I just wanted to scream at her ' just bring me a f'ing burger, I don't care what you do to it''!!! I did learn I loved Ranch Dressing and that proper chips were called Home fries.

Service was a real foreign thing for me. It was excellent! Here it is crap.

I found it scary to see people carrying guns(Maine and NH).

When I first set out from Logan in my left hand drive car, I saw armed police guarding roadworkers. 'Shit,' I thought. 'Crime really is bad here if road workers need to be protected.' I later mentioned this to a hotel receptionist and she laughed and told me they were a chain gang. What a good idea! Better than being banged up 23 hrs a day as happens here.

No wonder Stephen king set most of his stories in Maine. Very scary place. Beautiful but scary. I was expecting 'Murder She Wrote' but got 'Salem's Lot' instead.

When I stopped to eat, people would stop and stare at me. Okay, so I had a shaved head, three dangly earrings in my left ear and royal blue Doc Martens-normal and conservative for London.

I couldn't get over the portion sizes. I ordered a 'Philly Cheese Sub' in Burlington, VT. Out came this huge long bread thing stuffed with a cow and a half and a ton of cheese.
At a Cchinese I ordered one meat dish and one rice dish and got enough for 4 people.

One of the weirdest things was driving Route 7 in Ottawa. Covered in snow and nothing for miles that i could see. Suddenly i saw a sign saying 'Chinese Food' or something. I thought I was seeing a mirage. Sure enough, further along, there was this chinese restaurant in the middle of no where. Very Twilight Zone. I asked the proprietor what they did out here in this cold and snow, winter, and she said they all stayed in. Explains everything, i thought.

It was -20F most of the time and gorgeous. I saw waterfalls frozen mid fall, frozen lakes and icebergs floating down the St Lawrence river.

Scariest moment: I had stopped to walk in the woods and when i started to go back to my car, saw this truck full of men and guns nosing around my car. I didn't know what to do, so I coughed so they could know I was coming back. They dispersed after staring at me a while. I got back to my hotel and receptionist asked if I was alright cos I was shaking and pale. I told her what had happened and she said it was just the neighbours checking me out as they didn't get strangers there. What f'ing neighbours?!!!! I didn't see any homes or people! I thought I was about to star in Deliverence Two!

Oh and I also had breakfast once with a woman on her porch in the Adirondacks. She invited me in after I convinced I was not a govt agent after her taxes(!!!). As we were sitting there she told that the day befoe a bear had come up and taken her food. BEAR?!!! I had been walking on my own in these woods. no one told me there were bears in there!

Oh and when I left Presque Isle in Maine, the hotel man told me to be careful of the moose. Don't annoy them. They will total your car. I let go of the fact I had no clue what 'total' meant because I thought it more important that i know how I could annoy a f'ing moose?! What, don't talk politics to it? Forget to Praise The Lord? Just how do you annoy a moose?

Oh and a funny thing: I saw and ate at a café called the Road Kill Café in NH. I took a picture of the sign hanging out side which showed a raccoon getting squashed by a tyre. Made me laugh. But by then i was nearing a nervous breakdown anyway.

Yes, we are very different nations.

97 Trip Part 2

Another thing about that trip-I had hired a car at Logan. It was a Ford escort -what we would have called a Ford Mondeo.
Anyway, it was nice car, except that the steering wheel was on the wrong side. It was also cold. There was a knob on the dash that said 'A/C'. I had no idea what it meant so left it alone. Now I have posh car and know it means Air conditioning and I needn't have been cold!

The amount of times I parked the car, and when returning, got into the passenger side. I then had to get out and walk around the car to get in the drivers side. Yes, people did notice.

I recall parking at a mall, that was was split over two sides of a road. There was no way to walk from one side to the other. I had to get into the car and drive to the other side. Walking would have taken 30 seconds!

Only once did I drive on the wrong side of the road. In New York State, just before going into VT. I had turned right at a junction and just went the way I would in the UK. I nearly went head on into a woman and her car. Much to my surprise she did not give me the finger or anything.

Oh how I wished I had a sticker that said I was British and excuse my driving! On the other hand, I was quite pleased not to be recognisably foreign.

Oh and I just remembered being at traffic lights, waiting to turn right and the lights were on red. I was first and cars behind me were tooting their horns at me. I had no idea why. I later realised I can turn right even tho the lights are red.

I had booked a room at a lesbian run farm in Maine. Rural they said. In the middle of f'ing nowhere I discovered. It was dark, really dark I was driving along Rt1 I think in Maine and there was nothing, just trees and the moon. I was scared. I just knew this was a Stephen King story in the making. I eventually found a garage with a shop attached. I went in. there were 5 people in there, talking with eachother. They stared at me and just carried on talking. I asked for help and they were very amused. They commented to eachother on my accent like I wasn't there. They didn't help and I got out of there quick. I pictured meat hooks in the back room.

Anyway, about another 100 miles, I came across another shop. I went in. Guns all over the wall, and Jesus Loves You stickers. Okay, so I knew not to ask if they knew of a farm/motel run by lesbians. I did however ask if they knew the name of the farm and he said yes and gave me directions which I am sure were good - in the daylight. I went the way he said and was still not sure. I saw a house and went and knocked on the door. An elderly couple answered and did not seem phased at all, despite the fact I had driven over their lawn to their door. Well, it was dark. Very dark.

Eventually, I found the right track. I heard this awful crunching and I stopped my car and got out. I was on ice. Just as I got out the car, I noticed that in front of the headlights, the road seemed clear. I took a closer look-it was clear alright, no road, no trees, just a sheer drop. I backed away very slowly.

Once I found their farm, I got out the car and promptly fell flat on my face in the ice and snow. Just then 3 wolves came barking and howling towards me. Just before I wet myself, a woman also came, and yelled at what turned out to be her dogs. They left me alone and I managed to get up, cold, shaky and by this time feeling quite unreal.

Thankfully, my room was lovely, warm and cosy with a huge old fashioned bed with a deep mattress.

97 Trip Part 3

> Rte. 1 along the coast is the populated part of the state!

well i didn't go along the coast except thru NH into Maine. Perhaps I changed onto a different route? I know I went east till I almost hit NB and then up north to Presque Isle and Van somewhere which eventually took me thru NB into Quebec State.

Now Quebec State was something else. I was aware of it's French culture but did not realise they only spoke French!
On the route, I stopped to take a pee by the side of the road, got out, and promptly fell into very deep snow. It took a while to get out, once i stopped laughing.

I was also very pleased to see sensible speed limits instead of the crawling 55 of the US. Here I could do 70 which was better. It wasn't until i saw a sign that said 110 that I twigged that they were referring to KM's and not miles...

Quebec City was very nice but it took forever to find my way out of it. The bridge into it was scary for someone who doesn't like heights, though the view was delicious.

I left there and made my way to Montreal. I arrived in a blizzard. As I was driving, I noticed a circle of light hovering in the sky above. Now what? Haven't I had enough stress without now being abducted by aliens? This thing just kept hovering and the lights were bright. It turned out to be the top of the Olympic tower. Because of the weather I could not see the plinth it was on top of.

I stopped eventually at the police station to ask for help. A HUGE, very handsome policeman, I think part native Canadian, offered suggestions. The whole time I spoke with him, my eyes kept going to his groin. Not for the obvious reason but because he was wearing a gun, which worried me. Anyway, he told me that there were conventions on and that is why I was having difficulty finding a room.

Later I stopped at a taxi office and asked there. A woman said she knew a place and would take me there if I gave her a lift. I agreed. She was very nice and chatty tho I thought her manner of dress was tarty and not very suitable for the weather. She also had a bottle of whisky or something in her brown bag. Anyway, she took me to this place where I got a room. It was a bit noisy and lots or people, women and young men, milling around. However, once in my room, I slept and was not disturbed. It was only upon leaving that I realised that the woman had been a hooker and the hotel I was in was a place of entertainment...

I made my way to Ottawa where I stayed in the Novatel. Nothing much happened there. I found a twelve step group meeting and went to that. I needed it!

Onward to Toronto, via the back roads, Rte 7 and this is where I found that Chinese I mentioned earlier. Toronto was very busy and too much for me so I left and continued on to Niagra Falls. Breath taking. I said to the woman standing staring next to me that it made me want to jump in and go over the falls. 'Thank God! It's not just me' she replied.

From there to Buffalo(from The Stand I think) and from there to Utica where I spent a night. Oh and I found an place that sold Ice Cream! I got the assistant to fill a large cup with Maple, Vanilla, Chocoalte. Yummy! Into the Adirondacks where I had breakfast with that woman who's had a bear steal food from her porch.

From there a brief spell in Connecticut and into Vermont, thru a place called Woodstock but not the Woodstock. Then into the mountains and headlong into a snow blizzard. That was fun. Not only had I not driven in a blizzard but not in mountains like that either. Slowed right down to 15-20mph. Eventually looked at my map and found a city to head towards. White City. It turned out to be a very small town, not a city.

I found myself in West Lebanon, not even realising I had left VT and was now in NH. I stayed here for a few days. Drove to Burlington which I liked very much. I also went for a drive thru the White Mountains. Beautiful.

Then I had to make my way back to Logan and the much dreaded flight home.

Much to my shame, I had discovered that I had developed a fear of flying which I had not had before. I was relieved to land but was now terrified of flying home. The only thing that got me on that plane was the thought of being arrested and being thrown in jail by some fat, tobacco chewing sheriff.

I was so ill and terrified. I got out of my seat and went and sat on the floor in the loo and didn't move the whole 7 hours. The staff of AA were very good to me. They understood even though I felt like such a plonker. A very nice uniformed man came and sat on the floor with me and told me that a member of the cabin crew who had flown 20 years had come to work one day and could not get on the plane. He said his own daughter was afraid of flying and didn't. He then showed me maps of the plane route. Up till then I had assumed he was a steward. I had a horrid thought and I asked him what his job was. 'I am the pilot,' he said. My eyes almost popped and I said 'Who the f*** is flying the plane?!!' He laughed and said it was okay, two pilots were and that he was only on board to assess them. 'WHAT?!! You have f'ing learners flying the plane?' I practically passed out at this point. He explained it was yearly assessment that every pilot had to go thru.

We landed, I got off, not daring to look anyone in the eye, tho I did thank them for being so kind to me. AA staff were excellent and I would fly with them again...if I could bring myself to get on a plane ever again.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Aran work

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sherman Heels

I an very pleased with the way these socks turned out. The yarn is a hand dyed limited edition by Opal. I used 2mm Addi for the rib and 2.25mm by Inox for the rest.

I had already knitted one of these and frogged them. This is the first pair I have done. The rest have all been singletons as they were practice socks. I now intend to frog them all and do them with the same heel as these.

I used the Sherman Heel technique. Very easy to to and they are neat with no holes. I made an error in the pattern but am pleased with the result so will continue to knit this heel with the same error. The error was that I slipped the first stitch of each row AFTER the pivot row which according to the instructions, I ought not have. Still, I often find mistakes turn into my best techniques!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Stash Enhancement

I have done very little since we got back from Munich, just what i ahve to do with the dogs and a little sock knitting. Am still too knackered and sore to do much else. I loved the trip. I will post pics of what we saw when i het the films develoiped. I use 'proper' film and camera when away.This is how far I have got with my new Aran design.
This is a beautful yarn. it feel swonderfully soft and drapes very well. A smooth, slinky yarn. I am not sure if I will HK it or MK it. I bought in Reims, France. 100% BAMBOO!!!
These are 70% wool and 30% silk. More socks!!!
This is 'trachtenwolle'. Made in Austria. Bought in Munich. Will knit a Bavarian waistcoat with it. Saw many people wearing such in Munich and Innsbrook.
I love my skin head cut. very fetching. Frauke. I want to be a mum but I have been told I have to wait at least 6 months.
I am Micah,My sister is going to shows next month but I can't. Tilly the dax chewed off a big patch from my back! She was only cuddling me.
I am very pretty and I know it. I am Moon and I going to show off soon.
I am Luna and I am very pretty too but I think showing is beneath me so I get to stay at home.

How They Have Grown

If Brad pitt looked like me, he 'd really have to fight them off.
Nechung told me off!
I can eat this!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


I have been asked how I do my collars on machine knits. So here is my attempt to explain.

For a man's collar, I knit it 18cms wide and 8cms deep at the front, 2cms deep at the back. For a woman, 16cms and same depth. This is for a simple round/crew neck.

Lets assume one is using a yarn that knits at a tension of 28sts and 40 rows to 10cm. (2.54cm = 1").

Knit up to where one is going to start the neck shaping. For the front this will be 32 rows from the top. You will put all the sts left of centre plus 12sts on right of '0' into hold position. Your carriage is at right.

Knit one row to left and wrap needle 12 before knitting back to right. Pull further 2 sts into hold on left and knit one row, wrap, and knti one row. Repeat this until 22sts right of '0' are in hold.

Break yarn and place all sts into hold.

Now return all needles on left into work, from 13 outwards. This leaves all sts on right of '0' int hold plus 12sts on left of '0'.

Repeat shaping as you did for right hand side.

Once all shaping is done, knit a few rows in waste yarn over ALL sts and release from machine.(keep a note of the row number-it is easier to have row counter at 0 when starting neck shaping)

Now pick up sts on left hand side from left edge up to, and including ,needle 23. (Remember to put row counter at correct row number)Carriage at left, knit 4 rows. Do a fully fashioned decrease of 1 st. Use 3 prong tool, place on needles 23 ,24 and 25 and move all 3 ts one st to left. Knit 4 rows and repeat. Knit another 4 rows and repeat. Now one is left with only needle 26 to left edge in work. Knit until you have knit the 32 rows of neck.(Remember you already knit some of these rows). Knit some waste rows over shoulder sts and release from machine.

For right side, place sts back on machine from needle 23 to right edge. Repeat as for left side.


Knit to 8 rows below end of back. Place all sts left on '0' into hold plus up to and including needle 11 on right of '0'. Knit one row to left and wrap needle 11 before returing to right. Place 2sts into hold, knit to left and wrap and knit to right. Continue thus until needle 25 on right is in hold. Place all sts in hold.
Now return all needles from left edge to up to and including needle 12, into work and shape as you did for right hand side.

Knit a few rows of waste over left shoulder(sts from left edge up to and including needle 26), and release. Knit a few rows waste over centre sts(25 - 25) and release. Knit a few rows of waste over remaining sts and release.

With right side facing, pick up sts of left or right hand shoulder of either front or back onto machine. Remove waste. Now place corresponding sts of the other piece's shoulder onto those same needles(make sure neck shaping is on same side!). Knit 1 row at MT +1 and lacth tool off.

Now before one knits the collar, one has to work out how many sts one needs. You will need 50 sts for the back, and 44sts for the centre front. However, you also need to add sts for the straight inside edges of the neck shaping. I do not guess this. I find out by picking up that str8 edge on the machine and seeing how many it takes. Lets say it takes 12sts. So you have to add 2 x 12sts to the above figures. So we have 44 for centre front, 12 each for the two str8 edges and 50 for the back. 118 sts all together.

So you need to knit your collar over 118 sts. Regardless of whehter you knit a single rib collar or a doubled over st sts collar, the method for attaching is the same. Whehter it be a rib collar or a st st one, always finish your rows on the left. Then knit one row to left in st st using MT. (If you knit a rib collar, you have to place all sts on MB before you do this).

Now your carriage is at right. Pick up all sts from front neck and back onto the needles holding you collar. Knit one row to left using MT.

Now you have to knit one more row from left to right but by hand. This row MUST be loose. I put either the green ruler behind, resting at back of machine behind needle buts, and knit the needle back until it hits, or a do the same but using a 3 prong tool, which is slightly narrower, thus giving a larger sttich.

One done, I latch off using latch tool. Then I join the other shouder.

Now all that is left is the sewing of the collar to join it. I always use mattress stitch.


got home Saturday morning. too knackered to do anything like write on this blog. will post pics and stuff once I am recovered.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Reims Or is It Riems

Just gone 7am and we are driving to Reims today,about 450 miles from here in Munich. We will stay there tonight and tomorrow we will have a quiet day looking around and then making our way to our friends' home. Laurent and Francois live about 80 miles from Reims in a tiny village. We will have dinner with them and then leave for Calais to stay Friday night. Up early to catch the Chunnel back to England and then the 160 mile drive home to my dogs.

Have had a wonderful time. The new wheelchair has been very good and a real must. Couldn't have done it without it. I am pretty exhausted now so am glad to be on my way home.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Enjoying Munich

The weather is beautiful. 24c or so. Found two yarn shops with good selection of yarn tho no ADDI needles which I am after in order to add the sizes I don't have.

Bought 4 Opal wool/silk and 800gms of Trachtenwolle to make myself a waistcoat.

John really surprised me-he bought a tapestry to do. I assumed he was buying it for his PA or someone, but no it is for him.

Food here is very good and easy for me to eat according to my health requirements. I am VERY tempted by their cakes but so far the knowledge it will make my guts bad has won out!

I think John has had it with the shops. Tomorrow we do the museums and galleries.I quite fancy a trip along the river in a boat. We'll see.

Monday, May 01, 2006


There is free internet pc here in the Mecure where we are staying in Munich.
It is a very nice city. Today is a public holiday(as in UK), Labour Day. So we are off to Innsbrook for the day.

Germany is my favourite country of the 10 or so I have visited this last 4 years. Food, coffee, service etc is all excellent. disabeld facilities are also very good.

My friend Niki who is looking after our dogs has her own two neutered Apso. Well her neutered boy has been shagging my 8.5 year old Nechung!!!! I bet she is pleased and I am very pleased that no pups will result. She is not having anymore is retired now to end her days on my bed.

Be back 6th May.