Sunday, July 29, 2007


Firstly, thanks for the advice that was given re my camera - it is definitely an error with the card, so when I have a moment or two to think about it, I shall try some of the suggestions.

I am a bit miffed that my pictures of Zurich seem to be 'lost' but let's face it. with all the awful things that happen, it shouldn't even be on a list of disappointments...

Last week I was on Skye at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college. This is the third year that I have gone up for a week's tuition and I have been filled with vim and vigour! We had a wonderful tutor for the week. Therefore I am forging ahead with my Gaelic studies and have applied for An Cùrsa Adhartais - according to the college, at the end of this two year distance learning course I should be fluent......I am hoping to add another language or two to my repertoire, so soon I'll be unstoppable in about 3 languages :0)

Number Guy had a great week while I was in class - I would like to think the fact that I was in class had nothing to do with it...anyway, he went to Applecross and I was more than a little jealous, since the day was marvelous and hence the views were also. He did make it up to me though - we went to Kinloch Lodge for dinner. It was marvelous. It was expensive. So we went only once ;0)

Of course, I cannot show you any pictures from Skye since I didn't have a working camera....but having bought a new card today, I decided to try it out. Without much to inspire me, I decided on a few garden pics - here is a a wee comparison of the yarn bought in Zurich our very first clematis.

And this is kind of how I would like our back garden to look - a profusion of tumbling flowers. At the moment we have a profusion of overgrown grass and weeds

Right, back to the grindstone - I've been LaTeXing the little bit of the assignment that I've done. I can do only so much work on the PC before I need a hard copy to be able to make sense of it all. For those of you not familiar with LaTeX it is a really useful document preparation tool, which I have mentioned previously. However, one has to type in all the formatting commands and then instruct the programme to build the document. Inevitably there are errors, so then one has to go through the work and painstakingly fix these before the file document can be built. As I am a new user, I have more errors than most. One it's done, though, a rather nice PDF is created which I can print and read.

But only once it's done....

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Playing with pictures


As I haven't been able to anything about my Zurich pictures, I decided to find out how to adjust digital pictures. Here is my first attempt.

I can't show you the 'before',since I hadn't realised that when I renamed it that the original would be overwritten....but the overall image looked more like this:

And here's the 'after' of the second image: It's all a bit 'blunt', but I didn't realise that I had any such facility on my PC. I'm going to practice some more and see if I can improve my pictures for the blog - if I can ever get the PC and camera to speak to each other again.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


This is where I had planned to dazzle y'all with some great pictures, but as I said in the previous post, the card on my camera isn't playing - it's taking the pictures, but the computer can't read them...

All I have is about 4 pictures, including this one of a tram* ...and some toasters.

Toasters? Yep - but boy. they're some toasters...

I'm sure that anyone who has been to Zurich will agree that it is a beautiful place, and clean to boot. Safe, friendly, excellent public transport, great food...wonderful yarn. Yep, I didn't let my lack of German hinder me ;0) I tracked down some great silk/merino but for now you're gonna have to trust me.

The weather faeries had been out in force and espite the fact that the weather recently had been awful we had a wonderful few days - can you believe I was actually too hot? In the shade ?

But I'm not complaining. Nope. I loved it. Now I just want to know - when can I go back????

* It's my blog, so if I want to put pictures of trams on it, I will!

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Nikkon camera help needed

Aargh! I have some pics to share, but my computer is playying silly beggars. got a Nikkon Coolpix 3700 with lots of pictures on the card - when I put the card in the PC it is a s if there are no oictures on it. I tried deleting the previous pictures, to see if that helped, to no avial.

Any suggestions? Much appreciated....


Friday, July 13, 2007

Galvanised into action, sewing

Isn't it amazing how an impending visit can move things up the 'to do list' in a most dramatic fashion?

In a week or so, a friend is arriving to give me a sewing lesson (which I'll tell you more about after the event, obviously) and I just couldn't put IT off any longer. The Grand Tidy - which is a bit of an understatement, let me tell you. Here are a couple of shots now that I am about 90% done Now I haven't hoovered yet, or tidied up completely, but it's a lot better. So much so that I don't have the nerve to show you what it was like before...

See those drawers? They hold some, but by no means all, of my yarn stash. I haven't shown you the fibre or fabric - think I'll leave that for when I'm feeling stronger ;0)

But this hasn't been the only tidying in progress. Y'know when you have so many things on the go that your mind just refused point blank to have anything more to do with your knitting? When even the thought of what you'll have to go through just to locate a project is enough to make you lie down in a darkened room for days? No? And you call yourself a knitter....? Anyway, it was like that chez moi - between the chaos in my craft room, and the chaos in the knitting corner something was going to have to give. So I've also been 'rationalising my knitting', which is an oxymoron if ever I heard one.... I now have a basket, albeit a fairly large one, with all of my works in progress contained therein. Well, the ones I could find anyway. The good thing is that I feel mentally 'uncluttered now'. So much so that when the Early Childhood & Society thingy is out of the way I am going to sew this: Isn't that just the best fabric? Combined with this '60s dress pattern I thinks it's gonna be grrreat ;0)


Thursday, July 12, 2007

twelfthknit: Backpack I

twelfthknit: Backpack II

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alston 2007 II

Just when I thought I hadn't got a picture of the silk spinning, look what I found... See that pink stuff? It's a silk cap and it takes some amount of working, let me tell you. I am going to try the advice in the link if I ever spin a silk cap again (which is to wear surgical gloves), because my fingers were a bit of a mess after. Come to think of it, I might try chain mail gloves - I think that is the level of protection that is required. I much prefered the silk top which was a delight to spin

Our instruction was provided by Joyce**, who is a lovely lady - she used to be a member of the Craven Spinners*, I believe, and as it is their members who organised the event I expect she was even more welcome ;0) The bag of goodies which is being held up for the camera is the mix of merino and silk that we were using over the weekend.
*Edit: Eeek! Screaming of brakes and a dashing back to Blogger. I believe that the Bowland Guld may have been involved....whew, did I get away with that? Will I be allowed back next year....?

Here are a couple of reprobates for your delectation: First up is Hazel, or Haxel, as I like to call her Next we have Maxine and I like to call her, well, Maxine.... Have you noticed the variety of wheels, by the way?

Now, I know that the weavers will moan ;0) so here is another example of Krokbragd weaving . Isn't the internet a marvelous place? I typed in a few random letters and managed to get a decent link. I believe that there were a few difficulties at the beginning of the class, but what do you expect when folk swing from the rafters instead of settling down to work? Thanks goodness one or three folk got their fingers out ;0) (Yep, I've got one more sample to show, but not just yet....)

So, Number Guy - here is the proof. We WORKED. All weekend. There was no revellry. No gossiping. No quaffing of ale. No eating of vast quantities of food....

**And, while I like to call this fine lady 'Joyce', her name is in fact 'Jean'...

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns


Have you ever been so caught up in a novel that you find yourself enraged at the treatment that one human being is doling out to another? You find your stomach clenching at the petty cruelties handed out so carelessly, yet with so much thought behind them. A Thosand Splendid Suns is having that effect on me.

Khaled Hosseini writes a mean tale, on more than one level, and as I listen to the audio version, I find myself hoping that Laila and Maryam's husband gets his dues. Not very Buddhist, is it?

It isn't a very relaxing 'read', but I highly recommend it.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Fighting the Black Dog


(If you are looking for Alston Hall entry, scroll down to previous one - and keep coming back for updates. I'll remove this rather odd comment in a few days, but it need to be here just now, honest!)

I was really interested in Ginger Nut's campaign and thought I would share my own story - using knitting to fight depression. If you want to read more about how this is being done, click the image above.

Now, while I don't walk in to a crowded room and declare 'I'm a knitter and a bit of a nutter!' sorry - I just couldn't help it - alliteration, rhyme and stereotyping all rolled into one ;0)

Let me start again - While I don't walk into a crowded place and announce that I have been both psychiatric nurse and patient, I never shy away from the subject should it be appropriate.

I guess that it was writ large in my stars that depression would find me sooner or later - I'm not going into details here - and when you add becoming a mother for the first time hundreds of miles from home, to an unhappy marriage, the result is unsurprising. The only surprising thing is that I managed to hold it off for so long.

Not so strangely, I think, I depression finally caught up with me at a time when my life should have been easier - child just at school, I'd qualified as a nurse, starting a part-time degree. But I think this is often the way - somehow, somehow, you keep battling on while you have to. Once the pressure is released - bam! Hits you right between the eye.

I'm going to scroll on a few years here and you'll find me at home, having just been discharged after my second admission. I'm still appalled at that. Discharge PLAN? Had anyone at that place even HEARD of the notion? And what about patient actually being FIT for discharge.....

Boy, it was tough. I was so lonely. In so much emotional pain. DIdn't know what to do with myself. Then I had the faintest glimmer of an idea - I could knit, couldn't I?

You must be bloody joking! If what you expected was a tale of how knitting salved my injured soul, you've come to the wrong place....but don't go just yet. Hear me out. In my mind at the time (which was such a bruised and battered place, let me tell you) people who knitted were Sad. Lonely. Pathetic. Ergo, if I knit I would become Sad. Lonely. Pathetic.

What I didn't see at the time, what I couldn't see at the time is that I already was this person. I just couldn't bear to admit it to myself. If you have suffered in the way that I have, you will understand the emotional pain which is so intense it becomes an actual physical pain deep within. My mind just couldn't take any more, couldn't admit what I was actually feeling.

So knitting didn't help me fight off that depression. Not one little bit - if you want to know how I did succeed, you'll need to tune in to a future episode. But what I do know now, is that knitting right here right now is part of my master plan. The plan that keeps me well, off the tablets and out of hosptial. Sure, I have my moments, my days when I am blue. Sometimes it's deeper than that and I have to take action. Knitting, and just as importantly, the knitting community, is part of that plan. Not the only part, but an important one nonetheless.

Tune in next week folk, for another rivetting episode of 'How India keeps out of the Funny Farm.' ;0)

EDIT: I have had to hide the comments for this post becasue I accidentally published an email that I didn't mean to - feel free to add any comments regarding this post on another one.

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Alston 2007

It's nearly 11 pm and Number Guy and I have been back for about 20 mins. I still feel like I'm in a moving vehicle :0( However, it was worth it, my fourth visit to Alston Hall When even the 'welcome' sign is set in such lovely surroundings, you know you're in for a treat...

As expected, and sincerely hoped for, most of the usual friends and aquaintances were there. Sadly (for us, anyway !) Carol and Pete weren't there this time - not that this stopped me buying one of their spindles ;0) ;0) Where there's a will, there's a way - in this case, Freyalyn, who kindly brought lots of Carol and Pete's goodies to show us. When she isn't facilitating our habits further by providing a dazzling array of her own dyed fibres, Freyalyn is a mightily talented spinner - and here is the lovely lady herself, clutching her brand new Little Gem wheel. If you like luscious fibre, check back in a few days for pics of the tiny quantity that I got over the weekend

As my internal battery runs down, I can't decide what to 'show and tell next', so I think I'll put a pic up of some of the wild folk who came along for the spinning workshop - just be glad they're spinning in this picture, because when they weren't they could be found swinging from the chandeliers and getting up to all sorts of mischief. I, meanwhile, remained the perfect example of decorum and modestly at all times. And just to keep things equal ( and to make sure I get invited back!) here is a weaving sample - the other guys were doing some amazing Norwegian technique which I can't even begin to spell.(The word reminded me a bit of Gaelic, to tell the truth - the letters sound nothing like you expect them to, and half of them are silent!)

So that's all the show-and-tell for tonight, but over the next few posts I'm going to put up my 'Wanted Gallery' of the rest of the gang that came along. There are a couple of other lovely examples of the weaving to show - if my addled memory serves me correctly, they were done by Marilyn and Mary,who did a grand job of organising this weekend. Superbly well, in fact, as they were 'Organiser Virgins'. They must have been just a tad nervous as they had a lot to live up to - that superb piece of weaving you can see above was done by Liz, who hung up her hat last year after 10 years of organising Alston. I think we are all agreed that Mary and MArilyn passed muster.

Before I go for the night, I have to admit to a bt of a slip - I forgot to take pictures of our silk spinning.....not only does this mean you can't get a glimpse of the spun fibre, but now Number Guy is going to be more convinced than ever that all I do at these things is 'drink tea' and gossip....

And on that note, I'm off to bed - tioraidh an-drasta!

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Before I head off...

....lookee here .
My bag got a mention - I'm swelling with pride ;0)


Reduce, reuse, recycle


Well, I've just managed to put my eyes back in their sockets.... I was Googling 'Kaffe Fasset shirt quilt' because I'm going to make, well, I guess you can figure it out ;0)
Now, while I realise that Google can throw up some pretty weird results, I was, quite frankly, astounded. And while I wouldn't classify this as a 'family blog', I have decided to spare my blushes - and yours - by not quoting some of the results. For those of a more 'curious' nature, let's just say I had managed to type in 'Kaffe Fasset sh*t quilt' .Without the asterisk. With an 'i'. Indeed

So, moving along, I had hoped to show you a pic of a finished 'shirt' quilt top, but even when I did manage to get the right phrase, I still couldn't find what I was after. Anyway, having decided to make this my first foray into quilting, it was only when I had actually purchased 5 half-yards of shirting that the light bulb came on - Why not use cotton shirts from the charity shops? Why not indeed. So here are 9 of my '15 different fabrics' - the bottom four being the shirts I bought today. All 100% cotton, costing about £14.00 total.

I want the finished quilt to be quite light, so I'll be focussing aquiring on lighter stripes.

The sewing will be on hold for a little while, though. As well as the assignment to do (why am I always doing an assignment?), I'll be off to Alston Hall tomorrow for a spinning weekend. This is the fourth year that I've been and it's great - both in terms of value for money and the company. And it has to be said that the staff go out of their way to be helpfull. And there's breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner......I'm bound to come back spherical

Tha also means that I'll be maintaing radio silence - if you get in touch with me I won't be able to reply until late Sunday - while I'm happy for my dear mum to house sit, I don't think either of us would be happy if I let her loose on my blog ;0)

Have a great weekend - I know I will !

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Le Weekend


You mean it was only the one??? It feels more like 3 or 4...

Began on Friday, when we headed for Cumbria and Woolfest, a half-day earlier than expected, which should have meant a half-day extra. Unfortunately my changeover of migraine meds was NOT going well, so I had to leave after only one and a half hours. This was around about the time I thought 'Sod this!' and went back on the Pizotifen, big time. It may have helped in the gaining of 2 stone over the past 4 years, but I forgive it everything. Some drugs are just meant to be....

Saturday was better pain-and-nausea-wise, but I don't think I was making much sense. Put it this way, Heather may have had a slight interest in spnning before our little 'conversation', but I reckon she'll have had none after :0)

Fighting womanfully against the migraine, I did manage to make the best of the day, but unfortunately I have no pics....there were more vendors this year - no empty rows like the last two years. I'll do a bit of show-and-tell in a subsequent blog, but let's just say that various . great. stalls were visited.More than once.


Met up with various folk, including a number of Rowanettes, as well as Jill who has defected to the dark side married and moved away from the area.

Despite the seductive tones emanating from this little beauty we had to leave about 3-ish. Not to Marrakech as had been our original plan, but to Leicester to visit Number Guy's family


We headed North on Monday, but took our time, meandering through the Lakes, stopping off to eat dinner at one of our favourite places. By the time we got home on Tuesday I felt like I'd been away for years.

And in lieu of Woolfest pics, here's a reminder of what summer in Glasgow can be like

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