Sunday, September 30, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Anyway, where's this going? Well, when Jon dyed up his first batch of yarn we were well impressed. We had a few samplers in the shop and, honestly, it's very rare to get the reaction from customers that we did when they spotted them. Never ones to miss an opportunity we decided to ask if he'd make 10 colourways just for us - we'd provide the 'inspiration' and he could do the hard work! We chose our 10 favourite songs, rustled up a CD and left him to it. For the past three months we've waited with baited breath while Jon slaved away in his labyrinthine studio, concocting potions, mixing colours, creating yarny magic...and this is the result. It was well worth the wait. In no particlular order these brand new colourways, did I say exclusive to IKL(?) are Release The Stars (Rufus Wainwright), Venus as a Boy (Bjork), It's a sin (Pet Shop Boys), When Doves Cry (Prince), Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes), Atomic (Blondie), Enough is Enough (Babs and Dons), Big Spender (Shirley Bassey), Ashes to Ashes (David Bowie) and The Man with the Child in His Eyes (Kate Bush)...time for cheesy 'tagline' - something about 'pop socks' I suppose would do! Check out Jon's blog for his continuing adventures and don't forget he dyes his own colours too - he'll be selling his wares at the UK Stitch 'n Bitch Day so get 'em while they're hot.
On the music theme, you know that feeling when there's a song you've loved for ages, but it's never really been a big hit? That feeling like it's your song, you've discovered it and it's really cool, cos, like everyone else is missing out? I had this feeling with Tony Christie's Amarillo - this was a favourite of mine and my pal Ann's for years. I once worked in a very cool record shop in Carlisle (I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but bear with me) and Ann and I struck up a friendship over a love of Take That and brilliant forgotten pop music. These days they are called 'guilty pleasures', which I hate cos we never felt guilty about our Barry Manilow records. So, when Peter Kay released it and it became the soundtrack to every hen party, wedding reception, leaving do for the next 20 years we were a bit aggrieved....well, now I'm on the other side of the thing. I've become a bit obsessed with that stupid Lambrini advert! The song is by Al Wilson, called 'The Snake' and it's a bit of Northern Soul 'stomper' - there must be mods up and down the country shaking their heads in dismay. With all this stuff in the charts where downloads now count I can see it being a big hit and becoming just as irritating as Amarillo did. Shame. I quite like the new charts though...Phil Collins back in the top 20 is never a bad thing! (I am a child of the 80s before you start).
As a pre-teen/teenager of the 80's I had a successful trip to the local charity shop yesterday. I need to start doing little walks for the back problem and I haven't been for ages. Sadly, many charity shops have lost their edge in these days of Ebay, but there are still surprises to be found. Yesterday I got myself a copy of Nu Shooz's Poolside LP ("baby, i-i-i-i- can't wait") and Lovebug Starski's House Rocker (remember Amityville (the House on the Hill))?! Both of these are records kids...remember them. I've got about 3000. Oh, I also found this:
Last night's knitting group was another full house...nice to see, as always, some new faces and hopefully regulars to be. We polished off the chocolate cake, had a few ciders and it was lovely. Alice from Socktopus joined us with her friend - rudely I never asked his name, sorry! Alice will be joining Jon and all the others at SnB Day too with her Socktopus delights!
Some teaching was going on too...in between the swigs of red wine to keep you going!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
It made from Artesano Alpaca Inca Cloud on 4mm addi lace. I use the addi lace whenever I can! The ears where a little annoying and they came out quite big but I didn't want to change them because the look a little funny, don't you think?
Saturday, September 22, 2007
our knitting group night and other stuff. It's all down to 'popular demand', honest! The Wednesday night meetings at the shop are getting very popular and we realised that meeting on the same night every week left some people with no chance of experiencing IKL...and that's just not fair is it? So, we'll still be having the fortnight in the pub (if anything just to keep G & I sane - we've spent more time in the last year in the shop than we have at home!) finding all the best alehouses for knitting, and we'll also be at IKL every Wednesday in between. No change there, but from 4th October we'll be having it on a Thursday too. Every Thursday at IKL from 6 as usual for those who miss the Wednesday. This means that film night (left) finds a new home on a Friday - which seems like a perfect start to the weekend. We've had some good films in the last few weeks, but numbers dropped - probably because they weren't too well known - but it's always a good night, and genuinely relaxing (if you can sit down that long. Ouch). We kick off with The Talented Mr Ripley on Friday 4th October...which links nicely to the book group, another new venture!
I put my hand up and admit that I haven't read a book for almost TWO YEARS! I know, shame. I got bogged down in a biography of Arthur Rimbaud and, being an anally-retentive, pedantic geek I felt I couldn't start another book until I'd finished that one. Mmm. Well, thanks to Ravelry we discovered a desire for a knit-friendly book group and offered ourselves up as a venue. We can't take any credit for it, but we're really excited to host it, on the last Tuesday every month, and I have just finished the book (The Cry of the Owl, by Patricia Highsmith - that's the link to Ripley, by the way, if you didn't get it). We're called The Kniterati and anyone can come along. We've put a page on our website to keep folks up-to-date with meetings and books. It has dawned on us that in order to have 'a life' we need to include everything we do into IKL - that is our life, and pretty much everyone we know we've met through the knitting group, some great new friends and some brilliant times.
Sadly, in amongst all this shuffling around something had to give...and it was the Friday night men's night. I think we're both proud that for over a year we hosted the only dedicated knitting group for men in the UK (?). We were never trying to make any kind of statement, we were just offering a place to go and enjoy a few drinks without those weird looks - believe me, we still get them, and unless you've been a part of ANY minority group it's probably quite hard to understand that feeling of freakishness you get when fingers are pointing. Happily, we've always enjoyed being freaky. We never thought we were different, better or worse than anyone else but the men's nights have been some of the best knit nights I've had, and, again we've made some close friendships that will last. Next Friday, 28th September, is the last ever. Join us if you can, whoever you are and whatever you've got.
After the phenomenal reaction to the Jean Greenhowe booklets we chose Tea Cozies as our 'book of the month'. It's gone down a storm. I am now realising that for all the overstyled Rowan magazines, the glorious Erika Knight (love her!) books, the expensive hand-spun silk yarns and the unfathomable-but-beautiful Victorian lace shawl patterns there's a whole host of us knitters who just like the simple things in life - and what could be cozier, more English and more useless (which makes it a must-have in my book) than a cozy for your bog roll or a woolly jumper for your teapot? Gerard's messing with nature and knitting this sheep cosy (below) with alpaca, and Tom hasn't lost a fight with a very small Tommy Cooper impersonator, he's actually modelling the very latest in 'crocheted top hat toliet roll cozies'.
And, very finally, if you didn't think they were cute, you surely will this...a new pattern from Artesano's Hummingbird range this papoose is possibly the dinkiest, cutest and most adorable thing I have ever seen. Baby not included...
Monday, September 17, 2007
This is the medal I got on Saturday! I ran through a cold, got lots of asthma which helped the lurgi get a little stronger.
I love my medal. The sun was shining and it was really warm, nice day and I ran the 5K in 35 minutes. I'd hoped to do a little better than that but I had to walk for some of it as I couldn't breathe! The things we do for trees!
We need more of them! especially in cities! Thank you to everyone who sponsored me. If you haven't and you would like to please do so, here www.justgiving.com/gerardlovestrees
I've spent most of the time since in bed! I'm really scared about the marathon!
Being sick and off work is made so much more unbearable by Noel Bloody Edmonds!
You'd think all this time meant I had got lots of knitting done. Well, I haven't. It's hard to concentrate. poor me! He's a picture of where I'm up to with my Easy Knits sock yarn. I've stopped holding my breath for more Easy Knits stock for the shop. I still have hope though.
This is just a very standard pattern because I love the colours so much. It's called Release the stars. I'm still slightly obsessed by that album.
I spoke with Brandon Mably the other day and he's very excited about his UK Stitch 'n Bitch gig. He'll do a couple of hour knitting in colour workshop for a lucky 8 or so people. All the workshops are free.
I'm really looking forward to the pub meeting this week. we'll be in the Lamb on Lambs Conduit street. Craig is actually feeling much better and is seeing a physio tomorrow so he maight even be there, too.
We're also excited about moving the film night, probably to Fridays. The Wednesdays in the shop are so popular we we decided to open up Thursday nights for a regular weekly knitting club in the shop.
Friday, September 14, 2007
I've also done some of the flowers from the scarf on the cover of the latest Vogue Knitting. They are so easy. I'm not making the scarf, just the flowers for a bit of decoration. I made a huge version out of colinette point five and it's all peaches and cream - pink and that! It's gorgeous.
I've started on a tea cosy, too. It's from a new book we got to the shop. It's called Tea Cosies, funnily enough. I'm doing a sheep tea cosy. I've only done the sheep's head and the ears, in artesano alpaca, and it's also fab. I've decided that it's my Saturday knitting so I can't wait to spend some time doing the loop stitch this weekend.
In other news - Thanks to Amy, my social life has seen lots of action this week! Last Friday I went as Amy's plus 1 to Hell's Kitchen. Nothing much happened, to be honest, but it was still rather marvellous. It's strange having a camera 2 inches from your face when you are trying to decide which starter to have. I got all confused and nervous and forgot I had to order a main meal, too! It may have been the champagne and the gin cocktail we had before we ordered, actually.
So, if you have been watching you may be familiar with the menu (I've only seen 1 episode and it was after I had been), I had scallops to start. They were amazing. I'm not used to dining so well so Amy helped me decide and they were cooked perfectly! I gave them 10/10. They even came with a bit of pastry!
Then I had dover sole. It was a little salty with a tomato salsa and anchovies but I love anchovies and salt and the fish was cooked well so I was happy again!
Then I had raspberries that were built into this castle with sugar wafers. That was very sweet, gorgeous. Amy's dessert wasn't that nice, an undercooked soufflé, so she sent it back and we were ready for action. The maitre'd was really nice and said 'I'll bring you another.' I was a bit disappointed to be honest, I wanted to be kicked out full of lovely food and lots and lots of wine. There were loads of people there, I met the Puppini Sisters who are almost edible themselves.
This week I went to the press night of the new cast of Spamalot. It was marvellous. Craig has seen the show a few months ago and loved every minute of it and talked about it for weeks so I have been really keen to see it. There were so many famous people there, including half of the Coronation Street cast. I was desperate to talk to Cilla in the party later. We didn't stay long though.
Will Young was also there. Now, one of the more interesting things about having a tracker on the blog is seeing that certain websites are sending a lot of people your way. One of those is williamyoung.biz. I'm rather dim and didn't put 2+2 together so couldn't work out why, until I went there and discovered that William is long for Will. I mentioned him in a post about Glastonbury and the Will fans found it and told other Will fans to come over and read. Anyway - Will looked lovely.
In real life - thanks to everyone for your well wishes for Craig's speedy recovery. He's seeing a physiotherapist and spending a lot of time lying on his side and he's feeling much better for it.
The UK Stitch 'n Bitch Day is almost here - I can't beleive it! We've got so much planned, and so much yarn will be there, including Wensleydale Long Wool Sheep Shop and Garthenor. Debbie Stoller keeps telling us that she is so excited - she can't wait to meet the UK's knitters!
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
-Hello, Merlin Inflatables.
- Hi, my name is Gerard. I work for a charity called WaterAid. You made an inflatable costume for us recently...a huge hand.
- Ah, yes, I remember. How are you?
- I'm fine thanks, you?
- Great, how can I help.
- We think we may need another costume. Part of our campaigning is based on sanitation and the fact that billions people don't have sanitation, anyway, I think we would like an inflatable poo and I wanted to ask if that's something you could do.
- Sorry I couldn't make out what you wanted, you have a soft voice. You want an inflatable costume...different from the last.
- Yes, sorry I always get a bit shy when I say it to people I don't know - bare in mind the sanitation focus - we need an inflatable poo and I've looked at your brochure and I'm not sure what category it would fit into...product replicas or large inflatables and rooftops.
- Can you tell me again what you want, I'm so sorry I still didn't catch it.
- An inflatable POO.
- Oh, right... A number 2? I think we could manage that!
- Oh, thanks, I'm sorry I always get a bit embarrassed. A number 2 is a polite way to say it over the phone. I've never thought of that...
- Well we have done other costumes like this - what kind of size are you thinking?
- I suppose about 15 or 20 foot long and 5 or 10 foot wide.
- OK. Now, a number 2?
- Yes. Bear in mind the sanitation focus.
- Right, would you like the like it in words? T W O or T O O? Or would you like the number 2?
- erm, oh, erm, I don't think we've got there, actually. What we need is P OO. P for Paul. Not T for Thomas.
- OH! HaHa! POO? I see. Would you want P OO or with an H?
- No. Not letters. We need the artifact. We need a respresentation. We need a big inflatable poo!
- And we'd like the option of floating it on a river so I'm not sure if that makes a different to any quote you can give me. erm...
This conversation actually happened.
I shit you not.
We lost. We were robbed. We were told there would be no trick questions then we got a trick question - if you watched you will have seen that I found both my questions very tricksy! I wasn't so good on the show but the other 4 were brilliant, especially Craig. Craig is brilliant.
We had so many plans for the £55 grand. Craig said last night that he still can't beleive we lost £55K - my response was, we didn't! We never had it so we we could never loose it, we just didn't win it.
A special mention to our teams mates, Jon did amazingly well - they didn't show it on the telly but he and Ms Keple went on to compete in about 8 sudden death questions! He was great but for the lack of citrus knowledge.
Science Tom was also amazing. He was robbed!
We didn't use Another Tom very well. We should have put him in one of the rounds and left me alone. I was actually the only person who knew it was The Geneva Convention!
Anyway, I hate mucials and I wont deny it!
Do you know http://www.lovefilm.com/? I have been a member for years and I love it. They are online rental with no fees - you pay a monthly subscription and get to rent 2, 3 or 4 titles at a time. You have a waiting list and when you send one back they take the next available from the top and send it. Then you watch it. Then you return it in the envelope they provide. Then the cycle repeats.
Follow the above link - you get a free month!