Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's In The Genes

Those of you who read My Family and Other Knitters - pt 1 will know that I come from a very creative bunch. Since my sister has been studying the family tree, we have discovered another little sprig of needlecrafting ability.

As all of my maternal grandfather's family were seafarers, I always imagined that their wives and sisters spent their time faithfully knitting ganseys. My maternal grandmother's family, however, tended towards brickmaking, and it was with great please that I discovered my great-great-great-aunt Rosanna, born in 1838, who appears on the 1851 Census as a lacemaker. She would only have been 13, and was already earning money, which seems strange to us these days, but was the norm back then. However, she is the only one in the family, so I would love to know where she learnt her skills and what kind of lace she made. She lived near Salisbury in Wiltshire, so she was nowhere near the great lacemaking areas like Honiton or Notingham.

The present is also quite interesting this week. Poor little Tigger has had a trip to the V-E-T because he has a cold. He's determined to punish us for this; both Richard for taking him, and me for letting him. It has to be said, that he is punishing me far more!

I've been in contact with Deborah at Simply Knitting, and I am please to say that my plus size patterns are now underway. The next thing I am having published is in issue 23, not a plus size pattern in the strictest sense although scarves do tent to be one-size-fits-all. Also, Simply Knitting now has a blog, which is well worth a read.

Lastly, I am very proud to announce that I have finished all the sketches for my samples. Not all to my satisfaction, but the best that my limited artistic ability can produce. Watch this space...


Tigger says, "Try getting me in that carrying box again, and it will be the worse for you..."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I Aten't Dead

Sorry for my non-appearance last Sunday. It's been a bit of a time, what with my tooth, and going out gallivanting, and the Beamish Boy upgrading my computer and introducing it to Linux. It wasn't love at first sight...

However, now that the BIOS has been upgraded, everything seems to be working fine, and I am no longer under the oppressive thumb of Bill Gates :)

I've spent part of the past week wrestling with my mother's Christmas present. She requested a big lacy knitted circle, with slits left in it for her arms to go through, so that it would just cover her shoulders nicely if she had to go into hospital. Not that she's planning to, you understand, but she likes to be prepared. I faffed about with a number of different knitting and crochet patterns, none of which really fitted the bill. In the end, I dug out one of my favourite crochet doily patterns, and worked it in 4-ply yarn with a 4mm hook. This gave me a good base on which to build, probably by adding a few plain rounds at the end and working the slits into them.

It was at this point that I phoned my mother and told her what a pretty bed jacket she was going to get.

"Oh, I didn't want anything as complicated as that," she said. "I was thinking of just a length of knitting joined up at the ends to make cuffs. I didn't want you to go to any bother."

I told her firmly that she was having a fancy bed jacket and liking it, and then went straight back to my crochet and started working out how to add cuffs...

In the end what I did was simply to work in half-rounds, gradually decreasing as I went, to turn the circular doily into an oval shape. When it was wide enough, I put the edges together and started working round, and round, and round to make sleeves. Of course I would have done this a lot more quickly had I remembered that the doily was composed of 16 motifs. The first time I started on the half-rounds, I counted up and came to 15, so I worked the whole of the first side and sleeve from a beginning of 7-and-a-half motifs. It was only when I'd nearly finished the second side, worked over 8-and-a-half motifs, and held up that sleeve against the first one, that I noticed the discrepancy in width. Luckily crochet is much easier to unpick and work up again than knitting...

Well, it's finished now, and I can get back to my plus size patterns.

And I promise that this week, I really will do the sketches to go with the swatches I made weeks ago, and get them sent off...


Tigger doesn't care what I do, as long as I don't move :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Extracting Information

My teeth and I have had rather a week of it, which is why I am blogging a day late - the Beamish Boy wasn't here yesterday and, in my codeine-befuddled state, I couldn't remember how to switch on the laptop...

Whether it was the stress of going out, or the result of gritting my broken teeth as I concentrated on navigating, I don't know. All I know is that I developed something nasty under my teeth, which has taken a week of antibiotics to kill off, and a large amount of codeine to subdue.

Anyway, once I get the All Clear, I can force myself to visit a dentist. Yes, I have found one - not only an NHS dentist who is still taking patients, but a wheelchair-accessible one too.

They weren't easy to find, even with the help of one of those Patient Helplines that we're always being told to ring. I explained that I needed a wheelchair-accessible NHS dentist whose books were still open.

  "Oh, yes!" the lady said, brightly. "We would recommend Tiggywinkle's Tooth Emporium1 on Steep Street."
  "Is that the one halfway up a steep cobbled hill, with no car park?"
  "That's the one!" she replied, cheerfully.
  "OK," I said carefully, "but it's not really wheelchair-accessible, then, is it?"
  "Ah," she said, ruffling a few papers. "Then what about Dingly Dell Divine Dentists?"
  "Three stories up, and no lift," I reminded her.
This had her stumped. "We-ell..." She ruffled a little more. "The Pixie Palace for Pearly Teeth?"
  "It's a converted terrace house," I pointed out. "There's not exactly a lot of room inside; remember, I need it to be wheelchair-accessible."
She sighed a deep sigh. "Well, I can think of one place," she said, "but it's outside of the town."
  "Is it an NHS practice?"
  "Is it still taking new patients?"
  "And is it wheelchair-accessible?"
  "It's a hospital," she muttered. "Own car park, all on one level, automatic doors. But I don't know whether it will suit you..."
  "Why on earth wouldn't it suit me?"
  "Because you said Durham City, and this one's three miles outside..."

I am delighted to report that I didn’t call her a Rude Name, but thanked her politely, took the hospital's phone number, and hung up...

So, another little adventure looms. I don't know how soon they'll be able to fit me in, but I'm hoping it will be in the next couple of weeks. Yes, gentle reader, my life is indeed full of Excitement and Adventure and Really Wild Things :)

1. Names have been changed to protect the innocent Durham dentists who practice in listed buildings and therefore can't install lifts...

PS. Tigger says I should do what he does, and sharpen my teeth on Chloe...