Sunday, June 24, 2007


First of all, I just have to say what an utterly, utterly, fabulously brilliant and spiffing season finale we're having in Doctor Who. A great big meaty three-parter you can really get your teeth into. And what about John Simm, eh? It would be very easy for him to teeter over the edge and turn into a pantomime villain, but he keeps it just this side of parody. I knew he was good from Life on Mars, but this is a whole different performance. And you have to love a villain who can use the word "decimate" correctly...


What I was going to talk about, before I got side-tracked by the end of the world, was the unreasonable dislike some knitters have for crocheters, and vice versa. I have, in the past, had complaints about my knitting patterns, because they use small amounts of crochet. I was quite surprised by this, and even more so when I did some Googling. I found that there is a sizeable number of knitters who seem to regard crochet as simplistic and inferior, and only done by those who can't cope with knitting.

Not only this, but there is also a vocal section of crocheters who can't see the point of knitting, who think it's ugly and unwieldy and completely incapable of producing the beautiful pieces which can come from a crochet hook.

I have been able both to crochet and to knit for almost as long as I can remember. I picked up crochet much more quickly, and found that I could work it considerably faster than I could knit. But even at that age I could see that each had their own strengths and weaknesses, and that - quite often - these complemented each other. A crocheted edging could lift a knitted piece, and could be worked much more easily than a similar edging done with knitting needles. On the other hand, crochet takes up about 33% more yarn than the equivalent knitted item.

Both knitting and crochet have been responsible for some of the most garish and eye-melting fashion faux-pas (do I need to mention the 70s?). On the other hand, we have Shetland shawls knitted so fine that they can be drawn through a wedding ring, and Irish crochet wedding dresses which took a whole convent of nuns to make.

Of course you, gentle reader, would never be so narrow-minded as to say that anyone should stick only to one discipline; I'm sure you've discovered the ease of making up garments with a crochet hook, for example.

If you've tried one but not the other, why not give it a go? Whatever you learn will expand your abilities as a crafter. And that can't be a bad thing, can it?

We're all in it for the yarn; let's not squabble over what shape our sticks are.


Tigger says, "I don't care how you make it, as long as it's comfortable."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Have your cake and eavesdrop too

First, an apology: I regret bringing myself down to playground level last time by personal name calling. I stand absolutely by my comments and my criticisms, but I feel I weakened my case by slinging mud back. So there.

My name, however, is still not Mavis and I am really relieved to find that Katie is not one of the two finalists. I am sure that people who make sweeping generalisations are not much of an asset to companies relying on up-to-date customer data.


I have finished it!! Yes, gentle reader, I have finally finished the plus-size garment for Simply Knitting, which I started in - wait for it - February. My impression of it, apart from the fact that I want to fling it from me and never see it again (because I'm sick of the sight of the damn thing), is that it's probably the best thing I've ever designed. I can't say too much in detail because it's commercially sensitive, but I'll be giving plenty of feedback about the yarns and the design elements once it's printed. At the moment we are looking at printing all of the plus-size garments at the end of the summer. This is the second of three for which I've been commissioned, but the third and final pattern is going to be a much quicker job.

It will also help, of course, that I will be taking all the correct medication while I'm making it up...

The Beamish Boy and I have spent a very happy weekend of celebration, as he turned 22 on the 9th. There has been chocolate cake. There have been presents and cards. There has been Scrabble. Which I lost. There have been "Woo"s, and there have been "Hoo"s.There has been Excitement. There has been Adventure. There have been Really Wild Things.

So please join me in wishing a Jolly Spiffing Birthday to the Beamish Boy, 'cause if anyone deserves one, he does :)

He has also added a dedicated blog to his business website, which is wittily called Cat Blog Sine Theta. There's only one entry at the moment, but he's going to use it to break updates on the business as well as comments on the design process itself.

And finally, more news of Tigger. I overheard two of my neighbours discussing him recently. He was sat looking out of the window, and they were stood just outside it. I don't think they knew I was there, so I couldn't suddenly pop up and join in, but I was delighted to hear what they said:
"She's a bonny little cat, isn't she?"

"Oh yes. Very friendly, too."

"I mean, I'm calling her 'she'; I don't know whether she is. All cats look female, don't they?"

"She sometimes comes and lies on my sofa, you know. People must think I'm mad when they see me in the kitchen talking away to no one, but I'm talking to the cat. She's very good company."
I shan't worry so much, now, when he doesn't fancy his supper; I shall assume he's eaten with one of his friends :)

Tigger says, "You can never have too many friends. Especially if they have food..."


Sunday, June 03, 2007

My Name Is Not Mavis

The Beamish Boy and I are not generally big fans of Reality TV. "Real people" aren't half as entertaining as actors pretending to be real people. One of our exceptions, however, is The Apprentice UK.

Unusually, we haven't picked a favourite this season, and not just because The Badger didn't win last time. It's just that, this year, they all seem equally snide, bitchy, and generally useless as each other. I must say, though, that we would certainly not pick Katie under any circumstances.

Last week's task was to pick items to sell live on a home-shopping TV channel. Katie has a tendency to personalise her target market by giving them a name and personality traits. Thus she came out with this gem:
My imaginary consumer is Mavis. I assume it's a "Mavis" because I assume it's someone who's got a massive bust, who knits a lot, who's got bugger all going on in their lives, and spend their entire time watching the TV just for some sort of companionship. I might be over representing the "saddo" bit, but I think that's what we need to be doing; we need to be talking and selling to Mavis.
I have one thing to say to this over-made-up, dark-rooted, smug suit:

Things can change in the blink of an eye, and your health is much less set in stone than you may think. I came home one night (in my business suit and high heels), ran up the stairs, slid down the wall at the top, and have barely been able to leave my bed since.

You may think I don't have much going on in my life, but I bet it's a damn sight more fulfilling than yours. I don't have to spend my time stabbing other people in the back, slapping on a fake smile, and generally working myself into an ulcer and an early grave. I can be me. I can have real friends. OK, so I've lost a few since I became ill, but I know that the ones that are left are true friends.

Knitting gives me not only mental and physical exercise, but a boost to my self-esteem every time one of my patterns is published. Also it is the means by which I have met some of the most fascinating and genuine people in my life.

So don't you dare look down on people like me. If I had the choice, I still wouldn't be you - with or without a job with Sir Alan Sugar.


Tigger says, "Let me see that manicured hand..."