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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Opinions wanted please

There was something that happened on our Lake District holiday I didn't mention in my last blog, it would be appreciated if any readers of this would comment.

As a thank you for their hospitality we took our friends out for to dine at an hotel near Windermere, booked and chosen by them for its reputation and views, we arrived early, had pre-dinner drinks until our table was ready in the large, but mostly empty room, I think there were four tables occupied in the formal dining room.

Nothing but praise for the food and drink we had ordered whilst having pre-dinner drinks, our problem was at the end of the meal there was shouting and noise from a nearby table which was quite close considering there were so many empty tables, we noticed an iPad or tablet switched on and presumably the grandmother shouting at her grandchildren on line, these children it appeared were about to go to bed and grandmother and the three other diners joined in too. This went on for some time, it was impossible to hold a conversation at our table, the staff who were clearing a table completely ignored the racket, eventually one of our party politely asked the noisy diners if they could be a little quieter, this was met with abuse and cries of spoil sport. Noisy grandmother then told her grandchildren, and presumably their parent that some horrid people had complained so she couldn't continue, to our surprise someone from another table sympathised with noisy table and the whole party moved to the empty sofas in the bar area well away from us.

We decided to forgo coffee, went out on to the terrace to see the views over Windermere before returning home. I wrote a review about this, the response was that as the hotel had wifi it was to be expected it would be used, noisy grandmother had agreed she would be contacting her grandchildren in this way, there was an implication that we had spoilt some celebration. So why weren't we informed when booking, when having drinks or when allocated our table by the staff, or even an apology in advance from noisy grandmother.

I'm trying not to be fuddyduddy, it was the level of noise, the shouting and lack of manners as much as the use of a tablet during dinner in the restaurant, if they were residents why not take advantage of he privacy offered there.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Recent goings on.

'This seems my year for travelling north, not Yorkshire this time but nearby Cumbria to stay with friends, Val & Geoff in the tiny village, well hamlet of Elterwater, almost in the centre of the Lake District at the end of July. Ian and I spread the 330 mile journey over two days, we are out of practice on long journeys, we decided it would be interesting to see something of the country rather than motorways, our overnight stop was Stafford, we had booked in online, so had time to visit the National Arboretum. Very  surprised it was free entry, we didn't have too long there, but had a much needed tea and a bun before a quick look around, helpful volunteers had advised us how far we could go in the time available, stumbled upon this, 

Interesting for me as my eldest cousin, Roy went to Halton as an apprentice, one never knows when family history connections appear. There was a calmness about the arboretum, we would like to return to appreciate the peacefulness and atmosphere. 

Apart from our first day when rain fell steadily the whole day, we stayed in thereby missing the Ambleside Games, but with a view like this 

 from the house and finishing knitting these socks who minds?  

Rather than a long tirade listing events I will mention an unbelievable coincidence. Whilst away we went to Blackwell, an arts and crafts house near Windermere with amazing views over the lake,     this web address gives details far better than I can. Outside there were statues by Laura Ford, of which three were meant to be a child in distress but there were only two on display. Yesterday, Thursday 11th, Ian and I went to the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy, near the end this was spotted, the missing statue. 

On another day in the Lake District we went to the Cumbria Steam Fair, amongst all the steam, craft and food stands there were plenty of stalls selling all sorts, I rooted around the Haynes manual for my 20 year old Corsa, but none were available, however another treasure was found amongst sprockets, nuts, bolts, 4 Barbara Pym books, not original publisher but in better condition than mine, on putting the new ones away and counting up I have all her works now. Looking forward to reading them, along with book club book and knitting and crochet books

Our friends in Elterwater have a holiday flat, just for a couple, well equipped, lots of lovely extras like a full fruit bowl, free internet, off road parking, so if any of my readers are interested here is the website:-   There are no agents, do ring the owners up, they love to chat with prospective holiday makers. 

Given the vagaries of Blogger this blog will show the date I started these ramblings, so I will close with saying the blog was posted Friday 12th August, 6.12 pm. Enjoy, I hope not to leave it so long next time. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

All knitting news.

Over a week ago I returned from The Knitting & Crochet Guild's convention in Sheffield at The Edge, University of Sheffield's conference facility and I still haven't told my loyal readers all about the great experience. Details were announced in Slipknot, the guild's journal, I made a decision to go, well did ask a few folk for their views on travelling alone, to join over 60 strangers, all of whom knew what to do, where to go and produced beautiful yarny works. 

There was a chance to add to my ever growing stash, this Artesano British wool said "Buy Me" on the stash busting table, after some considerable thought, I did. Of course I wasn't to know that the Artesano business was to go under a few days later, their yarn Definition is in my stash too.

This sumptuous Yarns from the Plain was dyed by Nic Rudd who gave an inspirational talk about her career progression to indie yarn dyer, the Plain is the Cheshire one, the yarn is British too. This yarn has some nylon in it so it will become a pair of socks for Ian giving me an opportunity to try a rib pattern rather than stocking stitch. 

Another highlight was a visit to Lee Mills, where volunteers maintain and catalogue patterns, garments, equipment in an unheated mill. We were 30 in number, lunch was provided, we had to retain and identify the same mug so mine had yarn from the long tail of a sock I'm knitting 

Below are photos of tools and garments held at Lee Mills,

If anyone is interested in this collection and the social history of knitting and crochet may I suggest you join the guild, members can access the collection online. 

There were two workshops, one Saturday morning where we were taught  Möbius cast on by Sarah Cage to produce (eventually) a cowl, I think some may have made a hat. I had that moment when I suddenly understood what I was doing and I raced away casting on 120 stitches of Sirdar Denim Ultra.

The work has grown to this rather scrunched up knitting with a clear twist, some rounds are knit and some purl using 10mm circular needles.

The Sunday class was on mitred squares, haven't a photo of this to hand, my memory is of about dozen ladies absorbed in knitting in the closed bar. Actually there were triangles too, made by picking up stitches along the side of the square, Anne Scahill gave us tips of the trade, I certainly wish to keep going with this, perhaps it will become a cushion cover. 

Other highlights were the good food served in The Edge" with morning coffee and afternoon tea breaks each day, with delicious looking pastries; plenty of time to socialise, it was expected that delegates would knit or crochet throughout proceedings, no need for furtiveness there; interesting speakers including Susan Crawford on the Vintage Shetland Project, I learnt a lot from the Guild's Facebook moderating team, it seems that FB is taking over from Ravelry, I prefer the latter when a technical matter is raised as it is easy to go back to past conversations for this, FB is more chatty and a kind of Show and Tell than a resource, both have their place. 

A little boast, at the end of the Show and Tell, boosted by half a pint of cider, I spoke of the benefit of knitting in public, based on my experience in Florence when we were able to restore a wallet to its owner because his wife had spoken to me about the hexipuff I was making. This is the photo on my iPad of the completed quilt I passed around, it would have been too much to take the quilt by train to Sheffield. I blogged about this in great detail on 25th September 2013. 

To stand up and speak to 60 people, it was a last minute decision for I am not used to speaking in public, before the convention I was apprehensive for it was my first time at an event where I knew no one, apprehensive of travelling alone and not missing return train, of being organised to be at the right place at the right time, coping with being around a large number of people all of whom I found friendly, helpful and fun. Now I am considering attending next year's confederation in Birmingham, I learnt a lot about myself, about knitting and about avoiding travel on a Sunday, the train crawled along and stopped so often. 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Events, past and future

Last night I decided to write my blog, prompted by a couple of photos taken in our front garden. The front garden will be  judged next week, Ian has entered the Borough in Bloom competition, buoyed up by his Silver Gilt award last year when he entered for the first time. The photos were taken on my iPhone so I assumed they would appear in the magic way onto my iPad photos. No, didn't happen and it hasn't happened since 6th June, so I'm a bit miffed. Yes, have transferred the relevant photos but they have gone into 'shared' not the sequence that gives dates and place. Instead of writing, I found loads of old photos in 'shared', deleted them (something I should have done long ago) in case of memory problems. Last time it was found all the photos from my laptop were also on iPad, then I couldn't send emails so different now. 

Enough of my techy problems, here are the two pictures,

and this as I was wowed by the beauty of these plants in the corner by the bamboo and privet in our suburban garden. 

Unfortunately the bamboo will be going, unlike its parent in the back garden it is putting out roots, I am sad but we need to replace it with height that doesn't take the light, changes will be after the competition though. 

So what other photos were taken by my phone but didn't jump to the iPad?  These next two are from our holiday at Center Parcs:-


both were taken plodding around the site, the first I thought showed where the chalet was, think it was on the far right, then the rabbit was to show how tame the wild life was. Didn't take photos, perhaps there should have been a family group for we went with Son, his Wife, Grandson, Daughter and her Young Man. We competed in the family quiz, came second in spite of the lack of knowledge of football and other popular culture. Not going to blog much about the holiday although Ian and I decided that Center Parcs wasn't us, for one thing we don't have any tattoos. Our week away was a week of rain so any plans I had to sit outside and catch up with knitting projects were scuppered, recalling the successful Pilates class reminds me to find one nearby. Ian came top in two archery sessions so he is pursuing that as a new hobby. Best of all we had a week with Grandson. 

Need to get on, later this week I am off to Knitting and Crochet Guild convention at Sheffield University, leaving Ian home alone. Slightly apprehensive, bit concerned about being in a big crowd but not knowing anyone, travelling and finding taxi on my own, Ian looks after me so well, he will see me onto the train at St Pancras, and meet me on my return. Of course then there is the worry of what to wear, there is a formal dinner on Friday night. This is all so different from the last conference I attended, that was the Cataloguing & Indexing group of the then Library Association to launch 22nd edition of Dewey Decimal Classification. 

Right, the washing machine calls out for loading, it is Monday after all. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Knitting books

Yesterday afternoon we went to an open day at our local beekeeping society, first time we've been, I wanted to find local honey as it seems to help health wise. Plenty of activities and fund raising, information, bee friendly plants for sale, coffee, cake and raffle tickets were purchased, Sauvignon blanc 2013 was won. 

On our way out we spotted the book stall, usual fiction and old cookery books, then treasure was found. Two hardback and four books of patterns by Patricia Roberts; Passion for colour by Sarah Burnett;  three copies of Knitwear by Nancy Vale of whom I had never heard; four copies of Vogue Knitting dated September 1967 (not to be sold separately), Winter special 1986/87 & 1988, Autumn '97. In 1986 edition there is a feature on The Great British Knitters featuring  Susan Duckworth, Edina Ronay, Kaffe Fassett, Sasha Kagan. In the same issue there is an article by Elizabeth Zimmerman on afterthought thumbs. 

Another issue has an interview with the Knitting Bishop and More Brits who knit featuring Patricia Roberts. 

The lady on the stall said she found the books when she came to set up the previous day, doubted any one would want them so asked us for just £5.00  as she wanted to be rid of them. I left a Kaffe Fassett Glorious Knitting as I have a better copy. 

These books, even though they are old so much is relevant and topical, both the articles and advertisements are fascinating, I am enjoying the serendipity of it all but I doubt I will knit the big, patterned 80s jumpers. 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Decluttering continues

We are attempting to clear Pixie Towers of items that we no longer use or need, this morning we cleared, cleaned and emptied the cabinet housing our Sony compact hifi system, date on the manual is 1990.  Details are now on Richmond Freecycle so it is to be hoped that another family will enjoy listening. 

We hope the cabinet housing the hifi will go too, we don't want the collector to sell it on say at a car boot sale or eBay so if we are not happy with respondents it will go to a charity that takes electrical items like Heart Foundation. 

Clearing is liberating, can be difficult when the item has sentimental connections. 

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Carry on learning

Yesterday was a meeting of the South West London branch of the Knitting & Crochet Guild,  held as usual at Kingston John Lewis where a select group of ladies met to learn about Bavarian crochet.

We were shown a completed square, my it looked complicated, and it was, a new stitch to me was learnt, double treble leading me to realise a petal shape, the process required deep concentration on my part, I kept forgetting the number of chains and double trebles required so progress was slow but I enjoyed learning something new and practical. The time went so quickly, in between there was a quick glance at some of the knitting and crochet magazines brought in, brief chats with my neighbour as I couldn't learn and chat so I didn't even complete the second round or change to another colour.

It didn't matter, I will catch up on the recommended YouTube site but I enjoyed myself so much sitting in a rather warm, stuffy community room. Of course, without the internet I would never have known about the Guild, Ravelry, knitting groups or read knitting and crochet blogs. As John Lewis have free wifi I took my iPad so I was able to find the YouTube site there and then. 

Here is my efforts so far in yellow Stylecraft DK, I took blue for the contrast, bright cheerful colours. No beige.