Saturday, 15 March 2008

I tried to drown my troubles but I couldn't persuade Pooch to go swimming

A woman at work sent a forward round the office yesterday of Peter Kaye one-liners. This was fairly revolutionary - forwards, like spontaneous buying of doughnuts, don't normally happen at our place.

Many thanks for all your good wishes but the but the wheezing has now gone...and been replaced by a kind of gurgling which I can assure you is even sexier. Apart from that and the occasional coughing fit though I'm more or less better. Which meant that I was able to keep a social engagement I had made with myself yesterday evening.

Daddyo was kind enough to get me membership of the V&A for my birthday last year and so off I went to the China Design Now exhibition member's preview last night. That exhibition is one impressive piece of work. I have been to quite a few design exhibitions in my time but this one was really something.

It is split into three rooms representing three cities which have played key roles in the development of design since it was liberated from being just state controlled propoganda type stuff in the 70s. Th first room was mainly graphic design but also featured some clothing and these little fellas.
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They are actually about a metre tall and cute and yet menacing at the same time to see for real.

Some of the posters were amazing but the ones that particularly caught my eye were those that played with the chinese charactors, fonts, alphabets and meanings. Posters representing the 60th anniversary of hiroshima had the character for hiroshima with key parts missing while still keeping it readable to represent what was lost that day. So moving even without reading mandarin. This on I particularly liked. It is a collaboration between a famous ceramicist and a graphic designer and the character represents 'China'.
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There was also a case of these little maquettes decorated by different designers. Couldn't help buying one and planning how to decorate it myself.
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The other two rooms were Shangai and Beijing. The Shanghai room was more 'arty' with videos playing and installations. The Beiking room though was truly amazing. I guess it caught me because I'm now surrounded by landscape architects but it was concentrating on the design of the olympic buildings. Wow. You might not like the way the chinese government acts but visually it is going to be an amazing olympics.

So apart from being amazed by chinese design what else have I been doing? Well I had my appraisal at work. "So how am I doing?" I said. She paused...."I thank god every day I see you walk through that door." So that was ok then. Somewhat different from my last appraisal at the IOP which largely centred around two points. 1 - It's all your fault cause you're rubbish, 2 - when are you leaving?

Then there has also been some knitting...
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The cardi from the front cover of Lace Style. Using SkipNorth yarn naturally!

And then there is this to report...
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This is a bucket of four leaf clover type plants Lou gave me and they all seem to be sprouting! I am terribly excited. But i don't want to get my hopes up as I generally kill off plants.

So today bodes well with my sister over and we're off to get pampered in a minute.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Quit your jibber jabber fool

If Pooch was to be believed Mr T would be popping out of a tank and throwing a snickers bar at me any minute now while telling me to 'quit my jibber jabber' because, as he solemnly proclaimed to me last night, three days is rather a long time to be ill. He seemed to think that there was some malingering going on and I should go into work regardless of whether I was better or not. At 1am I was coughing so badly and for so long that even he, who had taken refuge in the spare room complete with ear plugs, came in to ask me whether I was ok. "I'm fine" I croaked between whoops, "I think you're right - I'm definitely not really that ill. I'll go in tomorrow." I woke up this morning weak as a kipper and with this really sexy new element to my life - I audibly wheeze when breathing - both in and out. Yeah baby, I'm pretty irresistable right now what with the bed hair, sneezing, coughing and definitive fat pants ensemble - designed not only for comfort but also for those speedy sofa to bed transitions. So far today I haven't even done any knitting - that's how kipper like I am.

Anyway, one thing that is keeping body and soul together is the wonderful parcel I got from the Ravelry Discworld Swap. My pal was Judy and she sent me this lovely lot. (There was some chocolate too but in true swap style this didn't make it to the photography stage).

First up is this gorgeous bchunky cotton.
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Judy is a bit of a whiz with natural dyeing and assures me the colours came from mushrooms collected locally from near her house in france. Wow.

She made me these lovely stitch markers:
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And there were more beady things. A bag of red beads and these rather amazing things.
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Knowing my love of buttons, would you take a look at these and guess how happy I was with them?
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Aren't they amazing? Definitely another one for the buttony cardigan.

Now before I get to the piece de resistance this was a Discworld swap and wouldn't be complete without a Nanny Ogg recipe for...chocolate and garlic cake!
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Hmmmm, maybe, but I can definitely see some of the other chocolate recipes featuring in my near future. Just look at this for a new take on crispy cakes.
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Now....take a deep breath (ignore the wheezing and hacking cough it causes) and look at this.
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Oh yeah.
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Work it baby.
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So pretty! Thanks Judy!

Monday, 10 March 2008

SKIP-a-dee doo dah

I'm back from SkipNorth and do I have stash to share... in fact I think I might have gone a little bit over the top. And that is me saying that. To take a photo of it all I had to stand on a chair and hover over the double bed like the human fly.
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SkipNorth hit Coldspring Mill, the Skep, the KCG yarn mountain and KCG trading and Wingham Wools. I also made a personal trip with Julie and Sue to Texere on friday morning. And the photo above shows the spoils.

Going round we start with the big pile of greens which are going to be another starghan, but for my sister Sian this time.
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Then there is a selection of lace weight cones and some Rowan Kaffe Fasett light tweed in dark brown - cones were £1 each and rowan was 1p a gram (can you believe the prices?).

A pack of wingham chunky in blue/green - this is what made my so called scarf out of.
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Above that is some green and blue airedale aran from Texere. Destined to be a stripey jumper for the Pooch. Also some Wingham roving destined to be another felted bag. I love the ones I've made from the last two trips and am going to make a bigger one.

There's a huge skein of lovely dark purple dk from Coldspring. Then a 400g ball of the james c brett denim. One of these is going to be Prepster from the Happy Hooker.
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Then there is the sock yarn. The opal was 2 balls for £4 and I love the bright yellow. Jane has made me reconsider yellow for socks. There's some regia for baby clothes and some gorgeous variegated grey and blue too. The latter is from the Skep whilst the regia/opal is from KCG Trading.
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At the very front of the pic is one of WyeSue's ginger cakes - she had made about 6 and I ended up with a whole one to myself! Am going to start on it later on today. WyeSue also gave me a lovely cold to bring back with me but I'm not going to hold a grudge. Just bring it up every time I see her from now until doomsday....Above that is the Zimmermann dvd set which I am so looking forward to! I got that at the KCG too.

I know what you're thinking (especially you Pooch) - how much more? Well we're nearly done. The surprise hit of the weekend was a haberdashery shop that Sian and I found last year by accident. It is so retro but the thing is all the retro stuff is just stock they still have left from when they first bought it. So here we have a small gathering of beautiful ribbons, buttons and nicknacks including a wooden pen and notelets from the KCG.
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Just look at some of these buttons!
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Aren't the teapots amazing - and the rest are just so kitsch.

So yes, all in all a very good haul indeed. And what about next year? Well, neither of us want to commit just yet but this year's did go especially well so the odds are good. To stay informed either join the Ravelry group or sign up to the Yahoo mailing list. I've also got the most amazing discworld swap parcel to show off that arrived while I was away but I am saving that for tomorrow so it doesn't get swallowed up in all the SkipNorth spoils.

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