Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Coughing through a Crisis

So that is that. I have just been ill and coughed my way through the whole of christmas and the whole of the 5 days I was supposed to have volunteered at Crisis for Christmas. I am so annoyed about it I could spit. I am bored but mostly too knackered to do anything and about once an hour I have a coughing fit. Nice.

As I tweeted a day or so ago, it is a terrible idea to cast on your own design when you are ill. Because you'll do something mindnumbingly stupid - like casting on the waist measurements instead of the hip measurement. And when you have my kind of figure, that's the kind of negative ease you would usually only see on a Beryl Cook painting. 
So this is where I'd got to...
That's about 3 inches in sock yarn on 3mm needles. All now ripped back and an extra 20% of stitches cast on and 2 rows done. So fecking annoying. The garment itself is destined to be a raglan ripple cardigan using left over sock yarn, of which like all sock knitters, I seem to have endless amounts. The ripple is a very simple one like that for Jaywalker and is just *kfb k5 sl2k1psso k5 kfb* alternated with a purl row.
I quite like it and going bottom up means  I'll have time to contemplate how exactly I'm going to do the raglan bit. Time will tell. Bodging will no doubt come into it. 

Although I haven't been able to do much around the flat because of being so exhausted, I have put the advert up for a flatmate online. It was pretty upsetting to do because it seems like another great big nail in the marriage coffin, to get all maudlin about it. Pooch has several times said that I've clearly made my mind up and am convinced it is over between us and in one way that is very true. I do not think there is any way it can work out between us now, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it, and that there isn't an irrational part of me that wishes things could be different. But there are no time machines, and such thoughts are just a kind of internal torture that I guess affects everyone who has ever grieved for the loss of anything.

All in all am trying to remain positive but as the year comes to an end it's all a bit miserable, and with no plans for new year it could be a very quiet start to 2011.

Sunday, 26 December 2010


By now I should be at the Crisis Ops Centre half way into my second day of volunteering. Instead I am half way into my 4th day of flu like thing. Haven't seen anyone since got back from work on thursday afternoon. Have barely made a dent on my Quality Street.
Quality Street 1
Although I did have a bit of a play and make them into a spiral. 
Quality Street Rainbow Spiral
Bit sad really but gave me something to do on one of my brief stints out of bed. 

It's nearing the end of 2010 and so I've been thinking about my blog book. 
Blog Books
It'll be my 6th and probably the one with the widest ranging contents. I've used Blurb for each of them. They have a tool that slurps the blog posts and some years the pictures too into a basic format and then you just take it from there. I always used to look forward to reviewing all my posts and going back through photos but this time it's going to be a tad upsetting. I spoke to Pooch yesterday which was nice but also very sad. There he was with his lovely family and here I was in bed feeling like death and on my own. Bit glum making.

Ah well. 

Before I completely run out of puff (I know this blog post is boring but I am literally too knackered to think of anything remotely interesting to say) let me show you two FOs. The first is a baby hoody for a little one due in January. 
Baby Cardigan
Exceptionally simple pattern and free too. On Ravelry here. The second is my dad's christmas jumper. 
Dad's Jumper - close up
I used a standard raglan pattern but added this lovely saxon cable up the arms. Sadly, it's still here with me since I was supposed to be meeting up with that side of my family on thursday but had to cancel because of my cold. 

OK, enough misery. Back to bed.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Holidays are Coming

Two vital ingredients of my christmas have arrived chez byrne.
I never used to like Champagne. Now, I definitely do, but I can't help thinking that it would not be a good idea to drink it a bottle at a time by myself when I have to get up at 5.30am from the 25th-29th for my volunteering.

I now have a sponsorship page for Crisis at Christmas so if you have a pound to spare...that's the page. It would be lovely to raise £100 and I have £20 online and £20 offline already so literally £1 will be appreciated.

Thanks for your kind wishes and thoughts about my poor relationship. It's really meant a lot. Fortunately, whatever the tragedy, one can at least attempt to knit through it. And with a friend with a first baby due in January this is what I have been working on the last week or so.
I'm thinking toggles for the buttons with i-cord loops to fasten them. The pattern is a free one from Pure & Simple whose patterns are....pure and simple. Nuff said. Top down and seamless with lots of scope for adding flourishes if you want to.

Along with the champagne, muppets and the slow-cooked gammon I have planned, I happened to be in Fortnum and Mason on Monday when I saw these little gems. I adore marzipan fruits.
Christmas Pudding Marzipan Fruits 1
Normally I am a traditionalist and like them to actually look like fruit, but I couldn't resist these.
Christmas Pudding Marzipan Fruits 2
Sadly I had to open the box to take the photo and...they're half gone. But I will be strong! At least one will make it to xmas day itself ;)

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Finally some Finished Objects

I have finished my Inaugural Sweater, by Annarella
Inaugural Sweater Finished
I really like it although typically I've made the sleeves a tad short. Need to wet block it some more to sort them out. I've also finished my Mum's Cardi which I started in September. Um, 2009. So it's only 1 xmas late. Since this photo I've blocked and added little pewter elephant buttons. 

I did a bit of shopping in Greenwich and came away with these. 
Knitted Wire Xmas Decos
Little knitted wire xmas decos. I also got this astonishingly beautiful hairclip. Also here on Pinterest.
Knitted Wire hairclip back
Aren't they amazing? This is the designer who told me she doesn't sell online (I told her she really should) but that she's always happy to take orders and commissions. To give you an idea the hairclip was £3.50 so we're not talking megabucks. I've had my hair redone (I had about an inch of roots) and so it looks pretty fab against the dark red, though I say so myself. 

It's been a pretty rocky week really. Pooch and I met up on Wednesday and agreed to make our separation permanent, so the legal stuff will start in the new year. We're both very sad about it and trying to stay friendly while also trying not to upset each other. It's fairly impossible to achieve but we're still trying. 

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Two Give Aways

Sadly the cat in the last post wasn't mine. But I have been adding more books to Bookmooch and so these could all be yours....for free. There's no catch. I just want to destash. Below are the most recent 10 I've listed. There are loads more.

My second giveaway concerns Pinterest, which I blogged about a few weeks back.
I've been using their site almost daily since then and am loving it more and more. As a xmas present to users they've given us all 6 invites for others wanting to skip the hefty waiting list. If you'd like to give it a go leave a comment with your email address or email me at littleixieathotmaildotcom.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Fancy any of these books for free?

I have occasionally mentioned Bookmooch before. I love it. You list books and people request them and you post them off. Then you request other people's books and they post them to you. No money involved. No hassle.
Benny and the Books
So this morning I started listing all the books and patterns I am destashing. They can be yours - for free! All you need to do is go to bookmooch and list 10 books you want to give away (they can be literally anything). Then you can search for my books and I'll post them to you free. 

Now just to be fair - my account is currently set up to only post to people in the UK. But if you are further afield and want a book leave me a comment with your bookmooch name and I'll reserve it for you so you can mooch it. Can't say fairer than that. 


Thursday, 2 December 2010

Write your own story...

I was in a meeting earlier today and out of the window I could see these little footsteps.
It inspired a Scheherazadian diluge of stories to occur to me. Plus, if you follow them backwards, it looks like lots of little planes on a curvy runway. 

I'll leave you to create your own story...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

It's cold outside

According to my phone is was -2 when I got up this morning. Far too nippy to get out of bed, but then a quick dance round the room to Nina Simone singing 'Feeling Good' and I was fine. When I did venture out the Dock had frozen. 
Greenland Dock Frozen
The seagulls always seem to handle this quite well, but the Coots, with their skeletal feet, just cannot walk on ice and end up staggering around like little drunkards. As I was walking past I could see the bubbles caught under the ice, looking like beautiful polka dots. 
Bubbles in ice

I had gone out to go to Craftacular in Bethnal Green. (One of the things to do from my last post.) It was soooo crowded and so not the best place to be as you couldn't help jostling and being jostled. But I did get a lovely present for my parents so it was worth the visit. Sadly I can't blog about it as they occasionally check in here. It made me realise how close christmas is though. That was my first bit of xmas shopping so I think over the next couple of days I shall have to get on with it a bit more. I've got the next two days off work so I've got some sewing to do, some knitting to do, and some time for shopping. 

The knitting I've mainly been doing it the Inaugural Cardi by Annarella. I've had some fun with it but am now down to just the last sleeve. I tried it on earlier, with the single sleeve, and really like how it's turning out. 
The Dream in Colour yarn is delicious to work with and I do adore moss stitch. Another of the things on my to do list for the next 2 days is picking out the perfect buttons for it. That in itself is going to be a treat!

I've tweeted and blogged recently about the Slow Stashing article on Knitters Review. I've now finished my destash, with the result that more than half is heading elsewhere. Here's what that means in real terms. This is for charity:
And this is gradually going onto ebay:
There's a lot of history going with that lot but it really is a good feeling, and has given me a new momentum for tackling my books and other craft supplies. I think I was really trying to cocoon myself against the world with all this stuff. "I deserve it" had become my catchphrase instead of "I need it". Plus I very rarely did deserve it anyway, I just wanted it. So fingers crossed that this is a new dawn, a new day, a new life for me, because I'm feeling good. 

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Crafting We Will Go...

Social Butterfly that I am, there are now five things on my to do list for the next month.

1. Craftacular at Bethnal Green this sunday - I went to the summer one (blog post here) and had a great time so am definitely going to this one for some xmas shopping.

2. Deathtrap on Shaftesbury Avenue - looks like just my kind of thing.

3. Bridget Riley at the National Gallery - I have always loved her opart so am looking forward to seeing a proper exhibition along with art from those who have influenced her.

4. Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum - I've always liked this exhbition and missed it last year because of my back. Looking forward to this one.

5. Book of the Dead at the British Museum - the BM is an easy walk from work now so am planning an evening viewing, if there are any.

If anyone fancies any of these let me know and we can meet up. I may already have found a willing victim for the Bridget Riley but the others are all open.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Swing, brother, swing.

This is the title of a Ngaio Marsh detective mystery. It is about a swing band and the accordian player is stabbed and so on and so forth. I am a big mystery reader and I do have a soft spot for the Inspector Alleyn mysteries. However, that is not the reason for the title - which is more to do with mood swings. It hasn't quite been metronomic, but there are some definite highs and lows going on.
I'm still taking part in the LSE 'Mappiness' study which involves plotting your happiness, relaxation level and awekeness using a little app. You can click here to see how happy people taking part are right now compared to the average. There's a map too and lots of other info on the site. I have now made 147 submissions to mappiness via the app and my graph is all over the fricking place. I started doing it just after Pooch and I separated so you can imagine for yourselves what some of the lows are about.
I compared it to a friend's and his was essentially the graph of a cheeky chirpy little bugger without a care in the world, which is fairly accurate.

I have been finally getting on with my stash review. I have been very influcenced by two things. The first is a print which the V&A has in their online store and which I will very shortly have in my flat:
The second was this article on 'Slow Stashing' from Knitters Review about a year ago. The article got a lot of attention when it was published but for some reason it has taken a year to sink in. So last night I went through about half my stash ans now have 2 bin bag fulls for charity and another bin bag full on ebay. (Click here if you're interested in some bargain Rowan etc). I can really relate to keeping stuff for 'should' reasons and that is most of the charity stuff. Also things that I had bought because I loved them but were just not speaking to me were definitely part of the 'unhappy' pile. And having done this I already feel so much better. A knitter on twitter wants some for her school knit club but there is plenty to go round so if anyone does want any for charity knitting then just email me your address and it's yours. Plus of course this frees up a lot of space in the flat which is gradually starting to look less stuffed and more homely. Somewhat ironic really when you consider the situation but there you go.

One of the lines I particularly liked from the article was:
"At its core, slow stashing involves being mindful of every skein we own, and only bringing in new skeins that are truly deserving of our time, our attention, and our resources".
Being mindful of every skein that we own is something that can easily be expanded to almost any sphere of life and ties in so well with the William Morris quote on the poster. Because if something is not useful, and you don't believe it to be beautiful in at least some small way, why give it space in your life?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Feeling Blue

I think it's fair to say I have been feeling a bit glum the last few days. It started when I had just finished watching the Lord Mayor Fireworks by myself on saturday.
I love fireworks. I hadn't been to see any for ages and so off I went.
They were really good but the thing is, they only lasted 10 minutes. Which left me in central london at 5.10pm on a sat night with nothing to do and no one to do it with. So I wondered about for a bit and had an early dinner of steak and champagne. Because I may be miserable but I know what I like.
Cow chop
So that left me fed and with nothing to do. So then a friend took pity on me and got me to go to a bar in shoredith to keep them company while they kept another friend company on a school reunion. A kind of double beard.
Bearded Pair
So I was there, drinking lemonade, watching what Temperance Brennan would have called "Hackney Hate Mating Rituals" and rapidly coming to the conclusion that this is what life holds for me.

So then I had this idea on the tube this morning.
London - Tube Map
How about a social network where you list an event you're wanting to go to by yourself and then others say whether they're going and you can arrange to meet. In a totally just-hanging-out-with-no-one-hitting-on-anyone-else kind of way. So I told the boys at work about it. Their response was to speculate the sheer quantity of lecherous apes it would attract and to suggest it be called various names which I'm not going to put here.

Really, what this all says to me is that I am lonely but don't want to date anyone. I really don't want to do that. And in the meantime I may be a bit lonely but I'm well, fed, roofed and have enough money. So really it could be an awful lot worse.

It's still all just a bit sad making though.
Brandy the Sad Clown

Sunday, 14 November 2010


I am pretty much in love with Pinterest at the moment.
Sadly I've used up all my invitations but I signed up the waiting list and I think it was only about a week before I got my invite.It's just so handy. You create 'Boards' (think pinboards) and then pin stuff to them. This is my 'Embroidered Beautiful' Board. (You can see it in real life by clicking here.)
Then this is my 'OMG I want a cat so much' Board. (Click here for more.)
You add stuff by adding a shortcut button to your favourites menu bar and when you see an image you like, even if it's mixed up with a tonne of others and a load of text, you click the button and it isolates the images and asks you to click on the one you like. Then you select a board to pin it on and away you go.

I've always wished there was a way to categorise my Flickr favourites as well as a better way to collect lovely things together than just bookmarking the whole page. And here it is!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

What Knits for Which Wrestler?

I always wanted to get Sky at home and Pooch didn't want to pay half because he said I'd watch Wrestling (and a load of other stuff) all the time. At the time I thought this was cruelly unfair, but in retrospect he was right. Since staying at Dann's I have been watching the two 2-hour shows Raw and Smackdown each week plus any special shows like Bragging Rights. I've also been catching up on things like Wrestlemania 26 from April. All in all it's a lot of wrestling. So naturally I have become slightly obsessed. So, possibly for the first and only time online, let us consider what knitted items these wrestlers would wear.

I've chosen a random sample of 8 Wrestlers from WWE. Some have only been wrestling a year, and some are 18-0 at Wrestlemania, and we all know what that means. 


I first started thinking about this knitwear issue while pondering how they got Seamus to look so pale. 
He is the pale ginger one in the middle. Now don't make any mistake here - obviously they've gingered up his hair to go with the whole oi-rish thing - but he is 100% beef. He is 6ft6 and 272 lb. But they always fake tan the others whereas Seamus seems to glow persil white. So, this leads me to believe he has sensitive skin that maybe burns in the sun. Now to go with that irish puck-type hair I'm thinking an elf style hat. So I have chosen the Ribba Hat by WoollyWormhead
This one was knitted by Toastbrot on Ravelry here and I think the colours would be perfect for Seamus. 

Randy Orton

Now Randy, short for Randall but also apparently an abbreviation for Andrew, is in my opinion pretty near physically perfect. On WWE he is known as the Apex Predator. 6ft4, 245lbs, which means unbelievably he quite often looks short when with the others. He is fit though. 
Randy Orton April 2009
I personally took that photo in April last year. Mmmm. So Randy is manliness personified and requires very little adornment. So I think a classic jumper. So let's go for a classic cabled jumper with a funnel neck.
ribbed orton
 It leaves all those tattoos covered up and ready to be explored at a later date. This is a free Drops pattern on ravelry here.

Triple H

HHH is a legend. He's known as 'The Game'. He is my first wrestling love. 6ft4 and 255 lbs. He's also known as the 'Cerebral Assassin' which makes me laugh everytime anyone says it as I can only assume it's because they don;t know what cerebral means. 
Triple HHH April 2009
This is another of my personal photos. He's out injured at the moment, although apparently is coming back very soon. Now the one thing I do not like about TripleH is his long hair. And long hair means inevitable bad hair days. So it's got to be a hat. 
Cat in the hat 1
And what better than my own most recently finished project. HHH could knit that himself. 

John Cena

Cena is the People's Champ. Literally. He is loved. There's an amazingly silly storyline at the moment where he's basically had to become the bitch of the baddy english wrestler - no it's not William Regal, he's a bit old now. It just means he gets to show what a legend he is a lot. A mere 6ft1 and 240lbs but he does look to be the most genuinely muscled of that lot. Serious definition going on. 
John Cena April 2009
Now Cena is not only a wrestler, he's also starred in several films. Not quite in the Rock's league, but he's not that bad considering. So he has nothing to worry about, which is why I have chosen ribbed boxershorts. Because the ribbing will kind of ....cling. 


The Rated-R Superstar is 6ft5 and 250lbs. For a long time I thought he was a knob but he's been a bit more interesting recently. He wears a floor length black leather coat.
He's from Canada and it can get very cold up there, so I think a chunky jumper. And in keeping with that gothic vibe he's got going on, let's make it the Big Bad Wolf Pullover from Domiknitrix. Incidentally, I do like that book. Great how-to section which I've used for other projects, as well as the actual patterns. 
This one is by AnneArquis and she used a different gauge, but it looks good. 

Undertaker & Kane

These two are currently worst enemies because they are half-brothers, but their Dad, who had supported Undertaker, switched sides and went over to Kane about a month ago. Then things festered til Kane (7ft and 323 lbs) beat Undertaker (6ft10, 299lbs) in a 'buried alive' match when he....buried him alive. So actually Undertaker may be dead. Who knows. Except he's obviously not going to be. 
Undertaker is the one with long hair. So what knitwear would suit these two? Well...what else can you get siblings except matching sock monsters. 
I've loved Rebecca Danger's patterns since Nickerjac knitted me one as a get well present when I had my back op. So here are Sammy the Sock Monsters. This is a link to her etsy shop for the pattern. 

There are of course many other wrestlers so if you have a favourite I haven't covered here let me know. 

In my personal life, things continue to be fairly miserable, but Wrestling makes it all bearable. Thanks for all your comments and messages xx
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