Saturday, 10 November 2012

Lucky Number 10 (NaBloPoMo #10)

I've never made it this far through a National Month of Blog Posts before without missing one.

That is all. 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Wrong Handed (NaBloPoMo #9)

My understanding is that most people are by nature right or left handed. It's a natural preference to use one over the other for particularly manual, dexterous  tasks. The occasional person is ambidextrous and goes both ways but that's fairly unusual.
Both Ways....
On Tuesday I woke up with a really painful shoulder. It's kind of inside the shoulder, behind the scapula. It hurts when I do most things including typing so a short post. But knitting, using a mouse, sewing with my right hand - those all make it worse. It is gradually easing but it's bloody annoying in the meantime.
So I've moved my mouse to my left at work and tonight I tried sewing some patchwork pieces together using the needle in my left hand. It was about 1/4 the speed of my right but not actually that hard - and I've found the same thing with my mouse at work. It all has me thinking - is it worth training yourself to use both equally? Or at least to use your non-dominant hand competently.
Equal pay for equal work:  follow the debate live
Of course you still have to hold the fabric with your other hand so sewing with your left doesn't really help. I just can't bear sitting here doing nothing though.
Sitting bear

Thursday, 8 November 2012

TV To Knit Things By Part 2 (NaMoBloPo #8)

A few weeks ago I did this post on TV series to knit along to. It got quite a few comments and hits and there were many suggestions. I thought I'd summarise them here.

Person of Interest
SDCC 2011 - Person of Interest Panel 02
I've gone from knowing nothing to addict in just a few weeks. The main character is played by Jim Caveizel (on the left above) who played Jesus in Mel Gibson's film. He is sooooooo nice to look at but, sadly, it's 0/10 for removal of shirt. He plays an ex CIA black ops guy (i.e. he killed people cleverly) and, like Minority Report but secreter, there's a machine that knows when someone is going to be involved in a crime. Loads of conspiracy stuff, excellent supporting characters. All good.

Silent Witness
I've not loved this but Becky commented to say she'd fallen back in love with it so maybe I should try again. BBC website link here. I guess this is kind of the english equivalent to CSI so if you're non UK you may want to try this.

Miss Marple
Oh yeah baby. I only left her and Poirot off because I never think of them as series. Whether it is Joan Hickson (the definitive Marple imho) or another they are all good. Got to love Marple.

The Killing (Danish version)
Tracy left a comment about this and is not the first to recommend it. I haven't got around to it but as she says "It is a bit tricky to knit to with subtitles, but you just need to make it a simple knit - completely worth it :)" I believe this is the one with 'the' jumper. Which reminds me. Lopi jumper tool anyone? This site and the accompanying Ravelry group is genius. Put in your measurements and gauge and then either adapt a standard pattern or design your own. Pure genius.

Rosemary & Thyme
Now bagqueen said Murder She Wrote was too corny for her while Ynot suggested this one. For me R&T is just too much. The two women in it are hamming it up so much - Felicity Kendal especially. I can't bear it. Give me Murder She Wrote anytime. Ahhh...Jessica
What would Jessica Fletcher do?

DCI Banks, Wire in the Blood and Scott & Bailey
I know nothing except they are all british.

I hope you've all enjoyed this little series and let me know if I forgot anything!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Books #42 - #46 (NaMoBloPo #7)

Knitting on the Green is up to book #95. Not that I'm in competition or anything but...hmph...

#42 Unseen Academicals
By Terry Pratchett

This is a reread since I am a total Pratchett addict and read them as soon as they come out. Whenever I want some intelligent comfort reading I turn to these and am in fact rereading another one at the moment. This story concerns the Wizards and the head of the night kitchen. You also get scenes with the Watch and the Patrician (who at one point becomes drunk and reminds me of another Alex I know). The key theme though is football and anyone who has ever stood on a terrace will recognise the rivalry and the people who weave this amazing story. These books are all well worth reading. 

#43 4.50 From Paddington
by Agatha Christie
Another comfort read and an old friend. This book was made for television three times with three different women playing Miss Marple. All have subtle differences and I'd forgotten that all differ from the book, so it was good to get back to the original. This is one of her best books with original writing and ideas. Still a very easy read though. 

#44 A Better Quality of Murder
by Ann Granger
This was a library book and the first I've read in this series. It's 1867 and a scotland yard inspector has a forward thinking wife and so they approach the crime in their own ways. For me this was initially an ordeal to read. It just took soooooo long to get going. Once it did though it was quite good but I found the way the upper class characters behaved rather irritating. I'm still not sure whether this was because they were irritating or because of the way it was written. I guess I need to try another one. 

#45 Dodger
by Terry Pratchett
This is not out in paperback for another year so I won't give much away. I hadn't done my research with this one and was expecting a Discworld book. Not least because of the illustration style on the cover. I was rather stupidly surprised then when it turned out to be a Dickens style romp. I think to use the word 'parody' would be unfair as this is a novel in its own right and the use of the name 'Dodger' (as in The Artful Dodger from Dickens' "Oliver") for the main character works well when it's explained. The way the story pans out is very dickensian and satisfactory. The writing is as good as you would expect from Pratchett and although it wasn't what I had expected I was very happy that I had bought it in error. 

#46 The Chalk Circle Man
by Fred Vargas
I am eternally grateful to my cousin for sending me this. Vargas is a french writer and the original book is called L'homme aux Cercles Bleus which translates as The Blue Circle Man but I guess chalk is thought to be more appealing to english speakers. Perhaps because 'blue' can mean rude/porn? Anyway, completely irrelevant tangent. The Chief is a brilliant character and we get his back story here as this is the first in the series. His supporting detective is also an excellently drawn man and the people the Chief meets as he traverses Paris to solve the case are also wonderfully outlined. An author like Michael Innes, and you can hardly get a more english detective than Appleby, would spend a page and a half laboriously explaining each of their characteristics while Vargas puts them down in just a few pen strokes. Like the difference between a Stubbs and a Degas. The ending was a little bit...odd. But lovely cousin did mention this wasn't the best one in the series. If you read this I suggest bearing in mind Vargas's gender. I was astonished.

All the images in this post are Amazon affiliate links, but I'm only in it for the images. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

One More FO (NaMoBloPo #6)

I finished this at the weekend. I'd done the main ring a few weeks ago, having bought the pattern and fabric while in Somerset. The leaves, beads and a hanging loop were all that I added.
Patchwork Christmas Wreath
The leaves took a bit of experimentation. The instructions suggested using batting but I found this was too bulky so used a single layer of craft felt instead. One good tip - the leaves only need to have one 'nice' side so to make them I put right sides together and sewed *all* the way around. Normally you'd need to leave a gap to turn them inside out and then whip stitch the gap closed. Instead I used a seam ripper to slice lengthways along one side of the leaf and used that to turn it inside out, leaving all the edges intact.
Close up Holly on Wreath
A few riding hood red wooden beads from stash and I was done! This is a present for Mater so if you happen to see it Mumsy it will be on its way to you shortly.

If I were going to send xmas cards this year (it's not the cost of the cards that puts me off but the cost of the postage) they would have this image on.
Self-Portrait with Wreath
E-cards are still a definite possibility though...

Monday, 5 November 2012

U'R Priceless Bloghop - Day One (NaMoBloPo #5)

I was very excited to get to be part of this as I've been a fan of frame purses for a few years now but had never used the 'sew-in' frames - only the glue ones. Having now completed a sewn one I think I'll be sticking with the glue in future but it was good to try.

I assembled my pieces...
U'R Priceless preparations
I decided, perhaps rashly, to use some leather type fabric in silver which I've had in stash, just waiting for the right project. I paired it with some sewing thread fabric that I really wish I had more of (let me know if you know where I can get some). 

I got going and followed the excellent instructions our lovely hostess had provided. I wish I'd sewn the lining first as I screwed up joining the points when I did the pleather.
Getting points to meet has never been a strength for me - but then I am a bodger and would always opt to plough on instead of ripping and redoing. The second time, with the lining, it did work a tiny bit better. 
A little bit of fiddling later and...ta da!
Sewn Frame Purse
Sewn Frame Purse Inside
The sewing in was interesting but pretty fiddly. Having said that, if you like to take your time you do have more control over it than the glue in frames. All I would say is use something like stranded cotton to do the sewing - anything slightly more delicate than cotton and it shreds as it passes through the holes. Guess how I know...!
Sewn Frame Purse Detail
I got my frames from Etsy. She's in China so what you save in money (which is a lot - her prices are excellent) you lose in how long it takes for your order to arrive. I've had a few orders from her though and the frames are good quality. Speaking of which...these are some of my previous creations. This was the first one I ever made, following a class at the Make Lounge. 
Metal Snap Frame Purse 2
Then this is my greatest purse frame achievement.
Awesome bag
Bag inside
Tape Measure Handbag 1
I use both of these regularly. 

So having seen my contribution to the Bloghop I hope you'll go and visit the others for today (the full schedule can be found in the sidebar here):

I'm not running a competition but I do have a Charm Swap you might want to sign up for. It is international (I am in the UK) and the only cost to you is the fabric (the swap is timed so you can buy it in the post-xmas sales) and postage each way. You can read more and sign up here
International Charm Square Swap Image
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

All Tucked Up (NaMoBloPo #4)

Remember this quilt?
Since the weather got colder I've had it on the sofa. It's great for snuggling under with my knitting.
Knitting under a patchwork blanket
It's the centre for a baby blanket which will have a fancy edging. I'm using James C Brett Cotton On which is  50% acrylic but minky soft, light and machine washable - all of which are essential for a summer baby. Yep - I'm getting a head start!

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