Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Hoarse Greetings of the Season

I had intended to leave a seasonal greeting here sooner, but I have been felled by one of the worst sore throats I've ever had. I can remember sitting in a hospital waiting room and asking my mother what E.N.T. DEPARTMENT meant, and she explained that it was the department for Ear, Nose and Throat conditions, so I go a long way back with these. I was one of those honking adenoidal children; when I wasn't honking, I was barking, and it's been like that again this week. Yesterday I sneezed so hard that I bit my tongue. Three times.

However, one of the comforts of these things is that you know they're just going to work through themselves and once the requisite number of days is past, it will be gone. I am recovering my appetite, which, given the date, is the main thing.

The Angora Triangle has been blocked and sent on its way. It's 12 repeats, 48 inches by 22.

I didn't dare block it very rigorously because the fibres pull apart quite easily, but it's very pretty.
I knitted a Felicity Hat. You know how you think you're sort of keeping abreast of what is going on on the knitweb, and then you click on something you've never seen before and discover that Everybody has been knitting it? That happened to me with Felicity. Now I've done a navy blue one with some of the Mirasol Miski that Spinning Fishwife led me to in November;

I've done a bluey greeny brown one with some Cherry Tree Hill Possum Paints Worsted;
I've started another in some terracotta Miski;
(why, yes, one of my dpns is a very long circ - have you never done that?) and I plan to do another dark blue Miski one.

I plan to do a black one and a purple one too. It's excellent Christmas knitting, because if you're talking, or watching films, or drinking, it doesn't matter too much if the odd stitch or row is missed or added. It's a wonderful shape: the only thing I would say is to use much larger needles than the pattern suggests and, if you're in any doubt at all about the size, add 7 stitches to the cast on. I used 4.5mm and 5.5mm for the first one, and 5mm and 6mm for all the subsequent ones.

I hope I can get photos of some of these on heads after everyone's opened their presents.

Jean and I managed to get together last week for lunch in between my sucumbing to this and that. We went to Vittoria, which is one of my favourite places ever - it's like going to Italy for lunch. I usually go there with one or another small children, who get made a great fuss of, and get spag bol everywhere, so it was bit strange to go with another adult and not get beamed at. The last time I went there with a small person, she ordered macaroni and cheese and when the waitress bought it she pointed at the broccoli garnish and said, 'I don't want that', to which the waitress said, 'Nobody ever does.' Jean and I ate everything on our plates, however, and drank everything in our cups and glasses. Model diners.

I've changed my blog photo, from one of me yelling my head off in my pram in Pilrig Park to one of me carefully choosing the right word on my Dad's typewriter. The biscuits, for those who need to know, are digestives and a Tunnock's Caramel Wafer.

I've been watching out for a seasonal LOLCAT to leave you with and this is my fave.

funny pictures of cats with captions

Merry Christmas to all of my readers, or any other sort of seasonal wish which makes sense to you, and I hope the next few days bring you good company and good cheer - or as much good cheer as is reasonable to expect in these changing times.

Friday, 12 December 2008


Still not much knitting that I can show you. The angora Shetland Triangle is nearly done. I got 12 repeats of the chart out of the yarn and am now fretting that I could have got another. Someone on Ravelry only got 10 repeats but she doesn't say what size of needle she used. I'm not tempted to buy more yarn because it is so insanely warm; a little bit of it around the throat will be quite enough. Also, I suspect that a large one would shed so much that it would be like keeping a white long-haired cat around your shoulders. It doesn't shed as much as I expected, but it does shed a bit. I don't think she'll be wearing it with a black or navy blue coat very often.

I was drifting around the Borders site this morning, looking at knitting books for some unfathomable reason, and I came across one of those 'If you liked that...' lists which was all the usual knitting books and then this - Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the US Meat Industry, which startled me. Then I noticed that Upton Sinclair's Jungle was in the list too. I spent my working life organizing information and trying to make it easier for people to find what they were looking for, first in libraries and then on Tinternet, so I'm always intrigued when it goes wildly wrong. It wasn't described as a 'people who bought that, bought this' list: it's Borders' 'spookily accurate book suggestor'. Very mysterious; if anyone has any suggestions about how knitting is related to butchery, I'd be very interested to hear them.

And now, a cat playing the theremin.

I learnt everything I know about the theremin from watching the DVD extras on that most fabulous of movies, Ed Wood. Now there's a man who knows how to wear angora.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Live Squirrels and Dead Cats

The squirrel warning in the previous post has reminded me of an episode from the past. One night during my schooldays, my mother found a dead cat outside our house. It had been hit by a car and cast into the gutter. (In Edinburgh, the gutter is the dip between the road and the pavement (sidewalk) where water gathers before draining away. I mention this because I've noticed that this part of the streetscape has different names in different places and you might be imagining something else. Likewise, the actual drain has lots of different names: in Edinburgh it's a siver and in Glasgow it's a stank - some places they just call it a drain, which is a bit disappointing.)

It wasn't bin night in our street, and my mother didn't want a dead cat lying in our dustbin for a couple of days, but it was bin night round the corner in the next street. Ever thoughtful, my mother didn't want to just chuck a dead cat in someone else's dustbin and besides she didn't think it would be very nice for the binmen if they found it, so she got some brown paper and string and made a parcel out of it.

It then occurred to her that someone finding a parcel in a bin might think it contained something interesting (I think I've just realized where I get my over-developed planning bump from), so she wrote clearly on the parcel, 'This is a dead cat.'

Do you think anyone who found that would believe it? Do you think they would they be able to resist opening it?

I imagine something similar happened with the squirrel bin. Someone accidentally encountered the squirrel (and had the living daylights scared out of them, I expect) and considerately thought they would save someone else from the same experience, so they made the sign (they had to go home to do that, and use the pc, the printer and the laminator) and after consideration, decided to use a very simple and direct warning rather than an explanation. It's grammatically correct, apart from the absence of a full stop, which makes it almost unique in the world of signs.

And it arouses the same terrible temptation, just to stick your hand a little bit inside, just to see if there is a squirrel.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008


No knitting to be seen here, but this brightened my day and I thought it might brighten yours.

fail owned pwned pictures

It really raises more questions than it answers, doesn't it?