Saturday, April 30, 2011

See it here first

Vine Lace Vest by Linda McK
Vine Lace Vest, a photo by Linda McK on Flickr.

Finally got around to putting the finishing touches to the vest with the addition of 3 crotchet loops and 3 buttons. The only other mod I made was to lengthen the vest by a couple of inches. I think another couple of inches would have been even better. I didn't want to block it too heavily as the yarn is an wool/acrylic blend.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This is a knitting blog

so I guess I should talk about knitting. Or rather how I've slowed down in my knitting output as I have to get through one library book a week. I do have a FO to show you which has been finished for about a month now but I still haven't got around to recharging my camera battery to take photos. I haven't even worn it yet - it's the Vine Lace Vest and I don't have a thing to wear with it. I like to have long-sleeves at work as I tend to get cold if I'm in short-sleeves but of my long-sleeved tops they are either the wrong colour or have the wrong neckline or are a bit on the cropped side for work. Guess I should get out there and buy a new top.

Oh, and I've also knitted an infinity scarf which I've worn but not photo'ed and it's been put away for next winter.

I am also nearly 3/4 done with a plain cardigan which hopefully I'll get finished in the next fortnight.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You can't beat a good book

Focus on Books by Kamal H.
Focus on Books, a photo by Kamal H. on Flickr.
I used to be quite an avid reader until my job relocated and I could no longer get to work by public transport. Losing those 2 hours a day for reading reduced the number of books I read in a year. I must have restarted knitting about 2002 and that impacted my reading even further.

I knew that I was reading less but I had no idea how many books I was actually reading so in November 2004 I started keep tracking of the books I was reading. It’s just a simple list of book title and author and then I tally up the numbers read at the end of each year.

2005 :: 31 books
2006 :: 26 books
2007 :: 23 books
2008 :: 10 books
2009 :: 23 books
2010 :: 15 books

I must have done a lot of knitting in 2008. 2010 would have been even less but I got a Kindle in November and I managed to read 7 books while knitting.

I have so many books on my shelves sitting unread and I keep adding to them. This year’s resolutions were - read more books, try different genres and only buy books for the Kindle. So far I’ve managed 2 out of 3. Yes, I haven’t bought a single book for the Kindle this year even though it’s ideal for knitting and reading at the same time. My excuse is that in light of all the council cuts I’d better join the library and help their usage statistics.

This year I have read 19 books from 18 different authors, one of them has been a reread, 5 have been on the Kindle and 9 of them have been library books. I have also only read books from 4 of the authors before.

I try to set aside Wednesday evening and late afternoon Saturday and Sunday for reading and if I don’t have anything arranged for weekend mornings I’ll read in bed for an hour before getting up. Having library books is also helping as I like to finish them before they are due back.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ridiculously excited about the arrival of a DVD

«In Flanders' Fields» - published & illustrated in 1918 by stoixeia
«In Flanders' Fields» - published & illustrated in 1918, a photo by stoixeia on Flickr.

Back in 1979 the BBC produced a 5 part series based on Vera Brittain's book "Testament of Youth". It was a superb piece of drama that made quite an impact on me. It wasn't until reading the book that I realised how young they all were and how young the platoon leaders were - Roland was straight out of boarding school and was put in charge of 60 or so men. I have reread the book a few times over the years but the series has only been repeated once or twice. I happened to notice last week that it was released on dvd in 2010 so I just had to order a copy and it finally arrived today.

Also worth watching is "A Woman in Love and War: Vera Brittain" which was a BBC docu-drama.

I have also read "Letters From a Lost Generation - First World War Letters of Vera Brittain and Four Friends" which gave even greater insight into the personal tragedies caused by the war. It also gave some insight into the thoughts of well-off, privileged young Edwardians. Some of them are quite disconcerting:

In a letter from Flanders,  Roland writes to Vera about 2 graves close by to where he is sitting writing the letter - one of a private and one of a Major:

I cannot help thinking of the two together and of the greater value of the one. What a pity it is that the same piece of lead takes away as easily a brilliant life and one that is merely vegetation.

With statements like that no wonder there was great social reform after WWI.

I've never reread the book of letters perhaps now will be an ideal time to reread both books. Despite "Testament of Youth" being one of my top 10 books I have never felt the urge to read the next 2 autobiographical volumes "Testament of Friendship" and "Testament of Experience". The last 2 volumes are out of print so I'll have to buy them second-hand as they also don't have any of the books in the local library.  "Testament of Friendship" should be a good follow-up to the recent watching of South Riding" as it's about her friendhip with Winifred Holtby.

Here's a youtube snippet of a "Testament of Youth"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I even thought about podcasting

microphone by timsnell
microphone, a photo by timsnell on Flickr.

which if you knew me you'd find hilarious as you'd definitely not describe me as a talker.

I know in theory what would make a good podcast (or rather I know what I enjoy listening to) but putting it into practice would be a different matter and would take a lot more time than blogging. Spare time is something that I don't have a lot of currently.

There's a lot of knitting podcasts out there but I only listen to a handful. If I don't like a podcaster's voice then I won't listen to the podcast no matter how good it is. I do prefer UK podcasts but there's not many of them of around and I've certainly not heard a Scottish one.

My current favourite is the imake podcast. It's more of a multi-craft pod rather than just a knitting pod. Martine has a very pleasant voice and the podcast is very professionally produced. She's based in Guernsey so she differentiates her podcast from the others by including a regular section about all things Guernsey. She's only been podcasting since August, has produced 19 episodes and has covered a number of different crafts. I'm working my way through the back catalogue and I rather like the sound of working with precious metal clay. I've even looked up classes but I couldn't find any in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

So, what's your favourite podcast and do you listen to any non-craft podcasts?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The return of the blog?

Four years and a day since I last blogged no reason why I can't start again. I've been mulling over the idea of returning to blogging for a while now driven mainly by my increasing ambivalence towards Ravelry. Don't get me wrong I think Ravelry is a great site and I have spent waaaay too much time on the site since 2008 but I've been feeling for the past six months or so that alot of that it's become a time suck and that time has been wasted and could be better spent doing something else. The patterns and projects side has become an essential tool and I'll keep on using them but I should keep out of the forums. It's not as if I was posting, I've just spent a lot of time reading threads and thinking of posting comments but hardly ever doing so. So, whenever I feel the temptation to go into the forums tab I'm going to start a blog post instead. The cardigan in the previous post is still in existence and has never been worn. It sits (or to be more accurate) is half falling off a shelf in the wardrobe waiting to be reknitted into a Saroyan.