Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Recently Discovered Earth*

* (c) Liam Herringshaw 2008

Well, where to start? I appear to have completely lost my mind. I am giving up a well-paid job to move to a country where there is 10 months of winter and 2 of summer, and very few job prospects for an archaeologist.

My other half has been given a two-year post at Memorial University in Newfoundland and, after nearly 3 years of frequent visits up to Aberdeen I've had enough of killing the environment with my frequent flying. Commuting to Canada for weekend visits is a step too far...

To cap it all I'm moving over in mid-January, which is possibly the stupidest time to go, given the pack ice, sleet, and general arctic nature of the place. I think this excerpt from the current Provincial anthem sums it up nicely:
When spreads thy cloak of shimm'ring white,
At winter's stern command,
Thro' shortened day and starlit night,
We love thee, frozen land,
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, frozen land.

When blinding storm gusts fret thy shore,
And wild waves lash thy strand,
Thro' sprindrift swirl and tempest roar,
We love thee, windswept land,
We love thee, we love thee,
We love thee, windswept land.

Of course there's every opportunity for things to go a bit wrong: I don't have a job lined up properly or a work permit, but these are mere trivialities and I won't let that get in the way of my excitement. Come February I may still be in the UK and regretting handing in my notice but fingers crossed this won't be a problem. I have more things to worry about once I get there:

1) permanent frizzy hair due to sleet and wind
2) premature skin aging from adverse weather conditions
3) contracting hypothermia on landing
4) being mauled by gigantic Newfoundland dogs
5) having to tie down my house with rope
6) developing rickets due to Vitamin D deficiency
7) being attacked by Skraelings*

* see Saga of Erik the Red

I'm sure that many of these fears are completely unfounded... except the dog one ... ;o)

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Bikeability Neckwarmer

Ok, as promised, evidence of me actually knitting...

I've been cycling a lot recently and, as the winter months draw in, I've noticed a chill on the chest and a bit of wheeziness when it's cold out. So, to prevent premature lung-aging, stop me whinging, and generally for better wellbeing all round I decided a scarf was the thing. The problem is that I am so uncoordinated that normal scarves tend to flap about and get stuck in my wheels. Well, it hasn't happened yet, but knowing me...

Anyhoo, I've got an embarrassingly large yarn stash - I cannot throw *anything* away - so decided to use up some of it by making scrap yarn.

It’s the simplest thing in the world…

  • To create the yarn… tie together shortish lengths of scrap thread and pair two colours together to make it chunkier. It makes it more interesting when the colours overlap to get different colour combos. I used 4 colours which were paired differently every time and had different lengths.
  • Cast on 22 stitches (though depends on chunkiness of wool/gauge)
  • Garter stitch for about 62 rows or until it reaches approx. 52cm long then cast off. Try to knit in the ends as much as possible as you are going.
  • Weave in the leftover ends using a crochet hook then snip to neaten off.
  • The final scarf should measure about 16cm x 52cm.
  • Add a toggle to secure it, et voila!

And here is photographic evidence:

And one of me sporting it. Please remind me to brush my hair next time I take a photo of myself to spread across the Internet... ;o)

On Social Knitworking* and Turning to the Dark Side

(* © David Brooks 2008)

I have a confession. I am an addict. I don’t think a day has gone by when I haven’t had at least one fix. Ravelry has taken over my life and is now starting to affect me in ways others are finding disturbing.

I have become obsessed with pattern searching and seeing what my friends are up to (whether it’s stashing yarn, queuing patterns, or uploading their project progress). The sheer number of free patterns is amazing, and the fact you can see all the patterns from published books before you buy means I will never buy a dud crafty book again. Amazon’s ‘Search Inside’ is rarely available for this sort of thing and, even if it is, often doesn’t show you all the designs. So, I’ve been caught on many occasions when a lovely cardie on the front cover hides a multitude of tack on the inside…

Amongst all this I have slowly come to the realisation that I am going to have to learn to knit. Yes. I said it. Out loud and in public. The hardened crocheter is finally giving in to the dark side.

I tried it first on Monday night and immediately threw it away again in disgust as I was shocked to find I wasn’t instantly brilliant at it. I could see it was going to be a hard slog getting used to being rubbish at something again. Still, I persevered and even took it to Stitches and Hos last night, where friends were shocked to see me sans hook. It was strange. It felt completely alien. I was used to being the one person doing something different at S&H and now I was doing what everybody else was. Suddenly I felt like I was jumping on the bandwagon, completely unoriginal, and I didn’t like it.

Still, I’m sticking with it. I finished my first ‘object’ last night which was strangely satisfying. Watch this space for evidence…