More Yarn Will Do The Trick

Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year Gift!

Had a lovely evening in the country yesterday.  Our friends Kate and Ron live in a Georgian farmhouse on the Castle Howard estate and arriving there was magical. The castle really goes to town at Christmas and their drive is flanked with trees festooned with lights as far as the eye could see - complete non sequiteur I know, but if you'd like to see for yourself, come and join us in May on the Lakes & York tour.  The farmhouse track is about half a mile long and as you go along it the rest of the castle light show is twinkling amongst the dark fields - certainly more than made up for having to open a couple of farm gates in the mud and drizzle!
There was a warm welcome at the end of the track with their new beast of a wood stove at full throttle, making the house toasty warm. Kate's wholefood veggie cooking is renowned throughout Yorkshire (if not even further afield!) and the food was as fabulous as ever.  Made a note to myself to have her do a guest visit to my blog with a couple of recipes - she does the best cheese and leek pie I've ever tasted and deep fried tofu to die for.  Had a wonderful time catching up with old friends we don't see nearly enough of, life just seems to accelerate into the future far too quickly.

Tonight we're having a quiet New Year at home.  Turn up the music, cook some food, light the candles, stoke up the fire, then whilst the food is cooking, a few lines of backgammon will keep me happy. Later we'll be ringing in the New Year to Jools Holland's 19th annual hootenanny, with Cyndi Lauper and the legendary US electric blues harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite.  Also joining Jools, amongst many others this year is blast from the past Sandie Shaw. I've never been a fan of her music but remember thinking how cool she looked with her gorgeous silky curtain of hair and barefeet.
But I digress, what I really wanted to do today is to thank all my family, friends, and fans for their support and friendship over the the past year.  I wish you all peace, joy and good health in the coming year and hope the knitters amongst you will enjoy this pattern.  Cruz is from Wandering Spirits and was one of the book's most popular designs. The question has often come up of whether or not it's a hat, so I have to tell you now that it's a very versatile and easy mobius design in three sizes which can be interpreted as a shawlette, a cowl or a head wrap.  The head wrap version is the smallest size and does look like a hat if wrapped twice around the head.
S         32” wide x 7.5” high/81.25 cm x 19 cm
M         35” wide x 11” high/91.5 cm x  28 cm
L          40” wide x 14” high/102 cm  x 35.5 cm
Araucania POMAIRE:
(183yds/168m per 100g hank):
L makes shawl – 2 skeins PT699
M makes scarf – 2 skeins
S  makes head wrap – 1 skein PT696
24” long 5 mm (US 8) circular needle
or size to obtain tension, marker
16 sts and 10 rows =  4”/10 cms over Ripple Stitch pattern when blocked.
Please work swatch and check carefully.
If wrong alter size of needles until correct tension is achieved.
Ripple Stitch – multiple of 10sts

Cast on 130(140, 160) stitches, loosely.
Round 1          Ensuring stitches are not twisted (very important), pick up and knit a stitch below the first cast on stitch, along the lower edge of the cast on row (ie knit in the thread below the first cast on stitch while leaving the first cast on stitch on the needle). This closes the circle. Continue around similarly, picking up one stitch below each of the original cast on stitches, while leaving the cast on stitches on their needle – 260(280, 320) sts.                             
NB The circular needle will begin to coil up within itself during this round, but as the knitting progresses it will get easier.
Round 2          Place a marker on the right needle. Make sure the work is not twisted. Knit the first stitch in the normal way. Continue to knit around until you've reached the marker.
Round 3          Slip marker, purl around
Round 4          Slip marker, knit around
Round 5          Slip marker, purl around
Round 6          Slip marker, *k1, (yo) twice, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) 4 times, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) twice, k5; rep from * around
Round 7          Slip marker, purl around, dropping all yo’s off needle
Round 8          Slip marker, knit around
Round 9          Slip marker, purl around
Round 10        Slip marker, *k6, , (yo) twice, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) 4 times, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) twice,  rep from * around                 
Round 11        Slip marker, purl around, dropping all yo’s off needle

S         work rounds 4 – 7,  then rounds 2 – 5, then cast off knitwise – 19 rows in all
M         work rounds 4 – 11, then rounds 4 – 7, then rounds 2 - 5, then cast off knitwise - 27 rows in all
L          work rounds 4 – 11 twice more, then work rounds 4 – 7, then work rounds 2 – 5 once, then cast off knitwise  - 35 rows in all.
Weave in ends along side edges.  Press to size.
This design must not be knitted for resale.  Reproduction in whole or part is strictly forbidden unless prior consent has been given in writing.
 © 2008 Jean Moss

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Post Xmas dip

Is anyone else feeling like me - partied out, bursting with food and in need of a good walk to blow away the cobwebs?  Can't decide whether the aching limbs and headache are symptoms of flu or just a bad hangover.  Even the kitties are flagging. Arlo and Django are usually partners in crime, going about their business making mischief all over the place. However, today they're very snoozy - obviously decided they need a day in bed, which is what I would be doing if there wasn't so much to do before New Year's Eve.  

There's been a long run of festivities both before, during and after Xmas this year and no time at all for recharging the batteries. Santa was very kind, he brought me lots of treats, as well as my alltime favourite perfume, Mitsouko, vintage Guerlain, created in 1919 to celebrate the end of World War 1.  It's a scent I've worn for years and never tire of, this quote from the link says it all - After all, as The Bombshell Manual of Style declares: 'Mitsouko has more sensuous layers to unpeel than Rita Hayworth dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils as Salome'

But really Xmas is all about kids and it was fantastic to see the grandbabies taking such delight in opening their prezzies.  Often the smallest ones are the biggest hits - like blowing bubbles or burning the Amoretti wrappers and watching them threaten to set fire to the tablecloth, then at the last minute seeing them soar like angels into the air.  A sky lantern finished off the day perfectly for Izzi and Ava, it was the grand finale before they left  - why is it that pyrotechnics never fail to delight all children - young and also not so young?  
Getting very excited about the upcoming blog tour.  Am in the process of answering questions for participating bloggers about the making of the book.  It's quite a satisfying thing to do, revisiting the designs and remembering how I agonised over each and every one of them. So many decisions, which in retrospect don't seem so important now the book is done.

Don't forget, the tour kicks off on Jan 3, and I'll be visiting twenty-four stellar bloggers over the course of the month.  There'll be reviews, giveaways and more, so get involved.
Off to clear my head now with a walk down the river into town to get a few things for New Years Eve.  It's only the fifth day of Xmas, but the New Year is fast approaching and as I'm told I'm a synesthete, I sense a change in mood colourwise, and the heavy, warm saturated shades of the festive period are fading fast - the very word January for me conjures up tints of greens and creams, something similar to the colours of this image from my book.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


No time to blog today but wanted to share this... pure magic! 

Merry Xmas to you all!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Sweet Shawlettes est srrivé - piles of books, tofu and prezzies!

So exciting - my author copies of Sweet Shawlettes arrived yesterday in time to distribute before Christmas.  Yaaaay!!!  I wasn't expecting them till the New Year so I was utterly delighted when the postman arrived with one very heavy box.
The tofu is piled high in preparation for our veggie Xmas.  We'll be having lots of no-fuss dips and nibbles with stuffed peppers and baked tofu steaks on Xmas Eve, to give me a chance to finish off the wrapping (finish off is the understatement of the year, see the sad and lonely tree below!).  Is there anybody out there who enjoys wrapping?  If so I haven't found them yet.  Seems like one too many mountains to climb at this stage.  Being an avid recycler, I try to be mindful of the impact of my actions, reusing old wrapping paper whenever possible.
However, a prezzie is not a prezzie without its wrapping, so I shall dutifully if speedily wrap each one, whilst endeavouring to make the task more appealing by sitting on the floor under the tree by the fire with a glass or two of a favourite tipple.  Surprisingly this happens to be water at the moment, strange I know but you can have too much of a good thing and I'm feeling like a dried out prune and have an urgent need to rehydrate.
Have got a long way to go yet!
The menu on the day itself is usually much of a muchness every year.  We have a chestnut roast and a large puff pastry pie of tofu, sage and vegetables to replace the turkey, served with the usual trimmings of stuffing, apple sauce, brussel sprouts, roast veggies etc.

I love celebrations, the coming together of people in a common cause, but I have to admit I find the excesses and commercialism of Xmas ultimately depressing.  Being a knitter helps as it's gratifying to be able to give handmade gifts as well as things from the kitchen like chutney and cakes.

I'm not a religious person, so Xmas is more about celebrating the solstice, looking forward to what the New Year might bring and reminding myself that we have to do better and try harder to make our planet a place where all people, regardless of creed, country or colour, can find peace, health and happiness.  Let's make it happen!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Xmas cake pics

As promised here's a pic of the finished Xmas cake from the recipe I posted a few days ago.  I've decorated this one earlier than usual as it's to give to a friend who's coming round later.  Note the cake's very own knitted shawlette!  Hope mine will spark off some great ideas for doing yours.  Send me some pictures, would love to see them. 

Had to include this picture of Django who thinks he's a part of the Xmas tree, it's become his favourite spot to view the world from.
Hope your holiday preparations are going smoother than mine are. Nearly there though, just need to go into town this afternoon for one last foray... I hope!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Carl Sagan - stellar astronomer!

'The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true.'
'The cosmos is also within us.  We're made of star stuff.  We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.'
'For small creatures such as we the (universe's) vastness is bearable only through love.'
So said the great Carl Sagan, visionary and astronomer par excellence - can't believe it's fifteen years since he died. Brilliantly clever, he also had rock star looks and a voice like velvet.  This letter to him from Isaac Asimov, renowned Sci Fi author, says it all.
Dear Carl,
I have just finished The Cosmic Connection and loved every word of it. You are my idea of a good writer because you have an unmannered style, and when I read what you write, I hear you talking.
One thing about the book made me nervous. It was entirely too obvious that you are smarter than I am. I hate that.
Isaac Asimov

Inspiring just to hear his voice again.  Wherever you are now, Carl, you made a difference while you were here.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Xmas frenzy!

There's not been a chink recently, so much to do in such a short time now.  I think I'm suffering from SPD (seasonal panic disorder)!!!  I've just got to teach myself to be more Zen at Christmas,  what gets done gets done and the rest doesn't matter. Started two last minute holiday gifts, a zip-up-the-back sweater (available on Ravelry) and a couple of pairs of fingerless mittens.  These don't really stress me out as I love to wind down in front of the fire in the evening with a glass of wine (or even sherry or port at this time of year) and my knitting.  However, all the other little things which I haven't addressed drive me mad and it's made worse in our family by many birthdays also falling over the festive season.
Back minus zip and placket
 So... the to-do list gets longer by the day. Wrapping the prezzies, getting the last minute gifts once I've managed to sort through what I've already got, more food shopping, decorate the cake etc etc,  On the positive side, things I have done are bought the tree, decorated it, decked the halls and baked the cake. Made the garland - very simple,  eriobotrius leaves (big Greek medlars that they serve bletted -basically rotting - but which are delicious) with pomegranate slices dried in the oven and topped with the brilliant red/orange berries of iris foetidissima.  Thankfully most of the food shopping is done too in one large foray.
The problem is putting the pieces of the jigsaw together - work admin, holiday preparation and most importantly enjoying myself.  Tomorrow we have eight for supper, which is lovely and I'm really looking forward to it, catching up with friends I haven't seen for ages is always a treat.  But I don't think I'll be taking photos of the food which will have to be incredibly seasonal and simple as there's just no time to fuss about it.

Meant to make this a short post, apologies if it's a bit of a diatribe, can't you just feel the tension pouring out - blogging is a great catharsis!

Harry with glitter ball with girlfriend Izzy
Can't finish without congratulating Harry and Aliona on winning Strictly 2011 - it was great to see them hoist the glitter ball and on the night they were worthy winners.  Adieu Strictly - all those cold Saturday nights ahead without you, my heart is broken!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Playing for Change

Had to share this brilliant Playing for Change video with you.  The PFC Band + special guests send holiday greetings from Sao Paulo.

In their own words:
Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. The idea for this project arose from a common belief that music has the power to break down boundaries and overcome distances between people. No matter whether people come from different geographic, political, economic, spiritual or ideological backgrounds, music has the universal power to transcend and unite us as one human race. And with this truth firmly fixed in our minds, we set out to share it with the world.

And now, everyone can participate in this transformative experience by joining the Playing for Change Movement. People are hosting screenings, musicians are holding benefit concerts of every size, fans are spreading the message of Playing for Change through our media, and this is only the beginning. Together, we will connect the world through music!

You can donate to this wonderful project here.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Ask Jean revisited 3

Thought this question from my column might be helpful to anyone who's relatively new to knitting and its jargon.  Technical abbreviations are usually included in patterns but for new knitters joining online conversations things can get a bit sticky when the acronyms come out. 

I have to say though that the only acronym I'm getting excited about right now is SCD, can't wait for the final on Saturday.  I think Harry should come through, although Chelsee is also a fabulous dancer and Jason seems to have come good at the right moment - take a look at his brilliant Argentine tango - fab-u-lous, my favourite dance of the series... so far!  I love dancing so watching Strictly is the next best thing for me to actually doing it - pure unadulterated delicious escapism, without moving a muscle other than those needed when I'm jumping up and down getting excited about the moves and the judging! My favourite judge is Craig, he tells it like it is, but I also love Bruno, who's an absolute sweetie and never fails to make me laugh. 

Back to the query in question, another reason I chose this one was that I noticed it was illustrated by my beloved cat, Billie, who died early last year.  He always used to sit in my waste paper basket whilst I was working on a pattern and had an BIG personality and I miss him enormously.
Q   Help!  I have just learned how to knit and I really like it.  I got your magazine, but find I am confused by a term you use. What is DK???  I am seeing this throughout the magazine, for instance, on page 48 under Extreme Knitting it says, "For this pattern any yarns around the weight of 4-ply to DK can be used." 
Maureen Yoder , by email
A   Don't worry, knit acronyms can be horribly baffling to the uninitiated.  DK, which simply means Double Knitting, is a versatile medium weight yarn, used in many projects, which knits up to approximately 22 stitches/28 rows to 4”/10cm on 4mm (US 6) needles.  It can come in wool, cotton, silk, linen or any mixture – DK is the weight of yarn.   However, you are clearly in need of a KB (US term, knit buddy) to come to your rescue in future. We could start our own Knit Buddy List.  Meanwhile here’s some more knit speak demystified:

BUFO                  Boring Un-Finished Object
DPs, or DPNs     double points, or double-pointed needles
FROG                 To frog it is to unravel a project row by row.  In the US this is called ripping. Frogs croak rippit, rippit. get it?
IN THE QUEUE  Projects waiting to be knit
KAL                     Knit-A-Long, where a group of knitters on a forum or through a blog will all knit the same project and share their progress
KAT                     Knitting Against Time (a lot of that about at this time of year!)
KIP                      Knitting in public
LOL                     Laughed out loud – you have to sometimes!
LYS                     Local yarn shop
LYSO                  Local yarn shop owner
SABLE                Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy (don't we all have our own version of this?)
SEX                    Stash enrichment expedition
SnB                    Stitch 'n Bitch -  either referring to the books by Debbie Stoller, or referring to a local group of people who meet up to knit
STASH               Your personal cache of yarn
TINK                   Unstitching a project one stitch at a time – knit written backwards, get it?
TOAD                 Trashed object abandoned in disgust
UFO/FO             Unfinished/finished object
WIP                     Work in progress
WYIB                  With yarn in back
WYIF                  With yarn in front
YAS                    Yarn Acquisition Syndrome - the inability to resist the temptation to buy yarn
NAYY                 No affiliation, yada-yada. Usually said right after enthusiastically recommending a product, store, etc.
YMMV               Yarn Mileage May Vary, also known as YGMV (yarn gauge may vary) and YMV (yardage may vary), meaning this is my experience but yours may be different.
Meanwhile am hoping to actually acquire a tree today, I've been saying this every day for about a week now.  But then the next quest is to find some Strictly glitter balls to deck the halls with!  Keep dancing!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Favourite Xmas cake recipe

Just want to have a little rant at Blogger before I start the recipe. Thinking I'd save myself some time in a very busy day, I did this post last night and set it to go live at 10am this morning.  I wanted to edit something this morning and somehow the whole post got wiped out and Blogger's autosave then immediately saved the post as empty, much to my anguish!  Ten minutes later after googling the problem I find this has happened to so many people. Isn't it about time this was sorted Blogger, it's just devastating to have to try to retrieve work you thought you'd already finished?

Hmmmm, sorry about that, where was I, oh yes, my favourite Xmas cake recipe. I make this cake every year, because it's SO easy and it's suitable for vegetarians and even vegans. I usually make the vegan version, as I do a swap with my vegan friend Kate - her Xmas pudding for my Xmas cake, but you can add the eggs if you like a lighter cake.  It doesn't matter if there's an ingredient you don't have (as long as it's not the flour, sugar or margarine) this cake can cope without it, believe me I'm the mistress of make-do!

1.5 lbs sifted plain flour (white or wholemeal or a combination)
3 teaspoons baking powder (vegan version) OR 1 teaspoon (with eggs)
1.5 lbs margarine (gently heated in a saucepan until liquid)
1.25 lbs demerara OR muscovado sugar
0.25 lb molasses
2 lbs mixed dried fruit (currants, raisins, sultanas, figs, dates, apricots, pineapple, blueberries, you can really get creative here and use the ones you love).  If you can remember soak the fruits overnight in 3 tablespoons of brandy or if you prefer orange juice. This will make them plump and sumptuous and you can use any liquid left over to mix the cake.
4 free range eggs (optional)
0.25 lbs candied peel (I buy whole candied fruits from Alligator, our local wholefood shop)
0.25 lb broken walnuts
handful of sunflower seeds
2in stem of angelica, sliced (if you can get it)
1 large OR 2 smallish cooking apples, grated with peel
zest of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg and mixed spice
2 teaspoons mace
large piece of grated ginger OR 2 teaspoons ground ginger OR equivalent amount of candied ginger along with some of the syrup
large slug of brandy OR orange juice to mix ingredients into a sticky consistency

Now I told you it was easy. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 1. 275F (140C). then just put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together well.  You'll have enough mixture to fill one 8inch tin and a smaller 5inch tin.  You can either eat the smaller one straight away or wow your friends with it when they drop by after Xmas, by which time it'll be very well fed!

Grease and line the tins with greaseproof paper and fill with the mixture.  Cut circles of greaseproof paper to go on top of the mixture, with a ten pence sized hole in the centre to let the steam out.  Then bake on lowest shelf of oven for approximately 4.5 hours, could take a tad longer, but don't open the door for 4 hours.

Cool the cake for half an hour, then put it on a wire wrack until cold.  By this time you may like to pour yourself a glass of brandy while you stand back and admire your glorious cake.  Before you store it away, feed it by skewering many times on the base and dribbling brandy into the holes.  Then wrap it in a couple of layers of greaseproof paper, finishing with a layer of foil.  Feed the cake similarly every week until Xmas.

I don't ice my cakes, it pleases the designer in me more to make pretty patterns with dried fruits and nuts, and it's less messy.  To do this warm up some apricot jam in a saucepan adding tiny amounts of water until it's a thick liquid, sieve it to get rid of the pieces of apricot, then brush it lavishly over the top of your cake. You don't need many dried fruits, I usually use sliced figs, pineapple cubes, angelica for its brilliant green, apricots and pecans or walnuts in the centre.  When you're satisfied with the pattern, dilute your apricot jam mix even more with a little brandy, then brush it over the whole of the top of the decorated cake. Tie a big red ribbon around it and serve it surrounded by sprigs of holly et voilà... tadaa!  Enjoy!

I'm still feeding mine, so no photos yet.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Xmas gift - easy shawl

Merry Christmas to all my online friends, may the New Year bring peace and happiness to you all.

Here's my Xmas gift, Topaz, an easy knit in Manos Silk Blend, guaranteed to keep you cosy through the party season.

One size approx.
20 in wide x 66 in long / 51cm  x 168cm
MANOS Silk Blend
(270m/300yds per 100g skein):
5 skeins Rust 6610
4 mm (US 6),  2 extra-long circular 4mm (US 6); or size to obtain tension, markers
21 sts and 38 rows =  4”/10 cms over garter st when blocked. 
Please work swatch and check carefully.  If wrong alter size of needles until correct tension is achieved. NB  Before blocking the piece will be smaller than required size, therefore block your swatch before measuring.
Knit every row
Multiple of 22 sts + 1
Cast on 1 st
Row 1              k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 into this st   – 5 sts
Rows 2-8         slip 1, k4
Row 9              k2tog, k1, k2tog
Row 10            k3tog
Row 11            Place point of LH needle into cast on st and knit tog with last st. Slip onto holder                      
*Cast on 11 sts, slip on 1 bobble pulling tight, cast on 10 sts; rep from * 16 more times, end last rep cast on 11 sts
Row 1              *k1, yo, k9, s2kp (slip 2 sts together, k1, pass 2 sts over), k9, yo; rep from * 16 more   times, end k1
Row 2              *p2, k19, p1; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 3              *k2, yo, k8, s2kp, k8, yo, k1; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 4              *p3, k17, p2; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 5              *k3, yo, k7, s2kp, k7, yo, k2; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 6              *p4, k15, p3; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 7              *k4, yo, k6, s2kp, k6, yo, k3; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 8              *p5, k13, p4; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 9              *k5, yo, k5, s2kp, k5, yo, k4; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 10            *p6, k11, p5; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 11            *k6, yo, k4, s2kp, k4, yo, k5; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 12            *p7, k9, p6; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 13            *k7, yo, k3, s2kp, k3, yo, k6; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 14            *p8, k7, p7; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 15            *k8, yo, k2, s2kp, k2, yo, k7; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 16            *p9, k5, p8; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 17            *k9, yo, k1, s2kp, k1, yo, k8; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 18            *p10, k3, p9; rep from * 16 more times, end p1
Row 19            *k10, yo, s2kp, yo, k9; rep from * 16 more times, end k1
Row 20            purl
Row 21            knit
Row 22            purl
Cast on 85 sts and work in garter st until work measures 66 in / 168cm when blocked.  Cast off.
Work 17 bobbles and leave on holder.
Using extra-long circular needle, cast on 375 sts and refer to Edging and work the 22 rows. 
With RS facing, starting at top left-hand side of shawl, using other extra-long circular needle, pick up and knit 375 sts.
With RSs facing, work three needle cast off with two circular needles and one straight needle.

3-Needle Cast-Off
Place right sides together, back sts on one needle and front sts on another.  * work 2 together (1 from front needle and 1 from back needle).  Repeat from * once.
Cast off first st over 2nd st.  Continue to work 2 together (1 front st and 1 back) and cast off across.

Press flat to size.

This design must not be knitted for resale.  Reproduction in whole or part for commercial gain is strictly forbidden unless prior consent has been given in writing.
 © Jean Moss


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Happy Birthday Lyra!
Our gorgeous grand-daughter is one today.
If you've been following my blog you'll have realised that last night was the 19th Xmas party at The Shed, a venue that's become renowned over the years for the very best live events.
Alfred Hickling of The Guardian wrote:
For the past 19 years, The Shed, near the market town of Malton, has been responsible for some of the smallest and most inspired art events in the country.
The Shed's reputation certainly won't be harmed by last night's gig - Hank Wangford & the Lost Cowboys were on top form, playing their unique brand of country music with an ironic twist.  Misery is their trademark and they did us proud.  Of course the audience knew every song and sometimes practically drowned out the band with their enthusiasm - suffice to say our lungs were well oiled. It could sound as if there's more than a little country music mickey-taking going on, but it's all good $in$ere fun and their country pedigree and passion for the genre shines through.

It was a fantastic night, in fact one of the best Hank gigs I can remember and we go back a long way, to when the band used to play every week at the Pegasus pub in Islington.  Got myself a new  CD and I'm getting my daily dose of misery right now.

Can't finish without mentioning the knit connection.  In 2006 The Shed, in co-operation with the poet, Ian McMillan and Sirdar, hosted a performance of words, music and... knitting called Hat.

Here's Ian McMillan's brilliant poem Wool Facts.
1    God threw a ball in the air. 3-ply.
2    Eve tempted Adam with the ball of wool,
      rammed the needle down the serpent's throat.
3    'My wool pyramid will last ten thousand
      years! said the Pharaoh.
4    The Three Kings brought wool, wool, and
5    'Is this The Renaissance?' they asked, as
      needles were invented
6    'Watch out for the woolberg!' cried the
      Captain of the Titanic.
7    Sign this.  Just here. It's 12.15, it's
      Runnymede, the needles are dipped in
      the best ink.
8    The Wright Brothers knitted furiously in
9    'Mass produced patterns, Now!' yelled
      William Caxton.
10   'I may be some time' said Captain Oates,
       'I've left my needles in the glacier'.
11   Columbus turned back, excited, pulling
       out the continent as he went.
12   Hold this wool, said Eva Braun, as Hitler
       and Goebbels did the salute together.
13   That's one small stitch for man, one giant
       stitch for mankind.
14   Evolution advanced as the caveperson
       invented the wool.
15   'Come in here a minute' said Alexander
       Graham Bell down his wool phone.
       'Pardon?' said his assistant from the next
16   The dinosaurs died out slowly, failing to
       knit thermals fast enough as the ice age
17   Isaac Newton felt nothing as the wool
       apple bounced off his head. Gravity
       remained undiscovered for another two
       hundred years and people flew around
       like seagulls.
18   They found Custer and all his men
       wrapped in wool.  Dead, but cosy.
19   Henry V111 knitted wives seven and eight.
       It gave him a feeling of power.
20   Noah's wool ark floated.  No I tell a lie.
21   Kitchener was waiting to pose for his
       poster. 'Hurry up with that moustache' he
       shouted to his wife.
22   Jesus turned the water into wool. 'I'm new
       at this' he said.
23   The Mona Lisa was just about to laugh.
       Those wool vests really tickled.
24   The Sixth Beatle: the one made of wool
       who didn't get to the first rehearsal
       because, being made of wool, he couldn't
       open the door to get out of the house.
25   The scientists nodded in triumph. This
       was the sound of The Big Bang: needles
© Ian McMillan

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Sweet Shawlettes Blog Tour Schedule

Until very recently a book tour meant physical visits to book stores for book-signings, talks, workshops etc to promote a new book. I don't know who thought up the idea of making it a virtual event, but well done you! Having a US publisher and a fairly busy life, it's not always easy to schedule a trip to the US to coincide with the publication of a new book. A blog tour provides the next best thing and sometimes is even better as it potentially opens up a much broader audience for authors.  

So I'm thrilled to present this stellar list of blogs and would like to thank each of them for hosting a stop. If you follow the tour you'll have a good chance of winning a free copy as most stops will be doing a review and a giveaway. There'll also be Q&As, conversations, podcasts and more, so get involved - I'd love to hear what you think.
Mon 2 Jan        More Yarn Will Do The Trick – Jean Moss     
Tues 3 Jan       Wendy Knits - Wendy Johnson
Wed 4 Jan        Knitgrrl - Shannon Okey
Thurs 5 Jan      Yarnagogo – Rachael Herron
Fri 6 Jan           The Knitter – Rosee Woodland
Sat 7 Jan          Rhythm of the Needles – Joanne Conklin
Sun 8 Jan         Knit Purl Gurl – Karrie Steinmetz
Mon 9 Jan        CraftSanity – Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood
Tues 10 Jan     Planet Purl – Beth Moriarty
Wed 11 Jan      Sunset Cat – Stephannie Tallent
Thurs 12 Jan    A Really Good Yarn – Julie Schilthuis
Fri 13 Jan         knit 1 chicago – Lynn Coe
Sat 14 Jan        Go Knit InYour Hat – Carol Sulcoski
Sun 15 Jan       Redshirt Knitting – Erika Barcott
Mon 16 Jan      In The Loop – Cheryl & Ellen
Tues 17 Jan     WEBS – Kathy Elkins
Wed 18 Jan      Zeneedle – Margene Smith
Thurs 19 Jan    Knitspot– Anne Hanson
Fri 20 Jan         Urban Yarns – Alexa Ludeman
Sat 21 Jan        A Friend to knit with – Leslie Friend
Mon 23 Jan      Tentenknits – Margaux Hufnagel
Tues 24 Jan     Fancy Tiger CraftsAmber Corcoran
Thurs 26 Jan    The Panopticon - Franklin Habit
Tbc                  Chic Knits – Bonne Marie Burns

Have a read of the first review in 
Publisher's Weekly
Sweet Shawlettes: 25 Irrestistible Patterns for Capelets, Cowls, Collars, and More
From shawls and fichus to collars and cowls, this fun collection of 25 bite-sized knits has a project for every style and skill level. Veteran knitwear designer Moss (In the Mood), a regular contributor to Vogue Knitting and Knitting magazines, has created a fashionable collection of accent knits. Each of the book's four stylish sections--Country, Couture, Folk, and Vintage--contains knittable, wearable, and gift-able projects. 

Pieces like the festive Kardamili Shawlette or the leopard-print Kitty Capelet offer contemporary feel to classic pieces, while more unusual items like the delicate Vamp Boa, the sweet Garland Necklet, and the sassy Treasure Jabot offer lovely alternatives to traditional accessories. 

Several patterns feature colorwork, with additional forays into cabling, lace, and entrelac. Moss has provided plenty of useful diagrams and charts, and encourages knitters to alter or embellish each piece as they wish. 

The handy project index lays out thumbnails of every pattern in the book. This whimsical collection is perfect for the beginning or intermediate knitter looking to try out new techniques or use up her yarn stash.

45 full-color photos. (Jan)
Reviewed on: 12/02/2011