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Showing posts from January, 2012

Latest on Django, plus beautiful turbans

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After all the dramas of yesterday, I'm feeling a bit strung out this morning and slow off the mark. The cat flap remained firmly shut overnight, so when I got up the two kitties were there as usual, pawing the kitchen door, eagerly awaiting their breakfast. However, I'm now really nervous about letting Django out again - I knew I had to so it was with some trepidation that I gingerly opened the cat flap and out he shot like a bullet as if he was on a mission.

Thoughts of I'll never see him again flashed through my mind, but by the time I was having my own breakfast he was back to share my morning toast. As I write this he's sitting plaintively on the kitchen table looking out the window, probably thinking don't know what all the fuss is about. Anyway so far so good, I'm hoping he's learnt his lesson, but sadly it's not for nothing that I call  him a dumb blond -  Django is just accident prone.
Last time we had to rescue him from 80 feet up a pine tree, …

Django goes walkabout... again!

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Completely stressed out this morning.  My mum has been quite poorly over the weekend so there's been much consulting with carers, doctors and the lady herself, trying to get things sorted.  On top of this Django had been missing for 24 hours and when there was still no sign of him when we got up today alarm bells started ringing.  I have a very fertile imagination and was imagining he'd been picked up and transported to some far flung place by cat slavers or worse still killed or injured on a road.

So first thing leaflet duly made, then posted through every letterbox in neighbourhood and all nearby sheds and garages checked.  Was feeling very dejected when the phone rang with a sighting, albeit from yesterday morning. Django had been spotted on the roof of a nearby garage complex.
Rushed round immediately, only to find it was locked.  Scream! Was turning to leave when I just thought I'd give the gate a little push and what do you know, it opened!  Luckily the lock was for…

Knitting On Circular Needles - Sweet Shawlettes

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Knitting On Circular Needles - Sweet Shawlettes:

'via Blog this'
I was over the moon when I read this review of Sweet Shawlettes. Linda was one of the winners on the blog tour - she won the book from Rachel Heron's post at Yarnagogo. Naturally I'm always pleased when a knitter loves my work, but Linda's post almost made me cry as she seemed to have a sixth sense about all the things I was trying to do into the book.

So thank you Linda for your generous and lovely post, I can't think of anyone I'd rather have won it.

LEEK POTATO & ROCKET SOUP
While I remember, thought I'd give you the recipe for the soup I wrote about the other day. Makes enough for six generous portions. This is a quick recipe, great for when friends drop by unexpectedly on a cold day. It will freeze, or keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

3 large fat leeks
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
2 medium sized potatoes, washed but not peeled
packet of wild rocket
1 large stick celery, choppe…

The Medium is the Message

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There’ve been a lot of mentions recently in the social media about the plight of the freelance designer. In fact only the other day I found even the mighty Panopticon, who rounded off my Sweet Shawlettes blog tour yesterday, bemoaning the fact that sexism is rife in the industry, having just experienced a dose of it himself.

From what I’m hearing it seems that many designers are wracked by insecurity and self-doubt, convinced they are being ignored, overlooked or dismissed. Yet rejection is common currency in a freelancer’s everyday life. You’re only as good as your last design and unfortunately there’s always another designer willing to work for a lower fee.
In my experience most knit designers are in the business because they love the craft rather than to line their pockets. Many will work for whatever they are told is the going rate, sometimes even just for the kudos of having their designs in print, which makes them vulnerable to unscrupulous companies who consistently undervalue…

Cup cakes and leek soup

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Lovely afternoon yesterday with Ava.  We made jammy cupcakes and there's nothing like cooking with a three-year-old to get you up to speed.  The aim is to get to the end of the exercise before she loses interest - I often feel like that myself, but the beauty of being three is that you can actually abandon the task.
So... it's plain sailing putting out the pretty cases, weighing out the ingredients, then mixing it all together in a bowl, but then we get to the sticky part - putting the mixture, with jam in the middle into the cases.  Messy job is this year's understatement and Ava doesn't like mess.  So we do our best with the first layer to cover the bottom of the case.  Then comes the jam... well more tricky to get the runny stuff to sit in the middle and not slide down the sides, so Gigi (as all three grandchildren call me) helps a little, then we get at least half way through putting the top layer on before Ava decides she's had enough and skips off to join Ph…

A couple of iconic sweaters

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Sweet Shawlettes North American blog tour is in its final week now and it's been incredible to read all your comments. Wish I had a fraction of the number of comments that many of these stellar bloggers attract, it's phenomenal to see how each blogger has their own loyal fan base and so interesting to read the friendly dialogue. I've been putting the permalinks in place as the tour moves along, to ensure it remains easy to access.  It'll be a great resource now that I'm about to embark on a new journey with my next book!

Philip's putting the final touches to the UK and Europe tour, which was scheduled to start on the UK publication date -7th March. However, I've noticed that Amazon and The Telegraph Book Store are already selling it, with publication dates of 12th and 26th January respectively. I noticed that neither  actually have any copies yet, so I do wish they wouldn't jump the gun like this. It's not particularly helpful to anyone, certainly …

Behind the scenes

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Yesterday an invite to the Modern Artists Gallery's new exhibition arrived in my inbox. I'm always thrilled to view the cutting-edge work from emerging artists that Peggy presents - she has an excellent eye.  Their newsletter, Mag Rag is often inspirational - don't you just love the doggy painting by Paula ZimmermannThe American Gothic Terriers?
If you live in the South and you're looking for a lovely day out,  the gallery's located on the Oxfordshire Berkshire borders in the pretty village of Whitchurch-on-Thames - beautiful countryside and interesting shopping, what more could you wish for?

Tom Coomber of Artesano Yarns introduced me to the gallery some years ago when he suggested we do a shoot there for a collection I'd designed for him.  It turned out to be the perfect location - Peggy was a wonderful host and very welcoming,  allowing us access to both her gallery and home, which as it happened was full of even more wondrous works.  

We had a very successf…

What goes around...

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Little actions that we may not even remember can have a profound affect on other people's lives - or so I've been reading a lot recently in the sometimes platitudinous banners that grace social media sites. 

It got me thinking though, one can never know what's going on inside the head of another. A smile, greeting, or simply having coffee served by a friendly waiter can make a big difference if you're feeling low, especially as with the everyday pressures of life, people often have less and less time, making everything such a rush.
Where's all this leading, dear reader, you'll be wondering. Well... knitting has been very kind to me, allowing me to make a living from something I love. However, there've been good and bad times. In 1988 our production company went bust.  We were squeezed so much by our clients that in the end we were making a loss, even though the order book was overflowing. We lost everything, even our cars, but by some stroke of fate managed t…

Guitar and banjo pickers

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Short post today, my right shoulder has seized up and it's hell to type or even knit!  Woke up this morning with it, funny how these things hit you when you least expect them - or not. Probably I sit too long banging the laptop keys,  so maybe I've got a good excuse to do something else today.

Yesterday my friend,  Joanne Conklin, sent me a clip of Jerry Douglas on YouTube. I'd been telling her about how much I love his dobro playing especially with Alison Krauss and Union Station. His collaboration with Aly Bain on the Transatlantic sessions was a must see for me - best of Nashville and Scotland!

Thinking about great pickers, my mind immediately jumped to Bela Fleck, banjo picker extraordinaire, and I was  delighted to find this old video of them playing together.


The Sweet Shawlettes blog tour of North America is entering the final week tomorrow, but there's still a chance to win yourself a free copy.  Just log onto one of the remaining blogs and enter a comment.  I&…

Harlow Carr colour inspiration

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Spent a lovely morning at Harlow Carr, the RHS garden in Harrogate, yesterday.  This wonderful garden defies anyone who thinks that there's no colour in the garden in January.  It was a crisp and frosty morning when we visited and the garden was looking glorious in its winter mantle.  
I was spoilt for choice as to where to point my camera. Loads of berries, gorgeous tree bark patterns and even a few flowers like witch hazel, the plant of the month,  in bloom, all glistening under a touch of frost. 
The grasses looked fabulous, winter fireworks upstanding even though chilled to the marrow - a great advertisement for prairie planting.  The sculptures are spectacular in the landscape,  punctuating the garden and helping keep the interest going.
Steel sculpture There are plenty of interesting places to sit, though we didn't do too much of that as we had to keep on the move to ward off the cold.  Met with a giant snow shovel in the woodland area. <