Sunday, 29 April 2007

Knitting cobwebs with chopsticks.

I think this is the first time that I have ever knitted something and not enjoyed the process. The yarn is exquisite - KSH and Collinette, the soon to be finished product looks so good that even non-knitting people have commented favourably. I love the designers ( the Mason Dixon Knitters via Debbbie New's Unexpected Knitting. ) and I can look at pictures of others of the same breed for hours on end. I am just not having fun with the knitting part. Scribbling might not be for me.

At this juncture, I am conscious that some of my knitting free friends who read this blog ( and leave sweet messages - thank you Sammy Leigh Mac ) might have less than a clue about what scribbling has to do with knitting. In a nutshell, it is a way of knitting thick and thin yarn in the same piece of work on ginormous kneedles so that the thin stuff looks all diaphanous and lovely and the thick stuff looks like very swanky scribbles. It also allows a stingy knitter to showcase v.expensive yarn without needing to shell out millions on enough for a jumper. Scribbles usually end up as scarves, you see. There is a lot of fiddling around and sliding the knitting from side to side and the thin stuff doesn't like being knitted on the big needles and the thick stuff gets tangled up in the growing length of scarf when doing the sliding from side to side on springy circular needles and I just can't get a rhythm going.

So out of this agony, I've learned something - I am a rhythmic knitter. Caroline, stepdaughter and current houseguest/crafty collaborator had a look at what I was doing and announced that she would love to try the technique because it would keep her attention. After resisiting the temptation to hand the whole thing over to her, I had a think and realised that the very thing that bores her about knitting, the repetitiveness and some might say monotony of doing lots of similar rows or combinations of rows in order to make a pattern, is exactly what makes me a happy wielder of pointy sticks. That and a continuing Buffy the Vampire Slayer obsession.

I'm going to finish my scribble scarf, enjoy the result and knit a double bedspread next time. As the photo of Knitting Headquarters shows, I'll not be short of yarn to choose from.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Mog Manifesto Part 1

I get terrible rows from Archie when we go out for winter walks. If someone has their curtains open and the lights on, I can't help but look. In the same vein, I love travelling by train and catching the snapshots of life that can be seen as you whizz past the houses. I'm not hoping to catch anyone out or see what I shouldn't, I'm simply fascinated by the way other people live their lives. Small, domestic, homely, whatever you want to call it, all of this is really satisying to me. In fact, I would go as far as to say that some of the biggest adventures in life can be had on a very small stage. It's no coincidence that when we finally got married the ceremony was held in our living room and the photos were taken in the back garden. Small scale and perfect.

That's one of the reasons for the Mog Blog. This is me, the curtains are open and the lights are on!

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

I've been thunk!

Miss Frugality, the crafter formerly known as Julia has nominated me for a Thinking Blogger thingummy. Thank you for the compliment - now all I have to do is nominate some other bloggers. This is a wee bit tricky as I don't actually read that many blogs. Oh the heresy. So what I've decided to do is start paying attention and to nominate the blogs I come across during my internet wanderings that spark my interest either in the writing or the images and hopefully both. I've also been thinking about the blogs I would like to see and who I would like to write them!

My final thought is connected with this blog. Julia/Frugal's nomination has made me think about why I started writing and who I'm doing this for. I'm going to think about it some more. Expect a Mog Manifesto any day now!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

A very uncool household

Last week our fridge freezer made an almighty groan and shuddered to a halt. After a panic stricken rush to remove the frozen peas and their friends and put them in the spare freezer, we called out our trusted electrical repair man. Three days later he appeared, took a look at the F/F and shook his head. The compressor had gone and even though our household is famous in the local electrical repair world for having a 27 year old fully functioning washing machine, nothing could be done for four years worth of fridge freezer. Actually what he said was, he could order a new compressor and fit it but it would be cheaper to buy a brand new one. Bugger.

Archie was sent to the internet to research a replacement and to chuckle ruefully over the reviews of the failed machine. ( Don't buy one, they all said, the compressor goes after a couple of years ). After much deliberation and stroking of white goods in noisy electrical shops, we have chosen a successor and it will arrive in about eight days time. Luckily the lovely Sylvia gave us her spare freezer last year thus ensuring the safety of my collection of plums cooked in red wine but life without a fridge can be pretty smelly. We have been living out of a coolbox and sniffing the milk very carefully indeed before adding it to any cup of tea. The kitchen table is covered with all of the jars and tins that live unnoticed on the top shelf of the fridge. See photo for examples. Three bottles of Bach Flower Remedies, one for me and two for the cat. A jar of rhubarb jam gone wrong. Goose fat for cooking roast potatoes last Christmas ( forgotten and ignored ) , a can of Stella belonging to our friend Travelling Steve and two out of date beers from my mother that she gave me to cook with. Not sure what kind of a cook she thinks I am. Caroline and Stephen arrived in the nick of time to make macaroni cheeses and generally deplete the store of perishables and we are planning to survive on toast until a week tomorrow when the new FF finally arrives. It's a bit like camping only without the sleeping bags or the scenery.

On a knittier note, my striped cotton recycled affair is going well and I managed to get hold of this huge jumper in a charity shop which is already being ripped into pieces for adding to the stash. It is 80% wool, 20% acrylic. I'm thinking socks, or maybe something from the Sarah Dallas Knitting book which arrived last week. Who needs a fridge freezer anyway.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Spring update

Went for a walk with Caroline this afternoon counted thirty seven ladybirds and we saw the first swallows to arrive in the village this year.

Revenge - thy name is Rangercraig

We had a lovely but ultimately disturbing day out on Saturday, visiting the Dundee Botanic Gardens. Stupidly, unnacountably, I went out without the aid of a camera so there is no record of the look on my face as the lovely man at the desk ushered us in on a family ticket. Family as in two grown up people and two children of school age. My companions on this outing were Archie and his two daughters, Anna, 28 and Caroline, 30. To make matters worse, the man then offered to take Anna to see the park's terrapins! I'm not too sure how old he thought they were, and to be fair to him, both Anna and Caroline look youthful enough to still get asked for ID in pubs, but what about me? How could he think I was old enough to be their mother? I'm only eight years older than Caroline. We put this terrifying ordeal behind us, duly admired the terrapins and wandered around the beautiful gardens and hothouses. A good time was had by all, only marred by me telling Caroline that if she called me Mum I would punch her in the face. Old age does that to my sense of humour!

The photos above show A and C in their full youthful beauty ( spit ) as well as Dapper Dan, Anna's partner. The photos were taken at Caroline's 30th birthday party. That's thirty, not thirteen if anyone from the Dundee Botanic gardens is reading this post!

Our good friend Rangercraig is on the warpath. We had an email from him last night, followed by a phone call from Grahame, his other half, this morning. Along with the rest of the village, the lads had received a flier through the door from a company called Helpmates, pretending to be a charity doing door to door collections. According to the flier, God would be grateful if the village were to donate clothing, shoes, cosmetics, perfume and jewellery to be re-distributed in the third world.

A quick Goolgling by the Rangerman showed this to be a horrible scam and nothing to do with charity at all. The company is a business which makes money out of gullible people's donations. Not chuffed, our chum has decided to put a bag out for collection tomorrow. Being a park ranger he has access to all sorts of goodies and so far the donation from his household contains some super smelly clothes, a decomposed rabbit and half a dead goose. Let's see them make a profit out of that lot !

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

The greatest little Italian in the North ( East )

Yesterday was my birthday and to celebrate we took my folks to Catardi's, our favourite Italian cafe. It might be the only Italian cafe in town but even if there were many more, it would still be the best. In true birthday style, I got to eat anything I wanted which included a bowl of lovely tortellini and some tiramisu to follow. Not to mention the bruchetta, the olives, the garlic bread....

Recently we have started saying to friends and family that we don't need presents for birthdays and christmasses, and if people want to give things, to give items that will get used up, like food or wine or a meal out. This way we can reduce the amount of well meant but unwanted stuff in our home and cut down on the whole consumer shennanigans that takes over at certain times of year. It sounds a bit mean and unromantic but in fact it is such a relief. No more rushing around buying too much for too much. No awful sinking feeling when someone gives you a gift and you know it will be hidden in a cupboard or given away to charity. We stole the idea from our friends Grahame and Craig who successfully piloted it with their own family and friends. At first it felt weird but it is also liberating and makes everyone a bit more creative about what to give. So far, Archie got bottles of wine for his birthday from my family and when I woke up yesterday there was a daffodil on my pillow from the very man himself. Not giving seems to be as contagious as giving - both my parents have said they don't want presents either. My mum bent the rules slightly by getting me another fantastic bag of yarn from her charity shop the week before my birthday but I think it will come under the description of things that will get used - eventually!

Talking of knitting, I had to give up on the old Ramona sweater, even doing the largest size, it was too small to fit round my bricklayer's shoulders. I am now doing a pattern from an old Rowan hardback called Summer and Winter Knitting. It is a Martin Kidman design and I am completely ignoring the 80's intarsia design that smothers the original and just using the basic shape. Will keep you posted, by next week it could be a bath mat!

Photos are of my mum. Eleanor and her amazing yarn haul and also the lovely Archie sitting on our garden. He's probably planning another daffodil theft!

Friday, 6 April 2007

Bats at the Bee.

Busy busy week, the house has been filled with step-family, or family as I like to call them. Stephen was up for couple of days ridding the fridge of all known cheeses before returning to Aberdeen. Caroline is here now with her amazing red sparkly shoes and another digital camera. Magnus is so photographed that he has taken to wearing sunglasses a la Grace Kelly. If only.

Julia/Missfrugality ( please come up and show me how to do links ) sent me this lovely key ring which is now in use. Too big for the Blue tits in the bird house though.

Knitting bee was held at Helen's this week, she lives up a hill in a little farm cottage and it was wonderful to stand at her front door breathing in the smell of the fields warming up. Spring is most definately here. We saw the first bat fly past the window in the twilight and there are peacock butterflies and ladybirds everywhere. I find it hard to converse and knit sensibly at the same time so I left Archie's Vogue jumper at home and started up a simple cotton jumper for me - it's a Kaffe Fasset design from Rowan 39, called Ramona. The yarn is some rescued charity shop-unwound jumper that I dyed, mixed in with another recycled cotton so we can safely assume that it will bear no resemblance to the exquisite original. That's just the way I like it.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Trampolining for cats

Beautiful day, warm enough to be outside without a balaclava. An afternoon tinkering around the garden, fixing, sowing and tidying up. Archie mowed the lawn for the first time this year. I finished part two of the log cabin square project and Magnus learned how to trampoline with a little help from Georgie Ginger Reid who lives over the wall. You can't have too many days like these.