Sunday, 31 October 2010

Curious Questions.

I'm subscribed to YouGov, a pollling site where you fill in surveys on a variety of subjects. Eventually after what feels like years, YouGov send a cheque for £50 as a thank you. Every week or so a new survey appears in my inbox and most of them are about things I care nothing about, like mobile phone companies, or banking.

This morning a much more relevant survey appeared. I'll leave you with a few of the questions. Silly answers much appreciated! You may need to click the pictures to read some of the options as they came out a wee bit small.

In other news, I have been tidying up the plates of tomatoes that I saved from the outside plants when the frosts threatened. These poor fellows have been languishing by the kitchen window in the hopes of finding a few rays of sunshine to aid their ripening. There are some smaller than my thumbnail and all are beginning to show their age. I decided to hasten their shrivelling and have sliced them in half, sprinkled on some sugar, salt and pepper and I'm hoping the house will smell like a small Italian town in summertime. The kind of place where the tomato harvest is laid out on the rooftops to dry in the heat of the sun and the locals dip their focaccia into extra virgin olive oil while tearing basil leaves just for the joy of it. Instead of a damp Scottish village where two platefuls of old toms are stuck in a fan assisted oven.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

First frost

The daylight is changing to Autumn colour. Glowing to match the golden leaves falling from our big Birch tree. A time to savour. A time for reflection. A time for guilt when you remember something that should have finished  long before the chilly nights set in.


I'd promised to knit Archie a jumper and after painstaking pattern observation he chose the plainest, simplest one and asked for it to be knitted in black. The pattern is so old it doesn't even merit a mention on Ravelry. The helpfully named Patons Sweater C 3615 was started many moons ago and knitted inbetween more interesting projects. It has no shaping on the body, minimal shaping on the sleeves and posed no challenge whatsoever. The sewing together of black pieces of jumper with black yarn in a room with poor lighting caused an outbreak of swearing not usually heard in this household. It is all over now. Archie loves the jumper so much I just know he will ask for another one.

Here he is with Long Suffering Bear, renamed Tomten Ted in honour of the jacket he is wearing which was beautifully knitted by Mary Jane. It all got a bit much for Ted.  I think he must have overheard the swearing.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Knit Camp Tutor Fund.

As you might know, many tutors who taught at the UK Knit Camp this year have not been paid. Not only that, but many have not been reimbursed their travel costs either which is quite a loss if you consider that a good few came to Stirling from the USA.  A fund has been set up to support the tutors and here is some information about it.

I had a great time at Knit Camp in spite of the goings on that went on and it hurts me to think that the tutors who made such an effort to teach in difficult circumstances have been let down. Jane who has set up ( but won't benefit at all ) from the fund talks about it here and also links to some blog posts from tutors who had first hand experience. Thank you very much Jane for all of your hard work in getting the fund going.

Many people have expressed a wish to help with the situation regarding non-payment of teaching fees and travelling expenses to most of the Knit Camp Tutors (Instructors), so a fund account has now been set up. Respect & privacy for tutors and security & confidence for donors are paramount. Therefore the fund is being managed by Accountants, the cost of which has been donated, so every penny/cent donated will go straight into the Tutor Fund.
The Knit Camp Tutors have got together as a group and all money donated and raised will be paid by the accountant directly to each individual within the group. The group as a whole will decide distribution and this information will remain private.

The account is being managed by Clifford Towers Chartered Accountants, and audited accounts will be made available – note that details of individual donors and recipients will remain private. Clifford Towers is registered with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
The fund will be open for donations and proceeds of fund raising until the end of October 2010. There is a need for funds to be donated and distributed asap. Anyone with fund raising that may go on longer, please contact JaneKal.
If you wish to donate to the fund using PayPal click HERE
If you have any queries you’d like to remain confidential, you can contact Ros Tatum at or telephone 01788 577613  (hours 9.30am to 12 noon, UK time, Monday to Friday)
If you prefer to pay by cheque (UK only), please make it payable to Clifford Towers Chartered Accountants, and mark it Tutor Group Fund, or Stirling Tutor Fund on the back and the envelope , then post to:
Ros Tatum
Clifford Towers Chartered Accountants
1st Floor Suites Units 8-9,
Webb Ellis Business Park
Woodside Park
Rugby CV21 2NP

Casey & Sarah have kindly given permission for this fund to be discussed on Raverly. Please respect this by asking moderators before posting in a group. Please don’t spam, but do feel free to otherwise contact Rav friends and spread the word to individuals and groups that have an interest in the affected tutors. The aim is to inform everyone who may be interested that there is a means for them to respond in a safe, meaningful and practical way if they wish.
(The total amount of money owed to the Tutors is huge, but so that everyone is clear from the beginning, if we raise and donate an amount greater than that before the end of October, then there are obvious groups of people in unpaid KC employees and volunteers who didn’t receive expenses to consider but this will be fully and openly discussed in this thread.)

In happier news, I made a hat, finally finished the plainest jumper ever ( a specific request from my lad ) and today, ate the world's largest custard cream. Seen here with a banana and a cat's head for comparison. And we all know that's no ordinarily sized cat! 

Saturday, 9 October 2010

I may have unvented* Boucle.

Every now and then someone will ask if they can buy my knitting or spinning. It happened last week in a cafe in St Andrews while I sheltered from this year's worst rainstorm. The waitress loved my home made hat and asked to buy one. My reply is always the same,  I don't know how to put a monetary value on what I make  How on earth could I factor in the cost of my time, my knowledge, the years of practice and then subtract the fun that I have in the process in order to reach a sensible price?

That's what makes trading with another craft person so enjoyable,  you can be assured that each person knows the true value of the other's skills and appreciates the time it takes to make something by hand. My knife making chum Chris recently set me up on the trading equivalent of a blind date with one of his friends.  Jon makes the most beautiful hand carved wooden bowls and spoons and I fell in love with them the moment I laid eyes on them.  But would he have any use for a pile of handspun yarn?  Thankfully for me, Jon's partner Sarah is a knitter and she was really excited about the possibility of a swap. We chatted about what she would like and then I got down to the spinning.

The plan was to make some lightly felted single plied yarn and to dye it with walnut hulls. Unfortunately I erred on the side of heavy when felting. The yarn turned out kinkier than I'd hoped but a lovely colour, as if some boucle yarn had been dipped in a cup of milky cocoa. I trusted to serendipity and sent it off to Sarah with the promise of more ( and smoother ) yarn to follow.

In return for the milky boucle and an IOU for better things,  Jon made me the most beautiful spoons. One for measuring out my coffee a la TS Elliot and the other one slightly longer. All visitors to my house have to stop and admire them. I love the idea of the spoon spending time in the jar, every day absorbing more and more of the coffee smells.

The observant among you will notice that there are in fact no pictures of the wonderful coffee spoon. In fact, neither the spoon or the kuksa in the pics are mine. They belong to Chris.  I haven't used my coffee spoon yet. I'm holding off until I find the perfect jar to store it in. As most of my shopping is done in charity shops, this might take some time. Storage suggestions will be gratefully received. I don't want to show it off in public until I've found its perfect mate, although I am of course willing to trade handspun for coffee jars.


* Unvented? See Zimmerman,  Elizabeth.