Monday, 23 November 2009

A year ago today

A year ago today, I was out walking with my best friend, trying to get my head around the fact that, coming home in the wee small hours after a fantastically happy, enjoyable party, I'd been attacked by a stranger as I made my way up the stairs to my flat, ripped out of my happy cloud and dragged into an incomprehensible parallel universe. A year later, I'm still trying to get my head around it. I never would have thought it would be like this. I don't feel like I have anything to say on here at the moment.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Knitting keeps on lifesaving

Not a great couple of weeks for reasons related to the bad stuff that happened in November. Wonder where I'll put all my knits and purls of unhappy once this blanket is finished? Into a clapotis perhaps, or more socks. Off home for ten days tomorrow night. This is definitely A Good Thing - I need space and air and a change of scene to clear my head and get some perspective.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Knitting as lifesaver

My granny was a great knitter and taught me some basics when I was little, but I was never that interested and had forgotten everything when about eighteen months ago, out of the blue, I got the urge to knit. There's a little haberdashers just down the road from me, so I went in and bought a pair of 8mm needles and a couple of balls of chunky black wool and produced a basic garter-stockinette-mix scarf, which I proceeded to wear ALL winter and which, I'm surprised to say, garnered quite a lot of compliments.

The knitting bug had bitten, but things just pottered along gradually with a scarf here and a scarf there, until the bad times hit in late November and I found myself spending a lot of time sitting at home, feeling deeply unhappy and struggling to chase away bad thoughts. I don't think it's any exaggeration to say that knitting kept me sane this winter (at the very least it stopped me veering totally off course and into a ditch).

Lots of repetitive, don't-think-about-anything-but-stitches work (I knitted a ginormous and ridiculous K1P1 scarf of fingering yarn that must have about a hundred hours of work in it and will be frogged as soon as I resign myself to doing it) slowly turned into slightly more complicated projects, like bags and hats and bootees, as I picked up courage both in life and in my ability to knit. Last weekend, I turned a corner and decided I was ready for socks. And yesterday, I finished my first one. I'm not quite back to normal yet, but I'm getting there. I wonder what the knitting sign for "normal, properly ready to rejoin life again" will turn out to be?

Monday, 29 June 2009

Scherious scheep-based schopping in schunny Stockholm

I was away in Stockholm most of last week for a convention which I stretched out into a weekend. The convention was fine and the weekend was fun and there were lots of boats, but it was faaar hotter than the weather forecast.

I'd packed for 12-20°C and it ended up being 28°C. Which meant that instead of my nice little skirt-and-warmish-top / trousers-and-t-shirt combinations, I had to work the skirt-and-tee angle and boy oh boy but I had NOT considered that option and ended up looking like a mismatched clown most of the time. We're talking formal-black-linen-skirt-with-blue-striped-pirate-t-shirt-and-strappy-silver-platforms clown. I'm not great at working it at the best of times, but this....

Ah well, fortunately there are yarn shops run by nice older ladies with sufficiently broken English that it's all smiles but no need for conversation. We have Malabrigo. Yeah. I'm embarrassed to say that I'd been staking out my Stockholm yarn purchases and was all set to go to Nysta and KnitLab and buy all sorts, especially my first-ever Malabrigo. I'd actually started dreaming about the Great Malabrigo Purchase. But it turns out that Nysta and KnitLab have both closed and so I found myself wandering the streets, bereft and lonesome, which is when I walked past the Anntorps Väv window and hope bloomed in my little heart again. I trotted back first thing the next morning and had a great old time. I could have bought half the shop, especially where this stuff, Östergötlands Ullspinneri Pälsull, was concerned:

That's my sister-in-law's colour and this yarn will end up being her Christmas present - just have to decide what to turn it into. There were some great yellows and oranges too. And a few skeins of Malabrigo. I bought 100g of black lace-weight (with a project in mind) and can't wait to get started on it. I also bought this monster chunky wool-and-soy, although that was in another shop that I passed:

Also fortunately, when I changed to my non-convention hotel, I got a tiny noisy room that looked right onto the hotel bar. I'd booked tiny, so that wasn't a problem, but I'd also booked (and wanted) quiet so, for once, I asked to change. And they gave me a gorgeous double on the fifth floor with a balcony and let me stay there both nights. Not the best photo, but it was very luxe and very lovely.

And then I got home and washed my windows and oiled my wooden worktop and watered my plants and all was well with the world.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

I just should get over it...

... and rename this blog "the lovely lizzies". They are lovely though.

Speaking of lovely, isn't this cat pretty?

Unfortunately, he's also very SAD (possibly because he's called Lulu, which doesn't sound like a very macho name to me).
So he spends all day and half the frrrrrigging night crying and meauwling and generally expressing his profound sorrow. I don't know where it's come from. For the last two years, I've known him for his remarkable climbing abilities and pretty little monkey face but for the last couple of months it's been the CRYING and the YOWLING and the DEEP SIGHS. Pretty much every single day. And almost every single night. Gah. At last it's given me and one of the Mr. Rupert Bears an opportunity to do some bonding of a "is that goddamn cat keeping you awake as well?" variety.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Shame-free shelving

I've had a great weekend: a nice lazy Saturday and then two days of beavering away (today's a public holiday) with lots to show for it. Things to say about the smoky downpipe in the loo, the leak (eek) in the bath, tiling at the sink, a slightly disappointing mirror situation, knitting and, above all, my hall cupboard.

When I arrived, my hall cupboard looked something like this: two rails for hanging clothes and a two-thirds finished space up top for stuffing suitcases and the like.

In January 2008, I christened my new Christmas drill and put up shelves. The Shelves of Shame, to be precise. They were shameful for two reasons. First, I mis-measured, so one of the brackets at the back was about half a centimetre out. This was particularly shameful because I actually went so far as to chisel a half-centimetre sliver out of the skirting board to account for this difference, but at no point did it occur to me to triple-check my measurements. Very stoopid. The other thing was that I got the shelves cut to the right width at the shop, not realising that the cupboard gets narrower towards the back and that I'd need to leave space for the bracket system, so lots of half-assed slicing of little strips ensued. With a desperately blunt old hacksaw. Yeah, embarrassing.

Add to that the totally knackered old paint job and the dusty holes and gaps left behind by the workmen and the random electricity and gas paraphernalia and it was a pretty grubby place.

I liked the blue paint, but it was in a terrible state and this was a good excuse to use up some of the many random tubs of white paint and primer I have lying around taking up space. I made the mistake I make every time and completely forgot that I needed to do the door as well until I was halfway through and didn't want to be adding sawdust and grit to the mix.

This was the scene last night, with shelves everywhere and an old tin of primer used up on of the blue (most of it anyway - I ran out with a couple of square feet to do at the bottom corner):

Today, it's been painting city. Actually, I haven't been outside for two and a half days now I come to think of it.... Fortunately, the outside comes inside, even at night.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Lovely lizzies

They were in a fairly poor state when I bought them, but my busy lizzies are recovering their forces and are well on their way for the summer. My kitchen window faces south-west, but it looks directly onto the windowless side of a high apartment building. Fortunately, the apartment block is built slightly back from the street, so there's a gap that lets a slice of direct sunshine come through late in the morning and lights up my kitchen. It also brings out the colours and glitter of my little lizzies. I've already taken dozens of photos and the whole of the summer has yet to come...

My sitting room and bedroom face north-west and only get direct sunlight in the summer. After several years in flats that faced due south, I miss having the sun in my flat in the winter (although it's a relief to have a nice, cool flat in the height of summer). That said, it makes it all the more special when the sun works its way round and shines in during the summer months.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Where do I start?

That was a long, long break, but I needed it. Work's been crazy and not-work has been crazy too but things are finally settling down (I hope). I also had a week away at the sea, taking sailing lessons, at the start of this month. I'm really glad I did it - definitely A.Good.Thing. and it blew away lots of lingering winter cobwebs.

In the last few months, there's been a LOT of knitting. My first ever lace, my first ever hat (a black mistake stitch beanie to match the black mistake stitch scarf - one of my favourite people has a birthday coming up), my first ever bag (in progress), and more to come. I love the colours in the last picture!:

Some new furniture. Slightly rubbish photo but I'm pleased as punch with my little sideboard and the fact that it allows me to free up the mantlepiece and move the radio to a better position in the room:

And new plants a-go-go:
After all that waiting, the tulips came and went in a flash.

And I couldn't get the heat/light/water balance right for this little thing. Beautiful while it lasted, but it didn't last long.

The new geraniums (to replace my trusty old bright pinks, that were zapped by the week of ten-below in January) are doing well and seem happy.

I don't seem to have killed off my first ever orchid yet. I love the white-pink-yellow against my blue bedroom walls.

And this afternoon I spent a happy couple of hours grubbing around on my bedroom floor, planting up petunias for my other windowbox and setting this season's kitchen busy lizzies on their way. Those busy lizzies were one of the best things about my house last summer and autumn - it's almost embarrassing about how much I'm looking forward to watching them grow.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


Might be time for me to come out of hibernation soon.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Double needles, aka "getting too big for my boots"

After feeling very smug about how nicely my mistake-stitch scarf turned out (the black in the second picture is accurate - don't know where the navy blue in the first comes from), I'm now getting my comeuppance in the form of double-pointed needles. Oooh-là. Not easy. I'm trying to make mittens to accompany the world's most boring scarf (the mistake scarf was knitted as a Christmas present for one of my favourite people). I'll persevere for the moment, but this may well end up being one of those projects that isn't spoken about in polite company.