Sunday, December 28, 2008

Exchanged ornaments

As promised, I'm back with pictures of the ornaments that I sent out in exchanges this Christmas. The first four I sent out in the Teresa Wenzler BB annual ornament exchange.

First up, 2 ornaments designed by Teresa Wentzler - Celtic inspirations and Lady of Shallot corner respectively.

Celtic inspiration ornament

Lady of Shallot ornament

Then a Jeanette Douglas design from one of JCS ornament issues. I adapted the colours in this one slightly to suit the threads that I had to hand.

Jeanette Douglas Christmas tree

A Norweigan reindeer ornament in red. I'm planning to stitch this one again for me.

Norweigan reindeer ornie

Some UK stitching friends and I also had an ornament exchange this year. I stitched for Kate . The design is Santa's Christmas surprise by Dragon Dreams.

Dragon dreams Santa's surprise present

In return, Pat sent me a really pretty intial ornament which I think is from the Chatelaine 2007 advent calendar. I really need to get a better picture of this one - hopefully there will be more light later in the week when I've got a day off.

Ornament from Pat

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Christmas everyone

Happy Christmas everyone. I was working night shift last night so I'm off to bed for a few hours sleep prior to going to my Aunt's house for Christmas dinner. I've not had a lot of spare time to blog the past two weeks with the Christmas preparation but I'll be back hopefully tomorrow with pictures of the ornaments I sent out in exchanges this Christmas plus some pictures of the gifts I've made for various friends and family.

Until then, I will leave you with a picture of my Christmas tree and the various stitched ornaments that I've made and also received in exchanges. I hope everyone has a good day and Santa leaves you lots of nice presents.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and I'm not quite ready. I still have a few gifts to buy, a few gifts to finish making, presents to wrap and cards to write. I'm not panicking just yet but I might be soon. Work is crazy busy too in the lead up to Christmas as all the doctors try to get as many patients' treatments finished before the end of the year.

On a much more pleasant note, one of my favourite things about this time of year is taking part in the Ornament exchange on the Teresa Wentzler BB. This year I've exchanged 4 ornaments. Not all the ornaments I've sent out have arrived at their destinations yet but I've received the ornaments from those who are sending to me.

First up two ornaments of a freebie chart from Teresa Wentzler - Father Winter ornament. These are from Sara and Penny respectively.

Father Winter ornament from Sara

Father winter ornament from Penny

Then a lovely ornament from Anu in Finland, which has designs on each side and I think the designs are by Margaret Sherry.

Ornament from Anu side 1

Ornament from Anu side 2

And finally a lovely Christmas tree from Susan

Ornament from Susan

Time to get back to finishing the Christmas preparations.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Harrogate report and a finish

Well I did finally make it back home but nearly an hour later than I should have and a lot colder too. And this morning it was back off to work for a day at work that I would rather not think about as it was truly horrid. Not the worst ever but pretty high on the list.

Anyway on to nicer topics and my trip to York and the Harrogate stitching show. I've been going to the show for the past few years and I have to say that it was the busiest that I've seen it there for a number of years. Ironically I spent less than I have in the past inspite of lots of temptation. I didn't buy any yarn at all - there were a few things that tempted me but I just didn't see anything that I couldn't live without. Some yarns I liked but the colours that were on show, weren't something I liked.

That's not to say that I didn't buy other things though. First up, I discovered that a favourite beading company have written a book of gorgeous beaded jewellery so the book had to come home with me along with a kit for a beaded bracelet.

I also bought some dyed silk rods to try and make some corsage type brooches that I saw instructions to make in a recent stitching magazine. Hopefully I can get to work out. Oh and some overdyed green thread for an upcoming Christmas project.

I also found a rather fab stall selling brilliant unusal Japanese fabrics and buttons. The stall holder told me that she has lots more Japanese prints on the way as she's going be the importer for several firms. Plus she had wool felt which is tricky to get. The fabric is on the Eternal maker site and the buttons are from the button company.

I bought some other lovely buttons from another stall, The button lady, who doesn't seem to have a website.

I also spent a little money with the ladies of the Nimble thimble who always have lots of Shepherds bush and Lizzie Kate designs to tempt me and also Trudy Anne who had a great range of JBW and Little house charts.

I actually spent two days at the show, partly so I could see everything also I really can't manage to spend the whole day at the show anymore as being on my feet for more than a couple of hours at a time tends to cause a lot of back pain and problems so I tend to spend just a short spell at the show each day so I don't cause myself problems.

On Friday, I caught up with Karoline and her gorgeous little girl plus her lovely MIL and also other friends Pat and Scully. It was lovely to see them all.

On Saturday after the show, I made the time to go the local Oxfam shop in Harrogate. The Oxfam shop there has a little craft based sale timed to the same weekend as the Knitting and stitching show. Last year I got some embroidery threads. This year it was all about buttons. I think they save up the crafty stuff they get donated for this sale. I was pretty lucky with the buttons I found with the bonus that a charity gets the benefit too. I particularly like the grey buttons.

One of the good things about the Harrogate conference centre is the old part of it - the Royal Halls. For the past couple of years, its been out of use due to renovations and dangerous areas of the building. This year, the renovations are finished and the cafe that was always there was back. Its really lovely to look up from your cup of tea to see the pretty surroundings.

Window Royal hall

On Sunday morning, I got a little surprise when I looked out the window of where I was staying - snow had fallen overnight. It wasn't particularly deep but it was a little challenging to walk to the station.

Snow in York

Whilst I was away, I managed to finish the Country companions Christmas project that I shared the WIP of recently. Not sure if I'm going to frame it or finish it in some other way.

A gift for all

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Notes from a train journey

I'm currently making very slow progress back from the Harrogate knitting and stitching show. Update about that later. The exciting bit is that I'm actually posting this from the train as National express have introduced free wifi on their train. Its just a pity they can't run the services to time, have decent heating or introduce the concept of manners or reading seat reservations to some of their passengers.

When I got on as is typical, some woman was sitting in my seat. On my last train journey with Virgin trains, they caused mass confusion by turning off the power to the displays with the seat reservations and carridge letters, then turning them on again at the next station so all the passengers could have a mass game of non musical chairs. Anyway when I found my seat today, I politely asked the lady to let me have my seat and she started to whine about her laptop and how she needed the seat for the plug. Which was exactly the reason why I had booked that seat and after again politely explaining this, she grumped off to another seat, moaning all the way about how she had only just decided to bring her laptop. Okay that is really not my fault plus why do these people never read the blooming reserved seat tags. One of the national stereotypes of the British people is apparently politeness but it was obviously not decided by anyone who travels regularly on British trains.

Somewhere around Newcastle, the heating seems to have been turned off and mysteriously the train staff are nowhere to be seen to ask them to do anything so its coats, scarves and gloves for the passengers. The absence of the train staff is probably also due to the fact that we should have been in Glasgow 15 minutes ago but are still nowhere near it as there is line problem which means the train has to make a bit of a detour.

Still I've got free wifi and the internet to amuse me for how ever long it takes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Break time

Thankfully I've finally reached my scheduled holiday week. Later this week, I'm off to York and Harrogate to visit the Knitting and stitching show but for now I'm just sleeping and doing lots of crafty stuff.

Of late, most of the crafty stuff thats been going on around here has been knitting related. This past week, the knitting time has been mostly hat related. I'm not really much of a hat wearer but my sister loves hats so I've knitted a few for her.

First up, I finished the Rose red hat that I was knitting for the Ravelympics earlier in the year. My mum has tried the hat on too and declared that she would really like one too so I need to go and buy some more orkney angora which will really not be a hardship. Its gorgeous to knit with.

Pastel rose red top

Then it was on to an Odessa hat knitted in RYC extra fine merino DK. Its the first time I've used this yarn and I'm a fan of it now. It knits up really neatly.

pink odessa hat

Having satisfied my knitting urges, I've spent some time stitching. I finished Poppy by Mirabilia/Nora Corbett. I love the style of this design range. The design is on 32ct SMF linen in Kronos.


I've also been getting into some Christmas stitching. Elsewhere on the internet, I help run a yahoogroup for fans of Country companions designs. Recently we started having a pre Christmas SAL for Christmas designs. I started this one a week or so ago. Hopefully I should finish it this week.

A gift for all WIP

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Catch up post

I've been procrastinating as usual so this post is going to be a little full of news and pictures. The past couple of weeks have mostly been a hum drum mix of work, various crafty stuff and sleep. There was the minor excitement of my knitting group appearing on a local TV news show - if you are in the UK, you can see it at this link for next few days. It features about 4 minutes in. I'm in the background in a purple shirt, knitting a sock. It was a quite bizarre but fun thing to do.

Since my last post I've heard that two exchanges I've sent have arrived at their destinations. One of the exchanges was very overdue so it was a big relief to find it had arrived. I stitched Tending the blooms for Carol as part of the SBEBB SB exchange. The picture isn't very good sadly.

Tending the blooms

I also heard that Becky had received the Halloween exchange that I sent her as part of a personal Halloween exchange. Rather appropriately as Becky sent me a lovely SB Halloween needleroll, I sent her a SB design in return - Halloween ABC pinkeep.

Halloween ABC pinkeep

I have managed to have a couple of stitching finishes for myself in the past couple of weeks. Both are Shepherds bush designs. First up The Gobelins.

The Gobelins

And then today I finished Scatter Christmas cheer.

Scatter Christmas cheer

I've also managed a couple of knitting finishes. First up a knitted jacket called Anise from Rowan/Simply Knitting magazine, which I mentioned that I had finished in my last post.

Anise finished

Secondly I finished a design called Matilda Jane by Ysolda Teague. Its knitted in Rowan Wool cotton and took exactly a month of knitting. Its knitted in one piece from the top down, which is a fabulous way to knit things with there being so little sewing involved.

Matilda Jane modelled

The weather has been truly awful here this past week with absolutely no natural light for pictures, hence the dark pcitures. Autumn has hit with a typical series of rainy, stormy days with gale force winds and horizontal rain. There's even a possibility of snow next week which is just awful.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Exchanging, knitting and life

The past two weeks have been filled with a few ups and downs. Getting the downs out the way first, well there was telling my boss that the job trial was not working out. However it did have the upside of the people working there telling me that they were disappointed that I wouldn't be staying and telling my boss that I am good at my job. So that was really great to hear. The major thing that happened was that my aunt died sort of suddenly. My mum is one of 11 children orginally. Her youngest sister died as a young child but all the rest of them have been fit and fairly well until recently when my mum's oldest sister developed some heart problems. She ended up in hospital and seemed to be doing well, then she very suddenly became very ill and died. The funeral was just over a week ago and was a little surreal as my aunt was a Roman Catholic nun. She spent most of her life in Nigeria so part of the service had Nigeria hymns. In recent years, she worked in several Glasgow parishes so as a consequence, the mass was said by 6 priests plus the Archbishop and with around 30 or so nuns in attendence. At times my Aunt had expressed the occasional doubt about the life she had chosen so it was lovely to see how many people she had touched during her life. Quite a lot of my extended family attended the service too so it was lovely to catch up with lots of my family plus I got to meet the family's newest member - a little baby called Jack who was born on the 6th of September this year and is my mum's first great great nephew.

On to other things. Since my last post I've heard that an exchange I sent has been received plus I've also received an exhange.

I sent this to Suzanne as part of the SBEBB biscornu exchange. Its the Sunflower biscornu by Helga Mandl.

Biscornu for Suzanne

I received this from Becky in a personal Halloween exchange. Its the Halloween needleroll by Shepherds bush.

Halloween exchange from Becky

I've been on holiday from work for the past 10 days and I've been trying to finish up a few of my many WIPs. First up I finished a scarf which has been lingering on the needles for a while.

Bertie scarf

And then this afternoon, I finished the pair of scoks that I cast on at the Iknit day. The pattern is Monkey by CookieA once again and the yarn is Shelridge farm soft touch ultra. I am a little addicted to the Monkey sock pattern I think.

Iknit monkey socks

Last night I finished knitting a cardigan/jacket but its currently drying off after a little blocking so I should have pictures over the weekend. The weather has turned colder this week so its the perfect time for finishing lots of knitting.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Iknit, London, an exchange and other things

I've been back from London since Sunday evening but a combination of a bad cold, tiredness and a different job have kept me a little occupied.

When I got back on Sunday, I had a lovely exchange parcel waiting for me from Nicki. Its a Shepherds bush design called Pumpkin Hill and its beautifully finished.

SB exchange from Nicki

My trip to London and Iknit was fantastic. The hotel I picked was about 10 minutes walk away from the Royal Horticultural halls where the Iknit day was being held. Readers in the UK might recognise the hall from some BBC channel idents from a few years ago. Its a nice and spacious venue even though I think they underestimated the catering a little. I'm not sure they thought that there would be as many attendees so the sandwiches ran out early on and there were fairly big queues for the catering generally.

Some of the charity knitting stalls

Iknit day 2008 picture 1

Lots of lace shawls to ooh over

Iknit day 2008 picture 2

Lots and lots of knitters

Iknit day 2008 picture 3

iknit hall picture 2

After a couple of hours of yarn buying, it was off to the other hall to see the Yarn Harlot, who was a fantastic speaker. It got off to a weird start with a little microphone misfunction.

Yarn harlot and the microphone problem

And then it was on to the now traditional sock picture.

Yarn harlot takes the sock picture

And finally the talk which lasted around 90 minutes and was followed by lots of questions. She is a great and funny speaker and I would love to hear her speak again in the future. She did say she would come back to the UK again so hopefully I will get the chance. This picture isn't the best.

The yarn harlot speaks

It was then back to the main hall for some more shopping and chatting with fellow knitters. A combination of the Glasgow and Gourock knitters had laid claim to a table in the hall and we all popped in and out from the table to shop with breaks for chatting and eating. In a weird coincidence, someone in my group ended up in conversation with Jackie and Kate from the Crafty threads n yarns forum that I belong to and I was sitting chatting to Jackie when I realised that I knew her already from the forum and we were in an exchange together. I managed to meet up with a few people that I know though various places on the net, including the lovely Joy, who I recognised by her lovely shawl lol. I did miss quite a few people though but that was probably just as well for them as I had developed a pretty bad cold by Saturday and was gradually losing my voice through the day. Apologies to anyone at Iknit that I gave the cold to. By late in the afternoon, I was flagging badly so I decided against queuing for the Yarn harlot book signing. Stephanie was a real trooper as she signed books for several hours after her talk, which is very impressive.

Saturday night, the combined Gourock and Glasgow knitters went off for a lovely meal in a very nice restaurant somewhere in Kensington. My London geography is a little lacking but thankfully I was guided there and back by my fellow knitters.

Sunday morning, I managed to fit a little sightseeing in before my afternoon flight back. I was staying at Victoria so I decided to have a walk down towards the river. My walk took me by the Houses of Parliament


The streets were closed up for the start of the Tour of Britain so there were lots of men in shorts.

Tour of Britain

Tour of Britain 2

I then walked across Westminister bridge and being a little geeky, all I could think about was the first episode of the New Doctor Who series with the Doctor and Rose running across it towards the London Eye. Its an amazing sight, the London eye and the views from it must be amazing.

The London eye

Opposite the Houses of Parliament, there is a small patch of Sunflowers which seem to be randomly planted at the riverside. Its a lovely contrast to the city surroundings.

Sunflowers at the riverside

All too soon, it was time for me to head back to Glasgow after a not particularly pleasant flight which the take off seem to be a little steep and the cabin pressure gave a lot of the passengers ear ache. I was really badly affected and it took several hours before it settled and a day or so before my hearing was back to normal. I had taken a decongestant before the flight but it didn't particularly help. I've only ever had some mild ear popping on a flight before so this was an unwelcome surprise which was related to the cold I have. I'm only really getting my voice back fully now.

This week I've been on my job trial this week. The job itself isn't particularly exciting but it does use a lot of the skills I've built up over the years. The people there are lovely also. Sadly there is a but coming as towards the end of the week, I noticed that my back was getting more painful than it has been. This job, whilst its not as heavy as a ward job, involves more standing and worst still, more standing on the same spot than the job I already have and my back is not coping with this. Its pretty disappointing to realise over this past weekend that its not going to work out but that's life I guess and so its back to the job hunting again. I've still got a further week of the trial to go so things might change but it seems unlikely.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Off on my travels

Straight after work tomorrow, I'm off to the airport for my flight to London. Luckily its only about 10 minutes away and hopefully the work day will not be too stressful tomorrow. I have my doubts about the lack of work stress as this week so far has been hectic. Sometimes being a ward nurse is a weird cross between Mother and shepherd when dealing with Doctors and this week has involved a lot of me running around making sure one of the doctors is doing everything he should be.

In other work related news, next week I'm off to a different hospital for a few weeks. A vacancy, which my boss thinks is suitable for me long term, has come up in a different hospital. Its in an outpatient department and it sounds like it might work out. I've been given the chance to have a no strings attached trial at the job without giving up my current post, which is rather good. So Monday is the first day of the trial. I'm a little nervous but hoping it works out.

Anyway I'm off to finish packing for London, iknit and the Yarn Harlot. Its all very exciting.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Summer's end

Its almost September which always signals the end of Summer for me and sort of the start of a new year too as its my birthday next Sunday. This year I'm spending my birthday partly in London as I'm going to the iknit show next Saturday and I will be flying back up on Sunday afternoon, hopefully after spending Sunday morning doing a little sightseeing. Its been quite a few years since I visited London other than passing through Heathrow, partly because I really can't handle the underground. I have a bit of a phobia of height but really more specifically Escalators, which the underground is full of. It doesn't matter so much this time as I've got the trip worked out so I don't have to use it and I'm staying very local to the show. The very exciting bit of this trip is that I'm going to see the Yarn Harlot speak. I really enjoy her books so it will be a thrill to hear her and there's going to be a lot of lovely yarn all in one place.

In Knitting news, I've finished another pair of socks, the 7th pair for Summer of Socks. I'm hoping that I might finish another pair but given that the deadline is Monday night, it is perhaps unlikely.

This pair are knitting in Lorna's laces shepherd sport in Georgetown. Very observant readers of my blog or Ravelry pages might note that I seem to have a thing about this shade of Lorna's laces as this is the 3rd pair I've finished in this shade and I still have more in my stash. I just love this shade.

Georgetown sportweight socks

More China pictures. As was pointed out in the comments, I was a little mistaken about the balloons, which are of course lanterns. After our mountain visit, we moved on to a local village called Buyang. Its a sort of model village place that they take tourist too but its a real village as well. We all spent a night there. Myself and one of the others (Gillian) ended up staying in the house of Director Sui, who is the village communist party chief, which was a interesting experience given that my Mandarin extends to Please, Thank you, counting to 5 and asking a taxi driver to switch on the meter in a taxi and the villagers didn't speak or understand any English. Inspite of that, we had a fabulous time and were treated so nicely. The food was amazing and we all got a bit drunk with the constant cry of Gambei (Cheers). Here's a picture of us all with our hosts.

It was then on to Qufu, Confucius's birthplace, where we visited his grave and the forest where his decendants are buried, each generation represented by stone animals, like those below.


And Confucius's grave itself. We also hired bikes, which was apparently illegal for us to do but I wouldn't have missed it for anything. We spent an hour or so cycling around the garlic fields out to a Mausoleum in the countryside and provided a lot of entertainment for hundreds of Chinese children on their way home for lunch. Apparently westerners on bicycles is the funniest thing ever lol.


The final picture today is of the next place we went - Nanjing and the Sun Yat Sen Mausoleum. The weather was very Scottish that day and made me feel quite at home.


Its time for bed here. I've received a couple of blog award things which I've gratefully for and I'll write about them next time.