Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas

Several things have kept me from posting lately. They can easily be summed up in three words - teeth, snow and work. Work has been very busy with training someone new. Ongoing problems with one tooth has meant 6 separate dental appointment, 2 different dentists and 2 days in bed very unwell. Thankfully things seem to be settling now and I have a dentist I can trust.

As for the third thing, snow. Well this has mostly been the view out of my window for the past few weeks. Britain has had a very severe winter so far. The snow is a little less deep now but its been very cold where I live - the high most days is around -7 C and its been falling to -12 C and lower at night.

I will leave you with some pictures of wintery Paisley. Firstly the view of Paisley Abbey this afternoon as the sun went down.

And a picture of the old mill building at the end of my street. The river is only partly frozen today but earlier in the week it was completely frozen over. I was hoping to catch site of the otter that has made its home in the river of late but no luck.

Finally I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 01, 2010

This weekend have been mostly...

...making jewellery. Before cross stitch or Knitting came into my life, I made jewellery. As a teenager, I made very 80s earrings and bracelets and its the first crafty thing that I remember buying the supplies for myself.

Over the years, its come in handy for presents and to make something that's just right for a special occasion. A lot of the pieces I make tend to go to my mum and sister. On Friday, I went with my mum and aunt to the local craft and stitching show and my mum saw some red and crystal beads that she thought would go perfectly with an outfit that she has made for herself for a special occasion that she is going to. So I offered to make a choker, bracelet and earring set from them.

Whilst I was on a jewellery making roll, I thought I would use the left over beads plus some others from my bead stash to make a few more things plus a long overdue beaded watch that I had promised my sister and also one for her MIL.

The weather has been pretty miserable here so it has been a mostly indoor weekend except for visits to the supermarket and the gym. This week I'm really looking forward to the second part of a class that I'm taking at a local craft shop. The class is about learning to use resin in jewellery for making pendants and other items. Last week we learnt how to make up the resin, how to pour it into moulds and how to imbed items in the resin. This week we are learning finishing techniques.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Flying by

Life seems to be going by very quickly at the moment hence the lack of blog posts. Work is keeping me really busy plus I've been out and about socialising a bit more lately, which has been nice.

There has been some knitting finished.

Purple socks for one of the Race for Life draw winners. The pattern is Angee by Cookie A. I've concentrating on sock knitting this month for the Socktoberfest KAL

Purple prize socks pic2

And some simple gloves in Colinette jitterbug that are coming in very handy now winter is starting to make an appearance in Scotland.


On Sunday, I spent the day at my mum's learning to sew something based on a top I own. My mum spent most of her working life working in clothing factories and bridal shops plus she has always sewn clothes for herself and the rest of the family. She was showing me how to use a top that I own to make a pattern to make another top. She then helped me to use the pattern to make a top. I'm pretty pleased with the results. She helped me a lot with the sewing also as the fabric was pretty tricky. I can see more sewing in my future.

Finished top

Back of top

Close up of top

Sunday, August 22, 2010

London, V&A and Knit Nation

Late July, I took a trip down to London for Knit Nation, a fun show of classes on knitting and spinning plus a great marketplace. The event was held at Imperial college in London and I stayed in the student halls. The other big attraction for me in the area was the chance to go back to the Victoria and Albert museum. I think its my favourite museum. I took a ton of pictures which I've made into a slide show below.

Imperial College itself was a lovely venue for the Knit Nation event.

Knit Nation venue

I loved the glass panels outside.

Sciency glass

The market place opened on the Thursday evening with a preview night. Most of the early arrivals headed for the Wollmeise stall.

Wollmeise at Knit Nation 2

Wollmeise at Knit Nation

The stall was pretty crowded but mostly good natured. I'm not very tall and I got jostled a little in the crowd plus at one point, I bent down to look at yarn and before I got up again, skeins of wollmeise yarn started falling on my head. Ironically in the subsequent two marketplace days, you could walk right up to the stall for good parts of the day and browse in peace.

On the Friday I took a all day class with Cookie A on top down sock design, during which I completely forgot to take any pictures. The class was amazing and Cookie A is a very inspirational teacher. I have a sock in progress which I designed during the class that I'm knitting away at very slowly.

Another fun aspect of the weekend was the Ravelry pattern on the Saturday night which was a lot of fun. Jess and Casey from Ravelry were exactly how I pictured them and bought lovely project bags as a gift for the attendees.

Ravelry party

Jess gives a speech

The whole Knit Nation experience was really good. Alice and Cookie A and the volunteers all did an amazing job of organising the event and making it a lot of fun. As did all the stall holders who did well to keep functioning seeing how long the event was. It was sad when it was all over.

Knit nation all over

Hello again

Life has been a bit busy lately for a variety of reasons.

First up, the final total that I raised for Race for life was £250, which I was incredibly pleased with. The voucher for the OMA yarn was won by Anna from my knitting group and I'm busily knitting a pair of socks for the sock prize winner. Time has slightly run away from me lately but if you donated and I haven't been in touch yet, I will be as I would like to give a little something to everyone who did donate.

Work has been keeping me busy. I can't quite believe I've been in my new job for 9 months already and it all seems to be going well. They've been pretty understanding with hospital appointments as the thumb problem that I had earlier in the year has continued to cause difficulty and I've been attending physio sessions for the past two months. Again I have a delightful thumb splint to wear and will probably have to wear it on and off in the future as my physio has discovered that the injury was aggravated by the fact that I have hyper mobile thumb joints. Its not just the thumb joints but also my ankles. The ankle joint effect has caused me to fall 3 times in the past couple of months so I've been a bit bruised and battered.

Thankfully the thumb problem has not stopped me knitting although it has affected my ability to stitch at times. I have finished a couple of things, including a long term sock WIP.

Oh and there was also my annual stitching weekend with friends in there, a trip to London from Knit Nation, a visit to the Knit Camp market place and a Ravelry meet up picnic but more on them in the next few days.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Race for life report

Well I survived my race for life and managed it in a not to shabby for me 50 minutes. I managed to run in bursts, which I was pretty pleased with.

Here's my mum and I prior to the race. The Race for life is for Cancer Research UK for all the different cancers they research. They seem to put a big emphasis on pink and breast cancer, I guess because it is a women only run. So there are a lot of people wearing pink. Not me however. My Mum is wearing a t shirt printed with pictures of friends and family affected by cancer.

Mum and I pre race

We were joined in running the race by my sister and one of her friends. My sister is the only with the red hair.

Claire, Nic, Mum and I pre race

At the finishing line.

Me finishing

And my sister, Mum and I after the race with our medals.

Nic, Mum and I post race.

Big thanks go to everyone who has donated. I'm going to do the draw in the next day or so and will be contacting those whose name is drawn to see which of the prizes they would prefer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Race for life, now with prizes

As I've mentioned before, I'm taking part in the Cancer Research Race for life 5 km this year. The date is now approaching really rapidly - 6th June.

In order to try and raise the maximum amount of sponsorship, I've come up with a few prizes for anyone who donates. Donations both large and small are welcome but unfortunately due to the rules surrounding Gift Aid for UK taxpayers, you can't gift aid a donation if you wish to be entered for the draw. I'm willing to post prizes to anywhere in the world also.

I contacted the designer of Ishbel shawl, Ysolda Teague and she has very graciously allowed me to use the pattern to knit a shawl as a prize. The yarn I've used is Malabrigo sock in Tizano red. I would have liked to keep this for myself but I can always knit another.


Ishbel close up 2

Another prize I have to offer is for anyone who would like a pair of hand knitted socks but lacks the ability to knit them for themselves. I will knit the winner a pair of socks in a colour they would like and to fit their feet or perhaps you would like a pair of socks for someone else.

For those who prefer to knit for themselves, I have some yarn based prizes also. The lovely Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt yarns has donated a voucher for her lovely yarn store for the amazing amount of £50.

Another friend has donated some lovely Rowan Summer Tweed.

Summer tweed

There are a couple of more prizes to come - beaded bracelet and watch and some lacy fingerless mitts. I should get details of them posted over the weekend.

If you would like to donate, the link is in my sidebar. The draw is open to anyone who donates, subject to the rule about gift aid. If you donate and want to enter for the draw for a prize, either add a comment to your donation, leave a comment here or email me at paularaceforlife at me dot com (replacing the at and dot for the appropriate symbols)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Keeping busy

Time has really flown by lately. My new job is keeping me busy plus I've been out and about a fair bit. There has been quite a lot of knitting lately also.

I finished my Citron shawl. The pattern is from Knitty.

Citron 2

And a long term UFO - a felted bag from the Rowan Felted collection book. I'm planning to add some decoration to the front of the bag once I figure out what I want to add.

Andi messenger bag

Then I finished some socks for myself - the pattern is Heart and Sole by Ysolda Teague and the yarn is from the Yarn yard.

Heart and sole socks

There has also been some gift knitting - Socks and a little cardigan for a friend's new arrival

Georgetown baby socks

Jungle stripe baby socks

Baby Yoda

And some stripy socks for the daughter of a friend who was keen on getting some hand knit socks.

Stripy socks

Finally a little lace cardigan for me which is my latest finish. The pattern is Liesl by Ysolda Teague and the yarn is Malabrigo worsted.

Liesl finished

Quite a lot of knitting done really. Commuting on the train has really increased my knitting time so I seem to be making more progress. Not much stitching going on however. I'm still getting some pain in my thumb following my fall earlier in the year and stitching seems to aggravate it a little so I'm having to take it easy. Hopefully it will settle down soon.

The other thing going on is that the date for the Race for life 5k for Cancer Research is coming up very soon. More on that shortly as I have a couple of prizes to offer up for anyone donating.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


March has just flew by this year. I can't quite believe its nearly over. Its been a pretty busy month all round. Work has been mostly busy and I really feel I'm settling in to my new job.

The big thing this month isn't work related though. Over in the side bar of this very blog, there is a Just Giving widget. I had one last year for my sister who ran the 5km Race for life for cancer research. This year, the widget is marking that I'm running the Race for life. I'm not entirely sure it was a completely sane thought but I'm partly doing it in solidarity with my mum and sister who are running it also. My mum was diagnosed with diabetes several months back and has done a tremendous job in changing her lifestyle to attack it head on. She now goes to the gym 3 times a week and has lost loads of weight. So when she said she had thought about running it, I really had to agree to do it too. Cancer in all its forms has touch my life both personally and professionally over the years so its a good cause.

I'm planning some prize incentives for donations, which I will reveal soon and if you are reading this and would like to donate a prize, please get in touch via the comments. Any donation of any sort is very appreciated and if you aren't in a position to donate, then good thoughts for a successful and safe run are helpful too.

I've been knitting away most of the month but alas I can't share some of things just yet as they are presents. I did finish a pink version of the snapdragon tam that I knit for myself. This one is for my sister.

Pink snapdragon tam

Right its time for the gym and some more training. I do have some fairly snazzy shoes to wear.

Running shoes

Monday, March 01, 2010

Hello March

February has been both a good and bad month for me. The bad was mostly my body deciding to let me down with the fall and the thumb injury and then on Wednesday, I was struck with a particularly nasty bug which I'm only just getting back to normal from. Throw in lots of cold weather plus yet more snow and this all means I'm so ready for spring now.

However there were lots of good things. The Winter Olympics was just fabulous and I loved watching so many of the events. Britain didn't win a lot - just one Gold in the Skeleton Bob but Winter sports aren't so big here. I know there has been a lot of press in Canada about British criticism of the games hosting but that was mostly just the usual nonsense that the nasty British Press spouts. Everyone I have spoken to about the Olympics over here though Vancouver put on a fantastic games and I really think it showed Canada in general in a great light. My Cousin and her family have just moved from Scotland to Lake Country in BC so a trip over there will probably be on the cards at some point, via Ontario as other family stay there.

As I mentioned before, I was taking part in the Knitting Olympics and I managed to finish my socks.

Socktopod socks finished

The pattern is called Socktopod socks by Cookie A. Its called after the shop that ran the Sock club, Socktopus run by the lovely Alice. I was lucky enough to visit the shop in September shortly before Alice decided to stop running the shop. A lot of my sock yarn stash and sock inspiration came from the shop so it was sad to hear that the shop was closing. Alice is, however, running a big Knitting event in London during the summer, Knit Nation, which I'm planning to attend.

The stash reduction plan continues. This month, I did have quite a bit of yarn in - 4102metres. I had a splurge at 100pure wool with some lace yarn and yarn for another hat or two for me plus I had the remains of my leaving present from my old job in vouchers for John Lewis so I bought yarn for a Summer cardigan.

However all was not lost as my knitting group had a Swap night, where I managed to trade/sell quite a few skeins of socks yarn. Added to that, I gave some leftovers to a friend for a blanket project and I finished two pairs of socks. That all added up to 4117 metres, meaning I ended the month with 15 metres less yarn than I started with. Now that is a good result.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympics and knitting

The Olympics have always really held a fascination for me, whether its the Summer or Winter version. So many memories of times past - Allan Wells winning gold in Moscow in 1980, Los Angeles in 1984 with Zola Budd/Mary Decker, Daley Thompson, watching Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent winning so many golds in rowing over the year and lots of late nights watching including the British Women's Curling team winning Gold in 2002. I was born during the Munich Olympics in 1972 in the hours just after the violence affecting those games. My mum tells me it was all everyone was talking about as she was in labour.

For most knitters these days, the Olympics means a knitting challenge of some sort. I was a fairly new knitter in 2006 when the Yarn Harlot had the idea of the Knitting Olympics but it caught my imagination and I finished my project, a Clapotis in Lorna's laces Lion and Lamb.


In 2008, I took part in the first Ravelympics during the Beijing Olympics and challenged myself to knit a pair of Wrist warmers and 2 hats. I didn't manage to finish one of the hats but I did manage to start and finish the other projects.

Rose's wrist warmers

Gretel hat

This time around, the challenge is to knit a pair of socks using the pattern Socktopod by CookieA. Its going well so far.

Socktopod sock 1

As you can probably tell from the knitting progress, my hand is recovering well and the possibility of a fracture is thankfully not there. The splint is off and whilst I still have some pain in my thumb and wrist, its so much better. I'm not sure I would have coped very well if it had to stay on longer as I was really struggling with just doing the basics.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Socks and a little hitch

The knitting still continues. At the weekend, I finished a pair of very pink and fluffy socks for my sister.

Bagpuss socks

Unfortunately on Sunday, something else happened.

I managed to fall off my computer chair after it over balanced. I didn't think I had done any damage until my hand got painful on Monday and I started having problems using it. The Doctor I saw doesn't think I have a fracture, just some soft tissue damage. The splint is to stay on until the weekend. If it hasn't settled, I might need a MRI to check for a fracture in a tiny bone at the base of the thumb which can't be seen on X ray. I'm really hoping its going to be okay as not being able to use my right hand is really tricky as I'm right handed plus I'm off sick from work. Plus there is the small matter of not being able to stitch. I can still knit in very short bursts but trying not to do much to make sure I give things the best chance to heal. There is also the whole challenge of getting dressed, cooking, etc with one hand.