Skyscrapers and String


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the London category.

Poppy time!

Hello everyone,

I hope you have lots of happy plans for the weekend! I am on the tail end of a massive hangover from Thursday night; my old boss left and he and I are known to egg each other on and I always end up very much worse from wear on wine which I don’t normally drink much of.

The leaving do was funny, such is the climate at the place where I work there were 8 people leaving from the same department on the same day.

Even though I rested up, and relied on many cups of sweet tea and chocolate for breakfast, I was fit for very little.

Thursday was super. knitting club gathered to show the poppies we have made for sale for Help For Heroes.

Here you can see just some of the poppies we’ve made this year:

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Here you can see one of the tiny crochet poppies, this year, small is definitely the vogue, all the tiny poppies have been snapped up.

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Last year Knitting Club made £860 for Help for Heroes, this year we plan to beat that total! We also get matched funding from our firm, so it does add up.

This week also has been fun on the knitting front, I’ve done the first few rows of my autumn poncho:

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It has taken me literally years to find suitable yarn. I am loving how it is turning out already!

Also, Amber spotted that “Cats” is back on in London at the Palladium which Jon has been very keen to go to (handily near Liberty and John Lewis for pre show wool browsing..) so that meant he and Amber spent Monday and Tuesday night searching for tickets online. We found three seats together in the good rows in February after about 7 hours of researching on the theatre booking page. Good luck with that one if you have a mind to go.

My brown Colinette mitts are finished, I managed to get these sweet cabled beauties off the needles yesterday, and sewn up during many episodes of TV, one good thing about a hangover lol!

I was delighted how two long mitts came off one tiny skein, I thought that was great value as they cost £2 each at Ally Pally. I think everyone who went to the show bought some of those, I would love to see what everyone does with their mini skeins! I’ll get some good pictures once we have daylight.

Last weekend I went to visit my Mum who is in a home as she has bad dementia. It was nice to see her. She was smiling and happy, and was pleased to see me.

What a terrifying place though. I was sitting there, Mum had a doll on her lap, and she was tending to it, people with slack faces were shuffling round like zombies and there was a constant backdrop of screaming.

Mum chattered constantly, she doesn’t make much sense, and now she is losing the ability to even use regular words, so the phrases would contain random syllables joined together.

Today is going to be exciting, I am meeting my friend Lesley and we’re heading for Loop. Lesley has this year become proficient in crochet and she requested we visit my favourite shop on earth to buy wool. Once I have finished writing I am going to try to sort mine as I swapped the money I paid for my friend Mary’s ticket to Ally Pally for some red heart shimmer yarn from Deramores. I think I have a bit too much wool now in fact. But it is beautiful!

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Ally Pally Weekend

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a super weekend. I have had heaps of fun and am looking forward to the week ahead, life seems gentle and peaceful all round.

On Friday, three of us from Knitting Club went round the Knitting and Stitching show.

I have no photos as my iphone 4s dies if away from a charger for more than three hours. Accordingly I was trying to save power by not using it but it was flat before I got overground on the district line.

Nonetheless, I can say the show was a great success, although some stalls I hoped to find weren’t there. Last year there was an excellent stall with purse clasps and the like, and I promised myself a splurge but no, it was not to be found.

I did find and purchase my vintage americana bear embroidery kit I regretted overlooking last year, and finally I got some yarn for the bobbled poncho I am longing to make:

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Also, I found some red yarn to finish a shawl in progress, and two small skeins in brown Colinette Jitterbug for mittens.

A surprising hit of the show was the handmade chocolate stall, I bought about 5 lots: truffles, rose and violet creams, fudge, solid rabbits and giant buttons. The truffles evaporated on the train home as I was starving! Jon had the fudge, Amber had the rabbits and we shared the creams yesterday whilst I was sewing the linings for my pencil cases. It felt very luxurious wafting a bag of choccies about. They were yummy!

Knitting wise, I am making a vast garter stitch shawl and thought I’d follow the directions in a pattern I used before. Unfortunately, I am using smaller needles than the pattern, so I have run out of directions and have another 10 inches of shawl to knit. It’s a semi circular shape, so I will have to guess the rest. Oh dear! Lol!

My nipper took some fab photos of me actually wearing my handknits for Ravelry, she always makes me look nice. Have a splendid week!

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Blocking Lavender, Liquorice and Mint Leaves

Hello all!

I hope your weekend is starting well, unlike mine where. I am stuck at being very angry at someone at work and the unfairness of a certain encounter last week.

My last big boss, who was very inspiring to work for, said to me at his leaving drinks, “Jen, you are a wonderful person, stay exactly as you are and don’t change”. There is an old saying, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. The reason it has been passed down for eons is that it’s true.

At work, you’re all crammed in on top of each other, and nothing is ever perfect. At least you can behave nicely towards each other, because anarchy ensues if you don’t.

Anyways enough of that. It kept me up all night last night seething and I’ve had two days off already, being Thursday was Amber’s exam result day.

Yesterday, Jon did an excellent job of blocking my shawl. I bought the wool at Loop, which is my very favourite knitting haven. Just walking in the door makes me happy.

Last year, in October, I bought quite a quantity of yarn of different kinds in the Medicins Sans Frontiers sale.

He last remaining ball of Noro was green, purple and black. I bought some Jamiesons Spindrift in a lavender colour and started to knit.

With such wonderful colours in my hands the shawl was a delight to knit. Because of the vast yardage of both the Noro and the Spindrift the shawl came out quite big.

Here you can see the shawl in progress:

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Here you can see Jon’s genius with pins, wires and a ruler:

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The shawl has a lovely swing to it, and the colours are very wearable. I think green and purple will be big this winter:

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Looking back over my pictures, I’ve found a picture of my purchases at the yarn sale, I still have some left, but not any more Noro…

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I hope you have a super day, I am looking for resources online about Anger Management. I hope none of them suggest knitting as that patently is no help whatsoever lol!!!


Transformation

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a super weekend!

Knitting by itself is a delightful pastime, piling up rows of knit and purl stitches, it is rhythmic and therapeutic, and a total delight.

Once I got the hang of knitting and purling, I wanted to stretch my wings a little more.

I saw on Ravelry all these lace shawls. My mouth watered and I figured, I can do that. I assembled yarn and needles, and a pattern. I got the hang of yarnovers, and learned left and right slanted decreases.

I followed some patterns, the ones I picked were either too hard, or not particularly well written.

Classes I went to, it was hard to talk, listen and make lace.

Eventually it all started to come together, it took a couple of years.

Here you can see my daughter’s shawl.

It’s a good example of transformation.

Once it’s all knitted up it looks, well crumpled.

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The transformation comes from the blocking.

The knitting is the easy bit, effortless, like when your life is going smoothly. Then the lace part is like falling in love, there are points when you are full of rage, there are points when everything goes well, and you can’t believe your luck. There is usually heartbreak and you have to rip back. Sometimes you don’t have a lifeline, and it is impossibly scary.

You have to say goodbye to the shawl and cast it off the needles.

It sits, neglected and alone in the knitting basket.

When you get round to it, it’s day finally comes.

You take the knitted thing and drown it, even when it’s perfumed waters, the shawl has to drown. Once it has relaxed in the water, it looks like a mermaid, sleeping.

Then you gently rinse it and release it from the water. It has to be squeezed then wrapped into a thick dry towel like a baby.

Once the blocking mats are ready you pin out the shawl. It is wet but happy to emerge from its slumber.

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Patience is required, nothing gets blocked quickly. Pulling it into shape hurts. But it is worth it.

Lace knitting is a metaphor for life.

This is what being transformed is about. From a lumpy ball of yarn. Into a butterfly.

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Just desserts, but still I feel pity

Hello everyone,

I hope you’ve had a super week. Mine has been a week of extremes.

I’ve worked really hard and made great progress at work, I’ve had some really excellent moments, I’ve been picked on and bitched about, and despite having a really bad cough still, I would say, I feel pretty good actually I myself, outlook and attitude wise.

Even more productive than most weeks, I have tidied all my cupboards and wardrobe, and after a year of procrastination, I finally ordered the photos from my holiday last year, and took the opportunity to print those from Sardinia this year too, whilst the iron was hot so to speak, and they came in the post today. I just went out for a walk and bought a new photo album, and look forward to sitting and putting the pictures in the slots.

This week, we met at Knitting Club most days for a good session, and after work on Thursday we visited the Loop knitting club. It was hysterical. I would love to share some of the comic moments in detail with you but, I aim to go back, and fear causing offence. Needless to say, the ladies and gents at the club were lovely, and I was astonished to see so many people relaxed knitting beaded lace of breathtaking complexity and chatting and laughing at the same time.

As anyone who knows me will attest, knitting lace brings out a sternness in me, a fierce manic concentration brokered with a shocking bad temper. I was in awe and admiration to see such charming smiling company from those present!

One of the conversations I am compelled to relate was around the subject of this blog. I mentioned it because we were talking about blogs and. I said I feared my need to blog had waned a bit with the improvement in my overall happiness, following a year of freedom after the rotten events of previous years, with what happened with my parents and my Grandad.

This time last year, after coming back from holiday relaxed and refreshed, I got a call out of the blue from my stepdad. Regular readers will know I am estranged from my horrid parents, as they tormented me all my life and then took all my Grandad’s money and left him abandoned and homeless, and. I nearly broke trying to cope with it all.

The stress of hearing from them last summer and from visiting them and seeing the state they were both in ruined my health, and I ended up very poorly indeed with chest infections then pleurisy. It was not a good state of affairs for me to cope with, so I decided to stay away. They never rang to see if I was alright, for all they knew I could have fallen under a bus.

Today I got the call I knew was coming, my stepdad advised my Mum was now in a care home, as he could no longer look after her. I told him Amber had turned 18 last month. There was an awkward silence as they haven’t sent Amber a card for years.

Despite everything he’d done I felt pity for him because he loved my mum so much. He loved her so much he couldn’t bear her to love anyone else.

Watching him control her as I grew up was extremely sinister. He knocked her confidence every chance he got, he made jibes about her cooking (which was perfectly alright) so it became a standing joke, and she believed it. He was unbearably angry at any challenge from me in order to maintain the upper hand. He would create arguments over nothing and upset me in order to drive a wedge between mum and me.

She fell for it all. It was bewildering to watch her buy into all this crazy rubbish. They would spend all their money and all their spare time in dreadful working men’s clubs, he would get so drunk he would vomit on the way home.

He was my dad from the age of 4 and I was terrified to be around this frightening man and with very little effort I was ousted, my Mum did nothing to protect me from anything. Bad things happened to me because I was the cuckoo in the nest and no one wanted me.

She was always trying not to eat too much as he didn’t like it if she grew plump. He made her wear things that didn’t suit her, he was interested in every detail of what she did and didn’t do.

He was able to dominate her and manipulate he to the extent she lost the ability to stand up for herself or anyone else.

She lied for him, took his side without a second thought, together they did things that were cruel, negligent and wicked.

I hid from his jibes and taunts, I lived in my bedroom, did the best I could at school and by the time I was 18 I was living with my grandparents. My parents moved house, and threw away all my stuff.

He made her drunk. She loved the attention she got from him.

When Mum retired, Dad had already given up work. He took over their lives and that was the end of any relationship I had with her, as from then on, I never once was allowed to see her without him being present, or to do anything together with her.

When she drove, he would be unbearably rude and question everything she did, eventually she had no confidence left at all. I watched all of this, helpless. She never said a bad word about him, and eventually she became a shell of her former self. When I tried to speak to her about the things that were going on she would become angry. It was too late.

The irony of the call from my Dad.

Mum is now in the same care home they put grandad in one year, whilst they went on holiday using his pension money.

It was a large 1970’s building but run like a workhouse.

On arrival, they stripped Grandad against his will and examined him all over on the pretext of looking for bruises and marks, to cover themselves should he leave the home with any marks and bruises.

They took every item of his personal possessions from him, including a large sum in cash and gave him no receipt.

They had put him in a room with no bedding on his bed. When I visited him the day after he had been placed there I had to shout at the nurse in charge and get them to open the laundry cupboard and get him some blankets. He had been so cold overnight he couldn’t sleep.

Whilst I was sitting with him all you could hear was screaming from the other patients. It was like bedlam. A strange man came into the room, in pajamas, he looked at me sitting by my Grandad, and he came past and went to rummage in Grandad’s drawers and cupboards. I escorted him out and shut the door.

At the end of my visit I went to see the manager and read her the riot act. I then called the council and made an official complaint the morning after.

My complaint included other bad stuff, but I think you get the gist.

It was upheld, and the home was closed and was only reopened after processes had been put in place to safeguard the residents.

So, here I am blogging, my need to speak about what goes on is not concluded. You can only imagine how I feel about my Mum being in this dreadful place.

As ye sow, so shall ye reap. But I still feel pity for them.

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Inspiration Strikes

Hello all!

I hope you’re all having a super week so far.

My week has been hard. I am delivering several projects simultaneously, for the same bunch of people, and they each enquire about my progress on their project as if I live in a bubble, and the other projects and my day job are nothing to do with me.

Tonight I am home late and slumped, exhausted in my chair.

Today however has not been a bad day, I have had a super time.

We had Knitting Club, Amber and Sindhu trekked up to join us. We exchanged stories of estranged relations, mysterious letters and implied obligations.

Again we had a blast. Somehow we ended up singing one of the songs from “joseph and the amazing technicolour dreamcoat”. Amber was mortified. I laughed so hard my ribs ached.

Inspiration can strike in the most unlikely places.

Today I saw this lady on the escalator in a summer dress. I loved the colours. I am thinking a crochet afghan. Look at the colours! Aren’t they glorious!

Imagine the black squares with the summery apricot, peach and rose middles.

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Wordsworth: About London

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

3rd September 1802

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Many thanks to the fabulous mylifeinknitwear blog!

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A picture I took last year in Camden on a bridge over the canal and locks.


And Breathe!

Hello everyone!

Here you can see wonderful Sindhu, outside by the water today with me and Russ from Knitting Club. We had a farewell lunch.

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Such a day, in such a week!

Months go by, quiet as mice sleeping, nothing eventful happens.

Then, Bam! Heartbreak. Bam! Stressful times. Bam! My nice Boss leaves. Bam! Amber has exams. Bam! My department does a massive overhaul!

This week, today in particular, marks the End of Amber’s exams. I finished the big project I’ve been working on today. Sindhu leaves. Bam!

I am a bit drained to be honest, but in a good way, like when you have visitors over and you do a huge clean up and tidy round. Once it’s done and you sit with a cup of tea, house gleaming, you feel tired but happy. That’s how I feel just now.

Knitting – wise I am going to pick up my cashmere cardigan and do a few rows. I am trying to decide what to take on holiday knitting wise. Decisions decisions!

Everything is on it’s way up for me, I can feel it!

I hope your world is happy and shiny for you too.


One Foot In Front Of The Other….

Hello everyone,

I hope your week is going well. The weather here is fab, sandals everyday, warmness, sunshine, all round joie de vivre.

Work is a bit pants, there’s a lot of silliness.

Having said that, we have the constant general superness of Knitting Club.

What a wonderful bunch of friends! All week long we are joined in a few lines of chat here and there, we can meet on Wednesday and Thursday, plus other days as the mood arises.

Dear Sindhu is leaving us this week to go home to her family in India. We will really miss her. I will miss her.

Some people are like sharp rocks, unkind, unpleasant in the mind or underfoot, when you encounter them they make you yelp and wish you hadn’t, and it takes ages for the hurt of their presence to diminish. I had a sharp rock day today. I would go to great lengths to avoid another morning like this.

Other people are like flowers, soft, kind and gentle. Their warmth draws you out of yourself, and you feel a better person for just being around them. They make you somehow feel happy, wise and witty, and they light up the room. My Daughter is like this, and so is Sindhu.

My yellow cardigan is coming along, I have started a lemon baby jacket for Russ’s new baby to be born soon, and I have a red Ishbel started. I am enjoying my yarn and my patterns!

It’s Knitting a Club tomorrow and I’m really happy, I feel like I am in charge of myself and my life, and I’m not afraid. I’m just putting one foot in front of the other.

I hope you’re enjoying your knitting. My cat is on my lap. Earlier it was napping on the window ledge.

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Pink, Red and Blue

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

For quite a while now I’ve been trying to organise my life.

My thoughts, being muddled, led to my life being jumbled up. It’s taken a lot of trial and error to get to tidy thinking, and now my world is happier.

For a long time, I built up a vast collection of craft supplies. I would buy things on impulse, and not know what to do with any of it.

The temptation of shopping as recreation, the lure of the sale price, the luxurious product on sale at a show, the opportunity to acquire something really fab and hard to get, the fashion trend, the buying of stuffs with a solely seasonal appeal, you name it, I have fallen prey to the temptation.

And some times I have been a bit led astray. Like the time the Rowan Mill had a sale on £1 a ball yarn, and books at £1 each! Or the time I found my greek hotel was built over a wool warehouse, and I could have any ball for €1. Or the October sale at Loop!

A perfect example: last year, I went on a class by Madeline Tosh on colour theory, she really knew her stuff. We looked at colour wheels, contrast, saturation, tone, hue and everything.

The first question she asked was “what is your favourite colour?” And I answered with Daffodil yellow. This is a precise answer in terms of knitting, because at Loop there is a vast cupboard stuffed with a rainbow of balls of Jamison’s Shetland Spindrift yarn, and Daffodil is my go to shade.

I was sat next to a very talented and clever yarn dyer. At the end of the class everyone agreed on a theme colour for each person. Mine was dusty purple.

I felt vexed. I don’t really ever wear purple. It is dark and dull, plus, during the 80’s I think I was mad on it for a decade, and, now I am in my late forties, I now like bright spring colours.

After the class, I went wild and bought heaps of purple yarn. And I haven’t used any of it.

Anyway, I discovered the key to my stash was in my hand all along.

Just like Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, I discovered that my Ravelry notebook was the answer!

I had never much used my stash tab, however over the recent weeks, I’ve filled it in, and knowing exactly how much wool I have, yard by yard, has meant I can pick patterns out properly !

Now I know what I’m doing and my stash is my friend!!!

So busy knitting this week. It’s all going well!

Here is the lovely lace crochet bag now in my queue due to be made in Drops Paris – idea was from their newsletter:

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Here also is Amber’s shawl, I ran out of yarn Friday evening, bought another huge ball to complete the last three rows, and to my astonishment, the wool came today! Post on a Sunday! Fabbo!

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Here you can see the Nimu Isel in blue to make an Ishbel shawl. Regular readers will know the last time I tried to knit this it was rubbish. So wish me luck! The yarn is a soft but bright blue, with denim tones here and there, it is truly stunning.

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I am also making another shawl in red, this is in Shilasdair 4 ply. Gorgeous!

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Here you can see this morning’s baking, wholemeal sourdough, two loaves, one with cinnamon and raisins. Mmm! Also my cat guarding my Ishbel pattern.

It’s been a fab weekend. I hope you’re all well and happy!

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