Anne Pettigrew, married to John, mother of Adam and Ruth, living in Cambridge UK

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pip (An FO): It's beautiful... and you spun the yarn yourself.. …
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Yes, I’m still knitting. And I’m so proud of this one, so forgive me for going on about it for a bit. (I’m guessing that random strangers on the train today will be less impressed… )

(Dodgy L-R reversed photo from webcam – I’ll get John to do a decent photoshoot in a few days)
Climbing Vines Pullover from Interweave Knits, Winter 2008.
Yarn: handspun (yes, by ME!) Merino/silk blend from Wingham Wool Work.

I love, love, love, love, love this. I did quite a lot of things wrong (swatch, what swatch?), but somehow the knitting gods have smiled on me (and the knitting police have cast a blind eye) and it FITS!


A(nother) Grand Day Out...

(Apparently I have no imagination, I’ve had a Grand Day Out already.)

Last September, when the Yarn Harlot herself was in London, and we all went to see her speak, I was inspired. No, it wasn’t about knitting, it was reading her blog reports of her wanderings around London. I was thoroughly jealous. Which is ridiculous. I live just an hour’s train journey from London, there is NOTHING stopping me from going and wandering around London as much as I could possibly want. (Except that I do find London rather big and scary. Exciting, invigorating, fascinating, but still scary. Lots of big roads and big buildings. And I prefer to wander round with company anyway.)

So I suggested to ‘Big Ruth’ that maybe she wouldn’t mind accompanying me on such a trip. She agreed enthusiastically, and we left it as being a good idea that we would do sometime. But then she and her family agreed a sale on their house and planned to move away from London. It all started looking a bit more urgent. So, despite the rail system’s best attempts (1 hr 40 min to Kings Cross due to engineering works – I assume – with the last leg on the tube – uh uh, no way, I don’t do the tube) I took the train to Liverpool Street and we ‘did’ London.

We started by following her husband’s directions to the Church of St Dunstan in the East

The pictures don’t do it justice (in fact the pictures aren’t that great generally – that’s what comes of travelling light and relying on the phone camera – sorry), but it was a wonderfully tranquil place to sit and eat our lunch. On the way there we passed the Gherkin

and various other places of which I totally failed to get decent pictures. Ruth was the perfect guide. We saw all sorts of little corners – it’s a cliche to say that London is steeped in history, but there simply aren’t any ‘boring’ bits. They all have their charm, from the Dickensian pubs to the tantalisingly long and narrow Catherine Wheel Alley.

After lunch we headed towards The Tower

then, having been brought up next to the Mersey I have rather a fondness for great big dirty rivers, so we took the ferry to Westminster, with an annoying fake cockney tour guide to narrate our cruise.

We passed the London Eye (with the building which at the age of 11 I declared to be the most beautiful building I’d even seen – County Hall – in the background.)

Then on to Downing Street:

(On that same trip when I was 11 there were no gates across the end, and we were able to go right up to the front door of No 10 and chat with the policeman on duty. Now there is a gate to stop you getting to the gate – not to mention all the armed police.)

Then to – a memorial to the work done by women during World War 2. Next we headed to Trafalgar Square (to which we later returned – it does seem to have a magnetic effect), from thence up Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace (I did take pics, they were rubbish). By then my legs were definitely ‘quite tired’, so we decided to stop for a bit – which is why when John rang to see what we were up to, I was able truthfully to report that we were having tea in Fortnum and Mason.

On the train on the way home I used my cloak of invisibility – aka knitting. My travel companions were all delightful (initially I was joined by a young teenage girl and her parents, and once they’d disembarked, by three boaties on their way home from a race). However all of them totally ignored my presence until we had pretty much arrived in Cambridge, by which stage I’d put my knitting away. The three lads had thought the train would take longer, and were discussing whether this could possibly be their destination yet. I grinned and told them it was – I enjoyed their expressions as I suddenly materialised…


Just in case anyone is interested in my random tweets, I’m now twittering (as mrsniddynoddy) – John has put in a handy gizmo so that they all show up at the side of my blog, but if you’re reading through Google Reader or Bloglines, you won’t see them. (You may consider this a benefit… )

Oh no, not again

“Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again. Many people have speculated that if we knew exactly why the bowl of petunias had thought that we would know a lot more about the nature of the universe than we do now.”
From Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.

Clearly I am not a bowl of petunias, which is reassuring, as two coherent thoughts went through my mind at approximately 8:45 yesterday morning. One was “Oh no, not again” and the other was “Head UP”. Which is why I have purple knees, sore ribs and an uncomfortable shoulder this morning, but my face looks pretty much the same as ever. I came off my bike. AGAIN. This time it was because of ice. (And I’m not a complete idiot – in fact the only reason I fell off was because I was stopping to walk past the worst of the ice – grrrr!)

I’m fine, but I can recommend avoiding bruising your ribs when you already have a cough – just a thought.

At the hospital

I had a hospital appointment yesterday. One of those appointments when you know everything is going to be fine really, but you start thinking about all the things they could find, so you’re in a flat spin by the time you get there.

I locked my bike up and turned to go through the doors to Outpatients when I Heard a Voice:

“Do not enter the hospital”

Wha..wha.. what?! I know I’m scared, but this is a bit excessive…

“Do not enter the hospital if you are suffering from flu-like symptoms or have experienced vomiting or diarrhoea within the last 48 hours.”

Oh. Flu, norovirus. I get it. Nope, not going to get out of it that easily.

So I went in. And I found the correct department. And everything looked fine.


Toothbrushes and musical beds

Sounds fun huh? I think this winter’s visit to my in-laws will go down as one of our less successful. On the positive side, no-one has suffered any lasting damage, but a visit which starts with the John’s parents developing Norovirus within hours of our arrival, and despite his mother’s best attempts to decontaminate the house to within an inch of its life once they were up, John and I both succumbing 4 days later, wasn’t going to be the best. But we did manage to get home today, and the children haven’t gone down with it (yet – ever the optimist).

As for the post title – in an attempt to keep people out of the ‘firing line’, sick people slept upstairs, people who hadn’t been sick stayed downstairs. Ruth managed to stay in the same bed every night (she was the only one)- I clocked up the biggest total with no fewer than 4 different bedrooms. And we may have been a bit oversensitive about toothbrushes, but we weren’t taking any chances.

And now, I’m going to curl up under a blanket and pretend I’m watching tv before crawling up to bed.

Hand warmers

For the UK Swap:

I’ve not made a huge number of adult-sized mittens. When I first started knitting after a 20(ish) year hiatus, I made a job lot of children’s mittens as Christmas presents, complete with animal faces etc. They were pre-blog days so I don’t have any photos. (They were also rather nasty cheap acrylic, so we should probably move on without saying much more… )

A couple of years later, I’d learnt a little more about the warmth of real wool, and knocked these off for Adam just in time for Christmas:

Pattern: Ann Budd’s basic mitten pattern (Ravlink)
Yarn: Freedom Spirit by Twilleys of Stamford
(and I made a very similar pair in pink handspun for the little princess in my life.)

On to adult handwarmers. They’ve all been for me. (I think.) The first, and most successful pair are the Urban Rustic Gloves from Knitty.

Yarn: Noro Silk Garden.
I’ve worn and worn and worn at these. Despite being rather too short at the wrist, and having fairly large holes in them due to the thickness of the yarn, they are WARM! Or at least, they were… I’ve worn them so much that I’ve made several holes in them. I’m now contemplating whether to darn them or simply make another pair (with slightly longer wrists).

Secondly we have my Miss Potters (ravlink) from Yarn Forward Magazine.

Yarn: Trend Setter Yarns Tonalita
I enjoyed knitting these, and the yarn is very pretty, but I find them annoying to wear. I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that fingerless mitts weren’t for me – I spend too much time cycling, and these really don’t work well enough. Still, they’re fine for the trip to and from school every day! (And they’re getting a good workout in the current weather.)

Thirdly we have my own-designed handspun BFL mittens, which are sleeping peacefully in my WIPs basket:

Shhhhhh…. don’t wake them up…

Swap questionnaire

I’ve joined the UK Swap again.

Handmade Item Swap
What kind of items are you interested in receiving?
I’d love anything, but I’m particularly after a hat which will really keep my ears warm. (I’m a bit odd about hats – if they don’t cover my ears completely I feel colder with them on.)
Do you knit, crochet, or both?
What is your favourite colour?
My official favourite colour is red but, if it’s a colour I’m going to wear, it needs to be a dark red. I love autumn colours and purples too.
What is your least favourite colour?
I’m not mad keen on pastelly, girly girly colours (don’t let my four-year-old hear me say that!), and I look ill in pale blue or yellow.
What’s your style? (elegant, traditional, glamourous, girly, natural, sporty, outgoing, etc.)
I suppose I aspire to elegant/natural. I don’t wear make-up unless I’m going out, and my hair is usually scraped back into a pony-tail, but I think I look presentable.
Do you have a favourite type of fiber or brand of yarn?
Not really.
Do you have a least favourite type of yarn?
Pure acrylic yarns (although I do like some of the blends), and I’m ‘off’ self-patterning yarn at the moment. Oooh, and I’m really not keen on novelty yarns.
Do you do any other crafts?
I spin.
Are there any knitting accessories you are interested in receiving?
Blocking pins or wires (way too expensive, but if you had any spares lying around… )
What do you like to eat?
Anything gluten-free and wheat-free. To drink I love tea and hot chocolate (again, gf/wf).
Any allergies/preferences (fiber-wise or treat-wise)?
I’m Coeliac, so I have to avoid anything containing wheat, oats, barley or rye. I also can’t tolerate even the small quantities of wheat starch or barley malt which some Coeliacs can manage, so be wary of items which claim to be ‘suitable for Coeliacs’ – not all of them are. Don’t worry, though – I have a willing daughter and husband who will be more than happy to help out if I receive something I can’t have!
Oh, and I can’t wear wool next to my head or neck, but my hands and feet are fine.
Anything we missed that you’d like your partner to know?
I have a husband, a 6-year-old son (also Coeliac) and a 4-year-old daughter.

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