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

-----Begin Knitter's Geek Code Block----- KER+ Exp++ SPM+ Steel Den+ Bam>+ Syn Nov- Cot Wool+ Lux+>+ Hemp>+Stash Scale+ Fin+ Ent>+ FI+ Int- Tex- Lace+ Felt>+ Flat Circ++ Swatch KIP++ Blog SNB+ EZ? FO+ WIP++ GaugeF+ AltX++ -----End Knitter's Geek Code Block-----




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Who links to me?

Any Greenbelters?

I just saw this – it made me chuckle :-)

Very excited!

I’ve just had a look at Self Portrait Tuesday – and my belly is there!!! I’m so proud!!

Proud Mummy moment

Yesterday Adam came through to the kitchen clutching a piece of paper and proudly announcing “Mummy, me done a “m””. On closer inspection it turned out that he’d also done an “A”, a “d”, a “a” and, indeed, a “m” – in that order – without any help or prompting he’d written his name for the first time.

And Ruth has two new teeth (at last, she’s had the previous 8 for ages).


Tidying up

Well, I did say below that my blog was looking very messy – I’ve now got a proper blogroll, separated from my other links, and I’ve finally learnt some manners and changed all my pics to thumbnails, so they won’t swamp your screens any more.

Oh, and I’ve put on a link to an Islamic site for which Haifa (sp?) gave me the URL (she’s the Muslim woman I was chatting to at Toddlers last week). There’s some interesting stuff, especially under “misconceptions”, although I’ve not had the chance to look at it that closely yet.

Oooh, and my very exciting yarn arrived this morning, so I’ve started on my very exciting project (and no, I haven’t yet even cast on for Adam’s second sleeve – bad, bad Mummy :-() This new project is the first time I’ve used my Denises to actually knit in the round – does anyone have any tips as to how to join the ends together – I’ve made sure there’s no twist, but there seems to be a bit of a gap. (I’m quite aware that this first attempt may well be frogged.)

And today Adam and I made green tomato cake – very yummy – a bit like a cross between apple cake and carrot cake – I would defy anyone who didn’t know to work out that the green bits are tomato!

Anyway, I’ve promised John he can have the computer, and there’s that very exciting project crying out for attention (and the Debbie Bliss cardigan, and the Norwegian jumper, and … ) so I’d better be off.

Self Portrait Tuesday

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know it’s only Monday, but I’m being impatient!
Since the theme for September is body parts, I thought I’d do one of my belly:

For 9 months it was home.

The famous soaker pants, and other pics...

At last – sadly not being modelled (they still need to be lanolised, as I discovered after finding a damp patch on Ruth’s skirt this morning :-/) I am particularly proud of the lacey legs though – they just peek out from under her skirts – a bit like woolly pantalettes :-)

And since I’ve persuaded John to get some pics on the ‘puter, here are some more:

Even if she’s not wearing the soakers right now, she’s still pretty cute (not sure how she managed to scratch her face like that.)

And not to leave Adam out – when I can persuade him not to try to smile for the camera, he’s really rather gorgeous:

Here is the produce from our garden which we’re using to make glutney:

There are 4 lb of green cherry tomatoes, so we’ve not used any of the green plum tomatoes – which is great, because I love fried green tomatoes (just slice to about 1/4” thick, dredge in polenta mixed with salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne, then fry on a low heat, turning once – takes about 20+ min). And I want to try Laura Ingalls Wilder style green tomato pie :-) We’ve also only used one marrow – not sure what to do with the other one. And that is just a tiny fraction of the pears we’ve got on our tree – it’s not going to be long before “pear guilt” strikes again – we never get through as many as we could before they go off.

And here is the glutney under way:

It just fitted in the pan!

And while I’m on about food – Sudiptar’s Butter Chicken recipe below comes highly recommended – I made it tonight, and it met with universal acclaim (particularly impressive that Mr Picky himself waxed lyrical).

Another project...

I bought some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino

a little while ago, intending to make more soaker pants with them (I will post a pic of the finished pair, I promise!), but it really is too nice to soak up wee, so I’m using it to knit my goddaughter’s Christmas present. I’m adapting haiku – starting by knitting the body sideways, as in the pattern (but shorter), but using stocking stitch (in the green), then adding a garter stitch band around the bottom knitted vertically (in the pink), and the sleeves will have pink garter stitch cuffs with the rest lilac stocking stitch. It should work! One of the joys of using Haiku is that it’s so flexible as it’s written as a “fill the gaps” exercise to put your gauge into. I wasn’t sure about doing the sideways stocking stitch to start with, but it’s lovely – esp as the ply is making it come out with the left side of the stitches looking like a continuous vertical column, and the right side looking twice as wide. The yarn has a slight natural sheen which emphasizes the effect – it’s gorgeous.

But there’s still a large pile of marking to do, and John and I are going to make Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s glutney today, so I’d better get on.

Personality Quiz!

Take the 100 Acre Personality Quiz!

Thanks to Theresa for the link.


This is really a plea to John – please help me to tidy this blog up a bit – my links/blogs are all over the place (not helped by the length of the name of yours :-))

Ta love,



First – the soaker pants are finished, pressed, and in action! Ruth wore them for Toddler Group for the first time this morning – they seem to be doing fine, apart from an unfortunate tendency to descend to round her ankles – complete with nappy! (Easily fixed with a drawstring at the waist.) I’ll post some pics once the batteries for the camera are recharged.

When I was at Greenbelt I ordered a couple of Karen Armstrong’s books – Islam: A Short History (cool – if you go to the link, you can actually read the first few pages!) and The Spiral Staircase. (I read Through the Narrow Gate as a teenager and found it very thought-provoking.) Anyway, although The Spiral Staircase has not yet arrived, Islam arrived last week, and I have finally started reading it. I’ve not even finished one chapter yet, so I can’t comment in depth, but it is very accessible and (not surprisingly) echoes some of the things she said when I heard her speak at Greenbelt.

Anyway, to recap and update on my Greenbelt resolutions: 1) Bedtime prayers with Adam – going fairly well, not perfect every night, but definitely a start. 2) Signing up with the Year of Living Generously – which I’ve done and am now waiting to hear more from them (and while checking the link I’ve finally worked out how to create a household – yay!). 3) Establish links with Muslim women in similar circumstances to mine – I can now proudly announce some success with that. Never mind finding blogs (although I still intend to do that at some point) – our Toddler Group is amazingly multi-national – we represent the UK, Canada, Libya, Turkey, India, Greece, South Africa – and that’s just counting the 10 or so families who turned up today. A couple of women observe Hijab, and I plucked up the courage to talk about it with one of them this morning. I suspect she is going to start evangelising me now (or whatever term she would use), but she was obviously delighted to discuss it with me, and is going to give me some URLs to look at.

Oooh, and the Bengali woman gave me a recipe for Butter Chicken:
Take chicken portions, score them, and marinate (overnight in the fridge, or for a few hours at room temperature) in yoghurt, oil, garlic, ginger and paprika and salt. Then roast in the oven. While they are roasting, make a sauce using butter, tomato puree, “little black seeds” (I’m pretty sure they’re Nigella) and double cream. Pour the sauce over the chicken portions and serve with naan. Sounds yummy – maybe I’ve sorted out what we’re having for dinner tomorrow :-) (Tonight, by popular request we’re having fish fingers, chips, broccoli, carrots and beans from the garden – if Adam asks for that much veg, I’m not going to argue!)

Anyway, there’s a Norwegian jumper begging to be finished, so I’d better go and get on…


OK – so I’m tagging John, Daisy and Ruth with the meme in the post below.

A meme!

I’ve never been tagged, but Becky offered this to anyone who wants it, so I’ll pick it up:

1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five people to do the same.

So here is mine

Put all into preserving pan, then simmer and stir frequently for 15 – 20 minutes, until thick.

Hmmm – now how do I tag people?


To quote: "Bleurgh"!

Woke up this morning feeling grotty yet again, with a thumping headache/migraine into the bargain, so I’ve taken the day off. After a while just lying doing nothing got a bit boring, so I’ve done some knitting – I almost have an FO!! :-). I’ve only got to do one more band of lace, sew it on and press the whole item, and then I’ll have finished the soaker pants! Then I need to get back to Adam’s jumper. (New definition for SSS – Second Sleeve Syndrome)

Oooh, and I’ve found some terribly exciting yarn for a terribly exciting project, but it’s for a Christmas present, and although I don’t think the recipient reads this, I don’t want to take the risk.

"Lost" fans?

How to waste a lot of time (without a single strand of yarn)

I should be working, but....

I just saw this – knitting with hemp sounds irresistable – no, no, no – too many WsIP – must finish them first.


One of THOSE days

Warning – whinge alert!

At 3:30 this morning we were woken by a little voice saying “Daddy, my trousers are wet.” This is the third wet bed in the last week :-(. I’m guessing it’s just because he’s very tired with getting used to the new term, and he’s not really settled in properly yet. Still, I found it nearly impossible to get back to sleep.

So I woke up feeling grotty – as in fact I have for the last few days – I suspect I’ve eaten some gluten sometime in the last week or so – I’ve no idea when, but I’m showing all the symptoms. So I couldn’t get moving as quickly as I should have done, so when we finally left the house to take Adam and the neighbours’ boy to nursery/school we were in a rush. So I didn’t check I had my front door key. So when we’d dropped them both off and I did check my bag – no keys :-(. So I walked (with Ruth in the pushchair) all the way to Cambridge University Press (about a 30 min walk) to see John to get his key. John kindly comments that “At least it’s not raining”... he had to mention it, didn’t he!! At that point the very gentle mizzle we’d had so far settled into something more serious. Fortunately we were able to get a bus home – and to shelter at the bus-stop from the worst of the rain.

From then on in most of the day was pretty good – we managed to get the shopping done, and had 10 min for a quick drink and to change R’s nappy before we headed off to pick Adam up from nursery. Since it was no longer raining we left the pushchair at home and she walked all the way there and back. (I wanted her to get plenty of exercise – the best way of ensuring she has a decent nap in the afternoon :-)).

Then this afternoon Adam and I made choc chip cakes and pancakes and tomato sauce and I stewed some greengages. (Oh, and Adam emptied the washing machine for me – he was really chuffed at having a real grown-up job to do.) I’d planned savoury stuffed pancakes for dinner – and was feeling super-organised as I set the oven timer, so we could go to the playground for an hour or so when Ruth woke up.

The playground trip was a success – we met several friends, and had a lovely time. Then we got home, just in time for me to cook the veg… only to find that the oven hadn’t come on :-( :-(. So dinner was half an hour late, and my lovely whinge-free boy got over-hungry, and over-tired and became a bit of a whingebag after all.

So now I’m tired, and although I’ve got plenty of marking to do, I’m going to knit instead.

Parallel sets

It’s been a good day – not least the children have been in a really good mood this evening (just don’t mention the seatbelt!). I saw all 4 of my classes today – all 3 Lower 6th classes are in exactly the same place in the same scheme of work, so they all had exactly the same lesson. Which is kind of good – because I only need to plan it once; but is kind of bad – because by the time I’ve said the same thing for the third time I start losing track – after all, I’ve said it often enough, surely they understand it by now :-)

Actually I’m pretty impressed so far by this year’s intake – they’re keen to use technical language (numerator and denominator instead of “top number” and “bottom number”;), and they’re not afraid to ask stupid-sounding questions (which are rarely stupid at all). Oh, and despite the homework not being due in until the middle of the week, over half of them handed it in today (beginning of year keenness – it won’t last :-)). And their sketch graphs are great – just the right amount of info and, in general, pretty neat. And my upper 6th are lovely. So, for now, I’m happy.


Last night we made more jam :-) This time it was Lemon and Marrow – the recipe came from my mum:

2 lb prepared marrow (at least 5lb unprepared)
2 lb sugar
1/2 lb butter or marge (butter best)
3 lemons, juice and rind

Cut prepared marrow into inch cubes; steam and mash. Put all into preserving pan, then simmer and stir frequently for 15 – 20 minutes, until thick. Jar.

Will keep one year. Makes 4 – 5 lb.

We sacrificed our largest overgrown courgette – it weighed 7lb unprepared, and all but 6 lb prepared! We now have many many jars of it, and it’s gorgeous (a bit like lemon curd, but much easier to make).

FYI – Adam is still upset about the seatbelt issue.

I’m still really cross with myself for having missed Secret Pal 6 – please, please, please will someone alert me in time for SP7?

Meanwhile I’m trying to make a list of projects that I want to complete by Christmas:
1) All my WsIP (see pics below) – I’m making fairly good progress on the jumper and the soakers, but I do need to crack on with them.
2) A cardigan for my goddaughter – maybe Haiku , but then I’ve already made it twice, so perhaps it’s time for something different.
3) Mary, Joseph and Jesus from Sirdar’s “The Nativity Collection” (sorry, can’t find a link) – ooh and a donkey – I’ve really fallen in love with the donkeys! (My plan is to then add another character every year – we’ll see!)

Anyway, enough of this chitter chatter – I’d better go and get those needles moving.


OMG!! Children!

This afternoon, after Ruth’s nap I took the pair of them to Waitrose in the car (bad, bad, non-environmentally friendly action, but time was getting on, and the weather was being unpredictable). On the way home, as we got in the car Adam stuck his left arm up in the air, and put his right arm down by his side – completely the wrong way round for me to fasten his seatbelt (which goes over his left shoulder, and under his right arm). He whinged, and whined and cried and created all the way home – and continued arguing even when I told him that if he didn’t stop he would go straight upstairs to bed. So, when we got home he went straight upstairs to bed (the first time I’ve done this – but I’m sure the main problem was that he’s overtired – I half hoped he’d whinge himself to sleep, and I suspect that if I’d left him longer he would have done). He eventually got the message that if he carried on going on about it he would go straight back, but at bedtime he’s STILL arguing!!

I pointed out to him that if it wasn’t important, then I’d just say “whatever”, and let him get on with it, but if his seatbelt isn’t fastened properly he could be badly hurt if we have an accident, and much as I hate rowing with him, I hate the idea of him being hurt even more. I did make him laugh when I suggested that I wouldn’t be too bothered if he described his black trousers as being pink, and he agreed that that would be silly, but not a big problem. Anyway, we’ve left it that we’ll have another look tomorrow (and he’s asked Jesus to make him be right!).


And breathe…

I did some KIP today – took the soaker pants to Toddler Group with me :-)

Now off to get some marking done, and eat chocolate pudding (it’s Friday :-) :-) :-) )

Knitting Guru!?!

Just found this on YarnyKnitting Guru
You appear to be a Knitting Guru. You love knitting
and do it all the time. While finishing a piece
is the plan, you still love the process, and
can’t imagine a day going by without giving
some time to your yarn. Packing for vacation
involves leaving ample space for the stash and
supplies. It can be hard to tell where the yarn
ends and you begin.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sorry – no time for more – need to go and knit :-)

Late Night

I should have gone to bed about an hour and a half ago, but instead I’m posting up pics of my current WIPs (or should that be WsIP?)

Mittens for Ruth – the picture does justice to neither the richness of the cuff, nor the vividness of the pink – they are BRIGHT

Adam’s jumper – it’s getting there :-)

A scarf I started knitting for Adam about a year ago… – I really hate this thing – it’s taking forever, but he’s really excited about it – I will finish it in time for this winter – honest.

The famous soaker pants – still loving the wool, still a bit frustrated by it catching on the needles.

Not really even a WIP yet – more a “PIP” (Project in Planning)

Now it really is bedtime!

More busy

Daisy – you’re a bad influence! I have started the soaker pants – and I’m 98% in love with my Denises. I’m finding that the wool (gorgeous, gorgeous wool) snags more than I expected as it transfers from the cord to the point. I guess it’s time to attack it gently with an emery board – anyone got any good suggestions? However I love the box and the general kit – John and our neighbour both got very excited about them – it may be knitting, but it’s a gadget, which has to be good. (Personally I’m resisting the urge to suggest a GCSE maths project – “Investigate the different possible lengths you can obtain by combining the different cords of a Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles set….” – maybe not :-))

The wool is more exciting than the needles – I’ve always found wool a bit harsh to knit with in the past, but this is beautifully soft, and I can feel the lanolin softening my hands as I go (which is good, ‘cos I need lanolin to “waterproof” the soaker pants – still not entirely convinced that they’ll work – and that’s despite my next-door neighbour making them to sell from old woollen jumpers. Still, if I don’t try, I won’t find out.)

I managed the harebrained dash from college to nursery this afternoon – just about. My last lesson on a Wednesday finishes at 2:50, Adam gets out of nursery at 3:00 – it takes me 12 min from when my bottom hits the saddle to cycle from college to the nursery. Nope, it just doesn’t quite work out. However another mum picked him up for me, and I was only about 3 min late (it takes a minute or so to get from the classroom to my bike – every second counts!) I also successfully collected our neighbour’s child. They’re now shouting in Adam’s bedroom.

Since getting home I’ve cooked dinner (pork risotto, using left-overs and that classic ingredient “what veg can I find in the fridge” ) – and I’ve mowed the lawn (with two very enthusiastic “helpers” ).

Oh – and I’ve had to leave the bikes outside – this morning I could only get mine out of the outhouse by attacking the latch with a breadknife. Just don’t ask.

Time to go and get the greens on.

Pooped, very very pooped.

Back to work with a vengeance

Reality hits for real with now the lower 6th have started their proper timetables. Last week I had the luxury of a 2 lesson week – today I met 3 new groups (66 names to learn – I’ve made a reasonable start :-)) as well as my upper 6th group at the end of the day. Combine that with staffing the drop-in homework workshop at lunchtime, and I’m pooped.

And today was John’s first day at his new job too – he seems pretty happy about it – although I expect that computer “negotiations” will break out soon at home (“I want it”, “But I want it” etc.)

Still, yesterday I managed to make a good start on the first sleeve of my Norwegian epic – and happy, happy, happy – my Denise Interchangeable Knitting Needles arrived today :-) :-) :-)

Oooh – and I notice that someone from The Guardian has found my blog by googling “Leo Hickman”.

Damp drama

So yesterday the heavens opened again – fortunately during daylight, fortunately while we were all at home. The storm was raging away, Adam was getting very excited about the thunder (big relief – he’s not showing any signs of being scared of it after the other morning), then the power went out :-(. John checked the circuit breaker – the main household one had flipped, and wouldn’t stay on. We ran round turning things off (television, cooker, microwave etc) , but it still wouldn’t stay on. Then we realised that the velux window was leaking, and as we mopped up the worst of the flood from that I found the root of the power problem – water was pouring in through the light switch in our living room extension :-( :-( :-(. Score another point for using washable nappies – in fact score another 5 points for using terry squares – and hey a few more for being disorganised so-n-sos who hadn’t put them away, so there was a big pile of clean absorbant cloths right to hand :-)

Adam was wonderful – after a few comments along the lines of “I don’t think God likes our house”, he then started telling Jesus all about it “Jesus, we’ve got a big problem here – make it stop.” Which it did after a bit – there’s no lasting damage, although we’ve not tested the lighting circuit for the downstairs at the back of the house yet – we want to give it a few days to dry out.

Still, it was exciting out in the road – it was flooded to a depth of at least 6 inches – nearly over the top of Adam’s wellies!

It was exciting, it was a bit worrying, it is a bit of a pain having to rely on candles in the living room, but it’s only the tiniest, teeniest fraction of what people from New Orleans (and Bangladesh, and China) are going through.

Being self-indulgent

You remember only 2 days ago I was going on about buying wool to make soaker pants? Well, today I did a bad, bad thing – I was in town, so I nipped into Robert Sayle (John Lewis partnership shop) and bought three balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino – they are absolutely gorgeous – I may end up just cuddling them – it feels wrong to use it to cover nappies!

Adam’s not had a good day today – he started at “big nursery” on Monday (for children aged 3 by the beginning of Sept) – and took to it without turning a hair until this morning, when he burst into tears and didn’t want me to leave him. He was OK by the time I left (he was on a fire-engine hunt with the teaching assistant :-)), but apparently cried again at 11:30 when some of the mothers came to collect their children. He was a bit fragile after I picked him up – although he’s a drama queen at the best of times – but he had fun at the playground with our next-door neighbour’s child. Then at bedtime he started crying because: a) his bed was too cold (it’s sweltering in there, and he’s wearing bedsocks (don’t ask)) b) he heard a bad noise (he was woken by a particularly loud crash of thunder the other morning) c) someone or something bad might get in his room. Eventually I left him with the happy image of having icecream at a picnic, sitting on a fire-engine with his imaginary friend Josh. Poor love though, I hate it when life gets him this hard. I know he’ll be fine, starting at big nursery was bound to be a big change for him (even though it’s in exactly the same room as “little nursery” where he was last year), and he’s a bit anxious about John starting to go out to work. (“Daddy, me will miss you.” )

I’m off to watch last night’s Lost!

New Shoes

Here’s the promised pic:

I am being very soft about them at the moment, but they really are the cutest things ever! (And not a hint of pink or sparkly about them anywhere :-) )

So much for finishing what I've started ...

OK, so my main WIP (is that right?) is the Norwegian sweater for Adam (nearly finished the back now) – I’m also currently in the middle of a scarf for him, and a pair of very bright mittens for Ruth – both of these have been on the needles since last winter :-/

So why have I invested in some gorgeous hand-dyed wool from eBay? Well, I’ve decided to try making some woolly pants (or a soaker as they’re called in the States) for Ruth. My next-door-neighbour makes them from recycled woollen jumpers, but I found this pattern today – couldn’t be much easier, although I’ll prob do a knitted edging rather than a crochet one. I promise I won’t start them until I’ve finished Adam’s jumper.

Exciting day today – I took Ruth to buy her first pair of real shoes – they are so cute – I’ll try to get a pic of them tomorrow.


Just found this – will try to watch it tonight.


So John got there first, and is much better at summarising such things – read what he has to say here