About

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

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Things you can't freecycle...

Apparently you’re not allowed to freecycle your children. Which is a shame, because at the moment I frankly could happily give both of them to a good home.

Adam has been … well – we’ve seen world-class whinging today.

Lowlights have been:

  • the 3/4 hour (and 3 outbursts of shouting from me) it took him to put his clean trousers on after changing from his painting ones.
  • the spectacular wailing that followed being told no, we weren’t going to the Rainbow Cafe for lunch today. (He’d already been told several times that I’m planning to take him tomorrow.)
  • him screaming at me the full width of the green when I decided that his method of stopping his bike (giving up steering and pedalling and simply veering to one side and falling off) is not compatible with riding next to a busy road.

There have been other episodes too numerous to mention, which is why Adam is currently sulking in his room and hasn’t had any of the melon I bought for pudding. (And he does like melon.)

And Ruth is now screaming her head off about something else. I don’t know what, and frankly at the moment I don’t care. Fortunately she was at the childminder’s today, otherwise…

Oh, and yesterday I did homemade cheeseburgers – they were gorgeous if I say so myself. Did they eat them – did they heck. The slices of tomato and cucumber I’d prepared as a nod in the direction of vegetables disappeared instantly, but the burgers – not a chance.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And breathe.

I love being a mother.


Another football free zone

Thanks to Daisy for the link to Alex to get this one:

Definitely enough said!


FO

It’s done!!!

Sorry about the somewhat dodgy picture – but it’s finished!! Right down to it’s pretty little buttons! Hurray!!!!

I’m not entirely sure about blocking it – tbh I’m inclined not to bother – it’s mainly acrylic (for baby = washable), so I don’t really see that blocking would make much difference.

I know, I know, I’m breaking all the rules, but, you know what? The knitting police aren’t going to get me! (Not even though I’ve posted about it here!)

Right, now off to help the boy to paint the “boat” he made with Grandpa at the weekend…


Contest results

Well, using a calculator with a random number generator, I have selected a winner – actually two winners: Big Ruth (for sheer persistence – how many entries? ;-) ) and Heather. I have already ordered something for Ruth, and will sort something for Heather very soon.

I wanted to give everyone prizes though – fabulous comments – I’ll definitely have to do another one some time.


Caption contest update

Some great entries – I’m away for the weekend, so when I get back I’ll close the comp and come up with some (probably grossly unfair) way of picking a winner.

Still chuckling at some of them…


Euphemisms

I know, I know, I’ve posted far too often and far too much today, but you just have to love Heather.


... blog if I want to, blog if I want to ...

So lots of knitting bloggers have cats. I am a knitting blogger, and I have a cat – although I have only ever once posted a pic of her. So yesterday I decided to redress the balance. But yet again I was reminded that cats do not do cooperation:

Finally, I managed to get this:

Oh what the … – it’s my birthday, let’s make it a caption contest. I have no idea what the prize will be, but it will be something lovely, I promise. Go on – I know you have witty things to say – say them.


It's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to...

Just found this – link on Cute Overload

Awesome!

And for those of you who want to see my presents – here they are:
– check out the undyed sock yarn (thank you Daisy ) and the Charlie and Lola DVD (from Adam!). I know there are other Charlie and Lola fans out there – Kirsten for example. In fact please go and visit Kirsten – she’s off to Croatia for a fortnight with OM (Operation Mobilisation – a Christian evangelistic group) in just 3 days. Jen and Chris are running a contest to help her to raise funds. (Yarn, lots of lovely lovely yarn… )


Birthdays and tam jackets

I’ve got a lovely set of presents (how horribly materialistic – but they are lovely, and some are crafty, and some are funny, and the cards are beautiful … and I’ve just noticed the time and realised that I don’t actually have time to photograph them all this morning, so the pressie haul will have to wait for later).

So, finally, the tam jacket tutorial:

OK – so if you knit in stocking (stockinette) stitch and increase in two out of three rows at the end of a row, you will get an edge at a 45 degree angle to the row of knitting. (Or so says Debbie New ) If you do this at both ends you will get a right-angled triangle.

Now, if instead of knitting backwards and forwards you knit in the round, and do a double mitred increase (backwards yo, K1, M1L) in four places evenly spread around in two out of three rounds, you will get a square like this:

Now do this in six places in two out of every three rounds and you get 6 right angles. Six right angles doesn’t really work, so it goes all wobbly round the edges:

But if you fold this in half, then you get a 3/4 square:

If you take two of these and add them together, you get a little jacket:

Cool huh? Debbie New describes it as a “quick knit” – which it probably would be with DK and 4mm needles, but if you happen to have some Phildar Phil Luxe already in, which says to use 2.5 mm needles, then it seems like a good idea…

Except that by the time you have too many stitches to fit on dpns, you realise that the only circs you have that are anywhere close are 2mm. So by the time you get to the edge of the first tam (tam because it’s constructed like a tam hat) you have approx 500 stitches. Now that’s OK (ish), but you need to make another, the same. And you need to graft the shoulder seams and down the back. That means grafting approx 200 stitches. Now I know at least one extremely competent knitter who balks at grafting 12 stitches across a sock – let’s just say that my proficiency at grafting has increased dramatically.

And then you need to make a button band. Except that this button band goes all round the remaining stitches – i.e. down one side of the front, along the bottom, up the other side of the front and across the top. Now, have you been counting: 2 tams, each with 500 stitches round the outside – that makes 1000 stitches. 200 of these have been grafted (although the good news is that they use up 400 stitches – which I’ve only just realised, so my whinging at KTog last night may have been a little excessive) – still that means that the button band comprises 600 stitches. BUT the big advantage is NO SEAMING!! YAY!!!

And it’s still not quite finished – just the ends to weave in (oh how I hate weaving in ends!) and the buttons to sew on – and then I’ll take more pics and be very happy. :-)

Update: I can see that there’s a sudden flurry of interest in this post from Swedish readers. Do please leave a comment – I’d love for you to say “Hi”.


An apology to my friends

I’m afraid this blog hasn’t been an altogether comfortable place to be over the last few days and for that I’m truly sorry to the friends I’ve made over the past months. I hope I’ve managed to delete most of the problems quickly enough, but for those of you who’ve seen things appear and disappear, an explanation:

I’ve been pestered with comments from someone whom I:
  • don’t know
  • don’t have a url for
  • don’t have an email address for.

Despite all this he has seen fit to comment on every single post I’ve made over the last couple of weeks – many of these comments have assumed a familiarity which is non-existent. And despite my (admittedly blunt, but I wanted to be clear) request that he should stop, he continued to do so.

Anyway, he has now declared his intention to stop commenting on this blog. I trust he will honour this declaration as I would like to be able to get back to wittering about knitting, yarn, WIPs, (too many of them) children, bl**dy annoying students (and lovely ones too), the occasional bit of cooking and maybe even the garden. (Oh, and chocolate!)

And to finish, because it’s been beautiful today, despite the shower that sent me running into the garden to bring the washing in… (and then dried up never to be seen again once I’d hung it all back up indoors – GRRRR!)

Some sky for Sandy:


Overheard another time...

Two small children running madly up and down the living room.
Older one recogniseably singing the Batman theme
Younger one shouting
“Dinner dinner dinner – FAT MAN”
!!


Stuff

Firstly, to try to overcome some of my knitting and blogging blahs, I’ve joined another KAL – Trek Along With Me – the deal is that

  1. You must knit with Trekking XXL….color and sock pattern of your choice. Buy (or find in your stash) some Trekking XXL, get your sock pattern and supplies ready and let’s Go Take A Hike!
  2. Start Date June 1 st – End date August 31 st.
  3. You should take a picture, at least once a month (twice would be better) of you and/or your sock on a hiking trail during June, July and August.

I’m not quite sure where my hikes will be – up and down the track to the allotments probably doesn’t count, but I’ll think of something. And I’ve had that ball of Trekking XXL #110 waiting around for a while, and I’m about to finish my portable knitting, so it’ll be good to have some more on the go. I’m just wondering what pattern to use. I’m thinking that I really don’t want anything too fancy, as I don’t want anything to interfere too much with the yummy stripes. Hmmm. I’ll have a think.

I have an FO to report:

It’s a teeny tiny sock – the Mother’s Union in our church is doing a fundraiser – lots of people have been issued with a postcard with “I want to thank God for….................” printed on the top. The idea is that we all choose something and represent it in some way, then pay £1 to add it to a large photo album. There are some wonderful contributions already. The organiser’s sister did “knitting” – a beautiful tiny piece of garter stitch, complete with cocktail stick needles. Chocolate has also been done, as have any number of sets of children. So, I’ve decided to do “handknitted socks”. This tiny Opal Haggebutte is my contribution. It was a lot of fun, and a very very quick knit – I was in desperate need of some instant gratification – that tam jacket is taking forever! (I’m currently just over halfway through the grafting – I did a quick calculation – it involves grafting approx 200 stitches. NEVER AGAIN!!) I’ll do a proper explanation once it’s finished.

I went to Sew Creative yesterday. And I only bought 6 buttons for the tam jacket. And I wasn’t tempted to get any yarn. Now this may have been partly because there was a shop assistant lurking around the Rowan stuff, so I couldn’t really look at that. And to be fair there was some gorgeous Artesano Alpaca, but the only really exciting thing was the Wendy Fusion for which I couldn’t see a price, but is a (single ply? – I’m getting a bit out of my depth here… ) wool blend that felt rather like the Karaoke I’m using for my Sunrise Jacket. I couldn’t see a price for it, and didn’t like to ask as I had no intention of buying any. Anyway, it took a fair bit of research to find it online – and it’s a new yarn that has only just come available.

But I have had a minor little stash enhancement – it’s to knit up for a friend…

– an alpaca merino blend sock yarn from the the Natural Dye Studio – I used some of their wool to make soaker pants for Ruth and I loved it – this should be pure bliss. I’m thinking probably Potatopuss – if the gauge works out right.


And another one...

This sounds like the worst job interview ever!


Oooer!

This is close to where I was brought up.


Soooo Angry...

OK First of all a warning – anyone thinking of posting a comment here being sympathetic to my students – DON’T. Just don’t. Got that? Don’t. No – I said Don’t.

I have spent most of my weekend marking mock exams. It’s the problem with this time of year – every group generates at least one mock paper per teacher. One set have been pretty good – admittedly I had the usual little troup come to see me to try to get out of it on the grounds that they hadn’t had the chance to revise – I made them do it anyway – it’s only a mock, and it’s better over and done with – and those same souls have done pretty well – Bs on the whole, so if that’s what they can get without revision, a quick glance at their notes should easily push them up to an A.

No, it’s my other group – they have their real exam in 10 days, and by last Thursday, they had apparently done no work. Now, I know that some of them have done some work. And I know that the paper we used as a mock was particularly harsh, although the grade boundaries take that into consideration. But some of the things they couldn’t do are completely basic. And I know that every single one of them has a copy of all the past papers we could get our hands on – and a few more sets of questions besides. Every one has model answers, and mark schemes and examiners’ comments. These are the most valuable revision resource they could possibly get. My hunch is that the majority of them couldn’t even tell me where they’ve left theirs, never mind actually used it.

And breathe…

OK rant over. (But I still mean it – don’t even think of commenting in support of them – I will simply remove the comment.)

The tam jacket is still growing. The book has finally had to go back to the library – I renewed it as many times as I was allowed. It will be lovely when it’s finished, but remind me not to knit even baby jackets on 2mm needles again…

So peeps – Big R is going to take up knitting – any suggestions on where she should start? I’m thinking garter stitch scarf in chunky yarn with big needles – some instant gratification to get her hooked. But what yarn? I don’t want to land her with something splitty or laddery or eyelashy while she’s trying to sort out the mechanics of it. And I want it to be soft and delicious and preferably variegated so it’s fun and exciting to knit. Please do comment on this – I promise I won’t delete those comments!

I’m off to eat (more) chocolate and watch something (no idea what) on t’elly.


I could have felt quite virtuous...

... there I was, sitting marking mock exams, eating a little snack of hummus and celery sticks…

.... if I hadn’t preceded it with a packet of Pom Bears. Ah well.

Hey people – have you seen the comment left by my friend Ruth (bless her, she’s in no way big, but it does distinguish her from all the other many Ruths I know [that’s 6 at the current count…]) – she’s going to learn to knit. People – we have a convert :-)


Beautiful beautiful new socks.

Last night I had a dream. It was a rather disturbing dream. I dreamed that my sockpal000za socks arrived … and they were nauseatingly girly pink and purple variegated, in a thick, itchy artificial yarn, with a chunky cable down the side (which worked with neither the variegation nor the weight of the yarn) and they were huge – it looked as though the maker had misinterpreted my feet being 8 inches long (UK size 4) as meaning UK size 8. My biggest quandary was how to express an appropriate level of gratitude – I mean, someone had clearly put a good deal of work into these, and would nervously be awaiting my reaction. I couldn’t possibly take a photo of myself wearing them as that would only show how badly they fit, and I couldn’t honestly be that effusive.

I woke up with that uncomfortable feeling you have after a bad dream that you’re not entirely convinced isn’t real.

So imagine my relief when these arrived this morning:

They are gorgeous – thank you so much Becky. Yes, they contain pink, but it’s a bright, vibrant pink, with orange and yellow (and it reminds me of the Trekking XXL I sent Daisy and which I’ve been secretly hankering after for myself. This isn’t the same, but it’s near enough that I a) don’t have to break my yarn diet and b) don’t even have to knit it up – someone else has done it for me :-) :-) :-) ) And as if the socks weren’t enough, she also included some beanies for Adam and Ruth as well as a very cute knitting card:
– these were grabbed so enthusiastically that by the time I tried to take a photo of them both Ruth’s had already disappeared. I don’t know what the yarn is, I’m guessing a cotton blend, and I’m not sure what the pattern is, but it’s similar to Hedera – they are very sweet, and very comfortable, and they fit perfectly. Phew!

*Update: I’ve been looking at Becky’s blog – the socks are the gull wing pattern from socks socks socks, and the yarn is Sockotta – see here (and scroll down a bit for the yarn)

And Agatha’s tam jacket is growing – here you can see the first side, with the sleeve done, and the second side so far…

it is growing – sloooooooowly. Much as I still love the concept, I can’t wait to finish it and get on with my sunrise jacket.

Ooops – time to go – bathtime calls.

*Maths revision podcast update – I’ve done another (no, don’t go and listen to it – a) you’ve heard my voice before, b) Estimation is even more boring than Route Inspection and c) it’s not actually that good) – and I’ve looked at the SoundClick charts – Route Inspection is No 25 in the Talk Charts!!! WhooHoo!! It’s down from 23!!! And when I say it’s at No 25, I don’t mean No 25 out of 25, it’s at No 25 out of 200! I am so famous!


My egg...

... has hatched – go and have a look here

Pretty!


Route Inspection (podcast)

Well, I’ve done it! If you want to hear what I sound like when I’m burbling at a bunch of 16-17 year-olds, go and have a listen here (you will have to sign up with SoundClick to download the mp3 file, but apparently not if you listen to the lo-fi – hi-fi sounds wierd for some reason.)

I hate the sound of my own voice!


Sorry folks...

If you leave a comment on this blog from now on in I’m afraid you’ll have to answer a silly question. This is because I’d started getting spammed – I (well, John) tried blacklisting just the name, but that didn’t do it. This should now work. Don’t worry – the question isn’t difficult. Go on – give it a go.

On the topic of giving things a go – I’m going to do a podcast! I’ve been mulling over the idea of maths revision podcasts for a while, and today I plucked up the courage to suggest it, both to colleagues and to students. They were all enthusiastic about it, so I’ll try it. At the moment it looks as though the easiest way will be to use the built-in microphone on our Mac laptop, and find some free webspace to host it. When it’s up and running I’ll post a link, so those of you who are absolutely fascinated by the Chinese Postman problem, the Travelling Salesman problem and other topics covered in AQA’s Decision 1 module can have a listen. Colleagues were keen to provide resources for auditory learners outside the classroom – students (who scare me more when it comes to this sort of thing) were surprisingly excited about the idea – apparently it would be cool to listen to Mrs Pettigrew talking about maths… hmmmm… why don’t they think that inside the classroom?

So if anyone has any tips about how not to sound like a total dork, please tell me! Pixie? (I am NOT, I repeat NOT going to make up any revision songs – in the past people have written songs of formulae to learn. NO, NO, NO and again NO!!)


Blahs

I’ve realised that it’s getting on for a week since I last posted, and that was just a very brief one. I have been knitting – and I want to post properly about it at some point. I’ve finished one tam, and have made a start on the second one – and I need to get a move on as Agatha Evelyn was born on Sunday morning… (her proud parents dropped in with her at tea-time – she is one very very pretty newborn.)

But even so I seem to have hit both knitting and blogging blahs. Last week was fairly intense work-wise, and I reacted in my usual way – with a migraine. This week, much as I love having another day off work, I’m somewhat discombobulated (I do like that word) by yet another break in the routine.

Still, I had an “I’m not altogether a bad mummy” moment at lunchtime when I made A&R tiger toast (just cheese on toast, but striped with orange and yellow cheeses) and let them eat it in Ruth’s Wendy house.

I’ve joined a KAL – for the Sunrise Circle Jacket – I was relieved to see that other people have used self-striping yarn, and it all works out beautifully – I did have a slight fit as to exactly what would happen on the fronts. Noone else seems to have used the SWT Karaoke that I’m using, so I’ll have to see if it has the necessary firmness when knitted up. But that is resolutely on the back burner until I’ve finished that jacket.


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