Gratuitous Catspam! (And SP11 things)

The cuteness of Xander... follow the link to the photo album to see the full sized version

Xandermog! So! Cute!!

In SP11 news, I’ve been having lots of fun. Both my upstream and downstream pals are lovely (*waves to Miss.Teri*) and I’m told that my first package should be with me tomorrow. *bounce* I really hope my downstream pal likes her package. I really did enjoy putting it together, though I felt like I should have put something handmade in… but then I had a last minute brainwave and put a little something together. :-) There are a couple of other things that sort of count, too, and I do have plans for the next two parcels. I don’t really do any handicrafts other than knitting, so that kind of limits me there. But my plan is to play to my strengths – I may not be able to sew well, or anything, but there are creative things I can do. Like, um, stuff. And things. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll think of something! But like I said, I’m happy with the first parcel so with a bit of luck my pal will be too. :-)

Now, I shall go back to knitting, and plotting parcel no.2. Mwahahahah….

OMG ded (sic)

Woah, I’m exhausted. Feeling a little bit spacey here, I can tell you. The four-year-old who lives upstairs from me is allergic to sleeping all night long, and I keep getting woken up by loud thumps. The crying I could sleep through – it’s the intermittent bangs on the ceiling that do it. Nothing I can do about it, though, except be glad I’m not one of her parents! And possibly invest in some earplugs next time I’m at the chemist…

That’s not the only reason I’m knackered, though. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in php, and learning all about WordPress. Which have been fun, but once I start getting into the code and stuff, I forget to stop for, oh, food and breaks, etc etc. What, it’s absorbing! I’m not going to be changing this site to WP – it took me long enough fiddling about getting MT how I like it, and if I went and changed to another blogging system I’d only spend a million years prodding the back end (my Mum thinks that sounds bad, but I have no other way to describe it) and not making any posts. Again! So this site is staying as it is. However, WP is a useful thing to know how to use, and it all meshes in nicely with the PHP I’ve been learning. Hoorah!

So my brain is a little frazzled from several days intense work at that. Good thing I’ve had my knitting to wind me down! I’ve started the two larger items of my Christmas knitting (and the other two I have planned aren’t definite anyway) but I spose I can’t talk about them here just in case. D’oh. I’ve also been working on the other projects that I started recently… that I still haven’t mentioned on here, but deserve their own post when I’m less tired! I really need to make posts for my finished items too. Although actually, I can’t post one thing because it’s for SP11. Oh well, eventually!

Talking of SP11, that’s the other reason I’m tiiiiired. Sort of. I went into town and shopped! Partly for SP things, and partly for other stuff that I’d been needing. I also bumped into C, which was nice cos I hadn’t seen her for ages. And, um. Um.

Losing… ability… to… words… together… string….

$var="sleepyLou"
if(eyes!=open && brain==ded) {
function init(goToBed)
} else {
function init(CAFFEINE)
}

Yup. Think that covers it. *thud*

Three Needle Bind-off: sort of how-to.

Gina left me a comment asking how the three needle bind-off was done (I’d been talking about it, if you can’t be bothered to click back to the post), so I dropped her a mail hopefully explaining how it worked. And she just mailed back to say that she understood me perfectly. Hoorah! :-)

So then I thought, hey, I might as well post it here, too. Someone else might find it useful … plus it’ll be a handy resource thingy for me to come back to in future, perhaps. I might start doing this for other new things that I learn. Anyway, here it is:

I’m not an expert at this since this was the first time I’d tried it, but it worked out fine for me so here goes! To start with, the pattern I was working from was Coleen, and I’m pretty sure I also looked up the technique in the Stitch and Bitch Handbook or a similar book.

First of all hold the two needles with the ‘live’ stitches on together in your left hand, work hanging downwards, and the ‘right’ sides of the work together. So, if you’re making a stocking stitch piece, then the knit sides are on the inside and touching each other, and both purl sides are facing out. Effectively, the work is inside-out – that’s because the resulting cast-off edge will be the seam and will form on the top edge of the work as you should now be looking at it.

The points of both needles should be facing to the right. Then use the third needle to knit the first stitch from each left-hand needle together, making one stitch on the right needle. Repeat that step, and then pass the first stitch over the second one as with a normal bind-off. Continue like that to the end.

And that’s it! I hope that made sense. There are also good video tutorials at KnittingHelp.com, although I haven’t watched the one for the three-needle bind-off myself so I can’t tell you exactly what it’s like. Personally it always helps me to see a technique as well as read about it, though, whether it’s still pictures or video.

In other news, the new issue of Knitty is out. Some great patterns as usual – I’ve added a couple to my Ravelry queue. I think I have enough knitting lined up to last me at least the next couple of years…

Song of Ice and Fire

This is a series by George R R Martin that I’ve been meaning to read for ages and ages. I’m pretty certain that somewhere (although I can’t find it at the moment) I have Book 3, Vol. 2. I certainly have a strong memory of the cover. I can’t find any record of having sold it on Amazon, or mooched it away, so I must still have it. It might be in a box at Mum’s house. But I’ll have to see if I can retrieve it, because I just got the first two books (A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings) in a two-for-one volume from Fictionwise. I had some money sitting in my Micropay account there, you see. Mmmm, instant book gratification! I love it.

Oh, and talking of instant books which are downloadable, there are a couple of authors now making their work available online. I haven’t read any of it myself yet, but I have downloaded the first two books of The Dances of Gods from Mayer Alan Brenner’s site, and I think I’m going to enjoy them. I found him via Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review. The other author is Lewis Shiner, and he’s making his short stories and articles available on his site.

And back to the Song of Ice and Fire series, I did the ‘House Sorting’ meme…

Continue reading “Song of Ice and Fire”

Questions from my Secret Pal

My SP, Miss.Teri (that still amuses me… I’m such a sucker for a pun), has sent me some questions to answer for her, and I thought I’d post them here rather than just emailing them back. Because… I don’t know why, actually. I’ve got in the habit of doing memes in public, and this is a bit like one of those? I’m an attention ‘ho? Um? *g*

Anyway, here we go:

Each question has two answers, ie, chalk or cheese, just choose the answer that comes to mind first…no thinking about your answers!1

Do you drink……………………………..Tea or coffee?
Neither! Well, technically I sometimes drink herbal tea (camomile and lime flowers for preference). But in actual fact my main hot drink is hot lemon squash: I don’t like ‘real’ tea or coffee, and I only occasionally drink hot chocolate (usually in a coffee shop rather than at home) or malted drinks.

Do you choose…………………………..Bath or shower?
Shower. Mmmmm, power showers.

On toast………………………………….Butter or margarine?
Margarine. I like skimmed milk, too. I know, I’m a freak.

Which colour……………………………..Green or purple?
Purple. Have you seen my hair recently? *g* Purple’s been my favourite colour for aaaages, with green as more of an accent to it (I painted my bedroom in my flat in London lilac with lime green woodwork – it looked brilliant). More recently, green has moved up into being a fave in its own right, but purple is still the one for me!

What TV………………………………….Dr Who or Torchwood?
Dr Who. It has to be, even though Torchwood is awesome and aimed more at my age group (although next season, less with the graphic shagging all the time, please! ….However, more of the Jack/Ianto snogging wouldn’t be bad. Ahem!) and, hi, has Captain Jack. But Dr Who… I’ve loved it my whole life, and even though parts of this new series2 are so aimed at the target child-friendly audience that they make me wince a little with the cheesiness… dear lord, when it’s good – which is 90% of the time for me – it’s fabulous. I just love it madly, no matter what. Seriously, you should have seen me at the Dr Who exhibition in Manchester last weekend. There was bouncing and (quiet) fangirling… and it was OK, because there were umpteen other people in there who were exactly the same! Alright, I’m going to stop now, because my fangirling is supposed to be confined to my livejournal, and if you really get me started on the ways I love Dr Who, we’ll be here all year.

Seasons………………………………….Summer or Winter?
Winter, of those two. I just don’t do heat. The sun, it burrrrrrns.

Which do you love best………………..Cat or knitting?
My mogboy! Of course I love my knitting and mmmm, yarn. But next to my snuggly purry furry boy (are you sorry you asked yet?), there’s no contest. He’s big and daft and the best natured cat I’ve ever known, and when I’m sad he comes to see if I’m OK and lets me squish him and cry on him if need be. Also, he never attacks the knitting, which is a definite plus. Even if he does get his fur all over it. Oh well!

Food………………………………………Sweet or savoury?
S…..avoury. Huh. I would have expected myself to say sweet, but honestly I think savoury is my preference overall. I wouldn’t want to be stuck without one or the other, though. My all time favourite food is actually Sweet and Sour pork or chicken, so you can see how decisive I am on this one really!

Which is best…………………………….Rose or Martha?
A year ago I never would have thought I would give this answer, because I loved the character of Rose, and I think Billie Piper is a great actress. But it’s Martha for me, now. She just rocks! I loved everything about her. She kicked ass and took names, and even though she had the whole unrequited feelings thing with the Doctor, it never took away her dignity, and she didn’t let him get away with blocking her out. And, whoops, you got me started on Dr Who again. Stopping!!

Takeaway………………………………..Chinese or Indian?
Chinese! Like I said before, sweet & sour is my absolute fave, but really, if it’s not fish (which makes me ill), then I lurve it.

Which one………………………………..Posh Yarn or Yarn Yard?
……….And that frying noise you just heard was my brain shorting out! OMG, I can’t decide that! If you gave me specific yarns or colourways to pick between, I could probably manage it. Probably! I seriously do not have a gut answer for this one. Let’s see if I can reason it out…. I love both of them for the colours, so I don’t know if I can pick one over the other for that, especially since both have a lot of one-off colours that aren’t repeated. I completely adore Posh Yarn Sophia – that’s 100% cashmere, and utterly gorgeous. However, I’m not sure that’s it’s going to be ideal for socks – I don’t know how it’ll wear. I just made the 6-ply version into some Fetching gloves and it was brilliant for that. The other Posh Yarn sock weight yarns… I think Emily is my favourite, but I love the Yarn Yard Sock just as much. Maybe even a little more. The YY Merino Sock, too. Price-wise, the Yarn Yard is better by a pound or two… But to be honest, I generally choose by colour. So I suppose if you gave me a choice of PY Emily, PY Sophia 4ply, YY Sock and YY Merino Sock (or the new Merino Tencel, which I haven’t tried yet) in the same colour, and I was going to make socks out of it, I would probably pick one of the YYs. Overall, though, I can’t make a choice between one shop and the other because they’re both brilliant and run by lovely lovely ladies.

In Bed…………………………………….Duvet or Blanket?
Duvet.

Socks……………………………………..Knee high or ankle socks?
Knee high. I like socks that (a) come over the top of my DMs comfortably, and (b) keep my legs warm when I’m sitting still at the computer for hours on end! I do sometimes wear ankle socks to the gym, but that’s it.

Eggs……………………………………….Scrambled or fried?
Scrambled! For a start I do like scrambled eggs better, though thinking about it, I probably eat fried ones more often. But mainly, they remind me of my Dad. He made awesome scrambled eggs. When my brother was born and Mum was in hospital with him, I clearly remember Dad feeding the two of us on scrambled eggs. Possibly at the time it was pretty much all he could cook, but he did them well! :-)

1Well, she didn’t say I couldn’t elaborate, did she? *hides* I did give my snap answers for all of them, I really did. I just then rambled a bit. I can’t help myself! Part of it must be a natural tendency, but you have to remember that I had it drummed into me for, what, 17+ years of education that you should always show your working / justify your reasoning. It feels totally wrong to me not to do that!

2It’s been too long since I’ve watched any of the classic series to judge the relative cheesiness of that. I certainly do remember the dodgy special effects etc etc, but plot-wise I’ll have to wait til I’ve rewatched to be able to say. However, the silly effects never made me love it any less then or now, so that’s redundant.

Alright, that’s it! I was almost brief with some of the answers, at least. Go me!

The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees, but what became of the monkey monkey monkey monkey…

I’m listening to / watching the Last Night of the Proms at the mo. Ah, Last Night, I luff you! One of these days I’ll actually go in person. I’ve actually been a completely rubbish Prommer this year and not been to a single one. I was just too broke to get up to London. Next year! I’m determined. I’ve enjoyed listening on the radio and catching the odd one on telly, but it’s not the same as being in the Hall yourself. I’ve loved the Albert Hall since I first sung there when I was 10. There’s just no atmosphere like it for me. It’s my all time favourite concert hall in the world, no contest. Even the Sydney Opera House, fabulous as it is, just doesn’t have the same emotional attachments I guess. So yes. Go the Proms!

*break while I sing along to Jerusalem*

But what I was originally going to post about was my Monkey socks. I finished them! I like them lots. They’re all comfy too. I’m gradually getting faster at the knitting of socks – I spose it’s more that I’m picking the sock up to knit it more often rather than physically knitting them faster.

Did I mention that the foot was way faster than the leg? I think I did. I ended up with quite a lot of yarn left over – maybe even a third of a ball. Anyway, here they are:

Wearing my Monkeys (larger version in the photo album)

Continue reading “The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees, but what became of the monkey monkey monkey monkey…”

I’m back!

I did say I was going, didn’t I? I’ve been off in Manchester at the TRA Meet-Up 2007, which was the best con evah. Seriously. Actually, it was more like a pilgrimage than a convention – it wasn’t the kind where several hundred fans are packed into a hotel for a weekend and queued past actors. Which, hey, I’ve been to plenty of and enjoyed very much! But somehow this was better: there were just 50 or so of us, and we visited various filming locations, “met” the Camberwick Green puppet of Sam, and got to sit in the Cortina! So yes. Pretty much the best Life on Mars geekfest possible. There was even a party with fab 70’s style buffet food (and a pub quiz) on the Saturday night. The girls who organised it really went all out and made it a seriously memorable weekend for everyone, plus I met some lovely lovely people. Whee!

I got back down from Manchester on Wednesday evening at…. late-ish. I had to hang around in London for a while to avoid the rush hour – I did think about braving it, but I didn’t really fancy possibly standing all the way to Hastings with my backpack on. I was wiped out when I got home, so I kind of fed the cat and fell into bed at that point. Since then I’ve been (a) recovering and (b) working. Or is it the other way around? Nah, maybe not. ;-) I’m just in the process of ploughing through my email, so if you’re expecting to hear from me… I may be gone some time! Oh alright, I’m being over-dramatic. Hopefully I won’t take very long – at a quick glance I see I have mail from my SP to answer *waves*.

In knitting stuff, I did get a fair bit done on the train journeys, which was nice. I made my second Fetching, and a good start on my first Hedara sock. More about those later when I have photos to prettify the post. Listened to plenty of knitting podcasts, too, which enlivened the whole travelling thing. Hoorah!

I got my Yarn Yard club parcel yesterday, too. :-D I don’t think I mentioned last month’s, which I loved as well. This one is scrummy – I won’t describe it just yet in case there’s anyone reading (is there anyone reading? At all? *g*) who’s in the club and hasn’t had theirs. But it’s bright and delicious, and there were sweets in the package as well! Yum!! I think I definitely do want to use the accent quarter skein for toes and heels this time. I’m just not sure whether to make plain stst socks or do something with a little bit of a pattern / texture. I’ll think on it. And post photos in a couple of days when I’ve taken them.

Right now, though? Sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.