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Archive Entries for March 2010

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Wednesday March 31, 2010

Books in March

  • Walking in Pimlico by Ann Featherstone WalkinginPimlico.jpg
    I thought this book was absolutely wonderful. It is a psychological thriller - a great story, as well as well written. Another of Robert's choices for me, it also has a connection with arts and entertainment. The author is (or has been) a lecturer in performance history at Manchester University, and a researcher in drama department at Royal Holloway, University of London. She presents her dialogue (or at least some of it) in the argot of the Victorian music hall and - unlike my final book for this month - provides a fantastic depiction of the life, including the police force, of that time. I cannot comment on whether or not it is correct but it is is utterly convincing. She uses her research and knowledge apparently effortlessly within the plot, making for a fascinating read, while skilfully allowing the narrative flow and not be bogged down by extraneous detail.
    To 'walk in Pimlico' is colloquially "to be handsomely dressed".

  • The Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell [read by Nigel Anthony] MonsterBox.jpg
    Inspector Wexford story in which he looks back to his life as a young policeman in order to solve his current case. One could view the outcome as successful or not - given that he is sure of the murderer from the outset but not only fails to prevent a further murder, but actually seems to instigate one. The book explores our attitudes to a multicultural Britain from a few different viewpoints, though I am not sure I felt any conclusion is reached.

  • The Railway Viaduct by Edward Marston [read by Sam Dastor] RailwayViaduct.jpg
    This is not the best book I have ever read. A rather strange depiction of policing in general as well as Victorian Britain, and criminal motivation.
    Good enough to amuse me while driving and while spinning (....not at the same time), since the plot is not hard to follow and is delivered at a pedestrian pace.

Posted on March 31, 2010 at 1:06 AM. Category: Books of the Month.

Monday March 29, 2010


We are in France for the week and the weather is foul. But the fire is nice and I brought lots to do. I am spinning some silk and alpaca that I bought from Fibrecrafts in pale grey. I am trying to spin an Aran weight yarn to make the Gallery Jacket.


OK I admit it - I have acquired a new wheel. I'm afraid it was one of those opportunities I could not pass up.

Posted on March 29, 2010 at 8:45 AM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.

Saturday March 20, 2010

Jethro Tull


Lots of fun at the Fairfield Halls - much of it observing the audience. I had hoped the photo would contain more bobbing bald heads and pony tails - but I think the climb to our seats made for a younger demographic...
Our seats were "at the very back" - the furthest up and back you could possibly go - in fact I was not aware that Fairfield Halls went up quite that far... the Gods were full of wheezing middle-aged people - as we sat down the couple next to us said "o - well-done!".

Some single-leg work (as below in Basel 2008) - well done indeed!.

Posted on March 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Saturday March 13, 2010

Birthday Bash

This year: Fliss's birthday bash on the day itself.


We went to Jimmy Spices - but the cake was home made by Fliss's stepdaughter, Helen - and it was one of the most delicious carrot cakes I have ever had - despite Helen "just using the first recipe that showed up on-line" and not having any walnuts. I think she thought we were kidding but it really was great - how I love carrot cakes!
Look closely for the piggy candles.

Posted on March 13, 2010 at 11:26 PM. Category: Days Out.

Tuesday March 9, 2010

Finishing touch...

I completed the jacket for Sheila (from Fi Morris pattern) some time ago - and delivered it last week. However since then, Sheila has been looking at it with some frustration - wanting to wear it in this cold weather but unable to do so, as it has no buttons!

I had decided to make Yorkshire buttons but my experiments were a bit amateurish as I could not get a consistent size due to variations in tension as I was needle weaving. Anyway last weekend in C&H fabrics in Canterbury I was looking at papier-mâché beads (used for this beading technique**) and realised if I covered them instead of stuffing the buttons they would have a good shape and half the battle would be won.


Sure enough, it worked out fine - I could measure the bead to decide how big to make my template and .... voilà.... 100% success. I bought both 1 inch and ½ inch beads, and as I suspected, once covered with a thick woolly layer, the smaller ones came out right.
They went straight into the mail.
Alas, when Sheila put them on the jacket - she did not like them. Although they are the right size for the loops, they look like clown's pom-poms! I think I may try them again, cutting the spheres in half , so they are not so prominent. Meanwhile - Sheila is off to the "Button Shop" to look for some kind of toggles that might be more acceptable.

** a href="http://froogal.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Froogal has made a couple of great necklaces - using wooden beads rather than paper ones.
Some fabric necklaces use pony beads threaded over a fabric tube in between the large beads to get the gathering effect. This means your necklace uses only one fabric and you have to choose a fairly fine fabric and have a reasonable balance between small and larger beads otherwise you won't fit the fabric tube inside the pony bead. I thought this was a fairly well-known technique but struggled to find it explained on the web. Maybe it's too simple.
I also had the idea that the buttons themselves could be used as woolly beads but they do have a "right and wrong side" as it were, so you would have to overcome that in your design. Anyway - love those Froogal versions....!

Posted on March 9, 2010 at 12:50 PM. Category: Crafts.

Sunday March 7, 2010

Is it that time already..?


Can't believe it's already a year since I met up with some of my old school friends. Anyway - here we are again in Canterbury this time. It is so great to see everyone.

Canterbury is a lovely city - I don;t think I have ever been there before - so I took a few photos and admired the cathedral from afar.


This is because I was too mean to pay the really excessive charge to get in. I don't know why it offends me so - but it does. Intellectually I believe that in a time when fewer and fewer go to church then lots of us heathens that want to trip around as tourists should fund the building - but my heart feels it's wrong. Still - Canterbury as a religious tourist attraction with tacky souvenirs etc is very traditional - probably dates back to the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170 causing a massive increase in urban development in Southwark, and even the reconstruction of London Bridge as pilgrims followed the route of Becket's last journey from there to Canterbury (as described in the Canterbury Tales in the late 1300s).


Above is a detail of the Christ Church Gate - off Butter Market (below) and where you "pay". The centre statue of Christ dates only from 1991 - the original bronze having been destroyed during the Civil War in 1642.


Posted on March 7, 2010 at 1:29 PM. Category: Friends.

Wednesday March 3, 2010

Icelandic Shawl: complete

Finally complete - blocked and ready to go...


It's much smaller than I expected (or intended in the pattern) and I can't really work out why - my tension knits the same as the yarn suggested - however I used a lot less yardage than the pattern said. I thought I must have missed out a complete pattern or something, but I cannot detect that I have. One other person on Ravelry complains that it has come out small - but other have photos of clearly larger shawls.

As it was I undid the centre section twice to make it bigger - the first time I used larger needles - the second time I increased the stitches considerably before starting the blackberry stitch (as it the stitch tends to tighten the work) and used larger needles .

Anyway - I think the result is pretty satisfying


Posted on March 3, 2010 at 1:50 PM. Category: Spinning, Dying, Weaving.