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Archive Entries for November 2012

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Friday November 30, 2012

Books in November

I did not read much fiction this month, but I did do a lot of knitting! So here are a couple of knitting booklets and magazines I am enjoying:

  • Debbie Bliss magazine (issue 9) by Debbie BlissDebbieBlissWinter2012.jpg
    This is Autumn/Winter 2012, and though the designs did not hit me in the face with this issue, it does contain some excellent reading (as a magazine should):
    • Rosy devotes her letters section to some excellent advice on toy-making - including how to make those tiny little buttons you need for dolls clothes. (A subject close to my own heart).
    • Nell gives a recipe for a yummy Polish apple cake.
    • One of the book reviews is about Cute and Easy Crochet by Nikki Trench, which inspired me to think about crochet tops for home-made jam given as a gift (or for yourself if you are posh!). I was thinking you could use my Pattern of the Month motif - crochet to the size of your lid, then do a few rows of dc (or sc) without increasing, and finish with a row of increasing and picot to create the frill. I know you are supposed to be inspired to buy the book not run away and do your own thing - but they are on the cover.... I can only imagine the rest of the book is even more inspiring if this is what you get from the cover alone!
    • There is a trend report on coming fashions - which leads into the knitting.

    I have to say - on the one hand I don't want to immediately go and buy wool and make something - but on the other, there are some scrumptious things here:
    • Snow Whites - probably the most appealing to me and maybe I do feel a chunky white cabled polo-neck in the offing.
    • Furry Tales - some great accessories, with knitting in combination with fake-fur fabrics (I love these combinations), and some gorgeous pom-pom mittens.
    • Two simple knits for beginners with user experiences.
    • Little Critters - kids with animal-knit accessories (cute!).
    • Folklore - reminiscent of those 1950s Tyrolean knits with embroidery in folksy colour combinations. In theory I like this - in practice - not. Lovely pom-poms again though....
    • Boys - the perfect magazine - no less than 6 wonderful mens' designs and 2 for kids as well.
    • Home on the Range - my least favourite section (which is just me - I don't like this Peruvian/Ranch style one little bit - though having said that there is the most adorable pair of bootee moccasins with beading in 3 shades of Baby Cashmerino...)

  • Rowan magazine 52 Rowan52.jpg
    Rowan's Autumn/Winter 2012, seems very muted and traditional in style. Where there are more innovative pieces, they are too quirky and I don't want them - but then Rowan is always one step ahead of where I want to be and I often find I knit things from the magazines a couple of years after they published them (when I've got used to the idea!).
    However, there is a lot of traditional stuff here, (that I love), seemingly in rather dull colours - BUT - I happened to see one of the cardigans (Orkney) on display at Alexandra Palace this year and the colours absolutely glowed! So I had to have the wool for this cardigan (Felted Tweed - my favourite!) and I have already started the knitting. There is also an appealing pattern for some slippers along the lines of Snowflake Slippers (one of the free Rowan patterns I knitted very successfully) for which I have also bought the wool.

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 2:16 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Sunday November 25, 2012

Lunch at Dragon's Green


We went for our annual family outing with David at "the usual venue" - lovely food and a jolly time. [Unfortunately George couldn't make it this year as he has a cold that just won't go away, and didn't want to infect anyone else.]

Posted on November 25, 2012 at 10:35 AM. Category: Days Out.

Saturday November 24, 2012

55 Christmas Balls (well, four of them anyway)


I made some Christmas decorations from the well-known Arne and Carlos book. I planned to use some oddments of red and white Guernsey wool, but it proved to be much too thick. I had in mind something about the size of a golf ball, but my first attempts produced something more like a baby hat. So - undaunted - I unplied the yarn on the spinning wheel and replied to a 3 ply and a 2 ply. Hence the balls' rather homespun look as opposed to the crisp examples in the book! (I have to say I like the homespun look - which is lucky).

I started the balls a long time ago and was finally incented to complete them so we could use them as a basis for a Christmas activity at the Guild's last meeting of the year. Here we all are, knitting away:


Several people brought the last of the sock-blank socks for us to admire:


In the evening I went to a Jo Brand charity evening at the Rose. She is very funny and we had a great time. I took some photos, but due to the low lighting (I don't ever use flash) the quality is not good enough to show.

Posted on November 24, 2012 at 10:33 AM. Category: Art and Culture.

Wednesday November 21, 2012

Woking Library


The Surrey Library Newsletter told me some time ago that Mark Billingham was due to appear for an evening at the Woking branch so I duly got tickets and Rob and I trekked out there to see him "in conversation" with another author.
As I have mentioned before in the context of his reading his own work for audio books, Mark is originally a performer and so provided a very entertaining evening. It seemed clear to me before the event that his billing with another somewhat lesser-known author was in order to give more exposure to the latter. However Stav Sherez is a very interesting chap and the excerpts he read sounded excellent so certainly another set of books get put on the crime list for me. His roots are as a journalist and as I have said before, there must be something I like about a journalistic style in crime fiction. I think I like the rich yet sparing prose of the journalist. However Stav is a bit more poetic than most - possibly as he was a journalist for a music paper - and I would strongly recommend following him on twitter (@stavsherez) since his poetry, music interests, and general attitude to life, make his contributions interesting and well-suited to the medium.

Stav's crime novels are: The Devil's Playground (2004), The Black Monastery (2009), and now A Dark Redemption (2012) which is the start of a series pairing of detectives "Carrigan and Miller".

Mark's next book is a Tom Thorne novel The Dying Hours and will be published on May 23rd 2013. This is deemed to be Thorne's twelfth outing and dealing with the ramifications of a major career change; apparently, readers of Rush of Blood will already know what that is. [Although the last Thorne novel was Good as Dead (2011), he has appeared peripherally in the two stand-alone novels In the Dark (2008) and Rush of Blood (2012).]

Posted on November 21, 2012 at 11:31 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Thursday November 15, 2012

The Lock In


An interesting and unexpected evening out. The Lock In Dance Show appeared for one night at the Rose in Kingston, and due to their commitment for street dance art forms, Rob's Morris side were invited to perform in the foyer before the event. Rob's side were joined at the event by New Esperance - a women's morris dancing team based in London.

So...... we all got tickets - and - what a great night it was! ... but ... I cannot believe how little pre-publicity it got - and for a single night show that is pretty awful and inevitably it meant that many seats were left empty - and not at all what the event deserved.
Here are the dancers and musicians receiving their well-deserved appreciation from the audience:

...and here - an impromptu performance in the foyer bar "after hours":


I have to say that the event did not sound so very promising when described to me by the uninitiated as "a folk dancing lock in" - I was already planning my escape. However, they were THE Lock In, and best if you read about them on their own website as otherwise you risk another misleading description by me.

Posted on November 15, 2012 at 11:30 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Thursday November 8, 2012

ATP Tennis at the O2


Just a little photo to prove I was here. The tennis was exciting enough to overcome any signs of jetlag, though our man did not do so well.
I came equipped with my chosen O2 knitting supply - another Hitchhiker scarf, in sparkly purple yarn that Helen chose for herself while we were at Woolfest. Ultimately it became this:


Posted on November 8, 2012 at 10:28 AM. Category: Days Out.

Sunday November 4, 2012

California Cafe and Farewells


So we just had time for a very special brunch before leaving for the airport. Here's Fin* tucking into his breakfast food medley. I am never able to remember to take photos at the start of the meal - too anxious to get on with the serious business of eating - however I did manage to remember this time before I actually licked the plate clean, so below is my own (minus a bite) plate of Eggs Benedict. Yum.


The weather this weekend is just lovely and sunny - a bit of a change from the last week of cold grey skies - and snow! (albeit when we were further north). We strolled back along University in the sunshine - and finally we were off to San Francisco where I began my thankfully uneventful journey back to the UK.

* In case you were worried about Adam and Nigel apparently missing out on all the fun over the past two days - well, of course, they have been. They have both been at scout camp; hence I had to say my fond farewells to them on Friday. However we have seen regular updates on facebook and they seem to be having their own kind of fun.

Posted on November 4, 2012 at 10:27 AM. Category: Holiday USA.

Saturday November 3, 2012

Santa Cruz


The holiday would not be complete without a visit to Santa Cruz.
We had the usual lovely fish and chips on the Pier at Stagnaro Bros., and Fin tried a bit of fishing; it was lovely in the autumnal sunshine - but maybe a bit too windy to stand much of a chance catching any fish.


Posted on November 3, 2012 at 10:26 AM. Category: Holiday USA.

Friday November 2, 2012

At home with the Woodlands


Early morning coffee is always themed at the Woodlands. Today we are influenced by the astonishing banana crop from Alison's tree in the garden, and we may take coffee on the terrace or in the cabana. Often we are joined by well-known celebrities (even if only in spirit). The resemblance is uncanny isn't it?



After coffee we had the energy to visit Uncommon Threads in Los Altos, who carry stock of Jamieson's yarns, which we each bought to make Kate Davies' Sheep Carousel tea cosy. After a great deal of deliberation, I bought the inspired combination of black and (you guessed it) white, while Alison went for a sophisticated combination of brick red and dark brown.



Posted on November 2, 2012 at 11:19 AM. Category: Holiday USA.