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Archive Entries for February 2015

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Saturday February 28, 2015

Books in February

  • Cat out of Hell by Lynne TrussBOM-CatOutOfHell.jpg
    A very funny book indeed - really- laughed out loud.
    Particularly relevant to anyone who at any time in their lives was a fan of Denis Wheatley's novels about black magic.* Also anyone who ever owned a cat, enjoys our foibles in every day speech ("have you had any thoughts?"), or anyone who likes dogs and Sherlock Holmes (am now determined to get dog and call it Watson).
    * I read Wheatley's novels slavishly when I was about 12 - and then Robert and I read them aloud to each other (laughing a lot). I remember a journey to Scotland where Robert was reading to me as I drove, and found the text so tedious that he felt obliged to adapt it to include real-time incidents occurring on the road.

  • Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz BOM-Moriarty.jpg
    Another great book - I think, adding to the Holmes stories. Needless to say this is an imaginative novel, not just following with another hitherto unpublished story from Watson, but a new narrator in the form of a Pinkerton's agent.
    I particularly love the opening chapter pulling apart the inconsistencies in the story describing Holmes demise at the Reichenbach Falls. [And - no - he is not simply showing off. The implication is that there is more to it all than we are ever told in the story - though I hasten to add this is not a plot spoiler and we do not explore what it might be that we are never told - not in this novel anyway].

  • The Russia House by John Le Carré [read by Michael Jayston]
    It took me a long time listening to this off and on while engaged on various projects. Carré's novels are very involved and are probably worth more attention than I give them. In fact I wonder if they are not so well-suited to being read aloud - the act of reading probably would involve me more with the text.
    There is a good deal of exploring the psychology of the various players, and I did not find many of them very sympathetic - either a lack of imagination on my part or just a lack of experience in the environment described.

Posted on February 28, 2015 at 2:35 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Saturday February 21, 2015

Unravel 2015


I went to Unravel and acquired a satisfactory amount of swag - not too much but enough... (no fibre.....!). As usual I was mesmerized at Eliza Conway's nostalgia items on sale (I may have bought one or two), and was interested to see Joyce Meader had her own stall - I see myself in her position in years to come, selling my vintage yarns and patterns as kits.... Unfortunately I missed her talk "Three Decades of explosive knitwear" scheduled for Sunday. I did however, take in the talk "Knitting with colour, inspiration and techniques" with Alison Ellen. I was almost inspired to buy her book but think I may add it to my wish list for next Christmas instead.

Later on I met my sister for a Thai meal at the Golden Fleece in Elstead - a favourite haunt - conveniently located half way between our homes.

Posted on February 21, 2015 at 7:29 PM. Category: Knitting.

Monday February 16, 2015

Treasure Island


I've had these tickets for about 6 months, and after the wonderful experience of Swallows and Amazons a couple of years ago, really looking forward to it.
And of course it was excellent - needless to say utterly different from S&A. It was not a musical though there was some music [15 men on a dead man's chest, Yo Ho Ho... etc] and the Olivier multi-level stage was to the fore with the changing scenes, from Inn to Ship to Island.

Arthur Darvill continues a slightly more complicated portrayal of Long John Silver, the like of which I first saw from Eddie Izzard, and which is more in keeping with the book (in that Silver "gets away"). And of course Patsy Ferran as "Jim" is fantastic - "dazzles" says the Guardian.

The only slight hiccup during this wonderful evening out was with the state of the train service. After the show we were delayed by an hour getting back to Ewell West as a train had broken down and blocked the line. In fact I am surprised we got there at all but by some circular route to Epsom and then travelling back to London, we did.
Why, you ask, (well I expect you don't but nonetheless...), why, were you travelling to Ewell West when you live miles away and have a perfectly good station there. And the answer is that with the reconstruction of London Bridge our local line is bluntly not functioning. Since December the 22nd I have travelled into London for work about half a dozen times at random times of day - and every single time the train I planned to catch has been delayed or cancelled. Sometimes both. Even at best there are 3 changes to get into Waterloo. So one option is to drive to Ewell and fork out for the parking - as there is (haha) a more reliable and quicker service from there.
I am glad that the work on London Bridge will make it all fit for another century and "better for passengers" - but as it not due to finish until 2018 it is by no means certain that I will be one of the said people benefiting.

Posted on February 16, 2015 at 5:40 PM. Category: Art and Culture.

Sunday February 15, 2015

Pin loom weaving


Ever since using the self-warping pin looms so successfully last year, I have been keen to try using the "weave-it" technique even though it's nothing like as quick as the self warping method.

The looms have a slightly different pin layout - but I found the book Pin Loom Weaving by Margaret Stump in the library. It has good instructions as to how to make the looms as well as a number of projects (including some things you never knew you needed like a useful cover for a usb stick etc). However, I was able to swiftly put together a rather crude loom from wood rejected during my manufacture of the original pin looms, and was pretty quickly making a fancy weave-it design from the book.
I used "veneer" nails for the pins but really they are not good enough having rough edges and heads which snag the wool, and they rubbed off black tooling marks on my first attempts. I am having such fun with the loom that I even looked to purchase a better quality one - but the options for that seem rather limited. Putting more effort into making a better quality item might be the optimum choice - and I have yet to settle on a good weaving tool. Long "mattress" needles are available (used in making bears), but these would need to have the points blunted as they are truly needles intended for piercing. My ideal would be a 6 inch locker hook rug tool but much thinner than those which seem to be freely available for purchase.

This is very satisfying craft work - but I still somehow find myself left with the fundamental problem of how you can use lots of little squares - other than blankets or covers.
It's worth noting that it takes me about 40 minutes to make a square like this as opposed to 10 minutes using the self warping technique. However there are many more options for interesting weaving patterns.

[Everyone destined to get fancy-weave usb covers next Christmas...].

Posted on February 15, 2015 at 12:40 PM. Category: Crafts.