Hej Hej

The other day Biggan from Biggan Designs popped by the shop. She lives not far from me, a perfect opportunity to meet up for a chat and some tea.  Biggan is originally from Malmo, the southern tip of Sweden, and was a knitwear designer in her pre-family days in Sweden.  When she got married, she moved to Australia with her family and only in the last 5 years resurrected her previous career as a knitwear designer.  She was all smiles when she arrived – kind of a like a ray of sunshine – and sweet as pie.  She was also swathed in a gorgeous jumper (that is Biggan on the left in the jumper she wore to the shop!) of her own design in her own wool 5 years old but looking like it was brand spanking new! I had a mad desire to turn up the radiators in the shop so I could take her sweater for my own but thankfully it was but a millisecond spark of insanity. Instead I got enough yarn from her for the shop that I can make it myself – which once I finish the hemlock throw, my owls jumper that i plan to STEEK with lots of photos (oops those aren’t on my WIPS list…) I will knit up her jumper.

As you know I get insanely enthusiastic for all things swedish, so it was such a treat to meet such a lovely lady and get a chance to speak a wee bit of Swedish (though sadly my svenska is extremely ratty now).

I was delighted to find someone who could share my excitement and appreciation for the ABBA boys’ musical talent – not their famous ABBA songs but rather Benny & Bjorn’s incredible musical Kristina fran Duvemala, a gorgeously rich musical based on Vilhelm Moberg’s novels the Emigrants.  This musical, one I saw at the time that I could barely understand (this was before my year in Stockholm and I spent many an hour translating the text with the help of my trusty Swedish/English dictionary), is my all time favourite.   I was so excited by it I got all the books and read them, then flew to Stockholm to watch it.

So far nothing I have seen matches it for sheer musical beauty.  I loved the music – it wasn’t trite, nor melodramatic which I find some musicals can be.  Catchy without being overtly commercial (ALW anyone?).  Anyways I sent her home with the cds and I hope she enjoys it as much as I do!

Time to get to the shop and upload photos!

A tweet-in wine tasting…

** See below for Twerminology nicked from Julie’s blog.

Last night we had a tweetin with a twaggle of twitterers.**  It was Julie’s first live Taste & Tweet – in fact i believe the UK’s first!  Julie is a very talented wine consultant former sommelier, and a MW!  All at the ripe young age of 26.  She has just taken on the role as the wine buyer for winebeerexpress.com and she MC’d the Taste & Tweet.  We were sent a white Louis Jadot Mâcon Blanc 2007 and a red Hope Estate Cracker Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006, both of which were very different but nice in their own way.  

The Macon blanc was a nice unoaked chardonnay, zingy and fresh, and the Hope a jammy almost stewed rich dense wine.  As the tasting went on, the tweeting got funnier and funnier and the typing a little more erratic.  B tuned in from Stokie, though was silent for the most part.  It was very entertaining and I am looking forward to the next one in March.  Apparently the Taste & Tweet made the top 5 Twitter Trending Topics last night. Woot!

Today I had a nice treat – Natalie of the Yarn Yard (colour artist & genius!) came by for some tea and chatting.  We drank tea, talked yarns and fibre, and shared some chocolate.  Ooh and iphone apps!!! A lovely way to spend the afternoon.

**A little Twerminology (or Twitter terminology)

*tweetin – when a group of twitterers agree to get together at a set time to twitter
*tweet/tweets – posts on Twitter by twitterers
*tweepish – feeling sheepish or regretful about something you tweeted
*Twitter Trending Topics – the topics that are getting the most people to tweet about them at any one time
*twaggle – a gaggle of followers
*tweeter or twitterer – users of Twitter

Deuce loves…

Deuce has been a lucky little pug lately – he’s taken to spending the better part of the day hanging out at the reception of the building with the ladies who run the building.  He has canine company as well – Brinkley and Millie, and now new to the pack is Wilma, a little sausage dog.  Lucky boy – when he is with me at the shop he spends his time pining at the back door – crying to be let out to play with his furry mates.

My goldfish memory be damned, I forgot to mention some of the highlights of the weekend!  Saturday morning I hosted a spinning morning at Socktopus – I think they will coincide with the mornings that Socktopus is open on Saturdays from now on; this way i can actually spend 2 days every month with Hubby!  Poor guy is starting to feel neglected.  I spun up finally the gorgeous BFL superwash Jen gave me at iknit day – my first 3 ply yarn! I got 16 wpi, and 60 grams (I still have more to spin).  Am quite pleased with it, though it is slow going for my impatient self.

Saturday evening DH & I had a Boggle & Fondue night at ours.  We went to the Cave au Fromage at south ken and got some vacherin fribourgeois, aged comte and emmenthal.  Oooh it was good. I love fondue. And boggle was fab! I love boggle. So much fun. Romy brought Jenga and we played that too. Chook came too – it was so nice to see her again – it really has been too long.  She was a hoot at Boggle and she and I polished off a bottle of nummy norman cider.  Yum! This is set to become a monthly tradition! Long may it live.

Sunday was Bittersweet Sunday at Socktopus –Arianna brought her amazing cupcakes and cinnamon rolls and peanut butter cookies and chocolate cookies and Diane had a Spin Short class (they spun baby camel and cashmere! divine!) so we had a full house!  Romy dropped by, Mulene, Jaq and Mel came too, Hailey, Ali, Sarah, Arianna and her friend Becky, Ling & Kate, Chantelle, a very sweet but slighlty puzzled lady early on, ooh I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone! edited to add: And lovely amazing Tricia, Emma, Alex W, and Virginia (didn’t get a chance to say hello – but hi!) Was a great day all around, and we finished it up by witnessing a fracas – a genuine fisticuffs at the local pub!  Only, it was a septuagenarian fracas.  What is the world coming to – 70 year old egg delivery guy marijuana pusher and pub brawling seniors.  Aiya.

As things go…

This week: a false alarm, return of Stuart, printing, Cambridge, fixing a hat, spinning and eating cupcake!

Twitter can be dangerous in fuelling rumours. A 140 word count limit necessitates  brevity often at the cost of detail…. so it was that I managed to start tongues wagging with a comment about going to Kent after the ‘babies are born in June’.  Oops.  The babies I was referring to were alpaca, not human, from the Quarterhouse Alpaca farm in Kent.  At least I know that were I to have a wee bun in the oven, that the bairn would not want for cozy handknits! 😉

With the coming spring, the longer days, and the warmer weather I’m finding more motivation and get up and go – ha maybe DH will manage to get me running with him. He wants us to run the windsor half marathon later this year… hmmm I tried that once and failed miserably.  Maybe I can translate some of that get up and go into get up and run?

Wednesday nights are my ‘beginners’ night and Fiona and Stuart have been regulars since the shop opened. OverC hristmas Stuart ended up getting snowed under with work and his knitting stopped as a result – but Wed night he was back, cashmere in hand (he moved from Classy straight to cashmere! a man with taste) knitting on a hat for his girlfriend.  Thursday was a great night with the usual suspects.

The Fibretect’s Digest, created for the Socktopus Fibre Academy, came back from the printer’s in time for me to package up the first three parcels for pick up on Thursday night.   The rest I parcelled up and posted early Friday morning before heading to Cambridge to meet up with Yoshimi.

I am very pleased with the first SoFA parcel. Love the colours chosen by our spotlight dyer. And you know that feeling you get when you create something you just love – you giggle alot and get all smiley? Well, I am not ashamed to admit that my little Fibretect’s Digest was the cause of much smiling and giggling. AND the paper is 100% recycled!! I totally love the paper. I learned a lot about the fibre in researching the sheep, discovered that the country from which the fibre originated has ‘counties’ though they are purely administrative and that very few people are aware that they exist (including Diane who had a mini conniption about them, then was shocked to find that they really weren’t a figment of my imagination).  Diane’s piece on how she spun up the fibre was great and I look forward to seeing what she knits up with her yarn.  I have some fun ideas for extras which, technology willing, will come out with the April parcel.  I also have a very exciting guest Fibretect lined up for the June issue of the Digest which will be good fun. 😉  10 points for anyone who can guess!

Yoshimi in her gorgeous cowl, with the most perfectly rolled ciggie you can imagine (rolling your own always amazes me – how perfectly round those with practice can get their fags.)

David ended up coming to Cambridge with me to visit with Yoshimi as he had Friday off. He’d worked crazy hours this week (at work til 3 Wed am, back to work by 8am same day, then an all nighter at work and not back home until 7pm Thursday).  I misjudged the weather and was woefully underdressed in Cambridge. Plus we had Deuce. I keep forgetting that most places outside of certain bits in London are not hugely dog friendly. We ended up sitting in the terrace bit of a bar, and having lots of hot chocolate to keep warm!

Deuce had a bit of a nap on the way to Cambridge cozying up to David.

We wandered around town and David relived his student days. I liked the street names – especially this one, though I couldn’t see any tennis courts nearby.

Weekend round up

Hope y’all had a great Valentine’s.  We had a pretty full-on weekend.  Friday night David and I went to Hawksmoor – David’s current steak obsession and his fave steak place in London. It’s a small place, with the feel of a speakeasy, channelling 1920s America, around the corner from Shoreditch House.  Fantastic prohibition era cocktails, and if our meal was anything to go by – fabulous steak.  We had bone in prime rib – med rare, and it was just awesome. We had an Argentinian Malbec that was okay – a little flat but I was so focussed on the steak it hardly registered.   I’m planning our return visit since David now refuses to go to Gaucho Grill – he calls it ‘the McDonald’s of steak houses’.

Saturday Dee came by the shop as I was in a reorg frenzy – it’s all moved around (again) but I quite like it now so hopefully it will be like that for a little while to come. 🙂  Lucy dropped in as did Michaela and Grit. It was really nice to see everyone and get a chance to catch up, which with being tied to the shop I don’t get so much!  Grit & Michaela brought their Endpaper mitts – done in STR Jabberwocky & Muckity Muck, respectively, with a soft grey as the background colour.  Knitting Muse prodded me with a red hot poker and demanded I cast on! Who am I to resist? So I picked HazelKnits Weekend Warrior and teamed it with pink.  One down, one to go.  Fast as you like, and very purdy. Pictures to come.

Saturday evening we went out to watch Benjamin Button with A & E- long movie, very sweet but with some rather ridiculous long shots of Brad Pitt looking poster boy gorgeous. Channelling James Dean on a motorcycle, and as a youthful 17 year old.   I’m reading the original short story by F Scott Fitzgerald which I’m enjoying – it is more fantastical than the movie – Benjamin springing forth from birth as a full sized talking and grumbling 70 year old who demands clothes and a walking stick. I wish they’d done that in the movie.

Sunday was Godmother’s Day and a promised puppet show with Sophia – so Melissa & I arrived at the theatre (late) (and sweaty from running a lap around the church before getting to the theatre)(best not ask) just as the story got started.  Sophia turned around and saw us so came to sit with us.  I have to admit I had no idea what the puppet show was about – as far as I could tell, an old chap lived on a garbage heap and was not right in the head – doing battle with a pipe and pretending to be an astronaut mumbling all the while.  He makes a tin bird, then a tin cat. He has a psychedelic dream about flowers and a cat whose roar turns into a terrible storm.  Some tin monkeys dance, then a toucan arrives and gives the chap a flower, then a big beanstalk grows. The End.

The book gave more details – the man lived in a garbage forest (I was close).  He tried to clean up everyday but the garbage just kept growing (okay, not too close, but it would be logical that he would lose his mind a little from the neverending battle).  Not sure about the tin animals, and the whole thing with the plants I think was a dream telling him to plant things so taht the garbage forest turned into a living forest.  I love puppets though and watching the puppeteers work their magic was awesome.  And Sophia was riveted the whole show, though she did turn at one point and ask me where Deucie was.

We followed up the show with a visit to Ottolenghi.  Sophia read to us the whole time and didn’t seem to mind that we weren’t the most attentive audience.  We made our goodbyes (at least until this Saturday night which is a Fondue-Super Boggle night with the usual suspects) and I headed over to David’s office to wait for him to be done work.   Home, an episode of 24 (during which I berated Jack and his superiors for allowing him to remain in a position of authority despite not having slept in lord knows how many hours, and for going along with addle-brained Jack’s even more assinine plan in which an unknown untrained civilian is told to plant a bug on an assassin and terrorist, which of course turns out badly)(I shouldn’t watch 24 anymore it makes me crazy with the stupid choices and the bizarre courses of action they follow), then bed by 10!

Monday I met with Jane from Quarterhouse Alpacas. She brought some of her alpaca DK yarn which is now in the shop.  I’m planning a wee visit to her farm in August, to see all the baby alpaca.

Writing in tongues

大家早安! 我 換了 新手提電話,發現可以寫中文。用拼音。比上用字典容易和快多了。可惜沒有英文翻譯,有一些字我忘了怎麼寫。媽媽妳看的懂我的破中文嗎?

Having fun with the keyboard options on my iPhone. I can use pinyin to input and get Chinese or use the alphabet or ひらがな to write japanese 日本語. Neat-o!

Happy Valentines Day!!

WIPs – Curse or Blessing?

I’ve been pondering WIPs/UFOs lately, how we, as knitters, view them and react to them.  I admit readily I have a fair few. I get urges to cast on – either because I really want to see how the yarn turns out (Anemoi), or because there is a technique I want to try/figure out (Mad Color Weave).  Looking at my projects, I tend to knit in two patterns: 1) obsessive knitting focussed on the sole project,  usually finished in a week or less (this is also how I read); and 2) interested knitting, non-monogamous, leaving the project as something else piques my interest.  Very few of these, in my heart of hearts, are abandoned – to my mind they are ‘resting’.  Single socks  are evenutally paired but sometimes it can take a while (Kaw Kaws were a year in the making).  I’m pretty self indulgent with knitting – I always go with what my knitting muse tells me, and can’t deny her! She’s too persuasive.  Besides, knitting for me is supposed to be fun, and that means doing what i like! 😉

There are times when too many WIPs overwhelms me; I feel like there is so much i want to knit, but too little time to knit it all.  Existential crisis!  But on the whole I find it pretty exciting to have lots of colour and different projects to choose from.   I do know however that this is not true for all.  I know others who cannot have too many WIPs and instead of a source of glee they become a source of stress, or guilt.  How do you find WIPs? Source of unbridled joy? Guilty pleasure? or plain old stress?

David is working late again – so tonight it’s just me and the monkey. He’s being very clingy today. He thinks that my lap is his right!  Today I got my STR order – Oma Desala! Yay!!  Waiting now for Wollmeise… and a big treat in the post – a letter from my goddaughter with a Socktopus and a Whale! Thank you Sophia!! 🙂