Noblin activity of the knitting variety.

Including Noblin Designs, How to identify Noblins,
Advice on how to catch a Noblin, and How to keep your Noblin happy.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Sneak preview

I've just been treated to a sneak preview of some designs in the upcoming issue of The Anticraft. It puts my little leaves to shame.

The new issue is supposed to be out on May 1st. If you haven't seen The Anticraft before, it tries to cater for the de-grannified but non-perky knitters out there and throw in a bit for witches, too.

I used to be very wary and shut off to things like witches, mediums and psychic healing, unless it was religious healing, but my husband's been reading research into remote healing and its possible links with quantum physics. I'm such a sap - make it remotely related to quantum physics and I think it's the most reliable theory ever. I'm trying to be more open minded about these things though. There was a time when widely accepted scientific theory had the sun orbitting us, when physicists believed there really wasn't much more to discover about the universe, when mathematicians didn't believe in imaginery numbers and certainly didn't want to believe in infinity. So, a true scientist doesn't even need proof to believe in things, I suppose. Because, if you didn't believe to some extent, you might not go searching for the proof. But isn't that what spirituality and religion are too?

Noblin's like to think about big things too.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The war on RSI

I took my first Chi Kung lesson last night. Chi Kung is related to T'ai Chi and T'ai Chi was recommended to me by nice physio Kate. She signed me up for a NHS run course full of little old ladies with their shiny new hips but wondered if something closer to home with more able bodied people might be more appropriate.

The lesson started with some stretching. Actually, it started with me making sure I was at the back and wishing my tracksuit bottoms had pockets which I could have filled with chocolate eggs. Of course, I wanted to prove to everyone there that even if they were some smartypants chi kung expert I was far stretchier than they could ever be. Over stretching during warm up is a very silly idea and so I got all grumpy and decided chi kung is rubbish and I won't be bothering in future.

Then we moved onto a standing meditation. Fortunately, I had been preparing for this by standing with my knees slightly bent for as long as I can manage in the privacy of my own home. It's not normally very long and it is very boring at home but in the lesson there was gentle music and the occasional instruction. Again I wanted to surprise everyone by being amazing on my first go but they weren't even looking at me. Chi kung is meant to be partly meditative aswell, where you acknowledge any thoughts that enter your head but you don't focus on them. I find this so hard. However, as the lesson progressed and the movements got harder and my legs were more like jelly than a firm chi foundation, I felt calmer and more detached. Fewer thoughts in my head about work and knitting and chocolate but plenty about jelly legs and a slightly sore back. And the fact that the woman in red wasn't standing in the correct position.

The lesson progressed with arm waving and stretching and shifting weight onto one leg and then the other. There's no point wasting money on dumb bells and gym membership when your own body can provide plenty of dead weight. Try holding your ams outstretched for a long time and you'll feel it's not as easy as it looks. In fact, whenever you see people doing T'ai Chi it looks so simple and smooth and relaxing but really you're hoping your legs don't collapse and all the chi runs away to the skinny looking girl next to you. I felt the arm stretching was pulling bits that needed pulling but was worried that there would be repercussions. I normally overdo things. I'm happy to report that there were no bad after effects last night nor this morning. Well done me.

I didn't manage to keep up with the whole lesson but I definitely formed a good ball of chi towards the end (that is to say, my hands got really warm). It is so much harder than it looks and I'm very pleased that I can walk today rather than drag myself to work by my lips. Although that's how it feels sometimes on the way into work.

Noblin anti-RSI rating: thumbs up

Likelihood of repitition: high

PS Well done Hannah and Lily for passing the BSL exam!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My first meme

I've never done a meme before so it's about time. I like the fact that it has nothing to do with knitting and that most of the books are for children (ones I've read) or have never heard of.

Tagged by Ysolda.
Book Meme!

1. Copy & paste.2. Bold the ones you’ve read.3. Add four recent reads to the end.4. Tag!

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter 6) - J.K. Rowling
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Animal Farm: A Fairy Story - George Orwell
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3) - J.K. Rowling
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) - J.K. Rowling
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter 5) - J.K. Rowling
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Book 1) - J.K. Rowling
Neuromancer - William Gibson
Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
The Secret History - Donna Tartt
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) - J.K. Rowling
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Ender’s Game (The Ender Saga) - Orson Scott Card
Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson
A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Good Omens - Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman
Atonement - Ian McEwan
The Shadow Of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
Hey Nostradamus! - Douglas Coupland
The Nature of Blood - Caryl Phillips Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules -Ed. David Sedaris
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules -Ed. David Sedaris

The Music of the Primes - Marcus du Sautoy
Fermat's Last Theorem - Simon Singh
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets - Eva Rice
The Last Hope of Girls - Susie Boyt

I hope you like those last four. I don't read much apart from text books at the moment I'm afraid.

Well, consider yourselves tagged, especially you Jeni and Annarella.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

When we were visiting the new baby, on Easter Saturday, I was treated to seeing a knitted family heirloom. The picture shows the edging and there was a pointy border aswell, around a garter stitch square. The baby's great granny had knitted it for her grandchildren and the baby's granny had kept it carefully for nearly 30 years for her grandchildren.

Here is some blocking. It's more hemp embellishments for the secret shawl. The flower on the right is crocheted. The leaf on the left is bigger than the others and has silver beads up the centre.

I reblocked the baby tank to try to fix some loose ends. I wanted to finish seaming it yesterday but my hand was sore after seeing my Aunty Denise and practising the BSL I learned over the new year.

Oh sure, these horses seem all peaceful now, but don't go getting in their field. They will run at you and headbutt you and call you names.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Happy Easter II

I was so busy over Easter I promptly developed super snot cold which involves a nose streaming with snot during the day and an inability to breathe at night.

I like to think I caught it as a version of grumpy tube pox on Saturday when we took a trip to see the new first cousin once removed on my husband's side. He is sooooooo cute! And, he just so happens to be the proud owner of the green and blue noblin hat shown here. I am so pleased to have a such a happy recipient.

On Sunday, things were a bit quieter but I did manage to make two trips to the new chocolaterie near my house, and accidentally spent some money. These chocolates are way more expensive than my previous treats from Montezumas. I still haven't eaten them yet - I'm looking forward to it too much.

On Monday, we went to my mum's. The walk was eventful, including being attacked by horses.

All in all, I have been extremely well behaved and sticking to my physio's advice. Very little knitting has occurred but I have moved on with the Giotto cardigan I'm making for Magknits. I suppose I'm partially apologising for this blog being so bloody dull at the moment. I'm going to get the camera out tonight and do some fiddling and faffling with some bits and pieces. Please note: the blog will still be incredibly dull. For more exciting things please go here or here.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter Part 1

On Tuesday, I went to Angelknits and had a great time. Some weeks, it's such a chore, dragging myself down to the pub, but I always enjoy seeing everyone and catching up with them. I knitted a small beaded leaf and chatted with some newcomers.

On Wednesday, my sister came to play. We wandered around Covent Garden and chanced upon Pineapple Studios, which she had mentioned wanting to see. We went to Dancing in the Streets in the evening, which was brilliant fun. I knew most of the motown songs and sang very loudly.

On Thursday, we toured round Marylebone High Street including Le Pain Quotidien and the Cath Kidstone shop. We trekked through Regent's Park and home via the canal.

On Friday, I took Hannah to experience Yo Sushi for the first time. I wanted to go back today, it is such fun. We wandered to Montezuma's and bought some Easter goodies.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Rose tinted weekend

I have had a lovely weekend. Absolutely wonderful! It started with a relaxed Friday night watching A Long Kiss Goodnight with Geena Davis and Samuel L Jackson. I mean, they starred in the film, they weren't round my house watching it with me. It's funny and violent and very silly.

Saturday day morning dawned bright and anxious as I find packing incredibly traumatic (one mini panic attack ensued) but eventually all relevent pyjamas, clean clothes, creams, lotions, snack foods and travelcards were in the backpacks and we were off to Tring to see the countryside and our friend, Rosie.

We walked from Tring station and the weather and scenery were lovely. We met a couple of horses along the way and stopped for the obligatory wee break.Lunch

Hello lovely house! What a fantastic lunch. Gluten free pasta, tomato sauce, salad. YUm YUm.

The three of us
Manor House
After a long and relaxed lunch we trotted off to Waddesdon Manor. We were too late to go in the house but it was such a beautiful day we enjoyed the grounds and the cafes.

I was treated to an ice cream and a pot of tea and a cake and crisps on the way home.

FountainJumping NoblinNoblins like junk food.

The grounds

We then swung by the video shop and watched Broken Flowers with Bill Murray.

Something noblins really like about going to people's houses is seeing their bosses:
Noblin cuddleGreat friends

We all know who's in charge here.

Tank update: The sock yarn baby tank is ready to have its ends woven in and then to be seamed. It might be in time for a young man I'm meeting next week.

Tank in pieces

Thursday, April 06, 2006

10 minute knitting

What can be knitted in only 10 minutes?

I am swatching to make a shawl gift for a friend of mine. I want it to be a surprise so I can't ask her what colours she likes or anything. I've decided on green, silver and blue to work with.
Shawl swatch

Hemp leaf
I can knit a whole leaf, shown here in Hemp.

Bead leaf
I can knit most of a leaf with beads, although I think I ended up making this one bigger than the other.

I can cast off a square from my knitting machine, shown here in Inca Cloud with some extra embellishmet: Katia duende, Rowan KSH and Rowan lurex shimmer.
I plan make lots of leaves and hand finish an enormous machine knitted rectangle.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blog etiquette

If, by any chance you think that the list of blogs in my sidebar is a complete representation of all the blogs I read, you are very mistaken. The problem is, I keep adding more and more. I have just trawled my way through all of them (Tuesday and Friday are catch up days for me) and I am feeling really sore in both hands. I have the mouse on my left today and I have been doing some stretches but I think some things need to change.

I have been learning some keyboard shortcuts to help out as mousing is a real strain but what I'm really thinking is the blog list should be shortened. Culled. Snipped. In a merciless fashion. Oh, but I just feel mean! Worse than cutting people of a Christmas Card list.

For example, this is the first blog I ever found. It has sentimental value but I don't find it that interesting any more. Or this, which is rarely updated but I'm interested in the yarn. What if something really exciting happens that I don't get to hear about?

I tried to sort my favourites list a bit but got bored part of the way through so now I'm really confused and can't find anything. Hahahahahah. This means more mouse clicking. Of mice and men, I guess.

New plan: put all the blogs I really, really love that get updated frequently, onto my sidebar. Then get rid of some. Then, dither about the rest.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Sock continued...

As we left it before, the sock pseudo hem had been completed. Next we knit another 30 rows or so for the main part of the foot. Eight stitches from each side are then put aside for later grafting. If I were hand knitting this I would use stitch holders and then use Kitchener stitch later but the machine knitting guide suggested knitting manually for three rows in a contrasting colour.

Here's the result on the left side. Left stitches put aside

I used pink DK weight cotton which was a bit bulky later on. I also refused to cut the yarn and then used the other end of the mini hank on the right hand side resulting in a spaghetti of yarn when I was trying to finish the seams.

Manual method:

The relevant needles are pulled forward into rest position. The latches are opened and the new yarn placed inside.

Rest position

Um, here is where it went a bit wrong. Time to bring in the chamomile tea.

Calm-omile tea

Manual operation

Things have picked up here. Only one needle should be manipulated at a time when manually knitting. It is very simple and can give an even result if you are careful (not like me).

Eventually, the 16 side stitches were all on scrap yarn and the front of the foot was knitted. This was all pretty uneventful.

Ready for the foot

The toe and heel are formed using short rows. I love doing these when I knit by hand so was interested to see how it would look on the machine. After a couple of false starts (and a suspected incorrect diagram in the book) I ended up with the situation below. There are four live stitches in the centre and all of the other stitches have been "wrapped". You can see the extra loop on the needles.

Short rows

Nearly all knitted

The stitches are reintroduced and then the sock continues. Here it is boasting of it's beauty whilst being heelless.

Noblin plus points:

Overall, the knitting was quicker than knitting by hand.

Noblin negatives:

However, you then have to seam the hem, graft the heel to the leg and seam the sides of the foot. The stripes don't match up (no problem if you're using solid colour yarn).

I was pretty tired and grumpy on Friday night when I was doing this and remember at the time thinking, no way is this sock getting a mate. I was also disappointed with the shape. The sock came out very long and thin so I'll need to deviate from the suggestions in the book. I managed to graft the heel and mattressed stitched most of the seams without too much difficulty/pain so if I am desperate to make socks in the future, I'll consider using the machine.

Going to be ripped

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Noblin Design - Breakfast Bunny

Breakfast Bunny Posing Welcome everyone who has wandered over here from Magknits! Aerial ViewThe breakfast bunny is very happy to be such a celebrity. Here he is, posing on a pile of Divine mini eggs. He'd love to see pictures of any new noblin bunny friends so email me or post your links when you're ready.

This pattern is available for free from Magknits.