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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Run #9

Pre run munch: cereal
Post run munch: pb&h on toast
Time of run: 11.00 am
Steps: 4170
Time: 36 mins including approx 8 mins walk at the end
Category: maybe overdid it
Feeling: bit sore

I landed on my right leg badly at dance on Thursday night so I wasn't surprised to feel some soreness on Friday morning's run.  I was working a run then walk strategy as this seems to cover as much distance as consistant jogging, if not more, but I feel better for it.  I don't really know what to say about how I felt yesterday.  I'm just about over it today.  I'm certainly glad I went for a run as I felt much happier when I got back.  I did watch some of the bbc coverage, but fast forwarded through most of it.  I then went to see my nephews and immerse myself in pokemon and knitting to the background of No Strings Attached (much better than I expected including a very funny moment in a restaurant).  This morning I watched them play football and now I have a lack of sleep hangover which is fine.  I've been bibbling about on the internet looking for apps for my phone which I've finally connected to the internet (clue: I had to tick the box marked internet). I've downloaded an Opera internet browser, JA Sensei for practicing japanese writing (my ds screen is mashed so my Japanese tutor was struggling) and I've been looking for a running app.  My house is gruesomely messy so I've made a cup of tea and am contemplating serious tidying up.  Thinking about tidying is more productive than actual tidying as I usually make more of a mess as I try to sort out drawers and move everything from one room to another. I might try to cut down on some clothes actually, as I have pyjamas in every drawer and too many socks.  My sock drawer is all over my bed at the moment. Should I take on the Crazy Aunt Purl challange of halving my stuff? I certainly don't have any hacksaws or fondue pots but would benefit by decreasing aforementioned footwear.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another crazy busy day at work

I was so tired from work today I could barely walk home in a straight line. But then, I find it difficult to walk in a straight line at the best of times ;)  So tonight I'm having a Doctor Who and Japanese catchup.  I've got my first Japanese lesson after the Easter break tomorrow and I haven't really done any homework.  I can just about remember how to say I'm going to work on the bus tomorrow:
あした わたし わ しごと に バス で いきます 
Well just about, anyway.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stop the madness

Today was totally crazy at work.  It must be something about the bank holidays that means you have to cram two days of work into one. It took me about an hour after work to calm my brain down and think coherently.  I enjoyed a mini marathon of The Walking Dead, a new zombie series,which helped.  I worked on my Honey cardigan and it's nearly finished now - just a few more ends to sew in then I can add the buttons. I bought four but I'll only use three and keep one spare. Tomorrow will be another hectic day at work. I'll try to go in early to get ready.  I would have stayed longer this evening but my brain was fried and I get a bit twitchy about being the last one in the office.  I was locked in once and didn't want to have a repeat performance of climbing out of the window. Not a good look.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Run #8

Pre run munch: peaches and yoghurt
Post run munch: sushi
Time of run: 6.30 pm
Steps: 3741
Time: 31 mins including approx 8 mins walk at the end
Category: maybe overdid it
Feeling: energised

It was a lovely cool evening and I was raring to go so I had a lovely run/walk.  My right shin started twingeing at the end so I spent half and hour stretching and will trust the sushi to put me right.  I also learnt that I find it extra difficult to use chopsticks after a run.

I have had a lovely Easter weekend.  Yesterday, I went to my parents' house for lunch, after witnessing the chaos that is the local garage when the big supermarkets are shut.  All I needed was mint sauce (and half price easter eggs) but I struggled to find a parking space.  Especially as one car was spread over two spaces. I tried to park next to it, bumped a recycling bin, then moved to another space. I was a little shamefaced but I glared at the other car so I imagine it was embarrassed too. 

Today, I went shopping and made my sister a phone cosy as she was jealous. I altered the bottom of the cosy slightly so I'll update the pattern too. I haven't shopped properly in a while and today I REALLY shopped which was great fun. I now even have a smart watch for situations other than going for a run. Back to work tomorrow which is fine by me. I need to set up the payroll so I can pay for all this shopping!

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Caught Up

For yesterday's bank holiday, I mostly sat knitting and eating chocolate.  I don't feel comfortable starting Eaater Eggs yet so I munched through almost everything else I had, including some Montezumas bars.  The chilli and lime flavour took some getting used to but it's all gone now.  I cast on for Flossie, again again, and wrote out the first few lines of the pattern. I didn't restart Flossie straight away as I didn't want third time lucky to turn into third strike and you're out.  Sometimes it takes a bit of time away from a pattern for me to think about it properly and notice any other problems.  Otherwise, I just see what I want to see, and cruise along like a train on tracks. I hadn't made any calculations for the sleeves, so I double checked those and added a few stitches.  I also incorporated a slight v neckline at the front, so when the cardigan is done up it doesn't choke! I've now knitted all of the little ball that was the ripped back second try and now feel like I'm making progress. It's slow going now though - there are lots of stitches when you combine the front back and sleeves. I do like this method though as you end up with a cardigan when you've finished, not several separate pieces.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Run #7

Pre run munch: pb&h on crumpets
Post run munch: rice pudding and peaches from the fridge
Time of run: 6.30 pm
Steps: 3584
Time: 30 mins including approx 8 mins walk at the end
Category: bewilderingly fast?
Feeling: Relaxed

Oh that was a lovely evening run.  A lovely bank holiday all over really. I read all morning (Definitely Dead, Sookie Stackhouse series) and knitted plenty and watched tv and Romancing the Stone whoop whoop.  I worked more hours in the last 4 days than I normally do in 5 so I was ready for a relaxing day. My run left me feeling relaxed but slightly confused. Did I really cover much more distance than usual? I definitely had a higher ratio of running to walking than normal but misjudged my timings and walked a long way home.  I didn't expect to reach 3000 steps even.  I was conscious I don't want to overdo it and I think I managed that. I stayed mostly in the fields rather on the road to give my feet some more cushioning. The race I've entered is a trail race anyway so there's not much point running on road for training. Here's to the weather staying for the long weekend.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Phone Cosy Pattern

I made a cute phone cosy for my Sony Ericsson Mini XPro. It is a cute little phone that I've been carrying around in a sock! This is much nicer and didn't take long at all. I started it on the train yesterday when I went to London to see Sucker Punch at the IMAX.  It's a fun film - not essential viewing but full of explosions and girls kicking butt.

Phone Cosy Pattern:
(slightly edited on 25/4/11)
(a few more edits on 01/05/11, Thanks Jody!)
Use sock yarn and 2.5mm dpns
k = knit
p = purl
k2tog = knit two stitches together
k1b = knit one through the back of the loop, sometimes written as k1 tbl, this results in a twisted stitch, a video here

Cast on 39 sts
Join and begin knitting in the round
Rnd 1: p3, k16, p4, (k1b, p1) 8 times
repeat rnd 1 until cosy measures just longer than the phone
Rnd 1: (k2, k2tog) to last 3 sts, k3. 30 sts
Rnd 2: knit 
Rnd 3: (k1, k2tog) around. 20 sts
Rnd 4: knit

Rnd 5: (k2tog) around. 10 sts
Rnd 6: as Rnd 5. 5 sts
Cut yarn and pull through remaining sts

My phone has a circumference of 13cm and a length of 9cm. The same cosy also fits around my ipod classic which has a circumference of 14cm but it's a bit short. The pattern can easily be adapted for larger phones.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Starting and restarting

Too tired to write. At least haven't burst into tears at the mention of the royal wedding tonight. Ripping back the Flossie cardigan probably didn't help but it's now a little ball waiting to be restarted.  This evening my sister helped me start making a new bag but as it's too late to sew in a straight line we've left the really tricky bits for another day. I can't ever really sew in a straight line but at least I didn't sew the bag onto itself.   The patterned fabric is from Thailand and there is a blue silk lining from India.  We also used iron on interfacing to make it stiffer and so the white fabric didn't look dirty when it was next to the lining. We listened to Jessie J, chatted to my parents on Facebook and ate various chocolates from Montezumas.  The lime and chilli variety is a bit strong to accompany sewing so we switched to orange space hopper. bed now :)

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Bad Monday

I've been beavering away on Flossie's cardigan, enjoying the pattern and yarn combination.  Every so often I held it up to a tshirt in the right size to compare how I'm getting along.  this is called laziness.  the trouble with laziness, and winging it, and not planning properly, is you end up with a cardigan that would fit a child with pipecleaners for arms.  Now, I'm not a child development expert, but I'm fairly sure that if they weren't born with pipecleaner arms, they don't develop them when they turn two.  Unless that is what the terrible twos are.

I know where I went wrong.  Aside from ignoring the principle of the 5 Ps*, and being lazy etc, I only increased once on each raglan line instead of twice. The sleeves were increasing at half the rate they should have so by the time the armpit was a suitable length, the sleeves were very narrow still.  Add to that the fact that I didn't start with the right number of stitches for this method and I bodged the collar at the front, I will be ripping it all. That gives me a definite bad monday feeling but if I put some effort in at least it should be third time lucky!

*Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Run #6

Pre run munch: cereal
Post run munch: banana (and orange tango)
Time of run: 10:15am
Steps: decided not to count
Time: approx 30mins
Category: Mixed up
Feeling: Healthy

I'm typing this while watching the coverage of the London Marathon.  I've never been interested in it before but now it doesn't seem like just a lot of crackpots running an unnatural distance. I don't feel like a marathon is something I'll attempt but it doesn't seem so crazy now.  The stories of the people who are raising money are very moving and I understand the desire to run.  I really enjoy running, less so jogging but it's all good. It's never easy but it can be fun.   I was very aware this morning that the sun was out again today and I was at risk of feeling invincible and injuring myself. After a few laps of the lake, mostly walking, I used all my self control to stop, even though it was fun and I felt like I could keep going.  My shin was twingeing slightly but I don't think it's anything to be too concerned about.  I ran with another friend from my knitting group - who knew there were so many running knitters.  I'm quite taken by running with a friend.  I get to pretend I'm exercising when really I'm just gibbering away about all sorts of things and then we have a drink and more chat afterwards.  I've decided to cut down my planned "training" from three runs to two each week.  I'm hoping this will still give my fitness a boost and let me enjoy the race in May but not leave me hobbling. That means I have 7 more sessions to go!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Run #5 was a swim

And a very nice swim it was too.  I've decided I'm going to have to cut down the planned training as only on week in I needed one week off. I really hope tomorrow's run is successful. I'll keep it short and gentle and won't have an ice cream afterwards as that seemed to finish me off. 

I saw Never Let Me Go on Thursday.  It was sad and disturbing but really good.  I also had an ice cream but then I always do at the cinema so that can't be influencing me.  I'm getting the hang of my new phone and I'd like to knit some socks.  And colour my hair.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

The harmful effects of the sun

For the last week and a half I've felt invincible.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, the blowwom on the trees was beautiful.  I entered a race and bought a new phone on a whim.  Apparently sunshine brings out impulsive actions in me.  Yesterday was cold and grey and miserable. I shut all the windows and put the heating on in my flat.  I ate chocolate and worried about every tiny twinge in my legs and boy did the bubble burst.  Well, that was yesterday and this is today and once you hit the bottom you can only go upwards.

I was winging it at knitting on Tuesday night, trying to start my new cardigan.  I've since ripped all of that and sketched things and done calculations and thought it through a tiny bit more.  I defaulted to working with raglan shaping which wasn't my original vague plan but it seems to be the current vague plan. The bottom half is going to be stripey and slightly flared, while the top half will have a slip stitch pattern that looks a bit like smocking.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Meet grumpy noblin.  She's not someone you'd like to be around.  She hasn't eaten since lunch time so is hungry and ratty.  She hasn't run since Sunday so is feeling really ready for a run but her shin hurts and noblins should not run on sore legs.  She has a bike with two flat tyres that reminds her of her divorce and noblins don't like to be reminded that they don't know how to pump up a tyre or that they really should take better care of expensive things.  Noblins like to try to ignore things for years and then expect them to be in working order but they aren't.  Grumpy noblins are too grumpy to be pacified with a new phone because they will be expected to work out how to use the phone for themselves. Grumpy noblin has stuck with nokia for years and is now wondering why she switched to sony and remembers the salesmen had a scandinavian accent and should now note that this appears to be a weakness of hers. Grumpy noblin doesn't like cold weather or having to put the heating on or wondering where the sunshine has gone.

Grumpy noblin feels better having vented.  She is now going to find more yarn and chocolate.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Alexander is a very long film

I can't see what they will do with another 45minutes left.

I've been swatching with the NDS Dazzling. I'm gonig to make a cardigan for my goddaughter.  In the past, I've made a few baby items using teeny tiny needles. I like making teeny tiny clothes on teeny tiny needles with teeny tiny stitches but this time i'm going to try something new.  I'm using 4mm needles (gasp) on sock yarn.  Well, ok it's not a massive change but it's something new for me. I was surprised it still looked neat and lovely.

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

RUN #3

Pre run munch: breakfast cereal hoops
Post run munch: twister ice cream (also contains fruit)
Time of run: 9.45am
Steps: approx 4000
Time: approx 35 mins
Category: With a friend
Feeling: Sore

This morning was my first run with a friend.  It was lovely! Yet again, the advice from all the running resources is correct: training with a friend is fun.  I set my alarm last night to give me plenty of time to get there but was clearly anxious about being late.  I dreamed I'd slept in until 10.49am and then woke with a start to see it was 6.30am.  I've only ever run by myself until now. I was worried I'd be too shy to run so I gabbled a lot while we trotted round the park, including some uphills and an extra circuit around the lake. Hills are new for me too. I think the ice cream afterwards may be considered as not terribly sensible as I started to feel woozy when I got home. I don't think my breakfast cereal helped either and my blood sugar was haywire all day. Which might explain why I bought so much chocolate at the supermarket.  I also stretched and iced my shin and spent the rest of the day obsessing about the pain in it. Humph, I'm not sure what to think about it so I'll just ignore it for now ;)

I spent some time this afternoon reacquainting myself with my bedroom floor.  I don't know when I last saw it but I was embarrassed to find a cardigan I haven't worn since Christmas.  Compound that with then finding a dress I wore to a friend's wedding in SEPTEMBER.  I felt like an archeologist, digging through layers of detritus, moving backwards in time. The bedroom floor is now hoovered and officially a floor rather than a floordrobe again.  I also cleaned my bathroom using some mega stinky chemicals that left the bath extremely clean but me sneezing. 

I've also been swatching a proposal for Let's Knit for the autumn. I don't suppose I should say much more about it but I was using Aragon Yarn and Drops Nepal.

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Saturday, April 09, 2011

RUN #2

Pre run munch: pb&h on toast
Post run munch: milk, yoghurt and some chocolates, hey it's Friday
Time of run: 6:15pm
Steps: 2496
Time: 24mins
Category: Continuing
Feeling: Nervous

It's been lovely and sunny for the last few days.  I've been enjoying the longer evenings and have noticed I don't twat about so much in the preamble to my run.  Now that it's training for a specific event, I'm much more determined and focussed.  And that is exactly what ALL the magazines and websites and runners say. There's nothing like signing up for a race to up your game.  I wasn't feeling very positive last night for my run.  My right shin was sore and I was listening to the niggling doubts in my head.  Firstly, it didn't occur to me I might get injured as I feel like I'm not pushing my body very hard. People train for extreme sports all the time and the human body is incredibly resiliant so I don't consider what I'm doing as that hardcore.  Secondly, what seemed like a long time to train now doesn't sound that long. My dance teacher, who is also a personal trainer seemed a bit worried at how late I'd left things but I think I'd given him the impression I'm a total beginner which isn't true. I ran about twice a week last year between April and September and then I started again this February.  I probably would have preferred to enter a 5k race but I couldn't find one I liked the look of.  I worry that there will be expectations and judgements but really, do I seriously think people will jeer at me if I walk some of the way?  I don't know.  My theme for this run was trying to reduce the walking breaks.  I managed 10minutes of continuous (very slow) jogging which is a new record for me.  I feel pleased that I'm setting personal bests all along the way so I'm going to see this run as a success and try to forget about the worries for a bit longer. 


Friday, April 08, 2011

Last night's classes

Last night's Japanese class was interrupted by a fire alarm.  Interestingly, the building where the class is held has a fire alarm on the outside of the building where members of the public can just walk up and set it off. We all had to wander outside and everyone just chatted in English so we really missed out on some learning time.  I'd actually really like to be able to speak Japanese so it wasn't like being at school and enjoying and unplanned break.   We went over the verbs to come, go and return, they present and past tenses and how to ask some questions too. I realised that I had been writing Japanese gibberish for my infrequent facebook statuses so will try some that makes sense.

On Monday, I went to London.
げつようび わたし は London に いきました

Who did you go with?
だれ と いきました か

I went with my friend
ともだち と いきました

After Japanese, I go to a street dance class.  My mood there really varies.  Last night, I found it really tough.  It was hot and the routine was new and fast and I really struggled to feel positive. I persevered though, as this is why I haven't improved much. I just give up a bit and make smaller movements when I'm tired or grumpy.  Bearing in mind I'm trying to build up fitness, I didn't want to let myself off the hook like that. 

I've had a busy week and haven't had much chance to knit so I'm going to relax for a bit before I take on run #3.


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

RUN #1

Pre run munch: pb&h on toast
Post run munch: groupie (chocolate munchie thing) and milk
Time of run: 6:15pm
Steps: 2774
Time: 25mins
Category: Fast
Feeling: Smug

My new running tops aerrived today from Thoosa just in time for my first official training run since I signed up in a fit of insanity for a 10km trail run.  It qualifies as insanity because any 10k training programme begins at a fitness level far above mine.  Like, start with a 3 mile jog then run at top speed for 400metres, jog 100metres, 6 times. etc.  I don't think I've ever jogged for 3 miles let alone done speed training afterwards.  I do feel really pleased with myself though.  I've been thinking about this run since the last run, I didn't wimp out because it was too hot or sunny or late or I was too tired or anything like that. I decided to try a shorter, faster run and I think I was successful.  I've noticed that on normal runs I seem to do about 100 steps per minute. So, as you can see above, I've averaged a bit more than that.  Three cheers for me!


Monday, April 04, 2011

Spinach really shrinks

 I had a long list of things to do this evening but then got spectacularly sidetracked by trying to connect my ds to the internet in my house.  I managed, which was unexpected but then my laptop wouldn't connect as I'd changed the settings and then everything got a bit panicky.  I couldn't google what to do, obviously, but instead had to use my brain.  Oh, I could practically hear it squeaking in protest.  My blogpost can attest to the fact that there's life in this brain yet.

 One of the things I wanted to do was get some good photos of my nearly finished Honey cardigan.  I've started the i-cord edging but need to get buttons.
I also wound some wool, need to do some ironing, need to do some swatching, need to tidy, need to do lots of things that will have to wait.  I also made a highly calorific but reasonably nutritious dinner.  It seemed to contain enought spinach for a family of four when I rinsed it but after cooking it, it was practically invisible to the naked eye.


Sunday, April 03, 2011


I've just done a crazy thing and signed up for a 10k race in May.  I've been thinking about it for a while and it's in a lovely place near me and oh craps I'm not much of a runner.  I've got 6 weeks to get from where I am now (not total beginner) to being able to mostly run 10k.  At the moment I can mostly jog 4k.  I think. I don't think it's too big a challenge physically if I trained consistently.  I think it's going to be more of a mental challenge to not make excuses and stay at home in front of the tv. I think if I train, I'll be able to jog/walk the whole way in under 1hr30mins.  I say this because I think I can walk the distance in that time! I've entered in the 70minutes plus band (the slowest group) and actually, I think even if I come last, I will feel so proud and amazed at myself for getting round the course. I'm already scared they'll have all packed up and gone home before I finish, or the real runners will be heckling me for clearly being underprepared. I've tried to motivate myself a little extra by buying two new running tops which I can use for my street dance class too.  I think I'll have to count my dance class as cross training and aim to do three runs per week.  So of course, in the first week of training I'll struggle to do three as I'm going to see Jessie J on Tuesday night! I know enough about myself not to run two days in a row or my knees start complaining too much. So this week I'll try Sunday (today, well done me, nearly 4500 steps counted by my pokewalker), Wednesday and then maybe Friday but I might be busy on one of those days.  Ok, there's a lesson then - prioritise the running training to reduce the potential for embarrassment on race day. Alternatively, in the words of Constable Benton Fraser of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance


Friday, April 01, 2011

New trick

I celebrated learning the last 8 hiragana symbols last night by learning a new trick.  I can now write hiragana in ひらがな on the computer. That says hiragana! Hiragana is one of the writing systems used for Japanese. Unfortunately, it is rarely used on its own: it's normally used in conjuction with Katakana カタカナ another writing system for words of foreign origin.  These two systems are relatively easy to learn.  It's a case of sitting down and memorising roughly 90 symbols and a few details on how to use them.  Things get really interesting when you start learning Kanji 寛治 which is thousands of symbols, and the system used across Japan.  I've been taking it very slowly and have only just learnt the hiragan using Let's Learn Hiragana. This is a lovely workbook which gives thorough detail on how to write the symbols and then plenty of practice for using them. You can't really learn the Japanese language using this book but there is lots of vocabulary included.

The tutorial I used for retraining my laptop was on YesJapan, a very nice website linked to a series of books that I thought I might use but only have the first one.

OK, off I go to tidy up for my sister to come and stay so we can go to our other sister's birthday drinks.  Carnage will ensue.