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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

My weekend

I have had a busy weekend. I sneaked out for a run on Saturday morning. There was definitely some soreness so I just ran for a little and mostly walked. It was lovely and sunny and good walking weather. In the aftrenoon I saw my uncle and aunt briefly and then went to London. I met up with the mother of my nearly-goddaughter and gave her the stripey cardigan. We ate mexican food, and I was very surprised to find raw tuna was a mexican dish. It was served on a tostado with spicy sauce and onions. I found it all a bit confusing (raw fish but it's not Japanese?!?!) but that could also have been due to the passion fruit cocktail I'd had.

Afterwards, I had 2 scoops of Ben and Jerrys' and laughed LOTS at Bridesmaids. This is a very funny film! And also sweet and moving and poignant and very funny. My friend and her friend had both seen it before and decided it merited a second viewing and I would be happy to see it again too.  I worked on the yellow socks on the train, which I had to run for in non-running shoes so that probably wasn't a good idea but it was the last train and I didn't want to miss it.
Today, I went to my nearly-sister-in-law's hen day where we made bracelets and played games and had lots of fun.  I was just a bit too tired to fully enjoy it so I didn't make matching earrings. I am looking forward to eating my gingerbreadbride that I decorated. I wore a new dress, too.
I'm really tired but it's not even 7pm so I'm going to watch a film and eat and knit. Lovely.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

The knitting noblin visited!

I was feeling in a real funk at lunchtime. It's Friday and I had to work all day and it didn't even matter as I had nothing better to do anyway. That's no kind of Friday to have. So to cheer myself up, I turned to my sock yarn drawer and then to the long neglected knits at the back of my gift drawer. I pulled out all the WIPs and was delighted to find the knitting noblin had been and worked on some of them for me!

I could have sworn that when I put the yellow socks into the drawer there was only one and it was a flip-flop sock. I guess it was inspired by my trip to Japan FOUR YEARS AGO! I bought the Panda Cotton in Chicago and I worked on these when I lived in the commune.  These socks are full of history.
Not only did the knitting noblin finish the first, it nearly made it to the heel of the pair.  Unfortunately, it cast off too tightaliciously so I couldn't try the sock on.  I don't remember the Elves and the Shoemaker having this problem. 
Amongst other things in the bag were a nifty pink little mitten,
and a failed hemp sock which I think I will use as a washmitt.
The vilai sock! This is partly what prompted the look in the drawer as it's been TWO YEARS since I knitted on this sock.  WTF!?!? Last winter, I was really lacking in handknit socks as two pairs passed away. Why didn't I just suck it up and finish these. I even posted about how to not need a cable needle or two.
But really, it's all about the yellow today.  I undid the cast on and tried on the sock.  I was particularly interested in the weird lump the noblin added in.
I'm going to be sneaky and try to finish this pair of socks this weekend.  My sister is away so she won't notice I'm not working on the blanket of sisyphus.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Training for September #10

Pre run munch: banana and almonds
Post run munch: raspberries and yoghurt, chocolates
Time of run: 6.00pm gogo lokuji
Distance: a whopping 1km
Time: 10 mins
Category: my leg hurts
Feeling: you can't win them all

After the epic training on Monday, I was a bit nervous about going out today.  All I really fancied was sitting in front of the tv eating chocolates.  I've learnt how to recognise the times that I don't really want to go out but will enjoy it if I try and the times when it's best if I don't go out as it will spoil things.  Tonight was a time when I decided it was better to have a go.  I have a few techniques to bribe myself to go out for a run when I don't really fancy it.  I put my clothes on with minimal fuss.  This normally does the trick.  If not, I then tell myself I only need to go out for ten minutes and if I'm still not enjoying it I can come back home.  Normally, I'll start having fun and stay out for a bit longer.  If those techniques aren't working, I eat some chocolate.  Not very scientific, but sometimes the sugar boost gets me out of the door.  Today I had to do all of these things and I didn't get very far at all.  My left leg (calf?) hurts and it didn't ease up at all so I walked around for a bit and then went home and finished off another layer of the chocolate box.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Square three is done

Square three is done and I'm only two days behind schedule which is fine by me.  I think the key for me will be to catch up at the weekend.  This heart is a bit harder to see - the purple isn't enough of a pastel to give enough contrast to easily see it says Lush Lips.  Next up is pink but I need to consult that schematic to check the wording. The squares seem to be getting easier and quicker now, which encourages me to try to stick to the deadline.  My life, and blog, are clearly oscillating between running and knitting love hearts and I can see it getting old soon enough so I'll have to think of something to mix it up with.  Tonight, little sister is coming round for lego POTC on the wii and curry and ice cream. So, that will be another day behind on the knitting then ;)


Monday, July 25, 2011

Training for September #9

Pre run munch: rice pudding
Post run munch:chicken and veg pasta
Time of run: 6.00pm gogo lokuji
Distance: a whopping 5.1km
Time: 41 mins
Category: 1x2 run then walk program, 13 reps plus 1 extra minute run and then walk home
Feeling: knackered

Did I add an extra rep in by accident? Maybe that's why I found it so hard.  I'm a bit confused now.  So today I had to push through a psychological barrier and turn left outside my house instead of right.  Yes, peeps, I'm now an ambiturner.  I went into the village to extend my route, instead of hiding in the park and the streets near my house.  It takes about 14 minutes to reach the park in this direction, complete with added embarrassment of wolf whistling (push) bikers. I kept crossing their paths so I didn't hang around in the park for as long as I wanted and had to head out onto concrete again. I really had to push myself in the later stages of the run - I felt quite tired at 15 minutes, winding in and out of the trees in the park.  I don't know how I made it really.  I'm a bit sore too. Running is a mind game.  I wanted to quit but I really wanted to stick to the plan so I kept stumbling forward until my watch said I could stop.  Then I stumbled home to knit and play GnomeTown.  I'm supposed to finish the third square today but I think I should get to bed soon. If I can tear myself away from listening to the Amy Winehouse albums I downloaded, in celebration of her talent and to mark her passing.


Sunday, July 24, 2011


I managed two thirds of the purple Lush lips square this weekend, which is more than I truly thought I'd get done. I had to write out the chart yesterday morning, before doing some more ballet conditioning then realising I only had half an hour to shower, get dressed, pack, make lunch and leave to catch my train. It was all fine and I had a very pleasant journey up to Maidenhead to see the Wheelers including baby PWW and the final Harry Potter film. And eat lots of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

In the evening we ate home made pizza and watched all of the Family Guy Star Wars spoofs. Baby PWW is lovely and we enjoyed some cuddles and dancing this morning and then it was time for me to trek back home, knitting all the way, and whizz round the supermarket and clean the house and then be distracted by GnomeTown. A perfect weekend, really :)


Friday, July 22, 2011

Training for September #8

Pre run munch: beetroot crisps and a pb&h roll
Post run munch: dinner
Time of run: 5.20pm gogo goji nijuppun
Distance: 4.33km
Time: 34 mins
Category: 1x2 run then walk program, 11 reps plus 1 extra minute run and then (v short)walk home
Feeling: amazed I got out so quickly after work

Running was good and I really had to push myself to get through the final two minutes of running.  I'm also concentrating on not slapping my heels down with every step but aiming for the balls of my feet more and keeping light on my feet.

After a marathon effort today, having swung by work, the doctor's, back past work, through my sister's for lunch and football and back home via the bank, I sat on the sofa for about 6 hours.  Dang, this blanket is taking a lot longer than I anticipated.
 I'm going to my friends' house for the weekend including the new HP bk 7 part II film and pizza and cuddles with baby PWW. The blanket is coming on the train and I hope to get through a whole nother square.  I don't know how realistic that is but I'm already behind on the schedule of one square every 5 days. 

Next up is Lush Lips in purple. I have to draw my own chart for this one aswell which is always exciting - on the previous one I ended up with Found Yod. Tremendulunt!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have sampled both of my new exercise dvds now and have aching thighs and arms to show for it.  Of the two, I managed to watch 20 minutes out of 50 of the pilates dvd, participating in at most a third of it, and about 30 minutes of the ballet dvd. 

Tuesday night - Pilates dvd: I watched the intro, arms section and the belly section.  The arms section used weights, which I have, and frankly they were not needed.  I know my arms are feeble but I struggled to do any of the exercises even with my tiddly little weights.  I think they are 1kg each but will check.  The dvd was very fast (I'm a real plodder as my "running" log will testify) but I decided not to bother pausing it as I was really only doing recon.  I had seen some crazy looking moves on the dvd home page, so I wasn't surprised when the belly section was practically impossible.  I couldn't really get into the beginning postures.  At this stage, I began to think I should have ordered the beginners' dvd and this is something I'm going to continue to consider.  I then went out to dinner and had swordfish, which I haven't had in ages and it was yummy.

Wednesday night - ballet dvd: I thought about going out for a bike ride instead of trying the dvd but it was a bit drizzly and I'm not unduly concerned about falling off.  I know people say you never forget, but I have a very special bike that is really wobbly until you get going and I haven't used it for three years.  The ballet dvd turns out to be exactly what I wanted and is very hardcore.  SERIOUSLY.  I was thinking, maybe I have strong legs as I do all that run/walking, but really not.  I think I suffer a bit from living in a very flat village.  For years, I lived at the top of hills, so my daily walk home involved striding upwards carrying my little backpack.  It was a real bitch, I tell you, but must have done me more good than I realised at the time. Any strength developed back then, and trekking in the mountains on my gap year, has all eroded in favour of sitting in my car.  So, I tried to join in all the exercises, but wobbly thighs made them impossible after about 25 minutes so I stopped.  I also noticed that simple holding my arms up in graceful-ballet-poses really made them ache! No wonder I can't lift weights, I barely have strength to lift my own arms! This was all enough of a challenge to leave me feeling like I'd tried hard and looking forward to next time.  And I did prance around my flat afterwards, holding my stomach in and head up for the rest of the evening so I could say I saw instant results. 

Tonight it's time for a run and I'm looking forward to seeing if my achy thighs make running harder or if the running eases the pain.  Also, tonight is knitting night (gosh, it's moved to Thursday which normally is a busy day for me anyway) in a place that also sells cake. I'll take the blanket along but I'll really have to concentrate because I don't want anymore ripping incidents.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Training for September #7

Pre run munch: rice pudding
Post run munch: sausages and veg stir fry and rice
Time of run: 6pm gogo nana ji
Distance: 3.95km
Time: 32 mins
Category: 1x2 run then walk program, 10 reps plus 1 extra minute run and then (v short)walk home
Feeling: pleased I missed the downpour

I don't know what went wrong with my preparation tonight but I was desperate for the loo by the time I got home and I felt it as I was going round.  Round and round the park and little bit of village I live in.  I was too efficient this time and only had a short walk home so the total time out today was basically the same as the previous session, even though I added in an extra 3 minute rep.  I think I've hit my fitness level now.  The final two minutes of running were more of a challenge than previously and I began to feel achy which is a good sign that I'm pushing myself.  I'm not sure whether I'll add another rep next time or repeat today's program.  I won't wear the hairband with a big yellow flower on next time though.  I brought home some kind of buzzing insect in it!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

KnitNation 2011

I went to knitnation and even took my camera but didn't dig it out until after I'd had lunch. I took a dreadful photo of Ysolda and am farily sure she glared at me for making it so rubbish. I would have tried kinnearing LilyF rance or Cookie A or Franklin Habit but I was too slow witted.

I did buy a few things.  Some dpn keepers and chart markers from Atomic Knitting.
Some To Dye For Yarn from Loop. I didn't buy any Wollmeise but perhaps I should have.

A merino tencel blend from Juno - very georgeous peaceful colourways.

Very bright Sunshine sock yarn that Katie wasn't totally convinced by.
5 balls of Angora blend, three red and two grey. Very excited about this.

Pile of goodies complete with signed copy of Little Red in the City. I also did a lucky dip and won a coupon for another of Ysolda's patterns from her website.
I finished the first square - YAY!

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Training for September #6

Pre run munch: egg and bacon sandwich (!)
Post run munch: rice pudding and peaches
Time of run: 7pm gogo shichi ji
Distance: 3.83km
Time: 31 mins
Category: 1x2 run then walk program, 9 reps plus 1 extra minute run and then walk home
Feeling: satisfied

I had to go to a tax conference today which meant setting my alarm for hideous o'clock and not getting home until 12 hours later.  Seriously long day for me, when I would usually roll out of bed around 8.30 on a Friday and finish work at 1pm.  I didn't think I'd manage to go out for a run but then realised I might not get another chance until Monday at that would be a whole week later so I put on my little stretchy pants and farted around in my flat until I felt ready to go.  It was quite late so there was plenty of shade and it was cool.  The grass in the fields has grown a lot so my legs were a bit sore from running through there. I stayed mostly on pavement which I don't like to do, especially as the race is on trail, but I didn't like to slice my legs up an further on the grass.  It's too warm to wear my full length jogging bottoms so I might try the playing fields, which are much smaller and have dog walkers and football players on them which is rather embarrassing when my stretchy pants fall down.  Anyways, major success that I managed to go out at all and added a minute of running on to the last time.  I'm going to try adding a minute each time (within reason) by increasing the reps and that should increase my stamina too.  I remember the first 5km of my last (first!) race where relatively comfortable but thereafter everything began to hurt - shoulders, back,  toes, arms as well as my legs - so this time I'm keen to build up some longer practice times, rather than worrying at all about speed.  I did use my nifty phone app this time and it gave me an idea of how far and fast I went.  It was reassuring in that I covered nearly 4km without any trouble and kept a pace that would give ma between 85 and 90 mintues for a 10km.  I'd like to match or beat my original time as I feel I should be better prepared for this one, so a PB around 80 minutes would be great.  My brother is still encouraging me (um, berating me?) to try for a sub-60 minute time but that, for the moment, is crazee talking.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Post #250

Today has been a mixed day.  I developed a hideous bad mood/anxiety attack just before lunch that only really went this evening.  I think it was a combination of not eating lunch soon enough (food swings!) and sending an email that I instantly regretted.  It was in a much snottier tone that I normally use and it sent me into spasms about whether what I said was true was really true or if I made it all up.  le sigh.

I'm knitting away with the squeaky yarn for the gift love hearts blanket.  It's made in squares and my mum cheerfully informed me I need to knit a square every five days.  My sister is on target but I had a ripping incident yesterday that has left me behind already.  I don't know if you can really see it in this picture, sometimes with illusion knitting you really have to know what you're looking for to be able to see it.

 I had moved the edge of the heart to somewhere wandering around its centre, shown more clearly below.
 16 rows below! That was tough to take but I'm made of stern stuff so I thought I'd just drop down the rows and correct it, making knits into purls where appropriate.
 I've done this before but after spending ages looking back through my blog I can't find the proof! Chances are though, when I did it before, and I remember it being successful, I dropped the correct stitches first time round, unlike with this.  And that really killed the attempt for me, I would have had to rework the stitch that was already correct and then repeat that 8 times at least, and I couldn't really get my head round 16 rows and 9 columns that didn't really look like much.
 So I took the executive decision to remove the needles and rip.
 I ripped this much.
 Here is back to where it wasn't wrong.  I figured I'd made the mistake because I was only using two stitch markers about a third and two thirds along the row and I'd misremembered where they were.
 I made some new markers to use at every 10th stitch. There are just small loops tied in a contrast colour witha  double knot.

So now I'm back into and haven't made any more mistakes.  I'm past the word in the centre so it will speed up a bit and then when I've finished the heart outline it will be even quicker.  I think this blog is testament to how unbothered by deadlines I am so I'll just keep at it and do my best.  I'll try to enjoy it and the endless hours of tv I'm managing to get through too.  I watched a really dull film with plenty of Harrison Ford talking (which made it very pleasant) and then moved onto Gods and Monsters. It stars Ian McKellen and I keep imagining Gandalf/Magneto will start using his powers to persuade Brendan Fraser to go for a swim. (Which will make sense if you watch the film.)


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Keeping up the good work

It was raining on my walk home so I manage to go out for a bike ride after work.  I'll try to tomorrow instead.  So, today to keep up my good work, I dug out my evil wii fit plus.  This delights in telling me I'm overweight and need to reduce my bmi to a level it hasn't been since my wedding.  I don't find it motivational and I don't find it an effective fitness tool but I do like using it occasionally for the yoga.  It also has a diary function that I might start using as I'm trying to exercise something extra every day. The yoga is quite limited and I haven't used many of the muscle exercises as I'm too weedy to even start them.  I do like variety though so have decided to try a few exercise dvds.  The first one I'm going to order is Element: Ballet conditioning which is cheap and has good reviews on Amazon. I'm also going to try 10 Minute Solution: Pilates Perfect Body.  We shall see.  Maybe I haven't learnt my lesson yet about buying cheap things with good reviews.  I've returned the tablet as it wouldn't play my videos properly in any format.  I think if I replace it I'll stick to an ipod touch (if I decide tiny portability is the priority) or an ipad (if I prefer extra screen size and have money to burn).  I only really want these for when I'm on holiday and don't have another planned until November so I can save it and keep deciding. And even then, I've been on plenty of holidays with neither, so perhaps I'll decide not buy anything else.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Training for September #5

Pre run munch: fruit and nut bar
Post run munch: risotto for dinner
Time of run: 5.45pm gogo go ji yon ju go fun
Distance: ?
Time: 28 mins
Category: 1x2 run then walk program, 8 reps plus 1 extra minute run and then walk home
Feeling: satisfied

I was pretty nervous of going for a run after such a long break.  My last run was a month ago.  I decided to stick to a run then walk pattern that I used to do very easily. Fortunately, I found it manageable but enough of a challenge to be interesting and feel like I'd put some effort it.  I don't know how much training I'll manage before the race but I'm determined to keep on putting some effort in and not stress about my performance.  I'm also trying to be more active in general and to do some extra exercise every day.  On Saturday, I walked the dogs with my Aunty for over an hour and on Sunday I played tennis and french cricket with my eldest nephews.  This worked out great because there have definitely been weekends when I haven't done much beyond sitting on my sofa, knitting.  I try to include mooching round the supermarket as exercise but I don't think it really counts.  It's a bit like including fruit trifle as one of your five a day. Tomorrow, I'll keep up the good work, and the next day, and the next day and the day after that too, until it becomes habit rather than effort. Well, one day at a time anyway.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

New project started

A massive bundle of yarn arrived at my sister's house yesterday ready for the illusion blankets we're going to make. The pattern is based on Love Hearts and is available here.  I've tried a few illusion blankets before but only my own designs so I'm excited to work from a pattern. Woolly Thoughts have some incredible illusion patterns to try and have developed there own charting style.  So far, it seems very straightforward and clear.  I'm glad to have another project on the go as the simplicity cardigan uses lace yarn and my hands are getting a bit tired . This is dk weight so it's a bit easier going. The finished blanket is (with any luck) going to be a surprise for the recipient so I won't say too much about it.

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Friday, July 08, 2011

Ingrid Shawl

I've taken some more photos of the shawl that was published in let's Knit last month.  They show more clearly the scalloped edge and the changes to the pattern in the centre of the shawl.

My neice kindly modelled it for me too.

 Today is my mum's birthday so some of the family turned up to wreak havok for a few hours.  My big sister made an owl cake which was delicious.
The youngest grandchild helped with opening some presents and eating the cake.  After the littlest ones left, we played rummikub.  I own the first game in spectacular fashion. I couldn't start for ages and picked up as many tiles probably as I'd started with.  When I could finally start, I put all the tiles down in one go.  Ah, small pleasures.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Simple knitting

I've separated out the sleeve stitches and now it's acres of stocking stitch to finish the front and back.  The yarn has some nice variation and there are increases at the end of each row so there is some interest.  I quite like this kind of knitting, I can do it on the train or in front of the tv.  There are approximately one billion stitches though so each row takes a while.  I managed a few rows on Sunday morning, in a mildly hungover state, accompanied by three tiny cups of tea.  My room in the new blocks at the college I went to in Oxford, was ensuite and very comfortable but the teacup was super tiny and held about one mouthful at a time. Next, time I'll pack a mug!


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

FO Finally

I celebrated finishing a work project by stumbling home and sewing on three buttons that have been waiting patiently for weeks. They are shiny silver buttons that are possibly too heavy for the fabric but look very cute.  I know it's not much but I went to work early two days in a row and even brought work home last night to do, so finishing a personal project felt like a reward for my diligence.  I can now relax at work and start to catch up on the backlog from my holiday.  And it's raining.  Life is good! Well, the rain will clear the air and everything will be a bit cooler.  I could barely concentrate this afternoon as my brain was melting. Now that Bob is done and day-work will be easing up, I can start thinking about new knitting projects.  I actually already have one in mind  - this as a gift but it will have to be kept a little bit secret.  I need to reknit and check some old patterns that can be put up for sale on ravelry now.  And I need to rub some brain cells together for ideas for new patterns. For now, though, I'll finish watching Case Histories and recover from a very hectic few weeks.


Monday, July 04, 2011


I love the longer evenings and the sunshine and the warm weather but keeping the windows open all the time seems to be an open invite to moths.  Moths used to really scare me - I think it was after watching an episode of casualty where a woman had a moth stuck in her ear. Travelling and living in a mosquito net for nearly a year and then in a draughty converted barn helped me through that fear - eventually you just have to fall asleep.  I've also been concerned that they'll eat their way through my stash but I had to get over that too.  I can't knit any quicker and I don't often add to the stash so there's no point stressing.  Knitting's supposed to be fun not grim. 


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Gaudy Weekend

I spent the weekend in Oxford at a college Gaudy which, roughly translated, is Latin for group of people who should know better recapturing their university days by eating mousse and getting drunk on port. I made a big deal of the weekend and even had my hair done specially before hand but didn't make sure I got a good photo of me.  Here's one from the end of the evening which isn't very flattering.

I took lots of photos of my old college and couple in Oxford town centre. I then went to see my friends and their new baby and forgot to take any photos. I'll see them again in a few weeks so it's all ok. Oof, I've got quite a tiredness hangover. I was well looked after today by some more friends, who made sure I was fed and watered and taken to the train station so I could get home and feed and water myself some more. Now I'm pretty tired and kicking myself about the photos but had plenty o' fun. Back to work tomorrow - not looking forward to the deadline I have this week but at least it's only a week and I can't string it out any longer than I already have.  No more tennis to distract me from things I should do either which is good.  Only saw the last two points and didn't mind the result.  Would have been happy if Nadal won again but it was good for Djoko to win.

Something to think about:
What is my plan for the next little while?

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