Being a bit crafty …


I’ve posted about this before, but I’m a knitter. I would say I am an average to intermediate knitter. I’ve tried other crafts, but card-making and scrap-booking (whatever that actually is) does nothing for me. I have tried embroidery, and I do enjoy it, but I can never find any embroidery that I want to do.

I’ve been knitting since I was about 7 years old. I can still remember (unbelievably) how I started. I had been playing with my grandfathers old toy cars, which were very old and was watching my maternal grandmother (do people still say that?) knitting a scarf. I was quite fascinated how these two sticks and some wool could make a scarf and I asked to show me. She cast on ten stitches and showed me how to do the knit stitch. I was hooked! Later, my mother showed me the purl stitch, cast on, cast off and a couple of other basic stitches, and I took it from there

Step Shawl
Headband

I’ve two knitting projects on the go at the moment. One is a step shawl that I started beginning of last year and I’m still on with it. It should be in DK on 5mm needles, but I’m using 4 ply on 4mm needles, so it’s taking a lot longer. The other is a headband. This time in DK on the correct needles. I do enjoy knitting headbands and have done quite a few with Arran yarn using a cable stitch.

I do get a few odd looks when I say that I’m a knitter, and I’m looking forward the looks when I mention that I’m learning to Crochet.

This post is in response to nansfarm.net and http://themainaisle.com/ Mid-week challenge

Do I have the time …?


… and more to the point, do I have the both the skills and commitment?

I’m thinking of starting an online community forum!

Early last year, I was looking for the answer to a particular problem I had with a piece of knitting I was working on. I won’t bore you with all the details, but suffice to say the pattern I was working with was not too clear. After a couple of Bing/Google searches, I found a web forum Phoenixcalled Phoenix Knitting Forum (so called as it had ‘risen up from the ashes’ of a previous forum), that had the answer. Well it showed me part of the answer and invited me to become a member if I wanted to see it all. I quickly signed up and within a few weeks, I had progressed to being a quite active participant.  It was a great community and I enjoyed the help I received and the bits of advice I was able to offer.

Then, just around the end of February there was suddenly a bit of problem. One of the moderators had said that there had been a few issues with the forum and the administrator was looking into the Not workingpossible causes. Although you could get to the site, users were not able to login. A few days later actually getting to the site failed. I Googled the error code that had been generated in the Opera browser, but it turned out to be just a general error code that gets created when there is a problem accessing a server, so no real help. I had no way of contacting the administrator or any of the moderators outside of the forum as all contact was either through the forum message boards or by a direct message. All this had gone.

I had been a member of the Ravelry knitting and crochet social networking community for some time and I knew they had a “Q&A” section and I soon discovered that the Phoenix Knitting Forum had its area on Ravelry. I signed up and quickly found that one ofRavelry Logo the moderators was the same person on both sites. I had a feeling that things may just start to get better.  However, It’s not the same as a real forum and nowhere as user-friendly as the previous one, but with nothing else and no sign of the Phoenix rising again it was a case of make use of what we’ve got.

Then last week a friend, who I’d not spoken to for a while, asked me about the forum because they were getting an error message. I explained that the forum had gone down at the end of February and it had not recovered. I told them they should use Ravelry as a lot of the forum members were on there too. They then suggested that I should start up a new forum and quantified this by saying that I both the skills and time, just need the commitment. That got me thinking. When it became apparent that the forum was not going to reappear, I was asked if I would or could start a new one. I used the argument at the start of this post … no time, not skilled and no commitment. I hadn’t really taken the time to think it through and I was now wondering how hard could it be.

So I’m now in the early research stages of considering if I could do it. I would of course have to use forum screensone of the many free forum hosting sites. I have identified two such sites, Pro Boards and Create A Forum. There are others, but my initial research has led me to think that one these two maybe the best option. Of course, both are financed by banner ads, but then so was the previous forum so that should not be an issue.

I’m still at the “could I?” stage, but as the time and researching goes on, I’m getting closer to the “yes I could” stage. I would need to find one or two people to be moderators and set up some board names and categories, but that is still way in the future. I am not going to mention this to the group on Ravelry until I completely sure.

 

It seems a long time …


I had been doing an on-line survey (I do quite a few) and one of the questions was to do with hobbies. The question asked which was my favourite hobby at the present time. It then expanded on that question into “why, when, where, how long” and a few other questions, which I cannot remember. It got me thinking though, that I have never really taken the time to write down the why, when, where, how long. So here goes.

Its going a long way back to when I was about 7 years old, around 1962/1963. We used to go to my maternal grandmothers regularly and althoughFamous Five there was quite a lot for us youngsters to play with, I often got bored. I suppose it may have been due to the fact that I was the oldest and I possibly thought that I was above these childish games my other brothers were playing. There were always books to read. Mostly by Enid Blyton, but at 7 years old ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ books were a little too advanced for me yet.

I became fascinated by the way my grandmother could turn a ball of ‘wool’ into a Needles and yarnjumper, a cardigan, a scarf and even a pair of socks! All done with what looked like a couple of sticks. She would sit there, by the fire “click-clacking” away, often without even looking at what she was doing. Only stopping to take another drink from her cup of tea (didn’t do coffee in those days) or to light another cigarette. I have to say, she was also an excellent seamstress and embroiderer. But it was the knitting that held my attention most, and one day I asked if she could show me how to knit. That’s when it started. She cast on 20 stitches for me and showed me the basic knit stitch. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I got there in the end.

It then became the job of my mother, to show me more. Mum showed me how to cast on and cast off, how to increase and decrease and, most importantly, how to do the purl stitch. I then began to pick up a lot of the other stitch types that I use today.

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By 1965, I was knitting quite advanced stuff for my age. My parents were foster carers, and took on new born babies that were being put up for adoption. Not to get into too finer detail, many of these babies were to unmarried mothers. Quite often they were under 16 and a great deal were from poorer family background. So often the children came with whatever clothes had been donated to the hospital. So between me and my mum, we took on the task of knitting clothes for these kids. My first efforts were simple mittens and bootees, but I quickly graduated in to knitting hats/bonnets. Within a few weeks, I was tackling cardigans and, what used to be called romper suits.

This new found hobby carried on for a few years, although it was never mentioned outside the house. I cannot imagine what my schoolmates would have thought/said about my hobby. I drifted out of it when I started work, for no particular reason really but got back into it a little when I met my wife. It lasted a couple of years (the knitting that is) and again it fell out of favour.

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It then took about 35 years before I picked up the needles again. I saw in a magazine, a picture of some daffodils that had been knitted by someone. They looked really impressive and I thought I would give it a go again. I still hadSo far so good all my needles and bits and pieces and was only short of the yarn. I bought some cheap acrylic double knit, in yellow and white from the Pound shop and got going. It took a couple of attempts and restarts to get the first one done, but I soon had a bright yellow daffodil. I was hooked again. More flowers followed, then headbands before moving on to beanie hats.

Now that the eldest and his partner are having a child, I’m back to knitting my favourite, baby stuff again. It’s come full circle and I’m feeling the love once again. Only issue now, is that my ‘stash’ as it is called, does not have yarn that is right for baby clothes!

Update to an update …


At the beginning of the month I posted about a knitting project I was working on. I updated later after Patternhaving an issue with the pattern. Since then, I have had to restart the thing twice more. I seem to have a problem somewhere between row 11 and row 14. One of the stitches is “SK2PO” which I understand to be ‘Slip 1, knit 2 Goodbyetogether, pass slipped stitch over’ and I think that this may be causing the problem. I don’t know why or how, but it is after the row with this stitch that everything goes to pot.

So after a total of 5 restarts (not including the start when I ran out of the tail) I have decided that the pattern is to be binned. The yarn I got will come in for something else I’m sure. It apparently knits up like Double Knit, so there will be plenty of patterns I can use it for.

As good as a rest, they say …


Change! It’s not a thing that I’m particularly  good at. I tend to stick to something I’m comfortable with or something I like. I’m not one for trying out new things. Prefer the ‘status quo’ rather than be adventurous. But … I’m seriously considering changing the theme on this blog. I’ve had this current theme for quite a while now and while I still like it, I think it’s time to to have a change. I’m looking for something a little more subtle. So you may see a change over the next few days, but then again …

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I finally got around to putting a picture on the Simply Knitting Group Facebook page, of some the Plant Hangersknitting I had worked on. They are three plant pot hangers that were in the style of those macramé hangers from the 1970’s.  When I knitted them, I found that one of the patterns was slightly wrong. I managed to work out what was wrong and was able to complete the knits. I emailed the magazine, the designer and the Facebook group about the error, and finally I got the response that I was expecting and the correct instructions were posted on the magazine website. Feeling a little chuffed with myself as I have got a few likes, which I wasn’t expecting.

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Whilst I bragging about my knitting ‘success’, I have to boast about another one. Way back in October last year, we had a new bathroom fitted. Just before the plumbers finished and packed up, one of them said he was Tubular Spannersgoing to fix the kitchen tap. Now the problem was that when K*** got the kitchen sink replaced, the ‘handy-man’ fitted the tap, but did not tighten it up fully. He claimed that he didn’t want to over-tighten the fitting and crack the sink basin and it had been loose ever since. The bathroom plumbers found this highly amusing and went on to explain that there was a silicon washer that prevented the tap from over-tightening. They fixed it and all was good for a while. Then recently I found that the tap had worked loose again. The plumber was due back again for a small thing and I cheekily asked if he could fix the tap again. Unfortunately the tool he needed had been lost on another job. However, he explained that all I needed was a number 10 box or tubular spanner. eBay to the rescue. After a quick search, I found what I was looking for and am now the proud owner of a full set of tubular spanners and a fixed sink tap.

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In spite of the fact that I don’t like change, I’m experimenting with a different internet browser. For the past few years, I’ve flitted between Firefox and the Google Chrome browsers. I gave up on Internet Explorer (IE) years ago and find their new ‘go-to’ browser, Edge to be not dissimilar to IE. I finally settled on the Google offering about 18 months ago, and have been reasonably Operapleased (if that’s the right phrase) with it. However, over the past couple of months I’ve noticed that opening webpages/sites in Chrome has slowed down a great deal to the extent that sometimes the page/site just doesn’t even open. I’ve done all the obvious things like clearing down the cache, deleting offline pages and deleting browser history but it has not had much effect. So I have now installed the Opera browser and am testing it for a while. It seems faster (could not be slower) and I have managed to import all my shortcuts and bookmarks. So we shall see if it is any better.

Nightmare …


Quite often, when I’m knitting from a pattern in a magazine I find I get lost when there are the famous “ ** xxx  *** “ closely followed by “ rep from ** to *** ” repeats in the middle of a row. In those cases, what I tend do WIPis to hand write the pattern repeat and use that when it is needed. My current ‘project’ has a 36 row pattern. Each right side row has a 12 stitch start followed by an 8 stitch pattern repeated 8 times. So I did as I often do and wrote out the repeat. Now this is where I made a mistake! For some reason, when writing out, I missed a yarn over after a decrease on row 13. This meant of course, that when I got to the end of the row, I was 8 stitches short. Bearing in mind that this was the second attempt at this pattern (first time, I dropped a stitch, which ran to the bottom before I could pick it up), you can well imagine the sort of language that was about.

However, after an hour of carefully picking back, I have finally got it back to the place where I went wrong. I am now able to breath again! I didn’t want to rip it all back and start again.

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While on the knitting theme, after some gentle persuasion in the comments of my last post, I decided to have a look at the other three groups. But, to no avail! The first group I tried explained that because of the size of the place where they hold their meetings, the number of members was limited. They did say that they would be happy to put me on a waiting list, so that’s good. The second group was basically a crafting group that had a (very) few knitters, but I was welcome to come along and try out. The third one was a strange affair. Membership was by referral from another member of the group, or at the discretion of the chair. I was waiting for her to say that she would use her ‘discretion’ but it never happened. At least I’m on a waiting list Eye rolling smile.

*** Update***

Guess what! When I recounted the stitches at the end of picking the work back, I find I now have 4 extra stitches that seem to have picked up somewhere. I can’t for the life of me see where they have come from, so there is very little alternative but to pull it all out and start againSteaming mad Crying face

It’s not really sexist … is it?


Some of you may know that I’m a bit of a knitter. It’s just a hobby and I’m not the greatest by any scale. It’s just something I like to do and (when it all goes right) I find it quite relaxing. I first learned the basic knit stitch from my grandmother when I was around 8 years old, back in the early 1960’s. My mother taught me to purl, cast on, cast off, increase and decrease. The rest is self taught from books originally, now I use the internet to learn anything new.

Early last year, a friend said I ought to join a knitting group or club. I do subscribe to a couple knitting related websites and I am an active member of a knitting help forum, but I had never really though of joining an ‘real’ group. My friend said it would help increase the awareness of male knitters. It has never bothered me that I am a male in what is now a mainly female area. Nevertheless, I had a look around and found that there were 4 groups within 7 miles of where I live. I looked at the website of one of the groups, which was basically a single screen with the address, time and day of the meetings. It was in a church hall, every third Thursday of the month from 18:45 to 21:00 and the banner at the top of the website said

Come on in and say hello. First meeting is free!

What did I have to lose? Well, it all went on quite pleasantly really. There seemed to be more chatting than knitting, but they seemed quite pleased to have me join them. Until the end, that is. I started to collect the coffee cups and was told to just put them on the serving hatch and L*** and J**** would wash them. They couldn’t have me doing the chores on my first night. So that’s what I did. I had just put the last 2 plates on the hatch when I heard to two ladies discussing someone. This is what I remember of the discussion.

Person 1:     “He’s either gay, or has got a failed marriage!”
Person 2:    “Failed marriage. What do you mean?”
Person 1:     “His marriage is over and he’s on the pull.”
Person 2:    “Oh dear.”
Person 1:     “My money is on the second choice!”

Now, I know it may seem a bit arrogant to think that they were talking about me, but neither said goodbye when I left and I just had that feeling. (Firstly, I’m not gay and it is not something that bothers me in the slightest and secondly, my marriage is quite solid.)

I never went back.

The second experience, was another local group which was a bit nearer. I just had a telephone number and against my better judgement I gave the number a call. A woman answered and I said that I was calling about the knitting group. She asked me if I was calling for my wife! When I said that it was me that was looking to join a group the phone went quite for a few moments and then came the reply “We don’t have any men in the group.” I asked why they didn’t allow men, which is what it sounded like, she replied that the group was “ … a bit ‘pink’ and we tend to drink Prosecco and talk a lot about ‘women’s problems’ and things …”

After that, I gave up and didn’t even try the other three groups.

Cut price knitting …


We visit charity shops quite often. Wetherby has ten charity shops that I know about and there may possibly be another one. Often when we go, I’m on the lookout for knitting yarn. I don’t need any as my wife will confirm, but if it’s a bargain, then I’m up Wetherby (2)for it. Trouble is, yarn does not seem to be very cheap in these type of shops. Most have some, but it is usually small amounts of left-overs and you never know what type it is (unless you’re a real expert). You can usually tell if its wool or acrylic, but without the band, I wouldn’t know if it was Aran or Double Knit. So although I look, I rarely buy any.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in one of the really popular shops and noticed that there was a bag of yarn that had five new balls and a couple of end scrap balls. It was very reasonably priced Yarnespecially for the amount at £3.50. I was tempted, really tempted and had almost decided when I felt a tap on the shoulder. I stood up and turned round, thinking it was my wife. Turned out to be a rather well dressed lady who was holding one of those long women’s cardigans that were fashionable some years ago. She smiled and asked if the yarn I was looking at was for me. I told her it was, but I wasn’t sure if to buy it. She handed me the cardigan and told me that this was a better buy. I was about to say that I didn’t want a cardigan, when she pre-emptied my thoughts. “You can get this cardigan for only £3.99. It has about 10 times the wool you have there, and there is a wash-care label still inside!” she said. She then explained how she never bought wool in charity shops and only every bought made-up woollen clothes which she would unpick (I think the term is frogging) and re-use.

It sounds a brilliant idea, but I’m not sure if I could ever “rip back” or “frog” such a large piece of clothing.

A good tip …


For a few months now, I’ve been scouring the local charity shops in search of a yarn bowl. I have wanted one for a while, but am reluctant to pay £30 to £40 pounds for a new one. I’ll probably endYarnBowl up making my own using “air drying” clay, but thought if I could pick one up for between £5 and £10 it would be much easier.

Now, to come to the point. I rarely if ever buy yarn from charity shops, as it is often quite pricey for what you get. You never really know what you are buying unless they still have the wrappers. However, last week I found a bundle that had five 100g balls, with their wrappers. It was a nice ivory colour and was reasonably priced at only £3.50. I was tempted when I received a tap on the shoulder. I turned and there was a lady with a large cardigan in her hands. It was the same colour as the yarn I was looking and was priced the same.

“Never buy loose wool,” she said. “If you buy this cardi’ and pull it all out, you’ll have at least four times the wool. It’s what I always do.” I had to admit it, I had never thought of it before and it did make sense. So that’s what I look for now. What I would do if I did find something in the type and colour I wanted, I couldn’t say. Could I really buy something and pull it all out? It’s hard to say.

It’s often described so …


Not so by fellow bloggers, but by ‘the great unwashed’ that don’t have a blog. I think I have blogged about this before (can’t find the post though), but often get the comment “So what’s your blog about? ” to which I always reply, “It’s not about anything really.” That’s when I get the comment “That’s a bit vague, isn’t it? ” Well it maybe, but if they took the risk and read it, they could be surprised.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. If you’ve been kind enough to have a look at my profile, you will know I’m a knitter. About 3 years ago, I was asked by a ‘friend’ to help with a knitting pattern. Talk about vague, the pattern was originally written in French, and then badly translated into Greek and then even worsley(?) translated into English. It must have translated by someone who could not speak either Greek or English and possibly not French originally. I did eventually manage to get hold of the French copy and, with a lot of help got it translated into English. The problem was with the written description. There was a chart, and it was that that I used to translate it.

Daily Prompt: Knitting disaster …


My attempt to increase my skill level with double pointed needles (DPNs) has been somewhat thwarted today. I have been knitting a beanie hat on circular needles with the full knowledge that I would eventually Beaniehave to revert to DPNs as the number of stitches decreased. It was to be an important learning curve as I’ve never quite cracked the skill. Today was a large set back in that attempt, and this is what happened.

It became apparent, that I would soon need to add in a new ball of yarn. Like I had been told, I decided that the beginning of round 1 of the 8 round pattern was the place to start. New ball joined and tails woven in as I went along, when I noticed Disaster number 1. I had somehow made an error in the pattern. I traced it back to about 12 stitches from the start of the round. Not to worry, I’ll take it back. I was just about to start when the phone went. Disaster number 2 came as I stood up. My foot caught in some loose yarn and it pulled about 20 stitches off the needle. Shouldn’t be a problem I thought and dropped the lot on the floor, so as not to make things worse. I answered the phone as quickly as I could and went back to my knitting. Disaster number 3 reared its ugly head as I bent to pick the work up. I accidentally stepped on the needle and it snapped (bamboo needles) and more stitches fell off only this time unravelling parts of the last three rounds.

The broken needle is in the bin, the yarn rewound and back in the stash cupboard and the pattern moved to “Try again” folder on my computer.

Mrs H is going to be devastated when she notices. She hates it when I pull any knitting out.

A little annoying …


I’ve mentioned this before on here. I’m a knitter! I am sometimes tempted to call myself a ‘male knitter, but I do try to avoid that categorisation. I’ve been knitting since around 1965, so since I was around 10 years old. My grandmother taught me how to do the plain Knit stitch and my mother followed it up with cast on, cast off and the Purl stitch. I’m not a big fan of large knitting projects as I get bored with them. I’m currently 9/10s of the way through a sleeveless pullover for me and I’m fed up with it. It’s taken me since just after Christmas and to be honest, I don’t really  like it.  I think I’m gong to pull it all out, but K*** (who is not a knitter, so doesn’t understand) will have a fit! She cannot comprehend how I could do that. I think I will stick to smaller items in future. Hats, scarves and mittens that kind of thing. Things that are finished in a couple of hours/days.

Now that’s not the point of this post. No what is ‘a little annoying ’ is actually more than a little annoying, in fact, it’s very annoying. It’s the periodical stands in some shops and supermarkets

I enjoy reading knitting, and to some extent general crafting, magazines and I actually subscribe to one of the most popular knitting ones. However, I’ve noticed that in many shops, the knitting, sewing, crocheting and crafting magazines, tend to be bundled together next to or in the same place as the more specific ‘Women’s’ magazines. Now I don’t mind the odd looks I get when I pick up a copy of “L*** K***” magazine, but am not keen on the comments I sometime get. Only last month, I was rummaging through the magazines when a shop assistant asked me if I needed some help. I told her the magazine I was looking for but neither of us could find it. I said I was not too sure of the title, and to my shock the girl suggested that I ring my wife and check the title!  Her face was a mixture of horror, disbelief and amusement when I explained that the magazine was for me!

When I returned home, I wrote to the head office (it was a large supermarket chain) to explain my disappointment at this attitude. I did not mention the assistants name as it was not her fault, more the supermarkets policy. I’m still awaiting a reply, but have noticed that the said magazines are now located in a section called “Hobbies and Pastimes”. So a success I think.

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That’s it for now, but just reading this back … I really should try and write some positive posts.

It’s the August Bank Holiday and Leeds Festival …


This is that time of the year, when the Leeds and Reading Festival takes place. These are two of the largest music festivals in the UK, and take place simultaneous over Friday to Sunday. There are usually the same acts appearing at both sites over the Image result for leeds festival 2017three days. I was going to link to festival, but know of old that these links often simply disappear, so I’m going to make do with a couple of images. We live quite close to the site, so we get all the traffic and noise issues. Happily, Image result for leeds festival 2017the organisers seem to have got the traffic problems under control this year, as there has not (yet) been a repeat of the 5 hour tail-backs on some of the approach roads. The noise? Well it all depend on the wind direction. If the wind is in a certain direction, we do get the continuous hum from the motorway so when  that happens we do get some of the festival noise, but it’s not been loud enough to notice.

I have been before, back in 2011. The Parish Council of Bramham and Thorner are allocated a number of free ‘Guest’ tickets. From BBC NewsThese ‘sweetener tickets’ are then sold to genuine residents at an extremely discounted rate, with the funds going to local projects. Every year since 2011, I’ve thought about going again, but at the last minute, I back down. I don’t think K*** would enjoy it and I wouldn’t want to go on my own. But who knows how I will feel next year? I have to admit, even though the weather was bad that year with some rain on each of the 3 days, it is quite an experience. The weather has been sort of kind this year, except for the 23rd this month, when we experienced 3 weeks rain in one hour! Now that was a wet day!

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I’ve come to a decision! Crochet is not my thing and I’m dumping my hooks (except a 3.5mm and 6mm). I can knit. I do knit. I will have a go at any knitting pattern or stitch that you care to through at me, but I totally fail at crochet. I just cannot get my head/hands around it. I’ve watched all the tutorials and even had a ‘one-to-one’ with a work colleague and I still cannot do it. It looks like the old ‘Granny knots’ we used to do when I was a kid. So I’m calling it a day. I’ll keep the two hooks I mention, as they can be very useful to pick up dropped stitches and the like, but the rest …gone!

All starting to get a bit real now …


Well, the confirmation I’ve been waiting for, came through on Friday morning. My boss emailed me first thing to tell me that my application for Early Retirement had been passed by the Corporate Panel. I am now all set to retire from full time employment on the 31st October.

I may have mentioned this before, but Leeds has had to respond to the huge funding cuts that have been forced on the Council. One of the initiatives has been what Leeds call the ‘Early Leavers Initiative’ or ELI as it is known. This is basically voluntary early retirement. Staff over a certain age in services that are at the forefront of the cuts are able to apply for ELI in order to reduce costs. I applied back in July, when it became obvious that our team was one of the teams that could be at risk. I felt it was a case of jump before I was pushed. Going now, I get a reasonable package, that I would not have got if I would have been one of the ‘pushed’ and my Service Head made it quite clear that some people would be forced to go in March 2017.

So now, I need to look for a part-time job. Although the package is a good one, it’s a lot less than I am currently used too. I also need to be able to get out of the house an keep active. My knitting and computer hobbies will not fill all the time and I don’t want to be under the feet of K*** everyday. Fingers crossed I find something quickly. 

A Rant, A Query and a bit of a Moan


I’m going to start with a bit of a rant. I know I have mentioned this before, but I can knit. Not huge amounts of clothes but usually small crafty items, such as daffodils and hearts and the like. DaffsI’ve done it on and off since I as about 8 years old, and when I’m in the mood, I really enjoy it. Now the issue I have, is that nearly all the magazines and websites dedicated to knitting do not seems to tailor any  of their content to the male knitter. Men have always knitted, and while todays society is a little less ‘macho’ enforced it is still rare to see a man knitting in public. I’ve done it, and you do feel very self conscious. It is not until your public realise that it can be quite intricate and that you are quite good at it, that some semblance of normality creeps in.

It annoys me when you see articles about knitting STheSin magazines or on the internet, that they almost always show pictures of women with their needles (never call them pins!) in their hands. It is the same with sewing and embroidery … never men. I recently signed up to an online knitting forum, with the intention expressing my concerns in the area on male knitting. I was more than disappointed when my registration confirmation email, which was addressed to Anthony Huby, started with “Dear Ms …” I’m still awaiting comments on that first post!

Here endeth today’s rant.

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I’m pondering at the moment, as to what software to use to write. I have Microsoft Word, which I tend to use mostly. However, there are a lot of suggestions that I need to write with software that has a cleaner interface. By that I mean not as many ‘whistles and bells’. Something a little plainer. More than a simple text editor such as Wordpad though, and possibly software that is dedicated for writers.

The two top mentioned software applications seems to be Scrivener and yWriter. I found both very confusing to use. Scrivener was a trial version, and had a number of features that were not available, but even so, I found it difficult to understand. yWriter is freeware, but was even more confusing as it tries to concentrate your mind on breaking chapters down into what it calls ‘scenes’.

I have tried both but think I am going to go back to Word. It’s an application that I know quite well and have used for a long (long) time. I’m loathe to pay for more software (don’t like paying for anything if the truth were known) if what I have got does the job.

What do all you writers out there in WordPress land use, and just as importantly, is it free?

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Back to work tomorrow! Not looking forward to it at all. I still feel a little under the weather, but not ill enough to warrant any more time off. Of course, the question I always get asked (we have a ‘return to work interview’) will be “Are you back to 100%?” I’ve not been 100% for many years, I tend to hover around a normal level of around 92%, so the question always winds me up a little.

I’ll get the usual raised eyebrows when I mention I’ve been off with a ‘cold’. These are the same people that would complain if they caught a cold, that “…they got it from ‘so and so’ who has been sneezing all over the place …” Can’t win with a simple cold!See what I mean

We are also starting with a new telephone system tomorrow. It uses Skype for Business as its exchange and means that laptop users, which most of us are, will have to wear a headset, when making or receiving a phone call. I’m expecting to look like an overpaid telephonist (no offence). It is supposed to save the Council. The theory, as I understand it is that as we already use Skype for Business for instant messaging, using it as a phone does not coast any more. Training on the new system seems to be a bit sporadic, but as ‘The Team’ are classed as IT people, I think we are supposed to just get on with it. That part of tomorrow could be quite intriguing.

I bit the bullet …


I completed the form, citing mid April 2017 as my leaving date and emailed it off to HR. I then composed, recomposed, deleted, recomposed again my email to my service head. Then took a deep breath and sent it. I believe the exhalation of that deep breath was quite audible. I had done it, now wait for the backlash. I had decided that I would tell him that I had made my decision ‘after a good deal of talking with family and friends and a recent disappointment on the job front‘ which I hoped would provoke queries about my looking for another post. It didn’t. The reply was basically ‘keep me informed‘.

Within about thirty to forty minutes, I received an email back from our HR explaining that that they could not register my interest for 2017 as the scheme was ending 31 March this year! There was no indication of it being extended for next year. This left me with the embarrassing task of re-emailing my service head to retract my original. Not a fun task.

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The first few flakes of snow hit us last evening. There was a very light covering where we live, but from the plethora of photos on Facebook, you would have though nobody had seen it before. Lots of people saying how wonderful it was to see snow, but they won’t be saying it if they can’t get to work in the morning or when their car won’t start. They won’t be saying it when the car can’t get up the hill or slides back down. I wonder if they’ll be now asking where the grit/salt bin has gone. Went missing last year and nobody really bothered. Maybe they will now.

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I thought I would post this picture. K*** likes hearts. We have a number of them dotted around the house in various formats from wicker work to rustedP1010820 iron to beads on a wire. Now I’m a bit of a knitter, and I realised that we did not have a heart that had been knitted. This could be a long story if I went into the full details, but I will cut it short. I found a pattern  for a knitted heart shape in a magazine which I thought would look good. So in keeping with the colour scheme of the room, I went to work on creating a heart out of wool. It was quite easy, and knitted up quite quickly. Only problem was that it curled up at the sides. I had the idea that if I knitted two, sewed them together and plumped it up with a bit of stuffing it would look better. I think it works.

Up and at ‘em again!


Well my ‘blogging time out’ did not last very long, did it? I will have to take this offline at some point in the near future as I want to change the theme I am using. I am not too happy with the text layout on the Penscratch theme.

I have started knitting again. I used to knit quite a lot, but got out of the habit some 10/15 years back. What got me started again, was seeing somebody wearing a knitted poppy. I thought to myself “That looks easy. I could do knit that!” And so I did. It took only an hour or so, once I got started, but then it took 3 months for me to get in the mood to make it up (always been a problem.) It looked as good as I expected it to look and K*** was pleased with it. So pleased that announced that a daffodil would look nice! I think it was more than a hint and so I trawled the Internet looking for a pattern. Found one and had a go. I goes on from there. Four daffodils later and I’ve a full set of needles and accessories. I’m now also half way through a cushion cover and over 70% the way through a Clanger. The whole thing takes me back years.

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My email is playing up again. Well, not so much my email it’s K***s. I’m unable to download her emails into Outlook 2013. Problem has only just started (like yesterday) but it has happened before. The problem lies with the server I think. You see, my email accounts are with Google and Microsoft. K***s on the other hand is provided by Sky and is powered by Yahoo. That is the issue I think, Yahoo! I was very disappointed when Sky announced they were changing to Yahoo from Gmail, but my complaint fell upon deaf ears at Sky.

I would love to get here away from using the Sky email address, but to change now would be a nightmare. I think the current issue will rectify itself over the next day or two, but it is very frustrating at the moment.