Bit of a chunter …


Chunter

There have been a few things that have irritated me this past week or so I’m having a bit of a mild rant today.

First up is driving in the rain. It’s not the driving that’s the problem, it’s other drivers. Not all, but Rainmany are guilty of the thing I’m moaning about. Picture this …driving along a grey road, on a grey rainy day and being closely followed by a grey car. Not so bad you may think. But he/she has no headlights on! Not even side lights! On the particular day in question, I counted three cars, two vans and a mini-bus with no lights on and that was in a one mile stretch of road. Incredulous. Do these people not know what the two functions of lights are … see and be seen. My driving instructor said that I should only put on my lights when they are needed. That was to ensure that lights were not left on accidently. But really, these days cars lights go off automatically when you lock the door, so leaving them on is not a problem. Even my little i10 turns the lights off for me.

Next up is those form you get through the post that have all your personal details already completed. Now I’m not talking Formsabout your name and address on the cover letter, that’s unavoidable, no It’s all those little boxes on the various pages that have all your details filled in. Quite often they are from banks or insurance companies and will have your details in two or three places. I reluctantly agree, that they can save you a little time when you fill the form in, but it is very annoying when you are not interested and have to spend time shredding every page. I once received a credit card application form (not requested) that had a total of 12 pages. My name and address were on both sides of six of these pages and on one side of another two pages. Fourteen different occurrences of the same details. The shredder nearly gave in!

This may be a strange one to some. It’s magazines! Or more to the point, magazine classifications. This is online and in shops. I’m currently in communication (ha…still waiting for a reply) with a magazine subscription reseller with regards to how they classify their sales. I had better explain where I am coming from. I’m a knitter. I’ve been a knitter for over 50 Magazinesyears on and off and I’m quite used to the double take when I mention this.  Now this reseller (not going to mention the name as my complaint is still on-going) has on their website a large number of magazines available for subscription. These magazines are listed in categories such as “Leisure Interests”, “Hobbies & Pastimes” and a few more. The thing that has caused this particular ‘chunter’ are the magazines that are listed in a classification called “Women’s Interests” and “Male Interests”. The Women’s list has magazines on sewing, crafting, the usual Woman’s Own type and all of the ‘chat’ types. The Men’s list has car magazines, motorbike magazines, so called ‘lad’s mags’ and heavy metal music magazines. Most of both lists are in other classifications, but it seems to me to be wrong in these times to have separate classifications for men and women. Just an opinion.

From then to now … the prequel


I have been wanting to write some kind of auto-biography some some time now. But I had largely been put off by reading an old work colleague’s attempt. Believe it or not he started the thing the phrase:

I was born at an early age …

This was a miss-quote of a quite well known Groucho Marx statement. To be honest, I don’t remember much of my early childhood, and there are not too many people left to ask these days. So I decided that the ‘then’ would be my work start and the ‘now’ would be basically be the start of my current part-time job.

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In order to clarify a few points that may or may not crop up in this tale, I need to go back to school. It’s 1966 and I in the 2nd term of my 5th year at Harehills County SchoolSecondary school. It was just after Christmas and we were having our obligatory “Careers Advice” meeting. This took place after school an involved my form teacher, some very old bespectacled gentleman from the Careers office and my parents. Oh, and I was there too. My only role was to say what job I wanted to do when I left at the ripe old age of 16. That’s all I did. I said I wanted to be a draughtsman. It was my best subject and the one I enjoyed Draughtsmanto most. After stating this, I was totally ignored for the rest of the meeting whilst the other three parties discussed why this was not going to happen. To this day, the only clue I have is that I was not expected to get 2 grade 1’s and at least 2 grade 2’s (these were the CSE or Certificate of Secondary Education. If I had gone to a Grammar School, it would have been the GCE or General Certificate of Education which was the old ‘O’ level.) That was the one and only official Careers Advice I was ever had. In those days, kids who only obtained a CSE normally did not go onto University, and after nearly 12 years in a classroom, the idea of more education certainly did not appeal.

What was to become of me? What else interested me?

The inspiration came from a rather unexpected source. We had a geography teacher, whom most of the class detested. He never seemed very good at his subject and was the most arrogant Knittingperson I ever knew. But he had a habit of asking kids if there was anything worrying or bothering them. He asked me and I hadn’t realised that I was worrying about my job/career prospects. His Chefadvice was to look at interests and hobbies outside of school and consider if there was any opportunity there. I told him my three hobbies and he replied that plastic model kit building would get me nowhere and that at the time, there would be very few opportunities for a male knitter. But cooking, if I was good at it could ‘…take me places…’.

So that was it. I was going to be a cook/chef. Now all I had to do was find a way of getting to that status.

To be continued …

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