Thursday, February 21, 2008

I spun! Or span, or spinned

Last night I had my very first spinning lesson from one of the ladies in my knitting group. She was a very patient teacher and I really enjoyed my lesson. Check out my handspun yarn:

And here it is next to my hair. There are some similarities:

It's lumpy, greasy, overspun in places and barely spun at all in others, but it's mine and I love it. The yarn, that is, although it could also apply to my hair.

So, spinning. Yet another addiction in the making.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Anxiety dreams

I had an anxiety dream about the move to Qatar last night. I woke up in a sweating panic. Then I had that slow sense of dawning relief as I realised it was all a dream, and I hadn't been forced to fly there in economy after all.

I think I'm going to fit right in to our new lifestyle.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

O hai Halifacks

We want to let our house while we’re away. Rob, being the scrupulously honest person he is, wrote to the Halifax to tell them. About a week after he’d gone, I got a letter saying I had to fill in a consent form and go into my local branch to renegotiate the mortgage.

So I phoned to make an appointment for a Saturday so I didn’t have to take time off work. Then a couple of days before the appointment was due I had a phone call to say the mortgage advisor was off sick. So I rebooked the appointment. They cancelled it again. I rebooked for last Friday.

When I arrived there was no record of my appointment and the mortgage advisor was off sick anyway. I was about to throw my toys out of the pram big-style when one of the other ladies offered to help. I don’t think she wanted me to kick off in a branch full of people. She was very helpful and managed to find out (after about 4 phone calls) that it was OK to have Rob’s signature on the form by fax. But she couldn’t answer any of my other questions. She made another appointment for me, this time to talk to the mortgage advisor by phone.

So much for the boring background. I’ve just got off the phone and I’m spitting coal blocks, as my friend Paula would say. This is the score:

  • we have to come off our fixed rate and go onto the standard variable rate. This puts our monthly payment up by about £100.

  • we’re meant to be tied in to the fixed rate mortgage til July. If we end it earlier, we get charged £3000. That still stands, even though we’re no longer on the fixed rate.

  • but we can’t charge Halifax £3000 for ending the fixed rate period early.

  • the fixed rate period ends in July as I said. So, Halifax, ask yourselves: do you want to keep our business until we come home from abroad, or do you want us to remortgage in July? Hmmmmm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cursed Pomatomi

After my Pomatomus frogging disaster on Monday, I cast on again using the second ball of yarn, as the first still resembles the Gordian Knot. I decided to use a size larger needle, so I fished out my 3mm green aluminium DPNs. These used to belong to my great-grandmother. I liberated them from her house after she died, along with a few antique bone crochet hooks. It’s good to have something to remember her by which has both practical and sentimental value. This is the first time I’ve used them.

I was happily knitting away on the train when I dropped a needle. It fell under the table and landed by my foot. I could see it. I leant down as far as I could, but because I had someone sitting next to me and the table in front, I couldn’t reach far enough. I brushed the needle with my fingers and only succeeded in pushing it under the heater at the side of the carriage. Then I couldn’t see it at all. So I carried on with 3 needles instead of 4, thinking I’d get it as soon as I could.

Then I dropped another needle so I couldn’t carry on at all. The woman sitting opposite was very sympathetic, but she couldn’t reach them either. I got them both eventually, after everyone had got off the train, but it involved a lot of scrabbling around on all fours on the nasty carpet.

Should I even carry on with these socks, or are the random forces of the universe telling me to stop right now?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Life in Cold Blood, or, a visit to the frog pond

Yesterday evening on my commute home, I discovered that I had made a mistake somewhere in the lace pattern in my pink Pomatomus. I was nearly home so rather than try to fix it on the train, I decided to wait and do it at home. So after dinner (bubble and squeak with 2 fried eggs. Not at all healthy but very yummy) I sat down to watch telly and fix my sock.

First of all I carefully tinked a couple of rows, but the pattern was still off. So then I ripped back a couple more. The pattern was still off, and I kept losing yarn overs. Then I lost all patience and frogged the whole damn sock. Then, when I started to rewind the yarn into a hank so I could dunk it in the sink to get the crinkles out, it got into a huge snarl. It’s currently languishing in the knitting basket, waiting for a time when I’m a bit less, um, dyspraxic.

I did all this whilst watching the latest, brilliant David Attenborough series, Life in Cold Blood. Last night’s episode was all about frogs. The irony was not lost on me.

In other news, this morning on the train I was sat opposite Obsessed Football Dad. He was talking to his mate about his son’s junior football prowess, and when I took off my iPod at London Bridge an hour later, he was still talking about it. His friend looked a bit dazed.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Up and down the stairs

Another weekend of loft-clearing, or rather, sorting, as I haven't managed to actually get much out of the loft so far. It's a two-person job getting stuff out of the hatch and down the ladder, and there's only me. Although I think I've got some male muscle booked for next weekend. I shall also hire a van (one with power steering this time, after the seized-up shoulders incident) and see if Mum will lend me Dad's old sack barrow.

I also made quite a lot of progress transferring some of our CD collection onto an external hard drive. What a bloody boring job that is.

Knit'n'natter on Saturday. Managed to destash quite a lot of yarn -- made enough in yarn sales to buy Dodo's Denise interchangeable needles. Everyone was happy.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Knitting blindness (or, facetious builders)

Have just had the following conversation with the Facetious Builder:

FB: What are you knitting?
Me: A cardigan (holding up the completed back section of my Tailored Scallops cardie)
FB: Looks exactly the sam as the one you've got on (my Notre Dame de Grace pullover)
Me: OK... that one's pink; this one's orange. That one's got a wavy pattern; this one's got straight lines. That one's a cardigan; this one is a pullover. I could go on.
FB: oh. Ha ha ha.

Jebus christ almighty but he does my freakin head in.