Thursday, 23 December 2010
Knitted Socks East and West
I'm slightly obsessed with Japan and Japanese culture and I am obsessed with knitting socks. This is gorgeous and I had to buy it; for less than £9 there are 29 patterns! All sorts of patterns are in here- lacy, thick, traditional Japanese. What I love about this is that Judy Sumner has named each pattern after some element of Japanese culture. I'm going to finish my 'vanilla' socks and then start the Tsunami socks. Almost like a Christmas present to me.
The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry- This book is amazing. I can't tell you exactly why, only that Barry has captured the atmosphere of Ireland in the 40s and beyond perfectly. The story covers the time in which I have been researching and the ending, although not totally unexpected, was surprising enough to make me cry. And I don't cry when reading novels.
The Owl Killers- Karen Maitland- I read this on my second journey to Ireland of the year and found it completely un-put-down-able. The story of a group of religious women settling into a strange and scary 14th century England wouldn't have been my cup of tea had I seen it in a bookshop, but a good friend sent it to me and I just thought it was amazing.
The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister- Helena Whitbread- I'm going to 'fess up- this is my grandma's book. She found a diary that had huge parts in code. She decoded it and found an account of lesbianism in Regency England that is fascinating (and maybe not as racy as many people expect!) It also gives an insight into how women were expected to behave at this point in time.
Desperate Romantics- Franny Moyle- I loved the TV series, but I loved the book even more. It's interesting how the artists seem on screen compared to how they do in the book; for example, I thought Holman Hunt was much more sympathetic in this book and you find out much more about one of my artistic heroes, William Morris and actually, what a nice chap he was, even to Rossetti who stole his wife. I also liked the infomation the reader is given about the women involved in the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood, which, with the exception of Lizzie Siddall and Annie Miller, is kind of glossed over in the adaptation. Also? Aidan Turner is on the cover and that's never a bad thing.
So, this year, I read 40 books. Not bad going, I reckon!
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
I want to knit a wrap/shawl to go with it. My options so far are these:
What do you think? What yarn should I use? Hopefully it'll be a May wedding and I'd like to splash out a little on the yarn. What colour would you choose?
Thanks, Knitters! x
Sunday, 12 December 2010
So, what have I been up to? Well, I got engaged last week! We'll be getting married next May. So I'm planning a wedding.
I've travelled to Ireland twice and discovered a lot about my roots. I saw the house where my great-grandfather was born and I've visited his parents' and grandparents' grave. I've made new friends and discovered the joys of hot whiskey! I met a Yorkshireman and South African in a tiny pub in rural West Cork. I went to my first Mass, which was in Irish.
I got better this year. I'm no longer (for the time being, anyway) on any medication. I'm a happy and content person. I think that this may be due to the fact that I no longer work Fridays. I read interesting books and I'm having a go at writing my own, although that comes in fits and starts.
Knitting wise, I've made a plethora of socks and a couple of shawls. I've added bootees to my repertoire! I'm planning on knitting something for my wedding, I have a couple of ideas. I've been dyeing up a storm and am knitting some pretty cool socks at the moment.
I'm now looking to Christmas and the New Year. I hope to blog more frequently on this blog!
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Anyway, speaking of weddings, I got the first half of the wedding present done.
Sublime Stitching (I have a ton of these transfers, which I just whip out for occassions like this or boredom) I might actually do a few of these for my own kitchen.
I also got my fascinator type thingy, which is a headband with a peacock feather. Now, I am slightly superstitious, so I wouldn't wear it if I was getting married myself, but it matches the dress I've decided to wear. Also, I finished the knitted leaving presents, which were well received (phew) and I wrote my review. Most of the marking got done too. Woo-hoo!
The last two weeks have been very interesting- my school has a link with a school out in Ghana and a party of teachers and students came over for a visit. I am now sorting out a really exciting project between the two schools, in which I teach African poetry and the teacher in Ghana teaches Victorian literature. We're hoping that our students will also email each other and forge links. Right now, 'Ghana' is a very distant idea for a lot of the kids at school, I'd like the project to be a more positive one, so that some members of the senior team realise what a valuable exercise it is.
School ends in a day and a half and I have to give my form up to a new teacher. Although I am excited to meet my new year 7 form, I will be sad to see my kids go. We all started on the same day in 2007 and I've watched them grow from being tiny, with their blazers and backpacks being too big, to confident young adults. It has been amazing. I hope I don't cry on Friday when we finish! We had a party at lunchtime last week and I spent a small fortune having special badges made for each member of the form.
However, onwards and upwards towards a brilliant summer break!
Friday, 16 July 2010
- finish the leaving present scarf
- finish reading, and review, 'Helen' by Maria Edgworth
- Embroider some tea towels as a wedding present
- mark some essays about 'The Crucible'
- create a scheme of work about African Literature (I'm going to be the English Department link with our partner school in Ghana... v exciting!)
- re-mark and file away media coursework
- clean out the rabbit
- buy a fascinator type thing
- update my tea blog
I am also, at this point, very, very tired and just getting through the day is hard, but I am trying to be enthusiastic- this week, I created TWO new schemes of work. Very pleased with myself, as hopefully it will mean that I will have a more organised year. If I'm honest, the hell of the last year at work has meant I haven't been as good at my job as I am capable of being. I want that to change; there are so many exciting things I could be doing. Hopefully, going part time will help me get my positivity back.
Once I've finished the scarf, I have to knit something for a swap I'm participating in and I have to start thinking about my mum's 50th birthday present (I'm thinking a shawl- a big one to help her shoulders when her arthritis plays up. Any suggestions welcome. I'd like pretty too, if poss.)
Monday, 12 July 2010
Other than that, I'm sticking to the no new yarn/clothes thing really quite well.
We break up at the end of next week and I am so looking forward to it. I find that I am more relaxed mentally, but more active physically. For example, I have been making a real effort to exercise on a regular basis, even though I do pretty much loathe it. The loathing is beginning to subside a little bit, so who knows where that will lead? (To not having cankles and bingo-wings, hopefully...)
Also, I had a massive tidy up yesterday. People who know me well know that I am messy. Not intentionally so, I just have so many things on my mind at once that tidying seems to fall to the bottom of my to-do list. Anyway, now the way to my side of the bed is clear and it really is marvellous. However, give it a week or so and it'll be total chaos.
I've also found that, after months of hiatus, my baking mojo has come back with a vengeance. This weekend, I will be baking up cheese scones and possibly some oat-y, peanut-y biscuit-y things.
I've done all the major school related compulsory activities (one day was at work from 7.30am to 9.10pm and didn't get home til 9.45- that was with a lift; had it been by train I dread to think what time I would have got in) and so everything now is slightly more fun. Tomorrow, I teach a media studies lesson to the visiting Ghanaian students and on Friday, my form is having a tea party. It's all good.
I really like this time of the school year; you're glad that the end is nigh, that new classes and stationery are coming your way and best of all, you get a nice break from children. Except I do a week of summer school classes every year. Oh well, glutton for punishment and all that.
And then it's Ireland!
Tuesday, 29 June 2010
I was feeling very pleased with myself as it craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawled along. Then I realised. I've dropped a stitch a fair way back. Do you reckon I could get away with leaving it? (As it's a leaving scarf for a non-knitter, I reckon she won't notice.)
Sigh. Can't even do bog standard garter stitch scarves now.
Saturday, 26 June 2010
So, as a public declaration, I am going to do the following:
1) Not buy any more yarn. Swapping yarn is fine but NO NEW PURCHASES.
2) No more brand new clothes. I shall have to find a dress on eBay for the wedding and it shall be one that I can wear again.
3) Ditto shoes. No new ones. Not even flip flops (can I get away with a pair of flip flops at aforementioned wedding if I paint my nails?)
4) Don't buy any more tea. I have plenty to be getting on with. (Have you seen my tea blog?)
5) Don't buy any more books. I counted my unread books and found 38. And then I also have library books and a copy of Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book on the go.
6) I don't need to buy any more make up.
So, that leaves me with a small amount with which occassional purchases of tea and cake and a haircut.
I can stick to this, right? Right?
Thursday, 17 June 2010
On the other hand, a Branching Out scarf I made turned out to be brilliant.
This is a relationship like a few I've had (soaring ups and crashing lows), but at least I get something back from this one, I guess. Like handknit socks. Boyfriends, bosses and rubbish friends never gave me those.
So, for a while, I am going to knit socks. Plain socks in fancy colours (which is especially easy now I'm a member of the Three Irish Girls sock club). I'm going to stockpile in case we get another bitter winter, hopefully with attached snow days and everything.
In other news, looks like that from September, I'll be off on Fridays to concentrate on my writing. Yay!
PS- please check out my tea blog here. I'm currently taking part in a challenge I set myself to find the best Earl Grey teas!
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Also, a quick plug for a new blog I've set up- The Tea Taster, in which I get up to all kinds of tea-related japery.
I'll see you in about a week.
Sunday, 23 May 2010
I also have taken up a spot of embroidery- the Mary is for my mum and the peacocks grace a bag I've taken to carrying around. I'm also attempting to stitch a Tenniel drawing of Alice, but we'll see how that works out... At the moment, I'm knitting a Mountain Peaks shawl in some yarn I dyed myself.
So, currently, I'm listening to an album I loved when I was 17 and feeling nostalgic. I'm enjoying the weather (although snails ate most of my seedlings a couple of weeks ago... gutted.) My exam classes have left- and I felt a little bit emotional seeing my Year 11s off; despite the fact that they drove me mad and I saw them nearly everyday, I watched them in their last lesson and realised how much *some* had grown up. It was a surprise even to me.
So now it's downhill all the way to summer!
Saturday, 6 February 2010
Never has a saying been so apt, the last few weeks have been hectic at work, hence the lack of posting. Also, I was working on an article about women in graphic novels, so hopefully I'm beginning my new year resolution of writing more in a good way...
Knitting hasn't been so succcessful, nor has reading. Looking forward to the half term holiday!
Thursday, 7 January 2010
I'm not complaining, mind you, although it has been a bit weird. I've made headway on my Ishbel (which has taught me a lesson to read a pattern before I get stressed out) and I've watched the entire series one of Doctor Who. Ophelia has also been living inside and, if I'm honest, it's been like having a toddler who's eaten too many Smarties dashing around the house. Great fun though :)
I think Benn was a bit disappointed- he'd booked from Tues-Fri off for study leave for work exams and only got Tuesday with a quiet house. The rest of the week has resembled a slightly Benny Hill-esque procession of humans, headstrong rabbits, confused cats and scared mice..
We have to go and buy food tomorrow, as all we have in is a jar of honey, some dried pasta and a part-baked baguette. We're going to attempt it, anyway.
Oh, and officially? I've spent the last few days 'creating resources'!