Monday, 24 January 2011


I know, I said there would be knitting content. And knitting content there shall be, even if there are no pictures. I could show you Shadowbox again, but it still isn't finished, and a picture of a large lump of black knitting isn't very enthralling. The truth is that I haven't even picked it up since I last posted.

I have, however, been knitting for most of the time, but I can't show you any of it, nor should I say much about it.

First I had another piece of sample knitting to do - I will just say here, 4ply and lace. And two pieces of it, as well. But it was easy pleasant knitting, and I had it done in good time.

And then - well, I seem to have had swine flu, albeit very mildly. It only lasted 24 hours - not a very nice 24 hours, though. I did have a flu shot this year, and this year's flu shot did include swine flu, so that would be why I only had it mildly - even though it didn't feel very mild at the time. I hate to think what it is like for people who have no immunity at all, very nasty indeed.

Knitting came to a complete stop for 24 hours - so did life in general, pretty much - and I was late casting on for my next sample knit, which I had intended to start on Friday evening. I didn't get started until yesterday, when I was feeling better. I had missed a whole day's knitting, and the deadline for this one is quite tight.

Today I am just carrying on - I have caught up and am back on track again, and it is pleasant knitting, once again with 4ply. No lace this time though!

So I still can't show you what I've been working on. I am enjoying getting paid a bit for my work - I don't think I have ever been paid for my knitting before, and it turns out to be very motivating indeed.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

I love my Kindle

(My husband says I ought to title this post ' I love my husband for getting me a Kindle'. However that's not quite the case, I love him for reasons other than that as well.)

Anyway! - my husband gave me a surprise Kindle, and I love it.

I've had a Sony eReader for a while now, it has been living in my handbag next to my sock knitting bag - just what is needed on long car journeys and in waiting rooms. It is a brilliant little thing, but it has been starting to show some significant signs of wear and tear - one of the buttons is loose, for instance. I can put knitting patterns on it, in pdf format and also in txt format, and although it is not ideal for this, it works.

But the Kindle is another thing entirely.

For a start, it is much lighter and thinner. Also, I can browse online for free - this function is still experimental, but if you are not in a hurry, you can easily check your mail, or browse on Ravelry, or shop on Amazon - careful with that one, though. It is very easy to spend money on lovely Kindle books.

The books for Kindle are, on the whole, cheaper than the paper version. (I could say DT version here, as in Dead Tree, but I can't quite bring myself to do that..... ) It wasn't like this with the Sony eReader, books were always more expensive, with the result that I couldn't bring myself to actually buy any. Instead I found titles on Project Gutenberg, and did a fair bit of proofreading there in return... that's an interesting thing to do, by the way.

Many of the titles that would be free on Project Gutenberg are also free for the Kindle on Amazon - technically you do buy them, at a cost of £0.00. This is excellent, as it means that you can have the whole of your Kindle library backed up online with Amazon - and you can download them again as many times as you wish.

The function that pleases me most, though, is the way the Kindle manages pdf knitting patterns - other pdfs as well, of course, but I'm not so interested in them. You can look at them on Kindle in their original format, and this is much the same as on the eReader - ok, but not brilliant.

Things are very different if you convert the files to Kindle format - .azw format. A knitting pattern is automatically rearranged so that it fits the Kindle screen, to start with. You can zoom in. You can change the screen orientation. You can make the text lighter or darker. And best of all, you can write little notes to yourself - you know the sort of thing, up to this point is xxx rows, or whatever you choose. I am very keen on keeping check of row counts, and where I would normally be writing little notes in pencil in the margin, now I can write notes on my Kindle patterns as well. (You can do this with Kindle books as well.)

This particular idea is so excellent that I am very nearly lost for words. New technology ought to be like this - it should work in a way that we intuitively recognise - it should do what we are used to, with the old technology - and it should do it all better. The Kindle does exactly this with regard to knitting patterns, and this pleases me.

How to get the files to Kindle format, though? - brilliantly simple. When you register your Kindle, it automatically gets its own email address, which it will tell you about in Settings - And there is also another one which doesn't get quite so much publicity -

You send an email to your Kindle's free email address, with the subject 'convert'. Your pdf knitting pattern goes as an attachment to this email. Now, you must make sure that your Kindle has the wireless turned on - not just the 3G, but wireless through a router.

A few minutes later, your knitting pattern appears on your Kindle, converted to Kindle format, all for free.

I can't see myself printing out pattern very much at all, in the future.

Next post, some actual knitting content, I promise. I should have Shadowbox finished, with luck.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Finished in 2010

Finished in 2010 - 28 projects.

9 sweaters -
4 hats -
1 cowl -
1 scarf -
2 wraps -
7 pairs of socks -
1 small thing in which I now keep my iPod headphones -
A stack of dishcloths -
The cycle helmet thingies for my son -
And finally a project which should be in one of the main categories, but as I can't talk about it until the book is published, it must remain - for the time being -

That's not too bad a total really, considering that 2010 has seen a new puppy in the household - gorgeous, but very time consuming - not to mention knitting consuming, or at least attempting same - and the (very tedious) ongoing health issues.

I can't say that either 2008 or 2009 was a good year overall, there were some very bad happenings in our lives during those years - not so for 2010, there was a distinct improvement.

So here we go with 2011, hoping for an even better year!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Hello 2011

I am so behindhand here. How did that happen? - I have no idea. I haven't even done my end of year round-up post, with all of last year's projects. That has become something of a blogging tradition, I can't leave that out. Later, later... I'll get there.

Quick recap. Christmas was absolutely wonderful. I had all three of my children here at the same time - this doesn't happen very often, and it made me very happy indeed.

Between Christmas and the New Year is one of my favourite times of the year - and then we saw the New Year in - and now we are a whole week into the New Year and I hardly seem to have drawn breath.....

Knitting. Well, I still haven't finished Shadowbox.

I have a fairly feeble excuse. I had just finished the shaping and was into the neck section when I discovered that I'd dropped half a stitch - one of my two strands of yarn - all the way back before the beginning of the shaping. Unfortunately it was near the side seam where the shaping had been worked, so there wasn't a clear run of fabric above it, just a couple of inches to the shoulderline - meaning that I couldn't ladder back down to it, and fix it. I could have bodged something, of course - in fact that is definitely what I should have done, but I was feeling so annoyed with myself that I didn't want to do that. So I 'had' to pull the whole thing back all the way to my half-dropped stitch, put it all back on the needle again - and there it stalled.

I have just picked it back up again. I want to be wearing it, and it isn't going to get finished if I just keep looking at it as I walk past.....

Other than that? Not a lot.

I've been reading, though. I can recommend The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell. Best book I have read for a long time - I think even better than Cloud Atlas. I could hardly put this one down, and towards the end of the book not a lot was getting done around the house.

Also, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley. Very entertaining.