Saturday, 31 March 2007


Hence the change in template! Hope you like it!

Out of the frog pond!

I struggled, I really did. I started 'cherry leaf' shoulder shawl in Rowenspun tweed 4 ply & it got frogged so much it should be waterproof! I knew that I had knitted all of the stitches before so I was beginning to get really frustrated, then I realised that I didn't really understand what the stitches collectively were supposed to be doing. I recalled a book that I have called 'Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain'. In essence, people who say 'I can't draw' tend to be left brain dominated & the logical left brain sees the bits & jumps into action.... yup its a vase, I know what a vase looks like..... & switches off the right side of your brain & the bits that look at the 'big picture' & draws a not very good picture of what it thinks it has seen. Turn the object upside down, left brain can't recognise it, right side of brain gets to work.... this line is here, this shadow is here..... Picture when turned upside down is of a .....vase. My left brain recognised the stitches & took off. So to switch it off I first scanned the pattern, studied it.... this is actually a garter stitch border..... got out the coloured pencils & coloured in the border stitches in one colour..... then the centre is basically worked in stocking stitch, so colour that in, annotate the pattern. Label the rows that have an extra increase & see the BIG PICTURE. Didn't frog it again! I could see what should be happening & if I made a mistake I could feel that it wasn't right & stop to sort it out. The photo of the knitting includes my coloured in & annotated 'help' sheet! A big learning curve & one I related to Year 9 yesterday is a 'SATS build up' assembly -message... if it aint going in one way...try another... work to your strengths. I KNOW I am a visual, big picture type of girl, so what was I doing letting the itsy bitsy left side of my brain getting in the way anyway?????? I have had a look at the border pattern.... mmm we will see! The pattern is actually easy. I can knit it in the car, which as we have a 9 hour journey down through France on Tuesday, is not a bad thing! We are all really looking forward to the holiday. School is out, thank goodness. Its been a rough old term really. Russell (the owner of the apartment in Bourg St Maurice) rang this morning from Bourg. Masses of fresh snow & sunshine this morning!!! That will do nicely!

Here in North Yorkshire there are signs of spring despite the cold north-east wind that has been blowing for the last couple of days. The dog & I took the camera out on our walk at tea time earlier this week to capture some of the images of spring.

Actually Moss isn't bothered about buds and flowers, just chasing sticks!

Saturday, 24 March 2007

Yorkshire Champions!

Harrogate Grammar School U 18's are the winners of the Duke of Wellington Shield and Yorkshire Schools U18 Champions of Rugby! Mr J the younger played at outside centre & one of 6 playing 'a year young' i.e. Lower Sixth. This is the second time his age group have been champions, the first time was in 2005 when they were year 10. A great day. All of the boys played out of their skins. Son & heir is having a bit of a nap but I think there is some celebration planned for later!

They played Roundhay High School from Leeds, having beaten Prince Henry's Grammar School from Otley in the semi-final.

On a fibre footnote my copy of Yorkshire Lace arrived this morning. Its awesome and a little bit daunting. The yarn for my first project also arrived -an ebay bargain! Rowanspun 4 ply tweed in 'sludge', which I think will make a great winter wrap if my skills are up to it. Sludge is greeny, browny....tweedy...... sludge colour! It was a potential sweater but its a bit fine in retrospect, 3mm needles would be needed! My beautiful gifted Cherry Hill lace yarn will be kept until my lace knitting is proven to be worthy of it!

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Not the snow forecast for North Yorkshire!

Les Arcs Snow Forecast I was checking out the forecast for Les Arcs & thought I might post it here. It was definitely spring in Nidderdale this afternoon but its winter again tonight. We do not care! The Rayburn is well again & all are cosy. A new 'steam generator' iron - a ***** expensive bit of kit to do the ****** ironing is awaiting collection at Comet tomorrow. I was seduced by the 'cut ironing time by 70%' comments & I do know people who have one & support the view ( and they have 3 boys!). I have opted for a mid range option. For the price of the most expensive ones I would want the ironing done for me!

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

More socks- Its a northerly Jim!

The yarn is an Opal sock yarn, just a quick knit in stocking stitch with a heart worked into it in kind of an embossed pattern (from my new book!)The colours in the yarn are great, real blackberries and cream......

I still have not decided about my 'big project', hopefully 'Victorian Lace Knitting Today' will be here soon.

As a geographer I had to have a map for my blogs & I (and my students) have been fascinated to see the little red dots spread across the globe as folk read the blogs.My A level students were especially interested to see links to 'Geography Room' and 'Geographylost'on geography teachers blogs in other countries. Yet again, the power of the blog!

The weather in Yorkshire continues to be characterised by arctic blasts.
The Metcheck map showing the position of the jet stream explains why! These upper atmosphere winds are pulling down the polar air over Britain & the rest of Europe.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Sounds reasonable?

New knitting books & some stuff

Whilst shopping in Leeds yesterday (a rare event but son & heir needed to take my credit card for some exercise!) we paid our ritual visit to Starbucks which is located INSIDE Borders bookshop & represents an American innovation that is to be wholly applauded. After coffee I had a wander to the basement & found this.......
It is a lovely book, so full of wonderful colour photos of stitches & techniques that it had to come home with me. Much is probably on the net but there is a time, I think, when nothing but a book will do. Based on the same principal, this book is also on its way from The Book Depositary:

The inspiration to buy it came from the very many references to it that I have found in lots of the blogs that I lurk around though! I have decided that I need another larger project as well as a steady stream of socks. I am also studying my copy of ' Knitting without Tears' because I do need a sweater & I HATE sewing up knitting!

A meteorological note: Its snowing on and off up here in North Yorkshire, the wind is out of the west & is very strong!

A domestic note: The engineer has replaced the 'bit' on the Rayburn and .....its still tripping out! ...... and the iron has died!!!!! When will it stop? The washer seems to be OK though!!!! fingers crossed!!!!

Oh, and Auntie loved her socks!

Thursday, 15 March 2007

a quick update!

Early signs of life in the polytunnel -Stir Fry leaf mix salad!

Nice to work at home this morning -it is 'Review Day' today, where the students just come in with their parents for a 15 minute interview, usually with their tutor, to discuss progress & set targets. I am doing the 'grave yard' shift & seeing a few parents who are unable to make it during the main part of the day, so I have been working since 7.45 (which is about 5 minutes earlier than I normally start AT school?!!!!!), but with a bit of blogging (Geog & not) and chores like putting out the washing mixed in. YES! The washer is fixed & the new bit for the Rayburn is due to be fitted tommorow. Grandad & Grandma to house/ dog/ Rayburn sit. Thank you M&M!
Not Eye Candy Friday, but only Thursday, however it might be covered in snow by Monday if the Metcheck forecast is right!

Worth a mention

In reply to a comment on my last post re midges & Scotland. If you stick way out west the midges are not usually a problem (its too windy!), Skye, Mull or the mainland is a different story! The ultimate enemy of midges is .... Avon Skin so Soft Woodland Fresh body oil!!!!! Its famous we discovered, used even by Mel Gibson when filming Braveheart & the US Marines plus Scottish forestry workers & fishermen! Probably works on the little welsh b*******s too! You can get it on e-bay, click on the picture to go to the sellers listing! Costs about £4 inc. postage. Better than DEET & doesn't melt the furniture or the tent! The only times we have had a problem on either the Uists or Tiree were mid evening on calm nights (& they are rare!) when midge nets were needed, not because they were biting despite the Avon SoS but because they were plain annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winter on its way back to the Alps!

If the forecast is correct then we can anticipate good conditions in a couple of weeks time when we return for another ski holiday! This time we are loading up the land rover & heading via the overnight ferry from Hull to Zeebrugger (Yes there is a disadvantage of living in t'north - the channel ports & the tunnel are a flippin long way away & there is a lot of 'south' in the way!) to drive down to Bourg St Maurice. We have again snared a neat little apartment just a couple of minutes from the funicular which will whisk you up to Arc 1600 & all of 'Ski Paradiski'. This has become a bit of a family tradition - Feb ski somewhere new & Easter pile back to Bourg, either driving or (last year) Easyjet. The advantage of this set up is that it also is flexible booking, not Sat-Sat or Sun-Sun. I have attempted to insert the mini-forecast in here but apparently there is something wrong with the html code & as I do not speak html that will have to wait!

Aunties socks are finished! Picture to follow, they are nearly dry after blocking! They are only a day late & I think they are OK. I think Auntie will be happy with them. They certainly fit the Amish belief that a flaw should be stitched into work, as a perfect project is an insult to god, as only god is capable of perfection (Think that's right)!

Sunday, 11 March 2007

some sunday things

Another lovely spring day in Yorkshire. Some gardening has been done -mainly pricking out the first seedlings & sowing others. These are in the 'inner' greenhouse inside the polytunnel and quite snug in there. The rest of the polytunnel is ready for a dig & laying the irrigation system (a leaky hose system & yes I did pay good money for a hosepipe with holes in it!) I am reading 'Scenes from a smallholding' by Chas Griffen. Its an entertaining read & whilst some of it might be my pipe dream there are some great gardening/ veg growing ideas and experiences. On the subject of small holdings and self sufficiency (sort of) we watched the new Casterway series first episode on Friday. I found the first one fascinating (I bought the polytunnel as a result), but can't say we were at all impressed with the second series start., the location was amazing but it was so contrived 'are they pirates'? Give me strength! Might watch tonights but it could be the last!

Aunties socks have caused much stress. I reached the heel before comparing the second sock with the first & realised that they didn't match!!!! I had reversed the pattern on the first & not on the second if that makes any sense, so had to frog the second & match its curves to the first ...grrrr. Time might be tight! They are back on track now despite a very exciting rugby match on TV this afternoon! Well done boys, you did England proud. I have been watching
rugby long enough to remember when the 'outside half factory' was in Wales. Now its in Newcastle! Fantastic Falcons fly high!

Dog and I went for a RALK late this afternoon (RunandwALK). Furthest yet I think. It was try enough to venture along some of the tracks across the valley in running shoes, rather than wellies which was great. Must try and keep up to it as we are going skiing again in three weeks!

Saturday, 10 March 2007

re: wife in the north

I have been reading this blog 'Wife in the North' (now subject to a £££ book deal & mentioned in the Sunday Times) for a couple of weeks now & I think I can safely say I will NOT be buying the book. There is a limit to the amount of 'north bashing' I can take & I am NOT a northerner by birth. I have only lived in the 'north' for 31 1/2 years so I am clearly an 'off-cumden' but really......!!!! If its so bad then s** off! It is good geography though.... cause & effect of migration, types of migration, perception of places -especially a southerners view of the north, infact I found the blog via a comment on a geography teachers forum. My upper sixth group will shortly directed to browse the blog. That will be interesting! There are a few 'died in the wool' yorkshire folk in the group plus some migrants from the south! Talking of yorkshire folk.... that will be Mr J (the elder & the younger)... haven't directed them to it yet!!!!

Friday, 9 March 2007

Fibre on the hoof and Auntie's Socks

It was a beautiful late afternoon when I got home from work so the dog & I went a walk with the camera. Thought this picture of fibre on the hoof was worth a snap. They belong to one of our neighbours & are Teeswaters, complete with dredlocks! Do you think she was admiring my sweater? There were some signs of early spring. The curlews have been back for a week, which is 'on-time'. They have not noticed any climate change or signs of an unusually early spring. There was a really chill wind. Dog & I have had a couple of really good tea time walks this week, which were exactlly what was needed. The education game has been pretty tough this week. My exam classes (A level & GCSE Geography, plus GCSE Citizenship) are great, a real pleasure to teach. My geography groups seem to share much of my passion for geography & have a genuine feel for enquiry & want to learn but some of the year 8 and 9's ....!!!!!!!! Just don't realise that schools are places to learn! Actually much of the stresses are created by the adults... the kids you just deal with!

Auntie's socks are making slow progress but I should be able to finish the second one this weekend & get them washed & blocked and in the post by Tuesday. I managed a photo but it was difficult to capture the colour & the pattern. Its also tricky to photo your own foot without growing thick ankles!

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Progress on Auntie's socks

Coming along nicely! The yarn is really super soft & the pattern is, as it says on the tin, soothing to knit. Nearly finished the first sock - will take a picture when they are finished as the lace pattern looks better stretched.

We had our first 'Sunday Roast' since the 15th January when the Rayburn went on the blink! Its still not 100% fixed -needs a part, but as long as you catch it tripping off, its usable. The washer packed up yesterday & I had to go to the launderette. Put these words in the correct order ... pours, rain, it, never, but, it ......!!!!!! and a few expletives!!!!!! Son & heir had never visited such a place in his 17 years (good Uni training I suppose!) but helped out -mainly running backwards & forwards to the nearby petrol station for MORE change. Its certainly not a cheap 'do'! Hopefully the engineer can be summoned tomorrow. At least its under warranty!

On a broader 'blogging front' - my 'teaching blogs' are going great guns & earning mentions in the tightly knit virtual circle of geography teachers that lurk on the net. Two of my sixth form students have set up blogs for students/teachers in their other subjects too. All started by me beginning to lurk in and out of knitting blogs last summer...... makes you think! The power of the knitting/ crafting world......!!!!