27 December 2008

Thinking about the end of the year...

I spend a good deal of time wishing things wouldn't be over. In summer, I wish that autumn wouldn't come, or in the months leading up to my next birthday, I wish my birthday wouldn't arrive too quickly, or during holidays away from home, I dread getting back on the plane or train. But, by the time the time for change arrives, I'm almost always ready to move on. Good thing too, as I really don't have much choice about time's onward march!

Christmas-time is no exception. December has raced by, and though it has been a lovely, festive end of the year and I have loved every minute of it - including the six Christmas parties, the two yarn sales, all the sweets (though I won't be sad to see the sweets-induced spots go!), and the many walks - I am definitely at peace with it all being over for this year.

On Christmas Day, Rog and I took a brisk three-hour walk. We walked down Old Street, to Clerkenwell Road, where I took him to see St. John's Gate, which Travelknitter had originally pointed out to me, back when we went to the craft fair in Clerkenwell. It dates back to 1504.

Importantly, there is a LAMB on the ceiling!

From there, we continued our wander, turning onto Lamb's Conduit Street.

We eventually we eventually ended up at Bloomsbury Square.

A few more blocks and we were in Soho, and then we turned around and walked all the way home. I don't think life has much meaning (besides what we subjectively ascribe to it), yet I find that there's some sort of purpose to be found in walking.

We went to Chiswick on Boxing Day for the last of the holiday lunches. Geoff made a fantastic meal, with some lovely turkey, as well as being vegetable-laden - peas, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and parsnips sautéed in goose fat.

Walking in Chiswick, we saw:

And today, I went into town to the yarn sales. 50% off! I met travelknitter at Liberty, and then we made our way to John Lewis. These lovely, lovely skeins came home with me - they're my Christmas present from my mother - thank you! I love them!

24 December 2008

Christmas presents

I can finally post these!!!

Rog's cobblestone jumper:

Marieke's Central Park Hoodie (modeled on me, til I get some pics from her!):

Ysolda's garter mittens for Paul:

Flora for my mother:

23 December 2008

knit night

I just want to direct you here, to hoxton handmade's blog, for a hilarious recap of our evening...

22 December 2008

Weekend in Sussex

I was originally just going to leave this as a photo essay as it's been a while since I last wrote, and I'm feeling a bit rusty.

The cobblestone pull is coming along nicely, and I finished Rog's red scarf:

We spent the weekend in Sussex with Rog's sister and family, and it was lovely. We went to a pantomime on Saturday evening - I'd never been to one, and had been led to believe that I would hate it. And, it's entirely possible that i would have been unimpressed if I hadn't had an ecstatic 6-year old sitting on my lap. Maybe her enthusiasm spread to me through osmosis, or maybe the kid in me is still alive and kicking, but I had a great time. It was Cinderella but interactive. If nothing else, I now can understand the references to pantomime that used to mean nothing to me, ranging from "behind you!" to "yes you can!" These jokes will no longer go straight over my head, my blank look giving away my ignorance. I am among the initiated.

Yesterday, Simon got lots of veg from the garden, including two giant parsnips and a great many carrots, which Caroline, Lily and I chopped up, while Rog documented the whole thing, and sang us funny songs to entertain us:

Then, while all the veg and chicken were roasting, we went for a long walk. As we passed some sheep, Simon told me that the people at the local farm would be happy to give me a goat or sheep pelt, and I had to explain to him that so far as I can ascertain, it takes about 7 to 10 years of knitting for the yen to spin to arise and from there the desire to have the pelts and eventually you just need a goat / sheep farm. I think I've only been knitting for five or six years? I can't exactly remember. So in another few years, I may be taking him up on that pelt offer...

I even wore hiking boots as it was muddy and slippy, though also lovely and mild. Luckily, Caroline has the same size feet as me. The pictures of the landscape don't even begin to do it justice.

When we got back, everything was ready, and we had a delicious christmas lunch. I ate so much that I haven't had to eat anything but a yogurt since! Just the way a christmas lunch should be, don't you think?

11 December 2008

Old fashioned correspondence

I have actually accomplished a lot this week - though I can't post photos of what I've accomplished until after Christmas! I sent off a box of goodies to NYC yesterday at the very last minute. Luckily the post office was completely empty for some reason. I also finally got the last draft of that article in. I felt wound up the whole day, but today I woke up feeling quite relaxed! I still have lots of Christmas knitting left for here, and less than two weeks to go: rog's pullover, and a scarf for his surrogate-ish father geoff.

And, those of you who know me know how I have knitted a scarf for Rog every year, until I finally got it right last year. But yesterday, we were at John Lewis, and he said, "I'd like a red scarf. Will you knit me one?" That's the second thing he's actually asked for! So, let's add that to the list. Following Hoxton Handmade's lead, I got him some Rowan big wool in red, to knit up into a garter stitch scarf.

I got an email from Amanda yesterday, with a link to a BBC piece about procrastinating. Did it ever ring true. The bit at the end about the reason we (as a species) no longer build cathedrals or pyramids anymore - because we've become water-filled blobby beanbag things who click on computers all the time - was particularly upsetting. Though it also made me laugh.

So, I've decided that I'm going to massively cut down on my computer time. I'm going to do it the old-fashioned way - I'll set aside an hour a day to do my correspondence, and check in for 10-20 minutes at midday and at the end of the day.

Otherwise, how will I ever build my cathedral?

03 December 2008

The Human Condition

Yesterday, we went to see the Francis Bacon show at the Tate. There were two major distractions; first, they had lit the paintings really badly, and the glare on the glass was so bad that it was a struggle to see the images and not just the reflections of what was going on in the rest of the gallery. The other distraction was this: you know how in a lot of Bacon's paintings there is a kind of stripey background of greys, blacks and browns? I kept looking at that and thinking, "oh, that's how my Noro silk garden skeins which have grey, black and brown in them are going to knit up!"

But the paintings that were well lit were very affective (and I mean "affective," not "effective") - the crucifixion images, for example. People go on and on about the violence in Bacon's images, but from what little I know of him and his work, my impression is that the violence (carcasses, cuts of meat, screaming people) is more a voicing of his helplessness in the face of human frailty.

I walked out feeling inordinately sad.