Overly Excited Lizzie!

Just a super quick post this morning before I jet off on my holiday tonight.

Last night I got super exciting news.

Last night Hello Giggles featured an article I wrote.

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Last night my phone kept buzzing with COMPLETE STRANGERS favourite-ing my tweet of the Hello Giggles article.

I’m overly excited.

I think you should take a look.

That is all :-)

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FO Round Up!

Well hi there, readerinos!

How are you guys doing? It’s been manic around these parts recently. Birthdays, friends visiting and crazy work deadlines have taken up all of my energy. Hence the radio silence from me in Blogland. Many apologies for that my lovelies. I’d like to say I’m going to be back on it…but…I’m going on holiday on Friday so boo-yah! Sun, sea and sand here I come and my god do I need it.

Anyway, just to keep you topped up with my special brand of entertainment, I thought I’d fill you in on a few of my FOs before I saunter off into the sunset.

Remember those gifts I was knitting? The crafty things I couldn’t tell you about? They’re done! All done, dusted and happily living with their recipients. So here’s what I was stitching…

First off, Steven got some more woollen wonders.

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(Snuggly mitts. Photo by me.)

These are the Purl Bee’s cuffed hand warmers. When we visited Purl Soho last May, I bought the yarn to make myself a pair and Steven chose these colours for his own set. They’re actually a charcoal and pale grey combo but the photo makes them look quite purple. I think it’s the background I used. Anyway, he might have to do a bit of mending already because I’m such a bad sewer and the top, paler part seems to be coming away already. Oops…

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(Cosy cowl. Photo by me.)

This is a slightly shorter version of the GAP-tastic cowl by Jan Geigley. I hunted high and low for the right yarn to make this cowl. I knew that Steven found wool itchy, so that was out. I also knew that I needed something chunky in a grey that would co-ordinate well with the mitts and that part proved to be damn tricky. In the end KnitPicks Swish saved my bacon. 100% superwash Merino wool with the squashiest ply I’ve ever experienced. I found just two skeins in the perfect colour at Great British Yarns and snapped them up. There wasn’t enough to make the original epic-sized cowl, but it’s long enough to wrap around Steven’s neck twice and is snuggly cosy so I’m happy!

He requested both of these (such a well trained boy) and I was more than happy to oblige. He may have asked for the mitts over a year ago when we were on our honeymoon but, hey, at least he got them at some point. Plus, the cowl was a much more recent request so I’m sure I get some points for that. It’s also a huge improvement from last year when the socks that were meant for his birthday became Christmas presents. More than four months later. Yeah.

I also finished this colourful wonder…

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(So stripy! Photo by me)

My sister-in-law Charlotte (hi Charlotte!) mentioned in passing that she would like a poncho for our family holiday to Spain (this Friday. Did I mention that?) Last week was her 21st birthday and so I jumped at the opportunity to give her something homemade for her coming-of-age. I’ve never knitted a poncho before but I thought if she was going to wear a poncho it would have to be a full-on poncho. Hence the textured garter stitch ribs, eyelet pattern and loud colour scheme. It’s based on the Summer Poncho by Karen Stelzer, although I tweaked it a little bit to suit my yarn needs and also worked the first few rows flat to create a kind of collar.

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(In all its poncho-y glory. Photo by me.)

The best part? I’m pretty sure she liked it…

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(Happy Birthday Char-lotte! Photo by Matt McCauley)

So that’s what’s been flying off my needles in the last month or so. I’ve also been chipping away at something for work that STILL isn’t done (which is entirely my fault) that I will show you pictures of when the issue is on sale. I will be overjoyed when that little time-suck is finished.

Since finishing all these gifts I’ve cast on a cardigan for me (oooh, I know, right?) and I’m thinking about a shawl project to take with me on my holibobs…just in case I feel the need to knit. You know when the sun gets too much for me and I’ve had enough sangria. Thinking about it, maybe I don’t need a holiday knitting project… Do you guys take knitting away with you?

Anyway, catch you on the flip side chaps!

(P.S. I think it’s quite impressive that I only mentioned my holiday four times. You may disagree :-P)

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Scattered on the wind

I don’t know about you guys, but I seriously suffer from social media envy. You know what I mean, right? You’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook or reading your favourite blogs and the jealousy starts to bubble.

“How can they afford that amazing holiday?”

“Why can’t I make a living baking stunning cakes all day?”

“How come I don’t have a coconut to drink my cocktails from?”

It’s daft, I know that, but it’s just one of those things I have no control over. And recently, there seems to have been a bit of a theme to things I’m really jealous of.

All these people on the internet get to see their friends whenever they like.

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When we moved to Bath it was a bit of a whirlwind. I was swept up in the new job of a lifetime and how beautiful the city was. Once we got here, there were only a few months to go until the wedding and so every waking moment was dedicated to finishing, organising and preparing for that. It’s only recently dawned on me just how much I wish all my friends were closer.

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I have some lovely friends here who have made me feel really welcome and I am very grateful for that. But sometimes I want the nostalgia of drinks with my school friends or a mad night with my uni girls or a cathartic catch up with my best friend. But there’s a catch. They aren’t here. They’re scattered about in different cities and I really, really miss them.

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Of course it’s wonderful when they come to stay and I get an intensive dollop of time with them to find out what they’re doing and how they are getting on, but it’s not really the same as the regular drip feed and checking in.

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Essentially, I’m starting to realise just how far away my friends are, now that I’ve had some time to stop and think. And I think I can make it into a good thing. I think it will make me try harder and appreciate seeing them more.

So, who’s up for the pub?

P.S. Yup all those photos are mine, yup I’m dressed up in all of them, yup that’s how I roll. Oh and I haven’t managed to capture every last person that I wanted to in photo form. It’s nothing personal. It’s my photo collection’s fault.

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A Slice of Heaven

I’d like to take a moment to get geeky, if I may. There are a few things I get geeky about. Books, knitting, language, books. Mostly books. I love books. But if there’s anything I love anywhere near as much as books, it’s bookshops.

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(Toppings and Company, Bath, my favourite bookshop in the sunshine. Photo by me.)

Quiet, peaceful and musty, a good bookshop is an oasis to me. There are hundreds of stories held in those shelves, so many voices that have something to say – the possibilities are endless and the atmosphere zings. But still you can hear every foot shuffle, every throat clear and every page flip. Each tale is held quiet, like a child waiting to surprise you, in a silence so close to speaking. It’s soothing.

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(All on my own in Toppings. Photo by me.)

After the quiet, the smell is my favourite thing. Book pages all generally smell the same, that rich scent of time and paper mulch. But each one has its own quirks, a kind of signature. Older books smell stronger, while newer ones have a slight vinegar tang from modern inks and printing technology. Put them all together in a bookshop and the whole is so much more than the sum of its parts. You can flick through the pages of as many tomes as you like and in between breathe deep this great, rich aroma.

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(Books, beautiful books, in Toppings. Photo by me.)

No matter how many people are in a bookshop, it’s still a personal experience. Whether you are looking for advice on your next holiday destination or to get lost in a ripping adventure you can make that decision all by yourself even with a stranger standing by your side. I can have the most stressful day at work, but five minutes in a book shop can make it all melt away, just by standing in the place. For some people solitude can be found in museums, for others it’s galleries. But for me, nothing is better than a bookshop.

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Duckie power!

Happy Friday, sports fans! (I don’t know if you actually are sports fans, but you could be, so I’m sticking with it).

I finally have something crafty that I can show you – huzzah! In just a few weeks there will be a slew of FO posts and hopefully happy recipients but until then, I have the little yellow ducks…

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(I like to think they are having a chat on my windowsill…”Quack quack?” “Quack, quack, quack quack.” “Quaaaack”. Photo by me)

Why little duckies? I hear you ask. Well, that’s a good question.

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(Going for a little sill-swim. Photo by me.)

A few months back we featured this duck pattern in Simply Knitting. The duck is obviously cute, but it’s also for a good cause.

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(They wanted to use my typewriter but, of course, that’s ridiculous (they have no fingers). So that’s why the picture is shocking. Adorable, but shocking. Photo by me.)

The Little Yellow Duck Project aims to raise awareness for blood, organ and bone marrow donation. This is such an important part of medicine and effects thousands of people every year. The point of these knitted (or crocheted or sewn, patterns available for all three) ducks is for them to be left in public places with a little tag that displays their name, the TYLDP website and tells the finder to take them home. It’s an exercise in mystery and intrigue that will hopefully result in getting more people registered as donors.

So…

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Here’s one of my ducks looking very coy nestled in the rosemary plants outside Ask in Bath….

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And here’s the other on a sculpture by the Abbey. This one even got a little shower before heading off to her new home! Her perch was a bit precarious, so I popped her somewhere safer before I left.

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I positioned these guys on my way to work yesterday morning, so I can wait to see if they have vanished today. Finger’s crossed!

The knitting pattern was designed by Alan Dart (love him) and so it was a joy to work from, easy to understand, and I don’t think mine is too far off his original. (I saw it in the flesh, it is cuter than mine, but it was made by Alan’s fair hand, so it was going to be.) Get your hands on all of the patterns at www.thelittleyellowduckproject.org/patterns and why not make some of your own ducks for unsuspecting strangers to take home?

I’m off to make a few more myself…

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Literature Crush

Well hey there! I know, I know, where have I been? Well, the making hasn’t stopped, per se, it’s just not the kind I can talk about. Lots of gifts and plenty of things for work have been jumping off my needles and out of my sewing machine but I can’t show you any of them. Yet.

Instead, let’s talk about books, shall we?

For quite some time now I’ve regarded myself as a strange literature graduate and geek. There are a lot of writers and texts that I haven’t come into contact with that, considering my education and interest, I really should have. When I started university it was Chaucer and Marlowe. As an adult in charge of her own reading (I know right? What a rebel) I’m discovering it’s so much more than that.

My latest discovery is Truman Capote. Oh Truman, where have you been all my life? The recommendation for Capote came to me in a round-about way. I was trawling through a friend’s blog archives (it’s not stalking, honest) and she made a passing comment about how much she loves Capote’s work. This was right before my birthday so I thought, what the heck, and asked for his short stories as a gift. Once unwrapped, the book took up residence on my shelf and gathered dust for a while. Shinier books and good weather stole my attention. For shame.

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But then I read Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (I’m only slightly obsessed with this book) and Capote is mentioned as a background character (you’ve gotta love a bit of meta-literature!) It reminded me that the book was waiting and so when I finished Ruta’s masterpiece, I turned to Truman.

Oh Truman.

His writing is lyrical without being fussy. He evokes his era so effortlessly, you are instantly transported to 40s America. He’s honest without being brutal and he touches on things that you didn’t even realise were true until he showed you. I haven’t even finished the collection of short stories and I’m hooked, addicted, obsessed!

In the introduction to my edition, Capote is discussed in parallel to Hemingway. I’ve been a Hemingway Groupie for some time now. My dissertation was a short story in his style and so I’ve read a huge whacking proportion of his work. I love it. Yes, he’s a misogynist and I’m not condoning that. I get sick of his pathetic female characters. But by the same token, I get sick of pathetic male characters in other literature. When I want to wallow in the depressing, the dark and the gritty, I turn to Papa. But now, when I want a rosy hue to the difficult things, when I want to feel like there’s still good underneath all the crap, I have Capote.

Thanks Truman, you’re a babe.

P.S. My copy of the book has a photo of Capote on the cover. I find this a little unsettling. He has very probing eyes. A little too probing for my bedside table…

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Tea time!

Howdy y’all. This is just a very brief little post…

Fancy reading something about a spot of tea? I’ve started blogging for Cosy Tea (as well as this blog, don’t worry). Check out my first post!

 

 

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