Saturday, October 03, 2009

Moules, Frites, Chocolates and Beer. And maybe a little knitting.

Just a quick post, I am off to Brussels today. I love saying that, it sounds so exotic!

I am traveling on the Eurostar, which is fantastic as I can knit. I am going on this trip with my sister, which I am a bit nervous about. It could either be the best trip ever or go completely pair shaped. I am really hoping it will be the best trip ever!

We are travelling on super secret business which I will tell you about after the event.

I can't wait to see Brussels, eat some Pomme Frites (with frite juice as described to me by sadieandlance), drink beer, eat Moules, drink more beer and finish off with chocolates.

and maybe do a little knitting.


Here is a little teaser of what I will be eating later today!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Thing About Work

It keeps you in yarn.

And if you are lucky you learn stuff.

Anyway, I was thinking that I don't think I have mentioned anything about where I work, who I work with and what I do. I won't tell you everything (it will probably bore you) and I don't want to give too much away. I am a woman of mystery after all.

For the last four months I have worked in the media & publishing sector. Don't get too excited we are primarily involved in business to business publishing. Although you will know at least one of our titles, even my peeps in Australia would recognise it.

Enough about that.

I work for an online HR publication. And it happened to be a tool I used over here in the UK before I got the job. It is fantastic tool, and again I won't bore you with detail, but just think model policies on EVERYTHING. Advice on EVERYTHING HR. It is brilliant. The thing about working on this online publication is the absolute fear I have had in presenting any written work to my boss.

He is an editor. With nearly 30 years experience in journalism. He is a very nice man.

But he writes for a living.

And clearly I don't.


But the funny thing is that he is a very generous editor. I have had very little of my work corrected mainly the odd grammatical error or use of commas (I really love commas, have you noticed?).

So I guess I am not as bad a writer as I may have thought.

But clearly not ready to write for a living.

Although the thought has crossed my mind.

Once or twice.

On a knitting related note;
I need some help with grafting lace. Can anyone point me towards some clear and detailed instructions? I have found clear but not detailed. Help!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

An Opinionated Woman

Opinionated: Believing very strongly and conveying it.

Why is it when a woman is called opinionated it used to describe a negative aspect of her personality?

Opinionated has been used twice in recent weeks to describe me, and while I have no problems being known as being opinionated (if Elizabeth Zimmerman can be opinionated, hell so can I!) I was disturbed that it was used in the negative. Like it was wrong for me to be so.

I mean what is wrong with being opinionated? When you think about it everyone has an opinion, but why is it when this word is used to describe a woman it is used like a dirty word.

I have always believed, since I can remember, that if you believe in something or have an opinion about something, you should stand up for what you believe in. If someone says something you don't agree with, then tell them. Too often in this world people say something, state an opinion, and people who may disagree do not raise their voices to be heard.

I don't want to be one of those people. I want to challenge what I don't believe in, especially those things that going against my personal beliefs. And I want, no I expect people to challenge my opinions as well!

So if that means I am an opinionated woman, so be it!

And on a knitting note, I have finished knitting D2 just need to graft the pieces together. Does anyone have any thoughts as to whether I should graft the pieces together before or after I block?

And I have decided to merge the idea for D1 and D3 into one D1.3. I will get the hang of this design thing eventually!!!

ps It was my two South African flatmates who have called me opinionated, on two separate occasions, independently of each other. I guess coming from them I should take it as a compliment!

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Thanks ladies for your thoughts on designing and publishing patterns. I especially loved 2 paw's reference to Babylon 5 vs Deep Space Nine and Armageddon vs Deep Impact. It seems shared ideas happen in all creative pursuits!

So here is just a sneak peak of what I am up to. I just love this yarn I am using and the colour is one of my favourites at the moment. It feels like this scarf will be a warm hug wrapped around my neck, I am getting really excited to see it finished.

There is still some work to go, most importantly blocking. I just don't have the space to do it & the heating has not been turned on in the building yet so drying will take ages. What a palava!

This is actually design two that is floating around my head, and it has been great to get it out. It has started me thing about design one some more and design 3 is now taking form as well. I think D3 will make it out before D1 though, still trying to find the perfect lace pattern & yarn for D1. So much to think about.

I need more coffee!!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Shared Creativity, Design and Viral Knits

My dear friend Bells has just written a post about viral knits, check it out. She talks about shared creativity and happiness in our crafty community, and it reminded me of some similar thoughts I have been having about designing and shared creative ideas.

It is a funny thing this design business. Relatively (?) simple one would think especially when you are designing a scarf. They way I see it there are 3 steps to designing a lace scarf
  • pick the lace design
  • Decide how wide you want the scarf to be
  • Knit it.
Now having (over)simplified designing a scarf, I should mention that I found there are other things to think about. How should I start my scarf? Does the yarn I am using suit this lace stitch pattern? Does my scarf need edging on the side? Which direction does the lace stitch need to face? Should I knit my scarf in two pieces? What method should I use to graft it together?

So then you start knitting. And you are feeling rather pleased with yourself. The lace stitch looks good. It suits the yarn you are using. It is going to look down right fabulous when you are finished. And then you hit a snag. There is an abbreviation in the stitch pattern you are using that you are unfamiliar with. So you Google the stitch pattern to see if any one on the internets has a better description of the lace pattern.

And then you find it. A scarf pattern using the same lace stitch.

So here is what I have learnt, my thoughts on designing knitted garments and some questions for you.

My thoughts.
  • I have read many posts on copyright and plagiarism in knitting and while I agree that this does unfortunately happen, I also believe that two (or more) people can have the same idea independently of each other.
  • Designing anything requires an idea.
  • Ideas are like a force in the universe.
  • You can bet if someone has an idea in Sydney, that someone else has the same idea in Tokyo. Or Mumbai. Or London.
  • I believe that no one person owns an idea.
  • They can be tapped into by anyone, anywhere.
  • So it makes sense that two (or more) people, on different sides of this small planet, can have the same idea and decide to design the same item using the same lace stitch.
  • Without having seen the others design.
  • Without having communicated the idea to the other person.
  • Even if one of the designs was made months or years before the other person had the same idea.
  • And while the idea is the same, the application of the idea is, I think, different.
  • BUT there are only so many ways a lace stitch pattern can be made into a scarf.
My question for you.
Should you publish the design if a design, using the same lace pattern on the same garment type, if it has been published before?

ps Bells, if this design becomes a viral knit I would be stoked!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bank Holidays. Perfect for knitting

So over here we have Bank Holidays. By we I mean the people that live in the UK, not me as in I am now English. I need to make myself clear n that point as I have started to use very English phrases and I am afraid I am losing my Australian-ness. More on that in another blog post.

I find Bank Holidays weird. Not that I don't like having a day off, there is just no reason for them. There are 8 Bank Holidays in the UK this year. And they are all called Bank Holidays. No 'Queens favorite Corgi's birthday' holiday. No 'Unite Kingdom' day. And definitely no Queens Birthday holiday (I like to tell my English friends that Australia loves the Queen more than they do as we celebrate her birthday. Not that I am a monarchist, I just like annoying my English friends!).

But when it is all said and done, whatever the reason they have them, Bank Holidays are good for knitting.

ps thanks to Rose Red for alerting me to this great pattern.
You are a Rock Star!

pps Still working on the design. More on that in another post.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

La Fermiere is French for Yoghurt!

Yoplait is so yesterday. Especially when you compare it to this.

Happiness come in a blue pot!

I mean it comes in it's own terracotta jar, and a blue one at that! Ok, I admit I bought this yoghurt purely because of the jar, but it is the deliciousness inside that makes my purchase so very precious.

Made with whole milk and orange flower honey it is the best honey flavoured yoghurt I have ever tasted. In my whole life. Ever!

It made me do the happy dance.

Viva La Fermiere Yaourt!

ps I promise there is knitting and I will post about it very soon.
And here is a hint, this blog will soon live up to it's name.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Off Topic: On Driving in the UK.

As you know, I am now driving over here in the UK. It has been an interesting experience so far, learning new road rules. Not the written down, learn to get your licence rules. Oh no, they may be the legal road rules, but there are other more important rules that need to be obeyed. Here are a few of my favorites;
  • Indicators are optional.
  • When turning right or left do so very SLOWLY, creating a traffic pile up if possible.
  • When merging onto a motorway, again do it SLOWLY. For the same reason.
  • When turning right onto a busy street, block a lane of traffic. Even if the lane you are turning into is not moving and traffic in that lane is backed up for 1/2 a km.
  • Indicators are really optional.
  • So are horns.
  • No one uses them.
  • Except me.
  • Especially when someone pulls out slowly in front of me.
  • A horn is for communicating with other drivers.
  • That is what my driving instructor told me.
  • Motorways are not for driving the speed limit. The speed limit is SLOW on a motorway.
  • You only slow down on a Motorway when you see a speed camera sign.
  • And see the markings on the road.
  • And you see cars break lights.
  • You get A LOT of warning about speed cameras.
  • They don't seem like much of a deterrent.
  • You don't have to give way to buses.
  • So no one does.
  • Except me.
  • It annoys other drivers.
  • I don't care.
  • You can legally park on the opposite side of the road facing the wrong way.
  • And people do it A LOT.
  • Indicators really are optional.
  • My ESP is a little rusty, so I never know if someone is about to turn or change lanes.
  • Makes for an interesting trip.
So ladies, I am fitting in REALLY well over here! :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I am so a good Shazmina!

I finished a second WIP for the Tour de France KAL.

These socks have been on my sticks for 2 years! Yep, you read it correctly, 2 years! That is the extent of my completer/finisher issues.

They are for a dear friend, She bought the yarn (Lornas Laces) knit me a pair of socks from one skein, and gave me
the other. I thought it was only fitting that I make her a pair too.

As you can see I have used contrasting yarn for the toe, heel and top band of the sock. I wanted to make sure that I had enough yarn to finish the socks. And I was trying to stop the yarn pooling around the heel, and it worked but only to a point. Never mind!

Yarn: Lorna's Laces & some scrap yarn
Pattern: Black Dog Knits, Lorna's Laces one hank socks.
So, 2 WIP's finished as part of the TDF. This KAL was a great motivator to complete some WIP's, I may have to sign up to some other KAL's to get through my massive list of things that need to be finished.

ps Don't you love my pj's? I am such a star!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

What Shazmina did next.....

So what am I up to now that I have finished the penultimate Clap(otis)?

These little bad boys (or should they be girls?). Linda K's Yummy Mummy Wristwarmers. You can find the pattern can be found on Ravelry, I am using Debbie Bliss Rialto DK colour 23015 1 ball for each glove (I have added some extra length).

Now I started these when the weather was cooler, when fingerless gloves seemed like a good idea. I am determined to finish them before Autumn! These WIP's have snuck up the list of projects I am trying to complete during the TDF KAL. I am finishing glove 1 so that I can use the needles for sock 2, which is part of a gift I have been knitting for a couple of years now. Confused? I sure am! I really must buy more needles.....

ps Don't look too close, there are a few mistakes but I couldn't be a##ed frogging and starting again!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It is done!

That's right my peeps, the Clap(otis) number 4 is done. To say I am relieved is a HUGE understatement! I have even sewn in the ends (although I did find one that I missed when I was putting the Clap away last night). Maybe I am a completer finisher after all?

It is a very nice Clap. And I am even more happy that it is for me. It is funny, yesterday, a summers day, was the perfect weather to wear it. Yes, you heard me right A SUMMERS DAY WAS COLD. What AM I doing here??

So now I am moving on to a pair of socks that I have been knitting since 2007. In my defence they are very plain, stocking stitch, socks. I got bored (who would have guessed that an ENTP would get bored half way through something!) during the second sock, which is a shame as they are actually a gift for a friend.

The funny thing is the needle I need is currently being used on a fingerless glove, so I need to finish that glove so that I can finish the sock. I really should finish one project at a time! Will I ever learn?

I must say the Tour de France KAL is a great motivational tool for me. I am really starting to move through some WIP's. Continue sending the good knitting vibes to me, there is 2 weeks to go and I have a mountain (no pun intended) of WIP's to finish!!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Bicycles, Mussels, and Champagne. Oh, and did I mention the knitting?

ok, so I think I am ready.

I have pulled all my WIP's out of their hiding spots. I had tried to stash them in the dim, dark recesses of my cupboards so I could forget about them. It is a trick that usually works, unless I come across one as I am trying to get ready to go to work. Then I usually ignore it, erase the image from my memory and move on.

But enough of one of my procrastinating techniques! My WIP's are ready, and waiting for the Tour de France.

You see gentle readers, in my ever continuing efforts to be like Rose Red (and the Gorgeous Bells!), I have joined up for the Tour de France knit-a-long (which I will refer to as the tdf KAL).

For the next week I am a member of the Quickstep team, and I will be channeling all things Belgian! Belgian chocolate. Belgian Cheese. Mussels. Frites. Champagne (ok, it is not Belgian but what else should I drink watching a bicycle race through France??). Oh and not to forget the knitting!! You would be forgiven to think this KAL is all about the food, but I can assure you I will be working, steadily, through my long (oh so long) WIP list.
My first project to complete is Clap(otis) number 4. A French inspired Shawl/scarf for the start of the race. This little number is being knitted for me (noice one, knitting WIP's and knitting something for me, another rare occurence). It is a lighter weight (Spring/Autumn) version, made from 4ply sock yarn from The Knittery, in the Vineyard colour way. And Bells, you will notice that it is almost the same colour way as the beautiful Kaalund yarn you sent me. Good choice there Bells!

This afternoon I am off to my friends house to watch the start of the tdf whilst sipping champagne and working on the Clap(otis) number 4.

Does life get any better than this?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

So I had a play date.....

And it was FABULOUS! 

I picked up my friend Al. She hadn't met Hermione yet.

We went to Barnes. My new favorite place. Every Saturday they have a food market with fresh veg, meat, fish and other gourmet food goodness. I had the best coffee. A flat white even. Do you know how hard it is to get a flat white in London? It is almost impossible, only a handful of places make them. So now you know why I have given up coffee. Well almost. I only have one if I am absolutely sure it will be a good, proper coffee. So I don't have one that often.

We also bought some tasty Moroccan food to take home for lunch. Sorry Bells, I forgot to take a photo. But just know it was delicious. And a chocolate brownie for desert. mmmmmmmmm! 

And then we went to Stash. I love that store, and Al had neve been there. We bought some books and magazines, and I may have bought some yarn. 4 balls of Mini Mochi sock yarn. Have you seen that yarn? Gorgeous and soooo soft! Ok, it is weird that I bought enough of one colourway to make 2 pairs of socks. I just  love the colour. More on that later.

And then Al had a simple request. "Can I see your stash". Well is knitting the new yoga? (No seriously is it, because My flatmate keeps urging me to do yoga and I just don't think I have the patience to be still for and hour. Tell me your not surprised at that!). Al wanted to take a photo to show her partner. She needed proof that she doesn't own all the yarn in England.

Supreme happiness is laying your head on a table full of soft yarny goodness.

Yes my stash is impressive, especially considering the other 2/3 of it is in storage in Australia! Not as impressive as Rose Red's, but I am working on it!.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The life and times of a Zombie killer.

Ok, so it has been a while. 3 months if you can believe it. Lots has happened. 

I have a new job. It is a permanent job. I am here permanently. I am trying not to freak out. At least for the time being!

I have been to Lisbon. I have had the best Pasteis de nata in the world. And port. 

I have been on a caravan trip to Cornwall. I have had cream teas with Cornish clotted cream & a pasty the size of my head. But not at the same time.

But lately I have been reading this. 

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Can you see why I just had to buy this? Best read since, well, Pride and Prejudice. I highly recommend this book. In fact I will go as far as to say that Jane Austen herself would love this book.

As we all know, Elizabeth Bennett rocks. But now she kicks butt as well! 

I am tempted to write a more in depth review but I don't want to ruin it for those of you who might want to read it. 

All I will tell you is this. Now I am waiting patiently for the movie version! 

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Trying not to freak out!

In one week I will be unemployed.

The job market has become very employer driven over here. Much like everywhere else I am guessing. I am trying not to freak out. Just plugging away, applying for jobs. Talking to recruitment agencies. 

And I am trying not to get pissed off when UK ministers talk about limiting foreign workers in the country. I pay taxes and all I get is access to the NHS. Don't get the dole. Don't get housing relief. Nothing. From where I stand, people like me are supporting the public services in this country by contributing but taking nothing. 

But enough of the political rant.

On the positive, being unemployed will leave me a lot of time to knit. Take in the sights. and most importantly knit!!

But what I am asking all my lovely friends to do is send me some good vibes. Some luck. some positive energy that will help me land a new job. And maybe finish some of my WIPs!!

To all my friends, Love, Hugs and all things knitterly. ps The flowers are for you!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


One of the great things about living in a cold climate, it may well be the only good thing, is all the knitted items you can wear.  When winter came upon us with a vengeance, I realised I needed a beanie, and I had a particular hankering for a beret.It wasn't until I purchased Wildspur, by Louisa Harding for a different pattern that I found the beret of my dreams. Kenzie. It was everything I wanted in a beret, lace, cables and a pompom! Unfortunately I ran out of wool for the pompom. 

Mirasol Sulka, 3 skeins. It is knit on straight needles, although could be easily converted for circulars, and took just over a week to knit in between finishing the last ever Clap(otis).

I am thinking about adding a contrasting colour for the pom pom, red I think. Very Scottish!

I really love Wildspur, lots of great Highland inspired patterns. I am planning to make the Buchanan sideways cable and lace sweater (the reason I bought the book). Just waiting for the right yarn to speak to me.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Quickie.....

'cos I need to prepare for a play date.

Yep my dear friend Al is coming over to knit for the day. Sweet! I have to tidy the lounge room,  get out the yarn winder and assorted wool (show & tell), the chocolate I bought her (I am off chocolate for a month, can you believe that?), and get some DVD's sorted.

Lucky it should only take 5 mins!!!

So finally here are some photos of some presents that arrived for me from Australia for xmas. I am a bit slow posting about them. 

These little goodies are from Rose Red. Cashmere sock yarn from the knittery in Moses Fire, twin Caramello Koalas, a Violet Crumble & Tim Tams. YUM! Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou Rose Red they are all tops!

I also received 2 balls of Kaalund yarns Classic Two in Wisteria from the super lovely Bells. How did you know that was my favorite colourway? You are a star! The photo does not do the yarn justice so I may need to post about it again. And what should I make from this? Any suggestions??

Ahhhhh, knitterly love. Don't you just adore it!!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Normal Transmission Will Resume Shortly.

Gosh, it has been nearly two months. Where did the time go? 

With the run up to Chrimbo (that is English slang for Xmas!) and then New Year, I just havent had the brain capacity to blog. I am working on a project at work to implement a new HR system where I am working and it is taking all my words during the day and leaving me without words at night. Hard to believe I know!

So here I am. A day stuck at home. Snow. No buses. No trains. No tube. And I need at least 2 of the three modes of transport to get to work. Did I mention the snow? 8 inches over night. Nuts.

But did I mention the knitting time?? There is a knitting Goddess and she made it snow!

Just quickly, Here is what I am working on. Ink, by Black Dog Designs in Noro Cash Iroha in black. Tender Blankie by Wendy Bernard. Photos to follow.

And I have finished a few things too. Clap(otis) number 6 (although 3 & 4 are still on the sticks), and Kenzie by Louisa Harding (in Wildcroft pattern book, brilliant beret pattern that I love). And there are a few plans brewing for something special and unique.

And yes Bels, I promise to post more often. Normal Service has resumed!