ceud míle fáilte

a hundred thousand welcomes

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Moving Day!

Indeed - I've moved my blog over to The Wronicles of RedScot, which still has the same web address as before:  http://redscot.blogspot.com/   You'll notice this blog now has the address: rredscot.blogspot.com! - complicated? Well, yes and no! I wanted to keep the address of redscot.blogspot, so I had to jiggle things around a bit - give this blog a different address and assign the real address to the new blog.  The content is the same, however, should you wishes incline towards a walk down A wee bit o' this an' that's memory lane!

The poll (and thank you all for taking part with either comments, voting or personal messages) was very interesting. I apologise for ending it early, but I got rather too involved with the potential changes and went ahead with what you see below! The main change you'll notice is that black is GONE!  Au revoir, noir!  The readability question was the main issue noted, so the new blog has the main postings on a *gasp* white background. I've kept my favourite colours, just distributed them differently! I hope you like it!

Monday, 8 September 2008

Well, it is that time of year...  Why, I ask, do your annual house-cleaning ritual in Spring when it's already getting too warm for lugging furniture and upholstery around, when you can do it in Autumn, and then you don't mind so much working up a sweat and you keep warm in the cooling days into the bargain?  Okay, so I've posed that as rather a rhetorical question... 

I have to concede that my main reason for my cleaning stint has been to find a new place for my ever-growing stash, which was enhanced by this little lot yesterday:

Angels and Elephants! wheeeeeeeee

I know you'll be shocked to see that I have grabbed a few more skeins from the A & E dye-pots in Cornwall.  Man.  I really MUST MUST MUST stay away from eBay until I can actually afford such beauty, instead of mortgaging my soul to the devil for the same ends...

Here we have 'Plum Crumble' (
purple, pink and olive), 'Raspberry Ripple' (pink, purple and blue), 'Candy Floss' (pink, lavender, turquoise and blue) and at the back 'Pentillie' (pale pink, lavender and green). 

Aha! But I forget!  Sock yarn doesn't count as stash, does it?  Heh!


Gratuitous yarn shots

So to continue the Autumn cleaning angle, I am thinking about changing the layout of this blog and
here, my friends, is where YOU come in!

You may have noticed the addition of :: GASP :: a poll at the top...  If you have the inclination I'd love you to help me decide what to do...  But before I say anything, I'm intending to keep the 3 columns, as that is one thing I do rather like!

Option 1 (to be known as Why change? It's bloody marvellous as it is!)
    is to keep it as it is - colours and layout. 

Option 2 (to be known as 'I'd like to be able to read this wonderful blog properly')
    is to keep the same format but go with lighter colours.

Option 3 (to be known as 'Shoogle it aboot a bit - why not?')
    is to keep the same colours but arrange the columns starting from the left as BLOG POSTS, then 2 thinner columns

Option 4 (to be know as 'A change is as good as a rest')
    is to change to lighter colours and arrange the columns from the left as BLOG POSTS, then 2 thinner ones.

(Lighter colours will be versions of the ones already on the blog. Purples, greens and greys...)

I seriously can't make up my mind!  After polling, (presumptuous? Me?) and if you have the time and inclination, please feel free to post any comments about little tweaks that you think this page needs or, you know... anything - even just a hello!!  I'm open to all hints, tricks and categorical slap-downs!

Well, almost!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

R is for...


The Wrong Socks

I've been wracking my brain for topics to write about for this abc-along post... wrangling with a few ideas and wringing my hands when they had to be written-off, to wretched disillusionment...


So, I decided upon 'Resemblance' as I've just finished 2 items of the  family knitting, genus sock... subcategory SSS...

Firstly is the finished 'Crooked Cable Sock' by Sockbug. It's very cute in the Phildar 'Phil Luxe' yarn in the Nympheas colourway! 

Then we have the first 'Monkey Sock', by Cookie A. Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon - surely hundreds of knitters can't be wrong?  And, no, they're not! This is such a fun pattern to knit up... (actually the Crooked Cable pattern is a lovely knit, too...)

The wool is the hand dyed Shetland sock wool in 'Damson Delight' by my fave 'Angels & Elephants' team in Cornwall! Man, I love their yarn!

Well, I guess I'd better resume work on the replication of this, um... raiment...? Okay, that's stretching things just a wee bit!  Heh!

p.s. Thank you for all your lovely comments on the treasure chest! I'm VERY chuffed to tell you that the recipient loved it! Huzzah!  I might try and post a pattern for it in the near future...

Sunday, 24 August 2008

My stealth objects are slowly being revealed... slowly...

. . . t o o   s l o w l y. . .

So, to assuage my thumb-twiddling, clock-watching and hum-hahing I have decided to reveal (drum-roll, please...) the Wire Treasure Chest.  Dun dun DUUUN!

 uh... the Wire Treasure Chest...

Okay, so it's a treasure chest. And it's made of wire. You can tell my naming capabilities have been stretched to the max on this one...

There are a couple hundred gold, silver and pearl beads and bugles adorning the the chest...

pearl necklace an optional extra

The front, back and lid are all 25 stitches wide and roughly 12/13 rows long. (Ah... one of the beauties of knitting with wire is that it can be manipulated to make everything look the same size! Jolly handy!)

arty-farty lid shot

The sides were roughly 15 stitches wide and 16 rows long and I attempted to mould the last couple of rows into an arch shape by doing a k2tog at the beginning and end of each row and I curved the lid to make the overall casket/chest shape.

After sewing all the pieces together, with the exception of adding the lid, I decided that the chest needed a little re-enforcing.  The wire frame itself was quite sturdy, but the box was just on the wrong side of wobbly for me to be happy with, so I cut some board to size, covered them with black velvet then sewed them onto the frame. I did the same to the lid and then attached it to the box. And bygorrah, it fit and everything!

and it opens and closes, too! w00t!

Now I just have to wait and see whether the recipient likes it...

cue music of the nail-chomping variety and fade to black...

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Q is for...


Ravelry icons
Our favourite knitting site is a host for many wondrous things, one of my (many) favourites being the quixotic nature of some words... (I use this in its 'whimsical' and 'fanciful' sense.)  If, when conversing on the forums, you type the words 'cup of coffee, cake, killer rabbit (there's a long story there, but not for the telling right here) and ice cream, to name but four, the magic of Ravelry then depicts the words in a delightful little icon which follows your text.  It is very amusing, and the 'cake' especially has come to mean a lot to the members of a certain CPaAG...

I decided I liked these little symbols so much that I'd try to turn them into 3D knitted representations... I found patterns that I could adapt for three of them, and so determined was I to make the fourth, I made it up myself!

But I run ahead of myself...

Firstly, may I present unto you the ice cream:

um, ice cream...
Notice the waffle cone and the blueberry and strawberry scoops! Heh! This is from the marvellous pattern by Marcie Nishioka, called 'Scooped' of all things!

Next we have some cake. This is a very important part of the 'Very Longest Thread' in the 'Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group' on Ravelry. Newbies are asked for cake when they post for the first time and it occasionally incurs a bit of confusion along the lines of:

"How can I bring you cake?" 
"Oh. I see." 
"When I type 'cake' the icon turns up and you all get Rav cake..." 


(There's a small possibility that I'm re-living my first postings on the VLT for your delectation right here and now...) 

Childish? Well, yes, but good, clean childishnessy-type fun!

And so: cake.

cake (like you'd never guess it by now...)

Now, I don't know exactly what kind of cake the Ravelry cake is supposed to be - it has a cream-coloured sponge, pink icing and filling and some cream on the top edge...  For me, I think I shall go with a Victoria sponge with a strawberry filling and fresh double cream piped around the edge of the pink icing on top.  And now I'm getting slightly peckish...  This cake is only slightly altered from the 'Let them knit cake' pattern by Hannah Kaminsky.

Then we have the killer rabbit.  Um. Well. How to explain... It involves cake, or the lack thereof...

Once upon a time in a Ravelry Land not far away, cake stopped being followed by its icon. Gnashings of teeth, howls of frustration and tears of despair ensued (indulge me, people, I'm writing a story!) causing an outpouring of grief on a main board.  The multitudes were uneasy, scared and lonely for the lack of the pretty pink frosted cake but were delighted to find out that in fact the cake was being guarded by a killer rabbit. I think Casey, one of the founders of Ravelry and the code monkey, was drinking rather too much coffee that day. But anyhoo, the killer rabbit and its cute little bunny icon made it onto our pages, and therefore onto my knitting needles...

watch out for the fangs...

This little beastie was designed by MeganAnn and called 'rabbit'. (And I shall hug him and squeeze him and call him George...)

Lastly I decided I wanted to make a cup of coffee, as... well, it's as important to me as it is to the list of icons... But could I find a pattern?  Um, well, yes actually, I could, but it was a crochet pattern, and I can't crochet my way out of a wet paper bag... So I searched again but to no avail.  Well, thunk I, maybe I can just do one myself...  It can't be THAT hard, right? RIGHT?

cup of coffee (oh, for a latte icon!)

Actually, RIGHT! Heh. 3 stitches cast onto 3 dpns, m1 on each stitch for the first round, and k1, m1 for the next few, a couple of purl rows for the base of the cup, then k1 and m1 whenever I thought it needed to curve out a bit more... Then a length of browny i-cord for the coffee part and a small i-cord for the handle and Bob's your Daddy's Bro!

And so you have it. My own quirky versions of some Rav icons...

huzzah for arty-farty shots!

(Ah, pants - Q could've been for quirky...)

Monday, 11 August 2008

P is for...

Pianto di Maria

 Tears of Mary

'Il Pianto di Maria' is a marvellous sacred cantata by Giovanni Battista Ferrandini (although the piece itself was attributed to Handel for many years) and is one of my all-time favourite pieces of music, and I've just come back from performing it in Germany.  YEEHAH!  The concert was 2 years in preparation, but the director of the ensemble and I have been dreaming about doing this for much longer...

The concert and rehearsals were in the catholic cloister church residing in the tiny wee town of Pfaffen-Schwabenheim in Germany. I know. Catholic? Germany? And there goes another of my presumptions... WHEEEEEEEEEE  It was a charming church, with a not-too-boomy acoustic which was perfect for this kind of music.

choir screen of the Cloister-Kirk

I was particularly drawn to one of the statues on the choir screen. We adopted him as our mascot although were never sure if we were making him cry with the beauty of the music, or by my coughing all the way through the rehearsals.

39゜ fever or just some amazing music?

Yes, coughing. I was (still) sick all last week, and only now am I able to pass more than half an hour without the need to go searching for bits of lung.  Ick!  Such is the lot of a singer - you are your own instrument and if you're ill, then you're... well, you're rather unfortunate, to put things politely.  My speaking voice was VERY husky due to all the coughing, and that meant that my lower range was also husky and it really hard to produce the sound. Man, I am oh so glad that my concert as an alto was last week and not this one. Funnily enough though, my high notes were easy and pingy. Cool? Well, sort of, in a Murphy's Law kind of way...

I did manage to soothe my throat a couple of times with the local beer, an arty-farty photo of which I shall now present unto you:

 mmm bier

Unfortunately I didn't get much chance to do some major sampling, as most of my free time was taken up by trying to sleep off the lurgy.  I think I knitted (hmm, knat? OO! I like the look of that!  Heh!) 3 lines of a super secret square project, and that was it. Meh.  I have a LOT to catch up on as there are some deadlines looming like thunder clouds on the horizon.  Ach well, I work better when there's a to-do-by date close to throttling distance...  My next post WILL have some stealth objects revealed.  This I promise!  And I'm absolutely gagging to show them off!

P is also for 'Patience is a virtue', I guess...

Thursday, 31 July 2008

Zombie Socks

Don't faint, please, but you can run away screaming if you wish...

I have finished a pair of socks. That they are the Zombie Socks by Sheryl Giles seems apt. I myself am feeling somewhat zombie-ish at the moment.  This has been caused, not by a bite from a zombie (I wonder how one DOES become a zombie - I may have to Google this... I shall be right back... Okay, so you have to be 'infected' and killed by a zombie. I think this is relevant...) but by being in the 35 degree heat of the South of France then the 22 degree air-conditioning of the French High Speed Train system then the 34 degree heat of home. Add a liberal dash of sniffly people ON the train and Hey PRESTO - instant cold.

:: sniffle ::

Ugh. Of course, the timing is somewhat crap, as I have a concert in a week's time in Germany, and some music still to get into my system, but I guess there's a lesson about procrastination to be learnt there, if nothing else!

But I FINISHED MY ZOMBIE SOCKS!  This pleaseth me. It doesn't make me feel any better,  sniffles-wise, but FO-wise it makes me smile! Huzzah!  (They're called 'Zombie' socks because they include SCARY dropped stitches!)

 So mis-matched they MATCH!

I am rather fond of these! It was the first time I used 'sock' yarn and I wasn't sure how the variegation would work, but I do like the way they're almost negative mirror images of each other!

stretched out and looking GOOD!

But I am also pleased that I can post one of my 'stealth' objects now, too... A few days ago it was the birthday of a lovely friend of mine from Ravelry. I was already sending her some rather HAWT shoes and the timing was such that I thought I'd send her my first evah amiguri-type knitted thingy and some yummy yarn as a birthday pressie...I don't have a photo of the yarn, but I can tell you it was called 'Raspberry Ripple' and came from my favourite 'Angels & Elephants' dyers...

The amiguri-type-thingy? Well, I attempted a little cupcake with a cherry on top... I had it in mind for the recipient a long time ago and was quite pleased with how it turned out...

 cupcake for G

Ach well, back to attempting to throw this cold... and finishing the other stealth objects... and praying for cooler temperatures!  Heh!
:: sniffle ::

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Bach en Drôme

I have freckles and my hair is a little lighter. This is what comes of spending a few days in the South of France in 30+ degree heat!  Marvellous!  Drôme is a département of South-East France and I had a brilliant time with my friends doing a concert of some gorgeous music by Bach. 

But first I must show you where we rehearsed in the East of France before we went down south...

The Ancient Post House of the village.

Okay, so you know me well enough by now to expect a few more photos. I did, after all, come back with over a hundred...

Above is the family home of the conductor of the group and I've been coming here for nearly 10 years of rehearsals, concerts and fun, but never, until now, have I taken any photos - VERY lax on my part.  The garden was blooming, we had lunch under the mimosa tree and rehearsed in the music room, (complete with numerous harpsichords) the window of which can be found at the top left of the house as you face it... Ah... Bliss!

 I can't remember for the life of me what this is called...

 grapes nearing ripeness

 um, don't know what this is, either, but it was pretty

 déjeuner sous l'arbre de mimosa

The concert was in the pretty little town of St Donat in Drôme and the church was beautiful (but the interior refused to be photographed well), as were the ancient and carved cloisters and... ah...

 floral motif stained glass windows

 cloister arches with neo-classical waste-paper bin

 more carved pillars

 vielle player

And just to prove to me that there is still life in the old camera yet, it pulled this little number out of the hat...


I am pooped but very pleased the concert went well (even more so because I was singing the alto solo and I could be HEARD! Oh YEAH!)  If you ever get a chance to hear a concert or recording of Bach's 'Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden' (based on Pergolesi's 'Stabat Mater') I'd thoroughly recommend a listen...

Sunday, 20 July 2008

O is for...


Angels & Elephants hand-dyed sock yarn 

I may have waxed a little lyrical on this topic before. And then I only had 2 types of the stuff. Today, to add to my obsession, a package arrived in the mail with my final (for the moment) shipment of yarn from Angels & Elephants, who are based in Cornwall, UK and have their yarn shop on eBay.

I now have the colourways of Tintagel (denim blue and green), Maisie (lavender, blue and turquoise), Polruan (green, blue and yellow), Tamar (light and dark lavender and pale green), Sea Spray (blue, lavender and pale jade) and Damson Delight (damson, purple and pink) I think I may be a tad spoilt for choice. Until I see the next consignment of colours on eBay, bien sûr... And sock yarn doesn't count as stash anyway, does it? 

So, after gathering all my wee smooshy, yarny babies into my loving arms and just breathing in the colours, (you can too breathe in colours... pfff) I decided to get my camera and try to take some pretty pictures. I think I may never again have such a beautiful subject... (Um, until I see the next consignment of colours on eBay...)

My camera, on the other hand, was playing hard to get. It is a rather old Olympus C-Zoom and takes about 10 pictures before I am informed by means of a blue screen with a big red cross on it that there ain't no more pictures getting taken. It laughs in the face of zinc carbon batteries (nom), eats rechargeables for breakfast (nom nom), gazes greedily at anything that promises 'long-life' (nom nom nom) and almost salivates (work with me here, people) at the thought of nomming quickly through a couple of lithium cells. And if I even think about using the macro function, then this snacking turns into a full-scale face-in-the-trough nom like-there's-no-tomorrow.

:: sighs ::

So, four batteries later I ended up with some yarn pin-up shots. Or as my DS would say, some obligatory arty-farty shots. Most of them, needless to say, were pretty naff. Darling Olympus, I think you've earned your retirement.

 Rolling hills of colour

Oh, how I love these colours. I'm turning into such a hand-dyed junkie. I guess I'll never have enough yarn like this, yet it feels a bit strange to start a project with them, because they're just so damn pretty in the skein. But, biting the bullet, I have started one super secret sock project with one of them. To end this post I'll show you the sole, as it won't give anything away apart from how lovely the yarn looks knitted up a bit...

Super Secret Sock Sole in Sea Spray
(For DS - Sally Snake goes sssssssssss!!!)

You'll notice I've artfully covered the toe... That's 'cos it's an unholy mess. I *may* cough cough have misread the directions...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

N is for...


 lunar echo

I am a night owl. I seem to get most work done in the hours of darkness and feel more at peace then, too. Of course, at this time of year and the heat it brings, I love the cool evenings even better... It has always been thus and I suspect always shall be.

The photo above was an attempt at capturing the face of the Man in the Moon, but all the photos turned out a big blur of light except for this one, which although does have the big blur of light, it also managed to capture some kind of reflection through my window pane. I like it a lot!

Night. Excepting end-of-term hysteria in this student town, the nights are quiet here. 3am is so still. And night-time has so many photographic personalities.

  Foggy night in Tours

Colours are exaggerated yet muted around a street lamp on a foggy evening, or sharpened and enhanced with reflections from water...

 Amsterdam Gracht

It makes me think of home...

View from my parents house to my grand-parents house


...but then it can also invoke annoyance. See the big, wide-open space between the 2 houses here? It opens up to the field in the heart of the village... See an earlier post entitled 'There Goes My Childhood' for further explanations of my disgust about the future of this view...

But, the night is not always my friend. Insomnia strikes occasionally and then any lure of the dark and love of the night flees from my soul and I pace the apartment muttering not-so-sweet nothings to my over-active brain. I must admit that the first time I ever appreciated French tv was during one of these episodes.  Falling asleep to re-runs of the Simpsons in French leads to strange dreams, however.

My last sleepless night was a few days ago... Or a few nights ago, if you prefer. The tv wasn't doing anything for me, camomile tea only made me closer acquaintances with my porcelain necessarium and pacing about hurt my foot too much. My eyes fell on my knitting, but I knew I wasn't in the mood for cables, or indeed anything that entertained a certain brain-using thinky-type element. Some no-counting mindless knitting was called for. I saw the silver wire and a tube of little shiny beads (oo - shiny), sat down and ended up with the beginnings of this.

Pointless and Arbitrary Wind Catcher 

I dedicate this wind-chime-catcher to the Completely Pointless and Arbitrary Group on Ravelry. It seems apt. It will neither catch the wind nor chime, but it looks pretty and shiny and sparkly and, well, does it need any more point than that?

It's made from quite a few metres of 28-gauge silver wire and a multitude of little silver and glass beads. 

oo - shiny...

And at that I shall off and switch on every light in my flat. There's a thunderstorm brewing and, ironically, they frighten me when it's dark outside...


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