Thursday, November 17, 2005

Tag from froggle rock

Well for the past week or so I have been just puddling along. Yvonne tagged me – to join this , and to do this below – so watch out Stephanie !

What is your all time favourite yarn to knit with?
Crumbs - often whichever I am knitting with, at the moment it is Blue Sky Alpaca which I spend more time stroking than knitting, Koigu runs close as does Rowan Kidsilk Haze. I'm deeply fond of 4ply weight as it is great for colour work. Rowan and Jaeger are probably favourite brands for their consistent good quality.

Your favourite needles?
I have a very bent pair of very worn metal pins that are 4mm, they are the first knitting needles I ever bought rather than just filched from my mum (in my teens), I have prettier and more exotic needles of most types but these are like part of me as I have had them so long and they hold (literally) loads of happy knitting memories. They are the perfect length to tuck under your arms and just motor through a project.

The worst thing you've ever knitted?
Cripes - which one!!! Are we talking fashion victim or just disaster knitting??? Maybe a brown jersey for the husband when we were first married is the worst knitting experience, what can I say, it was a hideous shade (chosen by him), totally plain (again chosen by him) and took forever (he is long and skinny). It must have been an act of love. In fashion-victim-terms, again a jersey for him (yeah I know, poor guy whatever did he do to deserve me?) - light grey and navy diamonds with pale grey anchors on navy and navy snowflakes on the light grey, navy and grey two colour rib, knitted when we were engaged for our first Christmas (bearing in mind Christmas in NZ is in summer), I finished it 6.30am on Christmas morning and it was 1987. He still has it but says it is like a sauna to wear, it is truly gruesome to look at....

Your most favourite knit pattern (maybe you don't like wearing it but it was the most fun to knit.) ?
Probably "Icy" from Rowan Magazine Nr 30 - a totally plain Kidsilk Haze Tee-shirt style with long sleeves that is slightly shaped to fit. It is fabulous, I have knitted it in Gooseberry green, Lord Blue and added a hood, adapted it for 4ply cottons when I have done colour work etc etc. It is a pattern I always go back to as it fits really well, and in Kidsilk Haze especially attracts all sorts of non knitters or former knitters over to stroke me. (Can you hear me purr?)

Most valuable knitting technique?
Oooh easy question - Fair Isle!!! Love it and always will.

Best knit book or magazine?
Is there a best book?
I currently like Nicky Epstein as a writer, her designs have a great sense of fun and bring in a lot of people who are fazed by big projects (her flowers and borders for instance) so I have to love her for that if nothing else, other books I treasure - Great Knitted Gifts by Shackleton and Shackleton, isbn1402713231; Handpaint Country by Potter, isbn 1893762033; Knitting in America by Falick, isbn 1885183275 and then of course Gladys Thompson and her book on British Guernsey's/Arans etc (sketchy details - can't find it as it is too deep in the knitting pile), A Shetland Knitter's Notebook by Smith and Bunyan, isbn 0900662735 bought on a trip to Shetland eons ago.

Fave Magazine?
That would be Interweave Knits - gorgeous!!!
Too many listed above? Well, I am a librarian and another love apart from knitting and textiles would have to be the written word.

Favourite knit-a-long?
Haven't done one yet, but am about to join the
curly knit thingummy that Yvonne tagged me for - does that count? And have just joined the threadybear knitalong too - hooray for knitalongs.

Favourite knitwear designer?

Kim Hargreaves maybe - great styles, lovely soft colours, Sarah Dallas and also Elizabeth Zimmerman for being outspoken and straight talking - boy does she make me laugh (often, as I am sitting there nodding my head in agreement). Alice Starmore for her passion for fair isle and related work.

The knit item you wear the most (what about a picture of it?)
Either this, which is great for winter - you can carry around your own temperature controlled habitat in a deeply unflattering way (and studied by teams of intrepid zooligists, who may be lost amidst the stitches even now) even better, in spring when you finally peel it off you look so much slimmer....

or this, which makes me look like a little fruity pudding

Which lucky knitter gets this next? ;)
How about the wonderful
Stephanie !!!

Apart from this it has been a good week – no ranting, and apart from the almost constant headaches from the weather suddenly going very cold, life has been pretty good. Yvonne sent me a knitterly treat – look yummy cone, and look scrummy skein. They are just lovely - lovely, as number3 said when I unwrapped it “Look someone has sent you your colours…” I will have to choose the perfect projects to match the perfect yarns (thank you, thank you Yvonne ).

Anyway, it has been a puddling kind of week and once you start puddling, it is infectious – you start out doing a little of nuttin and end up doing a whole lotta nuttin and eventually all the nuttins join together into one puddling kind of week involving a very big total nuttin, and anything I have done has involved undoing, so nutting is better than that. Still undoing is cathartic and frogging is not a pain, it is cleansing – as long as I repeat that I’m o.k – it’s cleansing, or if you say it often enough with enough reason behind it – its cleansing - dammit. If I keep thinking of it as a knitting detox and its o.k - almost... It’s not as though I didn’t have good intentions, I started the week with the kind of firebrand zeal I am not usually known for – heck I was going to hurtle through a pair of gloves, insert a zip into a cardigan, finish the first sock for Number3, forge ahead with the Hisdal sweater, apply ribbon to cardigan edges etc etc. However I have been waylaid by sinuses (the old head is so sore with the sudden weather twists and turns it is hard to think straight) and also I am plagued by visual dilemmas. By that I mean, everything I touch this week looks hideous (not hallucinations in case you ask) – I went off to my weaving class after 2 weeks absence and had a sketch of a vase of flowers prepared to work on, however getting home and looking at my yarns – it is so obvious these yarns are not flower yarns they are bright little fishies. The curly whirly scarf is not one shade of Kidsilk haze or the other but somewhere between the two – so it has had to be restarted with the two together, and now it is falling off the needles as there are lots of stitches already, and what if it is solid rather than ethereal froth?

The threadybear knitalong has had the yarn sent away for but now I am in a quandary (doesn’t that word make you think of camels and humps? Dromedary = ?, but Quandary should = a sort of confused camel with extra humps?) over colours.

In the meantime I am restricting myself to “safe” projects – a scarf for Madam, a jersey for a cloth Lion that is 12 years old and loosing its’ fur and belongs to Number1. I figured I had better get that done as 12year olds don’t usually commission their mum and he sidled up to me and asked me to knit a red hoodie for Loosey as she is getting on a bit and feels the cold these days, also she has cataracts and can’t see like she used to so it has to be a bright colour so we can see her. So despite the frog blip that has overcome me, I feel impelled to carry on with “safe” projects until the knitting bug is back on track.

Friday, November 04, 2005

hypertext / url for Guardian not working no matter what - bad

the URL / hypertext for the Guardian piece won't seem to work - no matter what. So here it is....

"Tony, 22 is a librarian and member of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. After five years working in a children's library, on £23k, he wants new horizons."

Point Nr 3

"Tony's research skills could lead to employment as an NHS librarian. Many hospital trusts have onsite staff libraries to help keep clinicians up to date and boost the professional development of other staff. He would ensure information could be found easily through clear library indexing and catalogue keeping. Tony might also provide regular summaries of clinical journals for medical staff. He can expect at least £25,000 a year"


I would like to point out apart from being annoyed about my profession as a medical librarian being considered as easy-peasy to enter, I am also thoroughly cheesed off for children's librarians - would this also hold as good advice for NHS librarians jaded by their job trying to enter their line of work? I doubt that a children's library holding interviews for a position would be exactly leaping at my c.v which leans heavily towards what can be ferreted from a database or the teaching of information literacy skills to staff - hmmmm, just can't see that going down well at all. I do not have their child-friendly skills, their knowledge of literature, their patience, their ..... in fact put me amongst chldren other than my own for any length of time and I would undoubtably be a quivering wreck. I would suggest that not only is being a children's librarian a profession, but something more undefinable. And thats just my point I guess, children's librarians have as many skills as we do in the health sector and they are just as finely honed etc, but their skills and my skills are not suitable for some easily transferrable flippant "job swop" scenario written up by the ignorant.


good day / bad day....

(gratuitous shot of Theophilus on bookshelves absorbing knowledge through book-fur contact)

I have been having a see-saw of a day today –

1. Friday good
2. too much work to catch up on after being off with a gastric bug bad
3. managed to reclaim money I had paid to buy an essential pharmacology book from Amazon (remarkably good considering the bewildering twists and turns of the arcane Finance system here)
4. one of my favourite young docs has left to go down to Bristol to start training as an anaesthetist – look after Dr Jill down there you hear me! very bad, will miss her
5. managed to track down both the laptop and projector I had left in the large classroom for Wednesday’s lecture despite having to leave in a hurry, exceptionally good and surprising - see number 2
6. emails on lis-medical about Guardian, bad – irritating to see your profession written up by people who know **** all about it and probably also know **** all about being a children’s librarian grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Newspaper is hopefully being bombarded by furious children's librarians too
7. sent off feisty letter to Guardian – so all revved up to deal with rest of day v good, better than caffeine for giving a swish to one's tail, bet they don’t print it...
8. Porters bring big parcels from Amazon for me (easier to get delivered to work rather than home) include an electric fry-pan – hard to come by in UK but ubiquitous back home in NZ, can now replace our 17yr old treasure that is almost ready for burial good
9. but came by bus today – not sure if can get them all onto bus…. bad
10. generator test – normally these happen once a month on a Friday and to be fair they do let you know your information world is about to come crashing down around your ears an hour or so beforehand, however….. I almost got away with generator test – only 3 pages of a 70 page document left to print for a screen-phobic punter (aren’t they all?) when the switch was flipped and all came to a shuddering halt. V bad – printer now has to start all over again as it doesn’t like doing anything else
11. now have to wrestle with printer and to pull out papers it is chewing up like family rabbit, only family rabbit doesn’t make that weird growling, belching sound and spit black dust over your cream tee shirt bad
12. however, this was now lunchtime good
13. and the first time in 3 days I felt like eating anything v good
14. only my taste buds have not quite returned good or bad depending on your opinion of hospital food
15. still, they had tuna and salad left good
16. on return from lunch break I decided the generator test all gone and done with, so I could break into a big juicy literature search for a punter on Blood Transfusion / Clinical Governance and TQM good
17. started printing stuff from Better Blood site (SHOT etc – Serious Hazards of Transfusion in case you ask) and blow me, a second generator test VVVV BAD
18. beetled off to do other chores once sorted it all out and retrieved documents and started printing and came back to find 70 pages of what looks like a totally new language of important stuff when it should have been printing away in English VVVVVVVVVV BAD BAD BAD
19. am now a spitting, fizzing, hissing, claw snaggling viperous librarian that would like to sink fangs into any facilities staff personnel that comes near VVVVVV BAD – doesn’t look pretty and scares the punters, Halloween been and went so no other demonic witches left to support me
20. could now power library computers off me in this state good

Still nearly weekend good?

as it will probably not make it into print this is what I wrote to the Guardian...

Whilst I am thrilled that "Tony" a mere stripling of 22 has managed a salary of £23k in a library (quite some acheivement given wages in this sector are notoriously low) I am somewhat concerned by the careers advice given to him (What else can I do? November 2nd 2005). Point Number 3 suggests a career as an NHS librarian. Now I would not wish to dissuade any librarian from considering a career in the NHS - it afterall is a really rewarding job and offers the constant challenge of keeping up with evidence of best practice, clinical governance, the continual upgrading of our own specialist skills often in solo positions etc etc as well as the joys of living a soap opera as we change tack on political whim. I do however feel that Tony could only be disappointed if he applied for such a position, most librarians within the NHS (or other health related post such as in FE or HE) start with the need for a basic degree, a masters and then professional qualification as well, many of these are then not paid as much as "Tony".

I would also like to warn "Tony" that the advice given that NHS librarians would value his "clear library indexing and catalogue keeping" whilst entirely plausible (we are a very inclusive and welcoming bunch), when it comes to job applicants we are more likely to be looking in other areas; such as the ability to teach critical appraisal skills, clinical knowledge or understanding of local practice developments so as to best match our expertise with what is wanted by other staff.

I hope this helps "Tony" and any other jaded 22 year old librarians out there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

At last something off the needles...

Yarn from Mo Bair and Book is Wrap Style by Allen and Budd
(Interweave Press isbn 1931499918, Top Down Capelet by Ann Budd p49)
The first project from Operation SECC (Glasgow) is off the needles...

Anyone who knows me would say I am a pootler, what takes most people minutes can take me eons as I faff about exploring the ins and outs - I always take the long way and thats no different with yarn. I am full of ideas which I start and then I.... well I...... However I have finished the first of what are probably many projects from the SECC, I had to start with the Mo Bair (the alternative would have been to just lay it out on the floor and roll in it, but knitting seemed more productive). Now for me, this is remarkably classy and remarkably quick.

That yarn is positively scrumptious

On a completely unrelated front, this is Theophilus investigating his first Halloween pumpkin, what you can't hear are the awful noises that sounds as though they are involved in heavy duty smooching (in fact Theo can't resist a little nibble).

This is Theo seconds later when he realised he was being watched - note the innocent big eyes as he stands guard right in front of some of the childrens books where he likes to recline (yup on top of them, which doesn't seem that comfortable to me)...

Knitting Quiz

Knitting Goddess

You appear to be a Knitting Goddess.
You are constantly giving and are unconcerned with
reward, you simply want others to love knitting
as much as you do. If someone wants to knit
miles of novelty yarns, you are there for them.
If someone wants to learn short row shaping,
you can help. There are no taboos in knitting,
only opportunities to grow. Everyone should
have friend like you around if they want to
learn to knit, and there's a good chance that
your passion has rubbed off on a few others.

What Kind of Knitter Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

From one of the lists I'm on, not sure how much of a Goddess I am the rest of the time / or even right now - we have had a weekend of watching each offspring come down with a spectacular 24 gut bug, one by one. Nr.1 Child has it now and is totally forlorn as eating is his reason for existence, poor little chick.