Saturday, January 28, 2006

Burns Supper

WARNING - just one line of knitting content!
I got my copy of Rowan 39 this morning, which is very prompt. I like it! More to follow on this subject in a few days.

WARNING - Kathleen has fuzzy head after work mate's leaving do last night so please be gentle with me.
And by the way, I have no idea why my links and all that have gone down to the bottom of the page.

Okay, so on Thursday night we had our annual Burns Supper in the glamorous canteen of the school where I work.

It's a soft drink event for the sixth year pupils and staff, and although it is in one of the cafeteria, a lot of work goes into it and everybody really tries to get into the spirit of it. Oh yeah, and the kids all go on to Hamilton Palace night club in their kilts etc while us oldies limp home dying for our beds.

It started at 7 prompt with our Head Girl as Maistress o' Ceremonies. We all stood while John, a pupil who left last year, piped in the haggis while the Head Boy (I used to take him for Standard Grade French) carried it aloft in procession round all the guests. Both of them looked a million dollars in full Highland Dress.

The Head Boy then recited, or rather, performed the Address to a Haggis complete with a skean dhu (black knife, small dagger) attack on the haggis. He really did it justice.

After which, one of 6th year girls who was in my Standard Grade Spanish class a couple of years ago, danced a wonderful Highland Fling to our top table which included all our speakers and invited guests.

The Deputy Head Girl lead us all in The Selkirk Grace before we tucked into scotch broth and a roll which was like a half-brick, followed by haggis, bashit neeps (mashed turnip/swede) and champit tatties (mashed potatoes). The main course was steak pie and boiled peas. Very nice although the pie paste was like the other half of that brick I was telling you about. Then we rounded it all off with oatcakes and Scottish cheeses.

Once the feedin' was over the Member of the Scottish Parliament for Hamilton North, Michael McMahon , gave our principal speech and the toast to The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns. This part of the proceedings does not always come straight after the meal, but it was scheduled in here in case our speaker had to leave early, having a country to run and all that. He was a good sport though, and stayed till the bitter end. In his speech Michael emphasised Burns' affinity with nature and love of country life.

Robert Bruce's March to Bannockburn, or Scots wha hae as it is often known was sung by two sixth year girls, then two of our admin workers did a harmonic duet of Ye Banks an Braes o' Bonnie Doon . Two of our drama teachers performed My Love is Like a Red Red Rose then a sixth year boy lead us all in a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne and then I rounded off the singing with Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation sung unaccompanied. I really enjoyed it and it went down well.

Our deputy head boy gave a tongue in cheek speech and Toast tae the Lassies to which the head girl responded, giving as good as she got. That section of the evening was brought to a close by the Piping Finale, which got us all energised for the ceilidh.

After a quick comfort break, we had dancing to live music performed by a band made up of staff and pupils on the piano, violins, accordian, drums and different whistles. The dances included The Dashing White Sergeant , The Gay Gordons and the inimitible Strip the Willow to name but a few. A brilliant night was had by all.

I don't go for any great love of Burns or haggis, but just to help contribute to the school community. Working in a busy secondary school with a very mixed catchment area can be hard, but the thing that makes it worthwhile is the personal qualities of the pupils, never seen more clearly than in our talented sixth years on Burns night.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Quick post

I'll have to make this quick as I still have to practise my song for the Burns Supper I am attending at work tomorrow. Neighbours are going to love me.

Anyway, I have been busy knitting and busy generally these past few days. I can offer you a picture of the back of my Garter Rib Sweater from Classic Knits for Real Women. I was working away at this at the Meetup at the Tramway theatre cafe on Sunday. If you are interested I have done a wee write up of the event under last Sunday's date, 22nd January on the Glasgow Knitting Meetup site. I know some readers are regulars there, and some faithful friends were at the meet. Don't have time to do posh links tonight, but here is the URL

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Here's a close up of the stitch pattern - don't know how clearly it will come out, might give you the general idea at leat. K2 P3 on right side and purl across wrong side rows. I'm liking the effect but those vertical ridges are apparently adding to the whole "Pumpkin" effect. Not the most flattering of looks!

I have been making progress with other knitting, but I'll give you the details at the weekend, along with an update on the Burns Supper. Yeah, I know today is Burns day, but you try and find a speaker who'll come to a school on the actual day when they could be getting well rewarded at a Rotary Club or Golf Club, whatever. Until the weekend! x K

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Busy week

Very busy working week; report cards and such delights.
So, all I can leave you with is the news that my mother in law Pam is delighted with the Misty Garden scarf (thank you very much for the lovely comments) and a picture of Sonja and Siegfried on our window ledge at the Vienna Marriot.
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Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another Sunday update

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Okay, I told you you wouldn't be hearing as much from me once I went back to work, didn't I? Hee hee .
I've managed to finish this version of Misty Garden from Scarf Style for my mother-in-law this week. It was a lovely, easy knit and I think the kind of vintage look of this scarf will suit Pam. I know, I'm getting awfully forward, am I not? (Resisting the Scottish "amn't I?", but could never say "aren't I?")
I made it in Silk Boucle by Fyberspates in the Foxglove shade, bought from Get Knitted at a reduced price. Used three skeins. It is a lovely yarn to use, and although the boucle bits were a bit bothersome at the cast on edge, there were no problems after that. I didn't have enough so I bought two more skeins, so I now have one solitary ball. Could become a doily or salad bowl cover or something.

Oh yes, underneath is a well loved and well worn jumper called Spruce from Rowan 29 knitted in "Jonelle Cotton Shine" when John Lewis did their own yarn.

In other knitting I have been working away at a striped reverse stocking stitch cardigan in Sirdar Denim for my niece's daughter. Can't remember if we went for grand niece or great niece. We're not given an individual designer's name, but it was in the most recent Women's Weekly Stitching edition.

Have also done about one millimetre on my Copper Garter rib jumper. "Pumpkin" as it is being affectionately known round this house. Mmm. Pumpkin, not too sure about that one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Oh Vienna!

In the absence of anything exciting in the knitting line to show you, I thought I'd give you the view from our hotel in Vienna.

We looked out over the Stadtpark. The Kursalon (where we went to the Strauss and Mozart concert) is out of shot on the right hand side.

I've tried to highlight a couple of things in this picture, but the type has come out too small to read, although you can probably at least see the arrows. The one on the left is showing some mistletoe growing on the high tree tops and the one on the right is showing the golden statue of Johann Strauss, which features on every second Vienna postcard (alternating with that big wheel thing which we didn't see). I've given you a close up version of Strauss below, the far off one is just to give some perspective on where we were staying.

Gilt Statue of Johann Strauss, Stadtpark. Posted by Picasa

The mother of all Wiener Schnitzels and lots of handknits. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday update

Just wanted to show you the cross stitch picture my mother-in-law made for our Christmas. I hope you can see how lovely it is from this photo and imagine how much work went into it. And yes, she did stitch all the white sections on the cottages. Certain lazy persons not too far from here would have just let the white Aida shine through.

I had bought her this scene as a kit from the Creative Stitches fair at the SECC about a year or more ago and knew she had been working away at it but I didn't realise she was going to give it back to us after all her hard work. As well as the lovely picture itself, she had it professionally framed and everything. What a lovely gift and it's motivating me to finish her Misty Garden (Scarf Style Knitalong link for 'in-progress' photos). I don't normally make her hand knitted birthday presents etc, but as I said at the end of last month, I think I'll be making more things for other people this year, so the Misty Garden is a good place to start. Worked on it today at the Knitting Meetup in the Tramway; good fun as usual.

I also mentioned that I will be doing more large garments as opposed to accessories so I have cast on the Garter Rib jumper from Rowan's Classic Knits for Real Women. I am not really used to showing works in progress on this blog, but I guess I'll have to acquire the habit of showing photos at minor milestones of full size garments. So...., I have loaded a picture of what one ball's worth of this jumper looks like. It is my first time trying All Seasons Cotton and this is the Copper colourway, although the picture is not the most colour-true I've ever seen.
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First ball's worth of Garter Rib Sweater. Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 06, 2006

I've joined my first Knitalong!

After lurking for a while I've taken the plunge and joined, and CONTRIBUTED (wow) to the Scarf Style Knitalong.
Go and see my efforts at

Fraternal Twins

Okay, here is my second FO of the New Year.
I did finish the first of these back in September but here is the completed pair.
Looking around the blogs I am not the world's worst for finishing the second sock, but I'm not up there with the
greats who completed 17 pairs last year (oh as well as beautiful colourwork).

These are made from Fortissima Colori Socka Color from Schoeller + Stahl in shade 2416. Everyone who sees them seems to like the heathery shades.

They are loosely based on Marietta Rib socks from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. I have totally cribbed this from my September entry when I finished the first one! Posted by Picasa
There is a cable running down each side of the leg and if they don't look identical, it's because they aren't -I was afraid of running out of yarn so I went for the fraternal twin look. I don't have the most delicate of ankles (or shins!) so I like a roomy first few inches.
I am pleased with these overall, more pleased that they're finished than anything else actually, but I think I may just be catching on with the grafting of the toes.

I still have a few more pictures of various things up my sleeve but I think I may save them for next week when I'm back at work and don't have the same luxury of time.
x K

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

First finished object of 2006!

I finished the actual knitting of this on Hogmanay but I didn't get round to the finishing until yesterday so I am able to present to you my multi-directional scarf in Regal Silk.
I love this yarn, it has a great lustre to it, I just hope it wears okay.
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Regal Silk by Art Yarns,
Bought from getknitted, link in sidebar.

I found a nice wee yarn shop about the size of a broom cupboard in Vienna when I was en route somewhere else. They had loads of Naturwolle, but no patterns, which is a bit of a bummer as I have ten skeins but no pattern. Not to worry, I'll just sub.
I don't go beyond a few phrases of the most basic German and the assistant in Citywolle didn't speak English but between us we managed to communicate that she liked my scarf, that she had no Austrian wool and that she had no patterns for Naturwolle. Ah well, at least I tried. A night-time shot of Citywolle, get off at Stubentor underground or tram stop.

It seems as if there is some kind of wool connection to that district as one of the main streets leading up to the cathedral was called Wollzweile and there were two interesting murals in the lane.

Carding, spinning, umbrella swifting (new word), weighing, weaving wool. Oh yeah, and sheep.

Although they didn't stock any Austrian wool, I did manage to make one or two purchases from Citywolle.
Lang Fantomas Swiss sock wool really.
I think I might make some mittens for my great niece from this. Great niece or grand niece?

Lang Venezia. Variegated mohair blend. Much more body than say, KidSilk Spray.
Something lacy no doubt.

GGH Al Dente wool blend.
And two lucky pigs.
The lucky symbols on the market stalls were four leaf clover, chimney sweeps and lucky pigs.
Bought a wee piggy bank for euros and a tiny glass lucky pig.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Vienna Waits for You as Billy Joel and the Vienna Tourist Board say.

Firstly in knitting news, why not call in to see my Glasgow Knitting Meetup buddy Maddie's
first ever completed knitting project ?
Do you remember a couple of weeks ago I told you I had taught someone to knit? Well it was Maddie and she decided to frog the Chunky Print scarf she was working on and to make a poncho for her wee niece instead.

Okay, tonight I want to tell you about the highlights of our trip to Vienna. Not our evening out hearing the music of Strauss and Mozart in the Kursalon, right next to our hotel, lovely as that was.

The highlights were two events at Vienna's imposing cathedral, Stephansdom . So imposing that there is no way we could have got a full photo of the entire thing, hence the link. Plus, it had a bit of scaffolding and advertising tarpaulin when we were there, isn't that always the way?
Anyway, we arrived quite late on Christmas Eve which is apparently when the main celebrations take place in that part of the world, so we just had time for a quick Wonderwoman change before heading out to try and find the cathedral for Midnight Mass. It wasn't that hard to find as we just looked out for the big jaggy thing in the sky! We found it in plenty of time for the Carol Service and Mass in what was a very international, very packed out St. Stephen's. We had to stand but we managed to shuffle our way to a screen which was relaying the view of the altar to all the parts of the church which were behind pillars and the like. Was a lovely service and before you knew it I was singing along with my German carols; it was a lovely inclusive atmosphere.

On Christmas Day we had a quiet day in the hotel (the Marriot on the Ringstrasse, Parkring section, tram stopped right outside) and had a lovely buffet Christmas lunch in the dining room. Now, I am not a very adventurous eater, but I'm sure I broadened my horizons a bit that day. Better off not knowing half the things I tried that day! I mainly chose things I thought I recognised, but appearances can be deceptive! There was a great jazz band playing cabaret as we had our meal. Bought their CD afterwards, aah memories.

Another highlight was Boxing Day, or as Good Wenceslaus would call it, the feast of Stephen. I only know a handful of Saint's Days, but I did know that one and reckoned there would be something special on at the cathedral for the patronal feast. Was I ever right? How about a Mass with the Cardinal concelebrating with about a dozen priests and a full orchestra and choir providing the music, which included the Hallelujah Chorus. Sweet music for not a penny -welcome to Vienna!

That'll do for today, except to leave you with a picture of Santa Cruz sunbathing.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Can you read it?

It says....

Seasons Greetings

Alexandra Park.

Fuzzy, but cool. Christmas lights at park gates.