Monday, 21 July 2008

Books Meme

Miss Elle who knits the most adorable baby clothes (her Baby's First Tattoo jacket just rocks!) completed the following meme. I just couldn't resist.

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed. Well let's see.

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Underline those you intend to read.
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them ;-)

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (can't say I've read/seen all Shakespeare plays & sonnets but I've done a few.)
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19. The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25. The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (This is part of 33...)
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens - never, ever again!
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte's Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare (Surely this comes under the complete works at 14?)
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

You know, I don't think that is too bad. It is scary though how few of those books I have read recently. I have read more Dickens than Oliver Twist but it is the only one I ever finished. No matter how much I try, I just don't like his style.

As you can see, I have several books I love but I would firmly place Of Mice and Men, Heart of Darkness and Alice in Wonderland worthy of reading, re-reading and reading again.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Weekend Fun

I've had a fab weekend and unfortunately I have to go to work tomorrow (boo hoo).

Yesterday I indulged in retail therapy of the knitting variety on Saturday and spent most of today watching the Tour de France. It was so great and I got lots of knitting done. I am now about two-thirds of the way through Vera's mid section helped by remembering the pattern and the new Knit Picks Harmony Wood needles I purchased yesterday.

I even went out on the bike today (spurred on by watching the Tour). This is only the second time I have riden the bike this year and I can not believe what a total wuss I am. You see, about 10 years ago I used to ride all the time. I was the proud owner of a very pink Muddy Fox mountain bike and went everywhere on it. I rode to work daily, did fun runs from London to Canterbury and from London to Brighton, and went cycling every weekend. I easily cycled between 40-80 miles every week and I NEVER put on weight.

Unfortunately, some s**t separated me from my bike and, when I could finally afford a replacement, it just was not right. In fact I hated the poor Raleigh that I bought and cycled less and less. Of course, life changes and I moved from the country into the city and I left my bike in the under stairs cupboard only taking it out for a spin once in 10 years.

So this year I decided to pull the bike out and overhaul it. I purchased some cycle shorts, shoes and a crash hat. I dressed up in my finery, hopped on the bike and discovered I was totally scared. I was so scared I scooted myself along and was unable to lift my left foot off the floor. For goodness sakes, I couldn't cycle anymore! After a couple more goes I finally managed to cycle but I didn't really enjoy it. I parked the bike in the garage, filed away the shorts and thought I might never cycle again.

However, I have been keeping up with the Tour . This encouraged me to dust everything down and go cycling early this evening. I am sure I cut a sorry figure as I developed confidence on the bike. The geometry of the Raleigh still feels wrong but I can live with it at the moment.

1. Helen, 2. Pasta, 3. St Bedes, 4. Blue, 5. Nick Cave, 6. Tea, 7. New Zealand, 8. Sticky Toffee Pudding, 9. Artisan, 10. Family, 11. Weird12. KnitCave

Also, there has been a little photo fun doing the blog rounds recently and I managed to loose some time to it.

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The questions:

1. What is your first name? Helen
2. What is your favorite food? Pasta
3. What high school did you go to? St Bede's
4. What is your favorite color? Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Nick Cave
6. Favorite drink? tea
7. Dream vacation? New Zealand
8. Favorite dessert? Sticky Toffee Pudding
9. What you want to be when you grow up? artisan
10. What do you love most in life? family
11. One Word to describe you. weird
12. Your flickr name. KnitCave

Friday, 11 July 2008

Knit Club

I regularly try to meet with friends at least 4 times a month to gossip, drink coffee or beer and knit a little. It has affectionately been called Knit Club and DH always hopes I won't talk knitting at him if I attend these meetings.

To reinforce his hopes, he developed the following rules:

Knit Club

1st RULE: You do not talk about KNIT CLUB.

2nd RULE: You DO NOT talk about KNIT CLUB.

3rd RULE: If someone says "frog" or the knitting goes limp and falls off the needle, the knit is over.

4th RULE: Only two socks make a pair.

5th RULE: One project at a time.

6th RULE: No aran, no fairisle.

7th RULE: Knits will go on as long as they have to.

8th RULE: If this is your first night at KNIT CLUB, you HAVE to knit.

I think rule 6 needs some adjustment but generally I think it works.

Glastonbury Review

I promised a write up about the music we caught at Glastonbury. However, DH did a much better job of this than I would, pop over to and catch his Glastonbury 2008 review.

I am slightly concerned about the lack of concerts we have planned: Tinarawen in August and Cardiacs in November.

Thursday, 10 July 2008


Can anyone but me see the problem with this photograph?

The lovely Pilton Jay looks great, doesn't it?

There are no mistakes and the heel looks neat (even if I say so myself).

The yarn looks lovely, even though there is a greater bias towards yellow than I might like.

"So", I hear you ask "what's wrong?"

That is my DH foot. It should be mine! I've knitted too big (again).

My gauge lied (again).

I haven't the heart to rip back and start (again).

However, my husband now has another pair of handknit socks coming his way. Some of the knitting took place at Glastonbury. Somehow it is fitting as he is a Glasto veteran of several more years than me.

By the way, Seth Lakeman rocked yesterday. Not sure if rocked is the right phrasing to use but lots of jigging took place and his new album sounded so good I had to carry out a late night purchase. (It wasn't on sale at the gig.)

Anyway, having been encouraged to purchase Woolly Wormhead's book Going Straight I'm off to make a purchase. There are so many lovely patterns and I am sure I'll be able to knit one of THOSE in the right size to fit my head ...

Sunday, 6 July 2008

You Spin Me Right Round

I have finished my first ever handspun. I started this ages ago on a drop spindle and, in several places I made this too thin. However, I am very happy about how it turned out. I learnt so much making this from drafting to andean plying.

It is 204m of 2ply BFL and appears to be reasonably balanced (at least 2 of the skeins are). I think I might knit a hat out of it as this should show the textures well.

I'm thinking either Camille by Bronwyn Lowenthal, or Urchin (giving me an excuse to purchase her book).

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Nick Cave TV

I have the best ever Saturday planned. Last night was Nick Cave night on BBC4 and I recorded all the programmes! I shall be watching again and again.

I couldn't watch in real time as Meatloaf was playing at the Rec in Bath and we couldn't resist a singalong. It was good fun, even though Mr Loaf could have been better, mumbling his lines and singing slower than the band was playing. It didn't matter as the crowd pretty much drowned out the sound, singing along to hits like Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Bat Out of Hell etc.

Very strange though, I felt quite young amongst the crowd, something that doesn't happen often these days!

Ah! The Tour has started and I wish all those participating in both the KAL (Ravelry link) and the actual race all the best. May the projects fly off the needles and watch out for the pile-ups as you won't want to frog and be swept up by the van. I personally am nailing my colours to Team QuickStep and routing for the team leader, Riggwelter in her attempt to capture the King of the Mountain. One of the hardest jersey's to obtain ... good luck!