Saturday, 2 May 2009


Things get away from you, they do.

18 months between posts is a terrible long time. I bought a house, decorated and moved in. I went to Italy and London and Belgium. I watched seventy million DVDs and read half that many books. I knitted about a hundred things of various shape and colour and size. I became obsessed with Ravelry. I got engaged. Things were and continue to be good. I didn't write about any of it here.

But I want to come back to this now. Keeping track of the things I do and see and feel is something I've done intermittently all my life and I'd like to have a go at it again. I was going to scrap this blog and start another but I like what I've written here and the minifesto still holds true so why not?

We'll see.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Little Weary

So it has been a pretty tiring couple of week as I started back at work. It's always a major shock to the system and thus not much has been done of interest. I got a lovely new cook book, "Pig and Sons" which is all about, well, pork, obviously. It's beautifully photographed and features chronicles of pig farmers and the like, in rural France. It seems very good, if a little overwhelming and it does features some ingredients that I might have to travel to France to get but I like it nonetheless. I'm going to try to make Pork Shoulder with Dates tomorrow, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I made Nigella's Guiness cake today. This has to be the easiest and most rewarding cake I know of and never fails to impress. It last for about a decade as well. If you haven't tried it, I do urge you to. It's in her Feast book. Nigella sometimes comes in for a lot of stick and I don't really understand why, unless the underlying reason is jealousy. Her writing and recipes rarely fail to be enjoyable and delicious.

Clapotis (whisper it!) seems to be going well . Hopefully it'll be done by next week. I've been whittling away at my socks as well. I keep them at work and get a few rounds down at lunch. I'm considering knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann's Fish Trap Aran for Mr Kittiker. I'm allowed to buy yarn if it's for someone else, right? I'm sure I saw that in the rules!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Frailty, thy name is Kittiker!

I was weak. I have no willpower. But I have a magazine and that's better. I bought Rowan 42. It wasn't entirely deliberate. I ended up in Stirling as Mr Kittiker was exchanging walking boots he'd bought (he bought odd sizes - d'oh!) And there it was. Otherwise I'd've needed to get it mail order so it makes a certain sense. But there's no need to justify it really - it is an excellent collection of patterns. But I'm slowly making my way through my projects - one row at a time!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Knitting and Writing

So I know this should be about my holidays but its my blog and I'll decide. I've started trying to write again. I used to write all the time. I got a couple of poems published, wrote half a novel, a short play but then I just stopped and for the last few years I've done almost nothing. I still have ideas for poems and stories, all the time in fact, but I haven't been doing anything with them. This was another reason for blogging initially - to get back into the writing habit but I've decided to give myself a more formal structure to developing my creative writing and sign up for the OU's creative writing course. I'm a little nervous about it in an ordinary way. What if they say I'm crap ? I find it difficult to accept criticism of any creative endevour of mine but perhaps this is as good a reason to take the course as any. And any writer must be prepared to be told that they're crap at some points I suppose. My other fear is that I lack the self discipline to complete the course to the best of my abilities. I studied French with the OU and enjoyed it though I felt like I should've put a bit more into it. I also started a Spanish course but, to be honest, my heart wasn't in it and a lot of other things were going on (new job, new house, new area, another new house!!) so that fell by the wayside. I can only try my best. And I always feel its better to regret something you've done than something you haven't.

My knitting is driving me crazy. It's because I'm on this stoopid yarn diet - it makes me all antsy. I've promised myself some new magazines when I get to the half way point (4-5 FOs). The new Interweave and Rowan look great.

I've also decided to make Barbara Walker's How to Knit Afghan. It takes you through many different techniques and types of pattern. It's made up of 63 different squares, each with a different technique. One of the Amazon reviewers said it was like knitting university and I think that's a great description. I'm looking forward to the challenge of such a big project but because it is so big, I feel that 21 squares (1/3) should count as a FO under the conditions of my yarn diet. This isn't cheating, honest. Hell, I could knit 8 mobile cozies in an afternoon if I wanted and call it done!

My biggest irritation this week has been my Clapotis. This pattern is my Nemesis. I can't fathom it - it's an easy pattern and I've knitted it before - but for some reason I keep effing it up. Catastrophically. Maybe its because I'm using expensive yarn (Silk Garden) and I'm nervous. Or more likely, it's because I'm a knitting moron. I'm using lifelines for heaven's sake. I know there's no shame in it but in a Clapotis? Good grief. Maybe this afghan will sort me out.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The News in Brief

I'm just back from a splendid holiday. Mr Kittiker and I toured the north west of Scotland, visiting Skye, Ullapool, Gairloch and Durness. It was sunny and restful and just lovely. Tomorrow we're going cannoeing up Loch Etive for a couple of days so at the moment I'm in packing and laundry hell and that leaves little time for blogging. I'm also crabbit as I have started my (now) annual yarn diet. My target weight is 8 to 10 projects lighter. This should pretty much half my stash and will leave lots of room for Christmas yarn! Hint, Mr Kittiker, Mother, friends!! More ramblings when I return.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Good Morning

Any day that starts with a parcel is bound to be good. This morning 7 lovely balls of yarn arrived in various woodland shades, destined to be made into a blanket based on squares in Jan Eaton's 200 Knitted Blocks. I am not really an aquisitional person. Too much spending makes me feel queasily, sweatily guilty. But I have my monkeys on my back like most other people and they are: (primarily) yarn and books, then some way behind, bags and costume jewellery. I like clothes but don't really buy many as my shape and my desires are largely incompatible.

But of yarn and books I could never have enough. My yarn stash is fairly manageable as I almost always buy with a specific project in mind but the books are out of control. I don't feel that this is a terrible thing. Books last forever, near enough, and can be shared and passed on. It makes me comfortable to have this store of knowledge and stories in my book cupboard. I suppose it's the intellectual equivalent to those people who stockpile water and tins of food in case of nuclear attack. If the Internet breaks, don't panic - I have all the information. And besides, books and yarn? I could be addicted to crack! Or reality TV!

I also went for a run down to the shore of Loch Etive. It was beautiful and sunny and I ran for sheer enjoyment. I didn't think about speed or time or distance but just to loosen up and feel the fresh air against my skin. The feeling of bliss after a run or a walk is one of the best ways I know to get rid of tension or stress so why is it so difficult to motivate myself to get out more often? I often try to force myself into some short-lived and ill-conceived fitness regime that kills any passion I have for the actual activities of running, swimming , walking etc. I'm trying to stop thinking about these things as exercise or as things which do you good and start thinking of them again as playing like I did when I was a child. My thought for today: play more, worry less.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


Who am I?

Hi. My name is Kittiker. I am a tremendously lucky person. I have a lot going for me. I am healthy, clever, well liked, confident, pleasant and mostly kind at heart. I have friends and family who love me and who stick around when things are tough. I have a comfortable house in one of the most beautiful parts of the world and I share it with a wonderful partner whom I adore and am adored by. I have an interesting, challenging job which pays well enough to live on. I have many passions and interests and I have the time and opportunity to mostly explore them as I wish. As I say, I am a tremendously lucky person. And yet...

And yet, despite all this, there is a sad little seed at the core of me which gnaws away and sours all that I have. I am fretful. I find it difficult to relax. I always remember what went wrong, my slip ups, my errors of judgement and all my beautiful memories are eventually worried into dust and ashes. And I am tired of it.

I suppose I could start taking antidepressents (been there, done that, got the impaired balance and deadened mental state) But that's not for me. I don't think I am depressed. And I don't think that it's to do with some kind of modern malaise, though, of course, the problems of society do make their impact. But they always have. I think some people just find it hard to be happy. But I want to try.

So this journal is part of my quest to count my blessing and to seek out the simple pleasures that can make life wonderful. This is a fairly loose remit, I know, but I want to be able to explore and share many different kinds of experiences. I will record my thoughts and investigations here. It may focus on things I have done or seen or places I have been and I warn you now that many posts will centre round yarn and food. It will all be about the search for joy and beauty in the world and it starts now:

Two hours ago, there was a huge rain shower. The gunmetal sky opened and great, shining globs of rain poured down. The water turned the road into a river and everything was drenched. Then, just as suddenly, it stopped and the sun shone down. It was like the world had just been made.