Friday, 30 September 2016

Is it going to be worth it?

It's the dratted yarn for the dratted pattern that I really, really, really want to try.

The pattern calls for 5 x 100g balls of colour A, 4 x 100g balls of colour B and 3 x 100g balls of colour C all in Rowan Big Wool.  That's 12 balls of yarn which are being sold by Deramores (who are known for their competitive prices) at £9.29 a ball.  That's a total of £111.48.  Rowan Big Wool is 100% merino wool, 80 yards, 100g, recommended needle 10mm, and in a range of delicious colours.  The link is here

When looking at the yarn that I'm using for a current project, I found this.  It is Marriners Super Chunky, 100% acrylic, 80 yards, 100g, recommended needle 10mm and in a range of very pleasant colours.  It is only £1.00 for a 100g ball.  That would make the cost of the yarn for the jacket £12.

A jacket that costs £111.48 is a luxury and an indulgence.  A jacket that costs £12 is a reasonable purchase and could be cost effective.  Besides, Rowan Big Wool is probably warmer and softer, but it is hand wash only according to Rowan.

I'll see how I feel when I've finished the current stuff.

The covers have come through for the Forgotten Village and Digging up the Past.  I've finished editing them, added the covers and now I am waiting on Smashwords and Amazon to finish going through them.  I'm keeping everything crossed for Smashwords accepting an amended manuscript.

Here's the new cover for the Forgotten Village

And here is the cover for Digging up the Past, which is much improved.

The covers are by Melissa Alvarez who is awesome!

As soon as the books have passed through Smashwords I'll put up a code for Digging up the Past so people who have previously bought it can get a decent copy.

And all that done mainly without glasses as they currently hurt my nose.  I think it's going to be an interesting few days.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

One Thing Leads to Another

Bear is watching the Victorian Pharmacy and interrupting me with snippets like, 'did you know that they put arsenic in cough medicine?'

Regarding one thing leading to another, it goes like this.  Someone has very kindly agreed to do a review of my writing.  I feel totally giddy.  Then I realise that I could do with putting on the actual professional type covers on the Forgotten Village and Digging up the Past.  I'll also have to republish them even if it's only to update the copyright to include the copyright of the covers.

I dip into Digging up the Past.  I needed to re-read as I needed a name from the book  that I'd forgotten to put into my character list.  I read it all the way through.  I was disappointed.  I still like the plot but it needs some serious editing.  I am considering practically re-writing it so that it's in English this time.

This is not fishing for compliments.  This is a cold eyed look at how I need to do better.

I am off to edit.  I may be some time.  However to play fair, once it is back up I will give out a code so that anyone who has already bought can get a free copy of the corrected one with the fancy cover.

So if there is a gap in my posts of a few days, don't worry.  I won't let bear practise nineteenth century medicine on me.  I'll just be up to my eyebrows in editing.

Bear and Birds

Bear is fascinated by the Victorian Farm series.  He has watched it all the way through and I'm sure I will hear plenty about it.  I've suggested he watches the Wartime Farm next, which is the same people running a farm as they would during WWII as bear is doing WWII as a topic in school.  Bear is more keen to watch the Victorian Pharmacy, again by the same people, where they demonstrate the workings of a nineteenth century pharmacy and some of the remedies that they created.  I'm trying to remember what some of the old remedies contained.  I think I'll encourage bear to keep it to theory only.  It's not that long ago they stopped putting gin in gripe water for babies and they sold arsenic by the pound.

Bear may be fascinated by the Victorian Farm series, but in real life he is not keen on farm animals.  Deep down, he's a city boy.  When he was very little and in a push chair, so perhaps eighteen months, we took him to Temple Newsam Farm.  We pushed him past some hens.  They had all sorts of different varieties, and it included one very assertive cockerel that was about the size of bear at the time who got up close and personal to the fence and crowed as loud as it could at bear through the wire.  Bear didn't cry, but he wasn't keen at all and his look was a very clear, 'get me out of here, mother!'  I think he would agree with you, Jake's Girl, that hens are best left alone.  He also has a healthy respect for geese which also wander at Temple Newsam.  Mind you, anyone with sense stays away from geese.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Normal for Here

Bear is currently watching a DVD of the Victorian Farm with me.  For those who haven't seen it, it's a reconstruction of a year working a farm in the way of the 1880s by two archeologists and a domestic historian.  It's very interesting,   Bear assured me that with a bit of help and support of the professionals he could easily manage all that.  Having seen him at Temple Newsam Farm and the wide berth he gives the chickens, I doubt it, but I nodded, smiled and murmured encouragingly.

I'm still sore, so I've done a lot of internet browsing and finished the back of the sweater.  I don't think it will take the 250g it would take if it used the correct yarn, but I think it will be around 400g, which is still pretty awesome, bringing it in @£6.  That is still cheaper than buying a store made sweater, though it will be quite lightweight.

We are currently inundated with the little fruit flies that came in with the potting compost when I potted up Dilly and Dally.  DH told me proudly that he had researched it on the internet and that he was setting traps with cider vinegar and washing up liquid or dish soap.  I asked if it was the same method that I had referred to in 'Dinner at Dark' and he admitted he had forgotten about that.  It didn't work so well earlier in the summer, but fingers crossed it will be okay this time.

I'm putting the cover photo up again because I am still very giddy at having a professional cover!  I don't think I'll ever get tired of looking at it.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Knitting Happens

I was doing really well.  I have done the back, left front, right front and both sleeves of the jacket.  Now it came to sewing up the shoulders and picking up 302 stitches.  I can't bend over.  I need to be careful.  Laying out the dratted thing and finding the wool needles and picking up the bit I've dropped are all a challenge.  Any attempt to bend over has not felt good.  I gave up and started something else until at least the stitches are out.

I had 600g of yarn that I had changed my mind about, so I had been looking around for a different pattern for a sweater that would fit me and would also use minimal yarn.  I found this.

According to the pattern it only needs around 250g.  Mind you, that's Rico Creative (currently @ £2.99 for 50g at Amazon, so @ £15 to knit).  Apparently Rico Creative knits as DK.  I have 600g of DK waiting to be used, in 100g balls, at £1.50 per pall, so @ £4.50 to knit.  It's Marriners Metro, like this

So far it's okay.  I'm around 8 inches up the back and haven't finished half a ball yet.  It's knitted on 6.5mm needles (US 10.5, I think, and DK is worsted weight) which makes the yarn go further, it's plain stocking stitch, no ribbing at the bottom or anything, and there is minimal shaping.  I'm waiting to see how it goes, as Rico Creative looks awesome but fine and fluffy.  I've had some 'fine and fluffy' moments when the dratted yarn slipped off the dratted needles but it's easy enough to rattle off while watching TV.  What is more, the cowl neck is sewn on without picking up stitches which sounds like heaven.  

If this works out then it could be the first sweater in ages that I've found that is actually less expensive to knit than buy.  However time will tell.  

I get the stitches out on Thursday.  I am hopeful that I will then go back to the jacket and finish it off. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Must Ration Bear's TV

I am a very slack parent.  Some things I am very rigid on.  Bear is used to me being uber tough about homework and teeth brushing.  However as long as it is age appropriate then I'm incredibly lax about screen time.

It has its benefits.  Bear has a remarkable grasp of all sorts of science and maths stuff thanks to YouTube.  It has got him passionate about football, and he plays in the street most days.  I keep a close eye on content.  It is tv that has always been the problem.

I'm still stuck with the problems that were caused by allowing DH and bear to watch The Great British Sewing Bee.  I am also stuck with bear's projects after watching Art Attack.  He hasn't been too bad when it comes to the Great British Bake Off but watching Eat Well for Less has caused an increase in badly chopped vegetables.  Bear even went with DH to Aldi and insisted on getting two different types of chopped tomatoes among the shopping to see which one was better.

I'm feeling low.  My nose hurts.  I'm not allowed to bend down.  Have you ever tried not bending down?  I'm groping and patting around all sorts of places to find things I've dropped.  As a therapy I've been watching the Victorian Kitchen Garden on DVD.  Bear was just passing.  'Why don't we start growing all the fruit and veg we need?' he asked.  The simple answer is that I am a bad and lazy gardener with a garden smaller than some American cars.  I suggested that we grew some salad next year.  This was not enough for bear.  He wants to grow rhubarb.  It's not impossible to grow rhubarb, and I'm not against it in principle, but DH isn't a huge fan, bear says he likes it, but he's said that before and I can take it or leave it.  Apparently it needs a year before you can start picking it as well.  I'm holding out on that one.

Fortunately bear has shown no interest in Strictly Come Dancing.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

I Confess...

Today is not my birthday.  It's one of the weird 'little ways' that I stick to.  It isn't hard to work out where I live or a lot of my background - but I hold on to the secrecy of my birthday as if it was a state secret.  So I am sorry if I have got birthday wishes under false pretences.

They are gratefully received, though, as I am feeling rough and achey today.  A very kind neighbour took bear to school and brought him home.  My nose is covered with a bloodstained dressing and some stitches are showing - not really leisure wear for the school playground.

On the bright side, I'm whizzing up the second sleeve.  I hope to reach the frill by Monday.  That's when it will get interesting!