Saturday, June 26, 2010

Radio Silence Broken!

Hello! *blows dust off the blog*...

Next time I look at changing jobs, remind me not to do it in the middle of assessment season. And remind me that recruiting for interns and my replacement at the same time as doing handover documents, submitting proposals for work I won't be around to see happen and setting up a subsidiary charity doesn't help my blood pressure or the amount of free time I have either...

Anyway, I'm through the worst of it. All essays are in - and back. I've passed these ones in the highest class possible, just need my exam result now. I'm very pleased, as these were even harder work than usual. It's not helped when you're writing one on your tutor's absolute specialist subject (Gothic literature) ... so no pressure there, then ;o)

Interns are recruited, as is my replacement. I'm still tidying a few loose ends, but hopefully will be able to meet with K one day after I finish work to discuss particulars with her. I'm not completely cutting all ties with the circus, so I'm happy to do this, and will be doing the odd bit of freelance stuff for them from time to time.And the subsidiary charity is likely to have me on its board of trustees.

The new job is very pleasant. It's a small national charity, and the office is staffed mainly by people who have been there a long time, and it's all very civilised. The office itself is light, airy and on a riverbank in a little business park that's leafy and tree filled. It's also only a 25 minute walk from my flat - all downhill, so in the lovely weather we've had this week, it's been a great start to the day. On wet days - and to get back up the hill - there's a door to door bus service which runs every 10 minutes, and an almost door to door one which is similar, so I can be home within 15 minutes of leaving the office. And leave the office we do, at 5pm on the dot. And we take lunch hours - for the whole hour if we want to! And of course I want to - the office is only 5 minutes from the quilt shop... ;o)

My new role is Communications Manager. I'm also going to be editing the charity's journal, which is the only specialist publication for the condition available. Me, editor of a proper magazine with an ISSN number and everything ... bizarre, as once again I have moved into a field where I have no qualifications, just the knack of acquiring the right mix of skills and experience as I go... I think it's going to be well within my capabilities, despite the moments of self doubt once I'd accepted the position! I've already turned one sad and sorry looking list of stuff for sale to a full colour, illustrated 8 page catalogue, and that seems to have pleased the Chief Executive.

I think the reduction in stress, the shorter commute, the nicer office environment and the daily walk to work will also help improve my physical and mental well being, so it's looking good... although it is going to be odd working regular, full time hours, Mondayto Friday, nine to five, instead of fewer, and less conventional, ones. I'm hoping though, once the reduced travel is taken into account that I won't actually be out of the house that much longer every day. (I'm being vague about the charity and the condition because I'm trying to keep a little privacy. This blog is open after all).

I've mostly been knitting, and I have finished another afghan. I've also started another from the book above... I have no self restraint! There will be pictures, eventually - I have rather a backlog of things to show, including exchanges sent and received. I also have a backlog of charts to dispatch, and July's to finish up!

I've been reading blogs sporadically, and I'm sorry if I haven't had change to comment on yours. It hasn't felt like enough hours in the day lately, but hopefully, things will be easier soon!

Right, I have a few chores to do and then I'm off out in the sun - there's a Green Fair on, and Sheffield Pride, and I'd like to go to both!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

June Biscornu and Fob - Free Cross Stitch Pattern!

June brings tulips, lilies, roses.
Fills the children's hands with posies.

Summer is here, the cricket Test Matches have started, and the flowers are really beginning to show themselves. I'm very fond of flowers, coming from a family of keen gardeners. Living in a flat, I don't have a garden of my own, but we're lucky to have some communal gardens which have plenty of trees and shrubs. It  lacks the loving touch though! I remember as a child being taken to some amazing National Trust and National Trust for Scotland gardens - and being embarassed by my granny snapping off "cuttings" and putting them in a plastic baggie in her pocket :o)

I also have many happy memories of summers spent in a field of roses - my mum had a summer job working for a rose nursery and my sister and I would be welcome to go along, and help weed and dead head. I even learned all about grafting hybrid roses onto stronger root stock too. The scent of the field was fantastic in high summer, and I frequently wear rose perfume now - which is a little incongruous, as I'm not a flowery girly girl at all!

The chart follows my usual format of using only three colours so it should be quick and easy to stitch. I think it would look nice on almost any coloured fabric - and would look very striking on a dark colour!

The scissor fob can be personalised with your own initial as I've included a full alphabet

If you would like a copy of the chart, please comment below and leave an email address unless yours is visible in your blog profile. Some people ask for charts but I have no way of getting them to them :o( Charts are sent in PDF format.

If you do stitch this design, I'd love to see the finished article - and there will be a prize for any I show on my blog!

Although there is no charge for this chart, a donation to the MS Trust for this chart would be appreciated. Pennies will do - and you can make a donation by clicking here. You have raised £85 so far with your kind donations - let's see if we can make it a nice, round £100!

There is no obligation to make a donation - you will be sent the chart whether or not you choose to make a donation, as I appreciate that some people are not in a financial position to do so.

This pattern is offered for personal, non-commercial use only. Items made from this pattern may be sold on a small scale basis such as on Etsy or at craft sales. Sales for charity are positively encouraged! This pattern and the text and photos contained within, may not be copied or reproduced for any purpose other than personal use. Please direct people to this blog rather than forwarding the pattern, thank you! Copyright 2010 N M Wray

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

June Goals

Well, hopefully with Uni stuff winding up, I'm going to have a bit more free time. Well, that's the theory, but I feel that work will expand to fill the space, at least during the week.

I've also realised that one of the reasons I've not been drawn to stitching as much has been my vision - so I've changed the sort of contact lenses I wear, and I'm much happier. So goals for June will be more stitching oriented!


  • Zauber Socks - I'm ready to turn the heel on the first one. The yarn is amazing
  • My Needle and Floss Comfort Me - it's more or less just the lettering to do. Keep looking at my blog for details of the draw to pass the pattern on
  • Box of Chalks Afghan - either 13 or 19 blocks to do, plus a border. If I say it quickly, it doesn't sound a lot!
Finish UFO:
  •  Lizzie*Kate Round Robin - Lizzie*Kate - this was a RR that came back to me barely started, and I've added the blocks sporadically ever since, there's only one to do, plus buttons to add.
Start and Finish:
  • A gift for my a personal exchange - can't talk about it, the recipient reads my blog :o)
  • Alphabet piece for exchange
Frame or Have Framed
  • Bee Merry - Victoria Sampler
  • Bee Mine - Victoria Sampler
  • Bee Joyful - Victoria Sampler - let's give these another go on the list!
  • Bathroom Plaque - Toadstool Tapestries - this needs reframing after getting grubby
  • June - Shepherd's Bush - well, it is the actual month, surely I should/could do this?
  • Country Cottage - I want to make this into a cushion for my niece.
  • Bless The Breeze - SanMan Originals - it would be good to do a summer piece actually in summer!
  • June Biscornu and Fob Chart - this is done, I'm going to post it at the weekend.
  • Get previous things posted out
  •  £15 for the MS Trust - this would mean I reach my target for the year!
 Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

May Review

Well, when I made these goals, I mentioned in that post I had an interview for another job. Can I count it as a goal achieved that I got the job? I start on June 21 - Midsummer's Day. It's going to be a challenge, but I am looking forward to it.

As for stitching goals:

  • Chevron Socks 2 - finished and given to my mum, and they are a great fit too.
  • My Needle and Floss Comfort Me - no, I haven't picked it up at all :o(
  • You Shall Be Queen Afghan - yes, finished and in use!
Start and Finish:
  • A gift for my favourite tutor - yes, I finished this, although it was a close run thing. My tutor loved it!
  • Early Christmas ornament for exchange - yes
Frame or Have Framed
  • Bee Merry
  • Bee Mine
  • Bee Joyful
This didn't happen, but I have all the stuff to do it, just need the time!They will be framed as a triptych.

  • Country Cottage - not done, but my niece is the forgiving sort!
  • May Biscornu and Fob Chart - this was done, and quite popular it was too!
  • Get previous things posted out - still need to get this finished up.
  •  £20 for the MS Trust - only £2 this month, but this is enough to send an excellent information booklet to a young person whose parent has been diagnosed with MS. Thank you! 
Other stuff achieved:

This has very much been a "mindless knitting" sort of month, and I've been making various afghan squares. This is a positive thing - it keeps me calm, I can think and plan better when I'm knitting than when I'm stitching, and it's using up quite a lot of stash! Plus, I have usable stuff at the end of it!
  • Charity Afghan Square - this is for a WI project to make blankets for AIDS orphans in South Africa
  • Molly's Dolly Afghan - a mini-afghan for my niece, using up some pink based yarns! This will be a Christmas present. Yes, organisation :o)
  • Bright Afghan Square - using some awful yarn I bought on sale. I am undecided whether to make an over the top blankie with it, or donate the sqaure to the charity project.
  • Box of Chalks Afghan - I've worked 23 squares of this, I'm aiming for either 36 or 42 - multiples of six because it's using six colours of a cotton/acrylic yarn in my stash. The colours are quite bright, but have a "chalky" feel to them - hence the name!
 I've lots of pictures to share of the stuff above, so hang on, there will be interesting stuff soon!