Monday, 24 October 2011

So, What Have You Been Up To? - LinkStorm

I'm so sorry I didn't call.

So, recently, I've been busy.  Still unemployed, but sending out CVs to everywhere that seems good.  Still broke, but making it work for me.  I've been making my own clothes, which is awesome.

Sewing/knitting are really great skills to have when you're broke.  If you have more time than money, it is absolutely worth it (on the other hand, if you have more money than time, it is completely the right decision to pay someone else to make your stuff).

The dress came out quite short, because I underestimated the amount of fabric needed.  BUT, it can also be worn as a top and a skirt, and I am exceptionally proud of it.  You can see more pictures (plus, links to the tutorials I used) here.  I also made a tie for Anthony, using this tutorial.

I embroidered a little cross because he works for the NHS!
This week, I've been more into knitting, and I'm currently halfway through an autumn-themed sock for myself.  I'm using this program, which will churn out a sock pattern for you, once you put in a few basic measurements.

It's surprisingly easy to find vegan yarn out there.  Simply have a look at the label.  You'll want to avoid wool (sheep), mohair (goats), cashmere (goats again), alpaca (alpacas), angora (bunnies), and silk (silkworms).    Cotton, linen, acrylic, nylon, and polyester yarns are vegan, as far as I know, though you may wish to do your own research and consider the dyes used.

There's a livejournal community for vegan knitters here, and I also found a Birmingham based Stitch 'n' Bitch group, which I plan to get to as soon as I have a Saturday free.

Speaking of Stitch 'n' Bitch, reading that book has reawakened my interest, since I found it in the library last week.  Both my grandmother and my dadima (paternal grandmother) tried to teach me to knit when I was about seven, but since one learned by feel rather than in words, and the other doesn't speak English (and I don't speak Gujerati), neither really worked for me.  I eventually learned to knit about five years ago, by following the directions in Penny Hill's Learn to Knit, though a quick google search will bring up hundreds of tutorials.  I particularly like this one, which I use to cast on all ribbing, including for my pumpkin sock.

Pumpkin/Autumn sock!  The wool itself is patterned, and knits up into this beautiful design.  I'm buying more tomorrow, so I'll let you know the exact make.  This ball has lost its label.

I have several balls of yarn under my bed, which I've collected during previous periods of interest in knitting (I tend to drift between hobbies).  The pumpkin wool is one of them, but, luckily, since the yarn itself changes colour, matching the dye lot won't matter.  The yarn is still sold (in that wonderful little haberdashery stall in the indoor market), and I fully intend to make lots of pumpkinny things.  These socks, specifically, I have earmarked for keeping my toesies warm while I'm volunteering in the Women's Shelter for Crisis at Christmas.

I'm a little concerned about being vegan, over Christmas, while broke, in a strange city.  I don't want to buy food in London, as, firstly, shopping will be a nightmare, and, secondly, it'll be more expensive than in Birmingham.  Instead, I plan to carry tinned soup, a loaf of bread, PB&J, and a giant bag of apples.  I'll buy or carry a bottle of soya milk, then either pinch some of those little cereal packets from my cousin's kitchen (some of those are vegan, right?), or carry a tub of cornflakes with me.  I don't want to carry too many things to cook, as they'll be bulkier to carry than the finished product.  It'll be a boring diet, but it's only for four days.  Any ideas/tips, please let me know in the comments.

Speaking of free events (like the afore-mentioned knitting group - find one close to you here), the Shout Festival is currently on-going in Birmingham.  Shout is Birmingham's festival of Queer Culture - like Gay Pride meets Arts Fest - and several events are free.  I've also been attending the Journey Film Club, which is run by someone I volunteer with at VEGed Out.

Speaking of VEGed Out; I started out as a kitchen assistant, but after being handed more responsibility regarding meals, I can now call myself a chef.  Go me!  I invented a recipe which I have christened 'Goblin Pie'.  It involves roasted chickpeas (so you can see the Happy Herbivore influence right there), onions, carrots, and celery, all in a parsley crust.  SO yummers.  Goes well with rosemary and thyme mash.  Recipe soon!

I'm also volunteering with Victim Support, and I hope to specialise in domestic abuse and sexual violence.  Finally, I've also been reading about/experimenting with Luminosity, the idea of being aware of how your specific mind works.  So far, I've figured out that I am a words person, as described in this first short story.  It's been very useful to go through this with Anthony (who remains delicious, and has been attempting to knit while I have been attempting to teach him).  Turns out, he's more of a "you spent hours making me something?  You must really love me!" person, which is good to know, and has helped to curb my bad habit of abandoning projects halfway through.

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