Saturday, 27 March 2010

Earth Hour meets Rear Window

We've just participated in Earth Hour, the WWF's campaign to highlight the threat of global warming where everyone turns their lights out from 8:30-9:30pm.

I hadn't really planned what I was going to do for my hour of darkness and at 8:25 was scrabbling around for tealights and roasting peanuts for a Thai Salad I was making for tea*. I set up a few candles in the kitchen, made sure I knew where my sharp knives where (didn't fancy ending up in A&E saying "well I was trying to save the planet and inadvertently sliced open my radial artery instead of a tomato") and promptly switched the lights out at 8:30.

The first thing which struck me was the peace and quiet. We'd had some inane Saturday night TV on in the background and it was a relief to switch that off. The gentle hum of my fridge accompanied the preparation of the salad and I found my mind wandering while I grated carrots and mashed chillies. Mr Gingerknits was even less prepared than I was and hid under the duvet on our sofa. Part of the Thai Salad recipe involved bashing the salad, ideally with a mortar and pestle (which is which, I can never remember) so I handed this over to him to keep him busy.

I prepared the veg for the next course, a Thai Green Curry which is cooking as I type this. I didn't want to cook that by candle light and was trying to not use any electricity during Earth Hour. As my eyes grew accustomed to the dimness I found I noticed different things. I poured some rice into the pan to soak and was startled by the brightness of the rice against the pans dark interior.

I wouldn't want to permanently live like this, the power cut at Christmas was bad enough, however switching everything off every so often really does make me appreciate the basic things we take for granted. After I graduated I volunteered on a development project in Tanzania. Our living conditions were very basic and I still remember the rush to light our hurricane lamps as the sun set. It's a good reminder that this is how most people on the planet still live.

I popped out into our garden to see if anyone else was taking part. As I scanned round the buildings which back onto our street I spied a chap having a shower, silhouetted again the window, furiously washing his man parts. After I stopped laughing and realised that watching him was inappropriate and a bit too Alfred Hitchcock I went to the front of my flat to see if people in my street had turned their lights off and discovered snails munching away on my newly planted lettuce seedlings in my window box. They were transplanted to the back garden so Earth Hour has saved my lettuces, for now.

Maybe I'll go into the garden more often at night, but only to look at snails, not my neighbours.

*I'm from Yorkshire where tea means evening meal as well as the beverage we drink by the bucketful.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Spot the cat.

If you follow me on twitter you may have heard me mention the Black Cat. The Black Cat is NOT my cat. The Black Cat is a feline character who likes to watch me while I work, not in an obvious way but in a cunning shadowy manner. See if you can spot him.

Spot the cat

He'll sit like that for ages and is frankly unsettling. I'm contemplating revenge by knitting him a 1970s tank top to go home in.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Today you must be Irish...

...even if you're a meerkat.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRUMPINESS

Green is one of my favourite colours, I enjoy the occasional pint of the black stuff and I love visiting Ireland, but to be told to celebrate these things on a specific day irks me.

I'm the same about Valentines Day and Parent's day. It's the manipulation of emotion by cynical marketing people that irritates me. For example take Mother's Day, I know I love my mum and I tell her that whenever I feel like it, not on a set calender date. (Don't worry dear reader, I do send her something for Mother's Day, I'm not so cynical that I neglect my mum out of my dislike of corporate induced guilt).

OK, that's my little grumble over. Despite my grumpy countenance I did find find these which put a smile on my face.


Photo borrowed from niftyknits

If you've been watching Harry Hill's TV Burp recently, especially the K-factor, these may be familiar. kniftyknits creates these endearing little creatures for sale in her Etsy shop. Unfortunately the pattern isn't for sale but I admire the attention to detail and character in those little twitchy faces. It's worth having a look at her shop for the sheer range of meerkat activity.

Tonight I won't be trawling the Irish pubs, wearing a daft Guinness hat (there are other brands of stout you know) or claiming any Irish heritage (no, not all redheads are Irish, not all Irish people are redheads - yes, another gripe of mine - stereotypes) but I will be reading Ravelry and maybe watch a few episodes of one of Ireland's finest comedies, Father Ted, which should put me in a better mood.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Knit one, rock on.

Last month I went to Tate Britain to see the Chris Ofili exhibition with my fellow knitter and friend Montyknits. While we were there we popped in to see the Knitted Rock which is part of Art Now. Monty has blogged about it here and Stitch'n'BitchLondon have a great interview with the artist Andy Holden which answers the questions I had while looking at it so I won't waffle on about it here. What I will say is do try and see it, it's free and looks much better in real life than in photographs.



Sneaky photo pinched from Montyknits

As for the Chris Ofili exhibtion, well it finally got me drawing, well to be fair Montyknits got me drawing after persuading me to bring my sketchbook and pencil along after reading my 100 days post. While it's nothing grand it is a start. Since then I have found myself doodling a little more which is progress. The 100 days project has finished but I'm going to continue with the things I've started. I definitely procrastinate less which is a good thing. Small steps and all that jazz.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Der der der der de der der de derrr!

OK, enough trying to type the Imperial Death March. If like me you're a child of the 70s or just a fan of Star Wars then these amigurumi Star Wars characters by Lucy Ravenscar will bring our your inner Jawa and have you chuckling like that thing* that sits at Jabba's feet**



Even the ewoks aren't annoying (though I actually liked them when I was nine). All that's missing is a Bobba Fett, or should that be Boba FELT?



Its hard to pick a favourite but I think mine is Chewie. Maybe it's his accessories. I'm also wondering if Han Solo frozen in carbonite could be reproduced using fibre arts. All the patterns for the characters are available from Lucy in her Etsy shop.

*Salacious Crumb. No, I didn't google that, I actually know it as it was my nickname for a while at University.
**Hmm, Jabba's feet, not sure they exist. Jabba's mass/corpulence/mound? Please send suggestions for the anatomical nomenclature of a Hutt's underside to the usual address (comments box). Thank you and may the force be with you.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

AWOL?

Whoopsie, I've been busy over the last few weeks and have neglected my little yarny corner of the interweb.I've been up to a few things, including knitting so there will be blog posts coming soon including an update on the Knitting Olympics and Knitting Paralympics (no, that's not knitting with one arm).

While I was away I got a lovely mention in an article on Ooh.com about cool knitters. I don't think I fit into a cool category, unless by cool you mean humanitarian biologist geek but it is nice to be recognised and I feel quite honoured to be amongst such luminary knitters as craftycrafty and mochimochi.

On that cheery note I'm off to finish another fine pair of socks.