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On diaries February 19, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Breaking the fourth wall, Bwargh, Small things.

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

‘Not Waving but Drowning’, by Stevie Smith.  Copied from my diary while I was doing my A-levels, Tuesday 13th November 2007.

I wrote a diary from shortly after my thirteenth birthday all the way through to just before I went to university.  At that point, I was thinking too much and didn’t have time to go and write it all down and think about it.  I tried again last year, and lasted about a month – the style that I used to use didn’t really suit any more.  I used to write the date at the top, and set it out like a letter, and write down the time I started writing whenever I did, and sign off with my full name.  I’d like to go back to writing again, because it helped, and it helped me keep things to myself, and I think it made me a bit of a better person or at least a more self-aware one.

Other things have happened, and they’re great and I’ve really enjoyed them – and I’ll try and post about them soon, but I just needed to get this one out.

So what do you do, when you feel a bit like you’re not waving right now?


Morstan again February 14, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Craftiness, Knitting, Look what I did, Lovely people, Patterns.

First of all, happy V-day everyone, and I hope you are all good-naturedly but mutinously muttering under your breath in the same way as I am about how it’s all commercialised and you don’t believe in it anyway.  His nibs has come up to stay with me til Friday, so if it’s all a bit quiet on the Western Front over here, that’d be why.

Anyway, it’s also February, and that means that new Knitcircus is out.  I highly recommend going and having a look at it.  It also means, though, that I’ve been able to release my Morstan mittens pattern through Ravelry and this blog.

We went out and took lots of photos outside the cathedral today, even though it was absolutely freezing out – thanks to his nibs for taking all the photos, and to my lovely model Alice for being so obliging.  Also thanks to Sarah, Hayleigh, and Fearn for their general loitering and encouragement – it’s always far more fun to be doing silly things in a public place when there are more of you.

Lacy mittens still make me happy, and I think that shall be so for quite some time.

You can get the pattern now for £2.50 and frankly, if the weather where you are is anything like the weather where I am right now, I think that’s a rather good idea.

Meanwhile, the lace advances…

Inspiration February 8, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Bwargh, Craftiness, Durham, Knitting, University.
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Sometimes it hits you without warning.  Last Thursday, I wound a ball of Malabrigo Lace, thinking it’d be really nice to just play with it for a bit.  I was picturing a long, kind of skinny scarf, with a repeating lace pattern down it.  Something that says yes, it’s still a bit chilly, but it’s spring dammit and I’m going to act like it.  I browsed a bit, and swatched a few things and found nothing I like.

On Friday, I had my eureka! moment.  Here is my eureka! moment, posing ultra-picturesquely with my notes for an essay on European citizenship and the free movement of workers in the European Union:

Mmm, Regulation 1612/68.  So much better for the application of Malabrigo.  It’s glorious, by the way, although it’s also basically felting as I knit it.  Sometimes inspiration hits you square between the eyes, and I have to say I’m really loving this project right now.  I’ve provisionally christened it ‘Winwhistle’, after a place I was thinking about a lot at the time.

The next few weeks are going to be full of people, and places, and events.  After a sluggish few weeks, I’m really looking forward to them.  I’ve been pretty consistently down in the dumps since the beginning of term, and I’m hoping the application of friends and getting out a bit more will help things turn up a bit.  You may or may not be aware (well, you are now) that Linguistic Housemate was in Egypt for the last few months – fear not, she’s now on our living room floor as we speak and it’s been the greatest relief, and the greatest breath of fresh air, to see her again.  Also his nibs is going to be coming to see me next week so there shall be a selection of my favourite people congregating at Techie Towers.

Oh, and I ran two miles this afternoon.  It definitely feels like the spring is coming.  This is my favourite time of year.

Barfest February 6, 2011

Posted by Fiona in Durham, Lovely people, Really good day, University.
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This one’s a bit diary-ish.

College Barfest.  A phrase that inevitably sounds like a knell of doom for anyone who isn’t a student.  You can probably guess what it involves as well: for a start, a lot of quite of exciting ales, lagers, ciders, cocktails that you wouldn’t usually find at a college bar.  Also, live music and a good time.

On the other hand, we’re also students, so the music was eye-wateringly loud, a fair few people drank quite a lot, and certain bits of college got very messy indeed.

For me, it was another chance to have a college breakfast – something I’ve missed a lot since I lived in, in my first year – mess about with sound equipment and good friends over a bottle of cider, and just generally enjoy the college atmosphere.  There’s always a great sense of community that tends to be worth soaking up, and who am I to turn down a chance to have a go at sound opping?

Exhibit A: band to the left, techies to the right, and practically never, in my experience, the twain shall meet.  I think – and don’t quote me on this – that this was a particularly good jazz band setting themselves up.  Music at college events is a lot less genre-narrow than it used to be – I went to a ceilidh a few weeks ago, the percentage of songs without the word ‘baby’ in the lyrics is looking up.

I had to leave mid-afternoon for a French lesson.  (Mais oui, mon Francais est tres broken still but improving un peu these days.  Je tricote, tu tricotes, il/elle tricote etc – also I now have three tenses and a working knowledge of Belgian cartoons.)  By the time I got back, everyone else had had a bit of a head-start on the cider, so the evening consisted of sticking it to the man techie-style:

(Utterly subtle techie in-joke there for you.  If you don’t get it, I can’t really elaborate except to say that if someone wearing blacks sends you for a long stand, tell them where they can shove it.)

There was tea and frank conversation in one of the kitchens, and a speedy and satisfactory clear-up.

Setting up and taking down tech equipment is something I used to hate, but now I really enjoy.  When you actually know what’s happening, and where things to, and what generally to do with them, it’s really good fun – especially because the majority of the college tech team now consists of my pretty close friends.  I’ve waxed lyrical about how much I love working with people I’m good friends with before.

A few things about tech that I really wish more people knew:

Firstly, piecing together how things work is essentially a combination of observation, practice, common sense and a bit of bodging.  A lot of people who don’t do tech don’t seem to realise this: someone came up to a few of us yesterday and said, ‘Are you techies?  Could you see if you can do something about the reception of the TV in the bar?’  Seriously?  It’s like saying, ‘You’re a computer programmer, why isn’t my printer working?’  On the other hand, if I’m actually doing something, chances are I know how to do it.  Some well-meaning chap yesterday actually explained to me what a mute button was for.  I’m still a bit gobsmacked.

Secondly, many things make sense when you differentiate ‘techies’ from ‘people’.  I have been led to conclude that the general perception of techies seems to be as wizards who love nothing better than clearing up after everyone else.  I’m not entirely sure why this is such generally accepted logic, but, well, it is.  If you’re running an event, I implore you: remember your techies exist when they’re not in the same room as you, give them time to eat, and don’t ask the impossible.  If you don’t know if it’s impossible, ask.  Just because they’re talking in acronyms and getting on with things quietly in a corner doesn’t mean they’re actually a different species.

Oh, it was good fun.  I like being back up at college, I really do.