Monthly Archives: October 2005

One year ago today

We took ownership of The Spread Eagle Hotel. It was, to all intents and purposes, closed. The public bar was open for part of the day from Thursday to Sunday – basically being run as a private club by the owner.

Today, one year on, we have reached the 20% occupancy we were aiming for, and are gradually carrying out a program of upgrade-and-repair works supervised by the project managers JDI of Nottingham.

To be honest, I’ve been so busy preparing for the Hallowe’en party that we’re holding on Friday to celebrate making it to the end of this year that I’ve not really stopped to think about the milestone much. Green custard creams (green & blue colouring to get a decent shade), still-to-be-iced iced spice biscuits in various appropriate shapes, and the small matter of a steak pie for dinner (yum), have occupied me for the past five hours!

I do still think that we picked a good one, in terms of both location and potential, and hope that we can make a decent job of getting “Scotland’s oldest continually-licensed hotel” back up and running fully over the next few years.

Now I’m going to go and soak my sore feet….


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Stop press

Diana, who seems to be a very methodical knitter indeed, has just pointed out two mistakes in the pattern for Chantelle (version chantelle051011.pdf). One isn’t too bad, the other is likely to cause a certain amount of cursing.

Mistake 1:
On starting the yoke, you are instructed to pick-up 80 stitches and then work (k1, kfb) to end to get 122 stitches. This doesn’t work – you get 120 as any competent mathematician would have told you.
Please, amend your pattern to:
Pick up 81 stitches i.e. pick up one stitch in your bind-off row, which makes a neater edge anyway, and work (k1, kfb) to last stitch, then kfb in the last stitch to give you 122 stitches.

Mistake 2:

This is rather more serious, and involves the set up for the lace.
Here is the corrected section of the pattern, with the changes in bold type

For Poncho:
Join work in the round, being careful not to twist, as follows:
Turn, and bring the two ends of the circular needle together.
Slip the last two stitches on the RH needle onto a cable needle and hold at the front of the work.
Knit one stitch from the cable needle together with one stitch from the left hand needle, place round beginning marker (R), knit second stitch from the cable needle together with one stitch from the left hand needle.
Knit 1 round, decreasing one stitch at the beginning and one at the end of the round, then follow the Lace Section instructions below.
For Cape:
Do not join in the round, instead, start 2-stitch i-cord edging by knitting the first two stitches of each row and slipping the last two stitches as if to purl with yarn in front.
Knit 1 row, then follow the Lace Section instructions below, but purl the plain knit rows.
Lace section:
Round 1: sm[R], 8(k2, pm[MC], work row 1 of lace pattern, pm[CC], k2)

In other words, you decrease two stitches in the plain round after you have joined the work, and then have a gap of 4 stitches between each lace section in the first round.

I will amend the .pdf of Chantelle some time next week (after the Halloween party on Friday anyway) so if you have requested a copy from 10pm on 24 October, there is likely to be a delay in receiving it….

Thanks Diana!

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Of city life vs. small town life

Those of you who have read my intro to this blog will have noticed that DH and I moved to a small town in the Scottish Borders a year ago. This has its pluses and its minuses: both being due to the fact that living in a small town means that far more of your neigbours know (and are interested in) your business. What they don’t know, they will happily make up!

Sometimes this is very frustrating indeed, but at least we are unlikely to find ourselves in a similar position to the three-year-old who police now believe may have survived for up to six weeks on his own in a flat in Edinburgh after his mother died.

Awful thought. Living in a multistorey with many near neighbours, and nobody notices that you’ve not been seen for over a month….

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If the hat fits….

Wear it!
Three hats

I’m stealing time from the never-ending laundry monster which is the result of five hotel rooms and very few stays of more than one night to talk about hats. It’s cold, wet, and dismal, and just the perfect weather to be working on something warm and cosy.

My hats are made following a ‘recipe’ which I know works for most weights of yarn when knitted at a fairly firm gauge. It gives a reasonably snug-fitting beanie style hat, which is how I like it.

Firm gauge for me is Chunky on 6.5mm needles, DK on 4mm needles, 4-ply on 2.75mm needles (I’ll measure the stitch/row gauge next time I’m sitting down)

When I worked at a slightly looser gauge (4-ply on 3mm needles), the recipe needed tweaked as it resulted in a very snug fitting beanie indeed (the blue/grey one in the photo above) I still like the result, but it definitely would have been improved by a change to either the gauge or the pattern.

I’m now working on another sock yarn hat, this time for the brother, who likes his hats quite a bit longer than I do. I doubt I’ll get much done today or tomorrow (weekends are our busy time, DH is having a day-and-night off in Edinburgh, and there’s a christening party tomorrow) but photos and the recipe will follow in due course.

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Mrs Mop

We interrupt your regularly scheduled knitting….

Thats my knitting, by the way.

With some rather unscheduled cleaning. One of my two part-time cleaners has handed in his notice. He’s keen, enthusiastic, hard-working, and really wants to do a good job.

The government provides a minimum income guarantee of £45 each week, along with help in paying rent etc, to those who are out of work.
As soon as these people start work, the government starts clawing back the handout. It all makes sense to the mandarins in Whitehall I’m sure:

  • not in work: income £45
  • work 1 hour, income £45 + £5.05 (minimum wage)
  • work 2 hours, income £45 – £10.10 + £5

In other words, if you work 1 hour you get £50.05, and if you work 9 hours – you get the same. They take back everything except for the first £5 you earn, and once you get over £45 a week, they start cutting back on the help you get with paying rent.

Would you work?

Neither will he.

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Big scary boss

That, apparently, is me. I’m going to have to try to be one later this week when I have words with one of my staff who hasn’t been turning up for shifts. I’ve written and sent the ‘please get in touch’ letter, and await developments.

On the knitting front, I’ve been surprised and gratified by the response to Chantelle. I thought it was lovely, and it seems lots of you do too. Thanks!

I’m working on winter hats and scarves at the moment. One for me, in the same yarn I’m using to make Flora, which is at the blocking-and-hunt-for-buttons stage.
Flora scarf section
Incidentally, blocking this chunky yarn (King Cole Magnum Chunky) has given me warning not to wear said scarf with light-coloured clothing, and reminded me why I use an old towel for blocking.
Dye transfer
Just look at the amount of dye which has come out of the black sections of the yarn!

More on the hats tomorrow….

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Perfect is good….

Done is better!

And in that spirit, I give you
(click here for a larger picture.

Do email me if you’d like a .pdf copy of the pattern.


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