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the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



About the
Idle Hands


Tuesday February 25, 2020

Conical People ... and Bread


Adrian demonstrates the personal protective equipment necessary for the correct handling of lardy bread.

Conical People and Bread - the Book - has arrived! You can read all about Felicity and the life Dada here.


And below explains (or validates) my interest in the book...


Posted on February 25, 2020 at 5:57 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Sunday February 23, 2020

Unravel 2020


Alison and I met up for our second year together at the Maltings, including cheese scones, and another yummy meal out in the evening at the Giggling Squid in Farnham (does this now count as a tradition?). As requested last year, we returned to Kettle Yarns to show off our matching sweaters (we only felt slightly silly...).
We spent some good time looking at buttons and, at Textile Garden, Alison finally found some suitable ones for Orkney, (which is in the closing stages of construction: many ends!). Inspired by their beautiful buttons, I bought some vintage buttons....


...and a couple of balls of sock yarn (always useful...).


Posted on February 23, 2020 at 9:46 PM. Category: Knitting. | Comments (0)

Friday February 21, 2020

Much Ado About Falstaff


Following our previous visit to the The Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre in Bordon for Three Men in a Boat we went to see Simon Downing's new play about Sir John Falstaff...a rogue, a philanderer and a glutton, but also one of Shakespeare's greatest and enduring comic creations.
Falstaff, was played by Giles Shenton (Old Herbaceous & Three Men in a Boat) and we found him in his bedroom in the Boars Head being nursed by Mistress Quickly, (played by Suzanna Walters).

Posted on February 21, 2020 at 5:48 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Thursday February 20, 2020

A Number


"How might a son feel to discover that he is only one of a number of identical copies? What happens when a father is confronted by the results of an outrageous genetic experiment?"

For a change, George got these tickets for the Bridge (a theatre I really like, but with a fairly high price point - especially for such a short play), so all in all, it's turning out to be a week full of theatrical experiences.

Directed by Polly Findlay, the play is a Caryl Churchill (award-winning) drama, from 2002, and stars Roger Allam (a favourite of ours) as Salter, the father, and Colin Morgan as (all) his sons. It is always a joy to see excellent actors just doing their thing with such apparent ease. The set was interesting, with the same room viewed from different perspectives, and cleverly providing different focal points to play to each section of the audience.

Posted on February 20, 2020 at 5:52 PM. Category: Days Out. | Comments (0)

Thursday February 6, 2020

My Cousin Rachel


George liked it - I thought it was entertaining. I couldn't quite cope with a bewigged Helen George as the Italian Rachel, although she is deemed to be the strongest cast member.
The only thing I think I would have really preferred was to have a more open verdict as to Rachel's guilt or innocence (or more likely somewhere in between). This play definitely made you think she was innocent of any wrong-doing and thus deeply misjudged and effectively murdered by Philip. From the book, we know that this is certainly how he felt at the end... but I am not sure that we were ever really sure.
I thought I might be over-influenced by Olivia de Havilland - who I thought was a perfect Rachel in the 1952 film- but the film again confirms what I believe the book does not (and also lacks a physical sexual encounter, which I think is quite important in the context of how Rachel is "judged" - settling for a more acceptable "passionate kiss").

Posted on February 6, 2020 at 5:55 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Tuesday January 21, 2020



An excellent film and definitely worth the awards and all the general hype.

"Inspired by his grandfather's experiences as a soldier in World War I, the writer-director Sam Mendes has made a harrowing combat picture by way of a suspenseful, beat-the-clock thriller about two British soldiers on a dangerous mission in northern France in April 1917."


Posted on January 21, 2020 at 5:40 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Friday January 17, 2020


I'm making Fleetwith using some rather nifty little helpers that I want to share - one is an app from the web, and the other is a little invention of my own.


The App:
The Fleetwith pattern is made up of 5 panels, which each have different repeats, so I felt that for the first time ever that an app might be better than a piece of paper. The right app turned out to be Knit Counter Lite (for the iPhone in my case) - which does very simply exactly what I needed, and is, astonishingly, - free. It is so good that I would pay for the full product; however, one of the main differentials is that Lite is limited to only one project - but frankly I hope never to have more than one project as complex as this on the go at the same time...
Knit Counter is set up so that as you increment the rows it also rolls round the counters for the repeats, independently, so you always know where you are in each panel.

The Stitch Markers:


To separate the panels, I started by using a huge number from my collection of stitch markers, trying to match them in pairs for each panel. It gradually dawned on me that it would be quite useful to have the markers labelled according to the name of the panel. I looked for markers with letters - and found some but they were mostly in sets A-Z and rather expensive so I decided to make my own. I ordered beads from Spoilt Rotten Beads with exactly the letters I needed (6xE, 4xA, 4xB, 2xC, 2xD), and made the markers using Coats (vintage?) 0.5mm wire following a method I found on YouTube. It was not quite a simple as shown - I used Araldite glue and it was difficult on such a small scale, and I was nervous about the flimsiness of the fine wire needed to go through the holes in the beads.
Luckily, the result is better than I could have imagined. The markers are delicate and smooth, so don't get in the way of the knitting, and seem quite robust so far...

As a footnote: I wanted to knit this rather complicated and LARGE project (capacious sweater and cowl) and started with the best of intentions using some vintage stash wool in a lovely cherry colour. However, it turned out (don't ask about a swatch) that after I had completed a couple of inches I realised that Rowan Valley Tweed is not actually a 4 ply, so the tension was not right, but also that even though in theory I had plenty of the vintage (thinner) wool, it's yardage did not match that of Valley Tweed.

Fast forward: after loads of unravelling, moving to larger needles, adapting the pattern to be very slightly less capacious.... and using my nifty little helpers, it's all going swimmingly.

Posted on January 17, 2020 at 5:20 PM. Category: Knitting. | Comments (0)