I started a new blog about my other passion, beer. I wish more women loved beer. It seems the machismo of beer marketing and beer culture in general really puts women off. I’m trying to do what little I can to hopefully change that in my corner of cyberspace, and maybe even find other women to raise a cyber-pint with!

Calm after the storm, originally uploaded by iknitlondon.

Two of my favourite knitters, Craig and Gerard from the I Knit London shop which just moved to a new, bigger and more central location in Waterloo. Woohoo. They have a lot to celebrate.

They had an opening party and the pear cider was flowing freely. These men are really generous spirits. I don’t know how they do it all! My favourite moment was watching Craig sat on the sofa, pounding out shelf labels on yellow paper using his old 1930’s typewriter. If it’s worth doing…

I brought Mike along in hopes he might start knitting again but he’s feigned amnesia and impatience for learning anew. Oh well. He found this new Regia Sock yarn– the color schemes masterminded by Kaffe “king of 80s intarsia” Fassett himself. Mike was like, “Who is this joker on the label?” It was hard to explain given my mixed feelings for Fassett who has a lot of double consonants in his name. When I told Mike I would make socks for him out of this yarn, he felt a lot more generous about it.

Favourites, originally uploaded by velvetdahlia.


Favourites, originally uploaded by velvetdahlia.



Knitted Daleks by Penwiper. Pattern is here.

Tam screen captureI promised myself I would never fall prey to fan-girly knitting– no Harry Potter scarves for me, thanks. But then while watching an episode of Doctor Who I became obsessed with Martha’s floppy crocheted tam.

I looked for a screen capture for the tam, thinking I would have to write the pattern myself when I came across not only an improvised pattern for the tam, but an entire community devoted to Doctor Who crafts— many seemed to be based on patterns from a book of Doctor who knitting and sewing from 1984.

As I think about what yarn would be best for this tam, some part of me wanted it to look exactly like Martha’s so that it would be a kind of wink to other Doctor Who fans.

It’s happened, hasn’t it? I can no longer feel superior to fan-girl knitters.  And I must say, after being at a party where the bulk of sci fi fans were quite macho men, part of the old-boy network of geekery here in the UK, I realize I prefer this girly approach– free of ego and alpha behavior– just gleeful, celebratory silliness. Let’s reverse the polarity, sisters (and good brothers), one stitch at a time!

Favourites, originally uploaded by velvetdahlia.


basalt tank

I completed Nora Gaughan’s Basalt Tank from Knitting Nature just in time to show it off at Ally Pally. One person, the lovely Robynn from Purlescence.com recognized it, bless her. (Anyone who needs a knitting indulgence should check out her site– they have beautiful, quality things, free fairy-tale based patterns and great service.)

I don’t know how I feel about the finished tank. It certainly fits me, and was a joy to knit. I marvel at the math involved in the pattern. Knitting the hexagons which grow one from the other, meditation on the maths needed to invent such a thing is inevitable. It made me realize that it was not my own inadequacies that made higher maths “out of bounds” for me, but a deliberately discouraging educational system that told me not to bother.

I guess in my late thirties I am now realizing that I would have been good at things like calculus if I’d only been given the chance. As a young girl I certainly wouldn’t have insisted I’d be given a chance, though that is what it would have taken.

I remember being 12 and my algebra teacher called me to the board to answer a problem. His manner was much like a drill sergeant and he terrified me. I wished I had a shell– maybe the Basalt Tank– to crawl into. I froze up at the board. I was one of two girls in the class. He said, “is there a young man here who can save her?” And there were laugher and volunteers. He never called me to the board again.

Years later I was in a playground and I saw him on the sidewalk. I went up to him an asked him why he had done that. To my amazement he had remembered me and said something presumptuous and backhanded like, “You had a brilliant mind, but you weren’t using it.”

Knitting this tank I realized that he was, and still is, terribly wrong.

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