Friday, 30 May 2008

Quidditch ~ Round One

1. Which of Arabella Figg's cats ran out from under the car?

a. Mr. Tibbles

2. Which of the following is NOT one of Albus Dumbledore's middle names?

a. Ignatius

3. Which educational decree introduced a High Inquisitor to Hogwarts?

d. 23

4. Apart from Harry, Ron and Hermione, who was the first person to enter the Hog's Head that showed an interest in Harry's Defence Against the Dark Arts classes?

b. Neville Longbottom

5. In the first Quidditch match of the year which player attempted to score first?

a. Angelina Johnson

6. What kind of bush does Harry hide behind to listen to the news?

b. Hydrangea

7. Why is Mundungus Fletcher disguised as a woman when he witnesses the DA (Dumbledore's Army) meeting in the Hog's Head pub?

b. He was banned from the Hog’s Head pub 20 years ago.

8. When Harry and Cho go on their first date to Madam Puddifoot's in Hogsmeade, what is it decorated with for Valentine's Day?

c. Golden cherubs and pink confetti

9. How old is Sturgis Podmore and where does he live?

a. 38 and Number 2 Laburnum Gardens, Clapham

10. What did Fred and George Weasley do to Montague?

a. Forced him head-first into a Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor.

Picture Scavenger Hunt

Friday, 23 May 2008

Lizzie's bag

My dear sister Lizzie likes the bag I've done for the design competition so much that she asked if she can have it. So she has it - I'm sure she has more stuff I've made in her home than I have in mine! I finished it last night, including lining it with some fabric I bought a while ago to line Emma Gorodok's bag with last term.

Observant readers might note that the hat which has previously appeared on the bottom left corner of the bag has wandered off. Indeed, I was not happy with how the first embroidery design looked - it was altogether too 'busy', so I went for a simpler scheme with just two elements that closely relate to The Swap - a ball of yarn with needles, and an owl carrying what I hope all will realise is a sock kit package.

This afternoon I took some pictures of the bag, including several with it modelled by its new owner, Mrs Lizzie Wychwood. Then Mr. Wychwood took photos of me and Lizzie together wearing our HSKS vests for your enjoyment. Lizzie is in pink and I'm in blue.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Ravenclaw Puzzle

With trepidation I sat down to complete this week's puzzle, for it was set by Miss Minerva Kwikspell who is notorious for the difficulty of the riddles she sets. So it was with amazed delight that I found I was able to 'crack the code' within just a couple of minutes. Yippee - more knitting time!! The answer is:

Can you keep a secret?
The headquarters for the Order of the Phoenix is at No. 12 Grimmauld Place.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Smelly witch!

I am spoiled so rotten that surely you can smell the decay!! :

An owl has arrived from Denmark carrying a very beautiful and thoughtful gift from my spoiler in the sock kit swap. She has made for me a minature sock in Ravenclaw colours with a little eagle in the design, and some stitchmarkers with golden eagle feathers hanging from them - clever girl. They are so attractive that my boys keep trying to sneak off with them magpie style!

Kaaelana Lassanda Allianda, thank you!!

Friday, 16 May 2008

Old bag!!

Just using that title for effect - a little fun poke at myself! In fact the bag that I am going to talk about is actually so new that it isn't even finished yet! I refer, of course, to the bag that I am designing for Professor Wartbobble's design competition (note the use of the present tense - and interpret 'I'm making this one up as I go'!).

As I think it is highly unlikely that anyone will try to steal this design before I've finished it I am daring to share pictures of the work in progress so that you can appreciate what I mean when I use adjectives like 'enormous'.

I started out thinking I might not enter the competition at all, given that as well as being a busy housewitch and mother, I am also very busy with sock designs for knitting witches and wizards who want to celebrate their affiliation with the various Hogwarts Houses. Indeed, I have regular contact from such persons 'just wondering' when the next pattern will be ready!!

Nevertheless, for a week or so after her aforementioned illustrious headmistressness announced the competition I pondered 'what I should do if I could', which resulted in an actual design idea. Oh dear!!

My idea was to knit a bag that incorporates the latin phrase 'adtractior magicum nunquam pictus' (which roughly translates as 'never needle a magical knitter'), and the letters HSKS (the abbreviated name of Professor Wartbobble's knitting swap). Charting these into a balanced stitch graph proved that a very large stitch count would be required in order for the letters to be visually pleasing. That meant I would have to knit an enormous bag!

Enquiries among knitting friends who are experts in felting techniques (I refer particularly to my dear friend Esmerelda Beanswallow) increased my confidence to attempt this as a solution to the size issue, for felting shrinks knitted fabric. Swatching proved that my chosen yarn for the background felts well, and that it also felts even when letters are knitted into it fairisle style with a non-felting contrast yarn. Of course, I am still nervous that a whole bag will not behave the way my swatches did!

At the moment I just have to finish the strap, and then the felting begins. The edging at the top of the bag is applied i-cord - my first ever use of that technique, and I'm really pleased with the result. Hopefully the puckering due to the tightness of the edging will be resolved by the felting and blocking. After felting I intend to embroider some pictorial elements above and below the HSKS where there are currently large blank fields. I've sketched out outlines of a hat, cauldron, and yarn ball and needles for this that I think I will work in chain stitch, again in the silver.

And here are the pictures - both sides of the bag and one of my felted swatches. While it is a little predictable, and a rather basic structure, I am still rather proud of how it is turning out.

Monday, 5 May 2008

New Term!

That sad time has come once more when we have to wave goodbye to Dennis at platform 9 3/4, although this term it seems possible that I will see a little more of him than previously when he has been at school. Why? Well, it seems that Madam Pomfrey could do with a little assistance during busy times in the hospital wing, and as I have a fair bit of nursing experience Professor Wartbobble has asked if I am willing to be on standby to offer such help. Of course, I didn't have to think twice before I said yes! What an opportunity - a chance to see a little more of dear Dennis, combined with time at my favourite magical institution (I am so fond of my school memories), and time with some very inspiring people. Poppy for one, I know, is a very warm and charming lady despite all that matronly bustle!

Meanwhile things have been getting very interesting on the home front since my big sister (well, she is a whole 5 minutes older than me, as she loves to remind me!), joined the sock kit swap. She decided that as she was joining a knitting group she had better do some knitting, and asked me to provide her with a pattern for her little wizard (same age as Tobit). Well, I've always knitted socks for my boys from a pattern in my head, so I had to do a fair bit of jiggery pokery with my quill to get it onto parchment for dear Lizzie. Then, would you believe, she went and knitted them in just a couple of days without magic!!!! And didn't she do well? -

We've included this picture with an accio version of the pattern in that marvellous forum for knitting witches, Ravelry, so that other magical knitters can knit socks for their little wizards too. If you want to get the pattern (gratis - it won't even cost you just one little knut!) let your pet mouse nibble these magical words and you'll see the Ravelry library shelf where it is directly.