I still haven't heard from Cleckheaton. In fact, the email I submitted via the form on their website bounced - the pillocks haven't set up an account for the email address it was sent to! Eventually, I found an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org and sent it there.
For the last two years, I've been saving up to purchase some knitting designing software, but I'm yet to make the leap. I want something that does everything including slotting in cables, lace, etc, and I am prepared to pay for it (hence the saving up bit). Right now though, I'd be willing to settle for something simpler if I could get it to do what I want - I want to design a bolero or shrug to knit out of the 1000 metres of pink lace weight I was given as a reward for subscribing to a knitting magazine. I thought a lacy shrug would work - I don't do shawls or wraps. I don't have the kind of lifestyle any more that demands wearing lots of ball gowns (thus providing an excuse to wear said wrap). Anyway, I'm busty. Anything that hangs on/from my bust makes me look pregnant.
Tama, I know you have Sweater Wizard. I don't remember from the demo I downloaded ages ago, but would it let me design a shrug?
Did I ever tell you I "collect" yarn shops? They are such a rarity here that I always make a note of them. In the past 4 months, I've found a new yarn shop in Rochester (Annie's on the high street), Leominster and Hay on Wye. If there is nothing else on my "I want to knit that" list, I'll purchase a skein of sock yarn so at least I've given them some business. (DH tells me that doing so doesn't break my yarn diet since it's purchased in a good cause.)
Yesterday, I had to be up in central London. My choir was performing Verdi's Requiem last night and we spent the afternoon in rehearsals with the orchestra and soloists. The venue was about a mile from the newish I Knit London shop. I've been on their mailing list since Fluff told me they're hosting the Yarn Harlot in September (Yes. I have tickets.). Anyway, I took the opportunity to check out their shop on my way to rehearsals.
They have made really good use of the space in what is technically quite a small shop. Physically, it's about the same size as my living room (approximately 19 feet by 12), with a couple of couches forming a cozy sitting area on one side of the door, the till/desk backing onto one of the couches, yarn in cubes line the walls, books across the back, a table and chairs in the back half for classes. It doesn't feel crowded or cramped.
I was really impressed by the range of yarns they stock: Wensleydale Longwool; Cornish Organic Wool; springy Icelandic wool; and the legendary Shetland wool by Reynolds (which I didn't believe was sold in the UK at all!). They had Opal and Regia, plus some more exotic sock yarns from America (exotic for me). There were yarns from other small British producers, but I don't remember their names.
I could have spent a fortune; instead, I contented myself with a couple of skeins of silk lace-weight (at £7/skein), some cotton to make this from Knitty as a present for a friend (if I have enough yarn, I may modify it to add sleeves), and a skein of sock yarn. I promised myself that I will go mad at the I Knit London Show in September.
The concert went well despite some of the quirks of our current conductor. It was his last concert with us (he's retiring). I'd feel sadder about that if he'd spent some time enhancing the musicality of his choristers - he doesn't even believe in warming up! Also I have it on reliable authority that the fact he gave us cues to come in last night was almost revolutionary.
I was about 80% happy with my performance: my inner musician awoke sometime on Wednesday evening (we rehearsed then, too), and I began to feel the count of the music from the accompaniment. That is a skill I have missed for a long time. And my "pitch a note off anything" is coming back, too. My negativity comes from knowing that I wasn't projecting properly - something that could have been alleviated if we'd done vocal warm-ups prior to the rehearsals and performance. I felt my voice catching in my throat several times and made a concious attempt to lift it "up" (hard when you're racing at full tilt through the Dies Irae). But we had a good sing, got a standing ovation from what looked like a sell-out crowd, and DH loved it.