Quick Freebie: Kirkja

My KirkjaKirkja shawl pattern is currently available for free on Ravelry. Offer expired, sorry! As you may be aware, local boy Andy Murray took home the Wimbledon men's title yesterday. He is the first British male to do so for 77 years (though the marvellous Virginia Wade won the women's title in 1977). Scotland has gone a bit crazy as a result - and I have lived in Glasgow so long that I feel this strange sense of pride too. It's rather odd but who am I to quibble with a sense of belonging?

Before the match I decided that if Andy Murray defied the odds, I'd offer one of my paid patterns for free. And because Andy won, you can now use the code comeonandy to get Kirkja for free until 6pm GMT tonight.

Almost 1250 people have snapped up Kirkja in the last 19 hours. Do join them! Maybe even dip into the Karie Bookish group and show off your Kirkja shawl once you've knitted it!

An aside: I like this photo a lot. I didn't use it as a pattern photo for various reasons, but I like it a great deal. It looks like me - and I cannot begin to tell you how much that means to me. Modelling my patterns is one of my least favourite activities. I feel very conscious of the way I look and how far I am from the standard 'model look'. Ravelry is a great place for showcasing different body types, but I still dislike the way I look in photos. I note all my flaws and imperfections before I look at how the knitting looks. It feels awful, just awful. So, it's a big thing for me to say that I like a photo.

That was a bit of an aside!

The rest of today will be used on sprucing up the website (have you noticed the new layout?) and on getting the next Doggerland pattern sorted. If you are one of the Kirkja downloaders, do stick around. Plenty of exciting things happening!


I have a very soft spot in my heart for tennis. Yes, tennis. It was one of the few sports I was ever good at in school and in the early 1990s I watched tennis broadcasts almost religiously. My favourite time of year is still Wimbledon time. My favourite player was a tall Croat, Goran Ivanisevic, who was maddeningly unpredictable: on good days, his tennis was stunning; on bad days, his games were like watching a car crash in slow motion. You never knew what kind of a day it would be. Ivanisevic wound up winning Wimbledon, but characteristically he didn't do so until he was well past his prime and only admitted to the tournament on a wild card.

Andre Agassi belongs to the same tennis generation as Ivanisevic, but although Agassi was a wildly popular player at the time, I never took to his game. Without going into too much technical detail, Agassi played a defensive game from the baseline relying upon serve returns and solid ground strokes (on today's circuit Scots Andy Murray plays a very similar game). He was technically brilliant, absolutely, and he had a colourful personality, but his game lacked the fireworks of players far more on the offensive (Ivanisevic, Pat Rafter, Pete Sampras, and, later, Andy Roddick).

Coloured me surprised, then, that Andre Agassi's autobiography turns out to be filled with offensive gameplay, if you will pardon the pun.

At the age of 12, Andre traveled to Australia with a team of elite young players. For each tournament he won, he got a beer as a reward. Then in the seventh grade he was shipped off to the Bollettieri Academy in Florida, where his tennis flourished, but his life turned feral. Drinking hard liquor and smoking dope, he wore an earring, eyeliner and a Mohawk. Nobody objected as long as he won matches. The academy, in Agassi's words, was "Lord of the Flies with forehands." Since the press and the tennis community still regard Nick Bollettieri as a seer and an innovator whose academy spawned dozens of similar training facilities, Agassi's critical opinion of him may shock the ill-informed. But in fact, Bollettieri is the paradigmatic tennis coach: that is, a man of no particular aptitude or experience and no training at all to deal with children.

Fascinating stuff which really appeals to my inner seventeen year-old girl who knew there was something sketchy about Agassi. Of course I'm unlikely to ever read Agassi's book (my inner seventeen year-old is torn, though) as I'm now thirty-something .. a fact that was brought home to me yesterday when I was watching the UK Top 40 and I knew exactly two songs..

Between Days

Blog silences happen when un-bloggable things are happening. So, bloggable things in quick recap form:

  • I'm reading a lot of Georgette Heyers at the moment. I'm on my third in less than a week.
  • I've cast on for Helga Isager's Pine in a new Scottish handknitting yarn. I will have to rip it out as I started the brioche stitch section last night at knitting group and Something Clearly Went Wrong.
  • Wimbledon is in its second week and I'm really enjoying the coverage. I have always loved watching tennis - not just Wimbledon - and it makes for great knitting TV. Andy Murray is the homegrown hero, but I'm finding it slightly difficult to warm to him as he's of the Agassi school of tennis and I've never been a huge fan of that particular style.
  • And I also watched a bit of Glastonbury coverage on Auntie Beeb. Blur were fantastic (surprisingly so as they never were the best live act out there) and made me super-nostalgic for my youthful days.

Back to un-bloggable things.