A Walk in the Woods

Well, I’m afraid that there weren’t many spring flowers around yesterday, look as I might. I think I may have been a little optimistic, as January draws to a chilly end. The daffodils are in fat bud though, so we should see those emerging soon. Here were the few brave blossoms I did manage to find:

I still had a glorious tramp through the woods though, it was cold but sunny, and the air was full of bird song and bleating sheep. I walked a little way down our lane, then cut across country via a stile, and down into a little neglected hollow, where a house once stood. This has now been taken over by the surrounding woods, but there’s still a trail you can follow, through to the lily ponds. 

Once you get onto the regular lily ponds path, you start to meet other walkers (although I was the only one yesterday). There are always birds hopping around, as tame as they can be, since they’ve learned that walkers will feed them little titbits. I didn’t see our favourite robin, but this little fellow hopped along in front of me for quite a distance.

Then it was up the steps, through the car park, and along the village main street, back home. I finished my walk with a well deserved treat – a slice of cake and a cup of tea in front of the fire. The icing on the cake would have been to stay in my nice comfy chair and do some knitting, but alas, there was yarn to be labelled, so I had to leave the fire to the cats, and go to work…….

 

Bits and Pieces

Today’s blog is a smorgasbord of all the bits and pieces floating around in my head at the moment. But let’s start off with a little more eye candy:

I’m so glad you all like the sweater. We can be far too invested in our own projects sometimes, and therefore far too critical.

Thanks for the continued messages of love and support that keep coming through. I want to especially thank Bekky, who send me a wonderful package, containing a lovely card, a box of luxury Belgian chocolates, and the most beautiful bracelet and necklace set. I was touched beyond words, and expressed the depth of my appreciation by working my way steadily through the chocolates. Thank you Bekky, you’re a sweetheart!

This has been a difficult few days, because the medication I’ve been taking has been having an adverse effect. So they’ve switched me onto something different now, with some extra help (professional and pharmaceutical) for the meantime. I know I’m in good hands and can just let go and let them take care of me, so that’s a relief in itself. We’re slowly getting back to normal this week, Tony is dyeing today, ahead of this Sunday’s update. I should have a preview ready for you Friday, but if its Saturday, I’m sure you won’t mind.

We’re looking into some new yarns for spring/summer, and one of the ones we’re considering is from a Welsh spinner, made from 75% merino 25% shetland wool. It comes in 4ply and dk weight, and has a lovely soft handle, but with quite a rustic handspun look. I have a sample here which we dyed, its 55g in dk, which will be about 150 yards of yarn. Is anyone interested in trying it out? If so, email me and it’s yours. I’ll be interested to see what it knits up like, and to get your feedback. (This yarn has been claimed now.)

Hmm, that’s all I can think of right now. The sun is shining outside the window, so even though I should be labelling yarn, I’m going off to play hookey. I’m going to walk down our lane and see how many spring flowers I can see. Would you like me to take some photos if I see any, and show you tomorrow?

Tony’s Sweater

Finally, the Fair Isle sweater is done. And I broke the curse in one respect, at least – this is the first thing I’ve knitted Tony (apart from socks) that didn’t turn out too small. No, this one turned out too big. In the case of the sleeves, a good four inches too big, too long actually. If he lets them dangle they hang down to his knees. I’m going to have to unravel the bottoms and knit the ribbing downwards to the right length. Apart from that, the body of the sweater is really too baggy, and in such a loose gauge, will only get baggier. But I’ve decided that acceptance is the wisest answer to this. It can be his slobbing sweater, thrown on for a beach walk. Which is where we decided to photograph it for you.

This last shot was taken outside a handbuilt beach shack that we always visit when we come down to the beach. We try to come here every day, even when its cold and rainy like today. There’s always something new to see; last week we helped a baby seal that had run adrift make its way back into the water.

Thanks for all the compliments on the seamless sweater. For those who asked, the pattern is from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Around. I’m knitting in undyed Amelia, which is our alpaca/merino blend dk (sports weight) yarn. And although it started out as another sweater for Tony, my gauge was a little off on this one too (gauge, the bane of my life!) so I think I’m going to claim it for myself instead. Which makes me happy because it means I can do fancy Bohus style patterning along the yoke, which Tony had said he didn’t want.

Sublime Simplicity

Well, the Fair Isle sweater isn’t quite finished yet. I still have a little seaming to do, and about twenty billion ends to weave. I’ve gotta tell ya, I am not feeling the love for this sweater. But maybe it’s an ugly duckling that will turn into a swan when it’s finally finished. We’ll see. (But I do have a strong feeling that Tony will be wearing it to cut wood and dig the garden in a matter of weeks.) Photo’s when it’s all done. You’d like to see the Master wearing it, wouldn’t you? I’ll drag him out for a photoshoot over the weekend.

In the meantime, let us admire the beautiful simplicity of the Seamless Sweater.

I am love, love, loving this sweater. It’s hypnotic to knit, just round after round after round of soothing knitting. The yarn is a dream to work with, the Addis glide along smoothly, it’s really therapeutic. And especially in comparison to the Fair Isle sweater. At the moment, I feel inclined to make myself some knitting promises: a) I will only knit fine gauge items from now on, no less than 5 stitches to the inch, and b) I will only knit sweaters in the round, no more seams for me.

Yes, I expect I will break those vows, but they’re lofty ambitions to have. While chunky knits give faster gratification, fine gauge knits just look so classy. Although I have noticed that my stitches are quite uneven in this sweater. Is that from working on circs? Is it the yarn? Is it my much-better-than-it-was-but-still-not-quite-back-to-normal-speed brain? Who knows. I don’t mind, I think it makes it look more homespun.

And as for seaming……! I’ll be honest with you, I am just awful  at sewing up. No matter how I try, my seams are lumpy and bumpy, and I’ve spoiled many a nice knit at the sewing up stage. So the thought of no seams is extremely attractive. Especially while I’m toiling away at the fat ugly Fair Isle Sweater seams. Ugh.

I thought I’d finish off with a photo of my knitting view. Not a great photo, but I hope you’ll get a sense of the atmosphere. It’s chilly here today, but I have some beech logs on the fire, and a cat stretched out on the rug toasting his belly. In a moment I must tear myself away from my knitting and do a little work, but maybe just one more round first, and a cup of tea and a shortbread biscuit, and one more round for the road……

Good Cheer

Well, my dears, despite the car accident, despite the whiplash, despite my recent difficulties, despite the fact that we both have rotten colds, despite the fact that we aren’t working this week which is not so good for the cash flow……… things are definitely looking up! I feel distinctly perky today, and much more my old self. That alone is reason to rejoice. However, there are several other things bringing extra cheer, besides the not inconsiderable cheer of your good selves…..

  • The sun is shining! I know, after the constant rain of the last few weeks, it’s like a little miracle. I was planning to go for a long walk, but I’m all achey and snuffly from the cold, so instead I’m going to wrap a quilt round myself, and go sit outside and read, and watch the cats chase each other madly around.
  • I have finished Tony’s Fair Isle sweater!  I just have to sew it up, and it’s complete. This feels like quite a triumph, because I really couldn’t concentrate on it while I was ill, the combination of simultaneous shoulder and neck shaping, while staying in pattern, was just too much for my brain. But yesterday I picked it up and finished it, and felt like I’d climbed to the top of a mountain. I’ll show you photos in the next day or two.
  • Mountain Peaks is also beginning to show progress. It was too complicated for me to do very much on it for the last couple of weeks, so as a mindless knit, I cast on Elizabeth Zimmerman’s seamless pullover for Tony, in undyed Amelia, and have been knitting steadily away at that. It’s a fairly fine gauge (well, compared to the Fair Isle sweater, anyway!) so it’s growing slowly, but it’s amazing how soothing it is. Round after round of simple knitting, in a butter soft oatmeal yarn. Gorgeous.
  • I’ve been taking Heyer therapy, and can highly recommend it to you all. Georgette Heyer, that is. I’ve just finished Cotillion, and am now embarking on The Foundling. They really are the most perfect escapist books, no matter how many times I read them.
  • I have a new cleaner. Oh the bliss of having someone else hoovering for you! It cannot be measured.

So, now I’m off to sit in the garden, cup of tea in hand, and knitting by my side. I hope your Thursday is turning out as nice as mine is, and that you can see some sunshine too, even if it’s just little glimpses of it through the clouds. A kiss to you all.