Monday, 25 August 2014

Ten Months of Silence

Well, nearly ten months.  Anyway, that was a long gap.

This morning, for some unaccountable reason, I find myself wanting to write again, and so here I am once more - probably with no readers whatsoever. Never mind, I tell myself.  This piece may turn out to be a little disjointed, as undoubtedly I am not yet back into the flow of things again.  Never mind about that either, let's just see how it goes.

Now - life in general, and knitting.

The knitting has been going very well.  I've recently completed a blanket knitted in squares and pieced together - seventeen different colours of Rowan's Pure Wool Worsted, and eight different patterns for the squares.  It is single bed sized, and was great fun to knit.

The pattern was released in instalments as a MKAL (Mystery Knit-A-Long, for the uninitiated) and I am afraid that I did not jump in at the beginning as one is supposed to do, but waited until all the pattern was released so that I could see what I was letting myself in for.  Other people were already posting pictures of their completed blankets when I was ordering my wool, so I was very much behind everybody else with this.

The pattern is free from the Rowan website, if you should happen to be interested.

Knitting this blanket has completed derailed my planned summer knitting, of course.  So now summer is coming to an end, and I have nothing else finished at all, so I shall turn to life in general as a topic.

August Bank Holiday and it is pouring with rain - if I were being cynical, I could say that this is only what one would expect.

But in truth, we have had a lovely summer this year, June and July have been just wonderful. We've had quite a lot of time on the boat and I for one have become noticeably stronger and fitter.  All those locks, you know.  They can be hard work, and this year I determined that I was not going to be defeated by any of them.

The result of all this determined lockwinding (and walking between locks) is that I have not actually lost any more weight, but my clothes definitely don't fit in the same way.  I think that this is because I have lost some fat and gained some muscle - very probably a good thing.  We do have scales that measure fat percentage.  Perhaps I ought to pay some attention to what they say in that regard - I have always been so far beyond the norm that the reading has just been too appalling to contemplate.

It crosses my mind that I shall have to do some finding out - what should one's fat percentage be? I have a general idea, but one needs specifics here. It has to be related to age, and whether one is male or female.  I am sure that I used to know my target, but nowadays one forgets these things if they are not revisited at intervals.

I do know about BMI, that it has certain limitations, however it can still be useful. The British Heart Foundation has a nice accessible chart - here - and a BMI calculator here.  These tell me very clearly that I still need to lose some more weight, but not a lot - just a few more pounds, and then I shall be in the green zone of the chart, and will no longer be classed as overweight.  So perhaps - just perhaps - I can start thinking about fat percentages, and fitness levels, and things of that ilk.   I shall go and ask Mr Google about fat percentage, stand on my scales, and - no, I can't quite believe it.   Very probably I shall be horrified and not wish to repeat the experiment for quite a while.

More regarding this anon, possibly.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Post Scriptum?

I can't decide, as you may have guessed from the title.

It does seem a little odd to declare publicly that one is not going to blog any more, and then write something else.  But I am missing this in a quite unexpected way - writing, I mean  - and I am wondering whether to continue.  So I think that I shall just see how this goes.  Maybe there will be more, I don't know.

Things are very quiet here at the moment.  November is not a month that I like very much. The days get shorter so quickly, and it feels as if the year is sliding downhill towards the solstice.  But although we've had a lot of wind and rain, the weather still continues unseasonably mild.  We have not yet had a frost, and that really is unusual for late autumn.

On the knitting front, things have been fairly productive.  There was a cardigan for a friend, this was a relatively quick knit during September; and during October I finished a Thing for Rowan, about which I can say nothing at all.  As always, this is most frustrating. 

I do enjoy being one of the team of Rowan handknitters, very much, and I am actually rather proud of it.  I can't say that I'm secretly proud of it, because these words are rather public, let us not forget.  But from a blogger's point of view, it is definitely not the easiest thing.  

Anyway.  A Thing for Rowan, finished at the end of October.  I shall put that in my list as Thing O, and you may read into that what you will.

Right now I'm finishing a cardigan for my daughter.  I could post a picture, but really - a dark navy sleeve on the needles is not the most interesting of images.  

Monday, 12 August 2013

More than six years...

I have been blogging now since April 2007, and I think that perhaps it is time for me to stop.  I am most definitely still knitting, and you'll be able to find me on Ravelry.


Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Two things

First, here is Fastnet.

Slow steady progress, but I'm not in any hurry - and such a lovely fabric, quite gorgeously squishy.

The little markers are for row counting, before someone asks - I place a marker at the top of the ribbing, and then every ten rows thereafter, with a different colour every fiftieth row.  I leave the 'fifty rows' markers in place, and the 'ten rows' markers are moved on as needed. So you can very easily see that I am approaching seventy rows of knitting.  This avoids repeated counting of rows, which has always seemed to me to be a waste of time - and also avoids that situation where one keeps getting different answers.  Or at least, where I keep getting different answers.  Maybe it's just me....

And yes, that is an artist's palette that you can see in the corner there - it's dry, please don't worry! - and yes, as usual with my photographs, that is our dining table, which also serves as a general work table for us both for much of the time.  It is in the conservatory, which is a particularly nice place to work at this time of year.   My husband likes to paint.  More on that anon.

And here is the second thing, which is something you don't see every day.  Six newly hatched cygnets.

These are from a clutch of seven eggs.  We know that they are newly hatched because we went past the nest the day before and could see immediately that five of the eggs were still unhatched.  At that time both swans were staying very close to the nest and defending it fiercely, hissing at the boat in a way that they don't normally do at all.  So we did have an idea that something was happening.

And the next day, here they all were, straight out on the water and looking so pretty in the sunshine.  The parents were staying very close, as you can see, but were looking much more contented than the day before.

This pair and their babies tend to do better than the pair that are local to us, probably because their nesting site is better protected from the depredations of foxes, as it is in the middle of a reed bed rather than on the bank.   And that reminds me, I don't know how our local swans are doing - I must make enquiries.  I certainly have not seen any cygnets close to home.

We are wondering about the seventh egg, and whether there is a seventh cygnet still to come.  It is not impossible, just rather unlikely.  But six cygnets - that is really quite wonderful.  Let's hope that they all survive.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Picking up....

I am knitting Fastnet at the moment - well, theoretically I am knitting Fastnet.

The thing which I was knitting for Rowan is now safely back at Holmfirth, and there is always something of a hiatus after such a project comes to an end.    Usually I pick up the current sock-in-progress for an evening or two, or even relax without any knitting at all.  Yes, this does happen.

This time I picked up Fastnet, which I cast on rather a long time ago, before I became distracted with work-related knitting.  It has been pulled back a couple of times to accommodate design changes - I think I'd have worked as far as the armhole shaping by now, if not for that.

The yarn, by the way, is lovely.  This is Rowan's Pure Wool Aran, and it is such a surprise.  One expects a yarn like this, which is apparently a basic yarn, to be something of a workhorse, if you know what I mean.  One doesn't expect this - soft, squishy, yet with a pleasing solidity, gorgeous to work with, and a beautiful drape.  I much prefer it to the Cashsoft family, now discontinued.  And I expect it to wear better than the Cashsoft yarns, as well - it has certainly coped perfectly with all the pulling back and re-knitting that I have put it through.     If you haven't tried it yet, then I urge you to do so.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.  It is lovely stuff.

Where was I - ah yes, Fastnet.

This particular Fastnet has rather a lot of modifications from the pattern.

The original version is from Rowan 52, by Josh Bennett, and I am knitting the size to fit chest 48".

The shape isn't going to be altered very significantly apart from adding length to the body, which seems a little short to me at 27 1/2", and shortening the sleeves, which seem too long at 21 1/2".

You can see how long they are on the model - the poor chap must be pushing them up out of the way all the time.  Can't be doing with that!

But the real changes are in the pattern itself - the cables, the texture.  My husband knows exactly how he wants this pullover to look, and he doesn't want it to look quite like that.  We are keeping some elements, losing others - and - well, you'll see.  (Or you will, when I post a picture.)  Anyway, we've talked it through, and I've made some little sketches, which he has agreed, and that's what I'm working from.

But it is still slow progress.  There is no urgency here, and it is a big pullover, after all.

I've got something other things planned as well - I am going to make a cardigan for my daughter, and I am looking forward to this, I do like knitting for her.

If I knit anything at all for myself in the foreseeable future, I am going to have to stick to unfitted garments and accessories.  I am still losing weight, and if I knit things to fit me at the moment then there is the awful (but very real) prospect that next year they might well be too big for me.

Talking of accessories - have you seen the new Rowan Fine Art Collection?   I have a copy, and I find that I am quite taken with some of the things in here.

In particular, and I wasn't expecting this at all, these over the knee socks.

Also, these stripy ones.  I've always wanted long stripy socks.

I am trying hard to convince myself that these are a good idea, that they are really practical, and that I would wear them.  Unfortunately I would in all probability have to resort to knitting-in elastic at the top, which I hate with a vengeance, in order to keep them up - but nevertheless I still want to make them.

No rush though....

By the way, Wee Peggy is now in her new home.  In Argyllshire, would you believe?   I did not expect that, and somehow it is rather pleasing.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wee Peggy

Here's my Wee Peggy wheel.

I did mention a while ago that I was going to sell it, and that I would let you know - well, the time is now.  So if you are at all interested, please get in touch, and I can tell you more.  It is listed on eBay at the moment, with the auction due to finish on Sunday evening.

This is a nice little wheel - it is one of the originals,  made in 1984 by J Rappard in New Zealand.

I shall be sorry to see it go - it has been my first wheel, after all - but one does have to move on.

Now, knitting.

I find myself, yet again, knitting something that I can neither show nor discuss.  It is, of course, for Rowan, and it is, of course, rather gorgeous.

The knitting is very enjoyable - lovely yarn, beautiful colours, and an interesting stitch pattern.  But this situation does not make for interesting blog posts.  My deadline is the end of this month, but I shall be getting it finished as soon as I can.

In conclusion, I should just say that my rather prolonged silence here does not mean that anything is wrong - quite the contrary, in fact.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will know that I have been dealing with a pain condition for a few years now, about which the least said the better, really.  Over the last couple of months I've been getting used to a new combination of meds which has turned out to be really helpful, but has also turned out to have the side effects of making me rather absentminded and forgetful - and that's putting it mildly.  Perhaps I should just say, rather spaced out.   As you can perhaps imagine, this hasn't been conducive to coherent thinking or writing, or indeed very much writing at all really, hence the long silences.

Fortunately, these side effects seem to have been temporary, and I think I'm about back to normal now.  However if you should notice me being rather more incoherent than usual, please feel free to blame it on the meds. ;)

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday on the water

It is so lovely to be out on the water regularly again.  We still cannot quite believe it - the boat has spent so much time with the engine out of order over the last eighteen months that it had begun to feel like an expensive encumbrance, instead of something to be enjoyed.  But this weekend we have indeed been enjoying it.

It really does feel like spring now.  After the long winter everything seems to have suddenly burst into bloom together, there are swathes of primroses and carpets of celandines, clumps of violets in the hedgerows, and everywhere there are the starry spikes of ramsons - and that's something else to which we always look forward.

Wild garlic leaves - or ramsons.  In this case, soon to be lunch, together with scrambled eggs and a bit of smoked salmon.  And very nice it was, too.

Not a lot of knitting content this time.  I have finished a pair of socks.  That's it.  I think the yarn was Trekking XXL, I cannot possibly remember the shade number.

And, because I was asked - here is a picture of Jess, who is not really a pup any more.  She's three years old now.  Time goes by so fast....

More knitting content next time, I hope.