Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I seem to have rather lost the blogging habit, what with being away sans internet for five whole weeks.

In fact I seem to have lost the internet habit as well, which is quite a surprise. I used to love wandering around Ravelry, looking at this and that, projects and patterns, and organising my queue - that's a terrible time waster, by the way. Anyway, not at the moment.

And, do you know, I am really not missing it at all.

I am, of course, spending a lot of time with little Jessie. She is now having two walks a day, and I am just about coping with that. We don't go anywhere very fast, as there seem to be an awful lot of fence posts and lampposts and other interesting things around here that a little puppy cannot possibly be expected to walk past without stopping and sniffing thoroughly. Plus if we meet another dog - and their owner too, of course - we always seem to stop and talk for a while. (Jessie just loves meeting other dogs, and new people. She's going to be very well socialised, we think.)

It does mean that our progress is slow. The other day I borrowed my son's GPS thingie and discovered that we are walking at an average speed of one and a half miles per hour. So I'm not exactly covering a lot of ground, and that's probably a good thing.

There is a fine balance to be achieved here - I do very much want to improve my general level of fitness, as I've been a semi-invalid for rather too long now, and I do have another surgery coming up - but I have to be careful not to do too much, or the pain management doesn't manage, if you follow. And that is definitely not recommended.

Little slow walks with a little fluffy puppy are just about right, at the moment. But I remember how I used to walk with Lucy, before she (and I) got ill - we would go off for a good couple of hours every day along the footpaths in all weathers, we both loved it, and it was wonderful. I do want to get back to that, very much, but it's not going to happen overnight, that's for sure.

Knitting - Julia is still stalled, and I haven't finished Cardoon yet. I'm half way up the second sleeve, and then I shall need to set in the sleeves, and work the side seams.

Also, I haven't mentioned the latest travel sock, which is in blue Crazy Zauberball. I do like the colours, and I also like the way that the round ball of yarn looks, but I don't like the way that sections of yarn keep falling off the ball and getting into a tangle in my little sock workbag. Nearly at the first heel, anyway, and it is nice yarn to work with - not splitty, and nice and soft.

I am feeling a real need for more cardigans in my wardrobe at the moment, and I think that after this I shall cast on for Mythos, with the first sleeve as my swatch. I have some Kaffe Fassett Design Line sock yarn in Caribbean Mirage, which should work up rather nicely, I think.

Photos eventually, I promise.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Many happenings....

I have been so busy, these last weeks.

The single most significant thing that has happened is that my daughter has gone to Africa for a while. She's a medical student at one of the big London teaching hospitals, on an accelerated graduate entry course. She's just going into her last year - and as part of the course she is required to spend some time working abroad. She could have gone anywhere in the world, practically, but she chose to go and work in Africa. At the moment she is working at a clinic in Ethiopia, which is attached to an orphanage where all the children are HIV positive. And I am so proud of her that I hardly know how to express it.

She says that she's enjoying it, and that everyone is friendly, and that she is learning a lot, and that although the facilities are very basic indeed, the children are getting good treatment, and that they do have electricity most of the time...(!) And even, occasionally, an internet connection - I've had an email from her. So I know she's arrived, and that all is well. She'll be back in October.

Compared to that, everything else fades into insignificance, really.

Jessie is doing so well. She's past the fast growth stage, and heading into adolescence. At the moment she's teething like anything. The big molars at the back are coming through, and she has such an urge to chew - a frozen washcloth seems to be helpful, and ice cubes too.

She's still eating a lot. We are giving her Naturediet and Nature's Menu - both of these are real foods, not dry kibble, and both of them are a complete diet. The difference is convenience, really - the Nature's Menu is basically minced raw meat (including ground bone) and a selection of vegetables, and it comes as a bag of frozen nuggets which you just thaw out - the Naturediet has a very similar content but is cooked, and comes in plastic packs which you can keep at room temperature. Real food, though!

And my goodness, she does keep us busy! She is so bright, and is learning quickly. Once a week we take her to the Puppy Class at a local dog training club - she just loves this.

The advice these days is that young puppies should be walked no more than 5 minutes per month of age, twice a day. So for Jessie at 4 months old, that means two 20 minute walks a day, at most. I am finding that I can cope with this - most days, at least.

I've been told that I will definitely need to have one more surgery. I was expecting this, and hopefully it won't be long to wait - after all, this isn't a new problem, it is because things didn't heal correctly after the big surgery last summer. Eight to ten weeks, I've been told.

Other than that, things are going well.

Knitting, though - not quite so much. I still haven't finished Julia, the Debbie Bliss cabled cotton pullover, but I have started something else - Cardoon - and it is flying off the needles. I have just one and a bit sleeves to go, and it will be done.

So, watch this space..........

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


Here is Pomander.

I actually finished this before we left on the boat six weeks ago, all but setting in the second sleeve and working the second sleeve and side seam. On Monday I finished it properly, and immediately put it on and wore it for the rest of the evening. I've worn it every day since then, as well, so it looks as if this pullover is going to earn its keep.

RYC Cotton Jeans is quite a heavy yarn, 100% cotton and it is aran weight as well, but this pullover isn't too hot because of the textured openwork sections, and the open placket neckline. It works perfectly over a vest or camisole.

Pattern from Rowan Classic Summer Delights, yarn is RYC Cotton Jeans as I said - now discontinued, sadly - and the colour is Tussore 373 which is a good straightforward dark navy, regardless of the strange variations that my camera is showing. I made size M, and I used 22 balls of yarn where the pattern requirements say 20. As my row gauge was out by 10%, that's entirely to be expected.

Verdict - very nice!

Two other things -

I still haven't finished the back of Julia - just half a dozen rows to go - but here you can see the work in progress. Heavily cabled, and great fun to knit. The colour is pale duck egg, unusual for me, but I like it.

And Jessie has doubled her weight since she came to live with us.

Here she is on the day we collected her, eight weeks old and 3.54 kilos -

- and here at 15 weeks old, and 7.2 kilos.

Quite a change! Our baby puppy isn't such a baby any more....