Saturday, 27 November 2010

The status quo

Jess is looking rather disreputable at the moment. She went into some undergrowth yesterday whilst we were out, and got hung up on a bramble with all that puppy fluff, poor little thing. It wasn't very nice for her, but luckily she wasn't actually hurt. I finally managed to extricate her, and discovered that she'd also got a whole mass of nasty big hooky burrs in her coat. They were all down both front legs and across her chest, and they were so tangled up that I had real problems getting any of them out. They were very prickly indeed and were obviously making her pretty unhappy.

So I sat down in the field (cold, wet, muddy) and took her in my lap, and between us we managed to get some of them out, so that she could at least walk. And then we went home, and I got the scissors out, and clipped away the rest of them - only thing to do, really.

Most of the feathering on her front legs had to go - more on one side than the other - and a good deal underneath too. Later on yesterday I got the scissors out again and evened things up a bit, but Jess had had enough by the time I'd finished one side.

So at the moment she's got half a haircut, and looks rather as if she's been dragged through the proverbial hedge backwards. I'll have another go tomorrow, and hopefully we'll get things at least evened up a bit.

We have had some snow - not a lot, but enough to puzzle Jess considerably. She kept wanting to eat it, and was most reluctant to come indoors yesterday evening. What we do have plenty of, unfortunately, is ice, and I really don't like that at all. I broke my ankle once, a few years back, and I'd much rather not break anything else, ever again. This evening when I took Jess out for her last walk of the day, it was so icy that she actually slipped twice. I was going along slowly and carefully, but she was zooming around as usual, so it's not so surprising really.

I am still knitting the project whose name I may not mention. I am on the home straight now, metaphorically speaking, as I am definitely past the half way mark. My right thumb is starting to give me some problems though, at the moment it is fine whilst I am knitting and not so fine when I stop and start doing other things like cooking. As long as it stays fine whilst knitting, I am ok!

I do want to get the nameless project out of the way soon, because I have a quite unreasonable desire to knit Shadow[]box. I think I would actually wear it, you see, although I may be deluding myself there. It wouldn't be the first time.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Must knit faster!

Seriously though, things have been a bit mad around here. (Although I think that's a contradiction in terms.)

The knitting-project-that-I-can't-talk-about didn't grow very much at all yesterday, but today it has been veritably flying off the needles. The technique involved has suddenly clicked mentally into place, and my hands automatically know what to do, and are doing it fast, and I don't have to look at my knitting all the time. Until today each row was taking about 4 minutes to complete, but I'm now cracking along with each row taking something less that half that time. So that's good.

I hope to have it finished in a week, sooner if possible.

In lieu of knitting pictures, I offer you instead a picture of a Jess, fast asleep on the sofa.

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Photographs of knitting are going to be a bit thin on the ground for a while, because I've started working on something that I can't show you. Someone I know is writing a knitting book, and I am helping to make up some of the projects. Must admit, I am rather pleased to have been asked.

So not only am I knitting someone else's choice of pattern, but I'm working to a deadline. This particular project is not a quick knit, the technique used is slowing me right down. I've timed myself, and at the moment each row takes about 4 minutes - I think that the whole thing is going to take me about 35 - 40 hours of knitting time.

I know that it's going to be touch-and-go as to whether I finish it before boredom sets in. At the moment I am enjoying it, lovely yarn to knit with and a pattern which holds my attention - what's not to like?

So far, 9% complete. That sounds a lot better than 91% still to go.

Thursday, 18 November 2010


If you are a Rowan subscriber, then go along to the Rowan website and log in.

There is a preview of the Spring/Summer 2011 collection - Rowan 49, and all the pattern brochures as well. There is a picture of every new design. I don't think Rowan have ever done this before, and I do think it is a good idea.

There are two new yarns coming out - Panama and Savannah, and there are brochures for each of those. Also there are two pattern books from Martin Storey, one is called Purelife Classics and the other is Cotton Classics. And there is another baby book and another Amy Butler book.

A lot of very nice things in there. I am not going to start making lists despite my weakness for such things, as I know from past experience that I always change my mind when the actual magazine arrives.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Wet Wednesday

Jess doesn't like the rain. Not initially, at least. She looks at me when I open the door with such an expression on her face - But it's pouring! Are you really expecting me to go out in that?

That is fairly amazing when you come to think of it, considering that her face is covered with fur. However this attitude doesn't last very long, and soon she is zooming around as normal. She goes round the puddles, though, and she definitely doesn't approve of mud - she'll pick her way around the edge very daintily, thank you very much.

Yes, we allow her on the chairs, at least when she is dry and clean. Not everyone approves of this, I know, but she is so cuddly that we don't want to deprive ourselves. So there she is, having her afternoon nap.

She had her 'adolescent dog' check up at the vet's today - she's seven months old now, and we officially have a teenage canine in the house. The main change that we've noticed is a definite reluctance to come back when called - there's something along the lines of 'I'm a big dog now and I'll come when I feel like it, not when you say'. So she's on the long line when we are out walking, not off the lead - I'm taking no chances. All well at the vet's, by the way.

Wayfarer is ticking along nicely. I've done more than 30 inches now, and it will soon be time for Chart C. Such excitement!

I shall have to block this properly when it is finished - there is significant distortion in the charted areas, due to the closeness of the increases in the slip stitch fabric. Jared Flood mentions this, and he's not joking. Also, the slipped stitch areas do tend to pull in sideways, so where there is more slipped stitch fabric, the scarf is narrower. Blocking needed, definitely, and I shall use my blocking wires.

The knitting is still very enjoyable, it grows so quickly and it makes a lovely squishy fabric.

After this? - I shall finish my black Opal, and cast on for a Kim Hargreaves pullover in Felted Tweed Aran for myself, and also I shall start Anice, a Sharon Miller pattern from Rowan magazine 41, using the Rowan Pure Wool 4ply that was my Rowan subscriber's free gift last year. I plan to make it more Orenburg-ish in style, and reversible. I do like shawls and scarves to have two 'good' sides, this seems eminently sensible to me.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

To blog or not to blog

I've been having something of a crise de foi regarding blogging recently. It didn't seem to fit with my life any more, for no identifiable reason. But yesterday, again for no identifiable reason, I found myself wanting to write again.

So I found the camera, and off we go again.

I have finished knitting and seaming the turquoise cotton cardigan for my mother, I still need to block it and stitch on the buttons. I'll take a picture when it is finally done - I am very pleased to be finished with the actual making.

My Felicity hat was frogged, and I have made a Nice Simple Black Hat with the yarn, which was two skeins of black Cashsoft Aran. This is basically Jared Flood's Turn a Square pattern, with a rolled edge instead of ribbing, and it works very well. I added an inch in length to accommodate my large head, and if I made it again, I'd do the whole thing with the smaller needles to make the fabric just that bit more dense.

Anyway, it is a good useful hat.

New onto the needles is Wayfarer. This is another Jared Flood pattern, but I haven't got any appropriately tweedy yarn for this scarf. What I have had for a very long time is some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a good sappy green, 5 balls to be precise, originally intended for Backyard Leaves. I fell out of love with Backyard Leaves over time, and nothing else took its place. Until, that is, I saw this pattern.

After the endless turquoise cotton, I wanted something interesting to work on, that would be a relatively quick project, using nice soft wool yarn in a colour that I liked. This scarf ticks all the boxes, and I am really enjoying it.

The pattern is basically garter stitch with vertical lines in slip stitch that wander and spread across the scarf in wave-like shapes - very entertaining - and the yarn is so soft to work with, it is a great relief after the turquoise Pegasus cotton.

It is very appropriate to be working on warm accessories at the moment, because the weather is thinking about moving from autumnal to wintry. We've had a storm where it felt as if the roof was going to come off, and torrential rain, and now it is clear and cold and dry, misty in the mornings - classic November weather.

Jess loves it all, and I love walking with her.

Monday, 1 November 2010


The last month of autumn, traditionally.

Today was just so, so beautiful. Jess and I walked along the towpath - we can do this only if we don't hang about on the way down to the water. Jess is 6 months old, so her walks are limited to 30 minutes each, or thereabouts. Today we headed straight down to the water, and turned towards Bradford on Avon.

It was such an amazingly pretty afternoon - the light was so perfect, and the trees are all turning colour. Widbrook Wood runs alongside the canal where we were walking. It has a lot of cherry trees, together with oak and birch, and the colour mix is extraordinary. The birches turn acid yellow, the cherries turn deep red, and the oaks are going amber.

And the light was slanting, the way it does in late afternoon, and there is a quality of such richness to it at this time of year, almost golden.

Jess had a wonderful time, tearing around after fallen leaves as the wind picked them up, but never too far away from me, and generally being very photogenic and adorable.

To cap it all off, on the way home we saw a kingfisher, that silent flash of electric blue, a moment to treasure.

And I forgot my camera.