Monday, 25 March 2013

Ten days

I have a deadline.  And I have rather a lot of knitting to do.

This is not really unusual.  When one knits for other people, there do tend to be deadlines involved.  Sometimes they are a bit variable - sometimes they are rather less so.  I do try to treat them all in the same way, as if they were graven in stone.  This one has no leeway whatsoever.  Yes, I know, mixed metaphors again.  It seems that I can't help it.

If I have a deadline, this means that I must post the finished item the day before, by Special Delivery which guarantees that the package will arrive the following day - and don't get me started on that one, because it doesn't always happen.  But that's another story entirely. 

Anyway, I have to post the day before the deadline.  And that means that my final knitting day, the very last day on which a stitch may be knitted, an end may be sewn in, an item may be blocked - that is the day before the posting day.  So there is the day of the deadline - there is the posting day - and there is the last knitting day. 

Counting from today, up to the last knitting day, I have ten days.

I am just a little bit behind schedule at the moment. (Yes, I have a schedule.) Life gets in the way, you see.  If I could just sit and knit, there would be no difficulty with this at all.  But there is laundry to be done, a little dog who wants to be walked - and I like to go for a walk, as well - and meals to be cooked, and so on and so forth.

I still cannot show you what I am knitting, not yet.  Nor can I tell you anything about it.  I can tell you that I am knitting squares, which isn't really very informative, and I'm sorry about that but there it is.  They are lovely squares, and they are all different.  I am really enjoying making them.  The yarns are such a pleasure - do I need to say Rowan? - and the colours!  The combinations are just beautiful.   

So, at the moment I have twenty two squares remaining to knit.  Plus one Thing, for which I do not yet have the pattern.  And I have ten days.

I think I had better get on with it.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Caeli furor aequinoctialis

It is a long time since I first came across this lovely phrase, sitting in my school desk back at Northern Grammar School for Girls in Portsmouth.  I think it would have been 1968, probably, and I'd have been about 12.    It is Catullus, of course - who else produces such sonorous phrases? - Catullus 46, if memory serves, which I think it actually might, in this case.

I came across it again the other day, vide Jean's Knitting, and was just as enchanted as I was when I first encountered it.

The equinox itself has of course now come and gone, and the supposed 'raging of the equinoctial sky', which wasn't really very much to write home about after all, has come and gone as well.

Today it is just raining a bit, and I am off out with Jess in a bit, after I've been to the post office.  I do wish the postman would knock at the door these days, when there is a parcel, instead of just dropping a little card through the letterbox and walking away - it is apparent that he hasn't brought the parcel out in his van with him at all - but perhaps I should refrain from saying any more.  I shall instead go to the sorting office and see what it is.  Perhaps it is a very large parcel, too large for his van, but somehow I doubt this.

I do wish I could show some pictures of what I am knitting at the moment, because it is such fun, and so pretty as well.  I am making squares, I can tell you that - colourwork squares, using all sorts of different Rowan yarns, and it feels just like playing with a paintbox.  And having said that, it is far too many years since I did such a thing.

The nicest surprise, I think, is Anchor Artiste Metallic.  It is so soft! - lovely to work with, and a well-behaved fabric.  So if you should encounter a pattern that requires this yarn, don't hesitate.  It's a good yarn.

Off out the door now....

Sunday, 17 March 2013

By Jove she's got it!

Regarding Feedly, the penny has finally dropped.

(And GBS would shudder, probably.)  Never mind.  I have it all sorted out now.

Feedly is an app. That is what it all comes down to.  And I have a laptop, not a clever phone or a tablet or anything like that.  It is a somewhat elderly laptop - we were trying to work it out the other day, and we think it is eleven years old now.  But it works, and it works very well for everything that I want it to do, although it is a bit slow to load some rather 'busy' pages these days, and it is quite happy as long as I don't ask it to do too many things at the same time.

Where was I?  Ah yes, Feedly.  Which is, let me repeat, an app.  These days I use Chrome.  Not Internet Explorer, at the very thought of which I shudder - if you are still using it, I urge you to stop immediately.  Well, not quite immediately, obviously.  Please finish reading this, first.  Not Firefox either, although it is very much better than IE.  But Chrome, which is streets better than either of the aforementioned.  And Chrome supports apps.

And lest you think that I really have knowledge of such things, I will tell you at this point that I know this not on my own account, but from what my clever son tells me.  He is a software engineer who writes extremely specialist code nowadays, and I completely do not understand what he does.  However when he advises me to do (or not do) something computer-related, I pay attention, and act upon what he tells me.

It is very strange for me to think now that my very first job was as a computer programmer, using Fortran, back in the 70's before I went off to university.  Yes, before uni, not after - just through the summer holidays, after I left school.  I learnt Fortran from reading a computer manual.  It did have the advantage of letting me skip the (usually) requisite first year computing course, at least - I attended the first couple of lectures, realised that I really had covered all this and a good bit more besides, had a word with the lecturer, who asked some questions and arranged for me to sit the final exam the next day, which I passed with flying colours, and that was the end of my computing studies.

That was back in the days when a computer was as big as a bungalow and lived at the end of a telephone line and had to be talked to via a card sorter and paper tape.  One of the chaps in the lab could read the paper tape without having to put it through the reader, a dark art indeed.

I think that perhaps I ought to retitle this post 'Getting Sidetracked'.


Is An App!  (At least, it is for Chrome.)

The homepage of Chrome, which browser I recommend to you all, shows nice big clear sensible icons for various apps, some of which are put there automatically by Chrome because they are so standard, and some of which arrive automatically when you add them.  On my homepage, for instance, I see there is Gmail, Google Search, and YouTube.  Also - ahem - there might be Angry Birds, which we will not discuss.

Also, as I'm sure you will have guessed, on my homepage is the icon for Feedly.   It was only right in the middle of the page, right under my nose, all the time.

Where I was going wrong was bookmarking it.  No bookmarking required - at least, not for Chrome.  Go to and get yourself the version for your browser, and off you go.  And if you haven't yet got Chrome, have a look around online and sort that out for yourself first.  It is, of course, free. And so is Feedly.

Feedly is very good indeed, by the way.  Do I dare to say it is better than Google Reader?  I think that I do.

It is all very intuitive and simple to use.  For instance, if the post is long, and you've scrolled down reading it, and you've come to the end - you might find yourself thinking, hmm, I want to go back to the top and read that first bit again - and there is a little thing to click to take you back to the top of the page!  and another to click to move to the next item! - they've thought of everything, it seems.  So far, at least.

It is excellent.

Knitting? - another day, I promise.  I am knitting, lots of interesting things actually.   And I want to talk about darning, too.  Thankyou so much for the comments, I knew I couldn't be alone! - and yes, shirt collars and sheets too.

This has turned out to be a somewhat eclectic post, has it not?  I wasn't expecting that when I started writing this morning.

Saturday, 16 March 2013


More about blogs this morning.

I do follow a lot of blogs, more than 80 at last count, although most of those people don't post every day, or even every week. Some of them are in my sidebar, down there on the right hand side.  Many more of them are not, and I really must update that list.  If your blog isn't visible in my list, please accept my apologies, and please don't think I'm ignoring you.  I'm just usually knitting.  Also, I'm lazy.

Anyway.  Google Reader has been my standby for a while now.  It keeps track of all the blogs to which I subscribe. I have one little icon on my bookmark toolbar and all I have to do is click there - and instantly, there I have a list of all the new posts which are waiting to be read.  Lovely!

Except that Google are going to throw it in the bin.

They've given us quite a lot of notice - 1st July 2013 will be the date of its demise.

What to use instead?  I asked Google yesterday, as one does nowadays, and the consensus of opinion seemed to be that Feedly was the way to go.

So off I went, and yesterday everything seemed to be fine.  I worked out how to go from just seeing the first few sentences of a post, to seeing the whole of a post - I worked out how to mark a post as read, when it was a short post and there was no scrolling down to be done - and I worked out how to move through the list.  All very intuitive and user friendly. This was a keeper.  I bookmarked my Feedly Homepage. Good!

Today, not so good.  Feedly just keeps telling me 'synchronizing feedly v. 14.0.468. Please wait..'

Grrrrr.  What am I doing wrong?  Help!

Also - darning?  Anybody?  Is it only me?

Friday, 15 March 2013


The last week has rather got the better of me.  But here I am, finally.

I have no pretty pictures of knitting to show you, because I've been working on another photography garment for Rowan.  It is all packed up and sent off now, anyway.  Another new yarn - really pretty, and lovely to knit with, but I was a bit less enamoured with it whilst doing the finishing work. But maybe that was just me.

Beautiful fabric, though, without a doubt, and the finished garment was gorgeous.  I did take some pictures, and I shall be able to talk more about the garment when the pattern is released - and I don't know when that will be.  This was Thing H, just for future reference - if I don't write that down somewhere, I know that I will forget it.

What else - there were several things that I wanted to talk about regarding blogs.  Today, two blogs that I have discovered in recent months.

Dovegreyreaderscribbles is first.   This lady lives in Devon, she used to be a community nurse, she knits, she quilts, she reads, and she writes beautifully.  Go, read, and fall in love.  And then do please come back again!

Now, TomofHolland.   This gentleman lives on the South Coast, he knits, he sews, and he darns.  And he writes beautifully too.   I too used to do a lot of handsewing, so I find his posts about sewing very interesting.  And he mends things too! - in fact he mends things beautifully.  I like mending things. I have always thought that mends do not always need to be invisible.  Very often they benefit from being visible - and it turns out that Tom of Holland agrees with this principle entirely.

Do read his post about mending That Green Cardigan.   It is wonderful!   And then, do read his post about mending a vintage Aquascutum coat with a terrible hole at the side, and a nasty tear where the pocket attached, quite awkward to deal with - and such a tidy result!   I could wish for the opportunity to try such a thing, but alas there are no vintage Aquascutum coats in my wardrobe in the first place, so I will just have to enjoy this one vicariously.

Regarding handsewing - in my student days I had no sewing machine, and I made a lot of my own clothes, so handsewing was what I did, and I became quite good at it (says she modestly).   I have had an electric sewing machine since then but to be honest I did not really like it, and I soon returned to a machine similar to that which my mother used to have, an old Singer.  Mine is about 120 years old and still in good working order   However I rarely use it.  Usually I still sew by hand.

Now, regarding darning.  I darn socks routinely, and patching and mending is also routine for me.  There is always a pile of mending waiting to be done.  And I'm sure this is the case for everyone.   Or am I wrong?

Because Tom of Holland is running classes in darning.  And this has me just a bit puzzled.   Is darning really such a lost art?    I thought everybody knew how to do it.  

Is this not the case......?

Friday, 8 March 2013


I always associate the name Santorini with those gorgeous domed roofs against the blue Aegean Sea - or is it actually the Aegean?  Geography has never been my strong point....

Anyway, something like this -

Blue sky - blue dome - blue sea - and preferably with some beautiful flowers spilling out of terracotta pots on a stone terrace - you'll just have to imagine them....  I've never been there, but I can dream.....

And then Rowan produced this design in Rowan 53 and called it Santorini, which is where that particular story was photographed - and you know, beautiful though it was, it didn't quite click for me.

Not quite.  Almost, though.  It had the flowers ....

Then a friend of mine, Jane Crowfoot, asked me to knit up this design for her, but with some changes.   A little alteration to the shoulderline - lose the sleeves and just have a neat little ribbed border instead - and change the colours.  The changes to the colours - well, let us just say that the changes were quite drastic.

We both thought they would work - and let's face it, Jane is a very experienced designer, and she does know what she's doing when it comes to colour and shape.  And when I opened the parcel of yarn, I knew in my heart of hearts that this couldn't be anything but stunning.

But you know how it is - you still want to see it for real.  You still want to see the actual fabric,So I zoomed through the back as fast as I could, and then zoomed up the front to where the colourwork started, and six days after I'd started, I'd reached this point.

It was going to work.

A few days later it was looking even better -

And the knitting did not take long to finish.   (Those locking stitch markers lurking at the side are for keeping count of rows.  That's my usual trick, and a very useful one too, I think.)

We will not discuss the amount of time spent sewing in ends on the back.  This took longer than all the knitting, including the colourwork.  But it was worth it.

Less than three weeks after I started, this was what I had.

I was so pleased with it.  It isn't very often that the opportunity comes along to knit something like this, and I knew that this was something very special.

The flowers had really worked beautifully in their new colours, and the blue background was just perfect.

And then! - Jane Crowfoot sent me some more pictures.  Her lovely daughter had very kindly agreed to model this garment, and it looks even better in wear.  Also, of course, Jane takes much better pictures than I do.

Here it is then - Santorini.   I'm really rather pleased with this.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Beaded Boa

I have just realised that I have yet to write about this rather lovely thing.

This was a sample knit for Alison Crowther-Smith, and it really is pretty.

Two shades of Rowan's Kidsilk Haze - Ultra and Mist are used here - plus lots of clear silver-lined beads to outline the bell-shaped ruffles.  The beads add a pleasing weight, and mean that the boa will drape beautifully and be well-behaved in wear.

This was great fun to knit, and it is quite gloriously decorative.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Blink, and you've missed it....

By which I mean the Rowan preview videos - it seems that they were not supposed to be released just yet, and they've been taken down.

From Rowan's facebook page:

Whoops a daisy! We accidently released a preview of our Autumn Winter 2013 collections. We’ve now removed it but, if you were one of the lucky ones who managed to catch a peek then we hope you liked it!!!

Ah well, it did seem a bit too good to be true!   And yes, I did like it very much!

On another note entirely, I am going to sell my spinning wheel.  More on this very soon - I need to take some photographs.  It is a Wee Peggy - one of the originals, made in the early 1970's from what I can discover, and it is in good condition - it's been used, looked after, and loved.  This is a castle wheel, very similar to an Ashford Traveller, and it has a built in Lazy Kate.  I am going to sell it together with all the bobbins and also two Ashford carders - full size, hardly used.  Buyer collects.  I shall be listing it on eBay - but in the meantime....
Any offers?

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Rowan again

I've managed to get Blogger to behave itself and recognise the Angora Haze video.

I am quite ridiculously proud of this.  Not getting Blogger to behave - but the video itself, more specifically, seeing one of the garments in the video.  This is daft, because it is not as if it is the Rowan magazine itself, and the brochure isn't even released yet.

But the video is released.  Thing A might just have something to do with the first garment in the video, which is called Audrey, and is also to be seen on the front cover.

Edited to add:   And now I cannot get it to play in the blog post.  This is very frustrating.  Why will it not play? It just keeps telling me that 'an error occurred' and that I should try again later. Is there anything that I can do to make it play?   Anyone?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Rowan 54

I can't keep quiet about this!

Rowan have posted a video preview of the next magazine, which will be released this summer.

So many beautiful things, I hardly know where to start.  I want to cast on for Anatolia immediately, if not sooner, and I also want to make all the garments from Kaffe Fassett.

There are some new yarns too - foremost among which, to my mind, is Angora Haze, which has its own brochure.    There's a video for that, too, but I can't get Blogger to recognise it, which is rather frustrating.  But you can see it if you go here.

The beautiful cardigan on the front cover of that particular brochure might perhaps have had something to do with me.......