Thursday, 30 November 2006

In Which Some Weekend Knitting is Displayed

As promised yesterday, here are some of the items which I made progress on when not walking. First of all, my SWT Oasis Clapotis, hasn't it grown? Well, I've finished the sixth repeat anyway.
Then the second pair of Knucks I have made, these ones for me, in Jamieson's Shetland DK. They are lovely and cosy!
I also knitted this Tychus hat, using some yarn called Katia that I bought in Mallorca this summer and some left-over Schoeller and Stahl Limbo Color DK sock yarn. It is a surprise extra Christmas present for Ratbert, and I thought I was safe in knitting it while she was there as she always complains she can't see anything nowadays and she knows nothing about knitting, but no, the moment I got it out, "isn't that the rest of my sock yarn? What are you making with it?" Never ask questions about stuff this close to Christmas, Ratbert!
Finally, this odd shaped thing is in fact an Elizabeth Zimmerman mitred mitten in progress. It is also in the Katia yarn, which is rather soft and pretty, and it's for my daughter Catbert. It is loads of fun to knit, is progressing fast and I have still got the fun of snipping the stitches to make the thumb to look forward to. *Gulp*
It really is amazing what you can get done when you have no distractions!

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

The Road Goes Ever On

After the Rain
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

J.R.R. Tolkien

This last weekend I spent walking in the Lake District with my friend Ratbert. She and I were at school together, travelled around Europe together when we were students, had children at almost the same time and are now turning into grumpy old women together.

We stayed in a cottage in the South Lakes, which had a lovely view of Wansfell Pike from its windows.View from our window
It was lovely to wake up and eat our breakfast looking out at that view. Although we have climbed Wansfell many times, the weather this weekend was wet and windy and not suitable for climbing the higher fells, so we walked at a lower level.

The first walk started out bright and sunny, and we reached the tarn at the summit and had our sandwiches with no more than a few spots of rain. We could see the weather racing towards us though, Rain Comingso we struggled into our waterproofs and started the descent. We were only a few yards down the path when the squall arrived, with driving rain, stinging hail and a strong wind which swept the waterproof cover off my rucsac and made me think I was going to be strangled by the map case. We were not very high, only about 300m, and the path we were on was not very exposed, but in those few minutes it was easy to see how you could end up in trouble in these conditions if you were higher up where it is colder and more exposed, and the visibility drops to almost nothing.

A few moments later the squall had passed and we were already lower down among the trees with more shelter. But look at the state of poor Ratbert!Drowned Ratbert not that I looked any better.
As we made our way down to the village and tea and cakes, I passed a bush with bright red berries and raindrops sparking among them which I just had to try and capture on film.

The next day was much calmer and brighter. We walked through the woods to Tarn Hows, which I had never visited before in twenty years of holidaying in the Lake District, despite its being one of the most noted beauty spots in the National Park, where we had lunch. The sun was shining and we sat on a rock by the lake. "This is the life", I thought.

After walking around the tarn we continued on through woods and fields to Coniston. On the way we passed a farm, in front of which were lots of sheep in a large pen. We stopped to look at them and Ratbert took a photo of them all looking at us.

We were wondering why the sheep were there, as it was the wrong time of the year for shearing and dipping, when I noticed some other sheep with horns in a separate part of the pen. Yes, dear reader, you have guessed it; the other sheep were in fact rams. Some of the rams had struck up a conversation with some of the ewes, the shameless hussies, but probably just as well, as I do believe those innocent ewes were there to be serviced, if you catch my drift.
As I was imagining I heard the rams leering and saying "Hello m'dear" to the ewes, a landrover drew up behind us, and two chaps looking like farmers jumped out. "Hello m'dears" they said on seeing us. "Meh!" we replied, and departed at a run up the footpath and back into the woods.

While I was away I not only walked but also, not having access to the internet to waste away my evenings, did quite a lot of knitting. I finished my own personal Knucks, knitted a hat out of the left overs of some sock wool and made great progress on my Clapotis. I also spent some time writing out the increases and decreases in rows on the front of Ivy. It doesn't seem as scary as I thought, so as soon as I have finished just a few more things I think I'll be ready to cast on. Photos of all that tomorrow, gentle reader.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

A Little Experiment

At the weekend I saw a slideshow that someone had created of their work over the last year. It looked so great I thought I would try one myself. This one shows a few projects I have completed this year. I must say there are not as many as all that! What have I spent my time doing? If this works I will make a slideshow of some of our family photos, to show what we have been doing over the year.

To see details of the projects just hover your mouse over the picture.
Isn't that fab! I will get Mr Knitbert to publish one of all the aircraft he photographed at the Farnborough Airshow - bet you can't wait.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Projects In Waiting

Yesterday I got some yarn in the post from Knitwell, some Patons Diploma Gold in Lupin to knit Ivy. Then today I went to the Angel Yarns Open Day and I bought the pattern for the Bergere de France cable sweater and then I thought I would just look at the yarn for it, Berlaine, and they had this lovely red colour called Griotte and...
I'm not going to be starting any of these projects until I have finished my Clapotis and a few more gloves, mitts and socks for Christmas, but I'm looking forward to getting started after that.

Friday, 17 November 2006

The Graduate

This summer my daughter graduated from university. We all went for the day, and a beautiful day it was too, nicely hot and sunny with a clear blue sky but not too humid. When we arrived Catbert was just getting dressed in the regulation outfit for wearing under her gown and having the hood pinned into place. As she had to have her arms covered she was wearing a shirt over her skirt, and with all that under a black gown she seemed a little warm.

She looked lovely though, I hope you will agree, and we all went off to have our photos taken in the lovely college garden.

Soon it was time for the graduands to process to the Senate House to be awarded their degrees. We waited with all the other parents as the graduands formed into a crocodile and set off, still of course wearing their heavy clothes in the now blistering heat, for a good 30 minute walk.

After a decent interval the parents followed. There were parents dressed in traditional costume from many countries, including a Japanese family all beautifully dressed in ceremonial kimonos, which gave an exotic international flavour to the proceedings.

Arriving at the Senate house, we were shown upstairs to sit on rather uncomfortable benches from which we could look down upon the ceremony.
Fierce ushers in traditional uniforms menaced people who defied the clearly visible signs saying "no photography" and "no cameras". The ceremony and the institution are over 700 years old so they were not about to have some Johnny-come-latelies with a bit of fancy technology interfering with the way things were done. We hastily put our camera back in its case and settled down to read the programme. The building is not air conditioned and so all the huge sash windows were open to allow some air to circulate. This was pretty much as effective as a fan oven.
The ceremony itself is interminably dull and in any case conducted entirely in Latin. The high spot is of course seeing your own offspring stepping forward and then kneeling to receive their degree.
I thought how strange it was that 28 years ago I had been standing in that very same spot, waiting for my turn to step forward, while my mother watched from the benches in the gallery above. I remember standing in rows waiting for my turn to step forward, and being afraid I would forget what to do.

Suddenly it was all over and we were able to file out of the building and onto the lawn to meet the newly created BAs.

After chatting to Catbert and all her friends it was time to walk back to the garden for a lovely garden party!

Here we managed to secure a table for the six of us in the shade, and there we relaxed and spent a delightful afternoon, feasting on the delicious buffet, listening to a jazz quartet and talking of this and that.
We did not leave until the quartet had packed up their instruments, the buffet had been dismantled and packed away and the sun had started to cast long shadows across the lawn. What a lovely, unforgettable day.

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

First Past The Post

It seems fitting that my first post should be about a knitting project. I have knitted since I was about four years old, although I am not sure that it was actually my random manipulations of the pointy sticks that caused the knitting to grow, I think my mother may have helped.

I have knitted on and off, more or less, ever since, but for the last ten years I think we could safely say less. Last November a new friend persuaded me to go to a crochet course with her, and as a result I have taken up knitting again. I know, it's not entirely logical. I have done some crochet too.

I have discovered the wonderful new world of yarns and designs which has come into existence and so a lot of my spare time is spent knitting or thinking about knitting at the moment. I think it will be a while before I have exhausted all the possibilities!

Anyway, enough of this rambling, what I wanted to show you is my current Clapotis. It is in South West Trading Oasis, Chocolate colourway. It's been OTN for a while and was at the bottom of the knitting bag, but I have picked it up again and it is growing fast.