Saturday, 16 June 2007

In Which I Meet a Mysterious Stranger, I Mean Stole, and Mr Knitbert Completes a Gardening Task

Before any of that, I was reminded this week that I should never travel in June. Actually, I don't travel very much at all these days, which is by choice, but a few years ago I used to travel very frequently for work; at least one or two trips a month. June was always a peak time, as people want to get things done before the summer holiday season starts. For some reason, there often seems to be a sudden change in the weather around mid-June, from warm and sunny to wet and cold. Time after time I would set off, thinking that my destination would be warmer than the UK, only to find myself shivering in flimsy summer clothes as I disembarked from the aircraft, or picking my way across a sodden car park in the p*****g rain, in unsuitable strappy sandals, on my way to collect a hire car. One year I remember that the temperature in Paris all week was 10 degrees(C)lower than it had been in London. Of course I never had so much as a warm cardigan with me, let alone a coat or umbrella.

On Thursday afternoon, I had to go to Amsterdam to attend a training course on Friday. Guesss what? The weather in Amsterdam was appalling, so as soon as they had got us settled on the aircraft, the pilot announced that owing to air traffic delays because of the weather, we would be taking off two hours late. Normally this would not be a problem for me (see Last Train to Knitville) but can you knit on an aircraft? Well, that would be no. Luckily, I have plenty of knitting podcasts on my iPod to keep me occupied.

When we finally arrived, Amsterdam was swathed in a heavy curtain of rain under a lowering grey sky and it was freezing cold. Unsuitable strappy sandals? Oh yes. Flimsy summer clothes and no warm jacket? Of course.

As it happened I enjoyed my short visit anyway; I stayed in my favourite hotel, the sun was shining the next day, I met up with some colleagues I hadn't seen for a while, and I even had time for some shopping before I returned to the airport to catch the flight home. At which point I learned that bad weather in the UK had caused air traffic delays and the return flight was delayed by an hour. Aaaaargh! So I am seriously thinking of taking an emergency crochet pack with me next time I fly...

Last weekend I discovered Pink Lemon Twist's Mystery Stole 3 Knitalong. The Mystery Stole idea seemed so much fun that I joined up, and I have been receiving 200 mails a day ever since from the MS3 Yahoo Group; I have had to switch to receiving digests! There are 1800 odd knitters signed up at the time of writing this post, and going onto the group is like going into a huuuuge room full of people all chattering about the same thing, it has an amazing energy. At the moment, everyone is asking questions about what yarn to use and in what colours and whether or not to use beads.

For once, I am going to knit this from stash; I am using some Fyberspates kid mohair laceweight which I bought from Yarn Addict last year. It is in a colourway called Martian Sunrise. There is a swatch pattern already posted, and here is my swatch.

It has beads in two different colours sewn along the bottom edge, and I have decided to use the copper lined crystal beads from e-beads, which are on the left.
Or have I? Since writing this I remembered that I also have some Cherry Tree Hill laceweight merino in stash, in a lovely red colour called Wild Cherry. This morning I got it out, and here is the skein:

I have wound it (all 2400 yards of it) into a ball this morning, and now I really love the colour and I think I may have changed my mind, so I am going to swatch with this too. In which case I'll need different beads. Oh, well...

The first clue is being posted on 29th June, and the KAL is open to sign-ups until 6th July, but you can read all about it on her blog at the link above.

Well, it's not exactly a DIY project, but it's a bit more than mowing the lawn...
I planted a buddleia in our front lawn about five or six years ago when it was very small and spindly, and over the years it has grown rather large. In the summer, it had started spreading over the edge of the garden and intruding into the space where the neighbours park one of their cars. For the last two years, they have pruned it a bit and I have pruned it a bit, but it just kept on growing, and last week I decided that it had to come out.

We removed all the branches first (in some cases with a saw) and then started trying to dislodge the roots with a spade and fork. There was a tense moment when Mr Knitbert managed to spray earth all over me, including in my hair, which I had just spent hours styling. I explained, quite calmly and reasonably I thought, that I would probably have to go straight back inside and redo my hair. I'm afraid Mr Knitbert's reply can only be described as unsympathetic.

We continued digging, and after a while with little progress, Mr Knitbert decided that he would use the car to pull the roots out. This was quite exciting! We tied some old webbing jackstays around the shrub and Mr Knitbert attached the other end to the car somehow. The car inched forward, the shrub leaned over and then after a while the webbing snapped and the shrub sprang back to its original position.

We returned to digging, and this time managed to loosen, and then extract, the shrub and most of its roots. I am reasonably sure that even an inch of buddleia root will simply grow back to an enormous shrub in time, but for the moment the neighbours can park without fear, and Mr Knitbert can claim credit for finishing a gardening task.

And finally, here's my progress with the Ribby Shell. I have done 10.5 inches, so only 3 inches to go before I can divide for the front and back neck. I know it doesn't look very exciting yet, but it will...I tried it on and it fits well, which is good, so I am looking forward to completing it.

The next project (apart from MS3) is for Catbert, and it will be in this yarn, which is Lucy Neatby's Celestial Merino Dream in Fiery Fuschia. I must say I love the colours. I am going to be using Sivia Harding's Fantasy Shawl pattern, which can be done in a scarf size with one skein.


clarabelle said...

All the knitting looks beautiful, but I had to laugh out loud about Mr Knitbert's attempts with the buddleia! Did you retire indoors during the 'car trying to pull out the roots' fiasco?

I do love your stash, btw!

gilraen said...

Lovely lace yarn for MS3 :)

Noo sent me the same yarn for summer santa, I'm going to keep an eye on yours to see how it knits up :)

Fiona said...

Some beautiful laceweight there. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Amsterdam. I haven't been for several years and I love the city. The BF lived there for the first three years of our relationship.

Christina said...

lovely lace yarn, your swatch looks so neat, I haven't even dyed my yarn for it yet!!! and the ribby top is a gorgeous colour.

Seahorse said...

I do enjoy hearing about Mr Knitbert's adventures! Both those lace weight yarns are stunning.