Undo it and knit it again

The life and times of a retired knitter

Location: Leicester, United Kingdom

Saturday, February 24, 2007


When I visited the small supermarket on the estate a couple of weeks ago there was a stand for the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Today their pack of information etc arrived and I am impressed by the number of wildlife sites which they manage in the county.
I'd like to know more about wildlife - I'm not bad on birds and I know where to get information, but I'd really like to know about trees and plants. I might wander down to the centre in Oadby and see if they have any books.
There is a local group which meets in Woodhouse Eaves. I'm a bit nervous about joining that because they are all 'posh' up there, but it's the nearest by a long way. I will have to pluck up courage and go.
This week DIL invited me along to a quizz run to raise money for the RSPCA. It was good fun and raised nearly £600! The fact that we won 4 bottles of wine didn't hurt, either. Quizzes are no fun when you can't answer any of the questions. Usually I hate the music rounds because it's all people I never heard of, but this actually had simple questions on opera etc.
Knitting is not a happy topic since my arm/shoulder continues to plague me. It seems to be better when I work with short needles, like for socks, but I'm panting to do some lace work with lovely yarn. I think a visit to the doc might be in order, but what will I do if he says it's permanent and I can't knit? Ignore him, I suppose. I think today I might experiment with knitting as much as I want, what I want, and see how bad it gets. There is rugby on the tv, I have the first of the House dvd's and will go and buy wine. What more can a woman want?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Froggers of the world ...

Yet more socks - these are in Austerman Step, which has aloe vera and jojoba oil in. Tastefully draped over my Denises box! They arrived yesterday, and I am delighted. After I got used to the different feel in my hands, I realised how smooth and lightweight they are.

I'm becoming a champion frogger. It's not so much that there's anything wrong, more a matter of trying to get the best result. So my Colinette socks started by being toe-up, but I didn't like the shape of the toe when I put it on my feet, so that came undone. Then I started top down, and when I began the ss I didn't like the effect, so that had to come out, and I've now picked a pattern from SKS and I'm very pleased with how it looks. Then there's the Opal Rainforest 6-ply in Tiger. I've chosen 3.25dpns because I don't like the coarser fabric. These were going to be short-row heels, but when I did the heel I thought it looked untidy, so it's back to a heel flap for me!

The rugby was a disappointment, though the weather conditions may have been responible; it's hard to play exciting rugby when the ball is so greasy. Nevrtheless, I was horrified when Wales were beaten, and went off yesterday to see a film instead of watching Ireland.
Saw 'Blood Diamond' at last. In some ways it's an unsatisfying film because it mixes a quite old-fashioned style story with politics and neither comes off well, but at the same time Leonardo di Caprio is a superb actor, and the scenes of Africa were stunning. I found the scenes where youngsters are trained to be guerrillas distressing, partly because this is happening in so many different parts of the world. I remember watching an Orange parade in Southport once from the car; small children were marching along with their parents and grandparents, being brought up in an atmosphere of sectarian hatred. My small children were in the car with me. I've never forgotten that image or the horror I felt.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Socks and more socks

It's arrived! I've wound my birthday Jitterbug ready. I've decided on the toe-up pattern and now all I have to do is finish the foot of the socks I am working on. Depends on how the arm and shoulder hold out - might get there today. I really need that pair of socks - one isn't enough!
The snow wasn't too bad here. I took the dogs across the fields instead of up to Bradgate because the twisty road to get there was a bit off-putting. I love the walk across the fields and haven't been over there for ages because of the mud. When they ploughed in the summer, they ploughed right across the footpath (are they allowed to do this?) and it made for really difficult walking, up and down the furrows. It's now planted - probably sweetcorn - also right across the path. So I'm afraid I walked on it.
Fig absolutely loves the snow. She was racing ahead and then jamming on the brakes so she could slide. Poor Hesta got nasty balls of snow and ice stuck to her underneath and her paws, which were very difficult to remove, so as the time for their walk gets closer, I'm still trying to decide what to do. DD suggests I bring her back here and use the hairdryer on her.
I hate driving when conditions are less than perfect, so I'm really glad I don't have to struggle to work. I think back to watching colleagues attemting to get through the gate into school across a sheet of ice. Some were lucky and just missed the in-gate and were able to get through the exit, but one poor colleague just kept going and going. Me? I learned from their mistakes and got it right.
School was no fun when it snowed - the bully types were always trying to use it to hurt or demean others. If we kept them in their pent-up energy made them impossible for lessons. If we let them out, they came back soaked and high as kites. The floors were awash with water, and very slippery. I'm glad I'm home, with hot chocolate and cuddly dogs. This afternoon, conditions permitting, I might go to the library - or I might just try to finish that sock!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Birthday stash continued

From Posh Yarns: Allegra (lovely name) in Sonnet colourway, and Cecilia in Surf's up. I had to buy the Sonnet stuff because of the name, but I was so pleased that there were 4 skeins, because now I have enough for a laaarge shawl. There's enough of the Cecilia for a smaller shawl. The colours are always gorgeous at Posh Yarns; I really fancied the Saffron colour, but unfortunately it sold before I could get there. And how they manage to send the yarn out so quickly! Puts a lot of other suppliers to shame.
Arm and shoulder poor today; have finished a sock, and am knitting very gently and slowly. I don't think the continental style is really helping, though it's fun for a change. But I need to get back to lace knitting, at least for part of the day.
Wales lost on Sunday, but not shamefully. I'd really like to see them beat England - though having said that, I was glad to see Martin Corry getting some praise. He's such an honest player - for me, in the school of Johnno and Backy - and he took a real pasting when England were losing all the time.
Snow tomorrow? At least now I don't have to worry about getting to work, so I could actually enjoy it. Just totter up to the supermarket on the estate and stock up with perishables, then enjoy the dogs playing. Fig has missed out on the ice this year: she is fascinated by it, and keeps patting and lifting at it to see what it does. And then, of course, she rolled on it. She and Hesta have been funny playing with the ball which Hesta gave me for my birthday. Yesterday, Hesta had the ball in her mouth and Fig was tugging away at the rope. My pocket is filthy because I have to hide the ball in there if we are to get out of the park ever.
The deer continue to be around, so Fig has to stay on the lead quite a bit - if it moves, she'll chase it. Yesterday a pair of swans flew right past me on the way down to the river. They looked enormous from so close. If the ground dries a little bit I'll go looking for kingfishers; at the moment it's hard to keep your feet around where they sometimes perch.
DD is off on a course in Bristol today. Unfortunately it's the wrong side of the city for Get Knitted! I'm thinking about sock blockers, but they do seem expensive for what you get. Need to meet someone who can cut shapes out of plastic. Might talk to DS - he knows all sorts of people. On my birthday (while I was guzzling DIL's champagne) he was looking up Knitpicks on the web - they have a couple of very good friends in the US. You never know!
Am fighting the desire to buy more and yet more sock wool. But when my book comes, who knows wht will happen!

Monday, February 05, 2007

First Instalment

Of the birthday stash!

Not a very good image - it was getting dark by the time I got home and, of course, I had to photograph it then so I could start knitting some of it. There's some 6-ply Opal, some Regia Bamboo, some plain coloured Opal for fancy patterns, and at the front, Jitterbug. I also got some very short dpns to try. As some people have commented on the forum, I'm wanting to use finer needles. After wearing my first pair of socks for me on Saturday, I know what kind of fabric I want to create. I can't believe how comfortable they are.

So far I like the dpns, and I'm persevering with continental style. It's quite instructive to be doing this, ecause I find I'm terrified of moving from plain knit stitch - must be feeling just like a new knitter. But my shoulder is less painful this morning, so it's worth doing. I tried the 6-ply socks but don't really like the fabric, so have put that aside and I'm knitting 4-ply for practice, using Step yarn with aloe vera from the stash. When I get up the confidence, I'll use the Bamboo for a fancy pattern. I've ordered Sensational Knitted Socks, so with the Magknits's pattern, and Bronte's Cairi's socks, there's plenty of choice.

On the way to birthday lunch 1 I was haranguing DD about the difficulties of getting knitting needles. I'd wanted 3 pairs of short dpns and had managed to get 2 of them after Anna at Web of Wool opened a box which had just been delivered. And then she gave me my present - a card with a photo of Denises, because they were out of stock at Woolly Workshop! After lunch we went to see 'Gridiron Gang', and one of the lines from it keeps running through my head: 'It feels so good I can't believe it's legal' - about sacking(?) the other side in an football game.

Birthday lunch 2 was with DS and DIL yesterday, another treat. DS gave me a voucher for Poshyarns which I greedily 'spent' yesterday during the Sunday sale. The yarn I bought is for lace, so my lace stash and my sock stash are doing very nicely, thank you.

It's quite embarrassing that DD and DS know exactly what I would like. It says something of how boring I am with my knitting obsession.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Like spring

Yesterday and today Bradgate Park has been amazingly spring-like. Yesterday the light had that sort of milky quality, and it was really balmy. Today was colder, but the light was crystal-clear and I could see for miles. The deer are out and about again, and the great tits are ready to explode with the force of their - well, not exactly song. I always think they sound rather like mouth organs - that sort of suck and blow effect. The dogs have been very happy, though how to keep them out of the water is defeating me. They race around, go for an orgy of snuffling and then, when I'm relaxing, plunge straight in the nearest ditch. Since the ditches are nearly full, in Fig's case that means she has to swim to keep her head above water.

My arm and shoulder are still troublesome, but better than they were. I'm trying to do one hour on, one hour off with the knitting, and knitting socks, so I'm using shorter needles. This is yarn from the stash which had lost its band. The photo makes it look pretty, whereas in fact garish is the word I would choose. I wanted bright - and bright I got! I've followed Fiona's (Angel Yarns forum's guru) tips to get a neater effect at the heel and they have worked well. The next pair should be better still.

Birthday tomorrow - will probably treat myself to a visit to Web of Wool. After all, I have to maintain the stash.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


The cold spell last week made me feel (strongly) that it was time to add a sweater (or two) to my own drawers. So I got out my Freedom Spirit and knitted determinedly, to see how fast I could make myself something to wear.
So determinedly that I have hurt my arm/shoulder, and have had to stop knitting.
Which leaves a problem: what do I do if I can't knit? And of course, when you can't knit, you want to all the more. Crochet seems to make things worse. If I try patchwork, pulling the thread through and therefore stretching the arm is painful. Would try bobbin lace only I don't have a pillow or pricking card, and can't find any shops which sell them. I don't want to spend a huge lot in case that doesn't work either.
Definitely grumps.
When I retired, I did think of writing a book. I was going to write about this vampire teacher. But I didn't think I'd be very good, so I didn't.
More grumps.
Cat Bordhi's book arrived this morning so I'm going to experiment with a very little, very gentle sock knitting - on 4 needles for now, since I don't have enough short circs. But worth a try. I'd cross my fingers, but that might make knitting difficult.