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Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Passing days

It's Week 3 of the national lockdown - although let's be honest, there's no sign of this virus going anywhere very soon, is there, so I expect that we'll all be here for a while longer yet.  And if that's what it takes to keep people safe, then that's OK.  I can live with that!

It's been a funny week - quite up and down emotionally for us as we've run the full gamut of emotions from joy at being at home with each other to getting annoyed with the slightest thing, and more than a few in between - much like the rest of the country, I expect!

There's nothing like taking myself off outside to get my priorities straight (picture-heavy post warning!) and remind myself how lucky I am just to be able to get outside at all, so leaving the house in a mood as gloomy as this sky ...


Image shows the silhouette of a church against a gloomy grey sky

I'd already started to cheer up by the time I spotted the horse chestnut leaves unfurling as the dog and I made our way through the woods.  He's very good at social distancing - he'd much rather be 5 metres ahead of me sniffing in the bushes, never mind the prescribed 2 metres!  

Image shows bright green horse chestnut leaves unfurling.  In the background is a woodland path.

By the time I got home, I'd decided that I was going to spend as much of the rest of the day in the garden as I could.  The rest of the family, it turned out, were having a day similar to mine so we didn't see much of each other as we all kept out of each other's way.  And that's something else to be grateful for, isn't it, to be able to do that?  We're all having dinner together (that's a proper treat for me, I've spent years having to cook dinner in shifts as one or other of the family are out or working late!) and usually by that time of the day, we're all ready to spend time together again.  The gratitude journal that I started during the Winter Haven KAL is getting plenty of use at the moment!

Out in the garden, I spotted this beauty looking a bit worse for wear ...


Image shows a peacock butterfly resting on some wooden logs.  One of the wings is torn and it's not looking in the peak of health.

It had hidden itself (or got stuck, perhaps) in amongst a pile of garden debris that I was moving and I don't think it could have got out on it's own.  It's a Peacock butterfly, we get lots of them in the garden over the summer, and I didn't want it to end it's days without seeing the sunshine again.  I managed to very carefully move it to a log and left it alone, not expecting that it would do anything, but after twenty minutes or so, I looked over and saw that it had gone.  It hadn't fallen off the log, nothing had been around to eat it and so I assume that it must have felt well enough to fly away.  That made me feel better.  

Image shows the same peacock butterfly on another log.  It has opened it's wings to the sunshine and you can see the markings on them.

It wasn't long afterwards that I spotted my garden helper.  I don't know why seeing a robin always makes me so terribly happy, but it does, and now you're going to get robin spam photos!

Image shows a red-breasted robin sitting on a wood pile.

Image shows the same robin on a different piece of wood.  It is getting closer to the photographer

Interspersed with a photo of Pulmonaria officinalis (Common lungwort) flowers - they come in pink and blue but these are the only ones out at the moment ...

Image shows pale pink Pulmonaria flowers against the green spotted leaves of the plant

and then we're back to the robin spam! ­čśÇ

Image shows the same robin on a wood pile but much closer

What is it about the fresh air?  It's a bit like a cat's purr (and even more mysteriously, where a cat keeps it's purr); it's something that's magic that we can never quite identify but which makes us feel better without fail every time.  I think that chopping things with the axe helped too.  


Image shows split logs, an axe and a red metal wedge lying on the ground.  There are other logs in the picture, and leaf debris

And having chopped, I then cleared the rest of the flags in the little overgrown seating area - yes, that is cleared, thank you, that soil you can see is meant to be there ­čśÇ - and decided that the rest of the afternoon could be dedicated to knitting my sock in front of a fire.

Image shows a person sitting in front of a burning chiminea.  On the left knee is a striped sock, and on the right knee is a mug of tea

I'm very good at knitting a sock in front of a fire.  It's something that I've spent years perfecting and now I've got it down to a fine art.  And as you can see, it doesn't matter whether the fire is inside or outside the house - although it does need to be safely contained!

Oh and look!  I've got company!

Image shows the same person sitting in front of the chiminea.  The robin is at her feet

Image shows the same person sitting in front of the chiminea.  The robin is closer.

I can't tell you how much better I felt for spending so much time outdoors!

Back indoors, I've been mending things.  Well, one thing so far.  

I happened to mention on a trip to Black Sheep Wools that I needed to replace my walking boots as they've split down the side, and Lucy who works in the office said, "Oh what you need is Sugru, it's amazing stuff and will mend your boots without you having to buy a new pair."

Well, I needed to find out more about this miraculous stuff that would not only save me a trip to the shops, some considerable time as I would need to try boots on, my feet (it took me a good few weeks to break my last pair in and they were not happy weeks for my feet) but, of course, a lot of money!

And here it is ...

Image shows a hand holding a packet containing Sugru mouldable glue

According to the website, this stuff mends just about everything, including walking boots, and you can use it build or create things as well.  As well as needing to repair my boots, we've been using a pan lid without a handle for months and there are various other things around the house that could do with fixing so I chose the pack with these lovely bright colours in them (and the brown for my boots - although I am VERY tempted to repair them with blue, or possibly even pink Sugru!) and thought I'd try it out on the pan lid first.


Image shows the contents of the packet.  There are 8 coloured packets of Sugru glue inside the box.
No idea why the colours are looking so dark in this photo!

It's a bit like Plasticine.  You've got 30 minutes to mould it and adjust it, and then in 24 hours it sets solid - and ta dah!  We've got a pan lid that we can actually get hold of again!  I'm very pleased - and now I just need to get on and fix my boots!

Image shows a stainless steel pan lid with a red handle, repaired with Sugru glue

I've been heel flappin' (that sounds like it should be a song!) this week and found that I was up to the same point on both socks, so I put them both on the same needle to knit them together.  I probably wouldn't have bothered to show you, but it occurred to me that I've actually made these two flaps in a slightly different way and it's something that I'm often asked about.

The question I get is whether it matters if you slip your heel stitches knitwise or purlwise.  Now, the convention for slipping stitches is to slip purlwise then your stitch stays mounted the right way around on your needle for when you work the purl row.  If you slip your stitch knitwise, the stitch twists on the needle and you'll end up working a twisted stitch on the purl row.

I actually don't think that it matters that much for a sock heel, and I would say go for the method that's either easiest or you like the effect of best.  I like the twisted stitches of the knitwise slip so I often use that one, but I also slip purlwise on other pairs and it just so happens that I've done both on these socks.

The sock on the left has the stitches slipped purlwise, and the sock on the right has the stitches slipped knitwise.

Image shows two socks side by side on a knitting needle.  They are both at the stage of having the heel flap knitted

There doesn't really look that much difference, does there?  And you'd be right - it really is something that a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice (another of my Nan's phrases, they're all coming out of the woodwork lately!) and unless you pointed out what you'd done, I don't think that anybody else except another knitter would spot.

Here's a closer picture of the purlwise slips - you can see if you look closely that the raised V stitches match the Vs in the stocking stitch lower down, and the stitches sit proud of the heel flap ...

Image shows close up of slipped stitches on the left hand heel flap

whereas the twisted stitches sit a little flatter and if you look closely, you can see that the V stitches are twisted ... you do have to look quite closely, though!

Image shows close up of slipped stitches on the right hand heel flap

I just thought that I'd show you in case it was something that you'd been wondering (or worrying) about.  You can see why you wouldn't want the twisted stitches on a jumper, say, but for a sock, I think it's entirely personal preference.

Here are my twisted-heel-stitch-heel-flap socks; they're finished and they're on my feet!  I am very happy to be wearing these!

Image shows a pair of feet wearing socks knitted in The Yarn Badger yarn.  The soles of the feet are touching so that the stripes match up

Image shows a vertical picture of the pair of feet in the striped socks

The yarn is Allotment Harvest in The Yarn Badger's merino/bamboo Eco yarn which means, of course, that they're a no-nylon pair of socks.  I'll be writing up a review in about six months and hopefully they'll still look as lovely as they do now!

And finally (don't cheer, that's rude! ­čśÇ) some more no-nylon yarn - this yarn is 100% Wensleydale DK dyed by Tracy from Hand Made Over Yonder and gifted to me quite some time ago.  I decided it was too lovely to split into socks so I designed this cowl pattern, which I've called the Thoughtful Cowl, and I'd like to share it with you.  

Image shows a knitted cowl with a lace pattern in shades of pink lying on a stone flag next to an orange mug of tea

Does Friday sound OK to you?  Will that be enough time to have a rootle through your stash and find some DK or 4ply - yes, this pattern will work with both! - that you might like to use up?  Lots of people are having trouble settling to one thing, or have startitis, or have ambitions of using up ALL the stash whilst we're safe at home, and maybe a new pattern is just the thing to help with that.

Fabulous!  I'll see you on Friday, then!  In the meantime, have a lovely week and I hope you continue to keep safe and well xx


16 comments:

  1. Lovely spot to knit with your friend. Thank you for explaining the differences between the K and P slip stitch. I have often wondered why it matters and now I understand. I love the colourway of your latest socks. Keep safe. Xx

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  2. It's nice to hear how people are passing time in their lockdown locations around the world. I've been getting my garden ready for Winter as the weather cools. We don't have Robins here so I'm envious of your lovely Garden companion. But I have a delightful little family of New Holland Honeyeaters who flit around the garden drinking nectar from flowers and nipping at any teeny bugs flying around. They are too timid to come close, but I love seeing them as a sign of a healthy garden ecosystem.
    Love the socks! I'm crocheting a big blanket to curl under on the couch as it's getting colder now. :)

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  3. So glad the butterfly was OK. I give sugar water to injured/exhausted butterflies/bees. I don't know if it helps, but they seem to enjoy it. Robins are such companionable little birds, aren't they? Strange how they know when you've been digging. Hoping to get in the garden again today. Got to cut back the jungle before it takes over! And I want to make some masks to donate to whoever can use them. I think I'll contact the Nursing Home where my parents lived, to see if they need any. Stay safe. Look after each other. xxx

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  4. Lovely post Christine. I too have a robin that hangs around when I am gardening, it is rather wonderful to have such company isn't it. I have read somewhere that the robin's connection to people is unique to our isles, they come a lot closer to us than they do on the continent.

    You have got me knitting socks again, I am at the point of reducing for the toe box on the first sock of my third pair this year! I have one more skein that I can knit into another pair and hope that by the time I have made those the shops will be open again and I can buy some more xx

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  5. ├çoraplar ├žok g├╝zel olmu┼č. Rengarenk. :)
    O kelebe─če bay─▒ld─▒m. Ke┼čke daha fazla ya┼čayabilseler.

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    1. Harika olmaz m─▒yd─▒? Kelebeklerin sadece k─▒sa bir s├╝re ya┼čamas─▒ ├žok utan├ž verici. (Arkada┼č─▒m Google Translate yard─▒mc─▒ oldu, umar─▒m bu mant─▒kl─▒d─▒r!) :)

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  6. I love Robin's too. I truly believe that they are loved 0nes who have passed over coming to say hello. I know to many it will sound silly. But it gives me great comfort.

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    1. Oh, that doesn't sound silly to me at all, we think that too :) xx

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  7. Thankyou for a lovely post, Christine. I really look forward to them! We have also had a day like yours, where we all avoided each other till teatime, par for the course at the moment, I suppose! Being in the garden is so therapeutic, isn't it? I am so grateful for ours. That little robin is so sweet. They are brave little things, aren't they? When my Dad died, more than 30 years ago now, my older daughter saw a robin i the garden the next day, up close, and she said it was grampa come to say hello! I have always smiled to see a robin since then, and quite often say "hi dad" if there is no one around! Small things give great comfort.The good thing about no work is more time to do what you want. I have finished a great big celtic cross stitch , that I started in 2004!!! Am also halfway through a flower embroidery that I abandoned a long time ago. I work on it for an hour every day, and am pleased to note how much better my satin stitch is getting.Knitting tiny little socks for Christmas decorations that I started in October. When I have finised them, it is time for stripy socks! Please keep going with the great posts, they make my day!!xxx

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  8. My Lancashire nan also used to say 'a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice' - haven't heard that phrase in years and it did make me smile! I'm massively struggling to settle to any knitting/crochet projects and have had FOUR failed attempts just to settle on a simple scarf pattern for my husband... I've found quick little projects are better so looking forward to your new cowl pattern, thank you very much!

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  9. I love cowls. Roll on Friday, I need a break from my blanket KALs. Love the pictures of your robin. They are lovely little birds, aren't they. Hope you all stay safe.

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  10. Please do keep posting pictures of your walks - I'm stuck at home for 12 weeks due to an underlying health condition (I'm usually fit and well but can't take any chances) and am working from home so seem to be chained to my desk during the day.
    I live in a town and we have a small garden, so when it is nice enough I take my breaks and sit in the garden.
    I really miss our weekend walks, usually birdwatching walks, and our other social activites but am uplifted by seeing other peoples photos of the great outdoors. Thanks.

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  11. I love your little English robin, Christine. So different from the US variety. I think you have the right idea — enjoy nature and knit socks! We're watching / listening to far too much news around here. It would be better to watch my crafts take shape and listen to the birds.

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  12. We love to potter or sit in the garden listening or watching the birds visit. We have also planted especially for bees and butterflies. Our garden always seems busy. I love Robins and we had several friendly ones but they seemed to go whilst we sorted the garden after a big change. But I once had a visit from a friend who my late husband knew and as we were talking he said 'you have a bird in here' When I looked there was a Robin sitting on the back of a dining room chair. I said 'what you doing here?' The Robin flew out through the conservatory. Our friend died after an operation several months later. I always wonder why the Robin came into the house.

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  13. I love your pictures and your posts! Your little robin is so charming and much smaller than the ones we have in our yard here in the US. My grandma used to say "what can you see on a flying horse?" which I repeat whenever I'm deciding whether or not to repair knitting goofs. Thanks for sharing!

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  14. What a lovely post, thank you Christine. A perfect day, and so pleased that the butterfly was okay. I've never thought about lighting a fire midday! You've started something now.

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