Hi! How are you doing? I hope you’re coping with being safe at home. Thank you very much for all of your comments on my last couple of posts – it’s been lovely to hear from you!
We’re into our 2nd week of national isolation here in the UK – some people have been at home for longer thanks to their age (has there ever been a less welcome time to hear the words “at your age”?!) or health issues – and I think it’s starting to hit home now that this is how life is going to be for the foreseeable future. Both the girls are missing their friends – we all are, in fact, but I think that it’s hitting small daughter harder than any of us as she is usually surrounded by them at school. We’re keeping an eye on her.
So what’s new? Well, on Sunday I sat and knitted all day. That’s pretty much unheard of as there are usually too many other things that I need to do, but we’ve set ourselves up with a rota for cooking and cleaning (oh yes!) which means that I am not expected to be staff and everybody else gets a turn to see that there really are no housework and cooking fairies 😀. Anyway, I had such a lovely time faffing about with leftover yarn instead of feeling that I should be doing something else. I started making a sock yarn blanket with my leftovers using the Tin Can Knits Vivid pattern about a hundred years ago and I have got a fair few squares done, but as pretty as they are, as a lace pattern they’re a bit holey-er (no, I don’t think that’s a real word but I am sure you understand what I mean!) than I would like a blanket to be. I don’t think it’s just the current circumstances that make me want to wrap myself up in warm, cosy, hole-free knitting, so I set about thinking about another way to use up the scraps.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of mitred squares – I really really don’t like garter stitch and so many of the patterns are knitted like that – so I’ve been playing about on and off for quite some time with ways of making mitred squares that I do like. Having said that I don’t like them, I think it’s the garter stitch that’s always put me off; I do like see the stripes and how they turn a corner to merge together, and I like the way stocking stitch keeps the yarn looking pretty much how it did when it was knitted into socks. That’s what I wanted – a blanket that looks like the socks that the yarns were knitted into. I like remembering who I made the socks for and which pairs they were.
I’ve been using the provisional cast on as it means I can decide what I want to do about a border later – that’s not something that I usually use with my socks so it’s been fun using a different technique.
It took quite a bit of messing about and unravelling – I ended up completely ripping out one of the squares in the top picture because I wasn’t happy with it (you might have spotted the – ahem – deliberate mistake of not doing enough rows of grey), but I think I’ve got it now. It’s probably going to take me another hundred years or so to make any size of blanket to wrap myself up in, but it’s been nice to have something new to knit whilst I’ve been talking to people over the internet. That’s something else I’ve got over myself with over the last week – I never really felt very comfortable with video calling, but now I am finding that I feel much more connected to the person I am speaking to if I can see them. We’re trying to keep up with friends and family to make sure that being isolated physically doesn’t mean that they feel as if they are really alone, as I’m sure you are as well – and thank goodness for technology to make it all easier! Yes, yes, I’m late to the party as always, but if the thought of seeing yourself on the computer or phone screen has put you off using video to contact your own friends and family, then now might be the time to reconsider!
What else? Oh yes, the seeds that small daughter planted for me have started to show through. I had to bring them indoors as it was just too cold for them in the greenhouse and all of a sudden they have gone from nothing to something. First the sprouts …
and now more of them – tomatoes, leeks and one of the cucumber seeds. I’ve moved them onto a windowsill (a previous messy experience with seed trays and a cat on a windowsill had put me off until now) and hopefully they won’t get too leggy, but it’s getting lighter and warmer all the time so fingers crossed they’ll be OK.
I was out early with the dog the other day. He’s dropped down from four walks a day to two as the walks are getting longer and the poor boy is looking more and more tired. The good news is that he’s lost those extra kilos that he had piled on over Christmas (ha! too many tasty leftovers!) and the vet nurse had commented on last time I took him to be weighed. Someone in a vet practice told me once that overweight dogs with joint problems were their bread and butter and I refuse to let our dog be part of that demographic – as far as I can. He really is very greedy!
The reason for me being out early was that I wanted to make sure he got a good run off-lead with no one else about. He’s been so good walking on his lead recently, but dogs need to run and sniff for themselves when they can. I’m trying to make sure that we don’t take him on the same route every day as that’s when he gets a bit naughty and there aren’t many places where a dog with no road sense can go off-lead in Winwick, but he was overjoyed to be able to properly stretch his legs. He leaps about like a Spring lamb and – like a little boy faced with a shiny church hall floor – he runs and skids, then rolls about on his back in sheer delight (actually, I’m not sure about little boys rolling on their backs, but you get the idea!). It makes me laugh and lifts my heart every time I see him do it.
The Winwick roads were empty, apart from the odd car. It’s very strange to see our familiar places like this, isn’t it? I’m used to seeing these roads full of cars, either travelling along or sitting at the traffic lights, hearing music from the car radios or phone conversations from hands-free speakers. (Have you noticed that you can hear these conversations really well from outside the car? They’re not very private!)
The open space where the dog could run was empty too. We don’t usually see many people there anyway, but there was no one around at all.
It’s unusual to see our church standing high on its hill without passing traffic too. I like this view, it reminds me that I’m nearly home.
I like that the church is still lit up at night, too. It gives a sense of familiarity at an unfamiliar time.
Back home, I’ve been making an effort to do some tidying up in my study room. We’ve suddenly all got time to tackle those jobs that we (conveniently, sometimes!) never had time to do before. One of things that I needed to do is to file away all the patterns and articles that I cut out of the magazines I cleared out months and months ago. Lots of people have told me that they photograph them and get rid of the paper altogether, but for now I like to have the patterns in a folder so that I can look through them if I want to, rather than in a computer file. I might never make any of them – I think I’ll have to live till I’m about nine hundred and seventy-three to get through all the knitting I’ve got planned! – but you never know. And in the meantime, I like to look at them every now and again 😀.
This photo was taken quite early into the process when I was still feeling optimistic about it all. Finishing off the next day, I was beyond feeling anything except relief when I ran out of plastic inserts and had to tidy everything away! Still, I’ve made a massive impact on the pile of patterns that I had, and I have found more than a few that I’m very glad I’ve kept. It’s quite different looking through patterns on paper rather than on a computer screen on Ravelry or somewhere like that – I really should do this more often!
On the knitting front, I’ve actually not done as much this week as I thought I might do, apart from the binge knitting on Sunday. Perhaps like many of us, I thought that being safe at home would mean spare hours to work my way through my stash but it’s not really worked like that. There’s still washing to be done, pets (and daughters) to be cleaned up after despite our rota, and lots of cups of tea to be made. It’s probably just as well, as wall-to-wall knitting isn’t good for my shoulders and having the stability of some kind of normal routine keeps me feeling grateful that we are all currently well, so I’ll just keep on with the knitting that I’ve got and not worry about what I’ve not done.
I’ve finally got as far as the heel flap with my Yarn Badger stripey sock …
and I was well-prepared for the queue at the supermarket. I was even going to take a brew with me until my husband pointed out that the store toilets would probably be closed – which is always an instant guarantee that you really don’t want to have to wait until you get home! 😀
Just before I leave you, something that I heard recently that made me laugh – apparently we’re all about 2 weeks away from our natural hair colour … I don’t colour my hair but I do have it cut short so goodness knows what it’s going to look like by the time I eventually get to see my hairdresser again – it’s wavy when it gets longer and those months of growing it out from short to long and seeing it grow in all kinds of mad directions were something that I hadn’t planned to visit again! Small daughter has offered to cut it for me (a bit too enthusiastically, I thought, she obviously thinks I’m an easy target!) but I have politely declined.
And one more thing – big daughter has a subscription to The Happy Newspaper and I spotted an item in there that says that this song has been proven to reduce anxiety by 65%. It’s called Weightless by Marconi Union and was developed with the British Academy of Sound Therapy. I don’t know if the facts around reducing anxiety are true, but you could always give it a listen and see what you think. If it’s a sound that helps you, then that’s what’s important!
That’s me for today! I can hear my family starting to wonder about dinner and I’ve promised to watch Howl’s Moving Castle with small daughter (our favourite film to watch together is Spirited Away and this is from the same studio – currently both available on Netflix but also available through Amazon here and here) although it might be getting a bit late tonight. I hope you and your families are all safe and well.
Until next time! xx