Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Monthly Musing - June 2020 - Upside down

I’m sitting here looking at a blank page, wondering what on earth to write my Monthly Musing about.  The theme of my blog is “looking for the extraordinary in the everyday”; the idea is that it makes me look past what I’m doing all the time to see what’s special, what’s different, what I might miss if I don’t take the time to see it – but after weeks and weeks of the same four walls, the “extraordinary” of being in lockdown has become “ordinary” and things that really are out of the ordinary now but would have been ordinary before are sometimes a cause for concern.


Just this afternoon, I was standing outside the vet’s practice waiting for the veterinary nurse to bring some medication for one of our cats, chatting to a lady whose pet was inside with the vet and another man, whose enormous St Bernard dog was sitting companionably on his feet whilst they waited their turn.  It’s not ordinary to have to stand outside, no longer allowed in to see the vet or even into the waiting room.  Our pets go in without us (“I really don’t like that”, says the man, and I have to agree with him) and we are given advice from a half-open door.  We might not like it, but it is how it is.  Extraordinary becomes ordinary.


Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Hot, hot, hot!

Phew, it's going to be a hot one again today!  The rain has moved on and we're now into a mini heatwave which is set to bake us for the rest of the week.

The dog and I were out early as he doesn't cope very well with the heat and even before 9am when we were on our way home, he was flagging.  Mind you, he had been running around like he was in the final furlongs of the Grand National and skidding in the wet grass like a small boy on a shiny wooden floor, so I'm not surprised he was tired.  He's in his favourite place under the stairs at the moment, absorbing the breeze from the open front door - although one of our cats has started to bring small furry friends into the house, releasing them to a new life under the book case, so the door isn't open as often as the dog would like it to be!

We walked through the woods this morning as I thought it would be cooler for him.  

A woodland path with sunlight coming through the trees

The leaf canopy is much thicker at this time of year so you don't get the same dappled shadows from the sunlight filtering through.  We did see that there are some new residents living amongst the trees, though ...

Friday, 19 June 2020

After the rain

I started writing this post after a couple of days of whopping thunderstorms - but despite the post title, it doesn't seem to have stopped raining since!  

The dog and I had a very wet walk this morning (it was lovely - no one around, birds singing, dog paddling in the streams, rain bouncing on my jacket, just like old times!) and calling into the Post Office afterwards, the lady who worked there said as I dripped up to the counter, "Ugh, it looks awful out there".  Normally, I think it would have been, but the novelty of it all meant that I wouldn't have swapped it for anything.

Rain drop ripples on a canal.  There are patches of green lily pads and the water is very dark.

Small daughter and I spent our time the other evening playing "Name That Tune" whilst the thunder rolled about the house, making even the dog jump and he's not bothered by fireworks so it must have been loud!  "Name That Tune" is an old TV show that I remember from being younger - basically, you have to guess the name of the song within the first few notes.  The contestants on the show used to say, "I'll name that tune in ... " and then would choose however many notes they thought they could guess it in.  This was a bit of a cheat game for me as it turns out that all the time in my teenage years that I spent in my bedroom listening to cassette recordings of the Top 40 (come on now, I'm not the only one who sat poised over the tape recorder waiting for Number 1! 😀) was not actually wasted time at all and has now come into its own as I can name a surprising number of songs as long as they're all from the UK charts in the 1980s and early 90s.  My street cred with small daughter went up no end!

Monday, 8 June 2020

Helical Knitting ebook giveaway results

Hello again - and thank you so much to everyone who took part in this weekend's Helical Knitting ebook giveaway!  It was lovely to read all your comments and see that some of you have tried helical knitting already - I am clearly in good company!

The giveaway came about after I mentioned the helical knitting technique that I had used for my latest pair of socks - you can read more about that here - and the giveaway prize is a copy of the Something New to Learn about Helical Knitting ebook by Jen Arnall-Culliford.  She is very kindly giving two copies of the ebook to the winners and you can find out who they are below.

Ebook cover for Something New To Learn about Helical Knitting ebook
Source: www.acknitwear.co.uk    Photo credit: Jesse Wild

The ebook accompanies the helical knitting tutorials of the same name and not only contains various helical knitting techniques, but also seven different projects in it.  This number was the answer to the giveaway question, so congratulations to you if you got it right!

Friday, 5 June 2020

Helical Knitting ebook giveaway

The giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who has entered, I'll let you know who's won as soon as I can! 

Hello, hello, it's Friday already!  I hope you've had a lovely week.

Thank you so much for all your comments on my last couple of posts and, of course, the Amory Socks which went live on Monday to help with the fundraising contribution for the Flower Power Fund.   It still feels very strange to me to put a pattern out for sale so I have appreciated your support!

In a change from the post that I had planned (I am sure you can wait for more photos of my tomato plants 😀), I'm going to write instead about helical knitting.  When I first showed you the socks that I was making using the helical knitting technique that I found on the AC Knitwear website, I had no idea that they would cause so much interest!

I finished my socks the other day and I am so very pleased with them!  The two colours blend together as if they were made for each other, and there is no way at all that you can spot where one colour round starts and the other ends - it's as if you have one ball of striped yarn!

A pair of feet wearing purple striped hand knitted socks.  The background is stone flags.

Here's where I started back in the middle of May.  The two yarns that I'm using are a purple hand-dyed sock yarn from The Knitting Goddess which I bought at Yarndale way back in 2014, and a ball of Regia Mosaik Color 4ply in shade 05560.  I hadn't quite found the pattern I wanted to use for either of them, so I decided that I would make the most of the enforced time at home to learn something new and blend them together in helical stripes.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Amory Socks

We knit socks for many reasons.

It might be simply to keep our hands busy or because we want the best-looking sock drawers.  We knit them to bring us joy or to distract us from thinking about things we would rather not allow our minds to dwell on.  They help to pass the time whilst we are waiting - and we spend a lot of our time waiting.  Waiting for news, both happy and sad; waiting to be reunited with someone; loved ones who have been on journeys, children who have been at activity events, long-awaited babies being born ... there are so many reasons why we do so.  And sometimes, we wait to say goodbye.

I first met Dr Sarah Holmes, a palliative care doctor at the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford, at a Knit Now Awards day a couple of years ago.  A strange place to meet a doctor, perhaps, but she was being recognised for the incredible work she has been doing through our yarn community to raise funds for Marie Curie.  It all started off as a desire to knit socks for each of the patients in the Marie Curie Hospices around the country (so naturally, that was something that would attract my attention!) and I was so pleased to be able to send her socks from the Yarndale Sock Line to help make up the numbers, knowing that they had been knitted with love for someone who needed an extra woolly hug.

Last year, Sarah's Flower Power Fund raised money through limited edition hand-dyed yarns, and it was so successful that she is doing it all over again this year - but this time, there are patterns for each month too!  When she asked me if I would like to be involved, I didn't even have to think about it.  Whether we have used Marie Curie's services directly or not, there are not many of us who have not been touched by cancer in some way during our lives and I was glad to have the opportunity to do something to contribute.

Here is my contribution.  These socks are called Amory, which is an old German name meaning "brave".  

Photo shows a pair of blue patterned socks next to a bunch of yellow daffodils

I thought long and hard about what a sock design for such a purpose should look like.  I didn't want anything too complicated (and trust me, these might look complicated but really they're not!) as often our minds need to be occupied but not to the exclusion of all else.  I wanted a stitch pattern that was easy to keep track of, because sometimes we need to put our knitting down before we are ready to.  I wanted something that would suit both men and women, because there is no restriction on who we love enough to knit our socks for.  
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