Friday, 30 April 2021

Monthly Musing - April 2021 - Little boxes

Small daughter was telling me something about her day at school, and laughing so hard at the time that she couldn’t get her words out.  It was funny and frustrating at the same time – all I could hear was “middle aged women” and then she collapsed into giggles again.

I decided to wait until she was in a fit state to talk to me so that I could actually hear her, mulling over the words “middle aged women”.  We do like to put people in boxes, don’t we?  Nice neat categories that tell us who someone is, where they’re from, what they do, how old they are … being rather obstreperous (isn’t that a wonderful word?!) at times, I have often found myself not quite fitting into the neat box (sometimes by design, sometimes by nature), but there’s no denying that they do make life easier.  
In some cases, the nice neat box is a diagnosis which can open doors to get the help that you need and they are absolutely essential so don’t worry, I’m not about to go all non-conformist on you -  I just don’t like the “at your age and your time of life” type of labels that seem to be getting waved at me right now, any more than the “just a housewife” type of labels that got waved around when my girls (and I) were much younger!

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Spotted somewhere in the north west ...

A pair of blue speckled socks with solid blue cuffs, heels and toes being modelled on feet.  The feet are in the shape of a mermaid's tail to represent the name of the yarn.  To the left is a bag of sea shells and to the right is a ceramic starfish

A strange creature with a mermaid-like tail ... or perhaps they were just feet in brand new socks!

I am so pleased to have these socks off the needles and onto my feet!  It feels like ages since I had a new pair of socks that I could wear myself instead of having to hand over (it breaks my heart every time) or keep in good condition in a box in case I need to take photos.  Socks are meant to be worn, and I will thoroughly enjoy wearing these!

The yarn is Mermaid's Tail by Stripey Cat Yarns - it was a set that came with a 50g skein of the main colour and 20g of the contrast.  I wasn't sure if that would be enough for a pair of socks but it was and I had a fair bit left over.  The yarn is a superwash merino/nylon mix so quite different in texture to the West Yorkshire Spinners that I usually knit with as that is more woolly.  It's nice to have a change.

The pattern is the Basic 4ply Socks pattern with contrast cuffs, heels and toes.

I've taken lots of photos of what I did to break up the pooling across the gusset and I did promise that I would write that up as a tutorial.  I haven't forgotten, but there's something else that comes first ... 


SIX YEARS!!  Can you believe it?  Time certainly flies and I am so pleased that the tutorials are as helpful today as they were when I first wrote them.  I love being able to help people knit socks!

There's going to be the annual sock count and giveaway and the post for that will be on Monday 3 May 2021 as that's the birthday day itself, so do come back to the blog if you'd like to take part.  

It'll be lovely to see you!

Friday, 23 April 2021

I see skies of blue ...

It really has been the most glorious Spring week or so here.  The sun has shone, the skies have been cornflower blue and the birds have been singing at top volume from morning till night.  Small daughter went back to school this week and it's been a joy to be out with the dog in the mornings.  

A gorgeous blue Spring sky framed by pink and yellow leaf buds

We've been to the Nine Arches end of Sankey Valley this week - actually, the particular part of the valley that we've been starting at is known locally as the "Mucky Mountains"; created from the by-product of inefficient soda production in the 1830s, these "mountains" are formed from old chemical waste which in it's day was apparently so toxic that escaping gases caused teeth to rot and clothes to burn - fortunately, those days are long gone and the Mountains look like this ...

A green field with a footpath extending through it towards a large hill

You'd never know they were the source of such pollution, would you?

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Lyme Park

Small daughter, having got back into the late starts and even later evenings with remarkable ease over the Easter holidays, is not looking forward to going back to school tomorrow, as you can imagine!

Me, on the other hand ... I'm looking forward to the routine of the weeks again.  Not the early alarm call, to be sure, but the up-and-out by 8.30am so that I'm ready to get into my work day when I get back.  Ha!  I say "work" and it's certainly true that working for yourself means you often work far harder than you ever would in an office working for someone else, but I love what I do so it never feels like work at all.

Still, I have enjoyed taking it more slowly for the last couple of weeks and it won't be long before the schools break up again at the end of May ... this year is really trundling past at a rate of knots, isn't it?

Small daughter and I went out for the afternoon on Thursday.

A stately home seen across a lake.  There are daffodils around the lake and a blue sky above

Do you recognise it?  It's Lyme at Disley, near Stockport, but if you ever watched the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, you might recognise the house as Pemberley.  Small daughter decided over Christmas that she wanted to read the book (I don't know if she's actually finished it though!), watch the TV series (she thought Colin Firth was rather dashing as Mr Darcy) and watch the later film (she was less taken by that Mr Darcy, although I'm sure he's a lovely man) and to visit Pemberley as she discovered that it isn't too far away from us.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

A cold snap

We've had a heavy frost the last couple of nights - exactly the reason why gardeners know that the frost risk isn't over until the end of May (in my particular part of the world) - but does that stop us from thinking it might have ended early?  Er, no.

Frost on grass and strawberry plant leaves

Frost on strawberry plant leaves

Frost on green leaves

I do have a greenhouse heater but I haven't put it on, I've just been trusting that everything will be warm enough under the Papronet (ancient forefunner to garden fleece that I brought from my Dad's greenhouse) and so far, the seedlings seem to be OK.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Sunny Sunday

It's been snowing in other parts of the country today but not, of course, in the volcanic hotspot that is Winwick.  Here, it's been beautifully Spring-like with bright sunshine that was even warm enough to sit out in for short periods of time, so I did!

A blue speckled sock on a circular needle rests on arm of a wooden garden bench next to an orange mug.  In the background is a hedge.

I've been Spring cleaning today, I've blitzed the house from top to bottom and rewarded myself every now and again with a brew and a few rounds of my sock.  Do you ever do that?  Use your knitting as a reward to get you through something that you'd probably prefer not to do?  Cleaning isn't my favourite activity but I do feel very virtuous now the house is sparkling and smells of fresh air as all the windows have been open.  And yes, that is the Mermaid's Tail sock and no, it's not finished.

I've been experimenting with ways to avoid the pooling on the gusset that you get with yarns from time to time and I think I've come up with a way to do it, so I'll write it up as a tutorial in the next couple of weeks if that would be helpful, but it has meant that I've re-knitted the gusset more times than I usually would do on one sock!

Friday, 9 April 2021

Another Friday

How is it that I managed to write a blog post every day for nearly two weeks and now it's been over a week since the last one?!  I think it doesn't help that it's the school holidays as my usual mush-brain turns into holiday mush-brain and I have no idea what day it is 😀  It just goes to show how we manage to fit things in - or not - but here I am at last with a catch up from the last week or so.

These photos were take on one of the walks I did before small daughter broke up for the Easter holidays.  We were out at the Nine Arches in Earlestown again and I took a different path which runs parallel to the main cycle path.  This wide grassy area was lined on both sides by what I thought were hawthorn bushes but reading this post of Lucy's, I think maybe they're blackthorn instead.  I'm now thinking we might have a blackthorn tree in our garden and that's been a mystery to me for the nearly 18 years we've lived here so that's good to know!

A wide grassy path bordered by white flowering bushes

The flowers are very pretty, and very like hawthorn flowers.  It was so lovely to walk down the flower-lined path, it really felt as if Spring had definitely arrived and that everything around me just couldn't wait to burst into life.
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