Hello, hello, I hope you’re having a lovely weekend! I’m a bit later in posting this than I have been recently – I do aim for Fridays but sometimes, the weeks don’t work out like that, do they? Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think that a blog post a couple of days later than usual is going to de-rail a world that already has enough stresses and strains, and hopefully you’ll have time for a brew and a quick read and I’ll do my best to brighten up your next few minutes! 🙂
Christmas is still marching steadily towards us and although I said that I wasn’t going to do any more Christmas gift knitting, I have found myself with a pair of socks on the needles …
The yarn is Marine Rainbow by The Yarn Badger – I absolutely love Liz’s hand-dyed stripes and I know just the person who will also love these colours. Of course a Christmas sock needs a Christmas stitch marker (one of those arbitrary laws!) and as I was meeting up with yarny friends at the Stitch Station for a brew and a chat last weekend, I couldn’t resist taking a peep at what Caroline from Yarn Unique had in her Christmas selection at the cafe. It was a lovely few hours of knitting and chatting outside of the growing madness of Christmas preparation and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!
I’ve also been doing a bit of work on my Emergency Sock … this is why you need to take it out and about with you!
IKEA is always a popular shop to visit and I wasn’t surprised to see a queue to get in as I drove into the car park. I wasn’t daunted at all, though, I just whipped out my Emergency Sock bag and got in line. Nobody batted an eyelid as I stood there and got a fair few rounds done whilst I waited in my socially distanced space until we could all shuffle forwards and in through doors. I know there are so many people who would really benefit from getting their knitting out in a queue or a waiting room but won’t do it for fear of what other people think or might say, and I have to say that in all the years I’ve been doing this, so far I’ve never had a bad experience. Most people are too interested in their phones or what they are doing themselves to take any notice of some woman with a knitted sock in her hands, so if you’ve been hesitant until now, perhaps 2022 is the year to be brave and take your knitting outdoors with you! Even if it’s in your bag and you never get it out, you’ll feel as if you’ve got your backup (some would say armour!) with you and it’s surprising how good that can make you feel in all kinds of situations.
I’ve also been making really good progress on my Variance Hat. In fact, I’ve enjoyed knitting it so much that it’s taken over a bit this last week!
Before I knew it, I was at the crown and although I was delighted that my hat had knitted up so quickly, I was also quite disappointed that the experience was over so soon!
I absolutely love the way the colours work together and blend into each other. Because there are so many shades of Jamieson & Smith yarn, it’s easier to create beautiful fades like this flower across the centre of the hat – it’s definitely made me think more about knitting a colourwork jumper in the future.
These are my floats across the back of the hat. The hat still needs blocking and shaping but that’s a job for another day.
I did think that a single layer of knitting might not be quite as warm as I’d want it to be but I can see now that this hat is a double layer which should instantly be warmer, and I’ve been told that the yarn will felt together when it’s blocked which should make it warmer still. My plan is to line it as well and I’ve bought some vintage recycled sari silk to do that with. Not so small daughter and I have been embracing the Curly Girl Method of looking after our hair – she’s got beautiful curls and I wanted to see if my waves would do anything more with better treatment – and apparently woolly hats remove moisture from your hair (this makes perfect sense as wool does wick away moisture, hence being perfect for socks that keep your feet warm and dry!) so the answer is to line your hat with silk or satin. I liked the idea of recycling fabric so I’m going to give it a go. Will I be sorry to see the floats hidden beneath fabric? Yes and no – I’ll know they’re there but I’m much less likely to catch them with a hair clip if they’re safe behind the silk. I’ll let you know how I get on!
Also this week … I left it longer than I should have done to make an appointment to see my osteopath – I’ve been going for years to get my back checked out as I do so much sitting at the computer and of course the knitting – and something had seized up which was most uncomfortable. Luckily for me, Hannah had a cancellation which I snapped up and she was able to put everything back to where it should be – and reminded me of all the advice that I should be taking and obviously forget as soon as I leave her treatment room! In case you are like me and tend to sit and type or knit for far too long – and I think that’s probably many of us in these days of working from home – then I’m going to pass on her good advice in case it can help you too.
1 Don’t sit down for too long – get up every half hour or so and go to the loo or to make a brew or even just stand up and give yourself a shake. (And in that magic way that computers have of offering you something to see that you didn’t know you wanted to watch, this video appeared in my YouTube list – it’s a TedX talk on posture and whether we should be sitting at all and is an interesting watch!)
2 Make sure that you sit upright so put your bottom to the back of your chair and sit against the support – no slouching with your feet on the coffee table whilst you knit and watch TV (ahem!)
3 If you start to get pain in your wrists or elbows, you can massage the tendon that runs along your forearm as they get over-used – hold your arm in front of you (imagine it’s in a sling) and then use your thumb to press along the tendon to help to relax it. You’ll know if you’ve over-used it because it hurts!
Obviously all of this is first aid advice and whilst the best thing is not to get yourself into this condition in the first place, it’s always essential to seek advice from a professional if you have serious back or joint pain.
Walking is always good too when I’ve stiffened up, and the dog and I have had quite a few welly walks this week! We’ve been to the Callands end of the Sankey Valley where work was progressing to dig out the disused section of the St Helens canal. I showed you this photo the other week where the Sankey Brook had overflowed across the path and into the disused section …
and the decision has been made to clear the section to the right of this photo of trees and vegetation so that if there’s a surge in water again, it will flow through the new channel into the section of the canal that is currently full and able to cope with the water. It’s a very sensible decision, I think – at the beginning of the year there was a flash flood that caused widespread flooding and damage all around this area and I think that being able to open up a channel that already exists to help reduce that risk in the future is wise.
It does look a bit bare though, now that everything has been cut down! It doesn’t seem to have bothered the wildlife, though – if you look very closely, there’s a grey heron standing at the edge of the water in the centre of the photo.
A bit further on, you can see how the water level is rising already. I expect it won’t be long before this looks as if it’s always been full of water. The dog will be delighted!
Finally, before I leave you to the rest of your Sunday, some last photos. Not so small daughter, my husband and I went to see Glow, an event at RHS Bridgewater where the trees and plants have been beautifully lit up with coloured lights. You might have seen other versions of this type of things where you are, and we have been to others ourselves but I fancied the Bridgewater one this year.
Doesn’t the welcome building look welcoming with all the lights?
You might notice that the ground looks rather wet and oh my life, what a wet and windy night it was! It was the tail end of Storm Barra and the rain was coming down in torrential bursts. It was such a shame as the event would have been perfect for a frosty, sparkly evening but as it was, we marched around the gardens faster than any of us wanted to, dodging the showers as best we could but still completely soaked by the time we got back to the car. The good news is that my new purple dog-walking coat is very waterproof, as is the new hat that my husband had to buy himself the other week when he was out and about and realised he’d forgotten his. Ah, small victories!
So, there we have it, last week in a nutshell or pretty much so! I need to go and finish writing my Christmas cards (sadly, I think I have managed to lose any head start I had on my Christmas preparations) and next week is not so small daughter’s last full week in school before Christmas so there’s plenty to be squeezed in before she breaks up!
I do hope that everything is well with you and that you have a lovely week! xx