Lost in space

It’s been a funny week, this week.  Last week, I finished all the commission work that I have been working on since the beginning of the year ending with the release of the Sun Spot Socks pattern – and thank you so much to everyone who has bought a copy, and/or bought yarn as well – you’ve been very kind and Caroline and I are thrilled!  This week’s calendar had nothing in it except the usual day job, the cooking, the cleaning, the gardening and my own knitting and it felt very strange indeed!

On Monday, I leapt out of bed at 6.30am, ready to do my meditation and get an early start on the work I had to do … and then realised that I didn’t have any work that needed an early start.  It felt like I was on holiday which was a fantastic feeling, but it’s also left me drifting a little this week.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have LOVED my commission work over the last few months but the thing about my sock designs is that I pour everything into them.  I find it very hard to treat my sock knitting as a 9-5 job (and some would say that may be something I need to work on), and so when it’s finished, there’s a big gap.  A universe-sized gap, in fact, and I am out there in my space suit, just floating …  There are so many things that I had added to my lists to do later, and I couldn’t decide where to start.  I had planned to get on with some of my own knitting, but couldn’t choose which project to work on … and, yes, you are absolutely right, this is all very fanciful and self-indulgent and in the end, I had to tell myself to stop overthinking it all and just enjoy having the space to do something or nothing if that’s what I wanted to do this week.

I haven’t done nothing, of course.  The day job doesn’t stop, and neither do the household jobs.  But in the time I would have spent commission knitting, I’ve spent a lot of this week in the garden, catching up.  I’ve cut hedges (no nesting birds so it was OK), planted my poor neglected tomato plants out in the greenhouse (I’m keeping my fingers crossed they put on a bit of a growth spurt to make up for being stuck in small pots for too long!), walked the cat around on the grass …

A ginger, black and white cat and a tabby and white cat wearing a red harness pass each other on a lawn going in opposite directionsA small tabby and white cat in a red harness with a black lead is smelling the plants next to a large black dog, also on a lead

It’s going pretty well, I have to say.  Astrid has only managed to get herself out of the harness once and I’ve worked out that if I don’t give her the opportunity to pull against me, everything is fine.  We won’t be going much further than the end of the drive, though!

A tabby and white cat wearing a red harness sits on top of a green plastic water butt which is lying on its side in a garden behind a wooden bench. The sky is blue and the cat is surrounded by greenery

Now that she’s a stay at home cat, she’s appointed herself Sock Blocker Supervisor which apparently involves checking inside the envelope that I keep them in …

A tabby cat's bottom and tail sticks out of a large padded envelope containing wooden sock blockers.

I could watch this daft cat all day!

Here’s my daft dog checking out the water levels in his favourite pond.  It’s not good.  Not good for the water levels and not good for the dog either as he comes out a bit stinky.

A black dog is in a woodland pond. The water level is very low and you can see the bottom of the pond

We’ve not had any rain for a while and all of the ponds and streams have dried up considerably – this doesn’t bode well for our reservoirs, lakes and rivers, does it?  You can see the difference in the water level in this post about the winter weather and this same pond was overflowing!

I’m aware of the dangers of blue-green algae in water in this weather, but this particular pond is regularly stirred up by dogs which I think means that it is not the ideal conditions for it to grow, so I just make sure that I give him a good hose down when we get home.

These Mr Mallard ducks made me smile when we walked past them.  Usually, the dog will “encourage” them into the water but he’s recently become more interested in the food that people have been leaving for the duck population and is leaving the ducks alone in favour of whatever’s been left on the bank for them to eat.  What a greedy dog!

Six male mallard ducks sitting on a canal bank in a line

The canal is looking beautiful at this time of year …

A view from a bridge down a canal. It's a beautiful day and the trees are a vibrant green

and look what I spotted …

A white swan in a canal surrounded by grey cygnets

One of the swans with cygnets!  It’s been a while since we’ve been down this way and these cygnets are pretty big – and there were about six or seven of them which is really good.

I also spotted this dog rose plant growing high up into one of the trees …

A dog rose bush growing into the tree behind. There are small white flowers on the bush

The flowers are ever so pretty, and perhaps more so because they’re just there, in amongst the trees and the grass.

A close up of white five-petalled dog rose flowers

I’ve never noticed them growing there before and I’ve walked that path for 12 years now with the dog!


What else have I done this week when I was apparently doing nothing?  I’ve made elderflower cordial.  The bushes are full of flowers this year, big fat blooms of tiny white flowers with yellow centres, and so delicately and gorgeously scented …

A close up of white elderflower flowers surrounded by green leaves

I didn’t make any last year and I’ve looked back on the blog and it looks like that last time I made some was 2020 which seems like a long time ago!  (I do have permission to take the flowers as I don’t have an elder bush in the garden.)

A square plastic box containing white elderflower heads. The box is on the ground in a woodland with Christine's boots in the photo for contextElderflowers steeping in sugar solution with sliced lemons and limes

Oh, it smells wonderful and it’s so quick to make, too – 24 hours after mixing up the cordial, it’s ready to bottle and drink.  Lovely!

On Wednesday, I chatted to Maxine who won one of the Sockalong 8th birthday giveaway prizes, and got to admire the many projects she has on the go (I kept mine safely hidden away so that I didn’t have to confess how many there were!) and it was lovely.  I think that chatting with another knitter starts on a level that you just don’t get with someone who doesn’t knit: you’ve already got something in common and even if you would never normally speak to that person, you can hold a conversation as if you’ve known them for years and leave feeling better for it.

On the subject of knitting, you might be wondering how I got on with the Fish Lips Kiss heel for my husband’s sock.  I’ve only just finished it, to be honest.  It got put to one side whilst I was busy with other stuff (forgetting that I only had the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else, obvs) and I’ve only just gone back to it this week.

A partly knitted sock heel on a blue and rainbow-striped sock.  The ball of pink yarn is behind the knitting, resting on bare knees

I’m not knitting in the buff, in case you were worried, I’ve got shorts on! 

Once I finally had time to sit and look at the instructions properly, I really enjoyed trying out this new heel.  It took me a while to work it out (it turned out that I didn’t need the cardboard foot after all) but when all’s said and done, it’s a version of a short row heel and I know how to do one of those.  The Fish Lips Kiss one is neatly designed; the one I normally use creates the double stitch after the decreases, the FLK heel creates them on both sides of the heel V and in a slightly different way, which gives a sturdy join – I might have pulled my yarn a little tight on the turns so it doesn’t lie quite flat but also, the sock is still in its “being knitted” state and it will look different once it’s been washed.

A completed Fish Lips Kiss sock heel.  The leg of the sock is  blue and rainbow stripes and the heel is pink.  The sock is lying on a wooden table next to an orange mug of tea

I didn’t help myself by trying something new and using the heel stitch at the same time, but I think we should all push ourselves to try something different every now and again, and so what if you start over a few times?  That’s how you learn!  I expect that the heel on the second sock will be much faster and easier … just as I tell every beginner when they’ve knitted their first sock!  It’s good for us to be beginners again from time to time 🙂

I’m looking forward to getting on with the round-and-round stripes of the foot now.  The yarn is Marine Rainbow by The Yarn Badger and the contrast is Fuchsia in WYS Signature 4ply.  They go well together, don’t they?

Hopefully by next week, I’ll have a bit more to show you!


Have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re up to, and I’ll see you again soon xx



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14 Responses

  1. Maxine Togneri says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed our chat. Enjoy the sunshine x

  2. Audrey says:

    Sunshine is here makes everyone jolly. Oh my your Elderberry brought back lovely memories for me .We had 3 trees in our back garden .My mother made Elderberry wine .She used a tin baby bath that had been ours to make it in. All very sterile too .thankyou for that memory

  3. Helen says:

    That sock yarn is gorgeous. Enjoy the weekend.

  4. Linda says:

    Loved this pst. And the socks! (But I honestly can’t bring myself to knit a heel with such a ghastly name!!! However good it is!)

  5. Jacqueline says:

    Great catch up visit

  6. Felicity says:

    Intrigued by the Fish Lips Heel in your last blog, I tried it out as I was making socks for myself. It’s neater than my other attempts at short row heels, once I got the hang of it! Definitely a keeper.
    And I love elderflower cordial!

  7. Ruth Howard says:

    Thanks for your update – you have weeks like that sometimes !! A breather when you don’t know what to do first or no knitting at all – trying something new is taxing too – loving the sock – Happy Sock Knitting 🧶- love Ruth x
    Love Ruth

  8. Lynne says:

    I really enjoy your blog, even more since it’s at the weekend now Christine👍🏼
    I’d love the recipe for Elderflower cordial please, I’ve never made it, I’ve notice loads in the hedgerows near me!
    Thank you Christine x

  9. Helen says:

    I love reading your blogs. I want to try the FLK but a bit hesitant.

  10. Susan Rayner says:

    Amazing how much you achieve in a “pottering” week.
    Gorgeous socks for a person who only used to like black ones – my husband loves cheerful ones.
    Lovely photos. our swans have appeared with no cygnets which is very sad as I imagine they have been had by the local foxes as have the Egyptian Geese’s Goslings as they disappeared one by one so our river is a bit sad.
    Enjoy the weekend.

  11. christa fischer says:

    The cordial looks delicious! Can you please share the recipe?

  12. Lenore says:

    Lovely photos Christine. Love the sock yarn you are using. ❤️🌺

  13. Mairi Hughes says:

    Beautiful countryside, love the cat on the lead! I did that to let my indoor cats get some garden time too.

  14. Carol Maxwell says:

    I too have elderberry envy as they don’t grow here. But we do have native coprosma that apparently makes a lovely jelly or cordial and all I need is a wee bit of envy as motivation 😉
    I also totally endorse pushing oneself a wee bit with new techniques or patterns. One of my ‘rules’ I set for my Year of the Sock was that each pair had to stretch me differently. I’ve just cast off my first cable sock with pattern to the graft, cable cast on and cable heel. Chuffed! Now for the second one! it’s pretty wintry here so perfect socking on weather. Enjoy wearing shorts!

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