An elegant sufficiency

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Too clever by half?

About this time yesterday, with a Saturday afternoon at home stretching out in front of me, it seemed the perfect time to begin a new challenge. After lunch I sat down and began to cast on 375 stitches, using yarn bought whilst in Luzern recently. Only half way along did I check the pattern and notice that I ought to be using two strands of yarn so, being too lazy to go and fetch a second ball of yarn*, I thought I'd be really clever and use the end from the centre and the end from the outside.

*the building work continues on our studio and my stash is still in the garage, "filed" in some kind of order, but nevertheless making retrieval challenging!

I'm sure there are experienced knitters out there, shaking their heads in the knowledge that using both ends was not as good an idea as it might have seemed. Indeed, some hours later, with more tangles and twists than enough, I almost conceded defeat and pulled the whole thing out for a second time. However, the spirit of the ace-untangler, inherited from my Mum, persuaded me to be patient, to take it gently and eventually, almost twelve hours since I began, Ene is finally on the needles!

Jaywalkers 3 are progressing nicely, thanks to a couple of hours sitting in Mark's concert rehearsal last night.

I'm going to another concert later, to see my four-year-old friend, Rosie-Jane dance. I'm rather looking forward to it, since pink tutus and ballet shoes didn't feature much in Edward's upbringing!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Four seasons weather in one day

Looked out around 5pm yesterday afternoon to see this amazing light. It's been a weird day as far as the weather is concerned, starting out fine enough, but by 10am, this was the outlook.
Ten minutes later, it had all gone and the sky was a brilliant blue. Wouldn't you just know it, but by the time I'd got my camera, the sun had gone in, the clouds had overlaid the blue and it was starting to rain.

By the time we'd had lunch, the rain had changed to hail and a vicious wind was whipping up. Finally, by tea time, the thunder clouds rolled in and there was much ominous rumbling and a few flashes of lightning; enough for us to run and turn computers off!

I wonder why we British people talk about the weather so much?

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mothering Sunday

Celebrating Mothers everywhere today, Mothering Sunday, especially mine!


Discovering new places on our doorstep

Well, of course, they're not new places at all, but very old ones indeed. They were simply new to us. I suppose it often happens that, although we travel the world, we sometimes overlook places rather nearer to home, and a sunny Saturday and the Kempley Daffodil Weekend provided all the motivation we needed to get ourselves over to a corner of Gloucestershire we hadn't explored before.

This part of the county is reknowned for daffodils at this time of year, and they grow wild all over the place.

Local villages play host to visitors in turn over several weekends and this weekend, Kempley had pulled out all the stops to celebrate this lovely flower. The little Arts and Crafts Church of St Edwards was full of daffodils of every kind - stitched, painted, photographed and of course, the real thing.

Having enjoyed some locally made cake with our tea in the village hall, we set off along the Daffodil Way to St Mary's, a little gem of a church nearby.

Along the way, we passed a rather special tree.

St Mary's turned out to be a remarkable place indeed, being one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Northern Europe. It was built at the start of the 12th Century and still has some amazing 12th and 13th century wall paintings and the original wood beams!

The wall paintings were breathtaking and looked wonderful in the warm Spring sunshine. For all of you who did "The Normans" at school, did you ever see a finer example of a Norman arch?

Can you imagine that those walls were painted in 1130? And here they still remain, tucked away in a corner of a small church in the English countryside.

What treasures we have here on our doorstep. How lucky we are to be able to enjoy them!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Socks done!

Have finished my socks! Contrary to everything I said about Jaywalkers, I thought the Fleece Artist yarn (SuperMerino, Cosmic Dawn)was so well suited to such a pattern and will admit to finding it much, much easier than before. In fact, it was a good indicator of how much more knitting experience I have than the last time I knit them!

I even had the confidence to adjust the heel slightly, for ever since I got Charlene Schurch's Sensational Socks book, I've found her heel instructions to be second to none. Next time I do the Jaywalkers, however, I'll follow Charlene's heel instructions to the letter, for Grumperina's heel flap is slightly too short for my high instep and I find them a little tight to get on and off. Of course, not only is this the most obvious adjustment to make, it's also a pretty easy one too. Quite why I didn't do that this time around is a mystery - guess I'm still not that confident to muck about with patterns!!

I've cast on another pair of socks for my "mindless" knitting project (Mark's turn) and I'm mulling over my next "challenge". I guess I'm a convert, too - it's another pair of Jaywalkers!


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Can it be Spring?

We spent today in this glorious city

Marvelled at the skyline which we'd never noticed before

Can you guess where it is?

The President of Ghana was visiting, which is why the little hut is there (no, not for him!)

More clues needed?

This lake is in front of a grand palace.

I think you've guessed already.

St James Park looks lovely in the late afternoon sunshine, doesn't it? And those buildings beyond Horseguards Parade form an interesting collection of roof shapes, I was delighted that the light was good enough for a clear photo.

Lastly, it was the first time I'd seen this memorial in Whitehall. Presumably, the women commemorated were far too busy doing what they did to model for it.

Isn't it great?


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Time to catch up

I seem to have had little to blog about of late, and yet now I sit down to post a couple of photos, I've come across some other small finished things which I haven't mentioned. I think this is the best part of blogging - charting small achievements which would otherwise go unmentioned, forgotten within a few days.
Firstly, I don't think I mentioned the "Wine and Roses" mitts (Interweave Knits Winter 2006), which I decided to knit using the February Posh Yarns Sock Club yarn. I finished one of these and felt underwhelmed by the end result, somehow. Maybe they're not quite my colour, perhaps a smaller needle would have given me a more satisfying finish? Anyway, I did one and left it to one side until my Mum arrived and enthused about it enough to encourage me to complete the pair for her.

There was enough yarn left over to knit a quick "Misty Garden" (Scarf Style) to match, though the colours in the two photographs are so different, you'll just have to take my word for the fact that they do!

What to knit next? Though I am still spooked by Ene (another Scarf Style pattern), I'm umming and aaaahing and cast on a pair of socks instead. When in doubt, cast on socks! I had a great skein of FleeceArtist merino in Cosmic Dawn and started a pair of Pomatomus. Great pattern - but better in a plain or self-coloured yarn rather than this flashy multicolour job! So, after a bit of ripping, a second pair of Jaywalkers is on the needles.

Yes, I can hear Sue saying "but I thought you swore never to knit another pair of those?" The difference is, that this time I'm not trying to do them on two circs!

Other stuff around here: it's a glorious Saturday afternoon, the sun is shining and the birds are singing. We have more frogspawn in pond and anyone would think it was March.

Oh, and I have a new favourite flower in my vase.

"In fairy tales frogs are apt to change into princes and it was an Asian prince in just such a story who gave his name to this flower, which grows naturally in swampy ground. The prince was so good-looking that he was loved by everyone. He also had a beautiful voice but this was his undoing. He loved the open country and sang delightful songs in the presence of nymphs. He did not have the courage to declare his love to them and this haunted him so much that he died. After his death he was changed into the flower with delicate tissuey petals which bears his name." From The Flower and Plant Association website

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