Wednesday, August 30, 2006

30 August: More knitting

Recently I got 3 books from Amazon about stranded colour knitting. Then on Sunday I spent nearly 4 hours dyeing some skeins of Shetland wool. And I've been knitting some more hats, and this pair of mittens -

The wool is hand-spun undyed Shetland, and I tried the "peasant" type thumb placement - very easy to knit, and doesn't interrupt the stitch design. Now for a bit more practice knitting in the round with stranded colours.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

27 August: Bank Holiday

On Friday I spoke to a reporter. Later, a colleague told me that the reporter had asked her what my name was - she told him to ask me, and he didn't.
So I was concerned that my short conversation might have been twisted, taken out of context, or otherwise distorted to make it interesting, and I bought the following day's paper. The story he was covering contained nothing of our talk! What a relief! Always safest never to speak to the press.


Yesterday afternoon DH and I went out jogging. It was in April I last really tried to get back into regular jogging, a come-back that ended in a swollen and painful knee. Then came the hot weather - totally unsuitable for strenuous exercise - then we were away, etc., etc. Always a hundred excuses, always easier to sit and knit, or sit at a computer. And the waistline slowly enlarges - and sags.

Of course, it would have been better not to have stopped running, but back in 1992 when I had bowel cancer I stopped competitive orienteering, and there didn't seem to be much point in continuing training regularly. Then in 1999 I changed jobs, and instead of walking 2 miles to work and 2 miles back, I was driving to work; the fact that the new job was on my feet all day didn't seem to compensate.

I had been getting really fit again in 2004 when I broke my knee falling over on the beach, and there were wires holding my kneecap together for about 8 months. Once the wires were removed, it healed quickly, but it remains different from the other, unbroken knee. I guess I have not made enough allowance for its weakness when I've tried to return to running.

Meanwhile, my new interest in spinning and knitting, plus my old interest in cake and ket, with the addition of Anno Domini, have resulted in a bum that looks big in everything because it is. And if I don't do something about it soon, it'll be even harder to find any clothes to fit - hard enough already when you're taller than average and picky about what you wear.

So, having mentioned the jogging here, perhaps I will feel more encouraged to continue. Or again, perhaps not.......

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

23 August: Consumer debt.

As I piled the laundry into the blue plastic washing "basket", I discovered that the small break in one bit of the mesh had suddenly become a great big tear right across the rim.

This item just fits snugly into the gap above the hot water tank in the airing cupboard, so my first thought was that a replacement probably wouldn't fit that space, so where else could it be stored? Modern houses are notoriously lacking in space to keep large and/or awkwardly shaped items.

Then it occurred to me that this unobtrusive and useful bit of equipment had accompanied me from house to house for more than 40 years; it was bought in the days when plastic goods came in a narrow range of colours, of which light blue seemed the least offensive. In fact newlyweds with little money in the mid 1960s had a fairly restricted choice of household goods, and I seem to remember the same light blue for nasty nylon bedding. And for a bathroom suite.

Mind you, the light blue plastic and nylon stuff was very much up to date at the time, and at least bought new. There was nothing unusual at that time in buying second-hand things, or happily accepting family hand-me-downs. In fact I am at this very moment sitting on a chair which I bought in a junk shop for 30 bob (yes, that's £1-10-0, in old money); it needed repairing, which I did as a temporary measure in 1965 or 1966. I repaired it again last year. The old Victorian style chests of drawers in the bedrooms were also bought around then, and still have larger and more useful drawers than any modern chests, though one has a loose foot and the other has lost the knobs from the bottom drawer and has to be opened with fingers in the holes where the knobs used to be.

This burst of *where have all those years gone?* has been amplified by DH transferring old tapes and LPs onto CDs; finding some recordings of melodeon tunes, he was trying to remember when he last danced the Morris, so we got out some old photo albums to try and work it out. Ah, those old photo albums!

Anyway, as I was saying, I now need to find a replacement laundry basket. But the other light blue 1960s items in the broom cupboard, the soft broom and the cornice brush, are still in use and still going strong. As my mother used to say, they don't owe us anything.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

20 August: Walking

Yesterday we had a nice walk in the countryside near the Derwent reservoir. The weather forecast was not too good, so we took our rain outfits with us. Every time I put my overtrousers on, the rain stopped, as if by magic. They are now called "the magic overtrousers".
We ate lunch leaning against a dry stone wall on heather moorland, then came down a track past a farm or two, and arrived at a junction by a stream. This sign post covered in lichen shows how clean the air is.

The heather covered hillside was a wonderful colour. The others debated which route we should take.

And when we got to Blanchland, there was just space in the tea-room for us, so we had a very civilised tea and cake stop, before following the river back to where we had parked the car.
A most enjoyable walk of about 8 miles, and only a couple of showers. Must take those magic overtrousers next time we go into the hills.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

15 August: More hats

Here are the photos of the other two hats recently knitted - above and below are the two sides of the blue and brown one.

And here is the latest version: white side -

and black side -

No idea why the camera decided it was night time when it recorded the lighter colours.

Now back to the mittens that are presently on the needles - and working out how to graft stitches with two colours of yarn. Anyone out there know how to do that?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

13 August: Scraps

Some random small events from the week -

A third double-sided hat has leapt off the red-hot needles; this one is in black and white, with pinks, red, and petrol blue. Photo to follow some time. Now for some experiments with patterned mittens. You can tell the weather's turned colder.

DH has been transferring some old LPs and tapes onto CDs. Some of the LPs are ones I haven't listened to for some years, though they used to be favourites. One that I used to enjoy now seems very bleak, with dark and depressing lyrics, and another seems much more harshly sung that I remember.

After a meeting in Durham yesterday I walked home. Part of the path was beside a stretch of dual carriageway, but passing fields. The cars tearing past at 70+ miles an hour didn't even seem to be on the same planet as the hedge and the fields. Perhaps a parallel universe.

For a change, I went to a different supermarket this week to shop. Some of the women staff were dressed in long skirts, aprons, and mob caps - reminiscent of late Victorian under-parlourmaids. There was an enormous man in a kilt playing bagpipes outside the door. If I'd known it was fancy dress, I'd have at least made an effort. I drove home wondering if the piper's dirk was real, and if so, how he got away with it in this day and age of "knife crime".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

9 August: More knitting

This is one of the hats I've been working on lately - adapted from a design in Spin Off magazine. It's a good way to use small amounts of different colours. The grey side can be worn when feeling more conservative, and the green side, below, is for a more extrovert mood.

The ice cream van has been playing a tune that I knew, but couldn't quite identify. DH has found out that it's the Bluebell polka - remember it?

Friday, August 04, 2006

4 August: Summer's progress

There have been butterflies on the buddleia - I grabbed a snap of this Red Admiral yesterday afternoon, when there were also Tortoiseshells and Peacocks feeding, and lots of bees.
We have had rain at last, steady rain that has soaked into the ground, though there are still big cracks in our clay soil.

The harvest has been brought in from many fields. On a walk down a local lane yesterday evening I took this picture. Cloud-spotters will appreciate the cloud.