I am nearly there in finishing my mitts.
First FO for January FAL .
Wednesday, 9 January 2013
There was lots of bugs about over Christmas , my youngest having a particularly nasty virus with sky high temperatures. I had a cold that threatened to become something worse , and am still easily exhausted .
Christmas was lovely , and our Knitting Group Secret Santa and night out was superb. My sister even gave me a knitted gift of a leaf design scarf in manos yarn this year, which I adore .
Although feeling unwell , I did manage out on some gentle walks with DH while the children were with the Grandparents , that and plenty of rest help shift the awful cold/flu thing I had.
I always find January a bleak month , joyless , and particularly if recovering from illness , depressing. Lethargy and apathy set in , and when they take a rest , panic takes their place . It takes a huge amount of effort to tune out of negative emotions and tune in to positive ones .
In trying to be more positive , I am joining in our Knitting Group s AL , or finish- along. Although given the number of WIPS I have , this could backfire on me!
There are 22 days left in January , and I will be finishing my snowflake mitts and perhaps my purple alpaca socks . If I manage that I will pat myself on the back and start a new project in February!
By then I should feel a bit more positive .
Here is some projects I finished over Christmas.
Leaf beret hat and scarf , pattern from Ysolda' s Saturday Treats , handspun yarn from Secret Santa a couple of years ago .
And here are the beautiful flowers my friends at the knitting group have me for organizing Secret Santa .
Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Minus 5 deg celsius to be precise . Still its cosy in our wee home . Lots of knitting and spinning going on just now , some may be gifts , some is mine , all mine! Haha!
Finished knitting the beret from Ysolda's book Saturday Treats , using some very lovely handspun yarn that Secret Santa gave to me about 2 years ago . Its a leafy green colour so perfect for the leaf beret .
Have started a kidsilk haze scarf too , with some beads , but this one will probably be a gift , as will the handspun yarn I made with some lovely fibre from Easyknits called Plum Pie .
Had a particularly lovely time last week , went down to Basingstoke to visit my DH who works there now . With the exception of some dreadful train journeys' , had a great time going into London to visit the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate Modern . Wonderful exhibition with seven different rooms each under a different heading , relating to what the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were doing at that specific time . It took me two hours to go round everything , my feet were aching but I did not want to leave . Sadly it finishes on January 13th , so won't get another chance to see it again .
On Thursday I took a very pleasant and short train journey to Winchester , ancient capital of England . Such a beautiful medieval city , full of interesting nooks and crannies and the market was in full flow when I arrived . I headed to the nearby Cathedral to have a look inside and see if I could find Jane Austens' grave . A tour had just started so I joined in , and the docent was very knowledgeable and interesting . Its such a beautiful sacred space , and not only did I see Jane Austens' grave , I found some PRB designed stained glass windows in the Epiphany Chapel! (Edward Burne-Jones to be exact) I must say the Winchester Bible gave me shivers down my spine , here was a handwritten document made over 800 years ago , beautifully done and , even with my limited latin, I could understand . Who was this talented scribe?
Jane Austens' grave inside Winchester Cathedral
Crypt of Winchester Cathedral which floods at certain times of year - with Antony Gormley scuplture
Coffee in the Refectory
Friday saw me take my youngest to the Yule night at West Kilbride , a half hour drive down the Ayrshire coast from Gourock . My friend Ange has kindly offered to feed us too , so after dinner we headed out into the frosty evening to the Santa parade , then Thom and Callum played with their light sabres (cheap nasty ones on sale in the street) , while Ange and I popped into the shops . All of them had drinks and nibbles , and very tasty it was too . At Old Maiden Aunt - Liliths beautiful studio , we stopped for a while , chatting to our friends Gwen and Rhiannon and Ziggy the dog . Poor Ziggy disgraced himself by relieveing himself by the big suitcase in the studio, Ooops!
Karie , Elaine , Lynette and their partners all came down from Glasgow for the evening , and it was great fun . The "boys" (big and small) and Lesley chatted about Star Wars , while much mulled wine and tasty baked cookies and cakes were consumed. Fabulous! Karie even brought her Danish cakes.
Saturday , we took the kids into Glasgow to see the lights , visit Forbidden Planet (boy heaven!) and have some Pizza . It was mobbed , but we did what we went up to do , somehow the boys got early "gifts" at forbidden planet - Dr Who figures and a James Bond book . A bemused German chap asked about Dr Who , apparently they have just started showing it on German TV.
My two crossword buddies and I went back into Glasgow on Monday , a bit more civilised , coffee at Tinderbox in Princes Square while the school choir was singing , a look around the Continental Market down by St Enoch Square , a bit of Christmas shopping and a bit more eating .
I guess Christmas has begun!
Monday, 12 November 2012
Yesterday was Remembrance Sunday , and with two boys in uniformed organisations there would be at least one in the local Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service . Poppies were purchased by the dozen and STILL most got lost .
However , while the maturer among us were thinking deep thoughts , and feeling all very moved by the tragedy and sorrow of war , my two little angels
found this a wee bit difficult .
DS1 felt the Parade would be too long and cold , and interfere with his social activities , not realising that most of his friends would be there too! Three tee-shirts under his Scout Shirt didn't convince him he would be warm enough either , but I was trying to avoid the Michelin Man look , so that's all it was! "Why is is so cold on Remembrance Sunday?" , "Its November !!" said I .
"Whats the silence all about?" asked the youngest , having been taught for most of his life what it was about . "Its a bit boring!" he said . "Yes , darling , I am sure the poor soldiers getting shot to pieces remarked that it was boring too!!"
Its strange but that two minutes does seem like an eternity. A baby cries and has a dummy stuck in its mouth to sooth it , it doesn't work . Some joggers and cyclists pass by in brightly coloured gear , focused on their activity , giving the parade a backward glance . A toddler purloins a bag a sweeties from Daddys' pocket while he is deep in thought , and the Ex-Service Men and Women at the War Memorial look like living statues , immovable as the stone memorial they face . And an elderly lady squeezes the hand of her husband , who stares straight at the parade , and remembers a different day . The Town officials lay their wreaths , as do the uniformed organisations , all very solemn as it should be . The clergymen speak loud and clear in comforting tones , and even the National Anthem does not get carried off in the wind but sounds respectful .
And it is bitterly cold and beautiful. A beautiful remembrance.
The children are quiet afterwards as they drink their warming hot chocolate , and return to their normal activities .
A trip to the battle fields of Flanders for every school child ? Yes Mr Cameron , and hurry up about it!
Have started a great deal and finished not a lot , but progress is being made .
Started these Snowflake mittens in March , have ripped them out about 5 times now , but am progressing at last - did this while watching/listening to Operation Iceberg , super programme .
Also got back into spinning a bit more - here is some of my spun yarn - lovely merino/silk on left , merino/silk noil/angelina on spool and BFL on right .
Also managed a weaving class this month taught by the lovely ange of knit1girl1 blog , and made a moebius scarf . It was great fun , but the tension in my shoulders from the concentration , aarrgghh! Am being persuaded a bit more on the weaving , may try it out a bit more soon , especially the new techniques we were shown . Its great fun!
Tuesday, 23 October 2012
Its back to school today for my younger son , luckily for my elder , the Secondary Schools have an extra in-service day so he is still off school . Still getting up at the usual school time , and helping mum with the shopping isn't what he had hoped to do .
The latter part of last week was so wet and windy , and we canceled our Dumfries trip , and made do with visiting the Science Centre , which the boys adore . Although my older boy is now teenager in training , so "no photo's please" and "really this is too young for me now " are his sorta mantra's .
You can tell from this photo - "we are not amused!"
And a trip to Gran and Grandads' for the kids meant I could visit Glasgow University Public Study Day entitled Re-inventing Scotlands' Woollen Tradition in the Lighthouse on Mitchell Street in Glasgow .
There it was lovely to see were many familiar faces of knitty friends whom I hadn't seen in a while , and some beautiful knitted garments being worn and shown!
I got to see the famous Shetland Cobweb Shawl knitted by Lilith for Elaines' wedding day , and it got filmed for STV!
The talks were interesting , and the Knitting Salon benches by artist Trevor Pitt amazing . There was a lady knitting a gansey and there were several gorgeous ganseys on show . There was a slide show about the Mirrie Dancers , and a presentation by the Shetland Museums curator on Fairisle - visit Elaines' blog as she has a superb post about it .
One of the lecturers from Glasgow University gave a talk on the introduction of a new Post-grad course on textile conservation , and the lovely Karina from Rowan was demonstrating crochet using Rowans British Sheep Breeds wool .
I even got to treat myself to some fibre lovelies courtesy of Ripplecraft and Fibre Forager - aren't they gorgeous!
I have now completed the front and back of the baby sweater , and hopefully will have the sleeves done soon . Its for my niece who is one tomorrow! I look after her a day a week , so will probably keep it here so I can look after it too !
Hopefully getting out tonight to knitting , it has changed to a Tuesday evening , which is good as my youngest is starting cubs on a Thursday. However with DH working away , getting a babysitter can be awkward , hopefully Grandpa will make it though .
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
It is the October Holidays , or mid-term break to give it the official title ,and one of our favourite holidays . Usually , the weather is cold but bright , and the trees leaves are turning gold , red and brown making the landscape very colourful .
We are forgoing the usual trips the theme parks , and having a "staycation" instead ,with a wee trip to Dumfries in between .
Yesterday afternoon , we visited the Riverside museum , which contains Glasgows' transport collection , and berthed outside is the Tall Ship .
Its an unusual building , designed by the architect Zaha Hadid , but once the children stopped running off in every direction , or constantly asking for something to eat , we were able to enjoy the layout and design of this lovely building . The windows which make you feel you are looking at a landscape painting , the way to can view the exhibits from the floor level and then see some more of them from the first floor level . The Main street (old Glasgow street) with its old shop fronts AND interiors were great fun too .
And obviously it had its Shipbuilding section , with two wonderful Stanley Spencer paintings of the Clyde shipyard workers at work . These paintings were taken during the second world war , when Stanley Spencer was employed as a war artist at Port Glasgow and Greenock Shipyards , and show the detail of shipbuilding , the cramped conditions , the physical and often dangerous work . I also loved the detail of the clothes the men wore , one an had on a very intricate fairisle sweater .(One of my favourite Stanley Spencer paintings is of "the Glen" in Port Glasgow at the end of the war , it shows very bright and colourful children , spinning over the railings , skipping and having fun -this one is housed at the Glasgow Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.)
As with most children , the attractions of the exhibits wane and the siren call of the cafe and shop take over , so after a restorative drink, and a wee look round the shop we headed home .
But mum was on a cultural roll , so today we visited the local Inverclyde museum , "The McLean" in Greenock , housed behind the (James) Watt Library . It is a really wonderful old-fashioned museum , and has stuffed animals , trays of butterflies and insects as well as some Egyptian/Japanese/Chinese/Indian exhibits . There are sections on the local industries , Shipbuilding , Shipping , Sugar-refining , Pottery , Ropes and Woolen Mills and so on . There is also some excellent paintings (a few JD Fergusons , a Cadell and Peploe for starters!) There were obviously a lot of wealthy people , and a huge amount of industry in the area that this beautiful wee museum feels a bit small too contain and display it all .
Sadly , what is missing is a comprehensive history of the area , which would celebrate the intellect and talent of the area , the beauty of the architecture that wasn't destroyed , as well as inspiring the local inhabitants . When we fail to document our history we lose it and our sense of identity . People can then dwell on the negative things about the area , instead of being inspired to reach for something better , and improve the area they live in .
The boys got bored - they do not share my passion for history , unless its about electronic games! Time for home.
Well , at least I get out to my knitting tonight - have been fighting with the little baby sweater I'm knitting , it may have been better if there had been a chart for the lace section , still it is taking shape .
Sorted out my stash and projects the other week , and am determined to make my way through the projects until I get (some of ) them finished . It would help if I stopped casting on new projects!
I think my wee (not so beautiful) stash cupboard IS struggling to contain it all.
Still socks don't count! Nor do gloves!
However I think the chunky cardi that is in the lastest Rowan book might - but not if I knit it quickly .
I am being pestered again - why do they need to eat!
Sunday, 9 September 2012
Finally getting back to blogging . Had a surprise last time I looked at "comments awaiting" , to see that the famous Carol Bentzen had posted! I had found a knitting kit 2 years ago designed by Carol , which was a lovely Angora yarn with a pattern for a sweater (year apparently 1987) , shoulder pads and "fuzzing" brush included too . Sadly Carol didn't leave a contact email , as I would love to know more about her designing days and what she is up to now . But I love that she eventually married the reported who interviewed her for the Greenock Telegraph! I haven't knitted the yarn , but have a yearning to knit the original pattern , as its just like something I wore in the 80's myself!
Its been a busy weekend in Inverclyde , lots to do especially since its Open Doors weekend
Here is the list of beautiful historic buildings that had their doors opened this weekend .
I visted the Dutch Gable House , The Fire and Rescue Museum (formerly the old Fire Station) , the Mid Kirk (built 1761 and modelled on St Martin-in-the Fields , London.) and today I went to the Old West Kirk (or Auld West Kirk as I knew it) . This last building is of enormous historical importance , being the first post reformation church in Inverclyde , built with permission granted by James the 6th of Scotland in 1590 , and was where the family of James Watt worshiped . After the congregation grew and moved into new premises , it fell into disrepair but after an outcry of locals was rebuilt in the mid 1860's , William Morris and Co was commissioned to design the stained glass windows , and there are lots of them - outside of London galleries it is Pre-Raphaelite heaven! Windows have been designed by Rossetti , Madox Brown and Burne-Jones .
It has two galleries for the local lairds , a Sailors Gallery with a ship above it , and a Farmers Gallery with a plough above it . I recommend contacting the Kirk to request a viewing if you are ever in the area.
As with a lot of older churches , this is one of three , two which shall be eventually closed down and no longer used as churches . Personally I feel that the historic importance of this building to the local area and culture is too important to losand hope the Church of Scotland take advice from Historical bodies before they do anything daft!
I have been knitting , but not much! Finished my Debbie Bliss Winter Garden Sweater and love it to bits . The yarn is expensive , but for a chunky yarn beautiful and almost light and delicate to touch . The colour is a heather shade of purple with tweedy flecks , and the pattern is a plain broad rib and round neck design. Its the sort of pattern that would suit all shapes and sizes , and gives me a bit of shape . As usual I have lots of socks on the needles , and a few sweaters too - two , both in 4 ply which need to be attented to soon as I need a few more winter sweaters. I also want to cast on a lovely Ysolda Teague design called Lauriel , from her Little Red in the City book .
Again , I will probably stretch myself!
I also have a Rowan pattern on the needles that needs attention too , its intarsia and I am not very confident with intarsia, but I shall knuckle down to it this month and see how it goes .
Its good to be back!