Sunday, April 18, 2010

Border Country

A Swallowtail shawl by Evelyn Clark, knitted in Yarnsmith's Pure Alchemy in a colourway called Pankhurst, since it uses the suffragette colours.  This took only one skein of yarn and was an easy knit once I had mastered the nature of the pattern sections and realised how the nupps worked.  In this double knitting weight yarn on 4mm needles it moved along nicely.  I can see a few more of these in my future.

Plain socks for my husband in Regia Silk.  These have already seen some wear, although I was not very happy with the Kitchenering of the toe.  I feel it may prove a weak point.


How about these three?  We saw lambs in all stages of development on our recent trip north, but none so cute as these, on our stroll around the Howk at Caldbeck.  My husband even had a turn as the Good Shepherd, rescuing a lamb which had got itself trapped on a ledge under a bridge.  He did turn a bit pale when I explained to him the meaning of the word "scour", but he agreed that it had to be lifted out of its predicament.

We also saw plenty of ruined abbeys: Jedburgh, Dryburgh, Kelso...but Melrose took the prize for most interesting remains. 


Lots of intact masonry, carved capitals, statues, structures...much more than elsewhere.

Each day we tried to fit in a walk.  One, through muddy woodland, was to the Waterloo Tower, which had fantastic views. - from the base, as the tower isn't open.

Next on the list was Smailholm Tower, a pele tower just outside Selkirk.  Here there was a delightful surprise: a collection of brilliant costumed figure, too dramatic to be called dolls, by a maker called Anne Carrick.  Each tableau encted a scene from the old Scots ballads, "Sir Patrick Spens", "The Wife of Usher's Well", "Tam Lin".  The tower was on the land of a farm where Sir Walter Scott had recuperated from his chilhood illness, hence the link with the ballads.  The wonderful detail of the figures and the use of fabric in the costumes was an unexpected treat for me.

Finally, to our base on the Solway coast where unexpectedly good weather awaited us.  Lovely walks in the clear air, and magical sunsets.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Global Warming

My husband, wearing the cover sweater from Alice Starmore's "Sweaters for Men."  I knitted this about five years ago, but it has seen minimal wear since then.  This is because I made it after a particularly bitter walk around Buttermere at Christmas, and it is intended to be worn over another smaller jumper.  It has taken this year's inclement weather to bring it out of the cupboard. 

It has a lovely soft handle and drape, but it does look as if it belongs to someone bigger than my husband.

In 2000, we got married after many years together.  We both dislike hot weather so we booked a holiday in Shetland, after our August wedding.  We knew to pack warm clothes, but had reckoned without the wind-chill factor.  We each had a summer jumper and a heavier walking jumper with us.  On the first morning, which was bright and sunny, we found ourselves needing both jumpers at once, as layers.  Starmore seems to have that climate in mind in this sweter.

I have been very pleased with the comments on my Celtic Throw.   It is knit in strips, with the blue ones measuring seven inches and the cream ones five and a half inches.  This makes it abour five foot by forty-eight inches.  Knitting it in strips made it ideal for long journeys in the car and for traffic jams in particular.  Family commitments have meant that we have seen a lot of these this year.

Last week. we were able to plant our onions and two rows of early potatoes. We were pleased to find the soil light to work and friable.  Whether this is the result of frost and snow on autumn-dug  earth, or of worm action in response to the FYM we spread on it, is hard to tell.  Whichever, it is certainly more enjoyable than our first year on this plot when it was so waterlogged and heavy the soil would not drop off the spade when dug, then baked into bricks before it could be worked.