Monday, March 20, 2017

Happy Christmas

Last Christmas we were surprised to receive a voucher for an "Experience" from my elder sister and her family.  We normally enjoy a hamper of smoked fish and meats which they have sent us for many years.  So this "Experience" came out of the blue.

The Shard

We checked the weather forecast anxiously: we were booked to enjoy lunch on a Thames cruise followed by the View from the Shard.  High winds, or worse, fog, would have spoiled the day.

Tower of London

We travelled in to Tower Bridge, where we met my younger sister and her husband who had been given the same voucher.  It was overcast, but not worse than you might expect in March.

London Eye

We embarked on the lunch cruise, down the river past all the redeveloped warehouses and wharves, then back up through Tower Bridge and up-river as far as Westminster.

All the while we were being served a  really delicious lunch of chicken breast, dauphinoise potatoes and plenty of fresh vegetables.

Once off the boat, we had to decide whether to cross by Tower Bridge, or by the plainer London Bridge, which is the one we chose.  Then we were whisked up to floor 68 of the Shard and climbed the stair to the viewing platform on floor 69. 

It is a strangely moving experience to see the city laid out before you like this, its railway routes exposed.  Those curious pockets of historic buildings marooned among all the spanking new developments of the last twenty years.

We climbed three more flights to floor 72 which is open to the elements.  It was quite a windy day and up here it felt like being in a forest, a sensation enhanced by the astroturf underfoot and the fake evergreens along the inner walls.

Tower of London from the Shard

It was a memorable day out, and a great Christmas present.

Friday, March 10, 2017


I've finished this asymmetrical scarf in Drops alpaca. This is Nurmilintu.

It features alternate bands of garter stitch and a simple lace.

I'm very pleased with how blocking has straightened this out and opened up the lace.

Snowdrops in full bloom at Mark's Hall arboretum.

And a heron looking hopeful on the banks of one of the man-made lakes.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Works in progress

First daffodil, almost ready to bloom.
With the weather variable, I am still spending time on my indoor hobbies - the allotment must wait for now.

Around my living-room I seem to have accumulated a number of works in progress, some only at the development stage and others in active progress.  I like to be able to move from one type of handwork to another, not least to rest my thumbs.

So, actively on the needles, is this asymmetrical scarf in Drops Alpaca.  You knit a long tail and then begin bands of simple lace alternating with deep bands of garter stitch.  I'm not sure how big it was meant to be - the designer seems to have just knit until one skein was used up.

At a much earlier stage is Lindisfarne by Lucy Hague.  This is also knitting, but pretty far removed from those garter bands.  The design hinges on 1-7 increases from which all the Celtic cables grow, but also includes some other tricky manoeuvres on dpns.  I won't be knitting an entire throw, but wanted to see how the technique worked.  There is an even more challenging square which I would like to try.

In the bag are two partially worked fingerless mitts in crochet.  I'm basically using up tiny ends of yarn on these, but also trying to develop some new skills, as my crochet is at beginner level.

Finishing the Celtic needlework bag spurred me on to consider some more pieces.  Someone at my knitting group, who likes to make small items for her grand-daughters, commented that my bag looked more like jewellery and that she could see herself making neck-purses.  Well, I just happen to have some small scraps of canvas handy, and I like a challenge...  This is another design from Co Spinhoven's "Charted Celtic Designs."  Then , how about wrist-bands, or cuffs, from the narrow strips?

The last one in plain sight in my living-room looks less promising.  These are scraps of fabric hand-woven by me in two different combinations: plain purple and purple warp with a variegated weft.  I'm thinking that these oddments might be sufficient to construct a small bag on similar lines to the one I have just finished, with the calico lining providing some stability to the hand-woven outer.  This one might just be tidied away instead.   And soon it will be spring...