Sunday, 13 November 2016

Armistice Day

Today we remember our fallen soldiers, those who paid the final price, gave the last full measure, people who literally died to fight fascism, and this yeah I just...can't. I look at poppies and shudder; I listen to people swear they will "never forget their sacrifice" and all I can think is "you're re-creating the world that required it". The Greatest Generation, the people who remember what this looked like first-hand last time, are largely gone from us. To those left I can only apologise. I'm sorry. You gave so much, lost so much, thought you had won so much, and now at the very end it is clear you just delayed it. The only thought that hurts as much, today, is having to hope my children are at least your equals, capable of fighting it back for another 100 years. What a burden we place on them.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

So Much to Knit, So Little Time

One of the things about me being pregnant is that, for the first half of it, I can't knit. Three first trimesters now and three periods of time when the thought of knitting just leaves me cold. I can read and this time I watched a fair amount of Netflix 'cause I couldn't just lay in bed all day but I also wasn't up to getting up and doing anything. So no knitting for the first three months and, this time around, I could and did knit a little in the fourth month but my heart wasn't in it.

Imagine my delight, in September, when I got my knitting mojo back! Except I didn't particularly want to knit any of those boring projects I'd been working on before, no,I wanted shiny new knitting projects and bouncy new yarns to knit them in! I, uh, went way off the rails. For the most part I am aware that I have a bountiful stash with a huge variety of wools and colours, but in September that simply Would Not Do.

It started innocently enough, with the purchase of Ysolda Teague's Inglis mitts which were originally publish in the Edinburgh Yarn Festival magazine back in March, to showcase her new British wool, Blend no. 1. I loved the look of the pattern (and one other in the magazine) but it was only available in dead tree format, not digitally, and I really don't need more Stuff so I didn't buy it, nor did I buy the (small batch) yarn in the hope that I would find something to do with it. Well, having bought the pattern, when Ms Teague announced that she was getting another delivery of Bn1 and it would be available on her website as of this time and date, I was right there (on our holiday), ordering a skein. Chris wanted something to keep his hands warm when typing; I'll knit these for him, I told myself. 

Oh, my goodness! Blend no. 1 seems like a nice enough yarn in the skein and even the cake, but once I started to knit with it and had a few rows of Heavenly amounts of squish. I gave the just-started cuff to Chris to squish and he went online to see how many more skeins were available to purchase and started requesting intimate items I could knit for him so he could spend every waking minute figuratively rolling around naked in it. Me, I hoped the mitts would come out small and, darn it, I guess I'd just have to keep them. They didn't. 

The pattern is not overly complicated and has lovely details like the way the ribbing slants across the palm from the thumb gusset and the cuff that can be worn up or down depending on temperature and if you need to use your fingers. The only tricky bit is that, because the patten never repeats and is asymetrical you have to keep checking the charts for both mitts. I could knit while talking to people or watching telly -just glancing at the chart at the start of each round- but it wasn't suitable as a handbag project.

Then, right after I started the Inglis mitts, Ms Teague released the first pattern in her annual Knitworthy series, the Belyse fingerless gloves. It was love at first sight! Which unfortunately wasn't in time to get any of the kits she'd released to knit them in her wool and EasyKnit's Squidge, which is a similar blend of sheepies. I decided that, rather than order from two shops I'd just try to skeins of Squidge. My first several contrast colour choices were sold out (blue and silver again? Me?) but got one I liked and joined the mailing list...and the day my order arrived I got an email saying "wow, we had no idea our wool would be featured in this popular pattern, but we've restocked and even made kits!" Sigh. I still haven't started these, but looking at the pattern again, they're certainly top of the queue. 

I also bought a gradient set on the Big Boy base, as long as I was trying a new-to-me dyer, to make something from Carol Feller's new book "Knitting with Rainbows" which I also bought in September. Only I hadn't looked closely enough at the meterage and it's a bit short for what I had in mind but might work for a hat or mix with a contrast colour for an easy gradient colourwork project. I caked two of the colours together to start and I was surprised how course the yarn is. Will have to plan accordingly.

My other accomplishment in early September was finishing my vanilla, after-thought heel purple stripey socks. One sock appears to have two more stitches than the other as they start off at the same point in the colour sequence and they're the same length, but they end at a very different point. Oops. This is not my bothered face. I've not worn them much as I dropped a stitch picking up one of the heels and it's secured with a safety pin until I get around to sewing it down. They're knit in Opal's "happy" range, "sweet & spicy" colourway on a sparkle base which I ordered last year with two self-striping rainbow colours. I have a lot of sock yarn but I'd have to be dead to pass up sparkly, self-striping rainbows.