Sunday, June 17, 2007

Old favourites

For a change thought I'd better post an entry devoted to knitting. Been on leave this last week and was largely confined to the house. Got sunburnt last Sun, it was overcast with low cloud cover so along with thousands of others at an airshow didn't realise we were getting sunburnt. On Wed got stung on my top lip and within a short time my whole upper lip part of my lower lip was swollen and blistered. Antihistamines don't seem to have helped enormously so just been patient, stayed in out of the sun and carried on knitting.

Promised Natalie, a work colleague a pair of socks - she wants them to be a total surprise so in the stash had this bright pink Jitterbug and since she's been having a bit of a tough time thought it would be suitable. I mean who can be fed up wearing socks this bright!! Knit sock 1 of Jaywalkers but wasn't totally happy with the result.The yarn seemed to fight me every inch of the way whilst knitting this - knitting Jitterbug on 2.25m needles produces a very tight fabric but at the expense of it's softness. When I tried it on the heel area was baggy. As I needed to get this pair of socks off the needles quickly thought I'd go back to a pattern that's a favourite Broadripple. Couldn't believe the difference - the resulting sock flew off the needles and was a pleasure to knit rather than a chore. So sock 1 got frogged and here we have the results.

This is much closer to the colour - they really are incredibly bright!!

M loves handknit socks so much he claimed the bright blue Jitterbug I had and requested another pair of Thuja. Voila! These are also incredibly bright blue but with subtle patches of forest green and purple woven through.

Dee of Posh Yarns issued a challenge whereby if you wore something made of her Posh Yarn to her stall you'd get 10% of any purchases. I had some lovely Sophia 2ply cashmere in the stash and decided to knit Sivia Harding's Diamond Fantasy Shawl. As I posted earlier, when I ttok the skeins out of the stash wasn't too sure about the colour combi but when wound up and knitted it really is very pretty, especially in the sun. Unfortunately Dee wasn't able to make the show but I did complete the shawl a week later. Knitting with this yarn was pure pleasure, the pattern is so well written although I did go wrong. >As soon as I worked this out it is an interesting easy knit. The I-cord edging was new to me, took ages but does give a lovely, even strong edging will I'll use again. BEWARE there is a mistake on some copies of the pattern as Rows 42 and 43 are repeated. Was lucky enough to get 2 skeins of Dee's Sophia 4ply at sale price a fortnight ago. This is colourway Turtle and destined for a pair of socks.

One of my weaknesses is for fresh flowers in the house and a fortnight ago bought this bunch of purpley astromerias.
They were more purpley in reality and as the evening sunlight came in through the patio windows they glowed in the sun.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

And then there were four

We're extremely luck living next to a canal where I step straight out of my garden gate onto the tow path. Having a dog means that I also get to walk along the canal daily. One of the best things about this is that we really get to know the stretch of canal and local wildlife extremely well.

We're lucky in that this section of canal supports a pair of resident swans and each year anxiously watch where they nest and where, how many eggs hatch and how many cygnets make it to adulthood. Last year they built three nests, laid three lots of eggs but only hatched four eggs and only one cygnet survived.
This year they built one nest - right in the middle of the towpath but fortunately anyone walking the towpath was able to divert around it without disturbing the female too much. She sat on the nest for weeks and weeks and weeks and we thought that perhaps she was sitting on eggs that weren't going to hatch. However she did know best and low and behold hatched all 8 eggs
These were taken the day after they'd hatched and they're just so cute. Alas the next day we saw there were only 7 cygnets and could see some fluff in the reeds at the side of the canal and it looked as if something had dragged it out off the bank. Within the next 24 hours another three disappeared and there was no sign of them at all. However we're now down to four

They're now growing quickly but early in the morning when they're just waking up it makes me realise that they're still quite vulnerable from attack by mink or particularly foxes, quite often hear a vixen screeching at night. Do enjoy watching them grow and way they seem to mimic the parents preening their feathers and dunking themselves under the water.