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Friday, 20 January 2017

Mid-January

Well, here we are in the middle of January already.  We haven't seen much of the sun this week, but we have seen a lot of clouds and drizzly rain.  It's not even particularly cold, either, so I've set off for my walks with the dog wrapped up against the weather and come home carrying my layers instead of wearing them.

We did see a patch of blue sky on Tuesday - just the one - and for a short while everywhere seemed brighter and less drizzly.  Not for long, though.  By the time we had left this wood and were on our way home, the dog and I were wet through again.  Ah well.  



After last week's Moorland Blanket Unravelling, I've had to wait until my new crochet hook arrived before I could make a start on it again.  It arrived yesterday - hooray!  I'm very pleased with it - I mean, who couldn't fail to be delighted by another sparkly unicorn crochet hook, especially one that came with a chocolate heart?  (I needed to take a picture of this because I knew that by the time I came to write about it, the chocolate would have gone.  And it has.  But it was very nice.)


This hook even has a rainbow on it (which actually doesn't feel uncomfortable under your thumb when you use the hook, in case you were wondering) ...



and a seriously cute unicorn.  What's not to like?


Here they are, my duo of unicorns.  I wonder what you call more of them?  A flock?  A sparkle? They certainly are sparkly, I've got glitter all over my hands after getting stuck back into my blanket!  I'm not complaining, I could have done with a bit of sparkly magic dust last night after working three blocks of the colours and then discovering that I'd used the wrong stitches.  Aargh! What is it about this month and projects not doing what they're supposed to do?  I've still not finished my skirt ... 


Progress on these socks, however, is coming along nicely - just as well as I'm planning the tutorial for the end of the month.  I've spent a couple of days this week working on the videos that I'm going to put with the tutorials and I think the thing that has struck me most is just how long it all takes.  I could have knitted another sock in the time that it's taken me to get my words right for each of the sections that I'm videoing - I'll be wanting an Oscar at the very least at the end of all this! J



And because I am the eternal optimist and always like to think that I have more hours in the day to knit than I probably do (or perhaps because I am ever so slightly insane), I'm joining in with the Blacker Yarns Pod Knit-a-long which officially started yesterday.  Blacker Yarns are hosting the Podcast Lounge at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival again this year and they have decided to run a Knit-a-long using their yarns in the run up to the Festival.  I happen to have a few skeins in my stash, and have added another recently as I couldn't resist this one the other week ...



It's hard to tell from the photo (thanks to our current dull weather) but it's a lovely deep purple colour and is another of Blacker Yarns' limited edition yarns which comes from the fleece of these rather handsome sheep ...


Source: www.borderleicester.com

They're Border Leicester sheep, one of the oldest British breeds, and this yarn comes from the largest flock in the UK.  Look at those ears!  They look like sheep crossed with rabbits to me! Their fleece is described as similar to Blue Faced Leicester but stronger, so not only is it soft and smooth, but it's ideal for socks.  Ker-ching!  Sold to the lady who can't resist British sock yarn!  (And incidentally, because I know that this is something of an issue these days for some people, the yarn band states that this yarn is from sheep that live to grow old.)

Anyway, because I have realised that I have quite a few skeins of Blacker Yarns yarn that need using up (I'm trying not to keep yarns "for best" because if I get run over by a bus, I don't want my beautiful skeins being thrown out because no one knows what to do with them - it makes sense to knit them whilst I'm still in one piece!) I have not one but two projects in mind.  And no, I haven't discovered the secret of extra hours in the day, but I think that if I keep stuffing my day full of things I need to do, then one day the secret might come to me - a bit like pulling the right book out of a shelf to release the magic door behind the bookcase.  I can live in hope, can't I?  

So here are my choices - firstly, from Verity Castledine's beautiful book, The Sock Drawer, which I bought at Yarndale last year.  Verity is the talent behind Truly Hooked hand-dyed yarns and has written this book of sock patterns which are a good next step from the basic Sockalong sock.  I'm going to choose Arwen from the patterns and I've picked out a skein of Tamar Lustre Blend 4ply which I think will work perfectly.  My second choice is the Hartland Cliffs shawl, a free pattern from Blacker Yarns, which I'm going to knit in the St Kilda Laceweight yarn that I also got from Yarndale.  This was one of those purchases that I really didn't need to make ... until I saw the shawl in real life and then my credit card jumped out of my purse all on it's own.  As it does.  The idea is that you have until the Edinburgh Yarn Festival to complete your makes and then you can take them with you to show off (and get a discount off any yarns you might buy to replenish your stock) ... but of course, there's no reason why you still can't join in even if you're not going to Edinburgh, and you can find all the details of the Knit-a-long here.



My Moorland blanket, tutorial socks and Knit-a-long projects should keep me quiet for a week or so (or possibly longer ...) so I decided to make the most of a gap in the rain showers to look around the garden today.  The snowdrops are coming through already, which of course they should be doing as it is January, but I do worry about these delicate shoots if we have a sudden cold snap. Mind you, we haven't really had much in the way of cold all winter so I think they're probably safe enough. 



Perhaps not these (fool) hardy shoots, though, which have been brave enough to grow in the gap between the steps.  The dog has no respect for any of the vegetation in the garden, whether it's grass or flowers, and will do a handbrake (pawbrake?) turn wherever he feels like.  I don't know how long these snowdrops will last, but it's lovely to see them whilst they're here!



There are also some shoots indoors ... a friend gave me this pretty jug for Christmas which came with some Muscari (grape hyacinth) bulbs.  It hasn't taken any time at all for the shoots to come through and I'm really enjoying seeing them - it makes me realise how long the garden seems to have been drab and brown.  It doesn't take much to brighten you day sometimes, does it?


Have a fabulous weekend.  I hope the sun shines for you and all your projects for the weekend go swimmingly well, whatever they are! 


20 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. They're fab, aren't they? I bet they'd even tempt you to crochet! ;-) xx

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  2. The hooks are fabulous and I love the idea of a sparkle of unicorns!

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    1. I've just been told that it's a blessing of unicorns, and that's equally as nice! xx

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  3. Love your posts Christine. I am new to sock knitting, I cast on my first sock on Xmas Eve with Little Bobbins Dani.... I have just finished it, having tried various circular needle lengths etc.... It wasn't easy! I am looking forward to your videos... So please keep going, your public needs you 😀
    Hugs
    Sue xx

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    1. Hello Sue, it's lovely to see you! Well done on finishing your sock - you'll find your second one much easier and you'll soon be wearing your pair. Thanks for stopping by! xx

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  4. Those ears are like bunnies! I had to giggle a little at the priority of the stash if you should ever be ran over by a bus. I need to start planning my seedling soon, plenty of sunflowers again I think ����

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    1. Ooh yes, sunflowers are fabulous! Every year I think I'll start mine off early to get really tall ones and then I always forget. I'll put a note in my calendar now, so thanks for reminding me! xx

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  5. My goodness you have a lot of knitting and crochet on the go! Hope you are enjoying it all and that the videos are not too hard to deal with. Love your new hook, and the idea of a sparkle of unicorns, how sweet is that!

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    1. I'm not good at sitting still! The videos are coming along although it's still slow work - hopefully I'll be finished in time! xx

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  6. Oh, boy! So many fab things in one post!

    I think it's a sparkle if unicorns, for sure! As soon as I saw your hook on Instagram, I ordered one for me!! Bring on the crochet pillows :)

    Thank you so much for kick starting me on sock knitting. I love it!

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    1. You're going to love your crochet hook, I'm finding it really comfortable to use - and I'm spending rather a lot of time admiring the unicorn too! I'm so glad you're enjoying the sock knitting too xx

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  7. For once the cold weather seems to be in the South East, clear skies, hoar frost even in this London suburb. Not quite as bad in Dorset yesterday, more cloudy, two hours of sock knitting in the car going down.

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    1. Cold and frosty is lovely because you can wrap up and keep warm; the damp cloudiness is just a bit miserable when it goes on for too long! xx

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  8. I love the look of the new sock. I'm fairly new to sock knitting but yours is my go-to pattern. I've been lucky enough to find a source of discounted cones of 100% superwash wool so am working away to send for the Yarndale sock line

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    1. Oh wow, that's fantastic, thanks Lynn! xx

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  9. Great unicorn hooks - love them. A group of unicorns is called a Blessing - how cool is that?

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    1. A blessing of unicorns is lovely - I'm so glad there's a nice name for them! xx

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  10. Oh MY! However will you choose which pattern to make for the KAL? All are gorgeous!

    Those sheep are adorable. So if they're a cross between sheep and rabbits are they called sheebits? Tsk, tsk.

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    1. Ha ha, sheebits - that's great! :-) xx

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