On the face of it, everything is business as usual. Morning walks with the dog through grey mist ...
and (finally!) crunchy frost. I can't get enough of the sight of frost-covered leaves, every vein delicately outlined. Winter has found us! Yesss!
Even the canal was frozen this morning where I walked with the dog ...
The ice looked as if it had lots of leaves frozen into it, or as if it had frozen, thawed into pieces and then re-frozen; I've never seen it look like that before.
This is my one sprout plant. I planted it a bit late last year to get any sprouts for Christmas Day (there are one or two on the plant now but they still just look like over-sized peas) which could have been a disaster as small daughter has declared that no sprouts are as good as the ones that her Grandad grew and she will only eat sprouts grown from the seeds that he kept in his seed box. Thankfully, disaster was averted as our local farm shop were selling a tasty variety that just about passed muster, but I'd better make sure I sow the seeds in good time this year!
The nice thing about frosty mornings is the bright skies that often come with them. Here's our poor church, still clad in corrugated iron and scaffolding as the last section of the damaged roof is replaced. It's been such a long job - nearly 5 years now, I think - but the church is due to open later on this year which will be fantastic.
I managed to get to my piano lesson this week too. I don't think I've told you that I play the piano before - I suppose I imagine that someone of my age that has piano lessons is a bit like a "lady who lunches" and I've never really liked that image! My excuse is that it keeps my brain active and my hands supple which is important with all the knitting I do, but in reality, I just like to sit and play.
I don't go every week and I have a flexible arrangement with my teacher so that we fit lessons in around our schedules; we've been doing this for years now and it works very well for us. What also works very well is that my teacher is completely accepting of my lack of practice during the time I don't see him. I'm sure I would be a much better player than I am if I did practice, but I always feel terribly guilty about sitting down at the piano at home when there's so much else to be done. Stupid, eh? Anyway, my lessons have become my playing time and I'm grateful for the opportunity to switch off and concentrate on the music and what my hands are doing. It's completely different to knitting where, unless I'm working on a complicated pattern, my mind tends to wander whilst my hands are moving; with piano playing I become absolutely absorbed by what I'm doing and there's no room in my head to think about anything else. Meditation by any other means, I'm sure.
In this week's woolly news, my copy of Wool Tribe has arrived. It's the magazine of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival containing exclusively-designed patterns, articles and a floor plan of the festival which is very useful if you're going to go. I spotted it on a few Instagram posts and decided to get a copy; Instagram is wonderful and I have made so many yarny discoveries through the people that I follow - and it costs me a fortune! Not that I'm really complaining - I could easily spend my money on lots of other things that wouldn't bring me nearly as much pleasure. The patterns are very nice (there's a lovely pair of socks!) and I'm going to enjoy sitting down to read the articles with a brew later on.
I've cast on for my Blacker Yarns knitalong using their Hartland Cliffs shawl pattern and I'm loving it so far - this St Kilda laceweight yarn is gorgeous to knit with; soft and light and it copes well with frogging when someone doesn't read the pattern properly in the beginning (oh dear, I hope this isn't going to be a theme of this year!).
Also coming along nicely is my Moorland Blanket which I'm making in Lucy's original granny stripe colours rather than her new moorland colours - I'm using up a pack of the colours rather than buying more (see my previous post about being run over by a bus which actually applies to all the yarn in my stash!) and I've decided to go for a completely random order by just pulling the next colour of the bag without thinking too much about it. I don't think I'll get any terrible clashes - Lucy doesn't do terrible clashes with her colours - so I'm happy just to see what comes out next. I'm finding it quite easy to do a row here and there and now that I'm using a bigger hook, the blanket is growing at a good pace.
The paddling is because I gave myself a deadline of the last weekend in January to have my new sock tutorial post ready. This will be the one with the videos that are prompting the Dark Muttering and have already caused me to max out my phone and computer storage at least once with the out-takes, but it's good news because I'm all set to be ready for the last weekend in January which is next weekend. Except that you know - and now I know after I've looked at the calendar and squeaked in dismay - that the last weekend in January is this weekend.
Does it really matter if I'm not ready till next weekend - or the weekend after? Well, not in a life or death sense of it mattering, but if I don't attempt to stick to my self-imposed deadlines than you won't see this tutorial until winter has long gone and I've plans to do more than just this one this year which means I need to get a move on. I'm going to do my best to have it ready for this weekend ... or maybe early next week which is still the end of January so that counts, right?
I'd better get my flippers on!