Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Special Visitor

The Misty Cottage garden had a beautiful visitor the other day. Luckily he stayed around long enough for me to reach for the camera.

It is a sparrowhawk who occasionally helps itself to a smaller bird from the bird feeder, no joy for him this time though.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Yarn Along

This weekend the Misty Cottage children will become teenagers.  I have to say that this is coming as a bit of a shock to me – I'm not quite sure what to do with teenagers. Hopefully Betty Staley's book, Between Form and Freedom, is going to help me. I am still not finding much time for reading but I am enjoying listening to Anne Bronte's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall on my ipod whilst working during the day.

As for what is on the needles, well there is not much progress to report as I have been mainly felting (wet and needle) and beading for the last couple of weeks. I have cast my hat on again and have discovered that I knit upside down when knitting in the round. Does anyone else do this? It means that my knitting grows up from the needles rather than dropping down from them. It also means that I have confused the right side and wrong side so when I had finished the rib and began the pattern I found that I had been carrying yarn along on the right side. Rather than frogging the whole thing and starting yet again, I think I will just knit in the other direction and have to anticipate the colour change by two stitches each time to keep the spirals moving properly. My brain aches just thinking about all this!

Some slight progress has been made on the shawl, I have got to the instruction that says 'knit the knit, pearl the pearl and yarn over' and I have stalled. I am having trouble imagining that this will turn out to look like the picture. Have any of you knitted this shawl (Damask by Kitman Figueroa)? If so don't be shy, all advice is extremely welcome.

Until now I have been a 'cast it on and knit until it is finished' kind of knitter but I find I have three things on my needles as I haven't finished the socks yet either. I am about to set the twist on some deliciously squidgey merino slub yarn that I have plyed with holographic thread so I fully expect to have a fourth item on the needles by next week. I think I need to get some focus to get over the tricky bits that are holding me back so I don't end up overwhelmed.

Joining in with the Yarn Along.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Cosmic Day

Quite a day today, Vernal Equinox and a solar eclipse!

Here at Misty Cottage it was, of course, misty for the eclipse which turned out to be perfect for safe viewing. My husband showed the anorak side of his nature by setting up my Dad's telescope to project an image of the eclipse onto a piece of paper. Periodically he would attempt to draw around the image to show the progress of the eclipse across the page but his plan was flawed as everytime he put the pencil to the paper his hand obscured the projected image! So pretty unsuccessful but very entertaining for onlookers (me).

I managed to get a few images from my little camera which I will share with you. I have to say that the atmosphere was quite eerie as the shadow of the moon passed across the sun. The birds became quiet, the air cooled and I was very glad to be in the 21st century and in full possession of the facts rather than at some time in history worrying about what was eating the sun.

Spring has arrived in the Misty Cottage garden as evidenced by the buds and flowers appearing all over the place. I am very excited about this little bud.

This is evidence that we are going to have delicious silvenberries later in the year. Silvenberries are like a large version of a cross between a blackberry and raspberry, the plants are extremely vigorous and fruit heavily. We put this plant in as a tiny cutting last spring so this should be our first year with a harvest from it – fingers crossed!

This is a flowering currant. I love this plant, it looks like a blackcurrant bush but instead of currants in summer, it has lovely pink blossom in spring. It is really pretty out in the garden but if you cut it and bring it inside I'm afraid it smells a bit too much like cat pee for my liking.

 Periwinkles are close to my heart as they are one source of the name of the Steiner Parent and Child group I helped to get started just over a decade ago now.

This coming week I will enjoy the fact that it is light when my alarm sounds at 6.45am. Once the clocks change next weekend I might be back to getting up in the dark for a little while which is always a struggle.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Who'd Have Thought It ...

... could be so difficult to count up to 297?!

It has taken me 5 attempts to cast on 297 stitches so far. Every time I count them I get a different total and it is driving me to distraction. Has anyone out there in Giny's Yarn Along got any hints or tips on how to do this painlessly? I am trying to cast on my first shawl, ostensibly to extend my lace knitting skills but also of course to justify this beautiful yarn which I spun from 100g of hand dyed, slinky, silk/yak blend. The fibre was an impulse buy from a lovely chap on Ravelry called Longdrawjames who was undertaking such a massive destash that I felt it would have been positively churlish not to have helped him out a bit. He, in turn, had bought the fibre from Mandacrafts who had actually dyed it – it is the Estuary colour way.

Lighting not really doing justice to the colours here, the yarn is deep blue and green, lusterous and shot with dark gold.

The pattern is called Damask and is written by Kitman Figueroa, I downloaded it from Ravelry having been sucked into the world of shawl envy as a result of browsing on the forums and seeing all the beautiful things people were wrapping round themselves. It has been designed with Malabrigo Sock Yarn in mind so I have cast on the medium size and will be interested to see what difference the finer gauge of my yarn makes to the final size of the shawl – assuming I get that far because if the casting on process is anything to go by it is going to be a long haul to a medium shawl!

Reading this week is A Rural Affair by Catherine Alliott. This is a light and very readable novel which I am trying not to get too sucked into as I have not yet mastered the art of reading and knitting at the same time (unlike my incredibly talented mother!)