It's Week 3 of the national lockdown - although let's be honest, there's no sign of this virus going anywhere very soon, is there, so I expect that we'll all be here for a while longer yet. And if that's what it takes to keep people safe, then that's OK. I can live with that!
It's been a funny week - quite up and down emotionally for us as we've run the full gamut of emotions from joy at being at home with each other to getting annoyed with the slightest thing, and more than a few in between - much like the rest of the country, I expect!
There's nothing like taking myself off outside to get my priorities straight (picture-heavy post warning!) and remind myself how lucky I am just to be able to get outside at all, so leaving the house in a mood as gloomy as this sky ...
I'd already started to cheer up by the time I spotted the horse chestnut leaves unfurling as the dog and I made our way through the woods. He's very good at social distancing - he'd much rather be 5 metres ahead of me sniffing in the bushes, never mind the prescribed 2 metres!
By the time I got home, I'd decided that I was going to spend as much of the rest of the day in the garden as I could. The rest of the family, it turned out, were having a day similar to mine so we didn't see much of each other as we all kept out of each other's way. And that's something else to be grateful for, isn't it, to be able to do that? We're all having dinner together (that's a proper treat for me, I've spent years having to cook dinner in shifts as one or other of the family are out or working late!) and usually by that time of the day, we're all ready to spend time together again. The gratitude journal that I started during the Winter Haven KAL is getting plenty of use at the moment!
Out in the garden, I spotted this beauty looking a bit worse for wear ...
It had hidden itself (or got stuck, perhaps) in amongst a pile of garden debris that I was moving and I don't think it could have got out on it's own. It's a Peacock butterfly, we get lots of them in the garden over the summer, and I didn't want it to end it's days without seeing the sunshine again. I managed to very carefully move it to a log and left it alone, not expecting that it would do anything, but after twenty minutes or so, I looked over and saw that it had gone. It hadn't fallen off the log, nothing had been around to eat it and so I assume that it must have felt well enough to fly away. That made me feel better.
It wasn't long afterwards that I spotted my garden helper. I don't know why seeing a robin always makes me so terribly happy, but it does, and now you're going to get robin spam photos!
Interspersed with a photo of Pulmonaria officinalis (Common lungwort) flowers - they come in pink and blue but these are the only ones out at the moment ...
and then we're back to the robin spam! 😀
What is it about the fresh air? It's a bit like a cat's purr (and even more mysteriously, where a cat keeps it's purr); it's something that's magic that we can never quite identify but which makes us feel better without fail every time. I think that chopping things with the axe helped too.
And having chopped, I then cleared the rest of the flags in the little overgrown seating area - yes, that is cleared, thank you, that soil you can see is meant to be there 😀 - and decided that the rest of the afternoon could be dedicated to knitting my sock in front of a fire.
I'm very good at knitting a sock in front of a fire. It's something that I've spent years perfecting and now I've got it down to a fine art. And as you can see, it doesn't matter whether the fire is inside or outside the house - although it does need to be safely contained!
Oh and look! I've got company!
I can't tell you how much better I felt for spending so much time outdoors!
Back indoors, I've been mending things. Well, one thing so far.
I happened to mention on a trip to Black Sheep Wools that I needed to replace my walking boots as they've split down the side, and Lucy who works in the office said, "Oh what you need is Sugru, it's amazing stuff and will mend your boots without you having to buy a new pair."
Well, I needed to find out more about this miraculous stuff that would not only save me a trip to the shops, some considerable time as I would need to try boots on, my feet (it took me a good few weeks to break my last pair in and they were not happy weeks for my feet) but, of course, a lot of money!
And here it is ...
According to the website, this stuff mends just about everything, including walking boots, and you can use it build or create things as well. As well as needing to repair my boots, we've been using a pan lid without a handle for months and there are various other things around the house that could do with fixing so I chose the pack with these lovely bright colours in them (and the brown for my boots - although I am VERY tempted to repair them with blue, or possibly even pink Sugru!) and thought I'd try it out on the pan lid first.
No idea why the colours are looking so dark in this photo!
It's a bit like Plasticine. You've got 30 minutes to mould it and adjust it, and then in 24 hours it sets solid - and ta dah! We've got a pan lid that we can actually get hold of again! I'm very pleased - and now I just need to get on and fix my boots!
I've been heel flappin' (that sounds like it should be a song!) this week and found that I was up to the same point on both socks, so I put them both on the same needle to knit them together. I probably wouldn't have bothered to show you, but it occurred to me that I've actually made these two flaps in a slightly different way and it's something that I'm often asked about.
The question I get is whether it matters if you slip your heel stitches knitwise or purlwise. Now, the convention for slipping stitches is to slip purlwise then your stitch stays mounted the right way around on your needle for when you work the purl row. If you slip your stitch knitwise, the stitch twists on the needle and you'll end up working a twisted stitch on the purl row.
I actually don't think that it matters that much for a sock heel, and I would say go for the method that's either easiest or you like the effect of best. I like the twisted stitches of the knitwise slip so I often use that one, but I also slip purlwise on other pairs and it just so happens that I've done both on these socks.
The sock on the left has the stitches slipped purlwise, and the sock on the right has the stitches slipped knitwise.
There doesn't really look that much difference, does there? And you'd be right - it really is something that a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice (another of my Nan's phrases, they're all coming out of the woodwork lately!) and unless you pointed out what you'd done, I don't think that anybody else except another knitter would spot.
Here's a closer picture of the purlwise slips - you can see if you look closely that the raised V stitches match the Vs in the stocking stitch lower down, and the stitches sit proud of the heel flap ...
whereas the twisted stitches sit a little flatter and if you look closely, you can see that the V stitches are twisted ... you do have to look quite closely, though!
I just thought that I'd show you in case it was something that you'd been wondering (or worrying) about. You can see why you wouldn't want the twisted stitches on a jumper, say, but for a sock, I think it's entirely personal preference.
Here are my twisted-heel-stitch-heel-flap socks; they're finished and they're on my feet! I am very happy to be wearing these!
The yarn is Allotment Harvest in The Yarn Badger's merino/bamboo Eco yarn which means, of course, that they're a no-nylon pair of socks. I'll be writing up a review in about six months and hopefully they'll still look as lovely as they do now!
And finally (don't cheer, that's rude! 😀) some more no-nylon yarn - this yarn is 100% Wensleydale DK dyed by Tracy from Hand Made Over Yonder and gifted to me quite some time ago. I decided it was too lovely to split into socks so I designed this cowl pattern, which I've called the Thoughtful Cowl, and I'd like to share it with you.
Does Friday sound OK to you? Will that be enough time to have a rootle through your stash and find some DK or 4ply - yes, this pattern will work with both! - that you might like to use up? Lots of people are having trouble settling to one thing, or have startitis, or have ambitions of using up ALL the stash whilst we're safe at home, and maybe a new pattern is just the thing to help with that.
Fabulous! I'll see you on Friday, then! In the meantime, have a lovely week and I hope you continue to keep safe and well xx #Gardening #Knitting #Socks #2020