Friday, October 18, 2013

Exciting times

G8 Dementia Summit

On 11th December London will host the first ever G8 Dementia Summit to "develop co-ordinated global action on dementia."  

I am very excited by this prospect as I firmly believe that science and innovation hold the key to beating this devastating disease and sharing ideas and discoveries across the world can only be a good thing.

The discussion will also cover the human side too so they will be looking at ways of improving the lives of those already suffering from dementia and there are some wonderful ideas flying around already.

From my own perspective I am thrilled to see dementia given such a high profile as when I first started speaking out about the effect it had on mum there was still this dreadful stigma attached to it - as with any form of mental illness it was spoken about it hushed tones, as if the person had somehow brought it upon themselves or it was some kind of weakness (which is one of the reasons so many people who suffer from depression never talk about it).  I feel very strongly about the way people with mental illness are viewed and it would be wonderful if this marks a change in attitudes.

I have written a separate blog about this and will post a link when it goes on the website.


A new flock of sheep arrived the other day.  They'll stay with us for a few months now.  Such sweet faces and just look at the lovely round tummy on the one at the back!

I've finished the back and front of my jumper and will be starting the sleeves this evening.

I think it's about time I knit some new heavy-duty fingerless gloves for outdoor stuff. The one shown below was knit for me by my mum when I was a teenager for when I was out with the horses. It's an uncomfortable yarn as it's one of those scratchy acrylic yarns from the 1970s but it's certainly hard-wearing. It's hard to believe that it could have lasted this long (ie at least 40 years!!!!) but it has.  

There were originally 2 pairs but now this is the only one that remains intact. The one I use with it is hanging onto life by a thread so I think it's time for action.

What I like most about them is that only the very tips of my fingers aren't covered and each one is a different length - just like full-fingered gloves. Most patterns these days finish at the base of your fingers which means they aren't so warm.

What I will change is the length of the cuff as I like my gloves to come further up my arms and sometimes I like to crumple them down around my wrists. This will be my project for when I've finished the jumper.  I've got plenty of different yarns that will work well but I think I'll go for a 4ply wool as I've got some nice dark tweedy blends I can use.

In other knitting news I've just started a Craftsy course on double knitting. Tinker has been supervising and laughing at the number of times I've had to undo my sample!  It's hard to get a photo of him now without the fibrosarcoma lumps showing, poor little mite. They are massive and yet he's still OK within himself and gets about well enough for the moment. The vet told us that he will let us know when he can't cope any more and I get all teary just thinking about that time.

For anyone who doesn't know what double-kntting is, you use 2 threads of yarn to create a double-thickness fabric so it's an excellent technique for scarves/ hats/ or even afghans (if you're feeling brave enough).

The sample I'm trying to knit uses 2 colours and you can see that one side shows the light colour and the other side the dark colour. I've just started the pattern rows which appear as the contrast colour on each side.

I haven't quite worked out how to hold my yarn in a way that works with how I knit but I'm sure I'll work it out eventually.  For ordinary knitting I knit in the English way and throw my yarn, but for colourwork I use 2 hands and throw the right hand yarn whilst picking the lefthand yarn.

It's not looking very elegant so far as I haven't mastered my tension yet! I love learning new techniques.

More outdoorsy stuff

I spotted someone seeking sanctuary on our fence the other morning. We always get lots of pheasants when the shooting season starts and there are always lots of them running along the lanes.  Some of them stay through the winter.

Mrs Pheasant looking nervous
Not a partridge in a pear tree but a pheasant in  a clematis!

The garden is looking beautifully autumnal now with the plumes of pampas grass waving in the breeze.  This morning I spotted a tiny wren clinging to one of the stems but unforunately I didn't have my camera with me at the time.

Dogwood in the foreground, Euonymous alatus in the middle and Acer palmatum senkaki behind

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