Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year, new goals

I'm still rather uncertain about committing to any running/fund-raising goals until I see what happens in the New Year - will there be another lockdown or perhaps more restrictions? We'll soon find out! I've been staying away from large running events for the past few weeks, just in case, but am itching to get back out there. In the meantime I've signed up for another virtual challenge namely John o'Groats to Land End which is the reverse of the one I did during the very first lockdown. It will encourage me to get my act together and get out there for a run even if I don't feel like it. It's a case of use it or lose it, especially as my arthritis has taken on a more determined attack in the last few weeks which is rather tedious. That reminded me of some great service I had in the week before Christmas: I was searching for bargains in running shoes and came across Footway ( which is based in Sweden. I found exactly the shoes I'd been looking for and even with a £14 postage cost they were at least £40 cheaper than anywhere in the UK! Sounds too good to be true doesn't it and I kept everything crossed in the hope that they'd arrive in one piece/not get lost/be the wrong size. But the most exciting thing was that I ordered them at 2:30pm on day one and they arrived via DPD at 11.30am the next day! Now that is fantastic service when you think about the trouble we have in the UK with Hermes deliveries!!!
Mike spotted this and it made me chuckle, although the shortage of drivers is a cause for concern!
The Shift cowl is complete and blocking then ready for joining the neck. I love the jewel colours of the yarn mix. Next up will be a new cardigan for Mike.
Macrame Time I've finally made a start on my journey into Macrame after many years of dithering and it's actually good fun. Of course I expected to be an expert straight away and it turned out I wasn't! I spent ages trying to get the hang of the simplest of knots, put it to one side and then went back the next day and grasped it immediately, thank goodness. This was my first attempt at a Square knot which formed the Basis of a heart coaster I'd chosen to make.
It seemed to take ages for my brain to get the rhythm of the knots as when I followed the instructions in my book the instructions weren't making much sense. However, when I went back to it the next day I formed my own words and commands and all of a sudden it sank it (thank goodness!!!). Of course, Shelley helped enormously! So here we have my heart coaster and a little hanging ornament.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Skies and birds

I hope everyone has had a lovely Christmas. Ours was quiet as usual but as a change we did a Zoom call with Mike's sister and her family rather than the usual phone call. It took a bit of fiddling around before it got set up OK, thanks to Mike, and it was so nice to actually see them all in the flesh. I'm still taking photos of the skies and was very excited when 2 winter visitors arrived on the patio - a Pied Wagtail and a Grey Wagtail most likely taking a Winter visit down South to our slightly warmer clime than Scotland where most of them live in large flocks. Such sweet little birds!
Now for some more skies:

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Nearly Christmas!

I still love Christmas and always get excited when we decorate the tree even though there's the threat of Omicron looming large and threatening to spoil things.
Unfortunately one set of lights packed in, an illuminated decoration died and Shelley pulled a few off for good meaure - hence the gap! Thankfully we found an old string of white lights and added them to cover the bottom section. I finished the Skog jumper, with help from Shelley of course, and I'm really pleased with how it's turned out:
The collar was knitted twice the desired height and then folded over and stitched on the inside:
My long-stemmed pins were perfect for this. I didn't block the whole sweater again and just steamed the seams to slacken them:
My Christmas project is the Shift cowl by Andrea Mowry
I rummaged through my stash and found 4 skeins of yarn I'd bought at Ally Pally a few years ago to make a small neck shawl but never actually made it! I'm enjoying working on this as a nice change from stocking stitch in 4ply! I've also been getting my craft room in order and in my rummagings found this piece of a mohair sweater I'd started but decided I didn't like so I've unwound the yarn and sorted it into balls ready to be repurposed.
I've also decided that I'm going to have a go at Macrame at long last. Mum used to do it in the 1970s but I never tried it for some reason so it's about time I had a go.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Bits and Bobs

I'm trying desperately not to sulk but not succeeding - I'm on the injury bench with a shin splint (a swelling in the lower part of the leg near to the ankle) and it's jolly painful just walking for more than a couple of miles let alone trying any running which is out of the question until the swelling goes down. This means I may have to miss a marathon at the weekend where 1 of my running chums will be completing her 200th marathon. I've iced, stretched, compressed and rested but it's still giving me jip after 10 days so it's really not looking hopeful for the weekend. To make matters worse, we've just done some video clips for Alzheimer's Research UK for their 'Gifts in Wills' campaign. I've been involved in this many times before but this is the first time we've done it at home with Mike filming me and OMG the giggling that ensued - I could not string a sentence together without jumbling up my words!!! We completed it eventually but it was not my finest hour. On the knitting front, I'm just finishing off the collar of my Skog sweater and it's really lovely. Here are a few snippets: Joining the pieces together was much easier than I thought as I used the extra long pins to match up the selvedges of the sleeves:
Then stitched along the line:
It formed a neat seam on the inside with no hint of it on the outside:
I tried it on and it's just how I hoped it would look so very pleased. I'll style it and show it on here when it's finished blocking. Next up is the gorgeous Ponderosa sweater from Wool and Pine. I knew I'd have to make it as soon as I saw it but couldn't find any appropriate yarn in my stash (yes, I know that's a load of nonsense but I really wanted a blue similar to the Pigment and Ply yarn shown in the photo). Thankfully I spotted this gorgeous Fyberspates Vivacious 4ply on Lovecrafts and that was it, straight into the basket without a care!!!
Oh my goodness it's soooo pretty. Then I finally bit the bullet and treated myself to a yarn swift and a ball winder. What fun - gone are the days of Mike holding a hank in his hands and me winding it into a ball. It's so quick and easy!
I apologise for the strange formatting but Blogger doesn't seem to pay any attention ot paragraph breaks any more and so everything gets bundled together! Stay safe everyone.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Some you win, some you lose

....marathons, that is! I've had 2 visits to beautiful Samphire Hoe during a 10in10 marathon event (that's 10 marathons in 10 days). The first one I abandoned at 20 miles as my foot was hurting, the second was perfect and I sneaked in at 5:12:45 which is a vast improvement from my current form. I admit that I can sometimes be a bling tart, especially when it's a really clever one, and I really wanted the latest medal! It's an Advent calendar with a magnet on the back so you can move the counter along each day - simple pleasures without the chocolate guilt, perfect.
I'm also plotting my fund-raising challenge for Alzheimer's Research UK in 2022 and as I will be 65 years young next year I think it needs to be something that challenges me even more - gulp! No decisions until after Christmas. I'm still taking loads of photos of the sky, mostly at the back of the house but with the last one being the sunrise taken at the front of the house this morning:
Another delight was a visit from a Green Woodpecker:
But one of my favourite snaps was down at Samphire Hoe where I spotted this beautiful cow licking her calf lovingly:
Our resident Philip the pheasant has managed to stay alive for 2 years now which is a miracle given the number of foxes around! He arrived in early 2019 when the shoots finished early due to Covid and he's stayed with us ever since. Here's a short video clip of me feeding him - I don't feed him out of my hand as it hurts when he pecks!

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Last minute yet again

I really do seem to have lost the blog-love at the moment which is a shame as I do enjoy looking back over the years and remembering how everything has developed. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose (with apologies for the lack of accents!). There was another marathon on Remembrance day, that was number 202, and it was especially poignant as some of our regular men from the armed forces were missing - 2 suffering from PTSD and 1 who sadly took his own life. It made the 2 minutes silence even more poignant looking out over the Channel at Samphire Hoe on what was a very dreary grey day but when the sea was the calmest I'd ever seen it. I found out later that 1200 desperate people had made the crossing from France to Dover on that day in ridiculously flimsy boats.
The amazing clouds and skies I saw have encouraged me to start taking photos of the sky at home each day so there will be lots more sky photos in future. I'm currently plotting my next fund-raising plans for 2022 and top of the list so far is another 100 mile event with the possibility of attempting 10 marathons in 10 days (gulp!). I'll keep on turning the ideas over in my mind and the solution will appear eventually. Of course, if Covid is still a major issue then all plans will go on hold yet again. Around the garden the colours of Autumn have been stunning and now all but the oak trees have shed their leaves.
I've nearly finished the Skog sweater and I've really enjoyed the gentle flow of plain stockinette punctuated by the pattern on the sleeves. I did a small swatch to see how the Kid Silk Haze worked when doubled for the motif:
Here's the 2nd sleeve part way through the pattern and below it is what the stretchy cast-on looks like:
Oddly enough I haven't felt the urge to crochet at all this year which is most unusual and needs to be rectified and I am definitely going to try harder to keep up to date on my blog as it's amazing how much I forget if I don't write about it as things happen.