Skyscrapers and String


Knitted truths…

When you’re making something, there comes a point where you can see you’ve gone a bit wrong.

It’s the same with life generally I suppose, only you can’t unravel people and relationships and start again in the same way as knitting enables you to.

This week my knitting went a bit wrong and I carried on blithely.

Then the glaring errors started to display themselves and multiply.

Then they banded together holding a big ‘ban guns in America’ sign and started shouting at me, so they got my attention before I was embarrassed with my prompt notes reminding me to attempt some kind of empathy with the grieving families and students.

His Lordship was quite happily watching ‘Endeavour’ on the tv and I asked him to help me decide how badly I had gone wrong.

We put the 62 inches of knitting onto two long circular needles and laid the thing flat on the kitchen table.

You could see where I had made ugly mistakes with the stitch pattern and where the pattern called for way too many stitches to be picked up so it had made the whole thing ruffle up.

It was wrong in so many ways we had no alternative but to rip back.

We took the knitting off the needles and resumed the tv show and Jon pulled the knitting back and I wound the yarn back into a ball.

Yesterday I sat and started over and it seems to me that I need a third less stitches picked up than the pattern suggested.

I’m glad I listened to the knitting. It always, unforgivingly tells the truth.

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Now for several long rows…

After at least four attempts, several dozen stitch markers and various calculations I finally cast on the 369 stitches along the edge of my shawl-in-progress.

At the point of starting, I then noticed the cable on my long needle had almost worn through.

It was nearly midnight at that point and the episode of Altered Carbon had finished, so I went to bed.

This morning, I got up and found my set of interchangeable needles and although they always come apart at the worst moment even if you diddle about with the little locking pin they supply with the set, beggars can’t be choosers I transferred the stitches over.

Already half way through the row, the fancy tips are loosening.

I went onto ebay and found a nice long fixed cable circular needle. It should come in a few days.

I should mention at this point, that I’m not certain where the rest of the yarn for the project has been stowed. And I’m starting to run short already!

Yesterday I mentioned I was catching cold. My knitting feels interminable. I have hot honey and lemon.

On the tv is the latest adaptation of the story of Troy. Characters who should be fair or red headed are all dark haired. Paris is charmless.

At least it’s a bit different. And all the cast are speaking English so there’s much to be said for that.

Here you can see Sherlock. He’s adorable.


The Long Cast On…

Hello everyone,

It’s been a very intense couple of weeks at la casa de gatitos voladores.

Many things have happened, much progress has been made and I feel like nothing is going to be the same again.

I’m finally picking up the knitting I abandoned before Christmas in order to make presents and I’ve completed the long strip of knitting which is the foundation for the Pippa Shawl and despite coming down with a cold I have been picking up stitches along the edge.

An interminable 369 stitches are required and I’m trying to watch Altered Carbon at the same time, which is proving quite hard as the characters have accents and if I don’t watch the mouth of the actors carefully I miss a lot of the story.

Mind you, whilst writing this, the heroine is covered in gore and it looks like she is dying in an elevator.

It’s a bit distracting.

I feel like I have a lot to do in a small period of time and now I have a cold, it’s quite frustrating.

I’m glad my mind is concentrating on the things that need doing and I’m excited about the coming changes.

I need to get back to the casting on.

And I need another tissue.


Sister love…

Hello everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying the weekend!

It’s lovely and sunny here and apart from it being outrageously cold outside you would think it was Spring already.

I’m sitting here with my knitting on my lap and I can smell the fresh croissants cooking in the oven.

I’m planning on having a relaxing day today and getting some jobs done around the house I have been unable to get to this week as it’s all been upside down and excitement.

Yesterday I spent the day with my dear friend Alex and we had a proper girls day out in Carnaby Street.

London is my delight, I read reviews of new restaurants and try new things, I go to galleries and museums, find little boutiques and look at clothes and try unusual brands of makeup, it feels like I’m in the heart of everything.

It’s a contrast to Home, where everything is safe and comfortable and familiar.

Pottering about indoors on a Sunday is the perfect counterpoint to the buzz of Saturday afternoon in the West End.

There’s always something that needs doing, there’s reading in long baths, afternoon naps, gentle strolling in the park, knitting in my chair by the window and looking out, hidden behind a row of geraniums that haven’t stopped flowering yet.

But what really makes our house into a home are our little pets.

I never imagined that a family of cats would be such great company, I thought they’d be bickering and fighting and stressing all the time.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

As hearing cats, they are mostly silent and apart from the occasional beeping noise to go out the only time you hear them is when one of them is playing with a bottle cap and singing to it.

The only other noise they make is purring, which they excel at.

Most of the time they go out together to play in the garden and from the window I can watch them climb trees and chase leaves and race each other down the path and along the fence tops.

These two are sisters and their mummy raised them for five months in and out of our kitchen and they are truly the happiest and kindest of Kittehs.

Here you can see them kissing. It’s so adorable!


Carrying knitting…

Today I accompanied His Lordship to A&E because he had broken off a nail whilst hitting it with a hammer, and the broken bit had lodged in his finger.

This happened at Christmas and I have been nagging him continuously to get it seen to medically.

So today, I managed to wrangle him onto the bus and I dropped him off at the hospital and I carried my knitting bag with me round the shops.

I can only assume that after successfully getting over a dozen feral cats neutered my skills are so finely honed that there’s nothing I can’t achieve now once I put my mind to it.

I carried my wonderful Ishbel shawl into every shop and out again. I was pacing and anxious hoping he would be seen relatively quickly.

Bearing in mind my local hospital is in the lowest centile for waiting time at A&E, there were just two clerks booking people in and the queue was out the door and round the building.

One of the desks was empty and this brand new hospital was only designed to allow three staff in total to sit and deal with the point of entry for injuries.

What would happen if there’s a coach crash?

Once he was booked in he waited for an xray, then he had to join the queue again and wait to get to the front again to get directions to see someone about the result.

This is madness.

We had tried to see our GP prior to today as it wasn’t an emergency as such, but they said it had to be dealt with via A&E.

You would think that someone could come up with a better way of doing things than copying Nandos.

I’m pleased everything is getting sorted now and I’m looking forward to sitting in my chair and knitting.

It was a great comfort to know that I had my knitting with me and if I had to sit endlessly I could have done many soothing rows and accomplished something positive and soothing.

I also managed to get a smashing calligraphy book and I will have a look at that with a cuppa when I’m home.


Making myself sit still…

Today has been a bit different to how it was planned.

After a lot of exercise over the last week, and a lot of being out and about, I decided to spend today finishing some things off.

First off the list, are the beaded mittens. I’m bored of looking at them in the pending pile and I’m keen to start a new sewing project.

Then I’m going to finish the crochet cowl. I need to wear it!

Then I’m going to finish typing some poems and the book I’m working on.

Then I’m going to make dinner.

It’s so hard to sit still and craft.

Crafting is something I layer into my life, it’s not something I binge on.

But today, it’s a snow day.

I’m making the most of my time indoors and I’ve worked out without leaving the house, and the washing machine and dryer are both going round.

I did quite a bit of crochet last night whilst watching the film King Arthur Legend of the Sword on tv.

After the debacle of the recent awards events where women were grossly underrepresented in the world of show business, I was immediately struck by the fact that the only women in this film are witches or prostitutes.

The cast list is entirely male, apart from the aforementioned side characters.

The film is sprinkled with mysogenistic jokes.

I’m bored of films like these Guy Ritchie ones and the Expendables and so on with an all male cast.

Something needs to be done!

Here you can see the mittens. I’m glad they’re done.


Sleeping Crochet…

Hello all,

I’m enjoying the weekend immensely.

Today I went for a walk with Amber and we had a very successful short shopping expedition.

About a mile from where we live is a small retail park but you can buy anything apart from wool.

Except for today!

Our local ALDI store, which is still all shiny and wonderful from a recent refurbishment, has a special event on crafts, and there were bags of acrylic yarn in all sorts of colours and textures.

Now, I know some people are a bit sniffy about synthetic yarn, and even more are somewhat snobby about where you buy from, however, if you want to make a jumper for a child you can wash, or likewise a blanket, you do really need to bite the bullet and get yarn that will let you.

ALDI also stocks wonderful things to eat and we filled up our backpacks.

Just across the carpark, I picked up a new pillow from Argos.

I’m a side sleeper, so I thought I’d invest in a proper side sleeping pillow, and the Silentnight brand are offering a discount so it was bargainous!

Jon was making the bed while we were out, so when I came home he put the new pillow in a fresh pillow case and after lunch I headed up for a nap.

The door was shut tight when I went to sleep, however I woke up to the sounds of annoyed Kittehs bashing their selves against the door.

Soon enough, there was a pounding of hooves and several furry bundles hurtled onto the freshly made bed.

I opened my eyes as something landed on my middle with a donk and was confronted by two green lanterns and a furry and somewhat pleased head.

Now my crochet has had quite enough sleep for one day, so I’m going to attack it now.


Craft for your soul…

Hello everyone

The weekend’s here and it feels very delicious but naughty to sit and write instead of bustling about doing things.

Every day, it takes 15 minutes to straighten up after my family leave the house and then I plunge into writing then it’s lunchtime and then I take some exercise.

Every day I make progress with my Poetry book edits and I’m pretty much at mid point.

I love writing poetry and making my poems into books.

At the moment I have 30 edited poems ready to upload and I have the task today of deciding what order they go in.

The previous two books were a lot easier, one was pretty much done by order of events as they happened, and the second one told the story of my house and my inhabiting it.

This third one is a selection of poems about me but their structure and story is a purely imagined narrative.

For example, in one poem I describe a scene from a town in Mexico, and in another I live under the sea.

It’s not quite as easy to order these ones, but as I sit writing this ideas are coming to me and I’m going to carry on shortly so I’ll see how it goes.

Also, in the private stillness of my house early in the day I like to have 10 minutes of crafting.

I’m sitting here with my crochet on my lap, the colours are really lovely now I have completed enough rows so all the colours are in play.

I’m hoping to finish this row before I get up.

I like to have several different crafts on the go at once because it gives such a feeling of luxury to think about all my choices and decide which one to pick up.

Making things is definitely uplifting and meaningful and the urge to create is really quite irresistible and I can’t imagine life without making something.

But being a poet, expressing my deepest self in writing, that is food for the soul.


Hurtling about…

It’s Friday night and we’ve had a proper festive evening with wine, freshly cooked fish, and a yummy pudding.

I’m knitting my eleventieth Ishbel shawl and I have a confession to make.

Today when standing in the kitchen winding the yarn into a ball using the door handle, my Fitbit gave me credit for 16 minutes exercise and 3500 steps.

That’s so naughty!

I did go out and have a long walk anyway.

I’m looking forward to seeing my friends tomorrow for more poetry and Sunday I doubt I’ll do much.

It’s been a very exciting week and I feel like I’m hurtling about.

There’s so much to do.

I have a dozen poems to type up and a book to format. The remaining book needs a couple of days to finish and I have a stack of books to stitch up.

It’s a good life, but once all my books are finished I will be so happy.


Poetry and performing…

Hello everyone

Today has been very exciting and quite different to my usual days as I was invited to take part in a video to promote Poetry and the Pen to Print initiative running in my local Borough which is the foundation of my entire writing adventure.

So pleased I bought it yesterday, I was able to wear my new blue top and it was a bit of a frisson of anticipation to get ready for the camera for a change.

Glad also that I’m on the bus now and have the lovely feeling of contentment you get when you’ve gone a bit outside your comfort zone.

I’m really astonished at the happy twists and turns of life, I think we all want to control everything all the time and in reality we should all sit back and relax into our lives a bit more.

Surely I’m happier now I’m older because I’m surrounded by people I can trust and I don’t want for anything. I can’t believe I put up with so much of a circus for so many years.

I love living a simple existence and enjoying small pleasures.

It was lovely to be able to show Veena the books Jon and I sat making up at the kitchen table last night and the posters for our Poetry Show in a couple of weeks.

Simple pleasures, extraordinary days, I feel like my life is comprised of blocks of happiness and very much well spent.