Skyscrapers and String

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the 2014 Holiday category.


Hello all,

I hope you’re well and that you’ve had a jolly weekend so far.

I am having a splendid time.

Yesterday, we had new gas and electric meters fitted which give us a minute by minute account of how much we are spending on our usage. I am likely to turn into a snarling miser come winter, and insist my family wear more jumpers and thicker socks etc to ensure the heating gets kept turned down low.

Afterwards, Jon and I walked through the sunny park to the library, he was carrying half a hundredweight of knitting books which I wanted to return. From there we hopped onto a train and scooted into London.

I was able to knit the entire journey, I was making a baby hat out of scraps from a secret project. One of the secret projects was left at home blocking.

Secret projects are pests when you blog as you end up with gaps when you can’t say what you’re up to.

Anyhow, after the train journey I was at Loop, the best wool shop in the universe, and my favourite shop in the whole of London. Jon patiently sat in the ice cream shop whilst I went in and booked on an Intarsia class they are holding there in November. I also was really naughty and bought more wool. I fell in love and it had to be mine, OK? Lol.

After Loop we picked up some cake for my friend Lesley’s visit today and then went to Desperadoes and ate and drank. The food there is very good but the toilets have rude murals in them, so don’t be shocked if you venture into there, you have been warned! We sat outside in the sunshine, it was a shame to go home but Amber was back from Poland later in the evening and we were excited to see her!

Our reunion later in the evening was very happy.

It is nice to have my Nipper in the house, I am pleased to have her about and to be able to have hugs.

So today, Jon went off to work, and it was my turn to do some blocking. I blocked my holiday Ishbel shawl, which was knitted in a skein of Nimu Isel, in denim blue.

Here you can see some pictures. I really love this piece of knitting, it transcends what you think of as handiwork to make something like this, I almost can’t believe I made it.

This is the third time I tried to make this design, and I found it really hard to get right, but third time lucky. Perhaps my previous failures made the final result sweeter in the end.

Here are the blocking pictures:




Here it is blocked and looking good:


Here are some close ups:







Back Home!

Hello everybody!

Well that was a fab week in Sardinia!

Yesterday was a blur, travelling, the gripping anxiety of air travel – following the tragic loss of the Malaysian airliner some months ago, the world now knows that airplanes are run with no more technology than a child’s wind up torch.

At the airport in Sardinia, in view of the heightened security alerts last week, we saw some German passengers insisting they didn’t have to go through airport security as they were late for their plane, then there was a woman who had so much jewellery on, and she wouldn’t remove it to go through the metal detectors, we stood there for so long whilst she argued, we nearly missed our plane and she was taken off to one of those little rooms, I dare say for a more “private” examination (my eyes are watering…). Why? Why not just do what you are supposed to do? It’s for everyone’ s benefit.

On the way home from Luton, there was a lightening storm and such heavy rain, you could not see anything outside the car. Bearing in mind we were in a brand new Mercedes, the windscreen wipers did nothing to clear the rain from view and we snaked home, yearning for our little house, the child and the cat.

Here you can see the bright full moon in Sardinia on our last night:


Here you can see our dear cat, shining with happiness that our little pack is reunited:


Today it has been busy busy busy.

With Jon’s help throughout, I got up, sorted the laundry and tidied round a bit.

Then I baffed the cat. It purred throughout.

We made bread, and whilst it was rising Amber and I went for a walk to Asda to buy some coffee and fish. We missed the rain, everywhere was drenched when we emerged!

Jon fed the washing machine the entire time we were out and the cat dried a bit. It has sat on me continually.

The packing for the holiday took a good four weeks of careful assembly. To unpack took half a day, what a faff about, sorting what lives upstairs, and what goes in the bathroom and so on.

Whilst I was away I knitted a shawl, which sits in a pile with the other shawls I made recently, so this coming few weekends will have to include blocking sessions, where we can fit them in.

Also, I have a half finished capelet, which looks lovely:


This needs some thought before it can be finished.

So apart from the pile of shawls that need blocking and the unfinished capelet, I have a little yellow cardigan on the needles to finish for dear Russ’s baby, and a golden cardigan for myself, a bag which just needs sewing up, and if I actually look properly there’s some more things need finishing in my work basket.

Before I left for my holiday, I bought some brooch backs from China for my charity poppy knitting, which I should start soon. They arrived while I was away. I bought 100 of the little devils, so I will be a busy girl!

I also came back to a customs bill for the extra wool to finish my golden cardi that is discontinued which. I had to I buy from the US! £14! Ouch!

The other thing that has been bugging me is the pile of Rowan Calmer upstairs. I want to do something with it. Also I decided the thick variegated
yellow cotton yarn will make a good bath mat or two.

But also, I have a new fab soft grey brown scarf trimmed with bobbles, and I want to knit something to go with it. Now!

And I’ve found a wonderful pattern, called Zuzu’s Petals, by Carina Spencer, and I think this will make a wonderful addition to my accessories repertoire, as it is a cross between a shawl and a cowl. Once I get the hang of the pattern construction, I will be able to improvise perhaps with other yarn weights and stitches. It is an extremely clever idea.


You might understand I am a bit overwhelmed with all these musings, plus also on holiday I took loads of inspiring pictures of flowers and foliage, and of course my mind ran wild thinking about colour, and the yarn waiting at home for me as well, tempted me endlessly with ideas.

Look how lucky I am, what more can bring delight than a fabulous holiday, all this inspiration, coming home to all my yarns and and the pleasure of mulling over an endless stream of possibilities.

It is so lovely to be home!

Holiday Musings

Hello everyone!

I hope your week is going well.

I am just back from holiday in Sardinia, a magical place with beautiful landscapes, wonderful food and no litter. It has the kind of weather England should have, even on an overcast weekday morning you can sit outside on your balcony in a nightie and not freeze to death.

On previous holidays crammed into the August school holiday peak window, daily weather of 34 or 36 degrees has been the norm and I have literally been fried.

Sardinia, in July, is about 10 degrees hotter than at home, and you can walk on the sand during the day and you could wear a little cardi after dark if you are still gadding about.

Anyhow, I digress.

Holidays, by the general nature of one’s removal from the structures of housework, the commute and the daily grind, allow you to reflect on your life so far, to miss and appreciate being at home, and to ponder on those bits of yourself that need some attention.

This holiday, I must admit, it took a good four or five days to unwind from work. I love my job but being put under pressure to complete too many things in the days before you go when you’re trying to get ready to decamp to another country for a fortnight isn’t funny.

So much for feminism, where I work most bosses are chaps who have wives that do not work, and they have no clue what working and running a home is like. For example, they will politely ask about your weekend, and you’ll say, “Oh I found time to make Jam” or something, feeling all chuffed, and they’ll say, “Oh Caroline always makes jam”, and I think, bloody Caroline doesn’t work and you live on a farm, and she comes into London to have her hair done in Sloan Square at £500 a pop.

Apart from reading a couple of books, and knitting, I can honestly say it has been a supremely relaxing break.

One of the most interesting bits has been the daily mulling over the previous nights’ dreams. At night my dreams have been very vivid, generally going over some area of my previous life, and presenting me with some interesting insights.

For example, I have realised that the difficulties I have been through are merely prep for the cold hard winds of real life. Whilst I may have been awoken in a state of rage at some broken promise, by the time I thought about the previously forgotten issue realised it was forgotten because I had gotten over it already. I feel very lucky to be so resilient.

Anyway. First day back at work today, it’s bonkers. Now I’m heading for a swim! And relax! But not at this pool lol!


Lessons From Ishbel

Ishbel is a shawl design by Ysolda Teague.

It is more than just a shawl, it is the Three Peaks Challenge rites of passage in knitting that translates you from a casual, ambitious and moderately successful in a “fudge it all together” way, into a proper, competent lace knitter.

This holiday I finished my third Ishbel, I ran out of yarn before I could complete all the planned chart repeats, but even though it isn’t perfect, it is the first Ishbel that actually looks like one! The first two I did are wonky fails.

In the first paragraph, I have put a link to the Ravelry site and if you’re a member, you can see over 13,000 Ishbels. That’s amazing isn’t it!

What a successful design! How it has captured the imagination of so many knitters.

But the secret of Ishbel is not about churning out cunningly spaced yarn overs and so on row after row.

Well it is a bit, I suppose!

What I have learned from Ishbel is this:

* Sometimes I make mistakes due to not understanding what I am being asked to do

* Often, all I have to do is exactly what I see before me, no interpretation is needed

* If I take the time to do some research on other people’s experiences with the same thing, I might learn there are more options open to me than I first thought

* Success is always composed of small steps, consistently taken to move you forward

* Also stoically and persistently pushing through tricky patches with the end goal in mind

* Willingly learning as you go along

Here you can see my completed Ishbel, it is exactly the same colour as the sea here in Sardinia. It will be beautiful when I’ve blocked it once I get home.



Holiday Makeup


Hello everyone!

I have worked really hard today – phew!

First of all I got out all my regular holiday things and sorted throughout them. Last year I took Way Too Much Stuff away with me and I felt stupid.

After much hauling out and trying on and puffing up in front of the mirror I settled on a handful of vest tops, a sarong, one cossy, one pair of Birkenstocks and my walking sandals, my trusty Havaianas, some shorts and some light evening dresses, knickers and a bikini top. Sorted! Oh my how light will my suitcase be this year!

I will also take my bathrobe, my two tiny towelling turbans, and a thin but big beach towel that dries quickly.

Then I hunted out my holiday jewellery. Again, last year, I had a whole kilo of beads and necklaces and it got on my nerves trawling through it all. This time I have five necklaces, some beaded bracelets and two pairs of earrings and two rings. This small stash was culled from a selection that covered my entire double bed!

Above you can see my makeup collection, I sat and made a “look” for myself to wear at night, it is hardly a fraction of one percent of my usual makeup packing.

From left to right you can see my “tanned face” bareMinerals pressed powder, Body Shop tea tree bb cream – so cooling! A sparkle pale honey bronzer by Body Shop, my current mascara by Soap and Glory, a Leona Lewis Body Shop blusher bought in a sale, and kept put by for holidays as too dark for winter use.

Also, my absolute current faves are a pale gold and a mushroom Kiko eyeshadow stick – these are fab as they don’t irritate the eyes, crease or flake and they last all day. I have one in every colour. But I’m not taking them all this time! Lol!

As an experiment I’m taking a peach coloured Clinique lip balm chubbystick which I’ve never really used since I bought it and an Avon pink champagne lipstick pencil which I do like. I am hoping I’ll get some wear out of it if it’s visible in my handbag.

Next there are two Body Shop glosses one orange, one crystal sparkle pale and a brown Next glitter eyeliner between them. Then my favourite Clinique lipstick in melon, a By Terry lipgloss in pink/gold that cost a packet, then my Chanel blusher brush. I’m worth it!

Hopefully these few key items will reduce my holiday packing overload.