I set myself the challenge of knitting a pair of socks during Wimbledon fortnight - easy for some, no doubt, but I'm not a fast knitter. However, despite a few days away in the middle of the tournament, I made it, finishing the second sock last night shortly after the men's final ended, and surprising myself by managing to knit that one in two days flat!
It helped that the pattern was so straightforward (and that I'd already used it), so the whole thing was plain sailing.
I spent a couple of hours at Chelsea Physic Garden on Tuesday - it was the perfect place for a hot day in the city, relatively quiet and with many places to sit and enjoy the greenness; the café, however, leaves something to be desired in terms of organisation and service.
I had a few hours in London on Tuesday, long enough to visit two places I'd never been to before but especially wanted to see, and the first of these was Loop, the gourmet yarn shop in Islington.
I've spent enough time looking at Loop's online shop to be pretty sure that the bricks and mortar one would be vaut le voyage, and it is - chock full of gorgeous things that made choosing difficult, and manned by very friendly, helpful staff.
Entrance hall, bar and dining room are now done out in dark greys rather than the reds of before; our bedroom was extremely tasteful and comfortable, and as always the staff were very pleasant and attentive, and the food was excellent.
I've stayed at the Parsonage's sister hotel, The Old Bank, and it is lovely, too, but for me this one has the edge.
Today I paid a visit to Be Inspired Fibres, a yarn shop on the south side of the city which is definitely worth a look, online or in person if you're in the area, but allow plenty of time to browse as the shop sells lots of lovely and unusual things.
I came away with a skein of Malabrigo Sock in the colour Aguas (it's less grey and much more of a sea green than the pictures suggest), but I've earmarked some other yarns including ITO Sensai, silk and mohair, and Lotus Miya, mink, merino and silk, for another day - the stock really does inspire.
Following on from last Friday's post, I'm gradually putting the house in order as stage one (of three) of 'the work' is complete, but the cleaning, re-organising and - inevitably - de-cluttering is a slow process, and we're not back to normal yet.
Evening knitting is keeping me going as I find I can't settle to a book just now, and I'm glad to have simple projects on the needles: the kerchief, another hot water bottle cover, and the second Hermione sock. If you're looking for a relaxing project, I can recommend them all.
I'm very late with this as I've only just seen it myself, but if you can catch the programme before it disappears from iPlayer tomorrow, then watch John Ogdon: Living with Genius. Anyone familiar with that great pianist's life story will know that it was ultimately a very sad one, and parts of the film do not make easy viewing, but it is a portrait of a unique musician by those who knew and loved him best.
It used to be the case that sentries stood guard at the gateway to Edinburgh Castle every day between May and October, with the hourly 'changing of the guard' an event of great interest to tourists. These days, as far as I understand it, guard is mounted only on special occasions such as today, the birthday of H.R.H. The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. It so happens that today's guard has been formed by Son-of-Cornflower's OTC unit, so I went up to the Castle this morning to watch them parade and take up post.
Led by the pipes and drums (see video above which may take a minute or so to load), the guard marched down to the Esplanade where they were inspected, then the first sentries took up position and the rest of the company marched back into the Castle over the drawbridge. Once the crowd of spectators had been released from behind their cordons, there was a rush of people taking pictures and being photographed beside the sentries. I'm glad to say our man managed to retain his composure.
I've finished the first Hermione's Everyday Sock, and my minor adaptations for dpns (the pattern is written for two circular needles) seem to have worked; here's what I did:
When you're ready to begin the heel, the leg having reached the desired length ending with row 4 of the texture pattern,
- knit 16 stitches on needle 1
- move the remaining stitches on needle 1 to needle 2
- turn the work
- knit 3, purl 29 (that is, 13 stitches from needle 1 and 16 from needle 3). This forms row 1 of the Eye of Partridge heel pattern.
- move the remaining stitches on needle 3 to needle 2
- turn the work
- with needle 1 holding the heel stitches being worked and needle 2 holding the instep stitches to be worked later, continue with the Eye of Partridge heel pattern from row 2 onwards.
Turn the heel as directed; pick up the edge stitches on one side, work across the instep stitches as per row 1 of the texture pattern, pick up the edge stitches on the other side, and continue to knit across half the heel stitches (9). Assuming you cast on 64 stitches, you should now have 26 on needle 1, 32 for the instep on needle 2, and 26 on needle 3, with the round beginning at the centre of the heel.
Knit the gussets as instructed, decreasing as per the pattern on the last few stitches on needle 1 and the first few on needle 3, the instep stitches being knit in the texture pattern.
When the foot is the desired length, begin the toe decreases as follows:
- on needle 1, knit to the last three stitches, k2tog, k1
- on needle 2, k1, ssk, knit to the last three stitches, k2tog, k1
- on needle 3, k1, ssk, knit to the end
When the toe is the desired length and you have 24 stitches remaining, knit across needle 1 so that the yarn is coming from the side of the toe; graft the toe stitches.
I hope that makes sense and is helpful to anyone wanting to make the socks with double-pointed needles.
Hugh's magic bread dough with added olives - about 150g of pitted olives to 500g flour. Before it goes into the oven, brush the surface with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt, then bake it for around 30 minutes, covering with foil for the last 10 if it's browning too fast. Plaiting optional.
" Behind one like a cliff rises a palace of romance, vast, august, austere; a palace over which in a far-off age some mighty magician has thrown an enchanting spell sleep. Sleep and forgetfulness brood over the garden, and everywhere from sombre alley and moss-grown stair there rises a faint sweet fragrance of decay ...
On the left, the garden looks down upon grey-green olives shot with silver in the sunlight, and upon a vine-clad pergola which clings like a spider's web to undulating slope and dell. Deep drifts of withered leaves have gathered on the stairways, the fountain basins are overgrown with maidenhair or choked with water-weeds, the empty niches draped with velvety moss or tapestried with creepers. Descending by weed-grown stair and crumbling balustrade, one reaches a gloomy alley where a hundred fountains gush into a trough beneath a line of mouldering reliefs. At the further end of the terrace, falling in great cascades like the folds of a Naiad's robe or the flash of a silver sword, the river leaps into the garden, to four great pools of troubled water, a jeweled belt which quivers in the sunlight with a mysterious, an amazing blue. Such is the garden in the sober daylight, but what it may be in the summer nights, when the breath of the ivy comes and goes in waves of drowsy perfume, and great white moths are fluttering about the fountains, and in the ilex arbours and gloomy alcoves there are strange mutterings, and deep-drawn sighs, and whispering voices, and flashes of ghostly white, I do not dare to say."