Friday, February 29, 2008

The Modern Quilt Wrap

Finally, the ends are all woven in and what a marathon that was! I laid out a couple of towels in a quiet corner of my office and gave it a gentle blocking. You really get to see all the glorious colours when it's stretched out. I think Mags Kandis is a genius for putting them together like this.

It certainly wasn't a cheap knit as there are so many different colours and Rowan Kidsilk Haze is quite expensive. But, I have been assured that there is enough to make 2 wraps within the yardage although I suspect I will probably make something else out of the remainder.

Now when I ventured out to the sales last autumn I came across this lovely jacket and I just had to have it as I knew that not only would it look great with my hair colour but also that it would show off the wrap to perfection. I actually think the wrap cost more than the jacket!

The weather has brightened up today but the wind is still very strong (it kept me awake most of last night and even the horses stayed inside their field shelters so it must have been bad!). Fingers crossed it will have died down for tomorrow or it will be a long and arduous 26.2 miles across the South Downs!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sock it to me!

I finally did it and I learnt so much on the journey. I love the colours of the yarn, although they don't show up very well in the photos.

The fit around my instep is spot on now and I'll have to remember to fiddle with any future patterns to accommodate my high instep and chunky ankles. I also tried Kitchener stitch to bind off the toe. I've used it on shoulder seams before but not on something knit in the round. It took a couple of goes but I got there in the end.

One thing I will have to get used to, never having had hand knitted socks before, is the feel of the stitches on my sole - they feel kind of lumpy (yeah, I know they're knit stitches so they're bound to but I just hadn't expected it!). Tinker decided to lend a hand in the photography but got bored and left part way through, just staying long enough to demonstrate how well the colours go with his beautiful ginger coat!

Here it is, unblocked. Now, what's the best way to block when you haven't got sock-blockers? Maybe a bent wire coat-hanger? Does it actually need blocking? I shall ponder these questions whilst I continue making some curtains.

At the beginning of the week the weather forecast for Sunday (Steyning marathon) was dire but has now been updated to be brighter. Fingers crossed anyway as last year was truly awful and I have never been so cold and wet.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Two Walks and a Triumphant sock

I forgot to write about a lovely walk Mike and I did last week. It was a 7 mile route around the village of Salehurst and the footpath took us alongside the beautiful church of St Mary the Virgin, a 13th century chapel, so we went in for a look. This first thing that struck us was the glorious stained glass window above the entrance. The colours are jewel-like and absolutely gorgeous.

Just inside the porch we spotted this most impressive font. It dates back to the times of the Crusades and was reputedly a gift from Richard 1st as a thank you to the Abbot of Robertsbridge for assisting him. At the base of the font you can see the salamanders which are a symbol associated with the Crusades. You can see a good photo of the interior of the church here

On the way back we passed through several orchards and I took this photo because the apple trees looked almost alien and I loved the shapes their bare branches made. You can see that the farmer had been busy pruning them and all the prunings are laid out neatly in piles ready for collection.

Our walk yesterday took us across the fields not far from home. It was an unseasonally warm day. We crossed a field of ewes who looked as if they were getting close to lambing. One of them was especially friendly and took a liking to Mike. I think she was trying to see if he had anything to eat in his pocket!
She followed us all the way to the stile and stayed to watch us walk along the lane. Awwh!

Last but not least, I've finally got round the heel on my sock and it fits this time. HOORAH!!! There's about 1" to go before I work the toe so it should be finished tomorrow with a bit of luck. Here's a sneaky peak. There will be more photos soon 'cos I'm rather pleased with it now (hope that isn't tempting fate for the toe!).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rip it, rip it........

A frog he would a-ripping go,
Hey-ho said Susie!

The longer heel didn't make enough difference so I have ripped right back again and am increasing the leg stitches by 8. That works with the pattern repeat and following lots of measuring of my arch and ankle I reckon that, combined with a slightly longer heel, will do the trick.

One thing I now understand is why so many people have taken to sock knitting - progress is so quick. If I hadn't had to start again twice then I'd easily have completed one sock by now. Instant gratification!

Fingers crossed it works this time (well, obviously they won't be crossed when I'm knitting, DOH!).

One good thing did happen today though. I got all my stuff through from the lovely people at Guinness World Records ready for the London marathon. I do actually remember last year saying that I would never do the running and knitting again as it was so blooming hard and painful but I'm getting quite excited about it now. Maybe I am mad after all. People have been saying it for years!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Now Tinker doesn't normally bother with my knitting (unlike Barney who loved to fight with it!). Ha, who am I kidding! I'd left it on the chair whilst I fed the horses and bunnies and when I returned it looked like a Tom and Jerry cartoon with wool all over the place. I had done about 3" having restarted my sock but I had to rip it right back to this. Ah well, c'est la vie.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I Knit London, Wendy & a Glorious Sunset

This morning I had a lovely email from Gerard at I Knit London. I'd emailed him to ask if he'd publicise my running/knitting stuff at FLM (London marathon) and he has very kindly agreed to put something about it in his weekly newsletter. I'm hoping to get to meet him this year at the Stitch'n'Bitch in September as I missed him at FLM last year where he was publicising the charity Water Aid. You may remember they organised a wonderful knitted river to draw attention to the problems of lack of clean water in 3rd world countries.

Next up was a very helpful email from Wendy from Wendy Knits I'd left a comment on her blog asking for advice about my high instep/heel problem and I was thrilled that she'd taken the time to reply to me. She agreed that the best way would be to increase the length of the heel section then lose the extra stitches after the turn. I've now ripped right back to the start so will be casting on again tomorrow. Thanks Wendy, you're a star!

How did we manage without the internet?!

Finally, we had the most glorious sunset this evening so I tried to capture some of its beauty. Everywhere was bathed in a pinky amber glow and it looked so lovely.

First frog of the year!

I turned the heel last night and didn't find it difficult at all so no worries there. It was, however, obvious that my foot was never going to fit in the space provided! I have quite high arches and I didn't need to go to the trouble of slipping my stitches onto waste yarn to try it on - it was obvious that I would be ripping backand starting again!

So, I will need to increase the number of stitches around the leg section (but not too many or it will be too loose) then I suppose I'll have to lengthen the heel bit to give my ankle room to get into the foot section. Better go and do some searching around on the internet for advice. In the meantime it's off to the frog pond........................

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Last long run before the Stinger

Hoorah, it's taper time (that means I start reducing my mileage before the marathon)! I did 15 miles cross country this morning and it was very cold at 7am when I ventured out. The ground was frozen solid and some of the fields were very hard to run on as they were rutted when the crops had been drilled in. On the way back the sun was out and the ground had softened which made the going a bit easier.

Here's a photo of a solitary Blackthorn tree in our back garden. originally it would have formed part of a stock-proof hedge but sadly this is all that remains. In the olden days people knew a thing or two and it provides us with sloes in the autumn with which we can make Sloe Gin (YUM!). It look so pretty and the smell of the pollen is sickly sweet as you pass it. Kizzy and Esther are tucking into their feed in the background.

This evening I shall start to turn the heel on my sock so I'll soon know if I need to rip it or not. Fingers crossed........

Friday, February 15, 2008

Knit Today Magazine

As I'm now fully into fund-raising mode I've started to contact everyone who helped me with publicity last year. After the London marathon I was contacted by Janice Broadstock, the editor of Knit Today magazine and she very kindly put a little article about my antics in the magazine. This time I contacted her and she replied almost immediately offering to do a little write-up in issue 20 which is due out at the end of March, just in time for the London marathon. I suggested that she could mention that people might like to come and have a 'Knit-Out' too as it's a lovely day out (weather permitting!) and there is a great pub at about mile 18 which is really close to the road so you get to see the runners close up. She even said she might pop along herself. What a star!

I know the Alzheimer's Research Trust will be happy to provide everyone with lovely purple tee shirts and it would be wonderful to be greeted by a group of knitters at a point where I will most likely be getting tired.

We tried to organise it last year but sadly Rachael Matthews (a talented knit designer) didn't have any luck getting people together in time. What I really need is someone to co-ordinate it and organise a knitting group so I might try contacting one of the knitting groups in central London to see if they could help.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I swatched and washed but........'s looking pretty darned small to me! My swatch came up bang on the correct tension but now I've started it looks so small. I've tried it on my hand and it stretches to 20cm with out too much effort and my ankle/calf measures about 20.5 so technically it should be OK. I suppose what I should do is carry on, turn the heel (gulp) and then stick it on waste yarn and try it on. That way, if I have to frog it at least I'll have had some good practice.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What a glorious weekend

The weather this weekend has been unseasonally warm. It seems wrong to complain but I do worry that global warming is taking it's toll. Putting that to one side we took full advantage of it and I enjoyed a lovely 20 mile run this morning along the lanes. I had intended to go across country but the fields are just too sodden and it would have taken even longer than usual.

When I left home at 7am the sun was just thinking about getting up and I headed off towards Bodiam bathed in a pinkish/Amber glow. This photo was taken looking from the front of our house.

By the time I reached Bodiam the sun was just peeping out over the hills.

There had been a heavy frost and the ground was covered in a shimmering white carpet which appeared golden as the sun's rays spread across it.

Bodiam castle looked almost pink in this eerie light.

From Bodiam, I headed off towards Northiam and did some circuits in that area before heading for home. Although it had been very cold first thing, I was sweltering by the time I got home at 11am. The day was just too gorgeous to be indoors so Mike and I headed out for a 5 mile walk along the river Rother. It may sound strange, having just run 20 miles, but it really helped to stretch my legs out.

On the knitting front, most of the ends have been woven in on my wrap and I must get Mike to take a photo of me wearing it. I am very pleased with how it has turned out as the colours are so beautiful.

I have decided not to embark upon my FairIsle project straight away and instead I am going to attempt my first ever pair of socks - the 'Sea Wool Bordello socks' using Fleece Artist yarn, colour 'Origin'. I got in such a tangle winding the skein into balls but I got there in the end! I'm not sure that the colour shows up very well in the photo - it has shades of plum, mauve and gold and looked pretty in the skein. I'm just off to cast-on now.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Pounding out the miles

Well it was more like squelching actually as the ground is so wet and claggy after all the rain we've had recently. At least it wasn't flooded though and I just had to deal with loads of mud rather than flood water. I did 16 miles across the fields today and it was quite a struggle 'cos of all the slipping and sliding around in the mud. Never mind, it's another long run under my belt. Photos will be uploaded soon........