Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Walking in the Woods

Some evenings when my husband comes home from work we like to go for a walk in the woods.  I love the lichen that clings to some branches
and fungi growing on others that have fallen during storms.
The bluebells are the main flower in bloom this month.

Cowslips are appearing in the grass verges.

This is the ancient footpath that we often walk along, bordered by giant oaks.
Evening in the woods and the anemones close their petals for the night.
Yesterday was such a lovely sunny day that I went for a walk amongst the bluebells and enjoyed listening to the birdsong.  There were butterflies dancing together between the trees and bees making the most of the glut of pollen.  I also spotted many ladybirds on the bluebells and the occasional white bluebell.

Peter Rabbit and the TARDIS

I recently finished my Hilltop Shawl by Helen Stewart.  I knitted this with the pattern and yarn that Helen generously gifted to those of us that attended the Curious Handmade Country House Retreat that I posted about here.  I very much liked the patterned rows in this shawl and decided to extend them; the only issue was that I lost at the game of yarn-chicken!
I frogged a couple of rows and managed to complete the shawl with just over 2m to spare!

I gently blocked the shawl as I didn't want to lose any of the lovely squishiness of the yarn, which is The Fibre Company's Cumbria Fingering in the colour way Eden Valley.
I increased the pattern sections of the design by adding an extra 2 rows of the eyelets each time.  This design reminds me of the bars of the gate to Mr McGregor's garden, under which Peter Rabbit squeezed.
I thought I should include a tray photo for my retreat housemates! ;)
Yesterday, as the weather had turned sunny again I decided to wear my shawl for a walk in the woods, which gave me the idea to photograph it amongst the bluebells and wood anemones.
These photos show the yarn colour in the best light and highlight just how big my shawl turned out.

I took some photos of the bluebells and tried to Periscope how beautiful it is in the woods at this time of year, but I'm not very confident talking to the camera, so I will write another post about that and include a short clip of the woodland another time.
I have another shawl on my needles at the moment and this one I am calling the TARDIS.  This is a very different design to my usual aesthetic.  In May we are going to Comic Con in London as a family and having previously seen this shawl pattern, I felt that it was the right accessory for the event.  I searched the net for 2 skeins of police box blue and found this lovely yarn by one of my favourite indie dyers, fivemoons.
I immediately prepared the yarn and cast on.
The lace section is called the Time Vortex and was enjoyable to knit.  I have increased the length of part to make a longer shawl with more depth at the back.

I blocked the lace to make it easier to pick up the stitches along the curved edge for the TARDIS section.
I picked up the stitches as evenly as possible, without counting them as I felt that way I would have a neater join.
I then did the maths and worked out that I had the correct amount of stitches for 19 TARDIS's and I have allowed for a few extra stitches on each side where I plan to increase them to produce more curved ends, as the original pattern had blunt ends that I don't like.
I plan to change to border too, from a ribbed section to lace.  I am considering this border and Kristina has kindly sent the chart to me.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

City of Dreaming Spires

Last Friday M needed to go to Oxford, so S and I drove her there and made a day of it.  I took my neglected hexipuff project to work on in the car.  I am supposed to be knitting one a day, but took a break in March!  I hope to get back on track with this project this month.
It was a little grey when we arrived in Oxford,

but luckily the skies cleared whilst we had our lunch.
Oxford is well known for its bicycles,
but the cyclists looked a little different to my expectations! :)
Everywhere you look in Oxford the buildings are covered with beautiful carvings.

We wandered around the shops and covered market.
Then we went inside the University Church of St Mary the Virgin, one of the oldest buildings in Oxford.
The Chancellor's throne,
which sits at the end of the nave facing the organ screen and chancel.

The 1827 pulpit.
The chancel
Looking back down the nave to the west window.

The font.
We climbed up to view the west window in more detail.

From here we had a good view of the nave

and of the Radcliffe Camera through the window.
Back outside we continued our wander along the High Street,

taking in the views around corners
and through doorways into the colleges.
The Queen's College

Turning back up the High Street
we turned off and walked past the Radcliffe Camera.
St Mary the Virgin viewed from Radcliffe Square.
We headed away from the city centre past more beautiful buildings.
The Bridge of Sighs

Wadham College

The Natural History Museum of Oxford

We walked along beside the park

to a particular destination I had in mind.
The local yarn shop!

I chose some new to me yarns:-
some alpaca yarn, Sierra Adina by Adriafil
and a couple of sock yarns, as I am building myself up to knitting my first pair of socks!
This was the first time I had seen some Arne & Carlos yarn in a shop.
I'm thinking of using this Schoppel Wolle Admiral for the heels, toes and cuffs.
Our day in Oxford was almost at an end, so we headed back to the city centre, past the Sheldonian Theatre
This patisserie caught my eye, so we stopped for some tea

and cake!

Then it was time to go home, but I'm sure we will be back, especially as I have discovered that lovely yarn shop! :)