Every time life steps up a gear and blogging takes a back seat for a while I look at the dashboard and wonder how on earth it's been that long since I last posted. It's been so long I don't really know where to start to catch up; do I tell you that the potted palm trees outside a certain Warwickshire railway station have had their trunks decorated with apples and bananas so that they appear to be fruit bearing? that in the window of a recruitment agency on Chancery Lane are seven knitted owl-barristers and two owl-judges? that last weekend we opened our last box of Christmas chocolates
and that this is not so much a sign of our restraint as H's impresssive ability to purchase most of Hotel Chocolat? or tell you of the blizzard that swept through Birmingham this afternoon two and a half minutes after a colleague e-mailed the team to announce that as it was February and as it wasn't raining we should all go for a drink after work!
But actually there's only really one place to start and that's with the yarn, and surefire evidence that it is not just me that falls down in yarn shops!
Last weekend I popped into Web of Wool to collect a little something for a certain someone's birthday and another little something for a certain someone's birthday. I was going to be good, restrained and aware of the lovely Christmas yarn waiting at home. This would have worked but my lovely H twisted his ankle playing football a week ago and was off sport for the weekend ("playing football" I take to mean that he and the opposition viciously tackled each other at the same time!) so I took him with me...
"What colour would [xxxxx] like?" I asked; "ooh I like this one"
came the response. "What does this knit up like?". I dutifully removed my shoe and showed him the Azure Blue Parrot; "I'd like these please!".
We chose the certain someone's yarn, collected the other certain someone's yarn and then the little voice popped up again; "now, where's the black sock yarn? I need some socks I can wear to work!"
A recent laundry crisis relating to too much time at work and insufficient proximity to the washing machine suggested to H that he should wear his handknit socks to work (where they were duly admired). Now he wants some slightly tamer ones for formal days, hence the black - who needs Marks & Spencer when you've got a wife that knits?!
Work has, as I said, been a tad on the crazy side this week; to the extent that yesterday and today I wasn't entirely sure what day of the week it was any more, just that it involved trains. Yesterday was the final outburst of energy, burning up pure adreneline to get the job finished (for the moment, cue hollow laughter).
I arrived home last night to a cryptic note from ParcelForce - they had left a package in the summerhouse. We don't have a summer house, or at least, we didn't when I went to work. It had been VERY windy during the day so I casually peered out into the darkened garden, wondering if perhaps one had landed, Wizard-of-Oz style, complete with package.
Fortunately it hadn't so I investigated the shed. I give great credit to the man from ParcelForce for describing our shed with a glass panelled door as a summerhouse, I feel he may have a promising career as an estate agent! In the shed I could make out a square brown box and when I brought it inside it looked like this:
When you open it a little bit further it looks like this:
OK enough teasing for now:
This is shipment No 1 from the 2008 Rockin Sock Club from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. I contemplated joining last year, didn't and then rather wished I had so this year I wasn't holding back and I'm not disappointed:
Beautifully soft yarn called Dragons Dance to celebrate Chinese New Year and the Serendipity sock pattern - I can't wait to cast on and the emergency sock key ring works out pretty well as a comfort/stress toy. The folder has lots of useful sock information, size conversion charts etc and places to note down sizes for your family and friends - I can't wait to cast on!
This is my first touch of STR and the fans have not underestimated it; it is almost indistinguishable from Jitterbug which is a favourite sock yarn. The advantage of STR is the skein is 128g, plenty for the giant feet of this 6' amazon.
The other problem with manic working is that it cuts into the time for manic knitting - bit of a problem when you desperately want to finish a shawl to wear to a wedding on Saturday. Icarus has now been knit at home, at Tuesday night knitting, on a variety of different brand trains (but not the tube) and most impressivly in the Masters waiting chamber at the Royal Courts of Justice (I had half an hour to wait for a judge to come back from his lunch).
Yesterday as I got home I was at the end of the final chart and it looked a little bit like this:
If I said the rows had got long by that point it was nothing on the final four edging rows and the cast off; simple rows but with close to 600 stitches it was a time consuming job. Unblocked it looked like this
and after staying up far later than I should have done to block it, it looked like ... actually, I'm not going to reveal all just now, the wedding is tomorrow when I will try to get some daylight photos and at the moment it's still on the blocking wires on the spare bedroom floor.
Well ok, you can have a peek:
And finally, an apology. All the manic working and manic knitting mean that my Christmas hubris (and early finishing) has come back to bite me. Today is my father's birthday and his present is not yet finished. So instead, and as a stop gap until I finish and post it ( Royal Mail not blog), I can do no better than to give a Birthday blog toast:
To my darling Dad, clifftop walk companion, sandcastle builder extraordinaire, and the man whose infectious smile I inherited: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!