With COVID-19 numbers dropping nationwide, the order came from On High: “Back to the office with you!” Happily for my continuing sanity and overall family wellbeing, I won’t be. The previously agreed timetable will remain in force for a few more weeks. We may renegotiate the last few days.
YoungB started a new job today. It’s city based and one where the end-of-trip facilities are so good that they feature in the orientation video. That means he’ll be back on his treadley once the first week is over. He’s looking forward to that with great enthusiasm.
In preparation for the forthcoming silly season, YoungB has also been participating in another lot of Latin-American dance classes. Whether from work or from the class, he reckons he’ll be home again before it’s too depressing outside. The evenings are lighter and the mornings are certainly light enough to see where you’re walking. Not warm, mind you! But less dangerous simply because of the improved visibility.
And I have – finally – finished and delivered the little knitted baby beanie I’ve been slugging away at since what feels like forever. It was one of those things where I’d knit a bit, then I’d knit a bit more, and although it should have been growing, it really didn’t seem to be making much progress at all. YoungB kindly reminded me that the longer I took to make it, the better chance there was that it would no longer fit the intended recipient. Fair point!
As you can see from the photo, the beanie is a simple mistake-rib design. The colour is probably brighter IRL, but difficult to photograph well. Bendigo Woollen MillsBaby Meadow 4-ply, 100% Fine Australian Merino Wool in shade Golden Sands. I used 3.25mm (UK 10 / US 3) and 2.75mm (UK 12 / US 2) Aero knitting needles that I have had for many years.
I’m now having a bit of a rest. I hope you are, too 🙂
We were at a funeral where my voice singing some of Dr B’s work was emanating from the speakers. Only we three would have known that, as there was no mention of performers on the memorial card and, although a home audience, it wasn’t one familiar with my voice or Dr B’s work.
I muttered to the Bs that it’s becoming a habit to hear myself at funerals. Yeah. You might wonder if it’s simply that we’ve arrived at the right demographic. I think it’s more that we’re always willing to contribute in acknowledging other creative people, particularly when they’re long-time friends with whom we share – or have shared – creative histories.
Only we three knew how astonishingly special that recording was: one of Dr B’s more experimental works that exists only in his computer, his phone, and now in this version as part of funeral music for our mate. As well as having composed it, Dr B is singing. YoungB is singing, I’m singing, another well-known friend is singing, and the mate we were celebrating was also singing. His was the voice that everybody knew, and the others were relegated to backing vocals. We thought that was the best send-off we could give him and felt that we’d truly played our part(s).
Then it was time to come home and donate to the charity-blanket collection. YoungB drove me to the drop-off point, and I left my squares at the door, in a box already brimming with enough others for a cheery, sizeable rug. It’s not quite from the sublime to the ridiculous, but it’s certainly a different section of the creative continuum; and all the creatives involved in the blanket will also be forever anonymous while being forever immortalised 🙂
The call for squares went out via one of my knitting groups. They needed to be as near as possible to 15cm x 15cm, using 8-ply acrylic; and whether they were knitted or crocheted wasn’t important. Someone would then take all those squares and make them into a blanket, which in turn would be presented to a nearby hospital. No colour or pattern specification required, just whatever you had on hand that would cheer someone in need of comfort.
I thought it would be the ideal opportunity to use up some stash yarn that met those descriptions and was never going to be quite right with anything else, so I cast on using 4.00mm needles. That was about when Life in general started to go off the rails, so I simply point out that, even as a child, when I was the most beginner of knitters, I have probably never tinked a garter-stitch item quite so many times! Of course, I had expert assistance to hand in those days, in the shape of my mother and aunts; nowadays, I’m my own expert assistance most of the time, and I obviously have my limits.
I’d also point out that the cheap acrylic yarn – whose ball-bands are long lost to history, so I’m unable to provide details – knitted up well and kept coming up well after the sixth or seventh tink. The stitch definition was still good, and – despite being reknitted and reknitted a bit more and reknitted again because that didn’t work – it didn’t go fluffy. Sturdy stuff, as I think the photo illustrates, and probably ideal for the sort of action it’s likely to see.
My original thought was that I could knit half a dozen such squares and, in normal circumstances, I probably could. Yeah. I’ve finished two. They will have to do. I remind myself that, if everyone visiting the pick-up point donated two squares, there’d be a carton of blankets already. I hope the two I’ve made will fit in with others. They’re simple, but they meet the criteria. And I hope their bright cheeriness will help to lift someone’s spirits at a time of distress.
I hope you have some cheer to wrap around you, too, particularly if you’re somewhere chilly 🙂
YoungB’s contract is at an an end, so he’s on the job-hunt. Again. The thing about our recent elections – both state and federal – is that the change of government (at both levels) means that there are opportunities aplenty in different fields, some of which he might find appealing. He’s had his resume professionally tarted up – I beg your pardon; updated – and it’s impressive.
Me? I’ve officially notified the Powers That Be the date on which I’ll be retiring later this year. Leadership at work seems surprised. I don’t know why! My age is no secret. I’ve clearly been suffering work-related aggravations to existing health problems ever since I started there. I’ve made absolutely no secret of my intentions. Why is it suddenly unexpected, and something they hadn’t foreseen? You know that emoji where you smack yourself? Yeah. That seemed about the right response; but I didn’t.
Someone who appreciates why retirement is a good idea asked me what I’m going to do – apart from all the obvious things like crochet and knit, of course – and I said I might cook. She thought that was a wonderful idea. So did I. I like cooking. I would have to shoo Dr B out of the kitchen – it is his domain, after all – but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me elbowing into his space if it means he has more time to do other things. I would bake, too. It would be gratifying to go back to making bread. That was one of my great pleasures that simply disappeared.
Dodgy back and leg notwithstanding, some routine exercise will also feature large. It’s most likely to be continuing the hydro-pool exercise classes that I presently attend. They’re generally kind in terms of both parts of the physique and, because it’s a therapy pool, the water is always wondrously warm. I would be free to join a book club. Or a gardening club. Or a photography group. Or all of the above!
I could once again suss out options for joining local choirs. This time, when they all respond with some version of, “We rehearse and perform during the day, during the week,” thus putting such delights entirely out of full-time worker contention, it wouldn’t matter. I’d have that availability.
I might by then have reached the top of the waiting list for eye surgery, and, postoperatively, be able to see better than ever – really ever, as I’ve been wearing specs pretty much all my life – and then I might be able to reinvigorate my sewing and make some inroads on all those projects that are presently too difficult. Oh, boy. And people wonder if I’ll have enough to do. Smack-yourself emoji again, I think.
Meanwhile, however, there’s a certain amount of excitement and tension around YoungB’s potential new job. There are choices in fields where he has qualifications and expertise, and there are choices in fields that would suit his outgoing personality. There are jobs with crossover. He’s already sent inquiries and job applications. It’s going to be an interesting few months, watching how everything turns out, but he is likely to have some much-needed downtime before starting in any new position, whatever the field.
During that downtime, I anticipate the mealtime conversation will centre on matters mechanical. I’ll be knitting in my room, if you’re looking for me 😀
Today has been World Wide Knit in Public Day. Coincidentally this year, today has also been World Gin Day. Two of my favourite things, all rolled into one. Who could ask for more? And who could resist the opportunity to celebrate?
Accordingly, YoungB and I took ourselves off to the local to sample some of their specialist gins, while I sat and knitted on the baby beanie. It’s not a brilliant photo, but it’s me knitting in public on a day allocated to that very pursuit. And that is a slightly sour sloe gin cocktail (gin from Dasher and Fisher, a Tasmanian distillery hitherto unknown to both of us).
I was carefully working on the baby beanie, counting as carefully as I could. It looked okay until I turned it over. Then I saw that, wouldn’t you know it, the mistake rib had more than its proper quota of mistakes. They were well distributed right across the row. It took me a while to repair and I admit to swearing quite profusely over how sticky some of the stitches were. That’s mostly because I’m using small needles. Otherwise, the BWM 4 ply baby yarn is delightful and a treat to use.
I took it to work today, thinking I might do a row or two at lunchtime, but that didn’t happen. Nor did I do any on the homeward bus trip, which was surprisingly crowded. Perhaps it’s a good thing, because I might have made more unintentional mistakes while trying to dodge elbows.
I hope your yarny mistakes are retrievable mishaps and not irretrievable disasters 🙂
Dear Mum, here we are again, around the time of what would have been your birthday; and it’s one that uses significantly more fingers than I have. Being June and officially winter, you won’t be surprised to hear that we’re enduring appropriately wintry weather. Yesterday, I dragged out my beanie, my fingerless mitts, and my rowing scarf – of sleeted upon at Ballarat fame – and I was still cold.
YoungB was wearing the grey beanie I made him, and a pair of gloves that I gave him; although I didn’t make them. He still uses his badly repaired (but functional) fingerless mitts for computer work. He said he’d raided his little box of “things to keep you warm”, and a surprising number of them were from me. He doesn’t do quite so many early mornings nowadays, but it’s still a good idea to have a beanie you can grab whenever you need it. It cheers me to see that “no questions asked, this is the best choice on a cold day” attitude. I’m sure you’d understand.
When I was working on the border of the temperature blanket, he said how much he liked the purple colour. I would happily make something for him using that yarn, but there are quite a few other things on my present list, and only so many hours in the day. A purple object might have to wait.
I’ve started knitting a beanie for the latest baby in the family, your first great grandson. He’s a big little boy, and YoungB reminded me to be sure I’m making a bigger size than I think I should be. I am. I’m using Bendigo Woollen Mills Baby Meadow, a 4 ply 100% Australian fine merino wool, and it is beautifully soft. The pattern is a 1×1 rib for the first part, then 2×2 in what I learnt as broken rib, but modern stitch dictionaries tell me is mistake rib. Broken rib is different. Well, there you go. Neither is difficult, although you’d undoubtedly agree that both require attention to establish. It’s easy to get it wrong, and then a nightmare to retrieve.
I’m trying to avoid obvious “special design features”, meaning that I’ve already had to do a bit of tinking. Perhaps it’s that usual old complaint: I rarely get a chance to simply sit and knit, my eyes are getting older and my visual acuity lessening, and I will insist on knitting late at night. This colour is at least easy to see.
On the subject of getting old, and things not working as well as they once did, I’m distressed to find that knitting makes my fingers quite sore. A few years ago, I changed to soft-handled crochet hooks. Mine aren’t the really expensive brand, but they are kind to my fingers. Knitting needles by their nature are less “soft-touch” although it may be worth my while to have another try with bamboo needles. I didn’t like them the last time I tried; but if they help, then I’m prepared to learn to like them 😉
I’m presently using Aero metal knitting needles that I’ve had for adunnamany years. They do the job and, because I’ve looked after them, they’re (mostly) still straight and don’t have any rough sections to snag the stitches; all definite pluses. However, they sometimes make my index fingers stiff and sore, particularly needles at the tinier end of sizing. When I’m ribbing with UK size 12 / 2.75mm needles, I often find myself stretching and flexing my fingers, the way you used to. Perhaps it’s a good thing that I can’t sit and knit for hours. You see? There’s an upside to everything.
As the cold, wet weather is continuing with some dedication, tonight will be a good one to stoke up the fire and keep knitting, however many fingers it takes, and however many times I need to stretch them. There’s a baby who needs a beanie so that he’s warm, too; and I don’t need any fingers to calculate his age 🙂
I’d almost decided to call it a night, then I shook out my work and had a good look at it. There were perhaps 20 centimetres remaining on the last side of the last round of the border. Yeah, that didn’t equal calling it quits and going to bed! So I sat up for as long as it took to work those remaining (UK) htr’s, snipped my yarn, wove in the last end and, just like that, it was all over. What an anticlimax.
It should really be a very big ta-dah moment: I have finished the 2021 temperature blanket and presented it to YoungB as a special delivery from the laundry fairy!! He pretended to stagger under its weight. In case I never see it again in daylight, I took a few photos. They’re not brilliant, but they will do to accompany a detailed post; which I am still drafting.
So what am I going to do now??? Well, apart from some of the by now fairly pressing household chores (consider above non-coincidental reference to laundry fairy), I have a baby beanie and some toddler beanies to knit or crochet. I have a couple of pram rugs to knit or crochet. There are a couple of adult beanies on the list, and those I will probably knit. There are new-to-me crochet techniques and patterns I’m itching to try for some knitworthy (or crochetworthy) recipient.
That should keep me busy till this time next year, don’t you reckon?
During lulls in the technological efficiency, I occasionally pick up the blanket and work a stitch or three of the border. It is looking good, but there’s definitely a very l-o-n-g way to go. I’m enjoying the linen stitch/moss stitch. As a knitter, I find it more similar to knitted linen stitch. I recognise that the chain 1 is approximately equal to the slip 1. I don’t as readily see it resembling knitted moss stitch, except in its reversibility. That’s a distinct plus.
Whatever you call it, it’s effective. The border at that point garnered praise from a knitter friend who has stalled on her large project (a wondrous blanket that makes mine look very ho-hum indeed). I would have stalled, too, I think, had I not decided Most Firmly from the outset that I would not do anything else until the temperature blanket was finished. I’ve been pretty good about that.
With that in mind, and as my computer has just given me one of those, “I’m going to shut down on you,” messages, I’m off to do a spot more work on that border.
I hope your dedication is also holding in the face of temptation 😀
It’s such a busy time of year that I’m struggling to juggle my extra-curricular activities. I’m heavily involved in the making of our pool-noodle horse. As you can see from the photo, he now has eyes. I glued them on at lunchtime yesterday. What’s less obvious is that most of the rest of him is also now glued. My arthritic joints didn’t appreciate that amount of time spent using a hot-glue gun. Knitting and crochet don’t require such a steep angle or degree of compression, and my techniques don’t involve using all my fingers to the same extent.
My weekend is set to be spent communing with my sewing machine while I try to knock up some sort of “silk” top for the jockey. I have already dragged out more stash fabric. It won’t be a complicated garment, but the lightweight fabrics will respond better to sewing than to gluing. Also, sewing should be quicker, and kinder to my hands, than gluing.
The horse is still earless, as you can see. Once in place, ears will help keep his forelock tidier. Another team member is making those, ready for us to attach them on Monday. We don’t want to be finishing our steed on the day of the race, do we?! And, I mean, he has to be able to hear the cheers of the crowd on Tuesday. Right? If my hands haven’t recovered by Monday, someone else can wield the gun.
There’s another fancy-dress costume on the go for next weekend’s Girls’ Night In. It doesn’t require much sewing – thankfully – but while I have the machine stoked up, it makes sense to tackle that as well. That will be in between dealing with domestica, of course, mostly in the shape of endless laundry.
I have felt pulled in all directions trying to answer these various calls to craftiness. I have done nothing at all to YoungB’s blanket for over a week, but – as ever – I am diligently continuing to record temperatures. I will get there and it’s not something that was ever going to be finished smack on year’s end. I’ve said before, if it’s ready in time for his March birthday, I’ll consider that acceptable. The border will occupy me for a couple of weeks, I’m sure.
The other hiccough is babies. People will keep telling me they’re having babies, and they’re all due in March! I do want to make something for each of them, but it might be as simple as a knitted toy. I’m not offering to knit or crochet blankets. Nowadays, while I’m still working full-time, my energy simply doesn’t stretch that far.
Sew: the finish line for this part of the course is in sight. It will do as a waypoint. I’m not even going to think about how far behind the blanket is falling, or about any COVID-related issues that might be heading our way with relaxing restrictions. Let’s celebrate our progress and cheer ourselves mightily as we finish strong. We’re all champions 😀