Thursday 26 January 2012

The gentle art of gratitude*

I'm sure like me you were brought up to say please and thank you and I'm sure like me you still do. For example after a meal with friends I'll always send a card or perhaps an email depending on who it is. I met up with an old friend last week for lunch and gave her a bottle of our olive oil, within a few days there was a lovely thank you card that I really appreciated. However I've had recently a few examples of total lack of gratitude.
So far this year I have posted off separately two hand knitted items and left another gift to be passed onto the recipient, I have heard nothing back from anyone. So I've begun to wonder if the gifts actually arrived and at the embarrassing stage of considering whether I should make contact, thus shaming the recipient into expressing some seemingly solicited appreciation or just keep quiet.
I'm not looking for a standing ovation, I don't need to be carried shoulder high round the village, but none of this is good enough.
On the other hand, and on the basis of two positive comments to each negative, my darling Amelia always makes a big effort whenever she receives a gift, this was her post Christmas thank youand I still have last years which was equally delightful.
Also I knitted this week a pair of fingerless gloves for Pam's Mum who is 95, currently not too well and likes to read in bed with gloves on to keep cosy. Pam provided me with a couple of balls of Rowan 4 ply soft, gorgeous yarn, I used slightly more than one 50g ball and could probably have managed with just one but I'd been asked to make the gloves nice and long, presumably to tuck into the sleeves of a nightie. When Pam collected them she thanked me and that evening sent me an email thanking me again and saying her Mum was delighted and was using the gloves straight away which was great to hear.
I give gifts that I think the recipient will enjoy and the giving is in many ways enough satisfaction but surely it doesn't take much, especially in this day and age, to make some acknowledgement. That's all I'm saying, my first rant of the year and by the way thank you for taking the time to read this.

*with apologies (and thanks) to Jane Brocket

Sunday 22 January 2012

Thank you Josiekitten

Josiekitten started the year with a blog giveaway and I was one of the lucky two drawn for a prize. I didn't mind which yarn I received so it was a nice surprise both to find some chocolate in the box and also three balls of Louisa Harding Kimono Angora. I had suggested that if I didn't win any yarn JK might send me one of her gorgeous cats. Seems she wasn't up for that but the yarn is as soft and silky as a kittens ears. Do you want a closer look at this cuddly collection. It will make a beautiful scarf, I am thinking something light and lacy, can't wait to get started but as you know I am soldiering on with the jumper of barbed wire. It seems to get harsher and harsher or has fondling this delicious new yarn altered my perception. I have however started (and finished) the chocolate which was most satisfactory.

Thursday 19 January 2012

Goodness gracious

Great balls of fibre.

I bought two of these cones of 'stuff' a while ago in a charity shop, they cost I think £1.50 each, the main reason I bought them, the colour is a nice brown tweedy mix. The total weight is over 2000 grams, there is no central paper or plastic cone, what you see is all knitable. I have absolutely no idea of the fibre content, it feels like string mixed with a bit of barbed wire yet I can break the thread easily, it doesn't smell at all sheepy but does have that oily feel that natural wool can have. Mr FF had been asking for a new everyday sweater and I toyed with the idea of ordering some yarn then I remembered that these two biggies were lurking in the stash department. I'm using a simple 4 ply raglan pattern, it's turning out quite big, its very heavy and unyielding to work with. I have to say it's hard going as the material is so harsh but I keep knitting and telling Mr FF that this will make a great outdoor, wind and waterproof jumper/tent. I'm the kind of girl who always finishes a book once started, completes one project before she starts the next but this time I have had to do a bit of soft double knitting now and then just to save my aching hands. Still the back is done, the front almost finished and the sleeves will be easier so lets just hope the jumper is wearable. Toughen up Mr FF, we are relying on you.

Friday 13 January 2012

Big new year knitting post

Seems ages since I showed you any knitting, it must be weeks because I really have lots.The men's socks from the broken needles eventually got finished, a Regia yarn the pattern I've used before is from Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Knitting and nicely meets my need for cables. Another little swing cardy again in Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo, this one for a new great niece Kitty born just before Christmas in London. Socks from the yarn, Preface, I bought at the Phildar shop in Reims. I like the colour Gouache very much but Phildar doesn't seem to be easily found in the UK. A scarf in a pure and quite old Shetland yarn I had in stock. The pattern is for a shawl but the fine yarn and smaller needles turned it into a scarf. Made in two halves and grafted together, I defy you to find the join.
Mr FF's Christmas socks are done, I used the pattern Country Socks from one of my Christmas books, Folk Socks by Nancy Bush, nice ribs with a bit of broken rib or is it mixed up moss stitch inbetween.
There is one more rather lovely item but it's a present so I can't show you until it's delivered and maybe you've had enough for now. Such a good start to the year, just call me Mrs Knitalot but what else can a girl do when her bottom seems to be welded to the sofa.

Monday 9 January 2012

Wise words

I've just been going through the Christmas cards before recycling them and I reread this message, it really makes me smile. So true though today I've managed a few hours in the much neglected garden, I wore my wellies.

Thursday 5 January 2012


During the big storms our power went off and stayed off for 30 hours. Dark days indeed.
On Tuesday morning we woke to very very windy weather, probably the worst we've experienced here and as I lay in bed listening to the tiles dancing I thought the whole roof would blow away. Mr FF brought out the camping gear, our little gas stove that had difficulty warming a pan of water, our lantern whose batteries had past their use by date and gave less light than a candle, his wind up torch and our battery radio. Thus we existed for a day and a half. We opened the doors of the stove and heated simple food and water on the fire, giving everything an interesting smoky flavour. I knitted by the light of two candles, stocking stitch was all I could manage, Mr FF read with his torch and we listened to a live football match on the radio, Tuesday was a long evening. Our bedroom was Baltic but a hot water bottle each and the torch within easy reach in case we needed to get out in the night saw us settled in.
Mr FF did have the benefit of his iPad but there wasn't that much left in the battery and he said he wanted to save that in case he needed to send an emergency email. I've never heard of one of those, I thought if we had an emergency we might use the phone or go out in the car so I found little comfort in the idea that we an email in hand.
Wednesday we decided to go out for the day, we managed showers as we had loads of hot water from the stove but without the pump there wasn't much flow and I found the top of my body warmed while my legs stayed cold. It was also dark in the cubicle but as I explained to Mr FF that wasn't a problem as I know my way round my body pretty well. Getting in and out of the shower was invigorating but at least we were clean while we traipsed round a few supermarkets that were quite chilly. We ended up in the cafe in Ikea, which was relatively cosy and a plate of meatballs and mashed potato cheered me up no end but then mashed potato is my happy food. We had to resist the temptation to snuggle down into a bed in one of the room sets, watched a bit of telly in another and came home late afternoon. We practically held our breath driving home in case the village was still in darkness, the first part had power but the middle of the village was off so we didn't have great hopes as we turned off the main road where the street lights were still off towards our house. Hurray, we had power, it had been on for about an hour when we go home. Last night was bliss, heat in more than one room, light, telly, internet, proper cooking. Driving along yesterday we'd seen so much destruction, lots of trees down, fences blown away, several garden greenhouses completely destroyed. We were lucky to escape any real damage, so grateful to have our power back and still have email to spare.