Happy Stitches

Keep your stitches smiling!

The comforts of home December 21, 2009

Filed under: General Musings,Pattern highlight — happystitches @ 21:46
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I’m back again on this side of the pond. John and I were lucky with the weather and had no delays in flying home. My poor mother-in-law, who visited us whilst we were in Norfolk, had a far worse journey home to Liverpool on the train, due to the creative endeavors of vandals on the railway line. Apparently the same stretch of track has been damaged four times in as many days. What joy do they get from destroying things and messing up so many people’s work-days and travel plans?
Delays seem to be the norm for UK travel: we set off for the airport a day early, as reaching Heathrow for an 1100 flight is a nerve-racking near-impossibility from North Norfolk; no matter what time you leave, the M25 will be in rush hour when you reach it. You can be parked on the road for hours only miles away from the airport. Things have cooled down here a little, the lakes are starting to skin over with ice but temperature is still going up and down like a yo-yo.

It is quite a relief to be back to the comforts of a warm and fully functioning bathroom. I’m feeling rather like a spoiled North American as I write this, but English bathrooms are eccentric, to say the least. I recall that our bathrooms in Wales (17 years ago) were all sited in external rooms and each as chilly as a witch’s heart: it saved a lot in water consumption! My dear sister’s house is beautiful, but old. Very Old. Bathrooms were not really state of the art in 1600. She now has three bathrooms; however, each has it’s own set of limitations. One would flush at the first attempt but wouldn’t happily consume solid waste (we added a bucket for emergency use). Another would flush provided you flushed twice in quick succession in a very particular syncopated rhythm and then, if this was achieved, the final hurdle was to open the door, which featured a smooth round doorknob: periodically the arthritic door mechanism would seize with extra vigor. The shower situation was also somewhat dubious; the trickle of water from 45% of the original jets left one feeling damp and chilly, but this we (well, my practical husband) feel could be vastly improved to a more widespread dribble with the purchase and installation of a new shower head. I suppose we all get used to the charming idiosyncrasies of our own plumbing!

Pictures withheld for decency’s sake!

The knitting of the Hugs and Kisses scarf is completed apart from the tubular bind off. This I wish to do tonight whilst I carefully compare my actions to my written words as a method of proofing the pattern. (I’ll get my Mac to read the text out aloud to me.) I’m sorely tempted to rename the scarf the “Lebkuchen Scarf”, as the stuffed hearts constantly remind me of the delicious German sweetmeats. (Lebkuchen are little gingerbread shapes, frequently hearts, sometimes with a little jam filling nestled within, all coated in a delicious chocolate.) However, should you choose to knit the scarf in a colour other than Bitter Chocolate you wouldn’t experience the same effect!

I found the scarf fun to knit, I loved the angora yarn (and ache to knit a sock with it) and my reduced shorthand chart made it drive-around knitting: it was always easier to work the tricky 10 stitch x 5 row section with the abbreviated chart on hand! For one who rarely uses paper notes, this was trying.

Now to put the finishing touches to the pattern and get a photograph. I’ve been really unusually good about writing this one up as I have gone along: I’ve already sat down with Susan and read the charts out loud as she checked the text. I was convinced it was all fine, but we did find a couple of gremlins and eradicated them. That is the thing with errors, you are not aware of their presence at the time. I’ve drawn the charts and diagrams and now the next hurdle for me is to format all the text in InDesign. It will be the first pattern of the New Year. Now, of course, I’m itching to knit one in Kauni.

I’ve included a couple of shots of the Tubular Bind-Off in progress. The first shows the preparatory row of purl stitches only (made here in the pink yarn) and the brown knit yarn cut to five times the width of the row (four times the width should be sufficient but I’m just double-checking my figures). The row of pink stitches is worked before the bind-off so that both sides of the scarf will have three plain rows of their respective colour. The third row of brown is sewn into place. (Tubular cast-on creates one row on each side so there is no need to compensate at the cast-on edge).

The next two shots show the start of the bound-off edge (it’s just a Stocking Stitch graft like a sock toe) and the two needle movements one needs to make to sew the edges together.


One Response to “The comforts of home”

  1. Julia Holland Says:

    Welcome back! Your report on the state of British plumbing brought back vivid memories of the icy cold (in July!) bathrooms of my own English relatives, who didn’t live in 400 year-old-houses, but did have antiquated plumbing (circa 1930s, I suspect). I haven’t[ been over in 30 years, but evidently things haven’t improved much! Makes me grateful my parents came over in the ’50s 🙂

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