Yes, yes, I know, this is very very late for a monthly round up. What can I say? It’s been a busy time, what with one thing and another. More on that later…
At least there have been a couple of FOs to keep you going in the meantime (although not as many as I hoped for).
Incidentally, apologies if the photos on this post are weirdly enormous – I’ve written this post on my tablet which doesn’t give me any option for resizing the pictures (as far as I can tell anyway)!
What’s been going on?
July was pretty busy – I had a girls night in with my bestie (knitting, gin, perving over Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston in both Thor films… You know, the usual stuff!), caught up with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in a while (including a nice evening in a beer garden on a rare warm day in Yorkshire), witnessed a work friend getting confirmed (haven’t been to one of those in a long time, it was nice), sang a medieval mass (more on that in the music section below), had a random long weekend off work because I was tired and wanted to, celebrated a friend’s birthday, and sang an Evensong (again, more later). Into August, I had a lovely day out with a friend from Finland who was in Yorkshire visiting family, and had a spa afternoon (with a head/neck/face massage) with a group of girl friends which was just amazing, and exactly what I needed.
And fell down the stairs. I do not recommend falling down the stairs, it hurts, and grown ups do not bounce so well as they did when they were kids. I have Joint Hypermobility Syndrome, which comes with a variety of fun extra symptoms that aren’t immediately obvious, like terrible proprioception (AKA if I’m not looking at a particular bit of my body, I don’t really know where it is in relation to the rest of the world and the stuff around me). Now, I’ve lived in this flat for four years, so you’d think I’d know where the stairs are by now, but apparently when I’m trying to hurry myself out of the door to visit family, if I don’t look where I’m going, I will misjudge where the top step is. I fell all the way from the top to the bottom, whacking my backside on almost every step in between, and smacking my arm on the bannister as I was trying to catch myself. I went with such a crash and a yell that my fiancé came running through convinced I was going to be a heap of broken bones. It looks like I have either bruised or broken my coccyx – the doctors won’t x-ray it to find out which, because the treatment is the same either way. I also had some spectacular bruising on my arm, but that’s more or less gone now. The pain in my bum isn’t though. I’m having to sit very gingerly, and maneuvering myself into bed is a new challenge.
And as if that wasn’t bad enough, last week I decided I needed more help on the painkiller front, as the ones I had just weren’t cutting it. My GP decided to try me on tramadol, which did not go well. About 15 hours after I took the first tablet (and three doses in), the vertigo switch flipped in my head, and I spent the next three days horizontal on the sofa with the world spinning and trying not to throw up, despite trying a different painkiller which had the same effect. That was even less fun than the pain, so I’ve gone back to the less effective painkillers, which aren’t great but at least mean I can stand upright unaided and can function.
So, excuses for tardy blogging aside, I think it’s time we moved onto the next section…
What’s happening in (the rest of) August?
Not an awful lot, if I’m honest with you. At least, not much planned. I have a couple of free weekends, including the bank holiday next weekend, and then on the first weekend of September, I have the 25th anniversary reunion of my youth orchestra, which should be fun. I played clarinet in Yorchestra for most of my secondary school years, and while I was having a bit of a crappy time at school, I would live for the holidays when I could spend a few days with my kind of people, making music and having a lovely time. I’m still in touch with quite a few of them, thanks to the wonders of social media, but we don’t tend to meet up, so this will be great. I’m doing a combination of playing and singing, because I don’t play clarinet all that much anymore so I’m pretty sure my lip stamina isn’t up to a whole day of rehearsing and playing!
What’s on my needles/hooks/sewing desk and other crafty things?
Socks. Ohhhhh so many socks. I’m neck deep in Tour De Sock, and I’ll be honest, it’s not going as well as I hoped. So far, we’re midway through stage four (of six), and the only pair I’ve completed by their finish line is the first one, Fins socks, which earned me a whole one point for my team, Knit Socks And Be Awesome. Yay me…
Stage Two (Kanteletar, by Tiina Kuu) is a lovely pattern, but despite the lessons I thought I had learnt from the Priha socks, I got halfway down the leg before trying it on and realising it didn’t fit over my heel. Bugger. So I ripped the whole thing out and started again on he next size up. On the plus side though, I learned how to knit a Latvian Braid and create a folded hem, which was rather exciting. Here they are, sorry, here it is…
I knit it on 2.5mm needles using three different colours of West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply, which seems nice enough, if a little less smooth than other yarn I’ve used lately. It’s 75% wool (including 35% Blue Face Leicester) and 25% nylon, so should stand up to pretty much everything life can throw at it. I also used my Norwegian Knitting Thimble that I talked about with the Priha socks, which definitely makes life easier with colourwork.
So as a result of slow colourwork knitting plus losing three days of work when I had to rip out, I only got the one sock done by the finish line. I’ll knit its other half after the competition finishes.
Then came Stage Three (Indecisions, by Adrienne Fong). We were told that variegated yarn would be fine for this pattern, so I went for another Owl About Yarn from my stash, this time Cuddly Owl Sock in Fuchsia Obsidian, which accidentally fell into my Etsy cart a few months ago when it bewitched me with its fabulousness (yes autocorrect, that is totally a word!). It’s not currently available in her Etsy shop, but I highly recommend it when it is back! A friend suggested it looks just like Liquorice Allsorts, and he’s not wrong. Here it is, hanging out in my Wonder Woman project bag – and I promise there is no filter on this picture, it really is that bright!
So I cast on and got going, and I like this pattern. It’s been pretty divisive among the TDS competitors, and I don’t think variegated was the best idea as the pattern does get a bit lost, but you live and learn. It’s on 2.5mm needles as usual for me, and I made the larger (72 stitch) size. Anyway, I almost made it to the finish line with these ones, but thanks to losing three days of knitting time with the adverse reaction to meds, I didn’t. So here is a sock and three quarters (and my pedicured toes):
Again, it’ll be finished when the competition is over.
So now it’s Stage Four (Mosaic Marbles by Kirsten Hall), which I’m really enjoying. I’ve never done mosaic knitting before, but I read all the instructions and it seems to be going smoothly so far. I’m just past the heel on the first sock, but there’s still almost a week to go yet (at the time of writing). I’m using more of the West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply, and although the colours are a bit close in tone, I think there’s enough contrast between them that it still works:
Again, 2.5mm needles, 72 stitch size. I’m hoping if I can get cracking on these that I can get them done by the finish line.
The other projects I mentioned last month haven’t moved on at all, because socks, but they will, I promise…
Still to come are Stages Five and Six; all I know about them so far is that Stage Five involves beads, which I’ve never done, and Stage Six requires four different colours of yarn. Eek! Chances of finishing on time are slim, but you never know. I just have to keep reminding myself that this is all just for fun, and I shouldn’t beat myself up for not finishing them on time.
Once it’s all over, I am planning to reward myself by casting on the Wonder Woman Wrap by Carissa Brown, which took the knitting world by storm when it was released last month! The thread I mostly hang out in on Ravelry is having a knitalong(adongadingdong) once TdS is over, so I treated myself to some gorgeous yarn to make it with, which reminds me…
What craft stash have I been acquiring?
Not a lot, which my other half will be very happy to hear!
I bought this gorgeousness for my Wonder Woman Wrap from Travelknitter on Etsy:
It’s on her Tanami base, which is 50% baby camel and 50% silk. The colourways are Sand Dune and Double Happiness, and oh my goodness it’s A. May. Zing. Yes, spelling, I know. Whatever. This yarn is the soft, most luxurious yarn that ever yarned. It’s taking so much willpower not to cake it up and cast on now, but it’s working very nicely as the ‘carrot at the end of the stick’ to get me through TdS!
My other yarny acquisitions were birthday gifts from my two best friends, so that doesn’t really count, right?
The first one is from The Mermaid Yarnery on Etsy, and is called If I Were A Unicorn, and it’s 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon, and can you ever tell why it’s named as it is?!
The second yarn is dyed by the friend who gave it to me, who sometimes sells her yarn at YarnClaws on Etsy. It’s a lush sparkly gradient called Part Of Your World on a 75% merino, 20% nylon, 5% gold stellina base. She’s so clever!
What music has happened and is coming up?
I mentioned above that I sang a couple of services last month, both with the Clerkes of All Saints. The medieval mass at All Saints North Street in York was interesting – it’s entirely sung in unison to original medieval plainchant. I talked about it a bit last month, so won’t go into it again, but it was very different to anything else I sing. It went pretty well – the majority of it is was really good, very ethereal and beautiful, although we’ll all admit there were a couple of movements that were, shall we say, a little less well polished!
The Evensong at All Saints Market Weighton was more of the normal type for us. The Preces and Responses were Tompkins, the Magnificat and Nunc Dimmitis were Purcell in G minor (my personal favourite setting, especially the Gloria to the Magnificat), psalms 75 and 76 set to chants by Samuel Wesley and Hubert Parry, and the anthem was Manz’s E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come, which is absolutely gorgeous. It turned out not to be for the retirement of their vicar though, who doesn’t finish for another month or so yet. I think that was a bit of a miscommunication, but it was a bit odd!
I have no performances this month at all (August is always quieter as lots of people are on holiday), and actually because I can’t do the concert that the Clerkes are doing in Bridlington next month (because I’m going to Yarndale in Skipton instead – priorities!), it’s going to be October before I perform with them again. We still have rehearsals every month, but it’s quite nice to have a break for a little bit, it takes the pressure off!
I do have the Yorchestra reunion that I mentioned above in early September. I’ll be part of the Reunion Orchestra and Choir as a singer (we’re doing bits of Handel’s Messiah), and a clarinettist in the massed orchestra playing Stravinsky’s finale from The Firebird, and Verdi’s Grand March from Aida. Should be fun! Last time we did a reunion (five years ago) the massed orchestra did the loudest version of the 1812 Overture I’ve ever heard, I think there were about 250 or so of us on stage (from memory – that number might not be quite accurate).
I think that’s all for this month. I promise I’ll try and do next month’s round up a bit more promptly, and hopefully there’ll be a slew of FO posts as I get my TdS socks off the needles too! Keep knitting and singing folks!