Natter

Monthly round up – August

I’m a bit more on time this month than last month! Hurray! Mind you, I still haven’t had any FOs in that time… Ugh. Anyway, more of that in a minute.

So how have you been? Autumn seems to be creeping in on us – the minute it turned to September it feels as though there is a little chill in the air all of a sudden, I feel like I need to wear my handknits more, and my evenings are more likely to be spent snuggled up under a blanket on the sofa, with a nice warm mug of something lovely and my knitting. In other words – my favourite time of year! I know we often get a bit of a late summer surge in September, so I’m not packing away the summer clothes just yet, but I have put boots and handknit socks on today, which is always a good sign as far as I’m concerned!

What’s been going on?

Work has been crazy busy, but I’m not here to talk about that… In my personal life, it’s been a lot quieter (which you’d think would transfer into more knitted things getting finished, but apparently not!).

The only major thing I’ve done since the last post is the Yorchestra reunion that I mentioned, which was lots of fun, and I’ll talk about more in the music section below!

Over the bank holiday, Fiancé and I had a lovely afternoon out at Brimham Rocks, which was great. Brimham is a National Trust place with giant rock formations (rather than a house, in the usual way of NT places) that are completely open (once you’ve paid for parking anyway) for you to explore and climb about on, which is refreshingly free of Health and Safety nonsense! We tend to go a couple of times a year when we want a day out, and although it was a rarely sunny Bank Holiday Saturday, and we knew it might be heaving, we went anyway, because the grounds are so enormous and extensive that it doesn’t take too much to get away from the crowds if you want to be somewhere a bit quieter. Here’s a random selection of pictures from our day, including a painted rock we found (apparently this is a thing at the moment), a little green bug who I found clambering up my arm, and a (hopefully) artistic picture of Fiance’s back!

I also had a bash at a panoramic shot from the top of one of the rocks, using the settings on my phone camera, which I think came out quite well, what do you reckon?

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What’s happening in September?

The biggest thing that is happening this month is Yarndale! Yarndale is one of the biggest yarn festivals in the north of England, and I love it! It’s held in Skipton in North Yorkshire, and features over 180 exhibitors, from yarn and fibre sellers to animals, clothes, spinning wheels, and probably more stuff that I’ve forgotten about!

Last year, I went with a group of friends on just the Sunday, and we were so engrossed in making sure we looked at everything properly that we didn’t manage to get right around everything before the end of the day, so this year, we’re going all weekend. We’ve booked ourselves into a B&B in nearby Ilkley (because all the Skipton accommodation was completely full!), and will enjoy being able to go round at a more leisurely pace this time, without fear of missing anything. I’ve already been planning my purchases, although we all know what happens as soon as you get a sniff of the yarn fumes…! Depending on how many pics I take (and how much stash I buy!) I might do a separate Yarndale post, rather than taking over all of the September round up with it… We’ll see!

What’s on my needles/hooks/sewing desk and other crafty things?

I talked last month about how (not) well Tour De Sock was going for me, and I’ll be honest, it hasn’t improved. Or maybe it has. I suppose it depends on your point of view. You be the judge.

When I posted last month, I was midway through a minor meltdown about not being able to finish many pairs by the deadline for each stage. Writing the post gave me some much needed perspective that this was all just for fun and fake internet points, and so it really didn’t matter if I didn’t manage it, so I should stop stressing myself out over it. So I did.

When Stage Five (Accio by Heidi Nick) was released, I took one look at it (cables AND beading) and knew there was no way I could get it done in time, so I decided to not even bother trying and to use the time to get some of the previous stages’ unfinished pairs done. And then Stage Six (Vertigo 2 Point 0 by Candy Degal) was released, and… well… it’s insane. Very cool, but insane. Four different colours of yarn, three strands/floats of yarn per row, and really complicated looking, so I noped my way out of that one too. I will make Stage Five at some point, but on my own timetable! As for Stage Six, I’m not sure. Certainly not any time soon anyway.

As the lack of FO posts will tell you, I still haven’t managed to finish any of the other pairs yet, but I’m fine with it. My Stage Four socks (Mosaic Marbles by Kirsten Hall, knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply) are moving along nicely having been my handbag project for the last couple of weeks, and I’m almost at the heel flap of sock two:

Yes I have flipped the colours in sock two – I know some people prefer to have identical socks, but I’m not one of them, I’m fine with variation, and I think they look good this way.

My Stage Three socks (Indecisions by Adrienne Fong, knit in Cuddly Owl Sock by Owl About Yarn) have also had a little attention, and aren’t far off the toe now:

I’m aiming to have at least one of these pairs done before Yarndale in a fortnight, which should be achievable.

Once I’d given myself permission to quit TDS from a competitive standpoint, I also cast on a new project (ooo!). I wanted something fairly mindless and easy, to contrast against all the complicated sock patterns, so I’ve made a start on Versio by Ankestrick, which I’m modding to add a hood, as other Ravellers have done. It’s in laceweight, which still feels faintly insane, but I think the fact that I’m going into it knowing that it will take me FOREVER is helping. It will be my brainless knitting for some time to come I suspect!

I’m knitting it on 3.75mm needles (KnitPro Symfonie), using two gorgeous yarns from my stash. The first is Findley by Juniper Moon Farm in colourway Garnet, which I bought on a whim last year from my (sadly now closed down) LYS in York, Ramshambles:

It’s 50% merino, 50% silk, and is shiny and beautiful, and the depth of the muted red is gorgeous! Not a wonderful picture, I know, but I forgot to take a decent one before I started using it!

The second is laceweight from Rosie’s Moments in colourway Twilight, which I bought at Yarndale last year (see, I am making an attempt to use all the yarn I bought last year before this year… Um, yeah, that’s not going so well!):

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It’s sparkly! It’s 65% baby alpaca, 20% silk, 10% cashmere, and 5% stellina, and is so so soft! The tonal grey of this against the solid red of the Juniper Moon is just lovely, and I think is going to look fab when it’s eventually finished! Here’s where I’m up to so far (this is the yoke, in case it’s not clear. Eventually (once I’ve increased by enough stitches), it will be joined up to work in the round; in fact the whole thing is knit in one piece, which is one of the selling points for me with this pattern – I didn’t want to risk messing up any seaming when the yarn is so fine!

What craft stash have I been acquiring?

I have bought no yarn! I have been gifted some, but that’s ok, because I didn’t buy it!

The only thing(s) I have spent money on from a crafting point of view this month is some sets of stitch markers from the fabulous Vanessa of PolkyDotPachyderm on Etsy! I bought quite a few sets, but some are for gifts (I promise I’m not keeping all of them!):

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Her designs are all fab, and it was hard to narrow it down to this many to be honest! I think I’ve decided which are staying with me and which will be gifted, but I’m not going to tell you because I might still change my mind!

My only yarn acquisitions (yes acquisitionS, plural) came courtesy of an unexpected parcel from a lovely friend. August is a bit of a tough month for me because of various anniversaries, and between that, the TdS pressure, the adverse reaction to medication, and my bruised backside (see last month’s round up for more on that one!), I was feeling rather sorry for myself, so my lovely friend took it upon themselves to send me a little care package! There was a lovely little note which made me smile, a packet of Jelly Babies that didn’t last long enough to be photographed, and these beauties:

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Unknowingly, my friend had got me another ball (in a different colourway) of the Juniper Moon Farm Findley that I’m using in my hoodie! Plus the other two as well, which are also gorgeous and lovely! I have no idea what any of it will become yet, but I’m sure inspiration will strike sooner or later.

What music has happened and is coming up?

Ok, more about the Yorchestra reunion, which is the only music making I’ve done since talking to you last, other than restarting teaching for the new term this week…

I had made an executive decision when signing up for it that I wouldn’t play clarinet all day, because I haven’t played very regularly for a few years now, and I was worried that my lip stamina wouldn’t be up to much. For the non-clarinettists out there, playing clarinet means having your lower lip tucked over your teeth and resting against the reed on the back of the mouthpiece (because if you held it with your teeth, it wouldn’t be able to vibrate properly and make the sound). When you play regularly, you build up stamina and this doesn’t hurt so much (unless you play A LOT!), but when you play less frequently, the stamina and ability to play for longer periods disappears very quickly!

So I had decided that, since the reunion was planned to include both an orchestra and a choir, that I would do a combination of the two, and boy was it the right decision?! At the end of my first half hour or so of playing in rehearsals, my lip already felt like it was going to drop off, so I was very grateful for a nicely timed break. The reunion orchestra and choir teamed up with a choir made up of the two of the current orchestra and staff to perform two choruses from Handel’s Messiah, which I sang in, and then all four orchestras (three current ones, and the reunion orchestra) joined together in an epically huge performance (after much stage rearrangement) of the Triumphal March from Verdi’s Aida, and the Finale from Stravinsky’s Firebird. There were 170 musicians on stage, which is crazy, and I was one of 24 clarinets. It was loud, I can tell you! Here we all are in rehearsal earlier in the day:

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And another pic of us in concert:

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I haven’t got much planned music wise for the next month, other than a rehearsal with the Clerkes of All Saints this weekend. We’re busy rehearsing for a concert in Bridlington (which is the same weekend as Yarndale, so I’m not doing it), and a wedding next month (which I am singing in), so it’s likely to be a fairly full on rehearsal!

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I think that’s about it for this month – it was still pretty epic, even only being two week’s worth, so well done if you made it to the end! With a bit of luck I’ll have an FO or two for you before next month’s round up, and some Yarndale stuff too!

Have a good one everyone!

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