i knit because i can ...

Thursday, 25 October 2007

the pleasant land of counterpane ...

...which i am inhabiting post a (mercifully short) indisposition, the gorier details of which i will spare you, save to say that it came on very suddenly, involved an horrendous drive home, as i was away babysitting the gorgeous grandson at the time, and has forced me into a day of bedrest, because i 'came over all dizzy like'! so as you can see, i am experimenting with the blog, because i want the text to be wider and therefore shorter. however, being not v au fait, am not getting other things right. heighho, win some lose some, as they say. i do really need to get a grip on this blogging thing, but where to find the time? :(

managed to leave some knitting behind - again, I hear you cry! Well, this time it's not lost, just left at my daughter's. and i was feeling distinctly poorly. moreover, it is not the christmas present knitting, which is finished, but which cannot be displayed as yet, because of christmas present secrecy! so i shall now start on my mother's stole/scarf, whilst awaiting the return of the errant shawl. further enquiry of the Berlin authorities have revealed no sign of my lost bee fields shawl KAL, but as i have now got replacement yarn, will soon have that back on the needles. and i have a picture of the original, at a very early stage.

am somewhat disappointed, because i was supposed to be out with my eldest daughter and granddaughter, who rarely grace London because their lives in Dorset are so full. but Maddie was picking Jessie, who is about to celebrate her eighteenth birthday, up from a brief holiday with her stepgrandma at her house in France, up from the airport which is local to us, so they broke their journey with an o'n stay here. Jessie is gorgeous and clever, and i know i am biased, but after the party in 10 days time i shall have the photos to prove the former, and her marks - often 100% prove the latter. they are spending the day looking at art, in preparation for her interview for a famous university, fingers crossed. she doesn't knit, but you can't have everything, and she appreciates the knitting i do for her, so that's good enough for me.

son Jos managed to arrive and depart in my absence, ostensibly for his grandfather's 82nd birthday party, altho i do sometimes wonder!! and hopefully i should see the younger of my gorgeous granddaughters tomorrow, as she is coming up with her mum to go to an exhibition on recycling all being well. that's almost a full house, one way and another. in fact the long-suffering Peter thinks it's almost too much of a full house anyway you look at it. but i tell him having young people about keeps you young. and anyway, they're all so gorgeous, and yes, i know i'm biased, but ... ;) e.g., see above for picture of 'happy-go-Luke-y'!! :)

in any case, i must prepare for my PhD upgrade viva voce next tuesday. not sure whether the butterflies are excitement or terror, but am pleased neverthless to have got this far at long last.
and to cap this posting, some pictures of mother russia, at long last!!! :) as you can see, there not entirely your conventional pix - the first a cossack who just happened to be passing, the second a scots guard bandsman, just what you expect to see in Moscow, not! they were performing in a military tattoo, and when i tell you that the scots girls were in tartan trews - goodness knows what the Russians made of it all!! Finally, Marshall Zhukov, great hero of WWII, maybe??? Well, make of all that what you will. the rest next time!!! ;)

Saturday, 20 October 2007

all my ducks in a row ... almost!

still a bit behind with myself, but getting there, so am posting this photo, which gives an idea of where i'm at! ;)

it's actually a picture of my stepdaughter's duck keeping her ducklings in order, but i couldn't resist it, because it reminds of my ghastly ex, who says things like 'we must get all our ducks in a row', or worse, 'are we all singing from the same hymnsheet?' - a-a-a-r-g-h!!!

Friday, 19 October 2007

no, i haven't disappeared, but i have been travelling ...

i guess anybody who was ever interested in my blog has given up on me. in fact, i guess i am a very bad blogger :(. they say you find time to do the things you really want to do. but that's not entirely true, unless you take it to its most extreme. fact is, there are things which the life i have chosen impels me to do, like keep me, my home and my husband's life running (and before anyone raises the question, yes, he does his share, indeed, these days, with me away so much, or lost in work, probably more than his fair ... i am married to a saint, Peter is indeed my rock, and i love him dearly. he would say, very dearly, with my penchant for spending ;) but that's another blog entirely), ie, with clean, ironed clothes, food, a tidy home etc. plus my commitment to my immediate family, which now includes: 4 children, 3 grandchildren, husband, mother, sister, nephew. then there is the wider family, many of whom live abroad. not forgetting friends, tho some of them must think i HAVE forgotten them lately. and i have hardly seen my lovely grandchildren, who are getting on getting bigger. Ellie's walking, talking and turned into a real live toddler while i was away, and Luke's not far behind.

then there's the PhD! and yes, that has been full-on lately. i have submitted 2 major pieces of work, a chapter plan, a time plan and a working bibliography, in two copies and am to be viva'd on 30th to determine if it is ok to continue to a PhD! so no small matter, then.

then there's the knitting. which i fit into the spaces and interstices of my life, eg, if watching tv or travelling on buses, tubes and trains, or cars when other people are driving - no, i don't think it's a good idea to knit and drive ;) having lost my beautiful bee fields KAL shawl half-knitted in September on the Berlin transport system somewhere (no, no sign of it returning, hope it's gone to a good home!), i have got as far as edging the secret Christmas present shawl i am knitting, mostly done while travelling. but why, o why can't i knit on the plane? :( it's so mean, just think what i could get done in those wasted hours, not just on the plane itself, but in the time between check-in and travel. anyone for an airport knitting sit-down demo??? with bamboo or plastic needles, of course.

travel. yes, that's the main reason i have not posted, in addition to the PhD i mean. and even then, it's involved the PhD, as i attended another conference in Munich for it, and then spent 5 days buried in an archive there. a very fruitful trip, workwise. and the chance to catch up with some friends, the very lovely Uli and Toby, who kindly offered me bed and board, and whose company and friendship made this archive trip much nicer than those where i skulk in a lonely cheap hotel room in the evenings. i also did manage an afternoon's sightseeing in Munich while waiting to catch my plane.

all you blogging fanatics out there, how do you find enough time to do it, while doing such interesting things? i mean i find my days just whizz by, and i do need 8 hours' sleep, or i just go under, vitamin pills or not. i guess it's just what happens, getting older.

anyway, that's enough for now. those of you who are still interested in my feeble efforts, i shall make every effort to blog some pictures of travel and knitting very soon. life permitting, of course! ;)

Monday, 24 September 2007

...getting back in the saddle ...

while i wait to see if lost property has found my knitting, i have started a christmas present - can't give many details, cos it's a secret, but it helps to alleviate the loss a bit. am using some lovely Lorna's Lace and a modified pattern from Victorian Lace Today. am also going to finish a multi-coloured jacket for my granddaughter. the cure, clearly, is more of the same!! ;)

Saturday, 22 September 2007

sorry i've been silent for so long ...

... and i'm not going to say much now, because i've been travelling a lot, and am absolutely exhausted. however, will post tomorrow. but i will say, am in mourning, because i lost my knitting on a train!!! :(((( and i was halfway through a beautiful shawl. and now i shall have to buy new yarn and start over again, and i can't even be sure that if anyone finds it they will know what to do with it. so i can't say any more now, because i need to cry. :(((

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

'Pottering' in the Lake District ...

here at last, pictures of our wonderful break last week in the Lake district. the beautyof these scenes speaks for itself. the lakes themselves are so varied. Ullswater, where we were staying, is quite stark and strong, whereas Windermere is much softer and more cultivated. this picture shows the view of Ullswater from our hotel room. to wake up to such beauty in the morning puts peace in the soul and eases one gently into the day.
another view of Ullswater from a different vantage point. a walk round the lake yields equally beautiful sights and the mood changes with the weather, and the surface of the water as it reflects the sky and the mountains.

although my hip still doesn't allow of too much yomping, we did make some way up Helvellyn, one of the highest mountains. we also walked to the magnificent waterfall, Aira Force, a round trip of about a mile and a half, up hill and down dale, so to speak, so i was rather proud that i managed it. moreover, today my physio said she could tell i had done some serious walking, and it had done me a lot of good! :)

we paid homage to Wordsworth, visiting Dove Cottage, by Grasmere. sadly, since he lived there with his sister Dorothy, the view from the cottage to the lake has been filled in by other houses. nonetheless, the cottage was fascinating, showing how people lived in that area at that time. it took little imagination to think of them living with Wordsworth's family, him writing poetry, Dorothy her diary, walking in that wonderful scenery. of course, it was the wrong time of year for daffodils. can't have everything, i guess.

then we went round Windermere, to Near Sawrey, to visit Peter Rabbit's house, and here it is. for those not in the know, it is actually Hill Top, the first property bought by Beatrix Potter. she left it to the National Trust and it is maintained as she left it. all round the house are things which feature in the illustration for her children's books. another house full of atmosphere and redolent of its period. the little garden looks just like Mr Mcgregor's. at every moment it seems he or one of the rabbits might appear.

few people seem to realise that, wonderful though the books are, they are the least of Beatrix Potter's achievements. although she was born in London, she eventually settled here, and became involved in ensuring that the local breed of sheep, the Herdwick, thrived, and indeed survived, as well as helping in the early development of the National Trust. a wonderful woman indeed.

btw: did manage to get quite a bit more sampler border done! pix to follow soon ;)

Saturday, 18 August 2007

it's good to be home ...

got back yesterday, after struggling through mammoth traffic jam on M6 - apparently due to a festival - hmm. luckily for me, Peter was driving at that point, as my left (ie, clutch) leg still doesn't like stop-start driving. unlucky for him though, he was shattered, so i drove to London after the congestion had eased. did manage to get 3 parts round the edge of my sampler shawl though, so not all bad!

Lake District and hotel perfick!! will post some pix tomorrow. right now just too tired after spending all day catching up on phd. still, did get to see round Hill Top Farm, home of Beatrix Potter, and buy some (more!) books, including a lovely one of her illustrations. she really was the most remarkable woman, far beyond her children's books, however wonderful.

anyone who wants more info should look here and here and here. (and please don't mention Renee Zellweger in my hearing!)

oh, and we also went to Dove Cottage to pay homage to Wordsworth, see here. can't manage a picture tonight, but here's Benjamin Bunny, to keep you going ;)

Monday, 13 August 2007

as i haven't any new pix, here is ...

the Tardis, seen
in Sheffield, where I grew up
and where my mother and sister still live

i'll bring back some nice pictures of the Lake District, maybe even some rabbits, since we're going to Beatrix Potter country. Peter Rabbit here we come, yippee ;))))

Moth - or as Inspecteur Clouseau would say: meurth ...

this summer in England has, apparently, been very good - or very bad, if you are a lace knitter - for meurth. :( seemingly the warmer weather, and especially the lack of cold winters to kill off the little blighters, has led to them breeding in ever greater numbers, needing ever more supplies of food - and guess where they find it? :/ this has reached such a pitch that even no less hallowed a source than The Times featured the problem this week. i actually already knew about this, because my youngest daughter (mother of ellie, and knitted textiles BA student at Central St Martin's) had a mega-infestation in her (also mega-, but she's got a better excuse that me ;) ) stash earlier this year. she spent a long time picking out the good stuff from the bad and deep-freezing it, whilst cleaning out all the horrible little blighters and their leavings. - heartbreaking ;(

anyway, as i have caught two of the wretched little things in the past two days, this has led to me waging a great campaign to have all our sweaters, suits, jackets, etc, and especially my precious stash, out to check, clean and put back (at great expense, according to Peter, as we had to buy cedar thingies, until i pointed out the comparative cost of replacing even one of his lovely handmade suits!). we are using lavender, cedar balls and hanging cedar blocks. anybody else out there had this problem and/or got a patent remedy? all the dreadful chemicals that were so effective have now seemingly been banned. and a good thing too, i dare say. in any case they were a) smelly, and b) dangerous.

my second daughter once (aged 5), annoyed because all the attention was being centred on my newish boyfriend's 21st birthday, went upstairs, found a mothball (not easy, because i had hidden them really well, i thought), and ate it. she came downstairs spitting wildly because it tasted awful. nonetheless, we felt it prudent to take her to the hospital, where she was fed ipecacuhana and kept in overnight, resulting in our spending the rest of the birthday in casualty - result (for her!) but not for us, because the gourmet dinner i had planned in celebration was ruined - not the wine, though. so we drowned our sorrow! ;)

on a happier note, my Sarah Don, The Art of Shetland Lace turned up today. i am saving it to read on the very long car journey to Ullswater tomorrow. we are off for a few days R&R. i must say, i am seriously impressed with Lacis, from whom i ordered it only last week, result - for me! ;)

Sunday, 12 August 2007

sundays closed ... (said with a strong French accent)

Probably not many people will get the reference, but there used to be a comedian in France who was pretty rude about the UK, (just the one? you ask ;) ) and one of his 'insults' was the fact that everything, incl the pubs, was closed on sunday, the implication being that this was a benighted land, with little to commend it. i suppose that in today's London , with its constant claim to be a 24/7, vibrant city, you might be tempted to think that all that had changed. well, not really. for ordinary people life on Sunday can still seem
pretty slow. which is just a long way round of saying that although of late work on the phd has been progressing, and i have had a bit of a social life lately, life is pretty slow today, sunday. so by way of entertainment, i offer a couple of pictures of my husband, Peter - 'i don't do babies', caught in positions which bely his words! ;)

i have also added a list of my projects and projected projects, after the reading of which i thought i maybe ought to and lie down for a spell, it seemed so ambitious. having said which, other people's lists seem much much longer, so i guess i'm still an amateur! ;)

Saturday, 11 August 2007

susanna lewis - knitting lace

somewhere on someone's blog - but i can't remember where and who, due to being either pre-occupied with work, or suffering a senior moment, depending on how charitable is your point of view ;) - i read an appeal to write to the brooklyn museum to ask them to reprint the above book. so being a good girl i did as i was told, and wrote. well, to my surprise and delight, i got a very pleasant reply indicating that this was under serious consideration - thought you might like to know that, folks.

other than that, nothing to report except a) sampler still coming on, going round edges now; b) received Victorian Lace from the Attic and the new Rowan book; and c) flat to the boards with phd work. trying to get it finished before we have a short break in the Lake District starting Tuesday. Phew.

No new pix either, due to pressure of work (see above),so here is one of a grandchild :)

It's Ellie with her Nunky Jos, my No. 1 son, and I call it

Beach Bums!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

close-ups of sampler

i have posted some close-ups of the sampler patterns for anyone who would like to put names to them. they can be seen here. the patterns and names are taken from Heirloom Knitting, starting at the beg of ch. 3, patterns. i think it will be interesting to see how these compare with the blocked version later.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

it's already tuesday, and i'm still running behind ...

spent a lovely long w/e with Peter's daughter and her lovely child, altho i suspect latter at 14 would object to being so called. they have a house in deepest countryside near Hereford, with chickens and ducks. the sun shone, the birds sang, and i did little but eat (incl new laid eggs!), drink and knit. we went to a car boot sale, which was a new thing for me. i could not but marvel at the things that were produced, purchased, and then resold in this strange world of ours. did pick up a lovely cakestand for a mere £2, then some of our favourite soap for only £1. people have been known to pick up real stunners and make 000s of pounds, but my impression was that most sellers are much savvier than that now.

since then, many plans for knitting. my sampler is now at the point of doing edgings. i am working my way through the patterns in Sharon Miller's Heirloom Knitting, to get a better feel for how lace knitting/knitted lace really works. i desperately want to become more original in my work, much as i love knitting other people's beautiful designs, and working samplers seems to be the way to go. it is good to knit simply to see what happens, rather than with the pressure of producing an acceptable finished garment, altho that is good too. but this way i feel i can just knit freely, and watch how things turn out. the idea is that eventually i shall bring this experience to bear on my own designs, watch this space.
in the meantime i have put up pictures of the sampler in progress. i feel it looks a bit scruffy, but then even the wedding ring shawl looked like an old dishrag until i washed and blocked it. tomorrow i shall try to put some pictures of the detail up on Flickr, for anyone who might find that interesting. ttfn ;)

Monday, 6 August 2007

my lifepath number is ...

Your Life Path Number is 7
Your purpose in life is to find truth and meaning

You are very spiritual, and you are interested in the mysteries of life.
You are quite analytical and a great thinker. You have many theories and insights.
A life of solitude is perfect for you. You need time to think and do things your way.

In love, you are quite charming. You attract many with your confidence and wit.

While you enjoy being alone, sometimes you take it to an extreme.
You can become too isolated, shutting out loved ones and friends.
Express yourself a little bit more, and you'll be surprised where it takes you!
just messing about looking at other blogs, when i came across this lifepath number thing and thought i'd have a go just for laughs (see above). now i don't believe in any of that stuff, still, mine is uncannily close to the bone - creepy or what!!! ;) perhaps you'd like to try yours?! here's the link if so: lifepath

Thursday, 2 August 2007

climbing slowly - but surely ...

here is Luke trying to escape his grandmama's clutches

well, the work is beginning to roll again, thank goodness. mind you the knitting's suffering, but you can't have everything, can you? did manage to wind a ball of the lacis shetland lace pashmina, ready for something else - but not sure what. well, plenty to be going on with, anyway.

in the meantime, here's a pic of darling Ellie looking very moody this w/e:

she'd just ended her nap, but was still a bit dopey.
shan't get any work done this w/e, as visiting Peter's daughter in Hereford for 3 days. still am taking a book for my research, and some - guess what - lace knitting. well, it's a long car journey both ways, and as i still can't drive (broke my hip joint on the last day of February, and am not out of the woods yet) something must be done to fill the hours.
incidentally, i saw a link to a website for a lace knitting museum, and am having to ration myself, it's just too gorgeous, and time-consuming!! ;) i've added the link right.

Monday, 30 July 2007

still trailing ...

really can't write much today, still trailing behind with all my work. :( but i did find time to set up a flickr account, trouble is, there's not much to see on there yet, but at least i'm ready to go! :)

had a lovely w/e playing grandmother to Ellie. she is walking now, and talking - if we only understood her language. still, no mistaking wuf wuf everytime she sees a dog, including the sculpture on our sideboard. at 13 months she is now interested in everything around her. she loved watching ducks and pigeons coming to eat bread from my husband's hand. and having arrived able to walk just 4-5 steps before halting or falling, 24 hours later she could get up to 10. i never cease to marvel at the speed at which a healthy child acquires skills and knowledge. if only a) we knew how to educate them in such a way that we didn't kill their interest, and b) we kept those abilities ourselves. too often i have watched the light of curiosity in a child's eyes dim as some pompous adult crushes the pleasure out of learning and prowess. and i know many adults who regret 'not having paid attention when i was younger', castigating themselves in the belief that the fault lay with them, not with inadequate teaching. sorry, i feel an orangebox rising beneath me, but since i'm not at Speaker's Corner, i'll quit!

when Ellie went off with mum and dad, fed, watered and freshly bathed before the long drive home, husband Peter and i collapsed into the nearest armchairs with a drink, ruefully acknowledging our declining energy. we have decided he is to be called granpeter by the new grandchildren, since he is technically a step-grandparent. he is quite funny really. having pronounced vehemently and often 'i don't do babies' he is frequently to be found playing ardently with one or other of them, or explaining things to them in great detail. then much embarrassed huffing and excusing when he realises he has been discovered!!! ;) but no matter, we are enjoying our life together and with them, so why worry?

Saturday, 28 July 2007


just in case you wondered, i called my blog rabbitIng because i love rabbits, although we can't have any here - we're on the 12th floor of a skyscraper in the City of London. also, i love rabbiting, that is talking. and Ing is, well, me. Geddit??? ;) and because i don't have a pic available of a real rabbit right now, here's one i drew earlier. maybe later i'll scan in some pix of rabbits we used to have, for those like me who are rabbit-mad. and i've promised myself when/if we move, there will be more ....

ps.: does any one know how to get real smileys on here, please?

pps.: i have put a few new photos up, just to prove i can do it ;)

older - but no wiser ... ?

i 'left home', as in - my mother's house and the town in which i grew up, 42 years ago. i still visit mum and sis, but although they have stayed in Sheffield, they are no longer in the same area, which i haven't seen for more than 30 years. then last week at the suggestion of a schoolfriend who had been in touch with me after those 42 years, we visited some of the haunts of my childhood years. the streets and houses, and especially my school, seem much smaller, although the countryside keeps its proportions

not sure it was such a good idea, stirring the mud at the bottom of my pond. all sorts of memories come floating up at odd moments, mixed with a strange and quite heady potion of nostalgia, regret, relief. almost the only things i have in common with the person i was then, apart from my family, are my love of nature - i used to spend a lot of time wandering through local woods and fields, alone and in company - and ... knitting.

wonder what other people think - should one leave the past in the past??

am really enjoying knitting my sampler. might have to discipline myself to finish the silk Orenburg. not to mention working on the phd!!

Friday, 27 July 2007

small scarf version of Brora shawl

another senior moment ...

managed to lose the Orenburg pattern and not able to work it out from sample, due to fuzziness of mohair, or it might be my ageing eyes! so started to knit sample scarf, just working through patterns to hand, eg, in Heirloom Knitting, Mary Thomas, and others. I'm quite enjoying that, as I feel it's helping me to understand better how the patterns work.

moreover, Sharon Miller has now very kindly sent me second copy of the Orenburg pattern, so can work on both, depending on my mood. the silk is very, very different. i think it is going to come out larger, even though i am using the same needles. also, i don't think it will 'set' so firmly when blocked, like the shetland yarns do.

shall have to set it all aside at the w/e, as i get to indulge my favourite pastime, Ellie-sitting. 1-year-olds and knitting don't mix. ;) never mind, she'll soon be old enough to learn to hold her first needles :)

PS.: took a couple of pix last week of a small scarf i adapted from the Brora pattern for my mum. will try to put them up soon. happy w/e knitting, everyone :)))

Thursday, 26 July 2007


Sorry I haven't said thankyou for all the compliments (which have quite embarrassed me, I must say) but i forgot how to get on to my own blog - a senior moment, i'm afraid!! ;) anyway, thank you now, all, very much. you do me too much honour. some of the other work i have looked at is simply spectacular.

have just finished the Orenburg sample in gossamer mohair - quite tricky, especially as mohair v hairy. am now trying it in silk to compare. thought i might post a pic of both together when i have finished, as the two yarns really are so different.

btw.: i'd love to be in touch with other lace knitters out there! :)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

incidentally, for anyone who's interested, ellie's cardie was knitted by her mother, my daughter imogen, who, i am very proud to say, is a student of knitted textiles!

Wedding Ring Shawl (Sharon Miller Heirloom Knitting

here at last, my version of the wedding ring shawl. i have so enjoyed making this, that i am quite bereft now it is finished. i knitted it in lacis and it came out slightly smaller all round than Sharon Miller's original, about 69" square. now busy casting round (although not on, yet ... ) for something to replace it. the problem is not the lack of things to do, only the lack of time and hands - one pair really not sufficient, nor one life!

there are other of Sharon's lovely shawls, other books, other patterns. even other ideas entirely in my own head. has any one out there worked out how to do without sleep? ;) or how to knit IN one's sleep? ;)

in the meantime, am doing a swatch of an orenburg design, just to see if i can work out how to do it. heigh ho, rabbit, rabbit ...

Saturday, 7 July 2007

i am afraid ... very afraid ...

altho i have only been blogging for a day, no less than a day, cos not even 24 hours, i keep findin things - mystery stoles and stuff. i am afraid, will i get sucked in and never, ever get back to the phd? oh my ears and whiskers, ar-r-r-r-g-g-g-h hhh.... poor little bunny rabbit, rabbit rabbit.... Ing .....

Friday, 6 July 2007

still rabbitIng ...

oh my ears and whiskers ... my supervisor likes my first submission. so i'm not so dumb after all!?!?

so now i guess i'd better finish the second. .... or shall i start some new lace knitting ... hmm, difficult one, that ... rabbit, rabbit .........

rabbitIng on

oh my ears and whiskers, i've done it now. i blame Jean. after all, until i read Hers, i never thought of doing it. blogging, i mean. oh my ears and whiskers. as if i don't waste enough time already. and all because of knitting lace, or is that lace knitting??? so perhaps i should blame Sharon? well, someone! after all it can't be my fault, can it? well, just to say, this is my version of Sharon's lovely rosebud shawl project(Sharon Miller of Heirloom Knitting fame). have just finished her Wedding Ring Shawl. got to block it. then i don't know what i'll do - scarey, having to start - so insecure, starting ... :( not like having something on the go, nice and steady. oh my ears and whiskers. who am i, what do i do? well i'm Ingrid, i love knitting, reading, rabbits and rabbitIng. and my grandchildren, of course. but i'm supposed to be doing my PhD really. oh, and i'm a really mature student. REALLY mature!!! i.e., old, not sensible !!! there, that'll do for a start, i feel quite faint, i think i'll go and lie down for a while ........
rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit, rabbit ....