Socktober

Dear Jumper,

I have a confession. I’ve been cheating on you. It happened so suddenly and I was drawn in my the funky name and the time limit. 10 days to finish a pair of socks! And they’re GREEN. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m fickle. Actually, it is you – your block colour is boring me to tears and I needed a break. And these knit up quite quickly.

It’s true, I’m a yarn hussy. I’m not even ashamed.

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Look jumper, how could you possibly compete with your singular circular needle? The socks have four needles, you just have promises of a funky yoke. Always not yet dear, I’m not long enough….. The socks don’t make me wait.

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Good things come to those who knit

There is something comforting about knitting lopapeysa jumpers. There’s a pattern (a bit like socks) that you have to methodically follow to get the desired result. Waistband, body, cuffs, sleeves, join, then yoke.

The jumper is essentially all about the yoke. That’s the pretty bit. It’s the bit that holds all the appeal, but you have to do all the hard work before you can get there. I’m on the body bit and it’s just knit knit knit knit until you reach the required 40cm length. It’s methodical, it’s easy, it’s in the round, so it really is knit knit knit knit… It’s boring. I’m in dangerous territory – boring means wander off and knit something more exciting. But I’m sticking with it. It’s growing, and I keep checking back on the yoke pattern just to remind myself what’s coming up. I mentally return to how flipping cold I was last year during the snowy months (oh yes, we had snow on two consecutive months last year! In fact on one occasion it actually lasted for more than a week! Unfortunately, because it almost never reaches less than minus 10, it feels really cold. And damp.). I’ve also just ordered the dark chocolate yarn that will go with my beige and red to make up the yoke.

What is to come : (the brown is beige, the white is deep red & the black is chocolate brown)

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Yesterday, my efforts of a week of knit knit knit amounted to this:

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After yesterday evening and despite spending a good six hours on germ ridden marking and preparation today (if my lesson plans are dodgy, I totally blame the mix of Beechams flu tablets mixed with antihistamines for the weird underwater style ear clogging), I did get an hour or so this evening to grow it a bit.

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Man flu has set in, and I have spent the WHOLE day in my pyjamas. But it’s Sunday, so I’m allowed. And I was grown up and did my homework (and helped the kids do theirs), so I can legitimately get away with being generally crap in all other ways today. Tomorrow I shall keep dosing myself up with everything going and hold up the Wild-e-Coyote style signs to save what’s left of my voice!

One does not simply buy a lopapeysa

Every year, I have to make one. My collection of lopapeysa is rather small, but that’s mainly because the last few have been made for other people!

A lopapeysa is an Icelandic jumper, generally made from Icelandic Lopi yarn which is particularly special because it has been bred in isolation in Iceland where it has developed a special hollow fibre wool which is incredibly warm. The lopi I have used in the past, has always been imported from Iceland directly, but the downside to these is that they ITCH! With that said, they are so lovely and warm.

However, the same visual effect can be achieved with some wool blend Aran. And that’s exactly what I’m doing this year.

Last year was a bit of a penguin thing for Beanpole. This year it’s a traditional jumper for me 🙂

One does not simply buy a lopapeysa – you have to knit it yourself. (Or find an Icelandic grandmother, who do actually advertise online!)

Happy knitting xx

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Confessions of an INFJ

Years ago I took a personality test known as the Myers Briggs test which was developed as a psychological test to ascertain certain personality types. This is made up of four specific character traits and as various combinations create often unnervingly accurate descriptions of us. In my case, so much so that I was unwilling to publicise my result for quite a length of time after.

Having taken the test on a number of occasions since, I repeatedly am assessed as being firmly in the INFJ category. “The Counsellor”. It doesn’t mean much, but the brief description here does. In short, we’re a complex lot with some funny ideas about the world. And despite appearances, I’m very much the introvert.

We’ve been out for dinner the past two nights which has been very unusual for us. Not only that we’ve not been sat in our PJs, but that conversation has ruled the weekend so far. Despite having the ability to write war and peace, and a job that requires me to wax lyrical about my favourite subject for at least six hours of the day, I struggle with social conversation. Wine often plays the part of conversational lubricant, but then that has the effect of leaving me (as was the case today) nursing an almighty hangover.

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So all this socialising has left me with people-overload. It’s certainly not that I dislike people. In fact the people we have seen this weekend are all fabulous people who are a total pleasure to spend time with. It’s more that I have an upper limit on conversation and noise, and my cup currently overfloweth. In the words of Greta Garbo, “I vant to be alone.”

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I crave silence. I quite often spend hours with knitting and am consciously aware that my lips are closed and pressed together without the need to allow the world inside my head to come out. This same thing often happens when I’m blogging – the words flow when writing, but I don’t have to make a sound. My talent points were all spent internally, rather than the art of conversation. I can observe things, and can happily spend time with just me and my imagination. That inner monologue which kept me company as an only child remains with me and more recently has found an externalisation through a blog, is often enough noise for me. Anything external becomes overwhelming and can only be treated by retreating to somewhere quiet and letting the monologue free (by blogging), or travelling to somewhere fantastical through a good book. Books are some of the best therapy ever invented.

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On Friday night my tattoo was mentioned ( I have Arabic script written up my left arm) and was correctly translated by a waiter. It translates literally to ‘good enough’. I explain it’s meaning is that it signifies that ‘your best will always be good enough’. I was asked by my brother in law if it was for my students? I responded with a no. It’s a personal tattoo – something permanent for me. He looked surprised and asked me if I ever had needed reminding that I was. I left it as a simple ‘yes’. The longer version of that is that the tattoo is a totem. It is a permanent reminder that I am good enough as a person and my best is perfectly acceptable. It reminds me to value my children’s best efforts so they never feel that their best is unnacceptable. It covers up physical scars from a time when I didn’t have the understanding of how to accept and enjoy who I am. I still feel slightly left of centre at every social occasion, but it’s no longer an issue, it just means I can sit inside my head and watch the party.

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So, my dear LSH, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just waiting while my conversation points reload. I’m buffering.

Methinks The Lady Doth Knit Too Much!

This is a distinct possibility.

Having pondered for the last week over the wool for my next project, I’ve been stuck on finding some alpaca wool because it’s warm and really soft. The only trouble is it’s also flipping expensive!

However, I stumbled upon some of this today:

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It’s Lima by Rowan which is an 80% baby alpaca blended with 9% merino & 9% nylon (who knows what the other 2% is…). I bought the dark purple at the bottom and IT’S SO FLUFFY!! Or rather it’s so soft. To the point where I have started following people around the house with a ball of it insisting that they rub their faces on my yarn. I’m pretty sure that’s not healthy behaviour.

What struck me is the way it is spun. It’s almost been plaited into a yarn.

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So this evening, I cast aside my monotonous ribbing of the aran tank top to indulge in some 6.5mm cabling of a cardigan. At £6.99 per 50g, or 170m this needs to be knitted up well, and two cables in, it’s growing well and rather shapely. This may take some weeks to complete, not because of the complexity, but because I’m only buying a few balls at a time to spread the cost if this project (and force me into finishing the Aran tank top).

LSH is not quite so impressed with my Saturday night antics, deciding to fall asleep on the chair in a yarn-widower huff. I’m not sure he’s up for the ‘if you can’t beat em, join em’ idea. I can’t really see him as a knitter.

Knit & Natter

There is very little that is more bizarre than sitting in the evening in a small yarn shop with a cup of tea, bread pudding, with other women directly opposite a rowdy pub where people walk past you as if they’d just walked past a coven meeting.

Well, that’s exactly what I did this evening at The Wool Bar. And it was fab.

I ribbed for a good few hours, thoroughly enjoying the conversation which ranged from our children, to belly dancing, to our favorite manga.

Next Tuesday is my first day back at school, but I’m definitely packing up my needles for another cup of tea and natter with these ladies next week. And I shall be arriving with a tiny little hat to add to the charity donation 🙂

(And I medically NEED that emerald silk yarn)

A Dig in the Ribs

I have a post about an amazing place with amazing people, but I’m waiting on photos… S you’ll have to make do with this.

I’m working on my first top down jumper. For someone who dislikes hates ribbing, it made total sense for me to select a pattern which uses two different types of ribbing for about 90% of the jumper. It is for this reason that it takes me nearly two hours to grow the pattern by an inch. It’s not quite wearable yet…

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It also meant that I had something monotonous to focus on while I sat and contemplated stuff while the sun went down this evening after some rather sad news.

Sometimes it’s there but for the grace of god we go. I hope the coffee is good up there. Xxx