Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Bird Strike

Last weekend was the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, which involves sitting still by a window for an hour and watching who lands in the garden. Sounds easy. It only works, however, if you have the cooperation of the birds.

In anticipation of the watch, I kept a close eye on wing activity over the week, many birds visited, ate and left. We even had a gang of Long Tailed Tits gracing our birch tree. They are a rarity in our patch, preferring the house three doors along which is bigger, has a better selection of trees and superior bird food.

Sunday found me perched on the kitchen worktop, feet dangling over dishes on the drainer to gain the best view of the proceedings. The first thirty minutes passed. Not a cheep. After sixty minutes a grand total of 17 birds had been counted. And about half of those were starlings. The Long Tailed Tits were a no show. I think the weather was against me with the wind so strong that it was tricky for little legs to perch on the feeders. That and the presence of Georgie Ginger, the cat from over the wall who chose that very hour to walk with menace across our lawn.

I have emailed my measly total to the RSPB and hope that it will help a little in their studies.

In other news, I made a hat and a scarf for Knittah's Botswana Project and bought a second hand book of embroidery stitches. Inside was this little pressed flower card. A note on the back dates it as 1975.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Feeling grey all over.

There has been so much rain these last few days that it seems as though the sun has gone for good. We are huddled under quilts, cat-snuggling and dreaming of wood burning stoves.
Update - in the time it took for the pictures to upload, the rain has stopped. Only to be replaced by soggy, wet snow.

A brief flash of sunlight appeared earlier on in the week and I rushed outside into the freezing cold to remind myself that there really is light in the world. I think I'll have to rely on the knitting to bring colour into my life until the Spring arrives.

So few opportunities for pictures have occurred, that I resorted to snapping some house DIY in progress. Oh that poor bear!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Respect the beans.

The weather is hurtling around Mog Towers, spitting at the windows and rattling old Coke cans up and down the street. At least it has warmed up a little, last week was freezing, frost and ice everywhere and little encouragement to leave the house. I did make it as far as the Farmers' Market where the purchase of some home made croissants and beautifully garlicky cheese cheered me up no end. Other than that nothing but reading, knitting and curling up in cosy chairs.

I have been playing with my balanced singles, knitting them into a simple shawl which changes from garter stitch to stocking stitch. The orange in the colour sequence is, at the beginning of the shawl at least, a bit over whelming. I had been aiming for something akin to kingfisher but the reality is more like a kingfisher on a building site wearing a high visibility vest.

The beans? This is what happens when you fail to accord aduki beans the respect they deserve. If you forget about them while distracted by luridly coloured yarn, they show their dispeasure by scarring the bottom of your best saucepan.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Aiming For Balance In The New Year

Christmas morning found me in Knitting Headquarters learning how to spin balanced singles. Instead of spinning in one direction and plying in the other which automatically balances out all of the twisty bits, single ply involves spinning carefully one way and hoping that the yarn is neither too twisty to knit or so soft that it disappears through your fingers. The judicious use of boiling water and an icebath helps things along, felting the yarn a little and making things less kinked. This way I can get the colour combinations I want, a la Noro without striping them out of all recognition.

The rest of Christmas day passed in a blur of food, family and fog. My mother's buffet never lets us down but the weather was more grey than festive white. One little figure shining out of the gloom was the old family fairy. More akin to the bargain basement than the realms of glory, but much loved for all that.

And if Tom is reading this, it's my turn to put her on the tree next year!