Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A small touch of silence.

Bubbly under the lights at the Hippodrome

 I have these great expectations that I'll write a blog post every week but the days seem to speed away from me. Here I am again wincing at the date of the last post written and resolving to buck up my ideas. Much as I love routine, it is also something that I find difficult to stick to. There is an unseasonable heatwave hitting our coast making it very hard to stay inside when I could be sitting in the sun with the cat and the knitting. Not to worry, better to be late than not at all.

Beautiful curves.

I spent a weekend recently, at the Hippodrome Festival of Silent Film in Bo'ness. The Hippodrome is Scotland's oldest purpose built cinema and was restored a few years ago. It is a small gem of a place, all curves and plush reds. The only way to tell that the seats are not the originals is the lack of ashtrays on the back.  When this cinema ( and film itself ) was a youngster, everything on and off screen was wrapped in a blue haze of cigarette smoke.  These days the smokers stand outside in the cold but you can guarantee a very warm welcome inside. We watched everything from extravagantly camp swash buckling from Douglas Fairbanks to early Stan Laurel and a revelation ( to me ) of the genius of Charley Chase. The Scottish Screen Archive showed some of their films of Scottish life which, like the wonderful Japanese film, I Was Born, But proved that time and distance are no match for our common experiences. Although the films were silent they were far from quiet. They were all accompanied by musicians, some of whom had written new scores and in one case we also had the talents of a film explainer who added a whole new dimension to what we were watching.  Great fun and a wonderful community feeling, the local shops had special window displays and I could swear that in one cafe Charlie Chaplin was doing the cooking!

In the Ivy cafe
 And now a heat wave, how strange to be putting on suncream in March. The garden is shimmering with light and the bees and butterflies are beginning to show themselves. In a moment of terrible timing I decided to knit an aran jumper after finishing a lovely fiddly lace scarf last week.  My knitting bag is filled with thick heavy handspun and size five needles. Even if it wasn't too hot to knit the damn thing it would certainly be too hot to wear it when I'm finished. The good news? There is snow forecast for the hills this weekend!

Too hot for Aran!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

I am happy with these socks.

Tidying up the spirals.

Spring is continuing to make itself known with an outbreak of gardening and the odd chance to bask in the sunshine,  so long as the wind is blowing in the right direction and you sit in the one place at the bottom of the stairs where there are no draughts.  It is only possible to sit out for a short spell but while it lasts, what bliss.

Quick glimpse of sunny colour at the foot of the Silver Birch.

Last time I wrote about my sock making efforts I was less than complimentary. I had made some ugly but serviceable bed-fellows. They kept my feet warm but were the colour of cat vomit. I've just finished another pair, featuring some of the self-same vomit yarn but with the addition of two other colours.  Three cheers for orange and brown, they have restored my faith in scrappy handspun socks. The pattern is based on the Toe To Toe socks which can be found in this book. My yarn, being scrappy and handspun is a lot thicker than the one recommended for the pattern so I made a few changes. I am utterly in love with the corrugated rib at the top, it is a great example of why simple is beautiful.

Smitten with this rib.

A finished sock and a seal impersonation, now that's multitasking!
Next on the list of knitting intended to use up the handpsun scrappy bits is at least one pair of Mucklemitts. Not only are they designed by my erstwhile imaginary friend and now true pal, Mary Jane Mucklestone, they are also the only knitting pattern I know of that has been immortalised in a Guardian cartoon.  I have been spinning purple, yellow, turquoise and there is some pink still to be spun. I'm thinking that all together they will look like those little Easter eggs that are covered in sugary pastel coloured coatings. Springy colours. Let's hope I finish them before summer comes.

Magnus would respectfully like to suggest that it is time to clean out the greenhouse.