Ah, there you are! Good to see you. Come in, come in, bring your yarnery-in-progress and sit here beside the fire. This blog post contains both knitting and cake.
Let’s begin the yarn. I’ve been designing. And knitting. I should’ve been doing other things, but I just couldn’t help it. If you’ve hung around here for more than about three seconds, then it won’t surprise you to know that what I’m making involves stranded colourwork… and freshwater life… and geology. These are three of the biggest obsessions of my life.
This idea has been brewing in my mind for a while. And then it escaped, onto the page and then, with some inevitability, into yarn. But way back at the beginning, I merely doodled, and pondered how my idea might become knitted reality:-
So. This is to become a picture (approximately one metre square), which I’ll stretch over a canvas and – if I manage to catch the Stoic Spouse in a tolerant mood when I suggest the idea – I’ll mount on the wall. I’m working in the round with a steek, because that’s way easier than attempting stranded purling. (Here’s how to steek.) The yarn is Jamieson’s Of Shetland Spindrift…
…but I’m thinking of making one in Stylecraft Special, too. And it’s well over a hundred thousand stitches. Yes, I will be offering you the pattern. The knitting is above averagely fun.
See the skull in the design? Well it’s almost done:-
And the buried ancient sword is complete:-
Somehow, it feels rude to show you stranded knitting without showing you the reverse. Also the steek, ready to be cut:-
I am enjoying the knitting more than might be considered strictly healthy. And the knitting is proving to be quicker than the designing, because creating this monster on-page took many hours of working and re-working and re-re-working. I still haven’t got the reeds and weeds right, but there’s time. The trickiest bit was the boot… how to make it recognizable as a boot, yet scruffy. It was a problem, I can tell you.
And that drawing of the pike? I left it – and some other sketches – within reach of the twinnage. Their eight-year-old temptation to colour in was strong:-
Anyway, that’s the yarn, but did I mention cake? I do believe that I mentioned cake. Would you like some cake?
There’s a story here, of course. In the summer, we went up to the Scottish island of Mull, and enjoyed a blissful week of wildlife-spotting. Whilst there, we took a boat to the island of Staffa, site of the famous Fingal’s Cave.
What I didn’t know was that as we bounced around in the little boat that took us back across the sea from this utterly amazing island, cogs were turning in the Stoic Spouse’s mind. (I remember looking at his strange facial expression at the time, and just assuming it was seasickness. Little did I know.) He had a plan. Early in December, it was my birthday. The Stoic Spouse commissioned a cake for me:-
Yes, this is Staffa, rendered in delicious chocolate cake, complete with basalt columns. The £150 000 tag is because apparently, some rich chap once bought the island for that price as a surprise for his wife. She didn’t like it! HEY STOIC SPOUSE, (if you’re reading) I WOULDN’T SAY NO TO A GEOLOGICALLY FASCINATING ISLAND NEXT TIME YOU’RE GIFT-SHOPPING. What do you mean, you ‘haven’t got a spare 150k lying around’?
The cake-maker even included Fingal’s Cave.
And I can confirm that the cake was utterly delicious. It was made by The Cake Shop in Oxford’s famous Covered Market. (No, I have no financial incentive for telling you that.) The Stoic Spouse used them for the cake via which he proposed, and our wedding cake, and the cake with which he surprised me on my first blogiversary. He is a man who communicates primarily through the medium of cake. If there’s a problem with this tendency, I’ve yet to discover it.