November doesn’t have much to commend it, here in the UK. It’s cold, it’s grey, it’s aggressively dark far too soon after lunch, and it’s very, very, soggy. Our wonky old brewery home is reliably cold and damp. Sometimes the Stoic Spouse suggests we put the heating on or light a log fire as he stands there wearing his woolly hat and his two pairs of socks and his hypothermic skin tone (though to be fair, blue as a colour does rather suit him). But if we put the heating on now, who knows what decadence that’ll lead to once the winter’s chill properly sets in? And given the inadequacy of some of our walls and windows, we’d mostly be heating the garden, anyway. I’m sure several local hedgehogs would be grateful.
My solution to the cold is to knit, but you’d doubtless guessed that already.
One of the things I’ve knitted lately is a dress for the Finnish yarn company, Novita. They asked me to design a stranded dress, which ended up as the garment photographed below. Given my longstanding love for Finland and its scenery and people and culture, I didn’t need asking twice. Frankly, I barely even needed asking once. In fact they’d scarcely opened their mouths before I squealed YES PLEEEEEEASE! On reflection, they probably think that I’m a little bit weird, now.
This dress is a simple top-down yoked concoction, and the yarn is cosy and warm. The pattern is published (in Finnish) in the latest Novita magazine, but I’ll be allowed to publish the English version myself in six months’ time. That reminds me, it’s time to get on with publishing the English version of this cardigan pattern:-
Meanwhile, I’ve rediscovered my knitting/crochet mojo, which had – I confess – gone for an unsupervised wander elsewhere. Some of you will know that I’m one of the Stylecraft Blogstars, along with these talented folk. We’ve got a big themed mutual design thingy in preparation for next summer, so I’m working on my contribution to the mix. It’s all rather exciting.
You’ll hopefully understand that I can’t reveal the details of the project quite yet. But I can probably get away with posting a photo of me knitting a gauge swatch for my design whilst reclining on the acupuncturist’s couch with two hefty needles protruding from my right foot. I’ve been visiting the same acupuncturist for about 25 years and he’s well used to me pulling out a ball of yarn as he stabs me.
The finished object is going to be a lot more colourful and extravagant than this swatch, I promise. But sometimes you have to pretend to be a grownup and knit sensible gauge swatches in sensible colours.
But also, I have exciting news. News that looks a lot like this:-
To explain, there’s been a very long-running conversation in our family about getting a pet/pets/petssssss for the twinnage. To our shame, this discussion has waxed and waned, back and forth, for about half the boys’ lifetime. Many many different species have been discussed, from snakes to horses to rats. All have their disadvantages (especially horses, which were never a serious contender, much to the boys’ disappointment). Eventually we settled on cats, despite the fact that two of us are allergic, and my parents (The Twisted Seniors) are assertively anti-cat. A great deal of diplomatic work has happened behind the scenes to persuade my parents that visiting a house with cats isn’t quite akin to communing with the devil, but we got there in the end.
It’s not easy to adopt cats around here. The local shelters have an average of zero to three cats available, 2.9 of which are averse to children or to the colour green, or to Tuesdays, or to people whose surname begins with a letter in the second half of the alphabet. We’ve had a fair few false starts and unanswered emails, but at last a kind woman at the RSPCA listened to our plea for human-centric cats of any age/colour/gender/disability, and recommended two out of a litter of kittens with a penchant for snoozing on human laps. That’s how we came to meet these guys:-
Sadly, the majestic Maine Coone in the background is not up for adoption. Oh my goodness he was gorgeous though, and far too dignified to engage in any kitten shenanigans.
So, subject to a home inspection (yikes!) these two tiny trouble-makers will be ours in a few weeks’ time. This will shift the male-female ratio in our family to 5:1 which is a bit too extreme for my outnumbered liking, but two of those males will be having their boy-bits removed at the earliest opportunity. I just haven’t yet decided which two males… 😉
We’ve told the twinnage that they may each name one kitten. No firm decisions have yet been made. I strongly suspect that their names will be STOP-CLIMBING-THE-CURTAINS-YOU-PLONKER and NO-YOU-CAN’T-EAT-THE-CHARGER-CABLE, but time will tell.
Please wish me luck…