Hello, my Fine Fibrous Friends. It’s been a while, I know. I’ve missed you, but – glances both ways and whispers – I haven’t been knitting very much. Now those are words that I never expected to write for as long as I had a detectable pulse.
The main reason was that I was designing and making what I hoped would be a special gift for a dear friend’s 50th birthday. Unfortunately progress was glacial because every hour of knitting was followed by about a week-and-a-half of THIS IS RUBBISH AND SHE’LL HATE IT agonising, which is not, you’ll doubtless agree, the royal road to yarnsome productivity. This is why I rarely knit gifts for people.
This friend (I’ll call her ‘Rebecca’ because that is in fact her real name and I’m feeling doxxy) and I have been mates since roughly the age of four. Even though we don’t usually bother with presents, she sent me a thoughtful gift for my own half-century last December, and I wanted to respond in kind because she’s awesome and I love her.
So I designed a cowl with Rebecca in mind. She both likes and suits bold colours, so I pulled out my collection of Stylecraft ‘Highland Heathers’ and doodled a motif. I’ve tried to create a joyful riot of colour without triggering migraines in any passers-by. The cowl was worked in the round with a provisional cast-on, so that using Kitchener Stitch, the beginning could be joined to the end with no visible hint of a pause. That really isn’t as scary as it sounds. Here’s the finished item:-
And at long, long last, it was done. The other day, I went to the Post Office and sent it off. Yes, it’s three months after her birthday. Yes, I’m sending her a woolly cowl just as the weather is finally warming up and everyone is pondering the possibility of t-shirts. But I hope from the bottom of my heart that she’ll like it and that next winter, she’ll find comfort in wearing this thing. She deserves all the nice stuff.
My silence hasn’t just been about the cowl. Yes kittens, I’m looking at you as I say this, because you’re a hindrance to productivity. Often there’s a mini-queue of the pair of them waiting for lap snuggles whilst I’m trying to Get Stuff Done. And who am I to resist the chance to nose-bump a snuggly ball of fluff? (Goodness, how did I ever sink so low as to write a mawkish sentence like that?) That said, I appreciate their cuddles when I’ve had a tough day at work down the psychology mines. They’re sweet souls, these two cats, when they’re not dangling by their claws from the curtains.
Also, on the distraction-from-blogging-front, it’s spring, which is the busiest season of the growing-your-own-lunch calendar. Ever since February, I’ve been on a manic conveyor belt of germination-nurturing-planting, which has kept me and every south-facing windowsill in the house extremely busy. I’m a little nerdish about these things, in that I weigh every harvest and am on a mission to increase productivity, year on year. I have spreadsheets and graphs; a lot of spreadsheets and graphs. Honestly, it’s an obsession. It was my coping strategy when I had cancer (in addition to wine and running), and during the pandemic (in addition, ditto), and it’s still my coping strategy in this uncertain world we’re inhabiting (ditto). So I grow as much food as I can in our little garden and in some borrowed beds elsewhere. I’ve learned to be realistic about how annual vegetables are divas that require dedicated raised beds, whereas perennial veg and fruits can be scattered around the edges of our little garden, even when they’re overshadowed by the neighbours’ trees.
So that’s where we’re at. Finishing Rebecca’s cowl has made me fall in love with knitting all over again, so I’m grateful for that. In a few days’ time, I’ll be sharing a new pattern with you as part of a rather splendid new Stylecraft promotion. The future is yarny, my friends, and very colourful.