Sunday, 17 September 2017

Still Knitting!

I'm beginning to think I'm being a bit addicted to knitting. Normally I can just stop to do a bit of housework but at the moment I just can't put the knitting down.

The pair above are part of a series of sets we're knitting for a school who want knitted toys for their Story Book Bags. No it's not the Teddy Bears' Picnic, it's for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I've made the Mam & Dad bears who are sitting in our garden on a little blanket I made for the neo natal unit.  I opted out of making a pink skirt for the Mammy bear in case I was accused of being sexist!

They are just waiting for little baby bear who a friend is knitting. She has already made Goldilocks & someone else is making the bag to hold them along with the story book.

I've also just knitted a couple of blankets, baby cardigans & hats for our priest to take to a village in Zambia which the parish support. I always thought they wouldn't need knitted clothes but apparently it can be quite cool. I enjoy knitting these as it doesn't take long. The things I don't like knitting are the brown V neck tank tops for the orphanage in India. Brown was never my favourite colour! 

The gansy is coming on nicely I usually knit this for an hour or two in the morning when I'm in as I need good light. The light is getting poor now by about 7pm so it's going to be a few months before I finish.

However I do need to be a bit more active as I've noticed my ankles are swelling with all this sitting! What a lazy cat I am! I'm off to Italy next Saturday taking a tour to Lake Garda so plenty of walking there to be done. Hopefully we'll get decent weather but I won't get any knitting done. You can't take knitting when you're working! I'm getting withdrawal symptoms at the thought of no knitting for a couple of weeks. 

Look at that grass in the photo, it's meant to be a lawn, neither of us are keen gardeners but it's too big for me to cut. Well that's my excuse!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Big Ben Goes Silent

                   Big Ben              Mistereez

At 12 midday Big Ben is going silent for 4 years whilst it undergoes repairs.

Seems a shame not to hear the most photographed building in Britain for so long but apparently it's to protect the workers hearing.

There's a bit of a battle going on about it but it will still chime for special occasions such as Remembrance Day & New Year's Eve.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

It's growing!

Well it's not going too badly.

The rib was a double one & I decided to cast on using double wool to strengthen the edge. Eric's wool jumpers always seem to wear on the cast on ribs especially the sleeve edges. It did make it a bit bulkier but I hope it will be much stronger and last the length of the journey.

Next came the Blyth Tall Ships logo which wasn't too easy to see in such dark wool. Definitely have to knit it in daylight.

Now I am on a stretch of plain knitting for 50 rows. A bit boring but at least I can watch telly whilst knitting. Feel a bit guilty knitting during the day but needs must!

The thing I really dislike about this is knitting on a circular needle, I find it a pain. The knitting keeps turning and you keep having to slide the loops over the cable join. Give me straight needles any day. I was tempted to buy a set of 4 needles but I'm not keen on that either. I did try to buy some really nice quality Knit Pro needles as I already have a cable but they don't do size 2.75! Never mind I hope I can get over it although I doubt that very much as I've used them a few times and just gave up. I don't have a choice with this jumper though, no seams allowed!

Next stage is the waves, should be fun!

Meanwhile the charity knitting goes on. 

I've knitted a couple of brown V neck tank tops as we used to call them in the 'sixties. Think they call them slip overs now. It's an awful colour to knit with dark brown, again difficult to knit in the dark. However it's for an orphanage in India & the jumpers will get dirty and dusty and won't get washed very often. So it has to be that colour for the poor little souls.

Also still knitting for the neo-natal units in the area and the Apostleship of the Sea. These crochet little tops for tiny babies are quickly made and it's a nice break from the dark colours. The hats for the sailors supported by Apostleship of the Sea are quick & easy to knit too. 

Well back to the gansey while the light is good!

Friday, 7 July 2017

A Trip Down the Grand Canal

The first day I was in Venice in May I decided to take a vaporetto trip up the Grand Canal. Well it went up along the Giudecca Canal so I had to get off & get onto another to come down the Grand Canal!

It wasn't a very nice day, in fact it was raining, it was just like being at home. But I still enjoyed it.

Some of the photos are not too clear, the vaporetto was pretty full & it was wobbling quite a bit. Not sure how much it complied with European Health & Safety regs. I never saw any way that numbers were counted but I suppose it's not that deep! So I stayed outside ready to jump off if the need arose!

I don't think the photos are in the correct order for some reason when I copied them into the computer they seemed a bit out of kilter but never mind.

Fancy paying a fortune to go on a gondola trip when it's chucking it down! The chappies selling those ponchos did a roaring trade. 

The Rialto Bridge all refurbished.  It was totally covered last year when I saw it.

A Venice wedding in the rain.

I really love the buildings like these which look like they need a bit of TLC. They look so real not plastic copies.

This is one of my favourites and I love the white arched columns. How great to have a boat outside your front door to pop out for a loaf or a pint of milk!

It's not really sinking! They'll take them down when the Biennale is over. I think!

Peggy Guggenheim's place!

There were not many gondolas out on the canals due to the rain but I think they look good parked up.

Back at St Mark's Square.  Not the usual glorious blue sky you see in the James Bond films & postcards.

Now I couldn't fancy swimming in there, the water didn't look very pleasant but apparently Lord Byron did. He regularly swam the 4 and a half miles from the palazzo where he was staying on the Grand Canal down to the Lido. He was risking a lot as the canal was little more than an open sewer in those days. Well rather him than me!

Thursday, 29 June 2017

It's here!

 My Williams Gansey Pack has finally arrived and it's brilliant.

I posted about it a few weeks ago What's a Gansey? and it tells about the recreation of the historic voyage in 1819 where William Smith set off from Blyth in Northumberland and discovered Antarctica. Sadly he's never had recognition for this so the voyage in 2019 will hopefully go some way to changing this. I applied to be a knitter of ganseys for the crews who will take the ship Williams ii to Antarctica and was successful.

There's absolutely everything you need in the pack to make the gansey. Wool, two sets of circular needles, a project book with all the information about the Williams Gansey Project including a written pattern, there's a diagramatic pattern, there's an envelope to post it back to them & even three pound coins to pay for the postage!

The Frangipani gansey wool is beautiful, a really dark navy which seems slightly thicker than 4 ply but finer than double knitting. There's a huge 500gm cone and three 100gm balls. 

I'll have to do a test piece first to see what my tension is. It'll mean daytime knitting as I hate knitting dark wool in artificial light.  Thankfully it's very light nights for the next month or two so that will help.

There it is sitting in its own box just waiting for me to start. So I'll just nip off now before it gets dark!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Favourite Places

There are some places you visit and they stay with you, they're so special.  This is mine!

I've blogged about it before, probably more than once. It's a place I've visited since I was young and countless times over the years.  I can't even describe the feeling I get when I go there. I've Skywatched it too!

This is part of the view I see when I'm returning home from my tours by train.  I know I'm home when I see it.  It has such a grand position overlooking the little city and has stood there for centuries surviving all kinds of events, wars, the Reformation and reminding us that it amazing people built it and have continued to maintain it for us for centuries.

I decided this year that I wanted to do something to help share and pass on the love for the building that so many people have so I decided to become a volunteer steward to welcome visitors to the Cathedral. 

I spent my first morning as a volunteer yesterday and I can't describe how much I enjoyed it. There were so many visitors from all parts of the world and all ages; to help them enjoy their visit is our remit.  My face was aching from smiling but it wasn't a forced smile, I felt so happy speaking to visitors, answering questions (some I had to pass over to others who knew more about the Cathedral than I do) and listening to the other stewards and learning from them.  It was such a joy to be there I came home beaming and on a high!

On Friday I'm doing a tour with a Cathedral guide so I will start the huge amount of learning I need to do before I'll feel comfortable in my new role. Meanwhile I'm reading up on the Northern saints, St Cuthbert whose shrine is in the Cathedral & St Bede who is also buried there.  Hope I can remember the dates people always ask about them.

Wish I could post some photographs of the interior of the Cathedral but sadly photography isn't allowed without a special licence.  If you want to take a look inside you can here with photographs much better than I could take.

Friday, 16 June 2017


I never tire of visiting Venice, I love it. It's one of the few places I love even if the weather isn't good. That's probably my favourite view, the island and church of San Giorgio Maggiore. I think I took that photo when it was clearing after a day of rain but it's still beautiful. 

I know some people don't like it, they moan about the crowds, the prices, the tat etc, yes they really do. Although even The Doges Palace & St Mark's Square look OK from the top of the bell tower on San Giorgio Maggiore despite the crowds.

Another view from the bell tower. I just think it's gorgeous! Wouldn't mind a swim in that pool!

I met a couple in Marks & Sparks cafe at home last week who were listening to my conversation with my sister about booking some flights to Venice as my husband has never been there. Yes I leave him behind at least twice a year to visit Venice & Lake Garda, for work! They interrupted to give their "advice" as they thought I hadn't been there before and they started to tell me how horrible it is now. I told them I have been a number of times & had just come back from Venice the day before and I love it. I said yes it probably is more crowded and expensive than it was thirty years ago, isn't everywhere? Not exactly the response they expected but each to his own I say, we're all different. They were definitely the glass half empty type of people!

One of the worst places I ever visited for the tourist hordes was to the lovely little town of St Ives in Cornwall a couple of years ago. Well it would have been lovely probably at 6am before the hordes descended on it. It was absolutely horrendous, cars blocking the tiny streets (which really should be pedestrianised as they have a good cheap park & ride system) and heaving with crowds of people everywhere including lining the promenade sitting eating ice creams or fish & chips. You couldn't move for them. YUK! Give me Venice any day.

Anyway back to Venice. The Venice Biennale had started a week or so before we arrived last month and there were lots of interesting pieces of art displayed across the city. I'm no art connoisseur and can only take culture in small doses so I didn't pay to go into the exhibition. There was so much to see it would have taken weeks! But I did enjoy seeing bits of art as I wandered around.

Here are some of the photos I took of a few of the things that caught my eye over the three days I was there.

Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn's installation called " Support" on Ca' Sagredo.  Weird but very effective!

A bit gross, a man and a horse with a serpent wrapped around them.

Our little ship, well boat really, was berthed right down near the Giardini where the main part of the exhibition was held. However just opposite where we were berthed there were two little parks with some sculptures in them. 

I liked the tortoises from the Seychelles.

This was a bit weird. Some random bloke putting his dog on the sculptures to take its picture!

I did like this one, it was huge and I could see it from my room on the ship. We were berthed just over the road from it. It's King Kong Rhino by Shih Li-Jen. No I didn't know that, the name was on the plinth!

These looked like bits of somebody's spine!

This one was ridiculous. Just loads of life jackets hooked onto a black metal circle!!!! Anybody could do that. 

 No idea what these were meant to be! Looked like bubbles on a stick.

The next ones were my favourites. They looked so real, they even had wisps of hair sticking out from their bathing hats that were blowing in the breeze.

No sadly the yacht in the background wasn't the one we were staying on!

Now she is the one I kept thinking would step off the plinth! Notice I said she & not it.

You could see the drops of water glistening on her and the creases in her bathing costume and the folds in her skin were amazing.

You could see the veins on her feet and the even the follicles on her skin. I thought her feet looked really good but one woman said she could do with a pedicure! Have to say I wish my feet looked half as good.

The work of Carol Feuerman an American artist and hyperrealist sculptor and definitely my favourites

It was great seeing all these works of art just placed in parks and outside buildings. A shame that some people didn't keep their children off them or their dogs!

I'll take you on a trip up the Grand Canal soon! I'm getting back into the swing of posting now I have a decent computer.

Still Knitting!

I'm beginning to think I'm being a bit addicted to knitting. Normally I can just stop to do a bit of housework but at the moment ...