Saturday, 23 July 2022

A Scarf For Lewy

 A while ago now I saw a thing on social media asking people to knit a scarf for Lewy.  The Lewy Body Society want to raise awareness of Lewy body dementia and to do this they are going to wrap a massive scarf round the Royal Albert Hall in London this autumn.  But they need people to knit the scarfs...

How could I not accept this challenge?  And what a perfect way to use up some of my stash too.

I had a bunch of lovely colours from the hats I knitted last year, the cream and green from Januarys cardy and blues from the Driftwood jumper from earlier this year, so I collected them all together and set about making a scarf.  

I kept the design simple.  Just 6 rows to each stripe and the only rule being the same colour couldn't sit next to itself, but otherwise I just made it up as I went along.

 

I couldn't believe how quickly it grew (it ended up about 8 foot long!).  6 short rows was really fast to knit and by the end of an evenings knitting I might have added 3 stripes!  And it was perfect to take on holiday.  No pattern needed, just to count the stripe rows to make sure they were all the same.

And I really enjoyed thinking about what the next colour would be.  It was such an easy project to work on.  The hardest bit was adding the tassles and deciding on the colour combinations! 

So here it is ready to be sent off to join the other scarfs people are making.  I hope I can see it in the photos from the event this autumn.  And I hope whoever receives my scarf after finds it warm and comforting.  I send it with love. 

Sunday, 17 July 2022

Slow Way - Petlip

 

So following the success of my first Slow Way run, I immediantely started planning my next.  Of course I hadn't planned on there being a heat wave, but the rest of my planning seemed to work out well.

Again I got a lift from 'im outdoors.  A bit earlier than last time to try and be back home before it got too hot.  It was another route that I'd run bits of before and so I knew a good chunk of it would be shaded.  So with the route on my phone and a litre of water in my pack off I went.

 

Annoyingly I went wrong within the first couple of miles, when I missed the bridge over the river as I was distracted by cows!  Once I was back on the correct path the rest of it went very well.

It started across fields, before going uphill and into the woods.  I was sad to leave the dence shade of the pine woods - lovely and cool.  The deciduous woods were still shady, but not as cool as the pine.

A short piece along the B2070 then I deviated along the quiet back roads rather than use the verge of the fast road.  The common was nicely wooded, I'd been worried it might be open and sunny.  Back across the B2070 and onto the West Sussex Boarder path, although you'd not know it as I didn't see any signs.  Cutting through the golf course I knew I was nearly there.

 

I ended my run at Sainsburys and was very dissapointed to find that I'd timed my run very badly.  They hadn't opened yet and so there was no chance of buying the ice lolly I've been dreaming of as I ran. 

'im outdoor came to pick me up and I was glad to come home and sit in the cool of the house. 

I'm pleased with this run.  I've been practicing the distance so it didn't feel as hard as the first, even in the heat.  And again it was very quiet, I only saw a couple of dog walkers.  I imagine it could be pretty muddy it it had been wet, but in the middle of a heat wave it was fine.

 

In places it was very uneven underfoot and I nearly fell at least once and jarred my ankles many times, but following the sunken lanes or holloways was interesting, thinking of all those who have used them before me.

A good run, and I'm already planning my next Slow Way run.

Saturday, 2 July 2022

Route Marshal

 
 
Today my name is Marshal.  My hands are sore from clapping, my voice hoarse from shouting.

I have just made sure that hundreds of runners have made it round a left hand turn a couple of miles from the finish of The Soloman Serpent Trail race.  A race with 4 different distances: 10K, 20K, 50K and 100K which meant I was looking after that left hand turn for nearly seven hours.

I arrived at my post at 12:20 to find the first runner from the 50K group had just been through.  The second came through minutes later.  From then until 3pm it was a constant stream of runners.  Some looking in better shape than others.

 

At about 2.30 the 10K racers came haring through, a very different type of race from everyone else.

At 3pm things slowed down.  Then, at about 4pm, the first 100K runner came through.  From then on it was loan runners.  Either 100K runners near the front of the pack, still running and looking good.  Or the tail end of the 50K pack, reduced to walking, but still going to finish.

I cheered each and everyone on and told them the two most important things possible.  1. turn left here. And 2. You've got this, only a couple of miles to go. 

At the end of 2020, my plan had been to run the 50k race.  And I still hope to.  But while I build up my running again, the next best thing than racing is supporting other runners to race.

I hope my cheering made a difference, and I hope they are all proud of what they achived.  This was no mean feat.

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Rosettes

 

Following the success of the last work Away Day in November, this week we had a Summer Away Day.  I'm still a member of the People Forum and so got roped into helping with all sorts of activities, including running a plank challenge!

 

However, my favourate activitie was the bake off, or more making the rosettes for the bake off winners. 

I found a very helpful online tutorial on how to make paper rosettes which I followed.  Although I did have to modify the design a little as the end size of the rosette in the tutorial was 6 inches across!  Which is massive and way too big for what I wanted.

 

After a bit of experimentation I manage to make a smaller sized rosette - more like 4 inches across, which was perfect.  A bit of paper folding and some work with my glue gun later and I had four perfect rosettes.

 

They even made the trip to London without any major incident and everyone loved them.  Even my department director commented on them! 

 

For something so simple I will definitely keep them in mind for any more award type things I might end up involved in.

Friday, 3 June 2022

Slow Way - Petbor

 I've been running for about 10 years now.

I started to help lose some weight, but I hated it and went early in the morning so no one would see me.  But as I've continued it's turned into something that is really important to me, helping to keep me fit and healthy both physically and mentally.

A very quiet bank holiday A3

 At the end of 2020 I was in the best shape I've ever been in, and I had a new personal best in both the 5k and half marathon distance!  But then in March 2021 something went wrong and my foot started to really hurt and so I stopped running and tried to find out what was wrong.  Easier said than done.  

Can you see the footpath?

 By Christmas 2021 it looked like I was back, but then had a really bad relaps and I started to wonder if I'd ever really run again.  When you come this close to losing something you love, you see all the things you should have done while you still had the chance. 

 In April 2022 I was given a second chance.  Following an MRI scan I was told that while there isn't much they can do for the pain (a cyst rubbing against a nerve and a tendon) there is no damage to the joint or foot and so I can run, if I can deal with the pain.

Such amazing news.  And so as I restarted my running journey, slowly building up my distance and speed to I don't get injured, I started to think about what I really wanted to do with running.  All those things I regreted not doing last time came to mind, and so I started planning.

 

In 2020, I was mostly just running the same old routes every week.  I wanted to do more trail running but was scared of getting lost so stayed on the nice safe road. So last year I went on a navigation course to help build my confidence.

Next I started looking on the Slow Ways website for ideas of routes to run.  I'd been wanting to do this since they launched but was again too scared.  

 

I decided my first Slow Way would be the one which included routes I already knew and had run before.  With a date in mind, agreement from 'im outdoors to drop me off and pick me up and the route downloaded to my phone, I was ready.

On the day it was cool and sunny.  I started in our nearby market town as the stall holders were setting up for the bank holiday market, then ran along shaded paths between alotments and houses and rustic pubs.  Over and under the A3, over the railway line, through the trees.  It was a lovely run.

I hardly saw anyone, and I'd already agreed with myself that I would take it slow, check my phone map as often as I wanted and could stop to take photos as I pleased, so it wasn't the fastest run ever.  But I really enjoyed it and saw parts of my local area I've not seen before.

 

The couple of places where I went 'wrong' were no big deal and at no point did I become lost.

I don't think I'll be doing one of these every week.  But I am going to try and make it a regular thing.  No regrets!

Sunday, 29 May 2022

Stash Busting Hats

 

 I'm sure I'm not the only one, but the last couple of months have been expensive so I'm trying to save money where I can.  This means no new projects, so I've been stash busting instead.  

The first of these projects has been a couple of hats for whichever charity will be taking them in the autumn.

Using my basic hat pattern, instead of the snowflake/star that I used last time I borrowed part of the design from the cardigan I knitted at the start of the year as I was using up wool from this project. 

I'm not sure how many more hat's I'll knit.  I've found another charity project for my stash so I'll work on that for a bit and see what's left over.



Sunday, 15 May 2022

Frame Loom Weaving Workshop

 Last weekend I visited Dobby & Rose for a Frame Loom Weaving Workshop.  I'd come across Dobby & Rose a couple of years ago at one of the Farnham Maltings festivals and liked the idea of having a go myself.

Of course then covid came along and messed everyone's plans up.  Then early this year I was giving a gift vouchure for one of their workshops for my birthday so I finally got to have a go.

The session was run by Rebecca, in her wonderful workshop in her back garden.  I was very luck to be the only person booked and so got 1:2:1 tuition!  But even if others were booked it would have been a small group, so I'm sure it would have been just as good.

I was doing the very basic frame loom weaving, but she does offer more advanced workshop on table looms. Maybe next time.

I spent a very enjoyable morning learning how to string my loom before learning different technques from plain weaving with thinish cotton, to using merino tops to add big fluffy bobbles, and how to create other patterns.

While my first piece didn't have much thought given to it, except to learn the different technques and to keep the colours fairly similar, I've now got lots of ideas of other things I could do.

I love how flexable it is.  I can make it as wide as my frame or smaller.  I can make it as long as my frame or longer!  I can make small pieces and sew them together to make a much bigger thing.  I can use thin threads or thick yarns or more fluffy merino tops. 

And at the end of the session, I got to take my frame and my half finished work home with me, along with a selection of yarns so I could finish it.  Meaning I can try out other my ideas too.

The only real 'problem' is that knitting wool isn't suitable as it's got a bit too much stretch, I'd be better off with a cotton, which means I'm limited on how much stash busting I can do with it, as I've only got a little bit of cotton in there.  Just don't tell 'im outdoors.

Monday, 2 May 2022

Driftwood Jumper

 I really love Isabell Kraemer's knitting patterns and when I saw the Driftwood jumper I knew I had to knit it.  It just makes me think of days on the beach.  That bit at the end of the day where you're slightly sun burnt and sandy, and the sun is starting to set and you just want something against the breeze.  Plus I love stripes.

It was a little bit fiddly to start, the first bit is knitted in stockinette stitch so I had to learn how to M1R and M1L on a purl row.  And you have to keep in mind your colour change every 6 rows, but otherwise it was very straight forward.

I used 4 and a bit balls of Sirdar Snuggly Aran in Denim and Silver Grey.  The buttons came from TextileGarden

It's been on my list to knit for a bit, but once we booked a holiday in Devon this summer I knew I had to get it done before we go!  I'm so pleased with how it's come out and I can't wait to wear it this summer. 

I am now starting to wonder what it might look like in different colour combinations.