Knitting. Gardening. Organising.

The weather is lovely at the moment, which is almost unheard of for a British Bank Holiday. The cat is loving it and is in and out of the garden, checking she has food, then scampering back outside again. And she’s ten years old now, so scampering is really good.

Gardening has been a joy. Everything’s growing and green and pretty.

The knitting has been a bit up and down. Knitted a hat for a Christmas present which was supposed to be worked in the round. The cables were so curly, even after being straightened in hot water, I just couldn’t deal with it, so knitted it flat. It looked ok until I sewed it up, and it was a disaster. So after considering the alternatives (dumping it or giving it to the charity shop – nobody would have bought it anyway) I unpicked it and knitted up a different pattern, in the round, and it’s great. Thank goodness.

Also started a pattern called Zick Zack which several people at the knitting group have  done in various colourways, and that was a disaster too. It’s a 12 stitch repeat, with one increase and one decrease in each one. Got the hang of it fairly quickly, but after six rows (every damn time!) I was one stitch out in one of the repeats. I wasn’t sure if I was not increasing when I should or decreasing when I shouldn’t, or whether I’d simply dropped a stitch, but I just couldn’t see which. So. I decided not to do it in 4ply cotton (can’t wear wool), or in two different colours, but have bought some double knitting variegated cotton (Sirdar Cotton Prints DK, in Sea Glass). I am going to cast on tonight and we shall see.

However. I have successfully knitted a bumblebee from Let’s Knit magazine, and although it was a big faff, I’m very pleased with it. Also, five months after purchasing the yarn, finished a V neck top for hubby. Rowan worsted yarn, pale grey, pattern called Textured V Neck Vest. The neckline was a bit fiddly, but it’s a success I’d say.

I’m having a bit of a meltdown about blasted circular needle cables. They drive me crazy. I have mostly interchangeables, some fixed, but I’ve been keeping them curled up and trying to straighten them out when I use them. It’s not working.

So I have a new plan. I’ve ordered a wrap/roll for keeping the needle tips in, which will take up less space than the 2 x 3 litre Really Useful Boxes, and for the actual cables, have ordered some cotton reels.  This is what it should look like when I’m done. Thank you Jennifer T.

And buoyed by my successful research, this morning had a BIG sort out of my knitting bag/s. I keep a bag with my current project in it, and various specific bits and bobs. I also keep a bigger bag nearby with various generally useful bits and bobs, and the next pattern I’m planning to knit.

The clue, you may have spotted, is in the “various” and “bits and bobs”. I managed to sort out what is useful/useless and sort it into what I need to dump, what I occasionally use and what I always need, and have emptied one complete little box. The other little boxes are also much lighter, and better organised, so I only need to carry one of them with me at all times.

In the longer box is a yellow row counter. It’s the best one I’ve ever had. The centre is metal, and sprung, and is at least 50 years old. You can’t buy them now, they’re for sale as “retro” on ebay, but it has never, ever broken. The ones you buy now are all plastic, and break very easily. I think it’s called “built in obsolescence”. Very aggravating.

The denim bag was made for me by my French friend from an old pair of jeans. I lined it and took the Velcro out so there’s nothing to colour or snag on the yarn. It always, always prompts compliments. So thank you again, Réjane!

Some people (my family) think I’m a bit of a neat freak, but I find that order makes my life so much easier. I get very frustrated very quickly if I can’t find something I need, not least because there is a real risk I’ll lose the stitch/my place in the pattern or just forget what the hell I’m doing.

So there we are. Ups and downs as usual. But mostly ups.

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Harrumph!

On the plus side, after the Royal Mail debacle with a parcel, I eventually phoned up Marks and Spencers and explained, and they simply replaced the order, no charge. Phew. So it was sent to me, and wrapped, and sent on to the little boy who had his second birthday on Saturday 30th March, in Dublin. All fine.

However.

My spectacles broke, and cost me £60 for a new frame, into which the optician inserted my current lenses.

My hairdryer died (not terribly pleased, it was quite expensive and hasn’t lasted that long) so I had to order a new one, which arrived today.

A tooth broke. Now then. This is the very tooth that has been causing me considerable pain since mid-December. I managed to get an appointment with the dentist, and he just stuck a bit on top of the broken bit. No anaesthetic, and hopefully no more pain. I’m really hoping that is the end of that particular story. Any more problems with that tooth might involve a crown. But still. There is at least a Plan B.

So all those things were a nuisance, but fixable, and fixed.

I have just been in the garden, watering plants I have just pruned (hydrangeas, sage and fuchsia) and shrubs I planted yesterday. That sounds lovely, doesn’t it! Well, it was eventually ok, but the spray gun nozzle thingamajig on the hose had been left out all winter, and had split because of the frost. We do know that happens, so why we didn’t put the nozzle away I really don’t know. I swore a bit (a lot), under my breath. Luckily we have another one so I used that and it was fine for the back garden.

The front garden, where the new shrubs are (photinias), is another story. The hose is on a reel, so won’t go up the side passage because there is too much stuff which lives up there (recycling wheelie bin, boxes for glass, box for tip, blah blah blah). So I went to get the other hose out of the shed. It’s very heavy, and long, and was in a terrible muddle, despite my best efforts to keep it unmuddled. Gah! what a pain it was to sort it all out. Then I had to actually do the watering, then wind it up again, which was an equal pain, because you need to put a twist in every loop so it lies flat. Much silent swearing in my head.  Next, I went back into the shed to sort out the lawnmower flex which was in a muddle too because I’d got so cross with the hose. But that was light, and easy to wind, and twist, and loop.

I’ve just ordered one of those expandable crinkly hoses (https://www.amazon.co.uk/KINGTOP-Hose-Expandable-Hosepipe-Function/dp/B01J78W5OY) and two more nozzle thingies. So I won’t need to do all that again, hopefully, as rain is forecast for the next three days.

And I’m not even going to mention the complete and utter omnishambles that is our current government. What a total f*ck up. I could do a better job than that. In fact – no, no, no. Not going to start another rant. Hubby’s doing tea, I’m drinking a nice glass of water, and am hoping to finish a knitting project tonight.

Aaaand – breathe!