It's been such a frantic week, what with worrying over Sophy Wackles and trying to get just a few journalistic jobs done to keep ends meeting, that I almost forgot about the commitment to sending out surprise skeins to some of you in celebration of my blogversary! Not to worry, we'll extend it for another week. The one I have chosen right now though, albeit belatedly, is Lyn, who lost her dearly loved cat at the same time as Sophy was having her operation. Lyn, I was so glad to see others came in on the comments to sympathise, and I do so too, wholeheartedly. We've all been through it. Once or twice I even wondered why I continued to have pets if it meant such heartbreak, but the joys always won out, I'm glad to say. Now I always keep spares (if that's not too slick a way of putting it - it isn't meant to be). It's just that if I have three dogs, the chances are I'll be so busy looking after the remaining ones that I'll be able to manage disposing of the un-needed collar, the blanket - oh but you know what I'm talking about. You've been there, all of you.
Anyway, Lyn (I don't have a contact for you - what do you mean you don't have a blog? - so email me on kerjoATgofreeDOTindigoDOTie), you are going to get a lucky bag of soft warm surprise yarns to ease your heart. If you make something that can carry your pet's name, that would be good.
Somebody else gets the prize next week, so keep watching. Two mystery skeins have just gone off to Ms. Knitingale for making me split my sides (and I hope the rest of you enjoyed that posting of hers too, as indeed all her postings). One of the skeins, I can reveal, is to encourage you to try Pomatomus again, Ms. K - it really isn't all that difficult when you settle down to it (and print out the pattern in HUGE scale, as I did, incidentally!)
Here's the little invalid, roosting at the top of the stairs with a pathetic expression, designed expressly to inveigle treats out of her worried Mum. I must have checked her tummy scar a dozen times today to see if it's OK. It is. But I still check again. I think she's been fairly traumatised by the whole thing, and seems to have forgotten most of her normal routine. She doesn't respond to the rattle of a food bowl, doesn't recognise a biscuit until it's put in front of her, and doesn't even come looking for cuddles - something she was insatiable about up to now. It's almost as if her memory bank was wiped, and she has to learn it all over again. But she's eating normally and looks healthy, so maybe it's just the shock. I'd be the same in her position. The other two dogs have more or less accepted her back into the fold - the vet smell must have dissipated to acceptable levels.
Elizabeth asked if my designer yarns were available for purchase. They are, they are, Elizabeth, when I get round to it. I have the colour cards from all my previous designs (Torc Waterfall, Wild Roses, Midnight on Mangerton, Connemara Twilight, etc.), so I can make any of them up for eager buyers if they nag me enough, but the next new one will be Lunasa, for the beginning of August. That will be in harvest and hayfield and late summer meadow colours. After that will come Samhain, celebrating the Celtic New Year on October 31. If I were organised enough, I'd put images up of them, but there don't seem to be enough hours in the day. Natalie of the Yarn Yard, and Ray of Knitivity, you need never fear me as a keen competitor!
Now - I need your help, especially those of you who run yarn shops on the side. My dear little Yarn Shop In The Far West, Spin A Yarn in Kenmare, is hunting for a source for bamboo dpns. Although we in Ireland are shamefully behind the rest of the world in re-embracing sock knitting, Spin A Yarn has decided to take the plunge (my nagging might have had something to do with it), and import the gorgeous Jitterbug range from Colinette, one of the divas of yarn colourways. And of course they need nice wooden dpns to go with the yarn as any well-brought-up LYS would. Gill at The Woolly Workshop was most helpful in giving advice and sources, but any others would be heartily welcome too - either via me or direct to Jo and Jean at Spin A Yarn. And no, they don't sell online yet, so they won't be in competition!
Laura, you left a message saying that your mother got married in a knitted lace wedding coat similar to that I showed on a posting last year. I don't have an email address or blogsite for you - contact me and I'll see what I can do. You'll find my address above under the message to Lyn.
[Does everyone think it's OK to put an email contact on the weblog? Does it mean even more spam? Should I? You might let me know your thoughts. It would certainly make things easier.]
Now - there are dangerous hints that a serious love affair might once again be on the horizon. Not again, you sigh. Well yes, but this is with - wait for it - NORO! Yes, yes, been there, spent that (and how!), did the marvelling (and the unravelling), but it's coming to the surface again like an old war wound or a repeat bout of malaria. It is all the fault of that aforementioned LYS in the Far West. Jo just emailed me to say that the rep from Noro will be in Kenmare the week after next and would I like to meet them in Jam (you know, you know, that cafe with the irresistible cakes) for breakfast before getting first look at the new yarns. WOULD I WHAT?
No, no, I promise. I won't buy anything. Too much stash. Too many projects. Right. That's definite then. But I'll go along. It would be impolite not to, wouldn't it? Wouldn't it?
The Pomatomus socks are progressing well, and I think the Nancy Bush Birch Leaf socks will be too, now that I've taken Dez's eminently sensible advice and got DH to photograph the chart and blow it up so that I can actually see the darn squares and symbols.
And another sock passion has taken hold as well. Angeluna, you royal pain in the skein, will you STOP sending me these links? You knew I couldn't resist a pattern with a Harry Potter theme - especially one as beautiful as this. Now some HP-inspired patterns are, to put it frankly, a bit schoolboyish, a bit dowdy, but these - well, go and look at them for yourself. Fawkes the phoenix is so stunningly beautiful anyway that a pattern bearing his name had to be too. I even got going on a dyeing session to create a colourway that would do them justice.
Doesn't look that great here, hanging to drip dry in the conservatory, next to the cowbells from the Cevennes, but it will be stunning made up. Trust me. (Do I trust me, that's the question?)
DH is out at this late hour. He has gone up to Mount Massey (you remember I posted on that magnificent old ruin a month or two ago) to watch and wait for owls. He found a nest site there recently and has gone back to see if he can get some photographs.
We've had photography sessions in our own garden too lately.
This was the scene on the last fine day we had (seems like an eternity ago, but it was probably last week).
Too distant? Try this one.
If you follow the line of the lens, you might be able to see a little dark spot in the rosebushes. That's a wren's nest.
and here's the close-up.
I was really chuffed about this. I'd bought the little woven straw nest - in Paris, I think (you know the market, Angeluna, near Notre Dame) - ages ago, and hung it up there in the bushes thinking a sparrow just might use it. But this wren came along, tucked in some soft bedding and framed the opening so prettily in moss before the eggs were laid, and tenderly hatched. It's always a privilege when the birds choose our garden to raise their families.
You know - I really have too many projects on the go. I thought just now that when I'd posted this, I'd do a few rows before bed (it's coming up to midnight here in West Cork), and couldn't decide which one to do! I must finish at least one. Pomatomus. Yes, I'll finish Pomatomus. Then the Birch Leaf. Then the interwoven wrap in Prism (can't even remember its name, and yet how excited I was about it a month or so ago!) Then and only THEN will I start the Fawkes socks...