Who could have thought a year could make so much difference? Twelve months ago today, I started a weblog page, not knowing the slightest thing about the medium. And now... Friends all over the world, wonderful companions at the click of a button, acquaintances everywhere, advice, guidance, sympathy, laughter, teasing, as much as and more than anyone could hope for. Gang, you've given me an amazing year and I'll be showing my gratitude. All this week I'm going to be giving away PRESENTS. I'll pick you at random from my comments box most days between now and Sunday next, so keep tuned, you never know.
But a couple of those presents are already earned. In first place, stand forth Angie, who got me started on this amazing Avenue of the Internet last July 9. You gave me the idea, laughed down my apprehensions, encouraged my attempts, and gave valiant and inexhaustible assistance by email throughout those frantic first few days (haven't we all been through that baptism by fire?), even calling upon your DH and Holly to contribute help when your own knowledge did not suffice. Angie, you are a supremo. And since I know you always wanted some of that Celtic Memory designer yarn, two skeins of Torc Waterfall are already on their way to you.
This picture doesn't do justice to the yarn, but it is a grey gloomy day here chez Celtic Memory, and DH wasn't available to work miracles with flashes and things.
Here's the rather splendid waterfall which inspired this particular colourway: if you look closely at both, and use your imagination, you might be able to see all that lovely moss and white spray and lush greenery replicated in the yarn. Or not. I can anyway. Hope you like it, Angie. Thanks for everything.
And secondly, for making me laugh until I actually cried (and doing the same for DH when he came looking to see what was up with all these strange sounds coming from the study), Ms. Knitingale. If you haven't seen her post about the hot night and the two cats, go look at it now. But don't risk it if you've had stitches put in lately. It is no small talent to give laughter to all your readers and I value it when I am lucky enough to find it. Ms. K, you are a brilliant and wicked writer. I adore you. A surprise package on its way to you.
Now, to knitting matters. Delighted you all liked the West Cork Smock. I should be delighted to write it up properly and make it freely available to all of you - if someone technologically-minded will offer to help me on the how-do-you-link-this-to-that bits.
And here, at last is a picture of the finished Pomotamus sock.
Sorry about the background, I realise it's a bit gloomy and grey, but we've had such wet weather it really wasn't practical to take P down to the squelchy mosses, no matter how greenly beautiful they are as a setting. Already working on the leg of Sock 2. Whoever said the second one was much easier is right - it is. However, watching a TV show that requires any mental commitment at all is a definite no-no. As is trying to read at the same time. Total concentration required for this one. But utterly worth it. Ms. K, try it again. It will get better. Really it will!
Started on the baby gansey (and thank you, Dez, for christening it an elven gansey - that's exactly right. Maybe I could gift it to Dobby the House Elf as part of my Harry Potter KAL contribution?).
For some reason, though, it was inordinately difficult to perform the very simple task of overlapping the front and back mini-welts so as to start the main body of the tiny thingy in the round. I slipped stitches, I swore, I lost stitches, I started again - it's inexplicable that such a clearly explained and clearly understandable exercise should cause so much trouble. There are only four stitches involved at each side, for heaven's sake, and all you have to do is put two in front of two and p. 2 tog twice. How difficult is that? DH looked in at midnight to see me wrestling and swearing and wisely went off to bed. I followed once I'd finally conquered this unexpected obstacle. Looks a little strained after the struggle, but it's done. Now to create tiny initials in seed stitch. Mine? Celtic Memory's? Dobby's?
The new sock yarn that I got from lovely Andy Hammand is a delicious blend of superwash merino and tencel. Superwash, you note. That presumably means some of you, if so minded, can chuck the resultant socks into the machine. And I gather lots of people do. But honestly, is that any way to treat handknitted treasures? I always wash mine by hand - I keep a bottle of gentle wash, or even a shampoo I don't want, next to the handbasin in the bathroom and whisk them through in a moment. And they look so nice hanging on the line!
Reading from left to right, we have here Mad Bluebell Dance followed by my new Summer Lavender colourway in merino/tencel, the Austrian socks, the Sea Cave colourway, Blackberry Pie socks, Birchwoods colourway, and lastly but not leastly, a rather classy cashmere/silk in yellows and oranges, which I have notionally christened Harvest. Listed all the sock yarns and the cashmere/silk on eBay last night, all with the Celtic Memory tag for ease of finding, while the socks are now airing happily in the sitting room which gets a lot of sun when there is any in this corner of the world (no, I keep them out of the direct sunlight you know-it-all at the back, just use the warmth to ensure they're properly dry, and they look so decorative while they're airing that they're a delight to see).
You might notice that the newly dyed yarns are less violent and contrasting than most you find, and that was intentional. I've been noticing lately that although I fall as heavily as anyone else for the gorgeous mixes of colour you can get these days, when it comes to knitting up anything with a distinctive pattern, all your hard work kind of tends to get lost in the frantic blur of colours. So I went this time for the 'less is more' technique, using subtle shadings and swirls to enhance and offset the natural creamy-white of the merino/tencel. (All right, all right, the superwash merino/tencel!) This way, the knitter's expertise and skill won't be lost in a clash of raspberry-meets-emerald-meets-black. I've taken it even further for a skein I dyed for my own use, spraying just the lightest touch of blush pink on to the natural colour, so that when the second pair of Pomotamus gets on to the needles, the glorious pattern will show in all its beauty, with just a faint tinge of pink here and there, like the tips of daisies in spring.
(That's how it appears in the mind anyway. The reality may be somewhat different. Keep you posted.)
Tonight we go to hear Elton John (no connection to the blog-versary, just a grateful client). And tomorrow Sophy Wackles goes to the vet to be neutered. It's good for her, it's virtually risk-free, it's wise (several past dogs barely survived the mid-age womb infection that can strike without warning), but I'm pretty hung up about bringing in a radiantly healthy little doglet for an operation. Even leaving her there will be traumatic. If it isn't too silly and self-centred a thing to ask in a world where I realise far more serious things are happening, keep her in your mind. She's only little.