Sunday, August 12, 2007

Misty Rain - It Must Be Summer

We've had several days of dark rainy weather but yesterday I'd had enough. Cabin fever was setting in, so I dragged DH out for a drive into the wilder regions of the South West. Sophy managed to conceal herself among the raincoats on the back seat so got a trip too - she's becoming pretty artful at slipping out of the house and into the car while we're getting organised, and even though you would swear you'd just shut her in the kitchen, there she is pretending to be a furry sweater and not making a sound (until you're safely on your way, and then she leaps into the front for some good cuddling sessions en route). We headed to Glengarriff where the local hotel said no, it couldn't provide scones with the coffee but they did have fresh warm apple pie if that would do...


One of the good things about the Irish scenery is that it looks just as effective - if not actually more effective - in the rain.





The woodlands by the Glengarriff river are wonderful for walking. This is one of those extra-sheltered regions on the West Cork coast that is warmed by the Gulf Stream, so everything grows here with additional luxuriance. And the path meanders and wanders in a relaxed fashion, and the occasional drip down the back of the neck from the trees is more fun than anything else.





This picture is for all those of you suffering severely hot conditions at the moment - Angeluna, Lynn, Marianne, Dez, Carrie, Tania, Vicki, and everyone else in more emphatic climates than ours. Sit by the banks of this virtual river for a little while and breathe in the cool damp air. I benefit so greatly from your spectacular countryside and weather when I'm over there that it's only fair you get a little bit back.

You find some very strange rock and tree formations in these ancient woods...





Isn't that like a powerful Easter Island face on the right? And can you see the mossy green frog-like being on the left, communing with it? No wonder Sophy Wackles bate the hell out of there. 'Go away small creature, we are talking of old things and you are far far too young...'

But she recovered her equilibrium and joie de vivre with a jolly good paddling session later.





'So what if I get all wet and muddy? The best bit is leaping up on Mamma's lap on the way home, all soaking and dripping, and gradually drying off...'

No matter how familiar these woods are, the sheer exuberance of growth is always amazing.






Just look at all the ferns and moss packing into the fork of this tree, and all the creepers and ivy and other greenery forming a backdrop. Just to walk here is to feel the spirits revive.


Thoroughly refreshed, we looked at the map and discovered a very narrow twisting road climbing into the hills and crossing over the Shehy Mountains towards Kilgarvan, so decided to try a little bit of exploring. In its lower reaches, the road wound through thick woods with only the slightest signs now and again that whole communities had once lived here.




This old ruined stone cottage was so thickly covered with moss you would have missed it, except for that sudden shaft of sunshine striking its gable end.



We climbed and climbed, past curious sheep (Irish sheep always prefer to use the road when they can, both for travelling and for taking a nap, so be warned if you intend driving these byways), and waterfalls gushing down rocky hillsides. The view from the top was worth the twists and turns.






See that rushing stream and the old track parallelling its path up, up and over the hills beyond? I must walk that track one day. Generations of country folk will have done so, carrying their wool and butter down to the fair at Kenmare, and it would be good to follow in their footsteps. Did that once on the steep track over the Kit Carson Pass where Nevada meets California's Mother Lode country but there it was deep snow. Every step I took, I felt just a tiny bit of the struggle and fear and effort of those who came across to the west coast this way. What an indomitable spirit they must have had.


Is there going to be any knitting content in this posting, you are asking testily? Sorry, of course there is. The Anniversary Socks (Nancy Bush's, from Favorite Socks) are progressing - the one on the go doesn't look like much at the moment, since the cashmere really should have been gently washed rather than rushed at and slammed on to the needles straight from the dusty cone, but I put it up just to encourage those of you who feel only the best will do, since this obviously isn't the best.







(Oh and speaking of the best, and of good pictures, we're nearing the deadline for the Knitty.com entries for next year's calendar - it's August 17 I think. I'm going to try to photograph my Pomatomus socks somewhere good. Yes, I know I have to take the picture myself and no I'm not going to cheat and ask DH - there would be no joy in getting a place on the calendar if I'd done that, would there? I can get someone to model them easily enough, but where to picture them? Maybe that powerful Defender of the Forest tree in Killarney?)


But back to the Anniversary Sock. I want these to be knee length so I've done a few pattern repeats on the 0 gauge circular. Now I should go down to 00 - but can't locate one. I have 000 but I think that might be too extreme a change of gauge. I enquired of the very helpful Evelyn at Knitty-Noddy and she responded with great promptitude, explaining that Addi didn't do the 00 sizing. Thanks Evelyn, I owe you for that friendly help. Mt. Mom very kindly sent me a link to The Knitting Zone who now stock HiyaHiya circulars in that gauge but they don't seem to have them in 32". I have some 42" and they really are a bit long and tangly to use for socks.


Now look. If someone can find me a 32" circular made by ANYBODY in 00 - that's about 1.75mm - then rush it to me and I'll send you a skein of hand-dyed merino-tencel sock yarn in return. Yes, in your colourway of choice. And no, I most definitely do not mind if I get two pairs from different locations! But they have to be 32" circular and 00 (1.75mm), since I already have 0 and 000. Go search your LYS! Who knows they might be hanging there on the wall squeaking, 'Here, here, buy me for Jo!' In the meantime, I'll bring the second sock down to the same staging post, and wait for someone to make contact!

No, I won't be sockless in the meantime, for heaven's sake what a notion! I gave in to temptation and started the Fawkes socks.







These are really nice to work and the pattern is looking beautiful already. More on those as they progress. But late last night the socks suddenly became unbearable. Didn't want to knit another round - you know the feeling? Hunted for the lace crop cardi (it took quite a bit of finding, being buried under several layers of other subsequent happenings - you know that feeling too?) But finally located it, sitting patiently in the nice blue felted basket, and to make up for its neglect, finished the back before going to bed rather late.

Picture? Picture? Gosh, I didn't take one. Hang on, the sun is out, briefly. Wait there and I'll go rectify the omission.






Now, how was that for speed? Gosh isn't technology wonderful? I estimate that took about eight minutes from leaving the computer to getting back to typing. And not much more than a year ago, I wouldn't have known this could be done, let alone done it!



I'm rather chuffed with this crop cardi pattern. I used that design from Nicky Epstein's Knitting On the Edge and just kept going. Fronts next, then sleeves - and not sure what to use for the band. Maybe an i-cord? You can give me your expert opinion when the fronts and sleeves are done.

Must go dye some more sock yarn. The blackberries are ripening (Lene, I saw the bilberries on your posting, have you gathered many yet?)




I'd like to do a colourway called Blackberry, but it should contain so many subtle shadings - the rich deep purple, the deep crimson of the juice, the paler lavender where the juice runs into the whipped cream ... And up in the misty hills between Cork and Kerry yesterday, the colours of heather and moss and grey rocks gave me the idea for another colourway... Better get going.

38 comments:

Lisa W said...

Thank you Jo for the virtual walk. I could hear the river running, smell the damp earth, and feel the cool greeness of the forest canopy. I imagine little Sophie Stowaway was vibrating with delight. The mossy cottage, the great stone head (created by man or nature?), hot apple pie - what pleasure!

Tan said...

I can see that I definitely need to get the UK versions of the HP books!

Angeluna said...

Goodness I loved "our" outing today. How beautiful each new bit of scenery is and how different. One of my joys in life, and major problems too, is seeing those little roads taking off the main one and I want to follow them all. Lovely to see jolly Sophy Wackles enjoying herself. Did you REALLY not know she was in the car?

Jocerane said...

It was so refreshing! I love all your mystery pics!

Dreamin Diva said...

What glorious photos of rural Ireland. Thank you Jo. I think your rambles in the woods a delicious set up to the knitting content and I always look forward to your posts. I'm inspired by your knitting projects and by the countryside--I think I need to have a knitting tour of Ireland sometime soon!

Mrs J said...

So there is somewhere else in the world not dripping with heat! Great pictures.

Rachel H said...

There's really nothing quite like the Irish countryside, is there. Happy Sigh. Must start saving the pennies to take a trip back one of these years.

cindyl said...

Today in Corpus Christi, it is going to be 102 degrees, and the humidity must be 95 percent (although no rain), so your posting, Jo, is a total joy. Having been raised a rancher's child on the Texas/Mexico border and standing on the porch many an evening willing any distant rain cloud to come our way, I treasure misty days. I think I'll read your post again.

Charity said...

The view from the top was so refreshing and soothing for me, thanks so much for sharing it! And Miss Sophy is such a clever little one...

I know just what you mean about the socks. I go back and forth between wanting to touch nothing but my socks, to not being able to stand even the sight of them. How fortunate we are that there are So. Many. Projects!

angie Cox said...

That scenery is so very beautiful . I loved the Sophy story. I expect you've spotted that I have read Rupert Everett's auto-bio. One of the most delightful characters in it is Mo , his dog . Mo was a huge black Lab. When he wasn't supposed to be going out with Dad he'd sneak into the car sadly he was rather noticeable. It's rather nice that he makes a couple of appearances in films . He did have a wonderful life walkies in France and all along L.A coastal areas that tourists didn't go.

rho said...

I send out a couple of emails to companies about the 00 needles - will let you know if I can get them as soon as I hear back.

Love your virtual walks -

btw got my picture of my yarn I won - that is so beautiful I keep taking it out and petting it - up on my blog - I don't do it justice at all - but check it out. ;)

Peg-woolinmysoup said...

The forests look tropical - not the proper tropical plants, but the lushness of it all! Thanks for those beautiful photos - Sophy does know how to have fun!
Your blackberries are far ahead of ours. They do make the best jam in the world! Will you put a few pints of jam by for winter, while you contemplate the colours to use for the 'blackberry' yarn?
The Bainin is knitting up nicely!

Mrs J said...

Jo - This is the link for Stevies Cottage, Isle of Tiree
http://www.tireecottage.co.uk.
Its magic! The locations of the other cottages also have much to offer too!Sue

Artis-Anne said...

Lovely photos as always Jo, just as well the rain brings it own special beauty isn't it ?
I see you are still in sock mode LOL I haven't done a pair in a while , although I do have plenty of yarn to make some

Victoria said...

i have always wanted to visit Ireland...have always had this internal voice that says i NEED to visit there...i don't know why exactly i just do...maybe in another life i lived there or something but there is this internal attachment....since i was child i have read irish folk tales, stories..history...on and on...Jo every time i come to your blog i feel more connected to that feeling...i must go...i must visit! lol
i am so far from being irish (puerto rican ancesters here lol) but i still feel connected ....ty again for the beautiful story and pictures

Miss Sophie looks so cute standing in the water i just want to give her a snuggle.

are you going to dye yarn with those berries?? i bet you would get a fantastic color.

Kim said...

I just wanted to add my "thank you" to the list. I love your knitting content, but I love even more the days when you give us the special treat of accompanying you on a mystical trek over the countryside.

Amanda said...

i always love to see the pictures of the irish countryside - so gorgeous. thanks also for including the link for the knitting zone - i'm a loose knitter myself and hadn't yet found a source for needles smaller than us 0.

Rosie said...

Naughty Sophy Wackles! And as for the "Easter Island Statue" and giant frog, do you think they were woodland spirits there to reprimand her? I still can't get over that ent-like tree you photgraphed the other day!

Marianne said...

Aaahhhh, those soothing cooling photos...thank you...big sigh...

Rachel said...

Thank you, those photos gave me a run along memory lane, saw myself in Ireland again, I loved it so much. My friend in Dublin thinks I am crazy but she does not live in the Arizona desert. And your warning about those sheep, I had a flash back of us in the car surrounded by them.

Ronni said...

What a lovely set of photos! I do wish it were easier for me to go physically visit these places you show us. I really need to win the lotto - then going to Ireland for the weekend would maybe be possible.

I'll see what I can do about 00 (1.75mm) needles. I could use some myself I think but I seem to recall having had a similar problem with finding any. I'll be in a shop tomorrow if not today that might have them. I'll let you know if I can manage it.

Dez Crawford said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the lush and cooling stroll through your Irish woods. It was a hundred and four degress Fahrenheit here yesterday; a hundred today, and it's too humid to draft wool for spinning, even with the air conditioning on. The wool sticks to itself like Velcro. You have no idea how much I needed to dip my toes in that cool stream and smell the cool, damp earth and the moss! So nice to have your stealth doggie along for the walk as well.

Jo, you have a real skill for capturing the Old Ones. There's another figure or two in that rock (you also have a Cloaked One in the Guardian of the Forest).

Do choose the Guardian for your Knitty entry. When I visit Mom in New Orleans on Tuesday, I'm stopping at an old cemetery on the way in, to use the marble statuary as models for some colorful shawls.

I'll be keeping an eye peeled for size 00 32". You never know where they might turn up.

Hugs, and thanks for the virtual lush coolness.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo,
They seem to have your size needles at "the knitting zone" online store. Here is the address that should get you to the correct page: http://www.knittingzone.com/catalog/index.php?page=7&cName=needles-circular&sort=2a

The needles are HiyaHiya brand, steel circulars 32" 1.75mm for $7.50 US. Not a bad price! Please note the sizes are not in consecutive order on the page. (Do you do magic loop?)
Anyway...I will send you some if you like or you can see how ordering them goes and let me know. If you want me to send them Please email me with your shipping address!
Cheers! Trista tristadav@hotmail.com

Fiberjoy said...

May I walk quietly alongside you along the old track winding with the stream up the hill?

We are having a slightly cool but oh so pleasant summer, still, your damp woods look inviting.

Isn't it funny how we can dream of knitting a pair of socks but after half an hour boredom sets in?

gwtreece said...

Thanks Jo, I needed some relief from the heat. Sophy definitely looks like she had fun.

Jill said...

Those blackberris are gorgeous. The rest of your pictures as always, are fantastic. But those blackberries.....yum

Needles said...

Sigh, just sigh at your lovely picutres.

I love the colours of the cardi. Edging? What makes the ribby parts? If it's a little twisted stitch or cable piece, something similiar for an edging would work, but I think an i-cord edge would be great too.

Vicki in So. Cal. said...

The pictures are beautiful! How I would love to sit by that stream and knit. I love the sound of running water, although, as you can imagine, I rarely hear it here except when filling the sink to do the dishes. Not nearly so romantic!
Actually, it's been cooler here the past week, cooler being a relative term. Yesterday was a scorcher again, though. Ah well, we knew it would be hotter again but the break was nice.
Tell your husband that I had a roadrunner come to get a drink in my birdbath the other day. I took a quick snapshot of it but he would have made a work of art.
I have a set of 00 double pointed needles that I got who-knows-where years ago but I haven't seen any circulars. Will keep looking.

MonicaPDX said...

Ah, I just love all the pix of your walks. It reminds me so much of out in the country here! Ditto the rain. [g] I know you've been to BC, but if you've never been to the Olympic Nat'l Park, that's a place you have to see sometime! Plus the contrast between the western side of the Cascades and the high desert plateau of the eastern side, where you can see cinder cones and lava and amazing sights like Dry Falls. Ok, you need to plan for another trip, Jo! [g]

I love the thought of your Pomotamus socks on the Defender tree, but you'll need a closeup - maybe the Easter Island face instead? Luscious socks against ancient rock... The Fawkes socks are looking gorgeous, the way the colors are blending. And you and your apple pie and the blackberries - now I have to make blackberry cobbler again, and I can hardly wait for apple season. LOL. I'm glad we grow apples up the wazoo here. ;) Good luck with finding those needles, I'm going to check out some of the suggested sources myself for smaller sock needles!

Jeri said...

Is chuffed a good thing or a bad thing?

Scotlynn said...

Jo,
I do believe you could type the first ten pages of an encyclopedia and we would all still find it enchanting! As ever, your knitting is wonderful and your adventures magical. To share them with Richard's beautiful photos, well, I feel so blessed to have found you. Thanks.

Karen said...

Those beautiful pictures make me want to visit. Ahhh, maybe someday, in the mean while I'll be content to visit your lovely blog.

Knitstress Mary said...

Jo, with your permission, may I copy your photo of the cool river to put on my pc at work, so that when I am "crazy busy" I can stop and look at the photo, take a deep breath and imagine myself knitting there.

Needles said...

Jo, I just came back from my LYS. Sadly among the baskets of needles, no circs in 1.75 mm, 32 inch size were to be found. If they arrive, they will call and I will ask if you still are in need. They do have 4 or 5 sets of dpns in that size. Could we convert you?

You have by one tiny request. We are all checking our stores, and the stores will check their suppliers, and they will check the distributor, who will go back to the maker... who will see there is a need, and strong global demand.

One day, in the not so distant future, you will be beseiged by people mailing you needles from all points of the globe. You will be swamped and will open a store devoted only to the supply of 1.75, 32 inch circs...

Jeanne said...

Jo, please take me there. ;)

cindyl said...

Misty rain beginning here now too. Tropical Storm Erin coming in to Corpus later tonight, with a 60 mph wind riding shotgun. I finished the Lunahsa scarf. Am now rummaging through my grandmother's old beat and button tin, looking for the perfect adornments. Thank you, Jo. It's beautiful.

Kathy said...

I'm sitting here at my work desk eating my breakfast wishing I was exploring with you. How beautiful. Thanks for the beautiful eye candy.

Carol said...

Jo, first time reader of your blog - what a treat! Your pictures of Ireland are a wonderful change from the 100 degree weather we're having here in southside Virginia.

I'm also on a sock kick, although my LYS is having their summer sale this weekend and I managed to find some great silk, silk/cotton blend and some linen/cotton (I think).

When I'm not knitting socks I've been knitting lace - can you tell :>