Monday, February 13, 2006

Winter Olympic Challenge - tripped at the first jump!

I cast on yesterday using Jaeger's Chamonix with the intention of knitting a jumper as my Olympic challenge.

Bit of a problem that it was day 2 of the Olympics rather than the openning ceremony! Oh well.

Knitted a tension square - decided I needed to go up a whole needle size from 6.5mm to 7.5mm (yes I am a tight knitter) - discovered that I didn't own 7.5mm needles! - knitted the band of the jumper with 6.5mm and ... went to bed.

Then today - couldn't find 7.5mm needles in the city (except those awful grey plastic birch ones - which I bought in desperation but won't use) - called Wool Baa and found out they have 7.5mm casein needles but not sure when I can get there to pick them up.

Got home from work - examined my knitting - decided it was way too sloppy - pulled it all out - decided to knit another jumper instead from the same book - and have started to cast on again...

What a comedy of errors and false starts!

As a result I have substantially revised my ambition and quite frankly if I finish the back of the jumper by the end of the olympics it will be a huge achievement!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Christopher Lloyd

As most people have heard by now, Christopher Lloyd, perhaps one of the most challenging and innovative gardeners of the twentieth century, died on 27 January.

I first came across him through one of his earlier books "The Well-Tempered Garden". The book is a series of short pieces on the various aspects of gardening.

The most powerful (and incredibly liberating) message I took away from this book is to do gardening tasks when you remember them or are in the mood for them - don't be rigidly contolled by the rules of when certain things should be done.

Of course certain jobs are sometimes better done at particular times of the year - but better to do the job than not and don't be constrained!

I think that that attitude permeated his gardening approach and led to innovations such as the famous (some would still argue infamous) removal of his rose garden, experimentation with hot colours and foliage, and also the establishment of meadows within the confines of his father's yew hedges.

His obituary in the Guardian is excellent and gives a good sense of the person.

I was incredibly privileged to meet him one June afternoon in 2001 with a group of Australian friends (we were visiting gardens in the week before the decennial International Rock Garden Conference hosted jointly by the AGS and SRGC). The introdution came via Otto Fauser who was one of our party (and is a fabulous gardener in his own right).

We spent a lovely time touring his garden and house (Great Dixter), and had afternoon tea on the south facing terrace. I am deeply in love with Edwin Lutyens architecture and the house has a whole chapter in "Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens" by Lawrence Weaver. It was quite exciting to be sitting on a terrace that I had previously only viewed in a book. Needless to say Christopher Lloyd was a generous host and the visit was a highlight of the trip.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday - my toes!

This month Self Portrait Tuesday's theme is "all of me" - embrace your mistakes, love the ugly bits.

Yes OK I have short stubby toes!

I first became aware of this when I was about 5 years old and drinking from a school water tap. A boy [cannot remember anything about him other than he was of a similar age] sidled up next to me and yelled out "You've got funny toes".

What did he mean? He then pointed out his long toes. I can remember saying so what, but inside I felt crushed.

Since then I have always been aware that most people have longer toes than me - it is one of the things I observe about others.

I think I have probably grown to love my toes and the difference about me that they represent. But I am still conscious of it.

Sometimes (for a fleeting second) I think that it would be nice to have long toes and long narrow feet too (mainly when I am looking at Elizabethan portraits).

But would I swap my toes for longer ones - not on your life!

I do wish however that that school yard incident had never happened!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday night bliss!

A good DVD (the BBC dramatisation of Elizabeth Gaskell's 'North and South' - I have seen it once but it is wonderful), a good book for reading in bed afterwards (Jasper Fforde's third in his literary comedies "Well of Lost Plots"- extremely funny and very clever), a box of Haigh's chocolates (pure indulgence!).... and some knitting.

I would usually be looking forward to Friday night crime on the ABC - but they have failed me this evening. Never mind. Hope that once the summer period is over and the ratings period comes back I can have my Friday dose of good crime!

I am half way through the first olive green cable sock. I had a minor panic this morning when I thought that I had made it too small. I don't like tight socks and to cater for the cable I had cast on an extra 8 stitches - but they only just fit. They will be fine, but if I made this pattern again I would put in at least one extra cable. I am also experimenting with moss stitch for the heel and think I will continue the moss with the sole too.