Thursday, 8 May 2008

The joys of spring

I don't know whether it is the nice weather affecting my mood, but I've been really enjoying life during the past week or so. I've been feeling really positive and have done all sorts of nice things in my free time.

Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I was knitting with friends in three different places. At each place I had a great time and made good progress on some Opal Hundertwasser socks for a friend at my reading group. I can't quite believe this, but during these knitting sessions I found out that there are serious and dedicated sock knitters out there, who have never knitted with Opal sock yarn. Admittedly, they are not the softest of sock yarns, but they have a lot going for them. They are not ticklish, they're incredibly hard-wearing and have so many fantastic designs from lots of different inspirations that spur you on. They are a good all-rounder and I love going back to knitting with them.

It was actually reading group on Tuesday and Paul wasn't there to receive this gift, so it will be another month before I see him again. Ezzie has taken a shine to these socks, so I might end up giving them to him and making another pair for Paul. A month is plenty of time.

I've also finished my first pair of handspun socks for Shona. They do fit her, but they are not identical on so many levels. Firstly, the colours are not the same because I was experimenting with plying two colours and one colour, but I think they certainly look 'related'. The second sock is smaller because during this skein I became much more even. I also sat for a long time doing the second skein, whereas the first skein was done half an hour here, half an hour there. This is something I am going to avoid so I've decided to dye and spin at the weekend because you do need longer periods of time. I must say it has been deeply satisfying to dye, spin and knit my own unique pair of socks and I'm pleased that Shona likes them.

I've got stuff ready for the wheel on the weekend. My Blue Faced Leicester is dyed in three colours: yellow, blue and green and these will be another pair of socks eventually. The yellow is lighter than I intended, so there is still a lot to learn about dyeing to a desired colour, but I am happy enough with it. Caroline also kindly gave me some carded Merino last week. I have struggled so far with Merino. I had a go with the bright red and orange stuff last week, but it wasn't to be.

I had a fantastic weekend. I was constantly busy, but it was 'nice busy'. I went and picked Shona up on Saturday to spend the weekend here with us. We then went camping with Esther over the Bank Holiday weekend. When I am feeling fit and full of beans, I really love camping. It was so nice being outside, knitting with Esther, chatting, having a laugh. There was a bit of rain, but it didn't dampen our spirit and it created something Shona loves...mud.

This picture is actually very tame. By the end of the Bank Holiday that pink tracksuit was no longer pink, but it didn't bother her in the slightest. She just smiled and laughed even more. She made us laugh so much when the sky was black and she was making up bedtime stories. In one story I was scared of a firework and Ezzie (and I quote) "just popped his midget head out of the tent and did nothing!" Now that's a line you'll not find in your usual bedtime storybook.

Esther's Finnish stepmum got me some lovely Finnish yarn for some lovely woolly winter socks. Esther did some socks in this wool a while back and I got a little obsessed by it because of the bright colours, the stripes and the lovely feel. She very kindly got me some this weekend, so thank you very much, Hilka.

Over the weekend I did some more greyhound walking. I really love those dogs and I really like going there. You feel you are doing something useful, the dogs are really lovely on the lead, you get a nice walk and there are some nice people to talk to. This week they got me an official t-shirt so I feel I've been accepted into the fold. In a couple of weeks I'm going out with some of the guys to raise some money for the dogs. I'm really looking forward to it, so I'm saving my t-shirt until then.

On Monday when we took Shona back we let Roxie off the lead so she could have a run. Now, I do know she is a greyhound and should be fast, but it was still amazing to watch her run and she looked like she was enjoying herself so much. If she is retired, I just cannot imagine how fast those in their prime must be. It was incredible and she went straight to my mum, which was lovely because she was worried about letting her off. In the future I definitely want a couple of these dogs; they are just so gentle and friendly. Roxie likes to be fussed and then to sleep in her chair. She's just so chilled out.
With the nice weather today Ezzie, Kin (our neighbour and friend) all went to the allotment and had a barbecue. It was lovely. I planted out some peas and then did some knitting. It has been lovely because work has been non-stop with all the speaking exams at the moment. Some kids have clearly worked hard, revised hard, prepared well and done a good job in the exam. Others have clearly not done the work beforehand and it's always somewhat disheartening. I've had the usual bizarre conversations:
me (in Spanish): do you like sports?
pupil: fútbol
me: do you watch tv?
pupil: fútbol
me: what are you doing this weekend?
pupil: fútbol
I decided to give up then. They weren't trying to be funny, they just didn't know what to say. At least they turned up; some don't even have a go and are mysteriously absent on the day of the test.
Anyway, I think I've rabbited on enough already. I hope that wherever you are, the weather is nice and that you too are full of the joys of spring. It is still spring, isn't it?

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