Monday, 8 December 2008

The generosity of knitters

Last Wednesday was our At Home in Harrogate 'Swap Night'. This was for our one skein holiday swap. A little excitement (understatement!) built up as we waited for Nicola to arrive from her pottery class. It was a freezing night, with snow forecast so that added to the tension if you drove a sports car (Libby!). As expected the swap turned up a beautiful array of winter warmers. Fingerless mitts in a range of gorgeous colours, a malabrigo hat, malabrigo loafers, another hat, a cowl and a shawl........ wind back! ...... shawl? ...... Oh yes. I received a scrumptious shawl from Anne. I was/ am totally overwhelmed.. I am assured that it was one skein but it was clearly on BIG skein of fingering weight yarn to produce a Cliet shawl. The pattern is wonderful & the colour is to die for. Thank you again Anne, she will be worn, petted & loved. I feel very touched by your gift of so many stitches.

Next morning, as forecast, the snow arrived. I even got a 'snow day' as there were no school buses in Leeds. I stayed home by the fire and knitted a cowl. Its just a simple garter rib tube in malabrigo chunky & is very thick & very cosy. I nearly had it snatched from me by an admiring colleague on Friday. She thought it looked very complicated. Bless. Non-knitters! They make you smile! I also practiced toe up socks by knitting some cosies for MP3 players & phones!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Sue wrote.....

Very scant mention has been made of knitting recently on this blog but little bit of knitting has been going on, here on the hill. This is another 'Birthday Cowl' in squidgy Malabrigio Worsted. Its very cosy, I love the colour and it was a very quick & easy knit. I am trying to knit a hat to match -top down. Hopefully I will have enough yarn from one skein!

This is 'Spiralucious' from Knitspot, knitted in Knitting Goddess Semi Solid. Its blocking on the Rayburn top at the moment. This is a gift for my aunt. She may get the mitt pattern & yarn in kit form if Anne releases the pattern in the next day or so!
Mr J was in the market for some 'hut slippers' or 'house socks' so some Big Fabel that was sat in my stash is knitting up just fine. Its as tough as old boots but soft once washed & is in such fab colours!

I have also started some 'Nutkin' socks, at least 'almost Nutkin', 'cos they don't have the cute turned top & probably will not have short row heels! Nice pattern though! The yarn is also from Knitting Goddess & came from some nifty moves (on my part) in a sock yarn swap amongst the 'At Home in Harrogate' yarn fiends! Thanks Anne!

Talking about AHinH...... its nearly Christmas swap time ..... the tension is rising....... I hope my swap partner likes her gift. It was a quick knit but it is unique & (?) beautifully packaged!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

19 today!

...... and in another month he will be back on the snow!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

...any given Saturday

Went with son & heir to get ski boots fitted & did a Costco shop as we were in Leeds. Some good bargains to be had -in amongst the 'Skippy' peanut butter & other American goodies came 2 North Cape base layer fleeces for less than £25 each. Came home, watched rugby, more rugby & Strictly Come Dancing. S&H complained that the sore throat (Tonsillitis is an annual event here),that the penicillin administered early in the week to combat, was getting worse. Rang the out of hours doctor's number & advised to pack a bag & come to 'out of hours doctor' at Harrogate hospital. Without going into too much graphic detail, the swelling in his throat managed to burst (ugh) as we left the hospital to transfer to York hospital for possible treatment. Turned heel & returned to see doc. Emerged with an armful of medication & a much happier son! Today, although he feels 'like I have been in a war' he is singing, happy & back off to work! The sharp prod with the little stick worked Doctor!

He may be just 10 days short of his ninetenth birthday but he is still 'my boy'........!

Managed to finish Spiraliscious & one mitt (for S&H)! What a day!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Great shopping yarn in sight!

Its only 7 weeks before son & heir sets off on his big adventure, spending 10 weeks in Courcheval, training to be a Ski Instructor with New Generation Ski School on their GAP programme. It was time for some serious shopping. Lots of boot & ski reviews had been read, boots had been tried on a snow sport catalogues studied. The ££££ signs were bouncing! Earlier in the week he made a trip to a major snow sports outlet adjacent to an indoor snow slope in Yorkshire. There were no regular boot fitters available (rung in sick?) & he knew that the guy serving him was not up to the mark. Fitting ski boots is a very specialised trade & he will be wearing these boots 7-8 hours day, every day, for 10 weeks! He said that they were not even polite or interested. We were beginning to think that we would have to travel to Manchester or Newcastle but a quick Internet search revealed that Severn Sports in Leeds had just got in stock the skis that he had identified as the ones to have. We made the trip to this little Aladdin's cave of a shop in Armley. From the outside it seemed fairly uninspiring but once inside we realised that we had hit a gold mine. The stock was impressive. They had a great range for all skiers & boarders & the three staff could not have been more helpful & knowledgeable. By the time S&H had his feet in the first pair of ski boots we had all got a mug of tea in our hands. There was no hard sell but we walked out with boots, skis & a very desirable ski jacket. When I said that I would 'blog' about our trip both Mr J & S&H agreed that I should -they normally just smile indulgently! Severn Sports have a bigger 'superstore' in East Leeds & an Internet operation. They advertise themselves as the best in Yorkshire & we can only agree! The piggy bank might be somewhat lighter but we will defiantly return there for other ski related purchases! If someone reads this & buys some gear from them rather than some faceless conglomerate then that's my 'thank you' for the great service we received! If you don't ski or do but don't live in the North of England then just go shop locally & see if there is a difference! My local foodie favorites are Elliot's and Weatherheads butchers in Pateley Bridge. The Tesco van will call 'On the Hill' this afternoon because I don't relish spending my time off in a supermarket but I actually ENJOY shopping in these shops & appreciate their quality produce & service.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Autumn Watch on the hill!

Happy Halloween!

Its been a great Half Term with the Ski Show at the beginning of the week & Bryan Adams live in concert in Newcastle at the end of the week. Bryan was FANTASTIC! This was a birthday gift to me & what a present! The 'cosier' indoor venue & a lively crowd topped off an awesome performance from the man himself. All the great tracks were present & it was an evening of pure fun & entertainment. Its 30(!) years since we first saw him in concert at the NEC but he has only got better! Partners in this expedition were Mr J, my sister & BiL and the son & heir. It was his first 'big' concert & as he was bought up on this music he soaked it all in & had the ubiquitous (for the metro arena last night anyway) big grin!

Our 'At Home in Harrogate' knitting group has gone for a 'finish WIP' KAL from now until Dec. 31st. I have committed 5 items & they are photographed here:

There are more to be knitted before Christmas but they are not eligible 'cos they aint started yet!

Komet socks & Queen Carolina's are finished though.

The WIP by the birdhouse is Spiraliscious from Knitspot. Nice knitting! Great pattern as ever!

Back to work tomorrow! Ugh! Too much knitting but not enough time..........

Sunday, 19 October 2008

One week later...

I have managed to upload some of the pictures from the Great North. Here are uncle & nephew after the race.
The Red Arrows arrived just as they reached the last 800 metres. The display over the sea was awesome.

I have managed quite a bit of knitting due to the loss of my voice on Friday dictating a day away from school. A teacher without the ability to talk comes under the 'as much use as a cholcolate fireguard' catagory. It hurt too! The Komet socks are nearly done. The colour is alot different to this -a really vibrant leaf green but despite attempting to photo it inside & out, plus a bit of fiddling about in Adobe photoshop elements it just does not show up.

I have also done a bit of 'holiday' knitting & knitting for the 'At Home in Harrogate' holiday swap. Nuff said.
One week to go until half term! Keep counting!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Three pairs of socks and three days in the Lake District

I have three pairs of socks on the needles, all cast on in the last seven days. The first one is 'Queen Carolina' (without her purls). Its a great pattern for Trekking XXL's fantastic colours & an easy knit. They were cast on as a 'travel knit' for the trip to Newcastle for the 'Great North Run'. Son & heir and BiL were runners (Mr J was injured out & not impressed). They managed a respectable 2hrs 10 minutes running for Martin House Children's Hospice. All three are vowed to run again next year. It was a great day out & the weather was excellent for runners & spectators.

The first sock was finished in a couple of days so I cast on the second to take on the A level geography fieldcourse to the English lake District. As a mini bus driver I didn't get much knitting time but the Sixth Formers were pretty impressed with my skills & efforts! "Your not even looking......!". We actually had a fab three days. We went via High Force in Teesdale which was impressive after Tuesday's rain but the Lordre Falls in Borrowdale put it to shame with heavy rain on Thursday night & Friday morning..... oh boy were we wet after a walk from keswick along Derwentwater to look at the Eskers, Kames & Kettleholes before going to the Falls. The weather had been kinder on Thursday & the planned river study & walk up to Easedale tarn above Grasmere to study the Glacial features was great. The students were a very positive & amenable bunch - a pleasure to teach & to be with.

On my return I have cast on a pair of DK socks, but knit to a fingering weight recipe to make a dense pair of hiking socks -wonder what gave me that idea?????? The yarn is some I bought at Woolfest.

I have also cast on for the October SKA challenge- Komet by Stephanie van der Linden. The yarn is Genziana by Adriafil. It was a bargain from Sheepish in Knaresborough. Its 100% machine washable merino so whilst it might not be the toughest yarn out, it is supersoft. The photo doesn't show how vivid the green is though! I may also cast on GrĂ¼n ist die Hoffnung because I am intrigued by the construction which starts on top of the foot & knits out like a top down hat!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Not really fallen from blogging....

...but the term has been really busy so far, although the biggest barrier to writing a post was finding the time to photograph and upload some knitting projects! Lame but true! Now I have done that so here goes!

I have joined the 'Cowl bandwagon' & I so get them. Actually I have had 'neck gaiters' for skiing & camping for ever & have knit a few mobieus scarves that I tend to wear with a double twist 'a la cowl' so I knew that they are a great idea anyway. The first one was knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport & the pattern is Birthday Cowl. Really nice knit & a lovely soft lightweight neck cosy! The second one is Crofters Cowl. The lace is 'Horseshoe Lace' (same as Cranford Mitts) & is knit in two pieces then kitchened together! Yup, an hours Kitchening (is it a verb?) but it was worth it. The yarn is the ever awesome Malibrigio Worsted. This REALLY is a neck cosy!

What else? The orange 'no purl' monkeys are done & lighten my world.... literally. They really are this orange!

Woodland shawl is finished & blocked. Love it, although I may re- block it with more emphasis on the width. On Tuesday it was the much awaited 'At Home in Harrogate' end of summer swap... swap. The excitement was not wasted. This is my swap waiting to go to Sieue. It contained a Ravilo scarf (a Knit Spot's 'Little nothing') in Dream in Color Baby, two skeins of the Knitting Goddesses differences sock yarn & packet of 'Yorkshire Mixture' all wrapped up in a dinky little box for bits from Paperchase. My gift had been prepared with a huge amount of thought & care (and stalking!)by Dalesgirl. It is a gorgeous Ribbons scarf, knitted in pale blue vintage pinigoun pure alpaca! I also received two more skeins of the yarn & a really clever bead row marker.Thank you so much Samantha. I know that this project plagued you as you were unable to knit for much of the summer with the problems you had with your wrist.

Swap Night was quite riotous. We swapped packages but then took turns to carefully unwrap, pet & try on our new knits & yarn. I had my camera phone with me so........
Since then, on the knitting front, I have picked up Spring Things, a shawl pattern by Susan Lawrence, that I am knitting in very autumnal colours! Malibrigio Lace Weight Loro Barranquero. I am also knitting another pair of fingerless mitts. This time for son & heir. In black, vintage wool worsted. Not a knit for poor light!

I have also completed my first christmas gift knit! Enough of that though!

This was Nellie's completed hat & jacket. She is nearly big enough for it I am told!

.... Did I mention that I had bought another Namaste bag? No! Well I did. Its a Laguna in Olive & its fantastic. Its just my 'bag bag' & large enough to hold safely all of the c*&@^ teachers end up carting around (in addition to laptop, text books, exercise books of course!). I was in danger of using 'Malibu' for the purpose & having no knitting bag!

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Almost September?

Its back to school tomorrow & for the first time since forever (well 1994) its just Mr J & me to go back to school as son & heir is established in his gap year job. Tomorrow will no doubt be a mixture of 'well done' ,as our GCSE results were 6% better than the previous best & 1% above target, and 'do better' 'cos.............. that's the way education is in England & Wales at the moment. It will be a busy term, even if the men from the ministry don't come to call (we do expect Ofsted at sometime this year!). My job as been 're-defined' ... read made bigger/same pay, but at least it is a permanent post again after the uncertainty of the last two years following re-organisation.

Enough of that. It really feels like the beginning of Autumn with a heavy mist this morning & real changes in some of the trees as Moss & I enjoyed a walk around Swinsty Reservoir yesterday morning. Mr J & S&H ran 9 & some miles around two reservoirs plus some more. But they are in training for the 'Great North Run' in October!

So with a look forward to September on the knitting front, the Ravelry Sock Knitters Anonymous starts again with a challenge that is Orange socks or Cookie A design or a Mystery sock. I will knit a mystery sock but September will be a time for soothing knitting not challenging projects with tighter timelines. I think I will go for another pair of no-purl Monkeys in Orange! Two out of three aint bad? The yarn is very orange! The 'rule' is 75% orange & either of these little citrus delights from Knitting Goddess easily meet this! Not sure which one I will use though. Whadythink?

Currently on the hot needles is this little cardi (not so little, but she will grow into it!) for Nellie. The pattern is Tater's Cotton cardi. Its not knitted in cotton, but wool, Patons Fairytale colour 4 Me DK to be exact & its lovely yarn. I am planning some adaptions to the pattern, maybe to the edging & I don't think it will have ties but a popper & a crochet flower fastening. There should be enough yarn to knit a Tam, also with a little flower decoration. I am not a huge fan of the 'knot & string' art for whole things but for decoration it could do the job. I found this You Tube tutorial (via Ravelry of course).
I have still to finish Mr J's 'Colours of the Hebrides' socks, but as this is the second sock they are nearly done. A couple of car rides will finish them!

Other 'hot' wip (as opposed to almost hibernating) is a Woodland Shawl. Its lovely. I ordered extra yarn. It wasn't in stock. I found some in the UK (last skein in UK) on ebay. It came. It was WAY OUT as a match. I knitted some Cranford Mitts from it, whilst waiting for an order to come in from Eat, Sleep, Knit in yarn heaven (USA!). This was where the first two skeins came from. It arrived on Friday. It matches! Btw, Cranford Mitts is a lovely pattern to knit.

We had a wonderful long weekend last week (Bank Holiday) as my Mum, Dad, Sister & Brother in Law came to stay for 4 days. My sister is a knitter. She was knitting these. They are Nereid gloves. She gave them to me! Sisters are great!

Friday, 15 August 2008

End of the Rainbow?

August 14th. A level results day in England & Wales.
S&H gets his results.
The grades are very good, the place at Northumbria University for 2009 to study Sports Science & Coaching confirmed.
All very happy, relieved & PROUD!
Heart of hearts told us that he had worked hard & the grades were not in doubt but it was great to have them confirmed. There was gold at the end of this particular rainbow

A levels are NOT easier, they are just acquired in stages & therefore results are less of a surprise. If you are not up to a subject you know & can do something about it -like drop it, hence the high pass rate! Some of the 'knockers' should know better. Most of the students work very hard & under alot of pressure. So do their teachers. I have seen it now from both sides & it annoys me that we have created a society & a system where we are suspicious of success, then again I work in a profession where 'satisfactory' is 'unsatisfactory' (Ofsted) so what would I know?

I shall descend from my soapbox!

Thank you for the lovely comments about our photos of our trip so here is a little more of our travels in Scotland
Hebridian sunsets are renown & we were treated to a cracker after a day of rain on North Uist.

For those with an historical/ archaeological bent we visited a couple of fascinating places. the first is St Clement's church , Rodal (on South Harris). It dates back to medieval times but was restored in the nineteenth century.

Religion is important in the Hebridies. The Northern Isles are the domain of the Free Church but South Uist & Barra are Catholic & this is visually evident by the numerous shines found in the south, such as this one found in South Uist.
Whilst on Lewis we had to go back to the Standing Stones at Callinish. We took loads of photos but I need to do some editing as most of the best are 'portrait' & need rotating before I can upload them into blogger!

The stories of the Highland Clearances are bought home when you find abandoned crofts such as this one on South Uist. I spent sometime trying to envisage the people who would have lived there. Would this one have looked good in a plaid?
Moss had a fantastic holiday too! He loved the camper -very comfy but wasn't too sure about the ducks that stalk around the caravan club site at Braemar!
Since getting home I have made some progress on Mr Greenjeans, although I have made quite a few modifications so she doesn't look so much like the pattern -added length to the ss body, reduced the ribbing & changed it. Oh yes, changed the position of the button holes.... and added another! Still I like it but I am waiting for some 4.5mm dkp's to arrive -the one size I don't have- so I can finish it! In the meantime I have cast on a Woodland Shawl in Lorna's Laces Multi Sock. The colours are lovely -too good to hide.

I love to see the little counter tick along, telling me how many people have visited this blog. I write for me but I am fascinated by the idea that what I write & photograph might be of some interest to people thousands (or even 5) miles away. I hardly ever label my posts on this blog (I do on my Geography blogs of course, so how did you find 'the hill'? If you have the time or inclination I would love to know who you are & why you arrive 'OntheHill'! If you don't want to, then you are still most welcome!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Tales from the isles and other places

We are back to a very wet Yorkshire. We have had an awesome time away in our new truck camper. It was everything we hoped it would be and some more. Overall we had pretty good weather, we found some wonderful places to camp & we really had chance to just kick back & re-charge our batteries.... oh yes, and knit awhile! Our travels took us to North Uist , Benbecula, South Uist, Harris, Lewis, Skye, Moray Firth, Braemar & Northumberland for a final night before returning home.

I will just include a few pictures here to give a flavour of the holiday.
Camping by the beach on South Uist, Our 'Northstar' camper really was a cosy home!
A liitle knitting by the camper on North Uist (Yes it is a Namaste 'Malibu' bag!):

I could disclose these locations, but I don't think I will cos' we will be back!
Climbing the Quirang on the Isle of Skye, Moss thought it was great!

We left Skye via the old Glenelg ferry. Check out to support this great transport link & important piece of history.

I managed to finish my Fetching mitts and socks in a slipped stitch rib as well as making good progress on my suprise for our 'At Home in Harrogate' Summer swap.

We came home via the Cairngorms National Park, which is not a part of Scotland that I really have visited before. It was beautiful with the heather in flower.

We managed to take nearly 500 photos so I may share some more as I start to edit & organise them!