13 Nov 2013

Hestia and NaKniSweMo...Day 12

So, it's taken me...what? 12 days to knit this - a sort of square rectangle - for a snood for Nero.

The observant amongst you will notice something quite significant about this bit of knitting what I have knat.  It's pink.

I started knitting a BLACK snood.

That one still looks like this:

11 Nov 2013

Hestia's Remembrance Day

When we were in London last month, we focussed our touristy attentions on The Tower of Lahndahn. As we made our way, wind-whipped and wet to the ticket booths, I spotted a fancy arch across the road.  Now, Lahndahn is FULL of fancy arches.  This was a war memorial arch.  For the Merchant Navy.

I tugged at Tartarus's sleeve and pointed to the arch.  He's served in the merchant navy since he left school and I knew that he'd be interested.  And he was.  But it was too wet and horrible to go and explore, so we turned our chins back into the wind and squinted out beneath our woolly hats and pressed on to the Tower....

A couple of days later and the weather has perked up.  So we went back.  Tartarus and Sonshine disappeared into the garden, but I wandered beneath the arch, scouring the plaques looking for ships that had been registered in Glasgow...reading the lists of all those who had perished at sea.

Sometimes it was just one or two names and I hoped that the rest of the crew had been picked up and taken to safety.  I imagined them struggling in the ocean, how terrifying it must be - maybe in the dark, maybe trying to keep afloat in waves of monstrous height,  Maybe surrounded by the vessels of the very people who just blew your boat to kingdom come.  Would they pick you up or would they leave you to die in the sea?

Sonshine materialised by my side and in his usual 'oh-god-you're-embarassing-me' voice asked 'Are you crying?'

I nodded, tears dripping off my chin. 'Where's your dad?'

'He's outside looking at the other names'

'Other names?'

'Yes.  Mum, this is just the sailors and fishermen people lost in the FIRST world war.'  I went out side and saw this:

Wall after wall after wall after wall of names.  Every bit of dark surface in this photo is crammed with names, and this is one corner of the garden with the main arch looking out onto the streets of London.  The walls run out and in, almost like castle crenellations, to take the endless plaques of names in the tiny garden space.

There are acres of names in the garden. So many that it's utterly overwhelming.  All those sons and brothers and husbands..... I shot a tiny clip of video - sorry that my voice is in my boots, but I was somewhat overcome.

Some names had little photographs blu-tacked next to them - the faded pictures show fresh-faced, cheeky-looking young men.  I wondered whether a nearby secondary school had done a project on some of the sailors who were on the memorials.  This is A B Robertson.

Tartarus was standing at one of the plaques, hands in pockets, silent and inscrutable as ever.

'Look,' he said.

It was someone who shared his surname and his initial.  Maybe some distant relative.  Someone with his name doing the same job as he was doing just now.  Someone who had sailed on the British Security,  registered in London and who never came home.  I slipped my hand into his pocket and gave his clenched up hand a squeeze.

The merchant navy ships had little in the way of weapons, just supplies for home.

And fishing boats?

At the going down of the sun, we must remember them too.

3 Nov 2013

Hestias NoKniSweMo - Day 2

Look, I know you're reading this with a sinking heart thinking ' surely to fuck she's not going to give us a day by day, blow by blow, stitch by stitch account of knitting a rectangle of ribbing?!'

Worry not, dear reader, I won't put you through that.  Although it's tempting.  If I'm suffering then I want YOU to suffer along with me.  But I shall be kind.  There shall be radio silence for a bit while I struggle through my project.

But here's the latest update before I go:

I have learned how to do the long-tail cast-on - properly, just using one hand and a needle.  Thanks to the great Yootube God. I am 50 years old and learned from a video that sounds like it was made by a 10 year old.

I have also learned that as a left-hander my plain and purl stitches are a bit wonky. Many blessings on the sainted Auntie Chrissie who bravely tried to teach me to knit as she chain-smoked her way through endless cartons of Capstan cigarettes.

But since these stitches are functional, and somewhat decorative, they are remaining unchanged for the duration of The Snood.

On the upside, I have found - at last - a toy that the dog loves to gurry and chew.

On the downside, it was my fledgling knitting.

The dog and I have now reached an understanding that if he so much as looks at my ball of wool, I will turn him into a greyhound shaped lollipop with a knitting needle up his arse.

I shall post a photo of the snood once I've completed it.

Also - the Whisky remains untouched.  The gin, on the other hand, is finished.

2 Nov 2013

Hestia's NaKniSweMo

From: Action For Greyhounds (click to visit)
November has become synonymous with Na(tional) No(vel) Wri(ting) Mo(nth) but some wag on Ravelry (basically - it's knitting porn) came up with Na(tional) Swe(ater) Kni(tting) Month where you have to knit a sweater in a month.

My lovely knitting pals Viv and Ania are doing it.  It seemed churlish not to join in.  But I know my limitations.  They have chosen beautiful sweaters entwined with cables and bobbles and all sorts of gorgeousness.  I am kitting a sweater too.  For my dog.  
Like I say, I know my limitations.

I decide to begin with a snood because greyhounds really feel the cold in their wittle ears.  This one in the picture is pre-made - you can click on the link and BUY one from the girl who knits them!!

So, here we go:  My diary of Day One of NaKniSweMo

I download the pattern and get my needles organised.
I spend an hour and a half looking for my needles.
I find them. With all the other needles after all.
I start knitting Nero a heather-pink snood.
Three rows in, I decide that his pride won't allow him to wear a pink snood.
I rip it out
I run out to buy different, butch, wool
I buy black wool.
I cast on four times, each time I have not enough wool in my tail to complete the 84 stitches.
I rip back the fucking aborted casting on four times.
I settle down to start knitting properly with the lamp on, my specs on the end of my nose.  
The greyhound is sleeping soundly beside me.  
There is some hideous pedigree chum inspired farting.  
I pull my poloneck up over my nose and mouth and knit, hijab style.
During Autumnwatch I get engrossed in an owl eating a starling. 
I get my stitches wrong.
I realise that I have my stitches wrong in the FOLLOWING row.
I am knitting rib. 
The shame of getting ribbing wrong is overwhelming.
I rip all the fucking knitting out again and re-cast on.
I am so stressed that the stitches have been cast on so tight that the wool squeaks and I barely force my needle down through the stitches to complete the first row.
Emboldened by this first row success, I decide to knit another row in bed.
I get halfway down that row and realise that I've made a mistake.
I cannot bear ripping it out for a sixth time.
I jam the wool onto the needles and fling it onto the floor beside the bed.

I fucking hate knitting.

Lay your bets - how much of this Grouse will be left by the end of the NaKniSweMo.
Clue: I have another two bottles.

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