Once I get started I sometimes can’t stop. In fact I get a bit carried away. So much so that I have gone on a bit of a sock bender. Like many people with an addictive personality this has taken the form of looking at a lot of socks, imagining socks on my feet, feeling sock wool and going for quick mini-hits of socks when I think no one is looking. So my friends children have had an influx of socks.
I’ve tried them for the dog but she just pulls them off in disgust. They are so cute and you can knit one in an hour. That’s right – an HOUR. And that’s for the bigger ones. As an achievement junkie this is a totally new and amazing discovery. And I can use lots of different bits of sock wool so the variety is a big plus. The additional benefit of knitting something so small is that you can try out and learn lots of new techniques – and then translate it to big ones! So these are toe up socks.
Starting with Judys Magic cast on there is no longer any need for looking for my tatty photocopy of kitcheners stitch.
This is using Jenys suprisingly stretchy cast off – fantastic alternative to the traditional and helps get all of those wriggly toes gathered up in one go.
And these are toe up two at a time socks using magic loop. I LOVE this – because you get two socks at the end of it!
These were actually a bit of an experiment as I tried to just upsize the baby pattern, which completely didn’t work and the toes were square, but after a bit of trial and effort they are looking like they are meant to. I have also done a version of the short row heel rather than a heel flap like I usually do on proper socks – the sock is definitely a better fit and I think looks just as lovely.
But now to the bad bit. They don’t match. NO really – look at them – they don’t even look like they were from the same wool never mind a matching pair. They joy of these socks is that they are being knit from one ball – one end from the middle, one from the outside. But they have come out as what is commonly known as ‘fraternal’ rather than matching. It’s messing with my head more than a bit – but it’s not stopping me knitting more…
Additional feet required!
NB – Apologies about the lack of photos – I lost all my ‘in progress’ shots on changing my phone :(
It’s taken me a while to write this post because in some ways it has nothing to do with this blog – in others – it has everything to do with it.
So many of us are treading a fine line and trying to find a ‘work / life balance’. I’ve never really been sure about that – I mean surely your work is part of your life too? And for a little while I have been feeling that maybe some of the makeup of my life is wrong. Not in any evil, crimebaron, serial killer type way, just, wrong. It’s felt uncomfortable and itchy, something I can’t quite put my finger on, and the more I have tried to ignore it the more it seems that certain events have happened to thrust it in my face.
So I handed in my notice and as of last week I no longer have a job. If you say it really quick it’s fine!
I’m not really sure what that means – I am now completely outside every frame of reference I have. I’ve had a job since I was 13 – and I understand delivering the papers isn’t running a multinational, but the disciplines that go with that have been consistent ever since. Equally I think so much of our self image and values about who we are is tied up in our job – but possibly that was the itchy feeling?
My new plan is to work for myself. Now while there are inherent advantages in this – I know how my boss takes her coffee, what she’s going to moan about and I can get an answer to any important question immediately – there are also disadvantages – turns out high expectations and a lack of taking no for an answer just being the start of them!
Everyone else thinks this is a genius plan. I, on the other hand, feel a bit like a kid who has just had the stabilizers taken off her bike. Wobbly, scared and sure that I am going to end up with scabby knees down the line , but with people behind me who can see exactly how it can work and know it’s just a wobble and then it will be fine.
In the meantime, I think there might be more knitting. And sailing. And possibly, if you’re really unlucky there might even be more blogging about it. Thanks for reading x
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: anniversary, event, knitting, socks, wool
For our tenth anniversary I thought I would do something really special. This is a bit of a big deal for me – I am hopeless with it – as is the Mr – primarily due to when it falls. We got married between Christmas and New Year – a genius time to get married… the year you get married. Everyone is in that ‘I’m-a-bit-bored-of-sitting-in-the-house-and-eating’ mood and desperate to get away from the relatives. So a small wedding with a mahoosive party was a brilliant idea for all of our seasonally affected friends and family.
The years after it’s not so phenomenal. As an anniversary it does, in fact, suck. You are ‘eaten out’ so can’t be bothered to go out for a posh meal, and even if you could it would primarily consist of turkey. You have forgotten to buy a card and of course everywhere is shut now, even if you could muster the willpower to crawl across your front door and battle your way through the wind and snow. You would love to buy a ‘significant’ present – you know, like all those people you know on Facebook who got married in the summer and have nothing impeding their celebration of not having killed each other for another year and go on picnics and the sun shines and they buy ‘cotton’ and ‘tin’ presents and stuff, but you on the other hand have used up your one and only idea on the Christmas present – how are you meant to think of, and produce a second one after only a couple of days?
But I was determined that knitting was going to make it different.
Everything would change now that I could MAKE a present. It was our tenth anniversary – it was important.
So I covertly cast on a pair of socks. I had huge aspirations – I would buy a card, I would knit some socks, I would present them to him wrapped (and not in Christmas paper) and they would show just how much I cared. I knit them on the metro on the way to work, I knit them in my lunch hour. I knit them when I couldn’t sleep and the Mr was in bed, I knit them at the lake when he was at the pub. But then it was Christmas. And we were away. I only had one and a half socks. And a pit of despair – I had essentially failed.
The anniversary was no different – apart from that I had bought a card.
I didn’t knit the socks any more as I felt sad when I looked at them and the anniversary slipped by.
I found them last week having buried them on more than one occasion. And yesterday I picked them up and finished them. And it felt no different.
We have been together nearly twelve years and we are happy on more than one day of the year – so does it really matter they weren’t ready? It turns out probably not. And I think that there will be plenty of time for me to knit some other ones over the coming years – maybe just not with the deadline of an anniversary looming.
And however long it took to knit them, it didn’t make them fit any better.
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: capsize, jellyfish, Laser, race, sailing, South Shields, Tynemouth Sailing
That’s what I did last night. In fact its possibly an insult to dogs.
So back at the Wednesday sailing at South Shields with my nameless Laser. Since my boat had arrived a few weeks ago I have sailed every one of these and did a couple before I sold the Vareo at the beginning of the season. But I had a goal. A mission. I was going to both START and FINISH a race. So far I have not managed that one with the Laser at least, so I felt this would be a great achievement. It was light winds – lighter than forecast, so in a fit of over ambition I popped the full rig on rather than my pretty Radial.
Sallying forth off the shore I got myself settled at the front of the deck and faffed on with setting things nice and lose for the light wind. Brilliant – I was making good progress up into the bay, and nearly looked like I knew what I was doing.
Then a giant jellyfish swam past.
I thought it looked quite pretty.
Up to the start line and with a bit of sailing around the flag for the laser class went up. I was very impressed that I had identified this and actually had my watch started at nearly the right time. There were lots of other boats. And other Lasers. In fact as I looked around there were many others (in Geordie that means 4 or above – a couple = 2, a few = 3, many = 4 +, millions = 10 and above). the start line had a bias and as we got down to the last 20 seconds I was right in the thick of it. How the hell did that happen. And I have a boat on each side and a boom in my face and I’m trying to keep in between the two boats without hitting anyone and I really wanted to close my eyes as the start horn went and … I sailed straight into the committee boat.
I had been so busy worrying about the sailing boats I really hadn’t seen that coming.
Well I pulled off with as much dignity as I could manage and sailed off up the course – there was a little wind and as it came over the course I did my penalty turns to ensure that I had shown the proper contrition.
I wasn’t last to the Winward mark – SCORE!
It was a run down to the Channel marker now and off I went – board up, sail filled I was thinking I could turn this around.
The wind came up. From nowhere. I know this as the boat lurched up onto the plane and I watched the boats ahead of me hit the mark. It was a gybe point. It wasn’t looking very pretty. Ok – I needed a plan. First thing, I needed to look at the light wind setup on my boat. Crap. I have no XD kit and pretty much might as well forget that. Now I need to think about gybing at the mark. The boat in front of me capsizes trying that. OK – I’m tacking – my tiny confidence now totally gone.
It’s a bit messy, but I got the boat round, managed a little on the outhaul and kicker and headed up to the next mark. By this time I have also realised that one of the first things I should have spent time on with the boat is setting up the toestraps. Hiking is an interesting experience without anything that you can hook into. And I can’t stop thinking about the formerly attractive jellyfish.
I am sailing like a total idiot. Jumping all over the place because I am scared of the jellyfish, don’t trust my toestraps as they are hanging limply out of the other side of the boat and am still trying to get any extra kicker on. It turns out I am now sailing tight to the mark at the end of the start line to get down to the Groin. It’s tight but I make the mark… and capsize on it.
I am now in the water with a jellyfish that is going to eat me. I have never righted a boat so fast in my life. If there are jellyfish then there are probably other things that could eat me too. Like Sharks. Or Seals. Or Lobsters.
Fortunately the patrol boat have seen all of this and come over to shout some friendly encouragement. Like ‘why are you going round that mark?’. Turns out I was going round this mark for no good reason.
There were another two laps to go and I manfully got my arse round them – on the last lap the Groin even put on it’s pretty red light to encourage me. By this time the patrol boat was also offering occasional shouts of encouragement. I think they thought I was a little inept. No idea why.
I finished. Last out of all the Lasers. If nothing else I am consistent….
I had a lovely time – but I couldn’t help but feel I was on the walk of shame as I pulled my boat back up the beach.
But I had achieved! I had started and finished a race! I had capsized the boat for the first time and got it straight back up! I had met some new people on the committee boat!
And ONE DAY those people will see me NOT BE LAST.
I have just horrified myself even more by trying to find a photo of the evil jellyfish on the internet for this post.
This has confirmed that not only is this a very dangerous jellyfish but also that it can grow up to 40 METERS (Lions Mane – the info is here). And it normally swims with friends. I’m never going in the water again.
Remember to help me come up with a name for my boat and I’ll knit you something. Probably not a jumper.
My new boats are currently nameless. I know it the Supernova has Audi on the side, but that doesn’t count – it needs a proper name that shows I love it.
But the names are becoming a little thin on the ground.
Our first boat was the Dirty Nelly – and bought between three couples. As we joined en-mass with an additional assortment of dogs, kids and musical instruments, people used to get us a little confused – so for a while we were just the ‘Nelly Crew’. The ‘Nelly Swimmers’ might have been more appropriate as that seemed to be the sole result of any activity with that particular boat. And from that time on every boat any of us has owned has had a ‘Nelly’ name.
But as eBay affectionardos this means names are becoming a little tricky due to the sheer number of boats we have been through.
So far we have had
The Dirty Nelly – Enterprise
Knot on your Nelly – Osprey
Nifty Nelly – Flying 15
Nelly-phant – Concept 302
Nelly Afloat – Laser
DiagoNelly – RS Vareo
InternatioNelly – Laser
InfferNelly fast – Flying 15
OccasioNelly – Wayfarer
There was also the camper van – the Nelly There and my leaving present from my last work – a pirate galleon appropriately named Nelly Bankrupt. Trust me – the long winter nights just fly by.
We’re now the only Nellys left at the club – having lost the rest of the crew to golf, biking and big boat sailing – but the big boat sailors kept the faith with the yacht calling it ‘Kandula’ – referencing that famous war elephant – so a posher Nelly! You can read about the exploits of that set of Nellys here.
So the question is – what do I call the boats??? Over to you – whoever comes up with the two names I pick, I will knit something for over the next six months.
It might even not be a scarf, but I’m not promising….!
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: boat, kielder, sailing, South Shields, wind
Over the last few weeks sailing has gone from one extreme to the other.
From glorious light wind, sunny sailing at South Shields
To blowing crazy amounts of wind at Kielder.
I’ve not actually finished a race at South Shields in the new Laser – this is primarily due to things like not starting the race, not completing even one one lap of the race (we all got towed back) and spending too long tinkering – so far the new boat has been the lucky recipient of a new (*ahem* E-Bay special) tiller and tiller extension, some new rope and a clew strap. She is feeling very loved.
She is sailing very nicely, but I have yet to have her knocked over to have a go at capsize, and haven’t really had enough wind to feel like I am really getting to grips with her. I was however deeply gratified when a club member commented how well looked after she was based on her shiny hull – that four hours polishing was obviously not a waste….
I’m also getting to know a few more people – when I was out on the water I have had comments about my pre-loved boat and also from a fellow sailor form Tynemouth who obviously reads the blog – Hello Chris!
Up in Kielder its been a totally different picture.
This was the start line for the Dam to Dam. I love this race series as it takes you from one end of the lake to the other – but it wasn’t to be.
It was so windy when I tried to put my sail up my boat actually blew off my trolley. I decided this was therefore possibly not the best time to sail. Alec the mad Engineer decided to press on.
I even sat on his boat to try and keep it in one place while he finished rigging it. There is a photo. I’m not showing you as I look like a house in it.
He eventually got out, but after much swearing came back. He wasn’t the only one – out of the three boats that started one came back like this.
The mast had been ripped out, smashed in two and holed the boat. It’s the Boatfixers, so we all feel super bad as he is so busy with other peoples boats goodness knows when he will have a chance to fix it.
I was however very proud of myself to have even had the bravado to rig the Supernova.
And I have had her out a bit more properly this weekend – she is a lovely boat and goes like a crazy thing on any sort of a reach – there are some extra things to think about in the mast rake, and pointing is going to take a little practice (common thing for newbies apparently), but when you are screaming along to the next mark on the plane you really don’t care about the next beat anyhow!
So two beautiful boats, two fabulous locations – what could be more perfect? Well neither of these boats have names. And I can’t just keep calling them ‘boat’ forever…. so tomorrow I will be opening the Nelly Name Challenge. There will be prizes so watch this space!
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: kielder, Laser, sailing, South Shields
That my blue laser was being polished at Kielder. Not South Shields.
So this left one last piece of the puzzle – to get the boat to South Shields. We pondered this. It had a road trailer which the Mr was convinced we would never get out if the ‘stacking’ system in the trailer park – apparently it would take at least half a day.
Twenty minutes later the road trailer was out at the expenses of only several bruises, nettle stings over most of my feet (sandals really aren’t a good sartorial choice) and a couple of gratuitous oil stains on hands, legs and skirt (skirt?!?! What was I thinking).
And we had brought out beautiful van to tow it! Hooray!!
Only not quite.
Apparently the bearings were shot. All I know is that it involves grease and is not good. I suggested we get more grease. I don’t actually know where the local grease retailer is up by Kielder, but it couldn’t be that far… Could it?
I suggested we asked some other people at the club if they had grease. This was not an option primarily due to it being a man who was dealing with the grease and as everyone knows you can’t ask for help when a man is already doing the job. That’s insulting their man-ness. And it didn’t matter anyhow as the suspension was broken. I didn’t even know that trailers had suspension.
I did moot the point that as we only needed to move the boat once, did it really matter?
From the silence this received I assume the answer was yes.
This then led to protracted discussion amongst the club about how we could fix it. New wheel units from eBay, using the trailer from a different boat, kicking the tyres a bit, car topping it. This looked like it was going to take some time. Several hours later talk had moved to coming back and looking at it some more next week.
I went away and sent a quick email.
This is my boat being delivered to South Shields by the Boatfixer (and family) as well as tangible proof of why women should rule the world.
I’ll worry about the trailer later – and tonight? Well tonight I’m going sailing.
The baby blanket continues. I can’t tell you how long this is taking, it is occupying my every waking moment. And i have made myself promise not to go near the bag of lovelyness from Woolfest until its finished.
Currently it looks like this and I think this ball of wool will finish it…..
My husband has started helpfully calling it the toddler blanket, and suggested that by the time it is finished it may even be the teenage blanket.
But this aside I am really pleased with how it’s coming out – the lace pattern is actually super easy and I think when blocked will look really special.
In hindsight I think the stripes on top of the lace may be a little overkill, but then, when can too many stripes be a bad thing really….
Filed under: the Captains Cabin | Tags: kielder, Laser, refurbish, South Shields, Supernova
I love it when a plan comes together.
Meet part two of my plan….
That’s right, it’s a Laser.
And I spent a WHOLE DAY polishing its hull to make it look like this.
Think how much faster it will go!
To be fair I think spending the four hours on getting some water time might have been more productive on this front, but in my defence there was no wind.
And it’s got a pink and purple radial sail! Obviously a class winner…
But why would I need a Laser when I have a Supernova at Kielder already (and yes, actually came out first in the fleet on a recent race – I haven’t told you as I was so stunned I’m still not sure I believe it, but that’s another story…)?
Well this is so I can now sail at both sailing clubs without a 60 mile + tow between the two, and in both venues I will now be class racing against other boats the same – which we agree is a good idea and will help my sailing. Moving between different boats at each club will be a challenge, but one that I see no reason not to take on as you can be last in anything!
So in simple maths 1 x RS Vareo = 1 x Supernova and 1 x Laser!
So polishing the hull was part one of my refurb plan. I will also be changing the rope for pink rope (and to be technical, thinner and better rope) and at some point will need to think about that XD stuff. Currently as I am mean and poor this is not an option however so I will instead be keeping an eagle eye out for stuff I can ‘procure’ to jerry rig something similar. Or knit something.
South Shields… here I come!
I always said I hate running. In fact I even said so here.
But it turns out I didn’t hate running that much. By this time last year I was running 6-7 miles on my weekly ‘big run’ and although I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it I was sort of ‘in the zone’ – I could motivate myself to get out of the house and put one foot in front of the other for excessive periods of time.
From this you may be wondering why this matters. Well it matters as I thought it would be a good idea to do the Great North run again. It totally wasn’t – I should learn that I am a one trick pony and that I should never re-visit something I have already done.
I was still running a bit through to February. Then I stopped. I fell over (not while running I hasten to add, or drinking, or even doing something stupid, I am just inherently clumsy…). My knee was very sore. It was snowing. I had knitting and cake. Why would I run?
So I have now spent the last month trying to get back in the ‘zone’. It’s not working.
Here are some recent photos I took on different runs
This all tells you one important thing – that I was taking photos instead of running. Even on my run I am trying to avoid running.
So, on the quest for motivation I have been reading other blogs from runners. The big problem is however they all are
- Good Runners
- Enthusiastic runners (hence them having blogs)
- Long ago got past cake wobble
- Past understanding about the zone as they have inhabited it for the last million years.
So at the moment my big plan is to keep thrashing away at it till I find the zone.
I ran four miles yesterday. It was 28C. It nearly killed me.
(You’ll find links to the running blogs I am referring to in the ‘Why not try…’ page.)