The Knitting Sailor

4.23 meters
July 29, 2013, 12:55 pm
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I love it when a plan comes together.

Meet part two of my plan….

Look at all the rope and stuff!

Look at all the rope and stuff!

That’s right, it’s a Laser.

And I spent a WHOLE DAY polishing its hull to make it look like this.

Look at the shine on that!

Look at the shine on that!

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!

Why, oh why, oh why…
July 18, 2013, 8:21 am
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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


That’s the Links


Hollywell Dene


The Lighthouse

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

  1. Good Runners
  2. Enthusiastic runners (hence them having blogs)
  3. Long ago got past cake wobble
  4. 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.)

Woolfest 2013
July 18, 2013, 8:17 am
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It was totally epic!  This year I took my mum who hadn’t been before and it was even busier than last year.  Stuff that was exciting this year –

  • Rare breeds show – this actually seemed to be ‘breeds that you may know and love in the British Isles’.  They all still really looked like sheep to me.  Apart from the Alpacas.  Obviously.
He struggled with the goat.  He'd lost his notes about that one.

He struggled with the goat. He’d lost his notes about that one.

  • Re-visiting the scene of the crime.  That’s right – this is where it all started last year, and I was determined that Kate got my mum hooked this year.  Think she succeeded….
I got a hug when I told her I now had my own wheel and everything....

I got a hug when I told her I now had my own wheel and everything….

  • Look - its like real wool - and she's only been doing it for three seconds!!

    Look – its like real wool – and she’s only been doing it for three seconds!!

  • Going to the fleece sale (I was SOOOO good – I didn’t buy anything (From the fleece sale.  OBVIOUSLY I bought stuff from Woolfest…)
All of the fleeces had names and sometimes photos of the sheep on them - they were gorgeous and I was very restrained not to add to my herd....

All of the fleeces had names and sometimes photos of the sheep on them – they were gorgeous and I was very restrained not to add to my herd….

  • Admired the wool-art.  This was actually made really close to where I live by a group at the Linskill Centre – it’s always the way that you travel to see something that’s local to you…
Millions of hours of work!

Millions of hours of work!

They're not real

They’re not real

  • Found this amazing display and blog – Land Keepers – please go and have a look – the photos of the farmers on their land and the beauty of the Lake District in rain, snow and hail are all there.  I’m not showing you a photo to build the suspense.
  • Took an excessive number of photos of sheep.  You will be thrilled I am going to share with you.
We're all sheep

Grumpy looking sheep


Curly looking sheep


Giant fringe sheep

  • Took the bag of goodies I bought and hid it.  I have a baby blanket to knit.

July 18, 2013, 8:15 am
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The blog has been broken.  I don’t know why.  It’s fixed now but looks horrible – so I will be re-posting lots of the posts that wouldn’t work in the hope they will magically appear on the internet.

As for it looking horrible….. I’m working on it!


Could you not have given me another six months?
July 6, 2013, 6:10 am
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My friend has just had a baby.
Now this is a beautiful and joyous thing – so much so I promised to knit a blanket – you know – something they could use forever and would be really special. Yeah right.

That was six months. I have essentially spent this time looking at millions of patterns and suffering from knitters block.

I looked at this


Link to pattern here

This was in contention for a while

i know - SOOOOO grown up.

Link to pattern here

And I eventually decided to do this.
It looks really exciting!  And flower-like!

Link to pattern here

I also decided to knit it in purple acrylic. That’s right ACRYLIC. I think I may have been drinking at this point. It made total sense, it would be pretty much indestructible and I could knit it in purple.

One petal in I realised that this was the ugliest thing I had ever knit. I contemplated keeping going – after all it might look better if there was more of it (yes because a big pile of crap always looks better than a small pile of crap). But eventually I just left it in a discarded heap and glowered at it from across the room.

Literally. WHAT.  WAS.  I. DRINKING.

Said child has now been born. I haven’t got a blanket to give her. So in desperation I have started to knit this.

Lace.  In stripy wool.  Not sure its a winning combination....

In proper wool. It says ‘baby’ on the label however, so hopefully it will be vomit proof.

Only one problem.
So far it just looks like a scarf.

Its a marvel of scarf-alike-ness

I’m back!
July 5, 2013, 7:45 am
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So the holiday was amazing. Sailed, windsurfed (badly), water skied (terribly), drank beer (like a professional).

Only one thing. The false advertising.


There wasn’t a lobster in it.

Midweek Regatta
June 19, 2013, 4:50 pm
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So here are five reasons why sailing the midweek regatta is not such a good idea.

1. Its sunny, so a force 5 looks TOTALLY do-able. Its a force 5 – of course its not. Especially when you are sailing with your husband from whom you had a sailing divorce some years ago.

2. Having put this aside – after a capsize and a blood injury the honourable thing to do was to retire gracefully.


3. Hearing the phrase ‘I can’t move as fast as you can talk’…. Well yes, but that just means that you need to move faster…

4. Realising that the second best thing about sailing is retiring to watch sailing with this.


5. And being able to nod sagely and talk about it when everyone else is doing this.


And this


And being recovered in bits by the safety boat.

Sometimes the better part of valour… is retiring and talking about it!

Where am I?
June 18, 2013, 4:40 pm
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So everyone runs these competitions. Where am I?

Well I don’t think many people will get this, but I am here –


I know!!!!
And look at this!!!


Mwahahahaha!!!! I can do little other than cackle at the moment.

(there is no point to this post other than to let burglars know we aren’t at home… but just for the record my tall, muscular brother is dog-sitting at ours – good luck…!)

It’s not a scarf
June 11, 2013, 8:08 am
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It’s a hat and obviously perfect for June.

The back complete with rouching stuff


The front with cables

Put out the bunting (or might that be a little scarf like?).


Exciting cables


The scrunchie bit at the back – inside out so you can see how it scrunchies up!


Twissly top – I really want to put a bell on it

Its Walnut Whip by Ysolda – I know – we have history with a certain cardie – and would you know – I had to knit this twice – the first time I knit it up it was big enough for a basketball – nearly as big as my cardie – so having downsized the needles and also used the smallest pattern size I reknit and then had something that actually fit on my head. But I think I’ve learnt my lesson – nothing with sizing again from this particular knitter!

But there are some interesting techniques – it starts with a provisional cast on which is then picked up at the end of the ribbing to give a firm brim and the cables are an unusual style which really gives a different feel. The rouching at the back is created by picking up and knitting in stitches from 12 rows below – and gives a really nice fit. The little nubbin on the top is crying out for a little bell however – it really is just a matter of time before I find one to add. But the nicest thing has been the yarn – this is Fyberspates Scrumptious and is the most lovely yarn – and I have enough left for mitts (also not a scarf)! Maybe I can get those done for August…

Places I have so far worn the new hat

  • The Lake – it rained – saved me blocking it
  • Kelso races – it was Ladies day, so a hat was compulsory
  • While sitting on the train to Norwich. It made me feel happy. Looked a bit odd with my work suit, but I didn’t run into anyone I knew, so think I got away with it….

Round the Cans
June 6, 2013, 9:21 pm
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This Sunday I went sailing with my Dad. As I’ve mentioned before, my Dad windsurfed rather than sailed, and did his best to encourage me in this pursuit. I never got far, preferring to use the board as a canoe for exploring the lake.

Recently I gave it another go, but found that as I have no coordination or balance this wasn’t as easy as it looks. Essentially I spent short periods of time wobbling on a board, followed by much longer periods of flying through the air and landing in the water.

So a few years ago when my Dad started to sail and come up to the lake it was really nice to have something we could all talk about and share.

This year for the first time we are doing a series together – him helming and me crewing. I’m not bad crew usually, the ‘bottom of ballast’ is a key advantage in a boat like my Dads (Flying Fifteen) and at key moments I do indeed deploy the bottom to tactical advantage. Pass me another pie.

So this was the first race – and the weather was lovely – really hot with a 3 with a few gusty bits in it, so it was always going to be a slower race with plenty of time to chat and pontificate about how much better than the rest of the boats we were doing. Well we could dream…

But as the countdown came to an end and we got over the line we weren’t doing badly following Ernie (the fastest milkman in the west) on the beat up the course. The wind was patchy, but we had headed for the right hand side of the course where there was definitely a little more wind. Our first concern was where the first mark was – we had a vague idea but with some of the recent weather the marks are all over the place – and as we overtook Ernie it became increasingly important we worked out where it was. We sighted it and got on a good line – just as a couple of bothersome future-Olympiads in a Laser 2000 called starboard on us. We tacked and had to follow them round the mark – our only consolation being that we were still holding position in second. Catching the wind as we headed off across the lake we sailed straight for the next buoy. I don’t mind telling you we were a little stressed – we were second – ahead of four other boats (I know – poor turnout. A lot of people weren’t back from the away cruise at Tighnabruaich) – and we realised there was only one way to keep our position – get to the gybe point and get the kite up!

Little nervous about this – last time we’d done it I’d ended up spending slot of time crawling around on the foredeck in windy weather.

But against all expectations we got it up smoothly enough, and without me braining my Dad with the spinnaker pole, and with a bit if tinkering the boat took off – closely followed by Ernie and Rob (the newly incumbent sailing commodore) in a race rigged Wayfarer who had also managed to cleanly hoist and were bearing down on us!

But we made it to the bottom of the run, and with only one adventure on the foredeck got the spinnaker down, hardened up and tacked up through the gate, beating back up the course.

At this point we remembered to breathe and looked at each other going “Really?!? We’re still in second?!?! “

We lost some water on the way up to the mark, but were heartened to see the children swimming rather than sailing around the mark – but the Wayfarer was gaining – we pointed up and made the mark as the Laser 2000 took back off across the lake. With a bit of wind we were pulling away – only to find ourselves being overtaken to leeward by a bright pink Dart 18 which was steaming past in our dirty air – and glancing back Ernie and Rob were hoisting the kite – that’s right they were going to reach across and then gybe it round the mark.

With one thought my Dad and I prepared the ropes and… didn’t hoist as we plainly knew there was no way we would get it through a gybe – and besides we were nearly there – we came round the mark a little enthusiastically and did a perfect hoist at which the boat lurched up onto the plane – I was just hanging on to those sheets as we held the line right down the lake, brought it down, rounded the mark and made it through the gate in third.

We both looked at each other and started to breathe again – while being vaguely hysterical as we watched Ernie, my brother and the boat fixer finish. We even did a cool hand like we were down with the kids!

We knew we would be reshuffled with handicap, but it felt good – it tasted like victory.

And you know what? Even with handicap we came third – 32 corrected seconds behind the fastest milkman in the west and the sailing commodore – with those irksome kids in first.

So if we can just learn to gybe with that kite up….!

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