Home alone … yet again …


I did say after the last time that K*** went away to Gran Canarias that it would probably be the last time.  She was not happy leaving me with R***, knowing what he can be like when things are not what he expects them to be. He turned out to be fine about the whole thing and we were fretting over nothing. Well here we are again, K*** and her sister have gone off to the same place, but this time they have taken their father with them. This is an attempt to keep him busy while he is still grieving. He took the passing of his wife very hard and he is still finding everything a struggle. Here’s hoping that this break helps.

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So she went off very early on Monday, before R*** was even up. K*** had mentioned to him that she was “… going on holiday with Grandad …” and he seemed to accept it. When I got him up on Monday morning, the first thing he asked was where his mum was. I explained that she had gone on holiday with Grandad and I told him when she would see him again. He never mentioned it again, which was a bit of a surprise. His transport arrived and he performed his usual routine on his laptop and then was off. No issues or problems what so ever. It was such a relief. You cannot begin to imagine what was going through both K***’s and my mind, but he surprised me.

Now what we have to wait and see if firstly he is okay with his mum not being here over the weekend (she doesn’t get back until late Monday night) and then secondly, he is okay with her not being here to send him of again! I’m fully confident that because he knows what is happening, he will accept it without a problem.

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On another tack, the first of a few (just a few) baby knits has been completed. It’s what used to be Little Suprise Baby Jacketcalled a ‘matinee coat’ which is basically a cardigan that is a little longer than the usual cardigan. A normal cardigan has also been started. I’m in my element with this kind of knitting. It is where I started. During the 1960’s my parents were foster parents. Usually for new-borns that were up for adoption. Most came with little or no clothes, so home-made stuff was the cheapest option. I started with mittens, which were easy before moving onto bootees. From there I progressed to cardigans, bonnets and the odd matinee coat. Hardest thing I did was what they used to call a romper-suit which was a type of knitted knickers and vest combination. I don’t think babies wear that kind of thing these days.

It seems a long time …


I had been doing an on-line survey (I do quite a few) and one of the questions was to do with hobbies. The question asked which was my favourite hobby at the present time. It then expanded on that question into “why, when, where, how long” and a few other questions, which I cannot remember. It got me thinking though, that I have never really taken the time to write down the why, when, where, how long. So here goes.

Its going a long way back to when I was about 7 years old, around 1962/1963. We used to go to my maternal grandmothers regularly and althoughFamous Five there was quite a lot for us youngsters to play with, I often got bored. I suppose it may have been due to the fact that I was the oldest and I possibly thought that I was above these childish games my other brothers were playing. There were always books to read. Mostly by Enid Blyton, but at 7 years old ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ books were a little too advanced for me yet.

I became fascinated by the way my grandmother could turn a ball of ‘wool’ into a Needles and yarnjumper, a cardigan, a scarf and even a pair of socks! All done with what looked like a couple of sticks. She would sit there, by the fire “click-clacking” away, often without even looking at what she was doing. Only stopping to take another drink from her cup of tea (didn’t do coffee in those days) or to light another cigarette. I have to say, she was also an excellent seamstress and embroiderer. But it was the knitting that held my attention most, and one day I asked if she could show me how to knit. That’s when it started. She cast on 20 stitches for me and showed me the basic knit stitch. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I got there in the end.

It then became the job of my mother, to show me more. Mum showed me how to cast on and cast off, how to increase and decrease and, most importantly, how to do the purl stitch. I then began to pick up a lot of the other stitch types that I use today.

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By 1965, I was knitting quite advanced stuff for my age. My parents were foster carers, and took on new born babies that were being put up for adoption. Not to get into too finer detail, many of these babies were to unmarried mothers. Quite often they were under 16 and a great deal were from poorer family background. So often the children came with whatever clothes had been donated to the hospital. So between me and my mum, we took on the task of knitting clothes for these kids. My first efforts were simple mittens and bootees, but I quickly graduated in to knitting hats/bonnets. Within a few weeks, I was tackling cardigans and, what used to be called romper suits.

This new found hobby carried on for a few years, although it was never mentioned outside the house. I cannot imagine what my schoolmates would have thought/said about my hobby. I drifted out of it when I started work, for no particular reason really but got back into it a little when I met my wife. It lasted a couple of years (the knitting that is) and again it fell out of favour.

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It then took about 35 years before I picked up the needles again. I saw in a magazine, a picture of some daffodils that had been knitted by someone. They looked really impressive and I thought I would give it a go again. I still hadSo far so good all my needles and bits and pieces and was only short of the yarn. I bought some cheap acrylic double knit, in yellow and white from the Pound shop and got going. It took a couple of attempts and restarts to get the first one done, but I soon had a bright yellow daffodil. I was hooked again. More flowers followed, then headbands before moving on to beanie hats.

Now that the eldest and his partner are having a child, I’m back to knitting my favourite, baby stuff again. It’s come full circle and I’m feeling the love once again. Only issue now, is that my ‘stash’ as it is called, does not have yarn that is right for baby clothes!

Update to an update …


At the beginning of the month I posted about a knitting project I was working on. I updated later after Patternhaving an issue with the pattern. Since then, I have had to restart the thing twice more. I seem to have a problem somewhere between row 11 and row 14. One of the stitches is “SK2PO” which I understand to be ‘Slip 1, knit 2 Goodbyetogether, pass slipped stitch over’ and I think that this may be causing the problem. I don’t know why or how, but it is after the row with this stitch that everything goes to pot.

So after a total of 5 restarts (not including the start when I ran out of the tail) I have decided that the pattern is to be binned. The yarn I got will come in for something else I’m sure. It apparently knits up like Double Knit, so there will be plenty of patterns I can use it for.

As good as a rest, they say …


Change! It’s not a thing that I’m particularly  good at. I tend to stick to something I’m comfortable with or something I like. I’m not one for trying out new things. Prefer the ‘status quo’ rather than be adventurous. But … I’m seriously considering changing the theme on this blog. I’ve had this current theme for quite a while now and while I still like it, I think it’s time to to have a change. I’m looking for something a little more subtle. So you may see a change over the next few days, but then again …

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I finally got around to putting a picture on the Simply Knitting Group Facebook page, of some the Plant Hangersknitting I had worked on. They are three plant pot hangers that were in the style of those macramé hangers from the 1970’s.  When I knitted them, I found that one of the patterns was slightly wrong. I managed to work out what was wrong and was able to complete the knits. I emailed the magazine, the designer and the Facebook group about the error, and finally I got the response that I was expecting and the correct instructions were posted on the magazine website. Feeling a little chuffed with myself as I have got a few likes, which I wasn’t expecting.

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Whilst I bragging about my knitting ‘success’, I have to boast about another one. Way back in October last year, we had a new bathroom fitted. Just before the plumbers finished and packed up, one of them said he was Tubular Spannersgoing to fix the kitchen tap. Now the problem was that when K*** got the kitchen sink replaced, the ‘handy-man’ fitted the tap, but did not tighten it up fully. He claimed that he didn’t want to over-tighten the fitting and crack the sink basin and it had been loose ever since. The bathroom plumbers found this highly amusing and went on to explain that there was a silicon washer that prevented the tap from over-tightening. They fixed it and all was good for a while. Then recently I found that the tap had worked loose again. The plumber was due back again for a small thing and I cheekily asked if he could fix the tap again. Unfortunately the tool he needed had been lost on another job. However, he explained that all I needed was a number 10 box or tubular spanner. eBay to the rescue. After a quick search, I found what I was looking for and am now the proud owner of a full set of tubular spanners and a fixed sink tap.

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In spite of the fact that I don’t like change, I’m experimenting with a different internet browser. For the past few years, I’ve flitted between Firefox and the Google Chrome browsers. I gave up on Internet Explorer (IE) years ago and find their new ‘go-to’ browser, Edge to be not dissimilar to IE. I finally settled on the Google offering about 18 months ago, and have been reasonably Operapleased (if that’s the right phrase) with it. However, over the past couple of months I’ve noticed that opening webpages/sites in Chrome has slowed down a great deal to the extent that sometimes the page/site just doesn’t even open. I’ve done all the obvious things like clearing down the cache, deleting offline pages and deleting browser history but it has not had much effect. So I have now installed the Opera browser and am testing it for a while. It seems faster (could not be slower) and I have managed to import all my shortcuts and bookmarks. So we shall see if it is any better.

Nightmare …


Quite often, when I’m knitting from a pattern in a magazine I find I get lost when there are the famous “ ** xxx  *** “ closely followed by “ rep from ** to *** ” repeats in the middle of a row. In those cases, what I tend do WIPis to hand write the pattern repeat and use that when it is needed. My current ‘project’ has a 36 row pattern. Each right side row has a 12 stitch start followed by an 8 stitch pattern repeated 8 times. So I did as I often do and wrote out the repeat. Now this is where I made a mistake! For some reason, when writing out, I missed a yarn over after a decrease on row 13. This meant of course, that when I got to the end of the row, I was 8 stitches short. Bearing in mind that this was the second attempt at this pattern (first time, I dropped a stitch, which ran to the bottom before I could pick it up), you can well imagine the sort of language that was about.

However, after an hour of carefully picking back, I have finally got it back to the place where I went wrong. I am now able to breath again! I didn’t want to rip it all back and start again.

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While on the knitting theme, after some gentle persuasion in the comments of my last post, I decided to have a look at the other three groups. But, to no avail! The first group I tried explained that because of the size of the place where they hold their meetings, the number of members was limited. They did say that they would be happy to put me on a waiting list, so that’s good. The second group was basically a crafting group that had a (very) few knitters, but I was welcome to come along and try out. The third one was a strange affair. Membership was by referral from another member of the group, or at the discretion of the chair. I was waiting for her to say that she would use her ‘discretion’ but it never happened. At least I’m on a waiting list Eye rolling smile.

*** Update***

Guess what! When I recounted the stitches at the end of picking the work back, I find I now have 4 extra stitches that seem to have picked up somewhere. I can’t for the life of me see where they have come from, so there is very little alternative but to pull it all out and start againSteaming mad Crying face

It’s not really sexist … is it?


Some of you may know that I’m a bit of a knitter. It’s just a hobby and I’m not the greatest by any scale. It’s just something I like to do and (when it all goes right) I find it quite relaxing. I first learned the basic knit stitch from my grandmother when I was around 8 years old, back in the early 1960’s. My mother taught me to purl, cast on, cast off, increase and decrease. The rest is self taught from books originally, now I use the internet to learn anything new.

Early last year, a friend said I ought to join a knitting group or club. I do subscribe to a couple knitting related websites and I am an active member of a knitting help forum, but I had never really though of joining an ‘real’ group. My friend said it would help increase the awareness of male knitters. It has never bothered me that I am a male in what is now a mainly female area. Nevertheless, I had a look around and found that there were 4 groups within 7 miles of where I live. I looked at the website of one of the groups, which was basically a single screen with the address, time and day of the meetings. It was in a church hall, every third Thursday of the month from 18:45 to 21:00 and the banner at the top of the website said

Come on in and say hello. First meeting is free!

What did I have to lose? Well, it all went on quite pleasantly really. There seemed to be more chatting than knitting, but they seemed quite pleased to have me join them. Until the end, that is. I started to collect the coffee cups and was told to just put them on the serving hatch and L*** and J**** would wash them. They couldn’t have me doing the chores on my first night. So that’s what I did. I had just put the last 2 plates on the hatch when I heard to two ladies discussing someone. This is what I remember of the discussion.

Person 1:     “He’s either gay, or has got a failed marriage!”
Person 2:    “Failed marriage. What do you mean?”
Person 1:     “His marriage is over and he’s on the pull.”
Person 2:    “Oh dear.”
Person 1:     “My money is on the second choice!”

Now, I know it may seem a bit arrogant to think that they were talking about me, but neither said goodbye when I left and I just had that feeling. (Firstly, I’m not gay and it is not something that bothers me in the slightest and secondly, my marriage is quite solid.)

I never went back.

The second experience, was another local group which was a bit nearer. I just had a telephone number and against my better judgement I gave the number a call. A woman answered and I said that I was calling about the knitting group. She asked me if I was calling for my wife! When I said that it was me that was looking to join a group the phone went quite for a few moments and then came the reply “We don’t have any men in the group.” I asked why they didn’t allow men, which is what it sounded like, she replied that the group was “ … a bit ‘pink’ and we tend to drink Prosecco and talk a lot about ‘women’s problems’ and things …”

After that, I gave up and didn’t even try the other three groups.

Cut price knitting …


We visit charity shops quite often. Wetherby has ten charity shops that I know about and there may possibly be another one. Often when we go, I’m on the lookout for knitting yarn. I don’t need any as my wife will confirm, but if it’s a bargain, then I’m up Wetherby (2)for it. Trouble is, yarn does not seem to be very cheap in these type of shops. Most have some, but it is usually small amounts of left-overs and you never know what type it is (unless you’re a real expert). You can usually tell if its wool or acrylic, but without the band, I wouldn’t know if it was Aran or Double Knit. So although I look, I rarely buy any.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in one of the really popular shops and noticed that there was a bag of yarn that had five new balls and a couple of end scrap balls. It was very reasonably priced Yarnespecially for the amount at £3.50. I was tempted, really tempted and had almost decided when I felt a tap on the shoulder. I stood up and turned round, thinking it was my wife. Turned out to be a rather well dressed lady who was holding one of those long women’s cardigans that were fashionable some years ago. She smiled and asked if the yarn I was looking at was for me. I told her it was, but I wasn’t sure if to buy it. She handed me the cardigan and told me that this was a better buy. I was about to say that I didn’t want a cardigan, when she pre-emptied my thoughts. “You can get this cardigan for only £3.99. It has about 10 times the wool you have there, and there is a wash-care label still inside!” she said. She then explained how she never bought wool in charity shops and only every bought made-up woollen clothes which she would unpick (I think the term is frogging) and re-use.

It sounds a brilliant idea, but I’m not sure if I could ever “rip back” or “frog” such a large piece of clothing.