Friday 19 January 2018

A knitted auricula ... a platypus-billed duck ... and WAWS!

Gosh it's cold up here in the Big Smoke. This morning was another window-scraper start before we could fire up the engine for the school run. And pity a thought for the WonderDog, who's had a badly-timed hair cut and gone from curly and cosy to svelte and freezing in the course of a single afternoon.

And, best of all, we're looking forward to the very wonderful Waltham Abbey Wool Show (WAWS to the initiated) on Sunday - only 2 more sleeps to go!

Talking of which, I've had a few hiccups with my WAWS prep. Do you ever set out to do something, only to find that things don't turn out quite as you'd intended?

Well, let me give you my first example. I'd set out to knit an auricula. Nothing unusual in that, I hear you say. Now, I should explain that the humble auricula is one of my favourite garden flowers. In fact I've got some growing in a pot in my garden that are root cuttings taken from originals grown by my great grandma in her little garden back in Coalisland, County Tyrone three and a half lifetimes ago!

So, anyway, long story short. This is what I set out to knit:

And this is what came off my needles:

Not even close.  Major fail. And that's without having even gotten into trying to match colours of wool to petals.

Unabashed and undeterred I moved on to a duck idea that was blooming in the back of my mind. I thought it would be fun to make a duck - in the round - all in one piece - ending with an i-cord for the little feather tuft on top of his head. And then I got fascinated with the idea of mitred squares for his flipper feet and for his beak. And that's probably the point at which the poor little chap grew a protuberance on the front of his face that shouted platypus rather than duck! What do you think?

And talking of misfortunate little chaps, here's a before and after of the WonderDog:

Hope you also like the incidental (upside-down) portrait of Squeaky Ball, his favourite toy.

And, finally, books!

This week I've read the splendidly enjoyable Golden Hill by Francis Spufford, which is set in eighteenth century New York. A young man, Richard Smith, sets out from centre-of-the-world London to the quiet colonial backwater that is New York, with a bearer bill in the sum of £1,000. We only learn his secret and his true intention for this gargantuan sum of money (as it then was) on the last page, but he takes us on a rollicking romp through early Manhattan that has all the ups and downs and cruel turns of fate that would have been worthy of Dickens or Dumas. I especially enjoyed his vivid recreation of everyday life from the rough and tumble of the streets to the coffee houses to the sophisticates in the salon. There were times when it made me chuckle out loud, and when I'd got to that last page, with its great denouement, I felt bereft that the fun had ended. On a serious note it deals with the large issue of race, being of mixed race, and the attendant sense of not belonging that even modern day folk like our very-own, soon-to-be princess, the lovely Meghan Markle has talked about recently.

Anyway, I'm off to polish my needles, and gather all my guff together for Sunday. Hope to see you there at the very wonderful WAWS!

All the best,

Bonny x


  1. Your duck/platypus is cute! Poor WonderDog - he must be cold. Does he have a knitted coat? Stay warm and enjoy your knitting show! Marie x

    1. Thank you, Marie. Yes, he has a few knitted coats. He's an easy date for knitting as he's smaller than anyone else in the household 😃