Friday 31 August 2018

As summer draws to a close ...

I always come on-line round about now to complain about how I want summer to go on for ever. And I don't want it to end. But even I know that everything has its season, and this year we've had a pretty good run of summer. It's been fabulous: long and hot and sunny.

In these final days I've been busy with my needles, enjoying the cool of the evening breeze on my terrace as the children played in the garden below. I've finished the Fair Isle cowl that I'd been working on with my home-dyed yarn. Without any prompting from me, Emi (age 12) admired the colours, which made me feel good. He's not given to much comment where my knitting is concerned, so it's significant that he volunteered something positive.

In truth I began to feel rather uncertain about those self-same colours once I started knitting. Have you ever noticed how one colour juxtaposed with another changes the tone of both? It's a funny old thing, but it's a definite reality. All my colours looked good (to me, at least) arranged in a little Instagram-able pile before I started, but as I worked that central coral and gold combo I really started to doubt my choices. Separately they looked much more muted than when they were knit together. Together I kept seeing tones of neon, which was not the effect I'd set out to achieve. Now, standing back and looking at them with all the other colours I'm happy with my choice again.

I hadn't intended to use anything on the cold side of the spectrum, but as I moved up the cowl I felt that I needed something from the other side of the colour wheel to stop the design from looking flat - so I introduced a polite shade of purple, left over from some recent socks and stripey gloves, and I think it was the brush-stroke that made the composition.

I've done Fair Isle before, but never anything so riotous. If I have the courage to wear it I think my cowl will bring colour and a sense of sunshine to the dark days of wintery gloom that lie ahead. I'm really keen to do more colourwork - maybe some more finger-less gloves now that I've got my glove pattern figured out, or a cosy pullover. All those floats on the back add so much extra insulation.

I've also been working on my cushion design. I'd printed out my cactus on Stitch Fiddle, and spent a long hour or two copying it onto my canvas, and then drawing in a border. I'd wanted to do an abstract Greek Key design, but I almost went cross-eyed trying to draw it on the canvas. Focusing on all those tiny holes for an extended period left my eyes rotating in different directions in their sockets. It wasn't a good feeling. And the business of remembering that each intersection of warp and weft is an x on the design did my head in after a while. So I opted for a bit of a cop-out that was easier to draw.

I haven't got very far with it. I'm worried that I haven't got nearly enough wool to complete the entire project, so I'm a bit hang-dog about the whole thing. I also find the roller frame a bit cumbersome without a floor stand to hold it, but occasionally I'm in the habit of picking up a needle and doodling with the yarn. It's a lovely, don't-have-to-think-about-it project to have on hand for those moments when your brain's too addled to do anything else.

And I'm also just about ready to do the heel on the first of another pair of woolly socks. You can never knit too many socks in my view. My world is full of would-be recipients, who would all love another pair of welly socks for the winter. And plain socks are also a great any place, anywhere, any time project: they're easily carried around, and they can be knit without any thought or attention at all. I hand-dyed this wool with avocado skins and stones.

This week we've also watched a few movies. We went to the cinema to watch Alpha with Emi's best friend from tennis, and they both loved it. It's spectacular, and anyone who loves pooches will totally buy into the story-line.

I've also watched The Darkest Hour at home. Have you seen it? I thought Gary Oldman was brilliant as Winston Churchill, and Kristin Scott Thomas was sensational as Clementine. It's strange because if you look at Gary Oldman he doesn't look anything like Churchill. I started out feeling sceptical that Oldman could deliver Churchill, but he so completely captured Churchill's essence, his mannerisms and his way of talking that I was totally prepared to accept that he was Winston Churchill by the end of play.  I found it inspirational how Churchill faced down such impossible odds and his own personal demons and past failures to carry on and get the job done. It ends with this great Churchillian quote:

I think I'm going to adopt that as my personal motto going forward.

I've also been reading Future Popes of Ireland by Darragh Martin. It's an interesting social commentary on the difference between the Ireland of 1979, when Pope John Paul II came to visit, and the Ireland of today, and parts of it are quite funny. Whilst I find it entertaining, I don't particularly care about any of the characters. I guess I'm feeling a bit ambiguous about it, and, were it not for the fact that the current Pope has just visited, I may not have been prepared to go down this particular route. It sort of caught the introspective mood of the moment. 

And the motions of every day life here in the village are swinging away from tourism and back towards fishing. The port is busy most days with fishing boats plying the waters with their nets. I'm always drawn to their end of the harbour, rather than the glitzy end where the rich people keep their mega-boats.

Anyway that's all from me, on the very last day of summer. Enjoy!

Bonny x

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