The cupboards were getting a bit bare of basics after the holidays so I had to pop down to the shops at the start of the week, after a proper damp,dull and dismal weekend weather wise, which was actually a rather nice one for us…boyfriend spent the time stripping his computer and tinkering with it on the table and I sat on the sofa half watching old black and white films while knitting my shawl with Bernard asleep in a windowsill or on the back of the nana chair supervising… Monday surprised us by being really bright, and splendid, all clear blue skies and birds chirping. It properly felt like the start of a brand New Year, clean and fresh and brimming full of potential and who know whats.
Walks to the shop involve strolling past the crab apple trees, skeletal and nubbly limbed with the odd mouldering leaf or fruit attached to twiggy tips. I’m so happy I made the syrups and jellies with the apples, it feels like I’ve captured a small piece of warm September, all orange sunshine and sweetness. Across the path are some bigger apple trees in a neighbours garden,a few wrinkled old apples still remain on bare leafed and gnarly branches, vinegary scented ghosts of Autumn, flame red, amber and golden yellow…..they’re the same yellow as my shawl.
I love this golden mustard hue so much, evocative of so many things I see out on my marshy meanders, yellow bottomed bees, gorse and broom blossoms when it’s all overcast, October leaves and lichen on trees and the goldenrod that grows in abundance around my favourite blackberry bush…..it’s such a warm colour and will even match my Ella Gordon gloves….As it’s wool the colour seems that much more warm, it’s a strong colour but it’s such a natural and familiar one, not eye aching and somewhat vomity coloured like some acrylics I’ve seen…..
As the shawl widens, rows become slower to knit and progress seems to dawdle along, but each time I get up to make tea I can see the fabric gradually growing. When I knitted the shawl the first time I didn’t have a whole lot of idea as to what I was doing and whethe ri was knitting it wrong, so I kept close watch on the number of stitches each row had, writing down how many increases the pattern was making each time a new row was finished…and after a while I began to be able to count and work out how many sttiches I should expect to have on my needles……
When I first knitted the cloverleaf pattern I was rather worried I’d lose count and tied in bits of old wool every sequence of pattern, and that worked fine but I thought using beaded sttich markers might be a bit nicer….and I like the weight the beads give to the feel of my knitting (it’s the same with my pens, I always favour the heaviest lumpiest old fountain pens to anything lightweight and streamlined.)
Some Christmases ago my boyfriend bought me a box of delights, a little leather suitcase full brimming with vintage haberdashery pieces…along with a pair of beautifully sharp embroidery scissors and Dewhurst Sylko threads, were no end of little boxes and tins, and I felt rather like Howard Carter opening them all to see what was hiding inside…”wonderful things”…… one of the tins of wonderful things held a collection of glass beads all strung in a higgedly piggedly way, and I’ve always wanted to use them but have never really known what to make with them…..a lot of my fancy sewing or knitting notions have been presents from friends, family, people I love who I straight away think of when I use these pieces….and so I thought to make some stitch markers with the beads then I’d be using them plenty rather than have them just sit all tucked away and half forgotten.
I was going to use jump rings as I’ve already got some stitch markers that use those, but they do snag a little if I’m not super careful, luckily the Jamieson and Smith wool is nice and robust and can cope with the odd catch or snag but I wouldn’t want to use those markers on anything too delicate..then I remembered an old jewelry fixing I had kept and ferreted away from a broken necklace, it was part of a toggle clasp and I thought it would be perfect, so I bought a little packet of them and spent some time over the holidays making stitch markers from the beads…so now when I use them I think of my boyfriend but also Ian* and his dirty little hands as I suspect it was him who had threaded up the beads originally.
The little head pins I used were from a local bead shop and they have tiny silver pearls at the bottom of the pin which fitted up against the beads perfectly…I’ve found the toggle clasps fit up to a 6mm needle fine….they feel so nice to use, and really do help me stop making some silly mistakes with my knitting.
What with the shuffling rapsy sound of the wool and the soft wooden resonance of my needles, the jingling of the markers is making me feel and sound somewhat like a one man band when I’m knitting…..
*inside the sewing box was a piece of carefully preserved card with rows of brightly coloured wool sewn in a running stitch…on the back was a note from a very proud grandma…..it’s become one of my most beloved treasures and I wouldn’t part with it for the world.