Trying to knit in the garden with Bernard…….

lavender scented bumble bee

Well I’m none too sure quite what’s up with the weather this year, so far we’ve had a pretty rubbish old Summer, odd moments of sunshine seem bookended by overcast skies and heavy thundery showers…..but when it’s nice I try to get out in the garden for a few minutes at least, mostly to potter, do a little weeding, or forage around, snacking on the wild strawberries that are slowly taking over everywhere out there (and the raspberries and blueberries are now eatable too)…..but mosly I like to sit on the backstep and enjoy the peace and quiet that just is…..

By the back door we’ve got a small bay tree in a pot which smells lovely when you crack the leaves and it’s neighbour is a small lavender.  It got very scorched last Summer and I thought it was going to die but it’s pulled through and has all bushed out splendidly this year, it’s really beautifully scented and the air above it is a constant haze of perfume, it smells so fresh when it’s just rained….there’s always at least a couple of bees tumbling around the blossoms and even Bernard seems to like it as he often brushes himelf against the oily leaves and delicate flowers.

napping on the potting table

After his health problems at the end of last year where we thought we were going to lose him, Bernard is actually doing fine.  He likes to follow me around if I’m outside and supervises if I’m weeding or tidying….but mostly he likes to nap out there and doesn’t seem to favour sunny or shadowy spots, everywhere is suitable for an impromptu sleepy spot.  He’s made a bit of a den under some garden fleece in the middle of one of the raised beds and he’s got another favourite place under some plastic where we were trying to grow salad….even when it’s really pouring he’ll be out there watching the rain, keeping dry while he looks up and watches the rain come down

side shaping on sock

He’s also rather fond of “helping” if I’m knitting which isn’t so good for me if I’m trying to knit something which I’m needing to concentrate on…balls of yarn get sneakily patted and he’ll roll them off if he’s given half the chance so I’m finding socks a bit easier to manage when he’s in a helpful mood (everythng sits happily in my lap and isn’t spread out so isn’t so tempting to a naughty wool craving kitty.)

These are the latest socks I’m knitting.  The yarn is some of the West Yorkshire Spinners sock yarn in the Owl colourway and it’s my first try at a ribbed sock…..the needles are KnitPro Zings and are a bit longer than ones I’d normally use so I’m having to be careful that I don’t keep poking the cat with them when he wants a lap cuddle, but the longer length does mean I can keep trying these on without the stitches flying off in every direction.  The needles are nice, slippy but not too much and the yarn slides along them no problems, they aren’t as sharp and pointy as I like but apart from that I’m getting on fine with them…I’ve also found my tension seems to be loosening up so there’s a bit more give in the fabric.

subtle greys and a fluffy tummy

Often I set up a space on the back step, cup of tea, something soft to sit on, knitting or sewing in my lap…it’s not long before someone makes an appearance from under the raspberries or he’ll come mooching out from under the plastic sheeting….this is when he gets all silly and behaves kitteny and I quite forget he’s actually getting on and is classed as an old cat…..

Little back wriggles and chirps and mews are made until whatever I’m doing is put down and I go over to give him tummy rubs…..

upside down stretches

Sometimes he stretches out and will gently pat my toes….I try not not wriggle them too much as he’ll grab hold with those paws and hold on tight with the sharpest little claws.

I love watching him stretch out though, like he’s doing kitty yoga…revealing a coat full of smudgey soft greys and charcoal….he always looks a bit on the grubby side but that’s just the colour of his fur.

Tamar for Kathy

Some of the yarn I’ve been knitting with this Summer has been the lovely Tamar yarn by Blacker Yarn, it’s a really lustrous and glossy yarn and more than a little reminds me of the flickeirng shadows and pools of light that reveal themselves when Bernard stretches out in the sunshine……..

lace detail on shawl

At the moment I’m using the Tamar to knit Karise which is a shawl pattern by Karie Westermann, it’s a really nice pattern to knit, and has been very enjoyable to sit and knit outside…..the colour changes somewhat when I’m outside and the slight grey hue in the yellow yarn really recedes in sunshine, it’s not a flat dull colour but really shimmers full of light… along with the sound of the bees on the lavender all buzzing softly there’s also the tinkle of my stitch markers as I slowly knit the stitches, moving them along the needles stitch by stitch…….these are some I made myself at Christmas and I’m really pleased with how they came out, there’s no sharp bits on them to snag on the yarn and I like the sound of them as they click against the needles and then tingle as they drop down against each other……

a makeshift nostepinne

Another activity that Bernard seems to appreciate me doing outside is winding up skeins of yarn on my makedo for now nostepinne……..he shuffles up close and watches the yarn un-winding around my feet up on to the kitchen roll tube…….he looks like he’s watching a tennis match as his eyes and head move from side to side…..if he’s feeling mischievous then he’ll try and assist, patting the yarn or just dive-bombing the skein around my feet…..I’ve learn to keep a lookout for when he gets that look in his eye, when he he lifts his bottom up a bit, and wiggles from side to side, most times I’m able to catch him before he springs up and attacks……

podgy paws

A lot of his time now is spent tarting about and showing off…posing in the cutest positons to grab the attentions of the new neighbours that moved in at the start of the year……they’ve got a little girl and I can often hear her and her friends calling over to him, they all peer over the fence, call his name and coo with delight as they  watch him wriggle and stretch out on the path or be all silly and kitteny in one of the raised beds….he seems to enjoy the attention but eventually saunters off to a quieter spot.

This has been the first year that he’s not been dashing up the trees, climbing up onto the roof or strolling along the top of the fence, even a jump from the bedroom window sill to the bed has to be thought about (it almost broke my heart the other day when he chose to jump down onto the floor and then clumsily clamber up on the bed….no more springing across gracefully like he used to…..)

wash time

But he knows when he’s being talked about and then he gets all shy and bashful.



14 thoughts on “Trying to knit in the garden with Bernard…….

  1. Aaaaaw, give Bernard a tummy rub from me! He looks so relaxed in these pictures. Nice socks. I didn’t enjoy knitting my rib pair but they are by far the best fitting pair I have so I’ll probably knit more in the future. Just about to finish another pair of boot socks for my husband then the boys have placed their orders!

    1. Often I go to take a picture of him and he’ll stop “cute-ing” and trot over to rub himself against the camera!
      What didn’t you like about knitting the rib socks, and which sort of needle did you use?
      I found the heel and gusset a bit harder to work but think I’m just out of sock practise….I’m making these as a birthday gift so I need the fit to be a bit roomier than if they were for me….I think I should have made my first rib in plain yarn so I could understand what some of the stitches are doing a bit better x

      1. So cats are alot like children when it comes to pictures!
        I’m quite impatient so the purl in amongst the knits just slowed me down, that’s all. I knitted a pair in tandem on two short circulars, my 23cm hiyahiya ones. Lucky recipient!

      2. At least the cat doesn’t demand pocket money though he’ll spend a lot of time upstairs in one of the bedrooms if he’s having a sulk!
        Ahhh, okay, I’ve just come to section that ribs on the top and is just stocking stitch underneath and that’s quite nice. The list of people I’d knit socks for is very short!

    1. He was a bit too lovely the other day and I kissed his tummy which resulted in a nose scratch…his claw went right up my nose and caught….very painful and there was a fair bit of blood…plus a very cross spitty cat who struggled like the devil while we tried to get the claw out x

  2. I just read your comment about the claw in nose situation. Ouch. I was about to write that cat’s tummies as fluffy as Bernard’s are just so tempting to stick your nose into … maybe not! The shawl looks lovely, I’m knitting a Void shawl at the moment that has a very similar criss cross pattern going on. I followed the link you posted about the nostepinne, all this time I’ve been winding wool in a very similar manner but with my thumb stuck in the middle of the ball – thumbpinne??

    1. Hi Wendy, mmm his tummy is irresistable, it’s so dense and silky, soft and fluffy…it smells of weetabix and ovaltine when he sleeps indoors, green and grassy if he’s taken a nap outside….but this is the first nose injury in umpteen years of face in tummy loving.
      Love the ideaof a thumbpinne, I think that is how the ladies wound balls of yarn at a charity shop near where I used to work.
      Wendy you are a shawl temptress, Void is beautiful.

      1. Void is definitely special, there is something compelling about completing those rows. I give up on many things but I know I’ll finish this.

        I know exactly what you mean about the tummy smell, I used to have a ginger mog with a similar fluffiness as Bernard. He was a semi-feral wild little kitten but we tamed him, although I was likely to get a full head clamp if I tried to bury my nose in his tummy :oD He always loved being out more than in. He passed on about 5 years ago and we have been thinking about getting another. I want a girl this time, some female company!!

    1. He looks a lot more fancy in a picture because you can’t smell him, he’s very windy today. He has slowed up a lot this year, I think the operation took a lot out of him and he misses Bob from next door….he doesn’t dash about up trees or climb on the fence and peer into the park doing his neighbourhood watch impression anymore but he’s still pretty kitteny when he wants some attentions x

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