Sunday 23 April 2017

Weekend WIP

I've been knitting up some angora I bought from Fivemoons in 2013. This is the last of my Fivemoons stash so getting it on the needles meant I felt no minimal guilt about buying some more from her at Wonderwool this weekend (coincidentally, our fifth anniversary in the bunkhouse).

That's just the teaser, because I wanted to show off how luscious the yarn is to begin with. I have been hankering after an angora sweater for a very long time, probably since CanaryKnits made an angora argyle and shared it on her blog and that is coming up to a decade ago. This yarn is a slightly sturdier angora than the one she used, being blended with 40% merino and 20% nylon, but it is still pillow soft and knitting up with a gorgeous halo.

I chose the Elizabeth I pattern from Alice Starmore's Tudor Roses - a delightful book probably more suited to a coffee table than actually being knitted from, simply due to its enormous size. Since I'm just reading Bring Up the Bodies and teaching y13 about Elizabeth I, it seems fitting - this really has been the year of the Tudor. I added a few extra rows before I started the centre panel, of course.

The shaping looks wildly feminine here - it's exaggerated by the curved hemline. The 20 extra rows should have added about two inches to it but may have exacerbated my usual yarn chicken situation: I was already about 100m short on the yarn requirements for the XL. However, the sleeves are very full and long, and I may attempt to adjust them. We'll see.

I have made great gains on this in the final week of the Easter break, and am about 26 rows away from dividing for the armholes (what you can't see here is that I am knitting it in the round instead of in pieces - while I'm sure the side seams would give it a better structure, Starmore points out that Elizabeth's clothes would have been expertly made and if she'd ever seen me sew a side seam I think she would insist I avoided doing it on this garment, for the sake of historical accuracy). I'm finished one skein and am now knitting from a mixture of two more, which looked worryingly different in the skein but aren't looking too different when knitted up.

Unfortunately I now need to lay it aside as I'm test knitting a top down raglan v neck sweater for the designer of this sweater I knitted last year. Hopefully that one will be quick and I can get back to the bunny.

Friday 7 April 2017

February skiing

Since I'm about to go away skiing again, I thought I should write a bit about the ski trip from February.

I had it in mind that I might end up going on the trip. I don't know why. I consciously kept February half term free, until about 10 days before when I realised with mild dismay that I had no plans. Then, the experienced skier member of the ski trip staff had a bereavement and couldn't go. I'm fairly sure I wasn't the first person they asked, but I was thankfully the first to say yes. That was Monday afternoon and we left Friday morning.

It was somewhat liberating to not be running it, I have to say. I was a bit worried that I would end up being THAT person ('On my trip...') but I think I managed to avoid it. I brought my favourite bits with me and kept my mouth shut the rest of the time unless I was asked. The trip leader, a woman of 26 years' experience, obviously did not need my help but there were a couple of occasions when I was able to bring my experience to assist her. I'm hoping I impressed her enough to be invited back.

We were skiing in beautiful St Johann in Tirol, just outside Kitzbuhel. I haven't skied in February for years and I'd forgotten how great the snow is, even quite low down. It was quite a gentle resort and we had a day out to a nearby mountain on the border with Germany.

I came second in the race but I was pleased that I beat the really quite annoying rep. It felt like I couldn't get rid of her all week. I spent most of my time skiing with the top group, who weren't good enough to make this too much of a challenge for me, but I did find I covered more miles than usual. The instructor, Bob (a fellow Bristolian, would you believe it) taught me to carve....well, he tried to teach everybody to carve but the girls were a bit reticent about it. So, my skiing definitely improved.

I also found out my jacket isn't waterproof anymore, on the last day; I was so wet and miserable I sloped off for an early lunch and apparently Bob skied the whole piste again to check I wasn't prone by the side of it. Oops. In my defence, he had said earlier in the week that if I couldn't keep up, he'd just leave me behind.

We saw a couple of ski shows, too. These are delightfully cheesy affairs and there's usually mulled wine. Some of us got these at the first one -

One of the girls nearly lit herself on fire. That was emotional. It was one of the moments when I was able to intervene in an impressive way, though, at least.

Gorgeous views from my hotel room (managed to get a room by myself, too):

And there was even a dog. He slept on the corridor one night when there had been fireworks and woke me up at 4am. I had to run down three flights of stairs to let him out before he woke up the whole floor. My colleague Rachael had been quite graphic in her plans for him were he to do such a thing.

So many more stories I could tell! Greta, the least sympathetic ski instructor in the world; German army out on manouevres; a colleague getting airlifted off the mountain with an asthma attack; mulled wine in Kitzbuhel; good bus driver vs bad bus driver; #atmylastschool; the broken picture and the dustpan and brush 'from olden times'. This is a list for me to expand on in my copious free time. But, I'm up early to go off to another St Johann (in Pongau this time) so I'll sign off with a view from the lunch spot: