Sunday, February 13, 2011

The joy of sox...

Over the way at Fir House lambing has started. The snowdrops have at last come into flower and there are one or two primroses brave enough to break bud. Garlic, planted in the autumn, has come through - I have 4 neat rows and am inordinately pleased with myself.

The sun shone yesterday and I took myself to the Derwen. We are so lucky to have this most excellent garden centre (and its sister company, the Dingle Nursery) a 10 minute drive away. Their range of plants is fantastic, as it the staff's knowledge and enthusiasm. A big plus for me is that they have not - for the most part - deviated from their core business - that of selling plants. The perennials were shrouded in fleece but there were spring bulbs and polyanthus - those welcome dabs of colour; a few early flowering shrubs and plenty of seed potatoes too. I got the impression that the world of retail gardening is not roused from its winter slumbers. The benches which held herbs and small pots had been cleared, for refurbishment perhaps. A solitary Pole armed with a pair of secateurs was pruning roses; he nodded behind at his progress to date and gestured expansively and disconsolately at the work yet to be done - 20 or 30 mega-spiny climbers and the display gardens. Rather him than me.

I went and looked at the trees - and that's a triumph of hope over experience. At this time of year they are mostly a collection of dry brown sticks but it occurred to me that if you know what you want this is a really good time to look at their structure and choose a good one on that basis. I wanted a Tulip Tree, a Liriodendron tulipifera, and there was the tree of my dreams - sturdy and well-shaped. I bought it. It was destined to come home with me.

It didn't get planted today - the weather has been foul and sitting indoors has been far more appealing.

But what about the sox I hear you ask? And the joy?

Ah yes, the joy of sox - my winter projects. The nasty knitting has been cast aside yet again. (I notice that it is now at least 3 years since I started - with great enthusiasm I'll admit - this wrap-around cardigan.) The final piece, the tie/waist band, lies half-finished at the bottom of my knitting box, unwanted and unloved. My excuse is the beastly yarn which is horrible to hold and worse to work with.

But the sox have been great fun. After my initial 2 needle attempt I moved onto the real thing using 4 needles = no seams and sufficient interest and complexity to keep someone (me) with the attention span of a flea occupied.

We have sox 1:

 ....and sox 2: 

Am not too sure why the stripes didn't work out the same on both. These are rather too redolent of the hippy stall on Welshpool Market for my liking.

Next up, sox 3:

Finally sox 4, a work in progress.

I must remember that these are meant to be worn - so far I've mostly shown them off.

On a miserable winter's day to sit with my wool and neat little bamboo needles, in front of the woodburner, glass of wine to hand and a gripping play on the radio has been a joy. What's there not to like about that?


Pondside said...

A tree, sox, wine, a fire and a radio play - sounds perfect to me.

Cro Magnon said...

My late Swedish mother-in-law used to knit miniature pairs of socks that we 'amusingly' hung from the rear view mirrors of our cars. It takes all sorts!

Wipso said...

I'm loving the sox :-)
I've never made full size ones but have made lots of little ones for the Christmas tree over the years :-) We must get up to the garden centre to get our seed potatoes.
A x

Nutty Gnome said...

Those socks are wonderful - fancy selling some?!...seriously!

I've been catching up on your posts - and nicking some plant ideas as well as now having the urge to make strudel, so thanks for that!

Best carry on planning this years crops!

Tattie Weasle said...

Not yet tempted by the joy of sox but I do admire them enormously esp the ones in progress!
We're off to buy tree this week too.

rachel said...

I wish I could knit socks! Or knit anything properly, really.... I don't like the visible-from-the-moon ones either, but am tickled to see the nautical (or patriotic?) hues in the last pair. How clever you are!

Frances said...

I've also become a fan of sock knitting. As you say, they do knit up pretty quickly, have just enough details to keep the project interesting, and those varigated yarns always give some surprises.

Now that the daylight is really lengthening, I can almost believe that spring will arrive soonish.


Twiglet said...

Oh yes - cosy sox - great colours and patterns. Snow on Corndon today so you may well be glad of them!

Diary Farmer said...

Knitting, yet not darning?

Zoƫ said...

very soxxy sox. I was envying EMs and now yours - I can knit for toffee, in fact K makes a joke about my knitting attempts. He says ' My wife is so tight, even her knitting squeaks!' Hurmph!

Love the navy red and white ones best,

hand-knitted muesli said...

lol a few years to go yet to beat my nasty knitting, jumper started 1982 finally finished 2006 and it is awful :( Love the socks:)

Jayne said...

Just wish I could knit! four needles - that takes some thinking about, hope you had them on today, that snow was unexpected this afternoon, will call next time.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Full of admiration for 4-needle anything knitting ! let alone socks .
I , too , love the latest sox ( not that the others aren't just as beautiful , she adds hastily ) . Perhaps you could speed production up a bit and open a shop if you're ever at a loss for things to do ?
Sonata .( Smitonius can , and does , make very nice socks )

Preseli Mags said...

So envious of the tree - and the sox. Is that a pair in Sirdar Crofter I see? The single pair I have knitted are in that yarn too (hound dog) but are much baggier than yours! They make perfect wellie sox though.

Chris Stovell said...

Did laugh at your reference to the hippie stall - there are many takers for your reject socks round this part of the world! Good news that you found 'your' tree!
We've some hazy sunshine here today but the wind's as bad as ever.

Fennie said...

Well done! My great Aunt who was a great knitter of fourneedle socks would have been proud of you. I, alas, have never mastered the art of knitting though she did try to teach me. Honour was saved by learning to crochet - to wit an egg cosy. One hundred yars ago when James Stephens was writing 'The Crock of Gold' he has the leprechaun who kidnaps the Philosopher's children asking Bridgid Beg whether she can 'turn a heel.' Ordinary knitting he takes for granted. Is turning a heel difficult after a glass or two?