Monthly Archives: September 2008

Lost my knitting mojo!

I’m not sure what’s happened this week – I’ve had hardly any desire to knit at all. And I’ve realised that my ‘knitting blog’ that is currently more like an ‘anything but knitting blog’. So, in the absence of any updates I’d thought I’d share a couple of pictures of where I spent yesterday: the  Mark Rothko exhibtion at Tate Modern.

This is the view from the side of the gallery facing the Thames, overlooking St. Paul’s Cathedral.

So, I’d appreciate some advice. How do you get your knitting mojo back when it makes itself scarce for you? Any type of project that gets you back into it?

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Dolly doo-lally

I thought I had come up with a fantastic idea. Bored with knitting long i-cords for my niece’s Christmas present, a Knitted Babe, I remembered the French Knitting Dolly I had had as a child.

Brilliant! Make a dolly’s legs and arm (yes, I got bored after making just one arm) out of a dolly! Quick, easy, painless, and somehow poetically satisfying to boot.

It started off well. I found a shop that stocked knitting dollys, and when it arrived I found some great online instructions to remind myself how to use the dolly.

There was a fair bit of fiddling around to begin with, but I figured that once I had got the hang of the technique, I could churn out the remaining limbs in no time flat.

So I carried on, and on, and on. At one point it did occur to me that it would probably have been about twice as quick to knit these stitches as to ‘dolly’ them but, what the heck, I was bored with knitting the things, and a change seemed as good as a rest.

Except that it really wasn’t.

Eventually the end of the cord appeared out of the dolly’s bottom end. To be perfectly frank, I had by this stage developed a sneaking suspicion that there might be just the slightest difference in tension using this method, and that the resulting stitches might be just the teeniest bit looser than knitted stitches:

Hmm. Back to the needles, I think!

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Messing about (and knitting) by the river

It was a beautiful late summer day today, and Steve and I spent the afternoon lazing around by the river Thames, next to Hampton Court Palace. That’s Hampton Court bridge in the picture above, and through the railings on the other side of the river path is the palace:

We were trying out our new bikes; I love mine so much, it’s incredibly old-fashioned, with a wicker basket and even a skirt guard to protect my flowing garments!

We took afternoon tea, and muffins, and strawberries, and both our boys stopped by for ice creams on their way home.

I took my Lacy Cable Stockings to knit while we were there. Apologies for the substandard picture quality – I forgot to take my camera, so these are from my phone.

And here’s the beautiful calf detail:

I’m so looking forward to wearing these for real!

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I was sitting here on Sunday afternoon, thinking about cycles, and stages, and phases. I was thinking about how the last couple of months of my life have been about sickness, about convalescence, and then about recuperation.

I was trying to come up with a word that would encapsulate, and embody, what I would like my next few months to be about. I feel that I need to get back to myself, as if I have in some way been absent from some fundamental aspects of what constitutes my ‘self’: from the things that make me feel whole, and nourished, and that bring joy and laughter into my life.

And then I found the word I was looking for. A resurgence.



  1. A rising again into life, activity, or prominence; a renascence; a renewal.

  2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigour; a revival.

A rising again into life, a restoration into vigour. Thinking about the next few months in these terms, it became clearer to me the things I can do to get back to myself, to rediscover the pleasure and joy and richness of my life.

And in the way that a word, once uncovered, often leads to another, it also occurred to me that a renaissance is also an apposite metaphor for what I am trying to grasp here:



  1. A new birth or life; a rebirth.
  2. A cultural revival; a renaissance.

To revive myself, I am going to begin again doing the things that nourish my body and my soul. I restarted my yoga practice last week, and I am going to gradually increase that until I get back to the almost daily practice of my pre-illness self. I have also just booked to go on a yoga retreat next month, to which I am looking forward immensely.

A cultural revival: today I spent some time wandering around the gallery where I work. I was struck, as I am every time I do this, how incredibly fortunate I am to be surrounded by such a wealth of interesting art. I am going to nourish my creative self this autumn by spending more time visiting other galleries and seeing more art.

But most of all, I am going to re-invigorate the relationships with the most important people in my life. After all, as Tolstoy wrote, we must ‘seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved!’

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Don’t get between a knitter and her Finished Object

Seriously, don’t.

Don’t distract her with your chatter while she is counting stitches or following a lace chart. Don’t expect to get your meals on time if she has just a few more rows to go. Don’t ask her to drive when you are perfectly capable and wouldn’t use your passenger time productively anyway.

But these trivial, personal, anti-knitting obstructions aside, don’t screw a knitter around by writing a pattern so full of mistakes that she virtually has to re-engineer it herself from the picture. Don’t sell her some yarn, and a pattern to make with the yarn, and underestimate the yarn requirement by ONE THIRD!


I am unable to finish the beret I have been making for my mother’s Christmas present. The pattern requires significantly more yarn than specified in the pattern, and the dyer does not have any more of that colour left. They have offered me a refund, which is decent of them but, as you can probably tell, I am a little frustrated by this. So much for my minimal Christmas knitting…

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