We’ll Meet Again

Today I will make the longest journey I have undertaken in over 8 months. I’m driving 120 miles to visit my mum. I’ll be so glad to see her after all this time, but I don’t mind telling you that the prospect of that drive and being away from home is making me anxious. It will be worth it though.

So many new things have happened since I last saw her. Sourdough for one. I baked a loaf this morning to take down with me.

A round seeded sourdough loaf sits cooling on a wire rack. Behind it are two jars of marmalade and a jar of Marmite peanut butter.

Spinning is another. Although my lovely Ashford Joy 2 is very transportable in its carry bag, I’ll probably just take some skeins of handspun yarn to show Mum (and to keep if she feels her hands are up to knitting it). I’m only there for two days so there probably wouldn’t be time to spin anyway. Maybe next time.

A large bouncy skein of handspun yarn sits on a white windowsill. It is in serious shades of blue and light sea-green.

Remember the marmalade I made in January – unsupervised for the first time? Two jars of that will be coming with me too. The marmalade used to travel in the opposite direction, but that’s just another sign of the way the years change relationships.

13 jars of marmalade are lined up on chopping boards, cooling down. Behind theme are various kitchen items; bananas, a stand mixer and casserole dish.

My new shawl design is coming on well. I’m using Queensland Collection Llama Lace from Knitting Fever Inc which is 100% extrafine baby llama. The main body is very, very simple; just garter stitch, with a double slip stitch edging on the top. There will be a knitted on deep lace border in a contrasting colour once the main shawl is complete. Llama is a new fibre to me – there are the (very) occasional spikier fibres in it which can be pulled out easily, but overall it is incredibly soft. Knitted on 4mm needles the garter stitch is light and airy and the ‘halo’ on the yarn (the fuzzy bits) will trap the air between the stitches to add an extra layer of warmth.

A garter stitch shawl in a copper colour lies draped on the carpet. The ball band is on top, next to a silvery-blue ball of the same yarn which will be used for the lace border.

Finally, there is one more very new thing in my life. A couple of weeks ago I began ‘A Masterclass on Grading’ by The Tech Editor Hub. It’s a very well-structured course, with lots of support and feedback from the three tutors and it has a flexible scholarship scheme too which can reduce the fees by 50%, 75% or 100%. I’m learning all sorts of new tricks to use with Excel. Previously, if I used Excel at all I would treat it like a table in Word; do my calculations on a calculator and type them in! Now I’m learning more about formulae. The historical aspect of how sizing charts developed is fascinating too – initially, it was done so that military uniforms could be mass-produced in the American Civil War. Grading (working out all the different sizes for a pattern) was the one thing not included in my City & Guilds course, so I feel like this will give me more confidence and skill, especially when designing garments. I’m sure I’ll be telling Mum loads about this too – she specialised in tailoring at teacher training college when she trained to be a Domestic Science (home economics) teacher, so I’m sure she’ll have loads to contribute.

I hope you are able to catch up with someone special soon. Stay safe and keep knitting. K x

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