Going Out

We did it. For the first time in over 18 months we went away for the night to meet up with friends (as opposed to family) and WE ATE OUT! At a restaurant. It felt very odd to start with being out in a big room with lots of other people, but the staff all wore masks and so did we for the two metres we had to travel from the door to our table. And when we visited the loos. The food was lovely, with a good vegan menu as well as ‘regular’ ones.

One thing I had completely forgotten about eating out is how loud it is. There was music playing (quite loudly) and although we were nearest to the door and not directly near a speaker it was difficult at times to hear and be heard. So what happens? You talk louder and move nearer, both things that you’re not meant to do really in terms of minimising spread, but everyone in our little group had had negative tests recently, and fingers crossed we’re all ok still so far!

This meet up had been postponed from last summer and we hadn’t seen these friends for two years, but the lovely thing about really good friends is the ability to pick up as though that gap of time had never been.

And where did this momentous occasion take place? In Lichfield. None of us had ever been there, but it is more or less halfway from both our homes. It is a lovely little town (city). We looked around the cathedral and it is stunning. The main image on this post is part of the frontage, chronological sculptures of the kings and queens of England, each holding something that represents their reign. For example, King John (not in shot) is holding a green (copper) quill and scroll to represent the Magna Carta. Here’s most of the frontage:

The frontage of Lichfield Cathedral with a cloudy grey sky behind. The building is covered in sculptures of kings, queens, angles and saints with lots of geometric details.

While inside I failed to photograph the historically important things such as the shrine to St Chad or the Angel of Lichfield (a carving from the EIGHTH century!). Instead, I photographed things that took my eye as potential knitting inspiration. My old City & Guilds tutor would be proud of me (she was – I already put these pics on Twitter!). So, I give you the *back* of the high altar (inlaid and carved marble) and two rather beautiful floor grates which have a definite theme of diamonds and circles:

Four colours of mosaic marble form diamond hatching. In the centre of each diamond is a flower carved in relief within a circle. Each line of the diamond hatching has a different mosaic pattern and each flower is different as well.
A close up of a cast iron floor grating. Each piece is two circles wide and three high with diamonds running through the circles and decorative points like the tops of church windows all through the design.
A square cast iron floor grating with a large circle surrounded with a border of diamonds. The circle has 'spokes' spreading from the centre, with the detail near the edge of the circle taking the form almost of fleurs de lyes, similar to the tops of church windows.

Quite when I will turn these into knitting ideas I’m not sure, but there are a few possibilities kicking around in my head already.

Remember the terrible frisbee I made that was supposed to be a loaf? I tried some of the helpful suggestions from the sourdough Facebook group, reducing the water, reducing the proving time and the time in between pulls and folds and my next loaf was very much better! It tasted fabulous too.

A seeded sourdough loaf with a cross scored across the floured top sits on a metal cooling rack.

The drive to and from Lichfield enabled some further progress on the Brioche + Mystery shawl. Please note – I was the passenger!

A close up of part of a brioche knitted shawl in four colours. There are two colour brioche stripes surrounded on two sides by textural stripes, then triangle shapes in two-colour brioche, followed by garter stitch stripes in three colours with bobbles in the centre stripe.

I’m now about to start the next lot of bobbles. Knitting backwards to avoid turning your work every five stitches is an optional technique during the bobbles and I *can* do it, but my tension isn’t quite as consistent as turning it round and purling, so I’m undecided about which approach to take this time around. Thinking about it, when I’m teaching I tell other people that the only way they can improve a skill is to practise it, so I’d best take my own advice and do some knitting backwards. I’ll take some pics while I’m doing it so you can see!

There are only two more parts of Into the Vortex to be revealed and I’ll share some more of people’s progress with you next week šŸ˜Š

Harvesting continues in the garden and everything seemed to grow massively over the weekend while we were away – the courgette plants that had looked so puny only a little while back gave us these beauties this morning. For reference, the shortest green courgette is nine and a half inches long.

Three large green courgettes lie on a green tablecloth with three round yellow courgettes of various sizes. In the top left corner is a woven placemat with the base of a silver candlestick just showing.

I haven’t mentioned my Craftucation courses lately, have I? I had been hoping to finish ‘An Introduction to Lace Knitting’ a few months ago, but my hands have been too dry and cracked to record anything – no-one wants to see lengthy close-ups these paws at the moment. It’s not fallen off my radar, though, and I am making great efforts to get my hands fit to be seen. Hopefully I’ll be able to return to recording in September, when it should also be cool enough to wear the same clothes as when I started recording the course! Watch this space!

I hope your week has gone well. Stay safe, do what makes you happy. K x

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