Sunday, 21 October 2012

One Lucky Hare!

Yesterday we spent the day at the Silverstone Racing Circuit again.  It was the final day of the 2012 season for the Historic Racing Car Club.  We wandered around the whole circuit, just soaking up the atmosphere, in the morning then settled down to watch the racing properly in the afternoon.
We've never been to this particular race meet before and it's really 'laid back and low key' compared to some of the more major events.  As a result the spectators could get into stands that are normally reserved for those with serious money or connections!  We found ourselves in a pretty prime spot in the British Racing Driver's Club stand.  This was our view of the tight left hand corner at the end of one of the fast straights.  It's a tricky corner to get right and is one of the points in the circuit where drivers are most likely to damage their cars.
All of a sudden, a hare popped up on the grass to the left hand side of the corner.  He was clearly used to being able to run around the circuit without having racing cars hurtle past his whiskers.  He made a lunge forward then stopped as a car thundered by.  He turned back and stood up for a moment, assessing the situation.  Then he tried again and the same thing happened.  By this time everyone in the stand was on edge.  The situation could end really badly for both the hare and a racing car, but there was nothing the marshalls could do.
As the hare tried to cross the track for a third time some slightly slower cars came to the corner.  I covered my eyes because I really didn't want to watch what was going to happen next.  Suddenly everyone around me was clapping and cheering.  I moved my hands away and saw the hare running towards the shelter of some hoardings on the far side of the track.  The cars had also managed to negotiate the corner without making contact.
One lucky hare!!!
We drove home through one of the best sunsets I've ever seen.  It lasted about 45 minutes - with absolutely gorgeous colours that just kept on changing.  There's no pictures of it though - I stupidly left my camera in the boot of the car!
I'm still in school this week.  The halfterm holidays are all over the place.  Worcestershire and Solihull (where I work) start their week off next Friday.  In the meanwhile, Birmingham has got it's halfterm holiday this week.  I teach loads of pupils who live in Birmingham so their younger siblings are on holiday while they are supposed to be in school.  I also work with teachers who can't be on holiday with their children.  I suspect that there will be quite a few children missing this week.  So much for a 'continuity of teaching and learning'!!!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Crochet in the Dark

Here's the throw that I've been making over the summer.  I've always loved the effect of mixing loads of different colours and textures together - almost like a piece of patchwork.
I've made it in a range of double knitting yarns - but every square has been bordered by the same cotton and wool blend (called Duo).  It's a lovely soft yarn and it made a gorgeous scalloped edging.

In this picture you can see most of the yarns that I've used.  The pale colours tend to be cottons, while the slightly shiny thread is a silk blend that's been hanging around for years in my wool stash. There's also some Sidar Denim and Click. 
As you can see, I still need to spend a bit time finished off the ends.....

Here's my other project - crocheted over the last two weeks or so during our commute round the M5 and M42.  The throw was worked on 4.0, 4.5 and 5.5 hooks and it's really dense and snuggly.  This little blanket was worked on 8.0 and 10.00 hooks so it grew very quickly.  I've also discovered that I can work it in the almost darkness of a passenger seat at 7.00 in the morning.  Good use of commuting time, I think!

I got the idea of blending double knitting yarns from one of my Mum's friends.  The darker yarn has a sparkle in it which is quite attractive with all these Autumnal colours.  The fourth row is a normal chunky wool, while the seam and the border are two 'normal' double knitting shades mixed together.

I'm going to keep the blue and brown throw for myself - but Mum has friends who can find a good home for these little chunky blankets.  I've already done 5 squares of the next one.  It's nice to think that my 'lost commuting time' can be turned into something positive for someone else. 

Sunday, 14 October 2012

A 'Micro-break' in Wales (aka The Brecon Wool Raid!)

After another mad week at work Mark and I decided to give ourselves a 'Day-cation' yesterday.  We trundled off down to Brecon in BJ (the old Discovery).  Someone, somewhere, was keen to see that we had a good day - BJ ran out of fuel just as we rolled onto the forecourt of the petrol station at Abergavenny!  We actually had to push her to the pumps.  Fortunately she didn't seem to mind having air in her fuel lines too much and Mark got her started again so that we could continue our journey through the hills.
Wool was one of my main motivators for suggesting a day out in Brecon.  This is the wonderful wool shop tucked away in the entrance to the Covered Market.  They are fantastically over-stocked and have masses of yarns that may have gone out of stock everywhere else months ago.  This was the case yesterday with Sidar Denim.  I've always loved working with this yarn and was gutted when it went out of production and disappeared from my local wool shops.  They have finally got round to putting it in a clearance sale in Brecon and I picked up loads for £2.35 a ball.  A real bargain!  They also had big balls of Hayfield and Robin DK yarn for £1.55.  Irresistable!
After a lovely lunch at the Cathedral tea-rooms we left all the wool in BJ and went for a walk by the canal.  This was the gorgeous sky over the Brecon Beacons.

My camera struggled with the depth of shade under the trees but I couldn't resist this photo of the reflections.

We walked down to the aquaduct, where the canal goes over the River Usk.  It's a pleasant flat walk of about 3 miles - perfect for shaking down lunch!

We then drove home across the border, past Hay on Wye, Hereford and back into Worcestershire.  This is my 'woolly loot' spread out on the bed when we got home.  As well as Sirdar Denim, there's some clearance cotton mix yarn, clearance Snuggly and a few other bits and pieces.  I calculated that I paid just over £2.00 per ball on average - not bad for Sidar yarns. 
This has all been safely stored away with all my other recent woolly purchases.  Mark was remarkably understanding about the amount of wool I bought, given that it was all a great bargain, BUT I am banned from buying anymore until some of it has been made up!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Greens and Golds of Early Autumn

My next door neighbours' tree has inspired this post.  It's always gorgeous at this time of the year.  I'm hoping that it will survive the horrible weather that is due to start tomorrow.
Today's walk took us past this mass of orange berries.

I also spotted all this bright green young mistletoe..

At the junction of several lanes the leaves on one tree have turned faster than the others..

While there were many beautiful trees by the canal...

It's been a real bonus to have such decent weather for a whole weekend.  I've pottered around - buying more wool, doing a food shop and a couple of hours of school work.  Mark has spent the whole weekend outside - clearing a tree from the back garden (that had got way too big and unhealthy) and tidying up his garage and shed.
This week kicks off with a long day tomorrow.  My Year 11 Diploma students are putting on a Solo Recital Evening.  They've each got to stand up and perform four pieces, back to back.  To make it even more demanding, they also have to chat to their audience as they instroduce each piece.  It's one of those evenings where I know I'll get completely wrapped up in their performances and will be exhausted by sympathetic stress!
On the subject of stress - I had a very good conversation with the Deputy Headteacher last week which left me feeling a bit more re-assured about the whole situation at work.  I still don't trust any of them, but I do feel as if they took account of my feelings in the recent upset.  At this stage I don't really think I can ask for more.
Wishing you all a good week.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Going round in squares..

Since the beginning of term I have been doing most of my crochet in the passenger seat of Mark's car.  This is fantastic because it gives me at least an hour and a quarter of guaranteed crafting time every day.  It's also caused some general amusement because I can whip out my current granny square in pretty much any location.
Yesterday the girl managing the reception at a Jaguar Repair Centre was particularly bemused.  "I think I've seen knitting..."  she said, "but I've never seen THAT before."
Mark had a particularly scary accident on the motorway the other week when the car in front of him clipped a small metal bar.  It flew up into the air and would have gone through Mark's windscreen.  Fortunately he reaised what was happening and took his foot off the accelerator.  Unfortunately the metal bar still hit the bonnet of the Jaguar.  As a result we were at the Repair Centre yesterday.  (I guess I need to point out at this stage that we only have a posh car because Mark works for Jaguar Land Rover..  It's a company car.  There's no way we could afford one in the 'real world'.)
Anyway, I'm getting close to completing my main crochet project - the throw that I've been making all summer.  Now I've started to work some squares using chunky wool on a 10 mm hook.  It's fun and fast but I'm not sure that I'm as satisfied with the effect.  I've also got a 8mm hook that I haven't really experimented with yet. 
I'll post some pictures over the weekend of all the 'work in progress'.