Thursday, 26 November 2009

Dressage Local Championships

Well this should make you laugh.

Me and my horse (Treacle - show name Reynard)

have qualified for a local Dressage Championships that will take place at Aintree. So for the next few weeks I will be trying to learn Novice 38 (that is the test that I have to perform).

Sounds easy - well not for me - in my old age I seem to have developed a loss of memory. Dressage tests are made up of a number of movements that you have to perform on your horse (a bit like figure skating although you don't jump into the air and do a triple salko unless you are really unlucky) so you have to learn these movements and perform them in a set routine.
When we were younger (that's the horse and I) we were OK at this but after my many accidents (broken neck, splintered hip and broken leg) I am a bit stiffer and Treacle who is also ageing is stiffening up too.

I will be quite happy if we remember the test, Treacle doesn't decide to stop for a Pooh and the Lady in the canteen doesn't decide to make a round of Cappuccinos when I am on my way into the ring. So keep your fingers crossed that we make it round in one piece, without any errors and that we don't come last..........
On a knitting note - I have almost finished off Miss Marple - hee hee - well who doesn't want to finish her off? Miss Marple is a sweater that was featured in The Knitter Issue 11 I think. I am doing it as a KAL with one of my customers. Just finishing off - should be done by the weekend.
I have completed Featherbed a hat from the Louisa Harding Little Cake Book. Its for a present so I didn't make it too slouchy - used some Kashmir Aran that I had left over and think that it has turned out OK. I have to use the bear as a model as there wasn't anybody available to take my pic in it. He looks better in it anyway.
I think I might make a few more for presents. Off to finish off Miss Marple now!! Small things really do amuse me.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

OOOh This is One Student I'd Like to Get my Hands On

Ben FoglePublished: 1:15PM GMT 20 Nov 2009

Ben Fogle learns how to knit with Gerard Allt at his 'I Knit' shop in London

Despite the fact that I have put myself through extremes all over the world, I was out of my comfort zone with this one.

The closest I have ever come to knitting was 10 years ago on Castaway when I had to darn my socks. And I couldn't help thinking about the 7th Earl of Cardigan, after whom the knitted garment was named. He led his woolly-jacketed cavalry in the Charge of the Light Brigade and dropped much more than a stitch.

Today, knitting is largely considered a feminine pursuit yet hardy sailors, fishermen and shepherds were among the first knitters in history. As well as its purely practical benefits, knitting enhances motor skills and concentration, plus there's that sense of pride and fulfilment on completion of your creation.

Armed with these thoughts and a pair of size-8 needles, I turned up at I Knit, a small, welcoming London shop where knitters can chat, drink and relax late into the night.

The plan was to make booties for my newborn - for a novice like me, this seemed over-ambitious. But what are challenges about if not perseverance?

I eventually completed two neat(ish) rows, though I confess knitting is a lot harder than it looks; lose concentration and you lose your place.

As I got into my stride, my competitive edge came out. I found myself sneakily looking to see if my fellow knitters were progressing faster than me (happily, they weren't). I began to realise how therapeutic - not to mention handy - this skill could be.

I could use it on expeditions to patch ripped tents. People may laugh at the thought of James Cracknell and me sitting knitting in Antarctica, but you really have to make do and mend down there and it'd be fun to make woolly scarves in cold places.

These days there is a growing demand for hobbies that enrich your life, and research conducted by American Express has identified the rise of these "Potentialists", a merry band I count myself among.

Knitting is an art I could develop with time. I have this romantic notion of sitting at home, my wife feeding the baby and me knitting little hats. We'll be relaxed with the dogs at our feet. So I'd better put in more practice.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Bonfire Night!!!

Its Bonfires and Fireworks everywhere tonight and typically it is raining. I am obviously indoors try to keep my neurotic dog quiet. She has been whining for 3 hours solid and keeps landing slap bang in my lap at the most unfortunate moments - whilst trying to drinking a super hot cup of coffee and more importantly whilst blogging.

I was advised to ignore her yelps and to encourage her to play but she is not having any of it. When I send her in search of the stringy (toy) she just does a few laps like a panther about to strike and then starts whining again...........

Had a visit from the Designer Yarns rep today and have taken delivery of two new Noro Books.

Both are really lovely - sometimes I think the Noro designs are a bit antwacky (unfashionable for those who don't speak fluent scouse). But these two books are great value at £7.50 - the designs on the cover say it all.

If anybody hasn't met the members of the Prescot Stitch and Bitch a picture of the crew is shown below. This isn't all the members but just a select few.......

I have finished off a few items lately - haven't been able to take pics of them all but the bag - yes the bag that caused a few issues - how to sew together etc. is finished!!!! Hip Hip

It isn't too bad is it? The Pudsey Bear is for the Wine Bar where we have our Stitch and Bitch Sessions - they are having a charity night. Not my best work but hopefully he will help them raise some money for children in need.

Just shouted at the dog and she is sulking. Have a great Bommy Night.