'Knitting Fog..!' Early morning mist in fields surrounding our village

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Santa Special (Poem)

The Santa Special

Over snow capped mountains and deep valley's below,
circling cities and villages where lights twinkle and glow
Donner and Blitzen lead Santa's reindeer team,
pulling his sleigh as sleeping children dream.
They travel so fast across a star studded sky
they'll be at your house in the twinkling of an eye.
Dancer and Prancer will dance on your roof,
the sound of their hooves on the tiles is your proof.
Comet and Cupid are so gentle and kind
they take care of Santa and make sure he's not left behind.
Because Dasher and Vixen are an impatient pair,
they would leave Santa in his old rocking chair,
or halfway up your chimney after delivering the toys;
these two mischievous reindeer can be such naughty boys.
Santa brings presents for all, young and old,
On Christmas night, gifts from the heart more precious than gold.
If you would like to leave Santa a gift,
Milk and a chocolate chip cookie give his spirit a lift.
The reindeer like carrots, except for our Prancer,
he prefers turnips, and he shares them with Dancer.
So on Christmas Eve when you go to bed
shut your eyes tight and rest your sleepy head,
Then in the morning rise with the sun,
It's time to play with new toys and have lots of fun.

Jackie S Brooks (c)
December 2007

Monday, 21 December 2009

Santa Special

The night before our third Sunday on the Santa Special we were worried we might not be able to get out of the village, we should have attended the annual Christmas Dance on Saturday night but there was a second fall of snow late afternoon, unknown to us until we stepped outside the house all dressed up in our costumes. We had at least a foot of snow, it had banked up against the car wheels and we couldn't get out.

Sunday morning Jim heard what he thought was a snow plough go through the village, it was actually one of our local farmers who was using his tractor with an attachment to push some of the snow off the road. It was still thick but after some digging and huffing and puffing Jim managed to get the car out of its parking space and off we went.

At the station I walked into the cafe where volunteers and members of staff were congregating over hot coffee and a big cheer went up, they had all heard we might not be able to get in.

The first train was set to leave at 9.45am but due to frozen points, frozen diesel and a cranky generator it was unable to move. So the passengers who had been able to get to the station boarded the train anyway and took their turns to visit with Santa in the Grotto. Quite a lot of people from further afield couldn't make it due to impassable roads.

The second train was able to leave the station, yet again with a smaller contingent of passengers than it should have had, by the time we reached Levisham we had been visited by all the children. Then we got stuck again as the engine had to cross to another line, make its way back down to the other end of the train, cross back onto our line and back up to link with the carriages. But the points were all frozen there too, it took a little while but finally we were on the move again on our return to Pickering. Santa and I spent the return trip walking through the six long carriages talking to the children and their parents. Lots more photo's were taken with a number of families, and then they started singing Christmas carols to us. Everyone seemed to be in a happy and jovial mood when they reached Pickering. We left the train and went back to the cafe to have our lunch, it was cut short when a family who had driven a long way and arrived too late for the train asked if they could see Santa, so it was back to the Grotto for a short time, they couldn't stay for the third train as they had to rush off to York to catch another train.

The third and fourth trains ran ok and we had a good time with the children and their parents, walking the carriages again after the third one and everyone had been to the grotto. After the fourth train arrived back in Pickering we all went into the Marquee for hot coffee and mince pies before going home.

During the day, between trains we were filmed by a BBC camera team, and Santa was on the BBC 6pm news, unfortunately for me they cut the clip short so I wasn't in it when it was shown.

When we arrived back home we couldn't get back into our parking space due to the piled up snow again, so this time Jim had to dig his way back in!

Tonight we have the local Council's children's party to attend, then we will be visiting with friends who are staying in a hotel in town, up from Hampshire in the south...at least I hope they have arrived!!!

Tomorrow we will be back on the train again, our last day.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Alice Starmore Sweater

Inishmaan SweaterLast night I started on this sweater, I've been wanting to knit one of Alice Starmore's famous patterns for a long time. I'd love to do it in 100% wool but for now have to be satisfied with an Acrylic Aran yarn with wool. I love the welt, the honeycomb pattern makes it more interesting, and it continues up into the main pattern of cables, twists and Celtic knots. The colour I chose is Loganberry, I have a length of Harris Tweed that I purchased from Katie Campbell on the Isle of Harris some years ago and have yet to make into a skirt, the colour of the yarn matches it perfectly. I'll post updates as I go along.

Socks, and more Socks!

Broadripple Socks
I have been lazy and neglectful of this blog for a while, but I have been busy knitting socks! The Broadripple Socks pictured here I made for myself are knitted in Schoeller + Stahl Sockina Cotton. The Broadripple sock designed by Rob Matyska is normally knitted from the top down but I reversed the process and knitted them from the toe up.
Lace and Cable Socks
This variegated green pair are knitted in Loopy Legends, from Loopy Ewe, my friend Maryjo in California sent me the yarn for these, they are one of Wendy D Johnson's toe up patterns. I prefer knitting toe-up socks as theyare much easier to fit to the foot and get the heel in the right place. I used Judy's magic cast on, slip stitch heels and the Russian bind-off.

Basic Gusset Heel Socks
This pair for Jim were knitted in Woolcraft Superwash wool, on the foot the variations in colour came out as small stripes but on the leg turned into diagonal tiger stripes. Other than that they have no pattern, just a basic stocking stitch. I used JMCO, sl st heel and Russian bind off again. The Russian bind off is really great, it isn't tight on the leg but stays up.

Cable & Double Moss Stitch Diamond Socks

This latest pair I knitted for Jim in Araucania Ranco Multi, the second pair in this colour. The first pair were mock cable but I decided to make up my own pattern using my Harmony book of knitting stitches. The detail shows up better on the close-up of the foot. I ran out of wool before reaching the length Jim wanted so bought another hank with the same batch number, but the shade is different. Since the yarn is hand-dyed in Peru I guess you can't be sure of a total match. Jim now has four pairs of hand knitted socks and he loves them, they fit perfectly and he says they are really warm and comfortable. I have two more batches of sock wool to use for him, and a skein of Claudia's handpainted sock yarn for myself, but I'm going to give the socks a rest for a while as I have just started a sweater for myself.
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