Tuesday, 16 December 2014

What I'm not knitting

Bradford-on-Avon: cute!

Gemma did a great post on Retro Chick last week on the Five Guilts of Christmas. I don't think I'm likely to provoke many feelings of guilt in others, apart from on the food front. I don't do it to be virtuous, however, I do just like cooking and eating, and I enjoy sharing it. I certainly don't expect you to do it! Every year we get together with some friends and have a real feast (Blorpfest), so if you want to see what we've been making, keep an eye on Greedybots. We've got something very special planned for 2014...




Last weekend I nipped to Bradford-on-Avon, a pretty town just down the road from Trowbridge. In many ways it and Trow are polar opposites: Bradford is quaint and upmarket, Trow decidedly more working class and, despite having more listed buildings than Bradford, more modern in feel. Trowbridge feels more multicultural. And Bradford is the home of the controversial Christmas tree! I did find the Christmas tree controversy funny; I saw it before it was toned down and it was entertainingly exuberant, but I could just imagine the posh pearl-clutchers wailing, "But we wanted Cath Kidston paper chains!" (Of course, in Trow, if we had a tree no-one liked, someone would set fire to it. Or if we had a tree we did like, someone would set fire to that. That's Trow for you.)

Behold the yarny treasures of Jumblejelly

That said, both are mill towns and both have some excellent independent shops. Trowbridge has a fantastic butcher, Bradford an indie wine merchant. And Bradford has Jumblejelly, my friend Elle's brilliant yarn shop. I'd shop at Jumblejelly even if she weren't my friend because Elle's a hardcore knitter and therefore manages to keep yarns that are both affordable and good quality in stock, such as King Cole's Merino Blend range, and a lot of Wendy. (Wendy make fantastic yarns, but the photos on their patterns would make any photographer cry. I really don't know how they can style things to look so bad!)

Earl Grey socks, though the cable down the side isn't very clear.
Anyway, enough about Wiltshire towns – I promised to tell you what I'm not knitting. I was trying to make one Christmas gift, but have accepted that it simply wouldn't be finished in time. My mum is hard to buy for, as she has all the knicknacks she could want, and I don't want to bore her by giving her perfume or jewellery every year. She does love hand-knitted socks, so I'd started a pair (the pattern is Earl Grey), but have had to be realistic about the timing. I've bought her a different gift, and will send her these socks when they're done. That might be before Christmas, but if it isn't, I don't have to worry. Despite the fact that I won't have them finished in time to post, I am definitely enjoying knitting these socks and will carry on plugging away. The pattern is easy enough to be fairly quick, but the cable design down the side of the leg and instep adds interest. The yarn I'm using is Lang Yarns Jawoll, currently my favourite sock yarn. It knits and wears really well, yet is also very soft. The colour is Bakelite Green.

10 comments :

  1. I had a laugh at the Christmas tree, but I do like it. Looks like something a small child would do. Where I live, after burning the tree down, they would go to city hall, find the responsible party, and toss a brick through the window. I'm not sure what they'd do if they didn't like it.

    Those are great socks, and will be worth waiting for.

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    1. Oddly, we've got the County Hall in Trow and that never gets touched. We rarely have any major-league vandalism, just general antisocial idiocy (eg wing mirrors getting kicked off cars).

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  2. I have a difficult to buy for mum too. I have sewn her skirts before as she likes them long but can't find them long enough so I make epic skirts which are both long and tent like in volume. This year however the sewing machine isn't working so I have had to wing it and I'm very sure she will NOT like what we got her *sigh* At least you know your mum likes knitted socks and will appreciate them be they on the day or after Christmas xxx

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    1. Well, I hope she has the good manners to hide it! I've already decided to be more organised next year and buy Mum and her partner vouchers for a pub they like to go and eat at. They don't even want more stuff.

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  3. Love that tree! I know B-upon-A well so can just imagine how the population of the town responded. I have to say though, it puts our very civilised (yet very beautiful) tree to shame. Perhaps I'll go and talk to the town council and suggest they do something a little out there next year! After all, we did have one of the most eccentric Lords living here in the 1920s, so it would be fitting.

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    1. I like a bit of eccentricity. As big brands and chains take over everything, it's nice to see something different, something that isn't following the herd.

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  4. Oh wow, that tree is certainly different!! I would have said that children had decorated it rather than an adult, maybe that's what they should have pretended, and then everyone would have loved it and applauded the children's efforts. Good luck with the knitting x

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    1. From talking to people in Bradford, I think they felt it the cost outweighed the result, which is fair enough.

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  5. I laughed at what you said about the Wendy patterns. I sometimes work in my friend's haberdashery and we are always bemoaning the terrible styling and photos for many of the patterns. That said, Wendy have done a better job with their Ramsdale range. Have you seen it?

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    1. I have, I was looking at some that Elle had in Jumblejelly. That's the most galling thing about Wendy, their yarns really are lovely. I used to work on a knitting magazine and their staff were always an absolute delight to talk to - the business is still family-owned. I just wish their patterns did a better job of showing the yarns off.

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