... not that I've actually been away anywhere, it's just that lately, life's been getting in the way.
There's the type of life that involves going to Murrayfield to watch Scotland playing France at rugby (always good fun, even if we rarely win)...
And then there's the type of life where contractors turn up (very reliably actually) and rip bits out of the dining room wall. Having done this to correct the rising damp, they then discover that the floor joists are rotten and need replacing so they take up the floor. Having done that, I take the opportunity to have a look under the floor and see all the rubbish left by the 'developer that did the house up before we bought it' (read - 'the irresponsible slimey b****rd who tarted up the surface over the rotten bits below'). I then take the opportunity to go under the floor to remove all the rubbish and in the process notice another bit of woodworm. Back comes the specialist who confirms that there is indeed a bit of wood worm which will need to be sprayed, but more to the point, all the joists along the front of the house are also rotten and will need to be replaced. We're now talking about the joists holding up the floors in the sitting room, the hall, the cloakroom and the study so all those floors will have to come up too. At this point I may have cried a bit, but then looked on the bright side and realised that by the time we're finished, we'll have 25 year guarantees on the whole under floor area and the whole loft area! That doesn't leave much structure in between to go wrong...
We're now at the stage where the work in the dining room and loft is finished. The spare bedroom only needs a bit of cornicing replacing and the major floor-lifting excersize has still to be scheduled. As has the repair work the roof needs... I'm not even thinking about the redecoration that will need to happen - I can live with bare plaster and floorboards for quite a few months to come.
I have been knitting, however. The resident radiologist and I are going skiing in a couple of weeks in the French / Swiss Alps, staying in Avoriaz (needless to say that we booked and paid for this some time ago, before the floor fiasco, or we might not have been going any more). Last year, the girl we went with had a fantastic hat, knitted in Peru, which kept her much more toasty than mine did. This year, I'm not going to freeze.
I improvised the design, using a provisional cast on (96 stitches) and knitting up towards the crown of the hat for an inch or so. I then did a round of garter ridge to frame the pattern, another row of stocking stitch and then incorporated the star pattern from this pattern using the fairisle method (my first go at it). I worked another round of garter ridge then decreased, leaving a small stalk at the crown.
I then unzipped the provisional cast on, picked up the stitches and knitted 24 stitches, CO 48 stitches and knitted to the end of the round. I worked back and forth for a couple of rows to make the back slightly longer than the front, then worked the earflaps over 13 stitches each, decreasing every second row. Finally, I edged the hat with really firm double crochet.
The main yarn is Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed and the contrast is Plum Knits Cashmere Aran.
I'm planning on lining the hat with plain jersey fabric, but even as it is, I'll have a warmer head this year than I did last!
I've also just realised that today is my first blogiversary - I'd meant to mark it in some way, but life always seems to get in the way and I guess the excellent flow cytometry course I've been on today will just have to do instead!