One of the rather encouraging side-effects of writing a blog has been the powerful incentive it has provided for me to get on and finish some of my little works in progress, or rather works come to a halt. It is as if there is someone out there who is going to hold me to account - a sort of Weightwatchers effect. You know exactly what is required to lose weight, and you have the scales to prove it, but you just need somewhere else to go and stand and be weighed each week, with someone hovering alongside with a tick list to act as your conscience.
So this weekend I finished knitting a jumper for Princess Bunchy. Or, rather, I finished the knitting way back in the summer, but clutching at any excuse for procrastination on the sewing-up front I had put the pieces, little ends and all, back in the pending basket because it was, of course, far too swelteringly hot for anyone to want to wear a jumper.
But then I was standing next to the Princess last week (who, by the way, is REALLY ILL, in fact so really ill that tidying her room is really too much) and realized that she was growing apace, and that if I didn't sew up the jumper pretty soon I would have to adopt a nine year old to fit into it, or possibly even an eight year old.
The trouble is, this project has been slightly over a year in gestation. It all started when last year we went to the Permaculture Convergence in Ilkley, and, finding myself in the home of Duttons for Buttons, skived off for a bit of Saturday morning shopping. The Convergence was actually very good and very interesting, but the buttons were calling me, and because it had turned out to be the wettest weekend of the century I had quailed at the thought of camping on site, and we ended up in a most delightful B&B on the other side of town, so Duttons and the buttons were on the way.
The Head Chef was rather bemused by Duttons, which is a tiny little shop with an even tinier back room, stacked floor to ceiling with cardboard boxes full of buttons. I began to find his sentry-like presence, all armed with Barbour and golf umbrella (he probably had his holiday hat on as well), rather inhibiting, so I sent him off to Betty's tea rooms for a little refreshment, telling him that I would ring him when I had finished shopping (I had also spotted a rather promising-looking yarn shop called the Create Cafe on the route from Duttons to Betty's).
In fact, I spent so long in the yarn shop (which had a sofa - can you imagine anything more wonderful than a yarn shop with a sofa?) that the Head Chef was convinced that I must be horribly lost, probably wandering around the moors, and I received an anxious phone call in an attempt to reel me in. So I missed out on the delights of Betty's, but I gained The Sublime Children's Double Knitting Book 613, and enough balls of Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK to knit Princess Bunchy a rather sweet-looking cardi called Phoebe. Except, when I returned home, the Princess told me that she didn't like cardis, except Esme with a big collar, or Constance with a lacy pattern - for which I didn't have enough yarn. After some months of rapprochement, and ineffectual attempts at persuasion on my part, we finally settled for a jumper called Smuggler Girl (but not stripy, for I didn't have enough of each colour for stripes, either. Nor did Princess B want stripes.).
So Smuggler Girl I knitted and, as you can see from the pictures, eventually stitched up. But in the interim the smuggler girl herself had grown upwards (luckily not outwards), and with hindsight I perhaps should have made the largest size. But I didn't have enough yarn for that, either. And the contrast colour was so near the end of the ball when I picked up the neck that possibly I was pulling it all a little tight - luckily it is a slash neck.
But after all the trials and tribulations, Princess B is really pleased with it (even though she has been, and still is, really ill, in fact, so ill, that I have just had to go and apply some Vicks). In fact, I have not been able to wash or block it, as she didn't want to take it off after she tried it on for size, so please forgive me any little imperfections on that front. And she is so really ill that it was necessary to wear two jumpers and tights under trousers when she was so ill that she couldn't go to school today (cue hacking cough, remedy Dr Potter's Vegetable Cough Remover), and had to accompany me to work. When she took the jumper off to go to bed, I noticed a couple of yarn ends and stitch markers still inside one armhole, but never mind.
In conclusion, the yarn is truly sublime, as is the pattern book, and the pattern was really quite easy. And I still hate sewing up - especially armholes, which I never feel entirely happy with. But Princess Bunchy likes it, and although the General suggested, with a rather mocking smile on his face (or was it just my imagination?), that the sleeves were quite short, you and I and the Princess know that three-quarter sleeves are fashionable, stylish and practical. And no, it is not my knitting - I have checked it against the pattern measurements.
I was just going to write a short, sharp Monday night post. What happened? Perhaps it is the shaggy dogs at my feet, or maybe a complete inability to say in fifty words what could be polymerized into five hundred. Or possibly more.