Sea dreams

When I was a little girl my father gave me a shell at the seaside. Not one of the ones you pick up on the beach but one of the ones that would never grow so huge and hyperbolic in the cold native water, which has instead been ripped from the tropics, eviscerated, blasted and basketed to gather dust in one of the tat shops that line the front.

It was a murex very much like this although I think the interior was more orange and white than bright pink. I can still feel the textures – rough, pitted and spiny on the outside, glisteningly cool and smooth on the inside.

“Hold it to your ear,” he said, “and you can hear the sea.” I did, and I could.


“Is that really the sea?” I asked, my eyes no doubt as big as the shell. “Oh yes”, he said. “There’s sea inside every single shell.” “Real sea?” “Yes, real sea. No matter how far away they are from the shore, shells always have the sea in them.” I think I might have surreptitiously shaken it to see if any water came out.

I believed him implicitly, of course. At night I would lie in bed in the dark holding the shell to my ear and travel deep into its cool coilings to the sea itself, breeze-blown and spume-spattered. I still dream of the sea, often.

Perhaps there is an inundation. Sometimes a great wave seen approaching from afar gives sufficient time to scramble to higher ground up tussocky, cropped-grass covered slopes. Other times it is a slow barely noticed indrawing of lapping foam-fingers which forces a retreat up a shingled beach towards a paved esplanade. It is a source of relief that those whom I am responsible for (variations of family, friends and animals) are shepherded to a place of safety. Once there the others melt away as I gaze down at the waters. Sometimes I walk into the water and swim directly towards the horizon, but mostly I don’t.

Always under the waves can be seen the flickering forms of whales. Sometimes the long grey outlines of right whales, sometimes the leaping harlequin of orcas, occasionally the white of Belugas. Often one or more swim up to where I stand and then I know what they know, a deep and ancient knowledge, but cannot remember in the morning.

One day I shall live next to the sea. One day.

I really want…

…to drag everyone I know and love to Brighton beach and take pictures of them.

eye see you

I used not to want to take pictures of people at all, finding it difficult, intrusive and somehow embarrassing. Now I love it. I think that must in a large part be due to Neha’s patience putting up with me practicing.

Dogs, on the other hand, have never presented a problem.


The rest of the set is here.

Sock-knitting OMG

Remember Kaffe Fassett’s fabulous Design Line colourways for Regia sock yarn? Six different colour combinations which knit up either in stripes (“landscape”) or marl (“mirage”)?

I’m making a pair of socks for my father in mirage earth:

p's sock 1

Beth‘s been using landscape twilight for her jaywalkers.

Well, seems Regia have just released a new set of yarns by Kaffe Fassett – Design Line Exotic Colors.

exotic socks

Six new palettes, and just look at how they knit up.


“Self-striping” seems an inadequate term for that patterning.

I wonder whether the box shown on this site is for shop display purposes or a kit for purchase containing two balls of each colourway. Unfortunately I don’t speak a word of German so can’t understand the text on the page, but the latter wouldn’t surprise me at all given the popularity of the first edition and the fact that it is being sold in complete sets (although not in wooden boxes – and no cheaper per ball than buying them individually).

Also I’ve just discovered that it’s possible to buy transparent wellington boots in order to ensure that the beauty of your hand-knitted socks is not obscured even in wet weather. OMG.

Peplum and gores

Knitting has been happening, pretty steadily, in the background. The latest onto the needles is the excellently-named Darcy from Heartfelt – The Dark House Collection by Kim Hargreaves.

Not only is it a wonderful pattern – peplum! gores! moss-stitch! short-row shaping! – it’s also a conscience-clearing stash-buster since I’m using some yarn which I bought in a sale probably more than ten years ago and have had hanging around ever since. The shade has the rather puzzling name of “foggy” because to me it looks more like sage green than foggy grey. But maybe it’s a reference to pea-soupers or something. This picture, of course, is not an accurate guide to the shade in question being not green enough.


Speaking of Darcy, as of course we were, I must report that I met a delightful man recently who might well fall into the Darcy category. Smart as a whip, funny, charming and kind – altogether a sparkly refreshing delight to be around. My word, I thought, they do actually exist!

Borrowed threads

This is not my knitting. I merely recorded him.


Isn’t he spectacular? Silk sewing thread and dressmaker’s pins. No pattern. Made by F. She calls it “knitting off piste”. There’s another picture here.

Conclusive evidence of the benefits of five-a-day

Further to yesterday’s post, here is a picture of the garment I was working on at the I Knit London meet-up. The sleeve on the right of the picture was sewn on before I had my five-a-day; the sleeve on the left of the picture was sewn on after consumption of the appropriate number of fruit-and-veg.


QED, I think you’ll agree. It really is necessary to have five cocktails a day. Here are some suggestions to get you started. If you click through to the picture on flickr there are helpful notes on ingredients.

fruit, veg and knitting

Now please excuse me, I have to remove and reinsert a wonky sleeve.

A delightful new way to have your five a day

Everyone must eat five portions of fruit and veg a day we are told. Endlessly. Not just by the nanny state that knows what’s best for us but also by supermarkets and food companies eager to peddle us their products at a premium because, gosh jolly whee, they contain food and must therefore be good for us – and should therefore cost more.

As a side note I was interested to see on the site I linked to above the information that potatoes do not count as one of the “five a day”. Somebody ought to tell the potato product companies currently marketing their chips and crisps as though they do count as such. (Ah. Googling reveals someone else has already noticed this.)

Rambling? Icoherent? Moi? surely not. On with the plan.

So the plan is this. You need to go down to Concrete, the bar/café at the Hayward Gallery, between the hours of 5pm and 7pm any day Monday to Thursday. There, at those times, you will find the special “two-for-one” offer on all cocktails containing vodka. You will also discover that many cocktails containing vodka also contain fruit and, yes indeed, vegetables.

Take this evening, for instance. The avowed purpose of the visit to the aforementioned café/bar was knitting and to view the hyperbolic coral reef. What actually happened was balanced nutrition and yacking. The balanced nutrition consisted of six cocktails containing (individually, not collectively):

– raspberries;
– lychees;
– limes;
– red peppers;
– watermelon;
– ginger.

Ok, that last one (ginger beer a Moscow Mule) may be stretching it a bit. But the others all had bona-fida fruit and vegetable matter. We passed on the one containing avocado on the grounds that it also had coconut and that was icky.

“We” were Pixeldiva and I at the Wednesday meeting of the I Knit London knitting club. I knitted nothing but attempted to sew on a sleeve of a garment nearing completion. Three hours later and I’d just about managed it but I suspect I’ll have to unpick and redo it tomorrow for reasons not entirely disassociated with the amount of nutrition imbibed.

That matters not one jot. For I am now so balancedly nourished that nothing is too much trouble. And I had a fab evening to boot.



I realised today I could quite happily spend the rest of my life taking pictures of cut flowers. Just as long as they weren’t perfect, of course, and were in F’s kitchen where the light, as you can see, is of a luminous (that’ll be because it’s light – ed) beauty that I haven’t seen anywhere else. Although my bedroom comes close-ish on a good day. Something to do with north-facing-ness apparently.

Maybe I need to turn my bedroom into a studio full of huge bunches of flowers and spend my days moving gently among them as the fibres of their beings unwind.