Friday, 25 January 2019

Winter Hues at Arnside. . .

I have yet to climb Arnside Knott and get a perfectly clear view (in which you'd see a number of the Lakeland Fells and Morecombe Bay), but given the hazy light last weekend, this was the best on offer. Still, it stayed dry the entire time of our 14 mile hike, there wasn't as much mud as I'd feared, and really, one can't ask for more on a winter walk.  Usually when we embark on a hike in this area, Arnside Knott is the last hurrah, so it was quite novel to tackle the climb at the beginning and get it out of the way.

The rest of the walk was through fields and a lot of woodland, taking in Arnside Tower. . .

. . . the Pepperpot (a monument celebrating Queen Victoria's jubilee) . . .

. . . an old quarry ( apparently the stone for the promenade in Blackpool came from here) but it's now the Trowbarrow Nature Reserve. . .

. . . views of a small lake. . .

. . . and the Fairy Steps.

Below is the view from the top of the Fairy Steps - you can see Arnside Knott in the distance, showing you how far we've come.

And we ended up walking back to Arnside via the shore of the Kent Estuary - you can see the Knott again in the distance.

These sheep graze on the salt marshes which are supposed to add to their flavour.

A decidedly subdued and soft palette but an enjoyable walk nonetheless.

Monday, 7 January 2019

A Post About a Walk and Some Cowls. . .

Happy New Year to all and I hope everyone had a great holiday season.

We spent it pretty quietly, watching a lot of telly and eating far too much.  So it was great to get out on the hills again.

Yesterday, our rambling group headed to Ambleside, a place I have walked from many times, and know well,  but I was delighted to find out that part of the intended route was going to be new territory. We hiked a nine mile circular from Ambleside, starting off very gradually on flat paths around Rydal Water.

The air was possibly the stillest I've ever known it to be in the Lake District.  As a result the water was like glass and beautifully reflected the surroundings.

We then headed up above Grasmere, towards Alcock Tarn. This part of the walk was new to me, but as I have probably mentioned before, stumbling across tarns in unexpected places is one of the great pleasures of walking in the Lakes.

And here it is.  Not the biggest or the most spectacular but pretty in its own way. Had the day been brighter, there would have been a lot more of the fells reflected in the water.

Here's another shot of it from above as we started our return journey along a pleasant high ridge.

We descended back into Ambleside via Nab Scar, part of the Fairfield Horseshoe. This is looking down on Rydal Water again.

Spending five hours on the coach travelling up and back is perfect knitting time.  This is one of the projects I'm currently working on - a very simple cowl called Polkamania by Felix Ford.  I'm using some Shetland 4ply as the background colour and a crazy Zauberball for the dots - I love seeing all the colour changes. And don't those dots look right at home in landscape?  I should probably call this my camouflage cowl.  Once I reach halfway, I will probably reverse the two yarns just for some variety.

I love to photograph my knitwear as much as possible outdoors, so I also took the opportunity to wear my first finished object of 2019!  This is the Midwinter cowl by Laura Aylor,  knit in a variety of yarns from deep stash.

It's bulky weight so it knit up very quickly and while it looks a little odd just worn on its own (I knit it at a slightly tighter gauge, so it would be firmer around the neck), tucked under some outerwear, it's a really cozy, splash of colour.  It is also very warm - almost too warm for UK winters but will serve me very well for Canadian cold.

I seem to be a bit cowl obsessed lately.  Just over the holidays, I completed the Poza cowl by Ysolda Teague.  This was knit using just one 25g ball of cashmere lace from Yarntelier.  It was a bit of an impulse buy at a yarn show; I fell in love with the colour and I'd never knitted with cashmere before.  This pattern was perfect for a one-skein bit of luxury.  Ooooh, and it is so lovely and soft.

I'm also becoming slightly obsessed with mohair.  The trend these days is to knit a strand of mohair together with wool for a softer,  more muted look.  I plan to test this out later in the year.  But first, I completed my Birds of a Feather shawl by Andrea Mowry. I paired some hand-dyed mohair from Qing Fibre with my favourite Daughter of a Shepherd hebridean/zwartbles 4ply and I love the rustic deliciousness against the fluffy warmth of the mohair.  This looks perfectly at home in the woods.

My knitting resolutions are fairly simple for 2019.  I just want to cast off more than I cast on (i.e. start attacking those WIPS!).  And I want to knit more stash than I acquire. I shall be carefully weighing both.  We'll see how it goes. . . .