Okay, well our climate didn’t get it quite right this year and we had to wait for the May downpours to do their work before we could enjoy a blossoming forth in June. But summer seems to be here and for that we can be grateful, even those of us who prefer the chillier months as a rule.

I eschewed the blog on Monday in favour of a day out with my good friend Alex. We visited the Norfolk Makers Festival Showcase at Norwich Forum and we had a lovely snack at The Refectory at Norwich Cathedral. This modern annexe is a wonderful piece of architecture, very much in keeping with original 12th Century building, whilst at the same time being true to its own 21st Century origins. Of course, the big draw is that the restaurant is run by the catering team of our local independent department store, Jarrold of Norwich, who are famous for their ability to make a really good scone! Even better, they offer one of my favourite teas: the Novus Teas White Pear and Ginger, which is also my go-to drink when I visit the Chapters Coffee Bar in the basement book department of Jarrold’s main store. I still haven’t entirely forgiven them for moving the book deparment from the prominent ground floor location it enjoyed throughout my childhood and well into my adult life, but the addition of this little café area goes a little way towards softening my attitude.

The main focus of our outing, though, was to play with our cameras. Alex is a very keen photographer and takes lovely photos; my role was to try and glean some small amount of knowledge and incorporate it into my understanding of own my DSLR camera. I would like to know enough to do a little more with photography than I can at the moment, whilst acknowledging that it’s never going to be one of my huge passions. I see it in a supporting role, adding to my main hobbies of knitting and stationery, not to mention its traditional place as a recorder of events. The trip certainly gave me some handy pointers and I feel clearer about the next few steps I’ll take with my camera as a result of it.

But we weren’t here to discuss photography, or tea, or architecture. We sat down today to talk about knitting progress, for there has been a little of this. My bear, who sometimes calls himself Gladstone and sometimes calls himself Darwin, has agreed to act as a model for the collar of the Coconut Ice Sweater.

Of course, his head and shoulders are a little smaller than my own, but it’s not a bad representation of how the collar sits on me. I decided to go with the Servalan-style funnel collar as I suspected I would. It stands three inches high and is a double thickness. I picked up the stitches around the neck opening and worked three inches of garter stitch then a couple of rows of reverse stocking stitch to encourage the fabric to turn nicely and then three more inches of garter stitch. Then I knitted the live stitches onto the picked-up edge in a neat bind-off.

Of course I knitted this collar flat, and I wasn’t at all happy with my initial attempt at seaming it together. Happily, my second try has given a much more pleasing result. I was not relishing the prospect of unravelling the collar and knitting it again in the round on a circular needle, although I kept it as a contingency plan. I don’t doubt that it would have given me an even better finish, but I know myself and I am confident that it would have lingered at the “I must do that” stage and summer would have provided me with the ideal excuse for there being no need to pick it up and work on it. I think today I will try to get one sleeve set in and the sleeve and side seam done, then leave the second (and final) sleeve insertion for tomorrow. Unless I decide to go out with my camera tomorrow and don’t do any knitting at all.

I hope that everyone reading this is making some little steps of progress in their various endeavours, or just getting out to enjoy the sunshine and the flowers. I’m just going to enjoy a cup of Whittard’s Piccadilly Blend tea which is good, but a little fruity for my taste. I definitely prefer it to Earl Grey blends, but it still has something of that tang to it. My favourite flavoured teas tend a little more towards the sweet, like Whittard’s fantastic Regal Blend with its vanilla notes or Suki Tea’s Turkish Delight. Hmmm, I think I need to add a Fry’s Turkish Delight bar to my shopping list.

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