The past two weeks have been a bit of a reset time for me, settling into the William Hannah notebook, coming to some unexpected conclusions about my winter wardrobe, and generally getting into the swing of the new season. The weather is edging noticeably towards the colder months and my hand-knits are starting to put in a more regular appearance.
The pink cardi has not moved on a single row for a while. I’m stalled almost at the shoulder of the left front, but I’m not worried because I have a week and a half’s break from work coming up and that’s one thing I know I’m going to work on. Instead, I have started knitting a scarf from the Pigment and Ply yarn which I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show. I’m using the Erika Knight pattern, though it is driving me round the bend. The design which starts the scarf is a doddle, but the second panel is proving to be a challenge. I have had to re-do every single row as I get to the final part where there should be 6 stitches left and find I still have 7 stitches. I want the pattern to be wrong, but it’s me. Every time. The scarf is designed to be knit using 4-ply yarn and I am using 4-ply yarn. It is designed to be knit using 5.5mm needles. I am using 3.25mm needles (that, for readers who don’t knit, is 5 sizes smaller than the recommended size). Thinner wool on thicker needles makes for a lighter, airier fabric and larger holes in the lacework. I prefer a more substantial fabric and this scarf is going to need to keep me warm. I also detest the feel of thin yarn on thick needles. Of course, this means my scarf will not match the dimensions of the pattern, but I have a plan for that. Most importantly, I’m happy with the width (around 10″/25cm) so I only have to worry about the length. I already knew I wanted the scarf rather longer than the pattern shows. I think I will end up knitting this as two matching panels and join them in the middle, at the back of the neck. I have plenty of the yarn to play with, so experimentation is possible.
That being said, there’s also an idea in the back of my mind about a shorter scarf fastened with a brooch in the style favoured by Miss Farnaby in the 1990s BBC sitcom “Mulberry”. I recently finished re-watching this and she’s become a bit of a style guru for me!
To backtrack, my reason for starting this scarf is that I bought my winter coat this weekend and the colours are just going to look super together. The winter coat was a serendipitous find. I like to buy my coats from charity shops and the search was one of the items on my long list of things to achieve during my break. Then I was in the city yesterday and went a little out of my way to show some visitors how to get to the cathedral. Returning to my intended route, I quickly nipped into one of the charity shops as I was passing, immediately saw the coat, tried it on and bought it. It has signs of being brand new as both the vent at the back hem and the pockets were still tacked closed. Like the coat I bought during Covid, it closes with large press-studs and these are shoddily attached, but I can easily re-sew them or replace them if necessary.
Another purchase yesterday – a bright geometric patterned dress – is planned as the lynchpin to my winter wardrobe. This time it was a brand new purchase, but with a little bit of discount that helped me to feel less profligate. It’s going to be fabulous with my pink cardi and my cerise DM boots which are still going strong after seven or so years. If I could find a pair of trousers in the minky/mushroomy shade of the winter coat, I’d feel like my wardrobe was reaching a certain level of perfection, but I doubt that’s going to happen.
The slight wobble this week has been on the stationery front. Just as I was committing to the set-up I’m working on in my William Hannah notebook, Filofax released a new range of leather binders which they are calling the Norfolk collection. Hmm, I live in Norfolk – is this aimed specifically at me? At first glance, I liked the look of the pebbled leather and the colours were pleasant, though no blue! Why can’t Filofax do blue leather? Is it that difficult? Looking deeper over the following days, especially when helpful YouTube unboxings started, I thankfully realised that there were several elements that I wasn’t so fond of. Large rings and a full-lenth wallet-style outer pocket on the Personal Size make it a bulky design. I find the card slots and inner zipped pocket unnecessary. Finally, the binder is made in China which isn’t a complete bar to puchase, but it makes me think twice, especially for a product that’s quite a big financial committment. The slender disks of the William Hannah notebook and the minimal design of the cover suit me better. This is backed up by the company’s committment to manufacturing in the UK so they can build strong relationships with their suppliers. If I’m going to pay a goodly amount for a product, those kind of things get factored into the equation. On the whole, I’m grateful to Filofax for designing this new range as one that I can resist and for adding a bit of cement to my decision about going the William Hannah route for a while. Like a weeble, I wobbled, but I didn’t fall down.
My current pen and ink choices are delighting me, though I feel drawn to ink up another pen sometime soon. Seems like it might be the ideal way to celebrate the start of my break.