In the view from my workroom window I posted a month or two ago, you might just have been able to make out the faint blur that was the chalk escarpment, about two miles south of the village. This is a closer view. Look, it's REALLY winter, or it was last week! Travel Chaos!* The low mounds silhouetted on the skyline are barrows, mounds raised over burial sites. Most of these are Bronze Age (5,000-3,000 years ago), but one is Neolithic (over 5,000 years old). If you look closely, you can see people walking past the mounds, which gives a sense of scale. They're big, even after 5,000-odd years of erosion. Barrows were often built on the highest ground visible from local settlements; no one today knows why. Perhaps people were comforted by the thought that their ancestors were keeping watch, or it may have been a territorial statement. Today the mounds are obstacles on a golf course.
The trees to the right are beeches, often planted on chalk hillsides: their shallow root system copes reasonably well in the shallow soil that develops over chalk. Beech wood is lovely, often used for wood-turning, also known as 'bodging'. Many Chiltern oakwoods were felled and re-planted with beech to support the chair-making industry... I was going to continue to describe the history and archaeology of the chalk, but I must get some work done!
Some knitting content: I'm making progress on 'Something Red' in Sundara's aran silky merino. It's so soft!
I'm not yawning, I'm trying not to laugh too hard. I feel ridiculous holding the two sides of the cardigan together (it looks as though I'm bursting out of it already) while staring into a camera balanced on the mantleshelf. Anyway. I am a bit worried about the fit under the arms. My 38 is actually a 32F. The armholes seem a bit large to me. I'm debating ripping back a bit. Although I can see the sense in continuing, just to see how the pattern as written ends up fitting me. If I'm right, I should have increased the rate of increase across the fronts from the beginning (increasing every 7 rows instead of every 8 would have given me another inch or so on each side to cover the bust) and called it quits on the sleeve raglans about a half-inch above the current join. On the gripping hand, the yarn is very... malleable. Sundara advised knitting slightly tighter than specified, as it will stretch. I simply knitted to my usual tense tension :-)
So perhaps it will block to an appropriate shape, and I hate tight sleeves anyway. The only way to find out what works is by finding out what doesn't work. Which means knitting a few (if I'm lucky) tops that don't quite fit. Oh, well.
Doesn't that sofa look inviting? The bit with the sun on it is my knitting seat; my 'current' knitting bag is just out of shot. I could wander back downstairs, settle in, and see what happens with that top. Or I could persevere with Seraphim^2. At the moment it looks like a giant woolly jellyfish, with c. 130st/quadrant, just about time to start the first pattern chart (I'm doing extra repeats to compensate for dropping needle size). Or I could cast on a pair of socks. It truly must be an addiction, because I desperately crave sock-knitting. I thought I'd love the speed with which aran yarn makes fabric; instead I miss the rows and rows and rows of tiny stitches on 2mm needles. I miss the changing colours, the developing patterns *sniff*. If I'm honest, I also miss the confidence I've developed. I can now knit socks that fit, but sweaters are a different matter. Of course this WILL change, once I've learned from a few mistakes. I just hope they're not completely unwearable.
Back to work!
*Only on the roads. This was 'normal' British snow, which falls from the sky in soggy lumps. A few years ago we had proper cold weather, complete with proper snow drifting on a knife-edged easterly wind. Complete Travel Chaos. A Network Rail spokesperson explained that this was 'the wrong kind of snow': the diesel train engines suffered from indigestion when the fine crystals were sucked into their air intakes.