Tag Archives: knitting

It’s Pancake Day!

So we are all off out to one of my churches for a party.

I have many happy memories of village pancake parties in my youth so I hope I can pass that on to some of the people here. One particular memory is the vicar walking round waving a frying pan in a rather menacing manner, trying to get people to enter the pancake-tossing competition. I shall attempt the same!

Lent-wise, I’m intending to read Maggi Dawn’s new book – Giving it up. I’ll let you know how I find it. Interesting discussion with my incumbent today about how to burn palm crosses to make ash.

In knitting news, I’m working on a stole (of the shawl type, not the clergy type) as my contribution to the knitting olympics on Ravelry. Slow going, but enjoyable.

Sock Wars – the report

I left you just over two weeks ago with the announcement that I was off to war: sock war.

This was the first time I’ve competed in sock wars – it won’t be the last. The patterns were released on January 15th and sock knitters the world over (203 of us) cast on and began to knit socks as fast as our little needles could click. We all knew who we were knitting for, but the mystery of who was knitting for us remained. My assassin revealed herself via email before the patterns were even released, so I knew the socks that would kill me were coming from Tennessee. I was knitting for someone in California (with very small feet – hurrah), so the outcome of our section of the war would mostly depend on the efficiency of the postal service.

Having cleared a whole Saturday (except morning and evening prayer) for knitting, I got fairly far through the first sock, but with horrible cramp in my right hand. Does anyone do a class on the ergonomics of knitting? After that, I made sure that there were at least ten non-knitting minutes in every hour. On Sunday I resisted the temptation to knit during Church, but got to the end of sock number 1. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were busy with work. Despite encouragement from the vicar, (he was worried about ending up with a dead curate on his hands) I didn’t knit during the archdiaconal training morning – it was too interesting! Wednesday evening saw them finished and they were dispatched on Thursday. The waiting began.


I knew that my assassin had been even quicker with her knitting and had posted her socks to me on the Tuesday. A week later they arrived. Rusk was a little alarmed to see his Mum killed by a pair of socks, but happier when he realised it was just for as long as a photo took.


If I hadn’t finished my socks, I would then have posted the unfinished ones off to my assassin to finish, but since they were already posted she would have to wait until someone further down the line was killed before finishing. She would then get their socks to finish for their target.

My socks finally arrived with my target yesterday. Phew! Sock Wars is over for me, but there are still 103 people alive and knitting.

Next – the Knitting Olympics. An individual challenge to exceed your expectations for what you can achieve in knitting while the Winter Olympics are on.

Five reasons why…

… being in ministry is like knitting a sock in public.


  1. When some people see the sock/collar, they come over and want to know what you are doing and why. They ask questions and you get to evangelise about how great knitting/Christianity is and why they should totally join in. Other people look over and think it is just plain weird and avoid any sort of contact
  2. The sock is a UFO – an unfinished object. So is my ministry. (The analogy falls down somewhat here since I hope one day soon to finish the sock, but ministry will carry on for the foreseeable future)
  3. Each individual stitch looks somewhat unimpressive and it is difficult to see how it fits into the bigger picture, but it is essential for how things turn out. Each individual encounter with another person, even if only passing on the street, contributes to building up relationships that may be essential in the future.
  4. You need 5 needles to make a sock. Each needle will be used at some point for knitting, but at other times will be just holding stitches or even back in the needle case. You need a variety of skills to be in ministry (e.g. sermon writing, listening, praying, leading, practical stuff), but you don’t use all of them all the time.
  5. This sock has been designed by cobbling together ideas from various different books – it may turn out the way I intended, or it may end up different. In either case it will be complex and useful. This ministry has been planned by cobbling together ideas from various different books – it may turn out the way I intended, or it may end up different. By its nature, ministry is complex. I hope I will be useful to those around me.

So, a simile stretched to breaking point there. What do you think?

With thanks to my IME group for the inspiration for this post. IME is basically the compulsory training for curates in the first 4 years after ordination. We were told to bring something representative of our ministry – I had forgotten to prepare, but took my knitting along, thinking I could probably come up with something.

The importance of taking photos of knitting

Just a quick note to other wibloggers – have you seen the WISE thread on the boards recently? It might be worthwhile popping over there and announcing your interest in participating.

Well, I’ve got some photos, as promised. Do they need explanation? Not really, but here goes.

The hat – a somewhat mis-shapen lump of dirty lilac.


Really not looking impressive, is it? Hmm how to make it look better? Ah, put it on a head. Right – I am in the house alone so the only head is mine. Oh well, I was bound to put up a picture of me sometime. Here you go:


Oh no, there seems to be a pool of grey that leaked onto the photo. Ah well.

There is also the Strictly Sock, currently moving slowly up the leg as I try to figure out how long I want it to be. The lovely spiral effect I was getting on the foot was ruined by the geometry of the heel, but you can almost make it out still.


For those that are interested, it is a 5 stitch pattern repeat from either Sensational Knitted Socks or More Sensational Knitted Socks. I’ve messed around with it a fair bit, but it is basically a toe-up heel-flap sock with the pattern across the top of the foot and all round the leg. I’ve used heel stitch on part of the gusset too.

And finally… proof that Seph is remarkably dim at times.


She posed for a photo while chasing the mouse, then lost vigilance to the extent that I managed to save the mouse and put it outside. You know the glass and paper thing with spiders? Totally works with mice too. I used a handy sieve and a Lakeland catalogue. (Gruesome bit alert) There is another chapter to this story. Yesterday I came downstairs to find that they had thoroughly dissected a mouse-like mammal all over the kitchen floor – thankfully tiled, but still annoying. Do I mind more when they bring animals in and eat them or when they leave them whole for me to dispose of? I don’t know.

Right, back to transcribing interviews for my dissertation.

Just saying

There is some irony in having spent an afternoon this week in a ‘caring for self’ session and then having a preliminary to-do list of 10 items that absolutely must be done today before it turns into the study day it is meant to be. This is of course because the time I would normally do a good many of these things was the afternoon I spent in that session. Ah well. It was a good session and I was reminded of much interesting and useful information (such as the benefits of setting aside time to study). Still a little frustrating.

In case you were wondering, blogging is not on the list of 10 things. I am doing that as a nice extra, since 5 of the 10 things are done or delegated.

Today would also be the day that my copy of the new Diana Gabaldon book, An Echo in the Bone, arrived. Despite not being published here until January, there was a deal with the UK publishers that if you pre-ordered a copy from Amazon or similarĀ  and sent them your receipt, they would send an export copy at the same time that it was published in the US. There is absolutely no chance of getting to read it today (well maybe if I write 500 words of dissertation this afternoon I might read a chapter or two… or three).

So knitting – Daisy asked for a picture of the hat. This will be forthcoming in due course, as will a work in progress picture of my Strictly socks. Not socks to be worn while watching Strictly Come Dancing, but socks to be knit in the bits where you don’t actually need to watch it. With half an hour of Strictly It Takes Two to watch every weekday, as well as the weekend shows, these are growing nicely and the Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock is doing something very pretty and spirally with the colour variations.

While on the subject of Strictly, my favourite Strictly results site has moved to here: http://bit.ly/VhoCR. Why not go and have a look?

Update on No-Cake Month. One cake of pastoral necessity eaten and three biscuits (including one malted milk that I was tricked into eating). I think I might make it – only 4 days to go.

OK back to sorting out things for Church tomorrow. I have just ordered a book of intercessions that has emergency intercessions written for each Sunday, all tying into the lectionary Gospel reading. This will make last minute changes of plan and personnel easier to cope with, but will not help with the intercessions for Sunday evening since a) there are no more postal deliveries before then and b) I am not using the lectionary reading. Lord, in your mercy…

Hat finished, sloes started

This afternoon I took a visiting friend on a bit of a tour of the parishes. The coast here is so beautiful. We wandered down to the cliff path from one of the churches and sat looking out over the sea. The weather is beautiful today – so sunny and calm. Even on sunny days usually there is what we call a ‘breeze’, if only to distinguish it from the gales that are the customary fare. While we were sitting there watching the fields rolling down to the cliff, while some paragliders floated serenely overhead, I could feel a story starting to bubble up. As if I have time for that now – I have an MA to write you know. I will sit on it until after the end of November and then wander back amid the winter weather and see if the urge is still there. It is such a privilege to minister to people with such a rootedness in the landscape. I feel a real sense that the people here do see themselves as custodians for the future.

The hat went much quicker than expected, and is now finished, pending blocking. I *think* there will be enough wool left (yes, Daisy, it is Rowan Tapestry) for another one. I had about 3 yards of the first ball of purple left at the end of the hat and I have weighed what is left of the variegated ball and have 26g of a 50g ball. Might be cutting it a bit fine, but we’ll see. In the pause between starting the decreases and the 4mm dpns arriving, I started a sock. I have never knitted a toe-up sock before. It looks most peculiar with just the toe done.

The sloes have been pricked, jarred and covered in gin and sugar. It looks quite revolting at the moment, but the caterpillars all floated to the surface when the gin was added and I have fished them out so it could be worse. Not sure I would be able to describe it as suitable for vegetarians now.

Back to pondering the Sunday readings. We follow the related series of readings in the lectionary and it has not yet clicked as to how they are related. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. I sometimes wish there were footnotes where the compilers could say what they had in mind.

Off to a consultation on stipends and pensions this evening. Pray for us, please.

Knitting again

I have spent this evening partly re-reading Michael Ramsey’s The Christian Priest Today and then, as a reward for doing theology reading on my day off*, I have been bringing my Ravelry page up to scratch, uploading photos and updating project details.

The knitters among you may be surprised to hear that yesterday, for about half an hour, I had NO works in progress. Not one. I have finished the mittens, the clapotis and even the miniature stocking that was for my sister at Christmas last year. Don’t worry, I started another miniature stocking in a different pattern so I would not be fretting unduly in the night.

Future knitting plans include a hat to accompany the mittens (it gets quite chilly here and we don’t heat the church building for morning and evening prayer). I say ‘accompany’ rather than ‘match’ since the colours couldn’t be more different. We’ll see. I may make more mittens to match at some point. I also have plans for more socks – some in a toe-up pattern so I can see just how long a skein of Shepherd Sock will go and some using fairisle.

Anyway, here are some pics of the stuff I have recently finished.

Clapotis + Esme

This was Esme helping me to lay Clapotis out pre-blocking.

Broad Street Mitten open

And here is a mitten. You can see the mitten top that folds over the fingers when needed.

It was a bit tricky taking pictures of both mittens, given that one hand was needed to operate the camera shutter, but I found the timer switch and here you go. Never realised how pretty the radiator was before…

Broad Street Mittens

Clicking on any of the photos will take you to many, many more photos of yarn of various sorts. Feel free, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In final knitting-related news, the dpn that I lost during the mittens turned upĀ  down between the (non-removable) sofa cushions this evening. I’ve only looked there about 20 times already. Anyway, much rejoicing.

PS Day 3 of no-cake month complete. Still 5 cakes of pastoral necessity remaining

* I have a study morning on it tomorrow, led by the Bishop. I just thought it might be wise to do a bit of revision.

Knitting update

After my very exciting Christmas presents, (see here) I was itching to get started on some new knitting projects, but I was very good. I was just coming to the end of a sock so I thought I would finish that one and its pair before beginning anything else. Plus there was the whole essay/exam thing so obsessive knitting on a new project not such a good plan.

I finished the first sock at Lee Abbey just after New Year. I have discovered that listening to lectures is a whole lot easier when half the brain is busy with something else. I hardly fell asleep at all! There were just a couple of glitches: I think I accidentally did 2 knit rows one after the other in the garter stitch toe and the ssp decreases came out wrong. I’m not too fussy though, and certainly not fussy enough to go back and make it right. Something about a perfect piece of art being an insult to the Creator? Is it icons that always have a deliberate error in them to emphasize the imperfection of humanity? Anyway, there we go.

The second sock was mostly knitted in a series of lectures on leadership at college. At the beginning of the week we were told not to take notes if we didn’t want to, so I knitted. Didn’t quite have the courage to sit on the front row, so I hid at the back all week. This go me to the end of the heel and since then I have been doing a few rows a night to get it finished. On my quiet day last week I blitzed the rest of the foot, then worked on the toe this weekend.

At this point, there was a bit of a problem. Esme and I had a disagreement about what I wanted to do. I thought I was sitting on the sofa knitting. Esme thought I should be sitting on the sofa stroking her and generally giving her attention. We tried to compromise, but Esme tried to join in the knitting by chewing the needles. Then she flipped out a bit, grabbed the sock in her teeth and ran off, scattering needles as she went. Oh I was cross. Thankfully Mr F was in her way and was ready to hold her still while I rescued the sock. Some delicate picking up of stitches followed, successfully I think since I ended up with a multiple of 4.

Here is a picture of the finished item.

And here is a link to my other knitting projects on Ravelry, although I’m not sure whether non-members can look at it. Sorry!

Knitting goodness

Look at the lovely shiny things I was given for Christmas!

Knitpicks Harmony interchangeable needles
Knitpicks Harmony interchangeable needles

They haven’t photographed terribly well, but I am very excited about using them. I have decided that I must, must finish my essay and get the next two greek exams out of the way first. Or else have a rule only to use them when Rusk is awake, his nap times being prime college work time.

Esme is sitting on my shoulders chewing my hair. Bizarre animal. I think I had better dissuade her.


5 weeks worth of the Church Times had a not unexpected effect and so I spent the afternoon asleep under a pile of newsprint. I have got two weeks done so now only 3 weeks behind.

It is a little bizarre reading the news from a month ago. There were some very excited speculation about the American elections that I found it difficult to get into. Something about knowing the end of the story there I think.

I’m thinking of making a stand that will hold newspapers at a suitable angle and distance for when Rusk falls asleep on my lap.

In other news… I have decided that at some point it would be useful to have a device for winding skeins of wool into balls. Do any of my knitting readers have any advice on such a contraption? Bonus points if it can also hold a copy of the Church Times.