Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Knitting and Covid in a Heatwave

I don't like the heat and so the last few days have not been fun for me. I'm hanging on to my equilibrium mostly by keeping a bath full of cold water to climb into periodically. Although when I was rinsing dishes earlier I thought I had the hot tap on it took so long for cold water to run through.

My flat faces east with most of the outside walls being window so it heats up early and stays hot at the moment. There's no way of getting a cross breeze through, but as the city smells strongly of dog shit, urine (not, I fear, just dogs) spilt beer, sweat, and over hot bins, maybe that's not such a bad thing. Right now the sun is bouncing off the west facing windows of the opposite building and replenishing any heat that might have escaped earlier.

Given the heat this would have to have been the week that I chose to finish a knitting project and also the week I went for a Covid test. The Covid test has been a reminder to not be complaisant. A friend I'd been for a few walks with, and who I know has been extremely careful tested positive at the beginning of the week. She had gone for the test as a precaution before traveling to meet family outdoors next week. She wouldn't have been breaking any rules, and hasn't had any symptoms, the test was an extra precaution to reassure elderly parents. The positive result was a real shock.

As we'd seen each other within 10 days I went for a test too, I hadn't had symptoms either, and have come back with a negative result which I suppose is a relief. The reality is that I knew the chances of having it were slim, the bigger issue feels like the reminder that even when you do everything right you can still catch this thing, and now that things are opening up so much, if you're asymptomatic you can spread it too.

If you do find you need a test try and book it through the NHS website and not the government one that you tend to get directed to. It gives you less choice of testing centers - we have lots to choose from round here, and in my case failed to send the qr code I needed, or register me. Fortunately I got a walk through test anyway and after struggling to register on the government site again called 119 (as advised by the test centre) and quickly got sorted out. I'll certainly consider booking another test before any projected travel arrangements as it seems better to know you're safe, than be sorry later.

The knitting project was a cushion cover for dads birthday (on Sunday). I knew I wasn't going to get it to him on time, but I wanted to show him I'd finished it on time, so despite the heat I battled through and got it done by Saturday afternoon. I'm delighted with how this has turned out as I was short of time for planning and didn't get to do any swatching.

The maths of the thing and the centre of the pattern are taken from Hazel Tindalls Scaddiman cushion cover pattern - her circular cushions are really lovely to knit up, I recommend buying some of her patterns for them. I wanted it to suggest a Lancashire rose - the whole thing borrows elements from the family coat of arms. The curlews are a slightly adapted version of the ones from Linda Shearer's hat for the RSPB for a Curlew crisis month they had a couple of years ago. The scallop shells are another family emblem and are a slightly abbreviated version from a pattern in Marja de Haan's 'Uradale Shawls'. I considered adapting her curlews too, but Linda's fitted my cushion cover better.

I'm not entirely clear on what the etiquette of these kind of borrowings and adaptations are - although I do feel that once patterns are out there (duly paid for in this case) they will naturally take on their own life anyway. Either way it's right to credit the people whose initial work made it easy for me to throw elements together into something that's worked really well for me. I have more plans for messing with that Scaddiman pattern - the centre of it is a peach, just waiting for different colours to change it's mood and the things it suggests. Dad is pleased with the pictures of his cushion as well, which after feeling like I was boiling in the bag to knit it is a relief.


  1. The cushion is beautiful!

  2. The heat this year has been ferocious, hasn't it? Here in Northern Nova Scotia, too, where we usually have unbearably hot days for a week or two, tops, the heat warnings keep rolling out. I'm so thankful that two years ago, we decided to replace our old wood-burning furnace with a heat pump and a wood stove. I'm actually not crazy about the job it does in the winter (the stove is marvelous) but, my word, can that heat pump air-condition! Still too hot to work outside though. :-(

    I love your (well, your dad's) cushion cover and I am IMPRESSED at the "maths of it". You are really talented.

  3. Oh - and the COVID thing. Yes, scares me so. Even if you're hyper-careful as your friend was. And as I try to be.

  4. Thank You. The Scaddiman cushion pattern gave me the number of stitches to start with, and where to do the decreases, as well as the central part of the pattern - which would have been all the hard bits for me to work out. After that I just fitted the rest of what I wanted onto the template. Glad you have air conditioning. I don't, and thanks to covid it doesn't even make sense to hang out all day somewhere that does. Still, for all the complaining it's only for a few days each year.