Saturday, 29 May 2010

G's Birthday

Knitwits Yarns

Today is G's 17th birthday and last night was the School Prom so he celebrated in style and, apparently, got to sleep at 5.30 this morning - oh, to be young again! 17 years ago he looked like this:

Obviously, as my first born, I thought he was the most beautiful baby in the world.

Last night he looked like this:

I think it would be fair to say that he's grown, blossomed and matured into a young man that FB and I can be very proud of indeed. And we are.

Now, of course, he wants to learn to drive - heaven help us all!!

Happy Birthday G.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Quiet Day

Knitwits Yarns

FB was just asking if I was going to blog today and I was saying that I didn't have too much to say and - then - the phone rang and youngest son (T) was on the phone letting us know what time he'd be back as he'd been up to the Independent Schools Athletics competition for the south-west today in Exeter. Wasn't expecting to do well as he's in the under 17 age group and he's only 15 and, well, he's only gone and won the triple jump competition and qualified for the nationals in Birmingham.

Two boys in two national finals in one year - I'm not sure I can take the excitement. Well done, T - you never cease to amaze us!

Monday, 24 May 2010

Summer Knitting!

Knitwits Yarns

Well, the good news is that - between us - we've appeased the weather gods and the sun has been shining down here in Pz for the entire weekend. Today there are some very, very pink people wandering around town. As a word of warning - if you ever come down to glorious Cornwall on holiday and you're lucky enough to see some sun, be aware that the sun is incredibly strong down here. My friend Hannah was out in the sun yesterday for 3 hours with factor 35 on and she's like a tomato today (her description, not mine!) and this is the same factor 35 that she used in Egypt and it was so strong she didn't tan at all. Also be aware that, even if the sun isn't shining brightly down here you can get burned - as my brother-in-law will testify - he burns every time he comes down here - even if it's cloudy!

We did 4 hours gardening yesterday and I slapped the cream on us all and I'm fine - boys all went cycling on Saturday so are, obviously, all pink - what is it with men hating sun tan cream?!!

So - having angered the weather gods for several days, I thought you'd like to see what I'm knitting. My strappy, little summer top is this one:

taken from Debbie Bliss's Spring/Summer 2010 magazine - which you can find - here. I'm knitting it in King Cole Bamboo Cotton, which I am loving. Knitting it in this colour:

Yup - good old bright, zingy, fuchsia pink! We've had a couple of customers who haven't liked the Bamboo Cotton so much - had problems with it twisting and splitting - but I'm knitting from the middle of the ball (as is my usual practice) and I've had no problems at all with either twisting or splitting. It's wonderfully soft yet crisp enough to show up the cables beautifully and I absolutely love it. In fact, I love it so much I can see me knitting something else in it straight away, which is unusual for me as I - partly - knit for customers to see different yarns so very, very rarely knit with the same yarn twice. This one is definitely going to be an exception though. The only question is going to be what to knit next with this gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous yarn (and, no, King Cole haven't paid me to say that).

Tonight I'll balance the weather-karma and knit pure wool socks.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Summer - what Summer?

Knitwits Yarns

The weather gods are not yet appeased. I knit on a sock last night at home to see if that would work but we're still under thick cloud - no rain today and it's pretty muggy but no sunshine splitting the paving I regret to say.

Last night FB asked me if I could design a sock in Cornish Organic and I said I reckoned I probably could - so I've wound off a ball of 4ply in Sennen and will start that tonight. I think it could do the trick. I've also just sneaked in a few rows of strappy summer top though so I might have blown it!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Summer in Cornwall

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I've heard that the whole of the UK is currently bathed in warm sunshine. Cornwall is lying under a cloud of gloom and drizzle and occasional downpours. I blame myself entirely and would, hereby, like to apologise to all the occupants of this fine county. I cast off the socks and cast on a summer, strappy top. And - lo - the cloud and rain came down. It's all my fault and I apologise. I promise that as soon as said summer top is finished I'll revert to warm, winter socks. OK?

Monday, 17 May 2010

Finishing Socks

Knitwits Yarns

Yesterday was my sister-in-law's birthday. She received one sock in the post. I'm gathering from the feedback I'm getting - both in the blog and the shop - that sock knitting is a disease from which you never recover. That being so - is sending one sock for presents a symptom of the disease? I finished Sharon's second sock yesterday which was appropriate as it was her birthday and if we didn't live 400 miles from each other she could have, feasibly, received it on her birthday. As it is, it's in the post tonight and before I parcelled it up FB photographed it:

It's Araucania in a shade we don't have in stock at the moment but at least it gives you an idea of how it knits up - I think "gorgeous" is the word.

I've also finished Dad's socks - a good two weeks before his birthday, which must be some kind of record for me. They're done in Zig Zag, in colour Rhapsody which we're currently out of stock of as everyone's seen me knitting them and has then bought the wool:

This is how T would wear them:

He rarely, if ever, wears matching socks. We even bought him ones with the days of the week on to try and help but it doesn't - today I believe we're wearing Monday & Thursday. It's either called creativity or laziness - take your pick.

And in answer to your question, tine - no, fortunately there was no need for the RNLI as the engine seized before they'd left Penzance harbour. It's turned out to be terminal so the hunt is on for a new engine. Is anyone out there aware of the cost of small boat engines? You could buy a car for the cost of them - seriously, £4,000 for a new one - it's giving me palpitations at 3am so I've had to cast on another sock to keep me calm. Fortunately a friend came over on Saturday night and brought 3 crabs with him so all is well in that department.

Today is G's last day at School before study leave for the dreaded GCSE's. 12 more exams to go - 14 years education boiled down to 12 exams - my heart goes out to all Year 11's and, even more so, to their parents.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Still Knitting Socks

Knitwits Yarns

After all the excitement of last weekend, all is calm and quiet chez Hopson (when I say "quiet" the term is, of course, relative) the washing is nearly done (ha!), T has Boxing Club tonight (if any of you feel the need to get really, really fit I can strongly recommend joining a Boxing Club - they're so fit it's scary) but we have no expedition rucksacks to pack, no rugby matches this weekend and no fishing expeditions as the boat engine has seized. (That last one is not good news, by the way, as it makes all the men in the house slightly edgy and very grumpy and means, of course, no fresh crab.)

And I am still knitting socks. Dad's pair are finished (photo to follow soon) and on time as well - amazing. Have started to knit another pair for a present and mystery project is still ongoing. I think tinebeest's comment about socks is about right - apparently, FB won't mind me knitting socks if they're for him ............... hmmm. Can feel some stocking fillers coming on - but if I knit for one I guess I'll have to knit for all 3.

Can someone tell me - once you start this sock knitting thing, does it ever stop?

Monday, 10 May 2010

Ten Tors is Over!

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So Ten Tors is over, the boys are exhausted and their parents are very, very proud.

Given their huge speed on Saturday we all left early on Sunday and got up to Oakhampton in time to see them cross the finishing line at 10.53 precisely. Here they are approaching the line:

From left to right we have Tim W, Tim T, Ollie, Steven, my Tom (small curly one in the foreground) and John. (My Tom isn't actually that small but Steven behind him is over 6'!)

Showing true Bolitho grit and courage, after 35 miles of arduous terrain, they ran the last 30 metres over the finishing line!

It's incredibly difficult to compare teams against each other except for those doing the same route. There are 12 different routes and, as teams have to stop by Tor 8 on the Saturday, those who are nearest to the end on the Sunday are, clearly, going to come in first. For T and his team, they reached Tor 8 by 5.12 on Saturday but had a very long flog home on Sunday - probably 6 miles from Tor 10 to the end.

However - and remembering this isn't a race(!) - they arrived back first in their group at 10.53 and, to put it into perspective, the first team back on their route last year was in a 11am and two years ago it was 11.35am. In other words - they did unbelievably well and walked at one heck of a lick. Their teacher from School was saying yesterday that he'd been concerned during training that he was getting really unfit as he couldn't keep up with them. Looking at the times they were recording on Saturday, he realised they were just damn fast!

We are all incredibly proud of them and, furthermore, they were all at School today! Here they are receiving their medals (from Tim T's Dad!):

My T is holding the certificate as he was Team Leader.

Well done boys - you're a credit to the school, yourselves and the younger generation as a whole, many of whom - sadly - wouldn't be able to walk a quarter of the distance you did, let alone carrying all their kit as well.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

What a Weekend!

Knitwits Yarns

Well, what a weekend it's been and continues to be! I didn't get at all excited by the run up to the election as I knew who I was going to vote for from day 1. But I did get really excited as the results were coming in and found myself glued to the telly for far longer than I would normally. We went to an election party with friends on Thursday night and stayed far later than we intended (got to bed at 1.30!! - might have been something to do with the Tequila Sunrises - thanks, David) and then I found myself wide awake at 5.00am wondering a) what was going on and b) how would FB react if I turned the TV on. Managed to hold off 'til 6.00am and then turned it on and was stuck to it for the rest of the day. All very exciting but still no-one in charge. Let's hope they can sort it over the weekend.

But, of course, our weekend is dominated by Ten Tors. The B52's are doing brilliantly and are, e'en as I write at 5.20, heading to Tor 8 where they will camp for the night (for those of you who've forgotten the rules you can't go beyond Tor 8 on Day 1 and many, many people don't make it to Tor 8). They are taking it in turns to be first in their group with Exeter School so there's a real Devon/Cornwall battle going on there!

We're driving up to Okehampton tomorrow morning but reckon there'll be over the finish line before we get there - barring disasters. Still, as we're travelling up with the Army Officer who presents the awards, at least we know we won't miss that!

Click here if you're in any way, shape or form interested in our boys' progress (they're The Bolitho School at the top).

Keep going boys!!

Just checked the site - they reached Tor 8 at 5.12 so they'll be putting up their tents now!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Ten Tors

Knitwits Yarns

This weekend is the Ten Tors event on Dartmoor. For those of you who live north of Somerset and haven't heard of this event it's an outward-bound type adventure organised by the Army. Basically, you have to walk 35, 45 or 55 miles (depending on age, experience and sanity), including 10 Tors (that's Devon for "hill"), carrying all your kit, departing at 7.00am on Saturday and completing it by 5pm on Sunday. You walk in teams of 6 and you have to carry your tents, sleeping bags, cookers, food, spare clothes, etc, etc, etc for the entire event. And, oh yes, you can't compete if you're older than 20!

You can't cheat as you have to register at the top of each Tor and you need to navigate your way for the whole 35 miles as there are numerous different routes and you're give your route 24 hours before the start. You have to camp by 8pm on Saturday and you can't leave your Tor until 6am.

It's a fantastic challenge and a real achievement for those who do it - and, believe me, not all do complete it.

The teams are gathering in Okehampton camp tonight (over 400 teams in all) and our T is leading The Bolitho School team - the B52's (that's their number and it's really cool!) and they are all only 15 years old.

G completed it two years ago (when he was 14) in a Bolitho School record time so there's no pressure but, needless to say, T is determined to beat his brother's time! In all the literature they keep saying it's not a race but, as G says, once you're on the Moor, you bet it's a race.

If anyone is vaguely interested, they can follow our team's progress here. Remember - they're team B52. It becomes incredibly addictive to see how they're getting on.

We've had a wet day here today and I gather it's drizzly up on Dartmoor but forecast to improve so keep everything crossed. G did it in such hot weather that they were so concerned about heat stroke that they helicoptered water on to the Tors so at least he didn't have to worry about purifying his water (yes, you have to take water from the streams and purify it).

It's a fantastic challenge and a fantastic weekend and we're planning to drive up on Sunday to cheer them all in. As T says, "Bring It On"!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Socks Part 2

Knitwits Yarns

FB wants me to let you all know that he hates me knitting socks. I'm not sure if it's the going round and round endlessly or the cursing and swearing when I mess up the entire heel, pull it all out and have to start again that irritates him the most. (Yesterday, I messed up a heel, in case you hadn't gathered.)

This is unfortunate as I'm just finishing two socks and am about to start one and a whole new pair (I have different projects in the shop and at home, in case that confused you). So, we have a couple of options:

a) FB and I sit in different rooms when I'm knitting socks (possible but not entirely practical);
b) FB and I live in different houses whilst I'm knitting socks (again, not terribly practical as, strangely, we don't have a spare house for this scenario);
c) I give up knitting socks (not an option, obviously);
d) FB has to grit his teeth and bear it.

Personally, I go for option d) - thoughts?

Saturday, 1 May 2010


Knitwits Yarns

At the moment I am knitting mostly socks. In fact, I am knitting only socks. For someone who isn't a mad, fanatical sock knitter this is a strange place to be. I still have Dad's on the needles in the shop and the second one is nearly done and then I have the mystery project at home (which will be revealed before May is out) which has, for this week, turned into sock knitting and then I have another pair of socks planned for another present.

Knitting socks is a strange thing. You put all that effort into something that's not really going to be seen, is going to get pretty hot and sweaty at times - sorry, but that's the reality - and will, therefore, be chucked in the washing machine on a regular basis and only the wearer truly appreciates their wonder as hand knitted socks are, without doubt, the most comfortable socks you will ever wear.

And yet, they are peculiarly addictive. The more you knit, the faster you get so they're suddenly not so daunting and will be finished in no time (in your head - obviously, in reality you're going round and round for some considerable time) and the wearer (if they're a gift) truly appreciates the effort made and the time that's gone into them.

Are hand knitted socks the ultimate sign of love?

If you're coming down to Cornwall this weekend, please note that we are closed on Monday but we look forward to seeing you from Tuesday onwards - 9-5 every day except Sunday.