BackTo Knitting With A View

One of my favourite things to do is drive to the beach and sit with my knitting while K takes the dog for a walk. It’s been a while. The beach is just too far to walk to from home so when lockdown began we stuck to dog walks round the village. Then when the restrictions were lifted the world and his wife seemed to arrive in Northumberland for a staycation. The coast was basically full! The surge in domestic tourism has helped the local economy and kept our local hospitality industry going which is great, but now the school term has begun and many of the holiday makers have gone it’s lovely to reclaim our beaches.

Today we went to Sugar Sands. It’s a bit off the beaten track and getting there involves a gated single-track road through a farm (with an honesty box – you pay £1 to park by the beach and it all goes to local church funds.) It’s been one of the few places we’ve been able to park on the coast, until August Bank Holiday, when it appeared on a list of “Britains’s top secret beaches” somewhere and got overrun. There were still quite a few people about but as you can see there was nobody sat on the beach.

The parking area is at the top of a steep bank , so the view over the beach and out to sea is wonderful. It was such a beautiful day, if a bit breezy, and the sea was the most brilliant blue.

There were still some sand martins about (they nest in holes in the bank). Some tiny wading birds (sanderling I think) were trotting about the shoreline like clockwork toys. A pair of gannets were hunting quite close to shore, unmistakable when they turned into the sun to show pure white plumage and black tips to those long straight wings. They would soar to gain height then fold their wings and plummet into the water with a splash, catching small fish with that dagger beak. It’s always spectacular to watch.

I love to knit with a view. Do you have a favourite knitting spot?

A Coastal Castle (and a Finished Project)

Dunstanburgh Castle

Today we headed up the coast to Craster and beyond, towards Dunstanburgh Castle. Northumberland has many castles, but this is one, which dates from the 14th Century, is one of the most atmospheric, situated on a rocky promontory overlooking the sea, between the villages of Craster and Embleton.

It’s about 1.5 miles from the nearest car park to the castle and I haven’t been since I was a child. (I took these photos at Embleton Steads) It is in an amazing location – the cliffs on the north side of the promontory are home to nesting seabirds, including fulmar and kittiwake. There were cliff nesting house martins too at one time but I’m not sure if they are still there.

I also completed the Twiddle Mitt last night. These are given to Alzheimers patients to distract them from picking at dressings and canulae when in hospital. Also, repeatedly twiddling the buttons and other adornments and stroking the different textures of yarn can have a calming effect.

My Twiddle Mitt

A friend who has arthritic hands and can no longer knit donated a huge bag of wool, needles etc to the knit and natter group. This included some yarns that were perfect for this – mohair, boucle, some glittery ones. I used this pattern and added some beads, including some little jingle bells, buttons and threaded a ribbon through. I also added some to the inside. The knit version is easy – a stocking stitch rectangle sewn into a tube, doubled up and sewn together at the ends. It’s great for using up those odd little bits of yarn and the more you mix the yarns the more interesting it is. You can add texture by varying the knitting stitch too – blackberry stitch or moss stitch would work, or some cable. I think I might try the crochet version next time.