The gulls are back….

Early April, but you wouldn’t know it from the temperatures and weather we are having here in Edinburgh. It’s more like early January on both counts.

Nature is unpredictable. She keeps us on our toes. This is our view on a sunny day:

This is how it looked this morning (it’s snowing now as I type!).

 

I am in no way complaining. I find these changes endlessly fascinating.

And I am also captivated by those events which remain regular and routine. Nature is the ultimate paradox – plus ça change plus c’est la même chose.

Take ‘our’ gulls, for example. Every year, these greater black-backed gulls* return to the roofs of the houses opposite us.

Our regular neighbours (with apologies for the terrible photo)

 

With spring comes, of course, mating. They seem to enjoy many weeks becoming reacquainted before getting on with the business of creating life. This involves spending a lot of time together on the right-hand roof, before they build a nest which, appropriately enough, nestles among the chimney pots of the roof on the left.

Right roof = courting; left roof = nesting!!

It has become such a pleasure, over the five years we have lived here, to get to know their routine. Waking up to their soft cawing and cackling as an added dimension to the dawn chorus. Watching their courtship, home-making and in due course incubating. And most excitingly of all, watching the chick-rearing. That comes later. But it will come – of that we can be certain.

 

*of course, we have no way of knowing whether they are the same gulls. But I like to think they are… 🙂

 

 

Spring happiness in spite of all the snow

I very much appreciated all the generous comments and likes in response to my last post about my current knitting and crochet projects, so much so that I feel emboldened to share one further bundle of joy.

The weather here in Edinburgh, as for many other places, has continued to be very cold and grey and yes the snow even came back this weekend. How delighted I was, then, to be working with all these beautiful spring colours on the development of a new crochet motif.

 

I recently came across this picture on Flickr and knew instantly that the antidote to the current weathery blues would be to create my own version.

Apple blossom blanket

 

I hunted around a bit for some suitable yarn and happened upon this suggested yarn pack from The HomeMakery. I added to it an additional green, pink and cream from the same yarn range to give me the 8 shades pictured above. All that remained was to decide upon a pattern.

I love the hexagons in the original photo but I wanted my throw to be a bit more blossomy. I also wanted to create a sense of flowers and petals without the design being too lacy. For a throw I wanted a relatively dense fabric for plenty of snuggly warmth.

As you can see from this next picture, I had a lot of fun working up various samples. Sitting with all these lovely colours in front of me while also looking out at the blizzards made my spirits soar!

I gradually homed in on a motif which gave me all the elements I was looking for. One interesting conundrum was the extent to which I could avoid make the inner lines too straight. This next photo shows you the, albeit subtle, difference between the straight-edged dark pink row (on the right) and the slightly more wavy dark pink edge on the left. There is not much in it, I accept, but I felt that the softer lines in the motif on the left were preferable.

 

I also wanted to develop a means of joining the motifs as I went along in a way which avoided too much openwork in the motifs’ outer stitch rounds. In these next photos, you can see that I managed to achieve this aim. It also gives you an idea of how the finished throw will look.

 

Obviously, there is a still a long way to go. But with these delicious spring colours to work with, it will be no hardship at all.

There are signs of spring outside – I was really pleased to see these daffodils among some residual snow patches while I was out walking earlier today. And I am even more delighted to have plenty of spring blossoms inside too! 🙂