Actually there aren't really any tubas in this post*, but there are some tubers and quite a lot of knitting for once.
The tubers are these - Shetland Black potatoes - which we originally bought to eat, but some of them started sprouting so I planted them, and now have slightly more than I did to start with. It wasn't a very substantial crop, but not bad considering they were growing in a bucket round the back of the greenhouse, and they do scrub up to a rather striking purple colour which it turns out fades to blue when they're cooked, but can be made pink again by the addition of lemon juice.
The weather having reverted to type and gone back to being miserable, cold and wet, however, I've been spending more time indoors knitting than out amongst the plants and have finally managed to produce a few FOs.
First the Moonlight Sonata shawl which I started back in late May. Gratifyingly it used up exactly two of the three skeins of Jitterbug I bought for it, leaving the whole of the third for me to do something else with. I'm not sure that I blocked it quite to the right shape, as I found it a bit difficult to work out exactly how much to stretch the shaping around the shoulders. It doesn't quite do what it looks as though it ought to from the pictures on Ravelry, so perhaps I'll reblock it at some point, but on the whole I'm pleased and it promises to be very cosy. Needless to say, the lousy weather does nothing for the colour of the photos.
Mostly, though I've been fighting to complete two projects as presents for my sister (who was in the UK for a couple of weeks) before she left to go back to Australia again. She is a marine biologist and so coming across various knitted sea creatures on Ravelry I felt I had to have a go at making some of them. The first thing I attempted was Hansi Singh's Octopus. I decided to use some of the Debbie Bliss cotton I had left from Enfys, which turned out not to be the wisest choice since the inelasticity was once again a definite disadvantage when it came to doing lots of increases and decreases. However, I finally produced something which looked vaguely octopus-like (admittedly on the second attempt, the first having come to a sticky end when I came across a stray leg at the bottom of my knitting bag, and discovered to my dismay that I'd inadvertently made a Heptapus instead).
In order to allow her to use the octopus as a paperweight I struck on the idea of stuffing it with a balloon filled with fine gravel (the sort you use to mulch cacti). Getting the gravel into the balloon was a bit of a challenge. A certain amount went in fairly easily with the help of a kitchen funnel, but I soon reached the point at which I needed to stretch the balloon in order to get any more in. Ever resourceful, C. got around this problem for me by inserting his chin into the funnel up to the nose and blowing down it to inflate the balloon whilst simultaneous waggling his head from side to side to shake the gravel down into the balloon. This presented a very entertaining spectacle, not least when the waggling inadvertently moved his face away from the edge of the funnel on one side, allowing the balloon to deflate and leaving C. with a surprised expression and a mouthful of gravel.
However, the gravel balloon idea seemed to work relatively well, so having successfully completed the octopus I then moved on to something more challenging - the hermit crab. This is without doubt the most fiddly thing I have ever made and I won't be in a hurry to make another (certainly not in cotton). That's not to say that there's anything wrong with the pattern, which is a masterpiece of yarn-meets-mathematics which I find truly amazing. Grafting the shell together and watching it curl itself into a tight little helix was tremendously satisfying. However, it does require an awful lot of grafting - not least on each of four legs and two pincers, and consequently I overran rather in terms of completion time. Most of yesterday was spent frantically knitting and grafting together crustacean legs (and almost completely ignoring my sister as a result), and it finally got sewn together a mere 10 minutes before she had to leave for the airport.
So, what to knit next is the question now. I have sworn off creatures for a while, and will be returning to socks for the train. To this end I have already started on a pair of Hopscotch socks, which in this case really are Oxford Bluestockings, being not only blue, and knitted in (or around) Oxford, but made to Liz's pattern from Katie's yarn.
For home I have high hopes of conquering the infuriating River Stole which has been languishing in my stash for ages, but then what? Currently burning the biggest hole in my stash are 10 balls of grey Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4ply...any suggestions?
*For anyone who's wondering, it's just the title of one of my favourite Bonzo Dog songs.