Monthly Archives: February 2015

What the Promise Means to Me

Another year, another World Thinking Day, the day where Girl Guides and Girl Scouts around the world think of each other, and their founders who shared a birthday on 22nd February. Guiding is one of the only normal things in my life that I can still cope with at the moment. It’s somewhere I feel useful and among friends which really helps when I’m struggling.

The Guide Promise for the UK changed 18 months ago after a consultations with members and non members. Personally I prefer the new version as although it has the same underlying themes as the previous one I think it is more inclusive and less confusing.

I promise that I will do my best,
To be true to myself and develop my beliefs,
To serve my Queen and my community,
To help other people and
To keep the Guide law

Although I was brought up Church of England, I’m no longer religious. I still believe in many of the same values, however, and I think the new wording reflects this well. I believe in tolerance and respect for all people, that more fortunate people have a duty to help those less fortunate and that everyone should use their abilities in the best way they can. Many of our young members are of an age where peer pressure becomes a significant factor and learning to be ‘true to myself’ is an important skill. Some call me stubborn, stroppy and blunt but I think this can be a good thing if aimed appropriately (that’s my excuse).

I also think it is important for beliefs to be continually developed as that involves really thinking about what you believe and why. We recently had a debate evening at Guides where they picked a news story that was important to them and explained what they thought about it. It was really interesting to hear their views on things like gun control in America, endangered animals and the new Mr Men film.

Serving the Queen and community can be a difficult concept to explain to the Guides but to me it involves things like participating in elections, donating time or money to charity and taking part in community events. Obviously for me running Guides is a good way to serve the community, but I also try to support independent businesses (especially the ones who produce really pretty yarn), use the local library and recycle where possible. Community replaced country in the promise review and I like that as communities can be any size, from within the Guide unit to the whole world.

Helping other people is one of the easiest things to understand, but not always easy to do. I was brought up to believe that if someone needs help and you’re in a position to give it then that is what you should do. Over the past few years I’ve helped with other Guide units when they were short on adults, given people knitting tips and learnt first aid (thankfully never needed yet). I often wish there was more I could do, or regret having agreed to something, especially lately, but every little helps (sorry, couldn’t resist).

The most important part of the promise, however, is the first line. We can only ever ask people to do their best. Lately I’ve not been able to do a lot of the things I would have liked, or feel I should be able to, due to my mental health issues. I find this incredibly frustrating and it fuels the depression, but I have to remember that as long as I’m trying then that’s what counts. My dad says I’m very trying so at least I’m getting that right.

Review of Sock Architecture by Lara Neel #shareCPlove

I bought Sock Architecture a few months ago and it’s become one of my favourite reference books. While it includes some patterns, the main focus is on different methods of knitting socks. It has the most comprehensive selection of heels and toes I’ve ever seen. It’s maths heavy and includes equations on how to apply the methods to any number of stitches. I’m someone who likes to understand how things work so I find that really interesting.

I was particularly interested in the afterthought heel section. It had never occurred to me that most types of heel could be done as afterthought heels, even flap and gusset. I’ve been knitting lots of self striping socks lately and an afterthought heel allows the striping to go from the leg to the foot without a disruption to the stripes.

I made my Dad a pair of socks for Christmas using an afterthought heel with gusset and the extra needle technique. This involves using a provisional cast on for the gusset stitches and holding the heel stitches on a spare circular needle while knitting the foot (I tend to knit all my socks top down although the book includes instructions for toe up as well). I found it a little fiddly with the extra needle getting in the way but I really liked the results, I think in future I would use waste yarn instead of the extra needle. I decided to use a different yarn for the heel and toe which complemented the stripes, as the shorter rows affect the spacing of the stripes.

Last week the cold weather really set in (although being in the south I barely got any snow) and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to cast on some socks in Regia Snowflake. For these I used an afterthought heel without a gusset and the thumb joint flat top heel and toe. The only afterthought heel I made before had a hat top heel and I wasn’t happy with the fit as it left a point at the back of the heel so I wanted to try another option.

Afterthough heel

The process of an afterthought heel ©Rachel Gibbs

The heel stitches were knit with waste yarn and then picked up after the foot was complete. With some careful planning I was able to make the heel stripes flow seamlessly from the body of the sock. It fits well and I’m really happy with it. I’m sure by the time the second sock is finished the snow will have gone but hand knit socks are always welcome.

I would definitely recommend it if you have a geeky interest in sock composition. I wasn’t paid to review this book, I’m just a fan (although if you buy through the Amazon links below I get a small commission). This is part of #shareCPlove, a competition to promote the great publications from Cooperative Press.

Price: £15.95