Monday, 25 July 2011

Super Sunday

The sky was blue, the sun was glorious and we packed lots into the day. My idea of a super Sunday...

walking up Blackford Hill with the children
stopping to watch the ducks and geese at the pond
making chocolatey, beetroot brownies
loads of washing washed and dried
the windows all open, bringing sunshine and warm air into our home
a family bike ride through the cool shade of the Hermitage of Braid
a well-earned ice cream eaten in the sun
home made pizzas, eaten in the garden
water play
bare legged children running and running in circles on the lawn
another nappy sewn and washed, ready to wear
my first home made yoghurt
listening to the cricket as we pottered in and out of the house
a knitting experiment concluded and frogged

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

FO: Grace

At last, Grace is finished and ready to parcel up and send on to the small girl I've been thinking of as I made this. It's not perfect, but it's not bad either, and as usual for Rowan patterns, has turned out to be rather a generous size (I made the 3-4 size). The bean tried it on for me the other day, and it was plenty big enough for him (aged 4 1/2), so it will do for Bella (3 and a bit) for next year and beyond.

Pattern: Grace (Rowan Winter Kids)
Yarn: unravelled and reknitted from a charity shop jumper (commercially made garment)
Mods: None
Time taken: CO in February 2011. Finished July 2011.

It has taken me ages to finish. There was all the shenanigans with the yarn and then getting the button bands all wrong, and reknitting the collar several times over. In the end I did it as written, but stitched it down in order to cure the curling once and for all.  While I like the pattern, I am not wild about the pleat detail, and found the collar rather badly behaved. I should also report here that after all that angst about running out of yarn, I had barely a yard or two of yarn left once I had done all the seaming and finishing. The good thing about that is the total obliteration of that particular yarn from the stash!

As if this wasn't exciting enough, I've been having fun with the latest husband socks (sock 1 now at the toe). However, because husband socks are not the best thing to experiment with, I accidentally cast on another pair of socks (how did that happen?). Watch this space - tutorial/recipe for seriously stripey socks coming soon. 

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The trouble with socks (FO and WIP)

A while ago (early April) I cast on some husband socks for my dear husband's birthday. I cracked on with the Java pattern from Knitty, which I've been itching to knit for a while. Apart from messing up the rib, and having to redo that a couple of times, it was all going swimmingly until i got down the first foot towards the toe  (although by then the birthday deadline had been and gone). At that point it started to look like there was a problem with the yarn. By which I mean, there wasn't going to be enough of it. When we went on holiday at the end of June, I packed a bag of projects and my digital scales. I weighed the sock (making allowance for the needles) and I weighed the remaining yarn. They were about the same. No chance then of making a pair of socks. A slight drawback in a sock project. So, I started again.

I pulled some interesting leftovers out of my sock yarn stash, including a small ball of sock yarn I bought in a charity shop and I cast on for a pair of stripey scrap socks. The trouble was that these would never do for my husband, so they had to be for me. I polished them off in about a week (there is something very, very more-ish about those stripes).

(This is a WIP shot. Haven't yet had chance to take a FO picture)
Pattern: generic top-down, using a grumperina stripe
Yarn: Regia semi solid (dark grey); unknown self-striping sock yarn (paler green/cream); unknown (?Rowan) 4-ply (darker green).

Once those were off the needles (and on my feet) I got round to the subject of socks with my other half. Yes, he would like some (rather belated birthday socks) but they would have to be different to the Christmas pair. No problem. I wanted to do more stripes, but to make something a bit more subtle, so I cast on with two grey yarns this time, one ball of trekking in charcoal grey and another charity shop yarn which is a bit paler and has a strand of blue to give it a bit of extra something. These aren't quite floating my boat in the same way as the green ones, but I'm hoping they won't take too long. I'm a bit behind with a few. other. things.

While we were on holiday, celebrating my birthday, I managed another FO - the scarf I had been knitting from last-minute knitted gifts (chevron scarf). Here it is enjoying the morning sun in the blue bedroom and waiting to be packed in the knitting bag to go home. There it was washed and blocked and wrapped and sent. A belated birthday gift for my cousin, Emma. Happy Birthday Em!

Pattern: Chevron Scarf (Last-minute knitted gifts)
Yarn: 50g Rowan Cashsoft and 50g or so of hand-dyed yarn by Jenny Cook

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Birthday Bling

After 40 years on this earth, I seem (finally) to have got my dearest and nearest into the groove in terms of gifts. My husband gave me some splendid jewellery - pearls (my birthstone) and diamonds - from the rather nice Lime Blue in Edinburgh.

My mother and mother-in-law both gave me sock yarn. Mum gave me some more of Jenny Cook's yarn from Hay-on-Wye - this time a blue yarn with a silver sparkle; my mother-in-law gave me two differnet yarns - a hank of purpley blue Malabrigo, and a ball of pinky Berocco, also with a sparkle. My mother-in-law also gave me Jane Brocket's latest book - the Gentle Art of Knitting. I foresee several tea cosies in the near future.

There were other gifts too, notably, a copy of Ysolda Teague's 'little red in the city' (which hasn't quite arrived yet) and several bottles of wine... It's nice to be of an age where people give you lovely wine and good books.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Forty Love

Last week I was forty. It is quite something to be inhabiting a new decade on this earth. I remember my mother being very grumpy about the big 4-0, but I am not - I am happy. My thirties were all about forging my life, establishing my career, finding the right man, getting married and starting a family. My forties will be different - the baby days are behind us, and we are settled in this city (if not this house). There is much to do - much to knit, to sew, to craft, to bake, to write, to garden, to love, to live, to see, touch and taste - and I am looking forward to it all. To living for another 40 splendid years.

The midsummer is such a special time - with the long days (sometimes sunny) and the fat, lushness of the garden - and of course strawberries and Pimms and cream and ice-cream and Wimbledon and tennis and dashed hopes (c'mon Andy!) It's also our wedding anniversary. 6 happy years. Thank you my love. Happy anniversary.