Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Last minute knits

I am still home, waiting patiently (or not) in the gloriously sunny but incredibly cold weather, (which is better than the other option of grey but warmer). Evening fires, time to bake bread and cakes, to knit and sew, and clean all those little nooks and crannies that otherwise get ignored...how could I not be happy. And yet somehow...I am becoming impatient!

Anyway, I have taken the opportunity to continue to knit small, warm, woolly pieces for this boy, as it has turned very cold very quickly. And its quite good fun! A little vest, knit in Rowan Purelife organic wool (Tannin and Ivy shades):
The yarn is quite lovely. Its nice enough when you are knitting it, although the Tannin puts quite a lot of dye on your fingers & needles, but after a wash it comes up beautifully and is quite soft and snuggly. Interestingly, not only is the yarn organic but it is dyed with sustainable plant dyes, so it is all very green and lovely. And the excess dye washed out of the yarn pretty quickly, without too much colour change (and didn't affect the lighter yarn at all). I also love the buttons - I think they are perfect!

The pattern is from Drops Design - romantically named 'a sleeveless jumper'. Its simple and easy (I knit it in the round to avoid seaming), I just added stripes and a little pattern that I took from a lovely little book about Estonian mittens that I was given a while ago.
I've also started a lovely little alpaca cardigan, but given the weight of the yarn and the size of the needles (both very small!) it is like knitting a pretty, tiny, waft of cloud, and is taking its sweet time. But it might be done by the time he gets here....if I keep knitting!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A change in seasons

I love England in Autumn. Love it, from start to finish.
We went for a walk on the weekend in the lovely Oxfordshire countryside. It was clear, crisp and beautiful, and Simon saw a hare (I was taking a photo of him at the time, so all I saw was a hare's bum disappearing into the undergrowth).
Requisite bump photo - not the best picture of me, but you get the idea and I guess that with 2 weeks to go I have an excuse...
Also, cows moving from their summer pastures to ones closer to home. Ah, the country.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quiet times

So after a week of maternity leave I finally get around to blogging! Terrible stuff. Doesn't mean I haven't been doing things...slowly. But the motivation to photograph them and then blog post them is just a bit lacking. So here is a catch-up of all the knitting stuff thats been going on. There were going to be other pictures too, of walks in the woods and so forth, but the camera has just run out of batteries, so I need to go and recharge them before that happens - maybe tomorrow.

But on with the knitting:
Firstly, baby knitting - socks and hats. There is also a vest, which is waiting to be washed, blocked and have buttons. The socks are very fun to knit, and look so cute! I need to start making bigger sizes, I think. The hat is much greener and cooler than in the picture - I think there needs to be a baby shot to show you it properly.
Then there is the Jo Sharp jacket - finally! Apparently, it took me a year to knit this, according to Ravelry. Actually, it took me a few months to knit it, decide it was too long and unflattering, leave it in the cupboard for a few months and then unravel the body down to the cables and reknit it. I'm so glad I did - it is perfect for wearing over the bump, and toasty and warm.
I started knitting this gorgeous silk/cashmere yarn from Posh Yarns - its will eventually be a scarf. Its going swimmingly - nice pattern, pretty yarn, all good.

I also have been knitting S a vest (at his request) from this nice New Lanark wool - I'm ready to split it into front and back for the top part now, which I should do this afternoon (plus some knitting maths to make sure it fits his stringent requirements), but the scarf is just so pretty I'd rather knit that! Ok, so thats all the knitting that my batteries let me take pics of. Its my one area of productivity at this point, so there has been a fair bit of it, but there has also been jam making, cake baking (and eating) and general enjoyment of the autumnal changes. Also, our wood arrived, and sitting down in the evenings with your knitting and a fire is one of the delights of living.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Welsh Adventure

Sorry about the delay in posting...things just seem to be getting away from me! But a quick post about our recent little holiday in Pembrokeshire. It was ace. We stayed right on the beach in Broad Haven - the view from our room was spectacular (so good, I didn't take any pictures! Oops). It really is a glorious part of the UK, and we had a lovely 'wind down' time. Then off to Bristol to say goodbye to a friend, which was good fun (and included sunshine! Amazing!).

One of the most interesting places we visited was Castell Henllys, a recreated iron age settlement. It was very cool - and they had yarn (see picture above)! There was a lady weaving (well, talking to other visitors when I was there), and they made amazing blanket/cloak things (second picture below - odd picture I know, but the only way I could edit it not to have people's faces in it). The looms were all made by hand - it was fascinating. Also, they were cooking and had woodworking tools out and all sorts of things.
Also, requisite bump picture - me at Tintern Abbey.
Thanks to Riggwelter for your very kind offer of a catch up for coffee - unfortunately, I didn't get your message until we got home thanks to computer gremlins, but maybe next time!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Woodland Festival (Again)

Yep, that time of year again - the woodland festival at Harcourt Arboretum. It was cool - a bit bigger than last year, more spinners & yarn dyers, and a lot more rain. We bought cake. It was fantastic (also, it was last weekend, but we didn't do anything interesting this weekend!).

I have been doing lots of knitting of small things (I feel a jumper or cardy building up somewhere...), so I will try to get some shots this week, if I get around to washing & blocking & taking pictures of them, and if it stops raining!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The inevitable

Yep. Baby knitting. While I got a good start with the First Coat, there was more to be done. There still is lots more to be done! What could be better than having a baby at the start of winter?!
Unfortunately, the next item off the needles was intended as baby knitting, but turned out to be toddler knitting. Friends came last weekend with their lovely daughter, who just turned one, and it would be big on her. But I love it, and I think it will be really useful - the Baby Surprise Jacket.
Knitted on 5.5mm needles with lovely Gedifra Fashion Colour in an excellent blue/brown combination. It is a wool/acrylic blend, but it looks nice still in garter stitch and should wash well I hope. I don't know how the leather buttons will hold up, but who could say no!!! I think they are so cute. Anyway, I'm now prepared for the future.
There have been a few other things on the needles which have escaped the camera for one reason or other, but I started this yesterday, and I think it is looking cool.

It is the Green Zebra Baby Sweater from Dove Knits (Ravelry link), knit in some fairly nasty Sirdar snuggly acrylic and some fairly gorgeous Colinette Cadenza in Slate. I think the Cadenza would pool alot if you were knitting it in broader blocks of colour, but its ok for this purpose. And kinda jazzes up the baby blue.It is good fun, despite all the stocking stitch, as I am trying to conquer my intarsia issues, as well as learn jogless striping (for the arms). And it is quick, because it is all knit in one piece (no seaming! Yay!) So, hopefully I'll have another (more appropriately sized) knit to show you soon.
And finally, a bump picture (26 weeks this one), in front of our so-far-so-good tomatoes:

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Spain - the final episode (I promise)

Ok, last installment of Spanish pictures, as there is knitting & all sorts of other stuff to write about, and I am sure you are all sick of this. Today - Cordoba & Madrid.
Cordoba was very pretty & very very hot. The mesquite was spectacular. The newer Christian part was much less cool, but the Moorish part was incredible.
It was enormous and beautiful and well worth the visit.
We went to some palaces, which were also lovely, and had wicked gardens with them - not quite as beautiful as the Alhambra, but lovely on a hot day nonetheless.
If you ever thought those Spanish fans were an affectation, think again. They are a life saver. If you ever go to Spain in the summer, buy one as soon as you land - you'll love it. Also, you can learn to make a cool noise with them when you open and close them, and the local women in the towns give you a little nod when you use it. Mine was just a cheap one, but there are some gorgeous ones around - mostly in the hands of locals, rather than in the shops though.
Madrid was great - a proper city full of living & working & stuff. Not touristy at all. Not a whole lot to see, but still good. The Prado had some lovely stuff (excellent Heironymous Bosch paintings!) Somehow, we didn't take any pictures, except of this yarn shop. We stumbled across it, and I was allowed in if I didn't buy anything (oh!). It was unbelievable - so many colours & weights & colours! Apparently, you bought it by weight (you chucked your required hanks on the scale there & added it up - just like at the butchers!) Seemed to be very reasonably priced. If you ever want to go there, it was on one corner of the main square where all the Inquisition stuff happened (your travel book will tell you what it is called, I'm sure).

Anyway, I guess I have had to revise my view on Spain. Prior to this trip, I hadn't really enjoyed our Spanish travel. Now, I'd recommend it. Even the food. Especially gazpacho & Espanol tortilla. Mmmm.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

In which there is still no rain in spain

Further Spain pictures - this time, from Zuheros, in the Subbetica region, about an hour from Cordoba.
This was the view from the terrace of our house. From our bedroom window, even. Foundations are Moorish, with subsequent additions. Just in front of it is a church that chimes every hour (twice, one minute apart, just in case you weren't paying attention the first time), even through the night. Delightful.

Simon came across these sheep & goats on a walk in the hills - we saw them again later on in the week, coming home to the town. I love this big goat with his big bell - the bells made such a terrific sound.
The township of Zuheros, as seen from the rocky outcrop behind the village. See the castle...same as picture 1.
From up on the castle you see the view that the town looked over - great plains of olive trees. Spectacular. Funny, it doesn't look that hot...Thanks to the gorgeous E & S for organising our lovely week in Zuheros.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Rain in Spain Pt 1*

(Warning: Photo heavy post)
We just spent one glorious week in Spain, firstly in Granada, then in a town called Zuheros in the Subbetica, then in Madrid. It was hot. Very very very hot. But you could still do things between dawn and midday, and then a little few things from about 9pm to bed time. But the afternoon is for sleeping, my friends. Anyway, Pt 1 is Granada.
Granada is fantastic. Wicked. Ace. All those things. Also, they have the Alhambra, which is unbelievable. I loved Granada & I loved the Alhambra. Go see them.

It is over-the-top embellishment that doesn't feel crazy. The Vatican feels crazy. Parts of the Louvre feel crazy. They have that awful, gauche, excess about them. The Alhambra is extraordinary, tranquil, calming, awe inspiring. You really need the opportunity to just sit quietly in some of the spaces, especially the Nasrid Palaces, but it is hot, there's lots to see & there are lots and lots of people.
The tiling is spectacular, but somehow difficult to photograph. Mine are mostly not quite in focus - I guess as they are inside the lighting is tough and they are so intricate. I want to make Alhambra-inspired quilts thanks to the tiles & the colours!
Granada itself is quite lovely, although be prepared for hills. The people are nice and the food is good.

If you actually do go to the Alhambra, get there early. We got there about 8am and had a great time. Later, there are too many people, it is too hot & you have to stand in line in the sun.

*PS I don't believe there ever is any. Rain in Spain, that is.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Lots of it! Somehow have overcome the lack of knitting mojo, and am now on max power. Behold.

Bibs, courtesy of Chickpea Designs. Not as cute as hers, but towelling backed, so hopefully useful. They look a bit small, but take about 10 minutes to make, so I might make some bigger ones. Just need to get some press-studs for closures. A book bag for my poor deprived nephew, who didn't receive his original birthday present, and has been waiting on slack auntie to make another one. Which I finally have! (Gotta love Olivia!)
Christmas knitting #1: Quickie Cowl, in Colinette Burnt Umber. Not very Burnt Umber in my opinion, more turquoise & pink. I don't really like this colourway, but the cowl itself is very cute. There is a lace pattern in there (somewhere).
Christmas Knitting#2 (still in progress): Branching Out, looking quite nice in Drops Alpaca. No work done on this since the baby stopped my interest in knitting, but dug it out to take pics, and am surprised at how good it looks!
My new favourite piece of knitting, the Baby Surprise Jacket (Ravelry link here), in Gedifra Fashion Colour. Love this pattern - what fun to knit! I promise more pics to follow of the craziness of this pattern. Love the yarn a lot - is less washed out than in this picture, richer browns & blues, with a subtle self-stripe. Very very nice, but definately not newborn size! I am guessing this is going to be a 1yr old size by the time I finish!
I also did a bit of investment in the stash - some lovely yarn on sale (I needed to top up the Gedifra for the BSJ, so a few more balls didn't hurt!) and a few choices pieces from Colinette (luckily, only the Burnt Umber disappointed on colourway not looking like the internet description).
Also, the Elderflower Cordial went wonderfully, and tastes superb! Cheers.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good English Fun

Now, it wasn't quite Midsummer Day, but we went picking elderflowers at midday anyway (only a few days off, so that will have to do). We went out to a nearby village and walked along a gorgeous bridleway in the howling wind, stopping every now and then to plunder the flowers.
We returned home with a great haul, which is being turned into various drinks as we speak. Also, finished knitting (!!) - this is the First Coat from Debbie Bliss' Essential Baby, knit in gorgeous Blue Sky Alpaca Skinny Dyed Cotton. It used about 2.5 skeins, and I think it looks quite handsome! It looks much better in person than in the picture, and needs a block, but I'm pretty happy with it, all in all.
And gratuitous garden shot - I've been waiting for these little sweeties for ages!