Monday, September 28, 2009

Yet another jaunt away, this time to France - Brittany, Normandy and the Loire.
Mont St Michel, in the lovely misty sunshine. This place was a revelation, just spectacular.
The Loire chateaus were pretty impressive. This is Chenonceau, built over the Loire itself. There were beautiful floor tiles throughout Chenonceau, but I particularly liked these; they were very worn in the centre of the room, which I think really added to their charm. The Chenonceau kitchen, as it was in WWII, when used as a field hospital. The coal range was amazing, but difficult to photograph. The copperware just lit up the room - the room was full! Chambord - incredible architecture, including a central double spiral staircase. We spent the last night in Ver sur Mer, in Le Mas Normand, a gorgeous B& B. We had a little farm outbuilding, decorated so beautifully. The colours and fabrics were gorgeous - this is just a taste of the quilts on our bed.
After all that, we came home and had a party to celebrate the end of the harvest season with our friends in the late autumn sunshine. Everyone bought home grown or home made goodies, and we supplied home brewed refreshments - what more could you want! I certainly can't think of much :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Put on your New Socks

My internal musical soundtrack is becoming dominated by baby songs. Nonetheless, these socks are worth singing about. They took 18 months to finish, and I knitted three whole socks in the end (number two got unravelled to make number three after I knitted on the wrong size needles - pooh!). I love them - and I never thought that I would love coloured lacey socks! Yay for Hedera, yay for Natural Dye Studio yarn :)

And with the left-over yarn, cute little baby socks (although not for my baby, for a much smaller one!) - garter stripe socks.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


A few weeks ago, we went for a short jaunt to Prague. It was a bit spur of the moment, so I hadn't really thought about it much, but it really took me by surprise. Prague was so beautiful, and I really could have spent longer there.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

kitchen productiveness

This is the jam I have made in the past week:
There is blackberry (from hedgerows) & apple (from our tree) jelly, rhubarb (from our allotment) jam, crabapple jelly (some hedgerow, some from the pick-your-own farm shop) and damson jam (farm shop). Both jelly's needed a second boil to get them to set, but they are both delicious! I made rhubarb jam last year but didn't like it - too sweet. This year, I used less sugar but used the jam making sugar with pectin and it is beautifully tart. And the damson is a bit experimental - I haven't made it before, but it tastes lovely and rich. A nice addition to my jam cupboard :)

Baby B has begun to be fussy with his food. Not the tastes - he'll eat almost anything tastewise - but textures. And also spoons. Apparently, all he wants to eat are bread-like foods that he can eat with his fingers. And yoghurt (from a spoon). So I have been testing my creative skills on a range of finger-foods that are capable of holding healthy, nutritious ingredients. So far, success with omelettes and now muffins. Maybe frittata? Tortilla? Anyway, I better think quick - these muffins were a bit too successful - baby ate 2 for dinner and the adults of the house seem to have enjoyed them as well :) They have corn, peas, courgette & tomatoes in a pretty standard muffin base (with lots of eggs & dairy in it) - yummo!

Monday, September 07, 2009

My baby is sooooo sophisticated

I think I probably say this every time I knit a baby garment.....but I love this pattern! It is so very cute, and knits up in no time, thanks to aran yarn, 5mm needles and seamless construction. It is Baby Sophisticate in New Lanark Aran (I think it is the Donegal Silk Tweed in Cobalt - the lovely Esmerelda gifted this to me when she left these shores for sunnier climes). Its almost too small for him (doh!) but it fits for the moment, and its so quick and easy I'm tempted to get straight in there and make another!

I did EZ-style increases (back loop method) for the raglan increases (as advised by the pattern), and they look very nice. The hedgehog buttons (in case you can't identify them - it was hard to get B to sit still at this point!) are too cute! I have to admit - they aren't really sophisticated buttons but then, I don't really think that Mr B looks all that sophisticated in this. It might be the tweed...he looks like he should be sitting in a chesterfield by the fire with a snifter of his favourite tipple. But eminantly cute, nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Baltic beauties: The sequel

Ok, don't forget Tallinn! Man, this is the place for history. Our first lunch was in a medieval merchants house with the whole medival thing going - earthenware crockery, ye olde language, staff in costume. The old town was amazingly well preserved, but the new town was very generic. Anyway, the old town is a bit maze-like, and there were some lovely little shops hidden away. There were a number of shops/stalls advertising knits or handknits, but while they might have been traditional in their colourwork, they were clearly machine knits. Some were very nice (S bought some lovely flip-top mittens with a flip-top thumb as well), but they weren't what I was after. Then I saw a shop that looked more promising, and there were these gorgeous things:

The top pair are knit flat and seamed (you can see the seam in the top one), which I think means that the colourwork was knit flat, then seamed, then a heel and toe added on. Maybe? Anyway, they are lovely! Just a bit too big, but I had to have them (they were the only pair).

The second pair I didn't do a good job of photographing - the lacework is lovely, and more prominent. But I love the little cuffs! They had these in this yarn, and in a similar yarn with dog hair knitted into it! I think it was knitted in rather than spun in, from what I could see.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to a cosy winter wearing some of my favourite souvenirs!