Tuesday 22 May 2018

What I'm working on

I had planned on making a start on stitching Bonnie's Christmas stocking at the beginning of the year, but with one thing and another that didn't happen.  I finally made a start at the end of April and although I haven't worked on it everyday when I have stitched on it I've made good progress.

It's hard to get a good photograph of all because it's on a roller frame.  I've stitched the top border too and will leave adding her name till last.  This is Elizabeth's stocking by Shepherds Bush, stitched in the recommended Perle threads.  I'm hoping to get this finished by the end of June and that will leave me plenty of time to stitch one for Arthur too.  I stitched and finished one for Oliver for his first Christmas, you can see Oliver's stocking here 

Last year I bought a beach bag kit from Sew and So when they were having a sale, I forgot all about it until I was having a sort out a couple of weeks ago.  The pack contained all the material but not the wadding.  There were no making up instructions but after I called them they did email them to me right away.
I'm really happy how this turned out, it's not perfect, the inside pocket is too high for a start, but I like it :-)

I fashioned a bottom for the bag by cutting some thick cardboard and covering it with sticky backed plastic because I didn't want a saggy bottom!!

I've had two days off work this week and I couldn't have picked two better days, the weather has been beautiful.  Yesterday I went for a lovely long walk and then stitched and caught up on some TV in the afternoon.  Today I sat outside all afternoon doing a bit of knitting and some beach hut stitching while listening to my audio book.  I feel like my batteries have been re-charged and I'm ready to face the office again tomorrow.

Beach Hut stitching - I will reveal what these are for in a future post :-)

I've done so much baby knitting over the last year, now it's time for something a little bigger, If It comes out ok this will be a top for me.  The back is almost done and so far I'm enjoying it.

I've got most of my plants in the garden or in the pots now and everything is coming on nicely

I planted some Alliums for the first time, not all of them have come up though.  I didn't think any of the white ones had survived but then this one appeared and there is another one in the other bed which is just starting to open.

The previous owner planted this Lily of the Valley, it's tucked away on the far side of the conservatory so you can't really see it, which is a shame but you can catch it's scent if the wind is in the right direction.  I've been picking some for in home and the smell is wonderful.

I hope you too are enjoying some lovely weather :-)


Thursday 17 May 2018

Wool@J13 Confessions

I saw the Wool@J13 yarn festival advertised in a magazine for local events which came through our door a couple of months ago.  I'd never heard of it, and I hadn't seen it mentioned on any social media sites either.  
Mark had his weekend planned with sorting the shed and garage out so it was the perfect opportunity for me to take a day out yarn shopping :-)

The event was held at Lower Drayton farm in Penkridge, just a couple of miles off junction 13 of the M6, (hence the name,Wool@J13) .  which for me is only a 30-40 minute drive.

It didn't look that busy when I arrived around 11am, the car park (field) is a few hundred yards away from the event itself but the kind farm folk provided a tractor / trailer ride up the lane.

I was very pleasantly surprised, everything was set out in a big 'L' shaped marque, and there was plenty of room to walk round without bumping into each other.  Outside there were picnic tables and various catering vans, and as it was a beautiful day there were quite a few picnic blankets out too.

I bet you are more interested in seeing what I bought than the food on offer, so here you go feast your eyes, lol

These were purchased from One Wool.
The grey and the natural are DK weight and the lovely yellow, which looks nothing special in the photo but is actually quite a beautiful colour is 4 ply.  But best of all, because I told the stall holder that I might be back later because I liked the yellow he let me have this skein for £2. 
How lovely was that!

From Dusty Dimples, on the right I Do Believe in Fairies a 4ply merino / nylon mix which I thought would be perfect for the Peachy Geometric shawl pattern from Sandra at Cherry Heart, (which I bought over 12 months ago) and the other skein has no name, is DK and will make some mitts because the colours go perfect with my coat.

The grey Hot Socks and the Drops Fabel I bought for cardigans for Bonnie

And another couple of Drops because it was only £1.50 a ball an it would have been rude not to :-)

I bought a lot, and I'm slightly embarrassed by the amount, but in my defense I do have projects in mind for most of it so I don't feel too guilty  ;-)

I also bought a couple of gadgets, a gauge checker and sock blockers.
I'm a bit annoyed because I didn't check the sock blockers close enough, I thought I was getting 2 when in fact there was only one in the bag.  My bad.

Why do I need sock blockers?  Well I am slowly working my way towards my first finished socks, I've made it as far as the heel anyway, lol

The pattern is from Ellie at Craft House Magic.

Last but not least of my purchases is a little pack of un-dyed yarn and some Kool-aid.

I saw that Jo had bought something similar recently and I thought when she posted about it what a good idea it was to have a go at something new, so when I saw these packs I grabbed one right away, I've no idea when I'll get round to playing at dyeing because I've got enough yarn to keep me occupied with knitting for quite a while!

  Here endeth my confessions, for now, but Yarningham is happening in July so I may need to confess again soon :-)


Friday 11 May 2018

Empty nest, knitting and Tulips - (not necessarily in that order)

Jenny had asked for a chevron blanket for Arthur like the one I made when Joanne was expecting Bonnie.  I had enough yarn left over from Bonnie's blanket to make another one so that was a bonus.

Bonnie's blanket
I thought it would be a fairly quick knit but that didn't quite happen.  I took everything with me when I went to Norfolk in March thinking I would make a start on it.  Well I made several starts, all of them ripped back, I just couldn't get it right, I kept ending up with either too many or not enough stitches.

Finally I managed to get the first chevron done but I think I had problems on almost every single chevron after that, either too many or not enough stitches or I didn't like how my stitches looked, honestly, you wouldn't believe how many times I've ripped this blanket back!!

But I persevered and finally got it off my needles, the ends sewn in and washed all ready for little Arthur, not that he will be needing it at the moment.  I did the peg blocking again :-)

Arthur's blanket
It's identical except this one starts and ends with the purple yarn.
I still have small amounts of the yarn left but It will definitely NOT be going into another chevron blanket anytime soon, lol.

If anyone is interested you can find the free pattern on Ravelry.  
I cast on 169 stitches, each chevron is 20 rows and I used King Cole Comfort Baby DK.
It is a lovely pattern and very easy to modify, (the difficulty I had  knitting it this time round was of my own making and my inability to count to 10. ;-)
I'm slightly obsessed with the garden at the moment, I bought one of those little plastic green houses and it's full of plants just waiting to go into the window baskets and tubs, I've also grown a few things from seed this time and they are doing well although they are taking over the conservatory now so I will be glad to get them outside.

In October I found a bag of tulip bulbs in the shed, I'd obviously bought them the year before and never got round to planting them.  I put the majority in this planter, the others I planted in the garden and never thought they would come to much because our resident squirrel kept digging them up!

But they turned out to be the best thing about this Spring, the pink came first and they bought a lovely pop of colour to our garden.  Then came what I thought were going to be white ones

But no, they are red and white

They are so beautiful, like they have been painted :-)

Because I just bunged them in this pot at the last minute and threw away the label I have no idea of a name, if anyone does, then please let me know because I want to buy more of these for next year.
And the empty nest.....

Stevie-Leigh and her boyfriend, Darren, moved into their house over the weekend, so I now officially have an Empty Nest! 

It feels very strange her not coming back from work and asking what's for tea, and even more strange that she is grown up enough to have a mortgage and all that goes with being an adult.  Stevie is the youngest and I still think of her as being a teenager and to be honest I still did everything for her while she was living at home, I will miss her, but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to enjoy the extra time and less washing and cooking ;-)


Wednesday 2 May 2018

The Welsh seaside at it's best

The weather forecast did not look good for the weekend, but sometimes they get it wrong, and I'm so glad that they did this weekend for my little trip to Llangollen and Llandudno.

Friday started off wet but by the time I arrived, just after lunchtime, it had stopped so I could have a little walk around Llangollen.

This place has a prime spot on the canal with great views

Saturday morning I set off for Llandudno, about an hours drive from where I was staying in  Llangollen.
I had never heard of the Great Orme or the Great Orme Tramway until a few weeks ago so this was my first visit.  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from it, I certainly wasn't expecting it to be as beautiful there as it turned out to be!

Not knowing what to expect I chose the tram ride to the summit, but I definitely would like to visit again and next time walk to the top.  There are many pathways around the top to enjoy the stunning views and to fully appreciate this wonderful place I think you need to set aside a whole day to explore.

If you are more adventurous you can reach the summit by cable car

No idea if this video will work, i do hope so because it will give you more of an idea of how lovely the views were

You can find out more about the Orme HERE if you are interested

I made a quick visit to Llandudno pier and an even quicker visit to the town, (I just wanted to visit the Pandora shop to treat  myself ) but I liked what I saw.

The Grant Hotel at the end of the pier looks very impressive, and very Victorian

Another little video, of Llandudno beach (if it works)

I found something else new to me and it was only a short drive from Llandudno, The Smallest House in Great Britain

I paid my £1.00 entrance fee and can tell you that it is extremely small, apparently one man who lived there was 6 feet 3 inches tall!  It was last occupied in 1900 and is still owned by the same family today.

Conwy quayside and town are very pretty and have some nice individual shops.

The road into town is dominated by the 13th century fortress, and I realised too late in the day that you can actually walk the castle walls, the time on my parking ticket was almost up so I didn't get to do that and I'm a little bit disappointed because I bet the views are fantastic.

There are many more interesting places to see in and around Llandudno and Llangollen  and I will definitely visit again soon.