Sunday, 30 March 2014

yellows and greens?


Yesterday was the first Saturday in months when the young people in our family had neither a cross country race or a football match which was brilliant timing as several months ago, long before I knew the sporting timetable, a friend and I booked a day's workshop at our local yarn store to make a patchwork cushion.

We were both really looking forward to our patchwork day but oh my goodness, how stressful it was! The first stressor was to decide on material - not an easy task when there are 10 women in a well-stocked shop nudging and squeezing round each other while carrying rolls of potential candidates and trying to find coordinating patterns and colours. After some rather hurried deliberations, as the longer we took to decide the less time we had to sew, I decided to go for spring colours of yellow and green to match the bunting I made a year or two ago. Work in progress can be seen below.

We had 6 hours of patchworking and the time flew by - we hardly dare stop for lunch. We all worked so intensely and enthusiastically. A later photo of work in progress can be seen in the photo below, along with my friend's cushion cover  - she chose browns, creams with a hint of turquoise blue and it looked fantastic

We finally finished at 4pm. We left the shop, our completed cushion covers folded in our bags and walked out into lovely warm sunshine feeling slightly foggy in our heads - we had spent 6 hours focused solely on our sewing. It was such an extravagance for me to spend a whole day crafting but I did enjoy it and would love to do more - the challenge of a patchwork quilt beckons. 

BUT .... do I like my finished cushion? I'm really not sure. I'm not sure whether the colors go together/work/coordinate or not? What do you think? 

And just to finish this post - some photos of our elderly guinea pig on the patio today eating (*cough cough*) weeds, yes the patio needs weeding.

Here he is hiding under the table tennis table. 

And some beautiful roses from the children for Mother's Day.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

this week's books


My reading has been a bit slow the last couple of weeks. In the evenings I have that difficult decision to make - do I read or do I craft? Do you have the same dilemma? Except, of course, when I am tucked up in bed either at night or in the morning there is no decision to be made - out comes my book (and, as of late, my reading glassess too!)

At the moment I am reading the above book, 'Bad Science' by Ben Goldacre. Ben is a medical doctor who unpicks the scientific and medical claims made by many drug companies and other advocates of less conventional medical treatments. A whole chapter of his book is devoted to Gillian McKeith. This book is a highly enjoyable read; Ben introduces and explains the process for conducting scientifically sound trials of 'new' medical/nutritional treatments but in a way that lay people can understand. It will certainly change your thinking of all those sensational high impact articles in the media loudly proclaiming that Vitamin X or pill Z will make you more intelligent, live longer and give you a better love life!!

I recently finished the above book 'Brideshead Revisited' - I blogged about it here saying how much I was looking forward to it but in truth I was a bit disappointed with it.

Like many other converts to the kindle,I absolutely love mine. It is so convenient for reading in the dark, on those winter mornings when I am awake before the sun rises and great for popping in your bag - you never know when you might get a moment to read!

The book above is one I picked up from a charity shop, 'Now we are sixty (and a bit)' by Christopher Matthew.  The book cover has been designed to look a bit tatty. The book itself is full of amusing poems and pencil drawings. Here is one below.

And here is another example - you may just be able to read it.

And of course, being a lover of yarn, I do like the drawing below - the London underground marked out by wool!

Do you like reading? Have you a favourite book? What are you reading at the moment?
Happy reading

Monday, 24 March 2014

A nip in the air...

A beautiful morning - a sharp frost and bright sunshine


Wishing you a beautiful Monday morning!

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Tools for a half

An update:  according to my watch I ran a PB of 1hour 57mins and 36 seconds!! A big surprise as I had decided that as I didn't feel 100% prepared for the race that I would take it gently!

Hello dear reader

Sometimes when I am struggling up a hill - note I didn't say "running" - I ask myself "why am I doing this?" It really does seem such hard work to keep fit as the years creep on to my age. But I do try to keep fit and one way I attempt to do this is by running. And occasionally madness completely overtakes me and I find I have entered a race.

A few weeks ago I had such a moment of madness and entered a half marathon - this will be about the 7th I will have run. So here I am getting ready for tomorrow's local half.

These are the 'tools' I take with me when I run.

1. Runinng shoes - I really need a new pair, so maybe I will buy a new pair once tomorrow's race is done, they are looking rather well worn and muddy (sorry!)

2. A pedometer - I wear this all the time so I pop this into my back pocket when I run.

3. My nike+ sportwatch GPS - I love this watch. I upload run data from my watch to the computer and can see where I have run, pace, elevation etc.

 So I think I'm ready for the off - tools at the ready!

Friday, 21 March 2014

One down, one to go

Hello dear reader,

Yes, I have at last finished one of my blue stripey socks. I have been having a bit of a break from my longer term project, the crocheted stripey blanket that you can see here. In the photo below I have just started the shaping for the toes.

I enjoy knitting socks and this is now my third pair {correction: 4th pair, I forgot about the first pair that I knitted that my daughter promptly decided to commandeer as her own!}. My sock knitting is my 'portable project' - a very handy project to have.

When it comes to sock knitting I always use Regia 4 ply wool as I find it quite hard wearing. This current pair were knitted using wool from Regia's Erika Knight range, this blue is called 'Kind of blue' shade 06454, but I do like the look of the colours designed by Kaffe Fassett.

I am so tempted by some of the lovely socks I see other knitters have made using other yarns but I am going to be very disciplined and not buy any more sock wool until I have knitted up the sock wool I have in my stash....and here it is.
And here I have a confession to make. Yes, I am one of those crafters/knitters/crocheters who has a far from healthy stash of wool, patterns, materials and most importantly ideas waiting to be made into completed projects. My confession is now public!
So I have reached the point with this pair of socks of  'one down, one to go'. I know some people talk of the 'second sock syndrome': they can't face having to knit a second sock after finishing the first but thankfully this has never been a problem for me.

So I knit my socks cuff down. I'd like to try toe-up but I am so familiar now with the cuff-down technique that I feel trying to master the toe-up method will take more time to master than I have available at the moment.

Do you like knitting socks? Do you knit toe-up? What is your favourite sock wool?

Have a good weekend!

Monday, 17 March 2014



This is a project that I completed this weekend - although I think that statement is stretching the truth ever so slightly. I should qualify my claim and say that I actually I finished knitting it months ago, put it in a cloth bag, stuffed it in a basket under some other craft items and left it in the corner of our lounge. I forgot all about it until this weekend when I was having a tidy up. I couldn't believe that all I needed to do to properly complete this scarf was to sew in 4 ends of wool. How silly is that!

So here it is  - FINISHED!

Knitted in kidsilk haze shade 606 'Candy girl'.

I have shown the above photos extra large as it makes it easier to see the lacy pattern.

I took the pattern from a book I borrowed from the library - I'm sorry, I can't remember the title of the book.

I love knitting with this wool - it just takes a few rows of knitting to readjust to the weightlessness of the wool.

Here is another scarf  I knitted last year also in kidsilk haze but this time in stripe using shade 'Cool' 202. I knitted this scarf in plain stocking stitch but am ashamed to admit that even on such a simple pattern I lost concentration occasionally and there are a couple of mistakes in it, but there is no way I can unpick this yarn so the mistakes stay, and as usual it is probably only me that can see them (please don't look too closely!)

And here they are together - TWO kidsilk haze scarfs.!!

Full of springy softness and lightness. 

Do you have unfinished projects languishing in corners?

My thoughts are now drawn to a throw I completed knitting some months ago which, like the scarf, just needs the ends sewing in - although there are rather more than the 4 found in the kidsilk haze scarf!

Sunday, 16 March 2014



Fantastic sunset yesterday - my daughter and I grabbed our cameras and ran outside.

Look at those sun rays.

I feel like I am looking into a cauldron or a furnace.

If this was a painting, viewers would wonder whether such a sky could ever truly exist.