Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Whoosh...this is the summer going!


Have you noticed? Or is just me that feels the summer, as always, is flying past! 

My job is a '52-weeks-a year' job so I do have to work over the summer, although I try to 
save as much of my annual leave entitlement as I can for the summer. I find myself trying to squeeze in days out and away with family and friends around work commitments. 

I do love the summer, I relish the opportunities to sit outside to eat meals  - eating 
breakfast outside feels so decadent, especially at 6am before I go to work, why is that?
I have to make the most of the longer (and hopefully warmer) days and spend as much
time as I can out of doors.

I am having fun knitting Rachel Coopey's Hartwith hat using Baa Ram Ewe's 
Titus yarn in Goathland. This is 4 ply yarn so for me it will take a while to complete this
 knit but there is something very soothing about knitting this cabled pattern.

 I have almost completed Susan Howatch's 'The High Flyer'. This is the second in a trilogy 
but silly me read book three first so I have in effect nearly finished the trilogy. It has been 
an interesting read although I have found the end of book 2 a bit laborious and tedious. 
This trilogy is being passed to a friend when read so that will be 3 more books off my 
shelf - YAY!

.I am joining in with Ginny's yarn along - please have a look at her great blog. 

Happy summer holidays to you all

Friday, 15 July 2016

Five on Friday.....treats!!


We've all seen these blog posts before - a parcel of yarny-goodness arrives which sends 
the  recipient into raptures! I'm happy to admit that I am one of those people, a ball
of yarn makes me very happy!

So, this is a bit of a warning, if you are not into yarn-filled parcels you may wish to 
finish reading now

So....this week I attended a 2-day course in Oxford, and I returned home on Wednesday 
evening to two parcels, yes two parcels. The first was a bit of an extravagant buy. I had 
seen the making bookzine on blogger and instagram posts and thought it looked great
but sadly I couldn't find anywhere in the UK with copies still in stock so I decided to 
buy a copy from the US. It arrived very promptly and beautifully packaged and it 
hasn't disappointed. It's one of those bookzines I can just browse numerous times, 
without even making anything from it! 

Making has some beautiful knitted, cross stitch, needle felting, sewing projects and even
 more...with, as you might expect, some beautiful photography. 
Two of my favourite projects are this cowl

and this cardigan and hat. 

I'll have to make sure that I am a bit quicker off the mark with hitting the 'buy'
 button when making no. 2 is published!

My second parcel was from Meadow Yarn. I have been eyeing this book Toasty volume 2 
by Rachel Coopey for some time offering a selection of gorgeous and fun patterns for hats, 
and the odd scarf and pair of mittens. 

I also bought 2 more skeins of Baa Ram Ewe's Titus yarn - this time shades Aire and Filey. 

And ooo, how lovely my new shades look with my Titus remnants, lots of ideas in my head. 
And looks my holiday knitting might almost be sorted.... but on the other hand there are 
some lovely new Titus shades just launched!

I'm joining in with Amy's Five on Friday - thank you for hosting Amy!

Are you expecting any parcels? It is fun to receive them isn't it? 
Have a good weekend. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Yarn along....stockings and The Heartbreaker!


Well I've been a bit quiet recently but I'm still reading and knitting, and today I'm joining
 in with Ginny's yarn along

Here I am reading 'The Heartbreaker' by Susan Howatch.  I've had this book on my shelf 
for a while (as you can see from the photo it is looking a little jaded) and as I'm trying to 
have a de-clutter I decided this was a book I would read and then pass on. I am quite 
enjoying it but I certainly would not bother reading it a second time so I'm just happy 
that I know this isn't going back on the shelf - yay, a bit of space cleared! 

The only downside is that I was about half way through this book when I realised that it is 
the third of a trilogy and that I have the two earlier books also on my shelf and of course 
haven't read either!! Doh! I was too far through this one to put it to one side to start with 
the first book, so I am resigned to reading them in the wrong order, oh well....

As for my knitting, I've just started my 4th (of 5) Osen Christmas stocking. Each is knitted 
in a different colour way in gorgeous Titus yarn, although I'm not sure this is quite an Osen 
stocking as I have changed the Fairisle pattern to my own design. Hopefully, as it is only 
just July, I should get stockings 4 and 5 completed in time for Christmas!

Happy knitting and/or reading!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Five on Friday - garden


Well my 'Five on Friday' hosted by Amy at Love Made My Home follows a similar theme
 to Amy's, it's all about my garden but somehow mine doesn't feel quite so calm and
 ordered. In fact I originally considered titling this post "Five surprising things in my garden" 
but managed to find some 'neater' photos in the end to balance out this post.
 So here goes. 

One: Balls, all 58!!

Two children love sports, especially football, and our garden is always littered with balls. 
Every so often I have a round-up. I did this last weekend and managed to fill 2 old dustbins 
with 58 balls including table tennis, tennis, golf, soft, hockey, lacrosse and 
of course, footballs! We get through so many footballs we buy them in bulk!
"Doubtless I will find more balls once I get on with the weeding" 
(she says shyly, see photo 3)

Two: Bedding plants in flowerpots!!

"Bedding plants in flower pots? What's so special about that?" you might ask. 
Well, it is quite a few years since I have put flowers in pots, and the reason is because of 
photo 1 above. Yes, balls! With so many balls flying around the garden my bedding plants 
were frequently dead-headed whether they were ready to be dead-headed or not! 
In fact, dead-stalked would probably be a better description. I did point out to daughter 
that I'd planted flowers in pots this year and that I was hoping that as she is now 17 she 
should be a better shot and could thus avoid my pots! Only time will tell, and my 
flowers have the long summer holiday to survive yet when 2 more young people will 
be back home from University and playing ball games in the garden. 
"Take cover plants!"

Three: (weeds)

Yes, I mention that word quietly. 
Life has been pretty busy bringing up children and 
working so the garden has been neglected over the last few years. But both sons are now 
at University, and daughter passed her driving test a few weeks ago and has suddenly 
become very independent, in fact I feel she has grown a whole 12 months in just one day!
So, sadly, we do have more free time and I think I have 
probably done more gardening already this year than I have in the last 5! 
But this bit of garden at the bottom is one part that I have yet to tackle and I have 
decided that I want to start again with it. 
However, I did think the bluebells looked pretty against the ornamental grasses 
(for 'ornamental grasses' read 'weeds'). 

Four: More balls, ball games

Daughter is revising for AS-levels and so spends many hours sat at a desk. This is quite 
challenging when you are someone who likes being active. Every so often we take her
 outside and throw a few balls for her to catch, and as you can see she thoroughly enjoys
 this and literally throws herself into the activity!

Five: Matching the bluebells 

I have just started knitting my next pair of socks, and I think this might be my
 favourite colourway yet: Regia design line Kaffe Fasset "Frost"
This was one that I was so tempted to buy some months ago and 
eventually gave into the urge and I am so pleased I did - it was definitely the 
right decision. In fact, I'm thinking of purchasing more yarn to knit gloves and a scarf, 
not that I am intending to wear them all at the same time. 

Please head over to Amy's blog. Thank you to Amy for hosting "Five on Friday"
Wishing you a good weekend - and where has the sun gone?? 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Birdsong....and Ginny's yarn along


Once again joining in with Ginny's yarn along

So I am re-reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. 
I first read this book several years ago and thought it was quite good 
and decided to have another go at it. 
I think my current opinions on it are very similar to those when I read it the first time. 
"It's quite good" but not a top 10 favourite.
The descriptions of life in the first world war trenches is impressive. 

 Knitting continues to be "those" socks for younger son, but I am on the home run.
 One sock finished, and turned the heel on the second sock so the finishing line is in sight! Yippee!

And today's photo is rather special: I took it outside in warm sunshine, yes, warm sunshine. 
Thank goodness I was working at home today and could nip outside to appreciate even just a few  minutes some very welcome sunshine.

Do have a look at the gorgeous yarn Ginny is using, it reminds me of a green meadow full of summer flowers.  

I hope you have managed to enjoy a bit of sunlight today!

And P.S. (all non-football-fans look away now): 

well done Leicester City on winning the Premier League!!! 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Yarn along.. blue thread and stripey socks (still!)

Once again joining in with Ginny's yarn along

Looking back at my yarnalong post of 2 weeks ago, I can hardly believe that I have yet
 to finish younger son's first sock! But boy, these men socks seem to take much more 
knitting than socks designed for my size 5 feet! 

I can happily zip along knitting socks for me as I know the size perfectly and a quick
 count of rows every so often, and then I'm off again. Whereas with this unfamiliar sock 
size I have to keep stopping, finding my tape measure, deciding how much I should stretch 
the socks while measuring them and cogitating whether I have reached the desired size 
yet, while also having a slight concern in a corner of my mind as to whether I'll have 
enough wool for a second sock. 

In comparison to the relatively slow progress in my sock, and despite an initial inability to concentrate on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement', I eventually got 'into it' and loved it! I think it 
might even become one of my top 10 favourite reads! McEwan gives very detailed 
descriptions of everyday happenings and objects, but it all helps to build the tension. I
 couldn't understand the purpose of the postscript at first but on reflection I can see now 
how it explains much of the story - I shan't say more in case you wish to read it.  

Now onto my next book 'A spool of blue thread' by Anne Tyler which has been 
recommended by several people - I'm looking forward to it!

And finally, thank you to everyone for your kind comments on my last yarnalong post
The family/child-related problem was eventually sorted last night, just over 2 weeks after
 it first raised its ugly head. Two weeks of stress, albeit it in peaks and troughs, and now
 time for some calm again in the family.....
Wishing you a peaceful week

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Yarn along... stripy socks and Atonement


Here I am joining in with Ginny's Wednesday yarn along

I recently finished a pair of socks for me 
(I hope this link to the photo on my instagram account works!) 
Younger son seemed particularly taken with them and asked for a pair of very bright 
hand knitted socks. And of course if someone actually asks us to knit something for them, 
we get very excited, and so I rushed off to scour the internet for suitable wool and came
up with the above. Yes, son approved, wool was ordered, arrived 2 days later
and off we went, socks cast on - weeeee........ 

But I am having to knit a larger size than normal and making a few other adjustments. 
I tried them on his feet yesterday and he was wiggling and giggling like
 a toddler - he's nearly 20!! But I am enjoying knitting these - those bright colours
 can hardly fail to lift the spirits can they?

As for my book, well I have read a couple of Ian McEwan's books and really
 enjoyed them. We are reading his 'Atonement' for our book club. Sadly, I haven't read 
far into the book yet as my mind has been distracted by family events, you know those
 sort of 'children-related' events that occur every so often and that stress the heck out of
 you. Anyway, given time, as with all of life's little ups and downs I'm sure our 
present bumps will soon be smoothed...

I hope you are enjoying your current read!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Five on Friday....London


Once again I'm joining in with Amy's Five on Friday - please do visit her 
blog 'Love Made My Home' if you haven't yet, but I think lots of us know 
Amy and her blog already!  

So my Five on Friday is all about last Friday - the best day of the Easter weekend for us 
in terms of the weather forecast. Planning ahead I decided that Good Friday was the day 
for our planned day trip. It was a one-day break from revision for the young people from 
AS levels and University exams. 
At 7.44 am we boarded a deserted train to London. Once in London we headed for the 
Docklands Light Railway to make our way to Greenwich Park and more specifically to 

And here we are on the Meridian Line. Arriving at a relatively early hour it was still fairly 
quiet but there were still plenty of shadows. We then visited the Planetarium for a very
 interesting talk on identifying the more common stars and constellations. 

It was my first visit to Greenwich Park. The views from the Observatory over London and 
the Thames were stunning, especially in the spring sun. 

From Greenwich Park we walked to Greenwich village, home of the Cutty Sark.  

There was a great atmosphere in Greenwich, it felt almost like a carnival with the carousel, the food stalls, the pub and cafes around the Cutty Sark. And always that blue sky....

Back on the Docklands Light Railway we caught glimpses of restored docks and 
smart new apartments blocks built into old warehouses yet retaining the dockside old 
cranes for loading boats.  

A visit to London for me is hardly complete without a walk along the Thames.

And we finished the day with a meal at Pizza Express opposite St Paul's Cathedral.
 The sun accentuated the architectural details of the Cathedral. 

PS I'm finishing off with 2 sneaky extras photos:
my glorious pizza...

....and very welcome beer!

Sorry for cheating with 2 extra photos, but a great day with the family!
Have a great weekend

Friday, 11 March 2016

Five on Friday


I'm delighted to be joining in with Amy's Five on Friday

I'm keeping this simple. Five photos and a few words.

The sun broke through the early thick fog to reveal a beautiful day. It was just too lovely 
to stay indoors so husband and I ventured out for a walk, heading for the wood at the 
back of our house. 

After trudging along the very mud path which mostly follows the perimeter of the wood we 
headed out towards the university playing fields. The groundsmen were out aerating the 
football pitches. The pitches are always immaculate.

After coffee in the cafe at the business park, we headed home, taking yet another
 photo of these gorgeous daffodils....

 past the water....

and back into the wood, almost home. 

Hope you enjoyed that walk. 

Thank you Amy at love made my home for hosting Five on Friday. 
Please head over to Amy's blog and see more Five on Friday's.  

Best wishes

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Yarn along!


Joining in with Ginny's yarn along this week. 

So I'm reading 'The Nazis: A Warning From History'. I wonder how many of you remember 
this as a BBC TV series back in the late 1990s. I have read this before but as part of my 
mission to de-clutter I decided this was one book I would read once again and then pass
on. I am making slow progress though as I get distracted by facts and find myself
continually stopping to look up lots of extra details on Wikipedia. Still, it is quite nice
to be distracted in such a way. 

In the introduction there is a quote from Karl Jaspers, a German-born philosopher
"That which has happened is a warning. To forget it is guilt. It must be continually 
remembered. It was possible for this to happen, and it remains possible for it to happen 
again at any minute. Only in knowledge can it be prevented."

I'd like to think that was true but sadly I am not wholly convinced. 

As for these socks, oh boy they are taking me an age to knit. I've been suffering with that 
awful cold/cough bug that is going round and I haven't even had the energy to knit. 
Instead I have sat and read.... not a bad substitute.

Happy reading/knitting!

Monday, 29 February 2016

Starting with a night in York...


Well, I think it is just a quick round up for this blog post. 

Half term has been and gone. We offered daughter a choice of activities/short breaks but 
she chose a staycation - for her at least. Husband and I had a night in York while she had 
friends (all female!) round for a sleepover. 

Husband and I travelled by train to York, my favourite mode of travel, offering the 
chance  for a coffee, a read of my book and a few rows knitted on my socks. 

We have visited York several times but this was the first occasion in a long time for us to 
visit without children, an indication of how our life is changing as the children grow up. 
We felt in need of exercise and despite the rather grey skies and occasional 
shower of rain we decided to shun the museums and just walk. 
And we walked the city walls - something I have not done before but the walk took 
us through some interesting parts of the city and the heights of the wall gave a slightly 
different perspective of the city too. 

On the way home from York we stopped in Sheffield and had lunch with 2 sons and one girlfriend. The meal wasn't great but the company was fantastic which is the main thing isn't it? 

I didn't take lots of photos while away as I just wanted to walk and enjoy a wind down. 
York was a bit of a welcome break from this.....

Umm.... stripping wallpaper from the hall, stairs and landing. We haven't decorated these 
rooms since we moved in 15 years ago - we always knew it would be a big job and so 
kept postponing it but we decided we could do this no more!!

Underneath we have revealed a variety of paints and I quite like the rustic look we have
on some parts of the wall. What do you think? I have tried to persuade the family that 
maybe we don't need to decorate, we can leave the walls like this but I'm not sure they 
are so convinced!!

And please don't expect a "ta-dah" revealing a beautifully decorated halls, stairs and 
landing any day soon - it all needs a lot of preparation so this is definitely 
a slow-burn project. 

(The picture is one I cross stitched years ago for younger son.)

The weather has been bright recently here in the Midlands and I have made the 
most of it in between stripping!

These photos were taken on a now-regular walk of mine round the wood at the 
back of our house and across to the science park. 

I have made a few of these recently - yes toss-in-fruitcake, mainly for daughter. These are
 so easy to make. As the name suggests you literally toss everything in a bowl and mix! 

A friend recently gave us a typewriter.
Only a few weeks ago I had mentioned in passing how I thought daughter would like one. 
It was very kind of her to remember my words when she found one in the back of a 
wardrobe while having a sort out. Daughter thinks "it is sick!" and has even been typing 
up her physics notes.

 The rhythmic sound of the keys tapping, the ping of the bell as the feed roller 
passes the margin and the sliding back of the feed roller is almost musical. 

We have been watching more ladies football matches. Brrr, it was cold yesterday but boy
 was it a nail biting cup match. Sadly our local team lost 2-1 in extra time. But the crowd of approximately 100 was testament to how far the team have come this year.

And the chilliness continued this morning, a very sharp frost with a hazy sun filtering
 through the mist gave the hill behind our house a  warm glow. 

So nothing very exciting to report. Just a round up of recent events. 
Has the sun been shining for your recently?
Do you feel like spring is on its way?

Wishing you a good week

PS. Thank you for the lovely comments on my socks in my last post!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Sock knitting and sock supplies!


Today I'm coming clean about my love of sock knitting!
I know there is a whole community out there of keen sock knitters, and I am proud to be one of them. As many have said before, and in fact as I have also said here and here, socks are a great knitting project for taking with you when space may be at a premium. 
So train rides, weekend breaks, or even day trips all offer me the chance to get a 
few rows done. 

This is the first pair I knitted - smartly commandeered by daughter and as you can see, well used. 

I started off with some Regia 4 ply yarn and followed the pattern supplied with the yarn.

More Regia yarn followed. As you can probably guess, I like this yarn. It is hard-wearing but also comes in a great range of colours and patterns such as this latest one by 
Arne and Carlos. 

Other designers for Regia sock yarn include Erika Knight and Kaffe Fassett

So besides a healthy stash of sock yarn (all will soon be revealed!) I have also accumulated a few sets of DPNs (double pointed needles), small circular needles 
(which I absolutely love!) and er, one or 2 books.  

Well, actually 4 books in total which I feel is pretty restrained. 
But I do find all the lovely sock yarns hard to resist.  

Such gorgeous self-striping, self-patterning yarns. 
But also for a diversion I have some charming plain yarn waited to be knitted up too!

And some gorgeous yarn from West Yorkshire Spinners that I received as a 
Christmas present. This was sold as a Christmas special and the yarns are called 
Holly Berry and Cherry Drop. I am aiming to get two pairs of sock from these balls, 
using for each pair one ball as the main colour and using the second ball as a 
contrast for the cuffs, heels, and toes.  

And finally some old balls of Regia that I bought several years ago when it was 
on  offer - this yarn is at last on my needles and I'm trying a different pattern this 
time, one with an after-thought heel as I used this method on my Osen Christmas
 stocking and found it very easy to do.
 (This photo really doesn't capture the true colour of the yarn at all).  

And here is my sock yarn stash in all it's glory 
(well at least as it was yesterday).

So quite a few "pairs of socks" worth of yarn there, but alas, there are just
so many tempting sock yarns. I posted recently about how I was desperately 
resisting the urge to purchase more but as many of you guessed 
correctly, I eventually caved in to temptation. 
Let me introduce you to Delphinium (left) and Frost (right). 
Definitely a 'blue' theme going on here don't you think?

And finally, this pair of socks have just come off my needles and need to be finished. 
Clearly these have been on my needle a while as I was knitting them on this day trip to Matlock in May 2015! 

Well, with all that sock yarn in the house I'd better get knitting. 
And if you are on Ravelry please pop in and see me - I'm Caz3, and here is the link to see more of my projects. 

Are you a sock knitter? Do you have a favourite pattern? Do you knit cuff-down or toe-up?
So many choices....

Wishing you an enjoyable half term!