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!