Thursday, December 30, 2010

A few months of knitting

I have been knitting busily away over the last few months, I just haven't posted about it. I had to put several projects down to get on with Christmas jumpers for the nephews. I'd stopped knitting for them for Christmas (too much all at once, whereas birthdays in December and May were much more do-able) but with wedding plans earlier this year and the house move birthday jumpers didn't happen, so Christmas it had to be. I bought the yarn and pattern on honeymoon, from Warwick Wools, it's the same pattern - Sirdar kid's cabled sweater with a hood, and both sized age 7-8 (despite one being 4 and the other 6, they're both age 6 in everything!). The yarn is Sirdar Supersoft Aran, which doesn't feel too acrylicky and hopefully should wash reasonably well.

Then a friend had a baby (a girl, she's already got three boys) so I felt that deserved a bright and cheerful baby hat. This is the hat from the Opal baby cardigan set, using about half a skein of Regia Stretch Crazy Color that I had left over from an earlier project.

And which, of course, Monkey insisted on modelling, still wearing his trusty knitted banana stuffed down his vest.

And I finished my Owen socks, started what seems like forever ago. I was making good progress until the nephew jumpers and the Iron Knitter contest took over my time. I really like the cables in this pattern and the yarn (Five Moons Selene, which we were I was given as a wedding present) is a merino/bamboo mixture which feels gorgeous.

Then I knitted a Dalek for the OH for Christmas. This is the Extermiknit pattern I found on Ravelry, knitted with odds and ends of DK in secret at knitting group. It was very nearly all he got for Christmas, after my Amazon order of the DVD of Doctor Who series five for him got delayed by nearly 3 weeks in the snow. I had to do an impromptu trip into work on Christmas Eve to pick it up!
I think the knitted dalek looks rather sweet. Although possibly daleks aren't meant to look sweet?

And over Christmas I've been knitting a cabled tank top for a friend's baby, which is due in February (there must be something in the water at the moment, I know four people who are expecting babies in February!). The pattern is another Sirdar one, which I originally made for Noah back in 2008.

And I still have my Out of Town in London Fog Socks on the go. This was meant to be for the first round of the Iron Knitter contest, at which I was a total failure as I didn't even finish the first round! Again, these got a little overtaken by events and I'm not sure when I'm going to get them finished as I have a lot of baby knitting to do now. There were some really nice patterns in later rounds. I would still like to make: Island Paradise and the Magic Mirror socks. And I also like Moonlight Lattice but suspect it may be beyond me.

I've been thinking about what I'd like to knit in 2011. I have various baby projects in mind for all my friends who are pregnant, and I have promised someone else a pair of socks, and a lady at church a tea cosy. But apart from that I'd like to get on with Isabella, the Essential Cardigan and Lima at some point. And I'd also like to knit a jumper for the OH, but the Knitting Pure & Simple down-down pullover is the only pattern I've found so far that he likes!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Once again time went hurtling past and I haven't blogged for nearly 2 months! Oops. It has been a busy 2 months though (funny that I thought at the start of the year that once we'd rebuilt the house, moved into it and got married I'd suddenly have loads of spare time!).

But I had a long weekend in Wales, visiting my brother's family, who  moved there last year. It was incredibly beautiful - with plenty of gorgeous sky and views to admire, the kind of thing you don't get within the M25! 

We visited the Centre for Alternative Technology at Machynlleth, somewhere I'd always wanted to go, and which isn't far from where they live. It was very inspiring, with lots of interactive displays of things like solar panels and composting toilets, as well as lovely local food in the café. And, visiting in the first weekend of November, we had the whole place almost to ourselves! Definitely somewhere to return to.

 Oh dear, you can tell I'm a tourist when I find even parking notices in English and Welsh exciting!

Meanwhile, our two new apple trees were delivered from the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley and I got them planted just in time before the weather went really snowy.
 One is a half-standard Red Windsor, on an MM106 rootstock, which should fruit in September. MM106 doesn't grow too tall, as our garden isn't very big so a massive mega whopping apple tree wasn't really an option.

 The other is on another MM106 root stock, but this one is an espalier Red Falstaff, which should fruit in October. It's gone in the raised bed against the back wall.

 We had some friends over to stay for the weekend - it's so nice to finally have a house that's big enough to have people to stay. On the Saturday we went to the Royal Landscape at Savill Gardens for the day, which I'd never visited at this time of year (despite virtually living next door whilst I was at university!). Like Wisley and CAT it's well worth a visit, but the café is massively over-priced so probably better taking a picnic if you go when the weather's warmer!

 They had a squash display in one of the glasshouses, I just hope someone was going to eat them once the display was taken down!

 I attempted to grow some potatoes for Christmas lunch, but this is all that came up! About enough for two of us for two meals...

 And I'd just dug the potatoes out of the ground and got the apple trees planted and the snow started! We had some right at the end of November, which caused some problems getting to work, then a gap, then more snow in the run-up to Christmas. The second time I was very busy at home having 'flu so I didn't venture out for the first few days, and by that time South West trains were running a snow timetable so it wasn't a problem getting to work.
 We've been attempting to feed the birds but keep getting inundated with pigeons - one of which does a humming bird impression hanging off the bird feeder to get the seed! We eventually took the tray off the bottom so it didn't have that to hang onto and it seems to have stopped them for the time being.

I can recommend not having 'flu just before Christmas. I'd just got all the Christmas cards sent, then came down with it the next day and retreated off to bed for five days before staggering off to work for 2.5 days before finishing for Christmas! Fortunately we didn't have to travel anywhere this year as Mum came to us for Christmas.
It's our first "married Christmas" and our first living in the new house, so we had our first tree to put up and decorate. I was still pretty wiped out at that stage as we put it up just before Christmas, so I was hanging a couple of baubles and going to have a sit down to recover. It took ages!

And we managed to do turkey and all the trimmings. This is a plateful aimed at either Mum or the OH. I got a turkey breast from Copas Turkeys, having gone to some lengths to try and find an ethical one. Although Riverford, our veg box company, does do meat, they only did whole turkeys, not just turkey breast, and there's no way we'd have got through a whole turkey! The Copas turkey came with lots of instructions aimed at the totally novice turkey cooker (i.e. me) and seemed to work well, as well as coming from a farm only 15 miles from here!

And my Christmas dinner - all the vegetables and baked bean roast from the Lincoln Cathedral cook book!

That's all for now. I want to do a post about knitting stuff sometime soon, and I'm not back at work until 4th January, so hopefully will have some time this time!

Happy Christmas to those who celebrate it, and here's to more blogging in 2011...