Sunday, March 25, 2012

Knitting and daffodils

I've been going a bit mad in the garden recently, including taking a day off work to catch up with some gardening (!), and we had a lovely afternoon out today to see some daffodils, so I'll put some gratuitous daffodil photos in this post, but leave most of the garden update for garden-at-the-beginning-of-April, to make room for the knitting update.

A couple of people have messaged  me to say they've had trouble leaving comments, and I know I've struggled with some other Blogger blogs in the last week or two. If you want to leave a comment and are having trouble, please let me know - my email's in my profile on here or my Rav profile is here.

A couple of projects have been finished this week. I finally finished the KAL blanket from last year (!), just in time as I will be seeing the lucky recipient who's having it as a birthday present next weekend and want to take it with me, as it's a bit big to put in the post.

I'm pleased with how it's turned out. The squares aren't quite all the same size, but the crochet edging helped even it up a bit.

And I produced another tea cosy. Last year I knitted one for an old-lady-at-church, who wanted one to match her kitchen. Well, it turned out that old-lady-at-church thought her friend would like one too, so I ended up knitting another, identical, one! It's the Terrific Tea Cosy pattern that I've made a few times now. I am kind of hoping that old-lady-at-church hasn't got any more friends who would like tea cosies though...

And I'm trying to find some yarn to knit a jumper for my nephew's birthday in May. He apparently would like an Auntie-knitted jumper (thought he might be getting a bit too old for these things) but it has to be soft and bright red. I've settled on the Intrepid Pullover pattern from Interweave Knits, now I just need to source the yarn. I'm thinking either Patons Smoothie DK, or Sirdar Baby Bamboo (but without letting on to him that the yarn has "baby" in its name, as he'll be 6 and would be Totally Mortified).

How did I get so old and wrinkly that my youngest nephew is 6?! Although I now have three grey hairs, so it's obviously downhill from now on.

This afternoon we went for an afternoon out to Valley Gardens, as I'd heard rumours of some amazing daffodils at this time of year. And we weren't disappointed.

Some bits were very familiar. I went to university very close to here, so I've walked past this pool many times (usually whilst avoiding revising for exams/with an essay deadline looming etc)

 But I hadn't ventured into the gardens themselves before, and they're spectacular. With a lot of rhododendrons (we later discovered that it's the home of the national collection of rhododendrons, which would explain why there's rather a lot!).

 And beautiful swathes of daffodils as far as the eye could see!

These are some of the daffodils out at home. I planted the same varieties together, so they group into different coloured clumps around the garden. Apart from at the far end, where I obviously forgot to plant any at all.

Think that's all for now. I'm away next weekend so I'm not sure when my next blog update will be.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I've done a fair bit of zooming around in the last 10 days or so, plus had a throat infection for a few days, so haven't done much knitting (or blogging)!

I worked one Saturday at Who Do You Think You Are Live - promoting family history resources, which was fun, if a bit intense. It was something like 8 hours on my feet, with a short break for lunch when I sat on the floor as it was so busy I couldn't find any spare seats. It took place in one of the halls at Olympia. I was very hoarse by the end of the day, I thought from so much talking, but it turned out to be a throat infection!

Then the next week I went off to Cambridge for a conference, spending the night before at a friend's house. On trotting off to get something to eat I was delighted to discover how close they live to the new(ish) Sheep Shop! I'll be back. It looks lovely inside.

And, no sooner did I get back from Cambridge, but I was off again to the theatre this time, to see someone from work appearing in their local dramatic society production - which was very good but a bit of a late night on a work night.
I received this cute picture of my friend's baby wearing the jumper I knitted last year, which she has just grown into. Cute or what?!

A parcel all the way from Wisconsin, containing the three balls of Grignasco Gold merino DK I need to finish my cardigan. My generous swop partner (I sent her some sock yarn and British yarn) had also enclosed a Wisconsin Badgers mug, and postcards of the wildlife where she lives.

And another squishy parcel from Celticove, after I discovered a 50% off sale, including Araucania Toconao yarn. I wanted three contrasting skeins to go with the purple skeins I bought at Norfolk yarns a while ago, so I can make the Velvet Morning cardigan from Knitty, and I'd been keeping an eye open for a yarn sale for this. I love Celticove, I've been ordering from them every now and again for years, and they always have good sales, and speedy delivery.

And finally, some knitting, or rather crochet. I finished all the squares for the (2011) KAL blanket so have been crocheting them together. It was slow progress at first as I haven't crocheted in a while, but I got faster towards the end. Now I just have loads of ends to sew in and then I need to block it.

I've also been knitting another tea cosy for a friend of a friend, but have been mainly doing the blanket whilst I waited for the yarn for my cardigan to arrive.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Garden at the beginning of March 2012

And actually taken on 1st March as well! Things are beginning to spring into life, and there is definitely much more greenery on display than at the beginning of February. The snow from four weeks ago only lasted a couple of days. And in comparison with March last year it looks a lot more, erm, organised!

We've had a few problems with squirrels. If you google how to stop squirrels eating bird food, one of the suggestions is to mix the food with chilli powder, which squirrels don't like. Except ours do. This is one of them eating chilli-covered mealworms from the ground feeder tray.

And they've also worked out how to climb up and over the arch hanging thing for the seed feeder and can hang upside down from it to get the seeds and nuts out. We did have a squirrel-proof (enclosed in a cage) feeder hanging there, but swopped them over in the colder weather as the slightly bigger birds like the robin couldn't get through to eat the seed. Now we've had to swop them back again and the robins are battling with the squirrels over the mealworms...

There have been some nice surprises too. This is a hellebore given to us by a neighbour last year, a self-seeded one from one of his plants. Apparently his plant's flowers are a dull muddy sort of colour and we were expecting something similar, but course, with seed, you never quite know what you're going to get, and this is what appeared instead!

 The primrose I grew from seed has come up a variety of colours. This one's my favourite:

 And the crocus are a nice variety too, again, I liked this one best!

 I needn't have worried about the snow ruining the camellia buds. We seem to be having a bumper year for them instead! At the bottom of this post is a picture of the slightly pathetic show we had last year. But I spent last year feeding it at the time when the buds were forming, and it's now minus the yew that was growing alongside, which seems to have helped too.

That's all for now. I have a slightly mad week involving a night in Cambridge for work and then a theatre trip with work that I signed up for before I realised it was straight after the trip to Cambridge (oops) so the next blog post might be a little delayed...