Sunday, July 28, 2013

And then there was a knitting update

Two blog posts in one weekend? I'm on a roll.

I seem to have got quite a lot of knitting done since I last did an update (OK, so that was back in June, so hardly surprising).

My Fantastic Purple Cardigan is nearly all knitted, I just have to sew the seams and knit the edging. I blocked it on the spare bed one week and it took up loads of room, as it seems to have come out rather large. That's a good thing though, as it's meant to be a baggy cardigan.

I got frustrated with the Mini Mania Scarf and ended up frogging it. I'd wanted to knit it to use up odds and ends of sock yarn, but found that linen stitch was hurting my wrists if I did it for too long so decided to give up. Plus, all my machine washable sock yarn leftovers seemed to be variations on mud colour (have I really knitted a whole pile of mud colour socks?) which didn't make for an interesting scarf. Instead I have started a Sock Yarn Leftovers Blanket using mitred squares. The pattern is more of a recipe into which you add in whatever weight yarn and needle size you want. It's very easy to follow, and this is a great project to pick up when I need something fairly mindless to knit, such as at knitting group where I'm busy talking and drinking wine, or when I'm at home watching TV with subtitles (anyone else enjoying Les revenants?)

My Aeolian Shawl is coming on well, I've just started the edge pattern, although there still seem to be a LOT of rows to go. I've really enjoyed knitting this and, apart from a blip last week when I did four rows wrong, it's been fairly straightforward knitting. It is quite time consuming, as it's now at the point when it takes about 45 minutes to do a knit row.

On a trip to our nearest proper yarn shop, Mrs Moon, with a friend back in May...

I bought a couple of balls of Rowan Cocoon to make a scarf as I wanted a nice straightforward pattern for TV knitting and to take on holiday with me. I finished knitting this in the hottest week of the year - because what more could you want in 30°C than a chunky knitted scarf?!

Not sure why my ribbing looks a lot more even in the photo than it is in real life.

That was a really good shopping trip, as I also found in the sale a copy of a book I'd wanted for ages, Little red in the city, which has lots of info inside about knitting to fit your size and shape.

Think that's all for now.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

More gardening 2013

I was going to do a knitting update as several projects have made real progress, but there's more going on in the garden at the moment so I'm doing that first!

I had a lovely day out with my Mum to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley (more in a different post), and bought a couple more plants so that I could plant up this new border. The new plants are a Physocarpus, plus a Heuchera "Chocolate Ruffles", to go with two Euonymus  "Emerald n' Gold" we already had, a Phlox and a rose we were given as a wedding present. Of course, it's been ridiculously warm ever since, over 30°C sometimes, so we've ended up having to water these a lot to help them settle in!

We've been able to harvest some produce already. This was the first strawberry, and we've had loads more since then. Unknown variety, I propagated our plants from runners from one plant given to us by a friend a few years ago.

The apple trees both have a lot of fruit ripening, which I've thinned out in the hope of ensuring at least some of them get as far as the eating stage. Unfortunately the squirrels love eating them before they're ripe, so we have a strong suspicion that we're not going to get to eat the ones from the espalier tree as there's no way of protecting it. This fruit below is on the standard tree, which I think we might manage to protect.

The first lot of broad beans I brought in from the garden today. Can't wait to eat them tonight, combined with...

the first crop of potatoes!

In the less edible but pretty side of gardening the Phlox paniculata is in full flower, and much loved by the bees.

All the fuchsias are developing flowers, but this one, Fuchsia Mojo Boogie is my favourite (Fuchsia Mojo is a newly bred range). We've had a few accidents with it, as the first one I had was trodden on by a builder when we had a new wall built, so I had to get replacements the next year. It's also only half-hardy so had to spend the winter in the cold frame. But worth it for the beautiful flowers.

This is my now huge Eryngium planum, which I bought for £1.50 as a teeny tiny plant last year at a nursery 'oop north (where plants are a LOT cheaper). I was hoping it would get big, as it's a really good source of nectar for insects, as well as having seed heads that look dramatic through the winter. And it has SO many more flowers on it that last year, it's brilliant. Behind it you can see the wire netting I've put up so I can espalier the Pyracanthas. (does this sound like I actually know what I'm talking about?!) The Pyracanthas were rather spiky to prune, but I did manage it with many "Ows".

I'm rather pleased with this new acquisition (as a plug plant) last year - it's a new type of Foxglove, called "Illumination Pink", which won Plant of the Year at Chelsea last year and is perennial. We've got three of them and they've all grown really well and have beautiful flowers this year. Next year it should be even bigger with even more flowers.

And this is the rather pretty Sisyrinchium, which I've had to move as it wasn't very happy where I'd originally planted it a couple of years ago. It's now flowering in its new home.

I've using the RHS' Plants for pollinators list when planning what plants to buy, as it helps you find plants that flower throughout the year.

That's all for now, I'll be back soonish for more of an update!