Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stash stuff

I realised I hadn't got round to updating my totals of stash used up last year. I'm pleased with how I did, although being pregnant and knitting small baby garments definitely helped! I kept track each  month using an Excel spreadsheet, and last blogged about it in October.

I think I will total up October - December together, as I had the baby then, so there was less knitting taking place. I looked back at my Ravelry projects page to work out what I finished knitting each month.

Total in: 0 metres
Total used: 2045.2 metres

That means, over 2015, I acquired 4726.5 metres of yarn, but used up 8793.8 metres, leaving me with a grand total of 4067.3 metres of yarn less than at the start of the year. I'm pretty pleased with this, as I started the year intending to reduce the size of the stash, and it looks like I've succeeded. I'm planning to do more of the same in 2016, not least because I'll be on maternity leave for over eleven months of the year so won't have much spare cash to spend on yarn.

My current projects are going well. I'm mostly knitting the garter rib socks at knitting group, which means that not a lot gets done as I usually spend at least half the meeting feeding LO!

I've been working on a Playdate Hoodie for my Godson's birthday in June, when he'll be two. I've made the largest size and am using John Lewis Heritage aran which I had in my stash. This pattern knits up quickly, and is fairly simple but a satisfying knit.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Books read 2015 #4

#16 James Rebanks The shepherd's life: a tale of the Lake District
This was a birthday present, and one I'd particularly asked for. James Rebanks is @HerdyShepherd1 on Twitter, and someone whose twitter feed I have enjoyed following for a while, with his lovely pictures of Herdwick sheep. Amusingly, the staff in Waterstones had trouble locating the one copy they'd apparently had in stock - eventually tracking it down to the Travel - Lake District section, when Autobiography would be more accurate! It's a great read, covering a lot I didn't know about sheep farming, particularly in that area, but also a lot more besides about education, and attitudes to incomers and perceptions of the Lake District.

#17 Elizabeth Jane Howard All change
Oh no, now I've finished the last one in her Cazalet chronicles series! :-( I have loved rediscovering these books (the previous four I read as a teenager) and then having the chance to finish it off with this final one. Set in 1956-1958 the book covers the declining fortunes of the Cazalet family in a much changed world. I love the glimpses of social history visible in these novels, and this one is no exception. Howard has a great talent for showing the different sides to all the characters.

#18 Pamela Druckerman French parents don't give in: 100 parenting tips from Paris
Follow up to her French children don't throw food, if you're interested in different cultural attitudes to parenting this is an hilarious read! No idea if it works, but it's very funny!

#19 Julian Fellowes Snobs
This is a portrayal of the modern class system, as Edith Lavery marries into the upper class and then quickly realises her mistake. Or was it a mistake. It took a bit to get into (this may have been because I started it in hospital during labour though so my mind wasn't totally on it) but I enjoyed the dry humour and insights immensely.

I've decided to stop writing book reviews for the time being, as I'm not getting as much reading time with LO here (Snobs took me six weeks to read!). I will be recording what I've read on LibraryThing though, although without reviews. I am quite pleased that I got through nearly 19 books in 2015 despite spending the majority of the year pregnant!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Garden at the beginning of March 2016

A bit of a different view for garden at the beginning of the month this time. We're having building work done, so the things that normally live on the patio are currently on the lawn!

This is what the patio and garage look like at the moment. The garage roof is being replaced (it's very leaky and made of asbestos), the garage widened so that we can get LO into the car whilst it's in the garage, and unload shopping etc in there, as the garage was built for a 1950s car and they tend to be wider these days! The patio is being replaced with something that isn't pink concrete.

Amidst all this chaos, things are growing. The rhubarb is sprouting!

Daffodils are appearing in the containers - I'm pleased about this as I planted them 18 months ago and didn't replace them last Autumn as I didn't feel like lugging compost around whilst pregnant.

Hyacinths (also planted last year) are appearing in the other containers.

The Camellia is beginning to flower

And loads more flowers have appeared on the Hellebores! I thought the Daphne was going to flower too, but nothing's happened yet, and it's getting a bit late now?

That's it for this month. The building work is supposed to take 4-5 weeks, so maybe I'll have a nearly completed garage and patio to show off at the beginning of April.