Friday, January 01, 2016

A new arrival and garden at the beginning of January 2016

Not much gardening happened in December as a certain baby put in an appearance early on in the month. Little One (LO) has been out in the pram a few times sporting the latest in knitted fashion, and has also been to knitting group twice already. Contrary to my expectations of early parenthood, I have managed to knit about two thirds of one sock since I went into hospital to have her (I was induced; it took a while). Don't think I feel up to tackling anything more complicated at the moment though.

December was mild but rainy, although fortunately we were spared the flooding that other parts of the country have experienced. Everything is still growing, and the OH had to cut the lawn again just before Christmas. I am itching to get out there and get on with some gardening after being too huge to do much for quite a few months. But I think that will have to wait until I've had more sleep.

The mild weather has made the fuchsias start to re-sprout leaves. You just know this is going to end badly when there's a frost.

Our houseplants got Sciarid fly, so we had to put them outside in the hope some colder weather (joke) would kill them off.

The camellia has begun flowering earlier this year with the warmer weather.

Lots of signs of bulb growth already.

And the first hellebore flower - this is one I grew from seed!

What are your gardening plans for 2016? Mine are just to do some gardening...

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Garden at the beginning of December 2015

Not much change again here. We've only had one frost so far (two weeks earlier than last year) so the garden hasn't really been hit by a cold spell yet.

There aren't as many flowers around now, but the Wisley Cream clematis has just started to flower, and is covered with buds, so hopefully that will flower through the winter.

A few of the winter flowering pansies are in flower.

As are the cyclamen.

Bright berries are making up for the lack of colourful flowers though, and hopefully the birds will be pleased to eat them through the winter. All three pyracanthas have now got their berries.

As has the cotoneaster.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Knitting and sewing

As we've had to move stuff around to make space for the baby (more like it's stuff!) I now have a new sewing zone set up. The table isn't huge, but the light is much better than the room it was in, as there are windows to both the left and right of this table.

I've been working on getting this cot quilt finished, and the improved lighting certainly made a difference to the sewing, even at this dark and dull time of year. I'm not intending to use it as a cot quilt (I thought a play mat would be better), although it was originally meant to be for a cot, several decades ago, when it was started and intended for me to use. It never got finished, so I've been finishing it off now. The light today has been terrible for photos! This is it finished, and I put it through the washing machine on the delicate cycle, with some trepidation as I wasn't sure whether the fabric would shrink... It seems to be fine though, and I just need to give it an iron. It's a rather sweet Sanderson printed cotton showing a teddy bears' picnic.

The DK bedsocks are coming along quite fast, although this is proving the most annoying pattern ever to make. I think I prefer knitting socks in the round than flat and having to seam them.

I've also looked out other projects on the go, and realised I'd managed to knit about 2/3 of the second of the Samwise Gamgee socks in a smaller size than the first one... Oops. So had to frog that one. Have no idea what I was doing there, as the pattern is written for one size, so I obviously took it into my head to cast on fewer stitches!

I also managed to find a picture of the finished dress I made for my little niece in the summer. I thought I'd forgotten to take a picture of it, then discovered this in a random folder on my computer!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sitting around with my feet up

I thought once I finished work that I'd have loads of time, and pictured myself crafting away whilst catching up with TV, updating my blog and reading my way through the huge pile of books sitting in a wobbly pile next to my bed. Well, it's now a month since I finished work (still another month before the baby is due!) and I haven't done that much crafting, or that much reading really. It's not particularly comfortable to sit still for large amounts of time, so I haven't been! I have done an awful lot of Sorting Things Out in the house, and boring but necessary tasks like organising people to service the boiler, clear the guttering of leaves and service the car. I'm kind of presuming that December will be a bit busy, so I've almost finished my Christmas shopping (should be completed this week!) and getting things like presents and cards ready to post.

This is what I have been doing, craft-wise:

Another Beyond Puerperium, this one in 3-6 month size to use up the oddments of sportweight yarn I had in my stash (I worked out that this was the biggest size I could make with what I had leftover). The yarn is a mixture of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and MillaMia Naturally Soft Merino, both of which are lovely to knit with and have the same gauge. I pulled the yarn a bit too tight whilst changing colours at the ends of rows, so it's slightly skewed at one side, but I don't think that will matter (and the baby isn't going to mind, is it?!). I ended up buying a couple more balls of the MillaMia for the due date swap group I participated in, as I thought my swap partner would enjoy knitting with it just as much as I have. I also seem to be addicted to this pattern - that's the eleventh one I've made! I've now made newborn and 3-6 month sizes for my baby, so I will next be aiming to make the next size up. Some more stash yarn is earmarked for this.

I've finished another pair of children's socks for a birthday present. The yarn is My First Regia again, cos it's machine-washable and nice and soft. I initially started off with the Toots pattern, but this nearly drove me mad with bizarre lace patterning that wasn't particularly intuitive, so I switched to the Garter Rib socks pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, which I've made before, so know I enjoy knitting and that it works!

My latest project, only cast on last week, is a pair of slouchy bedsocks in DK yarn, Sirdar Crofter DK. I received one ball of this in last year's knitting group Secret Santa, and found the pattern in a yarn shop on holiday in June, and it only needed another ball, so it seemed a good way of using the yarn up. The socks are knitted flat and then seamed, and I'm now regretting not altering the pattern and knitting them in the round, as knitting them flat seems awkward. The heel instructions weren't very intuitive, so I had to do a lot of checking on other people's experiences on Ravelry forums before I could get anywhere. Does anyone else find this, after knitting indie patterns that are pdfs and so there is less limitation on space when providing instructions? Everytime I've used a bought printed pattern recently it seems to be a bit deficient in the instructions department.

I've also sewn this dress, for my swap partner in the due date swap group. The fabric is 100% cotton, and I was really pleased to find it in the closing down sale from our local haberdashery, as it was the perfect amount, and in the colours (pink and grey) which she said she preferred!

This is part of the present I received from my swap partner - a sheep baby hat! Isn't it cute?! There were also some other goodies in the parcel.

And, finally, I was given this baby blanket last night at my knitting group meeting - all my knitting group friends had made squares, which sounds like it needed a lot of organisation as they were apparently passing balls of yarn backwards and forwards to each other! Isn't it cool?!

That's all for now. Hopefully I'll get another update in in the not to distant future!