Sunday, September 14, 2014


So, the Not Nautical or Striped, nautical striped sweater now has stripes. Confused? Yes, so am I. But I seem to have got round the problem of discovering I had two different colourways in my stash (oops) by introducing the stripes into the top section. I'm planning to echo this on the front as well. And, depending on the light in the room, it's not actually that obvious.

The garter yoke cardigan is coming along well, and I'm now well down the body. It's quite quick to knit, despite being in DK.

 I was worried that it might not fit (I'm knitting the smallest size), so I tried it on once I'd got a bit further along. It meets comfortably at the neck at the front (not that you can tell from this photo) and I think will be fine.

In other news, I have done a swop, thereby reducing my stash a little more, then promptly acquired 800g of free 4ply which the barman (who is a knitting designer in his spare time) was giving away in the bar where we meet for knitting group. But I haven't taken photos of any of that yet, so it will have to wait for another post.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Garden at the beginning of September 2014

Can't believe it's September already. Autumn is definitely on the way, and the weather's been cooler over the last few weeks. We've had a lot more rain, so the garden is looking greener than it usually does at this time of year!

Everything seems to have been a few weeks ahead of itself since Spring, so the apples are nearly ripe now. We haven't lost any (so far) to squirrels, partly (probably) because of hanging up the old CDs to deter them, and partly because the neighbour's walnut tree has died, and they used to cross our garden to get to it.

This is the Rudbeckia in full flower. I divided it into three in the Spring and it seems to have recovered OK.

The hydrangea (this is Endless Summer Twist n' Shout) has really pretty leaves at this time of year - it's almost exactly four years ago that I bought this one, and I was attracted by the leaves then.

The Penstemons have been great this year, with lots of repeat flowering and a lot of growth. These were plug plants free with a magazine special offer a couple of years ago. Last year they didn't do a great deal.

The newest sedum (bought last year) flowered. I didn't Chelsea chop this one.

But I did Chelsea chop the others (these were already here when we bought the house). These have been chopped to about three different heights so should all flower at different times. The idea is to have flowers continuously so there is always a source of nectar in the garden.

And the Japanese Anenome has got huge. The flowers are so pretty. I deadhead it for a while, then I let it set seed (the seed is like fluffy cotton wool), and it's self-seeded in a couple of places in the garden, which was my intention! There's also some Nemesia in the container in the background.

These are the last few Sweet Pea flowers. I've been diligently dead-heading it twice a week through the summer to keep it flowering, and I'm now going to let it set seed so that I can collect and store them ready for next year.

Definitely signs that Autumn is on the way. The first berries have appeared on the holly. These are the first berries to appear on it at all, after we bought a male holly to go right next to it it seemed to get the idea about berries.

The red Pyracantha has lots of berries on it, but the yellow and orange ones still seem to be forming.

The tomatoes are still ripening. I'm not convinced at all about the cordon ones. We've had about four tomatoes from the two plants, and they were nice. But a lot of the fruit has split, one got Blossom end rot, and one branch fell off entirely before the tomatoes ripened.

But the cherry tomatoes have been really good. They've ripened at a steady pace through the summer so we've always had some to eat. They're tasty, and not as thin-skinned as last year's variety. Last year a lot of them split, but we haven't had that problem this year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Liebster award

Ages ago, I was nominated for a Liebster blogger award by Una, but life got in the way and I never got round to doing anything about it. The idea is to post 11 random facts about myself, answer 11 questions set by the nominator, nominate 11 blogs with under 200 followers and then set them 11 questions to answer. 

So, eleven random facts about me. Some of them I've borrowed from 2 years ago when I did the Kreativ Blogger thing, which is kind of similar.

  1. I didn't know I liked gardening until the last few years. This was a bit of a surprise. It's amazing how few plants I've killed so far.
  2. I really hate bread and butter pudding.
  3. I had my tonsils out when I was 27.
  4. I've never broken a bone.
  5. I used to be horse-obsessed, until my mid-teens. But I've ridden at some point in almost every place I've lived since then, including in Hyde Park in London and in Windsor Park.
  6. I've lived at sixteen addresses, for time periods ranging from 1 week to 18 years (and, yes, that doesn't count going on holidays, my shortest time in lodgings was a week!).
  7. I've been a Christian about as long as I've been vegetarian.
  8. I think the smell of bacon cooking is one of the most disgusting things on the planet.
  9. I used to be a cross stitcher, until I got the knitting bug nearly 10 years ago! I still have some cross stitch I never got finished then.
  10. I've started three knitting groups.
  11. Erm, I can't think of another one.
 Then my 11 questions to answer, set by Una:

1) What is the last thing you knitted or crocheted?
A sock - the Wise Hilda basic ribbed sock pattern.

2)Where would you go on holiday if price was no object?
Hmm, not sure, there are still so many parts of the UK I want to explore. And I'm not keen on long journeys and the carbon emissions from flying... I have really enjoyed visiting the places I've visited overseas though.

3) Do you think there is intelligent life on other planets?
Probably. Maybe they knit too?

4) At what age did you learn to knit or crochet?
Knit aged about 8 (my Gran taught me). Crochet I was about 29 (late starter).

5) What is your natural hair colour?

6) Which is your favourite season?
Autumn - don't like too hot or too cold, plus my birthday is in the Autumn!

7)  Are you a books or e-reader fan?
Books all the way, I don't have an e-reader.

8)  Do you prefer curtains or blinds?
Depends on the window and whether I'm aiming for privacy or insulation! Or both. We have both on some of ours.

9) Are you wearing earrings right now?
No, I had my ears pierced in my teens, but I kind of got out of the habit of wearing earrings so I should think the holes have closed up by now.

10) Do you have a special crafting area at home?
Not really. My end of the sofa has lots of knitting stacked next to it, and I have my sewing machine in a bedroom upstairs, plus a couple of shelves of crafty books in the same room, but it isn't exclusively my crafting area. 

11) If one person could rule the world, who should it be?
I think that would be a bad idea...

I'm not sure who to nominate though, as I don't know how you tell how many followers a blog has (I don't follow blogs, I use The Old Reader to keep track of them), and I nominated some people last time, so I'm going to leave that part out! Also means that I don't have to think up 11 questions to ask. But feel free to join in if you're so inclined.

Friday, August 22, 2014

An explosion of projects

So, in my last post, I'd had to start a new sock pattern so that I had some train knitting to do whilst I was away. The first of those socks (Wise Hilda's Basic Ribbed Socks, in Bergère de France Opal)
is now complete and I'm pleased with the fit- my heels are very narrow so this is a great pattern. If you have wider heels you might want to knit the heel on more stitches.

Then I've been working on my Not Nautical or Striped Nautical Striped Jumper. You might remember that I was working out whether I could get gauge or not. Well, I didn't, but I decided that I'd try knitting the smallest size and it should work out at about the right size for me (this is already sounding ominous, isn't it?). So, I'm knitting away. It's 100% cotton, so quite hard work to knit with, although beautifully soft.

The slight flaw with this one is that I then discovered my 15 balls of yarn are two different colourways - they were all in a bargain bin at a massive discount, and I suspect were also seconds. But the colours aren't drastically different so I'm going to do alternate rows and call it a design feature. On the left in the photo below is one colourway, and on the right is the other. So the difference isn't huge...

But, of course, then I got intrigued by another pattern, as Iris (whose blog I've read for years, and who I'm really pleased to see back on the blogging scene) inspired me join in the Garter Yoke Cardi Knit-Along, as I'd admired the one she was starting, and she was using Rowanspun DK, which I also had in my stash. And which also counts towards this year's target as I needed an adult sized garment in DK to knit for this year's challenge. The pattern is Melissa LaBarre's Garter Yoke Cardigan, which should hopefully produce a practical cardigan that I can wear for work once it gets colder. I got gauge on 4.5mm needles, and am knitting the smallest size (I hope that was the right thing to do, but I didn't want positive ease with this pattern as I'm intending to wear it mostly unbuttoned).

And, of course, I still have my leftover sock yarn blanket to get on with! 

Still, that's only four projects on the go...