Sunday, July 06, 2014

Books read 2014 #2

#6 Jambusters: the story of the Women's Institute in the Second World War by Julie Summers
This is one I picked up from a display at my local library. It's a very readable history (although it does include notes, bibliography and index should you want them), starting with an introductory chapter about how and why the WI was started - this answered the question of why I've never found a WI near most of the places I've lived (they were in villages, not cities). Subsequent chapters cover different aspects of their work, from the early years of the war when villages had to adapt quickly to take in evacuee children and teachers coming from the cities, to a more thematic approach covering crafts, cooking, growing vegetables and also the influence they had on government. I found it really interesting.

#7 Shrubs and small trees: simple steps to success by Simon Akeroyd
#8 Planting with trees by Andrew & Rosamond McIndoe
These two are again from the library, and are a perfect example of why libraries are brilliant - there's no way I'd have bought two books about trees just to help us choose a suitable tree for a space in our garden, and other than the RHS Plant Selector, information online tends towards the patchy. Both books are at the introductory level, covering various aspects of using trees in the garden. Both include recommendations for differently sized trees and particular aspects/soil types.

#9 Fly-by-night by K.M. Peyton
This is a book I loved when I was about ten, and when I came across it again I couldn't resist re-reading it.  It's all about a girl called Ruth who is desperate to have a pony, and buys an unbroken one. Back when I first read it everything but the pony stuff must have washed over me, but I was struck by how much concern there is in the book for the family's economic situation, their struggles to pay the mortgage (a whole £5 a week, which did give me the giggles) etc. And also the freedom for Ruth, who is only eleven at the start of the book, yet goes hitch-hiking and wanders the country lanes all on her own!

Have any of you gone back to read a book you loved as a child and re-read it as an adult? How did you find it?

#10 The detective's daughter by Lesley Thomson
Another one from Greensideknits list from a while back. Basically a detective dies very suddenly and his daughter (rather implausibly) goes ahead and solves the murder from years back that's at the centre of the story. It was an interesting read, and I liked the different approach (even though it wasn't totally believable). It also featured a lot of parts of London I know well, which added an extra level to it.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Garden at the beginning of the month July 2014

This was the month in which things got eaten. And not by me.
The sempervivums were gobbled up by some kind of evil weevil. 

Then I found gooseberry sawfly caterpillers on the gooseberry bush.

 But I got those picked off before too much damage was done, and the gooseberries are ripening up nicely.

Other crops are ripening well. We've had quite a lot of strawberries, some raspberries already, and a lovely blackcurrant and apple crumble last week.

The cherry tomatoes are covered with fruit, but the cordon tomatoes aren't doing a great deal yet.

I'm pleased with the way the lavender, geranium and nemesia all coordinate beautifully, just as if I'd planned it like that...

And I'm pleased with how this border is looking - it's one of the first I planted up when we moved in, and was intended to be plants that would do well in drought conditions, but they got through last winter and all the rain OK too.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Making some progress

Not one, but two finished items! I'm really pleased with my Lima cardigan. It was horribly hot wearing it for the photo, and it's now gone away with all my woolly jumpers for when the weather turns cold again. It's definitely something out of which I should get a lot of wear. I think the sleeve length will be quite practical, as the yarn (Mirasol Sulka) is soft and my garments tend to pill first on the sleeves where they rub against a desk. I would definitely use the yarn again though, it's lovely to knit with.

And these are my Fetching fingerless mitts, blocked and looking a lot better (as well as purple) than they did before.

Yes, this is the same pair of gloves, pre-blocking. And photo taken using smartphone camera and in artificial light. The photo above is with the proper camera.

Both Lima and Fetching having a bath, using the Eucalan wool wash I bought on holiday (with this in mind).

And then pinned out to block on the spare bed. I had already joined the shoulder seams of Lima together using a three needle bind off, so had to block it in a double layer as there wasn't room to lay the whole thing out flat - took four days to dry, despite the hot weather!

I've also made good progress on my 4ply Bello jumper. I'm knitting it in the round so can put it onto a longer needle and try it on as I go. This photo is of me trying it on in the bar at knitting group (I only got a few funny looks). I'm really pleased with the fit, and how quickly it's coming together. Almost ready to start the sleeves already!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Bradford-on-Avon Holiday 2014: the crafty stuff

It's nearly a month since we went on holiday, but I'm just getting caught up now!

This is the crafty post, I'm planning to do other ones about other things we did on holiday too.

We visited the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum in Britain. Although photography was allowed inside the exhibition, it wasn't entirely clear whether not publishing the photos includes blogging or not, so I'm playing safe and only putting up pics taken outside, where the site had been decorated with knitting too.

The exhibition itself was fun, and a great opportunity to get up close to many of Kaffe's works. In the same building there was an exhibition called "New world, old maps",  which featured a lot of historic maps, and was a good place to park the OH whilst I went round the Kaffe stuff.

We didn't have long after that, but did manage a very quick whizz round the permanent museum displays, which cover various aspects of US history. Could have done with longer there, but we'd arranged to meet up with a friend so had to move quickly!

There were some lovely shops in Wiltshire and Somerset, and this is what I bought. I'm on a yarn diet at the moment, but I had a couple of things that I was looking out for, and which I succeeded in finding! First up was six balls of Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds chunky wool, to make an Owls sweater with. I bought this at Great British Yarns in Bath, which is a lovely shop that I visited last year as well.

Also in Bath is a little patching and quilting shop, Country Threads, which I loved wandering around admiring the fabric.

I bought some tiny buttons here, for the Owls sweater, plus some sheep buttons because they're cool!

Just round the corner from Country Threads is Wool.

At this one I bought another ball of Rico baby classic DK, to help with using up the bits of balls of this I have left over. And a couple of things of sock reinforcing thread, also useful for sewing things together.

Meanwhile, where we were staying, in Bradford-on-Avon, there was a lovely yarn shop called Jumble Jelly.

At this one I bought some Eucalan wool wash, some stitch markers (which have no joins in the loop, as I have had trouble with some slipping stitches when knitting with 4ply) and some fun badges to decorate my knitting bag with.